Part Three

    It was short, simple, and sweet. It was nothing they expected, but more than what they could have wanted if it had been planned. It sent a small spark down both of their spines and a shiver through their frames. Ken had been teased many times in the past by Yohji about girls and kissing. He had said that Ken would probably pull away if he had been kissed unexpectedly, but instead the brunette found himself relaxing and leaning into the kiss. Nagi's head lowered back to the grass and they gazed at each other, breaths mingling as they sought each other's eyes.

    Ken had the distinct feeling that Nagi was waiting for him to say something. "Well..." he finally said. "This changes everything."

    "Does it?" Nagi asked.


    Ken jerked up as if he'd been burned, pushing himself into a sitting position and twisting his head to see who was calling him. Nagi didn't budge, merely watched him and waited. Ken felt his cheeks flush. Had they been seen? His eyes scanned the park. The rest of the kids were playing still, oblivious. Then who?...Ah. Oto was waving from the other side of the park.

    "My dad's here! See you later!"

    Ken had to swallow before he could answer. "All right! Ja, Oto!" He raised his own hand in farewell. The boy turned and darted away towards his waiting parent. Ken turned back to Nagi and let himself fall into a sitting position. He didn't know what to say. His mind was running in a million directions, screaming orders at him. He had just been kissed by, and kissed back, Nagi.


    The boy was younger than Omi, for God's sake!

    Not to mention a member of _Schwarz_.

    Nagi calmly got to his feet, dusting himself off and wiping bits of grass off of him. His eyes met Ken's briefly, and in that glance Ken knew Nagi knew what was running through his mind. "You think about it. Give me an answer tomorrow at the coffee shop." With that, he turned and walked away. He didn't look back.

    Ken watched him go.


    Ken sat on the floor in his room, his back pressed up against his bed. His knees were drawn up close to him and he was hugging them as if trying to pull himself into a small ball. He'd come up here as soon as he'd gotten home almost half an hour ago, not saying a word to anyone else. What would he say? How could he say anything, without this mess inside his mind spilling out? His lips were still tingling.

    He lowered his head to bury his face between his knees. This changed everything!

    'Does it?' Nagi had asked.

    Of course it did! Nagi was supposed to be an enemy assassin. Weiß and Schwarz might never clash again, however, as Schwarz had become freelance assassins after the fall of Estet, but still! There was the possibility that they would do something and Weiß would be sent against them by Kritiker. That was one slash against seeing Nagi. Second, the kid was _fifteen_. Talk about jailbait! Third, Nagi was a boy. A boy. A member of the same sex. That sort of thing wasn't _right_.

    But the kiss...

    The kiss had felt oh so right.

    Ken groaned. ~What am I going to do?~ He couldn't deny that he enjoyed the other's company greatly. Ever since Omi's outburst yesterday Aya and Yohji had been quiet. That meant he didn't need to leave the shop anymore, except to seek out Nagi's company. When Nagi had mentioned it earlier, Ken had felt a strange pang in his heart at the idea of not seeing the younger boy again. He couldn't help but think that they were so much alike, in needing to escape the problems of home and finding perfect companionship in each other.

    Companions were fine. But companions didn't kiss.

    ~Oh, back to that again.~ Ken lifted his head slightly, running a finger on his lips for the nth time since his arrival in his room. He had liked it. There was something about it, something that made him want to find Nagi and kiss him again. He wanted to accept what Nagi was offering, but how could he? What would his friends, his team mates, think of him and Nagi? They were both boys. ~And I'm not gay!~

    He might have believed it if not for the fact that straight boys didn't kiss each other and like it.

    ~This is confusing, and I'm just going in circles,~ Ken thought in disgust, lowering his legs. ~Well, I don't have to decide until tomorrow. When the time comes, I'll just go with what my heart chooses to.~ He felt much lighter after that decision and nodded in encouragement to himself.

    Someone knocked at the door, and Ken looked up. "Come in!" he called.

