The trip home had been awkward, to say the least.
Kiryu was uncomfortably-- and ironically-- reminded of the whole situation which had gotten him into this mess, that job with JJ only earlier that evening, which now seemed like a lifetime ago, and his cheeks burned hotly. Adding insult to injury was the fact that he couldn't keep a straight face right now, much as he wanted to. It was worse losing face in front of the Boss like this than it would have been to have lost face in front of the hitman. He couldn't utter cold threats and pull his gun out; he had to sit here and take it, there was no option to speak back: this time he wasn't facing competition.
And even though he hadn't, he did feel distinctly as though he'd lost whatever the fight was between himself and JJ. And that irritated him, too.
At least the hitman might have thought his red-faced annoyance to be anger, something hot and unpredictable and dangerous. Luka, however knew better. That he was decidedly vulnerable like this, humiliated and sore and silent, pissed him off as well.
"You shouldn't be angry with me, Kiryu," his boss chided him gently from the passenger seat. Of course, Luka was right. But he was angry and hot-cheeked and humiliated, and it wasn't even really about the fact that he'd been told off like that. He wasn't angry at Luka, he was angry at himself. And at that stupid, stupidly efficient, cooler-than-him hitman.
"You and I both know men have been killed for less."
He wasn't going to play. Staring ahead at the traffic, Kiryu refused to yield to what was an attempt at getting a reaction.
"Really, Kiryu, your silence is quite childish. It doesn't make you look hard. It makes you look like you're sulking."
"I apologise, Boss." His words left his tightened lips dryly. "I thought you would want some time to reflect on the offer you made to the hitman."
"I didn't appreciate that little outburst, either." Kiryu felt his cheeks flushing again; in amongst everything else, he'd forgotten about his reaction then. He was overwhelmed by the realities of the evening: of an escape more narrow than any he'd known before, of finally seeing that hitman in action, and having to admit that "Deat Scythe" really was like the rumours had described; at the fact that Luka had caught him out and chastised him in the bar... at his own embarrassing explosion, and at the news that JJ would be joining them. Living in their headquarters. Working with them. There'd been a sense of having been duped, too: hadn't JJ sworn he wasn't going to work with him ever again?
JJ would never know it, but those words had felt like a victory back on the docks. Now that victory had been snatched away from him with Luka's offer.
Even though he had complimented Kiryu on his cool head and quick thinking, and though he'd stared at him with a piercing gaze and an interest beyond most professionals: there was something off about JJ, something creepy that he just couldn't put his finger on. And now the Boss was recruiting him to work with them. For them, Kiryu reminded himself, though JJ, with his cool distance and self-sufficient lone wolf persona didn't seem to work for anyone, but alongside them. And he'd said as much in the car, too.
"I like his style," was all Luka said. "He's sharp, he's efficient, he knows what he's doing, and he's diligent. He won't place himself or those around him in unnecessary danger."
The implication was clearly there, and Kiryu didn't know what to say. Maybe he could just get them home, and sneak off to his own quarters while the Boss got engaged in discussion with one of the other guys, and they could not talk about it, or they could discuss it later after they'd both had some time to give this evening some consideration.
Not that there'll be much time for that since JJ is moving in, a little voice in the back of his head sneered, but Kiryu told it in no uncertain terms to fuck off. Last thing he needed now was his own head screwing with him while everything else was pissing him off. He grimaced and stared at the darkened road ahead of them, turning off to the hidden driveway approaching the King Caesar compound.
"You're taking the lazy way in tonight, aren't you?" Luka asked. "Anyone would assume you're in a rush to get home."
Kiryu nodded. Luka was good at knowing how people thought: it was one of the things which made him so talented at running the show that was King Caesar. He could read subtleties like they were the most obvious thing ever, something which could be comforting to Kiryu sometimes, and frustrating at others.
"It's too late for messing around," Kiryu noted grimly, to which his boss agreed with a nod.
"You're right about that," he said, as a gate closed behind them, allowing Kiryu to park the black Alfa Romeo. Once the engine ceased, he undid his seatbelt, and made a move for the door. Above them, a security camera recorded their exit from the car, and the way they walked in together as they had for some time now. While the others may have suspected things, the cameras didn't speculate on the nature of their relationship, nor did these particular ones record sound.
