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Title: Can’t fight these bad intentions Part I
Pairing: Junno/Nakamaru, Nakamaru/Junno/Koyama
Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Sex and violence and all that lovely stuff
Summary: ‘Live for the moment’ is a good motto when you’re not a Watcher. Maru can see the future and it’s looking pretty grim.






A/N: When [livejournal.com profile] snoozing_kitten proposed made the suggestion that we write together this year, I was so beyond excited. I love her work so sooo deeply and the way she says things and just the inside of her mind is pure silky cocaine magic. Once we started I was hooked and the whole ride was constantly exciting, with my squealing every time I read her parts. Overall, I have to say that writing with her is an experience I’d like to do again even outside the confines of the traditional doa marriage. This definitely goes on my list of favourite things I’ve worked on this year.

So to add some context, the bare premise of this is based on the film Push where the world is full of people with post-war weapon super human powers. Their lives and progress are both governed and dictated by different branches of an organisation called Division.
I think that covers it so by the awesome powers combined that make up , we bring you the following






Part I | Part II | Part III





       There are precious few things that separate people from animals. Nakamaru didn’t care for most of them; there was always something to be said about creature comforts after all.

The only one that interested Nakamaru was choice.

If you had the mind, you could plot a person’s life like a road map; trace their paths. With enough time you could plot the world, people meeting and leaving, catastrophically crashing and burning, speeding away in a straight line or fish-tailing with indecision. Of course there were hidden intersections and stop lights but there was always a choice; road signs meant little to some people.

Junno was often like that. He was hard to predict in that he rarely had a goal in mind. Nakamaru could see the future; he didn’t understand the concept of instant gratification the way that other people did. He didn’t think anyone else quite got it the way that Junno did.

Outside the sun was getting ready to rise; the sky was just beginning to light all the stars slipping away to hide for a little. Something in his dreams had shocked him awake, heart beating like a run-away train and slipping away just as fast. His sleeping was all messed up by the last week-long bender they had been on so he got out of bed, watching the city rise from the safety of his window.

Hell, sometimes Junno’s instant gratification was more than worth it even if it left his head all fuzzy and all the lines of the future spinning like a psychedelic pin-wheel.

Tokyo was cupped in the palms of the pre-dawn sky; buildings towering like reaching hands. Nakamaru rubbed his eyes and wondered if he had dreamed of things to come or things he had already done. Nightmares with him could be either. Junno had been shaking up the local gangsters for his own amusement and Maru was usually there to keep him dancing to his own tune just one step ahead of everyone else. It left him a little twitchy, you never know when something was going to come down on them.

He could feel the blood pounding in his head, a week’s worth of hang over catching up with him in one swoop. The glass was cold against his face-- soothing.

Junno was sitting on the couch watching the shopping network, stark bruises under his eyes like he’d been punched twice. “We need these knives.” Junno said breathless with awe.

“We don’t cook.” Maru said, shuffling across the hard wood floor towards the bathroom. He was covered in the slick almost acidic sweat of sleeping out a hangover. If he was lucky one of them had remembered to have the cleaner come in some time in the past week. If he wasn’t, then he would be sharing his shower with some sort of new mutant fungus, so be it.

Junno tore his eyes away from the man trying to sell the knives, the television showing it cutting perfectly through a tomato without squishing, none of the seedy-slick insides spurting out.

“But you can always use a knife.” Junno said mock-sagely. His eyes were blown wide. It was almost the same look he got when he was using his powers. Maru had to trust he knew when Junno was using his powers and he was half asleep, but he still didn’t want to buy the knife, so Junno was probably just high still.

“I’m going to shower.” Maru announced needlessly. Junno had gone back to staring at the television without blinking.

The lady next door thought that they were too old to be living together. She was probably right anyways. Maru made a point to understand that Junno was bad for him; a bad influence at least and a potentially dangerous manipulative criminal at most. It had been at least two years since he was actively a ‘prisoner’ here.

Choice was really interesting that way. Junno had sped at him like a bullet and for all his threats there had always been a choice. Even if it had been between a rock and a hard place.

--


Past

Maru had escaped Division two weeks ago. Two weeks of what had to be the most elaborate chess matches against other Watchers, Sniffs and all the assorted playing peices that Division had at their beck and call. Being able to see the future became a lot less of an advantage when you weren’t the only one.

If it wasn’t the Watchers it was the Sniffers, human blood hounds with a price on his head. Maru knew their game intimately, how many people had he hunted down anyways? He knew the way they worked. It kept him just that one half-step ahead.

He’d been trapped in New York of all places. On the plus side it wasn’t too hard to get a gun here even if his English was a bit shaky. Their game of chess had spilled across the boroughs, Maru blending into the subway (leading a sniffer into the subway was stuffing a cat’s nose with catnip) and criss-crossing the city while looking for a way out.

Maru never did find out just how Junno found him. Probably had to do with the fact that Maru had to trust non-Division sources and Junno had his fingers in a lot of illicit pie at any given moment. At the time it hadn’t seemed the most important thing to ask.

”You know, a good seer is worth his weight in gold on the open market.” They met in a Dunkin’ Donuts while Maru was sipping terrible coffee and staring at the humidity damage in the corners. The table top was scarred under his fingers years of abuse and bored teenagers.

He’d stiffened. He’d seen a future where he was on a plane back to Japan and assumed that meant he would find a way home. He hadn’t assumed it meant he was going to be sold. Maru scowled at the man; he had a pink glazed doughnut and tore it in half with long pale fingers.

