A steel-blue Lamborghini Veneno glided to a stop in front of Akira just as he walked out the college gates. There was the soft hiss of hydraulic pumping: the doors rotated open, revealing Ryo. He stepped out, swathed in white, and held out his arms.
Akira very nearly tripped over his own jaw in the haste to hug him. “Ryo, woah!” There were one or two gawkers, but by and large the outpour of college students from the gate had forked in two, giving them and Ryo’s car a respectfully wide berth. “You told me you’d come by before first period! How did you even know my classes had ended,” he said, the interrobang heavily implied.
Ryo gave him an amused look.
“Seriously?” Akira’s hand involuntarily reached for the pocket that held his GPS-enabled smartphone; he stopped himself. “You could have just downloaded my timetable from the university portal.”
“No, I don’t think I could have,” Ryo said serenely.
Akira sighed. Then, he stepped back and gave him a thorough inspection. “You’ve upgraded a little,” Akira said, brushing his fingers against the cream-white coat collar which hung like rich cake around Ryo’s neck.
“Hermès,” Ryo agreed, already sliding back into the Lamborghini whose engines were purring patiently. Akira felt a small pang of sadness, which he quickly tamped down. Sadness was selfish; he knew that, of course he did. It was just that he’d missed Ryo so much, and he wasn’t sure when he’d see him next. Probably on Youtube or something, announcing he’d found a cure for the common cold at a fancy international press conference. “Are you coming, or will you just prowl around my car like a stray?”
“Oh! Oh, you—yeah! Yeah, of course—” He hurried over to the passenger side and got in, smiling helplessly. Ryo leaned over and firmly buckled him in. He did not, Akira noticed, do the same for himself. The doors closed, shutting out the world with a dreamy exhale, and Ryo maneuvered the car onto the main road. “Where are we going?”
“A rave,” Ryo said, which was just about the unlikeliest answer he could’ve given. He took one hand off the wheel and picked out a lime-green flyer from the side of his seat. It was decorated all over with less-than-tasteful renderings of breasts and—Akira held the page to his nose—pills. Lots of pills.
“Um, Ryo? I’m not exactly sure I—”
“In your first month of college, have you slept through a single 8AM class? Have you eaten at an establishment outside of a 100 metre radius from your campus accommodation? Have you got drunk, or laid, or high?” The words came out emotionlessly, like the unvarying, unrelenting fire of a machine gun. Ryo hadn’t even taken his eyes off the road.
Darkly, Akira resolved to take a sledgehammer to his OnePlus and buy a Nokia, one of the neolithic boxes with Snake pre-installed. Let Ryo try his egregious violations of privacy with that.
“You see, don’t you?” he continued, the absolute tyrant. “It behooves me to take you to a rave.”
“It’s not like you ever had the college experience, child prodigy,” Akira muttered.
“Indeed,” Ryo said. “But while you began your pursuit of higher education, I sold two patents and bought myself an Italian sports car, and then I took it for a joyride along the scenic fjords of Iceland.” He did turn towards Akira, then, and smiled; there was something shark-like about it. “I don’t think anyone can accuse me of not having enough fun.”
They skimmed to a stop at a red-light. Ryo broke off in the middle of a gruesome story he’d been narrating: some Dr. Fikira, a distant colleague of his, had apparently died of Lyme disease while studying the lives of an uncontacted tribe deep in the heart of the Amazon forest—but not before going completely insane and killing three children. He twisted around, rummaging for something near the backseat, and emerged with a brown paper bag clasped in his hand.
“Eat,” he said, as the light turned orange, dumping it onto Akira’s lap. “You look malnourished.”
“Please,” Akira said, but began to decimate the still-warm anpan anyway. Once he was done, he let out a gusty exhale and fell back onto his seat, smiling in Ryo’s direction. Ryo glanced over, and something flickered in his expression. With a thumb and index finger, he reeled Akira in, chin-first. Akira made a garbled noise; then, with careful movements, Ryo brushed away the crumbs around Akira’s mouth and let him go, hand returning to the steering wheel.
A pool of saliva had collected at the back of Akira’s throat. He looked out the window, not daring to swallow. Ryo had really good peripheral vision—
“Oh my god!” Akira straightened. “Is that police car following us?” He craned his neck, trying to read the slate-sleek display on the dashboard. “Okay—okay, you’re driving within speed limit. Then why… is it your seatbelt? But no, how could they have even seen inside the car, the windows are tinted—” Akira paused. “Ryo. Ryo, this Lamborghini is street-legal in Japan, right?”
Ryo looked over at him as if he had just made a very interesting proposition. “Hm. Let’s not find out,” he suggested, before accelerating.
The girl dropped a tablet into his drink, and he watched it foam white as it dissolved. “Go on, drink it,” she said, laughing, and her breasts bounced with the action. There was glitter on her nipples; her nipples were glittering. Akira knew this for fact, seeing as she was naked. Utterly and totally naked, naked as the day she’d been born, unless the thong counted (which he was pretty sure it didn’t).
He stammered something and tore his eyes away from her chest, looking at Ryo for guidance of any sort. “Just drink it,” Ryo said, surveying the room with a dispassionate look.
They were in an abandoned church or cathedral: strobe lights flashed across a massive organism in the center of the room, a creature made of live, naked, writhing bodies. There was no music, only the steady pounding of a single bass beat, so all-consuming that Akira could feel his heartbeat synchronise with it. The sound of it reverberated, pulling everyone under, amplified by the high arches and the soaring ceiling.