"I want you to meet me in the upstairs living room area," was all Luka offered. "Go to your room by all means, fix yourself up a bit, but I will need to have a talk to you in awhile, Kiryu."
He felt his heart sink. A shitty night starting with a job scraping too close to getting caught, and ending with pissing off both his police contact and Luka, not to mention watching that rank outsider get invited to work with them... He regretted not having anything stronger than a coffee back at Epilogue.
"Yes, Boss." He nodded unhappily, and snuck through the back passage towards the second level. The last thing he needed was the other guys to see him and ask why the sour face.
He'd expected the guys to be up there as well. For there to be a team meeting about his behaviour which wasn't directed at him but which everyone knew was about something he'd done, where gossip would follow for weeks, while no one talked about what had actually happened, but the others found out from their respective contacts around Dragon Palace. Of course no one would actually know for certain what had happened at the docks, unless JJ opened his mouth. But some dead foreign drug traders and police rocking up at a warehouse, as well as a shortage of particular substances on the streets would give the community enough to guess at what had gone down. People would add up the factors and put the pieces together as they saw fit. The streets spoke. Rumours flowed like champagne at one of the Boss' shindigs.
Thankfully, the rest of the guys weren't there. Maybe they were down in the general living area, playing pool or watching the races on one of the wide-screen televisions or having a round of cards; maybe some of them had called it a night and retired to their rooms. Tomorrow afternoon was one of the Boss' garden parties; plenty of the guys would be having an early night right now, a sensible idea.
But he'd been summoned to talk to the Boss.
"Kiryu." Luka's voice was gentle and calm, calling him over as he set foot in the secluded living area. This was where Luka chose to have more intimate discussions, sometimes with a group of executives, or one-on-ones with trusted associates. Sometimes Kiryu was called up here under far more pleasant circumstances; it was here, years ago, when Luka had first propositioned him. He shivered to think about it; the streets might speak, but he'd never heard anything about Luka Bellini's personal tastes. And it was on that sofa, with Luka's hands in his hair and tongue down his throat that he'd first been kissed by the boss.
He gulped. He was still a King Caesar executive, he wasn't to be distracted by frivolous thoughts.
Looking dumbly at where Luka was seated, at the serious bottle of red wine on the table, at the sole, partially-full glass, he tried to read the situation that confronted him. Luka Bellini wasn't being playful; there wasn't a bubbling glass of champagne atop the table, threatening to spill over, and the man himself sat, rather than reclined, as though he needed to have a somber discussion.
"Come, sit down."
Sure, he was smiling, but Luka Bellini was good at that, and Kiryu had seen it many times; a smile and impeccable manners, the friendliness and class of a good host, could precede any number of horrors. But Kiryu wasn't stupid, and he wasn't scared. Or, if he was, he refused to show it. Tonight had been humiliating: he wasn't going to risk losing even more face.
Gingerly, and without looking his boss in the eye, he walked to the armchair at one end of the small coffee table in front of Luka, and sat. "I'm sorry for my behaviour tonight," he said. "I--"
A note of sympathy had entered Luka's voice. "No, Kiryu, come sit-- here." He patted on the cushioning of the furniture he was sitting on. "I am not expecting any one else to join us."
There was no sarcasm in his voice, it was genuine affection. Forcing himself to finally look his boss in the eye, Kiryu did, remarkably only finding something that looked like exhaustion and relief. Not anger. Not snide brutality. Just... a rather worn-out sort of relief. Maybe disappointment, which stung, but not quite as painfully as outright anger.
"I'm not sure you know why I asked you to join me."
I can think of why you didn't was all that Kiryu could consider at the moment, wishing profoundly that this could have been like so many other times, where Luka Bellini was in the mood for celebrating... or slightly drunk and cheerful... or feeling accomplished and invincible and highly aroused, with a crackling excess of energy which needed to be directed somewhere. Those meetings tended to be somewhat unorthodox given the nature of his work, but far more enjoyable than this was.
