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An Encounter at Serena

Chapter Text

It was late into the night when Nishiki glanced up at the clock on the wall. He took another sip of his drink, sighing as he set it down on the coaster. The wetness on the outside of the glass kept his fingers cool. Long locks of hair cascaded past his neck, shielding his expression as he slumped over the counter, face parallel to the surface. Reina offered the man a soft touch of her hand over his own, making the young yakuza sniffle. He always got a little emotional when it was just the two of them in Serena, and when he'd downed a few drinks; he was lost in his own head, full of the innocent memories he and his oath brother accumulated together. Nishiki and Kiryu grew up as close as two brothers could be. During their early years at the orphanage, the two of them would wait until bedtime before making the move to scramble into one of their tiny beds, ducking under the covers and giggling at their mischief. They'd hope that Kazama would be patrolling the hallways and peek into their room to see if they were still awake. He'd usually catch the boys stifling their laughter as he crept up towards the bed, squealing in joyous surprise as their adoptive father wrapped the blanket-covered boys in his arms. Nothing ever got past that man.

Those were simpler times. Times where Kazama was the father of two, starry-eyed boys with the world at their fingertips. Not now. The consequences of raising the two would eventually Land him in a cold prison cell. A stab of pain caused Nishiki to sigh at the fact. When they were children, the captain of the Dojima family was certain he would be able to keep his sons from entering the underworld if he kept them at an arm's length from the lifestyle. Though the behavior of people surrounding Kazama was obvious and full of respect, fear, and obedience. The glamorous prospects didn't exactly fly over Kiryu's head, like Kazama had hoped. Nishiki finished off his drink as he recalled the fight the between the two boys and their father had in the rain, the teens were flat on their backs in the mud with Kazama towering over them, fists stinging. That was his last attempt to stop them, yet as they always did, Nishiki and Kiryu pushed forward together. They were being introduced into the Dojima family the next day, as yakuza.

"Nishikiyama-kun, are you feeling okay?"

Reina's voice was nurturing and sweet. She always worried about Nishiki like that of an older sister. Feeling like it was mostly his fault that she showed so much worry, Nishiki offered her a weak smile. He'd been bitching and moaning about how much he missed Kiryu in the most pathetic of ways, bringing up old stories of their past, talking about how much time they used to spend singing and drinking. Then, this whole thing with the Empty Lot happened, Kiryu left the family, joined up with some mysterious real estate company, and Nishiki was left worrying in the shadows. He hasn't seen or heard from his oath brother in a minute, and he's living in constant fear and anxiety. What if this Tachibana that Kiryu's been hanging around is bad news? What if something happens to him? What if he falls for some trap, falls in love? What if Nishiki never sees Kiryu again? What, then? What would be the point of living if he wasn't going to be sharing his life with Kiryu?

"Sorry, Reina. You've put up with me for so long," Nishiki stutters out, bringing his eyes up to meet her. "I'm just thinking of things that have happened lately. I haven't seen Kiryu in a while, so..."

The bar owner covered her mouth when she stifled a laugh, the sound surprising Nishiki.

"Reina?"

"Oh, to be young and infatuated," she teased, giggling when she drew a choked gasp from the long-haired man in front of her. At least she seemed to be having fun.

"W-whoa... what are you talking about?" Nishiki felt his face grow hot, but he'd been drinking for about two hours, so it was probably the alcohol. His right hand was keeping a tight hold on the empty glass, while his free hand came up to brush his hair back. He was smiling, but it was forced and confused. He was sure she saw through it.

"Nishikiyama-kun. You're here nearly every night, telling me tales about your wonderful life with Kiryu-san. The stories are only as embellished as you make them. When you talk about Kiryu-san, your eyes sparkle as if he is the one bringing light into your life. Personally, I've never had a friend hold me to such a godly degree. I'm only saying that it's sweet and I think your relationship with him needs to be preserved and protected." Reina's words do something to Nishiki. They were full of observation and appreciativeness, but for some reason, his heart felt like it was going to explode. Then came the dull ache of loneliness.

"What are you saying, that I got a crush on my idiot brother?" He tried for a comedic approach, but the look on his face was fearful. He worried about what she was going to tell him, though he already knew what was coming.

Reina shook her head, her dark eyes on Nishiki's own. Her face was still warm and understanding.

"You don't have a crush on Kiryu-san, Nishikiyama-kun."

Nishiki tilted his head. Then, what...?

"You're in love with him."

The dim lights casted a shadow over the man's face, mirroring the emptiness he felt whenever he thought about his best friend. It was like the air in the small bar began to suffocate him, the atmosphere no longer comforting. Nishiki's body was frozen to the spot. He knew. He's always known that. Unconsciously, internally, for the longest time. Since the beginning, at the very start. Why did it feel so otherworldly to hear it confirmed aloud? For someone to wake Nishiki up and tell him to his face, this is the truth, this is what everyone sees, so why can't he? The beating of his heart was pulsating within his ears. He felt like he couldn't breathe. There was a glass of water placed before him, the clink of the cup hitting the counter awakening him from his trance. She said nothing to him, expected nothing. Nishiki was thankful for her patience. Gratefully, he took a small sip. As he felt the cool liquid chill his dry throat, the rest of the water was gulped down, as if he'd been dying of thirst. He'd been dying for Kiryu. The look of Kiryu's face when he's singing his heart out to cheesy rock ballads, the mischievousness in his big, brown eyes when he teased Nishiki about throwing his money away on luxurious things, the unconscious way Kiryu bites his lip or balls his hands into fists when he's embarrassed, the shape of his mouth around a lot cigarette, and the feeling of his shoulders when Nishiki wraps his arm over them to pull his friend close. God, he even notices the way Kiryu picked at his food when he's not hungry, rolling around chunks of meat or swirling strands of noodles with his chopsticks. Nishiki always thought it was so precious, that even recalling the memory now was putting a smile on his face. A huge, stupid grin that caused Reina to start laughing.

As if on cue, the door at the entrance opened.

"Oh, hello, sir. Is this your first visit?" Reina greeted, drawing her attention to a tall, handsome man in a pinstriped, white suit. Nishiki went back to his glass, which Reina has graciously filled with whatever alcohol he'd been drowning in that night. He was thankful for her. Grateful that he had someone to talk about his feelings to.

