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the dragon queen

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[ ACT I ]

 

When Kyo first met “The Princess”, he got instantly taken aback by his deep husky voice. Not because he thought “The Princess” was actually a woman, information was their usual currency, so everyone was well aware of his real name and gender. But when Kyo first encountered “The Princess”, he actually expected him to uphold to his given nickname somehow. Despite the luxurious fabric of his three-piece suit and the extravagance of his shoes, his masculinity was unquestioned. Kyo always assumed he skipped using his real name, not only for recognition, but because it sounded just like “rookie”, a newbie. He assumed someone that stood as the right hand of the rival family boss wouldn’t want such a connotation on his name.

The second time he met him, he was a little more aware of how things worked on Mr. Spring’s family. The sworn rival of Mr. Sea was known for his ruthlessness, yet The Princess seemed to manage things the complete opposite way, keeping a reputation of not getting his hands dirty at any cost. With these pieces of information, Kyo could very easily form in his head how the nickname came to be. Despite not having a violent nature, Kyo still thought he had to have a strong stomach to sleep with someone like Mr. Spring as the rumors said. Mr. Sea didn’t take long to deny that, adding that Mr. Spring’s sexual orientation seemed to involve “obscenes amounts of money” rather than other people.

By the time Kyo and The Princess were used to each other’s faces, Kyo had no doubts where Mr. Spring’s interests laid and where The Princess’s eyes lingered to.

 

Dragon and The Princess were never technically alone, but somehow they managed to make it look like it. In their world and with their status, having people following you around like shadows was almost as natural as getting dressed. You grabbed your coat, you took your bodyguard. The Princess made a purpose of never be seen alone, Dragon prefered to deceit potential enemies by doing the exact opposite. Kyo had grown used to seeing the surprisingly warm black eyes of “Scar”, The Princess most precious bodyguard, with the most uninspired nickname ever, given to him by the immense sword scar that ran from cheek to cheek through his nose. The story behind that scar changed every single time, rumours probably started by Scar himself, hiding the potentially boring truth behind it. Kyo tried to bring the subject several times, but his position as a relevant member of the rival family made Scar be on edge everytime they were in the same space, so conversation was scarce. The Princess, however, seemed completely nonchalant about this particular detail, regarding them as if they were old friends when Mr. Spring was not around. Kyo had always been a listener more than a talker, and above most things, an observant. He hadn’t miss how The Princess relaxed his body even in presence of Mr. Sea, but was quick to straighten himself in presence of Mr. Spring.

Now they were sitting and drinking and The Princess looked completely at ease, his back against the couch and leaning slightly on Scar’s shoulder, their legs touching under the table. As usual, Scar didn’t even take a sip, no matter how much The Princess insisted, Kyo decided that staying quiet would be seen as less suspicious than joining the other’s plea. A pout formed on The Princess fleshy lips, Kyo felt his eyes drawn to them instantly, the lower lip was almost obscenely thick, and The Princess strategic use of make up seemed to enhance that. Dragon might have been caught right in the act with that slip, because by the time he rose his sight, The Princess eyes were meeting his, the greenish grey getting partially lost under the black eyeshadow. His mouth now twisting in a little smirk as he slowly lowered his sight to the glass in front of him, taking a small sip. Kyo gulped the rest of his own drink, feeling a cold sweat trickling down his back.

Dragon would now once and again recall that shared look, acknowledging it as their beginning.

The Princess wore every rumour about his sexual life like armour, any kind of blackmail was impossible with someone that simply didn’t bother to deny what was said about him. It somehow began when he was first seen next to Mr. Spring, and increased by the strong bonds he kept with the few men that were loyal exclusively to him. Kyo recognized Scar as one of these particular strong bonds, The Princess hand now carelessly resting on his thigh, while the alcohol kept running. The poor man’s back couldn’t get more straight while the mischievous blond started leaning against him even more, burying his face on the crook of Scar’s neck. Kyo cleared his throat, distracting him immediately.

- I think I better take off - his voice soft and quiet, he thought The Princess looked at him as if he hadn’t heard him, though he was really quick to answer

- I’ll drive you - he said and Scar seemed to restrain his body even more when he was released from the warm pressure of The Princess body as they both stood up, feeling it again when his inebriated boss lost balance against him

Kyo offered his own body as support, feeling the reluctance on the tall man’s hands, grabbing The Princess by the arms and holding him in place. They exchanged a tense glance at each other, but The Princess made the final decision, slipping from Scar’s grasp and hooking his arm on Kyo’s. He took the time to openly feel Kyo’s bicep with a little smirk, while Scar reluctantly placed the overcoat on his shoulders, now flanking their side in their way to the exit.

Dragon could feel each stare that was placed on The Princess and quickly turned away, he felt them like stabs on his back.

- Relax, Mr. Spring doesn’t care - was the whisper that the blond buried against his ear, his breath and almost purring tone, a combination that proved to be too strong for a relaxed Kyo. He felt his own body tense up against him, The Princess letting out a little snort in response.

Kansas was standing already next to the luxurious van that awaited them, his most loyal bodyguard and his dearest friend. Kyo smiled at him and The Princess seemed surprised to see him, but got distracted rather quickly by his own man opening the door.

Dragon allowed him to slip from his grip as Scar was quickly to catch him, guiding him inside the van and sitting in front of him on the facing seats. Kyo took his time to regard the other bodyguard, a solid and ill-humored dark-haired man. If he remembered the intel correctly, this man had a thing for whips and all things that moved in the thin line between pain and pleasure. Despite that, Kyo always found curious how he refused to take any kind of nickname, using his given name since the day he joined Mr. Spring’s family. Now they were staring at each other and Dragon had to remember Mr. Sea had taught him to be polite.

- Good evening, Kai - he said simply, the other man nodded

- Evening - was his short answer, looking impatient while Kansas made his lanky way towards them

- We were chatting about the knife exhibition at the museum, did you go?

Dragon looked at him from the very high top of his dark-haired head to the tip of his long unassuming feet. He knew his friend could be very jovial despite his profession, but somehow “chatting” and the bodyguard Kai didn’t seem to fit in the same sentence.

- No, I haven’t yet - Kyo answered a little lost, getting inside the van with Kansas as his shadow climbing right after. Kai closed the door on them with a loud bang, making The Princes drowsily jump on his seat.

- Temper, Kai -  he let out while the other took the driver’s seat

The way to Kyo’s house proved to be a challenge, with The Princess soundly asleep, resting his fluffy blond head on his shoulder. Scar looked tired of staring at him, but kept his gaze nonetheless, always on edge, always prepared for his boss, Kyo admired that. However, the huge smirk on Kansas face seemed more lethal on the long run.

Kansas got off the van as soon as they arrived, taking a look around, Scar followed him with his gaze, confused by his demeanor. Dragon knew the tall blond wouldn’t leave The Princess side unless he was surrounded by at least three other people. And it couldn’t just be any people. He smiled at his loyalty, knowing Kansas was the same at first, but had learned to move in the shadows and read the unspoken words of his boss. His loyal friend knew when he could relax, Scar had a long way ahead of him to learn it.

Kyo moved slowly, trying to free himself from The Princess weight, who complained in a little hum, trying to move closer. Scar stretched out his arm until he made contact with his scrawny knee, giving it a little shake

- Ruki - was the soft whisper that came out of his lips and Kyo could almost feel the cringe on Scar’s body when he realized what he’d done

But Dragon was well aware of The Princess real name, he was as aware of it as The Princess seemed to be of his address. Scar took a little more time to get to the same conclusion, relaxing his body against the seat, watching as The Princess made his slow comeback to the land of the awake. The confused look on his face seemed to take off five years of his age, until he shook his head a little and the moment was lost. Kyo never noticed he had hold his breath during that short time.

- Thanks for the ride - he said in a low voice, assuming a possible incoming headache on The Princess behalf

- My pleasure - always the quick tongue, Kyo smiled, even half asleep The Princess knew his charms

They looked at each other for the longest minute, but they didn’t shake hands or share goodbyes. Kyo just nodded at Scar before exiting the van, watching from the corner of his eye as The Princess curled up on the seat and closed his eyes. Kai closed the door in front of the scene, nodded at them and took off.

Kansas watched them go all the way uphill before snorting.

- He’s got you good - he crooned as he wrapped Kyo’s shoulder with his long arm

- Go to bed Toshiya - complained Dragon, unable to remove his eyes from the now deserted highway

That was the first night Kyo was unable to sleep properly.

 

Dragon’s observant nature didn’t miss how Mr. Sea chose very carefully who would accompany him on his outings. Usually he would go with his right hand “Scarecrow”, a quiet man that was already meant to become the right hand when Kyo arrived to the family. He had a “get the job done no matter what” attitude that seemed to inspire respect, despite the fact his nickname came from a childish love for everything spooky. Dragon was okay with missing some things, he had his own duties, but lately Mr. Sea liked to have him around more often, and Kyo could not be oblivious to the fact that The Princess seemed to be always present when this happened.

This particular time they met at a fine art auction, Mr. Sea had a soft spot for traditional japanese paintings and he would never miss a chance to acquire one. Kyo was overwhelmed so far by the place itself and the decoration it exhibited only in its entry hall, feasting his eyes on the sinuous marble on the floors, the upholstery, the art hanging on the walls. Despite the distraction, he only missed for a single second the sight of The Princess entering the hall. The heeled black boots were instantly muffed from their racket by the carpet, the black straight velvety slacks climbed all the way up to his short coat of the same color and material. Dragon knew he had seen The Princess too much when he was surprised by how sober he looked, until he reached the red fur coat that was being removed from his shoulders by Kai’s firm grasp and taken by an employee. At The Princess right side, another dark-haired man with a smug smile, Kyo was actually surprised of not seeing Scar as usual.

Mr. Sea advanced almost at the same time The Princess got enthusiastically closer, they exchanged a firm handshake, but Dragon wasn’t offered the same treatment. Instead the impossible greenish gray eyes were watching him somehow amused. Kyo realized he had been staring for far too long.

- I don’t believe I’m acquainted with this gentleman - interrupted Mr. Sea, gesturing to the tall long-haired man, he now had The Princess full attention and Dragon could finally start reacting

- Oh, he’s Hollyhock, doesn’t like to go out much - his voice just a pinch more high than usual, and Kyo thought he looked somehow anxious

The bodyguard nodded when mentioned, the smug smile stapled to his face, Mr. Sea returned the nod and something in Dragon’s mind finally clicked.

- The one with the brass knuckles - he said almost to himself, pieces of intel mixing and matching in his head

- Yes, the brass knuckles - repeated The Princess a little amused and exchanged a quick glance with Hollyhock

That made this one the third bodyguard he’d seen, but Kyo knew there was a fourth, they had some intel on him but they had lost track when he entered the family, apparently The Princess was ironically overprotective of him.

Mr. Sea didn’t take much time to indulge himself deep in conversation with The Princess, he always seemed pleased to see the younger man and Dragon started to see it was mutual. Kyo seemed to zone out during their talk, the husky voice of The Princess too alluring to keep focus on what was said, until a gentle nudge on his shoulder brought the world back into motion.

- We lost you a little there - joked The Princess with an offensively adorable smile, his eyes piercing him like he was trying to tell him something

- I’m afraid this is all a bit too dull for Dragon - apologized Mr. Sea, his hand still gently on the shortest man’s shoulder - He likes to experience art more than just talk about it

- I can sympathize - noded The Princess, Hollyhock moved his smug smile to a side and pretended he looked at the art around them - There are plenty of art pieces in this place that will not take part of the auction...maybe you’d like to see them...

Something in the air changed, Dragon felt it right away like a stone in his shoe. Hollyhock was now full-on smug face, Kai was moving very slowly towards the side door where the rows of seats were facing a podium. Mr. Sea smiled gently and squeezed Kyo’s shoulder on his grip.

- That sounds wonderful - he recognized in a surprisingly sweet voice - We have time before the auction starts so please do so- I will take my seat since this old body of mine gets tired easily

- Nonsense, you’re not even close to being old - answered The Princess quickly, Mr. Sea smiled at him and let go of Kyo’s shoulder

- Have fun you two...

With Mr. Sea walking to his seat, the entry hall seemed to be placed in motion, Kai left for his seat in the company of a businessman that regarded The Princess with a nod, two members of Mr. Sea’s family gave the same treatment to Dragon with the rest of the people moving inside like a herd. Suddenly Kyo and The Princess were alone face to face, in the middle of the hall, with Hollyhock watching them amused.

- Shall we? - asked The Princess and now Dragon could swear he looked nervous

He nodded quickly and allowed himself to be guided towards the archway at the end of the hall, their steps echoing in the quiet corridor, marble statues flanking their sides, both looking at them quietly, Hollyhock followed them from a distance. They got deeper into the museum, the security guards taking one look at The Princess and nodding their way out, Dragon felt somehow anonymous in what appeared to be his territory. The Princess was awfully quiet, pretending not to stare too much at Kyo’s face, playing with his lips, biting them and pouting, like measuring words that never came out.

- I’m surprised Scar is not with you - Dragon let out while they were pretending to analyze an abstract painting, his soft voice still too loud in the quiet area, making The Princess jump almost imperceptibly

- He doesn’t like museums that much - he answered a little distracted, checking to see Hollyhock just some steps away

- I didn’t take him for someone with preferences - they continued moving through the place, corners cutting short in what appeared to be the restroom area

- Well, to be honest - started The Princess, his voice was definitely higher than usual and he talked fast and absentmindedly, Kyo tried not to dwell too much on that - He can be a little jealous sometimes…

- A jealous bodyguard… that can’t be good - answered Dragon, making a full stop when he noticed The Princess was not walking

- No, actually, quite the opposite - he laughed while he buried some fingers in his fluffy blond hair - I find it’s better that way- I mean, who could guard me with more intensity? makes me feel safer--

Some steps away and leaned against the wall, Hollyhock cackled.

- Hollyhock finds it amusing - said The Princess looking at him, but keeping the smile on his face, Dragon suddenly thought he could very easily kill for that smile

- Of course I find it amusing - he answered without moving from the wall, his voice vibrating on the quiet walls - I find it hilarious

The Princess pursed his lips and returned his gaze to Kyo, moving a step closer.

- Anyway, I decided to bring that old man instead - he whispered but the snort from the other side made clear he had been heard

 

Dragon felt something change in the air again, something that tasted almost dangerous, The Princess delicate hand was now on his forearm, stroking the fabric of his simple linen suit, his face just one step closer. Kyo thought there were many ways to play the fool and force the intentions to be spoken. The Princess hand moved upwards. He thought about what had just been said, he saw over The Princess shoulder how Hollyhock hadn’t even moved from his spot. Now his own hand was cautiously on The Princess waist. Their faces moved another step, their lips inches apart. Kyo thought of the risks, of the witnesses, of those impossible eyes and that tempting mouth, The Princess hand was now on his cheek. Dragon closed his eyes and felt the contact, now he understood the anxiety, now he made sense of the high voice and the nervous gestures. He crept his arms up The Princess back, pulling him closer, feeling the velvet against his skin when the other wrapped his neck in a hug. Gentle fingers burying themselves in Kyo’s short black hair, lips pressing against each other and breaths ragged. His hands stroking The Princess back, finding their way to his hips, their tongues pushing each other’s inside the desperate kiss.

They broke the kiss and Dragon could almost feel the apprehension in every inch of The Princess face, like he was anticipating a negative, a change of mind. Kyo let go of his hip, feeling his way towards the restroom door, holding the door knob tightly. The Princess didn’t miss the motion, his arms still wrapped around Dragon’s neck, he bit the side of his lower lip, nodding slightly. Kyo opened the door and turned around, pushing The Princess inside until his back hit a wall. Footsteps were heard moving very slowly in the hallway and the door was closed behind them. Kyo felt dizzy with the sudden realization, The Princess hurriedly working his lips up his neck and jawline.

- You didn’t bring Scar on purpose - he whispered and made him stop, they looked at each other intensely

- I told you, he gets jealous - pouted The Princess, letting go of his neck to grab onto the coat’s collar - he wouldn't have given us privacy...

Kyo smiled, their faces again close as he trapped the pout with his own lips, feeling The Princess respond immediately, pulling the linen coat to get it open and start sliding it off Dragon’s back. Kyo finished removing it for him and did the same with The Princess velvet jacket. They stared at each other’s clothes, like measuring the time and the amount of layers they had to deal with. The Princess seemed to made up his mind instantly, climbing on the washstand with a little jump, his back against the mirror that occupied most of the wall. Kyo got a little lost in his own reflection, his face flushed and his mind racing, only the sound of The Princess boots hitting the ground snapped his awareness back.

- Do you mind? you’re like three feets away - complained The Princess reaching at him with his naked feet, trying to hook some part of Kyo’s pants

- Sorry - whispered Dragon and got closer, getting almost immediately trapped between The Princess eager thighs, his arms quickly wrapping his neck again

His lips met violently, Kyo’s hands busy with shirt buttons, the need for skin on skin pulsing in his veins. Finally his long thin fingers found porcelain soft bliss, The Princess breathing a little surprised at the contact, his skin boiling. Dragon closed his eyes, feeling every inch of the other’s mouth on his while his starved hands traveled all the way from The Princess chest to the waist of his pants and climbed their way back up. They broke the kiss, again staring at each other in a confusing desperate way.

- I really like you Dragon - The Princess whispered, a little of his ego hurt with the confession, showing in the pucker of one sculpted eyebrow

- I like you too-- Ruki

Greenish gray eyes looked at him with a new shining intensity, Kyo felt it’d kill the mood to call him The Princess right now, and the hands that moved to his face and cupped his cheeks proved him he made the right choice.

- Kyo… - he whispered with a husky voice as he closed the distance again, his grip on Dragon’s face moving to his neck, his shoulders, relaxing on his back

Kyo’s own long fingers making his way down again, leaving little pressure marks on the porcelain skin, reaching the first button of the velvet pants. Once again they parted their lips, Ruki’s back against the mirror, his hips a little risen while Dragon finished the job, getting the pants out of the way and placing them carefully at a side. The burning feeling on The Princess thighs was around his waist now, while Kyo made a sloppy path with kisses from his thick lips to the base of his neck. Ruki stretched an arm to their abandoned coats, taking a tiny black purse from his own pocket, drawing Kyo’s attention towards it. Dragon smiled at how casually prepared The Princess seemed to be, fetching the content of the little purse for himself. He took a moment to appreciate the tiny plastic bottle while eager fingers started tugging at his belt, unbuckling it and moving to the buttons and zipper. Kyo allowed The Princess to get his way, a cold shiver running through him when the manicured hands grabbed hold of his partially erect member.

- Are you done reading? - he laughed, now at the very edge of the washstand, his thighs open on each side of Kyo’s hips

Dragon laughed, getting his face closer to the fluffy blond hair, sniffing on it before using his free hand to grab Ruki’s face and lift it for a kiss. He busied himself with the plastic wrapper as The Princess retrieved the little bottle, unceremoniously dripping half its content on his palm, waiting until Kyo was finished putting on the condom. Dragon straightened his back with a jump when Ruki used his wet hand to grab hold of his member again, making him unconsciously push and pull against it. It only took little time, The Princess lips playing on Kyo’s ear while he got him wet enough, rising his legs again, his thighs wrapping the other’s waist. Dragon grabbed hold of both of them, pulling Ruki a little closer, getting himself set between his legs, using one hand to gentle push his way in, feeling a little resistance at first. Kyo let his head fall forwards, bumping against The Princess blond hair while their bodies relaxed and contracted, Ruki letting out a gasp when the full lenght of Dragon was inside of him. A little chuckle filled the tense silence between them, mixing with their uneven breaths, Kyo moved his head from The Princess hair to his shoulder, pressing his forehead against it.

- What’s so funny? - he whispered while he pulled back slowly, jamming himself again the next second, causing a surprised moan from Ruki’s part, and a new chuckle

- Nothing - he answered, steading himself with both arms around Kyo’s shoulders - you’re just-- bigger... than I expected

Dragon felt the blood rush to his face, his focus completely lost as he struggled to find the rhythm again. The Princess could hardly contain a snort at his embarrassment, he pressed his thighs against Kyo’s waist and pushed against him.

- It’s a little too late to get embarrassed, so you better get moving instead - he whispered, straightening his back to shorten the distance, his whole weight hanging from his arms wrapped around Kyo’s neck and shoulders

Dragon let out a big breath before grabbing hold of Ruki’s thighs, holding him in place as the blonde rose his body and let it fall again against his, the friction getting even and increasing intensity. Kyo kept The Princess eager rhythm for as long as he could manage, their ragged breaths filling the space, his sore arms in need of relief took him to the washstand again. Ruki let go of him, leaning against the mirror, his hips risen and his thighs releasing Kyo’s waist to lay at his sides. Dragon was quick to grab them, lifting them too, taking them to his shoulders while The Princess took his still smeared hand to his own neglected member, stroking it slowly. Kyo braced himself with his hands on each side of Ruki’s body, his faces inches apart again. Dragon closed the distance, looking for The Princess mouth with wet lips and ragged breaths, their movement making it almost impossible to stretch the kiss for long. Ruki let out a little moan when his own hand finally kept up to Kyo’s rough ramming. Dragon took his hand quickly to The Princess job, forcing him away while he took the eager member on a firm grip, his thumb pressing against the tip as he pumped him vigorously. Ruki cried out, Kyo’s coarse skin against his blurring every thought, his hand instinctively searching for Dragon’s shoulders, grabbing onto him, moaning his name quietly as the climax got closer. Kyo buried his face in the crook of The Princess neck, the speed, friction and heat almost unbearable, he felt Ruki’s little whimper against his ear as he released himself on his hand, Dragon keeping his grasp a little more loose as he replicated the action some thrusts after.

They stayed very still in the aftermath, feeling suddenly extremely conscious of where they were and what they had done. Ruki was breathing harshly, his eyes half-closed with exhaustion. Kyo pulled himself slowly out of his body, listening to The Princess little surprised gasp, helping him sit up straight on the washstand. Dragon felt he should say something, Ruki was staring at his feet and he knew he felt the same way. They looked at each other and tried to talk at the same time, they stopped and tried again, they stopped, this time with a little chuckle. Kyo nodded while he moved to wash his hands on the sink.

- That was fun - whispered The Princess to fill the silence

- It was - admitted Dragon with a little pleased smile

Ruki leaned a little closer to him, his wet lips still open, Kyo stepped closer, pressing their mouths together, breaking the kiss the second after. Dragon offered a paper towel to The Princess while he deal with his own mess. Words got stuck mid air when someone knocked gently at the door. In the heat of the moment, Kyo had blissfully forgotten their situation, now seeing the shadow projected by Hollyhock’s feet on the other side of the door. Ruki seemed unfazed while he carefully cleaned himself up.

- Princess, the auction has started - announced the bodyguard in a whisper, no trace of mockery in his voice, but Dragon couldn't stop thinking everything Hollyhock had just heard

He looked at Ruki, his face pale and his eyes desperate, the blond let out a little giggle at the sight, stretching his hand and fetching his pants from the other side of the sink.

- Hollyhock is used to it - was his simple answer, his snow white skin getting lost behind a black velvet sea, the revealed stomach getting concealed button by button

Kyo thought he missed that skin already and shook his head, throwing every bit of evidence of what they did as deep in the trash as he could manage, retrieving The Princess high heeled black boots and putting one of them on his foot while Ruki secured the other one. Dragon offered his hand to help him get off the washstand, immediately regretting it when The Princess still messy hand touched his now clean skin.

- Oh, sorry - he apologized biting his lower lip

- It’s ok - laughed Kyo without letting go of it, taking both their hands inside the sink and getting them clean again

The Princess bumped his fluffy blond head against Dragon’s while they washed together, Kyo responding with a little squeeze to the pale hand between his.

- We should do it again - he dared to whisper, avoiding the intense greenish gaze in the other side of the mirror

- Definitely - whispered Ruki looking back down to grab some paper towels

Dragon retrieved his linen jacket while The Princess finally opened the door, Hollyhock moving to a side almost immediately, he started making his way back, Kyo following him some steps behind.

 

By the time they got to the room with the podium, the auction was halfway through, The Princess took the empty seat next to Kai at the second row, Hollyhock sitting right beside him. Dragon took the place next to Mr. Sea, a little more to the center in the opposite row, he had a perfect view not only of the art, but of Ruki’s profile that turned to him like he sensed it, smiling sweetly before returning his interest at the front.

Mr. Sea moved his eyes back to the piece being auctioned, pretending he hadn’t seen, smiling to himself before returning to a more neutral expression.

- Did you enjoy the exhibits? - he asked in a quiet voice, the noise from other people rising their signs and claiming numbers filled the room

- Yeah, I did - answered Kyo with a pleased smile, his eyes lingering on the second row, following every strand of a very messy blond head

 

Chapter Text

Kyo would often review their first time, how The Princess knew it would happen since the minute he decided to take Hollyhock to the auction instead of Scar. How Hollyhock clearly knew why he was the one going with him this time. Even how Mr. Sea stepped aside to leave them alone. Dragon felt he had been lead on by their scheme, but he couldn’t hide he was pleased by the outcome. His sleepless nights had gotten worse, another night owl buzzing and chirping at his cellphone every minute, long aimless calls and short flirty text messages. The Princess hadn’t left his mind since they were together at the auction and the wait to be alone with him again was becoming unbearable.

Kyo had to admit he wasn’t sure this was a good idea, they couldn’t just pretend Ruki wasn’t Mr. Spring’s right hand, that this could be kept a secret for long. But when Kansas sat in front of him shuffling a deck of cards, talking how they were going to the gambling parlor the next day, Dragon decided he was going to take the risk.

- Stepping right into Mr. Spring’s territory-- what does Mr. Sea have in mind? - wondered the tall thin man as he handed around the cards, leaving some for two more people to join the table

- That’s none of your business - answered Scarecrow, stroking his chin stubble before sitting next to Kyo and taking the cards that Kansas left for him, Dragon watched how his dark-brown hair fell almost to his shoulders and ran an absent-minded hand through his own black short hair, his mind drifting to the soft feeling of short blond waves

He shook his head violently, both Scarecrow and Kansas looked at him curious, Kansas biting a big smile while his long fingers handed him another card.

- This is our chance Kaoru, we can strip him out of his money, his head is on the clouds…

- Yeah, I could use some gas money - smiled Scarecrow mischievously

Kyo squinted at him, about to retort, but the last seat was taken by another tall and lean figure, Dragon felt suddenly extremely aware of his own height and unconsciously straightened his back. The newcomer moved his long strawberry blonde hair out of the way and Kansas was extremely distracted by it, missing the cue for the first bet.

- What’s up with you guys and long hair? - he asked searching for his wallet quickly, placing every bill he could find by his side

- I like it, people tend to misjudge a man with long hair and I use that as a leverage - was the answer the lean man known as “Red” gave while he peeked his cards without rising them from the table

- I’m just too busy to cut it - shrugged Scarecrow and Kansas snorted

- Too lazy I’d say - murmured as he laid two cards face down on the table and took two from the pile at his right

- One - asked Red while getting one card face down out of his hand, Kansas handed him another in return

- Why are we going to Mr. Spring’s parlour anyway? - resumed Kansas, handing Kyo the two cards he had asked for

- I told you that’s none of your business, but we’re all going. Kyo you too - he added quickly - we’re taking Ghost too--

- So is any competent man we can get - Kansas let out a sigh, leaving his cards face down on the table, withdrawing from the next round - sounds like trouble

- He will most likely have twice as men around us - added Dragon, piling another bill to his bet

- Absolutely - confirmed Red adding two bills - plus The Princess own men, those are always unpredictable

Dragon straightened his back even more, he had grown so used to seeing Scar’s gentle eyes and Kai’s polite manners that he simply stopped seeing them as dangerous people. He realized now that was a big mistake in their line of business and honestly, the first time it happened to him. Always observant and always suspicious, The Princess had teared all that down, leaving him exposed and vulnerable. Kyo felt a slimy anxiety filling his stomach, replaying every encounter with Ruki in his mind, trying to find any hint of his real intentions. He took a hand to his forehead, his cell phone made a little buzz inside his pocket, then three more. Dragon took a deep breath before taking it out and giving it a quick glance.

 

“it looks like i’ll see you tomorrow~”

“till then <3”

“♥”

“♥♥♥♥”

 

Kyo bit his lower lip and put the device back in his pocket. Three pairs of eyes were now staring at him. Dragon pulled off the game pushing his cards awkwardly to the center of the table. Scarecrow’s eyes were still on him while Red raised the bet.

- Can’t blame you, The Princess is cute - Kansas let out while he got a bottle of whisky and some glasses from the counter against the wall

- I remember thinking when I met him... - started Red, placing his cards face up on the table, Scarecrow clicking his tongue annoyed while the strawberry blond took the money piled up in the center - “that has to be the most expensive prostitute Mr. Spring has ever been with” you know, completely dressed in red velvet, the hair and the obscene amount of makeup---

- And then he spoke - completed Scarecrow, taking the cards and shuffling them again

- Then he spoke - smiled Red, drinking a little from the glass that Kansas had filled for them

Dragon had shifted on his chair while listening to them, absolutely uncomfortable with the turn of the conversation, feeling exposed. He gulped down his own glass, Kansas hurrying to fill it up again.

- I’m taking nothing is a secret anymore - he said, his voice a little rasp with the burning sensation of the alcohol

- Nothing was ever a secret - Scarecrow confirmed, finishing handing out the cards

- To be fair, Mr. Spring IS completely oblivious to this - conceded Red and Kansas nodded

- As long as The Princess keeps making him money, he could be sleeping with an entire baseball team and he wouldn’t care - shrugged the lean dark-haired man, taking a peek at his cards, his left eyebrow raising for just a second

- But Mr. Sea isn’t oblivious - confirmed Scarecrow, and he took a long second to look at him seriously - So don’t fuck things up

- How could I even-- - began Kyo but he closed his mouth instantly, yeah, there were a thousand ways to fuck everything up

 

They played until Kansas couldn’t place a bet anymore and the whisky bottle was empty. Everyone but Scarecrow went back to their places, he didn’t miss the chance to give Dragon a final warning before seeing him off. At his place Kyo could not stop staring at his phone screen, ashamed to realize he was expecting The Princess to call. He woke up the next day with the phone next to his face on the pillow, just one notification that warned him of Scarecrow arrival in fifteen minutes, making him rush out of bed.

Precise like clockwork, he met the right hand at his building entrance in the promised fifteen minutes. They shook hands and Scarecrow guided him to the black van, inside Mr. Sea was already sitting next to Kansas, Kyo took the sit in front of him, they all nodded their regards while Scarecrow took the wheel. Dragon peaked between the driver seats, staring at Red playing with a little knife.

- That’s my spot - he complained and Red smiled like it was the most wonderful thing in the world

- Too late sweetheart, you should've woken up early - he replied, sharing a look with Kansas on the rearview mirror

- I couldn’t sleep - mumbled Dragon returning to his seat

- Why are we all going anyway? - asked Kansas to the front, but he was clearly addressing Mr. Sea

- Well - started the oldest man taking a hand to his chin - Mr. Spring invited me personally, so naturally I’ll take any capable man I can carry

- You think this is a set up? - asked Dragon, trying not to let his mind wander too far

- I’m not discarding it - answered Mr.Sea honestly

 

They remained quiet for the rest of the trip, Kyo watched the window, his phone painfully silent as they drove past the city to the port and hotel areas, where most of The Princess gambling parlours were. They were luminous and extravagant, Dragon smiled thinking how much of him he showed in his work. This particular one was the last one, so it was even more shiny than the rest, brand new paint and even a carpet on the way to the door. Scarecrow passed by it on purpose, making a turn to park the van in a more concealed area.

- We need to get a chofer - Kansas realized as he got out of the van, taking a quick look around

- Nobody touches my car - answered Scarecrow surrounding the vehicle from the back

- There you have it - shrugged Red while Mr Sea joined them slowly, Dragon right at his feet

- I thought we were bringing Ghost-- - thought Kansas out loud and nearly jumped out of his skin when a short figure tapped him on the shoulder

- I’m already here - confirmed the soft voice, he was as usual completely dressed in black, matching his eyes and hair, his skin porcelain perfect and Dragon thought how unfair was that they were practically the same age

Ghost went over to Mr. Sea and shook his hand carefully, nodding to the rest.

- What can you tell me Ghost? - asked Mr. Sea politely, the rest surrounding him

- It’s the grand opening, so there’s the fair amount of security, I counted two on the entrance, three on the main floor, two more with Mr.Spring... - he started, taking a quick glimpse in the building’s direction - The Princess is also there with three of his own men, no weapons in sight for any of them, Mr.Spring’s men and the two at the front door are armed; waist guns

- You can tell all that from just lurking outside? - Kansas looked baffled, Ghost just shrugged

- Not really, I overheard some of them, went inside the second floor-- that’s my job

Kansas raised both hands apologetically, Mr. Sea just nodded

- Which bodyguards are with Mr. Spring? - asked Scarecrow, mentally counting everyone

- Garnet and Morrie - answered quickly, Scarecrow took a hand to his chin, rubbing it thoughtfully

- Big bodies, great guns - summarized Red - did you spot Pierrot around?

- No sign of Pierrot - reported Ghost

- That’s worse than seeing him - recognized Dragon and everyone nodded in agreement

- What about The Princess men? - added Mr. Sea

- Scar glued to his heels, Hollyhock and Kai around the second floor

- Why the second floor? - wondered Kansas aloud

- So Doll is not around - concluded Mr. Sea and Ghost nodded instantly, knowing what his job would be - you’ll be inside then, be careful.

Dragon had never seen Doll in person, but was aware that he was the only one that knew when Ghost was around and had actually spotted him several times. Enough times to cause concern on Mr. Sea, they were lucky The Princess didn’t like to expose him to these gatherings too much. Ghost nodded a last time and got lost in the shadows again, the rest of them made their way to the big entrance of the gambling parlour, being received and scolted towards the center by the two guards standing at the door.

Standing at the very center of the noisy hall, Mr.Spring awaited, flanked by two tall dark-haired man as Ghost warned. The Princess was a step behind and by the left side, Scar just beside him, half an inch behind.

- He really glues himself, doesn’t he? - whispered Kansas near Dragon’s ear, he sighed a smile, remembering how hard it could get to be with The Princess when Scar was around

The armed guards returned to the door and Mr. Sea was left face to face with Mr. Spring, Scarecrow and Red facing the bodyguards, Dragon was conveniently left in front of The Princess, Kansas at his side. The greenish gray eyes looked at him with extreme intensity for a second before putting on a blank face. The bosses exchanged their cordialities, shaking hands between them, Mr. Sea moved to a side to shake The Princess hand too, being welcomed with something that looked a little too much like gratitude. Kyo felt Ruki didn’t get acknowledged very often, he thought Mr. Sea was playing all the right cards by stopping every time to recognize him as an equal. Mr. Spring didn’t care for that, offering to extend their talk in a more comfortable room.

- You can show them around - was his contemptuous request to The Princess, purposefully leaving him out of the reunion

- Of course - he answered blankly, a forced smile on his face that disappeared completely the second Mr. Spring turned around to leave the hall with his own bodyguards, Scarecrow and Red following Mr. Sea

Scar looked ready to murder, staring intensely at Mr.Spring’s back, but Kansas sudden voice distracted him.

- Well, since Dragon can take care of himself… - he started, The Princess looked at him as soon as the first syllable of Kyo’s nickname left his mouth - I will entertain myself, am I allowed to play, Princess?

This time Ruki’s smile seemed sincere, Dragon felt a thug at his heart at the sight of that smile, Scar’s eyes were on him again.

- Of course - he answered sweetly, making a gesture with his hand - anyone with money is welcomed

- For a while - murmured Kansas to Dragon’s ear, The Princess bit a sly smile, pretending he hadn’t heard

They were alone but not quite again, Scar seemed to relax a little and Kyo felt he was earning something there. He took a step forward to face Ruki, they looked at each other for a long minute, The Princess with a sweet smile stuck on his face.

- Do you like pachinko? - he blurted out suddenly, taking a quick look around

- It’s ok - shrugged Kyo, looking at him curious, The Princess had that anxious high note again, he was very transparent to anyone that cared to notice it

- I got a room just for them on the second floor-- I love them, the room barely needs surveillance… - he leaned just an inch closer to Kyo’s face - and the machines are loud as fuck - he added in a whisper

The second floor. Dragon smiled, remembering Ghost’s report, Hollyhock and Kai where probably keeping people out of that room rather than providing security.

- Let’s have a look then - Kyo conceded, The Princess turning around immediately, guiding him to the second floor with Scar walking behind them

Dragon thought this was an easy way to get yourself killed while he stared at the soft swaying of Ruki’s hips as they climbed the unguarded stairs. Scar followed them in mortal silence, Dragon too aware of the murderous stare on his shoulders. When they arrived to the floor, the hall was just as packed and noisy as the rest of the building, drinks going around, people laughing. It took a while for Kyo to spot Kai leaning against a closed double door, but The Princess moved quickly, people didn’t seem to notice him despite his blue velvet outfit, too focused on the shiny cards and noisy machines. Kai moved aside instantly and opened the door for them, inside, only one machine was being used, Hollyhock with his hand on a tight grip around the handle, cursing loudly. The Princess let out a frustrated puff of air and looked at Kai with disapproval.

- YOU were supposed to be inside - he complained - you know how he gets…

- Alone at the machines or getting drunk at the tables, take your pick - was Kai’s dry answer and The Princess pursed his lips in an angry pout

Ruki got inside with Kyo and Scar at his heels, Kai closed the door behind them and stayed outside. The carpet on top of the original wooden floor had a hard time hiding the loud stomps The Princess gave on his way to Hollyhock. He grabbed him by the shoulder and the dark-haired man tried to shake him off, Ruki’s knuckles went white with the effort of staying in his place.

- Aoi - he warned in a deep serious tone and Hollyhock moved his mouth to a side, visibly irritated, they struggled in mortal silence one more minute before the tall man finally closed his eyes, removing his grip from the handle

- Fine, fine - he sighed rising both his hands, Ruki let go of his shoulder and stood straight next to him, waiting with his arms crossed

Hollyhock took his slow time to leave the machine, taking his earnings and walking lazily to the door, he managed to reach out a hand and slap The Princess ass on his way out. Ruki turned around instantly, reaching into his pocket and throwing whatever was in it to his head. The dark-haired man laughed loudly after taking a peek at what had been thrown at him, waving at both of them before being finally dragged out of the room by Scar. Dragon moved slowly to retrieve the item, feeling the blood rush to his face as he recognized the small plastic bottle.

- The nerve of that old man - Ruki complained, sitting at one of the dozen noisy machines - you can keep that, it’s for you anyway - he added cheekily as Kyo regained composure, putting the tiny bottle inside his pocket

- You do know I’m older than him, right? - he asked with a feigned hurt tone on his voice

- Of course I know, love - The Princess answered warmly, stretching his arms to beckon him, Dragon got between them and allowed the small blue velvet frame to embrace him, resting his chin on Kyo’s shoulder - and I love you for it...

Kyo hummed while he put his arms to The Princess back, feeling the soft fabric beneath his fingers, the slow breathing and that impossible warmth he missed so much. He let out a deep breath, this man could very easily be the end of him and he wasn’t even gonna try to prevent it.

- I missed you - he whispered in Ruki’s pierced ear, feeling the shiver run through the spine under his hands, the fluffy blonde hug tighter

- Me too - he answered in a husky murmur

Dragon had seen him yes, they had seen each other, they had talked a lot, they had called each other and wrote messages. But he had never touched The Princess again the way he did at the auction, the feel of his skin, the sound of his voice, he missed all of what made him-- Ruki. He hugged tighter and the blond let out a little surprised huff, they kept quiet for a long while, the machines loudly covering any whisper or sound.

- We don’t have much time - assured Kyo somehow not completely convinced, without wanting to let go of their contact, The Princess thighs now pressing against his waist while he locked him in an embrace with his legs

- Spring invited Mr. Sea to show him who’s dick is bigger-- we could have all night - answered Ruki in a very soft voice, feeling drunk and warm inside the man’s impossibly strong arms

- You should be on that meeting too - granted Kyo and let go a little of the suffocating union, regretting it instantly as The Princess also let go of him, his legs untangling on each side of the standing Dragon

- I’m used to it - he shrugged

- You did all this and he takes the credit-- - continued Kyo getting unexpectedly angry

Ruki smiled at him in such a sweet way, Dragon felt that sudden anger dissipate, he felt every damn thought dissipate.

- Don’t worry about it - The Princess whispered, taking his hand carefully to Kyo’s cheek, tracing a way to his chin and going down his neck, running his fingers on the white fenix tattoo at its side

Kyo took that hand and kissed the porcelain white skin before guiding it to his shoulder while he got closer and pressed his lips against The Princess plump ones that parted instantly to let him play with his tongue inside.

- Why are you with him anyway? - he asked once they parted, but Ruki took a finger to his lips, getting close again and sealing them with another kiss, Dragon took his hand to The Princess head, burying his fingers among the fluffy blond hair

He never got the answer, the heat between them increasing while their kisses and touches got more rough. Dragon took his hands to the velvet coat, almost tearing it apart trying to release it from his grip on The Princess frame. Ruki giving back the same treatment to his shirt, letting Kyo’s chest exposed to his eyes for the first time. The blond’s breath halted, and he took almost instantly a pair of curious hands to the worked abs in front of him. Dragon smiled, admitting himself aroused only by the thirsty expresion on The Princess face. A lean finger traced all the contour of the tiger tattoo at the side of his waist and Kyo had to remember there were a lot of people at the other side of the door and he couldn’t just rip Ruki’s clothes to shreds to get to his pearly white skin. He lifted The Princess leg to get to his boot, repeating it with the other foot instantly. Ruki letting out a tiny giggle while Dragon got rid of his velvet blue pants at an inhuman speed, letting the white soft thighs wrapped around his waist once more. Kyo took his hands to them, grabbing and squeezing, leaving little pressure marks on the skin. The Princess ran his nails playfully on Dragon’s chest, going down to his hips and toying with the pant’s waist. Kyo leaned forward, meeting Ruki’s eager lips in a hot kiss, releasing his thighs and taking his hands to the button and zipper of his jeans. The Princess reached in his pocket before they were unceremoniously dropped half their way to the knees, retrieving the plastic bottle Kyo had kept in his possession. Ruki’s greenish gray gaze was fixated on Dragon’s strong stomach and what lay even further down, letting Kyo’s wet lips trace all his cheek and forehead with the motion. He emptied part of the little bottle on his hand and took Dragon’s member in his hand, hearing a surprised moan from the dark-haired man.

- I don’t have that much time - complained Kyo in a rasped breath

- That’s disappointing, but ok - laughed The Princess, letting more of the thick clear substance fall on his fingers and taking them to his own body

Dragon sighed a smile while he grabbed Ruki’s thighs, lifting them and locking them at each side of his hips while the younger man drove his own fingers to his entrance, moaning a little too loud while he hurried the steps. Kyo shushed him sweetly, letting his forehead bump into a messy mass of blond hair, The Princess biting his lower lip in response, toying with his fingers inside, opening them and removing them, trying his best to get himself as wet as possible. Dragon gave a gentle nudge at the head beneath his and moved his lips to Ruki’s ear, nibbling on it carefully. The Princess gasped surprised and removed his fingers, grabbing hold of Kyo’s member again and placing it against his body, the older man starting to push against his entrance slowly. Their breaths stopped as Dragon got himself inside in a painfully slow motion, feeling the natural response inside Ruki’s body. As the blond relaxed his muscles, he got inside a little more, until his hip met The Princess buttocks.

They shared an intense look before Kyo started moving rhythmically inside and out of him, Ruki responding by taking a hand to his own member, stroking it at Dragon’s pace. The noises and the moans perfectly muffled by the incredibly deafening machines around them, The Princess back leaned on the crystal of the one Hollyhock was using, making it chirp and the handle press against his lower back. Kyo swore he heard it clinking with a particularly violent shove against Ruki’s body, the little silver balls starting to move around. He knew this was something The Princess would laugh about, if he weren’t so overwhelmed by his incoming climax. Dragon sped up his rhythm, just as promised, they didn’t really have that much time, the eagerness and craving for each other’s skin hurrying their encounter. Kyo let out a moan against Ruki’s shoulder when he felt his orgasm reach both of them, a little too aware of the fact that this time they had skipped the condom. The Princess took no notice, his own hand smeared by his recent orgasm, his mind a big blur as he panted his way back to reality.

Dragon stayed inside of him a second more, waiting for their breaths to go even before carefully letting go of Ruki’s thighs, pulling himself out gently, hearing The Princess little moan of discomfort.

- Jacket - he mumbled, pointing a finger of his clean hand at the seat where Kyo had left the blue velvet mess

Dragon reached into the pockets and retrieved the little black pouch from last time, he handed over to The Princess.

- We really need to stop doing it in places where I have to clean up everything afterwards - he complained and a little blush was forming on his cheeks while he took wet towels out of the purse and cleaned himself with them

Kyo bit the inside of his cheek, grabbing one of the towels himself and taking it carefully between Ruki’s thighs, the blond letting out a gasp.

- Careful - he pleaded but spread his legs further apart, allowing Dragon to continue his job

- I promise next time will be on a bed - laughed Kyo after finishing, lifting his pants and closing them before reaching out for the The Princess blue ones

- Next time it’s your turn to get sticky - Ruki warned with an arrogant smile

Dragon snorted, watching as The Princess got very uncomfortably dressed, he wondered how long would it be until that next time and if it would be enough to make Ruki forget the idea.

- Yeah, sure - he answered finally and The Princess squinted

- You’re just going along with it because you think I will forget - he let out with confidence as he buttoned down his coat, Kyo had to recognize that he had lost, and he wasn’t even mad about it

- You can do me next time, it’s only fair - he conceded, but Ruki kept seeing him with contempt

- I can’t believe you’re actually thinking I’ve never been on top before - his voice a pinch higher as he tried not to appear too insulted - how narrow minded are you?

- I’m not saying that-

- But you thought it - he interrupted - you think because I dress this way and I suck dick that I can’t take on a guy

- You-- wait, you never sucked mine-

- And now I never will, that’s what you get - he sentenced triumphantly

They stayed quiet for a long minute before they burst out laughing, Ruki leaning forward in a giggle while Kyo tried to reach for his arm and pull at him. Their heads bumped together with the force of Dragon’s pull and the relaxed limpness on The Princess body. Kyo didn’t give him time to settle, pressing his lips against the plump ones, wrapping his velvet draped waist with his strong arms, Ruki responding by doing the same with his neck, their kiss expanding. They separated with swallow breaths, bumping their foreheads again, the greenish gray eyes fixed on Kyo’s black ones, a sweet smile on his lips. Many words were left unspoken at that instant, and Dragon felt unfair to speak them so soon, with so many things still at risk. He would realize later that by then the course of their lives had already be settled.

- You’re an asshole - The Princess whispered on his lips

- I know - was the warm reply

A soft knock on the door finally announced the end of their encounter, Ruki looked anxious in an instant, almost as if someone had clicked a switch inside of him. Kyo took his hands to his fluffy blond hair, trying to fix it a little, giving reassuring strokes. The Princess smiled at him sweetly before unlocking their bodies again and moving to the door, Dragon waited a full minute before leaving after him. Kai was still at the door, but Ruki had left with Hollyhock and Scar. The tall man locked the door and put back the key on his pocket, nodding at Kyo before following his boss.

Dragon found Kansas lost in many ways, sitting at a Blackjack table. He tapped his shoulder and the tall man stood up immediately, abandoning the game. They made their way to the front door, Kyo pretended to look at the decorations but stopped when he finally found The Princess, he was sitting very awkwardly with Morrie on one side and Scar on the other, Hollyhock chatting with the bigger, more menacing man. Kansas nudged his side with an elbow.

- How was the quickie? - he asked and Kyo suddenly couldn’t remember why they were friends in the first place

- How much money did you lose? - was his answer and Kansas shrugged

- Mine? five bucks, now--- Red’s money--- let’s say I have to lay low for a decade...

Dragon rolled his eyes, finally encountering Mr. Sea and the two remaining members waiting for them at the center of the entrance hall. They exchanged courtesy nods among them and to Mr.Spring who was watching them condescendingly from a private table.

They remained in silence until the black van was on sight, Ghost joining them quietly.

- So, what did he want? - asked Kansas curiously

- For us to see the size of his dick - answered Red with a bored tone and Mr.Sea huffed a laugh

- I’m afraid it was very much like that - he conceded, Scarecrow opening the van’s passenger door for him, he entered with Red’s help and Kansas followed him, Ghost and Dragon right behind. Red closed the door and took the seat next to the driver’s

- I feel bad for the brat - added Scarecrow, getting the mirrors ready before starting the vehicle

- Yes, The Princess talent is unfortunately wasted on the company of such an ambitious man...

Mr. Sea said the words for everyone to hear, but his eyes were locked on Kyo’s, a relaxed and knowing smile on his lips before closing his eyes and leaning his back on the seat.

Chapter Text

Getting his feet on solid ground was proving to be challenging for Ruki in the past few weeks, and that was putting it mildly. His mind kept drifting over and over to Dragon and his sweet voice, Dragon and his impossible strong arms, Dragon and his embrace, Dragon and the way he called his name. Shaking his head every three minutes was starting to be considered a symptom of a neurological nature by the rest of the crew. Nervous hands on golden locks and distracted pens falling from desks all the time.

Kyo had ruined him.

Mr. Spring, however, didn’t notice any change in him. As long as the money was still flowing, Ruki could shave his entire hair off and start wearing robes and it would make no difference. Not that he expected Spring to suddenly recognize his hard work, Ruki just wished he didn’t hoard all the credit to himself. He let out a sigh and leaned his body forward, resting his forehead on the desk, the papers he was reading crumbling under his weight. The Princess felt a soft touch on his neck, the gentle hand climbing up to the short hairs on his nape. Ruki turned his face, now his cheek was the one resting on the crumbled papers, his greenish gray eyes looking for the source of the touch. A pair of brown vacant eyes were staring at him from above, peaceful silence and that languid stare, Ruki sighed a tiny smile before sitting up again.

- You’re impossibly tall, did you know that, Doll? - he asked in a soft voice, and the other man smiled

- I’ve been told - he answered, his voice deep and hushed, like everything was a secret

The Princess took the papers from his desk again, words, names, numbers, all of them becoming a big blur, Doll’s long fingers again on his neck, massaging it gently. Ruki let his eyes close, his neck bending backwards for an instant before his attention went back to the papers just in time to see Doll’s free hands taking them from him. He gave them a quick read with an indifferent expression before returning them to the table. The Princess could consider himself completely distracted now Doll’s hand had climbed up to his hair, closing his eyes and relaxing his arms.

- You could buy the downtown building with that amount of cash - was the soft comment near his ear, Doll’s body leaned forward to match his seated height

- I’m done buying buildings - Ruki let out tiredly, taking a hand to his forehead - what’s the point?

Doll didn’t answer, he let his hand rest on The Princess hair, stroking it gently, feeling him lean his head closer to the touch. He was lucky enough to forget from time to time that this artificial freedom he now possesed was at the expense of Ruki’s. They were all just as trapped as they always were, but their luxurious lives did a great job at disguising the chains. Doll leaned closer to Ruki’s face, his full lips opening on the verge of a word, but the knock on the door made The Princess eyes open instantly, leaving him a little too exposed. They stared at each other for a silent second, words still moving in Doll’s mind, Ruki was the first one to talk.

- Come in - he said out loud, making Doll let go of him by reflex and standing up straight at his side, but both of them relaxed again when Hollyhock entered the room

He looked at Doll’s posture curiously, an incredible warmth reflected on his eyes before directing a more neutral stare to The Princess’ direction.

- That dude in the suit is here to see you - he announced, smiling like each sentence was the best joke he’d ever heard, Ruki raised an eyebrow

- Yeah, send him in - he answered and felt the tension almost immediately build up on his neck and shoulders

Hollyhock left and Doll followed him short after, leaving The Princess with seconds to focus before Scar entered the room escorting a short man in a beige suit and closing the door behind them, standing straighter than a ruler against it.

 

The meeting went by in a blur, Ruki was pretty sure he fell asleep with his eyes open at least three times. He wasn’t usually this distracted, but he couldn’t put his mind at ease, he could only blame his feelings for Dragon so far. Everything was beginning to crumble somehow, he could sense it. Ruki leaned his body forward again, his forehead hitting the desk with a deaf noise.

- Auch - he complained, regretting it instantly

- That’s definitely gonna leave a mark - smiled Scar getting closer to him, sitting at the desk’s edge - Were you even paying attention?

- I know what he said, it was expected - he mumbled without rising his head, his nose uncomfortably pressed against the surface

- For you it was - warned Scar and took a doubtful hand to Ruki’s hair, deciding to place it on his shoulder instead - Spring won’t take the time to understand it

Ruki didn’t answer right away, he sometimes wondered how Spring managed to get all that money and power before he arrived. He was too ambitious and deceitful and yet he had managed to build an empire and people killed to work for him, sometimes even literally. All Ruki had to do was try to steal his wallet and he had a job for life-- more accurate would be to say he had a debt for life.

- I can’t open another parlour now, it would only make things worse - he took his arms to the desk, resting his cheek on them - maybe I could sell my kidney--

- Or your jewelry - he smiled sweetly, this time feeling more confident in touching Ruki’s bruised forehead

- I could sell YOUR kidney - Ruki retorted with a mischievous smile, hissing when Scar pressed gently against the wound

- I’ll get you some ice - he laughed climbing off the desk

The Princess was left alone again, he took a hand to his pant’s pocket, retrieving his cellphone, trying not to feel a little disappointed at the lack of notifications. He wrote with a little effort, not wanting to rise his head from where it laid on his left arm.

 

“i miss u”

 

Ruki could count seconds before the screen in front of him displayed the answer.

 

“Me too.”

 

He smiled sweetly, wondering what Kyo was up to, when would they see each other again. His eyes getting blurry, his mind drifting away, his body relaxing. Ruki missed the small thud the cellphone made when it hit the carpet underneath the desk.

 

The Princess woke up with a splitting headache but unexpectedly comfortable, his head resting on a soft surface as well as his whole body. Clothes were missing, his rings and bracelets were definitely not there, he panicked for an instant before recognizing his own bed, his own room. This was not uncommon, and yet Ruki always had a rough time waking up in a different place from where he had fallen asleep. Scar and Doll were prone to do this, Hollyhock and Kai would rather wake him up and make him go to bed. The missing jewelry and clothes were enough to tell him Scar had been responsible. The Princess felt weird every time this happened, not really able to put his finger on it. He didn’t feel disrespected or disgraced, he trusted all of them blindly. They were his responsibility as much as his safety was theirs, but their care and warmth for him made Ruki feel small and powerless, specially because his own fate wasn't even in his hands.

Ruki heard a soft noise at the door, he reached under the pillow for the black throw knives he kept on his bed, but released them as soon as he saw Doll’s tall shape crossing the door. The Princess squinted at the tray he had on his hands, steam was floating out of a cup and the smell of fresh coffee filled the room.

- You don’t have to do it, we have people for that - he said softly, rubbing his eyes and smearing the eyeshadow around - fuck - he whispered at the sight of his stained hand

- I’ve been bringing you breakfast since I started living here… - Doll answered calmly, waiting for Ruki to sit up before leaving the tray on the bed - it’s just that you always oversleep

- Oh - a little blush forming on his cheeks before he cleared his throat - well, you don’t have to - he added while grabbing the coffee mug and drowning some of his embarrassment in it

- I like doing it - Doll shrugged, reaching for something inside the bedside drawer, offering a pack of wet towels to Ruki who took one immediately and rubbed off the makeup from his hand and face

They kept quiet as The Princess tried not to seem too self-conscious of the way he was enjoying his breakfast. Doing only what he liked was the promise he gave Doll when the tall brunette started working for him. When he accepted the only type of freedom Ruki could offer, the same fabricated one he possessed.

- Mr.Spring is coming to see you today - Doll spoke softly, making sure The Princess wasn’t chewing something that might get stuck in his throat

- I figured - he answered with a downcast glance, feeling his appetite dissipate almost instantly but pretending to be hungry anyway to not let it show, but Doll’s vacant eyes were the sharpest of the group

Doll placed a big warm hand on top of Ruki’s pearly one, drawing his attention away from his acting, making him stop. The blonde sighed, allowing Doll to take away the tray and place it on the table against the bedroom wall, taking a peak at papers and books The Princess kept away from the rest of Mr. Spring family, what he was truly about.

- Do you want to take a bath? - he asked kindly and Ruki made a troubled expression

- Don’t tell me you do that too - he mumbled feeling a hot flash on his face

Doll let out a little laugh, this was The Princess they all knew, he had been warm towards all of them since the moment their paths crossed. Doll had never felt anything remotely close to safety in his life before meeting Ruki, and he knew he wasn't the only one that had felt acceptance for the first time thanks to The Princess.

- I don’t, I’m just offering it now - he finally answered and The Princess shook his blond fluffy hair

- Then don’t, it’s not necessary - he cleared his raspy voice and tried to look a little more stoic while starting to get out of bed, he was wearing the silk pajamas under an oversized t-shirt, he gave a look at the whole ensemble before sighing - Scar is really thorough isn't he… I bet he took his sweet time undressing me...

- Well, you ARE a heavy sleeper - recognized Doll with a smile before leaving the room with the breakfast tray

 

A bath was technically the only thing The Princess managed to accomplish before Hollyhock announced that Mr. Spring was already at his office with Garnet and Morrie. Feeling dizzy and sick with anticipation he got dressed quickly and went to meet him, Scar following his nervous steps. When he arrived the doors were closed, Kai and Garnet at each side, in a silent competition to see who could stand straighter. Ruki couldn’t even look at Garnet, his throat closed, his stomach regretting every breakfast bite. He got into the office with Scar at his heels.

- You’re late - commented Spring uninterested, reading the papers on The Princess’ desk, Morrie was standing by the window, he stared at Scar right away, measuring him

- I can hardly be late at my own house - Ruki tried to laugh the tension off, the air was thick and Morrie’s stare at Scar was getting him on edge very quickly - To what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?.

- I’m losing money Ruki - was his lazy complaint, each syllable of his name dragged with annoyance, the papers in his hand crumbling a little with his pressure - what have you been up to--

- I told you the parlours need a little time to earn back the original investment-- we just--

- Not enough, I own three and I’m still losing money - he closed his eyes for a moment - I’ve let you play with it long enough--

- I told you these things take time - The Princess was standing as firm as he could, Morrie’s eyes now fixed on him, sending a cold shiver down his spine - You’re not losing money, I’m not playing--

- Are you sure? - was his dry answer, a smirk formed in his face, his black eyes piercing through greenish gray ones

Mr. Spring took some time to leave the papers back on the desk, retrieving something from his pocket. Ruki felt he was gonna faint, his body went limp when the object revealed itself, Scar moving forward to support him. Mr. Spring had The Princess cellphone on his hand and was scrolling through it with a stern look. The color drained from the blond’s face.

- Interesting fellow this Dragon - he started, reading carefully before looking back at Ruki’s face - how is this not playing? - he asked softly with a sly smile

The Princess thought that if his brain hadn’t shut down instantly he could’ve made a very probable excuse. He could have said he was using Dragon to get information, he could’ve lied his teeth off. But his reputation preceded him, lying was useless and now Mr. Spring was on his feet and walking towards him. His long rough fingers quick to grab Ruki by the chin, his other hand fiercely on his arm, digging his fingertips in soft skin, getting his face extremely close. Scar took a hand to his waist but Morrie advanced too, The Princess used his free hand to stop his man.

- You seem to have forgotten who do you belong to - was Spring’s whisper directly on his face - you’re gonna pay what you owe me-- I’ll personally make sure of that

He pushed Ruki roughly against Scar, taking the cellphone again and putting it in his pocket. Mr. Spring looked around before addressing Morrie.

- Why don’t you give our little princess a lesson of what’s to come if he keeps defying me? - he smiled while Morrie nodded and grabbed hold of Ruki’s arm, Scar’s hand was now on the handle of his pistol but The Princess once again put his hand on him

Mr. Spring didn’t wait to leave the room, looking very pleased with himself, Garnet followed him immediately, Kai waited until they were out of sight before getting into the room, a knife already on his hand. Morrie released his grip on Ruki’s arm but kept the hand on him.

- Calm down Scar - he asked tiredly, the other man took his gun out anyway

- Scar - warned Kai closing the door behind him - we can’t kill him here

- You can’t kill me anywhere - Morrie answered with a tiny smile, rubbing his hand carefully on The Princess arm - I’m not gonna hurt Ruki just because Spring feels like it--- but my own actions are the only thing I have power on - he added looking directly into The Princess eyes, watching as the tears were starting to form

Ruki nodded, his voice lost in the fear and anxiety, his head dizzy and his body trembling, he had been too naive, too careless.

- Scar, put down the fucking weapon, Kai you too - he sat on the desk with a sigh - Ruki, tell your men to stand down

- Reita, please - was the whisper that came out of his thick lips, Scar placed his gun back in the holster immediately, Kai hid the knives on his sleeve

- I’m sorry Princess - Morrie said, placing a hand on the small shoulder before exiting the room

As soon as the door clicked closed, Ruki’s legs gave in, falling on his knees, taking his hands to his face. Scar went down next to him, unceremoniously grabbing him by the collar and taking him into his arms, The Princess crumbled in his embrace, Kai looked away, drowned in anger.

- I’ll kill him - whispered Scar on Ruki’s ear, his eyes finally meeting Kai’s

- The odds aren’t good - he said through his teeth

- I don’t care if I die, I’ll bring him down - growled the taller blond while The Princess arms were practically choking him

- I DO care - he cried out and took a long time of heaving and sobbing before he spoke again - Nobody is killing anyone

Ruki slowly let go of Scar’s embrace, keeping a hand on the man’s shoulder to steady himself as he got up again, his man following the movement. He took a nervous hand to his face, rubbing away the tears and trying to compose himself. The Princess managed to come so far without shedding blood and he wasn’t going to start now, he needed to be cold-headed again, there was too much at risk but Spring had threatened him directly. Ruki thought that if he was the only one being punished, then it could be handled.

- I don’t know what Spring wants me to do - he started, his voice finally even - but I assume Scar won’t like it in any way--

- Don’t  - warned the tall blonde, knowing Ruki enough to guess what he’d say

- Reita - sighed The Princess - You will stay here until I say so, I don’t trust your impulses and you know that--

- You can’t just shut me out like that--

- I just did - he interrupted and their eyes were fiercely locked on each other for a silent while

- Understood - grumbled the taller blond, lowering his gaze, Ruki’s expression went suddenly soft

- I’m sorry - he whispered - this is my doing, it’s only fair that I should be the only one dealing with its consequences

- What about Dragon? - asked Kai - I wouldn’t put it past Spring to try to do something to him or Mr.Sea

- I’ll have Raven let them know, Mr. Sea will surely take precautions. Please tell him right away

Kai nodded and left the room in the search of the elusive brunette that Ruki had somehow managed to gain in his favor. Things would only get tougher from now on and they needed any loyal man they could get. And none of The Princess men were even tempted to work for Mr.Spring, they would go down with Ruki even if it cost them their lives. Kai smiled, his bloodthirst had always made him unreliable to everyone, his search for an outlet causing a lot of problems, but The Princess had accepted him nonetheless. What Mr.Spring thought was an impossible task, an entertaining punishment for his empowered right hand turned up on Ruki’s favor. Kai felt at peace next to the blond, he had found an outlet for his most basic impulses and non-existent judgement from his peers. Kai had found a home in The Princess, as many of them had, and he would draw blood to protect it.

Inside the office, Scar had his arms wrapped around Ruki’s waist and hadn’t let go for the last minutes. Their warmth and comfortable silence meant as a shield from the reality they were facing. Scar remembered The Princess afraid of Spring at the beginning, he watched him grow out of it and find his confidence, now he was witnessing him crumble again. With his forehead pressed against Scar’s chest, Ruki kept breathing slowly, keeping his feelings at bay, trying to focus his mind. He had always guessed Spring’s next move, being able to weight the probabilities from a witness point of view, never having to experience it first hand. Now he couldn’t predict what would happen. He was truly terrified.



The Princess couldn’t recall when he went to bed, he was usually a social drinker, but he had some vague memory of emptying at least half a bottle of either whiskey or vodka during the night. Now he was waking up with the worst headache of his life and a nauseating feeling in his stomach. It was past noon when Doll went to check on him, glad to see him awake, mentioning how they almost called a doctor. Ruki beckoned him, his voice raspy and too weak, Doll sat on the bed next to him. The Princess leaned his head on his shoulder, a cracked sigh escaping his lips.

- Scar will stay with you today - he said in a tired voice, Doll nodded

- He told me

- I want you to keep an eye on him - Ruki continued, burying his face in the crook of Doll’s neck

- I will, don’t worry - he said softly, resting his cheek on the blond fluffy hair

- I really fucked up, didn’t I - The Princess whispered, his voice cracking at the end of the sentence

Doll didn’t answer, he searched for Ruki’s hand, holding it warmly between his own, staying in silence until the minutes went by. A soft knock on the door warned The Princess that Spring would come pick him up tonight. Ruki responded by hiding more in Doll’s warmth, wishing he could dissipate in it.

Chapter Text

Dragon knew he liked art, he was definitely sure he liked The Princess around, so the prospect of another art auction was promising to say the least. But now, sitting next to Mr. Sea and listening to Seraph’s quiet and soft explanations on his other side, he reconsider on his interests. Seraph was a lean tall blonde that managed anyone to listen by just speaking really softly, he was one of Mr.Sea’s financial advisors and another art enthusiast. Dragon liked him a lot and found his presence soothing, it was good to be around him sometimes, but now his voice was gnawing at his skull due boredom. He stretched a little more on his seat, the auction had long started. Dragon felt the quietness next to him before noticing they were both looking at his body sprawled on the uncomfortable chair. Mr. Sea smiled.

- This must be really boring for you... - he started in a low voice, the auction sounds practically drowning it - I wasn’t made aware of The Princess absence, I was certain he would show up...

- Don’t worry about it - whispered Dragon embarrassed, he knew it wasn’t a secret, but it still felt wrong to be so open about it

- It doesn’t suit me right that he’s not present - continued Mr.Sea, his gaze lingering beyond the podium, his focus lost - Seraph, I’d like you to stay for the rest of the auction - the thin blond nodded instantly - I’ll have the car come back for you immediately. Let’s go Kyo.

Dragon got up carefully and Mr. Sea followed, nodding to the man behind the podium that nodded back before continuing with the auction without missing a beat.

The sun was starting to hide when they got to the car, the chofer got inside the car the moment he saw them coming, Ghost appeared from their side, taking out his gloves as the sign of a finished job. Mr. Sea stopped before the car’s closed passenger door, allowing Dragon to open it for him, he turned to look at Ghost.

- I need you to tail The Princess - Mr. Sea stated and Ghost tried not to show his confusion

- He..he’s not here - he said very slowly, feeling defiant

- Yes, yes - acknowledged Sea - You’ll have to go to his place-- Doll will probably be there so try not to let yourself be seen, at least for now...

Ghost nodded before getting lost again inside the small alleys between the buildings. Dragon moved his shoulders, trying to shake his anxiety off.

- Do you think something’s wrong? - he dared to ask

- In the best case scenario, he’ll get a little paranoid to find out I followed him - he smiled slowly - but we’ve seen each other at the auctions since he became Spring’s right hand, he never misses one-- - they got inside the car and he seemed to doubt a minute before continuing - I don’t mean to worry you Kyo, it’s just a precaution

Dragon nodded, embarrassed again to let his feelings for The Princess show so much, he couldn’t help wondering if it was the same for Ruki. They kept silent through all the way back to Mr. Sea’s home, Red and Kansas were waiting for them at the front door. Mr.Sea tensed his mouth at the sight of them, getting off the car before Dragon. Red shortened the distance between them with too long steps.

- There’s something you need to see - he announced, flanking Mr. Sea’s left side while Kansas moved to Dragon’s right, letting the other two get inside first

- You’re early - he said with a smile, but there was a tiny hint of anxiety on his face, Kyo knew him well enough to notice

- What happened? - he asked, trying to ignore a sense of dread inside of him while they moved to the main living room of the house

Mr. Sea stopped before getting to the center of the room, Scarecrow was standing there with a kneeled down man next to him, Dragon had to enter the room from a side to get a view of the whole scene. He felt his stomach clench when he recognized the thin gawky black haired man on his knees, his clothes a little roughed up but his handsome face looked intact. His unusual lips pursed with a little anxiety and his eyes looked glossy while he kept moving his tied hands behind his back.

- We found him lurking around, he was looking for you specifically - explained Scarecrow - He didn’t resist when we subdued him.

- It’s Raven - blurted out Dragon, Mr. Sea looked at him curious - He’s The Princess snitch

Mr. Sea let out a little understanding “oh”, of course he didn’t know Raven, he was just as good as his own Ghost, nobody had ever seen him. If he was tied up on his carpet now was because The Princess intended it that way. Kyo felt his muscles aching with the tension and dread that was invading him. He bit his lower lip to avoid interrogating the man.

- Then please release him, Scarecrow - he asked politely, watching him not only obey but help Raven to his feet, the tall man took a little moment to compose himself before speaking

- Thank you Mr. Sea, I mean no harm - he spoke in a calculated way, as if he feared the wrong word would send him to his dead - Princess asked me to come see you directly

- On what business? - consulted Mr. Sea, his back straight, tension showing on his shoulders

- Mr.Spring knows about him and Dragon - he said quickly, like he was a little embarrassed to reveal his boss intimacy so openly - and since the parlours seem to be losing money-- Mr.Spring has threatened Princess directly-- He was concerned for Dragon’s safety - he gave a quick glance in Kyo’s direction - ...and yours.

A thick silence filled the room while Mr. Sea took the information in, Dragon on his part, felt like he was about to have a nervous breakdown. The idea of a threatened Ruki, of Spring knowing about them and the consequences that could bring. He clenched his fists, his jaw tensed up. Scarecrow and Sea were looking at him now.

- You won’t go anywhere - said Scarecrow in an absolute tone

- Yes, we need to be careful, any reckless action could be harmful to The Princess precarious situation - conceded Mr. Sea, looking now at Raven’s dark eyes - Consider me informed. You may go now. - he looked at Kyo again - We will wait for Ghost’s report

Everyone nodded quietly, Red stretched out an arm to grab Raven’s shoulder and ease him out of the room.




That same night at the gambling parlour, The Princess pretended he didn’t notice how Garnet and Morrie kept blocking Kai’s view on him, he made a big act of not noticing how his man was glaring at them, his whole face reading “murder”. They had talked before Spring came to fetch them, he was taking only him because he could keep a cool head. Ruki didn’t expect Kai would start losing it when they put distance between them. He could see him play with the knives on his sleeves from time to time, Morrie letting him get close but pushing him away as soon as Spring noticed. The rooms were noisy as ever, drinks and laughter deafening, Ruki couldn’t think, a knot had formed in his stomach the second Spring put his long fingers around his arm and it hadn’t gone since. Mr.Spring was smirking cheerfully, dragging him all over the place, like he was looking for something. Moving from hall to hall, finally founding his way to the tables in front of a small stage that was offering some kind of cabaret show at the moment. The Princess allowed his eyes to get lost in the sinuous movements of the dancers, numbing his head as best as he could while Spring talked amiably with the men at the table. They were familiar faces for Ruki, he had seen them around Spring so many times, they used names like “investor”, “enthusiast” to hide how black and dirty their businesses could get. He didn’t understand why Spring wanted him near them, they had always been rude towards him, to say the least. These old-schooled men were square and basic, and had only seen The Princess as Spring’s slut no matter how he proved everyone wrong. Ruki didn’t care what they thought about him anymore. He was sure he had missed part of the conversation when he heard Spring mention a previous phone call, his arm now over Ruki’s shoulders. Two of the men nodded and got up, Spring pulled The Princess closer and he began to walk towards the back of the room. Ruki felt a jolt of panic run through him, recognizing the path immediately, he sent a panicked stare backwards but the two men were now closing his view of Kai, smiling cheerfully, Garnet behind them.

- Morrie, please offer Kai a drink, The Princess won’t need him for a while… - said Spring with a smirk

Kai advanced anyway, fury oozing out of his deadly stare, but Morrie faced him and grabbed him by the shoulder. Now Ruki was in full panic and Garnet was moving to his right side, taking him by the arm and helping Spring to drag him through the door that led to the private rooms on the third floor.

- Which one you think is the best? I mean, since you know them all - murmured Spring, his hot breath on The Princess ear, his face buried between golden locks

Ruki was crying now, begging in a broken whisper, Spring let go of him but Garnet kept holding him with full force. The Princess took his eyes to the stern taller man next to him, Garnet kept his look to the front while going to the last room in the hall.

- Garnet-- Garnet-- Hitoki-- please please  - was the soft voice that left a teary eyed Ruki, the strong hand pressed harder - I beg of you-- please stop this pl--

- Don’t worry Princess - he heard coming from behind him - we’ll make sure you have an excellent time...




Hollyhock’s eyes followed Scar’s path lazily, watching him go from one side of the room to the other, flexing his arms, throwing his fists anxiously. Doll was sitting on a chair next to the window to the front of the house, looking at the road. The silence was dense between them, broken by Scar’s fast steps and the friction on their clothes when they moved or changed positions. Anxiety was at its peak when they heard the sound of a car approaching. Doll got up almost immediately, Scar practically ran to the front door. Hollyhock followed them some steps behind, by the time he arrived, Kai was already inside the house. They all remained in a mortal silence, Morrie was with him, carrying in his arms what was definitely The Princess but looked so remotely far from him. His eyes were glassy and his limbs limp, his clothes looked put in a hurry and his head kept dropping backwards or towards Morrie’s chest.

- Room - was the dry word the tall black haired man let out, Doll was the first to react, showing him upstairs, guiding him to Ruki’s bedroom

- Kai, what the fuck? - asked Hollyhock, trying to erase from his mind the bruises he was sure he’d seen on that little bit of skin that showed from The Princess’ open shirt

Kai kept silence, his jaw looked like made of marble from the way he was clenching it, he moved forward but Scar took him by the collar and gave him a shake.

- What happened to him? - he growled, his forehead almost pressing against Kai’s

- Let go of me or you’ll regret it - was the hissing whisper that left the dark haired man’s mouth, his hands tense but occupied with whatever was hiding inside his sleeves

Hollyhock moved assertively forward, putting a hand on each of their shoulders.

- We will all calm down now - he started, trying to appear calm himself despite being on the brink of a murderous rage - Nobody is getting inside that room, we’ll let Doll spend the night with him and tomorrow we’ll have a little talk

Scar didn’t let go of Kai, but Kai did put out his knives, always respectful of his older peer.

- Aoi is right - he conceded, taking his free hand to Scar’s free shoulder - Reita, we’ll talk about this tomorrow

- You will tell me now--

- I think the whole thing is too painfully obvious for everyone Reita - let out Hollyhock, sighing tiredly - Now go, have a drink, take a nap, but don’t go into his room, you hear me?

Scar took a long painful moment before he released Kai very slowly, nodding before getting lost upstairs, a deafening slam on his door announcing he had followed the advice.

 

Doll watched in silence as Morrie let Ruki’s limp body on the bed, keeping his head up with his hand until letting it rest on the pillow. The Princess eyes looked dull but they were open, focusing on nothing. Morrie took a doubtful hand to the mess of blond hair, stroking it carefully.

- I’m sorry Ruki - he said and The Princess seemed to try to focus on him, but his eyes got lost somewhere else again, his head falling to a side, Doll bit his lower lip with force, holding back tears, he released it as soon as Morrie turned around to face him

Without saying anything else, he nodded and left the room, Doll felt compelled to lock it behind him, returning his interest to the bed, sitting carefully next to the spaced-out Ruki. He ventured gentle hands to his arm, lifting the sleeve until he saw what he expected, a dark bruise in the inside of his elbow and a little hole still visible on the skin. The tears rolled down his cheeks instantly, he looked at the lost greenish gray eyes, saw they too were reddened from previous tears. Doll took Ruki in his arms carefully, dragging him to the edge before finally lifting him from the bed, making sure The Princess head was falling forward on his chest before making his way to the bathroom in suite.

 

After he managed to put Ruki back to bed, still gone but disturbingly awake, Doll returned to the bathroom to clean up. His gaze moved instantly to the window, he was certain a shadow had moved there. Doll finished cleaning up before finally open it to let the steam dissipate and peeked his head outside. Standing in the balcony at his right was a dark undefined shadow. Doll measured its height, it was too short to be their own Raven, so the black mass could only be called by a different name.

- Ghost - he said knowingly and the figure moved closer to the light, showing his soft skin and childish face

- Doll, I knew you’d seen me--

- Get inside - commanded Doll with a stern voice that surprised Ghost, but he obeyed, Mr.Sea’s men usually had no reason to distrust The Princess’ bodyguards

Ghost moved carefully across the wall and got inside the small bathroom window, his feet wrapped in leather flats didn’t make any noise as he dropped them on the tile floor. Doll closed the window behind him and blocked it with his back.

