A/N: I'm really sorry that this chapter took me this long even though I said I'd update soon! (-_-)
I won't bother you with details of what went wong in RL this time for me to be this late, since it somehow feels like I'm telling empty excuses. -grimaces-
Also, I'm sorry for the short chapter! I wanted to make it longer, but then I thought that you've already been waiting for it long enough.
I was listening to the song 'Comptine d'un autre été' by Yann Tiersen when I wrote the second half of this chapter (and it's probably responsible for the mood in that part ^^") and if you have time it's really worth listening to. (I had it on repeat the whole time ^^")
Now on to the reviews:
iwanMOAR: Again I'm sorry for the long wait! I hope you'll enjoy this chapter since it feels a little different that usual (but maybe that's just me^^"). The waking-up-scene was a little cliché, but I have a good (I hope) explanation for it!^^
The part with the doors was something I thought she would think and it was one of my favourite parts of the chapter.^^
I feel a little guilty for making Shé thepsychotic bad guy he ended up as even though I thought him up for this so I'm glad you liked his use.^^
Jenna: I'm happy you like it!^^ This pairing really needs more love and I'm always happy when this story manages to convert people to it!^^
I was rereading the later chapters to get my muses going again and I noticed once again that I still have a lot to learn about writing so thanks!^^ April is awesome to write since she is a little crazy and childish, but still shrewd and an adult. Hei is a lot harder to write than her (which is frustrating since he is my favourite character).
Here it is and I hope you'll enjoy it! I'm sorry that the lemon will still be a little off but now it's a sure thing!^^
Lire13: I'm sorry for the long wait and the lemon will still be a little off, but I hope this will tide you over!^^
tigoxgirl: It happens to me too.^^ Sometimes I read a story and think 'who is that?' and then I find out that it was one of the cast all along.^^"
I hope that the lemon will be up to your expectations (when it comes) and thanks for the offer!^^ I do have thought up an (hopefully reasonable ^^") explanation for November's recovery but that will come a little later.
And I'm sorry for the late update even though I promised not to take too long! (.)
Kingsofnothing: The lemon is a sure thing now and this chapter gives me the oppertunity to ask about the one-shot-thing again. I hope you'll enjoy this chapter and thanks for the kind words!^^
Nana:I'm sorry that this update didn't come sooner! I hope you'll enjoy it since it feels a little different than usual.^^"
breathlessinside: True, waking up from a coma and immediately seeing your friend and significant other fighting for their lives is sure to put anyone in a bad mood.^^ I'm sorry that you'll have to wait a little for the lemon, but I felt it would be better at another part of the story!
Bakari Born on a Journey: I hate it when that happens. (-_-) You find an awesome series and then there are no stories for it. That really sucks.
I'm glad you like this story and sorry for the long wait!
Kiara: Thanks! It's a pity that there aren't, isn't it? I'm sorry for the long wait!
And now on to the story!
It had been a week since he had last seen November and Hei dreaded the reunion they would surely have.
He didn't regret or doubt his decision to part ways with the older Contractor but he couldn't deny that he still loved the insufferable MI6 agent.
Sighing slightly the assassin walked to his apartment door and tried to open it, immediately wary when he noticed that it was already open.
Tensing and cursing the fact that the rain that had been falling for the last three days hadn't let up and hid the every sound that could come from the inside of the building, he slowly opened the door and slid inside, not making a sound.
A well-timed boom of thunder hid the noise the door was making as he opened and closed it as he carefully slid a knife out of his shoe and into his hand.
He never went anywhere without a weapon, no matter how small it might be.
Contractor-powers were all well and good and he didn't really need a weapon to kill someone but he had learned the hard way to be rather safe than sorry.
He tensed a little when the light that had been burning in his room suddenly went dark before he could identify the one who had broken into his room and struck before the other one's eyes could get used to the sudden darkness.
He collided with a warm body and forced the other on the floor, knife against his throat – the intruder was definitely male – and ready to slit it at the slightest wrong movement when a strained chuckle in a familiar voice reached his ears.
"Glad to see that you're that happy to see me Hei."
"November?" Horrified he stared down at the older man, his eyes not used enough to the darkness to make out anything but a body.
Realising that he was still holding the knife at the blonde's throat, he quickly recoiled and let the blade slip out of his hand as he flung it to the other side of the room.
"What… what are you doing here?"