“I wasn’t aware.” Maru replied, begging the future to show him something but it was blank.

“Ones pretty as you are hard to come by.” He slid half the doughnut across the table to him.

“No thank you.” Maru said, words clipped and not pleased at all. The man behind the counter wasn’t any help, to him they were just two more Japanese tourists having breakfast.

”You’re really hungry, aren’t you?” His pupils grew wide and Maru’s stomach cramped letting out a pitiful growling sound. Years of self restraint clamped down, the muscles in his back tensing to lift his hand towards the half of doughnut. It looked so delicious.

“Don’t.” Maru hissed between his teeth. Suddenly he was a lot less sure of himself. He had never had to handle a Pusher without back up before. Junno smiled at him, looking pleased with himself, or Maru.

”Just a bite?”

It was defeat, he ate a quarter of it in one bite swallowing thickly. Objectively he knew it was too sweet, but at that moment he was starving and it was the best thing ever. He ate the second bit in a bite too. Out of petty revenge he reached across the table and took the other half as well and Junno blinked at him, his snake’s smile melting away into something less robotic.

”Or I could keep you.” Maru glared at him. The future still showed him on a plane waking up over the Pacific ocean to breakfast served by a stewardess with a bland smile and hair in a severe bun.

”Try me.” Nakamaru snarled around his doughnut instead of shooting him. After all Junno was tall and had blond hair at the time.

Maru had a good track record with that.


--


The water was too hot. Incidentally the maid had come in and there wasn’t even a trace of fungus in the bathroom, it made his skin flush pink. The wall was cool against his shoulder where he leaned against it yawning so wide his jaw cracked.

His head throbbed like a bruise. He didn’t even bother to try and call on the futures. He was closed for business until everything in his brain sorted itself out right-side up. Still, something was off. The quality of the air was different. Some innate sense was pinging. He knew this feeling like a itch at the bottom of his stomach. Something was coming; something big was coming.

Maru swallowed past the dryness of his throat, opening his mouth for a quick gulp of soapy water. Through the haze of his hangover he caught fuzzy flashes of colour. It hurt the same way stretching a sore muscle did, the illusion of movement that made his stomach curl. Maru let all his weight lean against the wall, too-hot water making the air thick. Something was there and he was failing to grasp it.

It was useless to tell Junno at this point. He had curled up into a small ball and had fallen asleep at some point when Maru was using all the hot water. His eyelids even looked bruised and he seemed fairly harmless while asleep. Taking a blanket thrown over the couch he covered what part of Junno he could see, dripping water from the ends of his hair across the thin cotton of Junno’s shirt. He didn’t stir in the slightest. “Idiot.” Maru sighed before moving towards the kitchen in the vain hope that there was food somewhere hiding in the back of the shelves.

He couldn’t do anything at the moment. The far future had never been his strong suit. He was much better at the immediate which was why he had been a field agent. He could bide his time and hope that when it came down to it he would turn the right way.

All the cupboards were empty. Maru spent a tsk-ing moment shaking a series of empty cereal boxes, refrigerator full of condiments and wrapped up, half-hearted leftovers. Maru perched on a stool at the miniature island with some leftover cold spaghetti, shoving aside the more congealed parts with the back of his fork.

The haze of colour, barely licking at real images, still blurred his vision like a low-tide wave. It wasn’t just hunger making it difficult for him to hold off the weight of a future on-coming but nothing should be as clear when he was sober or worse, hungover. Still, it was starting to raze in saturated deep water tones flooding in and out. Familiar faces and all too familiar settings went practically solid for a frozen second before they melted.

Maru knew being a Watcher didn’t extend to vivid sights of the past. He didn’t so much see the future as he saw intentions and somehow some one’s intention had shifted into his immediate sphere of influence, which would make what he had just seen mean a large number of things. None of them good. He set down his fork and dropped his forehead into his hand, massaging just under his fringe where the vision had begun seeping in like pressure.

As the image came again with an odd sort of little pain, he uttered a faint curse, his groaning sigh muted by the blare of the television.


--


This part of town smelled like rain, hot and cement-heavy but Kabukichou had that quality to it. Lights everywhere, bleary greens and pinks, and faded signs completely aswim with salty smoke from the fry-up stalls.

“Mmm. Sexy,” Junno remarked. His wide black eyes shone when Maru passed him a loaded 9x19 mm pistol. He drew out the word like he did with half his vocabulary; a taunting, wet stretch of bubblegum. “Who’s about to be dressed in lead tonight?”

No one,” Maru said pointedly, prodding Junno’s arm for him to put it away quickly. “It’s just for show.”

They passed several store fronts and Maru started watching for an open alley when Junno, in a weird pretense of slinging his arm around Maru, leaned in close. “We’re being followed, aren’t we?”

Maru gave him a faint nod, watching faces pass for any eyes straying on them for too long. Junno dropped his arm and did a bit of a heel-turn, walking backward as he slipped his hands in his pockets. “Why haven’t you pointed them out yet? You know, all it takes is one look,” he prompted, voice low with his smile broad and shark-like.

“Because I’d like to know who they’re with,” Maru murmured.

Junno sidestepped a puddle with a deliberate show of grace and Maru shut his eyes, still walking but training his inner eye on a more identifiable point. He saw only shadows, a gun barrel in a jacket pocket, and eyes trained on the both of them, steady and studying.

“At least before they realise I know they’re there,” he added.

