Rating: NC-17

Author's Note: The final chapter will be the epilogue and that will come soon. I hope you enjoy this one. When I told people I would post this today, I had forgotten the new Pray in Abyss chapter would be posted up. (LOVED IT! How much of a sex god is Asami? And how adorable is Akihito? I can't wait two more months for the next!) But, oh well, here it is anyway, though it pales in comparison. Now back to staring at Asami. This kind of returns a little bit to the crackier side of things toward the end. I hope you will indulge me. :)

Akihito rose to wakefulness slowly. The only thing familiar about the bed was the quality of the sheets he was wrapped in. He wasn't at Asami's penthouse, he knew that much, but then where?

His brain was still too fuzzy for Akihito's anger to rekindle, even as his thoughts turned to the events that played out in the limo. He had freaked out, and Suoh had drugged him. Standard operating procedure in Asami-land. They never did fight fair.

Cotton-mouth made his tongue feel swollen and fuzzy, so Akihito forced himself to sit up on the edge of the bed. A slight wave of nausea drained the color from his cheeks. He blinked to clear his eyes and looked around.


He recognized his surroundings after all. This was Asami's private jet, the sound of the engines obvious now that he was aware. He hadn't been inside it since Asami had brought him back from Bali. All those memories came rushing back to Akihito with overwhelming force. He couldn't even try to stop them. Hong Kong, the casino ship, the shootings, and Asami taking him to that surreal tropical paradise. He had treated him so gently, well, except for the sex. If anything, he'd been even rougher than usual there, but Akihito knew that was because it was what he had needed to connect back to a reality that had seemed so unreachable until then. Asami had really gone out of his way to care for him, to make sure that Akihito was getting what he had needed, indulging him in everything. The camera...

A wave of longing swept through Akihito. He hunched over at the pain in his chest, hugging himself tightly as he tried to hold in his grief. What was the truth? Did Asami care or didn't he? Was he just an amusing toy to him or something more?

A bit of turbulence shook him out of his reverie, and Akihito stumbled to the small adjoining bathroom. An unopened toothbrush lay beside the sink along with a bottle of over-the-counter painkillers that Akihito took gratefully before brushing the dry, unpleasant coating from his teeth and tongue.

He splashed water on his face and combed his fingers through his hair. His reflection stared back at him solemnly. There was no getting away from Asami here. There never was, really. Maybe it was time he faced up to this like an adult anyway. He couldn't run forever.

Perhaps Asami would listen to him, respect his wishes for once, if he did. He would just tell Asami calmly, matter of factly, that he couldn't be a part of this anymore. He didn't want to be a joke or toy or pet, or whatever Asami saw him as. Asami would have no difficulties finding someone to fill Akihito's shoes.

He took a deep breath and nodded, regretting it immediately as his head began throbbing dully. He really hated ether.

He emerged from the bathroom to find Asami sitting at the small table at the side of the room that was now set with a tray of tea and fruit and small sandwiches.

Akihito stared at Asami's impassive features.

"You should eat something to settle your stomach."

Without a word, Akihito slid into the seat across from Asami and began to eat slowly under Asami's watchful gaze. His pulse raced, but he forced himself to an outward display of calm, determined not to give Asami the satisfaction of witnessing his inner turmoil.

It wasn't easy. He swallowed too much tea and winced as the hot liquid scalded his throat as it went down. At least that gave him a reason to look pained.

Above all, he tried not to allow himself to think of his final moments in Asami's penthouse. But then, once he thought of not thinking of it, he could think of nothing else. His fingers trembled around the teacup as he remembered his pathetic, humiliating declaration. A deep, burning flush suffused his cheeks. Oh, God. He couldn't do this. He wanted to be anywhere but here.


The tone in Asami's voice confused him, but he couldn't bring himself to look at him. Instead, he scowled at the flowered design on the tea service. He wondered who had chosen it. It wasn't really Asami's style at all.

"Akihito." Asami's voice was sterner this time, as if to let Akihito know that he wasn't going to get away with staring at teapots all day. Sooner or later he was going to have to deal with overbearing bastards instead.

