A/N: It becomes obvious a little later in… but just for those that may be confused, a major skip in time has been made; about four years. Reven was 16 when we left off… he’s 20 now. Enjoy! Read and review for clare and I please ^_^


Inoue glared at the cup in Reven's hand from his place on the weight bench, placing the barbell back on its pegs and sitting up, wiping the sweat from his chest and face with a towel. "I told you that shit isn't good for you," he muttered, eyeing the espresso once more before standing and heading to the large bathroom.

He picked up the towel he had been using and tossed it in the laundry basket, always the more cleanliness-minded of the both of them, and marched across the black marble tiles, pulling his sweats down his hips and dropping them to his ankles, kicking them into the basket as well.

The jagged scars on his stomach were itching and throbbing mildly, as they always did after a mission with Reven, ever since their first one together. Today, however, his patience was short; normally he would have ignored the coffee, but he was rather irritated about their last mission as well.

He flicked on the hot water, shaking his head angrily as he went over the scenario in his mind. Inoue had been faking unconsciousness after being captured, waiting for his captor to show a sign of weakness, and Reven had come charging in, missing getting killed by less than an inch as bullets screamed past his head.

The redhead scowled and searched through the cupboards for clean towels, but found none. "Did you do the laundry?" he asked in a clipped tone, refusing to look at his partner.

Reven stretched his hand past the shock of red hair and flicked the water off again.
"Fucking look at me when you talk to me!" he growled. They were of a similar height now, and he stared Inoue in the startled face. Damned man had been biting at him ever since they left the warehouse downtown!

"Like the laundry is critical!" he snapped. "Like my coffee drinking is important! Why can't you come right out and say it - that you're fucking mad about the mission, and the way I didn't follow your plan to the letter!"

It had been brewing for a couple of missions now - he wanted more of a say in the planning but Inoue was always the dominant one. He showed initiative - Inoue slapped him down. He saved his ass time and again - Inoue called him reckless. Reven ignored the nagging thought that he had been reckless this time - he'd burst in way too early, but he had to, because the guys had turned up ahead of schedule, which Inoue could never have known. But then, nor did he ever fucking ask!

Inoue turned on his heels, his rage flying but his face apathetic as he stared at Reven.

He was still just a little taller than his pupil, tall enough to look down at him-- and he was very much doing it right now. "The laundry matters because I asked you to do it, and the coffee matters because you're ruining your excellent health," he said casually, knowing that apathy was the fastest way to enrage the passionate youth. "And yes, I'm angry about the mission. You fucked up, again. Again, Reven, do you hear what I'm saying to you? I should just let you go to sleep one night, and when you wake up, I'll be gone; I should just get rid of you. Then, you could fuck up as many missions as you'd like, and I wouldn't be around to care."

He arched his eyebrows calmly. "Or if you'd like, you can just leave, and help me avoid the trouble. I know you're tricking yourself out again-- why not go back to that life?" he offered as an afterthought, placing his hands on his hips and waiting for the explosion, waiting for his chance to really cut deep wounds into Reven for his foolishness, on hopes that at least a few wise ideas would slip through.

Reven heard the words, but he couldn't take them all in. Inoue was always there for him, even when he was scolding him like some kid, even when he was telling Reven things that were already known...

Inoue was always there. Now he said he might not be. Reven's head swam, with anger and with shock. Sure, the guy threatened all sorts of things, usually just to get him to listen. And Reven usually listened, in the end. Inoue had the experience, Inoue had the consummate skill. Reven knew he was still learning -hell. Did Inoue think he was an idiot? But he was also a professional in his own right by now, surely? Inoue never gave him the credit for that...

And the jibe about tricking - Inoue had never said that before! Inoue had never made such a comment on the life that Reven had left to join him. The anger in Reven flared higher than his caution. Who the fuck was he to tell him to go?

"It's no business of yours who I fuck, so long as I don't compromise this!" he yelled back. He couldn't help but be vibrantly aware of the man in front of him - Inoue was naked, the slight sheen of sweat on his muscles from the workout, the tension in his body from his tight words. Reven knew the emotions that were controlled underneath such a cool exterior - it just angered the fuck out of him that Inoue never gave way to them.

