Oh…This was fun! Saya really enjoyed working on this story, and she thanks you all for sticking with it and bearing with the OOC and whatnot! Thanks for your thoughtful reviews and for your patience with Saya!
This chapter is M. We've reached the end of the spectrum.
Disclaimer: Saya doesn't own the characters. Also, please note that while Saya researched a lot for this fic, it is by no means historically accurate, and Saya knows that, so don't bother telling her that she's got some wrong facts in here.
4- Our Dramatic conclusion
Though the trouble with Haruka had been easily resolved, Yuu still had two very big problems, and this was something that couldn't be resolved with understanding or just choosing, even. Clearly, when it came to having a danna, Kanda would want Lavi, but this wasn't something Kanda would get a choice in, it was first come, first serve. Kanda knew (for it was his business to know) that Tyki had the finances to back up his words right now if he wanted to, whereas Lavi, though he was now a certified doctor, was still building up his credibility, and it could take a few years before he was making as much as the old doctor did.
It was obvious who would be the fastest to take Kanda, and that was exactly why Kanda was avoiding Lavi like his life depended on it. He couldn't face Lavi while feeling like he was going to end up betraying the man. So Kanda acted cold and indifferent when he had to be around the older man, and avoided being with the redhead when he could help it. This didn't go unnoticed by his friends, it couldn't be overlooked.
"Kan-chan, what's up with you lately? Ever since your brother came here, you've been actin' coldly towards Lavi. Yer breakin' the man's heart, what'd he do to deserve that?" Daisya asked, looking annoyed with Kanda's recent behavior. Kanda didn't respond and told Fou to tie his obi a bit tighter.
"Give him a break Daisya," Komui said, "he's got a lot to think about right now."
"Yeah, well it'd be a lot easier to be as sympathetic as you are if I knew why the heck he's actin' this way!" Daisya huffed, as he placed a final comb in his hair. Kanda knew he was being unfair to both Lavi and Daisya for not giving either of them an explanation, but he couldn't help it, it was just in his nature to avoid the things he didn't want to deal with, and telling anyone about this problem was most definitely out of the question.
A month. A whole month had gone by since Haruka had left, and Yuu had not said a word to him! Lavi was beyond feeling sorry for himself now, had passed by anger, and was headed for rage. What had he done to deserve the silent treatment? Ok, so they had gotten caught together, and Lavi could see Kanda being more careful from then on out, and at first that's what Lavi had assumed Kanda was doing. But a whole month and not even a "Hello" was pushing it.
Well, Lavi certainly wouldn't stand for that a moment longer! Oh no, today was the day that he would make a stand and get Yuu to give him a reason for the cold behavior! So Lavi marched into the okiya that afternoon, knowing that at least for the day he had no appointments to go to, and that he had a precious few hours before Kanda had to leave for work.
"Dai-kun, where's Yuu?" Lavi asked when he past the brunette boy. Daisya raised an eyebrow at Lavi curiously.
"He's in the backyard on the porch. Didn't you see him on your way here?" the younger boy asked, knowing that Lavi always cut through the backyard, rather than doing the proper thing and walking to the front. Lavi opened his mouth to respond, but instead just slapped his palm over his face and sighed at his own idiocy. Turning back on his heel, he bid Daisya good day, before heading to the back to find Yuu-chan. He faintly heard Daisya murmur "Good luck" under his breath.
Kanda felt like such a damn coward, sitting on the porch and staring into his neighbor's yard because he couldn't round up the courage to actually go see Lavi. He felt like he was 10 all over again, too afraid and shy and worried to just cross into the other's yard. And when Lavi had actually walked right through the okiya's yard and hadn't even spared Kanda a glace...well, that hurt, but Kanda supposed he deserved the cold treatment. You get what you give, and all that jazz.
"You know, staring never got anyone anywhere." Were Kanda a more easily frightened being, he would've jumped out of his skins and fallen off the porch. But as he was a well-composed geisha, he did not even startle at the voice. Kanda felt like the world was going to crush him, as the anxiety that he'd been trying to stave off crashed onto his shoulders.
He couldn't tell Lavi about this yet, he just couldn't. The more time wore on, and the more Yuu saw of Tyki, the more he realized that the older man was serious, and that his becoming Kanda's danna was inevitable. He simply couldn't tell Lavi that, because Kanda knew better than anyone how angry Lavi would get, the redhead was much more possessive than one would think, considering that he loved someone of Kanda's profession.
"Wanna tell me why you've been avoiding me like the plague, Yuu?" Lavi asked, with a sour look on his face. Naturally he was pissed at Kanda for avoiding him. Maybe this would all be easier to leave behind if Lavi hated him? Kanda considered this for a moment, and neglected to answer Lavi.
"Don't you ignore me when I'm sitting right next to you! We're alone right now you know, no one's going to hear you if you give me your reason why." Daisya was inside making sure that what Lavi said was true by diverting all traffic from this general area. Still, Kanda made no move to answer. Lavi was getting less and less angry and was starting to look more hurt than anything else. Kanda was diligently looking at a patch of grass and couldn't see the older man's expression, but he could feel hurt and confusion rolling off the other in waves.
"What did I do to make you hate me so much, Yuu?"
Kanda bit his lip; that one stung, a lot. Kanda didn't hate Lavi, not at all, even if he did call the older man a jerk and a pervert and any number of things really, Kanda definitely did not hate Lavi. Kanda's head sunk just a little; the small gesture alerted Lavi to Kanda's inner turmoil, and the redhead switched from offensive to worried.
"Yuu? Are you alright?"
"...I'm...I'm fine..." The first thing Kanda had said to Lavi in a month, and it was a blatant lie.
"No, you're not. What's wrong Yuu? Is whatever troubling you the reason you won't talk to me anymore?" Lavi hit the nail on the head there, and Kanda's continuing silence was answer enough for Lavi. "What's eatin' at ya? This wouldn't be the first time you told me about your worries, so why are you holding back now?"
'Because this will hurt you the most.'
Kanda could see no way short of making a run for his room that would get him out of the situation, and Lavi was quicker than he was anyway. Kanda braced himself for Lavi's reaction, and mumbled the reason under his breath.
"Huh? Yuu-chan, I can't hear you when ya mumble like that," Lavi said, looking happier now that Kanda was answering him, but frustrated because he couldn't actually hear the boy.
"Ty...ans...danna..." Lavi had made out a word or two this time, but he still could not understand the boy.
