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Eugeo dies for Kirito.

He died for a lot of things—because it was necessary, the right thing to do; so they could save everyone, Alice, humanity, all their friends and family.

But if he's being his most honest, then he dies for Kirito. It was Kirito he'd been waiting for all along—the boy he'd spent his childhood with, gamboling through the trees and by the river, and even after those memories had been lost, when the mysterious dark-haired boy had appeared in the forest, Eugeo finally felt like himself again around him.

He fell into step again as Kirito's best friend, and never anything more, watching and wanting something he never felt brave enough to name. He’d been perpetually afraid that Kirito would recover his memories and be gone, this time for good.

Of course the Administrator had known exactly what he wanted. It was love—love meant only for him, a different kind than the love he and Kirito both felt and shared with their mentors, the trainees, the other villagers of Rulid.

He would never have thought that things would happen the other way around. That he would recover his memories, and then be the first to leave.

But Eugeo loves Kirito the way he never has anyone else, so he dies for him. He says goodbye, and sightless, he feels Kirito hold him. He thinks that this is all he could have ever wanted, and even though he's so sad that he never got to say everything he meant, it's okay, because Kirito will live on.

It feels like falling asleep.

And then…

Kirito wakes him up.


It's the sound of the birds that he hears first. Then the feeling of sunlight warming his body, like when the sun returns from behind a cloud. A breeze ruffles his hair, and he opens his eyes to see the light again.

There aren't any clouds. It's beautiful out, the sky crisp and blue, his favorite kind of day. Will it always be like this, wherever he is, now that he's…

A face leans into view above his own and his heart plummets.

"Eugeo?" asks that voice—he thought he'd never hear it again and even though he would have given anything to have it call him one more time, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Dark eyes watch him, wide and unsure.

"No…" he says. "Why—no, no, you were supposed to survive, you can't—" Hands clasp the sides of his face and he gasps.

"I did survive," Kirito says firmly. "Thanks to you. I saved—this world. I saved everyone. I told you I'd be with you until the end, but I should have made you swear the same."

Everything still feels fuzzy and out of reach, but Eugeo realizes as he stares up at him that this Kirito is a little older than the one he knows, or knew—hair a little longer, shoulders broader.

"Where are we?" Eugeo whispers, still afraid of the answer.

But Kirito smiles, and says, "Home. Rulid."


"I brought you home," Kirito says again. He shifts, and Eugeo realizes he has been lying with his head in his friend's lap, but then Kirito is hugging him, arms tight around him as he pulls Eugeo against his chest. He's shaking, and Eugeo realizes it's from silent crying, and he feels fond in the face of his uncertainty. Kirito always cried so easily. But then, they both did.

"How?" he asks. "Kirito… what did you do?"

"Nothing dumb," Kirito says, voice thick with tears, and Eugeo snorts. He's not sure he believes that. "Let me explain and then… and then you can decide what you want to do?"

Eugeo can't help it—he raises a hand to his friend's dark hair, runs his fingers through it, marvels at the softness and the new length. It looks good on him, but anything looks good on Kirito.

"I'm listening."

Kirito's story is impossible, but it's not more impossible than anything that happened recently, or rather, the most recent thing Eugeo remembers. Everything he knew about the world seemed to have been wrong—except that kindness was still good, and cruelty was evil. And Kirito is good. So Eugeo listens.

Kirito is human, but he comes from the land of the true gods, the ones who created the world. Not Stacia, but an organization: Rath. Kirito tries to explain their purpose behind creating Underworld, and people like Eugeo, but Eugeo can't understand it. What he understands is that Kirito intervened on behalf of his soul to the gods and, by favor (or perhaps blackmail), was able to save him.

"So I'm… a copy?" Eugeo asks. "A—a backup—"

"You're you," Kirito says.

He always says things like they are irrefutable truth. Maybe it's the confidence of being practically a demi-god himself. Or maybe that's just him.

They're lying side by side in the grass this far into the explanation, like no time has passed, or maybe it's been an eternity. For Eugeo, it was moments. For Kirito, years. They meet somewhere in the middle. He studies Kirito's face, the sudden, startling maturity. It makes him experience a lot of unidentifiable feelings.

