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. 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 volumes 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.

WARNINGS: This chapter contains LEMON (NC-17) content of the M/M (malexmale) variety. Do not read if you are considered a minor in your country or if you take offense to one man loving another man.

Dedicated to hinapouri for the AMAZING cover she drew for AGoP! You can see it here, just remove the spaces: h t t p : / / h i n a p o u r i . d e v i a n t a r t . c o m / # / d 3 8 a b 6 j

Dedicated to Niamh, Hakoro, Cackles, Jennypen, and Silver! (They beta'd this, but any remaining mistakes are mine.)

And dedicated to everyone who has been reading this. Thank you everyone! I hope you enjoy the final chapter! (Note about the sequel at the bottom)

Last Time On 'A Game Of Poker':

Krory nodded slowly, relaxing back into his chair.

"If you're sure..." he said. "I hope that some of what I said will help you."

"Me, too," Lavi replied, turning towards the door. "Take care!"

"You as well..." Krory said, the sound of the door closing cutting off his words.

And Now, The Continuation

Chapter 38


Lavi swallowed heavily, walking slowly along the hallway towards the room he shared with Bookman. His dinner felt heavy in his churning stomach and his palms were sweaty, hands nearly trembling from nerves.

Ever since his conversation with Krory earlier that afternoon, he had been turning the older man's words around and around in his head until they had ceased to make sense. Allen's voice and Bookman's had gotten mixed in there too, somehow, until all Lavi had been able to think about was how Tyki would listen, how he owed Bookman nothing, and how some relationships were worth sacrificing others for.

And, of course, he had thought about Tyki. The Noah had been ever-present in his thoughts, though usually as just an underlying presence. Though there was no way to be sure what Tyki thought of him now, Allen's assurance that Tyki would at least listen to him was a comfort.

He had made his decision. Now all he had to do was inform Bookman and hope that he had made the right choice.


Bookman stared out the window, eyes resting on the moon but not truly seeing it. In the morning, he would be leaving the Black Order for good. Whether he would leave with his apprentice or without, he didn't know. The redhead had been absent from their shared room since lunchtime and while initially Bookman hadn't wanted to seek the boy out, the hour was growing late and he needed to know what Lavi had chosen.

There was a sudden, quiet knock on the door. Bookman felt something inside him still and he turned around just in time to see Lavi hesitantly push open the door and step through.

"You have decided," Bookman said. Lavi bit his lower lip and nodded. The redhead looked down at the floor and took a deep breath, letting it out as he raised his head and met Bookman's gaze.

"I'm sorry," Lavi said. Bookman had expected the apology from the moment Lavi had knocked rather than just walk in. If he was being completely honest, he had half-expected this outcome from the moment he had given the redhead the choice. He kept his expression carefully neutral as Lavi continued. "I can't go with you in the morning. I want to stay here."

Bookman closed his eyes and let out a slow breath. He heard Lavi step forward again and opened his eyes.

"Bookman?" Lavi asked tentatively, taking another step forward. "I'm really sorry. It's just... I can't. I like it here and I..." Lavi's voice trailed off and he looked away.

"You want to go back to him," Bookman said. Lavi looked back at Bookman, searching his mentor's face for any hint of condemnation or some sort of reaction. Bookman kept his face carefully blank.

"I'm sorry," Lavi repeated again. Bookman turned away from him and moved towards the desk. A single cardboard box lay atop it. Bookman opened the box and removed a smaller, wooden box from inside.

He held it in his hands for a moment, part of his brain asking him if he seriously intended to go through with the memory removal.

He heard Lavi step towards him and then a sudden halt as Lavi saw what was in his hands. Bookman heard the redhead swallow nervously but didn't turn. He just stared at the box containing his acupuncture needles, thumb idly running over the clasp.

It was expected of any master letting an apprentice go, especially when the apprentice had been with the master for as long as Lavi had.

"Could you..." Lavi's voice was uncertain, shaky. "Could you leave me some of my memories of you? Nothing important, nothing a normal person isn't allowed to know, just... some of them?"

Bookman's hand stilled.

"That would be against the Code," he said flatly. "I have spent my life attempting to uphold it."

He could almost hear Lavi flinch and his hand tightened on the box. Bookman stared at it for a moment more, then shut his eyes and placed the wooden box back inside the cardboard one.


Bookman closed the box up again, not looking at his now-former apprentice.

"This place changes people," he said slowly. He turned, for once feeling his age as his bones creaked alarmingly at the movement. Lavi was staring at him, eye wide in confusion.

"You're not going to erase my memories?" the redhead asked. Bookman shook his head.

"You are right, Lavi. At my age, it is unlikely that I will find another apprentice. Should I die before I find and train someone to carry on the title, the information will live on through you."

Bookman looked at the cardboard boxes filled with paper and old books he had stacked in the corner of the room. "Upon my death, if I have no apprentice, I will have these sent to you."

Lavi's mouth worked for a moment or two, but no sound came out.

"But I'm not going to be a Bookman anymore," he finally managed. Bookman shook his head.

"The title will not be yours, but it would be foolish to allow the information to be lost or fall into the hands of those who would ignore its worth. You will be tasked to pass on the information in whatever manner you choose." Bookman looked back at Lavi. The redhead seemed stunned, jaw slack and eye wide. Bookman scowled and walked over to the redhead. Lavi watched him approach, not moving. Bookman drew back his hand and clapped him soundly across the side of his head. Lavi gave a startled yelp and put a hand to where the blow had landed.

"What was that for?" he asked, a whining note to his voice that Bookman could say that he sincerely hadn't missed.

"Idiot," he said. "If you're finished being shocked, you may go. If you intend to stay, then I am not the only person you need to speak with."

He saw Lavi's gaze flick towards the door and then back to him, guilt creeping into his eye.

"Are you still leaving tomorrow morning?" Lavi asked quietly. "If you're just going to pass the records on to me anyway-"

"Only if I don't find someone else," Bookman reminded him sharply. "Though unlikely, there is a chance that I will find another person to carry on my title."

Lavi nodded and looked down.

"I see." He bit his lip. "So you won't stay."

"No. I will not," Bookman said. Lavi nodded again and looked up.

"I want to stay with you, just until you leave," he said. Bookman saw his eye flick towards the door in a motion so quick he doubted that the redhead had even realized that he had done it. Bookman shook his head.

"You want to go to him," he said. He half-turned away from Lavi. "Go."

"Tyki will still be here tomorrow," Lavi objected, though Bookman could hear just how half-hearted the protestation was and an underlying fear. He frowned. Lavi shifted nervously in place, not looking at Bookman.

"I am going to rest soon," Bookman said. "I have a long day of travelling ahead of me. There is no need to keep me company."

Lavi nodded quickly.

"But even so..." His voice trailed off. Bookman's frown deepened, but then his expression softened as he recalled how bleak Lavi had sounded the other day when he had confided to Allen that he doubted that Tyki would accept him back.

"You will not know until you talk to him," Bookman said. Lavi looked at the door again and then back at Bookman. "I need my rest. I won't stay up just to entertain you."

