Ohi. Fancy meeting you here.

This is Butler!Yagyuu and Master!Niou fic.

Warning: *points at rating*

Disclaimer: If you want to buy Prince of Tennis, go ask Konomi-sensei because he owns it.


~o~o~o~


This wasn't in the job description, thought Yagyuu as he mopped the sticky lime green goo off the floor.

Actually, Yagyuu found that many things he regularly did had not been mentioned when he agreed to take the job of being the Niou family's butler several years ago. There was a lot that he was responsible for, such as ensuring that the rest of the household employees did their job, making sure the food was cooked and ready on time, and attending to the Niou family's every need. Yet the task that occupied most of his time was cleaning after his younger masters.

It wasn't the head of the family that was the problem, nor his rather prideful wife, considering how little time they actually spent in the country. Their children however were an entirely different story. There were some times that Yagyuu had to hold back from strangling them and other times that he was just grateful the lord only had two children and not more. Since the lord of the house and his wife were most often gone on business trips or just leisure vacations, Yagyuu was given the enormous responsibility of caring for the house and, more importantly, the children. Yagyuu supposed it was a compliment that they trusted him enough to care for their offspring, but sometimes he thought the parents were simply pawning off their troublesome kids onto someone else's lap.

"Hey Yeahgyuu," came an all-too-familiar voice from behind him, snapping Yagyuu out of his thoughts.

Yagyuu fought back the urge to sigh in exasperation. "What is it, Master?" he asked, setting his mop aside. Whenever one of the young masters called for him, it was never for a good reason.

The eldest boy was not much of a child; technically he was an adult at eighteen years old. However, Yagyuu felt that the boy acted more like a child than a grown man. That was because Niou Masaharu was every bit a troublemaker and compulsive prankster. Niou was skinny and slouched a lot, his frame looking even smaller because of the baggy clothes he wore. His hair was silvery white, an effect of the bleach he constantly used even if Yagyuu had often told him that the color was inappropriate and damaging to his hair. Although the family was wealthy, no one would believe Niou had money just by looking at his appearance alone.

Niou shifted, looking rather uncomfortable. "I… I need your help."

Yagyuu took off his gloves, white covered in the slimy green Niou had exploded all over the room just yesterday. "I will assist to the best of my abilities."

"I did something bad. You can't tell anyone," said Niou. Yagyuu looked up and saw a hard, intense gaze. He was serious.

"May I ask what this is about?" asked Yagyuu, curious. Surely it couldn't be worse than last month's cheese incident.

Niou looked around, his eyes shifting around nervously. "Promise you won't tell anyone."

"I promise," said Yagyuu.

Niou hesitated and then approached slowly, leaning in close enough so that he could whisper.

"Do you know how to hide a body, Yagyuu?"

The butler blanched on the spot, his eyes wide behind his glasses. "W-What?"

Niou looked down. "I… we were just playing and having fun when… I-I pushed him a-and now he's not moving. I-I don't know what to do."

Yagyuu was sweating under his uniform. "Show me," he said, sounding a lot calmer than he felt.

Niou nodded solemnly and led Yagyuu out of the drawing room to the main floor. The entrance hall looked the same as ever except for the small motionless figure lying at the bottom of the grand staircase.

It was Masaru, the younger brother, and his head was lying in a pool of red.

Yagyuu put his hand on his mouth in horror and fought back the need to retch. He couldn't look away. The boy was… he had to call an ambulance, maybe he could still be saved. Yagyuu's shaking hands reached into his pocket.

"Y-You can't," said Niou, grabbing Yagyuu's arm. "I pushed him. They'll arrest me!"

"I have to!" cried out Yagyuu, his calm cracking in place. All those times Masaru had hassled him, used him as the victim for pranks and imitated Niou were rushing back to him and Yagyuu now remembered how often he had yelled at him for it and now the boy was dead and—

A snicker came from Masaru's body.

-Laughing?

Yagyuu turned on Niou, his anger flaring up. "You!"

Niou burst out laughing just as Masaru did the same. "Aw, why did you start laughing, Masaru? It was going so well," said Niou.

"Sorry brother, but I couldn't hold it in!" said Masaru, sitting up and wiping the fake blood from behind his head.

Yagyuu was still shaking, only this time from pure rage. He grabbed Masaru by the ear, ignoring the boy's whimpers of "OW!" and "Let go!". He marched up the stairs, Masaru in tow.

"You'll end up as rotten as your brother!" Yagyuu exclaimed. With his other hand, he pointed back at Niou. "You stay there, I'll be back for you!" He then continued dragging the younger sibling up the stairs.

"No, no, it was brother's idea, he made me do it!" cried out Masaru.

Yagyuu didn't listen, still seething from pure rage. "Be quiet. You'll stay in your room and reflect on what you've done-"

"Okay-"

"I'll take away your computer and games-"

"No!" Masaru looked horrified.

Yagyuu continued, "And once you feel like you've learned your lesson and feel like apologizing, perhaps you'll be allowed out."

"Nooo, sorry Yagyuu, I'll never do it again, please don't take my computer!" cried Masaru.

After shoving Masaru in his room, ordering a maid to clean him (while telling her to not fall for the boy's puppy eyes and sobbing pleas) and taking away anything of entertainment from the bedroom, Yagyuu made his way back to where he had left Niou in the entrance hall.

Of course, Niou was gone. Typical.

Masaru was still a boy and could be easily disciplined, but such methods didn't work as well on Niou. Yagyuu was at the end of his rope. No matter what he did, the boys never ceased their tricks. If only this job didn't pay so well and didn't offer him a place to stay, then Yagyuu would be out in a heartbeat just so that it meant never having to walk into the kitchen afraid that a bucket of flour would fall on him again.

Yagyuu looked around the mansion in vain. If Niou didn't want to be found, then Yagyuu had very little chances of finding him. Yagyuu suspected that Niou used secret passages, although he had yet to actually see one.

He ended up in Niou's room. The large bedroom was empty of presence and completely clean. One of the maids must have just passed for the bed was made, the desk and bookshelves were dustless and the curtains were pushed back to let the sunlight in. Yagyuu looked under the bed first and then moved on to check the closet.

Yagyuu twisted the loose doorknob, stepping into what was more of a miniature room filled with hidden treasure than a simple closet. Dozens of wigs and uniforms were hung on hooks. Yagyuu recognized some disguises, such as the wig that was an identical copy of his own neat brown hair and the vest and jacket of his butler uniform from that time Niou had pretended he was Yagyuu and caused chaos around the house. There were other materials, like super glue and scissors, footballs and a painting of a giraffe, screwdrivers and drills; all stuff that Yagyuu didn't even want to think about why Niou needed them. Yagyuu grabbed the screwdriver, wondering what on earth Niou did with such tools. He left the closet quickly, not wanting to be reminded of the long list of pranks Niou had pulled over the years.