"Speak up, Yuu!"
"I said Tyki is planning to become my danna!" Kanda all but yelled out, angry with being told to speak louder about something he didn't want to admit. He huffed into the cool air once, and then, realizing what he'd just said, sucked in a surprised breath of air. Tentatively, Kanda looked over to Lavi, only to find that the man's one green eye had widened impossibly, and that his expression was one of utter shock.
"I... I didn't want to say anything about it just yet but... It was odd to be around you knowing that... and this guy is serious, the moment I become a full-fledged geisha, he is planning to make the offer to Bak-san."
Lavi had no idea how he should handle this. Since before he had even met Yuu, he'd been captivated by him, and since the beginning, he had planned to have Kanda for himself. This simply could not be tolerated; no one could be allowed to take Kanda away from him. But what could he do? Currently, Lavi was building up credibility with his clients as a competent doctor, and he had taken most of the Doctor's old patients, but he had yet to earn as much as the old man did, and it might take years for Lavi to get to that level. But Lavi didn't have years; he had a little more than half a year. Compared to someone with a steady income that was confident in his ability to pay for the daily expenses of a geisha, Lavi had no chance.
"Yuu... I..." What could Lavi say now that would have any effect on the distressed boy? He had never experienced anything like this himself, and he had no idea what to do, when faced with the knowledge that the person he loved was going to be given to another man in a ceremony that was nearly identical to marriage.
"I'm going to try, Yuu, by God I swear I'm going to try. I'm sorry...but it's all I can do." Lavi pulled the boy into a tight embrace, and Kanda, his eyes unseeing and just a bit misty, tightly clenched his fingers around the material of the older man's yukata. Neither of them cried or got angry as one might've expected, they just sat together as a silent comfort to each other, until they both felt they could let go.
"Yuu," Lavi said, when he noticed Daisya motioning to him at the door. Clearly, it was time for Kanda to go. "Yuu." Lavi shook the boy a little, and roused him from his drowsy state. "You've got to go now, Yuu. If you don't, Bak will scold you for being late."
Kanda looked up at Lavi with slightly wet eyes; he looked so close to crying, though Lavi knew he never would, that he just wanted to keep the boy here all the more.
"I don't want to go, I'm going to see him again," the boy said bitterly. Lavi ran a hand over Kanda's hair in a soothing manner.
"I know you don't want to go, but right now you have to. Besides, Daisya is looking ready to come out here himself and get you." Kanda turned to look in the direction Lavi was facing, and saw that indeed, Daisya was already making his way over to the pair. Turning back to Lavi, Kanda stood up, and left.
The day had been planned out perfectly, and the okiya had been cleaned and rearranged and made to sparkle. It was only a week away, and everyone was twittering with excitement. Kanda Yuu, the most popular maiko their side of the hanamachi had seen in years, was finally going to be tied to his danna. The offer had been officially brought to Bak by Tyki, and though Lavi tried to fight it, he was soon shown that he could not win against the financial security that Tyki Mikk offered.
Kanda was close to inconsolable, in his own introverted way, and the only ones who could understand his plight were Daisya and Komui. Even Lenalee, who had long since grown into a beautiful and very insightful young woman, was clueless as to why Kanda was so unhappy on such a usually joyous occasion.
"Kan-chan, I know this is going to be difficult for you, but... You will get used to it, you'll learn to be happy with it, even. Besides, it's not like you'll never see Lavi again, you can visit the okiya anytime you want to." Komui tried to sooth the younger boy, but in the end he only reminded both Kanda and Daisya of the fact that they would no longer be rooming together, as Tyki had requested that Kanda move in with him, and Kanda had no idea how to say no to that without seeming suspicious.
"Easy for you to say, Komui," Kanda said bitterly, "You actually love your danna, and you've got a perfectly good reason to stay in the okiya because Lenalee is here, so you don't have to leave. Things couldn't have worked out better for you."
"I... Kanda..." Komui could not think of anything comforting to say in the face of these facts, and chose instead to simply state things as they were, from a more detached point of view. "Look, whether you like it or not, someone is offering to pay off all of your daily expenses and then some. You should be grateful, and it is your job to do as this person pleases, so you'd better do it well. Put on your mask, and face the facts. This isn't going to change anytime soon, and just because you don't want it, doesn't mean that you can stop it."
"Komui!" Daisya exclaimed, angry with their onii-san's blunt speech. "Saying things like that is not going to help any! Truth or not, at least let the kid keep some of his hope intact!"
"No," Kanda interjected quietly. "No, Daisya...Komui is right. I need to face the reality, and deal with it. I am not so weak that I can't even put on my mask and play the part of a good geisha for my danna." The cool, expressionless voice Kanda used made Komui instantly regret what he'd said. Kanda may be more determined to move on now, but he was a far cry from happy.
Silently, Kanda stood up and left his room. As he walked through the halls he got many congratulations, and he put on his fake smile, the one he never used in the okiya with people he actually cared for, and thanked them as if they were all his costumers. When he reached the backyard though, he pulled up the hem of his yukata and made a running jump over the low fence that separated his yard from Lavi's. He hit the ground running too, and quickly entered the older man's house, checking to be sure that no one from the okiya was in the yard. It wasn't abnormal for him to go to Lavi's house, but with the ever-nearing date of his ceremony, such a visit could easily be seen as scandalous.
Kanda only bothered to be polite when he reached the door he knew led to Lavi's room, and by then he'd made so much noise running through the house that Lavi was coming out of the room to see what all of the noise was about. The redhead raised an eyebrow at Kanda's flustered expression, but stepped aside in a silent invitation. Kanda had never gone into Lavi's room before, because to actually go into another person's room alone was just absolutely shameless for a geisha. Kanda couldn't be bothered with shame though, heck, maybe a bad rumor or two would halt his ceremony for a while.
"What's with the sudden visit, Yuu?" Lavi asked, looking Kanda over for a moment. The boy was slightly winded and his tabi were dirty from running outside without shoes on. Kanda didn't bother to answer verbally, and all but threw himself at Lavi in a very out of character fashion. Normally Lavi would be overjoyed by the younger man's excitement and take advantage of the opportunity given to him. However, with the knowledge of what was to happen in a few days time, this meeting felt very similar to an affair, and Lavi felt a bit too much like the other man for his liking.
Gently, Lavi pushed Yuu away. "Yuu, what's going on with you? You do realize how much this could hurt your good name, don't you?"
