Oo Sorry for the long wait for this part but I had a problem with writer's block and work interfering with my private time. Hopefully Part 6 won't take so long to write. oO

Part 5: Lost trust

In a particularly tall office building, surrounded by massive glass windows, a similarly transparent glass door, and a bunch of sophisticated computer equipment, Olivia paced across the carpet in irritation. The man that she had invited into her office moments ago glanced at the image on her computer screen before dutifully lowering his eyes again. Olivia also found her attention being drawn towards the computer screen but eventually looked away again in disgust.

"How is it that he isn't dead right now?" Olivia glared at her co-conspirator in barely contained fury. But when one of her coworkers passed by the closed glass door leading to her office, her expression had reverted to one of mild indifference.

Arthur, the lowly tech geek who considered Olivia to be a goddess in his small, limited social domain, glanced again at the computer screen. Ken Masters could clearly be seen staggering towards the sofa in the living room, a glass of water in one hand and a bottle of aspirin in the other. Olivia's accomplices had done a good job of installing the surveillance equipment in Ken's home, whereas Arthur had apparently failed his mistress in his task.

Leaning forward so that his elbows nearly touched the desk, Arthur spoke to Olivia in a baffled and slightly apologetic tone. "I researched and measured out the doses for those drugs myself," he repeated for the tenth time. "The first one was enough to kill him within a couple of hours, but the second – the one that I filled the oxygen tank with in gas form – should have burned him from the inside out. It had a twenty to thirty minute delay before it activated, and then the symptoms would have materialized quickly. I promised you he would have an agonizing death. I reviewed all the possibilities."

"So, what are you saying?"

"That other man." Arthur pointed to the panel that displayed Ken's kitchen, and the muscular barefoot man who was raiding Ken's fridge. "What do you know about him?"

"Nothing," Olivia practically hissed. "He just showed up. But, look at him!" She waved her hand dismissively at the screen. "He isn't a doctor or a medical student. I don't even think he's a member of decent society. Who the hell would hire someone like that to work for them?"

Arthur shrugged, pushing his thick glasses back up the bridge of his nose. "It's bad enough that our plan failed, but if the boss finds out…"

"He won't." Finally choosing to sit down in her comfy office chair, mainly to avoid the suspicion of her fellow employees, Olivia moved onto the next plan. "His agenda is not our concern. The only thing I want is that over-privileged punk dead. End of story."

"That's going to be a bit more difficult now. He'll be very cautious after what happened today." Arthur peered over his shoulder to make sure no one was listening before addressing Olivia again. "I was too afraid to ask before because you were very angry, but I've got to know. What do you have against this kid?"

"Who? Ken?" Olivia laughed callously, refusing to let Arthur in on the joke. "I couldn't care less about him. He's just a pawn in all this. But, his death would solve so many problems. And Arthur, dear, you're going to make sure that Ken dies in such a way that it makes the front page in the newspaper."

With the comfortable feeling of soft, velvet cushions behind his back, and the living room lighting dimmed to match the growing darkness outside, Ken almost felt like he could relax. Almost. But then the pain in his stomach would return and his head would begin to pound. He reached for the bottle of aspirin that he'd placed on the coffee table… but his hand came back empty.

When Ken opened his eyes to search for the bottle, his gaze fell on Ryu's face instead. Ryu was sitting cross-legged on the floor, the bottle of aspirin at his side. "Until you have recovered from whatever you were poisoned with, you shouldn't be taking any drugs," Ryu explained.

Ken shifted on the sofa, propping another pillow behind his head so that he could observe Ryu more easily. "My head kills. Can you do something about that?" It was much easier to challenge Ryu than discuss what had happened outside the elevator an hour ago.

Ryu gave Ken a worried look and then shook his head. "Do you know how close you came to death?" Ryu asked in a hushed voice, feeling the hairs on the backs of his arms and legs bristling with energy. He didn't like being in this room. He'd never been in Ken's condo before, but he was absolutely certain that something didn't feel right about it. "I exhausted my ki, Ken. I have nothing left." Shifting around restlessly, Ryu watched Ken nervously draw his legs closer to his chest and try to move further away, although the arm of the sofa prevented him from retreating further.

There wasn't much Ken could say to that. He felt completely miserable. Worse than he'd ever felt after a match that he'd nearly lost – nearly, but never so close as to cause him concern. If there was one thing that he and Ryu had in common it was that neither of them ever conceded failure. But thinking back on his reaction to Ryu's kiss, Ken couldn't help but think that he'd somehow messed that up big time. He couldn't deny that the thought of becoming intimate with Ryu had never crossed his mind. Hell, he'd practically fantasized about it for half of his childhood! To have his fantasies come true in such a physical manner should have left him feeling giddy and triumphant. Several years ago he would've let Ryu do whatever he damn well pleased without uttering a single complaint. He had wanted Ryu that badly, and trusted him twice as much.

But, the dark abyss that Ken had sensed when Ryu had been kissing him had stolen his nerve and silenced his yearning. He couldn't allow himself to think of what Ryu's intentions were while they were mingled with something evil and impure.

When Ryu suddenly launched himself onto the sofa, covering Ken with his body and pinning him down, Ken froze for a moment in keen terror.

"What do you believe me capable of?" Ryu asked Ken hoarsely in a tone that spoke of betrayal and pain. "I'm not trying to hurt you."

But Ryu's words did nothing to quell Ken's trembling or the fear that was rising with him. "What are you trying to do?" Ken asked softly, matching Ryu's quiet tone so as not to anger him.

Ryu swallowed his own distress to whisper by Ken's ear. "You still haven't recovered so you probably can't sense it, but we are being watched. I am certain of it. I don't doubt that someone is also listening to what we are saying."

Immediately, Ken recalled the strange people who had entered his home under the false pretense of ensuring his safety. He knew that it was no coincidence that he'd succumbed to some sort of bizarre poisoning right after that short encounter. He just hadn't had enough time to properly consider why they'd gone to all the trouble of infiltrating his building. It made sense that they might have bugged the place because he hadn't discovered anything out of place or missing. But why install surveillance equipment if they'd just intended to kill him anyway?

"Try to act normal," Ryu instructed, still keeping his voice very low. "Looking scared isn't normal," he added right before he pressed a gentle kiss to Ken's cheek. Then, Ryu wrapped his arms around Ken, embracing him tightly and somewhat desperately. "You can sense it," he muttered dejectedly. "The Satsui no Hado. I had hoped to keep it from you…"

"Satsui no Hado?!" Ken tensed up even more, but soon he found himself relaxing in Ryu's embrace. He didn't know how he could let his guard down after Ryu had confessed to such an unspeakable evil.

"When we were children, you were always able to sense when I had lost control of it. Just as you can sense it burning within me now. But, I promise you, Ken, although I can no longer keep it buried, it is no threat to you. I had it under control… until the moment that I saw you collapse outside. My anger seems to be fuelling it."

"Then stop being angry," Ken pleaded.

"Explain to me how I can do that when your life is obviously in danger." Again Ryu's voice rose, only to fall again for fear of being overheard. "Take whatever you need from here and we will discuss this in more detail at your father's house."

Knowing that it was useless to argue with Ryu under the circumstances, Ken allowed Ryu to help him to his feet, and then obediently picked up a few electronic devices and his wallet before following Ryu out of the building.

Oo I think that it was as difficult for me as it was for Ken to get through the awkwardness that Ryu created. What did you think of this part? Please let me know thru feedback! oO