Summary: Naoya Itsuki is not what he appears. He is a powerful psychic. He is also involved in the frightening tournament known only as 'Chess'. His only guardians are three other boys Mana and her friends don't know about. In fact, they don't know anything at all. But when Kaname is pulled into the tournament secrets can no longer be contained. The lines of loyalty, friendship, and love start to blear. Naoya's deadly secret is revealed. He is a Mind Breaker. Will contain yaoi.

Disclaimer: Juvenile Orion belongs to Sakurako Gokurakuin. The tournament and how it works belong to Clamp. I own nothing in this story expect the idea of Grafters and the OCs. Please do not sue.

Black King

Chapter 7

Naoya lay on the ground, letting the wind tussle his hair around. His team was nearby, finally putting up the first bases of his hospital. The sun beamed down on them, warm but not unpleasant. Three weeks, two battles, and lots of rest later and he was finally starting to adjust to supporting Kaname during fights. It didn't feel like he was going to crash at any minute; it wasn't a constant struggle to stay awake. He was no longer dropping randomly into sleep, sometimes right in the middle of a conversation. Of course, now that he had adjusted, their battle schedule would pick up.

But for now things were quiet, allowing him to relax and simply enjoy the calm before the storm.

Grass crunched underfoot as someone approached him. Slowly, feeling lethargic, he slid open his eyes and stared up at Kaname. The Darklore stared down at him with gentle eyes, a small smile tugging at his lips. He wore ripped jeans a plain white t-shirt. Sensible work clothes, definitely. Better than the all black outfits everyone else was wearing. Still, it caused a slight pain to lance at his heart. The outfit told him plainly what was otherwise so easy for him to forget; Kaname fought for him but that didn't make Kaname his. Kaname didn't belong to him the way the others did, the way Kaname belonged to Mana.

He wanted Kaname to wear the Black Crown.

Kaname sat down next to him, oblivious to his thoughts. "How are you feeling?"

"Much better." he replied. He rolled over onto his side so he was facing Kaname. "It's nice out here."

The Darklore nodded. "Very nice."

They stared at each other for a long moment before abruptly bursting out laughing. It was a long moment before they calmed. When they did, one of Kaname's hands slid into his hair, slowly combing through the red-brown strands. Warmth settled into his blood, making him hum in contentment. He relaxed fully, a small smile slowly crossing his lips. "I think," Kaname said, "We're past the point where weather counts as suitable small talk."

"No." he disagreed. "Just past the point where it's awkward."

They slipped into a silence that was far from uncomfortable. Kaname's fingers continued to play with his hair, settling his mind enough that his thoughts became fuzzy and slow to fully register. In a few more minutes, he would probably be asleep. Kaname continued to watch him with warm eyes. Naoya was pretty sure this was the point where Kaname was supposed to kiss him.

He opened his mouth to tell Kaname just that, no longer quite awake enough to realize doing so probably wasn't the best idea in the world. Before he could though, Li walked over. "Naoya-san, what did you want for the…" he trailed off, staring at them for a long moment with a raised eyebrow. "Should I… come back… later?" he asked carefully.

Naoya blinked, slowly coming back to himself. It took a second, but eventually common sense caught up with him thoughts. He sat up immediately, a blush burning the back of his neck. Dear Lord, he hadn't actually been going to say that, had he? He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "No, Li-kun, now is fine." He stood up, too aware of Kaname's continued observation, of the amusement in Li's eyes. "What was it you needed?"

"The wards on the perimeter. What were they again?" Li asked him, voice underlined with laughter. Damn brat. He glared at the young man, but motioned him over to the edge of the property to go over what he wanted.

Kaname watched Itsuki walk away, rubbing the pads of his fingers together. The smooth feel of Itsuki's hair continued to dance across his senses teasingly. After another minute, he stood up and walked back over to where Lapuda and Howl were working. Time to get back to work.

Later that Night

Lapuda shot up into a sitting position in bed, panting softly as the flickering shadows of his dreams continued to chase themselves around the back of his head. The blanket pooled into his lap, exposing his naked chest to the cool air of the room. He shivered slightly, a motion that had little to do with the temperature and all too much to do with his current unstable emotional state. He closed his eyes, trying to calm his mind and erase the lingering traces of his nightmare.

His dreams had been full of shadows, some dark, desperate truth buried underneath that he wasn't willing to face while awake. The memory of the Grafters' physic scent from the hallway was still tangled up in his head, making it hard for him to think. There was something there, buried beneath and hidden from him and every time he tried to figure out what, some part of him shied away in fear. It had been haunting him for weeks now, disrupting his sleep and making him unusually snappy, part of the reason Howl wasn't in the bed with him already helping him forget the dark. That something was darkly, dangerously familiar. A buried aura he knew…


His shaking turned violent. Fear flooded ice through his veins. No, no, no. He was safe here. No one could find him here. Howl would keep him safe, wouldn't let anything happen to him. He was safe.

But he was here.

Lapuda wrapped his arms around himself, fingers flickering over the brutal scars on his back. No, it couldn't be him. Anybody but him. A trembling, terrified whisper escaped him.