- How much did you see? - he asked a little roughly, Ghost closed his eyes apologetically

- I’m afraid I saw everything - he started in a very sweet and slow voice, he knew Doll wasn’t prone to violence, but everyone at that house would bare their teeths when it came to The Princess’ safety, he wasn’t going to take risks - I was asked by Mr. Sea to tail him so I’ve been following him since they left for the parlour--

- Good - interrupted Doll, but he showed no sign of being pleased about it - Then you can tell everything to Mr.Sea and to Mr.Sea only

Ghost nodded carefully, surprised at the turn of events, but he could sympathize with Doll’s position. He knew very well what Mr.Sea wanted from The Princess and how that played in their favour. Mr. Sea had been an ally from the first moment they met, knowing Ruki would amount to greatness despite being stumbled over and over by a self-centered boss. Doll moved from the window and opened it again, Ghost watched every movement of his delicate fingers, his tall silhouette distracting him from what the gesture really meant.

-  You can go now - confirmed Doll before heading towards the bathroom door, Ghost nodded and got lost through the window.

By the time Doll made his way to Ruki’s bed, the blond was a little more inside himself, tears were running slowly down his cheeks and he moved away frightened when he saw a shadow getting closer. Doll moved faster, making soothing noises while he turned on the lamp at the bedside table so Ruki could see his face clearly.

- It’s me - he whispered - it’s just me. You’re safe now-- - he kneeled down by the bed to be at The Princess’ eye level

- U--Uruha - was the broken plea that left his plump bruised lips, he stretched a shaking hand towards Doll’s face and he grabbed it midway, taking it fast against his cheek, kissing it tenderly

- I’m here, I’m here - he continued soothingly - It’s over-- you’re home now. You’re home.

Ruki said his name once again, slurring the syllables while his strength finally abandoned him, passing out slowly, the last elusive tears making their uninterrupted way to the soft surface of the pillow.

 

Chapter Text

Dragon couldn’t sleep, he usually had trouble sleeping, he was practically insomniac after meeting The Princess. Now nothing seemed more unattainable than shutting down for some decent hours. Kyo wasn’t used to his room at Mr.Sea’s residence, he had never lived there longer than necessary, he preferred his old apartment and had only changed a few things since the incomes from working for the family started pouring in. But due to recent events, he decided to stay until Ghost returned with news about Ruki. His anxiety wouldn’t have allowed him to go back home anyway. Kyo was pacing around the room, lying down and getting up again, sitting on the sofa and randomly picking books from the shelves, but his eyes never leaving the window. Mr.Sea’s bedroom was on the third floor, so there was no way he could miss at least a glimpse of Ghost climbing the wall somehow. Dragon was certain he’d see him, so he waited. Hours went silently by and Kyo was finally dozing off when a small thud on his wall woke him up abruptly. He hurried upstairs to Mr.Sea’s rooms, knocking on the double door at the end of the stairs, Scarecrow opened slowly, watching him with a raised eyebrow and dark circles under his eyes.

- You look tired, I can replace you - he said hurriedly and Scarecrow rolled his eyes

- You suck at being casual - he sighed - I was going to bed anyway, and so is Sea, so be a good boy and go back to your room

- Kaoru-- - Dragon whispered, failing at not letting any emotion show on his voice

Somehow he thought he saw Scarecrow softening his expression for a moment before the stern face took over again.

- Whatever Ghost said to Sea, it’s between them, so I suggest you drop it - he raised a hand before getting interrupted by an anxious Kyo - I know, I know Ruki is very dear to you… but he’s very dear to Sea too and you’ll have to trust him.

Kyo didn’t answer, Scarecrow’s words weren’t making him feel any better, he felt a warm firm hand on his shoulder but didn’t raise his eyes.

- Sea wants The Princess on his side since he laid eyes on him, you gotta trust me on that one-- - he patted Dragon’s shoulder - Now go to bed.

Kyo nodded slowly and Scarecrow finally released him from his touch, leaving the room with him and closing the door behind them. They went separate ways down the hall and Dragon resigned himself to a night of watching the screen of his cellphone with the last message Ruki sent him.




Doll was cleaning the floor for the third time that morning while Hollyhock retrieved the rest of the breakfast tray from Ruki’s bed. They both heard some slurred apologies coming from the face now buried in the pillows, little sweat drops on his forehead from the effort, some drool going down his chin. Doll took a moment to clean The Princess’ face with a wet towel before continuing cleaning the floor. Hollyhock felt a knot in his throat when he tried to speak, he wanted to reassure Ruki but he’d never been good with comfort words, he could only joke the pain away. He looked at Doll tenderly, the newest member of their family had taken control over the situation since The Princess arrived half conscious the night before. Hollyhock felt a new knot forming when he understood why Doll of all of them would know what to do to help Ruki. Their dark eyes met, Doll’s once soft face went a little stoic all of a sudden.

- Bring him water and one of Scar’s sport drinks--- also bread if you can find any - he left the wet cloth inside the bucket and took everything to the bathroom, Hollyhock waited for his return before finally leaving the room carrying the messy tray.

- ….ru..ha-- moaned Ruki against the pillows, his body shivering with fever

-  Stop saying you’re sorry - sighed Doll taking a hand to his wet hair - it would be best if you took a bath now--

The Princess moaned in protest, hiding his face from him, if things had been different, Doll would’ve laughed at his childish behaviour. But seeing him like that now only caused him sorrow. He took a careful hand down Ruki’s nape.

- Ruki-- I-- I know what you’re feeling-- - he started and he could hear The Princess start sobbing - I--- more than anyone- I understand, let me take care of you now-- I owe you that much

The Princess denied with his head effusively against the pillow. Guilt, humiliation, disgust, all things Doll had been very familiar with for a big part of his life. Feelings he knew now invaded Ruki’s mind while he tried to sink his head further down the pillow. Doll was still healing from his past, and big part of that healing had started after he had met The Princess. He sat on the edge of the bed, placing a careful hand on Ruki’s back, stroking it lightly as he heard his muffled cries.

- I’ll still prepare the bath for you-- and I’m doing it because I want to-- - he sighed, getting up from the bed and into the bathroom

He left the door open while he cleaned the bucket and cloth he had used to clean Ruki’s vomit, moving to wash his hands right after and start filling up the bathtub. He couldn’t hear The Princess anymore but he knew he wasn’t going anywhere, now the noise of the water running was the only thing in his ears. Until a little screeching noise came to his attention. Doll took his hand slowly but swiftly to his back, retrieving the knife secured in his belt and moving very carefully to the side of the window. The noise didn’t stop but he opened the window anyway, grabbing hold of the perpetrator and yanking him inside the bathroom. Ghost’s back hit the tile floor with a strong thud, a hiss of pain leaving his parting lips.

- You should’ve announced yourself - complained Doll apologetically while he helped him on his feet

- Now I see my mistake - smiled Ghost painfully, rubbing his lower back to try to ease the pain away - I didn’t want to disturb The Princess-- but I guess it’s a little late for that - he added looking at the bathroom door

Doll put the knife back on his hiding spot immediately, rushing towards Ruki and trying to cover his image with his body, painfully aware of every dark bruise across his pale thighs and the red marks on his ankles. The Princess looked confused and remorseful of having exposed himself so suddenly, but Ghost had turned his face away and was now stretching a hand with a folded paper.

- Mr.Sea asked me to give you this - he explained looking more and more at the ceiling as Ruki dragged his bare feet towards him and slowly took the note from his hand

- Thank you - he whispered with a hoarse voice

- Do you need a reply? - Doll asked a little coldly, watching as Ghost made the effort to not look at them in any way

- No, it’s not necessary, I’ll take my leave - he finally answered and Doll pulled Ruki behind him when Ghost’s eyes finally faced the window, encountering only the tall brunet’s reflection, he nodded at it before climbing the window and making his way down.

Doll hurried to close the bathtub water tap before it overflowed and closed the window right after. The Princess took his time reading the note, it wasn’t that long but he read it several times, as if he didn’t understand. Doll moved to grab some towels and leave them close by, when his attention went back to Ruki, he was offering him the note. It was written by Sea himself, as he recognized the neat calligraphy from having seen it in confidential papers and stolen intel.

- I don’t know that address - murmured The Princess, removing the silk shirt of his pajamas with slow doubtful motions

- Me neither, seems it’s also pretty far from here... - he looked at Ruki for a second but had to look away when he recognized the type of bruises that ran from his neck to the beginning of his chest, reading the note again while The Princess got himself painfully inside the tub, hissing when the water reached the most affected areas

- It’s a little cold but bear with it, it’ll be good for your fever - Doll added, they had at least an hour and a half before the meeting time that was written in the note, he’d have to rush Ruki if they wanted to make it on time - I’ll get your clothes ready

- Pills - mumbled The Princess while he sank his head under the water

- Yes, that too - agreed Doll, waiting until Ruki’s head was back above the water before going to the dressing room next to the bathroom

 

The Princess took the pills hoping the effects would be quick on his aching body and dressed as carefully as he could, the feeling of the fabric against his bruised skin causing him to stop for a few minutes before trying again. Doll kept his eyes on him the whole time, finally helping him into his jacket.

- You’ll come with me - announced Ruki and Doll gave an assertive nod - Kai will drive - Doll nodded again, starting to leave to let him know, The Princess grabbed him by the arm, making him turn around, the atmosphere getting quiet and intimate while Ruki tried really hard to look him in the eyes directly - Uruha, thank you.

- Don’t mention it - he answered in a soft whisper, leaning to kiss The Princess forehead before leaving the room

 

The Princess reached the door with a little difficulty, the painkillers starting to act too slowly. He saw Scar at the door, his warm eyes desperately looking for his but Ruki avoided them by reflex. Scar tried very hard not to let his pain show while he grabbed a black fur coat and opened it in front of The Princess, helping him put it on. Scar left his hand on Ruki a little too long, like he always did, and the fluffy blond smiled tenderly, but still averted his gaze when they were facing each other. Kai broke the painful silence, announcing the car was ready and leaving after The Princess and Doll.

The drive was unsurprisingly long, Doll was sitting next to Ruki but with his face peeking between the front seats, helping Kai with directions. The Princess hid his reddened eyes behind a pair of sunglasses before leaving the car, Doll next to him and Kai standing on the other side of the car. The three of them took their eyes upwards, a tall gothic church was towering before them, Kai raised an eyebrow and Doll squinted at the image with confusion.

- Stay here Kai - said Ruki softly and the tall man nodded - Doll, you come with me

Doll nodded slowly, still confused and amazed by the old structure in front of him, the massive wooden double door was open and they made their silent way inside. Ruki rotated his shoulders anxiously, looking around without removing his sunglasses, a tall man was sitting in the first pews, Doll recognized Red’s hair sitting in the furthest pew. The Princess nodded at him and Doll sat at his side, watching as Ruki made his way to the front of the church. He seated carefully next to Mr. Sea, who kept his eyes closed, as if he was praying.

- I’m glad you could make it - he spoke in a soft voice, opening his eyes and directing them at the altar, Ruki did the same

- Why here of all places? - he asked in a whisper, feeling his deep voice might reverberate too much on the walls and reveal their conversation

- Does it make you uncomfortable? - smiled Mr. Sea

- Well, let’s say this place condemns all of what I am… and half of what you are--

Now Mr. Sea was laughing quietly, Ruki’s anxiousness dissipating a little with the older man’s warm voice.

- At least we can agree this is the last place we would see Mr. Spring in...

The Princess shrugged.

- Where I am makes no difference to him if it doesn’t get him money… - Ruki felt a pang of pain on his body, he blamed it on the still healing bruises

- Yes, I guess that’s true - conceded Mr. Sea - Congratulations on your new parlour, by the way. It is an amazing achievement...

- Thank you. - Ruki sighed a smile - A praise from you means… Well, it means a lot. But I think it’d be wiser to direct it to Mr. Spring.

Mr. Sea took some time to answer, his hands relaxed on his lap, his eyes still at the altar, knowing he had the greenish gray eyes full attention behind the sunglasses.

- So it seems, hm? - he began carefully - How does someone as skillful as you end up working for someone as ungrateful as Mr. Spring I’ll never understand...

- By being a scrawny kid - Ruki shrugged - picking the wrong pocket…

- Ah, a debt then - Mr. Sea nodded - although it does sound like a lot of wrong pockets…

- You could say that… so many pockets no mortal could ever finish paying that debt...

The Princess leaned his head on the pew, regretting instantly the uncomfortable position on his neck. Mr. Sea looked at him tenderly, finally turning his head to face Ruki.

- It must be hard… being discredited like that... humiliated even after all your hard work…

- Guess I don’t have much of a choice-- - he closed his eyes taking his head forward - is either that or--

- Selling your body? - ventured Mr. Sea gently and The Princess felt his stomach drop, a cold shiver down his spine, his lips quivered while he tried to smile

- You play very well the ignorant role for someone that knows everything - he whispered, trying not to show his voice cracking

- I could keep being ignorant if you need me to be - Mr. Sea offered in a quiet voice

- What do you mean? - asked Ruki, confused and nervous, his mind starting to move painfully fast

- I don’t think you’d like Dragon to know his Princess was soiled - he said, his voice unexpectedly cold and Ruki felt suddenly afraid of him, putting his defenses up and sitting straighter

- I was never pure to begin with - he stated, Mr. Sea sighed with a smile, he felt a stab of guilt for testing The Princess that way, stressing him into a defensive stance, but it was good to see he could slip into the role so easily

- Maybe not - he conceded, softening his voice - but so far it had always been by choice--

- Yeah, I guess so - he rolled his shoulders uncomfortable, a long tense silence formed between them while Ruki’s mind raced

- I am not blackmailing you Ruki - Mr. Sea finally said and he could see the tension suddenly dissipate from The Princess shoulders, he took a careful hand to one of them, giving a reassuring squeeze - I just think is time to cancel your debt to Mr. Spring...

- I have nothing left to give him... - Ruki whispered with a broken voice, his shoulders falling forward under Mr.Sea’s touch

- You may not. But I do.

Chapter Text

The midday sun was bothering his eyesight despite the sunglasses while Kyo followed the movements of a couple of horses on the training tracks, some with jockeys on their backs, others were just being led by the reins. The sun reflected on their shiny flanks while they trotted around. Dragon leaned on the fence, watching and caring for his horses had been his whole life, the only thing he cared about. They were a comfort and a company, but now his mind wouldn’t leave his worry for The Princess and the way Mr. Sea had simply shut him out without further explanation. He sighed as he signaled one of the young boys that was walking the horse by the reins to get closer. The magnificent black beast resisted stubbornly to be pulled by the inexperienced jockey and Kyo had to move fast to firmly grab the reins on his own hand. He pulled downwards and the horse seemed to recognize this because he calmed almost immediately.

- You’re too tense and he knows it - he spoke evenly, looking the boy in the eyes - Penyu is a stubborn geezer, you need to be calm and collected or he’ll drop you - the horse must have felt acknowledged because he gave a soft neigh - or chew you

The boy laughed nervously while he nodded trying to relax himself, Kyo waited patiently for him to regain his confidence and let go of the reins, giving him a pat on the shoulder.

- You’ll do just fine - he assured, facing his way back to the fence, his stomach dropped when he recognized Mr. Sea and Red waiting for him

Dragon was a little embarrassed to admit he jogged the rest of the way towards them, anxious and worried, Mr. Sea never showed his face on the training tracks, they usually met once the races started.

- Good afternoon Kyo - he said softly and, despite his serene face, Dragon couldn’t help get even more anxious

- Good afternoon.. Sea.. Red - the tall strawberry blond nodded, his eyes wandering on the horses

- It’s a fine day for a race, isn’t it? - he continued, placing a careful hand on the fence - Is Penyu running today?

- That depends - laughed Kyo, trying to hide his nervousness - he doesn’t like the jockey I picked for him

- Stubborn like his owner, isn’t he? - commented Red, his voice relaxed and Dragon looked at him, nodding absentmindedly - He’s old enough to be a stallion now... sounds like a good retirement plan for me... - he shrugged and Kyo made a face

- He’s still young enough to run, don’t decide for him - Dragon finally laughed and rotated his shoulder to try to ease the tension, Mr. Sea watched him attentively

- Kyo - he started and the three of them knew fun time was over - do you trust my judgment?

- Yes

No trace of doubt in his voice, but Dragon was taken aback by Mr. Sea’s surprised expression. With the years they’d been together and everything Mr. Sea had done for him, Kyo felt a little insulted that he might even begin to doubt his answer.

- Do you trust The Princess? - he asked after a long moment and Kyo felt a stab of guilt to realize he was jumping to conclusions about his expression

- Yes - he admitted and Red watched him carefully

- Then I want Penyu to race today - the finality of this sentence was met with a little apprehension from Dragon’s part, but Red seemed unfazed

- I’ll make sure he does - nodded Kyo, taking his sight to the black horse sprinting across the field, the jockey firmly secured on his back

 

Dragon normally didn’t stay in the track area during the race, fearful his presence might distract the horses and give a hard time to the jockeys. He couldn’t help but pour his love on those splendid beasts, raising them as well as he had raised their parents. The beginning of the season usually started with the baby race so he was eager to see how the training had worked up for the youngest of his horses. Kyo’s eyes wandered over the jockeys preparing themselves, following the strong lines on Penyu’s offspring’s body. Years ago keeping his oldest horses seemed an impossible task, now he had a descendant racing and one on training. He smiled tenderly, he had Mr. Sea to thank for saving them.

Kyo leaned anxiously forward, the audience starting to take their sits around him, noise being made, the stakes weren’t high but everyone was interested in new blood, so bets were usually made nonetheless. He felt the shift on the seat’s weight, recognizing people sitting at his sides, but it was only when the sun hit right into his eye that he saw it was being reflected by a pair of silver pointed studded boots. Kyo’s gaze went up knowingly, the dark green velvet soon meeting his eyes and he wondered how The Princess could stand the heat with that kind of clothing. He finally reached his face and he was surprised to see he was covering behind sunglasses too, round and big and just for a second Kyo could see the tired eyes looking back at his. He removed his own sunglasses almost apologetically.

- Oh, I don’t mind - Ruki said, his voice a little hoarse and Dragon tried to stop his mind from running wild - You can keep them, the sun is annoyingly strong today.

Kyo didn’t answer and he didn't make a move to put the sunglasses back on, instead he looked around them. A man he didn’t recognize was sitting just beside The Princess, tall and with a vacant look in his eyes, his lips were pressed and Kyo thought they looked perfectly made as the man finally turned to look at him, nodding slowly.

- He’s Doll - explained Ruki and Dragon nodded back, wandering his sight to the seats behind and above them, he recognized Garnet in the furthest seats, and wasn’t surprised to find Mr. Spring petulant face a few rows under him, Mr. Sea seated at his side

Dragon turned his face to the front, a scowl was twisting it in an expression full of anger The Princess had never seen on him before. Ruki moved very slowly, his hand barely lifting to reach Kyo’s fist, wrapping it warmly, the raging tension on the other’s shoulders seemed to dissipate instantly.

- I missed you - he whispered softly and Kyo laid back on his seat to get closer to him and cover the contact from view

- Me too - he sighed, turning his palm upwards to hold the hand above him

The next words were probably lost or never said, the loud noise of the speaker announcing the beginning of the race startling them both, Kyo holding the hand in his the whole time. They watched in silence as the youngest of the season impassionedly sprinted to the final post, a chocolate colored horse reached first with seconds of difference from a bay colored one. Kyo squeezed the hand in his excitedly, Ruki looked at him, a polished eyebrow raised.

- They’re both mine - he explained - the winners, they’re mine

- I see... - The Princess answered softly and there was something else hidden in his voice, Kyo tried to look for the answer but Ruki was looking behind them, his greenish gray gaze hidden from view behind the dark sunglasses while he fixed it on Mr. Spring eager expression, his lanky body was leaning forward and his hands were clasped together, they could see Mr. Sea speaking but it was impossible to hear anything but the racket around them. They turned their eyes back to the track.

- The next one is a derby - Kyo started nervously, his mind racing back to Mr. Sea’s request - my-- my dearest horse is running in it--

- Don’t you ever ride them? - Ruki asked politely, but his tone was deprived of any emotion and Dragon rolled his shoulders anxiously

- I do, but not on the races... I’m too heavy for them... - he explained, The Princess fingers interlocking between Kyo’s

The noise on the speaker startled them again, ten minutes until the derby and Dragon could see the people around them had doubled. The minutes passed between shouts and drinks and suddenly there were people standing around them, hiding them from Mr.Spring sight. Ruki seemed to notice this, because he leaned his blond head on Kyo’s shoulder slowly, their eyes fixed on the race that announced its start with a strong trumpet.

Dragon got tense and moved and was generally a nervous wreck while his thoroughbred left the rest of the horses almost a whole body behind. The Princess leaned back on his seat, taking a minute to look at Kyo’s determined face before turning back, recognizing Mr.Spring standing between the crowd, his eyes fixed on the track, Mr. Sea’s hand brotherly on his shoulder, saying things near his face. A second passed and Ruki was sure Mr. Sea had looked at him before returning his interest to Spring, he turned back around and shifted uncomfortably on his seat. The race ended and Dragon’s horse was unsurprisingly the winner, his jockey dismounting and guiding him to the podiums. Kyo’s face had the most ridiculous smile The Princess had ever seen, and a pang of guilt stabbed at his side, or maybe the analgesics had weared off. They shared a look for a moment before Dragon cleared his throat.

- Did you enjoy the race? - he asked

- It was the most boring thing I’ve ever seen - answered Ruki smiling at him, the black haired still had that fatherly proud smile on his face

Kyo leaned forward and they pressed their foreheads together.

- I think Sea took your guards away - Kyo whispered, but The Princess leaned back

- Yes, I noticed - he bit his lower lip and something changed in the air

But not the way Dragon was used to. He reached out to grab Ruki’s hand again, squeezing it tightly.

- What has he done to you? - he whispered again, closer to the blond’s face, but he didn’t miss the way Doll was now staring at him

- We should go to where Spring is - he stated in a surprisingly deep voice that startled both of them

- He’s right - Ruki recognized painfully, standing up - I should go to him or he’ll come fetch me-- I don’t want him to see you

- I’m not afraid of him - Kyo stood up but the hand delicately pushing his shoulder down made him sit again

- I am - was the soft confession that escaped the plush lips and Dragon kept his silence, his arm lingering for a final touch of that hand that was now quickly leaving his shoulder and going away with the rest of his owner

 

Under the sun and next to the podiums, the people were immerse in excitement around the horses. The Princess watched them from the shade, Doll by his side, he found Spring and Mr.Sea talking and admiring the shiny black horse that had won the race. The jockey had a hand on its pelt and was petting it fondly while the older men were engaged deeply in conversation about tracks and times and training. Ruki let out a sigh while he moved closer, Doll following a step behind.

- Ah, Princess - acknowledged Mr.Sea and Spring’s face shifted into a sneer - did you enjoy the race? - he added quickly

- He probably didn’t even see it, too busy burying his face in someone’s crotch - let out Spring with a nasty smile, waving his hand in dismissal - Go away, I’m busy

Mr. Sea stood incredibly straight, but said nothing, he watched attentively as Ruki just nodded and moved away, his face unreadable. Doll’s vacant eyes stared at Mr.Spring for a solid two seconds before following his boss. The taller man resumed the conversation as if nothing had happened and Mr. Sea obliged for a little longer, before the movement around them began to stop and the ending of the race day was announced through the speakers.

The Princess didn’t get to see Dragon again that afternoon, the talk between the family bosses lasted just a few more minutes and he could feel Garnet starting to follow him on their way back. Mr. Spring looked displeased even before seeing Ruki’s face, his mouth twitching with disgust as he grabbed him by the arm.

- I hope you had your fun - he started in a whisper while he dragged the blond through the halls and towards the exit - you need to make me more money tonight--

- How much more? - asked Ruki tiredly, his voice barely there

Mr.Spring shook him, pushing him against the wall, his face very close now, his free hand taking off The Princess’ sunglasses.

- Enough to buy me a fucking horse-- - he snarled and Ruki had to make a big effort to keep playing scared like he truly was a second before

Because everything had fallen into place.

- What if I get you THAT horse? - he offered, his breath uneven, his heart racing

Mr.Spring moved back a step.

- What do you mean? - he asked, his brow furrowed

- What if I got you the winning horses? and you wouldn’t have to start from scratch - the tall man was backing off now and Ruki felt he could breathe more normally again

Something seemed to finally click in Mr.Spring’s mind, because he closed his hand tightly around The Princess’ sunglasses, the blond could hear a tiny crack in the hall.

- In exchange for what? - he grunted

- You cancel my debt-

There was a thick silence around them now, Doll and Garnet measuring each other, they had kept themselves apart and unobtrusive the whole exchange. Mr.Spring laughed without humor, relaxing his lanky body and running a hand across his wavy brown hair. The seconds passed in excruciating tension, Ruki afraid of moving too suddenly, his heart racing in his chest. Mr.Spring rolled his shoulders and neck, he let out a sigh.

- Fine - he agreed, but grabbed The Princess by the chin - you stay here and don’t come back without the horses--- - he seemed to run his mind through a lot of possible threats while his black eyes stared intently at greenish gray ones -  there's still a lot of you left to sell--

Mr.Spring dragged his hand over The Princess mouth, pushing his face sideways before finishing cracking the sunglasses and throwing them at his feet. When the lanky man finally left his sight, Ruki dragged his back against the wall, sitting on the floor with a broken sigh, his eyes lost at the broken pieces of glass.

- Those were original Ray-Bans - he moaned, hugging his knees weakly as the tears started rolling down his cheeks

Doll smiled sweetly, kneeling at his side and stretching his arms to surround him in a hug that The Princess seemed to dissolve in, resting his chin on the taller man’s shoulder, his arms limply touching his broad back.

- I’m so tired - he whispered, the tears never stopped and he moved to press his forehead on the already wetting shoulder

- I know - Doll replied softly, he kissed the cheek near him and looked around, the hall was barren but noises can still be heard from the tracks and stables - but you’re so close... - he added, hugging tightly and Ruki nodded against his chest

The Princess wasn’t able to answer, steps coming towards them, echoing in the silent hall. Doll stood up, dragging him up with him, his arms still wrapped around Ruki. He let go as soon as he confirmed the blond was standing straight, taking some time to clean his face, the make up was a little smeared underneath his eyes but the dark circles around them disguised it well. The Princess composed himself in silence, his gaze still a little lost on the broken sunglasses.

- Good, you’re still here - said Red’s jovial voice, if he noticed Ruki’s state, he made no show of it - Sea is waiting for you

The Princess nodded and followed him slowly. It was really happening, he took a last look at the broken pieces of glass. This was not a dream, it was really happening, every step away from them resonated on the hall. Every step away was a step away from Mr. Spring once and for all. New tears rolled down his blushed cheeks, exhaustion and stress had nibbled at his strength, letting him exposed like a nerve. Ruki was grateful that Red made no comment despite seeing him wiping away the tears to no avail. By the time they arrived to a private room on a side of the building, The Princess had managed to regain his composure, the lack of sunglasses exposing his reddened eyes. The room was small and painfully quiet, Sea was seated at one side of a desk, Dragon in front of him and a thin tall man standing next to him. Red guided them inside and Mr.Sea signaled to the empty chair next to Dragon as soon as he laid eyes on Ruki. The Princess sat down slowly, his eyes guiltily averting Kyo’s black ones.

- Kyo has agreed to sell you the horses, as we arranged earlier today - Mr. Sea spoke clearly, the statement making Ruki watch Dragon’s expression for a second, regretting instantly when he recognized the pain in his eyes

- Are you sure? - he couldn’t help but whisper, flexing his fingers, restraining the impulse of touching the other man’s arm

- Yeah - Kyo nodded determinedly and Ruki bit his lower lip

- Take it as a loan Dragon... - said the tall blond next to him, he directed his attention at The Princess and stretched out a hand - I’m pleased to finally meet you, they call me Seraph

Ruki took the hand that was offered a little confounded and shook it. Mr. Sea nodded towards them and cleared his throat.

- Seraph will take care of the paperwork… all of it - he added looking intensely at The Princess’ eyes

- Oh- - let out Ruki, looking back at the tall lean blond - Thank you

Seraph fanned the air dismissively and put the hand on Kyo’s shoulder, The Princess was ashamed to admit he felt a pang of jealousy at this simple gesture, he bit down the inside of his cheek and looked forward.

- What now? - he asked softly, tiredly, and Dragon’s attention was back at his face, his saddened expression increasing

- Well, we will prepare the horses to move them first thing in the morning - said Mr.Sea, his gentle gaze fixed on Kyo’s face - And while Dragon handles that, Seraph, you and I will handle the rest - he joined his hands for a moment with a sense of finality

Everyone nodded silently, Mr.Sea waited a minute before getting up and nodding at Red, the strawberry blond went to the door and opened it for him. Mr.Sea left the desk but stopped to look at The Princess for a moment.

- I’d like you to come to dinner at my house - he mentioned, but there was nothing in the sentence that suggested an actual invitation, every word with an underlying sense of command - I want to get all the paperwork done as quickly as possible.

Ruki nodded slowly and returned Seraph’s final regards, watching the three of them leave the room. The silence fell dense around them as Dragon kept his look locked on The Princess face and he did everything in his power to avert returning it. Doll backed away, but didn’t leave the room, his vacant eyes on their backs.

- Look at me - was Kyo’s soft whisper, Ruki unwittingly tensed up, his back straight against the chair, but his head was low, looking at his hands, Dragon waited patiently, but the fluffy blond showed no intention of moving - Ruki - he called, taking The Princess hands in his

- Why did you agree to this? - he answered, his broken voice barely audible, his head still lowered - why did you agree to sell them?

Dragon shrugged and squeezed the hands between his.

- I’m not that selfless, I know I’ll get them back - he confessed with a half-hearted smile

- How can you know that - Ruki kept whispering - you don’t know him-- none of you really do…

Kyo leaned forward and The Princess seemed to move instantly away from him, straightening his back as soon as he noticed.

- I’m sorry - his voice even more low, Dragon resisted the urge to hold him closer, feeling the tension in the hands still between his

- Come give me a hand with the horses... - Kyo let out, trying to sound nonchalant, something had broken between them and he didn’t want to despair trying to get it back, but that seemed easier said than done, he bit his lips and squeezed the hands between his again - Please look at me...

Ruki closed his eyes, a broken sigh escaping his plush lips while he took a painful minute to finally face Kyo, his reddened eyes watering almost immediately, tears refusing to roll down his cheeks. They kept quiet for a long minute, The Princess eyes focusing on different parts of Kyo’s face, returning to his eyes from time to time. Dragon sighed, smiling sweetly and finally closing his eyes, leaning forward until his forehead pressed against Ruki’s.

- I love you, did you know that? - he whispered over pouting lips that brushed against his swiftly, then a wet cheek was dragging against his own, hands breaking contact as The Princess wrapped his neck in an embrace

- I know - he answered, voice breaking in a heavy sob

This time Dragon didn’t ask, his eyes meeting with Doll on the other side of the room. Silent questions left unanswered as the vacant eyes traveled from his face to Ruki’s trembling back. Doll pursed his lips but didn’t move from his place, watching as Kyo tried futilely to comfort him, wrapping his hands tightly around The Princess’ waist.

Dragon waited patiently until Ruki calmed down, repeating his invitation and receiving a shy nod in answer. They went back to the track and got into the stables, by that time most competitors had left, only staff members occupied the space with Kyo’s three horses. A young man hurried towards them and greeted Dragon effusively.

- You did excellent today - greeted Kyo offering his hand and shaking the young boy’s - You can go now, sorry for making you wait, I’ll handle it from here.

There was something removed in Dragon’s voice, and while the young man nodded his way out Ruki got near him, taking his hand carefully. Kyo smiled sweetly.

- Don’t worry, I just feel bad for the kid - he sighed - this was his first race since he started trying to get Penyu to trust him - he raised his head towards the horses that were looking at him from the stalls - and now someone else’s gonna have to start it all over again...

The Princess tightened his grip on the hand he was holding, an apology was about to leave his pursed lips when Kyo pushed from the hand to get him closer.

- Do you wanna touch them? - he asked calmly and Ruki panicked, trying to pull away instantly

- No no- I really-- they’re really big-- - he stuttered and could see how the horse was starting to huff and shake his head slightly

Kyo stopped after seeing the animal’s reaction.

- Don’t be nervous, you’re making him nervous too - he explained, releasing Ruki’s hands from his grasp

- Can’t really help it--  - exhaled The Princess, visibly agitated

- He won’t hurt you, I promise - continued Kyo, reaching out for Ruki’s hands again, the fluffy blond didn’t resist, but kept looking at the horse with distrust - look at me - he commanded and his dark eyes were met by a pair of very tired greenish ones - now breath deeply, close your eyes, try to forget the horses are here

- Yeah, right - he sighed but obeyed slowly, his hands resting on top of Kyo’s palms

- They will respond to you more strongly because your emotions are overflowing… - Dragon continued in a soft soothing voice - you need to show them you’re collected, you need to show them you’re in control--

- I’m never in control - answered Ruki in a whisper and Kyo started to rub his thumbs against the porcelain skin

- You can be, I know you can - Dragon smiled sweetly - you need to let go of the state you’re in...

Ruki didn’t answer, he kept his eyes closed and his breath uneven, slow tears dragging make up down his cheeks, his lips pursed tightly. Kyo held the hands in his tighter, watching his face contort in a painful expression.

- I-- I can’t-- - he whispered, his voice breaking and Dragon moved forward to embrace him again, Ruki responded weakly

- Let’s just breathe then - Kyo answered, his chin resting on The Princess shoulder - just follow my lead - he continued while he exaggerated his own breathing, taking air and letting it out very slowly, his chest pushing against Ruki’s, feeling how the blond started mimicking him, their chests rising and falling together

The Princess hid his face on the crook of Kyo’s neck, breathing against it while the tears slowly stopped rolling down his face, he took a hand to wipe away the rest. Dragon waited a couple of breaths more before letting go of the embrace, taking his hands to Ruki’s cheeks. They locked eyes for a long minute, breathing evenly, Kyo pulled from The Princess face towards him and pressed his lips against pouty ones. Ruki received him warmly, taking his hands to Kyo’s neck and caressing his nape. When they became aware of their surroundings again, the horses were calmly sniffing the hay in their stalls and Doll was just outside the door, looking at the track.

- Can I ask you something? - Kyo started, moving closer to the horses, watching Ruki inadvertently do the same - how did you get so many loyal men on your side?

The Princess looked sincerely taken aback by the question, his stomach had shrunk at the first line and waited for the worst, he felt the air escape him with relief.

- I just… - he shrugged while Dragon carefully took his hand again, pulling from it - I just kinda stumbled upon them… they all wanted a change and I-- - Kyo nodded in understanding while he placed Ruki’s hand carefully on the beast’s pelt, the horse shifted uncomfortably and The Princess fingers tensed

- Go on… - pressed Kyo, his hand now resting next to Ruki’s on the horse’s chest

- I don’t know... - answered the blond trying not to sound nervous - they all needed a new life and I was able to provide that…

- Mmm - conceded Dragon thoughtfully - I think that’s not it, I think they saw something in you, they found something in you they wanted to follow… - he ignored Ruki’s raised eyebrow - something you clearly don’t feel but they do-- much like the horses - he smiled and The Princess scoffed

- What is this cheap wisdom all of a sudden? - he complained with a little smile, moving his hand towards the black soft mane

- It made you smile, so it was worth it - shrugged Kyo and Ruki shoved him with his free hand, the horse shifting position and making the fluffy blond flinch - relax, Penyu already likes you...

The Princess smiled and touched the horse’s mane more confidently, focusing his eyes on the shiny black hair.

- Kiyoharu terrifies me… - he started absentmindedly, Dragon made a big effort to relate that name to a face, sighing at the obvious answer - he always has…

- Honestly, it never looked like it - Kyo confessed

- I guess I got used to him, and he left me alone once I started making money so… - he moved his hand carefully to Penyu’s chest, stroking it gently

- I have so many questions… - started Dragon

- I figured-- - sighed The Princess with a painful expression

- Don’t worry, I can live with the mystery...

A soft and tired laugh left the plush lips as Ruki finally stopped caressing the horse and moved to a side, watching the outside track longingly. Kyo followed him with his sight for a while, before actually starting to work with the horses, preparing to move them from the stalls to the transportation waiting outside. Kyo hadn’t seen Doll approaching and got startled when he appeared just beside him.

- I understand why Ghost always keeps you in mind - Dragon laughed and he could see the faintest show of a smile forming in response

- May I help? - he said simply, the always surprising deep voice in contrast with very feminine features

Dragon guided Doll to the other stalls, giving him instructions of what to do. The horses around them started making anxious noises, but Kyo and Doll kept their calm demeanor, handling them with care. When the two colts were finally secured and their reins on Doll’s big firm hand, Kyo turned around the his oldest horse, giving him a little pat on the neck before securing his reins and taking him out of the stall. The Princess kept quiet while appreciating all the handle and care that Dragon placed on his beasts, replicated easily by Doll’s impassible behaviour. He felt a knot forming densely on his throat, his stomach clenching, he couldn’t afford to be weak now, there was just too much at risk. Ruki got suddenly distracted by a leather string hanging in front of his eyes, it took longer than expected to realize what was being offered.

- You have to be kidding me - mumbled Ruki as he recognized the reins in Kyo’s hand

Dragon smiled sweetly and denied with his head.

- I told you, Penyu likes you - he grabbed The Princess’ hand carefully and placed the reins on his palm - and I trust you - he added meaningfully, staring right into Ruki’s eyes

Once again, the greenish gray eyes didn’t avert his, Ruki smiled tiredly, feeling defeated and finally gripping the reins firmly.

- Just take him outside and wait for us - Kyo instructed, going back to grab hold of one of the colts before nodding at The Princess

Ruki started walking outside very slowly, hearing the hooves following him calmly, Penyu’s mouth dangerously near his shoulder, but the horse was looking in front of him and Ruki did the same. At the back of the building a large truck was waiting with its side doors and back door opened, The Princess took a long time admiring it, his eyes going unconsciously back to the horse now standing beside him, a blanket strapped on its body, the soft padding around its legs and around the reins on its muzzle.

- I’m sorry Penyu - he whispered softly and the horse actually turned to look at him, but got distracted by a tall lean man coming towards them

Kansas looked surprised to see who was besides the horse and smiled warmly at The Princess.

- Hey - he nodded, body always relaxed and almost leaning back - good to see you-- alone? - he let out, looking around them

- It’s just Doll, but he’s at the stable with Kyo… - Ruki found himself answering casually, and Kansas must have noticed something too because he was now staring at him

Had he always been this comfortable around Mr. Sea’s men? The Princess couldn’t remember a time when the mention of Mr. Spring’s rival brought negative feelings on him. Sea hadn’t done anything to him directly, even when they were hand in hand for the same territories, it always seemed like he had let The Princess just take it for himself. Ruki felt he had been smoothly played towards this outcome all these years.

- You know… - Kansas felt the urgent need to fill the tense silence, he could see The Princess was in a very unstable spot at the time, and anything that could tip the balance on Mr.Sea’s favor was welcomed - I never intended to join… these line of work - he rambled, seeing the horse hooves starting to shift in place, Ruki’s greenish gray eyes now on them - I was afraid I’ll get killed-- I’m not saying I was a saint either but-- aahh - he scratched his head furiously, getting the blond’s attention

- Are you trying to make a speech now? - he asked carefully, a smirk flourishing on his face - because you suck at it.

Kansas snorted, laughing sincerely while he signaled the staff people still on the truck to get closer.

- I guess I do - he admitted, watching as Ruki looked a little reluctant of letting go of Penyu’s reins, the staff waiting patiently for him, guiding the big beast to the truck once the exchange was done - Someone was supposed to make you feel less guilty about taking away Kyo’s horses-- - Ruki stared at him intensely, his eyes glossy while he struggled to keep them from watering - The truth is you’re killing him right now, it’s not like he could just say no to Sea but-- Maybe if he did, Sea would have agreed to a second plan-- But this way is faster Princess, and Sea is done waiting. - he stated seriously, they measured each other for a long silent minute - Sea wants you since he met you, I don’t know what he saw in you-- but he was right.

- I feel like I’m just exchanging masters... - recognized The Princess, his voice low as new pairs of hooves could be heard behind them, Doll and Kyo making their way to the truck with the two colts

- You can always say no to Sea... - shrugged Kansas - though I wouldn’t want to be the one to tell Spring he can’t have the horses…

- You’re bad at threats, did you know that? - complained Ruki as Kyo finally reached them, missing what had been said as he handed over the reins of the horses to the staff and placed a careful hand on The Princess shoulder

Ruki smiled sweetly at him, the edges of his mouth still pulling down from the guilt that was smothering him, but Dragon pretended not to notice, leaning closer and stealing a kiss from his plump lips. Kansas acted shocked to his core while he covered his eyes.

- Guys please, not in front of the horses - he begged theatrically and Kyo rolled his eyes at him

- I think we’re all set - Dragon said without actually addressing anybody - I’ll-- - he trailed off and looked at Ruki’s eyes

- I’ll see you later, okay? - whispered The Princess and their lips met for a moment before Kyo nodded his goodbye

Kansas stretched a doubtful hand towards the green velvety shoulder and gave Ruki a little pat. The Princess smiled softly and was glad the two men turned away towards the truck, because he wasn’t able to hold back the tears anymore. He heard Doll’s calm steps behind him and got a little startled when the long fingers rested on both of his shoulders, massaging them lightly.

- Can we go home? - he whispered and Doll squeezed his shoulders in answer

- Kai is coming to pick us up--

- You know what I mean - he cut him, voice still cracked

- ...Morrie is at the house - he answered after a short silence, Ruki felt the strength he thought he’d gathered slowly dripping away from his body

 

Chapter Text

The Princess still had time before the promised dinner at Mr.Sea’s state, so returning to his own house seemed the safest option. Kai didn’t look as tense as he would have expected when he picked them up, confirming that Mr.Spring’s bodyguard was indeed in their house and showed no intention of leaving. Ruki took the drive back to collect himself, Morrie was honestly the best option between all of Mr.Spring’s men. The Princess and him went way back, Morrie being the first one to truly accept him, Ruki felt a little warmth on his face remembering how they used to spend their idle time. He decided to blame it on the still lingering fever. When they arrived, Scar was waiting at the door, sitting on the steps toying with his gun. He put it away the moment The Princess was in front of him, standing immediately, Ruki didn’t avoid meeting his eyes this time and Scar returned the intention but couldn’t control his temper for long.

- Hollyhock kicked me out - he complained and Ruki sighed

- Then stop antagonizing Morrie - he answered simply and entered the house with Doll and Kai behind him, Scar taking longer to get in the hallway

As expected, Morrie was sitting at the living room near the entrance, he put out the cigarette in his hand as soon as he saw The Princess walk in, the acrid smell lingered for a while despite the windows that were kept open.

- I’m here to see you don’t return without the horses - he said matter-of-factly but his voice had an almost mocking tone to it

- Were you ordered? - Ruki asked tiredly

- Actually, I offered - smiled Morrie and signaled to the couch - you look tired…

- You’re inviting me to sit down at my own house  - noted the fluffy blond but followed the invitation nonetheless

They sat together and The Princess felt there was a need for privacy implicit in the gesture, so he asked everyone away, Scar showing reluctance as usual but obeying the second time asked.

- Stubborn that one - commented Morrie as he relaxed on the double couch next to Ruki, a scotch bottle laid open on the coffee table and two glasses were near it, one had been previously used already

- Is that my Blue Label? - complained Ruki and the black-haired man laughed, pouring the amber liquid in the two glasses

- You know damn well it is, you don’t drink it this strong anyway- I’m doing you a favor…

- I’m afraid of the cost of that favor... - whispered the blond as he accepted the glass, he hadn’t failed to notice that it was the only glass with ice in it, as he used to drink it

- It’s a freebie - explained Morrie and he stretched out his arm over the couch behind Ruki’s back - not every favor has to be repaid-- not between friends at least - he added while he took a sip

The Princess didn’t answer, he felt suddenly overwhelmed and expectedly warm as the liquor made its way down his throat.

- So… you’re paying off your debt then - Morrie said calmly but Ruki still tensed up beside him

- That was the deal - he said unconvincingly

- Because Spring is all about honouring deals… - the dark-haired man smiled bitterly, his strong features contorting with some disgust, he took another sip - I hope you know what you’re doing-- I mean I know you do, I just hope you know what will come after…

Ruki felt the cold sweat trickling down his back, his mind racing, starting to wonder if he had been too naive to call off his bodyguards and be left alone with a man that was known for not needing weapons to get his job done. Morrie seemed to feel the change in the atmosphere because he leaned back even more on the couch, putting his feet on the coffee table.

- Spring underestimates you - he began again - so he won’t send big threats after you-- Basically, he won’t send me or Garnet-- I think he suspects I wouldn’t be useful for that particular job… - he shrugged and finished his drink

- So Pierrot… - whispered Ruki, the sudden realization hitting him, he had actually allowed himself to feel hopeful, now he just felt stupid and childish

- I’m sorry Ruki but he still doesn’t consider you a threat - Morrie said with a compassive smile, in their line of business, not using your best assassin against someone was meant to be insulting

The Princess meant so little to Spring that he was sure a kid could get the job done. Ruki felt a rush of warmth, an almost smothering hotness came over him, with his glass empty he couldn’t blame it on alcohol anymore.

- Then I guess I’ll have to step up my game - he let out, a tiny angry smirk forming in his plump lips

Morrie laughed heartily, letting his stretched out arm fall on Ruki’s shoulders, pulling him closer, feeling the blond tense up almost immediately, but he didn’t let go.

- Fuck, I’m gonna miss you - he said, getting his face near The Princess’ ear before planting a kiss on his cheek - I miss you already - he added in a whisper, letting go of the blond - I guess I should start pretending I’ll be here the whole night-- when I’ll actually take off to my flat, a night here predicts several kinds of torture for me...

Ruki had petrified as soon as Morrie got his face close, he felt guilty and ashamed of his reaction, but the black-haired man gave no sign of noticing or even caring. He stood up and stretched out his body, the blond looked at him intensely, something wasn’t adding up and the anxiety was nibbling at his mind, Morrie was acting as if the deal was already done, as if he was aware of the whole plan.

- Say hi to Scarecrow for me - he smiled mischievously as he stood up

- Morrie you-- - started Ruki in a whisper

- I’m taking this - answered the black haired man, grabbing the scotch bottle by the neck - as payment for my silence - he winked at the fluffy blond and didn’t wait for an answer before leaving the house

 

Hollyhock was the first one to return to the living room as soon as he heard the door shutting, he took his eyes to The Princess for a moment before realizing there wasn’t a bottle on the table anymore, his face twisting in disgust.

- That fucker took the whole bottle-- I was saving that, got the certificate in a frame and everything... - he let out, letting an angry sigh as he searched for a new bottle in the cabinet against the wall - so... what are we gonna do now? - he asked cautiously while he retrieved another bottle of scotch, decorated with a green label, looking at it with a frustrated expression

- I’ll get you another Blue Label... - answered Ruki absentmindedly, his fingers working up his lower lip nervously, his mind just couldn’t stay still and the ticking of the clock on the wall seemed to pierce his ears

- That’s not what I-- - Hollyhock turned around, finally noticing The Princess wasn’t quite there again, he swallowed with some difficulty, taking the bottle to the table and pouring himself a glass without sitting down, making a noisy satisfactory sound after he gulped the liquor down

He felt uncomfortable with the tension that was starting to build up around them, he couldn’t handle Ruki when he wasn’t being his usual sassy self, when he was lost in thought so deeply. Hollyhock had been lucky enough to miss this part of The Princess most of the time, it was usually Scar the most sensitive to Ruki’s insecurities and the one that probably had seen the most of him. With time, The Princess had made himself emotionally unavailable and now most of their bonds had become implicit, nothing was expressed anymore. Hollyhock was comfortable with that, he couldn’t process emotions well, let alone share them. But what had been done to Ruki had destroyed those walls and everything was gushing out from him, the circumstances too overwhelming to handle. Hollyhock let out a huge sigh and sat down on the couch next to him.

- What’s next? - he asked more directly, looking sternly at the blond that didn’t look back at him, staring at the bottle now on the table

Hollyhock waited a long minute for an answer, decided to pour himself another glass instead, he poured one for The Princess, but he showed no intention of taking it.

- I… I’ll have dinner with Mr.Sea - he finally answered, his voice sounding tired - Tomorrow I’ll give the horses to Spring and he’ll sign off my debt… - he sounded more and more insecure with each word

- I see… - said Hollyhock simply, taking a sip from his glass - So we’ll be part of Mr.Sea’s family by the end of the day...

The brunet said it calmly, but The Princess looked at him upset, biting his lower lip while he looked to a side.

- I mean… I’ll be part of his family - he started quietly, almost a whisper and Hollyhock had to make an effort to hear him properly - you… all of you… get to choose...

Hollyhock could almost hear the click in his head, that was what had been nibbling inside The Princess’ head. Not only the humiliation of the previous night, the pain and fear, the guilt of taking away Dragon’s horses, the anxiousness of antagonizing Spring directly, over everything that was boiling inside the fluffy blond head, there was still a spot reserved for them. The Princess’ men, the five people that decided to devote themselves to him, that would follow him to hell itself if necessary.

- What’s there to choose? - asked Hollyhock trying not to sound too insulting - You think I’m with you because of Spring?

- That’s not what I meant - he whispered softly - It will be a new start--- I just-- I want it to be a new start for all of you too…

- So you think once the deal is done I’m just gonna go buy myself a house by the lake and let you die at Spring’s first try? - his voice rising

- I-- - Ruki looked at him desperately - When my debt is cancelled, all your debts will be too, you don’t have to--

- You think I’m doing this because I HAVE to? - he stood up and his temper was lost, he blamed the alcohol loosing him up, or maybe it was The Princess’ doe eyes following the nervous rolling of his shoulders

Hollyhock could almost taste the insult at the top of his tongue when the image of Kai at the door silenced him, he wasn’t in the mood to get into a fistfight with him and he was damn sure that was what was going to happen if he insulted Ruki. He let out a frustrated sound while he ran his hands through his black hair.

- Ruki - he grunted, exasperated - you payed off my debt, remember? on the first two years-- you fucking payed it and did I leave?

- You-- you didn’t - whispered the blond while he shifted anxiously on the couch - but--

- Shut it - mumbled Aoi and pointed at Kai - did Kai owed you money?

- N-no - answered Ruki confused - I--

- Didn’t you buy a flat for Doll? - he added and he found himself surrounded, accusing and confused eyes all around him

- I-- I did - tried Ruki, he looked at his side as Doll was approaching them

- And did he move there?--

- Aoi… calm down - started Doll, putting a hand on Ruki’s shoulder and stretching the other one towards Hollyhock

- I know-- I fucking know - he let his head fall backwards and took a deep breath before exhaling with a sigh - I just can’t stand that you still think I-- we would just pack our things and go-- after all you’ve done for us--

- I haven’t--

- Please just shut up Ruki, I beg of you - let out Hollyhock, finally a whisper and sat down on the couch again, watching as Doll kept his hand on the blond’s shoulder

A tense silence filled the room, Hollyhock breathing noisily, Ruki keeping his head low, the atmosphere was smothering and uncomfortable, but nobody moved.

- I won’t go anywhere - finally Scar broke the silence, everyone’s eyes on him, standing behind the couch, looking directly at The Princess - Spring or Sea mean nothing to me-- I only follow you

- It’s the same for me - said Raven with a shy voice, sitting by the window - I like working for you

- If you think after all these years we’ll just go “good luck” and fucking leave you I-- - Hollyhock let out a frustrated noise while he took his hands to his face - you’re making me talk about it and I hate it---

Ruki smiled at that last line, taking his hand to Hollyhock’s shoulder and squeezing it.

- I’m sorry you had to talk about your feelings - he started softly - it must have been really hard you poor thing…

Hollyhock slapped the hand away from his shoulder.

- Shut it - he mumbled

The Princess finally stood up, they all looked at him eagerly, making him feel self-conscious while he pulled from the sleeves of his jacket.

- T-thank you - he whispered - I-I’ll try my best to repay your trust

He nodded nervously, bowing a little bit as he exited the living room, Scar following him right after. Doll took the seat abandoned by The Princess and drank from the untouched glass, Raven left them quietly and Kai went to take the seat next to the window. A huge sigh escaped from Hollyhock’s lips.

- Spring will kill him - he whispered and took a hand to his forehead

- He will try, yes - confirmed Kai sternly

- But it’s not only us now - said Doll

 

Inside the room upstairs, Scar kept his silence as Ruki rummaged through the hangers on his walk-in dressing room. The blond was sitting on the bed, picking out lint from the duvet as he watched the shorter male going around the entire room, a nervous mess while he opened and closed drawer after drawer.

- Who are you taking with you to the dinner? - Scar finally asked, focusing his attention on the duvet as if it was the most important thing in the whole room

- Nobody - answered The Princess flatly - I have no reasons to take a bodyguard there…

- Then what about moral support? - joked the taller blond but there was no humor in his voice

- Kyo will be there - Ruki answered uninterested but stopped what he was doing anyway, staring at Scar from the dressing room’s door

- I want to go - confessed Scar, this time looking at him directly, a sculptured brow raised on The Princess’ face

- Are you gonna make a scene? - he asked coldly, but a hint of a smile was pulling from the corner of his mouth, or at least Scar wanted to believe it was there

- No - sighed - I told you, I don’t care who you work for I w--

- That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it - Ruki cut him sharply, but dropped his shoulders with a sigh, taking a hand to his temple and massaging it - I’m exhausted, can’t it wait?

- What? -

- All… this - Ruki gestured towards Scar’s direction - whatever you have going on in your mind, can’t it wait? why now? you already knew I was into Dragon since we met him--

- This… this is different - he mumbled and avoided his gaze again

- How so? - asked The Princess returning to his task of finding something to wear

- This time there’s--- there’s only him - he kept lowering his voice and Ruki had to stop once again to be able to hear it

The Princess grabbed a simple black velvet suit and walked over to Scar, sitting by his side with a sigh.

- Yeah - he admitted - That’s kinda the point…

- So… - Scar stared intensely at his hands joined on his lap - you love him...

That wasn’t actually addressed as a question and both of them felt the weight of their emotions thickening the air.

- I guess I do - complied Ruki, closing his eyes with a little smile

- I see - answered Scar, his voice a strained whisper

- Don’t “I see” me - scolded The Princess and turned to look at him - say what you truly feel

- I hate him - blurted out the taller male and instantly winced - ...no I don’t

The Princess sighed, looking at Scar’s hands still clasped with one another, he placed a warm hand on them and squeezed lightly.

- I’m sorry I couldn’t give you what you wanted... - whispered Ruki and pressed his forehead on the other one’s shoulder

- It was unfair from me to ask you to begin with - answered, but his eyes were still focused on his hands, now with The Princess’s smaller one on them

- I’m sorry I didn’t stop you even knowing what you felt for me... - continued Ruki, his forehead pressing more onto the shoulder, hiding his face from sight

- Don't apologize, I didn’t stop it either - laughed Scar and pressed his cheek against the fluffy blond head - I’m not as hurt as you think I am, whatever makes you happy--- makes me happy too…

- Liar - mumbled The Princess and Scar pushed him off his shoulder

They finally looked at each other for a long silent minute.

- Can I give Dragon a “if you hurt him I’ll kill you” speech? - he asked with a sweet smile and Ruki pouted at him

- Don’t you dare

- Can I kiss you? - he asked again and The Princess bit his lower lip, averting his eyes

- Okay - he mumbled

Scar took his hands to each side of The Princess face and pulled him closer, their lips met shyly, both of them closing their eyes at the touch. It was a simple and sweet kiss, much like everything Ruki loved about Scar. A too sensitive good guy caught up in a lot of bullshit that wasn’t even his to begin with, with a face saved barely from being maimed by a yakuza. The Princess still felt his stomach churn when he remembered what the wound looked like at first. He took his hands to Scar’s chest almost by reflex, the taller blond hugged his waist and pulled him even closer, their lips now parting to let their tongues meet.

A knock at the door followed by someone clearing their throat pierced the atmosphere, making them pull apart almost instantly. Ruki looked confused, a blush painted his cheeks while Kai asserted the situation he had found them in.

- You can do that later, you should be getting ready - he said flatly and The Princess blushed even harder, he could see Scar was in the same condition

- Yes, sorry - agreed Ruki as he rushed to the bathroom, closing the door behind him

A thick and uncomfortable silence fell in the room with his absence, only the soft noises of rushing water could be heard as Kai still stared at Scar and Scar made a giant effort to avert his eyes.

- Reita - he finally called and the taller blond looked up with a sigh before turning towards him

- Yes Kai - he said pretending to be unaffected by the stern gaze with which the brunet was piercing him

- You better go now, he’s already a complete mess without you adding your dick into it--

Scar could feel the rush of anger wash out over him, quickly replaced by unexpected shame.

- Ah, I’m being selfish, aren’t I? - he whispered, staring back at his feet

- There wasn’t ever going to be a good time for you to talk about it... - conceded Kai with a sigh, but still pressed on with his stern look on Scar - But that’s all you’re allowed to do now

Scar nodded slowly and the brunet finally left the room, leaving the door open behind him as an implicit order that the taller blond took some more time to follow.

Chapter Text

The Princess finally got inside the car with a sigh, he searched inside his pocket, remembering very painfully that he still hadn’t replaced his cellphone. Kai checked on him through the rearview mirror but said nothing, they had agreed he would take him to Mr. Sea’s state and pick him up later in the night. Ruki kept his gaze on the window the whole journey, his fingers restlessly tapping on his legs, a recent dose of painkillers taking a bit too long to make its way through his system.Kai had decided to keep the silence during the journey, he could clearly see The Princess was exhausted and pushing another unwanted conversation on him wasn’t going to help anyone. When they arrived at the mansion Kai diligently opened the door for his boss and let him be welcomed by the strawberry blond that followed the right hand in command. Red nodded at him with a relaxed smile and hurried his hand to grab The Princess, shaking it firmly, unable to miss the small stumble the blond gave when getting off the car. Kai moved Ruki to a side quickly and bent over him, offering a small device on his hand, The Princess took it curiously.

- What is this antique? - he asked with a smirk, recognizing the beeper that was being offered

- Hollyhock will get you a new cellphone now, in the meantime use that to call me - Kai explained seriously and Ruki nodded, the smirk still on his face

- I can’t believe you still have these - he whispered and Kai rolled his eyes

- It’s useful-- and you better use it.

The Princess shook a hand dismissively at his face before making his way towards Red who guided him to the doorway, nodding his goodbye before closing the door behind them. Ruki allowed his coat to be taken by a young girl waiting for them on the entry hall, incredibly distracted by the luxurious place around him. White marble was resting under his red high heeled boots, white wood all around him and dark accents. He could very easily recognize the traditional paintings Mr.Sea had bought at all the auctions they had seen each other in. Red allowed him that little moment of perplexed contemplation, a calm smile on his face.

- You’ve never been here before - he confirmed and the blond nodded slowly - Spring has come a couple times, Sea insisted he brought you at least once--

- And disgrace himself with my presence? - smiled The Princess bitterly and Red scoffed a tiny laugh

- I think we all know who would disgrace who - he whispered, placing a careful hand on Ruki’s back and pushing him further inside

- Do you all live here? - he asked absentmindedly while his greenish gray eyes kept looking around him, taking in the two set of stairs that met on a second floor, Red was taking him to the double door just underneath them

- We could, but I honestly prefer my own house  - shrugged the strawberry blonde, revealing a living room with wooden walls and earthy-colored furniture

Ruki’s breath halted, he was used to money, he used money, but Mr.Sea’s house seemed to ooze it without even making an effort. He felt overwhelmed and dizzy with something more than analgesics.

On the biggest couch of the place, Scarecrow got up immediately when he saw him, moving towards them, allowing The Princess to meet him in the middle, shaking his hand carefully. Looking at the bodyguard’s dark eyes, Ruki suddenly remembered Morrie’s words back at his own house, but he already felt too exposed without even mentioning the possible relationship between the two men. He bit his lip and Scarecrow seemed to squint at that, focusing on his face for a moment, Red breaking the silence almost un purpose.

- The Princess has never been here, we should show him around - he blurted out

- We ? - answered Scarecrow with a risen eyebrow - You take him to the library, Sea will meet him there

- I tell you what, you take him to the library and I tell Mr.Sea that Princess is already here

Ruki raised both his hands towards them, a faint blush disrupting his pale features.

- I’ll take him - said a calm voice next to them, making both Red and The Princess startle, Scarecrow looked unimpressed

The short black cladded figure of Ghost was between them, and none of them had ever heard him approaching. Ruki didn’t dare to look at him, memories of the shameful morning still painfully present. Ghost noticed the change on The Princess’ posture, so he straightened his back and turned towards him.

- Dragon is in the library, I thought you might want to see him - he suggested softly and The Princess nodded politely, but averted his gaze

- Yes, thank you - he mumbled and followed Ghost towards a side door at the middle of the living room wall

 

The library was just as immense and warm as the rest of the house, the wooden tones were also present in the room, leaving behind the entry hall’s coldness. Wooden shelves on a carpeted floor, armchairs and divan couches against the free walls. Ruki looked around him and found Dragon’s small frame resting on one of the divans, the door made a small noise behind him when Ghost abandoned the room. The Princess moved slowly, trying to assert if the black-haired man was asleep before making any noise. By the time he reached him, Kyo was somehow awake, drowsily looking at Ruki before regaining full conscience.

- Ruki - he whispered, his voice a little coarse while he got up from the couch

The blond couldn’t even answer before Dragon’s hands were quickly on him, taking him by the nape and waist, pressing him against his chest. The Princess returned the gesture, slowly dragging his hands up Kyo’s back and resting his chin on the black-haired’s shoulder.

- Hi - he finally whispered back, feeling relaxed and warm in Dragon’s strong arms

Kyo let go of him carefully and pulled from The Princess’ arm to get him to seat beside him on the divan, holding both his hands in his. Ruki’s eyes were fixed on the contact of their hands, but he could feel Dragon’s intense gaze on him.

- Are you worried? - he asked softly and The Princess sighed

- Very - was the plain answer and Kyo squeezed the hands between his tightly

- Well, you’re not alone in this - Dragon took his dark eyes to the contact of their hands as well, drawing circles with his thumb on Ruki’s porcelain skin - I know it must be really scary to go against the one that made you but--

- He didn’t make me - whispered the blond and Kyo smiled

- Yeah, you made yourself. Sorry, wrong word I guess--

- He just threatened me into submission like he does with everyone else… - continued The Princess, looking around them, focusing his interest on the books inside the shelves - I just found a chance to do something else and took it, as long as I was paying him he didn’t care--

- Not even when you bought the first parlour? - wondered Kyo, his eyes now looking at Ruki’s tired features, he didn’t miss the tiny smile that pulled from his lips with the answer

- Yeah, well, he was paying attention by then, that’s when he started taking me with him… I guess he wanted everyone to see who that money was going to--

- Did you meet Mr. Sea then? - asked Dragon cautiously, he could tell Ruki was extremely tired as he relaxed his back on the couch and closed his eyes

- No, I already knew him by then, from the tables - he leaned closer to Kyo and rested his blond head on the strong shoulder - I used to make money from them at first-- then I rented one and Mr. Sea came by often…

- To your table?

- Yeah - Ruki nodded - he came with Scarecrow as well, he didn’t seem to mind that the money was going to Spring-- ah

Kyo stared at him curious, he had never been part of the gambling parlours and tables that Mr.Sea’s family administered, he had ever only had his horses and Mr.Sea kept it that way. Dragon had been almost a secret from everyone else for the first months, meeting only Scarecrow at first and accepting Kansas’ protection only as a formality. All that was part of The Princess’ world was a mystery to him, and the way he also somehow managed to keep himself out of the nastiest part of the family business still surprised him. Ruki was still quiet after the little exclamation, his greenish gray eyes now fixed on books far from them against the wall. Kyo pushed him with his shoulder gently to get his attention.

- What happened?

- If he wanted me so badly, why didn’t he just ask me to work for him back then? - Ruki whispered with a bitter smile

- It was safer to invest with money that wasn’t mine - answered a calm voice coming from the door and The Princess stood up instantly, blushed and embarrassed while he tried not to avoid Mr.Sea’s eyes

Kyo stood up as well, feeling a little uncomfortable with the turn of events, Mr. Sea nodded at him and extended a firm hand towards Ruki that shook it cautiously.

- I’m glad you came, Ruki - he stated warmly, but a silence formed between them anyway, Mr.Sea didn’t pretend he wasn’t aware of the previous conversation - I don’t want you to think I pushed you into this decision, Spring made it very difficult for all of us to come with an alternative--

- Why didn’t you do something sooner? - asked The Princess abruptly and instantly bit his lip in regret

- Why didn’t you? - retorted Mr.Sea, but sighed with a calm expression - I’m sorry things turned out this way for you Ruki, I won’t pretend I didn’t defend my interests first, making sure you were worth it-- just like you won’t pretend you just “got lucky” with the opportunities that came your way...

The Princess kept silent, the tension building up between them. Mr.Sea took a careful hand towards the short man’s shoulder and squeezed gently.

- Can’t we agree that everything that led to this moment was a mutual understanding of each other?

- That’s over simplifying it - complained Ruki but he smiled anyway and Mr.Sea returned it

- I’m looking forward to working with that brutal honesty of yours - laughed Mr.Sea and the tension between them popped like a bubble, the taller man’s hand still gently on Ruki’s shoulder - Let’s discuss it over dinner, shall we?

The Princess nodded and Mr.Sea moved his hand carefully to the blond’s back, guiding him out of the room with Kyo following them closely.

 

The dinner felt surreal, Dragon was used to simple dinners alone at his apartment, accepting Mr.Sea’s invitation maybe once or twice each month. Now all that surrounded him at the table was a new experience, both Scarecrow and Red were present and even Kansas had taken the chance for a fancy meal. Next to him, Ruki was toying with his food while he listened to Seraph’s soft voice at his right. Mr.Sea was seated at the head of the table, watching carefully every little movement or word that came from The Princess. Kyo took a moment to inspect Ruki’s expression, he looked more and more off with each sip of his glass, his gaze unable to focus on anything. But he still nodded and he still replied, so Seraph didn’t exactly notice the increasing change. Dragon felt uncomfortable, unable to voice his worry, he felt watched by every end of the table and he was sure Ruki felt the same. Luckily the unnerving experience didn’t last much longer, once they were done, Mr. Sea got up the table and invited The Princess and Seraph to his study, the rest leaving soon after. Kyo made his way to Mr.Sea’s study as well, and waited leaning against the wall, the door closed and uninviting.

Inside, Seraph was showing Ruki the documents, one by one explaining them in detail, Mr.Sea watching them from the other side of his desk. The Princess’ eyes couldn’t focus on a single word, his head dizzy and his words slurred, he was begging internally for the sweet release of sleep. The pills were making a disastrous effect with the alcohol that was now running through his veins, he was feeling himself steadily lose consciousness.

- Seraph - called Mr.Sea’s calm but determined voice, and both sets of eyes were now placed on him - I think it’s enough for now, I trust Ruki has heard plenty and I wouldn’t want to burden him further

The Princess thought this was one of those moments were you had to be polite and deny the truth of what was being said in favor of someone else’s sensibility. But all that came from him was a slow nod, thoughts tangled and incomplete inside his head.

- Then we’ll let him handle the rest and we’ll meet tomorrow night for the final details - concluded Mr.Sea - Goodnight Seraph and thank you

“Yes, thank you” was the sincere answer that formed in Ruki’s head, but his lips weren’t moving, the walls were spinning.

The lanky blond smiled and nodded, leaving the room without saying anything else. Mr.Sea didn’t speak right away, staring at The Princess with a concerned expression. He waited until Ruki gained focus, but he just managed to look at him, confused and adrift, the older man decided to stand up and walk to the other side of the desk.

- Maybe alcohol wasn’t a good idea tonight, hm? - he said calmly, collecting all the papers on his desk and sliding them inside a folder - You better go home now, I will see you tomorrow, all right?

Mr.Sea squatted in front of Ruki, leaving their faces at the same height, he looked seriously at the greenish gray eyes and how they kept unfocusing. He took a hand to The Princess’ shoulder and shook it lightly.

- Ruki, can you hear me? - he spoke more softly, watching the effort the other had to do in order to look at him and nod very slowly - You had a pill too many today I bet - he added and the blond winced softly - We will send the horses directly to Spring, you have to be there and make him sign. - he placed his other hand on Ruki’s shoulder - You have to let me know as soon as he signs that document because at that moment you’ll be declaring war against him---

- I know all that - slurred The Princess and tried to shake the dizziness away - I know all that---

Mr. Sea sighed and handed him the folder, Ruki gripped it with both hands as if the papers would stabilize his whole body. The taller man stood up and took The Princess by the elbow, pulling from him to help him stand up.

- Remember I’ll see you tomorrow - he said calmly and the blond nodded

- Yes-- thank you - he whispered and started walking slowly towards the door

Ruki managed to go through it and close it with stable steps, the world still spinning and the papers slipping from his fingers, but a steady hand grabbed them midway, another hand going to his arm and steading him.

- Ruki - he heard sweetly at his side and his head seemed to go in slow motion towards the sound

Kyo’s dark eyes were staring at him, notoriously concerned while his firm hands kept The Princess on his feet.

- Kyo… - he managed to whisper, the free hand rummaging in his pocket, trying to take the bipper that promptly fell from his trembling fingers

- Forget about that- I’ll take you home - said Dragon calmly as both of them stared at the old-fashioned device now laying on the carpet

Ruki just nodded slowly as Kyo’s strong arms did the rest of the work, supporting him and taking him outside the mansion. Kansas was sitting at the sidewalk, looking boredly at his phone, standing up immediately when he heard the door.

- Heading home already? - he asked before turning around and taking in the image in front of him, how The Princess seemed to cling to Kyo for dear life, Kansas bit a playful smile - other plans then?

- Don’t be an idiot - complained Dragon walking to the car - we need to take him home

- Oh, so you DO have other plans - laughed the taller man while he got the door opened for him and watched him push an almost asleep Ruki inside - are you sure he’s up for it?

- Toshiya would you shut your mouth - sighed Kyo frustrated, making sure The Princess was sitting properly before getting inside next to him - We are taking him to HIS house

- Alright, alright - smiled Kansas while he closed the door after them, getting in the driver’s seat - I hope you know what you’re doing, last time we got close to that house our tires got stabbed--

- It won’t be like that this time because you will leave - explained Dragon, watching as Ruki finally lost consciousness and dropped his head forward, Kyo surrounded his waist carefully and pulled him closer, allowing the fluffy blond’s head to lean on his shoulder

Kansas was staring at them through the rearview mirror, his fingers drumming on the steering wheel while he hurried the drive to The Princess’ home. Kyo kept quiet the rest of the way, resting his cheek on the top of Ruki’s sleeping head, trying to swallow all the uncertainties that were choking him since he started to notice how the blond was slowly drifting away. Everything that had happened since that last text message and the time they saw each other again, what had never been spoken but was clearly present, forming an invisible wall between them. Dragon sighed and took his gaze at the window, The Princess’ home was on sight and it looked like every room was lit.

- Are you sure you wanna stay?  - asked Kansas carefully, there was no longer humor in his voice

- I’d rather not leave him alone tonight - answered Kyo in a whisper

- You do realize he lives with four other men right? - this time he snickered his question and Dragon smiled back

- I do - he waited for Kansas to stop the car in front of the house before turning to Ruki and trying to wake him up, being mildly successful as a pair of hazy greenish gray eyes looked at him - Hi - Kyo whispered - we’re here

The Princess nodded confused but still got off the car after Kyo, looking at his home longingly, a tiny sigh escaping his plush lips.

- I’ll see you tomorrow then? - Dragon said sweetly but got startled by Ruki suddenly grabbing his wrist

- Stay - he whispered hoarsely - please...

Kyo nodded with a smile, he turned around to see Kansas saluting him and driving away, leaving the two of them just a second of privacy before the front door opened violently. Kai didn’t even doubt before stomping towards them, ignoring Kyo as he stared furiously at The Princess.

- What did I tell you? - he grunted through his teeth and Dragon noticed his hands were clenched in fists, any other boss wouldn’t just take that aggressive behaviour from an underling, but Ruki was not any other boss, so he just dropped his head

- I’m sorry - he whispered, his voice still slurred from the drowsiness, Kai answered with a strong exhale through his nose

- He was never at risk Kai, you know that - Kyo ventured and he could almost feel physical pain from the way the tall brunette stared at him, but The Princess stumbling on his place distracted him, he took a hand to his arm by reflex, steading him

- Let’s go inside - out of the bodyguard’s lips it sounded like an order, but the way he was carefully helping Ruki get inside the house told another story

Dragon could sympathize with The Princess’ men’s worry over him, something had happened to Ruki even with all these people around him, they were powerless and too attached, it was natural to lash out. Kai didn’t stop at the empty living room and helped Kyo carry The Princess all the way up the stairs and to his room, taking a cellphone out of his pocket as soon as they were inside and handing it over to Ruki who didn’t waste time to drop his whole weight on the soft bed.

- Hollyhock got you a cellphone, so try to keep it with you - he said as the blond watched the device curiously before dropping it to his side - Get some sleep.

He looked sternly at both of them before leaving the room and closing the door behind him. Kyo sighed the pressure of that gaze off him and got closer to Ruki, grabbing his right calf and lifting it to take off his boot.

- Why do I feel scolded? - he laughed as he dropped the first high heeled boot carefully on the floor and moved to the next leg

- Because that’s what Kai does best - Ruki mumbled, a tiny smile on his lips as he helped Dragon, lazily moving his body to allow him to take off his jacket

He finished climbing his way up the bed while Kyo took off his own shoes and jacket, sitting on the edge of the soft surface, watching as the blond made his way under the covers.

- Aren’t you gonna take off your clothes? - he asked softly and was surprised to be met with a hurt expression in response, but it only lasted seconds before Ruki smiled lightly

- I’m fine, I’m too tired anyway, get inside - he stumbled over his words, his eyes half lidded already

Dragon didn’t argue, taking off his shirt before getting inside the covers, letting Ruki nestle his head on his chest, quickly falling asleep the next minute. Kyo had started to doze off when he heard the door open, a dim light coming from a side lamp made him lift his head off the pillow, facing his sleepy gaze with a startled one. Dragon felt his stomach drop as he sat up carefully, looking confused and ashamed as Scar closed the door behind him. They kept a mortal silence for a minute, the blond’s natural warm eyes looked hurt as he approached them.

- He-- he fell asleep - tried Kyo to explain himself, but Scar only looked a minute at Ruki’s sleeping face before turning around and getting inside a side door, returning with folded clothes in his hands

- Here, put this on - he said stiffly as he handed over a pair of pants towards him, Kyo accepted them confused and finally got out of bed  - that door is the bathroom - added the blond pointing towards a closed door to the left side of the bed

Before getting inside, Dragon could see how Scar unceremoniously uncovered the sleeping Ruki and moved his hands towards the buttons on his shirt. He closed the bathroom door behind him, taking a second to assimilate what was happening outside as well as to admire the wide room in front of him, a clawfoot bathtub to a side and immaculate white all around him. Kyo took off his denim pants and slide inside the black soft ones Scar had handed him, making his way out of the bathroom again. A part of him wished he had taken another minute to finish.

Scar was leaving Ruki’s velvet pants to a side when Kyo’s dark eyes got a hold of the view, they were mere seconds, glimpses of deep crimson, violet and blue shapes on Ruki’s porcelain skin, ankles scarred by a red line around them, thighs painfully painted with cold colors before the silk fabric of the pants took it all away. The blond bodyguard grabbed Ruki’s limp body and placed him again under the covers, taking the discarded clothes and turning around. This time the natural warmth of his eyes wasn’t there when he looked at Kyo. Words were lost between them as Scar tried not to lash out and Dragon tried to assimilate what had been seen. The blond bodyguard took the clothes inside the dressing room and left the room without saying anything else, leaving Kyo dumbstruck, standing in the middle of the room, watching as The Princess sighed in his dream.



Chapter Text

Dragon was certain that the amount of sleep he'd had that night didn't even get to a total of two hours. The sun was probably out already, judging by the light that was leaking under the bathroom door, and Kyo realized that there were no windows in Ruki’s room, no light could ever get in directly. He looked at the blond waves spilled on his chest, his own breathing movements lifting and dropping the sleeping head slowly. The Princess didn't wake up after he fell asleep and Kyo was sure he wouldn’t wake up for another hour or two, unless someone had the audacity to break his peaceful slumber. Dragon reached out to the bedside table, trying to get a hold of his cellphone without moving too much, his fingers were about to graze the device when the door opened quietly and slowly. Now he was sure it was morning already when a ray of sunlight hit straight on his face for a second, before everything went quickly dark again.

- Sorry about that - he heard a deep hushed voice and recognized the tall figure inside the room, Kyo watched him through almost closed eyes, noticing the tray on Doll’s hands and sighing

- Do all of you always barge in Ruki’s room like that? - he asked with a hoarse voice due the lack of use and drowsiness

Doll smiled sweetly, leaving the tray on the desk before moving a chair near the bed.