His eyes raised to meet Asami's. His face was still smooth, but Asami's eyes expressed something that made Akihito feel even worse. A concern mixed with guilt and pity and all those other horrible emotions that people feel when they're getting ready to say things like: 'We need to talk...' and 'It's not you, it's me...' and 'Let's just stay fuck buddies...'.

He wasn't sure how much of what he was thinking showed on his face because Asami got even more maudlin-looking. Which was just plain weird because Asami didn't do maudlin. Akihito thought he might throw up, but then Asami started to open his mouth to speak.

"Listen, Asami," Akihito broke in hastily, setting the cup on the table before he sloshed the contents on his jeans. "We're both adults here..." He manfully ignored the flicker of amusement that statement lit in Asami's eyes, but at least it got rid of some of the goddamned condescending pity. He took a deep breath to regroup and continued. "So, I would appreciate it if you could just accept that it's best for everyone involved if we just end things cleanly and quickly and without a big fuss. You can go tell the pilot to land the plane. We can go our separate ways, and that's that. I promise you that my cameras and I won't go anywhere near your business in the future."

"Haven't I told you enough times there's no escape for you? I'm afraid we won't be landing for quite a while. In the meantime, I suggest you make yourself comfortable. We have a lot to talk about."

Akihito winced. There! He knew it. Now for the gentle letdown. Well, considering this was Asami, it would be blunt and ego-bruising. And in the end, he'd still be fucked, and his body would react, always betraying him, no matter how much his mind and heart didn't want it.

"Now, do I have to tie you down and gag you to get you to listen to what I have to say, or will you hear me out." His lips quirked. "As we're both reasonable adults here."

Akihito glared a moment, unaware of the naked, wounded emotion that shone out even more strongly than the anger, but then he dropped his gaze to his hands, which twisted together in his lap.

Asami's voice softened. "There really is more to this than you think."

Akihito looked up, his face raw with a kind of painful hope. "Can you honestly say you weren't deceiving me?"

For the first time, Asami looked truly distressed and a sinking feeling churned Akihito's insides.


His face fell.

"I haven't been entirely truthful with you, it's true. But please give me a chance to explain."

"Fine," Akihito said dully, his gaze going back to the pink flowers that twined around the teapot. It wasn't like he had a choice. Even the fact that Asami had said 'please' couldn't shake the sick numbness that was spreading from inside out.

"I-" Asami paused, took a heavy, impatient breath, then a gave short laugh. "I deal with Heads of State, power brokers from all over the world and all walks of life, manage a successful international organization that encompasses thousands, and I can't string two words together for a cheeky brat like you." Asami's words were wry, self-deprecating, but still Akihito drew in on himself, his shoulders hunching.

Another deep breath, and Asami began again. "I'm sorry." He made an aborted gesture to reach out, then dropped his hand onto the table, his fingers curling inward. "That isn't what I mean. You're more than that. Much more."

A tiny line appeared between Akihito's eyes, Asami's words only throwing him off balance and confusing him.

Asami sighed when Akihito didn't speak, but seemed to gather himself.

"What Kirishima told you was true. There was an explosion. I was in the hospital for several days. My...thought patterns were affected."

Akihito raised his eyes, fixing Asami with a searching look. Asami looked back at him steadily, no trace of humor in his eyes. He seemed sincere. But Asami had already admitted he hadn't been honest.

Doubtfully, Akihito frowned. "Is that really true?"

"It is. And it was a deliberate attack."

That made Akihito's chest constrict. So someone had attacked Asami. Was he still in danger? Despite himself, Akihito worried. "Do you know who did it?"

"Yes, and I'll get to that. First, I want to explain what caused my...condition, so that you'll understand what my state of mind was."

Akihito couldn't deny that he was curious. Without being conscious of it, he sat forward in his chair, riveted to what Asami was saying.