Yagyuu sighed to himself, getting ready to wait a long time before Niou showed up. The desk was neatly organized, but Yagyuu was sure it wouldn't be that way if the maids didn't clean it everyday. The only picture on the desk was that of his family; the two parents, Masaru and Niou himself. Yagyuu paused, sighing. While Niou might be a troublemaker, Yagyuu didn't have much doubt that it was all for attention.

He must be lonely, thought Yagyuu. Still, that was no excuse for what he did today. Niou was an adult now and should know better, especially when Masaru was at such an influential age.

The last place Yagyuu checked was the wardrobe. It was filled with neat, proper clothes that Niou had never worn. What a waste, thought Yagyuu, shuffling through the rows of expensive crisp shirts. Really, these were so much nicer than the baggy too-big shirts Niou seemed to favour. But even if Yagyuu asked Niou to dress better, it wasn't like the master would actually listen to him.

"Why must you make my job so difficult?" sighed Yagyuu, hanging his head back. What he didn't expect was an answer.

"I suppose I did cross the line today," said Niou.

Yagyuu jolted, twisting his head in time to see Niou emerging from behind his bookcase. Ah, so there were secret passages in the house.

"You can stop looking through my wardrobe now," said Niou. "You won't find Narnia in there."

Yagyuu crossed his arms and faced him, clearly showing that he was in no mood for Niou's jokes. Niou bit his lip guiltily, seeming to shrink away.

"Would it help if I said I was sorry?" asked Niou.

"No, it wouldn't," said Yagyuu. "You are sorry now and then you'll forget about it by tomorrow and find yet another way to make my job a nightmare." When Niou was silent, Yagyuu sighed once again. "You are the elder brother and you're supposed to be setting an example for Young Master Masaru."

"We were just having fun."

"Your fun is a bad influence. Find more appropriate and educational ways to have fun with your younger brother without giving me a heart attack," said Yagyuu. "I expect you to remain in your room for the rest of the day and reflect on what you've done."

Niou rolled his eyes. "Fine. You have no sense of humour sometimes though."

"Speaking of which, what was that thing I saw in your closet?" demanded Yagyuu, once again cross. "You have a lot of explaining to do, Master Niou."

Niou looked genuinely confused. "What thing?"

"Don't play dumb with me. You know exactly what I'm talking about."

Perplexed, Niou went to the closet and opened the door. When he saw nothing, he walked in deeper. The moment he did, Yagyuu was behind him, slamming the door shut. Niou shouted, bewildered, reaching for a doorknob that wasn't there.

Yagyuu smirked, holding up the bronze doorknob in his hand and the screwdriver in the other as he fought back the urge to laugh. "Surely you didn't think I would trust you to actually stay in your room by yourself for the rest of the afternoon?" Yagyuu said. "Since I don't have the time to stay here and make sure you do as you're told, I hope you won't mind if I enforce my rules a bit."

Niou groaned, an eye blinking through the hole where the loose doorknob had once been. "No fair, Yagyuu."

"Would it help if I said I was sorry?" said Yagyuu.

Niou grumbled, not too happy about having been tricked by his own butler.

"Good, because I'm not sorry," said Yagyuu. "I'll be back when supper's ready. Meanwhile, be a good boy and think about what you did."

The butler ended up spending quite a peaceful afternoon free of anymore pranks, humming happily as he returned to dusting the drawing room. It was nice to have a quiet, relaxing day once in a while but deep down Yagyuu supposed his job would be far too boring without the two boys.


Masaru hated baths. He had the habit of splashing water everywhere, making waves and attempting to escape before being fully clean. It was a chore each time and Yagyuu always ended up soaked from head to toe.

"Keep still!" said Yagyuu, trying to rinse the soap out of Masaru's hair. That earned him another splash of water, wetting his glasses and the floor.

"I don't wanna!"

Fighting the urge to just shove the boy's head underwater, Yagyuu took a calming breath and tried again. "The more you struggle, the longer this will take. If you finish your bath quickly, then you'll be able to go back to your toys."

That calmed him some. Wincing, Masaru let Yagyuu pour the water over his hair and rinse the suds away, all the while complaining that the water was too cold.

"If you hadn't taken so long to get in the bath, the water would still be warm," said Yagyuu.

"I hate baths! I'm just gonna get dirty again."

"Then you'd smell and no one would want to be around you," said Yagyuu. "You know, if you washed yourself properly, you would be able to take your bath alone like your big brother does." That was a bit of a lie because Yagyuu was pretty certain that Niou didn't actually shower everyday. Yagyuu did have to force Niou into the bathtub several times a week.

Once Masaru was more or less clean, Yagyuu wrapped him in a towel and handed him over to the maid waiting outside. The maid would make sure to get Masaru dressed up in his pyjamas while Yagyuu returned to his own room to change out of his soaking wet clothes.

"Whoa, what happened to you?" asked Niou as they passed each other in the hall.

"Your brother hates baths," answered Yagyuu. Niou laughed at that.

In his room, Yagyuu changed into a fresh button-up shirt and vest. He didn't bother putting on the whole suit since he was about to retire for the night once the boys were in bed. Yagyuu did a quick tour of the mansion, checking if the outdoor lights were open and making sure the kitchen was clean and ready for the next day. The other house servants were already in their own rooms, sleeping early since they had to rise early. Once the check-up was good and done, Yagyuu went back upstairs to Masaru's bedroom.

To his surprise, Niou was there too, sitting next to his younger brother.

"You two better not be discussing another prank," said Yagyuu.

Niou blinked innocently. "Who, me? Never in a million years."

Masaru snickered, his expression identical to Niou's. It was uncanny how similar the two boys were, especially in appearance. Masaru ressembled a younger Niou, only minus the bleached hair.

"Regardless, it's time for bed, Young Master-"

"I don't wanna go to bed!" whined Masaru. "I wanna stay up and play with brother!"

"No, you have school tomorrow," said Yagyuu, ignoring the pout Masaru was using against him. He let the boy get installed in his bed.

"How come brother gets to stay up?" said Masaru.

"Because he is older. And if he was responsible, he'd remember that he has classes tomorrow and should be sleeping soon as well," said Yagyuu, looking pointedly at Niou. "I do hope you remembered your Japanese literature essay is due tomorrow."

"Yeah, don't worry about it. I have a half-hour break before class to do it tomorrow," said Niou.

Yagyuu pulled the bedsheets over Masaru. He then pushed back the boy's dark hair and kissed his forehead. "Good night, Young Master."

The butler and older brother turned off the lights and left the room. Yagyuu expected Niou to go back to his own room but instead the master turned to look at him.

"You never give me a good night kiss," said Niou suddenly.

"I was unaware you wanted one," said Yagyuu.

