Looking down at the address scribbled across the torn off bit of napkin and then up at the rather impressive hotel before him, Dr. Tenma closed his eyes and then opened them, hoping either the address or the hotel would have disappeared in the interim. Sadly both were still there. Taking a gulp of the cold-quickly becoming freezing- air, he squared his shoulders and walked into the lobby.
Everything inside was polished to a dazzling gleam, from the floor to the brass bits on the long information desk. He paused in between the double doors, letting his eyes adjust to the bright lighting and glare. It was almost painful after the gloom of outside. He half expected several of the well-dressed people milling about to pull out various illegal firearms and shoot him on sight. They didn't. Instead, they eyed him with curiosity and a little consternation (he was still in the doorway, letting the brisk winter wind gust in). Tenma gently closed the doors behind him and walked to the reception desk, a bashful but bright smile plastered to his face.
"May I help you, sir?" The young girl behind the counter asked him, returning his sincere smile.
"Yes, actually." He hesitated and ruffled his hair with his gloved hand to buy time to think of how to properly phrase what he wanted to ask. "I was told that a friend of mine was visiting and that he was staying in this hotel. I was wondering if you could look up his room number." When she bit her lip in hesitation he hastily amended, "or call and tell him I'm here." He held up a hand. "I don't want you to get into any trouble. But if he is here, I'd love to see him."
"If you give me the name I can ring the room. Our hotel is pretty strict with the privacy of our clientele. I'm sorry, but that's about all I can do."
"That's perfectly fine. You didn't even have to volunteer to do that much for me. He should be under Koenig. Hans Koenig."
"Okay, let me see here." She typed the name into her computer. She blinked at the screen. "And your name would be…?"
"Tenma. Doctor Tenma."
"Doctor Kenzo Tenma? "
"Yes." Tenma blinked in surprise, tried to surreptitiously lean over the counter to see why his full name was on her computer screen. She obliged him by turning the screen toward him.
"He must have known you would look him up. He left a note saying if you came asking about him to send you on up."
"Well, that's…" Terrifying. "A nice surprise." He put his hands in his coat pockets so she wouldn't see that they were shaking.
"Why don't I call and make sure he's in his room before you go all the way up?"
"Thank you so much. I would appreciate that." Tenma flashed her another of his oh-so-sincere-they-hurt smiles. He turned to lean his back against the counter, giving her the illusion of privacy to make her call. He glanced out the big windows that encased the lobby, looking up at the sky, trying to decide if it would snow tonight.
This was appallingly easy. It scared him how easy it'd all been. It had taken less than a month to track him down. A few questions in the seedier parts of town, chasing down rumors of people who were associates or who'd been associates of associates (As always, many of the people who had worked directly with him had wound up dead), and all it had taken was Tenma giving his own name and the answers seemed to just spill from their lips. Sometimes it hadn't even been his name, just one bleary look at his face. As scared as they had looked when they said they'd tell him anything he wanted, it was no match to how scared Tenma was. It had taken over a year to track him down the first time. But he hadn't wanted to be found then, had he? Hadn't wanted to be found until he was ready. This time it had only taken a month. What did that say?
"Yes?" He shook off his reverie and turned around.
"Herr Koenig said he'd meet you in the lounge." She gestured to another room, much dimmer than the lobby.
"Oh. Thank you. Um…" Tenma hesitated. Wiped his mouth nervously. "How did he…sound?"
"He seemed surprised. But I could tell he was also really pleased that you had made the effort to look him up." She hesitated, then slowly added. "I remember when he checked in. He's very handsome."
"Yes, he is. Very." Tenma agreed absently, looked toward the lounge, debating if it would be the last place he'd see or if he would be dragged to some back alley when he was murdered.
He jerked when he felt a gentle hand squeeze his forearm. He looked up into the receptionist's eyes. She was smiling at him gently, encouragingly. "Don't be nervous. He left your name at the front desk. He wants to see you just as badly as you want to see him."
Tenma gaped at her for a full minute before it clicked into place what she thought this all was. He tried to form phrases, to give them voice, "I'm old enough for him to be my son!" or "I think he might be the Anti-Christ", but nothing came out but a strangled gasp. She kindly but firmly pushed him toward the lounge. "Good luck!" She whispered, having the gall to drop him a quick wink. Tenma thought he might throw up.
