The effort it took for Keito to pry his eyes open was almost more than he could bring himself to undertake. His eyelids were so heavy and slipping back into the comforting void of nothingness seemed like such a pleasant hand to take. Yet as he grew increasingly aware of the ache in his neck and the uncomfortable sensation of wood plastered to his cheek, he knew that had never truly been an option.
That was right… he had been doing paperwork before this…
It had been late into the night and he had stopped to take his glasses off and rest his eyes for a moment. He must have fallen asleep then.
He slowly pulled himself up off the desk. His arms stretched outwards and his back popped audibly at the movement, and all the while he kept his eyes closed shut. He was so exhausted, and silly as it may have been, opening his eyes felt like being forced to confront all the work piled up in front of him. If he could keep his eyes closed then he could stay ignorant to everything that would face him this early in the morning.
He sighed, and Keito slumped backwards into his chair. The desk was still blurry, but he didn’t need his glasses to see the ridiculous amount of work on it. One hand pinched at the bridge of his nose and the other reached out to settle his glasses back on his face. Once he could see clearly again, he winced at what he saw.
On one half of the desk, there were files upon files for him to sort through, not an end in sight. He felt exhausted just looking at it all, and considering the fact that the other half of his desk was occupied by empty energy drinks, one had no need to try and guess why. He hadn’t had proper sleep in over 24 hours and had been functioning off of naps for even longer. He really needed to get a proper night’s rest, but as Keito sat up to check what he had been doing before falling asleep, he grimaced. The real question had never been about why he hadn’t gone to bed in so long. It was how could he afford to when there was still so much left for him to do?
… He had come this far. Surely just a little bit more couldn’t hurt, right?
That was the logic he kept with him as he began to clean up his desk, collecting empty cans to throw away. Each clang into the trash can left him cringing at just how many he was throwing away, but it didn’t stop him from coming to a pause once he lifted up his open can from the night before. He had hardly even taken a sip before falling asleep, which meant that the small can of liquid energy was still full to the brim. It sat heavy in his hand, tempting him to sip even though by all means he knew he shouldn’t. He hadn’t been thinking when he opened it last night, and he was more than certain that all those other drinks were still left within his body. The last thing he needed now of all times was to get sick.
… On the other hand though, he wasn’t quite sure how well he would get through the morning’s work otherwise.
“... Fuck it.” He threw back the drink and downed it all in one go. The can clinked loudly as it was slammed back down onto the desk, Keito’s body heaving for breath after having lost it all. “... Ngh…”
He had never particularly liked energy drinks to begin with, but experiencing the burn down his throat so early in the morning was always especially unpleasant.
The can clattered around the trash can with its siblings, and Keito wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, dragging the pads of his fingertips down pale cheeks as if to help wring the exhaustion out from inside of him.
Another day, another tireless grind until he would finally go rest in the dorms after lunch. His monitor screen mocked him as he picked up another set of sheets to review, flipping through them to kickstart the monotony. His head vaguely ached from lack of sleep, but he was practiced in the art of ignoring his body’s needs for the sake of work. In fact, he was so focused on ignoring everything else that he didn’t even notice when someone knocked on his office door and came in.
“Danna.” A hand rapped sharply against the desk, startling Keito out of the zone. His gaze up at Kuro was unrecognizing for a moment as he blinked awareness back into his senses.
“Ah, Kiryu. When did you come in here?” He checked the clock. Ten minutes. How had it only been ten minutes since he started working again?
Kuro seemed unimpressed, a frown prominent on his face as he stared down his longtime friend and partner in all things important in life.
“Danna… Did you go to your dorm last night?”
“... I plan on it shortly.”
Kuro shook his head, his arms crossed firmly across his chest as he stared down Keito. The expression on his face was complicated. It wasn’t necessarily angry. He didn’t look mad at Keito, and neither was it simply pure exasperation. Perhaps he was… disappointed in him?
