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私に薬の主人を呼んではいけない

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Fai Flourite was on his third large, triple chocolate caramel latte with 2 shots of expresso, and he wasn't even half way through his night yet. He had two more clubs to visit and a meeting with his Guatemalan importer to get through before he had to head to the Neko no me Café and start the ovens.

It took every ounce of his self-motivation to eat the grilled cheese his assistant, Syaoran, had so kindly acquired for him. It was easy to ignore the food while he balanced the books of Fenikkusu though. The once familiar task took frustratingly long…

Normally this particular establishment ran smoothly, but with Oruha out on maternity leave he had to spend a maddening amount of time keeping things moving. Don't get him wrong, he was happy for her—she had been trying for a child for so long after all—and he wanted her to have as much time off as she needed.

But—

He would be much happier with her back in her office where she belonged. There was just no substitute for someone who had been running this club for him for the last 8 years. She knew this place better than him naturally.

"Please eat a few more bites Fai-sama." Syaoran was frowning at him from the other side of the ornate cherry wood desk and the blond tugged his cheeks into a too cheery smile as he looked up from his work.

"I swear I'll finish it." His tone was purposefully cheerful, but he didn't quite manage to bring the smile to his eyes.

His assistant didn't look as though he was buying it today, and he wasn't sure if he currently had the energy to tug the muscles in his face any tighter.

Syaoran gave a defeated sigh—He could be such a smart kid sometimes.

Fai had every intention of sticking to his usual diet of pure sugar, caffeine, and various other stimulants for the rest of the night. He would probably eat some blueberries at the café… Toyahad mentioned that the last shipment was deliciously ripe.

Keeping his body running when he couldn't sleep more than three or four hours a night was a delicate balancing act. Carbs and fat would make him sluggish and he couldn't afford that so early in the night. He had probably already hit his calorie goal anyways with the sugar packed lattes.

A greasy grilled cheese wasn't going to do him any good. Even if it was from the little dinner across the street and one of his favorite foods.

"Can you go run to the backroom and grab the inventory list for me?" Fai looked back down at the spreadsheet he was updating. Better to keep Syaoran busy than letting him fret over silly things like his lunch.

The teen nodded and pulled the door open just wide enough to slip through. After a year of working as the blonde's assistant, he knew when to take a hint and left quickly to give his boss some space.

The loud sound of the music rushed into the quiet office like a Tsunami despite his efforts, causing the blond to scowl. As soon as the door swung closed again, the noise faded back down to a more tolerable level and Fai stood while grabbing the now cold sandwich off the plate. He had a hot minute before Syaoran would return—but better safe than sorry… Fai headed towards the employee restroom for some extra privacy.

Locking the door, he tore sizable chunks of the sandwich off and tossed them in the toilet. Flushing away the evidence, he sighed, then washed the greasy residue off his fingers and dried his hands quickly.

Now to the next line of business.

If he was going to get through the rest of this night, he was going to need a pick me up.

It had been that kind of week unfortunately.

Or rather… That kind of month…

Year?

The blond wasn't entirely sure.

Fai pulled his cell phone out of the inner pocket of his dark blue Brioni suit jacket and set it on the sink. Digging a little deeper he found what he was looking for—a dime bag with just enough 'help' to get him through the rest of the night.

Lazily, he tapped some of the powder onto the shining porcelain of the sink. With practiced grace he shaped two identical lines with his visa. The only cash he carried was for the sole purpose of snorting his snow, and he made quick work of twirling up his lucky ¥10,000 note.

Two deep breaths later, Fai was tilting his head back and closed his eyes while he sucked in a few deep breaths. What little discomfort he felt was quickly forgotten and the blonde used a damp paper towel to wipe down the side of the sink and slid the baggie back into his inner breast pocket.

He would need to do a lot more to get any sort of rush—but those lines would serve to make him feel a little more human.

He had been doing this on and off for years—and though he was sure his body would thank him for a break from the illicit substances—he couldn't deal with it now. There were too many things that needed his attention. 

This shit was way better than caffeine, that was for sure.

Once he was feeling a little more like himself, he leaned against the porcelain countertop and unlocked his phone.

The second line of break business was making sure there was nothing urgent that needed his attention. His people had his cell and knew that he was available at all hours should they need him.

No urgent texts, so there was nothing that needed his immediate attention. One of his bouncers had needed a few stitches after breaking up a bar brawl and Fai set a reminder to take care of the doctor bills and send him a card.

Emails for this week's accounting were coming in and he would add them to the books while he waited for Yukito and Touya to show up for their opening shift this morning…

He added that to his calendar as well and sighed before hitting the home button. Between meeting with the troublesome supplier, one of his managers being out and trying to get the month’s end accounting done, he was going to lose his mind.

Absentmindedly he opened Tinder and started looking through the messages he had been ignoring for the last few hours. Maybe a good lay would help relax him enough to actually be able to sleep tonight…

Fai didn't have high standards and he had probably slept with half the men in Tokyo by now. Well… Half the gay ones at least. The blonde didn't care what line of work they were in—what they were majoring in—if they were vegan—liked beer or whatever else hipsters drank these days—or what exotic vacations they took.

He just wanted them tall, with strong shoulders, a killer body, and big cock. He didn't do clingy, long term, or batshit either.

Fai already had money, nice cars and a big house. He didn't need someone to take care of him—just to get him off. As long as their kinks weren't anything too crazy, Fai was usually down to party.

It was nearing 10. Not too late to arrange something if he moved his schedule around. The blond scrolled through his open chats with a frown…

To clingy—To skinny—to short—to nosey…

Honestly with over nine million people in Tokyo the options were pretty shitty.

Back to the drawing board…

Backing out he started to sift through pictures of singles.

He never bothered to read anyone's profile and he sent the same messages to all of his matches.

 

Currently out on the town.

Would love to meet for a drink if you're not busy?

 

He made sure to include a few kissy faces and heart eye emojis and switched back to his email. It was Friday night so chances were good someone might take him up on his offer. If he didn't get a response soon, he was going to have to keep an eye out in the next club for a tipsy Mr. Tall-dark-and-handsome that wasn't too far gone to keep his cock up.

He preferred his partners to be sober. They were usually better at actually getting the job done when they weren't too drunk to see straight.

Fai sighed rather loudly as the first responses started trickling in and read through them with disinterest. A few busy—a few too-forward responses including images of rather unimpressive genitalia—and hello!

 

My shift ends in two hours.

Still going to be out?

 

What were his chances that the hot one worked late? Fai smirked and sent back a thumbs up.

 

Where we meeting?

 

The blonde checked his calendar. He would be at Kyuden.

This club was on the tamer side—it had only opened two years ago and had surprisingly attracted an older crowd. Businessmen and single 30-something's who had money frequented the joint.

To cater to the more mature taste, they usually had local live bands or comedians performing. It suited a more distinguished crowed better than thumping music and flashing lights the university students enjoyed. Fai rather liked Kyuden for that reason. Yuto kept it well managed so he didn't have to visit often—but they were looking to remodel the VIP area and Fai needed to approve the budget.

More private rooms were needed—and more discreet seating.

Fai not only made sure that they had the largest selection of top shelf liquor in all of Tokyo, but at this joint he also staffed an impressive array of ladies to cater to the single gentlemen's needs.

So—like most of his establishments—it was walking the line of not quite legal.

It was far from a gay bar—but it didn't chase that crowd off, either. They could fuck quick and dirty in one of the more private booths—and Fai could see the issues with the current layout firsthand.

 

Kyuden?

 

He received a response almost immediately.

 

See you then.

 

Perfect.

Fai slipped his phone in his pocket and turned to look in the mirror. He splashed his face with cold water and toweled his hands dry before heading back out to the office. Syaoran—the sweet thing that he was—had returned with not only the ledgers but also what looked to be another coffee for him.

"Thanks, Syao." Fai winked at him and accepted the folder as well as the warm paper cup that smelled like heaven.

"No problem."

Hiring this kid was honestly one of the best decisions he had ever made. Syaoran had started out as one of Fai's 'boys.'

Syaoran was not cut out for moving goods though— but he had needed a job. Fai had taken pity on him and hired the kid as his assistant. It turned out that he was a hard worker and had good taste in coffee, so it worked out for both of them.

He always seemed to know when Fai needed a refill on his latte, a Redbull, or shot of tequila.

The blonde had been through a lot of assistants over the years—that particular skill was a rare talent that Fai greatly appreciated.

Poor thing had made the unfortunate mistake of getting his girlfriend pregnant when they were still in high school, and regrettably, he had been forced to drop out to support them. There little son Tsubasa was too cute and Fai had a soft spot for kids. Syaoran was an honorable little knuckle head—so Fai had also hired his honey to work at his café during the day as a server.

Sakura was ditzy and clumsy, but she made up for that with her kind heart.

The blond sat back down in front of his macbook to focus on what he was supposed to be doing in the first place. His little hit early was doing its job and he powered though the last of the book keeping faster than originally planned.

They had made a profit. He always did—but the numbers were still lower than they had been before Oruha had left a month ago. It wasn't as though the staff had forgotten how to do their jobs—they were simply slacking since their manager was not there to ride them on their duties.

It peeved him… But made him appreciate the hard work of his managers. He wouldn't be able to run his business if it wasn't for their hard work… He couldn't do this for each one of his 22 clubs. Even if he never slept, he wouldn't have enough time to oversee all of the little details.

The blonde made a note to give each one of the managers a bonus. Keeping them happy and right where they were was paramount to making sure no additional responsibilities feel onto his plate.

Fai felt his eyes getting heavy again, his concentration didn't last long. He managed to discreetly excuse himself to the bathroom again and took another bump before he and Syaoran headed out to meet the distributer.

His McLaren 570s was in the parking garage across the street in his reserved spot. Syaoran rode shotgun and Fai put the top down as they pulled out onto the busy street.

Tokyo always had traffic—and after navigating those packed streets for 18 years, he knew the quickest ways to get around town.

They were meeting at one of his warehouses in the industrial district. As soon as they exited downtown, the traffic thankfully died down enough to actually feel some wind in their hair as he cruised the artificially lit streets in comfortable silence. He pulled up with time to spare, and double parked in front of the building.

During the day this place served as a clothing warehouse. Fai owned the property and rented it out to some exporter who sold cheap clothing online to rich foreigners. They got the space for cheap and Fai used it after hours for his own needs.

It worked out perfectly as a place to transfer goods, and as far as his intel went, the police had no idea. He switched it up every few weeks whether they were suspicious or not, though. He hadn't had a meeting in this particular building in a little over a year.

Two of his enforcers were already waiting for him. Syaoran followed close behind him as they got out of the car and slowly approached Kusanagi and Seishiro. Both were dressed in their usual uniform. Black skin-tight tee and black jeans that served to make their muscles look even more impressive.

Too bad both men were spoken for. Seishiro was currently engaged to one of Fai's managers and Kusanagi had himself a cute little wife at home.

"Evening, Sir." The men said in unison and Fai grinned at them.

"Have our guests arrived?"

He didn't expect any trouble. Even outside of Japan, the exporters he worked with knew what happened when you crossed him.

If they tried it? Well, the night would be a little interesting then, now wouldn't it?

"No, Sir. Fuuma is with them en route. Traffic." Seishiro returned his smile before opening the door to the warehouse.

That was all good and well. Fai could live without being the one fashionably late this time.

The blond entered with his assistant following close behind him. They made themselves comfortable in one of the offices and waited. Syaoran made some tea and Fai checked his phone.

Kanoe, the manager of Kurōbā, had texted him to inform him that one of the bartenders had quite mid shift. They were handling it for now but were going to need to get a decent replacement asap to handle the 4th floor bar.

He had a few promising resumes waiting for a spot, so Fai sent back a text that she needed to set up a meeting with him to go over them to find a suitable replacement. He accepted the meeting request that came in moments later.

Tomorrow at 5pm was early for him… but if she was short staffed, he could do it. Okoku brought in a good amount of money for him and if they had to shut down an entire floor, his pocket book would notice.

Now that that was settled, Fai moved on to the next line of business… He opened a text from his step dad praying that it wasn't bad news.

It wasn't that he didn't get along with Taishukuten—not now that he was an adult at least. They just didn't talk unless it was about Ashura. If his stepdad hadn't married Fai's adoptive father and had simply remained his law partner? Fai would probably avoid him.

After stepping in as a step parent and being put through the ringer by both him and his twin from the time they were first going through the emotional, hormonal, train wreck that was middle school? The feeling of polite annoyance was mutual.

Needless to say—the only time he got a message from the man was when something was wrong.

A picture of his father and… a cat?

Awe.

They had gone out.

How sweet.

Fai sent back a few hearts. He couldn't tell where they were from the background, but he was glad that Taishakuten had gotten Ashura out of the house. Since the accident, his adoptive father had a tendency to stay cooped up indoors more often than not.

Fai saved the photo to his phone and set it as his wallpaper. There were too few happy moments in his life recently. He liked to have reminders of why he did all of this garbage to begin with.

Tapping the home button, he smiled at the new photo one more time before checking his tinder messages. Nothing else from—oh what was his name?

Kurogane?

Well at least his name matched his serious profile picture.

Fai looked through the few photos the man had attached to his profile and smirked. He hoped Kurogane was as handsome in person as he was in these pictures.

One of him wearing a traditional Hakama was particularly charming. He must be into some sort of martial art—which hopefully meant he was in wonderful shape.

Fai smirked thinking about taking body shots off a well-toned stomach… Maybe this Kuro would be up for some less traditional fun tonight. It might not be the best idea, seeing as he would still have work to finish tonight… but it was tempting.

If they clicked, Fai thought he might chance an evening off to have some much-needed naughty relaxation in an actual bed. Maybe a ritzy hotel with a jacuzzi and bottle service in the room?

He could tie Kuro-hottie to the headboard and lick whipped cream off his most sensitive areas?

"Is something wrong, Fai-sama?" Syaoran came back into the office carrying a small tray with two cups of steaming tea—green tea of course—and pulled him out of his fantasies.

"No. I decided to meet someone tonight at Kyuden for a drink." Fai turned the phone so that Syaoran could see the photo of Kuro in his sexy hakama. "Cute ne?"

"If you say so, Fai-sama." Syaoran laughed awkwardly and the blond found himself chuckling.

This poor kid knew way too much about his sex life… Fai was severely allergic to long term commitment but had an obnoxious need for human contact. This caused an interesting predicament that played out in a near constant stream of short flings and one-night stands.

In the last 10 years, his longest relationship had lasted a whopping 4 months and ended with him leaving his date at a fancy eatery in Paris when they had dropped the L-bomb.

"If you wanted to call it an early night, I wouldn't be mad. I'll have Kusanagi give you a ride home after we finish up here?" The blond offered with an innocent smile.

As much as he loved having his assistant to vet his phone calls and get him lattes, he didn't need the poor thing waiting around while he got plowed in a semi-private booth by his date.

He paid him handsomely—but not enough for that.

"Yeah. The baby has a cold and I know Sakura-chan is exhausted from staying up with him." Fai frowned at that. It was that time of year he supposed… But why hadn't Syaoran mentioned it earlier?

"Why don't you have Sakura take the day off tomorrow too? I'll toss her an extra vacation day, so you guys can all take a day to rest." Fai was always lenient when it came to things like this. Surely, Syaoran knew all he needed to do was ask and his boss would send him home?

"Are you sure that's ok, Fai-sama?" the brunet didn't like to accept charity—the fact that he didn't outright refuse showed just how stressful having a sick baby really was. He couldn't relate—probably would never have children—but he had spent enough time around their little tot at the café to know he was a handful when he felt under the weather.

"Yes." Fai confirmed.

Before his assistant had a chance to say anything further, Seishiro knocked on the door of the office. Fai sipped his tea as he entered into the cramped room and closed the door behind himself.

Looking out the large window that overlooked the main floor, Fai could see that the new distributer was waiting very patiently for them. He had brought a man and a woman with him—it wasn't unusual—normally distributers were accompanied by bodyguards like Fai's enforcers—but not always.

It was either a show of faith...

...Or over confidence.

Only time would tell.

"Are you ready, Sir?" Seshiro didn't seem overly concerned.

Must not have found anything alarming on them during the pat down.

Wordlessly, Fai stood, and they made their way out of the office. Fai had pulled a serene, emotionless mask onto his face and walked with Syaoran and Seshiro behind him, head held high, eyes blasé.

This was a well-choreographed dance. He had a reputation to maintain after all. It had taken a few years to perfect this particular act, but it had served him well so far.

He wasn't Fai Fluorite, the friendly neighborhood drug ring leader. 

He was Fai Fluorite, the slightly off his rocker, smiley psychopath that wouldn't think twice about ordering a hit on you or your entire family if you crossed him.

Once he was just close enough to see the individual hairs on the man's head, he offered a pleasant smile. "It’s nice to meet you in person, Mr. Reed."

Fei Wang Reed did not seem pleased to see Fai. This meeting was to set boundaries after all—and no one liked to be scolded.

"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Fluorite." Fai could tell that he was forcing a calm tone as he spoke—he could see the anger in his eyes.

Good.

He may have just climbed to the top of the food chain in South America—but he was in Fai's house now.

His guests had to play by the rules.

His rules.

Tokyo was a big market after all. Sure—finding a new supplier for coke would be annoying. The stuff he had gotten from Fei Wang Reed's predecessor had been top grade, and Fai's boys had been able to cut and move the stuff faster than he could import it.

This last shipment? Low quality and full of cheap and slightly hazardous additives.

Since Cocaine was the drug of choice of his most wealthy clientele—he was not happy.

He was a drug lord, sure—but he wasn't going to lower his standards and start selling low quality, possibly harmful shit to his customers just because he had gotten ripped off. He had built his business on his integrity, after all.

"I trust you received my return shipment?" Fai made sure that his face was a perfect expression of disinterest, his tone apathetic.

Fai had sent the cheap shit back, along with an invitation to discuss their future business relationship.

"I apologize for the misunderstanding." Reed offered. He didn't shift under Fai's gaze.

He was a ballsy one, alright.

Ballsy enough to send a response stating that they had tried to provide him with a service by sending him 'precut' product so that he would be able to get it to his customers sooner.

Right.

"And I trust that you have ensured this shipment is what we are accustomed to receiving from your office?" If it wasn't, Fai was going to have to teach him a lesson… He would very much prefer that Fei Wang Reed followed his warnings.

"See for yourself." Reed tilted his head to Kusanagi who held out a small sample baggy to Fai.

He had been doing this a long time—and had picked up a few tricks over the years. The first rule of dealing with someone like Fei Wang Reed was assuming they were trying to off you.

It was pretty much the ultimate goal in the business he was in. Currently, Fai was the ringleader of the drug trade in the Tokyo metropolitan aria—taking him out would be a big step up for someone like Reed. The respect he would earn from accomplishing such a task would be more them enough to ensure at least a few years of control.

"Syaoran. Please bring that table over here." The blonde motioned to one of the folding tables that were set up against the far wall. Reeds eyes narrowed—no doubt offended—but the blond didn't care.

His assistant complied quickly. Fai dumped half the powder onto the table and used his Palladium Visa to slide it into one long line. Fai fished out his lucky ¥10,000 note and made quick work of rolling it up and handing it to Fei Wang Reed.

"Cheers!" Fai chimed.

Reed was glaring daggers at him as he accepted the note. Fai didn't buy for one second that this man didn't sample his own products—so he was either seriously offended—or about to snort his own poison.

He bent, and Fai watched him finish the line in one go before straightening and tipping his head back—snuffing his nose loudly.

So that was a no on the poison then…

Fai pinched the edges of the dime bag between his index finger and thumb, forcing the plastic to pucker open. It smelled fine… looked good… apparently not laced with poison…

Fei Wang Reed had apparently come here in the hopes of saving a client. For now, at least.

"Much better than the last shipment." Fai offered, but Reed continued scowling at him.

He would buy enough from the man to smooth his ego over the next year, no doubt. Business was business after all. Nothing soothed a bruised ego like regular orders totaling over 50 thousand dollars.

"I am glad that it is up to your standards." Fei Wang Reed managed to keep his tone even, but the blonde could tell that he was seething.

"Yes. Sorry to drag you all the way out to Tokyo for this meeting. I'm sure you understand the importance that were on the same page, however." Fai turned and started to walk towards the entrance of the warehouse. "Fuuma will take you to your hotel room. We should grab dinner before you head home."

Reed didn't answer, and Fai didn't look back to see his look of annoyance as he strolled casually out of the building. Seishiro and Fuuma would be keeping a close eye on him for the remainder of his stay.

Kusanagi and Syaoran followed after him. As soon as the door closed, Fai heard his assistant let out the breath he had been holding. Even after 6 months, he still wasn't used to the tense situations that came with negotiating price and purity.

Poor kid.

Kusanagi had joined him after he had left the military and was not so easily shaken. He placed a reassuring hand on the teen’s shoulder as soon as they were out of the building. "Once Fai gets outta here, I'll take ya home. Give your nerves a break."

Fai smiled kindly at both of them and checked the time. "Have a good night, you two. I'll see you both soon, ok?"

"You heading straight to Kyuden, then?" Syaoran grabbed his bag out of the passenger seat of his boss's car. He dug out a small can that he offered to the blond.

Just what he needed—more caffeine.

Fai accepted the RedBull. He opened the can and sipped it before answering. "Then to Akai Shiro and finally Neko no me Café."

"Please make sure to go home and rest, Fai-sama." Syaoran's face was worried as Fai finished off the last of the energy drink and crumpled the can in between his hands before tossing it in a nearby garbage bin.

"I will."

He wouldn't.

Fai wasn't jittery—he existed in a state of perpetual exhaustion these days. His insomnia didn't seem to think he needed any sleep between working 18-20 hours at a time, though. He would probably just go home and toss and turn between short naps.

He refused to admit that his poor diet, lack of exercise, coke habit and the excessive amounts of caffeine he consumed on a regular basis had anything to do with it.

Hopefully, Kuro-handsome would tire him out, though.

Fai got into his car and backed out of the parking lot slowly. It was almost midnight and the lateness of the hour did nothing to unclog the constantly overcrowded streets.

The drive was tedious, but Fai didn't mind. He did his best thinking when he was stuck in traffic anyways. He ended up putting the top back up on the Mclaren and blasting the music.

There was a lot for him to think about. The café was doing well for only being open for a year—and a food critic was going to come by tomorrow to write an article about them. He had to do the prep work for Touya so he could really wow him or her.

The good press might bring in enough new clients to fund the opening of a second café… Yuuko, his personal attorney and impromptu life coach, had warned him to keep the funds for the Neko no me Café completely separate from the rest of his affairs, as it was the only joint that had nothing shady going on.

He was building his safety net should things go south with his more lucrative clubs.

In reality he was hoping that he could eventually manage his expenses with the café's profits alone and sell off the riskier side of his business, and be done with the madness of it all. The novelty had worn off years ago and he was getting too old to deal with the constant power struggles and import/distribution issues anymore.

It was affecting his mental health drastically.

His family was starting to notice… ask questions… it was all becoming so terribly complicated.

When he had first dropped out of college to deal, he had resigned himself to the fact that he would probably end up this way. Even the best of them did. It was a hard field to be in… But he couldn't help hoping that maybe there could be more to his life than working 100-hour weeks.

Fai sighed loudly as he pulled up in front of Kyuden and tossed the key fob at the bouncer. There was no line outside the door like with most of the clubs he owned—Kyuden was slower. Their VIP tables were booked up most nights though, and even with less foot traffic, Yuto pulled in a nice profit for him.

They sold more skin then booze here.

The blonde pushed the heavy wooden door open and smiled kindly at the hostess who greeted him. She knew who he was. They all did.

"I have someone important meeting me here for a drink soon. His name is Kurogane. I'll be at my usual table." Fai flashed her the profile picture and she gave him a knowing smile and nodded—making a note of his name on her list.

With that taken care of Fai headed in through to the main bar and then straight up the stairs to the balconied VIP section. Yuto had been behind the bar mixing drinks for an older couple but nodded his acknowledgement before continuing what he was doing.

The most private booth had been reserved for him when he had announced that he would be stopping by to talk budgets tonight. It worked well for a private conversation about finances as well as some hot and haughty alone time with his date.

Hopefully he wasn't shy.

Fai took out his phone and sent a quick message to Kuro-muscles.

 

I got us a booth.

Let the hostess know you're here to meet me.

she will bring you back.

 

While he waited, Fai ordered a black coffee and stood to refamiliarize himself with the layout of the upper level of the club. There wasn't much unused space to work with… but they could probably move some things around to suit the guest’s needs better.

As it was, most of the tables had a wonderful view of the stage down below, but no view of the other patrons. That seating was rather limited however… only so much room.

He rubbed his temples and checked his phone again.

 

Be there in 5.

 

Fai finished of his coffee and double checked his appearance in the front facing camera of his phone. The waitress swung by and collected the empty mug and left two drink menus in its place—and he was left watching the entrance of the club impatiently.

True to his word, Kuro-sexy arrived in five-ish minutes.

Dear god was he tall.

Kurogane towered over the hostess who had been just a few inches shorter than himself in her heels. He looked uninterested as she flashed him a flirtatious smile and Fai was left smirking as he followed her through the main bar and up the stairs.

He made himself look busy by checking his phone as they made the rest of the trip to the far end of the VIP section. He could hear his heavy footfalls as they approached but didn't look up from what he was doing just yet.

He didn't want to look thirsty—even if he was.

Kuro-hunk didn't need to know how desperate he was. It would probably be a huge turn off.

"Here you are, Sir. The waitress will be by shortly to take your order." As they were trained to do, the hostess bowed deeply and Kurogane thanked her before sliding into the circular booth next to the blond, leaving a respectful amount of space between them.

She left them be and only then did Fai look up from his phone to flash his most dazzling smile. "Thanks for agreeing to meet me on such short notice."

"Yeah." Kurogane was looking him over carefully and Fai just continued to smile. He knew he was exotic looking compared to your average person here. He had been born overseas after all.

Maybe Kuro-broad had a fetish for blondes?

"Something wrong?" He kept his voice purposefully sweet and tilted his head slightly to the side.

"Not really. You normally dress like that?" The raven-haired man's voice was deep. Wonderfully deep.

Fai glanced down at his outfit. Yes—yes, he did. He was almost always dressed in a three-piece suit.

"Work clothes." He confirmed and Kurogane nodded, still watching him with piercing crimson eyes.

Fai hadn't noticed his eyes in his profile picture, but they were stunning.

There was another long silence between them and Fai was starting to wonder if something was amiss? Something in his teeth?

He was hot, but for Christ’s sake. You would think he had sprouted a second head with the way Kurogane was scrutinizing him.

"I don't mean to be rude—" the tanned man finally spoke. "—and don't get me wrong, but I think you're… You're fucking beautiful. Why the fuck are you, of all people, on a hookup app?"

Oh?

Fai smiled. That was not the first time he had been asked this on a date before. Especially if they saw him pull up in one of his expensive cars—or when he ordered the most expensive menu items.

He made a point not to allude to being well off financially before he met someone the first time. It attracted the wrong crowd.

"Trying to find out what's wrong with me?" the blond gave a mischievous smirk, his nose wrinkling with amusement at the younger man's words.

"Tch. Pretty fucking much." Kurogane finally glanced over the menu and Fai shook his head slowly.

Such a potty mouth.

"I'm an emotional wreck who works 80+ hour weeks and I'm in desperate need of a good orgasm for my sanity." Fai deadpanned, and those crimson eyes locked with his own.

He saw the younger man's ears tinge red at his directness.

Ugh. How freaking cute.

"What about you, Kuro-handsome… Why is someone so..." Fai gestured vaguely in the man's general direction and smirked. "Surely, you must have gentlemen such as myself—well you know." The blond winked and the blush spread to the taller man's cheeks.

Oh god. Why was he so cute?

"Same, minus the emotional wreck part. I moved here and I'm working late shifts, so it's hard to meet people… And my name is Kurogane." Kuro-proper set the menu aside and the waitress took that as her cue to interrupt them for their order.

"Let Yuto know I'll have his recommended scotch. Neat, please." Fai looked at his companion and cooed. "And this handsome gentleman here will have—?"

The red spread further on his cheeks still and he swore he saw Kurogane's eyebrow twitch. "Masumi sake."

The woman nodded politely—used to Fai's flirtatious behavior with his 'guests.' She retreated to retrieve their drinks leaving him to continue to smile at the seemingly grumpy man if front of him.

"So, you just moved to Tokyo?" Fai said to break the silence.

Normally, there was a hand down his pants by now and a few hikies on his neck. It seemed as though his companion was either shy, or unhappy about something.

That was ok—he knew he had a tendency to intimidate people—younger men especially. They could chitchat till Kuro-cutie was comfortable.

"I moved here about a month ago from a smaller town just outside of Tokyo." Kurogane seemed to settle from his earlier embarrassment. He was still handsome even when he wasn't trying to hide his awkwardness, so Fai wouldn't complain.

"I see. And how do you like it so far?" Fai had met more than a few new arrivals to Tokyo since had started whoring his way through Tinder almost two years ago. A few university students, some art enthusiasts, young business man—they all had their reasons.

"I hate it. The rent’s expensive and there are way too many people. It’s dirty and it’s always loud." Fai blinked a few times.

He wasn't wrong.

He chuckled at that answer, though. Kurogane really was no nonsense and Fai liked it.

"So, what brought you to Tokyo then, if you dislike it so much?" The blonde had lived here his entire life, so he was used to the hustle and bustle of the big city life—and he knew it was off putting to some.

"Work. I'm hoping I don't have to stay for long." Well, that was that Fai supposed—Tokyo wasn't for everyone—and it meant that Kuro-cranky wasn't looking for love.

Excellent.

"You have an accent. Were you born here?" Kurogane asked when Fai didn't immediately respond to his earlier statement. He was staring at his body again—the blonde's suit was well tailored but in the darkness of the room it would be hard to tell what he had going on under the layers of fabric.

"No. I was born overseas. My father adopted me when I was little. This has been my home for the last 29 years."

A lot had happened in 29 years…

"Shit. How old are you?"

Fai was sure that out of the sparse information that he had included on his profile he had at least provided the fact that he was into boys and his age… that's all the information there was about him…

"I'm 33."

"Damn. I thought that was a typo. You sure as hell don't look 33." It was Fai's turn to laugh uncomfortably.

He was fine with an age gap for something like this. They were both consenting adults—and seemingly attracted to each other. Anyway, he actually preferred his partners younger then himself. He would rather play the role of sugar daddy vs. sugar baby with the people he dated.

No matter how casual the relationship, or who topped whom.

"I'll take that as a compliment I suppose."

Kurogane's checks flushed again and he scrubbed at his face roughly with both of his hands.

"I didn't mean— you're fine. I didn't mean to make you think there was anything wrong with that. It ah—just surprised me, is all." Those crimson eyes fell to stare at his tanned hands and Fai tried not to grin too widely.

Kuro-shy was adorable. He shouldn't tease him too badly, else he may scare him off.

"You've never done anything like this before have you?" the blonde chanced, reaching his hand out to place it over the younger man’s in an attempt to comfort him.

He didn't flinch at the platonic touch. That was good right?

"This is the first time I've actually met someone off tinder in person." Kurogane admitted.

No wonder he was so nervous.

"Well, there is a first time for everything. We aren't going to do anything you don't 100% agree to. We can just have a drink and talk if you want?" Fai really wanted to get his clothes off and ride his dick until he saw stars. But only, if Kurogane wanted to pound him till he couldn't walk right.

Fai had enough people trying to get in his pants without having to pressure his date into sex.

"Its not… Fuck. It's not like that ok?" the raven-haired man seemed to get even more flustered and Fai's amusement tuned to confusion.

What the hell was it then?

Tonight was not supposed to be this complicated.

"I'm not some sniffling virgin-" Kurogane locked eyes with Fai and glared hard. "You're just… not what I'm used to. That's not a bad thing I just don't… want to do the wrong thing."

"Oh." Fai said.

Not what he was expecting? What was he expecting then?

"Are you pleasantly surprised or moderately disappointed, Kuro-muscle?" Fai offered in a teasing tone as the waitress brought there drinks back to them. Fai thanked her for the both of them and took a nice log sip of his scotch.

"Both. You're hot as fuck but annoying as hell. And my name is Kurogane." His companion sipped his sake and watched Fai with sharp eyes.

"Whaa? Kuro-meanie thinks I'm annoying? I was only concerned for your feelings…" he said a little too loudly in a whining pout.

"Are you some kind of idiot or something? Ku-ro-ga-ne." Those red eyes were glaring sharper still and Fai chuckled. They were almost sharp enough to cut paper.

It shouldn't be so much fun to get a rise out of him.

"Kuro-tan?"

"Kuro-gane. It's not that hard." His eyebrow was twitching now, and Fai had to bite the inside of his cheek to hold back his grin.

"Kuro-pii?" the blond said innocently and sipped his drink again.

"Jesus Christ…" the younger man rubbed at his temple. "Say it with me. Kuro—"

"Kuro—" Fai chimed happily.

"—Gane." He repeated the second half of his name slowly. "Kuro—gane." Spoken with extra emphasis on the 'gane' part.

"Kuro-myuu?" Fai offered. He swore he could see a bit of his date’s soul die as those words left his lips.

"Fuck me…." Kurogane was looking at him in disbelief. The blond wasn't sure if he actually thought him incapable of speaking his name properly, or if he knew the older man was pushing his buttons on purpose.

The fact that it was hard to tell was gloriously amusing.

Had no one ever teased this poor guy in his life? Fai was having far too much fun doing it now.

"Gladly." He made sure to keep his expression as neutral as possible while the younger man's face flushed beat red.

"Shut up!" Kuro-bashful huffed and looked away and Fai raised a single, impeccably manicured eyebrow at him. "You're a fucking weirdo, you know that! That's what's wrong with you!"

Fai simply sipped his scotch and swished the earthy liquid around in his mouth before swallowing it.

There was way more wrong with him than they had time to discuss—so he settled for continuing to tease his new friend mercilessly.

"I think I know what you meant by me not being what you expected."

Those red eyes flashed back to look over at him again and the blond gave a devilish smirk.

He thought about what he was going to say next carefully. He wanted to see those tanned cheeks blush dark enough that Kurogane looked like a delectably embarrassed tomato.

"You saw my picture and imagined a shy little blond foreigner clinging onto you and blushing like a meek little bottom, didn't you now?" Fai always attracted that type.

He could play innocent if he was feeling it—but he had done things that would make your mother roll in her grave.

Kurogane seemed suddenly petrified by Fai's words as he continued to speak in a singsong tone. "Then you met me and realized I'm older then you and more experienced. I'm definitely not meek—I am not the one who has been blushing tonight—and you start to wonder how things would work out if we had sex right?"

Kurogane remained silent and Fai leaned in close enough to whisper hotly in his ear. "You're totally freaked out that your aroused right now—even though it might mean taking it up the ass from a pretty blond foreigner. Right, Kuro-honey?"

"Shut—Shut up." Kuro-manly pushed Fai roughly away and the blond burst into a fit of giggles.

It was so much fun teasing Kurogane that it should be illegal…

"I don't see what's so fucking funny here, blondie." The look of pure shame induced hatred was just too much and Fai covered his mouth with one of his hands in an attempt to get himself under control.

"I'm right, aren't I?"

"I swear to god, blondie, if you don't shut the fuck up right now, I'm going to make you regret it."

Fai took another sip of his liquor. The distinct harsh taste helped distract him as he tried to think of what could put his potential lover at ease. When the last of the giggles had wiggled free of his throat, he slid closer to Kuro-baby again, so that their thighs were touching.

"I'm flattered that you think I'm so attractive you would let me fuck you, Kuro-sexy." Fai drew out his words seductively and nipped at his junior's neck playfully. "But I have never had any desire to top anyone—definitely not someone as—" Fai sucked slowly on the soft skin this time. "—impressively tall and broad as yourself."

Kurogane shivered. Fai didn't know if it was from sheer arousal or relief at knowing he wouldn't be trying anything too different tonight. Both were likely, seeing the massive hard-on bulging rather obviously in the man's jeans.

"I could perhaps be convinced to bend you over the table and make you my bitch—But only if you beg me, of course." Fai added as he looked up at Kurogane through heavy lashes.

"You're a fucking bastard, you know that?" Fai yelped as he felt a muscular arm slide around his waist and pulled him close so that he was pressed firmly against Kurogane's hot body.

God, he was big.

"You're not the first to tell me. It's not a secret." Fai sighed as his date ran a hand all the way up his side—applying just enough pressure to tickle through the layers of fabric—right to his neck, callused fingers brushing the sensitive skin in a surprisingly gentle manner.

Kurogane used his free hand to sip his sake and Fai was suddenly aware of just how horny he really was from just those chaste touches.

He hoped he didn't embarrass himself…

The waitress returned with a tray carrying another neat scotch and Masumi sake. She set both of them on the table—along with a suspicious number of napkins—and pulled the curtain that covered the entrance of the booth closed.

Kurogane looked confused and Fai used the opportunity to crawl into his lap—swinging his leg into position so that he and his date were nose to nose.

Fai didn't want to explain to him why there were privacy curtains on the booths—or that the waitress had closed the curtain because their flirting was probably catching other patron's attention. That would just ruin the mood.

Instead he closed the distance between their lips and kissed him sweetly. Fai would let Kurogane take the lead for how he wanted this to go. If that would make his lover more comfortable, Fai would roll with it. He relaxed into the taller man's chest and simply enjoyed as his senses took his partner in.

Kuro-koi was warm. His skin felt hot against Fai's chilly fingers as he trailed them up and down his strong arms. He smelled clean—like aftershave and fresh laundry—and his lips were flavored with the sake he had been sipping.

All in all, he was intoxicating.

Kurogane seemed to get the picture and brought one hand up to tangle in the blond's soft hair and used the other to lift his ass and scooch their bodies even closer, so that the smaller of the two had to crane his neck to keep their lips connected in the heated smooch.

Fai couldn't help the soft sighs he was making as Kuro-chi massaged his scalp and ran his fingers through his short locks while they kissed. The younger seemed to notice his fondness for that particular action and so continued to do so even after their kiss broke.

The hand that had previously been on his ass started to loosen Fai's tie and the smaller man was biting his bottom lip while he watched Kurogane pull the decorative fabric free and let it hang around his neck loosely. Next was the vest—but this required two hands—and Fai gave a disappointed whine as the he worked the layers of his clothing free.

Fai shivered from a combination of cool air of the room touching his previously covered skin and his lover's hot hands ghosting over the sensitive flesh as he slowly worked the buttons of his dress shirt free.

His gaze had stayed transfixed on Kurogane's hands while they finished their task. The blonde considered what those hands would look like rubbing up and down his chest, and over the sensitive skin of his thighs.

An involuntary soft moan escaped his lips and he closed his eyes to picture it further as the younger continued to carefully undo each and every button with care. Fai didn't know if it was because his hands were so big that he had a hard time with the little buttons—or if he was savoring the moment.

He didn't care either way. He was enjoying himself.

Eventually, the last button came free and Fai heard Kurogane growl as all three layers of his clothing were pushed off his slim frame at once. Suit coat, vest and dress shirt slid to the floor underneath the table, forgotten.

"Shit." Kurogane leaned back and looked down at him. Fai was panting as he was observed though half lidded, hungry crimson eyes.

"Shit." he repeated as those hot hands were hesitantly placed on either side of the blonde's torso—just above the hem of his pants—and Kurogane bit his lip as he slowly ran them up and over his naked skin, leaving goose flesh in his wake.

"Thank you?" Fai smiled at him and Kuro-swear at least had the decency to look slightly embarrassed at his language.

"Beautiful." He corrected and it was Fai's turn to flush.

He had been called beautiful before—usually by woman with perhaps a handful of men offering those words to him—but never in the middle of sex with a Greek god of a man looking at his body like he was thanksgiving dinner.

Fai shuttered and closed his eyes. His entire body was feeling hot—he wasn't used to his skin being this sensitive but the raven haired man's feather light touches were driving him crazy.

He couldn't remember the last time he had had sex this good—and they hadn't even gotten to the actual fucking part yet.

This was not his usual quick and dirty hook up he got off tinder, and he didn't know if that was a good thing or not. Normally, there were a few minutes of sloppy kissing before Fai got pushed against a wall, or bent over a table, and fucked hard and fast. Occasionally, it ended with him getting sucked off if he needed a little extra help to finish…

No one had ever freaking worshiped his body with hungry eyes like Kurogane was currently doing. He had bent forward and was currently swirling his tongue around one of Fai's nipples while his fingers gently massaged the other, alternating between rubbing the areola and pinching the tender skin between his thumb and index finger.

Applying just enough pressure to make Fai squirm his hips in the younger man's lap. He was acutely aware that this was not the most private of settings and the blond mentally kicked himself for not finding them a better place to continue.

Fai wanted his lover very naked right now. Naked and on top of him—inside of him.

He didn't want to focus all of his attention on being quiet—he wanted to scream in pleasure and curse his lover for making him feel so undone.

Not in the middle of his club, though—definitely not in front of his employees. To ensure he didn't draw too much attention to himself, Fai was covering his mouth with one of his hands—his other fisting into Kuro-tease's tee-shirt.

All of these sensations were too much but in a wonderfully, overwhelmingly, delicious way that made him want to crawl out of his own skin.

Kind of like when you went to see a chiropractor—and their adjustments just hurt so fucking right.

Fai tugged particularly hard at Kurogane's tee and the younger stopped his intoxicating little nips and kisses to look at Fai.

"Do you uh… really wanna…?" Kurogane ground his erection against Fai's ass as if to finish the unspoken question and Fai whimpered and nodded his head quickly.

He was sure he was going to die after all of that teasing. He needed release.

"You wanna do it… here? I don't have any lube or a condo—" Fai silenced him with a sloppy kiss.

"Fuck the lube just use spit." Fai ground their hips together and Kurogane growled at the contact.

"And the condom?"

Fai would definitely prefer it if they didn't use one—but now was not the time to push that issue. While he only ever used protection when his partner requested, he always came prepared.

"Wallet." His words came out in a breathy sigh while he shifted to regain the black leather Dunhill wallet. He retrieved the shiny metal wrapper and handed it to Kurogane before tossing his wallet back on the table.

To his surprise, the taller man set it aside and those hot hands ran up his sides again and pulled Fai forward and the taller man kissed his way down the blonde's neck. Every move he made was smooth, paced, thoroughly deliberate, and it was intoxicating.

Kurogane ran those hot hands back down his sides, dragging his nails lightly across the smooth pale skin, then up his back. Massaging small circles into the tight muscles as he went. Fai was left again gripping uselessly onto his clothes and shifting his hips back and forth to create an enticing friction.

Eventually with enough quiet whines Kurogane kissed his lips a little more roughly and reached for the blonde's belt. The buckle came loose with a little work and Fai shifted onto his knees so that he was eye level with his lover.

Their position was unfortunately awkward considering their tight quarters and the inconvenience of clothing. Fai didn't want to get completely naked in public like this… that wasn't a good call.

Again, he mentally kicked himself for not planning this better.

Kuro-crafty seemed to be content to make it work and Fai didn't question him when he was presented with three very large fingers. The blonde gave his best sultry look as sucked them with a little more force than needed.

Kurogane watched him with famished eyes—Fai hoped that he was thinking about what it would be like to have him sucking someplace a little more pleasant. His mind wandered back to his earlier musings about whipped cream and a little rope and he moaned a little too loudly.

It was a much more—vivid—picture from the taller man's lap.

There was no need for fantasies when he had the real thing in front of him right now, though.

Once he had meticulously coated Kurogane's fingers with saliva, he closed his eyes and tried to relax as he felt that same hand slide down the back of his slacks. Kurogane probed at his entrance while nipping and kissing his way down Fai's neck and the overwhelming sensation of the hot breath puffing against his skin and the gentle pressure of those slick fingers made him squirm.

The feeling of wanting to crawl out of his skin was back and his own breath was coming out in airy gasps before there had even been any penetration at all. At this rate he was going to cum—and that was embarrassing.

He wasn't used to someone being able to make his body react this way.

The first finger entered his body smoothly and Fai leaned forward to bury his face in the crook of Kurogane's neck to muffle his moan when he crooked it just right. The blond swore he could hear a satisfied smirk in the younger man's next low growl.

Fai could only assume what he looked like right now. On his knees hovering above Kurogane's lap—ass out—leaning forward with arms wrapped around strong shoulders.

Sure, he could ruin the picture that his lover seemed so pleased with if he wanted to. That didn't sound like very much fun—so Fai let Kurogane continue to lead their little dance for now and closed his eyes to enjoy the feeling of strong fingers slowly stretching him.

A second finger was added and the taller mans free hand moved to tug down the front of Fai's boxers to free his arousal. His entire body shivered as Kurogane touched his cock just like he had been touching the rest of him.

Who would have thought him such a fucking tease?

Fai loved it.

A little more pressure was applied as Kurogane was smoothly running a closed fist up and down his length while the third finger was added. Fai had taken to kissing and sucking at Kuro-koi's thick neck and bit him rather roughly as he hit that bundle of nerves that threatened to put Fai over the edge.

"I take it—" Kurogane brushed it again while swiping his thumb over the head of the blonde's cock. "—that's the spot?"

"If you keep that up, I'm going to—"

"Do it." Kurogane massaged his prostate with a little more pressure and quickened the pace of his other hand and Fai unwrapped his arms and leaned his weight back so that he could kiss his lover.

"What about?" his eyes flickered down to the painfully obvious hard-on in the younger man's jeans.

"Don't worry about that right now. I want to see you cum." Kurogane's voice came out in a low growl that caused Fai to shudder again.

"And is Kuro-sama usually such a gracious lover or do you just like to watch?" Fai leaned back into the raven haired man's touches, encouraging him to increase the pressure a smidge more.

He didn't answer—but Fai could assume from the way those eyes were watching the smaller man's hips move provocatively that he may have found a cute kink.

He could definitely get into this.

Fai sucked in a deep breath through his nose and held it for a moment, in an attempt to get better control of the tingling in his cock. Not yet—this was too good to end yet.

The blonde made a show of using a single finger to tilt Kurogane's chin up, forcing their eyes to meet, before using the other hand to drag up his own torso. As he had expected—those crimson eyes locked in on what he was doing to himself.

Fai left a frustrated pout on his face while he closed his eyes and tiled his head back. With his own hand he traced up his sensitive side, traced over his protruding collar bones, ran them over his own erect nipples.

It felt nice—almost as nice as when Kurogane had done it for him earlier.

It must have looked nice too, because he felt the younger man shift below him and sigh. The grip on the blonde's dick was firmer and he was jerking him off faster now—matching the way he was moving his fingers.

Fai was bracing himself against the tanned man with a hand on his very warm, very broad chest. Said hand fisted into the fabric, nails digging into his skin as Fai was hit with a sudden wave of pleasure that he wasn't expecting.

He came hard, back arching in an impressive show of flexibility as he covered his breathy gasps with his hand. Streams of sticky, hot cum shot out of him as he felt his member jolt.

Kurogane didn't seem to mind the mess that had spattered his clothing and continued to move his hands as his lover orgasmed.

When the last of pleasurable spasms washed over Fai's body, the raven-haired man withdrew his fingers and reached for the napkins the waitress had so kindly provided them and started to wipe away the mess.

The blonde tugged his slacks up a little higher, so he wasn't as exposed, and shifted to sit next to him. Fai sipped his scotch and tried to think just how he was going to pay this little scamp back for that.

He hadn't expected this to take as long as it was—but this wasn't an unpleasant surprise by any means.

Slowly he leaned down to grab his clothing that was currently rumpled by Kurogane's feet and tossed them to the other side of the booth before sliding down to take their place.

"Hey, you don't have to—" Kurogane gave him a surprised look.

"I want to." Fai cut him off and placed his delicate hands on the man's belt buckle, pausing for permission.

Kurogane gave a nod and watched with rapt interest as Fai turned his attention to the pesky cloth that was hiding his prize. He had popped more than a few belts in his day—and Fai was marveling at the younger man's impressive manhood within seconds.

The blonde licked at the impressive amount of precum that had collected at the head of his date’s cock and concluded that Kuro-myuu had been enjoying himself with his earlier teasing. It was the blonde’s turn to make his partner squirm now—and given their sizable age difference—he had a lot more experience doing just that.

Swirling his tongue around the head, he slid both of his hands up under the hem of the dark shirt that was marring his perfect view of Kuro-love's no doubt impressive stomach.

And what a sight it was.

He was definitely going to need a night to admire this body in all its glory.

Fai took more of his lover into his mouth and sucked hard. Smirking around his cock, the blonde's blue eyes flickered up to see Kurogane's face, and he was not disappointed. Those red eyes were still watching him—only instead of being heavy with hunger, they were half lidded with need.

Good.

Fai closed his eyes, relaxed his throat and impressed himself by taking the entirety of his date’s manhood. Humming softly, he opened his eyes again and felt Kuro-wan twitch when their gaze met again.

Fai felt heat rushing back down between his own legs and he reached a hand down to slide inside of his own boxers.

Leaning his head back, the blond applied just enough pressure with his lips to get his first moan. Kurogane raised a hand to tangle into his short locks and watched as Fai swished his tongue over the tip.

"Kuro-chan tastes good." He purred and felt the fingers in his hair tighten uncomfortably.

"It's Kurogane damm—Fuck…" Fai cut him off by sucking hard on the head of his penis and giving him an innocent look before closing his eyes and bobbing his head up and down.

It continued on like that. The older man earned quite a few moans and curses from the younger any time he would glace up or make a show of what he was doing. Fai could feel Kurogane getting close a few times—his cock was twitching with need—and he made sure to switch things up enough to keep this little game going for as long as he could.

He had been in the middle of deep throating his lover when he felt a tug at his hair. His eyes flickered up to see the taller man motion for him to come up with his free hand.

Slightly disappointed at not getting to show off the rest of his oral skills with the big finally, he climbed up from under the table.

He was letting Kuro-handsome be the boss. He had to remember.

Fai settled in the booth next to the raven-haired man and relished in the feeling of Kurogane's hands on his cool cheeks as he kissed him roughly.

"Not that that wasn't fucking amazing…" he let his words trail off and he kissed Fai more insistently. "I just really wanted to fuck you."

"By all means, Kuro-chan." Fai cooed.

That had been the ultimate goal of all of this hadn't it?

The blond could tell that his date was much more excited now then he had been at the beginning of their little necking session. His hands moved with fervor as he tugged him into position and Fai found himself on his knees—hands gripping the top of the high back booth while his partner slid his hands over his body and kissed his neck.

He had already cum once tonight, but he was more than ready for round two.

He could hear Kurogane opening the condom and adjusted his own clothing so that his lover would have better access to where he needed to be.

Fai held his breath as Kurogane slowly entered him—one of those hot hands on his left hip, the other on his right shoulder.

The blonde winced a little—Kurogane was definitely well endowed and prelubricated condom or no—it would unquestionably be more comfortable if they had come a little better equipped.

His discomfort was quickly forgotten when Kurogane reached down and grabbed his throbbing cock, however. After a few seconds of adjustment time, he set a brutally brilliant rhythm for them that had Fai breathless.

Was it possible to be addicted to a sensation? Because Fai was sure no other feeling in the world was quite like the feeling of Kurogane fucking him in this booth.

They were both exceedingly careful to stay quiet—for Fai that meant again covering his mouth with one hand while he tried to hang onto the back of the booth with the other. Between his own muffled sighs and whimpers, he could hear Kurogane legitimately growling as he thrusted into him and it was honestly the most erotic thing that had ever happened to him.

Fai came shockingly fast and was sure his eyes were rolling into the back of his head from the hot waves of pleasure that were slamming into him with every thrust. Kurgoane followed not long after and the blonde found himself grinning as he came with a stream of curse words whispered under his breath.

Oh yes… this had been just what Fai needed.

Kurogane pulled out carefully and handed Fai a few of the napkins before cleaning himself up. Fai hadn't expected to be pulled back into his date’s lap after they had finished—and he especially didn't expect to get a soft kiss on the neck and his drink handed to him.

"You're awfully sweet, Kuro-puu." Normally, Fai wouldn't tolerate such affections after a hookup—but he was starting to get tired and Kurogane was really very comfortable.

Besides they still had drinks to finish.

"Not really. What do you expect me to do? Zip my jeans and ditch after I just fucked you?" Kurogane sipped his sake and Fai rolled his eyes.

Yes. That is usually how these things went.

"That's normally close to how it goes. If I didn't know any better, I would think you had a crush on me." Fai leaned his head on his date’s strong shoulders and yawned.

He was going to need to find somewhere private to refresh, soon.

"Fuck that. You're hot but I can tell you’re fucking insane."

Fai snorted. Good observation kid.

"You're not wrong there, Kuro-woof." Fai tipped his head back and finished off the rest of his drink. He could vaguely hear his stepfather scolding him in the back of his mind for not savoring the flavor of such an expensive scotch – but Fai only drank the stuff because he liked how it smelled. Besides, the sooner they finished their drinks the sooner he could go top up.

"It's Kurogane, you freak." The taller man followed suit and knocked back the rest of his drink. "Hey, you know where the bathroom is here? I gotta clean up a bit."

The blonde's eyes flickered to his soiled clothing and frowned. Yeah—that would be for the best.

"Sure. Just a sec, ok?" Fai grabbed his own clothing and quickly buttoned up his dress shirt, tucking it in and fixing his belt in an attempt to look a little less sex rumpled. He didn't think he was pulling it off—and draped his vest, tie, and jacket over his arm and stood.

Kurogane watched him lazily and followed him out of the booth. Fai was reminded of his date's glorious height and smirked as he led them through the winding booths, back down the stairs, and past the door that very clearly read 'employees only.'

"Hey, is it ok if we’re back here?" Kurogane looked around curiously as Fai led him past the store room, back past the break room and into the employee bathroom.

"I work here, silly." Fai winked at him, holding the door open for the younger man.

"You seriously screwed someone at your job? Your boss is cool with that?" Kurogane entered the room and looked at himself in the mirror. The dried cum on his shirt and pants stood out against his black clothing.

Whoops.

Fai didn't answer as he followed him in and started to fix his own clothing. The lighting was dim enough in the club that no one would notice. The light provided from the street lamps weren't much better, so it wasn't the end of the world.

"What are you doing after this?" Kurogane asked as he used a damp paper towel to try and get some of the evidence washed away.

"Going back to work." Fai made quick work of redressing. This wasn't the first time he had had to salvage a wrinkled outfit—wouldn't be the last.

"Fuck. Good luck with that." Kurogane gave up and tossed the paper towel in the trash and turned to lean against the sink and watch him.

"I take it your nightly excursions are over Kuro-tan?" Fai tightened his tie and pulled out his cell phone.

Ugh. He was starting to regret sending Syaoran home…

"Yeah."

The blonde ignored the text messages and emails that had flooded in since his arrival at Kyuden and went to his contacts. Opening up a blank card, he handed his phone to his date and smiled.

"If you don't mind, Kuro-cutie." Kurogane took his phone and gingerly entered his name and number into his phone before handing it back. "Thank you, Sir."

The blond stepped close to the taller man and pressed his back against Kurogane's chest. Lifting his phone up above both of their heads, he gave a dazzling smile and cooed. "Say Cheese, Kuro-scowl!"

Of course, Kurogane didn't comply and instead of a selfie with two gentlemen smiling happily in a post sex glow—they ended up with one man smiling in a post sex glow, and one glaring so hard one would expect the camera to shatter.

And wasn't that perfect?

"Whaa! Look how cute we are?" Fai teased as he set the photo as Kurogane's contact picture. He also sent it to the younger man, so he would have the blonde's number.

"You are such a fucking weirdo." Kurogane growled at him but checked his phone as soon as the message came through, nonetheless.

"Yes—but I am a hot weirdo." The blonde reminded before turning to lead them both back out to the main room of the club.

Fai tossed his credit card on the bar as they passed Yuto and walked Kurogane back out to the street. "I ordered you an Uber."

"You didn't need to do that or pay for the drink, you know?" the raven-haired man sighed and glared daggers at him.

"What's the point of seeing an older man if they don't pick up the tab?" The blonde teased and Kurogane gave him a slightly scandalized look.

"Hey! That's not what this was about!" 

Fai laughed. Kurogane was practically stomping his feet in frustration.

Luckily for the younger man, the cab pulled up and Fai graciously opened the back door for him.

Once the cab had pulled away, Fai went back inside—he just had to get through the rest of the night…

He could do this.

 

Chapter Text

Fai was rubbing at his temples in an attempt to get his mind to focus over the loud sound of Dubstep thumping through the floors of Kurōbā. Kanoe, the manager of the 4th floor, was sitting across from him. She was dressed as impeccably as always—a tight red dress showing off her gracious curves as she leaned lazily in her chair looking over the newest resumes Fai had presented her with.

Given the nature of his business—he personally oversaw all hiring activities and any new employees had to be approved by him directly before being added to the payroll. It drove some of his people, like the beautiful and independent Kanoe, up the wall.

The blond was sympathetic. There were, after all, thousands of bartenders in Tokyo. Many of which would love to get a regular slot at a hot spot like Kurōbā, which was located right smack dab in the middle of the downtown strip.

It wasn't just taking orders and mixing drinks, though—not in one of Fai's clubs.

No, there was massive amounts of illicit substances passing hands here. This floor especially had to be watched closely considering the heavy downers Kanoe's clients preferred. They needed someone who had the right background and could be trusted to pay attention to not only the bar but the rest of the floor, where his boys were pushing pills.

After years of perfecting his process when it came to hiring, he made sure to look internally for someone who may be ready for the pay bump that came along with the role of floor monitor when the manager was busy. He made all of his managers rule out all internal resumes before Fai would even entertain the idea of bringing a newbie up from scratch.

It was a pain, he knew—but there hadn't been an OD on one of his properties in nearly 5 years and they could not afford to break that streak. Not with how far up his ass the feds were after two of his boys had been popped moving several hundred thousand dollars worth of illicit substance earlier this week.

It was a big job and Fai made sure the pay matched—higher than any other place in Tokyo. Most people working service jobs like bartending would be willing to bend their morals for a big enough pay raise—but that alone was not enough. Not with the possibility of someone on his crew leaking the info that had him out more money than the entire mortgage on this building.

The only issue with this rule and Kanoe was that each one of his establishments was unique—and someone thriving at one of his other clubs… might flop at Kurōbā. Especially working under this manager.

She was somewhat of an acquired taste…

If he was to put it politely at least.

Fai did his best to keep people in the spot they were the happiest. After all—a family that plays together stays together. Kanoe usually kept an all female staff because she didn't work well with most men—and they were not finding a suitable young lady who would be able to work the required hours.

Not for a lack of suggestions on Fai's part.

While he was flooded with resumes of beautiful young girls—none of them gave off the air of sophistication the rest of the staff portrayed. At least that was the reason his 4th floor manager kept giving for trashing all his hopefuls.

"And why don't you like miss Miyuki? She has several years of bartending experience and she comes with a recommendation from Subaru… She works downstairs as a waitress and is looking for a full time spot." Fai didn't know much about her other than that she hadn't given him any problems since Subaru had hired her a year ago.

That was honestly the best way to get noticed by him. The lower maintenance his staff, the better for his dwindling sanity.

"You know Subaru and I train our staff too differently. She would never be able to keep up. And besides—She wore that slutty outfit to the interview." The raven-haired beauty before him sighed. At least she had the decency to seem as frustrated as she was making her boss.

Fai raised an eyebrow at the plunging neckline of her dress but didn't comment on the hypocritical statement. They had been at this for nearly an hour tonight, and this was the fourth meeting they had had this week on the subject. He was a very busy man and needed to get this squared away before he spent much more energy on it, least he decide to just replace Kanoe with an easier to please manager...

Interviews had to be held during the day, which was when he slept. He had been in twice this week to conduct said interviews and the lack of sleep combined with the increased stress of having to deal with Reed being in Japan was causing his patience to grow thin.

Very, very thin.

That was before the bust—it was currently gone.

It didn't help that he had made Syaoran take the rest of the week off. He had caught a terrible flu from his son and Fai had no intention of picking the bug up from him. Without an assistant though, he had been swamped with answering emails and phone calls that Syaoran usually screened for importance.

"Level with me here. Try her for a night? I'll go have her pulled now and we can see." Fai kept a neutral smile on his face as Kanoe sighed in vexation and set the rest of the resumes aside.

"Fine. Won't Subaru be upset he'll be down a girl on such short notice?"

Probably.

"I'll handle it. Just give her a chance, ok?" Fai felt his phone vibrate in his pocket for about the eight millionth time tonight and ignored it in favor of weaving his way to the staircase that would take him down to the 2nd floor of Kurōbā where Miyuki was currently working as a drink runner.

Before he could snatch her, he was going to need to locate Subaru and inform him. Kurōbā had 4 managers, one for each floor of the club. It was a delicate balancing act keeping the place running with 4 very different personalities working together to keep their patrons very drunk, just high enough on their drug of choice and spending.

Fai liked Subaru a great deal. He and his younger brother Kamui were wonderful to work with and have been with him through thick and thin. He would be a little annoyed at getting one of his girls pulled midshift, sure—but if Fai tossed him a weekend off with his honey, any hurt feelings would be forgotten soon enough.

Weaving his way through the gyrating bodies on the dance floor, he leaned on the bar and flashed the bartender a happy smile. "Where is your manager hiding, sweetie?"

Fai wasn't on the floor here very often since it was so well managed, but the woman working still knew who he was and told him what he needed to know without a hassle. If Subaru was in the back as she claimed, it could only mean one thing.

The offices for Kurōbā were on the main floor and rather than calling down from the phone behind the bar, he simply thanked the bartender and wandered off to the stairs. The fact that he didn't see Seishiro at his usual spot by the entrance to the 2nd floor only proved his suspicions were not misplaced.

It wasn't like he cared that they were goofing off… He just wanted to be done here. He was supposed to be down at the docks to inspect their new product before he allowed it to hit the floors and they had been running low on X—much to the annoyance of the younger crowd—and the sooner he got that moving, the sooner he could worry about their possible snitch.

Yuuko had ripped him a new one over the charges he was asking her to get tossed. He was willing to grease some palms, that was no skin of his nose. He had enough cash to toss at this to cost the judge on the case the next election… He just needed Yuuko to do what she did best and let the old fucker know that simple fact.

Those poor kids were both in their last year of university and Fai would be damned if they went to prison for life on his behalf. That was not how he treated his people, and something like this would throw his whole enterprise off balance if it wasn't resolved.

He was out for blood with this extra stress and Fai was going to personally make whomever had let this info go pay dearly.

Someone wasn't just going to lose their job—they were going to rue the day they crossed him and beg for him to forgive them and allow a quick death. It was the only way to ensure this sort of shit didn't spread.

How convenient it happened with Reed in town.

Even after that, though, his night wasn't done. His newest club, Dansuhausu, had had a pipe burst and the whole joint was closed tonight. The insurance adjuster had been by during the day and he had to look over the insurance company's proposed repairs and time frame and decide if he would rather front the money to get it done correctly the first time—and quickly.

The blond found Subaru's office with ease—he had been there often enough to know which one was his—and pushed the door open without knocking. The surprised yelp of his manager brought an amused smile to his face as he watched him scramble out from under Seishiro.

The taller man didn't seem at all bothered at getting caught with his honey and simply straightened his clothing and left the room without saying a word, leaving his lover to explain the situation to their boss.

"Sorry to interrupt." Fai teased, and Subaru flushed.

"Can I help you, Fai-sama?" Getting caught with your pants down aside, he had enough of his senses together to offer his boss a seat and Fai, given the time crunch, politely declined.

"I just wanted to let you know I'm pulling one of your girls to head up to the 4th floor so Kanoe can see how she fares behind the bar." There was no asking. Fai would do as he pleased, and Subaru knew there was no question being posed.

"Miyuki?" he didn't seem surprised—or bothered—in the slightest.

Well that made it easier.

"Yes. Is that going to leave you short?" Fai felt his phone vibrate again—another phone call…

God, did he miss Syaoran.

"I'll manage." Subaru smiled and walked to the door. The manager could probably take her place himself seeing as he had time to spare for—erm—quality time during work hours. Not that he could complain given the fact that he had been fucked by various men in every single one of his clubs.

Subaru and Seishiro were salary, anyways.

Fai followed him and pulled his phone out to see if something urgent needed his attention or if his people just really felt like bother—

Shit.

"Hey. Can you walk your girl up to Kanoe and tell her I have something urgent that needs my immediate attention?" Fai felt his heart sink as he counted 5 missed calls as well as several text messages from his younger brother and his step father.

Of course…

"Sure, everything ok?" Subaru gave a knowing smile and Fai sighed.

This seemed to be happening every few months at least, this past year. He could not catch a break at work or home, it seemed.

"Nothing to worry about. I'll be available via phone if there is anything that can't wait until tomorrow." Fai clapped a hand on his managers shoulder and swiveled around to head out towards the street, his phone already ringing before he the cold air of the street hit his face.

"Sorry to bother you at work, kid." Taishakuten answered the phone after only a single ring. At least he wasn't acting like a panicked nutcase like the last time this had happened.

Couldn't be that bad, right?

"What happened this time?" He fished his key fob out of his pants and unlocked his car before slipping into the driver's seat.

"I need you to come down to the hospital. Ashura had one of his fits and scared the living shit out of your little brother. Your mom came and got em—but Ashura is asking for you and I have a trial in the morning—"

"I'm on my way. Was it so bad they're keeping him overnight?" Fai hit the start button on his car and swerved out into traffic, cutting off a taxi as he did so.

People usually stopped for him—they didn't want to deal with being on the hook for even scratching his car.

"Yeah—he conked his head on the side of the island in the kitchen. Says the room is spinning every time he opens his eyes."

How fun.

"I'm on my way." The blond didn't wait for a reply before he hung up and settled into the drive.

This was not Fai's first midnight trip to the hospital and it wouldn't be his last. He had made this trip so many times he didn't even have to think about the turns or lanes he needed.

This wasn't that abnormal for Ashura but that didn't stop Fai from getting anxious each and every time this sort of thing happened. In hindsight, he probably shouldn't have been speeding—even if he was Fai Fluorite. He could still get pulled over by a cop too stupid to know not to fuck with him.

Lord knows the department went through officers like water these days.

When he saw the lights in his rearview mirror he swore loudly and slammed on his brakes as he pulled over to the side of the busy highway. He was glaring daggers into the driver's side view mirror as he watched whomever was feeling ballsy enough to fuck with him tonight.

He rolled down his tinted window and blinked a few times.

"Kuro-sama?" his tinder date from the other night...

Was a fucking cop.

What the fuck had he done to get on karma's bad side?

This night could not get worse.

His dad was in the hospital, he had so much work to get done he would have to sell his soul to Satan to accomplish it all now, he had to cut it off with his new favorite toy after only getting to play with it once, and now he was gonna get a ticket…

The incredibly tall, incredibly handsome and incredibly cranky looking policeman scowled at the nickname and leaned down to get a good look at Fai.

"Nice car, blondie. Care to explain why you're going 30 over the speed limit?"

He might be a crime boss, but did he really deserve this right now?

"I know you probably get this excuse a lot—but I'm on my way to the hospital." Fai unlocked his phone to show the last few text messages from his stepdad as proof of his story.

Those piercing red eyes scanned the screen and scowled deeper.

"You're not fucking with me, right, blondie? Your dad's really in the ER?" Kurogane straightened to his full, towering height and sighed.

"I'll take my ticket, please, Kuro-chan. I am in a bit of a hurry." Fai made a move to reach for the glove compartment to get out his insurance and registration.

He honestly hadn't expected Kurogane to cut him a break—he wasn't that kind of man, from what the blond had seen. Just because Fai had fucked him once didn't get him a pass for breaking the law—that was why he didn't date cops.

Not only did they try to send you to prison when they realized you were a career criminal, they didn't even have the decency to let an itty bitty reckless driving ticket slide after you had let them totally ravish you.

"No. Go. I'll follow you to make sure you don't cause a fucking accident. No more speeding, got it?" Kurogane turned to head back to his car.

Well well.

"Yes sir, Kuro-sir." Fai rolled up his window before the officer could retort and patiently waited for him to get back into his own vehicle before pulling back out into traffic. True to his warning, the raven-haired man followed him all the way to the hospital, even pulling in to the parking garage after him.

Fai didn't wait to see if he had anything else to say about his driving and tossed his key at the valet that was just outside the door to the emergency room. The blond had been to the hospital enough times to know his way around. Taishakuten had given him his father's room number and he made it there easily enough from his memory alone.

His stepdad was standing outside of the room talking to one of the nurses and offered him a nod before stepping aside and letting him into the small room. Ashura was laying back in the bed with an ice pack to his forehead and an IV in his arm. He looked unusually pale against the white sheets, his dark hair splayed out around him like a halo.

Those kind gold eyes opened to meet his own and Fai smiled sweetly for his dad. Ashura loved it when he smiled.

"Hey Dad." Fai leaned down to kiss his cheek and sat in the seat that had been left next to his bed. "What happened?"

"Aap jaanate hain-main pooree tarah se nishchit nahin hoon. main abhee ek ghante pahale hee yahaan aaya tha." Ashura spoke slowly, answering in his native tongue.

He always reverted back to Hindi when his mind got foggy. If it was from the medications the doctors had given him or just a part of his episode, Fai didn't know.

Poor thing.

"Tai says that you had a fit and hit your head on the kitchen island. Looks like you got a few stitches." Ashura had suffered from epilepsy since he was a child, but after the car accident that changed all of their lives, the seizures had been more frequent - and more severe.

Between those, the bouts of confusion, and sporadic memory loss, his father required full time care.

Apparently, that could happen when you're in a head on collision and smash your head onto the steering wheel going full speed on the freeway.

"Is that why the room is spinning? jaanakaar achchha laga…" Ashura didn't sound too concerned about it, so Fai wasn't going to push him about the how and why of all of this.

Taishakuten, with no doubt, had questioned him already about it. He would get more details later.

Room spinning didn't sound promising—but it wasn't even close to the worst thing they had had to put up with in recent years.

"Does it hurt?" Fai could see that there were dark bruises already peeking out from underneath the ice pack, and the left side of his adopted father's face looked swollen.

"A bit." He admitted just as his Stepdad walked back into the room.

From his disheveled appearance, Fai assumed he had been sleeping when this happened. It was to be expected given the lateness of the hour, of course—Taishakuten worked at a law firm and usually left for work before Fai had returned home from opening the café… They hardly saw each other these days unless Fai was guilted into bringing coffee into the firm for Yuuko after she had pulled off another legal miracle for him.

"Do you have this handled?" The silver haired man leaned over to give Ashura a smooch before turning his attention to Fai.

"Yeah. Get some sleep. I'll stay with him till he is more lucid." His Stepdad nodded and turned to leave—needing no additional reassurances.

This was a regretfully well-rehearsed dance when it came to babysitting Ashura in the hospital.

Fai leaned his head on his palm and pulled out his cellphone. The doctors were keeping his father well medicated, so while he may still be confused, he wasn't in any distress.

At least he wasn't asking for Yuui…

Fai wasn't ready to deal with that on so little sleep.

His father wasn't anywhere near as chatty as he usually was and seemed content to just laze about. The doctor popped in and filled Fai in on where they sat with testing—and that, while Ashura had taken a pretty nasty hit to the noggin, there was no bleeding or swelling. His lack of balance was concerning, though, so they were going to keep him for observation.

It wasn't bad at all, all things considered, and Fai made himself comfortable so he could wait out the night next to his father. It threw a wrench in his schedule for sure—but he could delegate and reschedule since he was lacking options at the moment.

He would rather have his managers on the floor where they belonged—but he sent Kamui and Yuto to check out the shipment. They had both been with him for years and he knew they wouldn't fuck this up. He had Takashi scan and send him the insurance adjusters notes to look over and emailed Yuuko's paralegal, Watanuki, to schedule him a spot to meet with her the day after tomorrow first thing, to discuss the best way to fix his newest headache.

Kanoe had made it very clear in her newest email that she was not happy with Fai forcing her hand, but was going to give Miyuki a chance.

And Subaru put in a request to get a new drink runner…

Great.

Fai also went over his schedule for the rest of the night and managed to move the rest of his menial tasks to be handled later this week or early next. Touya, by some miracle, had been up and agreed to come in early to open the café for him.

He was in the middle of typing up an order to his Chinese pill mill contacts with a request to rush the next shipment, if at all possible, when he noticed Ashura watching him with a frown.

"Fai."

"Yes, Dad?" He offered a sweet smile, but didn't look up from his screen as his fingers danced viciously across the keyboard in an attempt to hurry through his overflowing inbox.

"You were really busy tonight with work, weren't you?" How was it that just being in the same room as his dad managed to make the man worry? He just needed to worry about getting well… and maybe put a little more energy into staying well.

Fai had everything else handled.

"Not particularly. My assistant usually takes care of my email, but I have to answer them myself tonight, is all." His tone was as sweet as his smile and he hit a hard enter to send off his order before opening a work request from one of his smaller establishments that was in the ritzy side of town in an older building.

"Where is Syaoran? It's strange for him to miss work." Well it seemed his head was clear enough to stick to a single language for now.

That was progress even if he was trying to worry over things that were better left alone.

Fai knew Ashura liked the Li family. Especially little Tsubasa. He had first been introduced to Syaoran through his wife's older brother—who had worked as a paralegal for his father before deciding to change to the culinary field and follow his true passion.

Ashura had known both Syaoran and Sakura since they were young. But somehow, Fai hadn't met Syaoran until he had made it on the payroll despite how closely their families were tied.

Fai hadn't made the connection until he had hired Touya—the ex-paralegal—to manage his café.

Ashura liked to visit the café and see the baby while picking up sweets and coffee for his stepdad, who worked up the street. Syaoran was also one of his few employees that knew where he lived—if only for the fact that he had had to drive a very drunk and/or high Fai home after a long night.

Syaoran would pass him off to Ashura and usually wasn't allowed to leave until he had at least one cup of tea.

"At home not giving me his flu. He said he was feeling a little better, so he will be back in no time." Ashura was still frowning at him and the blond finally set his work aside to give his father his total attention. "What wrong, Dad?"

"You've been so busy lately. The only time I see you is when I steal you from work by ending up here. Main tumhaaree chinta hai." His father sounded exhausted as he spoke, and Fai suddenly regretted not scheduling more time with the family.

It wasn't like they were hurting for money—he could take some time off if he needed to… After Reed left, at least.

"I'm sorry I don't mean to worry you. You're the one in the hospital—it should be me worrying about you." Fai tried to look reassuring, but Ashura didn't look as though he was buying it today.

"I don't want to tell you how to live your life, child—but I was like you at your age. All I did was work and I missed spending priceless time with you and Yuui when you were young."

Fai did not want to reminisce about Yuui or any other aspect of his childhood tonight. He could deal without revisiting the emotional trauma that came with thoughts of his twin.

He tugged a little harder at his smile to cover up his true feelings on the subject and hoped he pulled it off—least he didn't have to sit though one of his father's famous lectures.

"I like working, Dad." Years ago, it had been working or stay at home and drown in depression and self-pity.

Fai needed to be busy like this for his own good.

"That may be—but you can enjoy other things to. When are you going to bring home a sweetheart? Get married and have a few cute blond babies for me to snuggle?"

Yup—those pain killers were really something. Why did this have to happen every. Single. Time?

"I just haven't met the right person to smother my passion, I suppose. I'm not the domestic type, anyways." Crime boss and good father didn't go hand and hand.

Besides—seriously shitty moral compass aside, he didn't come from a very good blood line. Both his birth parents were heroin addicts who had dropped out of high school after he and his twin were born only to live off of welfare and neglect them until CPS had taken them away. He had managed to graduate high school at least—but he had dropped out of college and had… issues.

Even though he had money, Fai knew he never wanted to pass along his mental issues. Not the tendency towards addiction, the anxiety, or the depression.

Besides—a serious lover and child were just more people to lose—more people to be used against him.

"So, find someone who shares your passion and get a dog. No—get a cat. A grandpet is almost as good as a grandbaby so long as they are fluffy enough." Ashura winked at him before settling back and sighing

"Is this your way of telling me I should buy you an animal?"

"No. I just want to snuggle a grandpet and have your husband take care of it…"

"Ok. I will keep that in mind Dad." Fai chuckled. If they had gotten back to joking, he was going to be just fine.

"Now that we're on the same page on my expectations of your future—Go back to work. I'm going to sleep until they decide I am a poor hostage and let me go." Ashura tossed an arm over his eyes lazily and the blond could only shake his head.

"Ok, Dad. I will come back when you prove just how bad of a hostage you are."

"Don't bother. Send Tai. He always leaves you to do all of the real work." That wasn't entirely true—Fai was just a control freak and his Stepdad had learned who was boss years ago.

He made quick work of packing up—making a mental list of what else he might be able to accomplish tonight.

At least he wasn't leaving worried sick this time. The little blessings he would take happily.

"Meetha sapana, dad." He paused in the doorway for a moment just to make sure his father was comfortable—and offered him good night in his father's native tongue.

"Haan bachcha. Mushkil theek kaam nahin?"

Fai simply offered a smile before closing the door behind him to allow his father to rest.

Like that would ever happen.

He found his way back out of the brightly lit hospital and froze just outside of the revolving doors. He hadn't expected to run back into Kurogane as soon as he entered the underground parking structure.

The raven-haired officer was leaning against his patrol car that had been parked just past the valet booth, still dressed in his uniform and looking unfairly handsome.

Why the hell was he here?

"Were you waiting for me, Kuro-sweet?" Fai approached him tiredly. Unless they were going to fuck, he wasn't interested in putting in the effort to flirt.

It had been very kind of him to let Fai go with so little fuss earlier, sure, and maybe he wanted a proper thank you?

Fai could probably manage to be flirty for that.

It's been almost a week since their delicious little love making session at Kyuden.

Maybe he wanted to fuck Fai in the back of his car? Perhaps ravish him while he was handcuffed in the back seat? That would be a wonderfully kinky way to cut things off with the cop, that was for certain.

Nothing since their last meeting had been worth the 10-20 minutes it had taken from his day to be slammed against the wall and fucked. He had been left annoyed and horny at how his lovers had failed to make his body tremble in pleasure like Kuro-chan had…

"Actually, I was. How's your dad?" Kurogane's expression was indifferent in comparison to his concerned words.

That was it? Worried about how his father was?

"He'll make a full recovery. Thank you for asking." Fai schooled his own expression into a perfect mask of relieved gratitude to cover his exhaustion and overall annoyance.

The sooner he could get out of this conversation, the better—he didn't have time for this unless there was a good orgasm in it for him. Not when he had accidentally left without his jacket and had suffered through the last 4 or so hours without his life line.

He was coming down and either needed to top up or crawl in bed and try and sleep through the exhaustion that was going to hit him very soon.

"What about you? You ok?" Kurogane pushed off from his spot against the patrol car and closed the distance between them with two long strides. He towered over Fai, looking down at him with what could almost be mistaken as concern.

No. Fai didn't do feelings. He didn't need this man's worry—there was no reason to worry. He was more than capable of dealing with this.

He liked it when Kurogane looked at him like he wanted to rip his clothes off and fuck him into next week better. It was a nicer look on that strong face than wasted pity.

"Oh, yeah. This isn't my first rodeo." The blond tugged his face into a beaming smile despite his annoyance and tilted his head slightly to the left.

He just had to act natural and get the hell outta here.

"You look like fucking shit, blondie."

Wow. Thanks.

"Uh— excuse me?"

Kurogane raised an eyebrow at him and frowned. "When was the last time you ate? You're white as a sheet and you're shaking."

So?

Maybe that was his aesthetic?

He was no worse off tonight then he usually was, and just last week, the cop was looking at him like he was a sex goddess while he had a couple fingers shoved up his ass.

"Don't be silly Kuro-chan! I'm always pale and I'll grab some food at wor—"

"Hold up your hand, idiot." Kurogane held his hand out in front of him, fingers splayed, to demonstrate.

Fai did as he was told and frowned at the almost violent tremors his fingers made. So maybe he needed a snack. Big deal. What was he gonna do? Force feed him?

"I can't let you drive like that. Come on. Get in." The younger man turned and opened the front passenger door of his squad car for Fai and walked around to get in behind the wheel.

Apparently, that is exactly what this kid had planned.

If Kuro-pushy was going to force him to choke down food, he better be planning on rewarding him for behaving. He pretty much owed him if Fai was going to be forced to have polite conversation when he really, really needed his suit jacket.

"Is this your way of asking me on a date?" Fai offered playfully to cover up his foul mood, but mostly as a way of suggesting a better use of their time than eating.

He would love to have that cock in his mouth again… Wasn't cum a good source of protein?

The blond closed the door and buckled his seat belt, only slightly ashamed for his own shameless thoughts. Kurogane slammed the car in reverse and pulled out of the parking garage—hopefully thinking similar shameless thoughts as he watched the road ahead of them with a smirk.

"What kind of food do you want?" they merged into traffic and Fai tried to think of something that sounded appetizing other than deep throating the other car occupant's impressive dick.

Silliness aside—If he was going to actually eat, he might as well do it before he took another hit of coke. He probably shouldn't be thinking about that while in a police car.

Fai was thinking a lot of things that he shouldn't be thinking at the moment. This wasn't like him—he was definitely pushing himself if he couldn't even keep his mind from wandering.

"Anything but sushi." Nothing actually sounded good—but raw fish had, and always would, make him gag. "What does Kuro-chan want? I know plenty of places open late."

Surprisingly—even though he survived almost exclusively off of gas station donuts, candy and energy drinks—he did in fact know the best places to hit up after polite calling hours.