- He doesn’t wake up in time otherwise… - he answered calmly as he handed Kyo his cellphone

- And do all of you undress him while he sleeps? - Dragon asked nonchalantly as he checked the time, it was insanely early and he felt they had gone to bed barely an hour before

Doll made an apologetic face while he finally placed the tray on the chair near Kyo, revealing a breakfast plenty enough for both of them. Dragon felt something warm inside of him, he had known The Princess’ men were extremely devoted to him, but that was a given, the fondness in all of them towards Ruki was what still surprised him.

- I’m afraid Scar does that - he said while Kyo sat down carefully, guiding Ruki’s sleeping form to the pillow next to him - Ruki never complained so he didn’t stop-- he didn’t know you were here, I’m sorry for that...

Dragon didn’t answer, remembering the previous night very vividly, the bruises reproduced inside his head every time he tried to get some sleep. Doll was watching him in silence, only Ruki’s soft breathing filled the room. Kyo finally took one of the cups, busying himself by taking it to his mouth, after he swallowed, Doll’s vacant eyes were still on him.

- You saw it, didn’t you? - he asked softly and his face dropped in an apologetic gesture again - Ruki didn’t want you to know…

- I would’ve known sooner or later, wouldn’t I? - he sighed, but left the cup to a side, taking a hand to the blond mess and running his fingers between the locks

- Yes - recognized Doll, watching the gesture, a pale light seemed to shine on his dark eyes - but still… he is ashamed of it--

- It wasn’t his fault - Dragon cut him off and Doll looked at him for a silent minute

- Would you wake him up in a while? - he asked softly before leaving the room

Dragon waited until Doll was gone to look at his side, The Princess was indeed very much asleep and with his back turned to him. Kyo took a tentative hand towards his shoulder and gave a little push, nothing happened.

- You really are a heavy sleeper, aren’t you? - he asked to the room, leaning closer to Ruki’s body to peek at his face

The blond mess was covering half of it and his lips were parted, absolute unconsciousness reflected on his expression. Kyo pursed his lips, resisting the temptation of kissing him and instead pressing a little of his weight against Ruki’s body. He waited until there was a response, the full tempting lips got closed suddenly with a complaining moan and he tried to move. Dragon sat back up next to him and waited in vain, The Princess just curled more into himself and kept sleeping. Kyo sighed and this time took his hand with more force on Ruki’s shoulder, shaking him slightly.

- Ruki - he said out loud and the greenish gray eyes got alarmingly open, The Princess sat up immediately and looked around, his breath a little frantic while he looked around him, it didn’t take him long to find Kyo’s warm expression - hi

The fluffy blond stared at him for the longest time, trying to put together pieces of the day before, seeing himself in all the places he had been as if it was a dream. A memory of races, of broken glass, boots and a dinner-- he took a hand to his forehead.

- I--  - he started, memories slowly crawling in order - I invited you here, didn’t I?

- So you did - answered Kyo calmly, sitting cross legged on the bed to move the tray in front of him - breakfast?

Ruki inspected his body, the clothes he was wearing, his face went pale almost immediately, Kyo stretched the second cup to him, he could see the steam that had been coming out of it had already faded.

- Your bodyguards are a little invasive for my taste… - he commented casually and he could almost see the understanding click inside Ruki’s head

- Scar - he sighed and suddenly winced - he didn’t even care that you were here…

- To be honest, I don’t think he knew-- but that didn’t stop him either - Dragon shrugged, if his voice didn’t show anything, if he kept relaxed then The Princess would relax too… much like his horses. He smiled at the thought.

- I’m sorry you had to deal with that - Ruki laughed and finally took the first sip of his cup, moving it away almost immediately with a disgusted face - ugh, cold

Kyo smiled tenderly and leaned closer to the blond, placing a kiss on his lips.

- Well, it was hot a while ago, you sleepyhead - he let out and startled himself, Ruki was now looking at him, partially blushed

- Since when are we so domestic? - he laughed sweetly and reached out towards one of the pastries on the tray, taking half of it with one bite

- I don’t know - Kyo shrugged and quickly stuffed his mouth to avoid further embarrassing statements

The Princess finished his breakfast trying not to ask, not to think if Scar had told Kyo to leave the room, it was uncomfortable enough that the blond bodyguard hadn’t cared that he was with him, but the idea of Dragon looking at his body in the state it was in, terrified him. Kyo seemed to perceive the tension because he moved the tray back on the chair and pulled from Ruki’s body until their chests met, the fluffy blond placed both his hands on him to steady himself.

- Hi - whispered Kyo and went to the encounter of Ruki’s plump lips, surrounding his waist while the other complied to the kiss, taking his arms upwards to grab onto the shoulders

- Hi - answered The Princess when they broke apart - I should take a shower now-- - he added reluctantly - I wish I could just stay like this all day… - Ruki dropped his head forward, bumping his forehead with Kyo’s

- Me too - he confessed, trying to ignore the buzzing sound that had started to come from his cellphone, he let out a long sigh on the blond’s lips - go take that shower

Ruki gave him a last peck on the lips before climbing out of bed and getting inside the bathroom, Kyo waited until he could hear the water running before finally answering his phone.

Finally, complained a metallic voice on the other side, I’ve been calling you all morning, please stop letting your phone on vibrate.

- Red - recognized Dragon - what happened?

Oh, nothing, don’t worry-- maybe the biggest deal Mr.Sea has made in his career and you’re whoknowswhere snoozing it off

- I already signed the papers, Sea doesn’t need me for the rest - whispered Kyo, he didn’t fail to notice the water had stopped running

I know that , complied Red’s tired voice, but he wants you around nonetheless, please don’t be stubborn now.

- I’d rather be with Ruki today - Kyo confessed, listening to the soft noises of opening drawers and clothes being pushed aside on the rods

Red sighed on the other side of the line.

Spring doesn’t recognize your face. Please keep it that way. His voice made a sudden change in the next statement, better said, a completely different voice finished the conversation.

Kyo, you better show your ass here in the next hour or you will no longer have an ass.

Dragon clicked his tongue, Kaoru’s orders were unappealable no matter how much freedom Sea had given him, of that little detail he had always been sure. The other side of the line ended the conversation without waiting for an answer and that somehow was even more menacing than the simple threat.

 

The Princess and Dragon parted their ways quickly after that, Kyo didn’t miss the fact that Ruki came out fully dressed of the room but took the time to stare at Dragon as he was dressing himself. The warm smiles left their faces as soon as their feet started walking in opposite directions.

Ruki let out a big sigh as he watched the black van approach the entrance with Kai at the wheel, Hollyhock stood next to him, constantly checking his phone while Scar looked around them.

- Raven says the horses are packed two blocks away and waiting for you - he said uninterested while the van parked right in front of them, the tall brunet moved to surround it while Scar opened the door for The Princess

Inside an incredibly skinny figure was already seated and greeted the blond with a shy smile.

- Seraph - he recognized while he took the seat in front of him, stretching his hand out

- Ruki, nice to see you again - answered with a warm handshake - how are you feeling?

The Princess nodded the question away as Scar took the spot right next to him and also greeted Seraph, leaving Hollyhock at the passenger’s seat next to Kai before starting their journey. Ruki was glad Scar took over the casual conversation with the polite businessman, because his mind was miles away from the car, anxiety nibbling at his fingertips, making him flex his fingers over and over again. Hollyhock’s loud voice could be heard too and it sounded muffled inside his head, The Princess’ greenish gray eyes were fixed on the window next to him, his heart pounding more and more quickly with each recognizable house on their way. Kai parked two blocks away as it was planned, a massive black truck now in front of them with a lanky black-haired man sitting on the sidewalk next to it, he got up as soon as he noticed the car and walked towards them. Scar opened the door on his side and allowed Raven to get inside, quick regards were given and Hollyhock reach out his hand between the front seats to fistbump the newcomer. The van started moving again, surpassing the truck and waiting for it to follow. Ruki suddenly bent forward, taking his head between his knees, a dry heave escaping his mouth, feeling light headed and shaky. All eyes were on him now, even Kai was checking on him from the rearview mirror. Scar took a careful hand to The Princess’ back and rubbed it gently, Seraph placed his long lean fingers on his shoulder.

- Everything’s going to be fine - he assured, giving a tentative squeeze

Ruki didn’t answer, breathing noisily without raising his head, denying with his head.

- You don’t know that - he whispered, his voice hoarse - everything could be so much worse-- you have no way of knowing that--

Seraph removed his hand slowly, a compassive smile in his face as he measured what to tell him, the car moving slower but the destination was already on sight.

- Man up Ruki, I’ve seen you hold your ground to much worse than Spring - let out Hollyhock, looking in front of him, the ostentatious mansion was across the street - We’ll put on a great show with the horses, I assure you he won’t have eyes for anything else--

- You just have to make him sign as soon as he sees the horses, he won’t read it-- - added Scar, still rubbing his back while The Princess started sitting up

- I don’t think I ever saw him read anything you gave him - confessed Raven with a shy voice

- Only the things he takes - grunted Kai and finally parked the car - Raven, Hollyhock, stay with the horses- Scar and I will go with them

Everyone nodded in agreement and Raven was the first to exit the van, followed by Hollyhock, they got to the van and were quickly received by the same staff that had taken the horses away from Dragon. Ruki took a deep breath, waiting for Kai and Seraph to exit the van first before looking at Scar. The blond bodyguard gave an assertive nod.

- You’ll be fine-- - he leaned closer to Ruki’s face to whisper - Kai is scarier than him

- I heard that - complained the stern bodyguard waiting outside the door

They walked together to the main door, Ruki at front flanked by Scar to his right, to his left and behind Seraph was guarded by Kai to his side. The Princess didn’t have to knock, didn’t have to announce himself, the door swung open and they were faced with a tall dark-haired man. Ruki felt the air return to his lungs when Morrie gave him a curious smile, his eyes wandered all over The Princess’ red cladded shape before moving to Seraph, his smile changed shape somehow but he spoke in a neutral tone.

- I’ll get Spring - he said plainly and got inside the house again

Scar moved anxiously in his place, his hands tense and within reach of his waist gun, Kai moved the sleeves of his jacket.

- He’s not gonna kill me in his porch - complained Ruki watching them nervously - Please control yourselves.

Both men relaxed their postures and Seraph smiled at The Princess who was turning his back at them while nearing steps could be heard from the other side of the double door.

This time the complete door opened, but only Morrie and Spring were on the other side, Ruki straightened up his back as soon as he saw him, the lanky brown haired man took a long while to assess the younger. His black eyes did the same path as Morrie but didn’t care to look at the others, he let out a sigh.

- So? - he asked annoyed and took his hands to his pockets

- I brought you the horses---

- Where are they- can’t see them - he cut him off, Ruki took a deep breath and forced himself to smile

- They’re in the truck-- were you expecting me to come riding them or something--

- I don’t have time for this - Spring cut him off again, moving his hand dismissively at Ruki’s face

The Princess turned around, finding Hollyhock’s face watching him from inside the truck almost immediately, he gave a little nod that the brunet responded, the staff in the truck started opening the doors and slowly taking the horses out.

- I told you I’ll get you the horses-- - started Ruki, but got unceremoniously shoved aside by Spring who started walking towards the truck

Seraph exchanged a quick look with The Princess, the fluffy blond nodded and the businessman started moving quickly to reach the mesmerized Mr.Spring.

- Mr. Mori, nice to meet you - he started a little agitated, the long steps of the older man leaving him behind - I’m Shinya Terachi, I’ll be notarizing the exchange of today - he stretched out a hand in front of Spring, making him stop, Mr.Spring looked at him visibly irritated

- Yes yes, whatever - he complained while he hastily shook Seraph’s hand, resuming his way

The three horses were now out of the truck, The Princess and the three bodyguards were also getting closer, his stomach shrunk lightly at the sight of the magnificent Penyu standing tall in between his two colts. As soon as Mr.Spring reached them he tried to short the distance, but Seraph got in his way again.

- I need you to sign the ownership papers and, of course, the debt relief - the lean blond closed the distance with the papers, making Mr.Spring angrily stop again, he handed over the pen in his jacket pocket

- Allright, allright, will that make you leave me alone? - he asked as he plucked the pen from Seraph’s lean fingers

- Your signature there please - the tall blond started while Mr.Spring complied with rushed strokes against the papers

Some feet away, Ruki was watching them completely dumbstruck. It couldn’t be so easy, it just couldn’t. He watched as Seraph moved the papers out of the way quickly, how Mr.Spring’s eyes were fixed on the horses even as he signed.

- Why so many? - he heard him complain

- The horses are living creatures Mr.Mori, they need lots of insurance, specially award winning race horses such as this. Did you know the older male is a thoroughbred? his grandfath--

- Yeah yeah, I don’t care - he signed the last dotted line and pushed the pen and papers away - Done, now get out of my sight--

- A pleasure to meet you - answered Seraph while he turned around towards The Princess

When Mr.Spring finally had the horses in front of him he reached out a hand to touch Penyu’s mane, Ruki felt a rush of satisfaction when the horse backed away anxiously. Seraph handed some of the papers to Morrie who received them with an accomplice smile and looked at Ruki.

- You’re free babe - he smiled tenderly, but The Princess didn’t react, Morrie took his sight to Scar - You better go, Spring won’t give him what he wants--

Scar didn’t understood at first, so he turned to look at Ruki’s face, an unreadable expression dimmed his eyes that were fixated on Mr.Spring’s back, his thick lips looking like two lines, strongly pressed against one another. The blond bodyguard took a hand to The Princess’ elbow, grabbing it carefully while Kai practically blocked his sight of the horses.

- Let’s go Ruki - he said sternly, but still the fluffy blond didn’t react

- If I may... - started Seraph getting close to the scene, handing the papers towards The Princess, getting his attention as he slowly grabbed them - The way I see it, he’s just a beast tamer, and you’re the tiger whose freedom got taken away to do tricks - Seraph felt a little intimidated as the four men were now staring at him, he cleared his throat a little - I mean, a tiger is meant to be in the wild, right? it’s meant to be free, that’s where it’s most powerful--

- That’s a very elaborated and confusing way of saying that Spring is a moron and you don’t need his acknowledgment - resumed Morrie looking at Seraph somehow amused

The lean blond blushed slightly and cleared his throat again.

- Yes, pretty much that.

- Go home tiger - laughed Morrie and stretched his hand to push Ruki’s cheek with his knuckle

Scar pulled from the elbow he was still holding and they flanked The Princess’ way to the van now parked almost in front of them by Hollyhock. Ruki watched the horses the whole way until they got out of sight, Mr.Spring didn’t turn to see them leave even once.




Kyo’s arms were already sore from holding the semi automatic gun, his head now light due to hunger and exhaustion. He could’ve stopped his training a long while ago, but his mind kept racing about how in danger Ruki was going to be in the near future and how unprepared he still was to protect him.

When Scarecrow called him that morning, Kansas and Red were actually the ones waiting for him. He was handed a pistol and taught how to assemble it and charge it, then Red had taken him to a private indoor shooting range and they had been there since then. Dragon was a quick learner so the use and aim came natural to him, now he was practicing on moving targets when a soft tap on his shoulder made him stop before the next shot was fired. He removed the ear muffs and faced Kansas who looked at him with a worried expression while he removed his own protection.

- I think that’s enough Kyo, you look tired - he said, his voice a little too high due to the noise exposure they had faced until now

Dragon nodded in answer and noticed Red leaning against the wall, the three of them were alone in the lanes, only the range master was supervising them from a booth. The strawberry blond was completely focused on his phone screen, earmuffs in place and completely unaware of his surroundings. Kyo removed the safety glasses and walked towards him, Red noticed his feet approaching first and took off the ear muffs, looking at Dragon between curious and surprised.

- Damn you took it seriously - he said with a big smile and took a hand to Kyo’s shoulder

- I’m so proud - cried out Kansas and pretended to wipe off a tear

Dragon sulked at both of them, but the strawberry blond incorporated and left no time for chat when he signaled to his phone.

- The deal is done, I’m needed back at the house - he announced and Kansas bit a sly smile

- That’s just an excuse to go see Seraph - he laughed, but Red didn’t seemed bothered

- Of course, he’s my friend - he complied - Kyo--

- I’m staying here, I want to practice more - he cut him off and Red shoot a quick glance at Kansas before nodding

- Eat something first - he recommended before finally leaving the shooting range

Kansas let the silence sink in for a minute before placing his hand on Dragon’s shoulder, startling him a little.

- Let’s go Kyo, let’s take a break - he encouraged him softly, guiding him to the door - You did very well today, but you shouldn’t push yourself too much--

- I need to - he let out and took a hand to his forehead - I want to be able to..--

- I know - Kansas said as he wrapped his arm around Dragon’s shoulders while they made their way outside



The way to Mr.Sea’s state was slow, Hollyhock usually took his time behind the wheel seriously, enjoying every moment of it because the next time could never come. He side glanced at Kai in the passenger seat and how he kept playing with the little knife from inside his sleeve while his eyes were fixed ahead.

- Look at the road Aoi - he complained seriously and Hollyhock sighed, as usual the stern brunet was sulky for not being the one driving

In the back, The Princess kept his eyes glued to the side window since they had left Mr.Spring’s mansion, the small talk with Seraph was now shared between Scar and Raven. Hollyhock listened to their soft voices and something tugged at his relaxed smile thinking how Doll had been left alone at the house. Not that the tallest bodyguard particularly enjoyed being in Spring’s presence, but it just felt wrong to leave him behind for an event of this magnitude. He took his dark eyes to the rearview mirror, peering how greenish gray eyes were still avoiding everyone else’s, an unreadable expression on his face. But Hollyhock knew him well enough to see he was boiling inside. He had never seen Ruki really angry before, his defense mechanism included a high amount of joking and drowning the anger in a sea of sarcasm and sass. Hollyhock could see it very clearly in his eyes, in the way his eyebrows seemed made of stone, how his lips looked tense and thin. The Princess was absolutely and irrevocably enraged. Hollyhock smiled while he took his gaze to the road again, the outcome of that rage was something he wasn’t planning on missing at all.

Once they arrived, Scar was quick to step outside and hold the door for Seraph, who looked hesitant to even talk to The Princess. He seemed to make up his mind rather quickly when they saw Red approaching them from the house, a radiant smile on his face.

- Shin! - he let out as he half-jogged the rest of the way, locking Seraph instantly in a tight hug

The tall blond didn’t look surprised at all and Scar bit a tiny smile at the display of affection, peering carefully at the inside of the van where Ruki was still seated. Red let go of Seraph but kept an arm wrapping his shoulders, reaching out a hand towards Scar that he quickly shook. The strawberry blond noticed immediatly that The Princess hadn’t gotten off the car and bent over to peek inside of it. He shared a confused look with everyone around him but focused on Ruki quickly.

- Do you want me to tell Sea to come here? - he asked politely, getting the fluffy blond’s attention successfully

- Don’t be ridiculous - he complained, a sculptured eyebrow finally moving upwards - I’ll be right there, gotta deal with my men

- Take your time - smiled Red and got his body out of the vehicle, stretching his arms towards Seraph and locking him in a side hug - Let’s go inside then - he whispered while he tried to kiss his cheek and the blond tried to avoid it

Once the two men got inside the house, Scar entered the van again and sat next to Ruki, watching him anxiously. The Princess took a hand to his temple, massaging it while he sighed.

- Deal with us then - joked Hollyhock, his body turned to look at him, The Princess stared at him annoyed but answered anyway

- You go back to the house, all of you… - he stopped to think, a little ashamed to recognized he was disappointed that it hadn’t been Dragon the one that received him - Kai, I’ll call you if I need you to pick me up

- Understood - replied the stern brunet and looked at Hollyhock

- I’m still driving our way back - he assured with a smug smile, returning his body to the front and starting the car again

The Princess opened the door next to him and got unceremoniously out of the car, Scar hurried to do the same and walk him to the front door.

- Thanks, completely unnecessary, but thanks - smiled Ruki once they reached it, he moved to open the door but Scar took his arm midway, making him turn around

- Don’t shut us off - he bent his back to whisper closer to the fluffy blond’s face - I know you trust all of them, but your safety it’s our responsibility

- I know that, don’t worry - he whispered back - I’ll tell Kai to pick me up, I promise

- Even if Dragon is there - he added straightening his back and letting go of Ruki’s arm

- Yes, even if Dragon is there - the blond complied with a nod and finally made his way inside

Scar watched him leave with an anxious expression and returned to the van, leaving Mr.Sea’s state behind.

Chapter Text

Once inside Mr.Sea’s mansion, The Princess got a little anxious to notice he was standing alone in the middle of the icy and intimidating white hall. He stood waiting for the same girl he had seen the first time, but after a minute it was Scarecrow the one who came to his encounter.

- Let me guess, Red saw Seraph and forgot he was supposed to wait for you - he let out with an annoyed face but reached out his hand towards Ruki anyway - Typical Red to be honest, count on him to be oblivious to anyone else when Shinya is around

- It’s really no problem - The Princess smiled shaking Scarecrow’s firm hand

- You’ll have time to get used to him I guess - shrugged the taller male and Ruki felt a finality in that sentence

- I guess… - he answered shyly and the black eyes seemed to pierce him for a moment

- Too late for regrets, hm? - Scarecrow spoke softly, Ruki raised an eyebrow

- You all seem to think I don’t want this - complained the fluffy blond, making the other one smile - I’m just incredibly tired, that’s all

- Yeah, I get it, Spring always had you running errands - he started walking towards the stairs, nodding for The Princess to follow - it must’ve been a pain in the ass-

- Well, to be fair, he didn’t know I was the one doing it, he actually ordered all that stuff to Morrie… - Ruki’s greenish gray eyes focused on the slight tension of Scarecrow’s right hand as it took hold of the railing - I was the one that volunteered to do it in his place…

- Eager to work, hm? - laughed Scarecrow, shaking some of the tension off

- He says hi by the way - The Princess let slide and the brown haired man let out a laugh

- That geezer… - he sighed while they reached the second floor - Can’t keep his mouth shut, can he-- yeah, we’ve known each other for some time…

- He was with Sea, wasn’t him? - Ruki continued, standing his ground, but Scarecrow pretended not to hear while he opened a double door in the middle of the wall and gestured inside, the fluffy blonde rose an eyebrow but still complied

The taller man left him inside the studio and closed the door behind him. Inside the room, Seraph had already been released from Red’s attention, sitting comfortably in a single couch, facing a giant wooden desk with Mr.Sea on the other side. The oldest man stood up immediately and surrounded the desk to get beside The Princess and offered him his hand, the youngest shook it instantly.

- I’m glad to see you Ruki, I’m sorry Red forgot his duties-

- Don’t worry, Scarecrow walked me here - he shrugged while he accepted the invitation to sit down next to Seraph that smiled at him a little embarrassed

- I’m sorry Ruki, Die is--

- Don’t worry about it, seriously - he shook his hand dismissively and turned to look eagerly at Mr.Sea

- So… - acknowledged the older while he returned to his place behind the desk - as expected, Mori signed without reading - he said calmly while he browsed through the documents Seraph had handed him earlier - But that doesn’t mean he won’t notice the income st--

- I know - Ruki cut him off, Mr.Sea looked surprised by the interruption - I want him to notice

- Of course - smiled the older man - Spring just renounced to every right over the four properties, your residence included, and every penny will go to your account…

- Managed by us - added Seraph shyly - Ruki has to be made clear of that

- I’m aware - conceded The Princess, watching the lean blond curiously

- Yes, managed by us so the thirty percent of the income will be withdrawn monthly as specified in the contract--

- Thirty? - repeated Ruki confused and Mr.Sea took a long time to acknowledge that, trying to read the youngest expression and the source of the alarm

- Yes Ruki, you did read the contract, didn’t you? - he answered softly but the fluffy blond denied quickly with his head

- Of course I read it but-- - he stop midway and something in him was telling him to be quiet an accept it, but he hadn’t gotten so far to have more guilt in his conscience for staying silent - isn’t it-- I mean, after all you’ve done to get here, isn't thirty too--- little?

Mr.Sea let out a big laugh and Seraph smiled tenderly to Ruki, but the blond felt uncomfortable immediately with the gesture, he opened his lips again to voice a complaint but the oldest man lifted his hand to stop him while he recovered his breath.

- Oh dear, - he sighed - Spring will go berserk when he realizes that he just signed off the biggest income of his family-- Listen Ruki - he looked at him seriously now - You came to me on a dire time of need, you were left with little choices because you’re paralyzed by fear - he lifted his hand again, preventing the interruption - I know Mori made sure to scare you, he told me himself, he scared you because he knew just how much of a threat you were to him and he wanted to keep you-- well, where you were. So taking only thirty percent of someone that could very well outdo me too, it just seems reasonable - he smiled warmly - it’s in my best interests to keep you content.

- I’m not that skillful - mumbled Ruki, suddenly ashamed and averting Mr.Sea’s eyes

- Well, that’s because you were given no room to grow - shrugged the older - Now you’ve been cut loose, the contracts that bind us are few but I do expect the same courtesy you’ve always known to show me--

- What are you saying? - whispered the blond

- That I’m taking my thirty percent and making sure your income is safe under my radar and not for the taking of some very questionable hands…

The Princess still stared at him confused, his mind was whirling, the words stumbling inside of him, not knowing how to express the overwhelming emotions that were drowning him.

- What are you saying? - he repeated softly - I’m-- I’m in your debt--

- Yes, and I’ll be taking that thirty percent, thank you very much - answered Mr.Sea flatly, but understood the meaning behind those words, the anxiety in each gesture - You’re more useful to me in this terms Ruki, doing what you want in the same way you always had-- but with no Spring to stomp you down, to take your hard earned money-

- Which, by the way - added Seraph joyfully - it's way more than you think…

- But I-- - Ruki closed his eyes with a sigh, taking a hand to his temple - those papers were bullshit, weren’t they

- Completely fabricated - Seraph nodded - Spring didn’t want you to know how much money you were actually making

- So we weren’t losing money - he added, taking another hand to his face, covering it

- I’m afraid not Ruki - agreed the lean blond in a whisper, and reached out a shy hand towards The Princess’ shoulder, stroking it lightly

- He did it to destroy you some more - asserted Mr.Sea - because you were already too powerful and he too much of a coward

- You gotta be kidding me - he whined behind his hands while his breath became erratic, the tears never came, despite how badly he needed them, just an unbearable boiling hot rage ran through his whole body, the suit starting to feel suffocating on his skin, he removed the hands from his face, breathing noisily - I will kill him

- Maybe later - answered Mr.Sea calmly - We need him to get desperate enough to sell me back the horses

- Sell ME - grunted Ruki, looking at him fiercely - He will come crawling and begging for me to take them-

Mr.Sea bit his lower lip, a smile was creeping inside his head but he dare not show it, a soft shiver ran through his back. He finally sighed and nodded lightly, making the furious greenish gray eyes look elsewhere, down to his now clenching fists. Mr.Sea allowed himself to smile now, for he had unleashed a beast, the strongest weapon against his lifelong rival.

 

The paperwork took longer than expected, nighttime already upon them as The Princess was adding his signature to every contract already signed by Mr.Spring, Seraph taking the time to explain each of them in detail. When they were finished, Ruki felt dizzy and in desperate need of some fresh air, he said his goodbyes to Mr.Sea and his man and decided to wait for Kai at the mansion porch. While he rummaged through his new phone and the hundred of absurd apps Hollyhock had downloaded for him, he heard a little noise by his side and the acrid smell of cigarette reaching him short after. Scarecrow exhaled a puff of smoke and offered him the pack, The Princess did not smoke, not since they were attached to so many bad memories-- He shrugged the thought away, he needed something to distract his mind, so he accepted one and allowed Scarecrow to lit it. A puff of smoke left his plushy lips with a sigh, he immediately closed his eyes, feeling the so long missed nicotine run through his lungs.

- Didn’t take you for a dating app guy - the older man joked peering at Ruki’s screen

- Apparently Hollyhock does - he answered annoyed, but Scarecrow’s smile was contagious so he couldn’t help but laugh as he deleted one by one the gay dating apps the brunette had left on his phone - jesus, there are so many…

- Don’t let Dragon see them - the brown haired man laughed, taking a drag from his cigarette

- He wouldn’t care… - replied The Princess uninterested but stopped midway with a troubled expression - ...would he?

Scarecrow denied with his head and took another drag, the cigarette consuming faster this time. Ruki felt he could almost hear the cigarette ticking his time away, the mention of Kyo’s nickname bringing him suddenly to reality once more, he glanced at the taller man nervously before resuming his task of cleaning his brand new cellphone.

- Where is he anyway? - he dared to whisper, voice embarrassingly shy as he took a shaky drag and put out the cigarette on a nearby standing ashtray

- He will kill me for telling you this but-- - he shrugged and ended his cigarette with a long drag, putting it out while he exhaled the smoke - I don’t care. We actually offered him to get gun training-- you know, as you should also do...

Ruki froze, he looked at Scarecrow for the longest time, not for the daring suggestion, but for what had been said before. Dragon had clearly accepted, he wasn’t as much at risk as him and yet he had accepted the training. And it had been all for his sake. He lowered his head towards his cellphone once again, taking a silent moment to collect the emotions that were threatening with overflowing him. He took a deep ragged breath and looked at Scarecrow again, addressing only the last thing said.

- I don’t need it, I’m pretty good with knives-- - Scarecrow nodded knowingly - is he-- is he still there?

- Yeah, probably-- There’s your ride - he commented suddenly, both watching as a black van got closer to the driveway

- Are you going to skillfully avoid my question again? - wondered the fluffy blond as he waved his hand at the windshield

- Why do you care so much? - sighed Scarecrow

- He let it show for a reason - answered the fluffy blond getting a little anxious

- Yeah, ‘cause he’s a blabbermouth - grunted the taller man but sighed, taking a hand to his chin and rubbing it - Tsk-- only so you stop pestering me-- - he sighed again and cursed under his breath - If I lose my job for this it’s your responsibility to do something about it--

- Speak already - interrupted Ruki while Kai finally parked the car but didn’t get out of it

- That geezer worked with Sea - started Scarecrow, speaking quickly to get it over with - He went with Spring as a mole and climbed high and fast, by the time he was going to get back, Sea asked him to stay longer--

- Why?

- Why do you think? - asked the taller man with a tired expression - because of you, Morrie told him everything that happened with you and Sea told him to wait a little longer in case you were-- well, something good… the rest of the story speaks for itself…

- I can’t believe it--

- And I can’t believe you actually slept with that dinosaur but here we are - he shrugged, ignoring Ruki’s reddening cheeks - That’s the whole story, now go and don’t ask me anything ever again--- I can’t fucking lie to you anymore - he grunted in the end and got inside the house without saying goodbye

The Princess stood a little dizzy with the sudden information, trying to process everything carefully, taking so much time that an irritated Kai finally got off the van and stomped his way towards him, unceremoniously taking him by the arm and started dragging him to the black vehicle. Ruki let himself get pulled, tripping slightly until his mind regained focus, he stared at the contact of Kai’s firm hand with his arm.

- What is this? - he asked a little vexed at first, but the stern man didn’t let go of his arm until they were in front of the van

- Get in - he mumbled and Ruki stood his ground in front of him

- Or what? - he retorted and the other man sighed, letting his head fall back as he regained the little composure he could manage

- Please get in, don’t make me ask you twice - he grunted while he opened the back door and signaled inside

- Or else? - the fluffy blond teased this time - are you gonna punish me? - he asked in a soft whisper and could see how every muscle in Kai’s body tensed

- D-Don’t - he barely opened his lips to say it, The Princess felt he got his little revenge for the manhandling, Kai would go to bed angry and frustrated knowing he was now off limits

Ruki let out the sweetest smile and felt the weight of his bodyguard’s stare as an anvil while he finally entered the van, wincing slightly when Kai furiously slammed the passenger’s door, repeating it with the driver’s side and skidded their way out of the driveway. After long minutes of tense and painful silence, The Princess was not in the teasing mood anymore, an open message for Kyo laid on his screen, but got deleted before sending. He just couldn’t put in bit words what he needed so much for Dragon to know, how far he had bleed through him and how impossible was now for Ruki to ever imagine a future without Kyo in it. The Princess stopped himself midway, he couldn’t control his emotions anymore, anxiety, fear, everything was just there for everyone else to see. He was just so fucking tired. Ruki let his body drop sideways, propping his legs up the seat, he was about to close his eyes when he heard Kai’s voice from the driver’s seat.

- Don’t do that, I won’t carry you, you can rest when we get there - his voice was still strained and his mood still foul, as expected

- Then drive faster - complained the fluffy blond, but still made a big effort to get properly seated again

It took some more minutes to finally reach the destination. Kai parked in front of the garage door and The Princess did not wait for him to exit the van first, too eager to finally get some rest, to not wake up in less than twenty hours. The passenger door closing alerted Kai immediately, who watched as Ruki peacefully made his way towards the front door.

But he wasn’t the only one.

Kai kicked the driver’s side door open, the distance between him and The Princess had gotten greater but someone was closing in Ruki’s back. The bodyguard sprinted towards them, the attacker did the same, The Princess turned around to see them both, his face in shock as he saw the trembling gun in the unknown’s hand.

A shot was fired, blood had spilled on Ruki’s face, a ringing in his ears from the proximity of the bullet. He took a shaking hand to his face, wiping part of the mess.

This was not his blood.

Ragged breaths and now the sound of deafening steps running towards them, the blond still couldn’t see anything but his hand, the door behind him opened and a hand digged on his shoulder, turning him around.

Now he could see Scar’s black tender eyes, absolutely terrified. The Princess blinked slowly to reality in front of those eyes that were now scrutinizing his whole body.

- Ruki - he heard at his side and turned to face another pair of frantic black eyes - Ruki are you hurt?

- No… - he said certain and looked at his dirty hand again - no.. I’m not

Now The Princess dared to look in front of him, to recognize and admit the reality, the crimson reality that spilled on his shoes, that made little dark spots on his red velvet suit. Kai was still kneeling from the momentum of his attack, his hand still held the knife, now drenched in blood. By his side the outcome, the hardest reality that Ruki had managed to ignore and avoid for so long, now barging in his front door.

- Fuck - said Hollyhock softly, standing at his side, watching astonished as the river of blood kept gushing out of a violent cut on the neck of the young life now wasted on their porch

- Wasn’t… wasn’t he the kid that washed our van last week? - asked Raven softly, coming from behind Doll who kept a blank expression on his face

- The cycle of life, I guess - sighed Hollyhock helping Kai get to his feet

- You could’ve died - whispered Scar and grabbed Ruki’s wrist tightly

- We need to clean up - Kai said matter-of-factly, but only Raven nodded slowly, everyone looked frozen into place, all eyes staring at the body on the floor, Hollyhock was the first to stop looking, finally taking his eyes to Ruki

- Looks like you just got crowned Queen - he said with a smug smile, but it was deprived of humour - Now it’s time to conquer.


[ END OF ACT I ]

Chapter Text

 

[ ACT II ]

 

Kyo didn’t receive any news from The Princess that night, considering how tired he would be, Dragon decided not to engage in communication either. He went back to his own flat, with a brand new semi-automatic and a lot of anxiety, the only knowledge he was certain about was that the deal had been done, but that had been almost ten hours ago, maybe even twelve. Kyo had lost track of time everytime he touched the gun again, every time he pressed the trigger and his whole body tensed. Dragon had never killed anyone, he hadn’t even touched a gun in his life. He wasn’t in the family business, he wasn’t even in the family, he just had had a giant debt and gained Mr.Sea’s favor. Kyo was pretty certain The Princess was very similar to him in many ways, maybe a little more roughed by life, but he knew Ruki hadn’t ever killed someone, and he was almost certain he hadn’t touched a gun either.

But both of them had been pushed into a world much different than their own, and now they were left with little choices. If they wanted to survive they’d have to sharpen their fangs, Kyo knew this was just the beginning, he wasn’t a participant, but his years as a mere listener had taught him how far these people could go to win, or at least to take out the competition. And The Princess now had the best hand of the game. He sighed as he skipped dinner and went straight to bed, a last glimpse at his cellphone screen, hoping for a notification that wasn’t there. Kyo couldn’t remember when he fell asleep.


A makeshift tent covered the entry of the house, one person was cleaning thoroughly its pebble floor as two more moved away with the body, now wrapped in a black plastic bag. Ruki exhaled a puff of smoke watching them work, sitting at the first step of the porch, Hollyhock standing behind him.

- I thought you’d quit - he said uninterested, his eyes didn’t abandon the body as it was shoved inside a black utility van

- Given the circumstances, I think I’ll indulge myself - answered the blond, blood was still staining half his face as well as part of his hair and clothes, his voice was absolutely deprived of emotion

- Fair enough - answered Hollyhock as the last of the blood left the surface of the floor, the man starting to clean with a different product

- Would you fetch the money? - asked Ruki tiredly, as a tall man was approaching them

- Can’t really leave you alone, can I? - complained Hollyhock and took out his cellphone to send a quick message - Doll will bring it

The tall dark haired man finally reached them, a smile on his extremely handsome face and a labret piercing peeking underneath it, Ruki got up lazily to greet him, the man extended a tattooed hand towards his face and grabbed him by the chin, lifting his head.

- Princess, should I clean you too? - he asked teasingly, but Ruki backed away and freed his face

- It’s The Queen now - added Hollyhock watching him boredly, the man smiled like nothing happened and moved his hand now to Ruki’s hair

- Well then Queen, what about my offer? - he got his face closer but the blond moved away again

- Not in the mood Hakuei - he grunted and the taller man finally released him

- What a shame, here I was excited to hear from you after years, and it was for work? - he moved to touch him again - I’m disappointed Queenie--

- Just Queen please - complained Hollyhock with a disgusted face - Hands off Cleaner, your job here is done.

Doll appeared suddenly at the door and handed quickly the money to the man, he took it lazily, dragging his heavy lidded eyes all over his frame.

- Well hello there - he said with a seductive smile - I don’t think I’ve met you--

- Leave him alone - was the order that both Hollyhock and Ruki blurted out, Doll backed away instantly, nodding his goodbye as he walked inside the house again

The Cleaner sighed and looked at Ruki with a hurt expression.

- You’re no longer fun - he pouted - I guess that’s what happens when you get married…

- I don’t know where you get your rumours from, but they’re a little fabricated - Ruki forced a smile and put out his cigarette - I’m going to bed, thanks for everything Hakuei.

- A pleasure - he answered a little disappointed, bowing at Ruki - my Queen

The Cleaner allowed himself to watch the fluffy blond make his way inside, tilting his head to get a better look of his backside, he finally turned to look that his men had already dismantled the tent and were now waiting for him inside the utility van. Hollyhock waved him goodbye before shutting the door on his face.

- Asshole - mumbled the bodyguard under his breath at the other side of the door

Hollyhock moved to the living room but he couldn’t find what he was looking for, neither in the kitchen, or the dining room or workroom. He did find Kai and Scar at the basement gym the later one had installed, both sweaty and tired from a training mock fight, Hollyhock nodded at them and returned upstairs. The brunet finally found what he wanted when a pair of vacant black eyes looked at him a little surprised, a bundle of red velvet on his hands with a pair of boots on top, Hollyhock moved quickly to relieve the other of the load.

- Thanks, Ruki wants me to burn it-- - said Doll calmly - not the boots tho, they’re Balenciaga - he added quickly and removed them from the pile - I will see how I can clean them-- maybe that man knows--

- Don’t-- - Hollyhock blurted out and felt embarrassed instantly - I’ll help you figure out a way, besides, he already left…

Doll smiled knowingly and the older man had to make a big effort not to melt for that smile, they made their way towards the kitchen.

 

Of course Ruki wouldn’t be able to sleep that night, the image of the gun on his face, the sudden knife and the gush of blood repeating in a morbid sequence inside his head. He found himself turning around in bed for almost an hour before finally giving up, getting out of bed and making his barefoot way downstairs. Something inside of him wasn’t surprised when he found the rest of the house was in the same situation, some lights could be seen and soft noises could be heard. Ruki finally encountered movement inside the living room, Kai going through the rest of some discarded vodka bottle.

- Hey - was the dry greeting as the stern bodyguard drank directly from the bottle

- Hey - answered Ruki softly and sat next to him - are you alright?

- Are you? - he retorted and left the bottle on the table in front of him

- I guess not - the fluffy blond sighed and dropped his head on the tense shoulder - thank you Kai, you saved my life...

- It’s my job - the brunet showed clear discomfort with the position, but didn’t push Ruki away - I owe you that much anyway--

The now named Queen was about to object, complain that none of them owed him anything, that everything he had done was born from compassion and love, he never expected anything in return from any of them. But instead he sighed tiredly, giving up to arguing, his body aching with the stressful events that seemed to never end, anxious with the knowledge that perhaps they never would. Kai finally let his head fall sideways, his cheek resting softly in the messy blond head.

- Spring thought it would be that easy to kill you, he sent the errand boy-- - he moved away from Ruki so now they were facing each other - And the worst part is he almost fucking succeeded--

The Queen didn’t answer, Kai was looking at him with more than worry, he felt angry and powerless, they had been too close- the reality that he could’ve been killed so easily was starting to sink in. He didn’t feel angry, he just felt powerless again, the same way he did when those long knobby fingers wrapped around his young wrist for the first time. Mr.Spring still held the power, Ruki had been once again too naive and reckless, he swallowed a hurt pride and looked down.

- Are you scolding him already? - he heard a crass voice coming from the kitchen, it didn’t take long for Hollyhock to seat in the living room with them - give him a break, he almost got killed - he reached out for the bottle and gulped down a big part of it, letting it go with an exaggerated sound - boy that's strong--

- Don’t you think we should talk about the reason why he almost got killed? - grunted Kai clenching his fists

- I’m right here, you know? - complained Ruki looking at both of them

- Yeah, and you’re not helpful at all - added Hollyhock with a smug smile - You almost got killed because you’ve been oblivious to how well protected you really were-- - he raised a hand to stop a puzzled Ruki from interrupting - I mean, you may not have involved yourself with Spring’s shit, but Spring’s shit was well aware of you and how important you were--

- They thought you were his lover for the longest time - remarked Kai - so of course you were a target for his enemies

- And he has plenty - nodded Hollyhock - so you were a little more protected than just us, I mean, besides the guys you fucked into obedience - he held back a laugh - you did have some real hired protection you were too oblivious to notice

Ruki didn’t answer, once again truths had been kept away from him, again everyone seemed to know everything but him, he took a hand to his forehead.

- I’m so fucking tired of all these secrets - he whispered while he massaged his temples

- They weren’t really secrets Ruki, you just lived in your tiny constructed world as it was expected of you - shrugged Hollyhock, he got tempted by the bottle again, but decided to fetch himself some water instead, bringing a bottle for The Queen too

- So I’m just an oblivious moron - sighed the blond accepting the bottle

- A very cute one - added Hollyhock and sat again

- But now you aren’t - concluded Kai - and we need you to act accordingly--

- What’s going on? - they heard from the stairs, Scar was looking at them a little drowsy from the only amount of sleep he had been able to get

- Oh please, do join Ruki’s shaming party - laughed Hollyhock, sprawled on the single couch, both present blonds gave him a nasty stare

Scar watched the scene and opted for sitting on the other single chair facing the double-sized couch. He was looking longingly at The Queen every time their eyes didn’t meet, a mixture of relief and sadness, and the same note of powerlessness that had tainted everyone’s eyes since the blood of the young boy had spilled all over Ruki.

- Why do you have to shame him? - he complained, ignoring the vodka but taking Ruki’s water bottle from the table and drinking some of it

- Because it’s fun - answered Hollyhock mockingly

- There’s no shaming here - Kai shut them down - We just want Ruki to understand his precarious situation and stop putting himself recklessly in unnecessary danger

The fluffy blond let his head down again with a sigh, he deserved this, he deserved all of their anger right now.

- If you hadn’t met Dragon none of this would’ve happened - mumbled Scar but averted the greenish gray gaze as it darted at him

-  Nah, it would’ve happened anyway - interrupted Hollyhock as he watched Ruki’s mouth shut close again, deprived of his comeback - Sea would’ve found another way to get him on his side, Dragon had nothing to do with it--

- He rushed things - grunted Scar looking at the oldest male furiously - If he hadn’t been in the picture Spring wouldn’t have--

- Reita, enough - a new voice sounded from behind Kai and Hollyhock suddenly held his breath

- Now, THIS is a party - he finally let out, watching as Doll surrounded the couch to go sit to Ruki’s right side, leaving him trapped between two sets of bodyguards around him

Doll watched Hollyhock carefully, nothing about the situation, nothing about the events that had transcurred barely hours ago seemed something to cause a celebration. But they’d known each other for quite some time now to know that Aoi’s coping mechanism were his wit and copious amounts of dry and inappropriate humor. Doll decided to ignore the comment as Hollyhock probably expected from him and dedicate a stern look at Scar instead.

- Dragon was shoved into this situation as much as Ruki was - he stated calmly, feeling the thankful look the blond directed at him - your accusations only come from jealousy and selfishness…

- You’re right - whispered Scar after a silent minute - I’m sorry.

- It’s okay, really - answered The Queen awkwardly, feeling immediately guilty by Scar’s now hurt expression as he lowered his head - I understand, I really do - he darted a quick look at Doll, but he seemed unfazed by the bluntness of his previous statement

- We still like you Scar - blurted out Hollyhock, feeling the weight of Ruki’s anxiousness as if it was his own - a possessive maniac and everything

This seemed to relieve the tension, as Scar let out a crooked smile and The Queen stretched in his place to reach out for his hand, the blond bodyguard taking it right away. Doll felt he understood Aoi better now, looking how the atmosphere around them eased again, and it was his weird sense of humor and inadequate comments that had caused it. Hollyhock had mended a damage Doll had inadvertently caused, he looked at him, now sprawled on the couch again, Aoi looked at him too for the longest minute, until Doll’s inexpressive eyes seemed to glisten slightly and he finally averted his stare.

- Let’s refocus - asked Kai tiredly, pressing the bridge of his nose with his index finger and thumb - Ruki I-- we need you to be more aware of your surroundings now--

- And to take us with you everywhere - added Hollyhock - No more escapades…

- I understand - answered the fluffy blond without letting go of Scar’s hand

- It wouldn’t be a bad idea to train Raven too - suggested Doll softly

- And to get a nasty assassin, those are always good to have around - let out Hollyhock browsing through his cellphone

- You want me to hire a mercenary? - winced The Queen - those are never loyal

- They’re loyal to money - shrugged the dark-haired bodyguard - I bet you can pay the best of the best

- Is it really necessary? - he asked again, hating the idea

- If things keep up like this, Spring will end up sending Pierrot after you - recognized Scar, squeezing the hand he was still holding

- I really don’t want a mercenary I-- - he sighed - I really don’t.

Everyone kept the silence for a minute, measuring the weight of his words, each of them reminding themselves mentally that The Queen was, afterall, their boss.

- Fine - agreed Kai finally - We’ll find another way--

- Not using Sea’s men - added Hollyhock suddenly and Ruki looked at him confused - I know you trust him, but it’s my job not to.

Kai nodded and Scar gave another light squeeze to Ruki’s porcelain hand in agreement.

- I understand - answered the fluffy blond a little flatly

- I bet Dragon at least can be completely trusted - conceded Doll softly and again was welcomed with Ruki’s grateful expression

- I trust him - mumbled the blond, feeling exposed and a little silly - and he’s been given training too-- we.. I am not as powerless as you all think

- Yeah, I know - nodded Hollyhock - but I bet you’re a little rusty by now so you might want to polish that up

- I will - he sighed tiredly and took his free hand to his eyes, rubbing them lightly

- We should all go to bed now... - suggested Doll softly, taking a hand to Ruki’s back

Hollyhock nodded and got up the couch noisily, dragging his feet up the stairs.

- Night - he waved from the stairs and everyone watched him go

Kai gave a little pat on Ruki’s shoulder before also making a silent retreat, Scar let go of his hand but didn’t move, watching intensely at the fluffy blond until he looked up. The blond bodyguard smiled a little sadly and Ruki smiled back, he got up and followed after the other two.

Once it was only Doll and him, The Queen let his body weight drop against the back of the couch, throwing his head back until it was supported by it. He let out a sigh as he closed his eyes, Doll took his hands carefully, drawing little circles on the porcelain skin.

- What are you thinking? - he whispered softly, the blond didn’t open his eyes to answer

- Do you think he also had a debt with Spring? - Ruki whispered back, now his eyes were open and looking at the ceiling, a distressed expression was tainting his whole face

Doll softened his own expression, taking his hands now to the blond mess, stroking it gently as Ruki turned his greenish gray gaze at him, a small tear forming in the corner of his eye.

- He was just a kid - was the broken whisper that left his plump lips

- I know - shushed Doll as he caressed his cheeks, now starting to get wet from the silent tears

- I-- - he trailed off, voice cracked forcing him to close his eyes, to gather his strength with slow breathings - I don’t want people to die because of me--

- I know - smiled the taller man tenderly - I know you don’t want this-- but you will be pushed into it over and over until Spring has nothing left-- you know that

Ruki nodded slowly, biting his lower lip, trying to stop the tears.

- I wish I were stronger - he whispered and started falling towards Doll, searching for contact, the other man received him, letting the fluffy blond mess rest in the crook of his neck

- You ARE strong - he said softly - you’re just too overwhelmed and tired right now… - he sighed and took his hand again to the blond curls tickling his chin - A lot of things happened too fast-- we all need to rest and move carefully now to ensure the least amount of damage...

The Queen didn’t retort, in fact, he didn’t answer at all, his soft breathing heating Doll’s collarbone, his body limp between lean and long arms, his face now absolutely peaceful. The tall bodyguard sighed at the sight of his boss now profoundly asleep in his arms.


Kyo woke up very late the next day, despite his natural habit of being an early riser, engraved in him from his profession and dedication to the horses, he still managed to sleep soundly until late in the morning. The first thing he did after was grabbing his cellphone, still painfully silent, he hadn’t received any news whatsoever since Red left the gun range. Dragon was a very patient man, but the situation with Ruki was very delicate and the lack of news was starting to drill at his skull, he couldn’t wait anymore. He skipped breakfast and decided to go straight to Mr. Sea’s state.

When he left the house, he was startled to find Kansas leaning against the brick wall, the tall man waved at him with an uneasy smile.

- Hey Kyo - he said softly and Dragon felt a gut-wrenching anxiety starting to grow inside of him

- What happened? - he urged, clenching his fists to control his desire to run all the way to Ruki’s house that instant

- Yeah, this-- - Kansas ruffled his hair nervously - Ruki was attacked-- He’s fine! He’s fine! - he added quickly, raising his hands as he saw the expression on Kyo’s face - He’s safe but Sea thought that you might be a target too and he knew you’d want to go to his place-- I can’t let you go alone, you understand that, don’t you?

Dragon gave no answer, his whole face looked out of place as he turned towards the vehicle, stomping his way to it.

- Nononono - followed Kansas quickly - you’re not driving - he reached out to grab Kyo by the shoulder, but the shorter man shook him off - Kyo calm down, I told you he’s safe-- - he sighed as he got no answer from the dark haired man - I have the keys, how are you going to start the car? - Kansas negotiated but Dragon ignored him

- I’ll just hotwire it then - he answered flatly and the bodyguard rolled his eyes

- Kyo, being impulsive is the last thing you need to do right now-- - he reached out again, this time to prevent him from opening the door - Listen to me--- this… this is not like you at all--

They stared intently at each other, Dragon’s black eyes looked deranged and Kansas bit his lower lip in worry.

- Please listen to me? - he said softly and Kyo seemed to respond to that - You’re always the cool-headed one, keep it that way--

- You don’t understand - mumbled the dark haired man and tried to open the door despite Kansas’s hand on it

- I do Kyo - he took his free hand to the other one’s shoulder - I really do, I understand how desperate you are, I know you’re worried-- I know that you’re scared - with every word he could feel under his hand how Dragon started to calm down slowly - This was expected, Sea knew it would happen, Ruki did too, he’s not alone, he’s not unprotected-- if we keep our cool the only one losing will be Spring-- but if you rush into it like this-- you’re just placing yourself as a target and causing more harm than preventing it...

Kyo breathed slowly, listening to every word, trying to absorb them as the reality they were, he knew he had lost his temper, he was being impulsive and reckless for the first time in his life. But for the first time in his life he had something he was willing to be reckless for. He sighed, controlling his breathing while he allowed Kansas to take the wheel, surrounding the car to go sit next to him.

- Do you have the gun? - Kansas asked as he fastened his seatbelt, Kyo just nodded - I’ll let Hollyhock know we’re going… don’t take it personally if they seem a little mistrustful now---

- I won’t, I understand them - answered Dragon softly

- Sea made them aware that Ghost is near and we have some men around the house too-- they-- they didn’t like it.

- They don’t trust us - agreed Kyo

- Can you blame them? - smiled Kansas - they probably trust you tho, I mean you had a lot of opportunities to slit The Princess throat---

- Don’t talk like that - complained Kyo while he took out his cellphone, searching for Ruki’s new number in a text sent by an unknown, looking at it, writing a message and deleting it, writing it again, longer each time, he deleted the whole thing, huffing frustrated

 

“I’m on my way.”

 

Chapter Text

A distant buzzing tore its way into his slumber, he grunted and turned away from the sound, but now an unnecessary long and loud song was coming from the same place. He threw his extra pillow towards it, hearing the distinctive crash of the bedside lamp against the floor.

- Great. - he growled as loud steps were rushing towards his door now, slamming it open, a frantic Scar on the other side

Now sleep was definitely impossible, he sat up as Scar walked towards the lamp, looking at the mess of crystal shards around the discarded pillow. The blond bodyguard sighed.

- You scared the shit out of me - he spoke softly, aware of Ruki’s drowsiness as he rubbed his eyes vigorously

- Yeah, forgot that you’re all jumpy now - his voice was hoarse from sleep while he finally reached the cause of all the problem, reading with some difficulty through blurry eyes

His breath halted and he instinctively bit his lower lip when he read the new message, recognizing who it was from right away despite the number being saved in his phone under the name of “stallion”. He squinted at the nickname, he was going to kill Hollyhock for this.

- Kyo is on his way - he whispered as if he didn’t believe it and tried to rush out of bed but Scar stopped him with a heavy hand against his chest

- The glass Ruki, the glass - he sighed exasperated and the fluffy blond pouted - tsk - he let out before getting closer to him and grabbing him by the waist

- Reita what the fuck?! - complained the smaller man as he was carried with some difficulty to the bathroom, Scar still took the time to check there were no glass shards on that floor before gently putting him down - Completely unnecessary - commented Ruki a little blushed

- I don’t think so, there were shards and you were in a hurry - he explained casually, but he had a mischievous smile on his face

- Stop it, you’re just taking every opportunity to touch me - laughed Ruki and Scar bit his lower lip - and since we’re at it- no more undressing me while I’m sleeping--

- You can’t take that away from me too - he let out with a feigned pout but The Queen felt the sting of the comment anyway

- At least not when Kyo is around, have some respect - he whispered and the air got tense almost immediately, Ruki tried to sighed it off - Thanks tho, my feet are safe - he smiled at him sweetly until Scar did the same, nodding his way out, mumbling something about sweeping the floor

 

Kansas warned Dragon he wouldn’t stay around to wait for him, he had to call him as soon as he wanted to get back. Although he gave this information with a serious voice, the mocking smile didn’t abandon his face, far aware that Kyo would spend the night there and there was little anyone else could do to stop him. They were greeted at the door by a distracted Hollyhock, too immerse between his cellphone and his surroundings before he could actually acknowledge their presence.

- Guess I should get used to your face now - he mocked to Kansas

- I’m hurt, thought you were quite aware of it by now, with all the memories and that-- - he laughed, checking to his right side and suddenly nodding casually

Dragon followed his line of vision just in time to catch Ghost sliding back into the shadows.

- I have a very selective memory - defended Hollyhock, looking the same way with a strained expression, relaxing it when he turned to look at Kansas

- More like you repressed it--

- What happens at the tables… - started the dark haired bodyguard and Kansas finally stretched a hand that Hollyhock shooked casually

- Stays at the tables - completed the lean man and nodded towards Kyo - take care of this one, I don’t want Sea AND The Princess on my back--

- Queen - corrected Hollyhock quickly - It’s The Queen now, he earned it

- Now I’m more scared of getting on his bad side - smiled Kansas - Have fun with The Queen then - he added and gave a little pat to Dragon’s back before making his way back to the black car

Kyo watched his bodyguard go in silence, Hollyhock giving a quick look around before signaling for him to get inside the house.

- So he changed his name… - started Dragon softly, not sure what to make of it

- Yeah, seemed more fitting - answered the other man as he undid his ponytail to redo it again - He’s probably in his room, we’re kinda giving him some space after what happened yesterday

- That seems the opposite of what you should be doing - commented Kyo a little roughly and for the first time he saw something similar to seriousness on Hollyhock’s usually smug face

- I’m not gonna sleep next to him, I’m content enough knowing the house is full of people right now and he has only one window in that room - he sighed and rolled his shoulders - I’ll leave the intimate care to you...

There it was again, the smug smile, the tension relieved, Hollyhock walked him all the way towards Ruki’s bedroom despite Dragon already knowing the way. He knocked on the double door and it flew open almost immediately, revealing a dressed down Ruki, blond curls still wet from the shower and an oversized boat neck gray sweater going unstopped until the middle of his thighs with skinny black jeans underneath. Kyo had to do a double take, then a third one, for he had never seen Ruki look so casual and so unbelievably beautiful. The Queen seemed to notice this attentive look because he blushed instantly while he hurried towards him, Dragon opened his arms by reflex and allowed the small frame to bump violently against him in a hug. Hollyhock left with a tiny smile, much different from the previous smug one, now Ruki’s arms were surrounding Kyo’s neck, squeezing tightly as he did the same to the waist hidden under all that knitwear.

- I missed you so so much - the blond whispered on his ear and Dragon was sure there was a broken and tired tone to it while the rest of the small frame seemed to dissolve inside his embrace

- Me too - he answered softly, pressing his lips against the bit of shoulder skin that was starting to peek out from the loose sweater

- I needed you-- I need you - he kept whispering and Kyo hugged tighter, at least as it was humanly possible without cracking Ruki’s ribs

-  I’m here now - he assured and felt their embrace soften, the fluffy blond no longer almost strangling him with his arms, and Kyo made sure to let go slightly off his waist too

Ruki bumped his forehead with Dragon’s, little gleams of water were falling down his cheeks as he sighed heavily, the warm air bouncing against Kyo’s lips.

- I’m a mess - the blond whispered softly, as if saying it out loud made him cringe

- I think you look beautiful - he said simply, ignoring the obvious implication of Ruki’s words in favor of a smile, that smile that still made him feel like he could go through hell and worse for it

- Shut up - mumbled the blond and Kyo saw an opportunity, getting his face closer, he stole a sudden kiss from the plump lips that received him with surprise, latching his hands to each side of Dragon’s neck as the kiss intensified, Ruki letting out a little hum as Kyo’s hands crawled up his back underneath the baggy clothes

They separated with uneven breaths and a very noticeable blush on their faces, The Queen bit his lower lip, his hands still caressing Kyo’s neck, tracing the lines of his tattoos.

- I’m starving - he let out embarrassed and Dragon burst out a little laugh

- Yeah, I’m kinda hungry too - he admitted

Ruki smiled sweetly and grabbed his hand, starting to drag him back downstairs, Dragon just then noticed the blond was barefoot as they walked through the living room to end in a luminous and empty kitchen. It just took minutes of Ruki rummaging through cupboards and drawers for Doll to stick his head inside. He was smiling and nodded at Kyo as he walked towards Ruki and took from his hands whatever he was trying to hold.

- Let me guess, Kai fired Katherine - complained the fluffy blond with a sigh, allowing Doll to take control of the situation

- We’ll hire someone new, someone that has no links to Spring - explained Doll as he took stuff out of the fridge, showing it to The Queen and waiting for his approval before continuing

- She didn’t--- - he sighed - alright... I’m gonna miss her

- Yeah, she made a mean chocolate cake - remarked Hollyhock getting inside the kitchen too and sitting at the small table, watching them amused, Ruki threw him a nasty look

- What are you here for? - he complained, getting distracted as Kyo joined Doll and started cutting fruits

- I saw you coming down here and I thought I’d stay for the once in a lifetime opportunity of watching you cook - Hollyhock explained, taking out his cellphone and lifting his legs to a chair next to him - but Doll spoiled the fun of watching you burn the kitchen down

- I can cook, you know - complained Ruki pushing the bodyguard’s legs off the chair

- He’s just saying that because you’re here Dragon - laughed Hollyhock, making the blond blush heavily and swat at him

Kyo and Doll smiled in complicity, Ruki got closer to them, laying his hip against the counter at Dragon’s side. The dark haired man took the chance to fetch one of the fruits he had cut and take it near the blond’s lips. Ruki smiled before taking it in his mouth, licking his lower lip afterwards in a too suggestive way. They both held their breath looking at each other, something electrified the air between them and Kyo couldn’t help but feel relief, whatever had drove them apart and built that dense wall between them was gone now. Ruki blinked real slowly but didn’t raise his sight, taking it to Dragon’s hands instead, the black haired man smiled knowingly before grabbing another piece of fruit and pressing it against the plump lips. Hollyhock and Doll kept their diligent ignorance of what was happening near them, Aoi pretended to browse through his cellphone, his gaze instead fixed longingly on the other bodyguard’s back. Doll had a small smile on his face and darted shy looks to his side from time to time, he couldn’t avoid a sense of dread, of peace before a storm, but they deserved that calm even if it was short-lived. The Queen deserved something truthful and pure in his life for once, he took his dark gaze at the fluffy blond’s face, watching those greenish gray eyes shine brightly with every attention Dragon dedicated him, the smiles never leaving their faces.

Both bodyguards left them alone to enjoy the improvised brunch, a dense feeling of intimacy driving anyone else away. For a big part of their meal, they kept the silence, realizing how starved they actually were. Kyo was the first to break it, not because it wasn’t enjoyable, but just to hear Ruki’s purring voice again, even if it was just spatting nonsense.

- I was starting to think you wore those suits even to bed - he said calmly as he drank a little more of his coffee

- I kinda do, don’t I? - laughed Ruki - I mean, I’m always falling asleep on them - he explained scratching his cheek with his index finger

- I think this suits you better - continued Dragon, touching the knitted fabric hiding the porcelain skin, lingering on his touch all over Ruki’s arm until reaching his hand, the blond grabbed it almost instinctively

- No way you’re gonna see me in this outside of here - he whispered, leaning his head to a side to watch Dragon’s expression better

- Guess not, after all a Queen should dress accordingly - Kyo smiled but the fluffy blond winced at the comment

- Hollyhock told you, didn’t he - he mumbled, taking a mug to his lips

- Yeah, did he name you The Princess too?

- No, that was Morrie - answered the blond simply

- Did it ever bother you? - Ruki shrugged in answer, finally drinking from the mug

- I got used to it, it catched on rather quickly so it wasn’t like I could’ve changed it - he suddenly looked a little uncomfortable as he lowered down his voice - they used to call me “little mouse” before that, so I was happy with the change

- “Little mouse”? - smiled Kyo sweetly - seriously?

- Yeah, because I was always sneaking up on them so Pierrot kinda started calling me that-- that was the only nickname Spring ever used for me - he shrugged again - after Morrie changed it, he started calling me by my name

- Were you close to Pierrot? - wondered Dragon carefully, remembering all the intel that had been handed to him about the silent assassin under Mr.Spring’s control

Ruki just hummed his answer while he stuffed his face with food, Kyo didn’t miss the heavy blush that had formed on his cheeks while he averted the dark haired’s eyes.

- Maybe later, hm? - he smiled sweetly but the blond still didn’t look at him

- It’s complicated - he grumbled avoiding his eyes at all costs

- I bet it isn't - retorted Kyo with a calm smile

- He’s a sadistic douchebag but he was… nice to me - he hurried another bite before anything else could be said

- And… - prodded Dragon, drawing circles with his thumb on Ruki’s hand

- And he taught me a lot--- like.. a-lot. - he put the emphasis in the last two words and finally turned to look at Kyo’s dark eyes - ...he-- he was my first - he avoided to look at him again, gulping the last of his coffee down

Dragon couldn’t hide his surprise, but smiled anyway at Ruki’s honesty, holding his hand tenderly and pulling a little from it to get his attention. The fluffy blond looked him in the eyes, the heavy blush still lingering, but he didn’t avoid it when Kyo leaned closer to get to his lips, kissing them softly. They closed their eyes for a moment and let the kiss end, when they opened them again, Ruki could swear there was a pink hue on Dragon’s skin too.

- What about you? - he asked in a whisper, Kyo smiled

- College, not very memorable - Dragon answered simply, shrugging a little bit

- That’s a very top thing to say - joked The Queen and pushed his shoulder slightly, making Kyo burst a laugh

- Well, maybe it was memorable for him, as Pierrot must have been memorable for you - Ruki pursed his lips in a sweet smile

- Yeah, he was - he said absentmindedly - but then you showed up and kinda spoiled everyone else for me-

This time he was damn sure there was a blush on Kyo’s cheeks as he scratched his neck awkwardly. He was gonna thank the compliment but Ruki had already half his body up the table to get closer to him, pressing his lips without a warning against Dragon’s while he digged his fingers through short black hair. Kyo kept his balance by grabbing him from his arms, the knit sweater slipping off both his shoulders now and a sudden urge to bite into them filled Dragon’s head. He moved his lips towards Ruki’s jaw, neck, hearing his soft pants as he finally got to his objective, digging carefully his teeth on the clavicule before sucking on it, causing a little surprised huff from the plump lips. They parted as fast as they started it, looking at each other’s eyes intensely, Ruki bit his lower lip and Kyo kept the silence, but a greenish gray pair of eyes looking up was the signal he needed. The Queen got up quickly and Dragon followed suit, unsurprisingly, their way towards the bedroom was completely open, not curious looks or sarcastic comments as everyone pretended not to even be in the same house. Kyo couldn’t help but wonder if Scar was actually at the house in that moment and if that was going to be a problem, but Ruki grabbing his wrist and pulling from him to go faster shoved the thought away as they rushed up the stairs.

Dragon didn’t miss how The Queen locked the bedroom door behind them, confirming his previous suspicion that the jealous bodyguard was in fact inside the house. But Kyo didn’t have much time to think about that as Ruki pushed him until his legs met the bed and he fell backwards on it, bouncing slightly on the incredibly soft surface. The fluffy blond straddled him on the bed, leaning forward, his hands on Kyo’s chest as their lips met again, more roughly due to the strained position. Ruki’s fingers started scratching their way towards the hem of Kyo’s shirt and pulling from it, revealing the formed abs with a satisfied grin. Dragon sighed as he incorporated on his elbows to allow the blond to take the garnet off. Greedy hands didn’t take a second to trace his chest, going down to his stomach, tracing the tattoos here and there. Kyo took tentative hands to Ruki’s hips, climbing his way up his waist, pushing the oversized sweater up until the blond took the hint and promptly discarded it to a side. Dragon could still see the faintest of marks on the porcelain skin but decided to kiss the plump lips instead, being regarded with the same intensity, their tongues shyly meeting again after what seemed like centuries.

- I missed you so much - whispered Ruki between little pants, feeling Kyo’s strong arms crawling their way up his back, scratching it carefully before holding it in place

Dragon distracted the blond’s hungry mouth with another effusive kiss as he finally pushed their bodies sideways, quickly changing positions, leaving The Queen now under him. They bounced against the unbelievably soft bed, Ruki chuckling softly at this, taking his arms slightly to cover his chest. Kyo took it as an invitation to move them, kissing his way down the blond’s chest, replacing every lingering mark with a new loving kiss, feeling Ruki’s heart beat violently under the skin, his hands a little doubtful as they grabbed him by the shoulders. The Queen squeezed him hard when Kyo’s hands finally reached the skinny jeans waist, the heavy panting stopping suddenly.

- Kyo-- I… - he started in a whisper and Dragon lifted his head to catch a glimpse at the greenish gray gaze now avoiding his

- Ssshh - he said softly, pressing a kiss against Ruki’s stomach, taking his skillful fingers to the button and then the zipper and undoing it quickly, grabbing the garment by the waist and taking it off in a swift motion, revealing the white soft skin underneath, part of it still covered by the underwear

The Queen was definitely avoiding to look at Dragon’s eyes now, and Kyo took in a shaky breath as he assimilated the sight in front of him, fainted bruises were still on the inside of his thighs and the red he was sure he had seen around his ankles was now a fading shade of purple. He swallowed hard, noticing how long he had been quiet as Ruki’s expression broke into distress, his lips opened shakily but Kyo made the move first, trapping them with his, kissing the blond’s anguish away. He took his hands carefully up the porcelain skin, pressing his fingertips against the thickest part of his thighs, squeezing the skin softly before climbing up the waist, surrounding it and lifting Ruki from the bed, pulling him in an embrace that the blond was quick to answer, wrapping Kyo’s neck with his arms.

- I’m sorry - he whispered against Dragon’s ear, the older man took his hands to Ruki’s soft back

- You don’t have anything to be sorry about - Kyo whispered back, hugging him tightly

Dragon took his lips against quivering ones, kissing them gently before starting to kiss his way towards Ruki’s jaw again, descending on his neck, sucking slowly on it, breaking a soft pant from the plushy lips, Kyo let go the now reddening skin, sighing on it.

- Shall I? - he asked softly and The Queen hugged tighter, nodding with his eyes closed as he buried his face awkwardly in the crook of Dragon’s neck

Kyo took advantage of the position to drop Ruki’s back again on the bed, straddling him in all fours as he kissed his way down his chest and stomach, his hands slowly drawing the sides of the blond’s legs, lifting them as he kneeled between them, now taking daring hands to the underwear waistband. They shared a significant look, Ruki’s blushed cheeks and slightly drunk expression too alluring to pass by, Kyo decided to steal a kiss from him, deepening it quickly to distract him while he got rid of the underwear. Dragon stopped on his way for a minute, separating himself from Ruki and actually staring at the whole naked body in front of him, tilting his head slightly.

- What? - asked the blond nervously, taking his hands to Kyo’s arms

- Nothing -  he started a little distracted - It’s just I’ve never seen you completely naked

This prompted a new flush of embarrassment on Ruki, reflecting it instantly on his reddened cheeks and ears, he took his feet towards Kyo’s abdomen and pushed him backwards.

- Shut up and get naked too - he mumbled in complain and Dragon obeyed with a little laugh, embarrassingly realizing he still had his shoes on, he turned around to sit on the bed’s edge to remove them

The Queen took this distraction to cling to Kyo’s strong back, resting his chin on his shoulder before starting to make his way up with kisses, working on the dark haired man’s ear, biting softly on the earlobe before planting another kiss on Dragon’s neck. The older man let out a ticklish laugh, hurrying his work on the shoes and taking a hand to his back afterwards, he felt his way around the pant’s waist just in time to meet Ruki’s curious hands on it too. A soft silence formed between them as the blond allowed Kyo to remove the gun holster from his pants along with his belt. Dragon waited for The Queen to say something, maybe he also waited for Kyo to explain something instead, but none of them spoke, the plump lips slowly dragging his way back towards the dark haired’s face, soft and silent kisses as white porcelain arms wrapped his chest again. Dragon smiled knowingly before finally pulling off his pants and underwear together, turning around quickly enough to destabilize Ruki and drop him on the bed again.

- I see you’re determined to keep me here - the blond laughed, letting Kyo meet his lips roughly, holding onto his shoulders as the kiss intensified, they parted with uneven breaths - I’m sorry you had to arm up-- - he added in a whisper and Dragon denied with his head

- Stop apologizing - he said sweetly and trapped his lips once again in a soft kiss - Let me guess, bedside table? - Kyo added with a smile and Ruki returned it with a nod

Dragon incorporated on the bed to reach the bedside drawer, opening it and starting to rummage his way in it, taking little time to find what they needed, removing the now mythic black pouch from inside of it.

- I thought you had a lamp - he commented casually as he took out the content of the little bag

- Ah, yeah-- I did until this morning - laughed the fluffy blond a little embarrassed - I’m not a morning person...

- I know that - Kyo laughed, stealing another kiss from the plump lips, letting their tongues meet again slowly and intimately, his hands cupping Ruki’s face before tracing their way down towards his chest and waist, the blond let out a little moan as Dragon took his expert hands to the soft thighs, parting them slightly and getting set between them

Kyo took the little plastic bottle first, dripping some of its content on his hand before taking it carefully to Ruki’s half-erect member. The blond let out a surprised moan when Dragon started stroking it slowly, taking his lips towards the skin available near him, sucking kisses on Ruki’s stomach and climbing to his chest when the younger propped himself on his elbows. Their eyes met suddenly and the eagerness could almost be touched as The Queen buckled his hips a little against Kyo’s hand. The blond made a big effort to sit down, despite Dragon not stopping his soft movement on his skin, the dark haired man took his closeness to his advantage and stole another passionate kiss from the plump lips, tracing a wet path down his jaw and neck, feeling the blond’s gentle hands on his hair now. Ruki let out a warning moan when Kyo’s rhythim increased, taking his hands to the strong arms and pushing him slightly.

- I need you - he panted, trying to bury his face on Dragon’s neck, but the position separated them again as the older man used his free hand to grab another small bottle from the pouch

- I’m right here - he whispered back, getting closer so The Queen could finally manage to press his forehead against his shoulder, he poured the content of the second bottle on Ruki’s offering hand, getting their bodies even more closer as the white porcelain fingers wrapped around Kyo’s member

They kept their faces extremely close, pressing kisses on each other as their hands moved almost simultaneously. Ruki felt a soft shiver run through his back and bumped his forehead against Kyo, stopping his movement on the other’s already hard member.

- Kyo… - he moaned sweetly and Dragon nodded once, letting go of The Queen and taking his hands to the soft thighs, parting them on each side of his waist as he positioned himself against his entrance, he freed a hand to guide himself, waiting for Ruki’s little nod before pushing it inside

The Queen’s breath halted as he got used to the feeling again, the lubricant making it easier for Kyo to push himself up to the hilt, taking a small moment to adjust, feeling Ruki’s breath against his shoulder as he dragged wet lips up his neck. Dragon pulled back and gave another tentative push inside of him, the soft pleasurable moan that came out of Ruki’s lips urged him to move faster. Kyo wrapped the blond’s back with his strong arms, Ruki responding by hugging his shoulders, pressing his thighs against the sides of Dragon’s hips. Another pull and another push and Ruki’s soft hums were replaced by loud moans, crying out his name as Kyo pushed him back on the bed, grabbing from his thighs to split them further, pressing his body closer to Ruki, making a full retreat before pushing himself again roughly. The blond took his hands to Kyo’s shoulders, holding him steady while the dark haired man rammed himself quickly against him, the overwhelming feeling of Ruki’s flesh all around him, the hotness of their limbs, their ragged breaths and the non stopping moans leaving the parted plump lips. Dragon took a quick hand towards Ruki’s member, pumping it once, feeling around him the shiver and clenching all around the blond’s body, he gave two more pumps and Ruki spent himself loudly on his hand, crying out his name while Kyo took some more pushes to do the same, the shiver running through his spine and leaving him breathless, dropping his forehead against the blond’s chest.

They remained linked for some more minutes, waiting for their breaths to even, Dragon too much aware of the immaculate duvet that was still under them and the recklessness in both of them to skip the condom again. He looked at Ruki’s overwhelmed face for a second, the greenish gray eyes focused with some difficulty on him again, he shifted slowly.

- Bag - he let out with a hoarse voice and stretched one of his arms towards the little black pouch, retrieving a packet of wet towels

Kyo bit a smile while he took them from them and started cleaning his body, Ruki huffing surprised at the feeling of the wet towel against his still sensitive member.

- I’m still amazed at how prepared you always are - laughed Kyo softly as he now moved the work to the most abused area of their encounter, hearing Ruki’s complaining moan as he wiped it clean

- You can never be too prepared - answered the blond in a low voice, a heavy blush forming on his cheeks

Kyo laughed sweetly, tossing all the spent mess in a metal bucket nearby, noticing for the first time the desk cramped with papers and books. He could almost feel Ruki’s stare all over his heavily tattooed back, following the curve of his ass until he let out a complaining grunt.

- Why are you all the way over there? - he demanded, rolling to his side to see him better, Kyo had papers in his hand and looked curiously among the ones still on the desk

- Apparently I’m learning about you - smiled Dragon sweetly, reading through the messy scribbles, recognizing metaphors and comparisons, between the papers there were small piles of poetry books and some language textbooks, this was a whole new side of The Queen and he was not gonna just let it go that easily, feeling the eagerness to know every detail about it

- Kyo - complained the blond once again, his voice deep and purring, achieving the attention of the dark haired man, who held his breath when he turned around to look at the body sprawled on the bed, his head propped on one hand and the rest of his body a sinuous curve until reaching the anxious little tapping of his finger toes

Dragon smiled pleasantly as he finally left the papers on the desk, climbing up the bed and crawling the rest of the way towards Ruki, stealing a kiss when he reached his face, the blond touching his cheek immediately with his free hand, taking it to his nape as Kyo’s tongue made his way inside his mouth, being met by another effusive tongue. They broke the kiss when they ran out of air, bumping their foreheads together.

