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They were always painful in my heart
These childish failures;
It will be great when the time comes
where I can even laugh at them.
Even becoming an adult
might not be so bad

Sekai wa Okujou de Miwataseta, Sket+Sketch

“Naruhodou-sensei,” he heard the pretty music teacher call him from the doorway. “Someone’s waiting for you by the gate.”

“What do they look like?”

“Tall guy, around your age. Long-ish hair. Rather—no, scratch that. Really good-looking. He’s dressed up in a suit, all serious.” The music teacher paused, then added, “Someone you know? Otherwise, I’ll have to call the cops.”

“Er. Yeah, I know that person. Thank you, Kasai-sensei. I’ll be done in a minute.”

Naruhodou Ryuunosuke smiled apologetically at the music teacher and turned back to the female student he had been talking to. “Anyway, Sakamoto-kun, I’ll consider giving you some make-up work over the weekend. Would you mind staying at home tomorrow at around three in the afternoon? I’ll prefer not to have to explain the situation to your parents, so make sure to grab the phone the moment it rings.”

“Okay, Ryuun-sensei.” The teenage schoolgirl was giggling, not at all repentant. “Isn’t it frightening how you can say stuff like that with a straight face?”

Naruhodou held a finger against his lips. “Shh, don’t call me that so loudly while we’re both in the faculty office.”

“Also,” the girl ignored his warning, “who’s the guy waiting for you? Your boyfriend?”

“As my student,” Naruhodou said, still quite calm, “it really is none of your business, Sakamoto-kun.”

“Aw.” The girl smiled. “But thank you for giving me another chance, Ry—Naruhodou-sensei.”

“As long as you otherwise keep a good track record with me, why not?” he replied, grinning back. “Make sure to keep excelling my classes for the rest of the year, you hear me?”

“Yes, sir. I will.”

“Good. Thank you.”

The moment the sound of Sakamoto’s footsteps finally faded away, Naruhodou immediately stood up and locked his drawers. Flipping his name tag on the bulletin board to signal that he was finally done for the day, he shouldered his backpack and marched out of the faculty office, greeting a couple of passersby with a lively “See you next week!”

His heart was impossibly light in his chest, because he already knew who was waiting for him by the gate.

Tall and impeccably dressed in a black suit with a dark red tie, Asougi Kazuma was the sort of attorney who cleverly wore his sunflower badge inside-out so that it doesn’t show until he flipped the wrong side of his lapel at detectives to flash the badge (he seemed to relish doing it as a politer version of flipping the bird), but as he loitered against the gatepost, his decidedly grown-up presence was still making the passing students more than a little wary.

Walking up to him, Naruhodou felt a little as if he was a kid being fetched by a strict parent from school, with the dozen pairs of eyes watching the both of them from every which direction. However, when he noticed him, Asougi’s face finally lit up, and he said, in that delectably deep voice that has perhaps saved a lot of innocents till now—

“What about Shibuya?”

“What, are we going to pretend like we’re still young and fit in with all those bar-hoppers?”

“The late twenties means you should be tired of going to those kinds of places already, and you’re barely thirty.” Asougi grinned, and extended his hand. “Come. I have another idea...”

In Shibuya, they had purchased two large Asahis from a 7-11 and got pissed on the sidewalk, and in the end Naruhodou Ryuunosuke remembered the brightly-lit billboard across the street, advertising some new Miyano Mamoru album, as nothing more than a splash of blue and pink.

“— This is your idea?” Naruhodou stared down at his beer can, nonplussed. “...Really, why do I always agree with your stupid plans?”

Asougi threw his head back, and laughed. “Admit it, though, you haven’t experienced drinking like this yet, right?”

“We’re going to be arrested like this.”—resignedly.

Despite Naruhodou’s annoyance, he had to admit that Asougi Kazuma’s shoulder was warm against his, and infinitely reassuring in the chill of the late autumn evening. Naruhodou wondered why it is that he was so madly in love with this gorgeous guy beside him—because once you get past all his good looks and his rigid sense of responsibility and his sheer genius, Asougi Kazuma was perhaps a whole bundle of insecurities and bad family history and temper, all tied together with a bloodred ribbon.

