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After the last fireworks die down, their bright embers fading in the night sky, Adachi finally remembers it's freezing outside. He'd worked up quite a sweat pedaling all the way here, and adrenaline had carried him the rest of the way, through a tearful apology and an even more tearful reunion. Now, though, even with Kurosawa burning like a furnace next to him, Adachi feels clammy underneath his layers, winter's chill creeping in through his clothes.

"Adachi," Kurosawa says, squeezing his fingers. "You're shivering." When Adachi glances up, Kurosawa's perfect lips are pursed. Concern emanates off him in waves. "Are you cold?"

"Ah," Adachi says, shifting on his feet. "Yes, a little."

Kurosawa drops Adachi's hand and pivots neatly to face him, big hands reaching back to tug at Adachi's hood. He pulls it over Adachi's head and then fusses with the zipper of his wool jacket, fastening it all the way up to his throat. Unbidden, Adachi's thoughts turn toward that first week after he turned thirty; he remembers Kurosawa's fingers at his collar, tucking a thick, warm scarf around his neck. He remembers wait and why don't you stay over at my place, Kurosawa's hopeful face turned toward him, eyes shining from across the plaza. It hasn't even been three months since then, and so many things have already changed.

When Kurosawa touches his chin, Adachi can tell that's what he's thinking about too. The beginning of everything. "Looks good on you," Kurosawa says, an echo of the past, his whole face creasing with his sunny smile. "The outfit, I mean."

"I just threw on whatever when I left the house," Adachi mumbles, flushing as his brain whizzes through the implications. He glares down at his feet, clad in the only pair of beat-up old sneakers he'd seen on his way out. "Our first date, and I didn't even dress properly."

"Stop that," Kurosawa chides, reaching between them to fit their hands together again. "You look perfect." He always says things like that with such depth of feeling that Adachi can't help believing them. "Come on," he continues, tugging them toward the stairs. They find Tsuge's bicycle lying forgotten on the sidewalk where Adachi had discarded it in his haste. Kurosawa helps him wheel it to the curb and then flags a taxi down, beaming when Adachi catches his eye. "Let's go back to my place."

A little thrill rushes through Adachi, from the top of his head to the tips of his toes, as if he's been electrocuted. All thought of the cold flees. He clenches one hand around the red fountain pen in his pocket and nods, emphatic. "Alright."



They spend the cab ride to Kurosawa's apartment holding hands, palms pressed together. Kurosawa's emotions ping-pong between extreme elation over being together again and extreme nervousness over Adachi potentially staying the night. Adachi mostly manages to keep his own reactions in check, preoccupied by the slow, methodical sweep of Kurosawa's thumb across his bony knuckles. Have Kurosawa's hands always been this big? Surely that's impossible if Adachi is only just noticing now.

He's pulled out of that thought spiral when the car jolts to a stop in front of Kurosawa's high-rise. It's starting to drizzle a little as they step out, the misty air hanging around them like gauze. They make a dash for the entrance, Kurosawa breezily steering Tsuge's bike one-handed. "Do you think it'll snow tomorrow?" Adachi asks, glancing up at the sky. "White Christmas?"

"That would be nice, wouldn't it?" Kurosawa says, eyes twinkling. "Unlikely, but very romantic."

He holds the door open for them, and they lock the bike in the stairwell. Kurosawa's apartment is still as immaculate as it was the last time Adachi visited, but Kurosawa apologizes reflexively for the mess anyway. It's always endearing to know that Kurosawa falters sometimes too, that he has his own nervous tics. Adachi wants to learn them all. In truth, he wants to learn as much about Kurosawa as Kurosawa has learned about him. He wants to learn the normal way, without magic. Kurosawa had a head start, years of careful observation under his belt, but Adachi thinks, with diligent study and enough time, he could get there.

Kurosawa takes Adachi's coat to hang it up and then leaves him in the living room, gradually defrosting on the couch. A few minutes later, he returns holding a tray and sets it on the low table in front of them. He pours out two saucers of golden-brown tea and hands one off to Adachi. "Here, drink this," he says. "It'll warm you up."

The porcelain is pleasantly hot between Adachi's cupped palms. He takes a small sip for flavor and murmurs, "Smoky," before taking a longer one, heat spreading down his throat and through his chest.

