A Weiss Kreuz Sekkushiaru Roman


by Sailor Mac


NOTE: The following story is a sequel to my "Erlosung." It contains

explicit scenes of romance and lovemaking between two young men; if you're

under 18, or offended by yaoi, or such material is illegal in your area,

read no further. As with my first story, I'm making a slight departure from

canon: the members of Weiss live in their own apartments instead of all

together over the flower shop.



      There's always so *many* of them. . .

      I'm at work in the flower shop, taking an order from a teenage girl. She

giggles and bats her eyes at me, as they always do. A cluster of her

friends are behind her, whispering to each other.

      They don't bug me, not really. They're just part of everyday life here. I

know Aya sometimes looks like he wishes they'd just go away, and Yohji just

kinds of ignores them. "Too young for me," he says. "Why don't we get some

customers who are *over* 18?" Of course, when a grown woman *does* come

into the shop, he pushes the rest of us aside to get to her.

      "And what do you want to say on the card?" I ask the customer.

      She giggles again. "Why don't you pick out something, Ken-chan?"

      Ken-chan? Not even Omi calls me that. Although, as of late, he's taken to

calling me Ken-Ken when we're alone. I think he overheard Yohji calling me

that once. It sounds so much sweeter coming from Omi's lips. . .

      "Um, well, I'm not very good at that kind of thing," I say.

      "Really? You've never sent a love letter to a girl?"

      "Can't say that I have."

      The door of the flower shop bangs open, and a smallish figure scurries in,

bookbag over his shoulder, laptop case in his hand. I surpress the urge to

let a broad smile cross my face. The love of my life has entered the


      "Hi, Yohji-kun. . .Aya-kun!" He rushes over to me and puts his laptop on

the ground, and we high-five each other, the way we have ever since I first

came here. It's the only physical contact we can have in front of our


      "Hey, Omi," I say to him. "How was your day?"

      "Pretty good. I got the A on the history test."

      "See, I told you that you'd ace it."

      "Hi, Omi," one of the girls behind us says in an obviously flirtatious

voice. The others around her giggle.

      "Hi," he tells them. "Be out in a second, 'K?" He grabs his laptop again

and heads for the back office to get changed. The girls watch his retreat

like huntresses keeping their eyes on a prize deer.

      "He's just soo cute," says the girl who was speaking to him.

      "As if you had a chance with him," one of her friends retorts.

      "Hey, he's not going out with anyone right now!"

      Oh, I thought, if they only knew. . .We've been a couple for about three

months now, and I've never, ever been happier in my life. I can't imagine

what my life was like without him. Everything we do together. . .whether

it's playing tennis, going on a rollercoaster, eating okinomiyaki, making

love. . .it's like the first time I've ever done it, like I never

experienced life at all until I experienced it with him at my side.

      I thought I had been in love before. . .with Kase, with Yukina. But I know

now how very, very wrong I was. That didn't feel like this. That was a mere

droplet of water. . .this is a tsunami.

      We can't touch each other in public, that's true. But we more than make up

for it in private. Sometimes, I'm startled by the intensity of the passion

between us. . .it feels like we're absolutely melting into each other,

becoming one being. It makes having to pretend to be "just friends" during

the daytime worthwhile.

* * *


      Oh, how I hate having to pretend to be "just friends."

      Right after Ken-kun and I fell in love, Yohji-kun pulled us aside. "You

can't be affectionate with each other in public, you know. It's bad for


      "What do you mean, bad for business?" I said.

      "I mean, we sell a *hell* of a lot of flowers to little girls who want to

score with you. If they find out you're taken. . .especially if you're

taken by each other. . .they're going to stop coming."

      Okay, I can see that. But every time I see him, I want to pull him into my

arms. I want to kiss him. I want to hear him call me "Angel." And I can't.

I have to wait until after the store closes, until we can be alone. . .

      Oh, every now and then we steal a few moments in the greenhouse. But we've

been so *busy* lately. . .it's been impossible.

      It doesn't seem to bother Ken-kun that much. He's used to something like

this. . .he had to keep his relationship with Kase secret when he was in

J-League, too.

      I wish I'd known him then. . .

      The other night, I was just surfing around the Web, and I came across a

soccer site that hadn't been updated in a long time. And there was a couple

of pictures of Ken-kun on there.  One of them was just *so* cute. He was

sitting in his goalie box, holding a can of Gatorade to his face and

winking at the camera. I ended up downloading it and saving it on one of my

Zip discs. He doesn't know I have it.

      I found a picture of Kase, too, and I don't know what Ken-kun saw in him.

He looked so. . .rough. So mean. Not the kind of person I usually could see

Ken-kun wanting to spend time with.

      I've changed from my school uniform into blue jeans and a T-shirt, and I

put on my apron and a baseball cap. Time to face the girls. It makes me so

uncomfortable when they flirt with me like that. . .I get tongue-tied and I

just don't know what to say to them. I'm definitely *not* a smoothie like

Yohji-kun. He always seems to know just what to say at the right time. With

me. . .sometimes, the words just don't come.

      I pass Aya-kun on my way out of the office. "There's someone out here

looking for you," he says.


      "Midori again."

      Oh, Gods. Midori was a friend of Ouka's. She really, really likes me, and

I haven't got the heart to tell her it's impossible. Again, I wish with all

my might that Ken and I could be honest about our relationship.

      I think Aya-kun sees the look on my face, because he says, "Want me to

tell her you're busy?"

      "No. . .no, I'll come out there."

      Midori and a bunch of her friends are hovering around Ken. One of them,

Yuukina, just bought something from him, she's handing him some money and

*really* giving him the eye.

      "Hi, Omi," Midori says. She's got a bag of some kind of snacks in her

hand. "Want some trail mix?"

      "No, thanks. I usually don't snack on the job."

      "Are you going to the basketball game tomorrow night?"

      "Um, I don't think so. I've got a lot of heavy schoolwork, and. . ."

Actually, Ken-kun and I have plans to go to dinner at an Italian restaurant

tomorrow. We don't get many opportunities to go on "dates."

      "Oh, let your schoolwork go for *one* night!" she says. "You won't lose

your status as an honor student from going to *one* game. Come on, live a


      "*Everyone* is going to be there, Omi!" another one of her friends says.

"You don't want to miss out, do you?"

      I just hem and haw, looking from one girl to the other, knowing I'm

turning bright red. Fortunately, Yohji-kun saves my life. "Oi, Omi. .

.wanna come here and help this lady out? I'm swamped!"

      "Excuse me," I say, rushing over to where the customer is. It's an older

lady, looking for something to send to a friend in the hospital. As I'm

taking her order, I glimpse Midori and her friends out of the corner of my

eye again. They're still whispering and giggling, looking at me, then

whispering again. Midori is munching from her bag of snacks, looking right

at me and giving me a big smile. I just blush and turn back to the


      Once she's gone, I end up waiting on another person, and another, and

another. Midori's still there, waiting for me. . .but I can see she's

getting impatient. She's eating faster from her bag, tapping her foot,

looking at her watch. . .

      I suppose she's what a lot of people would consider pretty. She's got

long, wavy, pale blue hair, and wide, darker blue eyes. Her mouth always

looks like she's wearing lipstick even when she's not. I know a lot of guys

at school are interested in her. Not me. I haven't looked at anyone else,

male or female, ever since that first night with Ken-kun.

      Then, I feel a hand on my shoulder, and I hear Yohji-kun say, "You know. . .you *could* take advantage of the situation. What Ken doesn't know won't hurt him, right?"

      I spin my head toward him. "WHAT?" He's got one of those lazy smiles on

his face, the kind of expression where I never quite know if he's serious.

      "Of course. . .you *could* always just ask her to join in. The more the

merrier, right?"

      I feel my cheeks absolutely burning with embarrassment. "You. . .you're

kidding, right?"

      "Now, Omi, don't tell me that you haven't. . ."

      Just then, I hear the girls across the room scream. I turn. . .and see

Midori lying on the floor, unconscious. "MIDORI-SAN!" I shout, rushing over

to her. I kneel next to her, put my ear by her mouth. . .she's still

breathing, but barely. "Call an ambulance!" I shout to someone, anyone.

      "She. . .she was just standing here. . .eating her stuff, and watching

you, and then she. . .she just fainted," her friend Yuukina sobs.

      I loosen her collar and gently tilt her head back to give her more air. I

can hear Ken-kun telling an operator the address of our shop. There's a

crowd gathering around us, whispering, pointing at her. . . "Stand back!" I

tell them. "Give her air!" I grasp her wrist, her pulse feels weak, so

weak. . .for an instant, I have a horrifying flashback of Ouka in my arms,

her young life draining out of her, feeling her last few heartbeats. . .

      I hear Ken-kun's voice behind me. "How is she?"

      All I can do is shake my head.

      Why is it taking the ambulance so long to get here? Don't they realize a

life is at stake?

* * *


      Oh, Gods, the look on his face. . .I wish I could hold him right now. He's

seen so much in his young life. . .seen so many of his classmates dead or

dying. . .and here he is, seeing it again.

      The ambulance arrives at long last, and they take the girl away. Her

friend. . .the one who was flirting with me. . .leaves in the ambulance

with her. "I'll call the shop as soon as I know something," she tells us.

