~Reluctant Ukes:  A Need for Kink~

The door that had a '1' over it was red, a dark maroonish red that made the five males hesitate outside it.  But Kurama, who'd led the way, opened it after a
moment of surprise and they filed inside.  The interior was a shade darker than the large assembly room.  Pale walls were lit by faded golden bulbs along the
ceiling, creating a quiet atmosphere.  The semes took their places at the long table, five chairs facing two on the other side.  They'd no more than sat down
before the back door opened quietly, a tall white-haired man nodding to them as he entered the room.  His pale blue eyes glinted at the dark-haired boy in the
group, but Heero's gaze had gone past him, dark blue eyes widening when they fell on the person who followed.  Not waiting for the Japanese pilot to speak,
the tall man stood over his chair with a soft smirk.  "My name is Zechs," he said, nodding to them before waving to the black-haired boy who had followed him,
"and this is Wufei."

The second male had black hair that was pulled tightly behind his head, a little tail just sweeping past his shoulders.  Dark blackish brown eyes glared for a
second before the boy sighed and looked straight at Heero.  To say this was awkward would be an understatement.  Luckily the dark-haired boy had lost his
surprised expression and merely nodded at him.  Wufei and Zechs took their seats across from the five.  The white-haired man looked at each of them for a
long moment, his smile widening.

"I realize you have already shared the basics of your problems," Zechs said, his smile easing away as he took on a sober expression.  "But in order to help,
we're going to need to hear more.  We need to look deeper than the problem itself and investigate the relationship.  I know it isn't easy to speak of personal
things, and if any of you is too uncomfortable to talk in front of the others, we can arrange private meetings."  He raised a hand before any of them could react
to that offer. "Just keep in mind that all five of you share a similar problem - hearing what the others have to say can easily help you realize the flaws in your
own relationships.  Private meetings will come eventually as we fix individual problems, but on the outset it's usually easier to be with others who understand
what you're going through.  Everyone in this room has had trouble, not one of you is alone in that."

The five semes were looking between the white and black-haired males, and Wufei finally sighed, his eyebrow twitching.  He could feel Heero's sharp gaze
snap to him, and he managed not to blush or scowl.  "What qualifies Zechs and I to help you all is that we had a relationship with problems similar to yours."

Heero stared at his friend for a long minute before raising an eyebrow.  His voice was low, but everyone heard it perfectly well.  "You're the uke, aren't you."

A flash of teeth accompanied Zechs' soft laugh when Wufei's face tinted pink, and he nodded.  "Yes, he is.  And just like your ukes, Wufei is very stubborn and
violent.  It took us a lot of work to keep our relationship functioning.  But we managed, and our experience is going to help all of you.  The first thing I want to
do is to go around the room a few times.  Although I realize your partners have their differences, Wufei will act as the voice of the uke in this.  We hope that will
let you understand better why your ukes react the way they do to certain situations.  My first question concerns the relationship.  How did each of you become
lovers with your uke?"  He looked at Dee, the dark-haired man sitting in the last seat closest to Wufei.  "And for this, the definition of lover doesn't necessarily
include sex.  I want you to tell us how you moved into a relationship that was romantic in nature."  Bright green eyes were on him, and Zechs smiled at Kurama,
nodding lightly.  All of the counselors had watched the initial group meeting, so he knew them by name.  "Kurama, would you care to go first?"

"Ah."  The other semes looked at him, and Kurama frowned a bit, his brows drawing close.  "Hiei and I actually knew each other for some time before we
became lovers.  I suppose you could say we were partners in crime for a while before we were caught.  Both of us received the same punishment and we
continued to work together after that, along with two others.  Hiei never had much steady contact with people before we met, so he isn't very trusting.  But after
a few years I started...flirting a little."  Zechs nodded encouragingly, and Kurama smirked, shaking his head.  "I guess I can't say I just flirted.  The truth is I hit
on him, almost literally.  He was being stubborn as usual, and we were arguing about his injury.  I hadn't planned to ever actually do anything with him - I'd
realized he wasn't the type to be seduced.  But we argued and I was so angry I grabbed him."  Kurama blinked, his eyes flitting to the others in a hint of
embarrassment.  "That was it.  He fought a little, but I'm sure he didn't really mind that much so I didn't stop.  And after that we just sort of came together.  He
always used to visit me occasionally, when he got bored.  After the first time, his visits turned into an excuse for sex.  That's where we still are, and it's been a
year since then.  I know there's more than that to our relationship, but Hiei isn't the sort of person you confess your feelings to.  I'm sure he returns them, but
he wouldn't ever admit it."