He stumbled into the lounge and let another too-young girl lead him to an extremely well-padded armchair in the back of the room. He liked to think he sat down like a normal person, but was pretty sure he flopped down into it due to his knees suddenly giving out on him. He told the nice young waitress who was hovering over him -what about him always made the nice young people hover so?- and told her he'd place his order when his friend arrived.
She left him alone, and that was worse than the hovering. He stared at the equally well-padded armchair across from him. He never thought they would meet again. Tenma should have remembered that his luck never held. Had he honestly thought that this could have all finished in a fairytale ending, with the monster falling into an eternal sleep? If kisses woke sleeping princes, what had awoken the monster? The trauma in his brain finally righting itself, tricks of chemicals and healing synapses, the poisoned apple core finally being knocked out after three years of rest or had it been something else? Tenma thought of the last time he had went to visit Johan in his slumber. How he had promised himself it would be the last time: that it was finally time to put that particular nightmare to rest. No, Tenma's luck never, ever held.
Soon, Johan would be sitting in that comfortable chair across from him, just an arm's reach across. Three years ago Tenma would have almost killed to have Johan that close, would have come with the weight of his sins on his shoulders and a gun in his pocket. Now he just felt nauseated. And old. He should have brought Nina with him. No, that had to be the most horrible thought he ever had had. He stared at the chair in front of him some more. This was the most horrible idea that he had ever had. It wasn't too late. He could still leave. Get the hell out of the country for a while with the next Doctors Without Borders project in case Johan decided to look Tenma up in retaliation. Now that, that was a good idea.
He started to get up, was halfway there when he realized that someone was standing over him and probably had been for a few minutes. A beautiful young man with a pale hand resting casually on the back of Tenma's chair, leaning slightly forward to better to see into Tenma's face. Tenma let his knees give out on him again, tried to control the flush that was threatening to spill over his cheeks. He swallowed. "Hello, Johan." No stammer. Good.
"Hello, Doctor Tenma."
"How long have you been…?"
"A few minutes. You looked lost in thought. I didn't wish to disturb you." Three years ago there would have been a hint of a smile on those too pale lips. There was none now. In fact, there was no expression whatsoever on that perfect face. No pleasure, no curiosity, no open malice (not that there ever had been. Johan had always kept that emotion tightly under wraps.) It was unnerving.
Tenma made a vague gesture to the chair he had been contemplating. Johan nodded, slid his hand along the back of Tenma's chair and settled himself gracefully in the chair opposite. He immediately crossed his legs, folded his hands in his lap and looked unwavering at Tenma. Tenma turned away hurriedly and signaled for the waitress. She came over, all perky smiles for Tenma and shy glances at Johan.
"I'll have a coffee and my friend… What do you want?"
"Cancel the coffee, we'll both have the house red wine."
Tenma started to stutter out that he was perfectly fine with coffee, he wasn't going to add, but wanted to, that he'd be damned if he shared red wine with Johan. He knew all about that story. But Johan was smiling at him finally. Well, one corner of his lips was quirked up in what could be construed as a small smile. It was more a challenge or a dare than any fondness at Tenma's lack of enthusiasm in the choice of beverage.
Tenma sighed. Fine. He tried to keep the glare out of his eyes as he settled back in the chair. Johan smiled at the waitress. It was a shadow of his old charm, but only those who had seen it in its heyday could tell. "I heard that this hotel's wine is the finest in the city. I've been dying to try it since I arrived here."
The waitress blushed prettily and told them she'd be back with a bottle and two glasses.
As soon as she was gone, the smile wiped off his face like it had never been. He went back to his dispassionate regard of the doctor.
"So," Tenma leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. "How have you been?"
Johan arched an eyebrow at that. "In a coma."
"Well, yes, but besides that…" Tenma let his voice trail off. He looked down at his hands, clasped tightly between his knees. This wasn't going well at all, was it?
Johan tilted his head to the side, looking Tenma up and down.
"What?" Tenma's head snapped up at the command.
"Stand up. It's bothering me." Johan rose gracefully to his feet, waiting patiently as Tenma slowly followed suit.