Emotions that might have reached out to Reven himself - that might have allowed him closer, rather than the rare, soulless touch of hand on cock in the night, when they both needed physical relief. "I'm not out on the streets - I'm not pimping myself! But maybe I'm not the great, stone-cold control freak that you are - maybe I need some kinda touch that you just don't need, and just don't wanna give! That's my business, right?"

And how the hell, he thought wonderingly, did Inoue know?

"Everything you do is my business," Inoue said slowly, seeing the rage in Reven's eyes and glad it was there. He was trying his best to shut out the images, block off what he'd seen only a few weeks ago, and several times afterwards, watching in absolute horror.

"When my blood and yours are mixed so often, when we're constantly tending to freshly-ripped wounds, I can't trust you or watch over you or be near you any longer, with the worry that you're fresh with new diseases or viruses... And those I'm sure you've had plenty of access to, what with the way you so eagerly bend over for nearly anybody who is willing, or they bend over for you. I've seen the men and women, trotting back with you into the rooms offstage after you've finished making a slut of yourself, performing as all those people eye-rape you."

He felt knots in his stomach, writhing and tightening, and yet he was speaking with an absolutely deadened voice as his eyelids remained hooded. "You can take the kid away from whoring, but I guess you can't take the whoring out of the kid," Inoue fired as one last insult, hating the images in his head of Reven's body on display, writhing and bucking on that filthy stage as dirty, grimy hands reached out to touch him, caress him.

Reven felt the pain like a physical blow. It was like he was 16 all over again, and falling out of a window into Inoue's lap, and all that had followed. When he'd been just a raw kid, abused but never really understanding why, with plenty of street smarts but no real direction to his life. When he'd been so impressed with the cool, clever guy in front of him...

And now he was abusing him, just as cruelly, with words that were like knives.

He stared at the naked man in front of him. He'd given him years - all those years, of learning and following and admiring. Yeah, and physically wanting! And yet now they seemed to drift further away from each other, time and again in conflict.

And I guess it's all my fault, thought Reven, with a cold, miserable shock. I'm not good enough, am I - I'm not the man he is. He tolerates me, but he doesn't care for me. Uses me - but doesn't accept me.

And the realization calmed his anger. Two could play at Inoue's game - and he had the wit and speed of the young.

"Guess I never knew you liked the clubs so much," he said, softly. "You must have been there - oh - every night last week? To have made sure of catching me there. Liked the show, did you? They wanted to pay me to perform, y'know - but i only did it 'cos I loved the feelings of the music in the pit of my groin, the sweat running down my back, the shine of excitement in the watchers' eyes. And the sex - yeah, the sex is good, too. Fast, and anonymous, and so plentiful I don't ever have to hold the same body twice. What else do I have after the tension of a mission?"

He saw Inoue wincing - he wished he could understand the man's reactions, but sometimes he felt he was no nearer him, even after so long in such close proximity. He wanted to hurt him back, but knew it was useless.

He bent briefly, to pick up his bag, which still went with him everywhere. " It's for me now - the pleasure is what I want, not some pimp. But you've made your position very clear, so here's mine. I've always given you my first loyalty. I've never taken or been taken without protection - I've never seen anyone twice because I don't want any attachments. I never give my real name, never allow anyone any personal details. I come and go when no-one knows, or can follow. I've never allowed anything abusive, non-consensual, or involving cutting. You think I didn't have enough of that before? And that's how I try to balance my life with you with the other things I need."

He paused, drawing a breath, determined to meet Inoue's cold demeanour with his own. "That's how it is, Inoue. I don't wanna go, but it's your call."

His hand was rising before he was even thinking about it, and Inoue's fingers clamped around Reven's throat with a lightning-quick movement as he snarled with rage. "My call?" he hissed, his fingers digging into the muscled flesh fiercely, "My call?! I was at those clubs, several of them, because the word among the wise was that there was a piece of fresh meat in one of them, obviously one of our trade because of the blatant giveaways," he gestured at the scars no 20-something man should have on Reven's body, "And I was going to kill him, Reven, do you know why?"

He didn't know how many times he'd gone over it with the damn kid-- competition within a small area was bad in the first place, and on top of that, he couldn't have another assassin marching around town showing off. If the employers around town already knew that there was a killer stupid enough to show off his body in public, then it was a matter of time before the authorities knew, and went on an assassin hunt.

