Silence That Is Incomprehensible

Follows some of Hyuuga and Ayanami’s possible history with each other pre-canon, from the Academy through the aftermath of the war. Includes porn without sex and s/m without the whip which, while quite consensual, is not particularly sane. Drama, Character Study, Porn, Kink, I-4

Character(s): Ayanami, Hyuuga, Katsuragi, Yukikaze
Pairing(s): Ayanami/Hyuuga

Hyuuga met Ayanami his first week at the Academy, and that meeting set the tone for everything that came after.

The whole class was out in a courtyard for beginning zaiphon training, and the teacher was yelling at Hyuuga. Nothing unexpected.

“Hyuuga-kun! You’re here to learn to use your zaiphon, not to learn ballroom dancing!”

“But sensei,” Hyuuga lilted as he sprang aside from yet another clumsy stroke by his training partner that barely left a scorch on the flagstones, “it’s more fun this way! Besides,” he added, as Shigetsu-sensei started to turn red in the face, “why should I wear myself out when a sword is so much faster?” He sprinted lightly forward and spun to come up at the Ochi kid’s back, sword laid lightly against his neck.

More to the point, why should Hyuuga show his zaiphon here, where it was just possible someone would recognize what he was by seeing it? Not that he could say that out loud.

“What are you going to do if you can’t use that sword of yours and never trained in this?” Shigetsu-sensei snapped back while Ochi swallowed tightly. Hyuuga would have to admit it was a good point, if he were actually untrained. Since he wasn’t, he was just summoning his sunniest smile and another good line of bullshit when another of his classmates cut in.

“Perhaps a greater challenge is in order, then?” It was the cool boy with the silvery hair who stepped up to stand beside him. Ayanami, that was it. Who proceeded to push Hyuuga’s sword away from Ochi’s neck with precise, gloved fingers, using just enough pressure to move a lightly-held blade without cutting himself. Hyuuga’s brows rose. This one was pretty observant. “May we switch partners, sensei? I believe Hiroki-kun would be better served to start with someone closer to his own experience.”

Hyuuga sheathed his sword and glanced over his shoulder to see Ayanami’s training partner, who was standing in the middle of a swath of deeply etched stone and shaking. Shigetsu-sensei looked too and sighed. “Yes, yes, fine. You take Hyuuga-kun, then. Maybe you’ll rub off on him. We can hope,” he grumbled as he herded Ochi and Hiroki off to the side to work on some basic focusing exercises.

Ayanami didn’t speak, just beckoned to Hyuuga and turned to pace gravely through the, mostly pretty small, explosions their classmates were managing. Hyuuga blinked as he trailed after; had this guy been raised in a monastery or something? Or maybe he was from one of those noble families that was really strict and formal. Ayanami led the way through an arched arcade and into a smaller court, off to the side of the general training melee, before he stopped and turned to fix an intent look on Hyuuga. “You favor the sword?” he asked, after a moment.

The sharpness of his eyes, the pinpoint focus in them, tugged at Hyuuga, sent a tingle down his nerves. He slid his hands along his hilts and decided, impulsively, to give a true answer. “I am the sword.”

Ayanami didn’t frown or look puzzled, the way most people did. He just nodded. “Then we should train with both.” He drew his own, perfectly regulation, sword with one hand and a swift coil of zaiphon circled the other. “Guard yourself.”

The instinct he’d been born and trained to jabbed Hyuuga sharply, and both his own swords swept out to meet the fast lick of Ayanami’s blade even as he leaped to avoid the lash of zaiphon that could have taken his leg off. Another three exchanges of steel, and zaiphon came scything in again. Hyuuga’s lips drew back off his teeth as the world sharpened around him and he rolled down and back up in a scissoring attack on Ayanami’s casting hand. This was good. He hadn’t thought to find a real opponent among the other students, but this one… this one might have the edge he craved. The edge his sword needed to stay true.

He danced and spun through the storm of Ayanami’s sword and zaiphon, starting to feel the pattern of them and know where he needed to strike. Ayanami was strong, but a straight sword couldn’t counter the subtle binding of a curved edge, and the harshest, most precise zaiphon was no use if it didn’t connect. There was an opening. Here. Here.

