Part Ten

   The word was barely spoken before Crawford’s mouth was on Yohji's again. Yohji reached up, searching for Crawford's face and wishing there was just a little more light so he could see. He managed to find the man's ears on the first try, more luck than anything else, and raked his fingernails back through Crawford's hair. Fuck, it never failed to amaze him how well Crawford could kiss. Yohji had never dated a girl so talented, that could completely blow his mind away with such a simple thing. Because with Crawford, it wasn't simple; it was fire and lust and dying all in one, drowning in someone else's taste and touch.

    He dropped his hands to Crawford's shirt once more, allowing the older man to guide him backwards- slowly, carefully, feet treading ahead to make sure nothing was in the way. He found his back pressed up against the cold wall and winced, wishing it was just a little bit warmer and perhaps not so hard. His fingers searched for the buttons of Crawford's shirt even as Crawford's fingers slid under the band of his pants, still locked together at lips and hips.

    Six buttons came free and Yohji pushed the shirt down Crawford's shoulders, unable to appreciate the sight but free to explore the hard chest in the darkness. It was strange, running fingernails over a flat chest. Crawford's body was lean and muscular, like his, in perfect shape. There were no curves, no soft woman flesh, no breasts. It was odd, but exciting at the same time.

    He used his hands to guide him, leaning forward to press his lips against Crawford's collarbone. A little bit up from there and he could feel Crawford's pulse. Crawford was wearing cologne, a dark scent that was definitely _male_, not one of those sweet and flowery fragrances that the girls loved to adorn themselves with. Crawford had moved his fingers upwards and was lightly massaging Yohji's lower back, allowing the younger assassin to explore and get used to the feeling of another man. Yohji's fingers danced over Crawford's abdomen, dipping briefly into his navel, before skimming upwards.

    He brushed a nipple and, even if he couldn't see Crawford's reaction, he could feel the slight shiver of his muscles at the contact. Interested, he searched for it again, rolling it between his fingers, toying it and teasing with it. Crawford's lips skimmed his face; he heard the man's soft, sharp hiss as his mouth brushed Yohji's earlobe. Yohji guided his mouth towards the other, soft lips sliding over hard flesh. He found it, tasted it, closed his lips over it and gave it a hard suck. He heard Crawford's breath catch and the sound flooded pure heat to his nether regions.

    A hand took his chin, lifting his head so that Crawford could ravage his mouth. Yohji fought him for dominance of the kiss, used to being in charge from his history of dating women, accustomed to Crawford's maleness enough to be comfortable warring with him for the kiss. They fucked with their mouths, fingernails scratching lightly along flesh, fingers skimming skin in search of sensitive areas to act as leverage.

    Crawford won by stepping forward, catching Yohji's wrists in his hands and moving their arms to their sides, practically crushing himself up against the younger man and rocking their hips together. They were both hard, and the feeling of their clothed erections rubbing together made Yohji gasp. His head fell back against the wall behind him as he choked for breath, managing a strangled expletive even as Crawford's mouth worked its way down Yohji's throat. He could feel the man's hot breath on his neck and it sent shivers straight down his spine. His hands were released and he was content to latch them onto Crawford's shoulders for now, letting Crawford's hands work at the fastening on his pants.

    The closet was small, but it would do. Yohji was hot, his blood was replaced by fire that was consuming him from the inside out. He felt like was going to burst. It had never been like this with the girls. Why? Why Crawford? Because he was a man? No, Yohji had never looked at a man like this, and his contemplation yesterday had ruled out any interest in other men. So why Crawford? What was so special about him? How could he make Yohji so completely boneless with one damned kiss? He was the leader of their rivals on the field, yet Yohji was tucked away in a storage closet in his gods-be-damned flower shop about to let the man fuck him brainless?

    He was, because moments only lasted for moments before they were gone, because when you wanted something you had to grab it or you would lose your chance until who knew when, because having it later would never be the same as having it _in_ _that_ _moment_, because moments didn't happen twice and no two were the same. Because there was the chance they didn't have much of a future, so the present was all they could claim.

    Because he knew he wouldn't regret it when all was said and done.

    And sometimes, that was all that mattered.

    Sometimes, that was more than enough.

