Sins of the Flesh - Chapter 2: The More I See You

 

Author: lillypuff

Email: lilly_puff22 (at) yahoo (dot) com

LiveJournal: http://lillypuff.livejournal.com

Characters From: Saiyuki Gaiden & Saiyuki

Main Pairing: Tenpou x Kenren (and visa versa)

Other Pairings (this chapter): Homura x Kenren x Zenon, Konzen x Goku, Dokugakuji x Kougaiji, Tenpou x Konzen (past)

Rating: R (for now)

Warning(s): sexual humor, mild sexuality, language (so, the usual really)

Universe: Black Lotus

Summary: Modern Day Saiyuki Gaiden AU (still a semi fantasy setting) - Tenpou and Kenren take two steps forward and one step back.

Disclaimer: Sadly, Saiyuki does not belong to me.  As always, please assume all characters present are of legal age to be at a strip club.

 

 

Random Notes:  My idea for this has changed a little bit.  Originally Tenpou was supposed to turn out sort of stalker-ish, but I'm having fun with him being shy and a bit confused, so I think I'm going to stick with that.  For anyone that is curious, characters like Goujun, Doku, Kou et al. who have non-human physical traits in the manga/anime still have them in this.  Youkai are still youkai, dragon kings still look dragon-ish and so on.  Also, I think I've settled on the approximate ages of the main four guys.  Tenpou and Konzen are mid to late 30's, Kenren is late 20's and Goku is early to mid 20's.  I went with these age groups because I wanted Tenpou to sort of be getting to that point where he's settling down in life (same with Konzen) but Kenren and Goku are still young and a bit wild.  Basically, the younger two are living the lives that the older two wax nostalgic about lol

 

 

 

"How many times have you gone back?"  Konzen asked, grinning in a way he seldom did.

 

Tenpou shrugged his shoulders and turned his head so he could stare at the nearest anything that wasn't Konzen's face, "Once or twice…"

 

"That's all?"

 

"Yes, well I don't have a lot of free time."

 

"I almost would have expected you to make the time."

 

Tenpou snorted, "I did."

 

"Of course," Konzen replied, still grinning, "See, I told you that you'd like him."

 

To that Tenpou didn't respond, still trying to keep his gaze from falling upon his friend.

 

"Have you talked to him yet?" Konzen asked after a minute of silence passed by.

 

"No."

 

"Ch.  Scared?"

 

"No," Tenpou replied and it wasn't a lie, as far as he knew.

 

Another moment of silence passed.

 

"You're smitten, aren't you?"

 

"No!" Tenpou replied, perhaps a little too quickly.

 

"Are you sure?"

 

Tenpou turned his eyes to stare at his friend, "I am certain."

 

"Then what's the problem?"

 

Tenpou continued to glare at Konzen as if the answer to that question should have been obvious.  It was to him anyway.

 

"He's a stripper, Konzen."

 

"I believe they prefer to be called exotic dancers these days."

 

"A rose, by any other name…" Tenpou retorted with a roll of his eyes, "In any case it would seem he is currently taken."

 

"You mean by Homura and Zenon?"

 

"Yeah."

 

"That's laughable," Konzen replied with a snort, "He's likely just their flavor of the month.  Better off without them if you ask me."

 

Tenpou twitched slightly and shook his head, "How exactly do you know all this?"

 

"Goku likes to talk," Konzen replied with a shrug.  "Speaking of, I'm meeting him in a little while, you coming?"

 

*****

 

"Hey Konzen, how was your trip?" asked the tall, dark haired and muscular bouncer Tenpou now knew as Dokugakuji, Doku for short because drunk or sober, it rolled off the tongue better that way.

 

"Boring," Konzen replied with a flick of the wrist before gesturing back towards Tenpou. "This is T-…"

 

"Tenpou," Dokugakuji finished for the blond, and Tenpou smiled, "Back so soon?"

 

"It would appear so," replied Tenpou.

 

Doku opened the door for the two men, Tenpou still smiling, Konzen looking slightly confused, "Have fun," he said with a wink.

 

*****

 

Once both men were inside and the door had closed behind them Konzen stopped short in his tracks and turned to stare at Tenpou.

 

"What?" Tenpou asked, honestly curious about his friend's sudden scrutiny.

 

"I thought you said you hadn't talked to anybody."

