Inoue's chest tightened when he saw the moment-- that one particular moment he too had to go through, the time of realization.

The realization that you were there to take a life, professionally and swiftly, washing over you.... it either broke a spirit or made it stronger.

Reven, by all appearances, appeared unbroken... and Chad was very dead.

The redhead nodded in the shadows, taking his lighter out and flicking the lid impatiently. He wanted to make this place go up in flames, but even he knew where to draw the line on his coldness sometimes; Reven could have his moment to mourn Chad, or his lost youth, or what little innocence he had had before Inoue had walked into his life.... whatever he wanted to mourn, he could, but he wouldn't be given any other spare time to do it.

Inoue watched silently, noting every slight movement, every tremor running across Reven's body, even though the teen's expression appeared, by all means, calm.

Ah, that was a good and a bad sign at once-- good because he wasn't screaming and crying, as Inoue had feared. Bad, because that meant eventually, some day, he would break down and let out all of his fear, anger, and sorrow in one blazing glory; one that usually ended in the person's own death.

Inoue went through that himself as well. Master had guided him through it, and Master had saved his life...

No, he couldn't think on those times. He was the Master now. He stood a little straighter, flicking the lighter lid tensely.

Reven wondered at the silence. Yeah, he could hear his harsh breathing, slowing down. He could hear Inoue flicking away at his damned lighter; only now was he aware of the smell of fuel, all around him, like the room had been doused with it.

You did it, he told himself, a little in awe. You killed him! Chad... Chad who'd lifted him up from behind a pile of trash cans, and washed him off. Who gave him a mattress and a blanket - who stripped him and fucked him and seemed pleased with his salvage. Then who hired him out to anyone who'd pay for abusing a slim, pretty kid. He couldn't make sense of how he might feel about Chad. How he had felt.

Like he cared a fuck! came a burst of anger. He looked at his hands, and they started trembling. Reven didn't think he could take much more shock - what with the knife attack, then the fall, then the emotions stirred up at Inoue's apartment. 'Praps I'm overloaded, he thought, biting back a wild laugh. Immune...!

He turned to stare at Inoue. "What now?" he said, his voice a little thin in the basement room. Inoue would tell him what would happen; and he'd learn from him.

"Come here," Inoue said quietly, extending his hand once more.

Reven needed support right now, so that in the future when he did break, he would be able to rely on that same support and trust it.

Inoue was unused to being close and touchy with others, but he would learn to accept it-- as he had told the kid, he now had to tell himself-- he was in a relationship now, and that worked both ways.

"Come to me right now, Reven. You did well. Better than I expected."

Reven felt something inside him unravel, very slightly; he felt a softening of the hard knot of fury and aggression in his throat. He walked to Inoue, and took his hand. It was warm and enveloping in a very different way than it had been in the bathroom of the apartment - but it was still comforting. He felt the shakes subside. He looked up into Inoue's face, the man a head taller than he was, and looked for the understanding and guidance that he'd never had from anyone before.

Inoue leaned down and slipped his arm beneath the teen's rear, lifting him up with one swift movement, holding him up against his chest like an infant, the teen's legs straddling his stomach.

"You did well," he said again quietly, looking Reven head-on, meeting his gaze in the dark. "It's over."

The redhead walked over to the light switch and turned the light out, enveloping them in darkness once more as he carried the shivering boy.

He flicked back the lighter lid and snapped his thumb over the flint, lighting a flame that highlighted their bodies momentarily before he tossed the lighter on the ground, immediately igniting a ring around Chad's limp body and up the walls-- everywhere except the access to the stairs.

Inoue hurried up them, not wanting Reven to inhale too much smoke just yet in his life, and the three flights of stairs flew under his feet as he moved swiftly and noiselessly, the way he'd been taught, feeling the heat and hearing the crackle and spark of flames bursting out and igniting just behind them.

