Music of My Soul

BY : ReadtoEscape
Category: Wei▀ Kreuz > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 1187
Disclaimer: I dont own Weiss kreuz, Ran, Yohji, or any of the guys. I write/post for my own enjoyment. No profit is made. Well, except the stress relief of writing it, & the warm fuzzies I get if you like it. But as those are intangibles,


MUSIC OF MY SOUL – CHAPTER  8



 



CHAPTER  8



The months that followed after Yohji said yes were possibly the happiest of Ran’s life. Even with Aya still sleeping, even with Persia’s issues….Ran was truly happy. Happy in a way he’d never been. In a way he’d never imagined he could be.



The first event following Yohji’s acceptance was Thanksgiving. A holiday that had been less than pleasant since Ayahs injury. Cold, lonely, quiet. Not this one. Surrounded by Yohji and WEISS, a loud, boisterous, yelling, excited fandom as they watched hours of football. The friendly rivalry of Yohji’s and Jails Giants vs Schuldig's and Omi's Jets put aside for mutual mourning as those Jets were demolished by the universally hated Cowboys…. Ken being the only happy football fan that day as his beloved Colts won the day.



Jei's and Schuldig's combined incredible skills at cooking had fascinated Ran. He spent an extremely pleasant afternoon after the two of them had fled the living room, in too much pain to endure the beating being handed down on the big screen. Exchanging cooking tips and learning more of Yohji’s preferences, sharing recipes he’d brought back from London, excited to share a pastime that he truly enjoyed with other men who understood that of which he spoke, and who responded with no sneer evident, no derision, but honest interest and enjoyment. Surrounded by warmth, regard, love as Yohji too fled to the kitchen to beg for comfort food after being so thoroughly depressed by the game, begging for scraps and tasting every dish…. Yes, Ran was very thankful that Thanksgiving, in a way he never had been before….



Then, of course, Christmas. Christmas. A holiday that even before Aya's injury, had been a dark time for Ran. Following his mother’s death, Christmas had never been a period of joy. Only surly, put upon, irritation from Persia as he was forced to keep up appearances for the public. Presenting gifts to children Aya and Ran at “company parties” only to reclaim them later, sneering that they knew their place and what behavior was expected of them. How toys and such were a complete waste of time and money, how lucky they were they had a home and food, etc. etc…. Persia’s  anger at the requirement of giving the help the day off, distaste for holiday music or décor…. The list went on. Ran had hated Christmas after his mother’s death until Aya grew old enough to not cry at every turn, not understanding the lost toy “props” Persia always took back, hurt so badly by her excuse of a parent. As they grew, the siblings had made it more enjoyable for each other. Gifting each other first with handmade creations, then favors or special events coupons such as those one would see around Mother’s Day: a promise to play a favored board game, or a turn at the other’s chores without complaint. /// This little tradition Ran had explained and shared with Yohji. Yohji was ... very creative . Ran was very… appreciative of that creativity, and studied his impromptu lessons well, practicing often, making his Sensei very proud. ///



Finally, as Ran had moved up to having an income, he’d lavished Aya with gifts of every imaginable venue, making up for lost innocence, spoiling her as much as he could. Since Aya’s injury Ran continued to buy her gifts he hoped she’d enjoy, at Christmas, her birthday, any excuse for a holiday, just as before, only now they remained wrapped, gathering dust, in the empty closet of his spare room….



But, this Christmas………. this Christmas he’d truly enjoyed everything  in a way he’d never imagined possible. Shopping with Yohji, buying gifts for friends.  Definitely a new experience. And shopping for Yohji. That had maybe been the best part. To buy as many gifts as he could think of, of every sort….. celebrating the 12 days of Christmas as he’d done before with Aya. And Yohji not able to say a damn thing about him being too extravagant. Shuldig had proved an inspiring ally in the gift hunt. Spilling Yohji’s secrets about his favorite flavors, smells, colors, …. Everything. Happy for his friend to have found such love. Being able to buy gifts for Yohji’s friends too. Things that Yohji would not have been able to do. Seeing the wistful look in Yohji’s eyes when he’d spot something he wanted to gift to someone and being able to make it possible….



Of course, being on the receiving end of Yohji’s gift giving had also had its rewards….. Yohji’s inventiveness was unmatched. Finding hidden gifts of every sort in the most unlikely places in the apartment…. inside the strangest places: wrapped chocolates nestled in the coffee tin, a basket stuffed with massage oils sitting in the bathtub (oh he’d really  enjoyed that  gift. Ran was definitely a massage whore… he’d do almost anything for a deep body massage. And Yohji knew it. And exploited it. Repeatedly.)



Then, the look on Yohji’s face when opened the braided bracelet from London. And the look in Yohji’s eyes when he’d opened his gift..... Yohji’d bought Ran a ring of his own. A platinum band of a basket-weave design, with thin gold along bands around the edges and a beautiful radiant cut emerald stone, bracketed by small onyx.... just incredible, beautiful. And his own inscription, “Angel, you give my soul wings. Yours, Yohji.”



Yes, overall, Christmas had truly been enjoyable. Ran had laughed more these short months than he had his entire life.



In retrospect, Ran should have known it couldn’t last…………….



Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Ran had received the memo on his desk Monday afternoon just before leaving, informing him of the scheduled breakfast meeting for Wednesday. The summons had gnawed at him through his brief visit with Aya Monday evening before heading home for the New Year’s Eve celebrations with Yohji and WEISS, through the hours spent with Yohji and WEISS yesterday, watching Bowl games and making resolutions…. Ran had deliberately pushed it as far back in his mind as he could, and had not dared let anything of it show. Not allowed it to dampen the holiday for Yohji. If anything, Ran had forced himself to be more open, natural, distracting Yohji as much as he could, so Yohji had no idea of worry.



