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Walking With The Dead

by P L Nunn


Chapter Six


Ryo stuffed a duffel bag full of wrinkled clothes, odds and ends, canned food and whatever else he deemed necessary for a few days outing and tossed that and a pup tent into the back of the jeep in preparation of spending a few days doing whatever it was he liked to do in the woods. Sai couldn't imagine. Sai didn't like ruffin' it, as Rowan called it. Sai liked a soft bed and decently brewed tea in the morning and perhaps a leisurely time spent watching the daily news while he drank it and munched on toast or a pastry. And then there were the game shows that came on in the morning and the afternoon stories which one hated to miss and loose some important vein of plot intricacy.

Ryo had claimed he was going out alone yesterday evening before the bizarre tussle between Rowan and Seiji. Ryo did that sometimes, so it was no oddity, but he usually took the tiger. Seiji sat on the front porch swing and watched Ryo load the jeep. It was odd that no words passed between them. At the very least Ryo usually talked to Seiji, while Seiji responded in expressions or quiet economical motions. Ryo wasn't looking at Seiji at all. Ryo was avoiding Seiji, if one got right down to it. Hurrying past with an almost guilty expression, trying very hard not to glance Seiji's way. Seiji on the other hand was staring with what seemed a great deal of interest at Ryo. It was just weird.

Sai, who was ever thoughtful about such things, had made up a pack of sandwiches and dried fruit and little packages of snacks that he knew Ryo liked, to take along with him. He carried it down the porch with the sun barely over the horizon and handed it over as Ryo was surveying his haphazard packing and preparing to leave.

"Thanks, Sai." He tossed the pack into the back seat. He was really so disorganized it was painful. You'd think close association with Seiji would have cured him of the trait a little bit.

"Yes, well, try to avoid the snakes and the spiders and the bears and things."

Ryo gave him a look and half a grin. "I'll do my best." Then his smile faltered and he looked past Sai towards the porch. Seiji was ambling down the steps, in an oversized black sweater, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his khakis. There was a slight -- well if Sai had to describe it, he supposed vaguely predatory would have been the word that suited -- smile on his lips. He flowed around Sai, slipped a hand out of his pocket and used it to catch Ryo's chin, pressing him back against the side of the jeep with a kiss that really ought not to have been taken out of the bedroom. Ryo didn't know what to do with his hands. They sort of fluttered uselessly at his sides, clenching and unclenching while Seiji took his time with what Sai thought was an inordinately serious good by for a mere few days outing.

Sai had to avert his eyes. Not to would have been rude. Not that it wasn't -- intriguing -- and even somewhat arousing, though, he'd never ever admit to it, to watch the two of them in physical contact. Seiji was so pale and gold, tall, with willowy graceful strength and Ryo was the opposite. Dark skin and silky black hair, enough shorter that Seiji had to bend his neck to make their lips match up. Sai cast a furtive glance back at them as Seiji was pulling away.

"Maybe I should go with you." He purred and Ryo's lids fluttered open with surprise and a flicker of dismay. Sai saw it. Seiji most certainly did. Odd that that suggestion should make Ryo unhappy.

"I might enjoy it. The two of us, alone in the woods -- for how many days?"

"I didn't think you liked to camp, Seiji?" Sai asked, since Ryo was staring speechlessly at him

"Doesn't really matter," Rowan strolled out the front door, a nap sack slung over his shoulder. "Pup tent only sleeps two and I've got dibs on the uphill side, right Ryo?"

Ryo wasn't up for answering just yet, still flabbergasted by either the kiss or the suggestion of Seiji's company. Rowan didn't seem to require an affirmation. He tossed his duffel into the back with the rest of Ryo's assorted stuff and breezed past Seiji and Sai without so much as a word.

"So we leaving or what?" he inquired of Ryo, who he was talking to.

"Ummmm -- sure." Ryo squeezed out from between Seiji and the jeep, wiping one hand across the back of his mouth.

"Ummm, sorry Seiji." He mumbled.

"I distinctly heard you say that you were not going camping." Despite the war of silence he had been waging, Sai had to pipe up and remind Rowan of what he'd said last night over Kento's steaks.

Rowan poked his head out of the window, that bland expression he usually got when he thought he was so much quicker on the uptake than the rest of the world, crossing his face. "I changed my mind. There's just this stench in the air around here lately. I thought the nice clean atmosphere of the mountains would be a nice change."