Still surprised the Chinese man couldn't take his eyes of the MI6 agent when he realised that he was still kneeling on the older man's probably hurting stomach.
Quickly the assassin moved off the Brit and retreated to the other end of the room when November chuckled mirthlessly.
"I told you that we were going to have a talk didn't I?"
The blonde finally sat up and rubbed his throat a bit to make sure it was still in one piece and slowly Hei's eyes got used enough to the darkness for him to faintly see the older man's features.
"Yes, you did say that. I just didn't expect it to be that soon."
And without warning in the middle of the night, he thought to himself.
The Brit sighed when he heard that and stood to walk towards the younger man, practically feeling his anxiousness.
Hesitating slightly he then sat down beside the Chinese male, close enough for the younger one to feel his warmth, but far enough to keep from touching.
"The first thing I should probably do is apologize," November said lowly, looking straight ahead and not at the man beside him.
"I threw you out after I woke up without waiting for an explanation and while I think that I know at least part of the reason for you wanting to get rid of me, I would like to know everything.
Besides that, you also owe me an explanation about you being a syndicate member."
Hei tensed even more when he heard that, the unspoken 'and BK-201' went unsaid but it was heard nonetheless.
Despite that the Chinese man tried to reassure himself.
It was ridiculous – even on the most dangerous missions he was calm and collected.
Just how was it possible that one sentence could make his heart pound and his hands tremble as they hadn't since the first time he had killed someone, late at night after the test the syndicate had given him to see whether he could kill or not was finished?
The older man was a Contractor and would surely see the reasoning behind his decision, he told himself. A member of a criminal syndicate and an MI6 agent in a relationship together was both risky and stupid and he knew that no self-respecting Contractor would insist on continuing it.
The assassin ignored the voice that reminded him that no self-respecting Contractor would let themselves be tortured for another human being and that November had always behaved rather un-Contractor-like when in his presence.
Taking a deep breath to try and calm himself the Chinese man slowly started to talk.
"I told you about my sister, didn't I?" He didn't wait for November to reply, unconsciously pulling his knees to his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
"After we had to leave our… had to leave the others we lived on the streets for some time before we were picked up by the syndicate. I… almost preferred the streets to the horrible training we had to do there.
They took everything we had left away from us and made sure that we lost the last pieces we had of our identities.
Pai… Xîng – she was the only thing I had left so naturally I did everything I could to keep her safe.
It went relatively well. While I couldn't keep her from being wounded at all, I managed to protect her from any life-threatening injuries.
That was, it went well until our mission in South America."
Hei swallowed reflexively, not really knowing how to continue, the memory of what happened – the lack of memories of what happened – still as painful as it had been after waking up after the Heaven's Gate disappeared.
"I made a mistake there."
Closing his eyes as amber eyes and blonde hair flashed through his mind he almost didn't hear November through the guilt and self-loathing he always felt when thinking about that time.
"What mistake did you make?"
The older man's voice was calm, none of the fury he had displayed in the hospital audible and the assassin wondered whether the Brit had let go of his anger of if he was only hiding it.
It was impossible to tell with Contractors and while the older man usually let his guard down in his company, Hei didn't doubt that the blonde was capable of lying to him.
"Amber. I made the mistake of allowing Amber to get under my skin. You should know her, she was an MI6 agent, but I don't know which name she had in your organisation."
November nodded and replied slowly.
"Her name was February. She was the best agent that the MI6 had before she betrayed us several years ago.
We thought that she had betrayed us for that syndicate that you're a part of, but it seems that not even you know about her motives."
The blonde sighed and leaned slightly against Hei, feeling exhausted mentally and physically.
Recovering from being in a coma hadn't been easy, but the doctors had told him that he had been surprisingly fortunate.
Maybe it was because he had always kept himself in excellent shape or maybe it was because he was a Contractor with ice-powers, but they had been astounded that he had recovered that quickly.
He had heard them mutter to each other that it should be impossible for him to be that healthy and in such a good shape after what he had gone through, but while it was interesting to hear it was of no real consequence to him.
The only thing that he had been able to think about while in physical therapy was getting better so that he could finally have that talk with Hei that he had promised the younger man.
And now they were having it.
"At first I didn't trust her. I also didn't want to trust her. I only wanted to protect Pai and keep the two of us alive, but after some time she managed to get under my skin. She made sure I ate and slept enough, she smoothed over my fights with Carmine and she tried to get me to behave more… human I guess."