Ran made his way to his father’s garden, each step heavier than the last. Dread clogged his throat. He knew, knew  this had something to do with he and Yohji. He’d allowed himself to drift from purpose. He’d let his heart dare to hope, to glimpse happiness, to….. live. He shored up his walls as he approached the table set out on the veranda. Tried to thicken the ice, but Yohji’s warmth had infused his soul, and the ice was melting. He came now to face Persia for the first time in an eternity without those ice walls solid around his heart, and he felt fear. Not cold indifference, not apathy or disdain for whatever garbage Persia would spew at him, but fear. Worry gnawed at his insides, at his heart, until he felt shredded at the core. Open, vulnerable, and no way to reinforce those shields…..



“ah, Ran.” Persia called, as Ran passed through the French doors out onto the patio. “come. Join me. Breakfast is just recently lain.”



Ran felt the ice thicken, just a bit, his heart going just a little numb, at those words. His belly had gone cold at the tone. Persia never took such a tone of cheer with Ran. This was bad. What had happened? What would  happen?



Ran sat carefully at the second place setting. He saw the fruit, the bagels, and such. He smelled the coffee, heard the music piped in through the artfully hidden speakers, but had eyes only for Persia. That smug, chilling smile as he wiped his mouth and sat back, watching Ran.



“Ran.” He oozed, “so stiff. Whatever is troubling you? Have some fruit, relax. Eat.”



“what do you want Father? Why am I here?” Ran asked quietly, ignoring the food, the coffee, everything but Persia.



Persia sighed and set down his coffee. “surely the messenger told you I wanted you to join me for breakfast. I made sure we had your favorites. Even that horrid vanilla you put in your coffee.”



“Father. We have never exchanged pleasantries over breakfast. Not as a child, and certainly not since I was old enough to prepare anything for myself. Our last parting was decidedly unpleasant. Subsequent communication has been conveyed through memos, secretaries, and emails. What. Do. You. Want?”



“Fine Ran.” Persia spat. All pleasantness erased as if it had never existed. “I was willing to do this in a way that could be pleasant. Civilized. At least bearable. But no. you have to make everything difficult. Always. Very well. I have been in negotiation with Essett Music. As we expand out internationally, it is necessary to garner support for our label. To secure alliances and holdings. You may recall Elder Essett from your childhood. He and his daughter, Miko, of an age with you, visiting from Tokyo on more than one occasion. He worked for Krittiker before the expansion into the US. Grew widely known in Japan and split to develop his own label. He focused on Europe while Krittiker focused on the US. In order to expand into the European market, Krittiker has elected to merge with Essett there rather than wage war for territory and genres. Elder Essett has agreed to such a partnership, with him to oversee the European branch for the most part, grooming his replacement. This facilitated agreement came with a stipulation. His daughter, Miko, arrives at the end of the month. You will be married in late March.” Persia said this so matter of factly, as he sipped his coffee, as though he’d announced the parking garages would now be divided or something, that it took Ran a moment to comprehend.



The words tumbled over and over, resounding a few times in Ran’s head as he sat there watching Persia address something on his laptop.



“you will be married in late March” Ran blinked as the words repeated again in his head. “what?” he murmured, and shook his head. “no I won’t. What?”



Persia cut him off. “yes you will Ran. You will marry Miko at the end of March. She arrives on the 20th of this month. That gives you three months to get acquainted, to court, whatever. More than enough time. The wedding’s planned, I’ll memo you by Fri-”



“No! I won’t!” Ran shouted as he stood, shoving his seat back. “No. I won’t father” he snarled. “I will not marry some unknown woman to benefit Krittiker. I’m not your whore to-”



“Boy!” Persia barked. “you are whatever the fuck I say you are. You’re a whore all right. It’s about time you come to heel. I told you Ran, that I’d lance that boil. I have had enough. I’ve watched your little charade with that Kudoh. Dancing, playing house. Pathetic. I thought maybe you’d come to your senses after the masque. It seemed he’d had enough. Was done with you. But no. you had to patch things.”



Ran’s eyes widened as he realized Persia’s been watching. Closely enough to know of a private disagreement at the masque. To know of them dancing. They’d only danced together once, and…. quite a while ago…



Persia went on. “you will marry Miko. As I’ve told you. Remember boy, I own you. And just so you don’t get too full of yourself and think to defy me, know this. Your precious Aya is gone.”



Ran’s knees gave out as the blood drained from his heart & mind. He couldn’t breathe as he heard that phrase, repeated with glee as Persia watched him turn sheet white and drop to his knees practically at Persia’s feet. “That’s right boy. Gone. She’s gone from that hospital. Relocated with privacy rules in effect. As her only living parent, her guardian, I make all decisions. For now, she is out of your reach. I will tell you where she is after the wedding. After you come to heel.”



Ran’s heart started again, a random, staccato beat, as he began to understand she was moved not gone. Out of his reach perhaps, but… safe. Or at least as safe as one could be in the possession of a mad man. He raised his eyes to Persia as his sneering smirk widened. All fight torn from him. Humble, numb.



“Yes.” Persia gloated. “ ready to obey now? You will go back to your little geisha whore boy toy and tell him you are my property, my tool, and you will do as you are told. Or you will never see her again. I have made certain she will be well cared for while away. I am not so dense as to throw away my hold on you. But you will not see her until the wedding has been consummated. You play with that whore all you want boy. You just make sure he never comes out into the light. The press gets no whiff of him, Miko never finds out and her father stays happy. After the so called honeymoon the contracts will be recorded and Essett will become part of Krittiker. At that point I will tell you where sleeping beauty is. Remember your place you little shit. You live only to obey.” Persia paused for a drink of his juice and sighed. “I have purchased a small home for you two. A wedding gift. She will reside there until the wedding and you will move in after. I will have Miko’s schedule sent to your office by the end of the week. Now,” he growled and turned away, “get out of my sight. I don’t want to have to look at you anymore.” He turned to his computer then back, quickly, “But Ran. Make sure you are back in your office, working, by Monday.”  He then ignored Ran completely, kneeling there, trembling.



