***Read 'Of Downtime And Dreaming' before you read this. If you don't, you'll miss out on a lot of what'll be discussed in this story.***

[[ Louder Than Words ]]

AUTHOR: K. Koumori

CATEGORY: Romance

PAIRING: 1+4

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: If I owned Codename: Kids Next Door, would I be writing fanfiction? Nope. I'd be working my own little ideas right into the show. ::evil grin:: Belongs to Curious Pictures and Cartoon Network. Go worship them. The lyrics used at the beginning are from "I'll Catch You" by The Get Up Kids. The ones at the end are from "Here With Me" by MxPx. Go worship those guys, too.

RATING: PG. Yes, there is solid slash here. It might offend somebody. ::rolls eyes::

WARNING: Once upon a time, a boy liked another boy romantically. The end.

SPOILER: Small reference to 'Operation: L.I.Z.Z.I.E.'

FEEDBACK: is _worshipped_. Flame if you really must. Watch me care. I warned you.

NOTES: I'm back with the infamous 1+4 pairing! Some reviewers requested a sequel, so here it is! There may be slight OOC-ness, but there kinda has to be, right?

Thank you SO much, to those who reviewed... I'm very flattered that you enjoyed the first KNDslash story! I'm also honored to have bestowed it upon you. I know the initial idea is kinda hard to grasp, but I have to admit, I'm getting hooked. I may turn this into an Arc or somethin'. ::grins:: On with the show.

*Special thanks to Julie for the inspiration!

**Happy birthday to Erica. Have a good one, aibou. ^^

-

"I'm still breaking old habits ... You pulled the wool over me ... I can see everything ... Remembering ... Jinx-removing ... Don't worry, I'll catch you ... Don't ever worry ... No need for reminding ... You're still all that matters to me."

-

Punch punch jab.

Numbuh Four leapt back, away from his robotic opponent as it attempted a counterattack against him. He tossed his head to rid the hair from his eyesight, and sweat sprinkled from his forehead. His focus was keen and set, ducking a thrown punch with excellent reflexes and lashing back with a series of strikes to the target's abdominal area.

Punch punch jab.

Anticipation killed him. He hated it more than anything. More than adults. More than The Delightful Children From Down The Lane. More than pop music. He grit his teeth as his concentration slipped and he was almost clipped with another jab. He'd been trying to waste time for a solid half-hour. Numbuh One should have been done with his homework, but so far, no sign of him.

**"...can we talk more 'bout this later?"

"Of course."

"Come an' find me when you're done."

"I planned on it."**

'When', Four thought to himself. 'Next year?'

Punch punch jab.

So, One was thinking and having dreams about him. Odd. A piece of his mind wanted to know more about these thoughts and dreams, in full detail, but the other piece was ... well, not scared, but ... uneasy. Were they bad? Nightmares? Good? Those kind of dreams older kids got about the people they were attracted to?

Panic clouded his mind for a split second, and he was hit in the shoulder. He growled out, both from pain and frustration, and tried to get his mind back on track. Being easily distracted was one of his more hated flaws.

...but what if? What if it WAS an older-kid dream? How weird would that have gotten on One's case? He was their leader. They were all just ... kids. Borderline preteens, yes, but still kids. Four didn't care, really. Kids grow, and should grow with their closest friends. Kids were, and always had been, impressionable. The people they shared their lives with were the people who shaped them as human beings.

Four admired his leader. Hell, he LIKED his leader. Like-liked. It was an attraction, admittedly ... an attraction based on trust and admiration. One could have been male or female, and Four wouldn't have cared in the slightest. The spirit caught him, not the wrapping.

Punch punch jab.

Four knew love or like or whatever ... it was deceitful and sometimes downright revolting. He got a shock of it on Valentine's Day when that Lizzie ... thing ... gave One the dreaded Boyfriend Helmet. He was so sure after One broke the helmet that he'd immediately rescue his teammates from where they were pinned against the wall with various sharp kitchen utensils. Four could remember the wave of disappointment and betrayal that streaked through him, though, when One took Lizzie's hand and suggested ice cream instead. No remorse at all.

He felt disappointment, betrayal, and hurt. Lots of hurt.

That hurt came out and before he knew what he was doing, Four was pummeling his robotic opponent angrily, not even giving it a chance to defend itself. His teeth ground tightly, eyes narrowed, fists flying. The machine whirred, moving back, and Four kept himself hovering over it, pounding, hitting, bludgeoning. Machine pieces flew, and the sound of metal being beaten echoed over the room.

Surprisingly, Four found enough control in himself to gradually slow down and stop. By the looks of his target, it was well past done for the day. He stood, breathing heavily, gloved fists at his sides, sweat glistening and dripping. Sometimes he really needed one of those squishy stress-reliever things. He slipped a glove off and brought the hand up to rake it across his wet forehead.

"Now I know why you're on _my_ side."

Four turned his head toward the doorway, toward that familiar voice, and scoffed. "Finally." He slipped the other glove off and dropped it next to its other on the floor. One pushed from where he leaned against the door frame, snatching a towel from the towel rack beside the door and tossing it to his teammate.

