Author Notes: OK, this is the final chapter for Brief Reflections! A one shot that morphed into ten chapters... and it looks like the newest multi chapter story ends up with Completed status first! Eep...
I actually had a lot of fun writing about Kaien Cross and Touga Yagari. An unconventional and unlikely but somehow entertaining and even - dare I say it? - adorable couple! And yay, I've managed to keep this story's 'T' rating too! :D Actually, there's a lot more potential for this pairing that I've not even touched on yet, such as their work, how they grew to accept each other's different careers, their outlook on vampires, etc. But as I already have ideas for other pairings that I would like to get started on, this story ends here.
Thank you so much for reading and for letting me know your thoughts. I hope you've enjoyed each chapter as much as I have.
Appreciation: I wasn't too sure what to put in for this last chapter. But Altariel-Jaina's wonderful review for Chapter One paved the way. So, Altariel - thank you very much, even though I initially balked at the idea. This chapter's for you.
- Chapter Start -
A light knock sounded on the door and the man lying in the bed stirred sleepily, his long light brown hair spread over his pillow. Then his eyes blinked open – he could hear muffled giggles from the other side of his room door and recognized it as Yuuki's. Zero's low voice could be heard too – the two of them seemed to be having one of their famous bickering sessions.
"It's OK. Come in, you two" he called out, sitting up and adjusting the pillows behind him before smoothing back his long hair.
The door opened and a beaming Yuuki came in, casually dressed in T-shirt and shorts. "Good morning, Father!" she called out. Zero followed from behind, carrying a small table with short legs, on which resided a laden tray. The tall silver haired boy had a mock scowl on his handsome face but it turned into a small half smile when he caught sight of Chairman Cross' astonished expression as he carefully laid the table on the bed, across the older man's knees. "'Morning, Father" he said quietly.
"Good morning! Well, and what's this?" queried the older man, his surprised but delighted eyes taking in the admittedly appetizing sight of buttered toast, two poached eggs and pot of tea. An empty cup and saucer sat next to a small plate, on which was a snowy napkin wrapped around a set of cutlery. A cheerful daisy nodded in a little vase on the other side of the tray, which he knew had to be Yuuki's contribution. "Father's Day?"
Yuuki giggled as she leaned forward to brush a soft kiss on his forehead. "Happy Birthday!" she sang out and proceeded to warble out the whole song, Zero pretending to ignore her entire performance even though he was biting his lower lip the whole time.
"Ah, thank you, my dear Yuuki!" beamed the Chairman when she had finished. His clear brown eyes had turned suspiciously moist, making Zero look as if he wanted nothing more than to beat a hasty retreat from there. As if reading his mind, Yuuki reached out and snagged his arm. "Hang on, Zero" Turning back to her father, she happily informed him "We've ordered a cake to celebrate your birthday tonight, Father" she informed him. "And Zero's cooking dinner too!"
The silver haired boy rolled his eyes, making Chairman Cross grin. Yuuki really was something else... and he couldn't recall seeing the both of them as happy as in these past two weeks. Then he remembered something and sobered up. "Ah, that's nice, Yuuki… and Zero, but someone's actually promised to take me out for dinner tonight"
Two sets of eyebrows shot up. "Who?" asked Yuuki, eyes wide and sparkling with curiosity. Ah, was her Father dating someone after all? She knew it! It couldn't always have been Hunter related business that drew him out to town on a regular basis…
His fingers crossed and hidden under the covers, Cross said casually "Touga Yagari - Zero's former sensei"
Yuuki's mouth parted in a small "O" of surprise mixed with disappointment while Zero stiffened a little. "He's a close friend of mine, you know" added Cross gently. He wanted to accept his children's offer - goodness knows they'd been even more inseparable since the six week long holiday break started – that was when Kaname has disclosed Yuuki's past to the both of them. But at the same time, he'd always spent his birthdays - and Touga's - in each other's companies…
Both his children were now exchanging looks with each other. Finally, Zero's shoulders sagged as he nodded cautiously. Yuuki smiled and turned back to the older man. "Please ask Yagari-san to join us for dinner" she requested formally. "We have more than enough food for four persons"
Cross brightened up. "Really?" he asked delightedly. The four of them sitting down to dinner at the same table? Choosing to ignore any possible repercussions that may arise from this, Cross beamed at his two children and unfolded the napkin, tucking it in the front of his pyjama shirt. "Well, I'd better get started on this then, so that I can call him later…" He was not wearing his scarf now but that was OK, Yagari's latest bite marks had faded from their last heated… ehm, encounter. Yuuki carefully poured him a cup of tea then she and Zero excused themselves to have their own breakfast.
