A/N: Before you start reading this… it's going to be Ryo centric. So those of you who like Ryo stories, this is for you. Now, not so Ryo centric where all what you read about is Ryo, Ryo, Ryo. And I'll try to keep the storyline, as long as it fits with my yaoi story. If it doesn't, please don't get mad and flame me. I like it that way and I hope you will to. Don't blow Angel's story off! Angel's stories are known to be jumpy and bad grammar. I can't help it. I only have one story being beta read. So you can just write lots of good comments. This chapter is supposed to be all drama like, since, well, the episode is all drama like. It starts off after the first battle with saranbou.

After Battles

Chapter 1

It was silent for once. Due to the fact that the five teenagers that -most of time- were the causers of the wild insanity in the house, were completely out of it.

The previous battle had them couch-bound as soon as they stepped in the house, barely remembering to find a mate for sleeping purposes. Therefore Touma was sleeping, while letting out low soft snores, comfortably snuggled beside the blonde. Seiji still had his arm hanging off the couch as if it lost its purpose since the trooper that was suppose to be resting in his arms was gone. The odder couple, Shin and Shu, who previously were on the love seat, now claimed the floor. Shin found Shu more comfortable and soft than the floor, so he just decided to sleep on him.

Ryo watched his friends grimly. He could still feel their pain reverberating through the bond. He could still hear their screams as Kikotei was forced on him, sapping what little strength they had left. He didn't deserve to be with them. Peacefully sleeping where there was no Kikotei to hurt them. Something's supposed to help them. He's supposed to protect them, not hurt them. He loved them so much, more than anything in this world, and this is what he does to them.

He could feel their life force diminishing as they sagged to the ground panting for air. The Kikotei summoning taking even the energy needed to breathe. He could only barely hear their thoughts through the roaring violent inferno in his mind. Asking him if he was okay, if he could stand Kikotei's power. They worried about him even more since their enemies have come after him almost daily. They knew the constant strain it would have on the one who wields Kikotei.

Truthfully, Ryo didn't remember much after Kikotei was summoned. It had such a drastic affect on his strength and body; Ryo couldn't remember hardly any of the battle. He thought he saw Natsuti. So he was unable tell anyone what had happened, or if he'd even won.

There was a good chance. None of their enemies has been able to escape Kikotei's uncontrollable power. When Kikotei vanished it felt like what minute amount of energy he had, had vanished with it. Is this what it's going to be like until he can learn how to control Kikotei? Until he can learn how to decrease the unimaginable strain it has on his friends and himself?

He scrubbed a hand through his hair, and smiled weakly when Shin muttered something in his sleep. The water trooper had a nasty bruise on his side that almost had the potential to turn into a broken rib. His mate under him took gentle care in not making contact with it.

If this never happened, they would most likely be outside training. Well, training as much as one can when making out. They were all an awful bunch of hormones, he didn't know how Natsuti puts up with them. Seiji and Touma are more romantic, while Shu and Shin add jokes and arguing with their relationship. Ryo never felt left out, his friends made absolute sure of that. Ryo was their koi, meaning all of them got to have him. Anyone else was strictly hands-off.

He did need some sleep. Ryo was beyond exhausted, and terribly sore. His hands shook as the rest of his body. He'd been through this before, he knew how it felt. It should be no surprise to him. There was another couch left. Nasti had a huge house and this just happened to be the living room. Filled with old sunken soft sofas, love seats, and recliners. He could always take the one behind him. As cold and spacious as it was he shouldn't complain. Rekka no Ryo did not deserve to be cuddled up with the people he's hurt so badly. All the spare blankets were already taken. Seiji and Touma had two since their extra person was Ryo and wanted to ensure he was nice and warm while he slept.

They really tried to make him as comfortable as they could.

Out of pure curiosity he picked up a glass of water left forgotten on the table. It was only half-full and small. In response his arm shook violently the water spilling over the circular edge. As if an angry signal was sent from his arm to his hand's muscles, it dropped out of his hand. There were two things he could have done. Waited until it spilled and channel a small amount of Rekka to dry up the wet spot, or with quick reflexes, grab it in his other hand and lay it harmlessly on the table.

