Reven slipped forward on the couch - his head was swimming, his chest felt uncomfortably tight. His pants slipped away from his hips, pooling round his knees; his cock reared out in front of him, red with anger at being denied, and the ache of a climax that was threatening to be more pain than pleasure.

He reached a tentative hand to Lain's ass, and stroked at the smooth skin. It was offered to him there, like gift - like a prize. The muscles clenched under his touch; the boy whimpered around his caressing of Sphinx's shaft.

"He wants it," whispered Sphynx. His own voice was a little ragged, one of his hands anchored in Lain's hair as the brunette buried his face enthusiastically in his groin, bobbing back and forth. "Wants you."

Reven wanted to see the boy's face again, but that was obviously not on offer at the moment. And perhaps he feared what he might see there. This was better, surely? Just the physical pleasure - a moment of relief. Just the giving and taking of sexual favours...
Maybe Sphynx mistook his hesitation. "He's clean!" he snapped. "I make sure of that! But there's a rubber in my pocket, if you're worried -"

He scrabbled in the pile of pants on the floor nearby, and drew out a packet, tossing it over to Reven. Reven's fingers looked alien even to him as he opened it - prised out the condom. Rolled it on to his aching cock. He let the empty wrapping drop to the floor, then placed his hands back on Lain's shivering buttocks. His thumbs parted the flesh, gently but firmly; he placed himself at the soft red opening, watching it flex with anticipation.

He started to press into the boy, watching the initial resistance, then the gentle blossoming out around his invasion, drawing him in.

He sighed.

Sphynx gasped in front of him. "At last..." he groaned. Reven looked up at him, as he began to thrust - very gently, very slowly. Maybe to prolong the final climax, because he was already very close - maybe to protect Lain from harm. He was intrigued to see that Sphynx was losing it, as well - that Lain had a power over him, the same as any other.

A look of concern flickered across Sphynx's eyes. His concentration was waning - his wise talk was silenced. He began to thrust himself, into Lain's mouth, and the gasps and sobs of pleasure from the brunette boy increased. Reven stroked at the boy's back - clutched carefully at his hips. He felt Lain's shudder of pleasure as he withdrew, then slid in again. He was responding to them both, that was for sure.

It swept over them all, much at the same time. Reven couldn't hold himself any longer - he gripped hard at Lain, and his upper body tilted forward over the kneeling boy. Just two or three more strokes...

A hand shot out and clamped itself against his shoulder. Even as his climax rocked through him, blurring his vision, Reven leant his weight against Sphynx's broad, strong hand, and the two of them supported each other, braced together over Lain's shaking body.

He had never felt anything like this before-- Sphynx had never guided things this way with anybody. But Lain couldn't have asked for more; his arms and legs felt like they were going to give out beneath him as he was rocked by both of the throbbing cocks sinking into him almost in unison.

He began to cry out as something inside of him was pressed against by the man's searching thrusts, and he felt Sphynx's length beginning to throb within his mouth as well. He too was close, he just needed one or two strokes...

The brunette mustered the strength to clamp one shaking fist around his own need and he pumped at it furiously as he bucked his hips and worked his throat and mouth as well as he could.

Sphynx too was near the edge, and as soon as he had connection with the dark-haired man, he threw all rules to the wind. With a lightning-quick move he crushed his mouth against the john's, thrusting his tongue between the full lips and searching the mouth as he felt his peak approach.

Both Lain and Sphynx cried out in unison as they came explosively, the blonde's outcry being drowned in the dark-haired man's mouth, and the brunette's choked off as his throat was flooded with his partner's seed.

Reven took the alien mouth against his own, with the knowledge he had little energy to resist. Sphynx's tongue was hot and fierce, very different from the tentative eagerness of Lain's. Reven recognised something in both of them - his body leapt with pure physical reaction to both of them. He groaned softly with the stimulation - he nearly bit down on the boy's lip as his body shuddered, his climax rushing through his nerves, hammering at his muscles. Sphynx himself was climaxing, groaning, his lips opening against Reven's, muttering incoherent, guttural cries, and his hand gripping painfully at Reven's shoulder.