      Most of the crowd that was in the shop files out as soon as they drive

away. The mood of the whole day has changed. Nobody wants to flirt with the

flower boys when one of their friends is in danger.

      "Poor kid," Yohji says, walking over to the window. "Hope she'll be okay."

      Aya says nothing, just starts straightening a display that got messed up

by the girls.

      Omi's over by the cash register, going through the order slips we filled

out before. His eyes look dead, his hands are shaking a bit.

      My poor Angel. . .

      I look around. Coast is clear, no prying teenage female eyes. . .

      I make a "pssst!" sound to get his attention. When he looks up at me, I

start walking toward the greenhouse. He gets up and follows.

      Once the door is closed behind us, I put my hands on his shoulders. "You

look," I say softly, "like you could use one of these." And I lean over,

touching my lips to his. It's a gentle, soft, warm kiss. . .I let my arms

slide around his body, pulling him closer, and feel his arms tighten around

me. We break apart for air, and I gently kiss his cheek, his temple, his


      Then, he brings his lips to mine again, and the pressure is firmer, more

insistant. . .a kiss of desperation, of need, a desire to be held and

loved and comforted. I pull him closer and kiss him hard, flicking my

tongue just a bit. . .his mouth opens, inviting me in, and soon our tongues

are caressing each other, our hands sliding up and down each other's backs,

our bodies pressing together, rubbing ever-so-slightly, just enough to

create friction. . .I reach up with one hand and tangle it in his hair,

that soft, soft golden hair, pulling his head closer still, my tongue

probing and caressing. . .

      And then, the knock comes at the door. At first, we keep kissing, willing

the person outside to just go away. . .but the knock comes again, harder

and louder.

      "Manx is here," Aya's voice says from what seems like a million, trillion

miles away.

      Oh, Gods. A mission. . .

      Harsh reality has intruded. Slowly, we ease apart from each other, both

panting, both flushed. We clasp hands, reluctant to let the moment go. . .

      But we have to. Duty calls. Gods damn it.

      "We'd better go downstairs," I say. "They're going to wonder where we are."

      He nods, a reluctant look in his eyes. This isn't the first time we've

been interrupted for something like this. And it's times like this, more

than any other, that I wish we were "normal."

      Still holding hands, we leave the greenhouse and head for the basement stairs.

      Once we're down in "Weiss HQ," we seat ourselves on the couch. The

transmission is just starting, and the familiar, shadowy image of Persia

appears on the screen.

      "Good afternoon, Weiss. We have another mission. Poison is being placed in

vats of trail mix produced by the To Your Health Corporation." His image

disappears, and the screen is filled with a picture of a bag of trail mix.

I feel Omi's hand grip mine, and I quickly realize why. It's the same trail

mix that Midori had been eating.

      "The poisoning incidents have been seeminly random, occuring at various

points around the city." A map appeared, with X's indicating where the bags

were found. "All of the bags are thought to have originated in the same

processing plant. In all cases, the victims suffered paralysis, then death.

The perpetrators are yet unknown. . ."

      We wait for a "but here's what we know so far." None comes. Instead, we

hear the usual sign-off line: "White hunters, hunt the tomorrow of the dark


      The picture disappears. Manx stands up, folders in hand. "Well? Are we all in?"

      "In *what*?" says Yohji. "He told us absolutely *nothing*!"

      "We don't have anything to go on but the name of the company," Aya says.

"That's *not* a mission."

      I look over at Omi. His hand is still gripping mine.  .and his eyes are

starting to take on the steely, determined look I know so well. I call it

The Mission Look.

      He's going to accept it. He's going to take this mission, with nothing to

go on. . .because it was someone he knew who was the victim.

      "I can't forgive them," he says, softly. "What they did to Midori. . .they

have to be punished."

      "We have no idea who *they* are," I tell him as gently as possible.

      "I'll find out." He looks around at the rest of us. "We know what company

it is, right? It would be a piece of cake for me to hack into their system

and. . ."

      "Omi, don't be ridiculous," Aya says. "Even if you *do* find out something

about the company. . .we have *nothing* else to go on."

      Omi drops my hand and leaps to his feet. His eyes are practically burning

now. "I have to *try*!" he says. "We can't just let these people do this

over and over and over!"

      There is a pause. . .and then, Yohji says, "Well, if anybody can do it,

Omi can. He's done the impossible before. If he can find anything out. .

.I'm in."

      "Aya?" Manx says.

      He just kind of looks at Omi for a second with his usual glare. . .then

simply says, "Yes."

      "Omi," I say to him, "are you *sure*? You don't *have* to do this, you know."

      His eyes meet mine, and they say volumes without words. Don't worry about

me, Ken-Ken. . .I'll be all right, I always am.

      "Yes, I do," he replies.

      I look at Manx. "I'm in, then."

      She begins to hand out the folders. "There's not much in here, I'm afraid.

Just a bit of data on the company. . .the map of where the poisonings took

place. . ." She takes out another folder. "And here, I have one of the bags

that had poison in them, as well as a 'normal' bag."

      "I'll take those," Omi says. "I'll scan them, see if I can find out any

difference between them." He grabs the two folders and immediately goes off

to his supercomputer.

      I know better than to interrupt him when he's in Mission Mode. From now

until the mission is completed - or, in this case, *if* it's completed -

I'm going to be watching his eyes. When they soften, I'll know he's open to

being touched, to conversation, to normal life. But when they're hard. . .I

give him his space.

      "You really think he can do it?" Aya says.

      Can he? It's one hell of a daunting task, that's for sure. But. . .I know

my Angel. I know what he's capable of. And he's capable of a *lot.*

      I turn to the other two. "I have faith in him."

      "You *would*," Aya replies.

      "Hey!" I say. "What's that supposed to mean?"

      "Ah, let the kid have a shot at it," Yohji says, stretching and yawning.

"If he can do it, great. If he can't, none of us are worse off than we are

now." He gets up. "I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm finishing

the closing and going home. There's nothing we can do about it tonight."

      Aya nods, and they start to head upstairs.

      I walk toward where Omi is typing away at his computer, eyes glued to the

screen. I briefly consider saying something. . .

      No. He's got the Mission Look. I'll just leave him be. Perhaps he'll work

at this for awhile and realize it's impossible, that he won't be able to

find the killers. . .why did Persia even bother to contact us, anyway? It

seems so futile. . .

      But maybe, just maybe, he'll find something. . .and we'll be able to

eliminate the perpetrators before they hurt anyone else.

      I head up the stairs. The store is almost fully closed down. . .but

there's some debris on the floor. Stems, leaves, the like. I get a broom

and start to sweep.

      Yohji and Aya have already taken off their aprons. "I'll do the final

lockup," I say. "You guys go ahead."

      "You're not going to stay here with him all night, are you?" Yohji says.

      "I might."

      He shakes his head. "The things love makes people do. . ."

      We say their goodnights. Once they're gone, I go back to sweeping. The

phone rings.  I pick it up. "Kitty in the House Flower Shop, sorry, we're

closed right now."

      "Ken?" It's a female voice, weak and hoarse. . .

      "Is this Yuukina?"

      "Yes. . .I'm at the hospital. . .oh, Gods. . .Midori is. . .is. . ." She

bursts into tears.

      Oh, no. . .My heart sinks when I think about having to tell Omi.

      But she adds, "She's alive. . .but she barely made it. . .barely. . .they

said she'd been poisoned, and a bunch of other people have been poisoned

like that as well. . .Oh, Ken, who would do something like that?"

      Who, indeed. "Somebody will catch up with them," I tell her. "I'm sure of

that." And I mean it, now.

      "It's so awful, Ken. . .so many terrible things happening in our school. .

.first, Ouka dying, and now this. . ."

      "Don't worry," I tell her. "I don't think it'll go on much longer."

      "I hope not. . .I don't know how much more I can take. I have to go now. .

.will you tell Omi about Midori?"

      "Sure, I will."

      "Goodnight, then." There is a click on the other end of the line.

      I go back downstairs. He's managed to hack into the company records. I

have no doubt he'd be able to hack the United States Pentagon.

      "Midori made it," I say.

      He turns around, and I see his eyes soften a bit. "Yuukina called?"

      "Just now. I was the only one around when she did, the other two have gone


      "You can go home too, Ken-Ken. You don't have to hang around all night

just because I am."

      I walk over to him and lay my hand on his shoulder. "We got a huge pile of

arrangement orders today. I'm staying to work on those."

      "Yes, but once you're done with them. . ."

      "I know, Angel. I'll be upstairs if you need anything."

      I go back up. There's my broom. . .oh, heck, I hadn't finished sweeping

when Yuukina called. I pick it up and go back to work. . .

      And then, I notice a certain piece of plastic among the debris on the

floor. Midori's trail mix bag. Someone must have kicked it into the corner

during the chaos.

      I bring it downstairs. "Look what I found on the floor."

      He turns, sees it. . .and his whole expression changes. His eyes soften,

light up. . .a smile spreads over his face. The assassin has left, the

young boy has returned.

      "KEN-KEN! This is terrific! Now I can compare it to the other one. . it's

our first real clue!" He throws his arms around me, and I hug him back,

hard, then drop a kiss on top of his head.