Hyuuga spun, wakizashi coming up from below as his katana bound Ayanami’s sword, and Ayanami’s last zaiphon attack would go just past Hyuuga’s shoulder. He could see it, feel it, see the reflection of it in the widening of Ayanami’s eyes. Hyuuga laughed with the absolute purity of the moment as he struck.

Just before his short blade touched home, the circle of zaiphon around Ayanami’s hand snapped into an expanding sphere.

Hyuuga didn’t have time to yelp, barely had time to cross his blades and channel a desperate burst of zaiphon through them, before the lash of Ayanami’s power struck him and blew him back into the unforgiving stone wall of the courtyard with crushing force.

His swords rang on the pavement in the sudden quiet as he collapsed to his hands and knees, coughing for breath. He stared with blank, stunned eyes down at the flagstones under his palms. His defense had been good for a last-minute effort, but it had broken; he’d felt Ayanami’s zaiphon against his skin. The taste of it couldn’t be mistaken. “You,” he rasped, and stopped, because there was a cool edge of steel under his chin. He looked up the length of Ayanami’s sword to meet those still, intent eyes.

“Do you yield?” Ayanami inquired calmly.

A shiver ran down Hyuuga’s spine, hot with recognition and chill with excitement. His teachers had told him, repeatedly, that a swordsman must always be prepared to meet someone stronger. He’d been torn between hoping and scoffing; it was already clear that he would be stronger than his teachers very soon, and they were the best in Barsburg. He still hadn’t met a stronger swordsman, today. But Hyuuga had spoken the truth then he said he was the sword.

And the greatest of swords required, not just another sword to meet, but a hand to wield them.

“I yield to you,” he said quietly, and watched Ayanami’s brow quirk. Yes. Ayanami heard at least some of what Hyuuga meant. He pushed himself upright, grinning as Ayanami sheathed his blade. “Aya-san is sneaky.”

Ayanami actually blinked at that. “I beg your pardon?” Hyuuga’s grin widened. Good; he liked Ayanami’s seriousness but it was possible to have too much of a good thing.

“I bet you knew what I was all along,” he accused with a playful pout. “You could have just said.”

“I was reasonably sure,” Ayanami agreed, unruffled again. “My family keeps track of these things. But it’s well to be entirely sure, when possible. For that, I needed to see your zaiphon.”

Hyuuga hauled himself back to his feet, one hand against the wall to steady himself as he bent to retrieve his swords. “Even using mine, I couldn’t hold you off," he acknowledged ruefully, feeling his ribs creak. He’d have some spectacular bruises tomorrow.

“You’re not weak, though. That’s good.” Ayanami stepped closer, voice turning softer and deeper. “There are indications that the Emperor is considering sanctioning some of us, to serve the Empire. The strongest of our generation are being sent to the Academy for that reason.”

Hyuuga sucked in a quick breath, eyes wide. “Sanctioning us?” he whispered. “But, the Church…” Warsfeil were anathema. Unholy. Both Barsburg and Raggs executed any proven Warsfeil. In fact, the Empire had been getting even more stringent about that, lately, enough that the Fallen families had stopped talking even with each other for fear of drawing the Emperor’s attention.

All except Ayanami’s family, apparently.

Ayanami’s eyes were cool and level. “The Pope has been favoring Raggs increasingly, of late. If the Empire finds itself in need of a counterweight to the Church’s strength, then we will serve that purpose.”

Hyuuga whistled softly. “You think it’s really coming?” He’d hears whispers of war for years, but only ever half believed them.

“Whatever comes, I will meet it in the Empire’s service.” Ayanami might have been remarking on the chance of rain later that day, but Hyuuga had tasted his edge now, and heard the fire underneath that coolness. “And you?”

Hyuuga grinned; he thought he would like being Ayanami’s sword. “Anything you say, Aya-san.”

Hyuuga wasn’t really surprised when both he and Ayanami were posted inside headquarters after graduation. Someone among the higher-ups must know what he and Ayanami were; his personal pick was Field Marshal Miroku, who seemed to be making a hobby of Ayanami’s career. Miroku had a reputation as a cunning strategist who knew when to gamble and when to stand pat. He was gambling on the Academy-trained Warsfeil, but not so wildly that he’d let them out from under his eye. Hyuuga understood that. It just didn’t make the first handful years before their real assignment came through any less boring.

And their real assignment wasn’t actually that much of an improvement.

