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19 January 2006 @ 07:55 pm
Power and Control- Chapter 13 (unbeta'd version) part 1  

Well, since I have yet to hear back from presser_kun  (grrrr) I decided to go ahead and post the long awaited chapter 13 to the people who actually read this LJ.  Since this is unbeta'd, expect to see some grammar and punctuation mistakes, maybe some odd phrasing too.  Once I get the final draft, I will repost here and to all the other sites.  Comments are greatly appreciated ^__^

Power and Control- Chapter 13

 

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The windshield wipers kept time like a metronome to the uneasy rhythm of the silence in the car.  Amon stared at the road ahead of him.  The light drizzle was unexpected.  It had been a clear night when he first arrived at Sakaki’s apartment.  But now the roads were covered in a light sheen of moisture that reflected all of the streetlights like a black ocean as he made his way back to Raven’s Flat. 

 

Out of the corner of his eye Amon could see the blonde leaning against the window, eyes closed, but not asleep.  He felt something, some emotion stir in his chest.  A deep longing that he couldn’t place.  Sakaki hadn’t recoiled from him or looked at him with disgust when he came clean about being a Seed and what led to his current situation.  No, the boy had instead offered him comfort, something that he had denied himself for a very long time.   For five grueling years, the only touches he received were by those that wanted to use him- to hurt him.  There was never any pleasure for him.  Oh, they forced his body to react to their ministrations, with stimulants if they had to, but he never found any enjoyment in anything done to him.  Then after Zaizen lost interest and turned his attention to Michael, he was relieved.  But it was a short-lived respite.  By the time he realized what the old man’s true intentions were with the young hacker, it was too late to prevent it and he surprised himself by not wanting to do something to prevent it.  If Sakaki ever found out that he had gladly removed himself out of Zaizen’s path only to leave the door open to Michael, the rookie hunter would hate him forever.  Not that Sakaki could truly understand why he practically abandoned Michael in his time of need.   The fear, the pain, the utter humiliation he endured were not things that he was willing to revisit for anyone, not even an innocent, scrawny boy who had been ripped away from his average teenage life.  Now, it was all he could do to make it up to Michael.  In a strange turn of events, Amon realized that he didn’t want Sakaki, or Michael for that matter, to be angry with him.  The mere thought of it caused him physical pain    

 

It was all so confusing.  These new feelings, what did they mean?  Why did it matter so much what these two boys thought of him?  He had never cared about other people’s opinions about him before, why now?  The memory of Michael’s hug was like on warm blanket on a cold night.  He liked that feeling.  And when Sakaki had passed out and he held the boy until he came back around, that had felt good too.  That he could give of himself physically to another person and not have it be sexual was a new experience.  He had been so closed off and emotionally distant from everything, that he forgot just how much a simple gesture like that could mean.

 

Amon glanced over at the blonde and again his chest tightened.  There was something else there, some other factor that was causing him to react this way.  Before, in the hallway, he wanted to reach out and run his fingers through the boy’s hair.  Fresh from the shower, Sakaki smelled so clean and his hair was so fine and silky.  Even in the midst of his earlier concern that bit of information managed to seep its way into his brain.  What could possibly cause a reaction like that?

 

He brought the car to a stop at a traffic light and brought his hand up to pinch the bridge of his nose.  The headache was growing in intensity.  Perhaps, he would grab some aspirin out of the first aid kit when they got back to the office.  Beside him, Sakaki sighed deeply and opened his eyes. 

 

“We’re almost there,” he told the boy as he slowly accelerated through the intersection.  Amon took his eyes off the road briefly to meet the other’s eye.  Sakaki nodded, but didn’t say anything.  They rode the rest of the way in silence. 

 

As they pulled into the underground parking garage beneath Raven’s Flat, Sakaki abruptly turned to Amon and asked, “He has to know that we’re planning something.  What are we going to do?”

 

Amon maneuvered the car into a spot and shut off the engine.  “We don’t know anything for sure, but we should assume that he does and act accordingly.”

 

“Yeah, how?  He’ll probably be monitoring us more closely now that…well, after last night and all.  The sick fuck probably wants to see if we’ll kill each other.”