When Maru opened his eyes Junno was just coming off an irreprehensible shrug, eyes rolling. “This is just an errand. Money changing hands-- well-- their hands to mine.”

Maru shook his head, biting his lip pensively. “If I can see them then it means they’re going to do something besides follow...but why can’t I see the result?”

“Well, if you don’t want my help...” Junno laughed.

Maru glared, still trying to keep in step with him. “You’re not even trying to be covert these days, are you? Even if they hand you that money, they will connect the dots once you walk out of there. What if whoever’s following us is with you-know-what?”

“Is that a premonition?” Junno said smilingly.

“I can’t see a thing when you’re going blind like this,” Maru snapped, shoving his hands in his pockets.

“Something on your mind, honey?”

“Whatever, let’s just do this.”

Junno swivelled again, watching neon lights ahead. ”Do you ever think of being completely naked; having a suitcase of loose cash emptied over you?”

“God. What? No, I really don’t.”

“Fresh, new bills. I do.”

“I bet.”

This resulted in a low bubble of laughter, caustic enough to go with the side-long leer Junno shot him then. Maru sighed at the image that immediately splashed right over his vision; too technicolour and visceral to be just his own imagination. It stopped him in his tracks. It appeared he would be the one naked in Junno’s version...

“Right.” he went on stiffly. “Aside from what you’ve already got in mind, what do you need all that money for suddenly?”

Junno’s subsequent pause made Maru watch him closely. “Not sure,” he finally replied, looking over at him, gaze dark.

Maru didn’t need another dose of that smile in order to believe him. He tried to see Junno’s intentions; sometimes he tried until he could feel his very neurons go numb.

Junno genuinely had nothing in mind. Maru could never be sure where that put Junno along the spectrum of intelligence. Yet with Junno glancing back at him between steps, eyes sharp and mean mouth turned up smugly, there was no telling.


--


The back entrance. Maru didn’t like surprises and their follower was keeping a safe enough distance. He couldn’t see any sign of intention aside from simply following. Either this person knew he was a Watcher or they’d done something to pique some persistent curiosity here.

He knew it couldn’t be Division. He had specific tells for that and hadn’t seen any.

“Don’t get distracted now. If they have someone outside my range, I need you to spot that for me,” Junno whispered, looping his finger through the shoddy metal lock over the door handles.

“Yes, yes, go on then.” Maru shooed him, looking quickly around behind him. He had to swallow the other images; it was all beginning to look scrambled. Past and present and Junno’s intentions diving from one place to another, the most banal things.

Junno stepped back and axe-kicked the lock; long leg slammed down with the heel of his boot striking true. “Anything?” he asked, straightening up..

Maru shot him a look. “You mean do I see you covered in bullet wounds? No.”


--


It was a lounge and from the voices distant, there were a number of them. Who knew how Junno got his information and he never made it known whether he was just doing things to stir shit up or whether he had some elaborate plan but if it weren’t for their innate ‘insurance,’ they’d be dead before Maru could work him out.

“Four,” Junno muttered at him. “There’s got to be only four of them.”

Maru grimaced. He immediately saw them going in there; someone on his right pointing a gun at his head and a bullet flying when Junno grabbed for his weapon. “You have to be quick; don’t reach for your gun. It’s a close-knit meeting and they will shoot you first,” he hissed as fast as he could as they entered the room.

“Come on, these guys know me,” Junno replied loudly as four dour men in suits turned to look at them.

These men were not supposed to be Junno’s acquaintances. Junno fiddled around with family yakuza but never the old families and as Maru looked around, he was beginning to recognise members from the prestigious Bakuto Oyama Group. Debt-collectors and bank owners.

The elderly hard-faced boss, seated in a wide Zaisu chair in front of a low table, regarded them incredulously. Maru didn’t breathe as he felt the press of something cold and metallic to the back of his head just as he envisioned..

“Sorry I’m late.” Junno said smoothly, fixing his gaze on the man.

“Who the hell are you?” Boss Oyama said at last.

“You invited us?” Junno replied, stepping forward unmindful of the one man rising defensively, hand to his weapon.

“I...did,” Boss Oyama said slowly, brow furrrowed.

“Mm, I’m a little late,” Junno went on, gaze never straying from Oyama. “Couldn’t decide what to wear.”

If they survived this, Maru was going to hurt him later.

Oyama gestured to the man holding the gun to Maru’s head who stood down and moved to stand beside Oyama.

“What’s the meaning of this, Oyama-ojiki?” said the man seated across from him. An Investment Bank-owner. This was not just a debt-collection; it was a protection racket payment. “You swore that no others but your closest knew about this meeting...”

“Quickly...” Maru prodded under his breath. He knew Junno liked to play around with these big name bosses and it wasn’t funny. Not now that a river of futures were clouding his brain. Junno’s corpse in a petrol-soaked car, going up in flames. Something else. Something.

“...calling in someone from Division.”

Maru froze and looked quickly at Junno whose jaw had gone tight as he made a valiant effort not to look over at the bank owner. Junno’s eyes were almost full black; the bank owner obviously recognised the signs.

Oyama was blank; Junno was completely in his head but as his indecision dragged on, there was only silence and stares.

“Protection. I am here for his protection,” Junno said quickly, tone sharp. He wasn’t playing anymore. “You know about us?”

The bank owner looked Junno up and down scathingly. “How can you not know? They told us they’d inform any of theirs of the boundaries--”

“Sir?”

