Rating: PG-13

Pairing: Asami/Akihito

Spoilers: No spoilers, but this is post Escape and Love.

Contains: an epilogue of sorts

Disclaimer: These characters belong to Yamane Ayano, not me.

Author's Note: Back from Japan and jet lag! I had a terrific time. I bought all the Japanese volumes of Viewfinder, and it's fun comparing the originals with the translations. I kept my eyes peeled for sexy yakuza and feisty photographers. While I did see a few cuties that could definitely pass for Takaba's slightly less awesome brothers, or something, I did not see anyone who could even begin to compare with the awesomeness that is Asami. Alas! He is truly one of a kind. Oh, I did spot something in a small panel in Volume 6 that is actually missing in the translated scans I've seen (the panel is blank) that might inspire a short one-shot story, ho ho. ;) Also, because I've been watching The Walking Dead and it's almost Halloween, I'm tempted to do a Viewfinder, post-apocalyptic thing with zombies. I know zombies are trendy right now, but I've always liked them. :) Anyway, this is end of this story. Unless I set some later one-shots in this 'verse. Thanks to everyone who kept reading! Your comments always make my day!


Akihito was at the wharf. He couldn't see the dark water, but he could hear the sound of the waves lapping against the docks. Up on the roof, his camera in hand, he waited. The night breeze picked up, ruffling his hair and bringing the mixed scent of brine and fossil fuels to his nostrils. His heart beat hard within the confines of his chest, ratcheting up at the sound of approaching footsteps.

He froze for a moment, then he raised his camera, hunkering down instinctually. The buildings and walkways below were intermittently lit only by the ugly, yellowish glow of wall-mounted flood lamps. Shadows obscured the approaching figure. His stomach did a slow roll as it approached a circle of illumination. Asami, he thought, electric anticipation making his hair stand on end. But when the profile came into view, and the glittering eyes slanted up to look at him, a smirk growing on the face caught in his viewfinder, Akihito gasped.

His finger tightened involuntarily; the shutter whirring with unnerving volume on the rooftop. Fear bloomed, tangible and nauseating, settling in his gut. Reluctantly, he lowered his camera and looked. The visage of his own face filled the digital display. No! His eyes frantically searched out the half-lit walkway below. It was deserted. The camera slipped from his fingers and shattered.

Slow footsteps sounded behind him. His heart lodged in his chest, the instinct for flight too late. A hand fell on his shoulder...

Akihito shuddered awake with a soft, strangled moan on his lips. Asami hovered over him, propped on one arm, his grasp on Akihito slowly relaxing as Akihito fully awakened.

"'m all right," Akihito muttered thickly, automatically, even though he sought comfort in the press of bodies as Asami pulled him close. Akihito burrowed into the heat and safety of Asami's arms, letting the residue of the dream recede into black. Fingers in his hair slowly stroked him back to sleep.


The muted clatter of pans from the kitchen and the dull, thud of chopping intruded on Akihito's senses as he woke in a tangle of sheets and alone in the huge bed. Asami was up before him again, just as he had been every day for the past week.

His back popped as he stretched. Akihito ignored the ache of his still healing ribs, rubbing away the residue of sleep from his eyes along with the lingering unease from his dreams last night. In the light of day, the dream seemed almost laughable. Or it would have if he hadn't been tired, so tired, of thinking about everything. It would be nice if his own subconscious could give him a break once in a while. Was that really so much to ask? Who did he think he was, anyway-Luke Skywalker confronting his dark side?

He snorted, wallowing into the pillow a few more minutes before he managed to talk himself into rolling out of bed and into the bathroom. A hot shower woke him up further. He toweled off quickly, shying away from the mirror and the sight of his pale skin still shadowed with bruises. The last time he'd peeked, dark circles under his eyes had given evidence of his uneasy sleep and what seemed proof of the guilt that he couldn't quite shake, despite his conviction that he had done the right thing.

