title: An Arrangement
fandom: Yami no Matseui
characters/pairings: Muraki/Oriya, Oriya/OFC, others
rating: Teen/Mature
warnings: sex, bloodplay
summary: the Mibu family name needs to be carried on, but that doesn't mean he has to give his heart away.
notes: for my beloved aisoku. for his birthday, because he rocks. ^_^
no real Japanese political figures are implied by this work, largely because i'm greatly ignorant of Japanese politics, though i think the current Prime Minister (who is most emphatically not in this story) is quite the looker.
continuity: i haven't read all of the manga at this point, so we shall place this as either a manga AU or a post-anime piece.
Gina is a Japanese girl's name, and it means silvery.

The sound of wood sliding over wood was unwelcome, so he did not turn to greet whoever was entering his rooms.

"Master Oriya, sir, I'm sorry, but..."

It was Mika-chan, and she sounded afraid. Oriya brushed back a strand of perfectly silver hair. "I gave specific instructions not to disturb me, no matter what."

"I'm sorry, sir. But it's the Prime Minister. He insists he must speak to you before he leaves, and he has to be on the red eye to Hong Kong soon," she said quickly, and he could hear her body shaking.

He sighed heavily, and he kissed the porcelain forehead before him. "It can't be helped, I guess. Too bad he couldn't talk to me about this oh so important topic before fucking my girls." He got up gingerly, making sure not to disturb his bedmate... though he seemed very much out of it.

He pulled on a robe and a haori jacket. He didn't bother with sandals.

It was the Prime Minister's fault for pulling him out of bed.

He brushed his hair out loosely with his fingers. He knew he looked a mess, but it was all still the Prime Minister's fault. He didn't want to leave his bed at all.

Mika-chan led him to a small tearoom next to the main dining room. He bowed low before entering, and apologized for his appearance, but even that was just a matter of convention. He couldn't care less.

The Prime Minister's tie was crooked. Oriya sat down in seiza before him, looking rather pointedly at the poorly done knot. "I'm given to understand there is something I can do for you, Mr. Prime Minister, sir?"

"Straight to the point," the Prime Minister said with a smile, unobtrusively adjusting his tie. "Suitable for the late hour. Then, I won't delay. My daughter would like to marry you."

Oriya just stared at him blankly for a moment. He couldn't have heard that right... "Beg pardon, sir?"

"My wife's family lives here in Kyoto, so she spends a great deal of time here. My daughter is now 21, and thinking of marriage. She's been on a few omiai, but she has obstinately refused to become attached. She even spilled the tea on an ambassador's son's lap. Oh, my, she's a stubborn one. She finally confessed to her mother the other day... She saw you at a fishmonger's, and she swears she's in love. The Mibu family is one of the oldest in Kyoto, so it's not a problem of prestige. She knows the true nature of the business here, and she won't be deterred. She would like a chance to make an impression on you."

"A fishmonger?" Oriya laughed. "She must surely have mistaken me for someone else. Regardless, you can't want your precious child to fall into the clutches of a demon like me," he joked.

The Prime Minister smiled politely, but did not laugh. "I could understand if, after meeting her, you were not interested in the match, but I would gain a world of peace at home if you would just meet with her and consider the arrangement."

"Consider it? Should I start calling you father, then?" Oriya asked, still unable to believe that the man was serious.

The Prime Minister put his hands down on the floor, and prostrated himself. "Please, Mibu-san."

Oriya made a face. He hated that name. He looked away, and sighed deeply. "Tell your wife to bring your daughter to Kokakuro at noon on Friday. I will meet her for tea then. And get up; you have a flight to catch."

"Thank you, Mibu-san," the Prime Minister said as he sat up, beaming from ear to ear.

"Don't thank me," Oriya retorted. "Before you know it, you'll be calling me son, and then you definitely won't have anything to thank me for."

The Prime Minister chuckled. "If you take my daughter off my hands, she'll go to you when she wants to go shopping instead of me."

"Don't count on it," Oriya snorted, rising and bowing to the Prime Minister.

He saw the man off, still shaking his head. An omiai with the Prime Minister's daughter.


"It wouldn't hurt you to get married," a soft voice warned him. He turned, and saw his old nanny tucked nearly completely behind the corner. "You'd be a good father."

"Don't make me laugh," Oriya shook his head, and then he set off purposefully to his room. It was all insane. He slipped back into bed with Muraki, and pulled the other man into his arms.

