Title: Compound Interest

By: write-error

Blurb: Bickering, Hawaii Five-O, racing flags, a grumpy waiter, and even more bickering. Takaba is starting to think maybe the extended payment plan didn't turn out so badly after all.

Rating: R, mostly just swearing and sexual references. No actual sex, though. VF fic without sex. . . what the hell is with that? I'm so sorry for violating these natural laws.

Warnings: No sex. Perhaps pointless and rambling. An OC who is super-unhappy to be there. Insensitive treatment of individuals whose necks are not immediately apparent.




Akihito knows that if he'd just quit being so reactive, he'd have a way easier life.

For instance, when Asami implies that he's some punk kid who can't wipe his own ass, he should let it roll off his back. The ideal approach would be to walk away, like some kind of unflappable zen guy.

But he can't.

Takaba figures he can blame it on being absurdly short until he hit puberty, which seemed to mean he was always the kid who got picked on. In his younger self's head, there were two choices.

Plan A entailed sticking up for himself and taking a few lumps.

Plan B involved lying low, which always seemed easier. . . but only at first. Even back then, Akihito had realized he would eventually become a soggy piece of bully roadkill if he went that route.

Having never had much interest in the extended angst and woe scene, Akihito couldn't help but go with plan A. Since then, it has become a way of life. He's pathologically incapable of backing down. He confronts things, gets into scrapes, and rips off the band-aid. It's almost always better than keeping his mouth shut, and accepting the ten year payment plan.

This survival tactic has served him well in the past, but there is an exception to every rule.

It just figures. The rebellious streak that kept him from being picked on has become the quality that makes Asami love to pick on him. On top of that, Asami is all about the ten-year payment plan. Literally. It's one of the bastard's secondary revenue streams, for crying out loud.

Sadly, awareness of the situation doesn't make Asami's shit-headed goading any easier to take. Hearing Asami say, "Drink up, and one day you'll grow into a big boy," as he hands Akihito a glass of milk. . .

Sometimes, Akihito would give a kidney for the ability to get up and punch the bastard in the mouth.

Asami, however, is a tactical mastermind. He likes to save those statements for moments when Akihito isn't all that mobile, due to recent taxing physical activities. Thus, Akihito's aggravation is forced into storage, where it only deepens in flavour and intensity. . . sort of like a really pissed-off wine.

Akihito's ill-conceived revenge always has to be put off for another occasion. An occasion when he hasn't recently been wrapped around Asami like a pretzel (the bastard doesn't seem to care that people aren't supposed to bend that way). A less physically exhausted occasion, when Akihito doesn't want to curl up into a ball with a heat-pack.

Like, for instance, this occasion.

Yes, his time for ill-conceived revenge has finally come. It probably won't end well, but Asami's had this coming for so long that Akihito is pretty much electrified with excitement. He knows he'll have to pay later, possibly in installments, possibly while being sat on by a bunch of neckless fat-asses wearing shades and ill-fitting 'business' suits (okay they aren't fat, but they could stand to look less like human mountains, and the term "muscle-ass" just made them look at him doubtfully and back away). However, it's time to show Asami that Takaba Akihito is not cute. He is the fearsome arm of justice.

The champion who will usher in a new era! Well, no, but it would at least be nice to catch the jerk off-guard. Just once.

Then, maybe Asami would stop having the wait-staff bring a sundae every time Akihito steps through Sion's heavy double doors.

I am way too old for that shit!

It hurts Akihito a little deep inside when he leaves the ice cream uneaten. Maybe it's because of his swinging bachelor lifestyle (aka living on the edge - of getting scurvy), but he has always hated wasting food. His activities in the kitchen resemble creative food-ruining rather than actual cooking, so it's hard for him to turn edibles down - no matter what the source, and no matter what he thinks they might be laced with.

Still, he has to be strong, damn it.

I'm a man! I can resist ice cream!

Okay, even if he can't, he can buy his own damn tub of it on the way home from Sion - even if it won't be that ridiculously expensive European stuff with the chocolate ribbon and the pralines. . .

Pralines. . .

Because principles are more important than chocolate ribbon and pralines. Even the Belgian kind.

The chocolate ribbon. . . the pralines. . . oh god I wonder if they have the kind with the caramel thingies. . .


Tonight is special. Akihito's moment of divine justice has finally arrived, and Asami will be getting his due. He's already picturing Asami's face when he's presented with the evidence.

