Warning: This is a YAOI fic. Slash. Boy on boy. Don't like, don't read. Such a simple concept, yet people tend to ignore it and flame me anyway.
Also, this fic may contain spoilers, as it occurs after the WK show.
Notes: Just as Endless Waltz doesn't exist in my GW fics, Gluhen never happened as far as I'm concerned. Also, I'm taking liberties with some things. And a couple things that are referenced to (such as how Ken and Ran met) are from the manga, not the show. I haven't done a Ran/Ken fic in years, and seeing a pic of the boys made me itch to do another one XD The characters are prob'ly WADtD influenced cuz I've worked on that arc so long, so forgive me x_x;
"Heart Go Faster" is by the Davey Brothers; it's a great song from the Tomb Raider 2 soundtrack. Not mine. Don't sue. Military paycheck= hahahaha what a joke o_o;
Aya took her curly straw out of her mouth long enough to make a comment, eyes narrowed thoughtfully, gaze directed across the room at where the subjects of conversation were working. "I dunno... I think there's something there."
"Something?" Omi glanced up at her in polite confusion, hands still busy arranging the pot of lilies on the work table before him.
"The chibi over here is too young for this sort of thing," Yohji said airily, clipping indiscriminately at a leafy vine, his own gaze sliding over his sunglasses towards the other two florists. "But yeah, you've noticed it too, huh?"
"I'm barely younger than she is," Omi pointed out defensively. "And noticed what?"
"I thought it was just me," Aya admitted, nibbling on the end of her straw distractedly. "But you're supposed to be the love expert, right, Yohji-kun? I guess you'd know about this kind of thing."
Omi looked at each of them in confusion. "Thing?"
Yohji ignored him. "Yeah, they've had this whole love-hate relationship thing since day one, when they tore the shop apart in some stupid fight. I dunno, I missed it. Omittchi was there, though. Anyway, they bicker sometimes about stupid crap... Ken's a real hothead sometimes, and your brother is usually pretty level-headed."
"You're ruining the vine," Omi pointed out, pouting a little. "And I wish you two would tell me what you're talking about."
"Ran-niisan and Ken-kun, of course," Aya said, beaming at the wide-eyed boy. "Isn't it cute?"
"Cute?" Omi looked to Yohji for help. "Am I missing something?"
"Am I missing something?" Ken muttered, unknowingly parroting the phrase as he sent his friends a suspicious look over his shoulders, hands busy pushing soil around a young potted tree. "Those guys have been whispering and shooting glances over here all morning. I feel like the butt-end of a joke or something."
Ran didn't even look up from where he was watering a line of plants. He grunted noncommitedly. "As long as they're doing their job, I don't care," he stated flatly.
Ken made a face at his friend. "I just think it's weird, that's all."
"You're weird," Ran said in a dead-pan voice.
Ken's eyes narrowed. "Hardy har har. I mean it. It's like they're plotting something behind our backs."
Ken's quick temper began to stir. Their last mission had been difficult and had kept them out until dawn, and he was still sore and cranky. Ran was presenting himself as the perfect target for bottled up frustration. "I'm not paranoid, you.. you anal tree-hugger!"
Ran's eyes snapped up and narrowed on Ken. "Watch your mouth," he growled.
Ken couldn't resist the immature comeback. "Make me."
"A couple??" Omi squeaked, gaping at Aya. "You think they would make a 'cute couple'??"
"Keep your voice down," Aya hissed, flapping a hand to shush him. "And yeah, I do. I mean, they seem to get along so well. And Ken-kun's a good-looking man. And a really good guy."
"I'm sure they'd be thrilled to have your approval," Yohji drawled, tossing his clippers aside carelessly and reaching for a watering can.
"I can't believe I'm hearing this," Omi muttered, unable to resist a quick, nervous glance towards Ken and Ran. "Especially from you, Yohji-kun. I mean, you're the womanizer. Wouldn't it kinda... creep you out?"
Yohji shrugged fluidly and didn't comment.
"Anyway, they're just friends, Aya-chan," Omi protested. He gave a weak grin. "Never pegged you for a yaoi fan," he admitted.
"I didn't say I was," Aya said primly. "I'm just saying I think Ken-kun would be good for my brother, that's all." A shadow crept over her face. "I worry about him," she admitted more somberly. "You all tell me he's better than he was while I was... you know. Asleep..." she shifted uncomfortably in her chair. "But he still acts like the world is his enemy. He pushes everyone away."