"Yes."

Nishiki's eyes could've popped out of his head at the sound of the familiar voice. He hadn't heard that smooth tone in so long, that it sent shivers throughout his body to be granted the privilege to listen. He sighed, though stiff. He couldn't turn his head. What would he say? Anxious that he would spill his lovestruck words the moment he opened his mouth, the red-suited man remained quiet.

"Nishiki?"

"Y-yo," said man muttered, nervous as all hell. Like he'd never been in more dangerous waters. Kiryu had this remarkable effect on Nishiki that made him shrivel up into a useless bundle of nerves. He's also the only one who's ever made Nishiki felt powerful, invincible, and useful.

Kiryu made his way over, settling next to his oath brother.

"What are you doing here?" He asked, tilting his head. God, all Nishiki wanted to do was pull him into his arms and never let go. Kiryu was a professional at looking the part of a terrorizing yakuza on the street, but on the inside, he was as pure as a puppy. Never been kissed, never looked at a woman with immoral thoughts. Never hungered for Nishiki. The last thought caused Nishiki to frown, Kiryu thought the look was directed at him.

"What? I'm not allowed to have a usual spot?" Nishiki winced at the pained look Kiryu gave him. Damn those brown eyes. Damn Nishiki, he didn't mean to make Kiryu feel bad. This is what he gets for being so emotional. The response came out a little snippy and sharp, but Nishiki wasn't angry. "The higher-ups in the family haven't found this place yet, so I can relax when I drink," Nishiki expanded on his explanation, feeling relieved when Kiryu's face softened a touch. "I was planning on bringing you here eventually."

"Looks like I saved you the trouble," Kiryu smiled.

He had no idea what that smile did to Nishiki.

Reina decided to break the silence.

"So, you're Kiryu-san? Nishikiyama-kun's told me so much about you," she grinned. Nishiki's eyes widened. Oh, god, no. Please, don't do this.

"Eh?"

"Yes, he's told me about how close you two are. All these stories of your childhood. He speaks about you with such high praise, I've never had friends like that. You two have a lovely relationship, I'm so jealous," Reina smiled, turning to the bottles behind the counter. "Would you like a drink, Kiryu-san?"

When he finally gathered up the courage to glance at his best friend, Nishiki felt his heart pound rapidly against his chest. It could have been the trick of the lifting, but it looked like Kiryu was wearing a healthy dusting of red on his cheeks. His eyes were on the counter, nervous to make eye contact at either Reina or Nishiki. Nishiki wanted to hold him and kiss the life out of him.

"Hey, Reina! Don't go telling him all that," Nishiki muttered, startled when Kiryu and he lock eyes.

"It's okay, Reina-san. I'm actually meeting a friend of mine in a few minutes, so I'll just wait," Kiryu spoke, a slight give in his voice.

A friend?

Reina nodded and gave Nishiki an all-knowing look. Nosy is what she is.

"A friend?" Nishiki inquired, trying his damnedest not to sound jealous. He wasn't a snot nosed brat with a silly crush anymore, but Kiryu sounds like he's been well-acquainted with his new buddies at Tachibana Real Estate. "Is it the enigmatic Tachibana-san?"

Kiryu scratched at the back of his head, the action making the opened portion of the shirt he was wearing slide open a little more. Like Nishiki could stay bitter when Kiryu's cleavage was out for the world to see, or for him to gawk at. Honeyed flesh... Nishiki briefly wondered if Kiryu tasted as sweet as he looked, then mentally slapped himself for the intrusive thought.

"Nah. This guy's his right hand man. Name's Oda," Kiryu replied, leaning over to rest his chin in his hand.

"Oda-san?" Nishiki mumbled, never hearing that name before.

"Just 'Oda'. Guy's an asshole."

Nishiki laughed, slapping his hand over Kiryu's back. The reaction made Kiryu laugh, too.

"Ahh, geez! I was so worried that working over at that place was going to change you! Good to know you're not eating out of your boss's hands. I mean, look at what those guys have you dressing in! Man!"

Kiryu furrowed his brows, making him look like a petulant child.

"The suit? I picked it out, remember? It's a nice outfit," Kiryu defended his choice in fashion like it was a badge of honor. Nishiki rolled his eyes at the statement.

"Yeah, yeah. You don't want to listen to me about fashion advice, I got it. Kiryu's a big boy now; doesn't need Daddy hanging over his shoulder, making decisions for him!" Nishiki was too busy to notice the way Kiryu's face deepened in color at the mention of the term "daddy", but when he looked at his usually stoic-faced friend and saw the harsh blush, he figured it was because he was poking so much fun at his expense. Reina wore a look on her face like she was going to call Nishiki an idiot.

"Anyway, Kiryu. I was talking about the hair and glasses. I mean, combing your hair? Fine. But those guys have got you wearing non-prescribed reading glasses. Makes you look like a jackass!"

Kiryu pouted, making Nishiki's heart stop at the display.

"I didn't think the glasses were that bad... I'm supposed to look the part of a businessman, so Oda insisted I wear them. If only to lessen the aggressive yakuza image," Kiryu muttered as he reached into his breast pocket for the blinkers. Unfolding the pair, he moved them onto his face, using his index finger to push the glasses in place on the bridge of his nose. Reina whistled her approval at the look, smiling at the sheepish expression on Kiryu's face.

"My, Kiryu-san! You look so young in those, and handsome, too. Doesn't he, Nishikiyama-kun?"

Swallowing the dirty words he suddenly wanted to lasciviously murmur into his friend's ear, Nishiki nodded, putting his face into his hand as he leaned over the counter.

"Nishiki?"

"Hm?"

Kiryu fidgeted. Curious, Nishiki's attention was once again on Kiryu. He knew his oath brother had a hard time expressing himself. Reacting to what he liked, what he didn't like, what he wanted to say, and what actually came out. He gave Kiryu a supportive smile, saying nothing. The other bit his lip.

"I... missed you, the last few days."

Stunned by the admission, both Reina and Nishiki stared at Kiryu with a slack-jawed expression. Nishiki's heart had undoubtedly begun to swell to a size that was risking danger, and just when he was about to admit that he felt the same loneliness his friend experienced, there was a creak as the door opened. A wavy-haired, lecherous-looking man in a brown, pinstriped suit came walking in. He looked significantly older than both Kiryu and Nishiki, maybe around five years their senior. Almost immediately, his eyes landed on Kiryu. A devilish smirk appeared on his face, a look that made Nishiki's brotherly instincts kick into high gear. He knew without even hearing his introduction. Without even hearing the man speak up.

