Genre: slash/shonen ai, PG-13
Summary: Aya and Yoji are dealing with their angst in different ways, but Yoji hopes to make it the same way.
Comments: Spoilers for “Mission 17: Kritiker-- Pride With No Name,” “Mission 21: Trane-- Memories,” “Mission 25: Ende des Weiss-- To the Knights,” “Verbrechen/Strafe,” and the Dramatic Precious CDs. Read-through by Rosaleendhu and Esinde Nayrall.
“Under the Cover of Night”
As Aya, very freshly showered and dressed, dashed out of the trailer into the night, Omi briefly shot him a somewhat worried look but didn’t say or ask anything where once upon a time he would have. Aya tried to disregard that and see only the positives about getting away without having to explain. While Aya found it very difficult to live and work in the small trailer with his increasingly distant and haunted teammates, it’d be far worse if he didn’t escape to decompress now and then.
He found it ironic that he’d never felt lonely at their old place when he could escape alone to his room when he needed to but often felt lonely and isolated living elbow to elbow with three other people.
Omi, once so involved in their lives, drifted further away from Weiß and closer into the Takatori family’s corrupt orbit. Ken often seemed to be fighting a manic bloodlust. Yoji continued to withdraw from everyone, and his flippant mask turned flimsier and more transparent by the day. Although he still went out a lot of nights, he rarely returned smelling of women’s perfume anymore, so he might just be drinking himself into a stupor alone. Meanwhile, Aya tried to convince himself that he’d made the right decision in letting Kritiker take his sister and place her with a family far away from him and his crazy, bloody life, but he couldn’t help worrying about and feeling somewhat lost without her.
It didn’t help that Kritiker had assigned them away from the city they knew to wander Japan in a small trailer either. They had nothing familiar, no routines, no support system, no outlets and never stayed anywhere long enough to build any real ties or bonds. It sometimes made Aya think Kritiker had done this to punish them for some unidentified infraction.
With all of them wrapped and isolated in their own problems, Weiß’s teamwork suffered. Not so long ago, a mission like they had tonight would have gone down much easier and faster.... Aya had nearly gotten shot in the head tonight because Ken hadn’t been where he should’ve.
Though Aya didn’t know why he clung so desperately to life. He didn’t have anything worth living for anymore.
Enough. He’d never settle himself if he kept mentally poking at his and his team’s issues. He walked away, breathed deeply, and let the night enfold him.
The cool, fresh air was so thick with moisture that he saw the moving water droplets in the glow of the streetlights, and it gave him the whimsical thought that he might as well be walking inside a cloud. It might rain again. He smelled the ocean, flowers, and sweet plant life and didn’t see anyone else outside with him, so he let the quiet and sense of open space fill him and push the rattled, frazzled tension out. He felt like the last person left awake in the world and found the thought very comforting since sometimes he really felt that other people sucked the energy out of him. (It was a beautiful world without other people in it.) The knot in his chest finally started to loosen, getting better as he continued walking.
Calming and recharging, feeling in the moment, he felt the urge to just keep going and never turn back, something that happened every time he did this. He’d built a life from nothing before, and he could do it again. It’d no doubt be even easier without having to account for a comatose sister who needed intensive medical care. He remained with Kritiker to keep his sister safe and cared for, but hadn’t he given enough? Couldn’t he live just for himself for a while, especially since doing it his current way kept tearing him apart?
Maybe he could steal her and go on the run with her.
For the rest of their lives. With Kritiker in pursuit.
No. Thus he walked back to his cage of his own volition.
It surprised him to see Kudou out there leaning against the trailer, apparently waiting for him, though. So much for whatever peace of mind he’d managed to retain.
“Damn, look at you,” Yoji said. “This really does help you.” By contrast, Yoji looked tired and too thin.
“You go out at night.”
“I go out so I’m not alone with my own thoughts.”
“Surely you’re not surprised that I’m an introvert.”
“Nah. It’s just personally strange to me.” Yoji walked to his car and pulled a door open. “Step into my office.”
“Why? What do you want that can’t be done out here, where there’s nobody but us?”
“All right.” Aya got into the backseat with him, which had to be a terrible idea. Anyone would tell him so. But Yoji’s suffering and Yoji noticing Aya’s suffering despite it made Aya decide to give him a chance. Besides, this was the most animated Aya had seen him look in a while. Maybe Yoji just wanted them to be comfortably seated during their talk or whatever. “What are you doing out here?”
“Waiting up for you, obviously.”
“All right, I’ll lay all my cards out on the table. This team is falling apart, and I’m feeling lonely as hell in it. I think you feel the same way. I think we can make each other feel less lonely together.”