He realized he was choking his partner, and released him with an enraged roar, throwing Reven against the wall and breaking one of the mirrors.

The force of the throw shocked his body, bursting out whatever breath was left in him. You thought you were so fucking clever! shrieked his horrified mind. So fucking clever, wanting it all, gonna show him how smart you were! And all you've done is acted like a spoilt brat who wants to work like a man but play like a kid. And - as always - it's Inoue who's got to make you see sense!

His throat hurt, painfully raw from the strong fingers. His hands shook from where he'd grabbed at his hands, trying to pry them off.

It was along time since he'd felt physically scared of the man.

He did now.

He knew that look; he knew it better than any other expression a human being could make, he'd seen it so many times. It was raw fear and horror, the gripping terror of seeing possible death before your eyes.

Inoue felt a stab of anger at himself this time, rather than Reven; he had sworn to himself never to give the dark-haired youth reason to make that face, and to protect him from anybody that ever would... and it turned out in the end that the one he needed to protect his partner from, was Inoue himself.

The redhead shuddered and looked away, unable to match gazes when Reven's expression was frozen like that, his hands shaking. He reached up and let his hand rest on the hot water tap, wanting to turn it on and get in the shower and simply forget that this had happened.

Not happening.

Inoue shook his head and walked out of the bathroom, past Reven without looking at him, unable to look at him, unable to justify ever taking the kid in, in the first place.

What had he done for Reven, anyhow? Taken him from one horrifying life, to another, rather than placing him in a proper life, with friends and all the sex he wanted, the ability to be immature and make mistakes.

Master, I'm failing...

He walked past the training room and into his own bedroom, standing at the foot of his bed and staring at nothing.

Reven, I'm failing you, and I have been from the start. Maybe it is for the best if I leave you, with money and this house, to find a new, healthy life.

Reven counted the breaths - he deliberately lowered his pulse. It was something Inoue himself had taught him, right back at the beginning, as a way to regain control in the face of panic.

Inoue had passed him without a look - he'd been white-faced.

He could've killed me, thought Reven. But he looked like he already had.

He dragged himself up, his bare feet finding purchase among the shards of mirror, avoiding cuts. His leg throbbed a little - it often did, it times of stress, or strenuous physical activity. The old wound liked to remind him of where he came from.

There was no sound from Inoue - that was almost scarier than the roar of anger and the blow.

Reven limped over to the bedroom, to find him. To see this thing through, perhaps.

He couldn't turn around and look at his partner. Couldn't turn to see why Reven was limping.

He knew why-- when Reven got overly stressed, he'd gain a slight limp, in the same leg that had been cut up when they first met. It was the same way for the scars on Inoue's stomach; the human body translates emotional stress into physical pain, and both of them seemed to have the same outlets.

"I can't do it, Reven," he breathed quietly, his arms limp at his sides and his eyes closed as he regained composure.

Can't raise you properly.

Can't teach you what you want to know.

Can't give you the things you want.

Can't be the Master you need.

Can't... can't anything!

He shook his head slowly. "Leave me alone," he uttered, remaining stone-still before his bed as those damned images of Reven's performances on stage sliced through him like razorblades.

Reven stood as still as a rock behind Inoue, staring at his back. The strong muscles of his shoulders - the raised bumps of his spine under the taut skin. The slow, sensual curve into his buttocks - the sinews down the backs of his long legs.

He'd never heard Inoue say 'can't' in that way. Never heard the man admit any insecurity or failure.

He'd relied on Inoue all his life, or that's how it felt.

"It's OK," he said, hoarsely, and then realised how stupid that sounded. Things obviously weren't OK.

"I was an idiot," he said, his voice regaining some strength. "I let you down. I just - " He couldn't explain his reasons for his outbursts - his wild nights. He didn't know them himself.

"Perhaps I wanted you to find me out," he said, in a rare burst of pure honesty. "Drag my ass back in line, right?"

He stepped slowly into the room, to stand only a foot behind the statue that was Inoue. "Don't wanna leave you alone, OK?" he whispered, and put out a hand to Inoue's warm skin.

