A/N: This is my first multichapter fanfic for the DGM fandom! Yay! I'm fairly new to the fandom, but hopefully I haven't made any unforgivable mistakes.
Warnings: YAOI, which means BOYS LOVING BOYS. If you dislike that, then the back button is easy enough to find. Please click that and leave. Limes are in the future, and lemons in the uncut versions (not on fanfiction(dot)net). Maybe some OOC, spoilers for the end of the anime later on.
Disclaimer: I don't own these lovely characters, that honor belongs to Katsura Hoshino. (Though if Hoshino-sama ever has a sale, I call dibs on Tyki… what?) I don't own anything but a copy of the anime series and all but volume 7 of the manga in English. Anything you don't recognize (like the plotline of 'A Game of Poker') does belong to me. Everything else… not so much. Please don't sue.
Kudos to the awesome SisterWicked of AssHat Productions (a group I am now a proud member of), who got me started on Lucky and lets me use 'lovely'! Beta'd by Misster Cackles! All remaining mistakes are mine.
A Game of Poker, Chapter 1
Lavi stared in disbelief at his opponent's cards, then back at his own hand, a vein near his eye twitching. The Noah HAD to be cheating. There was no other way the man could beat him every time - even if Lavi sucked at poker, the laws of probability said he'd win every once in a while. Even with luck taken into account, he should have won at least one hand by now.
"Looks like I win again, boy." Tyki said, smiling widely. Lavi's cards fell from numb fingers.
Why, oh WHY had he agreed to 'play' with Tyki? It was supposed to be a simple mission, an easy 'seek-and-retrieve' of a possible Innocence. No one at the Order had expected many Akuma, so only a single Exorcist was sent. No one, least of all him, had expected the Noah. After a brief (but intense) fight with a few Level 1 Akuma and one Level 2, nothing too difficult for Lavi to handle, Tyki Mikk had appeared. The Noah of Pleasure had been, as always, dressed in a fine suit with a charming, disarmingly handsome and innocent smile on his face.
"Now, now, boy, I didn't come here to fight."
Lavi's breathing was heavy, his Innocence resting firmly in his grip as he leveled the hammer at the man's chest.
"As if I'd believe that." he replied, smiling to show a confidence he didn't truly feel. The members of the Noah clan were dangerous at the best of times, especially this Noah, and this wasn't 'the best of times'. The 'best of times' would be if Yuu and Allen were next to him with Lenalee as backup, weapons at the ready. Tyki merely smiled in reply, raising his hands to show he carried no weapon.
Well, besides his hands. Those were more dangerous than any weapon Lavi had heard of or seen.
"You'd attack an unarmed man, Exorcist?"
"You're hardly defenseless, or unarmed." Lavi retorted. He kept his eye on his opponent, alert for any movement.
Tyki's smirk widened, and just like that, he was gone.
Lavi blinked, lowering the hammer momentarily in shock. He quickly shook himself, lifting his hammer again and turned, scanning his surroundings for any sign of where the man had gone. The Noah would not have simply left. He had to be hiding, waiting until Lavi's back was turned to-
Something went through him, a hand sliding smoothly through his own and plucking his Innocence from his grasp while another arm wrapped around the front of his body and held him still. A hand slid into his chest, a phantom hand wrapping gently around his heart. The hand didn't actually make contact, but the threat was very, very real.
A toned, suit-clad chest pressed against his back, something Lavi tried not to notice. The spicy scent of cologne wafted past his nose and he inhaled deeply for more of the scent before remembering himself and breathing through his mouth. He struggled against the hold instinctively, preservation instincts kicking in, but the arm around his chest simply pulled him closer while the hand holding his hammer slid across his waist. The phantom hand inside his chest tightened its grip just a bit, but still didn't quite make contact.
Lavi stilled. The Noah now literally held his heart and had disarmed him. His Innocence was in the Noah's hands and he was trapped. This... was very bad.
"Didn't I say I didn't come here to fight?" Tyki asked, lips brushing like butterfly wings against his ear. The rush of heat through Lavi's body wasn't totally unexpected, but unwelcome all the same and he pushed the sensation to the back of his mind.
"Let me go, you bastard." Lavi demanded, careful not to move. Tyki chuckled, the vibration reverberating through Lavi's body because of their proximity. The Exorcist shivered.
Suddenly, Tyki released him. The redhead stumbled forward two steps before recovering his balance and whirling around to face the Noah.
The man was calmly bouncing the captured Innocence on his palm, tossing it casually up and catching it easily as the hammer had reverted to its small form.
