Title: One Moment
Authoresses: NoChristmasJokesPlz and ANT-chan
Rating/Genre: Romance/Drama/Humor/NC-17 (for SLASH - which means lots of GAY - foul language, a smidge of violence, and sexual situations. Warnings may change depending on chapter.)
Summary: Sasha Adelais has resigned himself to the single life at an early age. He's awkward, nerdy, short, and distressingly girly. Not dating material. Or at least, no one but Aiden Patroclos has ever seemed to think so. M/M
Chapter 40: A Day of Remembrance
Aiden grinned to himself as he watched his lover dry off, swaying on his feet and giggling under his breath. A couple of quick romps in the shower had left them both dizzy and on cloud nine, and they still had enough time to get to the dojo. Aiden tossed his own towel towards the large hamper across the room, padding naked over to his locker to retrieve their clothes. He set Sasha's things down on the nearby bench, and started pulling on his own clothes.
Sasha joined him a few moments later, pulling a brush through his damp hair. His eyes followed Aiden's movements, unconsciously licking his lips as the man pulled the silk Chinese jacket over his broad shoulders. It was deep crimson red with black trimmings, embroidered with golden dragons. The top fastenings were left undone so a generous portion of his tight black undershirt could be seen. Combined with the snug black jeans, his boyfriend looked utterly delicious.
"You look nice," he murmured, reaching for his clothes.
The elder glanced over at him, a warm smile touching his lips. "So do you."
The brunet hopped a little as he pulled on his pants. "B-But I'm not dressed yet!"
"So?" Sasha almost fell over, and Aiden chuckled, striding over to help the boy into his jeans. They were a tight pair, even more so than Sasha's others, and they hugged his pert little backside in a way that made Aiden want to throw him down once again and have his naughty way with him.
And the shirt. It was rather snug, but tasteful, and seeing "his" color on Sasha gave him a near-primal possessive thrill. The jacket just confirmed the fact that Sasha was his, and it was a fact he would never tire of flaunting to the world.
He leaned in close and inhaled the sweet scent of Sasha's hair, then brushed the thick, cocoa hair away from the left side of his head, studying his ear. He'd noticed it in the shower, when he'd gone to nip at the lobe, and his teeth had made an audible click against the small, pearl blue ball nestled there. He hadn't minded it then, too busy with thoroughly ravishing every inch of the little brunet's delicious body.
"I didn't know your ears were pierced," he mused.
"Um, yeah. D...Daddy gave me these for my thirteenth birthday," Sasha replied, his eyes growing sad. "I just don't wear them often. Not unless it's for something special."
Aiden mentally cursed, hating himself for causing that sorrow to surface. "Hey, today's not special!" he said teasingly, trying to cheer the brunet up, or at least distract him.
It appeared to have worked a little bit. "Yes it is! It's your birthday!" The petite teen put his hands on his hips, staring up at the dark-haired man with stubborn eyes.
'Yeah, it's special,' Aiden thought, 'but not because it's our birthday.' Shit, he still had to explain that one, didn't he?
"So you keep sayin'," he said aloud, tipping the boy's chin up to give him a quick kiss. "You ready to go?"
Sasha nodded, giving a happy chirp as he linked his arm with Aiden's. They walked leisurely side-by-side as they made their way from the deserted gym. As they stepped out into the crisp October air, the elder of the pair shot another look at his clothes.
"You always wear girl's clothes, Asteri?" he asked curiously, eyeing the accentuated curves in those jeans in particular, which could never be found in a pair of men's jeans.
Sasha immediately bristled. "Hey! You trying finding men's clothes in extra small without looking in juniors!" he snapped. Aiden raised his hands in a show of peace, chuckling softly.
"Okay, okay, sorry," he said, smiling. "Point taken."
"And, for your information, this shirt was hand-made specifically for me, therefore, as I am male, it is considered men's clothing."
Aiden winced a little. Sasha was starting to speak formally, as he only did to complete strangers and those who angered him. As he and Sasha were as far from strangers as they could possibly be, it was apparent that the older man's seemingly innocuous statement had rubbed his little boyfriend the wrong way. (And it was so much more fun to rub him the right way.)