"If you leave it up to me, you're gonna regret it. I'll make your skinny ass finish a stake or a big ass burger." Kurogane hung a left down a one-way Fai rarely traveled.

"If you make me eat like that, I won't have a skinny ass anymore. Won't you be sad then?" A hard right and the car was expertly fit in a too small parallel parking space in front of a dive bar that was surprisingly dead for a Friday night.

"I think you would be even hotter if you gained a few." The cop wasn't the first to suggest such a thing to him. It was a lotta work to eat regular meals, though—and it wasn't like he didn't eat his weight in candy every week or so—not to mention he had no intention of changing.

Especially not for a short-term fling.

"Does this place even serve food so late?" the blond hopped out of the car and stood on his tiptoes to peek over the posters that were attached to the store front windows of the little hole in the wall establishment.

"Yeah. One of the guys showed me this place when I got to town and the food is killer." Kurogane opened the door for him like a proper gentleman and Fai was greeted with about what he expected.

Grubby wooden floors and worn, mismatching tables and chairs gave off a purposefully ramshackle feel. The walls were covered from floor to ceiling in metal signs and laminated posters advertising different alcoholic beverages and there was even a stuffed deer head hanging above the register.

The few patrons that were sitting at the bar were very obviously blue collar—and were drinking and chatting quietly with each other. It reminded him of the type of places he had visited while studying overseas in the states—the kind of place that poor college kids could afford to enjoy themselves at.

Not really his style now that he was into his thirties—but charming in its own way.

Kurogane snagged them one of the many open booths in a quiet corner and Fai slid into the worn leather seat, his hand brushing over what appeared to be… duct tape?

Delightful.

Might as well get through this… Play nice. Kuro-chan wouldn't be able to resist him if he was sweet, he knew.

"When you say one of the guys, you mean a coworker, Kuro-tan?" The blond grabbed one of the menus that were stored at the side of the table along with the salt, pepper and an assortment of hot sauces. A single sheet of neon green paper that had curious grease stains listed off a few very greasy, and no doubt generously portioned, options.

None of which appealed to him in the slightest.

"Yeah." Kurogane yawned and leaned back in the booth. If he ate here regularly, he must also spend a good amount of time working out to keep his figure—just reading the menu was threatening to clog his arteries.

"Kuro-brave didn't mention he was a police officer last time we met." Fai was hoping to find some sort of salad—even one that came covered in cheese and doused in dressing would have done.

If he was going to break the sugar binge, he might as well have a vegetable or two.

"You never asked. You only seemed to be interested in calling me dumb names and getting my pants off." There was a hint of amusement in the younger man's voice and Fai laughed.

Well—yes—those had been the only things on his mind. It was really his main concern at the moment as well, but it was just as well that he hadn't asked the other night. He probably would have talked himself out of it before the drinks had a chance to bring out the YOLO mood he had been rocking recently.

Kuro-cop probably wouldn't have let him out of that ticket if he hadn't enjoyed himself, either… they wouldn't be here now—he wouldn't get a second chance to enjoy the young man before he had to ghost him for both of their own goods.

"You weren't complaining at the time." Fai winked and watched as Kuro-chu rolled his eyes.

He wasn't as easily embarrassed tonight, but the night was still young. Fai had a few ideas on how to cause the tanned man to blush like a virgin again. He might as well enjoy things fully since it was the last time they could do this.

"No—I had pretty much the same intentions once you quit being a weirdo… You know what you wanna eat?"

"Chicken tenders?" Fai decided spur of the moment—pushing the dirty thoughts aside for the time being. He could already hear Ashura scolding him. There house followed the strict Brahman diet due to his adoptive father's religious beliefs.

At least at home they did. What Ashura didn't know wouldn't hurt him. Fai and Taishakuten often went out for cheat meals if their schedules allowed it.

He had eaten that way for as long as he could remember—so while Fai was an atheist, he had acquired a taste for a meatless diet at a young age. Of course—he lived off stimulants like coffee and other forms of caffeine that were definitely against the rules. The coke and booze were most definitely worse than the chicken tenders when it came to ingesting things that would make his father pray for his soul.

At least it wasn't beef, though, right?

Kurogane seemed satisfied enough with that choice and slid out of the booth to walk over to the bar and order for them.

So, it was one of those kinds of places then?

Tacky, but it allowed for a wonderful view of Kuro's bottom as he leaned on the bar. Dear lord, did those uniform pants hug his ass for all they were worth.

The blond didn't get to ogle for too long as Kurogane slipped back into the booth across from Fai after a minute or two, bringing with him two cups of very black coffee.

Lovely.

It wasn't that Fai didn't drink coffee. His life revolved around coffee actually—but not thick black tar that smelled like burnt tires… Coffee with lots of milk, syrup, whipped cream, caramel, and extra shots of espresso to get his caffeine buzz working with his sugar high.

"So—" Fai chanced a sip at the dark steaming liquid and did a decent job of hiding his grimace. "Is Kuro-sama done working for the night then?"

"Yeah. Pulled your dumb ass over in the last half hour of my shift." Kurogane didn't seem to mind the incredibly strong coffee in the slightest and finished half of his cup in a single go.

How manly.

"That was very sweet of you to hang around and wait for me, but for all you knew I was going to be in there for a lot longer than I was." That was a long time to wait to possibly take him out to dinner—it almost seemed more like genuine concern and less like a chance for a booty call.

Fai really needed a booty call though. Way more then he needed another human's concern.

"You ran in there so fast I didn't get a chance to finish chewing you out for being a reckless idiot." The younger man sighed. "You're lucky it was me, blondie."

"Well you're not wrong, Kuro-pyon. I swear, I'm usually a good driver." Fai had seen what happens when cars collided at high speeds and had no intention of doing that to another family.

"Why don't I believe that?" Probably the kind of car he drove—you didn't get something with that much kick to putter around town in.

Unless you were Fai, of course. He had had the thing for close to a year and hadn't taken it over 100 km/h, really.

"Well you see, I got in a bad car accident when I was 19-ish and I don't care to repeat the experience." Kurogane perked up at the information offered. It wasn't a secret—Fai just didn't usually talk to people about it.

Fai wasn't sure why he was talking about it now.

Tonight was the last night he would be seeing Mr. Black, though—and after spending so much time next to his father in the hospital, the memories of weeks spent watching him struggle to recover were fresh on his mind.

"There are a lot of them around here unfortunately. You driving?" No doubt in his line of work he had seen a few. Fai saw them on the news every time he turned on the TV—which is why he didn't watch the news anymore.

No one in his house did.

"No, my father was. It wasn't his fault, either—some kid was texting and driving and caused a head on collision on the freeway when we were on our way back from the Kyoto airport." At least that's what Fai had been told — he didn't remember the crash itself.

The way his twin had looked he remembered—not what had actually caused the crash, or even the days leading up to it aside from brief flashes.

He remembered studying at the library with Yuui in preparation for finals—a very dead Yuui, face unrecognizable after being hit with a piece of debris from the other vehicle—and waking up in the hospital nearly a month later and enjoying the mental trauma of it all while he prayed to a god he didn't believe in that his father would wake up.

Kurogane winced and took another sip of coffee. "Shit."

"That's putting it lightly. I came out of it pretty ok. Just a little vision loss in my left eye and some mental scarring to help shape me into the lovely adult I am today." No need to get into the nitty gritty—he would probably end up ugly crying about it if they talked much more on the subject.

Fai really needed to shut the hell up—but he was jittery—nervous. He needed his jacket. A little help and he would be back in control.

"Fuck, blondie. Sorry—"

"No apologies needed, Kuro-cutie! It wasn't your fault." He needed to change the subject fast.

If he couldn't stop babbling, it might as well be about something else or he was going to dig himself back into a hole of emotions he didn't have the incentive to crawl out of. Best to keep them locked away.

Kurogane took the hint and didn't push the issue. He settled instead for a safe change of subject which almost managed to distract Fai from his quickly darkening mood.

"When I saw that 570s, the last person I expected to see behind the wheel was you. I thought you worked at that night club?"

Oh yes—most people loved his cars. He had several, but the McLaren was the flashiest and most fun to drive. It had been his Christmas present to himself last year after surviving yet another year as an adult without putting a bullet in his brain.

If he made it another year, the McLaren would be hard to top present wise, though, and they were almost past the anniversary again.

"Maybe I'll let Kuro-sama take it for a spin if he behaves himself." He cooed and took another sip of his coffee, forgetting to mentally prepare himself for the burnt bitterness of the too warm beverage.

"Behave?" the younger man looked amused as Fai shivered from the taste.

God, it was awful. How did Kuro-wan drink this shit?

"You can start by swapping this out with a glass of wine. Red, please." He pushed the offending cup away and watched the younger man shrug before skulking back over to the bar to retrieve his request.

Fai got a few more moments to look at that fine ass—and when he returned, he slid the wine glass over to Fai and watched him sip it slowly.

"You're really something else you know that, blondie?" Fai ignored the way the younger man was looking at him as he spoke and enjoyed the taste of the only red wine this place offered. He finished half the glass in one go before refocusing on the conversation.

That was also something Fai heard on a regular basis.

"What makes you say that?" Everyone always gave him a different answer—sometimes they meant his angelic face—sometimes they meant his slightly psychotic disposition—sometimes their answer surprised him.

"Are you even real?"

Awe… Hopefully he wasn't falling in love—Fai might just have enough of his soul left to feel guilty for breaking the younger man's heart.

"As far as I'm aware, Kuro-chan."

Before he had a chance to scold Fai for the use of the slightly demeaning nickname, the bartender brought their food over. The grubby man slid two cheap red plastic baskets that were lined with checkered parchment paper and overflowing with food onto the table.

Well, his assumption about the portion size hadn't been wrong, after all.

Fai had never had to watch his figure—but he was sure he would have a heart attack if he finished even half of the fries that accompanied the 6 gigantic breaded chicken fingers. Kurogane didn't seem to have any such reservations about the probable artery blockages that were sure to result from this meal and tucked right into his burger with an impressive bite.

How did he manage to look so attractive with his mouth full?

This had to be criminal, right? No one should look so handsome all the time.

Fai munched on a few of his fires to be polite but focused more on the wine while he enjoyed the view.

"So—" Kurogane washed his fist bite down with a swig of molten coffee. "—just what the hell do you do at the club to afford that fancy car anyways, blondie?"

Right…

How to explain what it was he did to a naïve police officer… The one question he hoped they could avoid until after they had fucked again.

It was really quite complicated and sounded way worse than it was.

When you got down to it Fai was the leader of one of Japan's largest drug rings…

The nicest term people used to refer to him was a drug lord… But he wasn't like, a drug lord.

He doubted Kurogane could appreciate the subtle difference. He was a "shoot first, ask questions later" kinda guy, so no matter how Fai put this, it was just going to look bad.

Sure, he imported his own stuff—the good stuff—and had people sell for him. And yeah, he took the lion's share of the profit and cut his competition down mercilessly.

Ok, and maybe he employed a group of strapping young gentlemen to 'enforce' his rules and carry out his wishes—and that really did sound like a drug lord. He was willing to admit that. He had been in this field long enough to know what a drug lord did.

He imported everything from pot—to H—to Addies, Xanax and Oxy's. He had access to any kind of stimulant/downer you could think of.

Fai owned a number of clubs in Tokyo (22, to be exact) so it wasn't like his boys were dealing on street corners or in alleyways. They were not a gang. They didn't shoot at their competition in the street and they didn't have constant power struggles. It wasn't like that at all.

Not very drug lord-esque thank you very much.

They didn't have those issues because Fai rewarded his 'staff' handsomely for their hard work and they were content to bust ass and work underneath him. He had their backs, they had his.

Usually, at least.

One of the less nice names that was often tossed his way was that of a pimp. He was willing to admit that that one also sort of applied to him since he staffed escorts at his high-end joints—but if he didn't provide that service, someone else would—and Fai treated his girls like gold.

They might call him a pimp, but Fai didn't do very much pimping. Neither did his managers. Men and women alike just happen to enjoy quality female company when they enjoyed their drugs and alcohol—and beautiful girls just so happened to need jobs.

They were independent contractors that were allowed to use his joints as their 'street corner' and paid him 'rent' for the private rooms they could take their clients to. Relatively cheap rent, he might add, especially since they got protection from his enforcers and only took the clients they wanted to. They were free to quit whenever they pleased—and so long as they could pass a drug test and submit monthly STI checks, he allowed them free reign of his clubs to find clients.

The simple fact that, since he had gone into business for himself, he had shut down every other major dealer in Tokyo didn't do much to help his reputation with the cops… Especially since 'shutting down the competition' was a polite way of saying that he had ordered a few unfortunate accidents to befall those who did not close up shop when he had asked nicely.

What could he say? His enforcers did a wonderful job. He had trained them all personally to be effective.

Needless to say, he wasn't the Tokyo police department's best friend. Especially since he kept bribing the higher ups and getting all the officers fired that pried too deeply into his business.

Once you made it anywhere in the department, you got to know his name—and you learned not to fuck with him.

Well—actually Fai didn't think they specifically told their officers not to legitimately fuck him—in the way one of their newest officers had last week—but you got the point.

He saw his business in black and white—good investment, bad investment, friend or foe. If you were on the wrong end of his scale, he made a phone call and usually you were reported missing within 72 hours, if you had a family that cared enough to notice.

That stood for cops to. Even Kuro-puu.

No doubt Kurogane would be educated on all of these facts in no time. When he ran into Fai or his staff, he was to look the other way if he knew what was good for him.

It sucked, too—Kurogane was good in bed and devilishly handsome. Fai actually didn't hate him. That was a huge deal—he could see himself enjoying the younger man's company on a regular basis if he wasn't working on the wrong side of the train tracks, so to speak.

Fai had had so many plans for them… hot, dirty, sweaty, sinful plans that would have them both walking sideways when they were done. There wasn't enough time to fit all his plans into tonight, so he was going to have to go without, it seems.

Right now, the man sitting across from him didn't know who Fai Fluorite was and now was not the time to educate him.

So… while Fai was willing to admit that at the end of the day his job did kiiiiind of scream drug lord—he thought it best to explain what he did to the young officer like he explained it to his family.

With a sorta lie. Close enough to the truth that they understood how he managed to pay all of the bills and take them on a few vacations each year—while keeping them out of the nitty gritty of it all.

He was an Entrepreneur who owned several establishments throughout the city. His clubs were of course listed under a mixture of shadow corporations and each one was technically owned by a different LLC—but once you cut though enough legal tape, Fai was the man pulling the strings.

It really wasn't as shady as it sounded, though. He ran a tight ship and had stick rules that his people had to play by. He didn't sell the hard stuff to anyone under 21 and each of his clubs proudly displayed the fake IDs they confiscated.

Drug overdoses and fatalities surrounding illicit substances had gone down because he only moved the best product to his customers. It was expensive and they didn't do credit lines, so if you couldn't afford to party, that was it if or you. His people on the club floor got in-depth training on how to spot and stop things before they got into the red zone—and he had sent more than a few clients packing to rehab.

He was a gracious employer and anyone working 35+ hours as week got benefits. He offered sick leave, bereavement days and paid time off as well as maternity leave. If one of his employees got busted by the cops, he covered their legal fees and 9 times out of 10 his atty got the charges dropped.

If anything, he was a nice drug lord. Your friendly neighborhood drug lord.

Fai wasn't in this business to hurt anyone—just to pay some bills and keep his father in a life style he was accustomed to…

Really, when you got down to it, he was doing the city a favor by stopping smaller, less kind street punks from fighting for his territory. It really was better for everyone that Fai ruled the underground with a happy smile—and an iron fist.

Kurogane probably wouldn't care about any of that, though… He seemed like the kind of guy who was narrow minded. The type of police officer Fai routinely had fired by their superiors or disposed of…

Fai suddenly realized that Kurogane was looking at him as though he had sprouted a second head, and the blond laughed to cover up his momentary lapse in concentration. "Sorry, Kuro-tan. What was the question again?"

"What do you do for a living?" he repeated and continued to stare at him as though he was from another planet.

He might as well have been—he and his dear Kuro-loo were very different creatures indeed.

"Well, nothing as exciting as being a police officer, Kuro-puu. I just own a few businesses."

Fai was currently drowning in 'businesses' actually.

"So, when you said you worked there, you meant you're the owner?"

Had he just admitted that? Ah well… it wouldn't come back to bite him in the butt—when Kurogane did figure out who the hell he was, he would probably keep the fact that they had hooked up to himself.

Sleeping with the enemy was frowned upon even if it was unintentional…

"Yeah." He wouldn't elaborate further—no need for that tonight.

"How the hell did you get into that? Who wants to deal with drunk idiots all the damn time?" Kurogane took another bite of his food and Fai relaxed at the newest turn in the conversation.

"I fell into it mostly. I haven't worked the floor in 6 or so years, so I don't actually deal with the customers any longer. I just do the massive amounts of paperwork that keep the places moving." By fall into it, Fai meant that he had clawed his way up from the bottom of the totem pole and offed his boss.

If you didn't rip people off and paid your people well, you got the support you needed to do something as daring as fucking with someone in his position.

The only downside was that now he couldn't leave even if he wanted to. Once you got deep enough—well, you couldn't really call it quits. So, it was sink or swim. And since sinking in his line of work usually involved a premature end to your life...

Well, he was swimming.

For now.

"What about you, Kuro-bon? How did you decide to become a police officer?" Fai tossed a few more fries into his mouth, preparing to sit though what was no doubt a boring story.

"My dad is the Assistant commissioner back home in Suwa. He sent me here because there was more upward mobility for me." The younger man smiled fondly as he spoke. "Tokyo was expanding their K9 program and my mom is one of the top breeders for police dogs, so they snatched me up right out of the academy."

"So, you work all day with cute doggies then, Kuro-woof?"

"Idiot. They're not cute doggies—they're highly trained professionals that have a job to do." The glare was back, and Fai smiled before nibbling on anther fry.

"Do you have any pictures of your serious working doggy friends?" The older man kept his tone serious and watched the glare get just a little bit more intimidating as the cop reaching into his back pocket to pull out his cell phone.

"Can you stop being an idiot for like 5 minutes?" Kurogane scrolled through the pictures on his phone—there was an adorable number of photos of dogs on there.

How could Kurogane pull off being the hottest piece of ass Fai had ever met and also have these seriously adorable quirks?

Was this a test? Was karma trying to ruin his life by tempting him into falling for a greek god of a police officer who had a phone full of dog pictures? Because shit like this didn't happen outside if stupid Netflix dramas that he didn't have the energy to watch.

"Only if these dogs are really cute." Leaning forward Fai smiled at the taller man's phone screen as he pointed out who he was talking about.

"These two—" Kurogane pointed at two fluff balls that looked more like puppies than grown dogs. "came with me and are being trained with their new partners for apprehension assistance."

"They're still babies?" Fai chanced a peek at the younger man's face and was not disappointed as he flipped to the next picture of those same fluff balls with two young officers in uniform.

"Yeah. Start 'em young so they bond deeply with their partner." Kurogane flicked his finger and there was a picture of a big fluffer wearing a doggy version of a Kevlar vest and sitting at Kuro-handsome's feet. "This—is my partner, Biggs."

This had to be a trap. He refused to believe in any sort of god if he or she was going to be a cunt and murder his twin—and he was doubly not going to believe if they were gonna temp him like this.

"Wha—look at his fluffy little face! How big is he?" The dogs head reached his handlers waist when he was sitting up right—His name fit like a glove.

"Last weight in he was 45.5 kilogram. He's been with me for 4 years now. Never let me down." The raven-haired office was obviously very proud of his furr baby and Fai was left with a genuine grin at the look on his junior's face.

Fai was going to ignore how charming this entire situation was.

This was just a booty call.

"He didn't go to work with you today?" the blond was sure he would have noticed a dog in the backseat.

"He did. I took him home before I went back to the hospital to make sure everything was alright with you." Kurogane tucked his phone back in his pocket and turned his attention back to his food.

Fai had finished more of his wine than he had of his actual meal at this point. He cut off a piece of one of the chicken tenders and popped it into his mouth to placate the officer who looked like he was two seconds from chastising him.

"You don't like your food or something?" Too late. Kuro-chan had noticed.

Fai ate another piece of the chicken. It really wasn't so bad. Not his first choice of food, but surprisingly palatable. "No, its fine. I just don't have much of an appetite."

He never did. Coke had a way of making food seem like more work than it was worth. A few lines sounded way better than this greasy garbage…

A short silence fell between them and Fai managed to finish more of his wine along with an entire chicken tender before pushing the basket towards the cop. "There is no way I am going to finish this. Care to help me out?"

"Do you always eat like a little bitch?"

The bartender dropped off another glass of red for him and he sipped it before answering.

"Hey, I had a yogurt for breakfast, I'll have you know." Granted, that had been nearly 10 hours ago and he had only taken two bites before discovering that it was the kind with gross fruit in it.

Stupid Taishakuten buying the wrong freaking yogurt.

"How are you not dead?" Kurogane helped himself to the remainder of Fai's fries and the blond guzzled the rest of his second glass of wine.

"Stubbornness and massive amounts of sugar, my friend." The second glass started to hit him and he resigned himself to the fact that he was probably not going to be making it back to the 'office' tonight.

Not since he had obviously been set up with Kuro-cop in his sexy uniform showing him cute pictures of dogs and being all around adorable.

He was going to have to block his number or else Fai wasn't sure he could stay away.

"We could have gotten something sweet if you had wanted."

Ugh. No. Why was he being so nice?

Fai was a slut for someone bringing him treats.

"No—I'm glad we came here. It's quiet and I get to ogle at you and drink wine." The younger man raised an eyebrow at him and Fai chuckled.

Kurogane had been treating this like an actual date—Fai was going to make sure there was no misunderstanding when it came to where they stood, though.

"We could have just gone back to my apartment if you wanted to do that, moron." At least the officer was picking up what he was laying down.

"Well maybe you should have offered and we could have skipped the small talk and spent more time making sure we both can't walk straight tomorrow." He batted his eyes at Kuro-blush and gave an expectant smile.

"Hey, it's not like I have any plans after this, blondie." Kurogane finished off the last of his fries and Fai gave the bartender the universal smile for I-need-to-be-drunker-than-this-another-please.

"Is that an invitation?" He would take him up on it—Fai would probably fuck him in his car. Actually, Fai would probably suck his dick in the bathroom of the dive bar, given half a chance.

He was pretty flexible.

"Sure. I've been thinking about what I would like to do with you when I finally got you in an actual bed." Fai grinned at that answer.

He couldn't wait.

Kurogane went to the bathroom before they left, and Fai took care of the tab and headed outside to wait in the chilly November air. A very cranky Kuro-officer scolded him for his generosity on the surprisingly long drive back to his apartment, but that third glass of wine was hitting his mostly empty stomach and leaving him feeling a little tipsier then he would like to admit.

Fai liked getting wine drunk though. It was the worst type of hangover, but by far the best kind of drunk. The giggly, playful kind of tipsy that would almost certainly annoy his new friend until he was ready to threaten murder.

When they pulled up to an older house that looked like it had been broken into several smaller apartments, Fai was decently sober but not enough to chance driving himself. Sober enough to enjoy the sex and drunk enough to shut down his anxiety about staying the night.

Kurogane pulled the car in behind the building and Fai quietly slid out of the vehicle—following the taller man through the dark parking lot closely.

The blond surprised himself by reaching out a hand and snagging one of Kurogane's warm palms and holding it loosely as they walked. He wasn't entirely sure why he did it—Fai hadn't held hands with someone in—shit, since high school?

Why did he never do this? It was a nice feeling—at least in regards to Kurogane's hot hands.

Fai hadn't realized he was giggling until those two very red eyes glanced over strong shoulders to give him a look. Was he being strange again?

"What's so amusing, blondie?" If he did think Fai was being strange, he still didn't pull his hand away while he fished out his keys and unlocked the front door of the first floor apartment.

Fai jumped when there was a loud thunk against the heavy wooden door and Kurogane sighed as a rather large paw was shoved between said door and the door jamb. Fai did not miss the very intimidating growl that the owner of the giant fluffy foot gave.

So, this was Biggs?

Maybe Kurogane hadn't been wrong in scolding him for calling him a cute little doggie.

He was obviously a very cranky, very big, but still very cute doggy if his floofy tootsie was anything to go off of.

Fai laughed again at his own internal banter and clung a little more closely to his date.

"Oi. Back." All of a sudden, the growling stopped, and the paw disappeared back into the house. Fai watched curiously as Kurogane cracked the door open a little farther and flicked the light on. "Back." the officer repeated, and Fai could hear the sound of the dog getting up and taking a few steps back before again sitting on the floor.

The younger man tugged Fai's hand and he took a few steps into the house so that the door could be closed and locked.

"That's Biggs." Kurogane patted the dogs head and tossed his keys on the couch before toeing out of his shoes.

"Hi Biggs. Pleased to meet you!" Fai chirped, and the dog sniffed the air momentarily before walking across the room and laying on a dog bed, seemingly uninterested. "Does that mean he doesn't like me?"

"If he didn't like you, I would have to kennel him for your safety."

Yeah?

The angry fluffer would have to go to jail so Kuro-papa could get laid?

That was terrible.

Fai followed his host's example and took his shoes off before following his lover further into the apartment.

He didn't get a chance to make any sort of witty remark. Kurogane thumped down on the couch and pulled the blond's hand again—and he tumbled back into the younger man's lap gracelessly.

Fai was too tipsy and horny to care much about if the dog liked him or not—not with the way the cop was biting his neck and sliding his hands up his sides teasingly.

Why had he waited so long to fuck him a second time, again?

Chapter Text

Kurogane woke up before his alarm went off and rolled his eyes at the digital clock that was mocking him from the dresser. Biggs was scratching roughly on the door to his room and he wondered why he even bothered to set the god damn thing anymore.

Sure, his dog woke him up at a different time every morning, but he could always assure it was going to be EARLY.

Today's early was 10 am.

He hadn't clunked out until roughly 6 this morning…

He tossed a look at Fai, who was still very much asleep—still completely, gloriously nude—and got up before his bastard dog made any more noise.

The blond looked almost angelic as he laid curled on his side, facing away from the light that was peeking in through the sheer curtains. It would be a perfect picture if the idiot wasn't sporting almost translucent skin and dark bags under his closed eyes.

Even with the imperfections, the younger man admired the way his light lashes kissed his cheek and the docile expression that graced his features. He looked almost as good now as when those same eyes had been scrunched close in ecstasy, cheeks flushed, and brows furrowed only hours before.

By the time he had actually gotten Blondie home, naked and in bed, the wine had hit him surprisingly hard. Not in a "too drunk to know that he was sucking someone's dick like a lollypop" kind of way—but the "just drunk enough that he was going to be feeling it as soon as those eyes finally opened" sorta way.

He opened the door to shush the dog with a gentle command before throwing on some sweats and a tee shirt. Biggs seemed to remember that they had company and instead of bullying Kurogane into hurrying the hell up, he peeked over the edge of the mattress to look at Fai.

His dog was an asshole. He had for whatever reason bonded with Kurogane when he had been a pup—and had ended up coming with him to Tokyo because no one could get the big lug to mind. His seemingly aggressive attitude had made him impossible to sell—even the military had thought him too unpredictable—and they chose dogs bread for their high energy and aggressive tendencies.

Biggs wasn't a bad dog—didn't even have a screw loose—he was just smart as a fucking whip.

If he wasn't constantly challenged his energy turned to anxiety. Kurogane didn't crate the bastard often for a reason. An anxious dog was an aggressive dog.

He was a huge dick—but he was also a hard worker. He was excellent at tracking and apprehension as well as officer protection. A perfect example of what a K9 partner should be—and that made him a shitty pet.

Even when the uniform came off, he was still working, observing, and getting between anything that was deemed a threat and his handler.

It made him a pain in the ass, but Kurogane loved him anyways. Even if the dummy did think that every dude his handler brought home was trying to pull some shit.

Idiot dog didn't get the difference between pinning someone because you had your dick so far up their ass they were seeing stars and pinning someone because they were trying to knife you.

There was a difference. A very important difference.

The fact, that Kurogane hadn't had to kennel him, had been a surprise. Especially with how—uh—enthusiastic they had gone at it. It had been less on the gentle love making side of things and was much closer to a desperately needy, extremely loud, shameless fuck fest.

Biggs hadn't so much as lifted his head to see just what the hell was making all the racket in the bedroom. That was a HUGE improvement over the last time he had tried to have some adult time with a friend… And last time it had been someone his idiot dog had known relatively well, too.

Heading back out to the living room of the tiny one-bedroom apartment he got a bottle of water for himself before opening the back door to let the dog out to the small fenced in patch of grass that had been called a yard in the add for this dump.

Two scoops of kibble got dumped into his bowl and Kurogane rinsed out the water dish and refilled it with fresh, spit free liquid, before turning his attention to making some coffee. There was no way in hell he was gonna fall back asleep.

Biggs came back in and tucked into his breakfast with the usual vigor and the raven-haired man closed the door.

"Hey, you." one of the shepherd mix's ears turned to listen to his handler while he continued to scarf his food. "I'm getting in the shower. Be nice to Fai. He is not a snack."

His dog gave him a little growl and turned his attention fully back to the task of fitting as much of his food down his throat as he could manage without choking. That was fine. Kurogane left him be and started the shower and waited for it to heat up while he slipped back out of his clothes.

Fai was most likely going to sleep through the entire thing and Biggs should just go back to laying on his bed. There shouldn't be anything to worry about, but all that needed to happen, was for his dog to decide that because his handler was 'vulnerable', he needed to protect him from the sleeping man.

He left the door open just in case, and kept an ear out for any misbehavior. His worries ended up being for nothing, luckily, and there were no growls, barking or blood curdling screams to be heard while he quickly showered off.

With a towel wrapped around his waist, he looked into the mirror and got his first good look at the love bites Fai had liberally littered over his skin. The sex had been amazing the first time—and even better when they had privacy to do as they pleased.

Blondie rode dick like a fucking champ.

Kurogane had really fucking lucked out with this one. He was man enough to admit that he had a type—and that type was a slightly less obnoxious version of Fai. Physically—Blondie was almost perfect.

If he took better care of himself, he would be perfect. Probably just needed a nutritionist and better sleeping habits to get to perfect too. Even slightly too skinny and very obviously over stressed—just thinking about that pale body writhing in his lap made him hard.

Too bad he was fucking insane—after the stuff Fai had done to him last night, he was tempted to try and wife that shit— but he wasn't going to commit anything to crazy, though.

It seemed like the more time he spent with Fai, the more evident it became that there was something off and he just didn't have the time or the energy to deal with that kind of baggage.

Not that he had any idea what kind of baggage Blondie actually had. Kurogane didn't make a habit of sticking his nose where it didn't belong.

He saw the good, the bad and the ugly every day at work. Kurogane didn't need any drama when he went home.

And Fai was Drama with a capital D.

That being said, though, last night, Fai had been a little more open about himself. Far from honest-but slightly more truthful. Sure, it wasn't like he had gushed and told Kurogane his whole family history-but even just the few pieces of information he had spared had given the cop a glimpse of the storm brewing behind those too blue eyes.

Just from the brief peek at the text message from his step dad earlier that night, the short story about the car accident, and the way he had danced around every damn question Kurogane had asked so as not to actually give him any real information-It all painted a better picture of who Fai really was.

Now, Kurogane personally knew what it was like to have a parent that was sick. His mom had been sickly his entire life, and he worried about her every time her health dipped unexpectedly.

He was not the kinda cop to cut a buddy a break when they did something as reckless as going 30 over the speed limit, but the look of exhausted desperation in those blue eyes had been hard to ignore.

Easy to relate to.

He had had every intention of heading home after he saw that the idiot had made it to the hospital without causing any accidents or driving like a moron. He had in fact waited to see him get safely into the building and turned around and headed back to the station to clock out—then to take his dog home.

His intentions had changed at some point, though—and Kurogane had ended up heading back, and just chilling in the parking garage to maybe catch the idiot on his way out.

Why?

He wasn't entirely sure.

Kurogane wasn't going to worry about it now. His instincts had been right—and Fai had emerged looking like the living fucking dead. So, he did what any sane person would do when faced with a living zombie; and took Fai to get something to eat.

Blondie might claim that he was, and had been, alright. He could've screamed it till he was blue in the face for all Kurogane cared—but the cop hadn't and wasn't buying it.

His first clue that Fai was even crazier than he had originally assumed was when he started with the fucking smiles. It was like his emotions were only set to happy-go-fucking-lucky.

It was eerie.

Sure, he had smiled the first time they had met at that ritzy bar. Kurogane had found the wolfish grins, coy smirks, and teasing smiles kinda cute. Incredibly annoying—but they fit with Fai's playful demeanor.

The overly happy, forced smile that Fai had rocked most of the night last night didn't suit him at all. All the people Kurogane had met that were able to smile like that had all been fucking psychotic—legitimately, actually crazy.

Working with a K9, he got sent into situations all the time that were deemed to dangerous for regular officers—this included dealing with all the loonies who were off their rockers. People who had lost touch with reality either ran, hid, or holed up. Biggs could find the fuckers, catch them, and hold them till Kurogane could make the arrest.

Was he jumping to conclusions?

Possibly.

Fai most likely wasn't going to commit any murders or jump off any bridges in the near future.

Probably…

Maybe Kurogane wasn't a psychologist—but you learned things when you worked in his field.

When Fai smiled like that, it was because he was hiding something. Given the circumstances—it probably had something to do with the impromptu emergency department visit. But under different circumstances?

That's where things got sinister.

You see—you don't just learn how to fake it like that.

Most people were not able to stop themselves from crying when they were truly upset. Say like—right after they got done from visiting their dad in the hospital?

That was upsetting.

Traumatic. Even to an adult.

So, while most people would probably get a little choked up—maybe expressing their fears in anger instead of outright sadness—they couldn't help their reactions. They might brush those reactions off—change the subject—but they couldn't completely erase them.

To plaster on a grin like that?

He didn't want to know how many skeletons this guy had collected in his closet to pull something like that off.

That was a can of worms he wasn't going to open, no matter how hot Fai was. And while that can of worms wasn't something he would touch—Kurogane was enjoying observing it from a relatively safe distance.

From the second he had seen that angelic face on his phone screen, he had been annoyingly captivated by Fai. There was something about the look of utter mischief in his insanely blue eyes that made him wonder what species Blondie was really a member of.

Sure as fuck wasn't human.

He had never met a person that looked that fucking good.

Looks aside, he had never met someone who was at least a head shorter than him, probably half his weight, and who still could physically intimidate him. Fai just had something fucking about him that demanded attention and respect in a way that made you feel like he could break you if he really wanted to.

Kurogane thought that was sexy.

Especially when Fai knew exactly how he came off.

The blond knew he had all the control and willingly handed it over to Kurogane and submitted anyways. It was like playing with fire—he didn't know how long Fai was going to let him have that control and it was intoxicating.

Luckily, his actual brain had kicked in last night, and he had realized that while Fai may look hotter than Aphrodite her-fucking-self, that the way the idiot would look at him as he let Kurogane do as he pleased, Blondie was dangerous.

What they had going on wasn't healthy—not with Fai. There was something very wrong hidden behind his smiles, his witty teasing and his obnoxiously dressy outfits.

Even so—it was like watching a Tsunami wave approaching—maybe an avalanche. You know that if you don't get out of the fucking way it's going to swallow you up—but there was just something so beautiful about that chaotic power raging free.

Kurogane had no intention of getting swallowed, though.

Fai didn't seem to have any intention of trying to trap him, either. He was at least aware of the fact that he was crazy—and didn't act like he was looking to share the insanity with anyone.

So, while he was screwy—Fai wasn't a bad dude.

To Kurogane at least.

Wandering back out to the living room, Kurogane noticed that Biggs was curiously missing… He had to still be in the house since the front and back doors were still closed.

He wasn't a runner, anyways.

The dog wasn't on his overstuffed cushion that he usually lounged on—nor was he in the kitchen. Leaning to peek down the hallway he confirmed that Biggs wasn't in the bathroom.

Which just left the bedroom. Where the sexy, but totally insane Fai was still sleeping.

The raven-haired man walked back down the short hallway and popped his head around the door jamb and had to lift his chin up off the floor after his brain registered what his eyes were seeing.

Biggs—the bastard dog that hated anything and everything—that on a good day would maybe sit in the couch with Kurogane—had crawled into his handler's bed.

That in and of itself was not anything notable. He was allowed on the bed and occasionally would snag a nap with Kurogane if he was feeling cuddly.

By occasionally—we were talking maybe every few months.

The part that had him flabbergasted was the fact that Fai was still sound asleep on the same bed. Still laying on his side, turned away from the window with the blanket haphazardly draped across his lower half.

He hadn't budged since Kurogane had gotten up.

Biggs had huddled up behind him, tucking his legs underneath his big body, and had settled his snout in the juncture between the blond's chin and shoulder. From the lazy look in his big amber eyes—he had been snoozing contently like that.

What the absolute fuck?

Biggs didn't seem to give a shit that Kurogane had come back into the room and his eyes drooped closed slowly and his tail thumped exactly two times before settling back down.

Shit.

If he wasn't currently gaping at the sight before him, Kurogane would swear it was a lie.

His dad was never going to fucking buy this.

Not without proof.

And while Kurogane would normally never consider snapping a picture of someone who was clearly out cold and very, very naked, he found himself trying to angle his phone in a way that kept the picture completely G-rated so he would have some fucking evidence.

Though he was feeling slightly guilty as he snuck back out to the living room so as not to wake the nappers—he swiped between the photos hardly believing what he had seen. He would ask Fai if it was ok to keep the pictures after he woke up.

If it made him uncomfortable, he would delete them. Though Blondie didn't seem like the kind of dude who got shy showing a little skin.

He had only had one photo on his Tinder profile after all—one of him in fitted, low ride jeans and curiously missing a shirt, winking and looking directly at the camera as he leaned back rather provocatively against a bar.

Either way, he would have to wait till the moron woke up.

He seemed pretty fucking content to sleep the entire day away, too—So did the dog.

Which never happened. Biggs was a wiggle butt when they were alone. Usually begging for a run or a work out by carrying around his 'civilian' harness or leash and ramming his noggin into his handler if he was being ignored.

Kurogane had gone for a run—like he did every day—and Biggs hadn't even lifted his fucking ear when Kurogane jangled the leash. Didn't budge when he rattled the treats or opened a new bag of chips.

The only thing that got him to finally get up was when the pizza delivery man knocked on the door.

All 46kg of him rushed into the living room as soon as the door bell sounded. He had launched himself onto the back of the couch to see who dared to disturb them and only chilled out when he saw the delivery man.

Biggs liked pizza—it was his favorite food—and he knew where pizza came from. So the delivery man was allowed to be on the porch so long as he didn't take too long handing the goods over.

On a normal day—his asshole dog would snag a piece of pizza and chill with him while he watched a movie. Today the dumbass just wandered back down the hallway and got back into fucking bed once he realized no one was breaking into his house.

Kurogane had had this dog stuck to his hip for every pizza he has ever ordered over the last fucking 4 years and he has never once turned down his slice.

Was he sick?

The officer was half way down the hall to see if the idiotic dog had betrayed him for Fai snuggles, when he heard something he thought he never would.

"Good morning to you, too, puppy bear… Where did your handsome daddy wander off to?"

That's right… Blondie had called the 46kg-trained killer of a K9, that was his partner… puppy bear.

Fucking "puppy bear"?

"Oh, there is your Kuro-daddy." Kurogane caught the words as he rounded the corner into the bedroom and set his eyes on Fai laying lazily on his back with Biggs sprawled across his lap, licking his hand.

"I am not his daddy." The younger man would have normally glared at a comment like that—but damn.

Why the fuck was Biggs all over him like that? He HATED every person Kurogane had ever fucked. Every single one.

"Don't listen to him, puppy bear…" Blondie yawned out and pet the dog's head in comforting manner while he used the back of his other hand to scrub at his eyes.

Now that he was awake, his expression gave away that he was feeling about as shitty as Kurogane assumed he would be. It was only noon now, so he had slept for just under 8 hours—a good night's sleep for most—but he had a feeling Blondie didn't get good night's sleeps very often.

"How you feeling?" he watched Fai sit up and lean over the edge of the bed to grab his phone off the floor where it had been tossed the night before.

The younger man got a pretty good peek at his ass when he did so—not that he was complaining.

"Oh, you know—hungover, dehydrated, sore and lacking will to live. Just peachy!" Blondie beamed and started typing away at the screen in his hands.

What was so wrong with just being a cranky ass grump in the morning like a normal human being? Would probably take less freaking energy.

"I don't know what I can do about your will to live, but I made coffee and ordered pizza." Fai's obnoxious smile turned into a shocked stare and Kurogane found himself smirking.

He might have bought last nights dinner, but at least the cop could feed him this morning before taking him back to his car.

"Caffeine would make my existence considerably less painful at the moment… But I don't want to impose, Kuro-chan." Fai went back to texting and Kurogane sighed.

He wasn't offended. Blondie probably hadn't meant to spend the night. He had clunked out after his last orgasm though, and Kurogane had simply covered him up and went to sleep himself. He wouldn't have asked him over if he didn't expect him to stay after they had fucked.

"You're not imposing, you dunce." The cop walked over to his dresser and pulled out a tee shirt and a pair of sweatpants and tossed them at the blond before heading back down the hall. "How do you take your coffee?"

"Sweet and creamy." Fai called after him, and he could hear the weight on the bed shift as the smaller man got to his feet. Kurogane got to the kitchen and filled two mugs with the steaming black liquid, leaving enough room in Blondie's cup to dump a couple tablespoons of milk into and scoop some sugar in as well.

He only had milk and sugar at all because his mom had visited him recently when she had come to meet some specialist in Tokyo, and been appalled by the state of his kitchen—at least someone would use the shit.

Carrying both the mugs to the coffee table, he waited for his guest to drag his ass down the hall. "Drag" was a polite way of saying that Fai looked like he was walking on two wet noodles while he used a hand against the wall to balance his weight.

Shit. He didn't think he had been that rough last night. Kurogane had used more than enough lube and had been sure that his partner had been properly prepped to avoid any discomfort.

Fai managed to sit somewhat gracefully on the other side of the sectional and accepted his coffee with a happy hum.

"Are you sure you're—"

"I am fine, Kuro-chan. I'm a little dizzy, but that's got nothing to do with you." Blondie finished off the coffee in one go and the younger man stood to make him another cup.

He himself was known to need at least half a pot of coffee to get his ass in gear when he was hungover. "So, I didn't hurt you? You're just old and can't handle a few glasses of wine?"

The corners of Fai's eyes wrinkled as he laughed. "That's not very nice, Kuro-chu. I'll have you know that my assistant had the week off and I don't think I've drank plain water since he last forced me to."

Why didn't that surprise him?

"How did you even make it to adulthood if you don't know what to put in your body so you don't die?" Blondie shrugged at him and gratefully accepted the second cup of coffee, along with a bottle of chilled water from the fridge.

Biggs settled on his feet and they both enjoyed a moment of quiet while they drank their coffee in peace. Fai savored his second cup between sips from the water bottle and even accepted a piece of the greasy pizza and munched away quietly while they watched the tv that was playing some old anime in the background.

Well—Fai watched the tv and both Biggs and Kurogane watched Fai.

"You know, Kuro-chuu." Fai finished off his water bottle and turned his attention to the officer that had obviously been starting at him. "You shouldn't be so nice to a complete stranger. For all you know, I might be some sort of criminal."

Kurogane snorted. "You dress too nice to be a criminal dumbass."

The blond quirked an eyebrow at him and that look of mischief, that left the younger man wanting, was flashed his way.

"Is that so?"

"Tch. You wouldn't have a car like that if you were a common criminal. You're too smart for that, Blondie—even if you can't figure out how to say my damn name." Fai shifted on the couch and sipped his coffee as he checked his phone and shot off another quick message before refocusing his attention.

"Who said a serial killer couldn't dress nice?" Blondie winked.

"Because I know there are no active serial killers in Tokyo, idiot. 'sides, Biggs likes you and he is a good judge of character." Kurogane eyed the dog that was laying at Fai's feet.

The traitor.

"You think so?" Fai reached down and scratched behind the Shepard mix's ear, earning himself a few heavy tale thumps. "Puppy bear is just a cuddle boy, hm?"

"More like trained killer. He just likes your dumb ass for some reason. Last time I brought a date home, he tried to eat them." Kurogane took a sip of his coffee and grabbed a slice of pizza. Holding it out in offering to his dog—the jerk finally left Blondie's side to snatch it.

"Hyuu~ Snuggle boy is just protective of his papa." The genuine smile Fai gave left him speechless.

Why did he have to be fucking crazy?

It was so fucking nice to just chill on the couch with Blondie and his dog and relax… He couldn't do this with ANYONE.

"Anyway, Kuro-myuu. My point is, you seem to be becoming awfully fond of me. Am I wrong?" The blond's tone shifted from one of joking to serious.

Was he?

Nah.

He couldn't let that happen.

"I would be a hell of a lot fonder of you if you weren't fucking psychotic." Fai laughed at that response.

He was laughing a lot this morning.

"Good. I'm trouble, trust me." Another wink and Kurogane found his body moving of its own accord.

He grabbed Blondie's arm and tugged him so he would fall forward, his head landing into the taller man's lap. He ran his hand though Fai's hair—knowing that the idiot liked having his hair touched for whatever reason. "Yeah well—trouble or not, I know you feel like shit. Eat some food and shut up."

"I'm not used to being pampered like this." Blondie didn't try to move away and just relaxed at the platonic touch.

Idiot.

"Don't get used to it."

Blondie didn't answer him, and they settled for watching tv instead. He wasn't sure when Fai fell back asleep, but he didn't bother waking him.

They stayed like that for a few hours. The iphone on the other side of the couch was going off like crazy for the next few hours, the light on the back flashing with every notification that poured in.

It wasn't until a rather loud alarm blared on the moron's phone that Fai even budged. He probably would have slept through that, too, if not for the fact that it startled Biggs and he started barking like a maniac.

Fai shot upright like someone had just dropped a bomb in the living room and scrambled for the blaring phone before shutting it off. As soon as the alarm was silent, he collapsed back down on the couch and covered his eyes with his hands and whined dramatically.

Biggs settled down with a stern command and Kurogane got up and fetched another bottle of water for Blondie. He looked even more beat than he had when he had first gotten up.

"Drink this, moron. Before you die of dehydration and I have to deal with it."

Two impossibly blue eyes shoot him a dirty look as the bottle was accepted. Kurogane liked Fai a hell of a lot more when he wasn't fake smiling like a loon and was tempted to kiss the bastard as he struggled to open the cap of the plastic bottle while frowning.

He settled for snatching the bottle back and twisting the cap open before offering it again to the cranky blond and watching him down half of it in one go. Fai scrolled through his numerous notifications and his annoyed frown shifted to a stressed pout.

"Work?"

"Yeah." Fai ran a hand through his hair and clicked on a contact before holding the phone up to his ear.

It couldn't have rung more than a few times before Kurogane heard a voice on the other end pick up.

"Hey Syaoran. I'm calling in sick today. No, silly, I am not dead…I'll have my phone on me, but I need you to reschedule everything on my calendar—uhuh—yeah, I'll let you know if I need you to do that… Yes—ok—hn, bye bye, now." The blond pulled the phone away from his ear and gave another dramatic sigh.

"Feel that shitty, then?"

"Mental health day." Fai corrected before easing himself onto his feet. Kurogane was happy to see that the wet noodle walk was behind them and he watched Fai amble back down the hallway towards the bedroom, Biggs on his heel.

"Want me to take you home?" He was going to have to head to work pretty soon here, anyways. "Sleep this shit off."

"Can you actually drive me back to my car? I got a text that the doctors are getting ready to discharge my father." Fai was leaning over and picking up the various pieces of his three-piece suit that had been used to decorate the younger man's room last night in their haste to fuck.

Kurogane nodded and went to go get a bag for Blondie to carry his shit. After he was packed up, Fai waited on the couch for Kurogane and Biggs to get dressed for work.

Blondie was quiet the entire ride to the hospital and Kurogane dropped him off at his car with and frowned as Biggs whined the rest of the way to work in the back. His training had him snapped into work mode as soon as his handler hooked his leash to his harness and let him out of the car, though.

Work had been fucking busy lately, but today they wouldn't be in the field. Two days a week were dedicated strictly to training and practice with the K9s, and with that big drug bust a few days ago, his boss was pushing them to be in top shape in case they were needed.

Even if the streets of Tokyo were relatively safe, it had a pretty seedy underbelly.

Kurogane was game.

He would face the challenge head on with his partner at his side.

Not tonight, though. Tonight, they were trying to get the new pups to mind their handlers, for once. Training was easy enough for him and the time passed quickly, so before he knew it, he was sitting in his car eating cold pizza and doing what he normally did on his lunch.

Calling home.

Tonight was the first time since moving to Tokyo that he had anything to tell them. His updates so far had been working as usual—maybe a story or two about a shop or café he had found.

The phone hardly had a chance to ring before his old man picked up. "Hey there, brat. How are you and the grandpup?"

"Watch who you're calling a brat, old man—" Biggs barked his own answer from his spot in the back of the squad car and the sound bounced around in the enclosed space, leaving his ears ringing. "—he's good. We both are."

"Just good? You don't sound good." His father's tone was scolding, and he heard his mother ask if everything was ok in the background.

"Yeah. We're both good. Why?"

"You sound—oh, I don't know—actually happy? Less angry at the universe. Maybe a little cheerful? Spill it, squirt. What happened?"

"Tch. Nothing special. Don't get so excited." What was he gonna do? Tell his dad he had fucked some stranger off a dating app? That he was crazy but super pretty?

Yeah, right.

"Hey, if you want to lie to yourself—Don't let me stop you." his mother said something else from the background that he couldn't make out and his father snorted. "—mom wants to know if you met someone?"

Well, fuck.

Was it that obvious?

The officer must have been silent for too long because he could actually hear his parents high five over the phone before his dad started on again.

"—Oh my god. You did, didn't you? Who are they? Are they pretty? Did they pass the Biggs test?" His old man started in with the same interrogation he did any time Kurogane so much as mentioned someone that might be close to him in relationship-ish sorta way.

Fucccck.

"Hey, don't go jumping to conclusions like that. Jesus, you two." Biggs, the traitor he had suddenly become after being exposed to that damn blond, barked right in his ear again causing his parents to laugh.

"Biggs is gonna tell us all about it if you don't, brat." The amusement in his father voice was enough to make his eye twitch.

It wasn't like that. All he needed was to get their hopes up only to disappoint them when he undoubtedly cut the idiot off in a few weeks.

"I met someone, but—" another high five sounded in the background and Kurogane was tempted to smash his forehead against the steering wheel. "—like I said, it's not like that. I didn't fall in love or some shit. Pardon my language, mom…"

His mother dismissed his bad language with a joke about where he had learned to talk like that, and he heard a third voice—his sister's, no doubt—chime in something from the distance.

"It's your brat brother—" His father spoke away from the phone microphone but Kurogane could still hear him loud and clear. "—he met someone, but not like that"

Fuck this shit. Why did he bother? His family was impossible…

"Would you knock it off? I've seen 'em twice, ok? We're not anything more than acquaintances."

"Acquaintances who talk about the weather or acquaintances who fu—"

"I am gonna stop you right there, old man. I am not talking about my sex life with you and mom. Especially not with my baby sister. Got it?" that conversation would kill him—his brain would explode.

He could talk to his old man about anything if they were alone, but now was not the time or the place to bring up how nice it had been to have Fai cuddle to his side while they slept.

"So, you admit that there is a sex life with your new friend who is not like that? It sure sounds like it's like that, son." His dad laughed and Kurogane could practically see him shaking his head at the way he was trying his damndest to avoid this conversation.

Like his mom and sister weren't right flipping there.

This was it—this was how he was going to die.

Of embarrassment from his fucking dad.

What a shitty way to go.

"Who are they? Cute? How old? How did you meet? When are you bringing them home? Has the grand-pup tried to eat them?" His old man sounded way to excited as he started back in with the interrogation.

He was going to have to accept that this was not going to be dropped.

Kurogane had never been much of a dater through high school or while he had been in the academy—but damn—who knew they thought him incapable of catching someone?

Was he really the hopeless?

"Its not serious, so don't get your hopes up, ok? We're not dating—were not even exclusive. We got drinks a bit ago then I pulled him over for speeding and—"

"You know that's almost exactly how I met your mom right?" His old man was smirking—had to be to sound that smug.

Kurogane gave up and slammed his forehead against the steering wheel.

He had been ignoring the fact that his dad had pulled his mom over after their first date and taken her for a late-night meal…

"—that doesn't mean that's gonna happen with us. The moron was speeding like an idiot but I let 'em off because they were going to see their dad in the ER and I felt bad for 'em… and I waited around to rip 'em a new ass for being a fuck-tard and they were so shook up I felt like I had to feed 'em."

Kurogane very rarely managed to string more then a few words together when he spoke—even to his family. He was gonna ignore that defensive speech and he was going to ignore the long silence on the other line.

He was sure if he had been telling them this story face to face, they would be giving each other the same look they always gave him over shit like that.

"But it's not like that?" the patronizing tone of his old mans words had him swearing under his breath.

"No. We ate and I took 'em back to his car this morning and that's it. We probably won't see each other again." Fai might text him for another booty call—which he would not be opposed to by any means—but Kurogane wasn't going to reach out.

Fai was the kinda guy that liked things on his own time. He was stressed and didn't have time for him to be following the older man around like a love sick puppy.

Not that he was one.

He just really liked screwing Fai—and maybe he wouldn't mind watching Biggs snuggle the idiot some more… Only because he liked making his pooch happy—not because he liked the way Fai looked when he was sleeping or some shit.

"Oh my god, they spent the night?" Kurogane heard his mother, father, and sister all say in unison to each other—not to him. They were too far from the receiver for that.

Fuuuuck.

"Can we not have this conversation?" He didn't need his family thinking about him having sex.

He needed them not to think about that, actually.

For his sanity.

"What did Bigg's have to say about it? Last time, didn't he try and eat that poor boy from the academy?" His dad asked—thankfully changing the subject slightly.

"That's the fucked up part—hold on one sec—" Kurogane quickly pulled up the most decent picture of Fai and his dog from this morning and sent it through to his old man. "—Bigg's is a fucking traitor."

"Holy shi—I mean shoot… sweetie, look." His father had set the land line aside to check his cell, no doubt, as his voice was again farther away, though still loud enough to be heard clearly.

He could hear them talking in the background quietly and the officer looked back at his partner who had laid down in the back—bored with sitting in the squad car, no doubt.

"Kurogane." His father had picked the phone back up and the officer grunted in acknowledgement. "First off—you are sure that's our Biggs?"

"Yeah."

"Second—you told me you were gay, why the fuck is there a girl in your bed?"

"That's a dude."

"You sure?"

"Y—Yes? What the fuck—I mean hell—fuck—sorry, mom... But I'm pretty sure I can tell the difference, old man."

"Just checking—gender aside—how did you snare someone so gorgeous? Did my brute of a son find some charm hiding under that thick cranky exterior?"

He sure as hell didn't. Fai took him as he was—cranky ass, potty mouth and all.

"Nah. He's just into that, I guess."

"Third—Bigg's has chosen your wife, so don't fuck this shit up, kid."

Nope. No way. Kurogane refused to accept that.

"How many times do I have to tell you it's not like THAT. This guy is good looking and fun, don't get me wrong, but the mental shitstorm he is wading through is not gonna become my problem." Even if his dog liked him.

He still didn't need that kind of shit in his life.

"You've never been one to back down from a challenge, son." His old man laughed that freaking laugh again, and Kurogane hit his forehead against the steering wheel again one more time.

"Even if I wanted to try and be with him, mental health shit aside, he isn't looking for a partner." Fai was very obviously married to his job and he had family issues to deal with when he went home.

Kurogane couldn't imagine that the idiot had more time than to fuck once or twice a week and head on to the next thing that needed his attention.

"Why's that?"

Fuuuuck. Why couldn't they just drop it?

So, what if he kinda liked the guy? There were thousands in Tokyo—many of whom were actually looking for a relationship and had the time to commit.

"He works too much, I guess. He's stressed out and was just looking for an outlet. Not a lover." That was fine.

He was good with that. He worked too much and had his own family commitments, too. He didn't have time for a lover, either—especially not an insane one.

"Is that what you want, though?"

"I work too much. Can we just drop this? I told you, it's not a thing."

"If you really want to. I just want you to do what makes you happy, son." His dad sighed and Kurogane felt the tension release from his shoulders.

"Not talking about my sex life with mom and sis right there makes me happy. Trust me." He might talk to his dad about this the next time he headed back home to visit.

He might be an adult—but this situation was confusing as fuck to him. His old man could no doubt point him in the right direction if these stupid feelings didn't settle.

He wasn't going to entertain them though—so they should just go away eventually.

"Yeah well, they just want to know you're ok, brat. I'm sure they don't want to know how your hittin—Never mind… mom is glaring and it's scary—so you on your lunch, then?"

Kurogane really appreciated his mom at these moments. She always saved him from his father's teasing just before he was sure he wouldn't be able to recover from the embarrassment.

"Yeah. Training day. The two newbies are finally getting a handle on their partners and they might be able to hit the streets with supervision, soon." He was pretty proud at how well both the officers and their K9 partners were progressing.

It was hard for some people to change their view of a dog from a friendly pet to a tool for the job. Once you settled into that mindset, things got easier. Your nerves settled—and the dogs settled with them.

Kurogane loved Biggs—but Biggs was there to help him do his job—not for him to be protective of the animal. His partner was his tool to get the job done and was rewarded with love and affection.

While he would be devastated if something happened to the big lug, he sent him into dangerous situations every day without a second thought. The new K9 officers needed to let their dogs do their jobs and stop thinking of them as pets—but their most valuable tool.

They were getting there.

The hesitation that came from worrying about the dog's well being caused problems. Strong leadership skills were a must or these animals would slip into that role as leader themselves. That was dangerous when they were trained to bite, chase, and defend from a young age.

As smart as they were, uncontrolled, they often overreacted or went after the wrong person. You needed them to listen when you called them off the first time or for them to settle right away when they started to get squirrely around something they shouldn't.

If they didn't respect your judgement or didn't see you as the leader—they acted on all perceived threats. That's when they bit little kids who get excited about seeing a dog—or even another officer called in as backup.

"'bout damn time. Mom said, she sent her two best with you, so we were wondering if your boss had just picked idiots." Yeah, well—the officers were trying.

It was an adjustment especially since they were doing the training from scratch rather than with a dog that had already had a year or two of conditioning.

This way of doing things was not the industry standard—more of an experiment to see what results they got by starting them young like Kurogane had started with Biggs.

"Yeah well, I grew up with mom's stock, so this stuff is second nature to me. I'm not afraid to get bitten anymore. You know how puppies are land sharks—it freaked 'em out and we had to get through the whole lemme-put-everything-in-my-mouth-phase before they could make much progress." Needle teeth hurt, sure—but puppies had to learn somehow.

You had to be careful not to train a fear of biting humans into a police dog while teaching them the difference between the appropriate time to bite and hold and when you should be gentle.

You got nibbled on ALOT while they learned the difference.

"They should pay you more for dealing with pussies." His old man barked out a laugh and Kurogane heard his mom scolding him for his language.

"I wish—I gotta head back in, though, to deal 'em now."

"Alright. We love ya, son. Talk to you soon."

"Yeah yeah. Love you, too. Kiss mom and sis for me. Night." Kurogane didn't wait for a response before hanging up. He wolfed down the rest of his pizza and leashed Biggs back up before heading in again.

He hadn't dared take the new dogs out for field training yet—so they were working with bite suits in one of the big empty multi-purpose rooms. He and Biggs entered the room to find the two new K9 trainees, their pooches and his captain chatting in the center of the room.

All eyes were on him as he approached. Kurogane didn't like the look his captain was giving him, and he felt Biggs close in and walk hugged close to his side as they continued to approach.

A stern command had the shepherd mix laying down as soon as they stopped, and he watched his partner's body language carefully as he cleared his throat. "What can I do for you, Sir?"

"We can start with a status update." The older man didn't seem to have the slightest clue that Biggs wanted to eat him—and Kurogane already felt annoyed at the scolding he was going to receive on the slow progress.

"We're working on suspect search and apprehension today. They're doing better at call-offs today and aren't having any issues finding the target consistently." That was miles ahead of where they had been a month ago.

"They're still not in the field?"

"No, Sir. It's better to be cautious when it comes to allowing them off leash around the general public." He would rather work over time covering for all backup calls for the department than dealing with one of his K9's fucking up and hurting someone they shouldn't.

They were big and could do a lot of damage in the time it took to call them off.

His boss didn't look impressed. Idiotic bastard looked impatient at his words.

Kurogane would like to see him do better.

"So, no way we would be able to utilize them on a sting any time soon, then?" The old man sighed and rubbed at the bald stop on the top of his head.

Maybe he was less annoyed and more stressed.

"Depends. What's the situation?" If they were not in the open public the boys could get some good field experience.

"We got a tip on some illegal drugs being moved by a local crime group. We know the place and time that the drugs are supposed to pass hands and we need all the help we can get."

"Are we talking a warehouse or what?" A warehouse full of drug pushers was the perfect place for one of the boys to get a little too rough without any serious consequences since anyone present was going to be arrested and charged.

"A nightclub on the southside. Akai heya. You heard of it?" Kurogane shook his head. He wasn't really a nightclub person, after all—he preferred dive bars with dim lighting and little to no music.

"I take it it's a popular spot?" His commander knew that he was new to town after all—even if he didn't know Kurogane wasn't a normal twenty something when it came to what he did outside of work hours.

"Yeah. It's a popular spot with college kids and the department has suspected this is where the students get most of their party drugs from, for years. We've never been able to get a warrant before now."

"Why did we suspect that? Can't be much proof if we couldn't get enough for a warrant." He was still learning the ins and outs of the city's crime patterns. Warrants were pretty easy to get ahold of when it came to suspected drug sales.

Night clubs usually weren't anything he would think to bat an eye at. There were enough hoops to jump through to get a liquor license that places like that were careful not to sell to underaged kids or allow any shenanigans in fear of having their license yanked.

What was a nightclub without booze, after all.

"What little bit of info our undercover guys could get ahold of. This place is tied to a local gang of sorts and they keep things locked down. I stopped sending people undercover since they always ended up in body bags within a few days and we never get much info. We've picked up a few kids leaving the club with pills they shouldn't have, though." No wonder his captain was stressed.

Cop killers were usually dealt with swiftly, though… Why wait?

"What do you mean, "Gang of sorts"? Like Yakuza?" In their line of work, they didn't usually pussyfoot around with polite terms. If the captain wanted him to send his boys in, he needed him to be honest.

"No. This group has no connection to the Yakuza. They are a stand-alone crime group that keeps to themselves. They're dangerous enough that even the Yakuza doesn't encroach on them or their dealings. They operate out of the local clubs and keep it off the streets and out of the public eye, for the most part."

"You're telling me they're more dangerous than the Yakuza? Who the fuck are these guys?" That was hard to fucking believe considering what he had seen the Yakuza do—the shit you learned in the academy painted the Japanese mafia as the epidemy of crime in Japan.

"I wouldn't say that, no. They are smaller and far less open about their criminal activities than the Yakuza—We think they may have broken off from them a while back, but it's hard to tell. We just know that they have carved out a specialized niche here in the city."

That was impressive.

It wasn't easy to carve out a niche like that when a national group of organized criminals had had a death hold on the city for centuries. Kurogane could only assume that anyone who tried to start something up that competed with the Yakuza would be snuffed out before they even had a chance to establish.

"So what, this club is part of their stomping ground?"

"Yeah, that's what the department thinks. And it seems like for the first time since they ended up on our radar, someone in the group is talking. An anonymous source that called the hotline."

"When is this shit supposed to go down? Is it during business hours or what?"

Criminals did all sorts of things to cover up their activities—using civilians as cover wouldn't be a surprise to him.

"Next month. Can you guys be ready to assist? Its going to go down during the day when the place is closed so we don't have to worry about civilians."

Yeah. He could get them ready for that kind of thing by then if they dedicated extra time to training…

"If I may speak freely, Sir?" Kurogane wasn't rushing into something like this blindly.

He and his boys were not cannon fodder. The dogs may be tools—but they were not disposable.

"Of course."

"I know, I am a new hire even if I did my training and probate period under you, Sir, and I can't pull any sort of rank here. I need you to trust me and give me as much information as you can if you are sending the K9 units in, first. I will be 100% up front with you on what they can and can't do—But I won't let you send us in if we're not up to snuff."

"I'll schedule a time to properly brief you, soon. I'm still getting the details, myself, but it's a slow process. The info we do have is unconfirmed and we're operating blind as we plan."

"Yes, Sir."

"As you were." With that his captain turned and slowly left.

At least work wasn't going to be boring anytime soon. They didn't get this kind of action back in Suwa often—not that his old man had never had to deal with something like this.

As soon as the door shut, Kurogane tuned his attention to the two officers he was training and raised an eyebrow at the terrified looks on their face.

"What the fuck is the matter with you guys?" Both of the officers had been in the department longer than himself.

They had seen way more than he had, too—they might be new at working with a dog, but not to the demands of an officer.

"That 'crime group' is a bunch of cop killers. They keep to themselves if left unprovoked, so I don't see why we're bothering."

Yeah, well—Kurogane wasn't going to just roll over and die. This wasn't anything he couldn't handle.

Chapter Text

As soon as Fai had woken to his blaring alarm, he knew he was in for a fight tonight.

He had fucked up. He had been distracted by soaking up as much attention as he could, before he had to cut Kurogane loose, that he had forgotten just how bad this felt.

He should have gone straight to work—he should have known better.

It would have been fine if he was just hung over.

Fai was expecting a hangover—not his body trying to convince him he was better off throwing himself off a bridge… It was more than a hangover, it was something he wasn't ready to deal with today.

Withdrawal.

His last hit would be close to working its way out of his system… It could happen in as little as 12 hours if your metabolism was used to processing it—and you were left with the effects of 'coming down' as your body started to run without the stimulant's help.

Coke's effects didn't last long, but when your body actually started working the last of it out of your system—well, Fai was fucked till he either struggled through or topped up.

The whole situation was stressful—not only was he having a shitty day, but he was only having a shitty day because he was an idiot and had let his habit get out of hand.

If he had been more careful, he would have been able to make it to work.

Dammit, he should be dragging his ass in tonight.

FOR WORK.

Not his jacket.

There was just too much going on.

But no—he just had to listen to his lower brain and fuck the cop again, instead… Not that the sex had been bad—but now he was far enough into it that he was getting slapped in the face with physical symptoms. As if they weren't bad enough on their own, they were also solid proof that he was dumb enough to let it get out of control.

Which meant, he had to do something about it—on top of everything else that he needed to do.

Fai was sad to say that last night was most definitely the best sex he had ever had in his entire life. Somehow, Kurogane just knew how to tickle his fancies hard enough to make him lose absolute control.

So much so that he had totally forgotten that he couldn't afford to be 'sick.'

The kissing on the couch had him whining and tugging at the cop's uniform pants for his prize within minutes. He must have given a fucking amazing blowjob because Kurogane had spent the rest of the night "punishing" him in the most glorious ways possible.

After managing to swallow most of the mess, he had flashed Kuro-chan a drunk smirk and hadn't even had a chance to speak before he was thrown over the younger man's incredibly strong shoulder and carried back to the bedroom. His clothes had been all but ripped off of him and Kurogane had taken the time to mark every inch of his pale skin with red and purple love bites.

Even his thighs and ass were liberally covered in little, perfect bruises.

The sucking and nipping and gripping had driven him mad and the more he reacted, the more Kurogane gave him. Fai hadn't had to think—they moved naturally and reacted perfectly to each other.

After Kuro-possessive had him wiggling and panting from the teasing—he had pinned - yes, pinned - both his arms above his head with a tight hold of a single, massive palm. He used his other hand to finger him, teasing his prostate with well lubed fingers while his thumb massaged the delicate skin between his entrance and his balls.

He had taken charge and was strong enough to hold Fai while he wiggled and squirmed and begged. And for being a man of few words, Kuro-naughty sure knew just what to say and when.

His timing was impeccable.

Fai had been so caught up in the intensity of his orgasm that he was pretty sure he had screamed. Actually screamed. Kurogane hadn't even touched his very needy cock yet and had Fai cumming for him, completely undone.

Looking back on it, he had to be impressed at how persistent and thorough Kuro had been with his hands. They must have been cramping terribly with the way his hips had been involuntarily jerking from the stimulation, his walls spasming as he had gasped and moaned.

That hadn't even been the end of it. Fai had been pushed, pulled, and fucked mercilessly until dawn. Cumming more time than any man had a right to in a single night. It had been so much better than the first time that it was hardly comparable.

Perhaps the public setting or the fact that Kurogane had never done the whole Tinder dance before had muted him—but he had held back at Kyuden, for sure.

The most frustrating part was that Fai had been so freaking content that he had just passed the hell out and slept like a log. He had been struggling with insomnia for YEARS. For him to get more than 3 or 4 hours of consecutive REM basically took tranquilizers and a sacrifice to the gods.

Kurogane had him napping like a baby all wrapped up in his pillows, sheets, blankets and surrounded by his scent. Did Fai mention that Kurogane smelled divine? The whole situation was infuriating.

Fai wished he could just kidnap him and keep him to himself. If anyone would be able to keep him distracted from his own mind, it was the stupid cop. So, Fai had lingered—had fallen back asleep—and fuck, was he regretting it.

All of it. He shouldn't have even let himself go to dinner, last night. He should have put his nose to the grindstone and managed his shit.

It had seemed worth putting up with how he felt now, at the time, anyways.

Now that he was trying to deal with coming down, he was kicking himself.

Sex was fun, but he had so much to do… Not only did he have his family and work to think about, he also was now down a fuck buddy. Again. His obnoxious need for physical contact with a warm body was really throwing a wrench in his life…

Why did the specific warm body he wanted have to belong to a police officer, again?

Needless to say—between the hangover, withdrawal, and ruined sex life, he was in a bad mood.

Fai had missed his opportunity to pick his father up from the hospital and mentally kicked himself the entire drive. He did manage to resist the urge to head into the city and swing by work—and was currently waiting at the grocery store's pharmacy department for his father prescription to be filled.

All he could do was brood as he sat in line and it was pushing the 40-minute mark of being left alone with his thoughts. Which is not what he needed at the moment… Rather than focusing on just how terrible he felt—he focused on just how frustrating it was that he could have picked this same script up form one of his boys in less than half this amount of time—prescription pain killers were the bread and butter of his business, after all…

Ashura wasn't even going to take them—getting the man to choke down so much as a Tylenol was next to impossible. His step dad had asked him to, so here he was—buying drugs like a normal person. As silly as that was.

He had just wanted to go home and watch a dumb movie and be miserable the rest of the day with his stupid parents before he started feeling even worse.

Sure, picking something up on his way home was not the end of the world. He was being a baby. A huge ass baby for being this dramatic over something so simple—but his brain seemed to think now was a good time to play games with him. So, when Ashura had texted him to see if he wouldn't mind grabbing a few things from the grocery store since he was going to be there anyways, he was hardly keeping it together.

How pathetic was that?

Fai managed a smile for the woman behind the counter and she thankfully let him pay for his few items right there and then. The relief of not having to go through the overcrowded checkout was hard to explain and he booked it straight home.

He didn't even care that his car was almost out of gas—that was tomorrow's Fai's problem. Today's Fai needed to be home. Needed to see his loved ones before he did something stupid.

He needed to remember why he was doing this.

Needed to get his shit together before they realized he was a fuck up.

Get back in control.

Fai pulled into the driveway and into his usual spot in the garage. Even just being home helped to calm his buzzing nerves and he threw the drivers side door open after grabbing the single bag from the store. His foot hadn't even hit the payment before his phone started ringing.

A quick glance had his heart sinking. He didn't have the mental capacity to deal with this right now—not without his fucking jacket. If Syaoran was calling him, it wasn't good. His assistant could handle most things without him.

"Hey, Syaoran. Everything ok?" If he was calling him on a sick day, he knew it wasn't just to say hello.

"I am really sorry to bother you, Fai-sama. Its just—" There was a pause and Fai felt his heart race increasing.

Couldn't Syaoran spit it out?

Did they have a body on their hands?

A police raid?

Did he needed to come in?

There was just so much that could go wrong, and just that the few seconds of silence allowed for his mind to reign a little too freely.

"—well it's just that one of the girls at Kyuden—she um—she got assaulted by one of her clients and well—"

Oh.

So why was he calling?

That sucked but it was one of the risks of the job and the manager there should be more than capable of handling the situation and letting him know later on what had happened. A call to his enforcers and that man would rue the day he had been born. It would play out one of two ways—both ended badly for the asshole who had crossed the line—one left him breathing, though.

"Like punched her in the face kind of assaulted, or what?" Fai took a deep breath and hoisted himself out of the car in a single smooth motion.

He shouldn't let something so simple cause him to panic. He needed to cut this anxious energy off soon or he was going to be in trouble.

"Oh god, yeah… Sorry I should have clarified. He backhanded her pretty hard—normally, I would just have the bouncer take care of it—but uh—she sorta—well she kicked his ass and I don't know if I should just have him thrown out or if we need to call an ambulance… Yuto wanted me to run it past you because of liability and such." Syaoran spat the last half out quickly and Fai laughed.

He knew, sponsoring self defense classes for his staff was a good idea. Good for her.

"Does he need an ambulance?" Fai closed the car door and crawled up the steps leading into the house.

Thankfully, the door was unlocked.

"I would say so. He's out cold. She just cold-cocked him right in the nose and he hasn't twitched." Fai sighed at his assistant's words.

"Is her hand ok?" He would have to add a reminder to his calendar to take cake of her doctor's bills and send her a gift for her trouble.

"Yeah, no—broke it. She really knocked him a good one but one of the other girls is taking her to urgent care to get it fixed." Maybe she would let Fai sign her cast…

Well, at least they had handled that much. As for their womanizing asshat? Fai wanted to say, it wasn't their problem—but letting someone freeze to death in an ally would probably be bad for their rep… Not to mention the media shitstorm.

"Hold on for a minute. I'll call you right back." The garage door led right into the kitchen and Fai was greeted with four sets of curious eyes as soon as he stepped across the threshold.

"Sure thing." Syaoran hung up and Fai managed a dazzling smile for his family.

The whole gang was here.

Yay…

Fai's family was far from normal and not only was his father and step father here—but so was his younger brother and Fai's adoptive mother—Shashi.

Hopefully, she would be leaving soon… His brother—Lil' Ashura, or Ash, as Yuui and Fai had dubbed him since the time he was a baby—usually lived with her. Fai didn't know how he could stand the woman, but he was 19 now and could do as he pleased.

He had agreed to spend his short break from school with their father, though, and it was nice to see he didn't chicken out after the events of last night. Ash had always been a sensitive kid and it was hard for him to handle things like Ashura's fluctuation health.

He usually ran to their mother—who also wasn't good with that type of thing.

Fai didn't bother to muster any kind words—he didn't want to encourage that bitch to stay any longer then she needed to.

He turned his attention instead to Taishakuten as he handed him the brown paper grocery bag.

"Can I run a hypothetical past you?" Fai smiled and gave a tired sigh. Sometimes the shit he had to deal with was ridiculous.

Taishakuten's electric blue eyes widened in surprise before looking Fai up and down.

Ok then.

Was that face because Fai had actually made an appearance and was not a zombie in the middle of the day? Or because he was sporting the walk of shame look hardcore?

Both?

Fai was a known nightmare between the hours of 11am and 6pm when he usually tried to sleep. He probably looked about as bad as he felt, still dressed in oversized, borrowed clothing and covered in hickies.

Still, though. You would think he had the plague, from that look.

"Is everything…ok?" Tai spoke slowly as he started pulling the few items out of the bag and setting them on the island.

"Let's just pretend that at one of my establishments, we have a gal who is an independent contractor, not on the payroll, have a client get a little rough with her. In self defense, she punches the asshole in the nose and he is out cold. Could I toss him out on the sidewalk and be done with it? Or should I call him an ambulance to avoid liability." Fai watched his step dad furrow his eyebrows in confusion as Ashura laughed.

Sometimes he wondered if they really had no idea Fai was up to some shady shit. Especially with the 'hypotheticals' he tossed their way every few days.

They knew he owned a few night clubs—not which ones—not, what they were a front for.

Honestly, though, Fai has called them at 2-3am before with a 'let's just say' scenario and they never questioned it. So, this was not the first time he had gotten advice on the fly.

"Hypothetically speaking—it's freezing out, Fai. You would be—hypothetically—scrapping frozen hypothetical womanizer off the street in the morning. Why is this even a question?"

What a shame.

"Bummer. Oh, well—I just need to make a quick call." Fai headed towards the stairs and took them two at a time, his body aching in protest with every step.

He called the manager directly and let him know to have one of the enforcers drop the bastard at the ER and shot Syaoran a quick text letting him know.

There was a rule that cops, paramedics, or firemen were not allowed into his buildings without a good reason. Not with the massive amount of product he pushed every night. Criminal aspects of his business aside—it was a good way to lose you liquor license if you had to call in for alcohol poisoning or a bar fight. The person who was injured could be stone cold sober and the authorities would start asking questions about overservice.

If the injury wasn't dire, they took care of things discreetly, themselves.

He had only had to learn that lesson the hard way, once. They would get the fucker treatment—even though Fai would much rather leave him out in the cold to slowly freeze.

Tossing his phone on his bed, Fai pulled his wrinkled clothes from yesterday and threw them in the bin to be taken to the dry cleaners. Changing into something that covered a good deal more of the love bites, he headed to the corner of his room and typed in the code to his safe.

The 6ft tall, black metal gun safe was the only addition he had made to the guest room that he had claimed for himself after his twin had passed away. Everything else, the dressers, the night stands, beds, lamps, paintings, and curtains were all chosen for this room years ago when his adoptive mother had still lived with them, and had outfitted this room for guests.

That was fine with him—most of the personal belongings he had decorated his old room with reminded him of things he didn't want to think of. They still sat untouched just up the hall—everything just as it had been before he and Yuui has left for college. The plainness of this room made it easy to sleep when he managed to get his mind to stop racing.

The safe was necessary. Not that his privacy wasn't respected—he just didn't think storing his work supplies in his closet was the smartest move when Ashura was sweet enough to fold and put away all of his laundry for him.

Fai was not about to start doing that for himself, so he just locked it up.

Pills and piles of cash aside—he didn't need Ashura to see the massive amounts of firearms he stored in the house. Especially because these bad boys had the serial numbers scraped off and he did not have a license for any of them.

Fai rarely had to gear up anymore. He paid people to do that for him now, so they sat unused, and the safe mainly acted as his personal medicine cabinet.

He didn't have any cocaine, though, which was probably for the best.

He usually bought an eight ball at a time—picked it up from one of his boys at the start of his night—and had just enough left over at the end of it to help get his ass out of bed the next morning.

Sure, compared to some people, that wasn't anything too insane—but he had been doing that every day for months now.

It was crossing a line, he shouldn't be feeling this shitty. His body was getting dependent and he couldn't have that. He might sample his own products, but he knew where the line was.

Self-medicating was something he was used to. He had enough practice in mixing and matching uppers, downers and inbetweeners that he was pretty much a master at this point. A quarter of a Xanax and a few 500ml tabs of Tylenol would get him through until bedtime—then, he would pop a few Ambien and sleep until it was time to drag his ass back to work tomorrow.

Tomorrow, he would have to trudge through the night on caffeine. He wasn't going to worry about that now, though—he just had to get through today.

Take it one step at a time.

Thankfully, Fai had a half full bottle of stale water sitting next to his bed and downed his pills before heading back downstairs. The bitch was still there—of course—and as he entered the room, she shot him a judging look.

They didn't get along very well.

Fai used to love his adoptive mother—he used to call her mama when he had still been a child. Hell, he had picked her side in the divorce—refusing to accept his step father out of respect for her. She had been a wonderful mother when he had been young, until she had finally had a child of her own.

Ash had changed a lot in their family…

Shashi focused all of her love and attention on the new baby—something she had wanted for a long time. He still respected her for doting on him and Yuui until then, though. After the accident, her true colors had shown and Fai was still disgusted with her.

"How have you been, Fai, dear?" She gave him a very forced smile. One Fai didn't bother to return.

"Fine. Yourself?"

"Wonderful. You didn't have to work last night?" Fai half expected Ashura to get between them like he usually did. He had very little patience for her ex-wife.

"Yeah."

Fai, as he always did with her, was monotone. Uninterested. Just like she hated.

He didn't know if she missed him begging for her affection like when he was a boy. He used to bend over backwards to please her. Either that or she was butting in because Fai was the one who owned her house and paid most of her bills… he didn't really care.

About two years ago, she started reaching out to him and he had no intention of humoring her.

"I see. I haven't seen you in ages. What have you been up to?" Her smile got just a little tighter—the corner of her eyes wrinkling and making her look older.

"Fai has been very busy with work. Don't pester him." Ashura's voice was calm as he spoke. His own expression was schooled into an impassive mask, matching his sons. "He was up late with me—none of us slept and we were looking forward to some quiet time."

"Of course. Let me leave you to it, then." Shashi wouldn't make a scene in front of Ash. She gave him a huge hug and kissed both his cheeks before letting herself out of the house she used to share with them all.

Fai knew he was being an asshole by following her to the door and flipping the deadbolt as soon as she had closed it behind herself. Everyone else watched him do it, too—aside from Ash, noone even looked at him strangely.

The mood instantly shifted as soon as Shashi left. At least for the adults—Ash didn't look very happy at the moment. Fai assumed he was just being a moody teen and hoped it wouldn't be too hard to cheer him up.