The thug of Oyama Group were looking between blank-faced Oyama and Junno. Maru felt a sudden heat. It struck him like a swift blow; the room blew forward into tunnel vision as the weak swirls of visions playing at the edges of his mind crashed in on him and he stumbled back from it. He saw the offices, the labs, shaking familiar fingers reaching for a tray of test tubes. Footfalls behind him, crawling shadows and atmospheric notions of everything he’d known at Division. A face to a name.

Koyama.

“We need to go,” Maru murmured shakily, starting to back away. “Now.”

“Wait!” Junno barked, tone low as a growl.

Maru looked at him. His fists were clenched, wide depthless eyes a full glassy black, every muscle on his body taut.

“Saito, call our contact!” the bank owner shouted, eyes widening at the sight of Junno.

The investment bank owner’s underling moved for his mobile and withdrew out the door and Maru quickly reached for the gun in the back of Junno’s jeans, but it was as his fingers closed on the pistol grip that he saw the bank owner’s formerly hard stare go slowly dizzy; his mouth sagged as Junno expelled a soft meditative breath..

“Let’s all just...calm down,” Junno said with some effort.

Oyama, the bank owner, and Oyama’s thug all visibly relaxed, gazing at him completely rapt.

Maru straightened, looking at them. For all the time Maru had known him, Junno had only ever managed or bothered with one person at a time, and he was a master at selecting the most influential being in the room to Push. Yet as he stood there, whole body tense with effort, Junno was holding three people under his sphere of influence.

“I can’t,” Junno hissed, backing up. “I can’t make them do anything; I can only hold them. Grab the case.”

“What, you’re still--?”

The veins on Junno’s arms were standing out starkly, eyes like round, acidic black ice; his smile was peculiar. “It’s your call then.”

Maru hated when he did that. The delibitating shock of little freedoms always clouded over when he was given huge split-second choices; it was worse than surprises. He didn’t like to call it panic, but it brought out the worst in him.

The case was heavy and Maru tucked it under his arm, shooting Junno a vicious look. “I don’t have the right descriptive words for how much I’m going to resent you for this!” he snapped.

Junno took a deeper breath, adopting a most aggravating grin with his eyes still fixed on Oyama. “See any immediate problems?”

Maru looked toward the door where the underling had gone to make the call. If that man was calling a contact from Division, they definitely had a problem. Division had every given type at their disposal. Watchers like him, Pushers like Junno, the Bleeders, the Sniffers who had been after him in the first months, but what Maru was most worried about in the present were the Porters, the ones who could appear at any given place when given a clear picture.

“Let’s not risk it,” he replied and Junno dropped his hold on Oyama and they both bolted for the door, leaving the startled three staring at the empty room.

They couldn’t head straight home, that was definite. As they walked up three blocks briskly and cut into an alley, Maru kept his vision fixed; tried to see with more clarity, but he already knew he’d need to get really hammered for this one.

Maru watched Junno latch onto a fire escape after what looked like a physically impossible jump off a wall-kick.

“Toss the case up; I’ll catch it,” Junno called, leaning over the railing as the ladder screeched on its bolts, descending in front of Maru.

“The roof, huh?” Maru mumbled. He’d never liked heights.


--


“There’s got to be about about a million in this. It’s so neat and orderly; I love new bills,” Junno was saying, kneeling over the open case.

Maru hopped up on an aluminium plated thing cross-legged, elbow on his knee and chin on his fist. He watched a bit listlessly as Junno counted the bills, uttering faint happy things like a bit of a loon. Tonight was too close of a call and the further they went, the higher the risk. He knew he’d be running away forever, but he had had some semblance of hope that he’d be able to relax a little.

“You don’t look as relieved to be safe as I thought you’d be,” Junno said suddenly.

Maru blinked down at him. “We’re not safe. They’re closer than they ever were.”

Junno grimaced in response, leaning back on his haunches with his stare reflecting neon glares. “Oh come on now, that’s ridiculous. Cheer up, you; we got away!” He brandished a wad of bills in Maru’s general direction, trying at being winsome. “Here, have some money.”

Maru looked away from him pointedly, frowning at the streetlights below. “I’ve been seeing them since this morning, Division that is. This was the event that brought it to full clarity. We’ll have to move--”

“Not at all,” Junno cut in matter-of-factly, getting to his feet. “We touched absolutely nothing in that room and that bank owner thinks Oyama called us. No one in there knew we were on our own and when they call in their contact, they’ll take Oyama in for questioning and by the time they get answers, the trail will be cold.”

Maru nodded, but rubbed the sides of his head. “Then why can I still see them?” he demanded fruitlessly, somewhere off in the air. “I see the labs, the building... someone--” Attractive, entreating gaze that could sink a hollow ship and smile like broken test tubes. “--People I used to know...”

Koyama again.

The name shimmered over the forefront of his mind, filled his mouth with a half-taste like salt right under his tongue. Maru watched the picture of his gaze flash through his mind. How Koyama had not been everything Division represented, but that Division was knotted around something cemented inside Koyama. Deeply. Let no man put asunder sort of tether and it had tried to rope Maru right in.

Easier not to explain it to Junno.

When Maru looked up, Junno was standing, regarding him with an imitation at curiosity, but it was almost deliberate, brows high, smile mystified.