“Oh come on,” Hyuuga groaned, flopping over the back of his chair and letting the letter of appointment flutter down to the table beside his crossed boots. “We need Imperial permission to leave headquarters?” On pain of having their dispensation to, you know, keep living revoked. Great.

“We will have plenty of work in the field,” Ayanami said, hands folded composedly on the table. Hyuuga’s mouth quirked at the cool look Aya-san was giving his propped up boots.

“Well, at least you got a promotion out of it. A Major in just three years!”

Ayanami flicked his fingers. “An administrative promotion.”

“Mm.” Their third member was watching them, leaning on his elbows with his clasped hands against his mouth. “I must presume that the Field Marshal judges you will be a better leader for this unit than I would.”

Since Masaru had been a Captain before Ayanami, Hyuuga filled in silently; it had been pretty blatant, to promote Aya-san over him so abruptly. He eyed Masaru, wondering if this would be a problem, fingers tapping thoughtfully against his katana hilt.

“I expect formal rank to mean little among us,” Ayanami answered evenly, banked fire in every word. “All that truly matters is our strength, and ability to serve the needs of the Empire. That is the purpose of this unit, and we will fulfill it. Titles mean nothing beside that.”

Masaru’s eyes had narrowed at Ayanami’s first words, a faint haze of almost-zaiphon flickering around his fingers as if he expected a challenge to follow them. By the last words, though he was staring, wide-eyed. Hyuuga grinned; he supposed it could be a little hard to believe, the first time a person came up against that true steel dedication.

“I understand,” Masaru said slowly, and bent his head a little. “Ayanami-sama.”

“Yep, that’s our Aya-san,” Hyuuga agreed expansively, leaning his chair back on two legs. Ayanami’s hand twitched for a moment, as if with the urge to give Hyuuga’s boots a brisk shove and topple him all the way over, and Masaru gave him a mildly admonishing look for his familiarity with their commander. Hyuuga grinned, lacing his hands behind his head.

Maybe their confinement wouldn’t be quite such a hassle as he’d thought.

A year later, the Black Hawks had four members, the newest fresh out of the Academy and assigned as Ayanami’s Begleiter. Hyuuga, long familiar with Ayanami’s desperately workaholic habits, approved mightily.

Besides, Yukikaze was cute.

“Yuki-chan!” he sang, swooping in over the back of Yukikaze’s desk chair only to stop short with a grin at the extremely sharp letter opener that was suddenly pressing up under his chin. He liked this kid.

“Yes, Hyuuga-san?” Yukikaze asked calmly, still writing in Ayanami’s schedule book with his other hand.

“I got you some of that candy you were drooling over the other day,” Hyuuga told him, dropping the paper bag onto the desk so that a few hard candies rolled temptingly out of it. Yukikaze flushed.

“I was not drooling!” He gathered up Ayanami’s schedule, ignoring the candy, and marched it over to their commander’s desk.

“Hm? Must have been mistaken, then.” Hyuuga picked up one of the spilled candies and unwrapped it with a deliberate crackle. Yukikaze spun back around just in time to see Hyuuga popping it into his mouth. “Mm! Oh, hey, these are good.” A little sweet, a little tangy: actually he kind of liked that. Maybe he’d have to snitch some more.

Yukikaze was back at his desk in a flash, sweeping the rest of the candy into its bag and whisking the bag into his desk drawer. Hyuuga laughed. “See, I knew you liked them.”

“I never claimed I didn’t like them,” Yukikaze pointed out. “I just said I wasn’t drooling.”

“Yukikaze,” Ayanami’s murmur cut through their byplay, “didn’t I have an appointment with Procurement after the meeting with the Committee on Military Research this afternoon?”

“Yes, Ayanami-sama.” Yukikaze straightened up from locking his drawer. “I spoke with the General’s secretary, though. Your meetings with Military Research usually run long, and it turns out that Procurement only really needs your signature.”

Ayanami’s brow rose. “I believe that was my decision to make.”

Yukikaze stood even straighter, nearly at attention, but his tone was firm. Almost scolding. “You’re over-scheduled, Ayanami-sama. The other departments take advantage of your conscientiousness. There’s no excuse for it.”

Ayanami sat back in his chair, eyeing Yukikaze coolly, but the corner of his mouth had quirked up with what Hyuuga could tell was amusement. “I see. That’s your considered and experienced opinion, hm?”

