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Charcoal spirits full of vivid cheerful laughter danced through his room, shadows only he could hear, best described as mischievous children paying him visit every night and vanishing whenever the first touches of sun rays fell through the creaks of his door, casting themselves onto pale walls and polished wooden floor, born by the gentle flames of long white candles placed around his futon to spare him light during this late evening hour, tinting the pages of the book, he had himself immersed in for the last couple hours into a soft shade of orange, the faint smell of burning wick lingering in the air.

Stretching his shoulders back, Nikkari rolled his head in an attempt to loosen the muscles in his neck, stiff from being held in one position for far too long, a pleased hum of relief drawing from his lips, when his stubborn bones finally gave in with a loud crack.

Although the pain vanished almost instantly, a certain longing overcame him, thoughts of someone else asking to take care of him, to ease his body and help with his boredom, not necessarily because he felt in such a bad shape, but merely from the wish to feel a loving pair of hands that weren't his own on his body again.

Admittedly, the last nights had been been awfully boring, with most of his friends and comrades being dispatched throughout different centuries and perhaps that had been the reason why their very enthusiastic Saniwa had given him the book he was reading right now, telling him that it was a "must read" and he "surely would love it", even if so far it had turned out to be nothing but a collection of dreadfully cheesy Horror stories, involving plot lines, that couldn't possibly be any more cliché if he tried. Footsteps in an abandoned house? Shadows in a mirror and wailing howls? Nothing that would get more out of him than a lazy yawn. How anyone would find it in them to even shiver at this, was beyond him. (Yes, maybe he sounded cynical, but what could be scarier than facing a real ghost anyway?)

It might not even had been the true intentions of their new Master anyway, he mused, to just leisurely entertain him in this way, he saw it more like a gentle push of an elbow into his ribs, a friendly reminder to keep his blood boiling even during these rather monotonous times of seemingly endless spare-time.

For a while now Nikkari had the feeling there was more behind the kind facade of their Master, more than a simple person, blessed with the ability to smith their former selfs into living breathing beings and despite the loving and caring upfront, he had a hunch, Aruji would always be able to see through each of their daily masks, would know which troubles were hidden on their minds and find the right means to stir their motivation up again, reminding them of their true, blood-thirsting natures full of desire to fight, to gladly throw themselves into another gruesome battle against the Retrograde Army instead of becoming content in their new peaceful life here in the Citadel. How else would he explain his shivering hands, fingers itching, begging him to sooth his lust for blood, to entertain his blade on something, anything and just cut, cut, cut.

Well, he gladly accepted it for now, if it meant for him to be able to enjoy this sort of luxury just a little while longer.

Nikkari stretched once more to shift the weight of his body into a more comfortable position, a short dab of his tongue wettening his fingertips to turn over the pages to the next chapter, when a sudden knock on his door pulled his attention away again.

Before he even had so much of a chance to give a response, the frame of his wooden door slid open and the flames of his candles started whincing and hissing in silent uproar of protest, when a fresh gust of Summer night's air hit his room, the silver light of the pale full moon illuminating the tall figure of his late intruder, reflecting against pitch black hair falling over broad shoulders in silky long waves. Raising his eyebrow, a small amused smile stole onto Nikkari's lips.

"Izuminokami-san... what brings you here?", with a quick thud he flicked his book close, turning his body to give full attention to the other, who answered him with a cheeky grin, a certain twinkle hidden away in the corner of his eyes, the kind that gave Nikkari a hunch a better entertainment than those stories was surely about to come.

"It's awfully quiet today, isn't it?", Kanesada replied, warily stepping into his room, reminding him of a cat on silent feet, testing out the waters of new territory. (Admittedly, he often thought of him as a big black cat, especially around that young assistant Sword of his. Not that he had anything against it, playing with felines usually provided a lot of entertainment, Nikkari thought with a soft snicker.)