They've existed without each other before, but neither realized it. Now it's been years, and Kirito was fighting on the front lines the whole time, with only a memory to remind him of what they had once. But he waited, and he brought Eugeo back.

Kirito turns on his side so he can reach out, brushing Eugeo's hair behind his ear. It makes Eugeo’s breath catch. Would he have done that before? It's hard to say, because Eugeo had never died on him—well, entirely. He recalls little from the time in the cave with the goblins, but he remembers Kirito taking his hand, touching him without reservation.

"Everything, exactly the same as it was," Kirito continues. "I asked them to keep in the way you died because… I didn't want you to forget about what you did. I thought it would be important to you."

"Resurrection," Eugeo says, with a stunned laugh. "It was impossible, even for her. And you just…" He snaps his fingers. "Like that."

"It was—easier for me, on that side," Kirito says. "It was easier than it was for you to die. And I… I almost didn't know if it would be disrespectful. But I couldn't just not, I couldn't…"

Eugeo remembers him wasting Cardinal's dagger to save Fanatio. No… not wasting, inexplicable as it had been. Kirito sees people's struggles and insecurities almost as clearly as he does his own, sometimes even better. To let someone who had something better to live for die, on account of him… he can't do that, will never let it happen if he can stop it.

"If you can save someone, you will," Eugeo said. "Right?"

Kirito's eyes widen; when they reflect sunlight, they're almost silver. "Not just someone!" he says. "You, idiot!"


"Yes, you," Kirito repeats. "But if you don't want this then I can—I can ask them to undo it. It would be… painless."

"It's that simple?"

"For you," Kirito says. He scratches the back of his head and sighs loudly, like he's exasperated; but when he lowers his hand again, his fingers rest against Eugeo's, just barely. They're trembling. "For me… it would hurt more than anything, losing you a second time. But I'll do it, if that's what you want."

"Why…" Eugeo stares at him. "Why would I want that?"

"Because now you know everything," Kirito says. "And I didn't know how you'd feel about this world, or existing in it, or even me! I was worried you'd hate me, and—"

"Kirito!" Eugeo bursts out. "Me, hate you? Are you—insane?!" He squints. "Did you go crazy the last few years?"

Kirito laughs, the first time he's done so outright since Eugeo opened his eyes. It's the same laugh, bright and a little bit nasally mischievous. He's always had kind of an annoying laugh, too irreverent by half, but Eugeo has fallen for it with no reservations.

"Yeah," Kirito says, "I kind of did, without you."

Eugeo ducks his head, cheeks warm. "I'm not even real to you."

He gets his forehead flicked for that one and winces, rubbing at the spot. Kirito grabs his hand so he can't—maybe to make him bear the punishment fully. He doesn't let go again, though.

"That's what I didn't want you to think," Kirito admonishes him. "Listen, you're—you're real, alright? As real to me as anything on the other side. Sometimes… sometimes I feel like when I'm diving, things feel more real to me than they do in my world. Over there, I'm not Kirito the Swordsman, I'm not strong, I can't even defend myself or the people I love properly—that's how I ended up here in the first place, even if that was a good thing in the end."

"I don't think your sword is what makes you strong," Eugeo tells him.

"Well, maybe," Kirito says, waving a hand. "But what I mean is that I couldn't live in a world that didn't have you in it. Not here, not even my world. And I knew I was being selfish, but I had to see. I had to."

The Administrator had told Eugeo he was selfish. And most of it had been lies, but what made him succumb was the fact that running through her words was a grain of truth—he did want to be loved. Desperately. Even selfishly. And to not have it was okay, because he knew nobody's love could be controlled and twisted in such a way.

But to have someone, the person he wanted most, freely give it…

"I don't mind," he says softly. "If you were a little selfish, I mean."

"You hate when people are selfish."

"I hate when people selfishly hurt others," Eugeo counters.

"What if I'd hurt you by doing this?" Kirito asks.

"Then you would've let me go again," Eugeo says, and he knows without a doubt that Kirito would have. "But I'm okay. I don't feel so different. I still…"

He wets his lips. He still feels like himself. And that means he still feels the same about Kirito.

"You have to promise me, then," Kirito says, eyes burning into Eugeo's. "That you'll stay with me. Until the end."

