When in Rome


Part Six


He wasn't sure how long he'd been sleeping, but it had to have been a couple of hours at least. Omi rolled his shoulders, arching his back in a luxurious stretch. He felt warm, and Ken was still pressed up against him, his breathing steady against Omi's throat.

It's real. Omi smiled to himself, feeling a warm rush of happiness settle through him. I was with Ken last night. I was with him. It had been perfect. I wasn't imagining things; he really does want me. From the urgency in Ken's advances, it seemed he hadn't been deluding himself when he noticed the older boy's attraction to him.

So he'd been lucky after all. Omi ran his fingers through Ken's hair gently, savoring the feeling. He had been right to let his emotions rule him this time. For once, things had turned out perfect for him. He had Ken, and everything would be all right. Nothing could ever be that bad, as long as the two of them were together.

Maybe that's idealistic. But right now, it feels true.

Ken stirred under Omi's hands. "Mmm?" His face pressed into Omi's neck, lips brushing the skin in a motion that was unintentionally sensual.

Omi felt wanted. It was a nice sensation.

The older boy seemed to be waking up more; by the deliberate play of his fingers over Omi's stomach, he'd noticed that he wasn't alone in bed. The lazy feel to that movement indicated that he didn't want to rouse himself fully just yet.

Omi shivered, and flushed a little as he remembered that his only article of clothing was still around his thighs - where it wouldn't do him any good. After what we just did, you'd think I'd be over any kind of modesty around him. Still… Ken hadn't actually seen him naked… he hadn't looked…

But there they were, lying in bed together, undressed.

After that thought, he couldn’t help himself. Omi lifted his head a little and tried to get a good look down over the body pressed almost on top of his. Ken's clothing was roughly shoved off to the side, where it had been discarded in the midst of frenzied passion. His view was only hindered by the position they were in.

Omi had caught glimpses of Ken's body - sometimes just out of the shower, sometimes when he lifted his shirt during particularly hot weather if no one else was around. But it didn't compare to this. The older boy's tanned, lean muscled back spread out in front of his eyes, coming up into moderately broad shoulders and the strong arms that were half wrapped around Omi at the moment. It led down into slim hips and a tight… Oh god. His face flushed.

Ken was beautiful, simple as that.

I have to be the luckiest person in the world, to have him.

However, reality was intruding on Omi's peaceful moment, much as he'd rather it didn’t. His skin was sticky and kind of gross, and the longer he let it sit, the more uncomfortable it felt. I need to clean myself off, he decided regretfully, eyes falling on the basin of water intended for Ken's use in 'freshening up'. Not exactly a shower, but it'd probably do all right.

He'd have to wake up Ken first, though.

"Ken?" Omi stopped combing his fingers through the older boy's hair and caught the hand tracing idly over his hip. A pair of half-lidded blue-green eyes rose lazily to meet his. "Ken, we - mmm." He was cut off in a slow kiss, and forgot what he was planning to say. Ken's kisses set his heart on fire.

"Omi," Ken murmured, pausing to kiss him again. Omi felt as if his breath was being stolen away; his heart pounded hard. He'd waited so long to feel like this…

The sleep was clearing from Ken's eyes. "Omi…" He backed off, probably to give himself breathing room. "What happened earlier… I mean, what we just did…" He took in a breath, nervously.

A sharp prickle of fear intruded itself on Omi's contented thoughts. What if Ken hadn't actually meant to be with him? Oh no… I didn't think of that. "You don't… regret it. Do you?" He tried to steel himself for the dreaded response of 'It was a mistake'.

"No!" Ken's eyes widened. "You don't think…" He pulled himself back down on top of Omi, pressing their foreheads together. "I would never do something like that if I didn't mean it!" he said, almost fiercely. His eyes bored into Omi's with an intensity close to anger. "I thought about it before I said anything to you this morning. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing; I meant everything I said and did."

Omi immediately softened. The look in Ken's eyes was almost thrilling. If he feels that strongly… "Good." He smiled back up at the older boy, relieved. "I've thought about it, too," he added, flushing slightly. It seems like I've loved you forever… "And I meant everything I said."

There was a slight hitch in Ken's breathing. "Everything?"