"Oh, Horikawa is still out on a mission, right?", Nikkari mused, more to himself than towards the other, one finger casually rested against his mouth, his eyes thoughtfully lingering over the other's figure, impervious, expressionless and carefully assessing what could have brought him into his room, apart from seeking a random conversation with a comrade, he normally did not go out of his way to share a chat with.

"But I think, even with Horikawa-kun not here, aren't there the Shinsengumi boys as well? Kiyomitsu-kun and Yasusada-kun are not dispatched as far as I know..." It was just too obvious, that the real reason Kanesada had come for his company had nothing to do with feeling lonely. Bored, yes. Playful, obviously.

The other slid the door close again, the heavy frames clacking shut together behind his back.

"They seemed occupied.", he merely answered. What exactly 'occupied' involved was left hanging in the air, although Nikkari's imagination could provide him with an idea or two.

"Hmm, but you can't tell me, you come all the way here just because these two are having a Rendezvous by themselves...?", Nikkari remarked, an innocent smile on his face and yet Kanesada must have picked up that is was but a cutesy act and that Nikkari would buy none of whatever excuses he had composed while making his way over.

Rubbing the back of his neck, Kanesada sighed, followed by a nervous laugh, as if being found out too quickly, his nose tinting into a shade of pinkish cheekiness.

"Ah, man, I guess I just cut straight to the case... I heard you were easy, so I was wondering if you want to do it?!" Kanesada grinned at him, pure-hearted and honest just as the words he had so thoughtlessly spilled out just now.

For a brief moment Nikkari just looked at him, then tilted his head as if to contemplate over Kanesada's offer, the long hair, he always kept open during the night, loosely falling into his face and over his shoulders. Kanesada must have gotten a bit nervous during his silence, with his body tensing abruptly when Nikkari's imprenetrable glance fell back onto him.

"Why not, actually...?", he finally answered, more a mutter to himself than directed towards the other, slowly lifting himself up into a sitting position.

Kanesada blinked at him, taken aback by the unexpected nonchalant agreement.
"R-really?... I mean, that's great!"

It didn't even take a heartbeat for the other to react, not a single sign of hesitation or shame within him, when he strutted towards Nikkari with quick long steps, both of his hands raising up, eager to drag him out of any layer of clothing interfering with his desire to lay Nikkari's body bare before him, to trace every bit of his skin, covering it with greedy touches and hungry marks, and for a moment Nikkari wasn't sure, which of them really was the 'easy' one in this situation.

"Wait a second."

It was cute how Kanesada immediately came to a stop, his wide confused puppy eyes blinking at him, paired together with a sulky pout on his lips an admittedly rather delicious combination on a man with his statue, and Nikkari quickly got up from his position before the other had any chance to react, his hips subtly swaying with every step on silent feet, until he paused before him, his hands gently coming to a rest on Kanesada's shoulders, pressing them lightly while leaning in, their chests so close he could nearly feel the vibrations of the other's fast beating heart on his own skin, this delicious hot pulse of another living being, the bodily heat he had craved just a few minutes ago.

Nikkari's hands tightened their grip, yanking him closer to bridge the remaining gap between their lips, brushing against the tender flesh, nothing but a ghostly touch, barely enough to snatch a hint of the other's sweet taste, the temptation to dart out his tongue for more intoxicating his senses. His glance flew up, staring down into Kanesada's eyes, so crystal clear and honest and so very easy to see through, down until the deepest pits of his oh-so earnest soul, finding it tremble before his own well-concealed wickedness, before he gave him a quick push to stir him around, navigating him towards his futon, the other too taken aback by his rash actions to do anything besides following along obediently.

A small nudge was all it took for him to press Kanesada down onto his blanket, still warm where his own body had sat merely moments ago, two pairs of foreign hands immediately flying up to grab his waist, thrusting their groins together and a lustful moan escaped Nikkari's lips, when he felt just how hard the other was already, how much his body trembled with want, the previous clarity in Kanesada's eyes overtaken by a hungry beast, the very animalistic urge all humans seemed to hold embodied within, only enchained to social norms, his pupils diluted in lust, impatiently waiting to make his first move, thumbs drawing long and slow circles beneath the fabric of his shirt, firmly massaging the bit of skin he was able to reach.