"I don't care anymore. I'll face everything tomorrow as it is, but I'll get what I want before then!"
Get what he wanted? What did Yuu mean by that, Lavi wondered? The redhead could think of quite a few things it seemed like Kanda wanted, but all of which would have very serious repercussions later on, if anyone ever found out about them.
"Yuu," Lavi sighed and shook his head. "I can't do that now. Even if it isn't official yet, you basically belong to someone else now, it would be wrong to do anything together at this point in time."
Kanda glared at Lavi with the intensity of hell. "Che, so that's all it takes to make you quit? Was this whole thing just some game to you then? Are you dropping out and quitting just because you couldn't win fairly and be the first one to become my danna? Well, if that's the case, then yes, you've lost, and since I'm apparently the prize in your little game, I'd better go to the person who won me." Kanda turned from Lavi sharply and made for the door. Before he could think, Lavi reached out and stopped Kanda, as the younger boy knew he would. The edges of his lips quirked up into the beginnings of a smirk.
"Wait Yuu! You know that you were never some prize to me, why would you say that?"
"Well, that's how you are treating me. You haven't come to see me at all since the date for the ceremony was set. You're sulking like a child who's lost a race."
"I am no-"
"But the fact is, this is a race, and it isn't over yet! I don't care if you have to cheat to win, and I can live with the fact that you won't be my danna, but this isn't over yet. You don't have to play fair to win, Lavi. You could still be the first."
Lavi just stared at Kanda in amazement. He wasn't suggesting what Lavi thought he was suggesting, now was he? The question must've been clear on his face, for Kanda nodded to him.
"Yuu, that isn't the kind of thing you can take back later, and no matter how careful I am, people will notice. Are you even sure of what you're saying?"
"Of course I am. I've got a few days before the ceremony, more than enough time to heal. We can think of something to hide it later, but right now it's all up to you," Kanda said, staring Lavi straight in the eye. It was impossible to look away, and even harder for Lavi to not fall for Yuu's charming, yet positively demanding eyes.
In the end, Lavi couldn't say no. He walked up to Kanda, cupped the younger boy's face in his hands, and kissed him deeply. Quickly, they became involved more intimately than they ever had before. In an exploring, loving flurry of kisses and gentle touches, the two made their way to Lavi's bed. There was burning pain for Kanda at first, and for a while he wondered why anyone would engage in such unpleasurable acts, though Lavi seemed to be having a hard time restraining his pleasure enough to not hurt him. But then Lavi did something amazing, and after that the pain was like a distant dream.
There was touching, all sorts of touching everywhere, Kanda couldn't keep his hands away from the older man's body. Likewise, Lavi couldn't keep his lips from raining down on Yuu's skin, couldn't keep his hands out of Kanda's long, silky hair. Every touch was as gentle as possible, there was nothing harsh or hurried in their movements. This was their time to forget about the world that waited for them outside of Lavi's room, they would treasure it.
They both knew that tomorrow, it would be as though this had never happened.
When Kanda returned to the okiya, he made a scene of falling and "painfully" twisting his ankle. Naturally, Lavi was called over to take a look at Yuu's ankle, and declared that it was sprained, and that he would probably be limping for a while, but would be able to walk, because it wasn't a bad sprain. The good doctor suggested that he stay off his feet for the time being, and Bak decided it would be best to let Kanda take a few evenings off.
Kanda was reprimanded for not being more careful, especially since it was the week of his big ceremony, but Kanda simply stated that he was getting so nervous and excited that he had failed to be cautious. Only Daisya and Komui knew what had happened, even if they hadn't been told, but they didn't say a thing, not even to each other. It seemed to them that accepting Tyki as his danna had been made a bit easier now, anyway. Besides, Kanda wasn't a girl, so it wasn't like there would be much proof of what he'd done by the end of the week.
"Just two more days now, hm? Wanna go out and have a bachelor's party before yer big day?" Daisya asked in jest. Now that Kanda was feeling better, it was safer to make such jokes; Daisya didn't have to worry about Kanda stabbing him with a kanzashi and then falling into a spiral of depression.
"I hate parties," Kanda said in a displeased voice that held little venom.
"A little ironic then, considering you entertain at them," Komui pointed out as he placed that damnable lotus comb into Kanda's hair.
"That's why I hate them."
Kanda was for once not wearing the crimson layers that Komui had always preferred to dress him in, but was instead wearing layers of white and gold and only the barest hints of his preferred color. It was that day. Kanda touched up his mask a bit before leaving his room.
Everyone was so happy today, it sort of irked Kanda because he wasn't quite sure why they were happy. Sure, a few of them were genuinely happy that he was succeeding in their business, but he was pretty sure that the ones that had disliked him ever since the beginning were probably just happy to be rid of him. Then of course, there were the two with the bittersweet feelings, and the redhead who had not even bothered to show up for the occasion. Kanda was glad he hadn't, they would've done something stupid if he had.
Kanda felt so much like a bride that the embarrassment was starting to seem like a mild torture. The ceremony was far too much like a wedding ceremony for his liking, and he didn't really care for how permanent this all felt. Still, as annoyingly painful as this would all seem as soon as what was happening really hit him, at the moment Kanda was feeling something close to numb.
Outwardly, he tried to look happy and pleased, and if his colleagues' reactions to him were any indication, he was doing a pretty decent job of it. He didn't miss the worried glances that Daisya and Komui shot him every so often.
By the next day, Kanda was completely moved out of the okiya. He'd tried to drag out the process, but somehow everything still got moved so quickly. It was unsettling, the pace with which one could uproot their own life. He had spent his last night at the okiya awake with Komui and Daisya, and the two dwelled in nostalgia as he kept quietly to himself, just soaking in their presences. He didn't get much of a "goodbye" from Lavi; on his way out of the okiya, he looked back one final time and saw the man leaning in the doorway, clearly pained.
It had been so hard to look away.
Tyki's home was built in a more western style, and was easily twice the size of the okiya. There were three floors, the bottom-most of which were used by the live-in servants, and also had the dining room, library, a large party area, and the kitchens. The top floor was almost exclusively used by Tyki, and now, Yuu. Kanda supposed the second floor was for guests or something, but he couldn't imagine why Tyki would need so many extra rooms. He had nearly gotten lost a few times during the tour when he lingered a minute too long in a room or corridor.