“...that was refreshingly direct.”
“I don’t get lonely.”
“I used to believe that about you, but lately I’m seeing differently. Once upon a time, Omi would’ve noticed too.”
Damn. Aya thought he’d been holding himself together better than that. Time to show Yoji that he observed things too. “If you’re lonely, why are you spending less time with women lately?”
Yoji mouth opened a little in apparent surprise then twisted up into a sad smile. “Lately when I’m out with a woman I can’t get Neu off my mind, so I’m not inflicting myself on women right now. And no, I haven’t killed any of them.”
“I didn’t ask.” Aya couldn’t help thinking that it didn’t mean Yoji hadn’t tried to strangle them but stopped before killing them.
“You would’ve gotten there soon. What gave my lack of dates away?”
“You never smell of perfume anymore.”
“You noticed that?” Yoji smirked. “I guess even you can’t resist the Kudou magnetism.”
“Magnetism can repel as well as attract.”
“What would being not-lonely together entail?”
Yoji gently set his hand on Aya’s wrist. “I’m dying for human contact. I think you are too, even if you might not want to admit it. I like to think we’re friends, even if we’re not close ones yet. I think it would do us both good to be closer.”
“Human contact. So this thing with Neu is turning you homosexual by necessity? You’d use me like a heroin addict would use methadone?”
“Nobody would be using anybody!”
“I’m not turning gay just for your convenience.” Yoji couldn’t know Aya was bisexual, not when Aya had barely been interested in anyone in years and Yoji had never seen him with Botan, so Yoji probably assumed he was straight, so....
“It doesn’t have to be sex, though I’d be thrilled if it were sex. Besides, it’s not like I haven’t expressed interest in you before.”
“You flirt with everyone and everything in your path, including inanimate objects. Forgive me for not being flattered. If this is the kind of technique you use with women, you’ve just confirmed my feeling that you’ve been lying about your former success with them. Or maybe I just don’t rate that kind of effort.” After this conversation he’d have to take another walk just to settle down....
“Aya....” Yoji pulled Aya in close and gently set Aya’s head on his shoulder as they leaned on each other in blessed silence.
As much as Aya hated to admit it, he kind of liked this and continued liking it even when Yoji started to stroke his hair. But if he gave in he’d never hear the end of it....
“You are vicious.” Weirdly, Yoji sounded amused and almost proud of that instead of properly deterred.
“That’s not something most people look for in a partner.”
“I told you I’m looking for something different than my usual. Hey, don’t go away!” Yoji’s grip on Aya tightened. “That wasn’t an insult.”
“There’s no way to read that as anything other than insulting.”
“Shit, I got you riled up again. Sorry.”
“Given what you’ve been saying to me, why would I help you with your problem if I can only expect abuse from you for it?”
“What were you just about to say?”
“Something you’d probably take as insulting, so I’m not saying it.”
Yoji had probably been about to ask if Aya expected to get paid, like a prostitute, for it, and Aya had to admit that he shouldn’t get angry over something Yoji had actually held back, as Aya had requested. “Are you really so sure you wouldn’t prefer to try this with Ken or Omi instead of me? I’m sure you thought of them first but settled for me. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”
“Of course you’d blame me. It’s what you do.”
Aya still had his head on Yoji’s shoulder and Yoji’s fingers stroking his hair. He should probably do something about that. Yoji nuzzled Aya’s hair, something Aya should definitely do something about.
“Your hair smells good,” Yoji said. “I hoped it would.”
Why hadn’t someone killed this man already? He begged for death. “You’re such a pervert.”
“Like hell. So what, is Ken too bloodthirsty for you while Omi is too caught up in his family?”
“I love wallowing in angst as much as the next guy--”
“Yeah, I’ve seen you do it.”
“--but there’s been so much terrible shit going down on us lately that if I don’t lighten up I’ll drown. I also need to hold onto someone to stay afloat. I think you do too, so we could try to save each other. Our team is supposed to be about saving people. You know, under all the killing.”
From how Kritiker treated the team, especially lately, it’d be tempting to think that Weiß had assignments to kill people just to drive them insane and make them guilty murderers, but they were supposed to be saving innocent people by killing evildoers the law couldn’t or wouldn’t stop. Lately they felt like they couldn’t even save themselves, but that didn’t mean they should stop trying.
“All right. We can be better friends from now on,” Aya said.
“Special friends?” Yoji asked.
“I’m not guaranteeing benefits; I’m not that easy.”
“I never thought you were. I’ll work on it.”
If they were going to be better friends from now on... “You can go back to stroking my hair.”
“...you may be easier than I thought. I am not complaining.”
“Less talking. You’ll just get yourself into trouble.”