Maybe that's what he felt most guilty about-that he didn't regret it all. For Asami, he had acted without hesitation, just as Asami had done for him. Warmth flooded him as he remembered Asami's words that next night; his own shock and pleasure. He pressed his face into the damp towel and scrubbed violently, trying to wipe away the idiotic grin he couldn't keep from taking over. He really was hopeless.

Considerably more cheerful now, Akihito pulled on a pair of boxers and a t-shirt and followed the sounds from the kitchen.

It was still decidedly odd to be on the receiving end of Asami's domestic endeavors. He had thought he'd almost gotten used to it-until now. The apron was definitely new. Akihito gaped at the sight of Asami preparing what seemed to be a particularly elaborate breakfast.

"You're up. Good." Asami looked over his shoulder. "Sit down. This is almost ready."

Ignoring the order, Akihito padded over to Asami. "Wow. You did all this?"

"Do you see anyone else here?"

"I'm not sure. I think my eyesight has gone bad." Akihito smirked. "Nice apron. You look good in it."

"I look good in anything," Asami responded with unflappable arrogance.

Ah, there was the real Asami. Akihito snorted. It was entirely true, of course, but he wasn't about to encourage Asami's ego if he could help it. Not that it needed any encouraging.

"What's all this for?"

"You don't eat enough. Sit"

Akihito made a face, but he sat as instructed. "I eat plenty."

Asami cast an appraising look over his shoulder. "You've lost weight."

It was hard to keep his face neutral, but Akihito did, though he doubted it fooled Asami for a moment. So what if his appetite had been a bit off lately. That was normal wasn't it?

He forced a grin to his face, and tilted his chair back, balancing on the back legs. "Well, who's fault is that? It's probably because we have too much sex. We could cut back if you're really worried about it."

That earned him an amused glance as Asami placed a cup of hot tea in front of him, then tipped his chair forward. "Sit properly, kid. The last thing you need right now is a concussion."

Asami's large hand tousled his hair, and Akihito took the opportunity to stare at him as he went back to gather the breakfast dishes. The affectionate gesture affected him more than Akihito liked to admit. Inside, he felt like such a needy mess these days. Despite all his efforts to not let it show, he knew it had a bit because of the way Asami had been treating him ever since what happened. Not with kid gloves exactly, but he was disconcertingly solicitous of Akihito's expressed (and unexpressed) needs; indulgent even with his unsettling mood swings over the past week.

If not for the man's unabated sex drive-there Asami was the same as always, only adjusting his usual intensity to the needs of Akihito still recovering injuries-Akihito might have felt like Asami had been replaced by a Doppelganger.

He pushed those thoughts aside when Asami placed a variety of dishes in front of him.

"It looks good."

"Don't sound so surprised."

He shot Asami a genuine smile and began to eat after Asami removed the apron and settled across from him. The meal passed in silence except for Akihito's small sounds of enjoyment; his appetite whetted by the array of dishes. Asami watched him while he ate, an approving glint in his eye as Akihito practically inhaled the offerings.

"Thanks for the meal," Akihito finally said, laying his chopsticks across the plate in front of him and leaning back in his chair with a contented sigh.

Asami reclined in his own seat, producing his cigarettes from the pocket of his robe. He lit one and inhaled, Akihito watching the minute signs of satisfaction he displayed as the nicotine hit his system.

"You really do have an oral fixation."

Amused, Asami cocked his head slightly, leveling a look at Akihito. "It's all to your benefit, isn't it?"

A slight blush colored his cheeks, but Akihito refused to look away. "I knew you'd say something like that." He grinned. "Pervert."

"You're like a broken record. Can't you come up with something new to call me?"

"Like what?"

"What about my given name? You do remember it, yes?" Asami smirked as Akihito only gaped at him. "Go on," he encouraged, as if talking to a small child. "Say my name, and...I'll reward you." He stood up to retrieve an astray, leaning against the counter and regarding Akihito with a challenging lift of his brows.

Akihito's eyes narrowed. He knew Asami was just trying to wind him up, and he wasn't about to let him get away with that this time.

