This is the mere beginning of an actual fic with actual plot and characterization and all that good stuff… See if you can spot the foreshadowing, it's certainly spread on thick. This is my first foray into Yami, so see how you like it.


The flowers had died again.

It still amazed him to wake and behold the withered petals fallen over his nightstand, to see the bright color of only a few days before faded to a sickly brown. How nature still wasted away and died in the world beyond death had never made sense to him, and yet seasons passed, leaves faded and blew away, and the flowers beside his bed died.

It was his fault for not watering them. But it was somewhat reassuring, in a masochistic way, to see that things could still die when he couldn't. The seasons would always change, even if his existence was an eternal spring; he would always be the young man he'd been when he died, a man fresh in the making and ready for the world, if only in his body. Even during life, he had lived like this… a man could take an ax to a tree and strike it down, but the slashed wrists would always heal, even when he could see the white bone beneath.

Tsuzuki Asato drew his fingers almost longingly over the bedstand, the old walnut revealing itself as the dust clung to his fingers. He had lain awake in bed for nearly an hour now, just staring listlessly at the vase of dead tulips. His sleep had been restless the night before, racked with familiar nightmares. He would have been drenched in sweat but for the rotating fan he had wisely turned on before falling asleep; instead, he was cold from the droplets that had dried on his skin, tangled in white sheets in an attempt to keep himself warm.

Something was coming… the foreboding gnawed at the back of his skull, making itself known every time his thoughts wandered. Something was coming…


"Hwaaaa…!" Defensive instinct kicked in, and Asato threw himself headfirst into his mound of pillows. The melancholy he had woken with took a momentary backseat; he knew that voice, and that voice was not happy. Bad things happened to him when that voice was not happy.

"We had a meeting with the Chief an hour ago, idiot. Did you oversleep?" The dry tone of Kurosaki Hisoka was more than a bit impatient, laced with biting sarcasm. "You'll be lucky if he doesn't fire you this time."

"Mou, Hisoka…" Asato peeked out from his pile of sheets and pillows, pouting. "I forgot. Why didn't you come get me?"

"Because I was stupid enough to think you were a grown man and could handle your own schedule." Green eyes flashed dangerously, and Asato wilted. "Now I see I was wrong. Come on, Tatsumi-san rescheduled the briefing because you didn't show up. If you miss it this time…" His words trailed off, but the subtle quirk of his thin brow was enough to convey his meaning. If Asato missed this one, it was going to take a lot more than being cute to get back into the secretary's good graces.

"Okay, okay." Asato begrudgingly sat up, yawning hugely and stretching. It wouldn't do to annoy his superiors any more than he already had… not to mention his partner. Hisoka had enough of a temper as it was, so he didn't need to provoke him. He pushed the sheets down, freeing his body from the cotton tendrils that had worked around him during his restless sleep, rubbing his eyes with a fist. "Hisoka, could you get the robe there for me? I gotta get dressed…"


The stutter in Hisoka's voice was more than a bit out of place, and he blinked his eyes back open, cocking his head and studying his young partner. The boy's fingers were closing convulsively on the thin white robe that was draped over his desk, his pale cheeks stained with a red blush. It had been some time since he'd seen Hisoka embarrassed like this… the source of his discomfort was a bit of a mystery to Asato until he felt the cool air of the fan rotating over his bare chest. Oh… he couldn't keep a mischievous smile from crossing his lips. Hisoka, Hisoka, Hisoka… no matter how much he matured, no matter how close they grew as friends and partners, there were still some little things that mortified him and probably always would. Apparently, seeing his senior half naked was one of those little things.

"What, are you wondering if I sleep naked?" he teased, eyes sparkling. It was so hard not to poke a little at him, to pull out the full crimson embarrassment. Hisoka was a lot of things; he was smart, he was skilled, he was vaguely misanthropic, but he was also capable of being devastatingly cute, especially when he was embarrassed.

"Don't be s-stupid." Hisoka glared at him, eyes flashing and cheeks darkening. "I've slept in the same room with you dozens of times, I know you don't sleep n-naked."