It usually wasn't.

Walking back into the kitchen and leaning onto the marble counter top of the island, Fai flashed his younger brother a silly grin. He hadn't seen him in a while, not since his last holiday from school.

Fai had never been close to his younger brother like he had with his twin—but Ash looked up to him and used to beg him to hang out when he had been a young teen. Now that he was almost an adult—the pudgy cheeks and gangly arms of childhood had left him and he looked so much like Ashura, it was almost uncanny.

"What?" His honey brown eyes—the same as their father's—shot him a sour look and Fai chuckled.

"Nothing. Can't I smile at my adorable little brother for no reason at all?"

"No. You're freaking me out." Ash wrinkled his nose and looked down at his phone to avoid Fai's gaze.

"Well—I just don't see you anymore. I missed you." Fai felt his own phone going off, vibrating against his skin where he had tucked it into the waistband of his pants.

He wasn't gonna bother with it.

"Yeah, well—It's not like you try to come see me or mom. So, it's not my fault."

Yeah… He was in a mood, for sure.

Things had been easier when he could just get up early and pick Ash up from school and take him to the mall, or grab some ice cream…

"It's not like I didn't buy you a brand-new car when you graduated high school, either." Fai had also taught him how to drive and paid for all his licensing fees, so he wouldn't have an excuse.

Ash's university was in Kyoto where their mother had moved to after the divorce and Ashura had cried when he heard that his youngest was moving so far away. Fai had done the only thing he could think of to make everyone happy and had gotten his little brother a cute little red Toyota Prius so he could come home to visit any time he wanted.

Obviously, he didn't want to.

"You sleep all day."

"I also work all night. You could swing by and we could have a night out—or we could grab dinner before I go in. I'm flexible, you know." Fai had made that blaringly obvious.

Even though he worked 7 days a week, he still found time to text and call his younger brother. Ash had been ignoring him for months unless he needed something.

At first, if had really hurt his feeling.

His family came first and Fai had gone to every single sporting event, dance recital and choir concert for his little brother. He had also gotten Ash out of a few sticky situations when it came to teenage mischief and parties, when things had gotten too crazy or they were without a DD.

If his brother didn't want to come over, it wasn't because Fai was unavailable. Hell—he could at least visit their dad more often. Fai had gotten over the hurt feelings after a while. He was just happy that his brother would still come to him when he needed help. That's what was important.

Ash at least didn't bother trying to argue his way out of it. He simply took the I-can't-see-you-you-can't-see-me approach and focused on the phone in his hands.

Fai had bought that for him, too…

He tried not to take offense. It wouldn't help and Fai was sure he had been a little shit at 19, too.

Sometimes, he still was a little shit.

He never claimed to be mature.

His father was much more willing to return his smile and even set aside the food he was prepping long enough to give Fai a much-needed hug. The bandage on his head covered most of the bruising and the entirety of the stitches, so it was easy to forget he had just been discharged from the hospital.

"Can I help with dinner?"

"No. I need to keep my hands busy after being stuck in bed all day." Ashura might not be able to work a regular job any longer, but he was a busy body, nonetheless.

Like Fai, he couldn't stand to be idle.

"So, you're feeling better?" He looked better. His eyes were sharp and his movements precise.

It was a good thing, too, because his knife work was impressive as he worked on the meal.

"I feel like someone is pounding a nail into my skull, but I'm going to rip my hair out if I have to lay down any longer."

Fair enough.

"Shouldn't you take your medication if your head feels so bad?" Fai spoke sweetly as he went to the fridge for a cool bottle of water. Water was a must if he was going to crawl to work tomorrow—he was only going to feel worse as time went on.

Even in the short while he had been home, his racing thoughts and all around icky feeling had gotten worse. He should have taken half a Xanax… Being around his loved ones helped him ignore his brain for now, though. He could always go upstairs if he got overwhelmed.

No one would question it.

"I'll think about it." Ashura turned his attention back to the cutting board and Fai watched as his hands moved quickly and efficiently.

His adoptive father was a hell of a cook.

"That's probably the best I'll get, hm?" Fai sipped his water and Ashura's small smile was his only response.

It was an old argument.

"Smells good." The blond walked over the pan that was simmering on the stove. His appetite hadn't returned, but the smell reminded him of weekends spent 'helping' Ashura cook dinner with his twin.

Fai wasn't a disaster in the kitchen—he loved baking, actually—but Yuui had found a passion for cooking like their father. Their family had always gathered mostly in the kitchen.

They had fun fusing Asian, Indian and western dishes together. In recent years, they didn't find the time to do it as often as they used to—but even just watching him cook was relaxing.

From the look of it, they were having a household favorite.

Ghurma aloo was a quick and tasty stew that carried a lot of fond memories with it.

"It'll be spicy." Ashura reached for his favorite ingredient—Hindpur chillies.

Fai had gotten used to them over the years, but hopefully, he wouldn't go overboard. Ashura and Yuui used to get a little too carried away when they would cook together. They put them in everything…

He vividly remembered getting valentines day chocolate from his twin that had been infused with the tiny red Indian pepper…

Nothing was safe.

Don't get him wrong—Fai could do spicy—but he was only human.

"Isn't it always? You'll have mercy on the mortals of the house, won't you?" Ash was just like their dad—Fai and Taishakuten would be sweating and tearing up from just how hot dinner was while the other two would munch away happily.

"Perhaps. You'll have to pay for my mercy with an explanation of your totally ravished appearance, in exchange." Ashura used a paring knife to clean the stem from the top of the chilly with practiced grace.

"It's not like I wasn't going to tell you, anyways." No—Ashura needed to hear about the total ridiculousness of his newest Tinder conquest. Fai needed to tell someone about it. "Last night, felt like I was in chick flick."

"It must have been a rather raunchy chick flick." Ashura used the flat side of the knife and the back of his hand to crush the chilli with a hard smack and Fai winced.

Couldn't he just toss it in there whole?

"Do they make them rated NC-17? Maybe it was just a really good porno with lots of plot" Fai laughed, and Ash pulled a face before walking out of the room.

While Ashura lived for Fai's stories—his brother would rather not know what Fai got up to in the intimacy department.

"So, I left work to go see you last night and I was a little upset."

Ashura set the knife aside and gave the blond his full attention. At least he wasn't chopping that damned thing into tiny little pieces, seeds and all.

There was still hope.

"I was being stupid and speeding, just a little, and I see flashing lights in my rear-view mirror. I pull over. I'm cranky as all get out and fully prepared to be as snarky as possible when I roll down my window and see that the police officer is someone I know."

"Oh?" Ashura and his step dad said in unison, interest finally peaked.

"Yes. It was a very, VERY handsome guy I had matched with on tinder, and I hooked up with not even a week ago." Thinking about how ridiculous that was made Fai smile like a goof, and Ashura and Tai glanced at each other as he heard Ash mutter something about his older brother being gross from his spot on the couch.

"You didn't know what he did for a living?"

"It was a tinder date, baba. We were busy doing other things."

"What's tinder again?"

"Think grinder but more user friendly. Oh, and straight people use it, too." Fai was pretty sure he had explained this to his father more than once.

"Oh. Oh. So, when you say you went on a date you mean—"

"Exactly—and I really liked this guy. He is gorgeous. So, I'm really disappointed that he works as a cop." Fai knew he wouldn't have to specify why.

Part of being a defense attorney was subpoenaing the not so nice officers right along with nice ones. Fai had listened to Ashura and Taishakuten grumble about how hard to deal with they were. After all—the police arrested criminals and their attorney's job was to get the accused criminal out of it.

"You make enough money for a house husband if he's really that attractive." Taishakuten wasn't wrong.

Fai made enough to have a harem of house husbands, if he chose to.

He wasn't into the whole commitment thing, though. Even if the theoretical house husband had a cute dog that he took way too many pictures of.

"True—but I'm not into that. And I don't like him that much. So, my Tinder date pulls me over and he isn't a bad dude—but he's cop. I don't expect him to cut me any slack, but he lets me go. He then proceeds to follow me to the hospital to make sure I make it there ok."

Fai was grateful for that. At least he wasn't forking out money to a traffic infraction dispute. It was an act of kindness and he didn't think Kurogane fully understood just how nice that was, given everything else he had to deal with while quitting the only thing that made it possible to get through his day.

"That was kind of him. Maybe you should make him a house husband." Ashura smiled and Fai rolled his eyes.

"Anyways. I do my thing at the hospital and I plan on heading back to work when I finally leave. I head out and who do I see?"

"He waited for you?" Ash called from the couch and Fai looked over to see his little brother peeking over the back of the couch with wide eyes.

"Yes! He is sitting there leaning against his police car looking devilishly handsome. I am not some helpless maiden to be swept off my feet, though, so I was actually pretty annoyed to see him." he got a few laughs for that.

Fai hated being babied. He always had. His family was very much aware of this.

"This asshole asks how you are and when he gets that I don't need saving—he switches things up. At least I am assuming. I tell him you're doing ok, and I am ok, and he has the balls to tell me that 'I look like shit."

"Excuse me?" Both of his father's eyes narrowed and he sighed.

Fai had dated a few assholes in his youth—his dads had made each and every one of them sorry for their bad behavior in unique and creative ways.

One time, Ashura and Taishakuten had dropped everything and hopped on the next flight to Boston. Why? To beat the snot out of a boy he had been dating his first few weeks of college after Yuui had seen him scream at his twin and actually hit Fai.

Now—Fai had hit him right back and cut ties with him. Even before he had gotten into his rough line of work, he had been more than capable of holding his own in a fight.

That didn't stop his fathers from tracking the kid down and kicking the crap out of him. They were nice enough not to get the boy expelled for his actions—and they didn't even get in trouble for beating him up…

There was also the time that Fai's high school sweetheart had broken up with him right before the senior prom and sent screenshots of his nudes to the entire school in an attempt to ruin his reputation. Ashura called in a favor and gotten the kid 'arrested' on charges of possessing and distribution of depictions of a minor—then agreed to 'make it all go away' if he publicly apologized for being a dick.

Lord knows what they would do to Kurogane if they thought he was being abusive in any way to Fai—verbally or otherwise.

"Calm down. He speaks rough, but he's a giant ball of goo. He pulled the whole "I can't let you drive like that" card. I might have forgotten to eat and was a little pale and shaky, sure—and I'm sure he was just trying to be nice." His fathers didn't look quite convinced—but there was no burning anger in their eyes.

"This sweet pea takes me to this grubby little dive bar and gets me dinner—I get wine tipsy and we talk about this and that and eventually, it comes out that he isn't a normal police man—he works with a dog." Fai is grinning from ear to ear and it's not on purpose—his cheeks are starting to get sore, so he sips his water before continuing.

"He takes out his phone to show me pictures - and all his pictures are of dogs. All of them. He's not a people person by any means, but he looked so cute when he was talking about his dog." Fai could understand why, after meeting Biggs.

He was just as charming and cute as his papa—in the same rough, tough guy sort of way.

"It was really nice. I don't get to just relax like that very often and just bullshit. So, one glass of wine turns into two, then three. He was sweet and gave me an opportunity to unwind because he thought I was stressed out and you guys know how I get when I have too much wine." Fai could not shut the hell up.

He got giggly and chatty and silly.

"It sounds like he got you drunk to get in your pants." Ashura didn't look impressed and waved him off.

"No—I got myself drunk with the intention of getting in his pants. I knew I shouldn't lead him on since I won't be seeing him again—but he was so charming and cute I needed just enough wine to not care."

Which was shitty.

He had seen the way Kurogane had looked at him. He was falling.

Fai was not gonna catch him.

"So, I go back to his house and this happens." Fai tugged on his collar to reveal a huge love bite. "And the next morning he lets me snuggle his dog and sleep in. When I finally got up, he treated me like a princess and we just sorta chilled in his apartment till he had to go to work."

"Is that so?" Ashura tossed the crushed pepper into the bubbling pot without chopping it and Fai sagged in relief.

Comfort food would do his mind wonders—it wasn't comforting when it was too spicy.

"Yup. It felt like more from a movie than real life." Fai finished the rest of his water and tossed it in the recycling bin.

He was paying for it, though. If he had gone back to work, he could have kept his dangerous dance going a while longer and put these terrible feelings off till after he had total control of his business. He could have ignored his problem for a few more weeks, at least…

"So, your going to ignore how happy he made you just because of his line of work?" Ashura gave him the look. The you-are-being-foolish-look.

"That, the fact that I work so much I don't have time for myself, let alone a boyfriend, the fact that he works almost as much as me... There is the fact that he could get shot at work and I don't want to be a widow—and I don't want a relationship." There was also the fact that he would eventually find out what Fai did for a living.

There was no compromising there.

He could go on, though—Fai didn't need to have another person to worry about, should his enemies learn of their existence, the fact that Kurogane was going to have to either quit a job he loved or leave Fai. If he did quit the cop shit, he couldn't just be a house husband and would want to 'help'.

There were more reasons, he was sure—these were enough for now.

"You didn't deny that he made you happy." Ash called from the couch and Fai rolled his eyes.

"Lots of things make me happy. I've seen him twice and I am not interested. It was just a crazy night last night." That was a huge ass lie but he wasn't going to admit that to his family.

"Bullshit." Taishakuten said after taking a test bite of the food on the stove that was offered to him by Ashura. "I haven't seen you smile like that in years. You were cheesing the whole time you talked about him."

"Tai is right. If he makes you happy, you should at least see him again before you decide." Ashura very rarely pushed Fai to do anything he didn't want to do.

Probably because having raised him—he had seen Fai do the exact opposite of what he was told purely out of spite.

That was pretty much his signature move.

Fai was impulsive and stubborn and didn't take criticism well at all. If you wanted to convince him to change his mind—well, you might as well give up.

"Meh. I'm not really into it. Maybe when life calms down." Fai shrugged.

Maybe if he retired from being a crime boss.

Like that would ever happen.

"What else is going on now?" Ashura put the lid on the pot and turned the flame of the stove down. He walked around the counter slowly and with a gentle hand on his sons back, he led them to the living room.

They all sat in their usually spots. Fai in the recliner, Ashura in the seat on the couch closet to him, Taishakuten right next to him so they could snuggle, and Ash in the corner seat of the sectional.

"Well, we had that pipe burst at the new place I opened last year. We've had a bit of turn over and good people are hard to find. Book keeping is a thing and I hate it… It's just the stuff that comes with doing business."

"So how is life going to calm down?" Ashura frowned.

He had a good point.

It would calm down when he found whomever was leaking info about their shipments to the authorities and Reed went home. Fai was thinking about sending him home in a pine box, given the way he was stirring shit up.

"It always does. It's just a rush."

"You're just going to find a new project to keep yourself busy when it does." Ashura didn't look amused.

Again—He wasn't wrong.

Fai made way more than what their family needed and he didn't have any plans to stop. Maybe shift his focus—but he needed to stay busy.

"I need to be busy." Fai smiled softly.

"Speaking of work." Ash set his phone aside and Fai smiled at the teen. "Can you give me a job this summer? Like, an internship? It's important for my resume."

That was a big fuuuuck no unless he wanted to be bussing tables at the café.

"What brought this on? You usually work at Tai's office when you're not at school." Ash worked there cleaning, shredding, and returning voicemails all the way through high school.

"I'm majoring in business. I want to intern at an actual business."

"What do you have in mind?" Fai had to at least pretend to consider it, right?

"I was thinking I can maybe follow you around and learn a little bit about how you run your business." Ash looked so hopeful and Fai felt a pretty strong pang of guilt.

He should be able to provide that opportunity… Too bad he was a dirtbag criminal and couldn't expose his little brother to a life of crime.

"You do know I run nightclubs, right? Where drunk people get drunker and dry hump each other all night?" Either he wanted to party more than learn—or he didn't get how awful it was.

If Fai didn't have to run these stupid, expensive, stressful nightmares to push his product, he wouldn't.

"It's not like I am a little kid or anything! You started working at those places when you were my age! The service industry is a really good one to see and—"

"Let me put it this way, Ash. I can't have you there because I don't have time to watch you. I can let you intern under one of my managers if you promise not to make their job harder." Not one of his clubs, though.

"I promise! Anything is helpful!" Ash smiled for the first time that night and Fai relaxed.

"I'll talk to the manager of the Café. That is the last stop of my nights so we can open together and crunch numbers—and then Touya can mentor you the rest of the day." Aaaaand the smile was gone.

Ash looked like Fai had just played a cruel joke on him.

"Really? That sounds so…boring…" the teen pouted and their fathers both laughed.

They both hated that Fai owned nightclubs—they most certainly wouldn't approve of Ash following in his footsteps.

"Yeah. My normal stuff is really specialized, and you wouldn't learn much. I honestly spend most of the night driving from place to place and doing math. Here you can see an actual small business being managed. I start the ovens and balance the books, but Touya plans the menus, orders the ingredients and new equipment based on the budget set, deals with training the employees, the customers..."

Ash nodded, but didn't say anything else. Fai had a feeling he would get an argument from the teen later as to why he should be allowed to pick any other place—Fai would listen and shoot him down.

"That won't be an extra thing for you to worry about?" Ashura stood from his spot to check on their food.

It smelled heavenly.

"Nope. Touya will handle all the extra stress." He would probably be thrilled to have more hands.

There was always something to be done in the food industry.

He also liked to boss people around.

"Touya is a good boy. You'll have fun with him, I'm sure" Taishakuten added and Ash ignored him.

He was probably going to pout the rest of the night. If he really didn't like it, he could intern with Tai, or any other small business owner.

Fai didn't care so long as he was not anywhere near the less legal half of his business.

"I'm just glad you took a night off, Fai. Even if it was just because I worried you." Ashura called from the kitchen and stirred the pot, leaving the lid slightly open to allow steam to escape.

He then turned his attention to the kettle and started to make them all some tea. Fai wasn't a tea fan—but it actually sounded pretty nice at the moment.

Not as nice as a shower, though. That would do wonders to help him get through the rest of the night before he had to try and fail to sleep.

"It wasn't just that. I'm also really, really hung over. Would you guys mind if I took a shower really quick?"

For whatever reason, Ash asking about an internship had stirred his anxiety again. There was no way he would let that happen, but the mere thought of him being in that situation was enough to flip the switch for everything else he had to worry about to flood his thoughts.

His chest was getting tight as his heart started to race.

"Don't let us stop you."

Fai ditched faster then he should have. There was time till dinner—time enough to use all the hot water in the house to try and get his skin to stop twitching and his thoughts under control.

He slipped into the bathroom upstairs and hit the lock. He might not have a bathroom off his bedroom—but the master suite was downstairs and Ash did. Privacy was almost guaranteed, but he didn't want to chance someone coming to fetch him while he let his mask down for the first time in days.

Stripping out of his clothes, Fai climbed under the cold spray of water and hissed as his muscles tightened at the frigid temperature. He needed to feel—needed to know he still could.

This awful feeling wouldn't last. He would get through this shower—he would get through dinner and spend time with his family—he would get through the rest of the night.

He could do this.

Even if he didn't want to—even if he was too exhausted to—even if his brain was trying to tell him he couldn't. He was Fai Flourite. He could do this.

Fai leaned into the cool spray and let the water rush over his face. It did nothing to slow his racing mind but it was refreshing in its own way. Turning, he tilted his head back to do the same for his hair—the freezing water making him shiver as it hit his scalp, running down his neck and his back.

This was just withdrawal. It couldn't last forever.

He didn't know how long it would take to bounce back, this time—He just hoped his brain started pumping out some serotonin soon, so he didn't feel like drowning himself in the toilet.

Or eating a bullet.

Hanging from the chandelier in the entryway by his neck.

Strolling down to the street and falling in front of a bus.

Swan diving off one of the many skyscrapers in the city.

Accidently using the razor blade he normally powdered his coke with to make art on his skin. The deep vertical kind on his wrist would be pretty…

Fai knew he shouldn't be thinking these things. Shouldn't be picturing these things every time he closed his eyes. If he could slap some sense into himself, he would—but the whole pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps didn't really work when your brain turned traitor.

What did help was restoring a sense of control and normalcy.

Fai reminded himself that stopping was a choice—that he could get more, but he chose not to. Fai could listen to that half of his brain—but he chose not to. Fai could take a hot shower—but he chose not to. He had total control over himself.

He would choose to get better—to fight through.

He had been through this before and knew if he just held out, he wouldn't be thinking about how nice a long dirt nap would be… How nice it would be to see Yuui again... not to have to deal with his job, balancing books, his love life…

Any of it.

If he repeated that enough, he would have control over the thoughts, as well.

He wasn't done yet. He was choosing not to be done yet—because he loved his family. They needed him and he wasn't going to leave them.

Fai was choosing to tough this out. He would live another day—and choose again what he wanted to do tomorrow.

He always had a choice.

The cold water numbed the buzzing of his skin—and Fai flipped the nob all the way to the left. Once he was in control, the uncomfortable heat grounded him.

He wouldn't act on those thoughts—not because he couldn't, because he could choose.

Over the next hour, Fai did the whole shampoo twice, extra conditioner, body wash, hair mask, charcoal peel and fancy moisturizing routine.

Selfcare was another choice and helped remind him of his self-worth. He could just crawl in bed and sleep—but Fai choose to stand in front of the damn mirror and face his reflection as he fussed.

It had taken years to believe that he had any worth at all—he cared about his own body because he knew other people needed him. The pampering never actually did anything to help—sure, it made his skin and hair soft and left him smelling fresh as a daisy—but his brain was still rebelling as he brushed his teeth.

He couldn't very well swallow all the pills in his room if he was stuck here waiting for the charcoal mask to dry, now could he?

There was only so much he could do, though.

Giving up, Fai trudged back to his room and slipped on clean boxers and Kurogane's shirt before climbing back into bed and playing on his phone to try and calm himself before heading back downstairs.

Dark room—fluffy blanket—silence.

Those were the next steps in this well practiced dance. If he couldn't see the temptations that was only feet away—he could distract himself. Fai got to answering text messages, emails, and voice mails.

It helped.

Not as much as heading back to the office—but enough for Fai to lose track of time.

He was in the middle of checking in on Kanoe when there was a soft knock on his door. Fai cursed as he glanced at the time, and Ashura pushed the door open before Fai had a chance to answer.

Ashura had Fai's dinner in one hand and didn't wait to be invited in. He sat on the side of his son's bed and handed the steaming dish over and offered a soft smile.

"Sorry… I lost track of time." Fai wasn't hungry but he took a bite nonetheless—the familiar spicy flavor was comforting.

"I figured. I can tell you have a lot on your mind. We all can." This wasn't the first meal his father had had to bring up for him. It wouldn't be the last.

"I keep worrying you. I don't mean to." Fai took another bite and Ashura was watching him carefully.

Gathering his thoughts, probably.

They were going to have a chitchat, it seemed.

Which meant that he had really been sucking at keeping his shit under wraps…

Fuck.

"You know you can talk to me about anything, right. I would never judge you. I love you no matter what."

Not this talk again…

Jesus Christ, he couldn't do this right now. He loved Ashura, but he couldn't do this while coming down.

"You know you're one of the few people I take advice from, right?" Fai forced a smile and Ashura frowned.

"That may be—but you're suffering. I want to help you. I can't if you don't tell me what's going on." Other than his twin—Ashura was the only person Fai had met who could read him like an open book.

While it was wonderful to be understood like that—he couldn't have this conversation right now.

"Suffering? That's dramatic, baba. My life is hardly so interesting." Fai took another bite—forcing it down even though his stomach as starting to flutter uncomfortably.

The anxiety was bubbling back up and he couldn't stop it. He shouldn't be making his father worry like this, dammit! How freaking hard was it to just be fucking normal?

"I don't know if you think I don't notice because we only see each other in passing—but I know that look in your eyes."

The look of him being strung out on coke? Or the look he got when he had to face life without its help?

"I'm fine. A little stressed, but I am ok."

"You haven't taken a sick day in 10 years, child." Ashura finally turned his attention away—his eyes focusing in front of him but not on anything in particular.

Fai couldn't handle those kind, gold eyes looking at him with worry.

He should be better than this—he shouldn't be causing him to worry.

"I take vacations."

"But you don't miss work. I am worried you're in a bad place. I don't think you see how thin you have stretched yourself."

Fai didn't answer.

He didn't trust himself to speak evenly as he blinked away the curious moisture that was gathering in his eyes. He didn't have the energy for a full-blown breakdown.

Ashura was interrupting his routine to avoid it.

Fai needed to be alone until he could control himself. If he couldn't do that, he would have a meltdown and spill his guts about how fucking bad it was.

He couldn't do that. Fai needed to be strong. He was the strong one in their family.

"Fai—I'm not sure how to help you. You haven't been talking to me like you used to. You're working too hard and I don't know if it's because you need the distraction or because you think you have to." Ashura ran a hand through his hair—keeping his gaze locked in front of him.

Fai didn't think he had to work so hard—he had no choice.

If he didn't, he would be left dealing with his brain—which was trying harder to off him than Reed at the moment.

He had no chance if he didn't keep busy.

"I realized today when you were talking about your date and his dog that I haven't seen you truly happy in years. I saw a glimmer of the old you—I didn't realize—I didn't see how bad it had gotten." His father said slowly.

Ashura was always careful when he chose his words—especially when he talked to Fai about the taboo topic of feelings.

Fai still didn't answer. He avoided it by taking another bite of his dinner and mentally cursed the single tear that managed to slip free.

He needed to keep it together.

He took another bite of his food and wiped quickly at his cheek.

He could not start crying now. Fai wouldn't be able to stop.

"—How can I help you, Fai? Just tell me what I need to do. You know I would give anything to see you happy again."

He could not do this tonight. His chest was getting impossibly tight and he wasn't sure if he could stop this if Ashura didn't leave him alone soon.

Fai managed to swallow after a few attempts and slowly took deep breaths as he tried to find his voice.

"I don't need help. I'll take more time from work, so you don't have to worry." His voice quivered slightly, and Ashura finally looked at him.

He didn't say anything about Fai wiping away another stray tear roughly.

Ashura looked at him for a good minute—gold eyes analyzing his features and the way he was holding himself.

Fai didn't know what he saw.

"Why are you shutting me out like this? Whatever it is—"

No. Fai couldn't… Not about the stress at work—not about fighting his thoughts through this fucking backlash—Ashura didn't need to worry.

He needed to be alone. He needed to lie so Ashura would leave and he could get himself under control.

Fuck.

Fai mentally apologized to Yuui as he cut his father off.

"—The anniversary… it's in a few weeks. It's just hard this year for whatever reason"

Anything but the truth—no one questioned him when it came to mourning his twin—even if it wasn't truly what was wrong.

"It is. Do you want to talk about why?" Ashura reached out and wiped away the next tear.

Using THAT as an excuse made him feel like garbage. The fact that he hardly thought about Yuui these days—the days he should be—only added fuel to the emotional fire.

"Can I just sleep?" his voice cracked, and he bit the inside of his cheek. "Maybe another day?"

Fai really needed to be alone now.

He couldn't keep it together.

He was such a piece of fucking shit—but he was not scaring his family.

Not again.

"Ok, Fai." Ashura ruffled his hair and smiled kindly at him. He let himself out of the room and Fai all but tossed his food aside and laid back on the bed to suck in a few deep breaths and let the tears fall freely.

They would dry up.

This couldn't last forever.

He would get his emotions under check—he would stop worrying his family—he just had to get over the freaking hump.

His whole reason for doing this was for them. He could get through tonight for his family. For his father…

He just had to get to tomorrow.

Baby steps.

Fai had gotten pretty good at dealing with his inner demons over the years. Work had been his way of dealing with his depression—normally when thoughts of self harm or worse hit him, he would go to work, and it would distract him long enough for them to pass.

It had been his go to for the last 12 years. He hadn't hurt himself physically in 12 whole years—not after he'd taken it too far and scared the shit out of his loved ones.

There was a reason his father had felt the need to corner him tonight—he thought it was getting bad again. He didn't know that it had never really gotten better.

Fai had just found better ways to channel that energy.

When he had first lost Yuui, when he was still working street corners and getting the stuffing beat out of him by other dealers, when his father had just come home from the hospital, he hadn't known how to deal with these dark thoughts.

Granted—back then, it they were not set free by chemical withdrawal—they had been 100% organic and the result of pure stress.

Ashura had found him in bed after he had fallen asleep with fresh wounds on his thighs—the blood soaking into the sheets and painting a grizzly picture. It was messy, but the wounds had been superficial.

Back then, it had been a way to get his control back and push the more dangerous thoughts away. His brain could hurt him mentally—but Fai could hurt himself physically. The bad thoughts were not reality—Fai controlled his reality.

Family therapy had been helpful—he had thrown himself into work at the doctor's suggestion of keeping busy. It had worked, too—for a while, he had loved the thrill and the challenge of it.

At some point, his escape became a prison of its own, though—that's when he had started using various illegal substances to cope and somehow, he had gotten to where he was now.

He couldn't get out.

So he had to keep the lies going and that made him a shitty son.

The lies were better than letting his father know that he had raised a career criminal. That would probably kill Ashura.

It would be easier if Fai just offed himself…

Neither of those were viable options—only lying kept their family together even if it was slowly choking out their relationship.

Ashura was no idiot—but somehow Fai had managed to keep it going all these years.

Hiding behind half truths and relying on his father's head injury and poor memory to prevent him from piecing things together.

His father had a killer instinct when it had come to business. Fai had gotten TONS of advice over the years, but he always had to come up with a way to ask for it without mentioning the fact that the product his was selling wasn't just booze or food—but Drugs, alcohol, women, men and also food.

It helped to get advice from him. Even if Ashura didn't know the whole truth, Fai depended on him in that way.

Unknowingly, his father had helped him form most of his policies he had when it came to his enforcers, dealers, escorts and plain old employees. The man had a skill for leading and was a wealth of knowledge when it came to human nature and how to use it to your advantage.

Ashura was the one who had told him that it was easier to get what you wanted with a smile and kind words—and how to bend someone's will if that didn't work. Ashura was the one who had helped him climb the ranks by teaching how to win over his 'coworkers' and catch the eye of his 'managers' until he had enough support to 'buy out the business.'

Aka—how to charm his fellow dealers into not kicking his ass—how to go the extra mile and earn the notice of people higher up the chain of command and become their go to guy—or how to stage a coup.

Actually, Ashura had also been the first to give him the knowledge he needed to not only get away with murder, but also gave him some shifty ideas how to do it cleanly, and without leaving evidence.

Perks of picking his brain about the dozens of murderers he had helped defend.

It was easy enough to get that info after sitting through a serial killer documentary and picking his brain about 'what if's.'

It wasn't like Fai couldn't talk to him about anything having to do with his work—but the lying was exhausting. There were so many things he couldn't bring up that he had started avoiding it all together.

Fai would probably kill to be able to just have a good cry and vent to his father about how much he HATED all of this. The lies, the smiles, the power struggles, the constant problems, all the people depending on him.

He hated it.

He was exhausted and there was no way out.

Fai couldn't tell him about the biggest things weighing him down.

Fai couldn't tell him that he had started using hardcore again—that he knew he had gotten bad, but dammit! Not this bad.

He didn't want to be like this.

Fai couldn't tell Ashura that he had been right—Kurogane sorta made him feel a little bit like his old self. That he wouldn't mind having him around for a little while to lean on—because even though he also couldn't talk to the cop about any of this stressful shit—his arms were big, strong, and warm—and when they were together, he forgot about the stress of work.

That he had actually slept for the first time in what felt like years surrounded by the man's scent.

If he told Ashura about those feelings, he was going to encourage Fai to give in to his body's craving for the younger man's comfort—and he didn't think he had the resolve to resist.

Not when these fucking thoughts were back.

Fai couldn't tell Ashura that he was tempted to drag his ass back to the stress of work when he felt like this just so he could get his coke and feel in control.

For that short time where he would feel that he had everything handled—that even though he was flirting with demise, it would be ok.

He couldn't tell him—could hardly admit to himself, really, that the coke just wasn't doing it anymore. That he wanted something harder—something to take these feelings away.

He needed to feel numb…

That was a line he knew he couldn't cross. Fai was reckless but he wasn't stupid enough to start using the real hard stuff—coke was no joke but compared to some of the things he sold? Maybe cocaine was just as addictive—especially to someone like himself—and the come down sucked.

The difficulty concentrating, exhaustion mixed with restlessness, anhedonia, the increased depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, vivid nightmares, tremors and cravings were no walk in the park.

They would leave sooner or later, though—his brain would reroute, and he would learn to live without it without medical intervention.

When it finally did, he would be left with his normal depression, which was bad—but he wasn't normally this bad.

If he jumped up the ladder even one more step when it came to his products, he was fucked. He wouldn't be able to quit on his own—he would lose his family. Either from an overdose or getting killed by a competitor when he was too high to see them coming.

Fai's business was mainly the import and sale of illegal drugs—he knew his shit. He knew more than most when it came to micro dosing, tapering down, withdrawal, addiction and how it affected you.

He had tried almost everything at least once—with a few exceptions—and in his younger days he had really enjoyed recreational use of a lot of party drugs. It was about 7 maybe 8 years ago that recreational use had crossed the line to self-medication.

Which was fine. It wasn't like he wasn't actually medicated before. He didn't just decide to start popping pills one day.

He had taken ADHD pills through high school and his year at university after a teacher had suggested he see a doctor when he was having issues keeping up with his twin and other peers in school.

He hadn't had traditional symptoms of childhood ADHD but he was a textbook case for an adult. Impulsiveness, disorganization and problems prioritizing, poor time management skills, trouble multitasking, frequent mood swings and trouble coping with stress had left him struggling to keep up as a freshman in high school.

A little yellow pill in the morning and another at lunch had him landing straight A's and matching Yuui step for step again.

When he started working as a dealer again after moving home, he had just bought his pills through work.

It had been easy to slowly up the dose as he started working harder and longer. Other people in his line of work, more experienced in the art of pill popping, had assured him it was no big deal.

It wasn't like Adderall or Ritalin got him high, after all—just helped him to keep his head in the game while he was cutting, weighing, and packaging product—after all, you did not want to accidentally miscount the stack of 100's you got as payment when you knew what happened to dealers who skimmed.

It was no different than how Caffeine didn't make him jittery or sugar didn't make him hyper.

His brain was chemically fucked like that.

It wasn't a big deal. You'll be fine, don't be a pussy. If the doctors gave it to you, what's the difference?

When he first tried coke, it had been at a meeting with the man who used to have his job. Fai hadn't tried it—hadn't known then at 20 that at its base Adderall and Cocaine were in the same family.

Amphetamines.

Stimulants.

His boss had laughed his ass off that Fai was afraid to try it, and had pitched it as basically an illegal version of something doctors had prescribed him.

What was the big deal?

Coke didn't give him the rush he had been expecting. What it did for him was totally shut his racing thoughts down and the intense clarity was something that had him coming back for more.

It made him better at his job.

It hadn't been a big deal—it was not like it was meth or crack, right?

It was just a party drug—it was relatively safe.

Fai wished he had been smart enough to get on fucking google and learn about this shit. After he had offed his boss and taken the reins, he had actually taken the time to do just that.

You know what wasn't a big jump from Cocaine?

Meth. Crack. Several other things that were on the list of taboos…

They also had extremely similar effects on the body. They just came from a different source. One stimulant was not that different from another once you started digging into how they did their job.

That scared the absolute shit out of him.

For a while, that had been enough to get him to stop. Impulsive desperation had brought him back after a year or so—he would lean on it for a while, then switch back to Adderall.

Over the years, he would go back to his 'little helper' more often, and for longer periods of time.

It was easy to point out that it didn't make him high—Fai didn't get aggressive when using—there was no rush—it just gave him a clear head.

Something he needed in his line of work. It shut the racing thoughts down and allowed him to focus on one thing at a time. To keep his cool.

Sure, it left him feeling like suicidal trash every time he stopped—but that wore off after a while. When he needed that extra ace in the hole, it was a nice thing to have.

Of course—people didn't care about any of that. They didn't care why he used—he was a drug addict because he self-medicated.

Fai didn't need his family to tag him as that. They didn't need to worry about him like that. So, he would deal with the shitty feelings and the bad thoughts and tell himself that it was for them.

He might not be able to talk to his father about any of this—but he could make it another day for him.

Baby steps.

Baby steps were key.

Chapter Text

Fai was wide awake when his alarm went off, just as he had been for the last 24 or so hours. He had wasted all of that time and hadn't even managed to fall asleep once. He could be wrong. There had been a lot just laying around with his eyes closed in the dark and maybe he had caught a few moments here or there.

When you got down to it, it didn't really matter.

What was important was that he had survived the night—his will to live had yet to rear its obnoxious head—but at least he hadn't done anything stupid.

Yay, him…

He got to do it all over again today while also being at work.

Woo…

So much fun.

Fai rolled over in bed and silenced the alarm on his phone. His eyes ached in protest as he tried to focus on the bright screen, and he swore under his breath as he fumbled with the brightness setting.

If he was going to get out of bed, he was going to need help.

That help came in the form of a hangover basket from his assistant. Bless Syaoran's heart because all Fai needed to do was send him the sick face emoji and an sos, and he would know just what to bring.

He got a response back within minutes that Syaoran would be by shortly—and he pulled the covers back over his head to wait. Fai hadn't been able to sleep, so he had managed to keep his emails and text messages answered and up to date, so there was nothing to do but wait.

He had ignored Ashura and Ash's attempt to coax him out of his room for breakfast or lunch, claiming a headache. They were downstairs watching documentaries on Netflix and could let Syaoran into the house. He would drag his ass into the shower after some caffeine and he would probably have his assistant drive him to work in his Maserati Levante… he had gotten it when the lease on his Porsche Cayenne was up—he liked to have a bigger vehicle for the just in case scenario.

It came in handy when he wanted to take more than one person with him—or on days like today, when his daily driver was on E.

Yesterday, Fai was a real prick—he would not only have to get someone to bring gas to his car—but he would also have to find a parking spot big enough for the Levante and walk. Since today’s Fai felt way worse than yesterday’s Fai, you would think he would cut himself a freaking break.

Pushing the annoyance with himself aside, Fai needed to focus on what he had to get done today rather than just how bad it was going to feel doing it. Kyuden was first on his hit list. Not only did he have a lovely young lady to check up on—but he also needed to finalize the budget for the remodeling. He had a meeting with Yuto as well as a few contractors who were going to give them bids.

They had been in earlier in the week to measure and come up with designs, and it was decision making time… Kyuden's night crowd rolled in a little earlier as it catered to a more mature group, so Fai was heading in early to beat the Friday night happy hour rush.

2pm was usually right, smack, dab, in the middle of his sleep time, but it wasn't like he hadn't been laying in bed for going on 21 hours. He had gotten up to pee, but other than that, he had been tossing and turning while he enjoyed his mental breakdown.

Panic attacks were exhausting—but not so exhausting that he could actually sleep.

Fai heard the doorbell ring and made no attempt to move.

Instead, he tried to mentally prepare himself to slip his mask back onto his face.

He could do this.

He would be ok.

This wouldn't last forever.

Work was going to distract him and he could only stay awake so long. Tonight he would sleep, and everything was going to be ok.

He could hear Syaoran's sweet voice as he spoke to his father—Ashura offering to feed him, of course—and Syaoran excusing himself to go up and see Fai. A soft knock on the door later and his assistant was frowning at him with worried eyes.

This was probably close to the shittiest Syaoran had seen him. He could only imagine what he looked like, now, to earn that much concern.

"Fai-sama?"

Of course, Syaoran had seen him though enough hangovers and comedowns that he probably wasn't all that fazed anymore. The sweet thing that he was couldn't help but worry, no doubt.

"Caffeine?" Fai's voice came out rough as he sat up slowly, kicking the blanket off.

Caffeine was the only stimulant he was going to allow himself and it was like a ripple in an ocean compared to how hopped up he had been the last few weeks. Even so—caffeine would help.

"I had Touya blend up a caffeine pill into this smoothie for you. Its strawberry with a scoop of vanilla ice cream instead of a banana." His assistant handed him a clear plastic cup filled with his saving grace.

Better than an energy drink, right?

Fruit counted for something.

Fai sucked some of the sweet, thick liquid down and crawled to the edge of the bed. He finished about half of it before his feet hit the floor and he sighed as he handed it back to Syaoran.

"Are—Fai-sama, did you get in a fight or something?"

"No." His body ached like he had—muscles tight from lying in bed too long. He hoisted himself up and walked to the closet to choose a suit without bothering to elaborate on the fact that the most amazing sex of his life had left him covered in light bruises with scattered dark red and purple love bites.

It wasn't even like Kurogane had been that rough, either…

Fai just bruised like a peach.

The last time he had bothered to drag his ass to the doctor, they had given him a giant list of vitamin deficiencies he needed to work on and who knew which one of those made him bruise easily. He had better things to worry about at the moment.

"Well, that's good to hear." Syaoran caught the clothes that Fai carelessly pulled from the hangers and tossed over his shoulder.

The light bruises didn't even hurt, but the green and brown patches on his skin were not exactly attractive. Good news was, his work dress code kept him well covered and his face was bruise free—the dark circles under his eyes didn't count—those were from lack of sleep and were easily covered with a little concealer and eye cream.

Fai didn't feel like rocking the bright colorful thing today, so he selected a charcoal Armani suit, white shirt and black tie to reflect the current state of his soul. This would at least help hide the hot mess that he was under fancy wrapping paper?

Fake it till you make it, baby.

After Kyuden, he would swing by to see Yuuko and then meet Reed for a late dinner. So far, there hadn't been any issues with his new shipment, so it was time to dismiss him. He hoped that would end the nonsense he was dealing with…

He didn't need a full power struggle on his hands. It had been a few years since anyone had been ballsy enough to challenge him head on—but he had no qualms sending Reed home in a pine box or perhaps a piece at a time to remind everyone why they left him alone.

"Yeah. Go let Ashura feed you while I shower. He needs something to take care of." Syaoran nodded and Fai finished his smoothie on his way into the bathroom, tossing it in the waste bin as he settled his clothes on the counter and stripped out of his PJs.

This shower was a lot quicker than the one last night and soon enough, he was combing and blow drying his hair, dressed and ready to head out. Berluti shoes that matched his outfit perfectly were slipped on over dress shocks and Fai trudged downstairs to find Ashura happily fretting over Syaoran.

The teen handed him a Powerade as he came to lean on the island next to him and Fai had to pass it to Ashura for the cap to be opened. He wasn't ready to talk yet—and both Syaoran and his dad continued to chatter while he sipped this bright green liquid and attempted to feel a little more human.

10% human would probably be enough to get through the day without jumping in front of a bus.

10% human should be doable, right?

When Fai finished his drink, he walked towards the garage door—everyone's signal that he was leaving. Ashura called for him to have a good day and managed a small smile over his shoulder before slipping into the cool garage.

The keys for the Maserati were hanging on the hook just outside of the door.

Probably not the best idea, but Fai didn't really give a shit if someone stole one of his cars. It wasn't like he didn't have insurance, or the means to make sure that person would rue their very existence for pulling a stupid stunt like that.

It would probably be a welcome distraction at the moment. Anything to get himself out of his own head was a good thing today.

Syaoran hopped in the passenger seat and Fai kicked the car in reverse before pulling out unto the quiet street of his neighborhood—hitting the garage door opener to close it behind them as they drove away.

He blared his Spotify playlist as he navigated the congested streets and managed to find a nice spot up the block from Kyuden that didn't require too much finagling.

Too bad he couldn't ask Kuro-chan to show him how he fit his SUV in those tiny spots.

Too bad he couldn't get Kuro-chan off his mind.

It had hardly been 24 hours and he was already thinking about him again. He would blame it on his brain rebelling against him not that it was deprived of its favorite amphetamine—it had nothing to do with the fact that Fai actually wanted to see him, just his cock.

By the time he was in through the front door of their first stop of the night, he had finished another Poweraid and was sipping on a RedBull Syaoran had handed him as soon as he had tossed the empty bottle onto the backseat.

Yuto greeted them from behind the bar with a kind smile on his face.

"Which one of us hired your little spitfire?" Fai flashed his manager a bright smile of his own and relaxed into the familiar dance of dealing with his people.

He might be comfortable letting his guard down around Syaoran and his family—but Yuto and he were on a strictly professional level. He couldn't let his underlings see he was having an off day. The second they sensed weakness in him, the people who had been stirring up trouble would try and pounce.

He had enough to worry about without an assassination attempt.

Even if that did sound heavenly at the moment.

He didn't suspect Yuto or anything—but best to practice now so when he was meeting his least favorite exporter for dinner, he could pull it off flawlessly. The good thing about seeing Reed tonight was that he wouldn't have any time to think about just how shitty his life was.

He would be too busy playing the role of the quirky and slightly psychotic crime lord to even have time to think about anything else.

It was the perfect distraction.

"You did, if I remember correctly. She was that fresh faced, barely legal foreigner you took a chance on." Yuto's words were just enough to jog his memory and Fai couldn't help but chuckle.

She was a tiny thing if he remembered correctly. She had been with them for going on 5 years now and the last time he had seen her, she couldn't have weighted more than 46kg.

"I knew I liked her. Get her medical bills and I'll take care of them. Also pay her whatever she usually brings in out of the business account. Until her hand has healed, of course." Because his girls were contractors, Fai couldn't have them on his work comp plan.

That didn't mean he was going to leave her out to dry.

"You're feeling rather generous today, aren't you." Yuto leaned forward onto one elbow and gave him a relaxed smile.

At least someone seemed to be having a good night so far.

He knew how Fai rolled—he probably already planned on putting in such a request.

"Just taking care of my people." Fai surprised himself with just how chipper he had managed to sound.

He deserved a treat for being so good at pretending his entire world wasn't slowly burning around him… Maybe he would find some company and reward himself before the night was over.

They wouldn't be as sweet as Kurogane—but he had a few favorites he called up occasionally.

Yuto offered them both a drink and Fai switched between his energy drink and a cool glass of water while they waited or the contractors to arrive. As each of his businesses started opening, the update emails started pouring in and he was a little less annoyed with waiting while he checked them on his mobile.

Nothing had blown up while he had been away which was honestly surprising. Maybe his anxiety had him worrying over nothing again—or maybe shit was going to hit the fan here pretty quick and he was going to be totally blindsided.

He didn't know which, but it was like a game of Russian roulette now, wasn't it? Only time would tell, and the suspense and anxiety were an amazing distraction from the soul crushing despair and deep depression that had been trying to down him since yesterday.

When the contractors did finally arrive, Fai didn't bother scolding them. They all went upstairs to the second level VIP section to see what they could do.

Fai only half listened as they spoke and looked over blue prints and he wished he could smack himself. He could not concentrate to save his fucking life today. Not that that was anything new—he should probably have gotten something to help beyond the caffeine, but he was really trying not to cheat.

He really needed to quit the uppers before he upped himself right on up and over the edge.

Thankfully, Yuto was a capable manager and took the lead—So Fai just got to write the check. Tossing 100k at this remodel was no big deal—he was expecting worse—and they would bring that back in in no time with the extra rent.

He cared more about getting on with his night than spending that kind of cash. His manager was happy with the result, the contractor was happy to get the job and Fai was happy to get the hell out.

Fai booked it as soon as the meeting was over and they were on their way to see his attorney Yuuko—whose office was in the middle of downtown Tokyo—just in time for rush hour traffic.

Yay, adventure…

As per tradition, he stopped for the obligatory sweets and coffee from his café before heading up the street. Getting a hug from little Tsubasa was almost enough to stave off the frustration of parking—and soon enough, he was in the elevator with a box of donuts and a tray of drinks.

The firm took up the entire 54th floor of this building, and you were greeted by a pretty receptionist as soon as you stepped off the elevator.

Given that Ashura had been a founding partner, Fai's personal attorney was a founding partner and his stepfather was a junior partner—she knew who he was.

Even though she was newer, she saw him at least once a month, and other then a polite 'Welcome back!' she didn't pay them much mind. Yuuko had one of the two corner offices and Fai paused at Watanuki's desk just outside of her door.

"Is she free? She told me to swing by when I had a chance." Fai set one of the coffees down in front of him and smiled.

"Awe, you didn't have to! Thank you! and She's been expecting you, but it’s Friday night so—well, you know how it is here." He smiled and accepted the coffee and Fai left Syaoran to hang out with him while he went in.

Yuko was as lovely as ever.

Her long midnight hair was tied up in a neat bun, her bangs framing her face, and she was sporting a sexy, yet oddly appropriate ruby red pant suit that hugged her curves just right. He makeup was natural and her smile mischievous as she looked up to see him.

"Oh~ what did my sweet Fai bring me this time?" She had been typing away quickly at her laptop but set it aside as he set the pink cardboard box filled with sweets in front of her, along with an extra-large latte.

"You're favorites and a skinny cinnamon latte with extra shots." He took a seat in the overstuffed leather chair that sat across from her glass desk as she smiled at her treats.

"You know just how to win my heart. You're such a devil." She took a bite of a custard filled donut and the sound she made was absolutely indecent.

Fai was used to this.

Aunty Yuuko had always been eccentric.

"I try." Fai sipped his own coffee and tried to ignore his anxiety. Work was his distractions—but this part of the business was almost worse than dealing with the half of his brain that was trying to murder him.

The one thing that was sure to spark his anxiety was knowing that he had failed the people who counted on him—and that was exactly what had happened earlier this week.

This wasn't just a friendly meeting to chat—This was to try and rectify his latest fuck up.

He was here because two of his boys were sitting in jail missing their classes and facing class A felony drug charges because he had a snitch. Asking Yuko to get them off scott free was a tall order—but he was not going to have their blood on his hands.

"So, do you have any news? Are they at least going to let them out on bail?" Yuuko set her pastry aside and shook her head slowly at him.

Well, fuck.

That didn't bode well, at all.

Fai had been doing this dance long enough to know that they were planning on throwing the book at his boys. Making examples out of them, no doubt.

"Given the fact that they're associated with you? No. They’re not going to offer them bail. Not when one of the richest men in Tokyo is waiting to bribe them out of trouble." Yuko leaned back and pulled a file out of her drawer.

Right…

"There is nothing I can do? These things can take weeks and they’re missing classes." Fai watched her open it and thumb through the first few pages slowly—her eyes glancing over the text quickly.

"I love how that is your propriety. Look they are facing life right now—they will be lucky to get out in a few years with good behavior given how much stuff they were moving. Their arraignment was this morning and the state is hitting them pretty hard. Several counts of Class A possession with intent to distribute for each of them… it's not looking good, Fai."

Fuuuck.

It's not like these were just any minions… Fai knew these boys. He had hired them and had encouraged them to go to school and get the fuck out while they still could. He only let people he trust move product, though—and they usually didn't get caught because He was careful with the people he trusted.

This time, it seemed, someone had ratted them out.

Someone close to him had called it in, given how closely this info for moving that many pills was guarded. Opioids were his highest seller these days and they were getting harder to get ahold of. This bust had left them dangerously low on a very addictive substance.

Not only had he had trusted men arrested—Fai had had to call in a few favors for an emergency shipment to keep customers out of withdrawals and turning to less safe sources.

"I've seen you get people out of worse." Fai had seen her get murder charges dropped on his enforcers. If anyone could do it, it was Yuuko.

There was still hope.

She was the best, after all.

"Yeah, well—I can only do what I can do. I'm meeting with the prosecutor here tomorrow and I'll see if we can grease the wheels a bit. See if we can get this thrown out for a clerical error." Yuko sighed and frowned at Fai.

She had done this on his behalf before, but she didn't like it. Yuuko would do it for him, though—she had been one of his pillars since his father's accident and hadn't left him out to dry yet.

"I'll give you whatever you need. Say the word and I'll hand it over in cash." It was always a pain in the ass for both of them when he had to move a lotta cash for 'greasing.' If it came out that the authorities had been bribed, they would start looking to see where that much cash had come from.

Moving cash took a full crew of armed guards and he had to make sure if they were caught, he could prove the money came from a clean source. 'Cleaning' drug money was a lengthy and tedious process that involved numerous round about transactions—moving the money between various accounts and institutions until it would be impossible to track its source. Often and with extremely small amounts at a time.

"I had no doubts about that my sweet." Yuko took another bite of her treat and Fai looked out the window.

He only just now noticed his leg was bouncing.

Something like that wouldn't miss Yuko's attention.

"So—" She smiled at him and Fai had to use a hand to stop his leg from giving himself away any more than it already had. "I take it you haven't found your rat?"

"No. I took the last two days off." He still didn't know how big of a mistake it was going to turn out to be. Who the heck knew what plotting had gone down during his absence? Who knew how high up in his chain the rat was—and how much support he had curried for whatever cause they had.

Fai had no idea if it was Fei Wong Reed pulling the strings or if someone was using his presence and the obvious tension to cover their tracks. Until he got to the bottom of it, he couldn't afford time off…

Withdrawals notwithstanding.

"That's not like you, Fai, dearie. Sick?" Yuko had a perfectly innocent smile on her face but Fai knew better than to pay any attention to her expressions.

That was a loaded question, if he had ever heard one.

She was sharp—she didn't make it to where she was by being slow on the uptake.

Yuko was one of his few confidants, but he had to be careful with her. She had no issues strong arming him if she thought he was getting himself in trouble. She had done it before and he did not need a lecture about how he was playing with fire.

If there was anyone he would go to if he got himself in trouble, it would be his aunt Yuuko. Fai wasn't willing to admit it was that bad this time. He was slowly but surely trudging through and getting a grip without her interference in the matter.

"You heard what happened to Ashura." Fai offered, a change of subject was the safest move.

She and Ashura had met in law school and had formed a quick, deep friendship. A week didn't go by where she wasn't trying to coax him back to working at least part time again. She texted his dad more than he and Tai did combined.

She knew by now.

"Yes—that happens a few times a year, though. Maybe not the hitting the head on the counter part, but you're used to working around his hospital stays." Yuuko took another bite and gave a scolding look, eyes narrowed, and brows raised.

"Mental health day."

"Looks like you need another, my dear."

If it was that obvious, Fai must be losing his touch. If Yuuko wasn't buying it, Reed wasn't going to, either.

"When I find the Rat." Fai tugged the corners of his lips into what was supposed to be an easy smile and tilted his head to the side. "I have dinner with Reed tonight and I'm sending him home. I think he got the message." Another subject change, and this one peeked Yuuko's interest.

After all, She had been the one to tell him to drag Fei Wong Reed here for a dick measuring contest, in the first place.

"What makes you think that, love?" She finished off the last of her donut and leaned back in her chair to sip her coffee lazily while she stared him down.

"This newest batch is of an acceptable quality. If he was going to make his move, don't you think he would have done it by now? I'm sure I've annoyed and offended him enough by keeping him locked in his hotel and treating him like an afterthought."

"You really are you father's son... He's jumped continents once already—I would assume he had something to do with your latest trouble with the authorities."

"He was chased out of Hong Kong by his higher ups according to my sources. He didn't choose to take over in Guatemala, that's for sure." Fai smirked. Reed was a threat—he wasn't about to underestimate a man who had escaped the Triad with his life.

He was dangerous—but Fai didn't exactly have a healthy sense of fear. He was known to be testy.

Though slow to anger—when he flipped his switch, things never ended well. It wasn't like bigger crime groups with better resources hadn't tried to bully their way into his turf before.

There was a reason that Yakuza left him alone—he minded his own business unless pressed. He knew he didn't have the resources for a full scale face off with them, but he did know how to move the pieces he did have to effectively gain control of the board.

You didn't have to play hard if you played smart.

Or dirty.

Fai was not above playing dirty.

"Maybe not, but I'm sure your spot looks pretty cushy to him." Yuuko sipped her coffee again and Fai ran a hand through his hair.

No doubt that was exactly what Reed thought—but was he idiotic enough to actually die for it?

"We'll see. It's not like I'm running low on creative ways to teach him a lesson. He only needs to show his hand and I'll gladly show him mine." Fai could guarantee Reed wouldn't like his hand.

"I'm sure. I bet you’re relieved to have your supply line stable again. I bet it was awfully nerve wracking there for a while." Another loaded question.

She saw right through him.

"I'm happy not to lose any more money on shit product. My clients are picky about their snow, after all." Fai kept his tone even and disinterested.

He wasn't going to play this game tonight. There was an understanding that Yuuko could only do what she did for him and his people because he was honest with her—he would fess up once he was over the hump.

Fai always did.

He would probably agree to a few counseling sessions like the last time—and he would go back to popping addies like tic tacs till the next time things got bad.

That's how they rolled.

"Of course, your clients are your main concer—"

The door to the office was flung open and Fai and Yuko's eyes snapped over to settle on Syaoran.

"We have a problem, Fai-sama. At Akai Heya. The manager just called you and let us know that they have a situation. They think it's an overdose."

"What do you mean they think?" Fai's voice dropped low and he stood quickly.

He did not need this right now—not on top of everything else going on. There was one fucking rule and that was that they didn't over serve. Definitely not at Akai Heya, which was watched so closely by the authorities.

Fai glared hard. It wasn't directed at Syaoran, but his assistant still took a step back.

"Ms. Hinoto said that it's not a normal overdose. They took him to the back and they’re requesting your presence asap."

"What did he take? What did we sell him?" Fai grabbed his phone back from his assistant and started reading through the text messages that had come in from the manager or Akai Heya. She normally had total control of the unruly student crowd that hung around there.

If he was going to guess any of his managers might slip up and ruin their streak, Hinoto was nowhere near the top of his list.

Daisuke, the head dealer working that floor that night, had sold their John Doe a gram of cocaine about twenty minutes ago and it had gone downhill from there—so unless Daisuke had suddenly forgotten how to do simple math, there shouldn't be an overdose.

Either he mixed some shit he shouldn't have or the game of Russian Roulette was over and Fai was losing tonight big time. He had never hoped one of his dealers had fucked up this bad, before—he really hoped that was the case, though.

FUCK.

Fai tucked his phone into the inner pocket of his Armani suit coat and flashed Yuuko a calm smile. "Duty calls, it seems. Lovely seeing you, and just text me if you need me to move some cash to you."

"A word of advice before you go—" Fai was halfway to the door and paused at her words, but didn't turn around to see Yuuko. "If there is a body on your hands—get rid of it. You don't need an OD with the cops watching you like this."

Like he didn't know that.

"Got it."

Fai and Syaoran beat feet back down and out of the building. Fai pulled into traffic and made the best time he could on his way over to Akai Heya. It was only pushing 9 and the night crowd should only just be starting to heat up there.

Akai Heya catered to college kids and sold mostly party drugs and study pills. They never had an issue with it—Sure, kids partied hard, but they didn't sell much of the sort of thing that usually caused an overdose.

Which meant that there was most likely more at play here.

Cocaine overdose was totally possible and extremely dangerous. There was no magic safe dose—and if you did too much at once you could stop your heart. It was not an easy thing to do—most people who end up od-ing on it were long time users who just kept upping the dose to get the rush they were looking for.

Poor college student typically got their thrills on cheaper, safer forms.

Fai illegally parked in front the entrance and tossed the keys at Syaoran before heading in. The line to get in was way longer than usual—they had stopped letting people in, given the situation. At least they had known to do that much.

He was still going to rip his dealer a new ass for this… he hoped that's all he would have to do tonight.

The only way this all worked—they stayed out of prison—and everyone got paid, was if they didn't over serve.

That was lesson No. fucking one, but it was something that was easy enough to correct. Dealers usually only made this mistake once.

There was still a good number of people inside and the music slammed into him as soon as he crossed the threshold into the building. If it wouldn't call more attention to something going on, he would have the DJ cut it and kick everyone out. His head did not like the thumping base that was rattling his body as he weaved through the gyrating bodies.

The 'back' was literally at the back of the building here and - slipping past the employees - only greeted him with the manager, Hinoto, the head dealer here, Daisuke, and one of his enforcers. These three were in charge of making sure Fai didn't have to deal with this sort of thing. And someone had fucked up.

All eyes were on him as the door slammed closed, the music muffling to a dull thumping. The look on their faces told him all he needed to know—Fai didn't even need to look down at the twitching blue body in the floor.

Well, FUCK.

"Who let this happen?" Fai wore a perfectly emotionless mask as he addressed them. He spoke calmly and without anger.

If you knew him—you knew, when he got like this, he was truly livid.

"Fai-sama, please just listen." Hinoto put herself between Fai and Daisuke, who was looking at him as though he were Satan himself.

Well, that right there spoke volumes now, didn't it?

Fai's people knew him as not only a kind man who looked out for his people—but also a fucking psycho who wouldn't think twice about throwing you off the Tokyo tower if you fucked him over.

They hadn't had an OD on property in years. You did not want to be the poor bastard responsible for breaking that record.

If this got out, they could kiss their 'good standing' with the cops goodbye. It was going to go right back to how it was when he had first started out—Since Fai was not going to roll over and take it, there was going to be losses on both sides.

Daisuke might not have been around back there—but Hinoto had. She had probably filled her junior in on just how big of a fuck up this really was.

"I'll listen." He would keep his cool—analyze—and react accordingly.

"We sold him the first bit of the new shipment that was dropped off this morning. Before you take it out on the people on the floor, can you have it checked?" Hinoto's eyes were hard and Fai let out a stream of curses.

Please let this be an error on the part of his people and not an issue with the product.

He knew just by looking at their John Doe that this wasn't a cocaine overdose, but he was praying that the dealer would fess up to some sort of error that would explain this, and beg for forgiveness—Fai would chew him out and demote him—and after the body was disposed of, it would be all over.

It was seeming less and less like that was the case.

Fai whipped his cell out and dialed up Kujaku—he was Fai's second in command when it came to making sure that each location was stocked according to the head dealers wishes. Fai used to work the streets with him way back when, and he was confident in his trust of the man.

He answered after only a few rings and Fai started to pace as he spoke to him.

"Hey hey, Fai. What's shakin’, bacon?" Kujaku's cheery voice rang through the phone and Fai watched the body continue to twitch on the floor as he stepped over him to get to the more open half of the back room.

Nope.

This wasn't normal.

The poor bastard was slowly suffocating. Something had been sucked down into his lungs—this was no OD—this was some sort of poisoning.

"Who was in charge of stocking Akai Heya tonight?" Either the whole batch was bad or they were going to get a lead on who had swapped loyalties.

"Rondart. He's been in charge of their deliveries for a while. Why?" Kujaku's tone shifted from its usual chipper pitch at his boss's seriousness.

Rondart—or Kyle, as Fai knew him—had also been with them for a few years. They hadn't had problems with him, but Fai had never liked him much. He wasn't in the business of micromanaging his seconds, though—and he was really regretting that at the moment.

"He cut the snow himself? Did we get a new shipment from Reed or was he using the same stuff we've been using all week?" Fai had to make sure that, if he was going to react, he did it correctly.

He needed to investigate. Understand. Plan.

"Same stuff. He cut it from the block himself and delivered it this morning along with the rest of their order."

"Ok. I need to you to meet me at Akai Heya. Don't let your people know where you're going and I'll fill you in once you're here. This the only place he in charge of?" They were going to need to pull it—one incident like this was going to be hard enough to hide.

"Sure thing. He's only got his hands in Akai Heya. Do I need to pull anything from the floors?"

"Yeah. I'm sending out the order now. I have suspicions, but I need more info. Get over here asap." Fai hung up without waiting for an answer.

The other three living occupants of the room had stopped focusing on him and were watching their John Doe as his body occasionally twitched. His chest had stopped rising and falling while Fai had been on the phone and if his heart hadn't stopped yet, it would do so soon.

Poor guy was as good as dead.

"I want traffic to start flowing in and out of here as usual. The more people, the better. I'll call a cleanup crew and take care of this. You're all going back to work like this didn't happen."

"Thank you." Hinoto offered a low bow and put a hand on the back of the dealers waist as she led him out of the room quickly.

Fai pulled his phone back out and called Seshiro—who was his unofficial second in command when it came to his enforcers—and had him pull the people who knew how to get this job done.

Seshiro usually helped him with things like this—but he had a special job for his most sadistic underling. He was going to keep Reed company while Fai got to the bottom of this.

When Fai said jump, his people jumped.

Kujaku was the first to arrive and his bubbly personality quickly gave way when he saw exactly what it was they were dealing with.

"Well, shit. That looks like a whole lotta nope." He wrinkled his nose as he nudged the quickly cooling body with his foot.

"That's one way to put it, I suppose." Fai shook his head and pushed off the wall he had taken to lean against while he sent out a group message to his managers explaining the situation with as little detail as necessary. Syaoran had fetched the rest of the unsold product and Fai handed it over to the group's chemical expert.

Unlike Fai—Kujaku had managed to bust ass to get through school and get a doctorate in pharmaceutical science. He was a valuable resource and Fai paid him handsomely for it. Not only did Kujaku handle all the tiny details of the shipments that he just didn't have time for—but he also could probably figure out what had been used to cut this.

"That's uh—not what I was expecting." Kujaku accepted the dime bag that was handed to him.

Their John Doe had hardly touched what he had purchased—further evidence that this was laced or cut with something it shouldn't be.

"Find out what's in that for me. I don't want Rondart touching product till we know. I'm going to have samples from each joint that stocks this brought to you as well…"

If it was in internal issue, Fai would handle it accordingly. If it was Reed trying to sneak in a bad batch along with the rest, he didn't want to punish his own.

"Yeah. I can probably let you know before morning. What do you want me to do about Rondart?" Kujaku tucked the baggy into his pocket and ran a hand through his hair.

Witch hunts were hard when you were trying to get a bunch of criminals to play nice. When you're doing the type of thing that could land you with some serious time, then your fellow coworkers become a special kind of family.

You didn't want to mess with the trust of your people by pointing fingers and making accusations.

"Even if we can smother this from the authorities—our people are going to be talking about it. Don't let on that we suspect he is connected in any way. Assign him elsewhere to keep him busy since were not moving anything in or out of here—something that will keep his hands off the product."

"Sure thing. You need me to stick around or—"

"No. I need you to be available when the recalled product starts coming back and handle it personally. Don't delegate."

"Sure thing. Good luck, Fai." Kujaku patted his shoulder and headed back out, the sudden flush of sound muffling again as the door clicked shut.

Fai hardly had time to think of the best way to deal with the inevitable questions that would come once their John Doe was reported missing before the back door - which he had forgotten even was there - was practically kicked open and Fuuma and crew entered the room carrying large Rubbermaid totes.

Well, that made things simple.

"Please tell me you didn't lug those in off the streets." Fuuma set the first of the bins down on the table next to Fai and popped the lid.

Tarps, plastic aprons, gloves, face masks and eye protection.

"No worries. We backed one of the utility vans up to the door." Fuuma flashed a smile his way and started unpacking. The rest of the cleaning crew started setting up and Fai stuck around to supervise.

It would be easier to ditch and just check up later - Fuuma could handle this after all, he had pulled this off a dozen times at least by now. This group was of a special breed—like Seshiro, they had a screw loose.

Just the right screw and just the right amount of loose, mind you.

They weren't bothered by this sort of thing.

Honestly, usually Fai didn't blink at this sort of thing either… John Doe was already dead, after all.

Sure, there was guilt that his poor management had led to this poor fellow's untimely demise. Now that he was dead, though? He wasn't going to feel it and if he was found, it was going to be trouble for the living.

It wasn't like watching the clean up crew work made him queasy—the smell was not pretty and it burned your eyes a bit—but blood and gore didn't bother him.

He wanted answers to how this had happened NOW. He wanted to take care of the threat NOW. He didn't want to be patient and wait for the what, but that's not what had him angry—he wanted the fucking who.

Burning these images into his skull would add fuel to the fire when it came to finding the people responsible.

This should not have happened.

This was his fault.

Fai supervised from a distance to make sure proper procedure was followed. When the cops came sniffing, they needed to make sure this place was squeaky clean. No point in even bothering to hack the poor bastard to pieces and ruin the family's chance of an open casket if they were going to get caught by getting blood and other various bodily fluids everywhere.

Fai, Seshiro, and Fuuma had come up with an almost foolproof way to deal with clean up when they had just starting out. Way back, when he still did all of the dirty work himself.

You see—if you hopped on the internet, you could find the most useful tools. Including a thick plastic tent of sorts that was totally sealed along the edges. It was meant to be used as a temporary canopy for outdoor gatherings and was stupidly easy to assemble.

This particular canopy was special because it also had a plastic floor. It was 100% waterproof so whoever got zipped in that sucker could go to town without having to worry about blood splattering on the ceiling or under furniture.

When you were done, you just threw in some paper towel to sop up the liquid and then burn the whole thing.

His amazon prime membership had been one of his best investments to this day. Not only did he get two-day shipping, but it was full of useful things like this. It was a one stop shop for everything you needed to get away with murder… minus the heavy-duty chemicals you needed to dissolve the body  with, of course.

As the tent went up, John Doe was tossed inside on the floor and Fuuma suited up in plastic coveralls and the bulky eye protection you were likely to find in a high school science lab. Clothes were stripped away and Fai was tossed their lifeless new friend's wallet.

19 year old Seji Hondo was from Okinawa, Japan, according to his government ID. His school ID confirmed he attended the local university and had probably come out with a group of friends. He would most likely be reported as missing before the night was over—so they were going to have to work fast.

It would be easy enough to mask his identity with a little acid.

It would almost totally dissolve the poor bastard and what was left would be ground into dust and scattered.

His clothes, wallet and shoes would get the acid treatment as well and within a few hours, there would be no evidence left. There was a very slim chance that the police would know they needed to have the security tapes subpoenaed before they were recorded over.

If they did, he would deal with it.

He didn't want to strong arm the cops—but he had silenced them before.

Just as they got to the 'show', Fai got the call he had been expecting from Seshiro while the smell of coppery crimson filled his nose.

"Bad news, Fai." Seshiro sounded calm as a cucumber. His calmness did not transfer to his boss, though—Fai felt his stomach flutter and he forced himself to suck in a deep breath.

He needed to stay calm and think.

"You better not be telling me he ditched town."

"He sure did."

Of course he did.

Fai's resolve to get through this night without any help was quickly dissolving. Good thing they had been forced to pull all cocaine for possible contamination. He might have a problem—but it was miles away from being bad enough have him snorting possible poison to get his fix.

That was something at least, but he could really use a clear head right now.

"See if you can get a lead on whether he went home or he's hiding out and pulling strings from within the city." Fai couldn't let this latest defiance slip.

There was a big difference rank wise when it came to a manufacturer and himself. Reed was making a fool of him and he couldn't just stand by and take it. Little things like this were going to grow and grow until even he couldn't get a handle on it.

Not only was pointing finger internally going to cause even more of a stir than two of his dealers getting arrested, but if word got out that his product was less than safe?

Then he was going to lose business. He already was short a lot of money thanks to these fucking games—not enough to put them in the red zone, Fai had enough liquidity to absorb the losses so far, but they couldn't keep going as they were.

Something had to change.

"Already started. We'll find him and bring him to you."

"Good deal. We'll meet tomorrow night at 7 at Kurōbā to make a game plan on where to go from here." Staff meeting were a rare thing these days, but he needed to pull in his people.

Make them aware of the important facts.

"See you then." Seshiro hung up and Fai sighed as he heard a loud cracking sound, drawing his attention back to the gruesome task at hand.

Fuuma had used a well-placed stomp of his foot to dislodge Seji's shoulder from the socket, forearm and hand already detached and tossed into one of the bins.

"You don't sound happy." Fuuma glanced at him as he started to saw at the other arm, right where the wrist joint was. From the way the corner of his eyes were slightly wrinkled, Fai assumed he was giving his signature smirk under the fabric protective mask he wore.

"I'm not." He could let his displeasure at life show given the current circumstances. His mask could be set aside for now.

"You know who is stirring the pot yet." Another loud crack and Fuuma tossed the hand into the bin and moved up to the elbow.

"We'll discuss it tomorrow. You're expected at Kurōbā at 7." Fai would have his answers form Kujaku here soon and he would probably have it figured it out by then.

Or a strong lead, at the very least.

Fai answered emails and text messages as things were cleaned up and within 4 hours, their job was done. Fuuma would dispose of the evidence according to procedure and they would wait to see if the police came sniffing. The back room was cleaned from ceiling to floor just in case they had left anything behind—and the club was absolutely hopping by the time Fai stepped out of the back room.

Syaoran was waiting for him at the bar and handed him a Latte as he slid into the seat next to him. His assistant did not have the stomach for the bloodier side of things and he wasn't in the business of inducing PTSD into his people.

"We missed the dinner reservations." Syaoran had his own phone out and was looking at their calendar. After his dinner with Reed, Fai had planned on working on his book keeping and fixing his schedule.

With how his mind was buzzing, there was no hope that he would be doing any math…

He was lucky he could even hold still right now.

He needed an outlet now. He was going to lose it if he didn't get some of the buzzing anxiety out of his body in a healthy way.

"I was just notified that he has ditched town. We're going to head back to Kurōbā for now." Syaoran didn't look surprised and nodded.

Fai waited to catch Hinoto's attention before leaving. He let her know to call him if anyone started asking questions and he would come by to deal with it personally.

Syaoran went to fetch the car, he had had the sense to park it legally before it got towed and Fai waited in front of the building while he brought it around.

Tonight was a clusterfuck.

Now he needed a distraction from work.

He let Syaoran drive them back downtown and leaned his head against the window as he scrolled through Tinder. He was desperate for anything to distract him at this point. Bring him back down so that he could think, but nothing was catching his eyes.

No one even held a candle to how handsome Kuro-cop was…

It would be really nice to have those strong hands running up and down his sides while he kissed those surprisingly tender lips again…

Fai really really should have deleted Kurogane's number.

Another symptom of coming down?

He did not give a Fuuuuck about consequences at the moment.

His healthy sense of restraint was out the window and he had fired off a text before the rational half of his brain could catch up.

 

My night sucks. Come cheer me up?

 

This right here was why he didn't like to stop using.

He would be able to focus and think if he had his usual help—but instead, he was making split decisions and creating more problems for himself. He didn't know if this was more stupid or masochistic at this point.

For all he knew, Kurogane had already heard all about him and would show up just to cuff him—that seemed like a Kuro-cop thing to do. Fai didn't think he would take kindly to being lied to, especially not by scum like himself.

"Syaoran?" Fai made sure his tone was sickeningly sweet as he mentally slapped himself as he reread that damn text again and again.

Really Fai? There are thousands of men in the city and you get stuck on a fucking cop? You text THE COP after you just got done helping to dismember and dispose of someone who had died in one of your buildings, from using the illegal drugs you imported, that someone from your group had laced?

That was really what he wanted to do?

There was hating yourself, then there was hating yourself.

He must really be feeling self-destructive, because this was a terrible idea. Next thing you knew, he was going to be falling in love just to deal with the heart break.

Like he didn't have enough old scars to deal with.

"Yes, Fai-sama?" his assistant didn't take his eyes off the road, but Fai could see the worry on his face.

"You should just take my phone away. I'm not even drunk and I'm getting myself in trouble…" his phone buzzed as he spoke, and he didn't even blink before unlocking it.

 

Just got home. Everything ok blondie?

 

Work drama. Want to swing by and get sloshed?

 

"Um… I'm not sure what you mean." Syaoran chanced a quick glance and caught him grinning at his phone. "Are you seeing someone?"

"I shouldn't be. If I confess my sins, you promise to make me delete this number at the end of the night?" Fai really had no self-control.

At least he paid people to have it for him.

It would be interesting to see Kurogane drunk, though.

Drunk and tied to a bed, actually... that's how he wanted his Kuro-chan tonight.

He didn't have any intention of getting himself too terribly wasted, given how he already felt like he was rocking the worst hangover of his life, but Kurogane was probably hopelessly adorable when he was drunk.

Maybe a cuddle bug? Fai would probably commit murder for some good cuddles at the moment.

 

Where at?

 

Kurōbā. The owner is a good friend of mine.

I can get us a private booth with bottle service?

 

"I can do that." Syaoran drew his attention back and Fai set the phone aside and downed the rest of his coffee.

"Remember a week ago when you took of early. That tinder date?" Fai forced the smile from his face as he gazed out the window.

"Did you guys see each other again?" Syaoran eased on the brakes and hit the right turn signal to get them onto the freeway.

Fai had a strict rule about avoiding highway driving when he could, but the teen had no such reservations and merged into traffic easily enough.

"Yeah. Turns out he actually works for the Tokyo police department."

"Oh."

Well, that didn't just sum up exactly how dumb he was being at the moment.

"Yup. I obviously can't be trusted with his contact info. I just invited him to meet me for drinks, so after tonight, I need you to delete his number." Another buzz and the grin was back.

 

Yeah. Be there in 30.

 

See you Kuro-cute!

I'll take you home so don't worry about driving.

 

"Yeah that's probably for the best, Fai-sama. So, you're taking the rest of the night off?" Syaoran was frowning still.

No doubt he knew Fai was teetering on the edge and needed a break after the events of the night. He might have skipped the sawing and dissolving party—but there was no way he didn't know what had gone on in the back.

"Not exactly. I'm going to be keeping a close eye on things, but I'm not in a good place to sit and work on budgets right now."

No—he was going to get trashed because he couldn't deal with it. He had to keep his cool and the only way he was going to do that was with massive amounts of alcohol.

He would fuck Kurogane a few times and go home and sleep, so when he had to deal with this shit tomorrow, he was at least well rested.

Fai needed to be on the top if his game.

Syaoran's only answer was a nod and they made the rest of their trip in silence.

They parked in the garage across the street in Fai's reserved spot and they both headed down the side ally to head in through the back. Fai hung out in his office on the first floor and answered the new text messages and emails that had been pouring in while he waited for his newest vice to arrive.

Again, Kuro-handsome was true to his word and arrived in almost exactly 30 minutes. Fai met him at the entrance with Syaoran at his side, and they both gave him a strange look when Fai greeted Kurogane with a hug and a smooch on the lips.

Fai didn't wait to answer any of their questions before grabbing the younger man's hand and pulling him in through the front door—the bouncers paying them no mind as they made a beeline for the staircase. The thumping music of the first floor was muffled in the stairwell and it was damn near silent until they popped out on the fourth floor—being greeted with smooth electro swing rather than heavy dubstep.

Kanoe's floor was the most relaxed in this building by far. Expensive sound proofing isolated each floor so that the music didn't leak and muddle the mood too terribly and the dim lighting and quite catchy music was perfect for a conversation over too many drinks.

Syaoran pointed them to the corner window booth on the far end of the floor—he had called up and had it cleared for them while Fai had been waiting down stairs. His assistant took a seat near the entrance of the floor and pulled out his laptop to clean up all the emails Fai had marked for his review.

The blonde was relieved that he was going to be sticking around. He had no intention of jumping his date in the booth tonight, but he really shouldn't be trusted. Not with his current lack of self-control.

Fai slid into the booth across from Kurogane. He had chosen to sit against the wall so he could look out across the floor and keep an eye on things. Old habits die hard—there was no reason Kanoe or her people needed to be watched—but the familiar task of supervising the floor brought him a bit of comfort.

It also meant that Kurogane's eyes were only going to be on him and Fai was feeling greedy at the moment.

"So—" Fai smiled at the younger man who had been looking over his shoulder, and watched his sharp eyes focus in on himself. "—no plans two Friday nights in a row, hm?"

"Shouldn't Friday nights be busy for you?" Kurogane leaned back in the booth and Fai had to admire how devilishly handsome he looked when he was relaxing. Since he was relaxing, that must mean he still had no idea about who exactly Fai Fluorite was—which served his agenda tonight perfectly.

Fai was going to be a hot topic with the police here soon, no doubt.

"It has been. The chaos has been corralled and I am going to lose my mind if I don't get a distraction soon." Fai needed a drink like two hours ago when he had been watching Fuuma stir their body soup to make sure it was dissolving uniformly.

And at that graphic flash of memory, Fai gazed over at the bar and locked eyes with Kanoe who was polishing a glass while speaking to a customer. She raised an eye brow at him before muttering something to the new bartender who rushed over to them immediately.

He was glad it was Subaru's girl who was working tonight—she looked like she was doing a good job so far at least.

"Good evening. Can I get you both something to drink?"

"Does Kuro-cutie here want to pick or should I?" Fai flashed a silly smile at his companion who only shrugged.

He didn't miss the irritated twitch of his eye that came with addressing him in such a manner, though it went right over the new bartender's head. She continued to smile politely, arms folded behind her back and giving them a good view of the skin-tight dress Kanoe had her girls wear as there uniform.

"Bring us a bottle of the house whisky and two glasses, please. It's been one of those days, I am afraid." For Fai it had been, anyways. Even so, he chuckled and smiled as though everything was fine to save face with his employee and she laughed in return.

"Of course." With that, she was off, probably assuming he was joking.

Kurogane didn't seem to think it was a joke and no matter how happily Fai smiled at him—the younger man didn't seem convinced.

"That bad?" Kurogane finally said after a prolonged silence and Fai wanted to sigh.

"You have no idea about some of the things I have to deal with." Though he probably would soon.

Fai really didn't need a body on his hands…

"You just want a distraction? You can talk about your shit if you need to. No judgement here." Kurogane shrugged and Fai's smile dropped.

Yeaaaaah. As sweet as that was, Fai wasn't buying it.

"Who would have thought that my grumpy little Kuro-puppy would be so so very sweet to me." Fai leaned forward and tapped the officer's nose playfully. "Are you sure you're not falling for me?"

"You wish, Blondie. Quit it with the nicknames." He growled, but there was no real bite to his words.

"Says the man who rushed to meet me because I'm having a bad night." Fai winked and Kurogane raised an eyebrow at him.

"Says the man who texted me to comfort him after a bad day."

Touché, Kuro. Touché….

"Not quite. I need you to distract me with your marvelous physique and magical dick." Fai watched Kurogane choke on air and grinned.

