Author's Notes: This was part of a writing exercise where I used a random word generator to generate 12 words. I then had to construct a story using 8 or more of them. I wound up using nine, alternating between three characters POVs.


1. Delay

Tsauji was going to be late.

He hated being late. For generations, his countrymen had been known for being punctual almost to a fault. Showing up ten minutes before an appointment was barely acceptable. Showing up five minutes early would generate whispers and shame. It was in his genes to be on time.

Even though it wasn't his fault, Tsauji had fight down the urge to pull out his cell phone and dial Daniel's number. Again. He knew it would go to voicemail, but part of him wanted to keep trying. Just in case.

Public transportation had always been an option before. In the city it was generally safe, quiet, and on time. Tsauji had never had to deal with a delay this long before and he wasn't taking it well.

For the first time in his life, Tsauji wished he had a car.

2. Voices

Seth knew the minute Tsauji stepped into the city. His head came up from the paper he was currently drawing on, but the pencil didn't still. It continued to draw tiny, tiny circles all interlocking for form the mesh of a screen. After a few seconds that too stilled.

"Tsauji is coming," Seth said. The words were quiet, but Daniel heard them any way.

"He's late. Like an hour late. He's not coming," Daniel said. He was perched at the bar, ignoring the looks other patrons were giving him.

"Tsauji is coming," Seth replied. Daniel might not believe, but he knew. The voices had gone suddenly silent and the future events in his head had retreated back to the future where they belonged. "He missed us."

"Sure he did. Whatever." Daniel normally was a much nicer protector, but Tsauji being late had depressed him more than he wanted to admit. Seth frowned at him.

"He did." The voices hadn't told him that Tsauji had missed them, but Seth knew.

3. Ice

The ice in Daniel's drink clinked against the glass as he downed his fourth drink. Or maybe it was his fifth. Sixth? Okay, it was time to stop.

"Let's go, Seth," he said as he set his glass down on the bar harder than he meant. Seth rolled his eyes but obediently began packing up his art supplies. What had he been thinking bringing his charge into a bar? Oh yeah. He'd been thinking that Tsauji would actually show up like he promised.

Bastard.

"We should wait," Seth said. Daniel got off the bar stool and stumbled. The room swayed and he had to use the bar to remain standing. Definitely too many drinks. Definitely time to stop.

"You're drunk." Seth was in front of him, golden eyes looking up into his muddy brown ones. "I hope you're not too drunk to perform tonight."

Daniel hissed and grabbed Seth's arm, dragging his charge towards the door. When he was sober he could hide the guilt that sometime threatened to overcome him, but not while drunk. He was sleeping with his charge. Corrupting him. It made him sick to think about it, which is why he didn't.

"You can't corrupt me if I was the one who started it." Dammit, he hated it when Seth read his mind.

"Tell that to the Council," Daniel growled. Then there were stepping out of the door and into the warm, damp night.

4. Stamped

He was almost to the bar when Tsauji saw the door open and Seth and Daniel step out onto the sidewalk. Daniel was stumbling, something that never happened. Seth was clutching his bag of art supplies in front of him.

Two things processed at the same time. One, Daniel was drunk. Two, they were leaving the bar without him. They thought he wasn't coming.

Seth looked over at him at the moment, calm and unsurprised like he had known Tsauji was there the entire time. He smiled and then turned to Daniel. "I'm leaving you now. If you're done being an asshole, you can follow me."

Daniel looked up then and spotted Tsauji as well. He froze. Tsauji froze. Seth was the only one moving, carefully skirting the puddles left by the earlier rains.

When he was less than a foot from Tsauji, he looked up. Some of Tsauji's thoughts must have been stamped onto his face, because Seth was frowning. Then he slid his arms around Tsauji's waist, leaning up to kiss him fully on the mouth.

When he was done he barely leaned back before telling him, "Daniel only acts like this because love scares him."

5. Accident

Seth knew the moment Daniel decided to step forward even though he couldn't hear it over the water rushing down the storm drains. He relaxed against Tsauji, leaning his head against the businessman's shoulder. Daniel paused and then came up to stand beside them.

"You dropped your art bag," Daniel said. His words slurred together. Seth pushed away from Tsauji and snatched his art bag back.

"Mine."

Daniel was use to it. "Then don't drop it."

"It was an accident," Seth hissed back. His art bag was slightly damp, but no worse for wear. He'd have to double check it when they got back to the apartment. "I was happy to see Tsauji."

"I could tell." Daniel was about the same height as Tsauji, so he didn't need to look up like Seth did. Both were nervous. "Sorry... sorry for almost leaving you."

"I was late." They were staring at each other. If Seth let them, they'd just look in each others eyes for the next ten minutes while the world went on around them. Seth wasn't that patient though.

"It's wet out here. We're going home now and Tsauji's coming with us."