Just because Tyki was his danna, did not mean he got any physical reward for this, it was not a geisha's way to give such rewards for financial support. Basically, the only way Tyki was getting anything was if Kanda felt like giving it up, which was very unlikely. Tyki knew this, respected it, and was just as much of a gentleman towards Kanda as he ever had been. Kanda was thankful for this, very, very thankful.
Still, it would be a stretch to say he was happy here. Kanda was practically living his job now; he put his makeup and kimono on first thing in the morning-or afternoon. He found it difficult to get out of the habit of waking up at twelve like he had for the past 6 years. He used to get home at insanely late hours of the night, of course he slept late. That was fine though, as Tyki left early, so it wasn't as if there was any reason for him to be up until dusk.
Despite the fact that Kanda was a geisha and therefore had learned how to act sociably the same way one might learn math, he was not a naturally social person. It was hard to be in an unfamiliar house with people he didn't know, most of which were foreigners who assumed he was simply their master's stuck-up...mistress... or something of the like. He wondered if any of them even realized he was male.
Kanda knew that if he bothered to try, he could easily charm most of the staff, but he simply didn't want to be around other people. He didn't want to make new friends. He didn't want to adjust. He wanted to be home. He felt quite miserable on the inside, but the moment his danna returned home from a long day of tiresome work, there he was, all smirks and sarcasm and mysteriously soothing.
It took months for Kanda to work up the courage to visit his old okiya, the same way it had taken him a long time to get himself to visit Lavi's home. Kanda asked to be woken up early one morning so that he would be able to spend as much time with Daisya and Komui as he could before they left for their evening appointments. He'd seen them a few times at meetings and parties, but it wasn't as though they could have proper conversations at those times. He felt like he would become a stranger to them if he didn't visit soon.
So, Kanda arrived at the okiya in the subdued kimonos of a full-fledged geisha who no longer needed elaborate robes to make himself look attractive. Bak and Fou greeted him warmly, and he was told that Daisya and Komui had just woken up. Kanda decided it would be best to surprise them by waiting for them at the breakfast table, rather than going into their rooms to wake them. Besides, he didn't want to see what his old room looked like now. He wondered if Daisya had moved his stuff into Kanda's side of the room, or if it was still barren.
Kanda had sat with his back to the door, but Daisya had recognized him right away anyway, and had hugged him with enough vigor to send them both to the floor.
"KAN-CHAN! You're back, you're back! Good God, I gotta get Komui, he's gonna freak!" Daisya exclaimed while squeezing the air out of Kanda's lungs as if he were a tube of toothpaste. Despite the older boy's words about getting their onii-san, he did not leave or let go of Kanda until Komui came into the dining room himself and repeated all of Daisya's earlier actions. A moment later, Lenalee heard the ruckus the two older men were making and came in. She added tears to the mix, and after five minutes of intense hugging, Kanda could no longer breathe and was starting to question why he had come here, and why everyone seemed to have gotten the urge to smother him to death.
"So what's yer danna's place like, Kan-chan?" Daisy asked once everyone had calmed down, because as much as everyone would've loved to have avoided the subject, there wasn't much more they could ask Kanda about. Besides, they were worried. What if their dear imouto-chan was being mistreated and had returned home to escape his abusive danna? What if Tyki was unexpectedly cheap and he was living in a shed or something?
"It's big, western... there are a lot of servants, but otherwise he lives alone. His relatives come by for extended visits often though, he's got an entire floor for them to live in." Currently, the man's second youngest cousin, Allen, Kanda believed his name was, was taking up residence on the second floor. Allen and Kanda exchanged witty banter over meals because neither of them had much to do while Tyki was out. They found out quite quickly that they rather hated each other, and tended to stay on their own floors. When Haruka had heard about the whole deal, he too had made a "friendly visit" to the house. That was mortifying.
"Does he treat you well? He doesn't seem like a cruel man, but it wouldn't be the first time that someone put on airs for the sake of looking kind," Komui said, also worried for his beloved little sister's well-being.
"He's out most of the day for work, but he's kind enough when he gets home. It's like free-loading off a close friend, really." Kanda also wanted to add that feeling like a free-loader annoyed the hell out of him, and he wished that he could help someone do something so that he could feel like he was earning his keep. The servants wouldn't allow him to lift a finger, despite the fact that he'd spent three years working as a maid of sorts at the okiya and was perfectly fine with doing chores.
Nothing of significance had happened to Kanda since he'd left, so the conversation quickly changed to what had happened in the okiya since he'd moved out. The place was as lively as ever, it seemed. Before Kanda had left, a few more shikomi had come in, and they were both so awkward and excited, and mischievous too, they caused no end of trouble it seemed. Daisya found it entertaining, Komui was once again taking over that big brother role that he was so perfect for, and Lenalee seemed to be turning into a mother hen type.
Kanda was thankful to see that not much had changed, but there was one thing about their stories that was glaringly obvious. Lavi was not involved in any of them. That was unusual, seeing as the redhead had all but lived in the okiya before Kanda had left, so for him to just stop coming there was bizarre. At first, Kanda just figured that the three were just cutting the redhead out of the stories so that he wouldn't get upset, but after a while he realized that there was simply no news on Lavi.
So, without really thinking about it, Kanda blurted out the question that had been plaguing his mind. "What's going on with Lavi?"
There was a moment of awkward silence, where no one could say a thing. Then Lenalee, the only one who didn't quite know just how deep the issue ran, spoke up.
"He hasn't come by at all in the last month or so...stopped coming after you left. We still visit him when we can, but he's gotten a whole lot busier suddenly. We've invited him over plenty of times but he just...won't come here." Lenalee looked to the floor, hurt plain in her features. She didn't understand why the redhead was suddenly pushing them all away.
Kanda immediately felt guilty. It was all his fault, wasn't it? Sure, he hadn't had a choice in leaving, but it was because he had left that Lavi didn't visit anymore, wasn't it? Kanda knew he was depressed because of the separation, but he didn't think it was fair that everyone else had to feel the same.
Lavi was sitting on his back porch, staring into the okiya's yard the way he had always done when he didn't have enough time to make a proper visit. Lavi did actually have time for that today, but he just couldn't bring himself to go back there so soon. Just looking into the yard was painful, but he couldn't help it. This was the way he'd first found Kanda, and some part of him hoped that maybe he would see Yuu standing there again, and selfishly hoped that Kanda might look saddened after going for months without seeing him.