He seemed not to see as Ran stumbled to his feet, knocking the dishes from the table as he groped for purchase. He never raised his head as Ran made his way across the patio, stumbling, through the French doors. Somehow Ran found himself out to the car waiting out front, directing the driver to return to Towers. Ran for his part never noticed the bowed head, pressed against the wall in the hallway leading off the veranda….



Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Yohji hummed quietly along with Frank as he danced around the apartment, his “HAPPY 2008!” hat perched at a jaunty angle on his head. He cleared away the remainder of the “Bowl” party from yesterday. Sweeping up the missed popcorn under the edges of coffee table and sofa, and confetti bits pretty much all over, that he’d missed last night as he’d helped Ran straighten up before bed. The guys had stayed through both bowl games and had finished off the pasties Ran had spent so much time on, not to mention the chocolate fudge pound cake. Yohji grinned. Ran had had as much fun cooking as the guys had yelling at the TV. The late night departure had led to a cursory cleaning, making things just presentable enough that Ran would consent to go to bed.



Yohji knew Ran had an early morning meeting today, set for the wholly unpleasant hour of 7:30 am, and Yohji had insisted on leaving the rest for him to finish off this morning. He’d pulled out all the stops in persuading Ran to leave it.  After seeing Ran off he’d enjoyed a nice leisurely cigarette and coffee and got down to work.



Yohji’s humming trailed off a bit as he relived Ran’s surrender last night. That moment he’d melted into Yohji’s arms in the hallway as Yohji had mercilessly plundered that special spot behind Ran’s ear and down the side of his neck…that deep moan of “yes Yohji” as his legs had given way and he’d let Yohji sweep him up into his arms…..



Yohji took a deep breath and let a shiver run through him. He shook himself and stood up, making his way to the kitchen to dump the dustbuster out into the garbage bin.



As he plugged the dustbuster back into the socket he heard the front door open and close, quietly. “I thought you were gonna be in the office all day Angel,” Yohji called out as he made his way to the front room. “That musta been a short-” Yohji cut off his commentary abruptly as he took in the vision before him. Frozen in place at the sight of Ran standing there with a wild eyed stare that saw nothing, and a look that Yohji never imagined he’d see on Ran’s face.



Ran didn’t move. He just stood there, barely inside the door, staring at Yohji with utter panic in his eyes, fists clenched, shaking . Yohji took this in in an instant, then he found himself at Ran’s side. “Ran! What’s wrong?! What happened?” Yohji ran his hands over Ran, searching for an injury, something, anything to explain this….. shock.



“Ran!” Yohji barked. “What – happened?”



Ran shuddered and squeezed his eyes closed. “Yohji” he whispered , brokenly. “I” he swallowed, and Yohji’s grip tightened on Ran’s arms. God. He’d never heard such a lost, broken tone in Ran’s voice. He pulled Ran  into his arms, knocking his hat off in the process. Desperate to reassure, to hold onto Ran. “Ran” he whispered. “I’m here. I’ve got you. Tell me Angel what’s wrong.”



“Yohji” Ran almost sobbed Yohji’s name, and that heart wrenching cry almost brought Yohji to his knees right there. He squeezed Ran tighter, then pulled back just enough to direct Ran toward the sofa.



They fell more than sat down on the sofa, and Ran clutched at the back of Yohji’s shirt. Ran was shaking, not trembling, shaking in his arms, repeating Yohji’s name. “Yohji. Yohji”



Yohji held on tight, rubbing his arms up and down Ran’s back, soothing, trying to calm Ran. “Angel. Come on. You have to tell me what is going on.  I’m here, I have you. Talk to me. Please Ran.



Ran took a shuddering breath. Squeezed tighter just for a moment, then pushed back a little. He cleared his throat, then sat upright, rubbed his hands over his face and cleared his throat again. “Yohji. I’m…. I’m sorry” he whispered. “So sorry”



“sorry. For what? Ran? What. Is. Wrong?” Yohji took Ran’s face between his hands, staring firmly into ran’s eyes as he held him in place. “Tell me Ran. Now. What the hell happened?”



Ran briefly struggled to look away, then clenched his eyes shit at the same time clamping his hands onto Yohji’s shoulders. Tightly, very tight. Yohji knew he’d have finger mark bruises…



“Yohji” Ran rasped, “I’m…I have to…. God.” Ran shuddered, a full body movement, swallowed and then, “I’m getting  married Yohji.” He breathed out. Then his eyes opened and Yohji flinched back at the deadness there. That deadness he’d hoped to never see again. Ran slumped in a bit, in what only could be taken as defeat,  curling around himself as if to hold his stomach inside his body when Yohji jerked back, releasing his hold. Ran’s head dropped to his knees.



“What?” Yohji whispered. “what did you say?”



“Please Yohji.” Ran whispered, “please…. Persia has arranged….. a marriage. I’m…. I will be married in… in March” Ran’s voice morphed from lost, asking for Yohji to fix it, somehow, to flat, dead, all fear and panic melting away from his voice, leaving it flat, cold. Deadly quiet.



“Well tell him to fuck off Ran!” Yohji said, anger creeping into his tone as he reached for Ran’s shoulder, to make him look up.



Before he could grasp Ran’s shoulder, Ran sighed and sat up to stare straight ahead, obviously unseeing. “I can’t Yohji . He’s won. I will marry her.”