"The explosion was carefully managed, the doctor at the hospital bought and paid for by the one responsible. He was the best, a neurosurgeon who checked out on first glance. It should have been standard treatment for a concussion, but according to the doctor the MRI showed results that required further tests."

Akihito chewed at his lip nervously. "He did something to you?"

"Yes, we pieced it together later. The short version is he used a combination of drugs and conditioning to set up a personality modification. It came from a defunct military research project, dumped because of its limited effectiveness and temporary results. In the short term, it was effective enough."

"Seriously?" Akihito's eyes went wide. "A military project?"

"It was intended to be used for deep cover agents. A way to immerse them in their role and maintain cover. It was meant to focus on specific aspect of a subject's personality, supposedly more effective than trying to do a major overhaul. Eventually, though, the conditioning fades naturally, and in some cases-" Asami's expression took on a flicker of smugness, "-It's overpowered even sooner by the original personality patterns, just like foreign substances in the blood by white blood cells."

For a moment, Akihito was speechless. This sounded way too bizarre to be true. It was like a spy novel or science fiction maybe. His eyes narrowed. "If you're lying to me..."

"I have proof if you want to see it, but I give you my word that this is all true. I know it sounds farfetched, but-"

"Yeah, just like the sex slave thing, but I bought into that. Stupid, naive, Akihito, haha. Is this story all bullshit too? Are you just stringing me along for your personal amusement?"

"No." Asami's patience wavered for a moment before his control clamped down. "That is the point of personality that I was conditioned to adopt. You were my master. I was your slave. It was my purpose to make you happy. Because it was so simple and so focused it worked to a certain extent. I was able to continue everything else almost as before because the conditioning didn't attempt to overwrite that. It was just that serving you took precedence. Fortunately, you were more than happy to have me out of your hair so that I could continue to conduct my business in those first several days."

"So you...you really thought you were my..." He wasn't sure how it was even possible he could still blush after all they'd been through, but Akihito managed it. "...sex slave?"

"I did." Asami's mouth quirked again. "It's hard to describe accurately. It was almost like a part of me was watching from a distance, but right there and then, in your presence particularly, it was an almost overwhelming compulsion. Almost like a reflex. Calling you 'master', kneeling in the beginning, desiring to please you, all those things were second nature, but at the same time took up a large conscious portion of my thoughts."

Akihito couldn't help being fascinated. "That's...that's really kind of scary."

"Indeed." Asami reached for his own cup of tea and sipped. "However, the research was defunct for a reason. It only worked for as long as it did because there was already an underlying desire on my part to...please you."

"Right." Akihito pulled back again, his face shuttering. "You mean, you already wanted to fuck me senseless. This just gave you even more of an excuse. And just so you know, you were a lousy sex slave."

"Was I?" Akihito had looked away, so he didn't see the tender, teasing light in Asami's eyes as his fingers traveled over the bones of Akihito's wrist. "But that's your fault, isn't it?"

Akihito's eyes flew back to Asami. "Mine?" he cried indignantly. "How do you figure?"

"Most people given that kind of power would have wielded it to their advantage. They would have become corrupted by it. You didn't. You protected me."

Akihito flushed, eyes dropping to where Asami's fingers still stroked him. He pulled his arm away.

"It would have been a perfect chance for you to have your revenge."

"I...I did take pictures of you."

Asami chuckled. "Yes. Your perfidy knows no bounds."

"Shut up." Akihito crossed his arms over his chest and scowled at Asami. "Sorry, I'm not a complete bastard like some people. I'm not you."

"I know." Asami sobered. "Believe me when I say that I have never appreciated more the fact that you are who you are. And Kirishima would probably have had an aneurysm had this involved anyone but you. As it was, it was close."

For a moment, Akihito's lips turned up, but then he shook his head. "This doesn't let you off the hook. It wore off didn't it? You were just playing with me at the end. I know it. I saw it in your face. Why didn't you tell me?"

Akihito's plaintive question seemed to cause Asami some consternation. His eyebrows drew together and he sighed again.