 

Tenpou snorted, "On the contrary my friend, I said I had not talked to him."

 

"But you've chatted up everyone else?"

 

"Well no, not everyone," Tenpou replied smiling, "I've not met your aunt yet, nor have I been formally introduced to Goku's friend Nataku or this Goujun fellow I hear so much about…"

 

All Konzen could do was stare back blankly as he listened to Tenpou ramble on about all these different people, some of which he himself barely knew.  He'd forgotten how good Tenpou was at remembering when it came to people and names.

 

"…I'm looking forward to meeting Kougaiji one of these days and…"

 

Not knowing how much more he could take, Konzen raised a hand to silence his friend, "I get it, I get it.  But how do you know of all these people?"

 

Tenpou shrugged, "You said it yourself, Goku likes to talk.  Apparently you are not the only one who likes to listen.  It is quite amazing how much information he can spill in between songs."

 

Konzen rolled his eyes, "You should hear him when…on second thought, never mind."

 

At that Tenpou laughed.

 

*****

 

From his seat Goku scanned the building, particularly near the entrance as he waited for Konzen, and hopefully Tenpou, to arrive.  His muscles were twitchy and he couldn't sit still and he had no idea why.  When a hand landed on his shoulder he nearly jumped out of his skin.

 

"Hey now, settle down monkey, I'm sure the princess will be here soon enough."

 

Goku narrowed his eyes at the taunt towards Konzen but laughed none-the-less, "I'm not a monkey."

 

"Uh-huh," replied the dark haired man who took a seat beside him.

 

"One time," Goku replied laughing and scowling all at once, "It happened once and you're never gonna let me live it down are ya?"

 

"Nope," Kenren replied grinning from ear to ear as he too scanned the room, his eyes eventually landing upon a pair of men standing near the entryway, "Looks like the blond bombshell is finally here."

 

Hearing that Goku followed Kenren's line of sight until he too spotted Konzen talking to Tenpou who appeared to be slightly amused.

 

"Who's the hottie in white leather?" Kenren asked as he slid a cigarette between his lips.

 

"That's Tenpou," Goku replied trying to sound nonchalant.

 

"That's Tenpou?"

 

"Yeah."

 

Kenren smiled around his cigarette, "We'll I'll be damned."

 

At that Goku laughed.

 

*****

 

When Tenpou spotted Goku he smiled and raised his hand to wave but when he saw who sat next to him his hand dropped back to his side though the smile remained.

 

"Konzen, you wouldn't have had anything to do with this, would you?" he asked through his smile.

 

"Do with wha…oh," Konzen replied and Tenpou was pretty sure the man was hiding a laugh.  "No I didn't actually."

 

"So, Goku is not only a chatter box but a match maker as well?" Tenpou asked as he took the slightest step back.

 

"I guess so," Konzen replied as he grabbed a hold of Tenpou's coat sleeve, "Come on, no use running, they've already seen us."

 

*****

 

Kenren flicked a stray ash from his leg before standing to greet the two men as they approached the table.  From the corner of his eye he noticed Goku bounce to his feet as well as if taking a cue from him, as he often did.

 

When they stood just across the table from him Kenren didn't miss the way Konzen seemed to be leading Tenpou by his grip on the man's coat, even if it didn't seem very forceful.  He couldn't help but wonder if it was the contact and not the actual act of being pulled along that made Tenpou follow.  Frankly he look about as skittish as Goku, but in a different way.

 

Goku, Kenren knew, was exhibiting all the signs of someone who had fallen head over heels for another.  It was cute, but disturbing in a way.  In the years he'd known Goku he'd never seen the young man act in such a matter and he wasn't sure what to make of it, one way or the other.

 

Tenpou on the other hand looked as if he were trying desperately to hold on to something -- or maybe even let something go -- though obviously not in the physical sense.  Kenren couldn't help but wonder what this man had been like when he was a little younger for his eyes still had that look that said he'd once been wild, and maybe still was if the leather was any indication.  He hoped like hell Tenpou wasn't one of those guys that thought growing up meant no longer enjoying life.  He hated that kind of attitude and it would be a waste for such a lovely creature as Tenpou to be engulfed by the same dull outlook on life that Konzen sometimes possessed.

 

"Nice to finally meet you," Kenren said smiling after Konzen made the proper introductions, "Goku's told me a lot about you."