Neither he could do. Ryo sighed tiredly. Grabbed the paper towels from an all day pizza party a week ago, and 'dried it up'.

He really was pathetic, just like all his enemies said. He couldn't even hold a glass without it slipping through his hand like he wasn't even bothering to hold it. He couldn't do anything right, or else he wouldn't be here right now. Maybe he'd be sparring with Seiji, since the swordsman had allowed him to participate in his sword training. Both of them usually come out exhausted, sweaty, and dirty. Ryo would take all the hot water, since he already wasn't too fond of water, it should at least be decently warm. Which decently warm to him is so hot it could melt one's skin off.

It wasn't his fault either. He did nearly die in water. His yoroi doesn't exactly have a fetish for the water element. Ryo does, for its guardian, but not a huge river of it also containing poison, that was slowly, and very painfully eating through his yoroi.

When he was actually considering falling asleep on the empty bunch of cushions, warmth or not, Natsuti walked in, arms full of grocery bags. His musings were not making him feel any better, but submitting him to the sleepy silence of the room and Touma's soft snores. Snores that indicated the trooper was in a deep sleep. The kind of sleep you don't realize hours and hours have passed-by, when you wake up.

She smiled at him giving him a wondering look. Not understanding why, out of all troopers Rekka was alone.

"Ryo." She said voice full of worry. "You're shaking."

"I'm all right." He never tested his voice, so when he spoke it sounded so weary and weak, he couldn't believe it was his.

"You most certainly aren't." She sat the bags on the table quietly. Shu should eventually smell food and awaken. "You look awful." He looked very sad –eyes ready to spill out tears any moment.

But Natsuti knew there was really no point in arguing with the hotheaded leader. Her words weren't as powerful as his friends'. Her feelings weren't as powerful as his friends'. She left him to the troopers when they awaken. She wasn't going to leave until they awaken though. Luckily Shu was already stirring.

Unknown to him, Kongo was the one waking him sensing the turmoil Rekka's wielder was in.

Shu yawned silently, his mind wandering into wakefulness. He thought he was still dreaming when he smelled the salty pure scent of the ocean. However, the ocean didn't have soft brunette hair, and a steady rise and fall of chest opposite of his own breathing. No, it was just Shin getting the better bargain because he was smaller, snuggled up warmly in his mate's arms. He ran a hand through the scented hair –smiling- in a calm way of waking the male on top of him. Shin stirred, rearranging his limbs to a more suitable position.

"Shin!" He whispered accusingly. Water boy was just going to fall right back to sleep!

"Nani?"

Shu only barely comprehended the word, heavy with sleep.

"I'm hungry."

"Yuhr alhwuys hanhugry."

Shu never noticed his leader was watching, an expression on his face showing guilt. His head, then hung low. He suspected Ryo to be deep in sleep still in Seiji's arms where they put him.

"We have food."

"Oh?" Shin's voice sounded more awake and interested.

Shu rolled his eyes. "Hai. Now get up, lazy ass."

The brunette got up yawning and rubbing his eyes. Looking blearily around for the source of food.

"Geez, Shin, thought you were supposed to be a morning person. You look like Touma when he wakes up."

Shin glared and sniffed. "It's not morning."

"Same concept."

Wow, that was a big word for Shu. "Is not."

"Is too." Shu was already digging in the grocery bag. Cheeseburgers! Awesome!

"Shu, you save some for Touma and Seiji." Natsuti said from the doorway. She did keep her distance for a reason. It looked like Ryo was going to flee from the room any moment; his emotions ready to pour out of him.

"Is no… Hey! I want some too!" Shin made a dive for the cheeseburger. Shu blocked.

"Watch how you fight, love. You're going to hurt your side. We don't exactly have a healer when you decide to break your rib."

Shin glared murderously at Shu.

Seiji and Touma were sleeping through the entire thing.

In the midst of their arguing they heard the front door shut, just then realizing who's been watching. From the window, they saw their Ryo running as best as he could to the forest. The heavy emotions floating through the bonds making both Shu and Shin's faces fall in defeat.