Being distracted, Maru didn’t quite see it in time, but Junno’s fingers closed on his knees; whole self got right in his space like Junno could sometimes. He entered physically in Maru’s spaces where the future could flip-switch in an instant, all pretty lips and low laughter. He kissed like that. Man without a plan who bit down when Maru braced his hands over shoulders in a defensive gesture.

“Let’s go squander some wealth,” Junno said, breathy chuckle right over Maru’s lips.

Maru shoved him off out of reflex, snarling something wordless as he tried to get his personal space back and right his balance all at once. Junno’s laugh was sharp loud in the space between them breath too-warm in the cool night.

Didn’t mean Maru wasn’t going to follow him anyways, even when he was at his most infuriating all high off his own power and a fresh score like a junkie with a hit.

Junno didn’t have habits as much as he liked to haunt places like a particularly tall and lean ghost. There were a few places where Junno would choose to spend their ill-gotten gains unless something new caught his attention. Maru wouldn’t leave the case because they had both handled it and all it would take was a sniffer to link them to the theft instead holding it tight to his side as the bouncer eyed it suspiciously. Junno put a hand on his shoulder and leaned over him addressing the bouncer his voice all dreamy soft ‘we’ve got some business with the Master, don’t mind the baggage yeah?’

Carmine wasn’t really a lady. Not in the a ‘lady is always proper’ kind of unladylike, but in the secretly having a dick in her tiny dress sort. Well Maru assumed, he’d never seen it. She did have the filthiest intentions towards Junno; splayed behind his eyelids like everything that was good and bad about cheap porn.

“Shot of vodka, the most expensive one.” Maru said, and the bartender looked at the case but ignored it in favour of the bills Maru left flash between his fingers. “Make that two of them.”

Carmine was pressed up against Junno whispering something to him that had Junno nodding along looking utterly fascinated. The immediate future showed Junno giving her money and her giving him something small in return a shiny cigarette holder. He felt no need to turn around and watch it actually happen.

Two shots was a good start. He paid the man and slammed one back letting it burn all the way down. He followed that quickly with the second one. He hadn’t eaten in awhile; it wouldn’t be long now.

Being drunk was like slipping into a well-worn sweater. Maru ran his fingers along the edge of the case, feeling at the edges of the future with his brain even as he traces shapes with his fingers. If he chose to stand up now no one would notice. If he punched the man next to him it would start a fight with Junno in the middle.

The man on the other side of him wouldn’t drink anything but the cheapest brew all night staring at the pint like there was something he lost in the bottom. Junno’s future was a truly dizzying mix of half-formed intentions somewhere between sex and drugs and more than a fair bit of violence. It made his head spin in a not entirely unpleasant way.

“Hey,” Maru flagged the man and gave him a smile. “The whole bottle, would you?” There was a moment of indecision but Maru could see the future and he knew how this was going to turn out.

“Hey, honey-bunny.” Junno gave him a winning smile as Maru slid up next to him. He reached for the bottle but Maru pre-empted him jerking it just out the brush of Junno’s fingers. Something which he resorted to when he was feeling petty, small victories and all that.

“It’s mine, get your own, honey.” Maru snapped. Vodka was clear and he needed the clarity of it all. It was bothering him, something insidious worming under his skin like an infection. It was like being out of control. Something picking at his brain all morning, a soreness he couldn’t stretch out. Fear, the constant fear that he couldn’t stay one step ahead forever despite all the obvious ways he could. “I’m going home.”

“There is always room for one more at the party. It’s the kind of party with the best loot bags.” Junno leered. Maru was assaulted with the image of him stuck between them, Carmine who was petite for whatever the fuck she was and Junno—he mentally back-pedaled, sending a narrow eyed glare at his partner. For all he knew, those could have been Carmine’s intentions, she was smiling like the cat who got the pretty canary.

“Catch you later.” Maru said, and he swore he could feel Junno’s eyes on his back all the way out slipping away like so much water.

He hailed a cab and had it drive around aimlessly to throw off anyone who might have seen him for a bit while he nursed his bottle of vodka and watched the lights reflect in neon patterns on the rain-streaked glass. There was probably a valid scientific reason why going on the mother of all benders extended the reach and scope of his precognition but he didn’t know it. Division might know; they were in the business of trying to boost powers until it killed the test subjects ten cases out of ten.

“Fuck.” Maru hissed, watching the walls lurch and sway as their living room spun around him. There wasn’t anything quite as foul as drinking vodka from the bottle no matter how nice a brand it was.

He could still see him lurking in the darker corners of the future. Dark eyes and too-pink lips, smile jagged and always wanting. Division. “Fuck fuck, shit fuck.” Not only Division but arguably the only part he wanted to see least, aside from the obvious torture chambers. Every path, every choice led back to the same thing; only there was always a choice the future wasn’t locked in stone or Maru would go mad with it. The dive off the sharp edge of a skyscraper was always a comforting thought.

The future wasn’t straight forward, not the distant future conflicted by too many choices and possibilities clogging his brain with static. The smooth trail of a gun down the bare skin of his arms. People screaming as the world burned. Heat and the sharpest stab of grief he could imagine. Everything just out of his reach and Koyama circling over everything like a hungry vulture.

Junno came home in a clatter of sound what could have minutes or what could have been hours later. Maru pressed his palms to his eye sockets and tried to keep his brain and their future from bleeding out of his ears.

“What’s the word, my Cassandra?”

“Fuck off.” Maru groaned.

Junno moved towards the kitchen, shedding his shoes and jacket in an uneven trail across the floor. Maru sagged back against the ratty couch intent on trying to lose himself in the pounding of blood through his temples.

