My Heart a Hunter
by Rana Eros

This was written for Mistress Renet for the Yami Valentine challenge. Her request was for Oriya-slash that made use of his kenjutsu skills. This story would not exist at all without the handholding and persistent prodding of Eliza, and it would not exist in such a readable form were it not for both Eliza and Boni. Thank you, my darlings. The title is taken from the Delerium song "Fallen Icons." I seem to be on a Delerium kick with my Orisoka. This is not a bad thing.

"I want to give you something," Kazutaka says. He looks more fey than customary in the dark room, his pale eyes and hair and skin changing color with the flash of neon signs outside the window. Oriya thinks he is beautiful, but does not like his coloring. Oriya's mother taught Oriya that white is an unlucky color, and sent him to a high school with a dark uniform.

Oriya does not think his mother would like Kazutaka, but his coloring is only a part of it.

"I do not want one of your dolls, my friend," he answers, taking a sip of whatever it is Kazutaka ordered for them. He refused the opium Kazutaka offered, but it is so pervasive in the air that it has done him little good. The neon almost makes Kazutaka look like he is in one of the underwater slides Yamaguchi-sensei shows them sometimes. His movements are languid as he lifts the pipe to his lips and inhales, his eyes falling briefly closed. Then he opens them, drops the pipe, and crawls across the floor to straddle Oriya's lap.

"That is only because I have not found the right one," he breathes against Oriya's lips, his fingers drifting up Oriya's torso to start loosening the buttons of his shirt. "I'll keep looking."

Kurosaki Hisoka fought with a fury that did him little good but left Oriya feeling blood-scorched. He looked like Kazutaka at that age, but the fierce green of his eyes, the bright bronze of his hair, rendered him more breathtaking. It made Oriya angry, but he had more control than the boy. He would save his rage for when he saw Kazutaka again.

He did not want a doll, no matter how well-picked to suit his tastes.

Kazutaka did not return, but Kurosaki did, coming to him in the garden. He did not stop practicing his katas, but the boy waited, watching him with an expression of vague annoyance. Oriya wondered if Kurosaki always looked at least a little angry. That was unlike Kazutaka, whose anger was a colder kind hidden behind the curve of a smile.

"Why have you come here, little brother?" he asked at last, sheathing his katana. Kurosaki scowled at the endearment.

"I would return the keycard, but it was destroyed when the building caught fire. It seemed rude not to tell you."

"And you care about being rude to me?"

"I know you didn't have to give it to us," Kurosaki snapped. "I don't know why you did and I don't care--"

"I gave it to you because you won, little brother." The boy's irritation soothed his own nerves, and Oriya found himself possessed of a perverse inclination to keep Kurosaki near a little while, tease him. Tease himself. "Do you doubt your ability in kenjutsu?"

"I did not win."

"Fight me again."

Kurosaki blinked. "Why?"

It was a fair question. Oriya shrugged, and smiled faintly at inspiration. "You do not have the keycard to return to me, and you doubt my reason for giving it to you. If you do not wish to be rude, you will accept my challenge."

"There is no reason to--"

Oriya moved swift as thought, bent and pressed his lips to Kurosaki's. Kurosaki jerked away, raising his hand to strike. Oriya caught him at the wrist and smiled more widely.

"Have I offended you? Then fight me for the insult."

Kurosaki's fury served him no better this time, but Oriya loved how it made him nearly incandescent. He called a stop to the fight after drawing first blood, but Kurosaki raised his blade again. Oriya bound it with his own, jerked it out of the boy's hands and then stepped close, crowding the boy against the maple tree. Those eyes were so wide on him, the boy's breath quick and angry and slightly panicked. It occurred to Oriya to wonder how Kazutaka knew him, if Kazutaka had killed him.

If Kazutaka had had him.

Kurosaki shouted, the sound wordless and hoarse, and Oriya was knocked off his feet by an unexpected blow. His own katana cut into his arm on landing, and he swore softly. He expected to see Kurosaki towering over him, but he looked up to see the boy folded up at the bottom of the tree, arms around his knees and head buried. He looked up as though sensing Oriya's gaze, and Oriya thought he might burn to ashes under that stare.

