Ryo, Kaori, Mick and Umibozu had just finished a joint assignment, partnering together in order to protect an investigative reporter about to expose the story of the century connecting the Yakuza, the Russian mob, and Italian and US mafia. Everybody and their mother wanted the guy dead, so it had taken all their contacts and skills to keep him breathing long enough for him to publish his story and get himself into protective custody overseas.
It’s been a hectic week, culminating in an uber-hectic all-nighter last night when Ryo had ordered her—ordered her, the gall of the man—to stay home as he, Mick and Umibozu spread out in different directions as the reporter was smuggled out of town. If the order was bad enough, he’d made matters worse by shaking her off immediately as she tried to follow him.
So she’d returned home and spent the night waiting, worried sick. Because, of course it had to be him to smuggle the reporter out. Not Mick or Umibozu. No, it had to be Saeba Ryo. And she had to stay back and pray he’d come back alive.
Of course they’d had the mother of all fights come morning. It wouldn’t really be them without their fights, but this one had been brutal. She’d accused him of not trusting her, he’d called her an idiot, she’d retaliated by calling him all sorts of names, he’d stormed off onto the roof, she’d followed, spitting mad, they’d yelled at each other for all Shinjkuku to hear up on the roof of their building, she’d burst into impotent tears at not being able to explain to him just how much she’d needed to be with him last night, to know he was all right, and had ran back downstairs...He’d caught up to her in the living room, pulled her into his arms, told her he was sorry for making her worry, told her he wasn’t sorry for protecting her, he’d always protect her no matter what, she told him she was sorry for yelling, for crying...
He’d been exhausted, her poor Ryo. So after both of them apologizing for the moronic mother of all fights, they’d simply laid down on the couch with him on top of her, snuggled between her thighs, his head buried in the crook of her neck, nuzzling at her throat when she’d told him to take a nap.
His breath had started to even out when he grumbled, cuddled up closer, grumbling even more as if he couldn’t find the right spot. And then, eyes still closed, he’d slid down her torso, lifted the hem of her tee—she’d become used to wearing old, stretched shirts for just such occasions—and burrowed under it, until he’d assumed his preferred sleeping position of pillowing his head between her breasts, his hands on her flanks.
Heaving a contented sigh, his features slowly relaxed, and he dropped off into oblivion.
Hours later they were still on the couch, having even skipped lunch, but she’d be damned if she woke him—he needed his rest. She was staring up at the ceiling, not having slept a wink, enjoying his warm weight, running her fingers up and down his spine, as his breath softly tickled her skin.
That was the image that greeted Saeko as she entered the apartment. If the scene on the couch didn’t stop her from speaking, Kaori’s finger against her lips in a sigh for silence as old as time, would have.
She would’ve retreated immediately, who was she to intrude on an intimate moment, but Kaori motioned her closer.
“I didn’t mean to intrude,” she murmured softly.
“It’s okay,” Kaori replied in a whisper. “Just keep whispering, I don’t want to wake him. Is something wrong?”
Saeko smiled reassuringly. “I just came to tell you that the reporter has been transferred to the Americans.”
“Yes.” Kaori gently pumped her fist into the air, only to quickly lower her hand onto Ryo’s back, shushing him gently as he grumbled.
Saeko stared at her wide-eyed. “Doesn’t it bother you? His position, I mean.”
Kaori shook her head. “It’s the only position in which he can sleep without having nightmares.”
Saeko opened her mouth to ask, but closed it immediately. She knew almost nothing about Ryo’s past, no one did, with the exception of Kaori, but what she’d glimpsed of his inner demons in the years she’s known him, the demons he’d tried to forget by drinking and whoring, demons he hid behind his Mokkori-face, gave her an inkling on the severity of his nightmares.
And the peace Kaori brought him.
She smiled as she looked at him now. Only the upper part of his face was visible above the collar of Kaori’s shirt, but there was no trace of the pervert that only a few months ago had still strolled on the streets of Shinjuku. His features relaxed, he looked younger...Happy.
“Well,” she whispered. “I’m going to go, now. Take care of him, Kaori.” Take care of each other.
“I thought she’d never leave,” Ryo groused as the door closed behind Saeko.
“And I thought you were sleeping,” Kaori told him softly.
“Who can sleep with all the ruckus you two were making?” he complained.
“We were whispering,” she reminded him.
“Hmmm,” was all he managed, as his hands slid upwards, his thumbs resting on the undersides of her breasts, and he snuggled his head a bit higher.
She looked down, but he was out again, so she shook her head slightly, brushed her fingers through the lock of hair on his forehead, and closed her own eyes. She might as well take a nap herself. It didn’t look like she’d be moving anytime soon.