"Sasha, you're not mad at me now, are you?" Aiden asked somewhat plaintively, tightening his arm around the boy. His heart dropped when Sasha turned his face away. "Aw, c'mon, Asteri, you can't be mad over something-"
Sasha turned his face just enough so that his lover could see his playful little smile. He stood on tip-toe to kiss Aiden's lips, then slipped his fingers between the dark-haired man's and tugged him along. "Of course not," he teased. "Get a sense of humor!"
Aiden pouted theatrically. "That wasn't funny, Asteri," he said with mock seriousness. Sasha giggled and tossed his arms around his boyfriend's shoulders, nuzzling his throat.
"You're not mad at me, are you?" he asked, teasingly echoing his lover's earlier words, only punctuated by a kiss to the fabric over his chest.
Aiden growled low in his throat, his eyes narrowing in false annoyance. "Oooh, you'd better run," he murmured lowly.
Sasha simply blinked at him. But his eyes widened in mild terror as his lover gave him that predator's smirk.
"Eek!" he squeaked as Aiden suddenly pitched forward threateningly. The brunet took off like a shot, stumbling a little as he tried not to limp. It wasn't even painful, just an awkward ache in his lower back and more sensitive areas. It barely registered over the rush of excitement that made his heart pound. He heard Aiden's heavy footsteps behind him, though it was obvious the taller man was slowing his pace so Sasha wouldn't be pushed to the point of hurting himself.
Sasha found himself giggling the entire way to the Jeep. He skidded to a halt next to it, leaning against the side. He was laughing and so breathless that he barely had the strength to gasp as Aiden's large hands slammed into the car on either side of him. Warmth covered his back as Aiden pressed against him, bending so his lips were right next to Sasha's ear.
"Gotcha," he rasped.
Sasha turned, giggling, and laced his fingers together behind Aiden's neck. "Now that you have me, what are you going to do with me?" he asked breathlessly.
Aiden tilted up the boy's chin and leaned in close, tracing those full lips with his thumb. "Hmm... So many things come to mind." He leaned closer, so close that Sasha could almost feel their lips brushing. If he just tilted his head, he could-
"But, I think the cruelest thing to do is nothing at all." The elder man drew away with a cheeky grin and placed his hand on the door handle. "So, should we go?"
Sasha's eyes narrowed dangerously as he moved out of the way so that Aiden could open his door. Didn't he recall what happened the last time he'd teased him like this? Sasha climbed obligingly into the Jeep, a tiny smirk on his lips. History did tend to repeat itself.
The younger man sat, his expression deceptively calm as he waited for his boyfriend to get in and start the drive to the dojo. But to his surprise, once Aiden started the car, he didn't move to take the Jeep out of park. He simply sat there, one hand raised so he could scratch at his scar nervously. After nearly a full minute of silence, in which Sasha was growing more and more curious and worried by the sudden change, Aiden turned to him.
"We, uh... gotta talk about something real quick," he said vaguely.
"O-Okay?" Sasha clenched his hands on his jeans, his mind starting to whirl. Nothing good could come from a start like that. That was almost the dreaded phrase that began break up confessions. The brunet tried not to show any obvious signs of his rush of panic (which he was sure he failed at, but Aiden appeared too wrapped up in his thoughts to notice anyway) and told his brain to stop jumping to conclusions and let Aiden continue.
Aiden ran a hand through his hair, averting his eyes from his petite lover. "Y'see... It's just... Today is-" he sighed. God, he needed a cigarette. "Lemme start from the beginning. When my sister was born, my dad wasn't there to see the birth."
Sasha's panic came to a halt, and he now stared at the man in sheer confusion. What did this have to do with anything?