Away from the dance floor, people were fucking to the rhythm of the beat. Akira’s eyes flitted, unable to stay fixed in one place for long out of embarrassment, but equally unable to resist looking in the first place. A woman, her face twisted in ecstasy so fierce it looked like parody: she was squeezing her own breasts and riding someone on one of the plush, velvet sofas that ran along the length of the entire room. A man was pistoning in and out of another woman’s mouth, head thrown back in rapture. Yet another woman not five feet away had her hand fisted in a dark-haired head bent forward between her legs. She made eye-contact with Akira and smiled lazily, the light glinting white off her teeth.
Through it all, holy angels watched from stained glass windows, dark and disapproving. Akira wanted to make his sincere apologies to them and go home. And sleep. Or vomit, or maybe jerk off to some nice, normal porn—
Panicking, Akira knocked back the drink, and shook his head when the girl offered him another.
She giggled again. “Oh, isn’t he adorable,” she told Ryo, what the hell, and walked away from them, her thong riding up her ass with every step.
“Ryo,” he said, and Ryo didn’t look. “Ryo,” he insisted, pulling his shoulder close, speaking into his ear. “I want to go home.”
“No one in this room you want to fuck?”
“What,” Akira said. He had never heard Ryo say the word ‘fuck’ before, and certainly not so crudely, and he wasn’t sure if he ever wanted to again. It was supremely uncomfortable; he’d sooner watch Ryo try on a beanie. “No, I don’t want to fuck anyone in this room! Can we go now?”
Ryo regarded him for a long moment. He shrugged off Akira’s hand from his shoulder and removed his coat, holding it out. Akira took it, confused. Then, without a single look backwards, Ryo strode onto dance floor in his white linen trousers and his white linen shirt.
Akira watched as Ryo walked up to a random man right by the edge of the crowd. He was bare-chested, dressed in ripped leather pants decorated with rhinestones, and currently engrossed in tonguing another reveler. Ryo cupped his neck and detached him from whoever he was kissing, deftly and without fuss, with the air of an expert handling a toilet plunger.
Akira then watched as Ryo began kissing this total stranger.
The stranger responded immediately—his hands travelled to Ryo’s ass, pulling him in, and Ryo wrapped his arms around the man’s back. Very deliberately, he caught Akira’s gaze and held it: the action traveled like cold shock through Akira’s body. The only person he’d known Ryo to have ever kissed was him; chaste and purposeless kisses, back when they were children. There was nothing chaste or purposeless about this. He saw Ryo’s tongue laving all over the man’s mouth and disappear inside, cheeks hollowing, back arching, hips grinding: steadily, steadily, the cold shock retreated, leaving burning in its wake.
And then it was over, as suddenly as it had started. Ryo let go of the man and walked towards Akira, spit-slick lips shining under the roving lights. Akira’s knee wobbled out of nowhere and he took a dazed step back as Ryo got right in his face and put a hand over Akira’s erection: his erection? Oh, he had an erection—
“No one in this room you want to fuck?” Ryo repeated into his ear, breathing slightly exerted.
Akira responded with some trenchant analysis along the lines of “Nnngh?” and then Ryo was reaching into his jeans, treating Akira’s dick as a gearshift and maneuvering him backwards. They fell onto the sofa, and Ryo climbed on top of him. He took his hand off Akira’s dick to lick it from palm heel to the tip of his middle finger, slowly, obscenely, and then he was unzipping Akira’s jeans and working him, thumb rubbing hard along the wet slit of Akira’s glans. Five seconds had passed, maybe, probably, and already Akira’s toes were beginning to curl. He looked up at Ryo, who was now crouched over him with a pinched look of concentration on his face.
“Come on, Akira,” he said. “Come on. Just let go, let it all go. Let go for me—” and Akira convulsed, a strangled, animal sound ripping out from his throat.
When his brain had come back online, he blinked: Ryo was straddling his hips and unconcernedly wiping Akira’s spunk from his hand onto the sofa seat.
“I’ll take you home now,” he informed him, and then stepped off, picking up his coat. He made as if to leave; then, as an afterthought, leaned over Akira and perfunctorily tucked his dick back into his boxer shorts, zipping him up. Akira lay there and allowed him to, feeling boneless and lost.
“Up,” Ryo said once he was done. Then: “Come on, Akira,” and Akira fell off the sofa.
“Yes! Um, yes,” he said, getting up. “I’m coming—” and then immediately flinched because wow, who needed enemies when you were your own saboteur, but Ryo had already turned, walking away without waiting to see if Akira followed.
“You can drop me off here,” Akira said in a small voice, pressing down on the buckle button. His seat belt shot back inside. They hadn’t really spoken to each other throughout the entire car ride, except once, when Ryo told him he was going to turn on the radio news. Akira had nodded, eyes trained on the windshield, and endured seven reruns of the same jingle for a local laundry detergent brand.
The car idled to a stop by the curb.
“When are you—are you flying back to San Jose tonight?” he asked suddenly, feeling he might die if he didn’t ask at all.
“I’m not.” Akira’s head snapped up. Ryo continued, sounding bored, “I’ve been hired as a consultant here in Tokyo while they set up the city’s new desalination plant. It’ll keep me occupied for the better part of a year, I estimate—” And something pinged in Akira’s lizard brain: he wasn’t sure how to describe what happened next, but he was pretty sure he sprung onto Ryo’s lap, like some sort of frog, and then he was just kissing Ryo, one open-mouthed, sloppy kiss after another, his dick already half-hard and nudging against Ryo’s crotch, both hands braced against the seat headrest for balance.