"Touch me again and I will kill you," Kurosaki said.

"Then perhaps I will become like you. Would you let me touch you then? Does your partner--"

"Shut up." Kurosaki pushed himself to his feet. Oriya could see his hand shaking against the bark of the maple.

"I see you are no longer worried about being rude, little brother."

"Don't call me that."

"Why? Will you kill me for that too?" Oriya felt his own expression harden. "Did you kill Muraki?"

"If I had, it would only have been just."

"So he did kill you. How?"

Kurosaki edged toward the garden gate, keeping his eyes on Oriya. "You can ask him, the next time you see him. I'm sure you'd both enjoy that story."

"I would not." His whole body ached with the force of whatever Shinigami power had thrown him to the ground, and his cut arm throbbed. "He should not kill."

"Do you disapprove, whoremaster?"

"And if I do?" Oriya sat up, cocked his head at Kurosaki. "Or do you mean to provoke me into another challenge, so that you will have an excuse to come back?"

"Do you want to die then?"

"If it meant I could touch you."

Honesty was a double-edged weapon. Kurosaki left, and he bled.

Kazutaka is Oriya's first male lover. He knows his family would not approve. There are no men at the Ko Kaku Rou, so that the master will never be mistaken for one of his whores.

Oriya is not Kazutaka's whore. He loves Kazutaka, and so he lets Kazutaka take him, use his mouth, push him to his knees and hold him down. Kazutaka does all these things for Oriya, so there is no question of whore and whoremaster, only what their pleasure is on a given occasion.

Kazutaka has others in his bed, but he laughs and calls them dolls when Oriya asks about them. He even offers to share them, but Oriya refuses. The first woman he slept with was Ko Kaku Rou's gem when he was thirteen. She could not stir him as Kazutaka does. He doubts any teenaged student could do better.

"You are such a creature of the heart, Oriya," Kazutaka whispers in his ear, tracing it with his tongue. "But even the heart is not so constant. Someone else will catch yours one day."

"Never. You have taken it all."

"Have I?" Kazutaka's mouth moves down to his neck, and he can feel the edges of teeth on his skin. "And will it be so constant when I change, I wonder?"

Kurosaki brought his own katana the next night. And a gun.

"Are you so eager for my touch then, little brother?" Oriya sounded too light to himself, almost giddy, but he had not expected the boy to come back at all, and here he was.

"I do not understand you," Kurosaki said with precision. "Why do you want to fight me?"

"What you mean to ask is why I want you. Isn't it, little brother?"

"Will you tell me?"

"If you fight me and win."

"And if I lose?"

Oriya laughed. "You sound suspicious, little brother."

"I could always leave."

"Tell me why you came."

"I already told you that."

"Then tell me why you want to understand me. That is, if you know, little brother."

Kurosaki's eyes flashed. "If you win."

He did, of course, though it took longer. Kurosaki was learning how to use his anger instead of being used. He would make a glorious student, if he would agree to such a thing. Oriya disarmed him again before claiming victory, just to be safe. He moved no closer, leery of the gun he did not dare demand, but he did not step away.

"Now, why do you want to understand me, little brother?"

"You are like no one else I've met."

"Not even Muraki?"

"No. You have some honor."

Oriya laughed. "Some? There are those who would dispute even that. But I do not think you are answering my question, little brother. What of your honor?"

Kurosaki stiffened. "I am not lying!"

"I did not say you were. But I think you are not telling me the whole of the truth, so I would like to ask you another question." Kurosaki opened his mouth to protest, but Oriya said quickly, "Why do you think I want you?"

"How should I know that?"

"You will not even guess?"

Kurosaki scowled, his hand twitching dangerously near his gun. Oriya tapped his arm with one of the katanas in warning.

"I do not think you want to kill me for asking questions, even if you don't know the answers."

"I know the answer to the first question you asked. You may refuse to believe it, but it is the truth."

"Is it? If I asked you tomorrow, would the answer be the same?"

"Of course it would, baka!"

Oriya's own temper flared. "If you wish another challenge, little brother, then you have it. Come back tomorrow, and I will ask the question again."