Zechs was nodding, and he frowned at Kurama.  "So you got together during an argument.  That's actually quite common with anger-prone partners.  But
before that first incident you were merely friends?"

"As close as anyone can be friends with Hiei," Kurama said.  "He hides any soft feelings inside, but when he trusts someone, it's for life.  He's trusted me for a
long time now.  I think he trusted me from the first time we met.  You see, we fought and he was already injured.  I took him home with me after that and
patched him up.  I doubt Hiei will ever forget that I didn't kill him when I had the chance, even though we were strangers.  He's made more...friends...since then,
but I'm the only person he can count on to understand him."

Kagetsuya frowned, leaning on the table.  "If he trusted you, I'm surprised he didn't turn on you when you jumped him the first time.  I'd think that would come
as a breach of trust for someone with few friends."

"I was afraid of that afterward," Kurama admitted, looking over at the blonde man.  "It happened so quickly.  I didn't even think about what I was doing, or the
possible consequences.  I suppose I'm lucky Hiei blamed my sensual nature.  I've a past as a creature of the flesh, you might say, and he knew that soon after
we met.  Most of the time when he's putting up his token resistance he complains that I'm insatiable.  I think he's right, too."

Zechs had a small appreciative smile on his face, and Wufei elbowed the man with a warning glare.  Looking to Kurama, Wufei tilted his head.  "You say he put
up a 'token resistance' the first time, and continues to do so?  How much does he fight?"

"Well," Kurama frowned, "he doesn't really fight so much as argue and threaten to burn me.  If Hiei were to really fight, we would both be in danger, as well as
anyone around us.  I know neither of us would want to hurt the other.  The first time, he glared and gave me a lot of low warnings.  He did struggle a little, but
for Hiei, it was obvious he didn't feel like fighting.  If he really wanted to stop me, or to get away, I'd never be able to catch him.  He's much faster than me.  The
only way I could truly force him into something would be if I bound him and sealed off his power.  So I don't think of it as a real fight, just a token.  He says no
just to be saying no."

As the speaker for the ukes, Wufei's eyes narrowed thoughtfully.  "If he's capable of refusing outright, without your being able to do anything, then it doesn't
sound as if he minds.  And he wouldn't have stayed close to you knowing your nature if he wasn't prepared for a possible confrontation."

"He might not have expected it," Kurama said quickly, "because he doesn't think highly of his allure.  He knew what sort of person I was, but I don't think he
ever really thought I would be interested in him."

Wufei nodded.  "Did he think he were different from the sort of people you are attracted to, or that no one like *you* would be attracted to him?" The
red-haired male blinked at him, and he rephrased the question.  "Did he think he wasn't your type, or that no one would want him, especially not someone like
you?"

Kurama gave a sad sigh, folding his hands on the table.  "Probably both.  Hiei has had a lot of rejections in his life.  He doesn't value himself."

The green-eyed youth was staring at his hands, and Zechs shook his head.  "It's possible that the problem you have isn't a difference in endurance at all.  He
may not feel worthy of you.  This token resistance could be an effort to fight with himself.  I want you to think about that as we go on to the next."  Kurama
blinked at him, and he gave the youth a light smile before nodding to the tall man seated in the second chair.  "Sano, how did you and your uke get together?"

"It was odd, actually," Sano said slowly, brown eyes narrowed.  "I'd been attracted to him since I first saw him, but I didn't have any experience with
relationships so I never said anything.  Besides that, he was staying with a girl who was completely dependent on him.  I was pretty sure the two of them were
destined to be a couple.  So I just sort of...hung around, just to be near him.  He had a really rough past, and it haunts him a lot.  I noticed that when it's just
the two of us he doesn't hide it as much.  The first time we did anything was sudden, and totally unexpected."  He blinked, glancing at Zechs.  "He started it."  
The man looked surprised, and Sano smiled.  "I could tell he was really depressed, so I was keeping him company and playing a little, trying to cheer him up.  I
had my arm around him and was messing with his hair.  It got a smile from him, and before I knew it we were almost wrestling.  It was fun for a while, and
then...he kissed me."

Wufei smirked, taking in the young man's wide eyes.  "And you're the seme?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Sano sniffed, giving the boy a mock glare.  "Well, Kenshin's old fashioned.  After he kissed me he blushed and apologized.  That's where I took over.  We
didn't do much then, just messed around a little, but eventually we did.  I was just glad he was interested to begin with, so I didn't push him or anything.  A lot's
happened since then, and he lives with me now.  We get along really well.  It's just that we do the same thing all the time."

"You said earlier that he was dangerous," Wufei reminded him.  "Have you thought about switching roles?"