One moment everything was hazy-good, and the next each future shut down one by one all leading to pain and death and the almost painless slide of a sharp knife through his jugular. The shock was so sudden that he couldn’t breathe for a long harsh moment, digging his fingers into the material of the cushion as if he could keep himself from flying away in the gravitational pull of the room spinning. That lasted for a full second longer than it should have. He was swearing as he launched himself gracelessly off the couch landing with a thick sound and half crawling and half scrambling towards the bedrooms.

“What?” Junno peeked out of the kitchen, shirtless and frowning.

“Stay.” Maru snarled, pushing himself to his feet. Well he tried his legs tangled together and he ran into the doorway hard enough to bounce off of it and into Junno’s room in a graceless heap. He closed the door as softly as he could just as the hammering on their front door started.

Maru sat, back against the door head between his knees and focused on not being sick. The side of his face burned and throbbed, and his hands were shaking with panic.

“Ah, guests.” Junno said and Maru hadn’t the time to tell him anything. He had to trust that Junno could handle it on his own. “I’d say good morning, gentlemen, but it’s not really morning yet, is it?” He said pleasantly enough, his words slurred as if he were terribly drunk. Maru’s breathing was sharp and shallow, the sounds filtering through the door muffled but clear enough to make out.

“I’m sorry for the late hour,” said a voice as slick as butter. Maru clenched his fist trying to stop the shaking.

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Junno slurred happily enough.

“Don’t fuck with us; I am in no mood for it.” A second voice chimed in, irritated to the other’s easy sleaze. Maru knew that tone of voice well, familiar as the tang of bile on the back of his tongue. The good-cop bad-cop routine was old as dirt. “It wouldn’t end well for you.”

“Mexican standoffs never do.” Junno replied easily enough. “Did you wanna come in? I’ve got some fine treats.”

“That’s not what we’re here for.” There was a sharp sound, something smacked, he just hoped it wasn’t someone hitting Junno because he wasn’t known for his restraint at the best of times. His head throbbed with the futures spinning out of control all ending with him in one of the too-white cells that division kept their pets, and a bullet in his brain.

Junno hummed a low and lewd sound. “Pray tell.”

“Just a friendly reminder to watch your step.” It wasn’t subtle, a show of power to dissuade any local players from making a move. Division was up to something. Burning. The city was burning to the ground and Junno was dancing in the flames and laughing.

“Just call me twinkle toes.”

Catch you later, twinkle toes.”

The door slammed hard enough to rattle the walls and echo inside Maru’s head. The future seemed suddenly a lot less immediately threatening like someone had let all the pressure out of the room. Maru promptly vomit all over the floor.

“Gross.” Junno whined suddenly sounding a lot less drunk.


--



“Fuck, fuck, fuck.” Maru swore emphatically as he moved around his room, shoving clothes in his backpack. Wardrobe-wise, it was a pretty hapless pile but Maru was sick of stopping for the necessities whenever they moved.

His door creaked loudly as Junno pushed it open with the tip of his index finger. When Maru shot him a glance, he leaned against his door jamb, arms folded. “What do you think you’re doing?”

“Packing.”

“Why?”

Maru zipped up the bag briskly, taking a heavy breath. The vodka still sort of sizzled in his veins with the fear adrenaline and he was on the cusp of that sluggish after-burn. He looked over at Junno again who was watching him with that usual deliberately curious expression. “You know what Division’s after. They were here, Junno, and they’re still close. If those guys were the same presence following us earlier then we’ve got to go now...” He trailed off at the disdainful expression flitting across Junno’s face.

“Or we could just, you know, not,” Junno stated with a casual lilt in his tone.

Maru was on the verge of a reply but instead he looked down at his backpack in a sudden puzzlement. He stared at his fingers on the bag’s zipper. “What was I...” he began uncertainly. It was absurd. Why had he wanted to leave? Why would he be standing there telling Junno how much this had rattled him. His whole ‘act now’ bit seemed so ludicrous suddenly.

He pulled back from his bag, reaching up to rub at the side of his head pensively. “I’m sorry, I don’t know why I thought we--” He happened to glance at Junno; it must have been what bloomed over his vision, Junno holding him down, gun to his clavicle and it was just a quick, passing glance.

Junno stared at him, unsmiling, eyes practically flooded black.

“I told you not to do that anymore,” Maru ground through his teeth.

“You’ll just have to make it easier for both of us then,” Junno replied simply, his irises flushing brown as he blinked again. Junno logic. Control him like this instead of handcuffing him to a radiator. And he would, with alarming ease, hurt Maru until he begged.

A tense and angry moment passed. Maru expelled a heavy breath, looking away from Junno’s stare. “Fine. What’ve you got in mind?”

“Answers.” Junno replied smoothly and strode over to perch on the edge of Maru’s rickety single bed, kicking his socked feet against the ratty carpet.

Maru interjected. “I have no--”

“I swear, being a know-it-all makes you so fucking lazy. You spend more time worrying about the things your powers don’t let you see than the things you can find out on your own.” Junno slurred emphatically. “You say someone’s following us, then let’s find out the who’s and why’s.”

Maru sighed. It was perplexing when Junno was right. The universe was rattling on its own hinges. “Lead the way then.”

Junno stretched back on the heels of his hands behind him and smiled at Maru instead. He smiled very simply while looking up from under a shock of what was now a mess of a fringe. Maru sat in a flash-second image that made his lower stomach knot up a little.