 

Amon slumped in the seat a bit, brows furrowed.  “You’re right.  He might get suspicious if we’re suddenly friendlier to each other.  We’ll have to keep up the charade…at least while we’re at the office.”

 

Sakaki nodded.  “Agreed.  We can use my apartment as a way to get information to one another too, if you want.”

 

“Yes, that will be good.  We can do some of the legwork from there and not here where it could be monitored.”

 

The rookie hunter jerked his head in the direction of the car door.  “So, are you ready to go, you fucking asshole?”

 

Amon kept his features carefully schooled, but the remark had definitely caught him off guard.  At least until the corner of Sakaki’s lip curved upwards to show that he had been joking.  

 

“After you, you headstrong little prick,” the taller man deadpanned and violet eyes went wide.

 

“Wow.  Good one.  I almost believed you were serious,” Sakaki said.  The expression on Amon’s face didn’t change.

 

“Who said I was joking?” he asked and then stepped out of the car leaving the stunned boy inside.

 

Sakaki jumped out and trotted to catch up to him at the elevator.  “You were joking. Right?”

 

Amon tilted his head back to give the other a sly, backwards glance and watched how the boy’s eyebrows went up.  A smile teased the edges of his lips.

 

It took a second for him to catch on, but once he saw the smile, Sakaki knew the taller man was pulling his leg.  “I knew it!  You are shitting me.  But for a second there, you really had me going.  Remind me never to play poker with you…geesh.” 

 

When the elevators doors opened, the two men stepped inside.  Amon reached out to press the button for the office floor, but Sakaki stopped him by placing his hand gently over his. 

 

“If I know Michael, he won’t be at his desk,” he said as he pressed the button for the main floor.  “He likes to sit in the courtyard whenever he’s upset.  I bet we’ll find him there.” 

 

Amon nodded once and settled back against the back wall of the elevator car.  As soon as the doors closed, Sakaki followed suit.

 

“You have a nice smile.  You should so it more often,” Sakaki said without looking at him.

 

Amon cocked his head to meet the other’s gaze for a flash and then quickly looked away.  He felt his cheeks begin to burn.

 

“Are you blushing?” the boy sounded astonished.  “O my god, you are,” he exclaimed as he leaned in for a closer look. 

 

There was telltale pink coloration across the taller man’s pale face and he inwardly cursed his occidental blood for giving him such a fair complexion.  If Amon could have melted into the floor right then and there, he would have. To be paid such a compliment made his pulse race and his breath quicken.  But then to react to it in such an outward fashion was utterly humiliating.  Thankfully the elevator doors opened and saved him from suffering any further.  Something was changing inside of him, that much was certain, and it was because if these two young boys.      

 

He followed behind Sakaki at a much slower pace as they walked down the short corridor that led to the courtyard in the center of the building.  When the blonde stopped short in the entranceway, Amon nearly collided with his back.  He looked over the boy’s shoulder to see that his eyes were fixed on Michael.  The hacker was sitting cross-legged on the ground next to the old stone well, typing away on the laptop in front of him. 

 

“You said he wasn’t mad at me, right?” Sakaki asked, sounding very uncertain all of a sudden. 

 

“No, he was very worried about you,” Amon answered quietly and the boy nodded in reply.   Worried enough to guilt me into coming over to check on you, he thought wryly.  He stayed where he was and watched the boy take a few hesitant steps into the courtyard.  He didn’t want to intrude. 

 

“Michael,” Sakaki said softly and the other teen looked up.

 

“Haruto,” the redhead gasped, eyes wide.  He scrambled up to his feet, nearly tripping over the various electronic items in his rush, and ran without hesitation into the waiting arms of his lover.  “O, Haruto…I’m sorry.  I’m so sorry,” Michael sobbed into the older boy’s shoulder.  “I didn’t…I shouldn’t have…I’m so sorry.”

 

“Shhh.  It’s all right.  I’m okay…I’m okay.”  Sakaki wrapped his arms tightly around the shivering boy and ran his hands over that scrawny back in an effort to calm.  That seemed to be the final chink in Michael’s control and his body went limp.  Sakaki let the weight pull him down to the floor and knelt while his lover cried out everything he had been holding in. 