"I haven't noticed any stench." Sai sniffed disdainfully.

"You wouldn't." Rowan noted and retreated back into the jeep.

"Ummm, bye guys." Ryo said, and hurried into the jeep himself, as if he had some schedule to keep.

Sai stood there with Seiji as they rolled down the driveway, stirring up dust as they went.

"Well that's just odd." Sai said. "Rowan changing his mind like that."

"This surprises you?" Seiji asked.

"Well -- yes. It doesn't you?"

Seiji shrugged and began walking back towards the house. "With all his mood swings lately, nothing he does surprises me. He's become very unpredictable. How else would you explain how he's been acting towards you -- and him attacking me last night?"

"I don't understand that at all." Sai admitted, following Seiji up the steps and through the front door. The thing with Seiji baffled him. The tiff between Rowan and him, he had a bit more insight on. That was simply Rowan being stubborn and refusing to admit fault. All it would have taken was a heartfelt admission of wrong doing and of apology. Not that blithely arrogant explanation that Sai had gotten. Rowan had actually expected him to think it was funny. Rowan was not as smart as he liked to think he was.

"I really do wish I knew what set him off last night." Sai lamented. Seiji shrugged eloquently, admitting equal puzzlement. Seiji had admitted no wrong doing last night, other than coming in late and remarking to Rowan, who he claimed had gotten quite snippy over the fact that it was little or no business of his. Rowan had not offered explanation, so Sai only had Seiji's word to go on. Seiji only lied under duress. Rowan did so with a flourish. At the moment, Sai was leaning towards complete faith in Seiji's word.

"They on the road already?" Kento shuffled out of the kitchen in fuzzy slippers and baggy pajama bottoms. He had a piece of toast in one hand and a glass of milk in the other. He was sporting a healthy milk mustache. It was by far too early for him to be up.

"Yes. You're up early."

Kento shrugged broad shoulders. "Rowan got me up futzing around. He wanted to borrow some stuff."



Seiji left the house around noon, headed for some unspecified destination. Kento went outside to work on his car, which he seemed to be doing obsessively of late. He ate, he slept, he diligently attempted to fix his vehicle. He was much more successful with the first two. Sai puttered around the house. Watched his favorite soaps, went and searched for insidious weeds attempting to infiltrate his garden, straightened things up a bit, and mostly moped. Rowan's departure made him uneasy. He kept thinking about that last snide little comment from Rowan and wondering if it had been directed at him. He worried about it all afternoon, until he finally had to go upstairs and invade Rowan's room. The room smelled like Rowan, it smelled of the aftershave he used and the deodorant. There was the scent of old cigarettes from an ashtray by the computer badly in need of emptying. Sai dumped it into the waste basket and opened a window to let the tobacco odor drift away. He picked up a few empty beer bottles and a cardboard pizza box that had to be at least a few days old. Rowan was generally a better housekeeper. At least in his own private domain. There were rumpled clothes strewn across the end of the bed and the chair. Obviously he had packed in a hurry in order to leave with Ryo.

Sai took the trash downstairs and dumped it in the big can outside, then went back upstairs for the laundry. He ought not be doing it, he thought. Rowan didn't deserve for him to be doing his laundry, but his absence was depressing. Even when Sai was miffed at him, at least he was there to be miffed at.

Kento came in as he was sorting clothes for the washer.

"Hey, I've gotta go to the junkyard and see if I can find some parts?"

Sai lifted a brow at him. "It runs? I thought you had it all to pieces."

"No. Just had to take off the ----"

"Don't tell me." Sai held up a hand to cut short what might turn into a drawn out dialogue about automotive repair.

Kento grinned at him. "I gotta get some stuff, okay? You need anything?"

"From the dump? I think not."

"No, from town, moron. I'll be passing by."

"Not that I can think of."

Kento nodded, started to leave, then hesitated. "Ummm, you gonna be okay?"

Sai gave him a look. "Whyever would I not be?"

"I dunno. Rowan just asked --" he frowned, shook his head and waved a dismissive hand. "Oh, never mind."

"Rowan asked what?" Sai's interest was perked.