“no Ran. Bullshit he’s won! Why?! Why just give in like this. This is too much! Fight. You have to fight back.” By the end, his voice had dropped to an anguished whisper.



“I can’t fight him Yohji.” Again that deadness. Ran turned to look at Yohji. “he’s taken Aya Yohji. I…. she can’t…. she can’t fight for herself. I must… I have to.....” another sigh. “I will marry. I’m.... sorry.”



“what?” Yohji asked, shocked. He sat back as though slapped. “what do you mean, taken her?” Of course. It would have to be something to do with Aya. The one thing Yohji could never, ever compare with, Ran’s devotion to her. Naturally that bastard would use her to coerce Ran. And he wouldn’t fight, not with her in danger. He’d let Persia do anything, if it would keep her from harm. Anything. Obviously.



“She’s gone Yohji. He’s taken her, from the hospital, moved her…I don’t know where. Says he’s made it so I won’t find her and I won’t see her until after the…. the marriage is….” He sighed, “until after the wedding.” He dropped his head into his hands. “I’m sorry Yohji, so sorry.” Cracks were appearing now in the tight hold Ran had on himself, showed in the anguish palpable in his voice. “I… I never…. It shouldn’t have…” he stood, abruptly, taking a deep breath, fists clenched, he stalked toward the window, “my… bride….” He closed his eyes, “Arrives on the 20th.”



Ran strode to the window in his arms tightly about himself when he begins the window pain and gazed out over the cityscape, Brooklyn Bridge and all the cars fading from view as he lost focus. “I didn’t mean for” he whispered, tired now, cold, unable to think anymore. His walls rapidly freezing over again with the certainty that he’d lost Yohji “Yohji... Yohji. Truly, I never imagined this. Though with Persia’s threat at the beginning, I guess I should’ve seen this coming ..... or something like it.” He sighed “I’m so sorry, Yohji. I shouldn’t have let it go this far”



Ran closed his eyes when there was no answer from Yohji "Persia has bought a home for Miko and I... I would rather not just discard this apartment. I.... I would like it if... maybe... Yohji maybe you keep it. I’ll transfer to deed into your name tomorrow I will move into a hotel this afternoon I-"



Ran was cut off by a sharp "hotel? Why?" as he was swung around to face Yohji. A Yohji that Ran had never imagined seeing. Thunderous rage warring with pain as those depths of emerald held a look of terror .... and loss, such loss, on that face. "You said March Ran. Why? Why are you going to a hotel now?"



"Yohji…." Ran trailed off confused completely at a loss how to go on from here.



"No Ran.” Yohji’s expression settled into a kind of hurt anger "you are not leaving me. No Ran." Yohji went on as Ran seemed about to speak "that bitch doesn't arrive until the 20th you said.



"You don’t marry her until March. You are mine Ran. Mine. Mind, body, and soul. That bastard may have taken her, there may not be a way to really fight this, but I am fighting anyway. I am not giving you up Ran. Not without a fight."



Yohji drew Ran into his embrace. A trembling Ran, obviously in shock. Yohji  was shaking himself as he went on, "look. We’ll  get Omi on it. He can do a search. And... Well... Even if he can’t find her. Even if you have to do this, and marry this, this woman. I'm staying. You Are Mine Ran. Even if I have to share you. You belong to me. I'm fighting Angel. The bastard knows. He knows we love each other. Obviously, he’s wallowing in hurting you this way. But someday Ran, his time will come. Anyway. You said she doesn't, arrive until the 20th. Even though after then you'll..." He choked, took a deep breath and squeezed lightly "you'll have to" his eyes clenched shut "spend time with her. Until then you are only mine. And I intend to brand your very soul Ran" Yohji locked places eyes blazing "even if you marry her. Your soul will know, Ran. You belong to me." Yohji abruptly pulled Ran into a fierce embrace and a passionate, all-consuming kiss.



The kiss seemed to finally break through Ran’s stoic calm and he returned it with equal passion, clinging to Yohji fiercely. Sobbing from deep inside as he wrapped his arms around Yohji and yielded completely "I love you Yohji - I do - I do - so much. I need you. Please Yohji, please"



The sobs grew such that Ran could not speak now as Yohji swept him up and carried into the bedroom "Mine Ran. Mine." Yohji was crying now as well, tears streaming down his face. His own shaking threatening to cause him to drop Ran. He managed to get them onto the bed, each wrapped tightly about the other, hands petting, caressing as both men finally calmed enough to breathe normally.



"Angel" Yohji breathed "I meant it. I'm not giving you up and I'm not giving in. If I have to be the (kept mistress) fine. Whatever capacity. I will not give you up. Don't give up on me Ran. Don't let this break us"



"Yohji Ran whispered. Obviously exhausted. "I love you. I do –I t's not right. It's not right to make you a hidden secret something to be kept in the dark. It's not right for you or Miko"



Yohji stiffened at the mention of Miko's name and Ran sighed "it's not her fault Yohji. She's innocent in this. She's being used by Persia just as we are. She's young and innocent with the misfortune to have a bastard of a father with a business connection to Persia. She was kind to me, when we were children. We weren't friends, never that, but she was nice in her own shy way. She-"



"shut up Ran." Yohji growled. And Ran quieted in utter shock. Yohji had never spoken to him in such a way, in that tone. "I don't give a fuck if she's your best friend or your worst tormentor. I don't want to talk about her. Especially not in our bed." Yohji rolled down so he hovered over Ran "you belong to me. To think you may have to marry this bitch. Touch her. Let her touch you. Fuck her." Yohji clenched his teeth. Slammed his eyes shut, and shook and barely suppressed rage and pain. "Ran" he choked out as a tear rolled down his face.