"Fine." His chin came up. "Ry-Ryuichi." His voice sounded high and stupid to his ears, and he really couldn't help the giggle that escaped because it just felt wrong to be calling Asami that.

Asami shook his head. "That was pathetic." The cigarette was lifted to his lips again, and he sucked it down to the filter before grinding it out in the ashtray, not taking his eyes off Akihito. "Try again."

"Ryuichi." Akihito's mouth twitched and wavered as he said it, but he managed not to laugh this time.

"Better." Amusement lit Asami's eyes, though his features were smooth and cool and his voice pitched low and intimate. "Once more. Make it good and I'll make you come so many times and so hard tonight you won't remember your own name for a month."

Heat bloomed across Akihito's cheeks, and his toes curled inside his slippers. "Ryuichi," he said, this time embarrassingly breathless, but it seemed to satisfy Asami very well.

His lips curved and he leaned close, hot breath against Akihito's ear making him shiver. "Yes, that's just the way I like it."

A finger tipped Akihito's chin upward, and he met Asami's warm gaze. "I'd love to start on that reward now, but I have to take care of some business."

"You're going out?" Akihito was surprised. It was Sunday, and Asami usually managed to spend most of the day at home, even if not entirely at leisure. Of course, Akihito was aware that Asami had cut way back on office time this past week. He hadn't said anything about it, just conducted his business over the phone and relied on Kirishima for other matters.

Akihito couldn't help feeling guilty for being the cause of it, but at the same time a little twist of disappointment and apprehension made his stomach burn unpleasantly. This was so stupid. It wasn't as if Asami hadn't gone out to work at all this week. And what was he scared of anyway? He wasn't a child. Being alone for a few hours wouldn't kill him.

"I need to see to some things personally."

Asami's lips covered his, distracting him from his turbulent thoughts. He made an involuntary sound of protest when Asami pulled away, and Asami smiled.

"I won't be too late. Have dinner out with me?"

"Yeah, all right," Akihito agreed, trailing after Asami into the bedroom. He curled up on the bed, watching Asami dress.

"And what will you do today?"

Asami shrugged into his shirt, doing up the buttons as he cocked a look at Akihito.

"Oh, um, I'm not sure." Akihito looked away, the question stirring up even more guilt. He'd all but neglected everything to do with work since what had happened; a vague sense of nausea overtaking him whenever he even thought about picking up his camera. And he had only spoken to his friends briefly, just to reassure them. He'd practically been hibernating in Asami's condo. It was weak. He knew that but...

"I...I have some emails I should probably answer. Some calls from the magazine about work. And those pictures from the shoot I had just finished when I was-well, I should work on those." Akihito gave a brittle sounding laugh. "Ha ha, at least I got my camera back in one piece."

Asami was silent a moment; the weight of his gaze making Akihito want to squirm.

"Why don't you see your friends?" The mattress dipped as Asami first finished tucking his shirt and fastened his trousers then sat next to Akihito.

The thought of actually going out-leaving the apartment-sent his heart into a series of rapid flutters. He exhaled slowly. "Ah, yeah, I might do that."

Asami's eyes narrowed almost imperceptibly. "You're entitled to a little time off work, hm?"

"It's fine," Akihito said a little sharply. "I can handle it. I'm fine now."

He found himself caged by Asami's arms, pressed back into the bed by his body. His eyes flew wide. "A...Asami?"

That piercing gaze held him, pinned him in place. "I never doubted you could handle it, Akihito." Asami looked stern, his features cool and impassive, but his eyes told a different story. "Whatever comes your way, I know you'll struggle and rise up all on your own if need be." More gently, he continued. "I have every confidence in you."

Speechless, Akihito lay almost spellbound under that speaking gaze until Asami's fingers brushed across his jaw. "But you needn't do it all alone."

The corners of Asami's mouth turned up in his usual infuriating smirk. He stood up again, pulling on his vest, then his jacket. "Or you need never work again. I'm certainly more than capable and willing to support you in style."

Akihito shot up on the bed. "As if! I'll show you! I'm not your mistress, Asami! I'll never-" He broke off as he saw the unabashed amusement wash over Asami's face.