And then, he wondered just how many girls Asougi had rejected before he met Naruhodou during that fateful summer’s day and realized that he was hot for someone plain and dumb and male like Naruhodou Ryuunosuke.

He figured that he must have been drunker than he thought, because right now, he could think of no other more joyous thing than to be one of those faceless girls who got rejected by someone as beautiful as Asougi Kazuma.

“What are you staring at me for?” Asougi started laughing, and with great effort Naruhodou tore his gaze away from Asougi’s face, and shrugged.

Vent about an ugly day to your boyfriend, Naruhodou thought absently. Get picked up at your workplace because he’s determined to cheer you up. Go out drinking with him despite the fatigue, because he’s also the only person that could lift your spirits in the whole city, and you need comfort. Also you’re slightly hoping that he’s going to take you home and fuck you silly tonight because it’s a Saturday and you feel pleasantly warm and in the mood.

Consumed by the absurdity of the whole situation, he suddenly laughed out loud, making Asougi glance at him with an inquiring look. Naruhodou only shook his head and tilted back his beer, only to be disappointed to find that the can was empty. Asougi smiled, albeit still a little bemused, and Naruhodou suddenly realized how odd they might look to passersby; a lawyer and a schoolteacher drinking together on the side of the road.

From their seats on the curb, Naruhodou thought that he could hear the breathless split-second of the crowd surrounding the famous Shibuya Crossing before the exhilarating rush of the pedestrian light turning green, just a few blocks away.

“Where are we going next, Asougi?” he found himself asking.

“Where do people like us go?” Asougi had answered his question with another question, a thing that he does not usually do, and the question sounded so silly through the haze of alcohol (and yet it made so much sense at the same time) that Naruhodou laughed.

“Heh— Ugh, my feet hurt,” Naruhodou said, looking down at his leather shoes, which were starting to pinch, and wanting so desperately to hail a cab and have it take him directly home, but Ueno was far and cabs were expensive and besides, Asougi would probably say that that was cheating the rules that they themselves had set.

Rule number one, never mention work during their little dates together.

Rule number two, never spend more than three thousand yen every time.

Rule number three, get home before midnight.

Rule number four, take the train or ride a bicycle or walk. Never take a cab. (Addendum: If for some reason Naruhodou misses the last train, it is to be expected that they’ll kip together at Asougi’s nothing little apartment. For someone who had the better job, Asougi plainly refused to rent anything larger than his current one.)

Naruhodou personally thought that rule number four was sounding stupider and stupider as the evening wore on.

“You should probably walk more in the mornings, get your feet used to it,” Asougi said, and Naruhodou sighed and looked around, wondering if the police are yet to come around and make them get up from the sidewalk.

“I already walk a lot when I’m with you,” Naruhodou complained, and yawned hugely. He checked his watch; it was barely past 7:30, and they were already warm around the collar and tipsy. Perhaps a meal might make him feel a little better.

“Let’s go and eat,” he decided, and Asougi nodded and stood up a little too gracefully for someone who had just finished off a large beer. He helpfully pulled Naruhodou to his feet as well, and said, “I remember Susato recommending me a place near here. Shall we go?” He already had his phone out and was probably thumbing through the map.

“Mm. Near is good.”

The restaurant Asougi led him to was the sort whose entrance led downstairs from the street, into a cozy basement space stuffed with soft lighting, comfy chairs, and shelves with various books and records to the owner’s taste. The huge flatscreen TV on the corner was showing some weather girl talking about the rainy evenings for the next few days. On the wall above Asougi’s seat, there were built-in shelves filled with English books, mainly all about politics.

Naruhodou ordered an odd assortment of four-cheese pizza, mapo tofu, and shrimp jambalaya, perhaps an attempt to sample the menu as widely as possible, and when the waitress finally went off clutching the ticket to her chest, Asougi finally allowed himself to slump back on his seat and sigh tiredly. Apart from the two of them, the only other customers were a pair of ladies talking in low voices.

“We really should take a cab back,” Naruhodou suggested tentatively, and Asougi grinned at the all-too-transparent attempt to skip the walk back to Shibuya station.

“After all of the food that you ordered,” Asougi said, “you’ll need the exercise. Trust me.”