"Because I failed you," he started to say. The humiliation of having to admit it out loud caused his face to redden uncomfortably. "Because I embarrassed you in front of the Professor with my concerns about your decision-making in--"
"Kiryu." Luka's voice was serious but gentle, and there was a smile in his pale blue eyes. "What would I be without my hotblooded hellhound? My voice of doubt when I'm overly trustful or perhaps blinded by my vices?" He smiled, patting the cushioning next to his thighs, encouraging Kiryu to move closer. "No, Kiryu, you misunderstand me entirely."
"So you're not-- angry with me?"
It was a weak attempt at avoiding trouble, and Kiryu regretted those words the moment they'd left him.
Sucking his breath in through his nose sharply, and then reaching for the wine on the table, Luka's irritation was obvious. He sipped from the glass, returned it to the tabletop, and looked back at his executive.
"Not at all," he said sternly. "I'm furious."
"You don't even know why I'm furious, Kiryu, so please don't disrespect me with a meaningless apology." Yes, he was angry, but the relief still lingered in his voice, and a hand crept around his waist, pulling him in tightly. "When I realised what had happened-- the Professor had informed me you'd met the hitman earlier at the Epilogue, and word on the street suggested where you'd be-- I was terrified."
"Did you think I was--"
"I knew it wouldn't be what it looked like, obviously, but how do you think I'd have felt if something had happened? If those drug merchants had ties to Dragon Head? If the police had been pushed into a corner with you and couldn't just turn away? If--" his fingers trailed up the outside of Kiryu's thigh--"you'd been shot by any one of them and their bullets?"
"None of them knew what they were doing," he said quickly, automatically cringing for speaking back to his boss. "Really," he added, "they couldn't shoot to save their lives. It was total chaos in there."
"All it takes is one bullet, Kiryu. At the wrong time, in the wrong place, and I might have never seen you again. And even if you had one hundred JJs with you, if you'd been hit in the wrong place, none of that would have mattered." His voice was stern and serious. "Of course what I said at Epilogue still stands, too: if anyone else knew about you colluding with police, I would have to very publicly deal with you-- and that is definitely not something I want to do."
"You mean like--?" Five years ago. They avoided saying his name, the wound was still there as was the unfinished business.
"No." Reaching around and cupping Kiryu's chin, Luka's pale fingers drew his face closer to his own, and kissed him on the lips. With their faces this close, Kiryu could see the worry in his boss' eyes. "Far worse."
Now he felt guilty. Guilty for making Luka worry like that; Luka had plenty of other things to concern him, and this was so perfectly simple and uncomplicated in so many ways, and through his thoughtlessness and want for some action he'd made it complicated.
"I'm sorry," he offered. "Really, I am." His lips still tingled with the taste of red wine on the other man's lips, and his heart raced with a strange combination of fear and want.
"Not as sorry as I'd have been if you hadn't returned, Kiryu. I didn't like having to handle you in Epilogue, either, but especially with JJ there, you know that I couldn't have let things go lightly."
"Yes, boss." Kiryu placed a hand involuntarily to the cheek Luka had hit, a blow which had sent him toppling. (JJ, to his credit, had defended him, which had the added bonus of lightening the tension as well as impressing his boss.) Moving the hand away, Luka examined the spot. "Still hurting?" he asked.
"Not really." His pride, on the other hand, would take a bit longer to stop smarting.
Luka smiled weakly at him. "I didn't like having to do that, Kiryu," he said. "But you leave me without options sometimes." Sighing, he shook his head. "Whatever am I going to do with you? I need you at my side, not running around like some sort of super-hero wannabe intent on cleaning up the neighbourhood. Leave that to King Caesar: when we cut off all the, well, heads of Dragon Head, we will be running Dragon Palace our way, won't we?"
"Yes, Boss." Kiryu nodded.
"I will, however, need to teach you a lesson about your insolence." Something different danced in his eyes now, something playful. Clearly, he'd thought about this, and catching it, Kiryu involuntarily smiled.
"No," Luka said sharply. "This is not meant to be a reward for your bad behaviour." He reached across the table for his glass of wine and took another sip. "You need to face some sort of repercussion for your recklessness this evening."
Kiryu gulped, uncertain. What was Luka implying? It wasn't like Luka to withhold sex-- the man was too hedonistic to deny himself the pleasure, and he'd been clear this meeting wasn't about a hookup.
Luka frowned, and looked down the hallway. "I think it would be a better idea to handle this in my room," he decided, stepping up, leaving the bottle and the glass on the table. "Come."