Underneath him, Reven felt Lain tense, and heard his muffled cry. The boy's ass tightened up around him, the flesh pressing back deeply against his thighs, and it brought him over the edge with a sob. One last, precious thrust into pure delight, and he felt himself throb inside the condom and fill it greedily. His heartbeat began to slow - his legs shook - his muscles softened.

He slipped almost helplessly out of the boy and sank back on to his heels at the foot of his couch.

Lain nearly collapsed on the floor after both of the warm shafts slid out of him, but he willed himself into sitting on his calves, a foot away from the dark-haired man.

Sphynx took a seat on the coffee table though his legs shook slightly, his too-warm skin pressed to the cool glass. He turned his head towards the john with a feline smile. "So," he purred, "How'd you like it? I told you Lain was good. I think he merits quite the payment as thanks, don't you?"

The brunette looked up at Sphynx pleadingly for silence but knew he'd be denied, and he inched closer to the dark-haired man. He wasn't through yet, he couldn't leave!

"I'm not going yet," Kalain spoke up softly, looking down at his lap as he was now sitting directly beside the dark-haired man, chewing his lower lip.

Sphynx's eyes widened slightly, then narrowed as he looked back and forth between the two of them. What was it that the brunette saw in this man?! He just didn't understand.

Certainly Lain had always been attached mildly to anybody who could pin him down and get their cock in him, but he had never refused-- subtly, but still refused-- Sphynx's attempts to end the interaction and leave a john.

Perhaps it was that 'possible relationship' aspect in this man that Sphynx had detected earlier. Perhaps Lain had detected it as well, and caught the scent of more. Was he thinking that he'd found a new, steady source of income, and preparing to leave Sphynx?

The blonde's eyes narrowed further. "We're going now, Lain," he said slowly, standing and towering over the smaller male, clenching his jaw.

The brunette looked up at his partner, pressed his lips together in a hard line, and shook his head in denial.

Sphynx reacted without a word-- he drew his hand back and the echo of a crack rang through the apartment.

Lain's eyes went wide and he lifted his hands to where he had been struck on the face, and the blonde half wished he hadn't hit him quite that hard, but what was done was done.

He regretted it further as he saw the hard line set of Lain's mouth turn downwards, and his usually warm eyes became cold. Gone was the kindness, gone was the laughter, gone was the softness; this was a Lain Sphynx had seen a few times during their relationship, but it had always been directed at somebody else, never the blonde.

Kalain stood as well, facing the blonde as his hard cobalt gaze fixed on him.

Normally Sphynx prided himself at being fairly quick, but he knew that Lain was so good at his pick pocketing because of his unnervingly darting speeds, and he wasn't able to dodge the punch that landed on his jaw, sending him sprawling across the floor.

When he had regained the sense to stand back up, Lain was overtop of him, throwing his clothes on the floor beside him. "Get up and get out, or do whatever the hell you want; but I'm not leaving," Lain said darkly through gritted teeth.

Sphynx came to a stand slowly and pulled on his clothes, keeping his gaze away from Lain. The little bastard knew how to throw a punch when he actually tried to, and if he met gazes with the burning blue again he'd probably get another. He'd have to approach the little bastard about this some time when Lain wasn't in his enraged mood. He'd have to murder the dark-haired john in his sleep in a few days, too.

All in time. He glared at the john wordlessly and turned to go, sniffing indignantly with a flip of his head as he walked out the door and slammed it behind him.

Lain in the mean time walked unsteadily back towards the dark-haired man, letting his legs give out beneath him and returning to sitting on his calves, his expression once more the warm boy's, but his lips still pressed together in the rigid line to keep them from trembling.

Reven was silent for a moment. The scene between the two boys had been an eye-opener! For a few seconds, he'd wondered if it were more of the playacting; whether they performed like this - good cop, bad cop - in order to entrap the john even further.

Damn my background, he thought grimly. Never see any genuine response in anyone any more... His legs were still weak - he'd only just zipped himself back up and caught his breath; he'd have been in a vulnerable state for whatever little game they wanted to play.