Kurosawa's beaming again. "It's my favorite brand of loose-leaf hojicha." After another long moment of companionable silence, during which Adachi guzzles the rest of his cup and Kurosawa pours him a second, the little jingle goes off in Kurosawa's washroom. Kurosawa nudges his chin toward the door. "Would you like to take the first bath?"

Adachi could use a long soak; already, just sitting here on Kurosawa's squishy sofa, the day's events are catching up with him. His legs are going to be sore tomorrow from biking further than he has since — well, further than he ever has, really. But he'd also hate to make Kurosowa wait. Adachi sneaks a glance at Kurosawa's earnest face, a strange sense of daring overtaking him, and says, "We could, ah, bathe together."

Kurosawa's face goes blank. He must be imagining something, one of his elaborate fantasies; Adachi doesn't even have to reach over and touch him to figure that out. "I don't think there's enough room," Kurosawa says at last, sounding genuinely regretful about that. Adachi should have remembered — the tub, though elegant, probably wouldn't fit both of them. "But we can go to an onsen sometime, Adachi." His mouth curls. "On a future date."

The future. That's right. This is the future he's chosen. It's still hard to look at too directly without doing something embarrassing, like burst into tears again; the newness of it sparkles like the noonday sun. Like Kurosawa's smile when it reaches his eyes, brilliant and blinding. "Yes," Adachi says. "I'd like that." His voice comes out oddly rough, and he clears it before standing abruptly. "I — is there anything for me to change into?"

Kurosawa nods. "I've put the pajamas you borrowed last time next to the sink."

"Right," Adachi says, biting his lip, and makes another choice. "The ones that you bought for me, because you thought I'd look good in them." If he's going to try and make this work, without artifice, Kurosawa should know all the things Adachi overheard, right? It's only fair to level the playing field.

Kurosawa's eyes flash. "And I was right," he says, leaning forward to prop his chin in his hand. "But if you don't feel comfortable with it, I can lend you something else."

"No!" Adachi squeaks, back snapping straight. "No, I'm comfortable with it." Now that he's had time to get used to it, he kind of enjoys when Kurosawa buys him things, but that feels too awkward to say out loud right now. He turns stiffly, socks sliding against the smooth floorboards. "Anyway, thanks for switching the hot water on. I'll be fast."

"Take all the time you need," Kurosawa calls, laughter in his voice. He's probably thinking about how cute Adachi is, which Adachi definitely can't think about for too long.

He undresses in the changing room, blinking at himself in the fogged up mirror. The metal showerhead is as heavy in his hand as he remembers, and he scrubs his hair with Kurosawa's nice shampoo, soaps up quickly, and rinses off, washing the last of the clamminess from his skin. The bath water, when Adachi finally sinks into it, helps soothe some of the tightness in his legs. He soaks for just long enough that his stomach feels pleasantly toasty.

As he steps back over the edge to towel off, he hears the outer door swing open and nearly trips. He has to grip the bar next to the tub to keep himself upright. Has Kurosawa changed his mind? Is he going to slide into the bathroom and press Adachi against the wall? Adachi doesn't think he would mind, but he would've appreciated a little more advance warning.

But Kurosawa doesn't barge in. Adachi can hear him moving around in the adjacent room, washing his face and brushing his teeth. When the buzz of an electric razor filters through the door, Adachi relaxes. Of course: Kurosawa's just getting ready while he waits for Adachi to finish up here. It's so effortlessly domestic — Adachi can see himself adapting to an evening routine that involves the two of them swapping places, partaking in their various bedtime rituals, and then squirreling themselves away in bed until morning. Maybe it's a bit mundane, but it's the type of achievable goal that would have seemed squarely out of reach in October, before Adachi's birthday turned his life upside down.

He's still thinking about that as he winds a towel around himself and slides the door open. When Adachi pokes his head out, Kurosawa has already stripped down to his undershirt, lean biceps pale beneath the soft lighting. It's the most skin Adachi's seen at once, on another person, in… a long time, and his mouth goes dry as he eases toward the sink, conscious of his own bare shoulders and dripping hair. The changing room is a cramped fit for two grown men, but Kurosawa doesn't complain. Instead, he holds a new toothbrush aloft, still in its original packaging.

No one would ever be able to see it looking at his face, but when their hands brush, Adachi can tell Kurosawa's freaking out. At their physical closeness, maybe, or their similar states of undress — either way, it makes Adachi feel a little better. It's nice not to be alone.