"It will do you no good."

"I will judge that for myself. Tomorrow."

Kurosaki returned with gun and katana, and glared when Oriya once more disarmed him.

"Answer my question, little brother. And consider that the answer to your own question might have some connection."

"I do not want you!"

"Then why do you keep coming back?"

"Do you want me to answer that question instead?"

"Isn't it the same question, little brother?"

Kurosaki fell silent. Oriya waited, then risked taking one step closer and said, "I will not press for an answer, if you will give me something else instead."

Kurosaki shifted warily. "What would you have?"

"What would you allow me?"

"I do not know what you would consider enough."

Oriya reached out. Kurosaki flinched, but did not pull away as Oriya brushed hair away from his face, cupped his cheek. The skin reddened against his fingers, and Oriya's breath caught. Not so like Kazutaka, who had never blushed. Kurosaki flinched again. Oriya dropped his hand, but did not step away.

"So you will allow me a touch after all," he whispered. "Was it so terrible a thing?"

"Is it enough?"

"If I say no, will you allow me more?"

"Not while you think of him," and Kurosaki's tone was suddenly more harsh. Oriya frowned.

"How do you know what I am thinking?"

Kurosaki looked almost feral in the twilight. "Ask me again tomorrow."

When high school ends, different priorities mean different universities in different cities. Kazutaka wants to be a doctor; Oriya must study business in order to run the Ko Kaku Rou after his father steps down. They still see each other when they can, but Kazutaka's schedule is especially busy, and Kazutaka's manner changes, grows distant.

That's when Oriya meets Hikaru.

Hikaru's hair is blond and Hikaru's eyes are golden brown and there is something in the way Hikaru smiles, in the way he speaks, in the way he watches Oriya sidelong, that reminds Oriya of how Kazutaka used to be. Kazutaka cancels one too many planned weekends together, and Oriya takes Hikaru into his bed.

It doesn't last long, Oriya feels far too guilty and Hikaru is far too jealous of even the memory of Kazutaka. When Kazutaka shows up at Oriya's apartment unexpectedly while Hikaru is staying over, things come to a head. Hikaru shouts and screams while Kazutaka laughs, and it's Oriya who ends up leaving, slamming the door behind him.

Kazutaka finds him in a bar, determinedly drinking something that doesn't taste a thing like sake. He doesn't know what it is, he just asked the bartender for something very strong. Kazutaka orders him another, and a beer for himself.

"Your doll is gone," Kazutaka says. Oriya slams his glass on the bar.

"He's not my doll."

"Do you love him, then?"


"Do you love me?"

Oriya doesn't answer that, and Kazutaka laughs a little and drapes an arm around him.

"He wasn't nearly beautiful enough," Kazutaka murmurs, and urges him off the stool and out into the night. "I'll find you something better."

Luck was on Kurosaki's side. He managed to get past Oriya's guard and draw a long, thin line of blood down Oriya's right arm. It must have startled him; Oriya still managed to disarm him.

"For my blood, I will give you an answer to your question," Oriya said, raising his arm to examine the wound, "but the match is mine."

"I'm an empath."

It was stated so baldly, for a moment Oriya could not process it. Then he had to laugh at himself. "Very clever, little brother, to so distract me from my original question."

"You have said you will answer mine."

Oriya stepped close enough to tower over him, but Kurosaki stood his ground. "You could have been made for me, your fire and your beauty so perfectly enchant me."

Kurosaki said nothing, nor did his expression change. Oriya waited, aware of his own heartbeat slowing down and speeding up again. The gloom of night was growing around them. Noises from inside could be heard over the soft sounds of water in the garden. Then Kurosaki reached up to fist one hand in Oriya's yukata and tug him down to eye level.

"I was not made for you," he said with quiet, lethal rage. "I watched your friend murder a woman, and for that he cursed and murdered me. He did not even know I'd become Shinigami until we met again on a case. Perhaps he chose the method he did because of you, but I was not made for you."

Kurosaki's hand shook on his yukata, and Kurosaki's eyes swallowed all light.