Akira pulled away to catch his breath after a minute or so of these proceedings, and asked: “So you’ll meet me tomorrow?”
“I—” Ryo had a strange look on his face. He briefly closed his eyes as Akira adjusted himself, involuntarily rubbing against Ryo’s crotch again: Ryo was half-hard too, he realised. “Certainly,” he said, as if in surrender.
“Awesome,” Akira said, and leaned in to kiss Ryo’s tiny, perfect mouth some more, but Ryo tilted his chin away. Akira paused.
“You have an 8AM class tomorrow.”
“I don’t care.”
“You will at 7:30,” he said, which, unfortunately, had the ring of truth to it. The doors hissed open. Akira climbed off Ryo’s lap and stepped onto the pavement, ignoring all the pitiful complaints his dick was sending up his brainstem. The doors rotated shut again, and then the black glass window slid down.
Ryo smiled: for all the blond hair and the baby blue eyes and the white wrapped around him, it was uncanny how devilish he looked. “Good night, Akira,” he said. The window rolled up, and the car sped off into the night.
Ryo opened the door wide, a laptop tucked under his armpit. “Shoes in the shoe rack.” He pointed, then left Akira and his totally not expectantly-pursed lips hanging on the threshold. Akira stepped in, dutifully toed off his shoes into one of the shelves, and wondered how best to initiate hand-on-dick contact again.
Last night had been a revelation. He had jerked off on reaching home, fallen asleep exhausted, dreamed of Ryo in rhinestone-studded briefs, woken up rock-hard in the middle of the night and jerked off again, and then jerked off in the morning too, for posterity. The Bio Lab was right across the corridor from his usual lecture hall, and Akira wanted to avoid his dick having a primal reaction to any students in white lab coats to whatever extent possible.
He wasn’t sure if he had ever felt this intensely and constantly overstimulated in his life. When was the last time he’d orgasmed four times in the space of 24 hours? Ryo Asuka had awoken a weird, horny beast inside of him, and didn’t even have the courtesy to kiss him hello! Not that he’d even been expecting a kiss, no way, he wasn’t a girl. But Ryo had just claimed Akira’s virginity without so much as a by your leave, and frankly, a greeting kiss was the least he could do.
Akira was so deep in despairing over what a terrible mistake all of this had been that he’d entered the living room without noticing, and slowly, he came to a stand-still. The apartment was palatial, all sleek surfaces and gunmetal colours. The walls were solid glass, allowing the sun to stream in like a spotlight, and—
“You have a pool in your balcony!” Akira yelled, momentarily forgetting all his many quarrels with Ryo.
Ryo looked up from where he was sitting cross-legged on an L-shaped black suede sofa, the MacBook balanced on his lap. “—Yes?” he said, in a tone which suggested he knew this didn’t bode well for him.
An hour later, Akira toweled off in the living room, several doubts having been confirmed. While he was still taller than Ryo, he wasn’t as well-defined: self-consciously, he poked at the soft fat below his navel. Was it time to start visiting the gym in earnest?
Ryo, meanwhile, had climbed out of pool and gone straight for the MacBook again. He was dripping all over the sofa, his wet briefs clinging to—to everywhere.
“You’ll catch a cold,” Akira said, muttering the “idiot,” under his breath, and threw Ryo a towel.
Ryo caught it one-handed without looking up, and then just slung it over his head, still continuing to type.
“Are you even a human being?” Akira said. He sat down next to Ryo and began to towel his hair. “Don’t answer that.” Firmly but gently, he rubbed the towel all over Ryo’s head: his dumb, overclocked, genius head. When he took the towel off, Ryo blinked at him owlishly. His hair had completely fluffed up, adding at least half a head to his frame.
“You get all this flattened into a fringe?” Akira asked, threading his fingers through Ryo’s hair and smiling. Ryo shrugged. Akira smiled some more, swallowed, and then leaned in—but Ryo was already reaching for his MacBook. A bottle of carbonated resentment uncorked in Akira’s chest; he stood up, fists clenched by his side.
“What is wrong with you?” and Ryo startled. “Why even agree to me coming over? Did it behoove you to give me a handjob as well?”
“Was I just a, a, a pity fuck?”
“Have you known me to enter pity into my decision-making calculus, ever?” and Akira spluttered, because what kind of a response was that?
“Well, why the hell not! Pity is sympathy, it’s basically compassion, what’s wrong with feeling a little compassion!”
“I don’t understand. I thought you didn’t want to be ‘just a pity fuck’—”
“I don’t,” Akira screamed, eyes beginning to well up with hot tears. “I want to be your best friend! And I want you to have sex with me before I lose my mind!” He fell silent, chest heaving.
Ryo stared at him. Then: “Akira. Believe me, if you had said this upon entering my residence, we would have fucked,” he glanced at the wall clock showing digital time across five different time zones, “seventy-five minutes ago. Twice.” Without another word, he stripped off his briefs. They landed with a squelch sound somewhere to the side. Then, Ryo walked up to Akira and went down on his haunches, yanking Akira’s boxers to his ankles in the process.
“Akira,” Ryo said quietly, looking up. Mutely, Akira stepped out of his boxers, and Ryo flung those to the side too.
Akira knew the basic fundamentals of Ryo’s dick: medium-sized, needed to be dressed to the left. They’d known each other since they were six years old; it would’ve been weird if he didn’t. But basic fundamentals was all that was. Ryo’s dick, his real naked dick, was pale and surrounded by a soft, cotton-like bunching of blond hair, topped off by a glans so vividly pink that it looked out of place.