 

"Has he now?" Tenpou replied with a glance in Goku's direction.  "Both he and Konzen have been keeping me in the dark about you."

 

Kenren laughed as he sat back down, "Well, what can I say?  I guess it's just in my nature to leave people speechless."

 

When Tenpou laughed in response, Kenren was mildly relieved.  The man could take a joke, which was a good start, though he'd hadn't really been joking about what he said, but that was beyond the point.

 

"So, drinks, yes?" Kenren suggested as he placed another cigarette between his lips.

 

*****

 

Tenpou sat quietly sipping his drink once it was placed before him.  His mind was surprisingly blank and oddly at ease as he listened idly to Goku and Konzen 'catch up' -- which mostly involved Goku asking how the trip went and Konzen's monosyllable responses on a topic Tenpou knew the man thought as boring.  As long as he'd known him Konzen had never really been one to take much joy from his job, he just did what he knew how to do and found joy elsewhere.  It wasn't something Tenpou understood very well, but he no less accepted it.

 

Occasionally Tenpou allowed himself to glance at Kenren and he was always met with a smile that he couldn't really read which bothered him slightly.  Most people were an open book to him.  But he let it go for the time being; besides, he didn't even know the man. 

 

When Kenren managed to get in a word or two between Goku's ramblings, Tenpou gave the man his full attention, or at least he appeared to.  He caught the necessary bits and pieces, enough to respond properly and nod his head in all the right places but he just couldn't make himself concentrate fully on what the man said. 

 

It wasn't as if he wasn't interested, in fact he thought it might be because he was too interested that he could only concentrate on the way Kenren's lips wrapped around his cigarette or the way his bangs hung against his forehead instead of paying close attention to the actual words that came out of those lovely lips…

 

"Well this is a surprise.  Look who's come to grace us with his presence."

 

Kenren's words, all of which Tenpou caught, jerked him back to his senses.  He took a deep breath then nearly choked on it when he noticed the man who had been the target of Kenren's mildly sarcastic remark.

 

The man was tall, and Tenpou knew it wasn't just because they were sitting down and he was standing; he really was tall with hair that seemed impossibly white and long even though it was tied back in a loose pony tail.  Without a doubt, Tenpou knew this to be Goujun.  Goku had said previously that he was hard to miss and the young man hadn't been lying, though Tenpou didn't think it had so much to do with the height and the hair and the scales, but more the aura the man exuded.  Frankly he seemed rather out of place; like something out of time long passed that had somehow been thrust into the here and now.

 

"Good evening gentlemen," Goujun said with a pleasant smile that seemed to barely contain the sharp tongue that undoubtedly hid behind it.

 

All at the table responded to the greeting, Kenren with a 'yo' and a roll of the eyes and Goku with a 'hello' that seemed to be filled with a fair amount of reverence.  Of his three companions, only Konzen seemed to be completely unaffected, one way or the other, by the dragon's presence.

 

"Goujun, this is Tenpou," Konzen added after saying his hello.

 

Tenpou cleared his throat and stood to shake Goujun's hand, "Hello, nice to meet you."

 

"A pleasure," Goujun replied with the slightest hint of a bow.

 

When Tenpou sat back down he tried to let his gaze fall on Goku.  At that moment the young man seemed the safest place for his eyes to rest.

 

"Sorry to interrupt," Goujun continued a moment later, "But your aunt would like to have a word with you Konzen."

 

At that Konzen sighed and Kenren snorted.

 

"Since when did you become Aunty K's errand boy Goujun?" Kenren asked, his voice positively oozing with a strange mix of sarcasm and friendly fire that Tenpou found rather intriguing.  "I would've thought that sort of thing was beneath you."

 

Goujun snorted, "Jiroshin is ill, I am just giving Kanzeon a hand until he is on his feet again."

 

"Ah, what a kind soul you are dear Goujun."

 

"Oh can it, Kenren," Konzen interrupted before turning his attention to Goujun, "Do you know what the old hag wants?"

 

Goujun laughed politely and shook his head, "No, she just told me to send you into her office."  He paused, then turned his attention to Goku, "You too…monkey."

 

At that Goku blushed, Konzen snorted and Kenren laughed so hard that he nearly fell back in his chair.  Tenpou couldn't help but laugh as well, even though he had no idea what had just transpired; Kenren's laugh was just that infectious.  It was the kind of laugh that said "look at me, I'm enjoying life".

