Chains

BY : MikoNoHoshi
Category: Weiß Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 4283
Disclaimer: I get no money from writing these fics, nor I don't own Weiss. In fact, I'm not even allowed to touch the pretty boys...at least not in any of their special places...

Notes: I’m sorry for the delay in posting, but I did have a good reason…well, sort of. There weren’t very many reviews last chapter, but this fic has the most reviews I’ve ever gotten (thank you all so much! you spoil me and I love it!) so I was determined to do better this time. I think there was a general consensus that Yohji needs some positive reinforcement and that it’s about time for something to happen, so I drug out the plot muse, but all Subaru-san did was fight with the Evil Hentai Slug…and by fight I mean be propositioned…not so helpful. So, I wrote it sans-wonderful inspiration; it seemed to develop too quickly, so I fretted over it, rewrote it, yelled at it, deleted it, rewrote it again and glared at it for a while. Sigh. Now, I’m handing it over. I can only hope these two chapters don’t disappoint too badly. Thanks for reading everyone!


Chapter Thirty-Six: Study Me


The door swung shut behind Hamami-san, and for a minute, Yohji watched her through the glass, her tulips folded into her elbow as she worked her way slowly down the street towards, he knew, the grave of her husband. The man had been dead for over twenty years, but she still took him flowers every week. The blonde wondered at that kind of devotion, realizing, not for the first time, that he probably wouldn’t live long enough to experience it.

The loud ding of the register jerked him out of his melancholy thoughts, and as he simultaneously saw Aya start at the noise, Yohji realized he ought to have been celebrating a victory rather than dwelling on the incurable condition of his career.

Really, he couldn’t help but like the questioning look Aya was giving him. First, because the boy was actually looking at him, albeit hesitantly, and , second, because the question was obviously how he had done and not if Yohji would hit him.

Yohji smiled, trying not to grab the other and screw up his progress. “Not so hard, right?”

Expecting a mellowed return of his own excitement, Yohji watched Aya’s expression shift to one of confusion then, just to elude his ideal again, when he thought it might be a smile, it moved to a rather blank look that revealed nothing of what the other was thinking. It wasn’t the distant, gone look of that morning, but it wasn’t good.

“Aya?”

Recognizing this as a summons, purple eyes tuned to his own.

“Okay?”

“Yes, Yohji.” At the name, Yohji was glad to see the almost-confused expression return, melting into what he thought of as Aya’s thinking face, where the boy’s brows drew just a little together and he stared hard at something, usually his hands. Getting Aya to talk beyond set answers to direct inquiries was high on his to-do list, right under getting the collar off him, so Yohji waited. Then, when the silence earned him only a look from Ken, asked, “Question?”

There was an awkward second where Aya looked like he had been caught at something, but he seemed to rally his courage, or choose his words, and finally got out, “What will I do here?”

“Jeez, Yohji,” Ken leaned over the register, “Did you just wake him up and drag him down here?”

“Shut up, Ken!”

Yohji regretted his snap when he turned back to Aya to find the boy’s head once more down, his hands clenched tight at his sides.

“Shit, Aya,” he started, sparing a glare at Ken for egging him on in the first place, “never mind him. Come on, come here.”

He spent half an hour showing Aya around the shop, his mood improving with every bit of genuine interest the boy displayed. He seemed most struck by the flowers themselves, and Yohji ended his tour beside the chilled display cases. Aya seemed in no hurry to move as he stood staring into the cooler with an expression that was difficult to interpret until he reached a hand up to rest his fingertips reverently against the glass. Yohji wondered how long it had been since Aya had seen anything as pleasant as the variety of blooms, but he thought it better to ask something less distasteful.

“You like flowers?” The question seemed rather simple and stupid, and he wondered if Ken was rolling his eyes.

“I,” he stopped to consider. Yohji had seen that look before, too, when the boy was trying to come up with a color he liked. It seemed Aya was long out of practice talking about himself. “Yes, I like them.”

“Yeah?” he kept his voice casual, trying hard not to smile too widely when Aya continued, voice barely above a whisper.

“Fragile beauty that fades even as we admire it.”

Yohji was stunned into silence in the face of this eloquence. Having heard little beyond affirmative agreements from the other, he was unprepared for the poetic answer that, given a second to realize he had said it out loud, seemed to distress Aya. Dropping his hand away from the glass, he ducked his head, swallowed hard, and waited, apparently, for a reprimand.

“I like that, but it’s kind of depressing, don’t you think?”

“Yes, Yohji,” the boy replied, his tone losing all of the soft variation and taking on the dull note of recitation. It might have angered Yohji, but he was riding a high from having glimpsed something rather genuine that had slipped through the cracked persona of submissive slave. It assuaged the threat that there was nothing left beneath it. He had dealt with dark beasts, had seen, saved even, as much as that was possible, more than one person who was nothing but a hollow thing with empty eyes.