And then, like a dream, it happened. Lavi closed his eyes, sighed at his own hopelessness, and hung his head for a moment. When he looked back into the yard, however, who should he see but the very man he had hoped to find? He looked just as Lavi imagined he would, with the exception that the real Kanda was looking around curiously.
Before he could even think about what he was doing, Lavi was running into the yard, and practically tackling Kanda to the ground.
"Holy shi-! La-Lavi?!" Kanda coughed twice, and rubbed the back of his head. "Che, be more careful, I've got a head full of sharp objects and it wouldn't take much to put one through my skull! Or are you trying to kill me with my own kanzashi?"
Lavi apologized profusely, but didn't bother to do more than sit up, bringing Yuu up with him. Lavi held him close and smoothed over the back of his hair. "I missed you so much," he whispered into the young boy's ear with a sigh, it felt so good to breathe in Yuu's scent again.
"Yeah, I noticed," Kanda replied a bit flatly. It wasn't that he wasn't excited to see Lavi again, he was sure the nervousness and the fluttering feeling that he always got when around Lavi would come in due time. At the moment though, there was a shooting pain in the back of his skull that was making him feel less-than-personable for the time being. That, and he'd been speaking in sarcasm for months now, it was sort of difficult to get out of the habit.
Lavi pouted at the tone of voice Kanda used. Maybe he was the only one that was excited right now? Maybe Kanda was happy with this Tyki person that Lavi had heard so much about, and no longer had feelings of the romantic nature towards Lavi.
"Glad to see you're so enthused," Lavi said dryly, his expression souring a bit. Kanda realized where Lavi's mind was going immediately, and quickly corrected his mistake by standing and pulling Lavi up with him, then dragging the older man out of the okiya's yard and into his own. Once they were hidden from view, Kanda shyly pulled Lavi to him for a kiss, which quickly turned desperate and needy. It wasn't their faults that they hadn't seen each other in months.
Kanda gently pushed Lavi away when he needed to breathe; strange, he could've sworn he'd been better at breathing through a kiss than that... Surely, this was the result of living with a chain smoker for months. Yuu held in a snort when he saw that some of his lipstick had gotten onto Lavi's lips.
"That shade of red complements your skin well," he said with a hint of sarcasm. Lavi touched his lips and felt the residue there, blushing just a bit. Kanda wasn't used to seeing Lavi blush, so he made sure to commit the image to memory, smirking all the while. A genuine smirk, not his work one.
After that, the two moved into the tea room, staying in an open area to make sure that they didn't get carried away. For a good long while the two of them just sat and talked, about anything and everything, the same way they used to before everything got messed up and they realized that everything must come to an end.
"So why did you stop visiting the okiya, Lavi? Everyone misses you there, you know," Kanda asked, hoping that he could at least do this for everyone.
"It's just...hard to be there," Lavi said, pain masking his face. "I go there and remember sitting on the porch talking to you, watching you and Daisya get dressed for the evening, playing around when we were kids... And you're not there anymore. It hurts, and I'm a coward who can't get over that."
Kanda felt both embarrassed and guilty; so it really was his fault. He had to fix this, he couldn't let Lavi just cut the okiya out of his life this way. But what would he say to Lavi to convince him that memories of himself shouldn't keep Lavi away from the okiya?
"Che, you really are a coward. Everyone there misses you and you can't even find it in yourself to go back every once in a while? So now that I'm gone you don't have the time for anyone else?" Kanda shook his head, looking disappointed. Lavi was mildly offended.
"Hey! You act like I'm the only one feeling that way! Aren't you the one who spent three months debating over coming back? You're just as bad as I am!"
"No, you're worse. See, it might've taken me three months, but at least I came back, unlike a certain redhead." Kanda looked away with an air of superiority, sticking his nose up just a bit. Lavi huffed, and then pouted. Kanda inwardly congratulated himself; baiting Lavi to anger seemed to be getting him somewhere.
"Fine then, I suck, happy now? But for your information, I have been really busy lately anyway, I don't have as much time to visit anymore!" Lavi said in his defense. Kanda raised an eyebrow as a cue for Lavi to continue with his excuse-making.
"I'm working hard so that I can stabilize my income. Even though it feels permanent, relations between a geisha and a danna don't always last forever. Someday Tyki will find some gal-or guy-that he really gets to know, instead of someone's pretty business face. He'll fall in love with that person for real, and he'll give you up. That is when I'll swoop down and take you for myself, but if I wanna do that then I've gotta work!"
"How do you know that will happen?" Kanda asked, wondering why Lavi sounded so sure of all this. He felt even guiltier now, so everything really was his fault and there didn't seem to be much he could do about it. He could goad Lavi into getting over his own inner pain, but he couldn't tease the man until he gave up on working.
"Because, I bet that when yer with that guy, you act like your geisha self, and not your real self. Whatever he's infatuated with, it isn't you, so he can't really love you. But I know the real you, and I love the real you... If you feel the same way, then there ain't a thing that can keep you away from me forever."
Kanda found it impossible not to blush. Of this he wasn't absolutely sure, but never had either of them ever said that ever-so-power "L" word to the other seriously, not even that last time they'd really seen each other. How did he respond to that? It hadn't been covered in his training, and even if it had been, Kanda would never bother with some learned technique for dealing with love-struck customers when talking to Lavi.
"Don't worry 'bout saying anything Yuu, I know you're not the best with tender words," Lavi said. Kanda blushed a shade darker, but didn't try to say anything after that. A moment of comfortable silence passed between them.
"Go back to the okiya... please. Just every once in a while," Kanda said in a whisper, breaking the silence. Lavi noted the change in tone and gave Yuu a strange look.
"Well, how could I not when you ask so sweetly?" Lavi said, and leaned over the table to kiss him again.
Kanda was still in a pleasant daze when he returned home just an hour before he knew Tyki would. He wanted to check his robs to make sure everything was still where it was supposed to be, and he definitely had to touch up his makeup... As he suspected, the kyo beni had been stolen from his lips…
The hour passed by quickly, as thoughts of Lavi and the okiya danced around his head. Why had he left there again? Why hadn't he just said it was too soon to move in together or something, and stayed at the okiya? With Lavi? His job didn't really mean so much to him, when he compared it to how much he cared for the people at the okiya (even if he never did tell them out loud just how much they meant to him).