Adachi lets out a short breath and tears the packaging off the toothbrush. The plastic is mint-colored, and the bristles are firm. "I bought this for you the last time you came over," Kurosawa admits sheepishly, scratching the back of his head. "Clearly that was too presumptuous of me."

Adachi huffs, rolling a bit of toothpaste onto the bristles. "Not anymore," he points out. As he brushes his teeth, Kurosawa moves onto the next step of his skincare routine, rubbing some type of exfoliating face mask down the bridge of his nose. When he's finished with that, he leans his hip against the sink to watch Adachi.

Adachi stares back at him through the mirror, toothpaste foaming up in his mouth. Even with dark gray charcoal painted across his sharp cheekbones, Kurosawa looks unfairly handsome. Adachi can't bring himself to be as jealous about that as he used to be. He spits and rinses his mouth, the back of his neck heating up under Kurosawa's watchful gaze, and slowly sticks his toothbrush into the little holder next to Kurosawa's slate blue one. The order of Kurosawa's home is already making room for Adachi's presence, expanding to include him.

Something about that makes Adachi's chest feel too tight. "Um," he says, swallowing thickly, and casts about for something to say. "If it's too much trouble, I can stay in the living room tonight."

"Don't be ridiculous," Kurosawa replies at once, vaguely appalled. "What kind of boyfriend would I be if I let you sleep on the floor? My bed is big enough to share." He freezes, like he's thinking it over again, and then continues, slower, "Unless you don't want to? We don't have to do anything you don't—"

"I want to," Adachi says in a rush, surprising even himself with how firm he sounds. "I really do. I just — I didn't want to assume without asking you first." He has to stop running from his desires; he's not going to let fear of failure or rejection prevent him from even trying to pursue what he wants, cringing away like a shadow fleeing light. Adachi has already gotten this far, having pushed through the worst of his doubts and anxieties. He's not going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy anymore.

"Okay," Kurosawa says, relaxing next to him. "Good." He gazes at Adachi for another moment, eyes drifting down to the fluffy towel still wrapped beneath his armpits, and then blows out a long gust of air. "I still have to go take a bath, though, so I'll need to—" Kurosawa gestures at his slacks. "Undress." The corner of his mouth lifts. "You're welcome to stay and watch, if you want to."

"I'll go wait in the bedroom," Adachi squeaks, voice jumping an entire octave. He scoops his pajamas and the crumpled puddle of his discarded clothing into his arms and stumbles out the door, heart pounding in his throat. This isn't running away — this is just… gathering his wits for whatever comes next. A strategic withdrawal.

Plus, Adachi is curious what Kurosawa's bedroom looks like. All the other times he's come over, he's never had a chance to see it for himself, too distracted by his own anxieties and Kurosawa's thoughts. Adachi shuffles down the narrow hall from the bathroom, which opens up into the main space. The interior design is as tasteful and understated as the rest of the apartment: indirect lighting from a set of lamps that match the decor, another small, leafy plant that lives on Kurosawa's bedside table, sheets stretched across the neatly-made bed in the same soothing shade of slate blue as Kurosawa's toothbrush. There are little flairs of personality tucked away in various nooks and crannies. The first five Ragna Crimson tankobon take pride of place on the bookshelf, next to a few marketing textbooks that must be leftover from university, and a framed photo hanging above the dresser shows a much younger Kurosawa with his sister, the two of them frolicking beneath the full bloom of cherry blossoms in spring.

Adachi sets his armful of clothes on the bed and sinks down at its edge, exhaling slowly. A new himekuri sticky calendar from Toyokawa's latest line of planner stationery sits in front of the plant on the bedside table. A few weeks ago, work handed prototypes out to employees as part of a New Year's promotional push; Adachi had chosen the classic monochrome calendar for himself, but Kurosawa's is the cartoon cat design that the product team had worked very hard to bring to life. Even to the untrained eye of a number-cruncher, Adachi can tell they did a great job. On each sticky memo, an adorable little kitty grins back at him, ready for an energetic start to the day. Just looking at it makes him want to smile.