But Aiden kept on talking, too consumed by what he wanted to explain. "Mom was pissed at him. He'd been at Nationals when Eva was born. He wasn't happy he missed it either. But when Mom got pregnant with Aaron and me, they were excited because we were due the last week of October, so Dad wouldn't be at a tournament." He smiled awkwardly at his Asteri's confused expression. "Yeah, Mom went into labor a week early. While Dad was at regionals. So he gets a call, right? Just before his match. Mom's on the other end, yelling at him to get his ass over to the hospital because she's going into labor. And this time, he listens. He just... runs outta the building, telling the judges he's withdrawing from the tournament.
"He was speeding to get to the hospital in time. Never a smart thing to do, y'know? And of course, he gets in a wreck. He blindsides this sixteen-year-old on her way home from school. Goes spinning out of control and hits a tree. But," Aiden laughed, a hollow sound that had Sasha's heart dropping into his stomach in rising dread, "he does both the stupidest and bravest thing in his life. He pulls himself out of his trashed car, stumbles over and asks if she's okay. Lizzie - that's her name - said that he looked like he'd been through a meat grinder. His arm was busted up, and he was still offering a hand to help her out of her car like it was the most normal thing in the world! He uh, he passed out after that... right there on the street. He was bleeding internally, pretty bad. Lizzie kept him awake and talking once he came to, waiting for the paramedics to get there.
"He... He didn't make it. The guys in the ambulance got him a phone so he could talk to Mom. He got to name Aaron and me, and then..." here Aiden shrugged, his voice going a bit strained, "Today's important, you know? It's not just our birthday, it's the day we lost our Dad too. We like it that way. We don't want people to forget about him. So don't be surprised if Mom starts spouting out speeches or we start going back to talk to his altar and - Geez, can you... say something? Because if you don't I'm just gonna keep talking and..."
But Sasha couldn't speak. He was staring at Aiden with huge, sad eyes. His heart twisted painfully, his throat closed tight, and his eyes burned with the tears he knew would fall full force no matter what he did to stop them. He could see the pain in his lover's eyes, hear it in his voice, and he was floored by it. Aiden so rarely got like this, and it hurt Sasha like a physical wound to see him this way.
He knew what it was like to lose a father, but at least he knew his. Aiden and Aaron had grown up without theirs, and just the thought of not having his Daddy around to make him laugh when he was crying, or to pick him up and dust him off after a fall was a terrifying thought. Without thinking, without any sort of warning, Sasha clambered across the center console of the Jeep and wrapped his arms tightly around his lover's neck, burying his face in Aiden's chest.
"I'm so sorry," he whimpered tearfully, his entire body trembling with the effort not to sob. "I'm so, so, sorry..." He couldn't think of anything else to say, and nothing to do but cling to Aiden and hold him until he didn't hurt anymore. He knew that was impossible; it never stopped hurting when a loved one died. But it wouldn't stop him from trying.
Aiden had gone quiet the second the brunet had all but crawled into his lap. He found himself staring numbly at the top of Sasha's head against his chest, his own throat suspiciously tight. His arms came around the quivering boy, wincing at the knowledge that his lover was trying to choke down tears at his tale.
"H-Hey," he began shakily, "it's-" He stopped as teary blue eyes suddenly flew up to meet his. The effect of the glare was diminished by the pitiful sadness in them, but he got the message anyway. Aiden would be in big trouble if he dared say anything as stupid as "it's okay." The dark-haired man sighed, holding Sasha to him and sagging back against the seat. He felt tired already. He couldn't even imagine what he'd feel like by the end of the day.
"Look, it's... today's not really a sad day. It's not happy either, but..." he shrugged. "It stopped being about mourning his death a long time ago. Mom wouldn't have it that way. We're celebrating his life today, okay? So please... please don't cry, Sasha."
Sasha swallowed and wiped at his eyes, pressing a damp kiss to Aiden's lips. "S-sorry," he murmured. "I hate how emotional I get sometimes."
Aiden smiled gently and brushed away the boy's tears with gentle fingers. In a way, he was deeply touched that Sasha felt so strongly for him. "Don't be," he said. "I'm just glad I finally told you. I was just..."
