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Beauty with the Beast

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When Akihito woke up, his head hurt like none other and he had absolutely no desire to open his eyes. He was really comfortable where he was, lying on something so soft it was unreal. He groaned and snuggled back into the soft thing, trying to drift back to sleep, but the feeling that something wasn't quite right eventually forced him to open his eyes and look around.

'Why in the world am I in Asami's bed?' the boy wondered as he took in the site of the darkened room that he had cleaned so many times. It took him a moment to take in the sight of Asami slumped in a chair, asleep, his head resting on the bed.

'What the heck is going on?!' he thought frantically as he reached out to shake the man awake. "Asami, hey Asami, are you okay?"

At the first touch of Aki's hand, the man is instantly awake, giving the room a quick once-over before settling his eyes on Akihito. Aki swore he saw the man smile before he started speaking. "You're finally awake, Akihito. How are you feeling?"

"Um, fine, my head hurts, but fine. Why am I in your room?" Aki asked in utter confusion.

"It's much easier for me to take care of you in here compared to your room," the man answered matter-of-factly. "There's more room in here, and I'm sure you're more comfortable."

"Take care of me? What happened?" Aki queried, still weirded out.

"You got a concussion," Asami answered, then stared into the boy's eyes. "What is the last thing you can remember?"

"Um, I was heading to pick up yo...um...a package." Akihito didn't want to tell him that he had gotten a gift for him, but he had almost spilled the beans. He hoped that Asami would pass off his pause as part of his cloudy memories instead.

"Hm...what day was that?" Asami then asked, still staring intently at Aki. It was giving the boy goosebumps.

"Friday?" he answered uncertainly. Asami then relaxed and Aki really saw a smile before the man spoke.

"Good, then you haven't lost much. When you feel up to it, try to remember the things that happened after that."

Still tired and kind of out of it, Aki nodded as he closed his eyes and fell back to sleep, feeling something soft brush his forehead.

The boy pretty much slept for the next week, and wished that was what he was doing for two weeks after that. Asami forbade him from watching television or using his cell phone or reading or doing anything other than listening to music or staring at the wall. He wasn't even allowed to just look at pictures on his cameras or anything. The poor boy was bored out of his mind. He bore with it, though, because apparently if he didn't rest his mind properly, it could make the recovery process take years instead of weeks.

Meanwhile, Asami was freaking the heck out of Akihito. He was always there with him, at least when he was awake. Apparently the only times Asami left were when Aki was sleeping. The rest of the time he would be doing his work right there at a desk in the bedroom. What was really strange, though, was the Asami was touching Akihito all the time. Usually it was holding his hand or massaging his head, but the man never broke contact for long. Aki even thought the he could feel him kiss his cheeks or his forehead as he was falling asleep, but he was usually so far gone at that point that he couldn't be sure.

With all that time to just think, though, Aki had been focusing on remembering what happened to him. He remembered meeting with Sudoh, getting kidnapped, talking with Sakazaki and even being freed by Mitarai, but he couldn't remember anything after that. Even those things he did remember felt like a dream he'd had rather than a reality he'd been in.

One day, the boy was once more going through his memories while Asami was going through a mountain of paperwork. 'Okay, package, Sudoh, Sakazaki, kidnapped, Sakazaki, Mitarai, boom...wait, boom? That's new.'

"Hey Asami," Aki started, gaining the man's attention immediately, "was there an explosion or something that happened then?"

A pleased smile appeared on Asami's face, "Well, technically not an explosion, as nothing blew up, but yes, something similar did happen."

"Sweet! I'm getting closer!" Akihito crowed, and then a thought came to him. "Wait a second. If you know that, then doesn't that mean you were there by that point? Why can't you just tell me what happened then?"

Asami turned his gaze back to his papers. "Because my perspective was different than yours. I could end up placing false memories if I told you what I saw, especially since I didn't see everything you likely did."

"Gah, seriously!?" Akihito cried, flopping back on the pillows of his bed. "What the heck happened to make you so...." He cut off at the realization of what he was about to say.

Asami stared intently at the young man. "So...?"

"U-um, so...expressive?" Akihito supplied. 'Better than saying he's clingy and kinda lovey-dovey...wait, lovey-dovey? Is that what this is? Oh my gosh that's what this is!'

Aki could feel his face practically burst into flames while he watched Asami's expression go from an askance raised eyebrow to just full-on confusion.

"Are you alright, Aki?" the older man asked, reaching a hand out to touch the boy's forehead.

"I-I, um, uh...." All the boy could think of was the feel of Asami's hand on his face. "W-wait, when did you start calling me Aki?"

"Hm? Is there a problem with that?" Asami responded smoothly, a smirk spreading on his perfect face. 'Why is he so freaking good looking?'

"No! Not at all, that's fine, totally fine," Aki rushed to say. Asami's smirk only deepened.

"Mm, then I don't have to hold back," Asami murmured, leaning in so his face was close to the boy's.