"Well, I do want one," said Niou and looked at him expectantly.

Fighting back the urge to sigh in exasperation, Yagyuu reached up and pushed back the hair along Niou's forehead, just like he always did with the younger master. Ignoring Niou's rapacious smirk, Yagyuu leaned in. He really should have known that something was up, yet he was completely surprised when Niou suddenly pulled his head up, kissing him flat on the mouth.

Yagyuu jolted back, fighting back the urge to slap the trickster. He pulled his fist over his tingling mouth and stiffly said, "Good night, Master."

"Yeahgyuu, are you blushing?" asked Niou, curious.

The butler turned away, able to feel the heat creeping up his neck and coating his cheeks. Niou would never let him hear the end of it if he saw. "No," he said, pushing up his glasses. "Go to bed."

"Whatever you say, Yagyuu."


The next day, Niou came back from school purple.

Literally. Everything from his clothes, his backpack, to his hair and skin was a bright purple color.

"It was supposed to be green, but it didn't go as planned," Niou explained. Yagyuu didn't even want to know what kind of prank Niou had tried to pull, but he could imagine that many parents were going to be shocked to find their child coming home from school bright pruple that day.

Besides, it wasn't the weirdest thing he had seen. It certainly wasn't as strange as the time Niou came home covered in cats.

"I'll draw the bath for you," said Yagyuu and went to do just that.

In the washroom, Niou lounged along the side as Yagyuu filled the tub with water. Niou put his hand in the water once in a while, waiting.

"I want bubbles," said Niou suddenly.

Yagyuu bit back the urge to say that bubbles were for children and fetched the proper soaps. Soon the white foam was building on top of the water. Niou touched the water again.

"It's too cold," said Niou.

Yagyuu added hot water.

"Now it's too hot," said Niou.

Yagyuu sighed. "It'll cool down. Now get in before I push you."

As Niou's purple clothes were chucked off carelessly, the pale skin underneath it came to view. Niou looked like an alien with purple arms, legs and head while his torso and thighs were milky white. A snort escaped Yagyuu.

Niou moved to cover himself. "Don't look, you pervert."

"Yes yes, Purple Master. Now get in the water. I hope for your sake that the color isn't permanent." Yagyuu didn't think Niou's parents would be too happy with either of them if their son was to be permanently purple. "Your father called right before you came home you know. You're lucky I didn't get the chance to tell him about this prank."

Niou ignored him, getting in the tub and hissing at the hot water. Yagyuu discarded his own jacket and rolled up the sleeves of his white shirt. He took Niou's arm first, scrubbing the soapy washcloth along the skin and sighing in relief when the color lightened.

It was a long and messy process. They went through a couple of bars of soap and multiple washclothes were now dyed purple. Niou's skin had to be cleansed so deeply that his skin felt sore and tender from the rough handling. It didn't take long for the water to turn purple as well. Niou's face proved to be the hardest to clean and Yagyuu even went as far as fetching some makeup remover from Niou's own room to facilitate the task. It more or less worked, although Niou's skin did still seem a little pinker than usual, but perhaps that was only an effect of the hard heavy scrubbing. When Yagyuu brought the soap down along Niou's torso to wash the rest of his body, Niou stopped him and said he could wash the rest by himself. Yagyuu let him do as he pleased, but there was still the big issue of Niou's hair that needed to be addressed.

Niou's hair was still very much purple. The tips had faded somewhat, but not nearly enough.

"You might have to dye it... or bleach it again I suppose," said Yagyuu, running his fingers down the long strands. His hair was really getting quite long. "Or you can wear one of your wigs."

"It's fine," said Niou. "I want to get out. My skin's wrinkling up."

Yagyuu fetched a towel and when he turned back Niou was out of the bath. Yagyuu stopped, stilling for one brief second. It wasn't that he was staring per say – he wasn't some sort of pervert - but it was quite hard to miss it, standing flushed and upright between his master's legs, an angry red compared to the rest of his pale skin. Niou turned around a second later.

Yagyuu pushed it out of his mind and handed over the towel.

"Thanks," said Niou.

Yagyuu bowed, eager to get out of this situation as quickly as possible. Unconsciously, his eyes kept straying lower, to where the towel hung loosely on his master's hips.

"You said my parents called before, right?" said Niou, ending the rather stifling silence. "What did they say?"

Yagyuu was almost too glad for the change of subject. "They said they should be coming home next week," said Yagyuu, smiling. It had been awhile since the head of the house and his wife had been home. Both Masaru and Niou will be happy.

Sure enough, Niou gave a small smile too. "That's good," he said. "You can go. I can dress myself."

Yagyuu bowed again and took his leave.

As he was sweeping the floor of the library later in the evening, Yagyuu allowed himself to think about the bath's aftermath for a moment. He didn't think it would be bothering him this much, and yet it was. The image was glued to his mind like a parasite.

Five years it had been since Yagyuu started working here. Back then he had been a young man of eighteen eager for a job and Niou had been but a small boy of thirteen. Niou had been as much of a troublemaker back then as he was now, but the point was that Yagyuu had been around a long time and had seen Niou growing up through many phases.

He had been around when Niou first started acting rebellious and bleaching his hair, getting suspended from school every other week over some prank. Yagyuu remembered Niou's voice cracking, his limbs growing long and awkward as he slowly matured. He remembered a time when Niou was very secretive in his room and insisted on washing his own clothes and bedsheets. That time had long passed as Niou no longer seemed to care if Yagyuu found dirty tissues on the floor and a stained bed. Yagyuu hadn't really enjoyed that time of hormones and spontaneous outbursts, even less than when Niou had started high school and began asking Yagyuu some uncomfortable questions. Yagyuu supposed it couldn't be helped, what with the boy's parents being absent and Yagyuu being the primary guardian. Yagyuu knew he should be flattered that Niou was that comfortable around him, comfortable enough to the point that Niou had often flirted with him in the past. All in all, after all this time, this shouldn't be anything new to Yagyuu.

Still, seeing Niou like that when he came out of the bath was… perplexing. The mental image remained in his head as he got ready for bed and lay on his mattress waiting for sleep to take him. Niou was younger but... Yagyuu realized that he wasn't a boy anymore. Not physically at least.


They didn't come.

Niou's parents called the afternoon before they were supposed to be coming home, saying they would be going to England for a while instead. Yagyuu turned off the phone with a troubled expression, wondering how he was going to break the news to the boys. Masaru was especially excited to see his parents again after six months of absence and couldn't stop talking about it. Niou didn't say anything but Yagyuu could see that he was smiling a bit more, eager to see his family again as well.

Yagyuu found them both in the basement watching a tennis match. Yagyuu remained in the doorway for a long time, stalling until he knew he had to get it over with.

