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from the lips to the tongue

Chapter Text

Izumi’s beauty isn’t an effortless thing. An endless amount of time and energy is put into polishing his appearance, into making him the best “Sena Izumi” he can be. The moments he’s spending now — standing at his mirror at some ungodly hour, small vial in hand — are only proof of that. He stares at his reflection with an immeasurable focus, so absorbed in his skincare routine that he remains oblivious to Ritsu watching. And oh, does Ritsu watch; he leans against the doorframe, half-lidded gaze never leaving Izumi despite sleep sitting crusty and heavy on his eyelids.

Izumi tips the vial, letting a small drop of something collect onto his finger before applying that same glob to his face with careful, practiced movements. Does the application have to be so precise, Ritsu wonders, or is this just yet another display of Izumi’s typical perfectionism? A small, sleepy smile curls his lips at the thought.

He watches Izumi continue to carry out his routine without speaking, without moving. It’s not an entirely interesting process, seeing Izumi shuffle through an assortment of creams and oils, but — this is nice. Just being here, in Izumi’s space and company, is nice.

Ritsu could be more in Izumi’s space, though. He pushes himself from the doorframe, slinking across the bathroom’s cold tiles and towards the other. Izumi doesn’t so much as glance his way, eyes narrowed at one bottle in particular, and that makes Ritsu’s approach all the sweeter. The mirror catches Ritsu’s reflection, and similarly, Izumi seems to catch the flicker of movement. His eyes flare a little wider, lips barely parting, but he doesn’t have the opportunity to say anything before Ritsu’s already draping himself over Izumi’s back.

Nestling his nose against Izumi’s neck, Ritsu presses a lazy kiss to his shoulder. “Secchan’s a horrible host,” he mutters, nuzzling ever closer. Izumi’s free hand drops from the counter to hold one of Ritsu’s own. “You forgot all about me...”

“I didn’t.” Despite his easy retort, Izumi sounds embarrassed. “I just figured you’d be a corpse for a few more hours.”

“Mmm, nope. It’s hard to sleep when my favourite pillow leaves me,” Ritsu says. The jet-lag makes things difficult, too, but Ritsu feels that Izumi is already quite aware of that. He stretches his mouth open; half-yawning, half-pretending to mouth at Izumi’s skin. “I think you owe me a sip for being so neglectful.”

Izumi pinches Ritsu’s hand. “Don’t be difficult,” he says, as if Ritsu is ever anything but. Ritsu doesn’t bother replying, drinking in the clean, soothing smell of Izumi’s cream-covered cheeks. “You know I have a strict schedule... And can’t you see that I’m in the middle of something? Just step back for a sec.”

“Ehhh....”

“Just for a second.”

Begrudgingly, Ritsu lets his arms slide from Izumi’s waist and does as told. He wasn’t cold before snuggling up to Izumi, but now he finds himself chilled by the space between them. A pout draws his lips downward as Izumi reaches forward pluck yet another cream from the counter. “Secchaaaan...”

“Stop whining.”

Ritsu huffs a quiet sigh, pulling his sleeves over his fingers and deciding not to push Izumi any further. It’s a little painful, resigning himself to waiting now. Even if Izumi asked him to move ‘just for a second’, even though most of the bottles lined on the counter have already served their purpose, Ritsu knows that much of Izumi’s morning routine still remains. He could be standing here for another thirty minutes at this rate — if not longer.

But just as he thinks so, Izumi turns to face him. His hand hovers at his side, hesitant and maybe a little unsure, before trailing upward to settle against Ritsu’s cheek. Cocking his head and nuzzling into the warmth of Izumi’s palm, Ritsu meets his gaze easily. He watches Izumi study him slowly, thoughtfully. He watches Izumi’s tongue dart to wet his bottom lip when his eyes drop to Ritsu’s own.

The bathroom is silent, save for their soft breathing — and then, even that is muffled as Izumi leans forward to press a kiss to Ritsu’s lips.

Really. A pleased, appreciative hum bubbles up Ritsu’s throat. Something gross and fond swells in his chest. It took Izumi long enough.

The kiss is chaste, sweet, and hardly lasts. Izumi draws away, swallowing hard as his hand falls to Ritsu’s shoulder. “Good morning,” he mutters, not quite looking Ritsu in the eye. His cheeks are tinged a little pink, making him just a little too cute, and Ritsu starts leaning back in.

“Hmm,” Ritsu breathes, “Were you waiting for me to wake up just to do that?”

Glancing back to Ritsu, Izumi’s eyes narrow. “That’s normal, right?” he says, taking a calculated step back. As he starts turning away, Ritsu notices that his blush is spreading to his ears. “Anyway. I’m not done here. Since you’re awake, go make breakfast or something.”

“Bossyyy,” Ritsu sing-songs. It sounds like a lot of work, first thing in the morning, and yet — it’s unusual for Izumi to be forthright with his affections. He’s still awkward and unsure, bumbling and difficult. While he might have been the one to close the distance between them, the one who looked at their “comfortable” relationship head-on and decided he wanted something different, he seems to struggle with the execution. That kiss, just like Izumi’s beauty, couldn’t have been effortless.

So, Ritsu supposes, perhaps he can put in a pinch more effort, too.

Chapter Text

Izumi yawns long before Ritsu does. He tries to stifle it, trying to disguise it as swallowing an inconvenient lump in his throat, but it’s no use. Ritsu never misses any of Izumi’s tells, couldn’t miss any when the display of Izumi’s face is all he presently focuses on. The yawn prompts his attention to shift, however, drawing his eyes to the corner of his screen. ‘1:21am,’ he reads. His lips and brows both quirk upward.