"What's bothering…?" Tenma bit off a squeak as Johan stepped into his personal space and began to unbutton his coat. He regained enough of his composure to roll his shoulders back to help Johan tug it off him. Johan draped it over one arm. "Did you grow taller?" Tenma asked, frowning up at him.
Johan gave a burst of laughter. "I don't think so. We just didn't have much chance to stand face to face before." The small upward quirk at that one corner of his lips was definitely a smile now. His fingers gently grasped Tenma's wrist and began to pull off his glove. Tenma watched it all in bemused silence, not thinking he should protest until Johan let go and cradled his other hand.
"I can do it." He tried to remove his hand from slender fingers. The hand around his wrist tightened. Not hurting. Not yet. But a clear threat that it could start hurting at any moment. Tenma let his free hand drop to his side; let his gaze trail over the sparsely populated room. He didn't want to meet Johan's eyes this close, didn't know if he could handle an expression that was finally unguarded.
"There." Johan stepped back, away, tucking the gloves into the coat pockets. He almost bumped into the waitress. "Sorry." He gave her a quick smile, which she returned. Tenma shuddered. How could she not see that it was too much teeth, too much darkness in the eyes to be a true smile. It was more a snarl to warn off. Johan waited for her to set down the wine and to situate their glasses. He then handed her Tenma's coat and asked if she would mind hanging it up for them. She told them she would be happy to, gave Tenma a small smile and hurried off to do just that. Johan still looked after her, teeth still bared, no mistaking it for a smile now.
"Johan," he called softly. That was all that was needed. Johan turned around, sat back down, and settled his features into something that was both polite and blank.
Tenma shifted, uncomfortable with the silence. He leaned forward and began to pour the wine. The poor girl had been in such a rush to hang up his coat she had forgotten to pour them their first glasses.
He handed Johan the half filled glass, which he took wordlessly. Tenma tapped his own against Johan's, muttering "Kanpai" under his breath before taking a sip.
"It really is very good wine!"
Johan just took another sip.
Tenma sighed. This wasn't going at all how he thought it would, though if pressed, he'd admit that he hadn't really thought much about how it would go at all. Maybe like the other brief encounters with Johan in the past, all inane, overly cheery chatter hiding deep gulfs of evil. Tenma wouldn't have been surprised if Johan had just ordered some exceptionally burly men to haul him off and snap his neck, not meeting with him at all.
He glanced at Johan, truly looking at him for the first time since he had arrived. He had lost weight, and there were shadows under his eyes. He was paler than before. The thick blond hair was longer too. Not too long to be unconventional, but long enough to show that his hair fell in waves. (Nina's was straight. Funny how twins can have such little differences.) His face no longer had that boyish wholesome look. Another bullet in the head, years in a coma had aged him and thinned it out. He was still almost preternaturally handsome, though it had an almost Byronic cast to it now: darker and more mature then the scrubbed politician look he had had at twenty.
Johan slowly leaned forward -Tenma was annoyed that he was obviously trying not to spook him- and reached for the empty glass in Tenma's hand. Tenma gave it to him, watched the wine splash into it, thought about making some joke about poison, but decided against it. He made stupid mistakes on a daily basis, but he wasn't stupid. He couldn't pull off a joke like that without a trace of bitter recrimination in his voice. He didn't want Johan to shut him out. Or shut him down.
He took the glass from Johan, murmuring his thanks. Johan's fingers brushed his own and he shuddered. Johan made a small sound. Tenma couldn't tell if it was a small snort of laughter or a tsk. He refused to meet his eyes to find out. He threw back the wine, closed his eyes as it burned down his throat. He leaned back into the chair. It really was a comfortable chair.
A burst of laughter startled him. He almost dropped his glass. "Are you falling asleep on me Doctor?"
Please don't let me be blushing. "Sorry. I drove down from Dusseldorf this morning. I haven't had a chance to rest."
"You came straight here then. How flattering." Johan was smiling at him. The small, smug, adoring smile he used to give him. Usually right before trying to kill him. Or, Tenma amended, to be more fair, when one of his lackeys would take it into their heads to try to kill him. Johan had never seemed to want Tenma dead, a fact which had always worried him.
"I don't mind watching you sleep, Doctor. I could watch you for forever." And here Johan's eyes drifted half shut, his smile twisting into something sultry. Tenma was proud that he didn't bolt for the door at that moment. Johan set his glass down. He leaned back and his gaze turned cold, almost seemed to be staring through him. "But." The word was uttered with heavy finality.