“Y’need to take better care of yourself, Danna,” His tone was heavy, settling down on Keito like a weight on his shoulders, but it felt far from a burden. Rather, like a blanket around his shoulder, the underlying gentleness wrapped him in warmth that let him know he was loved. “I thought you promised not to do this shit anymore back when we were at Yumenosaki?”
Kuro’s foot toed at the half- full trash can, sending the metallic contents clanging once again. Keito cringed at the sound. It certainly wasn’t helping the underlying pressure in his head he had been enduring since he had woken up. The papers in his hand crumpled slightly under his grip.
“You look like crap. Have you even eaten anything else besides this junk?”
Keito lifted up a hand to rub at his brow, a shuddering exhale leaving his body as he listened to the rapid pace heartbeats reverberating through his head. It was as if a hundred men were pounding their feet to fill his eardrums, and the sounds of their steps echoed throughout his mind as he responded to his boyfriend.
“Thank you, Kiryu, for enlightening me to the obvious…” He didn’t bother to look up, merely sinking back further into his chair as he held his face in one hand. The other held the paperwork he still refused to give into, draped across his chest like a white flag refusing to be flown. “I’ll take an break soon… For now, I just need to finish these files so that way I can sleep without stressing further--”
A warm hand grasped his and pulled it away from his face. Callused fingers ran over pale skin to smooth and straighten out cramped fingers. Keito blinked in surprise at the gesture and watched silently as Kuro gently cradled his palm.
Keito blinked. He peered down at the hand Kuro was holding and then down at the other hand holding the paperwork as well.
“... So it would seem.”
The two of them sat there in silence, Kuro staring up at Keito from where he crouched with furrowed brows and a deep frown. Keito already knew exactly what was going to come out of his mouth before he said it. He was no stranger to that look, and the conversation that always followed it had happened far more many times than it likely ever should have.
“... Danna, are you sure you’re alright? If something happens again…” He didn’t have to finish the sentence for either of them to know precisely what he meant, memories of their high school years fresh in both their minds. The words hung heavy in the air. “You’re gonna give yourself a damn ulcer at this point. I’m sure everyone else will understand if you take a break, so go eat some actual food and get some rest.”
Keito shook his head, tugging his hand out from Kuro’s grasp in order to readjust his glasses. He pushed himself back up in his chair and shuffled the papers in his hand, straightening them on the table as he responded to the redhead.
“Things need to be done. I can’t just simply… take a break,” He locked eyes with Kuro’s concern, the man now back to standing at his full height. His expression, despite the firmness of his tone, was soft. “I know my limits, Kiryu. I’ll be fine.”
Kuro shifted his weight from one foot to another, staring down his partner with his thumbs in his pockets before ultimately conceding to Keito’s confidence in himself. He was worried, nervous over the signs he could already see in Keito’s behavior, but there was ultimately nothing he could do at the moment. He couldn’t force him to do anything he didn’t want to do, and while both of them knew the behavior was far from healthy, Keito had survived this long. The best he could do right now was to support and be there for Keito should he need him, and that was exactly what he would do. He would be damned if he didn’t.
“... I’ll trust you this time, but if anything starts to go wrong, you call me, got it? I don’t care what I’m doin’, I’ll drop everything and come help, alright?” He hauled up a duffle bag onto the table and rummaged through it to pull out a water bottle and some fruit. He slammed them down on the table in front of Keito and gave him a pointed look. “Eat these so your body doesn’t go and shit on you for not eating food alongside all that damn caffeine, alright? I’ll come back ‘n’ check on you again later.”
Keito flashed him a grateful smile, careful to steady his hands as much as he could when grasping both items. There was no need to worry Kuro more than necessary… although if he was honest to himself, it was probably more for his own reassurance than anyone else’s. He was used to shaking from caffeine… that was nothing new, but it had been so long since he had needed to have it pointed out to him. How long ago had he started shaking? He hoped it had been relatively soon… because otherwise, he wasn’t sure how well he’d be able to catch himself before things began to go too far.