This had to be the Oda asshole.

Chapter Text

"Yo, Kiryu. You made it."

Oda's tone was a mixture of heady sarcasm and smugness. Nishiki couldn't tell if this was a front to look like a big, bad business man that dabbled in the underworld, or if this was just the personality that the real estate agent felt most comfortable with. He squinted at the clash of colors on Oda's person, his blazer and suit coming off as tacky, rather than luxurious. His whole appearance was horrifyingly shady.

"You're the one holding me up, Oda," Kiryu rolled his eyes, not even bothering to turn around to acknowledge his superior. This didn't seem to faze the other man, which implied the 'friend or foe' hostility is the dynamic between the two. "What kept you, anyway? Didn't you say '10 'o clock'?"

Oda was standing behind Kiryu in just a few, short strides. He unabashedly wrapped an arm around the younger man's shoulders as he slumped over the newbie's back. The skinship seemed a little forced, but Kiryu didn't feel intimidated. It was too familiar of a touch, almost possessive. Nishiki bristled at the scene, but decided to keep quiet. This was his best friend's superior; he wasn't going to give into his sharp tongue and risk getting Kiryu in trouble. It didn't matter how much Nishiki wanted to rip the offending limb off of Kiryu and tear it to shreds.

"Aww, baby. I'm sorry. I know I kept you waiting a while. Don't be mad, please," Oda cooed, nuzzling his nose behind Kiryu's ear. One could see it wasn't in Oda's nature to be so sweet. He got a kick out of teasing Kiryu, it was clear as day. He was grinning at the involuntary shiver he received at the proximity, and chuckled when Kiryu slapped him away.

"Get off, asshole. I don't care anymore. And you're wearing too much cologne," Kiryu muttered, his cheeks dusted with red. Oda loved pushing his buttons; the insult barely registered his partner. He nervously glanced at Nishiki for a second, their eyes locking. Nishiki was biting the inside of his cheek, but offered a strained smile.

"Would you like a drink, sir?" Reina interrupted, breaking the tense atmosphere with her transition into mixologist. Oda settled on the stool beside Kiryu, locking the rookie in between himself and Nishiki. As he gave Reina his drink order, he turned to the pager in his pocket, as it suddenly beeped to life. Sighing, Oda read the message and laid his head back, shutting his eyes in frustration.

"No rest for the damn wicked," he groaned.

Kiryu turned to him.

"Is it Tachibana-san?"

Oda pocketed the device once again, his attention fully on Kiryu. The sadistic smirk he donned felt predatory and Nishiki didn't like it one bit. But he steadied the green beast within himself by locking cautious eyes with Reina, who also seemed put off by Oda's presence.

"We've got plenty of goons to work out the details, don't we? I told the boss I'd buy you a round for a job well done. He probably didn't like the idea that we were going to be alone, knowing I'd have a chance to snatch you right from underneath him. He's just being greedy!"

"But... it might be important. If he made the decision to page /you/, shouldn't you be the one to follow through, Oda?" Kiryu asked, seemingly confused by his superior's insistence that they drink together tonight. He also seemed to not notice Oda's wording on both his and Tachibana's obvious vying for Kiryu's mutual attraction. Nishiki stared, agape at the thick density of Kiryu's skull.

Oda gasped, feigning offense at the prospect that his junior didn't want to spend any quality time with him. Even going so far as to lay his hand over his heart, or the empty cavern where a person's heart would be.

"Why are you so eager to get rid of me, rookie? I'm hurt!"

"I-I'm not, I just don't want there to be any problems. And if you get in trouble, it doesn't have anything to do with me. Tachibana-san called for you. It'll be your ass," Kiryu muttered. Oda pouted.

"Ehh... you're sending me such mixed signals, junior. Do you hate me or like me? C'mon, which is it?"

"Shut up!"

This was inevitable. Kiryu was the physical encapsulation of purity itself. Even as children, when the older kids fawned over how cute Kiryu was, he simply thought they were making fun of him. Nishiki knew the road to getting Kiryu to notice him was going to be rough and full of obstacles, but he had to deal with people that were more threatening than the yakuza, too? This was crazy. Busying himself with his own drink, Nishiki found a distraction by raking his eyes up Kiryu's back. He never noticed how those broad shoulders slimmed down to a nice, slender waist. Idly, the red-suited man traced his index finger from Kiryu's collar, dragging it down as if tracing his spine. The action caused the man in glasses to jump in surprise. From where he was seated, Nishiki could see the tips of his friend's ears turn red. Startled by his own hands, Nishiki immediately pulled back as if he'd been burnt.

"Nishiki... what...?"

"Uhh, sorry, man. I thought I saw some... dust," Nishiki stuttered out weakly, busying his hand by burying it in his hair. "Ha ha. Did I startle you? My bad." Kiryu didn't look at him, but he shook his head at the question, so Nishiki was in the clear. When did his body start actively betraying his rationality like this?

Oda's curious eyes peeked over Kiryu's shoulder, landing on a flushed and anxious-looking Nishiki.

"Oh? I barely noticed there was another person here. How are you doing? I'm Oda," he greeted casually, holding up a hand to shake. Nishiki cleared his throat, his posture straightening. Have to make a good impression. For Kiryu's sake.

"Evening, Oda-san. I'm Nishikiyama. You work for Tachibana Real Estate, right? Thanks for looking after Kiryu. I know it's mostly orders, but I appreciate it nonetheless," Nishiki felt proud of his professional performance as he gripped Oda's hand, shaking it firmly. Kiryu seemed to like Nishiki's business persona, if his upturned lips were anything to go off of. It made the butterflies in Nishiki's stomach go nuts.

Oda shot him one of his dirty grins. One of his hands flew up and made a home on Kiryu's shoulder. In response, Nishiki's brow twitch in annoyance. Why did this guy have to wear such a punchable expression? Holding his poker face, Nishiki removed his hand to pick up his drink.

"Nishikiyama-san... Kiryu-kun barely talks about himself, much less his friends. Are you two close?"