He scowled and plopped back on the bed with a pout, not the least bit mollified that Asami had just been pushing his buttons. And he wasn't grateful one bit that the bastard knew just which ones to push to make certain he got his ass back in gear. No, he wouldn't acknowledge that at all.

He turned his face away when Asami bent over him again, still smirking. "Don't I get a goodbye kiss?"

"You can kiss my ass."

The petulant words were taken at face value, of course. He found himself flipped onto his stomach and crying out as Asami's teeth bit into the fleshiest part of his right buttock.

"With pleasure." He heard the grin in Asami's voice as he placed a light kiss where he had bitten. "I'm leaving now. I'd tell you to be good, but I've given that up for a lost cause."

Akihito snorted, but he rolled over and grabbed at Asami's sleeve when he turned to walk away.

"See you later, then," he said with gruff shyness. "And...and don't forget about your promise." His eyes titled up to meet Asami's. "Ryuichi."


A few months later...

"Stop smirking, bastard."

Akihito was still walking more gingerly than normal as he crossed to the table in the private dining room of the exclusive restaurant where Asami had insisted they meet for lunch. He had absolutely refused to patronize one more hole in the wall noodle joint for the next six weeks at least, and he was sitting back now in one of the comfortable, wing-back chairs that probably cost some ridiculous amount, a drink in one hand and the ever present cigarette in the other.

He put down both as Akihito neared the table and attempted to sit in the chair opposite. Instead, Akihito found himself pulled onto Asami's lap and kissed soundly. He would've put up a fight just to keep up appearances if he wasn't so goddamned sore already from that morning's session, not too mention the grueling photoshoot he'd had that day

When Asami finally let him up for air, he was smirking again. "Suoh tells me you're improving rapidly."

A scowl warred with the pleased grin that wanted to take over Akihito's face. He finally decided on preening a little, sitting up and futilely attempting to squirm out of Asami's grasp even as he beamed. "I got him good today, Asami."

"I heard. I also heard he got you good too. He apologized profusely for bruising your backside." Asami gave a little squeeze then, making Akihito yelp in surprise and not a little discomfort.

"Ow! Asshole, that hurts!" Being tossed around by the mountain that was Suoh was no joke, especially now that he had "stopped going easy" on him.

"I'll kiss it better."

"No way!" Akihito finally succeeded in slithering out of reach, and he flounced into the other chair, wincing as he landed a little too hard. "Quit trying to molest me in public places."

"Ah, but this is a private room."

Before Akihito could retort, a server entered the room and Akihito gave Asami a pointed look. The man simply returned an infuriatingly smug expression and proceeded to order a variety of food that sounded absolutely delicious. One thing he could say for Asami was that he always fed him well when they went out together, even if Akihito usually found himself in compromising situations at some point during the meal.

He happily told the server his drink order and leaned back in his chair to smile at Asami.

"Just the thought of food makes your face light up." Asami teased. "I wonder what it would take for you to look like that when you think of me."

Akihito grinned impishly. "You bringing me takeout from my favorite curry place?"

Asami chuckled. "You're so easy to please. Your friends were right about you being a cheap date."

"Hmph." Akihito crossed his arms over his chest. "It's called appreciating the simple things in life. You should try it sometime."

"I appreciate you."

"You're calling me simple?" His eyes narrowed. "Watch out or I'll demonstrate my new skills on your ass."

"You have a long way to go before that, my cute Akihito." Asami leaned forward and taunted him with a superior grin. "But you're welcome to try anytime."

Unfortunately, Akihito knew Asami was right. Despite Suoh's training, Akihito really was very much a beginner, though he had taken to the self-defense lessons easily, his natural athletic ability and his own past experiences with taking care of himself on the street had served him well.

He grinned suddenly, and Asami arched an eyebrow in curiosity.

"What are you thinking?"

"I took Kirishima-san out with just a kick to the shin," he pointed out with a cheeky lift of his chin. "Back when you guys cornered me in that alley. So don't underestimate me."