He's so obstinate. Of course, he hasn't considered the obvious. Eugeo sighs. "How do you know you'll always want—"

Kirito leans in without warning and presses that incorrigible mouth against his. Eugeo stops talking—stops thinking, entirely. His eyes are still closed when Kirito pulls away to tell him,

"That's how I know."

For a moment, Eugeo feels panic rising in his chest, bubbling up bitter and cold. That was a kiss—against the Taboo Index—they can't do that, they can't—

But no terrifying specter appears out of the sky to condemn them. No pain lances through his right eye. He takes a deep breath, as the clear sound of a stream and the leaves rustling in the trees around them blankets him in familiarity. Kirito watches him with the slightest smile, waiting for him to realize. 

It's alright now.

"Wh—" Eugeo stammers dumbly at him. "What? What?"

"Well," Kirito says and then, unbelievably, has the gall to throw up a victory sign, "it seemed like maybe you weren't gonna figure it out unless I did that."

"Figure—Kirito?!" Eugeo gasps. Oh, Stacia or—whoever is actually out there, help him, his face feels like it's on fire. He sits up and then plows his fist directly into Kirito's stomach.


"You're telling me this now?!"

"It wasn't obvious?!" Kirito seems just as surprised as he is. "I realized I liked you back when we fought those goblins!"

"I was unconscious!" Eugeo reminds him, incredulous. "We'd only known each other three days!"

"Technically, we knew each other before and just forgot." Kirito beams at him with that stupid, get-away-with-anything smile. "But I guess you're just that great, huh?"

Eugeo doesn't know what to do with him. He has several things he'd like to do to him—but—

He leans over, trapping Kirito between his arms so he can properly glare down at him.

"How was I supposed to figure this out?! You were always flirting with everyone—"

Kirito gapes up at him like a surprised fish. "Flirting?!"

"Almost every single person we met fell for you right away—"

"Oh ho?" Kirito taps his chin. "So you're saying your feelings were nothing special after all?"

"I'm saying I loved you longest!" Eugeo shouts at him, so loudly it echoes off the trees.

Kirito's teasing expression fades into something else. Something almost too soft for Eugeo to look at. "Eugeo…"

Eugeo inhales shakily and thumps Kirito with his fist again, this time against his chest. "I know that doesn't matter."

It's not like he has any more of a claim to Kirito, just because he's had feelings for years—not just since Kirito showed up again at seventeen, but before then, when they'd just been kids. It had always been there.

"But I wish you'd told me sooner, because then—this whole time—"

Suddenly, the world is spinning. He yelps as Kirito grabs him, rolling him over so that their positions are reversed, Eugeo with his back in the grass and Kirito above him. It's like the way they used to get into tickle fights as kids, then later sparring matches at the academy, before everything went to hell.

"Let's see…" The sun outlines Kirito as he looms over Eugeo. "I did willingly try to die for you multiple times. That would have killed me for real, by the way. I also promised not to leave you… Tried to save the world for you but you died before I could do that one…"

"I'm—" Eugeo shakes his head. "I don't—are you saying—"

"Mayyybe you should have told me sooner," Kirito says, grin lit up with mischief like his silhouette. "I mean, if we're pointing fingers."

Eugeo lets his head fall back into the grass. "I'm telling you now."

He gives up on trying to make an argument out of it—there's no point arguing with Kirito. If he's wrong, he'll find a way to be right, and if he's right, he becomes unbearable. Eugeo uncurls his fingers in the warm grass, turns his cheek against it.

Kirito brought him home.

Fingers slide against his, calloused palms press against his own. Eugeo doesn't face forward, even though he can feel Kirito's stare boring into him. Trust him to be completely devoid of shyness about all this. That is definitely not Eugeo's style.

"Eu-ge-o," Kirito says, voice lilting, teasing.

"My life is really in your hands, huh?" Eugeo asks, which is less of a question, more of a statement. He has never not felt this way. It's just never been so literal.

Kirito leans down into him to nuzzle against his cheek and he gasps.

"I want to stay with you," Kirito says, a low murmur in his ear, sending shivers he can't ignore tickling up his spine. "In any world. In all of them."