      "No leads from the company records?"

      "All I found out is that the company itself doesn't own any of the plants

they use. They contract out the work. All of the plants are independently

owned and operated. My guess is the company officers have nothing to do

with this." He sighs. "Now I have to investigate the six plants."

      "I'll let you get back to it, then." I kiss him again, and head upstairs.

* * *


      Back to work. Gods, why did I take this on? I'm pushing a boulder up the

hill with this one. Even if I find a definite clue, there's no guarantee

it's going to lead us to the killers.

      No, I know why I'm doing this. Because of Midori. . .because of Ouka.

      My head fills with a picture from what seems like years ago. Midori and

Ouka, watching me from across the room, whispering to each other. Me trying

to hide behind some potted plants. Yohji-kun pulling the plants away,

leaving me open to their gaze. . .

      They were together a *lot*. Ouka may have told me that she had nobody she

could really depend on. . .but I know that Midori was the closest thing to

a best friend she had. Other than me, that is.

      Ouka would want me to find the people who did this to Midori, and make

sure they were punished. I'm sure of that.

      Six plants to go through. Gods. . .

      And then, I look at the plastic bag Ken-kun left with me. The one Midori

had been eating out of.

      This may very well be my best shot at finding anything out. I take the

other bag out of the folder, and fire up my scanner. First thing is to

compare them to the "control" bag. I'll scan them big, 500%. . .

      But it turns out to be an excercise in frustration. I check them. .

.cross-check them. . .and I can find no difference, no difference at all,

between the poisoned and normal bags. Same exact design. Same exact UPC

codes. Same exact lettering, colors, crinkles in the cellophane. . .

      I'm about to declare the whole thing a wasted effort and quit out of the

program when I spot them. Right there, right by the center seam at the back

of the package. . .they're on the poisoned ones, but not the normal. . .

      Red dots. Tiny red circles.

      I wonder, if I blow them up, if I'll find any kind of symbol or writing

there. . .

      I increase the size. More. . .and more. . .and more. . .

      There *is* something there! Some kind of creature. . .a mythical beast of

some sort, with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion.

Looks like the kind of thing you'd see in ancient European art. . .

      My heart speeds up. I have something! Now, if only I could find out what

it is. . .

      I save the image onto a Zip disc. I have to look this up on the Internet.

There's got to be some sort of online directory of mythical beasts. .

.right? I'll just fire up Netscape and. . .and. . .

      My eyes are drooping. I feel my head fall forward. . .I jerk myself awake.

What time is it. . .good Gods, it's *midnight*? I have no idea I'd been

working that long!

      No. . .sleeping is Not An Option. I have to find out what that is. . .I

have to. . .

* * *


      I stick the last of the decorations on the last of the arrangements and

put it in the refrigerated case with the others. Finally, we're caught up.

I probably would have stayed after to work on these even if Omi hadn't

taken on the mission. I'm usually the one who does the elaborate

arrangements. Aya claims he's just not artistic; Yohji loses patience with

it. And Omi. . .well, his specialty has always been getting the plants to

grow in the first place.

      But since he was bound and determined to stay. . .I stayed with him. I

don't want him here alone at night. Not with two other groups of assassins

after us.

      There's been no sound from downstairs. I wonder how he's doing? I start

down the steps. . .

      He's asleep, leaning on his keyboard. He looks adorable. But I can't leave

him like that.

      I go outside, to where my motorcycle is parked. I have a sidecar for it

stashed out behind the flower shop, and I hook it up. He's in no shape to

drive his own bike. Thank the gods he doesn't have to go to school

tomorrow. . .

      Back down to the basement. I reach out and shake his shoulder, gently.

"Angel. . ."

      He wakes up, with a start. "Ken-kun! I have to get back to work. . ."

      I pull him into my arms. "Call it a night, sweetheart. You've done enough

for one day."

      "But. . .I found something. . .look!" He opens a Zip disc, clicks on an

icon. The screen fills with a picture of some sort of fantastic creature.

"This was on the packages that were poisoned. . .I have to find out what it

is!" But he's swaying, his eyelids drooping.

      "You can find that out in the morning. Come on, we'll go back to my place."

      He shuts down the machine. But he takes the Zip disc, and collects his

laptop from upstairs.

      As soon as I get him in the sidecar, he drifts off to sleep. I drive

slowly, carefully, so as not to jolt him awake. He needs the rest.

      When I park, he gets out slowly, and leans heavily on me. "Let me get

that," I say, taking his laptop. I steer him into the building, and toward

the elevator.

      At my apartment, I lead him to the bedroom. He immediately flops onto the

bed. I start to pull off his shirt, and he opens his eyes, looking at me


      "Don't get any ideas, Angel," I say. "I'm just undressing you so you can

sleep comfortably." I toss his shirt on the floor, then take off his

sneakers, socks, jeans. I roll him over a bit so I can peel the covers

back, then gently push him up toward the pillow. He leans his head on it,

sighing contentely. I cover him up and kiss his cheek.

      "Goodnight, sweetheart," I whisper. "I love you." He doesn't respond. .

.he's out like a light.

* * *


      I wake up to bright sunshine streaming through the window and a warm body

snuggled next to me. What happened last night? I remember finding the

picture on the packages. . .and then, dimly, Ken telling me I should call

it a night, and walking somewhere. . .

      I'm in Ken's place, and he's next to me. He must have brought me home,

then. I lean over and kiss his temple. . .he's sleeping soundly. I won't

wake him.

      I go into the bathroom and do my business, then head back toward the bed,

picking up my laptop case on the way. Research. . .I have to do research. .


      But, somehow, the urgency of last night isn't with me this morning. Maybe

it's because I got a good night's rest and I'm still feeling a bit lazy,

dreamy. I think I'll check out what's going on in the chat rooms before I

fire up the Web browser.

      I've been studying English in school since eighth grade - English *is* the

most common language on the Internet, after all, it's vital that I know it.

I first started going into chat halls as an opportunity to practice it. But

I've made a lot of American and Canadian friends online,  and now I chat

purely for pleasure.

      There's one group in particular I talk to almost daily. They're North

Americans who are really into all things Japanese. We trade MP3s all the

time. . .I send them J-pop, they send me English-language stuff. Most of

them are girls, and they seem to think I'm a girl as well, especially since

I've mentioned a couple of times that I have a boyfriend. I don't correct


      Most of them are online when I sign on. Immediately, I'm pulled into their

already-in-progress chat, and assaulted with virtual ((HUGS)).

      "OMI-CHAN!" writes Kathy, a girl in Connecticut who has the online handle

Clefairy23. "How are you doing?"

      "Okay," I write back. "I think I owe you an MP3. You sent me the Creed one

last time."

      "Hai!" she replies. (How strange to see Americans speaking Japanese. .

.while I'm Japanese and speaking English). "You said you were going to give

me that Penicillin song."

      "If it's the one I'm thinking of," writes Gina, a girl in Florida, "it's

REAL good, Kathy. You'll like it."

      "I have a SLEW of MP3s for you, Omi-chan!" writes Fiona, who's from New

Jersey. . .or was that New York? "I finally ripped the new Foo Fighters


      "Just let me take care of Kathy first," I reply. I quickly hook up my Zip

drive and pop in the disc I know the Penicillin song is on. . .and I

realize it's the same disc that has the picture from the trail mix package.

      An idea forms in my mind. These girls are all intelligent, educated. .

.raised in Western culture, where mythical beasts of that particular type

are commonly seen. . .

      "Hey," I write, "can I ask everyone something? I'm doing a paper about

ancient art, and I came across a symbol of some type that I don't know what

it is. Think one of you might?"

      "What type of symbol?" says Kathy.

      "A strange beast. . .I'll show you."

      I send each of them the picture, one by one. There's a pause. . .

      Then, Fiona types back, "Sure, I know what it is. It's a gryphon. You may

also see the word spelled as griffin. Half lion, half eagle. Shows up in

ancient Greek art quite a bit. Nobody's quite sure what the mythology

behind it was, though."

      My heart speeds up. A name! I have a name for it now! All I need to do is

run another check on the records of the plants. . .see if "gryphon" or

"griffin" shows up anywhere, in any form. . .and we'll have our location!

      "Thank you so much, Fiona!" I type. "You're a lifesaver!" (Literally.

She'll never know how many lives she may have just saved.)

      "You got the expression right, Omi-chan!" Kathy writes. "Last time, I

think you said 'You're a save-life'!"

      "Hey, I'm learning ^_^," I write. "Whoops, almost forgot to send you your

MP3. Okay, here it comes. . ."

* * *


      I wake up. I roll over. I reach for him.

      I collide with plastic and metal.

      Seems we're not alone in the bed anymore. There's an entire chat room in

here with us.

      Omi's got his laptop balanced against the pillow, and he's typing away.

The faint "plunk, plunk" sound is a sign he's on Instant Messenger. I know

it well by now.

      He looks happy. Very happy. His eyes are absolutely alight. Something must

be going well. . .

      Hmm. . .he also looks cute, lying there on his stomach wearing nothing but

his briefs. Ideas start to form in my head. I lean over and lay a kiss on

his shoulder.