Yukikaze bowed without losing one bit of his stubborn expression. “Please forgive me if I’ve overstepped myself, Ayanami-sama. But it’s my duty to look after your work and health both, and I will do so to the very best of my ability.”

After a long, silent moment of locked stares, Ayanami set down his schedule book and picked up the report he’d been reading again. “Bring me the document Procurement needs me to sign, then,” he directed.

Yukikaze lit up with a soft smile that wasn’t even a little triumphant. “Yes, Ayanami-sama.”

Hyuuga drifted over to lean on Aya-san’s chair. “Aya-tan is so cute with his Yuki-chan,” he cooed, and just had to laugh at the identically annoyed looks they both gave him.

It really was kind of adorable.

Five years after the Black Hawks were founded, Hyuuga was pretty satisfied with life. They were a tight unit, and they had enough sweeping successes under their collective belt that the fear he saw every day in the halls had turned from “monsters from under the bed” fear into “deadly elite unit” fear. People got out of their way, and Generals quaked in their boots when they saw Ayanami coming. Hyuuga approved.

So when Yukikaze came to him with the news that Ayanami had locked himself into his rooms and wasn’t answering the door, it was a bit of a shock.

He smiled for Yukikaze, though, and patted his shoulder. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll go see what’s up. You just make sure his paperwork stays caught up.” He strolled down to their quarters, tucked away in a spare corner of officer territory so they could all stay close, even though it meant a smaller room than Ayanami was entitled to by now. Sure enough, Aya-san’s door was closed and locked.

Hyuuga shrugged and pulled out his wakizashi to bang on the metal door with the metal guard. “Aya-tan!” he caroled loudly. “Open up for your evening serenade! This is your five minute warning!” He checked his watch and leaned against the wall, whistling piercingly and tunelessly just to make sure Ayanami knew he hadn’t gone away.

At four minutes and thirty-five seconds, the lock clicked.

Hyuuga frowned a little when the door wasn’t opened, but it slid open at his touch. All the lights were off, when he stepped in, and his eyes narrowed. He slipped aside, back to the wall, and let the door hiss shut again. “Aya-san?”

One of the shadows beside the polarized window stirred.

“What is it?” Hyuuga asked quietly. It wasn’t like their driven commander to brood, much less lock out his own unit. Had they gotten a suicide mission or something?

Ayanami’s voice was low and velvety in the dimness. “How many demands on your loyalty will you accept, Hyuuga?”

Hyuuga cocked his head, watching details emerge as his eyes adjusted. Aya-san had his back turned, as if looking out the darkened window. “As many as you make, you know that.”

“And if I demanded your eyes and your hands?” Ayanami asked, so distant and casual it made Hyuuga’s neck prickle. That was how Aya-san sounded when he talked to Generals: disengaged. He shouldn’t sound like that with his own people. “If I demanded your body to move to my command?”

Hyuuga crossed his arms, leaning his shoulders back against the chill of the wall. “You have those already,” he pointed out. “I’m your sword. You can wield me as you wish.”

Finally, Ayanami turned to face him, eyes gleaming in the half-light. “And if I demanded your life? Your soul in my hand?”

Hyuuga blinked. Was that what this was about? “Aya-tan,” he sighed, running a hand thought his hair. “We’re all Warsfeil here, you don’t have to dance around the question. If you want a soul contract to act through me, all you have to do is say.” Never mind that such a thing was legend. This was Aya-san; if he thought he could do it, Hyuuga would believe he could.

Ayanami stepped away from the window. “Are you saying you agree?”

Hyuuga snorted and shoved off the wall. He crossed the room to Ayanami in a few firm steps and dropped down to his knees, catching Ayanami’s hand and pressing it to his chest. “Don’t insult me,” he said low and fierce, looking up. “You’ve had my soul in your palm from the day we first fought. If you choose to close your hand now, that’s your right. Take whatever you want from me.”

Ayanami stood very still for two long breaths before his other hand finally lifted and threaded through Hyuuga’s hair, fingers gentle. “Yes,” he murmured.

That was all the warning Hyuuga got before ice was driving into his chest, into something that wasn’t his body. Burning cold fingers kneaded the very core of him, unbearably intimate, and he was distantly aware of his body, pulled into a bone-cracking arch of tension, of his voice, hoarse and wordless. It was more intense than any pain or pleasure he’d ever felt and in the roaring silence of his mind he prayed for it to continue and begged for it to stop. One of Ayanami’s hands cradled his head carefully while the other touched him, traced him, pulled his soul in half, stretching his life and breath agonizingly thin as part was taken away from him into darkness.