Four caught it and immediately wiped himself down, slinging it around his neck when he finished. He ignored the sweat dripping from his bangs. "You done?"

"Yes," the leader replied. "I checked on Three, and she's still out like a light. We're safe to discuss this in the meeting room."

"Y'sure?"

"Positive." One turned and left. Four followed, the nervousness finally starting to knot up in his stomach.

They resumed previous position, on far opposite sides of the couch. That silence showed up and taunted them as they both stared at something else, waiting for the other to bring up the subject at hand.

Four fidgeted. Maybe this was a bad idea. Maybe something was wrong that One didn't _want_ to talk about. He suddenly felt like he was trying to pry into the things One kept to himself, and only himself. Guilt mixed with nervousness left a bad feeling on that knot that was still lodged in his stomach. He glanced up without moving his head.

One was openly and blatantly staring at him. Four meant to look elsewhere again, but found that he couldn't. His eyes held One's, and he finally blurted out, "Well... w'otcha been thinkin' about me for, Numbuh One?"

One fidgeted this time, and he was the one to drag his eyes away. They rested on the folded hands in his lap. "I'm not sure. The dreams led to the thoughts."

"Then start there."

One took a deep breath. "You're always captured in them. Always taken away from us. There have been many circumstances, tons of different situations, but in every single one, we can never rescue you before I wake up." His eyes hesitantly moved back up to meet with Four's over the rim of his sunglasses. "I get a bad feeling. A really bad one. They're vivid." A small pause, and One lifted and dropped his shoulder in a halfhearted shrug. "Maybe I'm psychic or something."

Four didn't know what to say, so he kept quiet. His leader was obviously not used to speaking openly about things he wasn't sure of, and he was having a hard time.

"I wake up," One continued quietly. "feeling afraid and confused. The thoughts stay with me until morning. Most of the time, I'm thinking about what would happen if we were really put into a situation like that."

After another long pause, Four let himself speak. "What would you do, Numbuh One?"

"I would go crazy."

Four's hands absently played with the tag on the towel around his neck. "Why?"

One smirked, dryly, and shook his head. "Why do you think?"

Four felt any shard of anger that had been in him before disappear completely. "One... Nigel ... if you like me, come out an' say it. Don't pull that ''course I like you, you're my friend' stuff. You know I don't mean it like that."

More pausing. One was squirming like crazy. "Well, I..." He cut himself off to mentally reword his sentences. "...if you feel the same way," he finally offered. "then I'd be happy to try and build on something."

There. It was out in the open. The offer was left on the table for Four to either take or turn away. Four was quiet for a long time, and One wondered if he was ever going to answer. Sweat began to form on his brow as he sat in the ankle-deep tension. The only sound was the other boy's breathing. It was taking too long ... he felt as if he were going to suffer a panic attack if he sat around in that for much longer.

He took it as a rejection.

His head lowered, and without a word, he moved to get up and leave. Before he could stand, Four carefully spoke up. "Okay."

One glanced at him and blinked. Did he just hear an affirmation? "W-what?"

"Okay." Four repeated, with a bit more confidence.

One sat back down and nodded numbly. Time was lagging. "Okay."

The two boys felt the tension drain. One felt himself become comfortable enough to pull his legs up onto the sofa, and turn to face Four to see if maybe they could change the subject to break the ice. His eyes almost popped out of his head when Four did something very uncharacteristic.

He scooted closer to his leader, turned, and half-leaned, half-laid back against him. One's breath hitched, and his brain kinda stopped working.

Four felt One go rigid, and he had to smirk. "Don't ask," he said as his eyes closed. "I'm tired, an' you make a good pillow." Four commended himself for both his bravery, and his foolishness. That was all he said, and that was all he was going to say until he woke up. He was easily lulled off by One's rhythmic breathing.

One stayed stiff long after Four dozed off. What was he DOING? Why was he doing it? He'd never think Four to be the type to do something so ... well, mushy. He'd caught him holding hands with Lizzie, once, and he even chided "Nigel and Lizzie, sittin' in a tree!" while jumping around like a lunatic. And now, someone could walk in and do the same for the two of them. But... Four took the chance.

...he took the chance.

One's muscles relaxed completely, and he slumped back against the armrest. Four stirred, but didn't wake up. He must have been exhausted.

It was 3:36PM when One followed Four's lead.

-

4:03PM.

One was forced back into consciousness by the distant sounds of the headquarters coming to life. His mind took a second to reboot and process that the voices among the noises belonged to Five and Two ... mainly Five, because she talked more. He felt a weight against his chest, and dimly remembered his current position. He tried to nudge the bundle of sleeping boy that was Four, to wake him up, but he found an obstacle.

He looked down.

A long, thick red ribbon entwined the two teammates together, twisted around and between them. It came to flourish in a neat bow on Four's bare chest. Four was still fast asleep, oblivious. Damn the both of them for being heavy sleepers. They should have noticed if something like that happened while they slept!