"Waiting for the right time?" Sasha asked with a weak smile. "I understand completely." Aiden saw in his eyes that he did, and he was more than relieved about it. He also saw that there was something his Asteri wasn't ready to tell him yet as well.
He wouldn't ask. He'd wait until Sasha was ready. After all, Sasha had waited for him. Aiden gave his boyfriend one last soft kiss, before tenderly nudging him back into his seat. "Let's get going. Mom will kill me if I'm late for this." He said if in humor, but there was a strained note to his voice that made him mentally cringe. "Good thing the dojo's close."
Sasha merely smiled at him, buckling his seat belt. The first few minutes of the drive were quiet, and a little awkward. Neither of them knew what to say. Aiden glanced over at his lover, wondering what exactly the boy could be thinking about with such intense focus. He idly tapped his fingers on the steering wheel as he drove. He had no idea how to bridge the strange gap that had just opened up between them.
It was just starting to worry him, when a small hand slid teasingly along his thigh. "Fuck!" he hissed, nearly jumping out of his skin. It was only by quick reflexes that he didn't swerve the Jeep. Aiden shot a sidelong glare, eyes narrowing at his innocently smiling boyfriend. "Damn it, Sasha!"
"What? I'm not doing anything wrong," the boy said sweetly, though Aiden could detect a distinct edge of smugness in that tone. His fingers idly traced circles in the dark denim, inching closer and closer to Aiden's crotch, until he was toying with the man's zipper.
Aiden hissed through his teeth, glaring out of the corner of his eye at the little minx, who was humming to himself, as if nothing of any real importance were happening. "Sasha..." he growled again.
That innocent expression vanished, replaced by one that was so devious that Aiden actually swerved slightly, regaining his focus just in time to return his attention to the road.
Suddenly, Sasha's lips were against his ear, hot breath teasing the sensitive flesh. "Payback's a bitch," he crooned, pressing his palm into the front of his lover's jeans.
Aiden's breath caught in his throat, and he bit the inside of his cheek to stop his moan from breaking free. He tried, in vain, to elbow the boy away, not willing to take his hands off the wheel. But Sasha only pressed closer, practically molding himself to Aiden's side. Teeth nipped playfully at his ear, and he could hear the devilish little giggle that his violent shudder caused.
Aiden stubbornly kept his eyes on the road, gritting his teeth as he began to harden under his boyfriend's hand. This, of course, only seemed to excite the brunet more. "K-Knock it off," he rasped, almost growling in frustration when his voice came out breathless and vaguely needy.
Sasha only took his earlobe between his lips and suckled teasingly, his hand starting to rub in maddening little circles.
They stopped at a red light. 'Fuck, that's it.' Aiden snapped his head to the side, crushing his lips to Sasha's and his hand darting to tangle in soft cocoa hair.
Sasha moaned deeply into Aiden's mouth, knotting his fingers into Aiden's short, dark hair. This was what he lived for: making Aiden lose control. It always made him feel so powerful, so sexy, when he managed to shatter the man's ironclad resolve. He reveled in the surge of lust and power that tore through him as Aiden's tongue pried apart his lips and dove in to ravage his mouth.
"Little... tease..." the kendouka growled between urgent, hungry kisses. "Soon as... I get you... alone... you are mine..."
Sasha giggled and pulled back a little, tracing Aiden's lips with his tongue. What would it be like, he wondered devilishly, to pull over and ride his lover right here in the front seat? Oh, god, just the thought made Sasha want to-
He was jolted out of his fantasy by the cacophony of car horns that exploded behind them as the light turned. He drew back with a hiss of irritation.
The young man finally decided to take pity on his lover. He settled back in his seat, casting an apologetic, if slightly coy, smile at the man. He giggled as Aiden's brow twitched in annoyance, the man gunning the Jeep forward. The rest of the ride was quiet, but no longer awkward. Instead it was full of crackling lust. By the white-knuckled grip Aiden had on the steering wheel, it was obvious to Sasha that the older man was tempted to pull over and jump him.