Reven gasped; he clung tighter to the strong man as they hurriedly made their way up the stairs. He felt the beating of Inoue's heart under his clothes, and it was reassuring to him. He saw the glow from the flames at the pit of the basement - smelt the sharp clean smell of flames. That was the end of his life - the end of his old life, going up in smoke, along with Chad's body. There'd be nothing left - no-one left who knew him.

He only had Inoue now.

Inoue reached the door and slammed it shut with his heel, removing the cleaner-soaked rag from his coat pocket and wiping down the door where he had touched it; there had been a reason why he hadn't let Reven open the doors himself.

"Listen to me, kid. Should anything ever happen to me, I want you to go back to my place, and there's a lot of money in the vases around the apartment. Enough to live moderately off of for the rest of your life. Got that?"

He hurried to the car and opened the door, placing Reven in his seat before sliding into his own, and starting the car.

They were off in a hurry before the fire alarms on the main floors of the building could even go off, and Inoue was certain that Chad's body would never be medically detectable-- he had marred the face and limbs beyond recognition after burning, he had removed the fingerprints by searing them off, he had even broken several of the man's teeth to prevent recognition by dental records. Nothing but ash and bits of bone would be left of the man, and nobody would ever know who it had been but them.

For now, his main goal was to get Reven through this properly, to mold him into the assassin he was required to be.

He glanced over at the youth silently.

Inoue was staring at him, as if he expected him to crumble any time now. Reven stared back, wondering why he was having trouble focussing on him. For the first time, he knew that Inoue was accepting him as part of his life - he was caring for his life, sure, but he hadn't needed to tell Reven about his money.

Reven felt like a proper apprentice for the first time - perhaps someone that this cool, professional man might care for in other ways. Reven was ashamed of feeling like this about him. He wanted to be strong in himself - he wanted to succeed. But a more vulnerable part of him wanted to reach out to Inoue again, to feel his arms picking him up and carrying him out.

"Is that it, then?" he asked, softly. "They're all gone - all the guys who knew me, who might come for me. I'm free of it all now - I guess no-one's gonna be interested in the barbecuing of a pimp like Chad." Except 'praps his girls and boys - until they get swept up by some other guy, he thought. "Will we go back now? Do some more work on those books?"

He looked down at his black clothes, dusty from the basement. Looked at his sore hand, only now starting to smart. His hair felt damp on his neck with sweat.

He realised how much he wanted Inoue to say 'yes'.

"No," Inoue said quietly. "My place is under surveillance right now; if I bring you in covered in Chad's blood, I'll have more to deal with than I'd really prefer. I'm actually in the process of having you adopted as my brother, and those papers won't go through for another 5 hours, 33 minutes."

He glanced down at the clock in the car just to confirm what he knew was right about the time-- that was another thing Master had programmed into him, the inner sense of time passage.

"Until then, we're going to one of my other places, the one that isn't being watched. It isn't as elegant as the one you're used to."

He rounded a corner and sped through the city, still glancing back at Reven every once in a while. "Nauseous?" he asked slowly.

Reven opened his eyes in surprise. Yeah, he was - funny how Inoue knew what he was feeling! Bet the guy even knew what he was thinking...

Reven dropped his gaze, worried that Inoue could see what he was thinking. "A bit, yeah," he said. "Bit odd - I feel -" He wondered why the car was swinging around him, and he felt the bile threatening at the back of his throat. Suddenly it was all in his head - the smell of Chad's blood; the crackle of the flames; the rasping of Chad's broken voice; the clicking of Inoue's lighter.

"Think I'm gonna be sick - sometime soon -" he gasped. "Fuck - I never -"

The smell of fuel was in his nostrils - from the basement, from the car itself. There wasn't enough air - his body felt light, like he hadn't eaten for days. He could taste the food he'd had earlier rising up again inside his throat.

Inoue slammed on the brakes and rounded a corner into a new alley, reaching over Reven and opening the passenger side door. "Into the street!" he demanded quickly, seeing the sickness rise in the kid's face.

Inoue himself had been able to keep from vomiting for a full day before the shock had rang through his entire body and finally resulted in physical upset-- though he berated himself for not expecting it sooner in Reven.