"You want to know why I tried to find you."
"You found me, dearest Doctor." Johan made a wide gesture with his hands, encompassing the room, his own slender form. "I want to know why you are here."
Tenma gulped down the remainder of his wine and set his glass down beside Johan's. "I must say that your self-preservation instincts seem to have suffered from your…convalescence."
"The same could be said of yours, Doctor. I stood over you for a full five minutes before you noticed I had arrived." Johan smiled at him blandly.
"It's been a while since someone has tried to kill me. I'm afraid I've grown a bit rusty." Tenma flashed him his own smile, tight and humorless. He shouldn't have set his wineglass down. He needed to do something with his hands. He was damned if he was going to pick it back up to play with and prove to Johan that he really was that unnerved by him. Johan didn't add a "That can be rectified." Tenma had been expecting it. Instead he settled back further into his chair, getting more comfortable, waiting for Tenma to go on.
"It really was appalling easy to find out your alias, to find out where you were." He waited for Johan to say something, but all the reply he got was another half blink, a small quirk of the lips. It was a foolish question. It wasn't appalling easy for people to find Johan. It had been appalling easy for Tenma to find Johan.
"Why did you want me to find you?"
Johan leaned forward so fast that Tenma cringed backward. "You went looking for me, Doctor Tenma. In all fairness I should be asking the questions here. What do you want from me?" The light in his eyes was intense, unholy. Tenma thought that Johan must have been hovering just short of rage. Maybe he hadn't wanted Tenma to find him then. Or at least, he'd wanted Tenma to find him until the doctor was actually before him.
Johan made a sharp, cutting gesture between them. "And if your sole reason in being here is to plead with me to turn myself in or to try to use my affection for you to appeal to my better nature in some way…" He didn't have to say, "then just leave right now." The contempt in his tone made it more than understood.
Tenma had always been accused of being naive and maybe sometimes that was accurate. And though he did make stupid decisions, more often then he wanted to admit to, he himself wasn't stupid. "I didn't come for that. I came for something else."
"Oh? Do tell."
Taking a breath to steady himself, Tenma tried to remember the speech he had rehearsed on his drive down. "Have you been to a doctor since your…" Escape? "Since you woke up?"
Johan blinked. Tenma had finally succeeded in surprising him.
"I'll take that as a no. Due to your previous circumstances I really urge you to get a full check up. A CAT scan, even just a MRI. I've looked at your charts from the hospital; they gave you a scan about a month before you…left. Everything seemed to be in order then, but now that you're up and walking around it wouldn't hurt to make sure things are acting as they should. You know. In here." Tenma tapped his temple. He was laughing hysterically in his mind. Things hadn't been acting as they should in Johan's head since the young man had been born.
Johan coughed, stared up at the ceiling, and drummed his fingers against the arm of his chair. He finally returned his eyes to Tenma's (hopefully) earnest face. "Is this some kind of pathetic plan to trap me? Convince me to go to a hospital, and then what? Have your inspector boyfriend there with his BKA friends to haul me in? No, of course it isn't. You actually MEAN this."
The look on Johan's face was a cross between appalled and fascinated.
Tenma nodded. "I was pretty sure you wouldn't agree to go to a hospital. Surely you could get a checkup through one of the mafia doctors?"
Johan was shaking his head no before he was even done speaking. "They don't have the necessary equipment." He held up a hand as Tenma opened his mouth to protest. "Some of them might. But my position is…tenuous at the moment. I really don't trust to call in too many favors or throw my presence around too much. Not at this date. Besides," he snorted, flopped back, looking for the moment like the twenty-something young man he was and not the incarnation of evil he…also was. "I'm perfectly fine. Thank you for your concern."
Tenma pursed his lips in disapproval. "You got shot. In the head. You were in a coma. For three years." He said each phrase slowly, as if he were explaining simple mathematics to an overly dense child.
"I know, Doctor. I was there. It was my head." Johan matched his slow, talking-to-an-idiot tone.
Tenma sighed, put on his best martyred look. "You don't walk away from something like that without some kind of damage."
"I did have the very best of doctors." He gave him a bright smile. Tenma thought it might actually have been genuine.