“Demon,” Naruhodou sighed, and after that the conversation lagged all throughout dinner (the pizza was pronounced good, the jambalaya great, and the mapo tofu disappointing from Asougi’s point of view, because it was barely spicy). Out of sheer tiredness, Naruhodou found himself toying with the last forkful of his jambalaya for far too long until he noticed Asougi starting to play with his lighter.

“Hey, not here.” Naruhodou grinned. “Wait till we get back to Ueno. The smoking area on the overpass from the station should be nicer.”

Asougi scowled at him, and Naruhodou stuck his tongue out, feeling a little better with his little revenge.

They paid the check and stumbled back outside, Asougi effectively smiting the waitress with a simple smile when she followed to bid them goodbye and please come again. Naruhodou only shook his head at Asougi’s unwitting ability to charm the fairer sex, and led the way up the tight staircase. When outside in the cold air once more, Naruhodou asked, “Walk me home, then?” and Asougi shrugged before nodding. He was still holding his lighter in one hand, but Naruhodou noticed with a grin that he finally sighed and put it back in his pocket.

Naruhodou hated just how hopeful he sounded when he asked that, and immediately forgot the guilty thought when he started musing about how good Asougi’s hands looked when he put the lighter in his pocket.

Goddammit. He probably needed a smoke too.

The train ride seemed shorter than it probably was. Naruhodou and Asougi stood by the doors, both of them looking anywhere else rather than each other, and the carriage was silent except for the occasional rustling of somebody’s newspaper or the tapping of a cellphone. A pair of teenage boys were conversing quickly in hushed tones across them, while a young lady on the other side of the carriage was busy trying hard not to fall asleep, her feet tapping on the floor of the train.

Naruhodou personally wondered how she had managed to walk herself onto the train, because the black heeled shoes she was wearing did not at all look comfortable.

Asougi was probably thinking the same thing he was, because he suddenly said, “Heeled shoes do look dangerous to go to work in, aren’t they?”

Naruhodou laughed. “I think the same thing about bicycles, but here we are.”

Asougi grinned. “Is that one my fault?”

“Judging by the way the world works,” Naruhodou quipped, “possibly.”

“I do apologize,” Asougi said, doing a spot-on impression of how some famous male idol on television spoke. Naruhodou smacked his arm away playfully, snickering.

The recorded female voice-over from the speakers finally announced that they had arrived at Ueno Station and that the doors on the right are opening, and Naruhodou led the way outside the train, through the turnstiles, the shops, and out through the main entrance of the station, which directly led onto the aforementioned overpass with a small smoking area. Right now, perhaps due to the scent of the rain in the air, it was abandoned by its usual yuppie crowd; the only people on the overpass was a homeless man lounging by the clock monument over at the other end of the walkway, and no one else.

“It’s going to rain soon,” Naruhodou noted as Asougi leisurely stepped behind the wall of potted plants and lit a cigarette. When the first rush of nicotine hit his system, he finally looked a lot better.

“It’s fine. I shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.” Asougi smiled and turning his back on Naruhodou to gaze beyond the guardrails and admire the evening Ueno traffic. Unlike Shibuya’s popping color and music, Ueno was much quieter on an evening like this. —Perhaps even a little sadder. But there was also a certain permeating sense of isolation that only its silence can evoke.

Naruhodou found that this isolation was something that he didn’t dislike.



Naruhodou can only stare at Asougi’s broad back, and wonder and wonder where the tiredness he had felt earlier whenever he thought of work went. Now that the train ride and the cold evening air had cleared his mind somewhat—though he still felt a little tipsy—he found that he felt fine. A little happy, even.

“This overpass is on the same level as most rooftops, isn’t it?” Asougi asked, looking over his shoulder. Naruhodou nodded absently, but when Asougi looked away, the cold streetlamp illuminated the perfect curve of his Adam’s apple, exposed by the opened collar of his shirt.

Again, he tried to squash his obscene fascination with the shape of Asougi’s jawline and throat.

God, he really needed a smoke.

The cancer stick resting between Asougi’s fingers was starting to become more and more tempting the more he stared at it.

“What are you doing?” Asougi said when Naruhodou, who was vaguely reminiscing about a similar scene he had encountered from a movie, pinched his cigarette from his hand—albeit less gracefully than the woman from the movie did, because the half-spent cigarette ended up slipping his grip and tumbling to the ground.