There was nothing to do in those cases. And that futility threatened with Aya; Yohji often had a feeling that his kind gestures had about as much effect as running headfirst against a brick wall, but maybe he and his hard head were chipping away at the rock-hard shell Aya’s captors had forced him into. This effort had been first rewarded with only anger, that explosive admittance of confusion, but this small fragment of expression gave him hope of something better. Now, if Aya would just get on board and say what he was thinking without having to be goaded into every tiny admission of independent thought.

Yeah, that would be nice. But then, who would he share the awkward silences with?

Aya was human, and Yohji was determined to make the boy live that way, despite his charge’s adamant refusal to do so.

He could do it. He had the power of positive thought on his side! And no one could resist the charms of Yohji Kudou, Tokyo’s favorite playboy turned therapist!

However, for the next few minutes, despite his best efforts, all said playboy got were the standard “Yes, Yohji” replies and few of those. Trying to fight back the frustration at his progress being stymied by some bastard’s conditioning, Yohji repeated his mantra of positive thought, handed Aya a broom, and set him to sweeping the shop while he went to help Ken salvage an arrangement of pansies that had seen better days.

~*~

The solidity of the broom in his hand was comforting, and Aya let his hands mind the repetitive task without over thinking it. He was grateful for the chore, and even more appreciative of the fact that his owner had stopped asking him questions. This sudden onslaught of disjointed curiosity, he knew, had been set off by his lapse. He’s answered without thinking, a habit that had often gotten his face slapped if he was lucky; most of the time, he wasn’t, and Crawford favored a gag to reinforce the idea of quiet.

He wiped a hand across his mouth, remembering the uncomfortable pull of the leather strap often used for the purpose.

He had been distracted earlier. His arrival here seemed a culmination of the strange week he had spent adjusting, or failing to adjust, to the expectations of his new owner. It was strange to be dressed, collared but not leashed, to be allowed to go to the restroom by himself and to stand across the room from his owner without rope or bond or threat of weapon. Nothing really hurt; there was a slight soreness in his back and thighs from Kaimo, but the only added injuries had been those he had stupidly committed himself. (And that had to stop, he reprimanded the disobedient portion of his psyche that submitted under stress). Yohji hadn’t harmed him. He had bought him new things, cleaned him, dressed him, and even given Aya a toothbrush.

He realized, in a disconnected fashion, that these were normal things, but having been long deprived of them, they loomed large in Aya’s perception of his new environment. He had found himself, within the space of a week, transformed from a bleeding, broken wreck, a slave or slut or whatever derogatory thing Crawford would have to something that was perceived as human. He hardly felt he had achieved the mark, but he was clean and able, tired but allowed to walk about, in short, much closer than he had been. Aya wasn’t really sure how to deal with the situation, but he wasn’t stupid enough to wish for its reversal; of course, he also knew there was no guarantee of its extension.

How long would he stay in his owner’s good graces? How long would his work here consist of such simple tasks as sweeping the store?

Whatever he had expected from Yohji’s mention of “the shop,” it hadn’t been the bright, open space his owner had led him into. One wall was almost entirely composed of clear glass, windows and the door, flooding the tiled room with light. And it was clean and neat and permeated by the sweet smell of flowers that reminded him of his mother’s garden. How long had it been since he had knelt beside her to plant the little seedlings?

When not with Crawford or Schuldig, being trotted about their plush suites, he had been confined to the closed, dark basement room where Farfarello came and went, where the floor was always sticky with his blood, where sick, dank odors assaulted him. Here, following Yohji from one station to another—displays, register, work table, back room—he had been overwhelmed. Was it any surprise he had forgotten to censer his responses? It was not an excuse for his behavior, but it went a long ways towards explaining it.

Aya couldn’t afford those kinds of mistakes. But it was difficult to be on constant guard when his surroundings were so . . . nice. His owner had not relegated him to a back room or even tied him to the table leg. He wondered how much of this was pretense to avoid public exposure, but his owner didn’t act very different when they were alone. He realized yet again that Yohji had kept his word in every case.

As Aya turned to drag a scattering of dirt from the corner, he covertly observed his owner from beneath his bangs.

It had been a week; he knew because his owner made no attempt to hide calendars or clocks the way Crawford had, and Aya was allowed to sleep in normal patterns that seemed to aid his previously faltering sense of time. In that measured span, Yohji hadn’t raised his hands in anger despite Aya’s near constant failures.

After one week with Crawford, he had been beaten, bruised, chained, humiliated . . . he shuddered, trying to put away the memory before it solidified completely. They were painfully vivid sometimes, but the brightness of the place helped. And there was Yohji, who brought him here. A part of Aya, the part that still dared, wanted desperately to believe Yohji when he said he didn’t keep Aya for the things Crawford did. Maybe he already believed that, cautiously and with reservation; there was, he knew, a fresh shoot of green trust all too ready to grow.

Aya wondered if he had anything left to lose by letting it.

~tbc~



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