Slowly, he noticed he was shaking. That his throat was raw. That the darkness around him was the dimness of Ayanami’s rooms. That he was being held against Ayanami’s shoulder as every muscle shuddered helplessly. His soul, the part of him that commanded Wars and shaped zaiphon, ached and burned, but he could still feel, just a little, the coolness of Ayanami’s fingers stroking it.

The key of his life belonged to Ayanami, now.

Which made today no different than yesterday, really.

“Told you so,” he finally managed, husky, and Ayanami’s shoulder trembled against his chest with a silent chuckle.

“Indeed.” Aya-san’s voice was warm again.

A bare few weeks later, it was Masaru’s turn to spend several days pale and wobbly, and that was when Hyuuga started to wonder, and to remember just who it was that legend said could do such things to living human souls. Let alone two or three at once. It wasn’t until years later that he remembered that the week Ayanami had taken Hyuuga’s soul to him had been the same week that the Emperor’s chief researcher had received a medal for unspecified services to the Empire, and the week that young Princess Ouka had been confirmed as heir.

The princess who would eventually wield the Eye of Raphael in war—or, at least, who would be used to do so. The researcher who tampered with the Eye and its master so that another could command it. The Eye that was said to seal the power of Verloren.

Knowing made no difference to him, of course.

Hyuuga didn’t think the soul division had any side-effects, under most circumstances. But the day Ayanami came to them and said, “War is declared,” he knew the driving fire of dedication that licked at his heart wasn’t his own. That was the taste of Aya-san.

He could see it catching in all of them.

Masaru bowed, hand on his sword hilt. “What are our duties, Ayanami-sama?” he asked, eagerness burning through his usual smiling courtesy.

“We are tasked with capturing or killing the Raggs royal family.” Ayanami’s face was still and intent. “Nothing must be permitted to interfere or hinder us. Nothing.”

Even Yukikaze, normally the gentlest of them, was hard-eyed. “Nothing will. We swear it, Ayanami-sama.”

Hyuuga bent his head, smiling. “Don’t worry, Aya-tan.” He met their commander’s eyes over the edge of his glasses. “It’ll be our pleasure.”

Ayanami’s fire flared in his blood, and Hyuuga’s breath caught softly. “Entirely our pleasure,” he purred.

The war was over. It had taken a hard toll on the Black Hawks. Masaru was officially dead and had returned to them only in the guise of an enemy: Katsuragi.

Yukikaze was dead for real.

“You didn’t release his soul, did you?” Hyuuga asked quietly, leaning in the door of Ayanami’s office, watching his oldest friend standing at a darkened window again. “Yuki-chan’s.”

Ayanami didn’t even shrug, and his voice was remote. “I was not holding it closely at the moment he died.”

“You always held his soul pretty damn closely,” Hyuuga said bluntly.

Ayanami didn’t stir. “You will not speak of this, Hyuuga.”

Hyuuga rolled his eyes. Aya-san could be so damn stubborn sometimes. “Look—”

This time, Ayanami answered him with steel. Hyuuga froze, keeping his hands still at his sides as Ayanami’s sword pressed delicately against his neck.

“You will not speak of this.” There was a ragged edge under the coldness of Ayanami’s voice, now, and Hyuuga closed his eyes.

“All right,” he said softly, and waited for the pressure to come off his throat before he lowered his chin and sighed. “Remember you still have us, though,” and his mouth quirked as he finished, “Aya-tan.” As Ayanami’s eyes narrowed, he fished in his pocket and pulled out a candy to ceremoniously unwrap and pop into his mouth, lounging back casually in the doorway. He raised his brows at Aya-san. “Hmm?”

Ayanami gave him a tight-lipped look for the obvious reminders of their lost member, but in the end he only turned abruptly to his desk and picked up a pen. Hyuuga smiled around his candy.

He would, he assured Yuki-chan’s memory, take care of Aya-san.

The headquarter Generals were getting to be an increasing pain in the ass. It didn’t matter to them that the Black Hawks had the best success record of any unit in the entire Armed Forces. It didn’t matter to them that Aya-san could actually deal with the Military Minister and even the Emperor and make sense of their orders. All they saw was how fast Ayanami had risen in the ranks, and that his appointment to Chief of Staff had been Miroku’s last action before retiring, and they howled about favoritism and upstarts.