"Maybe I do when I'm alone." Asato fluttered his eyelashes innocently, taking a slightly sadistic pleasure in the sudden unease in Hisoka's manner. "You know… on a hot night, with the fan on high… clean cotton sheets against bare skin feels really nice, Hisoka…"

"Would you stop being ridiculous and put this on?" Hisoka waved the white robe at him, face turned resolutely away, eyes squeezed closed, blush spreading to his ears. "We have a meeting to get to, you daft, stupid-"

Asato laughed kindly, pushing strands of raven hair out of his eyes. "Relax. I'm just teasing you." Hisoka growled in the back of his throat, and he chuckled again, pulling the robe from his partner's hands. "You need to lighten up… kid…"

"Don't call me kid!"

Asato pulled the robe over his shoulders, smiling affectionately at his ill at ease partner. Partner… Hisoka had been with him for so long, stuck by him through thick and thin, saved his existence and his soul time and time again. He'd never had the same partner for so long… not even Tatsumi had been able to stay by his side for more than three months. And Hisoka had come to know him, to even be comfortable with him. The boy even felt soothed by his touch, no matter how much emotion was roiling through him. Maybe it was because of his overwhelming tenderness for him, maybe it was become they had become closer to each other than either of them had ever been to anyone.

"Did you know your flowers are dead?" Hisoka observed casually.

"Yeah…" Asato closed his eyes, a sudden wave of melancholy overtaking him a second time. The flowers… the dream… what had he dreamed about? All he could remember was… unspeakable pain, a heavy choking feeling in his throat, certain terror overwhelming him…

"Well, you need to get dressed if-" Hisoka paused, and swiftly, a thin hand closed on Asato's shoulder. "What's wrong?" His voice had gone from annoyed to deadly serious instantaneously, thin brows furrowing in concern. "You're upset."

There was no use in lying to Hisoka, to try to tell him that everything was okay. When by a single touch the boy could delve into every emotion, every desire, every passion in his soul, the effort required in crafting a workable lie would just be wasted. It had taken him some time, but he had finally come to accept that he couldn't hide things from Hisoka. Not if they were touching, at least.

"I… I had a bad dream, that's all." He attempted a smile and failed miserably. "I don't even remember what it was about. It just left me with a bad feeling."

"Are you okay now?" Hisoka's genuine concern was evident, but so was his discomfort. Dealing with other people had never been his strong suit.

"I think so." He tried the smile again, and did a bit better this time. Hisoka tightened his grip on his shoulder, staring him directly in the eye. Asato batted his eyelashes in what he hoped was a convincingly adorable manner. Hisoka scowled at him, and he chuckled softly, his mood lightening slightly.

"Okay. Let's go then." Hisoka made a move to lift his hand and move away from Asato's bedside, but froze when that same hand was entwined in that of his partner's. Asato clutched the thin fingers, lifting Hisoka's hand to his face. Hisoka's eyes widened, a slight tinge of pink resurging over his cheekbones.

"Can we… can we wait just a second?" Asato could feel the pulse in Hisoka's wrist flutter and jump, and his eyes slid half-closed. With a slight quiver, the slim hand blossomed open against his cheek, and Asato leaned into Hisoka's palm. It wasn't as though they had never been so close, had never been tender or affectionate with each other. He had slept with his head in Hisoka's lap before, Hisoka had cried in his arms, they had slept side by side in cramped hotels. But every new touch created the same surge of uncertainty and longing, fear and confusion… emotions that Hisoka had to feel emanating from his aura, and yet never acknowledged.

"…Why?" Hisoka's fingertips stroked lightly against his hairline, raising a tiny sigh to his lips. It perhaps wasn't a surprise, his insatiable need for affection… But he was grateful anyway, that Hisoka understood and was willing to humor him. At least most of the time.

"Can I… can I hug you for a minute?" It was a silly, childish request, but the plaintive plea in his voice and heart was real. Hisoka eyed him silently, the blush remaining on his cheeks. No words of protest were coming to his lips, voice muted by an evident mix of disbelief and shyness. Asato met his gaze openly, not bothering to mute the swell of tenderness in his breast.