Lavi nodded and smiled thinly, but with a hint of genuine warmth.

"Thank you, Bookman," he said. He seemed to hesitate for a moment, but then stepped forward quickly and wrapped his arms around his former mentor's shoulders. Bookman tried to jerk away, taken aback by the unexpected hug, but the redhead was already pulling away.

"Sorry," he muttered, not meeting Bookman's eyes. Bookman sighed and lifted a hand, placing it on top of Lavi's head. Lavi looked up, surprised.

"I will have my golem," Bookman said. "I may choose to contact you, though I cannot promise that I will."

"Bookman..." Lavi said, stunned. "But... the Code..."

"Go," Bookman said, removing his hand and turning away. Lavi didn't move for a minute. Bookman heard another quiet 'thank you' and then the sound of booted feet moved across the floor.

"Goodbye, Gramps," Lavi said quietly, turning the handle and opening the door. Bookman listened to the door click shut and then sighed, shoulders slumping and body feeling heavier and aching more than it had in a while.

"Goodbye, Lavi," he said to the empty room.


Lavi stood in front of the door, taking deep breaths and trying to calm himself. His hands shook from nerves. For once, there were no guards posted by the door. The hallway was completely deserted, save for Lavi.

The redhead wiped his palm on his hip and then lifted his hand to knock. The first knock was quiet, too hesitant to really get anyone's attention. Lavi shook his head, irritated with himself for a moment, then repeated the knock twice with more force. He waited, resisting the urge to fidget. Allen had told him that Tyki would at least listen. Lavi had to believe that he would get a chance to explain.

He could hear movement inside the room and his heart leapt into his throat. He swallowed heavily as he heard muffled footsteps approach the door, forcing himself to stay in place as the handle turned and the door was pulled open. Tyki appeared in the doorway, expression turning from slightly annoyed to stunned when he saw Lavi.

"May I come in?" Lavi asked quietly. He didn't move. Tyki's stunned expression faded, eyes narrowing slightly and mouth drawing itself into a thin line.

"I thought you had said all you needed to weeks ago," Tyki replied flatly. Lavi's heart shuddered and he took a deep breath. He had deserved that.

"Please?" he asked. He tried to maintain eye contact with the Noah, but it was too painful and he turned away. "I'm sorry. I know you have every right to be angry at me, but please..."

He heard the door hinges creak and winced, expecting to hear the door click shut. When the noise didn't come, he looked up.

Tyki had moved, opening the door wider to admit the redhead through. The Noah's expression was neutral as he motioned for Lavi to enter. The redhead nodded his thanks and walked in just far enough so that Tyki could close the door. Lavi waited, feeling somewhat awkward despite the fact that he had been in this room several times before. He heard the door click shut and shifted nervously, heart thundering in his chest. The tension in the room seemed thick, making the air hard to breathe. Lavi drew in a deep lungful, trying to relax and get his jumbled thoughts in order.

Tyki walked casually towards the other side of the room. Lavi would have thought that he was the only one bothered by the heavy atmosphere if not for the tension he could see in the man's shoulders.

"Walker said that you might come by to talk to me," Tyki said, stopping next to the window. "In order to explain. Is that why you're here?"

Lavi nodded and then realized that Tyki couldn't see him.

"Yes," he said. He coughed quietly, trying to clear his throat.

"Then by all means, Lavi," Tyki said, voice soft. "Please explain."

Lavi took a few hesitant steps forward and then stopped, uncertain. Where did he even begin?

"I didn't want to leave you," he started haltingly. "Bookman found out about our- about us," he amended hastily. He drew in a shuddering breath at the memory. "He told me that I wasn't allowed to see you again after... after that last night."

"And you simply followed his orders?" Tyki asked, voice a few degrees cooler. "It couldn't have meant very much to you then, if you were so willing to-"

"I didn't have a choice!" Lavi said, cutting Tyki off. "He was my mentor. He took me in when I was a kid. I couldn't just leave him."

Tyki turned to face Lavi, expression once again neutral. Lavi held his gaze, willing him to understand. This time, it was Tyki who looked away first.

"So then, when I asked if it was Bookman who had told you to stay away from me and you said 'no', you were lying?" Tyki asked, looking out the window again. Lavi nodded.


"Then why are you here now?" Tyki asked. "What changed? I can't imagine that your mentor suddenly decided to allow you to see me once more."

Tyki said the word 'mentor' as though it were the worst of curse words.

"Bookman..." Lavi said slowly, trying to find the words. "He overheard a conversation I had had. He realized that, as I am, I wasn't fit to be a Bookman anymore, so he-"

"Did he release you from your apprenticeship?" Tyki demanded. Lavi nodded hesitantly, opening his mouth to say that yes, after a fashion, Bookman had, but Tyki continued. As he spoke, his voice grew more heated. "And since your first choice of lifestyle was no longer available to you, you thought that you'd simply come back to me and see if I would accept you into my bed again?"

"No, that's not-" Lavi started to say, shaking his head frantically at the misinterpretation, but Tyki wasn't listening or watching.

"I suppose you expect me to be pleased to be your second choice-"

Lavi moved forward before he was aware of what he was doing and threw his arms around the older man from behind. There was a momentary stab of panic when he thought that Tyki wouldn't let the embrace connect, but then he could feel the Noah's body and he pressed himself against it. He rested his forehead between Tyki's shoulder blades, holding his arms loosely around the Noah's waist.

Tyki had fallen silent and tense at the contact, but he didn't pull away.

"That's not it," Lavi said. "I'm not Bookman's apprentice anymore, but that was my choice. What Bookman did was give me a choice, Tyki. I could either leave with him and have my memories of being 'Lavi' erased or I could stay here and become a true Exorcist, not just a Bookman's apprentice playing solider." Lavi took in a deep breath before continuing. Tyki didn't speak. "I was going to go with him, but Allen told me that you'd listen if I came and explained."

"Did you just assume that I would forgive you?" Tyki asked, but there was no accusation or anger in his tone. One of Tyki's hands came up to cover one of Lavi's and the redhead instinctively tightened his grip. Tyki didn't move.

"I hoped," Lavi admitted. "I thought that it would be worth a try." He stepped back, dropping his hands. "I understand if you don't..."

Tyki turned and caught Lavi's wrist. Lavi didn't look up. He felt his pulse beat rapidly against Tyki's hand.

"You didn't need to say that you were tired of me," Tyki said, voice low and serious. Lavi swallowed, nodding. "You didn't need to tell me that you had been sleeping with other people-" Tyki's grip suddenly tightened almost painfully and then loosened again almost instantly. "You haven't been, have you?"

Lavi shook his head and lifted his gaze to meet Tyki's. Tyki's eyes were dark with the faintest hint of gold, narrowed just slightly.

"I haven't."

"Then why tell me those things?" Tyki asked.

"I had to," Lavi said quietly. "If I didn't... I wasn't sure if you'd pursue me or not. I knew that I'd give in if you did, so I tried to make sure that you wouldn't."