"Your parents just called," said Yagyuu, moving to stand next to the enormous television screen. "They aren't coming."

It was heartbreaking to see. Surprise flashed on both their faces for a few seconds. Niou's mouth turned into a tight line. Masaru looked at the ground like he wanted to cry.

"Why?" asked Masaru in a quiet voice.

"I believe they decided to go to England," said Yagyuu.

"Oh. I hope they have fun then," said Masaru. He looked back at the game but his eyes were unfocused.

Niou stood up from the couch and ran upstairs. By the time Yagyuu made it back to the main floor, he heard the loud bang of a door being slammed shut. The two nearby maids put their heads together and whispered, "poor boys".

By all means Yagyuu should have gone back to work and left Niou alone. Yet he soon found himself outside the master's bedroom door. He could hear crashing sounds, like things were being flung at the ground. Yagyuu paused for a second before knocking. When he got no answer, he knocked again, more insisting this time.

"Go away!" shouted Niou.

"I'm coming in, Master," warned Yagyuu and entered the room before Niou could lock it.

The room was a mess. The bedsheets were thrown back and an array of items littered the floor, many of them broken. Books had been thrown off the shelves, their pages bent and ripped. Yagyuu had to step carefully to avoid walking on anything. Niou sat on the edge of his bed, head in between his hands.

"Go away," Niou said again.

"You shouldn't make such a mess. Now the maids will have to clean everything," said Yagyuu.

"I don't care."

"I should make you clean it up and see how you—"

"I DON'T CARE!" shouted Niou. He punched the side of his mattress. "They couldn't even tell me they weren't coming? They couldn't even give me a call? They had to have the butler deliver the news... What a joke."

"I'm sure they are very busy," said Yagyuu.

"Doesn't matter. Busy or not, they should know that family comes first," said Niou. "I don't care if they decide to never come back again, but if they keep on giving false hope to Masaru like that… I can't forgive them."

"Master…" Yagyuu sat himself down next to Niou, putting one hand on his shoulder for comfort. They sat in silence for several minutes, with Yagyuu patting his master comfortingly, stroking the hair hanging out of his loose rattail. Niou let out aggravated breaths, one after the other.

"Your hair's getting long. Should I call the hairdresser?" said Yagyuu.

Niou shook his head. "It's fine."

"What would you like to eat for supper? I can tell the cook to make your favourite."

"I'm not hungry, so leave me alone!" said Niou, slapping Yagyuu's hand away.

"Master, I'm simply trying to help."

"Well you're not!" shouted Niou, standing up and pacing around his room. "Just go away. Go clean something like you always do, that's all you're paid for anyways. You're not my mother or father. The only reason you're here is for the money, so don't act like you care."

"I know I'm not your parent, Master," said Yagyuu patiently. "But if you think I don't care for you after all these years, then you are sadly mistaken."

Niou laughed harshly. "Right, of course you care. All you ever do is scold me and tell me how I should act differently," he said. "Well, you know what? You're just an employee. I don't have to listen to you. You have to listen to me!"

"And what would you like me to do for you, Master?" asked Yagyuu, glaring up at Niou from behind his glasses. Once this whole thing was over, he was going to scold Niou for this insolent behaviour. Niou needed to grow up and accept reality instead of locking himself up in his room and throwing a tantrum whenever something went wrong. "What would make you feel better?"

Niou stared down at him in silence, his teeth gritted. His fists shook at his sides. He looked so angry at Yagyuu, like it was all his fault that his parents weren't coming home. Suddenly Niou sucked in a breath.

"Get on your knees," muttered Niou.

Yagyuu's eyebrows furrowed. "Why?"

"Just do as I say!"

There was a moment of hesitation where Yagyuu considered defiance, thinking that he should just walk off and resume his duties like he had ought to. And then, very slowly, he lowered himself on his knees. He was not quite sure what made him do it - it wasn't like he obeyed every order his master gave him - but for some reason Yagyuu did not want to leave this alone like all the past times, despite the bad feeling he had.

The premonition proved correct when Niou approached until he stood towering over his butler. Niou was breathing hard, his pupils dilated and Yagyuu didn't think it was in anger anymore.

Niou reached down and pulled on his zipper, unbuttoning his pants. Yagyuu grabbed Niou's hands, stopping them for a second.

"Are you certain this will help?" asked Yagyuu.

"Yeah," said Niou hoarsely. Yagyuu nodded and let Niou pull his cock free.

The first touch seemed to jolt Niou. Yagyuu wrapped his fingers around the hardening flesh, wordlessly giving a squeeze and feeling Niou's muscles tensing every time. Yagyuu resolved to look to the side, down at a broken pencil on the ground as his hand stroked mindlessly, feeling every movement and every breathe the other made. It would be over soon, Yagyuu thought, and then Niou would apologize and never mention it again and go back to playing pranks like the immature child he was.

Niou made a choked-off groan, suddenly grabbing Yagyuu's hand and stilling it. "Use your mouth," he said breathlessly.

Yagyuu's head crooked up, meeting Niou's gaze. "Is that an order?" he asked, his voice cold.

"Yes."

Yagyuu's skin felt tight and sticky as he forced his head to approach the heat emitting from between Niou's legs. His hands held the boy's narrow hips, feeling the places where the hipbones jutted out. He looked, seeing the wet tip and pulsing vein and for a second felt like he couldn't do it. He just had to remind himself that this was simply Niou, his immature, upset master. Yagyuu closed his eyes and opened his mouth.

"Ahh," moaned Niou, his hand gripped Yagyuu's hair tightly.

The precome was bitter and slimy on his tongue. Yagyuu sucked, moving forward and back and soon the hands in his hair were pushing him to swallow more. It slid in further until Yagyuu wanted to gag, his lips stretched to a painful point and his nose buried in dark coarse hairs. Yagyuu resolved to look up as Niou purposely fucked his mouth.

Yagyuu wanted to show Niou everything in his gaze. Let the boy see what he was doing, taking his pleasure from his butler all because he was angry. Let him see that this was how far Yagyuu was willing to go for him because that was just how much he cared. Niou's cheeks were painted red and soon his breathing turned as erratic as his thrusts. Yagyuu didn't even get the chance to pull back before the ejaculate sprayed into his mouth. Niou pulled out and Yagyuu coughed, spitting it out like it was poison.

The taste, strong and tangy, was still in his mouth even after he spit it out. Yagyuu pulled out a handkerchief, wiping his chin and unhappy to see that some had dripped on his uniform.

"Are you done, Master?" asked Yagyuu, cold and sharp as a steel blade.

Niou didn't look at him. Yagyuu stood up and dusted his knees off.

"Did that make you feel better?" said Yagyuu.

"No," whispered Niou.

"Good. Then I hope you've learned a lesson," snapped Yagyuu, unable to keep his anger from his tone. "Clean your mess. I want this room spotless by morning."