Kanda sighed as he moved away from the vanity, picking up the book he'd taken out of Tyki's personal library. Just as he had settled down on his bed and opened it up, someone knocked on the door. Kanda called for the person to come in, and a butler poked his head in to tell Kanda that Tyki was in the drive. Kanda nodded in dismissal, and stood back up.
A few moments later, Kanda met Tyki in the front room, which was large, beautiful, and doubled as a ballroom. The older man looked just as worn as he did any time he came back from work, so Kanda put on his sympathetic face, and helped Tyki out of his jacket. Kanda let his hands linger just a bit longer than necessary on Tyki's shoulders; Komui had called doing little things like this fan service for the customer, they relished in those little, extra touches and boy, did Kanda know it.
"Another rewarding day of hard work?" Kanda asked, his voice peppered with light sarcasm. Tyki sighed and rolled his eyes at the question.
"Oh, it was indeed hard work, business meetings with the higher-ups are always such a pain. If only there were rewards for dealing with that fat bastard of a C.E.O.," Tyki replied, teasing Kanda with his tone near the end. Demurely, Kanda looked away, while he inwardly thanked God that Tyki didn't actually act on his desires, which were oh-so-transparent sometimes.
"Maybe you'll get lucky someday," Kanda said with a tone that said that would most likely never, ever happen, but that Tyki could still hope if he really wanted to.
"Thanks for the hope-inspiring words," Tyki said with some good-natured sarcasm.
The two men made their way to the dining room, where supper would no doubt be waiting for them. In the room, already seated at the table was Allen, who was politely waiting for their arrival. He and Kanda exchanged glares the moment their eyes locked. Tyki sat across from his cousin, while Kanda sat to his right. The first course was served, and slowly the three eased into a conversation.
"You were gone for a while today," Allen said, not accusing or rudely, just curiously. The boy was very good at being polite to people he didn't like; Kanda couldn't help but think that he'd have made a great geisha. Really, Allen had the looks and the personality for the job... Kanda scrunched his nose a bit at the idea of having to work with that guy. "So where'd you go?"
"I visited my okiya," Kanda said simply. For a moment Tyki looked guiltily over to him. Kanda knew that Tyki had worried about taking him from his okiya so soon, they'd had that conversation before, but Kanda had assured the man that he was fine with it. Which, now that he looked back on it, was completely idiotic of him, but sometimes his mask talks for him, says the things he should even when he doesn't want to.
"Oh, did you have a nice visit, Misaki-chan?" Allen asked, Tyki nodded in agreement with the question. Kanda couldn't imagine why Allen was so curious about what he'd done that day. He also realized that he sorely missed being called by his real name; he'd been "Misaki-chan" for months now. Hearing his old "family" call him "Kan-chan" and "Yuu-chan" and all of those other little nicknames that he used to hate so much had seemed so wonderful today.
Kanda replied with a monosyllable answer, intended to indicate a yes. The subject soon changed from him to Allen; apparently, the reason the boy was here was because he was attending school in the city, and would be living at Tyki's house for the school year. School started in a week for him.
"The campus is so huge, I'm going to be getting lost there for weeks..." Allen sighed out. There had been a campus tour that afternoon, and apparently Allen had been awed by the school's size, structure, everything really.
"Well, you never were the best with things like that," Tyki said simply, sipping at his soup.
"Vertically challenged and directionally challenged, hm?" Kanda added, smirking just a bit. Allen huffed and crossed his arms over his chest.
"Better to be directionally challenged, rather than gender confused."
"I don't think it would be too farfetched to say you're both, Moyashi-chan." Allen gave Kanda a seething glare, which was downplayed by the pout and blush the boy was sporting.
"Alright children, play nice now," Tyki said, rolling his eyes at their childish antics. Kanda, of course, didn't want to back down, but he decided to listen to his danna and quietly continued to eat his meal. Allen gave Kanda a disapproving look; Kanda was pretty sure that the reason Allen had disliked him right off the bat was because Kanda did what Tyki told him to.
Allen had spent enough time around Kanda while Tyki wasn't around to know that given the choice, Kanda wouldn't do anything he didn't want to, so maybe the kid was just annoyed because Kanda was going against his own nature? But then, Kanda had a sense of duty toward his job, or more accurately his debt. He had to work hard and be the best to cover what was left of it, even if that meant bowing out of a verbal battle or two.
Tyki Mikk was the kind of man who always got what he wanted, no matter what it was. Knowing this about the man, Kanda was not surprised to find himself waking up in Tyki's bed one morning with a pounding headache and sore lower body. If anyone were to ask why he had finally given in and let the older man have his way, and if Kanda were to answer honestly, he would say it was a mix of two things; the alcohol and the acute pang of loneliness he had felt after seeing Lavi under some unsavory conditions.
The drinking had been his fault, it wasn't as though Tyki had purposely gotten him drunk, as far as he could remember, Tyki had not forced him into anything at all. But it was seeing Lavi while at work that was what made him dive for the sake time after time.
Why Lavi and the now-retired Doctor had been their at all was a mystery to him, he hadn't been paying attention when it was explained to him. All Kanda knew was that he was going to have to actually act like a geisha-Tyki's geisha- in front of Lavi. How was he supposed to act close to someone else when Lavi was right there and hardly managing to conceal his jealousy?
And so Kanda had done the one thing any good geisha knows never to do; he got drunk off the sake he himself was serving, hoping that if he was a bit buzzed, he wouldn't be able to feel that lone green eye penetrating him anymore. He got Tyki drunk too, though that was because he hoped to get the man so shit-faced that he wouldn't notice if Yuu slipped up and said or did something that could be seen wrong.
So when they arrived back at the mansion drunk and Tyki drunkenly asked "Misaki" to go to bed with him, Misaki had drunkenly answered yes, because Tyki had been a good danna who had always put up with his prudence and sarcasm. Maybe the man did deserve a reward or something? Besides, he was feeling ridiculously alone after seeing Lavi. Whatever his reasoning was, Kanda found he could not get himself to think that way while sober. Sober and annoyingly hung over.
That's why it was clearly the alcohol and Lavi's faults. It was Lavi's fault he'd been drinking in the first place-he didn't even like to drink- and the alcohol's fault that he'd given in to his danna. If Lavi hadn't been there, so close but completely unattainable, Kanda wouldn't have felt lonely enough to sleep with Tyki. But no matter what he blamed, Yuu still felt rather disgusted with himself.