"You left me," Muraki accused sleepily, digging his fingernails into Oriya's clothes.

"Sorry. It will make you laugh, though. I..."

"Don't. Not allowed," Muraki grumpily asserted, and then he put his head on Oriya's chest, and fell asleep again.

Oriya smiled, and nodded. "Yes... Kazutaka."

Her mother sighed audibly and dramatically for the fourth time. It was true... he was late. Over an hour late now. And... this was his home. What possible excuse could he have for being late? She looked nervously from her mother to the overly smiley maid. She smiled back cautiously, and then leaned forward slightly.

"Do you think he will be... much longer? I think the water might be cold..." She looked balefully down at the ornate teapot they brought.

"Oh ho ho, don't worry, miss." The maid looked down at the teapot as if it were a really amusing thing. "The young master is at the age where marriage is becoming a necessity. A man cannot sow his wild oats forever, can he? You are certainly the most appealing prospect he has had."

That was supposed to be encouraging, in theory.

"Has he kept all of his prospects waiting for so long, then?" her mother icily shot back.

"Quite the contrary," the man himself returned, putting his arm up on the doorjamb to idly recline there, perhaps for effect.

It was a good effect. His long hair was tied back at the very bottom, and loose tendrils fell around his shoulders. His kimono was tied very loosely, leaving a swatch of uncovered skin that stretched almost all the way to his waist. Despite that, it was clearly the highest quality kimono, in bright, flashy colors, and a bold pattern, with a matching coat slung over his shoulders.

She sat up very straight and threw her shoulders back, and tried not to look too eager.

He looked down at her, and raised his eyebrow. "I kept the last young lady waiting for twice as long. But she wasn't the Prime Minister's daughter."

"How kind of you to join us," her mother said with proper Kyoto disdain. "You shouldn't have troubled yourself to dress up for just us."

"I know," he said, winking, and he sat himself down opposite them sloppily. "Tell me, okaasama, don't you disapprove of this match?"

She raised her chin and looked down her nose at him. "You seem intent on being a scoundrel. But you are still who you are."

"Interesting," he replied flatly.

She scooted forward, and poured out the tea. Her hands moved nervously through the ceremony. She so badly wanted to make a good impression... he was even more gorgeous up close than he had appeared from far away, and she had heard that he was a gentle person... She served a cup of tea and pushed it over to him. "Please accept this."

He looked at the cup for a moment. "What is your name?"

She bowed her head down. "Gina."

"Gina," he repeated slowly. "That's good. My favorite color is silver." He looked down at the tea once more. "And you already know my name, I presume."

"I do, Mibu-san," she said, bowing shortly.

"Please don't call me that," he said cheerfully, smiling. "You can call me Oriya, Gina-chan."

She blushed deeply, and her mother coughed. Loudly.

He laughed, and he picked up the cup of tea as if it were poison. "To be perfectly truthful with you, Gina-chan, I really dislike tea. I prefer sake. Don't suppose you'd like to share a cup with me?" He winked at her.

She gathered up her courage and winked back at him. "You wouldn't think it was my first cup, would you, Oriya-san?"

Her mother started to have a coughing fit that could well end in the expulsion of a lung.

Oriya laughed, though. He stood up, and walked back to the door, turning to reach out a hand to her.

She blinked, and stared at the hand.

"Well? Are we going to get a drink or what?" he asked her amicably.

She slowly started to grin, and nervously reached up to take his hand...

"Absolutely not!" her mother roared. "This is completely improper. Do you really think I'll let me daughter go with you, unsupervised?"

"You're offering her to me in marriage," he replied coolly. "One drink is hardly stretching it, is it?"

She grabbed his hand and pulled herself up. "It's all right, mother. You've been put out enough today. I'm sure Oriya-san will see that I get home all right." She started out of the room, pulling him along, almost as if she had invited him and she knew where she was going. He followed her, and she could tell that he was amused.

And judging her.

She could tell that they were wandering into the part of the house where the... girls... lived, and she felt extremely uncomfortable being... watched by those... women, so she turned, and led him off into the garden. She slowed down, still waiting for him to take the lead, but he was content to walk behind her, so she stopped, and leaned against a tree.

"Ah. I suppose the sake isn't... out here..." she said, embarrassed.