- A croupier with a thing for poetry then - he laughed softly and Ruki pouted

- I stopped being a croupier years ago, get your facts right - he answered pretending to be annoyed, starting to drag his feet against the duvet to undo the bed

- Sorry, sorry - Kyo kissed his cheek while he helped, raising the sheets too and getting Ruki and him under them - you do realize is the middle of the afternoon, right? -  he asked with a sweet smile and The Queen snorted

- Yeah, like I care - he let out and he laid his fluffy blond head on top of Kyo’s chest - it’s not poetry-- they--they’re actually songs… - Dragon hummed in answer, taking an arm to embrace Ruki’s body, caressing the skin near him - I kinda wanted to be a musician, that’s why I moved into the city-- - he sighed softly, getting more comfortable on top of Dragon’s body - that’s all in the past now tho….

As usual, Kyo had more questions than answers, but he could connect the dots of Ruki’s fall from grace pretty easily. A teen with a lot of dreams getting caught and chewed by the merciless city, probably another country boy, much like himself. He smiled as he closed his eyes, feeling the weight of The Queen’s body more heavily on his own as the blond fell asleep.



Chapter Text

Daylight still illuminated the bedroom when Kyo opened his eyes, soft breathing against his neck and an unbelievable warm against his side warned him that Ruki would need at least one more hour. Dragon moved the naked body on top of him slowly, dropping it carefully on the pillow and covering it with the duvet as he left the bed. He felt very exposed extremely quickly and moved to grab his pants, putting them on, noticing the gun holster and picking it too, feeling a little weird carrying it with him still topless into the bathroom.

While he washed his hands and face, Dragon heard the tiniest noise coming from the window, a silhouette contoured by sunlight was waiting on the other side. Kyo didn’t knew many people that could miraculously climb walls up to the third floor, so he opened expecting what was on the other side.

- Kyo - let out Ghost a little surprised, and instantly wandered his gaze from his face all the way down to his bare feet

- I’m so glad I’m wearing pants - said Dragon with a little smile, Ghost laughed

- Me too - he admitted and sat better at the window frame - I wanted to speak to Queen but Raven is giving me a hard time, he’s even watching me right now

Dragon tilted his head and moved closer to Ghost to peek out from the window, as stated, to his right there was a tall extremely thin man sitting on the balcony railing of the second floor. Raven was smoking calmly and waved a hand at Kyo as soon as he saw him.

- I see what you mean - smiled Dragon a little amused

- Anyway - sighed Ghost - Seraph is on his way here, so far we haven’t spot anyone on the perimeter-- Apparently Spring doesn’t even talk about Queen… we think he probably just took a chance last night…

- So you think he won’t do it again - granted Dragon, Ghost made a face

- Not yet - he said noncommittally

- Regardless, you should leave, you’re making everyone nervous - the other man nodded - I’ll make sure Seraph gets home safely

- Understood - answered Ghost simply and went through the window again, Kyo could see Raven waving at him still sitting on the balcony, the shorter male stared at him before disappearing again

Naturally, Kyo had time to spare even after getting dress, so far The Queen had rolled over just once, facing the nearest wall next to the bed. Dragon considered waking him up, but a comfortable sigh left the plump lips and he didn’t find it in him to interrupt such pleasant sleep. He ventured a tiny kiss on Ruki’s cheek, receiving a complaining moan in answer while the blond shrank his body further inside the bed. Kyo felt bad for leaving The Queen to wake up alone, but there was so much he could do inside his bedroom without feeling he was invading too much privacy too soon. He made his way downstairs, surprised to find the nearest rooms empty, taking his time to recognize the welcoming living room, its eclectic furniture with recognizable damage from use. Dragon noticed how the kitchen was pristine again and wondered if Doll was too much of an obvious answer for the neatness. He found a sort of office, with a messy desk, bookshelves on the wall and an arched doorway leading directly to a pool table, dents could be easily seen on the velvety surface. Kyo smiled at a house very much alive, it was different from Mr.Sea’s state, you could feel welcomed at the incredible mansion, but The Queen’s house felt more like a home.

Dragon found a second staircase that led both to the second floor and the basement, he assumed the second floor had most of the bodyguard’s rooms. Kyo wondered who the balcony room belonged to, a little confused that Ruki skipped that room in favor of his barely lighted one. He opted for the basement, being full aware that he would find at least one of them there, unless they all shared their boss taste for naps.

Kyo heard them before he saw them, Hollyhock’s loud voice shouting random numbers, panting and what sounded like Scar asking him to shut up. He now definitely felt like a trespasser, deciding to make his way back, but the angle of the stairs made him be seen before anything could be avoided.

- Yo! Dragon! - he heard Hollyhock’s voice coming from somewhere he still couldn’t see - Come, come - the loud voice added, despite the rest of the noises having suddenly stopped

Dragon finished going down the stairs, being received by three different expressions, he bit his lips at the scene. Hollyhock looked incredibly entertained, Kai looked angry as usual, but the sweat that trickled down his face and plastered his brown hair against his forehead added to the tired expression he also bore. Both Scar and him were wearing tank tops and they both looked just as tired, but Kyo could swear Scar’s black warm eyes were looking at him almost painfully, with a hurt expression.

- Wanna have a round against Scar? - Hollyhock asked standing up from the couch he was occupying, shaking money bills on Kyo’s face

- Who are you even betting with? - asked Scar annoyed, drinking from a blue liquid bottle nearby

- Tsuzuku didn’t think you could beat Kai, so I took it upon myself to make him regret it - he put an arm around Dragon’s shoulders - So Dragon, will you join the bet? or would you rather join the fight? - Hollyhock raised his eyebrows expectantly, Kai took the distraction to grab a water bottle and pour some of it on his head before drinking from it

- Aoi - he finally said - Ruki will kill you in any of those scenarios, so drop it

Kyo sighed a laugh.

- And I don’t think he’ll leave me off the hook that easily either...

- If you win he will - teased Hollyhock and Scar crushed his now empty bottle

- Yeah, let’s do it - he said running a hand through his hair

- Reita - warned Kai, now taking the couch against the wall

- No no, I wanna do it-- If you think you’re the only thing that takes to keep Ruki safe, let’s see how well you do

Dragon looked at Scar straight to the eyes, Hollyhock let go of his shoulders and moved a step closer to Scar, the blond man put a hand out to stop him.

- Let him answer, what do you say Kyo? - he let out harshly

Kyo took a moment to stare at him, taking some air in and letting it out with a sigh.

- I say that there’s no outcome to a fight that would please Ruki - he said calmly, Scar seemed to slowly drop the arm that was stopping Hollyhock from interjecting - I know punching me would make you feel much better about a lot of things - he continued and dared to move a step closer to Scar - but I know that Ruki is more important to you than that and you wouldn’t do anything to make him upset in any way...

Dragon stretched out a hand and Scar backed away slightly, still frowning at him, the adrenaline still running too strongly through him, he closed his eyes. Scar breathed in and he breathed out again, when he opened his eyes again, Kyo still had his arm stretched towards him, a skinny fingered hand still being offered. The tall bodyguard crushed it into a handshake.

- I hate that you’re right - he grunted and Kyo answered the motion, wrapping his fingers around Scar’s hand tightly

- Dammit, I was really rooting for you Scar - Hollyhock whined while he went past him, patting him on the shoulder

Scar let go of Kyo’s handshake and went near a small fridge close to the stairs, grabbing another strange colored bottle and drinking half of it in the first gulp.

- Why aren’t you with Ruki? - asked Kai, a big strain on his tone to make it sound more polite than it actually was

- He’s asleep - answered Dragon simply, Hollyhock sighed a laugh

- Of course he is, should’ve called him “sleeping beauty” instead - said the dark haired bodyguard as he sprawled on a single sofa chair besides the big couch

- Raven was at his window if that concerns you - added Kyo, and Kai nodded a little more naturally

- Yeah, I know, he’s been there all day

- Kai wouldn’t even let him take a piss, can you imagine Dragon? - asked Hollyhock faking a concerned face

- Shut the fuck up Aoi - grunted Reita from a corner, still avoiding to get near the rest of them

- Respect your elders - answered Hollyhock without batting an eyelash and his cellphone made a little sound - That’s probably Raven begging to go to the bathroom - he laughed and took the device to his face, pursing his lips - got it wrong, it’s actually Doll, he found something interesting on our door…

- You mean the door where you should be right now? - asked Scar rolling his eyes

- Aoi - warned Kai and Hollyhock directed a nasty stare at him, Dragon was actually surprised of seeing again something similar to seriousness on the black haired usually relaxed features

- Kai - he answered flatly - don’t make me pull the senior card on you too - he added quickly while he typed on his cellphone and finally got up, his mood changing again like flicking a light switch - Would you wake up the sleeping beauty for us, please? - he put a hand on Kyo’s shoulder before making his way upstairs again

The tense silence that stayed after Hollyhock’s exist was uninviting to say the least, Scar moved to the now empty single sofa chair, avoiding to look at anyone while he kept drinking from the strange colored liquid. Dragon sighed, he figured he had many years to come for fixing whatever wasn’t working between him and Scar, he knew for sure he’d have to do it eventually if his relationship with Ruki kept on the path that had already started.

- Guess I’ll wake him up then - he said simply, and Kai nodded at him, he looked a little more calm, but there was still an edge of violence in his posture and the tense way in which he grabbed the water bottle

Scar didn’t nod, but he did look at Kyo as he climbed his ways back upstairs, the shorter man pretended not to notice, continuing without looking back until reaching The Queen’s bedroom. Inside, the blond was already sitting on the bed when he opened the door, rubbing his eyes with a vexed expression.

- I woke up and you weren’t here - he complained, but he sounded slightly more disappointed than angry

- I’m sorry - said Kyo sweetly, surrounding the bed before climbing it to steal a slow kiss from the sleepy Queen - to be honest, I thought you would still be asleep…

- That’s a fair assumption - smiled Ruki and drowsily stretched himself to cling from Kyo’s shoulders - I’ll allow it - he sentenced pressing their lips together again

Dragon felt he was now too aware of how naked The Queen still was, so he decided to divert his eyes elsewhere while he was released from the embrace.

- I should warn you Seraph is coming - reminded Kyo softly and Ruki nodded

- Yeah, I know - he said showing him his cellphone - he texted me a while ago… he uses way to much exclamation marks - he sighed before dragging his legs to a side of the bed - I should get dress-- I should find my clothes - he added looking around a little lost

Dragon moved to a side and grabbed the clothes he had folded from the desk chair, offering them to Ruki in a gentle motion, The Queen grabbed them with a sweet smile.

- Aaw, what would I do without you? - he let out softly while he stood up, covering himself slightly with the bundle of clothes on his way to the bathroom, his ears reddening while he walked, knowing too well that Kyo was watching his every move

Dragon sat on the edge of the bed, it didn’t take long for Ruki to show up from the dressing room’s door, standing right in front of him.

- How did you do that? - asked Kyo confused and The Queen smiled at him like he was a two year-old

- There’s a door - he said slowly, pointing at the bathroom - they’re connected through a door inside, didn’t you see it?

- Not really - answered Dragon a little embarrassed - I got distracted-

- By your dick? - Ruki raised an eyebrow

- By Ghost! - blurted out Kyo, blushing up to his forehead

- Nothing to be ashamed of - he said with a sly smile as he walked up to him, bending his body forward to get his face near Dragon’s - I’d be distracted by your dick too--

Kyo shoved him to a side, getting a burst of laughter in return, Ruki gleefully returning to his original spot to cup his cheeks and steal a quick kiss from him.

- Is Ghost gone now? - he asked softly once they parted

- Yeah, I told him to leave

- Thanks, I couldn’t really bring myself to kick him out - he admitted while he rummaged on the bed for his cellphone - but he was putting everyone a little on edge-- more than usual at least. Let’s go.

Dragon turned around to see The Queen walking towards the doorway, same casual clothes but this time he was wearing flat black boots on his feet. Kyo got up quickly to follow him downstairs, while he watched Ruki’s distracted steps, concentrated on his cellphone screen, making him take each step incredibly slowly, he remembered the second staircase.

- Ruki…

- Hm? - replied the blond, his eyes never leaving the screen

- Which’s the room with the balcony?

- Ah, that’s Doll’s - he stopped for a moment to look at him - why?

- I just thought it was odd that you didn’t take the master bedroom, that’s all - he smiled a little embarrassed, but Ruki seemed unfazed

- I did actually, it was mine- then I gave it to Doll - he explained simply, the voices from the living room distracting him

When they reached the source, they found Hollyhock and Doll sitting on the double couch with Seraph taking the single one next to the window, holding a deck of cards on his hand. The Queen looked at them curious from a side as both bodyguards took a card from Seraph’s hand and stared at it.

- Am I interrupting something? - asked Ruki, leaning on the back of the couch, peering at their cards before looking at Seraph

- Sssh Ruki, he’s gonna guess our cards - complained Hollyhock, but Doll and Seraph had already left them on the table

- We can leave that for another day - the lean blond smiled apologetically - I’m sorry Queen, I didn’t mean to overstep-- It’s just-- this is a very welcoming home-- - Ruki waved a hand at him

- No need to apologize - he went over them and Seraph stood up immediately, offering his hand, The Queen took it in a quick handshake before going to sit in the spot Doll had abandoned to stand at his left

Seraph noticed Dragon before sitting down again, smiling sweetly at him and stretching again his hand to pat him on the shoulder.

- It’s good to see you Seraph - greeted Kyo, looking a little anxious and feeling a lot out of place, but Hollyhock standing up and Ruki patting the now empty place next to him seemed to ground him again, he took the hint, awkwardly sitting next to the blond

- Are you gonna change your nickname too, Dragon? - joked Hollyhock, taking the empty single sofa on the other side - because I have some ideas---

The Queen glared at him and the black haired bodyguard bit his lower lip into a smile, something unspoken thicked the air, but soon the greenish gray eyes were fixed on Seraph again. The lean blond waited for Ruki’s little nod before reaching into his briefcase, taking out several manila folders and presenting them on the coffee table.

- Seraph, would you like something to drink? - asked The Queen suddenly, Doll had been leaning next to his face, whispering on his ear, and was now standing straight after the question

- Just tea is fine, thank you - answered Seraph politely

- Dragon? - asked Doll softly but his deep voice still startled him

- Ah, the same - Kyo said absentmindedly distracted by Ruki that was already opening the folders, looking at a bunch of photographed eyes that stared back at him

Doll nodded and left the living room, Kyo thought Hollyhock would follow him, but he was more interested in the folder he had grabbed before anyone could tell him otherwise.

- This one’s cute, hire her - he said with a smug smile, turning one of the papers around for The Queen to see

- We’re hiring everyone, actually - commented Seraph a little shyly - Unless Ruki objects…

- I don’t - he said flatly, still staring at the faces - None of these…?

- Are linked to Mr.Spring in any way, we investigated them thoroughly… they are also not linked to Mr.Sea, as you requested... - he added in a low voice, giving a little look at Dragon’s direction

- Except for you - remarked Hollyhock, blocking his face with a folder but his dark eyes were staring right at Seraph who laughed nervously, looking at The Queen who kept his interest on a second folder - What are you looking for anyway, any exes? - added the bodyguard, running a hand through his long hair, this did get the attention of the blond that looked at him with a sneer

Dragon kept his silence, as much as Ruki was engaging him into his life, there were places where he knew he wasn’t welcomed. He was pretty sure Seraph felt exactly the same way now, as his eyes still looked nervously at The Queen but gave little glances towards Hollyhock’s direction.

- Do you want me to kick him out? - asked Ruki politely, finally leaving the folders on the table, Seraph raised both hands and denied effusively

- Th-there’s no need, honestly - he blurted out and Hollyhock seemed satisfied with that, he was about to open his mouth when Doll’s presence distracted him completely

Doll moved gracefully despite his size, leaving the tray he was carrying on the table away from the papers, pouring three cups of tea and handing the first one to The Queen who took it carefully, grazing Doll’s fingers on the way. Dragon thought the bodyguard was now avoiding to look at him, even after offering him a cup, he smiled at this. Hollyhock finally left anyway, following Doll closely on his way back to the kitchen. Seraph let out a big contained sigh when there were only the three of them left, Ruki looked at him casually, sipping from his tea.

- Yeah, he makes anyone nervous, it’s his gift - he said calmly, piling up the folders on the table

Seraph laughed anxiously, gulping down his tea to calm down, Kyo laid back on the couch, taking his time with his.

- He’s very--- - Seraph started

- Annoying? - suggested The Queen

- Fickle - Dragon completed and the lean blond pointed at him, Ruki smiled sweetly

- Yeah, and a pain in the ass - he sentenced, finishing his tea

- You seem very close - noted Seraph gently, leaving his empty cup on the table

- We are - nodded The Queen - with all of them actually…

- Very family-like -  the lean blond agreed warmly

Dragon looked at Seraph curiously, the allusion to a family and a home kept slipping out of his words and, despite feeling much of the same after experiencing The Queen’s dynamics with his bodyguards, Kyo thought it was worth noting. Ruki, however, didn’t even seem to notice this fact, staring absentmindedly at the folders, something about his expression and his posture announcing a mind adrift. Dragon took the liberty to stretch a hand out towards the fluffy blond, placing it gently on his arm, making Ruki startle.

- Sorry, you were miles away - apologized Kyo and Ruki blinked slowly at him

- Yeah I was… - he trailed off, staring at Seraph - I was thinking, that’s all - he placed a hand on top of the pile of manila folders - I’ll keep this - the taller blond nodded - and I guess I’ll see you there?

- It’s not necessary, but I can go if you need me to…

- If it’s not necessary then it’s okay, I can handle it by myself - he answered quickly, Dragon felt he should volunteer too, even if he had no idea what was going to happen, but The Queen inadvertently dissipated those thoughts by not looking at him in anyway

- Once it’s done, please, do call me - asked Seraph and moved his wrist slightly upwards, a golden watch shone brightly on it

- Are you meeting Sea? - asked Dragon and Seraph nodded solemnly

- Yes, and Red wants me to get there earlier, heavens knows why - he smiled sweetly

- Because he’s also a pain in the ass - granted Kyo and took the hand that was still on Ruki’s arm to his hair, tucking a blond lock behind his ear, making he greenish gray eyes look at him - I’ll call Kansas to take him - he announced - I’ll be right back-

Dragon waited for Ruki’s little nod before exiting the living room, he figured the office-like room was the safest place to call and was relieved to find it empty, he took a sit at the messy desk, recognizing The Queen’s calligraphy everywhere around him, although these official papers looked completely different from the messy artistic ones on the desk in his room.

 

Seraph straightened himself on the couch, keeping the sweet smile as he watched how The Queen had turned to watch Kyo go and hadn’t stopped since.

- Kyo is such a good man - he let out softly and the blond’s ears turned red

- Y-yeah - he mumbled, terrified to find his cup already empty and nothing to drown his embarrassment in

- I remember when Mr.Sea told me about him… - he started lowering a little his voice - he said that he had bought everything that belonged to a friend of his father, and he accidentally had bought his son too as part of the deal - he laughed softly - Of course that was a little exaggerated, he had bought the horses and the farm where they were raised and trained in, Kyo just happened to be living there. - Seraph leaned back on the couch, crossing his fingers on his lap - Mr.Sea told me that he still wanted things on Kyo’s name, so I had to go there with Red and make him sign a bunch of papers-- I had just started working with Mr.Sea’s family so I was very nervous - The Queen had kept his interest fixed on Seraph’s words, leaning slightly forward - But Kyo was so happy that he got to save his family’s legacy, that made me feel good about my decision. If Mr.Sea had made him so happy then he couldn’t be just another mafia boss, could he? - he cleared his throat - I mean, I know now is hard to set your feet straight, but soon you’ll feel that too--

- That was sneaky - the blond let out squinting slowly - you knew I would pay attention if you talked about Kyo, but you really wanted to talk about Sea, didn’t you?

- I’m sorry - smiled Seraph sheepishly - I know he doesn’t really mind, but it doesn’t sit right with me that you refuse his connections at every opportunity

- If he doesn’t mind, then you shouldn’t mind either - The Queen sighed, leaning back on the couch - It’s not a sign of mistrust, I do trust Sea-- I’m just tired of being in someone else’s shadow

- You are not, believe me - hurried Seraph, leaning forwards - I just think that cutting off your association with Mr.Sea so soon might be harmful for you--

- I haven’t actually cut off my association - he raised an eyebrow - You’re still here... aren’t you?

Seraph was gonna retort when Dragon came back into the living room, instantly sensing the thick air between them. He took his dark gaze from Seraph’s almost panicking expression to Ruki’s cold one.

- Kansas is on his way, he was pretty close by so he’ll get here in five…. - he turned to look at the fluffy blond, who blinked his gaze away from Seraph

- I’ll call you tomorrow then - Ruki sentenced, standing up with the manila folders in one hand, and offering the free one to the tall lean blond who shook it nervously

- Yes, thank you Ruki - he stuttered

Ruki went on the same path Kyo had just walked back from, getting lost behind the office door. Seraph sighed and slumped his shoulders forward.

- The Queen is fearsome - he whispered and Dragon took a hand to his shoulder

- What happened? - he asked softly, but couldn’t help a smile at the previous affirmation

- I might have caused Mr.Sea to lose a deal - he sighed - I mean, I don’t think it’ll happen, but I didn’t help to prevent it at all

- I don’t think Ruki would just go back on his word, don’t worry - Kyo patted the shoulder and his cellphone made a little noise - Kansas is here

- Thank you Kyo, I’ll see you soon - smiled Seraph, allowing the shorter male to walk him out

Kansas waved at Dragon, leaning against the car, opening the passenger’s door as soon as Seraph got closer, they left without saying another word, Kyo watching them leave from the open front door. When he turned around to go back inside, he stumbled upon a solid taller man, he almost lost balance if it weren’t for the firm hands now on his shoulders. Kai looked at him with a little frown.

- I’m sorry - he helped Dragon stabilize and they got inside the house again - Raven told me a car was approaching

- Yeah, it was Kansas, he took Seraph home - explained Kyo camly and Kai looked at him again

- That means you’re staying - he stated and the shorter male nodded

- I’ll leave early in the morning, I promise - he smiled and Kai blinked slowly, something almost humorous pulled at the corner of his mouth

- Then you get the privilege of waking him up

- Thank you for that - laughed Kyo, starting to walk towards the office-like room - Does Raven ever get inside the house?

This time Kai showed something more similar to a smile, huffing a little through his nose.

- Yes, he does, he’s not a dog. He’s just anxious, yesterday really shook him up

- I imagine it did that to everyone - nodded Kyo

- Of course, didn’t you think Aoi was specially obnoxious today? - he showed a crooked smile before disappearing again towards the second staircase, this time up

Chapter Text

Dragon got inside the office after a soft knock on the half-opened door, The Queen was sitting at the desk, the manila folders opened again on it, he was taking files out from their original folder and moving them to a different one.

- You really scared Seraph back there - Kyo dared to say and surprisingly, Ruki smiled at him, a little angry and a little too much in love, he allowed himself to think

- That’s what he gets for misleading me  - he said matter-of-factly, moving a rough looking man from its original folder to one labeled “GR”

- What did he say? He looked full of regret - Dragon laughed as he moved directly behind the fluffy blond, leaning forward to hug the younger’s shoulders, his face now next to Ruki’s

- He tricked me with a story about you knowing I’d fall right into it - complained Ruki and stopped what he was doing, leaning his head to a side when Kyo started pressing kisses on his cheek and down his neck

- What story? - mumbled Dragon, going down to the exposed bit of shoulder and kissing it

- When Sea bought your family's farm - he explained, breathing heavily between kisses - and he twisted it into a speech about Sea’s kindness

Dragon laughed on the skin, now pink from the treatment, causing a small shiver from Ruki.

- Yeah, it is expected, Seraph worships Sea - he agreed, resting his chin on the blond’s shoulder

- And you don’t? - asked Ruki raising a sculptured eyebrow

- Sea helped me a lot, he saved everything I held dear, yeah--- but he’s just a man, I guess-- now, you on the other hand… - he pressed his lips again against the nearest skin, squeezing the body in his arms slightly

- What about me? - laughed Ruki, taking his hands to Kyo’s strong arms

- If there’s someone I worship… - continued Dragon pressing his lips on the blond’s ear - that’d be you - he bit on the earlobe and The Queen’s whole body shuddered

- Aren’t you a sweet talker... - said the blond in an almost purring voice, Kyo rested his chin on the soft shoulder again

- Am I allowed to know what are those for? - he asked quietly and Ruki focused on the folders again

- You’re allowed to know anything you want - he answered and leaned his head backwards to rest it on Kyo’s shoulder, still keeping the tight hug

- Anything? - teased the older

- I feel I’ll regret saying that - mumbled Ruki but kept a sweet smile on his face all the time

- Too late now - laughed Dragon

- These are the new employees of the parlours, you figured that much - started The Queen a little more seriously - I’m just sorting them a little… as a precaution

- So Sea doesn’t know which one is working where? - suggested Kyo, letting go a little of the embrace to allow Ruki to keep working

- More or less, yes - he admitted - so don’t go snitching on me

- I wouldn’t even know what to tell him - assured Kyo, leaning now on the desk next to the blond while he kept moving the papers - Does that worry you sometimes? - he let out suddenly

- What? you being a snitch? - wondered Ruki, his eyes still fixed on the papers

- Yeah… and that it might all be a set up - he added with a little less confidence, this time the greenish gray eyes did fix on him

- Is it? - was the direct question and Dragon had to admit the intensity of his stare made him nervous

- You know it’s not - he sighed with a little smile

- Then why would you bring it up? - continued Ruki and now Dragon understood perfectly what Seraph meant, he had no more certainties about The Queen anymore, in just a second the blond’s expression went cold as ice, a dead stare just like the one he usually gave to Spring

- I don’t know, but I sure regret it now - confessed Kyo, making Ruki’s eyes soften

- Don’t ever do that again - he asked hastily, but a tiny smile was starting to form on his lips - You idiot - he added and resumed his work - No, I’m not worried about you snitching on me, Sea already knows pretty much everything about me…

- I’m jealous - joked the older male, hoping the remaining tension would go away, Ruki’s sudden little laugh proving his success

- I told you you could ask, didn’t I? - he smiled and stretched his hand to take Kyo’s

Dragon pretended to think with Ruki’s eyes still on him, he took his free hand to his chin and made a little humming noise, the blond rolled his eyes.

- You have nothing to ask - he assured and Kyo smiled at him

- Nothing I’d be comfortable hearing at least - admitted the older man

- Ah, so it’s like that - nodded Ruki - you wanna know who I fucked inside this house - he resumed his task, closing one of the folders and pushing it aside

Kyo bit his lip, he never got quite used to the blond’s bluntness, but he couldn’t really deny he was grateful that The Queen went straight to the point. He surrounded the desk to sit on the chair in front of it, crossing his legs and leaning back.

- I’m listening - he said seriously and Ruki bit a smile, holding his laugh back

- I bet you can figure it out all by yourself - he said pretending to be uninterested but stopped working on the folders anyway

- Well, Scar for a start - he held up a finger

- Are you seriously going to make a list of all my sexual partners? - the blond laughed - do you need help? are you gonna order them chronologically or by how much they make you jealous? - he teased, leaning forward on the desk

- Stop it - complained Dragon, but he was also laughing - I’m scared of counting them actually… I would need to use my toes too

The Queen took a hand to his chest, faking offence, stretching that hand to grab Kyo’s with a little difficulty.

- I said inside this house - he grunted because of the uncomfortable position, half of his body laying on top of the desk, he pressed down two of Dragon’s fingers, leaving the three middle ones up - See? you can use just one hand

- Scar… and… - he took his free hand to his chin, Ruki was glaring at him, moving backwards to sit again on his chair - Doll?

- I never touched Doll - he answered a little too quickly and Kyo made a mind note to address that later, Ruki turned serious for half a second before relaxing his features again - I feel like it’s already too easy for you starting to guess, there’s just three people left--

- Hollyhock then - Dragon stated, he felt now that was the most obvious answer, due to the intel he had skimmed through a long time ago and the years they’ve been together, it just made sense - ...and Kai?-- this is a very uncomfortable conversation

- You started it - shrugged Ruki

- So, not Raven or Doll-- wait… - he stared at the blond and saw how his eyebrow raised instantly - wasn’t Kai-- nevermind-- I don’t wanna know - he raised his hands in the air, blushing slightly at the rest of the intel about The Queen’s bodyguards and the reputation Kai had uphold long before even meeting the blond

Ruki couldn’t shake off his smile by now, leaning back on his chair, watching Kyo regret every single word he said in the last minutes, avoiding to look him in the eyes after remembering what had made Kai infamous before he became a bodyguard.

- You’re cute, do you like that kind of things too? because by now I’m quite the expert… - he teased

- I regret this conversation completely - Dragon sighed - I guess I don’t have to know everything

- You could’ve asked literally anything else - laughed Ruki and a soft sound coming from his pocket distracted him, he took out his cellphone a little confused - ah- are you staying for dinner? - he asked suddenly and Kyo realized just how late it was, his last meal seemed far away in the past, he nodded - Tsk - The Queen let out, his eyes still fixed on the screen - we still haven’t hired a cook--

- And that’s a problem because…

- Doll will offer to cook again for us and I don’t want him to do that - he pursed his lips and started typing furiously on his phone

- You’re using your phone to talk to people that are feets away - Kyo rolled his eyes but Ruki ignored him, still typing - why don’t you want him to cook for everyone?

- Doll is not a servant - he grunted, his cellphone chirping repeatedly every time he wrote another sentence

- He does live here, if he wants to do it why not let him? - he prodded but the blond exhaled noisily

- I know that-- It’s complicated - he left the phone on the desk with a frustrated expression - He already started dinner-- - Ruki rolled his eyes and dropped his weight against the chair’s back

- I could help, I don’t mind, so you stop pouting - Kyo got up his chair and surrounded the desk towards the blond

- I’m not pouting - complained Ruki as he did just that - It’s just-- he’s not my servant but he keeps doing these--- servant things...

Dragon laughed before pressing his lips against the blond’s pout, feeling him relax a little, he took a hand softly to Ruki’s cheek.

- You stay here and keep working, I’m gonna make sure Doll doesn’t do too many servant things

Ruki sneered at him but didn’t answer, closing his eyes with a sigh and straightening his back, watching the folders boredly. Dragon watched him a little more before leaving the room and walking towards the kitchen. He was actually surprised to find Raven inside, putting out the contents of the grocery bags that were laid on the table, Doll was already on the counter, slow cutting noises coming from it. Raven noticed Kyo with a smile on his handsome face and Dragon was surprised to find himself questioning why he had been exempt of Ruki’s sexual intentions.

- Doll, let me help you - he chose to say instead, abandoning the ideas that the blond’s honesty had ingrained in his brain

- There’s no need, really, I don’t mind - he answered softly, watching Kyo with the same vacant eyes he directed towards everything else

- Ruki didn’t send me, I’m here by my own free will - Dragon smiled and Doll answered

- I imagine you are - he agreed - just like I’m doing this also by my own free will

- Still, I promised not to let you do more servant things - Kyo said while he looked around - although I don’t know where anything is so you might have to keep doing some more…

Doll laughed softly and grabbed some utensils, leaving them near Kyo and the rest of the products he was going to use. He frowned a little while he resumed his work.

- Ruki very often mistakes gratitude with servitude - he sighed - so we argue a lot in these situations...

- I see, he did look a little vexed - smiled Kyo

- It’s the same with all of us really - continued Doll, Raven sighed a laugh as he finished putting everything away

- Yeah… we even gave him an intervention about that - he laughed - do you need anything else?

- No, it’s fine Tsuzuku, thank you - answered and the other man left the kitchen waving at them - Intervention might not be the right word, but we did confront him about it...

Dragon was a little surprised from the way the information was flowing, all day he had been included as if he was already part of the house. He felt warm and a little anxious, trying to pinpoint the moment he was accepted so openly.

- He’s not used to displays of gratitude so he doesn’t know how to process them - he moved to turn on the oven - and we are very grateful to him but he’s constantly undermining his importance in our lives - he sighed - he was ready to give all of us up when the debt was canceled….

- What do you mean?

- He figured he’d belong to Mr.Sea’s family after the deal was done so he thought we’d want to… I don’t know, start a new life away from him I guess… - he sighed - ...of course that idea didn’t sit well with us

- I can imagine - nodded Kyo taking a mixing bowl and pouring ingredients in it

- I’m glad we made ourselves clear, because Ruki completely misunderstood Mr.Sea

- Ah yeah, Sea didn’t want him for his family - agreed Dragon

- Then why did he do all that? - wondered Doll a little confused

- I don’t know - Kyo shrugged - I guess, like this, he’s a more useful ally… guess he was done with seeing Spring use him-- I know I was

- You did a very generous thing by giving up your life’s work for him - said Doll softly

- It just… made sense - confessed Kyo - and I really don’t feel like I gave them up… I trust them, both Sea and Ruki-- despite what he says I know I’ll get them back

- You will - nodded Doll - Ruki just speaks from fear, but Spring wouldn’t kill off a source of income… if he was that kind of person Ruki wouldn’t be here with us….

- That’s-- very blunt - laughed Kyo nervously, Doll took the mixing bowl from him, pouring the mix on his part of the job

- But it’s the truth - Doll moved to place the finished work inside the oven - Spring kept Ruki protected because he was useful, he’ll do the same with the horses…

- Why did he take him in? - blurted Kyo suddenly - do you know that?

Doll took a moment to think about it, leaning on the counter as Dragon started washing what had been used.

- I really don’t know… I think he planned on… - he dropped down the tone of his voice - I think he wanted to sell him when he took him in, but by the time he even remembered Ruki existed, he was everyone’s trainee and proved himself quite useful

- Trainee?

- Ah yeah, he told me he started doing little errands for Pierrot and then started asking Morrie for bigger things, and well, he started moving around a lot…

Dragon smiled and could see Doll was smiling too.

- You know… - started Doll softly - if it was the other way around, he would have given up the horses too…

- I know he would - smiled Dragon - I can see in all of you how generous he can be…

- Well, make sure you tell him so he stops feeling guilty when I want to cook him dinner - laughed Doll, his vacant eyes glistening slightly - I owe him my life and I love him dearly… I’m glad he met you, he deserves you…

- I’m not that great - mumbled Kyo a little embarrassed, turning to stare directly at the sink while he finished washing

- You’re what he needs - answered Doll plainly - and that’s not a small thing...

Kyo ran a hand through his nape, Doll smiled at him while he took two beers out of the fridge, opening them and offering one to Dragon.

- He’s never been in a relationship, you know? - he said casually and Kyo almost choked on his first sip

- But he-- - Doll denied quickly with his head

- He’s just very sexually active, that’s all - he laughed softly - he never had them over for dinner…

- What about Scar? - Kyo found himself asking, he was very sure something else had happened between Ruki and his most dear bodyguard

- Oh yeah, Scar is madly in love with him - Doll moved to sit at the table - Ruki… not so much - he shrugged and invited Kyo to sit down too

- This is a lot of information to take in - sighed Dragon while he took another sip

- I’m sorry, I thought you’d like to know

- No, it’s okay, he did say I could ask him anything…. I just-- well, we haven’t been together for that long…

- Time is irrelevant - said Doll carefully and sipped from his bottle - with Ruki much less so, if he likes you then that’s enough, I know he liked you since day one but he was nervous about making a move because--- well, you were Sea’s man - he smiled - and he truly liked you and wanted to get to know you better before… - he sighed a laugh - the complete opposite as with anyone else he’s been with...

Dragon couldn’t answer, it was too much information all at once, he wondered if Ruki would be okay with this level of exposure, but Doll seemed to be the most reserved one of The Queen’s bodyguard, so Kyo couldn’t avoid thinking that at some level the conversation had been somehow staged. He stared at the dark vacant eyes as he emptied his beer bottle with one last gulp, noticing right away Dragon’s look on him and smiling knowingly.

- Ruki doesn’t withhold information D--Kyo - he corrected - he knows what we’re discussing right now….

- The texts - smiled Kyo realizing - was it all staged then?

- No, he really does get angry when I do things for him - Doll rolled his eyes - but I was asked to convey this information to you as best as I could, because he mentioned you were curious about his sex life? - he raised a thin eyebrow

Kyo cleared his throat noisily, taking the rest of the beer down his throat in one gulp, letting it go with a sigh.

- There are no secrets at this house then - he let out, feeling defeated

- There are no secrets between Ruki and us… - nodded Doll seriously - and now you

- So I’m part of this household...

- Of course you are - Doll stretched out a hand to grab Kyo’s shoulder - Welcome

- Yeah--- thanks I guess - sighed Kyo - I’m gonna - he cleared his throat again but Doll nodded understandingly

- Yes, tell him dinner will be ready soon

Dragon left the kitchen just in time for Hollyhock to get in again, he looked at Kyo curiously and tilted his head to a side, giving him space to continue his way towards the office while he got inside the kitchen, his face lighting up when he saw Doll.

 

The Queen didn’t mention the talk or the questions for the rest of the night, Dragon decided he could also pretend like nothing had happened. They actually all had dinner together, making the kitchen cramped and very much alive with their voices. Even if Scar kept darting resentful looks at Kyo, it was a fun and light-hearted meal, each of the men around trying to ease the lingering tension for the events of the previous nights. Hollyhock kept his humour during the whole dinner, teasing Ruki constantly and earning some kicks under the table from Scar. As expected, Kai kept his silence the whole time, Doll and Raven talking softly between Hollyhock and Scar whose voices kept rising, never reaching a true argument. The Queen looked adrift during most of the dinner, toying with his food and keeping his free hand absentmindedly on top of Kyo’s knee for most of the night. Everyone noticed his apathetic behaviour but they seemed to reach a silent agreement to not dwell on it and keep the mood easy-going.

Nevertheless, Dragon felt exhausted by the end of the night, leaving the rest of the bodyguards behind as he followed Ruki towards the bedroom. The blond dropped face down on his bed, bouncing slightly on the mattress and sighing, turning his head to press his cheek against the surface. Kyo instinctively moved to take off his boots, Ruki slipped his calf off his grab and took it near his back, grunting.

- Don’t! - he complained, his voice muffled against the duvet - no more servant things

Kyo sighed a laugh and grabbed the moving calf again, turning around to hold it between his thighs, taking the boots off with both hands, repeating the action for the other leg as Ruki grunted, pressing his face against the bed.

- I’m gonna assume this tantrum is due to stress and fatigue and not the fact that you’re secretly a five year-old - said Kyo leaving the boots by the end of the bed and sitting next to Ruki’s legs to take off his own shoes, he did not see coming the kick the blond threw softly against his head

- Shut it - he grunted again, pressing his cheek once more against the bed - can I cancel the rest of my life?

- Please don’t, I’m just beginning to enjoy my membership - he laughed, rubbing his forehead slightly and climbing up the bed, lying just like Ruki but with his head facing him - Hi

- Hi - answered Ruki with a smile

- This is really uncomfortable, the belt is digging in my stomach - laughed Dragon and turned around, facing the ceiling and stretching his hand until meeting Ruki’s and taking it - do you want me to go with you tomorrow?

- Mmmm - complained Ruki, starting to hide his face again against the duvet - don’t tempt me…

- I truly don’t mind, I have nothing better to do... - sighed Kyo, the mornings were empty now, every morning was until he could meet his horses again

- Too much exposure - answered the blond somehow, his face pressed against the bed, he turned it again, this time turning his whole body to the side, dragging Kyo’s arm with him - I don’t want your face to start being recognized, it’s too risky-- I almost died - he added in a whisper - what would I do if I get you killed?

Kyo blinked slowly in answer, taking the hand he was still holding towards his lips, pressing a kiss on it’s back.

- I’ll go home, don’t worry, I’ll keep myself safe - he whispered back, Ruki kept looking at him with a troubled expression - you have to promise to do the same

- I will - he answered, closing his eyes

- Do you mind if I take a shower? - asked Kyo softly and Ruki hummed in answer, nodding slowly - I’ll be right back

- Don’t expect me to be awake - warned Ruki without opening his eyes, Dragon kissed his lips before getting off the bed

Kyo took a chance with the bathroom’s side door, finding it next to the washstand, going through it to the inside of The Queen’s dressing room, a row of suits, shelves and drawers for informal clothing and a full wall dedicated only to boots and shoes, somehow Kyo was not surprised. It took several attempts to find Ruki’s silk pajamas, finding all of his underwear and jewelry in the process, thinking he was already too deep to feel embarrassed. When he finally opened the drawer where they were, his attention was more focused on a shiny silver semi-automatic at a side, there was a little “R” engraved on its hilt. Dragon took it in his hand, he wondered if Ruki had ever used it, or what other ways of protection had The Queen learned. This gun looked pristine enough to doubt its use, but it was loaded and secured, so Kyo left it just like that, putting on one of Ruki’s pajama pants and taking another one for him.

As warned, The Queen was already asleep when Kyo reached him, he unceremoniously threw the silk outfit at him but the blond just reacted with a grunt.

- Ngggh-- whatdoyouwant... - he mumbled and tried to use the clothes as a blanket

- Remember when you kept me up all night, yeah, wonder what happened to that Ruki - laughed Kyo, only wearing the pajama pants as he tried to unhook Ruki’s fingers from the other one

- I ate him - answered the fluffy blond, sliding further into the center of the bed, hiding his face under the silk shirt

- Get changed at least - laughed Kyo, finally taking hold of the clothes again

- nnnnggghhidon’twantto - slurred Ruki turning around, the baggy sweater moving upwards and revealing part of his lower back, it took Dragon full minutes to tear his gaze away from that patch of porcelain skin to concentrate on the face that kept his eyes tightly shut

- Do you want me to call Scar to change your clothes for you? - teased Kyo - I thought you didn’t want any more servant stuff…

- That’s not servant stuff, that’s pervert stuff - laughed Ruki and finally sat up on the bed, staring at the pajama still in Kyo’s hands - So you took some liberties I see - he smiled, noticing what the older man was wearing

- Yeah, figured you wouldn’t mind if you were already asleep - he handed the clothes at the fluffy blond that had already removed the gray sweater

- I bet you took your sweet time going through my stuff - he said with a mischievous smile

- I didn’t have much of a choice - shrugged Kyo - I don’t know where things are and the one that could help me was blissfully asleep

Ruki hummed in answer while he finished putting on the pajama pants and clawed the duvet downwards to get under it, Dragon watched amused as the fluffy blond made himself extremely comfortable and started patting the empty side next to him.

- Didn’t know you had a gun - commented Kyo casually and Ruki hummed again, already closing his eyes

- Yeah, Morrie gave it to me for my birthday, he even taught me how to use it - he yawned - but I’m more comfortable with knives

- And who taught you to use the knives? - asked Kyo while he also got inside the bed

- Kirito - mumbled Ruki practically asleep

Dragon knew he couldn’t ask again without waking him up, so he just kept quiet, pulling a little from Ruki to embrace him, the blond curls spilling on his chest while he buried his nose a little between them, smelling the remains of the morning shower, the same soft citric smell that was now on his hair. Kyo sighed and Ruki clinged tighter, breathing slowly while the dark haired man tried to imitate him.

 

Having taken a nap earlier in the day, Dragon was expecting some mild insomnia, what he wasn’t expecting was the hard hit of a head against his chin, waking him fully up in seconds. He sat down, a little dizzy and too much in pain while he took a hand to the affected area, rubbing his chin with a sigh when another ragged breath nearby alarmed him. The room was in complete darkness, Kyo reached out a hand to his side, finding immediately the silked texture of the pajamas, keeping his touch in what appeared to be an arm while he stretched to his other side and tried to flick a bedside lamp that was no longer there. Kyo was only able to touch a phone, activating its screen and bringing some dim light into the room. Enough to see Ruki was crying next to him, gasping for air and now a timid hand was rubbing his head carefully with a small hiss of pain.

- A nightmare? - asked Kyo softly, taking a hand to wipe the fluffy blond’s tears and cup his cheek, Ruki nodded slowly

- Did I hit you? - he whispered a little hoarse

- A clean uppercut - smiled Dragon and Ruki tried to imitate him, but sighed painfully instead

- I dreamed about the kid… - he sobbed and took the heel of his hand to his free cheek, wiping it harshly

Kyo didn’t say anything, there really were no words to console Ruki, there was a certainty in everyone that this would just keep happening until one of them ended it. Dragon pulled Ruki into an embrace, feeling his hands climb up his back, his chin resting on his shoulder while he sighed.

- You need to be strong - whispered Kyo and pressed his lips tenderly against the blond’s wet cheek - you know this has just started - Ruki nodded against his shoulder, sniffing loudly - casualties are unavoidable, you know that - the blond answered by hiding his face in the crook of Kyo’s neck - I’ll be here for you always, that’s pretty much all I can offer you - Ruki denied effusively with his head

- That you’re here is plenty - he whispered, still hiding against Kyo - I love you

Kyo hugged him tighter, leaning his back on the upholstered headboard, bringing Ruki’s body on top of him again.

- I love you Ruki - he whispered back against the blond’s ear - now try to sleep, I’ll stay here, like this, until you do

The Queen nodded slowly, closing his eyes, sighing against Kyo’s skin, taking his arms to the strong chest, breathing unevenly for some more minutes until he sighed again, evening his breath, his body weight getting heavier. Kyo let out a sigh too, facing the darkness in which the screen turning off had left them, hugging The Queen again under the covers while he tried to get back to sleep, a lingering ache throbbing on his chin.

Chapter Text

Dragon woke up alone and cold, still seated against the headboard, his naked chest vacant as the rest of the bed was. He took a hand to his cellphone, the artificial light blinding him momentarily while he assessed the time, it was insanely early and The Queen was nowhere to be seen. The room was barely lit by the faint daylight that sneaked under the door, everything was completely quiet, there were no noises coming from the bathroom or the dressing room. Kyo sighed as he drowsily got out of bed, putting on his shirt from the night before and leaving the room barefoot.

Tainted with the morning light, the house looked completely different, unnervingly still and abandoned. Dragon made his ways successfully quiet and peeked at the office first, it was empty, with the work from the previous night neatly organized in a corner of the wooden desk. He reached the living room and was genuinely surprised of not finding Ruki there either, the kitchen was also empty, with a sense of dread he stared at the stairs to the second floor. Dragon wasn’t prone to overthinking, but Ruki’s sudden absence from everywhere else in the house wasn’t sitting right with him, he bit his lower lip and ventured quietly upstairs. The illuminated hall was quiet and empty, Kyo found three doors at first glance but with every step towards them he felt more and more childish. What was he actually looking for? He thought the natural answer would be “Ruki” but something nasty that was crawling inside of him thought something else. Dragon was worried, he was scared The Queen had just left to look for some more suitable comfort, he was ashamed to admit how certain he was of that. He walked near them, noticing there were two similar doors at the other end of the wall, he could feel the cold sweat going down his back, still silence in all of them. Kyo walked carefully to the one on the far left, dread on his fingers as he reached out to grab the doorknob, when a soft noise behind him made him nervously turn back.

- Kyo - greeted Kai, still shirtless from his sleep, his hair disheveled and Dragon had to make a big effort not to focus on any of the dozen of scars that marked his toned torso, the big majority healed already - what are you doing here? - he asked a little roughly, voice still hoarse from sleep

Dragon wanted to feel like an idiot, like he knew at some level he was, but it could be any of them, The Queen made it perfectly clear, and now Kai’s appearance could very easily confirm this absurd fear.

- Where’s Ruki? - the bodyguard asked suddenly and Kyo felt just a bit more stupid than before

- I’m looking for him - he replied as plainly as he could but Kai still squinted

- Here. - he asserted - Did you try the basement?

- N-not really - confessed Kyo, now he was definitely a full blown stupid, he had jumped to conclusions way before discarding all possibilities

- Well, you should, he goes there when he can’t sleep - Kai shrugged and went towards the stairs, Dragon hurried to follow him before anyone else could see him

They climbed down in silence, Kai disappearing on his way to the kitchen and Kyo following the next stair towards the basement, crouching slightly to see Ruki before going all the way down. As predicted, the fluffy blond was there, lying on his side on the bigger couch, a remote dangling from his fingers and the soft noises of morning TV on Kyo’s side, the only light source on the entire place. The Queen was asleep, his brows furrowed even in slumber and curled up on himself, Dragon moved to take the remote from him but didn’t turn off the TV. He reached out a hand to touch his shoulder, this time the blond didn’t moan in complain or even stay asleep, he sat up abruptly, a disoriented look on his face as he made sense of his surrounding.

- It’s me - said Kyo in a low voice and Ruki sighed, somehow relieved

- I couldn’t sleep - explained the blond and Dragon took a hand to his cheek, caressing it softly

- You could’ve just woke me up - smiled the older man sweetly

- No, it wouldn’t have been fair - Ruki complained, rubbing his eyes - what time is it?

- It’s very early, so you can take your time - he helped the fluffy blond on his feet

- I should get ready... - he mumbled as he started walking towards the stairs, Kyo finally turned the TV off and followed the beam of light that came from the upper floor

Once upstairs they found Kai on his way to the second floor, he stopped to take a look at Ruki and this one corresponded with a sleepy stare and a slow blink.

- Kai - he said, his voice still a little throaty

- Who are you taking with you today? - he asked simply, Ruki blinked very slowly again, his mind drowsily moving forward

- Ah, I guess Aoi and… you - the last part came in a little whisper - if you… I mean if you’re up for it…

- I’m fine, I’ll go - answered Kai flatly and The Queen nodded, watching him return upstairs

Dragon watched the whole exchange silently, but still took a careful hand towards Ruki’s nape, touching it lightly. Kyo got changed while The Queen took a shower and got dressed in the adjacent dressing room. When he got out he was wearing a dark purple velvet suit, his black boots made him tower over Dragon by a full two inches. Kyo noticed he was wearing make up on his eyes and he couldn’t help but smile, making Ruki quirk an eyebrow.

- You look really beautiful - the dark-haired man admitted and the fluffy blond bit his lower lip in a sweet smile, leaning forward and pressing his plump lips against Kyo’s

- Thanks love - he replied in a husky whisper and Dragon had to master all his strength not to get him into bed that instant

Instead he watched him make his swaying way towards the door, focusing on the embroidered flowers on the jacket’s back, following him soon after. They took their breakfast in the kitchen, surprisingly alone, the rest of the house just starting to wake up.



Dragon felt strange watching The Queen part from his own home, saying goodbye as if he lived there, watching Raven follow the van for a while until he reached the limits of the property. Flanked by Doll and Scar, he felt absolutely out of place, the lean Raven only came close to inform he was going next to where The Queen had sent him. The taller bodyguards looked at each other over Kyo’s head, he felt it before noticing it, instantly frowning at them.

- I’m not planning on staying - he reminded them and Doll showed a little smile

- Nobody was saying that - he explained softly and Scar clicked his tongue

- Do you need a ride? - he asked harshly and Kyo took a long hard look at him

- I thought you only had that one van - said Dragon not too convinced, but Scar’s smug smile only confirmed his words

- I have my bike--

- No way in hell

- What are you afraid of, old man? - teased Scar, already walking towards the garage

- Let him just call Kansas - suggested Doll, but he had an amused smile on his face

- He’ll take forever, Dragon wants to go home now, don’t you? - he quirked an eyebrow - can’t stand being around me much longer

- And yet you’re the one offering me a ride home - pointed Kyo as he watched Scar skillfully take a giant black motorbike with red accents out of the garage, supporting it on the side stand, placing his helmet on it before offering a second helmet to Dragon

- So? What’s it gonna be? - he asked

- There’s no room in there for a second person - Kyo stated and Scar snorted

- You take off that part on the back - pointed Doll and Scar did just that, revealing a second seat right at the back of the main one

- Is that a---

- A Suzuki Hayabusa-- Don’t pretend you know - squinted Scar - Doll, get him a cab or something, he’s too scared to ride it

- It IS a massive bike - granted Doll but with an understanding tone, against Scar’s mocking one

- I don’t see the point in you taking me, I’ll just call Kansas - Kyo shrugged - at least he won’t get me killed

- Ruki rode it hundred of times, never heard him complain...

- Reita, stop provoking him - sighed Doll, and took a careful hand to Dragon’s shoulder - Ignore him, you can stay as long as you need and leave the way you want to-

- No, you know what? - Kyo said finally taking the helmet from Scar’s hand, causing a sly smile from the blonde bodyguard - Let’s do it

Scar climbed on the motorbike but left it on its stand until Kyo climbed too, the blond threw a glance at Doll, now hidden by the polarized helmet visor, but the bodyguard nodded anyway.

- Where exactly did you get this beast from? - asked Dragon, trying not to sound too anxious as Scar started the engine

- Ruki gave it to me for my birthday - replied the bodyguard, leaning his body a little forward as he started going out of the driveway - Hold tight - was his last warning before accelerating into the road.

Scar’s words weren’t in vain, the machine climbed easily from zero to a hundred in five seconds and Kyo felt compelled to hug the bodyguard’s waist to keep balance. He didn’t remember when he closed his eyes, the vertigo and the neverending speed gluing him to Scar’s back like his life depended on it. He could feel every little movement on the younger man’s body, how his chest rose with some difficulty, making him let go of the embrace slightly, how his stomach moved in what was definitely laughter. It took them mere minutes to reach Dragon’s apartment, on the other side of town from Ruki’s home. Kyo thought he hadn’t stepped on solid ground for all his life when finally the giant machine was brought to a halt and the side stand dropped down on the floor of his driveway. He let go of Scar’s waist very slowly and scraped his way off the motorbike, feeling his limbs too light and shaky. Kyo took the helmet off and shoot Scar with a death stare.

- You did that on purpose - he grunted and the blond youth smiled like it was the best day of his life

- Oh yes - he confessed - you were holding onto me so tightly, were you scared, old man?

- Were you always this piece of shit? - Dragon asked half-heartedly, still trying to find his ground

- Only when people take things from me - replied Scar with the same lukewarm hate, but something dark went through his now visible eyes, he put down the polarized visor again, covering them and waved at Kyo - Goodbye old man

- Yeah, bye brat - answered Dragon and didn’t wait to get inside his house, hearing the deafening roaring of the engine as Scar made his way back with twice the speed

Once inside his house, Kyo felt tempted to write to Ruki, discarded the idea to avoid distracting him, then remembered his promise again.

 

“I’m safe at home, your Scar tried to speed me to death”

 

It only took mere seconds for his cellphone to chirp in answer.

 

“oh! you rode the hayabusa? isn’t it awesome???”

 

“I’m worried by your definition of awesome”

 

“you can’t tell me you weren’t at least a little bit excited”

 

“Worst experience of my life”

 

“i’ll keep it in mind then, gtg”

 

“Be safe. I love you”

 

“♥”

 

Ruki gave a last look at the message, sighing against it before putting the cellphone away inside his pocket. Kai opened the door for him and Hollyhock flanked the other side of the car, a hand gracefully inside his jacket while he looked around. The gambling parlour stood tall, pristine and asleep in front of them, the first one, his favorite. The Queen took a long minute to just stare at its white walls, the lights around the pillars, on top of the entrance double door, he sighed again as they left all that behind, surrounding the building and getting inside through an inconspicuous back door.

The cleaning crew had just left the building, they diligently did their job without meddling in anything else’s, practically invisible and disconnected from the parlour’s nightlife. Everything was quiet around them, a faint scent of lemon in the air, Hollyhock took a chair out of the blackjack table and sat on it, crossing his legs with a sense of finality.

- So, are we here for something or you just missed the place? - he said with a closed-lip smile

The Queen stroking the soft upholstery of the chairs was enough answer for him, and Hollyhock let out a sigh while Kai decided to lean against a roulette table.

- We need to hand the employees folder over and make sure the previous staff has been properly dispatched… - explained Ruki in a soft voice, as if he didn’t want to wake the place up

- And who are you exactly giving the folders to? - asked Hollyhock, leaning a little back on his chair but a sudden noise at the door raised him right up

He took a hand to his chest and the other one to his pocket, Kai slid the knives from his sleeve to his hand, The Queen raised his hand in warning.

- Calm down - he said as the intruder made his easy way inside, revealing a tall dark-haired man, old features and a warm smile as he got closer to Ruki, but Kai’s arm prevented him from going further, the tip of the knife poking at his neck with a flick of the bodyguard’s wrist

- It’s good to see you too Kai - greeted Morrie calmly and rose his two hands - I come in peace

- Yeah, well, I don’t buy it - grunted Hollyhock and took out the hand from his pocket, something metallic reflecting the light on his hand

- Aoi - warned The Queen before taking his other bodyguard’s arm, pushing it down with a little resistance - Kai, please calm down. I called Morrie.

- And I can never say no to my Princess - smiled the older man and took a hand to his neck as soon as Kai had dropped his arm and concealed the weapon - So you did say hi to Scarecrow for me - he took his hands instantly to Ruki’s shoulders and leaned to kiss his cheek, the fluffy blond allowed it but still looked at him with some mistrust

- So if I never said anything…

- You would’ve found out anyway, promise - he rose his right hand near his face and the left one to his heart, Ruki quirked an eyebrow at the gesture

- Anyway - sighed The Queen and gave him the folders he’d been carrying - These are the new employees, each folder is a parlour, make sure you don’t mix them

- I won’t - he answered quickly, taking the folders carefully but not looking at them, his dark eyes still on Ruki’s greenish gray ones - How are you?

- You were right, you know? - answered the fluffy blond with some restrain in his voice - He sent the errand boy to kill me - he bit his lip and breathed noisily through his nose

- I know - let out Morrie - but he tried right away without knowing anything, you know it will only get worse from here…

Ruki stayed quiet, but his eyes were still on Morrie’s and something on his face made the older man realize what wanted to be said, the fear spoken out loud. Morrie blocked it, pretending to look at the folders, staring blindly at the first file

- So this is the new staff - he said calmly - not one connection with The Prin-- ah, you are The Queen now... he knows, by the way

- What? - asked the fluffy blond a little lost, pushed out of his single track mind by Morrie’s words

-  Well, first that you survived, second that you go by The Queen, he knows that - explained Morrie calmly

- He probably laughed about it - sighed Ruki

- For now - answered Morrie with a side smile - I should go...

- Yes - The Queen reached out his hands to grab Morrie’s right one between them - Thank you Morrie - he added in a whisper and the taller man leaned to kiss his forehead before finally leaving, waving one last time at them before crossing the door and closing it behind him

A silent and unnerving minute passed as three minds raced unstopped, standing in the middle of an empty lemon scented room.

- So, you weren’t planning on letting us on that little secret? - lashed out Hollyhock and took Ruki’s arm to pull from it and get his attention - I thought you’d tell us everything--

- I was going to, he just came a little bit earlier - explained the blond and the bodyguard released him with a sigh

- Can we trust him? - asked Kai sternly and The Queen nodded

- Yes - he finally voiced

- What now? - Hollyhock said quickly - you wanna do a tour through the three of them? - he added humorlessly

- No - Ruki denied slowly with his head - That’s--- that’s okay - his phone made a soft chirp inside his pocket, he took it out carefully and spent a while reading the screen, breathing unevenly

- What? - rushed Hollyhock impatiently

- There’s somewhere else I’d like to go now - The Queen said seriously and both bodyguards nodded, following him outside of the gambling parlour and into the car.

Chapter Text

Dragon heard the car arriving long before he heard the doorbell ring, he figured Mr.Spring probably not only didn’t know where he lived, he wouldn’t just ring his bell to kill him. He took his gun anyway and tucked it on his belt before peeking through the side window. Kyo saw Red’s strawberry blond hair first, recognizing part of Kansas and a black suit between them. He opened the door to Mr.Sea and moved aside to let the three man in, Kansas was the last one and he took a moment to pat Dragon’s back on his way in.

- Ey Kyo, you didn’t call me - he said part whispering and Dragon sighed

- Yeah, one of Ruki’s men brought me - he explained and could see Kansas squinting but they kept moving towards the modest living room so words were left unspoken

Mr. Sea took a sit on the big couch quietly and Red followed, dropping his weight on a single sofa to his left.

- Coffee? - offered Dragon and both men nodded

- I’d appreciate that, thank you Kyo - said Mr. Sea simply, he looked at him for just a short moment before taking his eyes to the front again

Dragon tried not to think too much of that gesture and allowed Kansas to follow him into the kitchen.

- Kai had the car, how did you--

- Scar - growled Kyo while he put the coffee maker in action - he drove me home

Kansas scoffed a laugh and took a hand to grab the shorter man’s shoulder.

- A little different from the horses you’re used to ride, eh? - he smiled and Kyo elbowed his ribs, pushing him away

- Shut up - he mumbled while he took out some cups - Do you know everything about them? - he complained after thinking it for a while

- Well, yeah, pretty much, that and the fact that Scar showed that monster around all week after he got it - Kansas leaned his back against the counter - he looked so damn happy he was practically begging to get punched

- He deserves it, to be honest - confessed Dragon and the taller man took a moment to ponder on his words

- Yeah, I bet he would say that about you too - Kansas nodded as the coffee maker interrupted with its noise anything that could be said

Dragon pushed a tray on Kansas hands and started putting the filled cups on it, grabbing milk and sugar and waving him away, following slowly after him. The tall lean bodyguard left the tray on the coffee table and reached out a steamy cup for Mr.Sea and left the rest to grab their own drinks, sitting on the couch armrest next to Kyo, who cleared his throat uncomfortably.

- I hope it’s ok, I usually just make coffee for one… - he apologized just to get the conversation started, he knew Mr.Sea wasn’t there just for a cup of coffee

- It’s excellent - the older man nodded taking nothing more than a sip and leaving the cup again on the tray - Kyo, - he started seriously and Dragon knew that anything that passed his throat right now would get caught, he left the cup on the table - I’ve been told you didn’t go to tend to the mares today...

Dragon sighed and dropped his head a little, he knew that to be true, even if he missed Ruki and wanted to be with him, he’d still would have gone to the farm that morning. He just couldn't bear to see the empty stables where Penyu and the colts used to rest.

- I understand - replied Mr.Sea after a long moment of silence and nodded at Red who produced a rolled up paper out of his coat, Mr.Sea took it gently and spread it for Kyo to see

- Penyu and the colts won today - he explained as Dragon took the paper slowly, his eyes darting exactly to where the name of the horses were written - His first victory under Spring, we were waiting for this-- Ruki was waiting for this moment - he added looking at his face, patiently holding his stare until Kyo met it, Mr.Sea nodded - I know you were worried about them but they’re safe, and they will be even more when Spring slowly realizes there’s nothing left…

- What about Ruki? - blurted out Dragon - he tried to kill him already--

- I’m aware - recognized Mr.Sea - and he will most definitely try again. - he took a silent moment and looked sternly at Kyo again - I want you to trust his judgment, he knows Spring better than any of us…

- They all looked pretty shocked to me - answered Dragon - and you say he expected it--

- Yes, maybe not that soon... - agreed Mr.Sea - Ruki still holds feelings for Spring, even if he will deny them until his death...

- Yeah, stockholm related feelings - scoffed Red, relaxing even more on the chair - Queen still needs to drop the other shoe, Kyo, it’s as simple as that.

- What do you want me to do? - sighed Dragon

- What you are probably already doing - shrugged Red in answer

- Stay with him, keep close - resumed Mr.Sea - Ruki is still stubborn to accept my help, so I’d have a better sleep if I knew at least one of my men was close by…

- I will stay with him - agreed Kyo - but that’s all I’ll do--

Red did a very bad job at containing another scoff and Dragon darted a vicious look at him, Mr.Sea closed his eyes with a sigh.

- What’s so funny? - he asked a little rough, but Red remained unfaced

- Nobody needs you to snitch on The Queen, Kyo - he took out his cellphone and showed a thread of short messages one after the other - we already have snitches on him, damn, even The Queen himself - he looked at Mr.Sea and the older man nodded solemnly

- Regardless, I didn’t come here to tell you that - complained Mr.Sea - I was concerned that you hadn’t show yourself at the stables... - he reached out a hand to grab Dragon’s shoulder - Please go there tomorrow - Kyo nodded slowly - Thank you for the coffee.

Without saying anything else, Mr.Sea stood up, Red tousled Kyo’s short hair before following him towards the exit, Kansas stayed where he had stood up to watch them leave.

- You were a little on edge there Kyo - he said with an anxious smile

- I know, I--I’m just tired - Dragon sighed and dropped his weight on the couch’s soft back

- You’re scared, Ruki seems very fragile right now, doesn’t he? He used to feel untouchable, but that was just Spring threatening everyone around him… - Kansas went to sit right next to Kyo, on the spot still warm from Mr.Sea’s contact, taking one of the cups to his lips and gulping half of it

- I like the fragile Ruki… I just don’t want everyone else to see him that way too… did Spring really took care of him like that? - he wondered, taking his arm to cover his eyes

- Well, Spring always takes care of his assets - sighed Kansas - is not like Ruki was special to him, he was just useful…

- But why did he take him in when he wasn’t? - asked Kyo tiredly

- Why does it matter? - answered Kansas a little puzzled - I think he was just gonna cut his hand or something, I can’t remember, I was very new too, didn’t tell me much at that time - he finished Mr.Sea’s coffee and moved to Red’s untouched cup, but rejected it when he realized it was already cold - Ruki said something or did something that caught Spring’s interest, he figured if it didn’t work he could just sell him to some pervs, with Ruki being all angel-like on his teens-- - he cleared his throat - you know, but then he forgot, or got busy, and other members of his family caught an interest on Ruki and were using him as an errand boy---

- Doll told me the same thing… - recognized Dragon

- So… were you just checking your facts? - Kansas nodded while rubbing his chin - Why not ask Ruki directly? he’s kind of an open book to you anyway, I bet you could ask him how many times he farts a day and he would answer honestly...

Kyo swatted aggressively to his side until his open hand met Kansas’ head with a thud.

- Please, shut up - he begged, burying his face again under his arms

- Mr.Sea is going to the parlour tonight - Kyo looked at him confused - to celebrate Penyu’s victory, Spring already invited him… wanna come?

- Are you kidding me Toshiya - Dragon asked baffled

- He doesn’t know who “Dragon” is - he explained while he air quoted the word - You’re just Mr.Sea’s man--

- Toshiya, you can’t actually be serious - denied Kyo with his head, looking sternly at the coffee mugs

- You know the guys that did that to Ruki are probably gonna be there, don’t you? - Kansas suddenly let out, a rushed whisper as he measured Dragon’s reaction, the shorter man got tense, but still not looked at him

- I can’t go - he answered, restraining his voice and fisting his hands - you’re underestimating Spring, he probably knows who I am, I won’t take a reckless risk that could harm Ruki. I’m staying.

Kansas sighed, feeling defeated he took his cellphone out of his pocket and started browsing through it.

- Why do you want me to go so badly anyway? - asked Kyo, still tense from the knowledge that the people that had hurt Ruki in the worst way were probably still honorable guests at the parlour, at Ruki’s parlour, he clenched his jaw

- I guess I want you to know the enemy better - he shrugged - not only because of those men, but all of Spring’s people…

- And you’re sure he doesn’t know my alias - continued Dragon, turning to look at him, he had always been good at reading Kansas, he could tell when he was lying from miles away

- No - confessed the tall man, already feeling Kyo’s intense dark gaze on him - but he will be more focused on Sea--- besides, he might never make the connection--

- That’s a lot of assumptions to go and risk my life and Ruki’s - complained Dragon and got off the couch - what is it you’re not telling me?

- Is not that - whined Kansas - if I thought you’d be in danger I wouldn’t mention it, and before you think it, it’s not because I want to play at the tables - he added quickly - Is not enough with just knowing how to use a gun, you have to get to know the world, specially the world The Queen moves in, even if he’s starting his own rules, he was under Spring’s for a decade, he won’t fall far from the tree… - he sighed - if you want to keep up with him until all this is over you’re gonna have to get to know the field.

- And that includes making the enemy aware of my face? - Kyo raised an eyebrow

- Actually, yes - said Kansas seriously - you know Sea and Spring want to kill each other since they met, and we’re still going to his fucking party-- that’s how the game works. I want you to know how to play it too--

- I’m not a part of--

- But you are - interrupted Kansas again - you are a part of it now, since the moment you chose to sacrifice your life’s work for a mobster, and you know Ruki is one even if you like to see him all pink and perfect. He’s as poisonous as Spring, but with a shorter kill list.

- He hasn’t--- - but Kyo stopped himself short, he had met Ruki way into his life, he knew just a tip of everything he went through, could he really assure that so blindly?

- He has now, even if it was in self-defense this time, he knows it won’t be the last… - he sighed again - that’s how this works, that’s the world he’s getting into if he wants to make his own name…

- Fine, I’ll go - grunted Dragon - if that makes you shut up

- Great, I’ll pick you up at eight, we’ll go as gamblers, but don’t forget your gun - he informed while he got up and left the house

 

An unnerving stillness seemed to engulf The Queen’s house, distant television sounds coming from the basement, joined by light panting and the telling creaking sounds of machinery. On the ground floor soft jazz music was playing from the living room, Doll reading quietly, laying on the bigger couch, Hollyhock smoking next to the window, a blue labeled whiskey bottle open in front of him. The second floor was vacant, the last inhabitants remained in The Queen’s own bedroom. After sharing the space with Dragon for so long, Scar felt strange sitting again on Ruki’s soft bed, hearing the muffled water noises from the bathroom, seeing the steam escape under the door and smelling the perfume of the products being used. He sighed, this was not his space anymore as it had always been, he felt uncomfortable and a trespasser, but Ruki had come back looking worse than the days before and he had followed him up to his room without the blond complaining. Without the blond uttering a single word. And now he waited for him to come back and stop avoiding his gaze and say something, anything that reassured him that Ruki was still there, under all that weariness, as he remembered him. Scar heard the water being drained, he felt the light steps moving from the bathroom to the dressing room, the quiet rustle of clothes, until he smelled The Queen’s trademark perfume, still floating around him when the blond presented himself on the door in front of him.

- Reita - he let out, honestly surprised of seeing him - what are you doing here?

- I- I followed you - explained Scar a little baffled - when you came back, remember?

- Oh, that’s right - he sighed, trying not to avoid the black warm eyes for too long - I’m sorry, I didn’t noticed--- what-- what do you need?

Scar swallowed with some difficulty, Ruki wasn’t scatterbrained, he was sly and fast, all these events, all that was yet to come was destroying him, tipping him constantly out of balance. Scar feared for The Queen’s life if he didn’t snapped out of it soon, he took his hands towards Ruki and grabbed him by the wrists, pulling from them abruptly, causing the blond to lose balance for a second but regaining it with a quick shift of his weight. He looked at his bodyguard confused and annoyed.

- What was that? - he mumbled, trying to release himself from Scar’s grab

- You are not acting-- you’re not being you - started the blond seriously but dropped to a whisper - you’re too distracted lately, it’s not time for that

Ruki sighed in answer and closed his eyes.

- I know - he confessed - I used to see things so clearly but now-- without Kiyoharu--

- What has he ever done for you? - grunted Scar, pressing his thumbs against the porcelain skin of his wrists, feeling the drumming pulse under them - Everything you did, everything you build, it’s on you---

- I owe--

- Nothing - Scar cut him short - you owe him nothing, he chose to kidnap you, and you call it “take you in”, he took everything you earned and you still think you were paying a debt-- he-- - Scar took a noisy breath and held it before speaking again - he sold you to the nearest buyer the minute you started slipping out of his claws--- - Scar stopped when glistening tears fell suddenly from Ruki’s greenish gray eyes, he pulled from the wrists still in his hands until the blond’s petit frame was crashing into his, quickly embracing him to keep him in place, feeling the shaking arms around his neck, the ragged breath near his cheek as Ruki buried his face against Scar

- You saved me - Scar whispered against his ear, holding him tighter - you, on your own… you tended my wounds, you made me who I am now, that wasn’t Spring, none of it was-- it has always been you - he sighed and the fluffy blond held him tighter - I-- We owe you our lives, we know what it’s like to have someone “take you in”, to have a debt for life..., so you have to trust us-- me when I say you don’t owe shit to Spring

Ruki nodded slowly, timidly against Scar’s cheek, wetting it with his tears.

- And you’re gonna walk as you always walked and do what you always did, and end that motherfucker once and for all - the blond bodyguard grunted, feeling The Queen’s small frame flinch at the poison in his words, but never letting go - You think Spring protecting you made you stronger. You never needed him.

They kept the tight embrace for long silent minutes, Ruki slowly regaining his composure as the bodyguard’s arms relaxed around his waist, allowing the fluffy blond to incorporate, standing up with his own arms resting on Scar’s shoulders, his fingers lightly touching the short hairs on his nape.

- What would I do without you? - The Queen whispered, a tiny smile on his face

- Frankly, I could ask the same thing - Scar smiled back, instantly biting his lip, resisting the urge to steal a kiss from the plump lips

Ruki leaned closer anyway and pressed his lips to Scar’s forehead, grabbing him by the nape before releasing the embrace, moving towards the edge of the bed and taking something from under the pillows. Scar stood up and watched him for a minute before leaving the room, The Queen followed right after. They parted ways once they reached the ground floor, Scar went to the living room, following the soft music and Ruki went downstairs, were the television was still on in the basement. The creaking of the machines could be faintly heard, heavy breathing and a fan working full force on the ceiling. The Queen walked down the stairs slowly, trying not to interrupt, but the creaking of the machine stopped immediately when he reached the bottom.

- Ruki - greeted Kai from a side, releasing slowly the weights of the pull down machine, turning around on the sit to watch The Queen reach him

- Kai - he answered and lift his hand up, a completely black throw knife reflected the light for a moment - can we train?

- Close range? - asked the stern bodyguard while he stood up

- As close as you can manage - answered Ruki, already feeling the rush of adrenaline run through him

- Don’t you wanna change? - Kai suggested lifting an eyebrow, eyeing the tight leather pants that climbed all the way up to an oversized long sleeved shirt that covered the blond’s hips

- I’m not gonna be wearing sweatpants when someone tries to kill me so no - answered The Queen quickly and took some distance from the tall bodyguard who kept getting closer

- Good thinking - he said and reached out violently against him, Ruki managing to avoid him for a split second and hitting the arm with his elbow, pushing it down, Kai grabbed him instantly with his right hand pressing on the blond’s forearm tightly - Use the knife

- Already? - winced Ruki while the bodyguard let go of him

- Every chance you get - specified Kai and moved to grab him again, this time Ruki avoided the hand and went straight to the upper arm, hitting it with the knife, scratching the skin, the bodyguard moved his other arm towards him but The Queen ducked by squatting and moving sideways - Use it properly Ruki

- I don’t wanna stab you - complained the blond, already taking a defensive stand when Kai moved aggressively towards him, going for his hair, this time he took hold of the blond locks viciously, The Queen managed to hit him with the point of the knife when Kai tried to grab him with both hands, making him let go of his hair, the blond tried to kick him on the shin but got grabbed by the collar instead, losing his balance and falling on his back, the taller male went on top of him and took his hands quickly to Ruki’s neck

- Use it - he grunted as he pressed carefully against the porcelain skin, the blond closed his eyes as he moved his arm quickly, stabbing Kai on his upper arm - You should’ve gone for my side, not the arms - he let go of Ruki and pulled the knife out, blood starting to pour out instantly - Let’s try again - he announced as he stood up and helped The Queen do the same

 

When Doll went looking for them, he first saw Kai’s bloody tank top on the floor, following the small trail of blood up to the couch where an exhausted and distressed Ruki was cleaning and bandaging the bodyguard’s arms and torso. Doll took the clothing from the floor, getting closer to them, but Kai’s dark eyes were already on him, making The Queen slowly turn around too.

- Do you need help with that? - asked Doll softly, but Ruki denied with his head, resuming his work silently - Apparently there’s going to be a party tonight at Garish, Raven is there already

- Hm - let out The Queen, trying to focus on a wound across the left omoplate - the staff is all new so I guess he can just get inside, nobody knows his face…

- I’ll tell him that - nodded Doll and took out his cellphone immediately to text the snitch - it seems the horses won today’s race, the first one under Spring

Ruki didn’t answer, using a small piece of dressing to cover a particularly nasty wound on top of Kai’s elbow, patting it lightly once he was done. He sighed and leaned forward, pressing his forehead against the strong back in front of him, Kai closed his eyes and breathed slowly.

- That’s good - Doll suggested, filling the tense silence that had formed around them - That gives us another week before he realizes that the money is not going to his accounts anymore…

- I really want this to be over now - moaned Ruki, pushing forward against the scarred skin of Kai’s back

- Then let’s kill him tonight  - he suggested, sighing a smile when he felt the blond breaking the contact abruptly

- I don’t aim to kill Kiyoharu - The Queen answered sternly - I just want what’s mine

- You know this will end with one of you dead, and I’d preferred if it was that asshole - grunted Kai, making Ruki close his eyes with a sigh - why not hurry things up?

- That’s suicidal - added Doll, stretching a hand to graze the soft golden curls - slow and steady win the race - The Queen leaned closer to his touch

- Thank you Uruha - he whispered and got a little startled when Kai got up, moving towards the brown-haired bodyguard and taking the shirt off his hand, stomping his way upstairs

- Do you want some tea? - asked Doll softly, crouching a little to get closer to Ruki’s tired face

- Yes please, and could you hire someone to clean the house tomorrow? - he added following with his eyes the trail of blood on the floor

- Of course... looks like the training was rough - Doll commented in a hushed voice and Ruki winced

- Kai is relentless - he let out with a sigh - Let’s go upstairs…

Chapter Text

 

Kyo felt out of place since the moment he dressed up, when Kansas picked him up and drove him to the first parlour The Queen had opened, he knew this wasn’t a good idea at all.The tall lean bodyguard seemed to notice this, but he still parked as a regular customer and didn’t open the door for Dragon to get out.