Kento looked as if he'd rather not say. He scratched at the back of his thick neck and cast his eyes down. "Nothing, Sai. He was just --- concerned about you is all."

"Concerned? Why would he be concerned about me? Do I look to you like I can't handle a day or two away from his annoying presence? Did he think I was going to -- to have some sort of mental collapse from the sheer stress of him abandoning me. Hummph. I'm more likely to have one from his presumptuous attitude."

"Hey, Sai," Kento held up his hands in surrender, backing away from Sai's dangerously stabbing finger. "Did I say any of that? I mean, geeze, chill out."

Sai sniffed, reluctantly folding his arms, reluctantly snapping his mouth shut when he really wanted to bitch some more about Rowan. "Fine. Fine. Go to your dump then."

"Junk yard, Sai. Not the dump."

"Whatever. I'm sure you'll be in heaven there, regardless, with all the thrown away car parts and such."

"Okay." Kento was happy enough to escape. Sai heard the terrible sound of the old car rumbling to life, then the peal of tires out the driveway. He promptly went and dumped all of Rowan's white's in with the colors and started the washing machine. He hoped all of Rowan's underwear turned out pink. It would serve him right.

It was 4:00 in the afternoon. Kento was likely to be gone for hours. Sai flopped down on the sofa in the den to watch TV, the humm of the washer a constant and irritating reminder of Rowan. He threw everything in the dryer when it was done, regardless of drying instructions and turned it on high. One could imagine clothes shrinking. He sat in the kitchen drinking tea, tapping his nails on the table top and glaring at the machine while it did his dirty work. He threw everything in a basket and carted it upstairs to Rowan's room, sorting out shirts and shorts, briefs and socks, holding everything up to ascertain the amount of discoloration or shrinkage. Disappointingly, most of the whites were still white, but a few of the shirts were noticeably smaller, which made him happy since Rowan liked to wear his pull overs considerably oversized.

He was folding things up and putting them in their appropriate places when there was a soft knock on the frame of Rowan's door. Seiji stood there, leaning against the frame, his head cocked curiously to one side.

"Oh, hello, Seiji." Sai stuffed a polo shirt in a drawer.

"What's wrong, Sai?" Seiji inquired.

"Wrong? What makes you think anything is wrong?" Sai snapped, residue irritation still lingering.

"You've been in here muttering to yourself with the most alarming frown on your face."

Sai blinked. "I was not."

"You were." Seiji assured him. I heard you from down stairs."

"Oh. Well, I didn't mean to. You just got home?"

"Yes." Seiji agreed. "Where's Kento?"

"Out digging through trash somewhere."

A blonde brow lifted, but Seiji didn't ask. He shrugged and disappeared down the hall. He was in the kitchen when Sai came back downstairs, pouring himself a glass of wine. The bottle looked like one of those extraordinarily expensive brands that Seiji liked.

"Do you want a glass? This is supposed to be a very good vintage."

Sai shrugged. He was not much of a wine drinker, but he was feeling unhappy and strained and thought a glass might do him good. Seiji handed him his own glass and poured himself another. They stood at the kitchen counter sipping it. It was sweet. Really rather tasty, as wines went.

"Yes, this is good." Sai agreed.

"Hummm." Seiji topped off Sai's glass and wondered into the den. Sai followed him, desperate for conversation to take his mind off Rowan.

"So what were you doing today?"

Seiji sat down, crossing a knee over his leg, one arm extended along the back of the couch. "I had some business in town with my lawyers."

"Oh? Concerning your holdings?"

Seiji shrugged.

"I thought you didn't care for any of that."

"One has to care, sooner or later ---- if one wishes to expand an empire."

Seiji smiled. Sai stared. He could never quite recall Seiji talking about expanding empires before. In fact the only thing Seiji had ever expressed about his various inheritances was disdain. If he was taking an interest, Sai imagined there were cousins and uncles on the Japanese side of his family that were not going to be pleased.

"Why were you so upset?"

Sai sniffed and swallowed the last of the wine. "Oh, nothing. Just Rowan telling Kento to look after me -- like I'm some child or an idiot than can't survive on my own."

"He doesn't trust you?"

"I didn't say that." Sai stopped, wondering if that was what Rowan had been thinking. "Well, that's just ridiculous." He complained. "I don't know why he shouldn't trust me. I'm not the one who goes and gets lapdances and other nasty things. Did I bring him home a foul, foul thing that could have had all sorts of diseases on it and let him eat it?"