But what had convinced him had been Lain's punch - he'd never have believed it of the boy!

The door shook on its hinges behind the furious Sphynx.

For a moment, they stared at each other, the dark-haired man and the pale boy he'd just taken. Reven wondered what Lain thought of him now - why the hell he'd wanted to stay with a man he didn't know at all, rather than stay under the protection of his partner.

"So - you throw a good punch, Lain," he said, softly. A smile teased at the edges of his mouth. Maybe a little hysteria, from such a fantastic - and rare - climax. Maybe lots of other things - he didn't feel too steady overall! His eyes ranged over Lain's still naked body, knelt beside him on the floor. He sat back on the couch with a sigh. "I could still look out a few clothes if it'd help you out. I - think you should get dressed again now."

"Sorry," Lain apologized softly, instinctively, standing and going to his clothes. He dressed calmly, his gaze to the floor.

Why did things have to go this way?! Why was it that every time he tried to help and change the life of another, someone else always took a fall instead?

"Really, sorry," he repeated himself, shaking his head. "I didn't mean to hit him-- it just... happens when somebody... I mean..." He screwed up his mouth and clamped it shut again. Talking too much, Lain, Sphynx would be saying to him right now.
He glanced back up at the man, saw and remembered what he was here for, and smiled softly, pushing aside the ball of writhing innards in his stomach. "What else can I help you with?" he asked warmly. "I want to do anything I can for you. I want to thank you, and make you happy."

"You're going to have to stop with the apologies all the time," Reven said, dryly. He got to his feet, while he watched the boy struggle back into his tattered jeans. "You have to stand up for yourself in life, Lain, else you'll go under. It's no business of mine, you and Sphynx."

The boy was a beautiful mover - Reven couldn't help but let his eyes follow him as he moved about the room. He filled the sparse area with some life, that it had been sadly lacking for a long time; some colour; some emotion.

There was this atmosphere about him that teased at the edges of Reven's attention at all times; he always seemed to be conscious of the boy. His limbs were thin but graceful; his body arched gently as he looked back up at Reven; his eyes were full, and his smile very charming.

Reven would have laughed at himself if he hadn't also been a little unsettled by the events they'd all just shared.

"So my offer is still open - from before Sphynx offered us his - alternative menu," he murmured. He felt his cheeks grow a little flushed at the memory. "I'll find you some clothes, we can fix some food if you're still hungry. Then I have to plan out my next week's appointments. Maybe there'll be things you can do for me - I could often do with another pair of hands; a messenger, or a courier. I'll try not to let you face guys like Breck too often. And I'll pay you, of course..."

Lain bit his lower lip, then ventured a question he never would have asked a half hour ago. He was still running on the rush of brashness that had brought him to strike his partner, though it was fading.

"Can I... stay here for a little bit then? I don't want to run into Sphynx on the street for the next little while until he calms down. He gets irrational when upset," he said softly, following the dark-haired man about the apartment with silent footsteps, his fingers laced behind his back unobtrusively.

He noticed the way the man walked-- the same as Lain. Footsteps silent, starting with the toe of the foot rather than the heel, coming down softly against the ground. And his movements were calculated and careful. Also like Lain.

He began to wonder just what exactly this man did.

And, he had noticed scarring on the bare upper torso, as well as a very poorly-kept, jagged wound on the man's back. Looked like it needed medical attention.

Those wounds almost looked like a few of the night-walkers Kalain had met and spoken with during his time on the streets... they definitely weren't self inflicted, and the angles and harshness of them suggested they were more than intentional.

He pursed his lips momentarily and looked back up at the dark brown eyes as the man turned to glance at him, and Lain tried to make it look like he hadn't been staring at the scars, looking down at the jeans the dark-haired man wore before back up at him again, as though to suggest that's what he had been looking at.

Reven wondered whether he'd ever expected anything else of the situation. Hadn't he fed and comforted the boy - hadn't he invited him up here in the first place? Offered him clothes, a job - some kind of protection from Sphynx as well, if he were being honest. Now that was all that Lain was asking for himself.