"He keeps tearing himself up like this." Shin muttered sadly to himself.

"Someone has to go after him." Natsuti said. "You can't leave him out there by himself. Not as weak as he is now."

Shu looked utterly pissed. Ryo had been watching them the entire time. How in the world didn't he realize he was there? Or sense him?

Ryo disappeared in the forest holding onto a tree when his weight became too much for his body to support.

He wouldn't make it too far before his legs give out. Both troopers were determined, at least one of them wouldn't allow that to happen.

Shin was good with talking to people. He was often a listener to his other friends' problems. But this friend was totally different. Ryo was sensitive. Not girly sensitive -when they bawl out crying like a moron at the smallest things. He was sensitive with touches, words, and emotions. He was some sort of an empath, Seiji and he himself were. It was easy to know what feelings were twisting Ryo from the inside out. They played across his face clearly, and no matter how hard he tried, they would never be hidden like Seiji's.

You had to give Ryo things with feeling. Smiles made him smile. Frowns made him sad, and heartless gestures pulled him away. Not that Shin would go and talk to Ryo with emotionless pick-me-ups. He loved the hotheaded trooper to no end. The guy lived up to his element in every way possible, and more.

Touma and Seiji could make Ryo open up. (Same idea, but different approach.) Both will be very mad when they find out Ryo is gone… in the very big forest.

Shu and Shin started arguing over who was going to wake up Touma and Seiji. Shin decided Seiji was the safer one to wake during his sleep.

"Hey, Seiji." Shin said softly shaking the blonde's shoulder, unsure of where Seiji was hurt. When no pain crossed the still face, he shook harder.

"Hm?" Seiji opened his heavy eyes to see who was waking him. "What's wrong?" He asked, quietly. Touma was still snoring behind him; one arm keeping Seiji close to him.

"Ryo took off in the forest."

Seiji's mouth hung open in surprise just now noticing there was no Ryo held securely in his arms. One of the reasons it was not as warm as it usual was when Ryo accompanied one of them to bed. No wonder Korin felt so distraught with the absence of Rekka no longer close to it.

The blonde sat up slowly and stiffly, unsure of where his body was going to protest the most at his movements.

"He's totally out of it." Shin frowned at Touma.

Seiji nodded in agreement. "He was beaten up pretty bad yesterday. I healed most of his bruises that were bad. Of course being the stubborn person he is he made me use Tenku's power."

"Not stubborn, you're stupid." Touma muttered rising up. "I want to go after him."

Seiji frowned. He would rather his koi be taken care of by Shu and Shin. While he take care of their koi.

"He's really upset, koi."

"I can feel it." He sadly grabbed the thickest blanket for his leader. While it wasn't as cold as it was yesterday it was still chilly. It was actually Shin's at first, until he found out Ryo favored the heavier blankets. They thought the opposite of Ryo. Not Ryo seeking warmth, but already having it, and when it got too warm he would try to avoid it. Touma wanted to reach out to Ryo through the bond and find out what was going through his mind. He already knew it was an issue about Kikotei. The lack of rest, pain, and exhaustion had to be catching up with him. His Kanji had to kick in sometime.

He hated seeing his friends in pain. Ryo especially didn't want to be the cause of it. That alone should shatter him into a million pieces that might not be repaired. He could feel the loathing echoing in his mind; the sadness and guilt strong in the twisting emotions.

"Tell us if anything happens." Shu said with no intention of being in another fight, but they were their two weakest troopers, and Touma would not last long at all in a fight.

"I can always fly." He offered jokingly. Seiji sighed helplessly and collapsed on the couch while Shin snorted.

"Just tell us, will you?"

Touma was already out the door, reaching out carefully along the bond for Rekka. He didn't want to alert Ryo of his nearing, only Rekka. His senses sprung into existence and he followed where it led him. He wouldn't have to do this if he wasn't so weak. Kikotei leaves their minds drained after it was finished drawing on their power.

He ducked under a low branch recognizing this trail. This one led to their 'training area' deeper in the vast forest. The less used footpath was used for Seiji, heading further away from the training area. The plant life had respectfully parted for him and it was as if the trees had moved their branches to allow a soft stream of sunlight to beam down on the small path. Basking Seiji in his own element when he had a sudden urge to meditate.