They both looked askance at each other for a while, until Asougi started laughing.

“You’re drunk,” he said. “Or at least that’s what I’d say if I didn’t already know the limits of your athletic prowess.”

“Sorry,” Naruhodou said in a small voice. “What was I thinking?”

“Well, if it’s any consolation…” Asougi bent down and picked up the cigarette up fron the ground. He stubbed it on the lid of the trash bin and threw it away. “You can share my next one. Though, do ask nicely this time.”

Accordingly, he lit up a new cigarette and graciously offered the first drag to Naruhodou, and when he had taken his allotted one drag and released the smoke back out into the air, it almost felt as if he let his fatigue go with it… almost as if he has literally unburdened himself, in fact.

“When you see Ueno like this...” Naruhodou found himself gesturing at the quiet streets below, the traffic light changing from red to blue, the small, sleek cars running in straight lines, black and dark blue and gray and white and olive green and sometimes orange, the train thundering past the rooftops of Ameyoko in the distance, “don’t you feel as if… as if that world seen from the rooftops exists somewhere else?”

“Is it a world where we could marry, perhaps?” Asougi said thoughtfully.

“Probably. Why, can’t we in this one?” Naruhodou asked, feeling as if his brain was underwater and every thought he had was twice as slow to come into fruition.

Asougi laughed. “You’re still drunk, aren’t you? Naruhodou-sensei, how scandalized your students will be to see you like this.” A familiar mischievous smile was curling his lip.

“Shut up.” Naruhodou turned away, pouting. “Uu, I think I still need another drink. You’re starting to annoy me.”

“Are you serious?” Asougi was grinning, but when he saw that Naruhodou was pointedly ignoring him and starting to cross to the other end of the overpass, his smile faded and he sighed before running after his dumb boyfriend. “Ah, fine. But just this last one, or you’ll regret all the calories when you look at the bathroom scale again.”

After grabbing some snacks and another pair of beers (from a Mini-Stop this time), they slowly trekked all the way to Naruhodou’s apartment, which was on the second floor of a tidy two-story building tucked between an inn and a yakitori bar. Directly beside his window, there was a lamp post illuminating the street.

“I’m home,” Naruhodou greeted the empty room before promptly stumbling over his shoes on the entrance hall. “Ow.”

Asougi helpfully pulled him back up on his feet, though not without some laughter. “Come, get a move on,” he said, and supporting Naruhodou on one arm and the food on the other, he managed to deliver everything onto the low table in the middle of the room, quite safely.

The room was dark, but the lamp just beyond the window supplied them with enough light to see everything that was going on. Too tired or too lazy to flip the lights open, the boys just lazed around on the floor in the semi-darkness and started picking at the chips that they had bought. Asougi popped the tab of his beer and politely waited for Naruhodou to sample his drink before sipping at his own.

“I’ve said it a million times, but I like how quiet it is here,” Asougi noted, matter-of-factly.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” Naruhodou agreed. “If a little… lonely.”

He thought, as he stared at the orange stripe of light across the table, that the bubbly feeling that was settling back in his stomach was not unpleasant.

“Asougi, may I—” he was saying, when Asougi smiled.

“Yeah,” he replied, reading Naruhodou’s mind, like always. “Come here.”

Gently, Naruhodou’s arm reached across the few feet of space between them, and when he touched the back of Asougi’s hand, he was not the bit least surprised when Asougi silently pulled him close in a warm embrace. They lay there on the floor, entwined, food and drink forgotten.

—Inside this room, tangled with Asougi like this, his nostrils filled with the familiar scent of his cologne, Naruhodou felt as if they had just entered another universe, all to themselves.

Another universe, with an entirely different flow of time.

Perhaps, he thought, we’re now in that same world we’ve seen from the overpass.

The seconds trickled by with nothing to keep time, except their racing breathing and the steady thump-thump-thump of Asougi’s heart against his own.

One and two and three and four and five…

“Asougi,” he said.

Something in his voice made Asougi look down and smile.

“What is it?”

“I don’t want to go to bed yet.”