Kurosawa likes cute things, Adachi thinks, and it's impossible to avoid the implications of what that means about him. Adachi hasn't yet had to confront the cognitive dissonance of actually being found desirable, but Kurosawa is going to finish washing up at some point. He's going to come out and find Adachi in his bed. Thinking about whatever might happen after that makes Adachi's stomach clench tight and his head fuzz out with white noise.

Adachi should pull on his pajamas and tuck himself beneath the covers; he should wait for Kurosawa to come out of the bathroom so they can figure things out together, one step at a time. That would be the responsible thing to do, but the part of Adachi that asked if Kurosawa wanted to bathe together flares to life again now. Part of him wants to dictate the terms of engagement; part of him wants Kurosawa to step out and find Adachi ready and willing. After all, if their clothes are coming off anyway, wouldn't it be most efficient to just stay undressed?

In the end, Adachi compromises by rummaging through his pile of clothing and stepping into his boxers, shoving everything else to the foot of the bed. As he arranges himself cross-legged on the mattress, he hears the tap in the bathroom shut off. The sound of one more rush of water filters through the walls — the sink running, maybe — and then the door clicks open and shut. Adachi's heart leaps into his throat again as Kurosawa's footsteps pad down the hall.

Kurosawa's wearing a pair of plain white pajamas when he comes into view rubbing his hair dry. He sees Adachi and stops short a few paces from the bed, eyes going wide as his hands clench in the fluffy towel tucked around his neck. "Adachi," he says, swallowing visibly.

"Kurosawa," Adachi replies, a telltale flush crawling up his face. For a moment, time seems to slow down; they stare at each other, breath arrested, frozen in place. Then Kurosawa inhales sharply, and Adachi's shoulders draw together. He tries to shove aside the kneejerk impulse to cover himself, suddenly too conscious of the soft swell of his belly and the way his nipples are firming up, exposed as they are in the air, but he doesn't quite make it. Before he can think twice, he's moving to grasp the crumpled pajama top he'd discarded. "Um, sorry, let me put something—"

"No, don't," Kurosawa interrupts, jerking forward. "It's alright."

In the blink of an eye he's closed the distance between them, sinking down next to Adachi at the edge of the bed. He smells clean and crisp, like shampoo and the moisturizing cream he must have patted into his skin after showering. His face looks so serious, gaze roaming down the length of Adachi's body and then back up again to rest on — oh, God — Adachi's lips.

"Adachi," Kurosawa sighs, his voice rougher than Adachi has ever heard it. "Can I kiss you?"

Adachi's heart thumps painfully in his rib cage. He knows enough by now to register the flutter of nerves as something to be embraced rather than avoided, but it still takes him a moment to settle himself. Eventually, he plucks up the last of his courage and leans forward in answer, eyes fluttering shut. Their lips meet clumsily at first, a little off center, but then Kurosawa tilts his head, hands cupping Adachi's face, and opens his warm mouth. Adachi's lips part too, making room for Kurosawa in turn, and everything becomes very pleasant very quickly. Kurosawa's delighted surprise hits Adachi like a burst of citrus in the back of his throat, and he can hear the thud of Kurosawa's heartbeat rising in time with his own. Adachi's hands reach out to fist in the soft cotton of Kurosawa's pajamas. Their knees knock together as he squirms closer, chasing heat, the flood of Kurosawa's enthusiastic reciprocation pouring into him everywhere they're touching.

They're both panting when they finally break apart for air. It takes Adachi a long moment to open his eyes, another for him to register the rapidly growing problem in his boxers, and yet another to bring himself to draw away and hunch over, trying to simultaneously suck in breath and also shield his crotch from view. "How was it?" Kurosawa asks, and when Adachi turns his head to look up at him, two pink spots have appeared high on his cheekbones. His mouth is even redder now than it was before, and his parted lips are shiny with spit. There's a wild look in his eyes.

Adachi did that. Adachi made Kurosawa, someone normally so put-together and unflappable, lose his breath and his composure. In a moment of stunning clarity, Adachi thinks, I want to keep doing this. I want to do this to him all the time. "It was," Adachi croaks, "very, very good," reaching for Kurosawa again, heat swirling in his stomach.

Kurosawa meets him in the middle, broad palms sliding around his neck. Somehow they end up on their sides, trading long, slow kisses as they melt into the sheets. Adachi sinks into the feeling, his crescendoing arousal mingling with the crashing waves of Kurosawa's ardent desire. After a while, it becomes increasingly difficult to distinguish between the two, the current dragging them under.