      "Morning, Ken-Ken!" he says. "Guess what? One of my friends just gave me a



      "I sent them the picture! Fiona knew what it was. . .it's a gryphon! Now I

have something to go on!"

      "That's terrific!" And I mean it. I bring my lips toward his, and he

kisses me, a quick peck.

      Which only whets my appetite for more. My eyes wander over his body again,

and my brain starts to fill with fantasies. Maybe I should just push them

aside, go take a cold shower. He's in Mission Mode, after all. . .

      But there's no trace of the Mission Look in his eyes right now. They're

soft, sweet, happy. Eyes that say he's my Angel right now. Eyes that say. .

.he might, just might be open to a bit of playtime.

      He's still typing away. . .thanking the girl for the information, I guess.

I want him to stop typing. I want him for other things. . .

      I put a hand on his back and slide it down, slowly, my fingertips

following his spine. I feel him shudder a little. . .When I reach the

sensitive area near the base, right where his underwear is riding, I pause,

stroking, massaging. . .

      "Put that thing away," I say in what I hope is my sexiest whisper, "and

come take a shower with me."

      He types on. "In a minute, Ken-Ken. . ."

      I slide my hand below the waistband, feeling the curve of his nice, firm

bottom. Gently, I squeeze one cheek, then knead it with gentle, yet firm

strokes. . . then move to the other side, fluttering my fingers, then

rubbing. . .I lean over and touch my tongue to his shoulder, lapping once,

twice. . .then pulling it away. . .then leaning over again, nipping at the

soft skin, making him jump.

      "Sure you want to wait?" I whisper.

      His eyes are half-mast now, his mouth a moist pucker. "Ohh. . .ohh. .

.Ken. . ."

      I know he's turned on. When he's seriously aroused, it's not Ken-kun or

Ken-Ken anymore. . .just Ken.

      "I'll be waiting," I whisper, taking away my hand, my mouth, getting off

the bed and starting to walk toward the bathroom.

      Behind me, I hear the snap of his laptop case being closed. Success.

      I continue toward the bathroom and turn on the water. . .and then feel his

arms wrap around me from behind, pulling me back against him. I purr,

arching my hips back, feeling him start to kiss my back, my shoulders, my

neck. . .

      "Yes," I say. "Oh, that's good, Angel. . ."

      "You feel so good," he whispers. "Your body is so beautful."

      "You're not seeing all of it, you know," I say.

      Seconds later, two pairs of underwear are on the floor, and he's kissing

my neck again, his erection pressing against my bottom, his hands moving

along my chest. I lean back and moan, wanting him to grasp and stroke my

manhood, but also wanting him to keep this going and going and. . .

      I turn toward him and smile. "We're wasting hot water, Angel. First things

first, you know."

      "Ken. . .I want to. . ."

      "Later, love. After we've washed our hair, washed up. . ."

      I turn around and take his hand, leading him into the stream of water. Our

arms come around each other, and our lips press together, our mouths

opening almost instantly. His sweet, hot little tongue. . .the tongue which

has felt so hot, so wet, so good on my nipples, my manhood. . .is flicking

against mine, making me moan and press myself against him. . .

      No. First things first. Let's see how long we can resist. It'll make it

all the more sweeter later.

      "Shampoo first, darling," I say, taking the bottle and handing it to him.

He makes a face at me, but takes it anyway. I lean down, and soon feel his

hands working their way through the strands, working up a lather. As if

either one of us needed any more *working up.*

      "Mmm," I say. "That feels good."

      "All I'm doing is washing your hair."

      "Every time you touch me, it feels good, Angel."

      He finishes his ministrations, and I lean back, letting it rinse out. My turn to do it to him. He leans back, holding perfectly still until I rinse him.

      "There," he says, leaning back toward me. "We did that. And now. . ."

      "Now, sponges." I take two sponges and a tube of shower jell from a

plastic caddy. "Just wash each other's bodies however we want. . ." I

deliberately put sponges in there a couple of days ago, with an eye toward

our next shard shower. . .to keep us from touching each other's flesh

directly at first. I don't want his fingers on my nipples, on my thighs, my

bottom, my. . .well, you get the idea. At least, not just yet.

      Later, though. . .

* * *



      Sponges? But. . .I want to put my hands all over him. . .

      He's doing this on purpose. I know he is. Just to drive me nuts. Okay,

I'll play along with it. I take a sponge and soap it up with gel, then

start to run it up his arm. He does the same with the other sponge. I move

it over his shoulders, then in big circles on his chest. . . (Oh, how I

love his chest. He has the sexiest chest I've ever seen. I kiss and lick it

and suck his nipples a lot when we make love. I don't think he minds).

      We wash each other's torsos, backs, legs. . .It's getting harder and

harder to keep control. I just want to throw this thing away and wrap

myself all around him.

      "Hmm," he says, "guess it's just our bottoms now. . .and what's in front

of them."

      My eyes are fastened to his nipples, then down below. . .my mouth is

literally watering.

      "Guess so." And I begin to rub the sponge on his right cheek, and feel him

do the same to me. A shudder of pleasure runs through me. . .the sponge is

rough, and it's kicking up all kinds of sensations, a bit scratchy, a bit

painful, but friction, plenty of friction. . .

      As if I couldn't feel any warmer. Ken, please, please let's just *do it*. . .

      His sponge finishes on my bottom, and I feel it moving around front. . .I

shudder in anticipation. . .

      The first touch of it makes me cry out. I start doing the same thing to

him, and hear him cry out as well. We lean toward each other, and his mouth

and mine meet, my tongue pushing for his right away. We keep washing as we

kiss, sliding the sponges up and down, up and down. . .then around. . .then

down to the sacs beneath. . .and up. . .and. . .oh. . .oh, Ken, I may come

just from this. . .

      Our lips break apart, and we're both panting. "Omi. . .Angel. . ."

      "Oh. . .Ken. . ."

      The sponges fall to the floor, and our arms are all around each other, our

mouths colliding like two trains, his tongue tangling with mine, our hips

starting to push and grind against each other. I'm hot, oh, Gods, so, so

incredibly hot. . .my hands wander down his back, to his bottom, which I

grab and squeeze, making him moan.

      I start to work my way down his neck, licking, then kissing, then licking

again. Ahh, now my tongue is on his chest. . .I kiss it, over and over,

sliding my lips along his flesh, feeling his muscles, his smooth skin. . .I

lick wide circles, looking for what I want to find. . .

      There. Right there. My tongue lashes out at his nipple, sliding over it

very, very slowly. . .then, I kiss it quickly, over and over. . .it's hard

now, and he's moaning my name. I pull it into my lips and suck it, eagerly,

and he gives a hoarse cry. Yes, Ken. . .oh, that sound turns me on so much.

. .oh, how good your nipple feels, tastes. . .I move my head to the other

side and begin to suck on the other one, and this time, I reach downward,

letting my finger trail over the head of his manhood. He's really moaning

now, and gasping, "Angel. . .Angel. . .good. . .ohh. . .Gods. . .sooo good.

. .lower. . .go down, *please*. . ."

      With one last loving kiss on his nipple, I drop to my knees and kiss the

shaft in front of me. I start to run my tongue up and down it, while my

fingers lightly brush the head again. He cries out, and when I open my

mouth and take him in, he cries out louder.

      I genuinely *love* doing this. He feels so good, tastes so good. . .The

sensation of having him in my mouth is so hard to explain. In a way, it's

like I'm giving him the deepest, most intimate kiss one person can give


      I start to suck, moving my head back and forth. I reach back and grasp his

bottom as  I do so, squeezing it gently. Umm, his bottom is firm, shapely.

. .I suck harder, faster, my fingers massaging, kneading. He moans,

whispers my name, and then starts to thrust his hips, driving in deeper and

deeper. I pull back a little. . .I don't want to choke, not now!. . .but I

hold on.

      "Ohh. . .Angel. . .almost there. . .almost. .  ."

      I take one hand off his bottom and slide it forward, so it's cupping and

stroking the sac beneath, and he's almost screaming now. "Angel. . .Omi. .

.Gods. . .Gods. . .oh, here it comes, here it. . ."

      He lets out a yell, and I feel his seed start to gush into my mouth. The

taste of it. . .it's the one thing I don't like. Salty-chemical. . .But I

hold on until he's done, and then, I quickly duck my head down and spit it

out. He doesn't notice. He's like a rag doll.

      I stand up, and he sags against me. We kiss, and I feel his hand grip my

manhood, starting to stroke it, caress it. Now, it's my turn to moan.

* * *


      So good. . .he's so, so good. . .I have to give him back as much pleasure

as he gave me. . .

      I move down to his chest and begin to suck on one of his nipples, as he

had done to me, still keeping my fingers on his erection. . .I stroke it,

then caress it, sliding my palm along the shaft, then tickling the head. He

moans and writhes, whispering my name.

      I flutter my tongue on his little bud, then kiss it a bit. Good thing we

both have sensitive nipples, since we both love sucking them so much. I

move over and start to feast on the other one. . .so delicious, I swear, my

love, your skin has a sweet taste. Because you're so very, very sweet.