It really got on Hyuuga’s nerves.

Today, that officious little insect Ogi had come into the actual field with them, along with a handful of his bootlicking staff, to “independently evaluate their performance” on the boring little rebellion the Black Hawks had been sent to put down. He’d been making sure to let them see him scribbling on his little clipboard and frowning judiciously.

Hyuuga didn’t like boring missions that wasted their time and didn’t have any good fights for him, so he was already in an edgy mood. When Ogi actually started berating Ayanami for getting his uniform bloody in battle he decided enough was enough.

“Ooo, Aya-tan,” he interrupted when Ogi paused for breath, eyes theatrically wide behind his glasses. “He’s right! Just look at all that blood on your sword hand!” Which was true, even after Ayanami had stripped off his soaked gloves. Hyuuga smiled, slow and wide, and murmured, “Well, we can’t have that can we?” He strolled up to Ayanami’s side and sank fluidly down to his knees, catching Ayanami’s hand in his. He slanted a sidelong glance at Ogi, lip curled wickedly as he licked a line of blood from the back of Aya-san’s hand.

Kuroyuri squeaked and Ogi choked, and Hyuuga smirked as he turned Ayanami’s hand and ran his tongue slowly up Ayanami’s blood-streaked palm. He took his time about it, enjoying the way Ogi’s eyes got wider and wider, and his little pack of jackals started edging backwards. A quick look up at Aya-san told Hyuuga that he was amused; he didn’t show it, of course, but he was standing there quite calmly, looking down at Hyuuga without surprise, just as if his subordinates licked the blood off his hands every day. Under the amusement was hint of heat.

Hyuuga definitely took his time after that. No sense doing a job half-way, after all. Besides, the sharpness of blood was already in his mouth from their brief battle, and he liked the taste of it on Ayanami’s skin. It was cutting and real, more satisfying than any opponent he’d found today. He half closed his eyes and wrapped his mouth around Aya-san’s fingers, savoring the way they flexed against his tongue.

By the time he was done, Ogi and his staffers had retreated in disorder. Hyuuga chuckled as he slowly sucked the last iron trace off Aya-san’s middle finger. “There, now,” he said brightly. “All better.”

“Indeed,” Ayanami murmured, fingertips brushing Hyuuga’s mouth before he drew back and turned away. Hyuuga laughed as he stood and caught sight of Kuroyuri and Konatsu, both red as beets and staring with eyes the size of saucers. It was Konatsu who finally managed a strangled, “Major…!”

“Don’t worry,” Hyuuga told him, ruffling his hair. “You’ll understand when you’re older.” He grinned as his new Begleiter sputtered in outrage, and tucked his hands in his pockets, strolling back toward their ship in Ayanami’s wake.

Aya-san’s touch lingered on his lips.

Hyuuga considered it his special job within the unit to make sure that Ayanami didn’t go too crazy. Usually this was simple—just a matter of hanging over Aya-san’s shoulder on days when they were especially straight or his mouth got a little too tight, teasing until Ayanami snapped and went for his whip. It was fun, like sparring only different. A game they played.

Sometimes they played it harder than others, of course.

“You know, Aya-tan,” Hyuuga remarked, draped over the back of Ayanami’s chair, “you should take a break from the paperwork now and then. Live a little! Go out for dinner instead of eating in the cafeteria!”

Ayanami’s fingers were getting tighter on his pen.

“You could go to one of the restaurants where the officers hang out, and the girls come to sigh over the heroes,” Hyuuga continued, watching for the moment Aya-san would drop the pen. “You could even get laid!”

He expected that crack to be the one that sent him rolling aside from Ayanami’s whip, but what he felt instead was a cold twinge in his chest and stomach. It made him still for a moment, eyes widening behind his glasses. That was Aya-san’s hand on his soul, tightening his grip for just a moment.

That was his warning, on nights they played a harder game. If Hyuuga kept pressing, what he faced wouldn’t be a weapon he could avoid or blow he could roll with.

Hyuuga smiled, slow and dark.