Ran caressed Yohji's jaw. "Oh Yohji" he whispered "I"  he pulled Yohji down, claiming his lips in a soft kiss "I swear. I won't ever speak of her in our bed again." Ran grabbed Yohji in his arms kissing the side of his neck the side of his jaw "I love you Yohji. Only you Yohji. Ever. Brand me Yohji."



Their lovemaking was fierce, passionate, almost violent as each tried to leave his mark on the other. 



Take me," Ran begged urgently, his voice carried in soft mews. "Brand me… mark me." He wrapped his arms loosely over Yohji's shoulders and gazed into his eyes. "…please...."



Yohji was caught. Ran was right here, still here…. hot, hard and aching for his touch. Ran's hand slid down Yohji's chest, to his shorts where he fumbled to undo the button. His hand brushed against Yohji's groin once, twice and then it became impossible for Yohji to think, to reason, to do anything. All he wanted to do was take Ran, mark Ran, fuck Ran like there was no tomorrow, and maybe like there was no yesterday, either.



"Dammit," Yohji grunted, and shoved Ran down onto the bed as he rose up onto his knees before him, the muscles in his arms flexing as he clenched his fists and gritted his teeth, an expression of pain and borderline anger etched onto his face, making him look worried and scared while at the same time powerful and intimidating. "I'm sorry," he uttered gruffly before bending down and grabbing Ran's shirt by the collar, ripping it in half.



Ran cried out as Yohji took hold of the top of his pants and, in a similar fashion, ripped them in half down one leg seam. Ran's briefs met the same fate as the articles of clothing before them; like the effect of adrenaline, sot was with Yohji's passion, giving him strength and a driving need that was both painful and thrilling.



Yohji took Ran by the legs and jerked him forward across the comforter, and Ran felt his flesh burn from the friction. Strong arms shoved his legs wide apart, exposing all of Ran's soft, pale  flesh in the dim yellow light of the bedside lamp.



Yohji stared down at the prize before him, at the yielding beauty that was His dammit!,  his to touch, his to taste, only his to partake of, and lowered his head to Ran's groin, opening his mouth and taking in his Angel’s almost fully erect length. Ran’s cock was warm and firm in Yohji's mouth, and it tasted the way Ran smelled, a pleasant smell like that of faint spice and fresh air. Yohji swallowed it down to the root, pressing his face between Ran's legs until his lips brushed against coarse hair and hot skin; he flexed the muscles in his throat as he sucked hard but carefully.



Ran clasped a hand to Yohji’s head and moaned, chest rising and falling heavily as he heaved labored breaths for air. "Unhh… oh, Yohji …" he panted raggedly, his hands finding their way into Yohji's hair where they clamped down into the thick mane. Ran closed his eyes and submitted totally to Yohji's desire.



Yohji sat up and released Ran's length, catching his breath and looking quickly about for something, anything, close by that could be used as a lubricant. He was quite constricted in the shorts he was wearing, so he crawled to his knees, unbuttoned his fly and pulled his boxers down around his thighs, sighing in relief.



Ran leaned up a little and caught a glance of Yohji’s swollen, hard erection that was already leaking pearlescent pre-cum.... “hurry Yohji, I need you, inside me Yohji, ...... hurry.”



"I'm workin' on it,” Yohji muttered, as he reached across Ran’s body, groping for the bedside table. He clumsily rummaged in the drawer as Ran kissed and carressed his chest, hands wandering everywhere, and grabbed the bottle, muttering, "I will take you Ran..... you are still mine, I will show you Angel."



He returned to Ran with the oil, popped the cap and emptied a fair amount into the palm of his hand. He worked hurriedly, slopping the oil haphazardly between Ran's legs, clumsy in his haste to get inside Ran before the pain and fear hit again, or before Ran could think too much either. Yohji doubted that he would be able to stop now, he needed Ran, in a way he could not believe.



Yohji's hands slipped easily over Ran's shiny, oiled flesh; the redhead made satisfied mews in his throat as he enjoyed the sensation of Yohji’s sturdy, strong hands gliding over his cock. Yohji paused to unscrew the bottle and shake the last bit of oil from it before tossing it aside; he had just enough to slick over his hardened length, making it gleam. Dripping, slippery hands delved once again between Ran's legs, this time in quest of softness.



"Aah! Nnnh!" Ran groaned deeply when he felt one of Yohji's questing fingers penetrate his body. He bucked once and closed his eyes, gasping, "Nnhh… deep. Deeper, Yohji ."



Yohji obeyed, forcing his way into Ran and feeling the body relax and tighten responsively. He watched the expressions on Ran's face and wanted to smile through the pain; here was his Angel, sprawled out on the bed with his legs spread and head tossing back and forth in unbridled lust and need, moaning and begging. His Ran, sometimes naïve, somehow still innocent, sweet Ran who was going to get his senses and sensibility fucked right out of him, right now. Yohji was going to leave part of himself so deeply embedded into Ran’s soul, no matter what happened, Ran would never, ever, erase it.



Yohji withdrew and pried back in with two fingers, harshly, deep, forceful. Ran cried out and bit his fist, grabbed the comforter beneath him and clutched it desperately. The fingers moved in and out, deeper, faster, with each thrust, and Yohji took hold of Ran's erection, hand sliding up and down its length. "Ah! Nnh! Hhaaahhh…" Ran sobbed, tears filling his eyes and running down the sides of his head. "Oh, God… Yohji… Yohji-!"



Yohji felt dizzy with desire as he listened to the cries, his cock throbbing painfully and his balls aching for release; already thick drops of precum were drooling from him, and it was becoming hard to think of anything else but slamming himself into Ran with a violence born of  desire, pain, fear….