- o -
"Are you sure?" Yagari's voice over the phone sounded like he didn't think this was a good idea at all.
"Please, Touga" cajoled Cross, as he sat at his desk in his study. "They've gone through the trouble of buying a cake and all…"
Yagari sighed. "Go have dinner with your family, Kaien. I can always see you tomorrow" His off handed tone couldn't quite mask his disappointment however, and Cross sighed. "I'm sure Zero wants to see you too, Touga" he said quietly, instinctively knowing exactly what was in his friend's mind.
Cross pressed on. "Besides, it is my birthday…" he drifted off suggestively. He and Yagari had a long standing 'tradition' of sorts on their respective birthdays and it actually involved a gift of intense sensual pleasure, delivered using nothing but their mouths.
A deep chuckle sounded over the line. "Ah, you're talking about me making you scream like always, Kaien?" Yagari's voice sounded positively wicked now.
"Of course not!" Cross huffed immediately and the dark haired hunter chuckled even more – Kaien's face would be flushed rosy and he would be pouting in that ridiculously adorable way that always made him want to kiss it away…
"Besides, you scream too when it's your turn" retorted Cross now, in a meaningful tone. To his chagrin, Yagari found himself growing hard almost immediately. "Yeah, you wish" he growled into the phone. Cross chuckled with delight before sobering up.
"Please come over tonight, Touga" he murmured softly. A long suffering sigh sounded now, that somehow reminded Cross of Zero actually, before Yagari finally agreed. "I hope I don't regret this" he grumbled.
- o -
That evening, Yuuki, looking charming in her yellow sleeveless sundress, opened the front door and beamed at the tall, black haired vampire hunter standing there, clad as always in a cotton shirt and jeans. "Yagari-san" she greeted him respectfully before raising her eyebrows at the bottle of red wine he proffered to her. He nodded and stepped in, his eye darting all over the living room before he gave her a small smile. "Yuuki Cross"
"Just 'Yuuki', please" she invited. "Father will be…"
Chairman Cross appeared in the corridor leading to his study. "Touga" he greeted casually. Yuuki turned towards the dining room with the wine. "I'll go check to see how dinner's coming along" she threw over her shoulder, completely missing the sudden intense and heated gazes the two men exchanged behind her back.
- o -
Dinner was OK, if a little quiet. Yuuki had wanted an 'Italian Night' and Zero had obliged with spaghetti Bolognese and lasagna, supplemented with Yuuki's signature prawn salad and the bottle of wine. As usual, it was left to Chairman Cross and Yuuki to carry on most of the conversation, with Zero and Yagari somehow not really looking at each other.
The dark haired hunter found himself observing his former student closely. Zero looked… different now. His moodiness seemed to have vanished and although he was as quiet as ever, he looked happy, with no trace of the moody angst that usually burned in those amethyst eyes. And it was just as Cross has told him earlier - Zero and Yuuki couldn't seem to stop giving each other little smiles and glances all throughout dinner.
But the silver haired boy seldom looked at Yagari directly, and something in the dark haired hunter's heart ached… just a little. "You are good at cooking, Zero" he said as he helped himself to more spaghetti. Zero looked a bit startled at that. "Thank you" he said, and Cross beamed at him in delight. "Zero cooks very well indeed" he said, before adding rather reluctantly but truthfully "… better than me, actually!"
