Disclaimer: As always I own nothing but the original characters and the situations I put them all in. Everything else belongs to somebody else and that's just the way it's gotta be. Thanks for reading, hope you enjoy and let me know what you think.
Final character revelations: 7th: Syaoran, Kurogane, Sakura, and Fai from Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. 8th is The Four Dragon Kings from Sohryuden: Legend of the Dragon Kings. 9th is Miyuki-chan in Wonderland. 10th is Hina,Tomo and Kizu from Suki and the 11th is Fuu from Rayearth, Yukito and Touya from Cardcaptors and Mr. Ueda and Yumi from Chobits.
Sorry to end this rather abruptly but it was the only way it was ever going to be finished.
Worth The Risk
Some would call his actions cowardly, but Rikuo thought it simply wiser than the alternative. He'd left Kazahaya sleeping in their room, and had snuck out of the building like a thief in the night without anyone the wiser. It wasn't that he was ashamed about having spent the night in Kazahaya's bed, or that he didn't have the guts to face his roommate after the kiss they'd shared the night before. No, he just thought it wise to figure out what the hell was between them before things got anymore…intimate.
The problem was that he could no longer ignore the fact that somehow, God help him, Kazahaya had become an important part of his life. Perhaps even the most important part. And that scared him more than he could put into words. That Kazahaya could replace Tsukiko in his mind would have been inconceivable before his partner had been shot, but now Rikuo had to face what before he'd have been able to ignore. There was something between them, something that had made him pick Kazahaya up out of that snow bank, had kept him from wringing the idiot's neck, and had made him unable to leave the other man's side. He had had to accept that Kakei and Saiga couldn't lead him to Tsukiko, which made his continued employment with them pointless. It wasn't like he couldn't find another, probably safer and better paying job elsewhere. He stayed despite the pay, idiotic jobs, and the intrinsic danger of said jobs. He stayed because he wouldn't, couldn't make himself leave Kazahaya behind. It was for his stupid, incredibly gullible partner that he remained employed at the Green Drugstore.
Eyes widening Rikuo spun around to face a girl he didn't recognize but who apparently knew at least his last name. "Yes?" She looked to be about seventeen or so, with blonde hair and brilliant green eyes that were definitely her best feature. He'd remember those eyes.
"Ah, I thought that was you." Smiling shyly at him the girl held out her hand, Rikuo taking it automatically. "My name is Fuu Hououji. You went out with my big sister Kuu when you were in middle school together."
Raising an eyebrow Rikuo vaguely remembered the girl's sister, though middle school felt like decades ago, though it was in reality less than one.
"I'm sorry for interrupting you; you seemed very deep in thought." She added, giving him an apologetic look. "I just didn't want to be rude; on the off chance you would recognize me."
Since he hadn't seen her since her height barely topped his waist, Rikuo could only figure that she'd become even more prim and proper since the last time they'd seen each other. "Well it was nice seeing you." Now leave me alone to my thoughts, Rikuo mentally added. He wasn't going to be able to figure out what to do without adequate time to think it over.
"Well I'll tell Kuu san you're doing well." Smiling, Fuu couldn't help but reach other and place a comforting hand on his arm. "And I hope you figure out the answer to whatever is troubling you, Himura san."
Surprise Rikuo stared down at the hand she'd placed on his arm, offering silent comfort to someone who had done nothing to earn the gesture or thought behind it. "Thank you." He said softly, looking her in the eyes. "And I hope you're well also."
Smiling sweetly at him Fuu gave him a little wave before heading off in the opposite direction, a skip to her step.
Watching her go Rikuo was glad she was well. Shoving his hands into his pockets Rikuo continued on his way, pausing again after a few minutes as he observed a couple sitting under a grove of trees to his left. What had him slowing was the fact that the couple in question were both male and they seemed to be making no effort to hide the fact that they were indeed a couple. The dark haired one had his back against a sakura tree and the other, light haired one, was sitting between the other man's legs, leaning back against the other man. They looked perfectly relaxed and comfortable, seemingly unaware that Rikuo wasn't the only one giving them a second look. Quietly observing Rikuo wondered if it was something genetic, that in male gay couples the more girlie one had to have light hair while the dominant guy had to have dark. The couple before him, Kakei and Saiga, and Kazahaya and himself...it really was a strange phenomenon. Someone should really do a study, he thought with dark humour.