"Lain…" He wasn't sure what he was trying to say. "I guess you can stay a night or so - we'll see how things go then, OK?" He was drawn to this boy, against his will. He was already at his heels - already a presence in his usually silent apartment. But things had been lost to Reven for some time now - a direction in both his life and his work. He had no desire either to complicate them further - or to drag anyone else into the mess of his existence.

He ran a tired hand through his black hair. "Look - what just happened - with the three of us. I assume that you didn't welcome that - it wasn't what was meant to happen, when I brought you back here. It doesn't mean that I have any intention of it happening again - nor should you think you have any obligation to me, to offer it. I'm just a guy, right? I'm not looking for that."

He stared at the boy, suddenly, searching his wide eyes. Reven wondered why he didn't feel in control of things like he should do. "You want money for it? You can take it to Sphynx - or not…"

Lain shook his head and smiled gently. The guy didn't understand what Lain was trying to do at all, but that was alright. Probably, he admitted to himself, better for his cause; this man didn't seem like the type who would like knowing that somebody was trying to comfort them.

Especially a stranger.

"This isn't about money any more," he said softly, standing on his toes and stealing a quick, warm kiss, his hands still laced behind his back innocently.

He smiled again, and when he saw there hadn't been a negative reaction to the kiss, he leaned in once more and closed his lips against the man's, letting his eyes slide shut.

This being before him... seemed lonely. And so eternally sad. Like a lost kitten with no family any more.

Lain would hold him and keep him warm, showing him care until he was at least a little happier. It felt right to him to try to do this-- to do this for anybody he met whose pain was so obvious and aching.

Yet for this particular man, Kalain felt unusually drawn; more so than usual.

When he parted from the kiss once more, slowly this time, he looked up into the warm mahogany eyes and whispered, "I don't mind that you think I'm a street-walker, but please don't offer me money for what we just did. I was frightened and shy at first, but I enjoyed it, and would gladly do it again. Want to do it again."

Reven gazed down into the blue pools of eyes that seemed to be wiser than his own - just for seconds. Just a boy, he thought, bemused. A kid. He shook off the warmth in his veins - the gentle pressure still on his lips from Lain's kiss. "Well," he said, rather more harshly than he'd meant. "That's not likely, is it? I don't need that sort of attention; I'm not looking for that kind of company." He deliberately ignored the flash of emotion in the boy's eyes, because it really was best not to lead him on. He'd be gone in a couple of days, back to his partner, or his own life.

Reven turned abruptly and waved over at his kitchen. "You wanna go find some stuff for supper? Then you can have a shower. I have some old shirts - some jeans too short for me, but they may fit you." He moved towards his bedroom, conscious of trying to break the spell over him.

Something prickled the back of his neck again, and he whirled back round.

Lain stood in the middle of the floor, pointed towards the kitchen, but his eyes drawn briefly to the bookcase. He was staring at the floor to ceiling range of books, his mouth slightly open. He seemed fascinated.

Reven felt a sudden tremor inside him; a strange fear. "Don't touch anything there!" he snapped. "You can sleep over, but if you touch anything without my permission I'll - you'll be out before you know it." With more than a shirt and jeans as souvenirs! he thought harshly.

The brunette pursed his lips, staring at the books but not touching.

Medical sciences, poisons, maps, psychology, diet, exercise.

Hm. And he knew already that this man frightened Breck... and that Breck paid him large sums of money, apparently on a regular basis.

This man was in excellent physical condition, and had done that creepy thing with the wallet in the alley. He walked silently, and with complete composure. He knew how to keep calm in situations that made thinking things through very difficult.

He had that stare that said I could make you disappear if I wanted to, every once in a while.

"So..." he said quietly, completely sure now that even if he whispered he'd be heard. Lain rolled back and forth on his feet, from heel to ball and back again, hands still behind his back. "You're blackmailing Breck, but you got off the streets by taking up a new profession. Just as dangerous if not more so, but pays much better and you get to call the shots."

He took a slow breath, unable to take his eyes from one particular book with the title scratched off, and small scribbles of writing even on the spine.