"I'd say we're pretty close. Spent almost every day of our lives hanging out. We grew up together, kind of like brothers," Nishiki felt himself wince at the simple explanation. And why the fuck did he say that? The desperate attraction he felt for Kiryu went far beyond that of brotherly love. He wasnt trying to give Kiryu the signal that he only saw him as a brother and nothing more. Quickly, Nishiki added a comment to really drive his point home. "We aren't related, though." 'YOU ARE A FOOL!' Nishiki screamed internally, wanting the ground to collapse beneath him and swallow him whole.

Kiryu hid an amused smile behind his hand. Great, even Kiryu was laughing at his stupidity.

"We're closer than you'd think, Oda," Kiryu cut in.

"Ohh? What's that supposed to mean?" The older man pushed, leaning towards Kiryu with a raised brow. "You trying to make me and the boss jealous, or something?"

"Here's your drink, sir. Sorry for the wait," Reina placed a tall, mixed beverage in front of Oda, drawing his attention away as Nishiki gripped Kiryu by the shoulder, making his friend lean in.

"Oi, what are you saying, Kiryu? Closer than what?" He asked, genuinely curious at what he could have meant. Hopeful that he meant his feelings for Nishiki were also much more than brotherly. He couldn't go on thinking that his friend didn't have a semblance of mutual attraction for Nishiki. Even if it was just a little, he could work with that. It might all just be wishful thinking, but if Kiryu said he could see there being an opportunity to grow feelings for Nishiki, he'd take it in a heartbeat.

"Nishiki."

"Huh?"

Kiryu's voice was barely above a whisper, but Nishiki heard it loud and clear. Like a crashing wave against hard boulders on a distant shore. Like construction work outside a window. He felt his heart hammering in his chest, his hands trembling as Kiryu slowly grabbed hold of them.

"Let's meet up at my apartment later, okay?"

The long-haired man nodded as he swallowed a huge lump in his throat.

"You got it, bro."

Chapter Text

Reina had been asking the three men questions about their work, if only to pass the time. It was a slow night, with this unlikely trio as her only party to cater to. She questioned them mostly about their hours, and if the jobs they've been burying themselves in recently have allowed at least a couple winks of sleep. It was comforting to hear a caring woman like Reina show concern for them, each man feeling touched at her show of nurturing. She's cleaning stray glasses with a spotless rag as she signals Nishiki to scoot closer to Kiryu. When she isn't using her eyebrows to express the dire need for the yakuza to sidle up beside his crush, she's asking the other two if they'd like a glass of water to dilute the alcohol. Nishiki commends her mentally for her multi-tasking skills.

It's not as if Nishiki doesn't want to make a move on Kiryu, because he wanted nothing more than to stare into his best friend's eyes, make a comment about how much he enjoys the lighting in the bar because it's colors mix well with Kiryu's deep brown oculars, then lean in to steal a kiss. The only problem is that while Nishiki has perfected the attempt over several trials in his apartment in front of the mirror, he doubted that Oda would let him snag Kiryu's attention for even a second. While the other man came off as a douche in so many ways, Nishiki had to praise his confidence. The man's ribs were pressed right up against Kiryu's side, an arm lazily slung around the rookie's shoulders. He'd take a small sip of whatever cocktail he ordered in the last twenty minutes before turning to Kiryu, making direct eye contact, and whispering something just out of Nishiki's reach. Everything that he says has Kiryu smacking the older guy while a scandalized expression sits on his face. Nishiki wasn't just going to sit there and watch this happen, but he didn't want to look like a possessive idiot. Kiryu was allowed to have other friends, it's just that this guy rubbed Nishiki the wrong way. He was all too willing to throw himself over the other guy, flirting with Kiryu, laughing at his reactions. It made Nishiki briefly wonder if the Tachibana that's supposedly close friends with Oda was anything like him. He'd caught onto what Oda was saying earlier about how the mystery shadow boss was also interested in Kiryu, and didn't like when Oda and him were alone together. Well, that made two of them, Nishiki thought.

Nearly an hour has gone by before Oda decides he can't make Tachibana wait any longer than he already has. If he wanted his position secured by the time he returned to the office, he figured he needed to head out. He sighed as he dropped a stack of bills on the counter, giving Reina a gentlemanly smile.

"Thanks for the company, Mama. It was fun getting to know you. You're the sweetest woman I've ever shared a word with."

Reina waved him off with a swish of her delicately painted hand, pink arising on her cheeks.

"Oh, I bet you say that to all the girls, Oda-san. You must be a real playboy," she giggled, looking down at the cash and gawking at the amount. "My, this is much more than you owe me!"

Oda grinned, dismissing her accusations as he glanced at both Kiryu and Nishiki, gauging the comfortable distance between the two. It felt too safe, he decided. Better hop on out of here.

"Ahh, I wanted to drink a lot more, but the boss is riding my ass about doing extra jobs, so I'm back on the clock. I'll take care of the kiddies' tabs. Have 'em drinking until morning, if it's what they want. I'm sure they've got a lot they gotta talk about."

Just before any of them could protest, the wavy-haired schemer made a break for the door. Kiryu and Nishiki gaped at the man when he bid them goodnight with a curt wave and sinister wink as he cleared out of the bar. Reina took the cash and moved it to the register. The only noise filling the room was the clicking noises of the metallic cash-holder and the low volume of the radio. The bar was silent for a good minute or two before the woman spoke up.

"Geez, you two... you've been handed an opportunity to sort through your feelings, and you're just going to sit there and stare at each other? I'd think you would have been well-acquainted with each other's faces by now," she teased, hands on her hips. "I made quite a bit of money tonight, so I've decided to close up early. You boys don't need to go home, but you can't stay here!"

Nishiki coughed, his throat feeling more parched than he's ever had the misfortune to experience. He glimpsed at the object of his affection, just to see if Kiryu was on the same, awkward page as he was. The two of them always worked in sync, and today was no different. Kiryu looked every bit as dumbstruck as Nishiki felt, and it gave him a bit of comfort to know they were in the same boat.

"Kiryu?"

"Hm?"

Nishiki felt the collar of his shirt get increasingly hotter. He swallowed.

"Did you want to head out now, rather than later?"