And Aiden was very tempted to do just that. He was uncomfortably hard and getting more aroused with the very thought of dragging Sasha back into his lap. It would be so easy to just find a little deserted side road and exact his revenge on the little minx. But he couldn't. They'd already eaten up too much time with their romps in the shower. If he was late to his own party, his mother would track him down and kill him.
They pulled into the dojo's parking lot with minutes to spare. But after killing the engine, Aiden didn't move. He rested his forehead on the steering wheel and closed his eyes, appearing deep in concentration. Sasha stared at him for a moment, and was about to ask what was wrong when he shot a glance at the very prominent bulge in his snug jeans.
"Heehee..." the brunet giggled quietly. He inched closer. He pecked Aiden's cheek, and darted his hand down to give him a final, firm squeeze. And then he bolted from the Jeep.
Sasha rushed into the dojo, giggling wildly. Without waiting to see if Aiden was following him, he skidded to a stop before a slightly surprised, but mostly amused, Keres. Without thinking, he wheeled behind her, peeking over her shoulder. "Oh, Sasha! Welcome to the party!" Keres said cheerfully. "Where's my hatchling? Didn't he bring you?"
The petite brunet couldn't hold back his giggle of devious delight. "He's coming. He just has to... cool down a bit."
The innuendo wasn't lost on the Patroclos matriarch. She smirked and turned her head to look at the boy currently using her as a hiding place out of the corner of her eye. "Oh, Sasha, you're really starting to fit in with this family." She gave a mock-sniffle and placed a hand over her chest, wiping away an imaginary tear with the other. "Oh, I'm so happy!"
Sasha laughed softly at her display, and hugged the older woman about the waist. He stepped back to take a good look at her, his smile saddening just a little. Keres was dressed up in a very nice black satin Chinese dress, embroidered with beautiful gold dragons. There was a gold ornament in her hair that left gold ribbons to mix with her caramel colored hair. Her normal devilish aura had softened and grown tired. There was a bittersweet melancholy about her despite her smile.
She noticed his expression, and made a soft sound of understanding. "Ah, he told you."
Sasha nodded. "Yeah. Just before we left."
Keres' mahogany eyes rolled towards the ceiling. "Talk about last minute. He gets that from his father. That man didn't want to bring up the tough stuff unless he thought it was exactly the right moment." She grinned and shook her head in exasperation. But then she gestured to the room around them, and to the people milling about and talking idly. It was then that the brunet noticed that they'd taken up the mats, leaving the polished wood floor bare. He saw his mother and Collette among the group, but not Kendall or Sam. There were two people he didn't recognize, a man and woman chatting with Baal.
Keres followed his eyes. "Oh, here! I'll go introduce you since Aiden is willing his boner into submission."
The young man didn't have time to choke down his laughter as his boyfriend's mother took him by the shoulder, guiding him over to the couple. By the time they drew close, Sasha had already figured out who they must be. The woman had an exceptional resemblance to Keres, from her tan skin, to her tall, slim frame, to her pixie-cut caramel hair and mahogany eyes. This was Eva, Aiden and Aaron's older sister. And that would make the man standing next to her Finn, her husband. The man was talking to Baal with a bright smile on his face, and Sasha was struck by the stark contrast of his tanned skin and short ash-blond hair. His eyes were just a few shades darker than his skin, a gentle chocolate brown.
Sasha shifted nervously as Keres pulled him over to them. He felt uneasy meeting more of Aiden's family without Aiden with him. "Eva, Finn!" Keres announced, drawing their attention. Finn turned to them with a bright smile and Eva with a curious frown. The brunet had the strongest urge to hide. "This is the one we've been telling you about, Sasha Adelais."
Eva's gaze was calculating, intimidating. She was obviously sizing Sasha up, and he didn't like it. But he didn't want to appear meek or spineless, so he straightened and offered her a smile that was only a tiny bit timid. He held out his hand.
"Nice to meet you," he said. Eva took the proffered hand and shook firmly, still evaluating him almost professionally. At last, a small smile quirked her lips, and Sasha heaved a mental sigh of relief.