Kiryu followed, unsure what to expect. This deviated from Luka's usual manner of punishing his subordinates, and they usually only moved to Luka's room when things changed from casual and flirtatious into something else. Luka might have been confident and hedonistic, but he wasn't an exhibitionist and always made sure that their sex life remained private. He grimaced, considering the fact that this wasn't even about sex at the moment, mentally chastising himself for the thought. It was difficult to not think about sex when you thought about Luka's room; the association had been made in his mind already, and like Pavlov's dog, his body reacted. If Luka saw the slight twitch in his crotch, he said nothing.
Closing the door behind him, Luka seated himself in the chair in the corner which Kiryu had always assumed was there for decoration rather than any practical purpose. There was no need for him to lock the door; no one dared enter the room without his say-so, and that thought was at least enough for some relief. It had been humiliating enough earlier this evening, at least whatever Luka was going to say or do would be done in private.
Smiling slightly, Luka looked at him, resting his elbow on the arm of the chair, and his chin under his thumb. His expression was one of careful consideration.
"I haven't had much time to think about what to do about you, Kiryu," he admitted. "My earlier actions were motivated largely by immediate rage... though I do realise that hitting you repeatedly in the head probably won't actually teach you anything. Worse yet, I may actually cause you irreparable damage." He paused. "Something else I would prefer not to do if it can be avoided." His voice was still stern and serious. "But you do need to be punished."
"Yes, Boss." Hating the meekness in his voice, Kiryu nodded.
"Unbuckle your belt and bend over," Luka said quietly.
His face was calm, but his voice was serious, and there was an anger hiding behind those blue eyes which Kiryu was worried he may have excited.
"You heard what I said. Now, please, Kiryu."
His face reddening as he realised the implication, and that yes, Luka was serious, Kiryu fumbled with his belt buckle, trying to avoid his eyes meeting Luka's. He didn't want to see the expression on his boss' face; he wanted this over and done with, so he could slink back to his room with his tail between his legs and figuratively lick his wounds. He couldn't even remember being spanked as a kid. Shuffling awkwardly towards his boss, his belt undone, holding his pants up with one fist and steadying himself against the arm of the chair with his other hand, he bent down and leaned over Luka's knees awkwardly. It was uncomfortable, like this, but he supposed that was to be an expected aspect of the punishment.
Luka propped one arm under his chest, supporting his upper body, running his other hand over Kiryu's back. Stopping at the waistband of his slacks, he tugged them down to reveal the smooth pale fabric of Kiryu's briefs. Almost hesitating for a second-- or maybe it felt like hesitation to Kiryu because time seemed painfully dragged out-- Luka gently tugged them down. It was an unfamiliar sensation to Kiryu: it wasn't that Luka was overly rough when they were intimate, but there was something so deliberate and delicate about the motion that it felt distinctly unlike prior instances where Luka had removed his clothing.
"I'm not actually enjoying myself right now," Luka said gravely. "And given the nature of our relationship I guess this is fairly awkward--" He trailed off. The idea of delegating this to one of the other guys was possibly even worse than this. "I can't really ask any of the others to meter out a punishment like this, and having seen your reaction to JJ in the bar--"
The reminder of JJ and his reaction in Epilogue made him tense up with humiliation and anger. The night air felt cold and taunting against his exposed buttocks, and in combination with the awkward position he was bent at and the annoying feeling of his pants sliding down his legs, Kiryu felt as vulnerable as he did uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry about that--" Kiryu started to say, but Luka cut him off.
"Sorry doesn't mean you've learned your lesson," Luka uttered. "I meant what I said back there; I cannot have you taking on business without my say-so, involving other parties-- and then treating a friend of the family so rudely. I want the two of you to be able to work together."
Mentioning the hitman again didn't improve his mood either. But he couldn't argue like this.
"And I want you to think before you do anything rash like tonight's shenanigans again." The disappointment was clear in his voice now, something else Kiryu wasn't overly fond of. Disappointing the boss was worse than disappointing himself. He sighed. "Yes, boss."
"I really don't want to have to do this, but I'm going to have to, Kiryu."