Remembering the blonde boy who'd complained about his partner wanting to be seme, Sano smirked.  "I've thought about it, and I really wouldn't mind if he
wanted to.  But I don't think he does.  Or if he does, he's doing a really good job hiding it.  He seems completely content with our lifestyle.  Then again, he's
very good at hiding things behind a smile."

"Then boredom is the problem," Zechs noted, "and you want a change in pace.  From what you said, your initial encounter was simple enough aside from his
reluctance.  Do you have any idea why he would have been reluctant to begin with, why he felt the need to apologize to you?"

Sano sighed, running a hand through his thick spiked hair.  "I don't know.  I mean, it's not like I haven't thought about it.  Sometimes I think it's the age
difference.  Kenshin's nine years older than me."

The two counselors exchanged a pointed look, and Wufei smiled at the dark-haired man.  "And you're the seme?"

Heero raised an eyebrow, looking over the familiar Chinese boy.  "Interesting question, coming from an uke."

"I don't think age determines roles," Kurama added, having noted Sano's twitching eyebrow.  "In this form I'm considerably younger than Hiei, but that doesn't
make him any more aggressive when it comes to physical roles."

"But that's because he doesn't agree to begin with," Dee spoke up, scowling at the effeminate redhead.  He couldn't help but be a little resentful toward the
others.  They were complaining about their partners, but at least they'd managed to achieve *some* sort of physical relationship.  "I think age and experience
have a lot to do with roles."

"I thought so too," Sano interrupted, turning to look at the dark-haired man.  "Kenshin isn't just older than me, he was actually married once.  I blame that
disaster for part of his reluctance, but even after that he has a very strong personality when it comes to most things.  If he has a belief, there's no talking him
out of it.  He has more strength - and I don't just mean physically - than anyone I've ever met.  Once he has his mind set on something, he doesn't hesitate.  
But with me all he *does* is hesitate.  I don't like to complain since it's pretty much a miracle I'm with him in the first place considering how many people have
fallen for him, but when we're together Kenshin just..."

A faint blush rose to the young man's face, and Kagetsuya smirked, turning knowing eyes on him.  "He just lies there, doesn't he.  I know exactly how that is."

"And I just don't see why," Sano said, shaking his head adamantly.  "Kenshin's the most passionate person I've ever met when he's fighting.  He's got such a
strong spirit the air literally crackles around him!  But the moment intimacy comes in he just...turns off or something.  And I know it isn't that he's not
interested.  I don't just-just jump him.  I've *seen* him looking at me, but he never does anything.  It's like he has to wait for me."

Thinking of his own wild lover, Heero sniffed.  "You mean he's inhibited.  You don't know how lucky you are."

The dark-haired boy sounded absolutely serious, and Sano stared at him in disbelief.  "Are you kidding?"

"Really," Dee frowned, "who wants to have sex with a corpse?"

"He's not *that* bad," Sano spoke up, his gaze shifting between the two males.  "And I'm not complaining because I have to do the work, I just wish he'd be
more...enthusiastic."

"Too much enthusiasm is just as bad," Heero argued, scowling at the taller seme.  "At least he's not begging to be laid all the time."

Zechs grinned when his black-haired lover flushed beside him.  The amount of information they were getting about Heero's relationship had to be hard for
Wufei.  But it couldn't be helped, and he didn't mind so much himself.  If nothing else, it was nice to know that they weren't the only ones to have suffered so
many headaches trying to build a successful relationship.  Glancing back to the semes across from him, Zechs noticed that Kurama's bright green eyes
seemed to be dimmer somehow, almost tinted with gold as the redhead stared at the bickering brunettes.  Though he didn't know exactly what that foretold, he
had an idea it was best to intervene.  "The issue at hand," he said slowly, catching Sano's attention, "is why your uke is so reserved.  You said he's
passionate, and if his looks incite your intimacy, I doubt attraction is the issue.  You've mentioned his having been married once and that it was a disaster.  Do
you think that past failure could be to blame for his not wanting to take risks?"

"No," Sano said, his tone certain.  "Kenshin doesn't talk about her much, but we did have at least one long conversation and I'm sure that isn't the problem.  
They were very close, but sex didn't play much into their marriage.  And the relationship didn't fail because he was too forward, it had to do with the war that
was happening at the time and outside problems."

"A war?" Zechs asked, his eyes glinting when the youth nodded.  "And he fought in this war?"

"We both did," Sano acknowledged, "but I was only nine at the time.  Kenshin's mostly responsible for the war having come to an end.  That's one of the
reasons we met in the first place."