He was not going to entertain that idea.

Fai was far better at this flirting thing and he was quite confident that he could embarrass the younger man into a pile of goo before he even had a chance to explore the fact that yes, he was stressed out. Yes, he had turned to Kurogane. Yes, Kurogane was the only thing that was probably going to keep his mind off of things until Kujaku got back to him.

"Hyuu~ Is Kuro-red ok there?" The grin was back again—this time of its own accord and Fai watched the younger man try and get his coughing fit under wraps.

"You realize we’re in public, right?"

Oh, he did.

If they had been alone, Kurogane would probably have pinned him to the mattress by now and threatened him with all sorts of wonderful punishments for saying such embarrassing things.

"I don't know if I told you or not, but I don't care what people think about me. I will tell the entire world how amazing your co–"

"You have no fucking filter, do you?"

"I have an amazing filter. I prefer you blushing and stuttering, though." Fai winked and Kurogane rolled his eyes.

The waitress returned with an unopened bottle of the whisky and gave them each a glass. Fai sent her away with a dismissive wave—not taking his eyes away from Kurogane who was still having a hard time getting his face under control.

"Something wrong?"

"You're just fucking weird and I don't know why I like you." Kurogane was the one to open the bottle for them and poured them both a double shot of whisky.

Fai accepted it without complaint. He knew he probably should be staying sober in case he had to head back over to Akai Heya tonight.

The chances were slim, but you never knew.

His fuck it attitude was like the little devil on his shoulder and he didn't even feel guilty as he held his drink out and clinking it against Kurogane's before knocking it back without so much as blinking.

Poor Syaoran looked like he was going to have kittens from where he was sitting.

"So, you do like me? The truth comes out!" Fai set the glass back down and grinned a little brighter.

Poor Kuro-love was going to have to get over those feelings… Fai wasn't worth it and didn't deserve it. The officer was a good man, after all.

"You're alright." Kurogane leaned back in the booth and Fai refilled his glass. "Even if you are obnoxious."

The blond had a feeling that was quite the compliment coming from the gruff officer.

"Don't lie. You find me charmingly irresistible." This time Fai blew a kiss and he received another eye roll.

"I find you annoyingly attractive for having such a big mouth."

"I'll take it." Fai and Kurogane clinked their glasses again and they both knocked back their next drink.

This was about the time in the night that Fai's memories started to get fuzzy. He had flashes of the rest of the night, but he had definitely blacked out at some point.

The next clear memory he had was of shooting up in bed and rushing to the bathroom to rid his stomach of the sour liquid that smelled mostly of vomit and slightly like whisky.

Whelp.

Hopefully, nothing blew up while he was being an irresponsible piece of shit.

"Are you sick or something?" Fai leaned back on his heels and wiped at his mouth with a wad of toilet paper. He threw it into the water before hitting the handle and groaning after catching his breath.

He didn't need to look over his shoulder to know that his younger brother was leaning against the open doorway… Fai also didn't need to look to know that it was Taishakuten who had been the person coming up the stairs and answered Ash.

"He came home impressively drunk last night… I take it your friend is feeling as equally crappy?" His step dad sounded far to pleased with himself and Fai's head was screaming far to loudly for him to care.

"I don't know what you're talking about…" And try as hard as he might, Fai wasn't getting many details from his hazy mind.

Flashes of the bar—of a very naked Kuro-chan—but not much else. Nothing that gave him any sort of solid timeline of just how last night had gone down.

"Better go check on him. You both need to eat something and re-hydrate. Ashura's making pancakes." Fai got to his feet just in time to see his stepdad leave to head back down the stairs and Ash got that he wasn't in a talking mood as soon as they locked eyes.

A small frown and he followed their stepfather down stairs, leaving Fai to himself. He brushed his teeth and washed his face before trudging back up the hall to his bedroom, fully intent on going back to bed and ignoring any offer of food.

He only got just inside of the door before he swore and felt his heart fall into his stomach.

Fuck.

What had he done?

Kurogane's stunning red eyes were staring back at him lazily from where he was lounging on the far side of the bed. Shirtless and with the blanket pulled half way up his chest, he looked as attractive and almost as hungover as Fai felt.

What the fuck was he doing in Fai's house? Why was he handcuffed to the headboard of Fai's bed?

He was used to getting blackout drunk. It happened less often now than in his early twenties, but hell, he had never brought someone back to his house before… how drunk did he have to be to not just get a hotel room?

How had they even gotten back here?

"How much did I drink exactly?"

"Fuck if I know." Kurogane groaned and tugged at the cuffs causing them to jingle. "Could you please help? I really gotta piss."

"Yeah... Where is they key?"

"Um... I'm sure it's around here somewhere."

 

Chapter Text

After having been called out to the club by him, Kurogane should probably be annoyed at the fact that Fai was texting more than he was actually conversing with him—but he was drunk enough that he didn't care. 'sides, he knew Blondie was technically still on the clock—even if he had been pounding the whisky just as hard as Kurogane.

Which was impressive, given what a lightweight the moron had been the other night.

"So, anyway—" Fai hit the send button and set his phone back down before refilling both of their glasses. "—I should probably stop working before people start catching on that I'm sloshed."

Kurogane huffed, raised his glass and tapped it against Blondie's before they both knocked the burning liquid back. It was none of his business if Fai wanted to drunk text his employees—but no, it probably wasn't what he should be doing.

"You usually get drunk while working?"

Fai was back at the texting game and nodded as he sent off another message. "As terrible as that sounds, you're not too far from the truth. Ninety percent of the reason why I have a personal assistant is so that he takes my phone away when I get like this. Self-control isn't really my thing these days." As soon as he had locked the screen again and set the phone down, it was buzzing again loudly, screen relighting and begging for attention.

"What's the other ten percent, then?" Fai's phone vibrated again and Kurogane had to wonder just what the hell was so important that his employees were blowing his shit up like this.

"To keep me properly caffeinated, my dear Kuro-silly." Fai's hazy eyes scanned the new message that had just come in and he frowned before slipping out of the booth and practically prancing across the room to throw his arms around his unsuspecting assistant's shoulders.

Poor kid almost jumped out of his skin in surprise.

He had no idea what Blondie was saying, but he was giving a silly smile and handed his cell off before prancing back off towards the booth—free of his burden.

"So, you really do pay someone to babysit your ass then?" Kurogane watched as he slid back into his seat with surprising grace and poured them both one more drink.

Like the rest, Fai gladly accepted this one and they both knocked it back in time to catch the patronizing smile of the waitress as she dropped off two glasses of water and a picture of the same.

It must be her polite way of cutting them off.

Fai didn't seem to mind one bit and sipped from his water slowly—blue eyes watching his own lazily for a moment. Kurogane only noticed that that last shot was his limit now that he was trying to focus on those mischievous blue pools.

If he was at his limit, he was gonna have to keep a close eye on Blondie.

"I guess you could look at it that way, Kuro-chan. Though I should probably cut him a break after the night we had." Fai's smile went from amused to sad and Kurogane watched him lean forward to rest his cheek onto his palm while he sipped a bit more of his water, sucking on the straw as he looked out the window, watching the people outside of the building standing in line to get in.

Kurogane swallowed hard and watched his sad expression for a moment. It was one of the only genuine looks he had seen Blondie rock when he wasn't sleeping—and even though it wasn't a happy look, it was more beautiful than any of the fake smiles he had plastered onto his face the entirety of the night.

Be it the alcohol or the stress of whatever the hell had shaken him so badly, it didn't matter.

It was good to see him without a mask.

"But you don't want to talk about it." Kurogane peeled his eyes away from Fai and turned his attention to his own glass of water and downed it in one go—one upping Blondie on the hydration front.

"Nope." Fai chirped, but didn't look away from the window—his sad expression not matching the cheery tone.

Kurogane watched him for a moment longer. Fai tucked a strand of blond hair behind his ear and he wasn't sure if Blondie was still watching the people below or his own sad reflection at this point. "Don't say I didn't offer."

"Kuro-sweet is such a gentleman. I wonder what's gotten into him?" Blondie closed his eyes and managed to slap another smile on his face before he turned his attention back to the cop.

"Nothing's gotten into me." A decent human being didn't exactly equate to a gentleman in his mind—but he doubted he was going to get Fai to agree with him on that front.

"Now, it might just be because I'm drunk—but it almost sounds like you actually care." Fai chuckled and Kurogane sighed.

"You think I would have dragged my ass out to this loud ass club after you sent me an SOS if I didn't at least care a little?" –and what kind of shitty ass people did Fai have in his life to assume that Kurogane didn't give a single fuck?

"I think you think the sex is good."

It was—but that wasn't the only reason he was out here.

"Yeah well, you're right about that, but you are also an idiot."

"At least I'm a cute idiot." Fai winked and reached a hand across the table, his fingers ghosting over the cop's own, traveling up his hand, then his wrist. "But I told you already. I didn't ask you to come out to play therapist… If you care so much about it, let's find someplace quiet and you can help me work off my frustration."

"That is the discreetest you've come on to me since I got here, Blondie." Kurogane snorted and Fai batted his eyes at him.

"Did it work?"

"Sure." That earned him a cheesy smile and Kurogane rolled his eyes. "Finish your glass of water and we'll work off that frustration of yours."

Fai sucked on his straw for a moment—his amusement not fading as Kurogane watched him swallow a few times. "Look who's suddenly getting the dirty talk thing down."

Nope—time for a change of subject. Kurogane was not going to get him started again with the lewd shit in public. "Where we heading?"

"Someplace private. That's all you need to worry your handsome little head about."

Right. So probably somewhere in the building.

Worked for him—his parents were in town for the weekend and he was not about to bring his booty all the way home to meet the parents.

Even if Biggs had liked him.

Blondie finished his water and set the empty glass in front of Kurogane. "—satisfied?"

"Yes." Fai gave him a devilish grin before sliding out of the booth and swaying slightly.

Kurogane was shit faced—but less shit faced than Blondie, for sure.

He managed to catch the idiot and steady him by pulling him back, so he teetered and landed against the cop rather than on the floor. Fai didn't seem fazed by almost face planting and tugged him across the room and over to the staircase.

Oh yeah, he was trashed. Kurogane was really going to need to keep an eye on him.

They hit the stairs and the muffled sound of dubstep got louder and louder the closer to the first floor they got. Just a few hours ago—on their way up to the top—the stairs had been relatively clear of people and debris.

Now - on their way back down - they were weaving around couples enjoying each other, broken glass, vomit and trash.

Fai didn't seem surprised or bothered by the mess and when they reached the first floor, he threw the door open without pausing. The blasting music and the flashing lights made Kurogane's head swim, but Fai tugged him along, weaving their way through the dance floor and popping out of the crowd next to the bar.

Fai only slowed to a stop to punch a code into a door that was marked "EMPLOYEES ONLY" before tugging Kurogane past the threshold, and he closed it securely behind them. Thankfully, it was a hell of a lot easier to think and see straight without the flashing lights and gaudy music, and the cop was almost surprised to find what appeared to be an office area.

Unlike that disgusting ass staircase, the hallway before them was clean as a whistle. Brightly lit, with offices on either side and with what appeared to be a breakroom at the very end—complete with a kitchenette and fridge.

Fai pulled him along again with a little tug and Kurogane followed until Fai again paused. This time, to knock on one of the doors before pulling it open just far enough to get his head inside.

"Subaru?" Fai's tone was calmer now. He sounded sober at least, but by the way he was leaning on the door frame, it was easy to see that he was at least feeling it as much as Kurogane.

If Blondie did this a lot, he was probably good at playing sober.

"What can I do for you, Fai-sama."

The voice that answered was soft and given the formality, he had a feeling Fai had been lying about not working here—hell, he probably owned this place right along with Kyuden.

"I'm going to be in my office. I don't want to be disturbed unless it's for an update from Seishiro or Kujaku… but can you get the cleaning crew on the stairs? I don't need any more injuries tonight, especially not because someone slipped on vomit." Fai's tone was direct, and he didn't wait for an answer before he closed the door and they were again on their way up the hall.

Oh yeah. He was totally lying.

Fai punched in another code, on another door, and there was a quiet beep before the lock disengaged. Blondie twisted the handle and pushed the heavy wood door open to reveal a large office with an ornate wooden desk sitting in the middle.

This was as good a spot to screw him as any he supposed. Though he wanted to get Fai in a bed and begging before the night was over—nothing wrong with getting a head start in Blondie's office-not office.

Fai worked his tie free and let it hang around his neck while he shrugged out of his blazer and tossed it hastily onto the floor. Kurogane didn't wait for him to get further before he hoisted him up by his hips and set him on the desk, Blondie kissing his neck and clinging to him as he did so. Kurogane was always surprised by how freaking light Fai was. It took almost no effort to hoist him up.

"I thought you said your friend owns this place?" Kurogane teased and tilted his head to give Blondie better access.

"By friend—I mean me when I am sober and have the mental capacity to function. You don't have enough friendship points to expect anything I say to be the truth." Fai bit his neck—probably a punishment for overstepping.

He would pay him back for that.

Blondie's lips tasted like whisky—not that Kurogane gave a shit. They were soft and eager, parting happily when the cop slid his tongue against his bottom lip.

He gripped Fai's chin with one hand and used the other to ease his thighs apart so Kurogane could slot himself between the blond's legs. The cop earned a pleased moan as he moved to grab Blondies ass and grind their hips together.

The slacks had to go and Kurogane made quick work of the button zipper combo. Fai broke the kiss to plant his hands on the desk and lift his hips as Kurogane tugged the expensive fabric down his thighs - leaving him bare and very obviously aroused.

Fai mewled softly when Kurogane gripped his needy member and stroked him slowly. The younger man ran a thumb over the sensitive tip, collecting the small bead of precum that had already started to accumulate and smirked. Locking eyes with his lover, he took a knee.

Blondie quirked an eyebrow at him—the look didn't last, because he was tossing his head back and gasping when Kurogane took him into his mouth, worrying his tongue along the sensitive underside as he sucked just hard enough to drive Fai crazy.

"Kuro-chan is full of surprises now, isn't he?" Elegant fingers tangled in his short hair and Kurogane relaxed his jaw to take more of Fai in—earning another delicious gasp from him as he held his hips in place with two firm hands.

Kurogane didn't usually find himself on this end of things—but it was worth the reward given the way Fai reacted to his touch, panting and watching him through half lidded eyes as he struggled to stay still, head falling back and moaning when Kurogane teased him too much.

It didn't last long. The cop was confused at first when Fai started to get quiet—stopped rolling his hips and tugging at his hair—but it slowly made sense when Fai pushed him away, knocking him on his ass in the process.

By the time he had figured out what the hell was going on, Fai was bent over a nearby trash can, yaking his brains out.

While Kurogane usually had a pretty strong stomach, he had to cover his mouth and look away as the scent of whisky and stomach acid hit his nose.

This sure was one way to kill the mood.

It was a damn sama—he had been thinking about Fai nonstop since he had dropped him off at his car yesterday. He had known Fai was drunk—but not this drunk. Kurogane's brain switched gears easily enough from fucking Fai to taking care of the idiot.

"You ok?" Kurogane got to his feet and reluctantly stepped closer to Blondie and ran a hand up and down his back. He was far from the barf-your-brains-out zone, but his own breath still tasted like whisky and between the smell and the sound? Well, he wasn't sure enough of his stomach and had to turn his head and look away.

"Fuck me…" Fai whined before vomiting again and Kurogane had to hold his breath as the smell hit him.

"I mean—you're hot, but no thanks."

"Fuck you, asshole." Fai managed after sucking in a few deep breaths but didn't sit up from his crouched position. "Sorry…"

"Don't apologize to me. Apologize to your liver, old man. You can't hold your liquor for shit." Kurogane looked about the room and left Fai's side to snag the box of tissues off the desk and held one out to the idiot.

"If you knew my invitation for a night out include holding my hair while I puked–would you have still come?" Fai groaned and gave him a miserable look as he accepted the tissue and wiped at his mouth.

"Don't get me wrong–I like you–but I don't usually do vomit." Kurogane had to look away again as Fai heaved into the trashcan once more and sighed as he got to his feet. "You need water or some shit?"

Water should help, right? At least Fai could rise out his mouth.

Blondie nodded and pointed at a mini fridge that was concealed under the desk. Sure enough, when he popped it open, he found just what he was looking for and snagged one of the icy bottles of spring water for Fai.

"You like me?" Blondie looked fucking ridiculous sitting with his head halfway in the trashcan—peeking over his shoulder with that stupid expression of surprise—the look made complete with the remnants of snot and vomit making him look truly piteous.

Fai really was an idiot.

Kurogane sighed and knelt down next to him again, ripping a few more tissues out of the box and shoving them in Fai's direction.

"I wouldn't fuck you if I didn't at least like you." Fai wiped the majority of the mess off of his face with trembling hands and the cop unscrewed the cap of the water bottle before holding it out to him.

"I guess that makes sense… You don't have to like me just because we're sleeping together, though." Fai's voice was raw as he accepted the water and sipped it slowly.

"Well, too late. You're a dumb ass—but you're growing on me." Fai chuckled and took another sip of water, swishing it around in his mouth before spitting it into the garbage can and handing it back out towards the cop.

"Hm… can I tell you a secret?" Blondie pushed the trashcan away with his foot and gracelessly flopped over, resting his head in Kurogane's lap and watching him with hazy eyes.

Somehow, he managed to look good doing it—he was distractingly attractive as Kurogane tried to focus on whatever the hell it was those pink lips were talking about.

"I'm not gonna stop you, moron." That earned him an amused snort and he ran a hand through Fai's hair and waited for him to continue.

"I knew after the first night that I liked you a lot… That's why I got dinner with you the other night. I don't usually do repeats." Fai closed his eyes and hummed softly. "—I shouldn't tell you that, though. I don't do repeats for a reason…"

"So, what's it mean that I'm a threepeat?" Kurogane didn't know if he really wanted to know what that meant.

Did he want to know if Fai was falling for him? Would that change his mind about how he felt about the idiot?

"You make me feel… Nice?" Blondie giggled and shrugged, his eyes fluttering open again to study the younger man's face.

"That's good, right?" Kurogane raised an eyebrow and drew his hands through the blond's hair again—Fai leaned into the touch and sighed. The idiot sure as hell didn't make him feel bad—"nice" would probably be underselling the emotion, though.

Fai was—

Well, he was something else.

"Yes and no." He was frowning now—eyes unfocused as though he was lost in thought. "It's complicated."

If that wasn't the understatement of the god damn century. "Why do I get the feeling everything about you is complicated…"

Which is probably why he shouldn't be thinking too hard about how nice—or more than nice—Blondie made him feel. Or that the idiot apparently felt the same.

That wouldn't do him any good.

"My life is a clusterfuck. You're not wrong." Fai laughed again—he laughed a lot when he was drunk—but this one came out so bitter you could almost taste it. "It's just too complicated to fall in love right now."

That made sense—Kurogane could respect that—right person, wrong time.

Wait.

Fuck.

Kurogane was drunk and needed to stop letting his mind wander. He was not the right person. He should not be thinking about Fai deciding maybe things weren't really that complicated—everyone had their shit, after all—but maybe Kurogane could help.

He definitely should not be imagining how good Fai had looked bumming on the couch snuggling his dog and wearing his clothes.

Nope.

Fuck.

"Lemme guess. You don't want to talk about why it's so complicated?" Kurogane chose to change the topic and Fai shook his head slowly.

That was probably good—because drunk him did not need to be telling the crazy ass random dude off Tinder he had been hooking up with that he wanted something more.

"Just wanna enjoy you while I can… Sorry I almost puked in your hair, Kuro-chii." The blond thankfully rolled with the subject change and Kurogane drew the hand though his hair again.

"No harm done, but you gotta hit the hay, Blondie. You're drunk."

Fai snuggled into his lap a little further and grinned. "Kuro-chan is drunk, too—so he has to go nunight with me."

"Yeah, well—as much as it would make Biggs happy to see you again, my folks are in town for the weekend." As much as it would make the cop happy, too—Fai wasn't hard to sleep next to and he was gonna be worrying about the idiot if he just left him alone, anyways.

"Wow. You ditched your mom and dad for booty?" Fai looked far too amused for his own good and Kurogane rolled his eyes.

His dad had read the text from Blondie inviting him out from over his shoulder, and had all but thrown him outta his own house. His fucking mom had raided his closet and picked out his outfit, for Christ's sakes—while his pops had ordered him a freaking cab.

There had been no 'ditching' involved.

"They're here every few weeks for mom's appointments with her doctor and I'm at their house at least three times a week, moron. They'll live."

"Awe~" Blondie grinned and reached up to poke Kurogane's cheek. "Kuro-cute loves his faaaaamily."

The cop was sure he couldn't roll his eyes and harder and lightly batted Fai's hand away with an annoyed growl. "That's ok, I'm close to my parents too… No judgement here… but that sorta ruins my plans of snuggling you silly tonight."

He also didn't think it was possible for Blondie to get any weirder, but that last comment just put him one a whole new level.

How does one snuggle someone silly? Where the fuck did he come up with this shit?

"What's wrong with your place?" Kurogane passed on finding out exactly what snuggling someone silly entailed and focused on what was important.

"You know how I said I'm close to my parents?" Blondie managed a totally neutral expression, but his words came out in a slightly higher pitch, giving away that he was on the edge of breaking out into another fit of giggles.

"You live with your parents?" Fai couldn't keep his expression straight any longer and started another round of drunk giggles. The laughter was infectious and as Blondie nodded his head slowly, Kurogane found a smile creeping onto his face.

Fancy ass Fai—with his swank ass car—the professional businessman—lived still at home. As humorous as that was, it was also strangely endearing. "You take care of your old man, then?"

"No—well, yes—I get to help out because I am there but most of the time, he's fine. That's not the reason I live at home." Blondie brought both his hands up to cover his face in mock embarrassment—peeking between his fingers to catch the cop's smile.

"You spent all of your money on your fancy clothes and overpowered cars, so you have to live at home?" Fai shook his head again quickly, stifling his giggles as he grinned.

"Good guess, but no."

"Let's see…" Kurogane ran his hand though Fai's hair one more time and looked up towards the ceiling so he didn't get distracted by the moron's cute expression. Much more of this and his drunk brain was going to lean in for a kiss—and that shit was not gonna happen till Fai brushed his teeth. "You have no idea how to take care of yourself, so your mom still does your laundry, packs your lunch and generally makes sure you don't die because you're an idiot?"

Blondie burst out laughing again—a tear escaping from the corner of his eyes as he tried to reel himself back in. "Oh—Oh my god—you guessed it, you sexist bastard! Only not my mom—my dad. My dad is the best."

"Your dad does your laundry and packs your lunch?"

Fai nodded quickly and gave him the silliest grin. "Didn't expect that now, did you?"

No. He could have guessed that Fai cared a lot about his father—not that he lived with him. That was an interesting surprise.

"No… But since we're both stuck with our parents, I guess were shit outta luck, hm?" Which was a bummer—he wouldn't get to find out what getting snuggled silly was like tonight—but at least he wouldn't be walk of shaming it tomorrow in front of his parent's ether.

His old man would have a fucking field day.

"I mean, I have a 3000 sq foot house, but if my dad finds out I brought a boy home, he is going to think we're getting married and ask you a bunch of uncomfortable questions. You might wanna crawl out the window to avoid it." Fai attempted to hoist himself up into a sitting position and only managed to topple back over and crack himself up again.

Oh yeah—he was fucking shit faced.

"As fun as that sounds—I don't want to crawl out of your bedroom window like some high school punk about to be caught by his girlfriend's parents." He managed to make it thus far in his life without that experience and he wasn't looking to change that.

He was not drunk enough for that shit.

"Well, I'm not your girlfriend and it's a pretty far drop from the bedroom window. Dad has rose bushes in the flower bed on that side of the house. Take it from me when I tell you they hurt like a bitch." Fai tried to sit up one more time and Kurogane planted a hand in the middle of his back to steady him so he didn't fall back again.

"Why do you even know that?"

Fai was grinning and shifted his legs so he could get to his feet. "What can I say—I was a naughty kid."

Kurogane managed to stand up and steady himself with a hand on the side of the desk and held out his other to Blondie before helping to pull him up. "Why do I get the feeling you haven't grown outta being a naughty kid?"

Blondie quirked an eyebrow at him and smirked, wobbling a bit and leaning against the cop's chest to balance himself. "Kuro-innocent has only scratched the surface of how naughty I can be."

"Yeah, well—you could'a showed me if you hadn't drank so goddamn much, moron." The cop slapped Fai's ass as soon as he turned to walk away, causing the blond to jump and giggle like a fucking school girl.

"I would say the nights still young—but I'm not twenty-something anymore. I don't know if I could have rallied to keep going tonight even when I was back in college. I've always been a bit of a lightweight when it comes to booze." It took Fai two tries to get the door to his office open and Kurogane had to catch him as he swayed back with the door.

"If you know you're a lightweight, then cut your ass off, dummy."

"Pssht. I told you, self-control really isn't my thing and you hid me from my assistant, so if this is anyone's fault… well, it's probably mine, but I don't really care." Fai managed to get upright again and walked down the hallway, steadying himself with a hand on the wall as they made their way to the break space at the very end of the hallway.

"Where are we even going?" Kurogane followed close behind him, ready to catch him in case he tripped.

"To try and make myself look a little less like a classy train wreck and a little more like someone who actually has some authority around here, so I can boss some people around to make sure—" Fai paused as he reached one of the cupboards and pulled it open to reveal various cleaning supplies.

Fai looked a little better than a classy train wreck in his book—but he couldn't exactly blame him for being self-conscious about his appearance, given that they were in what should, for Fai at least, be a professional setting.

"—well, you get it, anyway." Blondie plucked out a small black toiletry bag and closed the cabinet again. "Time to pretend I have my shit together."

There was a bathroom off the brake room area and Fai left the door open as he washed his face and brushed his teeth. The icy water left his cheeks flushed and the toothpaste thankfully washed away the lingering scent of vomit that had been clinging to his breath.

Blondie was starting to rebutton his shirt and actually look a little less sloshed out of his mind when one of the doors up the hall opened and slammed shut again—the sound of surprisingly loud footsteps filled what had been silence and Fai hardly paid it any mind as he got the last few buttons on his shirt.

"So, this is where you're hiding, then?" Kurogane was leaning against the wall watching the entrance when some squirt stormed into the room and stomped over to them.

He was rocking a suit like Fai had been—looking a hell of a lot more put together than Blondie as he stopped a few feet short of them to glare.

"You caught me. I need you, Subaru, and Kanoe to hold the fort down here until tomorrow." Blondie didn't bother with his tie or suit coat and neatly draped them over one arm before hitting the light and side stepping the cranky twerp in the suit.

"You know we usually manage just fine without you, right?" Kurogane had to wonder what this dude was getting his panties all in a knot over, then, if he had everything under control.

Sure—this squirt probably had no idea Fai wasn't in a good place—but the moron was finally starting to be a little less shaken and Kurogane didn't appreciate this asshole yelling at him.

Not that it was his place to get in between Fai and his employees—not employees. That, and this jerk's bad attitude didn't seem to ruffle any feathers and Fai took his respectless manner in stride and maintained his freakishly pleasant smile.

Fai leaned on the wall next to the cop. "Thanks for that but I'm serious—everyone needs to be extra careful tonight, Kamui. Syaoran is heading out early as well, but he will be working on emails and such. I will be available by phone, if it's an emergency." Blondie sighed and ran a hand though his hair and Kamui just glared harder—lowering his gaze and nodding.

"It's true, then?"

"Yes. Now's not the time nor the company to discuss it, though. Has Seishiro reported back in?" Kamui shook his head and Fai nodded. "Never here when you need him, hm?"

"Subaru is missing, too—not on his floor or in his office, so my guess is he's with that bastard."

"Of course—" Blondie sighed again and, for a moment, looked as annoyed as Kamui.

He caught himself, though, and pulled on another smile before pushing up the wall and discreetly grabbing the cop's hand to maintain his balance. "I'll yell at them tomorrow… Do you know if Syaoran made it back downstairs?"

"He's with Kanoe in her office getting things ready for tomorrow's meetings… Are you ok?" the first sign of concern worked its way onto Kamui's face and Fai shrugged.

"I drank too much. I'm going to go home and sleep it off—I'll be in early tomorrow with a clear head." Blondie squeezed Kurogane's hand and leaned on him a little further—his tone finally sounding tired.

Kurogane had only needed to drink enough to get sick once—had never cared to repeat the experience—but he was seriously impressed Fai was able to stay awake.

"Did you need Seishiro to get some—"

"No." Fai cut him off with a firm tone and Kamui raised an eyebrow in surprise. "—I'm temporarily taking a break."

"Good. Subaru and I were starting to worry about you." Shorty shrugged his shoulders and brushed off the reaction more or less before turning to head back up the hallway. "—somehow, I got stuck managing 3 outta 4 floors, so I gotta head back. I'll send Syaoran your way."

"Thanks, Kamui." Blondie called after him and waited until Grumpy was out of sight before muffling giggles behind his hand and wrapping an arm around the cop's waist to hide his face against Kurogane's chest. "Did I pull off seeming half was sober?"

"I guess. I'm too drunk to be the judge of that." Kurogane ran a hand up and down Fai's back and shook his head slowly.

It was really starting to hit him now.

"You know, you act more or less the same when you're drunk. A little more talkative—but I was hoping to discover a silly side." Fai was back to the giggling and Kurogane scoffed.

Yeah, no—silly wasn't really his thing—tired was, though.

Alcohol usually only served to knock his ass out when he got this drunk.

They were not alone for long and Fai was still shaking off the last of his laughter when his assistant appeared and gave them both a worried look. Fai had the sense to straighten himself again and pulled back on a semi-sober face for his assistant.

"Anything explode while I was busy?"

"No, Fai-sama… Are you ok? Did you want me to get you something to eat?" The brunette had keys in his hands, a leather laptop bag slung over one of his shoulders and was frowning at them from the doorway.

"Kuro-chan and I are going to call it a night. I was hoping you could drop me off and run him home, too?" Fai's tone was perfectly calm as he spoke, but he didn't leave any room for argument.

Now, the cop might be drunker than he thought—but he was pretty sure Syaoran looked slightly horrified at that statement.

Because that wasn't a red flag at all.

"A—are you sure?"

"It's not up for discussion." Fai started to head back out of the room and pulled Kurogane along as he went, not waiting for an answer.

He really was all about the hand holding today.

Syaoran, who looked worried for whatever reason, led the way after a moment and they headed out. He would worry about that weird reaction tomorrow morning—drunk him didn't have the brain power to puzzle it out now.

Currently, Kurogane was just happy to be getting Fai the hell out of this madhouse and away from his cranky ass employees.

He needed to sleep this shit off.

Kurogane needed to sleep this shit off.

It was too late to be this drunk.

Even though Fai had spent a good amount of time getting cleaned up, he still looked rough as they headed out the back emergency exit and into the dimly lit alley—he was only wearing his slacks and thin button down shirt—his jacket, tie, and vest draped over his arms as they both followed Syaoran outdoors.

They just had to make it up the block to Blondie's car and they could both get home and crash out.

Which didn't sound like a big deal, but Fai was holding his hand and leaning his weight on the cop heavily to keep himself steady. Blondie was having a hard time keeping his eyes open and Kurogane was willing to bet he would clunk out as soon as the car started moving.

Which meant Kurogane and Syaoran were probably going to have to carry him all the way into his house and get him to bed—Lord knows, once he was out, he most likely wasn't getting back up. He also didn't think leaving Fai alone tonight was a good idea—but so far, Blondie was still with it enough to tell him to fuck off.

So the plan still stood that Kurogane was heading home once they got Blondie to bed and it didn't sit right with him. It wasn't like Kurogane was going over there to take advantage of Fai—he would feel pretty guilty if he got hurt, though.

Leaving became a bit more difficult when Syaoran opened the back door and almost slammed into something.

Well… Someone.

Someones.

"Dammit, Seishiro!" Fai leaned heavily on Kurogane as they sidestepped the man. "Every time I need you, you're balls deep in Subaru." Blondie did not sound amused as they put an appropriate amount of distance between themselves and the half-undressed couple.

Syaoran had the same idea and had skittered off up the alleyway as soon as he realized what was doing. His apologies over interrupting were drowned out by Fai's annoyed accusation, though.

"What can I say—" The taller of the two men tossed an easy smile over his shoulder as he lowered his partner down to his feet. Kurogane couldn't get a decent look at him in the dim light of the alley—glasses—dark hair—stupid smirk.

So, this was Seishiro.

Seishiro had had someone, whom Kurogane assumed was Subaru, pressed against the wall—the smaller man was currently blushing up a storm as he untucked his legs from around his lover's waist. The poor guy looked as equally embarrassed as he was confused while he tried to right himself.

"I was on my way to come see you—but our sweet Subaru distracted me." Glasses at least had the decency to tuck himself away and pull his shirt into place before he turned to face them with an expression of pure innocence.

Kurogane was not a fan.

Not when Seishiro had left Subaru half naked and exposed just so he could smile at Fai like a fucking predator. Something about his immediate interest in Blondie didn't sit right with him.

"I think you just like to flaunt your favorite toy." Fai wasn't bothered—at least he didn't seem to be.

Subaru glared at Blondie for that last comment, but Fai was too preoccupied with Seishiro to notice as green eyes watched him with a mixture of annoyance and disappointment. He did however squeeze the cop's hand lightly and leaned back against the wall—looking as though he was perfectly at ease.

"I'm not the only one flaunting my favorite toy. He's new. A police officer, I heard?" Glasses gave Kurogane a once over before refocusing his deceptively friendly grin back to Fai.

Like that wasn't creepy as shit.

"Let's stick to this issue, shall we?" The grip on Kurogane's hand tightened and Fai's tone got a little cheerier—his cheeks tugging into an even brighter smile.

That must have hit a raw nerve—Kurogane didn't get why they were bothering with this stupid smiling shit. They were pretty obviously a few wrong comments away from being at each other's throats, so the freaky ass smiling was making the tension even more unsettling.

"Another time, then. You need to set aside some time to speak with me before the meeting tomorrow about taking care of—" Seishiro paused for a moment and adjusted his glasses. "—well to make sure all of our ducks are in a row."

"I—don't need to do anything. If you would like to meet, check the calendar and set something up." Kurogane didn't think it had was possible for someone to say Back-the-fuck-up in such a pleasant way—but Blondie pulled it off nicely.

Seishiro took a few steps forward nonetheless—so either he wasn't reading between the lines or didn't give a fuck that he was pissing Fai off.

Kurogane had a feeling it was the latter, given how amused the asshat appeared to be at eliciting that reaction. He didn't know what kind of game Seishiro was trying to play—but Kurogane was two seconds from punching this guy square in the nose and walking off to the car with Fai.

Blondie was stressed enough without this punk pushing his buttons.

Glasses was not a small guy and he had a bit of height on Fai and the asshole used every inch of it to loom over Fai—expression still obnoxiously pleasant as he got right up in the blond's personal space.

Well—Kurogane would consider him uncomfortably close—and he was just getting closer.

He tightened his grip on Blondies hand and made a move to tug the idiot behind him so he could tell this bastard to fuck off in plain Japanese.

To his astonishment, Fai didn't budge.

Didn't break eye contact with Seishiro.

Didn't so much as twitch when glasses came almost nose to nose with him.

Instead he grabbed Kurogane's wrist—a silent order to stay put.

Apparently, Blondie felt confident that he could handle this just fine. Even if Seishiro was bigger, more sober, and seemed to be even nuttier than Fai.

"This is a problem." Glasses leaned his hand against the wall right next to Blondies face in a move to up the trapped feeling, and Kurogane was seriously tempted to break this guy's jaw.

Who the fuck did this shitbag think he was?

"No. The problem is that I needed you—and you were out here fucking my second floor manager." Fai dropped his hold and tucked both his hands into the pockets of his slacks before shrugging.

Seishiro's only response to those words was balling the hand that was next to Fai's head and keeping that smirk on his lips.

Red eyes flickered over to where Syaoran was standing—he had moved next to Subaru and the two of them were watching the display. Neither of them looked all that worried at the fact that Fai was nose to nose in a face off with Seishiro.

He didn't know if that was reassuring or not.

Did this happen a lot, then? Because Kurogane wasn't usually one to sit around and watch something like this.

They shouldn't be that close—Blondie didn't come off as the kind of person to throw down—but the cop didn't know that for sure. If the two of them were going to go after each other even though Kurogane was right next to them, there wouldn't be time to react or put himself between Fai and this psycho.

"As much as I love hearing you say that you need me—" the bastard licked his lips and Kurogane managed to catch himself before he growled. "—certainly you understand the need to blow off steam after a night like tonight."

Fai blinked once, twice, and Seishiro leaned back—dropping his hand to his side and giving Blondie a bit of space. "—Though if I had known you were also feeling the stress—I would have invited you. Though your new cop buddy wouldn't be around any longer if he wasn't getting you off still."

Seishiro glanced at Kurogane and glared hard—when he turned his attention back to Blondie, he was greeted with an annoyed frown. Who the fuck did this douche think he was?

"I'm not in a good mood. Cut the bullshit. No one is impressed." Fai's voice was quiet, but his tone meant business.

It only seemed to amuse Seishiro, and the bastard adjusted his glasses and smirked. Fai's warning tone didn't deter him from whatever game he was playing. "Someone's salty."

"Someone's salty because they're getting back on the straight and narrow and the person who was supposed to be keeping an eye on Reed chose now to fuck up." Fai pushed off the wall and took half a step forward, taking his hands out of his pants' pockets and bringing them up to cup Seishiro's cheeks in what should have been an intimate gesture. "Fucked up bad."

It wasn't.

Kurogane had seen what Fai looked like when he was being sweet—loving. This wasn't it.

This was bone chilling. Uncomfortable. A warning.

He didn't need to look over at Syaoran and Subaru to see that they were both starting to worry.

"The same someone who currently stinks like whisky and bad decisions? That's cute." Seishiro was still smiling and didn't flinch at Blondie's touch, even as he dragged his left thumb across glasses's right cheek.

Kurogane didn't know who the hell Reed was—but he could only assume it had something to do with whatever had happened to ruin Fai's night. Figures the creep was responsible or connected in some way.

"The very same someone who is losing patience and won't hesitate to replace you if you insist on this stupid game." Blondie patted Seishiro's right cheek and took a step back—reaching for Kurogane's hand and interlacing their fingers again.

He didn't miss that Fai had conveniently put himself between the cop and Seishiro—the bastard in the glasses didn't miss it, either. He again looked Kurogane up and down—gaze lingering on their interlaced fingers for a moment before he refocused on Fai.

"Perhaps if that someone was sober enough to check their email, they would have already found my full report. Looks like they're too busy drinking their problems away and fucking their cop friend to have any idea what's going on, though. That's not like you—you aren't losing your touch now, are you?"

Fai simply raised an eyebrow and Seishiro put both of his hands up and finally backed off—chuckling as though pushing Blondie's buttons had been the most amusing part of his day.

"Wise move." Fai leaned back against Kurogane and they both watched glasses finally back down. He wrapped a protective arm around Blondie's waist and was glad Fai didn't pull away.

"If you have any other questions, let me know." Subaru grabbed Seishiro's hand and shot him a scolding look, earning a shrug from the asshole in the glasses who was more focused on watching them than paying attention so his lover.

"Don't be too rough with Subaru. I need both of you in working condition tomorrow." Fai's carefree tone was back, and he flashed his manager an apologetic smile. "Relax until then. I'm going to go sleep this off, but I'll be in early."

"Rest up, Fai-sama. You're gonna need it." Subaru looked down towards his feet.

Apology apparently accepted.

Fai leaned into Kurogane as they made their way up the alleyway—leaving Seishiro and Subaru to do whatever it was they were going to do now after having been interrupted. Blondie seemed pretty preoccupied with not face planting, but Kurogane spared a glance over his shoulder to glare at Seishiro one more time.

Subaru and he were looking at one of their phones, and glasses was in the process of lighting up a smoke. He glanced up just in time to catch Kurogane—he might have been smiling, but there was something obviously threatening about it.

He did not like Serishiro—Fai might have a screw loose, but Seishiro was the kind of man Kurogane regularly arrested. He might still be a little wet behind the ears when it came to his experience as an officer—but even with less than a year on the force under his belt he knew how to pick out a dangerous person.

Fai stumbled and giggled, though, and Kurogane's attention snapped back to the sidewalk in front of him and the apparently amused blond. "Watch where you're going. I'm not gonna feel bad if you fall."

Blondie seemed to find that funny as well and he thunked his head down on Kurogane's shoulder as he continued to giggle while they stumbled up the street following Syaoran.

"What the fuck is so funny?" Kurogane tightened his hold on Fai's waist and didn't miss the worried look Syaoran shot their way.

"You looked like an angry puppy about to bite Sei-chan for touching your stuff—You're so cute you could give Biggs a run for his money." Fai managed to give him a quick kiss on the cheek before falling into another fit of giggles.

"That guy is an asshat and if Biggs was here, he would have tried to eat him for dinner for getting near you." Kurogane was tempted to roll his eyes but settled for getting them moving forward again.

"That's putting it lightly. Seishiro is a sadistic sleaze ball. His brother's not much better—but at least he's got the commitment thing figured out." Fai's laughter settled into an exhausted sigh and he wiggled out of Kurogane's arm to fish keys out of his pocket and toss them to his assistant.

"There's more than one of 'em?" Kurogane mentally cringed thinking about another Seishiro fuckwad hanging off of Fai like some sort of thirsty pervert.

"Mhum. I've known them both for years. They are very good at what they do. Even if sometimes they're hard to get along with…" Blondie grabbed his hand and they started ambling slowly back up the street.

"Tch. Look who's putting it lightly now." Kurogane hoped he didn't catch glasses ogling at Fai again or else he might just knock his fucking teeth in and teach him a lesson about boundaries.

"Do you often have a strong dislike for people when you first meet them?" Blondie glanced at him out of the corner of his eye and caught the cop's shrug.

"I don't like most people—but I also don't hate most people like that right off the bat." Granted, most people weren't looming over his date and licking their lips minutes after having their dick in some other poor bastard.

"What about me?" Fai was looking down at his feet as he asked this—taking extra care to watch his step.

"You're special, I guess." Kurogane hadn't hated Fai right off the bat.

Fai had made him uncomfortable and unsure of what he wanted—but not in a bad way. Biggs had taken to him right away, which he could still barely believe, and after tonight Blondie was feeling a hell of a lot less like a mystery and more like a plain old person who had bad days and needed comfort.

Human.

"Because your dog likes me?" Fai glanced up at him through his eyelashes and gave a small smile.

"That's not the only reason, but yeah. Biggs likes you. Congrats." Kurogane saw car lights flash half a block away on the other side of the street and Syaoran hit the fob again to get the locks to pop.

"I like Biggs, too." Fai chuckled as they started to cross the street and held the cop's hand a little tighter. "Though I'm glad you have better self-control than him. If you had bit Sei-chan, things would have gotten complicated."

"Weirdo. I don't bite people. I punch them." Kurogane opened the back-passenger side door to the Maserati so Fai could climb in while Syaoran hopped up front.

"—that may very well be, but trust me when I tell you, you'll hurt your hand more than his hard head. Been there, done that. Not very satisfying… Granted-I've bit him too. That wasn't—well that was a sex thing, though. You know I get bitie when I get excited." Fai chuckled and rubbed the back of his head.

Kurogane couldn't say that he was surprised to hear that they had boned, given the fucking way glasses had been looking at Fai. He didn't like it, though—if they weren't together, he should be leaving Fai the fuck alone.

"Fuck, Blondie."

"He's not really into it like you—"

"I'm gonna stop you right there. I don't wanna hear about what that psycho likes in bed. I can't think about you and him like that." Kurogane waited for Fai to finish securing his seatbelt before doing the same and tried not to cringe at the thought of Fai clinging to Seishiro as he rode out his orgasm.

Nope. Total mood killer. More so than Fai almost yacking in his hair.

"If it makes you feel any better you are waaaay better in bed. For me, at least. Seishiro can get Subaru panting and shaking—and I'm sorry, Kuro." Fai covered his mouth and started giggling just as Syaoran pulled into traffic. "—I tend to get carried away. It gets worse when I drink."

Kurogane should have changed the subject—should have left it at that—but he was also drunk and his brain wasn't at its sharpest. He regretted his next question the second it left his mouth.

"Why would you even know that?"

Fai's flashed a sly smile his way before leaning closer to the cop and motioning for him to come closer. With a cupped hand he whispered hotly in Kurogane's ear. "Sei-chan, Subaru and I have a bit of a history, if you know what I mean."

"You fucked them both? Like, at the same time?"

Wow. Kinky.

Then again—Fai had already proven he was a pretty kinky bastard.

Fai leaned back and nodded. "More than once."

"How the hell do you even get yourself into that kinda situation." Not that Kurogane was judging—Blondie could fuck whomever he pleased. Hell—he didn't like the thought of Seishiro touching Fai—but that was more so because he liked touching Fai.

"The first time was—I am too drunk to math… I was 16ish maybe, and Subaru had only been seeing Seishiro for a few months back then. I went over and we were playing a drinking game that turned dirty and before I knew it—I had had my first drink, first kiss and first time all in one night."

Well this conversation had gone to hell in a handbasket.

That was fucked up.

Seriously fucked.

"How old is that creep, anyhow?"

"Kuro-chan, I am too drunk for math…" Fai leaned across the seat dramatically and wrapped his arms around the cop's shoulders, nipping at his ear as he did so. "Why do you wanna know?"

"I probably don't…" Kurogane should butt out. Why did he have any right to care who Blondie fucked or when?

"Someone is awfully jealous. I'm not usually into that." Fai licked up his neck, "—But Kuro-woof is like a jealous puppy who is sad that there master has payed attention to another dog at the dog park…"

"You don't know what you're talking about, idiot." Kurogane absolutely did not flinch when Blondie nipped at his neck with enough pressure to leave a bruise.

The sad part was, Fai wasn't too far off.

The stupid puppy/master shit was just to push his buttons, but Kurogane was man enough to admit when he was jealous. He didn't know why he was jealous—didn't have a right to be—but he was and could admit it.

"Hm… So cute." Fai lapped at the mark he had left before resting his head back on the cop's shoulder. "I bet Sei-chan is going to yell at me tomorrow over you."

If he did, Fai would probably just put him in his place again. He had no idea why one of Blondie's employees felt the need to butt into his personal life—or why he would give a fuck about who Blondie was going home with.

They all seemed to have an opinion about it, which was strange as fuck.

"Tell him to go fuck himself and if he has a problem with it, I'll kick his teeth in." Kurogane slung an arm around Blondie's shoulders and focused on the streets whizzing by as they merged right to get onto the highway ramp.

"Such a brute. Now I know where Biggs gets his bad attitude. He copies his daddy."

"I'm not his daddy… 'sides he's been a stubborn ass since he was a pup. Just so happens I'm able to manage that energy and direct it in a productive way." Fai was back to nibbling on his neck and the cop sighed.

Biggs may or may not pick up on Blondie's scent and put two and two together that Kurogane had seen the idiot. After Fai had spent the night at his apartment, Biggs had whined when he left—but seemed to get over it once they got to work.

At least Kurogane had assumed, until they had gotten back home and his bastard dog had spent the evening rolling around on the pillow Fai had used when he had slept over. When his parents had gotten into town earlier that night, they had seen firsthand that Biggs was still obsessed with that pillow.

"I wish I had taken a selfie with him. I wanted to show my dad how big and fluffy he is." Blondie sighed and Kurogane smirked.

Right.

Well, he may have forgotten to ask about those pictured he had snapped but at least they were coming in handy.

"I might have gotten a picture of you two when you were sleeping. Forgot to ask when you woke up if it was ok." Kurogane was reaching for his phone and Fai pulled back to flash him the happiest smile.

"Can you send it to me?"

"Yeah. Here." It took only a few seconds to send off the few photos he had managed to snag, and he watched Blondie's screen light up as they came through on his end.

If at all possible, Fai's looked even happier as he scrolled through the photos before saving them. "You're in the wrong field. You should have been a photographer, because these are adorable."

"Helps when you have photogenic subjects. Biggs rarely sits still for a good picture unless he's sleeping." Fai leaned across the space between the seats again and captured Kurogane's lips for a brief kiss.

"Have I told you you're sweet?" Blondie whispered in his ear and Kurogane rolled his eyes. "And that I have a sweet tooth?"

"I'm not sweet, you're just a weirdo." He refocused his attention on their surroundings and tried to get his bearings. They had been driving for a while and it looked like they were headed outside of Tokyo to the ritzy neighborhoods.

As a cop, he didn't find himself on this side of town often and when he did, it was usually for low level DV's or neighbor disputes. Boring stuff.

"Hm… I know Kuro-sweet said his parents were in town… but would they be devastated if you decided to stay the night?" Fai's voice was quieter now and he was doing a good job of hiding his face, but he got the feeling Blondie was worried he would say no.

If Fai needed him—hell even if he just wanted him to spend the night—he would.

His mom and pop would be fine at home. If he was being honest—they were probably going to get a kick out of him spending the night at Fai's place, anyways.

"If you want me to stay, they'll be fine. They're adults." Fai sat up and flashed him a worried smile.

"What about Biggs?"

"Biggs gets left with my parents a lot when I can't bring him with me. He's basically a toddler with bad manners and sharp teeth, so he doesn't get left alone." Kurogane hated crating the dumb bastard.

Short periods of an hour or two were fine. Anything longer and Biggs got destructive—tearing, chewing, and clawing his way through whatever he could get his paws on.

"Do they like watching their grandpup?" Kurogane snorted and Fai looked confused for a moment.

Of course Fai would refer to Biggs that way.

"They uh—they like Biggs a lot. It's not often we get a dog with such a mixed personality, so he has a special place in their heart." Biggs minded them pretty well most of the time, too, which helped.

He liked going to visit his parent's house because they had a nice big fenced in yard to romp around and rough house in. Biggs could do without the other dogs—but he got along with most of them well enough that they could be together when supervised.

"Biggs likes them too, though?" Fai was fidgeting now, knee bouncing and fingers playing with one of the buttons on the bottom of his untucked shit and it was Kurogane's turn to chuckle.

He had never seen Fai nervous—didn't know why he was nervous—but it was a pleasant change from the overconfident fake ass smiles. Not because he liked Blondie uncomfortable, but he did like him honest.

"Mom and dad have been around him since the day he was born. He likes them just fine." that seemed to put Fai at ease and he leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes.

He still couldn't hold still, but his expression was more relaxed. "Good. I didn't wanna hog his papa if he was missing you."

"If anything, he's going to be pissy that I hung out with you without him." Syaoran took the next exit and Fai focused his attention on the street in front of them, leaning towards the cop to get a good view.

"Hopefully, he'll forgive you for betraying him."

"I take it we're almost there?"

Fai's only response was a quick nod and they both were quiet the rest of the ride. Kurogane watched as the houses got larger, older, the lots got bigger, the trees taller and eventually they pulled into the driveway of one of the swankier houses.

This was not what he was expecting.

Not that he really had any idea what he should be expecting—but if he had to guess, he would have assumed that Blondie lived in some bougie penthouse or high rise near downtown. Not a McMansion in the suburbs that screamed old money.

To each their own, he supposed.

"That's weird." Fai unbuckled his seat belt and frowned as he looked at the brightly lit house. All the lights on the ground floor were on—this one was only the one on the block that looked like there was anyone dumb enough to be up past 2am.

"What is?" Kurogane followed Fai's lead and unbuckled and hopped out of the back of the car.

"Well, either we have a dumb robber or someone's up… My guess is, someone is up." Blondie slammed the back door of the Maserati shut after collecting his jacket and phone.

"Is that a good or a bad thing?" Kurogane watched Fai shrug before giving his assistant a happy wave and snagging the cop's hand.

"Guess we'll find out. But usually my dad's are sleep-a-holics and are out by ten." Fai grinned—not like he had earlier that night when they had been chilling on the office floor—this was another one of his fake smiles.

So—yeah no, it was probably a bad thing—or, at least, a stressful thing for Blondie.

Maybe this was why he had been so nervous?

Not that Fai was dwelling on it—he tugged them towards the door and Kurogane followed without complaint.

The sidewalk that led up to the house was winding and lined by bushes and other perennials on either side. Someone obviously took very good care of the place—there were potted plants and hanging flower baskets decorating the porch and wind chimes were sounding softly as Fai dug his keys out of his jacket.

After a minute of struggling, Blondie forked the keys over and Kurogane got the door open easily enough. The cop handed the keys back and stepped back to let Fai head in first—again placing a hand on the center of his back to steady him.

The house was even fancier on the inside than he would have guessed, given the well maintained exterior. High ceilings, rich colors and plush carpets gave the home a warm, open feel and Kurogane followed Fai's lead and slipped out of his shoes and took off his jacket.

Blondie grabbed his hand again and they were about to make their way to the stairs when there was a crashing sound at the other end of the house.

Fai sighed—gave him an apologetic look—and took them both back down the stairs.

Kurogane was more focused on keeping his balance as they made their way through the house, so he didn't immediately notice the man kneeling and picking up glass off the kitchen floor.

"Are you ok?" Fai dropped Kurogane's hand and went to the dark-haired man's side.

"Fine—Just got a little dizzy there for a second. What are you doing home so early?" The man's voice was soft, and he shooed Fai's hands away when he tried to help pick up the remnants of the broken mug.

Kurogane assumed this was Fai's father, given his age, although they looked nothing alike. Since Fai had told him he was adopted that wasn't all that surprising, after all. Shoulder length black hair framed his face and gold eyes looked exhausted as they glanced up—widening slightly in surprise as he noticed Kurogane.

"You should let me do it. If you're dizzy, you need to go lay down." Fai ignored the man's protests and held out both his hands to carefully accept the broken glass before standing and dumping it into the trash can.

The man slowly got to his feet and stepped aside as Fai snagged a roll of paper towels from next to the sink and started soaking up most of whatever liquid had been in the cup.

"Fai, you're being rude. Who's your friend." They all jumped in surprise as a fourth person entered the room—another gentlemen that was old enough to be Fai's father padded into the room rocking a half asleep look.

"That is Kuro-chan." Fai answered quietly—not looking up from the mess he was cleaning.

Probably a good idea, there had to still be small pieces of glass.

"Kuro-chan?" Both men parroted back with slightly confused expressions and it took every ounce of will power for the cop not to sigh.

"Kurogane." He corrected and even though he was trashed, he had enough sense to shake both of their hands.

"Nice to meet you, Kurogane. My name is Taishakuten—this is my husband, Ashura." The blond, almost silver haired one said and Kurogane tried to make a mental note.

He was too drunk for this shit.

Husband? As in, Fai had two dads? Had he mentioned dads—not dad—before?

Not that he gave a shit—he obviously didn't have an issue with same sex couples.

"Nice to meet you." the cop nodded and caught Fai's slightly horrified expression as he got up to toss the wet paper towel away.

You know, this did sorta feel like a high schooler getting caught by his SO's parents—but not as bad as he would have imagined.

Taishakuten flashed him a toothy smile before turning his attention to Fai and sighing. "You know, I don't think you are any better equipped to clean broken glass than your father. You are impressively drunk."

"Well, that's the only thing about me that's impressive today." Blondie leaned against the counter and gave an exhausted sigh—neither of his parents seemed all that concerned.

Taishakuten shooed both Fai and Ashura to the other side of the island and got to cleaning the rest of the glass while Fai flashed Kurogane an apologetic smile. "We'll go to sleep soon, ok?"

"Take your time." This was awkward—but not too terribly so.

"Is that what you two are going to do?" Ashura teased and Fai shrugged.

"You want us to keep the door open to make sure there is no funny business?" The pure innocence Fai managed to lace into his voice was pretty remarkable—and even stumbling drunk, he managed to look the part.

"Dear god, no." Taishakuten wrinkled his nose and Fai was back to giggling—reaching out to grab the cop's hand and pull him a little closer.

"Then, I guess, you'll have to take our word for it then, hm?"

So much for this not being that awkward. Kurogane was going to maintain the stance that he was too drunk for this shit—way too drunk to make a good impression with Fai's parents—and thankfully too drunk to really care about it all that much at the moment.

"Trust me. I will. You two will be the death of me." Fai's stepdad tossed the last of the glass in the garbage and sighed. "All of you sit down before you end up falling over and hurting yourself… I have a husband doped up on painkillers, a son and his boyfriend stumbling drunk and it's almost 3am."

"He's not my boyfriend." Fai pulled out one of the barstools that were on the side of the island for Kurogane before sliding into the one next to him. "—We're just friends."

Taishakuten and Ashura shot each other a look and Kurogane shifted uncomfortably as they turned their gazes to him, but Fai's stepdad was the one to answer.

"This is the boy—"

"Gentleman." Ashura corrected and Taishakuten rolled his eyes as he grabbed the kettle off of the stove and took it over to the sink to refill it.

"—this is the gentleman that sent you home looking so… we'll say… well taken care of, yesterday?"

Oh fuck yeah, this was getting awkward as hell.

"I would say closer to totally ravished and very satisfied with himself—but I think it's safe to assume you two are a little closer than just friends no?" Ashura added and Kurogane almost choked, covering it with a cough.

"Well, if he was my boyfriend, he wouldn't want to be anymore. Thanks, guys—" Fai did not seem fazed in the slightest as he reached out to pat the cop's back comfortingly. "—and I'll have you know, it's been a while since I slept so well."

"Sleeping must be an extreme sport for the two of you, then." Fai's stepdad shut the water off and set the kettle back down on the stove before lighting it. "Kudos to Kurogane here for wearing your ass out for once."

"Anyway—" Ashura gave the sweetest of smiles as he took the last remaining seat at the kitchen island on the other side of Fai. "Our Fai mentioned that you were a police officer, Kurogane. That must be a difficult line of work."

Kurogane cleared his throat and suddenly noticed that he had unwillingly become the center of attention. Perfect... "It keeps you in shape and it's pretty rewarding."

He was going to try not to think too hard about the fact that if Blondie's old man knew what he did for a living—that meant Fai had had to at least bring him up before now…

"I see. Hopefully, they don't have you doing anything too dangerous." Ashura said and Kurogane shook his head.

At least the conversation had gone back to a safer topic—as a cop, he has had to answer these questions a hundred times, at least-nearly any time he mentioned what he did for a living, he had to deal with the 'isn't that dangerous' questions and such.

"It's not as bad as most people think." 'sides. His partner had his back. "We're spending a lot of time on drills, so I'm not out in the field much, currently."

"That's good to hear."

"Kuro-chan is very brave." Fai leaned over and kissed his cheek. "But he is beat in the cuteness department by his very serious fluffy partner."

"Right, how could I forget." Ashura gave Fai an amused look before refocusing his attention. "You work with a dog, correct?"

"Yeah." Fai had the picture front covered and was already unlocking his phone and pulling up the pictures of Biggs practically laying on top of him while he was out cold. Kurogane couldn't help the smile that snuck its way onto his face every time he saw that stupid picture. "He's a hard worker."

Ashura took the phone from Fai and looked over the picture with a soft smile before setting the phone on the counter and sliding it towards his husband. "He is just as big and fluffy as you claimed, Fai."

Taishakuten grabbed the phone and scanned the photo before handing it back and scoffing. "Leave it to Fai to turn a serious working animal into a heating pad."

At least someone got it…

Biggs was not usually considered a fluffy, cute dog. Most people were scared shitless of him.

"He was more like a teddy bear that follows you around and tries to sit on you." Blondie tucked his phone back into his pocket and Kurogane shook his head slowly.

Only with Fai was he like that.

"He really took to Fai right away. He whined the whole car ride to the station after we dropped him off yesterday." He should probably be offended that his asshole dog was acting this way after hating almost everyone on the face of the earth—the other part of him thought it was…

Well it was fucking adorable. Biggs was a well-trained K9 officer, but he was still a dog—and he could be both deadly and occasionally cute. He wished the dope would act more like a normal dog when they were not on the clock—and do things like snuggle and play.

"Well, make sure to tell him I whined the whole way home, too. Partly because I was hung over—partly because he was a very good snuggle buddy." Fai leaned over to rest his head on Kurogane's shoulder and yawned.

"Och, Fai. No love for your date?" Blondie's stepdad snorted as he killed the burner and opened a cabinet to get some mugs for the tea.

"Do you see this? This is affection right here. Shush." Fai rubbed his cheek against the cop's shoulder and Kurogane was acutely aware that he was seriously amusing his parents at the moment.

"So how much did you two drink, exactly?" Ashura was watching Fai's theatrics with a subtle smile. Kurogane had no clue how much they drank. They hadn't exactly been keeping track.

"Enough to ensure I will be a nightmare tomorrow."

"And did you two eat dinner?" Ashura's voice was sweet, but the look he gave Fai was no-nonsense.

Nice to know someone could keep this idiot in line. Kurogane found himself smiling as he watching Fai give his old man a guilty look.

"I think you know the answer."

"I see." Ashura sighed and made a move to get up only for Taishakuten to stop him by shaking his head slowly back and forth and heading towards the fridge and pulling it open.

Fai narrowed his eyes and Kurogane just sat back to watch the exchange.

"What are you doing?" Blondie's tone turned accusatory and Tai grabbed a few things before setting them onto the counter next to the stove.

"Avoiding my dear husband's wrath and making you two a sandwich." Fai's stepdad answered after Fai's glare didn't let up and Blondie wrinkled his nose in disgust.

"I don't want your sandwich."

"Tough, kid. A sandwich is the best you are gonna get unless you are gonna make your poor dad get up and cook." Tai pulled down two plates and ignored the offended glare Fai gave. Ashura chuckled and Tai snagged the bread. "Food and water, then you and Mr. Police officer can head upstairs and do whatever it is you can manage at your current level of inebriation."

"Ugh. Why are you like this?" Fai covered his face with both of his hands and Tai smiled at him when he wasn't looking—dropping the aloof act as he shared an amused chuckle with his husband.

"Any fruit and or nut allergies?" Taishakuten turned his attention to Kurogane as he opened the bread and the cop shook his head.

"No, sir."

"So polite." Ashura commented and Fai turned his head to the side to flash him a smile—obviously pleased with his answer for whatever reason.

It's not like he had coached the cop on what to say around his parents, but his own mom and dad had raised him to be polite to his hosts—and his job required a lot of "yes ma'am, no ma'am" answers when dealing with citizens.

Best way to address people you had no idea how to behave around was with politeness. Since Kurogane had never really gotten close enough to any of his past flings to do the whole meet-the-parents dance—he was falling back on the manners shit.

After all—if something came of he and Blondie—it would be complicated if his dads thought he was some rude hooligan. Good thing he didn't have to worry about it in the reverse—he already knew his own old man would dig Fai's silly antics and his mom would fall for his gentle nature and sweet disposition instantly.

He had already passed the hardest test with flying colors—Biggs was obsessed with him.

"Good." Tai grabbed a knife from the knife block. "No need to poison someone. Yet."

"Tai." Fai and Ashura scolded in unison—it did not seem to ruffle Fai's stepdad's feathers one bit and he unscrewed a jar of peanut butter and started to spread a glob onto the bread.

"What? We don't know if we like him, yet." The jelly came next and Ashura chuckled as he sipped his tea.

"I think you are a nice young man, Kurogane. Taishakuten is slow to warm up at first, though. No one is going to poison you unless you make our sweet Fai cry."

Well, that was reassuring.

Caused

"No one is getting poisoned. Jesus. You two do realize I am 33, right?" Fai sat back up, took a long drink from his own mug and watched as his parents shot each other a look. "Guys…"

"You will always be our baby." Ashura reached out and pinched his cheek and Fai leaned back and sighed.

"Seems like just yesterday your father was all in knots over you going to high school and now look at you—stumbling home drunk with a random stranger and having us make you a peanut butter and jelly before sending you off to bed." Taishakuten added as he slapped the two pieces of bread together and moved onto the next sandwich.

"Kuro-chan is not a stranger. You did always teach me to trust police officers." Fai finished off his tea and got up to take the mug to the sink.

Taishakuten snorted and rolled his eyes. "Now for the real question. Are you going to pitch a fit if I leave the crusts on? You know since you are 33 and all?"

"You shouldn't have to ask. You know the answer. No crusts and cut it into fourths." Fai rinsed the cup out and stuck it into the dishwasher before heading back to his seat.

"Right, right… the same for your silent friend here?"

"Yes, or else it doesn't taste right. Get your shit together, Tai." Blondie answered for him and Kurogane was not about to say any different.

His stepdad cut the crusts off before slicing the sandwiches into fourths and sliding the plates across the island to them. "Eat that and—" Tai opened the fridge and grabbed four bottles of water, setting two in front of both Fai and Kurogane. "—drink this, then you are free. Deal?"

"Deal." Fai took a bite of one of the squares—glaring playfully. "But I am complaining to the manager of the house about your poor sandwich making skills."

"The manager of the house finds Tai's poor sandwich making skills to be endearing and dismisses your complaint." Ashura answered and sipped from his mug.

Taishakuten grinned momentarily before walking around the island to stand behind his husband. "Do we need to babysit you or can we head to bed, now?"

"We're fine." Fai swallowed another bite of the sandwich and handed one of his bottles of water over to Kurogane.

The cop wordlessly accepted it and unscrewed the top before handing it back.

Tai and Ashura shot each other another look.

"Ok. Well, since you are 33, we will trust you." Ashura stood slowly, handing his finished tea to his husband who did the same as Fai had and took the mug to the sink to rinse it and set it in the dish washer.

"K. Nighty night!" Fai chimed and sipped his water as they both watched his parents disappear around the corner. As soon as they were gone, Fai seemed to sag in relief and leaned against the cop's shoulder and laughed quietly. "I am so sorry, Kuro-san. You did a really good job, though."

"Thanks?" Kurogane took a bite of his own sandwich.

Wasn't half bad, actually—he didn't usually do sweet things like jelly, but he was drunk enough that he could deal.

"Hm… let's finish this mess so I can take you upstairs and reward you." Fai practically purred and Kurogane reached out and grabbed one of his sandwich squares and held it up to the blond's lips.

"See how you feel after you eat, barf boy." Blondie might have brushed his teeth, but Kurogane was not about to risk a repeat of earlier in the night.

"Believe it or not, I am starting to sober up." Fai bit into the sandwich and Kurogane gave him a skeptical look.

Granted—he hadn't yacked—but the whisky was only hitting him harder now.

"Yeah, well—it's not sexy when I feel like I am taking advantage of you. Bet you crash the hell out as soon as your head hits the pillow."

"We'll see, then." Fai agreed after he swallowed and took the opportunity of the cop's momentary distraction to shove a sandwich square into his mouth, too. "I win a prize if I don't, though. You have to finish what you started in my office, ne?"

"Fine." Kurogane uncapped one of his own bottles of water and downed half of it to wash down the sticky peanut butter.

They finished the rest of their meal slowly and in silence, for the most part. The house was quiet, the mood mellow and when they were done, Fai took everything over to the sink and cleaned up before grabbing his hand and leading his drunk ass quietly up the stairs and to what he assumed to be the moron's room.

As soon as the door shut, Fai kissed him sweetly, wrapping his arms around the taller man's shoulders and humming softly as he pulled them back towards the bed.

Sure–Kurogane had assumed when he had decided to meet Blondie for drinks that they were probably going to end up fucking–but after Fai had had gotten sick earlier in the night, he had changed the expectation to crashing out as soon as their heads hit the pillow.

Not that he was complaining.

It had been a few hours and Fai might be feeling better–given the insistent erection he felt pressing against his thigh, he was willing to bet Fai was in the mood.

"Hey." Kurogane broke the kiss and had to hold Blondies chin between his thumb and index finger to force their eyes to meet. "You really feeling better, all of a sudden?"

"Don't you dare tell Tai–but eating helped a lot." Fai leaned back to fall onto the bed and held his arms open for the cop to follow him.

Kurogane lowered himself down with a little more grace and went straight for the neck–just like how he knew Fai liked it–and earned himself a surprised yelp, Fai wiggling underneath him and muffling his laugh with a hand over his mouth.

"You're not gonna puke on me?" Fai shook his head back and forth and Kurogane found himself smiling as he nipped his way down Blondie's neck–popping the buttons of his dress shirt slowly and letting his fingers trace over every new inch of exposed flesh.

"No. My tummy is a happy camper thanks to that shitty excuse for a sandwich." Fai arched his back up off the mattress and wrapped his arms around the cop's neck when he bit hard at his collar bone.

That was a good enough answer for him.

He popped the last of the buttons and gripped Blondie's hips. Sliding his hands up his sides, he helped the smaller man sit up enough to get the soft fabric to slide off his shoulders. Fai took the opportunity to crash their lips together and tumbled back down onto the bed before he managed to get it totally off him.

Not that it was a bad view–Fai's cheeks and chest were flushed red and even in the dim lighting, it was easy to see he was getting flustered. The loose dress shirt was now bunched around his elbows and splayed out underneath him and the view went straight to Kurogane's crotch.

Not a bad view, at all.

Fai tugged at the hem of his t-shirt and Kurogane took the hint and ditched it, letting it fall on the floor next to the bed, forgotten, as he went for Blondies belt. The pants got tossed somewhere next, along with Fai's underwear, leaving him bare.

He did not seem to mind one bit.

Blondie was watching him–the way he was looking over his body and admiring it–with a small smirk on his lips as he rolled his hips - and Kurogane swallowed hard.

How could someone so fucking obnoxious look this good naked?

"Like what you see?" Fai purred and Kurogane leaned down to press their lips together for a quick kiss before nodding and nibbling along his jaw. Blondie tilted his head to give Kurogane better access and he made use of it by working his way back down Fai's chest.

One hand gripped Fai's protruding hip bone, thumb kneaded small circles in his soft skin there while the other grazed up his side, fingertips just barely ghosting over the skin and leaving goose bumps in their wake.

Ruby eyes watched as Fai's eyes fluttered closed and he let out a soft sigh–leaning into the gentle touch as he tangled the fingers of one hand in Kurogane's short hair and gripped his shoulder with the other. "Kuro-tease wants to take it slow?"

"You liked it last time." His breath puffed out hot against Blondies skin and the cop smirked as his partner shivered.

Fai had been putty in his hands the other night. They had started slow and ended hot, rough and fast–and Kurogane had similar plans for tonight if Fai could be patient.

Whatever Blondie had been about to say died in his throat when Kurogane ground their hips together and he couldn't help but draw his hand back down Fai's side, earning himself a whimper.

Shifting, Kurogane leaned down to pepper kisses along Fai's jaw, neck, collar bone and chest–nipping and sucking–paying extra attention to the spots of soft skin that he hadn't marked the last time.

Fai could hardly hold still. Kurogane was careful to vary the frequency as well as the pressure and location of bites so that Blondie was never expecting where he would strike next–all the while running his fingers up and down his sides, over his flat stomach, down to knead the tender skin of his thighs.

By the time he had deemed Blondie sufficiently warmed up, Kurogane leaned back to balance on his heels and looked down to marvel at his work.

God, was he beautiful.

"Sit up–" His voice came out rough and low and he watched Fai shudder in reaction to the command. Fai looked good like this–he always looked good, sure, but this was his favorite look for the blond, right after the sight of him curled up on the couch in the cop's clothes and with his dog.

Though, as much as he liked Fai covered in his love bites, if this continued, he was going to have to tone it down. Blondie was starting to look like he had come out of the wrong end of a fight. All he needed was a black eye and split lip and you would never know–not that Fai seemed to have any issues.

Not with the way he was panting and gripping the sheets with white knuckles, waiting for what was to come next. Pleasure drunk blue eyes fluttered open and Kurogane smirked as Fai did as he was told, pushing himself up on shaky arms and leaning forward to press their lips together.

"So bossy."

"Hands and knees." The cop squeezed Fai's hip and nipped back at his lips.

Fai made a show of getting up on his knees before shifting so that he was facing the other way–leaning down so that his forearms where on the bed and his ass was in the air. Tossing a sultry look over his shoulder, he watched Kurogane lick his lips. "–like this?"

Oh yeah. Just like that. That was–

Fucking perfect.

Kurogane ran his hands up the pale skin of Blondies back and growled low in his throat when Fai ground his hips back against the cop's still clothed erection and whined.

"Patience. You know I'll make you feel good." Kurogane brought one hand back down to hold his lover's hips in place and used the other to massage the base of his neck.

"Kuro-tease…" he sighed and Kurogane's only response was to shift his hand from Blondies hip over to cup his ass and squeeze.

Now–Kurogane didn't plan on giving Blondie a full body massage when they were both this sloshed and it was nearing four in the morning–but Fai did not seem to mind one bit.

He got pretty freaking distracted from his intention for sex when he felt just how tightly wound the muscles in Blondie's back were. He still got to feel Blondie up and Fai was mewling and arching into his touch as he worked him over—digging his thumbs into the tight bundles of muscle and occasionally grind his hips against Fai's ass to earn a gasp or moan.

He took his time loosening him up and worked the knots out of his neck, shoulders and back with patience. Fai had ended up easing down to lay on his stomach and Kurogane had taken to straddling his hips and using his weight to really work his lover's tight muscles. The cop eventually moved to massage his glutes, his thighs and calves and Fai's moans turned into appreciative sighs.

Kurogane was smiling softly as he watched him relax into the mattress limply and figured they could get back to business. As soon as he paused in his ministrations, those blue eyes fluttered open to look at him softly.

"You're really in a mood to spoil me, hm?" Fai's voice was soft and matched his smile perfectly. Kurogane watched him for a moment before moving back to let his lover roll back over.

"Shit happens." He shrugged and Fai grinned.

"I'll take it." Fai squirmed over until he was laying on his back and held his arms open in invitation. The cop leaned down, but was not prepared for how sweetly Fai was going to kiss him, a hand tangling in the back of his hair and the other looping around his neck as Fai clung to him.

"Good." the kiss broke and Kurogane pressed his forehead against Blondies and closed his eyes. "You deserve to be spoiled like that."

"Stop being so sweet." Fai chuckled and kissed him again. "Else you're going to make me fall in love."

Kurogane thought he would have minded hearing that a whole hell of a lot more than he actually did. Maybe he had been a dumbass when he wrote Blondie off as batshit.

He was a little dysfunctional, sure, but given his growing fondness for the moron–he obviously didn't really care all that much.

"Would that be so bad?" Kurogane opened his eyes to catch a flash of surprise on Blondie's face and watched him tug his cheeks into a tight grin.

"You don't mean that."

Kurogane sighed.

He did mean it–it was frustrating that he meant it because the rational half of his brain was telling him it was a very bad idea to get emotionally invested in the train wreck that was Fai.

It was a conversation for another day. When they were sober–and when he got to know the moron a little better. It was absolutely insane that after spending 3 evenings and a morning with the idiot, he was having any feelings whatsoever.

Hopefully, sober him wouldn't feel attached to Fai for no reason. Just because Fai had called him when he was having a bad day, almost yacked in his hair, drunkenly snuggled him on his office floor and admitted that he was special… shown a different sexy side of himself when he faced off with that creep with the glasses… dragged him to his parent's house at two in the morning and gotten weirdly clingy and embarrassed…

Fuck.

Now wasn't the time.

So he kissed Fai instead.

Blondie wasn't so easily distracted and pushed slightly against his chest as he turned his head to the other side. "You don't mean that, Kuro-chan. Right?" Blondies voice was low now and he gave the cop a serious look. "That would be just silly now, wouldn't it."

Red flag.

He had done something - or said something - wrong. Fai's sudden mood switch meant it was time to put the brakes on and figure it out.

If he could.

You would think he would start to be on the sobering up side of things after so many hours, but his body was apparently still metabolizing the alcohol and his head was only getting fuzzier.

"What's wrong." Kurogane shifted so that he was laying on his side next to Fai, propping his head up on his palm and reaching to pull him closer.

"Don't be so sweet." Blondie scooted closer to the cop without issue and kissed him. It was slow and desperate and when Fai broke the kiss he frowned. "You don't want me fall for you–and god help you if you're dumb enough to fall for me." Blondie had brought one of his hands up to grip Kurogane's bicep, pressing just hard enough for his nails to leave marks, and pushed him back onto the mattress.

In a surprising show of balance, Fai slung a leg over his hips and settled in his lap. Another kiss - this one rougher - as Blondie dragged his nails down the cop's side, causing him to growl and grind his hips up against Fai's bare ass. "Ok?"

"Why does that freak you out?" Fai's brows furrowed as though he was surprised. If it was because Kurogane had the balls to question the boundary he was trying to set or surprise that Kurogane cared enough to ask at all–he couldn't tell. "I told you–I wouldn't fuck you if I didn't like you."

Fai leaned back in his lap and sighed–tired and frustrated and maybe even a little angry–he balanced back with one hand planted on the cops thigh, and ran the other through his own hair as he ground his hips a bit.

Fuck, did that feel nice.

"You like to fuck me." Fai looked at him though half lidded eyes as though he were disinterested all of a sudden and Kurogane pushed himself up into a sitting position. He grabbed Fai's ass with both hands and forced them chest to chest–snapping his hips up to grind against him again.

"I do." He whispered hotly in Blondies ear and ground their hips together, enjoying the frustrated moan Fai gave almost as much as the friction itself. "But you–" pulling one of his hands away, he brought it back down to slap Fai's ass, causing the smaller man to jump. "–you aren't half bad."

He was turning out to be a better person than Kurogane had assumed when he had first met him–Fai had been careful about the side of himself that he had shown until tonight.

Tonight, he had shown an honest look at the big-hearted idiot he really was and it had been pretty fucking charming.

Just as annoying–but in an endearing way.

"You don't know what you're talking about. You're naive." Kurogane slapped Fai's ass again and Blondie yelped and let out a dark laugh–wrapping his arms around the younger man's shoulders, he chuckled darkly. "You have no idea who the hell I really am, Kuro-baby."

Kurogane had no clue how Fai moved so fast, but he was pushed roughly and fell back against the mattress and had a wonderful view of Blondie sitting in his lap with flushed skin and a devilish smirk on his lips. "You're young yet–I can forgive you if you start behaving."

Kurogane raised an eyebrow and watched as Blondie crawled down his body–kissing as he went, working his way down to the waistband of his pants and unzipped them with his teeth.

"If I don't?" the cop watched Fai struggle with the button for a moment before managing it with the help of both hands–somehow even the cheesy smile and silly giggle as he struggled with it didn't kill the mood–and as soon as he was tugging the fabric down Kurogane's thighs, he was back to his mysterious sexy act.

"Do you really want to find out?" Fai tossed the pants on the floor with the rest of their clothes and licked his lips as his blue eyes scanned over tanned flesh. "I've been tame with Kuro-bold so far… but if you won't listen to your elders… Well, I'll have to teach you a lesson." A wink and Blondie climbed off the side of the bed.

He made a show of getting something out of the bedside table and tossing it onto the bed, then sauntering off towards the large chest of drawers in the corner of the room and opened the top drawer.

Kurogane was not expecting him to flash a pair of handcuffs at him a few moments later. "Last chance to behave."

"You have no right to tell me how I do or don't feel." Kurogane smirked and Fai pursed his lips and shrugged.

"And here I was trying to spare your feelings and warn you–" Blondie made a show of crossing back across the room and climbing up the mattress from the foot of the bed and Kurogane couldn't look away.

Fuck, he was beautiful.

With strength you wouldn't have expected from someone so willowy, Fai snatched his wrists and wrestled them playfully above his head–clicking the cuffs on one hand, looping them around one of the thinner wooden posts and securing the other hand as well. The cop gave an experimental tug and the hold was surprisingly strong.

Fai hummed in amusement as he watched him pull against the restraints and happily retook his seat in Kurogane's lap to watch for a moment. "Tell me you were kidding and I might let you go."

"Didn't your mother teach you not to lie?" Kurogane watched Fai lean forward and as sexy as being handcuffed to the idiot's bed was–he wished he had a hand free to tangle in his hair as he was kissed roughly to drag out the sensation.

"Which one." Fai bit his lip before locking eyes. "The drug addict who abandoned me and my brother to foster care or the bitch who fucked my dad's associate and broke his heart?"

Fuck–not the response he was expecting.

"That explains a lot." Kurogane turned his head to the side and let Fai do as he pleased–biting and sucking down his pulse line while sharp nails dug into his upper arms.

"Take it back, Kuro-chan. I won't ask nicely again." Fai worked his way lower still and wrecked his nails down the cop's side, leaving hot red lines as he went.

"Sorry I brought up your mom?" Kurogane offered and Fai snorted in amusement and sat back to shake his head slowly.

"Not what I meant, you goof–" Fai rolled his hips and Kurogane closed his eyes and sighed. "Now take it back."

It felt way better without the pants. Fuck. When he opened his eyes again, he was greeted with the view of Fai watching him–one arm raised up, hand tangling in his own hair–the other hand flat against the cops abdominal muscles as he swiveled his hips and nearly drove Kurogane mad.

Guess this was payback for the teasing earlier.

"Fuck you, Blondie–." Kurogane gave a wolfish grin at Fai's surprised expression. "–You're beautiful, did you know that?"

He should have known he was in trouble when those big blue eyes narrowed and Fai bit his bottom lip, cheeks flushing darker than before and body suddenly stilling.

Blondie's reaction wasn't a surprise as he reached forward and gripped the cop's face and tilted his chin up. His thumb and index finger pressed into his cheeks with uncomfortable pressure as the skin of his inner cheek dug into his back molars. "On the outside, maybe. Trust me when I tell you that you want nothing to do with the person behind this pretty face."

Fai leaned forward and pressed a chaste kiss against his forehead and Kurogane wasn't sure how to respond. The rational half of his brain was telling him that his was a conversation for another time–the drunk half of his brain wanted to fire back and tell Blondie he was an idiot and that that was not his decision to make.