He strayed away, the bond leading him somewhere unknown in the deep forest. He was worried now, how did Ryo get so far in a short amount of time? He didn't give it another thought because he could feel the raven-haired teen's aura getting closer.

Byakuen sat patiently in the small clearing; the leaves softly swaying in the wind and dancing around the small area. The sun cast shadows of late afternoon on the trees, making it look quite beautiful. Byakuen was watching his master and his surroundings closely, for anything ready to use Ryo's weakness to their advantage.

Obviously the short amount of time was plenty of time for Ryo to be attacked. He sat alone and trembling violently. His arms were wrapped around his knees, and his head down. Touma could already sense he was crying. There were large spikes surrounding the trembling trooper, almost too close for Touma's comfort. Byakuen could have easily slashed the bamboo stakes to shreds, but then what?

Sure the tiger had a very close relationship with Ryo. The two could have a conversation with each other. But Byakuen was Byakuen. Not Touma, or Seiji, or Shin and Shu. So instead he proved himself useful and sadly watched over the troopers' leader until help arrived. Touma walked around, searching for two spikes that would be spacey enough for him to fit through. It wouldn't matter if he couldn't fit Ryo through with him. He wanted to soothe their koi's worries. By the way Shin was telling him of Ryo's condition when he walked out, Touma didn't think Ryo could make it back on his feet. Luckily, there was a wide opening made by Byakuen. Touma accepted it, giving the tiger a smile as it disappeared.

Leaves crumpled under his steps as he walked over to Ryo's small form. Without preamble he draped the warm blanket around the trooper's shoulders and sat down beside him. He let Ryo learn his motivations, then pulled him into his arms.

"We love you, Ryo." He whispered putting all the feeling he could into it. Ryo's silent crying paused in order for him to talk.

"I don't want to hurt you guys."

Touma kissed away his tears, smiling warmly. "You're not hurting us, Ryo. We know you fight it. We can feel you give up your energy to restore ours. We know you try to make Kikotei less hard on us. We're not mad at you. It's Kikotei, not you."

"Why did I have to be the one?"

Touma made Ryo look in his eyes. "Because you're the only one strong enough to. Is it only coincidence both Rekka and Kikotei are fire elements? Whoever can wield Rekka must be strong enough to wield Kikotei."

"Strong enough?" Ryo turned his head away. "If I am so strong, then why can't I even remember the fight when I last used Kikotei? I was so weak my mind just tuned out."

Touma sighed, and wrapped his arms around the bundled up Ryo. His body still shook.

Ryo's going to be very sore once he gets back home, and has had a nice long rest. Seiji could easily take care of that. His hands were like magic when unknotting muscles.

"It just takes a heavy toll on you, but Kikotei has been summoned how many times on you in the past two weeks?"

Oh, Ryo had definitely kept count each time he had left his friends in unconsciousness. "Eight." Counting this one.

"That's not enough time for you to recover; or for us to, either. We just need some rest."

"Please don't tear yourself up over this. That hurts us more than any wound we could receive when one of us is sad. We like happy-cheerful-stupidly-innocent Ryo." Touma had none of this planned out. Doing so, and Ryo sensing it, would not be the best approach. Seiji doesn't even plan ahead. He just silently allows his empath abilities to open to Ryo's senses.

"None of this is your fault, koi. I know you're not convinced but I will keep telling you until you believe me."

"I can't control Kikotei. I'm scared of what will happen if we're forced into battle." He truly was. When he picked up the trace of evil in the air, his heart stopped. He was frightened. Not at the enemy, but what will be of his friends if they came for him.

Kikotei will come. Ryo never doubted that.

"We won't even get out of the house. It's better if we're together; we heal faster." He replied softly, he knew that didn't convince Ryo. Ryo didn't need words.

"Tears don't suit you." He held Ryo's cheek delicately in his palm, turning his head so he was inches from Touma's. He smiled brightly and in echoing response Ryo smiled shyly.