"It's true, it did wear off. Again, it's hard to describe, but it's as if cracks started to develop, flashes of my 'old' self coming through, even from the beginning, but the construct didn't really shatter completely until the day you told me that you wanted me in control."

Akihito bit his lip hard enough to turn it white around the edges of his teeth and he ducked his head, unable to meet Asami's intent gaze. Oh God, this was so humiliating. Apparently, Asami had forgotten nothing about what he'd been through.

"Hearing that..." Asami continued softly, as if he were trying not to antagonize Akihito. "It was a like an electric jolt. A shock to my system. And everything came back. I remembered the way I'd been. The way I'd felt, but the compulsion was gone."

Akihito was burning with shame and the rush of blood to his face. "But why?" he asked again. "Why didn't you say something?"

"You were...worn out. You fell asleep for hours, and I went to speak to Kirishima. His research into what happened was much more pressing to me at that point, as you may imagine. We weren't quite sure at that point who had done this. I decided that it would be best not to tell you because if we did, your actions might give away that the conditioning had worn off. I thought it best to play along until we could determine the motive and the one behind it. I thought it might put you in danger as well."

"So...so you were protecting me?" Akihito peeked up through his hair, trying to make out Asami's expression. If this were true, then Asami really had been looking out for him. Had he overreacted by getting so angry and yelling and running off? A deep sense of guilt began to fill him. But the gut-wrenching reminder of the way he had lapped up those days with Asami assaulted him.

Oh God, Asami had been protecting him, he'd even given Akihito's ass a break of sorts. All that sitting and talking and-Akihito blushed to think of it-cuddling, it had just been a front, and like an idiot, he had allowed himself to fall into it and believe something like that could be real. Even when he had believed it was because of Asami's condition, he had-he had-

A chest-constricting panic began to build up inside him, and he took a shuddering, dry breath. The naked play of emotions across his features wasn't missed by Asami's hawk-like gaze.

"Akihito," he said sharply. Akihito found his wrists grabbed, and then Asami's thumbs were rubbing soothing circles into his palms. "Listen to me. That's a lie too."

"Wh-what?" Akihito's wide eyes met Asami's.

"Rather, it's not the whole truth." Asami sounded angry at himself. "I wanted to keep doing it. I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying you."

"You..." Akihito's breath hitched. "So you were just playing a game with me." The closed ache of his throat made his voice tight and hoarse.

"Not a game. It was-" Asami stood abruptly and turned away. "I knew you would never act so openly under normal circumstances. You were-" Again, uncharacteristically, Asami fumbled. "You acted in ways you wouldn't otherwise."

Anger began to ignite in the pit of Akihito's belly, his fingers curled into fists. "So because you thought it was fun, you let me make a fool of myself? You think it's okay to play with people's emotions like that?"

Akihito rose and Asami turned around to face the hurt and outrage glowing in his eyes. "I was worried about you! I didn't know if you'd ever get better! I didn't know if someone would try to hurt you again! Or if someone found out about your condition, they might try to use it against you! You asshole!" Akihito laughed bitterly. "But what are people to you but playthings, right? You can do as you like because you're the all powerful Asami Ryuichi!"

His voice dropped and Akihito turned away. "But that's what you've always said, isn't it? I shouldn't blame you for acting just how you always claimed to be. You were only, always, just playing with me."

Akihito found himself jerked around, nose to nose with Asami, furious golden eyes burning into him.

"It's not like that. I knew you would never relax around me enough to open up to me. You're so damn prickly all the time, it's impossible to get you to see reason. I was willing to wait, to tame you slowly, but when this opportunity presented itself, I took it. It's what I do."

"What is that even supposed to mean? And who the hell do you think you are?" Akihito tried to wrench away, but Asami's hold on his arms tightened cruelly. "You'll never tame me, you jerk! Never! I hate you!"

Asami laughed darkly. "That's not what you said before."

Akihito gasped, his face going white as he stared at Asami in shock. The bold-faced reference to his words that had cost him so much shocked him to the core.

Tears welled up in his eyes, and he tried to blink them back to no avail. Helpless, he stood in Asami's grip, his chin falling forward to his chest while he took in great hitching breaths of air.