Ryo settled on the sofa, languidly spreading his legs. “Perhaps some lubricant,” he mused, and turned his head in the direction of the kitchen. “There’s olive oil by the spice rack,” and Akira fetched the container, blood thundering in his ears.
Liberally, Ryo applied some to his fingers, and then reached between his own legs, what. Akira was staggered. He had thought—it had seemed natural that he would be the one—because he didn’t know anything about this—it just seemed like a huge responsibility—
“Come here,” Ryo said. Akira sat down heavily onto the sofa, and then Ryo’s warm, slick fingers—slick from—from—was giving Akira’s dick one pull, then two. With his other hand, he passed Akira the container: “I can’t do all the work,” he said arrogantly, and that snapped Akira out of his stupor. He snatched the olive oil from Ryo, annoyed, and began working his own dick. A minute passed, and just as he was getting lost in the sensation of the oil, he looked over at Ryo. This was a mistake.
Ryo had spread his legs even wider and inched down the sofa until his back was flat on the cushion, one leg dangling off the sofa entirely and the other bent to the side like an insect appendage. Three fingers were stroking in and out of his—his hole, now impossibly large, and with his other hand Ryo was intermittently stroking himself, dickhead disappearing and reappearing out of his fist. It seemed to Akira like a rose, budding and flowering in endless time-lapse. His head was propped up against an armrest and his hair was a mess. He was watching Akira intently.
Akira felt a fierce blush flood his cheeks. “Um. Don’t we—don’t I need to wear a condom?”
“You’re clean,” Ryo said, arching slightly: he exhaled, then took his fingers out completely. “I had your blood sample tested a while back.”
“You did what—” but with a single, fluid movement Ryo had surged up, tipping forward and forcing his tongue past Akira’s lips. Oil-sticky thumbs pressed circles into Akira’s nipples. He moaned, everything but the dizzying heat of Ryo’s mouth irrelevant. Now he was sucking on Ryo’s tongue, sucking on it like it was a Suika bar and he was ten years old in the middle of some unbearable summer, melted ice pop dribbling past his chin while Ryo skipped rocks across a pond, so smartly, so elegantly—
Ryo’s hands travelled downwards, one hand gripping Akira’s hip bone and the other taking over Akira’s dick, pulling him forward with authority as he fell back on the sofa. Akira collapsed on top of him. Afraid he was crushing Ryo, he scrambled for leverage. Ryo didn’t seem to think very highly of this idea; he arrested Akira’s arm and shifted, panting against his ear. Spreading his legs, he guided Akira’s dick with a firm hand, and god, oh god, if Akira had thought the heat of Ryo’s mouth was dizzying, it was nothing, nothing compared to this—
Akira drove in, and Ryo let out a low, shattered groan which stunned him. Sweet, tight pressure had closed around his dick, and through sheer will power alone, Akira managed to lift himself an inch and brace himself using his forearms. Ryo let out another drawn-out, aching sound, and then Akira was driving in again, and again, and again, the sound of flesh slapping against flesh filling the room. Ryo grabbed Akira’s ass and spread his legs wider, seeming to urge Akira deeper; or maybe he was just groping his butt, who knew. Akira put his back into it and snapped his hips, abdomen muscles clenching with the effort, and god, fine, it was time to start visiting the gym in earnest. He bent, catching Ryo’s mouth, and they kissed formlessly: an exchange of spit more than anything. When Akira pulled away, a string of saliva fell across Ryo’s chin. He looked into Akira’s face, his mouth slack from pleasure.
“Akira,” Ryo said, “Akira, Akira,” and then shuddered, his face contorting, warm spurts of cum splattering onto Akira’s belly and chest. Akira stopped moving, breathing raggedly and feeling a sense of wonder. Ryo squeezed his ass. “Go on,” he said, and moved along Akira’s dick, biting his lip: the flesh bloomed pink around his teeth. “Go on,” he repeated, and Akira pushed in, then pulled out, and Ryo was spasming, his mouth falling open in a tiny, rose-pink O. “Akira,” he breathed again, and Akira came hard, his chest cleaving in two and folding in on itself.
“Thank you,” Ryo said, as Akira passed him the hand towel he’d soaked and wrung over the kitchen sink. “There’s more in the cupboard, get one for yourself,” he said, and wiped his ass. Then, for good measure, he got up from the sofa and wiped down the place where he’d been sitting. And, you know, leaking Akira’s cum out of his asshole.
Akira walked over to the kitchen and put another towel under the tap, looking down at his body. He turned the tap off, rinsing the cloth. Then, feeling curious, he scooped a little of Ryo’s cum from where it was flecked around his navel with the tip of an index finger. He stared at it for a moment, before quickly closing his mouth around the finger: immediately, he grimaced. It was still warm, but congealed and salty and weird. Well, better the devil you know. He supposed he would eventually blow Ryo, or that’s where he saw the trajectory of their relationship (relationship?) logically heading, and at least now he knew definitely not to swallow.
He shook out the towel, scrubbing his chest, then his stomach, then his dick. When he turned, Ryo was leaning against the doorjamb, observing him with great interest.
Akira flushed, forcing his face into an expression of nonchalance. Relax, relax. Ryo probably hadn’t even seen—
“Are you really that hungry? We could order takeout.”
“Oh shut up,” Akira said, miserable. “I just wanted to know what it tasted like, okay?”