Yagyuu didn't linger. He left the room, shutting the door louder than he usually did. He should've left Niou alone. He should've let the boy destroy his room. Yagyuu hoped his master wouldn't sleep. He hoped Niou would lay awake and think of what he had done, because Yagyuu sure as hell knew he wasn't going to sleep.


After tucking in Masaru, Yagyuu sent most of the night cleaning. He went around the quiet, empty mansion and dusted and mopped and did anything to get his mind off of Niou. He was exhausted, but being left alone in his room didn't appeal to him. Yagyuu wanted to stay busy.

Still, he must have dozed off because he woke up at the crack of dawn in the lounge, curled up on the couch, still in his dirty uniform.

Once Yagyuu had showered and changed into his spare uniform, he went off to resume his duties. No matter how tired and groggy he was, he still had a job to do. The maids were getting out of bed, about to get to work and then appearing confused when they found the floor already cleaned. Yagyuu made sure breakfast was underway before he went off to wake the two young masters.

Last night hit him in a wave of bitterness as Yagyuu walked up the stairs. He went to Masaru's room first, not willing to see Niou just yet. Masaru rubbed his eyes and tried to fall back asleep when Yagyuu opened the curtains. Yagyuu had to pull Masaru up and dress him, going much slower than usual, and then told him to go eat breakfast in the dining room.

Niou's room was next. Yagyuu stood outside the door for what felt like a good dozen minutes before he raised his fist and knocked. He wouldn't let Niou see how troubled he was. He was going to act like nothing happened, like this hadn't affected him at all.

The door opened and Niou was standing there, still in last night's clothes and dark circles under his eyes. Good, thought Yagyuu. Niou hadn't slept.

"Breakfast is ready," said Yagyuu, proud that his voice didn't waver.

Niou didn't say a word, simply walking around Yagyuu and slouching down the hall. Yagyuu was about to follow, pausing for a second to look inside Niou's bedroom. The room was clean and spotless and Yagyuu was surprised that Niou had actually listened to him, even more so when he saw what a good job Niou had done. There was not a single piece of dust out of place. Really, Niou could do some extraordinary things when he set his mind to it.

Breakfast was a tense affair. Yagyuu stood on the side like he always did, refilling empty glasses and asking if they wanted more on their plate, all the while avoiding eye contact with Niou. Masaru seemed to sense that something was not quite right.

"Brother, is everything alright?" asked Masaru.

"Yeah," said Niou. He was playing with his food more than eating it. "Actually, I was thinking… Yagyuu?"

Yagyuu stilled. "Yes, Master?"

"Take the day off."

Whatever Yagyuu had expected to hear, it wasn't that. "For what reason?"

Niou shrugged, looking down at his plate again. "You've been working really hard lately. I think you deserve a vacation," he said.

"I'm flattered, but that's not necessary," said Yagyuu. He was the chief of the household employees after all. He couldn't simply take the day off. The others would slack off or forget what needed to be done.

"I insist," said Niou. "When was the last time you had a vacation?"

Yagyuu thought of it for a second. "April, I believe. Of the previous year." He hadn't really thought of it but it had been quite a long time.

"Then I order you to take the day off. You'll still be paid, so don't worry about it," said Niou.

"Money isn't an issue, Master," said Yagyuu. Damn him. Niou was just going to run away from his problems again… or get Yagyuu to run in this case. Fine then, if Niou wanted him gone, then Yagyuu was going to do just that, no matter how much it stung him to see Niou pushing him away. The butler bowed. "But as you wish, Master. I'll be making a few arrangements and taking my leave."

Yagyuu ended up making a long list for the other employees with very specific and detailed instructions for the day. He ordered specific servants to care for the boys and put the oldest maid in charge of making sure everyone was doing their work. Yagyuu changed out of his uniform, putting on regular pants that he hadn't worn in over a year. Wearing casual clothes felt strange and Yagyuu realized that perhaps Niou had been right; maybe he did need a break. Yagyuu grabbed a novel he had been meaning to read, took his wallet and left.

The sudden freedom dazed him as he wondered what he should spend the day doing. Not wanting to waste a single second, he hastily decided on a location.

He took a taxi to the park in the center of the city. People were bustling about, kids were running and screaming and groups of friends were laughing. Yagyuu found a bench under a tree. He sat down, sighing, breathing in the fresh air. It was a beautiful day. He was always inside now, hardly ever getting to appreciate the nice weather when there was so much to do inside the mansion.

Yagyuu closed his eyes and tried to relax, but his mind had other ideas.

The cook had remembered to shut the stove off, right?

And the gardener would remember to spread the new fertilizer, right? Surely the maids were working and not gossiping. The maids that had a habit of obeying the young masters' every orders… they wouldn't let Masaru do anything dangerous, right? The worries swam back and forth in Yagyuu's head until he had to physically restrain himself from calling the mansion.

God, when had he become such a workaholic? He hadn't realized it but the mansion was his life. Everyday from morning till night, the mansion and the young masters were his only concerns. He never saw his own family and barely stayed in contact with his old friends. The boys had become his family, a presence he had to constantly care for. And now all Yagyuu could think about was if the maids had remembered to sort out the laundry. Niou had been right; he did need a vacation.

He took out his book and read. He continued reading throughout the morning, even through lunch. Yagyuu decided that he would go out more. It didn't have to be a vacation. He would bring the boys with him, maybe out to the park right here, to get Niou out of his damn room and let Masaru have a place to run around, spend energy and perhaps make friends.

Spending time out of the house would do them all some good.


When Yagyuu returned to the mansion late that night, he was greeted with Masaru running straight to him, practically tackling him in excitement.

"Welcome back!" exclaimed Masaru, clinging to Yagyuu's waist tightly.

Yagyuu smiled. "Shouldn't you be in bed, Young Master?" asked Yagyuu, patting the boy's head.

Masaru pouted. "I don't like the maid. She's mean. She doesn't kiss me goodnight. I like you better." He took Yagyuu's hand and the butler led them through the entrance hall, walking up the stairs. Everything looked clean enough and there were no traces of any disasters. Yagyuu exhaled in relief.

"How was your vacation?" asked Masaru. "Did you go somewhere fun?"

"I went to a nice park and read a book. You would like it there," said Yagyuu. "Afterwards I had a drink with some old acquaintances."

"You won't need to take a vacation again, right? I don't like it when you go," said Masaru.

Yagyuu laughed lightly. "Don't worry, Young Master. My next vacation won't be for a long time." At that Masaru beamed brightly, hugging him again.

He tucked Masaru in bed and the boy didn't complain for once. Yagyuu couldn't bring himself to scold the boy even if it was way past his bedtime. He simply pushed Masaru's hair back and kissed his forehead as always. "Good night, Young Master," Yagyuu said.