"Nice to meet you too, Sasha. I've heard a lot about you. I'm Eva, and this is Finn, my husband."
"Notice the lack of little Evas and Finns," Keres muttered in the petite brunet's ear. Sasha bit back a snicker when Eva cut her mother a sharp glare.
Finn clasped Sasha's small hand in both of his larger ones, shaking heartily and smiling warmly. "I'm delighted to meet you at last, Sasha. My, you're rather pretty! Just like a girl! Aiden's very lucky." It took the man a moment to realize that the boy's eyes had narrowed. Slowly, he drew away from Finn's hands, his fingers clenching into fists at his sides. He trembled slightly in an effort to reign in his anger, which ultimately failed.
"Well excuse me," he snapped ferociously. "It's not my fault I took after my mother! Is that a crime?!"
Finn stepped away, his expression so honestly alarmed and confused that Sasha might have felt bad. That is, if Finn hadn't called him girly. The brunet jumped as an arm settled over his shoulders, a low whistle cutting the air. "Wow, nice going, Finn. It took ya all of three seconds to piss him off." Sasha looked up to find Aiden standing next to him, his other arm resting idly over the hilt of a very beautiful katana now tied at his waist. His hazel eyes were twinkling in amusement. He didn't even look annoyed about Sasha's stunt in the Jeep.
"Got your dick finally under control, huh?" Keres muttered over Sasha's head. The man's glare was cut off by Eva settling her hand on her husband's shoulder.
"Nice first impression, dear," she said sardonically, but her eyes were sparkling in mirth.
Finn smiled sheepishly. "Oops?"
"I'm not even wearing the hair clips today!" the young man exclaimed, sagging sulkily into Aiden's side.
Aiden smiled patiently. "Don't take what he says too seriously, Asteri. Finn's a bit..." he paused, and snickered. "Well, he's blond."
"But... but..." Sasha didn't even care that there was a touch of a childish whine in his voice. "He called me girly! It's not like I can help it!" His voice dropped to a low, pouty grumble. "Even if I wear boy's clothes, I just look like a girl in guy's clothing!"
Aiden drew the boy away from his sister and brother-in-law with a wry smile, soothing his wounded ego with soft words and a gentle kiss to his cheek. Mona sidled up to the married couple, smiling fondly in her son's direction. "He's very sensitive about his appearance," she explained. "He may be a bit feminine, but he still has a damageable male ego. Would you like it if someone called you girly?"
Finn blinked at her, slightly confused. "Why wouldn't I? It means they're calling me attractive, right?" He turned his head as his wife sighed. "What?"
"It was a rhetorical question, Finn," she said, the corner of her lips twitching in a slight smile. Finn blinked again.
Mona giggled at the pair. "The only one who gets away with calling him cute or beautiful is Aiden, and even he has to be careful. Sasha may be the sane one in our family, but he can be just a tad irrational." Her brows furrowed slightly, as if she were pondering something. "Though, that may be my fault..."
Before either Eva or Finn could ask her what she meant, a gleeful laugh from the door drew the attention of all the party goers. A certain pretty blond was walking backwards into the dojo, tugging a very reluctant pink-haired man inside. Kendall muttered something under his breath, and Sammy's tinkling laughter rang out again. "A bit too late to be complaining, isn't it, Kenny?" he teased.
Aiden and Sasha had joined the group near the back of the room - consisting of Aaron, Aya, Collette, and Noa - when the pair came through the door. "Holy shit," Aaron remarked as they looked towards the entrance. "He actually came."
"That's Sam's doing, no doubt," Collette snickered.
But it was Aya's reaction that drew their attention. A quiet gasp accompanied by the snap of a book closing had the rest of them turning to her. The blonde was staring at the couple with wide green eyes, her expression full of shock and disbelief and something that Sasha couldn't quite comprehend. It was a look of such intensity that Aaron was immediately slithering an arm around her waist.
"Aya?" he murmured worriedly.
"You... You said Sam," Aya whispered quickly, turning her eyes to Collette and Sasha. "What's his last name?""