"Do you want this back?" Tyki asked, voice falsely pleasant as he balanced the hammer on one long, elegant finger. Suspicious, Lavi nodded slowly. The Noah let the hammer drop into his palm, fingers closing over the weapon. The redhead recalled in a flash how the other had destroyed Allen's Innocence, how the man had held the white-haired boy's Innocence and shattered it, held it the same way he was holding Lavi's weapon now.
The Exorcist could feel his heart speed up, mouth going dry and arms beginning to reach of their own accord for the Noah's closed fist.
Without a word, Tyki turned and began walking down the street, Innocence in hand.
"Hey- wait!" Lavi shouted at the man's retreating back, following.END FLASHBACK
Tyki had led him to a rather nice hotel, to this room on the sixth floor. Lavi wasn't exactly sure how long he had been here, but it had to have been at least an hour. Much to the redhead's shock, the Noah hadn't actually attempted to hurt him yet, nor had he destroyed the Innocence.
All they had done for the past 'more than an hour', was play poker. They had been sitting on the nice, plush carpet for more than an hour, playing poker.
Tyki had suggested making the game interesting and Lavi hadn't exactly been in a position to refuse. The Noah had started tossing the mini-hammer casually into the air, the 'absentminded' (Lavi seriously doubted it) action reminding the Exorcist why he had followed the Noah in the first place. He had briefly entertained the thought of grabbing his weapon and making a run for it, but there were too many variables involved and he didn't want to risk the other man's goodwill on an attempt that was doomed to fail. Tyki's goodwill, or whatever it was, was keeping him alive and his Innocence in one piece. The Exorcist doubted the man would react so favorably if Lavi tried and failed to escape.
The Order couldn't afford to lose another Exorcist, especially not on what was supposed to be such an easy mission.
After the first hand, Lavi lost his bandanna. The second hand had claimed his scarf. The next, his socks. (He had taken off his boots upon entering the cushy hotel room, long before the words 'strip poker' had crossed the Pleasure's lips. Tyki, smug bastard that he was, had taken off all but his shirt and pants before the start of the game, claiming the other clothes were uncomfortable. Tyki's hair was loose, having been freed from the usual ponytail when the Noah had removed his extra clothes.) Lavi's jacket had been the next to go. His shirt was a fond memory.
Then things had started to get interesting.
Tyki had been staring at him intently since they arrived, but his golden eyes had darkened each time the man won. With the removal of the redhead's shirt, Tyki had begun blatantly staring, eyes roaming over the exposed flesh with something like hunger. Lavi had never been more aware of his body, aware of how his chest moved when he breathed in and how the slight chill in the room caused goosebumps over his skin.
The Noah's staring also brought into focus just how... intimate the setting was. They were alone in a hotel room - a nice hotel at that - late at night, a big (Lavi had noted this when he entered the room, but hadn't considered any implications) king-sized bed not ten feet away.
Lavi shook himself mentally, derailing the rather interesting track his mind had taken.
The soft sound of a throat clearing brought his attention back. Tyki raised one eyebrow, looking at him expectantly. Lavi could see the undercurrents of desire in those golden eyes, making him shiver.
Slowly, fingers trembling slightly, he reached down to his belt buckle. After this, all he had was his eyepatch, his pants, and his underwear. He was naked enough as it was, he wanted to keep the rest of his clothes on, but the Noah still had his Innocence...
Fumbling slightly, Lavi unbuckled the belt and slid it from the loops in his pants. He set it aside with the rest of his clothes, carefully not looking at the man seated across from him.
"Well!" He forced a laugh as he began to stand, one hand at his waist to help hold up his pants. "It's been fun, Noah, but it's getting late and I really should be getting back, so if you'll just give me my Innocence I'll be on my way."
"You don't like our game, Exorcist?" he asked, voice smooth and deep. "If you want to leave, feel free. You're no prisoner here, but this-"
Lavi turned to look as Tyki held up the hammer.
"-stays with me."
With a mental curse, Lavi settled back down.
"I take it you want to continue?" The Noah's voice was amused as he gathered the cards and began to shuffle. Lavi nodded, mind trying to find a way out of the situation. He really didn't want to be weaponless and naked in a room alone with a Noah. And a bed. Can't forget the bed.
"Just deal the cards." Smirking, the Pleasure did.
Lavi slowly picked up his cards, trying to nonchalantly hold them fanned out so they covered as much of his exposed chest as possible. When he actually saw what he held, his breath caught.