"Not you, Aya-chan," Omi denied quickly.
"I know he loves me," Aya admitted quietly, gazing sadly at her brother's back. "But he's... changed. He isn't how he used to be. Before the accident, he was a lot more open with his emotions."
"Nowadays, seeing him smile at you is enough to shock the hell outta me," Yohji put in drolly. "Trust me, he's much more emotional than he was before you woke up."
"He's getting better, really," Omi said with forced cheerfulness. "It will just take time. He was 'Aya' for so long. He can't change overnight. It's only been a few months, after all."
"I know." Aya sighed, gazing down at the drink in her hands. "I just think if he could really let someone in, it would help."
"And... you think Ken-kun's the one to do that?" Omi asked uncertainly, squirming a little on his bench. "I dunno. Sorry, Aya-chan, but I just don't see it. And I think it'd be too weird, anyway."
"Like I said," Yohji repeated, sprinkling water over the vine. "He's too young for this kinda thing."
Omi leveled the older man with a dark look. "Better than being an old fart."
"Uh oh," Aya interrupted with a wince. "I see World War III on the rise. I'll be right back." She backed her chair away from the table and wheeled it hastily across the shop to where Ran and Ken were bristling at each other.
It had been nearly three months since she'd awoken from the coma the car accident had put her in, but her body had several years of immobilty to make up for. Her physical therapy was finally beginning to show promising results, but walking more than a few feet was still too much of a strain. As she manuevered her wheelchair across the shop, she felt a familiar pang of resentment for her body's refusal to obey her wishes. Sometimes she wondered if she'd ever walk.
"Boys," she said loudly and plaintively as she braked close to the two men. "Please don't fight."
Ran wrenched his glare away from Ken to look at his sister, quickly trying to mask his irritation in front of her. "We're not fighting," he said with surprising calm.
"He's just being a prick, that's all," Ken said in a mock sweet voice.
Ran's hot glare darted towards him again.
Aya heaved a sigh of aggravation. So much for her "happy couple" thoughts. "Ken-kun," she pleaded.
Ken snorted and turned his back deliberately on Ran, shoving fistfuls of dirt into the tree pot with excessive force. Ran's face had smoothed out again, and slowly the tension in his shoulders faded as he looked back down at his sister. "The shop opens in an hour," he said quietly. "Are you sure you don't want to take a rest?"
"I've had enough rest to last three lifetimes," Aya pointed out, making a face. "Besides, I like working here. And it makes me feel useful." She smiled up at him. "At least I can run the register." She turned her chair and wheeled herself back towards the counter.
Ken glanced up, studying the familiar look of pain and guilt on his friend's face. He turned back to his pot, voice quiet. "It's not your fault, you know."
Shaken out of his dark thoughts, Ran stiffly turned back to watering the plants. "What are you talking about?" he demanded.
"Ran, I'm no rocket scientist," Ken said dryly, "but anyone with eyes can see how you feel. It's not your fault that Aya's in that chair. It's Taketori's. And you killed him. She's awake now, you're together again, and she's getting stronger everyday. She'll be walking again in no time."
Ran knew his friend was only trying to cheer him up, but he disliked having his emotions analyzed or his private thoughts pried into. "You don't know anything about it," he growled, glaring at the plants.
Ken offered the other man's back a dirty look. "Oh, yeah, ok. I don't know what I'm talking about at all. What would I know? I've only seen you beat yourself over the head about her for the past few years. But hey, guess I'm just blowing smoke out of my ass."
"Just drop it," Ran growled.
Ken rose abruptly, dusting his hands off on his smock roughly. Holding his tongue with a supreme force of will, he stomped off to get the broom.
When he was gone, Ran set his watering can aside and gazed at the window, ignoring the bright summer day outside in favor of the reflection of his sister, chatting cheerily with the other two assassins by the counter. He caught a glimpse of his own reflection, mouth soft and eyes sad. Looking away in irritation, he quickly dragged up his familiar, comforting mask of cold uncaring. No wonder even Ken was noticing, if he was letting it show so plainly on his face. He had grown accustomed, little by little, to letting his guard down around the other man. Partly because he had learned to trust Ken with his life in the past few years, and partly because he'd assumed Ken would be too thick to notice any expressions that might briefly flit across his face. Evidently not. And with Aya around, he'd been trying even harder to show more expressions, for her sake. If Ken hadn't been able to read him well before, it couldn't be very hard now. Which meant almost certainly that Omi and Yohji had noticed, as well.
