Author's notes:

Once again, I'm late. Horribly horribly late. But what's new right? *sigh* Gomen nasai.

Work schedule had been pretty screwed up lately, what with earlier preparations for the then pending war. And now that the war is raging on, the schedule has gotten even more screwed. Anyways, would like to take this opportunity to ask everyone to take care, and to be safe. *huggles*

I don't know whether my readers are still out there. Can't blame you if you've chosen to ignore this tardy writer, though am still hoping otherwise. *prays hard* Would once again like to give my sincerest gratitude to all these lovely reviewers of Chapter 13, some of whom have stuck with me since the beginning of this fic. *hugs you guys tight in tears* Thank you so much to:

Rika-neechan, Kami-chan, Marty, Ku-chan, chibi koneko, Moonraven, lola-chan, Isa-chan, Whisper-chan, lupin, sara-chan, siberian, Windy-kun, anamie, Random Rasberries, CherubKatan, Carter, fuzzish, Ash (hope you're safe from the SAR virus in Hongkong! Take care!), Jin, Lady Evergreen and Midori Bond, sw, Krysana, Astralkitten, Mei, Lily, Rurouni Valeria, and last but not least, Alz-chan.

No change in ownership status of Weiss since the last I updated. Damnit!

Maybe some OOC-ness here. Can't say for sure since everyone tends to see the boys slightly differently. But if they're not what you expect, bear with me ne?

White

Chapter Fourteen - The Offering of My Heart

------------------------------------------------------------

'blah blah' = thoughts

***** here means change of POV

------------------------------------------------------------

If there was one common thing all human beings are wont to do, it was the making of one age-old mistake. Some do it consciously, though most could blame it on their subconscious.

However it was done, it was still what it was - the mistake of taking things for granted. Some had the fortune of getting away with never ever having to face their mistakes. Others weren't so lucky.

Aya wasn't perfect, and none would argue with that fact. He was also a mere human being, though some might find that debatable. And though he might not have realised it before, he had recently been more than aware of how guilty he was of committing that age-old crime. Nevertheless, he found himself once again caught off-guard, as he stared down at what was once his trustworthy limb.

It used to obey his every command, execute his wishes at every turn. There had never been a reason for him to scrutinise it critically before. There had never been a reason for him to pay it that much attention.

The limb seemed foreign now though, like it didn't belong to him. The pale skin, slim arm, slender fingers were familiar. But where was the hidden strength that they had? Where was their confidence in commandeering life and death, while wielding a katana as gracefully as an orchestra conductor wielded his baton?

He stared in mute contemplation, flexing his fingers experimentally. He couldn't even hold a pair of chopsticks properly now.

His right hand was trembling. As was his left, which was clutching precariously onto a bowl of ramen. It took all of his efforts to not overturn the bowl. He couldn't afford to lose any of its contents.

He willed his rebellious fingers to hold on for a little longer. Just a few more steps. A few more…and he was there.

He took in a deep breath. His face was calm, as was his rigid posture. Nothing belied his anxiety. Nothing except those damned, trembling hands.

He couldn't help it though. The mission he was on this time was far more arduous than any he had ever undertook before. There was so much more at stake.

While every mission could dictate his life or death, there was still a difference this time. This time, he actually cared.

Another deep breath. And then a fist, closed around wooden chopsticks, raised to rap at a door.

Once. Twice.

Silence. And then…

"Dare ka?" A soft question.

He froze. He stopped breathing. He couldn't answer, throat locking out of fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing. Fear that his voice would stop the door from opening.

His heart started thudding a little faster as soft padding of feet was heard behind the door. His fist lowered, nails digging into his palm. Teeth gritted as he battled with the anxiety, the anticipation, threatening to crack his impassive mask. A battle he nearly lost as the door opened a crack, to reveal beautiful chocolate pools.

He willingly drowned in those pools, drawn helplessly into their depths as he lost himself in the emotions flickering across those eyes. He strained to identify them - weariness, surprise, confusion, apprehension, tension, and … fear? He didn't have time to dwell on that last emotion before those swirling pools once again settled into unreadable, turgid mud. He almost protested at that, but his throat was still choked.

"Aya." The voice was still soft. No warmth though. It was guarded. Emotions all fenced up.

