Title: Assessment

Author: Zalia Chimera

Pairing: Komui/River

Warnings: Humour with a little touch of angst. Yaoi.

Summary: Linali cross-examines Komui's potential pertner.

Hope you enjoy!

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To think he'd believed that Linali was the sane one of the family.

"And what makes you think that you are worthy of going out with my brother?"

River winced and tried not to move too much as a sharp booted foot was planted firmly in the centre of his chest. He'd seen exactly what Linali could do to akuma with her dark boots and he was fairly sure that his ribcage wouldn't be able to stand up to half as much damage.

"Well, I..." he began, pleased that his voice didn't come out as shakily as he'd thought it would.

Linali leaned forwards, pressing her boot a little harder against his chest. River's eyes widened and he hurriedly tilted his head back to avoid staring up that tiny little skirt that the girl wore. Really, he knew that Linali's uniform gave her freedom of movement, but wouldn't a nice pair of loose trousers do just the same? The last thing he needed was for Komui to see and start in on him too! One member of the Li family having him on their hit list was more than enough.

"Did I say that you could interrupt?" she asked and River wondered whether she'd always had that steel in her eyes. "Now, what exactly is it that you can offer him? Have you got a stable job? A good salary? Property?"

River blinked. "Well..." he began, intending to prove his worth. Then reality hit him and he shook his head. "You know I haven't! I work here, for God's sake. I get paid the same as everyone else." i.e. nothing. "None of us are here for job security." After all, there was always a good chance that the need for jobs in general wouldn't exist tomorrow if the wrong Innocence was found by the wrong person.

The look that Linali gave him was withering. River could practically feel her deducting marks on her mental checklist. Her eyes narrowed and River knew that he shouldn't be intimidated by girls ten years younger than himself, but it was rather difficult to remember when she was looking at him like that.

"So, no stability. No prospects. That's hardly a good start."

He found that kind of insulting. He was the head of the Science Division. Short of becoming an exorcist or deposing Komui, there wasn't really much further to go.

Linali removed her foot, much to River's relief, but didn't move any further away, still looming over him. An impressive feat for a fairly slender teenager. She tapped her chin, considering. "Any previous serious relationships? Exes who might cause problems?"

River sighed and shook his head. "No." Well, there'd been one girl but that was a long time ago and a long way away. Enough that it wouldn't make a difference.

"Ah-hah!" Linali said smugly. "Problems with commitment."

She sounded entirely too happy about that.

"Hey!" River protested. "It's nothing like that. I mean, I'm young still. Not as though I've had much chance to meet someone to settle down with."

Linali regarded him sceptically and he remembered that when he was sixteen, anyone over the age of eighteen was ancient.

"What about your family?" she continued after a moment. "Will they approve of your relationship or will they cause problems?"

Ouch. She was being serious about this. It was generally considered taboo to ask about a person's family in this place. So many of the people who worked with the Order had lost families or been forced to leave them. "They're hardly in a position to disapprove," he ground out through gritted teeth. "Why do you think I work here?"

He saw a flash of sympathy and matching pain in her eyes and knew that she understood. Very few people working for the Black Order were there because it was a good career choice.

Besides, his family would have disapproved vehemently. He'd heard stories of people hanged for crimes less serious.

Like hell he was going to tell her that though.

Linali cleared her throat, drawing his attention back to her. She looked a little softer now, a little less set on hating him. In fact he'd swear that he could see a tiny smirk playing around her lips. Although with her being Komui's sister, that could be either good or bad.

"Do you really like men or do you prefer women?"

Bad smile. Definitely bad.

River choked, blood rushing to his cheeks. Had she really just asked that? "W-what?" he finally managed to stutter, looking up at her in shock.

She frowned. "It's a simple question. Do you really like men or are you just seeing my brother because there aren't very many women? I know exactly what goes on between people here."

She really thought he was desperate enough for sex that he'd sleep with a man even if he was only interested in women? He wasn't some damn teenager, all seething hormones and wet dreams! He was a fully grown, mature, responsible adult. He didn't think entirely with his dick anymore.

"Men," he grumbled. "I like men." Oh, he'd dated girls before, because he'd expected it of himself, and it had been fun. But there was something about being with a man that just clicked for him. He'd never known why, it just was, and he was fairly sure that someone in the Order would have told him if he was possessed by a demon like the priest at home had said.

From the expression on Linali's face, it must have been the wrong answer. "So you could just go off with any..."

"Linali. I think you've abused River quite enough for one day."

Both of them looked sharply towards the door where the soft and terribly amused voice had come from. Komui regarded them both, perpetual smile firmly in place as he stepped inside the office carrying a fresh mug of coffee.

Rescue. Finally.

"Brother..."

Komui set the mug down on the desk, disturbing several pieces of paper which fluttered slowly to the ground to join the countless other sheets. "If you kill him now, then how is he supposed to help with my paperwork?"

Or not. He might actually be better off with Linali interrogating him.

River glared over at the other man who just returned the look mildly.

Linali shot River a glare that promised death if she caught wind of him abusing her brother and stalked out. River heaved a sigh of relief and rubbed his chest where her boot had been.

"The two of you," River began, "are exactly the same. You're both insane."

Komui's smile widened. "And you put up with us admirably."

River grumbled but chose to take Komui's words as a roundabout compliment. "Do you think I passed?" he asked.

"I think you'd have more than a bruised chest if you hadn't."

That was probably a good point. Still...

"So you only like me because I help with paperwork, huh?"

Komui smirked and walked over to him, resting his hands on River's shoulders and squeezing slightly. "Well, that. Among other things." His voice had lowered and the timbre of it made heat run through River's body.

"Oh?" he asked, voice catching slightly.

Hot breath brushed across his neck and lips pressed against his ear. "I could show you."

River grinned slowly and turned in his seat. He curled one hand around the back of Komui's neck and pulled him down to kiss, warm lips meeting hungrily as Komui's hands splayed against his back.

Outside the office door, Linali turned away from the scene, promising herself that this didn't mean she was losing Komui all over again.