 

"I'm not a monkey," Goku mumbled as Kenren's laughter began to die off and Konzen rose from his seat, ruffling the young man's hair.

 

"Come on; let's go see what she wants."

 

"Ok," Goku replied obediently as he rose from his seat and followed Konzen away from the table.

 

For a moment after a strange silence passed over the table and between the three men that remained and Tenpou tried to think of something to break it.

 

"Care to join us?" He finally asked, it being the only thing he could think to say.  From his right he heard Kenren make an odd sort of sound and Tenpou wasn't sure if it was a good sound or a bad one.

 

"I cannot," Goujun replied, "I have things I must attend to this evening.  Kanzeon has me running around like a gerbil in a maze.  Jiroshin has far more patience then I when it comes to that woman."

 

"All the more reason to wish him a speedy recovery," Kenren replied as he raised his glass and smiled.

 

"Indeed," Goujun replied eyeing Kenren in an odd sort of way, "Tell me Kenren, where is your usual company this evening?"

 

At that Kenren's smile quickly disappeared and Tenpou though the man looked genuinely bothered by the dragon's remark. "Elsewhere," he replied sternly and Tenpou didn't miss the slight twinkle in Goujun's eye.

 

"Ah," Goujun replied with smug satisfaction and Tenpou couldn't help but wonder if the dragon had just scored a point in whatever little game the two seemed to be playing, "Well, you seem to be in good hands now, so I shall leave you two and continue with my work.  It was a pleasure to meet you Tenpou."

 

"You as well," Tenpou replied as he watched Goujun turn and walk away.  Once the dragon was some distance from the table Tenpou turned to look at Kenren, "That was interesting."

 

"You think so?" Kenren asked, a small smile returning to his face.

 

"Well, for lack of a better word, yes.  Are you two always so congenial?"

 

"It comes and goes," Kenren replied with a shrug.  "I imagine he'll be back to himself when he's done playing errand boy for Kanzeon."

 

"I see," Tenpou replied, not all together sure that he did, "He seems a bit out of place here."

 

Kenren laughed, then pulled a cigarette from the pack that lay on the table, "Oh he is.  He and Kanzeon go way back, he's just here to have something to do.  He's rather well off, doesn't really need the work.  I imagine he's here because he likes the scenery."

 

"Interesting," Tenpou repeated as he grabbed his own lighter and deftly produced a flame for Kenren, lighting a cigarette of his own afterward.

 

Both men sat smoking in silence after that and Tenpou noticed that Kenren spared him more then a few glances as he tried to be nonchalant about his own wayward eyes.  He tried to think of something interesting to say, but found he was enjoying the silence they were sharing even among the activity of the club around them.  It was all together quite comfortable; but like most moments of the sort, it didn't last long and this time the spell was broken by a tune he found oddly familiar.

 

Tenpou watched as Kenren twitched, surprised, before reaching a hand in his pocket and pulling out his cell phone, rolling his eyes when he glanced at the caller ID.

 

"Speak of the fuckin' devil and he will hear about it," Kenren said through a sigh, "I'll be back in a second."

 

"Take your time," Tenpou replied, smiling politely as he watched Kenren walk away from the table towards a door marked 'employees'.

 

Just like that, Tenpou found himself alone at the table that was once occupied by four.

 

"And then there was one," Tenpou mused as he began to actually pay attention to everything that was going on around him, his eyes falling on one of the dancers who was currently up on stage.  He watched half dazed as Kenren's ring tone played about in his head.  He knew the song, but for the life of him he couldn't place it.

 

Minutes passed and Tenpou lost himself in watching the dancer up on the stage.  He was amazed by how hypnotic the man's movements seemed to be, as if they were whisking him away to another reality…

 

"Want to go to my place?"

 

Tenpou practically jumped from his seat as he turned his attention to Kenren who seemed to have materialized from out of thin air right beside him.

 

"Huh?" was about all his startled brain could muster.

 

"You, me, Konzen, Goku.  My place?" Kenren replied with a grin, "It's just down the street, walking distance really."

 

"Oh, um…sure," Tenpou replied feeling slightly more flustered by the invitation then he thought he should.