“Then don’t.” Asougi laughed, softly. “That’s one of the best parts of being an adult, Naruhodou Ryuunosuke. No one has to tell you to do anything.”

Naruhodou found himself smiling against Asougi’s shoulder.

“Are you sure about that?”

“Again, rule number one of dating a lawyer is to never argue with them.”

Naruhodou laughed. “I keep forgetting.”

“Just shut up,” Asougi said, “and let’s just lie like this for a while.”

“Mm. You’re very comfortable.”

“Thank you.”

“And your clothes still smell a bit like food.”

“Well,” Asougi said, casually, “then maybe I should take it off.”

Naruhodou looked up, and stared at him. Asougi’s eyes were even more breathtaking in the dim light; they returned his gaze, fearlessly, unabashedly. In those eyes, he saw—

This was the world seen from the rooftops.

“Yeah,” he finally said, taking the wordless invitation. “Maybe you should.”

He once joked that Asougi made love like how he drinks a can of beer; hesitantly, always letting Naruhodou take the first sip before he moved. Asougi didn’t really seem offended when he brought it up the first time, but he had become a little forthcoming over the past few weeks; Naruhodou even accidentally found out that Asougi’s secret kink involved seeing him wear his clothes when he thoughtlessly shrugged Asougi’s shirt on one morning-after and suddenly found himself on the receiving end of a very enthusiastic round two—

“Hey,” he could hear Asougi, rather than see him; he had his eyes closed.

“No more talking, Attorney Asougi,” Naruhodou found himself whispering, “and just kiss me already.”

Thankfully, Asougi listened to his command and shut himself up, and when he tilted Naruhodou’s chin and finally kissed him, deeply, hungrily, adoringly, lovingly, Naruhodou found himself lost in the allure of this wonderful, broken boy of a man, all over again—

“What did you say,” he murmured, when they broke apart, “about adults not needing to be told to do anything?”

“Fine,” Asougi chuckled. “If I concede the point, will you let me continue ravishing you, Naruhodou-sensei?”

“By all means. I’ve been waiting all day for this.” Naruhodou’s tone was confident, but the purr in Asougi’s tone made him swallow. His throat felt dry.

At this point, they had already done the act of love in about a hundred times and a hundred different ways, but even so it was still all new to him; Asougi taking his own clothes off, slowly, slowly, almost as if dedicating a moment of silence to every piece of clothing that he discarded, finally helping Naruhodou out of his cardigan and shirt and pants and boxers (he left the glasses on, though Naruhodou later took them off by himself anyway)—and as he undressed them both, it was with the same fervent adoration that he had expressed while kissing him, as if he truly, honestly believed that Naruhodou Ryuunosuke was the most beautiful creature he had ever beheld, as if those blemishes and those slightly squinting eyes and those love handles and those curling dark hairs down there were really deserving of Asougi Kazuma’s attention, of his worship—

They kissed, once more, and as he sprawled on the floor with Asougi over him, Naruhodou felt as if he was about to drown in it when they finally broke the kiss, and Asougi, almost shyly, planted another kiss on his jaw and another and another, creating his trail down, down, past the chin, past the delectable bump at Naruhodou’s pale throat…

Reaching Naruhodou’s collarbone, he worried it with his teeth until the spot was red and blushing, and the resulting moan was music to his ears. Almost like a finely tuned instrument, Naruhodou Ryuunosuke responded to his every touch, and every time Asougi touched him in the right way, it was like listening to the sublime—his uninhibited noises of pleasure, almost indistinguishable from pain, as Asougi explored every glistening inch of skin with his wicked teeth and tongue—

“Asougi…” Naruhodou shuddered, and the way he uttered the name made it sound almost like a prayer. “Nnngh…!”

When Asougi finally dipped his tongue into Naruhodou’s bellybutton, he felt firm, steady fingers running through his hair, caressing him, pulling him closer, even closer, almost as if trying to stop him, if not to defy the very laws of nature. Undeterred by Naruhodou’s sudden shyness, Asougi continued his journey downwards, dangerously downwards, his lover’s soft groans spurring him on, his eyes sliding shut as he finally placed his lips on the prize. Naruhodou shuddered against him, his knees bending up in fearful anticipation of pleasure, and when Asougi finally opened his eyes to look up from his coveted position between Naruhodou Ryuunosuke’s legs, he saw that Naruhodou’s hair was an even wilder mess than before, his bottom lip becoming red and puffy from nibbling on it too much, and that his eyes were glittering dryly, like stars.