This touch... Reven had stopped trying to initiate any sort of physical contact between them within the last year, after trying time and time again to get some response from Inoue, silently begging for that one night when he was sixteen again, for their first and only time as lovers.

Inoue was unused to it, and hated that he had missed it. Hated how often he sought time alone so he could stroke himself and think of that one night years ago inside of Reven, hearing the youth moan and whimper.

This was exactly why having a deeper relationship was a bad idea! Mixing the professional work and the personal, it only ended up with chaos, and somebody getting horribly hurt, or killed...! Plus, once that line was crossed, Inoue really had no way to go back; he'd barely recovered Reven's respect after fucking the dark-haired man once.

All of this didn't change the fact that the hand on him--no longer a tiny boy's hand but a real man's hand--was causing his arousal to grow, in spite of his inner turmoil. "I said, leave." The words were hissed raggedly, and Inoue knew he needed Reven out of the room before things got much worse.

Lying together and stroking each other till completion was one thing, but right now with his emotions raw and his guard down, there was no guarantee he could keep from taking Reven roughly, and ruining his years of work.

"No." Reven couldn't believe he'd said it - that he'd disobeyed Inoue's order, for that's what it was. He was still wary of the man, he could feel the tension radiating out from his body. But he couldn't believe that Inoue could dismiss him like that, so abruptly - so callously.

"We're partners, right? I wouldn't be here today without you," said Reven, simply. He knew he didn't have Inoue's education - his vocabulary. But he could express himself as well as anyone. "I won't let you down again - I won't go clubbing again, putting us both in danger. But can't I help you? Can't I touch you -?"

He didn't seem to have full control of his hands, though maybe he was fooling himself.

He lifted his right hand, and ran it through Inoue's long red locks, letting the sweat-damped threads catch between his fingers. He pushed it all gently to one side, baring the nape of the man's neck. Then he leant forward, the other hand anchoring him at Inoue's waist, and his lips touched the smooth skin.

Inoue's cock twitched as his partner's lips touched down on his neck, and a hand settled on his hips, keeping him in place.

How many times had he pulled away from this exact touch, how much practice did he have with resisting the temptation of taking Reven brutally and lustfully?

Obviously, not enough; he turned around with intention to push the dark-haired man away, placing his hands on Reven's chest and preparing to shove him out the door for the insolence he had shown, disobeying a direct order...

He found he couldn't do it. He stared down at Reven, wanting to punch the kid in the mouth for his foolishness, wanting to kiss him hungrily for being so goddamned beautiful, wanting to fuck him for even being attracted to somebody as horrifying as Inoue knew he was.

"What do you think you’re doing?" he hissed quickly, looking away, though unable to remove his hands from the tight, flexed muscles of Reven's chest.

Reven felt Inoue's hands on his chest and he exhaled slowly. It was so damned good - it was what he'd waited for, for so many nights. He placed one of his hands over Inoue's, pressing hard, so that the both of them felt the increasing beat of his heart. With the other hand he reached to Inoue's chin, and tugged the man's head back, to look him in the eyes. Deep violet pools of anger and pain and other things that Reven didn't understand - he'd never understood.

"I'm touching you," he said, softly. He tried to keep a cool tone - he tried to stop his voice from trembling. "I'm not asking anything else." Once I asked you to let me touch you, he thought. I asked you once to do whatever you wanted. But that was another life. Inoue didn't like to talk about his personal feelings - Inoue found his prattle annoying. Inoue had never told him anything about his past, while he knew everything about Reven's.

But once he wanted Reven.

Once he took him.

And Reven wanted that again.

He knew he had only a moment before Inoue struck out at him again - he took that moment and he recklessly pressed his lips to Inoue's. "Nothing else," he murmured into his mouth, relishing the salty taste of his flesh.

Reven's lips were on Inoue's and the redhead was lost; he loathed the fact that he was so weak, so easily snared as soon as a warm mouth was closed upon his. It was his greatest weakness, and would eventually be his downfall.

Inoue's groin was alight with need, fully erect and pressing between the both of them, against Reven's bare stomach as his eyes slid shut and he leaned into the kiss.
Four years; four fucking years of celibacy, not even a kiss, just quick gropes and moans in the night, then separation again for several weeks, even months.