Eugeo shuts his eyes. "Goddess have mercy, Kirito—"

Lips find his again and he winds his arms around Kirito's neck. Pulls him close—he wants that, too. Eugeo wants him, in whatever worlds he never knew existed, completely and selfishly.

He is sure Kirito has kissed someone before—maybe a lot of someones, because he is very good at kissing. He's suddenly gentle, almost like he's asking permission with every brush of his hands, his lips. It's unusual, because Kirito rarely, if ever, asks for permission before he does whatever he wants. But he's also one of the most perceptive people Eugeo has ever met, and Kirito knows him better than anyone. He knows about Eugeo's lack of experience in these matters, because Eugeo has bemoaned it to him often when he's had too much wine. He knows Eugeo is insecure because Eugeo has told him so, in their rooms at the academy, when on the brink of sleep.

Eugeo never quite managed to let it slip that it was Kirito he thought about, when he worried over inexperience, about being plain and soft—Kirito, his beautiful, confident, fiercely sharp best friend, who never seemed to tire of waiting for Eugeo to catch up to him.

Could it really be possible that Kirito had slept in the bed beside him all those nights, and thought about him the same way?

He would say no, but the way Kirito kisses him now seems to suggest otherwise. Lingering brushes of his lips against Eugeo's mouth, his cheeks, across the bridge of his nose.  

"Don't be nervous," Kirito says softly, like he can read thoughts in addition to all his many other talents. He tucks Eugeo's hair back, strokes the shell of his ear gently, traces his fingertips over Eugeo's cheeks. "Is this okay?"

It makes him ache. He has never been more okay—he is alive, he is known, he is loved.

"More than," he chokes out.

Kirito hums, eyes lidding. "Good."

He takes Eugeo's chin in his fingers and kisses him again, less gentle and more Kirito this time. His tongue presses warm against Eugeo's lips, and when that makes him gasp, he finds it suddenly inside him, stroking over his own, licking against the roof of his mouth.

It makes him moan, breathless and indecent, but that just seems to urge Kirito onward. When he takes Eugeo's bottom lip between his teeth to bite it, tug on it with the faintest hint of a mischievous smile, Eugeo buries his hands in his dark hair just to anchor himself.

"I didn't know how you'd feel about kissing me," Kirito says. He keeps trailing his mouth lower, and lower, first hot under Eugeo's chin, then at his throat, then the little hollow above his collarbone. "You're so proper, usually. For a commoner."

"Says the other commoner," Eugeo mutters. "You can't go around expecting people to just—tumble in the grass with you—ah!"

He squeezes his eyes shut, head thrown back in a mix of shock and bliss, when Kirito presses his tongue flat inside the hollow and licks up the column of his throat.

"And yet, here you are," Kirito says cheerfully, as though he weren't the instigator of Eugeo's impending debauchment.  

Dazed, Eugeo blinks at him, taking in the messy fall of dark hair across his forehead, eyes bright, cheeks flushed beneath it, mouth red and beaming in self-satisfaction.

"Alright, then," Eugeo murmurs, "if that's your attitude…"

He grabs the front of Kirito's shirt and drags him close, catches the brief glimpse of raw excitement on his face before kissing him roughly. Kirito makes a pleased noise against his lips, one that makes Eugeo want to keep going, but it's not wise to let Kirito get away with everything. He gets too cocky.

Kirito shouts when Eugeo pushes him, toppling into the grass. Eugeo scrambles up and to his feet.

"I know better than to let you do whatever you want!" he calls, and then he runs.

The trees of the forest near his hometown all feel familiar. The city hadn't had anything in the way of large forests—it had been all built up into its winding cobblestone roads, and although Eugeo had come to love those too, it couldn't compare.

The wind in his hair and the dappled sunlight remind him of where he is, and after what feels like too long a journey, there's nowhere he'd rather be. It had always been his goal—find Alice. Come home.

He's hardly running full out, too busy letting his lungs take in the air of the woods, his eyes the sights once thought lost to him forever. He'd never doubted his decision to ask Cardinal to transform him, but one of the moments that had made him saddest was afterwards when his vision went dark, when he'd wanted to reassure Kirito that things would be okay and lost all ability to see him instead.

It doesn't take very long for Kirito to catch him—arms seize him around the waist and he shouts with laughter when Kirito holds him tight so he can't run anymore.