Ryo gave him a light smile. “Ah, an enquiring mind. I respect that.” Akira huffed, and then stomped over to Ryo, cupping him by the neck and kissing him hard. He bit down on Ryo’s bottom lip before easing open his mouth, and sucked on his tongue again: this was fast becoming his favoured tactic. Ryo slumped against him, melting, and Akira sucked, harder, before progressing back into deep, exploratory kisses. When he broke off, they were both breathing hard, and the smile had been quite thoroughly wiped off of Ryo’s face.
Akira felt more than a little smug at his new-found powers. Grinning, he shouldered past Ryo out of the kitchen.
It was only once he was lying in bed that night listening to the soft snores of his roommate that he remembered: a blood sample? He was going to kill Ryo.
“So, you’re saying you would’ve preferred fucking me with a condom on?”
“Well—no, I’m not saying that, that’s beside the point—” but Ryo was leaning back against the sofa as if he had already won the argument.
Akira put his head in his hands, despairing. “Ryo,” he moaned. “I asked you to proofread my essay.”
Ryo continued typing with one hand, and reached for a grape from the bowl with the other. “I believe I did,” he said, popping one into his mouth and chewing.
“You believe—” Akira paused, and inhaled deeply. “You didn’t proofread this, Ryo! You practically rewrote it!”
“Hm. It must have been an accident.”
“You changed my thesis, added two new arguments and then organised my citations into Harvard reference style accidentally?”
“The curse of genius,” Ryo murmured. Akira threw a grape at his head.
Akira stared as Ryo rummaged through a closet filled with a thousand identical, cream-white Hermès coats.
“What do I wear, what do I wear,” Ryo said to himself softly, pushing hangers aside, and Akira had to be in an absurdist comedy: he had to be, right?
“They’re all the same,” he said, finally.
Ryo sighed. “Akira,” he said. “Don’t take this the wrong way. You don’t know anything about clothes.”
“Hnngh,” Akira said, closing his eyes, the glass wall pressed cold and suction-tight against his naked back. Ryo dipped lower with his mouth, teasing around his dick with his tongue, and then suddenly his balls were in Ryo’s mouth, being lapped at, and Akira would very much like to die right away, please—
“Oh,” Ryo said, pulling off, his chin shining with spit. He rubbed his hand along Akira’s tightened abdomen, assessing, and then looked up. “You’ve been—”
Akira squirmed. “Yeah.”
“But—” Ryo paused, a furrow appearing between his eyebrows.
“It’s not rocket science, Ryo, okay! Though, bad analogy, you’re probably good at rocket science.” The furrow deepened. “I leave my phone in our room and only carry my wallet whenever I go to the gym.”
“You don’t want me knowing you go to the gym?”
“It’s embarrassing,” Akira confessed, blood beginning to rush away from his dick and to his face. “I just. I want to be better at—you know, that. For you.”
Ryo stared. Then: “That’s not embarrassing. By any contemporary measure, it's touching,” and Akira turned around to bang his forehead against the glass.
They were sitting side by side with their thighs pressed flush against each other as Leonardo di Caprio backed into an elevator, Marion Cotillard charging at him. Akira snuck a look at Ryo: he seemed immersed, even though Akira knew he was watching the movie for the seventh, maybe eighth time. Akira watched the tiny movements of Ryo’s face: the corner of his mouth turning down, barely perceptible; a slight flaring of the nostrils; blue eyes blinking once, twice, then glancing sideways to catch Akira’s own.
Akira pressed pause on instinct, and blurted: “Don’t you. Don’t you ever want to, you know,” he brought his voice down to a whisper, knowing he’d chicken out if he decided to put this off for another time, “fuck me?”
Ryo, to his credit, didn’t seem incredulous or grossed out or fazed at all. He merely turned more fully towards Akira and tilted his head, giving the question its due consideration.
“It just. It seems selfish of me, that only I—you know,” Akira continued, wringing his hands in his lap.
“No,” Ryo said after a moment. “No,” he then repeated, as if confirming it with himself again. “I wouldn’t be so acquiescent if another preference weighed over it. I like the way we fuck.” He took the remote from Akira, and hit play.
Akira floated with arms outstretched, face upturned to the last of the evening sun’s rosy rays. He felt nothing so much like a blissed-out starfish. It was hot outside, but the pool had been set to a toasty 38°C. This was its permanent setting now that Ryo had ceded all control over the matter to Akira. Come to think of it, Ryo had effectively ceded control over his entire flat to Akira ever since the spare key incident, which was how Akira got inside on days like this one, when Ryo wasn’t around. Not that Akira couldn’t have gone back to his own flat. Only, he wasn’t sure there was a suitable explanation for three months of unannounced disappearance to his roommate. I’m not dead! I just sort of found a sugar daddy who is also my close childhood friend, and now we’re having sex on the regular. That could work. Wamu listened to a lot of Fleetwood Mac; he’d get it.
The shorter explanation was that they were both in love, which was just fact, and you didn’t need to listen to Fleetwood Mac to get that. There was an autumn a couple years ago, when Akira had visited the shrines in Shibuya and walked for hours under tree-shaded paths. He’d come home and taken off his coat, only to find that tiny chestnut burrs had latched all over the wool. They were determined little things, impossible to take out without resigning yourself to a lot of loose thread. And there were so many of them: how had Akira not noticed? It was a little like that now, except the burrs had latched onto his heart; and they were all Ryo-shaped, with the bowl-cut and the imperious look and everything.