    A hand was down his pants and Yohji bit back a moan, torn between the sensations of Crawford's mouth and teeth on his neck and his hand on his cock. Crawford's other hand was busy sliding Yohji's pants further down his thighs, and Yohji tried to focus enough to help him. The khakis slid to his knees and Yohji wiggled a little to get them past that, allowing them to pool at his ankles. Crawford murmured something at his ear about getting them all the way off and Yohji grumbled an intelligible reply, awkwardly tugging his shoed feet free of the pants. He fumbled for Crawford's pants, but Crawford was distracting him with an expert touch. Long, sure strokes and fingers that knew exactly what felt best were driving Yohji insane, and his hands were shaking too badly to get a good grip on Crawford's belt.

    "If you saw this coming," he managed to get out, fighting to make himself heard over his ragged breathing without speaking loud enough to catch his teammates' attention, "why the fuck are you wearing a belt?"

    "I had gotten dressed before I saw it," came the response, and Yohji was pleased to hear that Crawford's breathing wasn't the steadiest, either. He liked it, this shaken side of the perfect and always amused assassin. He reached up, fumbling for Crawford's face and tugging him down to kiss him again. If he could die right now, between Crawford's hand and his mouth, he would die the happiest man on the face of the planet.

    That is, until Crawford let go of him.

    "Fuck, Crawford-" Yohji gasped, breaking the kiss at the sudden loss of contact. He thought he would die right there, and his own hand automatically dipped down to finish what Crawford had abandoned. Crawford caught his wrist- he had to have known Yohji was going to do that, for there was no way either of them could see anything in this closet- and pushed his hand against the wall before releasing it again.

    There was the click of metal- Crawford was getting his belt since Yohji couldn't. Yohji listened to it rustle against cloth as he loosened it, listened to the zzzt of Crawford's zipper. His breath caught in his throat as he waited, leaning against the wall for balance, no part of him touching Crawford, unable to see anything, and harder than he had ever been in his life. As soon as he heard the soft sound of cloth sliding down flesh he leaned forward, hands seeking contact between them again.

    A hand brushed against something that was definitely _not_ a part of a woman's anatomy and he paused, breath catching in his throat. His initial reaction was to jerk his hand back, surprised. His thoughts were running in wild little circles as he considered this, before slowly reaching out in search of it once more. Fingers tentatively touched the American's erection as his mind informed him exactly where that was supposed to go.

    "I won't hurt you."

    Yohji closed his eyes at those words, knowing that at any other meeting between them that they would be lies, a statement to scoff over. Right now...Somehow it was enough. Somehow he was willing to risk that Crawford was telling the truth.

    He nodded, although Crawford couldn't see it, and let his hand fall away. "All right."

    He willed his apprehension to fade as Crawford kissed him again. Crawford's hands touched him again, getting a firm grip on his waist, and this time they were slick with what Yohji guessed was a lubricant. "Up," Crawford told him.

    "Are you joking?" Yohji asked, and then found his feet leaving the ground. He was too startled to react for a moment, stunned by Crawford's strength. Jesus Christ- Yohji wasn't overweight, but he wasn't a lightweight, either. Crawford had to do some serious work on his arms in order to do that. The American stepped forward then, pressing up against him so that Yohji was effectively trapped between himself and the wall. His hands slid down Yohji's thighs, guiding them so that they were wrapped around his waist.

    For a moment, Yohji wished there was light in the room. In the next moment, he was glad that he couldn't see, that Crawford couldn't see his face.

    A finger touched him, testing him. Then Yohji was being invaded.

    He didn't know how to describe it, didn't know how to describe what it felt like to be slowly impaled. It was- different. It was like nothing he had ever felt before. But at the same time, it was thrilling because he knew what it was and he knew what was coming, because he was going to trust Crawford. "Fu-uck," he gasped out, fingers tightening in the shirt that hung off of Crawford's shoulders. Slowly, slowly, Crawford slid in to the hilt. Then he was in all the way, and he stopped for a moment, letting Yohji adjust.

    It _right_.

    And it wasn't enough, not by far.

    "Fuck me," Yohji hissed, an impatient demand. He used the placement of his hands to guide him, leaning his head down the inch or so it took to bring his face to Crawford's, lips grazing over the man's temples before he nipped Crawford's earlobe. "Fuck me, _now_."

    Crawford laughed, that soft laugh that Yohji thought he might be growing addicted to. Granted, it was hard for the American to sound so amused when his breathing was slightly impaired by lust, but...