Kiryu nodded. The two of them locked eyes, shared a smile at the silly situation they were in, then said their goodnights to Reina as they headed towards the street. She looked more ecstatic for them than either men felt put together. If Nishiki could focus on anything but the feeling of Kiryu's arm on his shoulders, he'd have caught her tearing up at their departure. They could drink on Oda's dime another night.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It was a short drive from Serena to Kiryu's neighborhood, probably around ten to fifteen minutes. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough for the two men to relax or create a plan of action. Nishiki had been to Kiryu's apartment hundreds of times. It was like home for Nishiki -- his own apartment was small, emptier than Kiryu's. He really only went home to sleep, then he was up all day, working to climb the family ladder. At least his oath brother put an effort into making his apartment feel like a home. Every bit of the small space was comforting to Nishiki. Though now, he felt nothing but nerves, and the silence was making things worse. It felt like his heart was drumming violently in his ear. Nishiki was every bit as confident as the next young and handsome man, but he was always a wreck when it came to Kiryu. A bumbling, second-guessing, emotional wreck. He was going to go through with it, no matter what. That's what he decided when Kiryu walked into Serena tonight. He'd been granted so many chances to spill his feelings, but he's always chickened out. Not tonight. He hadn't seen Kiryu for what felt like years, who knew when they'd see each other again? Their paths have crossed so rarely since Kiryu left the family. Nishiki wasn't going to let someone else come into the picture and steal the man he loved more than anything in the world right from under his nose.

While he worried about his feelings, battled with his doubts, and stressed about how he was going to broach the topic, Kiryu was sitting quietly in the passenger seat, his fingers tapping against his knees as he stared at the passing street lights. For as long as he's been alive, he'd been able to get by with few spoken words, but with Nishiki, he spoke freely, easily, and without barriers.

To Kiryu, Nishiki was where home truly was. Nishiki gave him comfort, safety, and if he were entirely alone, somehow he could say with certainty that Nishiki would be standing by his side, ready to take on the world with him. He figured he needed to let Nishiki know how important he was to Kiryu. It was necessary for the two to be on the same page. He was done pushing Nishiki away when all he wanted was to stand in Kiryu's corner and offer everything he had. The last couple of days without hearing his voice, the hearty laughter, seeing his charming smile, and feeling the warm touch of his hugs, sent Kiryu into a deep withdrawal. He felt like he was slowly losing himself, like he was retreating into a robotic vessel, devoid of emotions. He wanted to feel the life that Nishiki granted him when they were together.

"Kiryu, we're here."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Once in the apartment, Nishiki settled in the usual spot he's established as his own over time, by Kiryu's folded futon in front of the small table. Having already shrugged off his jacket, he slouched comfortably in the warmth of Kiryu's home, drowning himself in the familiar scent of citrus and hints of smoky tobacco. Kiryu paused for a second, before turning to his fridge.

"Want some water?" He offered, dragging his eyes around the ice chest until he spotted a couple of bottles on the first shelf. He wasn't thirsty himself, but due to the overwhelming feelings of uncertainty he's been struggling with all night, it was a true challenge to be alone with Nishiki, possibly because of the shit Oda was feeding him earlier at Serena. 'Don't let the chance I give you go to waste, rookie. I'm being generous and allowing you to get it on with your smoking hot friend, there. I'm gonna get the shit stomped out of me when I get back, so you owe me big time.' God, he hated Oda, but he really did save him tonight. It would've been back to the office if he hadn't taken the sharp-tongued man's offer. And who knows when he'll be free to see Nishiki again?

"Nah, I'm good. Kiryu? Could you come here, please?"

Nishiki took a deep breath as he watched Kiryu obey, absently sitting beside his childhood friend without any objections. There were bits of internal panicking, but Nishiki didn't have to know that. Straight to the point while he still had his courage, throwing doubts and excuses out the window, Nishiki grabbed one of his friend's hands, drawing Kiryu's wide eyes to his own.

"Listen, Kiryu... I don't want you to misunderstand anything I tell you tonight. I haven't even really been drinking, so I'm going to remember everything I blurt out. I-I've been keeping this secret from you for a very long time. Like, our whole lives. I..." Nearly choking, Nishiki huffed out a short sigh.

'Breathe deeply, Akira!'

"Kiryu... I've been in love with you since we were those hyperactive, starry-eyed brats at Sunflower Orphanage. I've thought about you every day, and dreamt about you every night. It sounds so juvenile and stupid now that I'm hearing this, but I've been missing you since you left the family. It hasn't been the same without you around. You don't come by Kazama-san's office anymore, and we can't find any time to meet up. I've been worried sick since you joined up with that Tachibana gang and disappeared from my radar, and poor Reina's been putting up with my senseless whining about how much I want to see you every day for the past week, give or take." Nishiki's trembling by the time he takes the next, long breath. At some point, he had taken hold of Kiryu's other hand, and was clutching them both with a desperate, vice grip. As if Kiryu would disappear if he let go. Nishiki felt a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders for just telling the man how he felt, but now came the scary part.

"Nishiki..."

"Kiryu, please, don't feel like you have to tell me anything back. I'm already being hysterical enough as it is. I think I just missed you so much, I've gone insane... or maybe, I've been unhinged since the very beginning...? But, it's okay! It's okay, Kiryu," Nishiki whispered, his hand coming up to cup the other's cheek. He felt like a gargantuan moron. There was no way Kiryu could understand any of his nonsensical babbling at this point.

Nishiki blinked as he stared at his hand, which was startlingly wet. Frightened, he looked at the man before him, and felt his heart being crushed by the heavy weight of the sight of his strong brother in tears. Kiryu was staring at him, free hand gripping Nishiki's, and the other furiously wiping away at the offending tears falling from his eyes.

"K-Kiryu, what's the matter? I... oh, Kiryu, I'm sorry. I'm freaking you out, aren't I? God. God! Bro, please. It's okay. Kiryu... just forget I came over tonight," Nishiki felt his heart breaking at the sight of his best friend sobbing over his confession. He'd ruined everything, just like he thought he would. He knew this would be too much pressure to put onto Kiryu, and yet, he selfishly went along with this horribly organized plan of his, anyway! It was because of Oda goading him all night, awakening the jealous beast within him, that pushed him to make a move. Or was it because Kashiwagi-san's been telling him to get off mopey ass and find Kiryu to talk things through? Or was it Reina, who had planted the seed in his head that everything was just going to work out? Deep down, past the nebulous haze of Nishiki's panicking, he knew it was nobody's fault but his own. He just couldn't handle everything falling apart like this.