Those strong hands convulsed around his upper arms, and then Akihito was pulled into a tight, rib-crushing embrace.

"I knew you would never believe that any of it was real. You were too caught in our old pattern. And when you began to let me touch you, when you began to talk to me of things you never had before, to confide in me and even tease me in your own way, I couldn't resist the temptation. I'm not in the habit of denying myself what I want. Perhaps..." Asami said grudgingly. "Perhaps I was wrong, but I won't regret it. I won't regret taking what you offered."

Akihito shook from the force of his sobs. Asami's words were utterly bewildering. He wasn't sure he was even understanding properly.

"Akihito. Are you listening to me?" Something like desperation laced Asami's words now, or maybe it was just exasperation, Akihito wasn't coherent enough to recognize the truth. "It was real. All of it. It wasn't a game. I may not have been honest with you about everything, but how things were-how we were-that wasn't a lie."

His hands came up to cup Akihito's cheeks, tilting his face toward Asami.

"I liked it. Every moment. I wanted it too. Every moment, up until the point you jumped to conclusions and ran away."

Akihito stared at him blankly, his face not revealing at all the frenetic activity of ten thousand butterflies taking flight in his stomach. Every moment? Then that meant...

"Akihito." Asami scowled. He looked rather cute, Akihito thought fondly, like a spoiled child who wasn't used to not getting his way. "Don't be so stubborn for once. What more do you want me to say?"

"Nothing," Akihito said. He smiled and Asami's eyes widened in response. "Just kiss me." He went up on tiptoes, hands burying themselves in Asami's hair, and in Asami's ear, he whispered, "Ryu."

They tumbled to the bed, mouths fused. Clothes were pulled apart in haste, but when Asami pressed him down to the mattress, his hands were gentle, his eyes dancing. "How do you want it...Ma-"

Akihito yanked him down, plastering their mouths together, giving Asami as sharp bite on his bottom lip in punishment. And then he was eaten from top to bottom, no inch unplundered by Asami's tongue and teeth and hands and cock. The pilot's voice interrupted them in the midst of their reunion, advising them to buckle in due to upcoming turbulence.

They paid him no mind, only laughing when they were thrown to the floor, Akihito just climbing astride Asami once again and riding him until his thighs trembled. When he couldn't hold himself up any longer, Asami bent him over the bed and literally fucked him into the mattress until both Akihito and the high thread count sheets were a sticky, sweaty mess.

Asami licked the salt from Akihito's spine, and then flipped him over. His own unflagging erection already pushing into Akihito's loosened hole. He groaned as Asami curled over him, thrust in to the hilt. His heels drummed against Asami's ass, digging in to draw him even closer.

Asami drew out painfully slow, then back in again with just as much measured control, again and again until Akihito was hard again and keening for more.

"What do you want?" Asami's sensual voice purred in his ear,.

Akihito gasped as Asami's fingers tugged sharply at his nipples. "You...you know what I want."

"Yes." Teeth grazed his throat. "I do." He could feel Asami's mouth curve into a smile. "You were so eloquent that day."

A grunt that was pure pleasure escaped him as Asami fingers trailed to rub at the skin behind Akihito's balls. His thumb pressed upward on the flesh there, and he bit down on Akihito's throat as if to pin him to the bed.

Akihito writhed. "Oh, God...Asami."

"'I want you to take control.'" Asami's cock slipped free and Akihito moaned at the loss. "'I want you to do whatever you want with me and make me like it.'"

Akihito was way too turned on to blush as Asami repeated his own shameful words. It was true anyway. They both knew it now.

His thighs were slowly pulled away from Asami's waist and spread high and wide on the bed. Asami's eyes traveled over Akihito's splayed body, taking in every shiver, every mark and flush on the pale, perfect skin.

Akihito's eyes rolled back as Asami's hot mouth tasted him, licking down his flat stomach until he was sucking his balls in mouth one by one. He released them with a wet pop. "Did you like having me at your knees, Akihito?"