 

“It’s not your fault, Michael…it’s not your fault.  None of this is,” he whispered as he placed gentle kisses on the side of the boy’s face.  “Easy now…calm down.  It’s not your fault.”

 

“It is…it is.  You wouldn’t be involved in this if it wasn’t for me.”  With a sniffle, Michael pulled himself away.  “Maybe you should leave me.  If we’re not together anymore, maybe he’ll leave you alone…and…and…”

 

“Michael.  Shut up,” Sakaki interrupted and the boy hiccupped once and then quieted down.   “I’m staying right here, so knock it off,” he said as he reached out and brushed the tears away with his thumb.  “Right here…no matter what happens, Michael.  Right here, okay?”

 

The redhead sniffled again and nodded.  “I’m sorry,” he muttered, keeping his eyes averted.  Sakaki hooked his hand behind his lover’s neck and pulled him back into his chest.

 

“Stop apologizing.  You did nothing wrong.”  He surrounded the smaller boy with as much of his body as he could to keep him safe if only for this moment.  Sakaki knew he wasn’t good with words, but he could use his body to convey that which his mouth couldn’t. 

 

Amon watched the two embrace from the shadowed entranceway.  A sharp, stabbing pain flared through his stomach.  Watching Sakaki comfort his lover made that unknown feeling stir.  What is that like?  To be loved so unconditionally.  Would someone ever be able to love me like that?  Could I love them back?  There was a word to describe what he was and had been feeling for a very long time now- alone.  And it only grew stronger the more he watched Sakaki and Michael together.  That growing void inside him ached to be filled, so much more that it ever had before.  What was it about those two that made him feel this way?  It wasn’t jealousy per se.  It was more envious than anything else.  A want, that lay dormant until recently.  But Amon kept himself so distant, even before Zaizen.  He could never open up and allow someone into his fucked up little life.  Keeping people at arms length insured that they were never close enough to catch you in a vulnerable moment and hurt you.  And he was so very good at driving people away.

 

“Amon?”

 

Sakaki’s gentle inquiry brought him out of his thoughts and he looked over to see the two boys rising to their feet.  Taking this as a signal, he pushed away from the wall he’d been leaning on and began to walk towards them.  Michael sniffled a few times and wiped his face as he approached. 

 

“Thank you, Amon,” the redhead said, voice still shaky, but the smile on his face was beaming.  “For your help.  I don’t know what I would have done if-“

 

“Its fine,” Amon cut him off abruptly and the smile faltered.  Realizing the harsh tone in his voice, he quickly added, “You’re welcome.”  

 

He cursed himself for his lack of interpersonal skills and decided to quickly change the subject to save any further embarrassment.  Looking past the boy to the laptop, he inquired, “We’re you able to make any headway yet?”

 

Michael gave a weary sigh.  “No, not yet…and it’s pissing me off.”

 

Amon sniffed condescendingly and Sakaki took the bait.

 

“He’s doing the best he can!” the blonde roared suddenly, pulling the hacker into his chest protectively.  “If you think you can do better, go ahead.”

 

“Maybe I will,” Amon shot back.  “I should have never trusted a child to handle this.”

 

“Child?  He knows ten times more than both of us put together!”

 

Amon opened his mouth to retort, but Michael beat him to it.

 

“Uh, guys…what are you doing?”

 

“Just play along,” Sakaki whispered harshly into his ear. 

 

“Are you worried about the security cameras?”  Michael asked without lowering his voice in the slightest.  The two men winced.   “Cuz it’s not necessary.  I disabled them.”

 

Amon met Sakaki’s equally bewildered look.  “How?” he asked dryly. 

 

The hacker’s mouth curved into a broad grin as he practically dove for his laptop.  Pausing for a moment to wipe the residual wetness from his eyes, he then started typing. His fingers moved rapidly across the keyboard in a flurry of motion and when he found the program he was searching for, he turned the screen around to show the others.