A Jack, a Queen, a King, and an Ace of Spades smiled up at him, along with a Queen of Hearts. If he just traded the second Queen for a 10 of Spades, he'd have a Royal Straight Flush in Spades. Nothing could beat that!
His elation faded quickly upon the realization that the 10 of Spades was only one card in a 52-card deck - 42, if you subtract out the cards he and his opponent now held. His chances of actually getting the card were very small, and getting rid of the second Queen meant he'd have nothing, not even a pair.
"Trading in?" Tyki asked.
Ah well, it wasn't like he had anything more to lose if he didn't trade in the second Queen. He placed the card facedown on the carpet, sliding it towards the Noah.
Wordlessly, Tyki drew the top card and handed it to the Exorcist. Lavi took it, flipping it to face him and then struggling to keep his expression neutral.
Tyki had just handed him the 10 of Spades.
Lavi knew the other man could tell something was up. He could see it in his eyes. Even so, the Noah exuded confidence.
"Show your cards." Tyki flipped his hand over. "Straight Flush."
"Royal Straight Flush." Lavi replied, showing his hand. Tyki seemed surprised for the merest instant before a smirk stole back over his features. For some reason that smirk made Lavi uneasy, as if the Pleasure was plotting something.
"Congratulations. I seem to have lost this round." Tyki put the cards down on the floor then lifted his hands slowly to the collar of his shirt. Tilting his head back, he began unbuttoning the white silk garment.
Unthinkingly, Lavi's eye followed the motions, watching as the pale gray hands (they appeared darker against the white cloth, the contrast almost pretty) slid slowly down the other male's torso. Inch after inch of toned skin was revealed as the hands trailed down further. In short order, the shirt was entirely unbuttoned and Tyki was sliding one of his hands over his chest, the movement riveting Lavi's gaze as the Noah slid one arm free. Those long, elegant fingers trailed across the Pleasure's collarbone, lightly grabbing the material and sliding it off the other arm.
Lavi swallowed thickly, voice seemingly caught in his throat as he stared at the bared skin. The Noah didn't seem to notice, carefully folding his shirt and setting it aside, muttering something about the Earl nagging him to be more careful with his clothes. Lavi was still staring when the Noah turned back to him, only jerking his gaze away when Tyki smirked and asked suggestively:
"See something you like?"
The redhead could feel the heat rush into his face and prayed his blush wasn't too obvious. By the other man's chuckle, it was.
"Just deal the cards." he managed to say, making a mental note not to look directly at the half-naked Noah again. It seemed to interfere with his ability to concentrate.
He also made a mental note to never, EVER, mention this incident to Bookman. Or Allen. Or Yuu. Or Lenalee. Or... well, anyone really. Playing CARD GAMES with a dangerous Noah, one capable of literally ripping the heart from your chest-
The thought made him pause. Tyki was able to choose what he touched, so couldn't he have just chosen not to touch the shirt and let it fall right through him instead of putting on that show?
Lavi turned the thought over in his mind as Tyki silently dealt the next hand. With hardly a glance at the cards, still deep in thought, the redhead absently picked three to send back and received three in return.
As he studied the cards, he contemplated the man sitting across from him. (It wasn't as if he had a decent hand anyway - two pair, four and two. He'd be losing this round.)
Tyki was odd, to say the least. Lavi could recall meeting the Noah on the train, surrounded by humans and pretending to be human himself. Perhaps he was slightly sadistic - having a Tease eat Allen's heart wasn't the nicest way to kill someone, nor was ripping out an organ, for that matter - but so were all Noah. For one of the Earl's - would you call them family? - Tyki actually wasn't so bad.
Lavi shoved that thought to the far recesses of his mind, hoping never to see it again. Tyki had killed Exorcists, killed them in terrible ways and didn't seem to feel guilty in the least. The Pleasure was a killer, a dangerous, cold-blooded killer who was trying to completely wipe out humanity. He had let himself get comfortable, had almost forgotten who he was dealing with.
Trying to be casual and failing, Lavi scooted backwards, away from the Noah. Tyki seemed to notice, eyes narrowing slightly and lips twisting into a mirthless smile.
"Show your cards."
Lavi flipped his hand over.
The redhead handed over his cards, preoccupied with his thoughts and not even thinking about what the loss meant.
What was Tyki really like? The Noah was a bundle of contradictions, a friend to humans even as he was helping to bring humankind to its end; playing POKER with an Exorcist while ripping the hearts out of others. The man hadn't even destroyed Lavi's Innocence, even though the Pleasure had held it for more than long enough now.