      I drop down on my knees and flick my tongue, just a light touch, over the

head of his manhood. He cries out. . .he arches his hips, thinking I'm

going to start sucking his erection. . .

      Not quite. Not yet.

      Instead, I begin to lick lower. . .I'm running the tip of my tongue

lightly over his balls. "Ohh!" he cries. "Ken!"

      I raise my head. "Do you like that, honey?"

      "Yes! Ohh. . ."

      I start to lick at them with long, wet strokes now, letting my fingers

brush his manhood again as I do so. Umm. . .I've never done much of this

before, and it's. . .very, *very* sexy. So intimate. . .and oh, does he

like it! He's groaning and moaning, his whole body seeming to writhe like a

stretched-out snake.

      Genly, very gently, I take one in my lips and start to suck on it. ..

slowly, softly, carefully. I know how sensitive they can be. Omi shouts my

name, his hands tangling in my hair, his hips starting to move. He's close

now. . .time to go for broke.

      I lash my tongue over the sacs one last time, then move back up, taking

his manhood in my lips and starting to suck rapidly. I move my head up and

down, taking in as much of him as I can handle, and he cries out, over and

over. . . "Ken! Oh, yes. .. yes. . .now! NOW!" And he lets out a shriek as

his seed starts to flood my mouth. Yes, darling. . .fill me with it, I'll

swallow it and make you a part of me.

      Finally, he collapses to the floor in a heap. I gather him into my arms,

gently kissing his cheeks and forehead.

      "Ohh. . .ohh. . .Ken. . .sooo good. . ."

      "I'm glad. I like pleasing you. I love you so much, Angel. . ."

      "I love you, too. More than you'll ever know."

      I help him to his feet. The water has started to turn cold. It may have

been cold for awhile. There's no way in hell either of us would have

noticed. I turn it off, and we kiss again, softly. I can taste myself on

his mouth, as I know he can taste himself on mine.

      We linger there for a long moment, holding each other, brushing our lips

together in soft, feathery kisses.

      Finally, I say, gently, "We'd better get going, Angel. Time to put that

great discovery of yours to work."

      "Yes," he whispers. We kiss one last time, then step out of the shower,

reaching for towels to dry each other off with.

      I think we're both more than ready for whatever this day will bring us.

* * *


      Oh, Gods. . .I was not ready for *this.*

      I got to the flower shop all prepared to have the mystery cleared up. I

asked the others if they'd cover for me while I went downstairs to do my

research. I was fully expecting to find a reference to "gryphon" or

"griffin" *somewhere*, and then we'd be able to make our move. . .

      But I've found nothing. Absolutely nothing. We're back to square one.

      I just sit there and stare at the screen, my chin on my hands. . .as if I

could make the words I wanted just pop up by looking long enough, hard

enough. . .

      Yohji-kun comes down the stairs. "Omittchi! The girls are asking and

asking about you, you know. 'Where's Omi today?' 'When's Omi going to get

here?' 'Why don't I see Omi anywhere?' You're a lucky man, my friend."

      I heave a deep sigh. "No, I'm not. I've found nothing." Stupid, stupid,

stupid. . .what made me thing the gryphon would be an actual *clue*,

anyway? Probably just a printing error.

      "But Ken said you had a lead this morning. . "

      "Which is leading us absolutely nowhere."

      "Shit. I knew this mission was a bad idea. We can't be expected to chase

after absolutely nothing."

      I  turn toward him. "I thought when I found that picture of the gryphon

that I'd found. . ."

      "Did you say gryphon?" Aya-kun's voice, from the top of the stairs. He

starts down the steps. . . "Can I see it, Omi?"

      Strange. . .what would he know about a gryphon? Then again, there's a lot

of things about Aya-kun none of us know about. I open the picture, and he

stands behind me, looking at it intently.

      Finally, he nods, and says, "That's it. One of the symbols of Red Skies."

      "Red Skies?" I reply. "What are you talking about?"

      "A terrorist group. They're seeking the release of certain political

prisoners, and they make periodic attacks on innocent civilians. One of

their symbols is a gryphon."

      "How do you know about this?" Yohji-kun says.

      There's silence. There's very frequently silence with Aya-kun.

      Finally, he says, "Before Weiss. . .I was in another group of assassins.

We had. . .dealings with them."

      Manx had mentioned something about that to me once. . .that Aya-kun had

been involved with a group called Crashers. He had never spoken about it

until now.

      "Then you know how to find these people?" I say.

      He shook his head. "We had taken out a few of their foot soldier squads. .

.but we were never able to locate the leadership. They strike. . .then

vanish completely into thin air."

      And then, a voice from upstairs shouts, "Hey! I COULD use some help up

here, you guys!" Poor Ken-kun, all alone in the store and probably swamped.

. .

      "We'll talk more about this later," I say. The three of us head up.

      Later on, it's quiet enough that we can leave Momo in charge of the shop

singlehandedly. We all go downstairs.

      "Okay, so we know the gryphon is connected to this Red Skies thing," I

say. "We *still* don't know the connection between Red Skies and the

plants, though."

      "Maybe we could go to all six of them with a bogus flower delivery, then

poke around, try to find something," Ken-kun says.

      "That'll take forever!" says Yohji-kun.

      "Have *you* got any better ideas?" Ken-kun replies.

      There's a moment of silence. . .then, Yohji-kun says, "Ken, you're a pain

in the ass." (Hope nobody noticed me blushing and looking down on that


      "Look, it seems like our only chance right now," I say. "We can each take

a couple. . ."

      "I'll take three of them," Ken-kun says. "The rest of you each get one."

      "Ken-kun," I say, "are you sure you want that many?"

      He smiles, clasps my hand. . . "I'm sure." His eyes say to me, I have

faith in you, Angel. . .I have faith that there's going to be an end to


      "Okay," I say. "I'll get you the addresses. . .go do it."

* * *


      Third delivery. Last one. I hope this is more successful than the first

two. . .I came up completely empty.

      Omi's going to be so, so disappointed if this turns into a dead end. He

wants this mission to be a success so badly. . .Just before I left, I went

to the basement to say goodbye to him. He was looking at a digital photo on

his computer. . .a casual shot taken in the shop, with Ouka and Midori

laughing in the foreground, and Omi kind of hovering in the background.

      I know that he will always love Ouka. He tells me he loved her in a

different way than he loves me. . .but love is love. And Ouka was a friend

of Midori's. The look in his eyes as he stared at the picture. . .a mixture

of extreme sadness and the Mission Look. The eyes of an avenger. He wants

to punish the people who hurt Midori. . .for Ouka.

      I take the flowers and enter the plant. I'm not stopped. . .a flower shop

employee making a delivery is considered completely harmless. If they only

knew. . .

      As I make my way down the main corridor, a voice calls out, "Can I help

you?" It's coming from the office of the plant supervisor. I walk in, and

am greeted by the sight of a slight blonde in a pinstriped suit behind a

desk already laden with flowers. . .the really-obviously-fake kind.

      "I'm here to make a delivery for. . ." I start to say.

      Just then, the door bangs open, and her boss comes out. . .a beefy,

square-shaped guy with a gray crewcut and a nose that looks like it's been

broken more than once. "Who is it?" he says in a voice that sounds like

he's been gargling gravel.

      "Florist," I say, holding up the arrangement. "I've got. . ."

      "Fine," he says in a very curt tone. "Deliver your flowers and go." He

raises his hand to point toward the door, emphasizing his point. . .

      And then, I catch sight of it. A small tattoo on the inside of his wrist.

A lion with an eagle's head and wings.

      A gryphon.

      We have a genuine lead.

      I put the flowers down on the secretary's desk and turn around, resisting

the urge to rush.

      "Sir?" she says. "You've got something stuck to your shirt. . ."

      I look down. . .nothing. Look over my shoulder. . .sure enough, there's a

Post-It hanging off my shirt tail. I pull it off and look at it. . .hastily

scribbled kanji spelling out today's date, and under it, "11 p.m. R.S."

      "Thanks," I tell her, sticking it on her desk blotter and continuing out.

      Once out in the truck, I pull my cell phone off my belt and dial the shop.

"Yohji? It's Ken. . .I've got something. The Eastern plant. . .I think this

is it. The boss is *real* testy about visitors. . .and he's got a gryphon


      I know what the next move is. We go there at night to break in, look

around, see if we can find *definite* proof, any more information. . .

      And then, I suddenly see that Post-It note in my mind's eye again.

Tonight. . .11 p.m. . . .R.S. The initials. . .Red Skies? Good Gods, that's

it! Something's going on here tonight involving Red Skies. A gathering. .

.perhaps another poisoning. . .We *have* to be here.

      My hand instinctively flexes, as if I were wearing the bugnuk already and

making the sharp claws spring forth. I don't enjoy killing. Not in the

slightest. But I understand why we do what we do. We have to keep more

innocent people like Midori from being hurt, killed. . .

      Sometimes, though, I wish there was another way.


      Closing time at the shop. We wave goodbye to the last of the customers,

pull the metal shutters, draw down the gate over the front door.

      Then, we all look at each other and nod silently. It's time.

      We troop down the stairs, headed for the storage closet. Each of us takes

what he needs and goes to his designated "changing area" - myself in the

downstairs bathroom, Omi in the upstairs office, Yohji in the upstairs

bathroom, Aya in the downstairs back room.