Junno’s magnetically hot gaze was a sensory-memory trigger all on its own without Maru seeing it in his head. It came over him like twisted impressions of a wet tongue scraping up his throat, fingers digging in his spine just deep enough to shake him further past a memory to the point where it was new. The future. And it was only a moment away. In his current antsy and electric state, all it’d really take is Junno reaching for him.

Junno emitted a faint charge of suggestions and practiced little promises that usually had Maru downright dizzy by the end of it. “Don’t,” Maru said warningly, ears hot.

Junno made a face. “Aww, but you’re so much yummier when you’re all jittery and shaken.”

Maru rolled his eyes so hard it almost hurt as he emptied out his backpack, tossing it against the closet.

“Frothy,” Junno went on, eyes following him. “I’ll call it the milkshake effect. I can wait though.”

It seemed just intolerable that a looker like Junno with a body that was straight kinetic would have the ability to Push on top of it. Unfair even. Maru stalked off to the kitchen to get some water so he could hopefully sober up a bit and pass out.

“And as far as our little stalker goes, we’ll work it out in broad daylight and a heavy crowd,” Junno called after him.

Maru swallowed cold water, suddenly more focused on the fact that he couldn’t see Junno jumping his bones anytime in the immediate future. It was annoying that he’d come to expect it without getting a brand new image of it in living colour and twice as much when he wanted it.


--


Later, just on the cusp of morning as the edges of the faded drapes glowed a deep blue, Maru slid naked under Junno’s covers because it was easy. The vodka numbness all around his mouth was swallowed up by Junno lips and tongue and he tasted like candies and cigarettes.

On the subject of choices after three a.m., Junno was secretly his favourite one. Sometimes it was just Maru wanting to get him in his mouth and suck him off until he felt Junno crumple under him, but this time he was as pent up as something stretched elastic thin.

Junno was good to go like a switchblade. Long arms crowded Maru and fingers pushed until they could fold Maru in half.

“Wanna shake?” Junno laughed against his collarbone.

Maru shivered. “God, would you just--” He rolled and pushed Junno against the pillows with a suffocating and wet drunken kiss.

“Mmm, yes please,” Junno breathed in reply. He licked him up, and writhed nicely when Maru raked his blunt fingernails over the back of neck. Junno kicked the covers off with a little hum of satisfaction, getting a handful of his ass and squeezing before flipping Maru on his back again, successfully winding him. It was rare, and never sober with them and it was the only time Junno could get that explosive on him, in him.

Maru needed it rough at that point and Junno was always in such a hurry that Maru’s mind was quickly a cluster-fuck of sordid details, the finish before it started, how it’d feel this time, the burning, delectable agony strip of Junno’s fingers inside him and how messy he could have it.

Junno had it all in arm’s reach, lubricant in a bottle. He could always lose himself when Junno was hard and fast because Maru’s whole being went non-linear whenever he was hurtling toward finish. He dripped with Junno’s mouth on him and grabbed sweaty handfuls of Junno’s hair, panting into the muggy bedroom air, trying to shut down predictions and just smoulder in seconds on a backward clock.

The future looked crimson when Junno was inside him. It was like a kaleidoscope view except it sort of burnt the back of his eyelids. The present swirled like the bottom of a blender with the crystallized feeling of coming and the build up as Junno fisted his dick, sliding up him, grasping his ankles with hard fingers and a shark’s smile.

Maru’s ankles slid up Junno’s spine, and he bucked into the sharp bones of Junno’s hips crushing in; the growls and animal teeth on the edge of Maru’s mouth as he fought to keep up with him, hung on for dear life when Junno shuddered in harder, filling him to the brim.

He forgot himself as the mattress breathed beneath them, not sucking in enough air as Junno fucked in a steambattle rhythm, rocking him out, and hissing out half-words, sticky and blistering against the side of his throat. “Rock with me, baby-- god, that’s it.” His hips snapped in like he meant to break him, enveloping his insides with a stretching pulse and Maru made a shock-hungry mewl that sounded like someone far away.

He came like it was raked out of him, fingers tight to the lines and muscles under skin as Junno fucked him through it. He reeled from the floating sense of deja vu that came with his premonitions of it already cutting through him. Still intoxicated, and dizzy, now coated with a sheen of sweat but he trembled as Junno moaned his end against Maru’s throat, teeth clenched like he couldn’t take it.

He’d stare at the ceiling, thighs aching and shaking as Junno panted against his neck, wavering in and out of sleep. His head spun explosively as he tried to gain bearings on what was the now.

The now was feeling very much alive and this fucking scared of a tomorrow.


--


The family diner down the street was practically empty mid-morning so Junno didn’t go for conspicuity as he burst in the entrance, making a beeline for Maru already settled in a booth by the window.

Smiling the usual, he slapped what looked like an earpiece on the diner table in front of Maru’s plate. The idiot had stolen nearly a million yen the night before and would probably keep shoplifting out of habit. “Guess what!” he said triumphantly, looking like he’d been running all thrill of the chase and pink cheeks.

Maru couldn’t really curb his grin, swallowing a mouthful of bread. “You’re gonna have me watch you from a vantage point.” Junno had walked right into it anyway. “And locate... the guy following us and communicate all this through this stolen bluetooth?”

Junno chewed his lower lip, disappointment written in sharp relief over his features. He sighed, dropping into the seat opposite, looking all of seven years. “Fucking Watcher. This is why we don’t do secret santa.”