Glowering to himself, he snatched up his watering can and stalked towards the other side of the shop to water the rest of the plants.
It didn't matter. Ken didn't know what he was talking about. He was just some clumsy, short-tempered sports nut. What did he know?
Nothing. He didn't know anything.
Ran's eyes drifted again towards Aya in her chair, and his mouth twitched downwards in discontent.
Ken made the mistake that afternoon in offering to help Aya prepare lunch, ignorant of just what she planned on talking about with him.
As he snagged the bread from a high shelf and Aya pulled sandwich ingredients from the fridge, Yohji popped his head in the doorway, unlit cigarette already dangling from his lips as he tied up his honey-colored hair.
"Hey, I'm going out for lunch," he informed them. "Don't make any for me."
"Hot lunch date, Yohji?" Ken teased, laying out the bread on the table.
Yohji winked. "Always." He disappeared from the door with a flourishing wave of farewell.
Aya wheeled herself over to the table and set the meat and cheese on the surface while Ken recovered the lettuce and mayo from her lap. As they set about making enough sandwiches for all of them, she stole a sneaking glance at the older man.
"What about you, Ken-kun?" she asked as casually as she could. "I haven't seen you go on any dates."
Ken looked at her in surprise. "What? Me?" He gave a self-conscious laugh. "Um... I'm not too good with dates.... or with girls, for that matter. You guys make me nervous."
Aya grinned up at him impishly. "But we're so delicate," she teased primly.
Ken snorted under his breath, attention back on the sandwiches. "Tell that to Schreint," he muttered.
"Or maybe it's because... you might already be interested in someone?" Aya pressed, trying to keep her voice nonchalant.
"Huh?" Ken frowned, spreading mayo on one of the sandwiches. "You said it yourself, I don't do the dating thing. That's Yohji's department."
"You know..." Aya popped a piece of cheese in her mouth. "They say sometimes friends make the best lovers."
Ken flicked her an odd glance, obviously wondering what she was getting at.
"I mean..." Aya straightened, eyes glued to the sandwich she was working at. "Sometimes you might see someone every day and not even realize how much they mean to you. Know what I mean?"
"Uhhh..." Ken wiped mayo off his fingers and reached for more bread. "Are you going somewhere with this?"
Aya sighed, giving him a pout. Yohji had joked about Ken's denseness when it came to matters of romance. Evidently he hadn't been too far off. "Look, Ken-kun, I'm just saying, you might want to give things a chance."
"Things?" Ken gave her a look of helpless confusion. "What's all this about?"
"Well, you know..." Aya floundered, waving the knife around in the air. "Sometimes one might think that, uh... well, that because of society, certain, ermmm, relationships may be wrong, but..."
Ken screwed the mayo lid back on and peered at her suspiciously. "Aya-chan, you aren't making any sense. Do you feel all right? Is there something you wanted to tell me?"
"Ohhh, forget it," Aya huffed in frustration. "You're hopeless." She nabbed one of the sandwiches and wheeled herself out of the kitchen.
Ken watched her go, baffled. After a few minutes of wracking his brains, his eyes opened wide. "Oh, no."
Omi entered the kitchen, wiping soil from his hands, eyes roaming hungrily towards the table. "Hey, Ken-kun. Is lunch ready?" He took in his friend's deer in the headlights expression and paused in concern. "Ken-kun, is everything all right?"
"Uhhh... yeah." Ken shook himself out of his stupor and snatched a couple sandwiches. "Just, uh... Yeah. Lunch is ready," he mumbled, beating a fast retreat.
No way, he thought frantically, clutching his sandwiches to his chest as he hurried upstairs. Ohhh, Ran was gonna be maaaad. He was ridiculously overprotective of Aya. And if he'd just read that conversation right...
"Ran's gonna kill me," Ken muttered dejectedly. "He'll think I started it. How the hell am I supposed to tell him his sister has some kind of crush on me??"
Author's Notes:. . . Yeaaaah.. The writing sucks. Sorry. I've grown more accustomed to action and dark shit. It's really hard trying to write normal everyday crap. Especially ones based around miscommunication and romance. Plus, I haven't written diddly squat for a couple months. Forgive me >_O; Hopefully it'll get better as I get the hang of it and the story falls more into place.
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