The Chinese man chuckled almost bitterly.
"After I met Carmine again a few months ago she told me that I was the most brutal and merciless member of their team and that not even she with her obeisance or Pai and Amber with their emotional coldness could come close to my cold-heartedness.
Some time before we left for South America, after a mission, people started to call me 'The Black Reaper' and Amber told me they called me that because I always wore black and killed as silently and unexpectedly as the real thing."
Absently Hei laid his head on the older man's which was resting on his shoulder and stared at his hands.
"Because I didn't have powers and she couldn't use hers we bonded, I suppose. She was more human – or could pretend to be more human – than everyone else I knew. Which were only Contractors and cold-blooded humans like me so that didn't mean much I suppose."
The assassin quieted, lost in thought about what he had told the older man and wished that the words his mouth was forming didn't hurt him as much as they did.
"Who is Carmine? I know that she was a CIA agent, but nothing else."
November's voice was barely audible, even in the silence between them and for a moment Hei wished that the MI6 agent would just fall asleep and forget about everything that he wanted the Chinese man to talk about.
How was he going to tell the blonde that he had killed the woman he was talking about?
"You probably know her under a different name. She was called Havoc in the CIA."
The Brit leaning against him tensed and the assassin closed his eyes, wondering what the older man was going to do next.
A tan hand grabbed his own one and Hei had to suppress the urge to squeeze it tightly, his fingers closing around the other man's for a second before loosening again.
"You did what you had to do. She was a dangerous Contractor of an enemy-organisation that had escaped confinement," Hei shrugged.
November snorted slightly, immediately seeing through the younger man's false bravado and tightened the hold he had on the dark haired man's hand.
"That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt," the blonde murmured, leaning more of his weight against the assassin.
"Even if it hurts I didn't treat her any better. Before I took her to the Gate I tortured her for information she could have had about Pai and Amber, but she lost her memories of that time just like me.
I took her to the Gate despite her initial protests in the hope that she might remember something, but it was useless. She didn't remember anything I wanted to know. It just reawakened her old demons."
Hei could feel the guilt that he had managed to push away in these last few weeks and months return and gnaw at him as if angry for being ignored for so long.
"She did get something back," November murmured, disliking the expression that now covered the younger man's face. "Her powers returned to her and she could have killed you and me and everyone being there if she had wanted to.
Had she hated or resented you for the things you did, why didn't she attack you?"
The Brit raised his free hand and turned the assassin's head towards him, for the first time deliberately meeting the Chinese man's eyes.
"You have the bad habit of feeling responsible for everyone around you despite the fact that most of the time they are creating their own misfortune. You can't save everyone and you shouldn't try doing that because it will destroy you if you don't accept that sometimes you are helpless."
The MI6 agent took a deep breath and pressed their foreheads together.
"Tell me what happened then."
Hei closed his eyes but didn't retreat, letting the older man support his weight despite the fact that he wanted to stop relying on November.
"I started to trust her. She wormed her way into my heart and made herself a person I wanted to keep safe, like Pai was."
The Chinese man pressed his forehead harder against the Brit's, almost as if he wanted to transfer his memories to the older one.
"She and Pai got along well to and after some time they started to take long walks together, talking about things.
Sometimes they stumbled across enemies, but they never had any trouble dealing with them.
And sometimes they even ran across corpses of allies. When that happened they would behave strangely for a while before settling down again.
I never understood them and maybe that was the cause of everything."
Hei quieted as he tried to force the words describing the following happenings out of his mouth, but he didn't quite succeed.
Opening his eyes he stared at the ice-blue pair returning his gaze calmly and swallowed thickly.
"A few months after they started their walks, Amber gave me and Carmine orders to separate. She said that a messenger of the syndicate had given her four messages to deliver to other places and that our unit would split up for that purpose.
That was the last time I saw her and Pai.
We split up and shortly after that the Heaven's Gate vanished. It was pure luck that I was already out of the blast-zone by that time."
This time the assassin retreated and turned his gaze away.
"Do you see where I'm going with this? I wanted to protect Pai and Amber and now one is dead and the other betrayed me.
The same happened to my brother and sister-in-law. One dead, the other a traitor.
Or Kenji, who protected me. Or Nick, who vanished in the Hell's Gate.
I could list other people too and I'm tired of it.
I'm tired of letting people get close and then losing them to either death or betrayal."