He just stood there, too helpless to do anything, except drink in the sight before him, taking in every detail - the thin boyish face, the soft pink lips, the smooth tanned skin, the too-big flannel pyjamas.

He almost dropped the bowl then. His hands were craving too much to hold onto something else.

He missed him so much.

"What do you want Aya?"

He snapped to attention at the slightly strained tone of voice. Looking up again, his chest tightened as he met tired eyes. He had to force himself not to back away to match the cool distance readable in them. Still lacking the ability to speak, he mutely held the bowl of ramen up a little higher. A silent offer.

He watched the brunette's expression as he studied the bowl. Ken was confused, that he could tell. He moved the bowl closer towards him, and sure enough, he was bestowed the attention of those eyes again.

"I'm not hungry", came the detached reply.

He almost shoved his way through the door as it started to close on him. Reigning himself in, he simply stuck a foot into the doorway. Brown eyes darted back up towards him. A slight tensing of a lithe body. Was that fear he once again saw flashing across that lovely face? Or anger?

"Ken." He called out gently. "You need to eat. I made this for you. Please."

The brunette hesitated, studying Aya's face. It was a while before Ken lowered his gaze, letting out a small, defeated sigh. The door was opened wider, and Aya released a breath he didn't realise he had been holding. He made to move forward, but that was not to happen.

The bowl was taken from him wordlessly. A slight brushing of fingers as chopsticks changed hands. He could barely hold himself back from grabbing onto that slim wrist. There was no sense of comfort, only a numbing ache, as he realised his hands were not the only ones shaking.

He looked up again, only to see the door closing on his face once more. Panicking, he shoved at it without thinking twice, stepping forward into the room. He wasn't stopped this time, as Ken had turned away. He did not celebrate his move however, for the brunette whirled around then, face pale, and the bowl of carefully cooked ramen slipped from suddenly lax fingers.

The crash caused them both to jump. Heart pounding, he berated himself as he watched the brunette in concern, noting the flushed cheeks, the shocked countenance, and finally, the earlier spark of…yes, anger… flashing to life in those dull eyes.

"What do you think you're doing?" The coldness in Ken's controlled voice was like a knife cutting through him. "What right do you have to come barging into my room?"

Why was he always messing up? He didn't mean to make the brunette upset. He just wanted to see him. Wanted to talk to him.

"Gomen Ken. I just…"

"You just what?" Ken's voice was choked. "You just thought you could waltz into my room anytime you like? Come in here anytime of the day? Well, you can't Aya!"

Then, as if all energy had been used up in that short span of time, the next words were uttered in nothing more than a whisper...

"You can't…Not anymore…"

Aya felt his heart shattering as he heard the slight break in the voice at the end. Ken was hurting. And once again, he was the cause of it.

He didn't know what to do. Didn't know how to make things right. He never did know, and how he hated himself for it. He could only hold his hands out in a placating gesture, summoning up in his voice all the regret and all the sincerity he had.

"I'm sorry Ken. I'm sorry."

For long seconds, no one spoke. He just stood there, not venturing further in, though all he wanted to do was go to the brunette and ease the pain out of his eyes. It was a sense of loss that assailed him as that haunting gaze lowered, their fire dying out. The weight of his heart dragged him down further as he watched the weary figure in front of him.

"Look at this mess."

His heart skipped a beat at hearing that soft statement. Ken was looking at the floor though. Ramen gravy was soaking unhurriedly into discarded clothes and socks. But somehow, Aya knew it wasn't just the literal mess Ken was referring to.

He didn't know how to sort out the mess they were in. So when Ken bent to gather up the broken pieces of porcelain, he followed. He had to do something. And it was a place to start.

Approaching slowly, he quietly crouched beside the brunette, taking care not to get too close, not to crowd him. They worked silently, gathering up the pieces. If only the other mess could be as easily cleared up.

All too soon, it was done. Placing the pieces in the wastebasket, he watched as Ken grabbed a dirty shirt off the floor and started soaking up the remaining gravy. He watched as the brunette finally stilled and just crouched there, mutely staring at the wet shirt absorbing the liquid. It was not long before he couldn't bear the sight of the lonely figure anymore.

He resumed his crouch at the brunette's side. Seeming to wake from his trance at Aya's closeness once again, Ken started gathering the dirty rags together, his fingers still trembling. The redhead didn't deny his urge this time. Reaching out, long fingers closed firmly, gently, over tanned ones.

