The Game

Jane Fa Ker

Aya Fujimiya hated dreams. He hated them with a passion that could break rocks (the granite kind), because every dream brought back the sharp tense moments of Aya-chan's so-called accident. Every dream only made him relive every agonizing second of that night... that night when his life, his innocence, his very future, came crashing down in that excruciating moment of helplessness. Every dream only had him sitting bolt upright in his bed, his naked skin covered in a thin film of cold sweat as the last vestiges of the nightmares faded from his mind. Dreams were not made for killers. For Aya, after two years of trying to forget those crazy dreams of blood and death and Aya-chan's limp lifeless body hurtling in the air, dreams no longer existed.

And yet every night he drifted, hanging in that place between sleep and wakefulness. Every night he relived the past, saw that scene unfolding before his eyes like a ghastly flower that could only give off the scent of death ...

He was tired of these dreams, dreams that left him exhausted and cranky in the morning. Sometimes, he'd stay up all night to avoid them. He would sit in his bed with nothing but the sounds of sex coming from Youji's room, and the pale moonlight streaming in his window for company.

Tonight was another one of those nights where he was going to have to stay up to avoid the dreams. He had just returned from the hospital to see his sister. It was an odd mixture of torture and relief. seeing Aya-chan's closed peaceful face as she lay in a slumber from which she may never wake was a claming agent to his taut nerves, much as a smoke would be to Youji. And yet always when he returned to the hospital and he tried to sleep at ngiht, he kept seeing that scene. His parents' deaths. Aya-chan's accident. His life at an agonizing halt. Some brother he was. Why? Why couldn't he protect her then?

Aya yawned and tried to fight the drowsiness creeping into his system. His limbs felt leaden and it was an effort to keep his eyes open. Maybe he should go get some coffee. He got up and heard a faint female voice giggling outside and decided that he did not want to walk in on another one of Youji's one-night stands. He wondered how the older man could bring these women home when he knew damn well that it had serious repercussions on the people he cohabited with. Good thing Omi turned in early on weeknights. He didn't have to hear Youji and his women and all the noise they were making.

He yawned again. Forty winks in five minutes. He was starting to nod off already and that unyielding image of that night was starting to spring up vividly into his vision. He seriously needed coffee.

He opened the door, determined to look anywhere but the couch in front of the TV where Youji and his chick for the night must surely be doing something naughty. He'd already walked in on him, once. It had not been a pretty picture. Well, Aya tried convince himself it was no pretty picture. The truth was he'd never seen anything more beautiful than a half-naked orgasmic Youji lying on the couch, his eyes half-lidded with the pleasure oozing out from the woman's mouth whispering over the skin of his upper body. Aya remembered rather vividly how he had blushed and muttered some lame excuse and beat a hasty retreat back to his room. There was something about seeing Youji and that girl necking on the couch that made Aya's skin bristle with goosebumps... He remembered how after he had seen the little spectacle, he had ast in his room and pondered the strange compelling beauty that Youji held in that insane moment. And that, more than anything, made Aya flush with a strange curiosity and more than a healthy amount of shame. He really shouldn't be thinking of someone like Youji like that. He never wanted to see that again.

He was considerably surprised to see Youji sitting nonchalantly at the couch, one hand holding a mug of steaming black coffee, the ther flipping through the TV channels. He was alone.

"What happened to your date?" He frowned as the question rolled off his tongue. Why should he care what happened to Youji's stupid dates? He wasn't as nosy as Ken.

Youji glanced up at him, a lock of wavy chestnut hair flopping over his tired drawn face as the taut facial muscles pulled gingerly into a tight smile. Aya found himself staring at the way the thin yet succulent-looking lips pulled back and turned upward. Youji's eyes were bloodshot. Aya wondered exactly what the older man had been doing before he came out for coffee.

"Ahh, she decided I wasn't her kind of guy," was the muttered answer. Youji looked slightly flushed. "I called her Asuka."