And the thought that November, April, Yin, Mao, Huang and July could die or be otherwise harmed just by staying close to him was almost unbearable.
July and Yin, who didn't say much, but offered silent support and a listening ear.
April and Mao, who tried to lighten the mood of their team-mates any way they could even if it was by being annoying.
Huang, who yelled and complained and hated Contractors but who still had their backs, who had warmed up to them and who kept Hei's relationship with November a secret.
And November, who had gotten closer to him than anyone ever since Pai died and whose death would completely and utterly destroy him.
A low chuckle ripped him from his thoughts and the Chinese man stared at the Brit who shook his head slightly, an odd smile on his face.
"I don't know whether I should be insulted or flattered, but for now I will go with flattered and annoyed."
November shifted so he was kneeling in front of the younger Contractor and gently cradled the dark haired man's face in his hands, forcing Hei to look at him.
"Tell me who I am."
Surprised the assassin stared at the older man, not sure where the MI6 agent was going with this, but fearing that his words hadn't reached the blonde at all.
He reached up and caught November's wrists, sitting up slightly as he started to protest.
"You didn't listen to me! I'm telling you that I don't want to lose someone else I care about! What do you think the Mi6 is going to do to you when they find out that you have been seeing a criminal?
And they are going to find out!
November, let's stop this and just-"
He was interrupted before he could finish his sentence when the Brit pulled his face closer towards his own and spoke firmly, his voice not allowing any argument.
"That wasn't what I asked. Who am I Hei? Just answer the question."
The assassin took a deep breath, wanting to protest but knowing that it was useless.
The older man would just continue to question him like this until he answered.
"You are November 11 also known as Jack Simon," he finally answered.
The blonde nodded calmly and then asked another question.
"What am I?"
Confused the younger one stared at him, not really knowing where his- his former lover was going with this.
"You are a Contractor," he said slowly. "And an MI6 agent," was added almost as an afterthought.
The Brit nodded again.
"That's right. I am November 11, the best agent that the MI6 has. Hei, do you remember when we first fought against each other?" The blonde waited for the younger man's confirmation before he continued.
"We fought against each other evenly and hadn't one of your team-mates – Huang I believe – helped you I would have arrested you without problems. I know that April helped me," he added when he noticed the irritated look on Hei's face, "and you would have fought me, but I had you frozen to the street. Did you think that I needed protection then?"
The assassin closed his eyes, finally realising what the older man wanted to say.
"At that time I wanted to strangle you, tear you to pieces, cook you with vegetables and serve you to Mao as a snack," the Chinese man replied dryly, feeling annoyed that he had been playing into the older one's hands.
November smirked, glad to see that his lover – he refused to think of Hei as anything else despite the younger man's efforts – had regained some of his spirit.
"Exactly. As callous as it sounds, I neither need nor want a protector. What I want is a partner who will have my back in a fight, someone whom I can trust and who will both keep me in line and push me further.
And I want – need – that someone to be you."
November took a deep breath, not wanting to lose his nerves despite feeling his stomach turn when he looked into Hei's wide, surprised eyes.
"When we had that talk after our fight with the Yakuza you asked me what happened to make me trustworthy. I guess now is the time to answer that question.
I am not saint. In fact I'm not even a good person. I can still kill and lie to people; I can torture them for information and everything else that is required of me.
The only thing that changed is that some people are exceptions to that. The thought of hurting July and April makes me sick and I know that I would rather die that harm them.
The other exception is you."
Hei continued to look at the older man, not having expected November to say something like that.
The assassin was aware that the MI6 agent was a formidable fighter, but Pai had been too and she was most likely dead after having been betrayed by one of her friends.
He also knew that the other Contractor wasn't a person who looked for others for protection. The ice-blue eyed man knew his capabilities and knew better than to underestimate his enemies and allies – he wasn't the best MI6 agent because of his looks.
He had also known that the Brit cared about his team and he had known that the blonde had to care for him too – the older one had to, to let himself be tortured like that, but he knew that the blonde didn't usually talk about his feelings.
Hei was the same.
He was uncomfortable with verbally expressing what he felt, having trained himself for such a long time to not feel anything at all and never having had someone who would be interested in his state of mind anyway.
Because of that it was a shock that the usually playful but guarded man talked like that.
"In therapy, when I was trying to prove to the doctors that I was fine, I realised that I never told you these things so I thought that I should rectify that.
You are probably the only person on earth I can't lie to. I can lie to April and July, I can lie to my superiors, I can lie to anyone I need to but not you.