He grinned. "Not really. But that's fine. At least we are out of that tiny, stuffy room." He winked at her... and then he looked her over, up and down. "Tell me, Gina-chan, why me?"

"Whatever do you mean, Oriya-san?" she asked airily, trying her best to look sexy, but there was only so much she could do in a formal kimono.

"You know exactly what I mean," he said, his voice sultry and sexy. He stepped closer, predatorily, and put his arm up over her head.

She couldn't breathe.

"You have your choice of nearly every man in the country. Why me?" He put his finger on her lips, and drew it down, down her chin, down her neck... Down.

She swallowed hard. "Because you're the most beautiful man in the world."

He ran his finger down the collar of her kimono, pushing the fabric aside gently to run his finger down her chest. "So, you're shallow."

"A little," she tried to laugh. "But. More than that."

"More?" he asked, circling his finger over her heart.

"I would watch you," she admitted, mesmerized by his eyes, his hair, his smell... his touch. "I would watch you any chance I got. And I always thought. I. I always thought." She swallowed hard. He was watching her. Waiting. Touching. "I thought you looked lonely," she finished quickly.

"Lonely," he repeated. His eyes were unreadable. However, though she couldn't guess at what he was thinking, she could tell... his expression had changed. "Lonely." He moved his hand down quickly, and flipped open her kimono at about her knees, pulling the silk up so he could see her panties. He ran his finger over its scalloped edge. "Not bad. Not exactly sexy, but not bad...

"I run a brothel, Gina-chan. Do you understand what that means?" She tried to nod, but he immediately shook his head. "I lost my virginity to a professional when I was thirteen. I never waste any time wanting for anything. If I want to smoke, I do; do drugs, have sex, whatever. None of that will change. I've never been faithful to anyone in my life, and being married won't affect that."

"That's fine with me," she said, smiling bravely. She was prepared for this. "I'm not asking you change. I just want to be by your side."

"By my side, eh?" he asked, and he slipped his fingers inside her panties. "That's another thing. I'm in love with someone. Someone... I can't be with. You will never interfere with that relationship."

She couldn't breathe for a second. In love with someone... he couldn't be with? Who... who in the world could that be? Who could possibly have his heart, but not take possession of him? "Th-that's fine..."

"Are you a virgin, Gina-chan?" She blushed, and he sighed. "I hate deflowering virgins. But, I'm also not going to get married to a woman I haven't fucked. Do you understand that?"

"Y-yes," she replied, her heart pounding.

"Do you?" He leaned in, until their noses were touching. "I'm going to take you right here and now, and when I'm done, I may not take you as my wife."

"Do you own a mirror, Oriya-san?" she asked breathlessly, leaning forward to kiss him fleetingly. "Take me. I'm offering myself to you."

His eyes widened a bit, but then he grinned. He took her panties off in one quick motion, and stuffed them inside his kimono. Still grinning, he held her hands up over her head, and put his hand inside her kimono, cupping her breast. "Not the biggest or most beautiful breast I've ever seen, but not bad. I'm not that big of a breast man, anyway." He pulled open her kimono from below, and put his hand between her legs.

She gasped, leaning back against the tree. She was torn between pushing down on those fingers, or pulling away. Her body suddenly felt so hot, and she needed more sensation...

His mouth was on her neck. "Not bad. Keep making those noises, and I might get hard."

Tears started to form in her eyes. He was laughing at her... but he was opening his own kimono, and jostling around for position. She threw her leg up, trying to catch his waist... trying to invite him in. He looked her in the eye, and then smiled.

He dropped her hands, and lifted her up by the waist. She hadn't imagined her first time being like this. It was so... dirty, and anyone from the house could walk by. But this was a house of sex.

She was having sex.

She hardly knew what was going on. It hurt a bit. More than a bit at times. She felt ashamed and insecure, and she wound her hands in his hair, and tried to keep from screaming.

She felt incredible.

He came inside of her, and her whole body shuddered. For a second, she couldn't see.

And suddenly, she was on her own two feet again, and he was straightening up his kimono. He looked at her, and grinned.

"I'm thirteen years older than you," he said bluntly.

"I don't care," she gasped.

He nodded. "All right, then. We'll get married in the winter."

And he turned and walked away.

Muraki looked down at Oriya, and just sighed. And then he kicked him. "Are you drunk?"

Oriya started to laugh, which was a sure sign that he needed to be kicked again. Which, sadly, only made him laugh harder. "Oh. Oh. Kazutaka. You missed it. My bachelor party was fun..."