It was as if an electric shock passed through them. Jerking slightly, Ken sought to withdraw his fingers from that warm grasp. But Aya didn't let go. The brunette tensed then, and their eyes locked. Neither one turned away this time.

They were so close, and Aya could smell him. That lovely scent of Ken that he had come to hold so dearly to his heart. Reaching out his hand, he made to trace a soft cheek, wanting to re-familiarise himself with that silky contour. He stilled as Ken turned his face away.

"What do you want Aya." The brunette repeated again, eyes trained on the floor. He left his hand in Aya's grasp though, as if he did not have the energy to draw it away.

Clutching Ken's hand tighter, Aya shifted slightly closer. "Ken. I… I'm sorry. For hurting you. For messing things up. I didn't know…didn't know that things would turn out this way."

Ken smiled then. A small, bitter, smile. "You don't have to apologise. Love cannot be forced ne? I can't force you…I won't…"

"No." There was a sense of urgency in Aya's voice, mirrored in his almost painful grasp of Ken's hand. "I wasn't…I didn't mean…" He shook his head as if to jerk his thoughts straight. " I lied Ken."

"Lied?" The brunette whispered, dark eyes raising to chance a glance at the man beside him.

Was that a small spark of hope he saw in those deep eyes? He prayed that it was, for wouldn't that mean there was hope for him too? Taking a deep breath, Aya tried to pour out his feelings. It was so difficult though.

"You know I'm not good at words." He ran a hand across his hair in frustration and let out a soft breath. Ken was waiting. He was giving him a chance. Please, Kami-sama. Please don't let him screw this up.

"I was scared Ken. Of what you were making me feel. I thought I couldn't afford it. You know my purpose in Weiss…I didn't want to be distracted from that. But you…you distracted me. And I got scared. So I ran away…stupidly ran away. I thought that if I stayed away from you then I wouldn't…"

His voice cracked, words once more failing him. Taking another deep breath to still his pounding heart, he looked down at their interlaced fingers, trying to draw strength from their grasp. He stroked his thumb softly across the smooth skin under it, and willed himself to go on.

"I couldn't afford to mess my mission up. But in the end I messed up even more. I can't function Ken…not feeling like this…not being without you…"

He was interrupted by a low, quiet voice.

"So you want me back because you need to function…to complete your mission…"

"No!" Aya almost shouted, a trace of desperation lacing his voice. "It's not that at all." He drew a shuddering breath, trying not to choke in frustration. "I was an idiot. I didn't mean what I said…about you not meaning anything to me. What we had meant something… I just…didn't know it at that time. I realise that now. I realise I was not only lying to you but also myself when I said it was just sex. It wasn't. It was more. It was…it was…" He ran his eyes across the room, not knowing what he was seeking. Why was it so difficult to verbalise his feelings? Why couldn't he say what he wanted to say, was dying to say?

The brunette's next words jerked him out of his chaotic thoughts. "When did you realise it Aya? When did you realise I meant something to you?"

Ken was looking directly at him now. There was something in his expression that Aya couldn't comprehend, and inexplicably, he felt a tinge of fear running through him. He replied instinctively, before his mind could process what was wrong.

"That…that night…when I found you… in the snow…" he whispered haltingly, unsure.

Those dark eyes were so unreadable, and Aya shuddered inwardly. Ken was calm. Too calm. It wasn't a reaction he expected.

"How did you know I was there?" The brunette whispered, seeming to lean slightly closer towards him.

He was getting enchanted with Ken's nearness when suddenly, it hit him. He froze, realising with dread where that question was leading to. It was not something he wanted to address at this point. Not without the brunette first knowing fully how he felt. But how could he avoid Ken's question?

"How did you know I was there? That I was in trouble?" Ken repeated, staring right into his soul. He was trapped in that gaze. He couldn't move, couldn't run. Most of all, he couldn't lie. Not to him. Not anymore.

"He…he came to see me…he told me…" The rising fear seized his heart this time. This was turning out all wrong. Once again. Yet again.

"He?" The brunette's voice was tremulous, his face paling. Ken looked like a cornered animal about to meet its death. "Who was he? Who told you?" The voice was so weak, and Aya wanted to kill himself for not foreseeing this, for not knowing how to handle this.

