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“May I ask you something?”

It was always like that, any time Touya asked him a question. When he was Yue, anyway. Whenever he was Yukito, the conversation between Touya and his other self was fluid, easy. Nothing like this polite, cautious tone that Yue wasn’t sure whether or not he wanted to get past.

He’d always been formal with Clow Reed, and anyone able to master and command the cards was his master and due that same respect. It felt wrong to address Sakura so familiarly as Keroberos did. That should extend to anyone around her.

Touya, however…

“What would you ask?” It wouldn’t be so hard, to relax into the familiarity afforded to his other self. But he’d kept himself wrapped in the layers of distance for so long that it was hard to shed them now, even with Touya looking so gently at him.

“I’d like to see your wings.”

Yue was startled enough at his request that his wings almost came out of their own accord. Normally, indoors, he kept them close, concealed even in his own form, a habit from having to hide for so long. At first it had been due to the small quarters of Touya’s room. But they were at Yukito’s dwelling now, with plenty of space and an entire courtyard. There was no reason for Yue to deny Touya’s request, other than the sense that in acquiescing, he might slide even further into giving him anything he asked for, just for that sense of a warm glow in his chest, for the sight of that soft smile that no one else got to see.

There was barely a sound as he unfurled them, letting them relax from being snugged so tightly up against his back. He’d been apprehensive, but the sight of the shift of Touya’s expression, his eyes widening just that amount that perhaps no one but Yue would have caught it, caused him to let his wings spread further out, ruffling them slightly in a breeze he called.

The feathers of his wings so rarely got to feel the air these days; the only times he let them spread was when there were more pressing issues or threats, with no attention to spare. Now, though, the only pressing thought was how to keep calm as he watched Touya’s hand stretch toward his wings, spread wide and vulnerable.

Touya had said he’d like to see them, and Yue knew that if he protested this motion, Touya would pull his hand back instantly, apologizing and immediately changing the subject. That would be that.

But then he would likely never ask again, and Yue would miss out on what it would feel like to have someone touch his wings after all these years.

The first touch of Touya’s fingers to his feathers made him shudder, a full-body involuntary jerk into a feeling that jolted through his entire body. Yue would feel worse about the way he could feel the way his face heat up if he couldn’t see an answering flush spread across Touya’s face, so rare across his normally-calm expression.

He’d never had anyone do what Touya was doing now, the closest to grooming he’d let anyone get in centuries. Even Clow Reed hadn’t been allowed to do this, to run his fingers through the feathers of Yue’s wings, parting them and smoothing down the way they lay. It was too close, too much—

Touya’s hand stopped at the moan that slipped out of Yue’s mouth.

“Should I stop?” he asked, as if Yue’s pride would ever allow him to give an answer other than ‘no,’ as if anything Touya did would ever make Yue want him to stop.

He couldn’t answer, not with words or expressions, so he moved to sit in front of Touya instead, turning around and letting his wings cover those hands that were already questing forward, already reaching to hold him steady.

Touya had always been good at picking up on things unsaid; without another word, his fingers delved deep, ruffling then smoothing out Yue’s feathers once more.

With his face away from Touya, it was easier to let his mouth fall slack, to let his hands clench into the fabric of his robes. Each brush of Touya’s fingers felt electric - certainly he’d never felt anything this intense when simply grooming his own wings. Yue had thought it a personal action, but nothing special, simply shaking out the fluff that accumulated. He simply hadn’t wanted anyone else to be involved in something so mundane, so associated with daily grime.

This was something entirely different - each movement of each feather felt rooted in his core; each touch of Touya’s fingers to a feather, each gentle brush that ran from the downy root to the sleek tips, running from inner feathers to pinions, shot through Yue.

He couldn’t help the soft gasp that escaped him; he knew there was no way such a quiet sound could echo in a room like this but it still felt impossibly loud. Touya certainly heard it, his hands coming to a stop.

“Yue?” he asked, his voice as soft as Yue had ever heard it. But as before, Yue couldn’t bring himself to answer, letting his body speak for him instead. He settled more firmly back against Touya’s hands, even as the sensation drove a gasp from him that Touya would have to be deaf to miss.

With more just than the magic between them, the air thrummed with each breath Yue took. He felt surrounded by Touya, so close to vibrating out of his skin that he could hardly believe he was still sitting in once place. Touya’s thumbs moved to begin to massage slow circles where the wings met his back; even covered by his clothes, the sensation was enough to make him pitch forward, barely catching himself with his hands in time.

“It’s...fine. I’m fine,” he bit off, not wanting to give anything away and knowing that if he did, Touya would stop. Somehow that felt worse than the idea of his pride eroding, of letting the cool, aloof exterior he’d cultivated slip.

“If you’re sure.” Yue had never been less sure of anything in his life. He’d also never been as aware of every single feather in his wings, had never known which moved more easily than others, which were more pliant under the motions of Touya’s massaging motions than the rest.

Another gasp, feeling close to tears with the effort of not pitching further forward, of not sinking back entirely into Touya’s grasp. He’d already let Touya buoy him before - what was the harm of doing so again, and in a way that was much less life-altering?

“P...please…,” he whispered. Yue’s back arched slightly, pushing his wings and the bridge of them further into Touya’s hands.

“Like this?” Touya’s hands ran over the ridge of feathers at the top of Yue’s wings, ruffling then smoothing them in a way even Yue had never done before. It felt like a magic he’d never experienced before in all his years and had him twisting around before he could think twice about it. He felt untethered and desperate, but for what he didn’t know.

Not until Touya leaned forward, hands still stroking down Yue’s wings, and kissed him softly.

He’d been kissed by Touya before, but always as Yukito; it shouldn’t have felt so different to have Touya kiss him like this, but there had always been that separation, that holding himself apart. It had been something that was theirs, a part of a normal life he had no place in.

Or so he’d thought. Touya seemed to hold none of that same reserve with the way his mouth moved over Yue’s, soft and sure in the same way his hands had felt buried in Yue’s wings.

“ this okay?” A part of Yue felt proud that he could still form words as Touya pulled back.

Touya laughed. “I think that’s what I should be asking you.” Yue could feel his mouth still open in shock, knew that his eyes were wide under Touya’s gaze. Nodding was slower than he would have liked, but eventually his limbs obeyed as he turned slightly in Touya’s arms.

“And this?” Touya ran his hands over the tops of Yue’s wings once more, lightly stroking through the feathers.

“I don’t…” Yue shook his head to clear it. “I don’t groom them so frequently.” He paused, looking at Touya. “But…”

“But if I did it?” Touya asked, picking up on the thread of words Yue couldn’t bring himself to say.

“They should be groomed more often.”

Touya’s laugh was bright as he leaned in to kiss Yue once more. “Then I’ll do it for you.”