He watched as the teen lurched forward and all the food he had managed to keep down for a short while left him.

A sigh escaped him. Not in anger at Reven's sickness, but rather at the chaos of emotions he knew were thundering through the boy, having lived them himself. He reached forward and placed a warm hand on the boy's back, holding him steady as he retched.

"Get it all out; force yourself if you have to. It'll just sour in your belly more if you keep it in."

He knew the duality of those words-- both in application to the food within the boy, and the teeming emotions.

Inoue shifted in the car until he was on the same seat as Reven, lifting the boy onto his lap even as he remained hunched forward, his body lurching with the occasional aftermath gag. He wasn't great with comforting another human being, but he was trying, and going by how he knew he would have loved to have been treated on his first time, as well as how he knew he should treat the boy according to his training.

Reven's throat hurt, and his mouth tasted vile, and most of all he felt humiliated. He'd never be as good as Inoue - he'd never be as cool...

He felt the man behind him, tugging him on to his lap and holding him securely as he retched all over the concrete floor of the alley. There was debris round them - a couple rats scattered for cover. Reven was eternally grateful that he wasn't doing this in front of anyone.

And he was grateful for the strong hands on his waist, the press of a warm, comforting chest against his back. He wasn't used to comfort, either. He breathed in the smell of Inoue's body, savouring it for as long as the closeness would last, even as the spasms of his stomach subsided.

Inoue wished he had something better to offer the teen, but he hadn't foreseen this so soon, and all he had was a spare shirt. He opened the glove compartment and removed it, then wiped down the boy's mouth and chin and threw the shirt on the ground over the expelled contents of Reven's body.

"Better?" he asked quietly, remaining still and waiting for his answer.

Waiting for the tears.

After all, Inoue himself had bawled like a newborn... he would be shocked if Reven didn't. Shocked, but pleased-- it meant the potential for the kid being a better assassin than his teacher.

Reven drew breath - licked at his dry lips. "Yeah," he said, weakly. "Sorry." He swivelled round a bit on Inoue's lap, to look at the man's face. He looked quizzical - he looked like he was expecting something of Reven.

"No, honestly," Reven insisted. "I'm OK. We better get going, right?" he could hear the fire trucks in the distance - he didn't know how far they'd gone, but it couldn't be far enough for him. "Right?" he repeated.

He saw a flicker of something odd in Inoue's expression, then to his surprise the man's hand lifted up to his face. The fingers touched briefly at the side of his eyes - smoothing at the skin there, almost hesitantly.

"I'm OK," Reven said again, gently now. It was a nice touch - a pleasant touch. But he didn't think they had time to be talking now, did they? "Good riddance, right?" he said, feeling a lopsided grin on his face. "Chad - y'know. He was scum. Good riddance, I say!"

"Agreed. Now then, we have a lot of time to kill..." He paused at that last word, sighing internally for his poor choice in phrasing. "...Is there anything you'd like to do?"

The other apartment he had wasn't really fun for somebody like Reven. Or anybody, for that matter...

He ran his hand along the kid's face, seeing the way Reven leaned into the touch, and slipped his hand through the soft black locks slowly before letting his heavy hand come to rest on the boy's thigh.

Reven's lower lip trembled once, slightly, then he forced a weak smile, and Inoue was truly pleased with his apprentice.

No tears, no screams; this could possibly have turned out to be a step in the right direction for once in Inoue's mind, and Reven no longer seemed like quite the burden he had first been sized up to be.

Reven's head swam at the firm touch on his face - he nudged at it, like a cat. Inoue's hand in his hair ran shivers down his over-sensitive skin. "Wanna - lie down and take a nap, I guess," he sighed. "Wanna be warm, too - it's all so cold here. Wanna stay here..."

Don't really know, do I? he thought. He wanted more of the touching - more of the comforting. His nerves were still strung out - he felt a weird, physical high that demanded something of him - some firmer touch, some firmer satisfaction. His heart was racing again, and his stomach felt empty, and his legs tensed up on Inoue's lap.