When the light haired one made a happy sound and quickly got to his feet Rikuo's eyes naturally turned to see what had made the older man so happy. A food cart. Apparently someone was hungry.
"Do you want anything, Touya?" The pale haired man called out as he looked over the list of what the vendor was offering, speaking loud enough for everyone nearby to hear him.
"I'm good. Just don't buy him out, Yuki." The other man answered with a chuckle in his voice as he continued to laze under the tree, apparently unfazed by the attention his man was getting.
Rikuo could soon see why the man felt the need to caution his lover, because the man really did nearly buy the vendor out, much to their mutual delight. Where was the guy going to put that all, Rikuo wondered in amazement as he watched the man named Yuki teeter and totter under the weight of his purchases.
Before Rikuo could go over to offer help the other man was at the grey haired man's side, relieving him of half his considerable burden.
"You are so lucky you have your metabolism." The dark haired one said with an exaggerated eye roll as he struggled to keep the boxes of food in his hands. "Otherwise you'd be Yukito Tsukishiro, the human bowling ball."
"Well ouch." Laughing Yuki grinned up at Touya, not offended in the least as he gave his lover a quick hip bump, not the smartest thing to do considering the loads they both carried. "Now that would be hard to share a bed with."
"Yeah, and your crumbs are annoying enough as it is." Smirking down at him there was deep affection and love in his dark eyes as the taller man looked down at his lover. "And you better eat all this, I promised Sakura not to snack too much today. She invited us over for dinner tonight as you'll recall."
"Don't worry; you know I always clean my plate."
"Against all odds."
Watching the two retake their seats, Rikuo observed them for a few more minutes and then continued on his way again. They had seemed really happy together, he thought to himself. There had been a familiarity about them that made him think they'd been together for a long time despite their young age, that they'd bonded deeply in that time in a way that had nothing to do with sex and everything to do with love. Did he want that? To be close to someone like that? To be one half of a whole? And wasn't he already? Didn't he know Kazahaya better than anyone else in their life? They could even finish each other's sentences sometimes. People were always saying they fought like an old married couple too. If everyone thought so then there had to be something to it. There had to be something between him and Kazahaya that made people think they had a relationship as solid and potentially lasting as a couple who'd been together for decades.
When he reached the end of the park trail Rikuo turned around and headed back the way he'd come, having reached the decision to at least talk things out with Kazahaya. For all he knew he was blowing this way out of proportion. Kazahaya could be looking for just sex; the kid might not even be looking for any kind of lasting relationship. And Kazahaya was still an innocent kid in a lot of ways, who knew that better than him? Could they just have a physical relationship, would this thing between them just burn out after a couple rolls in the sack? His gut said unfortunately no. He'd always been the type to avoid feeling things because when he did feel them he felt them deeply. If he entered into a physical relationship with Kazahaya the connection between them could and probably would only deepen and evolve with the changes.
Wondering when his life had gotten so complicated Rikuo had to admit that it had never not been so. He had always attracted trouble and he now found himself attracted to trouble in human form. Because really, trouble was one of the best words to describe Kazahaya.
Turning his head Rikuo looked into the face of man older than himself but with a boyish quality to him that made him seem younger than that. There was also something familiar about him but Rikuo couldn't place how he might know him. It seemed to be his day for running into people he vaguely recalled, Rikuo thought wryly. "Yes?" He asked, still trying to place the man's face in case it was important or work related.
"Would you happen to know what time it is? I just looked at my watch and it doesn't seem to be working."
By way of answering Rikuo lifted his arm and tilted it to the side so that the man could read the numbers easily enough. Maybe he didn't know the guy after all, Rikuo thought, even though he couldn't shake the feeling of familiarity.
"Ah, thank you. I'm early. I was getting worried that maybe something had happened to her, because she's never late." A relieved smile crossing his face the man gave several quick bows of thanks. "Thanks again, I'm very sorry to have bothered you."