- We’re just here to play a little, Sea hasn’t arrived so we’ll just blend in, don’t worry - Kansas said calmly once they got out, as he surrounded Kyo’s shoulders with his long arm

Dragon was genuinely surprised to find out this statement to be true, the staff greeted them as they would greet anyone else, and soon they were offered drinks and left to roam the tables and machines. Kansas kept almost no space between them, sipping his drink as he looked around.

- I already spotted Garnet and Spring over there - he started casually and gestured with his drink, but of course Dragon was already extremely familiar with Mr.Spring’s auburn hair and petulant expression, he looked pleased enough to smile around people dressed in suits and the stoic bodyguard - Morrie usually keeps his distance but he can’t be far… those two over there are not regular staff, they’re his goons, beat the crap out of you, no questions asked...

They moved along the carpeted floor, the voices and music deafening, Kyo couldn’t even touch his drink, dizzy enough with the sensory overload, he left his glass on some empty tray that happened to walk past him. Kansas seemed to be actively looking for someone and Dragon gave him an inquiring look.

- We actually needed Morrie to be alone--- - he dropped his voice so much he had to press his lips against Kyo’s ear - since he knows the guys that raped Ruki--

Dragon couldn’t help the violent jerk of his head as he tried to get away of such blunt information, Kansas looked at him puzzled but instantly understanding, making him realize how futile it was to keep tiptoeing around the real words of what had happened to Ruki.

- It’s okay, I’ll get to him somehow, don’t worry - Kansas assured and they moved to a Blackjack table, the lean bodyguard’s eyes shone brightly in an instant - Just one hand, come on - he announced as he sat on an empty chair, pulling from Kyo to do the same

Kansas placed a bet for the each of them and Dragon couldn’t help but notice they had never exchanged the money for the chips he was now placing on the table.

- How many of those have you kept? -  he asked softly and Kansas’s eyes were fixated on the deck as he tried to mentally count the cards

- I always keep the amount of two bets with me, I usually earn what I need to keep going - he answered as he asked for another card, wincing in defeat

- Like now? - laughed Kyo, facing the same defeat - You just lost your two bets

- I did say one hand so… - Kansas shrugged

Dragon got up to leave the table despite Kansas showing reluctance, but two chips rolling their way glued the bodyguard to his seat, staring in front of him to the benevolent collaborator. Silk black hair cascaded on both sides of an androgynous face, full thick lips adorned with a labret piercing shining under them and a pair of sharp black eyes. Kansas smiled knowingly and nodded gratefully at the chips.

- Cleaner, long time no see - he greeted as he handed one of the chips to Dragon who had taken his seat back

- How do you do? - he answered uninterested, with a sly smile on his face - who’s your buddy?

- Ah - Kansas said and put a quick hand to Kyo’s shoulder - This is Tiger, my minion - he explained casually and Dragon kicked him right on the shin under the table, Kansas didn’t even flinch - I’m teaching him the good stuff...

- You mean you’re teaching him to lose money? - he asked for another card and his expression remained the same as he was announced the winner, he threw some of his earnt chips to Kansas’ direction

- Thanks… I didn’t take you for a gambler - changed the topic the bodyguard, trying to disguise his frustration at having lost another round

- I had a busy morning so I thought I could relax here... - sighed the man and propped his head on his hand - but I forgot Queenie doesn’t own this place anymore, so I had to find my fun elsewhere...

Kansas gulped and Kyo inadvertently closed his fist around the chip he had been holding, “ Queenie ” didn’t need an explanation, “ Queenie ” had already a face on his mind because there were no doubts whatsoever of who he was referring to. Dragon pierced the other man with his own dark eyes, but Cleaner didn’t even noticed, too focused on the movements of the cards in front of him. Neither of them won that round and Kansas didn’t even wait to get up, Cleaner looked at him surprised.

- I got some things to do so-- - the bodyguard started explaining as Kyo stood up too, trying very hard not to even look at the other man’s direction, ignoring how handsome and tall and different from him he was, and how he had referred to Ruki with such familiarity

- Take these then - said the Cleaner calmly, handing the rest of his chips to Kansas - I’m heading home, this place is boring without Ruki-

He nodded goodbye and left the table, keeping his relaxed pace until reaching the front door. Kansas took his free hand to Kyo’s shoulder immediately.

- Kyo, I’m so sorry but I hope you took a good look at that face, that guy is the Grim Reaper, he goes to where death is - Dragon tried not to grunt that of course he had seen his disgustingly perfect features and how his eyes glistened at the mention of the fluffy blond’s name, he tried to focus on something else before speaking

- You called him Cleaner just now - he noted and Kansas nodded effusively

- Yeah, that’s what we call him, you know, because he cleans after us, you know… he cleans our messes - he mouthed the word slowly until Dragon catched the meaning and rolled his eyes

- I get it - Kyo grunted and a new customer at the door distracted him - Sea is here - he announced as the aforementioned crossed the double door flanked by Scarecrow and Red

They got near enough without being noticed, Morrie blocked their way casually, greeting Kansas as he blocked Dragon from view.

- You must be an idiot - he spoke through his teeth as he smiled at Kansas, stretching his hand for a handshake

- Kyo wants to know who bought Ruki that night - whispered Kansas and Morrie darted looks behind him before grunting his answer, barely moving his lips

- They’re not here---

- Morrie - called a slow deep voice and the bodyguard turned around to perfectly cover Dragon behind him, leaving Kansas on plain sight

Red raised his eyebrows and Scarecrow let out a frustrated sigh with his eyes closed, Mr.Sea kept a perfect facade of calmness, but the corner of his mouth pulled nervously. Mr.Spring didn’t care to notice anything, seemingly too familiar with Kansas’ presence at the parlour.

- Morrie, where’s Linda? - he continued, looking bored but displeased

- We replaced the whole staff, brought new people not connected to The P--Queen - Mr.Spring rolled his eyes at the sound of that name

- Good, I don’t want his presence anywhere near here, it’s enough to have to deal with his interior design - he gestured with his hand at the place around him - Get us some service - Morrie nodded and grabbed the first staff girl on his reach, whispering to her ear and watching her quickly nod her way away

Mr.Spring watched the whole exchange before gesturing for Mr.Sea to start follow him.

- I hope it was worth it, Sugihara - he started, and Mr.Sea took a second longer to reply, distracted by Dragon’s presence too close to them

- What dear? - he asked uninterested, foreseeing the disgusting remark that was bound to follow

- I hope Ruki’s ass was worth it to have payed such a high price - he continued - oh, excuse me, I hope The Queen's ass was worth it - he said the name in a childish mocking way - If I knew that was what you wanted I would’ve cut down his price, you know?

Mr.Sea’s shoulders got tense, Dragon clenched his fists, but Morrie and Scarecrow formed a casual barrier between him and Mr.Spring, as Mr.Sea changed the subject and continued their joined way. Red followed them and Scarecrow just shoot a warning look at Kansas and Kyo before doing the same, Morrie turned around quickly.

- Kansas, you better go-- both of you - he added looking at Dragon carefully

Kansas nodded effusively and took hold of Kyo’s arm before watching Morrie follow the rest of the group. He was about to apologize to Dragon, turning to face him when something else caught his eye and his expression froze, Kyo noticed this and looked in the same direction.

Raven’s doe-eyed expression watched them for a split second before he started disappearing amongst the people again. Kansas and Dragon almost sprinted towards him, moving between the players and staff, advancing through the rooms, finding Raven and losing him again, over and over. Kyo got desperate, he wasn’t supposed to be here, Ruki had warned him, Ruki didn’t want him here, and now he had been seen, now Ruki would know he had put himself recklessly in danger and almost ruined everything. He thought he heard Kansas suggesting to split up, also in the chase for the elusive snitch, he didn’t care, he kept walking fast, seeing how the members of the staff seemed uneasy by his presence, starting to talk between them and through portable radios. Dragon tried to even his pace when he was faced with the familiar stair that led to the second floor, he took it two steps at the time and was fast enough to catch a glimpse of Raven getting lost through a hallway. This time the tall dark-haired actually stopped and Dragon was able to catch him, cautiously moving against the wall to surprise him, but the soft voices that reached him made him stop, trying to peek at its direction instead. A man almost as tall as Raven had him cornered against a wall, with light brown hair, a long thin nose and a small round mouth, he talked really close to the snitch’s face and Raven looked extremely anxious and eager to escape the tight grip the other held on his arm.

- You’re even more stupid than I originally thought - was his low angry whisper - what did I tell you about showing yourself here, hm? - he gave him a little shake, now grabbing both his shoulders - wasn’t enough with what we did, hm? - he pushed him against the wall - want us to cut your entire tongue off this time?

Dragon didn’t think it through, he didn’t analyze the situation, he acted out to the threat one of Ruki’s dearest men was facing. He showed himself in the hall and cleared his throat, Raven couldn’t control his panicked expression when he recognized him, the other man looked unfazed.

- Is everything alright? - Kyo asked nonchalantly, showing the same assertiveness he would use on untamed horses, keeping his voice leveled and his back straight

The man let go of Raven’s shoulders slowly.

- We were just catching up - he explained with a fake smile and patted Raven’s cheek - until next time Genki...

Raven held his breath until the other man disappeared down the hallway, he took some long minutes to compose himself as Dragon got near him. Kyo didn’t even know where to begin, remembering the reason he had chased the tall man in the first place, he patiently waited until the soft whimpering of Raven reduced to a more normal breathing.

- Thank you - he whispered with a strained voice

- It’s okay - started Kyo slowly - you shouldn’t be thanking me I-- - he sighed - I should apologize for chasing you

- Don’t worry - Raven shook his head - I panicked when I saw you and didn’t look where I was going-- It’s just--- - he took a shaky breath

- They’ll warn Spring you were here - completed Dragon but the taller man shook his head

- He won’t say anything - he started explaining, his breath was still uneven - he doesn’t know I work for--- - Raven took a nervous look around but still doubted - him .

- Who is he anyway? - asked Dragon and saw how Raven bit his lower lip before answering with the tiniest whisper

- Pierrot - answered Raven with a pained expression

Dragon tried not to react, or make his reaction too obvious. Everything he knew about Pierrot he had learned very early, that he was quick and lethal, leaving no trace behind, that he happened to be booked full time by Spring as his personal assassin. That he might have a brother that was just as deadly as him, that it was better to see him than not…. That he was Ruki’s first. His stomach dropped, that was Pierrot, the one that had taught him so much . Kyo clicked his tongue and Raven looked at him sympathetically.

- He doesn’t know who you are - he whispered - I can assure you… - he seemed to doubt for a long time while his expression turned even more miserable - I wish I could thank you by not telling… him that you were here…

- Don’t worry, it’s your job to tell him everything-- such as it’s my own fault to be here in the first place - but a small part of him was actually pleased with the events of the night that unfolded just right for him to get familiar with more than one unknown situation, Dragon felt more grounded and certain now, he had seen the enemy, just as Kansas had suggested

- He won’t like it - smiled Raven - Specially because Pierrot saw you - he looked back to where the assassin had disappeared

- Can’t you avoid that part? - winced Kyo, gutted by the idea of adding even more fears to Ruki’s situation

- I can’t tell lies - smiled Raven joylessly, opening his mouth and revealing a forked tongue, moving its parts over each other before hiding them from view again - See ya

Dragon allowed him to disappear among the halls, a little too in shock from the image to really notice that Raven was already halfway out his line of vision. He stood there a long while until hurried steps reached him and Kansas’ agitated voice finally called him.

- Did you find him? - he asked, trying to catch his breath - man, I shouldn’t have left you alone--

- I found him - Dragon answered flatly - he was right here with Pierrot

Kansas’ face went pale as paper, he stretched a hand towards Kyo to squeeze his shoulder.

- Did he see you? - he was practically gasping for air

- He saw me yes, I made sure of that - laughed Kyo humorlessly while Kansas seemed to be having a mild heart attack in front of him - But he apparently doesn’t know who I am...

This didn’t relieve Kansas as he expected, his face white as paper as he grabbed Dragon by the arm.

- Let’s get out of here. Now. - he announced as he started pulling from the shorter man, Kyo didn’t resist, he was actually eager to leave the place anyway

All the way to the main entrance, pushing their way through the crowd Kansas kept mumbling under his breath every swear word he knew, they got to the exit undisturbed and managed to get inside the car.

- I’m gonna lose my job - whined Kansas as he leaned his forehead against the steering wheel

- It was my fault too - Kyo recognized painfully

- Yeah, but Sea would never kick your sorry ass out on the street, he loved your father and feels super guilty about the horses… - he stopped talking and took a deep breath - I’m gonna have to start looking for a job…

- Why don’t you start by getting us out of here? - complained Dragon, slightly amused by Kansas’ breakdown, knowing Mr.Sea was probably angry, but would never get rid of any of his loyal men

Kansas nodded and started the engine, at the same time a tap on his window startled him, making him jump on his seat. He gulped when they both recognized Scarecrow’s pissed off face, he gestured for Kansas to roll down the window, thing the bodyguard took forever to comply.

- Excuse me, were you two raised to be morons or it just came naturally? - he asked with a frown, his tone was practically a whisper

- It’s my fault - admitted Kansas

- I agreed to come too, I’m not five - added Kyo, he wasn’t intimidated by Scarecrow’s anger, but he could tell it wasn’t the same for Kansas

- Funny, you sure act like it - Scarecrow replied with the same unnervingly even tone

- I’m sorry Kaoru, I fucked up - whispered Kansas but the other’s expression didn’t waver

- We’ll talk a more about this at the house - he sentenced - with the two of you - he specified, looking at them with murderous intent

Kansas nodded effusively until Scarecrow got away from the car and into the parlour again. The lean bodyguard let the longest sigh as he rolled up the window and resumed their way, heading directly to Mr.Sea’s mansion.

- He’s gonna kill me - whined Kansas once they went through the main entrance

- Stop it - grunted Kyo, he wasn’t in the mood to be detained at Sea’s house for who knows how many hours, he needed to call Ruki before Raven made his report of the night, maybe if he explained his side of things The Queen would react differently to the news

Dragon stopped short on his train of thought, he realized that Scarecrow or Spring could threat him daily and nothing would change, but he found himself scared shitless of The Queen’s anger. He had never seen Ruki angry directly at him, but little flashes of cold-iced greenish gray eyes and cutting sharp words made him have a slight idea of the danger.

- Ruki’s gonna kill you - Kansas corrected his whine - man, he might not kill people but you don’t wanna see him angry-- I hope Kai likes you enough to be merciful…

- Would you shut up? - snapped Dragon - I’m gonna wait at the library, you stay here, I can’t stand you right now

Kansas didn’t answer, feeling defeated and hopeless, he nodded and they both moved to the living room, parting their ways as planned. Kyo sat at the divan in the library and tried calling Ruki immediately, it rang for a long time but nobody picked up, he could feel his stomach turning on himself. After how far they had come, Dragon was still unsure of how well grounded he would be in Ruki’s life after he found out he hadn’t only ignored his promise to him, but Pierrot had seen his face, even if his identity was still unknown to most of them. He sighed and decided that trying to call again would look worse than just waiting for a call back. He only wished there’d be at least that.

Chapter Text

Dragon was embarrassed to admit he dozed off until someone shook his shoulder abruptly, waking him up. Red’s concerned expression was right in front of him, leaning forward over him.

- Kyo, I told you to not make your face known - he started calmly - I know they don’t know who you are exactly, but letting them see you is such a bad idea… what were you thinking?

Dragon suddenly thought that Red’s pained expression and distressed voice was worse than Scarecrow’s anger. He was suddenly aware that they had probably splitted to have these talks, and now Kansas was facing the right hand’s wrath.

- I just wanted to see them, I know it was selfish - answered Kyo flatly and Red sighed - But they weren’t there…

- You risked too much Kyo, I hope you know that - Dragon nodded, a little done with the patronizing conversation

- I understand - he mumbled and Red sighed a laugh

- I’ll tell Kansas to give you a ride home - he announced before leaving and Kyo followed him outside, eager to finally get to his own house

When they arrived to the joined living room, Kansas was standing alone near the door, an unreadable expression on his face, Scarecrow long gone and Mr.Sea nowhere to be seen. Red nodded at them and disappeared on his way to the office. Dragon stood expectantly in front of Kansas.

- They-- kinda demoted me - sighed Kansas

- I’m sorry Toshiya, but aren’t you glad you don’t have to deal with me anymore? - he smiled and the other answered almost instantly

- Yeah, I couldn’t tolerate you any longer - he rolled his eyes in annoyance, avoiding to look at Kyo again - I’m gonna miss it tho, also, that means you’ll get escorted by Scarecrow or Red from now on, they’ll probably put Ghost at your shadow too...

- I figured that much - now it was Dragon’s time to sigh - take me home

Kansas smiled and nodded solemnly.

 

Kyo felt uneasy the whole way to his first-floor apartment with the unanswered call to Ruki still on his screen and not even a text message in answer. Kansas parked at the entrance of the building and sighed one last time.

- Well, I guess I’ll see you eventually - he started and Dragon rolled his eyes at him

- Stop acting as if it’s the end of the world - he complained and slapped Kansas shoulder, getting out of the car

He felt the uneasiness more strongly now, once inside the lobby, he was completely anxious by the time he managed to turn the key in his lock. Dragon decided to trust his gut and took out the gun, opening the door slowly and getting inside carefully. The entrance hall was in dead silence, but he didn’t feel relief, he moved quietly, using only the tip of his shoes to walk along the wooden floor. He felt completely alien when he reached the living room, adrenaline starting to pump in his veins and his heart relentlessly banging against his chest. Dragon pointed the gun in front of him and almost shot it when the light turned suddenly on and a hand grabbed his wrist and pulled from it upwards, releasing his grip on the gun as if taking a toy from a toddler. The attacker didn’t twist his arm as Kyo expected, in fact, he stopped all manhandling at once. After the initial shock, Dragon was finally able to focus his sight, his heart drumming inside his chest cavity, almost stopping painfully at the sight of who was sitting on his living room’s sofa chair. Dressed in leather pants and pointy black boots, a black blazer matching with a burgundy button up, The Queen was sitting cross-legged, his elbows on the armrests of the couch and an unreadable expression on his face. Kyo turned around first, recognizing Hollyhock as the assailant, he had the same stern face Dragon had seen on counted occasions, normally when The Queen’s safety was involved. Next to Ruki, Kai was standing stiff as a board and Raven was moving nervously from side to side with a remorseful expression on his handsome face. Dragon did not know how to feel, his heartbeats increasing, a knot in his throat, Ruki kept his silent and impassive state for long minutes. Kyo bit his lower lip and moved cautiously forward, none of the men around them prevented it.

- Ruki... - he started

- You went to Garish Room - interrupted The Queen seriously, but something similar to pain shifted in his greenish gray gaze - Not only that, but Pierrot saw you… - he took a deep breath - I thought I told you to stay safe

- You did - recognized Dragon, moving another step - I w-- I’m an idiot

- Yes. - Ruki sentenced, but there was no humor in his voice

- I fucked up--

- No kidding… - The Queen looked at Raven through the corner of his eye for the briefest moment - Tsuzuku confirmed Pierrot doesn’t know you, so at least you’re safe for now. But I hope you realized just how easy it was for four people to enter your home.

Dragon closed his eyes, feeling defeated, there was really nothing he could say, he thought Ruki would broke at the knowledge, he thought he would be scared and helpless. He realized now there was still many things he didn’t know about The Queen.

- I’m sorry Ruki - he whispered, looking straight to the greenish eyes, what he had seen before was more evident now

There it was. Fear.

- Please listen to me - Ruki answered, his voice strained - Don’t ever do something so reckless again.

- I won’t - he assured, but something inside of him knew it wouldn’t be enough, he could almost touch the tension around Ruki’s shoulders and how he refused to soften his face or his voice

Dragon felt nothing would be the same when The Queen finally stood up, his men starting to move towards the exit of the living room, waiting for him at the hall. Ruki moved slowly until he was in front of Kyo, the boots clacking on the wooden floor, giving him a few inches to look from above.

- I do not command you - he said, his voice quivering at the last syllable

- I know - Kyo agreed calmly, his hands eager to reach out for the fluffy blond, he clenched his fist to control the impulse

- Pierrot is not Spring, he remembers every face he sees - Ruki continued in a very soft voice, if it weren’t for the incredibly short distance he was keeping from his face, Kyo wouldn’t have been able to listen properly

- He still has to place my name - Dragon dared to add, but The Queen didn’t look relieved

- It won’t take him long… - he let out a short uneven breath - I’ll just take comfort in the fact that if Kiyoharu doesn’t know who you are, he won’t send him after you… Pierrot does not act by his own accord…

- I’ll be fine - Kyo said unconvincingly, The Queen stayed silent for a long minute before speaking again, this time his eyes did soften, his voice a little weaker

- Thank you for helping Tsuzuku - he whispered and Dragon felt compelled to reach him, to touch him in any way to feel that the wall between them hadn’t built up again

His fist clenched and unclenched until finally reaching The Queen’s face, moving a soft blond curl from it and tucking it behind his ear, Ruki closed his eyes to the gesture.

- Don’t worry about me, I’ll be fine--- - he promised and the fluffy blond bit his lower lip distressingly, denying with his head

- Don’t ever do something like that again - he pleaded with a broken voice, but did not reach closer to Kyo’s face, simply moving back and away, his boots echoing in the quietness of the space, leaving Dragon standing in the middle of his living room with a lump in his throat

 

The Queen watched Kyo’s apartment from the black van, the engine on and Kai drumming his fingers slowly on the steering wheel, also looking at the building. Hollyhock was sitting next to Ruki, the three of them waiting for Raven, the oldest bodyguard reached out a hand to place it on the blond’s shoulder, squeezing it tenderly. The Queen didn’t respond, just let out a sigh before the sight of Raven approaching put them all in alert.

- There’s nothing for two blocks around - he explained once in the car - and I already saw Ghost walking towards here…

- Good - nodded The Queen and turned to look as the black cladded figure entered the building through the front door - Let’s go Kai.

The van purred its way away from Dragon’s building and towards the highway.

 

Dragon was still standing in the middle of the living room, fist clenched and an aching back, tiredness crept at his shoulders along with a feeling of absolute disgust. Towards his actions, towards the turn of events, if he had been cool-headed, if he had kept his promise to Ruki-- the doorbell cut right through his inner self-deprecating monologue. He sighed audibly and moved slowly to the door, without opening it, before the words could leave his mouth a tiny soft voice from the other side spoke.

- Kyo, it’s me - said who he recognized immediately as Ghost from the other side - You don’t have to open the door, I’ll be around if you need me…

- Yes, Mao, thank you - sighed Dragon once again and felt the softest steps go back to the main entrance of the building

Kyo ran a hand through his hair and sighed again, dragging himself to his bedroom and dropping all his weight on the mattress, falling asleep in minutes.




The Queen hadn’t been able to sleep properly that night, tossing and turning until he left his room for the double sofa in the living room, finding Hollyhock asleep with the scotch glass still on his hand. Ruki tried to carefully take it from him but the brunette clenched his fingers around it at the first sign of movement, suddenly jerking awake.

- Ruki - he acknowledged after the seconds it took for him to regain awareness of his surroundings - Can’t sleep?

The blond denied in silence, flopping down on the bigger couch with a sigh, Hollyhock got up to fetch another glass, filling it with ice and pouring the amber liquid in it, pushing it towards The Queen’s direction.

- What was Kyo thinking? - mumbled Ruki frustrated as he pressed the glass against his pout before taking a sip

- He wanted to see the assholes that bought you, is not that hard - sighed Hollyhock - you know he isn’t half as risk as you so desperately want him to believe he is...

- For now - was the blunt answer but the bodyguard didn’t change his knowing smile

- You know damn well Spring won’t even bother to figure out who he is--

- You don’t know that, - he thought about it for a second longer - I don’t know that

- He’s protected, what is it that has your panties in a twist? - Hollyhock let out while he rested his back on the sofa chair with the glass near his lips

- He’s protected, yes…

- Not by you - realized the brunette quickly and The Queen darted a venomous look at him - I know you Ruki, you can’t rest easy until all your pretty possessions are under your manicured claws - he scoffed at his own words but drowned it quickly with a sip of the whiskey

- He’s not my possession - grunted the blond as he finished his drink

- It’s all the same, he’s something of yours, it’s only natural that you want him watched… - he closed his lips, moving them to a side while he measured his words - I won’t protect him, not if it means I will be away from you--

- How romantic - mocked Ruki but Hollyhock only sighed

- It will be the same for Kai and Doll--- I won’t even mention Reita, that’s the last person you want near Dragon… You need Raven so, you’re out of men…

The Queen kept silent, his greenish gray eyes fixated on the table but looking way pass it, to something else, to resources, to a plan of action. Hollyhock poured him another glass calmly, also pouring himself the fourth one that night. Ruki took it silently to his lips and drank it, his eyes still fixed on the table before he started blinking his thoughts away, focusing again on Hollyhock’s face.

- So? - asked the bodyguard, one eyebrow raised

- I have more men - started The Queen pensive - I mean, I know more men

- Yeah, a whole lotta men - mocked Hollyhock and the blond shot him a deathly stare

- Shut your mouth - he grunted

- What are you gonna do about Pierrot? - asked the brunette suddenly and Ruki was actually taken aback by the question

- What do you mean?

- Well isn’t he your--- - he cleared his throat - can’t you win him over before Spring uses him against you?

Ruki bit his lower lip, lowering his sight with a sad smile and denying very softly with his head. Pierrot’s priorities had been clear since the start, his games tender but still games, his words measured but still poisonous. The Queen had been wonderfully played, he hadn’t even realized the damage until later, and by then he wasn’t sure he even cared.

- I’ll tell Raven to track those men down, I don’t know how many of them will be eager to go against Spring though

- I bet you can find some - said Hollyhock with a supportive smile that Ruki returned as best as his exhaustion allowed him to

The Queen got up the couch and started dragging his feet out of the living room and onto the set of only stairs that led to his bedroom in the attic turned into a third floor. The alcohol warming him inside and making him feel drowsy until he was able to finally reach his bed and sit at the edge, dropping on his side and rolling his way to the center of the soft surface, closing his eyes.



The sun wasn’t even up when Kyo arrived to the stables, getting out of his own car along with Ghost. Despite everything that had happened, he still wasn’t able to feel at risk, and Sea choosing Ghost to be with him instead of any other trained man was proof that he thought the same. The Queen’s paranoia was expected and completely understandable, and yet Kyo had deliberately disrespected it. He sighed and Ghost directed a curious look towards him, no signs of the sleepless night on his ageless-like face.

- I’ve never been here - he said softly - Thanks for bringing me

- Yeah, it didn’t sit right with me to make you follow the car on foot - let out Dragon, huffing a laugh that Ghost replied brightly

- What makes you think I wouldn't be already inside? - retorted the younger man and Kyo nodded

- Good point. - he granted as they made their way inside, being greeted by the silence and calm of dawn

It made no difference the time of day he decided to arrive, but after not being able to sleep properly the whole night, he decided that the early morning was as good as time as any. The mares were just waking up when he reached the stables, greeting them with a soft voice, seeing their enthusiasm when they recognized him, huffing lightly and jittering on their place. Ghost had naturally lost himself in curiosity, inspecting everything he saw on his way before meeting with Kyo just when he was letting out the mares. He froze on his place at the entrance, watching nervously as Dragon opened the big double door leading to the field and allowed the three mares to make their own way towards the grass.

- You can get near them if you like - Kyo suggested as he secured the open doors - They’re extremely docile

- I’ll take your word for it - laughed Ghost but got closer anyway, watching them curiously

- You can even ride them if you like - Dragon continued, getting closer to them, the three creatures moving towards him almost instantly

- I rather stay on my own trustworthy feet - answered the other man and Kyo forced a smile, a hand roaming inside his pocket, feeling the dead silent cellphone inside

Granted, The Queen would most likely be asleep at such an ungodly hour. But that didn’t help to ease Kyo’s anxiousness that had settled in him when Ruki left his house. He decided he would call him later, assess the damage. Ghost had been staring at him the whole time, Dragon had to admit he wasn’t used to being so close to him for so long but he guessed there was little the other man could do, at least until the other workers of the farm arrived.

- You’re thinking about The Queen, aren’t you? - he asked softly - you touched the phone in your pocket five times so far on the way here…

- Yeah - he admitted, avoiding to look him in the eye - He was-- - was Ruki angry at him? or just painfully scared, either way Kyo knew there was something that needed to be addressed somehow - He came to my place, he wasn’t very pleased of finding out I was at the parlour yesterday…

- I saw Raven leave your place... - Ghost nodded pensive - I also saw you leave the parlour, I thought Tsuzuku had followed you, I was surprised to see The Queen inside a car across the street…

- So he was still there when you arrived… - sighed Dragon, something small and similar to hope forming in his mind

- I guess he was waiting for me, yes - Ghost seemed to think carefully his next words for a long minute - Nobody followed you Kyo, and I checked many times, nobody in Spring’s family actually knows who you are, except for Morrie I guess… but he’s not technically Spring’s family - he smiled sheepishly and Dragon squinted at him, but still decided not to ask any question

He was done with all of that, he was starting to feel the less he asked the better, if Ruki wanted him away and safely tucked in, then he’d tried his best to comply. At least after he got rid of the assholes that bought him. Something in his mind clicked and he stared at Ghost.

- You saw it, didn’t you? - he asked suddenly and very quietly - Sea asked you to tail Ruki… so you saw what happened that night...

It didn’t take long for Ghost to understand what he was implying, reacting immediately with a nervous jittering of his hands and avoiding to look at Kyo’s eyes.

- I’m not comfortable telling you about that incident - whispered Ghost, his face contorting with guilt

- I just need to know who they were, please, Mao… - he grabbed him by the shoulders, feeling the instant tension forming on them, Ghost didn’t like being touched or handled and he knew he was playing dirty, a part of him feeling instant guilt of manipulating his response beforehand

- I-- I guess I could figure out their names… - he started unconvincingly, still tense even when Dragon let go of him

- Thank you Mao, honestly - Kyo let out, his expression pained and Ghost forced a soft smile, he knew he was being selfish,that he was pushing Ghost unfairly, demanding from him something that could get the snitch in trouble, but he still pressed on - Please-- go now-

- Kyo I shouldn’t--

- Go. Please - he insisted and Ghost bit his lower lip for a long minute before nodding slowly, going back to the main entrance at the same time that the workers were entering to begin their shift

Dragon felt as if something slimy and dark was running through him, he had played the softest of Sea’s family unfairly, forced him to do something he wasn’t comfortable doing and was surely against unspoken rules. He sighed and took out his cellphone, watching his reflection on the black inactive screen. Kyo was starting to realize that his days safe and ignorant of The Queen’s real world were coming to its end.




Chapter Text

Hollyhock watched longingly as the little boats made their way out of the docks, men laughing and cheering for the catches of the day, the seagulls cawing around them. He let out a sigh.

- Oh for fuck’s sake go and rent a boat already - grunted The Queen, standing next to him and watching everything with a noticeable expression of disgust

His navy blue velvet suit was saved from dragging in some mud by the particularly high heels of the black boots he was wearing. Hollyhock directed a casual look at them and snickered.

- You’re gonna regret wearing the Fournier boots today

- Shut the fuck up - he snapped and pinched the bridge of his nose - I hate this place, I know this was a shitty idea--

- If you want his help you gotta play on his terms - sighed Hollyhock - You knew he wouldn’t want to meet up at a fancy place of your choosing

- You’re enjoying this, aren’t you? - Ruki grunted again and Hollyhock smiled gladly

Raven let out a tiny laugh, he had kept to himself to a side of The Queen, he wasn’t very comfortable being met face to face but the blond had insisted that it was necessary to ease a deal. When The Queen asked him to look for a list of people three days ago, Raven hurried to get it done as soon as possible. As expected, most of the people on that list complied to The Queen’s offer but wanted nothing to do with a full blown war against Spring, most of them just opting to simply change the names to which they directed their investments. Raven thought he was going back home empty handed, but The Queen was still pleased with the turn of events even before getting to the bottom of the list. The last name was the one that mattered the most to Ruki so Raven made sure he had the time to reach him, the information had flowed seamlessly and the man had wanted to meet with The Queen right away. With little hours of sleep he had announced this to Ruki in his bedroom, just two hours before, so he wasn’t surprised when The Queen snapped at each and every one of them on their way to the piers and had argued with Kai constantly, resulting on the bodyguard staying in the van when they arrived. Raven knew there wouldn’t be a confrontation as soon as Hollyhock made himself at home among the fishermen and relaxed his body completely, but a sense of uneasiness still crawled on his skin, flashes of a boy, a gun and lots of blood on the floor running amok through his head. He shook it and The Queen directed a quizzical look at him. 

Finally a motorboat came into view, roaring its way towards the pier, two men quickly leaving it and securing it to the wooden posts. Some more men got off lazily, exchanging cordialities, shaking hands and greeting each other. The Queen huffed and Hollyhock got up and went to his side, two of the men were making their lazy way towards them. 

Wearing a long sleeveless shirt that let all his tattoos at sight and ripped black jeans, a black haired man walked towards them, he ruffled his bob cut, revealing an undercut while he flashed a smile at them. The black trainers on his feet looked pristine and Ruki’s eyebrow twitched in annoyance at them, but kept an impasible expression as the man was getting closer. Raven, however, blushed up to his ears when he recognized the ashy blond man right next to him, they locked eyes for a second and the other smiled tenderly, a faint blush on his face too. The black haired man opened his arms towards Ruki but the blond remained unfaced.

- The Queen in the flesh - he let out happily

- Please don’t touch me - asked the blond and moved a step away - You stink

- Yes, the price to pay for a good catch - recognized the other, the smile never leaving his face - You’re looking good Ruki

- You’re not so bad yourself Hazuki - smiled The Queen - can we please go somewhere else?

- Absolutely - smiled Hazuki and placed his hand gently on the blond’s lower back, guiding him away from the piers

- You should invite Hollyhock next time, he’s dying to stink of fish too - let out Ruki and Hazuki laughed brightly, peeking behind them to the bodyguard that looked at him longingly

- Absolutely, fishing is the best way of bonding between two men… - he smiled at himself and got closer to The Queen’s ear - although I’m sure you know a few more…

- I’d appreciate it if you saved those comments for when we’re not surrounded by rotten fish - complained Ruki but it only made Hazuki hold him closer

- Get used to it Queen, you’ll be smelling it more often from now on - he whispered with a mischievous smile on his face while they finally reached a small pub closer to the street

He guided them inside and went for a table at the back, Hollyhock almost next to them but Raven and the ashy blond man stayed behind.

- Haven’t seen you in ages, how’ve you been? - he asked softly and Raven made a big effort to answer without stuttering

- Ff-fine - he failed miserably 

- Do you still go by Gen--

- No. It’s Tsuzuku now - he answered quickly, nervously looking around them

- Does Ruki know that? - the ashy blond asked even more quietly

- Yes, he knows everything - nodded Raven, putting special emphasis on the last word

- Everything - repeated the ashy blond and he blushed notoriously as he averted to look at the table where the other three men were already sitting, taking his place next to Hazuki and Raven sitting to his side quietly

- Ryoga, Ruki, you remember each other, right? - Hazuki introduced them and both blonds nodded

- Yeah, hum, how’ve you been? - he asked nervously but The Queen paid no mind to that, answering calmly 

- Making money for others and almost getting killed for it, apparently - he answered and Ryoga bit his lower lip, but Hazuki laughed out loud

- I warned you Spring was a piece of shit - he said after composing himself - but your daddy issues were stronger - The Queen threw him a murderous stare - What made you finally change your mind?

Ruki bit down his lower lip hard and Hazuki squinted at the gesture, a thick silence formed at the table, blissfully interrupted by the waitress coming to take their order. Hazuki ordered a plate enough for all of them and returned his interest to The Queen quickly, turning to his side and creating a private bubble for just the two of them.

- Ruki, what did he do? - he pressed on but the blond still averted to look at him 

Hollyhock moved uncomfortably on his chair next to The Queen, shifting to get closer to Hazuki but he raised his hand to prevent interruption.

- Word it out or it will be stuck with you forever - he spoke calmly and more closer to Ruki’s face - If Ryoga’s presence concerns you please know he’ll take every word to the grave, he’s my most trusted friend - Ruki nodded knowingly but still didn’t look at them, his eyes focused on the table

- He--  - started The Queen and let out a big sigh, somewhere on his arm he could feel Hollyhock’s gentle touch, sensing his way towards his hand under the table, grabbing it, Ruki responded weakly - He sold me, he let two of his associates drug me and---

- That’s enough - Hazuki stopped him, his amicable face morphing into deadly anger - You wanted my help, you had it since the beginning

- Thank you Hazuki - whispered The Queen as a couple of waitresses came back with the orders, creating a distraction from the tension that had formed around them

- Sh- should we tell Kai we’re here? - asked Raven nervously and Ruki looked at him for the longest minute, pondering his answer

- No - he concluded but grabbed his cellphone anyway to let him know - He’ll come when he’s cooled off - Hazuki smiled at that

- You really know how to handle that beast, I’m impressed - he looked at Hollyhock just in time to see him hide a smile behind his beer glass - That’s another crappy thing Spring did against you and you rose from it like The Queen you now are - he smiled at the nickname

- Kai just needed to be left alone, that was all, but you all kept poking him - he answered simply, toying with the food on his plate, he hadn’t been feeling particularly hungry since he confronted Dragon at his place three days ago, he figured he would feel the same until he could meet with him again, or at least until he picked up the phone when Kyo called

Ruki sighed and Hazuki seemed to drop the topic in response, turning his interest to Raven and Ryoga sitting very close to one another, a sly smile forming on his face.

- Look at you two, finally reunited - he said joyously and both alluded men blushed, causing a scoff from Hollyhock - I was surprised when your little bird came to see me to be honest - he looked at The Queen - I thought he was certainly dead

- Oh yes, he is - answered Ruki casually

Raven squirmed on his seat and Ryoga reacted uncomfortably too, but the rest of the table seemed unfazed. 

- Though Pierrot saw him some days ago so… - he sighed

- He’s back to being alive then - smiled Hazuki understandably - You did a great thing nonetheless Ruki, just going through life picking up strays that other people want to put down...

The Queen rolled his eyes.

-  Anyone on their right mind could’ve seen that Tsuzuku was useful - he complained - I’m not that generous

- Keep telling yourself that - shrugged Hazuki - what about the other one? was he useful too? 

- You’re gonna have to be a little more specific than that - smiled Ruki but at his side Hollyhock had become slightly tense

- You bought a prostitute his freedom, was he useful? - Hazuki let out simply and the whole table went deathly silent, not because the information was unknown to them, but because it was never meant to be spoken out loud

- Why does that matter? - asked The Queen, taking a sip from his drink 

- You just said you saved Tsuzuku because he was useful, I remember you saying the same thing about Kai, but can you say the same thing about the other two strays you picked up? - Hazuki mimicked the blond, taking a big gulp from his drink - I’m just calling you out on your bullshit Ruki - he smiled and took his arm around The Queen’s shoulder, getting his face closer to his ear - You’re not fooling anyone - he let go when Ruki let out a frustrated sigh

- Are you done? - he asked tiredly and Hazuki nodded with a smile

- Let’s talk business - he gestured the waitress - But not here, come to the docks

The Queen glared at him.

- You made me come here-

- Yep - smiled Hazuki

- -deliberately to piss me off

- Absolutely - he admitted with a smile - I wanted to see how far you’d go for my help, looks like you really need it

Ruki sighed and dropped his head in defeat while Hazuki took care of the bill for all of them and guided them outside. They walked to the van where Kai was still seated, a frown on his face and his eyes glued to the windshield, Hazuki knocked on his window but Kai only gave him a side eye glare.

- How you doing Kai, long time no see - he smiled unaffected and moved towards The Queen - still a ray of sunshine, as expected

- He has his moments - smiled Ruki biting his lower lip - See you at the docks then

- See ya in a bit - nodded Hazuki and kept walking towards his own car, Kai rolled down the window when The Queen got closer

- Take us to the docks - the blond announced without looking at him and the bodyguard only nodded, his sight still glued to the front

Hollyhock gave one last longing look at the little boats moving across the water and got in the car after Ruki and Raven. The journey was expectedly short and this time Kai did get out of the car with them, staring at the stacks of containers ahead, the boats and the perpetual mist around them, even in the light of day the place looked nightmarish, or at least his memories did.

- Do you wanna go back to the house? - Ruki asked softly and Kai felt his guard waver instantly

- No - he answered, clenching his jaw

- I’m not doing this to spite you - again the soft tone, the kicked puppy expression, Kai clenched his fists too

- I never thought that - he grunted, if Ruki said just one more thing the wall he had built around him would crumble, he didn’t need to crumble, he couldn’t crumble, not in this place

- If there was anyone else that could--

- Ruki - Kai finally begged, his face contorted, his eyes closed - Please shut up

- Okay - he answered immediately and Kai felt a pang of pain run towards his skull 

- What happened here is in the past. I know--- - he sighed - I know that Hazuki means well and he will help you, you did good in looking for him

The Queen sighed, relief washing all over him and he took a temptative hand towards Kai’s jacket, grabbing the fabric of his sleeve between his index and his thumb. The bodyguard counted to ten but couldn’t seem to calm down, emotions he did not understand were again arousing in him by the simplest of gestures from The Queen. He pulled his arm free of the gentle grip and turned to look at him, the greenish gray eyes shot upwards worriedly. Kai clenched and unclenched his fists, he moved his jaw but words didn’t come out, he breathed and counted again, still words wouldn’t leave his mouth. Ruki bit his lower lip expectantly but nothing was said, Kai moved his strained arms as if the movement was painful, raising them to both sides of the blond that never stopped facing him, even if his eyes darted for a second to his side. Kai closed his arms around Ruki’s and moved two steps forward until their chests met, the blond’s heart hammering against his. Kai joined his arms behind The Queen’s back and he returned it with doubting hands climbing up his strong back. Ruki was soft and small and Kai felt made of stone against him, as it always happened when their bodies met, he lowered his head until his chin met The Queen’s forehead, then he lowered it some more, tense lips brushing soft curls and breathing in his perfume. An ordinary person would have expected something to be expressed now, in such an intimate moment deprived of the passing of time, but Ruki was not ordinary.

- I know - he whispered and Kai felt suddenly relieved, words once again allowed to be kept inside of him, feelings left unexplored, he let go of The Queen and nodded, returning to the van

Hollyhock and Raven, that had kept a respectful distance were now closer to The Queen. Raven’s expression was slightly confused, Hollyhock, as expected, had a smug smile on his face.

- I thought he was gonna strangle you this time for sure - he let out and Ruki rolled his eyes at him 

- Don’t you ever get tired of being a moron? - he complained but a sweet smile formed on his face, he opened his arms - Do you want a hug too? is that it? are you jealous?

- Bitch, please - laughed Hollyhock - you wished I fawned over you like they do 

- Oh yes, I forgot you’re over me now - Ruki said pretending to be sad - what am I ever gonna do now? without your snoring throughout the night…

- You’re so easy Ruki, honestly - snickered Hollyhock - you soften Kai a little bit and you’re over the moon, your little project shows some progress and you’re back to being a snarky bitch - The Queen shoot him a glare but the bodyguard still moved past him, putting an arm around his shoulders on his way and turning him around - Let’s go now, you’re making Hazuki wait too much and ruining my chances of a future peaceful morning of fishing

- He’s not my little project - grunted Ruki but didn’t push away Hollyhock’s hold

- It’s okay if he is, we all kinda are - smiled the brunette and held him closer, making their way towards a factory building towering over machines and containers

The square building had its doors open, workers moving things around, heavy machinery beeping around them, they turned to climb a set of stairs towards a secluded office on a makeshift second floor, its glass walls allowing the supervision of the floor below. They got in without knocking, the door already open, Hazuki was standing facing the glass, watching as the workers moved wooden boxes around. He turned when The Queen was already inside.

- You took your sweet time - he said with a calm smile - did the docks bring any good memories?

- All of them awful - answered Ruki and stood waiting, finally noticing Ryoga nervously standing against a real brick wall among glass ones

- Ryoga - called Hazuki without looking at him - Why don’t you show Hollyhock my new equipment, and ah- I bet you want to catch up with Raven too. - he gestured to the exit with his hand - Please take your time

Hollyhock straightened his back and stood his ground behind The Queen, but the blond turned around quickly to face him.

- It’s okay. Go - he said with a serious expression but Hollyhock still doubted for a minute

- Doesn’t feel right - he grunted, he felt suddenly helpless, stuck between disobedience and worry

- I’ll tell you everything when I’m done, you know that - Ruki tried to convince him and Hazuki’s smile softened

- That’s not the point - mumbled Hollyhock again - I can’t leave you--

- Would you feel better if you checked me for weapons? - Hazuki offered opening his arms, Hollyhock bit a side of his lip - Go ahead, I have nothing to hide

- Do it - ordered The Queen and the bodyguard moved towards Hazuki, patting the areas covered by clothes, finding a sets of keys and a fly fishing hook inside his pockets

- Ups, sorry about that, forgot it was there - he smiled sincerely - You can keep it.

Hollyhock obeyed, keeping the hook on his hand while he left the keys on the desk behind them, checking under it for concealed weapons and even opening the drawers. When he was finished, he still looked doubtfully at The Queen but the greenish gray eyes didn’t faltered.

- Go. - he repeated and the three man left the office, Hazuki moved to close the door behind him and gestured towards the desk

- Please take a sit. Let’s talk business now - he said a little more seriously, but with the same calm expression as he took the place in front of Ruki - Raven did mention I wasn’t the only one called to duty, so I’m guessing you got more “yeses” than mine, is that correct?

- Mostly investors - nodded The Queen - They were explained about the situation briefly, decided their money was still safe in the parlours but knew the change of name had to be made.

- Clever, but none of them have gun power, so to speak - he opened a folder on his desk casually - And how many thugs do you need?

The Queen kept silent, rehearsing in his head how to say exactly what he needed, deciding what information to withhold, which to release. How much could he trust Hazuki with this particular type of information, how much more to rely on him for his safekeeping. Ruki closed his eyes and sighed, part of him thought about discarding the idea all together and accepting a couple of men to use as he needed along the way. But the thought of Pierrot, of Kirito knowing at least Kyo’s face was enough to send him spiraling into a paranoid crisis. Hazuki waited, watching carefully as The Queen’s face turned to stone and his gaze lost far ahead.

- That’s not why you came - concluded Hazuki - Why don’t you tell me the whole story? - he prodded gently 

- I need someone to-- - he bit his lip - keep an eye on a particular person

- What kind of particular person? 

- The Mr.Sea’s family kind - Ruki lowered his voice with a remorseful expression

Hazuki didn’t answer right away, he took some time to ponder The Queen’s words, studying him.

- Mr.Sea helped me get out of debt with Spring - continued the blond a little self-consciously - So we got very close-

- You’re sleeping with him - nodded Hazuki - Can’t say I’m surprised, but you should work on those daddy issues with a professional...

Ruki blushed up to his ears.

- For christ's sake Hazuki - he whispered - Shut up for a second, that’s not it at all

- Then enlighten me - smiled the other man as he ran a hand through his hair, moving it to a side again to reveal the buzzcut under it

- I’m not sleeping with Sea, it’s--- it’s one of his men - he blurted out - I’ve been seeing one of his men for a while now

- “Seeing”? - Hazuki repeated incredulously - Man, you’re all grown up - he formed a sly smile - And I assume this is the man you want to keep an eye on - The Queen nodded, the blush still radiating on his cheeks - if he’s Mr.Sea’s man, isn’t he already protected? 

Ruki pursed his lips, of course Kyo was protected, he probably wasn’t even in danger to begin with. But he was unpredictable, and Ruki wasn’t used to unpredictable people, and he particularly didn’t enjoy someone so dear to him being unpredictable and reckless.

- He is, I guess - he sighed

- But you want your own set of eyes on him, I understand - Hazuki nodded - He’s important to you, yes?

The Queen nodded quickly, averting to look at Hazuki’s eyes

- Then I’ll tell Ryoga to keep an eye on him - he concluded closing the folder he had been skimming through - You should introduce them, to avoid misunderstandings - at this last sentence Ruki bit his lower lip ruefully - You already did some paranoid stupid shit I bet - Hazuki sighed a smile - Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer to have him on a leash?

- I thought about it - admitted The Queen and the blush turned deep crimson

- Not in that way Ruki - he specified and started laughing - Aw, man, what are you getting me into this time? To think that we practically grew up together in these shitty docks-- And now look at us - he gestured around him - Well, I’m still in these shitty docks... What’s the guy’s name?

- Dragon-- but his real name is Kyo - he corrected himself and finally raised his head to look at Hazuki’s eyes

- Never heard of him - he recognized 

- He’s not really part of our world - admitted Ruki, still able to hold Hazuki’s gaze, letting a sweet smile form on his nervous lips - I guess that’s why I like him so much

Hazuki returned the smile.

- What do you need Ryoga to do precisely?

- Stop him from being reckless, protect him - The Queen sighed - Pierrot saw his face three days ago, but he still doesn’t know who Kyo is...

- Well, it really doesn’t matter what he saw as long as Spring doesn’t know about him

- He only knows his alias, not his face - explained Ruki and Hazuki nodded

- I honestly don’t think he’ll go after him, but Ryoga will stay close just in case - he stayed silent a minute before continuing - Are you sure you don’t want people around you? at least around your house, so your men can focus on protecting only you

- Maybe a few, just so Raven can get a full night sleep - he smiled tiredly

- Raven is a good kid, you’re surrounded by good men that love you-- but you always knew how to make people love you - he smiled tenderly and Ruki blushed - too bad your charm didn’t work with the one you wanted the most...

The silence was sudden, tense and crushing, The Queen looked at Hazuki for the longest time, his face unreadable, his hands clasped with one another. The other man didn’t fill in the silence, he waited for wrath or tears, walls broken or build up. Instead Ruki just blinked very slowly.

- I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Hazuki smiled knowingly, he had forgotten a third option. Denial.

- I’ll take care of your man, Ruki, let him know we’re going - he got up and started walking towards the door

- We? - the blond asked confused and Hazuki smiled mischievously

- Ruki dear, I’m gonna have to meet him.

Chapter Text

On the fourth evening of unanswered calls, Kyo was already considering just showing up at The Queen’s house and demanding the answer he wasn’t getting. He sighed, Ruki was angry after all, worry had won over that night but as soon as it cooled off only the anger was left. A silent and unaddressed anger Dragon wasn’t used to. He decided to call once more before heading to the door to get to his car. Something felt different this time, particularly, something sounded different this time. Kyo could hear his own call, could recognize The Queen’s ringtone from the other side of the door, his heart skipped a beat but he didn’t hang up. He instead opened his front door abruptly, finding Ruki in the exact moment he was going to answer his call.

- Oh right, that one you answer - complained Kyo but couldn’t ignore the flutter in his stomach at the sight of the blond shiny curls again, those impossible greenish gray eyes looking at him remorsefully and a glossy black three piece suit so well fitted it looked almost painted on him

- Can I come in? - he asked with a low voice, Dragon was able to shift the focus from him for enough time to see two more figures behind him, their faces unknown

- Who are they? - Kyo blurted out

- That’s what I’m here to explain, can we please come in? - answered The Queen, trying to control his temper

Dragon moved aside and allowed them into the hall and then the living room, inspecting every bit of the ashy and undoubtedly younger man and the taller and dark-haired one, sleeve tattoos on sight and a buzzcut on the side of his head. Kyo just knew that this man was another of Ruki’s affairs, he could see it in every gesture of his laidback attitude and the way he leaned ever so slightly in The Queen’s direction. 

- Now, who are they? - he asked again, and something on Ruki’s face twitched, yes, definitely angry

- I’m Hazuki - the man introduced himself, reaching out for a handshake that Dragon accepted in the sake of cordiality - I’m a friend of Ruki’s and this is Ryoga, my associate - the ashy blond nodded somehow nervous

- Ryoga is here to guard you - The Queen explained simply - Hazuki is just here to meet you

- Do you mind if we sit down? - asked Hazuki politely, but nobody moved

- Yes. - grunted Dragon - guard me? I’m already guarded - he directed a stern look towards Ruki

- Not by me - answered The Queen flatly and Hazuki looked at them and then Ryoga

- We will leave you alone so Ruki can explain everything, alright? - he looked at The Queen and the blond simply nodded - It was nice to meet you Kyo

- Yeah - answered Dragon and watched them leave through the front door, not even waiting a second to turn around again - Ruki what the fuck is this? - he hissed, fist clenching - You haven’t answered my calls in four days and you just show up at my house  with a new babysitter for me?

- Maybe if you hadn’t acted like a reckless child you wouldn’t need any - Ruki spat back

- But nothing happened, did it? - Dragon gestured with his hands - the oh so frightening Pierrot saw me and I’ve apparently survived, didn’t I? so am I really in danger to begin with? because it sounds more like you want to control me like you do with everyone else-

If the statement had hurt Ruki, he didn’t let it show, his nails digging in his palms while he got closer.

- If you listened to me then I wouldn’t have to--

- You want me to do as you say, is that it? - Kyo also got closer - I’m not one of your boy toys, you can’t just boss me around--

- You don’t know the world you’re getting into - said Ruki loudly, inches away from his face, a hand on his chest - You have no idea how dangerous this truly is, why can’t you believe me?

- Because nothing happened - answered Dragon also raising his voice

- I almost got killed, you call that nothing? - his voice was breaking now, but his face was still morphed by anger

- I fucking know that - lashed out Kyo - and I can’t do anything about it, how do you think that makes me feel? and you asked me to be locked up do you understand how that feels--

- I don’t want you locked up-- I want you to be safe

- I AM SAFE-- WHY CAN’T YOU LET ME HELP YOU

- BECAUSE I DON’T WANNA LOSE YOU 

Kyo didn’t answer, their agitated breaths filled the room, anger, tension, pain all coiled up inside of him. Dragon took his hands violently to Ruki’s cheeks, grabbing them viciously and pulling him closer, crashing his lips against the plump ones, robbing him of his breath, feeling his resistance at first, until two arms surrounded his neck, almost choking him as they pulled him even closer. They gasped for air and used that to ram their tongues into one another’s, Ruki’s fingers burying themselves in Kyo’s short hair, his own hands going down from the cheeks to the soft white neck, grabbing him carefully as he started moving. 

The Queen hoisted himself up by Dragon’s neck, locking his waist with his thighs, Kyo’s strong arms immediately holding him into place but never stopping the heated kiss. Ruki started kissing his way away from Kyo’s bruised lips, moving to his jaw and down his neck, sucking and biting the sensitive skin as the dark-haired man kept walking towards the closest surface. He propped his knees up the double couch and laid Ruki down on it, being forced to follow by the thighs still strongly clasped around his waist. Kyo kissed his way down his neck and chest, stopping only to remove his shirt and going back to the encounter of that porcelain skin, giving it the same treatment, watching as red marks started blossoming on it. 

The Queen removed his jacket, thighs a little more loose on Kyo’s sides, he allowed him to unbutton his vest and shirt as he fetched the black pouch from his coat pocket. Dragon noticed this and snickered, lips finding their way back to plump ones, pushing them furiously as he pulled the vest and shirt off Ruki’s chest, moving instantly to the pant’s zipper, never abandoning the suffocating encounter of their hungry mouths. He pulled from the excruciatingly tight pants with some difficulty, being stopped by the pair of pointy boots, removing them as Ruki’s nails started scratching at his pant’s waist. Dragon finally pulled The Queen’s pants off, being received by the porcelain soft thighs and a very eager hard-on. Now the blond’s hands were pulling from his clothes and Kyo complied, taking them off to confirm he was just as affected by their rough play as Ruki was. 

The Queen fetched the lube from the black purse and Kyo took it from his hands, pouring its content directly on Ruki’s heated skin, tearing a gasp from his mouth as the cold liquid made contact with his erect member. Kyo smiled viciously and took a hand to it, grabbing it loosely and feeling it twitch under his touch as he moved his hand up and down carefully. Ruki let out a soft sigh and Dragon took his mouth to the blond’s pierced ear, biting on the earrings and pulling from them, letting out more soft sounds of out the plump lips. Kyo decided that wasn’t enough and proceed to tighten his grip on Ruki’s member, pumping it more strongly. This time the blond gasped and moaned loudly, Kyo took his lips to the soft neck, leaving even more marks on it. 

The Queen’s desperate hands were digging their way down his shoulders, leaving red trails with his nails as he searched for Kyo’s own erection but stopped halfway. Ruki tried to fetch the rest of the lube as Kyo intensified the movement of his hand, making it tight and fast, the blond breaking into loud moans, unable to focus enough to return the treatment. Dragon used his free hand to retrieve the lube, slowing just slightly to pour it on Ruki’s offering hand, slicking up his fingers and watching as the blond took them to his own entrance, holding his breath as he pushed the first one in, relaxing soon after and pushing a second one. Kyo pumped his hand again, more fierce and quickly and Ruki tried to mimic his rhythm with his fingers inside of him. Their mouths meeting again but breaking the kiss quickly when the blond started reaching his climax, gasping and moaning. 

Kyo stopped stroking him as he pulled Ruki’s hand away from him and placed his member on his entrance, pushing himself in with one swift motion, hearing the desperate cry as the blond dropped his head backwards. Soft thighs wrapped his waist again as he returned his hand to Ruki’s member, pumping it while he pulled his whole length out and back inside of him over and over again, everytime more quickly and roughly. The blond trashed under him, a gasp escaping his lips when he released himself on Kyo’s hand, his hips buckling up as he ride out his orgasm, tightening around Dragon until he did the same. Kyo dug his teeth on Ruki’s clavicule as he gave the final thrusts, pulling out from him and feeling right away the slick of his own release. Still gasping for breath, Ruki took both of his hand fisted against Kyo’s chest, giving him a hard push that made Dragon lose balance and dropped seated on the couch.

- What was that for? - he grunted, being too aware of how the couch was now noticeably stained

- I’m still mad at you - let out Ruki with a hoarse voice

Kyo made a big effort to return between the porcelain soft thighs, dropping his weight carefully on top of Ruki until their chests met and their faces almost crashed together. 

- Maybe you need another round - he whispered and a faint blush formed on Ruki’s cheeks as he slapped his back before hugging it, his thighs immediately locking him in an embrace

- Maybe… - he replied with a husky voice

 

The Queen woke up on an unknown bed, something soft against his naked skin and something warm and breathing next to him. He rubbed his eyes and sat down, the blanket slipping from his shoulders, the understanding of his surroundings became clear when his sight trailed all the room up to his side, recognizing Kyo sleeping there. A sudden urgency crept all over him, he wasn’t supposed to fall asleep, he wasn’t supposed to stay at all. Ruki rushed out of bed and grabbed the first thing he considered clothes on his way to the door, sliding into it and recognizing it as a silk robe as he tied the belt around his waist. It was really short and he felt exposed all over as he rummaged inside his abandoned coat for his cellphone. The Queen felt a pang of guilt at the unanswered call and unread messages, a part of him grateful it was Hollyhock the one that had drove him there, otherwise he’d have to pay for a new door after they’d have irremediably barged in. He called back but hung up after recognizing the ringtone very close to him, he moved towards it, facing the front door as someone gently knocked on it.

- Ruki - whispered the voice on the other side and the blond unlocked an opened the door

Hollyhock and Ryoga were standing on the hallway and the bodyguard looked at him from head to toe.

- I see you guys worked things out - he commented with a smug smile and Ruki felt compelled to grab the robe opening on his chest - Yeah, that helps - the bodyguard added after the gesture, directing his eyes to the blond’s exposed thighs - You could’ve called sooner - he complained with a sigh - are you gonna stay?

- I really should, shouldn’t I - Ruki almost asked and Hollyhock rolled his eyes

- You’re the worst, you are actually thinking about ditching him - said the bodyguard appalled 

- I wasn’t - grunted The Queen in a whisper - I just didn’t think he would let me stay...

- You should stay - Ryoga said casually, the other two instantly embarrassed of ignoring his presence until now - it will help your case if you stay till morning and then explain why you need me here

- The pretty boy is right - nodded Hollyhock

- You think I’m pretty? - was Ryoga’s surprised answer

- Don’t get your hopes up brat - Hollyhock let out quickly and Ruki rolled his eyes

- Did you just call me brat? - Ryoga asked again - I’m just--

- Can you both shut it? - grunted Ruki - I’m staying. Aoi go home, Ryoga you stay and do whatever Hazuki told you to do to keep Kyo safe.

- And now The Queen - added Hollyhock and turned towards the ashy blond - if something happens to Ruki I’ll pluck every one of the hairs on your grown man chest, got it?

Ryoga laughed but the bodyguard kept the stern look on his face long enough to raise the tension between them and finally make him uncomfortable. Hollyhock smiled when the ashy blond looked nervous enough and slapped his cheek tenderly.

- Good night Ryoga. Ruki - he nodded at The Queen that shut the door on their faces without answering

When Ruki returned to the bedroom Kyo was awake and sitting on the bed, they looked at each other in silence for a moment.

- It suits you - smiled Dragon and the blond made the rest of the way towards the bed, crawling on it and stealing a kiss from the smiling lips - did you send off your men?

- I did send off one man - answered Ruki noncommittally and Kyo sighed

- Would it make you happy if that man followed me everywhere? - he asked, trying not to get angry again, trying to understand The Queen’s position

- Yes, very - he let out instantly and bit his lower lip - I’m not trying to control you, he won’t interfere on your affairs--

- Unless I do something you don’t like - added Kyo, still not letting the matter go, Ruki sighed

- Unless you do something that could put you at risk - he corrected and hugged Kyo’s arm to get closer, leaning his head on his shoulder - is it so unbearable to allow him to follow you so I can be sure you’ll be safe?

Dragon didn’t answer, actually enjoying the contact between them, the fluffy curls rubbing against his chin and cheek, leaning into them and closing his eyes.

- No, is not that unbearable - he finally agreed with a sigh

- Thank you - Ruki whispered and held him closer, raising his head, nuzzling his face against Kyo’s cheek

Dragon answered searching for his lips, kissing them tenderly as he slid The Queen’s body down the mattress.



Kyo couldn’t escape the sense of relief that washed over him when he opened his eyes the next morning and was faced with Ruki sleeping next to him. The blond curls spilled on the pillow and his plump lips slightly open, this was the first time The Queen had stayed at his place. Dragon smiled at the thought and kissed the sleeping lips, knowing full well that wouldn’t prove enough to wake him up. He got dressed in a pair of black jogging pants and made his way towards the kitchen, but decided to make a stop at the front door first, peeking through the side window before going out to the lobby. It took some minutes of waiting but the ashy blond appeared from the other side of the hall.

- You stayed here all night? - asked Kyo, feeling somehow guilty for the other man that looked as if he had aged ten years throughout the night

- Don’t worry about it, I slept a little - he explained - It’s just ‘cause Ruki is here, otherwise I wouldn’t stay all night

- And how would you keep me safe then? - tried Dragon raising an eyebrow

- I have this - he raised the hand holding a controller with a little screen attached to it - this will tell me when you go out or if someone gets in... I just need to be close by

- Is that a drone? - let out Kyo dumbfounded - Unbelievable. Come on in - he added, moving to a side as Ryoga obeyed him 

Dragon returned to the kitchen and the ashy blond followed, he put the coffee maker to work as he rummaged through his cabinets, taking out ingredients. Ryoga took a sit at the breakfast bar, watching him curiously as Kyo seemed to ponder his options.

- You should make pancakes - Ryoga suggested, playing with the controller in his hands - Ruki likes them - he added with a shrug 

- And how do you know that? - asked Kyo suspiciously

- Because I made them for him after we slept together - he showed a mischievous smile before staring at Dragon’s eyes and poking his tongue out - Just kidding, we shared a couple of breakfasts when I worked at the parlours

- If you’re so comfortable as to say stupid shit like that, then you can tend to your own coffee - answered Kyo annoyed and started making exactly what Ryoga had suggested

The ashy blond shrugged and moved to the coffee maker, watching it curiously as it finished its job noisily. Dragon pointed to a cupboard in front of him and Ryoga took three mugs out of it.

- You know, if you hadn’t kicked Hazuki out last night, he might have told you a couple of stories about Ruki - he said calmly as he poured himself a cup and brought it to his lips - They go way back, even before he met Spring...

Kyo pretended not to care, but something crept under his skin and stayed there, a certainty that he’d never know enough about The Queen to feel satisfied.

- Is that why you don’t call him Queen? - he diverged the topic as best as he could and Ryoga shrugged again as he returned to his spot at the breakfast bar with the cup in his hand

- I don’t call him that because he introduced himself as Ruki and that’s what I’ve called him since. - he took a sip from the coffee - Aliases and all that, I have no use for them… So you’re Dragon, right? Why’s that?

- They named me that after this one - he patted the dragon on his left arm and Ryoga directed his eyes to it, moving slowly to the back completely covered by more tattoos - I had less back then...

- Ah, I see - he nodded, they both turned their faces towards the hallway when they heard a door being shut - Guess The Queen’s up, I should leave…

- Why? - Kyo asked simply, flipping the pancake on the pan

- Because I do respect his privacy? - asked Ryoga laughing - Thank you for the coffee-- ah, you should have my number - he took out a card from his pocket - Here it is, see ya.

- Yeah - answered Dragon nodding and watched as the ashy blond left the kitchen, hearing how the front door opened and shut again, now there was another figure rubbing his eyes on the kitchen entrance, fully dressed except for his coat, Ruki moved to take the spot Ryoga had abandoned

- Was that Ryoga? - he asked drowsily and Kyo turned around, revealing the finished pancakes and moving to pour him some coffee, the fluffy blond couldn’t disguise his excitement at the sight of the stack in front of him - aww pancakes, it’s been ages since I last ate some - he grabbed a fork and digged through the first one, taking it instantly to his mouth

- Why are you dressed already? - asked Kyo and felt a little embarrassed of his own question when Ruki raised an eyebrow at him

- Excuse me for not wanting to parade naked inside your house - he smiled, taking another bite with a satisfied moan

- You wouldn’t hear a complaint from me - answered Dragon leaning on the bar to get his lips closer, stealing a honey stained kiss from Ruki’s plump ones

-  I actually have some things to do so my drive is on his way - he mumbled apologetically, drowning his face inside the coffee mug 

- Things like what? - prodded Kyo gently and took the fork from him to taste his own work

- Things like non-mafia stuff - Ruki smiled, a faint blush on his cheeks - medical appointments and such…

- Are you getting sick? - Kyo wondered confused, making a big effort not to let his imagination run wild

- No no, not at all - the blond reclaimed the fork and finished the first pancake from the stack - It’s just routine, I do them every month or so--- - he choked slightly and gulped down on his coffee - you know I sleep around a lot so… it’s just a precaution

- Ah - realized Dragon, feeling too aware and exposed at the same time - Is that kind of appointment...

- Yeah - Ruki bit down his bottom lip, avoiding to look at him - But aren’t you glad to hear it tho? after skipping the condom so quickly - he covered half his face with the mug, gulping the remainings of his coffee

- I think I am, actually - confessed Kyo scratching his neck - and who’s picking you up?

This time The Queen had no coffee left to bury his words, the faint blush going crimson as he digged through another pancake and stuffed it inside his mouth, slurring his words.

- Reita - he finally mumbled and Kyo gave him the most intense eye roll he could manage, making Ruki let out a tiny giggle - Sorry

- Please don’t let him come in - Dragon begged with a smile, taking his hand carefully to the blond’s cheek and caressing it

- I won’t, don’t worry, he-- - his cellphone made a loud sound from somewhere inside the coat he had hanged on the chair next to him - He’s here.

The Queen climbed off the chair and put on the jacket before trotting his way around the breakfast bar to get closer to Dragon. He placed his hands on Kyo’s chest and the other one grabbed him by the face to get him closer, smashing their lips together and kissing out all the honey that still remained on them from the breakfast. When they parted, Ruki was blushing and his manicured nails where gently scratching Kyo’s chest, he hummed sweetly when the other one’s lips went down his jaw and neck. The cellphone made a painfully loud noise again.

- I should go - he whispered in a husky voice and Dragon only wanted to hold him tighter, his hands now descending to the blond’s waist - Please be safe - he added but didn’t move away

- I will - Dragon hummed, climbing his way back up to those tempting lips, stealing from them one last kiss before The Queen finally made the giant effort of moving away, patting his chest lightly

- See you soon - he said looking at his eyes for a moment

Kyo walked him to the door despite their attempt to stay apart, touching and hugging all the way, kissing him through a third annoying sound from Ruki’s cellphone before finally opening the door and watching him leave.

 

A black gigantic motorcycle was parked in front of the building and The Queen felt an adrenaline rush just by the sight of it, he jogged towards it. The man on it had his helmet on and shoved another one on Ruki’s chest when he was close enough.

- Took you a while - said the annoyed voice, muffled by the helmet covering his whole face

- Oh, is that you Scar? I can’t see you through the jealousy - Ruki teased as he climbed effortlessly on the back, securing the helmet on his head while the man in front of him let out a sigh

- Hold tight - he warned and The Queen felt a new adrenaline rush as he leaned towards him, gluing his chest to Scar’s back, hugging his waist tightly

The motorcycle roared furiously as Scar skidded them out of the sidewalk and onto the streets.

Chapter Text

Scar felt restless, his leg bouncing as he tried to distract himself with some absurd and addictive game on his cellphone. He hated hospitals, he hated hospital waiting rooms particularly, too many childhood memories. People adrift, asleep or helpless, the antiseptic smell everywhere, old magazines and fake plants in an attempt to minimize the horror of the whole ordeal. He lost again, his lives were over and his battery declining, but determined steps were coming his way and he felt released, saved from the torture. The Queen sighed exhausted and sat down next to him.

- What is it about this place that makes me want to smoke so badly everytime I'm here? - he grunted and patted his jacket all over - oh right, I don’t have cigarettes on me

- I can get you some - answered Scar, anything to get out as soon as possible, the motorcycle keys burning inside his pocket

- It’s okay, we’re leaving anyway - shrugged Ruki but didn’t get up from his seat - I just, needed to stay still… and this is the stillest place I know - Scar nodded 

- How did it go? - he asked to fill the space, to keep their voices active so he didn’t crawl back into his own mind

- Oh fine, I knew it would be fine, but well, I needed to be sure - he searched inside his jacket again - Dammit-

- Do you want me to get you a pack? - insisted Scar

- You want to leave that badly, hm? - smiled Ruki tenderly - Yeah, let’s go get some

Scar practically jumped off his seat, grabbing both helmets next to it and started walking towards the exit, The Queen, however, got up lazily, dreading to go outside again. It was in this type of places where he felt the most safe, almost lost in space and time, away from all the impending danger. Everything was static here but in a good, safe, kind of way. He sighed as he followed the anxious wreck that Scar turned into everytime they were inside any kind of health facility. 

 

The first drag felt like pure bliss inside his lungs, leaving them with a contempt moan, a cloud lingering in front of him before getting dispersed by the soft wind. Scar looked at him contemplatively, they were seated just across from the hospital, deciding to delay their return as much as possible.

- I thought you’d quit - commented Scar with a badly hidden judgemental tone

- I did actually - shrugged Ruki - I just-- really need it sometimes, but I don’t smoke most of the time, you know that…

- Yeah, guess you’re right - complied Scar and took the cancer stick out of The Queen’s lips, taking it to his and giving it a long drag, letting the smoke out after some seconds and returning it to the blond

- That’s the only one you’re getting - he pouted - get your own - Reita smiled 

- I guess I just wanted an indirect kiss, since I can’t have the real kind anymore - he confessed and Ruki looked at him hurt

- Don’t say that kind of stuff - he whined - You’re never letting it go, are you?

- No, sorry - Scar smiled but he wasn’t happy - I miss you

- Yeah - said The Queen uncomfortably, shifting in his place as he gave a last drag to the cigarette - Sorry about that, I just figured you wouldn’t be in the mood to see Hazuki, I know he can get annoying

- I didn’t mean that, but thanks - sighed Scar and ventured a hand to his side, searching for Ruki’s, the fluffy blond also searched for him and they held tight when their hands finally met

- I’m sorry - whispered Ruki and Scar rolled his eyes

- Stop apologizing - he grunted and let go of his hand after some seconds - Let’s go home.

- Yeah - mumbled The Queen and accepted the helmet that was offered to him, climbing on the motorcycle behind Scar and making their way back



 Expectedly, the presence of strangers around his house did not help his paranoid state, no matter how many times Hazuki had showed him their faces on his cellphone, proving how trustworthy those men were. There were four of them surrounding his block constantly and keeping tabs on all of them, communicating between each other and making sure The Queen was constantly informed. It was exhausting and it managed to stress out everyone else as well, even Raven and Doll felt uncomfortable when they went out, being followed by one of the men even in the shortest of journeys.

The Queen hung up his phone with a grunt after the third attempt, Doll and Hollyhock’s interest picking up from the pool table across the room.

- Guess Sato received the memo - observed Hollyhock as they both got closer to the desk where Ruki took a hand to his forehead

- Maybe you should stop calling him - suggested Doll 

- Too late now - sighed The Queen 

- Do you think he’s dead? - asked Doll bluntly and Ruki grimaced

- That’s very likely - nodded Hollyhock uninterested - By now Spring already saw the numbers don’t add up

- Easier getting rid of the accountant than admitting he signed everything off himself - shrugged Doll

- I don’t think he figured it out just yet - thought Ruki out loud

- If he didn’t by now, I’m sure your name on Sato’s phone will definitely help him reach that conclusion

- Thanks Aoi - grunted The Queen and Hollyhock bowed

- Are you still going to the auction? - wondered Doll softly

Ruki took his time to ponder his options, he knew it was a big risk to just go to a place where everyone expected him to be. He also was tired of hiding, if he just moved a step at the time then it seemed nothing would move at all. Spring already knew the money wasn’t going to reach him, he would soon also realize all his investors had been plucked. Sato the accountant had been the scapegoat, but Spring wouldn’t just sit still as his money was taken from him. He would want to act quickly and efficiently, and The Queen was ready for that.

- What do you think he’ll do? - asked Hollyhock seriously

- I’m not so sure - confessed Ruki - We’ll just have to be extra careful

- You shouldn’t go at all - complained Doll, an emotion similar to anger but very much like fear contorted his face - Why are you even considering it?

- What’s the point of making his own name if he will just hide away? - shrugged Hollyhock - I say we go and deal with it, let’s take two of the men Hazuki gave you

- Raven and Doll can stay with the other two - agreed The Queen

- I can’t let you walk directly into the lion’s den, I’m going too - Doll complained

- You’re not - answered Ruki simply and got up from the desk - I’ll let the men know and I’ll be taking Hollyhock, Kai and Scar with me. You stay with Raven and the other two, the house is also a target, don’t forget that

- I-- - stuttered Doll and bit down his lip - Why do you have to go? - he whispered but The Queen didn’t hear him, already leaving the room

Hollyhock took a careful hand to his shoulder, Doll turned to him and something that looked a lot like pain was tainting his face, but his eyes didn’t waver, still dull as always.

- Why are you letting him go? - he whispered again and Hollyhock smiled sweetly at him, venturing his hand up Doll’s face, taking it to his cheek, the other didn’t reject it and didn’t move away even when Hollyhock got closer, reaching for his lips but deciding on a shy kiss on his forehead instead

- I’ll keep him safe - he promised before letting go of him, following after The Queen’s steps, leaving Doll behind, watching him exit the room with a helpless expression




The two men surrounded the perimeter of the art gallery several times before confirming to The Queen and his men it was safe to get out of the van. Scar got out first and Hollyhock surrounded the vehicle from the other door, flanking each side of Ruki as he got out. Kai was the last one, walking behind them as they made their way inside. The light and whiteness of the hall reflected on the satin dark red suit The Queen was wearing, a black fabric flower on his lapel and black lace gloves. He felt uneasy since the moment he set foot on the burgundy carpet, but the sight of Mr.Sea in front of him gave him something similar to security again, Scarecrow and Red both flanking his sides. The older man smiled as he got closer and The Queen hurried the contact of their hands.

- Ruki, it’s so good to see you - Mr.Sea said smiling and gestured towards the auction room - After you

- Thank you - answered Ruki softly, Scar moving by his side, Hollyhock and Kai staying behind alongside Red and Scarecrow

- The Queen has balls to come here... - let out Red and Hollyhock smiled proudly

- Yeah, Spring has no idea who he’s dealing with - he assured while they took the empty seats at the back of the room

 

The auction was short and uneventful, both The Queen and Mr.Sea managed to get their hands on a few pieces, feeling very much like old times. But the end of the event poised a new kind of anxiety, new uncertainties, getting inside was private and spacious, getting out was crammed and too exposed for their taste. Mr.Sea suggested they either stayed inside or mingled among the people. The Queen and his men decided for the later, Hazuki’s thugs were nowhere to be found, their unremarkable faces easily lost among the crowd. A crowd that almost seemed herded, blocking their path inadvertently. Ruki felt the anxiety to its fullest now, being slightly parted from Hollyhock and Kai, Scar managed to keep beside him purely by force, grabbing his arm tightly and moving through shoves among the crowd.