The first blow was enough to make him jump, stinging enough to make him grit his teeth and tense. I think I've learned my lesson now, Boss. But Kiryu knew it would be far from over, and tried to consider the situation as the second blow-- sharp and lower down this time-- dammit, that hurt-- landed across his rear. He had lost face back there. Taking his punishment without a wince or complaint, even if it was with only his boss as witness, would allow him to partially regain some dignity.
Maybe Luka had something like that in mind all along.
He inhaled sharply as he felt Luka's hand swat him again; he's not holding back on this, is he?, this smack forcing water to collect in the corners of his eyes. He wasn't crying. Dammit, this was stupid, it was an automatic reaction like when you chopped onions and--
"Breathe," Luka whispered to him. Something in his voice had changed, Kiryu noticed, and he involuntarily arched upwards to see the look on the boss' face, as thin tears streaked down his face before he could turn away.
Squirming against Luka's strong arms and trying to get comfortable was awful: he might have been in Luka's room with his pants removed, but there was nothing at all sexual about this situation. Yet maybe it was the movement or the way Luka had sounded just then-- it was something-- which caused his cock to react. He could feel its uninvited tension, and it only added to his overall sense of vulnerability and humiliation. Even another smack didn't dull his budding erection, nor the moment afterwards where Luka grabbed at the top of his pants and clumsily wrenched them up, stretching his body as Kiryu's was moved.
"Are you going to think about this next time you plan on doing something rash and dangerous?" Luka asked, though his voice was barely a whisper, and Kiryu glanced at him as he gingerly pulled his pants over his sore buttocks.
There was a very worried, uncomfortable look on Luka's face. One that caused Kiryu to momentarily forget the pain and his own humiliation, and offer a quiet, "I'm sorry, Boss."
"That's better." Luka frowned. There was a moment of awkwardness between them; clearly this had been one of those ideas of Luka's which hadn't been well-considered, and Kiryu looked at his feet, his face still damp with tears, his face still red.
"Though... I think we both know that wasn't the best way of dealing with you, huh?" There was a moment of awkwardness as Luka adjusted himself, squirming against the chair awkwardly. "And you unfortunately look so damned... cute... like this."
That only made Kiryu's blush burn harder. "I'm... sorry..." he mumbled. He closed his eyes. Normally there was very little discussion between them when they were in Luka's room. Rarely, there would be discussion afterwards, then there would be sleep. Their relationship was built on sex and things unsaid, and it was simple and elegant. Tonight had changed things.
He heard Luka standing up, and then felt the man's arms around him, his hands cupping his face, and then the red-wine twinge of a kiss on his lips. And uttered against them, "I hate seeing you in pain, Kiryu."
Wordlessly, in the darkness, Kiryu felt his jacket being removed, and tossed to the floor. Now all he was wearing was his shirt; his slacks were pooled at his ankles, and he kicked his shoes off, aware of what was coming, as Luka directed him towards the king-sized bed. It didn't take much effort for the taller man to pull him onto the mattress, shucking his own jacket, kissing him deeply. "I don't want you to put me in a position where I have to do anything like that again."
Kiryu nodded dumbly as Luka undressed in the darkness. Punishment enough really; his boss' body was glorious, an intricate work of art, well-defined muscle beneath pale, soft skin. The man was perfection, and it was amazing seeing him undress. Somehow Luka managed to put a graceful, playful spin on the removal of his clothing, but tonight's activities being shrouded in darkness was a disappointment. "Come here."