“Lovely,” Asougi whispered, meaning every syllable of it, and without any of the hesitation that he had exhibited in previous attempts, he parted his lips, and took Naruhodou’s arousal into his mouth.

He consumed Naruhodou Ryuunosuke at his own leisure, his tongue tracing a line of fire, stroking in long, slow licks, curling like a promise of pleasure, and to reciprocate Naruhodou lifted his hips to meet that talented silver tongue, not caring anymore if the action expressed nothing but wantonness, because oh! he did want this.

Oh, he needed this.

Asougi worked on him for a long, unhurried while, tirelessly, patiently, and when he felt that Naruhodou was getting close, he cleverly drew away, the glittering thread connecting his mouth to his lover stretching delicately in the soft light before finally breaking. Naruhodou only stared at him, his chest heaving and not a little disappointed, but he knew what was to come next.

“Come,” he murmured, beckoning him back up, and their lips connected once more, gently, a brief reunion, before Naruhodou felt Asougi’s jutting hardness at his hip and he pulled back to flash a knowing grin.

“Any final words?” Asougi murmured, and in the semidarkness the flush on his face was still apparent.

“Do you know how many people are needed to make a universe, Asougi?”

Asougi’s expression softened enough to allow him to smile.

“...Quizzing me during sex? How like a teacher.”

Naruhodou laughed.

“Well, then,” Asougi murmured, dipping down and kissing a round cheek affectionately, “how many?”

“Strangely,” Naruhodou whispered. “Only two.”

“What an odd riddle.”

“Is it? Come,” Naruhodou smiled, softly. “...Make a universe with me, Asougi Kazuma.”

Asougi’s eyes widened a little, and then his throat bobbed in a dry swallow.

Quite contrary to his heated kisses earlier, Asougi affected a rather detached, almost clinical coolness as he prepared him thoroughly; in fact, he took his time so deliberately that by the time he had already slid the third finger in, Naruhodou was almost ready to just vulgarly order him to go do it, fuck my brains out! —but then Asougi’s fingers slipped out of him for a tense second, making him bite his lip at the sudden feeling of emptiness, before…


The smallest of gasps escaped from Naruhodou’s lips as Asougi met his mouth and kissed him desperately, and at the same time he felt the torturous pleasure of Asougi finally pressing into him.  


—And Asougi, for the first time that evening, had lost control of his voice, and finally let a long, low moan that made Naruhodou’s spine tingle pleasantly.

For a long moment, they just lay still, deeply joined, motionless and silent except for the sound of Asougi’s slight panting. Naruhodou leisurely enjoyed the feeling of fullness, which was blending perfectly with the euphoria that he was feeling, and when Asougi finally gathered enough composure to move again, it was with bitten lip that Naruhodou determinedly looked at the ceiling and dug his short nails in Asougi’s back as best as he could.

They began, slowly. Naruhodou could tell from the pattern of Asougi’s breathing if he was starting to get close; and whenever he was, he pulls out, and nibbles at Naruhodou’s neck, almost apologetic. Then, when they are ready once more, Naruhodou guides him in with one hand, his eyes almost shutting all the way in the addicting sensation of being filling up again. He would have closed his eyes contentedly, too, if not for the fact that Asougi’s deeply blushing face as he entered once more was a sight to behold.

“I adore you the most when you’re like this,” Naruhodou said. “The side of Asougi Kazuma that no one else has ever seen. ...It’s like you really are mine.”

“But I am yours,” Asougi murmured, and the words in his lust-filled voice were gospel. Unadulterated, raw, innocent, …pure.

Naruhodou’s eyes yet again glittered, like the stars just beyond the window.

“Ah,” he said, stroking Asougi’s bottom lip with a thumb, and understanding the gesture, Asougi caught the questing finger lightly with a soft nibble and started to rock, more firmly, into him.