Masaru grabbed his sleeve before he could leave. "Yagyuu, do you like working here?"

"Of course I do, Young Master."

"Okay." Masaru looked reassured. "I don't ever want you to leave."

"Don't worry about that. I'm not going anywhere," Yagyuu said gently. Sweet boy. Yagyuu liked him better like this, when he wasn't splashing him with bath water or pretending to be dead.

"Brother loves you too," said Masaru. "He doesn't prank you to hurt you."

"I know, Young Master." He couldn't quite hide the bitterness from his tone as he thought of Niou.

"Is something wrong with brother?" asked Masaru, looking troubled once again. "He seemed really sad today. Is he sick?"

"No," sighed Yagyuu. "Don't worry about your brother. He's just going through a difficult time."

Masaru was thoughtful for a second. "Is he sad because mom and dad aren't coming home?" Masaru sat up, his brow lined with worry. "I'm sad too that they aren't coming, but its okay. I have you and brother. I have fun with you both so as long as we're together, we'll be okay."

Yagyuu touched Masaru's forehead, smoothing out the worry from his face. Yagyuu felt like a balloon was swelling inside him.

"I'll talk to your brother, okay?" said Yagyuu and gently pressed the boy back down, kissing his head again. "Sleep and have sweet dreams, Masaru. I'll bring you to the park sometime this week. We'll go together, all three of us."

Masaru smiled sleepily. "Okay."

As Yagyuu walked in the direction of the older brother's room a minute later, he couldn't help but think of how much easier this would be if Niou was as direct about his feelings as his younger brother was. Nonetheless, Yagyuu was not going to let Niou run away this time. This wall between them was affecting everyone and Yagyuu wanted nothing more than to tear it down. Yagyuu didn't even knock; he pushed Niou's bedroom door open and remembered to step back at the last second.

It was a good thing he did. A bucket of water came flying down. The water spilled all over his shoes and the carpet, wetting the expensive material.

Yagyuu rose an eyebrow. Only water? If Niou was using such a pathetic prank, then it was a good indication of how upset the master was. Yagyuu stepped over the puddle and entered the room. Niou was sitting alone in the darkness, staring at the blank wall.

"That wasn't meant for you," said Niou, barely casting him a glance.

"I take it the servants were very nice towards you today," commented Yagyuu as he picked up the now empty bucket.

Niou shrugged.

Yagyuu tried again. "When was the last time you slept or showered?"

More silence.

"I asked you a question, Master, and may I remind you of how rude it is to ignore others," snapped Yagyuu.

Niou stirred, his voice coming out hollow. "I don't know. It doesn't matter. I just want to be alone."

"Why? So you can wallow in self-pity and regret? You are as immature as always."

"Then what am I supposed to do?" cried out Niou, his voice cracking at the end. "I could say sorry a million times but it wouldn't fix anything. I… I'm so stupid."

"Yes, you are," agreed Yagyuu. "You are rather stupid, and immature, selfish, juvenile," every word was accompanied by a step closer to Niou, "deceiving, annoying, inattentive and maddening to name a few more." He stood in front of Niou and put a hand on his hair, a soothing touch contrasting his sharp words. "What's your point?"

Niou winced, looking like a broken, ruined man. Yagyuu didn't feel sorry for him in the least.

"Forgive me?" Niou asked in a small voice, as if afraid of the answer.

Niou sucked in a breath when Yagyuu opened his mouth to speak.

"No," Yagyuu said and for an instant Niou sunk back into anguish.

"Why should I forgive a stupid, spoiled boy?" continued Yagyuu, his gaze icy. "Do you think I'll forgive you just because you are sorry and refuse to eat or sleep? Do you want me to pity you? Is that what you were hoping to accomplish, Master?"

Niou stood up suddenly. "Watch it! I may be in the wrong but I'm still the master of this house and you are a servant. Do not insult me."

Yagyuu stared right back, standing his guard. "Or what, you'll fire me? You'll cry into your pillow at night?" Years and years of frustrations were bursting out of him. He was losing his composure, his voice rising and it felt good. "Your younger brother is more mature than you. At least he doesn't run away from his problems."

"That's because I protect him!" shouted Niou. "I make him think everything is all good and fine. I play with him, laugh with him and make sure he has someone to talk to. Masaru doesn't know anything."

"He knows more than you give him credit for," said Yagyuu. For a second everything was still except for their racing heartbeats. "You have someone to confide with too, Master. You have me."

"No, I used to have you. Now…" Niou sank back down, his hair covering sunken eyes. "Now I pushed you away. Now I have no one. And I have no one to blame but myself. God, I'm an idiot."

Yagyuu sank down next to him. It stung him so much that Niou would think he didn't care. It hurt to hear Niou refer to him as nothing more than a servant, as if he hadn't been caring for Niou and his brother for years.

Before Niou could protest, Yagyuu had Niou's head pressed against his chest, his lips kissing the top of that silvery hair. "You do still have me. I'm not going anywhere," said Yagyuu. For years he had been there for Niou; there was no way he was going to abandon his master now. "I wouldn't be a very good butler if I left, now would I?"

Niou sniffed, pressing his face harder against Yagyuu's shirt. "I don't want you to leave, Yagyuu," he murmured.

"I know," said Yagyuu.

"I love you."

A tiny smile appeared on the butler's lips. "I know, Master," he said. "To be honest, the day was long and boring without you."

Niou exhaled in relief, squeezing Yagyuu closer as if afraid he would suddenly leave. Niou's hold soon weakened as he fell asleep leaning against Yagyuu, his head lulled into the crook of his shoulder. The butler sighed in exasperation, muttering something about how troublesome Niou was being again as he lifted the boy up on his bed.

"Sweet dreams, Masaharu," murmurred Yagyuu, pressing his lips to his master's forehead.

Yagyuu was about to head back to his own room when his gaze fell on the empty bucket from earlier. An idea popped into his mind and Yagyuu found himself in the nearest washroom, filling it up with warm water. He returned to Niou's room and put the container down next to his bed. Carefully, Yagyuu took one of Niou's hands and placed it in the warm water.

Niou was going to get a nice embarrassing surprise when he woke up, thought Yagyuu, chuckling to himself on his way back to his own room.


They went to the park together the next afternoon. The sky wasn't as clear and sunny as the last time Yagyuu had gone, but it was warm enough despite the eerie grey clouds. Yagyuu had brought a book and actually had the time to read a few chapters as Masaru ran around with Niou, laughing and kicking a soccer ball around.

Yagyuu thought it was going well. Until Masaru accidentally kicked the ball in Niou's face. Niou moaned in pain, glaring back at Masaru and kicking the ball straight into the small child's stomach in a beautiful display of maturity.