"Even taking that into consideration, I think you still might have some issues." Again, Tenma's mind couldn't suppress a giggle. "Your personality does seem to have changed somewhat, which is quite normal in extreme head trauma cases."
"How has my personality changed?"
"Well, you're pouting for one thing."
Johan looked like he wanted to sputter, but thought better of it. "I was shot in the head for the second time, had my lovely plans torn asunder, and was in a coma. Plus I am older. I'm pretty sure some change in personality is acceptable."
"Yes, but this is rather drastic. Usually you kept your emotions all under wraps. You were as serene as Buddha. Now I can easily see when you're upset. I thought you'd bite our poor waitress. What did she do to get on your nerves so?"
There was a long pause. "How do you know what my personality was like before my...convalescence?" Sarcasm permitted the last word, throwing Tenma's previous choice of words back in his face. "It's true I did have a facade I presented to the outside world, but it's also true that we didn't really talk that much. We rarely had alone time, Doctor. I might have been a completely different person in private."
"I'm fine doctor. There is nothing wrong with my personality. I hear no voices in my head. I am fine."
"No more monsters in there?"
"I never said that." The smile that Johan gave was chilling, all eye teeth and menace. It reached his eyes.
Tenma took a breath. Held it. Let it out slowly. "All right. Just let me ask you some questions. For my own piece of mind." He held up a hand to stave off any protests that Johan might make.
The only response was a rolling of eyes.
"Okay, so no. Trouble hearing? Hallucinations? Tastes that aren't right? Trouble moving or with coordination? No? Okay, then." Tenma went on with his list, even taking out a piece of paper from his pocket to make sure he asked everything.
Johan kept replying in the negative, growing more and more exasperated.
"All right, let me just…" Tenma extended a hand, let it hover between them.
"Let you just what?" asked Johan, eyeing Tenma's hand warily.
"Let me just check some things for myself." Tenma said in his best put upon voice, standing up and going over to kneel beside Johan. Johan looked as if he were debating scooting away from him. "This shouldn't hurt."
"And if it does?"
"Then you DO need a hospital after all." He made sure to smile as he said it. He forced himself to go into his analytical doctor-mode as he slowly reached out to touch Johan's face. Johan shuddered and Tenma almost screamed, but turned it into a small inarticulate sound of comfort. Tenma gently turned Johan's head in various directions. Mobility seemed all right. He curled his fingers around the back of Johan's neck, massaging when Johan stiffened, then moving on when he had relaxed. "Everything seems fine. You can turn your head with no problems. Nothing wrong with your neck either." Tenma smoothed Johan's hair against his skull. "No swelling." His fingers brushed against the knot of scarring on the right side, his hair hid it perfectly. "Does it hurt? No? Here?" Tenma ghosted his fingers over the other cluster of scars concealed by his hair, these ones more toward the front.
"No. I told you I was fine." Johan's breath was a bit ragged. Tenma looked at him, concerned. Reminding someone that they had been shot in the head, twice, was sure to be a little upsetting. Even for something, someone, like Johan. Tenma moved his hand back to the scars at the side of his head, the most recent ones. They felt like the wound had healed acceptably. When he started to lean away, Johan grabbed his wrist. It hurt. He held Tenma's hand in place, leaned into the touch just a little. Like a cat, Tenma thought and then tried to curb his revulsion, to keep it out of his voice.
"Johan." The young man's eyes fluttered open. When had he closed them? Looking into Johan's eyes this close was just as unnerving as he thought it would be. But there was one question he had been saving, one he was sure that Johan would have lied about unless Tenma could catch him unawares. "Do you get migraines?"
Something flickered in the gray-blue depths and his expression shuttered instantly. He let go of Tenma's arm. "So you do." Tenma nodded to himself. "How bad? How often?" He asked as he got to his feet, wincing as his knees creaked. He leaned against the table, arms folded across his chest. "Johan?" He prodded.
"Did you get them before you were shot the last time?" That small flicker again. "How bad?" A tightening of the lips. "And how frequent?"
"Not that often."
"But when you get them they probably knock you out for a day or so. What medication are you taking for them? Probably just over the counter stuff. You're not taking anything illegal are you?" Tenma shot him a sharp look.
Johan laughed and shook his head. "I don't take drugs, Doctor Tenma. I usually take half a bottle of painkillers and try to sleep it off."