Whatever else the man would have said died as the man's face lit up like a Christmas tree, looking very much like a kid on Christmas morning. Love plain in his eyes the man seemed to forget Rikuo's existence as he hurried over to greet a woman walking up the park pathway.
Dismissing them as a regular couple it wasn't until Rikuo passed them on the pathway that he saw that they were in fact far from being an ordinary couple. The woman was a persocom. The ears were a dead giveaway. And recognizing what she was helped him finally place the man who held her hand so tenderly in his. They'd been on the news a couple weeks ago; it had been in all the papers too. The man was a pastry chef or something, and he'd made headlines by actually marrying his persocom. Rikuo had seen the short interview the man had given after the wedding and had been impressed with both what the man had said and his willingness to risk public ridicule by making the relationship both public and legal. Especially for a man who'd come off as being unbelievably shy and self conscious onscreen. But then love tended to make people rise above what they'd formerly been capable of.
Thinking about that Rikuo was less than pleased to realize that he had less guts than the bumbling chef. The guy was willing to marry a machine and risk everyone calling him a lunatic for loving it. Rikuo was still undecided on whether a persocom was more than a machine, but he'd met a few and found them to be more capable of feeling emotion than a lot of people. What you saw was what you got with them, which was something humans would do well to imitate. Was a persocom capable of loving a human, who was to say? But even if they weren't, the two people walking behind him had seemed as involved and happy as any couple he'd ever seen, and he envied them that.
Turning to watch them go Rikuo silently wished them the best of luck.
"There you are!" Jogging up to Rikuo's side Kazahaya peeked over the man's shoulder to see what had Rikuo's interest. "Oh, a persocom. Too bad neither of us will ever be able to afford one of those. Then we wouldn't have to worry about cooking and cleaning."
"And that's all you'd want one for?" Rikuo asked, looking down at him questioningly.
Puzzled by the intensity of Rikuo's gaze Kazahaya would have shrugged if it weren't for the fact that it would hurt. "Well what else would I need one for? I mean they are pretty cool, but I can barely work a DVD player as it is. Besides, owning one would probably be too much like owning a person. I mean they practically are, right? They're just not physically made of the same things we are."
"Surprisingly deep thinking for you." Was his smirking response.
"Bite me." Was Kazahaya's hot resort. "So what are you doing out here anyway? It's your day off and you usually sleep in." He wanted to ask if Rikuo had gotten up because of where he'd been sleeping, but lacked the courage to do so.
"Had some thinking to do."
"About what?" Not that he really expected Rikuo to tell him, but Kazahaya kept hoping that someday his partner would. He wanted to help Rikuo carry his burdens, just like Rikuo did for him in his gruff, assehole way.
"Me?" Not sure if that was a good or bad thing Kazahaya couldn't help but ask, "What about me?"
Not answering right away Rikuo simply looked into Kazahaya's golden eyes, trying to figure out how to say what he needed to say. The man's face was ridiculously girlie and probably always would be. He was slim as a girl too and just as annoying. He couldn't cook, clean or often even think worth a damn. Kazahaya was impulsive, naive and trouble waiting to happen.
And still he couldn't imagine a world without the moron in it. And it was time to be man enough not only to acknowledge that but to take the risks that knowledge entailed.
Unnerved by how intently Rikuo was looking at him Kazahaya's eyes went big as saucers when the other man's hand came up to tenderly brush his bangs off his forehead. "I have no idea what you're thinking." Kazahaya finally blurted out.
"I'm thinking that you're going to make the rest of my life very troublesome and eventful."
Opening his mouth to deny that the scalding words died in Kazahaya's throat as he realized what Rikuo had just said. What he seemed to be suggesting. "You...you think we're still going to be...for that long?"
"I do." And leaning forward Rikuo placed his lips against Kazahaya's surprised ones before drawing back. "Got a problem with that, partner?"
Blinking Kazahaya stared up at him. "Am I...dreaming again?" He asked, just to be sure. Or it could be the painkillers he was taking, that could be it too.
"If it's a dream we're both dreaming it."
Reaching out Kazahaya's hands grasped Rikuo's jacket lapels and pulled his partner in for a real kiss, putting everything he had into it.
And when they finally came up for air Kazahaya grinned shyly and said, "If this is a dream, I hope we never wake up."