Yuuki coughed at that and hastily took a gulp of wine to mask it, making Zero grin. "Are you sure, Father? Or are you just being modest…" he teased.
But one word had caught Yagari's attention. "Father? Since when have you started calling him 'Father'?" he asked, shooting Cross a look of surprise. The latter smiled without saying anything and Zero bit his lip, suddenly embarrassed, before glancing at Yuuki. She didn't say anything but gave him a smile that made her eyes glow with pride.
Zero turned to his former teacher. Giving a small shrug, he said evenly "Since I started thinking of him as one." Taking in the amazed look on Yagari's face, Zero gave a surreptitious glance at Chairman Cross who stood up rather hurriedly. "Ah… excuse me" he muttered before hurrying off towards the living room.
The three of them looked at his retreating back before turning to look at each other. Yagari knew how his friend must be feeling and gave a mock sigh as he pushed back his chair. "I'd better go make sure that sentimental old fool is all right" he excused himself casually as he stood up. Zero and Yuuki nodded, too surprised to say anything.
Yagari didn't bother knocking before opening the study room door. Cross was standing by his study in the semi darkened room, with only the table lamp switched on. His spectacles were lying on his desk and he was dabbing at his eyes with a tissue - as expected. Yagari's lips twisted but without derision as he left the door ajar and crossed over to the desk. "You OK?" he asked quietly.
The other man didn't seem surprised to hear his voice. "Uhm, I'm fine" Cross said hastily, pasting a smile on his face before looking up. "Just a speck of dust got in my eye, that's all…"
"Both of them?" asked the taller man sceptically.
"Uh huh, it happens"
"Bullshit!" Yagari rested his hands rested on Cross' shoulders and regarded him with a slightly exasperated but tender look. "How long have we known each other, Kaien?" he asked.
"Ah… nine years"
Yagari nodded. "And how long have we been lovers?"
Again, the taller man nodded. "You think I really don't know why you're tearing up like a leaky tap?"
Cross sniffed. "I just didn't want you to think me a sentimental old fool"
Yagari rolled his remaining eye. "You are a sentimental old fool, Kaien"
Cross pouted, right on cue.
"And that's actually one of the reasons why I love you" Yagari confessed suddenly.
Cross stopped pouting immediately. He knew Yagari loved him, it was just so rare actually hearing him say it. "Really?" he breathed.
Yagari smiled. "Really" he said.
"Touga, I –"
Yagari cut him off. "I know – you love me too. Just shut up so that I can kiss you."
Cross complied immediately, and after a long and breathlessly sweet kiss, they parted for air.
"That's better" said Yagari approvingly, his lips tingling. "Let's go back before your kids come looking for us…"
Unexpectedly, Cross sobered up. "I wish…" he hesitated, making Yagari look at him.
"… that they were your kids, too"
Yagari opened his mouth but shut it again upon seeing the earnest look in Cross' eyes. He knew what his friend really meant and despite the improbability of it, he was touched. "Thanks" he murmured as they left the study together.
- o -
Zero and Yuuki were still sitting at the dining table having a quiet but intense discussion which stopped abruptly as the two older men appeared. The silver haired boy shot the petite girl a warning glance which she blithely ignored.
"Ah… sorry about that" said Chairman Cross as he and Yagari sat down again. The four of them resumed eating in silence.
Yuuki wasn't eating but fidgeting in her seat for a couple of minutes, her bright eyes swinging from her adopted Father to his friend, then back again. Zero on the other hand, ignored them both but shot the auburn haired girl rather fierce warning glances from time to time.
Finally, Yuuki tossed her head resolutely and put down her fork. "Yagari-san" she said, looking directly at the dark haired hunter. Zero froze in his seat - all three men froze, in fact, but Yuuki didn't seem to notice. She was smiling at the dark haired hunter. "Thank you" she said simply.