"F-Fierabrand," Sasha replied, not understanding why this was so important to her. "His name is Sam Fierabrand."
This time Aya's gasp was joined by three more, from each of the martial artists present. The book was pushed into Aaron's hands, and the woman was slowly, nervously made her way towards the couple.
"What's going on?" the young man asked, glancing questioningly up at Aiden.
It was Aaron who answered. "Aya's last name is Fierabrand too." He met Sasha's shocked stare. "Yeah, I know, right? Ah... it's like this: Aya lost her parents in a car crash when she was five. She got shipped off to the main Crimson Valley orphanage. She said... that while she was there she found out that she had a half-brother through her father - who apparently had been in the system since he was a baby. They were together for only a year, so she didn't remember him much. The boy got shipped off somewhere, and no one questioned it because he and Aya were only half-siblings. Aya gave up looking for him years ago. Unless..." he shrugged, nodding towards Sam, "that's him."
Aiden whistled lowly. "I told you they were the same brand of scary."
Across the room, Sam was oblivious to this commotion, too busy trying to comfort his fiancÚ. "See, baby?" he soothed, gesturing to the cozy little party. "It's not so bad!"
Kendall remained unconvinced. "We just got here, Sammy. And I swear to god, if that rat bastard starts-"
"He won't! I told you."
Sam looked towards the group, smiling brightly, and his hand rose in a wave before he froze, his warm brown eyes widening with stunned disbelief. Aya took a tentative step forward.
"S-Sammy?" she asked cautiously, as if she wasn't sure she could believe it. "Um... I'm Aya. Aya Fierabrand?"
Sam bit his lip for a moment, and tears flooded his eyes. In two long strides, he was in front of the blonde woman, his arms wrapped tightly around her, rocking her back and forth and babbling excitedly. "Aya, Aya, my sweet little Aya! I thought I'd never see you again! How- When- Oh, it doesn't matter! I have my little sissy back again!" He buried his face into her hair, hers hidden in his neck, both of them shaking under the flood of emotions threatening to carry them both away. For a long while, there was silence throughout the dojo, until Mona gave a hearty cheer. The entire congregation burst into applause, Keres and Mona whooping the loudest of all.
Sammy drew away from his sister, his eyes and nose slightly red, and held her at arm's length, eyeing her from head toe, as if to be sure she was undamaged. With each second, his teary smile widened, until his eyes met hers again. "You're so tall," he breathed, his tone flooding with emotion, "and so... so..." He regarded her curves with awe, "womanly! You've grown up so much!" His hands cupped her cheeks as he dropped a kiss on her brow. "I'll have to beat the boys off with a stick, won't I?" he teased.
Aya sniffed back tears, biting her lip to stop herself from smiling. "I kind of already have someone to do that. He's even got the stick to do it with - or sword, rather."
Sam blinked as a wave of snickers went through the small crowd. Across the room, Aaron gave a long-suffering sigh. "That'd be my cue," he muttered, stepping past his twin. Aiden clapped him on the shoulder as he passed, his smile impishly delighted.
"Good luck, brother."
The room going silent in anticipation was what caught Sam's attention. His brows furrowed as one of the Patroclos twins stepped up beside Aya. He cast a discreet glance towards the back of the room, where the other twin was standing with his arm around Sasha. That could only be Aiden. Aaron, then. He was about to ask what Aaron was doing, when Aya moved back from him. His sister leaned into Aaron's side, and he slid an arm around her waist. Sam's eye twitched convulsively.
"Sammy, this is my boyfriend, Aaron Patroclos. But you already know each other, so..."
Aaron winced as Sam's gaze sharpened into a glare. 'Here we go...' It's not as if he couldn't understand it. The man found his half-sister after nearly fifteen years, only to find out she was grown up and dating. He wouldn't have been happy either. But that didn't mean he had to enjoy it. And he really didn't enjoy the way Sam was looking at him, as if he were deciding if attacking him would be a valid response to his sister's announcement and was it just him or did Sam's teeth suddenly look unnaturally... sharp?