      First comes the bulletproof vest. . .which saved my life the night that

Kase. . .no, no, I can't think about that. And then pants, shirt. . .I tie

my orange sweatshirt around my waist. Omi asks me over and over why I wear

that thing. Simple. . .I'm an athlete, and athletes are naturally

superstitious. A lot of them wear lucky socks or a lucky cap for every

game. This is my lucky sweatshirt. I was wearing it the day I was recruited

for J-League. I also happened to have been wearing it the day Omi and I

first met. . .and that alone, I think, infuses it with a kind of magic.

      Finally, I put on my jacket and goggles, then strap on what seems to be a

regular pair of gloves. . .but I know better. Far better.

      I head upstairs; the others are already assembled. I look at Omi. . .the

Mission Look has intensified. There's no trace at all of soft innocence in

his gaze. His eyes are cold, hard steel. It's almost as if he's a different

person, not the boy I love.

      I sure as hell wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of that crossbow.

      "Let's move," he says, and we head out to Aya's car, parked around back,

Omi and I in the back seat, the other two in front.

      I look at my love as we pull away. He's staring straight forward with that

steely glance. I wonder what he's thinking right now. . .

* * *


      Objective: Breach the building, find out what's going on. Ultimate

objective: Find those responsible. . .and take care of them.

      I run over the course of action in my mind. I had spent the rest of the

afternoon studying the records of this particular plant, figuring out its


      There might be guards around the back, especially if something's going

down tonight. I reach inside my jacket and finger the darts hiding there.

No problem.

      Aya hides the car in a wooded area about half a mile from the plant. We

get out and start to walk, silently, listening and looking for anything

amiss. So far, nothing but the sounds of the night. . .

      And then, a voice. "Hey! Who's there?" I spring into action immediately,

snatching my weapons and flinging them. A warning shot, not a

shoot-to-kill. . .We're able to slip past the stunned guard.

      We creep up to the building and locate the side entrance. This is Yohji's

specialty. . .lock-picking. We're inside within seconds.

      There's sounds, coming from down the hall. . .human voices. . .hmm, that

direction should be the actual processing plant. . .I start toward them,

motioning for the others to follow.

      "Hey!" shouts a high, reedy male voice. "Who's there?" I turn. . .and see

a tall, thin guy step out of the shadows, holding a gun. . .except he isn't

holding it for long. A lariat flies toward him and wraps around his wrist,

making him drop it. Before Yohji can release him, Aya brings his katana

slashing down. Target eliminated. The way is clear. We continue back down

the corridor.

      As we approach the back, I hear a man shouting, "Hurry up with the stuff!

We've gotta do this fast. . .they're expecting this shipment at the

distributor in an hour!"

      "Jesus Christ, I'm moving as fast as I can! If the boss doesn't like it,

he can kick me outta Red Skies for all I care!"

      Another voice. . . "Hey! That's the wrong fucking bags you've loaded up!

We need the ones *with the red dot*! How the hell else are we gonna know

which ones are the right bags?" Something unintelligible is mumbled in


      A scraping noise, a bump. . .and then, the first voice again. . . "Careful

with that shit! It's *poison*, it's not cotton candy! You get it on

yourself, you're a dead sonofabitch!"

      That's all I need to hear. We'd already plotted out what to do when we

found them in action. . .and it's time to do it. The others scurry around

me, headed for various entrances to the plant proper. I search the wall,

looking for the switch the plans said was there. . .found it! I pull the

lever, and the plant gets dark, the mechanical noises stop. . .

      "What the FUCK?" says a voice from inside. And I make my next move,

springing in through the nearest doorway, crossbow at the ready. The room

is dimly lit, all that's working is an auxiliary generaor. . .but I can

still see well enough to determine that there's a gun pointed at my head.

      "Drop it," growls the gunman. . .yes, one of the men who was speaking

before. But he doesn't carry through on his threat, because a cord flies

out of seemingly nowhere and wraps itself around his neck. As Yohji pulls

on it, finishing the job, I spot another one running toward us out of the

corner of my eye, weapon at the ready. I spin on my heel, firing my

crossbow. Two targets eliminated. Yohji and I look at each other and nod.

      I make my way further into the plant. There is something else I have to

do. . .I reach into one of my pockets. The materials I need are there. . .

      And then, an arm wraps around my neck, cutting off my airway. I struggle

and kick out, but whoever it is wrestles me to the ground. "You're going

nowhere, pretty boy," a voice growls. "Who are you, and what are you doing


      I'm starting to get dizzy. . .how the hell does this guy expect me to

*talk* if he's choking me to death?. . .but I somehow manage to get one

hand loose. . .if I can wriggle it around just a bit. . .

      Success. The weapon I'd concealed in my sleeve drops into my hand. I fling

it backward, and hear my assailant howl as the dart pierces his flesh. He

drops me, and I spring to my feet and snatch upmy crossbow before he can

react. One shot, and the target drops to the floor.

      I take a deep breath, then another, getting my oxygen level back up. .

.then calmly continue on to complete my task.

      Where is Ken? I haven't seen him since we got here. . .

* * *


      I creep toward the back of the plant. I *know* the big boss I saw earlier

is around here somewhere. I heard that gravely voice.

      As I walk, I hear footsteps close behind. . .then the sound of a gun being

cocked. . .

      And then a whoosh, a thud and the sound of a body crashing to the floor. I

turn, and see Aya, katana in hand, the corpse of my wood-be assailant on

the floor. I give him a nod of thanks, then move on.

      Around here, somewhere. . .I know it was from this direction. . .

      "So, if it isn't the flower boy," a familiar voice rasps. "I knew you were

up to no good."

      He's hiding over there. . .in the shadows, behind that partition. . .

      "Nobody comes into this place unless they're invited," he continues. "And

I sure as *hell* know you weren't. I checked our phone records. . .nobody

called a florist."

      I know just what direction the voice is coming from now. I know just where

to strike. . .

      And then, there's the sound of a shot, and a bullet slams into the vest

protecting me. I stagger back a bit. . .and I flash back, horrifyingly, to

Kase firing at me, again and again. . .hearing his voice say "Why won't you


      Gods. . .NO. I shake my head, bringing myself back to the present. I focus

on where the target is again. . .

      "No, *you're* the one who's up to no good, Red Skies!" And I leap into the

air, activating the bugnuk.

      Gods, how I hate the moment of impact. That solid feeling. . .it's a

reminder that I'm *killing someone.* And every time. . .I'm reminded of

when I did the same thing to Kase.

      I stand up, trying not to look at the blood dripping from the bugnuk. I

hear, in the background, the sounds of Aya's katana making another impact.

. .then silence. We must have gotten them all.

      Then, the sound of Omi's voice calling to us, an all-business tone. . .

"Siberian! Abyssinian! Get out, right away!" I look around. . .Aya's across

the room. . .both of us run for the nearest exit. When we're outdoors, we

meet up with Omi and Yohji again. Omi has something in his hand. . .a small

metal case with a white cross on the cover. I know what's going to happen,

I've seen it before. The four of us start running, so we're a safe distance

away. . .

      Finally, we stop. Omi opens the case, presses a button. There is a

deafening roar, and a huge plume of fire shoots up into the air as pieces

of the building fly everywhere.

      He drops the crossbow, the detonator. He closes his eyes, lets out a deep

sigh. When he opens them, the steely gaze is gone. He has become my Angel

again. It's over. Midori has been avenged.

      We make our way back to the car, quickly, quietly. Once we're settled in

the back seat, Omi drops his head to my shoulder and his eyelids flutter

closed. Within seconds, he's asleep. He must be so, so exhausted at this

point. . .I'll take him back to my place again and put him to bed like I

did last night. There will be no repeat of the morning performance, though.

Omi and I have an unwritten law between us . . .no lovemaking until at

least 24 hours after a mission. It would be just. . .wrong. We almost

always sleep in the same bed, holding each other. . .especially if things

have not gone a hundred percent well. . .but that's it.

      I brush his hair back from his eyes as I watch him sleep. You did well,

Angel. You did *real* well.

* * *


      It's been two days since the misison. We got a call at the flower shop

today from Yuukina. . .Midori's getting out of the hospital tomorrow. I

think that once she gets back to school, I'm going to sit down with her and

have a talk. I'm going to tell her about Ken and I. . .but also that I'd

like to be her friend. Ouka would like that, I think.

      Ken-kun and I are spending a quiet evening together. We really cherish

those. After you've just spent several days tracking and eliminating

scum-of-the-earth criminals, it's just so, so nice to be *normal* for


      Right now, he's ordering a pizza, and I've got my laptop open. I'm

cataloguing the contents of that one Zip disc. . .it's just helter-skelter

right now, MP3s and pictures and text files everywhere. I'm sticking

everything into folders.

      "Want breadsticks too, Angel?" he calls from the kitchen.

      "Fine with me," I reply. I'm *very* hungry. I didn't eat much while the

misison was going on. The only time I had any kind of *appetite* whatsoever

was when Ken-kun and I were in the shower. . .A shudder runs through me as

I remember that. I'm glad we did it, let ourselves go completely like that.