The only thing that answered his worries was the beat of his own heart.
“I’m gonna be over in the training room if you have to ask for me, got it?” Keito’s head jerked up, wide eyed as Kuro waved him goodbye from the doorway. When had that happened? “Try not to work yourself to death, Danna… I dunno what we would do without you, y’know? You’re important to us… to me. You can’t keep doing this.”
… Really, did he need to come for Keito like that?
Keito huffed a laugh, shaking his head. He waved his hand, shooing Kuro out of the room to stop worrying.
“I get it, I get it… I promise I’ll stop working before I get hurt again, alright? Is that good enough for you?”
For the first time since entering the room that morning, Kuro cracked a smile of his own.
“Yep. A promise like that is good enough for me. See you later.”
The door clicked closed behind his back, and Keito’s eyes drifted over to the stack of paperwork that still awaited him despite all those promises. As if on cue, his PC beeped with yet another incoming proposition for him to approve. The window of white burned his eyes, and when Keito leaned forward to try and read what the email said, he was alarmed to find out that he… simply couldn’t. The words were there, of course, but no matter how many times he skimmed over them or how slowly he forced himself to read, he just could not understand what was being said.
… Surely it was just his eyesight, right? Keito forced himself to scrub at his eyes with his fingers, his glasses riding up his face as they were pushed as far out of the way as possible. He squinted again at the email. Hopefully, it would be different…
It wasn’t. The words were just as foreign to him as they had been a minute ago. Panic began to set in, swelling up and filling his chest so there was little room for his lungs to breathe. Tight. It was tight, he couldn’t breathe, and his heart was running a hundred miles a minute to try and keep his face flushed. His left hand clenched the edge of the desk, and the other reached for the pen he had discarded earlier.
It was fine. Everything was fine, was going to be fine, had been fine. There was absolutely nothing to worry about. His eyes just needed a break from reading, which was the likely cause… That was fine. He could do that. There were a million more files that he could sign that had already been approved by different departments and didn’t need to be read…
He grasped the pen, and immediately it slipped from between his fingers. His whole arm, from the shoulder down to the tips of his fingers was shaking like a leaf in the breeze. No matter how hard he tried to control it, he couldn’t. Instead, it seemed to get worse the more focus he put into it, and god forbid he try and use his other hand to stabilize it. That hand was just as bad.
His mouth was dry as he swallowed, and he slowly placed his forehead down on the edge of the desk. His hands were squeezed between his legs as he stared down at the floor, blinking quickly to try and hold back the panic. Under his breath, he mumbled sutras from memory, something he hardly even had to think to do but the monotony of which helped to ground him to reality.
Deep breaths. In… Out… In… Out… His whole body shuddered with each exhale. There was no need to panic, see? He could calm himself down just fine… There was no need to be shaking so badly nor was there a need for him to nearly break into hysterics at the sight. It was just a side effect and so was the inability to focus. That was all. It wasn’t anything serious… The focusing issue could even be a symptom of his exhaustion! It didn’t have to be from an overdose. He should be more than familiar with how difficult it was to read anything when he was tired. The energy drinks were exacerbating the issue by keeping him awake when he shouldn’t be. He simply had to avoid consuming any more caffeine for the day, have a good night’s rest, and then he would be fine.
That was all.
There was absolutely nothing for him to worry about. He was overthinking things. This wasn’t any reason for him to stop working. He could still get signatures from other people before he planned to rest at least. If he was still worried, he didn’t have to read or write…
That was right. There was nothing to worry about. He could just get some last minute signatures and then go sleep it off… Maybe get someone at the nurse’s office to check him over. He just needed to finish this first.
He shakily pushed himself back from the desk, standing up on weak legs that he chalked up to anxiety. His every movement shook, but he pushed himself through it. Slow and steady, slow and steady… If he just took things slow and steady, nothing would go wrong.
One contract. He could do one contract.