"Kiryu... I'm sorry. I'll go. Please don't worry about what I said, okay?" Nishiki felt his own eyes begin to sting; the fact that he brought upon the man he loved so much pain angered him to the point that he just wanted to wander the streets and get beaten to a pulp. As he was about to stand, he felt Kiryu's grip on his hand tighten. He wasn't budging. Nishiki settled back down on his knees. Kiryu was sobbing, and Nishiki felt like the biggest asshole on the planet for being the cause of this horrible scene.

"...shiki... you're an idiot...!" came a semi-coherent sentence in between sobs, jolting Nishiki from his self-hating trance.

"Eh?"

Kiryu focused his attention to the other, his fixed look a glare. Those brown eyes that Nishiki adored more than anything on this planet were shining with fresh tears. He wanted nothing more to kiss him, then apologize.

His collar was suddenly gripped with both hands, Kiryu pulling Nishiki until they were nose to nose.

"I-D-I-O-T!" He nearly screamed, spelling out the word like Nishiki wouldn't understand if he wasn't speaking in such a slow tone. Nishiki was blinking rapidly, his mouth hanging open as he came up with a lack of response. Kiryu shook him a couple of times, clearly frustrated at the sight of his inactive best friend.

"I can't believe you didn't tell me sooner, stupid. And what's all this garbage about being sorry? 'Just forget I came over tonight'? Ahh! I want to beat the shit out of you," Kiryu glowered, his voice hoarse. He shared his feelings in between hiccups. He released Nishiki's collar with a slight shove, and used the sleeve of his dress shirt to wipe at his eyes. His face was a whole new shade of red now, raw from the crying. "I hate how you put me on this pedestal, like I'm some kind of alien that doesn't understand feelings. Like I'm your idiot younger brother that you need to keep pure. Stupid. If it weren't for all your moping and hesitance, I would have told you how I felt way before you said anything."

Nishiki was astonished, and stunned into silence. He didn't know what to do. What to say. In fact, what was Kiryu saying? That he loved him? How could he love him? Nishiki was nothing but a coward that waited too long to say something and now Kiryu's here, crying because of how embarrassing it is to even be affiliated --

"Nishiki!"

One pair of eyes met another at the call of his name. It felt like a blessing from God himself when Kiryu said his name, and Nishiki always felt so filthy at the tenderness his friend constantly showed him.

Kiryu had shuffled closer. His arms swooped up to wrap around Nishiki's neck, then in the blink of an eye, his warm lips were covering Nishiki's own. Nishiki's hands found themselves holding the two of the steady by resting on the other's waist before he realized that his confession had just been accepted. Kiryu's kissing him. His lips are as soft as he's dreamed they were. They're as warm as Nishiki felt whenever the other's name is brought up in conversation. Kiryu loves him. Nishiki was beginning to quiver, overwhelmed by the sudden influx of information. Suddenly aware of his surroundings and the tempting situation he was in, Nishiki pulled away, blinking back the inevitable tears.

What he received at the motion was a confused frown on Kiryu's face, as if he was told tragic news. Nishiki wanted to kick his own ass for causing the man to look so down.

"Kiryu, are you sure?" Nishiki shakily asked, fingers gripping the fabric of the other's shirt. His hands have dropped down to rest on Kiryu's hips while he waited for a response. Kiryu cocked his head to the side, eyes curiously roaming over his friend's face.

"Yes," he answered, pointedly. "I've wanted to tell you for a long time, but... we just haven't had any time together. So... I know how you feel, Nishiki."

His words sent Nishiki over the moon, his head drumming with excitement.

"Gah! I can't believe it. I'm so happy!" He grinned, unable to contain his emotions any longer. The obvious glee send Kiryu into a fit of laughter, the two men basking in happiness together. It was only a few seconds before Nishiki took notice of their position. Kiryu was kneeling before him, lean arms wrapped around his neck, while Nishiki's hands gripped tightly at his waist. He cleared his throat. "Hey, Kiryu... another thing...? Do you want to do something tonight? Obviously, we don't have to, and I'd chop my hands off before I force you into anything. So..."

Said man stared down at Nishiki's hold on him. He shivered at the feeling of those strong hands on his body. Steadying him. Kiryu felt his head begin to spin, like he'd only just realized the position the two of them were in. Newly established lovers, all alone, in his apartment. He nodded, leaning into Nishiki's embrace, feeling the other man wrap his arms around Kiryu's body in a tight hug. His own hands caged Nishiki's face tenderly as he kissed him once more.

"I want to do everything, Nishiki," Kiryu murmured, feeling slightly embarrassed. The sly words sending fire straight throughout the other's body. Okay. That was unexpected, and really dangerous. Kiryu's clinging onto him, legs moving to either side of Nishiki's thighs as he sits, turning his attention to the visible area of skin on his lover's neck, his lips stationed just over Nishiki's ear. "Teach me everything."

"Huh?" Nishiki squeaked, the feeling of Kiryu's mouth pecking at his neck hypnotizing him. "Hey...! W-what do you mean 'everything'? Kiryu, you haven't done any of this stuff before, right? Uhh... hey!" Kiryu wasn't paying any attention to Nishiki's words, already drunk on the motion of smothering his lover's skin with tender kisses. "Ahh... you want to rush your first time on an emotional high like tonight? We don't have to do everything right from the get go."

Understanding that Nishiki's intentions were moral and gentleman-like, Kiryu appreciated the sentiment. Though, it wasn't like Nishiki as the only person in this relationship starved for the other's attention. He'd waited just as long as the other man to finally get his hands on him. He pulled away when he felt Nishiki stiffen in his arms, Kiryu's face shifting into petulance, like a reprimanded child that had been refused a toy. Time for a new approach.

"You don't want to have sex with me?" Kiryu straightened his back, challenging Nishiki with mischievous fingers burying themselves into the other's long, brown hair. Eyes widening at the emboldened strategy, Nishiki swallowed hard at the short nails gently scraping his scalp, sending shivers down his spine. Kiryu held some strands in one fist, giving an experimental tug, succeeding in flipping a switch within Nishiki. If Kiryu wanted to play dirty, that was fine. It was welcomed every which way it came, but Nishiki wasn't going to succumb to his urges and force the other man underneath him without a shred of consideration. That wasn't his style.