Asami laughed. "That's so. And you've managed to impress Suoh, which isn't an easy feat."

"Really?"

"I think he was ready to offer you a job on his security team after he saw the results of your last escape. Your ability to take out armed men when you're naked, tied up, and injured is nothing short of remarkable."

A frisson of discomfort slid down his spine at the reminder. He still hadn't quite come to terms with what had happened, and he was sure Asami knew that despite the front that Akihito did a pretty good job of maintaining. The sharp look he was getting now was proof. That assessing gaze saw everything.

But it had never been Asami's way to let him hide from himself or anything else really, and while it wasn't always easy or nice, his blunt methods somehow did make Akihito feel better. Anyway, he'd be damned if he would dissolve into a quivering heap over past events now.

Instead he made a face. "Yeah, well, somehow I can't see your people using the same methods." A little snicker escaped him as he imagined Suoh attempting to seduce his way out of a situation. Ugh, he really needed to scrub that image out of his mind or he wouldn't be able to face Suoh with a straight face ever again.

Asami was watching him, a slight smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "You appear deceptively harmless, but can wreak untold havoc in an amazingly short amount of time."

It was a toss up whether Akihito should be offended or flattered by that comment. The ambiguity was no doubt on purpose, as Asami seemed to like nothing better than winding him up. Still, he was getting that look in his eye again, which didn't bode well for Akihito's continued public dignity.

"Don't even think about it," he warned, holding up a warding finger and wagging it back and forth. "No clothes are coming off this meal."

"That's no hindrance. If you really prefer to come in your pants, I'm happy to oblige."

Color pinked his cheeks. "Ryuichi, if you-"

The door opening interrupted his retort. The waiter set Akihito's drink on the table and informed them their food would be out shortly. Akihito waited until he left again before meeting Asami's amused gaze.

"It's amazing to me that you can still be so shy despite all the times we've-"

"I'm not shy!" Akihito declared hastily. "You're just always so...so..."

"So what?"

"So sex-crazed! Even more than normal for you lately."

Asami's smirk grew more pronounced.

"You saved my life, Akihito." He leaned forward over the table and captured one of Akihito's hands, bringing it to his lips and letting his tongue slide over the tips of his fingers. "That's very sexy."

Akihito blushed to the roots of his hair this time, though he couldn't help staring back at Asami's intent and mesmerizing eyes. He shivered a little and didn't resist as Asami turned his palm over and placed a kiss in the center. His heart thudded hard against his ribs.

"Well..." His tongue darted out to wet his lips. "Well, I...I still owe you on that count. You've saved me lots of times."

"Does that mean you find me sexy too?" Asami's eyebrows lifted in an affected show of innocent curiosity, though his eyes danced with the enjoyment of their exchange.

Despite the heat suffusing his cheeks, Akihito acknowledged the truth of his feelings to that question with a small grin. "Maybe."

For him, it was a rather brazen admission after all, and a flicker of pleased surprise crossed Asami's features. Akihito was feeling pretty smug himself for a moment as he reveled in having thrown Asami for even a few seconds, that is until he spoke again.

"Then," Asami paused for effect, lowering his voice seductively. "Will you agree to play captive and guard with me? I'd love to see your technique in action."

The teasing had the desired effect-making Akihito shake his head and stifle a laugh, while simultaneously piquing his sexual interest. He covered with a snort and drew his hand away. "Me being your captive is hardly new, is it?"

"True," Asami acknowledged. "But it never gets old."

"You're the worst." Akihito narrowed his eyes, giving Asami a mock glare. "You need to read a book on psychology or something on how to deal with people who've experienced trauma."

Asami looked unrepentant and entirely amused. "Would you prefer I send you to a shrink?"

"Ha. They'd never believe all the stories I'd have to tell them about you, since you're obviously the source of everything fucked up in my life."

"Then you do prefer my methods after all?"

