"Actually," Crawford replied. "I have something that belongs to you. "
Presumably he'd judged that Ken had calmed down sufficiently because he put the gun back in his desk drawer and locked it. "Would you like to see?"
"See what?" Ken asked, tiredly.
The nursery school was in the suburbs. It had a tree lined lawn and a plastic paddling pool, currently unfilled. The older children were playing on a jungle gym.
"I don't get it," Ken said, eyes fixed on the child by the sandpit. "Are you threatening me?"
"Not at all." Crawford smiled blandly. "I thought you'd be pleased."
Crawford drove them back to his house, Ken sitting silent in the car while he worried about the morning's revelations. He didn't like to think of Yuriko walking away like that, although she was young and he knew she didn't have family.
Ken couldn't have raised a child alone either, not that he was any more suitable.
The boy had looked healthy, Ken thought, even if he didn't seem to play much with the other children. Admittedly, the other children were all Schwarz.
"Come on." Crawford was holding the door open for him. Ken hadn't even noticed that they'd stopped.
"You said it was a reward for good behaviour," Ken reminded him hesitantly. "I haven't - "
"Behaved yet?" Crawford supplied, leaning back in his chair. Ken felt like a fool for mentioning it but he wanted to get to the point.
Crawford was in less of a rush, apparently, only giving half his attention to Ken as he scrolled through the files on screen.
Nonetheless, he reached out, sliding his hand under the hem of Ken's teeshirt as he drew him closer. Ken's mouth was dry.
"Don't worry," Crawford told him, pressing cool fingers to Ken's warm skin. "You will."
Crawford wasn't in the bed when Ken awoke. He could hear him talking in the next room. Ken pushed the quilts aside, mentally reviewing the places that hurt. Crawford had hard hands.
The shower felt good. A robe had been left on the bed but Ken preferred his own clothes. He padded barefoot into the lounge, where Crawford was already back at work with a pile of books and papers. He was fully dressed, his jacket draped over the back of his chair.
The welcome aroma of coffee drifted through from the kitchen.
"Help yourself," Crawford said, without looking up.
Ken hadn't thought about staying the night, although he didn't have any other place to be. Besides which-
"In the morning," Crawford said, correctly divining his thoughts. "You can take him out for the day."
"Thanks," Ken murmured. Crawford ruffled his hair, unexpectedly.
"You can do me a favour and take them both out. Rumour has it-"
"That I'm good with kids. Yeah, I know." Ken moved into Crawford's embrace, starting to like this set up much more than he'd imagined. "I could take them to the park and-"
"Really," Crawford cut in. "You don't need to finish that sentence."
"I didn't really know why you wanted me," Ken confessed.
It was spring and they'd taken the boys south for the holidays. They were lined along the river bank wih the tourists, pretending to fish.
"They've noticed the buckets being emptied into the water upstream," Crawford observed, watching them. "As for you," -he glanced sideways at Ken- "You could always try using a mirror."
"People don't usually mean that in a good way," Ken protested.
Crawford eyed his crumpled teeshirt significantly.
"But Shige says I make you feel young," Ken finished, grinnng. He'd had years to find Crawford's weak spot.
A school night in summer. Crawford retired to the office. Ken dealt with the fights over the television and the late homework. At bedtime, he took the trash out.
"Well, you look well on it," a familiar voice said from the shadows.
"I heard you'd become a mafia wife."
"I heard you'd lost your memory." Ken couldn't see clearly in the darkness but he'd smelled the cigarette smoke when he opened the door.
"I got it back." Yohji stepped into the light, cradling a freshly lit marlboro in one gloved hand.
Ken exhaled heavily.