Finally, after one last thrust of his hand, Yohji let go of Ran's cock and retreated from the oiled heat of his body, grabbing Ran's thighs and lifting them up onto his shoulders. He nudged his hips forward, allowing need to rub against Ran's balls as he tried to find the place he needed to be. He found it shortly and pressed forward, Ran's body spreading slowly to hug his shaft and closing around it once it had entered.



Ran began to mewl in the back of his throat, but it was not sounds of pain. Yohji could barely make out the words: 'Yohji', 'yes Yohji' and 'more Yohji'. Yohji plunged forward, sliding halfway in, then easing back out only to press in deeper in the next movement. Tight,  pulsing,  velvety heat, untouched, unexplored, by any but him, ever. HIS. Ran was tight and hot all around him, heavy, clenching and slippery. Yohji thrust forward until he pressed close to Ran's flesh; Ran shouted and leaned upward, wrapping his arms around Yohji's neck and bringing him back down. Yohji rocked forward and back, pumping in and out with ease as Ran moaned in pleasure beneath him. Each time he pushed into the heat, he felt Ran's body part and then clasp around him in a lover's embrace, willing, receiving, and needful.



"Feels… s-so good," the redhead gasped in Yohji's ear, chin resting upon his sturdy shoulder as their bodies rocked in unison. "Feels so good, Yohji, so… so… good…"



Sweat beaded on Yohji's brow-he felt it running down his bare chest as it met with Ran's, just like he felt Ran's cock press into his stomach each time he thrust inside. He reached underneath him and cupped his hands around Ran’s shoulders, holding him close. Ran's crimson locks brushed against Yohji's fingers, and Yohji pulled away slightly to gaze down into violet, passion-filled eyes. Yohji closed his eyes and kissed Ran, completely as one.



They rolled, tumbled, clawed at each other's flesh as if they were on their last moment of life, thrusting with a passion guaranteed to leave bruising, marks to keep this moment foremost in their minds for some time to come.



 Ran tore his lips away and gasped for breath, feeling his skin bead with sweat. Yohji sucked on Ran's throat as his hips gyrated into Ran's, grinding rock hard flesh brutally in and out of the yielding body beneath him. With each entry Ran call out, and clamped tighter to his lover. "Unh, give… give it to me Yohji, own me," he panted heavily, almost wising for his body to be broken in pieces, to match his heart. And Yohji was giving it to him, giving it as hard as he could.



Moments passed in heated whispers, wordless involuntary grunts, incoherent moans then finally, an orgasm hit Ran like a hammer, and he lurched up from his, back arched and eyes shut tight, with a scream-like moan pouring from deep inside. He grabbed Yohji's shoulders and fairly smothered him against his body, shaking and trembling and writhing as if in agony of pleasure. He buried a hand in Yohji's honey gold locks, pulling them in feverish distress, and cried out without words as creamy warmth spurted from his straining cock.



"Oh…! Ohhh, Gah! Ohhhhhaaaa…!" Ran raved as he felt Yohji's swollen length slide into him again and again; he arched his hips off the bed to receive the pleasure while sucking in gasps through his open mouth as if he were suffocating. He wrapped his legs around Yohji's waist and attached himself firmly onto the steel rod from which so much of his pleasure was derived, seated himself deep upon it like he never wanted it to leave him.



The two lovers couldn't be pried apart, so tightly were they wrapped around each other. Yohji growled and groaned like a raging beast as his vision became clouded by white light, and he felt the pain and ache of his fear and desires suddenly rush from his throbbing length and into the warm tightness that embraced him. It was the best feeling in the world, that rush of force, whose absence left him shaking and shuddering weakly.



Ran moaned and writhed as he felt Yohji's heat flow into him, nudging his hips against his lover's appreciatively while his limbs went slowly limp, loosening from around Yohji. "…never felt so good," he murmured sleepily. "Want you Yohji … inside me, only you… forever…" Then he began to whine softly as Yohji withdrew his softening cock from out of him.



Yohji sat back on his legs then stood and steadied himself against the edge of the bed while Ran lay outstretched on the crumpled comforter, staring at the ceiling as if he were in a trance, dazed and satisfied. He grabbed Ran’s ripped shirt and crawled up onto the bed. He cleaned them both up, then lay and pulled Ran into his arms. “mine Ran” he growled. “mine.” Then he let himself fall into a sated but uneasy sleep, holding Ran tightly to his chest.



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



The rest of that week was spent holed up in the apartment. Neither was far from the other for any length of time, as though each feared if out of sight for very long the other would be lost...



Omi did all the magic he could think of, but no hint was found. Rather, it was as though Aya’d vanished. Ran barely slept, plagued by nightmares. Visions of Aya found, but dead; or Persia revealing, gleefully, after the wedding, that she was dead; or telling Ran after the wedding that he was being transferred overseas with Miko; or of getting a call from Schuldig or Jei that Yohji was dead by his own hand or by Persia’s orders; or of Yohji leaving him..... on and on.



Ran grew more and more distant over the weeks that followed. Yohji could feel Ran slipping away. Oh, he was still  there.  He could still touch him, kiss him, make love to him, //and he did, as often as he could,// branding him, filling Ran’s soul with his love, his touch, but ... still, Ran was distant. Though he gave himself to Yohji, though he begged Yohji to take him, touch him, still... Ran began to build his walls again, steeling himself for the coming nightmare. And that was what the walls were made of this time. Not ice, that could melt or crack. But cold, hard, lifeless steel.