"If Bookman is important enough that you would tell me those things in order to keep your word to him, then why did you choose me this time?" Tyki asked. Lavi wanted to move closer and embrace the Noah again, but he resisted the urge and kept still.

"I was miserable. Even if he could take away the memories, it's not possible to remove the emotions. I would have felt like this and I wouldn't have even remembered why," Lavi said honestly. "I didn't want to leave, not when I thought that I might have a chance."

"A chance for what, exactly?" Tyki asked. He bent his arm, still holding Lavi's wrist, and brought the redhead's hand up by his chest. He pulled Lavi closer and moved his other hand to the redhead's hip. Lavi felt his heart skip and he breathed in sharply. "What do you feel, Lavi?"

"I just wanted to be with you again," Lavi said in a rush. His heart had ceased skipping and had begun to race, thrown into high-gear by the proximity. "I missed you. Even if it was just physical-"

"Was it, Lavi?" Tyki asked. His tone had gone sharp again. "Was it simply physical?"

Lavi shook his head.

"No, it wasn't," he admitted, glancing down. "Maybe Bookman wouldn't have had a problem with it if it had been," he added quietly.

Tyki was silent for a moment and then he lifted Lavi's hand and pressed a kiss against the palm. Lavi looked up, surprised by the motion.

"Is that what you would want this time?" Tyki asked. "Something 'just physical', an arrangement where we could crawl into other people's beds if the mood struck us but you and I came regularly together for pleasure?"

The Noah's voice didn't reflect any of his thoughts on the matter. Lavi's heart shuddered to a stop and his free hand clenched into a fist, tightly enough that his nails dug harshly into his palm. He gritted his teeth and looked towards the window rather than at Tyki.

"If... if that's what you'd prefer," he said tonelessly. He felt Tyki's lips slide down to his wrist.

"Whether or not you would be content with such an arrangement is what I'm asking," Tyki said mildly. He kissed the pulse point in Lavi's wrist.

"If that's all I can get-" Lavi began, but then he abruptly stopped. Tyki drew back from his wrist and slid his hand up Lavi's side. He gently pushed on Lavi's cheek, commanding the redhead to look at him. Lavi allowed his gaze to be moved from the window, though he kept his eye downcast.

"I would not be content with that," Tyki said. Lavi looked up and Tyki's eyes caught his. Their gazes held. "I don't want to hear about you bedding other people. For as long as this lasts, I want my bed to be the only one you fall into."

Lavi nodded rapidly, accidentally dislodging Tyki's hand.

"I want that too," he said. "I don't want anyone else."

Tyki smiled and Lavi couldn't help the answering burst of warmth in his chest. He returned the smile tentatively, and, for the first time in weeks, actually meant it. Tyki leaned forward just slightly and placed his hand back on Lavi's cheek, cupping it.

"I'll ask again," he murmured. "A chance for what? What is it that you want, Lavi?"

Lavi lifted his hands slowly, still somewhat uncertain of himself. Tyki didn't move as Lavi carefully placed his hands on either side of the older man's head. The redhead took a deep breath and pulled Tyki towards him. Tyki offered no resistance.

Lavi pressed his lips against Tyki's but kept his mouth closed. Tyki's hand slid to the back of Lavi's head and tilted it slightly, changing their angle of contact. The kiss was chaste and soft, filled more with tenderness than lust. It was exactly the sort of kiss Lavi had shied away from before, something that hinted at so much more than just physical fulfillment.

Lavi broke the kiss, leaning back just enough so that their lips were no longer quite touching but remaining close.

"This," he said. "I want what we had."

Tyki reclaimed Lavi's lips. Lavi made a muffled noise of surprise but didn't pull away. He pulled Tyki closer and opened his mouth at the Noah's gentle urging. Tyki used the hand on Lavi's waist to pull him closer, pressing their bodies together but not grinding. Lavi melted into him, tongues tangling slowly together. There was passion in this kiss and a definite promise of heat, but lust did not dominate it. There was too much tenderness in the way Tyki's tongue moved against Lavi's, a desire to melt together as one flesh rather than merely share pleasure.

They broke apart again, Lavi panting quietly from the intensity.

"You never let me kiss you like that before," Tyki said, sounding only slightly breathless. "I think that this may be an improvement on what we had."

"I didn't want to get attached before," Lavi explained. "Getting attached wasn't allowed."

Tyki nodded and then seemed to pause, hesitating. It was the first sign of uncertainty that Lavi had seen from the man and his brow furrowed in confusion.

"Tyki?" he asked nervously. Tyki wasn't regretting giving him another chance, was he? His chest tightened at the thought.

"Before we continue, Lavi," Tyki said. "I have a confession to make."

At the word 'continue', Lavi felt his heart relax and he breathed out. Then heard the rest of the sentence.

"Confession?" he asked. Tyki nodded.

"The other day, after you told me that nothing we'd had ever meant anything to you and that you had already moved on, I tried to do the same," Tyki said, voice low. Lavi swallowed heavily and nodded, looking down at the floor. "That night, I went to someone else's bed."

Lavi nodded again, the motion jerky and ungraceful.

"I know," Lavi said. "Well, someone told me, but I didn't know that he was telling the truth. I wanted to believe he was lying, but-"

"What did he tell you?" Tyki's voice had gone cold with anger again, though this time Lavi sensed that it wasn't directed at him. Lavi looked up at the Noah, eye widening in slight surprise at the depth of anger he saw there. He swallowed heavily.

"Just that you didn't take much convincing," Lavi admitted. He saw Tyki wince slightly at the words and realized that, for that at least, Alex had been telling the truth. He suddenly felt cold, remembering what else Alex had said and wondering how much more of it had been true. "He said that you must have gotten tired of me, since you could pleasure yourself better than I could-"

"He said that?" Tyki asked, narrowing his eyes in fury. "I should have torn him to pieces, consequences be damned..." Lavi felt his heart plummet and he shifted away from the Noah, looking down at the floor again.

"So it was true," he mumbled miserably, voice barely audible even to his own ears. He lifted his hand to Tyki's and pulled it away from his face. The Noah's hand moved willingly, though Tyki's arm tightened around Lavi's waist when the redhead tried to move away.

"Lavi?" Tyki asked, sounding confused. Lavi didn't look up.

"Why do you want me then, if I'm so bad at it?" he asked. Tyki didn't respond immediately, stunned into silence, but Lavi took that as permission to continue. "If you can use your hand and it's better than when it's with me-"

"You've misunderstood," Tyki said firmly, jerking his hand from Lavi's slack grip and using it to tilt Lavi's face towards him. Lavi resisted the gentle touch, but Tyki was persistent and kept pressing until the redhead was forced to lift his gaze. Tyki met his gaze sincerely, trying to convey the truth of his next words with his eyes. "With you, it has never been anything but wonderful, Lavi. He is the one who was unable to satisfy me, not you. Never you."

Tyki's thumb traced over Lavi's bottom lip and the Noah's eyes flicked to the redhead's eyes for a moment before returning.