Hisoka was briefly silent, eyes wide. Asato watched him quietly, leaning against the slender palm. Maybe it was too much to ask…? Hisoka was an empath, after all. Maybe he just found touching him soothing when he was overwhelmed with something else. Maybe he had annoyed him with the light-hearted teasing before. Maybe…

"If… if you want." Hisoka met his eyes, a measure of uncertainty glimmering there. Asato blinked, then smiled brightly, relieved. The slightly awkward pause that followed was filled only with the soft rotating of the fan blades, the cool air brushing over his naked skin.

Asato released Hisoka's hand and reached out to grasp his thin shoulder, bringing his young partner tightly to his chest. The boy's form was stiff, but folded into his arms after only a moment of silent protest. He stroked his fingertips lightly along the hard curve of Hisoka's spine, tracing the length of his back with that one hand as the other cradled the back of his neck. The effort of every breath that caressed across his bare shoulder racked Hisoka's slight body with shivers, his hands resting lightly and hesitantly on Asato's back. For a brief moment, he held him tightly, cradling his partner against him with a quiet desperation he had never been able to fully understand. How long it had taken him to find this.. this gentle and quiet joy simply in knowing he had someone to be near, even if they weren't right there with him… and how it overflowed when they were close…

Hisoka was warm against him, the slight roughness of his jacket strangely comfortable against Asato's bare skin. He always wore long sleeves, either too proud or too ashamed to reveal the serpentine curse markings that tainted his skin, even in the afterworld. And that extra layer was a ready defense against another's touch, as well. Though it didn't stop the feelings from reaching Hisoka's psyche, it was a dampening effect. Enough to surround him in only himself, even when the still-vulnerable flesh of his hands and face came in contact with another.

After a few moments of awkward rigidity, the blond head nestled against his shoulder, nuzzling almost shyly into the slope of his neck. Asato rested the base of his chin lightly against the top of Hisoka's head, eyes fluttering momentarily closed. It felt good. It felt right. Hisoka was… Hisoka was his partner. His friend. His best friend, even. It was so hard to get close to people… it always had been. Even here, where everyone had their own issues to set them apart, sometimes they still felt so… different… So removed… So sometimes it was good to just sit, and be close… to touch…

"Tsuzuki…?" The airy whisper trailed over his neck, thin shoulders rotating slightly as Hisoka raised his head. He blinked lazily, not wanting to stir out of the warm stupor of the embrace. The green eyes sharpened a little, an eyebrow raising. And yet… yet, the sharpness was softened by the uncomfortable indulgence of his desperation to be loved, the empathic understanding of his being and his needs… Hisoka knew him. And he comprehended every bit of his being. And it was hard for him to order his release, when he knew… he knew how badly Asato needed to hold him.

"We have to go, don't we." He couldn't hold back a certain amount of wistfulness; Hisoka was warm and supple in his arms, compliant and calm against his chest… and there was such a halcyon feel between them, in the early light of the morning. Something like that was difficult to let go of.

"…We do." There was even a bit of disappointment in his partner's voice, and Hisoka leaned back, hands sliding slowly over his shoulder blades. Asato felt his eyelashes flutter as the slight fingernails drew over his naked skin, the slight feathering of his bangs over his shoulder, and his lips parted with the softest sigh, electric prickles dancing along the nerves in his neck.

But he let go anyway. It was time to go… they had to go to work. They had to go, and get their new case, and… see Tatsumi and Watari… those thoughts were light and happy ones, and made the sensation of Hisoka easing out of his arms that much easier.

"Here's your robe. I'll take the flowers out," Hisoka said busily, tossing him the white clothing and gathering the vase up in firm, slender hands. Asato watched him for a moment, just silent, then sighed softly and eased his shoulders into the robe. Work. Work, work work work. Where were his clothes, anyway?

"Your things are in the closet, idiot." The insult was as well-meaning as an insult could be, and Asato smiled gratefully in return. Hisoka knew… of course Hisoka knew. If anyone knew how to keep him in line, it was Kurosaki Hisoka… that seemed to be his thought of the morning.

After the door had closed behind his partner, Asato went through the motions of getting dressed, paying only enough attention to his hands to make sure he put things on in the right places. It was just another day in his eternal existence…

So why did things feel so strange?