It was too late to turn back now, too late to take back his words. But he couldn't go on, couldn't let the words do the damage that he knew would be done. He stared at Ken pleadingly, willing him to drop it, willing him to stop.

His heart wrenched in pain as he saw Ken pale even more, saw his lips tremble, saw those dark eyes widen in realisation as he finally, hurriedly, withdrew his fingers from Aya's grasp and looked away.

"Oh God…"

Two whispered words. But the underlying horror and shame in those words struck Aya hard. He cursed himself as Ken, trembling, covered his mouth with his hand, as if worried he would let out any more sounds of distress. As if worried he might throw up.

What had he done now? What had he messed up further?

He reached forward, wanting to gather the brunette in his arms, to take away all his pain, and the shame that he should never feel. The shoulders stiffened under his touch however, and his hands were shrugged away as Ken stood and brushed past him. "You can go now Aya."

A pain lanced across his chest. He remained crouching, desperately trying to understand the situation, understand what he must do next. If only he could have a clue. Just a small clue. It was a while more before he could calm his breathing. And when he turned, Ken was already standing by the window, head bowed, trembling hands resting on a cold, frosted pane.

He closed the physical distance between them, placing himself directly behind the brunette, sadly watching his trembling shoulders. What he would give to have the right to hold him once again.

"Please go. I want to be alone."

"Ken, I…please let me be here for you…" He tentatively rested his hand on one slim shoulder. Ken's head lowered further.

Was it a positive sign that Ken didn't move away? Gathering up his courage, he prepared to move closer to the warm body, but halted as Ken spoke again, so softly that he almost couldn't hear him.

"Why are you doing this?"

Why? Hadn't he made himself clear? Hadn't Ken understood? "I already told you Ken…"

It was with hastiness that he took a step back when Ken whirled on him suddenly.

"Don't lie to me Aya!" Ken's eyes were dark, flashing, wet with unshed tears. "Why are you doing this? To make yourself feel better? Is that it? To play your part as a leader and give some comfort to a pitiful teammate? I don't need your pity Aya! I don't need your charity!"

Stunned, he could only shake his head and look on in pain as a line of tears made its way down a soft cheek. It was not pity. It was not guilt! But how could he make Ken see that?

"No Ken. I care about you. I can't bear to see you hurting so much. I want to help…"

A mocking chuckle sent shivers up his spine. "You care about me? What a responsible leader you are. Don't worry Aya. I haven't, and I won't fuck up any mission. That make you feel better?"

He couldn't help the anger that flashed through him at that. Why was Ken making this even more difficult? Why was he deliberately misinterpreting everything he said? Striding forward, he grabbed the brunette by both shoulders, forcing him to directly meet his eyes.

"This has nothing to do with Weiss! This is about you and me. It's not pity. I care about you! I…I love you!"

The sharp gasp from the brunette was like a bucket of cold water dousing over him, fizzling out his anger. He realised with shock what he had just blurted out. And yet….yet he was glad. He was glad that he had said it without thinking. He would never have the courage to say it otherwise.

But whatever he had been prepared for…Ken falling into his arms…Ken rejecting him…he was not prepared for the scene that unfolded before him.

Ken closed his eyes… and started chuckling.

It started out soft, then began to build, growing out of control. It was not long before the brunette's shoulders were shaking violently beneath his hands. He watched helplessly, stunned, as Ken shoved himself away from him, backing away to lean on the windowsill, all the while laughing hysterically, while tears rolled down his cheeks.

"You love me…you love me…" The brunette muttered brokenly while shaking his head, as if amazed, as if amused. Aya stared in incomprehension.

"And when did you realise this Aya?" Ken looked up at him again, still wracked with laughter. "When did you realise you love me?"

"Ken…"

"When did you suddenly, miraculously develop feelings of love for me? When he showed you how we fucked? When he showed you how I let him fuck me?"

A wave of horror consumed him as he stood there, rooted to the ground. What was Ken saying? Why was he behaving this way? Who was this person in front of him?

"I let him fuck me Aya. Hard. Real hard." Dark eyes were boring into him intensely now, while tears still flowed freely. "I let him touch me everywhere, kiss me everywhere…You didn't like that did you? You didn't like your toy played with by someone else. You don't like to share do you?"

No. This was not happening. Ken was not saying that. Ken didn't just say that. 'Stop Ken. Please stop.'