6. Saint

Since Seth was his charge, Daniel had a license to drive. It was a rare thing in the city where most of the populace took public transportation, but it was necessary. If anyone attacked, they needed to be able to escape quickly. He'd even taken defensive driving classes. Just in case.

And right now, Daniel was too drunk to drive. There's no way he'd endanger his charge by even trying. How the hell were they going to get home?

"Give me your keys," Tsauji said. Ordinarily Daniel would be shouting at being given an order. Instead, he quietly handed them over. It was his own stupid fault.

"Can you drive?"

"Yes, I can. You forget that my family's estate is in the country." Tsauji hit the button on the key chain and the doors to the silver car clicked open. Seth pened the door and plopped himself in the back seat. Like always. Daniel thought about sitting back there, but knew Seth would whine if he did.

So he took shotgun while Tsauji got into the driver's seat.

As they pulled away from the parking lot, Daniel rested his head against the cool window. People called him a saint because he put up with Seth's idiosyncrasies and tantrums. Tsauji put up with Seth's and his own faults. He wasn't the saint in this relationship.

7. Guarded

By the time they got to Seth and Daniel's apartment, Daniel had sobered up some. Not enough to take the stairs by himself though. Tsauji supported Daniel's weight and handed Seth the keys. "Open the door for us."

"I can do that," Seth said.

"He'll get distracted and lose the keys," Daniel said. Seth stuck his tongue out.

"I won't. The voices aren't as loud with Tsauji around." As if to prove his point, Seth walked ahead. Tsauji got Daniel up the parking garage's stairs, into the elevator, and down the hall to their apartment. The door was unlocked when Tsauji tried the knob. "See?"

"Thank you Seth." He laid Daniel down on the sofa. Daniel groaned and laid an arm over his eyes. Seth was at the kitchen table, checking to make sure his art supplies hadn't been damaged. Tsauji couldn't resist ruffling his hair. "You did good."

"I'm glad you came back," Seth said. "I know it's Daniel's job to guard me. Some times he needs to be guarded as well."

"I know." Tsauji pulled out a glass and filled it with water. "I'm glad that he lets me do it."

8. Forgiven

They had all wound up in bed together, which was nothing new. Seth had known they would. The other two acted like it wasn't inevitable. Tsauji made noises about going to the apartment he rented downtown and Daniel made noises about taking the couch so that Tsauji didn't have to walk home at such a late hour.

Seth would point out that they were being stupid, but he knew that they needed this strange ritual of theirs to feel comfortable.

"You're forgiven," Daniel said. Seth cracked open an eye, but closed it again when he realized Daniel wasn't talking to him.

"I didn't mean to be late," Tsauji replied. They were both speaking in low tones, trying not to wake him. He wasn't asleep yet but they didn't know that.

"I didn't mean to get drunk. I was..." Seth listened to Daniel sigh. Idiot. But he was his idiot so Seth guessed that was okay.

"You like him and were upset that he didn't show when you thought he wasn't going to show. I already told him that Daniel. Can we go to sleep now?" Seth asked. He felt Daniel stiffen against him. Then the guardian relaxed.

"Would you like to go ahead and tell him anything else?" Daniel muttered.

"Yes. Daniel thinks you would look hot in shorts."

"Thanks a lot, Seth." Tsauji started laughing.

"I'll keep that in mine."

9. Expectations

Seth had it wrong. It wasn't love that scared Daniel. It was expectations.

Tsauji was asleep on the other side of the bed and Seth was curled up beside him in the middle. Daniel couldn't sleep. He had the beginning of headache throbbing in his head and the taste of something dead on his tongue. Classic hangover symptoms despite the water and aspirin he'd taken.

As the clock slowly ticked off the hours, Daniel had too much time to think.

People expected him to protect his charge. They expected him to guard Seth when the visions became too much. They expected him to report if Seth started spouting prophecy. They expected him to make sure Seth ate, slept, and didn't get himself killed doing something stupid.

They expected Daniel not to sleep with him.

For the longest time Daniel had held himself up to those expectations. Then Seth had seduced him with those golden eyes and wicked mouth. He'd felt like he'd betrayed those expectations some how. It still didn't mean he wasn't bound by them.

When he met Tsauji, all he could think about was what the business man would expect from him. People whispered behind their hands about what was expected from a guardian who had a charge and fell in love. He'd worried what would happen when Seth found out that the one he loved had fallen for another. Daniel hadn't known what to expect.

In the end, Seth had made it very simple. He'd dragged Tsauji into their forbidden relationship and then outed them all to the world. Talk about defying everyone's expectations.

On nights like this, when the two people he cared about most in the world were beside him, Daniel felt that everyone could take their expectations and shove them. Seth was happy. He was happy. Tsauji was happy.

And really, that was all that mattered.