He was saved from answering when the door opened again and plate after plate of delicious looking food was transferred from a serving cart to their table. Conversation lagged for several moments as Akihito dug in, his blatant appreciation evident in the moans of enjoyment he let slip. Asami watched him, his own food eaten more slowly as he enjoyed more the sight of Akihito's satisfaction.

Akihito was too used to such examination now for it to be completely unsettling. Though how they'd come to this point was almost inconceivable when he truly thought about it. Sometimes Akihito could hardly believe that he was a part of Asami's world at all. They had so little in common, really, except for the burning intensity between them. That couldn't be denied. Still, it was still a mystery to Akihito what the powerful man across from him actually saw in him.

Akihito swallowed and took a sip of his drink, letting the burn of the smooth alcohol slide down his throat and warm his insides. He'd finally begun to learn to appreciate the good liquor Asami always had in plentiful supply. It spread out from his chest and down into his belly with a relaxing glow that eased the tension in his body.

Then that golden gaze lit on him, warming him even more than the scotch. Asami was so very handsome, so alluring, his look always made Akihito feel like he was melting. He couldn't resist asking.

"Why me, Asami?" Akihito sounded so honestly curious, baffled even.

The man's eyes widened a little, then crinkled around the edges. "There are perks to being with you. You don't nag me to quit smoking for one thing."

Akihito laughed. "Would you listen if I asked you to?"

"For you, I might."

The little shock of pleasure at the unexpected admission made Akihito smile unthinkingly, reflecting back the warmth the confession created in him.

Asami blinked slowly in the face of it, and his fingers flexed slightly before relaxing again. "What brought this on anyway?"

Embarrassment made Akihito shrug awkwardly, his eyes shying away. "I don't know. Just thinking." He hesitated, his fingers dipping into the condensation right left by his water glass. "Do you...do you ever think about Feilong?"

That heavy gaze settled on Akihito with a weight that made him sink back into the depths of his chair.

"What do you mean?"

"Do you ever wish you'd worked things out with him back then?" He nervously plucked at the napkin in his lap.

Unhurriedly, Asami reached for a cigarette, lit it, and inhaled long and deep. He blew the smoke out before answering. "I told you once that most of what was between us happened only in Feilong's mind. There was nothing to work out. Not in that sense."

"Yes, but. There was something. Things wouldn't have gone so wrong otherwise, right? And he's beautiful and skilled and powerful. And you saw him as an equal." This last was said softer, Akihito's eyes dropping his lap to watch his fingers fold and unfold the napkin.

"You sound jealous." He could hear the smile in Asami's voice and that made him scowl.

"Forget it."

Akihito sat forward again and would have downed the rest of his drink if Asami's hand hadn't locked around his wrist with inescapable strength. Instead, he found himself drawn forward across the small table until their faces almost met.

"If I wanted a relationship with a woman, then I'd go for the genuine article."

That earned Asami a grudging snigger. "He would so kick your ass if he heard you say that."

"He would try."

Akihito rolled his eyes. "Your ego should be classified as one of the seven wonders of the world."

"Only that part of me?"

A laugh, and Akihito tugged ineffectually against Asami's grip. "You really have a one track mind."

Akihito's wrist was released, but Asami beckoned him with a gesture, pushing back from the table to make room and patting his lap with just the faintest uptilt to the corner of his mouth. Surprising even himself, Akihito went to him without protest, knees on either side of Asami's thighs as he straddled Asami's lap.

Hands slid up his back, anchoring him there while Asami gave him a long look.

"You can't really think I want Feilong."

"No..." Akihito looked away. "It's just..."

His chin was grasped and pulled back toward Asami. "You think you have less to offer than someone like him. Is that it?"

He colored.

"Idiot."

A pout took over his expression and Asami laughed warmly.

"Think about it, Akihito." Asami's fingers traced over Akihito's shoulder, dipping inside his collar and ghosting up his throat. The light touch raised goosebumps on his flesh. "In essentials, you are very different from me, from Feilong, from most of the people I have known. It's what makes you so bright. So tempting."

The uncertainty must have shown on his face because Asami sighed. His hand began to knead Akihito's neck.