The voices grew closer, and One started to panic. He struggled slightly, wanting to get out of the hold before he was found like that, but also not wanting to disturb Four's rest. Of course, One failed at both. The ribbon was wound tightly, not letting go for anything, Four was making noises like he was waking up, and as One's eyes darted about, he caught the culprit.

Numbuh Three was sitting on the chair nearby, grinning like a (very hyper) Cheshire cat. The whole red ribbon thing started to make sense, and One's jaw dropped. He knew the story very well.

Three giggled, and waved spastically. "Hiiii!"

"Numbuh Three!" One barked, and Four yawned. "What is the meaning of this?"

Four's eyes focussed, immediately catching sight of the red on his chest. He blinked down at it for a minute or so, and was jerked out of the initial 'Huh?' by Five's voice getting much closer. Those same eyes widened, and he attempted to put some distance between himself and his leader. He, too, found that he couldn't.

He was not so patient. He struggled harder, and One found a part of the ribbon coming around his neck dangerously. "Numbuh Four, please stop that."

"They'a comin', Numbuh One! W'ot, you want them to find us like this?" He grunted, then growled. "My hands are tied up! Help get 'dis ribbon off!"

"I can't," One replied, somewhat mournfully. "My hands are tied, too." Haha. Hands are tied. What a bad time for dry humour.

Another giggle caused Four's head to snap in Three's direction, and he seethed. "Let us outta this, Numbuh Three!"

She simply shook her head, then looked toward the entryway. "Hi, guys!"

Both boys froze in mute terror. They could feel one another cringe when Five stopped talking, and the pair of footsteps paused in place.

There was silence, save for the nervous breathing from each victim.

"Well," Five's voice suddenly spoke up. "if this ain't the weirdest thing Numbuh Five's eva' seen."

Two appeared in Four's line of vision, looking both confused and curious. An odd mixture. "Uhhh ... do we want to know?"

"No!" Four growled back automatically.

One turned his head a little. Five was giving him a LOOK. That look could have been read the same way by _anyone_, and it plainly said, 'I know what's going on here'. Hell, she had to. All she had to do was look at their position.

Three giggled again. Four squirmed, and One cringed. He wished Four wouldn't squirm like that there...

"One!" Four demanded, glaring at Three. "Can I kill 'er!?"

"Er... _no_, Four." One replied, turning away from Five's stare. "Especially seeing as how you're bound to choke me if you try to move much ... no pun intended..." Oh he was on a roll today.

"W'ot d'ell is up wit' all these flippin' ribbons, anyway?"

Three giggled again.

"It's from a Japanese superstition about..." One stopped and coughed, a hint of colour touching his cheeks. Five gave a triumphant 'hmph', which One attempted to ignore. "I mean ... why don't you just ask her?"

"Roight..."

"Look," One addressed Two and Five. "untie us, and we'll explain."

Four turned his head slightly, to glance back at him. "We will?"

"Yes," One replied, solemnly.

"I don't think we NEED an explanation." Five circled the couch to stand next to the armrest One was slumped back against. Her arms crossed themselves over her chest in an almost haughty manner. She was grinning.

Two's expression plainly agreed. Three beamed.

Both boys looked between their friends and teammates for a few minutes before mutually surrendering. Four's head lowered, and he gratefully let his hair cover his eyes. One, as usual, was the one to speak. "Fine. Untie us and we'll leave the bloody subject alone."

Well, _that_ was protective. Five moved to work at the bow resting on Four's chest, and while she untied it, she glanced up from under the rim of her cap. "Hey."

Both teammates eventually met her eyes.

"S'cool." She reassured, smiling. "S'cool."

Relief came like a tidal wave. One was the first to smile back. Then Four... a half-smile, one he didn't want to admit he was giving. Three was literally bouncing, obviously happy for them, and Two was nodding, in agreement with Five. The bow was untied, and unwound from the two bodies.

Five slung the thick ribbon over a shoulder, still grinning. "We'll be doin' our thing. You come and talk to Numbuh Five whenever ya want."

"Thank you," One said quietly, and watched the three file from the room as Four scooted over to stretch. One stretched, too, thankful to finally have the feeling back in his legs. "Well ... at least we know it's all right with them."

"Yeh." Four nodded. "How far y'think 'dis is gonna take us, Nige?"

One peered at the boy who was changing his life with each breath he took. "As far as we let it, Wal." He smiled, and the smile that greeted him in reply warmed his soul. "S'far as we let it."

They sat together for a long time. Neither said a word. At one point, someone's hand gripped the other's. Who started it? Then again, who cared? Nothing had to be discussed at that moment.

Silence speaks louder than words, sometimes.

-

"Would it be too much to ask? ... Too much, too fast? ... I'm all alone and I want you here with me ... I'm not the best at romance ... I've had my chance ... I don't want much, but I want you here with me."

-

End.

*About the superstition: In Japan, it's a legend that a red ribbon binds you to the person you're meant to be with. Apparently, Three likes this legend quite a lot. ::snerk::*

((There will be a sequel to this sequel, if requested enough. I have a more action-based idea in mind. Whatcha think?))