    There was a hesitation, then the door opened to reveal Omi. The boy stepped in and closed the door behind him, shutting it and leaning against it. He seemed uneasy about something. "Are you all right, Ken-kun?" the younger boy asked.

    "Aa. Just thinking."

    "Do you mind...if I ask you something?" Omi seemed to find it hard to meet his eyes.

    "Sure! Have a seat." Ken grinned and gestured to the spot beside him.

    Omi sat down gingerly, tucking himself into the position Ken had just stretched out of. "Do you like Nagi?" Every muscle in Ken's body froze. Omi shot him a quick glance before looking down at his knees again. "You don't have to answer that, if you don't want to..."

    "How...?" was all Ken could get out.

    Omi shifted uncomfortably. "Well...You know how I've been going to the library?" Ken nodded dumbly. "I met someone there. He, ah, he told me that you and Nagi were meeting in the coffee shop." Omi pulled at his bangs. "I didn't ask him," he added quickly. "He just told me that when I mentioned being worried about you being by yourself."

    "Who is this 'someone'?" ~How did _he_ know about Nagi and I? How does he know Nagi?~

    Omi cleared his throat. "Ano...It's Crawford."

    Ken blinked, and blinked again. _Crawford_? That was right...Nagi and Crawford both left the apartment when Schuldich and Farfarello began squabbling. Nagi said mentioned it once. So just as luck had it that Nagi and Ken met at the coffee shop, Crawford and Omi bumped into each other in the library. It seemed like the place the Schwarz leader would go. But how long had Omi and Crawford been meeting? What were they doing? Were they friends, or...He swallowed hard.

    "Ken-kun?" Omi sounded hesitant and a bit scared over Ken's long silence. The boy lightly touched Ken's shoulder.

    Ken jumped at the contact, turning to face Omi. "Omi, he's-" 'Dangerous', Ken wanted to say. And yet, how could he? Nagi was just as dangerous, and that hadn't stopped Ken. He saw the way Omi's lips thinned slightly as the boy waited for him to begin a tirade on how Omi should know better and such. The fact that Omi expected him to jump at him- and the realization that he almost had- hurt Ken. "Old, isn't he?" Ken finished, a bit awkwardly.

    Relief danced in Omi's eyes and a faint, grateful smile for Ken's understanding curved his lips. "Older than me, yes, by about ten years."

    ~Quite a jump in age!~

    "What is he to you?" Ken asked, more out of curiosity than a need to know before he would condemn or accept his friend's relationship.

    Omi looked down at his knees. "He's not so bad once you get to know him. He was coming as an escape from the jealousy spats his team mates get into." A little bit of confusion in Omi's tone, there. "He's a friend, sorta...And he..." Omi didn't seem to be able to finish the sentence, but from the way he lightly touched his lips with a finger, Ken could guess the words that Omi couldn't say. After all, he'd been brushing his own lips with his fingers for the past twenty minutes.

    "Ahh..." Ken was at a loss for something to say, so he grabbed the nearest comment. "So you dig older guys, huh?"

    Omi's cheeks turned pink. "Ken-kun!" Omi protested, laughing. Ken grinned at the younger assassin's embarrassment. Omi scrubbed at his cheeks with a hand. "So you...You don't mind?"

    Ken gazed at Omi for several moments. "Are you happy?" he finally asked.

    Omi returned the gaze, his eyes searching Ken's. "I am."

    "Then why would I mind?" Ken reached out and ruffled Omi's hair.

    Omi frowned at him for the gesture, then laughed. Ken laughed too. ~Thank you, Omi. Now I know what to do tomorrow. If only I knew how Aya and Yohji would react, though...~


    Ken stepped out of the bathroom, towel wrapped around his waist. He looked around. Where was everyone? The house didn't seem quiet. It seemed...dead. "Hello?" he called, padding down the hall. Where was Yohji? Yohji was always making _some_ sort of noise. He peered downstairs. "Anybody here?" Where were they? Before he'd gotten in the shower Yohji had been preparing to go out, but he couldn't be done already, could he. Yohji usually took longer than this, unless he was leaving in a big hurry.

