"There's no fairness in this," Klaus complained, but he was stripped of his righteous anger by a rare appearance of Taki's smile as he refused to rub Klaus behind the ears. "I can't touch you. You just won't."

Taki twirled their tails together fur into fur, a taunt when they were seated in the quasi-public grass of the house lawn, but Klaus tried to appreciate the sentiment nonetheless. Various mathematics were prerequisites to piloting. He was thus quite certain he was receiving a bare 3.4% percent of the skin contact he deserved for hauling Taki out of his meeting and informing the majordomo he would personally kick the hell out of anyone who disturbed them and the small knot of others who didn't wildly disapprove.

"If you can't rub my ears, I'll roll over and let you scratch my belly with your sword. I have low standards when it comes to you."

"Do you truly not expect much of me?" Taki sounded wistful, like an unusually despondent kitten or the normal state of a duty-burdened Reizen. "A very sharp sword?"

"That's just asking for biting."

"Klaus, you are not currently a full wolf," Taki said, but he leaned in anyways, a magnet drawn. Sometimes you had to appreciate mere feelings with him, Klaus thought—it was all you could get out in the open.

"You transform into a cat. They play and beg for stomach rubs and sleep, for pity's sake. Wolves have energy to piss out. Of course I'm more choosy about when I transform."

Azusa grinned. "It's not about your inability to control your chemistry at all, is it? Because if my partner looked like Taki after every one of my transformations, I'd want to transform more often, not less—"

"Quiet and roll over, you dog," Klaus said. When Azusa ducked his swipe and noted he'd be more successful kicking with his back paws, he grumped and pulled rank. Azusa promptly proved that for all his ears made Moriya late for drills, as an occasional indulgence, he had never visited the committee that taught pack dominance. Klaus felt very old for a man who could remember his first mug of rose tea, and his first kiss with some girl who never infuriated and perplexed and completed him like Taki did, and his first metamorphosis that had assured him he wasn't only acting it; he was top dog.

"Besides," Azusa said, "what happened to your sharpshooter accuracy? I am also a werewolf."

One of his fellow tank boys behind him rested half an arm on his shoulder. "An exotic foreign breed."

"Increases the dangers of your fighting," Taki observed. "I am grateful for your service."

"But unlike Klaus, I respect the cultural context of this country. Very popular with the ladies."

"Such a shame," Moriya said, "you're married to a tank." He couldn't charm a flowerpot with his skill in innuendo, but the flatness in his voice was enough to add and inhabitants, and he had brought the latest litter from Date's dog as if to prove Azusa's domestication.

Everyone only wants him because he's safe, Enrico muttered inside Klaus. He's half cat. For the real wolf—

Don't howl, Klaus warned. They already think I'm mad.

"And us," Taki said.

"We," Klaus agreed, enjoying the plural in it.


"When you don't speak clearly, I sometimes don't understand you."

"We ought to—" Never had those words portended a good sentence, so Klaus felt justified in clapping a hand over Taki's mouth.

"This relationship—" Taki said, which was as far as he managed this time before Klaus delivered a beautifully pulled punch to his shoulder and sighed at Taki's wide-eyed, bowled-over self. Klaus made frantic go away movements at the Murakumo crew, who scooted away, albeit with a promise to call in future favors obvious on Azusa's face.

"Maybe you would find it easier to just give me an order."

"This cannot continue," Taki said. This was soldiering into territory Klaus found uncomfortable, but the touch of Taki's glove still sent fire down his spine.

"A threat to stop having sex with me. This must be serious business."

"Klaus," Taki said, batting Klaus' answering hand away and letting a puppy wriggle over his feet instead. Klaus eyed the flailing little squirt.

"Can't be higher preference. Dog-fucking is very—well." He reconsidered. "I always hunger for you, but maybe with your appetite—"

"You're in no safe place for lark," Taki said. "Only one area exists where my tastes are not superbly pure, and I'm currently reconsidering his smart tongue."

"More catnip would agree with you," Klaus said, mournfully. "You really are threatening to not have sex with me."

"How would westerners understand catnip?"

"Claudia asked very few questions," Klaus said. "We harvested roses for the family's fortunes. We harvested other things to stay financially afloat. But I had to come for you."

"Yes," Taki said. Was that the inflection of guilt? "Please recall that morphine is not standard for a knight's contract."

Klaus was sure he'd safely ensconced all of Taki's retainers as far upstairs as possible, but Hasebe came nipping at his heels nonetheless. "Hey, did you not satisfy yourself the first time?"

"I like that you aren't a real dog," Hasebe said, "or it wouldn't be legal for me to beat you."

"There is no dungeon in this country large enough for the drug lab he wants to host," Suguri added; Klaus had also been sure he'd tricked Suguri into explaining something in the attic and locked him in. Shit. "So please don't try too hard, Grand Chamberlain. He invents all sorts of excuses after."

"You wound me. You misunderstand my main addiction," Klaus said. Under two bright and horrified pairs of eyes he latched onto Taki's glove and kissed it until his lips felt sticky raw, and Taki tipped his fingers into a loose oval around Klaus' mouth, and Hasebe made such a sound Klaus was almost glad they had come out to see everything after all.

A/N: All feedback is deeply appreciated.

Originally written for vissy as part of the Yuletide exchange, December 2012, with this note: In the immortal and decontextualized words of Taki Reizen, please forgive me.