Every time I tried, something inside of me stopped me and I ended up telling the truth."
November closed his eyes for a moment, remembering several incidents in which he had wanted to lie but had been unable to bring himself to do so.
The MI6 agent felt nearly sick with nervousness when he thought about what he was going to say next and cursed the fact that the younger man could make him lose his composure like that.
"When your brother caught us and I was accusing you of using me you told me that you loved me, remember?"
Hei flinched at both the reminder of what had happened with Shé and his love-confession, though he only remembered the latter vaguely.
Taking the younger man's discomfort as agreement, the Brit continued, his voice low and soft.
"I realised then that I never told you that I loved you too." The older man moved one of his hands to cover the assassin's mouth, stopping the syndicate member from saying anything.
"It was unfair of me not to tell you as soon as I realised it. I was the one to initiate this relationship, making you risk your life just because I felt something for you and wanted to see where we could go."
The blonde shook his head in disgust as he remembered how he had denied feeling something deeper than attraction for the younger man and how he had ignored any and all hints that told him that there was something more to Shengshun than an eccentric exchange-student.
He was surprised when the hand he had used to keep his lover quiet was wrenched away by an indignant looking Hei.
"Don't make me sound like a victim here November!" The anger in the Chinese man's voice was practically palpable and the Brit winced when he heard it.
It hadn't been his intention to irritate the younger man – in fact he had wanted to calm him down.
"You didn't know what you were asking for when you asked me to become your lover and neither did you force me to. I knew what I was getting into so don't you dare to imply that I didn't when it was you who had no idea what he was going on!"
For a moment November could only stare at the younger man before smiling almost bitterly.
"And that is what's bothering you now, isn't it?" Sharply Hei looked at the older man, not having expected that.
"You say that you can't bear to lose anyone else you care about, but that is only part of it, isn't it? You also feel guilty about getting me into a dangerous situation where a violent death would be the least of my worries."
The MI6 agent knew that he had hit the bull's-eye when the other Contractor looked away suddenly, unable to return the blonde man's gaze anymore.
November grabbed the assassin's chin with the hand that had still been cradling his face and turned the dark haired one's head back towards him, refusing to let the younger man avoid his gaze.
"Let me tell you something Hei," the Brit's voice was now soft and gentle, the affection in his kingfisher-blue eyes making Hei's chest ache.
"I am not going to let you go as easily as you probably think. I have stalked you for weeks before I was even in love with you so you should be able to imagine what I'm capable of now that I know about my and your feelings.
Whether you love me or not, whether you want me to or not, I'm going to stay right beside you every step of the way you are going to take, wherever it might lead, so you should know that even if you stop being my lover I'm not going to let go of you."
November took a deep breath after having said that, both anxious and relieved to have finally told Hei everything.
The assassin instead just sat in front of him, an unreadable expression on his face, obviously thinking about what the older man had told him.
Slowly he leaned forward, leaning his weight against the taller man, gripping the blonde's upper arms tightly.
"I'm tired. I don't want to fight with you anymore," he murmured, taking in the familiar smell of tobacco, cologne and something uniquely November.
The dark haired Contractor felt something relax inside of him that had been coiled tightly enough to suffocate.
For the first time in weeks was he able to breathe properly and it was an incredible feeling.
He felt November's body go limp and before he knew it he was lying on top of the Brit's chest, the older man's arms around him and both of them trying to untangle their legs from each other.
"Does that mean you have given up?" The MI6 agent's voice was cautious, obviously not really knowing what to think of the younger one's reply and Hei couldn't help but smirk slightly as he raised himself above the Brit, and gently pressed their lips against each other.
"Yes, I have," he murmured against the older man's lips, feeling the exhaustion of the last few days finally catch up with him.
Before the kiss could develop into something less chaste, he let himself fall back onto the blonde – ignoring the slight way November groaned when his weight hit him – and closed his eyes.
For the first time in weeks he felt like he could sleep without nightmares and so he let tiredness carry him over into unconsciousness.
This is it for this chapter and I'm really sorry that it's short and strange. (.)
On another note, I wanted to ask about the lemon. It's now a sure thing that I'm going to write one, but do you want it to be part of the story or in a seperate one-shot?
I wanted to put it into a one-shot, but if I do that it will lose part of its mood and effect so I wanted to ask what you want me to do.
What do you think?
As always, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it!