Kurogane knew it was time to take a step back when his possessive side came out.

"Nothing to say?" Fai said–still gripping his face firmly and looking at him as though he were in the middle of scolding a small child for bad behavior. "I'll keep going till you take it back."

"Do your worst. You don't scare me." Kurogane rolled his hips up against Fai and the blond dropped his hand and shrugged before turning his gaze lower.

"Hm… such an attitude." Fai tutted and pressed his icy palms against the cop's stomach–running them up his chest to graze his collarbones, then back down to settle on his hips when Fai shifted lower. "I see now I've been to relaxed with you… too easy going and open…"

Blondie settled on his knees between Kurogane's legs and leaned down to kiss his stomach sweetly before biting down hard at the juncture of his hip, causing Kurogane to jump and pull against the cuffs–bed frame creaking and chain links jingling. Fai watched him react, looking like the cat that had just eaten the canary.

"I gave you the wrong idea." Blondie's breath puffed out hot against the inside of one of his thighs and it was the cop's turn to shiver.

"What idea is that?" Kurogane closed his eyes and leaned back when he felt Fai's fingers graze up his leg to grip his very needy and, until now, totally forgotten erection.

"That you're anything more than a temporary distraction." Fai ran his hand down, then back up again, thumb swiping over the tip a few times, before Blondie leaned down to lap at it teasingly.

Kurogane had to swallow a few times and tugged against his restraints again. Now–until tonight–that was all Fai had been, too, so he didn't know why he felt so fucking rejected.

Especially considering that Fai had taken the first few inches of his cock into his mouth and was sucking it just right. Somehow, he had gone from being sweet, giggly and very drunk to having his shit together and acting–well fuck, he sure as hell wasn't handing over control like the last two times they had been together.

Blondie was making a show of it–eyes practically glaring, yet lips smiling as he bobbed his head slowly. No more innocent act, proving that he even wore his mask when hot and bothered.

Fuck.

This should not be that arousing–these fucking masks and games were no better than lying… But that look he was giving–showing him exactly why he didn't want to mess with Fai?

That was hot.

Blondie closed his eyes and leaned forward to take him further into his hot mouth and Kurogane hardly kept his hips from jerking up at the sensation. Fai was really good at this–either he knew better or he felt the cop's muscles tense in his attempt to keep still–but he moved his hands up to grip his hips.

He kept at it–making it a show of teasing licks, strategically placed smirks or winks when he caught the cop staring. And then there was his surprising lack of any sort of gag reflex–bringing Kurogane just to the edge of orgasm before he leaned back and gave him another chiding look.

"Do you remember the first night we met? How flustered you got when you realized–"

"Yeah." Kurogane sighed, cutting him off and letting his head fall back as he sucked in a few deep breaths.

Fuck Fai and his games.

He had replayed that night over and over again in his mind.

The way Fai had seemed other-fucking-worldly and instantly commanded Kurogane's attention. The way that he had totally controlled the conversation, teased him into a fucking blushing fool, but not in a way that made him feel uncomfortable.

More intimidated.

After Fai had made his impression, he had turned the reins over and enjoyed being touched and teased after making it clear who truly held all the control.

He remembered not hating it and trying to hate Fai for that–only to see more and more sides of him, too many to hate them all.

He remembered being weirded out that he had liked him so much when there was so much about his personality that was–well, a bad idea–and he was not sure exactly when he changed his mind about Fai.

But he had—at least drunk him had.

"Did you think one good fuck and I suddenly changed myself to become your sweet little lover?" Fai's eyes closed slowly as he leaned in to kiss the base of Kurogane's shaft. Opening them again slowly as he licked up the vein and pressed a teasing kiss to the tip. "–That because you just so happened to pull me over on my way to see my father in the hospital–"

Blondie moved down to kiss one of his thighs, letting his cheek rest against the sensitive skin there while he gathered his thoughts to continue. "–That because you took such good care of me that night, that we snuggled a bit and your dog liked me–"

Fai nipped a little further up his leg and he jerked against his restraints in response. "–That I suddenly need love and protection?" He waited a moment–watching Kurogane lazily and when he received no response, he leaned forward to suck at the head of his cock.

"Dammit, Fai." Kurogane groaned and Fai smirked up at him–looking damn good from this angle.

Fuck.

"Hm–" Fai hummed around his cock obviously amused with himself before pulling back. "Believe me yet?"

"I believe that you're fucking trashed and apparently have commitment issues." Kurogane watched Blondie shake his head slowly as he chuckled.

"No." Fai nipped at his hip bone this time but didn't quite manage to get the cop to jump again. "You're nothing more than my new favorite toy—and I have to warn you—"

He pushed himself into a sitting position and grabbed the bottle he had snagged from the nightstand before the cuffs had come out. "I lose interest in toys surprisingly fast…" Popping the cap, he squeezed a bit of the clear liquid onto his fingers before grinning at the cop.

"Just a good fuck?" Kurogane asked as Fai reached his slicked fingers behind himself and Blondie nodded as he slid the first finger into his tight entrance and made the most delicious sound.

Kurogane didn't buy for one second what Fai was saying—the moron had come to him twice for comfort now and soaked every ounce of affection up like a sponge. If he had commitment issues or if now wasn't the right time, Kurogane could buy it.

Not that, though. Fai might be batty, but he was far from emotionally distant or heartless.

"The very best kind." Blondie continued—keeping Kurogane's focus at the subtle movements as he worked himself open slowly. "But still just a good fuck."

Kurogane wanted to growl as he watched Fai pant above him—adding a second finger and rocking back against his own hand as his eyes fluttered closed. He was putting on one hell of an act with the cop splayed out on the bed in front of him - helpless and seriously wishing he had use of his arms at the moment.

He wanted to grab those hips and toss Fai down on the bed and take over the prep work. Fai looked good pleasuring himself—but he looked otherworldly when Kurogane did it for him.

He wanted to pin the moron and stretch him slowly, he wanted to kiss him and keep him from spouting off more nonsense, but mostly, he wanted to show Fai that he was more than a good fuck.

He wanted to make him feel things that other people couldn't make him feel—Kurogane knew he could do it—Blondie had told him so.

It didn't take long for him to be satisfied with his own preparation and Fai was again reaching for the bottle of lube. This time he squeezed the cool gel directly onto the cop's erection and he apologized as he watched the younger man shudder at the sudden change in temperature while he tossed the bottle to the side again.

"I don't want you to feel bad, though–" Fai frowned for a moment—watching him with an expression that could almost be mistaken as sadness while he crawled back up his body to straddle his hips. "You didn't do anything wrong."

Fai slowly lowered himself down onto the cop and they both moaned as he bottomed out. Fai leaned forward to kiss him sweet and slow, giving his body time to adjust.

Normally, Kurogane would hold him—kiss his cheeks, neck, hair and lips and run his hands up and down his back to help him relax better—but he had to settle for listening to his lovers breathing as those words bounced around in his head.

If he hadn't done anything wrong—Fai was more or less telling him the good ol' It's-not-you-it's-me break up line, which stung awfully.

Maybe this wasn't a lie, though—maybe this was the idiot's drunk way of sparing his feelings? Or maybe Kurogane was reading too far into it because his own mind was slow from the whisky and the lateness of the hour.

Fai shifted his hips up a bit and caused himself to gasp as he straightened out again, settling back down so that he was fully seated in the cop's lap, looking down at him with an expression that looked sad—mournful almost.

"We're just too different, you and I…"

Fuck.

"Not that different." Kurogane might have his arms secured snuggly—but there was nothing stopping him from rolling his hips and causing Fai to close his eyes and moan.

"You don't even know the half of it." Fai leaned back, palms open and pressed flat against Kurogane's thighs for balance as he started to move slowly.

As amazing as that felt—Kurogane couldn't fully enjoy it given the topic of conversation. Was Fai right? Were they that different?

As the night had gone on and gotten increasingly more—well, strange would be a good way to put it—the more relatable Fai had become.

He had gone from some swanky conundrum of masks and lies to this goofy, clingy, and surprisingly human person that the cop had not expected. He had a strangely close relationship with his parents, which Kurogane could relate to hard core—and he gushed about Biggs more than the cop did.

Could the idiot really blame him for finding enough there to want to see the rest?

Fai picked up the rhythm and pretty soon, it was hard to concentrate on his own thoughts. Blondie looked breathtaking up on top of him panting and moaning softly and it chased all rational thoughts away.

Fai didn't seem to have such issues and was watching him carefully. As much as he was enjoying himself riding the cop's cock, he was watching the younger man carefully for his reactions.

Fai ended up leaning in for another kiss, slowing his rhythm to painfully teasing in contrast to the burning, frantically needy kiss, Blondie's tongue lapping at his lower lip and sliding against his own as they fought for the upper hand.

Blondie's hands were gripping his shoulders near desperately and Kurogane again tugged against the handcuffs—wanting to bring his arms down to pull the idiot closer.

When the kiss broke, Fai tucked his face into the crook of his neck and muffled his pleasured sighs and gasps. "—it's probably best that we don't see each other after tonight… I don't want to hurt my Kuro-sweet by leading him on."

Kurogane felt possessive—he didn't want to give this up and that last statement had him seeing red. Fai picked up on the shift in his mood and chuckled darkly—jerking his hips forward with a sharp snap and causing them both to gasp.

"You won't be able to stay away—" The words worked their way up and out Kurogane's throat before he had even processed what he had wanted to say.

Fuck, he hoped that was true—hoped that next time Fai had a bad night, he texted him to get a drinks—even if he didn't want to talk about it.

"What a naughty boy." Fai sighed and pushed up enough to look him in the eyes. "Didn't you hear me? Can you not fuck and listen at the same time?"

Kurogane didn't dignify that with a response—not that it seemed to bother Blondie one bit. He was picking up the rhythm again and it was leaving him near breathless as he wiggled and writhed, his hips seeking his own pleasure.

When Blondie opened his eyes and caught Kurogane staring at him, he brought one of his hands up to tangle in his own hair and dragged the other up his thin chest in a teasing show. "—you better enjoy this while it lasts—'cause this is probably the last time you're gonna get to fuck this fine ass."

That statement there made it considerably less enjoyable—but Fai made up for it by switching up the angle and speed and he was too drunk to argue with him.

He would bring this up tomorrow—and he would enjoy it now. Obviously, Fai was caught up on something he didn't want to talk about it and giving his firm stance against 'talking about it' when it came to anything tonight, Kurogane couldn't say that he was surprised.

Instead of escalating the conversation, the cop sat back and enjoyed the magnificent view of Fai. Blondie was starting to sober up but he was still drunk enough to be lost in his own little world as he put on a stunning show for the younger man.

For as intoxicated as they were, they managed to last pretty long, but Fai brought them both over the edge soon enough. He leaned forward again and buried his face in the crook of Kurogane's neck, this time to catch his breath.

They stayed like that for a while—breathing coming back down to normal and muscles again relaxing. Kurogane didn't stop Blondie when he shifted off to the side and reluctantly crawled to the side of the bed to get to his feet.

He walked quietly to the door where he pulled down a silk robe and slowly slipped it on over his shoulders—tying it loosely before heading out of the room.

Kurogane closed his eyes and focused on the soft sound of the blond moving up the hallway, the sound of the - most likely - bathroom door opening and closing, the white noise of the bathroom fan and the sound of the faucet in the sink running.

By the time Fai padded softly back into the dark room, Kurogane was not far from drifting off to sleep—he didn't startle when Fai sat back on the side of the bed, but his eyes snapped open and he looked at Fai's soft, tired smile.

"We can sleep in a minute, I swear." The harshness was gone from his voice—his tone almost melodic as he spoke. "Did I hurt you?"

Kurogane had to swallow before he could answer—he had been doing a lot more talking tonight than what was usual for him. Drunk him usually wasn't talkative—but Fai had done a hell of a job at drawing conversation out of him tonight.

"Why would you have hurt me?" Kurogane was only slightly confused at the worried expression Blondie was rocking, but it suddenly made sense when Fai's cool fingers traced over the red scratches he had left during his teasing. "Nah—could ask the same for you."

"Nah." Fai parroted back as he pressed something warm and damp against the cop's stomach. Straining his neck, he realized it was a washcloth—and Blondie was taking care to help him get cleaned up.

Of course—he could do it by his damn self if Fai would un-handcuff him—but Blondie seemed pretty content cleaning the cum, lube and sweat from his stomach and groin, fingers grazing over the bite marks and scratches he had left in the heat of the moment.

Kurogane could practically hear the gears turning in his head as he finished cleaning him up—and he let him do as he pleased.

Fai took his sweet time, too. When he deemed the task sufficiently completed, he got back up off the bed and headed back out of the room. He must have killed the light in the bathroom because what little light there had vanished with the click of the switch, but Blondie managed to make it back without issues.

Kurogane closed his eyes again and relaxed when he felt the mattress dip slightly as the blond settled back down on the bed—and he didn't complain when Fai curled up to his side, intertwining their legs and throwing an arm over his abdomen.

The silence of the room was only interrupted by the slow sound of their breathing—he would have assumed the idiot had clunked out, were it not for the fact that Fai was fidgeting still—tracing random patterns with his fingers into the cops chest—pausing occasionally for up to a minute before he started back up again.

"Why are you still awake?" Kurogane sighed after the teasing touches continued for 20 or so minutes.

There was no way he could sleep with someone tickling him like that.

"Sorry… I'm still drunk." Fai chuckled and curled a bit closer, tucking himself to Kurogane's side and sucking down a deep breath as he did so.

"Me too. What else's new?" Kurogane still had to give the idiot credit for not passing out earlier in the night.

"—But I still can't sleep… I'll hold still so Kuro-chan can go to bed, though." Fai hugged him a little tighter and Kurogane tilted his head to rest his cheek against the top of Blondies head.

"Why can't you sleep?"

"Hmm… I don't think I'm ready for tomorrow. I don't want this to end." Fai sighed and Kurogane wanted to roll his eyes.

What the hell?

Hadn't he just gone out of his way to make a point of the whole you-mean-nothing-to-me-and-just-a-boy-toy?

Hadn't they just established that?

Fai was back to fidgeting—this time flexing his ankle so that his foot rubbed back and forth against the sheets. He sighed again and Kurogane planted a kiss on the top of his head.

He felt Blondie smile against his skin. "Ugh… Why does everything have to be so complicated?"

"Does it?" Kurogane's life was pretty simple and he liked to keep it that way. It took work—but usually, simpler was better.

"Yuui used to yell at me for making everything ten times harder than he thought it needed to be." It was Kurogane's turn to snort. Why didn't that surprise him? "I bet he would like you… which—like, is there any bigger 'fuck you' my brain can give me?"

"Who's Yuui?" Kurogane felt Fai tense and Blondie shook his head back and forth slowly.

"My brother." Fai started back with the tickling patterns and Kurogane waited patiently to see if he would continue.

He was not sober enough to help Fai figure any of this shit out tonight—and the weird flip flopping was just starting to confuse him.

"Why do you have to be a police officer, Kuro-sama?" Blondie whispered after an impossibly long silence—his voice came out barely audible, given how he was hiding his face in the cop's neck—but Kurogane caught it.

Why did that, of all things, matter?

"What's that gotta do with anything?" Kurogane kissed the top of Fai's head again and tried to wait patiently for him to gather his thoughts.

Sure, some people took issue with the possible dangers—but Kurogane had never thought his line of work would be a deal breaker in a relationship. Well… possible relationship.

Was that what the hang up was?

"It's complicated… I'm drunk—you're drunk… just do me a favor, ok?" Fai yawned—his hot breath puffing against the cop's skin was oddly relaxing.

"What's that?"

"Tomorrow—ask your boss what he has to say about the bar we were at tonight… I think, things will click for you then, Kuro-naïve."

"You have got to be fucking kidding me right now." Kurogane huffed and Fai pressed a finger to his lips.

"Night, Kuro-cutie." Blondie tapped his fingers against the cop's lips twice before settling back down and Kurogane's eyes twitched.

"At least un-handcu—"

"Shhh. I said Good night, Kuro-chan."

And that was that.

Cranky-ass-Blondie's games or no—Kurogane was still far too drunk for this shit—and he fell asleep not long thereafter. He slept hard, too, only waking when Fai jolted out of bed and slammed the bedroom door open.

The distinct sound of Fai vomiting was not exactly how he wanted to start his day—not when his head was aching and his body felt sluggish and heavy. He just wanted to pee and go back to sleep.

It wasn't until Kurogane made a move to roll into a more comfortable position that he realized that the blond bastard had never un-handcuffed him from the bed.

Perfect.

There were other people up and moving about the house. Kurogane's head pounded with every creek of the floorboard or muffled voice and he was seriously thankful for Fai's black out curtains because he sure as hell didn't want the sunlight pouring in right now.

That small comfort did not last long, however, because the room flooded with light as soon as Blondie opened the door and Kurogane had to squint to get his eyes to focus on Fai.

Oh yeah.

Poor guy had to be regretting the alcohol now.

"How much did I drink last night?" Fai's voice was rough, and he walked back over to the bed before easing himself down onto the side of the mattress.

"Fuck if I know." A lot. Fai had drank as much as he had, and Kurogane had been pretty drunk. "Could you please help? I really gotta piss."

Fai seemed to perk up when he tugged on the restraints and blinked blankly at him a few times before standing and making his way around the bed. "Sorry, Kuro-chan. Do you remember where I put the key?"

"I'm sure it's around here somewhere." Had to be, right?

The events of last night came back to him now that he was looking at Fai riffle around searching for the key and was trying to decide if he wanted to bring up their little chit-chat they had had right before bed—or wait for Fai to do it.

It was hard to follow that train of thought, though, when Fai was getting more and more frantic in his movements and Kurogane was starting to get the feeling he was gonna have to murder the moron if he didn't find that key soon.

Kurogane watched Fai check both of the nightstands, the drawers in both of those nightstands, under the bed, then the top of the dresser, the drawers, the shelves in the closet, the windowsill, all with no luck.

Kurogane really had to pee.

"Fuck." Blondie whispered under his breath and ran a hand through his hair after his second rummage through the top few drawers of the dresser.

"You lost the key, didn't you." Kurogane scrunched his eyes close so he didn't have to look at the idiot's innocent smile.

"I just haven't found it yet. Where could I possibly have put it?" He listened to Fai pad across the room and pull open the bedside drawer again and turned his head to watch.

If it wasn't there the first time, he doubted Fai was going to find it on the second go around.

"Did you take it with you when you cleaned up before bed?" Kurogane sucked in a deep breath and tried not to be mad—it wasn't not like this was on purpose.

"I don't even remember bringing you to my house last night." Fai sighed and covered his face with his hands. "I mean, I was drunk, but this—this is some next level shit even for me."

"Well I didn't see 'em." Kurogane really wished that Blondies dad's hadn't forced so much liquid down them right before bed—it was really not helping the current situation.

"Not that you don't have a right to be pissed—but I swear I'm trying." Fai got down to look under the bed again and Kurogane took another deep breath.

"'m not mad. Just hurry. I really gotta go, Blondie." He felt like a fucking grade schooler trying to hold it till lunch break—and it was losing its novelty.

"Right… Ok—I guess don't go anywhere." Fai tied his robe a little more tightly around himself and pulled the bedroom door open. "I'll uh—see what we can do?"

Kurogane's only response was to quirk his eyebrow and tug at the cuffs, causing them to jangle—where the hell was he gonna go?

He had to give himself credit for not losing his shit on Fai. He was not in the best of moods given the hangover, full bladder and loud wake up call-sure, two out of the three of those things were Blondie's fault-but he didn't do any of it on purpose.

He sure as hell was taking his sweet ass time, though—he had to wonder just what the hell Fai was doing. Did he really keep a spare key to his sex cuffs in the god damn kitchen drawer?

Who handcuffed someone without knowing where the keys were, anyways? And what the hell were they gonna do if they couldn't find them? He was not about to piss his pants while they brainstormed.

Fuck.

This whole situation was ridiculous.

How did this happen to anyone? This only happened in shitty movies.

Fuuuck.

He really had to go to the bathroom.

A few minutes turned into close to 45 minutes and he couldn't take this much longer. When it came to pissing his pants or breaking Fai's headboard, he would rather reimburse him for the fucking bed. 'Sides, it wasn't like these were the same quality as the ones they used at work, right? Chances were, the links would break if he tugged hard enough.

Kurogane would give him 5 more minutes… he could make it five more minutes, right? Fucking Blondie was playing some kind of sick game leaving him tied up like this…

Five minutes came and went and Kurogane was running out of curse words to mutter under his breath—and fucks to give about the damn bed frame.

When time was up, Kurogane shifted slightly, scooting up the bed so that there was more slack between the chains and the headboard. A few deep breaths and the cop tightened his hands into fists and jerked hard.

Instead of the distinct sounds of the chain links popping open as metal gave way, there was the loud crack of the wooden beam snapping.

He would apologize later.

His first line of business was using the fucking bathroom. Thankfully, it wasn't hard to find. Once that was set, the next item on the list was finding Fai and getting these damned cuffs off… or maybe some Aspirin first—his head was killing him and his stomach was woozy.

Once he had finished up in the bathroom, he opened the door and was greeted by a very concerned Fai standing just outside of the door. As soon as he stepped into the hallway, Fai was reaching for his hands and looking over his wrists, brows furrowed and lips in a tight frown as he turned them over in his hands.

"Sorry 'bout your bed, Blondie." Kurogane got a sharp look for that comment and Fai sighed.

"I care more about you than the stupid bed. Are you hurt?" He ran fingers over the angry red marks the cuff had left and Kurogane shrugged.

"I'll be alright." His old man used to tell him his skin was a thick as his head. This was no worse than trying to hold Biggs on the lead when he really wanted something—though, as a rule of thumb, he didn't loop the leash around his wrist, if he could avoid it.

"Everything ok, you two?" A voice from the top of the staircase drew both of their attentions and Kurogane was only slightly mortified to be handcuffed, half naked, and covered in love bites and scratch marks in front of Fai's father.

He was pretty hung over, though, and still out of real fucks to give.

"Everything is ok." Fai answered and yawned as he turned around to face Ashura. "Any luck with bolt cutters?"

"I sent Tai to the store. We should have you free in no time, Kurogane." Fai's dad turned his attention to the cop—looking him over with a small smile on his face.

Well, at least someone thought that this was funny. His own old man was gonna have a fucking field day when he told him this story.

"Does he even know what to look for at the hardware store?" Fai ran a hand through his hair and his father chuckled.

"No. But he is resourceful. I'm sure a sales associate will help him and we can always send him back for a second try." Ashura gave a cheeky smile and Kurogane was starting to see where Fai got some of his odd behaviors from.

"Ok… Well, we're probably going to lay back down for a few more hours." Fai grabbed his hand and tugged lightly to get the cop to follow him back towards the bedroom door.

That sounded freaking fantastic. They had only been down and out for a few hours. Long enough to sober up—not long enough to feel rested.

"You mean the two of you are going to get decent and come downstairs for some Aspirin, hydration, and pancakes?" Blondies dad's tone was overly sweet, and he tilted his head slightly to the left.

Kurogane got the feeling that there wasn't a whole lotta room for question there. So, this was where Fai got his weirdness from—those two were like two peas in a fucking pod when it came to double speak and smiles.

"What if we took the Aspirin, drank one of you special hangover cocktails and went back to bed?" Blondie answered with equal sweetness in his voice and Ashura paused for a moment as if considering it.

"Deal. I'll see you in 10."

Fai pulled Kurogane into the bedroom and closed the door behind them before unceremoniously falling onto the bed and covering his head with one of the pillows. "If they didn't like you so much, I could go back to sleep right now."

"Sorry I didn't make a bad impression." Considering how lit they had been last night, he didn't expect for Blondies dads to like him.

He was actually assuming they were going to hold that against him. All the nonsense this morning should have cemented the bad impression—but hey—not like it was his fault they liked him.

He had pretty much done everything he could to ruin that possibility.

Kurogane sat down on the side of the bed and watched the slow rise and fall of Fai's chest. He didn't seem to have any intention of getting dressed to head downstairs and Kurogane was not about to rush that.

He still wasn't sure how he was going to get his shit on given the fact that he was handcuffed.

"Why aren't you laying down with me? Come here." Fai said after a few minutes—peeking one of his blue eyes out from under the pillow and patting the mattress next to him. "I'm not mentally prepared to go downstairs, yet."

"What the hell is waiting for us down there if you need to mentally prepared curled up in a ball like that?" The cop did as asked, thunked down onto the bed next to Fai and was surprised when Blondie flung an arm around his waist and snuggled up from behind, playing big spoon.

"Sunlight, mostly. Also-I'll warn you-the smoothie looks good but it's the grossest thing you have ever had in your entire life." Fai tightened his grip momentarily and loosened it again. "Humor him, though. Dad likes to take care of people."

"Tch. Like I wouldn't. Did you forget that they basically threatened to murder me and hide the body last night?" Not that he could really blame them, given the circumstances of their meeting.

Fai went suddenly stiff and sighed. "No—I blacked out. I remember right up to before we started drinking and the rest is just flashes."

Kurogane hummed softly in acknowledgement and rolled over so he could face Fai and get a feel for his head space. Not that the idiot's facial expressions usually matched his actual emotions.

So, he didn't remember their little chit-chat, then? The break up sex or any of what came after?

Given just how hung over he was, it seemed he currently lacked the energy to put on his usual mask now that it was just the two of them—he settled instead for wiggling closer and tucked his nose in between Kurogane's neck and the pillow.

"I don't usually bring people to my house…" Fai's words came out seriously muffled, but Kurogane more or less made it out. Both Blondie as well as his parents had told him that last night-not since highschool?

"Well, nothing too crazy happened. We had too many drinks, went down to your office for some privacy and you almost yacked in my hair."

"Oh god... "

"You decided to call it a night and your assistant dropped us off here. We got halfway up the stairs and heard a glass break. Your dad wasn't feeling so hot, so we chilled in the kitchen for a bit while your step dad made tea. We ended up eating something and headed up to bed. So, really, nothing crazy happened." Kurogane leaned his cheek on the top of Blondies head.

He didn't need to go into the rest of it. Obviously, Fai knew they must have had sex, given that he had woken up to the cop handcuffed to the bed—at least he should be making that connection.

"Sorry. I had a really rough day and I can be a handful when I drink." Fai sighed again and Kurogane wasn't surprised to hear it.

Fai was a big enough handful without whisky in the mix.

"It was a fun night. Even if you didn't want to tell me what was going-I'm glad I got to help you unwind." It almost made this whole lost key fiasco worth it.

Next time, he would rather just hang out without the rest of this shit, though.

"Worth the hangover?" Fai chuckled and Kurogane couldn't help the smile that worked its way onto his face.

"I'd say so. But I really want that Aspirin." The smoothie he could do without—but water sounded amazing.

"Fine... " Blondie gave him one more squeeze before rolling back to get up off the bed. Kurogane followed and glared down at the handcuffs.

These little fuckers were getting on his nerves.

"My stepdad should be back soon." Blondie tossed an apologetic smile his way and went over to the closet. "I really am sorry. I looked everywhere I could think."

"It's fine. You didn't lose it on purpose." Kurogane watched as Fai slid the door open to reveal a large walk in closet, stocked floor to ceiling with shelves, racks of clothes, and shoe boxes. Given how dressy Fai usually was—the cop was not surprised he had a wardrobe like this.

Hidden amongst all of the fancy suits, ties, and dress shirts, Fai pulled a hoodie and a pair of pajama pants out and Kurogane watched Blondie dress quickly—sliding out of his robe and leaving it in a heap on the floor.

By the time he was finished, he was bundled up from head to toe—rocking the hood and all. Kurogane didn't think the temperature in the house was uncomfortable one way or the other - and he was still shirtless.

Then again—it's not like the idiot had a lot of meat on his bones to keep him insulated—or maybe he wasn't up for rocking the gaudy love bites.

The cop sure as hell wasn't, but what was he gonna do?

Fai seemed to catch up with his train of thought and looked him over and sighed.

"So… Either you can show off how big and strong you are—or I can make you a blanket cape—but I don't think we can get your arms in a shirt on account of the…" Fai trailed off and gestured vaguely to the cop's wrists with barely concealed amusement.

"On account of the fact that you handcuffed me and lost the keys like an idiot?" Kurogane quirked an eyebrow and Fai grinned for the first time today—that honest, happy smile that he had been flashing last night.

"Yes—but a lovable idiot, right?" Fai closed the distance between them and went up on his tiptoes to give the cop a kiss on the cheek and Kurogane shook his head slowly.

"Something like that." Kurogane kissed Fai's chapped lips and Blondie surprisingly didn't pull away—instead, he wrapped both his arms around the younger man's shoulders and deepened the kiss.

"So, yes to the cape?" Fai rocked back on his heels and tapped the tip of Kurogane's nose.

Not gonna happen.

"I'm good." Hopefully Blondie's stepdad was home soon. It didn't seem like any woman lived here, so who really cared if he didn't wear a shirt? "You know where my phone got off to?"

He hadn't thought to check in before he had clunked out and let his family know he wasn't dead—last night, he had guaranteed he was gonna be home—and he didn't want them to worry.

"I think I saw it down in the kitchen next to mine. Dad plugged them in for us when he got up this morning." Fai paused at the door and he watched Blondie take a deep breath before pulling it open.

They both groaned when they hit the stairs and got flashed with the sunlight streaming in through the windows. Unlike the upper floor which had all the blinds down—every curtain downstairs was thrown open and while it made the house look like it came out of a home and gardens magazine—it made his head pound loudly in protest.

Ashura was waiting for them in the kitchen, watching them cringe as they marched into the room and took up the same seats at the island as the night before. Fai pulled the hood of his sweatshirt forward a bit and suddenly, his outfit choice made sense.

Blondie's dad set a tall glass of suspiciously green liquid in front of each of them and Fai lifted the cup up to sniff it before grimacing. "You really went to town this time, hm?"

"You two look very hungover this morning." Ashura turned back around to face the back counter and busied himself with cleaning.

"What's in it?" Fai took a sip and stuck his tongue out—his expression snapping into a smile when his dad glanced over his shoulder.

"I'll tell you once you've finished it. I suggest that you plug your nose and finish it in one go." Ashura took a cutting board over to the sink and started rinsing it and Fai turned to face him.

He hadn't seen this smile yet—Kurogane did not like this smile one bit.

"Why are you looking at me like that." Kurogane leaned back in his seat as he watched Fai struggle to snap his expression back.

"Want me to plug your nose or hold your cup, since you can't do both since you're… well you're a little tied up at the moment?" To Blondies credit—his voice only quivered at the end. He couldn't contain his laughter long, though, and was soon trying to smother his laughter while clutching the side of his head..

Kurogane missed having hands—but at least Fai was making his headache worse with his fucking teasing.

"I'll just drink it. Can't be that bad." The cop grabbed the glass and made sure not to sniff the smoothie before bringing it to his lips.

Ashura had not been exaggerating.

This shit was nasty.

His pride wouldn't let him do anything but glare at Fai while he finished it off and set the empty glass back on the table.

"And, how was it?" Fai sipped his own smoothie and scrunched his face up—Ashura chuckling from the other side of the kitchen as he watched them.

"Your turn." Was all the cop responded with, and Fai rolled his eyes before finishing his own smoothie.

It was pretty fucking funny that Fai could knock back shots of whisky like they were water—but needed a freaking chaser for some vegetable juice.

"Good god. That is the worst one yet. What did you sneak in there?" Fai pushed the offending glass away from him and leaned back in his stool—wrapping his arms around his midsection as he did so.

Before Ashura had a chance to answer, the distinct sound of the front door opening and closing drew all their attentions and Taishakuten strode into the kitchen, carrying a rather large pair of bolt cutters.

He paused in the doorway and gave Fai and Kurogane a once-over. "How the hell did you get unstuck from the bed?"

"Mr. Muscle here just manhandled the bed." Fai got up off the stool to get the bolt cutters from his stepfather and looked them over. "—I think we can at least cut the chain with these, hm?"

"What does that mean?" Taishakuten looked Kurogane over again before he seemed to catch on. "Impressive. Hopefully, you didn't hurt yourself."

"No, sir." Kurogane just wanted these damn things off so he could put a fucking shirt on.

"Good. Fai, hand those over. I know you like keeping your prisoners, but I think it's time we let him get dressed." Blondie's stepdad accepted the bolt cutters back from Fai and Kurogane swiveled in his seat so he could hold out his hands.

This was fucking ridiculous.

"Hold still. Wouldn't want to accidentally get a finger." Kurogane watched Fai roll his eyes and then shoot a look at his father.

"Dad." Blondies cheeks dusted pink and Kurogane and Tai both turned their attention to Fai and Ashura. "Aapako kuchh pasand hai?"

The cop blinked a few times confused-it wasn't until Ashura responded back in the same type of gibberish that it clicked - they weren't speaking Japanese anymore. "Aapane vaastav mein ek sundar vyakti ko chuna. mujhe aashchary hai ki vah itana majaboot kaise hua?"

"Khair, vah ek pulis adhikaaree hai.." Blondie shrugged and his father chuckled just as Taishakuten cut through one of the chain links.

"Mujhe lagata hai. Yah use kisee bhee kam aakarshak nahin banaata hai. Aap sunishchit karen ki aap usakee dekhabhaal karana chaahate hain?"

Kurogane had no clue what the two of them were talking about and he quickly decided he was better off not knowing, given the looks he got from the two of them.

"Theek hai, bahut sanlagn mat ho. jitana maza mujhe hai, mujhe utana hee sandeh hai ki ham aaj raat ko doharaane ja rahe hain." Fai rolled his eyes at the surprised look he received and quickly turned his attention to the cop. "What about the part on his wrist?"

"I can try, but I don't think this is going to do it." Taishakuten sighed but got to work. "Don't these things have like a universal key or something? Or should I call the fire department to saw these suckers off?"

"Police grades ones do but I don't know about these." Kurogane did not want to go thought that…

He had thick skin and lived his life with the I-don't-give-a-fuck-what-you-think-about-me attitude, but that was… Well he worked with the guys at the fire department pretty closely and that was almost as bad as calling his fucking coworkers to come help him out of this situation.

Taishakuten and Ashura both looked at Fai expectantly and Blondie quirked an eyebrow at them. "Guys. Common now. Of course they're police grade."

Kurogane didn't wanna know. There was no reason a civilian would need them—but he was not about to open that can of worms.

"Then I got a key back home, don't worry about the rest." He had a set on his work belt at home, a set in his car and a set in his locker at work, because you did not want to be the guy who cuffed a suspect and couldn't let them go.

"I probably could have just asked you that…" Fai walked around the island and snatched the two phones that were plugged into the wall next to his dad and handed one over to the cop. "But now you can at least move your arms. You have to work today?" Blondie leaned against the counter and held down the power button on his cell while tucking a strand of hair behind his ear.

"No." Somehow, his owns cell battery hadn't died before it had been plugged in and he unlocked it to see two text messages from his old man and a missed call from his mom.

"Then we are going to go take a nap. Don't bug us unless the house is on fire or someone is bleeding out." Fai tucked his phone in his hoodie pocket before snagging Kurogane's hand and pulling him towards the stairs.

Neither of Fai's parents seemed offended by the sudden exit and Kurogane followed without complaint. He wasn't really into standing around in front of them half naked and his eyes greatly preferred the dimmer light upstairs.

Once they were back in the room, they both crawled quietly back into bed and Fai curled up to his side and watched him check the messages from his old man.

Just want to know if you're still alive kiddo.

"Awe. Did we worry your dad?" Fai kissed his neck and Kurogane shook his head back and forth slowly.

"No. He's just nosey." He was about to type out a quick response when Fai snatched his phone. "Blondie—"

Kurogane's warning tone did not deter Fai and he held the phone above their heads and snapped a quick selfie of them—Kurogane glaring and reaching to take the phone back, and Fai in the foreground smirking like a smug bastard—before sending it off.

You could clearly see the broken handcuff hanging off his wrist and it was obvious that he was not wearing a shirt and in a bed…

While his dad was gonna get a kick outta that—Kurogane was not looking forward to explaining this shit to them.

"Pics or it didn't happen. Right, Kuro-chan?" Blondie handed the phone back, grinning at him happily as the text went through. "Though I feel bad I didn't think to get a picture with you and Biggs both the other night…"

"He won't hold still for shit when you try to get a picture of him." Kurogane ignored the message that pinged back in on his phone and leaned over to set it on the bedside table before leaning back against the pillow and allowing Fai to curl up again.

"You got a good picture of him for me, though. Getting us while we were sleeping was a good idea." Fai fished his own phone back out of his hoodie.

It had finished booting up and the lock screen had a list of notifications a mile long. Of course it was privacy locked—not that he made a habit out of snooping. No sooner had Fai started to type in his pass code as did the screen light up with a call ringing in.

His assistant.

"Sorry. I'll make this quick and we can nap." Blondie sat up and hit accept before pressing the phone to his ear. "Hey."

There was a short pause and Fai wedged the phone between his shoulder and cheek so that he could grab the blanket that had been kicked to the bottom of the bed some time during the night. "Oh I'm not mad. This is all my bad after all, but dad and Tai really like him… Any news on the uh—situation, then?"

Fai listened to the kid talking on the other end for a few minutes—looking more and more stressed as the conversation went on. By the time his assistant had finished with whatever it was he was saying, Fai was chewing on his thumb nail and frowning.

"Ok. Thanks for the update. I'll be in to handle it before 5. Tell Seishiro to fuck off and I'll call him on the way in…. Yes—ok, see you later." Blondie hung up and scrolled through the rest of his notifications before setting the phone aside and snuggling back up.

"You ok?" Kurogane welcomed him with open arms and they retook up their previous position—Blondie tangling their legs together and - oddly enough - interlaced their fingers as well as he hid his nose back in the crook of the cop's neck.

"Why wouldn't I be?" Fai sounded tired—the pervious cheer having disappeared from his voice.

"You looked stressed. Leftover shit from whatever happened last night?" Kurogane ran his hand up Fai's back and cupped the back of his head as he closed his eyes.

"I'm always stressed. I'm fine, though. I got my Kuro-chan here to snuggle."

The cop hummed softly in acknowledgment but didn't comment. Fai sure was one hell of a mind fuck—maybe he should write last night and their conversations off.

Let Blondie do what he wanted to do and not worry about it. He had no idea what the deal was with his current level of affection—but he had a feeling it was too complex for him to figure out with his head pounding like this.

No point in being stressed out over a relationship that didn't exist just because Fai had been—well he had been something else last night—Kurogane wanted to get to know him better but he wouldn't force it.

Kurogane didn't manage to fall back asleep—he had never been able to nap and after the morning adventures, he was high strung.

Fai did, though, and he slept hard.

He didn't as much as twitch until the bedroom door was thrown open. The idiot almost jumped out of his skin at the loud bang of the door hitting the wall—not that the cop could blame him.

He jumped, too—just not as high.

"Why is my sweet nephew sleeping so late in the afternoon?" The woman who was the cause of the commotion practically sang as she strutted into the room.

Her long black hair fell down to her waist and framed her thin face, making her striking eyes stand out as she grinned at them, obviously pleased with the reaction she had in sighted.

As soon as Fai's brain seemed to catch up with his jump reaction, he threw a pillow at the woman and laid back down, pulling the blanket over his head. Kurogane was left blinking at her in confusion and that only seemed to amuse her more.

"My my, Fai. Ashura did not over sell your new policeman boyfriend. Such a handsome face!" The woman cooed and Fai sighed, sat up, pulled the covers up over the cop even though he was still sitting—and the woman chuckled in amusement. "Now—don't be rude. Why don't you introduce us, Fai, sweetie."

"We're napping, go away." was the blonde's short response and Kurogane was seriously wondering how fucking batty his entire family was.

Why was his aunt of all people busting into his fucking room in the middle of the freaking day?

"Oh, we both know that isn't going to happen, darling." The woman apparently felt comfortable enough to sit on the side of the bed and Fai whined—yes, whined—and threw the blankets back down.

"Can I help you with something?"

"Why, it just so happens you can." The woman chimed and patted Fai's leg and he was pretty sure Fai could not roll his eyes any harder, even if he tried. "I called your father this morning because I hadn't heard from you. You left my office in such a rush last night, after all. Do you know how worried I was?"

The bitch pressed the back of her hand to her forehead in a mock fainting motion and Fai looked about as amused as Kurogane felt.

"I handled it. I was going to call you after I met with my team." Blondie leaned back against him, so the cop could no longer see his face—but from his tone, he could imagine the idiot's annoyance well enough.

"Good to hear." The woman's grin cooled into a small smile. "You didn't mention you were seeing someone. Keeping secrets form you dear old auntie, now are we?"

"We'll talk later." Fai's tone was polite but stern and the woman raised a perfectly manicured eyebrow at the blond.

"You bet that cute little face of yours we will. I have dinner reservations for us at 9, tonight. I figured I would stop by and get a peek at your new friend, myself, since you never keep them around for long." She turned those striking red eyes to the cop.

Well—Fai's dad's liked him, but this lady obviously didn't.

"Can I go back to sleep now?" Fai sighed and the woman looked at the clock on the bedside table.

"Your 24 is ticking away. Don't sleep too late, sweetie." And with that, she was gone.

Her heels clicking loudly against the hardwood floor as she made her way downstairs. Fai shot him another apologetic look and they both settled back down—no sooner had their heads hit the pillows than did the alarm on Fai's phone go off—signaling he needed to get up and around for work.

Whatever was in that nasty ass smoothie had helped and Kurogane's head did not pound nearly as bad when he got to his feet his time. He was totally fine going home looking like a bum—no one there he needed to impress—but Fai dragged him into the bathroom for a shower, nonetheless.

Of course-When Fai had suggested the shower-he hadn't realized the idiot wanted to shower together.

Not that he was complaining.

It was surprisingly nice—Blondie locked them in in the bathroom and wordlessly started the shower before slowly stripping back out of his hoodie and pajama pants, raising an eyebrow at the cop.

"Need help?"

"I won't tell you no." Blondie somehow managed to saunter over the short distance between them and slid icy fingers up under the hem of his t-shirt and gave a soft smile as he helped him pull it over his head, then tossed it with his own clothes onto the floor.

The pants got the same treatment and soon enough, Fai was pulling him into the standing shower and closed the glass door. Given how fucking fancy the rest of the house was, he was not at all surprised to see that Fai had a rainfall shower head in his bathroom.

It was about as nice as you would guess—and the extra wide area of the shower head meant that they could both be under the hot water at the same time. What was surprising, was that Fai did not seem interested in getting up to any funny business.

No, Blondie stood just in front of him—leaning back against his chest, he just settled in his loose embrace as they enjoyed the hot water against their skin. They stayed like that for a while—but eventually, Fai reached for the shampoo and they actually got to washing up.

Well, Fai did.

Fai took care to shampoo the cop's hair and lathered up bodywash between his hands before carefully running his palms over his chest, back, stomach, thighs, and legs. Kurogane did the same for him—and Fai really enjoyed getting his hair washed.

Kurogane took extra time to massage his scalp and neck, but eventually, the hot water started to run out and it was time for them to finish getting ready. Toweling dry was also strangely intimate and Fai made sure to do it for him—laughing as he ruffled the towel though Kurogane's short hair before pulling it quickly away and surprising him with a quick kiss.

Kurogane was a little more careful with Fai's hair and planted kisses on his neck and chest after the last of the drops of water had been wiped away. If they had been doing this at his house, they would have Biggs licking water drops off their legs—as cute as that was, he liked being able to hold Fai as he blow dried his hair and styled it.

When they emerged from the bathroom, the rest of Blondie's morning routine went quickly, and Fai was quiet as they headed downstairs—as it had gotten closer to the time for him to go to work, he had gotten noticeably more irritated.

Then again—Kurogane would probably be pretty irritated, too, if he had to drag his hungover ass into work. He fortunately would get to go home and have a lazy afternoon with his dog and parents—probably go snag some dinner before they went back home.

Fai, though—Fai was in for a long ass night dealing with whatever drama was left over from last night—meeting with his employees as well as his crazy ass aunt. They headed out through the garage and Fai snagged a set of keys off the wall while Kurogane got a good look at his stash of fancy ass cars.

The McLearen was parked closest to the door and Fai made a beeline for the driver's side door after hitting the switch for the garage door and hopped in while he waited for the cop to catch up.

The passenger seat was surprisingly roomy and Blondie waited for him to click his seatbelt before throwing that sucker in reverse and heading out their way.

Now, when Fai had insisted that he was a decent driver the other night at dinner—he hadn't really believed him. The ride was smooth and uneventful. If anything, the idiot drove a little too cautiously and it reminded Kurogane of the way his mother drove. That realization was oddly endearing. They didn't talk, but Fai rested a hand on the cop's thigh and they made the drive in comfortable silence.

It was nice.

He was almost disappointed when they pulled up to the front of his apartment. As soon as the car was parked, Fai flashed him a smile and leaned forward for a quick kiss and gave him the softest of smiles.

Kurogane would have called him beautiful if last night, it hadn't freaked the moron out.

"You want me to come help you with the keys? Make sure you can free yourself?" His tone was apologetic and his features tired as he leaned back slightly.

"No. I handcuff and unhandcuff people all day long. That and if you come in, you're gonna get trapped by my old man and his 800 questions." Fai hummed softly and kissed him again—lips lingering a moment as he gathered his thoughts.

"As lovely as that sounds, I need to go to work and put out some fires. Next time, ok?" Fai patted his leg and sat back in his seat.

Kurogane didn't ask if there would be a next time. He wasn't so sure if he wanted to know the answer just yet.

"Next time, I sure as hell better not be stuck in a pair of god damn handcuffs. No more losing keys, moron." Fai and Kurogane both laughed.

Not that today had really been that bad. Slightly mortifying—but it had been worth it to see Blondie joke, smile and tease.

"I really am sorry about that."

"Eh—don't worry about it. You have a nice family and I had fun." Kurogane reached a hand out to cup Fai's cheek. Blondie leaned into his touch and that soft smile was back.

"I've never brought a boy home that they took to so quickly. Not only did they think you were handsome, but they found your personality charming."

"Your aunt did not seem fond of me, at all." Kurogane dropped his hand as Fai shrugged, then shut the car off and shifted in his seat to face the cop better.

"She's actually not my aunt. She was my dad's law partner and still works with my stepdad. She has been my personal attorney for my business affairs and our hiccup last night has her in knots. She was annoyed at me, not you." Fai reached for his hand and squeezed it. "Don't worry about her. Dad and Tai were very impressed."

"I hope that gets sorted out, so you aren't so stressed out." Kurogane focused down at their hands.

Their words didn't sound like this was a last goodbye—but the way Fai was soaking up every last drop of contact did. Kurogane would be the first to admit that Fai had been right when he had said they were very different and Kurogane didn't know much about him—but he still didn't want this to be goodbye.

"I always do. Don't worry about me." Fai leaned in to kiss him one more time and Kurogane hardly managed to catch his surprised expression before he had a lapful of Biggs.

Someone—presumably one of his parents—had let the asshole out and he had taken the opportunity to show off his agility training by jumping into the car with a running start. Only instead of doing any sort of suspect take down or officer protection, he chose to attempt to lick Fai to death.

As tough as Kurogane was and as used to his dog's aggressive form of affection as he was, he was not prepared for the force of his dog landing in his lap and it took every ounce of self-control not to reprimand him while the dog's back claws dug into the muscles of his thighs and he tried to climb over into Fai's lap.

Blondie, who didn't spend every day dealing with Biggs' rough treatment, was not bothered by it one bit and was giggling as the shepherd's front paws dug into his shoulders.

"Hi baby boy! I missed you, too!" Fai not only didn't seem bothered by 100lbs of dog muscle power jumping into his expensive ass car and smothering him with affection—he looked tickled fucking pink and it was damn near one of the cutest things Kurogane had ever seen.

His voice went high pitched as he switched into puppy talk mode—wrapping both his arms around the wriggling dog, he gave him a bear hug before leaning back for more kisses.

It was such a nice sight that Kurogane didn't even care that he was currently getting beaten to death with the asshole's tail. Biggs never gave face kisses—he sure as hell never got this excited to see someone—and the excited little wines and happy wiggling was something else.

Fuck.

It took a second for Kurogane to remember that he should never let Biggs get this excited—especially not when he wasn't on a leash—and probably not in a car that cost more than what he spent on rent in a year.

"Sorry, Blondie—he is usually better behaved than this." Kurogane made a move to reach for Biggs' collar to pull him back only to have Fai stop him.

"No, it's ok. Best surprise attack ever, hm, cutie pants?" Blondie cooed at the dog and kissed his snout before rubbing his hands up and down Biggs' sides again. "I always want puppy kisses from this handsome boy."

Well—if it didn't bug Fai—Kurogane could let his momentary lapse of manners slip since it seemed to make both of those idiots happy. Eventually, the initial excitement dwindled and Fai settled for resting his cheek against Biggs' broad chest while he rubbed small circles up and down his back. Biggs panted loudly like he had never had anyone love on him in his life and Kurogane enjoyed the view.

Fai leaned back and hummed softly at Biggs. "What does Biggs-baby think about letting me get my phone out of my pocket?" Fai gave the dog a cheeky smile and another kiss on the snout and Biggs tail wagged a little faster at being directly addressed. "You want to take a picture with me and your handsome daddy?"

Biggs licked Blondie's face and they both took that for a yes. Kurogane helped Fai pull the dog back slightly so he could wedge a hand down, pull his phone out of his suit jacket and hand it over to Kurogane.

As soon as he let go of the dog's collar, Biggs was launching himself back into Fai's lap and after another round of pats, scratches, kisses and giggles, Fai reached around the dog to unlock his phone. "Kuro-chan has longer arms, so he'll take the picture."

The cop had no idea why Fai was telling the dog that—it wasn't as though he would understand him—and Kurogane figured already he would be taking the picture, considering Fai had a massive dog wedged in between him and the steering wheel.

"Biggs. Settle." Kurogane held the phone up and leaned in so he could get them all in the frame and thankfully, the dog did so without complaint.

"Smile!" Fai chimed happily and flashed his own soft smile up at the camera.

His bastard dog—who never held still for fucking photos—followed what he did with his hand and Kurogane got a few good pictures of the three of them smiling, one of Fai attempting to give Kurogane a chaste kiss only to have Biggs stick his snout between them and steal the kiss for himself, then finally one of Kurogane kissing Fai's forehead while Biggs licked his cheek.

He would have probably gotten a few more if Biggs didn't knock the phone out of his hand in an attempt to crawl further into Fai's lap, but by the end of it, they were both laughing and petting his very excited idiot dog and giving him the affection he deserved.

Fai's phone ringing loudly was what broke up the impromptu snuggle fest and he reluctantly retrieved it from where it had fallen on the floor.

"Hm… I don't want to go." Blondie had one arm wrapped around Biggs and the other holding the phone up above the back of his head as he frowned at the screen.

Kurogane could clearly see the contact name and couldn't really blame Fai for not wanting to answer it.

Seishiro had been a dick last night and he doubted that that was an isolated event, given what Fai had told him in the car ride home. He sent the call to voicemail and went to respond with a quick text message—but Biggs was not happy about that.

The dog attempted to nose the phone back out of Fai's hand, which resulted in more lighthearted laughter and snuggles for his naughty ass dog. Biggs was very clearly in paradise at the moment and was not ready to give it up.

"Then don't. Come take a nap with me and the furball." Kurogane saw surprise flash across Blondies face and he shook his head slowly back and forth and frowned.

He hadn't expected him to accept, but spending the rest of the day snuggled up in bed with those two would have been a hell of a way to spend the afternoon.

"Trust me when I say I would if I could… I would much rather hang out with Kuro-chan and his fluffy baby, but we all have to do things we don't want to do." Fai sighed and kissed the dog's snout again quickly. "It sucks but I have to go run my business. Crazy, hm?"

The incessant beating of his tail slowed slightly as Fai continued to frown and Biggs whined softly, his ears flatting as he licked at the blonde's hand.

"I know." Fai gave him another kiss and Biggs whined again. "Oh, come on now, don't break my heart. Those puppy dog eyes are killer." Another whine and Fai looked up at him and pouted.

Kurogane was with the dog on this one, but he still reached for the shepherd mix's collar.

"Say bye, Biggs. We gotta go inside." Kurogane managed to find it and tugged lightly.

Fai gave the dog one more kiss and sat back so the cop could try and pry his partner off of him. "I hate good bye's, too. I've never been any good at them, either." Fai offered as though it might comfort the pooch.

He didn't have a response for that—he still didn't know where he and Fai stood after last night—but he was hoping this wouldn't be a forever goodbye.

Hopefully, in a few days, they could all hang out again.

"Don't be a stranger." He finally offered and Kurogane opened the car door and climbed out first. He had to let go of the collar and he did his damndest not to smile when Biggs tried to crawl under Fai's legs.

He didn't want to encourage this behavior, but dammit. He never got like this.

"C'mon. Heel." Biggs seemed to get the picture and reluctantly hopped out of Fai's car and sat on the pavement of the sidewalk as Kurogane closed the door.

He did not expect for Fai to get out of the car and come around for one more hug. Blondie hugged him long and tight and Kurogane held him there until he leaned back slightly.

Then Fai kissed him and Kurogane didn't give a fuck who was watching them. He kissed him back with everything he was worth and when they finally broke apart, both their cheeks were flushed.

"Did you know I really like you?" Fai's voice came out in a whisper as though he shouldn't be saying this and wanted to keep it hush hush. Blondie kissed him again and pressed their foreheads together. "You make me feel…"

He trailed off and Kurogane gave him time to gather his thoughts.

He really hoped he didn't leave that thought hanging, but he wasn't going to push it.

"…you make me feel like I can be myself." Fai settled on and Kurogane nodded slowly.

Good.

The real Fai was his favorite Fai.

"Yeah, well—when you're being yourself, you're not bad, Blondie." Kurogane took a step back and looked Fai in the eyes for a long moment.

Why did he look so fucking sad?

"I like you, too. You're something else, did you know that?" That sad look snapped into a happy mask and Kurogane wanted to sigh.

He was clamming up just like he had last night.

"I know." Fai stole one last kiss before stepping back. "I know better than you think."

Blondie was looking down at Biggs now and bent down to give him one last hug as well before heading back around the car.

"I'll call you." Kurogane watched him hit the start button. Fai didn't look at him but nodded and took a deep breath.

"See ya, Kuro-chan and Biggs-baby." Fai pulled away without looking back at them and it was like a punch in the fucking gut.

Dammit.

Biggs whined as the car turned out of sight and the cop reached down to scratch behind his ear as they both watched the direction the car had gone. "I know, bud."

"What's that?"

Kurogane didn't need to turn and look to know that it was his old man who had spoken. He had caught him standing in the doorway before they had started the mushy ass goodbye and knew he had been watching the whole thing go down.

"Nothing." Kurogane ran a hand through his hair and after one last look, he turned around to head back to the house.

"Your friend didn't wanna come in?" Kurogane's dad stepped aside to let him into the house and Biggs padded in after him—sticking close to his heel as he headed into the small dining area to grab his work belt off the back of one of the chairs.

"He had work." Kurogane found the key easily enough and snapped it loose before jamming it in the lock of one of the cuffs and popping it open—doing the same with the other hand before tossing the broken cuffs into the trash can and putting the key back into his belt.

His old man watched him silently for a moment—no doubt coming up with his own conclusions. He was good at reading Kurogane—had always been able to tell what was wrong ever since he was a little kid.

No point in denying his poor mood even if he didn't feel like digging into it right now.

"You look rough." He said as Kurogane snagged a bottle of water from the fridge and tossed the cap onto the counter.

He downed the entire bottle before answering. "Hung over."

"You gonna tell me what's really wrong? You just looked like the happiest son of bitch I've ever met a second ago when you were sucking face with your boyfriend—"

"—were not dating." Kurogane didn't mean to snap—he and his dad usually got along pretty fucking well, but for whatever reason, he was irritable.

Why Blondie leaving like that was bugging him so bad was a mystery—but it was—and he wasn't used to feeling like this.

"How come. He's obviously special." His dad blocked his exit from the kitchen and Kurogane leaned against the counter and ran a hand through his hair again.

He was special, all right.

Fuck.

"I don't know." It wasn't a lie—he had no idea why Fai wasn't up for dating—why he thought they were too different. "'s complicated."

"Relationships usually are. Is it you or him that has the hold up?" His dad side stepped around him in the cramped space and got out another bottle of water and held it out to him in a silent order to drink.

"Him."

Fuck him if Fai hadn't been right.

God help him now that he was fucking attached to that flighty bastard. God help Biggs, too—the poor pooch had wandered over to the window and was looking out in the direction that the car had left in as though he might catch Blondie on his way back.

Kurogane was tempted to join him even though he knew there wasn't a snowball's chance in hell that he would really return.

"You love 'em?" His old man gave him a serious look and Kurogane cursed under his breath and sipped the second bottle of water before looking down at his hands.

Did he?

He's never loved anyone before…

Not romantically, at least. He loved his family, sure—but Fai made him feel—fuck.

Fuck.

"I hardly know 'em"

He knew he liked his laugh. His small smiles. Silly side looks. Liked the way he sounded when he first woke up. The way he had a tendency to prance around the room when he was feeling silly… the way he could knock back whisky like it was water but cringed like a little bitch at a green smoothie… the way he could flip a switch and suddenly become the most intimidating person Kurogane had ever met. How Fai turned into a whiny brat around his parents. How he managed to pull the cop out of his shell and actually get him to talk. Fuck, he liked the way he smelled—liked that Fai seemed to be happiest in his arms with his face buried in his neck…

Fuck. Fuck FUCK.

When the fuck did that happen and why the hell hadn't he been paying attention when it had happened?

"That's not what I asked, son. Do you love him?" Kurogane cussed under his breath again but nodded slowly.

Fuck this whole situation to hell and back. He had no right to feel this way.

"Ok." His dad nodded slowly in understanding and gave him a moment to process. "So—why are you giving up?"

"He made it pretty fucking clear that he didn't want me." Those words burned coming off his lips and he drank another few sips of water.

"Didn't look like that to me. What makes you think so?"

"He said so." Kurogane scrubbed at his face and tried not to picture how sorrowful those blue eyes had been when he had told Kurogane they were too different—how they held pain when they said goodbye minutes ago.

Fuck him. Fai had said it, but Kurogane didn't really believe it. If Fai did, he was lying to himself.

His old man waited for him to continue and after another few sips of water he managed to piece together another sentence. "We're too different, he said."

"Different how?"

Fuck if he knew. Blondie hadn't exactly elaborated. Bastard was cryptic as fuck.

"I don't know… I just—look I'll talk later, I just need to process for a bit. Mind if Biggs and I head back home with you and mom to get some training in?"

"Hey—whatever you gotta do, son, you just lemme know." His dad clapped a hand on his shoulder and Kurogane nodded in thanks before they both headed over to the couch.

Hopefully, mom would be back soon and he could work off some of this fucking anger and frustration.

Chapter Text

Fai needed to get his shit together and he needed to do it now. 

His personal needs and wants were going to once again be shoved on the back burner while he reigned in his professional life. The first step to accomplishing that entailed getting to the office and getting his head back on straight. . 

Apparently, it was time to say bye bye to his short lived sobriety because he could not have a repeat of last night. Funny, how the older he got, the worse his fuck ups became—you would think with as many years as he had under his belt in this field he would have a clue. 

If only. 

If only at 33, he had developed some semblance of self-control because it would have been pretty helpful. Nope—his brain seemed to insist on digging his hole deeper and deeper and if it went on as it had been, he was going to be taking a dirt nap six feet under with his twin. 

As nice as that sounded, he still had people that needed him. 

Fuck.

Fai swung the McLaren into his usual spot and put it in park before resting his forehead against the steering wheel and sucking down a few deep breaths. He needed to go into work mode before he even got through the door, because today was going to be rough. 

He couldn’t even think about Kurogane right now—or the fact that he had been dumb enough to let him get so close. That was a problem for after he got a handle on the troubles their newly dissolved friend had caused. 

Not to mention what Reed’s sudden disappearance meant for them. He knew it wasn’t good—he just didn’t know the extent of the damage just yet. He was hoping that this betrayal by one of his own was an isolated incident because he was not ready to fight a full out war right now. 

Especially not if Reed was the one pulling the strings. 

Fai had done it before, though—different enemy, same dance—he could do it again if he needed to. 

The fact that he was blindsided by a packet of laced product the same night that Reed scurried out of his grasp?
It was looking like they were fucked. Fai had no intention of taking it lying down. 

The first thing he needed to do was find his rat and make an example out of him. He was going to be getting his hands very dirty tonight—and once his people were reminded of exactly how Fai had managed to rule the Tokyo underground unquestioned, this should go away. 

Depending on how far this little rebellion had gotten, of course. He was crossing his fingers that this was solved sooner rather than later. Having it settled tonight would be ideal, though, he understood, unlikely.

Fai looked into the rearview mirror and pulled a confident, easy smile onto his face. The act started now—he didn’t know who he could trust so he had to have perfect control of the way everyone perceived him. 

The sloppy drunk show last night had not done him any favors and he needed to make up for lost ground fast. 

Fai hit the handle on the door and flung it open before gracefully climbing to his feet. He gave himself a once over in the polished paint of the car and once he deemed himself presentable, he tucked his left hand into his pocket and strolled slowly across the street to Kurōbā. 

It was hours until they would need to start preparing for the night and still plenty of time yet until the meeting with his managers and key staff. He, as well as the rest of the staff, usually used the back entrance to get in and out of the building and there was no key—just a number pad that would disengage the dead bolt. 

That was as high tech as the security at this place got. You usually didn’t have to worry about people fucking with you when you were one of the most dangerous men in Tokyo— usually

That - and he had gotten sick of having new keys made and changing the locks every time he had to fire someone… changing the code was a hell of a lot easier. 

This place wasn’t a dump by any means, but Fai preferred to keep things simple and easy on everyone. People didn’t come here to look at clutter on the walls or to step around furniture. They came here to get fucked up and dance. 

Each floor had a different theme and catered to a different crowd—except for the top floor. There, he had chosen limited, minimalistic seating around the edges of the room and right up next to the bar. 

This left a large open space in the center of the room , perfect for a meeting. 

Entering through the back door, Fai hit the lock behind him and headed straight to his office. Kurōbā had become the unofficial headquarters for his operation. Even though Fai mostly worked out of a mobile office to be able to handle all hiring, promoting and ordering for both legal and illegal substances personally—this was ‘home’ , so to speak. 

When he had acquired this building , the office space had been a storeroom that he had converted into five sizeable offices, a small break space and an even smaller storage space to keep the product needed for that night. This was the only club that Fai actually had a permanent office at, so this was also where his invoices, records, and server ended up being stationed. 

Granted—the invoices, records and servers had come first. Fai had gotten sick of trying to do his taxes while sitting on the floor of the then records room, so he had ordered office furniture and organized the place after a few weeks of his ass falling asleep while he sat criss-cross-applesauce on the floor.

Kurōbā just so happened to be located near the center of downtown Tokyo, making it conveniently centered to the rest of his clubs, so using this as his hub had only made sense. 

He pushed the door open and didn’t bother to close it behind him. 

What. Was. That. smell. 

The blond scrunched his face up in disgust and quickly spotted what was out of place. The garbage bin that usually sat tucked under his desk was now behind it—pushed out to the middle of the open space between the desk and his filing cabinets. 

What the hell had he left in there that—oh god. 

Ew.

Sudden realization struck and Fai felt his hung over stomach squeeze.

That was puke.

Aside from himself and maybe two other people, no one had the code to get into this room and the last time he had been down , he did not remember doing that… 

Then again—he had blacked out last night, now hadn't he? 

Fai cursed himself quietly and held his breath as he gathered up the edges of the plastic bag and tied it off. It helped the smell and made it easier not to gag as he noped back out of his office, back out the rear door and tossed the sucker right into the dumpster. 

Turning on his heel , he grabbed the handle of the heavy steel door and caught it just in time before it snapped shut and locked on him. Back in his office , the smell of vomit lingered. 

Nope. 

Fuck this. 

He was hung over and cranky and stressed. 

He was not gonna sit in a room that made his stomach feel like it was going to crawl up out of his throat and run off. Perks of always being on the move—all he had to do was grab his laptop case and leave. 

In the hallway, blue eyes scanned his surroundings and he opted to snag the office diagonally from his. Not only was it thankfully empty—but it was a nice calming space.

Subaru spent a lot of time holed up in his office and had basically turned the ten by twelve foot space into a cozy little haven. Complete with a plush rug, overstuffed sofa and calming indirect lighting that kicked his office’s ass any day of the week. 

This was also his best stop to catch Seishiro since the two of them lived together and usually carpooled to work. He had a feeling that he wasn’t going to have to hunt him down given recent events—but you never really knew with him. 

Fai had assumed they were already in , given that Seishiro had called him—but he wasn’t so lucky. It wasn’t as though he was incapable of getting his own shit—he just preferred to keep his habit hush hush around his employees. 

Seishiro and he had been working closely for many many years, so he went through him to keep things discreet. Did he need it bad enough to call his ass into work two hours early , though ?

Fai settled down on the overstuffed couch and pressed the phone to his ear and pulled his laptop out with his free hand. Seishiro answered almost immediately , which was never a good sign. 

“Well well. Look who di dn’t choke on his own vomit.” Seishiro sounded far too cheery for the massive headache Fai was rocking and he held the phone a few inches from his ear and sighed. “Glad to see that your big bad police boyfriend saw you home safely. He has quite a glare, you know?” 

“He’s taken care of.” Fai started typing in his password and wedged the phone between his shoulder and cheek to make use of both of his hands. 

“I’m glad you came to your senses. Did you need Fuuma to grab the cleanup team again?” Seishiro’s question confused Fai and his fingers froze for a moment, brows furrowing. 

“Excuse me?” Had he misheard that? There was a few seconds of silence and he heard Seishiro sigh. 

“You didn’t really take care of him, did you?” 

Oh. OH.

Fai didn’t know how he managed to laugh when he was this hungover, but sometimes, he could not believe the things that came out of Seishiro’s mouth. No, he had not ‘taken care of him.’ 

“What am I, a black widow? I just broke things off and blocked him. Settle down.” Fai pulled up his email and cringed at the number of bolded titles begging for attention. And it didn't look like any of them were spam or coupons… 

“Maybe you should have been. That one might just come back to dethrone the big bad Fai D. Fluorite.” Fai found himself rolling his eyes so hard they hurt. 

Right. Big, sweet Kuro-chan who grumped around and turned into a grumbly cuddle bug the second you got him into bed was going to come hunt him down and arrest him…

“Any news on Reed, then?” Fai opened his update from last night and scanned over it quickly. 

Thankfully, Seishiro was almost painfully brief in his reports, so it didn’t take long to get caught up. Reed had disappeared from sight but he hadn’t left the country and was probably holed up locally. 

Better for Fai. He didn’t really want to fly all the way to South America to root his ass out of whatever hole he decided to brick himself up in. 

“Kujaku has. He and I are going to be in an hour before the meeting to go over our findings with you.” Fai heard what sounded like a yawn and he tried to ignore the thoughts bubbling up in his mind. 

He had to make it till 6 and then he would be able to focus.

He could do that. 

No biggie, right?

“I just got in. No way you’re coming in sooner?” Fai kept his tone disinterested and opened the first of the emails he had received from Kujaku. 

Kujaku had not been kissed with the gift of brevity so Fai had a novel of information waiting for him to look over. 

“I got home four hours ago, Fai.” Even when Seishiro complained, he sounded annoyingly pleasant and Fai had to give him credit for that. 

They were both used to running on no sleep, though, and they were running out of time. He also needed some fucking help to get his head on straight so he could keep both their asses out of prison. So was a sleepless night really that much to ask for? 

“And?” There was a pause and Fai knew he had struck a nerve when it took nearly ten seconds for his head enforcer to respond. “We’re all going to be working long hours. I need you here sooner rather than later. I am calling all the enforcers in early.” 

“I’ll be in the office in 30.” The phone disconnected and Fai set it onto the cushion next to him before focusing on his email again. 

Kujaku had tested the baggie their John Doe had made the mistake of trying to enjoy and it had come back laced with—ohhh, poor bastard— rat poison

Someone had thrown rat poison in there? And he had sucked that directly down into his lungs? 

Fai shivered at the thought. 

Who does that? Just put some fucking fentanyl or heroin in it and call it a day. No need to torture the poor person you were trying to kill. 

Rat poison aside, it had been that one specific baggie that had been bad. Which was not actually what Fai was hoping for… 

Aside from that everything else tested good. So they were ok to have the product back out on the floor as soon as Fai gave the go ahead, which he was reluctant to do—but he trusted Kujaku. 

Fuuma had sent him an update—unlike his older brother, he was very good at keeping Fai in the loop. He and his team had gotten what remained of Seji Hondo out of the city undetected and had safely disposed of the chemicals according to procedure. He had pulled the tapes from Akai Heya and sent them over to be reviewed. They would be able to see the shipment arrive , the deal go down—and try and pinpoint if anyone on the floor had a hand in things.  

They needed to know who had seen what, so they could deal with the issue accordingly. The police would be requesting them if they caught on to where Seji had last been seen—so they would need to know what they were handing over. 

Fai scanned over the rest of his emails and thankfully , none were high priority. He snagged his phone again and dialed up Fuuma—he did not answer. Kamui thankfully did and Fai smirked once he recognized the voice. 

“Fuuma’s phone. What do you want.” 

“Hey Kamui. Fuuma sleeping?” Fai opened up the next of his emails—a simple question of who needed to be at the meeting and Fai shot off a quick response before moving onto the next one. 

“He’s in the shower. He stinks like chemicals thanks to you.” 

Oops. 

Those smells had a tendency to cling to your clothing even if you wore the protective gear… Fai knew from experience how hard it was to get rid of--and Fuuma had been the one handling most of the heavy chemicals. Also the... uh… well , hacking and dissolving. 

“Did he get any sleep?” He didn’t need him here asap as long as he was here about an hour before the meeting. 

“No, but he only came home to clean up. He and Kusanagi both pulled all nighters and are gonna be in soon.” Kamui snapped and Fai sighed. 

Getting so shitfaced that he needed to be taken home had been a dick move on his part… 

“Ok , well , if he needs a few hours , tell him to get it. I just wanted to thank him for being on top of things last night.” Fai sent off another email and shifted his cell to his other ear as he tucked one of his legs up underneath him. 

“Next time thank him by not disappearing in the middle of the night to fuck your friend. We’ll both be in soon. Need anything else?” 

Fai was used to Kamui’s short attitude and brushed it off. He had fucked up so he couldn’t really blame him for being pissy. 

“No. See you soon.” Kamui wordlessly disconnected the call and Fai opted for texting Kujaku rather than calling him. 

He was over at the warehouse already finishing up and would be by soon to go over things with a fine-tooth comb. He had all his people in and a good idea of what had gone down. 

Which made Fai’s job easier. 

That was it for the pressing calls and Fai settled in to pounding through the security footage. By the time someone finally came into the office, Fai had taken to sprawling out on the couch—one arm thrown above his head and the other hovering over the mouse pad ready to pause the footage for a closer look. 

He didn’t bother looking up when he heard someone come to stand in the door—and he didn’t acknowledge them until they spoke.
“Is there any reason you are snuggled up in here?” Seshiro was leaning against the door frame—his wool coat draped over one arm and Subaru standing just behind him. 

“My office is airing out. Drunk me apparently got a little nauseous and did not take the trash out before stumbling home.” Fai didn’t make a move to get up just yet but paused the video he had been fast forwarding. 

He did not like what he was seeing one bit. 

“Drunk you was full of bad decisions and poor insights last night, it seems.” His second in command came fully into the room and hung his coat up on the wooden coat rack before snagging Subaru’s and doing the same with it. 

His second floor manager snuck past Seishiro and slipped into his seat to get to work. Subaru was not as calm as his lover—he looked exhausted and annoyed.

For running on no sleep, Seishiro didn’t look tired—but then again—Fai wasn’t sure he was entirely human some days. In the last 17 years he had known the man, Fai was pretty sure he had never seen him drunk (that did not mean he had never seen him drink his weight in alcohol), tired or ruffled in any way. 

He was always cool, calm and collected. 

Fai used to admire him for that but after running the underground with him and clawing his way up alongside him? 

Fai was a little freaked out by it. 

“Yeah, well. That’s nothing new. Probably why I don’t drink much.” Alcohol was far from Fai’s drug of choice. He had drunken quite a bit in his younger days but now he was only a social drinker. 

Well, social binge drinker. 

Same difference, right? 

“—anyway.” Fai sat up and swung his legs over to rest his feet on the floor only to refocus his attention onto his computer. “—what are the chances you have a hookup for me before the day’s delivery gets in?” 

Fai didn’t need to look at Seishiro to see his amused smirk, and he purposely kept his eyes focused on his laptop to avoid it. “I can take care of you—” 

He let his sentence trail off and Fai quickly looked up—keeping his expression uninterested before refocusing. “—But?” 

“How many hours did you manage to make it? You were obviously in withdrawal last night. Though your naive little police toy didn’t seem to notice.” Seishiro leaned against the desk and crossed his arms as he looked down at Fai with a perfect smile. 

Was it that obvious? 

Shit. 

Nothing he could do about it now, though—he couldn’t fight his way through this and go through withdrawal at the same time. It wouldn’t end well and Fai would rather go to rehab later than go down in a hostile takeover. 

“More than 24 but less than 48.” Not even long enough to pass a piss test… 

“Tsk. tsk. That is a new low score now, isn’t it.” Seishiro uncrossed his arms and reached into the inner pocket of his suit coat before pulling out an eight ball of snow for him. 

3.5 grams of saving grace. 

Fuck. 

Fai was ashamed at how quickly he accepted it—but he managed to tuck it into his own suit coat and look back down at his laptop. This was not the person he wanted to show any signs of weakness in front of. 

“So, I started doing some digging.” Fai patted the cushion in the couch next to him in a silent command to join him and Seishiro did so without complaints. “I didn’t find much in the footage from Akai Heya. Delivery was clean and typical. Daisuke is there to receive it and does what he is supposed it.” 

Fai fast forwarded through the delivery—the illicit substances came in right alongside the booze and once they were back in the store room, the head dealer pulled the product and took it into a small room to divvy up to the people who pushed the product on the floor. 

They were looking to see if any one bit of the good was marked , perhaps—or treated differently in any way—but there wasn’t anything. Daisuke followed procedure and didn’t throw a single read flag—so Fai was willing to bet he wasn’t involved. 

“Looks fine to me. Who actually sold to him?” Seishiro’s attention was hyper focused on the screen and he gave Fai a skeptical look as he pulled up another window—more security footage, but this time from the warehouse. 

Fai had eyes everywhere even if his people were unaware of it. 

“Daisuke himself. Which is why I didn’t really suspect that he was involved… But I think I know who is.” Fai hit the play button and dragged the time marker back to show Seishiro what he meant. 

“This, though—” Fai pointed with his finger at the one person who stood out in the group of people cutting, measuring and packing product. They watched him pull something out of his pocket and dump it into one of the earring bags before tossing it onto the scale and evening out the weight to a gram with the actual product. “—that is a red flag.” 

“Do we even know who that is?” Seishiro adjusted his glasses and squinted at the slightly grainy footage as the person tossed the baggie in with the rest and handed them over to Kyle Rhondart. 

“His name is Ryuu.” Fai hadn’t hired him personally, but he had gotten in on recommendation from Kujaku. 

Ryuu was also the one who had gotten Syaoran his job with Fai—and they had had no issues with him yet. He was a little on the obnoxious side, sure—but that didn’t make you a traitor. 

Ryuu wasn’t smart enough for that, anyways—someone was pulling the strings and Fai needed to find out who. In the meantime, he needed to deal with the one who actually was dumb enough to mix rat poison in with their product and ship it off. 

Fai could not let that go unpunished. 

The sad thing was that he knew Syaoran was going to take this especially hard. Fai didn’t know if it was fear or money that had flipped his loyalty, but all Ryuu had needed to do was come to Fai. 

Any time one of his own had approached him about someone trying to scare them into swapping sides—or bribe them—he had taken care of them. 

He kept them safe and always offered to pay them at least twice what the competition had offered in reward for coming forward. Usually, those were the people he ended up promoting and keeping close—if Ryuu had only done that, Fai wouldn’t have to make an example out of him. 

Tonight was going to be a rough one. 

“He’s one of Kujaku’s crew, right?” Seishiro and he continued to watch the tape of the product being loaded and sent off and Fai hit the pause button and set the laptop aside. 

“Yeah. He hired on two years ago under his recommendation.” Fai hadn’t spoken to him much since the interview but he liked to say hello to Syaoran when they checked up on the warehouse. “He’s a pawn for whomever our traitor is. I don’t know how much support this person has—so we’re going to be keeping information hush hush.”

Seishiro nodded thoughtfully before getting back up and pacing across the room. “So how do we handle this?” 

“Use him to make a statement. I don’t want to, but I need to remind the newbies that I run a tight ship.” Ryuu had made the mistake of picking the wrong side—and he wanted to deter any other young and dumb employees who might also have been persuaded into joining this little plot. 

If they got out before Fai knew about it, they would be fine. 

“What kinda statement are we talking?” 

“You’ll see. I hope it meets your approval.” Seishiro had a tendency to find him too lenient and soft—but if Fai was being soft, he would have one of his enforcers quietly taking care of it—not putting on a show. 

“I look forward to seeing what that brain of yours cooks up this time. What do you need from me?” Now that was a good question. 

Fai would call himself paranoid for worrying about someone trying to pull some shit while he was conducting the meeting—but it had happened before. Hell—Fai had seen some serious uproars at these kinds of meetings before he had taken the reins. It was a possibility, and that is probably what his enforcers should be looking out for. 

“I want you watching the crowd for reactions. You know what we're looking for. Guilt, nervousness or fidgeting. I want you to brief the enforcers. You, Fuuma, Kusanagi need to be on your toes tonight. Make sure you are all carrying.” Seishiro perked up at that and Fai made sure not to pay it any extra attention. 

They were not really a ‘shoot em up’ kinda crime group. He only allowed them to openly carry firearms when he thought that they might be met with a threat that would also be carrying—and it had been years since Fai had given the green light for that on their own turf.

“And you?”
Fai closed his laptop and got to his feet. Unfortunately, he would rather be overprepared versus underprepared, so yes—him, too. 

“Yes. The three of you and myself. Understood?” Fai caught Seishiro’s slightly shocked expression out of the corner of his eye as he left the room and headed back to his own office. 

He was only slightly peeved as he noticed Seishiro following him, but didn’t send him away. 

“Are you being extra cautious or do you have reason to suspect—”

“Cautious.” Fai cut him off and set his computer down on his desk. Thankfully, the smell had mostly dissipated—and it wasn’t like he would be able to notice it once he got a second alone to ‘recharge'.

Seishiro nodded and silently headed off to do whatever it is he was going to do. Fai didn’t care. He closed the door, hit the lock and pulled the baggie out of his suit coat before heading back to his desk and tapping a good amount onto the polished wooden surface.

Out came the visa and Fai made four thin white lines of coke before snagging a bill from his wallet and twirling it up. Two lines for each nostril and a few seconds later, he tilted his head back and savored the taste of the powder hitting the back of his throat. 

He had really fucking needed that and it was almost good enough to make him forget that he hated himself for that very need. But he had to get through tonight and he needed every card up his sleeve to do it. 

Cocaine was nature's ultimate hangover cure and just as his teeth and lips were hit with that familiar numbness, the alertness he needed to survive the night was finally back. With his thoughts focused and no longer racing, he would be able to put on a hell of a show for his people.  

The baggy went back into his pocket and Fai snagged a Lysol wipe out of his desk drawer and swiped it across the smooth surface of the wooden desk before tossing it in the trash. 

Moving on, Fai sat down in his chair and refocused his attention on work. 

An email to Kujaku letting him know that every single one of his crew needed to attend, no exceptions. An email to Hinoto telling her that she was going to need to see him before the meeting to discuss how they were handling last night’s situation before he announced it. An email to his real estate broker letting him know that they would need to meet up tomorrow. 

He answered a few text messages and was halfway through typing up a message to Syaoran, letting him know that he didn’t need to come in tonight, when the brunette knocked on his office door before pushing it open. 

The good news was that he had brought Fai a coffee—the bad news was that it was going to be hard to send him home now… 

He didn’t want Syaoran to have to see this. 

“Is everything ok, Fai-sama?” Syaoran set the coffee down on the desk, as well as a small to-go box from the cafe with a turkey and cheese sandwich in it. 

Ugh. Fai really didn’t want him to have to see this. 

“No. Sit, please.” The smile fell away from his assistant’s face as he settled in one of the leather chairs that sat across from his desk and looked at him with worried, wide open brown eyes. 

Fai quietly pulled the footage back up on his laptop and rewound it. “I managed to get to the bottom of what really happened last night at Akai Heya.” He paused and his assistant nodded slowly. “It was one of our own, unfortunately, and I am going to have to handle it tonight at the meeting.” 

“Ok.” Syaoran relaxed a bit and Fai hit play before turning the laptop around so that he could watch the security feed from the warehouse. 

He watched his assistant’s expression closely as he focused on the screen and his brows furrowed as soon as he realized what was going on. When the short ended, Fai had not expected Syaoran to be blinking back tears as he looked back up at him with pure disbelief on his face. 

“There—there has to be a mistake, right? Ryuu—Ryuu wouldn’t kill someone, Fai.” Syaoran didn’t raise his voice but the way it shook was almost worse. 

“Do you know what that product was laced with?” Ryuu was not the sharpest knife in the block, but you didn’t mix rat poison into coke if you were not trying to kill someone. 