"I know this fixes nothing, but I called your name," Tyki said. Lavi's eye widened. "It was petty and foolish of me to try and find someone else, but I didn't know at the time that you had been lying to me. I thought that you were beyond my reach."

"Tyki..." Lavi said, voice slightly choked. He relaxed back into Tyki's embrace, moving closer to regain their previous proximity.

"Am I forgiven?" Tyki asked quietly.

"You had no way of knowing that I was lying," Lavi said. "I didn't even know that I would get a chance to be like this with you again."

"But do you forgive me for it?" Tyki asked. He pressed his lips gently to Lavi's. "And do you forgive me for implying that you didn't have a heart?"

Lavi inwardly flinched at the reminder. He could still remember how much those words had hurt him when Tyki had said them with all apparent sincerity, but he had hurled some hurtful things at Tyki in the name of keeping his promise to Bookman.

"I said some pretty awful things to you too," Lavi said. "You were just reacting to those."

"That hardly makes it right," Tyki replied. He pulled back slightly, enough to meet Lavi's gaze without straining either of their necks. "I have already forgiven you."

"I forgive you too," Lavi said. Tyki smiled at him and then moved his hand gently through Lavi's hair. The Noah carefully snagged the bandanna and removed it, then pressed his lips to the redhead's forehead and spoke.

"Come to bed?" he asked. He felt rather than saw Lavi nod and then the redhead was moving. Lavi stepped backwards and slightly to the side, allowing Tyki to take the lead. Tyki dropped the redhead's bandanna to the floor and moved towards the bed, turning and sitting down on the blankets when he reached the edge. Lavi was less than a half-step behind him and settled onto the mattress next to Tyki. It creaked quietly as Lavi shifted, leaning in and pressing his mouth against Tyki's. Lavi's hands went to the buttons of Tyki's shirt and began fumbling with them. The Noah's hands went to the redhead's waist and began pulling the younger man's shirt free. He slipped a hand beneath the material as soon as he could, groaning quietly at the feel of familiar skin beneath his palm.

Lavi trembled at the soft touch and pulled away from the kiss briefly, just long enough to help Tyki remove the redhead's shirt. Tyki dropped the cloth over the side of the bed and moved closer to Lavi, pressing his lips against the junction of the redhead's neck and shoulder. He nipped lightly and then laved the area with his tongue before pressing his lips to the spot and sucking briefly, just long enough to raise a mark. Lavi moaned softly and tilted his head, exposing more of the skin for easier access. Tyki took the opportunity to move in even closer, gently batting Lavi's hands away from his shirt buttons in order to pull the redhead onto his lap. Lavi moved willingly, carefully straddling the older man's thighs and holding on to the Noah's shoulders for balance. He pressed a series of brief but intense open-mouthed kisses to Tyki's lips as his hands moved from Tyki's shoulders to Tyki's waist. He began tugging at the belt, making a small noise of triumph when he managed to loosen the buckle.

"Impatient, are we?" Tyki asked, arching his hips up into Lavi's hands. Lavi flushed but his hands kept moving, undoing the button and pulling down the zipper.

"Do you have any idea how many dreams I had about this?" Lavi asked. He tugged Tyki's shirt loose and went back to work on the buttons. He shifted a bit and spread his thighs wider, grinding down against Tyki's hardening flesh. Both men moaned and Tyki moved his hands to start opening up the redhead's pants.

"I thought about this too, Lavi. All the time," Tyki said, expertly unbuttoning the younger man's pants. He felt his shirt come loose and then the redhead was leaning over, pressing wet, open-mouthed kisses across whatever bare skin he could reach. His hands explored the rest of Tyki's chest, caressing and re-committing to memory every spot that made Tyki's breath hitch.

Tyki's hands weren't idle. He slid his hands in between Lavi's pants and his ass, getting the proper leverage to pull the redhead more firmly against him. Tyki ground their bodies together rhythmically, the friction increasing the pleasure. Lavi groaned at the contact and moved to slip Tyki's shirt off his shoulders.

Not wanting to break the rhythm he had created, Tyki called upon his powers. His skin shifted to gray and his eyes to gold, seven stigmata etching themselves across his forehead. His shirt fluttered to the bed seconds later.

Lavi slid his hands around Tyki's back, one hand grabbing for the shirt to move it off the bed and out of the way while the other pressed itself flat against the smooth planes of the older man's back. Lavi's mouth found the Noah's again, tongues sliding briefly, wetly together before Lavi broke off with a gasp.

"Stay like this?" he asked breathlessly, arching into Tyki's body. The Noah pressed his mouth against the expanse of neck offered to him, kissing a wet line down to the redhead's collarbone and then running his lips along it. He pressed his lips to Lavi's pulse point and then his heart, saying his words directly against the Exorcist's body.

"Like what?" he asked. He felt one of Lavi's hands come up and brush aside Tyki's bangs. A fingertip traced a few of the stigmata and Tyki stilled. Lavi leaned in and brushed his lips across the marks before sliding his hands down to cup Tyki's face. They kissed again, Lavi's tongue licking into Tyki's mouth before the Noah took control. He traced the shape of Lavi's mouth with the tip of his tongue before pressing forward and sliding the wet muscle against Lavi's, tasting him. Lavi trembled, moaning into the kiss and unconsciously grinding into the man.

"Any particular reason, Lavi?" Tyki asked, breaking the kiss. Lavi licked his slightly swollen lips, a flush extending from his face down his neck to his pebbled nipples. Remembering how sensitive the redhead was, Tyki leaned forward and licked one of the peaks. He smirked slightly when Lavi jumped in response. The Noah moved one of his hands from the Exorcist's rear and lightly drew his nails up Lavi's side.

"It's just..." Lavi said, voice breathy. Tyki laid his hand flat and ran his thumb in a firm caress over the other nipple, causing Lavi to moan. "The last few times... you've looked human. It's not just when you have olive skin that I want you this way. I want you like this too."

A rush of heat went through Tyki's blood at the words and he groaned quietly. Lavi's hands tangled in his hair and tugged gently, pulling him back just far enough to kiss again. Lavi pressed his lips to Tyki's, sucked lightly on the bottom lip and drew back.

"Please," he murmured, moving in again for a deeper kiss. Tyki obliged him, moving one of his own hands to the redhead's hair and locating the tie that kept his eyepatch in place. He carefully tugged the string that would loosen the knot and tossed the patch over the side of the mattress. Lavi didn't appear to notice for a moment, then he drew back slowly and pressed his fingertips to the ends of the scarring around the eye.

Tyki covered Lavi's hand with his own and drew it away, entwining their fingers. He pressed his lips briefly to each of Lavi's fingertips before brushing his lips over the scars on the redhead's face. He could feel Lavi shiver and drew his lips across the Exorcist's cheek before pressing his mouth lightly to the younger man's. He drew back.

"I think we're a bit overdressed yet," he said, hearing an almost breathy note in his own voice. Lavi nodded, shifting off of Tyki's lap and sitting on the mattress again. Tyki briefly mourned the loss of heat, but used the opportunity to slide his pants and underwear over his hips. The air in the room seemed cool and was a welcome relief to his heated skin. He tugged off his socks as well.