"Doesn't work too good I bet." Tenma bit his lip, stared into the middle distance in thought. "I can prescribe you something a bit stronger."
Johan shook his head, smiled humorlessly. "Again, is this another clever scheme? I go to fill the prescription and your inspector boyfriend already has my name flagged, so when I pick it up he'll be there waiting for the-I believe they call- it the 'collar'?"
"He's not an inspector anymore." Tenma corrected absently, returning to his chair. "Or my boyfriend." He added after a pause. Lunge would have been though, if he ever got up the nerve to ask Tenma out on a date. Overcautious jerk. It was that insult tacked on at the end that made Tenma remember he was rather bad with alcohol and to wonder how many glasses of wine it took before it started to take a toll on him.
"I can write out the prescription for anyone you want, Johan. I can even leave that part blank. I'd have no idea which pseudonym you used or where you filled it."
Johan studied him for a long moment. "Thank you, but no Doctor. I really don't know what you had hoped to achieve here today. It is rather overwhelming if you have indeed come just to checkup on my well-being. But I don't think even you are that much of a saint." He tilted his head to the side, never taking his eyes off Tenma.
"I'm a doctor Johan. I was your doctor. Still am since you won't see anyone else. You are my responsibility."
"I've heard you say that before, Doctor. The last time though you had a gun on you and me in your sights."
Tenma shook his head, suddenly tired, feeling every day of his age, feeling the ache in his bones. "That's over with Johan. I forgave you. I think I forgave you even before Ruhenheim. I don't want you dead anymore. I thought I had proved that." Tenma tapped his own right temple. Johan absently mirrored him, smoothing his hair down over the spot.
"Forgiveness." Johan snorted, looked away from Tenma finally. "You've become quite the adept liar, Herr Doctor. Did you learn it from me?"
"Might just be the alcohol. I never could handle it well."
"Then by all means, have another glass."
"Thank you." Tenma said in mock graveness as Johan poured him another. He swirled it around a few times before drinking. "In all seriousness though, Johan, I wish you'd let me give you some medication. I don't like thinking of you in pain."
Johan looked up at from pouring himself another glass. "Is that speaking as my doctor, Doctor?"
"It's speaking as a person. Something you might not be familiar with." Tenma bit his lip, but Johan gave an easy laugh.
"You weren't joking about being a lightweight."
Tenma turned away, blushing. Bastard.
He finished his glass, had half of another one. At some point they started talking about…things. Non-world threatening things. Movies that had been seen recently, books read, Tenma's trips abroad. Johan was wrong. His personality had changed dramatically. He hadn't mentioned wanting to watch the world burn once. Something Tenma had thought was impossible.
Johan put his cell phone back into his pocket and Tenma blinked. He hadn't even been aware that Johan had pulled a cell phone out, let alone must have been talking on one. Johan stood up. "I think it's time to leave Dr. Tenma. We're out of wine and I think the lounge will be closing soon."
"We didn't stay that long!" Tenma exclaimed, a little more loudly than he had wanted to.
"I'm rather afraid we did." Was that an indulgent smirk on his face?
"Come on. We really must leave now." Tenma stood up and swayed. It was more the lack of adrenaline and tiredness catching up with him than the wine. Honestly. An arm snaked around his waist and steered his toward the door. He muttered a complaint, but let his arm be draped over surprisingly broad shoulders. It did help him walk without bumping into tables and the other patrons after all.
"Why are we stopping?"
"We have to get your coat, dear Doctor."
"Here you are, sir." The waitress materialized at his side, holding out his coat, all breathless and flushed.
"Thank you." Tenma murmured, smiling as he reached out for it.
"Yes, thank you." Johan gave her the peculiar snarl/smile he had given her before, took the coat from her, and turned his back, dismissing her.
She walked away, shoulders slumped.
"Seriously, what do you have against her? She's seems a sweet girl."
The only reply he got was the snarl/smile directed at him and the coat held out for him to slip on. He let Johan put the coat on him, even let him button him up and fuss with the collar. "Wait." Tenma dug in his heels as Johan started to usher him to the lobby.
Johan waved it away. "Don't worry. I put it on my room tab."
"Wouldn't you say that I owed you a few drinks, Doctor Tenma?"