"You can't get away from me that easily!"

"Well, considering dying was no use," Eugeo says.

"Pointless," Kirito agrees. "You'll need to do better."

Eugeo turns in his arms to face him, eyebrow raised. "Who says I want to?"

This earns him a delighted grin and another kiss that leaves him breathing harder than his run through the trees. Kirito lifts him straight off the ground the next second; it leaves Eugeo breathless. Kirito has always been stronger than he looked, but right now he’s holding Eugeo up effortlessly. His back hits the trunk of one of the big trees surrounding them, and he wraps his legs around Kirito's waist.   

Is he broader? Eugeo wonders this as he grips Kirito's shoulders. His legs don't go so easily around Kirito's waist as they did when they were both nineteen. He trails his hands down Kirito's biceps and thinks that, yes, there has been some… growth, these past few years.

Of course Kirito notices—damn him. His ever watchful gaze flicks to Eugeo's hand on his arm before his eyes lift again, a pleased smile hovering around the edges of his lips.

"Shut it," Eugeo tells him.

"I don't mind the appreciation," Kirito says. "I've worked hard the past few years."

"You always do."

Eugeo tucks a hand at the nape of his neck, fingers tangling in the soft hairs to pull him closer, their foreheads pressed together. He knows it will make his heart heavy later once everything has sunk in; that years have passed in this world while he was gone, that Kirito has been fighting and growing without him. But right now there is sun to turn the trees yellow-green, and they're both miraculously together, and more incredible still, it turns out Kirito wants him.

So for now, he doesn't have to worry.

"Would you…" He licks his lips hesitantly. "Would you like to give me more things to appreciate about you?"

"I would," Kirito says, and it's so clear he's as confident as ever, maybe more. He presses Eugeo more firmly against the tree trunk with his body weight, which suddenly seems so much… sturdier than before, and noticeable.

He gasps when Kirito rocks into him—it's gentle, careful, which doesn't do a thing to stop the shockwaves that pulse through Eugeo at the minimal stimulation. Kirito brushes the tip of his nose against his cheek patiently and that threatens to destroy him just as effectively. The thing Eugeo always felt people overlooked was Kirito's inherent sweetness, his determination to be whatever other people needed.

"I'm—you know I haven't… had any experience," he mumbles under his breath. He knows Kirito hasn't forgotten. But sometimes he’s so far ahead that he forgets that other people can't effortlessly keep up with him.

Kirito puts a hand warm against his cheek, thumb brushing over his lips, eyes tracing every expression Eugeo makes. Watching—ready to possess him and protect him.

"I'll take care of you," he says, and he always had, and he always will.

It doesn't take long for Eugeo to be undone completely, and he willingly allows it. Every touch of Kirito's hands on his bare skin brings to mind the way Kirito handles a weapon, makes him recall the same smooth deftness that had him wishing to be a swordsman in the first place. He'd yearned for Kirito to teach him, all those years ago, but he still hadn’t managed the same degree of effortlessness Kirito had, like his sword was an extension of himself.

Kirito is a mixture of sureness and boyish nerves now, palms skimming with surety over Eugeo's legs as he helps him get his trousers off before his fingers grip a little too tight against his thighs, overeager. It makes Eugeo feel a bit less nervous in turn—if Kirito was nothing but calm, he doesn't think he'd be able to do this, too afraid to make a fool of himself in front of not just a lifelong friend, but the boy he's adored for years.

But even Kirito seems a little at a loss for words once Eugeo is naked from the waist down, staring down at him like he's never seen anything like it before. Which is ridiculous; aside from both being men, they've lived and trained together for two years, so Kirito has seen him naked, Eugeo knows. He's seen Kirito naked, as much as he's always tried not to obviously look.

"Don't just stare," he says, attempting admonishment and only achieving flustered embarrassment.

"Why not?" Kirito asks. "You should let me, since you're so cute."

"Wh—" Eugeo starts to sputter incredulously, but Kirito cuts him off by sealing their lips together, before breaking the kiss with an obnoxious smack.

"Getting you to make that face was too good to pass up," he says, cackling. "Even if it's true."

