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When They Hurt

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The third time Kurosaki comes to the Ko Kaku Rou, Oriya is lying sleepless in bed, yukata undone, shoji screen open to the overheated night. He hears footsteps crossing the courtyard, and though they are too light and too swift, his heart beats faster. There is a modern alarm on the old outer gate. Not many people can circumvent it.

A silhouette appears in the shoji frame, short and slight, and he feels a moment of acute disappointment before the surprise takes over. Even so, training has him drawing his yukata closed before he rises onto an elbow and says, "Kurosaki-kun?"

"Mibu-san," the silhouette answers, and steps into the room.

"What are you doing here, little brother?" Oriya wishes he'd left a lantern burning, despite how the light seemed to add to the heat. It's hard to track Kurosaki in the shadows.

Then there's movement beside his bed, and Kurosaki is kneeling down beside him, eyes brilliant as a cat's, pulling what little light there is from the room and giving it back. Oriya tries to recall if that was true of the other Shinigami. "You're so very angry, Mibu-san."

"What makes you think so, little brother?" Oriya's voice is calm without effort, more training, and the knowledge that breaking his calm changes nothing.

"I thought he would have come to you by now."

Which does not mean that Oriya feels nothing, though the sharpness of rage is something he associates with one person. "Is that why you're here, little brother?"

Those luminous eyes blink once, and then Kurosaki is leaning closer. "What would you have done if it was him in your garden?"

Kurosaki's breath smells of sakura. Oriya remembers it's how his mouth tasted, and how it had been pleasant at the time. It's still pleasant, if Oriya's honest with himself, and he closes the distance to speak with his lips against Kurosaki's. "Shall I show you?"

Kurosaki lets the touch linger, mouth to mouth, but not a true kiss. Oriya wonders if he's expected to push. He's used to knowing, but he can't read Kurosaki, not tonight. He's certain that was different before.

"Do you even know, Mibu-san?" Kurosaki speaks at last, and there are things that pierce past the training, Oriya knows this, but they're not supposed to include the movement of Kurosaki's mouth, the shape of his words. No one is supposed to make Oriya angry like this. No one else. He grips Kurosaki's arms and presses forward, tasting sakura and fury.

Kurosaki breaks his hold, shoves him down, and for a moment there is heat, contact, skin on his and breath and the dizzying lack of it. Then Kurosaki pulls away, a shadow with gleaming eyes above him in the darkness.

"You told me hatred would win me nothing. What of anger?"

Oriya forces himself to breathe before he answers, and he never knew cherry blossoms could choke like cigarette smoke. "Nothing."

Kurosaki rises. "He is still alive, Mibu-san."

Oriya wishes that didn't mean as much as the last time Kurosaki said it, but anger does not even win him that protection. "You said you'd tell me if that ever changes."

"I'll be the one to collect his ghost."

Oriya waits until Kurosaki is gone to say, "Collect mine, while you're at it."