Every interaction with Persia tempered the steel harder. Ran grew colder, harder. Not really meaning to, not ever, nonetheless he withdrew from Yohji. Bit by bit, Ran walled himself off to prevent the wound of his heart from spreading. It felt like a great festering wound, gaping in his chest. Like his heart has been ripped out; roasted, whipped, shredded, and placed back inside his body. It was like a burning acid, eating away at his heart, and he feared it would spread, destroying him. He couldn't think for more than a moment on the pain Yohji was in, caused by in. Him and his selfish desires-daring to let this happen, falling in love... Nor could he think for long about Aya. On the danger she was in, where she was, if she was cared for, if anyone read to her, was she cold, in pain, did she know she’d been taken away, that he was not there...



Instead, more and more he occupied his mind with mindless monotony: work contracts, the offices in Europe, Mamaru’s tours, Kendo.... anything that would keep him from actual thought. Even time spent with Yohji grew to be painful, as Ran contemplated the coming separation, and he reacted in the only way he knew how... if you don’t need something, don’t let yourself feel, it can’t hurt when it’s taken away......



As the 20th grew closer, he closed off tighter and tighter, trying to forestall the dread. Yohji tried to hold on, to keep Ran close to him, but as Ran closed off deeper and deeper, burying himself in his work, his kendo, whatever, Yohji was left to his own devices. Much more often than he would've liked. He still had Weiss, and the guys supported him. They helped him hold it together. Just as they had done when he had lost Asuka. Yohji did have that one small advantage in dealing with this. Yohji had endured loss before. He’d had to watch Asuka withdraw from him, just as Ran was doing now. Weiss had helped him keep it together then, given him a purpose. He leaned on Schuldig, and Jei, a lot. Definitely more than he should, and it was those two who supported him, occupied him, kept him sane on the evening that Ran had to meet Miko....



xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Ran’s dread had grown so all-encompassing that he did not see the toll the approaching date was taking on Yohji. He prepared for the office that morning, knowing in the back of his mind that Miko would arrive late that morning. He would have to meet her that very evening. He’d determined that first meeting would be on neutral ground, at his office, after she’d rested. He would have to face her, Persia, her father.... and he was so determined to feel nothing this day, to delay it, that when he woke, he did not speak to or make any response to Yohji. He simply slid from his bed and began to shower getting ready to face this day.



But. Yohji also woke that morning knowing that this night, this night Ran would meet his wife. The woman he would be expected to touch... to hold... to marry.  And Yohji could not, absolutely could not, pretended it was just like any other morning. He woke to the sound of Ran starting the shower. Hurt, angry, scared; Yohji couldn't contain his grief on this morning of all days. To know he was about to lose Ran, that all their time from this point on would be... Tainted... Marred. Yohji rolled over to one side, wrapping himself around Ran’s pillow, unable to hold back the grief, the pain. The anger now on the back burner, in the back of his mind, the grief had come fully to the fore. He lay there wracked by pain, crying as quietly as he could.



This was the scene that Ran took in as he stepped out from the bathroom to get dressed. Yohji, brokenhearted, stifling his pain into a pillow, oblivious to Ran’s entrance. It broke Ran, Yohji's pain. Without thought, he found Yohji in his arms. Holding him tightly as Yohji released his pain. Yohji, the one who always held him, soothed him, helped him to endure his pain, now lost and broken in his arms. "Nissho, Yohji, I'm so sorry, so so sorry." Ran could think of nothing else to say, only over and over, "I'm sorry Yohji. I love you Yohji. Only you always" Ran rocked Yohji, holding him as tightly as he could, until Yohji calmed, finally going limp against him. All the tension, fear, anguish, he’d kept bottled up this last three weeks, finally released. After a bit, Ran looked down to find Yohji in an exhausted slumber against his chest.



Ran took a deep breath, carefully so as not to disturb Yohji, and shook himself mentally. He been so enmeshed in his own nightmare, he discounted Yohji's own. He had relied so on Yohji's strength, that though he knew Yohji felt this too, he had not truly processed. Ran determined he would be stronger, for Yohji. Though he exposed himself to more pain by admitting his feelings, he would not wall himself off completely again. He would consciously see Yohji. Be there for him too....



There was no way to get out of this evening. He would have to meet Miko tonight. But at least he was not expected to meet her at the airport. Ran leaned back, pulling Yohji closer. A vulnerable, Yohji that nestled into his arms, squeezing him and mumbling "Ran." Ran determined that although he may have to endure tonight, he did not have to be at the office today. No, today, today with belonged to Yohji. Completely. Holding him, talking, making love.... helping Yohji, and himself, to build their reserves up for what was to come.



Yohji could walk away, leave Ran to suffer this alone, go off to mourn and lick his wounds, and search for another – one who didn’t have the baggage Ran did, someone who could devote themselves totally to him... and he deserved to, he should, but – he loved Ran. And he wouldn’t leave, he’d sworn, he wouldn’t walk away. ....he could still hear Yohji’s declaration: ”I’ve told you, Ran, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon....... “Ran , I promise you, as long as you want me..... Forever Ran. I’m yours, you’re mine... always.”



Ran gently reached for his cell on the bedside table. With as little movement as possible he texted Tina, telling her he was out today. Then shut the damn thing off. He slowly, carefully, eased down until he lay with Yohji close against him. Encased in his arms. Safe, loved. "I love you Yohji" he murmured into Yohji's hair. Ran lay there, arms full of Yohji, and felt his heart melting. He would endure any pain, whatever it took to see Yohji through this too. To make sure Yohji knew how much it meant that he wasn’t giving up....



Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx



Ran stood there, in front of his desk, outwardly calm, stoic. But inside, he was seething, raging. And desperately trying to think of something, anything, to keep the memory of this day with Yohji from his mind. Of their frantic, frenzied lovemaking; of Yohji’s brave front for Ran’s benefit, after he’d awoken, trying so hard not to let his fear and pain show through. Ran had to find something else to focus on, or he was going to slip, to allow his anger, his hatred, to show. And as angry as he was, as loathsome as he found Persia on this day of all days, he could not allow this wrath to be directed toward the innocent, shy, beautiful woman approaching.