He pushed himself off the back of Ayanami’s chair and strolled around the desk, keeping his face turned away so Ayanami would see only his back. His uniform. “Come on, Ayanami,” he taunted, dropping all the familiar forms he usually called his commander by, calling him what his enemies did, “you can’t really be an automaton, the way they say you are. It’d do you good!”

Over his shoulder he watched Ayanami rising slowly to his feet and stepping out from behind the desk also. Good.

“Or maybe that’s not it,” Hyuuga murmured, thinking about the vicious gossip he’d heard most often lately. “Maybe you just don’t want to be around the other officers and hear people saying it again. That you slept your way to the top.”

The first lash of Ayanami’s rage sliced into his soul, burning like frozen metal, and he staggered under it, gasping. Ayanami’s face was set and still, but his eyes were bright. Gleaming. Furious.


“With Miroku-sama, isn’t that how it goes?” Hyuuga managed, lowering his head to keep Aya-san focused on his uniform and words, not his face, not who he really was. “Or the Emperor. Maybe both.”

Ayanami’s grip licked out between the halves of Hyuuga’s soul, wrapping around him like a fist and squeezing until Hyuuga’s sense of himself broke and ran between those steel fingers. His legs gave out under the force of it and he stumbled down to hands and knees, chest heaving. The fingers of Ayanami’s control thrust into the very core of him, ruthless and precise. The chill and fire of Ayanami’s presence inside him, wild and furious, set his body twisting, trying to get away and trying to press into the punishing intrusion.

The raw strength of it made him hard.

“That’s why they all think you’ll be their dog, now,” he gasped, and moaned out loud as Ayanami’s will raked his soul harder. His arms gave out and dropped him down, prostrate on the rug at Ayanami’s feet. There was no part of him that wasn’t in Ayanami’s grip, now. He was pinned down under the sword of Ayanami’s power driven into him to the hilt, flayed open by its edge. It was absolute intimacy, unnatural, almost unbearable except that it was Aya-san’s hand on him. Hyuuga was a Warsfeil, born to be a sword drawn by this hand, and his hips jerked helplessly against the floor in response to that taste of blood and steel in his soul.

His voice was gone now and he was lost in immaterial sensation, the reason for it nearly forgotten, but he recognized when Ayanami’s touch started to turn less harsh, started to caress as well as cut. “Aya-san,” he whispered, in answer. The touch on his soul softened still more, shaping him gently back to himself, stroking the taut, trembling fibers of his being until they eased. His body gradually turned limp and boneless against the floor as his soul quieted under Ayanami’s hand. He heard quiet steps approaching, heard the rustle of fabric, felt light fingers brushing his hair back, and drew a slow breath as his mind started working again. He cleared his throat softly.

“Forgive me.” He always asked for Ayanami’s forgiveness, these nights, because he hated the thought that Aya-san might take the things he said to heart even for a moment.

“There’s nothing to forgive,” Ayanami murmured, fingers still carding through his sweat-damp hair. “Not for you.”

Hyuuga smiled wryly into the carpet. This was the other thing that was always said.

Sure enough, Ayanami added, quietly, “This is a dangerous game, Hyuuga.”

“Aya-tan.” Hyuuga pushed himself onto his side with a shaky arm so he could look up at his friend, amused and exasperated. “You know I love doing it.” There was a wet spot on the front of his pants to bear witness to that.

He figured Aya-san had noticed when he raised a brow at Hyuuga.

Hyuuga laughed. “What?” he lowered his voice to a husky purr. “My soul likes to feel its master’s hand now and then.” He looked up at Ayanami, half teasing and entirely serious, and smiled as Ayanami’s shoulders relaxed all the way.

Aya-san always offered him an end to their games, offered the kind of cherished safety he held the other Black Hawks in. None of the others would ever be wrung like this by their commander’s will. Neither would Hyuuga, unless he chose it. He knew that.

He chose it every time.

He chose the ice and steel, and the burning lash of Ayanami’s fury. He was the sword, and those were the things that made the world come alive in his mouth and heart. He also loved the soft caress of Aya-san’s fingers against his soul, of course, but that wasn’t what made the world brighter.

He caught Ayanami’s hand and kissed his fingers. “I will serve you in every way, in every time, with my heart and soul. I will defend you with my life.”

Ayanami’s touch on his soul warmed, though he was silent for a long moment. At last he murmured, “If it comes to that.”

Hyuuga smiled up at him, content with that permission.

He knew it would come to that, eventually.