"Stop that," Eugeo begs, without much conviction. He doesn't mean it, and he doesn't want it to stop, not when Kirito is grinning against his cheek, breath hot on his skin.

"I like seeing what kinds of cute faces you make, though," Kirito tells him.

He shifts forward, pressing against Eugeo again, and the soft cotton of the pants he wears brushes the oversensitive insides of Eugeo's thighs, before he feels Kirito's hardness pressing against his own through the cloth. Eugeo's mouth falls open in pleasure, brow furrowing at the renewed shock of it.

"Like that," Kirito murmurs. "I like that face… you should make it more for me." He rocks his hips again, grinds against Eugeo, makes him shudder. He doesn't know what face he's making now, but he can tell Kirito is still enjoying it from how closely he's watching, dark eyes liquid with intent.

Kirito is cute, too—always has been, Eugeo has thought. Not quite handsome, even now that he's grown, with features a little too soft and pretty to ever be called so; but the pout of his mouth and slightly upturned nose, the sword-steel grey eyes under often mussed bangs, are a little irresistible to everyone it seems. He's not beautiful enough so as to be untouchable, but Eugeo likes seeing the pink spread over his cheeks, and his lips turn red and swollen with kissing.

He wants to know what Kirito would look like at the height of pleasure, using all that self-assurance to bring them both to the edge.

"N-not enough…" he says. "Kirito—more."

He sees that fire flare instantly in Kirito's dark eyes, the one that always ignites at the first hint of any challenge.

"Hold on to me a bit more," Kirito tells him, so Eugeo grips the back of his shirt and wraps his legs tighter around his waist as Kirito braces him more firmly against the trunk of the tree.

"System Call. Generate Aqueous Element," Kirito murmurs. Eugeo blinks at him curiously. "Generate Thermal Element. Alter Consistency."

He doesn't realize what Kirito is doing until he feels the hand wrap around his cock, fingers slick with lubricant, already warmed and gliding over his skin. He nearly bites his tongue in shock, clutching Kirito even closer.

"Sorry," Kirito says, voice a superheated whisper in his ear, "I didn't mean to surprise you. I just need to make sure you're more relaxed before anything else."

Eugeo isn't sure relaxed is the right word for it—he doesn't think he's ever felt quite so desperate, and he's actually died. But it does make him feel like he's boneless and melting, helpless except to cling to Kirito like his life depends on it while Kirito works a hand over him, knowing exactly what to give him.

"K-Kirito," he pants, "please—ah—so good—"

Kirito lets out a breathless huff of laughter. "I'm glad, because the next part probably won't feel as good."

Eugeo isn't clueless, and he isn't completely innocent—he knows what comes next. It doesn't make him hesitate.

"D-don't care," he says, reaching to grab Kirito's face with trembling hands. "Let me feel—feel you—"

Kirito turns to kiss his palm soothingly. He whispers the same words as before, the sacred art buzzing against Eugeo's sweat-damp skin, so that when he touches his fingers to Eugeo's entrance they're slippery, easy to push one inside with how readily Eugeo accepts him.

"Oh," Eugeo exhales, caught off guard by it. It's definitely… different, than the way Kirito had been touching him before. But to say it's less pleasurable also wouldn't be completely accurate. "I—it's okay—"

Kirito makes a soft noise. "Yeah? Eugeo—you're doing so good…"

He whines—he likes having Kirito inside him. He would like more of Kirito inside him, he's sure.

"I—I'm not delicate," he says, egging him on as best he can when he can barely form words. "You—should know that."

Kirito grins. "You're right."

The second finger is more of a stretch, and requires more time for him to adjust, but it already feels fuller and only makes him eager for more. Kirito's tongue pokes between his lips as he curls his fingers, stroking deep inside of Eugeo, until he finds a spot to press against that makes Eugeo's body jerk in his arms, muscles spasming out of his control.

"That—ah! Kirito, Ki—"

"Right there? Did I find it?" Kirito asks, eyes alight. "I bet I did—I practiced on myself a lot."

Eugeo stares at him, mouth open in hazy shock. "O-on… yourself…"

"I had to know what I was doing," Kirito explains. "So that I could make you feel good when we could be together again."