Inoue nodded. Of course Reven didn't know much of what he really wanted to do, other than not be near his kill.

He lifted the kid up carefully and placed him back in the seat, confident that he wouldn't be able to throw up any longer; the last several gags had all been bile, and his stomach was empty by now.

The redhead shifted back into his own seat and looked Reven over once more carefully before shifting back into drive and heading out of the alley and into the main roads once more. He looked like he was driving around a drunk, bloody teenager, but he really could care less about what others thought.

They arrived at the alternate 'apartment' a while later, Inoue carrying the kid bridal-fashion, making sure that nobody was looking, even though he was fairly sure in this area of the city that everybody knew the 'don't look, don't tell' way of life.

The place was nothing more than an abandoned loft, and the only real home-like things there were a cardboard box and a rickety bed, the latter of which Inoue placed Reven upon gently.

"This is kinda like a habit, eh?" smiled Reven. He didn't think he'd ever been fussed over so much in his life, being carried from pillar to post. He could see that this place was very different from Inoue's main apartment - but it wasn't any worse than some of the places he'd been in his life.

At least there was a roof, and a bed. He felt sleepy - he guessed it was some kind of reaction, because it wasn't that he hadn't had plenty of sleep recently. He felt empty from the retching - and still a little shivery from the business with Chad.

The memory was like a sudden, cold shock down his spine, and he tried to push the thoughts away again. "Sit here with me," he asked, a little shyly. "I - just for a minute. Guess you got other things to do. But - just for a while. Tell me some more of the stuff in the books. Tell me some more about all the things I've gotta do." Tell me about you he wanted to say, but knew he didn't dare, even after what they'd shared tonight.

"Not tonight," Inoue said quietly. "Sleep if you need it."

He needed to think, and to make new strategies-- Reven had changed many of his plans, and now he had to incorporate the kid into his own missions.

Of course Inoue had been planning these things before, but he hadn't been counting on the kid being very proficient at what his task was for quite some time. The way things were going... perhaps in a few months, he could trust Reven to try a mission on his own.

He stared at the run down floorboards, and the black gaping holes where several were missing. "I don't advise you move around much up here-- there are weak spots on the floor and you don't know which boards to avoid," he said absently.

He knew what Reven wanted to ask.

He knew the burning need to find out more about your Master.

It had taken Inoue years before his Master had broken down and told him of his past... and learning of it in the end hadn't done any good-- it had only made Inoue more attached to his teacher, and scarred him worse when he died.

Reven sighed. Guess the guy was right. As he watched him move carefully about the sparse room, he felt his eyes grow heavy. His limbs felt exhausted - his body shocked towards sleep, to regroup its energies, to rejuvenate his mind. But there was still the thrum of excitement in his veins, and he rather thought that it would be there for some time.

His eyes followed the tall, slender frame of his companion, sharp-profiled in its dark, tight-fitting clothing. His skin remembered the hands on him, comforting him in the car, carrying him to the bed. He snuggled himself more comfortably on the mattress, and at the same time his hand slipped almost subconsciously down his body to his lap. It nestled in his groin; his fingers curled absentmindedly round his cock.

It was soft, and sleepy too, but he liked the feel of it in his hand. There were ripples of lust hovering at the back of his mind - the horror and passion of what he had done was still coursing through him, and maybe this was a stimulation of its own, strange kind. He sighed in his half-sleep, and settled down further.

Inoue's fists tightened as he heard the kid shift in the bed, and by now he knew well the soft intake of air and quiet mewl the boy made when being pleasured.

Now this was something he'd never done-- he'd been far too traumatized after his first kill....

He looked over his shoulder at Reven, whose cheeks were flushing as he continued to move about in the bed. The redhead could barely believe his senses at what was going on before him, but there it was.

He turned around fully and stared at the kid, his arms loose at his sides as he watched in silence, rather interested this time.

Reven was an old puzzle with new pieces to Inoue.