Akira’s feet bumped against the pool wall: he pushed off the edge with his toes, drifting into a different trajectory. He loved that the day after he had de-facto moved into Ryo’s place, he’d found the kitchen shelves restocked with ten different cereal and muesli brands. He loved that they had a schedule: wake, eat, have sex, go to work/college, eat, then watch a movie or have sex again. The having-sex-again thing usually won out, since Akira’s dick was capable of making a persuasive case. But when they did watch movies, Akira loved when Ryo fell asleep curled around his body, with a confidence of territory rarely seen outside of cats.
He took a deep breath and, on impulse, turned over. Water enveloped his face, flooding his ears as he adjusted his limbs into a dead-man’s float. He hadn’t done this since, what, middle school? In the community swimming pool? It was so relaxing.
Akira remembered once nudging Ryo awake as the credits were rolling, telling him to come to bed. Then carry me, Ryo had said, looking up at Akira with a sleepy, unguarded smile that derailed any conflicting plans Akira may have had, ensuring that he did, in fact, carry Ryo to bed (which was fine, because Akira could now bench 180lb). In short, it was going like a dream. Which is why he’d been perfectly ready for the other shoe to drop: except when it did, they were a pair of blue canvas Gucci loafers. Ryo had insisted he couldn’t, in good conscience, allow Akira to go out to dinner with him in Nikes.
Akira felt the water shift, felt his body bob up and down as his lungs began the first protests for oxygen.
He’d have to wait a while longer to verbalise these revelations, though, because Ryo still got a look on his face at the oddest of times; like when Akira pulled off in the middle of sucking his dick to press a soft kiss to the inside of his thigh, or passed him more soy sauce for his teriyaki chicken without Ryo even asking. It was a disconcerted, what am I doing? look, and it seemed important that Ryo realised it on his own without Akira telling him: it’s okay, you’ve fallen in love with me—
A hand gripped his ankle, and then a shoulder was heaving at his chest: Akira’s head broke the surface, spluttering, his arms flailing, as Ryo pushed him up with almost unimaginable strength. He flopped onto the tiled poolside and sat up, gulping air, as Ryo levered himself out of the water.
“Oh my god, what is wrong with y—” Akira began, half-laughing, and then broke off when he saw Ryo’s face. “Ryo,” he then said, flabbergasted. Ryo stood up, drenched, rivulets of water winding down his body. “Ryo, I—I’m fine. I’m absolutely fine. I was just floating.”
Ryo’s face turned blank, realising what he had been giving away. Then: “Yes, I see,” he said. Akira clumsily got to his feet as Ryo walked away. He slid open the glass door.
“I’m sorry,” Akira said, and Ryo stilled, one hand on the glass. “I didn’t mean to, to scare you, or—”
Ryo turned around abruptly. “Fuck me,” he said, and then he was spitting into his palm, pulling Akira’s shorts down and stroking his dick.
Akira stumbled forward in surprise, and Ryo backed up against the glass, stroking him with one hand and easing off his own clinging, still-wet linen pants with the other. “Here, in the open?” Akira asked, uncertain. They were at the penthouse level on one of Tokyo’s tallest residential high-rises, so maybe it didn’t matter, but it was weird. They didn’t really do this kind of thing—
“Why, don’t you want to fuck me?” Ryo asked, in a tone heavy with sarcasm.
Akira’s dick quickly joined the situation as an interested party, even as Akira experienced a deep, alienating dislike for Ryo’s tone. He wanted to shoot back, get a grip, but somehow what ended up coming out of his mouth was: “Of course I want to fuck you. I always want to fuck you.” It sounded, he knew, lost and pathetic and frighteningly sincere.
Ryo froze for a beat: then, he was turning around, pants falling to his ankles. He spat on his fingers some more, before reaching behind, between his ass. His back arched: “Do it,” he said, through gritted teeth.
“You haven’t—you need to prepare yourself more, or it’s going to hurt. Ryo, just let me help—hhhaa,” and he gasped as Ryo impaled himself on Akira’s dick in one go, right down to the balls. “Ryo,” he said, almost certain Ryo was in pain, wishing they could do this in bed while looking into each other’s face and not like this, except this was what Ryo seemed to need—
Ryo whined. “Fuck me,” he repeated, breathing heavily, and began moving on Akira’s dick, head bent against a forearm he had braced on the glass wall. Akira held his hips, fucking him in short, stuttering movements. Tears made their way down his face, collecting at his chin, and he stared as the linen shifted with the tense muscles of Ryo’s back. Akira came silently a few thrusts later. He scrubbed his cheeks with the back of his hand. Ryo stopped moving. Slowly, he lifted a leg and hopped off Akira’s dick. When he turned around, Akira could see he was completely flaccid, but there was no cum splatter anywhere on the glass, or on his thighs, which meant—
Akira went on his knees, now nearing desperation. “Ryo, please, let me,” he said, reaching for Ryo’s dick, but Ryo shifted away, pulling his pants up.
“It’s fine,” he said, tonelessly. “There’s no need. It’s been a long day, and unfortunately I’ve brought a lot of work home.” He stepped into the living room. “I’ll be in the study. Feel free to order dinner and do whatever you’d like in the bedroom or living room.”
Akira remained kneeling, uncomprehending. He’d told Ryo, told him he’d only been floating: he wasn't dead, he was alive and warm and here. “Oh, and Akira,” Ryo said, turning slightly so Akira could see only a shadowed sliver of his profile. “Don’t stay up for me.”