At the moment of revelation, imaginary Asami looks a lot like he's been slapped across the face with a live carp. That expression is a beautiful thing, and when Akihito sees the real version of that face, he fully intends to laugh. And laugh, and then laugh some more. Just the thought of it makes him want to rub his hands together in anticipation - but he suppresses the urge, because it would look seriously lame.

The thought of getting one past Asami is also a serious turn-on. Akihito is trying pretty hard to ignore it, though. At least for now.

His timing is perfect. Akihito crouches a bit lower and focuses his camera as the incriminating moment unfolds before him. The angle is great, and he has a clear view. It unfolds through the telephoto lens like something from a play.

Akihito is so carried away in his happy imaginings (stunned expression, laughing and laughing, etc.) that it takes him a few seconds to notice that the timing really is a little too perfect, and the whole thing is unfolding a bit too much like a play.

For instance, briefcases full of cash. No one exchanges fucking briefcases full of cash in this day and age, if indeed anyone ever did.

Also, the man to whom Asami passes the briefcase bears very little resemblance to the export company exec that was penciled into Asami's day planner. In fact, he is a bit of a fat-ass, and he doesn't seem to have a neck. . .

Oh. Shit.

Akihito supposes there are many people in the population with that unfortunate (lack of a) feature. However, the guy resembles one of the bodyguards in Asami's employ (incidentally, the one Takaba has fondly dubbed "No-Neck"). That guy absolutely rocks the pool-table despite his physical limitations - it's a triumph of the human spirit, like one of those feel-good ads that play when the olympics are on.

Tonight, No-Neck appears to be wearing glued-on sideburns, a fake mustache, aviator shades, and a woebegone expression that makes Akihito feel a stab of sympathy. He is troubled anew by Asami's utter lack of morals - and worse, good taste. For it has only taken way too long for Akihito to arrive at an awful realization: he has (once again) been had. Asami is painstakingly recreating a scene from some Hawaii Five-O episode he watched a couple of nights back. Akihito had loudly begged for the TV remote, but was unable to seize control due to his reluctance to dislodge the bag of frozen peas from his lower back.

He whistles admiringly at No-Neck's '70s makeover before feeling bad about it. "Asami. . . that twisted fuck! Why do people work for him?"

The boss-from-hell in Akihito's viewfinder turns towards the camera and smiles his dangerous smile. Akihito experiences the most unsettling sensation of deja-vu. He hopes that gleam in Asami's eye doesn't mean anything - but past experience tells him that Asami is going to barge into his apartment later on, and that he may have some mail-order products at the ready for this occasion. He thanks all deities between heaven and earth that he no longer carries canisters of film.

Akihito decides to get the hell out of town while he can still walk without a limp. A mauled-up neck and rope-burns would lead to such awkward silences in the course of his work day.

Oh, this feeling. . . this terrible feeling. Akihito feels like he's been slapped across the face with a fish. It kind of reminds him of the time he sent everyone that holiday card with a photo of himself, only to realize afterwards that his balls had been totally visible in the picture. Shitmotherfuckgoddamn, that had not been his best holiday season. Why, oh, why had he thought it would be a good year to reach out to his more distant relatives? And why were his relatives such freaks that some of them would write back about how certain parts of him had grown since they'd last seen him as a baby. . .

His nemesis looks up in his direction and appears to be smirking. And smirking, and smirking some more. And now, he's making some vague gesture that Akihito can't quite figure out. . . like he's pointing at Akihito, or at something. . . behind him. . .

What the. . . ?


Akihito turns to see a tired-looking waiter in Sion's crisp black and white uniform.

"Oh, for fuck's sake!" Akihito groans in frustration.

The waiter has somehow managed to climb all the way up the rickety fire escape to reach the roof. Amazingly, the tray he carries - even now, as he's nearly doubled over trying to catch his breath - remains impeccably arranged. Akihito groans again when he sees the contents.

A plate of cookies, a glass of milk, and. . . a note-card on that froofy stationery he likes to use when he's lording shit over me. . .

Muttering in discontent, Akihito gingerly plucks the heavy, cream-coloured note card off the tray, and reads it.

'Please enjoy with my compliments. You've been up there for so long that you probably need a snack. Yours, Asami. PS - You'll need your energy tonight. It's a special occasion.'

Akihito sputters for a second before exploding. "Take your damned cookies and. . . " his mouth closes with a click before he can make any suggestions Asami might take him up on later. The man has ears everywhere.