"Urgh... ughhhhh," Nishiki groaned, furrowing his brows in frustration as Kiryu snickered at the severe lack of coolness on his face. "Do you even have what we're gonna need to have sex? Lube, condoms, you know? As much as I want to, I'm not going to go through with this if my only option is to take you dry. I'd rather die than put you through that."

He wanted to take care of Kiryu with every fiber in his being, but if they didn't even have slick to ease the way --

"I do, actually. I have some packets of the travel-sized stuff."

"What? Why would you just have those lying around? When would you need to--" Kiryu put his fingers to Nishiki's mouth, silencing him before he gave himself a heart attack trying to decipher who Kiryu could possibly be canoodling with. Nishiki relaxed when Kiryu kissed the tip of his nose.

"Oda's been handing me bundles of that stuff for the past three days," Kiryu explained.

"Why's that asshole giving you shit?" Nishiki grumbled, rubbing his temples as Kiryu digs into his jacket pocket. "Wait... today, too?! He slipped you some and I didn't even notice?"

Kiryu laughed.

"Why do you think he's always hanging all over me? He slid some into my pocket earlier at Serena's. Told me to be safe, said you looked like a real beast with how much you were staring at me all night," Kiryu tossed the sachets of lubricant onto the table as Nishiki blushed at both the comparison and accusation.

"Okay, so I guess he isn't a total asshole. He kinda saved us tonight. Wait, what about condoms? I don't suppose he's been giving you those, too?"

"Well, no. He knows I've never been with anybody."

Nishiki furrowed his brows.

"How'd he figure that out? Did you spill your guts to him over a drink or something?"

"Nah, nothing like that. He, uh. He wanted to hook up once, and it kind of ended with me telling him I was a virgin," Kiryu replied, sheepishly. When he caught the infuriated look that manifested on Nishiki's face, he smoothed his hand over the man's cheek. Smiling when he felt the other relax, Kiryu nuzzled his nose into the messy, brown locks atop Nishiki's head. "It's okay. Nothing happened. We're good now."

It took a second before Kiryu began unbuttoning Nishiki's shirt; it was then that he realized he was shaking just as noticeably as Nishiki was. Swearing under his breath after the third attempt to unbutton one stubborn section, Nishiki placed his hand over Kiryu's.

"Do NOT feel obligated to go through with this tonight, Kiryu. I fell in love with you because you were my best friend and you made me want to be the best version of myself at all times. If you don't even want to have sex, we can stop and pick it up whenever you feel you're ready. I'd be grateful just falling asleep with you in my arms. I don't need you to do anything more than that. This isn't a requirement in a relationship, it's a luxury to be given," Nishiki reminded, running his fingers through Kiryu's short, messy hair. Kiryu looked as though he was going to devolve into a mess of tears again. He was luckier than any bigwig yakuza he knew because he had Nishiki in his life. No one else would know the blessing this man is.

"I'm ready. I'm just really nervous... I don't know what I'm doing, but I know I want to do this," he confirmed, removing the black and yellow dress shirt Nishiki donned on the regular. Kiryu ran his hand down his lover's sculpted chest, closing the distance between their torsos as he squirmed his way onto Nishiki's lap once more. "I'll let you know if we're moving too quickly, Nishiki."

"Doesn't matter how little we've done, and it won't matter how far we've gotten. I will stop if you want me to," Nishiki reminded him, wrapping his arms around Kiryu and giving him a tight squeeze. He could feel their hearts beating in sync, the rhythm finally sounding more like a melody than alarms. Finished with their hopelessly emotional exchange, the two of them began drowning each other in messy, desperate kisses.

Both have wanted this for ages, but they were clumsy and desperate. It would've embarrassed them to no end if they had any semblance of dignity left. Kiryu was grinding down on Nishiki's crotch, making the long-haired yakuza shudder at the intensity. He didn't realize until now how hard he's gotten. Eager to explore every inch of his newfound lover's body, Kiryu removed his spit-slicked lips from Nishiki's neck. His lust-addled gaze landed on the other man's crotch, his fingers running over the noticeable bulge that had formed during their heated kissing session.

Kiryu palmed at the erection through the fabric, feeling breathless at the slight twitches he felt under his hand. Nishiki thought he was going to explode the minute he met the other's eyes, noticing how Kiryu's pupils were blown dark and wide. Nishiki raised a hand onto Kiryu's impressive chest, thumbing one of his nipples through the gaudy, orange shirt. He heard Kiryu suck in a faint breath at the touch. Feeling ravenous, Nishiki fit two of his thumbs into the gap between fabric and button and proceeded to swiftly rip the shirt open. Brown buttons flew every which way, shocking Kiryu but undoubtedly turning him on at the display of aggressiveness.

"Are you trying to woo me?" Kiryu teased, staring down at his exposed chest.

"Did it work?" Nishiki grinned, feeling victorious at the giggle he received. He wasted no time in latching his mouth over one of Kiryu's perky nipples, engulfing the nub in wet heat. The sudden sensation wrung a stuttered gasp from the man above him. Kiryu's thighs were trembling from the feeling of Nishiki's tongue laving over the sensitive flesh.

"O-oh... what are you doing?" Kiryu breathed, his eyes heavy lidded as Nishiki remained silent. When the focused man pinched the other nipple and lightly grazed his teeth over the one he was working with, Kiryu whimpered. The sounds were driving Nishiki wild. "Nishikiiii...! Ugh, that feels weird..."

"Want me to stop?" Nishiki asked, his narrow eyes playful. Kiryu shook his head, feeling the tips of his ears grow warm. "You're so cute, bro. Here, let's take the rest of this off."

The two untangled themselves just enough to strip their bodies of the last remaining barriers between them. Nishiki rolled out the fluffy futon as Kiryu pushed the table towards the far end of the room. As the two of them sat before each other, knees on the bed and eyes on their faces, Kiryu lowered his head for a second.