His anger flared once more when the worst image of them all, when he had stood there and watched Reven kiss another man with his hair dyed red, watched the man who so easily slipped a hand between Reven's legs and made the youth wail with pleasure-- and Inoue managed to draw away, imagining he could taste every other person Reven had kissed.

"D-don't," he muttered, turning away once more, though his grip tightened on Reven's chest and slid up to the man's shoulders.

"I hate the fact that you... I can't stop thinking about..." Ahh, who was he kidding? He had no idea how to express his thoughts or feelings in any way, shape or form, especially to Reven, especially right now.

He needed to be alone and regroup himself, but he couldn't tear himself away from the warm flesh before him and the piercing gaze he knew was upon him.

"Look at me!" growled Reven, panting a little from the kisses, and the desperate desire he felt welling up in him. His cock strained against his pants, tenting the soft sweat fabric. It'd take just a tug to loosen them - to have them fall to the floor and leave him free to press every inch of him against Inoue. Inoue dragged his head back to stare at him, almost as if it hurt him. "It's me here - it's Reven! I'm no different - no dirtier - than when you took me in and said you'd make me yours. You think i cared about any of that? Any of them?"

He started to kiss Inoue again, frantically, his tongue seeking out the inside of him, wanting that closeness again. When he paused for breath, his words were frantic too. "I tried looking - I tried to find something and someone. To find someone like you, if you'd only fucking see it! But never - nowhere - can't find it there -" He stopped the words, Inoue's hands becoming tighter and fiercer on his shoulders now, and his slender body feeling consumed by the strength of his mentor.

Inoue was finally able to push at the body before him, but it wasn't out the door as he'd originally intended; he slammed Reven's back against the wall, pinning him to it fiercely. He stared hard at him, searching, trying to understand, trying to find just one reason more to hate Reven so he could throw the kid out.

Those eyes, staring back up at him, older and tainted, yet just as needing as the day they'd met.

"You will never. Never. Go to that place again," he whispered, his throat tight, his jaw clenched. "You are... you're... mine!"

It was proper to just out and say it, it felt right.

He was the one in charge here, wasn't he? He was the one running this operation! It was his rule, it was his life, it was Inoue's problem if Reven screwed everything up...

He found himself not caring as he felt Reven's hard length pressing against him though his sweats. He just needed that answer, that confirmation of authority, that belief that if this happened, there would still be some agreement, some sort of respect retained.

"I will never go to that place again," whispered Reven in reply, as if it were some kind of mantra. He was starting to pant heavily - he felt his body relaxing under Inoue's forceful hands. "I'm yours. Yours!" Hadn't that always been the case? His lips ached for Inoue again - his hands fell to his side, awaiting Inoue's direction. "Do it!" he gasped. "I told you - I'm not asking anything else! Just - I'm yours." And he leant his head back, baring his throat for the man's touch.

The redhead dove in as soon as he'd gotten the words he needed, tasting the skin of Reven's neck, laving it with his tongue and closing his mouth upon it, kissing and biting hard, leaving marks in his wake as he trailed down Reven's chest. Inoue took one raised nipple between his lips and rolled it with his tongue as his hands swept down his partner's body, and he pulled the light pants from Reven's hips with a rough jerk, dropping them to the floor and exposing the man's solid cock.

Gods, he hadn't seen it upright and before him in so long, too long...

Inoue's tongue and lips slithered across the tense, muscled stomach and down to the waiting length, running underneath it slowly before his lips closed around the length, his tongue sliding between the slit, tasting the precum as his breath came in soft hisses.

"Say it again," he demanded as his hands took hold of the swollen shaft, tightening around it fiercely before lapping lovingly at the darkened head once more.

Reven shuddered under the onslaught, his stomach clenching, his cock lurching out into freedom, hot and painfully swollen. Inoue's mouth closed on him like a velvet clamp, sucking at the skin, tugging it up and down as he took his pleasure of it. When his hands closed around its base, squeezing it to attention, straining the wrinkled sac of his balls underneath, Reven almost yelped. His hips bucked outwards, trying to close the contact, seeking something even more substantial.

"I'm yours!" he gasped, again. It felt so right to say it, here with Inoue taking hold of him at last, at last. "I'm yours!"