"You were both in it," Zechs said, "but you were a child.  Have you thought that one of the reasons your uke doesn't play a more active role is because he
doesn't want to taint you?"  Dark eyes met his gaze, and Zechs gave a faint smile to Wufei.  "I know I had trouble reconciling my violent actions when I took part
in a war.  I didn't think I would ever wash the blood off my hands.  That doubt caused a good deal of trouble in my relationship."  Sano had shook his head, but
the youth sighed when he raised an eyebrow at him.

"Yeah," Sano muttered, "Kenshin's killed, but he had to.  He regrets the murder, but he'd do it again if necessary.  He hasn't spilled a drop of blood since the
war ended."

Zechs nodded, his expression solemn.  "Which shows that he is reconciled with his past.  And now he's in a relationship with someone younger, someone who,
if my guess is right, sees him as something of a role model."  Sano's eyes widened, and he smiled at the young man.  "It's evident in the way you speak of
him.  You talk about his passion and his strength, but none of that comes through when the two of you are intimate.  In his position, I imagine he would be
careful not to do anything to destroy the image you have of him.  If he has a darker side, this violent side you spoke of earlier, you have to wonder why he'd
bury it when he's with you.  Maybe he's afraid he'd hurt you."

"I'm not Jo-chan."  Sano glared a bit, shaking his head when the white-haired blinked at him.  "One of the reasons Kenshin's with me is because I'm strong
enough to hold my own.  If he wanted someone weak and innocent, he had the perfect opportunity before we ever did anything together.  I've fought Kenshin
before, when we first met, and again later on.  He *knows* it takes a lot to 'hurt' me."

"You're very defensive," Wufei commented, his tone soft and curious.  He was careful not to incite the man.  "Has this issue come up before?"  Sano frowned
at him, obviously unhappy with the question, and Wufei met his gaze evenly.  "This isn't going to work if you aren't willing to listen and be honest with yourself."

"We had this discussion," Sano said, his tone hard.  "Kenshin knows I'm not his weakness.  I've done everything possible to prove that to him.  An old enemy of
his attacked me once to get to him, and he left because of it.  But we settled that a long time ago.  He's never made that mistake since then.  I'm not saying
Kenshin wouldn't worry about hurting people, but that's one of the reasons he's comfortable with me.  We mesh, we work well together."

"And yet he holds back," Wufei prodded, not giving an inch when the older youth frowned at him.  "One of your complaints was that you were afraid to try
anything 'rough' with him.  You're afraid because of his darker side, but you said yourself that he holds that side at bay when he's with you.  So why would you
be afraid of it?  And even more importantly, why do you want to change the way things are?  I understand boredom, but I think you have a deeper reason for
wanting to 'change the pace.'  You want to push him into showing that side."

They were pushing into territory Sano hadn't expected, making his stomach twist into uncomfortable knots.  But he had come for help.  And he couldn't deny
what the younger boy was saying.  "I do, and I don't.  I think if I did push him he might let go of some of his reservations, but I don't want to push him *too* far.  
He's had trouble before with his violent side, and I don't want to ruin his work.  He hasn't reverted to the Battousai in so long, and I know that means a lot to
him.  But that's a part of him as much as his sweet side is. I just want...I want all of him."

"Then it's a lot more than just boredom," Zechs said, his eyes bright.

"It is," Sano sighed, rubbing a hand over his forehead.  "I know I've no place complaining, but I'm just not satisfied anymore."

"And that's understandable," Zechs assured him.  "You want access to this darker side of him, a side that he's been careful to lock away from you as well as
himself.  How to get him to open up without losing his control over that side is certainly a problem, but before you worry about that, you should think about his
reasons for hiding his violent half when he's with you.  You've said it yourself, with you his passion is muted, he holds back.  Maybe he doesn't want to hurt
anyone because of his past, but your relationship is important here.  I want you to think about his feelings toward you.  He once saw you as a weakness,
enough that he left to keep you safe.  Whether you want it to be true or not, I think it's very probable that he is afraid of himself when it comes to you.  Age and
experience may not determine the dominant partner, but someone with a tainted past is usually averse to ruining the person he's intimate with.  Don't dismiss
that idea, no matter how much it bothers you to hear."

The taller youth was visibly upset by the words, and Kurama sighed, catching Sano's eyes.  "Not quite the help you were expecting, is it.  I think we really do
have similar issues."

"I agree," Wufei nodded, looking between the first two males.  "You both have ukes who may not feel worthy of you, for their respective reasons."

"And that," Zechs put in, "is a common problem."  The dark-haired former Gundam pilot next to Sano looked at him, and Zechs smiled at him.  "But I hear that
isn't the problem you face, Heero.  Why don't you tell us how you and your lover came together."