Akira woke early the next day to an empty bed and—he learnt, as he padded quietly around the rooms wrapped in a quilt—an empty apartment.
He ate half his bowl of cereal and dumped the rest, without even the wherewithal to feel guilty for wasting food. The day’s lectures went crawling by, indistinguishable from one another. Akira stared unseeingly at his notebook, the nib of his pen pressed hard to paper, leaking ink into a black, ever-widening blot. If he thought long and hard enough, he could probably make the ink blot into a metaphor. That’s what you did when you felt stupid and angry and lovelorn: you made metaphors out of things. For instance, the leaf trembling against the window, detaching its petiole from stem and spiraling downwards to earth, that was a metaphor for Akira shaking some sense into Ryo before drop-kicking him to the ground. Then maybe giving him a swift, hard kiss. Followed by some more shaking and such.
“—discounting terrorists organisations and countries like North Korea, so called “irrational actors”, even states engage, from time to time, in disproportionate responses—Mr. Fudo? Are you with us?”
Akira’s head jerked up: “Yes?”
“Why might an actor, otherwise rational, engage in a disproportionate response?”
Someone coughed; there was the sound of a chair scraping the floor. “Uh. I’m not sure, ma’am.”
“And if you’re not sure, then what should you do?” Akira looked at his professor blankly. “Ask, Mr. Fudo! You ask.” Akira went back to staring at his blot, which, he had decided, was a cold and dark abyss where unloved things went to die.
The door opened a crack, and Wamu eyed him like he might be a zombie, or perhaps a home appliance salesman. Then, flinging it open in recognition: “Fuck, dude!” he said, in what Akira felt was unjustified reproach, before hurrying back inside to their cramped living room and picking up all the beer bottles, magazines, pizza cartons, boxers, socks, more pizza cartons, lace underwear—Akira veered away from the limp condom lying near their speakers.
“Dude,” he agreed. Wamu was now fighting a losing battle with the finite physical volume of their trash can. “The bottles go in recycling,” Akira pointed out, feeling little inclination to help.
“I’ve missed this. I’ve missed our little fucking talks,” Wamu said, but then he undercut all that by affectionately lobbing a perspiring can of Pepsi at him.
Akira caught it against his chest, ouch, and popped it open. “Thanks,” he said. His phone buzzed in his pocket, and Wamu waved a hand as if Akira’s gratitude was beneath him.
“So where the fuck have you been, you look beefed up—” Wamu began, as Akira took out his phone and glanced at the Google alert notification, before putting his Pepsi down on the couch. He clicked on the link and read the article in full, disbelief mounting. Wamu was still talking—something related to kush?—and when he reached the end of the page, there was an embedded Youtube video of Ryo at what looked like, well, a fancy international press conference.
He switched apps to Messenger, checking the last message he’d sent: Hey Ryo! Good morning!! Couldn’t catch you at breakfast, but hope work is going well <3 Let me know when you’ll be getting back? There was still no response, though Ryo had been active a few minutes ago. He sent another message: Hey, I’m coming over, and pocketed the phone.
“—and then he was like, I didn’t know you could flush a whole joint down a toilet without clogging it, and I was like, this bowl has flushed raw shits the circumference of my fist, you stupid motherfucker, and he was like, oh but don’t they tell ladies not to flush down tampons, and I was like, literally losing my mind—” Wamu broke off, dismayed. “Dude, you’re leaving already?”
“I’m leaving,” Akira confirmed, managing a smile, heart pounding fast and going for the door.
“Are you coming back?”
“I don’t know!”
“Fickle-minded fucker,” Wamu said, then stood up and looked around the newly-habitable room. He sighed. “And I hadn’t even planned on getting laid tonight, shit.”
“Akira, think logically: how would I orchestrate being replaced as lead consultant, within a day’s span,” Ryo said, folding his briefs with slow, maddening precision and tucking them to the side of his suitcase, “because we just happened to have one round of bad sex? Such a maneuver would take time and strategy, and I’m prescient, yes, but there are limits. Besides, you have an otherwise perfect record of satisfying me to completion.” He gave Akira a thin smile from across the lavish, king-sized bed, and then began to arrange several, shiny pairs of brogues on the coverlet. “It’s not something I would leave the country over.”
Akira walked along the perimeter of the bed, approaching him with his hands jammed into his pockets. These were all measured and well-reasoned arguments, sure, except they were bullshit and overall just really, really bad lies, because Ryo was packing his suitcase and flying 5000 miles away, all the while pretending that Akira hadn’t seen his face after he’d shoved him out of the pool, so. Close, but no cigar, Ryo Asuka.
“Of course, it’s terrible that I have to leave right in the middle of our,” Ryo paused, “convenient arrangement,” he said, and Akira had to fight the bubbling hysteria rising up his throat: he was either going to giggle, or scream. “But we’ll keep in touch. We always do.” He tightened the drawstrings on one of the flannel shoe-bags, carefully positioning it atop a crisply folded pile of white linen shirts.
“I understand completely, Ryo,” Akira said. The shoe-bag stumbled off the pile, falling to the floor.
Ryo bent to pick it up; then, straightening and looking the very image of a prescient man: “Well, then. That’s—good, very good. I’m glad we see eye to eye.”
“Me too. Can I, uh, hug you goodbye, at least?” and Ryo stood there, his claw-like grip tightening on the shoe-bag, before abruptly throwing it onto the bed and holding open his arms. Akira stepped forward, and felt one of Ryo’s hand settle on the back of his head, the other firm on his nape. His arms twined around Ryo’s waist, and he pressed his nose into Ryo’s neck, breathing deeply. A hint of sweat and orange blossom, here, in this wrinkled pinch of skin. It smelled nice.