Then he kissed him. Throwing all the passion he felt from the others and him into the kiss until Ryo was overwhelmed -struggling to give some response, but Touma had him utterly cornered with an endless flood of love and desire. This was all for him.

And he was. It was unwise to start battling Ryo for passionate dominance. Just like it was unwise to play with fire. The fire burned and rushed through his veins in mad uncontrolled torrents and he forced it to his lips, and onto Ryo.

Only his friends and him knew how to play with fire and they still got burned. Ryo is fiery passion. Never try to go up against that unless you know what you're doing, unless you're ready to face the consequences.

His other hand was lost in the raspberry scented hair, making the kiss deeper. Not allowing Ryo to free himself unless Touma was finished. He was dimly aware of the Rekka part of his mind, igniting from its tiny flame, threatening to vanquish at any moment.

Try to take all that in Rekka no Ryo. He pushed their bodies together easily feeling the hot flames between them. He made it last as long as he thought was needed to convince Ryo. Since words didn't work, Touma decided to throw everything at their koi at once. It must have been at least ten minutes before his mate finally freed himself.

Ryo pulled away, gasping for air, absolutely shocked at what he thought was an innocent kiss from Touma. Damn, it felt like he was being burned alive! Touma was smirking slyly once he caught his breath. He almost thought his lips were burning. Well, it is Ryo; he already knew what could happen.

"We love you, and nothing can come between that." His warm lips brushed up against Ryo's. "So you might as well quit eating yourself alive with something that isn't your fault. Unless you want one of those until you decide to forget this guilt-trip you're going through." Ryo nodded astonished.

He continued to hold Ryo while the teen spoke out what has been bothering him in sad whispers, but feeling content in Touma's arms. The gentle rocking and soft wind had the mighty wielder of fire asleep against him. The soft strokes of his hair already had Ryo lulled and smiling.

Once sure Ryo was deep in sleep, he rose up carefully, and searched for his friends' aura found a new quest in the forest. Ryo had successfully got himself lost, if that was his intent.


Seiji was startled at the sudden fiery power igniting along the bond, and both Tenku and Rekka in battles of passion. He felt Touma link to him and by the startled faces of the two others -they felt it to. Suddenly it ceased, as if nothing happened a few minutes later.

"Nani?" Natsuti asked seeing the odd expressions on the troopers' faces.

"We think Touma took care of the problem." Shin leaned against Shu bringing the strong arms around his hips, then intertwining their fingers.

Natsuti didn't know whether she should ask how or not. It could turn out to be a very confusing explanation consisting of their bond and other things, or hormones. She sipped at her tea watching the spot where Ryo had disappeared from just around a half an hour ago. Byakuen appeared at her side, nuzzling her leg. She smiled and rubbed behind his ears.

Sometimes she wished she could help, but the guys insisted she helped tremendously; they couldn't have made it so far without her, not without her guidance. It was so clear to realize what went between the five samurai troopers. The battle with Arago made their relationships reach new heights, but it tore Ryo up from the inside when his friends actually ordered him to kill them to destroy Arago.

They should have known better. There was no possibility Rekka no Ryo could ever stray from his Kanji and kill each of his friends. Ryo would rather rot in oblivion with them. It just succeeded in strengthening their bonds.

So she could only guide when they needed it, accept them, and help them. That was perfectly fine with her. The rustle of blankets and pillows alerted her to the present. Seiji had leapt from the couch to reach the door and open it for the approaching troopers. She peered out the window to see Touma cradling a bundle of black smiling madly, like he'd just received everything he'd always wanted and more. With no Ryo trailing after him or hanging at his arm, Natsuti thought briefly that Touma had gone mad. With another closer look she saw the mess of raven hair sticking out of the blankets. With Ryo's face hid away in Touma's chest, it appeared that the blanket had grown hair.

Seiji was there to open the door looking at Touma quizzically. Natsuti sighed, already knowing a conversation was going between the four troopers, then Touma spoke aloud.

"He's in my arms this time." Touma directed at Seiji in particular. "Since someone can't keep track of our half conscious koi." Seiji opened his mouth for a come back, but not being able to think of one, shut it. Well, he wasn't Touma, he couldn't spit out sly comments without thinking.