If the white-haired man was Wufei's lover, Heero was fairly sure he already had a good idea how it happened.  But obviously he wasn't going to be treated any
differently from the others.  That didn't make him feel any better about sharing his secrets, but Heero wasn't the type to be embarrassed easily.  Meeting
Zechs' pale blue gaze, he nodded.  "My partner holds next to nothing back, ever.  He's vibrant, lively, and far too attractive for his own good.  He's also much
more outgoing than I am.  He flirted with me so much that I gave up on ignoring him after a few months of our knowing each other.  His interest was so obvious
everyone around us could see it.  Our first 'encounter' happened during an argument, but it wasn't much of a fight.  I was trying to sleep, he was babbling on
like he usually does, and I gave up."

"Then he was the pursuer?" Zechs encouraged, his eyes glinting merrily.  He already knew the answer to that, but the others would benefit from hearing a
different perspective.  Heero was the only one in the group whose uke had been the dominant before the actual act.

"A persistent one," Heero added.  "He kept pushing me until I asked him what it would take to shut him up."  His eyes took on a dull humorous tint, and he
sniffed softly.  "I should have known what the answer was.  We had sex and that was it.  We were forced together for quite some time, and that became the
end to almost all of our arguments.  And it was normal after a while.  We've been together for quite some time now."

The boy's tone was so cold that Kagetsuya shifted beside him, frowning at Heero's dark eyes.  "Do you care about him at all?"

"Of course," Heero frowned, taken back by the question.  "If I didn't he wouldn't have bothered me so much that I'd have to sleep with him to shut him up.  I can
ignore anyone and anything, except when it comes to Duo.  He got under my skin."

Zechs' lips twitched at the boy's tone.  "But it was his playful nature that got to you, right?  And it's that nature that is the problem now.  You said he wants to
experiment?"

"I think he's just bored," Heero said with a droll scowl.  "When he's bored, he latches onto anything that will keep him occupied.  Until our missions ended, he
never complained about how we did things, but now all he does is whine.  And it isn't that he's unsatisfied.  Neither of us were experienced before we got
together, but we've managed to set an efficient routine."

"And you *like* that?" Kagetsuya asked, his expression appalled.  

"It's worked fine for us until now," Heero returned steadily.

Dee smirked, shaking his head at the boy.  "If it isn't broken, don't fix it.  But the way you talk about it..."

Kagetsuya sniffed at Heero's calmly blank expression.  "You talk as if making love is a chore."

"Or a mission," Wufei put in without thinking.  He realized his slip when Zechs prodded him beneath the table, but none of the others seemed to notice.  Dee
had turned a smirk on the tall blonde man.

"What are you?" Dee asked Kagetsuya, taking in the man's disapproving expression, "the resident romantic?"

The man's tone made his eyebrow twitch, but Kagetsuya kept his gaze on Heero.  "You don't seem to appreciate your partner at all.  If having sex with him is a
task, don't bother with it.  A vibrant uke shouldn't be suppressed because of one recalcitrant partner."

"Some suppression is necessary," Heero returned, not seeming at all bothered by the criticism.  "If Duo was left on his own, he'd either hide himself behind a
constant smile, or get into trouble because of his need for companionship.  I'm not trying to subdue his nature, I just don't think sex is the time or place for
games.  He doesn't understand how much 'experimenting' can ruin things."

"And how would it ruin things?" Zechs asked, catching the boy's gaze.

"Because," Heero scowled, "he's wanting feathers and toys and-and who *knows* what else.  I'm not that type of person.  I don't want to mix food and sex.  The
things he brings home-"  With a tight glare, Heero waited until Dee's sudden snicker ended before continuing.  "I know people do things like that, but I don't.  If
I tried I'd only screw it up, and no amount of information from him is going to change that.  It would be easier if he just wanted to switch roles, but that isn't it.  
He's not satisfied anymore, and he has this unyielding notion that I'm not either."

"Then you are willing to change things as far as the roles are concerned," Zechs commented, his own composure much calmer than Wufei.  The younger boy
was quite red in the face.  "You mentioned gagging him earlier.  A simple amount of force, done the right way, could give him the variation he wants without
demanding any stretches on your part."

"I was being sarcastic," Heero cut in sharply.  "Duo would never allow that.  And despite what some of you may think," he paused, glaring at Kagetsuya, "I
wouldn't do anything to hurt him.  I'm just tired of arguing about this, and I don't like knowing that he isn't happy with the way we do things."

Zechs nodded slowly, being careful not to rile the typically angry boy.  "Then your problem is that you want to make him happy without having to try things
you're uncomfortable with.  If he's complaining so much, your current routine obviously isn't going to be enough.  I know it can be hard to bend, but it seems
some flexibility will be necessary on your part.  As for not wanting to hurt him, well, if he's pushing for some experimentation then I doubt he'd complain if you
answered that request.  You said he doesn't want to shift roles, meaning he prefers the non-dominant position.  Some light bondage could easily solve your
problem."