Muraki felt his head start to ache. He grabbed Oriya by the hair and dragged him to the bed. "You indolent bastard. What is this... you're getting married?"

"Ow. Yeah. Ow. Isn't it funny? To the Prime Fucking Minister's fucking daughter. She's a child, even. Sort of. Ow. Stop that, that's attached to my head, you know..." he complained.

"You don't use your head, anyway," Muraki sneered. "Why the hell are you getting married?"

"Well," Oriya tried to sit up and look at Muraki, but he was only partially successful. "Well. Hey, stop moving." He grabbed onto Muraki's pant leg. "Well. I have to leave all this..." He waved his hand around dramatically and nearly toppled over. "To someone. A little person. A wee child. Won't I make a great dad?" He started to laugh hysterically.

Muraki didn't even enjoy hitting him much when he was like this. "You should burn this place down."

"And do what?" Oriya said bitterly. "Follow you around? Not likely, right. Might as well be useful to you here, at least."

Muraki looked down at Oriya, disgusted. He couldn't help himself. He slapped Oriya as hard as he could, and then he pushed him down onto the bed. He tore Oriya's clothes off - not that it was ever hard to do that - and stared down at Oriya's body.

"Does it bother you, Kazutaka?" Oriya asked in his sexiest voice. And then he started laughing... though it sounded like he might start to cry. "Yeah, right."

Muraki kicked him in the side, and rolled him over. "You may want to prepare yourself. I'm going to be merciless."

"Bring it on," Oriya whispered huskily.

The wedding was disgustingly traditional. The bride was hidden in layers of silk and makeup, her head stuffed into a ten-pound wig. The food was exquisite and the reception was filled with important people.

The groom disappeared for a short spell after the second toast, and again, just before the last dance. The bride smiled demurely, and bowed her head down.

They left the reception hall to return to the groom's home, to spend the night together before going away for a week to Beijing.

At least, that was what she thought.

As soon as they entered the house, she was ushered away, and some of the maids helped to undress her. They lead her to the room that was going to be theirs, and she put on the sexy lingerie that she had bought, just for that night.

She waited.

At four am, she caught the arm of a passing by maid. Or. Well. A woman. "Do you know where my husband is?" she asked, desperate.

The girl snickered loudly, not bothering in the slightest to cover it up. "Oh, my. You poor lamb... but didn't you realize? The Doctor is in town. Of course, he's not going to be with you."

She started to laugh as she walked away, and Gina could hear them, as the woman met up with a few other employees of Kokakuro, all of them laughing.

She fell onto the bed, and cried herself to sleep.

She was observant, and careful. She knew what sort of kimonos he liked the best, and what sakes and what wines pleased him the most. She knew his favorite scents, and the way he liked a woman's hair to be arranged, and she knew what sort of jokes he laughed at, and what sort of foods most appealed to him.

She studied him carefully, and remade herself subtly, so that she was the perfect woman for him.

Their honeymoon had been a dream. She hadn't mentioned his absence the night before, and neither had he, and he was a perfect gentleman on the trip, and the perfect lover, too. Coming home, she had harbored unreasonable hopes of making him love her as she loved him.

The nights he chose to sleep in the bed with her, he was always perfect, so absolutely perfect, but more often, he chose to sleep elsewhere, either alone, or in the company of one of his 'girls.'

The mysterious 'Doctor' who had ruined her wedding night had not reappeared. She wasn't sure what to do about that, but she was gradually forming a plan to deal with her rivals in the restaurant.

She pushed her kimono off her shoulders, and slipped off her sandals. She went out to the main dining room, where a large party was still enjoying the food and drink - and servers. She held her head high, and walked past the men she knew from far different circles, averting her eyes as they clumsily stuffed their hands down the kimonos of the giggling serving girls. She set herself down gracefully next to her husband.

He looked over at her, but he didn't move his hand from between the legs of the girl on his other side. She, however, leaned forward and smiled brightly at her. "Mibu-san! Would you like some wine?" She poured Gina a generous glass.

Gina just nodded, and slipped her hand around her husband's elbow. "Oriya-san. Are you tired?"

"Is there some reason why you think I would be?" he asked her casually, moving his hand a bit more vigorously under the girl's kimono.