Adachi gasps when he scoots closer and the tent of his erection brushes against Kurosawa's stomach. Kurosawa sighs into his mouth, and Adachi jerks his head back, groaning as his hips hitch of their own volition.

"Adachi," Kurosawa mumbles, eyes half-lidded and cloudy. His whole face is pink now, and there's sweat gathering at his hairline. "Are you — is everything okay?"

"Yes," Adachi says. "Keep — you should keep touching me." His own face must be as red as the fountain pen tucked away in his jacket. He turns it halfway into the pillow beneath his head, hands curling at Kurosawa's shoulders, and hears Kurosawa think, Please.

One of his big hands reaches up to thumb at Adachi's lower lip. "Are you sure this is what you want?" Kurosawa asks, even as the endless torrent of his passion bleeds over through his touch. His brow furrows. "You shouldn't force yourself."

"I'm not," Adachi says immediately, because that much is true. "I want to do lots of things with you, Kurosawa," Adachi admits, "as many things as we can," pushing past the embarrassment of saying it out loud. "I want to know everything about you." Kurosawa's eyes widen again, and Adachi has to look past his ear, at the far wall, to get through the rest of what he wants to say. "Before, when I said we should stop… I felt guilty, because you thought I was being kind when I was really being selfish." Kurosawa makes a noise in the back of his throat, like he's about to protest, and Adachi shakes his head as vehemently as he can manage. "I guess I'm — part of me is still being selfish, but at least it's for the right reasons now. For something good, not just to get rid of something else." He shakes his head again, flushing even more. "Oh, God, I'm not making sense."

Kurosawa laughs. "No, I understand what you mean," he says, and Adachi remembers the look on Kurosawa's face after he confessed in the plaza outside the office, remembers I'm sorry for being selfish and the painful, wooden smile of someone loving with no hope of reciprocation. When Adachi turns to meet his gaze once more, Kurosawa's expression is equal parts amused and tender. It's a much better look on him. "I want all those things too," he says. "With you."

He's telling the truth. Adachi can tell. He smacks his palms together and does a strange little half-bow in the middle of the bed. "Please take care of me well," he says, squeezing his eyes shut. "I don't know what I'm doing, obviously, so you'll have to show me."

For a moment, Kurosawa doesn't say anything. Then he laughs again, warm and fond, and tilts Adachi's chin back up with his index finger. "I have a secret to tell you before you lose your magic," Kurosawa says, eyes glittering. "You've been very honest with me, Adachi, so I should be truthful with you too."

Adachi wants to say that Kurosawa has been plenty truthful in his thoughts, but he thinks Kurosawa already knows. "What is it?"

In lieu of a verbal response, Adachi gets another one of Kurosawa's fantasies playing in his head — except it's not a fantasy this time, but a montage of the past. Kurosawa in high school, surrounded by girls squealing over his looks, his sports prowess, his class rank. Kurosawa in college, realizing that he liked men, but never acting on his desire for fear of disinterest, or worse, disgust. Kurosawa at Toyakawa, receiving piles of chocolate from his female colleagues and never once being asked whether he even enjoyed sweets. Kurosawa, who has never been in a real relationship before this either, and has only ever kissed a handful of people here and there, which means… which means

"But," Adachi says, ears ringing as he blinks up at Kurosawa. "You — you're also a virgin?" It sounds completely absurd, but Adachi saw it with his own eyes, and Kurosawa — he wouldn't lie about this. "How?"

Kurosawa chuckles sheepishly. "Well, nobody could ever explain why they even liked me," he says, shrugging. "And I told you, didn't I? I've never liked anyone as much as I love you." He always says it so effortlessly, but then again, he's had more time to live with it than Adachi has. One day soon, Adachi will get there too. "Besides," Kurosawa continues, so earnest, "I dated around a bit in college, but it was never serious. I wouldn't have wanted to sleep with anyone I wasn't 100% sure about. It would have been cruel for me and for them."

Adachi resists the urge to bury his face in his hands, but just barely. "You're too good, Kurosawa," he mumbles, exhaling. He reaches out to run hesitant fingers across the sharp line of Kurosawa's jaw instead, his own mouth twisting. "I would have let you do anything you wanted just to satisfy my own needs, and that would've ruined everything."