- Why are there so many fucking people? - he heard him grunt but his ears started ringing, his heart couldn’t fit inside his chest, it was moving too fast and they were hardly advancing

- This was a mistake - he whispered, Scar held tighter, pulling from him, feeling how Ruki started hyperventilating, pulling him harder

Something in the air got very thick, a pack-like panic surrounded them, someone shouted, they couldn’t make out the sound, The Queen thought it sounded so much like his name.

- RUKI!!!

It was his name and he was oh so late. A gunshot sounded in the air and something pushed him so strongly, sending him straight to the ground, his head hitting against the pavement in one swift motion, everything getting blurry. Screams and movement all around them, shoved and kicked at the sides and then he heard more, three more shots. Or were there four?. The Queen took a hand to his sore head and it returned bloody, a ringing started in his ears and he still heard his name. But it sounded closer, ragged, as if out of breath. Behind his blurred eyes he turned around. The crowd had finally parted, sirens could be heard but the air was breathable again, there were dark lumps on the floor, the dark crimson red all over them. The Queen panicked and crawled his way over them, something grabbed his leg.

- Ruki - he heard a groan  - Ru, are you okay? - the voice broke between hisses of pain and panic

The greenish gray eyes seemed to finally focus enough, his heart wished they were still blurred. 

Reita laid right next to him, dark blood coming who knows from where, his face contorted in pain, his gun away from the reach of his clasped right hand and his left one still held onto Ruki’s suit.

- Re--Rei - he heard himself whisper, as if he was watching everything from above and some unknown force inside of him drove him to his feet only to fall again, kneeling in front of the wounded bodyguard - Rei, Reita oh god-- please - he begged and dragged his heavy body up his lap, taking the blond’s face between his hands

- I’m fine - he grunted - I’m fine-- just the arm-- You’re bleeding - he reached out with his right hand but moaned painfully and stopped the movement

The tears spilled all over him as Ruki hugged his head to his chest, bringing out a new grunt from Reita’s throat.

- Don’t squish me-- - he begged sweetly

 

Now the world seemed to finally be put in motion as The Queen tried to take the scene around him, kneeling right in the middle of it at the entrance stairs of the gallery. Hollyhock had gotten closer and was now inspecting Scar’s wound with noticeable relief on his face, Kai was practically behind Ruki now and he squatted next to him, taking him by the chin and inspecting the wound on his forehead.

- You hit your head - he confirmed

- Reita-- Reita is hurt - whined Ruki and Kai nodded

- We’ll get him to a hospital--

- No - Scar grunted immediately, hissing while Hollyhock applied pressure to his wound with his knee, The Queen sighed knowingly

- Just, just call Aki, please - he explained Kai as he reached inside his pocket for his cellphone - We’ll take him home - Kai nodded as he grabbed the device and left to get the van

- Ruki - Hollyhock called him as he finished a makeshift tourniquet on Scar’s wounded arm

- What exactly happened Aoi? - whispered The Queen as the bodyguard bit down his lip

- We were ambushed - he continued calmly, checking his work would stand the journey - but we were warned at the same time…

- What do you mean? - Ruki wondered and tried to tear his eyes away from Scar on his lap, taking in the scene around them 

He recognized Mr.Sea standing next to Scarecrow a few meters away, who seemed to be sitting on the ground as well, both hands on his head as he stared at one of the black lumps that was starting to look more and more like a person for his blurred and aching head. The Queen’s stomach dropped, his heart felt as if it was being squeezed out of its blood when he recognized who was one of the figures lying among a pool of dark. 

- Mm--Morrie - he stuttered, tears rolling down his cheeks, his head aching, his ears ringing

- He followed them, he was the one that warned you, he managed to kill one before-- - Hollyhock clicked his tongue - Hazuki’s men took the other one out-- 

- Morrie… - Ruki whispered again and felt a hand searching for his wet cheek, Scar’s left hand was touching him ever so softly as his owner slowly drifted out of consciousness 

- We should leave now, we’re risking Reita’s life by staying - Hollyhock pressed on, but Ruki’s eyes were fixated on the body a few meters in front of them

The van came to view seconds later, Hazuki’s men getting closer as Kai descended to open both doors at the side of the van. The thugs grabbed Scar from his armpits and legs carefully, that brought a reaction in The Queen that looked strongly reluctant to letting go of the bodyguard. Hollyhock moved quickly towards him, stopping him from even attempting to grab Scar again, Ruki’s eyes were dry and red, staring at both Scar being taken away from him and Morrie’s body on the sidewalk. The brunette didn’t ask, didn’t even considered a second option, he just grabbed The Queen by the arms and stood him up, dragging him all the way to the van and sitting him inside of it. The men had placed Scar on one of the facing seats and were now perched to his sides to prevent him from falling off it, Hollyhock sat next to Ruki and placed a hand on top of him to do the same. The van’s tires screeched their way out of the scene as loudly as the police sirens that were starting to approach.

The Queen fell asleep during the journey, or he most likely fainted, a slap bringing him back to consciousness the next second.

- Don’t fall asleep - Hollyhock warned him, but it sounded more like a beg - You hit your head really bad, so don’t fall asleep - Ruki denied with his head slowly

 

When they reached the house, Doll and Raven practically ran towards the van, but moved in a state of panic when Hazuki’s men came out first and started moving Scar out of the van and into the house. Raven followed them almost in a haze, Doll stayed fixated on the van’s door until Hollyhock came out, pulling from The Queen to do the same. The tallest of them all didn’t even let him finish getting out of the van, hugging Ruki’s tiny frame as if he wanted to snap him in two.

- I told you not to go, I told you not to go - he kept repeating on his ear and the fluffy blond made the biggest effort to hug him back, but his arms fell limp by his sides

- I’m sorry - he managed to whisper in a broken voice and Doll let him go, but still kept his hands on him while they helped him inside the house

Hazuki’s men had laid Scar’s body on the biggest couch of the living room, where a brunette with pouty lips was diligently working on his wound. 

- Aki - whispered The Queen upon seeing him but the man only pointed at the single couch to his right

- Sit, I need to look at that wound too - he ordered and Ruki did as told - And don’t fall asleep! - he warned without looking at him

Doll kneeled next to The Queen and took him by the chin, inspecting the wound on his forehead carefully. Raven was assisting the medic as he worked his way inside the wound with a pair of pliers to remove the bullet. Scar didn’t make a sound, but a discarded needle on the table proved he wouldn’t even wake up for a while. After some excruciatingly silent minutes, Aki was finished dressing up Scar’s wound and was moving his attention to the men around him.

- It’s okay to take him to his room now, but be careful, I’ll leave some medicines for him - the men nodded and lifted Scar carefully, Kai guided them towards the stairs up to the rooms - Now you - he said after watching them leave and The Queen made the biggest effort to respond

Aki squatted in front of him and shone a little flashlight on his eyes, making Ruki follow it, after checking the wound, cleaning it and dressing it he made more tests on the blond’s reflexes. When he was done he reached inside his bag and took out some pill bottles, reading them before presenting them to Doll.

- These are antibiotics for Reita - he placed the bottle on the table - also painkillers - he took another bottle and placed it next to it - These are for Ruki because his system needs something stronger, doesn’t it? - he smiled but there was more scorn on his expression than humor - Don’t overdo it again please. That’d be all.

- Can I sleep now? - begged The Queen and Aki sighed

- Yes Ruki, you can sleep now 

- Thank you Aki - he whispered and the medic finally showed him a smile

- Next time you call me, it better be to buy me dinner - he scolded but still moved to place a hand on The Queen’s shoulder, patting it gently before nodding his way out, Hollyhock following after to watch him leave

Doll and Ruki were left in a dimmed living room, an eerie silence around them as Hazuki’s men patrolled outside and Kai and Raven made sure the rooms were empty. A whimper broke free from Ruki’s lips and Doll kneeled in front of him, trying to peer at his face.

- Morrie is dead, Uruha - he whispered, his voice broken and coarse

Doll just sighed painfully and reached out to grab The Queen’s hands between his.

- I’m sorry Ruki - was his answer as he stroked the porcelain skin gently

- It was all my fault - he moaned and dropped his head forward, tears rolling uncontrollably down his face

- Don’t say that - Doll begged - I’m sure Morrie knew of the consequences--

- What does that matter? - his voice broke almost in a scream and it hurt Doll as if he was being hit by it

His answer got lost when Hollyhock got inside the living room and took in the scene.

- Go to bed Ruki, whatever we have to deal with, it can wait - The Queen shook his head - It will do you no good to torture yourself staying awake now. I’m telling you to go to bed.

- Yes, you should do that Ruki - agreed Doll softly, his deep voice almost a whisper and the fluffy blond seemed to give up quickly, stress and exhaustion nibbling at his stubbornness

He got up slowly, taking the pill bottle and dragging it off the table, making his wobbly way towards the double stairs and heading up.

- That’s--- - started Doll but Hollyhock denied with his head

- It doesn’t matter where he decides to sleep as long as he does - he sighed, allowing The Queen to make his unstable way towards Scar’s room 

Chapter Text

Dragon woke up abruptly, it wasn’t even morning yet but the doorbell had rang. He had slept on the sport trousers so he just got out of bed and dragged his tired body towards the front door. His heart started pounding when he recognized Kansas through the little side window, opening to find his former bodyguard being held at gunpoint by Ryoga.

- He claims he knows you - grunted the ashy blond and Kyo sighed

- He does - he explained and Ryoga put down his gun - Come on in Toshiya - he added nervously and was not surprised when the ashy blond took the invitation as well

- I like your new friend, he’s nice - smiled Kansas ironically and Ryoga smiled back

- What happened? - was Kyo’s direct question as his mind tried to painfully wake up enough to process the situation at the same time he tried to calm his nerves down

- Well - started Kansas - I learn from my mistakes so I’ll start by telling you that Ruki is fine - that did not calm Dragon on the least who now wore a panicked expression

- When was he in danger? - he asked but Kansas rose his hands to stop him 

- He was at the art auction - he started calmly - Sea was there too, there was an ambush and Scar got hurt. They took the attackers down but - he clicked his tongue - Well, Morrie is dead.

Dragon replayed Kansas words inside his head, Ruki had been attacked again, this time they managed to hurt Scar. He did not have any type of connection with Morrie but he understood his importance in everyone else's’ lives. Specially in Ruki’s life. Morrie was dear to him, he had guided him and protected him and now he was gone.

- I should go see Ruki - he whispered and Ryoga grimaced

- Dude, give him some space - he let out - Morrie was his father figure, I mean, he slept with him of course, but nonetheless--

- Are you always this nice? - asked Kansas but an honest smile was forming on his face

- I just tell the truth, if you go now Ruki will lash out at you - he shrugged - besides he’d want to stay with Scar until he gets better, you would just… I’m sorry but you’d be a hassle

- Yeah, Kyo, I’m afraid he’s right - confessed Kansas with an apologetic expression - Scar is-- Well, I don’t have to tell you that. He’s The Queen’s precious pet since day one

- That’s fucked up - commented Ryoga frowning

- And fucking your father figure isn’t? - laughed Kansas

- I’m not the one with the daddy issues, how should I know? - Ryoga defended himself - You’re just calling Scar a pet because you don’t want to tell Kyo to his face that Ruki almost married the guy

- Thank you for saying it anyway - mumbled Kansas

- Out. - grunted Kyo - You both get out, I will deal with this information as I please and I don’t want to hear you yapping here anymore.

Ryoga started to walk away lazily but Kansas doubted.

- Toshiya. Out - ordered Dragon and gestured towards the door

Kansas looked like he was going to talk again but Ryoga shook his head at him and managed to drag him outside. Once alone Dragon moved to the living room and fell on the bigger couch with a sigh. He decided it wouldn’t be painful to allow Ruki all the space he needed, even if some sick and obscure part of him squirmed at the thought of Scar being showered with The Queen’s attention again. Kyo breathed in and tried to breathe out that shameful part of himself as he got up and made his way towards the bedroom again, deciding on sleeping the dark thoughts away.



Scar was lost, he wasn’t technically lost, he knew where he was, he recognized the white hallways, the smell of cleaning products so strong it itched his nose. He knew where he was but he was lost, he was five again or he was just the same age. Scar was searching for his mother’s room or was he searching for Ruki’s room? Ruki was here, he somehow knew it, he felt it. Scar was lost and the soft voice crying kept calling his name, for seconds it sounded so much like his mother, then it morphed into a husky whimper.

“Ruki” he was sure he called but the sound didn’t come out of his mouth. He started running down the white corridor and Ruki cried harder, blood started to pour out from under the doors to his sides. None of them would open and Scar was so lost, the cries became screams, loud and piercing, echoing everywhere and then suddenly stopping. Scar shouted The Queen’s name as he ran, the corridor seemed endless, the blood filling it, rising up to his knees now. Scar was lost and he couldn’t stop running, not until he found Ruki whom he called for again, the blood was up his neck. Scar was lost and his last desperate cry for The Queen got choked by the blood pouring inside his mouth.

 

With a soundless scream he rose up violently from his bed, sweat dripping down his forehead and an immeasurable pain on his bandaged arm, now hanging by a cloth from his neck. Scar took ragged breaths in, trying to compose himself, to tear his mind away from the nightmare. Something moved beside him and the tiniest of voices whispered in the dark.

- You’re awake - he heard Ruki’s unmistakable deep tone - You’re awake - he repeated and now there were soft hands on his face

Scar kept his eyes open despite not seeing through the dark inside his room, a part of him afraid this was also a dream.

- I am, I am - he assured with a hoarse voice and reached out with his left hand until he surrounded The Queen’s waist and held him tight against his chest

- You’re awake - he whispered against his cheek, now wet from his tears, or maybe they were Scar’s

The memories rushed violently and unobstructed into Ruki’s mind. The same scenario, waiting for Scar to wake up from the heavy anesthetics, his face bandaged as long as several parts of his body. Aki staying overnight to keep an eye on him, Ruki’s tears staining the bandage when the dark warm eyes finally opened. 

Scar had crawled his way to him, to the back alley of the parlour, searching for him with what seemed his dying breath. And Ruki had taken him in and tended to his wounds and made him part of his growing family. The by-then Princess had made sure those who had attacked him believed Reita had died in that alley, and the right words to the right people ensured that the attackers shared his fate.  

They sighed at the same time, Ruki carefully hugging Scar’s neck.

- What if I lost you too? - he whispered and broke into a whimper

- Too? - repeated Scar confused and something cold slid down his spine

- Morrie is dead - whined The Queen on his ear and hugged tighter

- Fuck-- - let out Scar and climbed his unharmed hand up Ruki’s back to support him - Ruki, I’m sorry

The Queen didn’t answer and Scar remained silent, just hearing each other’s breaths inside the completely obscure bedroom.



The Queen decided to get up later that night, leaving Scar to rest more comfortably without his weight on him. Ruki felt restless and anxious, so he made his silent way out of the second floor and down the stairs. That’s when he heard a dull thud coming from the basement. His mind felt dizzy instantly, his heart racing as he made sure at least one of the knives that were usually inside his clothes was still there. Ruki took it out and walked against the wall towards the noise, he didn’t even reach half the staircase when a voice spoke from the inside.

- It’s me - said Kai standing beside a big dark bag that spilled part of its contents on the floor

Ruki finished going down the steps and stood next to them, watching him curiously.

- Ruki - recognized Kai and moved to sit on the couch 

- You broke the punching bag - The Queen observed softly as he moved to sit next to him

- Mh - he answered simply, but his fists were clenched 

- It wasn’t enough, was it? - asked Ruki carefully and Kai sighed, getting up and moving to the pull down machine, making it creak dangerously with the force in which he lifted the weights 

- Are you angry with me? - whispered Ruki, his voice lost among the loud machine, Kai had to stop to answer him

- Why would I be - he grunted and the blond shrugged

- I went to the auction despite knowing it was dangerous...

- No - grunted Kai and resumed his task - I’m just fucking pissed that I didn’t get to kill those guys - he gave a hard pull and the machine creaked dangerously - I’m fucking pissed that I didn’t even see them, I’m fucking pissed that two men that came from the outside kept you safer than the ones that’ve been with you for years-

- Don’t say that, it’s not like that at all - complained Ruki but kept his voice low - Hazuki gave them to me-- he convinced me to use them because they’re disposable, that’s their reality. - he looked at Kai that didn’t stop his exercise, the machine trembling dangerously around him - You are not. None of you are.

This time Kai stopped and sat up on the machine, staring at The Queen with something that wanted to be warmth but was still far from it. He was opening his mouth when the fluffy blond’s pocket chirped and he took out his cellphone from it.

- Morrie has been buried - he read toneless, his expression unreadable - I’d like to-- - he interrupted himself with a sigh - Nevermind, I should go back to sleep--

- I’ll take you - said Kai suddenly - If you want to go say your goodbyes I’ll take you

The Queen looked at him with teary eyes but denied with his head.

- What if that’s exactly where Spring wants me to be? - he whispered

- Then we’ll take the disposable guys - shrugged Kai but didn’t show a smile - Who sent you the text?

- Mr.Sea did - Ruki lowered his head

- Then it’s likely they’re still there, let him know you’re going so at least there are more men around you…

- I-- I don’t think it’s a good idea… - the fluffy blond whispered, Kai moved to sit next to him again

- Then don’t text him, but I’ll still take you - he sighed and avoided looking at him - Otherwise you’ll regret it

- Please don’t let Doll know - Ruki whispered as he wrote back to Mr.Sea and to two of the men standing guard outside




Rain started pouring suddenly and violently, drenching everything and everyone in seconds, The Queen rolled his eyes at the cliché of a downpour for a funeral. Kai parked the car just at the entrance and the two guys got off the car, one of them opened an umbrella to cover Ruki. They waited next to him until Kai reached them and took the umbrella from him, allowing The Queen to interlock his arm in his under the protection from the water.

Some meters away, Mr.Sea was waiting next to Red who held the umbrella for him, Ruki recognized the sitting figure under the rain as Scarecrow, right next to the freshly digged grave. The Queen took in a shaky breath and let it out in the same way, tears dripping down his cheeks, disguised by the rain that managed to damp them despite the protection.

Mr. Sea kept silent when Ruki approached him and he felt deeply grateful for that, he kept walking towards the dirt space and squatted in front of it, right next to Scarecrow so Kai’s umbrella now covered them both.

- I’m sorry Kaoru - he whispered, voice broken as tears kept rolling down his face

- Likewise - grunted Scarecrow 

- Thank you - he sighed and took his hand towards the earth, placing his palm on it - Goodbye Morrie - his voice was barely audible among the ruckus of the rain, his head pounding, he took the hand back to his chest, clutching it

- That dinosaur should’ve retired when he had the chance - he heard Scarecrow mumble, but Ruki didn’t answer, feeling too strongly the guilt of Morrie’s death, of everything that was happening

- It’s my fault- - he whimpered

- You give yourself too much credit - shot back Scarecrow as he rose to his feet

The Queen took some more time but mimicked him, watching him leave to Mr.Sea’s side and keep walking away, Red let out a sigh after trying to get his attention and failing. Mr.Sea finally got closer to Ruki and placed a hand on his shoulder.

- It is an immeasurable lost - he said and squeezed the fluffy blond’s shoulder warmly - Morrie loved you dearly and even acted against my advice - he sighed - I did needed him next to Spring for a longer time, he made a different call. - he seemed to ponder on the weight of his own words as The Queen crumbled in front of him, tears silently clouding his eyes, dragging makeup with them on their path - Responsibility for others’ autonomous actions is a tricky thing - he started calmly, his hand still on Ruki’s shoulder - I do believe we need to observe them but not weight them too heavily on our shoulders, otherwise we would be crushed by it.

The Queen nodded silently and Mr.Sea gave him a last pat on the shoulder before he and Red went the same way Scarecrow had disappeared. Hazuki’s men instantly got closer, keeping an eye around them, giving their backs to the grave. Ruki sighed a shaky breath, lowering his head, Kai looked at all his tiny body and how it seemed even more insignificant down the pouring rain. The quiet sobs, the trembling of his shoulders, the bodyguard felt useless and wished they had at least woke Raven up, anyone with a little more warm blood inside them to tend to The Queen’s pain. Kai looked around him and sighed, taking his hand to pull from Ruki’s elbow, dragging him closer. He did not expect the fluffy blond to rush the embrace suddenly, making him drop the umbrella on the way and clutching Kai’s back as he loudly cried out against his chest. One of the men moved slowly towards them, picking up the umbrella and covering them again, but Ruki was already drenched, burying his head against Kai as the bodyguard slowly raised his arms to embrace his waist and back, feeling him shuddering and hugging tighter.




Observing the muddy fields, Dragon felt tired. The horses getting restless and Ryoga’s uninterested taps on his cellphone were the only noises that morning. Kyo found himself getting used to his assigned bodyguard quite quickly, he was straightforward and honest, akin to The Queen’s personality. He had finally decided not to call Ruki the same night, giving him some space as Ryoga had suggested.

- Are you gonna let the horses out? - asked the ashy blond, stretching out a hand to pet one of the mares

- Yes, though they’ll give me more work afterwards. They love the mud - Kyo smiled and moved to open the stall door, letting the first mare out before moving to the one Ryoga was still petting - Do you wanna ride it?

- Please yes - he answered right away, handing his cellphone over to Dragon and grabbing the nearest saddle from the wall 

Kyo stored the cellphone inside his pocket and moved closer to help him, covering the mare’s back with a saddle pad before Ryoga placed the seat. Dragon moved to secure it on the horse’s body.

- This one’s Hui, she’s my oldest horse - he started explaining as he patted the horse’s chest while Ryoga climbed on her back with the help of a step - She knows what to do, so no matter how anxious you are, she won’t mind

- Got it. - Ryoga answered, a huge smile on his face - Did Ruki ride them? - he asked suddenly, as if the thought had just occurred to him

- Not yet - Kyo sighed 

- I bet he freaked out when he saw them - laughed the ashy blond and Dragon tilted his head - You know how some policemen use them... - he explained calmly as he made Hui start walking towards the field - Well, you can connect the dots yourself. But I bet if you mount with him he won’t freak out--- make him mount this one, she’s really nice... - Ryoga smiled as he fondled the mare’s mane 

- I will - assured Kyo as he moved aside to watch them trot towards the muddy field

The phone in his pocket vibrated and for a split second Kyo thought it was his own, taking it out and recognizing it as Ryoga’s quickly. It vibrated again and Dragon looked at the fields, Ryoga already far away, now galloping alongside the other mare. He unlocked the phone with a slide of his finger.

- No passwords, hm? - he mumbled to himself as the device vibrated again and a name showed on the screen next to a message - Genki.. - read Kyo out loud, the name strangely familiar, he didn’t meant to pry further but this said “Genki” was talking about The Queen and the temptation was stronger than he anticipated. 

Kyo opened the message before he could convince himself it was wrong, the content of the message placed a face on the name. Genki was Raven, it wasn’t surprising to find out he had more than one name, it was a little surprising, however, the intimate way he talked to Ryoga through these messages and how the ashy blond replied back. Dragon felt guilty and all kinds of wrong as he locked the phone again and tried to think of an excuse for his shameless invasion to Ryoga’s privacy.

- That’s not your phone - said a little voice to his side and Dragon, startled, almost dropped the device

- Son of a-- - he let out - Ghost, don’t ever do that again

The other man faked being sorry but a blast in the air made both of them drop to the ground, the projectile hitting the wall right behind Ghost and splintering the wood with it’s force. The muffled hooves were moving faster now and towards them, Dragon stood up between Ghost and the incoming horse. Ryoga had his gun pointed at him again but lowered it when he saw Kyo.

- Ryoga, you want to get me killed? - shouted Dragon and stopped Hui by the reins, the mare was nervous but obeyed anyway

- Who’s that? - the ashy blond grunted back as Ghost was standing up

- I could ask the same thing - he complained

Dragon raised both his hands to stop them.

- Ryoga was hired by Ruki to protect me - he explained to Ghost and turned around - And he’s Ghost, he works for Mr.Sea and he is my friend

- Tsk - let out the ashy blond as he got off the horse - I’m sorry then 

- Do you always shoot before asking? - interrogated Ghost and Ryoga just nodded

- Yeah, it was safer than waiting until I got here - he turned to Kyo - Next time don’t be so jumpy with a friend--

- I can’t believe you’re turning your mistake against me - Dragon rolled his eyes and handed him his phone - Here. I went through your messages. - he said simply and Ryoga smiled

- Figured you would - he nodded and proceeded to read them - Did you read the ones Ruki sent me?

Dragon bit the inside of his cheek, no, he hadn’t thought about that. Ryoga seemed to catch the expression because his smile widened. Ghost cleared his throat before he said anything.

- Kyo, can I talk to you? - he lowered his voice

- Anything you have to say to him you can say it with me here - shrugged Ryoga - I’m not here to spy, I’m here to be his shadow

- Go ahead Mao - sighed Kyo - We won’t make him leave

- Where did you come from? - asked Ghost appalled

- From the docks, darling - Ryoga seemed amused - not all of us rose to greatness as The Queen you know, some of us decided to stay among the rats - his eyes glistened dangerously and Kyo put a hand on both their shoulders

- Stop it. - he warned - Mao, tell me why are you here…

- I researched the men you asked me to… - he started, without lowering his voice but giving Ryoga a side-eye glance - I found them, but-- not really.

- What do you mean? - asked Kyo anxiously

- I found their names and places but-- they weren't there. And it looked like they hadn’t been home for a while…

- Who are those guys? - asked Ryoga and Ghost frowned at him

- That’s none of your business - he answered and the ashy blond shrugged

- Can you investigate where they might be? - continued Kyo and Ghost pursed his lips

- I don’t think it’ll be possible... - he avoided looking at his face - Why don’t you ask The Queen about it? - he suggested but Kyo denied with his head

- I couldn’t possibly bring that topic to him-- It’s okay Mao, anything you come by, please let me know - he patted his shoulder - You can leave if you want to

- Thank you - answered Ghost before giving a last nasty look towards Ryoga

- Bye bye Mao - he chanted with a smirk and watched him leave

When they were alone again, Dragon sighed and shot Ryoga with an irritated stare, the ashy blond seemed unfazed.

- I like him - he let out, focusing on his cellphone again - you should invite him more often

- Don’t you ever shoot a gun inside here again - he warned and Ryoga nodded slowly, but didn’t look at him - are you fucking Raven? - he blurted out and to this the ashy blond responded, a heavy blush on his cheek

- I wish - he confessed - but it’s not likely to happen until Pierrot is out of the picture

- But you know him from before, Pierrot also called him by another name… - Kyo remembered

- Yeah, he was a rat just like me, we used to steal information for money and he got really unlucky-- - Ryoga seemed to think for a second - and then he got really lucky…

- When Ruki hired him - completed Dragon with a nod

- Ruki didn’t just hire him, he saved his fucking life, he let everyone think Pierrot had killed him and took him in - Ryoga pursed his lips - Pierrot never denied it so I guess he must have given him something in return for Raven’s life--

- Don’t - warned Kyo but the ashy blond was already smiling mischievously

- Maybe the best blowjob of his life - he let out anyway and Dragon managed to threw a hand at him but Ryoga evaded it - a little touchy with the subject, aren’t we? - he mocked 

- I’m just not interested in your intel about it - Kyo grunted - You’re gonna have to repair that wall

- Can do - answered Ryoga right away

- Now. - ordered Dragon and the ashy blond sighed but moved towards the hole to inspect it anyway

Chapter Text

Dragon went to a little office he kept next to the stables, after asking some of the staff to handle the horses and help repair the wall, he closed the door. He took out his phone and let out a huge sigh, he realized it was early and he was probably going to wake The Queen up, but Kyo couldn’t wait anymore. He needed to listen to his voice. Dragon called him and the first time it rang for a long time before the voicemail clicked in. He considered not trying a second time, waiting for later in the afternoon. But now his phone was vibrating and the name on the screen made him get irremediably anxious. 

- Ruki - he answered softly 

Hi ” the voice said hoarsely from the other side

- I heard about Morrie, I’m very sorry - he continued 

Thank you ” Ruki answered softly, talking in a whisper

- How’s Scar? - he wondered and this time the blond took a long time to answer, he could hear his breathing and nothing else around him

He’s fine, he just needs to rest ” the words seemed measured and that didn’t sit right with Kyo, but he decided to blame it on the situation he was facing

- And how are you? - he couldn’t help but whisper, Ruki let out a sigh in response

Scared ” he summed up, Kyo thought about a lot of answers and a lot of propositions, but he didn’t feel right about imposing his own needs on a very weakened Ruki

- You should go back to sleep - he concluded - And you can call me whenever you want--- or if you want me to go---

Thank you ” interrupted Ruki “ Right now I just---

- I understand - lied Kyo, feeling a painful thug in his stomach

Thank you ” repeated the blond, his voice getting tinier

- I love you - prodded Dragon and heard a sigh on the other side, when the voice came out again, it almost sounded like a smile was on the blond’s plump lips

Me too ” he said back and ended the call

Dragon put the device inside his pocket with a defeated sigh, taking both hands to his face and lying back on his chair. 



The Queen stared at his screen for a little longer, sitting on the floor, his back against the door to Scar’s bedroom. He sighed and dropped his head forward, taking one more minute before getting up, but opting for going downstairs. Ruki could see Hazuki’s men walking around the perimeter, some of them got inside the kitchen through the backyard door, they took meals there and slept on the basement before taking on shifts. The Queen still felt uncomfortable about the deal but these men, despite obeying any other order, were loyal to Hazuki and he had practically asked them to die before leaving him unsurveiled. 

Ruki took his freshly made tea to the office and sat there with a sigh, he hadn’t even changed out of his sleepwear yet and the sun had been out for some hours. He managed only a sip of his tea when his cellphone chirped, the screen read “Cleaner is at the front door” and was sent by one of Hazuki’s men. The Queen got up anxiously and hurried to the door, expectedly, Cleaner was standing there with two men surrounding him, his hands too ready to grab their guns.

- I was gonna ring the bell… - he started casually, his long hair tied in a high ponytail and his outfit casual - but these warm gentlemen took care of it for me… - he finally seemed to repair on Ruki’s appearance because a smirk formed on his lips - Queen, you look ravishing, seeing you like this sends shivers down my spine

- I’m flattered - Ruki answered disinterested

- May I? - asked Cleaner and gestured to the inside of the house, The Queen nodded and moved aside to let him through, guiding him towards the office

-  I’m glad there’s enough trust between us that you show yourself so openly to me - he continued as he sat across Ruki

- You’ve seen me with less - shrugged the blond and took a sip from his tea

- You know… - Cleaner started, looking around them - Mr.Spring told me to be prepared for a royal pick up at the art gallery last night… Imagine my surprise when I arrived and there was no royalty for me to pick up…. Of course my services were still required to grant old Morrie a swift rest… - to this Ruki grimaced, staring at the mug still between his hands

- Why are you here? - he asked a little coldly

- Mr.Spring wants you dead - Cleaner acknowledged, looking him straight in the eyes

- What was your first clue? - answered Ruki with a sarcastic smile

- I mean, I could be of help - continued Cleaner unaffected, The Queen squinted at him

- You don’t associate with families business - he assured and the taller man nodded and took a hand to his chest

- For you Queen, I’d break any rule - he said seriously and got up - Please call me. - he surrounded the desk to graze Ruki’s shoulder gently before leaving the room, the fluffy blond watched him go until he heard the recognizable sound of the front door opening and closing again 

 

The Queen stayed in his office, drinking his tea still on his sleepwear, scrolling uninterested on a laptop until the first sounds started upstairs. Doll was the first one to peek inside the room, offering breakfast, Ruki decided to shower before that, going all the way up to his room on the third floor. When he showed up in the kitchen Doll was finished and waiting for him.

- Am I the only one having breakfast? - Ruki asked as he sat at the head of the table

- Kai left earlier - started Doll pursing his lips in deep thought - Raven is out as well, I think Hollyhock is still upstairs and well-- Reita is probably still in bed - he smiled softly - I’ll take him some breakfast in a minute. I hired a cook and a cleaner, by the way

- Thank you - Ruki nodded as he sipped his coffee - I appreciate that--

- What was Cleaner doing here? - Doll interrupted suddenly

- He wanted to talk I guess - answered the fluffy blond with a shrug

- Liar - sighed the other man and gestured to a tray on the counter - That’s for Reita

- Yes, thank you - nodded Ruki and got up quickly, taking the tray and disappearing through the door, almost bumping into Hollyhock who was just coming shirtless down the steps.

- Watch it your highness - he laughed but moved aside to let him pass anyway, following the path towards the kitchen The Queen had just abandoned

Once on the second floor, Ruki balanced the tray between his hip and arm while he opened the door and got inside. When he managed to close it and turn around, a dim light was already on and Scar was staring curiously at him.

- Ah, you’re up - acknowledged The Queen as he got closer to the bed

- Yeah, I’m done with sleeping - smiled Scar sweetly as Ruki placed the tray to his side on the bed, the blond bodyguard didn’t take much time to dig into the fruit bowl and start eating grapes from it

- Aki will probably see you today - Ruki said softly, trying to sit next to him - scoot scoot - he demanded and Scar obeyed smiling 

- Is not that bad - the bodyguard complained as the fluffy blond placed the tray on his legs - Though this does bring back memories…. - he leaned slowly to a side until his head met with the top of Ruki’s

- None of them good - mumbled Ruki as he stole a fruit from the bowl

- Not at the moment--

- Not under any circumstance - complained the fluffy blond  

- Are you telling me you didn't enjoy taking care of me? - Scar faked hurt in his voice - Not even a little bit?

- You were dying - grunted Ruki - that’s not something to remember fondly

- Oh but I do - Scar hissed when he tried to move his injured arm to hug the fluffy blond’s waist - ah…

- Are you an idiot? - asked The Queen as he moved onto a very tempting pastry on Scar’s tray and sank his teeth into it

- Please help yourself - laughed Scar and blushed suddenly lowering his voice to a mumble - Would you do me a favor? - Ruki raised an eyebrow in response, his mouth too busy devouring Scar’s breakfast - would you come to the other side of the bed? 

- Ah - he climbed off the bed - sure - he surrounded it to get to Scar’s left side and the bodyguard moved to give him space

As soon as they were sitting next to each other, Scar slipped his arm to surround Ruki’s waist, letting out a pleased hum. 

- Much better - he sighed

- And how are you going to eat your breakfast now, genius? - The Queen mocked him

- If there’s anything left… - Scar started, raising his eyebrows as the fluffy blond finished the pastry - I was thinking you could feed me

- You’re not that injured - retorted Ruki with a smile

- Then let me phrase it differently - the bodyguard gave him a serious look - Please pamper me. 

- I’m confused, I thought I already was - laughed the fluffy blond and Scar squeezed him against his side 

- Then pamper me more and mean it! - he added and Ruki rolled his eyes

- I think you’re already a bit too spoiled - he mumbled but moved the tray closer to them anyway, grabbing one of the pastries and splitting it in half before taking it to Scar’s mouth, the bodyguard chomped off half of it with a smile - should I get you a straw for your coffee? - added Ruki 

- Don’t strain yourself - mumbled Scar still chewing and removed his arm from the blond’s waist, grabbing the mug and taking it to his lips

Scar kept the comfortable silence during the rest of his breakfast, managing to grab Ruki’s sleeve with the hand of his injured arm and take his hand, while he used his free hand to finish drinking his coffee. By the time he was done, the fluffy blond was asleep with his head on Scar’s shoulder.

 

The sound of the blinds being lifted managed to wake The Queen up from his light sleep, he first scrunched his face with a groan and then opened his eyes slowly. Scar was standing facing him with a black tank top and sport pants, his hair still wet from the shower and a tired expression on his face.

- That was the hardest shower of my life - he commented with a frown

- What about the time your ribs were cracked? - mumbled Ruki closing his eyes as if he intended to continue sleeping

- Well, you were a lot nicer back then and actually helped, remember? - Scar smiled and squatted in front of the bed - Are you getting up or what?

- Nnngh… what for? - grunted the fluffy blond and curled up more into himself 

- If you didn’t stay up at night you would actually be a decent person in the morning, you know? - lectured Scar as he tried to move his arm and hissed painfully

- Does a bullet wound mean nothing to you? - complained Ruki sitting up - you’ll pop a stitch-- I’ll call Aki

- No need - denied Scar quickly

- I’m the one that decides that - answered The Queen seriously and the bodyguard gave him a sheepish look

- You look very cute in that sweater - he let out getting closer

- I’m still calling Aki - Ruki cut him off, but he still gave an unconscious look at the striped loose knit sweater that ran all the way to his thighs and covered half his hands

When he looked up again, Scar’s face was dangerously close and both his hands were touching the knitwear at his waist, the injured arm more gently than the left arm that was already trying to embrace him.

- Reita - warned Ruki with a stern look but the bodyguard still got his face close to The Queen’s cheek, moving further to sniff at his curls

- Just give me this second - he pleaded as his arm finally managed to surround the fluffy blond’s waist and pull him closer, Scar getting his lips close to Ruki’s cheek and pressing them chastly

The Queen closed his eyes to the feeling and took his hands to Scar’s chest, resting on it lightly as the bodyguard moved his lips down his neck and up again. Ruki bent his neck by reflex to give him more room and turned his face when the lips climbed back to his cheek. Their mouths were inches apart and for a moment he thought that was all, but Scar pressed forward strongly, clashing their lips together, provoking a little surprised hum from Ruki as he answered slightly opening his lips to kiss at Scar’s. The Queen climbed his half covered hands up the bodyguard’s nape, digging his fingers on the bleached blond hair and pushing his head forward, licking the lips that kissed him as they tried to do the same to him, their tongues meeting starved and eagerly. Scar took his arm up Ruki’s waist, lifting the sweater as he tried to reach the soft skin under it, his lips separating for a ragged breath, dragging them down Ruki’s jaw to his neck again. The fluffy blond hummed softly before finally opening his eyes.

- Reita - he whispered as he returned his hands to the bodyguard’s chest - Stop - he pushed him away and Scar allowed it 

- Sorry - he said right away and a pang of guilt pierced through Ruki’s head 

Reita had never had to apologize before, these kind of things had always been allowed if not encouraged between them. But Kyo had changed that, falling in love had changed it. The Queen felt wrong and filthy, they had never discussed about being exclusive but somehow Ruki felt it was implied. That that was what falling in love was about, and Ruki knew he had never fell in love before. Because he had never felt this way about anyone before. And he understood Reita’s words and he now understood just how painful this was for him and how despicable he was being for still giving him hopes of something he could never reciprocate.

- No - he finally whispered, looking at Scar’s black warm eyes - I’m the one that’s sorry, I should stop-- It’s not right--- I…

- Don’t worry - smiled Scar tenderly, taking his hand to Ruki’s cheek - I understand

- Stop being so understanding... - mumbled the fluffy blond avoiding to look him in the eyes - I’m gonna call Aki - he added quickly and moved away from Scar’s touch to leave the bedroom

The Queen took some seconds on the other side of Scar’s bedroom door, feeling a knot in his throat and his heart hammering alongside his head. He sighed and tried to breathe the air back in, sighed it out again and took it in one last time until it evened out. Ruki took his cellphone out still on the second floor but looked for Aki’s number as he went downstairs to the ground floor. Once again, he bumped into Hollyhock as he was climbing up the stairs, the bodyguard rolled his eyes, faking annoyance.

- Again? - he asked but didn’t move to let The Queen pass, standing two steps down so their faces were almost at the same height, the blond waited for him to talk - How are you? - Hollyhock finally asked

- Going to call Aki to check on Reita - he answered absentmindedly and Hollyhock grabbed him by the elbow

- Not what I asked - he said softly - Morrie is dead and Reita is wounded and you’re acting as--

- As what? - interrupted The Queen coldly

- As a mob boss - smiled Hollyhock - I get it - he added quickly

- There’s no time to mourn - explained Ruki, something shifted in his eyes but his face looked carved in stone - I’ve done my grieving.

- What was Cleaner doing here? - Hollyhock changed the subject and The Queen frowned

- That’s none of your business - he answered plainly

- No more secrets, remember? - whispered the bodyguard getting near his face, so close he could see how Ruki’s eyes were coldly fixed on his and what he thought he’d seen before was definitely gone - Are you gonna remind me you are my boss and I should suck it up? - Hollyhock asked with a smug smile 

- Stop defying me - grunted The Queen but Hollyhock just scoffed

- You’re unbelievable - he let out with a sigh - You still don’t understand what we’re supposed to do, do you? - Hollyhock could feel his temper rising and Ruki’s impasible expression was not helping at all - I bowed to protect you, remember that? Got trained by every thug I could find at Spring’s house, learnt all the dirty tricks, slept with you on the same bed for months-- for fuck’s sake Ruki - he grabbed his other elbow, the fluffy blond didn’t resist or pulled back - Stop shutting us out, you can’t shield us from the world - he gave a soft pull just to somehow make his point more valid and finally something shifted in The Queen’s expression and he softened his greenish gray eyes

- I don’t wanna lose you - he said softly

- I know that - Hollyhock softened his voice too - but it’s not your job to protect us, it’s the other way around - Ruki, defeated, nodded slowly - Promise me you’ll tell me your plans, you don’t have to tell the rest. Just promise me I’ll know everything you’re scheming 

- Allright - The Queen nodded and Hollyhock smiled, leaning near him to press a kiss on his cheek before moving aside to let him continue downstairs 



Aki, the medic, arrived in the afternoon, his presence at the door being announced by Hazuki’s men. But, unlike Cleaner, they allowed him entrance on their own accord, greeting him as the familiar face he was. Ruki hurried to received him, Aki smiled instantly and moved to hug him casually before standing slightly on his tiptoes to inspect his forehead.

- Did you take the pills I gave you? - he asked seriously, The Queen nodded in answer - The cut is not big so it’s okay if the wound breaths… - he moved towards the living room - Although I know you too well to assume that thought crossed your mind when you removed the bandage - he smiled warmly and looked around - Where’s Reita?

Ruki had kept his offended silence through the accusations, he was used to Aki’s scolding from years of mistreating wounds and abusing painkillers throughout his life at Mr.Spring's family. He didn’t follow the medic into the living room, waiting until he turned around to point at the stairs.

- He’s in the basement now - he said taking his eyes upwards and Aki let out a frustrated sigh 

- He never learns, does he? - complained the medic pursing his mouth and following The Queen down the stairs 

When they reached the basement, only Scar was inside, lifting a dumbbell with his left hand as he watched longingly the pull down machine.

- Don’t even think about it - warned Aki as he made his way towards him - Tell me Reita, did you go to school?

- I did, why - answered Scar confused, allowing the medic to remove the dumbbell from his hand

- Ah, so you probably know what “rest” means - Aki raised an eyebrow - I hope for your sake at least you took the pills 

- I did - Scar smiled, but his eyes drifted to Ruki who had been avoiding him since the incident in the morning, now the greenish gray eyes looked anywhere but his face, Scar sighed and returned them to Aki’s frustrated face - I feel fine

- How? - asked Aki seriously and sat on his right side, putting down his briefcase and taking Scar’s arm - How are you not even troubled by what happened to you? - he continued sincerely

Scar hissed painfully when Aki started removing the dressing to inspect the wound, but turned his look at The Queen and kept it there.

- Because Ruki is alive - he answered deadpan and catched the fluffy blond’s eyes for a fraction of a second before he avoided him again

- Yes - recognized Aki, putting on latex gloves before he started cleaning the wound carefully - You were both immensely lucky. You are a lucky dog Reita, always have been

Scar smiled triumphantly, his eyes still locked on Ruki’s face that this time did look straight at him.

- I know - he said confidently and Aki moved to replace the bandage

- Still, don’t force yourself until we can remove the stitches, do you understand me? - he made sure Scar turned to look at him - That means no exercise, don’t put strain on the wound

- Got it.

- You clearly didn’t - Aki rolled his eyes - I’m done trying to put some sense into you - he got up and took his briefcase from the floor - See you later Reita

- See you Aki, thank you - smiled the blond and laid back on the couch, turning on the TV

The Queen followed Aki upstairs, a sigh escaped the medic’s lips when they got closer to the living room.

- Aki, do you want a drink? - Ruki asked softly

- That’d be nice, yes - the medic nodded and moved to sit on the double couch as the fluffy blond grabbed two different bottles and turned around to present them to Aki - whiskey please… 

Ruki nodded and stored the vodka bottle before taking out two glasses, filling his own with ice from the icebox of the liquor cabinet. He turned around and placed everything on the table, pouring the amber liquid into the two glasses before taking his seat at the single couch next to the window.

- I thought you were a Walker man - smiled Aki staring at the black labeled bottle before he took a meaningful sip from his glass

- That’s Aoi actually - answered The Queen calmly, drinking from his own

- Aah, right - nodded Aki - How are you Ruki? I know you’re no longer working for Mr.Spring...

The Queen shook his head slowly but didn’t answer, instead he took another sip, keeping his eyes on the glass.

- I heard he’s losing money by the million - continued Aki casually - but the parlours are still running--

- The parlours are mine - said Ruki matter-of-factly

- Of course, I know that - nodded Aki a little taken aback - but Mr.Spring is still running them, I mean--

- I understand what you mean - interrupted The Queen a little more warmly

- I’m worried about you - hurried Aki, pouring himself a second glass - I was at Mr.Spring’s house this early morning around three or four - Ruki put down his drink but kept it between his hands, watching intensely as Aki drank a sip before continuing - I had to treat some nasty wounds on Hi-Garnet, apparently people aren’t too keen on continuing working for Mr.Spring now that the money is slipping out...

The Queen took in the information carefully, Garnet was Spring’s last line of defense, the rook in his chess game. There were normally the pawns the one that carried his orders, just like the boy that had attempted to kill him. If Garnet had been injured that meant a defensive move more than an offensive one, the thugs were starting to turn against him. He wanted to feel satisfied, to let a smile grace his face, but he only felt anxious with the information, something uncomfortable moved inside his head. Was he feeling remorse? He shook his head when he noticed Aki had continued rambling for a little longer as he gulped down his second glass.

- ...with the horses he could sustain himself, but he’ll have to let go of some luxuries--

- Have you seen them? - Ruki asked suddenly

- What? - asked Aki confused and the fluffy blond bit his lower lip

- Nothing, nevermind - he smiled

- Are you going to be alright Ruki? - Aki asked sincerely and The Queen felt he was putting him in so much unnecessary risk by asking for his services

Aki wasn’t like Cleaner, he worked for Mr.Spring and had avoided contact from Mr.Sea or any other family since he met him. It wasn’t a matter of loyalty, it was more a matter of survival. And aiding The Queen knowing he had cut ties with Mr.Spring was a very dangerous move. Ruki felt responsible for his friend’s safety, looking at his soft expression and warm disposition, he got attacked by the sudden thought of Morrie. He felt choked up almost instantly, trying to push the image of his mentor away, to keep himself grounded as he stood up and placed his empty glass on the coffee table.

- I’ll be alright - he finally answered - Please be safe Aki

- I will, don’t worry about me - smiled the medic sweetly as he also got on his feet, taking his briefcase and giving Ruki a loose hug before leaving the house

Chapter Text

The Queen stayed in the living-room for a while longer, drinking another glass and a third, feeling the alcohol slowly taking effect. He felt drowsy when the front door opened and closed again, firm loud steps resonating in his head like a hammer. Ruki turned around to the source, visibly annoyed, and found Kai standing on the hallway, looking at him with an unreadable expression.

- Where have you been all day? - he slurred and poured himself another glass

- I was at Red Motel - Kai answered simply and Ruki smiled

- All day? - he teased, turning to look at him again

- I had a rough week - the bodyguard said and The Queen scoffed

- Tell me about it - he took a gulp from his glass - Did you have fun?

- Are you trying to provoke me? - Kai interrupted him - If you want a fight or a fuck, you should look for someone else--

Ruki laughed loudly.

- Oh boy you really ARE relaxed - he laughed and emptied his glass - Yeah, I could use that… - he continued absentmindedly

- A fight or a fuck? - smiled Kai but moved towards him, taking the glass from his hand

The Queen tried to hold onto the glass with a frown but Kai persisted until he took it from him and placed it on the table.

- I think you had enough, why don’t you tell Kyo to come over? - he asked seriously as he took away the semi emptied bottle as well

- I don’t wanna see him - mumbled Ruki

- And why’s that? - Kai stood in front of him, assessing his state, The Queen rolled his eyes at the question and clicked his tongue as if a tantrum could prevent his real feelings from being expressed

- Because I kissed Reita - he mumbled again and the bodyguard crossed his arms

- So? - he asked raising an eyebrow, he sighed when he didn’t receive an answer, Ruki’s eyes focusing on the glass still on the table - Do you want me to take you to Red Motel? - Kai joked with a wicked smiled and The Queen glared at him

- No, thank you - he grunted 

Red Motel had only a tin double door painted in that color, a repurposed factory that stood just a block away from the mainstream red-light district. The Queen had first heard its name in one of many outings with Mr.Spring and his men, more prone to the simpler houses. The only rule at Red Motel was to always respect the safeword and even if Ruki didn’t understand exactly what it meant at first, it became very evident on his first night there. The Queen had never experienced the place first-hand, but had to become familiar with it through his relationship with Kai. When they met, he used to be called the dock’s “mad dog”, Kai had a reputation and even a body count by then. Everyone wanted him dead or working for them, and Mr.Spring thought it hilarious to present him as a gift to Ruki. He had led him to an empty storage container near the docks, where Kai had been tied to a chair and beaten to a pulp by Hazuki’s men as well as anyone that took his immobility in their advantage. Hazuki had seem reluctant to leave them alone, but The -by then- Princess asked them all to leave, staying inside with Hollyhock behind him. Kai had been violent the second he cut the ropes to free him, choking Ruki instantly, it had taken all of his concentration to not faint and all of Hollyhock’s restrain to not kill Kai back then. But it had been worth it, Kai had been a rabid dog kicked from everywhere, unable to trust even his shadow, and he had opened up to Ruki with time. The blond had tended to his wounds and both Hollyhock and him had remained calm through all of Kai’s violent outbursts. Weeks together taught Ruki what Kai wanted and what he needed, so the memory of Red Motel came naturally to his mind. He took Kai there the first night and didn’t even bother to follow for the second. 

Ruki hummed at the memories, his eyes closing slowly, relaxing thanks to the alcohol. Kai had left him alone when he started to doze off, now it was Doll who peeked inside the room, he saw him as he got closer, but his eyelids felt heavy.

- Ruki - Doll called in a whisper and the fluffy blond made the biggest effort to stay awake and look at him, his eyebrows rose but his eyes remained closed

- What? - he mumbled

- Your eyes are not open - Doll laughed and the greenish gray eyes were finally visible and focused on him - How are you? - he asked softly and Ruki rolled his eyes

- Tired of that question - he grunted and stared frustrated at the empty glass

- I can imagine - Doll sat down on the double couch and looked at the abandoned glasses as well - Do you want some more?

- Kai confiscated it - Ruki mumbled and the auburn haired man nodded with a smile

- Then you had enough

- According to him apparently - complained the fluffy blond and watched as Doll retrieved the bottle and poured them another glass before storing it away again

- Share a last one with me - he smiled sweetly and handed him the glass, Doll raised his own and looked at him - for Morrie - he whispered and Ruki smiled sadly

- For Morrie - he repeated and emptied the glass with a single gulp

They remained in silence as Doll drank in tiny sips from his glass, the sun setting slowly outside. The Queen sighed and left his empty glass on the table, standing up carefully, testing the steadiness of his limbs. He wobbled slightly as he made his way outside the living room, Doll watched him leave without saying anything, finishing his glass, still seated on the double couch. Ruki made his slow and unsteady way downstairs, the TV was still on but Scar was asleep on the couch. The fluffy blond dropped all his weight next to him, making him jolt awake with a gasp.

- Sorry - slurred Ruki but a mischievous smile was on his face

- You did that on purpose - grunted Scar and rubbed his eyes - what are you doing here?

- Making sure you don’t put strain on the wound - explained The Queen nonchalantly as he took the TV remote and started changing channels

- That’s odd - said Scar as he leaned back again on the couch - I thought you had six more hours of avoiding me...

Ruki pouted and started changing the channels more quickly.

- I wasn’t avoiding you - he mumbled

- You most definitely were - smiled Scar and he took the remote from his hand

- Well, I’m not now - Ruki leaned his head on the couch and turned to look at Scar, his eyes were glossy and he smiled as he reached out to grab the remote again, but Scar didn’t let go

- Looks like someone is a little drunk - he said mimicking Ruki’s smile as he let go of the remote to grab the fluffy blond’s wrist instead

- Nonsense - he dismissed as he tried to change the channel, turning his sight to the front

Scar pulled from the wrist still on his grasp, making Ruki lose his balance and drop sideways, his head bumping with Scar’s shoulder. Instead of returning to his place, The Queen just hummed comfortably and closed his eyes. Scar released his wrist and moved his arm to surround Ruki’s shoulders and bring him closer. The fluffy blond hummed again and moved his head to rest his cheek on Scar’s chest, the bodyguard leaned his head towards him as well. The greenish gray eyes opened and looked at him, a faint blush formed on his cheeks instantly at the closeness. The Queen bit his thicker lower lip and stared at Scar’s with a thirsty expression that had little to do with drinks. The bodyguard didn’t move, looking at his face too, but the fluffy blond pushed closer and their lips met again. Scar felt the taste of strong whiskey when Ruki’s tongue slid inside his mouth, playing with his own as the kiss deepened. The fluffy blond cupped Scar’s face, moving his hands from his cheeks to his neck and pressing harder against him, the bodyguard slid his hand down his back and grabbed his waist, moving Ruki’s body closer. They separated when they ran out of breath, gasping on each other’s lips, the blush was now shared on their faces and Ruki’s glossy eyes looked at Scar’s with a sheepish expression.

- I just want… - he started in a whisper - I just want to stop thinking-- - he finished, slurring his words as Scar pressed his lips on his cheek and kissed his way towards his pierced ear

- I know - he answered and kissed his way down Ruki’s neck, sucking on it 

The Queen pushed him away and Scar frowned confused, but the fluffy blond moved to climb his lap, straddling him and hugging his neck. A small sigh escaped Scar’s lips before Ruki could get closer to kiss him, he moved away his face and the fluffy blond frowned at him.

- This doesn’t feel right - Scar scrunched his face - you’re sad and drunk, I feel I’m taking advantage of you…

- It’s the other way around you convalescent ass, so shut up and enjoy it - Ruki snapped back and grabbed Scar’s face by the cheeks, kissing him forcefully 

Scar smiled in the kiss while his unharmed hand climbed up Ruki’s chest under the sweater, moving to surround his waist while the fluffy blond hugged his neck again, deepening the kiss. Scar allowed it but pushed him away slightly when they separated for air.

- I feel someone ought to be the voice of reason - he smiled uncomfortably, his hand still touching the soft porcelain skin as he kept him in place - didn’t you want to be exclusive with Dragon? - he asked and seemed to regret it instantly when Ruki’s arms stopped hugging him

- I told you I wanted to stop thinking - he slurred the words as he smacked Scar’s hand away and grabbed his sweater by the hem, pulling it over his head and discarding it on Scar’s face - have that for the voice of reason - he grunted and took his hands tentatively to the bodyguard’s toned chest, feeling it over the tanktop - can I cut it open?

- Don’t even dream about it - came Scar’s muffled voice from under the sweater before reaching with his left hand to take it off his head - since you’re being so proactive you can help me get it off

- That will take forever, forget it - grunted Ruki and allowed Scar’s now free hand to grab his waist, the bandaged arm ventured a little forward but he took it away with a hiss of pain

- Get closer, I can’t reach you - Scar said with a frustrated frown, but the fluffy blond didn’t move, lifting his tank top and revealing part of his toned stomach, grazing the skin with his fingertips, tickling the bodyguard that sighed a laugh 

- I can’t-- pants are in the way - Ruki finally answered and got off Scar’s lap, removing his skinny jeans unceremoniously and climbing on his lap again with only his underwear on - much better - he hummed as he straddled him further, getting their stomachs to touch, hugging Scar’s neck and stealing another steamy kiss from him.

This time Scar managed to grab his waist with the hand of his bandaged arm, pressing the soft skin. Ruki hummed as their mouths moved away from their lips, searching for more skin, Scar’s advances going for his neck and sucking on it, his left hand roaming from the fluffly blond’s waist to the curve of his ass. The Queen’s mouth traveled to his neck, returning the treatment as Scar followed the path to his shoulder, pressing kisses and then sucking on the skin. One of Ruki’s hands climbed up his nape as the other one went to his chest, sliding on the shirt’s fabric and continuing calmly until reaching the bulge in his pants, pressing it lightly and forcing a grunt from Scar. The bodyguard moved his hand to the front to return the gesture but suddenly The Queen withdrew from any contact, sliding off him and onto the floor. Scar almost voiced a complaint when he saw Ruki crawl on all fours towards him again, kneeling between his legs and suddenly grabbing the bodyguard’s knees. The Queen parted them and moved closer, still on his knees he unfastened the first button and slid down the zipper. Scar groaned when Ruki patted his underwear and let out a gasp when the manicured hands digged inside of it to take his painfully erect member out.   

- How can you be so hard already? - laughed Ruki as he gave a tentative squeeze to the throbbing skin

- F-fuck - moaned Scar - how can you even ask that? I haven’t fucked in months--

- Not even a random stranger? - asked the fluffy blond incredulously as he moved his mouth closer and breathed on the skin

- Ngnhg-- you know very well I haven’t - complained Scar and moved his hand towards the fluffy curls, giving them a pull - stop teasing

- If you pull my hair one more time this is all you’re getting - threatened Ruki and gave a small lick to the tip, Scar crumbled with a moan - you’ve gotten soft - he added with a wicked smile

- And you’re being more of an asshole than usual - grunted Scar and this time he moved his hand to the top of Ruki’s head - please do something

Ruki licked the tip again and took it inside his mouth just slightly, his lips barely touching the throbbing member, he stopped as soon as he had started.

- Like that? - he asked and gave a single pump to the member still in his hand, Scar cursed him loudly - Sshh you don’t want to bring everyone down here, that’d be a big mess - he smiled again

- What have I done this time? - gasped Scar desperate, his fingers burying in the curls, tangling them - why are you punishing me now?

- Because you got shot? - shrugged Ruki - do you consider this punishment? - he asked teasingly

Scar’s answer got lost in a gasp when, without warning, Ruki surrounded his member again and slowly got it inside his mouth, pulling it out with the same pace, his hand pressing at the base. The bodyguard’s fingers gripped the curls around them as he pushed Ruki forward by reflex, following the steady movements of his head as he sucked him off painfully slowly. The Queen hummed a complaint and tried to smack Scar’s hand away, but a push forward from the bodyguard’s hips returned his attention to the task at hand. Ruki bobbed his head up and down, following the movement with his hand in a tight grip, listening as Scar’s breath became more erratic, his hand pulling and pushing from his hair roughly, his hips pressing forward. The Queen finally stopped when a significantly sharp pain shot through his head, Scar had pulled from his hair one last time and pleaded his name. The fluffy blond moved away, finally being released from Scar’s grip and rubbing his head painfully.

- You don’t deserve to cum with the way you treated my hair - he mumbled as he stood up, his knees sore from the cold hard floor 

Scar’s hand shot forward to grab his underwear by the hem, pulling him closer, Ruki allowed it but he still had to remove the underwear on his own when Scar’s bandaged arm prevented any movement he tried to achieve.

- Don’t strain the wound - he reminded him shaking his finger, he tossed the underwear on the couch and straddled Scar’s lap again, grabbing him by the shoulders gently to balance himself 

- Are you sure? - grunted Scar but his hungry expression betrayed him 

- Don’t pretend you care if I’m ready enough - laughed Ruki as he supported himself from the unharmed shoulder and used his left hand to hold Scar’s member, provoking another moan from the eager bodyguard

The Queen positioned himself on top of Scar’s member, lowering his hips carefully, feeling immediately the resistance on the muscles of his entrance. He sighed and breathed in again, relaxing his body as he continued to lower himself, letting out a moan as Scar entered him slowly but steady. The bodyguard took a hand to Ruki’s hips, involuntarily pushing him down, accompanying the movement until his full length was inside the fluffy blond. Ruki breathed slowly, relaxing his body until finally rising his legs, separating himself from Scar just slightly to end up kneeling on his lap. Scar moaned when the fluffy blond spread his legs even further and rose up, pressing with his shins against the bodyguard’s thighs.

- You’re gonna make me do all the hard work, aren’t you? - he whispered between ragged breaths, pressing his forehead against Scar’s shoulder as he rose once more and dropped himself again, letting out a moan

- I took a bullet for you - smiled Scar and took his right hand slowly to Ruki’s hard member, holding it lightly - it’s the least I deserve--

- Look at you-- nngh - Ruki gasped when Scar started stroking him gently, following the slow movement of the blond - guilt tripping me when you’re already balls deep--- ff-fuck--

Scar’s left hand moved to Ruki’s hip, pressing against the porcelain skin as the blond’s movements became more quick-paced. The bodyguard made sure to follow them with his hand on Ruki’s member, pressing just slightly to steal more sounds from those pouty lips, pushing his hips upwards to meet Ruki everytime he dropped down again. Soon there were no more room for banter, their gasps and moans filling the room, keeping them quiet, making sure they drowned with the sound of the TV still on. Ruki’s legs were sore and tired but he still pushed himself up and down again with more force and speed, Scar’s hips meeting him more often and sooner, hitting his sweet spot over and over, making him crumble in moans and pleas. The rough skin pressing against his member moving also more forcefully, quick and steadier pumps, already slick with precum. Scar’s left hand now cradled his back, suddenly keeping him steady in place as the bodyguard’s impending climax rushed the work, his hips slapping against Ruki as the hand on his member tried to continue the rhythm. It took only a few more thrusts for Scar to hit his sweet spot just good enough for Ruki to cry out, releasing himself on the bodyguard’s firm hand, Scar following right after, hugging Ruki tighter against his chest and pressing his forehead on the slim shoulder. They rode out their climaxes for a few more thrusts, until Ruki finally crumbled against Scar, the bodyguard hugging him, their gasps for air bouncing against each other’s skin. 

- Fuck-- - let out Scar between breaths - I missed you so much - he added and held the fluffy blond tighter, making him groan a complaint 

Ruki hugged his neck lazily, already too sleepy to form coherent thoughts, too weakened to fight back when Scar moved them still joined. He used his unharmed arm to lay The Queen carefully on his back and ease himself out of him. Ruki let out a soft moan when all his sore body was released from Scar’s contact, almost instantly curling up on himself.

- No no no - pleaded Scar and grabbed his face carefully - don’t fall asleep, I can’t carry you and Uruha will kill me if he knows I fucked you---

- Doll won’t mind - mumbled Ruki and moved his face back

- I don’t wanna be graphic but you’re dripping on the couch - Scar blushed violently as he tried to use his only available arm to shake The Queen up

- Then clean it, it’s your mess after all - he grunted back and Scar felt desperate

- Can’t you be nice to me for once? - he begged and Ruki quirked an eyebrow, clearly offended 

- How dare you? - he hissed and managed to sit up on the couch, Reita grimaced with the knowledge that the stain was now bigger

- Please dress - Scar pleaded as he closed his pants and moved to retrieve Ruki’s clothes, hearing the unmistakable thud of the fluffy blond dropping his weight on the couch again

- Why do you hate me so much? - the bodyguard whined at Ruki and his blood ran cold when he heard steps coming down the stairs 

- Are you two done down there? - he heard the snarky tone coming from just a few steps away

Scar felt momentary relief as he recognized Hollyhock’s voice and the calm steps resuming. When the oldest bodyguard arrived at the scene, he bit his lower lip to contain his laughter at Scar’s hopeless expression.

- You stained Kai’s couch, he’s gonna cut your tendons - he noted instantly and a shiver ran through Scar’s spine

- The bastard fell asleep - the blond mumbled as Hollyhock moved calmly towards the sleeping Queen

- He drank almost an entire Jack Daniels bottle, you bet your ass he’s asleep - laughed Hollyhock as he poked the fluffy blond’s cheek, receiving a sleepy snarl in return - You took advantage of the poor depressed Queen, shame on you Reita

The bodyguard rolled his eyes at Hollyhock’s back who moved now to slid his arms under Ruki to try to lift him up, the fluffy blond almost instantly kicked him away.

- Feisty - laughed Hollyhock as he tried again, this time grabbing him from the armpits and sitting him on the couch - he’s dead weight when he’s drunk, the bastard--

- Thanks Aoi - mumbled Scar, the heavy blush still on his cheeks as he was painfully aware of how naked and messy Ruki was

- No problem - shrugged Hollyhock and retrieved The Queen’s underwear from under him, moving to slide it up his legs - When Kai told me he was drunk and trying to pick a fight I figured he’d come here…

- I tried to stop him - Scar excused himself and Hollyhock turned towards him, one eyebrow quirked and a smug smile on his face, he turned back again to lift Ruki up and finish putting on his underwear

- You don’t need to lie to me - the smug smile could practically be heard in the tone of his voice, he grabbed the striped sweater and slid it on Ruki’s dropped head - Ruki can’t stay without fucking someone for too long, you know him, he can’t think straight if he doesn’t get his ass rammed--

- Aoi - grunted Scar, uncomfortable with the crass honesty of the older bodyguard - he said he wanted to be exclusive with Dragon so I...

- Well - concluded Hollyhock, lifting Ruki and holding him against his chest by the back and knees - want and need are different things I guess - he shrugged with some difficulty and the fluffy blond hummed as he made himself more comfortable in his hold - Just don’t get your hopes up...

- I won’t…

- He’s probably gonna give you his own speech when he sobers up - explained Hollyhock and started walking towards the stairs, giving a last look at the couch - Don’t make poor newie Lucy clean that, just burn the damn thing - he laughed and made his way to the first floor, Ruki hugging his neck to steady himself on their way up

Scar stood in the middle of the basement, with the evidence of their encounter ingrained forever on the leather couch and The Queen’s skinny jeans still on the floor.

Hollyhock reached The Queen’s room uninterrupted, but from the corner of his eye he had seen the new staff members looking curiously at them.

- Poor innocent souls, they don’t know what a pervert their boss is - Hollyhock commented casually and Ruki’s body jolted against him - do you want me to drop you? - he asked as he finally managed to open the bedroom door

- On the bed please - hummed The Queen so the bodyguard did just that, spreading his arms and allowing the whole of Ruki’s weight to bounce violently against the soft surface 

The Queen glared at him when he finally got steadier on the mattress.

- Don’t look at me like that, I did what you asked - shrugged Hollyhock - Shame what you did to Reita - Ruki ignored him and curled up on himself 

- I don’t know what you mean - he mumbled

- I mean your psychological torture....

- It’s just a couch - the blond slurred shaking his hand dismissively

- I actually meant you getting his hopes up again - explained Hollyhock calmly

- I heard you the first time, I’ll just talk to him when I sober up as you said - he grunted 

- You were awake you sick fuck - the bodyguard realized and he slapped The Queen’s thigh hard  

- Can’t blame me for not wanting to walk all the way up here - Ruki smiled and rubbed his reddened skin

- Liar, you wanted to hear what we would say about you - Hollyhock rolled his eyes -  you’re a real piece of work did you know that?

- Sue me - Ruki shrugged and hugged his pillow, shooing the bodyguard away with his hand

Hollyhock made an elaborated reverence before leaving the room. The Queen felt suddenly weak and withered, burying his face on the pillow as he finally drifted unconscious. 

Chapter Text

The next morning, Dragon woke up to an unfamiliar noise inside his house, it took a long drowsy moment before he realized what it was. He decided to walk up to it, pushing the snoring Ryoga on his couch with the knee. The ashy blond jolted awake and took out his gun, he pointed it for a second at Kyo before waking fully up and storing it away again.

- Good morning - Dragon said raising an eyebrow and Ryoga rubbed his eyes

- Yeah, good morning - he answered - thanks for letting me crash here

- Do you want some coffee? - offered Kyo and he nodded slowly

Dragon started walking towards the kitchen and Ryoga followed him lazily.

- Did Ruki really ask you to stop living your life for me? - smiled Kyo while he filled the coffee pot with water

 - It was Hazuki actually - admitted Ryoga sitting on one of the breakfast bar stools - Ruki only asked for someone to keep an eye on you. Hazuki said that you had to be important enough for Ruki to ask for help and that meant you could be used against him...

- A liability then... - sighed Kyo and Ryoga pointed at him

- You got it. Anyway I wasn’t doing much so I appreciate the change of scenery… - he started fidgeting with the remote of the drone stationed somewhere outside the building, staring at its little screen

- Even if it means you can get killed? - Kyo asked while he put the electric toaster to work

- I don’t think that will happen - shrugged Ryoga - Ruki is just being paranoid as any dock rat-- - he smiled knowingly - looking you up and then kidnapping you? that’s too much work for Spring or any of his men to be honest…

- So Ruki was the only hard-working of the family... - laughed Kyo and took out the toasts and put in some more - If you know all that then why do you still stay here?

- I told you, Hazuki asked me to - he stated as if it was obvious, accepting everything Kyo was placing on the breakfast bar to join the toasted bread - I have to obey my boss if I wanna eat - he sank his teeth into a butter smeared toast as if to prove the point

- I get it. - nodded Kyo and he finally poured the coffee in two mugs - Anyway, I’ll be going to Sea’s house today so you can tag along…

- That’s not up for debate - denied Ryoga taking a most needed first sip of coffee - I have to go, those are the rules.

Dragon rolled his eyes and allowed the breakfast to continue silently. When he offered Ryoga to stay at his place the previous night, he felt he understood Ruki a little more, it was easier having people protecting you if they were inside your house. He sighed, The Queen hadn’t talked to him after that unsuccessful phone call and Kyo was starting to get anxious. He wanted to give him space to mourn, but at the same time he felt isolated, as if Ruki’s situation had put a wall around him, again the same feeling that the blond was slipping out of his grip. He noticed he had sighed again when Ryoga quirked an eyebrow at him.

- You’re thinking about Ruki aren’t you? - he said simply and showed a sincere smile - You should call him, he must feel very trapped inside his house by now… - he seemed to think for a moment as he drank his coffee - You should take him shopping...

- They tried to kill him in the middle of the street - scoffed Kyo - What makes you think that’d be safer? 

- Well, - started Ryoga - we all know Ruki goes to the auctions almost religiously, it was predictable and expected. But Spring can’t send people to every mall in the city - he took his phone out of his pocket - In fact, according to Hazuki he doesn’t even have enough men to send to the most expensive ones… - he got quiet as he read his messages

- What do you mean? - prodded Kyo

- Spring lost a huge chunk of his income so naturally the people that benefited from it will go look elsewhere. He also had deals with very dangerous people that won’t like not getting their share anymore…. - he scrolled through his cell phone uninterested - and Ruki snatched almost all his investors in a single move so--- yeah, he’s screwed. 

- But still a threat - reminded Dragon and Ryoga nodded

- Yeah, he still has some men and Pierrot of course, that one is not going anywhere, he’s loyal to Spring…. Those horses he got recently, is it true they’re yours? - he asked carefully

- Yes - sighed Kyo - I hope he doesn’t sell them before Ruki gets to them…

- He won’t, don’t worry - Ryoga made a dismissive gesture with his hand - He still needs them--

- How did he even become so powerful before Ruki? - asked Dragon honestly and Ryoga shrugged

- He already had money - he explained - and got tangled in some nasty politicians business, he came upon some very juicy information, so naturally people were quick to pay for his silence…

- And how did he met Ruki? - Kyo asked, he felt nobody but The Queen himself would be able to answer that question properly, Ryoga’s shrug confirmed that the feeling was correct

- Don’t know, when I started working for Hazuki, he was already with Spring

They finished their breakfast and Ryoga disappeared after they cleaned up. Dragon took his time to shower and get ready to wait for him, surprisingly the ashy blond didn’t take long to knock on his door. Kyo noted he had also showered and changed his clothes and watched him curiously.

- I’m staying at a cheap hotel close by - he explained before being asked - Yesterday I got asked by Ruki to be closer, that’s why I stayed here

- I see - Kyo smiled, thinking how even scared an in mourning, Ruki also managed to keep him in his thoughts, he felt his heart was crushing at the thought of not knowing when would he see him again

Ryoga followed him closely as Dragon walked outside the building and to the garage. Allowing the ashy blond to check everything around him, even the car, before taking his place on the driver’s seat, Ryoga getting inside just a moment later.

- I’ve never been to Mr.Sea’s place - he announced excited - actually, I’ve never been somewhere fancy….. 

- Well, Mr.Sea’s place sure is expensive and it shows… - smiled Kyo

They stayed quiet the rest of the way, Dragon felt Ryoga was getting increasingly anxious as the blocks passed by and the destination approached. All his irreverence fading until only a contemplative silence replaced it. Kyo parked on the driveway and felt strange of not being received or escorted out of his car by Kansas, being Ryoga the one to get out first and surround his car.

- There’s my friend Ghost - he announced as Kyo got out of the car

- I’m not your friend - answered the tiny black cladded form as he approached them - Dragon, how are you? I-- We weren’t expecting you...

- I know - smiled Kyo and accepted the hand that was offered, shaking it lightly - but Mr.Sea’s at the house, isn’t he? - Ghost nodded - Excellent.

Without waiting for a comment, he left Ghost behind and marched towards the front door that opened before he even reached it. A young blond haired maid stood by a side but moved quickly when another figure pushed by her to rush towards Kyo. Dragon avoided the effusive hug stepping to a side and Kansas stumbled on his feet, turning around with a faked pained expression, but noticing Ryoga and smiling right away.

- My good friend Ryoga - he said and rushed a hand towards him, the ashy blond took it assertively and shook it once, Kansas turned to Kyo - What brings you here?

- I came to talk to Sea - he explained simply and finally greeted Kansas with a loose hug

Kansas nodded and Dragon decided to not give further information, getting inside the house and hearing how Ryoga rushed after him, Kansas staying behind.

- Don’t leave me alone or they’ll kill me - he asked with a nervous smile - They don’t know who I am, remember?

- Sorry - answered Kyo hastily as he looked around - I should at least greet Kaoru too… - he continued absentmindedly but Ryoga didn’t consider him, suddenly too distracted by the blinding white marble around them and the abrupt change to earthy tones as they got deeper inside the house

- Security is pretty lax around here or is it just my imagination? - the ashy blond wondered out loud 

- Ghost told them I was here, - explained Kyo as they reached Mr.Sea’s office, the double wooden door closed and uninviting - they won’t kill you - he concluded and knocked firmly 

Mr.Sea’s voice invited him from the inside and Dragon turned one last time towards Ryoga.

- Don’t stray too far - he warned and opened the door, closing it quickly behind him

Inside, Mr.Sea was immersed in paperwork, different folders and stacks of documents drowned his desk as he went over them carefully. He was alone and the softest piano music could be heard from somewhere to their right, Kyo didn’t take long to identify the speakers at the sides of the wall.

- Kyo - Mr.Sea finally said and stood up to greet him with a handshake and a soft pat to his shoulder - Please sit down. It’s good to see you, how’ve you been?

- Fine, all things considered - answered Dragon nervously, he still felt small as he did the first time they met, there was trust between them but Kyo could never really see Mr.Sea as an equal, now that his eyes were fixed curiously on him Kyo regretted the impulse that had brought him to his house in the first place - Ruki got attacked again--- - he sighed anxiously - Isn’t there something you can do? - he didn’t meant for the line to sound pleading, but it did anyway

Mr.Sea rested his elbows on the desk and interlocked his fingers to rest his chin on top of them, considering Kyo gently. It took a while of careful silence, only filled by the soft piano tune before Mr.Sea finally sighed.

- Kyo - he started cautiously - I have already done something to aid Ruki, you did something as well, something very big and generous - he meditated his words - I know you’re probably not aware of this, but I placed men to the service of The Queen and they were rejected. - he laid back on his chair as he finally dropped the formalities - Ruki has always been independent, even under Mori’s wing, he’s self-sufficient and has made his own path. I helped as much as I was allowed to, I know you are prone to see him as fragile and in need of rescue - Mr.Sea raised a hand to prevent interruption - but I can assure you that’s not the case. - he sighed - I’m afraid the only reason why Ruki has not plucked the threat from his life is simply because he does not desire to.

This time he allowed Dragon’s interjection.

- What do you mean? - Kyo asked a little roughly

- I’m afraid I can only answer from what I witnessed - denied Mr.Sea with his head - Ruki’s reluctance to kill Mori is what lengthens this dreadful ordeal...

- Can’t you just do it yourself? - Kyo let out bluntly and Mr.Sea smiled

- I would, gladly, but I know when to step off the stage - he explained - this is a play Ruki started and it must be Ruki himself who finishes it.

- I don’t want him to lose any more people - said Kyo in a low voice and Mr.Sea turned his smile into a compassive one

- I’m afraid that’s a risk he’s already taken - he spoke softly - I’m sorry for not being of any help with this, it is not my place to meddle in his business…. I believe I’ve done quite enough meddling so far.

