The evening had taken a most unexpected turn, Tsuzuki thought, with a smile at the understatement, as he watched his young partner sit cross legged on his bed, looking just the tiniest bit relaxed for once.

Their latest case was closed, and rather quickly. The pair of shinigami were feeling some pride at a job well done, when Hisoka surprised Tsuzuki with the suggestion they use the three day budget they'd been allowed to celebrate.

Tsuzuki felt like he must be dreaming, especially when could have sworn he saw the smallest of smiles cross the usually emotionless face of the youth when Tsuzuki had expressed his joy at the idea.

Their allowance had provided a memorable feast of deserts and wine from the room service, and the pair now sat on their beds, contentedly enjoying it.

But even the sight of cakes and delicate pastries hadn't completely distracted Tsuzuki form the subtle change in Hisoka's demeanor. Only one who knew him as well as Tsuzuki did would ever have noticed the miniscule thaw in the young man's frosty exterior, but it gave him a tender pang of joy that made everything about this experience that much sweeter.

He loved Hisoka. It was a simple emotion for someone like Tsuzuki, and one he felt readily and earnestly for others, though he couldn't explain why, and really, never thought a lot about it. But to say he understood what went on behind the large green eyes of his friend would be untrue.

This child had no chance to experience love or happiness in his brief, tortured life, Tsuzuki thought sadly, as he watched him toy with his food, not realizing how sweet he looked as a bit of chocolate frosting stuck to the corner of his frowning lips. He had been raised with strict formality and training, only to be rejected and forgotten, locked away like a monster. And before even reaching adulthood, he had his innocence brutally ripped from him, and was cursed to die a slow, painful death. He knew these things of Hisoka, not from the boy's own lips, but from others, as the young man had grown hard and private from his harsh treatment by others, aged beyond his years and robbed of a childhood. But, in a moment when Tsuzuki had felt most unworthy of ever having an existence, this boy had asked him to live, for him.

"You're quiet," Hisoka said, glancing up at him before washing away his last bite of cake with red wine.

"Am I? Sorry, I was just thinking," Tsuzuki said with a smile.

"I didn't know you could think and eat simultaneously," Hisoka teased gently. Tsuzuki threw his pillow at him, nearly knocking the glass from his hand.

"So, why did you suggest we celebrate like this? It's not like you, Hisoka," Tsuzuki said, stretching back in satisfaction after finishing off his apple pie.

"I dunno," Hisoka said, shrugging and seeming slightly embarrassed. Tsuzuki gave him a quizzical look.

"Well, it's kind of our anniversary, I guess," Hisoka added, looking into his empty glass.

"Anniversary?" Tsuzuki asked. Hisoka reached for the bottle on the night stand and refilled his glass before answering.

"We've been partners for two years now," he said, then drank deeply from his glass. Tsuzuki's eyes narrowed slightly as he calculated the time to himself.

"It's not like you to be so sentimental," Tsuzuki said with a smile, truly touched. Hisoka colored slightly and sighed.

"Yeah, well, when it comes down to it -- " he started and paused.

"Yes?" Tsuzuki asked. Hisoka's eyes met his at last.

"You're the only person who's ever really cared about me. I just wanted to do something to make you happy," Hisoka said.

"You have. More than you know," Tsuzuki said gently, tears stinging his eyes as he willed them not to fall.

"Sometimes -- ," Hisoka started, staring forlornly at his already half empty glass, and shook his head.

"Please, Hisoka. You can tell me anything," Tsuzuki said. watching the flush on the young man's cheeks as the wine began to have effect on him, and frowning to see he had lost the cheerfulness he thought he's seen earlier.

"I wonder why you're so nice to me. I wonder what you want from me. I've asked so much of you, and you've never asked for anything," Hisoka said, gripping the glass tightly before draining it.

Tsuzuki moved towards the other bed and sat beside Hisoka, laying a hand upon his shoulder.

"All I ask is your patience. I know I'm not easy to deal with, and you've stayed by my side all this time. That is enough for me," Tsuzuki said, taking the glass from Hisoka's tensed fingers and kneading his shoulder affectionately with his other hand.

"That is enough?" Hisoka said, an imploring look in his eyes as he looked at Tsuzuki that the older shinigami didn't quite understand. Tsuzuki felt that he looked disappointed somehow.

"Well, and I'd also like to see you happy. You deserve to be," Tsuzuki said, with a gentle smile.

Hisoka peered into his eyes with a strange intensity, as if there were an internal struggle behind them, before speaking.

"I've wanted to ask you for sometime, but, why did Tatsumi stop being your partner?" Hisoka asked. Tsuzuki's eyes widened at what he felt was an abrupt change of subject. He cleared his throat.

"Well, I remind him of his mother, and I'm annoying and all that," Tsuzuki said awkwardly, rubbing the back of his neck.

"It wasn't because you were in love with him?" Hisoka blurted out, covering his mouth with his hand with a gasp. Tsuzuki gave a nervous laugh.

"Um -- no. Who told you that? Watari?" Tsuzuki asked, blushing deeply.

"No, no one told me anything. I just -- well the way he always acts around you, like he's done something deeply personal to hurt you," Hisoka said, unable to meet his partner's amethyst gaze.

"Well, he actually was the one -- ," Tsuzuki started, running his hand through his hair through his hair with a shy grin. Hisoka turned to face him, his mouth agape.

"Oh, I see," Hisoka said, sounding more like his reserved self than he had all evening.

"Well, the wine has made me drowsy, so I'm turning in," Hisoka said, stretching out and turning away on his side.

"Hisoka? Please tell me what's going on in your mind. I -- I wish I could read your emotions like you read mine sometimes," Tsuzuki said, remaining where he sat on Hisoka's bed. He heard the young man sigh, as rolled over on his back, gazing up at him with tired eyes.

"I want to make you feel as loved and accepted as you've made me feel," he said, adding quietly, " but I don't know how."

Tsuzuki's breath caught in his throat as he stared down at the lovely eyes of the face beneath him, which were more open than he'd ever seen them. He thought he was finally beginning to understand his partner's mercurial moods that evening.

"When Tatsumi -- well, it disgusted you, right? Is that why he looks guilty when he's around you sometimes? You didn't want him around you anymore when you knew how he felt about you, right?" Hisoka asked quietly, sounding like the tender age he actually was. Tsuzuki read the longing in those darkened green eyes, those small, parted lips, and shivered.

Tsuzuki leaned forward, pulling the small form of his partner to him, never breaking their shared gaze.

"No, Hisoka, that's not how it happened at all. Read my emotions now," Tsuzuki murmured, placing a reverent kiss upon the young man's jaw line, lazily working his way up to lick away the neglected chocolate smudge near his lips.

"I'm hardly disgusted, am I? Anyway, this is different. This is you," Tsuzuki whispered, as Hisoka sighed with pleasure.

"Does this -- will this make you happy?" Tsuzuki asked, pausing before placing his lips to Hisoka's.

Hisoka nodded, before pulling Tsuzuki's face to his.