He started backing away, suddenly afraid, as Ken slowly advanced on him. "He showed you didn't he? You saw everything. How did you feel? Turned on? Jealous? Regret that you made the mistake of throwing your toy away?"

His panic increased tenfold as he found himself backed up against a wall. Trapped. No more space for retreat. And Ken was nearly leaning on him now, dark eyes spearing into him, hot breath wafting across his face. He closed his eyes, wanting to block out this nightmare. His breath hitched, his air passage locked.

"You love me?" He dimly heard Ken asking, dimly registered the mocking tone, the underlying hurt in the low voice. "Really Aya?" Another chuckle. "You don't have to say that you know. Don't have to say that just to get what you want." The voice dropped to a whisper, even as all emotions drained out of it. "And I know what you want."

And the world dropped away from under his feet as hot, plaint lips crashed onto his, burning breath forced into his mouth to mingle with his own. Teeth nibbled painfully at his lips, prising them apart while a tongue shoved its way in and sparred relentlessly with his. He couldn't help the moan torn from his throat as warm hands slid beneath his shirt to stroke firmly up his sides, branding his cool body with their scorching heat.

All nagging thoughts fled his mind. Nothing else made sense except for the sensations coursing through his body, and the taste filling his mouth.

Ken. He was kissing Ken…

Finally. After so long…

He let out another moan as the hot mouth left his and devoured his throat instead. His hands raised to clutch at silky tresses as he fought to maintain his balance, held up only by Ken's firm body pressing him against the wall.

When his nipples were pinched painfully, sending jolts of electricity to his groin, all he could think about was that he wanted more, needed more of Ken. He had been deprived of him for too long. He needed to feel him thoroughly, taste him thoroughly. And with that thought overriding all others in his brain, he roughly grabbed the smaller man around the waist and swiftly reversed their positions.

Crushing the lithe body against the unyielding wall, he brought his lips back to the soft ones beneath his, plundering the sweet mouth, tongue sweeping greedily across all that it could reach. His hands urgently breached the barrier of cloth and stroked possessively down Ken's back, once again memorising the feel of satiny skin under his fingers. He yanked the body hard against his, wanting to meld it into his own…

And still, it wasn't enough.

Fingers fumbled at the tie of flannel trousers even as he moved downwards, sucking a sensual path down a delicious throat. Licking, nipping, unconsciously leaving marks, wanting to shout to the world his ownership of the brunette. He cursed as the tie refused to loosen, and ended up shoving his hands down the back of those trousers instead, grabbing and kneading firm, rounded globes. He was hard and aching, and he ground his hips hard, fast, against the ones before him.

The whimper, or was it a sob, escaping from the brunette made him remember those sweet lips again. His mouth once more sought to satisfy its craving for another taste. And God, Ken tasted so good.

Not enough. Never enough…

He moaned into that mouth, desperate for more. Wanting to gain deeper access, he freed his hands from the confines of Ken's trousers and grabbed his face instead.

And that's when he felt it. Like scalding, hot liquid burning his hands, he felt it….

The tears…

Reality speared through him like a hot, searing arrow, and in horror, he dropped the face from his hands, bracing them against the wall on either side of the brunette instead, as his body suddenly went limp and cold.

He dreaded what he would see, but he couldn't stop his eyes from opening. A soft cry of pain and guilt escaped him then.

Ken's face was flushed, his lips bruised and quivering. But that tantalising sight did not tempt him anymore, for he couldn't look away from Ken's eyes…

Those wet, tearful eyes staring dully, blankly at him.

He choked, bile rising in his throat.

What had he done? What had he been about to do?

He was here to prove to the brunette that he loved him, that it wasn't just sex. And yet…and yet…

He backed away, terrified, almost tripping over his own feet as he frantically tried to put some distance between their hot bodies. His eyes never left Ken's face. He watched as those dark orbs refocused. Watched in pain as Ken looked emotionlessly at him. The pain turned to panic and fear as Ken lifted himself off the wall and moved toward him.

"What's wrong Aya? Why did you stop?"

"No…don't…"

"What? I know you want this…I know you want me."

His panic grew as he backed painfully into the bedside table. Scrambling around it, he continued his retreat, arms raised in front of him.

"Don't Ken…stay away…"

The brunette continued to stalk him, eyes glinting. "Don't you want to reclaim your toy? Isn't that what you came here for?"