The Exorcist didn't notice Tyki's slightly impatient and expectant look, nor when Tyki cleared his throat. Annoyed, the Noah opened his mouth to speak-
"What do you want from me?" Lavi asked, meeting the Noah square in the eyes. "Why did you do that... thing with your shirt? Why bring me here? Why haven't you destroyed my Innocence or killed me yet?"
Tyki blinked, taken aback by the sudden questioning before his mind caught up with his ears.
"That... 'thing' with my shirt?" he asked slowly, making Lavi curse his mouth. "You mean, why didn't I use my powers to take it off?"
Stubbornly, Lavi nodded. He had asked the question, after all, even if he hadn't meant to.
"Simply using my powers to take off my clothes is so much more boring. I like to undress slowly... did you enjoy the show?" Tyki's smirk widened as the Exorcist spluttered, beet red. "You make the cutest expressions, Exorcist."
"Are you... flirting with me?" Lavi asked in a small voice, having already worked out the answer. "Wait, nevermind. I don't want to know."
"And here I thought I was being too obvious." Tyki stared pointedly at the redhead. "I believe you lost last round."
Lavi froze, body heating involuntarily under the other's intense gaze. He opened his mouth to argue, maybe find some way to distract the Noah or delay the inevitable. As Tyki's expression gained an edge of impatience, Lavi gave up.
His hands fumbled with the button on his jeans, looking down to avoid meeting the Noah's eyes. He ended up needing several tries before the button finally came loose. The sound of his zipper seemed extraordinarily loud in the hotel room, which was suddenly way too small for Lavi's liking.
His hands stilled after he undid the zipper, looking up to meet Tyki's eyes imploringly.
"Isn't this enough-"
"Take them off, Exorcist. All the way." The Pleasure sounded far too pleased with himself. Biting his lip, stomach aflutter with nerves, Lavi pushed himself to his feet. The redhead's pants quickly fell to the floor, material bunched around his ankles. He stepped out of them quickly, nearly tripping in his haste to kick them off. He sat down as quickly as possible, flushing as he noticed the Noah take in the sight of his dark blue boxers. He covered himself as best he could, ignoring Tyki's soft, disappointed sigh.
He really, really wished he had worn a few extra layers of clothes. The room didn't feel cold, far from it, but that was part of the problem. He really, really wished he had kept ahold of his Innocence.
"Are you afraid?" Tyki teased, dealing five more cards to each of them. Lavi shook his head, but didn't pick up the cards.
"I don't want to play anymore. I want answers."
"I just want to know why." Lavi replied, keeping his gaze steady. "Why haven't you killed me yet?"
"I don't want to." The answer was simple, the Noah's tone making it seem obvious. The Exorcist could feel his mouth drop open in shock, then understanding as his eyes flicked to the bed and then back to Tyki. Cold washed through him, heart freezing inside his chest.
"You don't mean-"
"I mean that I don't want to kill you." Seeing Lavi open his mouth, he continued. "I don't want to destroy your Innocence, either. What else did you want to ask?"
Lavi was half-tempted to just up and run, leave his Innocence behind, but the loss of even one Exorcist would mean a much harder fight for those who were left.
"Why not?" the part of him that was a Bookman-in-training asked. Tyki shrugged, which didn't do anything to reassure the redhead.
"Call it a whim. You haven't been put on the Earl's list, so I have no reason to kill you yet."
"Yet." Lavi echoed. "So you'll just kill anyone the Earl tells you to? As soon as my name appears on the list, you'll kill me?"
Tyki chuckled darkly.
"You say it as if I have a choice, Exorcist. Do you honestly think the Earl is so kind as to give his servants a choice?"
Green eyes widened at the bitterness in the Pleasure's tone, as if this were an old grievance and brought up painful memories.
"You don't have a choice?"
The Noah's eyes were unreadable as the man shrugged.
"An order is an order. You learn to live with it." Tyki's tone suggested dire consequences if one didn't learn to 'live with it' and Lavi shivered again, this time from fear. He had always been curious, at least a bit, to know where the other Noah were, the ones the Order hadn't met. Allen carried the power of the Fourteenth, but only a small handful of Noah were known to exist, so where were the missing numbers?
Lavi was suddenly not curious in the least where those Noah now were.
"But more to the point-" Lavi looked up, unaware of when exactly he had begun looking down. "-are we going to play another hand?" Tyki's eyes were gleaming, almost daring the redhead to one more round.