"Of course."

Ken raised himself up again, looking down into Omi's eyes seriously. "Omi," he began, his tone matching his gaze for seriousness. "There's something I need to ask you about."

It has to be important… "All right."

"Do you remember… when you were falling asleep?" Ken frowned, as if he was considering what to say, exactly. "You said something to me… did you mean that?"

"When I was falling asleep…" Omi tried to think back. The last thing he remembered was lying in Ken's arms, warm and satiated, and then he'd turned a little and told him… told him…

That I loved him.

"I…" Omi felt his heart rate increase again. This was worse than being naked in front of Ken. But he has to know some time, right? "Yes," he forced out, tentatively. "I meant it."

Ken's next words sent his world crashing down around him.

"I'm sorry, Omi," he said, softly. "I care about you a lot. But I don't love you back."


Aya's shoulders had gone rigid. He appeared frozen in place, his back still turned to Youji. Every danger signal the blond had ever identified in him was being blasted in his face.

Maybe this was a bad idea…

"What, then?"

Youji frowned. "'What, then' what?"

Aya turned. His face might as well have been stone. "What do you remember?"

Oh, he is not… he is! "Damn." He chuckled. There was no real humor in the sound. "For someone who acts like he knows everyone's motives inside and out, you sure are good at playing stupid."

"You could have been talking about any number of things," Aya pointed out, tonelessly. "Don't blame me just because you chose to be cryptic."

"All right." Youji gave him a sideways grin. "Here it is, then. I'll spell it out for you in the most specific terms. I remember being dragged back here last night, completely pissed. After that, I asked which you'd prefer during sex - top or bottom."

Aya's fingers were shaking, he noticed. The redhead balled them into fists, and his expression didn't change.

"And then," Youji went on, feigning blissful ignorance. "I asked about what you'd want to be called - Aya or Ran. You replied with - and I quote - 'If I were doing something like that, I wouldn't want a constant reminder that I was a killer for my sister's sake'."

Now Aya's fists were shaking. Youji ignored that and continued ruthlessly.

"That was when I came on to you," he said, in as casual a tone as he could muster up. "I remember going for a kiss - and I gave you every opportunity to move away. You didn't - you let me kiss you, and you liked it too, didn't you?"

Aya's eyes widened slightly - with surprise or outrage, Youji couldn’t tell.

"At least as much as I did." He shrugged. "Then you came to your senses and blew me off. I pretended I was too hammered to remember, so you could save face. But what's the point? Things are just going to get more awkward. At least this way it's all out in the open."

"And what do you expect me to do about that?" Aya asked suddenly.

"Huh?" He hadn't seen that one coming.

"What," Aya repeated, "do you expect me to do about it? What do you want me to do about it? Everything you've said is true, but I fail to see your point."

"Oh, that." Youji shrugged slightly. "I didn't have one. That was just a reminder - you know, since you seem so forgetful this morning." He pushed away from the wall and moved toward the redhead deliberately. "Now I have another confession to make."

Aya said nothing.

"Not even interested? Too bad, since you're going to hear it anyway." Youji suspected he was going too far, but Aya's lack of reaction was starting to get to him. "I wasn't as off as you think I was last night. Drinking doesn't bring out new feelings, you know - if I was kissing you last night, it was because I wanted to kiss you. And I did."

The expression on Aya's face didn't change, but he fell back a step, almost unconsciously.

"I'm attracted to you," the blond said, steadily. "We're lovers here anyway - it got me thinking about it, and the idea stuck. I don't want to play this as a cover any more. I want it for real."

Aya was silent. Well, it's not like I expected him to be ecstatic. Youji was disappointed all the same. He may not have expected it, but he'd been hoping for a positive response all the same. I was hoping for a response - period. Even getting that out of Aya is an accomplishment.


Youji blinked. "Excuse me?"

"You said you want it for real." Aya had turned his gaze up again, to meet his eyes. "I said fine."

That took a moment to sink in. "Fine… as in…?"

"As in this is your show," he supplied. "You decide how it's going to go."

"It doesn't work like that, Aya." Youji frowned. "What I'm talking about involves two people, not one. Either you're interested or you're not - and if you're not, forget it. I'm not about to accept a pity fuck."