"And get me a gun to the head once I let him go," Heero snorted, shooting the man a glare.  "Then I'd have to disarm him, he'd be angry and hold a grudge for
weeks, assuming he didn't leave altogether.  It would be a complete waste of time."

"You're guessing," Zechs reminded him, "not speaking from experience.  You said he was vibrant, wild, and lively.  Sometimes spirited ukes enjoy being
suppressed."  He nodded to Kagetsuya.  "And in an instance like this, it would be a momentary loss of control, nothing that would cause permanent damage.  
But you'll hear more of this in your private meetings.  Until then, Heero, I suggest you think about enforcing your dominance.  Your partner isn't satisfied with
your routine, he's come right out and requested some sort of experimentation, and from what you've said, he's been very open about the sort of ideas he's
had.  If you've actually imagined controlling him, even if only to the point of a simple gag, then it's possible *he's* imagined the same thing.  You said it
yourself, he told you the only way to shut him up was sex.  That's how you got together.  If he's complaining despite the intimacy, it may be time to take things
up a notch."

Heero's glare didn't ease any, but he gave no arguments to the man's words.  As was his habit, he'd wait until he heard everything before calling him an idiot.  
"Hn."

"In the meantime," Zechs said, his eyes shifting to Kagetsuya, who was next in the line.  "I understand your lover is cheating on you, at least mentally.  One of
the reasons I've had each of you start from the beginning is because problems are usually deep-rooted, much deeper than what they appear to be on the
surface.  How did you and your lover get together?"

Kagetsuya's face closed off, only his pale blue eyes giving a vague frown.  "We were partners, opposites in almost every way.  I come from a very different
background from him, so that caused a lot of tension between us.  But Chihaya is the epitome of sensitivity, he feels for everyone he meets, far too
sympathetic for his own good.  My first instinct was to suffer through our partnership and maybe try to change his flaws a little.  Instead I ended falling for him
myself.  Our intimacy came after a long time of wanting on both of our parts.  He was being his usual melancholy self, and I was in a very compromising
situation.  I seduced him.  If I hadn't been so vulnerable to my urges at the time, it never would have happened, but it did.  After that we actually managed to do
well for a while.  Our lives seemed simple enough, and we got along very nicely.  All of those personality conflicts just didn't matter any more.  But things
changed when another man came into our lives, someone Chihaya was tied to in a way I cannot approach.  He's always been the solitary figure - he's the only
one of his kind, and since that incident he's locked himself away.  I'm not *like* him, so I'd never be able to understand what he's going through.  We haven't
spoken in weeks, and when we do it's harsh words on my part and stubborn silence on his."

Leaning on the table, Wufei caught the man's eyes.  "You said earlier that intimacy was out of the question.  When there's a problem that can't be talked out,
physical expressions often help.  But not in this case.  Why?"

"Because I can't force him into anything," Kagetsuya said, his tone low.  "I know how hurt he is, I feel it just as much as he does.  I hate the idea of doing
anything that will make him feel worse, and that includes intimacy.  It doesn't help that I feel completely useless when it comes to Chihaya's emotions.  It isn't
that he doesn't share them, he doesn't *have* to tell me how he feels, it's blatantly obvious.  He's ready to waste away, and as far as he's concerned, I'd never
be able to understand.  He's an outcast, and I was one of the highest members of our society.  He's the only one of his kind who finally found someone like him
only to lose that person.  I'd never be able to sympathize with him.  So all he can do is mope around feeling sorry for himself because the entire world is closed
off from him."

The pained sarcasm dripping from Kagetsuya's voice wasn't lost on any of them, and Kurama found himself giving the man a faint smile.  "It sounds like you
know him better than he knows himself."

"I *do* know him," Kagetsuya said, his eyes sharp.  "I just don't know how to prove that to him when he shuts me out completely.  Chihaya feels for everyone
he meets, he sympathizes with them, but when it comes to me it's as if he doesn't see me at all.  Everyone who knows him loves him.  I don't see why he thinks
I'm any different."

"You've told him this?" Wufei asked, his brows drawn into a frown.

Kagetsuya gave a vague nod.  "I've expressed my feelings for him more times than he ever did for me.  I gave up everything to be with him.  And now he acts
as if I'm not there.  He's convinced himself that he's the only one hurt by what we've gone through - what *he's* gone through.  I would never consider Chihaya
selfish, but since that incident I've learned that in his mind, his suffering is the only true pain.  No one could ever understand, especially not me."