"N-no..." Akihito said breathless, reaching down to tug at Asami's hair with desperate entreaty.

The shaft of his cock was nibbled next. Teeth oh-so-lightly grazing over the thick vein, tongue following in a slow, wet glide. Oh God. "Asami..."

"No? You didn't like me calling you master?" His cheeks hollowed. His throat tightened.

"I...ngghhh...shit, I...never felt that way at all. It was like...like...ahh...I was an imposter."

Asami pulled back to chuckle, allowing Akihito's cock to slap back against his abdomen. Akihito hissed, squirming in frustration.

"My Akihito. So sweet. So cute."

"Shut up." He did blush then, hotly, and Asami's fingers came up to trail over his cheekbone, the expression in his eyes captivating Akihito with its unaccustomed softness. His own eyes widened when Asami bent down to murmur against his lips.

"Les hommes ont oublié cette vérité, dit le renard. Mais tu ne dois pas l'oublier. Tu deviens responsable pour toujours de ce que tu as apprivoisé."

God, the sound of Asami's deep voice shouldn't make him quiver like a girl, especially since he was probably just saying something dirty, but Akihito couldn't help himself. A little breathlessly, he asked, "What does that mean?"

A tender smile curved the corner of Asami's mouth. "Men have forgotten this truth," said the fox. "But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."

Akihito's eyes narrowed. "What? Where you'd get that from? Anyway, I told you, I'll never be tamed."

"Prickly boy, it wasn't meant to be about you. I was saying it to you."

Akihito's expression flickered uncertainly and then his eyes flew wide at the implication of Asami's words. A heartbeat later they were locked together, drowning in a suffocating kiss they wouldn't end. Asami took him again, fucking him with fast, raw speed until Akihito's back curved up against the headboard, his legs thrown over Asami's arms, their muscles like steel wires as he drove into his lover.

Akihito's wild cries paired with Asami's lower grunts as they came, Asami's hand coaxing him to release as he spilled into Akihito's tight flesh. Asami collapsed over him, and Akihito's arms came up to hold, stroking over his broad back while their hearts hammered against each other.


Asami's head came up, one eyebrow lifting. "Try again."

Akihito blushed. "Ryu..."

He ducked his head to hide from the warm amusement in Asami's eyes, burying his face against Asami's shoulder. Asami's arms came around him, pulling him into a new position that allowed him to snuggle closer, one leg flopping over Asami's as he fell in a deep, satisfying sleep.

He awoke later, not knowing how much time had passed, only that Asami was no longer in bed with him. The attempt to sit up made him groan, but in a good way, a deliciously sore muscle way he never wanted to lose. Still half-asleep, he staggered to the closed door of the bedroom and threw it open.


He blinked, his eyes adjusting to the light, and then he froze. Asami sat on one of the side sofas with Suoh. On the other side, two muscle-bound men in the obligatory goon suits sat staring at his naked, bite-mark covered body. Almost immediately, they averted their gazes and went red. Suoh looked as impassive as ever.

"We'll finish the briefing later, gentleman." Asami rose and prowled toward Akihito, sweeping him up and kicking the door closed behind him.

He threw Akihito on the bed and smirked. "You sure know how to make an entrance."

That reminded him of something that bothered him the last week with Asami. "I should have known you were faking when you stopped using that creepy smile all the time."

Asami laughed.

"But one thing I don't understand, why did you keep going naked?"

"Oh, that. It was too much fun to watch you blush." Asami smirked again. "And stare."

Akihito rolled over in a huff, hiding his face in the pillow. "You wish!"

A sharp smack to his ass brought him out of the pillow. He shot Asami a glare, but then he cocked his head curiously. "Doesn't it bother you that you acted like that? I mean all of it? With me?"

"Why should it?" Asami replied with typical Asami-like arrogance, but then he made Akihito melt again. "I'm not ashamed of wanting to please you. It's one of my favorite pastimes."

Akihito sat up, hiding his grin behind his knees as he drew his legs up.