He dropped the garments over the side of the bed and turned to Lavi. The redhead had managed to get both of his boots and one of his socks off and was just removing the other sock when Tyki moved behind him. Lavi dropped the sock and turned towards Tyki, angling his head for another kiss.

Tyki pressed his lips to Lavi's and slid his hands down the redhead's sides. He grabbed the Exorcist's remaining clothing and pulled, dropping the items off to the side. Now that they were both fully naked, Tyki coaxed Lavi further onto the bed. He drew Lavi towards the center of the mattress, their mouths breaking apart a few times for air but then meeting again within moments. The redhead followed and laid down, spreading his legs so that Tyki could settle himself between the younger man's thighs.

Tyki broke away from Lavi's mouth and sat up. Lavi moved his arms to prop himself up on his elbows, but Tyki put his hand in the center of the redhead's chest to stop him.

"Tyki...?" Lavi asked uncertainly. Tyki smiled, moving both his hand and his gaze lazily down the redhead's body. Lavi felt his face heat at the appreciation clear in the older man's eyes.

"It has been too long since I last saw you like this," Tyki said, briefly dipping his head to trail light kisses down the redhead's chest. "Forgive me for taking a moment to enjoy the view?"

"O-Of course," Lavi said, blush deepening. He let out a short gasp when Tyki's hand wrapped around his manhood, hips jerking into the touch.

Tyki chuckled quietly and sat back up, keeping his hand moving at a slow but steady rhythm as he watched Lavi's face. The redhead's hands gripped the bed sheets tightly and his hips moved in time with Tyki's hand. His mouth was slightly open and his chest heaved with every breath. His eyes were glazed over with pleasure, the irises nearly swallowed by the pupils.

"Tyki... please..." Lavi said. He arched his hips up, face darkening. "I want you."

"You have me," Tyki said, adjusting his grip and speeding up his rhythm just slightly. It was enough to send a full-body shiver of pleasure through the redhead. "Is my hand not enough? Would you prefer my mouth, or..." Lavi whined quietly when Tyki moved his hand away. The sound turned into a moan when the Noah grabbed the redhead's hips and pulled him closer, bringing their erections into contact. "Do you want me?"

Lavi arched up against him, releasing the bed sheets with his hands and reaching up to Tyki. He grabbed the man's shoulders and pulled him closer, wrapping his arms around the Noah's shoulders.

"You, please," Lavi said, pressing needy lips to Tyki's. "I want you inside." His blush darkened at the words.

Tyki returned the kiss, grinding down against Lavi. The redhead gasped and broke the kiss, body trembling. Tyki gently extricated himself from Lavi's arms and moved over towards the nightstand. He quickly opened the drawer and found the mostly-empty bottle of hand lotion. He shut the drawer again and moved back to Lavi, holding the bottle in his hand.

"We'll need to get some proper lubricant soon," Tyki said, opening the bottle up. "Or another bottle of lotion, at the very least." He squeezed a generous amount onto his hand and coated two of his fingers carefully before settling back in between Lavi's legs.

"Yes," Lavi said, spreading his legs wider and tilting his hips to give the older man easier access to his entrance. Tyki ran a soothing hand over one of Lavi's hips and lowered his lotioned fingers. He pressed one against the tight ring of muscle, spreading some lotion in a circular motion around the outside. Lavi wriggled at the touch but stilled when Tyki leaned over to claim his lips again. With the redhead sufficiently distracted, Tyki pushed his finger in.

Lavi made a small noise of discomfort against Tyki's mouth but didn't try to pull away. He wrapped his arms around the older man and kept kissing him, small murmurs of 'please' and 'Tyki' escaping into the air between them.

Lavi hissed in pain as the second finger was added, tightening his arms and resting his forehead against Tyki's. He breathed heavily as the Noah's fingers moved inside him, stretching the muscles and spreading the slick substance around generously. Tyki pressed his lips to Lavi's temple.

"You're so tight..." he murmured. "Bear with it, it'll hurt worse if I don't prepare you properly..."

"I know," Lavi said. He gasped and his hips jerked into the touch when Tyki's fingers brushed up against his prostate. Tyki pressed that spot again, smirking when the redhead gave a shuddering moan and began moving in earnest against the fingers inside him.

Tyki withdrew his fingers with a wet sound and groped blindly for the lotion with his clean hand, not wanting to leave the redhead's arms. He found the bottle and drew it towards him. Lavi loosened his hold just a bit, enough to allow Tyki to pour half of the remaining lotion onto his hand. Tyki put the bottle down again and spread the lotion on three of his fingers before lowering them back to Lavi's entrance. He pressed them in one at a time, caressing the redhead from the inside and opening him up gently.

"Please... I'm ready," Lavi moaned, clenching his muscles deliberately around the Noah's fingers.

"If you're sure..." Tyki said, withdrawing his hand and seizing the bottle of lotion one more time. He quickly squeezed the remaining lotion onto his palm and then tossed the bottle over the side of the bed. He lowered his hand to his own neglected erection, wrapping his slick fingers around himself and sighing with pleasure at the touch. He drew his hand over himself twice, making sure that every part of him was covered before he wiped his hand off on the sheets next to Lavi's hip.

Tyki shifted, grabbing Lavi's hips and pulling the redhead into a better position. Lavi lifted his legs and slung them over the Noah's waist, trying to bring him in closer. Tyki pressed himself against Lavi's entrance and paused for a moment to meet the redhead's gaze.

"Yes, please... I want..." Lavi said, voice trailing off but answering his unspoken question. Tyki swallowed Lavi's brief cry of pain, kissing him just as he pushed inside. The Noah moved slowly, aware of how tense the redhead's arms were. He stopped when he was fully inside and broke the kiss, both men breathing heavily.

"Tell me when I can move," Tyki said, burying his face in the redhead's neck and attacking the skin there. He found the mark he had made earlier and kissed it. He slid his lips just to the side of it and sucked on the skin there, expanding the mark.

Lavi turned his head, exposing his neck for easy access. His chest still heaved, but he was nodding.

"Now, please, Tyki. Move."

Tyki ceased his attentions to the redhead's neck and slid his arms between Lavi's back and the mattress. He rested his forehead against Lavi's and felt the Exorcist's arms tighten around him as he began to move. He started slowly, carefully thrusting and changing his angle until Lavi suddenly gasped and all of his muscles tightened around the older man.

"Good?" Tyki asked rhetorically, keeping the same angle and beginning to increase the speed of his thrusts. Lavi moaned in response, hips jerking awkwardly for a moment before he found Tyki's rhythm and matched it. Their lips met in wet, open-mouthed kisses as their rhythm sped up.

"Are you close...?" Tyki asked. Lavi nodded.

"You?" he breathed. "I want- together-"

Tyki moaned as the redhead's muscles spasmed around him and he moved faster, making sure to strike that spot inside Lavi with every thrust. Lavi's breathing took on a higher pitch, his body trembling and his nails digging into Tyki's back. Tyki's rhythm started becoming erratic as he got closer to climax, pleasure overwhelming his ability to move smoothly.