"Aa," Aya muttered, not sure what to say. He didn't really care. At least the girl's absence gave him more freedom to move about the apartment at night.

"Why are you still awake anyway? Had enough of your early to bed, early to rise philosophy?"

Aya ignored him and headed for the kitchen. There was espresso in the pot. Youji must be out of his mind to be drinking ths stuff at 2 a.m.

He rejoined the other man in the living room. Youji appeared to have forgotten he was even there as his eyes stared vacantly at the TV and the shifting colors of the late night talk show that was running. His hands moved mechanically, alternating to put the coffee mug and then the cigarette to his lips. Aya watched him wordlessly as he stirred his own coffee. Tehre was something incredibly alluring about the way Youji moved so languorously, the way he perched the cancer stick on his lips, the way he looked - so ragged, as if he was tired of his life and all the bullshit he was going through - as the smoke billowed over his head to waft away in the ngiht breeze that whispered through the open windows.

Aya blinked. What the hell was he thinking?! There was nothing attractive or sexy or cute about Youji Kudou. The man was a fucking prick, for crying out loud. Walking sex, walking pornography. Youji shouldn't show his face in public. Maybe the girl discovered Youji's long history of one-night stands and decided to lay off ... maybe Aya Fujimiya should get his head checked for even thinking about it. What the hell brought that on anyway? One minute he couldn't sleep because thoughts of his sister plagued him, and the next he was wondering if the asshole he cohabited with did any good tricks in bed ...

"Aren't you going to sleep?"

The question caught him by surprise. Youji had never been the solicitous type, unless maybe with Omi.

"No." He stared at the rapidly changing colors in the TV screen. Youji took another calming puff on his cigarette. Aya wished he wouldn't exhale it out like that, letting the smoke pass through slightly parted lips like he was waiting for someone to kiss him or something. It was so sexy, it was obscene. Fucking turn-on.

"You can't always win, Aya." Puff. Blow. Aya didn't know what the other man was talking about, but he certainly wished that mouth was clamping on something other than the rapidly shrinking stick of carcinogen.

He turned amethyst eyes at the older man. Youji took another drag. Aya sipped his coffee.

"And the losing part is only bad if it feels good."

"What the hell - ?"

Youji reached for the ashtray on the coffee table and ground his cigarette. His forest-green eyes were alight with ... something, when he turned to speak with Aya again. "Too damn bad she didn't wake when you avenged her."

He bristled. Of all the asses to tell him - "Lay off my sister, bastard."

Youji finished off his coffee and got up. He smirked as he brushed past Aya. "Yeah. Someone ought to make me shut my trap." The smile twisted into a grimace. "Maybe I'll learn better manners when I'm gagged."

he disappeared into the kitchen. For a moment, Aya thought he heard the rush of water from the tap as Youji washed his coffee mug. And then the tall slim figure was back in the living room to pick up the small carton of cigarettes and an unopened box of condoms lying on the coffee table. Aya hadn't noticed that before.

"Guess I won't be needing this anymore." He tossed the condoms into the trash and headed for his room. He paused at the doorway, his lanky form leaning against it in a moment of indecision. Aya stared mutely at his back, his mind returning to that startlingly clear image of a half-naked orgasmic Youji lying on the living room couch.

He started to get up, all the while wondering why he hadn't punched the other man's lights out for all he'd said, wondering why he was even bothering with this idiotic conversation. "Youji - "

The slim shoulders lifted in a languid shrug. The simple locomotion, that one small ripple of movement, caught his eye, refused to let him go. So fascinating. Like blood and death. Like Aya- chan's accident. Aya was torn between sexual fantasy and morbid enchantment.

"Forget what I said." A soft dark chuckle. "Guess I just needed a good lay." He sighed and started to close the door. "Good night, Aya."

The door was shut. Aya returned to his room. Espresso didn't work, but the image of a jaded Youji Kudou did. After a moment of self-gratification to finish what the other man had unwittingly started, Aya drifted off to sleep.

And that night, the dreams didn't come.