So Kanda had taken the walk of shame down the hall to the grand bath chambers of the house to take a much-needed shower; he felt outrageously dirty. When he had finally gotten around to doing his hair and makeup for the day, he found himself being extra meticulous with both, after all he didn't want to look as hung-over as he felt. Breakfast, or rather lunch, with Allen had been an incredibly awkward affair; the boy refused to look him in the eyes, and he was flushed up to his virgin ears, which had heard just a bit too much the night before.
Kanda rolled his eyes at the younger boy's reaction, and ate quietly. Well, today was going to suck. He had planned to visit the okiya today, but he definitely wouldn't be able to face his peers or Lavi after the mess he'd made of himself the night before. So goes the morning after…
The more Kanda visited the okiya and Lavi, the more conflicted he felt about his situation. He wanted to be back home already, but he couldn't do much more than visit during the afternoons. He didn't do that very often either, because it despite how he'd chastised Lavi for avoiding the place, it really was difficult to visit the okiya and know that he didn't live there anymore. But at least that was an issue that was slowly getting resolved. Every time Kanda dropped by he was told some story or other about what Lavi had done last time he'd visited.
Kanda sighed as he sat up in his bed. He still hadn't gotten used to going to sleep before midnight, and at the moment it was an hour to 12. He couldn't sleep, and it seemed he was hungry, if the low rumbling coming from the general area of his stomach was anything to go by. Muttering under his breath about getting fat from having too many midnight snacks as of late, Kanda got out of bed and made his way to the kitchen. He grabbed the book off of his night stand, deciding that he would read for a bit while he waited for his noodles to cook.
His plans for a peaceful evening snack were crushed when he saw a certain white-haired brat in the kitchen, with far more food than could be healthy stacked around him. Kanda raised his eyebrows at the sheer amount of food on the table, while Allen stared at a Kanda who was without makeup and a kimono.
"Um...Misaki-chan?" Kanda felt a bit thrown off, being called Misaki when he wasn't dressed as a geisha. Allen looked surprised to find that under the makeup and the layers of robs, Kanda did actually have masculine features. Heck, he was surprised that Kanda wore pants to bed and not some elegant, flowing yukata. Actually, Kanda had only started wearing more masculine clothes after his brother had lent him some when they went out together. Pants were nice, they were warm, comfortable, and he could take full steps in them without having to worry about tripping.
Kanda looked away from Allen and walked towards the pantry; it was too late at night to start anything with the kid. Allen seemed to share that sentiment, and went back to eating until Kanda sat down at the table.
"You really annoy me sometimes," Allen said. Kanda sighed feeling aggravated, and leaned back in his chair.
"Do you want me to stab you with a kanzashi? Because I will shank you and I will enjoy myself while doing so."
"I'm not trying to start a fight with you, Misaki-chan, I'm just stating a fact. Seriously, sometimes it seems like if Tyki asked you to jump, you'd ask "how high?" How can you stand to just let someone boss you around like that? You don't have strong feelings for him either, how could you make yourself …uh …share a bed with him?" Allen stared at Kanda intently, waiting for an answer. Kanda sighed and rolled his eyes in exasperation.
"Doing what my danna tells me to is part of the job. And for the record, I would not jump if anyone asked me to, Tyki-san included," Kanda said, and completely disregarded the second half of the boy's question; Allen was probably too naïve to understand the concept of drunken sex without emotions.
Really, it wasn't as though a geisha was his danna's slave, if anything, geisha just indulged them. Kanda could easily say "no" to whatever he wanted to, but it was his job to act pleasant.
"Why on earth would a person like you choose a job like this, then?" Kanda looked at Allen like he was crazy. This child was seriously naïve if he thought everyone just got to pick what they did for a living.
"Tell me child, are you all right in the head? What on earth would make you think I chose this? I was sold by my drunkard father when I was seven; I wasn't exactly given career options." Kanda didn't exactly care that he was giving out information about his past to someone he hardly knew, and who he knew he hated. If that little revelation could chip away even a fragment of Allen's naïvety, Kanda would be content; he hated naïve people.
Allen immediately looked deeply sympathetic, which Kanda also hated. He gave the younger boy a glower that clearly said "don't you give me that look." Allen cut down on the sympathy, but found that he couldn't look Kanda in the eye anymore.
"I-I'm sorry...I suppose I shouldn't have judged you without knowing your circumstances."
"Damn straight you shouldn't have. Whatever, I don't care about it anymore, I'm content with the life I lead. Now shut up and let me eat." Kanda was thankful that he was eating cold-served soba, because if he hadn't started with a cold dish, well, it would've ended up as one anyway.
"One more question though," Allen said quickly. Kanda's chopsticks stopped half-way to his mouth. He scowled and looked up at Allen.
"You're...not really happy here at all, are you? I mean, you always look happier leaving this house than you ever do coming back. You don't want to be here at all, do you?" Kanda's grip on his chopsticks went slack and they fell to his plate. How? How had this...this kid, who barely knew him at all, read through his mask so easily? Something in his expression must've given him away, because Allen continued on.
"I figured as much. Tyki is kind to you, and you seem to get along just fine but...you do not want to be with him like this at all. You want to be back at your okiya, with the people you really care about. If you just told Tyki, I'm sure he'd let you g-"
"Don't even say that," Kanda said, stopping Allen mid-sentence. "For a geisha... to have a danna... is a great honor, a great accomplishment, and I am thankful, I am not going to be selfish."
Kanda so wished he could be though.
Kanda was seventeen now, a year had passed since he'd moved in with Tyki, and he was finally starting to feel settled. But the mansion still felt cold to him, cold and empty. He lived for those days when he could visit the warm and inviting okiya he had once lived in. It was becoming harder and harder to see Lavi; apparently he was moonlighting as the school nurse at Allen's school. It was a swanky private academy so the pay was good, which was a good thing for both Lavi and Kanda.
Yuu had heard this through Allen, who had decided it would be a good idea to reunite the two "old friends" by bringing Kanda to school with him. Needless to say, Kanda had spent the day in the infirmary; he had never imagined himself doing anything so shameless in a nurse's office until then…
Tyki seemed to realize that their drunkenly fooling around meant nothing, and he had acted as though nothing had happened for a long while. Then Tyki had slowly started to change, it was like he was trying to distance himself from Kanda. Yuu didn't mind, of course, but it was still a curious thing, still something to be concerned about.