Lavi suddenly cried out, his muscles tightening even more around the Noah as he came. The force of Lavi's orgasm triggered Tyki's own and he thrust twice more before shuddering and emptying himself into the redhead.

They collapsed in a pile of sticky, sweaty limbs, both breathing heavily. They slowly came down from the peak, world fading from white back to the dull colors of reality.

Tyki recovered first. He shifted carefully, dislodging Lavi's now-loose embrace, and pulled out before collapsing back onto the bed beside Lavi. Lavi turned onto his side to face the Noah, a content smile on his face.

"That was..." He trailed off, smile widening as he shook his head.

"I know," Tyki said, smirking in a mixture of sleepiness and contentment. He forced himself to sit up and grabbed a corner of the sheet. He cleaned himself off perfunctorily before turning to Lavi. The redhead rolled onto his front, breath hitching as Tyki carefully cleaned him off as well. The Noah then dropped the soiled part of the cloth over the side of the bed.

Tyki lifted the blankets and settled back onto the mattress, resting his head on his pillow. Lavi watched him, a hesitant gleam in his eyes. Tyki reached for him and pulled the redhead to his chest. Lavi moved closer without protest, his arms curled up between them. Lavi's head rested less than an inch from Tyki's on the pillow, Lavi's forehead level with Tyki's mouth.

"I trust you'll stay properly this time?" Tyki asked dryly. It was just as much asking a question as it was teasing.

"Yes," Lavi said, nodding.

"Good." Tyki pressed his lips against Lavi's forehead one last time. "Now sleep."

Lavi slipped one of his hands over Tyki's waist, mirroring the position the Noah held him in, and obediently shut his eyes. Tyki shifted almost imperceptibly closer to the redhead. He'd enjoy this for five minutes and then he'd get up to turn off the lights.

Lavi's breathing quickly turned even and deep, every breath brushing lightly against Tyki's neck and chest. Tyki felt his limbs grow heavy and his eyes slid shut, the sound and feel of having Lavi in his arms again soothing him to sleep long before the five minutes he had allowed himself were up.


Lavi opened his eyes slowly, lethargically coming to full wakefulness. He blinked, for a moment not realizing where he was.

His pillow breathed out and Lavi smiled. He could feel the weight of one of Tyki's arms draped low on his hip. Strands of his hair stirred with each one of Tyki's breaths. He turned his head to look at the older man's sleeping face, warmth spreading through his sleepy limbs from his chest.

Tyki's face was slack and his lips were slightly parted. Lavi's eyes briefly traced the stigmata still visible on the man's forehead, lifting his hand to brush Tyki's hair out of the way. Tyki stirred as Lavi moved and the redhead stilled, but then the Noah settled back down. Lavi gently traced the largest scar with his finger. Almost unconsciously, he began to trail his finger over more of Tyki's face. He traced overthe bridge of Tyki's nose, over his cheekbones, his jawline, even over the ridges of his eyebrows. Tyki stirred faintly under the soft touches, but still seemed far from true awareness.

Lavi's fingertip came to rest against the man's bottom lip. He paused.

He had wondered once what it would be like to kiss Tyki awake. Now he had the perfect opportunity to find out. He didn't think the older man would mind.

Slowly, not wanting to accidentally wake the Noah too early, Lavi leaned forward. He slid his fingertip off of Tyki's lips and replaced it softly with his mouth, only holding the contact for a moment before moving on. He brushed his lips against the bridge of Tyki's nose, against his cheek and his temple and then his forehead. Tyki began to stir more strongly and Lavi began to trace a path of chaste kisses down the line of Tyki's jaw before pressing another against the Noah's lips.

Lavi could tell the exact moment that Tyki awoke. The Noah tensed for a moment and then relaxed, his lips moving against Lavi's lazily.

They broke apart with a quiet noise and their gazes met. Tyki's eyes were half-lidded, slowly becoming more alert. Lavi smiled.

"Good morning," he said. Tyki's answering smirk was lazy and he shut his eyes again.

"Good morning, Lavi," he replied. He shifted a bit and pulled the redhead closer. "I admit, I am usually not awake so early, but it's worth it to find you undressed and in my bed rather than out of it and pulling on your clothes."

Lavi colored, both in embarrassment at the reminder that he was naked, at having woken the man up early, and shame at the gentle reminder of his reaction the last time he had slept in Tyki's arms.

"I'm sorry," he said. Tyki made a quiet, wordless noise of acknowledgement.

"It's all right. Shall we enjoy this for a few minutes before getting cleaned up properly and getting breakfast?" Tyki asked. Lavi wrapped an arm around Tyki's back and nodded, burying his face in the man's neck. He felt Tyki's hand draw nonsense patterns on his back, fingertips trailing smoothly over the skin. They lay in silence for a few moments.

"Tyki?" Lavi asked quietly, lips moving against the column of the Noah's throat.

"Hm?" Tyki asked, hand still moving lazily. Lavi hesitated for a second before speaking.

"Could I... mark your neck, like you've marked mine?" he asked. Tyki's hand stilled for a moment in surprise but then he began moving it again while he considered the request.

No one else had ever asked. It was usually something that one of Tyki's partners would do in the heat of passion, if at all. The marks had always been a source of annoyance, something that happened when he wasn't paying enough attention to his partner's mouth to prevent it or couldn't distract his partner well enough that they didn't realize that they couldn't make contact with his skin. To simply allow it was to allow Lavi to lay claim to him.

Tyki smiled thinly and tilted his head, opening up his neck. Lavi already could lay claim to him. A physical mark would simply be visible proof.

"Go ahead," he said. He felt Lavi lightly kiss his skin and then the redhead nipped tentatively. Tyki sighed quietly as Lavi began to suck on the skin. Lavi released the pressure and then laid a soft kiss on the mark before pulling away.

Tyki could still feel the spot where Lavi's lips had been, wet and warm. It didn't feel as restrictive as he had thought it might, but rather radiated a kind of heat he was beginning to become familiar with.

"Thank you," Lavi said. Tyki pressed his lips lightly against Lavi's and then shifted away from the redhead in order to meet the Exorcist's gaze.

"We should get up now. We'll be here until lunch, otherwise, and without lotion..." he said, eyes crinkling with amusement. Lavi blushed and nodded, moving to sit up. Tyki followed.

"Yeah..." Lavi said. He looked back at Tyki and touched the mark on the Noah's neck lightly with his fingertips. Tyki mirrored him and then trailed his hand slowly over the Exorcist's shoulder and down his side as well. Lavi shivered. The Noah rested his hand dangerously low on the redhead's hip, more than a little tempted to simply pull the younger man close for a repeat performance of the previous night.

"We match," Tyki commented, leaning in and pressing his lips against the mark on the redhead's neck. Lavi shivered again and pulled away.

"I'll see you at the dining hall in a half hour?" he asked. Tyki smirked, nodded, and let him go.