 

“I was about to throw the stupid thing against the wall in frustration when I decided to take a break,” Michael said as Amon and Sakaki leaned in to take a closer look.  “So, I started looking for other loopholes and backdoors into the security system.  I stumbled across the surveillance system almost by accident.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t control the ones in Zaizen’s office or my room, but it’s a start.”

 

“It’s a really good start,” Sakaki complimented.

 

“I can control all the cameras from this remote location.  Also, rather than having to shut off an entire security grid, I can shut down each individual camera if I want.  It would appear less suspicious that way.”

 

Amon watched Michael’s eyes brighten as he spoke of his recent findings.  Nothing made the boy happier than finding some new way to break into someplace he wasn’t supposed to be.  They were getting closer to finding a way into Zaizen’s files, he could feel it.  Once that despicable man no longer had those evil videos of both him and Michael, then he wouldn’t have as much leverage.  Slowly, but surely, they would erode the power Zaizen had over all of them and take control over their lives back.

 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

 

Michael walked a few paces behind Amon and Sakaki as they made their way back up to the office.  The two men were speaking about what their next course of action should be.  They weren’t excluding him, but he felt the need to back off a bit.  It was strange to see Amon so…open?  He wasn’t sure what word would best describe their stoic team leader’s new attitude, but there was a definite change.  He gave himself an inward smile as he watched his lover nod his head in agreement with something Amon had just said.  He hadn’t realized just how scared he was until he saw for himself that his lover didn’t hate him for what happened the night before.  But when Sakaki held him and told him that he wasn’t going to leave him alone, he felt such a soul-draining sense of relief that he broke down.  It felt like he could breathe again.  To him, Sakaki was the very air, the only reason he kept on living.  Without it, there was nothing but the bottle of pills he kept squirreled away underneath his bathroom sink.  His final solution…and he wasn’t afraid to use it.

 

As the three men exited the elevator, Michael turned away from his dark thoughts.  He had to maintain hope that they could escape from Zaizen’s clutches, he just had to.  When Sakaki glanced over his shoulder, he gave a genuine smile.

 

“Well, now that we no longer have to worry about the cameras, things should be a little easier to orchestrate,” Amon stated gruffly. 

 

Michael set the laptop down on his desk and moved around to sit on the chair.  “I’ll get back to work on the Zaizen’s system password.  I have a few more ideas that I want to try.”

 

The dark haired man sat down at the desk adjacent to him.  “Is there anyone you can think of that might be able to help.”

 

Michael cocked his head in the other man’s direction.  “I do have some fellow hackers I can run this by, but I don’t want to resort to that just yet.  The less people involved the better.” Amon nodded in agreement.  Behind them Sakaki gave a weary sigh. 

 

“Guess I’ll just sit back and stay out of the way,” he said as he slumped into his desk chair.  “I feel bad that I can’t help with any of this stuff, but computers and me don’t get along that well.”

 

“Don’t be like that; you help out in lots of different ways.” 

 

“Yeah, like what?” the blonde moaned dejectedly.  When Michael couldn’t come up with anything he looked down at his lap. 

 

“Exactly my point,” Sakaki said as he leaned back in the chair and crossed his hands behind his head.  Violet eyes looked up towards the ceiling momentarily before sliding closed.

 

Michael stared at his lover as an uneasy feeling began to gnaw the inside of his stomach.  He though that perhaps his love was joking around like he usually does, but the tone was different this time.  There was no playfulness to it.  He opened his mouth to try and give his love some reassurance that his presence was helpful, but all that came out was an aborted squeak.  He couldn’t think of a damn thing to say that wasn’t something along the lines of “I love you so much that just having you near me is enough to make me feel better.”  How girly and pathetic is that? I’m so dependant on him; he must get so fed up with me all the time.  I don’t think I could stand to be around me if I were him.  Why does he stay then?  Why? 