Aya closed his eyes. "I am interested," he replied, with that slight softening in his tone that the blonde recognized from certain specific moments when he'd let a bit of his guard down. "But you are the expert."

"You are…" Youji felt completely floored. He's interested? Aya is interested in me? "Well… why didn't you say so?" He moved forward, almost stumbling, and turned the redhead's face up toward his.

That purple-blue gaze met his. "I did."

Youji almost laughed out loud, leaning down. He felt almost weightless, and wasn't sure if he should believe what was happening. This topped every amorous encounter he'd ever had. Even if it was only once, or only while they were stuck in the past, what happened now would stand at the top of his list as the best damn thing he'd ever had - or ever would have - in his life. Aya wanted him - that in itself made any and all trouble worth it.

"I haven't totally mastered Aya-speak," he murmured, drawing closer. The redhead's skin was smooth and pale - like alabaster. Gorgeous. He captured Aya's mouth before there could be a reply - if a reply was forthcoming.

Perfect. Like tasting heaven, and it moved rapidly from mild to tantalizingly hot. It was better than the night before because this time… this time Aya had accepted it completely, and without Youji being drunk enough to push it.

"But," Youji added, breaking away for a brief second, "I'm working on it."

He leaned back into another kiss.


There was a sensation almost like physical pain digging at Ken's chest as he watched Omi's face crumble. I shouldn't have told him. I should've kept quiet… Anything but watching the hurt spread onto the younger boy's expression. Omi, I'm so sorry. I never wanted to hurt you.

But he couldn't have kept it from him, either. Ken was a horrible liar, especially when it came to the people he cared about. It's better to tell him now. But… "Omi… I…"

Omi turned his face down. "It's all right," he said, voice painfully soft. "I understand."

That just made him feel worse. Of course Omi wouldn't blame him - it wasn't in his nature to credit his own unhappiness to someone he cared about. Omi was nice - he was empathetic and understanding, and now Ken had hurt him just for having a big enough heart to actually fall in love with one of his teammates.

He really wished he was someone else so he could kick his own ass.

But… he wasn't in love with Omi. He couldn't be. Love was romantic. Love was sitting on the beach watching the sunset, or staring into someone's eyes over a candlelight dinner. If he loved Omi, he would never, even for a second, have considered sleeping with him before they'd built something up between them.

Ken flushed, ashamed of his own behavior. He hadn't even considered Omi's feelings. It was his first time. And had he asked if it was all right? They hadn't talked at all, before it happened. Damnit, if I'd just thought for a minute instead of rushing right in…

He was distracted from that thought by Omi sliding carefully out from under him. The younger boy had covered himself again, as much as he could. Which wasn't much. Ken shut his eyes, cutting off his admiration of his friend's body. Stop it! You don't have a right. It was thoughts like those that had caused this in the first place. Wanting Omi like that…

"I'm going to wash up," the shorter boy said. There was a quiet dignity in the tone of his voice. He was taking the whole thing really well. "You probably should too, Ken. We might be able to find out about Youji and Aya if we ask around some more."

Ken tugged on some clothing and climbed off the bed after him. "Omi," he began, keeping his eyes fixed firmly on the younger boy's face. "I'm sorry," he continued, hoping his voice could express how sincere that apology was. "I never meant to hurt you. I really am - "

"For what?" Omi interrupted. He met Ken's gaze, his expressive eyes sad but steady. "You don't have to be sorry for anything, Ken. You didn't make me any promises." His gaze slid away. "I was the stupid one, deluding myself into thinking… that…" He let the thought trail off. "I can be so naïve."

"Don't think like that." Ken rested a comforting hand on Omi's shoulder, without thinking about how absurd that action would seem. The younger boy was shaking slightly. "Anyone who was a better person than I am would be thrilled to have you love them. And I'm honored, Omi. Am I the first?"

"More or less." Omi's voice had gained a slight tremor. "If you don't count infatuation - or misplaced affection. But even then, you were still…" He shut his eyes for a moment, and swallowed hard. "There isn't anyone who's a better person than you, Ken," he added, very softly.