Yagari's eyebrows shot up. "For what?" he asked suspiciously.
Yuuki's smile grew wider but also deceptively more innocent, in a way that made Zero wonder if he could kick her under the table and get away with it. But all she said was "For looking after Father... for the past eight years"
Both older men exchanged startled looks, Cross even dropping his fork in surprise. In unison, they looked back at Yuuki before turning to Zero. He ignored their questioning gazes as he reached for a piece of chicken from the dish opposite him with utmost concentration, as though his very life depended on whether he dropped the piece or not. Having conveyed it successfully to his bowl, he stared at it as if wondering how it had gotten there in the first place before finally looking up. Surprisingly, both his adopted father and his former teacher were now looking at him with similar 'caught in the act' looks, almost as if they expected him to pass down some sort of judgment on them.
"Zero?" asked Chairman Cross softly. Yagari didn't say anything - he just continued looking at his former student.
But Zero kept silent – still feeling very confused, a little touched and more than a little grossed out at what he and Yuuki had inadverdently heard and witnessed in the Chairman's study a few minutes ago - totally Yuuki's fault, of course, for making him go along… And it was Yuuki's turn now to wonder if she could kick Zero under the table. Please, Zero, I don't mind at all… and I know you don't really mind, either… Her wide eyes beseeched him. Almost as if he could hear her, the silver haired boy glanced at her then back to his former teacher who was still staring at him.
After a moment, Zero sighed, his lips twisting ruefully. What the heck – who was he to deny anyone their own happiness when miraculously and against all odds, he had found his? He leaned slightly to the left, his long fingers reaching for and closing over Yuuki's small hand resting on her lap. Finally, one side of Zero's lips tilted in a half smile as he looked at his former teacher. "Yeah, thanks" he said softly.
Yagari's eye widened in amazement and he glanced covertly at Cross, who was now staring agape at Zero. Yuuki's eyes darted from one to the other before she started giggling – whoa, awkward moment there… her laugh seemed to say. Cross laughed too after a moment, even though his face was suspiciously rosy, then dinner resumed quite comfortably, even though the four of them were very careful to stay on more neutral topics instead.
- o -
"So they found out after all…" murmured Yagari as he cradled Cross in his arms, about four hours later. "Your fault for not closing my study door earlier" grumbled the latter rather breathlessly, as his heart and body gradually slowed down from the incredible rush he had experienced a couple of minutes ago. He grimaced - his throat was feeling somewhat raw from holding in his screams.
"I hadn't thought they would actually spy on us" returned Yagari dryly, his fingers combing gently through his lover's soft brown hair. Then he sighed. "Actually, I'm happy for you, Kaien. You've always wanted a family since you like meddling in other people's affairs so much!"
Cross smiled, not taking any offence. "Well, you're welcome to share in my family too, you know"
Yagari didn't say anything and the ex-hunter shifted in his arms, turning around to face him. "I know you want to" he said quietly, smiling at the startled look on the hunter's face, his own eyes warm with love and understanding. Kaien always knew... but the taller man only shrugged. "You are a sentimental old fool, Kaien"
Cross reached up to drop a light kiss on his lover's mouth. "Mmm… and you are a stubborn jackass, Touga" he returned, without rancor.
Yagari looked at him steadily for a few seconds before he smiled softly. "I love you" he admitted. He wanted to hear Cross say the same thing back to him but suddenly, he found he couldn't even wait for that and stopped him with a passionate kiss.
Lips still locked together, Cross tumbled Yagari back against the pillows. There was a renewed tenderness in their love making this time and the two hearts thudding together in unison felt unaccountably full. Perhaps this was what had been missing in their lives, something that they thought they could never have… a ready made family to share with each other.
Only now... they had.
- THE END -
A/N: Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this story! Don't forget to read Brief Reflections: The Missing Scenes as well :)