    He frowned. He knew Omi was gone- the boy had mentioned that he was going to the library to study. Ken had teased him until Omi had left, cheeks pink and smiling. Aya had been down in the shop. Ken headed downstairs, wrapping his towel tighter. "Aya?" he called. "Yohji?"


    "This is creepy," Ken muttered to himself. He turned and headed back upstairs. He had the feeling that something was wrong, but he couldn't look into it until he was dressed. He was no good to anyone if he was dripping water everywhere and dressed in just a towel. He hurried into his room, shutting the door and throwing some clothes on the bed.

    He shivered as a breeze came through his wide open window, and he moved to close it. As his hands gripped it, however, he could hear voices. Curious, he listened. Who would be behind the shop?

    "Where are you going?" A cold, flat demand.

    "Out." A flippant answer.

    "You're going to him again, aren't you?" Colder still.

    "I don't see why it's your business." Disdain now.

    "Why do you do this?" Harsh.

    "At least Schuldich wants me around." Bitter.

    "He's just using you! He doesn't want you!" Anger.

    "And you do?" Scorn.

    "Damn it, if I didn't want you, I would have stopped fighting long ago!"


    Ken peered out the window, eyes widening. Was that Aya and Yohji down there? Yohji was close to the building, Aya in front of him as an effective barricade, keeping the older man from leaving. He could not see Yohji's expression because of the angle, but Aya looked surprised that he'd let such words slip past his lips. Suddenly Yohji moved, his hand raising to experimentally touch Aya's cheek. It was a tender, awed gesture.

    Aya...and Yohji?

    This was why they had been fighting? Because Aya was jealous that Yohji was seeing Schuldich?

    Yohji had been seeing _Schuldich_?

    And suddenly Ken thought he understood the whole mess between the four assassins. Aya liked Yohji and Yohji liked Aya. Aya, of course, was never good with his emotions. Schuldich had taken the hurt and bitter Yohji, and juding by what Omi had said Crawford had said, Farfarello was jealous. It all made sense, now.

    Ken realized he was grinning widely. As Yohji leaned in towards Aya- obviously going in for a kiss- Ken leaned out the window. "Hey! Get a room, you two!" Both jumped as if he'd shot them, whirling around and looking up. Ken grinned cheekily and waved. "Anywho, I'm going out. I'll see you two later." Laughing at their wide eyed expressions, he ducked back in his room and shut the window.

    Ken dressed hurriedly. He was still laughing when he bounded out of the front door of the shop a few minutes later. He moved down the sidewalk, grinning and whistling to himself. The world seemed so much lighter today. Aya and Yohji! Who would have thought? And Omi and Crawford. Odd, but Ken wouldn't be the one to judge what made Omi happy.

    "And Nagi and I," Ken whispered, smiling up at the sky. He knew what he wanted. He wanted Nagi. He wanted the boy's companionship. He wanted to know what Nagi liked, the way he'd told the dark haired teen all about his love for soccer. He wanted to kiss the younger boy again.

    He pushed the shop door open. Reiko perked up. "Coffee?"

    "Reiko, no!" Ken laughed.

    "The usual, then?"

    Ken smiled at her. "I'm here for a different kind of chocolate." She blinked, not understanding. Ken grinned, heading towards the booth where Nagi was waiting, back to him. He leaned over the back of the bench Nagi was sitting in.

    "So Nagi...Why me?"

    The boy turned in his chair, his gaze half-expectant and half-wary as he braced himself for any response from Ken. "You are what I want."

    "Sou." Ken smiled. "Then your offer still stands?" Nagi nodded slightly. "I accept."

    Nagi paused a moment as the words sank in, then a smile spread on his face- a genuine smile. The boy had never looked so beautiful as he did then, in Ken's eyes.

    Unable to resist, Ken leaned down and kissed him lightly, gently.

    Nagi tasted like chocolate and cream puffs, and Ken decided it was the best taste in the world.

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