Kurosawa turns his face and presses his lips to the center of Adachi's palm. Another burst of heat rolls through Adachi from head to toe. "You didn't go through with it, though," Kurosawa murmurs, breath hot against Adachi's skin. "You chose to tell me the truth."

"And then I broke up with you," Adachi says miserably.

Kurosawa hums, the sound vibrating all the way down Adachi's forearm. "At the time," he says, endlessly compassionate, "I understand that it was the right choice for you."

Adachi sighs, drawing his hand back to brace against Kurosawa's neck, the steady thump of his pulse. "And now…"

Kurosawa smiles, the creases of his face so close and so dear. "And now?"

"And now, I'm choosing this," Adachi says, running his thumb across the ridge of Kurosawa's cheekbone. He's never felt more sure about anything in his entire life. His staunch conviction muscles past any lingering doubt, any lurking fear. "I'm choosing you."

Impossibly, Kurosawa's face turns even brighter. As he draws near again, the huff of Kurosawa's breath skating across Adachi's lips, a thought occurs to him.

"Kurosawa," he murmurs, lifting his head and pressing a brief peck to the center of Kurosawa's mouth. "You don't want to wait and see what it's like to be able to hear my thoughts when you turn thirty?" Leveling the playing field again, so to speak.

Kurosawa laughs, shaking his head. "I waited for you to notice my feelings for years, Adachi." One of his big hands drifts down to Adachi's waist, tugs them flush together. Adachi's cock, which had calmed down a bit in the interim, twitches in his boxers, and he swallows around a gasp. Kurosawa kisses him once more, brief but searing, and then he adds, "I'm not going to wait any longer than I have to." His grin takes on a mischievous edge, eyes twinkling in the ambient light. "And — you know, just because I'm also a virgin doesn't mean I didn't do my research."

Before Adachi can ask what that even means, Kurosawa has gently pushed him onto his back and scooted down the bed, arms braced against Adachi's legs. Kurosawa always moves with such grace and elegance, such economy of motion. Now, though, his hands are shaking a little as his fingers hook in the waistband of Adachi's boxers and tug them down around his thighs. Adachi's half-erection pops out and flops against his stomach. His whole body flushes under Kurosawa's careful scrutiny, head spinning even as his cock hardens even more. He can't tell if the rapid thud of his heart is due to anxiety or arousal. At this point, there doesn't seem to be a material difference between the two.

"Adachi," Kurosawa says, raspy and low. His eyes flick up to meet Adachi's, round and dark. "Can I touch you?"

"Yes," Adachi says, voice cracking. "Please." His gaze turns reflexively toward the ceiling, fingers twisting in the sheets, which means he isn't prepared for the first brush of Kurosawa's hand along the seam of his inner thigh, fingers tickling the soft skin there. Adachi thrashes so hard he nearly kicks Kurosawa in the stomach, but Kurosawa manages to hook his grip around Adachi's ankle just in time. "Sorry," Adachi breathes, squirming in Kurosawa's hold. The long line of Kurosawa's body and the amused expression on his face drift back into Adachi's field of vision. "Sorry — it was just. More intense than I expected."

It sounds so stupid out loud — what else would Adachi have expected Kurosawa to do, honestly? — but Kurosawa just sends him another reassuring smile. "You don't have to apologize," he murmurs, setting Adachi's foot back on the mattress and leaning more weight against Adachi's thighs, the warm bulk of his body settling between them. Adachi shivers as he feels Kurosawa's heady anticipation filter through all the places they're touching, and his breath hitches as Kurosawa's fine-boned fingers curl loosely around the base of his cock.

Adachi has touched himself before, of course, quick and perfunctory, on lazy weekends when he's woken up with morning wood or in the shower sometimes after work. Kurosawa's hand shouldn't feel that different, even though his palm is broader and his fingers longer, and yet just three easy strokes have Adachi panting into the still air, stomach squeezing tight with pleasure. Then Kurosawa takes a shallow breath and leans in to fit his lips around the already leaking tip of Adachi's erection, and Adachi's entire brain seems to melt into hot goo and dribble out through his ears. His body lifts halfway off the bed, curling toward Kurosawa's head, and an embarrassing groan escapes past his clenched teeth.