 

"Cool, I'll go see what's keeping Blondie and the monkey, meet you outside?"

 

"OK," Tenpou replied, "but what about our drinks?"

 

"Already taken care of."

 

"Oh, thanks."

 

"Anytime."

 

*****

 

"Leaving so soon?" Dokugakuji asked as he opened the door for Tenpou.

 

"Apparently," Tenpou replied, "I guess we are moving on to Kenren's apartment."

 

"Oh yeah?" Doku replied with a smirk.

 

Tenpou chuckled, "Yeah, the four of us."

 

"Hey, whatever floats your boat."

 

Tenpou shook his head but laughed none the less.

 

"Ah, here's the little devil now," Doku said through his thoroughly amused grin as Kenren walked out the door.

 

"He givin' you any lip?" Kenren asked with a nod in the bouncer's direction.

 

Tenpou smiled and shook his head again.

 

"That's good; I'd hate to have to kick his ass."

 

"As if you could," Dokugakuji replied, puffing up to his full height.

 

"We'll see about that," Kenren answered back with a playful punch before deftly dodging out of reach of the larger man, "Later though, right now I have a guest to entertain."

 

"Oh of course," replied Doku with his patented wink, "You two have fun now."

 

"We will.  Tell the little woman I said hello."

 

Doku snorted, "You know, Kou'd kick your ass if he heard you call him that."

 

"Well then, it's a good thing he's not here," Kenren replied as they began to walk away, "I'm not sure I could take both of you at the same time."

 

*****

 

"Where are Konzen and Goku?" Tenpou asked simply out of curiosity as they began their stroll through the parking lot.

 

"They're gonna meet us at my place.  Goku knows where he's going."

 

"Are we walking?"

 

"Nah, I drove," Kenren replied as they came to a halt in front of a late model black corvette, it's obviously aftermarket alarm chirping at their approach, "I was gonna go somewhere later but, well, change of plans."

 

"Oh," Tenpou murmured, not sure of what else to say.  He was starting to wonder if maybe he was intruding on something.

 

"Don't give me that look," Kenren replied, "Besides, you're far more interesting."

 

"Am I?" Tenpou asked rather blankly as Kenren opened the corvette's passenger door.

 

"Yeah, you are."

 

*****

 

Kenren had been right; his apartment building really was with in walking distance.  He wondered if he lived close to his place of employment for any specific reason, or if it was just a matter of convenience.

 

When they entered the apartment, Tenpou found himself quite impressed.  It was spacious, but that wasn't what caught Tenpou's eye.  No, it was more the fact that the apartment seemed so clean and organized and…loved.  Tenpou's own house didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of ever looking that nice, though he imagined his occupation had something to do with it.

 

The apartment had a sort of 'New York meets the Orient' look to it and someone had put a lot of effort into making sure the bamboo and assorted trinkets actually worked with the leather sofa and rather large flat screen TV.  It was an impressive job, to be sure, though one piece seemed to stand out among all of the other decorations.

 

Tenpou's appraisal reflexes kicked in the second he saw the samurai daisho displayed reverently on a stand that was far newer then the two swords it held.  The swords were old but well kept and Tenpou couldn't help but wonder who had given them to Kenren for he was pretty sure they were well out of the price range of even the most talented of dancers.  Tenpou had clients of his own that would most literally give their right arm for the swords that were displayed before him.

 

"You like?" Kenren asked and Tenpou could practically hear the pleased smile on the man's face.  He had a feeling it was quite obvious that he liked the two swords.

 

"I do, very much," Tenpou replied as he gestured to the larger of the two swords, "May I?"

 

"Knock yourself out."

 

"Thank you," Tenpou replied as he carefully removed the sword from the stand, delighted by the weight of the piece in his hand.  When he slowly removed the sword from its sheath the blade made a lovely sound, one that had always thrilled Tenpou to hear.  Sometimes he wondered if perhaps he'd be born in the wrong era.

 

"They were my father's," Kenren added a few moments later while Tenpou was getting a feel for the sword in his hand, "and his father's before him and so on."

 

"Mmm," Tenpou replied almost off in another world, "They are lovely pieces to hand down from father to son.  I know many people who would kill for these."

 

When Kenren laughed Tenpou couldn't help but smile, "Yeah, I bet my ancestor's knew people like that too."