Kurama's eyes glinted, and he leaned forward to see the blonde man, his voice soft.  "Does he hate himself?"

"I wish it were that simple," Kagetsuya sighed, his shoulders slumping as he lost some of that frustrated anger.  "He's spent so long feeling sorry for himself,
being the victim, the stranger, that he doesn't see anything else.  Even after two years he still doesn't understand how I could care so much about him.  I don't
think he's capable of believing me.  And at this point, it's a waste of time even telling him.  Not only does he not believe me, but I don't think he wants to hear
it.  I think he wants to just disappear in his misery."

The two counselors exchanged a look, and Wufei tilted his head, his voice just as soft as Kurama's had been.  "Does he care about you?  I know your feelings
are strong, but if he doesn't, it might be best to go your separate ways rather than suffering in a one-sided relationship."

"No," Kagetsuya said, "I have no where to go without him.  And he does care, as much as he does about all the people he meets and falls for.  It would be
easier if I could say he didn't anymore, but I can't.  Leaving isn't a choice, either.  He needs me, whether he knows it or not, just as much as I need him."

Kurama sighed, smiling as he leaned a cheek on his palm.  "I feel the same way about Hiei."

"Eh," Dee muttered, waving a hand at Kagetsuya.  "You're way too mushy."

Heero was giving a doubtful gaze at the blonde man next to him, and he nodded in silent agreement.  Sano just shrugged, not bothered by the sweet notion
any more than he'd been by Heero's cold admissions.  Zechs and Wufei exchanged another significant look, then Zechs straightened, catching Kagetsuya's
eyes.  "He won't talk to you at all?"  The man shook his head, and Zechs folded his hands on the table.  "That doesn't leave you many options.  As Wufei said,
physical displays usually prove efficient in such cases.  If he doesn't want you to touch him, and you can't talk to him, it's hopeless.  But you said you seduced
him originally.  Have you tried doing that again to get his mind off what happened?"

"It was different then," Kagetsuya explained, "I talked him into it.  Now he rejects any advances on my part.  He turns away from me."

"Don't let him," Kurama said sharply, his eyes narrow.  "He'll get so deep you'll never be able to pull him out."

Heero nodded.  "When Duo gets depressed he wants to be distracted from it.  If you leave it alone, it'll only get worse."

"I agree," Wufei put in.  "I speak from experience.  It's better to be snapped out of a deep depression by whatever means necessary, than to stay in one until
you don't care about living anymore.  If he cares about you, then you're the only one who can do it."

Even Dee was nodding, and Kagetsuya glowered, folding his arms over his chest.  "You want me to break his trust, to force him into something he's been
avoiding for weeks.  And you think it will help?  He'd run."

"It's a risk you may have to take," Zechs said calmly.  "And if he runs, bring him back.  If nothing else, he's more likely to talk to you afterward.  You said he
needs you, show him that.  If he won't listen, show him.  Now, this isn't an ultimatum.  You may find a better approach in your private counseling, but think of
the possibilities until then."  He looked to Dee, his expression relaxing a bit when the dark-haired man blinked quickly.  "Tell us about your partner."

"Well, that's just it," Dee admitted, "we're partners.  Ryo's about as inexperienced as they come, but I knew he was attracted to me the first time we met.  He
has a very telling blush.  We've been dating for quite some time now, and we've been open enough about our feelings.  But he's never ready to actually do
anything about it.  I thought he was waiting for the right time or something, but it's been so long.  I've nearly jumped him a dozen times, but something always
gets in the way."

Zechs smiled at the man, noting Wufei's rolling eyes.  "And he didn't react badly to your attempts?"

"He protested," Dee said, shrugging lightly, "but he hasn't tried to break up or anything.  I've even asked him why he doesn't want to do more than kiss, and he
can't answer.  He just isn't ready.  I am, but he's so naïve I don't want to screw this up.  If there's something I'm missing, I'd rather wait and know, but I get the
feeling he's just waiting for me to push so hard that he won't be able to protest anymore.  We've come close to that a few times."

"Just do it."  Kurama smirked when the dark-haired man leaned forward to give him a startled, wide-eyed stare.  "He sounds more innocent than Hiei, but just
as sensitive.  I could have been left waiting years if he had to make the move."

"You did say he wasn't upset after your attempts," Sano commented.

"Yeah," Dee sighed, "but I want to know *why* he isn't ready.  He's so sweet I don't want to hurt his feelings, and ignoring his protests could easily do that."

"He's never done it," Heero noted, his eyes dark.  "It could be pure inexperience."

Zechs nodded.  "It's common for inexperienced ukes, and semes as well, to be nervous to the point of fear.  And if sex symbolizes a completion of your building
relationship, he could be even more reluctant to take that step.  He could be worried about ruining your partnership by becoming lovers."