Akira’s tongue darted out, and he licked a stripe from Ryo’s neck to his jaw.
Ryo shivered, beginning to pull away, but Akira held on tight. “I love you,” he said quietly, into Ryo’s ear, and Ryo stilled. “I think I’ve loved you from the start.”
“I love you so much that I get restless just thinking about you—I think it’s because you live under my skin—” and Ryo was forcing his head up, two hands on either side of Akira’s face.
“You think I don’t know?” he sneered. “You think you’re subtle? I know, I know that you love me—” and Akira, without breaking gaze, turned into Ryo’s hand and pressed a soft, deliberate kiss to his palm. Ryo trailed off, anger draining his face and leaving it slack. Then, he was going limp, practically puddling into Akira’s arms.
“Akira,” Ryo breathed, trying to unbuckle Akira’s jeans while staring at his mouth, a flush staining his cheeks. Akira stopped his fumbling attempts, and gathered him to his chest.
“What happened at the pool, Ryo?” and like the ancient Greek myths of wily river gods who would change many forms, transforming into sea-lions or serpents or even running water just to slip out of the grasp of questioning kings, Ryo went rigid again. He looked almost feral with rage now, eyes bright and slitted narrow—then he kicked Akira’s shin, again, and again, violently shoving at his chest.
Akira steeled himself and held Ryo through it all. His balls were right there for the kneeing, but Ryo mustn’t have been trying very seriously, because he never aimed for them. “I’m asking you, Ryo. Please. You can tell me. I love you.” And stating so was a spell, because Ryo took a broken breath and looked away.
“I know you love me,” he said, and then, savagely, “I didn’t know I loved you.”
Akira's chest seized, even though he’d known. God, this stupid, self-loathing boy. “Are you happy?” Ryo bit out, before noticing the state Akira was in. “Oh,” he frowned. “I didn’t mean—don’t cry,” and Akira laughed wetly, lifting him like a bride and carrying him over to the bed.
“You’re crying too,” he informed Ryo, laying him out over the duvet like dry-cleaning, then crawling on top of him.
“Actually, I’m quite patently not crying,” he said, and Akira leaned down, kissing Ryo to shut him up.
“You know what I mean.”
“I don’t,” and Ryo struggled a little before sitting up, pushing Akira’s face off his and holding it still. With his other hand, he pulled his shirt sleeve over the heel of his palm and, with a burning intensity that he was probably entirely clueless about, began wiping away the moisture from Akira’s cheeks and near his philtrum.
“There,” Ryo said, once he was done. “Now kiss me,” he commanded. When Akira didn’t respond, Ryo swiped his tongue across Akira’s bottom lip in luxurious fashion, before pulling on it with his teeth. The effect was about equivalent to being slapped in the face, open-handed. Akira gasped, rolling Ryo back into the mattress and roughly divesting the both of them of their clothes.
“Drawer, lube,” Ryo said, turning onto his stomach and pushing his ass up into the air. The view made Akira’s dick do a double-take. Akira paused, considering. He then spread Ryo’s ass cheeks with his hands, and, deciding there was no possible way to do this with delicacy, buried his face in between and went to town on Ryo’s asshole. “What the—” Ryo gasped, collapsing, and Akira slid down with him, fully committing to what he had begun. There was a series of incoherent sounds, which devolved into heavy breathing, and eventually, silence. Akira lifted his head, concerned.
“If you think I’m going to kiss your mouth after this,” Ryo said, sounding faint, and Akira grinned, turning him on his back.
“Okay, uh—I’m going to—” and Ryo nodded, almost fatalistically. Akira positioned his dickhead near Ryo’s entrance, now dripping, gaping wide, and pushed in with a single stroke: Ryo arched, and started stroking his own dick.
“No,” Akira said, stilling his hand, and began pounding into Ryo’s ass in steady rhythm. Ryo opened his mouth in a soundless cry, blindly throwing out his hand for support, piles of clothes and shoes going clattering to the floor. He pulled Akira’s head down and kissed him, having apparently forgotten his edict of three seconds ago.
They kissed, long and deep, every slam of Akira’s pelvis against Ryo’s ass interrupting their efforts like a speed-bump. Which was fine, because every slam of Akira’s pelvis against Ryo’s ass was a new ladle of hot, liquid pleasure spooned directly into Akira’s dick. Kissing was soon given up as a lost cause, and Akira flicked the sweat out of his eyes to watch Ryo’s face grow increasingly dumbstruck. He was gazing at Akira as if Akira might just be Superman; as if he’d been free-falling from grace and Akira had swept in at the last minute to catch him.
“You love me,” Akira said, not quite over the thrill of it yet, not quite sure he ever would be: he could feel the familiar tightening from his toes to his abdomen, and his thrusts were starting to become erratic.
“Don’t,” Ryo panted, “brag,” he said, and then screwed his eyes shut, shuddering. Akira felt the sweet contraction of Ryo’s ass around his dick and groaned, coming at almost the exact same moment and rounding off the entire affair into a neat, one-two punch.
When Akira opened his eyes, it was to a naked Ryo looming above the bed with his arms crossed over his chest.
“Well?” Ryo asked, haughtily. Akira gave him a confused look, then rolled onto his stomach, breathless with laughter when Ryo continued, “Are you going to help me unpack or what?”