"Besides, it was worth it just to see your cute little struggles with your guilt and sense of honor and trying to manage me."

Akihito would've been pissed if the sight of Asami throwing back his head and giving into to a long, deep laugh didn't make him go all warm inside. If it made Asami that happy to tease him some, then Akihito thought he could deal with it. Sometimes.

He just snorted, and fell back on the bed, lacing his hands together behind his head. "So where are we going on this plane anyway?"

Asami drew a cigarette out and lit it before answering Akihito. He waited impatiently for Asami to take a drag, well familiar with this particular ritual.

Asami blew the smoke into the air, then smirked again. "On our honeymoon."

Akihito almost choked. He struggled up onto his knees and gaped. "You've got to be kidding!"

"It's true we can't officially marry." He waved the cigarette, an arc of smoke punctuating his words. "Though, if you're set on official recognition, I could adopt you."

"Wha-adopt-what?" Akihito's jaw stayed open.

"When I spoke to your parents, they seemed to think an unofficial ceremony would please you more, in any case. I hope you don't mind that we'll be doing that backwards. Honeymoon first, ceremony after."

He looked over at Akihito as if to seek his approval of the arrangements.

Akihito's mouth worked soundlessly.

Asami frowned. "Are you all right?"

Akihito breathed deep. "MY PARENTS?"

"I can see where you get your incessant urge to question everything, by the way. But in the end, they came around."

"What did you do to them?" He shook his head violently. "Wait...honeymoon...are you...are you serious."

Asami just looked at him, enjoying another drag of his cigarette.

"But I...but we.." Akihito trembled. This was not on the agenda when he woke up this morning.

Asami was beginning to look impatient. That never boded well for Akihito's ass.

"Um," he conceded gracelessly. "Where exactly are we going?"

Asami smiled, pulling a handful of brochures out of his suit pocket. They fanned out in colorful display when he tossed them on the bed.

"In order of arrival: Antarctica-it's summer there, Madagascar, New York City, Tibet, my private island in the South Pacific, and..." Another glossy brochure hit the bed. "Our new condo in Tokyo. We can decorate it together when we return."

Akihito stared.

"I see I finally found a way to shut you up."

"Asami..." Shining eyes looked up at him. Asami's eyes narrowed. "Ryu," Akihito amended hastily. "This is...too much...can you really be away for so long?"

Asami shrugged. "I'm filthy rich and extremely powerful. I can do anything. Besides, I had to promise your parents I would convince you to take up nature photography. Kirishima is handling things back home. Suoh is with us. Oh, we do have one small stop to make in Hong Kong, but you don't need to worry about that. You won't even be getting off the plane."

Akihito frowned. "Hong Kong."

"We're just dropping off those two men you met earlier."

Akihito blushed again. Asami sat beside him and drew his hand into his own. When Akihito got it back, his ring finger was graced with a surprisingly tasteful band.

"That's some rock."

"It matches your eyes."

Akihito laughed. "I wish I had a voice recorder on me. These sappy lines are even better blackmail material than those pictures I took."

"I'm glad you mentioned that, darling." Asami smiled. "I think some punishment is in order."

Later, Akihito lay on his stomach next to Asami, his bright red ass still giving off heat.

"Say, Asami." His toes kicked desultorily at the sheets. "You never did tell me how you got Kou to tell you where to find me."

The prolonged silence sparked his curiosity. He rolled over to look at Asami and stared. He could almost swear that Asami's cheeks had taken on a faint, pink tinge.

But then he smirked, diverting Akihito's attention. "I would have thought you'd be be more curious about who was behind all this."

"You know?"

"It was Feilong," Asami answered coolly. "His idea of revenge."

"Feilong!" Akihito sat up. "That explains the weird email he sent me yesterday! I thought he was just being crazy like usual but...now I get it!"

Asami frowned. "Email? What did it say?"

"It said, 'Hope you are well and happy. Tao and I would love for you to come for a visit. P.S. I hope you enjoyed my gift. All the best, Liu Feilong'"