Kissing him again, Luka could now feel all six-feet-whatever of Luka against him; the tension and warmth of his arms, long legs wrapped around his own, his erection rubbing against him stomach. It was enough to drive someone mad. He kissed Luka back furiously, holding him tightly, the taste and feel of him overwhelming. Normally this was where Luka would start teasing his body, running fingers down his chest, playing with his nipples, that sort of thing. But tonight was different; there was still some sort of pent up anger in his movements, a need that was powerful and all-encompassing. This wasn't the usual light-hearted fun-loving Luka Kiryu was accustomed to-- no. This was something else entirely. Kiryu could feel his breath intensifying, his own emerging in short little gasps, his cock leaking profusely. His boss pulled back for a moment, and pushed him hard into the mattress, one hand pumping him roughly. As he moved, his own erection grazed against Kiryu's chest, leaving its own tell-tale moisture slicking his abdomen. "Do you need more proof that I don't want to lose you, Kiryuu?" he whispered hoarsely against his ear. Strands of fine hair tickled Kiryu's nose, and the pressure in his crotch was driving him crazy. "Yes, boss," he croaked. He writhed against the bed as he felt Luka's fingers lightly teasing his balls, groaning softly. The man knew what he liked, dammit. He gasped at the sensation, and tried to shuffle up the bed, moving himself into what he considered a more convenient position for Luka' ministrations. Luka only chuckled, his fingertips rubbing precum between the cleft of his ass. He knew how this went. Just the memory of Luka doing this so many times before was enough for him to exhale in want. When Luka slowly entered him with one moistened finger, he pushed against him, desperate for what hardly felt substantial. But Luka's earlier hastiness seemed replaced with something else now, and he used his weight to hold his subordinate against the bed.
"Maybe I should have punished you with something like this as opposed to an ill-considered spanking," Luka muttered, drawing back before gradually inserting another finger. "I could drag this out for hours, Kiryu, leave you on the edge and wanting-- though I worry you would miss the seriousness of your misdemeanour--"
Kiryu hissed, as Luka rubbed his own slicked member against his hole.
"Maybe--" he started to say and was silenced as Luka entered him. Was it shock or instant gratification? He wasn't sure, but he could feel a loud groan emanating from the back of his throat, silenced as Luka's mouth caught him in a kiss and his hand went back to pumping his now straining erection.
He bucked against him as though he were relieving an itch. Every time Luka's cock hit that spot that made his mind go numb with ecstasy, Luka would pull back and thrust into him again, causing half-chocked involuntary groans. Damn, he was good at this. His muscles twitched, his own erection desperate for release, his senses overwhelmed. He could feel sweat everywhere, and his own hands grappling at Luka's perfect ass helplessly as his boss clearly had the superior strength and positioning from this angle. Just... damn. Luka was usually far more tender and careful than this; this was something else entirely, uncontrolled and hard and fast and brutal and taking his breath away just as he caught it, his brain unable to form words as his boss thrust into him again. It was when one of Luka's hands went down to his cock that he felt the inevitable tensing up of his body, the moment of electric tension which came before the end, which set him off. He came against his stomach, over Luka's hand, his emission spreading over the both of them as Luka pushed against him for a final few thrusts before reaching climax himself.
They lay in the darkness for what felt like a very long time. Somehow, things didn't feel entirely over; the frustration and purpose of their meeting not completely relieved. Normally things ended with a sigh and a casual "goodnight," and maybe a soft little kiss and either sleep, as though they weren't quite admitting that they were remaining in the same bed, or Kiryu would hastily grab a few items of clothing and shuffle down the hallway to his own room.
Instead, Luka lay next to him for what seemed like an eternity before saying anything. Kiryu could feel his skin and gradually-slowing heartbeat against his own, his breathing normalising, and didn't know what to say. So he did what he usually did, and said nothing.
It was Luka who broke the ice. He'd reached for tissues at the foot of the bed, and gently wiped away most of the stickiness, before shifting up next to Kiryu, and pressing his lips to the other man's ear. "Perhaps we both needed that," he murmured.
"Mmm." It was a funny kind of agreement. Something between them had changed; in some ways this was a quick. impersonal kind of fuck, but in others, its sheer reactionary nature made Kiryu realise that a lot more was going on beneath the surface.
"I don't want to lose you. I don't want to have to lose you." He could feel Luka's arm clinging to him as the blond slid up next to him and wrangled the sheets over their bodies, a clear indication that this wasn't going to be one of those nights when Kiryu would be slinking back to his own room like a cautious stray cat avoiding detection.
"I hope that's an agreement," Luka muttered, his grip not releasing any of its force.
Unsure what to say: things had moved to something more serious now, Kiryu realised, he nodded in the darkness.
"What was that?"
"I won't leave you," Kiryu found himself saying quietly. "...And I won't do anything stupid in future, either."
Perhaps Luka believed it now. Or perhaps he was tired from his earlier exertion. Planting a soft kiss on Kiryu's cheek, he muttered a very quiet, barely audible-- and extremely relieved-- "thankyou."