Bookman stood on the dock, watching as the last of his things were loaded onto the small craft. He was half-turned towards the door that lead to the Order building proper, but he told himself firmly that he wasn't waiting for anyone to come see him off.

"You're sure you won't stay?" Komui asked him, though the question had no force behind it. Bookman nodded briskly.

"Then I hope your journey is a safe one," Komui said. Out of the corner of his eye, Bookman could see Komui look towards the door and then back. "Is Lavi not going with you?"

Bookman shook his head and then turned to fully face the Supervisor.

"My former apprentice has decided to stay here," Bookman said. He noticed Komui's eyes widen slightly behind his glasses at the use of the word 'former'. "I'm certain that he'll be well-cared for here."

"Of course," Komui said. He bowed slightly. "Again, thank you for all your hard work."

Bookman nodded and looked at the door one more time. Behind him, he could hear the Finder that would be escorting him to town say that the boat was fully loaded and stable. It was time.

The old man turned away from the door. He had taken two steps towards the boat when he heard a loud 'thud' and he turned his head back towards the door.

Lavi stood in the doorway, one hand on the knob and the other braced against his knee. He appeared to be panting heavily, as though he had just run a great distance, and his hair was damp. His clothes clung to his frame oddly, signs of having hastily dried himself off after a quick shower.

"Good..." the redhead said, in-between heavy breaths. "Made it... in time..."

Lavi straightened up and Bookman turned around fully. The redhead approached, stopping a few feet from Bookman and stopping. He was smiling, the first absolutely true smile that Bookman had seen in a long time. The old man felt his chest loosen in something like relief at the sight, though his expression didn't change.

"I wanted to say 'goodbye'," Lavi explained. His expression dampened a bit at the word, but there was still an almost blissful air about him.

"Are you... happy, Lavi?" Bookman asked, stumbling slightly over the unfamiliar word. Lavi seemed surprised by the question and hesitated a moment before nodding.

"I am, but... I'm going to miss you, Gramps."

Bookman could hear the actual sorrow in the words, but he didn't let himself question what he was doing. This was the best course of action.

"I enjoyed having you as my apprentice," he said finally. He looked away and scoffed. "Though it was always one hundred years too early for an idiot like you to take my title."

Lavi laughed quietly at the insult.

"Thank you," he said. Bookman turned away.

"Goodbye, Lavi," he said. He walked towards the boat.

"Goodbye, Gramps," Lavi replied.

Bookman carefully stepped into the boat before looking back at Lavi. Komui had walked up next to the redhead. Both men were looking back at Bookman.

"Should we..?" the Finder asked hesitantly, already in place to steer. Bookman gave a sharp nod and felt the boat shove off.

Lavi lifted his arm and waved. Komui waved too. Bookman returned the gesture briefly, then turned away and faced front. He felt his heart grow heavy as the boat moved further and further from the Order but ignored the sensation.

A small voice in the back of his mind reminded him of the golem he still had in one of the boxes. If he ever decided to return, he would have a way back. He lifted his eyes from the floor of the boat, not having realized that he had dropped his gaze, and looked forward with a lighter heart.


Lavi watched the boat go until it faded into the shadows before dropping his hand. He turned to Komui, a slightly strained smile on his face.

"So, you came down to see the old panda off too?" he asked. Komui smiled back.

"It was the least I could do. He's been a great help," he explained. His smile faded to a more serious, curious expression. "I'm grateful that you're staying, but I have to admit that I am a bit curious. I was under the impression that you'd be leaving with him."

Lavi nodded.

"I thought I would be, but..." He resisted the urge to touch the mark on his neck but smiled at the thought of it. "I just decided to stay."

Komui still seemed curious, but he nodded in acceptance of the answer.

"The Black Order is grateful for your continued service," he said. His lips quirked in one of his more usual grins. "And this way, I don't have to tell Lenalee that one of her friends left."

"I told her yesterday that I thought I was leaving today..." Lavi said. Komui stared at him in surprise for a heartbeat, then spun towards the door.

"Lenalee, why didn't you confide in your dear brother-!"

Lavi laughed as Komui ran through the door. Some things would never change.


Tyki waited outside the dining hall, watching small groups of Finders pass by. They gave him a wide berth, though there were equally as many curious stares as there were frightened ones. Perhaps once the novelty of him moving around freely wore off, more of them would warm up to him. That day didn't seem too far distant.


Tyki turned at the sound, a small smile forming on his face as Lavi walked up to him. The redhead was smiling widely, though there was a bit of a shadow hanging over the expression. Tyki raised an eyebrow.

"Something wrong?" he asked. Lavi shrugged.

"Just said goodbye to Bookman," he explained, somewhat quietly.

"I see," Tyki said, voice equally soft. Though the old man had been nothing but a hinderance to their relationship, he knew that Bookman had meant a lot to the redhead. Lavi smiled again.

"He has his golem, if he ever wants to call or come back," he said. "There's a chance he might." Lavi looked towards the doors leading into the dining hall. "Shall we?"

"Of course."

The pair walked into the dining hall side by side, the backs of their hands brushing just a little too often for it to be entirely coincidental. There were pockets of people scattered about the room, small groups sitting at mostly-empty tables, but there was no one at the counter when Tyki and Lavi walked up.

"Good morning, Jerry!" the redhead called out as they approached. The head cook turned at the sound, face breaking into a broad grin.

"Lavi! Good morning to you too, hon," he said. "What can I get for you this morning?"

"Scrambled eggs and toast, please. With orange juice to drink, if you could," Lavi replied, grinning.

"Always so polite," Jerry said approvingly before turning his gaze to Tyki. His smile didn't lose an ounce of its warmth. "And what are you having today?"

"Coffee, please," Tyki said. As he always did when ordering, he allowed his natural charm to seep into his voice. Jerry was a very likeable man and, even on Tyki's very first day with the Order,the cook had treated Tyki no differently from anyone else who came up to order food. "And toast with jam, if you have it."

"Is strawberry all right?" Jerry asked, already turning away from the window to begin assembling their breakfasts.

"Perfect, thanks." Tyki wasn't sure, but he thought Jerry might have winked beneath his sunglasses.

"Anything for you, handsome!"

Lavi chuckled. Within minutes, Jerry reappeared at the window with two trays laden with the food they had asked for. Jerry handed each tray to its respective patron.

"Now you boys enjoy!" he said, then added more seriously, "And it's wonderful to see you in such a good mood again, Lavi."

"Thanks, Jerry," Lavi said sincerely. "And your cooking's the best, so of course we'll enjoy it."

Jerry beamed at him and waved him on. Tyki nodded his thanks and turned to follow the redhead. Lavi stood off to the side, allowing the Finder that had lined up behind them to get at the window.

Tyki stood next to him as the redhead looked around for a place to sit.


Both men turned at the sound of the name. Tyki spotted the person who had called out first and nudged Lavi lightly with his arm. The redhead followed his gaze and saw Allen waving them over, a somewhat uncertain smile on his face. Lavi grinned and began making his way over to Allen's table, noting that Lenalee and Kanda were already sitting down. Tyki followed a few steps behind the redhead.