One particularly stormy day, when Tyki returned home, Kanda met him at his coach, an umbrella in hand. Tyki thanked him and took the umbrella from him, and they went into the warm mansion.
"Misaki, I need to talk with you about something," Tyki said, and led Kanda too his room. Tyki was acting strangely, and it made Kanda uncomfortable. Still, he did his best to grin and bear it; metaphorically speaking, of course, Yuu didn't grin. Tyki motioned for Kanda to take a seat, and he did, giving the older man a questioning look.
"I'm letting you go, you can return to your okiya any time you want."
Kanda stared at Tyki in disbelief. Had he really just said that? Was he really going to get to go back home? Yuu felt positively elated, if not somewhat confused. Sure, he was happy, happier than he had been all year, but this seemed so random.
"Um...Why, might I ask?"
"Because, you simply aren't happy here, you aren't happy with me at all, as loathe as I am to admit it."
"When did I ever make it seem like I was unhappy here?" Kanda asked. He wasn't angry or indignant, and he also didn't sound ridiculously overjoyed either, he was just curious.
"You didn't, a little bird told me so. Said little bird also hinted that you had some dubious connection with his school's nurse, but that's completely beside the point."
Kanda didn't know whether he should kill Allen or hug him. Ok, so it was thanks to the odd-looking brat that he was going to go home, finally, but there was no reason for him to tell Tyki about Lavi, either. Then again, there had been no need for Kanda to tell Allen that he did in fact have someone at the okiya waiting for him; he knew the kid was smart enough to put two and two together when Allen had seen his "reunion" with Lavi, but naturally he hadn't cared at the time.
"You know, you didn't need to come here if you didn't want to," Tyki said. He didn't seem offended by the idea at all; on the contrary he was acting more like himself than he had in weeks. Kanda breathed a small sigh of relief at this.
"I...suppose I could've," Kanda admitted. Kanda stood and respectfully bowed his head to Tyki. "I apologize for all of the trouble I've caused you. Thank you for having me."
"No trouble at all," Tyki said, dismissing the notion with a wave of his hand. Then he looked at Kanda with the same admiring eyes he'd always worn, though they were now tinged with sadness. "But...there is one thing I'd like to know before you leave for good."
"What is it?"
"What is your real name? If I can't have you, can I at least have that?" Kanda face flushed at the comment, but he conceded, after all it was the least he could do after breaking the poor man's heart.
"It's Kanda. Kanda Yuu."
When Kanda walked into Bak's office, he was met not by the blond man or his assistant, but by Lavi, who looked very much like the cat that caught the canary.
"You sure do look smug, Lavi-san," Tyki said, looking rather displeased as he walked in after Kanda. Yuu gave both of them a curious look.
"Lavi's here?" Kanda questioned aloud, for he saw no real reason for the redhead to be in the room with them, instead of Bak or Fou.
"Of course," Tyki said, "he's here so that the two of us can work out the transaction that will take place between us to make him your new danna." Kanda covered his mouth to stop himself from gaping in shock or smiling too widely, but it was clear from the look in his eyes that he was positively ecstatic. Once he regained his composure, he moved back to sit by the wall while the two worked out a deal that would give Kanda the happiness he wanted.
This time when the ceremony date came around, Kanda really did feel excited. Komui and Daisya were the first to know that he was back, of course, and they were almost as happy as he was when they heard that he would be switching dannas. Together, the three of them quickly moved Kanda back into his old room. Allen pitched in too, taking the chance to get to know the inhabitants of the okiya. They absolutely loved him. Kanda hoped the kid wouldn't start hanging around the okiya after school or something... Though, he supposed he wouldn't mind so much.
The ceremony was so much happier than Kanda remembered it being. Even his brother managed to make it down in time for it. Kanda once again felt like he was getting married, which was still mortifying, but at least now he was happy with it. It took long enough, but he was finally getting what he wanted.
"So, ya plan to follow me home, eh Yuu?" Lavi asked, once it was all over. Kanda nodded, acting as though he had every right to do whatever he wanted now; it sort of felt like he did.
"It's only midday, what would you have me do, go back to my room and sleep?"
"Well, if that's what ya wanted to do, sure. Personally, I'm more fond of the plan where you come to my place though."
"Then don't complain." Kanda and Lavi reached the fence, and Lavi stepped over first, acting like a gentleman as he helped Kanda across too; his ornate clothes made it rather difficult to do anything more than take baby steps. Even with Lavi's help, Kanda still stumbled just enough to fall into Lavi's chest. The redhead couldn't tell if that was planned or not.
"I'd never dream of it," Lavi said jokingly, and pulled Kanda close to him. The younger boy just looked too irresistible at the moment, so even though they were out in the open, Lavi didn't even try to stop himself from kissing Yuu. Besides, Kanda was his now, he could do that, even if still wasn't exactly decent. When he pulled away, he opened his eyes to see a blushing Kanda biting his bottom lip.
"You've got no idea how happy I am right now Yuu."
"I think I might have a clue."
"Well, now that that's settled," Lavi started, as he suddenly and swiftly picked Yuu up bridal style, "come to bed with me, Yuu."
"L-Lavi!" Kanda hid his burning face in Lavi's kimono, but made no move to escape. "You're so indecent!"
"I s'pose so. Still, I told you, didn't I," Lavi said, as he walked towards his house, "nothing could keep us apart long. I love you, Yuu, and I'm glad I didn't give up on that."
Kanda was embarrassed and at the same time, very overwhelmed by Lavi's feelings. Slowly, he nodded.
"I'm glad you didn't give up, too."
Lavi's wasn't certain of it, but he was pretty sure that he heard Kanda mutter "I love you, too" into his chest.
Ah...lame ending is lame D: Saya's sorry she fails so much...she sucks at endings, that's why her stories never end...But this was so fun to write! Thank you all for reviewing and reading this, and Saya's sorry the ending was disappointing and she's sorry if it feels rushed or forced... She really loved this story though...Loved it with everything she had!
So our love geisha ended up with the handsome doctor and lived happily ever after as something close to a civilly married couple. Originally, Tyki wasn't actually supposed to get any, but Saya just felt that that was ridiculous (really, Tyki not getting a little bit of sex? Please), so he got some Kanda… That's why that one piece seems a bit out-of-place, because it was added last minute.
In any case, again, thank you all so much for reading! Oh, and by the way, this story had some of the longest chapters Saya's ever worked on. Saya feels accomplished.