"And you," he continues, turning to the waiter, curious. "How the hell did you climb a ladder while holding a tray?" He tilts his head, pondering. "Is. . . is he hiring from the circus now?"

"Never again." Pant. "I don't," pant, "get paid," pant, "enough," pant, "for this shit," the waiter manages to gasp.

Akihito pats the guy's brow with a napkin from the tray.

"Next time," pant, "find a," pant, "shorter building," pant, "to fail on," pant.

Akihito sticks his tongue out. "Seems like you could use the cardio. Awfully young to be wheezing like that, huh?"

The waiter plunks the tray down on the roof, sits down a few feet away, and lights a cigarette - all while treating Akihito to a venomous glare. "Shut up," he gasps, "and eat your snack, little boy."

Takaba laughs at that one. "Whatever, you're in college, am I right? Hope you make enough cash at this gig that it's worth it to put up with him." He looks back at the tray. "By the way, there's no way I'm drinking that milk. I bet you spat in it partway up." He nods knowingly. "Yeah, I've worked food service before," he adds, crouching to stuff his camera back in his bag.

"Obviously only at the classiest of places," the waiter grunts, clearly offended at the lack of professionalism Takaba implies. "I brought those all the way up here, and just my luck it's a loser who doesn't tip. Eat the damn cookies. Eat them now."

"Well, I'm taking off. Hope you enjoy milk, cookies and phlegm," Akihito offers cheerfully as he makes for the fire escape. "I've got a train to catch."

The kid snickers. "The boss and his retro 'security specialist' are probably waiting at the bottom of the fire escape by now."

Akihito pauses, groans, and then decides that he should stay on the roof a bit longer. "Aw, crap."

"I'd feel bad for you, but I can already tell you're a huge pain in the ass." He waves the cigarette dismissively in Takaba's direction, gradually regaining his wind.

Takaba scowls, muttering as he peers over the edge of the roof. "Slacker. Don't you need to get back to your job? Or should we just hang out and share stories about our ass-pain?"

The waiter freezes, gaping.

Akihito's pathetically glad that he's managed to surprise at least one person during the course of the evening.

"Ugh, no. After climbing all this way, I'm giving myself the rest of the night off. There is no way the boss can expect me to. . . "

Akihito hears some static, before a a tinny version of Asami's voice comes from some radio thing on the guy's belt. "I expect you to get back to the club, Oda-kun," the transmitter crackles. The kid's expression fills with despair.

What a control freak, Akihito thinks in exasperation. "Look, Asami, quit being such a hard-ass and-"

"I also expect you to stop flirting with my wife," Asami continues without missing a beat. He sounds especially evil, having found a way to horrify both of his victims with a single sentence.

The shocked silence doesn't last long.

"What. The. FUCK? Who are you calling your. . . Hey! Bastard, are you listening to me? Answer me, you asshole!"

Akihito quickly turns to the alarmed waiter when he is greeted only by a smug, crackly silence. He seizes him by his black waistcoat, and shakes him. "Fuck! Has he been telling people that? He's insane. He's gone insane!"

Oda is trying to cover his panic with cool. It is not working. "Uh, sir, I. . . I'm not flirting with your-" he dares a cautious look at Takaba's wild eyes and trails off. "Y-your, um. . . this person. . ."

"Even if you could handle him, you don't know what you'd be in for," Asami continues sadistically in his smooth voice. "Takaba may seem acceptable at first. He is kind of cute, but just wait. You can't take him anywhere. He'll constantly be taking junk apart to repair other pieces of junk in the middle of your living room-"

Takaba releases Oda, who stumbles a couple of steps backwards.

"Stop calling my stuff junk! They are vintage electronics! And FYI, that Intellivision is going to be fully operational any day now. I-I'm on the verge of a breakthrough. My Snafu game is almost working, you caveman!" Takaba sputters, only to be ignored.

"-and he'll insist on keeping his own place, as if that gesture has some kind of meaning. Even so, he lacks the attention span to recall which possessions are kept at which apartment, and most of it is about as useful and attractive as the snafuvision. On top of that, he'll start trying to improve your character - which, for some reason, means filling the refrigerator with cheap beer-"

"It's beer. Beer is supposed to be cheap, you freak," Takaba explained as slowly and distinctly as he could. "That's the entire point of beer."

"and then forcing you to drink it and watch incomprehensible b-movies. And through the whole thing, he points at the screen, laughs through his nose, and slaps his knee like a-"

"Oi. How can you even call yourself a man? Dude's arm becomes a laser-cannon. He goes back in time with a Russian T-90, and destroys the Roman Empire just because he can. What, are your testicles fake or something?" Takaba rebuts.