That floored him completely. What do you say to something like that? To someone who's confessed to loving you for years already? There was an obvious devotion in Omi's words. It was touching at the same time as it was hopelessly sad. I can love you even without it being returned, his eyes promised. And if you ever feel even a little in return, you can come to me and I'll be waiting.

"You shouldn't waste your feelings on me," Ken told him, matching the younger boy's tone for softness.

Omi shook his head and managed a small smile. "It's not so simple. You can't decide to stop loving someone and expect to just do it." He looked back up. "It's too late, anyway. I'm at the point where I don't want to stop loving you - even if you can't return it. You mean that much to me."

Ken watched him silently for a minute, almost awed. Omi was the picture of strength, his heart clear, his every movement laced with an emotional confidence anyone would envy. He knew what he felt, knew what he wanted. He didn't have to fumble around wondering what his feelings meant, and he didn't waste time regretting them. Sometimes it hurt him and he grieved, but he accepted it. Ken had seen him break down into tears or sink himself in misery, but he had yet to see a tragedy that Omi couldn't pull back from, somehow, in order to move on.

He's amazing. Just… incredible.

Ken wished he could do something for him. Anything, as long as it made him happy.

"There is something you could do, if it's okay," Omi said suddenly, as if he'd read Ken's thoughts. Clear blue eyes gazed into his, hopefully. "It's just something… I was sort of hoping…"

"I'll do whatever you want," Ken promised, without thinking.

Surprisingly, Omi reached out and set his hand on top of Ken's. "Do you still want me, Ken?"

The question caught him off-guard. "Wh-what?"

Omi's light touch lingered. "Do you want me?" he repeated, voice low.

The thoughts Ken had been successfully ignoring started pounding at the mental wall he'd created to keep them out. What is he asking? his mind screamed. He pushed that aside and licked his lips nervously, wondering what the younger boy was leading into. "Yeah."

"Then there's nothing wrong with being more than friends, is there?" Omi hesitantly slid his hand around and laced his fingers through Ken's. "I'll take what I can get with you - I won't ask you to love me, or feel tied down or anything like that. Just… just want me. That's all."

That didn't sound right at all - not for Omi. Ken frowned. "I don't think - "

"Don't," Omi interrupted. "Just for now, forget that I'm in love with you. I want to be your lover." He flushed a little at that, but continued steadily. "Will you have me?"

Ken stared back into that sincere gaze. He's not asking anything I'm not already willing to give him… "Okay," he said, making up his mind. "I'll be your lover."

Omi's answering smile made the decision more than right.


Any manner of common sense or rational thought was rapidly deteriorating.

Aya noted this in passing - noted, and almost at the same time, disregarded. A good part of that loss of sense was in the form of wanting to lose it. And with Youji leaning over him on the bed while their tongues dueled in heated passion, he wanted that more than ever.

Yes. The word echoed in his mind, even though he couldn't seem to speak. What he did manage to do was gasp as the blond trailed slow, lazy-seeming kisses over his jaw and down his neck. The sensation set his body free from any inhibitions his mind had placed and he shuddered, back arching sensuously. It felt like letting go, surrendering.

Youji pushed the white clothing down off his shoulders, letting his mouth follow its retreat down Aya's chest. The redhead's fingers clenched convulsively in his teammate's now-offensive shirt, and he all but ripped it off in his haste to get his hands on Youji's bare skin.

I want to feel you…

The taller man groaned against Aya's shoulder as pale, demanding fingers explored over his exposed upper body. The vibration sent another shudder down Aya's spine, and he shifted, growling impatiently. Building the moment was all well and good, but he knew what he wanted. The sexual tension between them was so thick he could've felt it even if he hadn't had the evidence of Youji's arousal pressing against his thigh.

And his own insistent erection demanding attention.

Make me hot.

Aya half sat up and drew the blond up to meet his kiss. Their tongues met again and Youji ground his body against Aya's hip, increasing the friction to the point where they weren't so much kissing as they were gasping into each others' mouths. Jolts of heady pleasure coursed through the redhead, driving him closer to the edge with every thrust. He met Youji's rhythm, making it obvious to both that they entered this with equal physical need.

