Playing it Straight

By: eternalsailorsolarwind AKA youkai_girl

Disclaimer: Yellow and all of its characters are owned by Makoto Tateno, her Japanese publishers, and June. I only play with them for grins and giggles.

A/N: Written for compli_cait based on her request to find out more on what happened to Kei after the end of the first manga series.

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The press of a cold, wet nose against his neck brought Kei violently out of sleep. Jerking away from the offending nose, he rolled onto his stomach to glare sleepily at the corgi, whose tail wagged proudly at waking him.

"I thought I asked you not to do that," muttered Kei. Groggily, he reached out and ruffled the dog's ears, earning himself a doggy grin. "Okay, okay, I'm up."

Swinging his legs out of the western-style bed, Kei stood up and stretched, yawning wide enough to make a lion jealous. Padding naked across the room, he stopped off in the bathroom before pulling on a pair of artfully shredded jeans and a t-shirt. Running his fingers through his hair, hoping to disguise his bed-head with a stylishly disarranged look, he grabbed the leash and waved it at the dog. "Is this what you wanted?"

A wriggle and a yip were his answer. Clipping the leash onto the dog's collar, they headed to the nearby park. Nervous under the watchful eyes of the grounds crew, Kei dutifully picked up every "deposit" the dog left, before starting a game of catch with the ball he'd brought along.

"Who'd have thought we'd end up like this, huh boy," he asked the panting dog between throws. "Living in a posh apartment, all our needs met every day…and we didn't even have to swindle to get there. We've come a long way, baby…."

Carrying the dog in his arms, Kei nervously looked around. It seemed like the street was empty, but…he was running from Sandfish. Even if he managed to slip away in the confusion surrounding his employers' near-capture, they knew who he was and what he looked like. The chances of getting away scot-free were only slightly better than trying to breathe in a vacuum.

But Kei wanted out. He hadn't signed on to work for Sandfish for this. Even if he wanted Goh back, what Mizuki was doing to Taki wasn't worth the price of his uneasy conscience. Not that he had much of one, but this just struck him as …wrong.

That was why he'd helped the blond escape from his improvised prison. It made him feel better – and might earn him some brownie points if the cops (or a certain ex-partner) tracked him down. He was always about looking out for number one.

"And number two, right boy," he asked the dog. The corgi wagged his stump of a tail at him in agreement.

It was easy to get lost in the urban jungle that was Tokyo. So many people coming and going. The foreigners – especially the Americans – were suckers for the dog; "donating" money to keep them both fed. Sometimes, they even gave willingly.

Seducing some of the many businessmen in town covered most of the rest of their expenses. Having hustled between leaving Goh and working for Sandfish, Kei knew just how to judge his marks. Strait-laced Japan – not to mention the rest of the world – would be very surprised by how many liked to indulge themselves with another man while on a trip. It was a monotonous – safe usually equaled boring – way to keep fed, but he was on the lookout for a sugar daddy. A long-term "arrangement" would let him get his feet back under him.

Surprisingly, his "daddy" found him, instead of the other way around. The older man had not been one of his "special" friends, but he'd seen the man around from time to time. Strangely, Kei'd never seen him leave with anyone…just watching the crowd of hustlers. If one approached, he'd be waved away; an annoying fly brushed away. His aloofness had caught Kei's attention, and he started keeping an eye out for the other man. Curious, he'd once even urged the dog to "accidentally" run over to the man; an excuse to get closer.

Tall and darkly handsome like Goh, that was where the similarity ended. Black hair going gray at the temples, there was a quiet strength about him. When he turned to look at Kei, his black eyes held an amused twinkle – even as they took his measure. He hadn't even minded the blond and white dog hairs that inevitably found their way to his trousers.

Two weeks later, Kei – and the dog – were ensconced in a small but clean one bedroom apartment. It was nothing special, but for someone living out of crappy hotels or on the street itself it was practically a palace. Though he felt that his good luck was returning, Kei wasn't stupid. Exquisitely careful not to be caught – or offend his patron – he began to skim a small portion of the money for his expenses and gifts off the top for a small emergency fund.

When the time came to move on again, Kei didn't want to be destitute. Working for Sandfish had lulled him into a false sense of security, so there was nothing to draw on when he fled. Lesson learned; it would never happen again.

By now, his stash had grown fairly large. Big enough that he'd taken a chance and opened a bank account. The bankbook and ATM card were stashed in the mattress on the dog's bed. His daddy was generous, but Kei of all people knew that bad things happened every day. Sometimes they left, too.

"Daddy" didn't seem to be in any hurry to dump him, though. His lover had moved him twice since that first apartment, each time to larger and more opulent digs. This latest move had surprised him, but he didn't mind it. Actually living with Ken – his sugar daddy – was more pleasant than he'd expected.

Especially since he'd gone and done the unusual (and stupid) thing and fallen in love with Ken. It made no sense, considering the nature of their "business arrangement," but it was impossible to dictate to one's heart. Goh and Taki had taught him that. The lesson was one that he was beginning to understand. Kei just hoped that Ken didn't eventually tire of him and eventually move on. For the first time in a long time, he was happy, and he hoped it would stay that way.