"Honestly, you two…" Yagyuu sighed a mere minute later as he covered a scratch on Masaru's arm with a bandage. At least he was prepared with the necessary supplies.

"It was Masaru's fault," said Niou, his voice coming out choked as he pressed the tissue against his bleeding nose. His eyes were teary.

"Are you crying, Master?" asked Yagyuu, not quite hiding his amusement.

"N-No," said Niou. "This doesn't hurt."

Yagyuu shook his head. "Honestly. Young Master Masaru got hit harder and he's not crying. You should've been the younger brother," he said. "Especially after your little accident this morning…"

Niou blushed bright red and Masaru laughed at his brother's embarrassment.

"You know perfectly well that it was your fault, Yagyuu!" exclaimed Niou.

"Me? I'm insulted you would think that, Master. I would never do such a thing," said Yagyuu, feigning innocence. Oh yes, his little prank had worked well. Although the maid wasn't happy about having to change Niou's sheets, Yagyuu felt it had been well worth it.

"You're such a baby, brother," said Masaru, sighing in a really good impression of Yagyuu. "Oh!" He exclaimed suddenly when a roar of thunder came from the clouds above and raindrops began falling. Everywhere around the park, children shrieked and ran back to their parents.

They also sprinted back to the car, seeing the driver waiting outside with an umbrella. Masaru couldn't resist jumping in every puddle of mud on his way. Niou merely laughed and did the same, kicking wet dirt at his brother. Yagyuu too couldn't help but laugh as rain poured down on them, soaking them to the bone. This was absolutely awful; their afternoon was now ruined and the boys' clothes were now absolutely filthy, yet he couldn't stop laughing.

They dripped water and mud all over the inside of the car, shivering and wet. Immediately the vehicle took off, rushing them back in the direction of the mansion.

Niou sneezed, cringing at the pain in his nose.

"How's your nose, Master?" asked Yagyuu.

"Better," sniffed Niou. "It stopped bleeding."

Yagyuu caught Niou's chin, shifting it so he could get a better look. His nose was bruised and had a bit of dried blood, but nothing more than that. Niou's cheeks took on a red tinge from being inspected so closely. Yagyuu flicked his master's nose. Niou howled in pain.

"Your nose is fine. You two need to be more careful next time," said Yagyuu. Masaru too was okay, save for the fact that his pants and shoes were covered in mud. "You're getting in the bath as soon as we get home, Young Master."

Masaru whined unhappily. "Why doesn't brother need a bath too? It's not fair!"

"Fine. You can both take one."

This time they both groaned at the same time. The rest of the way home consisted of complaints about having to take a bath, and yet more complaints about how soaked and cold they were.


Unbelievable.

"Niou Masaharu, I'm going to count to three and if you aren't in the bath by then you will be in serious trouble!" shouted Yagyuu as he walked down the hall. Honestly, Masaru had gotten in the tub and washed without too much of a fuss, but Niou had completely ran off and was nowhere to be seen.

Niou hid well but Yagyuu knew all his hiding spots. And the fact that Niou was hiding up the chimney didn't help his case; it had only made him even filthier, only now because he was covered in dried mud and soot. Yagyuu had to pull Niou back to the washroom by the hair.

"Okay okay, I'll take my bath!" said Niou, struggling and failing to get out of Yagyuu's grip. Yagyuu only let go when they were inside the washroom. The tub was already filled, the water now a bit colder than before. Yagyuu rolled up his sleeves and fetched a washcloth.

Niou hesitated, shifting from foot to foot like a child afraid of admitting something to his parents.

"Hurry up and get in, Master," said Yagyuu. "You don't want the water getting any colder."

More awkward shifting. "I'm an adult now. I can wash by myself," said Niou.

"Perhaps, but I don't trust that you will actually do it properly," replied Yagyuu.

Niou bit his lip and played with the edge of his stained shirt. Oh for goodness sake, thought Yagyuu, rolling his eyes.

"Master, you don't need to be shy. I've seen you naked nearly everyday for years," said Yagyuu.

Niou blushed bright red. That was a new one. Niou was usually the one teasing and shamelessly flirting with him. No doubt it had something to do with Niou's most recent confession of his feelings towards his butler.

"Do I have to take your clothes off for you?" asked Yagyuu, tapping his foot.

Niou actually had to turn away from Yagyuu before removing his clothes. Everything was the same as before, the same pale skinny body being exposed to him, but somehow the air was crackling with tension. Niou sunk in the bath quickly, for once not complaining about the water's temperature.

Yagyuu sat on his knees on the tub's edge, scrubbing soap into the washcloth.

"Even Young Master Masaru doesn't make as much of a fuss as you," said Yagyuu. "You haven't changed at all."

"I have matured," said Niou as Yagyuu grabbed his arm and began washing. "I wasn't as bad of a kid when I was Masaru's age."

"No, but you were still quite a troublesome one. Masaru gets his example from you, Master," said Yagyuu. He washed up the the shoulder and down along Niou's chest. Niou stiffened. "Of course, you had some adorable moments as well. I do recall multiple instances of you asking me to hold your hand and stay by your bedside until you fell asleep."

Niou mumbled something like, "It didn't happen that often."

Yagyuu chuckled and continued his work. Niou had been a troublemaker for sure, but he was a strong boy. Back when Yagyuu had first started working, Niou had been nothing but a young teenager left alone in a house filled with strangers. It was no wonder he had been scared, grasping desperately at anyone who offered comfort.

"It was never any trouble, Master," said Yagyuu. "I would have gladly stayed with you all night if it meant making you feel safer." His hand suddenly dipped drastically lower, no longer accompanied by the washcloth. Yagyuu leaned over the edge.

Niou jolted, gasping and trying to push Yagyuu's hand away. "Don't."

"Why? What are you afraid of, Master?"

"Don't play with my feelings," hissed Niou, moving away. "I know you're still angry but- Ngh!"

"I think your feelings are not what I'm playing with right now," said Yagyuu, leaning in further and further as Niou clenched his legs shut and tried moving away. "I have to wash this part too, Mast—"

Yagyuu realized at the very last second that he was in a very bad situation. He was leaning in over the surface of the large bathtub, his hand still deep in the water and suddenly he had leaned over too far and he could do nothing to stop himself from falling in, his head splashing underwater and his legs dangling up.

Yagyuu popped back to the surface with a gasp. His glasses were askew and his clothes soaked through and clinging to his skin. As Yagyuu tried to understand the fact that he had actually fallen in the tub, Niou was bent over in laughter, laughing harder than he had in a long time, his eyes crying from the utter hilarity of it all.

"Don't laugh," said Yagyuu, splashing some water in Niou's direction, though a smile was cracking on his lips too. He pushed the wet hair out of his eyes.

It didn't take long for a chuckle to come from Yagyuu as well and soon enough they were both laughing. Finally, the tension from earlier was gone and Niou was smiling like he always did when misfortune befell his butler.