Tenma thought about that. Remembered being shot. Remembered being ran over. Twice.
"Damn straight you do."
Johan's chuckle was too close to his ear for comfort. "Come along now."
Tenma stopped them again in the lobby to insist on getting his gloves on. Johan had to put them on in the end because Tenma couldn't seem to make his fingers match up properly. Over Johan's shoulder he saw the receptionist flash him a huge grin and give him a thumbs up sign. Brat.
When Johan had the last glove on properly, Tenma opened his mouth to apologize, but Johan shook his head. "I don't mind." He whispered, too husky and too close. Tenma thought back to his earlier comment about his affection for Tenma. Tenma had always thought it was a boyish idolization of a father figure, the hand resting on the small of his back, thumb rubbing small circles against him, begged different. Good thing he was a little drunk. If he had suspected this sober he probably would have fainted.
The cold air outside hit him like a hammer. He gasped. Let Johan tuck him closer, half turning him into his shoulder to block the wind. It had decided to snow after all. "There's my car. It'll take you to your hotel."
Tenma stiffened at the sight of the long black car. People had a tendency to disappear forever in any long black car of Johan's. Johan must have guessed what he was thinking. He rubbed his shoulder comfortingly, leaned over to whisper something soothing in his ear. Tenma nodded and let himself be helped down the stairs to the car, where the driver opened the door.
Johan turned him towards him. It really was disconcerting to realize he had to look up into Johan's eyes. Johan seemed to be debating something internally. He seemed to reach some sort of accord within himself and began to lean toward Tenma, the hands on his hips tightening so he couldn't step away. "I meant what I said earlier." Tenma blurted out, trying to stop whatever Johan had decided from being acted out upon his person.
Johan straightened, hands still firmly clasping Tenma. "And what was that, Doctor?"
"I don't like thinking of you in pain. If it ever gets too much, call me. We'll work out some way to get you the medication." He gripped Johan's lapels, hoping it came across as his trying to convey sincerity and not him trying to keep Johan at a respectable distance.
"You think that I have you're contact information memorized?"
Johan's eyes shifted to the side. His smile, a cross between amusement and self-mocking, was all the answer Tenma needed. "Call me if it gets too bad." He shook Johan for emphasis.
"I will. I hope you aren't this persistent with all your patients."
"Just the special ones." He regretted saying it as soon as he saw Johan preen just the tiniest bit.
Tenma pulled away, trying to ignore how the hands at his hips lingered as he got into the car, only slithering away at the last moment. "Goodbye. Sleep well, darling." A hand brushed the hair out of his face.
"Goodbye, Johan." Tenma wondered if it would be offensive if he slammed the door as fast as he wanted to. But Johan closed the door gently, and after a few words with the driver, knocked on his window, waved goodbye and stepped back.
The driver got into the car and pulled away from the hotel.
"Do you want to wave goodbye, doctor? He's watching after us. Doesn't even have a coat on."
Tenma glanced through the back window. Yes, Johan was watching them leave, standing in the middle of the road. And yes, he didn't have a coat on. He turned back around.
The night hadn't been a complete wash. Even if Johan had almost guessed Tenma's true purpose in coming, Tenma was sure he had confused the issue enough that Johan wouldn't be entirely sure of it anymore. Like hell Tenma was going to let him wander around and muck things up in epic proportions again. Tenma was smart enough to know that Johan was smart enough, hellishly smart enough, to thwart any effort of the police, BKA, or even the bloody military, to apprehend him. But if he trusted Tenma, even just the smallest bit, Tenma was sure that an opportunity would present itself, to either convince Johan away from his destructive tendencies or to get him back in police custody without bloodshed.
He leaned back and closed his eyes, no longer as drunk as he had pretended to be when he had gotten into the car. He thought back on the night, rewinding and replaying their conversations in his head. Then his eyes snapped open. He leaned toward the driver. "Excuse me."
"When he was telling me goodnight, did he call me 'darling'?"
He could hear the smile in the driver's voice. "I believe he did, sir."
Tenma nodded, thanked him, looked out the window. Screw waiting for Lunge. Tenma was going to ask HIM out to dinner as soon as he got back to Dusseldorf. Overcautious jerk.
Another disturbing thought occurred to him. How the hell did Johan know which hotel he was staying at?