And she was beautiful. Demure, eyes downcast, a shy smile on her lips. Petite in stature, but with a lush figure:  lightly rounded hips, breasts just short of generous, delicate hands, shapely legs. She had silken, raven hair, lightly curled, bouncing around her head in cut layers and falling just passed her shoulder blades. Finally, as she raised her eyes to Ran’s own, he noted that they were a deep, chocolate brown. Not the flat, mouse brown, as so many brown eyes were, but warm chocolate. Like frosting or syrup, with flecks of gold and green, and they were large doe like, innocent. Filled with an obviously fearful desire for acceptance. And this wish to be wanted made Ran as sad as anything else this day. To know how he was going to hurt this woman....



Because, no matter what he did, no matter how well he played his role, he could not love her. He may come to care for her in some way, to at least feel protective of her. He may act well enough to convince her of his love, but someday, somehow, it would come out, and she would be hurt, as he and Yohji were hurting now.... and he could find no way to prevent it......



"Ran"  the young woman murmured quietly, her voice musical and sweet, like a Disney Princess. "I am... pleased... to see you again." Her voice, warm with appreciation, and attraction, but was pitched quietly enough for Ran’s ears alone. "I was... terribly sorry, to hear of your tragedy, of Aya’s injury." She dropped her eyes to the floor at that last statement, preventing her from catching the flash of pain-anger-fear in Ran’s eyes at the mention of Aya. "I’m sorry that she has to be in isolation for now"  (ahh, so that's how Persia would play this for now. Ran had wondered how Persia would keep Miko's curiosity contained.) "I do hope she'll be able to receive visitors soon."



Thankfully, Miko dropped this line of questioning and then went quiet. Ran sighed, then cleared his throat, and lifted his eyes as he took Miko's hand in his, lightly kissing the palm. "Thank you Miko, for your concern. It is-" he couldn't say pleasant, agreeable,... He swallowed. "You've grown into a beautiful young woman Miko, since last we met." He continued quietly.



She smiled and blushed lightly. "Shall we sit?" Ran indicated the sofa in the small table in the corner of his office. Ignoring Persia's presence completely in an attempt to contain his hatred, Ran guided her over. This young woman was innocent, undeserving of his fury. "You've rested well, since your flight arrived this morning? The..." A quick breath, "the house is... Acceptable?"



Miko nodded and raised excited eyes to his "oh yes Ran!" She gushed, "the house is adorable. Thank you - I... I'm sure this is... awkward. For you also" she said quietly. Ran determined even harder then, to contain all of his ire, and to keep it from her. He placed a hand softly over her own - fortified himself, and looked up at Persia standing there, by her father, near the door.



"You will excuse us." He spoke coldly despite his best efforts. "I will speak with my.... with Miko alone. You may leave the door open for propriety, but you will leave us." Ran was done cowering. Persia needed this alliance and therefore, at least in this, he would accommodate Ran. Ran was done groveling, bowing for Persia. He had given up his life, his very soul, to this man. He could lose nothing else.



This, he would control - to the best of his ability. He would protect this innocent girl, as he had been unable to protect Yohji. Would shelter her from Persia, as he had always guarded Aya, until she was taken beyond his control. Miko would not be the victim to Persia's ire, if it could at all be avoided. She would never know, how she had been whored out for Persia's gain, for his spiteful glee at hurting Ran. Beyond the obvious arranged marriage, she would not know how their fathers had made her into nothing more than a whore. Arranged marriages happened, still somewhat often, among the older families of Japan. She knew this was part of forging an alliance between Essett and Kriitker. But she did not know of his... reluctance, of Persia’s holding Aya hostage against his participation, of Ran’s .... dread, dismay, and ... complete lack of desire for her....



Ran kept his gaze locked on Persia’s. Cold, unwavering, until Persia gave an imperceptible nod and turned to guide the Elder Essett from the room. Once they left, Ran turned his gaze to Miko. She flinched briefly as his steel, hard eyes met hers. She looked down, afraid, uncertain.



Ran softened his gaze, sighed, and lifted her hand into his own "Miko" he said. Firm, but not cold, not angry, "look at me"



She raised her eyes, and whispered "yes Ran?" She asked. He tried to smile. Tried and failed. But she seemed to understand the effort "Our fathers have... Established this. You know that." She nodded, meek, and sad. "But" he went on. She raised her eyes, hopeful now "if this must happen, at least we... knew each other, before. At least we... have that, to build on. We weren't friends, not really, but we were... kind to each other. You showed me a kindness, and a kind of friendship to Aya, that none of the children of Persia’s other associates did. Better this, than total strangers"



Ran took a deep breath. He ran his hands through his hair and then touched her cheek to raise her eyes. He looked at her for a long moment, until she took her lip between her teeth, the uncertainty back in her expression. "Miko" he went on, "I don't love you. I'm sorry. And you can’t possibly love me. Despite our... history, we don't know each other, not really. But this... this marriage, will happen regardless. We can... Make the best of it. We have two months, to get to know each other. To prepare. I would... keep this apart. Apart from our fathers, from Krittiker, from Esset. This should be, between only us." He sat back a bit, sipped from his water. "Tell me, Miko, something about yourself. Your hobbies, your .... interests..."



The evening wore on. Despite the simmering anger in the back of his mind, Ran found conversation with Miko... agreeable.  She was sweet, innocent, kind. Arrangements were made, for the courtship. And Miko and her father left. Ran turned and left without giving Persia any opportunity to speak, anxious to spend time with Yohji ............as much time as he had left.......



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