 

"Yes, I'm sure they did," Tenpou agreed as he re-sheathed the sword and gently placed it back on the stand continuing to eye the swords that were more like pieces of art then weaponry, as far as he was concerned.  He stayed like that, unmoving, until a glass seemed to materialize before him and a warm breath tickled at his ear.

 

"And how is it that you've come to appreciate such weaponry?" Kenren asked, his voice whisper soft as if he were speaking of more private things.

 

"I deal in antiques," Tenpou replied casually as he took the proffered drink from Kenren's hand having to resist the urge to lean back against the body that was suddenly so close, "I buy, sell, and appraise them."

 

"I bet you have an impressive collection of your own then," Kenren crooned in his ear.

 

"You could say that," Tenpou replied with a smirk, "Though none are as old as these."

 

For a moment after the words were out of his mouth there was silence except for the sound of Kenren's gentle breath in his ear; then as suddenly as it had appeared it was gone and Tenpou reminded himself that he should probably start breathing again before he took a sip from the glass he held in his hand.

 

"So, you specialize in weapons then?" Kenren asked, his words no longer whispered, his breath no longer playing at Tenpou's ear. 

 

Tenpou turned to find Kenren sitting on his leather sofa almost disappearing into it for all the black he wore.

 

"No, I specialize in books, maps and other documentation.  Everything else sort of fell into my lap."

 

"Lucky you," Kenren practically purred and Tenpou would have asked for further clarification on that statement if it weren't for their second interruption of the evening, once again in the form of Kenren's cell phone.  "I think someone up there has it in for us."

 

"Hmm, it would appear so," Tenpou replied as he watched Kenren rise gracefully from the couch to where he'd set his phone down when they arrived.

 

"Ah, the ice princess calleth," Kenren reported through an annoyed smile and Tenpou suddenly had an idea as to why Konzen might be calling.  "What's up Blondie, you guys get lost or somethin'?"

 

Tenpou knew that wasn't the case, and he assumed Kenren did as well, considering you could see Kenren's building from the club.

 

"Oh, I see," Kenren replied to whatever answer Konzen had given him, "Well, by all means, don't let us stop you from enjoyin' a little slap and tickle."

 

Tenpou couldn't help but laugh at the way Kenren spoke to Konzen.

 

"Hey, no problem, I can give him a ride," Kenren said with a wink and Tenpou couldn't hold back the slight blush that suddenly crossed his cheeks, "Uh-huh, have fun."

 

"They're not coming?" Tenpou asked as Kenren pocketed the phone.  He was stating the obvious, and he knew it, but he couldn't think of anything else to say.

 

"Don't worry, I can give you a ride home," Kenren replied, "Konzen has to take care of some monkey business."

 

Tenpou snorted, "Well, what should we do then?"

 

*****

 

Tenpou leaned back heavily against the leather couch, the glass in his hand nearly empty, save for the melting ice.  His abdominal muscles ached in a way they seldom did and every outburst of laughter he couldn't keep back made his muscles hurt even more.  It had been a long time since he'd laughed so long and so hard.  He could blame it on the alcohol, but he knew that wasn't the case.  Kenren seemed to have some of the most outrageous stories he'd ever heard, and that was saying something considering Tenpou had been around the block and back a few times.

 

"Where…did he get…the banana from?" Tenpou asked between breaths.

 

"I have no idea," Kenren replied, "all I know is that he was munchin' on it like there was no tomorrow."

 

Tenpou held back another bought of laughter, "And everybody saw him?"

 

"Heh, yeah, pretty much.  We were all gathered 'round his cage laughin' and he just sat there eatin' that damned banana.  He even scratched his head a few times.  That sealed the deal.  He didn't realize until later why we were laughin' so hard."

 

"The poor kid.  He's going to be stuck with that nickname for awhile, isn't he?"

 

"Oh yeah," Kenren replied grinning, "If even Goujun's taken to calling him monkey then there's no hope of it going away anytime soon."

 

"I wish I could have seen that," Tenpou said through a soft smile before taking the last sip from his glass.

 

"You can," Kenren replied, "Kou was at the club that night taking pictures for one of his projects.  Just talk to him, he'll show you."

 

"Poor kid," Tenpou repeated through a chuckle, "Have you known him long?"

 

"Goku?  Yeah, since he was a kid."