"Do not speak of him," Oriya whispered. "I do not wish to think--"

Kurosaki's lips were warm, and soft even pressed so firmly against his own. He did not dare move. He hardly dared to breathe. One heartbeat. Two. Kurosaki pulled back, but kept the hold on his clothes.

"Every touch is my choice. If you have anything of me, it is because I choose to give it to you. I am not his. I am not yours. I was not made for you."

I would make myself for you, Oriya wanted to say. He swallowed the words, and then remembered what Kurosaki had just told him. The boy was an empath.

The second kiss was as fierce as the first, and this time Oriya could not stop himself from responding. Kurosaki did not pull away again, and Oriya dropped both katanas, uncaring as they hit the ground. He wrapped his arms around Kurosaki, who now had both hands fisted tight in his yukata, knuckles pressed hard against his chest. It had been a long time since Oriya felt such a lack of control over this kind of passion.

He tried to take them both to the ground, but Kurosaki jerked him back upright, breaking the kiss to gasp, "No!"

"Then what?" he asked, frustrated and enflamed and wanting nothing so much as to mold himself to this boy, to learn every part of him. Kurosaki shook in his arms; he was none too steady himself.

"I don't know, but not here. Not...." Kurosaki shook harder. Oriya reached up one hand to close it over Kurosaki's, coaxing him into letting go of the yukata and holding onto flesh. Kurosaki watched him with huge eyes. Oriya did not look away.

"Will you come with me, little brother?" he asked.

Kurosaki swallowed and nodded. "Yes."

Oriya took him inside, where he seemed to breathe easier, then down the corridor to Oriya's own rooms. Kurosaki consented to laying beside him on the bed, to kissing and being kissed, to Oriya's hands on his body. When Oriya leaned over him, though, he tensed again, and pushed until Oriya was back on his side. Oriya slid one hand under Kurosaki and kept moving until the boy pressed down on him.

"You like this?"

"Why wouldn't I?"

Kurosaki frowned, tracing a finger tentatively across Oriya's collarbone. "It is not uncomfortable, having me on top of you?"

Oriya brushed his own hands up Kurosaki's back, slid them over his shoulders and down to open his keikogi. "You are not so heavy, little brother. Your weight is," his hand touched skin, and he smiled at the boy's little catch of breath, "most pleasing."

Kurosaki seemed to consider this, then pressed his palm flat to Oriya's skin and shrugged the keikogi off one shoulder.

"What else pleases you?"

"If I show you, will you show me what pleases you?"

Kurosaki froze, then let out a slow, deliberate breath and moved his hand down to Oriya's heart.

"I don't know what pleases me."

Oriya felt the warmth of that touch as deeply as he'd felt the boy's fury when they first fought. He wondered if the boy could feel his heart straining to reach it. He sat up enough to divest himself of his yukata, and leaned forward for a kiss while he pulled the keikogi free.

"Shall we learn, Hisoka?"

Oriya's mother dies unexpectedly, and he goes home for the funeral. Kazutaka comes to him after a few days.

"I will give you something that never leaves you," he breathes, holding Oriya close in the darkness of his hotel room.

"Shut up," Oriya says, but he doesn't have the strength to push away, to really sound like he means it.

"Your constant heart should be rewarded," Kazutaka insists, and it's a lie. Oriya's heart is not constant, and Kazutaka does not want to reward him. He has fallen out of love, or perhaps it is only that he loves a ghost of memory, and he is not certain Kazutaka ever loved him at all.

A few weeks after he returns to university, he learns Hikaru was murdered while he was gone. It can't mean anything to him. It's not as though he was in love.

Hisoka still came to him with katana in hand most nights, and eventually he began to win matches. It was another thing they shared, and so Oriya did not mind. Those nights, and the nights Hisoka came unarmed, all ended the same.

They learned what pleased Hisoka, what made him gasp, what made him blush and arch his back and collapse on Oriya's bed in a lovely tangle of sweaty limbs. And what pleased Oriya was Hisoka there with him, Hisoka on his lips and against his fingers and bent over him in the scarce light of his room.

What pleased Oriya was that it was Hisoka's choice. And, at last, his own.


Yami no Matsuei
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