Kyo sighed, finally confirming that his attempt to ease some pressure off Ruki’s shoulders had proved futile. Mr.Sea regarded him carefully, keeping a small smile on his lips.

- I withdrew Ghost from his surveillance - he said simply - I was concerned you were feeling cornered… 

- I’m still stuck with the one Ruki assigned for me so I can’t tell the difference - he sighed and Mr.Sea laughed warmly

- I’ve been told - he admitted - People from the docks, if I’m not mistaken?

- Do you know them? - wondered Kyo but Mr.Sea denied with his head

- I’m not familiar with those people - he explained - We could say they are from The Queen’s breed… - he smiled at Kyo’s quizzical look - The people that work and manage the docks don’t trust anyone that didn’t come from the docks. It’s their golden rule.

- So Ruki came from there - completed Kyo and Mr.Sea nodded - when he arrived to the city…

- I imagine, yes - nodded - They’re very loyal to The Queen actually, if you ask around. That’s why most of the parlours are near it.

- I feel like I’m putting a puzzle together - admitted Kyo and Mr.Sea chuckled 

- Well, that’s usually the case when you start knowing someone - he explained nodding - I’m glad you and The Queen got pulled together, it’s refreshing to see…

- Why does it have to be so public though? - mumbled Dragon blushing considerably and Mr.Sea laughed again

- Why don’t you stay for lunch Kyo? - he offered as he stood up - There are some people here that miss you 

- Ryoga will have to stay as well - warned Dragon and Mr.Sea nodded

- Yes of course, he’s also welcomed - he got closer to Kyo and placed a hand on his shoulder while the younger man stood up - I’m glad you came to see me - Mr.Sea smiled honestly and Dragon smiled back

- Yeah, me too - he admitted

- I’m sorry I can’t be of much help - he continued more seriously - But we must have faith that Ruki will rise to the occasion again. I’ll see you at lunch. - Mr.Sea concluded and Kyo nodded before making his way outside. 

 

Ryoga had strayed as far as the other side of the hallway, staring nervously at the door and rushing towards Kyo when he got out.

- I feel like a stain here - he mumbled, rubbing his arm nervously

- Too bad, we’re staying for lunch - laughed Kyo - Don’t worry about it, you are the only one thinking that - he started walking back towards the main hall and Ryoga followed him closely

- Does Ghost stay for lunch as well? - he asked a little excited and Dragon squinted at him

- What’s up with you and Ghost? 

- He’s cute - Ryoga answered simply - I get a kick of being rejected

- I can see that - Kyo scoffed - I thought you were into Raven

- A man needs to let out some steam from time to time - explained Ryoga simply as they reached the immaculate white hall and Dragon started climbing one of the double stairs at each side of the living room double door

- You better find someone else then, Ghost is just not into you

- Nobody is at first - replied Ryoga calmly - Where are we going anyway?

- I’m looking for Kaoru… Scarecrow - he added but the confused expression on the ashy blond’s face didn’t change

- No idea who that is - he said as Kyo knocked on a door and was met with only silence

- You really don’t know anyone from Mr.Sea’s family? - Dragon was genuinely curious, Ryoga denied with his head

- Neither from Mr.Spring’s family - he added - I only know Ruki and his men because he’s Hazuki’s friend, I don’t meddle with families and such...

- But you’re loyal to Ruki - Kyo stated and Ryoga nodded in a heartbeat

- Ruki is a dock rat, we are loyal to each other, that’s how we survive…

- You’re interesting - Dragon admitted and the ashy blond smiled dangerously 

- I like you too 

Kyo sighed a laugh and finally led him to the library, his favorite place in Mr.Sea’s house. He sat down in one of the divans and watched as Ryoga snooped the contents of the books around them. 

The same blond haired maid came to fetch them for lunch, Ryoga became a jittering mess as soon as Kyo introduced him to Mr.Sea and Red, all his bravado extinguished. As a new face, he unwillingly became the center of attention, with Red trying to get some information out of him in a friendly way and Mr.Sea more interested in his past. Dragon felt exhausted only hearing it, he couldn’t even imagine how difficult it probably had been for Ryoga. They moved to the living room to have some coffee and Kyo felt it was necessary that he finally shifted the conversation away from him.

- Where’s Kaoru? - he asked out of nowhere and could feel the breath of relief that escaped the ashy blond

- He’s at his house - said Red simply - He left after the burial, has been there since. - Mr.Sea sighed

- It’s been hard on him I’m afraid, Morrie was his dearest friend - he said sadly

The silence filled the living room as the young maid brought a tray towards them and handed each one a cup of coffee.

- Thank you honey - Red smiled and the girl blushed notoriously before nodding her way out - I heard it wasn’t easy for Spring either...

- Yes, Mori saw it as a betrayal - nodded Mr.Sea - He’s hurt by it, of course, he considered Morrie a friend as well

- Really? - wondered Kyo out loud and Red nodded again

- Yeah, he thinks Morrie chose The Queen at the most vital moment and went against him… - he looked at Ryoga for a moment before adding - He has no idea Morrie was our man

- You’ve kept contact with him then - stated Dragon towards Mr.Sea without knowing exactly how to feel about it

- Yes - he answered plainly

- Despite the fact he knows you were involved with the payment of Ruki’s debt?

- Well, Mori is a firm believer of the saying “keep your enemies closer” - smiled Mr.Sea without humour - It has always been that way

- Besides, he thinks he’ll get rid of The Queen any second now-- - Red clicked his tongue - he sees him as a spoiled brat...

Kyo frowned immediately and he could see from the corner of his eye Ryoga was clenching his fists. Mr.Sea seemed to notice that too but made no mention about it, returning his sight to Dragon. He opened his mouth to talk when the silence got disturbed by Ryoga mumbling something under his breath.

- Come again? - asked Red and the ashy blond didn’t even pretend to be confused, staring at him with defiance

- I said you’re all a bunch of phonies - Ryoga explained, disgust underlining his words - You play the prince in shining armor for Ruki and then you go and have dinner with the guy that tormented, sold as meat and tried to kill him twice so far-- You’re a bunch of backstabbers, do you scheme against Ruki too? because I’m sure he’d like to hear it--

- Ryoga - warned Kyo calmly, taking a hand to his shoulder but he couldn’t deny the ashy blond’s words felt satisfying to hear

Red stood up but Mr.Sea raised a hand to stop him at once, making him seat again.

- I can assure you Ryoga, that I’m not, nor would I ever scheme against The Queen. - he took a sip from his coffee to let the tense silence prevail for longer - It might seem hypocrite of me to actively plot for Mori’s demise and then have dinner with him, but the truth is we were never friends in the first place. You can call it politics if you like - he explained simply - It’s… more useful to stay near him and play the colleague card, it does not mean he trusts me, it’s just the way this game is played - he shrugged casually, the action looking extremely foreign in him

- I don’t get it - admitted the ashy blond with a frown

- It’s quite alright - smiled Mr.Sea - I value your honesty… it actually reminds me of Ruki, I can see why you’re the one keeping Kyo company...

Both Dragon and Ryoga felt intensely uncomfortable, a blush ran through the ashy blond’s cheeks and Kyo cleared his throat  Red laughed out loud at the scene and Mr.Sea scratched his nose with a little smile.

- I’ll admit I wish we could have more people like you around… - Red let out and seemed to think for a moment - Actually, are we sure Scarecrow isn’t from the docks?

Mr.Sea laughed warmly and Kyo scoffed, patting Ryoga’s shoulder absentmindedly and the ashy blond seemed to relax a little. The conversation continued lively for some time, until the afternoon sun could be seen from the windows. Mr.Sea finally excused himself and Dragon saw little reason to prolong his stay, saying his goodbyes and walking calmly outside. Ghost saw them from afar and Ryoga waved at him cheekily, causing an instant frown on the dark haired’s face. They got into the car after a swift inspection by Ryoga and made their way back, the drive unusually silent. Finally, Kyo voiced his thoughts at the front door to his home.

- You went from never seeing a fancy place to almost getting kicked out of one - he smiled and Ryoga sighed

- Yeah - he admitted - I have a little problem with my temper… It’s just--

- I get it - interrupted Kyo - Don’t worry, it bothers me too, all those schemes and lies…

Ryoga got inside the flat first and checked every room before allowing Dragon to follow him.

- Yeah, Hazuki is nothing like that…. - he rambled as he checked the backyard as well - If he wants something he goes and gets it, if he doesn’t like someone he goes and gets rid of them, plain and simple. He doesn’t play politics, he either gets a profit or he doesn’t - he stared at Kyo - I can’t stand hypocrites.

- Is it true he won’t make business with people that didn’t come from the docks? - asked Dragon remembering Mr.Sea’s words and Ryoga squinted

- Business is business - he said simply - but Hazuki won’t just ally with someone he doesn't trust, that is the truth.... And if it’s a favor they want, well, then they do have to come from the docks as well - Ryoga shrugged 

- So if Spring wanted to do business with Hazuki--

- Spring HAS done business with Hazuki - corrected Ryoga - and naturally screwed him over… I’m actually surprised he’s still alive, I guess a bad penny always turns up… - Kyo smiled at the proverb - Hazuki was so happy when Ruki called him again, he was scared he was too far gone…

- Into the phony world? - Dragon laughed as he laid on the couch of his living room

- Yeah, basically - Ryoga smiled and sat on the floor, toying with his cellphone - I never thought I’d miss Hazuki, but I do - he said casually as he tapped quickly on his screen - So, are you up for some shopping? 

Kyo took a long while before he understood what he meant, smiling sadly while he took his hands behind his head.

- I don’t think Ruki is up for it yet - he sighed

- Call him anyway, tell him to meet you there - continued Ryoga - Don’t treat him like glass - he warned and Kyo turned to look at him

- I do, don’t I? - he asked honestly and the ashy blond pursed his lips

- Yeah, you kinda do… I know it’s probably just what Ruki shows you, he likes being taken care of, being pampered and adored - Ryoga laughed

- He does, doesn’t he? - Kyo sighed - and I do adore him

- You don’t say - the ashy blond rolled his eyes with a smile - Call him, I’ll take you to a mall that Spring won’t even know how to pronounce. It’ll have expensive brands, I promise. - he rose his right hand and put the left one that held the cellphone over his heart, a little chime sounded from it and he scoffed after reading the message - Nevermind, apparently you’ll have to leave it for tomorrow-

- How come?

- Raven told me Ruki has the worst hangover right now, he’s been locked up in his room all day… - he kept reading from the screen - wow, turned off his cellphone and everything...

- Precious - Kyo sighed with a laugh

- And boy, does he have to drink a lot to get that hammered - Ryoga scoffed - I saw him once, it was brutal, Hazuki had to stop but he kept going-- in the end we had to drag him to Hazuki’s place, he could barely walk-- Hollyhock pestered us all morning until we could finally wake him up to take him back home-- I guess he felt safe enough to do that, you’ll never see him drunk around Spring or people he barely knows--

- He got a little drunk one of the first times we met... - Kyo recalled 

- Yeah, I bet he tripped and all… 

Kyo stared at him, long and silent.

- He did, actually - he finally admitted

- And he fell on you I bet, felt you up a little... - Ryoga laughed out loud - He’s an artist

- But - Kyo felt silly and embarrassed - he even fell asleep...

- He’s always falling asleep, except when he actually has to

- I feel tricked

- You should, Ruki played you like a fiddle - his amused expression was suddenly unbearable for Kyo to watch - He wanted you and went to get you, classic docks rule - he winked at him - don’t look at me like that! I’m not the one that schemed to seduce you

- How do you know so much about it anyway? - Kyo snapped and regretted it the second Ryoga’s smile turned dangerous

- Do you really want to know? - he stretched the “ e ”s with amusement

- Nevermind - he grunted - I didn’t know you were so close…

- Hazuki is the one that’s close, they’ve been friends since forever and well, Hazuki is a big talker...

- You have that in common...

- Point taken - ended Ryoga and returned to his cellphone, Kyo sighed a laugh

Chapter Text

The pounding inside his head was brutal, every little noise piercing through his skull like a drill. Ruki could remember vividly each step Doll took to fetch him water despite how carefully he had moved and how softly he had whispered. His head hurt just from remembering, it had never stopped hurting and his stomach was no better. The Queen realized that sticking to water as long as he could was as good as plan as any. But when he had remained awake for more than an hour and the sun looked to be setting through his bathroom window, Ruki realized he was starving.

- Fuck - he mumbled, disrupting the death-like silence and sending a new pang of pain all over his head, he went to reach the painkillers only to realize they were gone and the water bottle was empty - fuck fuck fuck - he repeated and dragged himself on the mattress until his legs were no longer supported, dropping them carefully on the edge of the bed and sitting up with a loud groan

It wasn’t only the worst hangover in almost a decade, Ruki was sore all over. His reckless actions of the night before, the lack of proper preparation, the effort on his legs… Everything hurt, he slowly slid back onto the mattress, grateful that there wasn’t someone else to share it with. He allowed himself to doze off, curling up almost at the foot of the bed. Ruki woke up a short time later, more hungry and thirsty than before. He swore out loud again and sat up on the bed, practically dragging himself towards the bathroom.

When The Queen finally managed to get out of his room, he was dressed on sweatpants and a charcoal hoodie, making his way barefeet to the kitchen. The new maid Lucy was already setting everything to prepare dinner and she blushed crimson when she saw him. Ruki did a one-eighty after seeing that and he was almost out of the kitchen when Hollyhock grabbed him from behind by the shoulders.

- Leaving so soon? - he whispered, the smug smile fresh on his face as he pulled him back inside the kitchen and hugged his shoulders - Lucy, be a dear and prepare some snack for our starved and extremely hungover boss…

The girl nodded with a tiny smile and dared a glance at Ruki that he avoided instantly, too aware still of the scene they presented to her the night before. Hollyhock watched them amused as the cook moved away from her work to prepare something quick for The Queen. Ruki managed to escape from Hollyhock’s embrace soon after and move to the living room. Doll was reading there, laying on the double couch and didn’t even look up from his book when Ruki sat next to his feet. Scar was drumming the fingers of his injured hand against his stomach and crumbling a magazine with his left hand as he tried to read it. The silence was welcoming and embracing, but when Lucy came with a tray for The Queen, Hollyhock followed. Ruki sighed, knowing what would come next, Scar gave him a shy look before returning quickly to his motorcycle article.

- Eating in the living room? Someone is very spoiled - laughed Hollyhock as he dropped his weight on the single couch next to the window

- Sue me - grumbled Ruki and thanked Lucy before moving closer to the tray

- I just might - agreed Hollyhock with a smug smile - indecent exposure, manipulation, harassment, sexual assault on a mentally impaired…

Doll looked up from his book, first to Hollyhock and then moved to Ruki’s exhausted expression. Scar threw the magazine on the table.

- Are you trying to insult me? - he asked irritated

- If the shoe fits… - answered Hollyhock with a shrug

- You slept with Ruki - concluded Doll, looking at the blond bodyguard with something very similar to disappointment, Scar lowered his gaze

- It’d be more accurate to say that Ruki fucked himself on Reita - explained Hollyhock uninterested

- Can we please not talk about it? - begged Scar but he was glaring at Hollyhock

- Can you all please just not talk? - asked Ruki already going through the last half of his meal - My head is killing me…

- You deserve it, you should’ve owned up to your depravity and fucked him sober

- Aoi, shut the fuck up - grunted Scar and grabbed the magazine again to throw it at him, landing on the side of the couch

- Your left hand has the worst aim - laughed Hollyhock 

- Do you want me to try again?

- Why don’t you both take it downstairs? - suggested Doll and returned to his book

Hollyhock seemed pained by the question and Scar rejoiced in the small victory.

- Nevermind - said Ruki before anyone could move - I’m done, so I’ll be the one leaving

He got up without adding anything else, grabbing the tray and returning to the kitchen. Lucy pretended she didn’t notice him as Ruki left the tray on the kitchen counter. As The Queen took a water bottle out of the fridge he looked at her curiously.

- Do I make you uncomfortable? - he asked softly and the girl blushed heavily

- N-no sir - she denied with her head but still couldn’t meet his eye

- Ugh, don’t call me sir - Ruki complained - Thank you so much for the meal, it was delicious

He smiled as sweetly and awake as he could, despite the thudding inside his head. The girl beamed brightly before the blush went all the way to her ears and she hastily returned to her task. Ruki left the kitchen just when the other maid, Erika, arrived through the backyard door and rushed excited towards Lucy after seeing him.

- She has a crush on you - smiled Scar as he started following him on his way upstairs

- I noticed - answered Ruki a little flatly and started to climb the stairs to his bedroom, noticing Scar mimicking him - where do you think you’re going? 

- I’m going with you so you can give me your lecture about last night - he smiled and it was the most infuriatingly cute smile Ruki had ever seen

- Pushing you down the stairs is so tempting right now - he said and Scar laughed softly

- I’m messing with you, I don’t need a lecture - he reached out a hand to grab him by one the oversized sleeves - just wanted to know if you felt better…

- Can’t you see it yourself? - smiled Ruki - I’m the epitome of good health

- You’re such an asshole - complained Scar but he was still smiling - I get it, I’ll leave you alone

- Please do - begged The Queen - and give me back my painkillers

- Just this once - warned Scar - But you’re not getting the bottle

- You killjoy - mumbled Ruki and the bodyguard took the bottle out of his pocket - you have it with you? what is this? prison? 

- Take it and go to sleep - laughed Scar as he handed the pill to Ruki’s open hand who just took it to his mouth and swallowed it dry - see? that’s why you’re only getting one

- Bite me.

Scar smiled dangerously but kept the retort to himself, allowing The Queen to turn around and continue his way up to his bedroom.




The next morning had been easier on The Queen, he had actually managed to wake up early, mainly due the fact of going to sleep before night time. The house was very different in the morning and he was starting to notice he had never actually experienced it properly. Doll was naturally the first one up, prone to light sleeping and mild insomnia, he was immerse in a brand new book. Ruki stood in the living room, watching around him a little confused until the dull eyes fixed on him.

- Good morning - he said softly

- Where’s everyone? - Ruki asked confused and Doll smiled

- Sleeping - he explained - you’ve never been awake at this time, you’re actually going to see Erika and Lucy arrive for their shift

- Mm - said the blond noncommittally as he sat down next to him - what about Hazuki’s men?

- One sleeping, one eating, two doing surveillance... 

- You know everything, don’t you? - laughed the fluffy blond

- I spend all my day here - shrugged Doll

It took only a few minutes for the maids to arrive as Doll predicted, Lucy avoiding to look at The Queen’s face at all cost and Erika rolling her eyes at her, greeting them cheerfully. As clockwork, as soon as Lucy got to work in the kitchen, Hollyhock’s lazy steps could be heard dragging down the stairs. He was still in pajamas and stared at Ruki’s sweatpants curiously before getting to his face.

- Wow, this is unprecedented - he smiled and The Queen instantly rolled his eyes at him

- Don’t you ever get tired of talking?

- Nah, he loves the sound of his voice too much… - said Scar coming just behind him 

Doll closed the book and left it on the coffee table, staring at both men tiredly before getting up and going to the kitchen. Hollyhock looked hurt as he sat on the couch next to the window.

- He hates me - he whined

- Well, you are annoying as fuck - nodded Scar as he sat next to The Queen, rotating his hurt shoulder slowly with a strained expression

- He doesn’t hate you - smiled Ruki, pleased that finally a conversation didn’t revolve around him 

- Doll spends too much time at home, don’t you think? - mentioned Scar, reaching out with his hand towards The Queen and pressing softly on his shoulder

- To be fair, we all do lately - sighed Hollyhock

- Yeah, it’s not like you can’t go out without me - complained Ruki and leaned closer to Scar’s touch that was now climbing in little massaging movements up his neck

- I think Doll just doesn’t want to - shrugged Scar and stopped the contact, smiling at the fluffy blond’s frustrated frown

Hollyhock remained silent, looking outside the window with a longing expression. The conversation finally died when Kai got into the living room as well, and only minutes later they were called for breakfast at the kitchen. 

 

The Queen found himself in the basement afterwards, staring at Scar as he did push-ups on the floor in front of him, his injured arm loosely behind his back while his left hand supported his body. Ruki watched him sweat and huff for long minutes before sighing.

- What part of “rest” didn’t you understand? - he asked without missing the way the muscles of his back tensed and relaxed under the tank top, following the movement

Scar didn’t answer, breathing loudly as he continued, after some more minutes of just staring leisurely at his body, Ruki finally got up.

- Stop - he ordered and Scar did just that, he sat on the floor with a displeased expression, The Queen pointed at the wound before he could say anything - you’re bleeding

- Shit - grunted Scar and inspected his arm

- For much I enjoy staring at your firm ass, I’d appreciate it if you listened to Aki for once and rested until the stitches can be removed...

- Yeah, sorry.

- I’ll call him - announced Ruki, searching inside the pocket of his hoodie for something that clearly wasn’t there - shit, forgot my phone upstairs…

- Were you really staring at my ass? - Scar asked mischievously

Ruki pointed an accusing finger at him.

- Shut up and stay still.

The bodyguard sighed and nodded, getting up to move to the couch as The Queen made his way to his bedroom. As expected, the cellphone was still on his bed, some messages and even a lost call shone on the notifications. Ruki bit his lower lip, Kyo’s name was all over the screen and he felt disgusting about it, the memories of his encounter with Scar too vivid to blame it on alcohol. He sighed, deciding on calling the medic before even dealing with all the mess his own relentless needs had caused. After he hang up with Aki, Ruki took a deep breath, reading the messages from Ryoga and finally the one from Kyo. He raised an eyebrow and decided to call him back.

Ruki ” Kyo answered right away and The Queen’s heart started to drum inside his chest at the sound of his voice

- What’s on your mind? - he asked directly and Dragon’s voice brimmed with a laugh

I know you’d believe me if I tell you it was Ryoga’s idea ” he defended himself and Ruki sighed

- Of course it was his idea

I recognize it’s risky and I did try to dissuade him bu--

- That’s okay, let’s go - Ruki cut him off

Really?

- I don’t see why not - shrugged the fluffy blond - It’s not like Kiyoharu is following me… yet - he added in a second thought - Anyway, I could use some fresh air...

Then I’ll meet you there, is that okay?

- That’s perfect.

I’ll see you later then…

A dense silence formed between them and Ruki felt compelled to end the call at once, least his thoughts actually managed to spill out of his mouth.

- See you - he finally rushed and hang up the phone with a dreadful feeling of guilt

 

Dragon remained with the phone on his ear for a few more seconds, finally sighing and admitting that Ruki had indeed hung up on him.

- Something’s off - he claimed and Ryoga looked up from his drone remote curiously

- I thought he said yes - the ashy blond said confused

- He did but… nevermind - Kyo scratched his neck

- Well, give him some time, he did just lose someone important to him - Ryoga shrugged and took out his cellphone - mourning is different in each person...

- I know that, I just have the feeling that’s not what’s bothering him…

- Then wait for him to tell you - shrugged the ashy blond - It’s not like Ruki will take it to his grave, he’s very straightforward and he’ll tell you even if you don’t ask--

- Would you please stop showing off how much you know him? - mumbled Dragon as he got up the couch and Ryoga laughed out loud

- Jealous much? - he snickered as he watched Kyo disappeared through the hallway

 

After checking for the third time that The Queen had indeed agreed to it, and confirming the address, Dragon and Ryoga made their way downtown. The streets were packed with people the closer they got to their destination and Kyo was grateful he had decided to leave the gun at home. He knew very well that Ryoga hadn’t, but the ashy blond was more experienced in concealing it. Kyo’s thoughts drifted as he maneuvered his way in the parking lot of the obscenely luxurious mall Ryoga had chosen. He wondered who of all the bodyguards would Ruki choose to bring and his mind took him inadvertently to the abrupt way in which he had cut the phone call. 

As they made their way inside, they realized they luckily weren’t as many people inside as out on the streets. Kyo figured it had to do with the day of the week it was, accustomed to a job with no week restrictions, he usually lost track of the days. He could imagine for Ruki it was as if weekdays didn’t even exist. Ryoga was the first one to spot them, Kyo noticed, mainly because his face went blank for a second before a faint blush started burning at his cheeks and ears. Dragon followed his gaze and sighed a smile when he first recognized the tall and lanky dark-haired man that was Raven, fidgeting standing next to another incredibly tall man. Kyo was actually surprised to be met with Doll’s vacant eyes, he let a little smile show on his beautifully shaped lips as they walked closer. He had reserved the sight of The Queen for last, mainly because seeing him meant everything else blurred around him. Kyo felt a shiver ran through him when he saw the skinny ripped jeans climbing up to his hips, but unavoidably interrupted by fabric up the middle of his thighs. A white plain tshirt peeked from under the gray long cardigan and a black leather jacket finished the outfit, Ruki removed his sunglasses as soon as he saw Kyo. His greenish gray eyes took some time to focus on Kyo’s black ones and he smiled tiredly.

- Hi - he said when they were close enough

- Hi - answered Kyo feeling a little foolish as he avoided to kiss him - you’re actually dressed down...

- I’m actually dressed down - repeated Ruki sweetly and it was him who reached closer and pressed his lips softly on Kyo’s 

- You look lovely - he whispered when they separated, his hand lingering close to Ruki’s waist

- Hope you don’t mind I brought some company - the fluffy blond said - We can lose them somewhere…

- I’ll go ahead and lose this one for you if you don’t mind... - Ryoga blurted out and Raven avoided to look at any of them

- Sure - shrugged Ruki and Kyo could’ve sworn the tall lanky snitch directed a look of betrayal at him as Ryoga started dragging him away

Doll watched a little amused how Raven tried to get a hold of him before Ryoga finally grabbed both his hands in one of his and took him around a corner.

- I actually tricked Tsuzuku into coming here - explained The Queen casually - he’ll thank me later…

- Ryoga looked predatory... - Doll commented with a little sympathetic smile

- He always does - laughed Ruki - I brought Doll because he hasn’t left the house in ages

- That’s hardly true - complained the bodyguard and The Queen shook his hand dismissively

- Go and spend some money - he shut him up and Doll squinted at him before leaving slowly in the opposite direction Ryoga and Raven had disappeared - Well, that was easy... I wish Hazuki’s guy was that easy to shoo away - he sighed and grabbed Kyo by the arm

- Where is he? - asked Dragon inspecting their surroundings, but he realized he didn’t even know what the man looked like

- Who knows, I told him I didn’t want to see his face so I guess he took the hint… - he laid his head on Kyo’s shoulder - I missed you - Kyo laid his cheek on top of the fluffy blond curls

- I’m sorry I couldn’t be there for you - he frowned - ...actually, it was Ryoga who suggested I gave you some space...

- Did he now? - Ruki scoffed - well, he wasn’t wrong - he separated his head from Dragon and stared at him with a smirk - so I take it you get along better now… should I be worried? - he added raising an eyebrow

- He seems particularly obsessed with that Hazuki guy so I wouldn’t worry - Kyo laughed as he started walking around the mall 

Ruki only hummed in answer, loosing up his grip on Kyo’s arm while he followed him. They seemed to walk aimlessly across the ground floor, The Queen getting notoriously distracted by the high brand display windows, pulling Kyo away from his path several times. When Dragon least expected, he had lost The Queen several times, trying to keep track of his coming and goings inside the shops. 

Kyo was already carrying four bags for him when Ruki actually pulled him inside a shop with him, the mannequins were classically dressed, none of them wore any flashy outfit as the other stores The Queen had gotten into. Dragon felt realization dawn on him when the fluffy blond turned to watch him eagerly.

- Don’t even think about it - he answered right away and Ruki pouted

- At least try on ONE shirt before grunting at me - he claimed as he made a point of not letting go of Kyo’s arm while he shuffled through the hangers and taking out garment after garment, pilling them up on his arm

- You said one, Ruki - he grunted as the shirts slid down the fluffy blond’s arm into his

- Don’t you “Ruki” me - he took a deep breath before exhaling loudly through his nose - Okay, try these ones - he let go of Kyo to hold the shirts and exchange them for the bags the dark-haired was carrying

- I don’t need them - Kyo complained one last time as he received them and Ruki scowled

- Humor me - he commanded

- Fine. - he rolled his eyes - But we’re done shopping.

Ruki looked almost hurt for a split second before he pouted and agreed, following Kyo towards the fitting rooms. Dragon rushed inside and closed the door right on his face.

- Spoil sport - he heard from the other side

 

In the end, Kyo allowed The Queen to buy one of the shirts he tried on, a navy blue button up, mainly because of the expression the fluffy blond had on his face when Kyo presented it to him. Ruki’s arm was still on him as they searched through the third floor for a place to rest.

- We could get some coffee… - Kyo suggested casually and the fluffy blond hummed

- I’d love some coffee… 

- I feel this is the closest thing to a date we ever had - mentioned the black-haired man as he skimmed through a map of the installations - seems there’s one on the second floor…

- What are you talking about? - complained Ruki - This is a date. You asked me out, didn’t you?

- So I did - recognized Kyo as he started pulling him towards the escalator - It just seems we did everything backwards, we should’ve started from here, you know, the traditional way…

- Well, I’m not a traditional man - smirked Ruki 

- Right, you wanted to fuck me first to see if you liked me - recounted Kyo

- That’s not true - he looked sincerely offended - I wanted to get to know you first, see if you-- played for the right team - he laughed

- Right - continued Kyo with a sceptic look - that’s why you decided to set your little traps to see if I’d bite, acting all coy, getting drunk and clumsy… - he looked straight to Ruki’s greenish gray eyes as they moved away from the path of the escalator

- Dammit Ryoga - the fluffy blond grunted - He never shuts his mouth doesn’t he? - Kyo smiled victoriously

- So you don’t deny it - Kyo tilted his head and watched as Ruki formed a pout, resisting the urge to undo it with a kiss

- You can’t blame me for some innocent fondling - he mumbled - I didn’t know what else to do - he raised a finger - but you can’t deny you agreed to everything else--

- I’m not - he smiled and moved closer, grabbing Ruki’s waist with his free arm and stealing a kiss from him, hearing as the fluffy blond let out a surprised moan

When they separated, The Queen was slightly blushed and his mouth partially open, he bit on his lower lip. 

They started walking again and finally came upon the coffee shop, taking a seat on a couch inside once their orders were ready. Ruki took advantage of the space to glue himself to Kyo’s side, leaving the bags on the end of the seat. Dragon started drinking his coffee in satisfactory silence, he could see Ruki holding his own mug with both hands, nervously tapping it with his fingers.

- So… - prodded Kyo slowly - you hung up on me earlier... -  the fluffy blond tensed and stopped his tapping all at once, tightening his grip on the mug

- I did, I’m sorry - he spoke softly and that was even a worse sign than his nervous tapping

-  I get it, you must be under a lot of stress right now… - he continued carefully, leaving his coffee on the table as he turned to face Ruki - But you don’t need to shield me from all that, I can be there for you in any way you need...

The greenish gray eyes seemed to look at him for a split second before avoiding him again, focusing on the mug still between his hands. Dragon felt anxious, closing his hands in fists and releasing them to ease the tension.

- What’s wrong? - he asked a little roughly and Ruki bit his lower lip before finally facing him

- I slept with Reita - he answered abruptly and Kyo clenched his fists again

- You did, hm? - he mumbled

- I know we never discussed if we were exclusive but I-- - Ruki lowered his gaze - I still feel crappy about it…

- Well you better - snapped Kyo, there was no readable expression on his face, Ruki looked at him painfully - that’s why you had a hangover, wasn’t it? way more easier to blame it on alcohol--

- I’m not blaming it on alcohol - the fluffy blond frowned - I’m owning to my mistake, or whatever it was--

- I should’ve known - Kyo turned again, avoiding to look at him - did you tell Ryoga to convince me to leave you alone? so you could--

- You know that’s not true - Ruki said, trying to keep calm as he witnessed Dragon starting to fidget - Can we talk about this reasonably? - he asked softly but Kyo was already on his feet

- I should’ve known-- - he stared at him - I can’t talk about this right now-- I can’t even look at you right now--

- I understand - sighed Ruki and didn’t move to follow him as Dragon made his way outside the coffee shop

The Queen sighed painfully and laid back on the couch, he took some slow sips from his coffee before taking out his cellphone.

Chapter Text

 

When Doll reached the coffee shop after receiving the message, The Queen had already finished his drink and was staring at a blue button-up shirt with a tired expression. The tall bodyguard sat next to him without announcing himself, causing a little surprised gasp from Ruki.

- Sorry - he apologized right away and looked at the shirt as well - so you told him…

- I couldn’t wait and risk him figuring it out on his own-- that’s even worse - Ruki sighed and leaned his head backwards on the couch’s back - What am I supposed to do? this has never happened...

- Because you were never in a relationship before - smiled Doll and tore out a part of the abandoned food Dragon had left, taking it to his mouth

- I can’t deal with this and Kiyoharu trying to kill me… - he closed his eyes - can I live here from now on?

- Or you could face one thing at a time - suggested Doll - I don’t think Dragon is a priority right now, even if it’s painful...

- I feel nothing is moving forward-- I hate being still - he sat up again, staring at the shirt intensely

- Please don’t do anything reckless - begged Doll right away - I know that look

- Trust me - asked Ruki and the bodyguard denied with his head

- Is not you who I don’t trust - he assured

- What did you buy? - the fluffy blond looked curiously at the bags next to Doll’s legs

- Why are you changing the subject? - he asked in return - What are you planning?

- Did you spend it all on books? - The Queen prodded, leaning closer

- Ruki! - snapped Doll, his face a mixture of anger and worry

- Trust me - begged Ruki again, with a tired smile - have I ever failed you?

- Don’t you twist this, it isn’t about me or the past. - he put both hands on The Queen’ shoulders - Whatever you’re thinking. Don’t.

- I know you’re scared - recognized Ruki softly - but regardless of the outcome, nothing will happen to you, I swear. You’re all on my will so you don’t even have to consider getting a job--

- You’re twisting it again - sighed Doll without letting go of his shoulders - I - he started sternly - don’t want you to die.

The Queen smiled but did not answer, that was a promise he wasn’t sure he could keep. Ruki recognized the fear in Doll because he was scared himself, but he had gone too far already and the options for a peaceful ending were few. He had to take each one that presented in front of him. The silence got deep and tense before he leaned forward again, staring at the bags.

- So… what did you buy? - he asked softly and Doll let go of his shoulders, sighing as he reached out for the bags

 

Kyo was a few strides away from his car when he heard the rushed steps behind him, he stopped and turned around, knowing for a fact they didn’t belong to The Queen. Ryoga also stopped, gasping for air with his hands on his knees, his shirt unevenly buttoned and part of his bruise-covered chest peeking out.

- Kyo what the fuck? - the ashy blond tried to speak as he stood up again, the hickeys climbed all the way up his neck - why are you leaving?

- You can stay here - answered Dragon coldly - looks like you were having fun--

- No way I’m leaving you alone - he denied with his head

- Did Ruki warn you I was gone? - Kyo asked and if Ryoga knew something else, he didn’t show it

- Yeah, of course he did - he took another deep breath - what happened?

- That’s none of your business.

Dragon started walking towards the car again and Ryoga was quick to follow.

- I told you, you can stay here - his voice was strained and cold and the ashy blond kept looking at him as if he was trying to read something on his face

- Ruki slept with Scar, didn’t he? - Ryoga guessed and Kyo turned violently towards him, his whole face contorted in anger, the ashy blond rose his hands to the gesture - woah, calm down! hitting me will make you feel better for about five minutes… - he waited until Kyo opened his clenched fists - ...you wanna talk about it?

- You’re not my friend - Dragon hissed and finished his way towards the car, watching him murderously before getting inside - Stay. Here.

Ryoga allowed him to leave, sighing as he activated the drone that was sitting somewhere on the mall’s rooftop and starting to follow the car while his steps took him back inside the ground floor.

 

Ruki called on Hollyhock to pick them up from the mall, knowing he would gladly accept the privilege of driving Doll around. Raven had reached them first but once in the basement parking lot they met with Ryoga again. He rushed towards them, looking anxious and alarmed as he practically knelt in front of The Queen.

- Don’t be ridiculous - said Ruki right away and the ashy blond got up with a big effort

- Ruki I’m sorry, I really am-- he wouldn’t let me go with him, he--

- Don’t worry about it - Ruki waved his hand in dismissal, a sad smile on his face - He just needs some space…

- I’m watching him with the drone at least - smiled Ryoga sheepishly as he showed Ruki the controller

- That’s okay, you can stay here and watch him with Tsuzuku...

Ryoga’s eyes seemed to glisten but Raven pursed his lips.

- I should go with you - he dared to say and Ruki denied with his head - Ruki I--

- Stay here - he repeated - Keep Ryoga company here or on his way to the hotel, either way is fine

- But-- - he bit his lower lip, bending forward so his eyes were leveled with The Queen’s face - I need to do surveillance I can’t just leave--

- There are four men doing surveillance already, remember? - Ruki asked sweetly and gave him a soft slap - Stay here.

- Yes - Raven finally agreed and Ryoga sighed

- You make me feel so loved Genki - he let out and Raven got red up to his ears

- Have fun - The Queen waved them goodbye, the black van was already on sight and he walked towards it, followed by Doll who was carrying all the shopping bags

Hollyhock parked and got off the van, rushing towards Doll to relieve him from the burden, taking the bags with a smile.

- Let me guess, only one of these is yours... - he said softly and Doll smiled, watching as Ruki kept walking towards the van and getting inside silently

- Actually, two of them - the bodyguard said in almost a whisper - the green one is for you… - he added

- R-really? - stuttered Hollyhock as he blushed heavily, separating the green bag from the rest and peeking inside

- It’s a fly tying kit - explained Doll and watched as Hollyhock took it out carefully as if it was made of glass - so you have something to start your retirement plan... - he smiled and the long-haired bodyguard seemed to melt a little in his own smile 

- I’ll open it at home, okay? - he asked softly

- Of course - answered Doll and they made their way to the van, Hollyhock left all the bags at the back next to Ruki after Doll entered, and took the place behind the wheel

He felt compelled to ask about Dragon, but right as he meant to, Doll shot him a warning look through the rearview mirror, denying slowly with his head. Instead, the bodyguard started the car and made his way out of the parking lot in silence and didn’t speak until reaching the freeway.

- Where to, Queen? - Hollyhock asked, his tone even, no trace of mockery in it

He hadn’t only seen Doll through the rearview mirror, he had focused on Ruki long enough to notice he wasn’t really there, a determined frown on his face and his gaze fixed out the window. Hollyhock wasn’t surprised when The Queen took a long time to answer, still pondering on his decision as it left his mouth slowly.

- We’ll take Doll home - he answered and Hollyhock nodded, catching a glimpse of Doll’s pained expression before he turned towards Ruki

- Ruki… - he started but The Queen was quick to raise a hand in front of his face

- Don’t. 

The rest of the drive was silent and tense. Hollyhock felt awful witnessing Doll’s frustration without being able to do anything about it. He wasn’t about to start questioning a notoriously vexed Ruki as he tried to focus on the road.

When they arrived to the house, Doll dedicated another pleading look in The Queen’s direction, which he dismissed with the tiniest smile and shake of the head.

- Stop worrying - he said simply, his voice tender

- I’ll take the bags inside… - started Doll doubtfully

- That’d be wonderful, thank you - Ruki smiled again, reaching only for the bag that contained the blue shirt

Doll gathered the rest and step out of the car, bending to look at The Queen a last time.

- I’ll wait for you. - he said simply, his expression fiercely serious and Hollyhock turned just in time to see Ruki’s smile start to crumble

A promise, a beckon, Doll had grounded The Queen again, tethering him to the house, to them. Hollyhock smiled sweetly as Doll finally closed the van’s door.

The long haired bodyguard tied his black hair in a ponytail, anxious as Ruki kept the silence inside, without moving a single muscle.

- This can go two ways… - started Hollyhock, climbing on the seat to be able to turn around completely and face Ruki - either you tell me what is going on or I start guessing…

- Please don’t, you’re a terrible guesser - the fluffy blond cut him off

- Then speak - grunted Hollyhock

- We need to go pick up Hazuki at the port… 

- Alright?

- And then we’ll go to Spring’s house.



It was getting dark by the time Kyo arrived to his house. He had driven around on his car for longer than needed, in part to calm himself down. But the truth was he had seen Ryoga’s drone and had driven far and for enough time for it to start running out of battery. A victorious smile adorned his face when the device made a violent turn and returned from the way it had come from. Kyo knew Ryoga was on his way, but decided to rejoice in his moment of solitude, despite his mind gnawing at the quietness. He couldn’t feign surprise at the news, he couldn’t even stay angry, Kyo realized he was already missing Ruki by the time he finished preparing his tea. He tried calling him but it went straight to voicemail, Kyo tried not to let his mind race as he called again. A metallic voice announced the device was occupied, he didn’t try a third time.

An hour passed and Ryoga was respectful enough to send a text message instead of ringing his doorbell. Again the invitation to talk about what happened, and Kyo found himself missing Kansas. He decided to call his former bodyguard and still best friend while he continued his job braiding strips of leather for horse reins. Kansas answered at the second tone, a mocking tone as he asked who was calling, Kyo snorted from the other side.

“It’s just, I’m surprised you know, you haven’t called me since I got demoted, I saw you the other day and nothing. Ghosting is for high school, Kyo”

- I know, sorry, there’s a lot on my mind…

“A lot of Queen is in your mind, you should’ve cut off a limb, he’ll just keep spreading…”

- And what limb do you suggest I cut? - teased Kyo and Kansas’s snort on the other side told him the answer

“Please, don’t make me say it”

- I was missing you - Dragon confessed and a tiny moment of silence spread through the conversation

“Yeah, I miss you too, you shitty friend” Kansas answered lightheartedly “I kept expecting a call, an invitation, nothing, you don’t ditch on friends when you find love man, that’s low”

- I get it I get it, it’s too late to say I didn’t want to cause you any more trouble?

“A little too late and too much like a lie”

- Can you come over for a little bit?

“Not really, sorry” Kansas answered painfully “did something happen?”

- Yeah, no-- I don’t know - sighed Kyo

“Did Ruki and you split up?” he asked bluntly and Dragon had to actually reconsider the events of the afternoon, the conversation at the coffee shop before answering

- No, I don’t think so… 

“But something did happen”

- Yeah….

“Sorry I can’t go, do you still wanna talk about it?” suggested Kansas softly

- He slept with Scar... I’m over-reacting, aren’t I?

“I don’t know, did you punch him?” he laughed and Kyo found himself smiling too

- No, should I? - he wondered and Kansas laughed out loud from the other side

“You know Ruki is a little--- “ he cleared his throat “I mean you knew what you were getting into...”

- There’s no nice way of saying what you’re implying - frowned Kyo but the smile was still on his face

“He’s a free spirit, he likes to fuck around and is not ashamed of it...”

- Are you trying to make me feel better? because is not working--

“I mean, you already knew what he was like, feels a little stupid to get mad over it right now…”

Kyo didn’t answer, he knew it was true, he hated that he understood it so well.

“Ah, wait, you wanted me to be biased? then he’s a slut, you should leave him” Kansas laughed on the other side and Kyo was very tempted to end the conversation

- I guess I’ll call him…. again

“You called him?” Kansas sounded genuinely surprised and Kyo couldn’t help but feel a little offended “Well, then I better not clog up your line, in case he wants to reach out too…”

- I don’t think he will - admitted Kyo

“Well, he probably sensed you needed your space, since you pushed him and all that--”

- I didn’t push him you idiot-- I just left.

“Same thing, he’ll give you space, specially if you acted like an angsty teen...”

- I don’t know why I thought calling you was a good idea - let out Kyo with a frown

“Because you looove meee~ whoops, gotta go now. Call me more often you shitty friend”

- I wasn’t planning to... - laughed Kyo and Kansas managed half an insult before the line disconnected

Dragon sighed, the tension set on his chest and limbs seemed to dissolved with it. He tried another call to The Queen, this time the phone was definitely disconnected. Kyo tried not to let his mind dwell on it, retaking his job on the leather strips.



Ruki thought he’d go through several phases of dry heaving, anxiety and hyperventilation on the way towards the docks, he was certain they would continue on the drive towards Spring’s mansion. But The Queen was scarily calm, maybe numb would be a more fitting word. Something inside his brain had disconnected, the sensations didn’t go through his limbs, the sounds seemed muffled. Hollyhock, on the other hand, kept tying and untying his hair into a ponytail, fixing his brass knuckles and checking on his gun constantly. Ruki felt guilty about dragging him along towards the lion’s den, but when Hazuki joined them with some of his men, Hollyhock seemed to regain a little composure.

- This is nostalgic - mentioned Hazuki when they got off the van, as he signaled for his men to take position - the three of us together again, like old times...

Mr.Spring’s three story mansion stood in front of them on the other side of a pebble driveway. The Queen moved forward and both Hazuki and Hollyhock flanked his sides.

- Do you still think he won’t kill you at his front door? - the bodyguard tried to laugh it off but Ruki didn’t answer, his sight glued to the door

- I have a sniper aiming at the windows, I only need to press a button and he’ll fire--

- You’ll wait for MY sign - The Queen complained and Hazuki sighed

- I didn’t spend my teenage years protecting you to just hand you over to Spring on a silver plate you know…

- I can take care of myself - grunted Ruki offended and moved to ring the doorbell

After some short minutes, Garnet opened the door at once, startling the three men waiting on the other side. He scanned The Queen’s face before going all over his frame, taking his time to assess his casual clothes before giving the smallest side glances to Hollyhock and Hazuki. The Queen didn’t speak and Garnet also kept silent, moving to a side to let him inside the house, following them closely from behind.

- I thought he was gonna comment on your clothes - whispered Hazuki and Ruki rolled his eyes - I can’t believe you’re not wearing a suit…

Hollyhock wanted to ask him for silence, he couldn’t handle how relaxed Hazuki looked. The Queen was stiff on his movements but made no show of fear or anxiousness on his face, his greenish gray eyes focused like stone at what was in front of him. Hollyhock wanted to just toss him on his shoulder and sprint outside.

The house looked empty and was dreadfully silent, Garnet moved to the front just to open the door to the living room for them. Hazuki looked at the window to their side, recognizing the tiniest red light that indicated his sniper was on place, he knew two more men were perched against the wall on that same window, waiting for his sign. Hollyhock looked at Garnet, finding the gun at his waist instantly before he looked at his face, locking eyes with the stern bodyguard for a second, recognizing cuts from punches on his face and bruises on his uncovered arms.

The Queen didn’t see any of this, his world had stopped only to start moving painfully slowly. Sitting on a giant white couch in the middle of the room was Mr.Spring. His lips were around a cigarette and he was wearing those black thick framed glasses he actually needed. He was dressed down in baggy clothes and looked tired and old. Ruki thought he’d be afraid of him as he always was, but Spring only looked... mortal . They stared at each other, The Queen made sure his face was unreadable, Mr.Spring let out a big sigh of smoke.

- What do you want? - he asked simply, but the undertone of disgust was palpable

- I came to offer a truce - The Queen answered flatly and Spring choked in a laugh

- You have nothing to offer - he assured and Ruki failed to control the snark on his words

- I’m actually in the best position from the two of us to offer it - was his answer and he had to control his feet not to step back when Spring stood up and started walking towards him

- Tell me, how did you convince Morrie of betraying me? - he hissed as the distance between him and Ruki grew shorter, Hollyhock and Hazuki tensed at his sides

- Well, I can be very persuasive - answered The Queen without thinking it twice, the poison leaving his lips just as fast as Spring’s hand shot up to his face, grabbing him painfully by the cheeks

Hollyhock and Hazuki both took their guns out and pointed at Spring, Garnet moved his gun directly towards Ruki’s face. Spring smiled but The Queen rose both his hands at his men and forced them to lower their weapons.

- You don’t wanna make a mess on your precious persian rug, do you now? - he asked, his voice muffled by the pressure against his cheeks

Spring made a gesture with his head and Garnet lowered his weapon too, but he didn’t let go of Ruki’s face, instead he moved his closer, taking a drag from his cigarette before sighing the smoke on The Queen’s lips.

- You’re dead Ruki - he started, his voice practically a whisper - Pierrot is going to have a great time skinning you and then I’ll use you as a rag…

- I can hardly wait - The Queen let out, trying to form a smile still on Spring’s grab

Mr.Spring looked disgusted as he pushed his face away, letting him go, but Ruki thought for half a second he also saw weariness on his eyes. They didn’t wait to be ordered out, Garnet didn’t even move, he just watched as Mr.Spring returned to his couch. The Queen was the first to turn his back to the scene, Hollyhock and Hazuki following a moment after.

They waited until they got closer to the van, Hazuki’s men joining them quickly. Hollyhock had been staring at The Queen’s face the whole time, they all kept the silence in which they had left the mansion.

- Are you okay? - Hollyhock finally asked, grabbing Ruki by his elbow

- My cheeks hurt - whined the fluffy blond as he massaged them - ah, and also - he smiled sweetly - seems now I’m really going to die.

- Not on my watch - answered the bodyguard right away and hugged Ruki’s shoulders, bringing his forehead to his lips

- I’ll send more men to your house - assured Hazuki, getting closer, but Ruki denied with his head

- It’s useless, they won’t stop Pierrot - he sighed, pressing his forehead on Hollyhock’s chest

- What are you going to do now? - the dark-haired bodyguard asked softly

- Take me to Kyo’s house please - whispered Ruki and moved away 

Hazuki waved off his men and got closer to The Queen, hugging him tightly before ensuring he would always be ready and close by. Ruki just nodded and watched him go before getting inside the van, Hollyhock taking the driver’s seat soon after.

Chapter Text

A soft chime came from the cellphone now abandoned on the coffee table, next to some of the finished reins. Kyo took it a little too eagerly, but the sender wasn’t the one he expected. The message however, managed to cause a fluttering sensation inside his stomach.

Spoiler alert: Ruki’s at your door ” Ryoga had sent, and as Dragon finished reading, the doorbell rang one short and clear time. 

Kyo found himself pondering on the expected ringing behaviour of someone as anxious as Ruki and thought it was surprising that he managed to just ring once. A second longer ring made him actually laugh at his precipitated assumption. 

The Queen had his finger on the doorbell for a third time when Kyo opened the door hastily. Feeling caught in the act, Ruki removed his hand quickly and took it to the bag he was holding with his left. Their eyes didn’t meet as the fluffy blond squared his shoulders.

- You forgot your shirt so… - he started softly and Dragon moved aside from the door

- Come on in - he asked and Ruki hesitated a second before obeying, not moving further than the entrance hall - do you want something to drink?

- I don’t wanna impose - answered The Queen and denied with his head, their eyes still didn’t meet and Kyo felt compelled to change that

- Look at me - he practically ordered and Ruki did, the greenish gray eyes tired and glossy as they locked on his dark ones - you’re not imposing, do you want a drink or not?

- Just tea, if you don’t mind - Ruki whispered but managed to keep his eyes on him

- Go wait in the living room, I’ll take it to you - suggested Kyo as he went to the kitchen to put the kettle on

Ruki’s “Okay” was barely a whisper as he moved slowly towards the next room. With The Queen lost from view, Kyo had time to breath deeply, gathering his thoughts and how to control the conversation that was bound to happen. He took the longest time to make the tea, picking a different type of blend, something that could keep them both as relaxed as they appeared now. When he reached the living room with a tray with the cups of tea on it, Ruki was curiously inspecting the braided reins.

- Are these for me? - he asked smoothly, a smile on his face as Kyo scoffed 

- Only if you misbehave - he played along, leaving the tray on the table

- Haven’t I done that already? - Ruki added carefully, his eyes searching for Dragon’s

Kyo took a moment to answer, a mischievous smile as he sat next to the fluffy blond.

- Do you wanna be punished? - there was some sincerity buried deep in the teasing conversation, so Kyo decided he could get to it in a less painful way if they just kept playing

- I don’t know, should I? - he shrugged as he grabbed his cup of tea with both hands - sounds like something you should decide… - he took a doubtful sip

- I’m not comfortable with that much power over someone... - Kyo finally admitted and Ruki laughed 

- You shouldn’t be a boss then - he mentioned casually and took another sip, letting out a little hum of approval

- I wasn’t planning to - Kyo also took a gulp before leaving the cup again on the tray, venturing a hand towards Ruki’s face to grab him by the chin

He was surprised to think The Queen would flinch away from his hand, but he only stood still and followed where the long fingers led him. The greenish gray eyes looked at him with something indescribably behind them, Kyo felt it didn’t have to do with their conversation.

- Are we okay? - Ruki asked fearfully and Dragon chose not to answer, pressing his lips against warm pouty ones for a long second

- Yeah - he finally answered - I wasn’t being fair to you--

- Is not about fairness - addressed Ruki quickly, leaving the cup on the tray - Is about your feelings and I--

- My feelings are fine - interrupted Kyo, moving his hand towards the fluffy blond’s cheek

- You looked really hurt - Ruki tried to press on and Dragon kissed him again

- I was. I’m not anymore - he explained once he let go, The Queen frowned

- That sounds a whole lot like denial - he complained and took Kyo’s hand away from his face, trapping it between his - We still need to discuss it--- I might still need to discuss it...

Kyo sighed, defeated.

- What do you want me to say? - he asked trying not to sound aggressive as he used his free hand to drink more tea

- What you felt - shrugged Ruki

- Well, pissed off for a start - sighed Kyo

- Okay... - he prodded 

- The thing that bothers me the most is-- I was expecting it, whether now or later, I knew it would happen…

Ruki kept silence this time, but looked at Kyo as if he was waiting for more to be said.

- Guess I should’ve told you-- my--… how I felt about the whole thing... - Kyo laid back on the couch, his hand loosely between Ruki’s, touching the soft fingers as they locked around his hand - how insecure it makes me… the fact that he’s always near you.... that he knows all about you…

- That doesn’t mean anything - assured Ruki as he held tighter to the hand between his - what you know or don’t know, it changes nothing…

- But he felt more familiar, didn’t he? when you were mourning Morrie--- you didn’t want a strange face, you wanted someone that also knew him… someone that knows you well… - he turned to look at the tray, his cup was empty and Ruki’s had gone cold

- I was scared… I could’ve lost Reita as easily as I had lost Morrie, right on the same night... - he sighed deeply - I didn’t want him to get out of my sight... if I had called you back then, I would’ve only hurt you further…  - Ruki looked at him seriously - I’m not making excuses, I’m just--

- I didn’t think you were - smiled Kyo, his free hand now on The Queen’s cheek

- I’m sorry I didn’t make myself clear from the start - Ruki whispered - I-- I’m sorry I’m such a slut - he laughed and a little tear escaped from his eye, rolling on his cheek until it crashed against Kyo’s fingers

- Hey… don’t cry, I said I’m not angry anymore...

Ruki bit his lower lip.

- I love you a lot, did you know that? - he whispered, his voice cracked for a second before he took a deep breath - I did a very stupid thing today--- I did another very stupid thing today… 

- I don’t really care that you’re a slut - Kyo tried to ease the mood and Ruki laughed softly denying with his head

- Is not that--- - he sighed - I went to see Spring today…

- Did you kill him? - Kyo asked right away, a rush of eagerness ran through his body, but Ruki denied with his head quickly

- I did not, I just tried to offer him a truce… guess how that worked out…

- A truce? - Kyo moved slightly away from him so he could turn around to face him - why? why a truce? - Ruki just smiled - why didn’t you kill him?

- I...I can’t - he answered in an almost inaudible voice

Kyo bit the inside of his cheek, he didn’t want to lash out at Ruki who now stared at him with doe-like eyes. He felt exasperated but he had no word or say on The Queen’s life or decisions, Kyo would have to be content with ranting about it with someone neutral or as frustrated as he currently was.

- Did you go on your own? - he finally asked and Ruki denied with his head

- I took Hollyhock and Hazuki with me…

- And they just let you do that… - Kyo sighed and The Queen looked at him confused

- Well of course - he explained slightly offended - I’m the boss… - he pouted at how ridiculous he felt about that statement

- I know that I just--- - he removed his hands from the contact they still kept with Ruki’s skin, taking them to the nearest reins and grabbing them - I just wanna know why…. why wouldn’t you kill him... why were you with him on the first place… how could you-- how did you end up with someone like him?

The Queen kept quiet, letting Kyo frustratedly ramble on for a while before looking at his own hands. When Dragon finally got quiet, the question lingering in the air around them, Ruki looked up, their eyes locking as Kyo took his hand to his cheek again.

- Why were you with him? - he asked again and Ruki sighed, closing his eyes

- I just--- I saw something I wasn’t supposed to... - he whispered as if, even all those years after, it was still a terrible secret

- Please give me more than that - begged Kyo and Ruki looked at him painfully

- I don’t know what you want me to say... - he confessed and the dark haired man moved his hand towards Ruki’s nape, grabbing it carefully

- All you can tell me - he smiled and waited when Ruki closed his eyes and sighed tiredly

He took a moment to collect the memories, make them coherent for someone else, the image of the train, the docks, the dirt and rats, the torn down mattress and Hazuki’s eyes. Ruki sighed again and opened his eyes, looking first at the cups on the tray before venturing his gaze slowly up until meeting Kyo’s.

- I… well-- I arrived on the earliest train to the city and spend my whole first morning trying to find a job-- of course nobody would employ a trashy teen with a baby face, except for well-- you can imagine - he sighed and continued before Kyo could interrupt - They told me the docks had less requirements for their employees so I went there, but had pretty much the same luck. I wasn’t rough looking like them, I think they said things like “twig” and “would snap trying to lift a crate”. I had no place to sleep so I stayed there that night, nothing happened so when the day proved unsuccessful again I tried for another night…. That didn’t go so well, turns out word spreads like fire at the docks and it didn’t take long for sailors to know where I was and how I looked… - he closed his eyes again, feeling anxious as if he was running again from them, four or five guys two times older and three times bigger than him

Kyo moved uncomfortably on the couch, he grabbed Ruki’s hand to get his attention for a moment.

- I’ll get you more tea, okay? - he offered softly and The Queen seemed so grateful in his smile that Kyo felt guilty for not offering it sooner

When Dragon returned, he placed an entire kettle in front of them and poured Ruki another cup, he took it carefully and sipped half of it, breathing slowly on it.

- The docks… that’s where you met Hazuki, isn’t it? - Kyo asked carefully and the fluffy blond nodded

- Yeah - he said and left the cup on the table again - he saved me that night, he hid me from them, I told him I couldn’t find a job and he said there were a few things I still could do--- of course going back to the sailors was an option, this time asking for payment--- But there was something else, something he was already good at - Ruki took another sip and this time kept the cup between his hands - They hanged around at the docks, where a lot of transactions were made everyday, daylight legal stuff, but also a whole lot of illegal shit at night, and they had eyes over everything….

- They? - asked Kyo

- The rats - explained Ruki simply - they were everywhere, so were we, hence the nickname. We eavesdropped and spied and paid a lot of attention to the details, then we’d take that information to the boss and he’d sell it for blackmail or things like that…

- You had a boss? - wondered Kyo and he realized the absurdity of the question, he was talking about organized teens, of course they had a superior figure

- Yeah, he’s the one that inherited the dock’s management to Hazuki, he was his favorite…. So now Hazuki follows on his footsteps--

- And when did you left the docks?

- Well, that’s precisely when Spring and I met - he smiled tiredly and took a last sip, Kyo felt compelled to fill up the cup again and Ruki smiled sweetly at him - Thanks. 

- Spring had tons of dirty business at the port, he had inherited a fortune and was drunk with power, so he got his head in the nastiest things he could and found people to do so. Of course we already knew of his comes and goings, we had sold a lot of his information to politicians and other nasty fellows. But Spring had something very useful my boss wanted- Well, people that paid my boss wanted. Turns out it was a list, some powerful names on it, politicians, tycoons… so I pickpocketed it. I thought I was alone when curiosity got me and I read it, bunch of long-ass names - he shrugged - I didn’t care about any of it, but Spring did, and he knew I had took it and he had followed me - he sighed and took a shaking sip - He was going to kill me right there, no matter how I begged and explained I didn’t know what it meant, that I couldn’t remember anything from it. Nah, he didn’t care-- so my survival instinct kicked in and I did the only thing I could think of, I offered myself to him. The same thing I was doing for my boss Atsushi, I’d do for him, any information he needed I’d get….

- And he agreed - realized Kyo, his hand wandering on Ruki’s soft curls and his neck, traveling down his shoulder

- Of course he did - smiled Ruki - and he really put it to good use, he made a name for himself, he became feared and I was--- just there, living on his scraps, until he didn’t need me anymore...

- But you didn’t leave back then…

- No, I didn’t - smiled Ruki - I stayed for a whole lot of years….

- Why?

Ruki shrugged and ran a hand abruptly against his cheek as if wiping something off, and stopped talking. Kyo waited patiently but The Queen just drank his tea in silence and made no sign of continuing his story.

- Are you tired? - Dragon finally asked and the fluffy blond nodded slowly

- He’ll send Pierrot for me now… - Ruki explained

- Can’t you stop him? you said you and him-- - the blond denied with his head

- Pierrot won’t stop until the job is done, it doesn’t matter who the target is….

- What about Raven? - Kyo remembered suddenly, Ryoga’s words repeating inside his head

- He owed me a favor, that’s all, I exchanged it for Tsuzuku’s life… but I wasn’t against Spring back then… It’s different now…

- You can stay here - Kyo offered and Ruki denied once again

- He will kill you too - he assured - is better if I just…. wait for him at my place. 

- You won’t die at his hands - Dragon heard himself saying, but there was no certainty on his voice

- I’ll try not to - smiled Ruki and leaned closer to him, trying to make their heads touch, Kyo mimicked the movement until they met - So… about the reins…  

Kyo smiled despite himself and moved to grab a complete one, getting it closer to their faces.

- These… are made for horses - he explained and Ruki smiled - You want me to ignore the conversation we just had… I’m not sure I can do that

Ruki moved away to grab another finished rein and he tried it on him as a tie, pulling from its end to tighten it against his skin.

- Stop - warned Kyo and took a hand to the rein, pulling from it by reflex

- Wrong move - Ruki grunted faintly and Dragon let go instantly

- I’m sorry - he said alarmed and moved to remove the rein from Ruki’s neck

- Don’t be, it was exciting - he laughed it off but Kyo frowned

- I’m not going to choke you Ruki 

- You’re no fun - pouted the fluffy blond - Well, you figure something out because I really have to pee right now - he got up without waiting for an answer and left towards the bathroom, cursing Kyo’s tea

 

Ruki splashed his face with water once he was done, and he scrubbed his cheeks viciously, the ghost of Kiyoharu’s fingers still pressed against them. He could still see his face when he closed his eyes, so close, his breath on him and his eyes. They had look so tired and hurt... or maybe Ruki was just projecting. He faced his own tiredness, staring at him from the other side of the mirror.

- What a lousy queen - he sighed and turned off the light before abandoning the bathroom

When he reached the living room, it was neat and empty, Ruki was sure he hadn’t been in the bathroom for that long. He peeked inside the kitchen but Kyo wasn’t there, the kettle and cups, however, were inside the sink. The Queen scoffed as he realized which one was the only room left, he got inside at once, the door half open.

- Subtle - he smiled when he found Kyo sitting at the bed’s edge, staring at the reins now in his hands - are you still deciding? don’t feel forced to do something you’re not used to--

- Who said I’m not used to? - he interrupted with a dangerous smile, and Ruki felt a tremble in his legs

- Okay - the fluffy blond agreed as he came closer to Kyo, grabbing the reins with both his hands and standing between Dragon’s open legs - what would you have me do then?

- Forget about the reins, I can’t afford to damage them... - laughed Kyo and placed them away once Ruki let go of them

- Are you serious right now? - he rolled his eyes - I’m sure you can spare at least one… - he didn’t wait for an answer, grabbing one of the braided reins and securing it around his neck as the first time, Kyo moved to retrieve it but Ruki swatted his hand away - I’ll pay for it if you’re so concerned-

- Choking you is not a turn on - Kyo explained simply and took the rein in his hand

- Then be careful - shrugged Ruki but allowed to be freed from the leather leash anyway - So I’m taking you’re not very kinky---

- If you keep pushing me about that I might snap - Dragon threatened vaguely

- Honey, you haven’t seen snapping until you misplaced Kai’s secret recipes book  - Ruki lifted an eyebrow, nothing Kyo could do would match the wrath of the dock’s “mad dog”. If Dragon was determined to see The Queen as a fragile little crystal, then he’d be forced to push him even further.

- He has a--- - Kyo sighed a laugh - Why are your bodyguards so weird? - he wondered out loud and Ruki smiled at him in the sweetest way

- They say dogs look like their owners...

- Yes, you’re definitely weird - Kyo nodded and took his hands up Ruki’s waist, the blond answered by placing his hands on Dragon’s shoulders

- You love me weird, you can’t have enough... - he assured with a wicked smile and Kyo hummed in answer, closing his eyes as Ruki leaned closer, dragging his lips softly from his forehead to his mouth, kissing it carefully, soft touches as he pushed Kyo to lay on the bed, but the black haired resisted

The Queen moved away from him a little confused, his hands still on Kyo’s shoulders as the long fingers pressed on his hips.

- I do have some small thing in mind... - Kyo confessed, he avoided to look at Ruki’s eyes for an instant before staring right at them with determination 

- Now we’re talking - smiled the blond and felt a shiver run through his spine when Kyo’s hand’s climbed up his sides beneath his clothes, he digged his own fingers on Kyo’s strong shoulders but the contact ended suddenly

Dragon stood up and went to his closet without saying anything else, he rummaged through some drawers before finding what he was looking for. He took out a thick blue tie and Ruki made a disgusted face.

- Please tell me you never wore that hideous thing - he said as Kyo came closer, laughing at the comment

- I did once, took it off as soon as I crossed the door - he moved closer to Ruki’s face and the fluffy blond felt his pulse rise when Kyo showed him the tie up close

The Queen fought fast and hard to suppress the intrusive thoughts in his head, the feeling of rope cutting the skin on his ankles, pressing against his wrists. Something must had been evident on his face because Kyo’s expression softened almost painfully.

- I don’t wanna tie you up - he explained calmly and took a hand to Ruki’s face - I just wanna shut you up - he smiled wickedly and the blond swatted his hand away - Just kidding-- can I blindfold you? - Kyo asked carefully and Ruki nodded, certain

- Yes, I don’t mind that - he closed his eyes by reflex but Dragon pulled from him to sit on the bed before actually wrapping the tie around his face and tying it on the back of his neck - Do you have a particular reason for this? - Ruki asked while he already felt Dragon’s hands on him, pulling from his boots to remove them with a little effort

- Your eyes are too intense - Kyo let out as if it was the most obvious answer - sometimes they’re a little intimidating…

Ruki smiled at that, Kyo’s hands were now pulling from his jacket and he moved along to help him get it off.
- I intimidate you, that’s something I don’t hear everyday - he goaded and Kyo moved forcefully to the cardigan, unstabling Ruki on purpose as he took it away

- I said your eyes are a little intimidating, get off your pony - Dragon laughed and smiled at the lack of resistance from the fluffy blond to be rid of his t-shirt

- Did you just call me short? - he complained but got distracted when Kyo’s hands traced paths on his chest, he breathed heavily until the hands were off of him again -  you’re one to talk--

- I’m starting to think gagging you was a better idea - the older man complained and Ruki pouted in answer

But Kyo was loving every second of it, Ruki was undoubtedly anxious from being deprived of vision, so he retaliated with constant banter. This was a whole new side of The Queen and Kyo wasn’t just going to let it go easily. He took his hands unceremoniously to the skinny jeans’ waist and Ruki’s breath halted. Kyo undid the button and zipper, but still had a hard time removing their tight grip on The Queen’s thighs. Ruki’s laughter filled the space as Kyo pulled from the fabric and dragged his half naked body across the bed with it.

- A little help? - he finally grunted - why do you have to wear them so fucking tight?

- Shut up, you love them - Ruki answered, his cheeks red as he kept laughing, but he still pushed with his feet to help Kyo get rid of the jeans

Once he was exposed down to his underwear, Ruki felt the weight of being blindfolded, Kyo’s hands were no longer on him and the room was quiet. He had no clue were the older man would touch next, what would he do, his pulse started quickening.

- Are you scared? - he heard suddenly next to his ear and Ruki jerked away by reflex - sorry - Kyo added with a little laugh

- Please tell me at least you’re already naked…

Kyo wasn’t. He smiled, fully dressed as he inspected Ruki’s porcelain skin, the dark moles contrasting against it on his arms, stomach, legs. He traced the path between them with his index finger, sending shivers down Ruki’s spine. The Queen bit his lower lip, the room suddenly extremely quiet as Kyo made sure not to place weight on the bed’s surface so he wouldn’t give away his position. 

- Gone a little quiet, haven’t we? - he teased as his hands dragged on both sides of Ruki’s soft thighs

- I got a little distracted - smiled the fluffy blond and took his hand to the encounter of Kyo’s, but he pushed them away

- No touching 

- Not fair - complained Ruki with a pout but he went completely still when Kyo pulled from his underwear and took it off in one swift motion, The Queen’s legs bouncing on the bed once they were released

Kyo removed only his shoes to be able to climb on the bed, surprised to see Ruki obeying his order, staying anxiously still as he felt the weight shift at his sides, the older’s knees on both sides of his hips. Kyo thought he noticed something under Ruki’s face and he grabbed him by the chin, pushing his head backwards gently to reveal his neck.

- I actually hadn’t noticed that mole - he confessed and pulled from the blond’s face, tilting his head - neither that one 

- Because you were not supposed to - grunted Ruki - I washed my face so the foundation must have smeared off

- Please don’t use it ever again - said Kyo flatly and the fluffy blond frowned

- Like hell I won’t

Kyo laughed before leaning closer to him, kissing the mole on Ruki’s chin going up to his mouth but barely grazing it before pushing his head back again and kissing the one on his neck. Ruki’s breath seemed a little uneven even before Kyo ventured a tiny kiss down his collarbone, going slightly down his chest before going back to his parted lips.

- I think I wanna try something - he whispered on them and Ruki smiled right away

- Now we’re talking - he said and Kyo gave him a quick kiss, reaching out for the reins

- Turn around - it sounded like an order but Ruki didn’t seem to mind, obeying gladly

Kyo dragged his fingertips all over The Queen’s back, following the curve of his ass and pressing on his thighs. The fluffy blond just sighed, his breath loud as the long fingers kept going down his calves and ankles. Dragon took the reins from the bedside table and inspected it a moment, taking in their length and their metal clasps. Ruki already seemed a little impatient when Kyo finally wrapped the first rein around his thigh. He grabbed the calf and pushed it against it, using the metal clasp to secure them tightly together.

- Is that uncomfortable? - he asked softly

- Not really - Ruki sighed and Kyo moved to repeat the same job on the opposite leg

- You’re soft all over - he commented with a smile, watching as the skin tainted a faint pink from the pressure of the reins 

- Are you calling me fat? - shot Ruki at him, bending his back to get his hands closer to Kyo and slap him

- I like you soft - laughed Kyo and allowed the lost hand to find him and slap his leg

- You are still dressed! - grunted Ruki after feeling the texture of the pants - you filthy liar…

- Never said I wasn’t - Dragon smiled and placed both his hands on Ruki’s hips, lifting them and resting all of the blond’s weight on his tied legs - is that uncomfortable?

- Depends on what you wanna do… - thought Ruki, his neck strained trying to look at Kyo’s face despite the blindfold - What are you doing anyway? 

- I thought about what you said… - started the dark haired as he grabbed the longest rein - about being punished… - he took it around Ruki’s hips and secured it, giving a tentative pull, seeing as the blond raised with it 

- Believe me hun, this is not a punishment - laughed Ruki and let out a little gasp when Kyo pulled from the reins again 

- What if I gag you? - suggested Kyo and took off his shirt

- You’d miss my voice - answered Ruki simply and they both laughed - you can do whatever you want, you get a free pass from me... - he stretched his arms to lay on his chest, his hips supported by the pull of the reins  

Kyo let go of them and Ruki’s hips dropped slowly sideways, he climbed on the bed, his legs on both sides of Ruki’s waist, his hands pressed near his face. He kept balance on one hand as he removed the blindfold from Ruki’s face, the blond took a while to open his eyes and look at him.

- Hi - said Kyo and Ruki scoffed

- Hi - he quirked an eyebrow - lost the mood?

- Kinda - admitted Dragon and dropped to his side 

- Wanna cuddle? - suggested Ruki, his hands tentatively on the reins, but Kyo sat back up on the bed and removed them for him in silence

- Kyo… - called the fluffy blond, his eyes searching for dark ones

- Yeah - answered Kyo flatly and laid back on the bed again

- What are you thinking? - asked Ruki softly

- You’re terribly calm - pointed the dark haired man and turned around to face the greenish gray eyes - your life just got threatened...

- Again - noted Ruki and rolled his eyes 

- Aren’t you scared? - prodded Kyo, his hand searching for the blond’s face

- Of course I am - Ruki closed his eyes with a sigh - but at least things are moving forward…

- So it’s either you or Spring now - Kyo pulled from Ruki’s body to embrace him

- Pretty much - sighed the blond, something shifted behind his eyes when he opened them

- You’re not okay with that...

- Who would be okay with that? - asked the blond and something in his voice seemed to crack

Chapter Text

Kyo could recall pulling him closer into the embrace, he wasn’t sure he remembered when he got undressed or when they fell asleep. Now Kyo could feel the tangle of limbs, Ruki’s legs interlocked with his and his head resting on his chest, hands hugging and holding. Every inch of Ruki rose with Kyo’s breath, the sheets covering only part of their bodies, limbs left outside. He breathed in when Ruki did and breathed out the same way, sighing on the fluffy blond curls grazing his chin and neck. 

The sun was starting to peek outside when a distant chime disrupted the peaceful quietness. Kyo recognized his own cellphone but decided to ignore it, closing his eyes again, following The Queen’s rhythm into peaceful slumber. The bang on the door wasn’t as merciful. Loud, precise and violent, Kyo could almost picture the person on the other side, could practically call them by a name. Ruki jolting awake next to him dissipated most doubts.

- Kai! - he let out alarmed and looked around, half-asleep and fully confused 

- It’s the front door - explained Kyo, grabbing his forehead to try to prevent the incoming headache

- I’m so, so sorry - whispered The Queen as he untangled himself from Kyo’s limbs, reaching out for his clothes

- Is he always this pleasant when he wakes you up? - he tried to laugh it off as he helped a shirtless Ruki get the rest of his clothes

- He’s probably mad because I’m here alone when I should be guarded, you know? like a normal life-threatened person should do - he smiled humorlessly as he put on the cardigan and grabbed the jacket

- I’ll grant him that you were really reckless - nodded Kyo, also getting dressed

- Ryoga is around and Raven probably followed him… - he started unconvinced

- “Probably” - noted Kyo and put on a shirt

- Kiyoharu needs time to reach Pierrot, you can’t just like--- call him, and Kirito doesn’t know this place - he shrugged - I knew I was safe yesterday - a loud noise came from the front door and something cracked - Now, I’m not so sure - he smiled an rushed to the living room holding his boots

- You owe me a front door - smiled Kyo but a nervous sensation was starting to run through his fingers 

He grabbed Ruki as the blond was opening the front door, stealing a violent kiss from him and tightening his arms around him. The Queen sighed in the embrace and returned it warmly.

- Everything will be alright, trust me - he whispered and Kyo buried his face in Ruki’s neck, smelling his perfume and planting a kiss on the skin

- I love you so much - he whispered back and Ruki held tighter

- I love you too, please trust me - The Queen sighed and then let go

Kai was still standing at the door, his face unreadable as he nodded politely at Kyo but used both his hands to grab Ruki’s boots from him and take him by the arm, pulling from him towards the exit. The Queen tried to wave goodbye but the bodyguard took him barefoot outside. Kai pulled from him until they reached the van, then he simply shoved him inside. The Queen was going to complain about the treatment when he saw himself surrounded by troubled faces. Hollyhock was at the passenger’s seat, casually avoiding to look at him, Raven was in front of him in the facing seats, next to Doll who wore more emotions than he’d ever seen in him. Scar remained to his left and now Kai closed his right.

- This entourage is really not necessary - he frowned, trying to find Hollyhock’s gaze on the rearview mirror 

- You went to see Spring? - asked Scar painfully

- I told you not to do anything reckless, why won’t you listen? - whined Doll 

- Ruki, what the fuck were you thinking? - Kai hissed, his hand still grabbing The Queen’s arm, the boots now discarded on the van’s floor

- I’m fine, aren’t I? - Ruki tried to smile, this time Hollyhock met his gaze on the rearview mirror

- Why don’t you tell them what he said? - his voice neutral and controlled

- I kinda assumed you spilled all the beans - the fluffy blond shot back, his eyebrow twitching with annoyance

- He threatened you with Pierrot, didn’t he? - whispered Scar and his hand went to the encounter of Ruki’s thigh

- And you came here? - Doll said, some kind of judgement on his voice as he turned towards Hollyhock - and Aoi, you allowed it?

Hollyhock’s expression was hurt, but he still rose his hands in defense.