'Calm down, Sammy,' the blond was trying to tell himself. 'She's an adult, now. She's not a little girl and she could do much worse than Aaron.' But that didn't comfort him in the least. She was still his baby sister, damn it. "I know I'm a bit late," he said slowly, "but if you hurt my little sister, there'll be hell to pay, got it?"
Aaron cringed a bit, and the expression suddenly had Sam remembering the case of mistaken identity nearly a month ago that had resulted in Aaron getting slapped. "Sam, we'll be dating for two years come March," the younger twin explained.
Sam smirked. "So? The threat still stands. And I was going to apologize for mistaking you for your brother and slapping you, but now we'll just count that as advance retribution."
Aaron sighed. If Sam was this upset about his dating Aya, he didn't want to be around when the blond man discovered where he was spending the night...
A sudden loud, almost pained-sounding moan snapped him from his morbid reverie, and he looked up to see Kendall half-glaring, half-pouting at Aiden. For a moment, he looked almost comically like Sasha. "Damn iiiiit!" the pink-haired man groaned. Sam curled his arm around his fiancÚ's, arching an eyebrow at him.
"Something wrong, Kenny?" he asked. The expression Kendall adopted was so adorably pitiable that Sam couldn't help but smile.
"I'm stuck with him no matter what, aren't I?" he whined, pointing accusingly at Aiden, who snickered as he caught on. Either through Sasha or Sam, Aiden was in Kendall's life as a constant source of annoyance.
Sammy chuckled softly and nuzzled his lover's shoulder. "I guess you'll just have to learn to cope, won't you?" he sing-songed.
Kenny muttered something under his breath that had Sam slapping his arm lightly, before the younger man noticed that Aya was gazing at them curiously. His eyes brightened, and he tugged his lover over to his sister without a second's hesitation. "You two haven't been formally introduced, have you? Well, Aya, this is Kendall, Sasha's older brother and my fiancÚ. Kenny, this is Aya, my little sister and Aaron's..." He cut a sharp glare at the younger Patroclos twin, before beaming at his sister once more, "girlfriend."
Kendall offered her a surprisingly kind smile, one that seemed to brighten his entire face. He seemed much more approachable this way. "Nice to meet you, Aya," he said, one arm curling loosely around Sam's hip and the other extending to take her hand. "Sammy's never stopped missing you." Suddenly, a wry quirk came to his lips. "Don't be fooled by your brother's pretty face. He's a real devil and can be damn scary when he wants to be."
Sam promptly elbowed his fiancÚ none too gently in the ribs, smiling genially even as Kendall uttered a winded "Oof" and staggered slightly. "Don't listen to him, Aya. I'm all sugar, through and through."
"Tell that to my face," Aaron muttered.
Aya laughed softly, stroking her boyfriend's arm soothingly. He'd told her about how Kendall's boyfriend had mistaken him for Aiden and slapped him out of righteous anger. She'd felt sorry for him then, but now that she knew it'd been her brother...
It was pretty funny to think about.
The blonde turned her attention back to the pink-haired man standing next to her brother. She'd heard a lot of things about Kendall - not all of them good. (That would be more Aiden's doing than anything.) The man had a notorious temper and was extremely violent when furious. She knew he was protective, overprotective where Sasha was concerned. But with all those bad things also came the common knowledge that Kendall treated his boyfriend, who Aya had never thought to find out more about, like a prince.
Aya didn't quite know if she could accept Kendall just yet, but he certainly earned a chance based on that alone.
"Don't worry," she replied, casting a pointed glance at the members of the Patroclos family about the room, "the people I associate with like people to believe they're sweet and innocent. They're anything but."
The family in question burst into laughter at this proclamation, Keres cackling loudest of all. "Don't let her fool you either, Sam!" Aiden piped up. "Aya's downright vicious when she wants to be! Hope you keep your med-books in good condition."
Sam gasped, utterly indignant. "Are you suggesting I don't take good care of them?!"
Aya beamed. "Can't believe I didn't see the similarities before," Aaron murmured.