"Ah, my clothes are ruined," said Yagyuu once the laughter had died away.

"Not my fault," said Niou, grinning. "This is what you get for trying to get me to take a bath."

"If you weren't such a child and obediently washed yourself daily, this wouldn't have happened."

"You always tell me I'm still a child, yet you've played your fair share of pranks yourself, Yeahgyuu," Niou said. "I don't think you have any right to be scolding me when you're not any better."

Yagyuu scoffed. "I am a fully mature adult, thank you very much."

Niou leaned in and rested his head on Yagyuu's shoulder. "I'm just kidding," he murmured. Yagyuu sighed, looping an arm around his master's shoulders, not moving despite how cold and wet his clothes were. The next thing Yagyuu knew was seeing Niou staring at him as if he wanted to ask something. They tilted closer, and suddenly their breaths mingled and their lips touched. The touch was gentle, with Niou appearing hesitant until Yagyuu closed his eyes and pressed their mouths harder together.

It was slow, unhurried kiss, turning into two and three as they both tried to memorize each other's taste and texture. Niou's arms surrounded Yagyuu's neck, not ready to let his butler go just yet. They must have stayed there for a long time in that comfortable lull, but the water soon brought them back to reality. The cold had fully sunk through the many layers of Yagyuu's uniform and not even Niou's hot, enticing mouth could prevent him from shivering.

"You should go get changed," said Niou against his mouth, grudgingly pulling away.

"I will," said Yagyuu. "But first," Yagyuu thrust the bar of soap at Niou's chest, "you haven't finished bathing."


He knocked politely on the door and waited a few seconds before entering Niou's room.

Yagyuu wore casual clothes as his uniform was in the dryer and would need ironing later. Niou commented on it as soon as Yagyuu entered.

"It's strange seeing you in those clothes," said Niou, sitting up on the bed.

"I can hardly get my uniform to dry any faster."

"No, it's not bad. It's a nice change." Niou patted the bed, inviting Yagyuu to come sit with him. Yagyuu took the invitation. "But I'd prefer you without clothes," said Niou with a wink.

"Very funny," said Yagyuu with a roll of his eyes, yet still feeling very relieved that Niou was acting his usual playful self.

Niou scooted closer and wasted no time in roaming up Yagyuu's body, nipping at his jaw. Yagyuu let him, feeling Niou's hands reach out and wander up his shirt, tracing his stomach with ticklish feather-like strokes. Niou kissed up his neck, making Yagyuu sigh.

"I'm glad. I thought you would still be angry with me," murmured Niou. "Especially after I practically forced you to…"

"Oh, rest assured that you do not have that much power over me, Master," said Yagyuu. "If I had been that opposed to it, I wouldn't have followed your command, even if you are my master."

"Still… I'm sorry for all the crap I've put you through over the years," said Niou.

Yagyuu's shocked expression was very much exaggerated. "My master's apologizing to me?" He gasped. "You must be ill."

"Hey, I told you I could be mature," said Niou, sticking out his tongue for emphasis.

Rolling his eyes, Yagyuu pulled Niou up by the hair and swallowed that tongue and crooked smile. "Yes, of course you are," Yagyuu said against parted lips. Niou moaned and then they were indulging in more kisses and indecent touches. Niou touched the front of Yagyuu's pants, up to the hem of his shirt and the butler pulled back.

"I do think you should return the favour from last time," said Yagyuu, spreading his legs and letting Niou move in between them.

"Sure thing." Grinning, Niou pulled himself down. He kissed the same spot he had just touched, mouthing the visible outline of Yagyuu's pleasure. He bit the fabric, just hard enough so that Yagyuu could feel it through his pants. Yagyuu's hand fisted Niou's hair, his heart pounding furiously fast as his zipper was lowered…

The sudden noise from outside had Yagyuu pulling Niou back up so fast that the trickster cringed in pain, water in the corner of his eyes. Yagyuu let go of Niou's hair, a small sorry on his lips.

"Yagyuu!" said a squeaky voice as the door opened. Masaru was there, peeking in. Yagyuu was relieved that he had acted fast. Niou didn't seem as happy and continued to howl in pain, clutching his head where Yagyuu had pulled out hair in his haste.

"Young Master, what's the matter?" asked Yagyuu.

Masaru ran to the bed. "Yagyuu, you didn't come say good night to me!"

Ah, that's right. Yagyuu had forgotten. He had been too preoccupied with finding Niou earlier that he had left Masaru in his room.

"I seemed to have forgotten. My apologies, Young Master," said Yagyuu.

"Agheegghu," said Niou.

"Are you and brother having a sleepover?" asked Masaru.

"Yes, something of the sort," said Yagyuu.

Masaru looked ecstatic, jumping up on the bed and sliding in between Yagyuu and Niou.

"Can I sleep over too?" Masaru asked.

"Yes, of course," replied Yagyuu at the same time as Niou shouted "No!"

Yagyuu deadpanned. They looked at each other. Niou stubbornly crossed his arms.

"Master," Yagyuu nodded his head pointedly at Masaru. "Don't be rude now. Your brother has every right to join the sleepover. The bed is big enough."

Masaru nodded. "Yeah, rude."

"It's not fair! You spend so much more time with Masaru! And even when we spend time together, he's always there too," whined Niou. "I never get you to myself! You like Masaru more than me, don't you?"

Yagyuu sighed. That was all entirely not true. Yagyuu was fairly certain he spent an equal amount of time with both brothers. Still, Yagyuu reached over and said in Niou's ear, "We'll have our own private sleepover tomorrow."

Niou's eyes glinted. "Promise?"

"Promise."

They had the matter more or less resolved, although Niou did complain once more when they lay back on the bed because Masaru slid in the middle. Yagyuu was forced move in between Niou and Masaru because they were both such babies. At least Masaru fell asleep very quickly as it was already past his regular bedtime. His small head lay on Yagyuu's shoulder and he looked every bit like an angel instead of the brat he was when he was awake.

Yagyuu began nodding off too, his eyes heavy after such a long, exhausting day. Just as he was about to fall asleep, Niou made a sudden movement.

"Hey Yagyuu?" Niou's voice echoed in the dark, pulling Yagyuu out of his near-sleeping trance.

"Hmm?"

"Masaru's asleep. Maybe we can continue from where we left off and—"

"Good night, Master," he said before Niou could even finish that thought. Finality echoed in his tone and Niou, all the while grumbling, fell back into a peaceful asleep.


~o~o~o~


Author's Rant:

This fic had been sitting in my folder for ages so I thought I'd post it. .-.

I turned Niou into a real brat in this story, and for that I apologize. D; Also, this is my first fic ever without any Yukimura or Sanada so that's pretty much a big deal.

*rolls away*