He doesn't have time to catch his breath before Kurosawa's sinking lower, bobbing forward, swallowing more of Adachi down. In the brief moments Adachi allowed himself to entertain thoughts about how this might go, he always thought that maybe the mind-reading would disappear the moment Kurosawa touched his cock. Instead, as Kurosawa sucks, tongue sliding along the shaft, Adachi's greeted with a torrent of sensory information that can't possibly be his, sharp and overwhelming. I can't believe Adachi's cock is in my mouth, he hears Kurosawa think through the thick haze of his arousal. The noises he makes are so cute. His precome tastes musky, but good—

"Stop thinking those things," Adachi gasps, tapping his fingers along the crown of Kurosawa's head.

Kurosawa pulls off with a wet pop, the corner of his mouth lifting when Adachi's hips jerk up, bereft. "What?" he says, and God, his voice sounds wrecked. "I should stop thinking things that are true?"

Adachi groans again, head thunking back against the pillows. The rest of his capacity for speech completely leaves him as Kurosawa bends and takes him into his mouth, with more gusto this time. At this rate, Adachi isn't going to last at all, hurtling so quickly toward the point of no return that his head spins. Both his hands sink into the damp strands of Kurosawa's hair, tugging restlessly. Kurosawa makes a low noise of approval, the rumble of it traveling up Adachi's aching cock as his cheeks hollow, and that's it — that's the last push Adachi needs to spill down Kurosawa's throat without warning, a desperate cry wrung from deep inside his chest.

Kurosawa swallows as best he can, but he still has to pull his head back as Adachi releases, coughing thickly as the last bursts of come spurt out. Some of it gets onto his cheeks, his chin, drips down toward his shiny lips, and the rest oozes onto Adachi's stomach, sticky and warm.

"Shit," Adachi moans, head still swimming, mortification thick in his throat. "Oh, no." He drags himself upright and reaches out toward Kurosawa's face, trying to wipe the mess away. "Kurosawa, I'm so sorry, I should have—"

Kurosawa shakes his head and licks his lips, swiping his hand across his own jaw and Adachi's belly before cleaning his fingers off, their gazes locked. "Is it gone?" he asks, hoarse, and it takes Adachi a long moment to realize he's not talking about the come on his own face but the telepathy.

He reaches out again with trembling hands and touches Kurosawa's pink cheeks, the crinkled corners of his eyes, and doesn't hear anything at all. "Yes," he murmurs, equal parts relieved and worried. "Yes, it is." Adachi no longer has a crutch to rely on when dealing with Kurosawa or the rest of the world. He'll have to make his own way once more. He forcibly shakes that thought from his mind, tabling it for later, and trails his fingertips down to Kurosawa's red mouth, his puffy lips. There are more important things to be thinking about right now, anyway, like: "Where — where did you learn how to do that?"

Kurosawa's face creases. "I told you, didn't I?" he says, crawling back up the bed, far enough that Adachi has to lie back against the pillows. "I did research. Practiced, mostly on various sex toys." He blinks, guileless. "How was it?"

Adachi huffs, hands drifting down to pluck at the open collar of Kurosawa's pajamas. "You know very well how it was," he admonishes, and he's rewarded with another one of Kurosawa's satisfied grins. "Kurosawa…"


"You should get undressed," Adachi exhales. "Let me return the favor."

Kurosawa's gaze turns sharp. He takes a deep breath and lets it all out again, as if steadying himself, and then shifts onto his haunches in one fluid motion and begins to unbutton his shirt. Adachi props himself up on his elbows to watch, eyes naturally falling to the crotch of his pants. Kurosawa had just been pleasuring him, giving no heed to himself, but there's a visible tent there already. He'd gotten hard just from putting his mouth on Adachi, and something about that shoots right through him like an electric current.

Adachi lifts his eyes to the sculpted torso slowly being revealed in front of him, mouth watering despite himself. Trepidation still lingers in the back of his mind, but it's hard to think about that when confronted with so much flawless skin. Kurosawa discards his shirt and wiggles out of his pants and his boxer-briefs, dumping them over the side of the bed in an uncharacteristic display of messiness.

Kurosawa's cock is as beautiful as the rest of him, thin and long and elegant; his pubic hair is neatly trimmed, unlike the unruly snarl at the apex of Adachi's legs. He's also exactly as chiseled as Adachi has imagined in his idle daydreams over the past few weeks, chest and abdomen lean, his hip bones incredibly defined. There's an old, thin scar curving along the edge of the right side of Kurosawa's pelvis. When Adachi reaches out and runs his fingers along it, Kurosawa sighs. "That was from a biking accident that happened back when I was in high school," he explains, tilting forward, and then they're kissing again, languid and unhurried.