Syaoran shook his head back and forth quickly and Fai watched him wipe a stray tear away.

“Rat poison. You saw what it did to that poor kid, Syaoran.” It wouldn’t have mattered who in their group had done it—they were gonna have to pay. It just so happened that it was Syaoran’s childhood friend who had fucked up. 

The brunette scrubbed at his eyes before looking up at the ceiling. Fai could understand the need to gather his thoughts after that bomb—Syaoran had already been shaken at seeing that kid convulse and slowly suffocate on the floor. 

Which was totally understandable. That had been a terrible way to go. Fai wouldn’t wish that on his worst enemy—and Syaoran’s childhood friend was responsible for that. 

There was a long silence and Fai was patient with him. He wasn’t a veteran at such things like Fai or the rest of the managers and enforcers, so it was totally understandable. Eventually, he spoke again, though.

“What are you going to do to him?” Syaoran’s voice came out barely above a whisper and Fai sighed. 

Well… he might not want to do this, but he needed to. There was no way around it. No better way to make the same point and it needed to be done.

“Before I tell you—you have the option to opt out. I understand he is your friend and you don’t have to see it.” Fai could remember the shock of seeing exactly how examples were made in this business, and it was not something he would wish on him. 

He had had a little less time under his belt than Syaoran now the first time he had seen someone be taken out. That had been for a mistake—not an outright show of rebellion. There was one blearing difference between he and Syaoran, though.

His assistant was not playing the long game and was going to get out—he didn’t need to participate. Fai would prefer if he didn’t. 

“What are you going to do to him?” Syaoran leaned forward and their eyes locked. 

Oh, he was not going to take this well. 

“Exactly what he did to that kid.” Fai didn’t look away as his assistant sucked in a few quick breaths and more tears welled up in his eyes as the news sunk in. 

Now—Fai knew it had been hard on him when he had seen a random stranger suffer that slow, painful death—and he knew it was going to royally fuck him up if he saw his childhood friend go out the same way. 

“You can’t.” Syaoran’s voice cracked and Fai locked his jaws. 

He could. He would. 

Fai wasn’t going to budge on this.

“Please!” The brunette’s hands balled into tight fists and Fai could see him starting to shake. “—You can’t do that, Fai! That’s—That’s—”

“Terrible? Inhumane? Monstrous?” he answered for him, and Syaoran’s sudden anger snapped into a look of pure betrayal. “I’m well aware, but that does not mean that it’s up for discussion.” 

Finally, those brown eyes looked away, this time down towards the floor. 

Syaoran knew that Fai treated him far more casual than most of the people in the ring. He had pull with Fai because of that—but his boss was going to do as he saw fit no matter how the boy felt.

“—like I said. You’re excused. I don’t want you to watch, because it is not going to be pretty.” Syaoran shook his head back and forth quickly and Fai sighed. 

Of course.

He might not realize it now—but he would later thank Fai for saving him the mental trauma… if he knew what was good for him, he would take Fai up on his offer. 

“He’s my friend!” His assistant shot to his feet, knocking the chair over as he did so. “You’re going to—to—Fai, please let me talk to him!” 

Yeah—No.

That was not gonna happen. Ryuu had no idea what was coming and he needed that shock factor. Nothing was going to change by Syaoran talking to him and frankly, Fai wasn’t going to let his assistant make it any worse for himself than it already was. 

It was time to take a step back now. He had already done the teen a favor by warning him at all. He had offered to let him skip—if he insisted on attending, he would need to deal with it.

“No.” Fai grabbed his laptop and turned it back around and started looking over the new emails that had come in. He needed to escalate this. “I would prefer it if you went home. If you insist on staying, you need to keep your shit together.” 

“It has to be a misunderstanding! Ryuu wouldn’t do that—”

“Syaoran. If you don’t calm down, I will have Kusanagi take you home and keep you there.” Fai watched his assistant's jaw snap shut and his shaking worsen. “What’s it going to be?” 

There was a long pause. Syaoran was looking at him—well, he was looking at him like Fai was about to murder one of his good friends in cold blood. 

Fai did not meet his eyes and continued to scroll through his email. 

This was business. Plain and simple. No room for feelings in this line of work.

“I’m staying.” the brunette’s voice sounded absolutely broken when he answered after almost a minute and Fai hummed in acknowledgement. 

Syaoran sure as hell wasn’t making this easy on him. 

So be it. Fai had extended as much slack for Syaoran as he could on the matter. If he wanted to stay and play with the big boys—he needed to act like one of them.

“Then I want you to go to the bathroom and splash your face with some cold water. Take a walk if you need to. Hell, I’ll get you a shot from the bar if that will help you—but you are not going to talk to Ryuu.” Syaoran nodded slowly and Fai sighed before continuing. “—I want you to stay in the offices until the meeting starts, understood?” 

“Yes, Fai-sama.” It took all of Fai’s mental strength not to cringe at the hopeless whisper. 

This was business. Syaoran needed to learn that—Fai needed to remind himself of that.

“—And if you can’t keep it together, I need you to step out. I can’t worry about you while I am dealing with this, ok?” He hoped Syaoran was smarter than to attempt to intervene, but it was going to be hard for him. 

“Ok…” Syaoran finally peeled his eyes away and left the room to do as he was told—leaving the door open behind him as he went. 

Fuck, this night was gonna suck. 

He found himself reaching for the baggie in his suit jacket again. Making a fist with his left hand, he tapped a bit of the white powder out and held it up to his nose, snuffing before stashing it again. 

The next few hours seemed to go by in a blur and Fai was thankful for that. He wanted tonight to be over—he wanted to go home and crawl into bed, to not think about what he was about to do. 

Before he knew it, he had met with his enforcers and warned them what to look out for—made sure Hinoto was on the up and up about the fate of Akai Heya and gotten the bad product back from Kujaku. 

Kujaku had also regretted to inform him that Kyle Rhondart was not answering his phone and had yet to show up for the meeting. Fai couldn’t say he was surprised and set that aside as his next thing to look into once he took care of their current issue. 

The last thing he had to do before heading out was to arm up, which felt like a blast from the past. Nothing crazy—just a small Weihrauch HW 22 tucked into the back of his trousers, concealed by his jacket.  His enforcers were far more open about the fact that they were carrying and Fai hoped it showed just how serious he was. 

Excusing himself to the bathroom, Fai shook off his nerves by running his hands under icy water and taking another hit—enough lines put him in the I-don’t-give-a-fuck zone and he gave himself a long hard look in the mirror as he swallowed at the slight burning in the back of his throat. The numbness had spread to the roof of his mouth, his gums, lips and nose—and he had to consciously remind himself not to clench his jaw.

He could do this. If he didn’t do this, he was going to look weak. Fai needed to do it himself—and he needed to make sure he showed off a deathly calm as he did so. If he did this right, he should scare his people shitless—he should be able to put out this fire before it started to blaze—he would save lives on both sides. 

This sucked. He didn’t want to do this but he had to. Tonight would go over—and hopefully he wouldn’t need to do it again for quite some time.

Fai tugged on a cheery smile and looked for any cracks in his mask—years of practice made the task of killing his emotions and going on auto-pilot easy enough—and he found none. He was the chipper, quirky, murderous Fai D. Fluorite—head of the Tokyo underground and your worst nightmare.

Well—here went nothing. 

Fai was met by Fuuma, Seishiro, Kusanagi and Syaoran when he left the bathroom and entered the break room. Seishiro and Fuuma were matching his easy smile. Fai could recognize the excitement in their eyes—it had been a long time since something this “interesting ‘had happened.

‘Interesting’ was where they excelled. 

Kusanagi nodded at Fai in acknowledgement and he made a point of looking over to his assistant. Kusanagi had nerves of steel and even though he didn’t like this anymore than his boss—he wouldn’t so much as bat an eyelash at what was about to happen.

Syaoran—well, Syaoran not so much. He was already glaring down at the floor, hands balled into tight fists. He refused to look up at Fai, but the blond couldn’t worry about that now. 

Wordlessly, Fai led the way up the hallway and shoved the door open. All eyes snapped over to him and the quiet conversation that drifted across the room silenced as his people set eyes on his expression. 

The veterans who had been with Fai for more than 5 years knew what was about to go down. Well, they didn’t know the specifics of what he was planning to do—or who had fucked up bad enough to warrant this kind of meeting—but they knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. 

The newbies who had been lucky enough to come into the fold in a time of peace picked up on the tension in the room—the locked jaws and defensive postures from the higher ups—and zipped it. 

Quick learners. 

Good thing, too, because they were popping a lotta ‘first time murder witness’ cherries tonight. 

His head enforcers fanned out—Kusanagi keeping close to his right side as they walked across the room, footsteps almost deafening in the overwhelming silence of the room. He always preferred to have Kusanagi specifically at his back during times like these. 

Seishiro and Fuuma might be just as good at their job… but Kusanagi had a calm energy that helped Fai keep it together. That and he had specifically instructed him to keep a close eye on Syaoran. Poor kid still had his eyes locked on the floor—following Fai’s feet so he knew where to go.

He should have gone home. 

They reached the center of the room where Kujaku was waiting for them with the table he had requested to be set up. His people filling in around him and Fai and while he needed them to all have a view of the show—his nerves spiked at being closed in. 

Fai only smiled more brightly as he walked around the table, fingers trailing along the smooth surface as he scanned the room. Ryuu was here and standing just in front of Fuuma—which was ideal. 

He might try to run—and Fuuma would make sure he didn’t get far. 

The poor kid was looking around the room confused—searching someone out—but not outright nervous. Like Syaoran, Ryuu hadn’t been around long enough to know first hand how dangerous this business really was—and he was about to be the example Fai would use to remind his people. 

Fai scanned the room as he circled the table. This was a show, after all, and he was going to make it as suspenseful and entertaining as possible. Criminals were not always the easiest bunch to keep focused—he needed them to listen, understand and, most of all, remember. 

Subaru and Kamui were standing by the bar—both watching him with anxious eyes. They had nothing to fear from Fai and they knew it, but they had also watched both of their men arming up—and they had both been present the last time one of these meetings had ended in a blood bath. 

Yuto and Kanoe surprisingly were patiently waiting together around the perimeter of the group—their underlings crowding around them as they watched Fai with hard set expressions. 

Those two had had a bad falling out a few years back and Fai did his best to avoid having them in the same place at the same time—but he couldn’t worry about them. They were not a priority for him now… 

Oruha was someone he had not expected to see. She had done a hell of a job losing the baby weight and she was looked as elegant as ever while she stood in the middle of the crowd. Ran—another one of his managers—was standing just behind her and all but glaring openly at Fai. 

Ran was good at his job but he did not trust Fai—neither did Gingetsu—but he was better at keeping his expression neutral. Gingetsu had a little more practice with Fai’s usual song and dance—before Fai sent him over to run Hādorain he had been one of Fai’s enforcers.  An unfortunate accident had left him with serious mobility issues but he still towered over most of the people in the room with an intimidating presence. 

Kazahaya, Rikuou, Kakei and Saiga were, as usual, thick as thieves and standing front and center. Rikuou and Saiga had been rocking the enforcer gig since before Fai’s time—and he had quickly made Kazahaya and Kakei into managers of their own joints soon after his take over. 

They very rarely caused him any issues and usually did their own thing. Fai was not surprised to see them chill as hell, even given the rest of the managers’ tensions—Saiga and Kakei had been in the business since before Fai was born and they had seen more than a few changes in leadership. 

They knew they had nothing to worry about when it came to Fai, and they knew they hadn’t fucked up. . 

Hinoto, Kohaku, Kuryu, Hisui, Touki, Ranshou, Ryuuki were all also present and were watching with emotionless expressions—but they were watching him like hawks. He also spotted several others of his managers scattered throughout the crowd and Fai made sure to give each and every one of them a moment of eye contact before leaning against the table and clearing his throat. 

There was no more he-could-do-this bullshit playing through his mind any longer—he would do this—he would take his time—he would drive his point home.  All the key players were here, and it was time to get this show on the road.  

“Thank you all for taking time out of your busy schedules to come and visit.” Fai smiled so brightly that he had to close his eyes. 

It would make him seem at ease—like his heart wasn't about to beat out if his chest. It had been a while—years—since he had had to close down his humanity and drive the pretty little psycho act home. 

“—I know last night was stressful for all of us. Especially for the cleanup crew and the poor folks at Akai Heya.” Fai nodded in Hinoto’s direction and she nodded back. 

Although she was keeping a straight face—and for such a tiny, sweet thing, she was tough as nails—he could tell that she was on edge. Red rimmed eyes and face even paler than it had been last night. Fai might have been sharp with her last night, but he bore no ill will towards her or her underlings. He didn’t suspect them and he had told her as much earlier. 

You could tell who was in the know and who was not by the looks of surprises that swept across the room and Fai let his smile fall slightly to match his words. “—When I got a call last night that there had been an accident— ” 

Fai watched Ryuu out of the corner of his eyes—watched the boy’s brows furrowed as he continued to search through the crowd. He also chanced a glance at Syaoran and so far, the boy was holding up. 

Kusanagi was standing directly behind him and Fai did not miss the firm grasp he had on the teen’s shoulder, holding him in place as he stared at his friend with a distraught expression. He might just need to use that death grip to hold the poor thing in place. 

“—as you can probably imagine… I was pretty upset. We took care of it, of course. Well, we’re still taking care of it, but I just wanted to make sure that we are all on the same page again .” Fai paused for effect and made a point of scanning the room—locking eyes with his managers especially. 

He trusted some more than others, and he didn’t know if one of them may have flipped loyalties. Given that Ryuu was the pawn, they had choices—a little warehouse grunt who packed and measured—it was unlikely.

It didn’t hurt to put the absolute fear of god into them every once in a while, though. Call it a friendly reminder, if you would.

Fai turned the brightness back up—his tone again becoming chipper and almost carefree. “ Before the serious business, though, I want to start things tonight out by congratulating the manager of Akai Heya. Ms. Hinoto kept a cool head and did exactly what I expected her to do.” 

All eyes turned to the petite woman and she did not shrink at the attention. Averting her eyes down respectfully, she offered a soft thanks and Fai nodded and hummed in acknowledgement before continuing. 

“As soon as there was a suspected overdose, she and her crew contacted me immediately so we could take care of it before it escalated. As I am sure you are all aware—” Fai again scanned the room. Ryuu was getting very pale at this point. “—it sadly happens every now and again in our line of work.” 

His managers, enforcers and head dealers knew that there had been an OD that had been fishy and that’s why Fai had ordered all snow pulled and sent back to Kujaku for testing. 

Word spread like wildfire but it also changed like in a game of telephone—who knew what type of crazy rumors were floating around by this time. The newbies were dumb enough to murmur amongst themselves at his last sentence but all Fai needed to do was quirk an eyebrow to have stone cold silence wash back over the room. 

“There are a lot of hazards in our line of work.” He mused and grinned brightly. “There is just so much that could go wrong when we aren't careful after all. I’m old~” chuckling, he wrinkled his nose in amusement and Fai didn’t miss the few of his veterans smile. People he brought up with him as well as higher ups that had helped him climb, knew just how impressive it was that the blond had lasted in his job as long as he had. 

“—So trust me when I say that I have seen a lotta shit. ” His playfulness seemed to help ease the mood. 

Good. 

This will have a bigger impact if they weren’t expecting it. He wanted them comfortable. Fai might be the only person on earth to play ‘good cop, bad cop’ alone but it fit the slightly off his rocker persona he was going for. 

“But—in all my years working the floor, of running this ship and smoothing the bumps in the road… I have never seen an overdose go down quite like that . That… Well that was something else.” Fai paused again to gauge the group’s reaction. 

Ryuu was looking around almost frantically now and Fai made sure not to look at him directly. He couldn’t see this coming—Fai was being extra careful with how he brought this issue up, and it wasn’t time to reveal his hand just yet. 

“Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything to be done. Poor kid was doomed before I even got there, but watching him… choke and writhe on the floor had been an experience, let me tell you.” Fai shrugged and walked around the table so that his back was facing Ryuu now. 

“We’re probably going to have the police sniffing around as early as tonight—the second they show any suspicion, I am going to have to close the doors of Akai Heya. Not to punish Hinoto or her employees—this is to keep them safe.” Murmurs broke out across the room and Fai let them whisper. 

He had never shut a club down before—certainly not one of his highest earning joints—but he couldn’t risk it. His drug ring had gotten too big to know each one of his waitresses, dealers and bouncers who had seen something weren’t going to talk when the police came sniffing. 

That was why he had pulled Hinoto into his office, to give her a heads up. Her and her people were going to be integrated into other clubs for a few months and Fai was going to set up a new spot for them. 

It couldn’t happen instantaneously. 

I took time to find the perfect location—clean enough cash to avoid an audit of the purchase of the building and furnishings—and to complete a remodel and fully stock the place. While that went down, Fai and Yuuko were going to have to create a complex maze of shadow corporations, LLCs, and alliances to get a new tax ID number to keep things from leading back to himself. 

There was also the massive amount of time it was going to take to demolish the patchwork of legal tape they had used to keep Akai Heya going. Which included firing—and hiring—every salaried employee at wherever he ended up transferring them to. 

It was a process and if he didn’t do it right, he was going to be royally fucked come tax season… 

Of course—his people didn’t need to sweat the little details. That was not why he was bringing it up. 

Once their anxieties sufficiently spiked, he continued. 

“Now, now.” Fai purred and looked about the room—making sure to focus his sweet gaze on the employees of Akai Heya. “Wipe those worried looks off your faces, my little angels. Such naive innocent little things, aren't you?  We’re all family here—and families stick together. So, you don’t need to worry about mommy leaving you out to dry.” 

Another pause and the murmurs died down. 

No—Fai took care of his people and almost all of them knew it. 

“Of course… I am aware that sometimes, my little ones have a hard time seeing the big picture, but let me take a moment to reassure you all that I’m doing what’s best for you. I am already in the process of getting new accommodations together for you. In the meantime, I will relocate every single employee to other establishments and give them a nice bonus for their trouble while I deal with all the nonsense that goes along with opening a new club.”  Fai smiled through the mixed reactions he received.

Oh—how long had it been since he had seen that much jealousy? 

It was exactly what he wanted. 

Fai’s go to for rewarding his people was a big fat check—it was their favorite kind of reward and he knew it. He had been very generous with his bonuses as well—even for the waitresses and drink runners. 

“— Come now, I kn ow those looks I am getting. You’re wondering why on earth am I rewarding them if they’re the ones that fucked our no OD streak, aren’t you?” Fai walked around the table again and it looked as though Ryuu had settled back down a bit. 

He had managed to lull him into a false sense of security. 

“You see—Hinoto has been with me for a while—she knew all she had to do was come to me and I would take care of her. That’s what I am here for, after all. To take care of you all.” Fai turned back around slowly and made a point to lock eyes with Ryuu. 

“—you can always come to me when you fuck up. I am a very forgiving person when it comes to mistakes.” What little color that had returned to Ryuu’s face faded away and Fai let his smile fall—his eyes harden—and his tone became serious. “—I can forgive almost anything, but in this case… well, one of my kittens not only strayed—I can understand the appeal of something new and shiny. I can even forgive a momentary lapse in judgement. Happens to the best of us, after all—”

Fai leaned back against the table and pulled out the little baggie that had killed Seji Hondo from Okinawa. “—but what I can’t forgive is someone pulling this kind of outright betrayal… against their own family .” The very same one that Ryuu had laced with rat poison. 

He held Ryuu’s gaze just long enough to see the teens breath start to pick up before slapping back on a cheery grin. “Anyhow—” 

That was enough of that for now. It was time to take care of business.

Fai threw his voice so that he sounded playful, and again scanned the room for a feel of where everyone stood on the sudden subject change.  “I have a little bit of trivia for you all.” 

The newbies looked suddenly confused and his veterans stiffened. The only one who actually knew what he was planning to do was Syaoran and he currently had his eyes glued on the floor in front of him. 

Not even Seishiro knew just how big of a statement Fai was planning on making. 

“Who here can tell dear old mommy Fai why we should never, ever play with rat poison— and especially not ingest it? .” He made a point of setting the baggie down onto the table and again rose to his full height, grinning like a cat as he watched the confusion sweep across the room. 

They hadn’t announced yet that it had not been an OD, at all—but a deliberate act. Now was a perfect time, though, just to ensure that everyone was on the same page. 

No one dared to speak and that didn’t suit Fai at all. Pushing off the table, Fai strolled casually forward, the crowd parting like the red sea to make room for him. 

Picking a target was easy enough—who specifically they were did not matter—they just needed to be standing behind Ryuu, close enough for him to hear their answer should they mumble. Fai was good with names—but it was impossible to remember everybody in the drug ring by name. 

Nokoru he knew though—by both name as well as face—he was a rising star at Kyushen and Fai has been keeping an eye out for a suitable promotion for him.

“What about you, Nokoru? Can you tell the class why playing with rat poison is such a bad idea?” Fai spoke loud enough for the entire room to hear and watched as Nokoru looked slightly confused for a moment before managing the obvious answer. 

“Because it’s poison?” For having the right answer, he sounded quite unsure—but he had done what Fai needed him to do. 

“Ah! Such a smart boy!” the blond reached out and patted the top of Nokoru’s head and flashed the kind of grin one might expect from a mother praising her toddler before he continued his casual stroll—keeping close enough to have Ryuu in the corner of  his eye as he picked his next victim. 

“Since it’s poison—we probably don’t want to eat it, hm?” Oh, those shocked expressions he had just earned himself were really something else. 

Fai made a mental note of who in the crowd did not seem all that surprised by the odd topic. He did not like the numbers, but no one with considerable rank made the list, thankfully. 

“Next question.” Fai stopped at random and grinned at the Shinbo—another one of his boys. He was still green behind the ears and took a step back when Fai focused his grin on him. “Would my sweet Shinbo like to tell everyone what we are supposed to use rat poison for if not to taste test it ?” 

Shinbo looked around nervously and Takako, his manager, placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder and urged him to answer with a tight smile.  After clearing his throat, he managed a very shaky answer. “Rats?” 

Cor~rect !” Fai tweaked his nose between his pointer finger and middle finger before turning on his heel, flaying out his arms . “Rat poison is for Rats! What—a—surprise.” 

Strolling slowly away, Fai could almost feel the tension in the air. The only sound filling the silence was of his Salvatore Ferragamo Oxfords clacking against the floor as he went. 

He made a slow, wide loop around the table and people continued to give him a wide allowance of space as he went. “—and what kind of mommy would I be if I let rats run amongst my sweet children?” No one answered him but he wasn’t looking for a response—he wanted to let that sink in, and give them time to start connecting the dots for themselves. 

“Rats carry all sorts of disease after all… It’s best to take care of them before they have a chance to spread it.”  Fai could see as some of his managers started to catch on to his little game—each of these reactions slightly different. 

He had a wide array of personalities working for him, and he received a mixed reaction—most leaning towards slight fear at the thought of why Fai might be putting so much emphasis on rat poison. 

“Now my next question is a little tougher.” Fai paused and gave a thoughtful hum before turning his attention to Kujaku who was wearing an easy smile. 

He knew he had nothing to fear from Fai and smiled back pleasantly. 

“Our dear Kujaku here might just know the answer to this one being the little Brainiac that he is.” Fai knew for a fact that he did given he had walked his boss through exactly what had happened to that poor bastard from the second he had sucked the shit down into his lungs. 

It was not pretty. 

“What exactly happens when we are silly enough to—Oh, I don't know—mix rat poison in with cocaine and sell it to a customer?” Fai kept his tone innocent as though it were the most innocent question in the world. 

“They die.” Kujaku matched his mood and sounded almost excited to feed the group that tidbit of obvious information and Fai had to give him props. 

“What?” Fai raised a shocked hand to cover his mouth and didn’t miss the green look that washed over Ryuu’s face. “Who. Would. Have. Thought.” 

His tone turned more and more serious with each word and held the teen’s gaze. It started to sink in that he was royally fucked—and Fai didn’t know if he was ballsy for holding his ground or just scared shitless. 

Didn’t matter. 

Fai started walking again—turning to look back around after breaking eye contact. He took his time in heading back towards Ryuu—passing him by to smile at Fuuma who was doing a good job of keeping his excitement in check. 

“Hi Fuuma.” the blond’s tone was back to innocent and playful, and he could see his rat trembling just a few feet away from him.

“Hi Fai-sama.” Fuuma answered sounded even happier than Fai—smiling wide enough that he had to close his eyes. 

“Can you tell your siblings what happens when we’re silly and kill a client?” Fai batted his eyelashes and Fumma played right along with it responding in a chipper, sing song voice. 

"Hunt them, find them, make them pay."

“Exactly.” Fai let his smile fade, changing his mask to look a tad bit worried. “That’s a lot of work, though, hm?” 

It had been a lot of work—for them, at least. Fai putting the information together today hadn't been too bad, but they didn’t need to know that. 

“Yes.” Fuuma shrugged as though it were no big deal. “—But it’s so much fun. Right, brother?” 

The whole room turned to look at Seishiro who was strategically blocking the only available exit, given that the door that led to the offices had been deadbolted. 

Seishiro—unlike Fuuma and Kujaku—did not smile and play along.

Seshiro looked dead serious and raised an eyebrow at his brother as though he were done with everyone's shit. “I happily leave the dismembering up to you. Ruins my clothes.” 

Now—Fai didn’t mean to laugh at that answer—he was usually better at controlling his reactions. It fed into the crazy vibe, though, so he didn’t try too hard to keep a straight face.

Fai was the only one to find Seishiro answer to be funny, though. 

Then again, he was one of the few people in the room to recognize the twinkle of mischief in the older man’s eye to know that he was being playful in his own way.

After he had gotten the last of the giggles under control, Fai ran a hand through his hair and sighed. “We don’t want to ruin Fuuma’s cloths now, do we?” 

While Fuuma’s clothing was actually the least of their worries—the least amount of details exposed about what they really did with the bodies they ended up with occasionally was best kept to privileged ears only. 

The idea that they dismembered people was enough to have most of the newbies watching with wide eyes full of horror. 

“Ruined outfits, closing clubs, relocating employees, late nights… Who knows what other recent troubles—all because… we have a rat…” Fai made one last slow lap around the room to let his words really sink in and process. 

Now was the time to really up the act—deal with the threat in a way that no one present would ever be able to forget. 

“Because I love all of my sweet kittens… what am I to do when a rat is foolish enough to hide amongst my children and stay in my house?” He was about half way through his last lap now and he let that question marinate for a moment, taking care to focus on the people who had managed to make it on his shit list earlier. 

Just in case they were a little less on the sadistic side, and a little more on the guilty side. 

He couldn’t be too careful, now could he? 

“Now that this kitty cat has found him —” He was about 3/4ths of the way back to Ryuu, and he was seriously hoping the kid did not barf from nerves. He was looking very very green now. 

At least if he was going to do it, he hoped he was polite enough no to get any of it on Fai… He was already risking getting covered in bodily fluids by handling this himself—but vomit is one he would like to avoid if at all possible. 

“—The only thing that comes to my mind—” Ryuu was looking at him as though he had hell on his heels. 

Which, he might as well since that was where Fai was about to send the poor bastard. 

“—is to pounce.” He was surprised by just how much sweetness he managed to pack into the last word of his sentence. 

Fai was standing just in front of Ryuu now and was looking down at him with the kindest expression he could manage. The teen’s breath was puffing out in quick breaths now and he broke eye contact to look around the room desperately again. 

Whoever had put him up to this had abandoned him to his fate. 

After an impossibly long moment, Fai reached up to cup the boy’s face and let his smile fall, expression turning sad—almost remorseful—as he forced Ryuu to once again look him in the eyes. 

He let tension rise further, until the air of the room was almost suffocating. No one dared make a peep and silently watched, some with fear, some curiosity and some with sadness as the kid held his breath under his boss’s scrutiny. 

Fai searched his terrified eyes for a moment. He might be putting on a heartless act at currently, but this was his least favorite part of his job. He wished that Ryuu hadn’t forced his hand—but there was nothing that he could do given the level of betrayal. 

All their asses were on the line now and all, because this naive teen had trusted the wrong person. There wasn’t a single ounce of his being that believed that Ryuu had come up with this scheme alone. 

Fai didn’t know who had put him up to this, he had suspicions, though—Rhondart being connected was obvious and more than likely Reed. Ryuu was the pawn they had used to make their power move and Fai unfortunately had to take him out. 

There was no other option. 

“Hello Ryuu.”
The teen let out the breath he had been holding at Fai’s words and glanced around one last time but didn’t answer him. 

That was ok. 

“Didn’t you know you could have come to me?” Fai frowned at him and waited for a response—brushing his thumbs over the boy’s cheeks in an almost tender fashion. 

When he continued to play the silent game, Fai furrowed his brows and pursed his lips into a sorrowful frown, genuine regret over the situation springing forth as he watched the boy trying to remain calm. 

“Silly boy.” The blond shook his head slowly. “If you had only told mommy about the bad friends you were making on the playground, I could have saved you.” 

This was the major point he needed to drive home to everyone. Well—the second major point. The first being that you better not fucking cross him. 

“Fai-sama, I—”

“Shh shh shh.” Fai cut him off and gave a mournful smile. “Do you know that you are breaking your mommy’s heart right now, sweetie?” 

Ryuu was silent again, not that Fai was surprised. The tears collecting at the corner of his eyes were a nice touch, though—Fai hadn’t been terrifying enough to make someone cry in a hot minute and it helped drive the point home. 

“Now—tell mama why you felt the need to lace my product with something so... “ Fai paused and wiped at the tears collecting in boys eyes. “...barbaric? Then hand it off to be sold to my clients?” 

“I didn’t know.” Ryuu’s voice cracked and it took a lot of work to scoff rather than cringe at that answer. 

It was in fact very likely that whomever put the poor kitten up to this hadn’t told him what he was putting in that bag. It didn’t change the outcome, but it sure did up the guilt at having to do this to one of his own. 

He had broken one of the biggest rules—he hadn’t come to him. There was nothing Fai could do. 

“You didn’t know?” It was not easy to keep the act going, but Fai managed an understanding tone and nodded at the boy slowly. Almost as though the blond was listening to the teen tell him that his friends had played a mean joke on him. 

Ryuu shook his head back and forth slowly, as much as he could with the way Fai was still cupping his cheeks to maintain eye contact. 

“You didn’t know that that you were lacing my product?” He was again back to being sickeningly sweet with his words. Understanding turning to a tight, annoyed smile. 

Fai knew what he meant, but this was a carefully choreographed dance and he had to follow the steps. 

Ryuu’s eyes went wide and his breathing became that much more panicked at the apparent misunderstanding. “No—No I know I fucked up, Fai-sama! I-I didn’t know it was rat poison! I thought it was just going to make them sick… not… not kill them.” 

“Fucked up is putting it tamely, wouldn’t you say?” Fai changed to a scolding voice and Ryuu swallowed. “Now now, little Ryuu. This is not the time to be dishonest with me. You say you didn’t know it was rat poison?” 

“No! No, I swear, you have to believe me!” the teen’s voice cracked and more tears slid down his face. 

Well, they were at least establishing that there were more parties involved. Some good was coming out of this. 

“I would love to believe you, darling… But did you really just grab a random thing off the shelf in some basement and decide to use it to cut a product people suck down into their lungs?” Fai didn’t think it was possible for the boy’s eyes to get any wider, but they did widen with horror at that suggestion. “Didn’t it occur to you that that was a dangerous game to play?” 

“No…” Ryuu hardly choked that response out and Fai waited patiently for him to continue. “I—I mean, that’s not… that’s not what happened.”

So, the truth was coming out. 

The teens scrunched his eyes closed and Fai gave him another half minute or so to continue before prompting him. “Pray tell. Where did you get it, little one?” 

The sweet act did not seem to ease Ryuu much, and he took a few deep breaths before opening his eyes and doing his best to look anywhere but at Fai. 

“My dear, I am a very very patient man—but let me assure you—you will not like what I do to you if you test me. Tik tok.” Fai could guarantee that he could think of more creative and painful ways to punish him if he wanted to play games. 

Ryuu was lucky that Fai hadn’t had Seishiro and Fuuma question him. There wouldn’t be enough of him left for Fai to make an example out of, and it would be more painful by far. Granted, he was not offering the teen a quick and easy death by any means, but he would go much more quickly than the days it took Seishiro to sate his sadistic side. 

Nearly a minute passed, and Fai was about to open his mouth again when Ryuu finally looked into his eyes again. “They told me it was just going to make him sick… to—to send you a message… I swear I didn’t know he was going to die.” 

“Ah—see, that wasn’t so hard now, was it?” The smile was back again and Ryuu relaxed a bit. 

Fai didn’t want him to get too comfortable—but he wanted the people watching to think that Fai might just offer him mercy for the truth. “—Now—who is ‘they’, Sweetie?” 

This answer didn’t come any more quickly and it was another waiting game. Rather than another threat, Fai offered the teen a simple reassurance as he wiped at his tears again. “It’s ok to tell me. I will handle them, so you don’t need to worry about snitching… You can always tell mommy dear when people are trying to bully you, love.” 

“But—” 

“Hush now. If they were really that big and strong, they wouldn’t be using a sweet kitten as their proxy. I am bigger, bader and scarier than them and I can assure you—” Fai tilted his head slightly to the side and watched his words sink in. “—They won’t get a chance to touch a hair on that pretty little head of yours.” 

By the time Fai was done with him and Fuuma had cleaned up the mess? There wouldn’t be any hair, or a head for them to touch. Ryuu was going out the same way as their john doe had last night. 

Fai had not been kidding when he told his assistant he was going to do the exact same thing to him. 

Ryuu’s look turned pleading and Fai sighed and nodded in understanding. “This is awfully scary, hm?”
The blond dropped one of his hands back down to his side and tucked it into the pocket of his slacks. “But if you don’t tell me—I’ll have to get the information out of you in a more creative way and I really don’t want to do that…”

The teen’s breath hitched, and Fai shrugged. “—So, I’ll give you one more chance. I’ll even let you whisper it in my ear so it’s our little secret. How does that sound, honey?” 

Ryuu nodded his head just a fraction—the terror was wafting off of him in waves and Fai had to mentally take a step back now so he could finish this job. Leaning in, he caught the barely audible name and he couldn’t say he was surprised. 

So, Kyle Rhondart was at least a step above Ryuu—and Fai had never taken him as a leader—which meant that Reed really was the one pulling the strings, here. 

Wonderful. 

Leaning back on his heel, Fai didn’t bother to smile—he had gotten what he needed. “That’s the only name you have?” 

“Y—Yes.” Ryuu looked back down at the floor and Fai nodded in understanding before taking a deep breath. 

“You know I have to punish you, right?” The teen shivered but nodded. Fai leaned in one last time and kissed Ryuu’s forehead before taking a full step back and holding out his hand. “C’mon. Follow me.” 

Fai got his first good look at everyone’s expression. 

Damn. He had pulled it off.

There was no way any of them would see this coming… Even Seishiro, Fuuma, and Kusanagi looked as though they were buying the ‘merciful leader’ act. Fai was not brave enough to see if his play acting had convinced Syaoran that he had changed his mind about his friend’s fate. 

Ryuu took his hand and Fai led him to the center of the room and over to the table. Dropping his hand, he snagged the baggie and he could hear people gasp as he dumped the remaining contents of the bag out onto the table and snagged his wallet out of his back pocket. 

Fai made a mental note not to use his visa for cutting his own lines until it had been thoroughly washed—and formed up the tainted powder into 3 neat lines. He didn’t know if he would get through them before the first one started kicking in, but it would be interesting to see. 

“F—Fai-sama?” Ryuu’s voice shook as he watched Fai snag a bill next and twirl it up into a makeshift straw before handing it over with a motivating smile. 

“If you would accept your punishment like a good boy, please.” What little bit of color there had been washed from the teen’s face and murmurs broke out across the room. 

Whispers of people asking their neighbors if Fai was serious—if he would really make the kid snort rat poison in front of them—didn’t he just say he was going to protect Ryuu? 

“Fai-sama, please!” Ryuu was looking around frantically again. No one was coming to save him. He might as well just get it over with. “You can’t do this! Please!” 

“Oh— I’m sorry. You must be confused. Did you think you had a choice in the matter?” Fai leaned against the table and gave Ryuu a serious look—all warmth falling away from his posture and expression. 

The teen stared at him for a long moment—his breathing getting faster and faster as the reality of the situation began to set in. “But—”

“Hm—” Fai hummed, cutting him off with a harsh glare. “You don’t think I am being fair?” 

“You—you said you—you would protect me…” Ryuu was sobbing now and while Fai’s heart was breaking, he kept his face firm as he crossed his arms like a disappointed parent. 

“I did. I won’t let the people you betrayed me with touch you. You’re all mine, darling.” Ryuu took a step back—then two—on the third he backed right up into Fuuma. The pleasant smile his enforcer flashed down at him only proved to escalate the panic and Fai was surprised Ryuu was still on his feet, given how terribly he was shaking. 

There was nowhere for him to go—even if he did make a run for it, he was the traitor in a room full of wolves. 

“Please…” Hopelessness was starting to bleed into his tone and Fai knew that he had to up the ante a bit. 

Sure, he could have Fuuma or one of his other enforcers hold him down and force him. That might be what most of the onlookers were expecting to happen. After all—even if someone held a gun to your head—surely, getting shot was better than snorting poison, right? 

Fai was pretty confident that he could get Ryuu to do it all on his own, though—using the same tool that had always been his greatest weapon. 

Fear. 

That look of pure fear in his eyes—the fear that he would rather poison himself than see what else Fai had in store for him—that is what was going to ensure his control over every person in the room. 

Even if there were more people involved in this little scheme Rhondart had cooking up—would they be dumb enough to continue? 

Well, you couldn’t say that Fai hadn’t warned them. 

“Need a little encouragement, my dear?” Fai stood. He was almost sure that Ryuu was going to pass out if he didn’t slow his breathing down. 

He looked absolutely pathetic—face flushed beet red with tears and snot dripping from his cheeks and chin as he hunched in on himself—refusing to meet his boss’s piercing blue stare.

That was fine—he didn’t need to look at Fai for him to push him closer to that edge. 

“Since you shared your secret with me—” Fai took a few strides forward and closed the distance between him. “I’ll share something with you.” 

The blond leaned forward and cupped a hand to the teens ear in a smooth sweep. He paused for a moment to let the tension build while Ryuu held his breath. When he was sure that he had the boy’s full attention, he mustered up the coldest voice he could manage and spoke just loud enough for him to hear.

“Now, I know you think I’m being unfair… But let me let you in on a little trade secret. I know you’ve noticed that the police look the other way when it comes to our operations… ever wondered why?” 

Fai paused for a second to give him a chance to answer if he felt the need—when he was met with silence, he curled his lips into a smile and continued. “—that’s because of very strict policies. They learned years ago what happens when they try to plant a rat in my ranks… they get sent back in a body bag, or, if my enforcers get a little too… excited.. they either don’t come back at all or, if the boys get really excited, they come back in many small bags.” 

Fai glanced up at Fuuma who had a firm hand on Ryuu’s shoulder and practically purred— “Of course… those are outsiders… I know you haven’t been around enough years… but you should have seen what they did to the last silly kitten that betrayed me.” 

Fai leaned back and looked down his nose at the teen. “So—you have two choices. Accept my mercy and enjoy the little concoction you created… or I will turn you over to Fuuma and Seishiro and they can do as they please… My way might not be the quickest death, but trust me—after the first day with those two, you’re going to be begging whatever gods you pray to to end it.” 

Ryuu didn’t move, at first. Fai stepped back far enough to give him some breathing room and he could practically watch the thoughts racing in the poor boy’s head. Then, he looked across the room at Seishiro—Fai assumed he was wearing the same cold face as usual but didn’t follow his gaze to confirm. After another moment, he turned to glance over his shoulder at Fuuma, who has still grinning like a cat. 

Finally, he accepted the rolled up bill from Fai and the blond stepped aside to give him better access. 

“‘Atta boy—you know how it’s done.” 

Fai felt like his heart was going to beat out of his chest as Ryuu bent down over the table. A quick glance around the room showed him a mixture of pure shock and fear—and he made the mistake of looking towards Syaoran and Kusanagi. 

His assistant was no longer watching—instead, he had his face hidden in the enforcer’s shirt and was shaking like a leaf as Kusanagi held him in place. 

Fai should have made him go home… 

The distinct sounds of Ryuu snorting the line snapped Fai’s attention back to the task at hand and he was not at all surprised that he ended up coughing violently as the powder hit the back of his throat. 

Fai would assume that rat poison would burn like a bitch—though he was fine without knowing for sure. He let him cough for a moment and as soon as he started catching his breath, Fai tapped the table with his index finger next to the other lines. “C’mon—finish up.” 

Rat poison was basically a heavy-duty anticoagulant—which would take time to kick into effect—not much, given the dose, so he needed to finish before he dropped. “It’ll be your quickest death. You don’t want to linger now, do you?” 

Ryuu switched sides for the next line and it was followed by more violent coughing and Fai did not miss the speckles of blood that coated his palm when he pulled his hand away from his mouth. 

About the equivalent of one of the lines Fai had cut for Ryuu was more than enough to kill the poor bastard at Akai Heya—his reasoning behind having him finish off the bag was as much to make a statement to his people that Fai was not to be fucked with as to speed up the process. 

“Trust me… you are going to want the third.” 

Ryuu took his advice and Fai took another moment to look about the room. From the looks on his people’s faces, he had indeed made his point. They got that they were not supposed to fuck with him—they would probably never forget. 

That was probably for the best, because Fai didn’t have much more of the soulless crazy act left in him. Ryuu’s coughing became violent and though he had planned to wait until he went down, Fai stepped forward and gripped the teens shoulders to help support him as he took a step back from the table. 

“I’m sorry.” Fai spoke softly as he felt the teen lean the majority of his weight on him and he helped lower him into a sitting position onto the ground. “If you had just come to me first… I wouldn’t have had to do that.”

He ran a soothing hand up and down Ryuu’s back and his coughing only became worse—face flushing ever more red as he tried to cover his mouth. Fai ignored the whispers and stares of his employees as he fished out a handkerchief from his pocket and carefully pried the boy’s hand away from his face and wiped away the blood tenderly.

“It’s my hope—” Fai address the crowd, raising the volume of his voice to ensure that he was heard while helping to support Ryuu as more coughs wracked his body. “—that you all learn from Ryuu’s mistake. I haven’t had to punish someone in a very long time and believe it or not… This is not my favorite way to spend an evening…” 

Ryuu was now gasping between coughs and all Fai could do was run a hand up and down his back as he held him steady as spasms washed over him—settling on the floor next to him and allowing the boy to lean against his chest when he could no longer support himself.

“I’m a fan of positive reinforcement—not this. This is painful—and messy. Especially because I know Ryuu is well liked by many of you.” It was surprisingly difficult to concentrate and speak over the sound of the poor thing gasping, but what could he do?

“The next time someone gets the bright idea to lace my product with rat poison—or any other kind of poison, for that matter, please remember this… because don’t think for a moment that I won’t catch you—or punish you accordingly. When our dear Kujaku told me what that coke was laced with—“ 

Ryuu’s spasming got worse Fai had to pause and lower him to the floor as he started seizing. He could already tell the difference between the dose from last night’s fuck up and the amount Fai had forced Ryuu to take. 

From the time that the OD has been discovered at Akai Heya and his arrival at the scene, almost an hour had passed and the poor bastard had continued to linger on for quite some time after he had shown up. 

“—well, I cringed. Then he explained exactly what had happened to the Akai Heya client and I knew this was going to be hard to watch. You all need to see this and understand—“ Fai wiped the blood that was running down the corner of Ryuu’s mouth away as he continued. “— and remember this, next time you get the idea to cross me.”

These sporadic seizures were especially hard for him to watch and Fai found himself reacting out of instinct. The suit coat came off and was folded to keep the teen’s head from crashing against the floor—and he had Kujaku move the table back to give them more room. “—and if you’re going to do it, maybe try and pick something a little less painful and… well, bloody?” 

Fai was interrupted by a pained, gurgling groan from Ryuu. The convulsions had settled mostly for now, and the blond smoothed a hand over the boys now sweat drenched hair. “I know. It will be over soon, little one. Just get through the next minute, ok?” 

It would take a hell of a lot longer than that, but Ryuu didn’t need to know that. 

Fai wiped more blood from Ryuu’s face and refocused on his people—avoiding the sight of Syaoran entirely. "Dear girls and boys, we’ve reached the point where his lungs are starting to slowly fill with blood—since rat poison is a concentrated blood thinner, he’s bleeding out inside of his body.” 

Another round of convulsions started and Fai waited them out before offering more comfort. “There you go. Just get through the next minute, now—I promise it will stop hurting soon, sweetie.” Ryuu’s head lulled to the side, a mixture of blood and drool sputtering out of his mouth while he struggled through gurgling coughs. 

“Of course, if he’s lucky, he might pass from a heart attack caused by the immense stress—or the bleeding in his skull might put enough pressure on his brain to either kill him or make it so he at least can’t feel himself slowly suffocating…” 

Given the very pained sounded noises coming from the teen? Fai was willing to bet he was not so lucky. 

He would probably go very closely to how their customer had—hopefully a little faster, but he would likely choke and cough until he couldn’t anymore, then slowly suffocate. Fai hoped he would lose consciousness soon. 

The point had been made and while he couldn’t put the poor thing out of his misery in front of the group—he could have Fuuma do it in private. 

A heavy silence fell over the room as they all watched. Fai stayed by Ryuu’s side until he finally lost consciousness—running a hand through his hair and coaching him to do his best to relax and not fight against the muscles spasming—offering reassurance that it was all going to be over soon. 

—and it was. 

Not as soon as any of them would have liked, but when the teen was finally still and his eyes finally closed, Fai was as ready as the rest of them to be done with this. The weight of his actions had not hit him yet and he didn’t want to be surrounded by accusing eyes when it finally did. 

Carefully, he scooped Ryuu up into his harms and got to his feet—one arm hooked under his bent knees, the other wrapped around his torso below his shoulders. He didn’t care that he got blood, spittle and snot on his shirt—and Fuuma didn’t protest about the mess, either, when Fai carefully passed him over. 

He waited until Fuuma had made it to the back before bending over to pick up his suit coat from the floor and draped it over his arm. Fai finally turned his focus to Syaoran. He had taken a step away from Kusanagi and was now watching after the door that Fuuma had gone through. 

Kusanagi had the sense to keep him as far away from what was about to go down as possible—So the blond felt comfortable wrapping things up and sending everyone on their way. They were getting closer and closer to opening time and he needed to get Ryuu’s mess cleaned up and the body situation handled.

Fai cleared his throat and was about to run a hand through his hair before he noticed the erroneous blood and drool on his fingers and couldn’t help but grimace. Fai was not a squeamish person—but he started to feel his heart race as he remembered that he would have to go and meet Yuuko soon. 

There wasn’t time for a shower—he could wash up in the restroom and change, but he wasn’t going to be able to get clean until he got home tonight. 

Why that of all things was triggering his anxiety, Fai didn’t know, but he felt his skin crawl at the thought. 

“Ok, kids… New metal scars aside—Don’t do anything stupid and force me to punish you. If you know more about who put Ryuu up to this—or if someone tries or already tried to convince you to do something as dumb as lacing my product—just tell me, alright?” Fai sighed as he headed towards the door that led to the offices. 

Seishiro followed on his heel, as he expected—as did Syaoran and Kusanagi. It took him three tries to get the code right due to how shaky his hands were. 

Fai had to take a deep breath and consciously slow himself down so that he didn’t speed walk up the hallway. He closed the door behind himself before anyone had a chance to follow him in and that was a clear enough message that he needed a moment alone. 

He HATED this part of his job—but it wasn’t the first time things had gotten ‘messy’ and it wouldn't be the last. He had everything he needed here at the office to get presentable again—and he could send the bloodied clothing with Fuuma to be disposed of. 

First thing first, though—he needed to wash up as best as he could. 

Fai locked the door to the bathroom and wasted no time in heading over to the sink and hitting the hot water. He felt like there wasn’t enough hand soap in the world to help him feel clean at the moment—but that didn’t stop him from trying. 

He probably went through 3/4ths of the soap in the dispenser during his wash, rinse, repeat routine and it did not do much to quell his racing heart. But it did give him something to focus on aside from Ryuu. It had just been business—he had had no choice. 

Fai would have to go check on Syaoran after this—he would probably have to give him a few weeks off work to process and grieve—as far as he was aware, his assistant had never lost anyone close to him. The first time was never easy—especially if you had to watch it happen… 

No—he would assign Kusanagi to keep an eye on him and Fai would just have to make do without an assistant until the poor thing was having an easier time. The entire time Syaoran had been working for him, he had done a pretty decent job of keeping him away from the uglier side of things and between last night and today—well, the poor kid had been through too much. 

Maybe it would be best for him if Fai moved him to the cafe until things had settled on this side of things…

Fai only shut the steaming water off after his hands were bright red for the repeated scrubbing and dried them quickly with paper towels. With the way his heart was still racing, it probably wouldn’t be wise to top up—but he desperately wanted his control back.

He was digging his coke out of his suit coat and was reaching for his wallet before he remembered that he should be careful not to accidentally take himself out the same way he had just taken out Ryuu. 

More hot water. 

More soap. 

More scrubbing. 

The soap dispenser was much closer to empty by the time he deemed his visa clean enough and Fai was racking up neat lines and twirling up a clean bill when his phone vibrated in his pocket—he ignored it to get what he needed. 

It helped and it didn’t. The act itself had been calming—but if he pushed his pulse rate much further, he could very well overdose. Coke only did so much for your mindset before it started having the opposite effect. Panic and paranoia were not going to help at all.

He had enough of that on his own without any help, after all.

As he leaned against the sink and checked his phone, he sighed as he saw a missed call from an unfortunately familiar number. 

Fai had half of the higher ups in the Tokyo police department under his thumb and either someone on his payroll there was reaching out to warn him—or they were calling him about the missing boy. Th ey were only a few hours away from the 24-hour-mark—so it was probably someone letting him know that he should expect company. 

Which was fine—he had people coming after hours to clear out the entire building—he was going to have to send Hinoto the job assignments for her crew before he called it a night—but he had a few crises to deal with before he had time for that. 

If push came to shove, he would just pay them like usual, even if they didn’t come in. He was that over the entire situation, at the moment. 

Fai opened up the voicemail and listened to it carefully. Twice. He had guessed correctly—they were going to be by to look around tonight, which meant that he was going to have to finish up with Yuuko and be back at Akai Heya before they arrived. He had already accounted for the fact that he was going to have to swing by there later, but the time limit on the task only added additional weight on his shoulders. 

Since all his key players had been at the meeting, his emails and text messages were extremely light and he responded to them quickly as he waited for the burning in his eyes and the tightness in his throat to lessen before he finally popped the lock and opened the bathroom door. 

Why was he not surprised to see Seishiro there…? 

Fai had not missed the way his head enforcer had been watching him during his speech and he knew, given the way he had been followed back into the office area, that Seishiro had an issue. 

Fai had no clue what he wanted. He wasn’t so sure he had ever seen Seishiro look at him like this before—he just was sure that he didn’t want to be left alone with him. The blond knew he wasn’t angry—that wasn’t his deal, for sure… Amused? Surprised? Annoyed? 

He was usually pretty good at reading the near emotionless man, but he honestly had no idea what to expect. Which for Fai was especially nerve wracking. He knew just how loose of a cannon he could be when his mood became unstable.

“Sorry, did you need to use the restroom?” Fai tugged on a brilliant smile as he stepped aside, excusing himself. 

He was not about to show how unnerved he was. 

That would only encourage Seishiro. 

“No. I was waiting for you.” Seishiro took his glasses off and tucked them into the breast pocket of his shirt. 

Perfect. Because Seishiro totally didn’t only take his glasses off when he was gonna pull some shit. Not shady at all. 

“Can I help you with anything, then?” Fai slipped past him and headed towards the hallway.  He wasn’t in the mood to deal with games. He needed to get presentable and on his way, here, pretty soon. 

Seishiro followed on his heel and Fai was not thrilled to have him that close—especially not behind him—not with the strange way he was acting. He should probably go find Subaru. When his head enforcer listened to anyone, it was his lover. 

Sure, he was probably being paranoid—his nerves were shot and that last hit was kicking in a little too well. 

“You didn’t tell me you were going to do that.” Seishiro followed him all the way to his office door and his heart rate really spiked when he typed the code in wrong on his first go—there had not been much room between them and by the time his shaking fingers managed to re-type the correct code and the lock popped—his head enforcer was so close that he could feel his breath ghosting across the nape of his neck. 

While still trying to maintain calm, fluid movements, Fai reached for the handle and just barely got the door open before he felt a large, warm hand over his own and the wooden door was jerked back towards his face, slamming closed. 

If he hadn’t been on edge already, he sure as hell would be after the heavy wooden door almost smacked him in the face as well as the loud crack of the wood hitting the metal frame. Fai closed his eyes and counted back from three while taking a deep breath before answering. 

“I thought you would have enjoyed the surprise.” This was not the first time he had found himself in this situation with Seishiro—and it surely wouldn’t be the last. 

He had a thing for cornering people and the best thing to do was to ignore it. 

Easier said than done when you were on the verge of a breakdown. 

"It was an exquisite pleasure watching you twist all of them around your finger... me included." Fai was not expecting Seishiro to touch him—that wasn’t usually his thing and it took all of the blond’s self control not to flinch when he felt a hand grip his hip firmly. 

“You and Fuuma are the only ones who got any enjoyment out of that.” Fai didn’t dare move. He kept his tone emotionless and didn’t react as the fingers on his hip pressed against the skin there with bruising pressure. “Is that all you needed?” 

“Yes and no.” Fai involuntarily shivered as hot breath puffed against the back of his neck, Seishiro’s lips just barely ghosting against the skin there as he answered. 

This was not a good spot to be in, and there was little Fai could do—he had to wait it out until his enforcer lost interest. Seishiro got bored quickly when you didn’t play along—he just had to stay calm and play it cool. 

“I have to get changed and be on my way. So, if you wouldn’t mind~” Fai honestly thought he was in the clear when Seishiro pulled his hand back away from the doorknob and he was about to reach for it again when Fai felt a hand ghost over the blood stains on the front of his shirt. 

Seishiro traced the damp fabric and Fai’s instant reaction was to lean back and away from the unwanted attention, causing him to press flush against the taller man. 

Which was exactly what Seishiro was trying to get him to do. 

The hand on his hip stopped him from leaning forward again and Fai took measured breaths as the man’s other hand ran up from the blood stains—up his chest—then finally to trace over the fabric of his shirt collar. 

“I’m not done with you.” Seishiro whispered directly into his ear this time, and Fai was very aware of just how vulnerable he was in this situation. 

Fai didn’t answer. 

He knew better than to react and did not protest when the taller man used his toes to kick Fai’s legs slightly apart and slipped his thigh between them. Apparently, he had put on a hell of a show, because he could feel just how excited Seishiro was over the act. 

Fai took a few more slow, measured breaths and Seishiro moved his fingers even higher to grip the blond’s throat. 

This was bad. 

“It was hot…” the taller man kept his fingers there for a moment—applying the slightest bit of pressure. “That twisted little show of yours gave me quite an itch.” 

The hand that was around his neck dropped down to grip his other hip and Fai still stayed silent. He was not in a good place to deal with an over excited Seishiro at the moment and this was escalating far too quickly—and there were very few people in the building that would be able to help. 

“Let. Go.” Fai flinched at the anger that saturated his tone. Seishiro chuckled and used his death grip to push the blond against the door—bringing his leg up higher as he did so. On bodily reflex, Fai just barely managed to bring his hands up and keep his face from slamming into the door. It gave him a bit more room to himself but he still felt cornered. 

This was bad. 

“No.” The taller man leaned forward and Fai hadn’t felt this trapped in—well, a while. Between the hands holding his waist close to the taller man’s and the way Seishiro was using his weight to press Fai against the wooden door, he was hardly keeping the calm act together. 

The terrifying thing was that if his head enforcer wanted to take this further—Fai could do very little to stop him. As soon as he tried to run or fight, he might as well kiss his ass goodbye, literally—there was little in life that Seishiro enjoyed more than a good hunt and he was already far too worked up for Fai to have any semblance of control over his behavior. 

He had to continue to hold his ground. 

“It’s been years—” Seishiro used his left hand to slide up Fai’s stomach to again trace over the blood stains on his shirt as he hummed low in the blond’s ear. “—since I’ve seen this side of you…” 

Well—that was because Fai got no enjoyment out of that sort of thing. 

It definitely didn't make him horny and the way the taller man had him pinned and was pressing his very obvious erection against the blond’s ass—Fai’s breathing was starting to quicken right along with his heart rate. 

“I’m not in the mood, Seishiro. Back the fuck up.” 

He didn’t.

Seishiro chuckled again and bit the nape of his neck—teeth scraping across his neck just above the collar of his shirt, tickling the baby hairs at the back of his neck, the dampness of the taller man’s mouth leaving goosebumps on his skin.

Fai was hardly keeping the panic at bay, now. He hated feeling trapped—Seishiro had pushed him before, but never this far—and Fai didn’t know what to do when holding his ground didn’t work. 

He knew he couldn’t run. 

He couldn’t fight. 

Was he supposed to just take it? 

“Where did all that bravado of yours go, hm?” The hand that had been tracing the pattern of blood that had caked the front of Fai’s shirt slid lower. 

And Fai lost it. His forehead fell against the door and he barely had the sense to swallow the whine that was trying to work its way out of his throat, but his entire body started to tremble as warm fingers traced along his waistband. 

Fai repeated that he just had to hold his ground over and over to himself. If he didn’t react, Seishiro ought to get bored—he just had to hold his ground. 

His resolve broke when fingers dipped below his waist band—his breathing was coming out in little puffs and Fai was on the verge of a full-blown panic attack when he heard the door that separated the offices swing open. 

He must have looked all but awful because the look Subaru and Kamui gave him, one might think that they had just walked in on—well… 

Actually, that was an appropriate reaction, given the circumstances. 

Subaru was quick to react and Fai had no idea what kind of magic he worked, but before his racing thoughts could slow enough to process his surroundings—Subaru was standing besides he and Seishiro, whispering something in the taller man’s ear and giving him a serious look. 

Then, he was gone. It was just Fai and his two managers left in the hallway as he struggled to get himself back in control. 

A gentle hand on his shoulder helped him step back from the door and Fai locked eyes with Kamui for a moment before the younger man broke eye contact to look him over for injuries. 

He wasn’t hurt—he would probably have bruises from the tight grip on his hips—but Fai was already rocking bruises there from the amazing sex the last few days… 

“I’ll get you water…” Kamui headed down the hall towards the break room and Subaru took his place—offering an apologetic smile. 

He didn’t say anything, just silently followed Fai after the blond punched in the key code to his door and fled into his office to get a moment of peace. The silence persisted as he sat down in his chair and rested his head down onto his folded arms and focused on breathing. 

He heard Subaru open the door for Kamui after there was a soft knock and Fai sat up to accept the bottle of water from his 1st floor manager. His hands were shaking almost violently—but he managed to get the damn thing open and took a few sips before setting it aside. 

5 years ago, he probably could have taken this all in stride and be onto the next problem—this was frustrating. 

The few minutes of quiet and the water helped him feel a little less like his heart was about to beat out of his chest and Fai finally cleared his throat. “Thanks for jumping in. I’m a little overwhelmed.” 

“Understandable.” Subaru, who was sitting in one of the leather chairs on the far side of the wooden desk, offered him a sympathetic smile but didn’t look up from his hands. “Are you done for the night, by any chance?” 

“No. I have a meeting with my attorney to jet to, I’ll have to swing past Akai Heya and then finish a few other things. Keeping busy usually calms me down, though, so it will be fine.” It would distract him until it came time to go home, at least. 

He would have to get creative to keep himself calm, then, and he was not about to call Kurogane for drinks again. Not only could he not deal with a hangover three days in a row—but running to a police officer hours after he had committed murder was not the best idea. 

Even if he did give the best hugs. 

“I’ll help you get ready to go… I think Kamui needed you for something really quick, but we can figure it out, right?” Subaru turned to look at his brother who had taken to leaning against the door. 

Kamui shot Fai a serious look and sighed. “We can if you’re too busy. Fuuma asked me to come and tell you that Ryuu is lingering. He needs a good hour to get him ready for… disposal… and he wanted to know how he should handle it.” 

Oh.

Well, shit. 

No, that was pretty important, they were going to have people showing up for the night pretty soon and while Fai delegated a lot of responsibilities to Subaru and Kamui—they were not really trained in how to deal with this sort of thing. 

“No. I’ll handle it. Subaru, will you wait here for me?” Fai had to deal with Ryuu and Fuuma—but he did not want to try and get Subaru away from Seishiro later, given the mood he had been in...  

Thankfully, Subaru didn’t have any issues with that and Fai shut him away safely in his office and away from his overexcited lover before following Kamui to the back storeroom where Fuuma had already gotten set up. 

They were not exaggerating—poor thing was still holding on and the sound of his gurgling gasps was something Fai would never be able to unhear. 

Note to self—never kill someone with an anticoagulant again because the sound of them suffocating on their own blood was terrible. It was not as bad as it could be, of course… though the seriousness of the situation was somewhat ruined when Fai picked up on the distinct sound of the angry birds theme song playing. 

Fuuma was leaning against the far wall, already suited up in plastic from head to toe, complete with gloves, mask, and booties for his feet to keep the mess of clean up from getting on him. Apparently, while he waited for Ryuu to hurry up and finish suffocating—he had found the down time fitting to enjoy a quick game. 

Leave it to Fuuma to get Fai to crack a smile even at his current level of stress. 

Kamui was far less amused and stomped across the room only to stop a few feet away and glare up at his lover quietly. Fuuma didn’t acknowledge him and continued staring at his phone—the barest hint of a smirk tugging at the corner of his lips. 

Fai knelt down next to Ryuu and ran his fingers through the boys sweat soaked hair as he watched how the annoyance practically wafted off of Kamui at being ignored. They did not hit the two-minute mark before he lost his cool and crossed his arms over his chest. “What the fuck do you think you are doing?” 

“Trying to get past my stuck part.” Fuuma only glanced up for a second. 

There was no doubt in Fai’s mind that Fuuma knew exactly what he was doing. Unlike Seishiro, his younger brother had a goofy playful side that served to make his inner serial killer all the more terrifying when it came out. 

“Ryuu is fucking dying over there on the floor. You don’t think you could at least turn the fucking sound off?” Kamui reached out to snatch the smart phone away but Fuuma was faster and held the device above his head and out of reach of the younger man. 

That alone would have been funny enough but Fuuma did not take his eyes off the screen and continued to play—both arms raised above his head as he continued to flat out ignore Kamui. 

“Asshole!” Fai was sure that Kamui was going to jump for it—but his manger opted instead for kicking at his lovers shin childishly—Fuuma side stepping that as though he had been expecting it. 

“Such a prickly little kitten today.” Fuuma swiped with his finger across the screen and Fai sighed and focused his attention down to Ryuu. 

While their bickering was usually amusing to him—they had a situation they needed to deal with. His attention quickly snapped back when he heard Fuuma grunt, and he glanced up to find Kamui holding the phone and Fai wasn’t so sure he wanted to know how the younger man had gotten a hold of it. 

Keep away with Fuuma was not an easy game to win. “I’m not a fucking kitten and you know I can’t stand this noise.” His manager quickly muted the phone before handing it back and Fuuma frowned and accepted it. 

“Not denying the ‘prickly’, love?” He leaned back against the wall and went back to his game and Fai didn’t get to see Kamui’s reaction—but he heard the younger man growl in annoyance. 

Fai got to his feet and snagged one of the plastic tarps from a bin that was part of the cleaning crew’s supplies and went back to kneel down at Ryuu’s side. The poor thing had been through enough—it was time to put him out of his misery and get on with the night. 

“I’m not prickly, either—you’re just obnoxious. How would you feel if you were trying to die and the fucker who is two minutes away from cutting you up is playing the most annoying game on the planet while he waits?” 

Kamui had a point. Fai would probably find that pretty annoying. 

“Well, if I was him—I would be thankful that the person waited till I was actually dead before he started hacking me up. He can play whatever game he wants so long as I’m dead when he goes to town.” Fuuma also had a good point in Fai’s eyes, but this entire situation was fucked. 

Fai was ignored as he laid the tarp out on the floor next to Ryuu and he quietly lifted the boy up and settled him down again into the center of the plastic—still not earning the bickering couple’s attention. 

“Yeah, well, some people actually give a shit. Of course, you wouldn’t—I bet if Fai-sama would murder you himself for not wearing that monkey suit, you would probably enjoy getting disgustingly messy while you work, you sicko.” Fai smoothed Ryuus hair back one more time before pulling the small Weihrauch HW 22 out that he had tucked away earlier and whispered a quite apology before pressing the revolver’s muzzle to the center of his forehead. The back of the head, at the base of the skull, would be best—but Ryuu was trembling too badly and this would minimize the splatter.

“Babe, I told you I was sorry. I didn’t mean to get the acid on my shoes, but it’s a messy job. Spills hap—”

Fai pulled the trigger and Kamui and Fuuma finally shut up. Their heads snapped towards him and they watched Fai with wide eyes as he used his sleeve to wipe at the blood that had splattered up against his face. 

It would have been smart to grab some of the disposable plastic coveralls… 

Fuck. 

There was a long moment of silence and Fuuma finally shrugged and stepped forward—holding out a hand to help Fai to his feet. “Duty calls, I guess.”

“Get him gone in the next hour, if at all possible.” Fai accepted—his ears were ringing and that overwhelming panicked feeling was back. 

“Can do, boss. You ok there?” Fuuma didn’t let go of Fai right away and it was hard not to tug his hand away and instead offer a reassuring smile. 

“I’ve got a busy night ahead of me, so keep me posted, ok?” Fai was very much not ok, but he was not going to admit that to him at the moment. 

Fuuma wasn’t as bad as Seishiro—but that didn’t mean he was going to show the man any weakness. 

“Sure thing. Kamui will help ya get cleaned up, alright?” No—Fai would send him away once he was back in his office, but he didn’t want to deal with a debate. 

“I have my phone on me.” With that, Fai turned on his heel and marched out of the backroom. 

He was sure to keep his expression emotionless as he strode back through the main room—anyone who had stuck around had surely heard the distinct sound of a gunshot—and all eyes were on their boss as he strutted back to the offices without so much as batting an eyelash. 

It helped play up the image he was trying to project—fear was what he needed from them, currently. 

Kamui punched in the code to get back into the offices, much to the blond’s relief. He picked up on the fact that Fai did not want to be followed. He simply held the door open and offered a reassuring pat on the shoulder before his 1st floor manager disappeared into his own office, closing the door behind himself.  

Fai did not spare a moment before heading into his own. He almost paused when he caught the distinct sound of his assistant crying down in the break room—but seeing Fai even more bloodied than before wasn’t going to help him. 

He needed to get cleaned up and be on his way… but before he left, he needed to hand off orders to Kusanagi. 

Fai got the code on his door on the first try and almost slammed it shut behind him once he was safely inside again. Subaru looked up from his phone and frowned hard at him—eyes focusing on his bloodied face and the splatter pattern that stood out in stark contrast against the white fabric of his dress shirt. 

Subaru wasn’t silent for long but stood from his seat and made his way over to one of the cabinets. “I hope you don’t mind, but I sent Seishiro out to see if he could get a lead on where Rhondart might be hiding… He needs to work out some of that energy.” 

“I appreciate that.” Fai watched him pull one of the suits that were hanging in plastic out of the cabinet—holding it out and inspecting it with a critical eye before draping it over his arm and looking through the ties he had hanging. 

Fai didn’t keep much at the office—just enough to make sure he could be decent for nights like tonight. 

“I haven’t seen him like that in a while… hopefully, Fuuma is a little more together?” Subaru kept his tone conversational and after selecting a tie, he closed the cabinet and walked slowly back towards the desk. 

Fuuma was just as excited—but he got to take his ‘frustration’ out on the body. 

“He’s keeping busy.” Fai again had to stop himself before he ran a hand through his hair. 

He was just about desperate for a shower at this point. 

“Good. What time is your meeting?” the 2nd floor manager draped the clothing over the back of the office chair and grabbed a package that had not been there when Fai had left. “It’s with Miss Yuuko, right?” 

Fai nodded slowly and watched Subaru tear the package open and pull out a baby wipe. It was no shower—but it was better than nothing, he supposed. 

“Yes. We’re meeting at 9 over at Garasu-ka.” Which seemed like plenty of time—but there was so much that needed to be done. Fai reached out to grab the wipe from his manager only to have Subaru grab his hand and start to clean the gore away. 

“A lot to do beforehand?” Fai nodded slowly but didn’t pull away. 

He and Subaru had always been close—after Yuui’s death, he had seriously distanced himself personally from him—but Subaru always knew when he was unsettled and usually helped to calm him down. 

He had an uncanny ability to read people and somehow had always been able to see through all of Fai’s masks and shields. 

Usually, it bothered him—made him feel exposed—but times like now, it was nice. There was no point in playing brave around Subaru. All he had to do was get a good look at his boss to know where his head was at. 

“I need to make sure Syaoran is ok—I know that was hard on him.” Fai had picked up on the fact that Subaru had been watching his assistant more than the ‘show.’ There was no way the boy’s distress had slipped his notice. 

Subaru nodded and turned the blond’s palm over in his hand and started wiping the back of his hand as well before dropping it and reaching for the other. 

“He needs time off to process.” Fai agreed—he was too afraid to just send the boy home. He would have to have someone keep a close eye on him. Not that he thought Syaoran would ever betray them—but he was taking this even harder than Fai had assumed he would. 

He should have sent him home. 

“I know. I think I might reassign him for a few months.” Perhaps permanently, if he really couldn’t handle this line of work. 

“Good call… You should take it easy for a while, too. It’s been a bit since you’ve had such an intense night.” Subaru finished with his other hand and tossed the wipe in the waste bin before pulling another one out of the package. 

“I had to… you know that, right?” Fai really hated having to pull a move like that. The rat poison had made a hell of a statement, sure—but at what cost to his mental state? 

A bullet to the back of the head would have been a hell of a lot less traumatizing for everyone. 

“Yes. I also know that was hard for you to do.” Subaru used an even pressure as he wiped at the smeared blood on Fai’s face and the blond closed his eyes and tried to focus on getting his trembling to settle. 

It was hard for him to do… 

He would have wrapped his arms around his stomach to try and stop it from fluttering and flipping, but his shirt was so dirty—he was itching to strip it off and get into something dry—almost as much as he wanted the hot blood off of his skin. 

Subaru took his time cleaning off his cheeks, forehead and neck and Fai was extremely grateful for how thorough he was being. If he had had to do this himself, he would be stuck in front of the mirror for hours scrubbing—that was usually how it went, though. 

The fact that he had to be in a meeting soon was the only thing saving him from scrubbing his face, neck and hands raw. 

The long silence finally ended when Subaru finished up wiping away the majority of the blood and swatted Fai’s hands away when he tried to reach for his tie to loosen it. His manager took care of that for him. “Let me. You just need to keep breathing.” 

“I wasn’t aware that I had stopped.” Fai didn’t manage a smile, but that comment earned him one. 

The tie came loose and Subaru tossed it right into the trash bin along with the used baby wipes. Good call—they would send them with Fuuma to be properly disposed of. 

“You have a hard job, you know. You spend all day and night worrying about your people—let me help you.” he spoke quietly—eyes soft as he started to work the buttons free. 

Subaru did his own share of worrying—but Fai appreciated the sentiment. 

“Hm, first Kuro-chan and now you… everyone is in the mood to spoil me, it seems.” Fai didn’t realize what he was saying until it had already left his mouth. 

It didn’t escape his manager’s notice—but Subaru didn’t react right away. He nodded slowly and continued to work the buttons free until he had gotten the last one loose. Carefully, he helped Fai ease out of the shirt without getting too much gore on his actual skin—and the shirt joined the tie in the wastebasket. 

It wasn’t until Subaru was wiping away the crimson liquid that had seeped through the thin fabric of his shirt that he spoke. “Kuro-chan is the one who left all of these marks, then?” 

Oh—right, he had almost forgotten about the love bites. There was no judgement from Subaru on that front—not given the very claimed state that Seishiro kept him in. 

This was nothing in comparison.

Fai liked it a little rough—but Seishiro could be downright sadistic in bed and Subaru was into it—those two had been together since Fai and Subaru’s highschool days and for whatever reason, they worked. 

“Hm… he’s been spoiling me rotten. Shame he plays for the wrong team.” Green eyes glanced up at him before refocusing. 

“He is very handsome.” Had Subaru met him last night? Fai couldn’t remember… “—what’s he like?” 

Fai hummed in thought for a moment. 

Kuro-chan was… complicated.

“He’s very—well he is a very good man. I hope he finds someone who makes him very happy one day.” Kuro-chan was far better off without Fai—he and Biggs would be fine officers. 

Subaru nodded and motioned vaguely for Fai to finish undressing while he turned to grab the fresh clothing. “He did not like the way Sei-chan was testing you yesterday. I thought he was going to jump him for sure.” 

“To be honest, I have no idea what happened, but I am glad he didn’t.” Sure—Fai didn’t know Kurogane too terribly well yet, but he knew he was one stubborn bastard—probably just as stubborn, if not more stubborn than Seishiro. 

“You had it under control as usual. I overheard this morning that you broke things off… I was pretty surprised.” pulling the plastic up and over the thick wooden hanger, he draped it over the desk to be taken care of later. “—I haven’t seen you smile like that since before the car accident.” 

Fai felt his breath hitch—Subaru locked eyes with him and Fai had to blink a few times and count back from 10 in his head before answering. 

Ouch. 

He did not need to hear that tonight. 

Both his fathers and now one of his oldest friends had pointed that painful truth out. 

“What would you have me do? He’s a police officer. I like him a lot, but I can’t quit my job for a man I met a little over a week ago—our line of work doesn’t work like that.” Subaru nodded again, pulled the shirt off of the hanger and started working the buttons free while Fai finished undressing. 

“No—but he gave you the look.” His manager held the shirt out to him by the shoulders and Fai turned so that he could slip one of his arms inside. 

“If it’s the look Seishio gives you, then I will pass—I have enough would be serial killers to babysit—I don’t need another.” Subaru chuckled at that and Fai slid his other arm into the shirt before he pulled it up on his back. 

“No… like the way your stepfather looks at your dad.” Fai froze and Subaru quirked an eyebrow. He knew he had hit close to home with that one. “I know you know what I mean. I’ve never seen someone be able to look so… devoted before. That's how Kuro-chan looks at you.” 

“Well as much as he annoys me sometimes—Taishakuten is good for my father… So, it doesn't matter how Kuro-loo looks at me… It’s not even comparable.” Kurogane would probably be a good thing for him, sure—but Fai was a VERY bad thing for Kurogane. 

Fai might be in the business of murder, drug trafficking, selling skin, bribing politicians and officials—but he was not in the business of breaking hearts and ruining lives if he didn’t have to. 

Kurogane was better off without him. There were no ifs, ands or buts about that. 

“You do remember that Taishakuten broke up your parent’s marriage? He fucked your mom to prove to your dad that she was a shitty person, then manipulated him when he was vulnerable to weasel his way into his good graces. That is about as dysfunctional as a couple can get, Fai.” Subaru turned back around and grabbed the matching pair of slacks and tossed them over to his boss. He snagged the bloodied pair and they joined the rest of the clothes in the bin.  

He wasn’t wrong. Fai’s family was good at dysfunctionality—it was pretty much their favorite pastime at this point, but Tai was also the one to stick by Ashura after the accident and help hold their little family together. 

“Fair point—but if it hadn’t been him, Sashi would have screwed someone else and dad would never have known… besides, he is always there. He goes to every appointment and waits on my dad hand and foot. He even deals with me and my shit to keep my dad’s stress level down.” Taishakuten was an asshat—but he loved deep and hard and was basically a saint. 

Fai loved his father with all his heart and soul, but he was not an easy person to live with, that was for sure. 

“You don’t think Kuro—Fai, what is his actual name?” Subaru sighed and grabbed one of the baby wipes to clean away the splatters of blood that were on the black leather of the belt while Fai pulled on the pants and buttoned them. 

“Kurogane.” 

“—well, you don’t think Kurogane would do that for you?” Subaru inspected it closely before handing it over to him as well. 

Fai felt his heart flip and he frowned hard as his shaking hands tried to line the end of the belt up with the loop. “Actually—I am almost positive he would… Kuro-sama is a very good man—far too good for me and he deserves someone better.” 

“You deserve to be happy.” Subaru reached out and took the belt from him and got it through the loop on his first go, and rather than making Fai turn—he made a slow loop around his boss. 

“You just watched me force a kid to snort rat poison. Sure about that?” Fai got the feeling that Kurogane would have had A LOT to say about that. 

He was too good of a person to understand the hard decisions Fai had to make every day here… While they both tried to keep the city safe—Fai did not do it by the book and Kuro-chan liked his rules. 

“That was hard to watch—but Ryuu did that to himself. What would happen if you let this rebellion go on, Fai? How many more laced baggies would have made it out to innocent customers?” Subaru left Fai to buckle the belt and grabbed the dirtied suit coat off the floor and started fishing through the pockets, setting the contents on the edge of the desk. 

“Kurogane wouldn’t understand. It wouldn’t work and I need to keep everyone safe. He is safest without me around—and you all are safest without him around.” Fai was the one to reach around and grab the clean jacket to pull it on. 

“I won’t push you. It was nice to see you so happy last night, is all… It was also nice to see Sei-chan get possessive over you like that… It’s been a while since you’ve made him jealous like that.” his manager wore the smallest of smiles as he handed over his wallet and keys. 

“Is that why he was so… well, Seishiro-ish earlier?” Fai did not want a repeat of that—so it was probably a good thing Kuro-chan was gone. 

“Well, not only did you scold him in front of your new friend—but then you decided to put on a show for him today with Ryuu and it got him… bothered. Thanks, by the way—he is going to be a nightmare when we get home.” Fai did not miss the fact that Subaru had not handed back his coke—it was still sitting on the edge of the desk and he tried not to eye it too openly. 

“What do you do when he gets like that?” Fai wrapped his arms around his stomach—talking was helping him feel more grounded. 

He was not going to think too hard on the fact that talking about Kurogane is the thing that finally helped him push the sound of angry birds and Ryuu choking on his own blood out of his mind. 

“Ignore him if he gets out of hand. I am hoping chasing Rhondart will get most of his energy out...  You just got this baggie a few hours ago, right?” Subaru fingered the edge of the small earring bag—keeping his green eyes respectfully down cast. 

“Yeah.” Fai wouldn’t lie about that—Subaru would just ask Seishiro if he didn’t believe him, anyways. “I needed a boost to put that mask on.” 

“I don’t blame you… it’s just… last night you told us you were quitting.” Subaru handed it over and Fai tried not to look too eager as he tucked it into his pocket. 

Had he? 

Well, he had meant to, that was for sure… if shit hadn’t hit the fan, he would be about halfway through coming down. 

“Sorry. Things got messy and I need to be on my game.” Fai offered a small smile, grabbed his phone off the table as well—the only notifications were from his parents and Yuuko. 

Good. 

He didn’t need any more problems. 

“Don’t apologize. You’re doing a good job, I just wanted to make sure you’re ok. If you can, take it easy the rest of the night…” That was Subaru’s very kind way of saying that he was keeping an eye on Fai’s intake. 

Probably a good thing. 

He doubted Seishiro would give a shit if he OD’d because he was pushing too hard. 

“Did you want to come with me to check up on Syaoran? Or do you need to head up to the second floor to oversee prep for opening?” Instructions f or Hinoto would have to wait—he could probably wrap those up when he stopped by to meet the officers that were going to be sniffing around.

“I should be heading up. If you need a quiet place for him to recoup his nerves, I think Hisui was looking for a new assistant.” 

Fai was aware. Hisui’s last assistant had been recruited to run his own club a few months ago. It wasn’t a bad idea when you thought about it—but Fai would want Syaoran back from the 3rd floor manager of Kurōbā

Syaoran might just be tempted to stay with him, given the lack of danger, and Hisui wouldn’t let his talents go underappreciated.

“I’ll keep that in mind.” Fai and Subaru quietly exited his office and he had to keep his hands clenched into fists as he made his way down the hallway towards the sound of deep murmuring and distraught sniffling. 

Oh boy, this was his fault. 

Fai strode confidently into the break room and found Syaoran sipping water slowly while Kusanagi talked in a quiet, low rumble—too low for Fai to make out what he was saying. Two sets of eyes snapped to attention. 

Kusanagi gave him a sympathetic nod, and Syaoran just ripped Fai’s heart out of his chest and shredded it into a million pieces with the utter fear and hurt that dripped from his expression. 

“Hey.” Fai didn’t offer a smile. It wasn’t appropriate. 

He kept his eyes downcast and kept his face reserved as he approached them, frantically trying to decide what he wanted to say to try and fix this. 

Well—Fai was actually very aware that there was no way to ‘fix it’ now. He should never let the kid stay… This was going to change their dynamic no matter how much he hated it… 

Such was life, though—when it rains, it pours. 

Syaoran set his water aside and wiped the tears off of his face before standing up straight—eyes glued to the floor and stone cold silent as he waited for Fai to continue. “I think you’re done for tonight. You need to go home and take a breather, ok? I’m worried about you.” 

Fai reached out to place a comforting hand on his assistants shoulder only to pull it back when Syaoran flinched away from the gesture—backing right up and slamming against Kusanagi’s chest in his attempt to get away. 