"H-h-hold back from what!?" Aki cried as he jerked back. "Just because I said I like you doesn't me-"

His eyes widened as he realized what he just said. 'Wait, WHAT? What in the...there's no way that I...but I...and he....' The memories of what had happened finally fell into place. Asami bursting through a doorway and then getting shot, then Sakazai's gun blowing up as Aki tried to help Asami, Asami losing consciousness as he confessed, him confessing back, then a sharp pain to his head. He was pretty sure that was it, but he wasn't really focusing on that anymore.

Asami brought his attention back. "See, you remembered. Now quit making me wait." He leaned in for a kiss, but Aki dodged it.

"Wait wait wait wait! Hold on a sec," Akihito panicked, pushing Asami back. The man frowned so Aki spoke quickly, "You were just losing it then, how do I know you really meant it?"

Asami just looked at him.

"Okay, okay, stupid question, but how do you know that I meant it?"

"Aki, you can't lie. You get nervous and either laugh guiltily or get angry," Asami responded.

"No I-!" Akihito began before Asami shut him up with a kiss.

Akihito broke it after a few moments, breathing hard. "I-I doubt that you're supposed to do anything strenuous, mister 'I got shot in the chest!'"

"Funny, I don't find this strenuous at all. It's actually rather relaxing," the man replied smoothly.

"Like heck! Let me see it!" Aki stubbornly insisted. Asami did so with another raised eyebrow and a smirk. The boy found out why when the man's torso was revealed. 'Why did I just ask him to basically strip?'

Forcing his eyes away from Asami's abs, Akihito focused on the bandages covering a small portion of the man's chest. He sighed when he didn't see any blood. Looking back at Asami's face, Akihito questioned, "Are you sure you're alright?"

"I'm fine, Aki," he replied with a gentle smile.

"You sure? You've been acting really strange, you know?" Akihito questioned further. "You didn't lose so much blood that your brain got damaged, did it?"

Asami chuckled, giving Akihito butterflies in his stomach. "I'm sure. I have just finally learned how to love and have compassion."

"Wait, whaaaaat? The heck's that supposed to mean? How do you not know how to be nice to people?" Aki asked, confused and suspicious that he was being played with.

"When nobody ever shows it towards you, how are you supposed to learn it?" Asami replied. "I grew up in a very loveless environment, Aki. I never saw the man who adopted me except at work, and even then it was rare. All I was brought up to know was the cold world of business. In fact, I was so cold that, though it sounds strange, I had a curse placed on me."

At that, Aki pulled away a little, sure now that something had happened to the man's head. Asami continued, "Don't give me that look, I can prove it to you. You remember that candle I had? The one that never went out? That was basically a timer; I had until the candle burnt itself out to learn how to love and show love, as well as get it in return."

"Okaaaaay, then what was the curse?" Aki asked, still suspicious.

"The way I treated others would be the way I was treated. In other words, I couldn't keep a significant other," Asami answered. "I didn't mind it at first, but it wore on me after a time. By the time I met you, I had already resigned myself to the fact that I wouldn't ever be able to have someone special to me; there were only a few months left after all."

"Wait a second, if the curse was that others treated you the way you treated them, then how do I know I wasn't just influenced by you to feel this way?" Aki asked, hurt at the realization.

"Silly boy, I learned that love from you," Asami responded, ruffling Aki's hair.

"But how could I show you lo...kindness if I could only act the way you acted towards me?" Aki questioned, still confused.

"Because I did my best to let you be you," Asami answered. "I let you do your own thing rather than act upon you and thus influence you. I also attempted to be kind to the best of my knowledge of how to do so."

"But it still doesn't make sense!" Akihito insisted. "Even if the time ran out, you still could've learned how to like someone; the curse didn't prevent that."

"No, it didn't, but if the deadline had passed before I learned to love someone, then I could never be sure if that person's love was real or not. They would be forced to act the way I did towards them, meaning they wouldn't be able to be their true selves and react the way they normally would to the situation."

"Oh. Ouch," Aki mumbled. "Why did the witch or whatever put the curse on you give you a timeline anyway if all she wanted was you to be kind to people?"

"That, I don't know," Asami admitted.

"Huh, weird," Aki muttered, but then he smiled. "Anyways, you basically learned how to be human?"

Asami smiled back, "Essentially, yes."

"Go witch fairy lady!" Aki crowed. "Everyone benefits from a non-robot Asami!"

"You don't believe me, do you?" Asami scowled.

"I'm on the fence right now; still think you might have hit your head or something," Aki admitted with a teasing smile.

"Hm. Well, it doesn't matter," Asami concluded. "What matters now is how we continue from here. What would you like to do now, Aki?"

Akihito looked at the man, still shirtless, lounging on the bed, one hand now tracing up and down Aki's arm.

"U-um, I, I..." Akihito stuttered, eyes locked with Asami's. "Um, uh...sleep! Yeah, I'm super tired after all that, and my head kinda hurts, so I wanna go back to sleep, please!"

Asami raised an askance eyebrow at the boy's nervous babble. "Alright, you little fibber, I'll let you rest for now, but I'm not going to be this lenient for long."

The man just laughed at Aki's now-scarlet face.