“Tired already?” Ritsu asks, just loud enough for his mic to catch. He looks past Izumi, to the pale daylight still filtering into his apartment, and can’t help the teasing lilt that worms into his tone as he adds, “It doesn’t even look like the sun has set~”

“Mm...” Izumi allows, shifting a little in his chair. His hand moves from where it’s propped against his cheek, seemingly in an attempt to obscure Ritsu’s view of his mouth as another yawn threatens to slip through. It’s another pointless attempt, Ritsu thinks, though he’s always endeared by Izumi trying. “I’m not, really... But after sitting in one place for so long...” He looks to something outside of the camera’s scope, lips twisting. “And seeing things on your end is throwing me off.”

“Oh,” says Ritsu. The twinge of disappointment he feels is silly, considering he’s already monopolized Izumi’s time for hours. Still, this one call took so much effort to organize — is it so wrong, for Ritsu to want more of Izumi’s company? “Does that mean you wanna hang up soon...?”

“We should, right? You ought to be asleep by now, and I need to make dinner.”

“Ehh... I wanna watch you cook~” Ritsu’s voice pitches into a whine. “Bring the laptop to the kitchen!”

“Kuma-kun.”

“Mm-hm?”

“You know what I’m going to say,” Izumi says, slowly, as if talking to an uncooperative child. Ritsu pouts, at which Izumi only scoffs. “You still have a responsibility to Kasa-kun and the others. And... Ugh, I don’t want you to collapse or something annoying again, okay? Go to sleep.”

A soft sigh escapes Ritsu as he slumps forward, eyes pressing closed. He knows that Izumi is right, of course. The last thing he wants is to inconvenience Knights by reverting to his old schedule. As much as Ritsu likes being fretted over and taken care of, he is trying to pull his own weight — now more than ever, with Izumi and Leo out of the picture.

“Okay,” Ritsu says, after the silence has dragged on just a moment too long. Drawing his blankets a little closer around himself, he peers back up at Izumi, slowly blinking in that lazy, coy way that he knows will get to him. “I’ll sleep.”

“But?” Izumi deadpans.

An amused chuckle threatens to break Ritsu’s posed pout. Once again, his tone is playful and teasing as he replies, “But I thiiink... Secchan should give me a kiss first. I’m not sure I’ll be able to sleep otherwise...”

Soon as the word “kiss” leaves Ritsu’s lips, Izumi’s posture becomes absolutely rigid. His mouth opens, then closes, and Ritsu delights in the way his cheeks and ears pinken. Oh, how he would love to brush his fingers over the flushed skin, feeling the warmth of Izumi’s blush as it rises — but for now, this much will have to do. “W-what,” Izumi manages, jolting Ritsu out of his thoughts and fantasies, “What kind of bullshit is that? Since when have you ever needed help getting to sleep?”

“Dunnoo,” Ritsu sing-songs. “Don’t you wanna kiss me, though? I am your boyfriend...”

“It’s not that I don’t want to,” Izumi mutters. Despite practically baiting him into saying so, Ritsu’s heart still skips a beat. “I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but there is a screen and, I don’t know, ten thousand kilometres or so between us.”

“That’s fine,” says Ritsu. “If we kiss the camera at the same time, it’s kinda the same thing.”

“What the hell... That’s not the same thing at all.” Contrary to what he says, Izumi starts fidgeting in his seat, crystalline blue eyes narrowing as he focuses on his computer’s camera. “It sounds super unhygienic, actually.”

Ritsu shuffles a little closer. “Secchan.”

A beat passes. Izumi sucks in a breath, considering, thinking. Ritsu waits, studying the tension in his face and shoulders. It’s only a matter of time before Izumi gives. Aaalways, he ends up being drawn into Ritsu’s pace.

“Okay.” Straightening, Izumi’s gaze returns to Ritsu’s face. “Since you’re being such a pain in the ass about it. On the count of three.”

“Oh? Are you counting?”

“Obviously. I’m the one...” Izumi pauses, sucking in his bottom lip before hesitantly continuing, “I’m the one giving you a kiss, right? So I’ll count.”

Ritsu doesn’t even try to stop the grin that spreads across his face at that. “Sounds good~ On the count of three, then.”

“A-alright.” Swallowing thickly, Izumi begins to lean forward. As a slow “one...” escapes him, his eyes flutter closed. Ritsu watches, fascinated by the slight, experimental pucker of Izumi’s lips. “Two... You better be following my lead, Kuma-kun.”

“Of course I am,” Ritsu says. It’s a lie — an easy one, no less — but being called out prompts him to move as he’s supposed to. At Izumi’s third count, Ritsu’s own lips meet the camera.

Izumi was right, in saying that this wouldn’t be anything like an actual kiss. The cold plastic of Ritsu’s computer is a far, disappointing cry from the warmth of Izumi’s skin against his. The computer doesn’t give into his press, doesn’t melt or sigh contently at his touch. Nothing about this makes up for the distance.

And yet, when Ritsu draws back to find that Izumi still hasn’t pulled away, he almost wants to lean back in.

“Secchan,” Ritsu hums at last, both entertained and endeared by how quickly Izumi jolts backward. His cheeks flare, much more intense than before, almost red as the roses that Ritsu’s family find so rejuvenating. If he sunk his teeth into Izumi’s scarlet skin, would he be energized just the same? “Thanks~ I’m so lucky, dating such a great kisser~”

“Whatever,” Izumi grumbles, clearly too embarrassed to argue. “I did what you wanted. Stop wasting my time and go to sleep.”

Ritsu laughs, quiet and all-too-fond. “Yes, yes... Sweet dreams to you, too, Secchan.”

And as the computer clicks to signify the call’s end, Ritsu finally yawns as well.