Yeah—Fai fucked Syaoran up good… 

“W—what are you guys doing with him…” Syaoran side stepped Kusanagi and probably would have continued to back himself slowly away if his enforcer didn’t hold him in place with a strong arm. 

“Hey now. We talked about this, Syaoran.” Kusanagi didn’t let go and let the teen lean back against him. “You can’t think like that. Fai-sama did his job to keep you and everyone else here safe.” 

Hopefully, his assistant could accept that with time, but Fai vividly remembered the first time he had seen his boss punish someone. Fai hadn’t known that kid well—but he would never get the sounds of him begging for his life as the last man in Fai’s shoes had had a gun to his forehead. 

Granted—Fai took the punishment game to a whole new level—but he hadn’t had an underling try and off him in a while because of it. Syaoran had no intentions of climbing the ranks and was probably pretty desperate to get as far away from this drug ring as he possibly could, at the moment. 

Fai would let him go in a heartbeat, but it wasn’t safe until they had the Reed situation handled. 

“He was my friend. I deserve to know.” He managed to muster a bit of force in his tone and Fai was seriously torn.

No point in lying—all Syaoran had to do was go to the back storeroom to see exactly what Fuuma was doing. “What was that gunshot?” Syaoran pressed after too many moments of silence from his boss. 

“I didn’t want him to linger any longer. I put him down and Fuuma is going to take care of him per procedure.” Fai was very well aware of the fact that he was keeping almost all of the emotion off of his face and out of his voice. 

Sometimes it was better not to ‘pretend’ that you cared after pulling a stunt like he had—that’s the way it would come off, and it was not what poor Syaoran needed. 

“He’s not a dog, Fai… You don’t put people down.” his assistant’s words cut like a knife. 

Syaoran was always so upbeat and happy—he had never seen him angry like this. It wasn’t as though he didn’t have a right to be—he had never lost someone close to him from what Fai understood and it wasn’t easy. 

Fai had lost a few friends in this line of work—and it was one of the few things that made him angry these days. All his life, he had never been someone prone to anger—he knew Syaoran was similar in that aspect. 

He supposed it was better that he was reacting at all versus retracting in on himself and bottling things up… but it was hard to watch. 

Thank god for Kusanagi. 

“He was suffering. It was the right thing to do—I had nothing against him but I couldn’t let him live.” Fai didn’t try to get closer. He knew Syaoran needed space. 

“Because of you.” his assistant finally locked eyes with him and Fai had to take a deep breath and remind himself what it would be like to be in Syaoran’s shoes. 

He was just a kid—he didn’t need to understand. 

“Yes. I am aware.” Fai turned his attention to Kusanagi who was still giving him the pity frown. “I want you to take him home and keep an eye on him. I’ll update you on your duties tomorrow.”

“Gottcha.” his enforcer nodded and Syaoran was back to scowling down at the floor and trying to hold back his tears. 

“Syaoran, you take as much time off as you need. If you wanna come back, let me know—we can ease you back in at the café or by working under another one of my managers. Ok?” His assistant at least nodded. 

There was that.

Chapter Text

Fai’s ringtone was blaring as he pulled into the parking garage that sat under the 4th tallest building in all of Tokyo—the very same building that his father and stepfather’s firm was in—and the same building that housed Yuuko’s favorite restaurant to talk business. 

Fai both loved and hated this restaurant. He could remember Sashi bringing him and his twin up to get dinner with their father on nights he would work late at the office. He and Yuui would always split an order Pasta Alfredo and get a chocolate lava cake for dessert. 

Even after the divorce, the two of them would swing past work after school to get dinner if they knew Ashura and Tai were working late. Auntie Yuuko had often joined them, too—and this was also the place she took Fai to on his 20th birthday. 

That had been his first birthday without Yuui to share it with—and he had gotten so drunk he had puked in the back seat of her car… To be fair—she should have known better. But Taishakuten was not amused when Yuuko had dropped him back off at home, crying incoherently and apologizing about ruining the white carpet of her brand new Audi… 

It was kinda on her for getting a custom car with white carpet, to begin with… but at the time, he had felt terrible. 

This was the place Fai had first fessed up to the shady shit he had gotten himself into. He had chosen to tell Yuuko here because she couldn’t murder him in public—as expected, she had not been happy about the news. 

Fai had a feeling he was in for a serious lecture—hence the location. 

While the firm sat on the 54th floor, you had to go all the way up to the tippy top to hit their meeting spot. The view was lovely and Yuuko had their usual table reserved, so at least Fai could enjoy the Tokyo skyline while he was getting lectured. 

He snagged Tai’s reserved spot—he had probably gone home to be with Ashura hours ago, so he didn’t sweat it. After putting the car in park, he sent the call to voicemail and pulled the baggie out of the inner breast pocket of his jacket. 

He didn’t want to have to dip out in the middle of dinner, so he might as well take care of that before he went up. 

 

I’m a patient woman, Fai, but you’re 45 minutes late. 

I am not the type of lady you stand up on a dinner date. 

 

No—No, she wasn’t. 

She would hopefully understand once he explained his night so far. She would need a heads up on the investigations that were going to be coming his way, anyway.

 

Just pulled in. 

I hope you’re excited to wrack up some billable hours 

This night has been a hot mess. 

Please order me whatever you’re having and I’ll be up in 5. 

 

Fine. Don’t get kidnapped on your way up.

 

Fai shook his head slowly and stuck his phone in his pocket. He usually had a rule that he didn’t do this in his car—definitely not this car—but he was not about to do it in the bathroom of the restaurant. 

He preferred lines but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do—and tonight that meant tapping a generous amount of the powder onto the back of his fisted hand so that he had a neat mound—and plugged one nostril and snuffed. 

Switch hands—re-up—and repeat with the other side. 

Now the real question was, could he get the elevator down here and all the backup top before he ran out of time? Yuuko was not happy with him—and she might just punish him for his recent bad behavior. Their relationship was very much her way or the highway—and he did not have time to take the highway. 

Not with two of his boys sitting in jail on class A felonies, two bodies on his hands, and the beginning of a power struggle starting. 

In the elevator, he watched as emails finally started to trickle back in—lots of questions from managers and even a few names he didn’t recognize right off the bat—tip-offs. 

Good. 

He needed all the info he could get. It was nice to know that killing Ryuu off in such an obscene way was enough to scare people straight. 

One good thing—Yuuko didn’t give a shit if he worked while they talked. He only ran a few minutes over his promise, but he tried not to read into the look she gave him as he slid into the seat across from her and sipped the martini she had ordered him. 

Not his drink of choice—but hopefully that would help him avoid a hangover three days in a row. 

“On a scale of one to ten, how done with my shit are you.” Fai flashed her a perfect smile as he set his drink back down, and her expression didn’t change as she watched him. 

“Eleven.” Yuuko sipped her own drink—tone flat—expression very unamused. 

“How many numbers do I get before I have to worry?” Fai chuckled and Yuuko turned her crimson eyes to look out the window. 

It was never a good thing when she was quiet. 

“Is it because I was late, because you caught me in bed with a cop or because I have two new messes for you?” Fai went to take another sip from his drink but ended up knocking the entire thing back. 

He could use the buzz now but should be better off on the driving front if he cut himself off after this one drink and switched to water for the rest of their talk. 

“You’re higher than a kite, Fai.” His aunt didn’t look directly at him, but she was watching his reflection in the flawless glass of the window and also didn’t miss the sharp breath he took in. 

Was he that high?

He felt pretty normal, to be honest—almost alive—but not quite there. 

“You know, our situation last night?” Fai liked to think that most people would be just as high—if not higher—if they had had the kinda night he had. “It wasn’t an OD. One of my rats laced the product.” 

That peaked her attention and Yuuko locked eyes with him, a silent prompt to continue and dish. 

“With rat poison.” 

“My, my. No wonder you’ve been tripping over yourself, but I still don’t think that is really enough to excuse your current state.” Well, Fai would probably still be hitting the snow hard if he hadn’t just had to make an example out of Ryuu—but letting her know about that would certainly help his case. 

“Oh, there is more—I’ll be the first to ‘fess up that I am not taking this stress well—but hear me out.” Yuuko all but rolled her eyes at him—she has heard it all before, after all. 

“You said rats. As in, more than one… and they’re using rat poison?” 

“Surprise, surprise! Peace doesn’t last forever in my business… I had to make an example out of a kid today and he was most likely the lowest man on the totem pole in this little scheme…” That was probably the most brutal example he was going to make. 

Fai couldn’t do that again anytime soon. Not, if he wanted to preserve any scrap of humanity and mental sanity he might have left. His nerves were still buzzing and the shock of it continued to wear off...

It was gonna be a hell of a night. 

Fai was gonna need to numb out before it really hit him. 

“What kind of example?” The waiter swung by the table and both Fai and Yuuko slapped on the most pleasant smiles they could manage as they greeted him. 

Fai needed to eat, even though he had no appetite. It wasn’t uncommon for him to go more than 24 hours without food but he had a feeling part of the reason why he couldn’t stop shaking had a lot to do with the fact that he had been really shitty on the food front for months now. 

He ordered some Pasta Alfredo for nostalgia’s sake and denied a second martini in favor of some water. Their waiter thanked them for their orders and hustled off, leaving them to continue their conversation. 

“Something must be wrong. Last I knew, you were on a strict candy and RedBull diet.” Yuuko was not one for moderation and Fai had no idea how she managed to stay so thin given her eating habits—she ordered the prime rib and another dry martini—Fai was sure she had had a few before he had shown up. 

“I wanted to make a point to my people, so I made him finish off the laced product… it was messy and terrible to watch and I am not in a good head space.” this time it was Fai who chose to watch her reaction through the window rather than directly. 

Yuuko was strict—she would kick his ass into next week the second she thought he was out of control—but even she had to understand this. 

“You need a vacation.” Yuuko sighed and Fai didn’t know if that was just a comment or a command. 

He would love a vacation, but that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. 

Flying to some remote location and hiding from humanity for a week or so would probably do him wonders. 

“You know I can’t. I need to quash this before it gets out of control.” Fai looked past their reflections and watched the traffic buzzing past in the streets below. He was going to have a hell of a time getting to Akai Heya before the investigators showed. 

Hinoto would stall for him, of course… Given how pissed his aunt was, he at least didn’t have to worry about getting stuck listening to the latest gossip or entertain too much small talk. 

It would work out—at least that was what he told himself as his chest continued to flutter nervously. 

He probably didn’t need any more snow to be up—his nerves were doing that for him all on their own, it seemed. 

“Handle it fast, then. I understand you're under a lot of stress, but don’t think for a second that I will look the other way while you fuck your life up worse than you already have.” Yuuko sighed and finished off her own drink and the waiter was dropping her off another one within seconds. “So you poisoned one rat. What will you do with the rest?” 

“Well...not the same thing as with the one I caught today, that is for sure.” Fai was writing poison off his things-to-commit-murder-with list for good. Unless it was gonna be quick and clean— he could do without. 

“Well—Rats become immune quick, anyways. They also breed like rabbits, so what’s the plan?” Yuuko leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms over her chest while giving him an expectant look. 

Fai must have spoiled her over the years by having his shit together enough to be a step or two ahead… He hadn't gotten that far—he was still catching up on what had been going down right underneath his nose without his notice. 

Fai was resourceful, though. He would be back on top after he got his shit together—Yuuko couldn't know he ever let things get that far away from him. 

“I have my best trying to flush out the next one up the chain and I scared my little kittens bad enough that I am getting flooded with clues. Once I am done meeting with you, it’s off to Akai Heya to meet the investigatio—”

“I know my nephew is not that stupid.” Yuuko cut him off and managed to look down at him even though Fai knew damn well he had height on her. 

Fai flashed her a tight smile and she seemed even more annoyed that he didn’t seem to have any idea what she was talking about. 

“You grew up with two dads who are attorneys—your dear old auntie has been counciling you on legal matters for years… Why are you going to meet with people investigating a crime without your attorney there?” 

Oh, that was easy—Yuuko’s presence would only make it more complicated. He needed them to think there was nothing amiss and Fai Flourite didn't lawyer up for small things like this. 

“Because I am a career criminal and those cops are on my payroll. Akai Heya is going to be shut down permanently and everything moved out before they will have time to get the warrant.” Fai tried to keep his tone polite but stress bled into his smile despite his efforts. “Everyone is on the same page and while they're coming to see if we’ve seen our soupy friend… there is no reason for them to suspect that I—or my staff there—are actually involved in his death.”

“I don’t like it. You’re being reckless again. Two bodies in two days. Any idea how much time that could land you with?” She sipped her drink again and went back to staring out the window. 

Fai was very well aware, but he also knew she liked to remind him. 

“Would it make you feel better if you came with me? You’re welcome to see how I roll. You might just be surprised at how well padding the cop’s pockets bodes for things like this.” Fai usually got tipped off before the cops showed at one of his places and he usually handled it without so much as mentioning it to his attorney. 

People went missing all the time and when you owned most of the popular night scenes, you ended up connected to things more often than not. He had learned after a year or two into this how to deal. It was a well-practiced dance—that was as official as it got and he always got off without much more than a request to install security cameras. 

“No. I can’t be connected to anything like that going on. I want details. A call as soon as it’s over and you need to tell me every last scrap of that conversation so I can be prepared if need be.” Fair enough. “You’ve been lax on the communication lately. Fix that.” 

“Deal—so long as you don’t come over and wake me up before my alarm unless someone is dying.” Fai’s smile was a little easier this time and Yuuko snorted. 

“Excuse me, but you are the one who decided to keep me in the dark about the OD. I had to text your father to make sure you had even turned up at home at the end of the night. Imagine my surprise when he fills me in that you were so busy with your new boyfriend you forget to tell me that you had things handled.” Yuuko took a long sip of her drink and Fai couldn’t do anything but shrug. 

He had been overwhelmed and started drinking—he didn’t remember much of last night. 

“He’s not my boyfriend. He was a three-night stand that has been cut loose.” And it was better off this way. It would get Seishiro and Yuuko off his back and Kurogane could continue to do his thing without Fai being a hot mess and ruining his life. 

Win-win for everyone but himself—though staying outta jail was a nice perk. 

“Oh, Ashura ratted your cute little self denying ass out. He is not just a three-night stand, lover boy.” Yuuko finally cracked a smile and Fai sighed. 

People really needed to stop pointing out just how much he liked Kurogane. 

It would be really helpful. 

“What exactly do you mean?” Yuuko asked and he shrugged. Fai really wished he remembered last night. 

Kurogane being there in the morning had been… well, both wonderful and stressful. 

It had been amazing to see that Kurogane fit in with them, because… well, Fai had never brought a boy home that his fathers hadn’t hated with a fiery passion. Sure, the last time he had done that, he had been in high school and had been dating an asshat.

Similar deal, different reaction. Ok—he was not underaged this time—and while he and Kuro-cutie had planned to slip upstairs to sleep, he had not snuck him in through the window. 

That probably had a lot to do with it. 

That and the fact that both Ashura and Tai were constantly asking when he was planning on settling down… even given the mortifying start to the morning, they had both rolled with the punches with surprisingly good humor. 

Kurogane had liked them, too...which was also a nice surprise. Fai had no idea how everyone ended up getting along and he had decided not to worry too much about it. 

It was over, after all, so no point in wasting the brainpower. He would explain that to his parents tomorrow before he left for work. 

Yuuko reached into her purse and pulled out her phone. Unlocking it, she quickly pulled up her text messages, scrolled up a bit and showed them to Fai. 

 

How is my partner in crime doing? 

 

Fine. What’s going on? 

 

Nothing serious. I was just checking in to make sure that Fai made it home ok. 

We were having coffee and he had to jet. He was supposed to let me know when he made it home. 

I know how busy he gets so I assume he is sleeping and not ignoring me. 

 

He just headed back to bed. 

This morning has been interesting to say the least. He got in early 

Well. Early for him anyways and he brought a friend. 

 

Oh? 

Is that a good thing?

 

He’s been giggling and smiling like I haven’t seen him do in years. 

His friend seems like a nice young man as well. 

 

So Fai finally got himself a boyfriend!

 

I don’t think they have labeled it. 

Though he was in my kitchen this morning shirtless and stuck in a pair of handcuffs. 

I am not sure what else you would call that type of relationship. 

Boyfriend seems fitting. 

 

He must have made quite the impression on you and the husband then. 

Pray tell…

How did he get stuck in a pair of handcuffs? 

 

Poor dear fell victim to Fai’s antics. 

I am sure he didn’t handcuff himself or lose the key, so that only leaves one culprit. 

We cannot stop laughing. 

He kept his cool but he has to be mortified. I sent Tai to go get some bold cutters and we at least were able to clip the chain so he could get a shirt on. 

 

He’s still there??

 

Yes. I assume Kurogane does not have work today. 

Fai never leaves before 5-6ish. 

 

But he does have a job? 

I know Fai never attracts the best company. 

 

Yes. He works as an officer for the Tokyo police department. 

 

Fai is dating a cop? Our Fai? 

 

It would seem so. 

 

Well, isn’t that interesting. 

Mind if I stop by to take a look with my own eyes?

 

By all means. 

 

Kk. See you soon!! 

 

Fai sighed and handed the phone back. He knew that Yuuko and his father pretty much told each other everything, but it was nice to know he really had been ratted out by his own father. 

“So? I broke it off this morning. It’s over.” Fai sipped his water and Yuuko did not look like she was buying it. 

Why was no one believing him? 

“Just like that, then?” She said just as the waiter returned to the table with their food and they both shooed him away with assurances that they really were fine and didn’t need anything else. 

“Just like that. Why does everyone assume I am gonna overhaul my life for some man I met on Tinder?” Fai scowled down at his plate and pushed the food around. 

He knew it would be tasty, but he had no appetite at all.

“Maybe because you are extremely impulsive? How long has it been since something actually made you happy, Fai?” Yuuko had no such reservations about her food and dug right in. 

That was a dangerous question—but a good one. She was always full of good questions. Fai was far too close to a mental breakdown to think about how he was doomed to be forever alone. 

“I don’t need a boyfriend to be happy.” That was Fai’s default response whenever anyone pulled that rational with him. 

Usually, it shut them right down, but Yuuko only rolled her eyes. 

“I didn’t say someone—I said something. I’m actually quite worried about you—and not just about your legal issues.” Well as sweet as that was, Fai didn’t want to talk about Kurogane. 

What was done, was done—and he had no intention of changing his mind. I wasn’t safe for him, Kurogane or his people, so it just didn’t make sense. 

It would be selfish. 

Fai took his first bite so he didn’t have to answer that and turned to look out the window. His hit from earlier was starting to wear off and he didn’t know how much longer he could sit here and play nice… there was so much he needed to do. 

A short silence fell over the table. Yuuko apparently waited for him to say something—she finally spoke up when the silence game continued. “You’re worrying your father, too, you know? He thinks your depression is getting worse again and hopes it’s just because we're getting closer to the anniversary.” 

“I have a lot going on right now. It will calm down.” It always did. 

Fai just needed to sniff out and deal with a few more rats before that could happen. 

“Even Tai mentioned that he is worried about you. So you know you really must be freaking the two of them out.” Yuuko took another bite of her food and so did Fai. 

He didn’t want to talk about it.

He was doing his best. There was no lack of time, effort or stress on his part to keep this whole show on the road. Fai didn’t have anything left to give. 

Another long silence and Fai set his fork aside and sighed. “Any news on how my stray kittens’ cases are going?” 

Two of his boys were still in jail, still away from their families and still missing their classes. Yuuko hadn't updated him on how much money he needed to move her way, so it was probably safe to assume that there was no changes. 

Still, though—it was a safe topic. 

“Well, they’re still in jail and it looks like it’s going to stay that way for the time being. I am going to see about setting things over and stalling until closer to election time.” Yuuko didn’t sound too concerned about it, which was reassuring. 

Election season was the best time of year to swing favors with the people who ran the city—so while that was still a few months off, a few months in jail were better than 20+ years in prison. 

Fai would reimburse them for the classes they were missing. It was the least he could do, considering it was his fault they were in there in the first place. He tried very hard to keep his people from picking up records or having their life affected drastically by their line of work—but there was only so much he could do. 

“Am I allowed to visit them or would that cause too many issues?” Everyone knew who they worked for, so it wasn’t as though it would be some huge surprise that Fai Flourite was visiting his dealers in jail—but he didn't want to make Yuuko’s case load any more difficult. 

“You’d better not. Keep your nose clean and deal with your little rebellion before you get a one way ticket to hang out with your twin 6 feet under.” Yuuko took another bite of her food and Fai felt a pang in his chest. 

That wouldn’t be so bad, but their dad still needed him. 

Still... ouch. 

Yuuko really knew how to hit him where it hurts. 

“I’ll do my best. Speaking of which—dad wants to go visit him for the anniversary.” Fai took another bite and Yuuko studied him for a moment before answering. 

“You still won't get near it, hm?” Fai shook his head back and forth at her question. 

Nope. He couldn’t deal with that, not even after 14 years. He would be doing what he usually did on that day…so someone else would have to go with dad. 

“Tai isn’t going?” 

Tai always went. That was not why Fai was asking her to go—Sashi was going to be there. That was one more reason why Fai didn’t want to go—but she was coming with Ash because apparently, on the 15th anniversary of Yuui’s death, she suddenly cared about the fact that one of her sons had died in a violent accident. 

She is going to be there. Someone needs to keep Taishakuten’s mouth in check and dad needs extra support… besides me, you’re the only one who can handle all three of them in the same room. If you don’t go, Ash might just crawl down and decide to stay with Yuui so he doesn’t have to deal with our parents.” 

Ash had been less than a year old when their parents had called it quits and he had only been 4 or 5 when Yuui had passed away. He didn’t remember the sweet Yuui that had been his loving older brother—he only remembered the ghost that haunted their family. 

Which—it broke Fai’s heart that his little brother didn’t remember his better half… He only went to support his father. Yuui’s memory was a burden to him, not something he cherished like the rest of the family. 

Sashi had gone off the rails after the accident and Fai would NEVER forgive her. Now, he may have come out of things almost totally fine minus some amnesia the day of the accident and going blind in his left eye—But he had been out a few weeks. 

Not like Ashura, sure—but right after the accident, the doctors didn’t know if he was going to wake up. He had had a slight concussion but nothing that explained being in a coma for three weeks. When he had woken up, it had been chalked up to the trauma of seeing his brother die in the front seat and he had been given a counselor and sent home with his step dad. 

While he had been out, Taishakuten had had to deal with everything. From not knowing if Fai or his husband were going to pull through to the funeral for Yuui and childcare for Ash. Tai was a shaker and a mover, but even he had only so much mental bandwidth and he had thought he could trust Sashi with her son and had packed him up and let her come get him. 

Now— you would think that after being married to his father for over 25 years and damn near all of her adult life, she might just step up and help, right? 

No. 

Oh, she took Ash in a heartbeat—she had moved on after the divorce surprisingly fast but had never forgiven his dad over winning sole custody of her ‘only’ son. She got partial custody of Fai and Yuui—she was supposed to get them for summers and holidays, but she never took advantage of that right. 

Only cried and pitched a fit over Ash. 

So the second Ashura was in the hospital and she got Ash back, she ditched town. Well—actually, she ditched the entire country and had gone home to ‘visit’ her parents because ‘she had been so heartbroken.’ 

She didn’t come to see Fai or Ashura in the hospital. She didn’t come to her own son’s funeral. She had had the audacity to fight his dad tooth and nail about bringing Ash back to Japan once he came to. 

His father, being the saint that he was, didn’t have her charged with kidnapping—against everyone's advice. 

Granted, things had simmered down a lot since then. 

Ash hardly remembered the year he spent overseas—but he sure as hell remembered how angry Ashura and Tai were at his mother. There were very few times Fai could remember Ashura raising his voice—but the day Sashi brought his youngest son home, Fai didn’t know someone so gentle could get so angry. 

Ash had seen his mother all but run out of the house crying—and had been left to try and adapt back to a home he didn’t remember. Ashura refused visitation for Sashi until after Ash had turned 18 and could make his own decisions and his baby brother had moved out and hardly looked back. 

Ashura understood. Fai understood. Hell—even Tai, who was the least empathetic person you would ever meet, understood. 

Ash was still just a kid and as soon as tensions started to rise between the adults, he noped the fuck outta there. Fai didn’t want there to be anymore strain between Ash and their father—it was already hard enough as it was without adding grief filled fuel to the fire. 

Fai would do it—but he had his own mental trauma to deal with and would probably set Seishiro and Fuuma on Sashi if she said the wrong thing to him… so best to leave it to auntie Yuuko. 

“I thought Ash and your dad were ok again?” Yuuko took another bite of her food and Fai shrugged. 

“He’s at that age. I was probably just as self centered.” Up until the accident, anyways. 

He didn’t want Ash to have to go through that just to learn how to put other people first. There would probably be a lesser family crisis that would snap him outta his funk sooner or later. 

“At that age, you were selling your soul to keep your family out of debt. Ash lets you pay for his tuition, his car note, insurance, phone and last I heard you sent him a large sum to get some new clothes since he had a growth spurt. He is a bit of a snot.” Fai shook his head slowly and smiled. 

Oh well. Fai was a bit on the snotty side, too, most of the time. 

“He gets it from our mom. Could be worse.” Fai managed a few more bites of his dinner and even with his lack of appetite—the food was satisfying. 

“I will make sure I go with them. It’s been a while since I went along anyways. When we're done you better come down and get sloshed with me? No locking yourself in that dusty old room all day.” Yeah—that probably wasn’t going to happen, but he smiled and nodded, nonetheless. 

“—Let’s see… what else…” Yuuko set her fork down and glanced about the room as she hummed in thought. “We squared away your not-boyfriend… your ‘soupy’ friend—”

“Friends. My clean up crew is taking care of number two as we speak.” They should be texting him an update any time now, letting him know it had all been taken care of. 

“...friends… You are going to update me on what goes on with the investigators… We are working on getting your stray kittens out of the slammer… What else is going on with you?” 

Fai pushed the remainder of his food away. He had managed about a fourth of it, which, given how coked up he was, was probably a record for him. “Nothing much. You know Subaru, correct? The second floor manager at Kurōbā?” 

“The one you grew up with?” Fai nodded. “Yes, what of him?” 

“Subaru is keeping an eye on my habit—”

“—You mean serious addiction?”

“Sure.” Fai managed not to roll his eyes and Yuuko was back to glaring at him. “I understand that what I am doing is bad for my body.” 

“But you’re going to do it anyway because—?” his aunt knocked back the rest of her drink and Fai shifted uncomfortably under her harsh stare. 

“Come down sucks. I fucked up. Chemically, it screws me up when I stop. I have to deal with Reed and stay sharp or you’re going to be taking my dad to come visit me, next.” Yuuko always appreciated brutal honesty and the stakes were no joke. 

She’s been through this with him before, though the last time, he was sure she didn’t have any idea how bad it actually was. If he told her he was working on it hopefully she could have some patience with him. 

“If you keep going like you’re going, I’ll be in the same boat. Take care of Reed and his rats and then, we are going to get you some help, ok?” Yuuko may have asked that in the form of a question—but there were no ifs, ands or buts that she was shipping his ass to rehab. 

Last time he had “taken a vacation”, he had ended up in a 30 day inpatient up in northern Japan. It hadn’t been that bad, actually, and Yuuko had filled in for him so it probably had been more relaxing for him than an actual vacation would have been. 

“Deal, as long as you send me somewhere nice.” Fai winked and Yuuko shook her head slowly—finally relaxing. 

So it was settled. 

Good. 

Dinner didn’t last much longer once they had gotten the important business out of the way and soon enough, he was walking his aunt down to her car before hopping into his own and hitting the street. 

Akai Heya was an annoying drive to make this time of night, but Fai remedied that by blaring music and leaving the top down on his car. The cool November air hitting his skin helped him keep in-the-now and he made it there with a few minutes to spare. 

Fai pulled up in front of the building and tossed his keys at one of the two bouncers that were standing in the front, manning the line of 20-somethings that were looking to have a little fun before classes started up again. 

Thankfully, inside was as busy as ever. The more people they had coming and going, the better. He took a moment to survey the night crowd before making a B-line to the back to double check that the cleaning crew had done a satisfactory job. Thankfully, there was no leftover blood or body parts chilling out—which was a good thing. He didn’t want to have to punish anyone else for dumb mistakes. They had even managed to clear out the scent of the heavy duty chemicals they used for disposal, which was a huge plus. 

They would be fine so long as they didn’t bring a dog in here to sniff—not that he couldn’t handle that. 

Fai would rather like to avoid that… 

Especially considering the only K9 office he knew… 

Kuro-chan had told him that he didn’t have work tonight, though. Soooo—if he didn’t have to ‘handle it’, he wouldn’t be put in that awkward situation. Seeing him again like that would be pretty uncomfortable and while Fai was a pro at playing fake-it-till-you-make-it, keeping a straight face would be out of his skill level. 

If Seishiro’s games were enough to shake him, he was not in a state to deal with that. 

Though the fact that he was paranoid about something as unlikely as that meant he needed to cool it on the coke. Uppers and bad nerves were a dangerous mix and Fai didn’t have time to deal with a panic attack or paranoid episodes… 

Given the tightness in his chest and how many problems were hitting him at once? Keeping a handle on his mental state was going to be a fight as soon as he was home and lacked a distraction. He was already on edge—he was either going to have to deal with the emotional overload or fight it back. 

Time would tell. 

He didn’t have an all nighter in him, that much was for sure—he knew better than to try that in his current state. 

His visitors were a heck of a distraction, though, and Fai kept his calm-cool-boss mask firmly in place even as the employees of Akai Heya gave him slightly fearful looks. 

While the police sniffing about one of his clubs was never fun or a relaxing affair—this didn’t even make his list of top five things that made him feel like he couldn’t take the pace. He had already accounted for this—prepared for it—and other than keeping up appearance, there wasn’t much to worry about. 

Compared to the other shit he had going. 

Not when the officers that usually did missing person investigations were pretty much treating him as though he were worse than the devil himself. He had sent enough of them back to their families in body bags that they knew to come in, have a quick look around, ask minimal questions and get the fuck out. 

Fai even tipped them if they did a good job. The less of his time they wasted, the more cash he put in the little manilla envelope. They got to keep their life and got a small token of gratitude for their trouble—and Fai didn’t have to deal with murder charges. 

Win-win right? 

Fai took a seat at the bar to wait. The waitress paid extra care to get his order—and Fai settled on a club soda, hoping that the bubbles helped to settle his stomach. 

He would have thought he was coming down with something if he didn’t know for a fact that the upset stomach, painfully tight chest and overall icky feeling were pure anxiety. The adrenaline rush was fading and this was what he was left with. 

Hitting the snow like it was nature's magic cure did not help with any of that...but what could he do? After so many years, Fai was used to feeling miserable most of the time. He just had to get through today—and he could do this all over again tomorrow—so on and so forth. 

Not surprisingly, the investigators were right on time and he didn’t have to wait long. People didn’t really make a habit to be late to appointments with one of the most dangerous men in the city, thankfully. Fai spotted the two officers as they were led back to the office by one of the bouncers—they were wearing civilian clothes so as not to spook his customers. 

Which meant that they remembered their lessons, at the very least. 

Fai sipped on his water and let them wait—he didn’t want to appear eager or nervous about their arrival. That, and letting them stew would build the tension further. And given their purposefully stoic expressions and squared shoulders? They were on edge and trying not to let him know. 

Based on his years of experience? Fai needed to pay close attention to their words and body language. Something was up. They're were ether going to cough the info up willingly or he was going to have to get creative. 

Fai didn’t feel like being creative and so chose to let them sit in the century of enemy territory stewing. He knew investigator Vision and Metzro well—and while they were not easily shaken—the were both seasoned enough to know their place. 

He had added them to his payroll way back in his early days and had yet to have any real issues with either of them. Of course… Fai had shot Vision’s partner point blank and threatened to do the same to him if he didn’t ‘lose’ some evidence. Metzro had been assigned to work with him next, and hadn't needed a warning—his senior partner made sure he was on the up and up. 

Fai’s cop hunting days were long behind him, though—even 8 or 9 years later, they still remembered the ‘lessons’ Fai had carefully taught them. 

It wasn’t impossible that they might get ballsy, of course—something as simple as a change in command could cause them to turn. Fai made a rule of not giving them any more information than absolutely necessary and was sure to keep his ‘scary’ mask on any time he was forced to deal with them directly. 

It took him nearly half an hour to finish his water and he figured that was more than enough time for them to get good and anxious about what he might be planning to do to them. Fai thanked the bartender before meandering over to the entrance of the small office and pulling the door open, a lazy smile on his face as he entered. 

“Good to see you two again, though I wish we were meeting under better circumstances.” Fai didn’t bother to shake either of their hands and walked around the desk before settling in the leather chair. “You have another missing person then?” 

The officers both exchanged a quick look and Vision, the more senior of the two sighed and nodded. “Last seen here at Akai Heya by his girlfriend. I take it you know nothing about it?” 

Fai shook his head slowly and frowned. “‘Fraid not. We have a lot of traffic in and out of here as you’re aware.” 

“Yes.” Metzro answered with a deep sigh and Fai watched as the two of them exchanged another look and Fai quirked an eyebrow. 

There was more going on for certain. 

“Anything else I can do for you gentlemen?” They were either going to spit it out or Fai was going to force it out. When they glanced between each other for a third time, Fai was starting to lose his patience. “You seem nervous.” 

“Well—” Metzro started but was cut off by his partner.

“You didn’t hear this from us. Deal, Fluorite?” Vision, being the more experienced of the two, was smart enough to bargain their safety. He didn’t need to... but it was a good sign that he felt the need. 

“Of course. You know I take care of my friends, darling.” Fai winked and leaned forward to prop his chin upon his palm—seemingly at ease and not all that interested. 

In reality, he was barely keeping it together. He really shouldn’t have continued topping up—he felt like his heart was going to beat out of his chest. His anxieties of one more thing being added to his plate were running wild, and he didn’t have the energy for this act. 

“The higher ups are getting a warrant to search this place. Looks like they plan on cracking down on you and your people after the last drug bust... and now a disappearance at one of your places.” the officer spoke quickly but effectively and Fai gave an unamused hum. 

Well—he expected that—had prepared for that—they were going to be totally out and gone by tomorrow morning. So why did he feel like those words had just sucker punched him? 

Fai made sure to look as though he was mulling the information over, while in reality he was pissed at himself for not being able to beat back his emotions and focus on the task at hand. He was losing his touch and he NEEDED it right now. 

“I am not surprised… Though, I appreciate you letting me know. What do they have on my little family and our business dealings?” Fai hoped this was the only place that was going to be raided. Every club was left ‘clean’ at the end of the night—no trace of less than legal product to be discovered should they get a surprise visit from the DEA. 

He had been ‘raided’ many times before. and he had yet to have any violations filed or charges stick. 

“Intel shows there might be someone trying to weasel in on your territory. Some former member of the Triads, I guess. We don’t have eyes on him but our sources say he’s in the city and ready to make a name for himself.” Vision kept his eyes downcast as he spoke and Fai leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms.

If the cops were aware, then that meant there were more pieces to this puzzle that Fai had yet to locate. He didn’t have the full picture and didn’t know that he was missing. 

Oh, how fun… 

Seishiro and his enforcers were usually able to get him all the intel he needed without his interference—but before Fai had jumped to the ruling seat, he had been the person to go out and gather intel in situations such as these. 

He had been damn good at it, too… 

He may just need to put that hat back on and hit the pavement with Seishiro to see if two heads were better than one when it came to following leads… either his second was also losing his touch—or he was in on it. 

Fai wouldn’t survive if Seishiro was in on this power move… Fai felt a surge of panic but covered it by clearing his throat and taking a much needed deep breath. 

He really needed to stop making up new problems. 

Seishiro was just Seishiro—he didn’t want to lead—it wasn’t his thing. That was just his mind running ahead of him—he was wired and it was making him paranoid. If that man wanted him dead he would have done it when he had had Fai pinned. 

He was still loyal. 

“It happens in my line of work. Cute that the Commissioner is feeling brave enough to challenge me again. Seems you have baby boys in blue working that have no idea who I am, or why they shouldn’t fuck with me . If you fail to educate your own—I will have no choice but to train them just like I trained you both.”  Fai gave an impossibly bright smile and watched all of the color drain from his old friends’ faces. 

They didn’t seem to be able to muster words. 

Of course, Fai was very well aware that he was putting them in a difficult position—they shouldn’t be telling fellow officers to allow a crime group to roam the streets—but they would if they wanted to save lives. 

He waited nearly a minute and when Vision and Metzro remained silent, he continued. 

“—I will handle my own as I always have—you two make sure the commissioner understands that I have no qualms with putting him back in his place. Understood?” He dropped the smiling act to give them both a serious looks. 

Vision was the one to answer after swallowing a few times. “We’ll do that.” 

Fai and the commissioner had never actually met in person, but they had been in a standoff for years. That old coot understood that Fai doing his thing kept a lot of riffraff out of the streets. He might be importing, distributing and selling massive amounts of illegal substances in the city—but he had quality standards and rules that cut down on OD’s and other drug related fatalities. 

Before Fai, they had had several competing syndicates squabbling over turf in the dark alleyways and dimly lit side streets. There was no telling if a user was actually getting what they paid for—and the name of the game was hooking them young on the hard shit. 

Fai might have escorts on staff—but they were all of legal age and consenting. He had totally dismantled the sex trafficking hub his old boss had built, so no more mail order brides, no more teens getting roped into selling their bodies to pay off drug debts, and definitely no more special orders for little boys or girls… 

Without Fai behind the curtain pulling the strings and following his own rules? Well, there was no telling what kinds of criminals were going to set up shop. 

You would think the commissioner would be happy to have him around—but the old bastard seemed to be hell bent on sending Fai to prison for cleaning up the trash in Tokyo for him. 

“Good. As usual—I have a little something for your cooperation.” Fai opened the desk drawer to his left and grabbed two envelopes that were thickly padded with bills—more than what either of these men made in a month—perhaps two if the government still paid shit. 

They always took the cash and Fai flashed them both a pleasant smile. “Until next time, boys. Stay safe out there and close the office door behind you.” 

People were surprisingly polite to you when they thought you might snap and murder them—and both officers bowed to the drug lord before excusing themselves quietly. As soon as the door clicked shut, Fai leaned back in the chair and scrubbed at his face with both of his hands. 

Fuck. 

This entire night was just a clusterfuck and he still had so many things that needed to be done. Fai would make it out of here by 3 or maybe 4 am if he really buckled down and focused… 

He might as well take the time to cover all his bases now, because if by some miracle he managed to get a bit of REM sleep in, he didn’t need to be waking in a panicked cold sweat over forgetting some small, important detail.

Fai pulled out his phone and opened up a fresh note to make a to-do list. He wasn’t usually a list person—but he was down an assistant and at his limit with the uppers, so listing things out couldn’t hurt. 

He needed to sort through the flood of tips and info he had gotten from his people but first and foremost, he needed to get a list of instructions for the workers here at Akai Heya. He needed to get the paperwork around and printed out to handle the hiring and firing for tax purposes… he needed to check in with Fuuma and see where they were at in the disposal process—with Seishiro to find out what the hell he was even doing, and why they had no idea where the fuck Reed was… He needed to make sure the people cleaning out after last call knew what to do with everything—that this place was going to pass police inspection—that he called Yuuko and let he know what was doing. 

Fuck. 

Good news was that he could remotely access everything he needed, so there was no need to kick himself for forgetting his laptop at the other club. More good news—paperwork was relaxing as hell after committing brutal murder. 

For Fai, anyways. 

Keeping his hands and mind busy on listing, organizing, and moving things around to accommodate was a nice break from the chaos of emotions that were swirling around in his brain at the moment. It was a relief to see that even though things were shaky with the ring currently—work could still be an escape from his self destructive thoughts. 

While Fai focused and powered through the paperwork side of things, he didn’t think about Ryuu, Seishiro, Kurogane, his father or any of his other problems—he got a break—and when the last ‘office’ task was wrapped up, he was less jittery. 

Of course, nerves were quick to return—but he didn’t feel like he was drowning anymore. 

Fai dialed up Fuuma fully expecting to get his voicemail—not that he was disappointed when he answered in an overly cheerful voice. “How is my most favorite boss in the world doing?” 

“I’ll tell you after you update me on the Ryuu situation.” Fai didn’t manage to smile as he pulled up his email, but he was slightly amused at Fuuma’s attempt to be nice. 

If he hadn't known him for almost as long as he had known his brother—he might be fooled into thinking that Fuuma was capable of being concerned about another human. The Sakurazuka brothers were very obviously cut from the same cloth. Both dangerous. Fuuma possible more so than Seishiro because you never really knew when he was going to snap. 

Fai had only seen it once—he would die happy if he never had to see it again. Sure, Seishiro was totally capable of ‘acting’ like a genuinely nice guy—but Fuuma never showed his true colors unless he lost control.

When Seishiro lost it, chances were Subaru could talk him down and he never acted rashly. When Fuuma lost it? Not even Kamui had any sway on him, and there was no controlling that wild card until he got ahold of himself again… 

Seishiro might be a calculating killer, but he was always in control. He got his kicks from toying with you and playing mind games, sure, but had little interest in the actual act of killing. It ended the fun for him—he would rather watch someone suffer. 

Fuuma, though? He might toy with people, but he got his kicks from the thrill of the kill. From start to finish, there was nothing more enjoyable to him.  He headed up the cleanup crew because he liked it—it was enjoyable to him and it was where he blew off his steam… 

Seishiro snapped and Fai found himself pinned against his office door like tonight… Fuuma snapped and Fai had only found out about it after he heard about a ‘string of disappearances in the city’ or a ‘spree killer on the loose.’ 

There was predictability in unpredictability, though—so Fai took Seishiro’s advice and kept Fuuma entertained. Playing ‘hide the body’ was one of his very favorite games and he was good at it. 

“We’re just rocking out to the Rocky Horror Picture Show while we drive to the super secret party spot. He’s not laughing at any of my puns, though, just sloshing around. Pretty drab company, honestly.” Fai was always surprised at how well Fuuma could tell him that he had in fact, dismembered, dissolved and was about to dispose of the evidence without actually saying it… Though he didn’t know if he appreciated the dark humor or was more disgusted by it.  

He had better things to occupy his mind with than hashing that out, though. 

“Glad you have it handled. If Seshiro gets it together, you might get to transport a more lively crowd here, soon.” Fai opened the first of his email and got about 6 words in before deciding he needed to give it his full attention. 

He needed to really analyze and categorize these. 

“Goody. You want me to join him when I am done?” Fuuma didn’t actually sound all that excited—but Fai knew there was no point reading too far into his reactions.

He focused instead on deciding if those two could play nice. They usually worked surprisingly well with each other for being brothers—but that wasn’t always the case when they were both hyped up. 

Having Fuuma tackle an investigation into Reed independently from Seishiro would probably rub the older of the brothers the wrong way—but might turn up new info more quickly… 

Decisions, decisions. 

“He’s in one of his moods, so if he is being too big of a pain, you can either call it a night or work from a different angle.” Kamui had mentioned that Fuuma hadn't managed to sleep last night because Fai had left him alone to clean up the OD… 

He was probably tired—but then again, like Seishiro, he wasn’t so sure he had ever seen Fuuma tired. 

“Roger that. Kamui told me he was giving you a hard time earlier. Thought he would have grown out of his crush on you since he hasn't so much as glanced your way in a few years. Was pretty surprised to see him basically panting after you.” Fuuma sighed and Fai frowned. 

Yeah, well—Seishiro liked it when Fai played ‘sexy’ murderer… In the day to day operations, he hardly noticed his boss and was too busy harassing Subaru to care. 

The “crush” totally revolved around Seishiro’s fixation with him being able to shut down his emotions and kill. That was the only time he was interested in fucking him—and Fai had dug that hole for himself by making the mistake of seeking comfort from the man after every kill. 

Guilt and self-disgust always hit him like a fucking train within 24 hours—and what better way to distract himself from his own mind than by getting screwed senseless like a bitch in heat? For whatever reason, this time, Fai didn’t want that. 

He refuses to admit what he really wanted—who he really wanted. He wasn’t ready to have anyone else touching him… not like that. 

“You and me both. Check back in when you are done—I have to get back to work and make a few more calls.” Fai was gonna cut this off before he thought too much about how he had panicked. 

He was still trying to keep it together and the more he talked with Fuuma, the more those feelings started to return. 

When Fuuma hung up the phone Fai wasted no time in shooting off a message to have Seishiro give him a call asap—he wasn’t in the mood for phone tag and he could work on emails while he waited. 

Fai wasn’t responding to them. Just reading and slowly stitching the information together to get a better picture of what the hell was going on. He did not like what he was seeing, at all—but he was going to have to really think this over before he made a move. 

This was something he would need to puzzle out with Yuuko and a few of the big players in the drug ring… 

Fai was about halfway through his email when Seishiro finally called him back. He let the phone ring a few times while he took some deep breaths and made a silent wish that his most useful psychopath had calmed down enough to focus on their issues. 

“Calmed down?” Fai purposefully used a teasing tone even though he was not feeling the least bit amused or playful. 

He had to at least seem as though he was over what had happened. 

“I could ask you the same thing. You’ve never lost your nerve with me like that. Losing your touch?” Seishiro sounded calmer, speaking in his usual monotone, permanently bored tone. 

“Funny coming from you when you have yet to turn up any useful information. I wanted to ask you if you needed help. Second set of eyes to see if you’ve missed anything?” Fai didn’t usually taunt his people—but keeping this one in his place was a balancing act. 

Seishiro couldn’t feel undermined or controlled—but he needed to respect Fai. 

He wasn’t going to maintain the respect required to keep his head enforcer loyal if he had many more fuck ups like last night. Showing him weakness needed to end. Allowing Seishiro to see him with Kurogane had been a sign of his weak constitution and his freak out at being backed into a corner had been a second show of weakness. 

He needed to get his act together and keep the older man humble and very aware of the differences in their standings. 

“No solid leads just yet... other than that he is most definitely in the city and watching your moves. Don’t send anyone clumsy. Kokuyo perhaps?” Fai hummed thoughtfully at the older man's suggestion. 

Kokuyo preferred to stick close to home and pretty much covered Fuuma’s and Seishiro’s floors when they were out ‘getting dirty’ and supervising deliveries—he was just as capable, if not more capable than Seishiro, though. 

He had more years under his belt and was fiercely loyal to Hisui—who was very fond of Fai. He was also one of the few people Seishiro consistently worked well with… 

“I’ll see if he is available. Keep your phone on and check it.” Fai popped Seishiro on speaker and shot off a quick text message to Hisui—figuring his odds of conning Kokuyo out to babysit Seishiro were better if he asked his partner. 

“Can do. Any news from your end?” Fai could hear Seishiro lighting up a cigarette and he gave another thoughtful hum. 

“Lots. I am going to need you at another meeting tomorrow. I will cc you on the email I am sending out to who I need.” Fai pulled up a blank email and started typing in names, starting with Hisui, Kokuyo, Seishiro, Kujaku—and he would need to decide who else could be trusted… 

“Can do. Anything I need to know now?” He listened as Seishiro exhaled slowly—no doubt having just taken a long drag. 

“Akai Heya is getting raided as soon as the search warrant is granted… So probably tomorrow. Everything is going to be out before morning. I should be getting a few hours heads up to watch it go down live via security feeds. Other than that, I will compile all the tips that I have gotten in and we will all sort it out tomorrow at the meeting.” 

“Sounds like a plan. You need me to take care of you before the meeting tomorrow?” Fai could hear the smirk in Seishiro’s tone and rolled his eyes. 

Fucking bastard. 

“Yes. I would like to be sharp.” Over the years, he had become well versed in not playing this smug bastard’s games—but he still wasn’t ready to get his own product. 

That would be a whole new step down for him and he was still trying to crawl his way outta this hole. 

“I’ll take care of you, don’t worry about it.” Fai found himself rolling his eyes again at the way the older man was wording that… 

“If that was all, then I need to make a few more calls. Let me know asap if anything changes.” Fai felt the phone in his hand vibrate and sighed. 

“Talk to you soon, then.” Fai hummed in acknowledgment and hung up the phone before checking to see the new notification. 

It was just Hisui letting him know that he had sent Kokuyo out to meet Seishiro—and Fai sent a quick thanks before refocusing on his email. He typed in a few more names before beating out a quick memo as to the time and place he expected everyone and hit send before making the next call on his list. 

Yuuko didn’t answer and Fai just left a quick message detailing that things were no better or worse than when they had met at dinner—and he wanted her to come look over these emails with him before he went to his meeting tomorrow. 

For obvious reasons, Yuuko didn’t attend his ‘business’ meetings, but he always appreciated her advice and cunning wit. She was the only person Fai knew who could keep up with Ashura when it came to law—especially business law—and she was just as knowledgeable, thankfully. 

Fai leaned back in his chair, pulled up his contacts and shot Kusanagi a quick text to see how Syaoran was holding up before setting the phone down on the desk and fishing out the baggie that was more than halfway gone, he dumped enough powder out for two nice lines before doing his usual dance. Wallet out, line those puppies up, twirl a bill, and breath in more of his saving grace. 

Once everything was tucked away again, Fai refocused on his work and started to power through the rest of the things he had been neglecting over the last few days, only taking a break to finish off his dime bag—then not again until after last call, when ‘the movers’ showed to do their job. 

Akai Heya looked like it usually did after a Saturday night—like a dumpster had chugged too much Tequila and projectile vomited all over the place. Trash, broken glass, spilled drinks, and questionable bodily fluids decorated the floor and the place smelled about as nice as you would expect. 

While a normal person might look at this mess and be totally overwhelmed—Akai Heya’s crew would have this cleaned up before the hour was over. Closing took 2 hours, tops—three if they were gonna count the time it took for things to be gutted. 

Hinoto shot him a tired smile as soon as he exited the office and Fai almost felt guilty for kicking her out of her own workspace for the entirety of the night. No doubt she wasn’t looking forward to packing that up and would have enjoyed more time to do so. 

Fai carefully sidestepped all questionable liquids as he crossed the now nearly empty room—shoes echoing off the cement floor now that there was no thumping music to muffle it out. “Everything went smoothly, I take it?” 

“Yes.” Hinoto nodded once and Fai forked over his lists of where everyone was supposed to report—as well as the stack of paperwork he was going to need her to fill out. 

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take to get you guys set back up—but bear with me, ok?” Fai flashed her a dazzling smile he didn’t know he still had in him and while she didn’t seem anywhere near as pleased—she nodded again and accepted the stack. 

“I know you’ll look out for everyone. I’ll make sure everyone understands where they’re supposed to report to before they leave.” 

“Good. I am going to get going, but everything needs to be out of here before sunrise. If you have any problems and can’t get a hold of me, let Subaru know—and he will take care of it.” Fai looked over his shoulder at the entrance and sighed. 

He needed to get some rest—and he was about as high strung as he could ever remember being. The rest of his instructions were spoken without much thought and soon enough, he was breathing in the cool November air as he hiked up the street to his car. 

Fai put the top down and checked his phone one last time. An update from Fuuma, letting him know that Ryuu was no longer an issue and he was heading home to clean up. A text from Kokuyo letting him know that he and Seishiro still didn’t have much to go on but would be back on the trail as soon as the meeting tomorrow was over—and Fai had sent him back a thumbs up. 

So all of his pressing matters were settled. 

Well.

All the ones he knew about, anyway.

If he was going to be completely honest? Fai tuned out on the drive home—he didn’t remember pulling into traffic and he sure as hell didn’t remember getting into the garage, putting the top back up and closing the garage door. 

He was so caught up in his thoughts that his body did its own thing, and when he came to, he realized he had been sitting in his car like an idiot for close to an hour. 

At this point, he was beyond emotionally exhausted and it was taking all of his concentration just to keep his breathing deep and even and ignore the feeling of not being able to get in a good lungful of air, just staring into the darkness. 

Other than that uncomfortable feeling of being just a little too coked up—there was nothing physically wrong with him.

It was all in his head.

While normally when he got stuck in his head, he would do anything not to be left alone… his usual outlets were either not available or far too complicated for his fried nerves to handle. He hadn’t really had much of a plan—he had just wanted to be home even though he shouldn’t be isolating himself.   

Subaru was with Seishiro and Fai was not about to get near that man till he settled whatever weird murder mojo he had going on. Syaoran was traumatized and terrified of him… too late to find a tinder hookup to distract him—it was after last call and therefore no chance of finding a hook up the old-fashioned way…

Yuuko had gone to bed hours ago… his parents were more than likely out cold…

Fai was left with himself and he was his own worst enemy at the moment as the events of the night finally started to sink in. 

He didn’t know what to do—so he just sat in his car and wondered if the stabbing pain in his chest was from emotional distress… or the fact that he had snorted enough coke to give himself heart palpitations.

It was really anyone’s guess—both options were incredibly likely. If you were to ask him how he felt at the moment? Fai wasn’t so sure he would be able to tell you.

Overwhelmed, afraid, anxious, lonely, inhuman, angry and frustrated, perhaps? All around terrible? Like the stress of the night was about to drown him?

Exhausted, mostly.

He was too high strung to sleep—because of the drugs—because of the adrenaline rush from killing… because of the fear of what was to come… If he could even pull this trainwreck together… Somehow, Fai was going to have to get his ass out of this car, go upstairs, sleep—and do this all over again tomorrow, then the next day and the next. 

Since this situation was normal—and had been for years—you’d think he wouldn’t be fazed by it anymore.

Fai might be good at playing the heartless drug lord, but he wasn’t like Seishiro or Fuuma—he didn’t find anything about tonight fun or exciting and he wanted desperately to take it back. Ryuu was far from the first dumb teen he had killed—but fuck, did he regret this one.

He might always get hit hard with guilt, but he never regretted his decisions.

Fai seriously regretted what he had done to Ryuu. Not only because watching that poor child suffer and linger had been traumatic—but because HE had thought that up all on his own. No one but him was responsible for it, and for the first time, Fai was afraid of just how inhuman he was able to become.

He could justify it six ways to Sunday that he had needed to make an impression his people wouldn’t forget—but never before had his ‘lessons’ lacked any semblance of mercy and he had never had a rat more naively innocent in their wrongdoing.

Why had he done it? He took no pleasure from it—a quicker, less painful death would most likely have had a similar effect—he could have offered the boy that mercy, if nothing else, but he hadn’t.

He had been so afraid of losing control of his operation that he had—he had become the kind of monster he had replaced. That little show might scare his people straight, but it was at most temporary.

Fai had been ‘scared straight’ as a newbie, as well, and it had planted the seeds of his own rebellion against his boss… That was the last thing he wanted. He wanted a healthy fear and respect from his employees—not have them so terrified of him that they looked for liberation.

Sure, if he toned it down, things would be fine. Fai, after all, was not his predecessor. He had a moral code he followed and as long as you played by his rules, you had nothing to fear from him… He didn’t kill indiscriminately, he didn’t act out of anger over mistakes, he cared about his people and understood they were all just trying to make a living.

How was he so disconnected from his core self that he had concocted and pulled off that crazy, cruel, sadistic plot without so much as batting an eye?

When had he crossed that line?

Just today? Weeks ago? Months ago? Years maybe?

He didn’t even recognize himself and Fai was trying to figure out how he had gotten to that point with little luck. How had he gotten from waking up with his three-night-stand handcuffed to his bed to making some poor, dumb kid snort poison?

Was he the Fai that had soaked up as many snuggles as he could manage while dropping Kurogane off, had kissed that brute for all that he was worth before breaking it off and being upset about it? Or was he the psychopath that had just brutally tortured and murdered someone for a dumb mistake?

Was he the shivering, teary eyed mess that had been terrified that his second in command was going to force him? Was he the drug addict that had gone through that 8 ball before last call and had almost been desperate enough for more, even though he was uncomfortably high already?

Fai was so used to ‘playing the part’ that at the moment, he didn’t know. He didn’t know if he should cry, seek comfort, pop a few z-bars and an Ambien and call it a night or maybe just down the entire bottle of both and see what Yuui had been up to all these years.

Fai drew in a shaky breath, leaned forward to rest his forehead against the steering wheel and tried to ignore the aching in his chest by focusing on taking slow, measured breaths.

His plan was to just rest his eyes for a moment—a foolish attempt to rein in his emotions and calm down—but he regretted it instantly.

It was almost as though he had been sucked out of his car, out of his house and thrown back into the first floor of Kuroba. He no longer could hear the soft, familiar and soothing nighttime sounds of his childhood home. The icemaker, the heater kicking on and off, the hum of the TV in his parent’s room, the dryer and the soft thumping of music coming from his brother’s room upstairs were replaced with the sounds of his employees’ frightened whispers, of Ryuu apologizing and begging for his life, of Syaoran sobbing… of those fucking gurgling chokes and the god damn Angry Birds theme song. 

Images of his people’s faces, of Ryuu with tears and snot staining his face as he screamed that Fai had promised to protect him. Of the boy convulsing on the floor… of the blood. The blood running from Ryuu’s ears, his nose, the corners of his mouth… the blood on the floor, on his own clothing and skin…

The blood on his hands that he had almost swiped through his hair.

Fai’s eyes snapped open when the gunshot sounded in his ears. His whole body jerked and it was almost as though he could feel the spray of blood against his face again—he scrambled to hit the overhead light in the car, but when he examined his face in the rearview mirror there was nothing there but his own tears as his ears rang.

He was losing it.

He needed to get his shit together.

Fai frantically threw the car door open and tried to get to his feet. He was used to things spinning when he stood, but he pretty much fell back down into the car when his vision dotted and his hearing got fuzzy for a few seconds.

His second attempt to stand was much slower—and he leaned his weight onto the side of the car while he waited for his body to adjust. He may have been a good boy and eaten dinner and sipped some water—but that wasn’t going to undo the massive amounts of stimulants he was on, fucking with his blood pressure. While it was usually up there with his heart rate—it liked to play games with him when he stood or moved too quickly.

When he was steady on his feet, Fai headed for the house and purposefully left his phone in the car. He needed a break from problems. He needed to wind down and try and rest. That was going to be impossible if he started reading his text messages or emails.

The comforting scent of the house hit him and Fai was tempted to collapse onto the couch and just curl up amongst the many pillows that smelled like his family. After that little… whatever had just happened in the car… the itching need to shower and feel clean was back, though, and urged him towards the stairs. 

There might not be any more blood on his skin, but Fai felt as though he could feel the sticky copper scented liquid drying on his skin and it was making him practically twitch. He couldn’t see any blood on him and Subaru had done a wonderful job helping him to get cleaned up, but Fai had not been able to get the smell out of his nose all night.

Taking the stairs two at a time, he quietly closed himself into his room. There was still light coming from under his younger brother’s door, so he took extra care not to draw his attention. Not that Ash had been overly friendly this visit—but because for whatever reason, Fai could not get the tears to stop leaking from his eyes.

He pulled everything out of his pockets and set it on his nightstand before turning on the bedside lamp to give him a bit of light. He smiled softly at the evidence that his father had been as busy as ever and had taken the liberty to tidy up again.

Nothing unusual—he often vacuumed, dusted and tidied up in here because Ashura would rather his son spent time with him on his few hours off work versus cleaning his bedroom. All the little wood splinters that had scattered about the bed and carpet from Kurogane’s impressive show of strength were now gone. 

The sheet, blankets, and pillowcases had also been changed and while Fai refused to admit he was just an itty bit distraught that he wouldn’t get to at least smell Kurogane’s residual scent—he was thankful that Ashura had thrown one of the heavy comforters onto the bed and left another thick quilt folded on the bottom of the bed. 

Not only were they of a heavier weight—but they were Fai’s favorite blankets… 

His dad could be so sweet sometimes. 

Stripping quickly out of his clothes, Fai left them in a pile on the floor before grabbing one of his robes and securing it comfortably around his waist and headed to the bathroom. He turned the handle of the shower all the way to the right and stood in front of the mirror just to reassure himself one more time that there was nothing on his skin while he waited for the spray to heat up.

Fai hung his robe up and pulled a comb through his already detangled hair just to keep his hands busy while the sizeable bathroom filled with thick steam. Once he deemed it hellishly hot enough, he stepped under the stream of the water and bit his lips as the water stung his cool skin. He closed his eyes and tipped his head back to wet his hair so the bite of the hot water rushing against his scalp could help him focus on the now. 

Rolling his neck from side to side, he opened his eyes slowly and scanned the many bottles of shower gels, body washes and exfoliating scrubs he kept stocked and frowned. There were probably 20 different options and while all of them smelled amazing… they were not really what he wanted—not after bloodying himself… 

It had been a hot minute since Fai had felt this filthy. 

He might have a slight addiction to collecting girly body washes and they were fine for a normal day—but he needed something to give him that deep clean feeling that he desperately craved. Rolling his eyes in frustration, he stepped back out of the shower to see if they even had what he was thinking of. 

He managed not to get too much water on the floor by hopping from the bathmat to the rug that sat in front of the counter and opened the cabinet to find more bottles of different scented frufru bath products, extra toiletries—and his savior. 

Antibacterial bar soap was a god sent. 

It might not be anything fancy. It might always leaves your skin feeling stripped and dry. It might not have a particularly pleasant smell aside from general ‘clean’—but this shit got rid of all of the bad stuff. 

Real or imagined. 

This was what his enforcers cleaned up with after the job got messy—and something Fai used back in the day a lot when he was more involved with the—well, the messy side of things. Sometimes, it was more than another person's blood, snot, saliva, and tears you needed to wash away and this shit did the trick. 

Ripping the white package open and tossing it in the trash bin, Fai hurried back to the shower and sighed in relief as the too hot water was again beating down on his neck, shoulders, and back. He got to work after warming back up for a moment and swirled the bar of soap around in his hands, working it into a lather before going to town. 

He focused on the places where he could swear he still felt the sensation of sticky blood drying on his skin. His hands, face, neck, arms, chest, and stomach took the brunt of the abuse and were all stinging by the time he deemed the job complete. 

The hot water was long gone by then and he was shaking like a leaf by the time he finally moved on to the rest of his shower routine. He took his time washing his hair and left the conditioner in to do its job and tried to focus on the sensation of the icy water rather than his racing heart. 

Shutting his mind off was nearly impossible and it seemed that even freezing himself half to death wasn’t enough to keep him grounded tonight. Fai picked at the dry skin of his lip absentmindedly as he thought about the scores of emails that had flooded in. 

There was nothing he could do but worry about it now—He would need to approach this tomorrow with settled nerves and a level head. There were far too many moving pieces to this puzzle and he would need rest to solve them. 

Tonight was definitely a sleeping pill night. Sleeping pills night. 

Fai shut the icy shower off reluctantly and just let the water drip off of him for a few moments while he focused on the way his heart was racing and tried to calm down. He could only repeat to himself that he was safe, he was home and it was time to rest so many times before it started to sound like a lie. 

He sure as hell didn’t feel safe. His mind was taking him anywhere but home every time he closed his eyes. He knew he was tired—he was always tired, though— but when had that ever slowed him down? 

Fai wasn’t sure if he actually managed to slow the racing of his heart of just got used to its new pace—but he reached for his towel nonetheless. When his hand only brushed through air, he sighed and pulled the curtain back to find that his lovely brother, towel hog since birth, hadn’t remembered to restock the bathroom after his last shower. 

Not that he was really surprised. 

At least he hadn’t left a ball of thick black hair in the drain… 

Fai wrapped his robe around himself tightly and headed for the linen closet to snag a towel. He pulled the door open quickly and grabbed one of the big towels of the middle shelf—the sound of something small hitting the ground catching his attention. 

Fai quickly wrapped his hair up in the towel and snagged another one to properly dry off before reaching down to feel for whatever had just bounced off his foot and flew back onto the floor of the small closet. It took a second for his fingers to brush against something cool and smooth. He snagged it and held it out flat in his palm to inspect it. 

It was a key?

The key. 

To the handcuffs … 

He must have gotten a towel or washcloth out of the linen closet and set it down… 

Oh god—Kurogane was going to get a kick out of this!

Fai found himself grinning like a cat as he closed his hand around the little silver key, shaking his head slowly as he recalled the events of the morning and how the over the top silliness of it all had been the most fun he had had in ages, it seemed. 

He stayed like that for a long moment—and during that time, he forgot about the rest of his day—focusing on the one thing that had gone well today. Slowly, his mind walked him through the way his stomach had fluttered with dread when he realized he had brought the cop home—and how quickly it had turned into pure amusement after the bed had been so unceremoniously broken… 

How odd it had been that his fathers had been so calm and amused by their handsome, half naked house guest—how Fai had gotten to nap curled up in warm arms until Yuuko had interrupted him… 

How he hadn't wanted the drive to Kurogane’s shitty apartment to end—how nice it had been to get love tackled by the dog and kissed to death… how he had those pictures down on his phone… 

How he had yet to actually block Kurogane like he had told Seishiro… 

And then it hit him. 

Fuck, did it hit him all at once. 

Fai could legitimately feel it as he lost his hold on his emotions. Flood gates breaking open and utter hopelessness rushing through him as he pried his hand open to look down at the tiny key. He really had managed to keep it together over killing Ryuu and was losing it over a tiny piece of metal?

Oh no. 

He was. It was less that this stupid key was what was putting him over the edge and more the overwhelming longing for comfort he knew he wasn’t allowed to have. That handsome bastard might not be able to fix a single problem for him—but boy, did he help him forget them. 

Fai’s vision blurred with tears as he looked down at the key—the tiny lost item that had been responsible for cementing his feelings for the gruff cop… 

Because Fai might have had it bad for Kurogane before this morning—but the way he had been on the verge of utter panic over bringing his tinder fuck buddy into his fathers’ house and losing this little key had been soothed instantly when Kurogane had given him that sheepish, slightly cocky smirk, and shrugged over breaking the bed… 

No one could ease him like that... and he fucking needed it right now. 

But it wasn’t allowed. 

He had made his bed, after all… 

Fai didn’t deserve Kuro-sweet… nor Biggs baby… 

Blinking rapidly did nothing to clear his vision—and Fai found himself with tears streaming down his cheeks for the second... third... time tonight? 

He tried his best to calm down—he needed to calm down—but he couldn’t. 

Fuck. Fuck Kurogane. Fuck this whole day to hell and back. 

He was not gonna do the sobbing cry fest thing tonight. His chest was already on fire and his lungs burned—that was enough, right? He didn’t have the energy for a full blown meltdown. 

Not tonight… Not after everything that had happened...

Fai dropped the key like it had burned him and shut himself inside his room—hoping that getting away from that reminder might untip the scale, and he could free up just enough of his mental bandwidth to avoid this.

It was already too late, though. 

Even he thought he sounded pitiful as he curled up in the center of his bed and sobbed desperately into the pillow. He was so fucking tired. Too fucking tired for a full body cry. 

It had been so long since he had been happy, excited, or in lo—had a crush, that he had forgotten what it was like. Humans needed that—they couldn’t live the way he was living. It just didn’t work and he was past burn out… 

If he hadn’t met Kurogane—he wouldn’t be hurting like this now. 

He wouldn’t have been reminded that he had all but sold his soul to his drug ring—that there was no getting out—no chance of falling in love or being happy. Just… just doing what he had been doing. 

He couldn’t let anyone get close to him—let alone a cop—because it was just one more person to lie to. One more person to protect… one more person to prepare to lose because Fai was not the only crazy fucker out there who had no qualms about offing your family to teach you a lesson—and Fai still had lessons to learn. 

He should never have done a threepeat—not a threepeat with a cute dog and a warm embrace who was far too willing to cradle him… 

Fuck. 

This was it. 

This was his life and what he had to look forward to. 

Making kids snort rat poison—listening to them choke and suffocate on their own blood while the rest of his people looked at him as though he were a monster—lying to this father about 90% of his life… 

Constant power struggles and people trying to take his place… not being able to allow anyone close to himself for their own safety. Coke, booze, and booty calls the only things getting him through his days… 

What kind of life was that? 

Why was he even bothering? 

What was the point anymore? 

Fai was sobbing so hard into the pillow that he felt like he was choking—like he couldn’t pull enough air down into his lungs and he didn’t dare turn his face to get better airflow—he couldn’t afford for his family to see him like this—and he couldn’t control his volume. 

He was being swallowed in his own pain and despair and Fai was losing control of himself as his mind spiraled out of control. 

Hopeless—there was no hope left—nothing was going to get better and at this point...

At this point he could only dig his hole deeper—things would only continue to get more dangerous—and he was only going to have to shoulder more burdens without anyone or anything to turn to. 

Why the fuck was he still going? 

He had more than enough real estate, life insurance, stock, and liquidatable assets for his father to live well past 100… so why the hell didn’t he just put himself out of his misery? 

Aside from spending time with Kurogane, when was the last time he had been happy? When was the last time his smiles hadn’t been fake? When was the last time he had a goal or dream? The last time he had wanted to get out of bed? Had something to look forward to? 

Since Yuui died, Fai had been in pure survival mode—doing what he needed to do when he needed to do it. Eventually, it became less about the amount of cash he was able to bring home to cover his family’s massive expenses and more about maintaining control now that he had it—but why?

To keep the peace in the Tokyo underground? Because he somehow felt responsible for all of the people he employed? Because he didn’t know how to set boundaries for himself? 

This had been about his family… His real family… They were ok now, so why? Why was he doing this to himself, still? What was the point? 

Sure, he would never be able to quit his job—that was impossible after how deep he had gotten himself… If he was dead, though? 

That would be the end of it. 

Subaru and Kamui had already sworn to him that should anything happen, they would protect his family—which the chances that anyone would look twice at them after his death were slim to none… 

He wouldn’t have to deal with his addiction anymore. No more coming down—no more feeling like he needed drugs just to think straight… 

The terrible weight of running the drug ring and keeping everything a secret from his father—it would vanish… 

No more heartbreak, exhaustion or constant anxiety. 

No more nightmares. No more nights like tonight. No more killing, no more being looked at as though he were less than human. No more breakdowns. 

No more. 

Fai didn’t know when he had gotten off the bed—his mind was hazy and his hands moving of their own accord, but he found himself standing in front of the safe—code entered and door open.

When his brain finally focused on the now, Fai had his glock in his shaking hands and it seemed so simple. If he was in this much pain all the time, then… the answer was here, wasn’t it. 

The ultimate cure? 

Wow. 

He could do it. He could really be done now if it was too much. 

End it. 

He could be with Yuui—his other half—the one person who had always been able to comfort him. 

It was—the pull of a trigger away. 

That was less effort than getting Ryuu to snort the poison. 

It would be done and over in a few seconds. 

Just—lights out. 

He didn’t… have to be tired anymore. 

He didn’t have to lie anymore. 

He didn’t have to do anything anymore. 

Fai held the glock in his right hand and traced over the smooth metal with feather light touches of his left. 

In what was a rare miracle for him—all of the rushing thoughts and screaming emotions in his brain just stopped. Fai checked to see if the gun was loaded with practiced grace and found the ammunition easily enough. He popped the safety and took a few steps back to sit on the edge of his bed and just relished in the break from his own mind. 

Was… Was this it? 

Fai swiped at his cheeks and nose with the back of his hand, then hooked his finger around the trigger and looked down at the glock with furrowed brows. Could he come up with a reason not to? Maybe just to make it another few hours? 

Shouldn’t he try and fight this? 

Fai squeezed his eyes closed when nothing immediately jumped out to him. 

His mind was blank and what pitiful reasons he did rummage up were fixed with the safety nets he had put into place in case he was killed in relation to work… They worked just as well if he did it himself… 

 A new wave of sobbing made his shoulders and hands shake as he raised the barrel of the gun up slowly and popped the tip of it into his mouth. Since the car accident, he had solely been living his life for the sake of others. 

They didn’t strictly need him any longer. 

Not a single soul. 

Not his fathers. 

Not his brother… 

Everything hit him all at once—images of the car accident—of the blood and broken glass. The confusion of trying to figure out what the hell had happened as he had unbuckled his seatbelt and struggled to look into the front seat. He had seen his father first—face bloodied and slumped forward against the steering wheel—his head had snapped to Yuui. 

Poor Yuui… 

Nausea bubbled up in his throat and Fai started rocking back and forth as he remembered how his mirror image had look seconds after he had died. His left eye had had a piece of shrapnel through it—neck broken from where the seat belt had snapped it— remaining blue eye open, yet unseeing… 

The terrible sound of the steel colliding, twisting and hitting the pavement as the car had flipped four times. Glass breaking. His own screams… 

Flash forward to waking in the hospital—the first thing he had done was have an absolute meltdown. He had pulled his IV out and tried to rip away all of the wires and tubes from himself—he had been so convinced it had been some sort of sick joke… 

He had calmed down enough to ask to see Yuui—the look on that nurse’s face was forever burned into his mind. The way she had excused herself to fetch his stepfather— not Ashura —but his stepfather… 

The image of the pure pain on Taishakuten’s face was something else he could never forget. The way he had sat on the edge of Fai’s bed and wrapped him in one of the few hugs he had ever received from the man, while he told him that Yuui had not survived the accident. 

For a while, all he could hear was his own pained screaming—telling him he was a liar—that this wasn’t a funny joke—that Yuui couldn’t be dead. 

He saw flashes of the endless hours he spent next to Ashura’s bedside—of begging Seishiro to help him get a job under his boss because the bills were piling up—of the shit he had had to do to earn his trust… 

He saw every addict he had ever sold to knowing he was putting a nail in their coffin with every dime bag he forked over for a small cut of the cash. How each time they returned to pick up their next few days’ supply, they looked worse, faces hollowing, hygiene being forgotten, track marks growing. 

He remembered every overdose he had ever had to deal with—everyone he had let happen, and the mess he had cleaned up for others. He saw bodies seizing, mouths foaming, last breaths of men and women of all ages. Of teens who hadn’t been old enough to graduate from high school. Of mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, hooked using careful selling techniques to push them to what would keep them coming back. 

He saw the broken and lost faces of every girl he had helped to traffic. He might run a clean operation on the skin side of things now, but it had not been like that when he had first joined on. Memories of transporting women whom he knew were not in the ring’s possession by choice. Girls that had too much of a babyface to be legal, but owed his boss for product that had been fronted—of the disgusting men who were looking for mail order brides… He could hear the way the girls would cry as they were looked over like cattle—could see how they would flinch and look at him desperately for help as they were led away. 

Fai saw the face of every man he had ever had to kill—heard every single one of their voices begging for their lives before he had ended it… His very first, the last leader of the drug ring—and probably the only person Fai had ever truly hated—was and always would be terrifyingly clear… 

He vividly remembered the anger that had overwhelmed him when the man had tried to pull a power move by threatening his family, as though that casual threat would be enough to bend Fai to his will—he remembered how things had happened so quickly, how he had asked Seishiro the best way to kill the man. How he had been buzzing with frustration, upset that someone would use those precious to him and used that frustration to totally numb himself for the very first time. 

He remembered the sweet smile he wore as he had fallen back into bed, how he had bided his time and waited till his boss had been into it and wanting more. How the man had commented on the sudden change in Fai’s attitude as to this aspect of their ‘relationship’ and how happy he was that the blond had seen it his way. 

How Fai had suggested they try something new—how he had done exactly as instructed and handcuffed the man to the bed because ‘he was feeling kinky’ only to give him one last kiss, lean back—and flash the knife he had hidden under the mattress. The look of utter fear and disbelief, how he hadn’t even had a chance to beg for his life before Fai had slit his throat. That ungodly overwhelming metallic smell and the surprise of the blood spraying onto him, coating his face, neck, and chest in a sticky hot flow. The life draining from the man’s eyes, the color leaving his face and his expression changing as the understanding of his imminent death hit him as well as his refusal to accept it. 

The way that bastard had fought till the end. 

The way that Fai himself had started to shake and cry as he watched him bleed out, spasming and twitching uncontrollably—as his own humanity and realization of what he had done had come back and all he could think of was how he hoped this would end soon. Why was it taking so long playing on repeat as he watched and shook from his spot, still straddling the man’s waist. He had died with his eyes open—staring at Fai even after his struggle with life had ended.

Fai had been so shaken by his first kill that he had been in an almost catatonic state of shock as he had stumbled out of the room. He had barely been able to call Seishiro for help—and it had taken weeks for him to get the smell of blood out of his nose. He had played god that night and he hadn’t stopped playing god since—there were more lives he had taken than he would like to admit… 

Simply to suit his own purposes. His own power moves to gain more territory, punishments to those who had crossed him, examples… people who he could have offered mercy to. But who he chose to make examples out of… like Ryuu. 

Ryuu had hurt in a special way.

Fai was far from sadistic and fear had driven his choices, tonight. Fear of losing control—of Reed toppling his carefully constructed tower because he had gone soft… He had done the unthinkable to protect himself and tortured that poor boy as though it were nothing. That by far had to be the most gruesome murder he had committed, and while he knew he had to punish him—did he really have to do it that way? 

God, he was a monster…

Plain and simple. 

He didn’t deserve his life. His family. He didn’t deserve Kuro—or Biggs. 

They were really better off without him.

After all, he was just a selfish coward. A murderer. A liar. Scum. 

Not worth the oxygen he was using to stay alive. 

He could justify his actions until he was blue in the face—but at the end of the day, he had no right to take other people’s lives into his own hands. To sacrifice one person to save others—it wasn’t his call to make. It wasn’t his choice and yet he had taken matters into his own hands, time and time again. 

If things stayed as they were, he would be likely making the choice to kill again very soon and Fai didn’t think he could do it… to swallow his humanity and deal with it coming back to damn him later. 

People were not meant to live like this! They were not meant to play god, and they were not meant to stretch themselves this thin. To live two lives… to lie to their loved ones… 

This whole joke that he called a life was just fucked. The fact that he was fighting so hard to keep it going only showed what an idiot he really was. 

He needed to end this. If there was anyone that deserved to die—it was Fai himself. 

Fai tried to quiet his sobbing and gripped the gun a little tighter. He mentally apologized to his family—they would be sad—but they would realize soon enough that they were far better off without him around. 

They had no idea what a monster he really was. All he did was lie to them, anyways… they were going to be far more devastated if they ever found out what he had been doing the last 10 years—his death would be easier to accept and they would be safer this way. 

Financially, he had them set to live comfortably and never worry about money—emotionally, they had each other and no longer needed him. 

So, this was it? 

He was going to let go. 

Sleep. 

Rest. 

Relooping his finger around the trigger, he took a few deep breaths and started counting back slowly from 10.

When he got to 5, the sobbing started again—guilt over what this was going to do to his family… They may never know that he had done this for their own good… he hoped they never found out what a monster he had become. 

When he got to 3, he started to feel the weight of his burdens lift off his shoulders. If he was going to be totally honest—which, seeing as he was alone, there was no reason to hide the truth—he was so fucking tired. Hadn’t he put in his time? Hadn’t he earned some relief after this many years of mentally torturing himself?  

When he got to 1, there was a sharp knock on his door and he froze. 

Fai hit the safety and set the gun down onto the corner of the mattress and haphazardly tossed the blanket over it before rushing to the door and pulling it open—not even thinking of the tears or snot that must be covering his face. 

Ash was on the other side of the door with a worried look on his face, brows raised and lips pursed as he studied his older brother's face. “Are you ok?” 

On reflex, Fai pulled a dazzling smile onto his face and nodded softly. “Yeah. Sorry, did I wake you?”

Ash was wearing a pair of baggy pajama bottoms and a tight t-shirt that didn’t quite cover his stomach—hair pulled up into a high ponytail, he looked far to put together to have been asleep. It was the first thing to come to mind, though, and Fai’s brain was still short-circuiting. 

“Really? Because I haven’t heard you cry like that. Ever.” His little brother frowned and somehow, he was a little mirror image of what their father looked like when he wasn’t buying something.

Fai only now remembered that he must look like a hot mess and quickly scrubbed at his face with both of his hands. 

Fuck. 

“I’m uh—gonna be ok.” He amended his answer and Ash’s features softened. 

He had worried his little brother—that much was obvious. 

Wordlessly, Ash did something that he hadn’t done since he was maybe 10 or 11. He held both his arms open and up, and Fai felt his heart melt. He took a half step forward and wrapped his brother up in a tight hug—resting his chin on the top of his raven head and squeezed nice and tight. 

Had… had he been about to give this up? 

“Dad would be really sad if he knew you were up here struggling alone, you know… he worries about you a lot, you know? He feels bad that you think you have to do everything on your own.” His little brother’s voice shook slightly, and Fai knew now how badly he had unsettled the poor thing. 

Panic started to bubble up in his chest. This was his fault—he had scared his little brother...

“I’m sorry.” Fai didn’t know why that was what slipped out of his mouth, but it seemed like the right thing to say. 

Apparently not, because Ash rocked back and shot him an annoyed look—again managing to look just like their dad. 

“Don’t apologize, dummy!” Ash’s whisper yelling made Fai crack a smile and that only seemed to annoy the boy more. “You’re his whole world, you know? If you’re in trouble—or if that dumb asshole from last night hurt you—dad is there. I’m there, too, but he is way scarier than me... and that guy was a beast.” 

Ash might be a little jerk most of the time, now—but damn, did Fai need to hear that. All he had needed was a reason. How had he forgotten? How could he ever have forgotten? What was wrong with him? 

“My heros.” Fai chuckled and hugged his baby brother nice and tight again. 

There was a long silence and Ash obediently held still while Fai soaked up the contact. His heart and mind were still racing—but this helped. 

God, did it help. 

It helped remind him that he was the biggest fucking idiot on the face of the earth. That he probably would have ruined Ash’s life because he was too much of a weakling to carry on and do what he had to do. 

“It would kill us if anything happened to you… so… no more crying alone, ok? I come to you and you can come to me or dad.” And if that didn’t just smash his guilt button. 