 

Tenpou raised his eyebrows, "He's not much older then a kid now."

 

"He's older then you think," Kenren replied as he grabbed Tenpou's empty glass and walked to the kitchen, presumably for a second refill.  Or perhaps the third, he hadn't been paying much attention to anything other then Kenren and his stories.

 

"How did you meet him?"

 

"He's the youngest son of one of my father's business partners.  He used to follow me around when we were forced to attend their business functions.  I guess we just sorta clicked."

 

"Did you two ever…" as soon as the words were out of his mouth Tenpou tried to cut them short.  He couldn't believe he even dared to pry.  He barely knew the man.

 

Kenren laughed from the kitchen, "Nah, he's too much like a younger brother."

 

"Ah," Tenpou replied, still mortified by his faux pas.  He wondered if he should apologize…

 

"…what about you and Konzen?" Kenren called back from the kitchen, his voice dotted by the clink of ice against glass.

 

"Huh?  What about me and Konzen?" Tenpou didn't like where this was going.

 

"When did you meet?"

 

"Oh, about seven years ago.  He sells personal property insurance; one of our mutual clients introduced us."

 

"And when did the sparks start to fly?" Kenren asked as he sauntered back into the living room, two fresh drinks in hand.

 

"Wha?" Tenpou managed, feigning innocence the best he could and he probably would have succeeded if not for the blush the crept up on his face.

 

"Now now.  Don't give me that.  It was written all over your face the second you walked in to the club with him."

 

"But…"

 

"Hey, you started it."

 

He had a point there.  Now he really did regret asking about Goku.  Taking the new drink from Kenren's hand Tenpou took a healthy swig before he answered the question currently on the table, "It was a couple years after we met and it lasted for a couple years after that.  Sometimes I think he just got bored with the whole situation."

 

"Huh.  Well, that sounds like the ice princess we all know and love."

 

Tenpou smiled crookedly, "We were different people in those days.  We'd go to parties, drink ourselves silly, fuck all night, pass out for a couple hours and somehow manage to work eight to ten hour days.  Rise, wash, repeat."

 

Kenren laughed and grinned slyly, "So, what you're telling me is that I really should be putting more vodka in your drinks?"

 

Hearing the words, Tenpou felt a warm ball of heat come to life in the pit of his stomach.  "I doubt that would be necessary," he mumbled into his drink as he closed his eyes.  For some reason he didn't think he could bear to see Kenren's reaction to what he just said, considering he couldn't believe he had said it himself.

 

"Is that so?" Kenren replied and once again he could hear the smile on the man's face. 

 

Tenpou took a deep breath, nodded and opened his eyes to find Kenren staring back intently.  He tried to think of something to say as Kenren leaned closer, but for the umpteenth time that night words seemed to fail him.  He decided to take that as a sign as he lowered the glass he still held in his hand.

 

When Kenren reached out a steady hand and began to run his fingers through his shoulder length hair Tenpou closed his eyes again, this time not to hide away, but to savor the contact.  There was something incredibly gentle in the way Kenren ran his fingers through Tenpou's hair; it made him tingle uncontrollably.  When Kenren's hand trailed its way dawn the back of his neck, Tenpou let out a quiet sigh which quickly turned into a slightly louder moan when Kenren cupped the base of his neck in a more possessive fashion, pulling him close.

 

When their lips touched, Kenren let out a pleased little groan and Tenpou inhaled sharply and suddenly that ball of heat that had been building in his stomach seem to explode, filling him with a sort of urgency he hadn't felt in a long time.  He parted his lips and allowed his tongue to dart forward to flick at Kenren's lips which were strong with taste of vodka and nicotine.

 

When Kenren let out what sounded like a purr of delight Tenpou shivered and quickly reached out to touch Kenren in any way he could, completely forgetting about the glass that he had been holding against his leg and it fell to the floor with a dull thud, it's contents splashing out onto the tan carpet.

 

Tenpou blinked hard as he felt the blush rise to his cheeks, "Shit.  Sorry," he managed weekly as he peered down at the glass that has fallen from his grip.  He suddenly felt like a teenager again, in more ways then one.

 

"I seem to have that effect on people," Kenren replied through a good natured laugh, "I'll get something to clean it up."

 

"Ok," Tenpou replied, still dazed, "Sorry.  Again."

 

"Heh, forget about it, seriously.  It's no big deal."