- I trust Ruki, okay? and I trust Ryoga - he explained himself

- Ryoga is not nearly enough to deal with Pierrot - hissed Kai but his grip on The Queen’s arm softened

- Pierrot still doesn’t know he has to kill me - sighed Ruki rolling his eyes

- How do you know that? - asked Raven, a fearful expression in his doe like eyes

- Because I do, alright? been dealing with those two for a while now... - he rolled his shoulders and managed to get free of both Kai and Scar’s touch - So I’d appreciate it if you could trust my judgment...

- Your judgment made you a target for Pierrot - noted Doll

- Like it wouldn’t have happened anyway - Ruki grunted and laid his back on the seat - Are you done with the intervention? can we go home now?

- Yes - decided Kai - but things need to change.

The Queen quirked an eyebrow but didn’t speak, Kai took this as a cue to exist the van and take the driver’s seat. 

- You need to tell us everything you can about Pierrot - started Scar softly, his hand going to meet Ruki’s thigh again, giving it a soft squeeze - everything you think might help

- Okay - sighed The Queen

- No more staying on your own - added Doll - it doesn’t matter where…

- Alright - Ruki closed his eyes

- Thank you - interrupted Raven with a nervous voice, making the greenish gray eyes meet his - for-- for taking me with you yesterday...

Ruki smiled sweetly and denied with his head, laying it back on the seat and sighing.



Kyo was left with the aftermath of Kai’s fury. The front door chipped and broken somewhere near the doorknob, a little dent on the frame. Kyo was still inspecting it when Ryoga showed up.

- Guess Kai was in a mood, hm? - he mentioned absentmindedly as he inspected the door too

- Yeah - Kyo sighed - I’m gonna need a new door…

- I can take care of that today - Ryoga assured

Something seemed to move in the hallway and the ashy blond turned violently towards it, starting to take out his gun when Ghost’s shape came into view.

- How come anyone can get inside this building? - wondered Ryoga out loud

- Well, I’m not the only one that lives here... - Kyo said simply - Hi Ghost

- Kyo - greeted the brunet, looking warily at Ryoga

- Good morning Ghost - the ashy blond greeted with a razor sharp smile

- Morning. Kyo can we talk? - he asked abruptly, eager to get out of Ryoga’s presence

The ashy blond took this as a cue to get closer to Ghost, about to surround his shoulders with his arm. Dragon reached out with his hand and took Ryoga’s wrist midway, denying with his head. 

- Sure - he answered and Ghost got inside the house in a heartbeat, putting as much distance between Ryoga and him as he could manage

Once Ghost was inside, Dragon let go of Ryoga’s arm.

- Don’t touch him - he warned and the ashy blond sighed

- Fine - he grunted - you can have them all

- Go buy me another door - Dragon said and closed it on his face, missing the military salute Ryoga offered him 

Kyo expected to find Ghost right in the hallway, but the black-cladded figure was standing inside his kitchen, next to the breakfast bar. Dragon made his way lazily towards him, but went around the bar, leaning on the counter.

- Do you want something to drink? maybe something to eat? - he offered kindly and Ghost refused with his head

- You’re very kind - he said softly and jittered a little in his place before putting a hand inside his pocket and retrieving a piece of paper - Kyo… did you happen to ask The Queen about… that night?

- Clearly not, how am I supposed to just bring it up? - Dragon sighed and pushed with his arms to sit on the counter

- I figured you wouldn’t… - Ghost said without any kind of inflection on his voice - So I took some liberties…

- You did what I asked - completed Kyo, an anxious feeling on his limbs as Ghost got closer to the breakfast bar, leaving the paper on it - You searched for them

- I did as soon as you asked but--- - he bit his lower lip - Anyway, since asking The Queen is out of the question, I found another way to find them...

Dragon jumped off the counter and rushed towards the paper, there was only one address under the names of the two men.

- Is this it? - Kyo asked anxiously and Ghost nodded

- You can go there and… find your answers - he said almost in a whisper - I have to go now.

- Mao, thank you for this...

Ghost didn’t answer, he just nodded his way outside as Dragon gripped the paper until it crumpled. His heart started racing, he wasn’t even aware of the time, didn’t care for it. Kyo rushed towards his bedroom and finished dressing, getting the gun and checking its bullets several times before strapping it to the holster at his waist. Covering everything with the jacket, he took advantage of Ryoga’s absence, leaving the building for his car. Already inside of it and following the GPS device instructions, he decided to call Kansas. The call went straight to voicemail and Kyo wondered if Scarecrow or Red would lend him a hand. 

Dragon decided that the kind of people that would abuse a tied down, drugged up person were coward enough to not be prepared for a direct attack against them. His fists clenched around the steering wheel as the destination was approaching. Dragon found himself abnormally calm, the crude reality of what he was prepared to do abandoning him. This was what they deserved and nothing else, not revenge but justice. He’d see them writtle and die before his eyes, make every second more painful than the previous one.

The GPS device announced the destination a few feets away. Dragon got off the car and spared a look for the unassuming place, a six story office building. He checked the address on the paper again for the floor and got inside. The polite doorman just greeted him and nodded kindly when he mentioned the floor he was going to. 

Dragon felt strange, the place looked old and somehow run down, the description of Mr.Spring’s associates didn’t seem to match with a cheap-looking place. He decided he’d figured everything out once he dealt with them and not sooner. The old elevator screeched its way into a halt on the third floor and Kyo exited it. There were only a few doors and his was the last of the hallway. Dragon took out the gun and hid it inside his jacket, realizing coldly and abruptly he did not know the faces of the people he was looking for or if they’d be alone.

But he did know the face of the person that opened the door he was staring at. Long straight hair, tired eyes and a labret piercing under thick lips. Cleaner looked around and finally focused on Dragon, tilting his head confused but smiling politely anyway.

- Hi there - he greeted - you’re… Tiger, right? Kaito said there was someone coming...

Dragon didn’t answer, his mind a jumble, his assumptions destroyed. Too confused to react, he kept staring at Cleaner with the gun in his hand now on sight.

- I really hope that’s not for me - said Cleaner calmly and got closer - Why don’t you come inside?

Kyo couldn’t move, he shook his head but still couldn’t make it function. Cleaner got even closer, a hand on his shoulder as he guided him gently inside. The office was neat and every surface shiny, there were monochromatic binders on shelves and every piece of stationary seemed measured in place. Cleaner kept pushing him until he guided him to a chair in front of his desk, surrounding it and taking his place on the other side.

- Please sit Tiger - he asked kindly and Kyo sat, breathing slowly and denying with his head

- It’s Dragon - he corrected and Cleaner squinted

- Dragon… - he repeated simply, something shifted momentarily on his expression but he kept his calm demeanour - What can I do for you Dragon?

Kyo took out the paper from his pocket, leaving it next to the gun on the desk and pushing it towards Cleaner who took it carefully.

- Mmmm what is this? - he asked

- I’m looking for them - Kyo answered, his mind slowly moving as he looked around him

- Well, finding people is not really what I do…. - he read the paper again and looked at Dragon’s eyes - May I know why did you bring a gun to my office?

- I was looking for them - Kyo answered flatly

- And who gave you this address?

- Ghost did - he said mechanically and Cleaner stretched the silence before leaning on the desk, joining his hands beneath his chin

- Ghost as in Mr.Sea’s Ghost? - he asked softly and Dragon nodded - So you work for Mr.Sea...

- Yes

- And why are you looking for these men? - Cleaner leaned back on his chair, making it turn slightly as he watched Kyo regain his senses with each question

- To kill them - was the deadpan answer 

- Naturally.

- They harmed someone I love - Kyo went on, he wasn’t sure why he was giving so much information to Cleaner but it was the only thing he had left, he felt played by Ghost, tricked into a false lead

Dragon didn’t know how to feel about anything anymore. Cleaner took in his silence, considering it before taking the paper again and giving it a second reading, turning towards a laptop on his desk and typing something on it.

- Well… - he started again, reading something on his screen - I happen to know where they are... - he turned towards Kyo and watched him lean forward on his seat - They’re six feet under.

- W-what do you mean? - stuttered Dragon

- I got asked to clean them up so I did. They’re buried… - he turned towards his computer - do you need the address of the burial place?

- How--- Who asked you to clean them up?

- The Queen.

 

Once Kai parked on The Queen’s home driveway, they got off cautiously and were welcomed by Hazuki’s men. There was an offended black-haired man standing by the door, pouting as Hazuki’s men surrounded him loosely, allowing Ruki to get closer first.

- They won’t let me in - grunted Aki and Ruki hugged his shoulders

- I’ll let you in - he said kindly and guided him towards the living room

- I’m here to remove Scar’s stitches - the medic explained, searching for him among all the men that followed Ruki inside

- Good - smiled The Queen and dropped his weight on the single couch next to the window, watching as Scar got closer and greeted Aki as well as everyone else before parting ways

- Let’s see - announced Aki and Scar sat on the double couch, the medic following, removing the arm sling and starting to undress the wound - How’ve you been feeling Reita? - he asked softly and the warm black eyes shot a look at Ruki as usual

- Amazing - the bodyguard assured and The Queen rolled his eyes

- Can’t you do something about his mouth? - he asked as he got up to pour himself a drink

- Ruki, leave that, it’s ten in the morning - warned Aki and Ruki sighed but stored the bottle away - go make yourself some tea...

- And miss the show? - he mocked while the medic was removing slowly each stitch, Scar going absolutely silent and tense

- You’re stressing Scar - Aki acknowledged and moved to the next stitch

- Yeah babe, you’re stressing me out - repeated Scar but a smirk was forming on his lips

- Don’t worry, I know very well how to fix that... - teased Ruki by reflex and Aki stopped his work

- Ruki. Out. - he said simply and The Queen obeyed with a frustrated sigh, ignoring Scar’s smug smile and going towards his office

Ruki entered at once and sank in his upholstered desk chair, opening and closing drawers until he found what he was looking for. But only when he rose his sight from the lighted cigarette he saw who was inside the office with him. Erika smiled from the bookshelves, a duster in her hand and a rag hanging from her shoulder.

- I should leave… - she started politely and Ruki denied with his head, sighing the first drag out and leaning his head back on the chair

- Stay, you were here first, do your thing and don’t mind me - he spoke fast, biting the cigarette before stealing another drag from it

- Alright.

Ruki knew he should’ve opened the window, to let the smoke out, but his body didn’t move, his eyes closing as he enjoyed that cigarette as if it was his last. He missed smoking, and then he hated it again, on and off, just like the owner of all that inhaled smoke, of all those blown clouds against his face. Ruki sighed out the smoke inside his lungs and put out the cigarette on the pristine ashtray next to the laptop. 

The Queen was almost alone for some more minutes before Kai came barging through his door, some kind of magazine in his hand that he dropped on the desk. Ruki looked curiously at the object and then to him as he reached out to grab what appeared to be a furniture catalogue. 

- What is this? - he asked, already knowing the answer

- You owe me a new leather couch - Kai snarled

- Technically, Reita owes you a new leather couch - Ruki pointed out and pushed the magazine away

- I don’t care who’s cum it was, you were the one that decided to fuck on it and ruin it - he said quickly and annoyed, Ruki could see behind him how the color rose from Erika’s cheeks towards her ears

- Kai, have some decency for poor Erika here - the fluffy blond smiled and gestured towards the girl, he expected the bodyguard to be at least put out but he just darted a look in her direction and shot it back at Ruki

- Erika was the one that tried to clean it - he said coldly and The Queen froze for a second before biting his lower lip - So you owe her some trauma therapy as well

- It really is not a big deal… - the maid interrupted, getting slightly closer - I cleaned all kinds of stuff in my previous job Mr.Ruki…

- What was your previous job? - asked the blond curiously

- Don’t you dare evade this - warned Kai through his teeth

- I worked at Red Motel - answered Erika simply

The Queen’s smiled sharpened.

- Is that so? - he asked sweetly, his greenish gray eyes looking now at Kai as he avoided to look at him - so you two know each other...

- I brought her - mumbled Kai

- Is that a blush? - teased The Queen and the bodyguard grabbed the catalogue, violently tossing it on the desk again

- You owe me a couch. - he sentenced and stormed out of the office

Ruki and Erika watched him leave, undisturbed by his angry slamming of the door.

- It’s not what you think, you know? - mentioned Erika, an amused smile on her face and a soft blush on her cheeks - I just cleaned there, nothing else.

- Oh, I know that - answered Ruki with a cheeky smile

Erika finished her work and left with a little nod, Ruki fought the urgency to light another cigarette, opening and closing the zippo lighter. There was a soft knock on the door and Aki peeked his head inside, it took him less than a minute to smell the smoke still lingering on the air and frown.

- Tea - he scolded - I said “go make yourself some tea” - Aki got inside and sat on the other side of Ruki’s desk - Honestly, you’re making me older…

- You are older - The Queen smiled, turning his interest towards the first drawer - How much do I owe you?

- I’m just a year older - corrected Aki rolling his eyes - don’t play the young card with me… Just pay to replace the supplies I used on Reita, that’d be plenty--

- Nonsense - Ruki dismissed with his hand

- Alright, but don’t give me cash right now, just, use the account…

- Trying to avoid reckless spending? - smiled Ruki quirking an eyebrow

- Honestly I need to start saving up, I might have to go back to the public hospital…

- How come? - wondered the fluffy blond as he opened the laptop

- Hum, yeah - fidgeted Aki on his seat - I’m no longer working for Spring…

The Queen stopped typing and looked at him with mixed feelings, eagerness slipping out from the edges of his serious expression.

- What do you mean? - he asked softly

- Garnet told me what he did… - Aki looked at him for a long moment before continuing - to you.

- Ah - Ruki answered flatly, intrusive thoughts nagging and clawing at the back of his head, he pushed them back by returning his interest to the laptop and continuing the transaction

- Just “ah”, hm? - Aki whispered and sighed - so I guess a little counseling--

- I don’t need a shrink - Ruki cut him off, typing more strongly on the keyboard

- I’m not necessarily suggesting that, just someone to help you get past the trau--

- I’m fine - this time it was practically a snarl

- I’m your friend and I shouldn’t… but I would help you, you know that… - Aki continued and The Queen hurried the money transference before closing the laptop abruptly

- Thank you but I don’t need it - he got up and the medic sighed, understanding the gesture

- I get it, you can’t afford to lower your guard right now... - Aki started getting up - But when this is all over the weight of what you’re carrying might crush you… - he got closer to Ruki and placed a hand on his shoulder - and when that happens, call me.

Aki didn’t wait for The Queen to answer, squeezing his shoulder tenderly before leaving the room, bumping into Scar on his way to the door. The blond bodyguard thanked him a last time before waving him goodbye and stepping into the office, finding Ruki almost at the door.

- Not now - he grunted right away but Scar still smiled

- He tried to analyze you, didn’t he? - he nodded knowingly as he took the sit Aki had abandoned - He did that to me too you know?

- To everyone - sighed Ruki and hopped on the desk

- Did you consider it? - Reita asked softly and the fluffy blond kicked him on the knee 

- Don’t you start too - he complained, retreating the foot but Scar grabbed him by the calf

- What now? - he asked, seriousness slipping on his tender features

- Who knows - sighed Ruki

- You do - smiled Scar and dragged his chair closer, his hand climbing up to The Queen’s thigh

- Pierrot will come for me - shrugged the blond, watching as Reita started feeling his way up his left leg too

- And what do you know about him? - asked the bodyguard again, dragging his chair even closer until his knees met the desk

- That he’s an unstoppable killer? - tried Ruki and wasn’t surprised when Scar finally pulled from his legs to make him drop from the desk onto his lap, he exhaled with a little noise when their legs met - what are you doing? 

- I’m all cured babe - purred Reita as his lips got closer to The Queen’s neck

- Yeah, so? - complained the blond but still tilted his head to expose more skin - that doesn’t grant you permission to fuck me...

- And what does? - asked Scar on his ear, his lips grazing the skin before sucking on his neck, climbing to his lips

- I do. And I’m saying not now - Ruki let out but still didn’t reject Reita’s kiss, lips warm and gentle on his, biting on his plump bottom lip before slipping his tongue inside 

The Queen responded lazily to the kiss, joining his hands behind Scar’s neck. But when the blond bodyguard parted to breath, he pushed him away.

- Enough - he said and climbed off his lap

- Did you tell Dragon? - Scar asked suddenly

- Yeah, I did

- Was he mad? - he didn’t even try to avoid smiling

- Wipe that off your face, nothing has changed between Kyo and I - said Ruki crossing his arms and leaning on the desk - and you’re definitely not getting any more pity sex

- Yeah right, because you did it for my sake... - scoffed Scar and got up as well, he leaned to kiss The Queen again but he got blocked by something solid and papery, he pulled away

- You owe Kai a new couch - the fluffy blond said smirking as he pressed the catalogue on Scar’s chest, waiting for him to grab it before turning around and leaving the room

Chapter Text

Kyo arrived when the men had fixed his door and were already leaving, bumping into him and apologizing a thousand times as they continued their way. Dragon waved a dismissive hand towards them and was faced with a distraught Ryoga that clutched his cellphone with white knuckles.

- Kyo what the fuck, where the fuck were you? - he spoke quickly and in a whisper, as if he feared he was being heard - do you want Ruki to kill me? you can’t just fucking disappear like that without telling me--

- I went grocery shopping... - lied Dragon, already entering his house

- Yeah, do you want paper or plastic with that lie? - complained Ryoga and followed - why didn’t you fucking tell me you were leaving? - he stopped in the middle of the entry hall - Look, I know you hate being babysitted, but I made a promise to keep you safe and I take my words very seriously--

- I get it - Kyo cut him off - I’m back so can’t you just shut it - he took a hand to his forehead

- I need to know where you were - Ryoga crossed his arms

- No you don’t - grunted Dragon and kept going towards the kitchen, the ashy blond on his heels

- I’ve been patient with you so far, but that could change…

- Are you seriously threatening me? - Kyo shot back as he took a beer from the fridge

- If I have to tie you up I will, I don’t want to be on The Queen’s blacklist…

- Because you know what happens to the people on that list? - asked Dragon and took a long sip from the bottle

- Yeah, Ruki ends them - Ryoga answered without batting an eyelash

A tense silence formed between them as the ashy blond tried to read Kyo’s features and Dragon kept his intense gaze forward and distant. 

- Kyo, where did you go? - he asked again, this time his voice sounded soft and almost worried

- I went to see Cleaner apparently - he answered noncommittally

- What do you mean “apparently”? either you went or you didn’t 

- I wasn’t planning to, but I got sent there - Kyo explained shrugging

- Did Ghost tell you to go? - Ryoga asked confused and Kyo nodded in answer - Why?

- I asked him to look for some people…

- And? - Ryoga prodded impatiently

- Ruki had already killed them…

- Who were you looking for? - the ashy blond finally sat at the breakfast bar, watching Kyo attentively

- The ones that bought him - shrugged Dragon and took another sip - I wanted to kill them

- Of course you did - nodded Ryoga seriously - but did you really think Ruki would let them just go on their merry way after that?

- I don’t know what I thought - Kyo admitted 

- Why do you sound disappointed? 

- I guess I wanted to do that for him..-- to do something for him...

- Well, Ruki certainly doesn’t need a saviour - shrugged Ryoga but softened his face - You already do a lot for him, it’s just that he doesn’t need you to protect him--

- Yeah, he already has some men for that - he didn’t meant for the statement to sound bitter, but it did anyway, Ryoga sighed

- Even if he hadn’t those men around, Kyo, Ruki is no princess despite the nickname - he smiled - and these are definitely not the first men he’s killed…. I’ll grant you that they’re likely the first ones to die by his own hand…

- So you knew - Kyo shot him a look

- Yeah, Hazuki also got late to them - he shrugged - They were probably killed way before Ruki told him about it…

- Hm… 

- I know you feel kinda useless Kyo - Ryoga started and winced when Kyo frowned deeply at him - but, you did sell your life’s work so Ruki could make that deal with Spring… so don’t say you did nothing for him...

Dragon didn’t answer, his arms crossed as the tense silence filled the kitchen again.



The Queen sat at his desk, scrolling through the reports sent by Seraph, lazily reading only the numbers, his mind away and adrift until someone opened his door.

- So here’s where you were hiding - Hollyhock said as he entered the room

- I am not hiding - complained Ruki without looking at him

- Staying in the same spot with the doors closed, that kinda sounds like hiding - the bodyguard laughed and offered him a small device

- What is that? - asked the fluffy blond as he took it from him

- A panic button, basically - explained Hollyhock and Ruki rolled his eyes

- For real? 

- Yes, it will sound in all of our rooms if you press it--

- That’s hardly useful - complained Ruki and left the device on the table

- And no one will get inside your door without announcing themselves, so keep it locked… - The Queen rolled his eyes - and we boarded up your bathroom window… temporarily - he added when the fluffy blond frowned

- You do know that will prove useless, right? - he asked annoyed - Kirito has gotten inside a panic room to kill his objective

- Then we’ll sleep with you - shrugged Hollyhock

- Don’t you dare, stop this paranoid nonsense - he hissed but the dark haired bodyguard ignored him 

- We’re done letting you decide on your safety - he explained calmly

- I’m your boss - grunted The Queen and placed both hands on the desk

- Yeah, precisely because of that - smiled Hollyhock

- I refuse to be held prisoner in my own home

- Good luck with that - laughed the bodyguard and got up - see you at dinner.

Hollyhock left the office just in time to avoid an ashtray sent his way, crashing instead against the closed door. It took only seconds for Doll to get inside the room, slightly alarmed.

- Leave me alone - grunted Ruki right away but the other still crouched to pick up the pieces - Why can’t anyone do what I say? - his voice cracked at the last word and Doll’s head shot up to look at him, but The Queen had already turned, sitting on his chair with his eyes glued to the laptop screen

Doll finished picking up the pieces and closed the door again, dumping the ashtray in the bin next to the desk. Unlike the rest, Doll didn’t stand on the other side of the desk, he just stayed next to it in silence for a moment. 

- Just spit it out - asked Ruki tiredly

- I have nothing to say - Doll answered softly and The Queen scoffed

- Yeah, right. All of you had something to say today - he started typing furiously on his laptop, without turning towards the man still standing next to him

- You lash out a lot at us when you’re scared, did you notice that? - he asked softly and Ruki stopped typing, but didn’t turn to look at him - But we know you and we won’t let that affect us…

- I’m not scared - Ruki hissed, dropping his hands on his lap, Doll smiled sweetly even if he couldn’t see it

- Of course you are - he assured - because if there’s someone that knows just how unstoppable Pierrot is, that’s you…

- Then why don’t you listen to me when I say how useless all of this is? - this time he turned around, he looked desperate and trapped, but Doll kept his impassive expression, offering comfort in stability

- Because we want to feel there’s something we can do, that we can prevent it--

- Well, you can’t - Ruki cut him off

- You think Pierrot will kill you

- I believe I’ll die trying to avoid it - corrected The Queen with a tense smile 

- I know you want to face him alone - continued Doll - Hollyhock does too, he does not agree

- What a surprise - Ruki rolled his eyes

- You said Pierrot does not generate collateral damage…

- Because he’s just that good - answered Ruki quickly - not because he’d spare anyone that isn’t his target--- 

- What would he spare? - asked Doll carefully - He did spare you once, did he not?

- Yeah, because I was a kid and he doesn’t kill kids

- What about the deal you had with him?

- Over, I traded that for Tsuzuku’s life - answered Ruki anxiously - You’re trying to find a loophole and I appreciate that, but believe me, there isn’t. I’m no longer seventeen, Pierrot does not owe me anything anymore and I know for a fact he doesn’t hold dear our memories together…. So, please, just-- - he let out an uneven breath - Just stop.

- Alright - nodded Doll and placed his hand carefully on Ruki’s cheek - I’ll stay with you tonight--

- No - The Queen cut him off, getting up from the chair - Nobody will stay with me, not tonight, not ever-- none of you will be collateral damage-- I’ll deal with Pierrot on my own

Ruki left the room before Doll could answer, leaving the door open but stomping his way up to his bedroom.



The sun had already set when Dragon and Ryoga got inside the car to drive all the way to The Queen’s house. The mood had settled between them and the ashy blond looked almost excited about the possibility of a night off. They parked the car on the driveway next to the garage and got off, two men stationed near the front door waved at Ryoga. They opened the door for Kyo as they talked amicably with the ashy blond. On the other side, Hollyhock was already getting up from the single couch next to the window, opening his arms as a welcoming sign. 

- What a sight for sore eyes - smiled Hollyhock as the front door closed behind Ryoga

- Relax Kyo, he’s saying it because of me - he laughed and the bodyguard frowned

- Definitely not. I’m so happy Kyo is here because The Queen is…. there’s no way to say this politely-- he’s being a pain in the ass.

- One would think you knew how to keep him happy by now - smiled Ryoga and shook Hollyhock’s hand before the bodyguard placed it on Kyo’s shoulder

- Give me a hand here Dragon, appease our Queen - he said on his ear and Kyo sighed

- I don’t think he’ll listen to me… - he admitted and both Ryoga and Hollyhock laughed

- Trust me, the last thing I want you to do is talk to him - the dark haired bodyguard laughed and Kyo pushed him away, unable to avoid blushing

- Don’t worry, I’m sure Dragon can deliver - Ryoga bit his lower lip in a sly smile and gestured upstairs - Is the little black bird around?

- Go ahead - answered Hollyhock with a nod and the ashy blond took a single heartbeat to get lost on his way to the second floor - Guess Ryoga is also spending the night - he shrugged - the more, the merrier…

- Hollyhock - started Dragon seriously and the bodyguard responded to his mood, calming his mocking smile

- What? - he asked cautiously

- Were you there when Ruki killed the men that bought him? - Kyo let out bluntly and Hollyhock took a short moment to consider his question 

- Yeah, Kai and I were with him - he answered honestly

- But he was the one that did it - specified Kyo and Hollyhock nodded

- I wouldn’t dream of taking that right from him - he said seriously - why are you asking? were you planning on killing them yourself?

- Actually, yes - confessed Dragon and the bodyguard smiled pleased

- I like you - he said, giving him a pat on the back - The Queen is fuming in his bedroom, please knock before you get in… he’s a little on edge

Kyo nodded and watched Hollyhock take his place back at the single sofa chair next to the window before heading towards the single stair up to the attic. When he reached the double door he knocked softly, someone shouted at him to go away from inside.

- Ruki - he said against the door and it flung open the next second

- Kyo - the fluffy blond sighed and hugged his neck right away, nuzzling his face against it, Kyo hugged his waist tightly

- Hi - he sighed back

- I’m so glad you’re here… I’m so done with these people - Ruki whined and Kyo laughed in the embrace

- They’re just taking care of you - he whispered and the fluffy blond denied with his head

- They’re driving me mad - Ruki complained while he let go of the hug, dragging his hands over Kyo’s shoulders, going down to his arms and pulling him inside the bedroom

Dragon allowed himself to be dragged and waited patiently as The Queen closed the door behind them, locking it. Ruki sat on the bed and Kyo followed, a hand on the fluffy blond’s cheek as their lips met again. The Queen tried to intensify the kiss but Dragon didn’t respond, feeling the blond nibbling on his bottom lip until he finally let go. Ruki looked at him for a silent second, waiting for Kyo to break the silence.

- What is going on? - he finally sighed

- Sorry, I had a weird day - apologized Kyo but Ruki quirked an eyebrow

- Care to elaborate? - prodded the fluffy blond but only reached out to grab his hand

Kyo looked at him, piercing those greenish gray eyes with his as he thought and discarded the way to say what he knew. It seemed the moment it left his lips it’d be even more real, room for misunderstandings turn to ashes by Ruki’s confirmation. He sighed and could see The Queen growing impatient, soon to speak again, Kyo bit his lower lip and finally decided to continue.

- I… went to Cleaner’s office - he explained and Ruki tilted his head

- What for? - he asked a little bluntly

- I did not intend to go there, I didn’t even know where I was going… - continued Kyo and this time The Queen didn’t hide his anxiousness

- Kyo.

- I asked Ghost to look for those guys - Dragon decided to finally approach the matter - the ones from that night... the ones that--

- I know who they are - Ruki cut him off

- Who they were - Kyo corrected and The Queen squinted

There it was again, that cold feeling settling on the center of his chest, sliding down his back. The gelid greenish gray eyes that looked at him the same way they had looked at Mr.Spring. But the rest of the face didn’t match, nervousness pulled at Ruki’s mouth and he kept pressing his lips and releasing them.

- Yeah - he finally said before Dragon could continue his rambling - I killed them.

- Why didn’t you tell me? - Kyo asked softly

- Didn’t think it mattered - shrugged The Queen and the black haired man grabbed now both his hands

- Well it matters to me - he complained and Ruki’s eyes shone again, his face softening

- Thank you - the blond whispered and closed his eyes with a sigh, leaning forward until his forehead met Kyo’s

- I wish I could’ve done it for you…

- Their deaths were on me, I didn’t even allowed Kai or Aoi to interfere - he explained calmly, keeping an impassive expression even when Kyo pulled away

They went completely silent for a moment, Kyo didn’t intend for it to be so heavy, for the silence to be so deafening between them. Kyo didn’t intend to show so much on such a small gesture, on the corners of his mouth and the crease of his brow. The Queen blinked very slowly, still looking at his dark eyes attentively.

- This doesn’t please you - he stated - This doesn’t fit with the image you formed of me…

- No-- I - Kyo stuttered - Nothing has changed-- I just---

- Wanted to avenge me - nodded Ruki and Kyo blushed, embarrassed of his own truth

- Is it that bad? wanting to protect you? - he said, voice low

- No - Ruki denied with his head - It’s just that I don’t need you to - this time he was the one grabbing Kyo’s hands - But I love you all the more for trying - he smiled sweetly and pressed his forehead against Kyo’s again - I can’t believe you went all the way there to kill them…. for me… - he added in a little whisper, closing his eyes

- I’d burn down hell for you - Kyo sighed on his lips before pulling closer, the fluffy blond’s hands rushing to his nape as Kyo’s lips pressed against his, strong bony hands climbing up his thighs, searching for his waist

Ruki hugged his neck and pressed his chest against Kyo’s, feeling the drumming of his heart as their lips parted, the older man sucking on his lower lip, Ruki trying to return the favor. Hands desperately searching for skin as Kyo pulled from his shirt to remove it,exposing the white porcelain skin under it, the dark moles as constellations on the soft back beneath his fingers. Kyo sighed and pulled away to catch his breath, Ruki eagerly taking off his shirt too, pressing fingers and digging manicured nails on toned abs and inked forearms. Someone pushed or practically shoved, legs got tangled as they dropped on the mattress, Ruki exhaling a little giggle as Kyo’s sigh turned into a more steady kiss. His hand buried in the blond curls and pushing him closer, slipping his tongue inside eager lips that sucked on it noisily. They pulled apart but kept silent, Kyo looking as if trying to read Ruki’s face and the other staring at him with an anxious expression.

- What? - he asked a little bluntly

- How did you do it? - Kyo asked softly and Ruki whinced before sighing tiredly

- Do we have to talk about it now? - he whined - I’d rather have sex 

- I’m sorry - Dragon sat up on the bed and The Queen frowned frustrated - I’m sorry I get fixated but I just--

- Is this about you not knowing enough about me? - asked Ruki carefully, but he crawled on the bed to get to his drawer

- Yeah - admitted Kyo as he watched the fluffy blond take out a pack of cigarettes and light one, sighing the smoke

- I really really wanted to have sex tonight - whined Ruki after taking another long drag 

- Who says you won’t? - asked Kyo trying to lighten up the mood, but he was anxious and The Queen too stressed, the line rose into the air but fell abruptly to the ground with Ruki’s quirked eyebrow

- You want me to explain you in detail how I killed those men and then expect to still be able to get it up? - Ruki exhaled the smoke towards the ceiling, forming a little cloud that took a while to dissolve 

- I feel I won’t be able to get it up if you don’t - Kyo stretched out a hand to take the cigarette from the blond’s lips and he allowed it, watching attentively as Dragon took a short drag and exhaled the smoke through his nose

- You’re fucking weird - mumbled Ruki and gestured to the cigarette to get it back - I stabbed them, happy? - he let out anxiously but Kyo didn’t answer

A new sigh and a new cloud of smoke and the cigarette was practically finished, he crushed it against an ashtray also hidden inside his drawer.

- Fine. - he let his legs fall off the edge of the bed and pressed his feet to the floor as he kept his gaze intensely on them - we took them somewhere secluded and made them pay…

- How?

- Honestly Kyo, how do you think? - he answered exasperated - I fucking carved their skin until they were bleeding out of consciousness… then I stabbed their dicks and one of them died of shock… the other wasn’t so lucky - he looked up and sighed - I stabbed him on the chin… cheeks… entire face until he died.

Kyo didn’t answer, repeating Ruki’s words slowly in his mind. To think that he’d just shoot them made him feel foolish. As Hollyhock had said, anybody else killing those men were depriving Ruki of his right for revenge. The Queen hadn’t even waited, not even hesitated before getting rid of them in the most gruesome way he could manage. Kyo looked up as Ruki took another cigarette and promptly lit it, he felt it was unfair to comment on that when he had took a drag away from his first one. He waited until the fluffy blond sighed the smoke to speak again.

- And how did you feel? - he asked softly, the question not meant to pry and something in his face must have shown that because The Queen looked at him and closed his eyes with a new drag

- Liberated… at first, then it was all a big blur… and when I came to my senses I felt like shit… - he looked at the ceiling as he sighed a new cloud of smoke

- Do you regret--

- No - he cut him off, looking at Kyo straight to the eyes as the black haired man leaned closer to take his hand

- I’m sorry you had to go through that - he whispered softly - through all of it…

- I’m better now, don’t worry - Ruki whispered back after a moment, Kyo moved closer but a soft chime from The Queen’s cellphone cut through the atmosphere, the blond grabbed it right away and frowned, exhaling a last cloud of smoke before pressing half his cigarette in the ashtray - It’s dinner time, I guess - he let out hoarsely and put his shirt back on, Kyo imitating him

They met Hollyhock halfway towards the kitchen, the dark haired bodyguard smelled the air and squinted at Ruki.

- Smoking again, Ruki? - he teased and The Queen glared at him

- Shut the fuck up - he grunted before stomping his way inside the kitchen

Hollyhock watched him go and waited for Kyo to pass by him before speaking again.

- You had one job Kyo, one job… - he sighed as Dragon bit his lower lip to contain a laugh

- Sorry, I’ll make it up to you

- Please, or I’ll have to take the matter in my own hands - Hollyhock said with a smug smile and followed him

Dragon was surprised to find himself unreactive to the words, allowing himself to feel even a little pride in his lack of reaction. But a swift look at the kitchen table made the jealousy return to him as bile in his throat. Scar was already seated at the table, his eyes fixed on Ruki’s frowning face, taking his place at the head of the table. 

- Dragon - greeted Kai, leaning on the counter

- Kai - answered Kyo, controlling his voice

The blond haired girl that was setting the table looked at him with curiosity, but another girl with black hair getting inside from the yard slapped her hip on the way.

- Focus Lucy - she chimed and went to the counter to grab the plates, leaning her head slightly towards Kai that kept looking at her with half a smile

- This is too crowded - mumbled Ruki and Scar bit his lower lip with a smile

- Do you wanna eat outside with your sour mood? - asked Hollyhock taking the furthest spot from The Queen

- Actually, I was thinking you could leave - he answered quickly and followed Kyo with his eyes as he took the place next to him, a tense smile formed on his face when Dragon touched his cheek tenderly

- Always the loving kind - smiled Hollyhock and watched as Erika finished setting the table for Lucy as she started serving them - We need one more, Erika dear

- Are they going to sit on your lap? - she asked with a wicked smile that Hollyhock imitated right away - Because there’s no room

- Maybe they don’t even wanna eat - Scar added, toying with his knife - they have a lot of overdue sex to make up for…

- At least someone is getting laid - added Hollyhock and directed his smug smile at Ruki who didn’t skip a beat when throwing his knife at him, missing for a hair, the bodyguard didn’t erase his smile - I’m going to charge you double for abuse...

The Queen reached for Scar’s knife but he moved it away, placing a hand around Ruki’s wrist to hold him in place.

- Why don’t you and Dragon eat in the living room, you’d be more relaxed there... - he suggested kindly, looking at Ruki with his dark warm eyes that turned a little cold when he looked back at Kyo for a moment

Ruki didn’t answer, he just got up, Scar releasing his hand and watching him leave, letting out a sigh.

- Aoi, do you have a death wish? - he asked, rolling his eyes when Hollyhock just shrugged, turning them to Kyo - Go with him, Erika will take you your dinner…

- Don’t decide for me - complained the black haired girl and Kai’s smile seemed to pull from both sides

- This staff is too similar to Ruki, we need a new one... - commented Hollyhock and the girl grabbed a knife and pretended to be about to throw it - Careful, with his mood as it is, Ruki won’t doubt to fire you just because you folded a napkin wrong

- I won’t fold them then - she sentenced and looked at Lucy - you go take him his dinner, I’ll finish here.

For a second it looked like Lucy was going to complain as well, a heavy blush running from her cheeks to her ears, but she simply nodded and took a tray from the side of the fridge. Dragon got up, parting with a nod that Scar actually replied, returning his focus to his recently served dish. When he arrived at the living room, he found Ruki sitting in the furthest corner, Doll sprawled on the double couch with a book, giving his back to the fuming blond. The tallest bodyguard incorporated and finally stood up when Kyo reached his side.

- You don’t have to leave because I’m here - Dragon said right away but Doll denied with his head politely

- I was just going to have dinner, don’t worry - he turned around to smile at Ruki who looked at him for a moment, his sour mood still too noticeable, making Doll sigh

Before leaving the living room, Doll took a moment to help just arrived Lucy with setting the little coffee table with their dinner. Her blush kept rising as she approached Ruki and hurried away with a little series of bows, Doll following her calmly.

Dragon waited for Ruki to change seats, but he kept his distance on the single sofa chair and leaned closer to his plate.

- I feel responsible for souring your mood… - Kyo let out as he tried to focus on the food of his plate and not the way the greenish gray eyes seemed to pierce through him

- Well, you are - Ruki answered bluntly, taking a couple of tentative bites before pushing the plate away 

- Am I responsible for your loss of appetite too? - Dragon joked

- Look at you, the comedian - The Queen snarled and Kyo sighed, without looking at him or interrupting his meal

- You wanna push me away but it won’t work - he said simply and the blond looked at him for the longest time before getting up and leaving the room

Kyo sighed, watching Ruki go without looking back, taking the single stair up to his bedroom. He continued his dinner and leaned back on the couch when he was finished, his eyes unfocused but directed at the abandoned plate next to his. The sound of light steps coming his way brought him back to reality and he turned slightly to watch Hollyhock enter the living room with two glass cups in his hands, something solid and dark was inside of them.

- Lucy made dessert - he announced warmly and then took a look around - where’s Ruki?

- He left - answered Kyo simply and, even from the distance, he could see how the bodyguard’s face tensed

- Where? - he asked slowly

- To his room

Hollyhock sighed audibly and sat on the single couch next to the window, leaving one of the dessert cups on the table while he digged inside the other one.

- And I take you didn’t follow him - he stated while Dragon reached for his own cup

- No, didn’t see the point to it

- Mm hm - Hollyhock nodded, making sounds of pleasure as he rushed the dessert - But are you going to?

- Eventually, I guess - answered Kyo honestly, halfway through his own cup, the taste and texture of the chocolate seemed to change half way for something smooth and even more sweet

- Do you want some tips? - asked Hollyhock with the spoon in his mouth

- Excuse me?

- I asked if you’d like some tips... - he left the empty glass on the table and shrugged - I’ve known Ruki for years… there’s no bad mood strong enough to resist when you hit him in his weak spots…

- Weak spots? - Dragon smiled as he finished the dessert, Hollyhock nodded firmly once

- Yeah, he has few but they never fail… they come very handy when you don’t feel like letting him take all the control-- you know, as he always does… 

Dragon sighed a smile, he was waiting for the comments to bother him somehow, the familiarity of it all to offend him. But Hollyhock made it look easy, his relationship with Ruki so old and natural, Kyo didn’t feel the same acid inside his stomach as when Scar was around. The bodyguard got up and sat next to him in an almost confidential way, he asked once again and Dragon nodded just once, leaning closer to his whispering.

 

Chapter Text

When Dragon finally made his way up to the attic room, the dishes had been washed and Lucy had disappeared downstairs. Kai had gotten inside Ruki’s bedroom long before Kyo decided to go look for him, he had inspected the dresser and bathroom before leaving. Finding the bodyguard midway downstairs was actually helpful, as The Queen ignored him or didn't hear him knocking on the door. Kyo sighed and thanked Kai before closing the door and locking it behind him.

- Ruki - he called, but no one answered, instead the strong smell of cigarette filled the room and seemed to be concentrating inside the bathroom

Dragon knocked and waited, but decided to open the door anyway, finding the blond completely dressed inside an empty bathtub, sighing the smoke up in the air.

- I would open a window, but it’s boarded up - he pointed at the only window inside his bathroom, now covered by wood planks - Because of course that’s what you do when people try to kill you, you board up a possible exit...

- Do you want me to remove them? - asked Kyo plainly and Ruki sighed, taking a hand to his forehead

- I don’t care. 

His head was leaning on his hand now, exposing his nape, soft blond curls gracing it as they parted to each side. Dragon inhaled as he recalled each word Hollyhock had said, he reached out towards Ruki with his long fingers, pressing them gently on the exposed skin and moving very slowly to wrap the nape with his hand, moving his thumb in small circles.

Like an on-off switch, something on The Queen’s body got loose, some shoulder slumped forward, arms relaxed, and from his parted lips came the softest hum. Kyo bit his lower lip, containing his smile as he kept massaging Ruki’s neck, allowing him to lean back, pushing his hand slightly lower. The greenish gray eyes were closed for a minute before staring at Dragon’s.

- Hi - smiled Kyo and somewhere the cigarette burned without lips touching it, because they were too busy smiling back

- Hi - he whispered tiredly

- You’re a little tense - started Dragon softly, squatting to get closer to his face without stopping his movement

- I’m very tense - remarked Ruki as he turned his head to a side

- Maybe we should do something about that... - he suggested as he also turned to a side, getting his face closer to the blond

- Perhaps - answered The Queen and his eyes closed again, Kyo’s grip on his neck getting more firm as their lips met slowly, little kisses on the full lower lip and the corners of his mouth

Dragon moved away as soon as Ruki started leaning forward, separating their lips and using his free hand to remove the cigarette about to burn the blond’s fingers and put it out on the ashtray laying in the bathroom floor. 

- Let’s go - he said simply and got up, stopping all contact as he returned to the bedroom, the blond following him right after 

When The Queen was behind him, Kyo turned around again, taking him gently by the shoulders and making him sit on the bed. Dragon kneeled in front of him and took of his shoes almost ceremoniously, grabbing the calf with a little extra pressure. Once done he got on his feet again, undoing the buttons of the shirt and taking it off. He put his hand around Ruki’s nape once more and the blond took his hands towards the other one’s clothes, pulling them up while Kyo moved him closer. Grazing his lips on The Queen’s cheek, he climbed up to his ear and back to his lips, never making real contact before taking his own shirt off. Dragon got closer, pressing their lips softly together, his hand keeping pressure on Ruki’s neck as the kiss deepened. Kyo bit carefully on the plushier bottom lip and heard the little moan that rolled out from the back of Ruki’s throat. 

He pushed The Queen to lay on the bed and traced his chest with his hands, going down until meeting the pant’s waist. Kyo moved to the button and zipper without saying a word, Ruki’s cheeks were blushed and he followed his every move with half-lidded eyes. As usual, Kyo got rid of the tight pants with a little difficulty and threw them on the desk chair at the other side of the room. 

Kyo noticed the bulge on the underwear, also the somehow warm and comfortable silence that prevailed in the room. Ruki kept looking at him, his lips slightly parted and wet, but still no word left his mouth. Dragon felt tempted to say something, to fill the sudden silence, but Hollyhock had said many things in little time, and he had advised to keep the silence as long as he could manage. He placed his hands carefully on each side of Ruki’s hip, feeling the slight jolt of surprise before he started climbing down his thighs and grabbing his knees. “ If he starts talking, he takes control ” had warned him the oldest bodyguard, so Kyo procured to keep the silence that was growing every time more comfortable as his hands pulled Ruki’s knees up. With his feet secured on top of the mattress, Kyo moved the blond’s body higher up, until he had also climbed on the bed. He kicked off his shoes and took his pants off, keeping a vigilant eye on Ruki’s numb state, the blush getting stronger when all clothes were gone. 

Kyo stayed on his hands and knees, kissing Ruki’s lips and allowing him to wrap his neck in a hug as the kiss deepened. But when The Queen’s thighs softly grazed his hip he pulled away, releasing himself of Ruki’s grasp by going with kisses down his neck. Kyo traced a wet path of kisses and licks down the blond’s chest, stopping at his navel before he sat up to remove Ruki’s underwear. A little huff escaped the blond when the pressure of the fabric was finally off him, his member already rising in response to Kyo’s treatment. The older man formed a pleased smile and leaned over Ruki’s flushed body again, breathing on him before laying carefully on the bed, his face now between the blond’s thighs. Kyo bent his arms, supporting himself on his elbows to push Ruki’s legs closer to his mouth. His position was strained and he knew he wouldn’t last long, so he pressed his lips on the soft skin and kissed it. Ruki let out a soft moan when Kyo sucked on the skin and moved to the spot right next to it, repeating the process. His limbs ached and he sat up slowly, dragging Ruki’s body with him, his legs now supported by Kyo’s shoulders, a heavier blush as his hips rose above his head. Dragon kept kissing and biting, sucking on the opposite leg and repeating it again, hearing the blond’s worked up breathing and the blush that spread all over his cheeks and ears. The silence prevailed even when Kyo carefully guided Ruki’s legs to each side of his waist, leaning over him to surround his waist and lift him. The blond hugged his neck as soon as their chests met and buried his face between his arms. Kyo was satisfied, delighted that the advice had worked so well, Ruki was unresponsive but overwhelmed with pleasure, breathing hard against his skin. He made sure they didn’t lose contact as he reached out for the drawer, feeling through its content while his mouth was busy kissing the corner of Ruki’s lips, climbing up to his ear and back to his neck once the blond leaned into his contact. 

Kyo stopped for a moment as he retrieved the little plastic bottle, laughing inside his mind thinking how many of these did Ruki own. He got tempted to ask but the blond held him closer, tightening his arms around his back, keeping quiet between his soft breaths. Kyo emptied part of the bottle’s content on his hand and let it drip on Ruki’s hard member, hearing a soft hiss as the cold substance met a very hot skin. His own member already felt painfully erect as it pressed against Ruki’s skin, Kyo grabbed them both with his wet hand, a real moan escaped the plump lips as he closed his fingers around them. Ruki sighed on his shoulder and he held him even closer, both their lengths rubbing against each other with Kyo’s slow movements, pressing and releasing them as he moved his fist up and down. Ruki’s thighs pressed against Kyo’s waist as he wrapped it with his legs, his back arching softly and his breath getting erratic. The older man grabbed the tiny bottle again and offered it to Ruki, who took a while to understand him, a dazed expression on his face as he emptied the rest of the content on Kyo’s free hand. Dragon didn’t wait to take it between their tangled limbs, leaning just slightly forward to have more room, keeping his right hand steady as his left ventured carefully between Ruki’s thighs. The Queen dropped his head backwards with a strained moan as Kyo pressed the first finger in, moving it inside of him before pressing a second one. Kyo had to let go of their members as Ruki’s body pulled him forward, the blond’s shoulders meeting the surface of the bed, his legs slacking on both sides of Kyo’s waist. By the third finger, Ruki’s neck was completely arched back, his lips parted and the moans leaving it uninterrupted. Kyo removed his fingers from inside the blond before using that same hand to position himself and start pushing in, feeling the pressure of Ruki’s thighs again on his waist as he was wrapped by his legs. Once completely in, Kyo leaned forward again, hugging Ruki’s waist to lift him up once more, their skin slapping together, burying himself more deeply inside him. The blond hugged his neck again, this time kissing his lips and cheek before hiding his face as Kyo started rising him and dropping him back on his lap. Ruki’s hard member pressed between their stomachs, rubbing itself with their increasing movement. Ruki moaned quietly against Kyo’s cheek, breathing harshly when the older man finally laid him on his back, the movement too fast and hard already to keep the position. With The Queen’s back supported by the bed, Kyo took a hand to his member, pumping it at the same pace as he was moving, Ruki’s legs still wrapped on his waist, pressing against him to keep the contact short and close. Ruki’s back arched and a hoarse moan finally escaped his lips when he released himself on Kyo’s hand, moving with the older man until he did the same. They kept moving, fast at first but slowing down, calming down from their climaxes, ragged breaths filling up the room. Finally Kyo stopped moving, waiting until Ruki did the same, until his soft thighs were no longer viciously clasped around his waist, until his chest rose more evenly. He pulled out from him and collapsed to a side, his face at Ruki’s side while the blond kept looking up, his lips parted and his hands opening and closing, moving as if looking for something. His fingers finally closed around Kyo’s wrist and he breathed out noisily, swallowing as if he meant to talk, but he just kept looking at the ceiling. Kyo sighed and moved closer, kissing the blond’s cheek tenderly before pressing his forehead against his shoulder. He didn’t expect to be so comfortable by now with their shared silence, but breaking it seemed wrong, almost unholly. Kyo smiled and looked back again at Ruki’s face, his eyes were now closed and, despite the foundation, he could still see the darker shade under his eyes, lashes resting on top of slightly purple skin. Kyo moved his arm to hug him, Ruki’s fingers still wrapped around his wrist, now moving to interlock their fingers.

- Kyo - he whispered, his voice hoarse and low, he swallowed but didn’t open his eyes

- Yes? - he replied as quietly as he could

- I love you - Ruki said, this time his voice broke as if taken from him, beneath his eyelids his eyes seemed to move, crystal clear drops starting to roll down from them

Kyo held him tighter, kissing his face, his neck and shoulder as he wrapped Ruki’s body with his.

- I love you - he answered simply and Ruki exhaled loudly through his nose, the second time with more effort as the tears rolled down faster - ...please don’t cry--

- I’m sorry - Ruki whined, rolling to his side, pulling from Kyo as he matched his position, their legs interlocking and their arms meeting on top of the blond’s stomach

- ssshh - whispered Kyo, his chin placed on Ruki’s shoulder, their cheeks touching - I’m here with you, you’re not alone...

Ruki folded on himself and Kyo followed, his chest against the soft back, feeling every uneven rise and fall of his breathing. He expected Ruki to say something else, he waited for him to cry out, but silent minutes passed by and the blond seemed to relax against him. Kyo realized he was asleep when the pressure of fingers against his arms got suddenly lax, the breathing became more even and the parted lips released a soft puff of air. Dragon let go of Ruki’s body just enough to get both their bodies beneath the duvet.



Something in the air changed, a door was being opened or was being closed somewhere. Ruki opened his eyes, finding himself alone, the spot next to him still warm. Light shining from under the bathroom door, casting the room in irregular shadows. So irregular he almost missed the shadow right in front of him by the foot of the bed, too much like his chair and too little like a human, until it moved.

Ruki jolted awake, burying a hand under his pillow, his black throw knife finding its target fast and swift. Ruki jumped to a side, trying to grab the panic button, his cellphone, anything. But his own throw knife was returned with the same speed and violence, burying itself on his thigh, making him fall from the bed and miss the devices.

- You were always so fucking fast - whispered a deep voice as the tall figure approached him

Ruki crawled away from him, towards the bathroom door, but a swift foot crashed against his wounded thigh, a bloody hand clasped on top of his mouth before a strangled cry could leave it.

- Ssshh, we should keep this between us, right? - he asked softly, getting his face closer to Ruki’s, staining his cheeks with the blood coming out of his palm

 

Kyo was finishing washing his hands when he heard it, first a thud and he leaned closer to the door. The muffled scream turned his blood cold, he recognized Ruki’s voice and his heart started pounding. He pressed his ear carefully against the wooden door, hearing the whisper from the other side, the muffled noises closer to it. Kyo moved as silently and fast as possible, reaching for the hidden door next to the washstand.

 

- This is not how I wanted it to end for you Ru - the man whispered tenderly, using the hand wielding a trailing point knife to stroke his hair, getting it off Ruki’s face - but a job is a job…

Ruki mumbled against his hand, desperate, most likely begging, recognizing the face in front of him thanks to the light coming out of the bathroom. A bathroom that was occupied, a bathroom that had a person he loved inside. Ruki kicked the figure’s crotch with his uninjured leg, it responded fast by kneeling on top of it. Ruki took his hands towards his neck but he catched them with a tired sigh.

- Please don’t make this any harder than it already is - he asked, keeping both hands occupied in holding Ruki that trashed beneath him - I will be quick, you won’t feel a thing, I promise, I came personally, I didn’t let Kirito take this from me… he wouldn’t be merciful...

Ruki screamed beneath his hand, the man moved on top of him, his wrists now trapped under his other knee. The hand with the knife now freely getting closer to his neck, pressing the blade against it carefully.

- Don’t move or it will be painful - he pressed harder with his knees - sshh, I’ll make it quick Ruki, for old times sake---

 

A loud bang and a sudden spurt of blood spilled all over Ruki’s face, the hands around him sliding down, the pressure of the knees subduing as the tall figure collapsed on top of him. Ruki couldn’t even scream, his terrified eyes were fixed on a pair of black ones, staring at him from over the barrel of a silver gun.

Dragon was standing right next to the dresser door, a line of smoke still coming out of the gun, the smell of gunpowder on the air and a ringing in their ears. He let the gun on the table with shaking hands, his words suddenly buried by the loud steps around them, the door being kicked out of its hinges. The room now too crowded and exploding in noises, Ruki felt deaf, he looked at his hands, also covered in the same blood. Some hands grabbed his shoulders, shadows everywhere, he couldn’t see.

Dragon moved closer to the body and kicked him away from him, making it roll on its back.

- Who’s this? - he asked, his voice hoarse

Hollyhock got closer to it, his face bruised and bloody, his hands glistening with the brass knuckles. He kneeled closer to the corpse’s face, watching the bullet hole, the unrecognizable face.

- That’s Pierrot - whispered Ruki completely still, his eyes fixed on the body

- We-- I just fucking killed Pierrot downstairs - whispered Hollyhock, his expression horrified

- They both are - explained Ruki without emotion, now trying to remove the throw knife still buried on his thigh, but a bigger hand stopped him

- Leave that - whispered Doll

- There’s two of them… - said Hollyhock as Kai watched the whole scene from the door, wearing just track pants

- Pierrot killed all of Hazuki’s men… - he announced

- We found Lucy locked inside the basement closet - added Raven looking sick and pale, Ryoga standing behind him - he… he spared her…

- Where’s Erika? - asked Doll worried

- She was with me - Kai explained simply - She’s calling Aki now.

- He spared Lucy… - Raven whispered confused

- There were two of them - repeated Hollyhock and something on his face changed, he turned to The Queen - You knew - he hissed

Ruki looked at him tiredly, the burn from his leg was unbearable, he wanted the knife gone, but Doll kept his hand carefully placed on top of his to prevent it.

- Yes - he finally answered

- And you didn’t think it was necessary for us to know? - Hollyhock got up, his fists clenching

- Aoi… - warned Doll

- I promised him I’d keep the secret...

- Are you fucking kidding me? - grunted Hollyhock

- Who is he? - asked Kai

- His brother Karyu

- You knew them and you said nothing, you knew there were two of them and didn’t think it was worth a heads up? - continued Hollyhock getting closer

Ruki looked at him firmly.

- I promised I wouldn’t.

- Are you out of your fucking mind? - shouted Hollyhock, Doll standing up in front of him

- Aoi, it’s over - he said softly, placing a hand on his shoulder - Go call Cleaner.

Hollyhock took out one brass knuckle and tossed it right next to Ruki, the hit leaving a mark on the floor. He looked at Ruki for the longest time before turning around and leaving the room. Doll turned towards Kyo.

- Dragon, are you hurt? - Kyo denied with his head slowly - Why don’t you take Ruki to my room and wait for Aki there?

They finally looked at each other, the dark eyes meeting The Queen’s greenish gray eyes, and Ruki broke, taking his hands to his face. Kai moved before Kyo could react, reaching out for Ruki’s clothes on the desk chair before picking him up effortlessly from the floor. A soft cry of pain left the parted lips when he pressed his legs together, and Ruki hugged Kai’s neck while the bodyguard took him out of the room.

- Follow me Kyo - he called, and Dragon took a last look at the body on the floor, dead by his hand

 

Everything seemed to go quiet, a slow motion picture as Kyo followed Kai downstairs, staring for a moment at Ryoga, kneeling in front of a crumbled figure right next to The Queen’s door. Blood pooling beneath him as the ashy blond looked at him with glossy eyes, taking a hand to his shoulder. Kyo thought he heard him say something to the body before Raven reached out to hug him from behind. They went next through the living room, where another body was lying, all dressed in black and a face bruised and bloody Kyo couldn’t forget.

- That’s the Pierrot you met - said Ruki with a tired voice, still hugging Kai’s neck but peering from the top of his shoulder towards the body - That’s Kirito.

Dragon just nodded, numb as Kai took the stairs that led to the rooms, ignoring the blood staining the one that went to the basement, small footprints going towards the kitchen. 

On the second floor, everything was untouched, only Scar was there, his face unhinged as he stared at Ruki.

- I told him to stay here - explained Kai simply - figure he’d do something stupid that would cost him his life 

- Ruki - he whined approaching them, but Kai moved away swiftly 

- You’re seeing that he’s fine, you can wait. - he said simply, allowing Dragon to get inside Doll’s room first

Ruki reached out towards Scar’s face anyway, stroking his cheek with a numb expression, the blond bodyguard took the small hand between his and kissed it before allowing Kai to get him inside and close the door.

He sat Ruki on the bed and inspected his wound for a moment before handing him the clothes he had taken from the room. Ruki put on the long striped sweater with a little effort while Kai rummaged through Doll’s drawers. 

- Are you okay Kyo? - he asked harshly, taking out a tie from one of them and getting closer to Ruki again

Kyo didn’t know if he was, he hadn’t think, the moment he heard the noises on the other side he slipped through the door. He didn’t even remember thinking where the gun was, he just reached out for the silver gun inside the drawer, the tiny “R” on its hilt pressing against his palm. He realized what he had done when the bullet buried itself on The Queen’s wall, right next to his head.

- I could’ve killed you - he whispered, looking at Ruki with a lost expression

- But you didn’t  - answered Kai matter-of-factly - you have very good aim.

He wrapped the tie around Ruki’s thigh, just above the wound and tied it with a strong knot, making the blond sigh painfully. He stared at Ruki’s eyes and pressed a hand on his knee to keep him still.

- Don’t untie that, Aki will take off the knife.

Kai got up without saying anything else, he looked at Kyo for a moment before leaving them alone.

The silence was crushing, Kyo sat slowly on the bed, right next to a Ruki that was finally starting to come to terms with what had happened. Tears started rolling silently down his cheeks and he took his hands towards his face, gasping and taking them away, staring at the blood on them and feeling the one on his face starting to dry. Dragon looked at him and then looked around, a door was open right next to the bed and he walked towards it. There was a small bathroom on the other side, as he expected, after all this had been Ruki’s room before. Kyo opened the cabinet and drawers, taking a small plastic bowl and emptying its content before filling it with warm water. He found some towels and took them too, returning to the bedroom and leaving the bowl on the bedside table. Kyo drenched the towel with water and started rubbing it carefully on Ruki’s face. 

- You see now - he whispered as Kyo started cleaning his hands

- What? - he asked softly

- This is my world… I love people and they die...- he closed his eyes forcefully, tears rolling down his cheek - that’s why I keep you away, that’s why I hired Ryoga--

- I understand - Kyo answered simply

- I can’t get attached-- I can’t bear the idea of losing anyone...else--- - he covered his face again, crying out behind them

Kyo moved to hug him, embracing his back carefully. He wanted to say many things, assure a few more, but words wouldn’t leave his mouth, his mind racing, flashes of the past minutes mixing with thoughts of a future, ideas, plans. Someone knocked softly on the door, breaking the spell, Kyo got up to open the door. A short brunet looked at him curiously before getting inside and staring at Ruki with a mixture of pain and relief. 

- Ruki... - he sighed and turned towards Kyo again, offering his hand - I’m Aki - Kyo shook it a little dumbfounded - You must be Dragon, are you hurt? - he denied slowly with his head - Then excuse me...

Aki moved quickly towards the bed and left his briefcase on the floor right next to it. He placed his hands on both sides of Ruki’s wound and inspected it.

- Mh, I’m going to pull this out now - he explained, grabbing one of the towels Kyo had brought and lifting Ruki’s leg to place it under it - there’s no risk of bleeding out, don’t worry - he secured the knot Kai had made and reached inside his briefcase, taking out a sealed needle, a bottle and a syringe

He opened the needle in front of Ruki and filled the syringe with a clear liquid before burying it in the blond’s thigh, releasing its contents. Aki then moved to put on some latex gloves, waiting some seconds before grabbing the knife hilt 

- Are you ready? - he asked and Ruki took a deep breath in, exhaling it right away with a strangled cry when Aki pulled the knife out

The Medic moved immediately to cover the wound with the used towel, applying pressure on it for a while before releasing it.

- We’re good - he sentenced and started taking stuff out of his briefcase

He opened another sealed needle, this one was curved and had a hole on its end, Kyo turned away before Aki went through it with a surgical thread.

- Are you okay there Dragon? - he asked with a smile before burying the needle right on top of the wound, Ruki didn’t even flinch as he took it out on the other side with pliers - So they’re both death, hm? - he said casually as he worked fast on a second stitch - I thought Karyu would refuse to kill you…

- You knew? - Ruki said softly

- Who do you think handled their wounds? - smiled Aki - of course I knew… What they did to you was cruel but Karyu honestly loved you…

- It doesn’t matter now - the blond sighed, looking at Kyo that was now staring at him confused - Do you need to know that too? - he asked tiredly and Dragon answered biting his lower lip

- You don’t need to tell me - he finally said and Aki turned to look at him for a moment

- It was a little shady but... - he started as he secured a sixth and final stitch - Karyu liked Ruki but couldn’t reveal the secret behind Pierrot, so he made Kirito pursue him--

- Aki - warned Ruki tiredly

- And they used to get Ruki really drunk and high before fucking him so they could switch, you know? - he covered the wound with gauze and held it with fabric tape - When Ruki found out he threatened to reveal their secret--- guess you never did in the end…

- He spared Tsuzuku… - The Queen explained, looking at Aki with a hurt and betrayed expression - You can’t just spill someone’s intimacy like that...

- Who cares, they’re dead - shrugged Aki

- But I’m right here! - whined Ruki weakly

- Yes, and I’m very grateful for that - smiled Aki and patted his thigh before finally removing the tie around it - I’ll give Doll your painkillers, now I have to go check on Hollyhock and that blond dude…

Aki got up and nodded at Kyo before leaving them alone, Ruki was blushing and kept angrily looking at the door.

- I can’t believe he just did that - he whined and tried to lift his leg but stopped with a hiss of pain

-  At least you look a little more alive now - commented Kyo and Ruki sighed painfully

Dragon sat on the edge of the bed, right next to Ruki’s body, turning to stare at his face.

- How are you really feeling? - he asked carefully

- I should feel relieved, shouldn’t I? - Ruki suggested, taking his bruised hand towards Kyo who took it carefully

- Do you? - he prodded

- I don’t know… - he sighed - I just feel… hollow

Kyo leaned closer to press a kiss on his forehead, going down to his nose and finally kissing his lips.

- You’ll be okay… - he whispered and Ruki nodded, tears starting to form under his eyelids - You are strong…

- I don’t know anymore - Ruki admitted - I keep being saved….

- Why am I here if not to protect you? - Kyo asked and The Queen smiled tenderly

- I wish you didn’t have to…

- I’ll do it all the same - Kyo smiled and kissed his lips again - I’ll leave now…

- I-- - Ruki stared at him for a long second before nodding - Alright

Dragon took his hands to Ruki’s cheeks and pulled his face closer, pressing their lips together slowly, softly, kissing every bit of them before parting again. 

- I love you - he said firmly

- I love you too - Ruki answered in a whisper, naive and hopeful

Kyo got up again, caressing his cheek before taking a deep breath and finally leaving the room. He pretended he didn’t see Scar right next to the door, getting inside the second he headed towards the stairs. He pretended he didn’t hear Kai, supervising Cleaner’s workers inside of The Queen’s room as they stuffed the body of half of the Pierrot’s brothers inside a black plastic bag. Kyo took his shirt and shoes and finished getting dressed, sparing a nod at Ryoga, a silent word between their eyes before he disappeared through the front door, the roar of the car’s engine an echo of his last presence inside that house.

Chapter Text

Scar breathed in and out loudly once inside the room, Ruki stared at him tiredly, watching as the blond walked towards him and kneeled next to the bed. He wrapped Ruki’s hand between his and took them to his forehead as if in pray. Scar breathed unevenly, tears rolling down his cheeks.

- I’m okay - whispered Ruki, taking his free hand to rest on top of Scar’s

- What happened? - Scar whined - Hollyhock faced Pierrot-- how-- how come he couldn’t stop him?

- There were two of them - sighed Ruki and the bodyguard lifted his face, staring at him alarmed

- What do you mean there were two Pierrots? - he asked in a whisper but a knock on the door startled him

Without waiting to be invited in, a long haired man peeked inside. Scar frowned by reflex when he recognized the handsome face with a labret piercing.

- Queen, a word? - Cleaner asked, a sly smile forming on his face when he noticed Scar’s reaction

Ruki wished he had slept with underwear on when Cleaner dragged his gaze all over his frame, he pulled self-consciously from the sweater hem. Scar got up and pulled from the duvet to cover his legs entirely, staring at Cleaner coldly.

- Scar, you can stay - Ruki said simply as the tall dark haired man got closer, offering something to him

- What’s this? - asked The Queen as he took the small paper from him, turning it around and staring at a pair of dull greenish gray eyes that returned his gaze - Ah-

- So you know what it is - smiled Cleaner

- Yeah, it’s Pierrot’s business card - he looked at his own picture for a long while, wondering where had it come from, if it had belonged to Kiyoharu before ending in Kirito’s hands

- Well, I have six bodies total - started Cleaner seriously - four will go back to Hazuki at the docks, the other two are up to you…

- Send them to Spring - answered Ruki plainly - do you have a pen?

Cleaner produced a black marker from his pocket and handed it to The Queen, who used it to draw a crown on top of his photographed curls, returning both the marker and picture once finished.

- Put it on Kirito’s body.

- Sending a message, hm? - Cleaner smiled, entertained, he stored the picture inside his pocket and bowed - If you’ll excuse me, I have a lot of work to supervise

- Thank you Cleaner

- My pleasure.

Cleaner bowed again and left the room after sparing a long amused look at Scar, opening and closing his hand in a parting gesture.

- I hate that guy - Scar let out once Cleaner was gone - What was that about? the picture…

- Pierrot always leaves a picture of his mark at the scene, he draws a little teardrop on their faces - he shrugged - so everyone knows who killed them…

- Why did you say there were two of them? - Scar started again, but this time the door just busted open, Hollyhock storming in, a deranged expression on his face as he stomped towards Ruki and grabbed him by the sweater, raising him a few inches off the bed

- What the fuck is your problem you asshole - he hissed, his face extremely close, his eyes red - do you care so little about yourself? about us? - he shook him once

- Aoi - warned Scar - hands off.

- Not until he explains why the fuck didn’t he tell us there were two Pierrot - he pulled him higher, Ruki let out a hiss of pain when his leg dragged on the mattress

- Aoi - repeated Scar, this time his hand was on Hollyhock’s shoulder

- Aoi, let him go - said Kai sternly from the door

Hollyhock breathed in and breathed out, exhaling on Ruki’s face, his eyes still piercing through him before he slowly let him go, just in time for Doll to get inside the room.

- Speak - barked Hollyhock - Speak you piece of shit--

- Aoi - Doll let out - Calm down

Hollyhock turned around and pointed at Ruki.

- This fucking asshole hid from us that there were TWO of those psychopaths--- he kept a secret that would have cost us all-- - he turned around - it would have cost YOU all-- what if Kyo got killed because of your little secret?

- What? - whispered Scar but Hollyhock ignored him

- So? - he almost yelled at Ruki

- I swore I wouldn’t reveal their secret - The Queen said coldly and Hollyhock threw his hands on the air

- And there it is again--

- Ruki, if Kyo hadn’t been there, you would’ve died - said Doll softly

- If Kyo had been in bed with you, you both would’ve died - Kai added seriously

- Do you realize just how lucky you were? - Doll added with a desperate voice

- Do you realize just how much of a fucking asshole you are for not telling us something SO important for god’s sake-- - Hollyhock pulled from his hair exasperated - what kind of shitty brain do you have?! you’d rather be loyal to the ones that are coming yo kill you than to us--

- I get it - Ruki barked back - I fucked up, alright? I’m a fucking idiot that fucked up and almost got killed. Happy?

- How can--- - Hollyhock let out something that merged between a roar and a scream - am I HAPPY?!

- Aoi…. - Doll whispered, but it didn’t sound like a warning, concern was all over his face

- Do you think you almost dying makes me happy? - Hollyhock started again, lowering the level of his voice after looking at Doll’s face - Do you think that relying on the fact that Kyo just happened to be there and awake and up and fucking near your fucking gun makes me happy?!

Ruki sighed, taking a hand to his forehead.

- What do you want me to do now? - he looked up again - It’s fucking over. They’re dead. Both of them.

-  You’re right. - Kai finally spoke - There’s nothing to do now. Any more secrets you plan to keep from us that could potentially kill you?

- That--- that was the only one - Ruki said slowly, he kept looking at Hollyhock with a frown on his face, his hand fisted at his sides

- Why? - Scar asked carefully - Why did you keep the secret?

- I gave them my word that I would - he answered simply and Hollyhock kicked the bed - In exchange Kirito spared Tsuzuku’s life.

- That was before they were assigned to kill you, why the fuck didn’t you tell us?

- I gave them my word - Ruki repeated sternly

- Are you listening to yourself? - whined Hollyhock exhausted

- Let’s all calm down - suggested Doll

Hollyhock denied with his head, he kept doing it as if he was in a trance, until he finally left the room. Ruki sighed once he was gone, clutching the sweater over his chest and breathing harshly.

- I thought you said Pierrot didn’t spare people… - Doll started quietly - but he spared Lucy…

- Lucy is underage - Kai answered - Erika lied so we would hire her too---

- Oh, I see - Doll nodded, sitting on the bed next to Ruki - Where’s Dragon?

- He left - Ruki sighed

- And you allowed it? - Kai wondered but didn’t wait for the answer - Anyway, somebody has to pay Cleaner.

Doll watched him go in silence, Scar now sitting on the foot of the bed, his back turned to them. The silence was tense between them but none dared to break it, Ruki sighed and covered his face with his hands.

- Spill it Reita, Uruha… whatever you want to say, say it now

- I’m just very grateful Kyo was here-- and that he knew about your gun… I can’t believe how lucky we were----

- I’m glad it’s over - Scar whispered without turning around - Pierrot was the worst Spring could throw at you and it’s over-- it doesn’t matter how-- - his voice seemed to break slightly - how close we were of losing you-- it’s over

- So, no complaints? - Ruki let out, an incredulous tone in his voice

- You were too reckless - Doll denied with his head - so reckless I almost thought you wanted this… you wanted this end.

Scar buried his fingers on the bed, grabbing the duvet strongly.

- You might still want to give Spring anything he asks for-- even your death-- But we won’t let that happen - Scar turned around, his eyes red and his cheeks wet - You don’t belong to yourself alone anymore-- I can’t believe I almost lost you - he took a hand to his forehead, covering his eyes from sight

- But you didn’t - whispered Ruki closing his eyes - can you all just--- leave me alone now?

Doll seemed to think about it for the longest time, before nodding slowly, kissing Ruki’s forehead before leaving the room. Scar however, didn’t move from his spot at the foot of the bed, his back still turned and his breath uneven.

- Aoi is right, something is not right in your head… - he sighed - but I don’t think you even realize…

- What’s that supposed to mean? - complained Ruki, the most painful headache was piercing now through his skull and the wound on his leg was starting to wake up

- It’s no use telling you - Scar denied with his head - you won’t admit something you can’t even see... - he got up and walked towards him slowly, touching his cheek tenderly once he was close, leaning forward to kiss his lips - I’m just glad you’re alive, no matter the odds...

With that, Scar turned around and left the room, keeping the door half open but missing the way Ruki’s body slumped to a side, a whiny cry leaving his parted lips.

 

The Queen was already asleep when a soft knock woke him up, he sat up on the bed, crying out when the wound on his leg pulled. Standing on the open frame was Ryoga, face marked with tears and his ashy blond hair disheveled, he cleared his throat.

- Sorry to wake you up - he mumbled

- It’s alright - sighed Ruki and sat up properly, but Ryoga didn’t get closer

- I’m going with Cleaner’s men to take the bo--- to the docks. - The Queen nodded - Then I’ll go check on Kyo, I haven’t forgotten our deal…

- I appreciate that - acknowledged Ruki and pursed his lips - I’m sorry Ryoga… about your friends…

- Don’t sweat it, they knew of the risk--

- No, I mean - the blond started - If I had told everyone what I knew--

- But you kept your word til the end, I respect that - Ryoga sighed a smile - Hazuki will too.

- I fucked everything up - whispered Ruki, lowering his gaze

- Maybe - agreed Ryoga - But it’s over. See you around Ruki.

- Yeah…

The Queen saw his watchdog go without saying anything else, without asking for communication on Kyo’s state of mind. His cellphone and all his belongings were clearly still in his room, the room now stained with the blood of someone else that dared to love him. Tears started rolling silently down his cheeks, but he rubbed them away when he heard steps coming his way.

- Cleaner is gone - announced Doll softly - are you hungry? - Ruki denied without looking at him - You can spend the night here, I don’t mind-- I-- I’ll stay with Aoi, he doesn’t look good and he’s been drinking this while...

- I understand - Ruki forced the words out - how are the girls?

- A little shook, but safe. Kai took them home… Lucy is worried we might fire her---

- Give them more money - the blond interrupted - whatever you want, whatever they need to put this behind them…

- But you won’t fire them... I just want to be sure

- Only if they’re okay with it. - Ruki sentenced

- What about us? - Doll prodded gently - we won’t calmly settle with a raise - he let out a compassive smile - Would you trust us more from now on?

- I thought I already did - grunted The Queen, looking ahead

- You know what I mean…

- There are no more secrets-- that was the only one...

- Does that mean that the others won’t put you in danger? - Doll asked carefully and this time Ruki stared at him

- There are no more secrets - he repeated deadpan - Now leave me alone.

- Get some rest - nodded Doll before closing the door behind them

From the other side of the balcony windows, the sun was starting to turn the midnight sky into pinky hues. Ruki observed them change, he wanted to hug his knees but the wound pulled and ached and he regretted not asking Doll for his painkillers. He was left alone and without means of communication as the noise on the other side of his door slowly died down, as his eyes slowly closed. The Queen fell in a dreamless sleep, darkness around them, suffocating and mysteriously inviting. 



Ryoga parked the minivan he had taken from the docks in front of Kyo’s building, he could see from outside the lights were on. When he reached the apartment’s door he found it open, he took the gun from his holster and pressed his back against the frame.

- Kyo? - he called and breathed out loudly when the voice answered from inside

- Come in - he said without any inflection on his voice

Ryoga put the gun away and got inside the apartment, closing the door behind him. He expected to find Kyo in the kitchen but he had to keep walking until reaching the room. Dragon was standing by the foot of his bed, a suitcase laid open on top of it, already half-way full with clothes.

- I-- Kyo-- - he started and finally frowned - What are you doing?

- Packing

- Clearly - Ryoga rolled his eyes - May I ask why?

- Because I’m leaving

- Okay, you’re going to have to do a little better than that - he complained, scratching his head and sitting on the bed right next to the suitcase - What’s going on?

- I’m moving - answered Kyo, his eyes set ahead as he mechanically took clothes from his closet and stuffed them inside

- Moving where? - Ryoga grunted exasperated - Kyo. Kyo stop it, stop what you’re doing and look at me.

It took a long moment, but Dragon finally obeyed, stopping his work and standing straight in front of him.

- Let’s start from the beginning, okay? - the ashy blond asked - You just killed a guy, a very shitty guy but a living person nonetheless-- and you’re clearly not having a very sane reaction…

- What is a sane reaction to taking a life? - asked Kyo in return and moved to open the drawer right next to Ryoga and empty its contents inside the suitcase

- You really need to learn how to pack - smiled the ashy blond humorlessly - Alright, I’ll play along. Where are you moving?

- I haven’t decided yet

- So you’re not moving in with Ruki - added Ryoga and something in Dragon seemed to finally react

- Ruki… - he said absentmindedly - Ruki can’t know about this--- - he got closer to Ryoga again, watching him sternly - Ryoga you can’t say a word about any of this--

- I don’t even know what “this” is

- Good.

- Kyo, tsk - he scratched his head - whatever you’re planning, let me help you

- Ruki can’t know - Dragon said seriously

- I promise

- Hazuki neither - he insisted - nobody can know 

- Tell me…

 

[ END OF ACT II ]