I know I needed it.

      And then, I click on one of the picture files.  . .and there's the photo

of Ken-kun while he was in J-League. *So* adorable. I'll bet *everyone* who

saw him play had a crush on him.

      Fate should have been kinder to him. He should still be there. . .but

then, if he was, we wouldn't have known each other.

      Or would we? Is there really such a thing as destiny? Is there such a

thing as lovers who were *meant* to be together, no matter what?

      What would our lives have been like if we hadn't suffered the tragedies

that brought us to Weiss. . .if I hadn't been kidnapped, if he hadn't been

drugged and framed? He'd be a superstar athlete, I'd be a poor little rich

boy. . .Would I have ended up evil and twisted like my two brothers? Oh,

Gods, I don't even want to think about that.

      Ken-kun comes back into the living room. I quickly close the laptop.

"Pizza's on its way. Looks like it's just about time for 'Iron Chef.'" He

sits on the couch and holds his arms open to me. I sit beside him, and we

embrace, then kiss softly. Gods, I just can't imagine him not being a part

of my life. . .was there actually a time when my world didn't include him?

      "Good," I say. "By the time the food gets here, we'll probably be good and

hungry. Unless they're making cod roe ice cream again."

      "They wouldn't dare be that sadistic twice," he says. I lie with my head

in his lap, and he clicks the remote. The show's just starting.

      Yes, how nice to be able to do something *normal* together. Other people

my age take it for granted that they can do this kind of thing every night

of their lives, and not have to hack into high-security computer networks,

or make explosives, or plot a course through a heavily-guarded building. .


      But I have no choice. I *have* to do those things. For the sake of

everyone who's ever suffered and died at the hands of criminals. . .the way

I suffered as a child.

      Again, the thought returns. What would my life have been like if I hadn't

been kidnapped? Doubtlessly, I would have known Ouka. . .our mutual father

acknowledged her as his daughter. She'd still be alive today, definitely,

because his bodyguards would have had no reason to take a shot at me.

      I would be a *teenager*, not an assassin. I'd only use a computer for

surfing and chatting. The only darts I'd ever touch would be in a bar, the

only flowers I'd ever handle would be the centerpieces of a fancy dinner

table. . .

      I would never have known Aya-kun and Yohji-kun. That makes me sad. But

Ken-kun. . .is it, indeed, destiny?

      I push the thoughts aside and turn my attention back to the show. The

secret ingredient is yellowfin tuna. Everything being prepared looks good.

. .or at least not nauseating. But I just can't seem to get into it. In the

back of my mind, over and over, there's that "what if. . ."

      When the pizza arrives, I dig into it with relish. Amazing that I can

still be hungry in this kind of a mood.

      "Hmm," Ken says. "I think I'm in heaven right now. My favorite show. . .my

favorite kind of pizza. . .and my favorite bishounen. Life doesn't get any

better than this."

      Oh, Ken-kun. . .if our lives had been different, would you be saying that

to someone else right now? Would there be another boy, or girl, in my


      He ruffles my hair. "Hey. . .you're being quiet, Angel. Still thinking

about the misison?"

      I shake my head no, continue eating.

      "Something else on your mind?"

      "Not really. . ."

      "There *is* something bugging you, isn't there? You can tell me, honey."

      I put the pizza aside. "Well. . .it's not important. I was just thinking."

      "About what?"

      "About. . .destiny. Fate. About what our lives would have been like if we

hadn't been in Weiss." I look up at him. "We probably wouldn't have known

each other, would we?"

      He's silent for a moment. Great, that was probably a silly question to

ask. I turn my attention back to the TV. The dishes are being tasted right

now, and that cranky lady judge is chiding the challenger for making one of

his offerings too salty. . .

      Then, he says, "What made you think of something like that?"

      I sit up. "I. . .I came across a picture on the Net, of you when you were

in J-League, and it made me wonder. . .what if you were still with them?

And I was still living as a Takatori. . .we wouldn't be together, would


      He's quiet for a moment. Then, he says, "I didn't think there'd be any

pictures of me still out there. The League just about blotted me out of all

their records, as if I'd never existed." He looks at me with a slight

smile. "Was it a good picture, at least?"

      "Gorgeous. You looked very sexy." I am *definitely* not going to tell him

that I saw Kase's picture as well. I think that's a memory he doesn't want


      "I'm glad you saw it, then." The show is ending, we hear Kaga loudly

proclaim the Iron Chef the winner. . .Ken clicks the set off, then pulls me

into his arms. "It doesn't matter what *could* have happened, honey. What

matters is that we *did* end up together. You're by *far* the best thing

that's ever happened to me."

      "Same here. . .I mean, I feel the same way about you."

      "Omi. . .what's between us. . .it's no accident. We were meant to be

together, Weiss or no Weiss. I love you." I feel him start to kiss my neck,

softly, just barely touching his lips to my skin. . .I arch my head back,

tangling my fingers in his hair.

      "I love you too," I whisper, feeling him kiss up to my jaw, then my chin.

. .and then, our lips are together, and I throw my arms around him, pulling

him close, closer, as if to merge his body into mine. I push my tongue into

his mouth, feeling around, trying to find a sensitive spot here, there. .

.He groans, and I begin stroking my tongue against his, letting my hands

start to roam over his body. Gods, he feels so good, so tight and hard and

muscular. . .I find the bottom of his polo shirt and pull it upward,

breaking the kiss so I can yank it over his head.

      "Angel. . ." he sighs. I tip him backward, so he's almost lying flat-out

on the couch, and begin licking up and down his chest, my hands sliding up

his ribcage, the thumbs begining to rub over the nipples. "Oooh, yes," he

groans. "Ohh, that's nice. . ."

      I lick up to where my right hand is, and I take his nipple in my mouth,

sucking it hard. He lets out a loud groan, arching toward me, and I slide

one hand down over his stomach, then lower, slowly, until I feel the hard

bulge in his jeans. I start to rub it as my tongue swirls on his nipple,

and he shudders.

      I bring my mouth back to his and kiss him again, firecely, my lips hard

and insistent, my tongue probing deeply. I've never been this aggressive

before. I don't know where it came from. . .but Gods, it's a dizzying high!

      And then, a fantasy forms in my mind, of something we haven't done yet. .

.but something I very much want to do. . .especially now. It's absolutely

burning in me, this desire.

      "Ken, let's go in the bedroom."

      "That's the best idea I've heard all night." We get up, and our lips meet

again, then he takes my hand, and we start to walk toward the other room. .


      Once the door is closed behind us, we're in each other's arms again, our

mouths pressing together, and I reach down for his zipper. When I have his

pants unfastened, I plunge my hand in so I'm caressing him atop the fabric

of his underwear. He moans again, and then again when I take my hand out of

the front of his pants, plunge it in the back, grasp and squeeze his

bottom. . .

      And then, the fantasy returns again. What would it be like to be *in*

there? To feel him drawingme in. . .enclosing me. . .

      I break the kiss. "Ken. . .sweetheart. . .there's something I want to do

tonight. . ."

      "What, Angel? Anything you want."

      I pause, inhale deeply, then say, "I want. . .to be seme. I want to be

inside you."

* * *


      I'm not at all surprised. He's been very aggressive tonight. . .and every

time we've made love up until now, he's either been uke or we've just made

love to each other with our mouths and hands.

      It's been a long time since I've been on the bottom. Since I was with

Kase. . .no, I won't think about that. Not now. No way am I going to spoil

the moment.

      I kiss his temple, softly. "Of course, Angel. Do you know what to do?"

      He looks down, blushing bright pink, then looks slowly, shyly up at me.

"Will you talk me through it?"

      "Yes." I lean over, and bring my lips to his, reaching down to undo his

zipper. We pull away from each other just long enough to strip off our

remaining clothing, and then start to kiss again, rubbing our bodies

together. . .I shift a bit so our erections are brushing against each

other, and both of us start to pump our hips, moaning. . .it feels so, so

good. . .we have to stop, though, we can't come. . .not yet, not yet.

      I ease away from him, and lay face-down on the bed, drawing my knees up. I

hear him sigh, and then feel his hand begin to slide over the curve of one

buttock, gently caressing it. . .then, his other hand comes up to join the

first, and he squeezes both cheeks, starting to knead them. . .Warm waves

of pleasure begin to flow through my body, and I let out a groan.

      "Umm. . .that's good, honey."

      He takes his hands away. . .but then, I feel his hot breath on the left

side, and then his lips, baby-soft little kisses. . .moving up and down,

around in circles. . .kiss, then a tiny nip, making me cry out. .. then a

quick flick of his tongue. . .then kisses again, harder, more aggressive. .


      Oh, Gods, it's driving me absolutely mad. I'm clutching at the sheets.

"More," I moan, and I feel his mouth move to the other cheek. . .He

*bites*, not a nibble, but a true bite, and I yelp, pleasure and pain

shooting through me at once. . .where the HELL did he get that idea from?.

. .then kisses the area he just bit, softly, tenderly. . .

      He stops. "Was. . .was that okay? I didn't hurt you, did I?"

      "Well, Angel. . .you did. But it was a nice hurt. REAL nice."

      "Nice. . .hurt?"