    The precognitive shifted his grip slightly and then began to rock into Yohji, driving in and out with strong thrusts. Yohji thought he would rip Crawford's shirt when he jerked at it the first time Crawford drove into him, his head flying backwards as he choked on his breath. "Ah---ha--" he gasped, watching the blackness around him briefly give way to a splash of color. Breath hissed through clenched teeth as he closed his eyes tightly, watching colors play on his eyelids.

    Holy. Fuck.

    If Yohji had to sum it up in two words, those would be them. This was like nothing else he had ever felt, nothing like he could have expected. He was giving himself completely over to someone else, trusting Crawford not to hurt him. He was being _owned_ by someone for a short time, giving the control to someone else. He was being filled, and in that moment he wondered how he could stand being alone the rest of his life. Fire, ice, lust, frantic need...It was more than he could stand and it would never be enough, would never be anywhere close to enough. Fingernails raked Crawford's shoulders, and Yohji hoped they would draw blood, hoped he could claim some part of the other man's flesh like Crawford had him.

    He was dying and coming alive with every stroke, he could feel a scream lodged in his throat at the sheer power of the sensations. Nothing existed except the two of them in these moments and if it wasn't beautiful, it was fucking perfect and he never wanted it to end.

    Lips touched the corner of his mouth and Yohji turned his head into the kiss, tasting the need, the lust, the desire that burned between them. A hand was on his cock again, fingers tugging at him as the pace sped up. Yohji moaned into Crawford's mouth, not caring anymore if his teammates were on the other side of the closet door. He didn't care if there were a whole swarm of schoolgirls out there- nothing mattered but this, this moment.

    It was like a rollercoaster, building up and then rocketing away, twisting and looping, fear and pleasure and thrill all in one tight bundle until it began to spiral away and the ride was over. Yohji was close to the edge and he tried to fight it, not wanting to give in, not wanting it to end. He could only fight it for so long and he came with a cry, his entire body arching against the wall. Crawford followed soundlessly just a moment later, his face buried in Yohji's throat.

    There was silence for a long time afterwards. They stood that way for several moments, slowly winding down from what had happened. Crawford slid free, carefully and slowly adjusting his grip on Yohji. The younger assassin let his legs slide down from Crawford's waist, touching his feet to the floor so the other man wouldn't have to support his weight anymore. His legs could not support him, however, and he sagged backwards against the wall. Crawford, in turn, leaned against him. They were both breathing hard as they stood there, and Yohji was content to let the sound fill the space between them.

    Yohji didn't know how much time passed. A few seconds? Minutes? Years? Eventually their breathing had slowed so that there was nothing anymore to break the quiet, and then there was the sound of the knob turning. Light flooded the closet as the door was pushed open, and Yohji panicked for the second it took before he realized it was Crawford's hand on the doorknob. He squinted against the light, rubbing at his eyes in protest.

    When he thought he could open his eyes again without the accompanying pain, he peered up at Crawford, wondering what to say. He paused, studying the man's face in the new light. Crawford's glasses were gone- Yohji could see them on one of the shelves. His raven hair was disheveled from Yohji's fingers, and sweat lined his brow- both from the heat of the small, enclosed closet and their exertions. All in all, he looked mildly ruffled and a couple years younger.

    Crawford was a very attractive man, Yohji noted.

    But he still wasn't sure what to say. Years of practice and experience gave him some idea as how to end encounters with females without any hard feelings or false hopes. But this was a man, and Crawford. It was a very different sort of situation. Crawford didn't seem too rushed to speak, either. Yohji took the opportunity to peek out of the closet, reassuring himself that they were alone.

    A chair stood in the middle of the room, a large bag of potting soil set in it. Yohji blinked, considering this.

    Then he turned an accusing eye on Crawford. "My teammates didn't stay in the shop for longer than a moment," he said, "just long enough to drop off what they had gone to pick up." Crawford didn't seem surprised by the news, but Yohji hadn't expected him to be. "I thought they were going to catch us, but there was no real threat. Why the closet, then?"

    Crawford lifted one shoulder in a shrug, that distinctly amused half smirk curling his mouth. "Never tried it before," he said simply.

    Yohji could only sigh in response.


    There hadn’t been a lot spoken between them the last time Yohji saw Crawford. Either the American wasn’t interested in talking to him or he realized that Yohji wanted to think. Even though he’d made the choice and accepted what Crawford had been offering, the aftermath of such an experience required a lot of thinking. Such a thing could change everything; on the other hand, it could change nothing at all. Yohji had walked Crawford to the door and watched the man leave before abandoning the shop for his room. Omi had come by later, wanting to know why he wasn’t working, but the door had been locked and Yohji hadn’t been interested in answering it. He didn’t feel guilty…He had been almost done with the place, anyway. Let Omi finish things up; he should appreciate the break from all of the math in his accounting work.