She melped, and then squirmed out of the way. "Ah, ah, ah, I should get Mibu-san something to eat. I'll be right back." She bowed shortly to them both, and skipped away. Oriya smiled after her... and then slowly slid over to put his arm around his wife.

"Do you know why Akayo-chan is so nice to you?" She didn't say anything, and he leaned over to put his mouth on her neck. "She's your father's favorite. He's kind to her, apparently, and tips her well. Usually, he spends all night with her. He even tells her he loves her." He slipped his hand up her leg, and pinched the inside of her thigh.

She looked away, and tried to pull out of his arms, but he wouldn't let her.

"Did you really think that you understood what my job was before you entered this house? Do you still think you understand? Did you forget that your father made me meet you?" He touched her lips with his finger, and looked into her eyes. "You're dressed like a whore. Get out of here, before someone asks me for your price."

She stood up quickly, and walked out of the room fast, before the tears that were burning her eyes could fall. She didn't make it back to their room, though, before she fell to her knees, sobbing. Someone came to her side, and rubbed her back. Through her tears, she could see the bright red smear of lipstick, but she had no idea which girl it was. She was causing a commotion. Other people were whispering.

"I've got it," he said, sighing. Why was he here? Wasn't he still back there... he was sick of her, right? But his arms wound around her, and lifted her up. Breathless, she put her arms around his neck, tangling her hands in his hair. He was looking straight ahead as if everything were completely normal, the same enigmatic smile on his lips as always.

When they got to their room, he set her down gently on the bed. "I'm sorry," she sniffled, ducking her head down. She was so embarrassed.

He touched her cheek gently. "This is not a good home for a respectable woman. My mother hated it here."

She looked up at him in wonder. He'd never mentioned his mother before... "Your mother?" she prompted him.

He sat down next to her, and smiled at her gently. "She was a very brave and dignified woman. She would have liked you, probably. She was very traditional." He leaned in and kissed her softly. "I look like her. I have her hair and eyes."

"She must have been beautiful, then," she smiled brightly. He was talking about himself...

"She was," he said confidently. He caressed her cheek softly. "My father was not a beautiful person, at all. My mother committed suicide when I was twelve. Don't... don't let it get that bad." And he kissed her again, more passionately, until she thought she might drown in it.

He still got up and left, though.

It was too damned hot. Even at night, it was so hot, she felt like she couldn't move at all. The only part of the house that was air-conditioned was the dining room, and that was full of patrons now. She was reclining on the veranda, which was inconvenient for everyone walking by, but this way, she could watch the stars, and let her hair hand down to the gravel of the garden pathway.

She had her hand on her stomach, just... there.

It was busy tonight, because the Doctor had arrived. He was unexpected, but Gina gathered that he was always unexpected, and always welcome. Though everyone seemed rather happy that he was there, there was also a sense of dread. She could see it in the tightness of some of their smiles. There was a sense of fear.

Her husband, though, had left her the instant he'd heard that this Doctor was in, and he had rushed quickly to his guest's side.

She wondered what this doctor was like, and she wondered what he and her husband were doing.

She rubbed her belly.


It was Akayo. Akayo was pregnant. She'd been allowed to keep the baby, because the father had no objection. He'd paid her a lump sum, and from now on, Akayo was going to be just a maid. Apparently, this was the sort of choice Oriya-san's father would never have allowed one of his girls to make. She would have been beaten if she hadn't volunteered to have an abortion. And the father would never have known.

Gina wondered if Akayo's baby was going to be her sibling.

"Mibu-san? Are you sure it is all right for you to sleep there? You'll be eaten alive with bugs," Akayo fussed.

"Where is my husband?" she asked dreamily.

"Mibu-san..." Akayo sighed, and leaned down, gently slipping her hand under Gina's head to help her sit up. Akayo was going to be a good mother. Loving and attentive. Her little half brother or sister was lucky. "The Doctor is here. You should just leave them be. Wait for the Doctor to leave. It's safer."

"Safer?" Gina questioned, turning around so she could dangle her feet off the edge of the veranda. "Whatever do you mean, safer?"

Akayo bit her lip, and looked away. "The Master always brings in outside girls for the Doctor when he wants... service. And we never see from them again. That's all I know. It's best not to ask questions. Just leave them be. And get inside. You should sleep!"

She smiled gently, and patted Akayo's cheek. "So should you. I'll go in soon, I promise."

Akayo nodded, though she still looked worried, and she wandered off.