      He's still such an innocent, even after everything we've done. "Don't

worry about it, honey. Just keep going. You're doing great."

      He starts to kiss again, moving his lips up and down the curve, and I feel

his fingers start to trail in the valley between the cheeks. Little shivers

run up my spine. He's ready to take the next step.

      "Go into the bathroom. Get a couple of towels, you'll need them later." He

gets up and scurries after them, coming back very quickly.

      "Open the nighttable drawer," I say. "There's a tube of KY in there. Put

some on your index finger. . .and some around my opening. . .and then slide

your finger in, slowly."

      I hear the squishing sound of the tube, then feel him touch me. . .ooh,

cold! I jump a bit.

      "Did I do something wrong?"

      I laugh. "No, no. . .it's just that I now know why you're always saying

that stuff is so cold. I'd forgotten what it felt like."

      "It warms up after awhile." And then, his finger starts to probe. I know

that there's a bit of pain coming, and sure enough, I feel it. . .but I

don't let on to him. I want him to keep going.

      "A little more," I say. "Umm. . .yes, like that." The pain is fading, and

it's being replaced by pleasure. "Now move your finger around a bit. . ."

He does, and a shudder of luscious feeling passes through me. "Ohh, you're

doing well," I sigh.

      "It feels good?"

      "It feels *very* good. Now take your finger out. . .wipe it off. . .and

this time, lube your first and second fingers. You're going to put the

first finger in again, then the second one."

      When the probe comes again, I brace against the pain. . .but it fades

quickly again, and when his fingers start moving around, I arch back

against him. "Ohh. . .that's so good, Angel. . ."

      He leans over and kisses my back, several times.  I purr, and purr louder

when I feel his tongue running up and down my spine. I'm actually pumping

my hips, trying to get deeper and deeper penetration. . .Gods, I want him

inside me, and *badly*!

      "Take them out," I tell him. "Wipe them off again. . .you're going to do a

third finger this time."

      This time, I welcome even the pain. I know it's the gateway to pleasure. .

.and when the pleasure comes, it's so sharp and sweet  that I nearly lose

it on the spot. "Ohh, you're doing so well," I moan. "That's it. . .move

them around. . .open me up, get me ready. . .oh, I can't wait, Angel. I

want to feel you deep inside me so, so badly. . ."

      "Tell me what to do."  His fingers go in deeper still, and I let out a moan.

      "In the drawer is a box of condoms. Put one on, then lube yourself on top

of it. Then lube my opening again."

      I hear the foil packet being torn. There's a pause. . .should I help him

put it on?. . .but that's quickly followed by the squish of the tube again.

. .and then, the cold chill as he applies it to me. . .

      "Now take my hips, position yourelf in back of me. . .put yourself right

up agains the entrance. . .and push forward slowly. . ."

* * *


      I hear his words, but at first, I can't move. I'm rooted to the spot. No,

I want to do this. . .I *have* to do it.

      I push forward. . .ohh, what's this? I wasn't expecting it to feel so. .

.oh, GODS! It's warm and soft and. . .he's *gripping* me, absolutely

gripping, and it shoots an instant bolt of hot sensation through my whole

body. I push forward more. . .I just want to bury myself in him, lose

myself in the tightness, the heat. . .

      "Ken, oh, Ken," I moan. "This is SO good!"

      "Yes, Angel. . .keep going. . .more. . ."

      Oh, Gods. . .how could I even *think* of stopping now! I push in more, and

more, and his passage squeezes me so tight. . .pleasure is burning and

burning all through me. .  . I lean over and kiss his neck, lick it, nibble

his earlobe, half-mad with sensation. . .

      "Now thrust," he says. "Just slowly at first. . ."

      I pull my hips back. . .ohh!!. . .and push forward, and.. .oh, oh, so

delicious, so incredible, nothing has ever felt like this, why, WHY didn't

I do this before? So much hot sensation flooding me. . .I pump my hips

faster, and faster still. . .I can never get enough, never, never, oh, I'm

on fire, and it's going to. . .oh, GODS. . .

      Suddenly, I feel an explosion of hot ecstasy all over my body, and I cry

out, loudly, feeling my seed pour from my body as one spasm after another

shakes me.

      I collapse to the bed, moaning, panting, shaking. . .I feel Ken's fingers

stroking my hair, his lips on my cheek. "How was that?" he asks, softly.

      "Ohh. . .incredible. . .just incredible. . .just. . ."

      I reach up for him. . .and my hand brushes something hard. He still has a

full erection.

      Then, it hits me. I came quickly. Too quickly. I thought only about my own

needs. . .I did nothing to satisfy my lover. . .When we had done this with

me on the bottom, he'd always stroked my manhood while he was inside me. .

.and I didn't do *anything* for him.

      Selfish, I was selfish. . .

      I turn my face away from him, feeling tears form in my eyes.

* * *


      What's wrong? He looked positively blissful a second ago. . .and now, he's

crying. Tears of joy? No, that look on his face is definitely *not* joyful.

      "Angel? What's the matter?"

      "I came too quickly. I left you hanging. I just took my own pleasure, and

did nothing for you. . ."

      "Oh, darling!" I pull him into my arms. "It's all right. I wasn't

expecting anything different.  It's normal for guys when they first

penetrate, whether they're with a man or a woman. Making love isn't

something we're born knowing how to do. You have to learn. . . .you have to



      "Just learn from experience. The more we do that, the more you'll learn

what to do." I kiss his forehead. "You'll be all right, Angel."

      He smiles. "We'll see."

      "Now, let's get you cleaned up. . .and then, if you want, you can redeem

yourself in. . .otherways."

      I help him dispose of the condom and wash off. He seems a lot calmer. Poor

darling, he probably thought I expected him to perform like a stallion. I

know that he's very much human. I remember all too well what the first time

was like for me. I had barely gotten in when it happened.

      Once we get back to the bed, he puts his arms around me and kisses me

deeply, tumbling me backward, the same way he did back when we started. . .

      He raises his head and looks into my eyes. "I've decided how I'm going to

redeem myself."

      "Oh? How?"

      "Like this. . ."

      He drops to his knees at the side of the bed, and I sit on the edge so

he's between my spread knees. And then, I feel that hot little tongue on my

shaft, and I lean back, moaning. "That's a very good way," I say in a husky


      "Umm. . ." he says, and he begins to kiss his way up and down its length.

. .and then licking again, long, slow, wet laps that make me shudder. He

swirls his tongue over the head, kisses it a few times, licks again, moving

his tongue around and around like a child eating soft-serve ice cream. Oh,

he's good, so good. . .my heart is pounding, and I'm moaning loudly,

feeling one wave of pleasure after another course through me. . .oh,

darling, it won't be long after you take me in. . .

      His mouth closes over me, and the suction begins, hot, wet, incredible.

"Ohh, yes, Angel. . ." I groan. "Yes. . .devour me whole. . ."

      He sucks faster, harder, moving me in and out, and I'm aflame. I tangle my

hands in his hair, writhing, feeling like I can barely contain the

pleasure. . .oh, Gods, I'm trembling on the brink of madness, but it's a

beautiful, sweet madness. . .just a little more, Angel, a little more, yes,

yes. . .

      His fingers begin to lightly caress my balls. . .and that's all I need.

The pleasure bursts in an explosion of heat, and I arch my hips off the

bed, letting out a yell, releasing myself in rapid spasms of sweet agony.

      I fall back to the bed, panting, and feel him snuggle next to me. He

kisses my lips, softly.

      "I love you," I say.

      "I love you, too."

      I pull him to my chest, closing my eyes, sighing blissfully. I can't

imagine anything more beatiful than moments like this, holding him close,

basking in the afterglow. . .



      "I was just thinking of how lucky I am."

      "What do you mean?"

      "Well. . .most people only get one shot at losing their virginity. But I

lost mine twice. . .uke and seme. And both times, it was to the person I


      "Oh, sweetheart. . ." I kiss the top of his head. I'm so flooded with

love. . .Gods, there was a time I thought it was impossible to love another

person so much.

      A pause, and then. . . "Ken. . .can you do me a favor?"

      "Sure. . .what?"

      "Can you make sure I'm up at six tomorrow? Even if you have to set fire to

the bed."

      "I thought we just did that."

      He gives me a playful swat, and we hug each other close, laughing. . .then

snuggle up and drift off to sleep.

      Death, and killing, and revenge have never seemed more far away.


AUTHOR'S NOTES: As with my first Weiss story, "Erlosung," I owe an enormous

debt of grattitude to the friends who acted as my pre-readers and support

staff: Sailor Star Love, Yohann de Sabrais, Alhanna Starbreeze and my

editor, Steve Savage. (Check out his original series, Xai, at



Thanks also to all the people who sent me feedback on my story! I never

realized that there were so many other people out there who wanted to see

Ken/Omi! Your comments made my day! Rest assured that I *will* be writing

more about this cute/sexy couple. (Oh, BTW. . .anybody know of any sites

with decent K/O fanart? I haven't come across any yet, alas).


E-mail me at sailormac@wjjz.com. My Web site is at



Weiss Kreuz is owned by Koyasu Takehito and Project Weiss. These characters

ain't mine, I'm just borrowing them for a little while.