"No. You were not the one who did those things." Seiji agreed.

Sai nodded miserably. "I'm not the one who couldn't even come up with a decent apology. Who laughed about it -- like -- like it was nothing. It just makes me sick." He wiped furiously at an insidious droplet of water gathering at the corner of his eye. Seiji's hand moved off the back of the couch and onto his shoulder, comfortingly.

"It's not your fault, Sai. Gods, but you're tense. Let me get you another glass of wine."

Another glass of that wonderfully expensive, wonderfully smooth wine and Sai had no problem airing a good number of his past grievances with Rowan. Seiji's hands on his shoulders helped work out the tension. Seiji's staunch agreement made him feel warm and fuzzy inside. Seiji agreed. And if Seiji -- who hardly ever took sides in any of their internal disputes -- agreed, then Sai was certain he was in the right.

"And he lies to me all the time." Sai complained, then had to take a breath as Seiji's strong fingers worked their way down the line of his spine, expertly working taut muscles. He leaned forward against the arm of the couch and shut his eyes, trying to regain his train of thought. "He lied to me about that thing with Ryo ---" he bit his lip to keep from gasping as Seiji spread his fingers out along his ribs. "--- before we all got trapped in hell. And he wouldn't tell me forever. In fact -- you even tried to get him to tell me -- remember? Oooohh, that feels good. Right there. Seiji, you're so very good at this."

"Umm humm." Was Seiji's agreement, then to Sai's disappointment he paused to lean over and refill both glasses of wine. Sai couldn't complain about that. Seiji took a sip and sat his glass down, Sai cradled his, sipping at it contentedly while Seiji worked all the tenseness from his back.


Seiji's voice was soft and sweet. Sai blinked hazily back at him, smiling.

"Yes, Seiji?"

"Could you come with me for a moment?" Seiji held out a hand. Sai looked at his empty glass and for a moment was at a loss what to do with it. Seiji carefully took it from his hand and sat it on the coffee table. He re-extended his hand to Sai. Sai took it and let Seiji pull him to his feet. The room swayed. The walls convulsed just a little. Not alarmingly, just enough for Sai to realize he'd drank a bit too much wine with no food to temper it. He giggled, leaning against Seiji for a moment to get his balance.

"Are you all right, Sai?" Seiji patiently held onto him.

"I believe I'm a little drunk. You gave me too much wine."

"I'm sorry. You should lay down."

"I should, really." Sai agreed.

Seiji helped him upstairs. But instead of continuing down the hall to Sai's room, Seiji steered him into Rowan's.

"But this isn't my room." Sai complained. "This is Rowan's room."

"I know. It's better this way." Seiji smiled beautifully. Sai blinked at him in confusion.

"But I don't want to sleep in Rowan's room."

"It's all right." Seiji gently, but firmly pushed him down onto the bed. Sai sat there with his head spinning, trying to reason out why it was better he sleep in Rowan's room than his own.

"Turn over." Seiji said, and put his wonderful hands back onto Sai's shoulders when he had. It was enough to make a body melt, that delicious attention.

"Where did you learn -- to do this -- so well?" Sai murmured into the pillow. It was enough to put a body to sleep.

"It was a required skill --" Seiji's hands slipped under the edge of Sai's shirt, pushing it up, so that his fingers pressed into bare skin. Sai sighed happily, bonelessly allowing Seiji to pull the garment over his head. " --- learned to please one's --- mate."

Seiji's hands slid under his belly and back around his hips. "Sai, let me loosen your pants."

Sai had no complaints. Sai was quite pleasantly befuddled between the wine and the massage. It was so luxuriantly sinful an indulgence. Lethargy became a welcome sensation. He wanted to ask what Seiji meant by his last statement, but really that would have required so much more energy than he had. He didn't even have the energy to lift his hips as Seiji drew his trousers off. It did occur to him, in some distant corner of his mind that allowing a full body massage was a bit -- risqué. That he really ought not be lying here with his backside in plain view, much less be allowing Seiji to lay his hands on it -- but it felt so good and he was so drowsy from the sensations. Even the feel of the sheets under his belly were nice.