"The thought never crossed my mind, but it makes perfect sense-- and who better to do the job than a former street-rat? Nearly any kid living in the alleys and stealing so he could eat would gladly take the job."

He finally turned, and saw the wide eyes and paled skin as the man stared at him. Lain offered a warm smile again. "I won't tell Sphynx, if that's what you're worried about. I keep my word."

Kalain's own eyes widened, and his cheeks flushed slightly as he breathed, "Do you enjoy it? I can't feel any pain in you from this at all-- if I had, I would have been able to figure out what you did sooner. Your sadness is from something else, but not this. Do you... like doing it?"

What the fuck -? Reven stood very still, his back still half to the boy. His skin crawled. He felt like the kid saw into him; he felt like he was with someone he'd known intimately for years.

He hadn't known anyone for years, not on those terms - except for one man.
Should he try to protect this boy from what his strange, innate perception told him - or was he the one who needed protection?

"You don't know anything about me, Lain," he said. His voice came out rather cracked. "I'll thank you to remember you're here under my invitation, and I don't like assumptions being made about me. I don't want to discuss what I do, what I enjoy, what I don't. " His cool demeanour shook for a second. "Don't you learn, kid? It's better you know nothing about me!"

"No, but you don't get it!" Lain countered quickly, taking a few steps closer to the man. "I know I'm here by invitation, and that it can only last so long, but there's no way I can get any closer to you than I am unless I know more! And now it makes a lot more sense. I understand why you act the way you do now. ...I think I can guess why you're--" He bit his lip to keep from saying it.

Almost ran your stupid mouth off again, Lain, he chided himself. 'I think I can guess why you're so very lonely. Was the person who loved you killed? Because you were in this profession, right? Were these their books?'

He sighed quietly. "I won't ask any more about it unless you say I can. I won't touch your books, and I know I can't replace the person or people you miss. But I'd like to help," he murmured, heading into the kitchen as he'd been told to earlier.

Reven didn't answer. He couldn't find the words. He walked into his room, away from the sound of cupboards opening and pans rattling in the kitchen. He pulled a few items out of the drawers at the end of his bed, but then he sat down on the bed, heavily, the clothes hanging carelessly from his hands.

The boy had disarmed him entirely! He seemed to understand things about Reven that he could never have known - that Reven would never have told him. How was Reven to deal with such a person? Guess I'm out of practice! he thought, wryly. After all, what interaction had he had for the last six months? His conversation in the day had been nothing but terse arrangements made with villains and lowlife. His night-time calls had been nothing but silent railing at his own life, at his own mistakes, at his own grief -
At his own loneliness.

But then, that's all there ever was, at the end of the day. Everyone was alone in the end.
He wondered exactly what Lain had seen in him. Maybe it wasn't so difficult to guess that Reven's life involved danger and bloodshed and skills that very few people had - and lived by. Reven had ambivalent feelings about it all, himself. About killing; about hiring himself out. There had been months when he'd needed to lie low - to recover his health.

His previous persona had dropped from the earth, and he had no desire to resurrect him.

But then he'd found he needed to work again - not so much for the money, but for the purpose.

Else he'd have vanished more permanently long before now - and by his own choice.

Lain bit his lip and stared at the pan he had in hand.

He knew he had seen his mother do this a hundred times in his life.

Pull out a pan.... and um... put meat in it. With salt, and spices.

He quirked the corner of his mouth and looked into the fridge. It was near completely empty, but there was a package of raw chicken on the bottom shelf.

He placed the pan on top of the oven and opened the package of chicken, dropping the hunks of meat into the pan. He stared at them for a minute before squinting at the oven. One of these buttons or dials made it cook food.

...Lain sighed miserably.

He had absolutely no idea what the hell he was doing.

The brunette left the kitchen and walked into the hall, strolling down it slowly, silently until he reached the room the dark-haired man was in. He entered with a disarming smile, and took a seat on the bed next to him. "I don't know how to cook," he whispered playfully into the man's ear, trying to distract him from the obvious turmoil on his face.