Oda looks extremely uncomfortable. Crackle, hiss. Despite the static noises, Asami's unimpressed snort is clearly audible. "A little obsessed, darling? I can show you how real they are any time. That doesn't change the fact that your movies are made by chimps, for chimps. And you actually described that one as a historical film."

Takaba's entire way of life is being questioned, but he realizes he has to calm down. It's usually futile when it comes to Asami, but he has to try.

Zen. The aesthetic simplicity of a rock-garden.

Zennnn. A peaceful waterfall. . .

Zennnnnnnnn. That time they were at that resort and Asami found perverted uses for heated massage-rocks before fucking Akihito unconscious beneath a waterfall. . .


Okay, it does not work. Asami has systematically ruined every single one of Akihito's meditative images. It's not relaxing to recall public humiliation, or nearly dying from post-orgasmic water inhalation.

"Never mind. Where did you find this kid?" Takaba asks, trying to save his sanity via subject-change. "He didn't spill anything on the way up. And he's so bitc-" he corrects himself at the brewing look of outrage on the kid's face. "-grumpy."

"New hire in the lounge area - it's his first day. He seems to have above-average reflexes. The manager needed someone who could dodge the more. . . affectionate clientele without offending them by spilling beverages on them."

"Huh?" The kid looks a little sick now. "Hey, wait. No one told me-"

"Oda-kun, get back to work."

"Yes, sir. Just so you know, sir, I wasn't hitting on your super-demure and completely not-annoying bride, sir," he mumbles, his will broken. He stubs his cigarette out and grabs the fire escape railing once more, swinging himself around and beginning to descend. "Fuck you, you are both crazy," he mouths silently, glaring at Takaba as though he's the one responsible for ruining his life.

Takaba isn't sure whether he should laugh, sympathize, or get pissed off at the injustice of getting rolled in with Asami.

"Akihito, get down here and fulfil your marital obligations," Asami prods, completely deadpan.

Akihito decides to get pissed off.

"Screw you," Akihito calls out peevishly. He hopes the transmitter can pick up the full extent of his irritation, though it is retreating with the waiter's descent.

"That's what I'm saying," Asami's drawl grows fainter as the waiter goes down the fire escape.

"Ugh! Here, take this!" Oda's face reappears over the ledge. Akihito barely manages to catch the transmitter that has been thrown accurately - and with great velocity - at his head. "You guys sound like my grandparents!" the waiter continues in a traumatized hiss, barely loud enough for Takaba to catch.

"Oda - do you play baseball?" Akihito inquires conversationally, his voice extra-warm and extra-loud for high-fidelity transmission of evil. "You've got a nice arm. We should play together sometime. It could be a lot of fun. I'd lo-o-ove to swing my bat at your balls, Oda-kun. Unf. Oh, yeah."

"Stop intentionally endangering my life!" the waiter calls out in an agitated voice as he heads back down the ladder.

Takaba takes the lens-cleaning cloth out of his pocket and waves it demurely in farewell, batting his eyelashes. "When do you get off work? I'll be the grabber, you'll be the innocent waiter trying to dodge my advances. It's never too early for professional development!"

"Akihito," Asami's tinny voice is cold. "Will I have to fire that waiter?"

"Asami," Takaba mimics as he crouches to arrange his gear properly in his camera bag. "I know you're an evil crime-lord and stuff, but if you cross that line, the stain on your soul would never be erased." He pauses so that Asami can absorb the full gravity of his words. "You sent him up here with a tray. You're keeping him until he's ready to draw a pension."

The radio thing crackles. Asami's smirk is nearly audible. "Yes, dear."

"Um, right. Sweetie-poo, I'm going to visit my parents now. Don't 'drop in' because you're 'in the area' like last time, okay? You wrecked my favorite quilt. I had to sneak it out into a dumpster, you jerk. Now my mom is all worried about dementia and apologizes for losing it every time I talk to her."

"Don't cry," Asami soothes, his voice warm and dark. "I'll buy you a new blanket with race-cars on it. . . if you call me 'Daddy.' And if you make those cute 'vroom vroom' noises again."

". . . the more you talk, the creepier you sound. I can barely comprehend your perversion." Akihito hoisted his bag up on his shoulders.