Eugeo moans and tugs him forward again to kiss him so that he'll shut up before it gets to be too much and he makes Eugeo lose it completely. The most maddening part is he can imagine Kirito, sweaty and flushed and naked, on his back or maybe knees, hand between his legs—

"Don't look so disappointed," Kirito murmurs against his lips. "I promise I'll let you try it on me too, later. We have lots of time."

Time. They have time.

He sobs. "Kirito—now, please, I—"

"Even though I said we don't have to rush?" Kirito asks—teasing, probably, but he slips his fingers out, wipes some of the slick substance on Eugeo's thigh because he's a bastard—before reaching to undo his belt.

He drops his pants and Eugeo is able to see for a brief moment that he was hardly the only one affected by Kirito opening him up, before the evidence is pressed into the soft juncture of his thigh where it meets his hip. Kirito's cock is hot against his skin, like his hands as he repositions his grip to better hold Eugeo up against the tree.

Kirito kisses him again, soft. "Here I go, Eugeo."

"Really took you long enough," Eugeo sighs. He's nearly too love drunk to tease back… but not quite.

Kirito gives him a look, long and lingering. "I know."

The look doesn't go away when he lines himself up, pushing in slowly; it just gets more heated as he opens Eugeo with his cock, holding Eugeo's gaze like he's trying to get inside there, too, in his head. Grey eyes lock on green, so dark and hazy with arousal that they could almost be full black.

"Eugeo…" he breathes, and there's a crack in his voice Eugeo doesn't ever think he's heard there before. "H-hey, you're not—you're not supposed to be this perfect, you know?"

"I'm n-not," Eugeo gasps. Hard to talk, with how full he feels.

"You are for me," Kirito says.

He rolls his hips slightly and bottoms out, fully buried inside of Eugeo. His head falls, forehead dropping to Eugeo's shoulder momentarily and then nothing happens for a few moments as they both struggle to get their breath back. Eugeo doesn’t ever think he’s felt this full in his life—not when he felled the Gigas Cedar, not when he made it into the academy, not even when he saw Alice again for the first time in years.  

"Fuck,” Kirito whispers.

"That's what you should be doing," Eugeo tells him. He really needs Kirito to move.

Kirito chuckles breathlessly. "Ah, right," he says. "Wasn't ready for how tight you are."

Eugeo feels his face flush impossibly redder as heat throbs low in his belly. "Kirit—oh!"

He gasps high and sharp when Kirito rocks hard up into him without pulling out, still so deep that he feels it at his insides, his core. Eugeo flings his arms around his neck to make sure he stays secured—he can't clamp his thighs tighter anymore with the way Kirito is holding them apart from below to gain leverage.

It's clear Kirito won't fuck him hard, yet, but he fucks Eugeo steady. Long, slow, measured thrusts, leaving him nearly all the way empty before stuffing him completely full again until Eugeo's breathing turns into crying instead, loud and sobbing. One of his hands has found its way to Kirito's hair, and he's pulling so tight it must be painful, but Kirito doesn't say a word. He's panting with effort, face pink and hair plastered to his forehead with sweat.

He looks so good like this, utterly focused on the two of them and the place where their bodies are joined. It's when he hits that spot again, a white-hot point of pressure inside of Eugeo that begs to be released, that Eugeo loses the ability to think entirely. He lets his head fall back, lets Kirito fuck into him like he's always dreamed of, lets it be known how much he's needed this boy.

Human, AI, soul, Fluctlight—whatever he is, every part of him is resonating in tune with Kirito's body and breath and being. He didn't feel human at all when the Administrator had coaxed him into her bed, and she was just like Eugeo, in the end. But right now, with Kirito—it's the most human he's ever felt.


He hasn't even realized he's moaning Kirito's name until Kirito pushes their foreheads together almost violently, expression searing.

He doesn't draw back, like he's trying to stay as close as possible now, and there's a burning, boiling pressure inside of Eugeo when Kirito rolls his hips against him in a torturous grind. There's lightning striking down his spine, strangely reminiscent of memories he has of clashing swords with Kirito—the way each impact of the blades sang down his arms and into his muscles, settling there to make him stronger.

"I'm here," Kirito promises him, voice wrecked almost to nothing. The way he kisses is fierce, messy tongue and teeth that catch on Eugeo's lip, but his words are even fiercer. "And I won't let you leave again."