"Will you let me leave afterwards? With my Innocence?" Lavi asked in reply, expecting an immediate 'no'. He wasn't entirely sure what to make of Tyki's responses to his questions, but whether or not the Pleasure was a willing servant of the Earl, he was still a servant and couldn't be trusted.
To his surprise, the man seemed to consider it.
"How about we make a wager?" Tyki finally said. "You win, you get your Innocence back and get to walk out of here. I'll promise not to attack you again until the end of this mission. Afterwards, I can make no promises."
Lavi couldn't believe his ears. Tyki Mikk, the same Tyki Mikk that had nearly cost the Order one of their most powerful Exorcists, was offering to just let him go if he won a round of cards? Not that him winning was likely, but even the offer was almost unbelievable.
He waited for the other shoe to drop.
"If you lose, I still return your Innocence, but you spend the night here, with me, and let me do whatever I want with you."
That hadn't just been a shoe, it had been a truckload of Army boots. If he agreed to play (and he doubted he'd get his Innocence back if he didn't) and lost, as was likely, then he'd have to 'spend the night' with Tyki. If he won, which he doubted he would, he'd be able to go on as if this night never happened.
If he refused, he could get up and leave his Innocence behind, useless to the Order except as a Finder, if anyone trusted him after learning he lost his Innocence without a fight to a Noah.
Damned if he did, damned if he didn't.
"Do I get to leave in one piece once the sun comes up, if I lose?" he heard himself ask. Tyki's smile widened.
"I already told you I have no interest in killing you."
With a deep breath, Lavi steeled himself and slowly collected the cards Tyki had dealt a few minutes before. He handed the cards back to Tyki, smiling at the man's curious expression.
"Deal. Now reshuffle and deal again."
The smirk that spread across Tyki's face was so full of heat it probably would have burned a lesser person. With confident movements and ease borne of long practice, Tyki collected the remaining cards from the floor and began to shuffle.
The redhead, meanwhile, was desperately trying to calm his fluttering stomach and racing heart. This could either turn out very good for him, or very bad. Winning this hand was what he told himself he wanted, to get back his Innocence and be allowed to walk out, but he couldn't help his stray thoughts.
Losing, even if he could only admit it to himself, wouldn't be so terrible since it was this Noah and not another. He didn't think the Pleasure would kill him.
The sound of cards being dealt brought his attention back to the present. He let his thoughts fade away, replaced by nothing but the cards and strategy. For now, he would concentrate on winning. Later he could worry about the ramifications of this 'friendly little game' and the confusing thoughts that had come with it. Later he could worry about his reactions to the Noah of Pleasure.
Much, much later.
He picked up his cards, studying his hand.
A pair of fours... he could make something with that. He had a three, a ten, and a King as well, but nothing he could make anything good with-
He looked more closely at his cards. All but one of the fours was a Diamond card. If he just got rid of the extra four and got a Diamond, he'd have a flush! Almost shaking from excitement, Lavi reached up to take the card but his fingers hesitated just before making contact.
Even if he won, he'd always wonder 'what if'? What if he had lost? What if the events promised by the setting and Tyki's hungry expression had taken place? What if he had never run into the Noah, and what if he had never played this game of poker?
The Noah's voice broke into his thoughts. Lavi quickly removed the extra card and slid it across the carpet.
"One." he replied steadily. The Pleasure held his gaze as he handed the Exorcist a new card. It took some effort, but Lavi managed to break the mutual stare and looked at his card.
A two of Diamonds.
He had a flush.
"Show your cards." Tyki's voice was soft, fading into nothing under the tense atmosphere.
"Flush." Lavi murmured in reply, lowering his hand to reveal the cards. Tyki didn't even look.
"How odd. I have a flush as well." Tyki held up his hand, a collection of Clubs grinning back at Lavi. "High card?"
The words stuck in his throat. The Noah was holding up his hand, displaying his high card - the Queen of Clubs. Lavi had a King.
He had won, so why did he suddenly feel disappointed?
"High card?" Tyki repeated, voice even despite the sudden worry Lavi could swear he saw in the man's golden eyes and the tension in the man's frame. Mouth dry, the redhead answered.
"A ten." He held up the card as proof, the King quickly and surreptitiously covered by the two he had picked up. It seemed to burn his palm, weighing his arm down. "You win."
A/N: So… like it, hate it, want to run it over with a pickup? Drop me a line and let me know! I already have up through Chapter 7 for this fic written, so this will likely be updated fairly often, especially if I see that there's a lot of interest in the fic.