Asami's voice practically rumbles through the transmitter. "You say that as if you didn't love being spanked, covered in butterscotch, and then fucked into your little racing blanket."

Takaba is glad that the radio is the only witness to him adjusting himself at the blatant heat in Asami's tone of voice. After all he's been through, it's kind of incredible that he can still blush. "W-what? I so did not! I'm. . . normal, and you're pushy!"

"It's cute how you still believe that," Asami replies. "You seem to forget that the part with the flag-waving was your idea."

"So!" Takaba exclaims, desperate to change the subject. "About that actual real-life crime dramatization - you need help. I can't believe you'll watch that late-night TV crap. Don't think I didn't notice you watching an infomercial for a food dehydrator."

Asami seems suspiciously quiet.

Akihito blinked, eyes narrowing. "Oh my god, you bought that thing! Food will actually dry up if you just, you know, leave it out, or put it in the oven. Ugh. That's it. You need a hobby. One that doesn't suck." Akihito immediately regrets using the words 'hobby' and 'suck' in close proximity, but perhaps it's another mark of progress that Asami doesn't go after that one.

The sound quality of the transmitter isn't poor enough to hide the smile in Asami's voice. "How long did it take you to notice, anyway? Was it the sideburns?"

Akihito tightens the strap of his bag and does a quick shoelace check. Then, he grabs hold of the ladder to make his way down. He'll be okay sliding down the railing from the second story - he has good gloves on, after all. Plus, he's lighter and faster than No-Neck, and he plans to hit the ground running.

"Get down here, sweet-heart. Ice cream's melting."

Rolling his eyes, Akihito scoffs and starts to descend. "Who's your sweet-heart? I'd like to know so I can address my 'You have to deal with Asami from now on, neener neener. No take-backs!' thank-you card."

Asami's response is dry. "Have someone check it over before you send it - spelling is important. And if it's a photo card, make sure your balls aren't hanging out."

"Shut up!" Akihito retorts, stung. Some people just can't let things go. "It was just that one ti-"

"That one bulk-mailing, you mean."

Okay, so about a hundred-and-fifty people just can't let things go. Asami can be so petty. It's going to be kind of jarring to see him be all solicitous to Mrs. Takaba at breakfast tomorrow, pretending not to be the fiend who tied her son up with racing flags before turning him (and his Hot Wheels comforter) into a sticky, butterscotched, unlaunderable mess.

Oh well.

Ice cream melts, cookie crumbles, and Akihito knows he'll probably have to acknowledge that they are seriously and kind-of-permanently together one of these days. Possibly.


It's just a formality, really, but he's a stubborn guy.

With that thought in mind, Akihito lobs the transmitter down ahead of him. It isn't much of a throw, but gravity is on his side. With any luck, it will strike Asami near the bastard lobe of his brain and cause a drastic personality change.

At the very least, it might provide enough distraction for Akihito to get a decent head-start.

Asami is waiting when Akihito reaches the bottom of the fire-escape, watching his prey with amused eyes as he smokes his cigarette.

The soles of Akihito's shoes hit the pavement as he lands in a crouch. He bounces back up to his feet, grabs Asami by the fabric of his expensive suit, yanks him over, and plants a kiss on his mouth. Asami, ever the opportunist, drops his smoke and moves to back Akihito up against the fire-escape ladder.

But Akihito's too fast for that kind of business.

"Catch ya later!" Akihito yells over his shoulder as he takes off. It's familiar now, but the rush remains. His entire body warms with the exertion. The wind ruffles his hair. He feels the heat of Asami's gaze burning into his back, hears No-Neck's rapidly fading shout.

The surprise with the carp and the laughing might have been better, but this isn't half-bad. After all, today is the end of the ten-year payment plan. Takaba figures he may as well let Asami have a good chase, just to mark the occasion. So far, his ideas haven't panned out, but Takaba's determined to show Asami who's boss at some point during the next decade.

Our hero will never back down! Whoosh! Kapow!

Akihito lets out a whoop as he jumps up on impulse, swinging jubilantly off some unfortunate shopkeeper's soon-to-be-bent awning.

When he leaps back to the ground and is on the move again, he can see Asami through the viewfinder in his mind. He's calling for the car with that slight smile, listening to Akihito's laughter as it trails behind him.




A/N: Well, I've been sitting on this one for a while. It was kind of an experiment based on another experiment, and I have this nagging feeling that I'm the only one who is amused by it, but hopefully that's not the case. Thanks for reading, comments and criticism are very much appreciated!