At this rougher resumption of their lovemaking, Naruhodou gradually began to roll his hips further, to cry out even more every time Asougi hit his sweet spot. His hand slid down the small of Asougi’s straining back, to his side, to his well-defined stomach, letting it travel down, down, until his fingers finally felt the place where they were joined. Asougi scowled lightly at this, perhaps tickled by Naruhodou’s playful wandering, and he rolled his eyes slightly.

“Stop that, Naruhodou,” he admonished, still slightly red. “Don’t put your hand there while… while…”

“What, while you’re screwing me?” And Naruhodou laughed in delight as the embarrassed Asougi blushed an even deeper red.

“Why are you so intent on blurting out the outrageous during the worst of times?”

“Actually,” Naruhodou grinned, “I think this is the best time to be outrageous.”

“You’re impossible,” Asougi bit out, annoyed, but it was with a heated look that Naruhodou noted the odd catch in his voice, and when he pulled Asougi in for another embrace, he could almost swear that he could feel him trembling slightly.

“Close?” he whispered.

Satisfyingly, Asougi did not answer at all.

He wasn’t going slow at all now, and Naruhodou thought that he could almost feel the outline of every tile beneath him at this new, wonderfully rough pace. Asougi’s thrusts became harder, his breathing more erratic, and overcome with passion, Naruhodou could only jut his chin out and scream, scream, as he was the first one to finally went over the edge and spilled all over themselves—

“Naruhodou,” Asougi said, not close behind, “Naruhodou— ah— ah!— ” and then he doubles over, his face against Naruhodou’s shoulder, his teeth sinking uncontrollably into sweaty flesh as he tried quelling his cry of pleasure—

The sound of Asougi Kazuma unraveling, Naruhodou thought absently, upon hearing the sound. …The most beautiful sound in the whole world.

“Don’t go,” he murmured, when Asougi made as if to roll off of him. “Stay in me for a bit more.”

“This is gross,” Asougi whispered back, but faithfully, he did not twitch a muscle, as requested.

His insides were warm and the feeling of molten gold persisted deep inside him, and it was with this sleepy pleasure that Naruhodou Ryuunosuke finally felt himself starting to drift off.

“…I still can’t believe that you almost chewed through my arm.”

“Sorry,” Asougi said, but his tone did not at all seem repentant.

When his neck started to ache, Naruhodou finally stopped admiring the deep crescent marks on his shoulder. “I won’t ever be able to explain this to anyone, will I?”

Asougi smiled. “I did manage to do it in a place that’s easy to cover, though.”

“It still hurts. Ooh.” Naruhodou winced as he dabbed some medicine and stuck a couple of large bandages over the bite. He then gingerly slipped a shirt on, stared at the sleeve critically, and sighed deeply.

The cold sunlight filtered through the window, and while he was still a little sore in certain places, Naruhodou Ryuunosuke rather felt as if he was pleasantly glowing in this fine Sunday morning. It even smelled like a Sunday; Asougi had woken up way ahead of him and had cleaned the apartment like mad first thing in the morning, which, Naruhodou grudgingly admitted, should have made up for the stinging bite in his shoulder—had Asougi not had the audacity to look mightily proud of the mark when he brought it up.

“Coffee?” Without waiting for an answer, Asougi had placed a steaming mug next to Naruhodou. He had slight bed hair and rumpled clothes, but he still looked frustratingly good. “I’ll probably catch the 5 o’clock train this afternoon. Care to see me off?”

“Of course.” Naruhodou caressed the mug with his fingers, just enjoying the gentle warmth of the ceramic. “I needed to go buy something at the station, anyway.”

Asougi just watched him through the steam of his coffee, and Naruhodou smiled back.

“What?” he asked, flushing a little at the attention, and Asougi sipped a little at his drink before saying—

“Thank you for having me.”

“What?” Naruhodou laughed. “I thought you’d be cursing me for making you do a tongue twister in exchange for that first date—”

“I’m serious.” However, Asougi’s lips curled in a gently sincere smile. “Thank you.”

—They stared at each other for quite a while.

Asougi was about to look away uncomfortably, but Naruhodou’s hand once more crossed the distance between them, and he held fast.

“You make me happy,” he murmured, and for a moment Asougi lost himself in those wonderfully round eyes. The eyes of a boy. “And I’m really glad you’re here with me.”