“Mm. You’d go to great lengths to steal me some ketamine and you’d tell me it would’ve been sixty dollars a gram ,” Maru muttered just to be contrary, picking up the small earpiece to examine it. “And naturally, I wouldn’t like it.”

Junno rested an elbow on the table, his cheek on his palm, grinning. “That’s a fantastic idea, and you know I’d make you like it, yeah?”

“Touché,” Maru dead-panned, finishing his breakfast. He couldn’t even see how this went, but he was well-rested and feeling a bit like raising some kind of hell for all his night before had been riddled with paranoias and pain. “Fine. Let’s get this over with.”


--


“What about E? Last time you were stoned you said you saw the end of some film neither of us had even heard of,” Junno’s inexcusably happy warble buzzed in Maru’s ear over the sounds of crowds and traffic. “...That was funny.”

“I’m trying to concentrate here,” Maru hissed back in the receiver, scanning the crowd from the low store rooftop. Junno was distinctive, long-limbed and walking a bit spider-like in ridiculous spurts of speed as he wound past shoulders and crosswalks.

Maru wasn’t telling him, but he was looking for a familiar face more than someone who just seemed shady. He knew it. Deep down in his gut, he couldn’t really kid himself, but his sanity told him to doubt if even just the smallest amount. He didn’t like to think if it was a matter of setting himself up for a morbid sense of disappointment.

“Or just plain old methadone. That stuff will fuck you up proper--!”

“Junno! Quit trying to up-sell me drugs you don’t even have and focus on looking normal for once!” Maru snapped.

The people around Junno twisted around in distress when he broke into his high, delighted laughter. Maru put down his binoculars and resorted to an interchange between looking directly at a possible future or really looking for someone dumb enough to follow Junno’s manic stride.

“Nothing so far on this end,” Junno remarked after a pause. “Crossing the street now.”

Maru blinked. “I’m watching you,” he informed him. “You know, you don’t need to tell me every time you do somethi-” and watched him step to the curb, looking at the passing cars, waiting for the red light on the intersection; ready to jaywalk a street over.

Maru’s binoculars hit the cement before he realised he’d let them go. Flash of a second and it was like a movement in the corner of his eye almost; a future lurking and splayed upside down in a far recess. It struck like a shiver; like staring glassy eyes, spinning blackness and Junno tossed in the air as metal, lights and windshield struck him head on.

“D-don’t--” he gasped out, dropping to his knees as the world around him careened, his mental eye flipping through a jukebox album of images, careening for the right one.

“What?” Junno said, halting abruptly and looking around a bit blindly for him. Maru winced, pulling the phone away when it broke into harsh feedback, a shrill scream and Maru saw the earpiece roll across the pavement, having fallen out of Junno’s ear when he’d moved sharply.

Then he saw. He gripped the stone balustrade of the roof, staring off as he tried to keep breathing. “H-he’s a Mover!” he shouted.

All it’d take is Junno’s one step off the curb and he saw Koyama’s eyes looking soft, almost sad, hand outstretched, invisible strings set to an accelator as the delivery truck waiting at the intersection humming over its brake, ran the light, speeding to kill.

Killer. Koyama would. Maru saw his narrow eyes looking apologetic, arms enclosing Maru like some alien being of emotion and emptiness all at once. Stab wound in his chest and kisses to his bloody lips as he choked on metal.

Maru’s mouth was dry as he got to his feet unsteadily, searching for it, the glint. He’d seen something red. Blood? No, a door. Koyama leaned against it. “Don’t you walk off that curb, you bastard,” Maru willed at Junno, twisting back and scrambling for the fire stairwell.

He didn’t remember how he’d got down so fast. His knee was burning with pain where he’d struck it against the ladder. He must’ve pushed a hundred people as he ran for it. Screams when his gun was drawn. Junno far off ahead, locked eyes with him finally, his stare hard and deadly.

Then Maru was looking right at Koyama, squinting and looking confused at the sudden melee. Maru twisted through the crowd, passing Junno at breakneck speed. He had to get to him quick before he changed anything; before he could vanish like that again; intentions shifting carefully.

Then Koyama saw him, and looked immediately stricken, all the futures melted still for seconds before Maru ploughed right into him, slamming him against the door, feeling his oddly delicate frame crush to cement and brick as he fell under him. He held Koyama’s arms down and tried to get him to still, to stop thinking, stop...

Koyama fought him, elbow to his chest and the sweep of objects grazing him. Maru’s glock went skittering across the sidewalk as people screamed and a whistle sounded. Their eyes locked and beneath the desperation, there was nothing. Maru looked for hatred, something but all he felt was the pain as Koyama’s fingernails connected with the side of his throat.

“Hold him still!” he heard Junno holler.

Maru straddled him, grabbing his wrists and he heard footsteps behind him before Koyama went suddenly limp.

Panic seized him briefly as Koyama’s fox-like brown-eyed stare went vacant. Then he realised Junno had a grasp on him. Had pushed him to be still.

“Someone’s called the cops. Maru, let’s go!” Junno barked. Maru fell back as Koyama got to his feet, eyes locked to Junno seeming captivated, mouth parted. Maru swallowed the metallic taste in his mouth as he scrambled up.

“You’ll come with me,” Junno said in naturally soft tones and grabbed Koyama, long fingers closing on his upper arm, their gazes centered in one world instantly, eye to eye with Koyama looking so eerily empty.

They ran.


Part II
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August 2012

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