"Sai -- you're beautiful." Seiji leaned over his back, the heat of his body making Sai's skin tingle, the soft ends of his hair brushing Sai's shoulder. It was nice that somebody thought so. Sai sighed and smiled, shutting his eyes. He couldn't wait to tell Rowan that Seiji thought so.

Rowan. The pillow smelled of Rowan. He pressed his face into it and inhaled. Seiji's hands moved slowly down the line of his back. Seiji's lips touched his shoulder. A little wet trail down his shoulder blade to his spine. Sai shivered. Firm hands moved down his thighs, fingers kneading flesh, then back up to his rear. Thumbs pressed into the soft flesh there, a finger trailed down the cleft. Sai opened his eyes, some tiny bit of alarm fighting to get past the lethargy.

"Seiji?" he whispered.

"Shush." An arm wrapped about his waist, lifting him up a little. A warm hand found that most sensitive part of him and stroked the length of it. Sai gasped and clutched at the pillow, mind spinning dizzily. Seiji's body was a enveloping heat behind him. His rear was pressed tightly up against bare flesh. When had Seiji disrobed? He couldn't remember.

He could hardly think about it now, with Seiji's hand kneading his balls, his sword callused palm rubbing up and down the flaring heat between his legs. He moaned and pressed his face into the pillow, all to aware of the hard length of flesh pressed against his bottom. And he couldn't stop it. His body wouldn't respond, as if the wine and the massage and the blood draining from the rest of him and spilling into the flesh in Seiji's very talented hands had robbed him of the ability to move.

He came. Shockingly, unexpectedly spewed all over Seiji's hand and Rowan's bedsheets. He whimpered, his body quaking in aftermath, a dozen frenetic thoughts buzzing around his befuddled mind. Mostly he was thinking that if Rowan ever found out -- oh, god -- god, if Rowan ever found out what he'd done on his bed -- tears leaked out of his eyes, wetting the pillow he clutched so tightly. Seiji still held him. Seiji moved the hand that had worked Sai to such a frenzy and slipped it between their bodies. Slipped fingers moist with Sai's own semen into him. Sai choked out a sob as that finger probed inside him, as another joined it. And the worst thing was -- it felt good. Seiji was oh so good at what he was doing. Seiji knew where to probe and just the right rhythm to employ and despite shame and guilt and various other emotions flooding through him, Sai could not help but moan and move against him. He cried out when the fingers were gone, experiencing one brief moment of loss before something hotter and larger by far was pressed into his body.

Seiji was bigger than Rowan. Sai noticed that right off. It hurt going in. He opened his mouth in shock when Seiji didn't pause to let him get accustomed to the intrusion as Rowan generally did, but pushed right in and kept going further than Sai was used to being penetrated. The gentleness of the massage dissipated as Seiji grasped his hips and pummeled him from the inside out. It hurt on the one hand and felt amazingly -- erotic -- to be so dominated on the other. But it still felt like he was being assaulted. Which in a way, he thought dimly, he was. He hadn't asked for this. Had he? Oh, god, he'd let Seiji put his hands on him. He'd let Seiji bring him up here. Let him take off his clothes. Maybe he had asked. He sobbed in confusion, hands pressed against the head board to keep his head from slamming into it.

Then Seiji was finished, pulling out and letting Sai flop onto the bed. There was wetness leaking down Sai's thighs. Seiji ran a finger through it and brought it up to Sai's mouth. Wiping semen on the inside of his lips.

"Remember the taste of me next time you fuck Rowan, will you?" Seiji whispered, eyes cold and vaguely amused. Sai pulled back in a dazed shock, staring at Seiji in incomprehension.

He opened his mouth, but no words would come. Seiji pulled on his pants with supple indolence and strode out of the room, closing the door behind him. God, at least he had the grace to do that. Sai couldn't formulate a thought. Not a single cohesive thing would cling to his mind.

What had he done? What had he done? He clutched the pillow, curled around it wretchedly. He lay with slow tears streaming down his face on Rowan's rumpled sheets, with Seiji's juices growing cold on his thighs. He could not even gather the strength to get up and clean himself off.

Let it be a nightmare. He thought desperately. Let it be a terrible nightmare, because Seiji wouldn't act like that and I -- I couldn't have done this in Rowan's bed. Let it be a nightmare.



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