"Please be patient with me," he mumbled, feeling embarrassed for the umpteenth time that night. Nishiki put his hands on Kiryu's shoulders. Their lips found each other easily in the dark, the moonlight the only thing illuminating the room. The window by Kiryu's head was large and allowed enough light into the apartment that Nishiki didn't mind the darkness. He laid Kiryu down onto his back, the short-haired man staring up at him like Nishiki was the most important man in the world. The abundance of trust that his oath brother put into him made every obstacle and failure in Nishiki's life feel so insignificant. He didn't care what happened to him tomorrow, so long as Kiryu was by his side.

They spent the better half of the night exploring each other's bodies. Hands roamed over lean muscles, fingers raking nails down chests, and hips grinding against each other. By the time Kiryu spoke up, both men were panting and delirious.

"Nishiki, please. Now..." Kiryu uttered, his hand reaching for the packets of lube by his side. "Do it for me?"

Nishiki sat up without any resistance, grabbing a pillow from behind him to lay underneath his lover's backside. He stroked his hand along Kiryu's inner thigh, urging him to spread his legs wide. Kiryu complied without a word, allowing Nishiki to scoot closer, settling between the space like it had been reserved for him. After he tore open a packet, he lathered his fingers in the thick substance. Rubbing three of his fingers together to warm them, he caught Kiryu staring, entranced by his actions.

"What are you looking at?" Nishiki smiled, intertwining the fingers of his free hand with one of Kiryu's. The usually stoic-faced man bit his lip before saying anything. It looked like there was some uncertainly in his expression.

"Is it going to hurt, Nishiki?" He inquired, eyes darting from he man's glossy fingers to the rather impressive hard-on he was sporting. It wasn't like Kiryu was any less aroused, but he had absolutely no experience in the field of love-making. If it hurt, he could probably handle the pain. He's been scratched up in fights dozens of times. But his type of pain might be different. It was worrying.

"Sorry... it might be uncomfortable in the beginning since you're new to it, but I promise we'll take our time. Just let me know if you want me to go slower, okay?"

Kiryu nodded. It couldn't be any more painful that the times he's been beaten to a pulp by some street thugs.

Nishiki admired the way his index finger looked pressed against Kiryu's entrance, feeling himself throb excitedly as he slowly pushed his digit into the other man. It was so hot, Nishiki felt sweat begin to form at his temples. Tight, too. He swallowed the saliva that began to fill his mouth at the thought of burying his length deep into his partner. Surprisingly, he buried his finger all the way to the last knuckle without Kiryu uttering a single word, or making a sound of displeasure. He quickly glanced down to check his face. Kiryu seemed fine, if only dark red in the face.

"You okay?" He received a hasty nod in response. Kiryu looked eager to continue, his eyes glazed over in unfettered lust. Their hands were still tightly intertwined, and he gave Kiryu a quick squeeze.

"I'm going to put another one in."

Nishiki rubbed at the sensitive skin around the puckered hole, marveling at the way the flesh stretched taut as he pushed another finger in. The sight made him moan aloud, the fingers sliding against each other within Kiryu's burning walls.

"Kiryu... oh, my god. You're amazing. I can't believe you're body's doing this. You're taking my fingers in so well. Ahh, it's so tight, but you're relaxing for me, aren't you? You're such a good boy," Nishiki felt dizzy and his mouth was running a rampage on its own like it had its own agenda to follow, that being flustering Kiryu to no end. He felt the flesh around his fingers tighten and quiver. His eyes darted up to meet Kiryu's as he began to stretch and rub at the smooth insides.

"What's wrong, Kiryu? Does it feel weird?"

"Nnn... no, but you're talking so much, all of a sudden," Kiryu gasped, arching his back when Nishiki plunged both fingers deep into him without warning. "H-hey!"

Nishiki smiled devilishly at the response he received. He repeated the action a couple more times, pulling his fingers out only to thrust them back in, curling the two up against a sensitive bundle of nerves that was spreading such delicious pleasure throughout Kiryu's body. He pulled whimpers and gasps out of his lover until he couldn't take it anymore, ripping another packet of lube open, he pouted the contents onto his aching member.

"Ready?" He asked, positioning the tip at Kiryu's twitching entrance. The other man was breathless; he squeezed their intertwined hands this time, signaling to continue. Gritting his teeth as Nishiki began to slowly push his length into Kiryu, the short-haired man muttered a curse. It didn't hurt, but there was a lot of pressure on his lower half. Nishiki was being careful, but he could tell that it was strenuous for the yakuza to control himself to the degree he had been. Once buried deep inside, both men let out a trembling sigh. They were still for a moment, catching their breaths. Kiryu pulled Nishiki down to meld their lips together, his hole convulsing around Nishiki.

"Do you feel good, Nishiki?" Kiryu asked, feeling the other man twitch inside of him. The expression Nishiki was wearing was of manic adoration. Even in times like these, Kiryu wanted to be the one taking care of others' needs. In lieu of answering, Nishiki gave an experimental thrust of his hips, both of them moaning at the movement.

"How's that for an answer?"

"It's not good enough..." Kiryu sighed, his ankles crossing over Nishiki's spine. He pulled him closer, wrenching a breathy moan from the man hovering over him. Nishiki returned his attention to Kiryu's chest, pressing his face into the space between his two, massive pecs. As he buryed himself into the comfort that was this pillow of muscle, he began thrusting his hips into Kiryu with wanton abandon.

"Kiryu... I love you," Nishiki moaned, pulling back slowly, the tip of his member being squeezed by Kiryu, before thrusting himself back in. Kiryu cried out with a ravished moan as Nishiki rubbed the pleasure bundle inside of him with every thrust.

It was addicting. It was carnal, and neither of them wanted to stop. Kiryu begged for Nishiki to continue messing him up from the inside, and Nishiki, helpless to the demands of his beloved, obliged without so much as a peep. As if they were hormonal teens, they voraciously went at it for what felt like hours, rubbing up against each other, smothering their every inch of skin with sloppy kisses, Nishiki kept a quick, messy rhythm that had Kiryu shivering and unable to spew anything mildly intelligent. By the time they were thrown over the edge and gasping for air, it was impossible for either men to get up to retrieve a cloth to wash up with. Figuring it wasn't worth stumbling through the apartment half-awake, Nishiki covered them both with the blanket and they embraced each other while they slept. They could figure it out in the morning.