If only to mess with him, Nikkari started to move his hips into the other's lap, rubbing his own needy member against it, the thought of how good it must feel inside of him, no annoying layer of clothing between them, Kanesada filling him, ramming himself carelessly into his hole, making him bite down onto his bottom lip, his cheeks reddening in anticipation, when all of a sudden his head flew forward, pulled down by the other's hand entangled in his messy hair, both their mouths crashing together, too harsh, too unexpected to react, a bold tongue gliding between his by surprise opened lips, daring to taste what should have stayed forbidden, exploring the damp secrets he had rather kept to himself, had not wanted to share just yet, and with a quick wiggle Nikkari broke away again, chuckling bemused while combing through his hair with restless fingers.

"You are so impatient...do you want me that much?", he teased, his own hands sliding down and across Kanesada's chest, hidden beneath his even for such late evening time elaborate garments, loosening the red jacket a bit by shoving the fabric aside and trailing his fingertips up and down his sides.

"It's because you are so hot...", Kanesada admitted.
There was no doubt about that, one look and Nikkari could see the other was a complete mess beneath him, dangerously close to shed all his good-natured spirit and reverse their current roles, to take complete control, pinning his willing body down into the mattress and ravish everything he could possibly get from him until they weren't the two of them anymore, but an estranged mess, entangled in torn fabrics and sweat and an exhausted aftertaste of wild lust.

Nikkari half lidded his eyes.

"I still want you to be patient... lean back and enjoy yourself.", he whispered, an alluring hint in the back of his voice to keep Kanesada obedient when he got up from his position, not without a small drip of his hand against the other's chest, making Kanesada fall slightly backwards into the futon, before heading towards his wooden cabinet, one of the few possessions he had in his small room.

Nikkari fished one of his hairbands out of the drawer, before turning back around to face the other man, who had made himself quite comfortable on his futon, his weight balancing on one arm, keeping himself upright to watch him, the other hand resting against his tighs, fingers eagerly twitching to fall into his own lap and tease himself, while Nikkari would prepare for his little show.

Taking the hairband between his lips, Nikkari gathered his long hair together in his hands to pull it up into a ponytail, one watchful eye always lingering on Kanesada, flickering in the faint hues of candle light, observing the other's desirous glare, filled to the brim with carnal instinct and he could easily imagine Kanesada's thoughts - how soft his lips looked wrapping around the fabric of his hair tie - and how much softer they must feel as kisses on skin - how delicate his fingers moved, when tying up his hair - and how much more skillful they had to be, tracing more sensitive parts of their bodies.

Wrapping up the last end of the small band, Nikkari flicked his ponytail behind his shoulders.

"I really do love to play... do you want to play with me tonight...?", he purred, gifting Kanesada an inviting glance that made sure to send electric shocks down into the other's loin, while lasciviously trailing his hands across his chest, playing with the fabric of his white shirt and at this stage he wouldn't be surprised if Kanesada's tongue suddenly rolled out of his mouth across the floor, judging by the way he stared at him, a thought which nearly made him burst out in a hearty laugh.

With every step he took, Nikkari popped open another button of his shirt, bit by bit revealing more of his delicious white skin, thin layers of sweat shimmering in golden hues, remnants of the little game they had played only minutes before and prestaste about what was yet to come, Kanesada's hungry eyes burning deep into his body, his rising impatience nearly tangible, widened eyes following every movement he did and Adam's apple bopping up and down when he swallowed hard, still trying his utmost best not to seem like he was going to jump at him in the next moment.