"Don't sell yourself short, or the value of what you have to offer." He gave a wry smile. "In any case, it's probably far more than I deserve." He tugged Akihito a bit closer, his grin going feral. "Fortunately for me, I have no qualms at all about taking more."

"Yeah, I'm well aware," Akihito said a little breathlessly as Asami's hands moved to his thighs and began to travel slowly up higher.

He practically melted under the searing look Asami gave him then. "Moreover," Asami murmured. "You're the cutest little sex kitten I've ever come across." A smirk grew as Akihito went red.

"Ha, that can't be true." Embarrassed, along with a mix of indignant and deep down maybe a tiny bit flattered, Akihito leaned into Asami, resting his forehead on the man's broad shoulder.

"But it is. Even when you're protesting, your body lights up like a 500 watt bulb to my touch. You were made for me."

It was such an arrogant thing to say, but Akihito couldn't deny it. He was excruciatingly sensitive to the slightest touch of his lover; his very skilled, thorough, and creative lover.

Akihito shifted a little, feeling flushed all of a sudden, and he raised his head to meet Asami's knowing gaze.

"Akihito." Asami purred. "Hurry up and finish your meal."

Not long after, Akihito found himself walking down the streets of Shibuya side by side with Asami, weaving in between the almost constant flow of people. He was a little confused that he wasn't already in the car being fucked into oblivion, especially after Asami had hurried him through the meal. Still, it was nice, this, to be doing something so normal for once. Though they were a bit mismatched, earning more than one double-take as they walked. Of course, that could just be because Asami always got second looks.

He knew a couple of Asami's men had to be lurking somewhere in the background and probably the men assigned to him too, even though he couldn't make out who in the crowd. Some of the more subtle looking bodyguards then. Even the car had been sent ahead somewhere, so Akihito felt almost like he was on a real honest to goodness date with Asami, just taking a stroll and people watching in the bustling neighborhood.

He bit his lip to stifle a grin as he imagined them walking hand in hand and calling each other pet names. Asami and the concept of that kind of a date were so wildly incongruous, he couldn't help but be amused. Akihito had barely become comfortable calling Asami by his given name, much less something even more familiar.

He had to stifle a giggle as he pictured the look on Asami's face if he suddenly started calling him Ryu-chan. It made his cheeks flush a little just with the imagined embarrassment of attempting to do so.

"What are you thinking about?"

Asami was watching him, an uplifted eyebrow indicating his curiosity.

"Nothing." He shook his head quickly, but couldn't stifle a huff of laughter.

"You know I'll get it out of you one way or another." Asami looked cool and amused, his hands in the pockets of his perfectly pressed pants, glancing down at Akihito.

When Akihito continued to look rebellious, pressing his lips together and turning his head away, Asami sighed loudly. "You really must be an exhibitionist, my Akihito, to provoke me in front of all these people."

That jerked his eyes right back to Asami. "You wouldn't do anything like that right here!"

Asami smile said 'try me', and he took his hands out of his pockets. Akihito edged away hastily, dodging a passing woman, and ending up back against the wall of a corner convenience store with Asami looming over him. "Wait a minute!" He held up a forestalling hand. "Geez, all right. I'll tell you."

"Good boy." Asami looked smug, as usual when things went his way. Which was all the fucking time. Bastard.

Akihito glared, feeling foolish, but he answered. "I was just thinking that without your men around...well, it feels almost like a real date. You know-one like normal people have."

That actually made Asami looked surprised for the space of a few seconds. Then he smirked. "I'll have to rectify that then."

"What?" It was Akihito's turn to be caught off guard. "Why?"

"Normal isn't for us. Didn't we establish that quite a while ago? Boring."

Asami flashed him a grin brimming with cocky assurance. Next the eyebrow went up in challenge. His eyes, as usual, promised Akihito a wild, unpredictable, and uncontrollable ride. "I'll take you where you really want to be. Where you belong. You only have to trust me."

He stretched his hand out, waiting.

Akihito didn't even have to think about it.