He tucked the folder under his arm. He didn’t trust himself not to drop everything across the floor with how unstable his hands were, and the last thing he needed was one of the other idols noticing and commenting on the state of them. He would have to be careful to avoid holding things in front of them as much as possible. It was a hurdle he expected and was prepared to work through.
What wasn’t a hurdle he expected to experience was the door. It was a simple enough task. Grasp the handle, turn it, and push so that way it would swing open. It shouldn’t have been a problem, but all the strength seemed to have evaporated from his being and he couldn’t even so much as budge it. He frowned and tried again. Nothing. Only the slightest shift of the handle occurred, and in order to get it to open at all, Keito had to swallow his pride and try one last time. Third time's a charm, and as he leaned all his weight on the metal, it finally notched downwards and allowed for the door to swing inwards.
… He desperately needed rest. He refused to believe that the weakness came from anything else other than his exhaustion, swallowing down the rising panic that threatened to overtake him at any moment now. His head buzzed with the thoughts that ran amok in his head, and there was little he could do to drown them out. The only purposes they served were to rile him up from the inside out and to worsen the gradual feeling of nausea he had been cultivating ever since he had tried to start working again.
Keito always felt like that when he began to become particularly anxious, so it wasn’t much of a surprise to feel like that. It had not been helping his condition in the slightest however. Silently he cursed his anxious disposition.
“Oh, Hasumi-senpai!” A voice chimed from across the room, airy and light on the ears as usual. “Good morning!”
Keito almost could not have asked for a better person to deal with in his current state.
“Shino,” He forced himself to nod his head despite the way the acknowledgement made his head spin. “Good morning. Have you seen Nito this morning…? I have something for him to look over from your last performance.”
“Ah…” Hajime fiddled with the desk ornament in his hands, ducking his head as he replied, “I haven’t seen Nii-chan yet today, I’m sorry. Although, Hasumi-senpai… are you okay?”
Keito stared at him, blinking a couple of times as he tried to process what was happening. “Hm…? Ah… Yes, I’m fine. Just a little tired, is all. Thank you for your concern.”
Right, just a little bit tired.
“I saw him around the cafeteria a little while ago, if it helps any,” Kaoru pitched in from where he sat to Keito’s left, boredly clicking through open jobs. He peeked up over his screen and visibly cringed when he saw Keito’s appearance for himself. “Jesus, when was the last time you slept, Hasumi-kun? You look like you’d die if I so much as touched you.”
The sounds were hurting Keito’s head, his ears ringing and making his headache worse than it had been before. The pain resonated through his entire body, squeezing at his torso to further suffocate his already tight chest. The taste of acid covered his tongue and burned his throat.
Keito pressed the palm of his hand to his forehead, bracing himself against the closest table. He focused on trying to control his breath, not even attempting to reply to Kaoru yet for fear that he simply just would not have the self-control to do such a thing even if he tried.
He feared that if he tried, every single ounce of self-control he had shown since waking up would come unraveling in front of him all at once in one big mess.
Keito shook his head.
Deep breaths… deep breaths… He just needed to take deep breaths… The watery acid pushing at his esophagus would go away, he could quietly excuse himself, and then he could rest like none of this ever happened. There was nothing wrong, he was just tired. The stress was getting to him. The energy drink was simply playing into it, making him hyper aware of everything and worsening things… He just needed to calm down and breathe.
Acid filled his mouth again, and his whole body convulsed with the force of keeping it back, swallowing it down as soon as it came. Keito could feel tears beginning to prick at the edges of his eyes and humiliation filling his veins.
“Um… Hakaze-senpai, should we call someone…?”
Neither idol got the chance to finish their conversation before Keito’s body lurched forward once again, and this time he wasn’t strong enough to hold himself back. Tears dripped down his cheeks as bile splattered onto the floor at his feet, coating his shoes and speckling the cuffs of his slacks. It was like throwing up water, clear and thin with hardly any sort of nourishment besides the energy drinks Keito had so carelessly consumed during the early morning hours. He wished it had been water, that it wouldn’t have been burning his throat and nose and staining his hands as he desperately tried his best to cover his mouth. The paperwork laid forgotten on the floor, sheets spread out around him like a sign to the others that he had finally given in to his body’s illness.