After a few moments, Gina got herself up onto her feet. She walked past the open door of their room, and started to wander around. Where would Oriya-san take this Doctor? He was obviously an honored guest. That would mean that he had to have one of the best rooms. She wandered around, listening casually at the doors, until she found it.

At first, though, she didn't think it could be right. Those gasps... they didn't sound quite like her husband. But then, she heard him gasp out a name... Muraki! That was her husband's voice.

He sounded like he was...

She slid open the door and peeked in. There was a man dressed entirely in white, with the most incredible silver hair. He was beautiful... and he was standing over Oriya-san, holding a dagger, and blood was dripping from it...

"Stop!" she screamed, and she dashed into the room. She shoved herself between this Doctor and her husband. "Stop, what the hell do you think you're doing?"

He sneered at her, and she noticed the splattering of blood on his pristine clothes. Oriya-san's blood. "Don't tell me this is the wife. I should do you a favor and cut her throat open right now."

"Don't... don't be hasty..." Oriya said quickly, sitting up. He put his hands on Gina's hips, and pushed her, hard. "She's sorry she got in the way. She's leaving. Now."

"Oriya-san!" she protested. Blood was dripping down his back, and over his legs. He looked worn out, sweaty, and miserable. "Please..."

He shoved her hard. "I'll get rid of her. Don't lose the mood."

The Doctor chuckled as Oriya pushed his wife out the door.

She turned around quickly, and looked at him, standing there naked, bleeding... for that man? "What's going on? Why were you letting him do that to you? That was sick! He was cutting up your skin..." She reached around him, and her hand got covered in blood.

He sighed impatiently. "What I do is none of your damned business. Go back to bed, and leave it alone."

"Of course it's my business!" she protested, grabbing his arm. "You're my husband! I don't know what sort of deviant behavior you're involved in there with that pervert, but it affects me!"

He shook her once, and turned her so he could shove her against the post. "That pervert is the man that I love, and he's free to do whatever he desires with my body. Gina." He pulled her into his arms roughly, and he stroked her back. "You are going to be the mother of my child. You will be... special to me, no matter what. I know that you love me, and I'm sorry. But... you don't get a say in this." He backed away from her, and looked her in the eye, his eyes narrowed.

And then he turned, and went back into the room with that monster.

She stumbled back to her room, and nearly fell off of the veranda. Someone caught her... a girl. One of her husband's girls. She looked up at the woman with a tear-stained face. She didn't know the girl's name... she was older than Gina... Oriya-san favored this girl...

"Mibu-san. Don't let it worry you so much. Trust me..." She looked away, off in the direction of her husband and that man. "It worries all of us, but. We have to trust the Master. After all, we love him, right?" She smiled cheerfully for Gina.

Gina couldn't muster a smile back.

Oriya balanced his daughter on his shins, and lifted her up. She gurgled happily, and waved her chubby arms around.

"Should I find someplace else to stay? Don't tell me that this has become a family place," Muraki asked disdainfully, walking casually up to the father and daughter pair.

Oriya winked. "Don't be stupid. You'll always be welcome here. And for once, you come to me when you aren't covered in blood. It must be a special day."

Muraki looked down at the child speculatively. "Will you be free tonight, or will you be on diaper duty?"

"I'm sure her mother, or her nanny, can deal with it," Oriya lightly answered.

"Good," Muraki nodded.

Oriya reached out, and took Muraki's hand. His daughter watched him, and reached out, too. "I'm surprised to see you. Especially looking so good. This couldn't possibly be an actual social call, could it?"

Muraki didn't deign to reply to that. Instead, he looked over the girl, and patted her on the head. Oriya went very still, but he didn't prevent Muraki from touching her. She cooed at him. He leaned down. "Mariko. Grow up and look like your father. Just like him. And you'll have every man in the land wrapped around your finger."

Oriya shook his head, but he was clearly pleased. He reached down, and picked up his little girl. "You're flattering me. Either an apocalypse has occurred that I wasn't aware of, or you want something really badly. No matter." He turned, and as if by magic, a nanny appeared to take the girl away, after he kissed her cheek, of course.

He started off in the direction of the guesthouse. He looked over his shoulder and winked at Muraki. "Well. Come on. Come get what you want."

Muraki chuckled, and put his hands in his pockets. "So glad to see that fatherhood hasn't really changed you, Oriya."

"Bite me," Oriya returned happily.

"Count on it."