The hard line of Kurosawa's cock bumps against the ridge of Adachi's hip, and before Adachi can get too lost in the simple pleasure of making out, he fumbles a hand between them, fingers wrapping around the warm shaft. He tugs experimentally, testing the angle and tightness of his grasp. He can't tell how Kurosawa feels anymore through mind-reading, but he can register Kurosawa's pants against his mouth, the way he's jerking into Adachi's grip, the spot of precome leaking out the slit of his cock. He can revel in the sweet, insistent press of Kurosawa's tongue, how his breathing gradually picks up, the way his fingers dig into the soft flesh of Adachi's waist. That's enough.

Adachi's thinking about trying to put his own mouth on Kurosawa, seeing if he learned anything from the live demonstration, when Kurosawa makes a guttural noise in the back of his throat and comes like a shot across Adachi's stomach. For a moment, both of them are shocked into stillness, Adachi's brain trying to catch up with what just happened as Kurosawa spirals down from the strength of his sudden orgasm. Then Kurosawa pulls back and presses a palm to his face. "Oh," he says, flushed a brilliant red. "Wow, um. I didn't think it would be over that quickly."

Adachi gazes up at him, feeling such a furious burst of fond affection that he can't even speak. He tips his head forward and rests it in the hollow of Kurosawa's neck instead, huffing against his skin.

"Are you laughing at me?" Kurosawa complains, but it doesn't feel like there's any heat to it, and he doesn't push Adachi away. Slowly but surely, Adachi's learning how to read him better.

"You're so cute, Kurosawa," Adachi mumbles, and then Kurosawa's laughing too, mouth brushing across Adachi's hair.

"Sorry," he says. "This is so embarrassing. I wanted it to be good for you."

"You don't have to apologize," Adachi echoes, leaning back to survey the sticky mess between them, the evidence of their passions. "It was good."

Kurosawa reaches over him for a tissue and wipes Adachi's stomach off before bundling them beneath the covers. Even the tips of his ears are pink. Adachi would like very much to kiss them, and he's actually allowed to do that kind of thing now, so he darts forward briefly and presses his mouth against one hot shell.

"And we can try again tomorrow," he says, settling down again.

The smile Kurosawa sends him is too tender for words. "Yes," he agrees. "We can."



In the morning, Adachi rises with the sunlight pouring through the crack in Kurosawa's curtains. Kurosawa isn't in bed anymore, but Adachi can hear a faint sizzle from the kitchen outside. The egg that must be cooking on the stove smells delicious.

Adachi uncurls beneath the covers and stretches out, starfishing across the bed, before donning yesterday's forgotten pajamas. When he passes the window, he can see that it actually is snowing outside, slow spirals of fat flakes coming down from the pale sky. It's the kind of snow that won't stick, too early in the season for anything serious, but still snow nonetheless. Unlikely, but romantic, Kurosawa said yesterday, and isn't that the perfect summary of everything that's happened to Adachi over the past three months?

Kurosawa's just finished plating the tamagoyaki when Adachi slides out of the bedroom and comes up behind him, arms encircling his waist, forehead pressed between his shoulder blades. He can't hear anything but the steady hum of the rice cooker. "Merry Christmas," Adachi says, a jaw-cracking yawn ripping through him.

"Merry Christmas," Kurosawa replies. When Adachi peeks over his shoulder, Kurosawa's ladling out two bowls of soup.

"Kurosawa," he says, a little muffled by the fabric of Kurosawa's thin shirt. "Did you know you have a mole on the back of your neck, too?" A pause, and then: "It's also very sexy."

Kurosawa freezes for a moment, like he's trying to remember if he ever told Adachi about that. "Is that so?" he says at last, relaxing as Adachi keeps holding onto him. "I'm looking forward to discovering where all the rest of yours are."

Heat blooms in Adachi's chest as he lets Kurosawa go. "Me too," he says, smiling as he helps Kurosawa carry their breakfast trays to the dining table. He sits down with Kurosawa to eat the first meal of the rest of his life, their knees knocking against each other, and feels wholly content.