"He's all right now?" Natsuti sat down her teacup and tried to observe the young teen as much as she could.

"He's not in his guilt-trip. Physically, no, I thought Ryo was going to pass out before I could talk to him." He laid their koi on the couch gently to not disturb his sleep, climbed over him, and grabbed the rest of the black thick blanket. Finding a good position he snuggled against the warm body without any warnings to his other friends.

"I was tired anyway." Shu yawned stretching and dragging Shin with him, whom once reassured things were a bit better, continued eating. Shin looked remarkably fragile around Shu.

"What do you want when you wake up?" Nasti asked.

"Lasagna!" Shu said cheerfully. With no accompanied sounds of distaste, he assumed everyone else agreed.

Seiji kicked the bar on the couch, allowing for more room on the beat down sunken couch. He ungracefully but yet still careful to not wake either person on the other side, slipped in the piled blankets. He tucked his arm under his head rubbing the mess of raven hair.

Ryo slept so peacefully now. Seiji knew and felt something had been bothering his, or their, Ryo-kun ever since he realized summoning Kikotei hurt his friends, and left them drained and weak.

Ryo being the person he is, tried to resolve the problem himself. When nothing happened and Kikotei continued to summon itself on his weakened body, Ryo felt guilty and blamed himself for what'd been happening.

Make note: they often said Kikotei summoned itself. Ryo no longer called for the white yoroi anymore. Once the yoroi knows of their bearers in trouble they are the ones who summon it. So really Ryo has no say or knowing when it will form. It is of some arrogance to the yoroi. They will continue to be in trouble as long as their enemies leave no time for rest. They will continue to be thrown in battle and Kikotei will continue to feed from their power, as long as it knows the samurai troopers are in need of help. It's almost terrifying.

And, yes, it's been going on for a long time, or else they would be happily sparring each other in the skills of kissing outside. Battling for whomever can dominate whom. Who's more skilled and powerful, and can defeat all their lovers. Right now Seiji settled for the warmth radiating off the fire trooper and Touma staring lovingly in his eyes.

Seiji moved a bang that was causing his koi in front of him to twitch his nose, and shift around to get the nuisance to stop. Ryo not knowing who saved him from the annoying bang turned around and buried his face in Touma's chest.

The blonde was rather insulted.

/How did it go? / He asked carefully, keeping the thoughts between Touma and himself.

/He was crying when I got there. Ryo…./ The thoughts paused, thinking of a good way to describe their koi.

/…He's injured so easily. He was really torn up inside, and worried about us./ Touma sighed. The sad words still echoed in his head.

/ And he was the one on the brink of unconsciousness./ Touma was rubbing the mess of raven hair. He met Seiji's violet eyes.

/I wasn't kidding when I said Kikotei is taking a lot out of him. This is serious, we can't get in anymore fights./

/I know, I can feel it./ Then Seiji smiled. /I think the kiss has sparked an interest in our fireling./ With the questioning look Seiji explained. /He's dreaming./

/Well, I seriously hope he doesn't want another one. No matter how it felt, I'm not kissing him like that when he's normal Ryo./

/It's not going to actually burn you./ Seiji replied as if he actually wanted Touma to try it a second time.

The archer gave him a blank look then replaced it with one that spoke clearly. 'What do you think, I'm crazy?' /It gets really, really, hot./ He said flatly.

/But it doesn't actually burn you./

/Fine! You want a try? I'll the guys to have the link wide open for you then you can challenge Ryo and see who comes out happier./

/I may be a blonde, but I'm not stupid./

"What else?" Seiji whispered. "I sensed something."

"Our new enemy had a talk with Ryo. It did no good for him, obviously."

"Did Ryo tell you?"

"Hai, but nothing unusual. He wanted to challenge Ryo."

"Well that's just too bad, isn't it?" Seiji yawned and pulled the blankets over his head and promptly went to sleep.

Touma kissed Ryo on the forehead and whispered he loved him.

A/n if you liked it please tell me. If you didn't tell me why. If it is rushed… yes I know. Leave a comment. Thank you!13