Why was Ken doing this? He wasn't listening. He wasn't hearing him at all! Violet eyes darted to the door. He needed to get out. He needed to go before he did something he regretted, before he hurt the brunette even more.

He lunged for the exit, but he wasn't fast enough. True to his codename, the brunette was before him in a flash, grabbing him by the arms and shoving him back. He barely had the time to process the question of "going somewhere Aya?" before his lips were claimed in a bruising kiss again.

No. He couldn't let this happen. Couldn't hurt Ken. Couldn't let Ken hurt himself, as he was obviously trying to do. He wanted no part in it.

It felt as if he had forcefully torn off a part of himself as he shoved Ken away, hard. He watched in anguish as the brunette crashed against the far wall, then slid down towards the floor, his breath knocked out of him. Breath short himself, he slumped against the bedside table, painfully fatigued. He stared at the brunette in concern as his heart was shredded a million times.

But the pain was nothing compared to the agony he felt when Ken, still sprawled bonelessly on the floor, looked up at him with those fathomless eyes… and smiled…

"You can't stand to touch me now can you?" The brunette whispered. "I'm too dirty for you aren't I?"

He opened his mouth, but nothing came out. He felt moisture rising in his eyes and he blinked them away. He wanted, needed to see Ken clearly.

He almost couldn't hear Ken's murmuring, the brunette now staring at the floor. "So dirty… so used… not good enough…never good enough."

'No! That's not true!'

He moved forward, wanting to go to the brunette, wanting to make him see how wrong he was. But even before he had taken three steps, Ken shot up to his feet and leapt towards him, then dragged him with inhuman strength towards the door.

He struggled in vain. "Ken!"

"Get out! Get out!" Ken's anguished screams robbed him of his thoughts and he couldn't help but be pushed backwards against his will. He grunted in pain as his shoulders slammed into the wall by the door before it was opened, and he was unceremoniously thrown into the corridor.

Recovering his bearings, he pushed himself off the floor and whirled around, throwing himself back against the now closed door. He hammered his fist on it desperately, all the while shouting, pleading…

"Ken! Don't do this! Let me in. Please!"

There was no answer, only heavy sobs from the brunette. He carried on his assault on the wooden panel, then entertained thoughts of breaking it down, even if it meant hurting the man who was behind it, so forcefully holding it shut.

That thought was ripped from his mind however as he heard the next pain-filled words.

"Don't come near me again Aya! Don't ever!"

He slumped then, all strength drained out of him. Resting his forehead against the door, he let himself slide wearily down to his knees, defeated.

He didn't stop the wetness in his eyes this time as he fell sideways, sitting awkwardly on the cold floor.

All he could think of was how wonderful he was, how great he had been, somehow managing to mess things up even more.

He continued to sit in stony silence, leaning against the door. He pressed his ear against it, if only to feel nearer to the brunette behind it, if only to hear the sobs that didn't stop.

His heart was breaking. But he knew there was nothing he could do about it.

He also knew that it would be a long while before he would ever move again.

*****

He couldn't stop the sobs wracking his body. Nor could he stop the thought running through his mind, chilling him, killing him…

'Oh God…Aya knows…Aya knows…'

Everything fell apart then. Really fell apart. There was nothing more for him to hold onto. The straw he had been desperately grasping completely disintegrated in his hand.

He had so desperately wanted to believe the redhead when he said that they had meant something. He was willing to try to forgive him, try to forget the hurt and the pain he had caused.

He was willing to risk his heart again, for he couldn't let him go, no matter how hard he tried.

But it was all too late now…too late…

Aya knew…And that changed everything, ruined everything.

Horror and shame flooded through him as images haunted his mind. What Schuldich did to him…what they did together…

And Aya had seen it all…all the details…all of it…

How could he not see Ken as a whore now? How could he see Ken as anything more?

Gods…Aya said he loved him. He loved him. It was hard enough to believe it in the first place, but now, now he couldn't bring himself to even think about the possibility anymore.

He wanted to believe him…he wanted to. But how could he? He couldn't…just couldn't…

'I…I love you!'

'It meant nothing…'

Aya said he loved him. But Aya said he lied before. What if he was still lying? Which was the truth? Which was it?!

A keening wail rose out of his throat as he tried to block the tortured voices in his mind. The anguished sound continued as he hugged his head in pain, drawing his knees closer to his chest, rocking himself back and forth, each backward motion thumping his head against the door.