The momentary calm of the moment vanished as those words hit home. 

Fai needed someone to kick his ass for being so selfish. 

What would have been the point of it all if he ended it now? Of throwing his moral code to the wind? Of bending over backwards and then some to get on the old boss’s good side? Of ripping himself apart slowly at seeing how many lives were trampled over because of the nature of what they did? Of taking over the throne to protect them from that world?

It sure hadn’t been for kicks. 

He had gotten where he was today for them. 

They came first—that was why he had done all of this in the first place. It was for them . He almost threw it all in the trash.

What was wrong with him? His family was going to see him like that? He was going to kill himself in their house? Where they had to live, eat and sleep. Two doors down from his baby brother… 

What the FUCK, Fai?

A different kind of panic washed over him and he took a step back from Ash and flashed him a small, apologetic smile. He needed out. He needed out now. He couldn’t be here. The blond managed to pull it together and quash his panic long enough to try and reassure Ash. 

“I love you. You know that, right?” That earned Fai an eye roll and he let Ash wiggle out of his grasp. 

He needed him to know, though—Fai had just almost lost control—had almost taken his own life. He needed Ash to know that Fai loved him to the moon and back—that Ash was one of his reasons to live. 

Even if momentarily, he had been so swallowed up in his own head that he had forgotten… 

God, he really was a piece of shit. 

“Yeah. You and dad tell me all the time, you buncha mush balls. Sheesh.” Ash rolled his eyes so hard Fai wasn’t sure how they managed not to roll back in his head. “—and I love you, too, but quit making me say it all the time.”

“Good—and I’ll stop if you get your butt in bed and get your beauty sleep.” Another eye roll and Ash turned on his heel and started strutting up the hallway. 

“No more mental breakdowns and we got a deal.”  

“Deal.” That was a flat out lie, but he would be quieter about it. 

Panic was replaced with fear as soon as Fai closed the door. Sobering fear. Fear over what could have happened. Fear over his weakness. Fear of what he was apparently capable of.

He had just lost control.

Fai leaned against the wooden door and stared long and hard at the folded over corner of the blanket that was hiding the proof that he was totally off his fucking rocker. He knew he had gotten bad, but he had not been ready for this…

It didn’t make any sense to him how he had gotten to this point and that only fueled his fears. Tears were silently slipping down his cheeks as he stared at the safe. At the pills, the guns, the cash…

How had he even gotten here?

How could he have let it get this bad?

Fai was the one who was supposed to keep it all together and he was falling apart at the seams and had no idea what to do now. So he just stood—too terrified to take even a single step towards that gun… because, if he picked it up?

What was stopping him, really?

Ash had interrupted him at just the right moment, but the more Fai thought about it—the less he understood. He wasn’t sure if he was more afraid of the fact that he had almost put himself out of his misery—or that he didn’t know how the hell he had gotten this far without doing it yet.

Maybe if he could remember how he had done it—how he had beaten his demons back all of these years—he could pull himself together? Was there a method to his madness or was he just too stupid and stubborn to see that he was fighting a losing battle until now.

Suddenly realizing all the reasons should—

No.

Fai took his first step into the room—the room he had been living in for the last 14 years—the room that didn’t hold a single personal effect that wasn’t necessary to function in everyday life. He had his drug lord swag hidden in the safe, his clothes in the dressers and closets—but that was it.

14 years ago he had claimed this space for himself—for no other reason then he couldn’t face the reminders of his twin—and you would think it was a guest room still because 14 years ago, Fai had stopped living.

Fai and Ashura had been so insistent on keeping the room at the end of the hall just as it was, to preserve Yuui’s memory. Fai didn’t want to create any memories separate from his sweet Yuui—he had bargained his future away to preserve the past the second he had seen a foreclosure notice in the mail. This house and all the memories it held of his twin, of his father, of his family had been well worth the trade and he would do it again in a heartbeat—but instead of living and building a life—he just fought to preserve the past.

Was that the secret, though? 

Was that how he had dug his hole this deep? How he had forgotten what it was to be alive? To settle into being tired, numb and surviving? How his world had gotten so dark that it only took a single brief flash of what he was missing out on open the flood gates and cause him to lose control?

That was terrifying.

He was afraid he wasn’t going to be able to get his control back and his mind was too frazzled for him to know if this was just an aftershock of that… panic attack? Fit? Trip?

This time when Fai found himself sitting at the foot of the bed with the glock in his hands, he remembered picking it up. His hands felt numb and he couldn’t feel the cool metal or the weight of it in his hands—but his blue eyes were fixated on the way he was loosely holding it.

He needed these out of the house.

Even now that he was back in his body—that he was in the now and in control of his body—he wanted to do it. He was so thankful that his brother had interrupted him, though. It was ok to want to die—blowing your brains out two rooms down from your baby brother and in your childhood home, though?

Out of all the shitty things he had done in his life—that would be the shittiest.

Fai closed his eyes and focused on how worried his poor brother had looked. Ash was only one reason why he needed to stop being a little bitch and get his shit together. After all, Fai knew what it was like to lose a brother at 19 and he was not letting that happen to his baby brother.

Yuui’s death had taken Ashura away from Ash. Their mother had not only whisked him away after one of his siblings had died for the first year after—not even allowing him to attend his own brother’s funeral—but Ashura had taken years to get back to a point that could be considered normal. 

Even now, he was only a shadow of the man he used to be. 

Tai had taken care of Ashura, Fai had spent a great deal of time with him as well—but he had also stepped into a parental role with his younger brother. 

Parent-teacher conferences, first days of school, extracurriculars, field trips, birthday parties, and playdates had all been handled by Fai. Ash wasn’t kidding when he said he came to Fai when he had a problem—big or little—he came to Fai first. 

Fai had almost taken the only adult Ash had a healthy relationship with away—his support system. Sashi might be currently trying to buy his love by letting him do as he pleased, her house rules lax in comparison to Ashura’s, but she had proven over and over to be less than useless during a crisis. 

Ash didn’t know that yet—but you better believe that women would make Fai’s death all about herself and leave her own child without anyone to guide him through his grief… Ashura would be too distraught—he had never bonded with Ash quite like he had with Fai or Yuui—and stress triggered their father’s epilepsy. 

Tai and Ash had no real bond to speak of. Sashi painted him as the homewrecker—and he had not gotten to see the tender side of their stepdad Fai had after the accident. To his little brother—Tai was just the snarky asshole stepdad that teenagers loved to hate.

Ash needed him. Needed him to be strong. Needed him to control himself and put this gun back in the safe and not use it.

Fai might have traded his future—but he had done it partially so that Ash could be a kid. So that he could go to college, be a brat, learn and grow into a healthy adult. It didn’t matter how Fai had gotten to this point. He had to keep going. If it got better or worse didn’t matter so long as he didn’t forget that Ash needed him.

He would lie, he would run and he would play kill or be killed until his body gave out for that kid because he had no other choice. Opting out would destroy his family’s lives, so even if sticking this out meant losing his mind—he was going to keep fighting.

He didn’t know how he was supposed to get a grip, at this point—not when the only things surrounding him were lies and hard decisions—but he would figure it out.

If he needed to harness his own fear to get a grip he would.

Fai nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt a hot hand on his shoulder and dropped the gun to the floor as his head snapped to the side to focus on his stepfather.

Taishakuten was looking at him with narrowed golden eyes and it took a minute for the reality of what was going on to sink in. Of what he must look like—of what Tai must have assumed, finding him totally zoned out and clutching a loaded gun like it was his most precious item…

The only thing that really came to mind was…

Well— Fuck .

“You with me?” Tai’s tone was firm, and he squeezed Fai’s shoulder with a steady, grounding pressure.  

“Sorry, I was—” Fai stopped himself and looked down at the glock that had fallen down onto the carpeted floor between his feet. “—sorry.”

“What’s going on, son?” Tai didn’t move, and Fai wasn’t sure how to answer that and just blinked dumbly at his stepfather for nearly a minute. His mind was all over the place and he was trying to get an excuse—anything—out, but he just continued to blink like a fool.

Taishakuten was not supposed to see him like this. 

No one was supposed to see him like this. 

Not— Not with a gun in his hands—

Not after he had almost—

“Ok, I am going to take that away—and we are going to talk.” Tai let go of Fai’s shoulder and leaned down to snag the glock. Fai watched him check the safety, first, then watched him unload the clip and finally, he watched Tai set the gun back in the safe and close the door.

Fai honestly didn’t know what he was expecting to happen next—but it wasn’t for Tai to quietly turn back to him and offer a hand—a silent command to stand, which he didn’t dare disobey. His stepfather wrapped a steadying arm around him, holding him steady in case his own legs didn’t before he led Fai downstairs and over to the living room couch.

Fai didn’t ask him where he was going when Tai left the room—just watched him as he went into the kitchen to make tea. He wasn’t really feeling tea, but it gave him time to continue to calm down. 

The ‘well, fuck’ vibe was only getting worse. 

He didn’t have the presence of mind to try and tiptoe around his step father’s razor sharp wit—and the whole truth was not an option. His best bet was to pull the waterworks card and ask for Ashura after he felt the man out for where he stood. 

Taishakuten returned with two mugs of tea and Fai accepted his and cradled it between his icy hands. His stepdad sat across from him in one of the chairs and sipped his tea. Fai knew he was staring without even having to look up from his lap, probably giving him time to think. 

His stepdad was surprisingly the best at dealing with his mental breakdowns—probably because he kept a calm head. Ashura, god bless him, had a habit of accidentally making things worse, but was unusually Fai’s first choice when it came to someone to stay with him after he had a meltdown. 

After nearly 10 minutes, Fai took his first sip of tea and Tai must have assumed he was with it enough to talk because he cleared his throat and caught his stepson’s attention. “I know you don’t want to talk about it—but you need to tell me what the hell just happened.” 

“I don’t really know…” The words were out of his mouth before Fai had a chance to think about it. He was more with it—but he was far from his usual level of playing word games. 

Taishakuten didn’t press him, though. Just waited patiently and Fai took another sip of tea before setting his mug down onto the coffee table and bringing his knees up to his chest and wrapping his arms around them. 

Currently, he was just buying time—trying to get his mind to come out of the fog of hopeless fear that was making it impossible to think about anything besides going back upstairs and finishing the job. 

He could not tell Tai that. 

“Are you going to tell Dad?” Fai said finally and Tai shook his head back and forth slowly. 

He didn’t think so. He and his stepfather had an unspoken understanding that they did not tattle to Ashura—his father was sensitive and his health easily influenced by stress. Granted—Tai lived an extremely straight-laced life in comparison to Fai—but he wasn’t perfect. 

Taishakuten had a very very vague understanding of where Fai made his money—but that was only because he had caught on that a 22 year old college drop out should not be able to bring in the kind of money Fai had without breaking some laws. 

They had puzzled out the Don’t-ask-don’t-tell rule years ago when his stepfather had suggested he seek his aunt’s advice—and they hadn’t discussed it since. Fai assumed that Tai had assumed that when he had started buying clubs, he had cleaned up his act and ran a clean ship. In 11 years, he had yet to say jack shit about it—and Fai had had no intention of broaching the topic, himself. 

That being said—Fai wouldn’t assume that the first thing Tai would do was run off and tattle on him. All he had to do was… make him think he had it under control. Which should be easy once Fai managed to convince himself of that same lie... 

“Did you want me to tell your father?” Taishakuten asked after the silence persisted and Fai did not try to hide the horrified look that painted his face. 

“That would destroy him.” Fai took a few measured breaths and had to repeat to himself that Tai was NOT going to tell him—it was going to be okay—he could still fix this. 

“So you know how much he loves you, then.” Fai nodded his head slowly and looked anywhere in the room but at his stepfather. 

How could anyone not see how much Ashura cared about Fai? Guilt started to overpower the fear again and he felt tears starting to burn at his eyes… He was trying so fucking hard right now to get it together, to slap one of his many masks on and convince Tai that he wasn’t going to go upstairs and eat a bullet after their talk—even if he couldn’t convince himself just yet—Tai needed to be reassured or things were going to come crashing down. 

“Good. He’s not the only one—you have lots of people that love you, Fa—”

“It’s not that I don’t feel loved. It’s not—It's not like you think.” Fai didn’t know if he could articulate what it was like. 

Not with the amount of details he had to leave out, but he needed Taishakuten to think he was ok. Or going to be ok. 

“I haven’t made up my mind as to what I think, so tell me what’s going on or I am going to start assuming.” Fai wiped at his eyes, settled his cheek down on the top of his knees and rewrapped himself up with his own arms. 

There was another long silence between them and Fai didn’t know what Taishakuten was expecting of him. He had no idea what would soothe his step father’s worries, what he needed to tell him to make this all go away. 

He needed all this to go away. 

Fai could not handle his family finding out about what had just happened and worrying about every little thing he did. He had to think… he had to think… Fai, THINK. 

Tears were picking up again and Fai scrubbed at his face in frustration and sighed loudly. “I don’t know how to explain it…” 

“Ok.” Tai said after another impossibly long silence and Fai just continued to try and buy time. Was there a way to put this off until tomorrow? 

Surely, he could come up with an excuse by tomorrow? 

“Where you gonna use that on yourself, Fai?” His stepdad sure wasn’t pulling any punches and Fai visibly flinched at those words—choking back a cry—but didn’t manage to smother it completely. 

His mind was starting to race again and he was grasping desperately at straws. Fai just wanted an out. “It’s not like that…” 

Given the way Taishakuten raised a skeptical eyebrow, he wasn’t buying that for a second. 

Obviously. 

Because what the hell else was he doing? What other explanation could there possibly be? 

“Look—I won’t make you talk to me about it—but you gotta talk to someone, Fai.” His stepdad was still keeping his tone soft and Fai managed a hesitant nod. 

He could agree. 

Therapy wasn’t exactly useful when you couldn’t admit more than half of your issues for fear of being reported to the police—but someone didn’t mean a professional…There were people he could go to… that he had gone to before… 

Another silence fell between them and Fai didn’t trust himself to open his mouth without either bursting back out into tears or saying the wrong thing. He just tried to wait it out—to see what else Taishakuten might have to say… 

“How can I help?” 

“Can you make sure I get up early and tag along with you to work? I think…” Fai needed to talk to Yuuko, anyways. 

And she would murder him if Tai told her anything before he did… 

“—I think I should talk to Auntie about it.” Fai finally glanced up at his stepfather and watched a sense of relief wash over him 

Well—that was the key, he guessed—something he planned on doing tomorrow afternoon, anyways. 

Fai ‘went to auntie’ a lot over the years—and Yuuko was a god sent when it came to helping Fai prioritize and get out of that ‘wish I was dead’ circular mood that had kicked his ass before—and was doing a hell of a job of it this time. 

“I think that is a good idea. You need to rest, though, so why don’t I swing by the house to collect you at lunch?” Taishakuten was right that Fai desperately needed sleep—he was utterly exhausted, too—but there was no way in hell he was getting to bed, given how high strung he was. 

“Thank you.” Fai offered and wiped at the tears on his cheeks and tried to weigh the options of asking Tai to supervise him while he went upstairs to get his sleeping pills—or if he was being dramatic and could damn well go get his drugs all on his own without giving the man another peek at what he was hiding up there. 

“I need to start getting around for the day—you should probably go soak up some attention from your father. That always seems to help you.” Taishakuten yawned as he spoke, but the look he gave Fai was serious. 

He did not want him up in that room. 

“I need to get my sleeping pills…” Fai uncurled his legs and set his feet down on the floor and the older man watched him carefully. 

“You gonna talk to Yuuko about all the interesting stuff you got stashed up there, too?”

Fai nodded his head once—she already knew, but same difference. 

“I’m going to have someone come by and get the, um… the guns out of the house…” Easing himself up onto his feet, Fai ignored Taishakuten and headed for the bottom of the stairs. 

He did not have the mental bandwidth to play 20 questions about why he felt the need to stash a small fortune in cash, several guns and a shit ton of pills in baggies, not bottles. 

His sleeping pills, anxiety meds and Adderall were actually all prescriptions and housed in their respective little orange bottles—but the pain pills, party drugs, and various other illegal substances were not exactly hidden or discreet… 

Taking his time to climb the stairs, Fai was happy to see that Ash had gone to bed—or was trying to go to bed, seeing as the light was no longer shining under his door. He left his own bedroom door wide open and kept his ears focused on the sound of Tai cleaning the mugs and putting them in the dishwasher while he typed in the code and snagged what he needed. 

You were not technically supposed to mix zannies and sleeping pills—but Fai had been doing it for years. Sleep was not impossible—even for him—even on a night like tonight—he just needed a solid 9-10 hour block and a couple of pills. 

Popping 6mg of Xanax and 20mg of Ambien, Fai closed the door behind him and ducked into the bathroom to get a swig of water out of the bathroom faucet like he totally had his shit together—and reluctantly went back into his room to snag some proper PJ’s and the heavy quilt of the bottom of the bed before padding back downstairs. 

Tai was making coffee when he got to the kitchen and Fai wordlessly ghosted past him and down the back hall that led to the master bedroom. 

Fai was not at all surprised to see his father awake and sitting up in bed reading with the bedside lamp on—his schedule—or lack thereof—had him up at odd hours to spend time with both Fai as well as Tai. 

Ash had gotten their stepdad and him getting out of bed had no doubt been more than enough to rouse Ashura… Which—Fai tried to ignore the guilt over that—it was good that he was down here. 

He wouldn't have come down and asked for help… 

He needed to get better about that. He used to come to them all the time when his mind wouldn’t stop—and they had always been understanding and happy to help. 

Ashura gave the softest of smiles and patted the bed next to him in a silent invitation to join him and Fai didn’t hesitate. He curled under the duvet and handed his father the quilt to spread on top of that—which he was more than happy to do. 

It may have been a while since Fai found himself curled up next to his father like a kitten seeking comfort—but they had a tried and true method to settle down. Some people might find he and his father oddly close—but he didn’t give a shit. 

He was drained, traumatized and in need of physical comfort. 

His father didn’t bother asking what had happened. Fai didn’t know what, if anything, Taishakuten had told him about what had just happened—but he wasn’t going to bring it up himself and focused on the slow steady sound of his father's breathing and tried to mimic it. 

Within an hour, he was out cold and he stayed that way for close to 9 hours. Drug-induced sleep was not as restful as actual sleep—but it was better than no sleep at all. That concoction of downers always knocked him on his ass and when he managed to peel his eyes open again it was early afternoon. 

He woke to soft whispers and before Fai even opened his eyes, he focused on the familiar sound of his father’s worried tone—and—he was talking to… 

A female? 

“Tai-chan did say he took sleeping pills, deary.” Fai felt something cold press against his forehead and he instinctively turned his face away and glared in the general direction of the owner of the hand. “Fai, you are awfully warm, though.” 

What the hell was Yuuko doing here? 

It took a while for his groggy mind to catch up with him and his first thought was to just pull the covers over his head and try and go back to sleep until the downers were out of his system. If he couldn’t operate heavy machinery—he might as well go back to sleep until he was more clear headed. 

“Fai.” His father’s worried tone guilted him into keeping his heavy eyes open and he managed a grumpy ‘hm’ in acknowledgment. “I’ve been trying to wake you for over an hour.” 

“Sorry…” reluctantly, Fai sat up and groaned as the room spun. “What time is it?”  

“Pushing three, sweetie.” Yuuko gave Fai a long, worried stare and he didn’t bother to tug on a smile for her. 

He might as well have gotten shit faced with Kurogane before ever having his meltdown, because between the headache from all the crying and the benzo hangover from his chill pills? 

He felt less shitty yesterday. 

Fucking Kurogane. 

Fai still had yet to actually get around to blocking him—and now that was just one more thing he was going to have to man up and do on top of everything else… “I slept through our meeting… Sorry about that.” 

Really, he just wanted to plop his head back down and sleep through his next meeting, too. He had two hours to talk to Yuuko, get cleaned up and head into the office… Totally not enough time, but he had been dumb enough to basically tranquilize himself. 

“Tai-chan told me to stop by the house and see you. And Ashura-dear here just told me you seemed to have had a panic attack last night?” Yuuko reached out again and brushed his hair out of his face and Fai was too tired to care about her icy ass fingers. 

Instead, he just let his weight go to one side and fell against Ashura’s chest like a lazy cat and yawned. “He was very sweet and helped me calm down. I promised I would talk to you about what has got me so unsettled since it’s all work related, anyways.” 

“So you’re feeling a lot better?” Ashura pressed a hand to Fai’s forehead as well—his hands were still chilly but not like Yuuko’s. “You are running a bit warm…” 

“I feel tired and like the sooner I get to work and get things handled, the sooner I will start feeling better.” Neither Yuuko nor Ashura seemed to like that answer very much—but his father was by far the more displeased of the two. 

Yuuko would ultimately send him to work and soothe his father—once he filled her in, there was no way she would think it a good idea for him to skip out today. He didn’t have time to deal with his meltdown last night—and he didn’t have time to deal with catching a bug. 

Not that he thought he was really coming down with anything—fever and sweating were common withdrawal symptoms, after all, and he was craving something fiercely after so many hours. 

“How about you try and eat something and we talk about what has you so unsettled?” Ashura ran a hand through Fai’s hair and the blond nodded his head slowly and closed his eyes. 

He would much rather just drift back off to sleep—but he knew as soon as he hooked up with Seishiro and topped up, he would perk right back up. 

“Do you mind if I chat with our sweet Fai for a moment alone, dear?” Fai opened his eyes just in time to catch his father’s slightly shocked expression at Yuuko’s suggestion, but he didn’t argue. With an offer to get breakfast and tea going, Ashura left them be—forcing Fai to sit up and lean back against the headboard. 

He still didn’t have the energy to manage his usual smiles—not that Yuuko seemed to mind—she was scowling rather fiercely at him now, the sweet act set aside now that Ashura was out of the room. After nearly a minute, Fai yawned and pulled his favorite quilt that he had brought down with him a little higher around himself and waited for her to make a move. 

Tai told her something—he needed to know what in order to decide how much truth he was going to feed her. 

“You’re waking up high now, too?” 

Fai snorted and shook his head slowly as he received a look that could kill lesser men. “I don’t get high off sleeping pills or anxiety medication… No one gets high off of sleeping pills.” 

He hadn't gotten high in… shit… years? Coke focused him and he hadn’t been in a party mood in ages. Xanies and Ambien were to help him sleep, not to have fun—his head was muggy, but not feeling like flying high. He honestly felt like shit. 

“I actually wouldn’t—you are the expert on these things, though, now aren't you?” Yuuko looked away and Fai yawned again. 

He was too tired to be offended and she wasn’t wrong. 

“I need to tell you something but I need you not to flip out on me.” he might as well get this over with… best to do it while he was still chemically numbed—he doubted he could get anxious now even if he wanted to. 

“Your step daddy told me about all the goodies in your safe upstairs.” Fai got a sharp glaring side glance from Yuuko and he sighed. 

Sometimes, she made things so difficult. 

“Yeah, well that’s really the least of my problems…” 

“Why, what happened?” Her tone softened, and she finally toned down the salt and gave Fai her complete attention. 

“I almost accidentally—” Fai’s mouth snapped shut and he sighed. 

Yeah, no—he needed help with that—but fessing up to that now was going to land him with an involuntary commitment and Reed would make his move… 

“Accidentally what?” 

“I had a panic attack—been a while since I had one of those…” That wasn’t a lie—that was sort of what that momentary disconnect from reality had been, right? He was certainly panicking. “And I couldn’t snap myself out of it. Ash heard me crying and got Tai… I had my safe open and the gun I used to um…” Fai swallowed a few times. 

This part was a lie—and he had to tell it carefully—he had to seem genuine. 

“—that I used on…” Fai rested his forehead down onto his knees and Yuuko sighed. 

“This one is getting to you, hm?” Fai felt her run a hand up and down his arm and he nodded his head—it had been—it would pass—he would get over what a monster he was. 

He always did. 

He shouldn’t have gone home alone. 

He had known better. 

“I just—I’m so overwhelmed… I knew I shouldn’t have been alone after last night—but I didn’t have anyone to turn to, and it got out of hand.” That wasn’t a lie—normally, he would hang with Seishiro and Subaru, but given the older man’s over enthusiastic mood? Well… Fai was not about to risk that. 

Granted—Seishiro jumping him after a kill was nothing new—he just hadn’t been into it.

He didn’t have any interest in anyone but Kurogane when it came to being screwed within an inch of his life.  

“Taishakuten seems to think that it’s because you broke things off with that Kurogane character.” Yuuko’s tone was sweet but Fai knew that the idea of Kurogane being the cause of this upset was not something she was excited about. 

Fai was just confused as to how Taishakuten got to that conclusion in the first place… 

The blond sighed again and picked his head up to give Yuuko a confused look—Kurogane had a bit to do with it—but their ‘break up’, if you could even call it that, had just been one more thing on the pile of things he was moody about. 

“Why?” 

“Probably because you were acting like newlyweds and then suddenly you’re brooding at the bottom of your bed sobbing and holding a gun? What is he supposed to assume?” Yuuko studied his face and Fai let her. 

“It’s a ‘right person, wrong time’ sorta thing—Kuro is amazing and I could see myself with him long term—but not with my job. My job is not going away.” Fai needed to block him soon, though—before Seishiro found out—before he took matters into his own hands and ‘took care’ of the distraction. 

“Right person?” Yuuko gave him a serious look and Fai shrugged. 

“I like him. Just not enough to risk getting out of the business for him.” There was a brief moment of silence and Yuuko seemed to be trying to figure something out while she watched him. He let her stare as she pleased and went back to resting his head on his knees. 

He was a little more awake, but still far from being able to drive… 

“So your little meltdown wasn’t because he cut things off?” 

“No. I might have been able to see him working out because of how nice he fit with the family… but I never let myself think about working it out with him. I knew we were going to part ways the entire time—so it’s not like what you’re thinking. And what makes you think I was the one that got dumped?” Fai might be awfully fond of that brooding bastard but he was far from being in love—and had definitely not been dumped. 

Having him around was just… nice… 

“Well, I’ve seen you kill before and brush it off like it was nothing—Reed is not the first power hungry psycho trying to take your seat—but Kurogane is the first person to make you smile like that, so you better tell me the truth about what happened—or you’re dealing with it by yourself, kiddo. I don’t play the half truth game.” Yuuko whispered this just in case there was anyone listening in for details—and Fai was thankful for that. 

“It’s not Kurogane, ok? Try the crushing realization that I am not allowed to have someone like Kurogane in my life because I run a drug ring and kill people, sell woman and push pills for a living?” Fai didn’t mean for his voice to sound so sharp but it was not exactly a happy realization and the reminder of it did manage to make him feel… 

Well, feel—which, given his current state, that sure said something about how he felt about it. 

“Sweety, when you’ve already made a life out of selling booze, bodies and worse, then why do you care about having someone at your side? Surely, that would be the least terrible thing you’ve done this week.” She was looking at him as though that were the most simple truth in the world and Fai couldn’t help but roll his tired eyes. 

He was not about to saddle someone as sweet as Kurogane with his level of crazy—never mind the fact that Fai was going to have to lie to him about 90% of his life while simultaneously putting his life in grave danger. 

“I might be a shitty person—but Kurogane deserves better than this hot mess.” Fai motioned vaguely at himself and it was Yuuko’s turn to roll her eyes. 

“Even you deserve to be happy, Fai. You don’t have to marry that boy, but hell—if he makes you happy, then what’s wrong with meeting him once in a while for some stress relief?” 

She was not helping. Yuuko had been so pissed to hear about Kurogane last night and now she was encouraging him? 

Because if someone gave Fai permission—he was probably going to do it. 

His self control was as shitty as it got. 

“He’s a cop.” 

“Well, then find someone like him. You’re running yourself ragged and you’re a social creature. Get yourself a boyfriend, for Christ’s sake—if you really got as bad as Tai said you did over not being allowed to date—date.” 

She acted as though it were so simple. 

Fai leaned back so that his head banged against the headboard and covered his face with both hands. 

He expected this to have a ‘weight of his shoulders’ sorta feel…

It did not. 

If anything, Yuuko was only making things worse this time and Fai was seriously regretting asking for her… 

“It’s not just that… It’s so many little stresses stacked up that I broke down. I’ll pick the pieces up and move on like I always do, ok?” He needed her off his back. He needed to get to work—to go over those emails… 

He needed to steer the conversation away from his headspace and over to the real issue. He wouldn’t have a brain to worry about if Reed got what he wanted after all… 

“Ok. So let’s work together on the little things. What’s something I can help you with?” Yuuko patted his arm and Fai sagged in relief. 

Not a ton, but enough to make her feel useful. 

“What are the chances I can con you into grabbing my work bag from the front seat of my car?” Fai managed his first smile—an innocent little smirk as he winked at Yuuko who took her own turn at the eye roll game. 

“That’s not exactly what I meant… but ok. Don’t off yourself while I’m gone.” Yuuko stood up and sauntered out of the room while Fai’s face lost what little color he had left. 

Tai had totally ratted on him and she wasn’t buying it. 

FUCK.

Chapter Text

Today had been a whole lotta what the FUCK?.

Kurogane didn't think it was possible to have a more WTF-vibe going than the one that had been plastered all over yesterday—but today blew that out of the fucking water.

The morning had been rushed after having spent the night at his parent's house letting off steam and drinking with his old man till well past midnight. He had been brooding and wondering why Fai hadn't texted him—before having to remind himself that blondie probably wasn't going to be texting him again.

Ever.

The weird feeling of rejection that washed over him every time that had happened pissed him off beyond belief. So there had been a lot of steam to work off.

His old man was one of the few people he knew who could not only drink him under the table—but the bastard never seemed to feel it the next morning. His pops had woken him ungodly early for 'family breakfast', but at least had the decency to do it with a mug of coffee and a quiet voice.

Breakfast was a bit of a tradition in their house. So even though he didn't go in until the afternoon and could have slept a few more hours, Kurogane dragged his sore ass outta bed and headed down to join everyone.

Even with a pounding headache and iffy stomach, Kurogane enjoyed breakfast just as much as he always did. The good news was that food always helped a hangover—and the calm routine of watching his old man read the paper, his sister finish up homework and his mother pack lunches helped stop his mood from going south first thing in the morning.

At least it did till his dad quirked a brow his way and gave him that look that always meant he was in for a talk he didn't want to have. Kurogane caught the look as he glanced up from checking his phone—and just stared back with a frown waiting to hear the issue.

"You hear from pretty boy yet, kiddo?" His old man watched him long enough to catch him shake his head, then refocused on the newspaper. "You gonna do what he says?"

Yeah.

While Fai having some issue with the law would probably help Kurogane get over him a hell of a lot faster… He didn't have any intention of looking into the bullshit Blondie had been spouting off about.

Not right away, at least

Blondie might have been the one to tell him to look into things, but he wanted to give Fai a chance to come clean about it himself, if by some miracle, he ever decided he wanted to work things out.

He knew, deep down—Biggs did, too—that Fai was a good person. If he wanted help getting out of whatever mess he was in, Kurogane would gladly help him.

Kurogane shrugged because that was too much of a mouthful this early in the morning. It had only taken a bottle of sake to get him to spill the details about Fai to his old man… Not that his dad would ever judge him—but admitting out loud that he had fallen for a certifiably insane blond, who was 9 years older than him and had more than enough emotional baggage to sink a fucking ship—well, that had been an experience.

He could stand by his instinct that Fai was a good guy till the cows came home, but he was obviously not into the commitment thing, and probably too broken to have enough pieces to put back together.

Getting upset over him was idiotic.

He would give Fai time to make a move if he wanted to—but if he didn't, Kurogane would have to accept that.

The more he thought about it, the more he got the feeling it would be a damn good thing if he never heard from Fai again. Kurogane made a point not to go looking for trouble and was not about to adopt the idiot's fuck it mantra.

Kurogane checked his phone again—even though the fact that he was glancing at it every few minutes damn near obsessively made him wanna kick his own ass. His old man sighed and Kurogane sipped his coffee and waited to see if he was in for another lecture.

His old man didn't seem to think that his plan to let Fai go was a good one. As an old school romantic, for him, the fact that Biggs had chosen that idiot might as well have been a sign from the gods that he had met the love of his life. It had been the debate of the night… Kurogane trying to use reason to convince himself as well as his father that it was just a stupid fling and shouldn't mean anything.

Obviously, he hadn't done so hot.

"Might learn something interesting." His old man set the paper aside and pushed his chair back from the table to take his plate and mug to the sink. He was going to be heading to work soon—day shift in the Nagano prefecture was going to be starting in less than an hour.

"Probably, but that's not the point." Someone with as much going on as Fai—with as many lies, masks, and covers—probably had tons of interesting shit following them.

Fai could damn well fess up and drop the act or Kurogane didn't want to know.

"Suit yourself." His old man ruffled his hair before making his rounds—hugging Tomoyo, kissing mom and reaching down to give each of the dogs a pat. "I do have something I want you to look into for me if you get a chance."

"Sure." Kurogane got up slowly and took care of his own dishes and hit the coffee pot for a refill.

"Got an email this morning. Request for backup on a bust your department is running tonight… ask and see if you can get me some details so I know who to send. Wanna give my boys a heads up if they're going to be pulling an allnighter." Kurogane watched his old man pull on his jacket before grabbing Shiva's harness—the dog shot up from her spot next to Biggs under the table and ran over to his side.

"I don't know anything about it. I'll find out and give you a call…" he hadn't been in yesterday so he may very well have missed something exciting. The only big bust he knew of wasn't going to take place for a few weeks—but maybe it had been moved up?

"You're a good kid, son." Shiva held still a hell of a lot better than Biggs ever did and she was harnessed and leashed in no time at all. "Keep your chin up and keep me posted."

"Will do." Kurogane always did. He downed his coffee and refilled while listening to the family exchange their usual goodbyes before the front door opened and closed.

His mom and Tomoyo knew something had happened—but neither of them pressed him as he continued to nurse his hangover and check his cell absent-mindedly while sucking down more coffee and petting his dog.

Blondie didn't text.

Kurogane gave his baby sis a ride to school and came back to chill with his mother. Her health had always been frail and while recently, it had been holding, it was the time of year where she usually came down with something. His mom worked from home running the breeding program, early training and sales of their dogs - and that involved a lot of outdoor time in the crisp fall air.

He always pitched in when he was home and jumped into the morning chores as soon as he was back. Moving around sucked at first—but the hangover was more or less gone by the time he had finished cleaning kennels, running the dogs and helping with the daily grooming.

Kurogane ducked out to head back to his apartment to get ready for work just after lunch and Biggs went for that damn pillow as soon as they got in the door. He showered, dressed and loaded up into the cruiser before heading into the station—swinging by his usual gas station on the way, to get another coffee and a treat for Biggs.

He didn't even manage to make it to his work locker before he picked up on the tense mood of his fellow officers and he didn't get a chance to lock the damn thing before his superior, Iorogi, was calling his name and stomped over like Kurogane had personally just set the bastard's house on fire.

"Suwa. A Moment." Biggs got between them and Kurogane let him as he closed his locker and turned to face the man with a neutral expression.

As far as he was aware—he hadn't fucked anything up. So it probably had something to do with the overall mood of the joint today.

"Sir?" Kurogane didn't have to correct his pooch—his superior stopped a respectful distance away and his calm demeanor had Biggs settling enough to sit in the space between his feet and watch their fellow officer like a hawk.

"My office in 15." The man glanced down at Biggs—he was not exactly friendly at work and his coworkers and supervisors had learned quickly that they needed to mind their distance.

Bummed a lot of them out because the rest of the K9s at the station were green behind the ears and less focused on officer protection and suspect apprehension and more focused on using their sniffers and giving a feeling of security. Meaning they were a hell of a lot friendlier than Biggs.

He was a good boy—but when the vest was on, he was in work mode and reactive. His independent streak meant that he had no issue telling anyone to back off—superior officer or not—no one got past Biggs without his handler's approval.

"Yes, Sir. Everything ok?" Kurogane kept his tone casual, Iorogi was easily riled these days.

"We got a dangerous job to do tonight. Office. 15." the man's face was set in a firm scowl, not that that was unusual for him—Kurogane could tell he was just as uneasy as the rest of the officers buzzing around.

"Yes, Sir." Kurogane nodded and Iorogi turned on his heel and walked off.

Getting info for his pops was gonna be easier than he thought. Hopefully, the meeting meant he was gonna be in on the action and with any luck, it would also be a hell of a distraction from Blondie maybe or maybe not texting him today.

'Sides, it's been damn near a month since the last time they had gotten any real action.

Kurogane checked in with his trainees and told them to hang tight while he was in this meeting and depending, he might be sending them out on normal duty or possibly pulling them for their first real gig with the K9s. Might be better not to have them there if it was gonna be a big operation, but the boys were shaping up nicely.

Next was the kennels in the back—Biggs did not like to be kenneled but being in a small room with who knows how many high strung cops would be worse for him—even if Biggs didn't know it.

Didn't mean the furball didn't protest.

As soon as they got through the doors to the kennels it was like Biggs' mood did a 180. It wasn't even like the department had a shitty setup and they were usually quiet until Biggs started making a racket.

He loved on the big guy as long as he could before heading to meet Iorogi. Not surprisingly, Kurogane wasn't the only one called in. He was still in his first year with the Tokyo police, but given his experience, he wasn't treated like the rest of the fresh officers. It was interesting to be the only one in the room with less than 15 years under his belt—which meant whatever was going to go down tonight was going to be big.

It was just what he needed.

Too busy to think about Blondie.

Kurogane was raised to mind his betters and greeted them accordingly before finding a nice spot to lean against at the wall.

It was a standing room only, anyway.

The tension in the air was palpable and it had his curiosity peaked—he had never been one to feed off other's emotions—especially fear. He was definitely not one to fear something he knew nothing about.

A few minutes passed and Kurogane assumed they were waiting for stragglers—he had not expected the last man to arrive to be none other than the commissioner himself, Zouchou, to storm in and slam the door closed behind himself with enough force to rattle the walls before heading behind the desk to stand next to Iorogi.

Well, shit.

Kurogane had never met the bastard before and what a hell of a first impression.

Zouchou was very well respected both in and outside the Tokyo metropolitan area, and everything about the man screamed cop.

Standing well over 6 ft tall, he towered over most of the men in the room. Zouchou might have a desk job and was rocking the appropriate suit and tie combo these days—but he looked ready to put the uniform on himself and take care of business.

He was the kinda guy you couldn't help but respect.

"Listen carefully because we don't have a lot of time, gentlemen." the commissioner barked as he scanned the room and took the time to make eye contact with each of them before continuing. "Most of you are aware of that kid, Seji Hondo. He is a 19-year-old university student that was last seen at Akai Heya less than 48 hours ago. I am sure a good deal of you were also aware of the raid we were preparing on that building, as well."

Several men around the room nodded. Kurogane had been off last night so he hadn't heard about the missing kid—but he knew about the planned raid.

Part of him had to wonder why this particular kid going missing at this particular club was significant. Thousands of people went missing in the city every year after all.

He didn't have to wonder about that long—Zouchou continued and things started clicking into place.

"—We have reason to suspect that the missing boy's disappearance has something to do with a well-known drug ring that operates out of Akai Heya as well as several similar establishments around Tokyo. I personally got a judge to sign off on a search warrant to tear that place apart in hopes we might be able to find out what happened to the boy and if at all possible, gain evidence against some of the higher-ranked members of the ring." The commissioner paused as quite murmurs swept across the room.

Kurogane knew there was supposedly a shit load of drugs moving through that place—hence the original plans to raid the joint—but this was an interesting development.

It was news to him that there was a big drug ring in Tokyo. He assumed most illicit substances moving in and out of the city came from the local Yakuza—but—now that he thought about it…

They didn't see much of the Yakuza.

They were only really active in Shinjuku and even then they rarely ran into them in the street.

"With all due respect, Sir." Vision, a senior officer that now worked in the missing persons unit, glared hard at the floor as he spoke. "I personally checked out Akai Heya last night—Seji Hondo was last seen in the club, but there's been hundred—hell—thousands of people in and out of there since. They are anything but sloppy. That aside, if they had something to do with it, we all know the kid is long gone."

"Because they aren't sloppy, we needed something like a missing person's investigation to get us in the door." The commissioner sighed and rubbed at his temples. "We haven't had an opportunity like this in years—after the big bust we had just a few weeks ago—this could be how we finally shut them down for good boys."

Kurogane watched as the senior officers looked around the room—all with the same expressions on their faces—fear.

Fear…

What the hell were they all so afraid of?

"And if he's expecting us?" Another officer from the other side of the room spoke up-Kurogane didn't know him personally—but he knew he worked over in Organized Crime for the last 20 years. "You willing to risk us walking in there blind? Facing Flourite's boys? When he has the home advantage?"

Kurogane scowled as his brain registered that name.

Fluorite.

Fai Flourite?

"We all know that is not his MO." The commissioner seemed pretty confident in that answer but the senior officers didn't look convinced.

"Pinned between a rock and a hard place? Who knows what the hell that psychopath is gonna do to make a point?"

"He might as well be declaring war—"

"I mean no disrespect, Sir." Vision cut the commissioner off—eyes still glued to the floor and hands balled into tight fists as he spoke. "—What do you think we're doing by pulling this raid?"

"Our. Damn. Jobs. Fluorite has had free run of the city for damn near a decade and its past time we get him behind bars." The commissioner all but snarled and Vision finally looked up to meet his gaze—holding it for several long seconds as silence hung in the air.

"He's doing his job, too, and we know he has no issue sending you reminders in the form of body bags." the younger officer replied.

"In case you have forgotten—" The commissioner's voice lowered to a hair raising level and he glared hard. "—We are here to protect the public and uphold justice and order. Not just when it suits us. Not just when it's easy."

Zouchou paused and looked around the room with a look that dared anyone to oppose his authority. When he was satisfied that his words had hit home, he cleared his throat and continued. "—Fluorite and his group have terrorized and poisoned Tokyo for too long. He has murdered countless officers—our brethren—in his pursuit of corruption. We will not tuck our tails and cower. Do I make myself clear?"

The last sentence was barked out and answered with a chorus of "Sir." in acknowledgment from his underlings.

"Fluorite might be a smart bastard, but he is far from invulnerable. An internal power struggle isn't something that happens often under that merciless of a leader, but it's an opening we can't pass. He will make a mistake and when he does, we will catch the bastard and put him where he belongs." The commissioner turned his attention to a stack of folders that were neatly sitting on the corner of Iorogi's desk. Grabbing them he handed the stack to the nearest officer with a gruff order of 'take one and pass.'

He waited until every man had a file in hand before continuing. "—that there, boys, is your bible. Read it. Memorize it if you have to. It's got details on tonight's job and what you need to keep your peepers peeled for in the coming weeks. With internal and external pressure on Flourite, he will trip and if you can jump, you damn well better do it or I'll have your badge."

The commissioner glared around the room again to make sure his point was understood before sighing. "Chances are, Fluorite will know we are coming—hell, I wouldn't be shocked to see that he has cleared out by this late in the game… That being said—tonight is going to be dangerous, so study up and kiss your loved ones. We meet back here at midnight."

With that, he stormed out of the room with the same gusto as he had entered. The only thing Iorogi had to say in following was "Dismissed." and a very confused Kurogane waited for the senior officers to file out before doing the same.

By the time he made it back to the kennels to snag his partner, his mind had started working again—and he decided he wouldn't even try and figure out if this Flourite was his Fai until he had gotten Biggs out and settled. He could hear the bastard telling the world how much he hated the kennels before he was halfway to the room where they were kept, and rolled his eyes as he pulled the heavy door open.

Biggs was pacing back and forth in the 10x10 ft space like his feet were on fire, and the cop paused in the doorway and shook his head slowly. The furball reached the far end of the chain link that separated him and the pooch next to him, and as soon as he whipped back around and laid eyes on his handler, he rushed the door and started jumping at the closed entrance and doing the dog equivalent of cussing Kurogane out.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it." The bastard sounded about ready to eat someone's face off, but given how fast his tail was swishing back and forth as he put on the man-eater act, Kurogane could only roll his eyes.

Biggs was not an all bark and no bite kinda dog—but that was all his temper tantrums were.

Well—if anyone else but Kurogane tried to open the cage right now, his boy might actually go for the throat—but right now, he was just complaining.

Loud.

As soon as his handler put a hand on the latch to the kennel, the K9 backed up and sat. As soon as Kurogane bent to get him in his harness, he started his eager wiggling and they did their usual dance of Kurogane telling Biggs to hold still, and the dog trying his best to listen but also 'help' get the job done faster.

They figured it out, like they always did, and Kurogane dug a treat out of his pocket and offered it up to Biggs before they headed back to his desk. Biggs laid down on the floor next to his seat and he sighed before flipping the file open.

Paper clipped right to the top of the left-hand side of the folder was Fai's mischievous, yet undeniably pretty eyes staring back at him.

Fuck.

FUCK.

Right next to the photo—a mugshot of a younger-looking but still ungodly beautiful Fai, were big bolded caps letters that spelled out FAI D. FLOURITE plain as day.

For a split second, he was saying a silent prayer that his Fai had an evil identical twin he didn't know about… Same last name, same face… but there was no denying that his Fai—was this Fai.

Fuuuuuck.

The date of the booking was from 2005 for a PCS charge that had apparently been investigated and promptly dismissed after the arraignment. The attached report stated that Fai D Flourite had been picked up outside of a downtown nightclub. He had been stopped at random and searched, where the officer discovered a large quantity of several illegal substances and had been taken into the station for questioning.

The suspect had refused to give up any information and lawyered up.

Smart.

That was the only arresting reports they had on him—underneath the report were a handful of interviews the police had done relating to various crimes the police suspected Fai might have been a witness to—but nothing in any of those reports stood out to Kurogane

Fai never gave an ounce of useful information and the reports were all painfully short, given the severity of crimes being investigated…Murder, drug trafficking, promotion of prostitution, child trafficking, a slew of charges connected to organized crime…

Below the interviews were open cases that were still pending investigation spanning from 2005 all the way to the bust that had just happened last month. Kurogane felt like the air was sucked out of his lungs as he flipped through the skeleton reports that had been including on the open case.

More of the same and worse…

Murders—Murders of Yakuza, of cops, civilians, and members of his own group. The real kick in the gut where the photos of the corpses—Kurogane had never had to work on a murder case and he hoped he never had to…

Fuck.

Could Fai—the goofy, sweet moron who he had just spent the night with—really have done all of this with his freakishly soft hands?

Kurogane's eyes lingered particularly long on the report and photos detailing the murder of some old Yakuza boss—Tatsou Sakurazuka—that was particularly stomach-turning.

Well, all of them were stomach-turning, but this one looked sloppy but most of all personal.

Really fucking personal.

The corpse laid in the middle of an oversized canopy bed surrounded by bloodied bedding that had one time been a luxurious white. The man was naked and laying on his back… his arms had been tied to the headboard above his head and his throat looked like it had been sawed open by unskilled hands. Blood had sprayed everywhere and there had been bloody hand- and footprints on various surfaces within the home…

The report itself was even more sickening and Kurogane was enranged by the time he had finished reading it… the main suspect for the murder was the person who had taken Tatsou's place as head of the local Yakuza—breaking the group away from the parent organization and changing the direction of their focus.

Fai D Flourite.

The evidence that linked him to the murder was damning—yet the case had been thrown out on a technicality… Mismanagement of the body by the coroner coupled with the fact that Fai claimed he had been Tatsou's lover was enough to tank the PA's case apparently…

Kurogane didn't buy that for one fucking second.

The rest of the murders had less evidence pointing at Fai being the actual killer or even just an accomplice. They might not turn his stomach like Tatsou Sakurazuka's had—but they were not pretty by any means.

In a few cases, there had been entire families killed—the suspected motive was simply Fai ordering their deaths to send a message.

Fuck…

FUCK.

What the FUCK?

Kurogane didn't know if it was a good thing that most of the killings were supposedly 'ordered' by Fai rather than committed by him personally—but the alarming number had the cop's blood boiling.

There were reports and investigations looking into human trafficking and prostitution taking place in buildings and businesses he was connected to were just as disgusting. Growing less so in current days, but that may just be due to hiding their operations from police better these days.

Supposedly, Fai owned a few brothels and staffed prostitutes at a few of his higher-end clubs. Kurogane's eyes scanned over these reports far more quickly—but he almost dropped the file when he skimmed over a name that was familiar.

Kyuden.

Kyuden had been the club he had first met Fai at…

Kurogane was hit with the sudden realization of how fucking stupid he had been for not picking up on more. The beautiful woman hanging out on the first floor—the privacy of the booths in the balcony area—the fact that the waitress had dropped off a stack of god damn napkins for them?

The reports didn't get somehow managed to keep topping themselves until Kurogane needed to put them down.

The reports that linked Fai to police deaths had been fucked—eyewitnesses from the force had seen him shoot other officers point-blank to again 'send a message' about them 'poking their nose where it didn't belong.'

Eye witness was all they had—no one knew what happened to the body and with nobody proving that a murder had taken place… well, that was that.

It took a few hours to read through the reports and Kurogane was planning to take a break before moving onto the details of the planned bust they had tonight when his phone vibrated in his pocket.

For a split second his mind thought it might be Fai finally reaching out and Kurogane was instantly disgusted with the half moment of excitement—anger took excitement's place and he dug the damn thing out and swiped to answer when he saw it was old man calling.

"Hey." Kurogane leaned down to pet Biggs out of habit and leaned back in his seat.

"Having a shit day because you're weak ass is hungover or because something bad happened?" Kurogane's father spoke in his usual cheerful tone and Kurogane was punched in the throat by the realization that he had just spilled all the details about Fai to him the night before.

He sure felt really fucking stupid right about now…

"I got info on the bust." Kurogane didn't have time to address it with his pops now—he needed to process the shit load of information that had just been shoved down his throat. Then he would get this call over with and clear his head before finishing the rest of the reports.

"Lay it on me, kiddo."

"It's a raid on a nightclub looking for clues on a missing person and any illicit substances. There is a possibility that it's going to be dangerous given the rap sheet of the people who run their business out of there." Kurogane wasn't sure about the amount of detail his old man was looking for, but he figured he would start there.

Leaning down, he snagged Biggs' leash and got to his feet, feeling suddenly confined by his cramped cubicle. He needed fresh air and there was no reason he couldn't talk and walk at the same time.

"They requested K9 back-up. What kind?" His old man sighed on the other end so he assumed he had basically told 'em what he already knew.

"Focus on the missing person and drug search. Sounds like they don't expect anyone to actually be there, though it's not a sure thing." Biggs wasn't hopeless at those things but he specialized in officer protection and suspect apprehension.

"Gotcha—You tagging along?"

"Yeah. Reading through the info now. I'll send an update if those need changes." Kurogane pushed the door that led to the back alley open with a little too much force and paused so he could lean down to pat his partner's side in apology for the unexpected bang.

"You gonna be careful and not do anything stupid?" his father didn't use his 'dad voice' often—only because Kurogane usually wasn't an idiot—but given how angry he was at the moment?

He took his tone and his words to heart and took a deep breath.

"Yeah." he led them up the alleyway and then down the street towards their favorite lunch spot and listened to his old man chuckle softly.

"Good, cause you sound pissed off and like you're temper is gonna shut your brain off." Kurogane huffed but didn't disagree with that statement.

He was fucking steaming.

He had no idea how to feel or process what he had just read, and he really just wanted to clobber Fai for lying to him. For being such a flawless fucking liar that he had fooled both Kurogane and Biggs into thinking he was—FUCK.

He needed to hit something.

"I'll be careful. Promise." Kurogane slowed his pace slightly and consciously made an effort to relax his shoulders, unclench his jaw, and unfist his hands.

"I'll believe you. Don't make me explain to your mother that her son is in a body bag because of his temper. That group you guys are dealing with is dangerous. Watch yourself." the sternness in his pop's voice caused him to shiver and Kurogane let out a stream of cuss words while his mind caught up with that statement.

"You heard of 'em?" If the name had rung a bell last night, he would have spoken up, but Kurogane had only ever referred to Fai by his first name, "that bastard" or "the idiot."

"Some real horror stories have come out of Tokyo about that group over the last few years. The police have been in a standoff with them since they fractured away from the Yakuza. You got briefed on the history, kiddo?"

"Yeah, been reading through all the shit we got on 'em. City seemed so quiet." He sure as fuck never would have guessed they had this sort of shit going on here.

Even more than that… That he would run into someone so fucking dangerous in such a casual situation. Kurogane should have listened to his fucking gut. He might not have been aware of Fai and his rapt sheet, but that bastard KNEW exactly what it was he was fucking doing.

Kurogane felt his temper spiked again and had to take another deep breath. He again had to slow his pace, and internally reminded himself that it was gonna be a long night. He needed to chill the fuck out and do his damn job.

"Well, when tensions were at their highest you were only a kid. Tokyo has been quiet the last few years… That's why I felt comfortable sending you there to work…Quiet or not, I am surprised this is the first you're hearing of it." His father gave a stressed laugh and Kurogane hummed in acknowledgment.

Maybe that was why his mother had cried when he told her he was taking a job in Tokyo… Over a dozen officers murdered and a couple dozen missing by none other than Fai's fucking hand.

"I'll be careful and call you with an update when my shift is over." The offer was more for him than his old man—but he knew his father was going to be worried sick. Kurogane could handle himself, but those numbers made your blood run cold.

"We'll be up, son." Kurogane stopped outside the door of their usual coffee shop and had Biggs sit with a gentle command.

"I gotta grab a bite but I'll talk to you later tonight, dad."

"Good. Love you, kiddo, and we'll be seeing ya."

"Yeah—Love you, too, and hug mom for me." With an affirmative, Kurogane hit the red button and tucked his phone into the back of his uniform pants before making quick work of his lunch run. The walk back to the station was uneventful and the outing did help him clear his head.

He needed to separate his personal and professional life for tonight and get pissed at Fai playing him for a fool after his shift.

Arresting the bastard would be pretty fucking satisfying, though.

Biggs didn't complain at having to go back to laying next to the desk and watched the people bustling around the office with half interest as Kurogane got back to the file.

The right-hand side had details on the bust they were going to carry out tonight with damn near as many reports and briefs to look through. Most of it was important, so he buckled down and tuned out the hustle and bustle around him.

The layout of the Club was not ideal by any means and Kurogane had to wonder if that was on purpose. Most of the square footage was taken up by the main room of the club that housed the bar and dance floor. Not that when buildings were designed or remodeled they were done with how easy it would be for the police to search and secure the space.

There were various back rooms that were disconnected from one another, each with their own entrance leading into the main room. It made searching a pain in the ass but once the rooms were cleared, it was easy to make sure no one had snuck into one of the cleared spaces.

Not surprisingly—K9 officers were going to be sent in first. He wouldn't be allowing the rookies to join them on this one—not when they didn't know what they were walking into.

The Tokyo police had their eye on the place for weeks and it looked like the group had closed up shop and cleared out—there had been an announcement on Akai Heya's Facebook page that due to unexpected circumstances they would be 'temporarily' closing their doors.

Chances were that the place was going to be empty, but the commissioner wanted to be prepared in case the drug ring was planning on falling back into old habits… K9s would be in first to search and clear the place—and the majority of the officers were there to step in should there be a surprise waiting for them—but mainly as a show of strength.

Sending the dogs in first would also keep any scents that remained from the missing kid as well preserved as possible. Chances were high that any stores of narcotics would have been cleaned but even finding traces of them would help the PA with their case.

Could be a straight forward night.

Could be a shit show…

Kurogane really hoped it was straight forward.

The reports detailing the investigation into the missing boy were dated only just yesterday and detailed a routine questioning conducted by two officers in the missing persons division. Apparently, they had been greeted with 'open arms' by Fai Flourite himself.

Fai.

Fucking hell.

Two dots just connected and Kurogane felt anger starting to boil to the surface as he realized the timeline at hand. The kid had gone missing two nights ago—the night that Fai had called him out for drinks at Kurōbā.

Was it a stretch to wonder if the reason the idiot had been so fucking stressed was because he actually had had something to do with the kid that had gone missing?

Kurogane ran a hand through his hair and closed his eyes. The understanding that Fai—the sweet moron who cherished his family as much as Kurogane cherished his own… that his dog loved even after only meeting him once… that had looked so fucking distraught at saying goodbye to him—was the same man in these damned reports, was still sinking in.

He could remember his thoughts on the blond when he had slept over at his small apartment just days ago… before he had seen the way Biggs had taken to him like they had been old friends…

The way he had been unsettled by the happy-go-lucky smile that Fai had rocked from the second he had pulled him over until he had clunked out… That had registered as a huge red flag, that Fai was probably capable of some fucked up shit, but he never could have guessed that blondie had actual skeletons in his fucking closet.

Real fucking bodies.

Fai had dropped him off—had 'reluctantly' turned down his offer to blow off work and rest because he had to 'run his business.'

Reluctantly…

Fai had gotten out of the car to snag one last hug—that last fucking kiss. Kurogane closed his eyes and could practically hear that exhaustedly soft admission from blondie—that he really liked Kurogane—that Kurogane made him feel like he could be himself.

Only…

Who the fuck was Fai?

Because apparently, Kurogane had no fucking clue who he had been sticking his dick in.

Who he had gotten attached to…

FUCK.

Kurogane made Fai feel like the man who ordered people's deaths, peddled women and imported and sold deadly drugs that poisoned the city? Or did he make Fai feel like the brat that mouthed off to his stepdad about a fucking PB&J? Like the idiot that was totally content as long as Kurogane had his arms wrapped around him and wooed his fucking dog to the dark side.

Fuck, fuck, FUCK.

It was impossible to be both people. So which was the lie?

More importantly…

Why the hell did he care? So he got played by a fucking psychopath… Someone who didn't give a shit about who suffered at his expense. Didn't care who they sold their poison to—didn't care who they killed—didn't care whose body they sold—didn't care about who they fucked so long as they got what they wanted.

Whatever it was that Fai had wanted from Kurogane—he had gotten it—gotten it at the risk of Kurogane's fucking career.

Blondie had done what he was wired to do.

Use people.

So why the fuck did Kurogane feel like he just got stabbed in the back when he had really just dodged a bullet?

All of Fai's talk about things being too complicated… of not wanting things to end…

Damn this all to hell.

Kurogane was pulled out of his brooding when Rasetsu leaned on the side of his desk and flashed him a worried look. "You glare at that file any harder and the damn thing is gonna burst into flames, Suwa."

"'t's a lot to take in." He sure as hell wasn't gonna bring up the fact that he had recently gotten to know the apparently infamous Fai D. Fluorite intimately.

Well—his body intimately at least—everything out of the fucker's mouth had probably been a lie.

"You carry yourself so well, I forget yer just a newbie… Nasty stuff, huh?" Rasetsu ran a hand through his hair and sighed.

While he wasn't green behind the ears like Kurogane was, the other man had only been in the department a few more years than him. According to the reports in the file, there was pretty much no exchanges between Fai's group—gang—drug ring or whatever the hell he called it—and the police in the last few years.

He had come in on the tail end of the last of the incidents, more than likely.

"Had no clue there was a psycho like this in the city." Kurogane leaned back in his seat and closed his eyes. He tried to ignore the start of a tension headache that was coming in hot.

He would have to scrounge up something for that soon or tonight really was gonna be hell.

"You know—for being one dangerous son of a bitch, he's actually a pretty friendly dude." Rasetsu flipped through the reports until he was back to the front page where Fai was smiling like a cocky bastard in his mug shot.

He had a screw loose, all right.

That photo made him think of the cocky, overconfident smiles from Kyuden that first night. How Fai had acted like he owned the fucking world and knew it, too… how he had been totally confident that Kurogane was going to be interested in him—how he had been so fucking pleased with himself at riling the cop up.

Fai hadn't known he was a cop then, though. He didn't have his occupation listen on his Tinder account and they haven't talked about it.

Blondie's surprise had seemed genuine when Kurogane had pulled his ass over—but who the fuck knew. Maybe the whole loving son shit was an act, too…

"That so?" Kurogane rubbed at his temples and sighed.

Rasetsu watched him for a long moment. His only answer was to quirk a brow at the senior officer. "Yeah. Every time he's in here for an interview or to bail one of his goonies out, he puts on a hell of a Mary Poppins act… you doing ok there, Suwa?"

No.

Being totally mind fucked by a gorgeous, flirty and apparently homicidal blond was a new experience for Kurogane—and sure as fuck not a fun one.

Considering fucking enemy number one would more than likely cost him his job—and the excuse of not knowing any better was not solid enough to save him from that fall… Well, he was going to have to keep that info to himself for the time being.

"Just a headache. I'll be fine." Biggs nosed at his hand and Kurogane absentmindedly scratched around his collar like he knew his pooch liked.

"Drink some water." Rasetsu chuckled and relaxed a bit. "Thought you might'a been picking up on the general vibe of the joint today… Iorogi wanted me to come warn ya bout it since you're one of the first in."

"Noticed it—can see why everyone's on edge—but according to the reports, there shouldn't be much to worry about." If there was something he needed to worry about—nothing Rasetsu was gonna say would make a difference.

He was more pissed than nervous, anyways.

"Course—you got nerves of steel, right?" His senior officer was looking at him like he was a fool—and while Kurogane currently felt like one—it wasn't for the reasons the older man thought he should.

"No. It's not logical to be afraid of doing the job tonight. Just cautious." Wasn't like he couldn't understand why his betters would be nervous—they had first-hand experience to trigger a fear response.

He would be fearful, too, if he was in their position.

Kurogane wasn't, though.

He, unfortunately, had a very different picture of Fai in his head. He needed to get the image of Fai curled up naked in his bed, snuggling Biggs, out of his fucking head.

"Be cautious. Flourite has a pretty face but he and his minions will fuck you hard… Though you're far more likely to run into one of his goonies than the puppet master himself." Rasetsu was back to giving Kurogane a serious look. "Especially his 'enforcers.' Those bastards are basically psychopaths for hire and extremely dangerous."

"They weren't mentioned in the file." Kurogane hadn't seen the term 'enforcer' at least.

Where they like his personal army or some shit? What the hell kinda name was that?

"Yeah, I noticed that. Save for a few exceptions, they're usually huge dudes. Usually rocking a black tee-shirt and black pants like the bouncers in his clubs." Kurogane nodded in understanding and mentally cursed.

That Seishiro bastard more than likely was an enforcer then. Given his conversation with Fai the other night? The way he had mouthed off about Kurogane being a problem—which at the time had made no fucking sense…

Now it did…

But the point was—he was a big fucker who probably worked closely with Fai on the day to day, given how comfortable he was with him. Blondie had been pissed that that Seishiro bastard had fucked something up. Something to do with Reed?

The name Reed hadn't been mentioned in any of the reports, though.

Didn't matter—he would find out more about it when he dug through the department records. About Fai—about Seishiro—about Reed.

"Okay." Kurogane glanced down at Biggs who had taken to resting his head on his handler's thigh. "I'll keep that in mind."

"If you run into them—or you run into Fai—hell, even one of his dealers or girls… avoid them, ok? Don't be a hero. You're not gonna bring Flourite's operations down with one arrest—you're going to put a target on your back."

Kurogane's attention snapped back to Rasetsu. "You're joking, right?"

"Nope. Tonight we have safety in numbers and we're gonna make some arrests, if at all possible—on a normal night you let them pass you by. Let the big bosses call the shots—don't fuck with them unless your explicitly told to." he was dead serious and Kurogane nodded slowly, processing his words.

So definitely don't pull Fai over for going 30 over the speed limit?

Fuck.

How the hell did that idiot have the entire Tokyo Police department so fucking terrified of him, they were like trained fucking animals?

Fai.

Fai who called Biggs god damn "puppy bear".

"That's fucked up." There was no other way of putting it.

His senior officer was telling him to ignore known criminals for his own fucking safety and that was as fucked as it got.

"Yup. I didn't like it when I got this same talk as a newbie. Wish we could do more… but you read those reports. Remember them when you're feeling like a hero." Rasetsu didn't wait for a response. With one last serious look, he gave a nod and headed back towards his own desk, leaving Kurogane to his brooding.

A quick glance at the clock told him there wasn't much time before the final briefing and they would be heading out. Kurogane needed to get Biggs and himself ready for this sort of operation. Biggs needed to stretch. He needed to stretch… get some fucking Aspirin… drink some water.

Mentally shut his fucking emotions about Fai off until the end of the night and get his head in the game.

It was easier said than done.

Biggs was feeding off his energy, though—and keeping him calm while they waited for the action did a hell of a lot to keep conversations with blondie from playing on repeat in his mind.

At midnight, they met back in Iorogi's office and Kurogane had no choice but to bring Biggs into the cramped room that was buzzing with fearful and anxious energy. The backup that had been requested from his father was someone Kurogane knew well.

Lafarga and Inuova had known him since he was a kid and as soon as he locked eyes with them he started to relax. It helped Biggs settle as well—and while they waited for things to get rolling, he only had to correct him once. Given his experience—there was no way he would be expected to take point even if those two were technically his backup.

Kurogane was never afraid to step in and give orders when he needed to—but given his personal hang up…

It was better this way.

Safer.

Commissioner Zouchou was calmer as he entered this time and Kurogane was thankful for that. Biggs was the opposite of gun shy and loud noises like slamming doors riled him into protection mode like little else.

The door was closed and Zouchou cleared his throat as he leaned against the side of the desk. "I trust you've all done your homework and we're on the same page about the plan for tonight… What I am about to tell you all needs to be kept hush-hush. Understood?"

There was more?

How the fuck could there be more?

Kurogane had no clue how anything else could be added into this clusterfuck…

"As I briefly mentioned earlier… There is currently an internal power struggle going on in Flourite's gang." Commissioner Zouchou's expression was grave and he sighed deeply before continuing. "A foreign associate that had ties with the Chinese Triads… According to our information, his name is Fei Wang Reed. We need to keep an eye out for any information on this man or anyone working with him."

Reed—well—that was who that Seishiro bastard had fucked something up with… If this Reed fellow was trying to cause issues for Fai—blondie's reactions the other night were making more and more sense.

So avoid Fai and look out for Reed?

"We do NOT what this man slipping into Flourite's role. Flourite might be one hell of a sadistic fuck—but he keeps consistent order in his business affairs and that keeps the rest of the underworld quiet. Our goal is to use the conflict between these two to take them both down." The commissioner looked at the file that was on the desk and flipped through a few pages until he hit the first notes on what was planned for the op tonight.

"We've had eyes on this joint for weeks now and I am going to go over with you all what you need to know. This info is to be kept on a need to know basis. Fluorite has been known to persuade officers into doling out information before…"

Brutally murder them and hide their bodies never to be seen again?

Yeah.

Best to keep the info hush hush…

"It's common knowledge in the department that most of the drugs the college kids are doing come from Akai Heya—which is owned by a corporation that has ties to Flourite's group… Usually, they run a tight, clean ship—meaning Flourite himself isn't there very often at all—" The commissioner paused and turned the page of the file to the missing person's report for the kid.

Kurogane hadn't taken the time to count how many bars, clubs, and other businesses had been in the reports in connection with Fai—but it had to be a hell of a lot.

No wonder the lying bastard was so fucking stressed out all the damn time.

"—The night of Friday, November 14, Fai Flourite himself was seen arriving at Akai Heya at approximately 21:00 hours. Before and after his arrival, traffic in and outside of the club seemed to be flowing normally. A high ranking member of the drug ring known only as Kujaku, was seen arriving at approximately 21:30 and left the premise again after only 10 minutes. Fuuma Sakurazaka, another high-ranking as well as very dangerous member of the ring arrived at approximately 22:15. He was seen driving a white utility van and its assumed he entered and exited the building through the back fire door."

Fuck him.

Fai had called him for comfort after doing who the fuck knows to that kid. Who the hell did that bastard think he was?

"Fai left the premises at 0:00 and we lost eyes on him until the next day at 16:00 where he returned to Akai Heya for 4 hours—departing again at 21:00 hours. At 4:00, after last call, the place seemed to be packed up and there has been no activity at the building since. Which is good news for us." The commissioner looked up from the file he had been reading and scanned the room before continuing.

"The chances that Fai and crew will have everything out in such a short amount of time is damn near impossible so the chances that we will find some evidence is good. It also means we won't be working around civilians that may be lingering—and if we run into trouble, we have the maneuverability that we need—" Kurogane had read the plan of attack and couldn't focus on what commissioner Iirigi was saying.

He had never been so fucking pissed in his life.

Fai had probably fucking murdered that guy, then called him to fuck. Called a COP to fuck him after pulling shit like that?

If that wasn't fucking insulting enough, Fai had paraded around this sweet loving alter ego that had wanted him—had refused to admit it—and Kurogane had fallen for it hook, line and fucking sinker.

Blondie had fucking known what he was doing—had fucking told Kurogane to ask about him at work.

He KNEW he had put Kurogane at risk.

It was a fucking game to that beautiful bastard.

To ice the fucking cake, he had gotten Biggs to fall in love with him after meeting him ONCE. Hell, he had gotten Kurogane to fall in love with him by the end of the third night.

Kurogane could deal with this a hell of a lot better if it wasn't for that last goodbye… if Fai hadn't brought him into his home—introduced him to his fathers—clung on to him or hung off of him every chance he got.

Why the fuck had someone like him—a career criminal who had just got done murdering someone—looked so distraught that he and Kurogane were "too different."

At least now he knew what the fuck blondie meant.

They were on different god damn planets.

The meeting ended and they geared up, loaded up and headed out to the edge of downtown, where the club in question was located. Kurogane rode in the back of one of the large police vans along with the back up they had requested from surrounding departments, including his father's men.

It was more or less a clusterfuck.

A good, distracting clusterfuck.

But a clusterfuck, nonetheless.

The plans for the raid were detailed and specific. The K9 units would search the building first—they were planning to hit hard and fast—collect as much evidence and make as many arrests as possible.

Carpooling was expected in such situations—but whatever idiot thought putting 3 high energy K9s in the back of the same van was a good idea needed someone to slap some common sense into them.

The dogs liked to work and getting them excited about work was an important part of getting the best results from their training. Cramming one into a moving metal box with its handler, several officers and 2 other highly aggressive K9s was not a good way to get them excited.

All three of the dogs were high strung and stressed out by the time they had reached their destination and Biggs being especially sensitive was the worst off. He had a hair-trigger personality and while the other two dogs were used to working together to an extent—Biggs was the odd one out in this case.

Due to the tight schedule and nature of the work, there was nothing they could do about the transport plan now. From the second the riot gear had gone on and they headed for the loading docks at the back of the station, Biggs had started to get excited.

Not how he got excited when he had gotten to see Fai—Not how he wouldn't hold still when it got time to go to work in the morning… To someone who didn't know any better Biggs might seem unusually calm when you put him next to the other dogs.

Kurogane was the last one into the van and his first order of business was giving Biggs a firm command to lay on the limited space between Kurogane's feet and stay there. The other handlers had their dogs sitting up and facing them—keeping them distracted with petting, praise, or treats.

Biggs was at his limit just getting in the damn van with so much going on around him—he was ready to roll and had no interest in affection, treats or anything but his frustration of people and dogs being in his personal space.

Kurogane's own tense energy wasn't helping and he had to keep unclenching his jaw and relaxing his shoulders as he kept an eye on his hyped-up pooch. He knew his dog—he trusted Biggs with his life but he was realistic about his limitations and so kept a firm grip on the handle of his harness to catch him if he decided someone had made a wrong move.

Sound echoed around the back of the utility van in a way that was overwhelming for he himself—so he could only assume how hard it was for Biggs to hold still. The way the dog's ears were pinned back against his skull and his body occasionally trembled with pent up energy were just more obvious signs that his boy was not happy about this trip.

It was too damn loud with the other dogs and officers for him to hear it, but he could feel the deep rumble of Biggs' low growl as the dog watched his surrounding with a sharp stare.

The short trip to Akai Heya seemed to take fucking years.

Good thing about being the last ones in—they were the first ones out. Kurogane stood, keeping his grip firmly on the handle of Biggs' harness and hopped out of the back of the van which had been backed up to the sidewalk in front of the main entrance of the club.

A quick glance showed him that everyone was in position—the street had been blocked off by cruisers with flashing lights—as was the alleyway that would prevent anyone from slipping unnoticed out of the back entrance.

As soon as his feet made contact with the pavement, Kurogane tightened his grip on the leash and released his hold on the harness. Biggs shot forward to test his range of movement and when the leash pulled tight he doubled back to his handlers side and stayed there as they moved to the side to allow the other officers out of the van.

Biggs was panting, whining and shifting his focus between Kurogane and their surroundings. K9's were in first and Kurogane fell into line behind Lafarga, who was going to lead them into the building and take point.

Kurogane and Biggs were the pair that specialized in subject search and apprehension and would be the ones to hit the back rooms with the other two K9 teams following behind to sweep for drugs and any sign of their missing teen.

Biggs would be off-leash for the search while Kurogane and their back up followed loosely behind him, giving him room to do his job unhindered. As soon as the 3 back rooms were cleared and the ally swept, their job was done.

If they ran into anyone they had probable cause to arrest on sight—and if they tried to resist, Biggs would get to sink his teeth into something living for the first time in weeks. Chances were slim—but Kurogane was going to run them through this like they were expecting it.

Lafarga was leading them into the building and Kurogane and Biggs fell in behind him as they crossed the short distance to the large glass doors that led to the small lobby area before the main room of the club. The bathrooms here were their first priority and the lobby was where they were to fall back to should they run into trouble.

He didn't know if it was a good or bad sign that the front door was unlocked—but he shortened his partner's leash and followed in on Lafarga's heels. There had been a note on the front door stating that Akai Heya was permanently closed and pointed patrons to check out the joint's Twitter or Facebook for updates on when they would be open again.

Inside, the lobby was lit with black lights that left poor visibility when coming in from the brightly lit downtown Tokyo street. The lights had been left on for them—and Kurogane was starting to get a bad feeling about this.

Inuova cleared his voice before calling out their presence and asking for anyone in the building to come out with their hands up. Kurogane held his breath for half a second and frowned when the only sound in the joint was that of the dogs panting. Lafarga nodded in his direction and he turned his attention to the first bathroom on the right. Biggs stuck to his hip as he pushed the door open and called out the same warning—Biggs letting out two booming barks that reverberated off the black tiled walls—both of them falling silent and listening for any signs of life.

They searched the stalls one by one and Kurogane shouted clear as he punched back out into the lobby before repeating with the next bathroom.

No one.

Inuova was the first one into the main room of the club as well. Still no response—and Kurogane unhooked Biggs from the leash and waited for another nod before letting him loose to search freely. The big shepherd mix meandered about the room and returned to his handler when he didn't find anyone hiding behind the bar or in any of the nooks and crannies along the walls.

Save for a few items on the bar there was no furniture, decorations, glassware or liquor one would expect to find in a place that had been fully operational less than 24 hours ago.

Kurogane figured if they were going to run into someone in this place, it was going to be in the back rooms and he headed to the first of the doors and pushed it open a fraction of an inch to call his warning before letting Biggs in to do his job, following him with his gun drawn.

What every they had used this room for—they had packed it entirely up. There wasn't so much as a fucking dust bunny on the floor waiting for them and it was quickly cleared.

The next room was larger—directly behind the bar, it was some sort of storage space with a walk-in deep freezer and kitchen facilities.

Nada.

The last room had Kurogane covering his nose as soon as he followed Biggs inside—the overwhelming chemical smell was enough to make his eyes water—the source of which was unknown.

This was the largest of the three spaces. Empty wire shelves lined the walls, giving no clue as to what they may have held—employee bathrooms were clean and empty, and the very back area that sported the door that led out to the ally was completely bare—nothing but empty concrete walls to greet them.

Kurogane releashed Biggs before letting him back out into the ally—but like the rest of the place, it was devoid of human life. Heading back inside and out to the lobby, he called clear and stood by while the other two K9 units started their sweep of the joint.

They finished their sweep as well—finding nothing, not so much as a trace of narcotics, let alone any trace of Seji Hondo's scent.

Damn.

Commissioner Zouchou stormed in and ordered one last sweep with the dogs and when Kurogane finished up double-checking, he found the superiors standing at the bar looking at the only items that had been left behind.

Kurogane hadn't paid them much mind. A bottle, two glasses, some paper and some flowers.

When he stopped to think about that—given how bare everything else was in the joint—it was strange. And given how angry Zouchou looked as he read the paper?

Kurogane assumed that the items left were intentionally placed there for them to find.

So Fai was fucking with them…

Surprise, Surprise.

Even before the mindfuck of the reports he had read about blondie tonight, Kurogane had known that the idiot had a sadistically playful side to him and teasing to getting a rise out of people seemed to tickle him fucking pink.

Like a grinning cat playing with a house mouse before leaving it to bleed to death…

Bastard.

Kurogane watched as the head of the Tokyo Police department slammed what was apparently a greeting card down onto the bar and stormed out—his dress shoes thundering against the polished mat wood flooring of the main room as he went—the sound definingly loud in the silence of the mostly empty room.

Iorogi, who had also led the raid, snatched the card up and looked it over. As he read Kurogane caught sight of the front cover of the card and could only imagine given the front—what the idiot had written inside…

"Our sincerest apologies for the inconvenience our error has caused." was scrawled across the front of the card in frilly print. It was the only decoration on the otherwise plain-looking white card—the envelope—a light sky blue, similar to the color of Fai's fucking eyes, was torn open and on the countertop.

As Iorogi's brows furrowed while he scanned the print, Kurogane got a quick peek at what had actually been left on the counter. A beautiful bouquet that had to be made up of a few dozen, large, blood-red roses, was sitting next to a partially empty bottle of champagne and two glasses.

One of which only had about an inch of golden liquid left in the bottom.

Iorogi shook his head back and forth slowly—recapturing Kurogane's attention. He didn't expect to be handed the card as his superior walked away—but he scanned the inside and understood.

That fucking bastard.

Handwritten on the inside of the card in scrawling writing, Fai had left the commissioner a note.

Fai's Letter

Kurogane shook his head back and forth slowly at the blatant threat disguised as a casual apology. He didn't know which was worse—the note itself—or the fucking lipstick-stained kiss mark that was left next to blondies signature.

Fuck.

Biggs whined and jumped up, his front paws landing on the bar as he leaned in to sniff at the items left, eagerly.

Fuck.

Kurogane really wanted to punch that rat bastard in the nose.

A soft command had Biggs back on the floor where he belonged and Kurogane leaned down to praise him for a job well done, leaving the card well outta reach. He didn't know if he had caught Fai's scent.

Wouldn't be the strangest thing… but did the furball have to look so damn disappointed right now?

He took Biggs back out of the club to wait for their orders. The commissioner was talking to a few reporters that had caught wind of something exciting going on and Kurogane stayed as far away from that bullshit as he could manage.

The team that had actually run the sweep was dismissed, as was the majority of the officers that had been brought along to cover their just-in-case bases. The ride back to the station was just as fucking awful—but Biggs needing to be settled gave him something to worry about aside from the fucking bullshit.

A quick text to his old man to let him know he was alive—and Kurogane took Biggs down to one of the large gymnasiums that was set up to run the dogs indoors. His trainees were in the field today and Kurogane turned his radio up to make sure he heard them should they need assistance before getting set up for the first drill.

He and Biggs kicked ass down in the gym until a few hours past his shift and he only headed home after he was sure his pooch didn't have an ounce of energy to continue. He would need a good night's sleep and some dinner to be ready for work tomorrow—and Kurogane himself probably needed the same.

He checked his phone to see a reply from his dad telling him to call tomorrow—his parents were going to bed now that they knew he was safe and sound. No messages from Fai.

Not surprisingly…

Packing up and heading home went quickly. Biggs was beat and laid down in the back of the cruiser quietly as they made the drive to his apartment. He waited with uncharacteristic patience as he fished out his keys and unlocked his apartment—his dog waiting by the door as he was unhooked from the leash and harness and he listened to him pad off as he started to ditch his own jacket and work belt.

He looked up just in time to find Biggs reemerging from the hall—one of his pillows—the one Fai had used when he had spent the night—in his mouth. Kurogane was tempted to curse when Biggs walked over to his dog bed and carefully placed his prize in the center before curling around it.

Fuck.

Fuck Fai.

Kurogane tossed his cell on the couch and headed into the kitchen to make something simple for dinner and ignored how fucking cute his dog looked curled around the damn thing. He wanted to hit something. He really fucking wanted to hit something.

Fai would never have any idea how bad he had just royally fucked Kurogane up.

The realities of the fling were still revealing themselves, but this whole situation was screwed right the fuck up.

Dinner was a ready meal tossed in the microwave and Kurogane changed the dog water and filled Biggs bowl and watched his pooch reluctantly leave that damn pillow alone to eat. He ate standing at the kitchen counter and had just tossed the plastic container in the trash and silverware in the sink when he heard his phone go off.

Kurogane's eyes narrowed skeptically at the device and after a damn near 30 seconds, he stalked across the room to check the damn thing.

Fai.

He unlocked his phone in record time and clicked the notification banner and felt like he had just been punched in the gut as his eyes scanned over the messages.

3 photos from yesterday morning… in the car, with Biggs…

Kurogane swiped through them twice before smashing the tiny green phone icon that was on the far right of the idiot's name and raised it to his ear.

The damn thing rang once, twice, then the automated voice started in with the "The person you are trying to reach is unavailable—please leave a message after—" and Kurogane growled in frustration.

That fucking bastard.

He called again.

One ring.

Two rings.

"The person you are try—"

Hanging up again, Kurogane hit for another try and damn near threw the phone at the wall as his anger hit a boiling point when he got a "The number you are trying to reach is no longer in service" line from that same fucking automated voice.

He settled for punching the wall as he understood what was going on.

The fucker had blocked him.