The flag had been flown. Now all that remained was for the others to accept his surrender and do something about it.
Hajime and Kaoru were clearly at a loss for what to do after the first bout of vomiting finished its turn, the room silent except for Keito’s desperate gasps for air his lungs no longer held. His chest burned with the effort, each shuddering inhale clawing into his torn throat to fuel the burn ravaging it. It was the only sound he could hear in that large, open space––not even his own thoughts rang through his brain as deeply as the sound of his heart and lungs begging for sustenance.
“Okay, okay,” Keito eventually heard Kaoru say from where he was standing, his hands held up in some kind of placating movement. For whom, Keito wasn’t sure. It was likely more for the blonde himself than anyone else, but he couldn’t be bothered to care enough when he felt as if he would fall apart again any second now. “Uh… could someone grab the cleaning staff? I’m going to call Sagami-sensei…”
“K--” Keito started to speak only to become immediately interrupted by his stomach belching. He caught the fluids in his mouth for a single moment before they became too much to contain, and yet another gush of bile ended up on the floor. “K… Kiryu…”
“I can do that!” Hajime hurriedly volunteered, scrambling to get his phone out as fast as he possibly could. Keito didn’t hear the rest, his body drowning out everything else around him as he lost himself inside his own thoughts.
God, he felt so garbage. His head was pounding, and if everything hadn’t sounded slightly disconnected from him before, they sure as hell did now. His stomach was in knots, twisting and squeezing so it felt like the entirety of his insides were attempting to be pulled out through his throat. His whole body was wavering like a leaf in the wind, tremors so harsh that they drained him of any kind of reserve energy he still had held prior. His knees buckled underneath him without the support of his muscles, and Keito had no choice but to slowly sink to the floor at the edge of his own mess as he still clung half-heartedly to the desk with one hand.
He just wanted to sleep, and he felt miserable. Not just physically ill, but mentally in shambles as he tried with every inch of his body to stay okay and failed each and every time. He hadn’t been asking for much. He had only needed a few more minutes. He hadn’t asked for this much work… but now look at him. He had been a moron and pushed himself too hard, and now he’d probably have to go to a hospital to make sure his body wouldn’t shut down any further. Who knew what other kinds of side effects would show up besides these, much less any long term effects from overdosing on caffeine? He couldn’t lie to himself any longer that his symptoms were so simple as to just be exhaustion.
When he came back to his senses, he was crying. His head leaned limply against a table leg, and fat tears dripped down his cheeks with no sign of stopping. He hadn’t even realized he was crying to begin with, but rather than leaving him able to stop, the knowledge made them come down harder.
How pathetic he was…
“Danna…” A soft voice came from his side, and Keito reluctantly opened his eyes to face the speaker. Half his heart had filled with relief at the familiar title and the sense of safety that washed over him, but the other half wanted nothing more than to look away and avoid facing him forever because of the shame that whispered in his ears.
Keito sniffled, and when he coughed he tried his best not to acknowledge the salt that had mixed with acid on his tongue.
A handkerchief wiped at his face, and for that Keito was grateful. He’d rather Kuro not have to stare at this disgraceful look longer than necessary.
“Come on, let’s get you to bed, Danna… You need it.”
Kuro brushed some stray tears off from Keito’s cheeks, and in the next few moments he made himself busy hauling the lighter man up with an arm wrapped around the torso. Keito felt awful knowing how filthy he must have been getting him, but Kuro hadn’t made even a single complaint so far and no matter how bad he felt, Keito felt thankful even more. Quite honestly, in that moment Keito wanted nothing more than to be enveloped by his boyfriend’s comfort, so he swallowed anything else he felt in favor of allowing himself this one kindness amongst a hundred misfortunes.