Aya kissing him, touching him…Schuldich ramming into him...Aya staring at him proclaiming his love…Schuldich's tongue marking him…Aya devouring his throat, pressing him up against the wall…Aya backing away from him, disgust in his eyes…

Stop! Make them stop!

He tried to block the images. But they wouldn't leave him alone…

He saw the guilt in those eyes. He saw the pity. And he didn't want any of it. The pity would kill him, would utterly destroy him. So he pushed him away. He had to.

Let him think him a whore. He was used anyway…useless. He should have fought harder, should have resisted the telepath…

Should have just died…

Convulsing, he clutched his chest in pain. He couldn't breathe, his tears choking him. He struggled desperately to force air into his lungs, breaking out in a cold sweat.

He couldn't take this anymore. Couldn't take the pain.

He hadn't moved from the door since throwing Aya out of the room. He was slumped against it, his weight pushed back against it, as if to ward off any more unwanted intrusions.

But Aya had left. Gone for good. There was no more need to stay there was there? He could move now couldn't he?

He was cold, the freezing ground further chilling his soul. It was with difficulty that he dragged himself forward across the floor, too weak to stand. He wanted to lie down, needed to lie down.

He didn't know why he did it. He didn't know how. But he managed to haul himself onto his bed, collapsing onto it, curling himself up into a ball, sobs still shuddering out of his shivering frame, helpless cries dragged out of him.

Dull eyes stared bleakly at nothing, blinded by tears. Hands grasped weakly at bedsheets, needing some contact, needing to anchor himself…

Or else he would fall, fall forever into that black void sucking him in…lose himself forever…

But maybe it wasn't a bad thing after all, to just let go, just fade away. Maybe it would be better than the pain, the torment.

His fingers loosened, and he let himself be drawn further into the spinning void…

He couldn't hear anything now. Couldn't even hear his sobs, his choked breathing. There was a ringing in his ears, a dull ringing, and he focused on it, wanting to distract himself from everything else.

The ringing consumed him. And so he didn't notice when another sound broke the stillness. He didn't notice the door opening.

But he felt it, the new sensation. His hair being stroked, brushed gently away from his face…

And he felt it, when he was pulled into someone's arms. He felt it as he was crushed against a warm body, the heat drawing his cold away…

He blinked then, and he heard the voice, gently, achingly, chanting his name…

"Ken…Ken…Ken…"

He looked up, the figure before him still blurred by his tears. But he could recognise him anywhere, would recognise him anywhere.

And his heart ached anew, while tears came afresh…

He didn't have the energy to fight anymore, and he buried his face against the warm skin of a slender neck, clutching the figure before him in a tight grip.

The sobs wracking his body didn't stop. But the possessive hold held him together, prevented him from breaking apart. The rocking motion comforted him. And he selfishly allowed himself that comfort, even though his heart still believed he didn't deserve it, believed that it wouldn't last, wasn't real.

It took a great effort for him to speak. And even then he could only croak out one word.

"Why?"

"Because I couldn't stay away. Don't want to stay away." The gentle voice whispered sadly in his ear. A drop of moisture landed on his neck. Not his own. And he cried even harder at that.

"Shhh… Naku naide*. I'm here Ken. I'm here."

"Let me hold you. Please just let me hold you…I'm not leaving you. Not leaving."

He didn't believe that. Didn't know if he wanted that. But he didn't know what to say, no longer knew what to do.

And so he let himself be cradled, let himself be soothed. He was tired. So tired.

It was not long before his sobbing ceased, and exhaustion spiraled him away into the realm of troubled sleep. Even then, he didn't loosen his grip.

He need not have worried though, for those arms never left him. If anything, they clutched him even tighter, as lips descended softly upon his creased brow.

To the one saying it, it did not matter that the brunette could no longer hear the three words. They were still whispered tenderly in his ear.

And it did not matter that he could no longer see it, for the look was still given…

A message of love…

From violet eyes…

_____________

to be continued

_____________

* Naku naide - Don't cry

Lupin, my sweet fellow countryman, in her last review, said that things seem to be looking up. What do you think? Will it be smooth sailing from now on? Hmm…I wish I knew…*bangs head and dies*

See the button below? Please click it. I need fuel!!

Thank you.