    His routine changed the morning after. He was out of bed with the first alarm, climbing from his sheets almost half an hour earlier than he did any other morning. He dressed slowly, both because he was thinking and because he was sore, and he offered himself a long look in the mirror. Green eyes studied each other, making sure none of his internal wonderings showed. He was out of his apartment before seven and heading down to his coffee shop, tucked inside his coat and a long sleeved shirt. The turtleneck had been necessary; Crawford had left little mementos on his throat.

    He reached his fingers up to his neck as he stood in line for his drink, fingertips running over the thick wool as if he could feel the marks through the material. His thoughts ticked over the events of the previous day for the hundredth time since Crawford had left. The cashier had seen him enough times to know he always ordered the same thing, so he was saved the trouble of speaking and handed his drink the moment he arrived at the counter. The woman made a comment about how early he was, and he offered her a vague smile in response before stepping away.

    He didn’t think he could sit, so he found himself a spot beside the window, gazing out at a world that was already busy this early in the morning. Steam fogged up the window and he sipped at his drink, green eyes shifting from the people outside to his reflection on the window.

    Now what?

    That was the question that had haunted him since Crawford had left, but he didn’t even know if he had the right to wonder about it. Now what? Now what happened? Crawford had come out of nowhere several days ago, a sudden appearance into Yohji’s personal life. He had made it clear what he wanted and yesterday he had gotten it. Now that he had it, would he leave again?

    Yohji considered that, wondering about it. The other man had every right to leave, and Yohji wouldn’t stop him. He wasn’t sure he himself had considered it any further than Crawford’s goal. He didn’t regret yesterday; he never would. The sex had been mind-blowing, unlike anything else Yohji had ever experienced, unlike anything else he would ever feel again. If Crawford left again, Yohji would have the memory. He didn’t really have a right to ask Crawford to stay, and he thought that such a request would probably be dangerous. They had brought no emotions into the mess; what they had done had been the result of mutual desire, of Crawford’s successful seduction.

    So what happened now? Would the American vanish back into the shadows, emerging now and then only as the leader of Schwarz? Yohji wondered what things would be like if that were to happen…Now that he had met the man on a personal level, it would be interesting to try and go back to how things had been before. It would take a bit of readjusting, and he found himself distantly grateful that it was Aya that always chose to take on the American on the battlefield. He wondered if such gratitude should disturb him.

    Crawford had said that Yohji sympathized with his targets for their humanity, for the little things that attempted to redeem them from the darkness they so willingly engaged in. Crawford had gone from an unknown factor on the battlefield to a human, to someone who smoked and could out-dance an entire ship. His indulgences…

    He had said Yohji was one of them, and when Yohji had called him on it, he had responded that both Yohji’s way of thinking and his body intrigued him. Yohji had to wonder if Crawford would find his interest sated and would move on now. The white assassin wouldn’t blame him, wouldn’t call him back, because he simply couldn’t. He would not regret what had happened between them but he thought he might regret the loss of the other man’s company. Despite the man’s profession, despite the people he protected, Yohji couldn’t help but like who Crawford was as a person. He made for an interesting companion in a world where it was dangerous to make too many acquaintances.

    He needed a cigarette.

    He switched his coffee cup to his other hand and dug through his pocket. His fingers didn’t find his pack of cigarettes, however, and with a slight frown he checked his other pockets. How could he have forgotten them?

    A cigarette appeared in his peripheral vision, and he looked over- first at the cigarette where it was held between long fingers, then at the American holding it out in offering. Yohji’s hand stilled in his pocket as he studied the other man. Crawford’s face was calm, that serene look Yohji had come to associate with him. He looked down at the cigarette the man was holding out to him, wondering about the man’s presence, wondering if there was anything else in the hand extended towards him.

    “How long does a moment last, Crawford?” he asked, green eyes moving back to honey brown.

    “How long do you want it to?” was the easy answer.

    Yohji considered this for a long moment before reaching out, taking the cigarette from Crawford’s fingers and sliding it between his own lips. "Saaa...Who knows?" he asked, and he could feel a faint smile pull at his mouth.

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