"And what if that's it?" Dee asked, rubbing his forehead irritably.  "Should I wait until he's ready?  Because I don't think I'm capable of that.  When he kisses me
I want more - that's just the way I am.  Maybe he can stop half way in, but I don't have that kind of restraint."

The frustrated man reminded Wufei of his own partner, and he smirked, glancing at Zechs before looking to Dee.  "Does he know about your...lack of
restraint?"  The man blinked at him, and his smirk widened a bit.  "I mean, do you have a reputation?"

"Well..."

Zechs sighed, shaking his head at Dee's uncomfortable expression.  "That could be the key to your problem.  If he's inexperienced, and you have a reputation
for your experience, he could be worried that he's nothing but a conquest."

Wufei nodded sharply.  "And once you've had him, he could be tossed aside like nothing.  That would certainly explain why he's been holding out for so long."

"But he's not a conquest," Dee frowned.  "Sure, I thought about it when I first saw him and he blushed, but that was before I got to know him.  I'm not going to
just sleep with him and then find someone else."

"Then there's nothing to worry about," Zechs said, his expression direct.  "If he *is* worried about that, his fears will be allayed afterward when you're still there."

"And if it's the inexperience that worries him," Wufei put in, "just take it slow."

Dee snorted, frowning at the boy.  "How am I supposed to do that when he's fighting me hand and tooth?  I'd have to tie him down to keep him from wriggling."

Kurama's hand rose to cover his mouth as he shook his head at the man.  Sano's lips were twitching, but he managed not to laugh.  Kagetsuya, still morose,
merely raised an eyebrow, and Heero glared when Zechs gave him a pointed look.  The white-haired man merely smiled and nodded at Dee.  "From a seme
with experience in the light bondage area, I can tell you that a few ties in the right places can certainly eliminate that problem."

"Just don't cut off his circulation," Wufei sniffed, shooting a glare at his lover.  "You aren't the expert in that area, don't give him any pointers."

Zechs flushed when Heero let out a sharp laugh, the boy's blank mask breaking into a dark smirk.  "Anyway, your individual meetings will help each of you with
the specifics.  Until then, feel free to talk amongst yourselves.  We'll have refreshments brought in, and you'll be called once your speakers are ready for
you."  Wufei stood, and he joined the boy, pausing long enough to nod to each of the males.  The five semes looked at each other, but they didn't wait.  A tall
dark-haired person met them at the doorway, and Zechs nodded to him with a vaguely grateful smile.  For his willowy build, the young man was quite strong,
and more than agile enough to balance the trays he carried.

Kurama and Sanosuke exchanged a quick glance when the server brought two large trays to the table.  Despite the feminine kimono, there was something
about the person's smirk and glittering dark eyes that reminded them this was supposed to be a male-only seminar.  This thought was only partly confirmed
when the person spoke.  Leaning over the table, the slender young man winked at Sano with a suggestive smirk.  "You're cuter than I'd heard," he
commented, ignoring the surprised looks the five gave him.  "The name's Kamatari, and if you get frustrated with that Rurouni of yours, I'm always looking for a
powerful seme."  Sano blinked in confusion, but he didn't wait, giving an appreciative look to the other men before exiting the room.  

Sano's eyes were wide, his cheeks faintly red, and Kurama raised an eyebrow at the youth.  "A friend of yours?"

"I...don't think so," Sano muttered, blinking at the other three who were also staring at him.  "But that name sounds so familiar..."

"This place isn't as anonymous as it's supposed to be," Heero commented, moving to help himself to the coffee on the first tray.  "I knew the counselors."

"I *thought* the uke was looking at you funny," Dee laughed, blinking at the boy.  "What's the deal with those two?"

"I have no idea," Heero said, tasting the coffee and giving a vague nod of appreciation.  "But if Wufei says one word of this to my comrades I'm going to reveal
his bondage fetish."

Kagetsuya snorted softly, running a hand over his forehead.  "You did notice that was the recurrent theme of their suggestions, right?"

"Yes," Kurama smirked, shaking his head as he poured Sano some tea, the teen having reached for it at the same time as him.  "I suppose that's their answer
to 'reluctant' ukes."

"It works for me," Dee sniffed, snatching a small pastry off the second tray.  "That's my new motto, don't take no for an answer."

Nodding thanks to Kurama, Sano leaned back in his chair.  "This place is something else.  It makes me wonder what kind of advice the others are getting."

"Well," Kagetsuya drawled, tilting his cup and staring at the dark coffee, "here's to your curiosity.  At this point I don't want to know."

* * *
TBC



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