 

 Despite the urge to keep trying to explain his feelings, Michael turned back to his computer and began to work.  He could see Amon staring at him from the corner of his eye.  The older man looked concerned.  The only answer he could give the man’s unsaid question was a sullen shrug of his shoulders.  It was so strange now, this new closeness with their somber team leader.  And of all things to share, abuse was not something he wanted to bond with someone over.  It made Michael’s stomach clench to even think about it.  But he had to admit that Amon hid it very well.  Too well, actually, but now that he knew, the hacker could see the fear and the barely checked animosity in those stony hazel eyes.  If Amon’s path through hell led him to become the hardened individual he was today, where would Michael’s path take him?  A cold shiver passed through his body and his fingers paused on the keyboard.  Too many questions and not enough answers.  Now, if he could just get into Zaizen’s computer.    

 

The next hour passed relatively quickly as he worked in tandem with Amon.  While Michael worked on the firewall, the other man researched what looked like shipping records and inventory lists.  He wasn’t sure how that tied into their little “project,” but he trusted Amon enough to know that it had to have some importance.  Behind him, he heard the soft squeak of a chair as his lover fidgeted followed by the hum of Sakaki’s monitor as he powered up his computer.  He glanced over his shoulder to see the other teen surfing through different websites, head resting on his hand and looking bored out of his skull.    

 

“No looking at porn, Haruto.  You’ll only piss off Kosaka if he finds out,” Michael chimed lightly without turning around. 

 

“Well, he’s not here to find out, is he?” The sing-song tone of Sakaki’s voice caused the redhead’s lips to curve into a smile.  “And besides,” the blonde added, “I know a certain computer genius that should be able to keep an angry bald man from discovering the truth.”

 

Michael heard the sound of an office chair rolling across the floor, but he still jumped when he felt moist lips latch onto the base of his neck.  He gasped and it took all his willpower not to moan at the playful love bite.

 

 “And besides,” Sakaki whispered in his ear, “A little porn isn’t such a bad thing now, is it?”

 

No, no it wasn’t and if Sakaki kept licking the side of his neck like that, it might quickly digress into such a display right here in the control room regardless of whether Amon was watching or…not…Amon!  Michael’s mind snapped back to reality and he looked over at the other man.  Hazel eyes were watching the two of them unabashedly.    

 

Sensing the immediate tension is the hacker’s body; Sakaki looked up and backed off with a nervous chuckle.  “Sorry,” he mumbled.  Amon composed himself quickly and looked back at the computer screen.  “He’s just so cute, I can’t help myself,” the blonde said as he gave his lover a warm smile.

 

“Its fine,” the older man said brusquely without turning around. 

 

Sakaki shrugged and rolled back to his desk while Michael took a moment to analyze Amon’s reaction.  The look on the other man’s face had been surprised, but not that exactly.  It was more a look of disbelief than anything else.  Surely he’s seen us be affectionate before.  The day before, he walked in on Haruto comforting me after that panic attack and didn’t have that type of reaction.  Why did he seem so shocked by it now?  Well, we haven’t exactly been flaunting it the whole time, but now that Amon knows, I don’t feel the need to hide it anymore and it looks like Haruto feels the same.  Weird.  Well, then again this is Amon.  He does do things differently.

 

With a sigh, the redhead pushed his glasses up on his nose and went back to work.  It was just so frustrating that he could not get into Zaizen’s computer.  Two days, two whole days he had been working at it.  It had only taken eighteen hours to break into the STN-J mainframe way back when, a personal record for him, but this was getting out of hand.  All the computers were routed through the same server, he should not be having this much trouble.  Currently, there were three different brute force cracker programs running to break Zaizen’s system log in and password and they were turning up nothing.

 

Three more hours passed with no new results.  It was time to face some facts.  The hacker sat up straight and pushed off the desk to spin his chair around.  “Guys,” he started solemnly.  “I don’t think we’re going to be able to get in this way.”

 

The two other men stopped what they were doing and turned to face him.  “Why do you say that?” Amon asked.

 

“Because I’ve been running these programs for two days without any results.”

 

“Is that enough time?” Sakaki chimed in.

 

“It depends.  Back when I was…home and didn’t have all the fancy equipment, it would take me days if not weeks, but we don’t have that kind of time.  We need to get in now and I think the fastest way to do that is if I’m at Zaizen’s computer.”

 

 
 
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