Reven felt the boy's presence like a trail of warmth - like the body aura he might see on a night-time scope; like the morning breath of air when he first opened his windows. When he sat beside him on the bed, it seemed a very natural thing to happen.

"Lain," he sighed. "Don't worry. I can cook for us. And I'm sorry I snapped at you." Hell, none of this was the kid's fault! "I'm just - not used to having anyone around. To explaining myself to anyone. You just got caught up with it all. I don't even know what possessed me to invite you here. I'm not - well, I'm not the safest person to be with."

He realised that he still had the clothes in his hands, and he put them carefully on the bed beside them. Then he turned to the boy and put a hand to his grubby shirt. "Have a shower. I'll find you towels. We'll talk later, OK?" He looked up at Lain's face again, and caught his breath. Something in the eyes... not the look, not the colour. No - something in the expression there...

Lain said he wanted to get closer to him.

But that was impossible, wasn't it?

A smile immediately broke out on the brunette's face as he heard the apology and the softened words. He was making progress!

Lain squeaked happily and threw his arms around the man's neck, hugging him firmly. "Anything you say," he agreed with a nod. "I'll do anything you say."

When he drew away, he stared at the slightly confused expression, and simply loved it. He was beginning to get used to Lain, it seemed.

"Can I kiss you again?" he whispered, lifting a hand and running it through the soft, thick ebon locks slowly, from left temple to the base of his neck. "Can I... can I kiss your mouth? And your neck? And your chest?"

He leaned in, turning his head to the side and holding his mouth a hair's breadth away from the man's neck, lips parted and breathing slow. "And anything else you'll let me. I want to hold you, touch you, taste you, if you'll let me. I won't do anything you don't want."

Lain shifted on the bed until he was facing the man, wrapping his other arm around the muscled waist of the man before him and continuing to sink his fingers through the silken hair slowly.

Reven exhaled, very slowly. This was different than before - this was a soft, slow touch. Nothing like the desperate, aggressive lust of earlier. He wondered how much of that frenzy had been due to Sphynx's presence; it was like the two boys together had offered two sides of a coin; two aspects of a personality. But now there was only Lain.

He felt the breath of the boy at his neck, and then a tentative lick at the corner of his dry mouth. His heart leaped in response; his pants tightened round his crotch. It's not that I don't want it! That I don't crave it! thought Reven, a little wildly. But I don't have it to offer! I don't have any soul left inside me to care for myself - let alone anyone else! He closed his eyes briefly as Lain's hot little tongue lapped at the lobe of his ear, and his fingers stroked at the nape of his hair. He didn't think he could explain this to the kid. He wasn't sure he needed to. What did Lain want from him?

His body ached - suddenly, fiercely. He turned sharply, startling Lain, and took him by the shoulders. He drew him up to his feet, then lifted him easily in his arms. He was light - but not insubstantial. Reven could feel his muscles bunching under his touch; could feel his hands gripping on to Reven, holding himself secure. He didn't try to wriggle away.

"Shower," Reven said, firmly. "You need to be clean. You need to be fed." He could feel Lain's skin through some of the bare and torn patches of his jeans. He bit back a soft moan - he carried the kid towards his bathroom.

He couldn't say he was surprised at the man's reaction-- he had actually been allowed to play for longer than he'd expected. Lain wanted to test this man's patience, his reactions, his...

His speed of arousal was fun to see, too. And feel he though wryly, as he felt the dark man's bulge pressing to his waist while he was carried.

Lain was placed on the edge of a large tub and he watched the man turn on the shower, then turn to go.

"Join me at least?" he asked daringly, quietly, so that the man could only hear it if he wanted to hear it, over the sound of rushing water.

The brunette didn't wait for an answer, pulling his clothes off easily and slipping into the shower, flicking the cold water knob completely off until the water was near scalding, and stepping under the torrent. A sigh of pleasure slid from his lips as he closed his eyes and ran his head under the water, feeling it soak into his hair and warm his skin.

It had been a few days since his last shower, and he loved them so much.

He turned and saw the man was still in the bathroom, and looking at him over his shoulder. Lain smiled again and held out his hand in a silent offer.