Eugeo comes moaning into his mouth, spilling warm against his own stomach. Those words, knowing Kirito never intended to give him up, push him over as much as having Kirito pressed so warm and deep and unmistakably inside of him. He's always stuck so close to Kirito out of the (not so irrational) fear that his best friend would slip away one day before he could realize it, much less stop it. But right now it feels like nothing can separate them.

Death couldn't do it. What more does he have to fear?

"Haah—Eugeo—" Kirito pants, movements gone erratic. Eugeo still shivers pleasantly with aftershocks, and Kirito groans each time the trembling spasms make Eugeo clench tighter around his cock. "I'm about to—I'm—"

Eugeo reaches for him with shaky hands, caresses his face. "Don't let go of me."

"N-no—" Kirito gasps, before his expression twists, teeth grit, and he curls closer to Eugeo. He lets out a long, deep sigh and thrusts once, twice more—hard enough that Eugeo's toes curl. He's oversensitive and blissed out at this point, but Kirito spilling so deep inside him stirs the heat again, even if it's more muted.

It's enough to make him want to spend the rest of his life touching Kirito, and being touched like this. Maybe now he can.

Kirito groans and then staggers backwards, making Eugeo yelp and clutch his shoulders. But his friend just sits hard in the grass, shifting Eugeo until he can pull out of him. He makes a very Kirito face of discomfort as he does, which makes Eugeo inexplicably happy. He's glad some things haven't changed.

"Sorry I came inside," Kirito says. He sounds filled with lazy satisfaction all the same.

Eugeo glances at the grass as he feels his face flush hot. "It's f-fine," he says. "It's not like anything will happen because of it."

Kirito laughs out loud. "I'm not apologizing because of that. It's just messy."

He's not wrong—it's somewhat wetly uncomfortable, and now that the mess is cooling, that just worsens the sensation. Eugeo wrinkles his nose as some of the blissfulness wears off and he starts to notice.

"See?" Kirito says. He kisses Eugeo's nose, which makes Eugeo forgive him for everything, even if he can't let on about that.

"I said it's fine. I…" Eugeo sighs. He liked it, but that feels embarrassing to say now that the moment is behind them. "I don't mind."  

"We can go back soon," Kirito says. "After a little while." He slips his arms loosely around Eugeo's waist.

"Back to Rulid," Eugeo says.

He blinks, and suddenly, things seem real again, no longer an impossible dream. He can go back—after everything. He feels his eyes get hot and dashes the back of his hand across them, but it doesn't help matters much. He's finally feeling everything and it comes welling up out of him all at once.

Kirito doesn't comment on his tears. He does put a hand at the back of Eugeo's head, stroking his hair. He never says not to cry.

"Alice and I bought a house," he says softly. "She comes home as often as she can, when she's not needed at the Academy. It's small, but there's a vegetable garden in the back she likes, and the kitchen has a lot of light, and I sort of got us a kitten."

Eugeo presses his face into Kirito's shoulders and weeps, and Kirito hugs him tightly.

"There's—there's space enough for three people," Kirito tells him, his own voice shaking slightly. "Even if we're not kids anymore. I always made sure about that."

"You n-never thought about just forgetting me?" Eugeo chokes. He can't even be ashamed of the way his voice breaks. He just can't believe, except he can, because it's Kirito.

"Couldn't," Kirito says. "I wanted to let you go, I knew that's what you would have wanted. But I couldn't forget you. The whole time, it was like—"

"There was something missing," Eugeo finishes for him. "I know. I felt it too, before you turned up again."

Kirito pokes his cheek with one finger fondly. "Exactly. How could I ignore you calling out to me like that?"

He couldn't—the same way Eugeo could never ignore him, it was never an option for Kirito, either. Even when they were children, they always turned towards the sound of each others' voices.

Eugeo wipes his eyes on his sleeve to dry them. He doesn't like how Kirito always ends up crying whenever he does; and besides, there's no need to cry anymore.

"I'm glad you're back," Kirito says, and then despite Eugeo's best efforts, does start crying again.

But Eugeo is there to breathe with him, and kiss his wet cheeks and tell him,

"I'm glad you didn't let me go."