For a moment Nikkari pitied him, could very well imagine how painful the tightness of his pants already felt, how every string of the other's nerves must pull on him in pleas for release by wet touches of a willing mouth and dexterous hands, begging to thrust between wide opened legs for the rest of the night, until they both would fall asleep from exhaustion.

"P-playing sounds good....", the other replied in a husky voice, and Nikkari mused, if it meant to finally getting laid, he probably would've said yes to everything at this stage.

Adoring his mouth with a small pout, Nikkari leaned one finger against his cheek.
"Hmm, but just fooling around is boring, don't you think? What about some kind of roleplay? Have you ever tried it?"

"R-roleplay?" He could practically see the question marks hovering above Kanesada's head, not having expected to dive right into something that involved more than just ruthlessly pounding into any kind of hole. "I haven't... but... I mean, anything you want, of course!" Anything, if only the outcome would mean sweet release, right?

"Good...", a gentle smile grew onto Nikkari's lips, when he headed towards his futon, steps light and soundless. "As for the scenario...", he slowly leaned down and grabbed the hilt of his sword, resting beside his pillow case. "...You will be the ghost..."

"W-wait a second..."

In one hit all color vanished from Kanesada's reddened cheeks, his eyes growing wider in sudden realization.

Nikkari tilted his head around, his long hair cascading down his shoulders in forest green rivers, laying bare an eye of ruby-red, ominously glowing in the dim light of his room, the gentle smile on his face warping into a devious grin, black in the core of heart, the light of the candles surrounding them flickering, dancing and coiling from mad laughter, their sneering and snickering hallowing down the walls of his room, growing louder and louder, drumming into their ears, but all at once falling silent again, when Nikkari drew the long blade of his sword out of it's sheaf, a slow silver sound cutting through the air.

"Are you ready...?"

**

Ishikirimaru sat outside the patio, his eyes lazily following the clouds rolling across the deep blue night sky, deeper than the bottom of his soul felt to him this very moment, the soft light of full moon fondly wrapping around their Citadel, caressing it into peaceful rest, a low breeze of Summer night's wind playing with the strands of his hair, when all of a sudden a high-pitched, panicked scream ripped through the comforting silence, followed by hasty footsteps and the loud bang of a wooden door, the person seeming to flee the scene as fast as he could.

"Oh dear... someone tried to get into his pants again..."

It was probably best to just laugh at it, he knew better than that, and yet a heavy gloom burdened his shoulders, dragging them low towards the ground, a brief moment of his weakness bared to the world, when Ishikirimaru felt an all too well-known presence trying to sneak up on him.

Not moving from his spot, he looked up and met with a familiar pair of mitochondrial eyes, framed by long waves of forest green hair, the beautiful face of the person he loved so much, the other's white shirt still unbuttoned and loosely hanging around his exposed body, a tell-tale of what had happened only minutes ago behind closed off doors.

Nikkari smiled at him, but Ishikirimaru avoided his glance, a frown hanging in the corners of his mouth, no other trace of emotion reflected on his face, keeping it inscrutable and disinterested, locking away all what had no need to roam free, not between them, not right now.

"Were you listening?"

"No, not really..."

He said such things, but would not even dare to look at him.

An amused chuckle resonated in his ears, but Ishikirimaru did not answer, only stared into the darkness in front of them, his glance lingering on nothing, empty hearted, melancholic and lost, when he felt a pair of hands carefully taking rest on his shoulders. Instinctively he lifted his head, bended it slightly backwards to meet the other's eyes and then his lips, a mere brush against his own, sweet and comforting, something that could not be grasped and put into words, but understood by only them, and in some way so easily able to lift the heavy cloud encasing his heart.

Perhaps it was this sort of tenderness, that Nikkari showed only to him, an unspoken token of trust, Ishikirimaru had no idea where it had come from and how it had grown, but it was all he needed, that and the gentle smile the other graced him with, when he leaned back up.

"You don't have to worry. In the end the only one I enjoy playing with is you."