“The hospital…” He mumbled.
“Don’t worry about it. Sagami-sensei just said to drink some tea ‘n’ rest it off, and then you’ll be good as new.”
Oh. Alright then.
The rest of the trip was quiet except for the occasional requests to stop so he could collect himself, and in no time they had made it back to Kuro’s dorm room. Izumi was out on a business trip and Shu and Mao would understand if he asked them to stay somewhere else for the night. It was better than bothering the kids Keito roomed with, anyways.
“Here we go…” Kuro shifted Keito’s weight off his shoulder and down onto the toilet seat, and Keito blinked blearily at the sudden change in position. When had they arrived...? “Lift your arms up for me, yeah?”
Kuro was tugging his shirt off, and while they had certainly seen each other in much more intimate manners before, Keito resisted. He kept his arms down, pushing at Kuro’s hands to try and replace the grip with his own. He may have been sick but…
“I can take it off myself.”
“Danna,” Keito started at the stern tone, staring blankly at Kuro’s furrowed brows and light frown, “Let me help, just this once… Please?”
How was he supposed to say no to such a serious, heartfelt request? He had never been able to say no to that face, no matter how hard he tried…
His hands fell quietly and with a quiet nod of consent, too tired for words at this point. The shirt came up and off, discarded to the floor next to them. Keito’s nose scrunched up at the smell as it came up and over his head, and he despaired over the fact that Kuro had likely been smelling him like that this entire time. Not only that, but he was helping him clean up too when Keito’s request to clean himself could have easily been heeded. No, he wanted to take care of Keito in this horrible state…
A wave of emotions washed over Keito in a way they never would have normally, and fresh tears began to drip heavily down his cheeks. His chest heaved with the sobs that bubbled up in his throat, and Kuro jerked backwards slightly in response.
“Woah! Did I do somethin’ to upset you? Uh… you can take your clothes off yourself if me doin’ it really bothers you that much… I don’t wanna make you feel worse or anything… I just wanted to make things easier for you.”
Keito shook his head, crying harder. He couldn’t stop crying no matter how hard he tried, and it only made things worse. The base of his palms pressed into his eyes as if to try and hold everything at bay, and his shoulders shook with every sob that wrought his body. Kuro’s hands hovered over him, the larger man seemingly at loss for how to handle such a seemingly unprompted meltdown. Eventually, they settled on resting lightly on Keito’s back, stroking trembling shoulders with a touch so gentle that Keito felt as if he hadn’t experienced anything like it in a millenia. He cried harder.
Here he was acting like a fool, and he couldn’t even afford his boyfriend the bare minimum of explanations for why he was crying. It was like the world had an agenda today to show him just how pathetic he was.
A particularly harsh sob tore through his body, and Keito had no time to do anything but freeze in horror as a final round of bile shot up through his throat. So unprepared for it as he was, he didn’t even have the foresight to try and hold it back long enough to shove Kuro away. Translucent acid spewed from his mouth and drenched both of them but especially Kuro. It dripped from his shirt and soaked through Keito’s slacks, and during the silence that followed, there were not enough words to describe the horror that filled Keito’s stomach in place of the lost liquid.
“Kiryu, I––” He didn’t get the chance to finish before Kuro waved off his concerns and shrugged off the shirt as if it were nothing, tossing it into the trash bin.
“It’s ain’t your fault, so don’t even bother apologizing for it. ‘sides, I needed a shower anyway, so it’s no big deal.”
That didn’t make Keito feel better at all, even as Kuro moved on from stripping himself to finishing taking off Keito’s clothes too.
“... I’m sorry.”
Kuro gave him a frown. “Didn’t I say you didn’t need to apologize for being sick?”
“You were right… I don’t know how to take care of myself. We promised and yet...” He sniffled, biting back another sob that threatened to arise once again, “look at what happened. You were right. I don’t know how to work without hurting myself. I promised you and yet I still…”
Loose strands of hair tangled with his, and Keito trailed off as Kuro’s forehead touched against his own. Watery eyes locked with dry ones and Kuro waited until he had Keito’s full attention before he said, “I don’t care.”