 

Tenpou nodded and let his eyes follow Kenren as the man walked into the kitchen to grab a towel, "At least it just vodka and tonic and not…" Kenren began before being cut off by a melody that Tenpou was beginning to hate.

 

Kenren rolled his eyes as he tossed the towel towards Tenpou before fishing his cell phone from his pocket.

 

Catching the towel Tenpou grumbled inwardly as he picked up the glass which had thankfully remained intact.  He was starting to think that Kenren had been right, someone, somewhere must have it in for them and it frustrated him further that he still couldn't figure out what song the damned ring tone was from.

 

"Kenren's house of pain, how can I hurt you?"

 

Hearing Kenren's rather odd way of answering the phone nearly caused Tenpou to lose his grip on the glass once more and he set it down gently on the coffee table before he had a chance to actually break the thing.  He set himself to sopping up the spilled drink, trying his best not to listen to the only side of the conversation he could hear.  In this regard, he failed miserably.

 

"…I'm actually entertaining a guest at the moment."

 

"…I already told you earlier.  I wanted a quiet night at home.  I spend enough time at the club as it is."

 

"…that is none of your business."

 

Tenpou continued to blot the wet spots on the carpet, occasionally picking up a stray piece of ice and dropping it back into the glass with a clink that seemed to echo through the apartment.

 

"…you know, for a guy whose favorite line seems to be 'no strings attached' Homura sure seems to be trying to keep a close eye on me…"

 

Tenpou froze mid blot at the mention of Homura.  Somehow he had managed to forget that Kenren was in fact involved with someone, more then one someone in fact, though he had no idea to what extent.  Suddenly, the only thought that continued to flicker around in his head was that he shouldn't be there. 

 

"…well, my dear Zenon, you can tell him that his interest is perfectly capable of protecting itself…"

 

It wasn't a happy realization to make, but Tenpou was beginning to think he should have just stayed home.

 

"…I'm gonna hang up now.  I'm sure you can pick something up to fill the void…"

 

Tenpou did not look up when he heard Kenren's phone flip closed; instead he chose to focus on the individual fibers that made up the carpet.

 

"Ok, what's the damage report?" Kenren asked as he re-entered the living room and Tenpou couldn't help but wonder if Kenren meant the carpet or something else entirely.

 

"Minimal," Tenpou replied, opting to go with the carpet.  He quickly blotted it a few more times before continuing.  "It should be fine, like you said; it's just vodka and tonic."

 

Silence reigned for a moment and Tenpou couldn't escape the feeling that Kenren was eyeing him intently.  Unable to keep staring at the carpet any longer, Tenpou glanced up at Kenren, who flinched slightly, though Tenpou was not sure why.

 

"You ok?" Kenren asked.

 

Tenpou nodded, barely.  "Just vodka and tonic," he repeated quietly.

 

Kenren sighed, "Sorry that you had to hear that."

 

"So am I," Tenpou replied solemnly as he stood and gently tossed the now wet towel to Kenren, "I should get going."

 

Kenren groaned, "Don't do that."

 

"I really should, I have a long day tomorrow, clients and all that," Tenpou replied as he took his jacket from where it hung.

 

"Well, at least let me give you a ride home," Kenren offered, smiling.

 

Tenpou allowed a soft smile to play across his face, "Don't worry about it, I'll just grab a taxi."

 

"Are you sure?"

 

"Yeah," Tenpou replied as he opened the apartment's front door.

 

"Alright," Kenren replied, the smile fading from his face, "See you around, yeah?"

 

"I'd like that," Tenpou said with a nod as he walked out into the hallway, closing the door behind him.

 

*****

 

Kenren sighed as he draped the towel over his shoulder and collected the two glasses that sat on the coffee table, finishing what remained of his own drink as he walked into the kitchen.  He gently set the glasses in the sink before resting his hands on the end of the counter. 

 

"Fuckin' Homura," he grumbled to the empty apartment, "Fuckin' Zenon.  Fuckin'…fuck."

 

As he stood there, he tried to recall what it was like to have Tenpou lips on his own, but he was too pissed to conjure the memory.

 

"Fuckin' hell!" he barked as he tossed the towel into the sink and exited the kitchen.

 

He needed a shower.  A cold one preferably as there were now several parts of him that needed to cool down.

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