"Thanks, Allen," Lavi said. The words held an extra layer of meaning, thanking the white-haired boy for more than just the spot at the table. The uncertainty left Allen's smile.

Lavi set his tray down across from Lenalee, in the empty place next to Kanda. The Japanese Exorcist didn't acknowledge his presence, but Lenalee smiled tentatively at him.

"So, you're staying?" she asked. Lavi grinned and nodded. Her face broke into an expression of relief.

"That's great, Lavi!" Allen said. His gaze moved from Lavi to Tyki, who was standing somewhat uncertainly behind and to the right of the redhead. Allen smiled. "Are you going to eat with us?" he asked.

Tyki's gaze moved over the group of four. Kanda had looked up from his breakfast and was glaring painful death at the Noah, daring him to sit down. Lavi and Allen were looking up at him expectantly, though Lavi's expression was a touch more hopeful than Allen's. Lenalee was looking down at her food.

"If you think it wise..." Tyki said slowly, gaze moving between Kanda and Lenalee. The Chinese girl then lifted her head.

"Please, won't you sit down?" Lenalee said. Her voice trembled slightly on the question, but she met Tyki's surprised gaze steadily. Tyki smiled slightly and nodded, placing his tray next to Lavi's and sliding onto the bench next to him. Lenalee's return smile was tentative and disappeared quickly, but it had been there.

Tyki heard a quiet, displeased 'che' from Kanda's vicinity, but he ignored it.

"Thank you," he said, looking between Allen and Lenalee but letting his eyes rest longer on the Chinese girl. Allen nodded brightly and Lenalee's tentative smile returned. She extended her hand across the table towards Tyki.

"I don't think we've really ever properly met," she said. "My name's Lenalee Lee. Pleased to meet you." Her voice tripped a bit over the last sentence and her hand shook slightly when Tyki took it, but her handshake was firm and decisive.

"I don't believe I ever knew your name, no," Tyki replied. "Tyki Mikk." He released her hand. She smiled and drew her arm back.

"Lavi... your neck..." Allen said suddenly. Tyki turned to look. The white haired boy was staring at Lavi's neck, face slowly turning red as he realized what the mark was. Lavi shifted nervously in his seat, one hand coming up as if to cover the mark. A definite blush formed on his face as well, but he dropped his hand and sat up straight. Lenalee frowned, confused, and leaned over to see.

"Is that a..." Lenalee asked, pink spreading across her face as well. Lavi nodded.

"The asshole has one too. You don't have to be so shocked," Kanda snapped. As one, Lenalee and Allen turned to look at Tyki's neck. The Noah smirked and tugged at his shirt collar to better show off the mark. Lavi's blush deepened and looked down at his plate, busying himself with shoving scrambled eggs onto his toast.

"Oh... wow..." Lenalee said, face red. "I mean, well..."

"I take it you two are back together?" Allen said, recovering. Lavi nodded. Tyki tugged his shirt back into place and reached for his coffee. There was the sudden sound of ceramic striking the tabletop. Tyki, Lavi, Allen, and Lenalee all looked towards Kanda, who had slammed his cup down.

"So you're telling me that the stupid rabbit and the asshole were actually doing it?" Kanda asked, sounding thunderstruck. The other four exchanged glances. Tyki smirked.

"Bit slow on the uptake, aren't you?" he asked smugly. "Two people arrive at breakfast at the same time, both with love-bites on their necks-"

"Shut up," Kanda growled, scowling furiously at him. Tyki turned away, still smug, and finished reaching for his coffee. He took a sip of it and set it back down, reaching for his toast.

"Congratulations?" Lenalee offered hesitantly. Lavi lifted his head from his breakfast and smiled at her.

"Thanks, Lenalee." He cleared his throat and turned to Allen. "Yes, we're... together." He hesitated on the last word, cheeks turning red again.

"We're lovers," Tyki said casually. The word, for the first time, felt right on his tongue. He chewed on his toast, aware of Lavi turning to look at him. Lenalee and Allen had started talking to Kanda, none of them apparently hearing the significance of the word Tyki had used. Lavi, however, knew him well enough to hear the slight emphasis.

"Do you say that about everyone you sleep with?" Lavi asked him quietly. He was smiling though, and his words were light. Remembering how Lavi had asked him a similar question on their first night together, when he had told the redhead that he tasted good, Tyki smiled.

"No," he answered honestly. "I've never had cause to."

Lavi smiled widely at that.

"Lovers," he said, testing the word on his tongue. He nodded happily. "I like that."

Tyki leaned forward and pressed his lips chastely against Lavi's.

"I like it, too," he said, straightening up.

"If you two are going to do this stupid couple crap at the table, I'm going," Kanda said shortly. Tyki and Lavi turned to look, noticing that the other three were now watching them.

"Kanda!" Allen said warningly.

"It's kind of cute..." Lenalee said, sounding surprised. The four men at the table stared at her. She blushed, waving her hands in denial. "It just shows that they care about each other!"

"Che," Kanda said, turning back to his food. He refused to look at any of the table's other occupants, letting himself become absorbed in his meal.

Lavi shifted closer to Tyki, just a bit closer than normal. Their bodies from their hips to their knees were lightly touching, the contact intimate without being obscene.

Lavi couldn't have wiped the silly smile off of his face if he had tried. Tyki's smirk was gentle and their eyes kept straying to the other. Allen and Lenalee made no comment about it, though Allen seemed pleased and though the fear never totally left Lenalee's eyes when she looked at Tyki, it faded bit by bit.

The slowly fading fear, Tyki felt, boded well for his future with the Order. A future he would get to face with Lavi by his side and in his bed, something he hadn't thought possible only days ago.

This future seemed much brighter than a future filled with nameless body after another, night after night. This place, if he let it, could become a home for him.

Lavi was thinking along similar lines. There was a slight emptiness in his chest when he thought of Bookman, but hope as well with the memory of Bookman's golem. While he regretted saying 'goodbye' to the old man, he found that he couldn't regret staying, not when he had Tyki beside him and his friends surrounding him. This place was Lavi's home, even if it could never have been a home for Bookman Junior.

As the saying goes, 'home is where the heart is'. Both Tyki and Lavi had found theirs, marked it with a love-bite and sealed it with the word 'lover'.


bA/N: Ok, so now you all know something about me. I really, really like happy endings. And fluff. Lots of fluff. Enough to rot your teeth.

Thank you, everyone, for reading this. I hope you enjoyed it and hope that you will enjoy the sequel just as much! The vote was pretty decisive. Nearly 100 people voted for a sequel, so yes, it will happen. The title will be 'A Dangerous Arrangement'. I don't know exactly when I'll get around to writing and posting the first chapter, but in the meantime please enjoy 'Canis Luna' (I'll be finishing that soon!) and 'But It's Tradition!' (I hope to continue it this year – assuming I succeed, the next chapter for BiT will be posted around Valentine's Day).

Again, thank you to everyone who read 'A Game of Poker'./b