“Yeah, I’m upset that you pushed yourself this far. I’m ain’t gonna lie… but you’re still here, aren’t you? And that’s what matters to me. I’m worried, sure, but I ain’t mad. Even this part of you is something that I love. You’re serious ‘n’ always put your all into everything you do, and honestly… I think that’s pretty damn cool,” Kuro flashed him a smile with the gentle warmth of the sun in early spring. “I knew you were like this the moment I first met you. You were always the kind of guy to try so hard he forgot about everything else, including himself. Can’t be helped, right?”
Keito’s tears had completely dried up in his speechlessness, able to do nothing but sit there and try to process everything he was being told. A part of him was fighting to flush the tips of his ears from all the compliments, and another half of him was busy wondering what the hell Kuro was trying to get at with all this.
“A promise is between two people, right?”
Oh, was Kiryu expecting a response that time?
Kuro snorted at the pedanticism. “Course you would say that. Well… that just means I gotta do my part to hold up the promise too, right?”
Kuro bumped their heads together again, rubbing them briefly together in a gesture that could be described no other way than nuzzling. “I promised you would take better care of yourself too, so don’t be so hard on yourself if you slip up sometimes, Danna. That just means I’m not living up to my job of helping to take care of you. We’re a pair, ‘n’ your promises are my promises too. The fact that we ended up like this just means we gotta try harder next time, ‘s all. Don’t blame yourself.”
Ah… so that’s what it was.
“... Got it?”
All the crying, the vomiting, and the worrying had exhausted Keito to no end. Quite frankly, he had no energy left for words much at all. However, he didn’t need to give a full blown speech in return to convey that he understood how loved he was.
“... Got it.”
His eyes slid closed, and he simply allowed himself to bask in the sound of the tape in his head repeating everything Kuro had just said. For as shit as he may have felt at that moment both physically and emotionally, the mood was nice. He felt loved. Safe.
Kuro’s hands pet him for a little while, allowing him the moment he needed to rest and collect himself mentally. It was only until a few minutes later that he finally coaxed Keito back up so they could be rinsed off and washed, bringing them back around to what the goal had been the whole time. Yet despite the change, the comfortable mood didn’t change once.
The blankets that surrounded them in bed afterwards were soft, wrapped around the both of them like a home just for the two of them. It filled Keito’s head with that soft vanilla scent Kuro always vaguely carried around with him at the start of the day, and it muddled his brain as he laid there tucked up into his embrace. His thoughts became fuzzy and his eyelids heavy, and although his body couldn’t sleep from the caffeine still running through it, a small voice in the back of his head noted to itself that perhaps… This was the next best thing. Warm in his lover’s embrace, comfortable and with the knowledge that should anything happen, he would never be anything but cared for. Even with the sick feelings still persisting through his body and the bucket with towels at his side just in case, Keito wasn’t sure he felt like he could complain.
Kuro shifted under him, and the new position filled Keito’s ears with the sound of a heartbeat that wasn’t his. It was slow, steady, and with the deep rise and falls of the chest his head laid upon, was nearly therapeutic. It made him feel… some kind of way? His chest was warm, fuzzy, and his thoughts felt soft. They lulled him through his persistent half-consciousness, and eventually, prompted him to speak through it all.
“... Thank you.”
Kuro went still under him, the hands petting his hair and side pausing in their movements. He wasn’t stiff but most certainly put on hold, even if it was just for a millisecond. The next second found his grip on Keito tightening ever slightly––an affectionate if not slightly possessive squeeze.
“... ‘Course, Danna. Always. You’re mine, after all.”
A smile graced Keito’s lips, his eyes slipping back closed to enjoy the rest and silence.
“... Mhm… I love you too, Kiryu.”
For the two of them, was there ever truly any doubt in their hearts anymore about that fact?