"Nn… Ran." The name was almost as much of a shock as the taller man's breath against the soft shell of his ear. "Slow… down." Aya could feel his body tense, the gasp hissing through Youji's clenched teeth as he fought for control. "It's too soon."

Too soon? Impossible. It felt as if he'd been craving this release forever. "Youji," he managed to get out - just that. He couldn't string together a rational enough thought to talk.

"I want to savor you," Youji whispered, against Aya's mouth. He arched into the redhead's almost possessive touch on his hips and back. "I want to watch you every second. When this is over, I want every moment seared into my memory for the rest of my life."

Those words only served to drive Aya further toward the edge.

Take my body, and free my soul.

The blond used that moment to free them of any and all remaining clothing. Aya trailed his hands hungrily down Youji's chest. He wasn't an expert on sex, by any stretch of the imagination, but he knew how he wanted this to go. Even for short moments, sharing control of the situation rather than taking the position as dictator had been oddly thrilling. This act, engaging in something that involved partnership, was slowly and meticulously shattering most of his illusions.

He didn't want to lead the way this time. It was enough just to feel.

Youji was fumbling around for something on one of the bedside shelves. After a few muffled curses and some fairly torturous lack of gratifying contact, he seemed to find it and softened again, returning to the heated kisses they'd been engaging in previously.

"What?" Aya managed to murmur, between one moment of furious ecstasy and the next. This is killing me… I want more, damnit! If what Youji had paused to retrieve was what he thought…

"Oil." The blond pulled back slowly, obviously reluctant. "I knew it'd be there, if we're meant to be lovers here."

Meant to be lovers. Aya shivered slightly, not sure if it was the words, the lack of physical contact, or just pure need. He ignored the 'here' part for the moment. "Do it. Now."

Youji didn't waste time with an 'Are you sure?' He had to know Aya at least that well; if he said it, he was sure. The taller man slid a careful hand between Aya's thighs, parting and raising them the way he needed.

Pain or discomfort was hardly an issue in Aya's mind; the position didn't feel awkward or wrong. he hadn't spared thought for it before, but it seemed appropriate that, at least for the first time, they should be able to see each others' faces. His mind seemed to fragment as Youji readied them both; pain and pleasure jumbled together until he couldn't tell the difference. "Now," he repeated, voice hardly louder than a gasp. "Now!"

"Ran…" Again, the name. Youji moved forward, the agony and ecstasy of his penetration expressed in Aya's involuntary cry. The taller man groaned, shaking with the strain of moving slowly.

In a distant part of his mind that somehow could still think, Aya recalled his impression of the first kiss. Heaven, hell… Appropriate. God damn, was it appropriate! Every thrust was like sweet fire.

"Yes… oh fuck, yes!"

Despite Youji's earlier resolve, their pace didn't remain slow for long. Aya couldn't stand slow at that point; every sensation caused by the act pushed him closer and closer to that glorifying peak, until he felt for sure he'd go mad without reaching it. He dictated their lovemaking ruthlessly, making it faster, and faster, barely conscious of the volume of frustrated grunts and groans of pure pleasure. He needed it, oh god, he needed to come right then, more than he'd ever needed anything else in his life

"Ah… ah-h-h-h…"

Aya's back arched and his head tossed back against the bed, helplessly. Spiking hot ecstasy ran through him in thick shuddering waves; he could only gasp at its intensity. Moments later, Youji let out a final cry and followed him into heavenly oblivion, body rigid and spasming as he spent himself.

For the moment following, they could only lie there in almost reverent silence, breathing starting to slow back to normal. Delicious little shivers still ran down Aya's spine.

It felt perfect.

Youji moved himself off a short while later - or quite a bit later; Aya couldn't be troubled to measure time just then. "That," he breathed, into the redhead's ear, "was so damn good it's sinful. You not having sex is a crime against sex itself."

"It was good," Aya agreed, just a bit breathlessly.

"That coming from you is a major compliment." Youji smiled against his throat, shifting so they could comfortably sleep without totally moving apart. "Thank you," he added, seriously.

Aya smiled faintly, shutting his eyes. For one of the few times since his sister had been hospitalized, he felt completely, utterly content.