Lion looked at themself in the mirror as they undid their ponytail. The tie felt heavy in their hand as their hair fell. They tilted their head a bit, eying the way the movement made their hair shift. They had delicate, sharp features, but there was enough softness in them that with their hair loose like this, they could be called feminine.
They weren’t sure whether they were disgusted or intrigued by it. They weren’t a woman, and they had never wanted to be one; they were happy to be left ambiguous, to be left with as few gendered terms and perceptions as possible, to press the truth of themself into their heart and to not let anyone else touch it regardless of what they thought. But it was more comfortable when their appearance leaned towards masculine, more palatable to them. They would tolerate being called a man or a boy or a brother in passing, but to be called a woman or a lady or a sister made their lip curl in disgust at the thought.
“What are you doing, Lion?” Will stepped close, his shirt hugging his frame and clearly showing his musculature without his coat on. “Come on, weren’t we going to bed? Diana’s going to steal your pillow if you’re not careful.”
They sighed, their eyes still on the mirror. “I’ll follow you in a moment. Just… What do I look like to you?”
Will, too, looked into the mirror. He squinted a bit, and then shrugged. “You look fine. Your hair’s pretty when it’s like this.”
He casually took up some of it in his hand, golden strands falling between his tanned, calloused fingers. Lion’s own fingers were pale, soft. They hadn’t ever done menial work with their hands, nor had they ever spilled blood with them. The same couldn’t be said of Will’s. …The same couldn’t be said of Beatrice, either. Lion was the odd one out, the one left special and untouched.
Beatrice had broken because she hadn’t been able to be a man or a woman fully in body, and yet Lion was standing here worrying that they looked too much like one or the other. Rather than untouched, perhaps they were spoiled.
“...What’s that look for?” Will asked. His voice had softened, and he was frowning now, too. “You’re thinking about something ridiculous, aren’t you?”
Lion sighed. “Maybe. I’m making unfair comparisons.” Their lips curved upwards into a lukewarm smile. “They’re unreasonable and illogical, but I suppose my mind wants to wander in unpleasant directions tonight.”
“Ha. Shouldn’t I drag you to a more pleasant direction, then?” Will leaned his head on their shoulder. The weight of it combined with an arm making its way around their waist implied precisely the sort of direction Will wanted to go.
Lion hesitated, not yet relaxing. “...What do I look like to you?” they repeated softly. “Do you want me because I look like a woman, or because I look like a man?”
It was rare that they felt unsettled like this, that their reflection in the mirror made them ponder such things. When they had still been with their family, all they’d have to do was to go speak with any one of their close family members. Kinzo had always been mercurial and mysterious, and he had often been strict about the matter of gender in the past, but for Lion alone he’d smile gently and laugh and tell them not to worry. He’d tell them that they would be a fine Head someday, that they were worthy of carrying the Ushiromiya legacy. As he spoke, his fingers would brush over the crest of the One-winged Eagle on Lion’s collar, reverent and wistful in the light touch.
Krauss would always do about the same, honest and proud and loving where Kinzo was secretive and bittersweet and indirect. Natsuhi would find just the right words to say with a gentle smile. Jessica would just laugh at them and call them ‘Successor-sama’ with affectionate mockery like always, never calling them her brother or her sister regardless of anything.
However, none of them were here. Even if those people still existed in this world… the ones they knew didn’t. The ones they had been raised by and with didn’t. There was no Natsuhi who had wiped away their tears when she’d tried to cut their hair short. There was no Jessica who had told them all the ‘girly secrets’ she’d learned at school with the utmost seriousness at the tender age of five, and had then added that it was fine for her to tell them since they weren’t an ‘icky boy.’
Will had saved them, but the world they had grown up in had crumbled before their eyes, and they could never get it back.
“I don’t care,” Will huffed. “I’ve told you that from the beginning. Can I distract you now?” he asked, as rude and blunt as ever.
Lion chuckled. It was such a short, crude response, but it was enough. “Go ahead.”
Will pressed his lips to their shoulder through the thin fabric of their nightshirt, and his hands moved to the buttons. With the mirror in front of him, he could watch himself unbutton, could watch Lion’s skin be exposed bit by bit.
“You’re so impatient,” they huffed, though it was less a protest and more a petty observation.
“You’re standing here saying illogical things. Of course I want to stop them as soon as I can,” Will murmured. He kissed their shoulder again and again, even when the shirt fell to the floor and he was kissing bare skin.
“...Can we move away from the mirror at least?” Lion sighed.
Will paused, seeming to be about to acquiesce, and then shook his head as he moved from kissing their shoulder to their neck. His hands drifted over their exposed torso, and Lion shuddered a bit at the touch. Their skin was soft, sensitive, and Will’s hands were strong and calloused and too warm for them. The heat and power of them against their skin felt as though it slipped into their body, making them nothing more than overheated clay to be molded by their partner’s hands.
“I want you to watch,” Will muttered. “Since you’re complaining about your looks.”
Lion’s face heated up, their cheeks stained with a shameful red. It was a filthy idea. They should be protesting so much more about it. But it had an allure to it that they couldn’t deny.
“Crude.” The word came out as a strangled hiss, twisted by the way Will’s breath was burning their neck as he slid their pants down.
Will chuckled. “You knew that from the start.” One hand traced over the small bulge in Lion’s boxers, making them stiffen. “And you like it.”
They couldn’t even attempt to deny it. “It’s still crude,” they insisted.
Will chuckled again, the sound beautiful in their ear just as the sight of him pulling their boxers down was filthy. “If you say so.”
Lion could see it all happening to them - Will kissing their neck roughly, Will’s hand touching the tip of their cock - and bit the inside of their cheek, not wanting to acknowledge the effect it was having on them. In response to such stubbornness, Will began stroking them roughly, and a small moan escaped them. That only motivated the man to continue.
Their exclamation was nothing more than a gasp of air given sound, their breath already too disturbed for them to be able to properly speak. Their body shuddered and thrust against Will’s hand, wild and breaking free of Lion’s control over it. Their eyes were wide and their hair was loose and swaying back and forth as they moved and there was sweat beading up and shining on their skin.
“You see, right? Beautiful.” As blunt as always.
They laughed. “You’re - you’re so - Will, really -”
His hand felt good on their length, and it felt good to thrust against it, to give into the pleasure of Will taking care of them and of his continued kisses against their skin, his tongue drinking up the sweat on their neck and his lips tender against their skin.
“Just…” They groaned softly. “Don’t just spoil me like this, let me…” They tried to move his hands away, but they didn’t budge. “Will…”
Will’s golden eyes were dark and narrowed, and there was a scowl on his face to express his displeasure with Lion’s request. “No.”
Lion sighed. They couldn’t just let Will touch them like this and not receive anything in return. They couldn’t just let themself be undone by his hands alone. It would be better if he was inside them, if he was receiving something from this too. Will was behind them, so all they had to do was shift a bit to press their body against his, to grind it against his. Even then, Will didn’t move. His hands didn’t stop, though they were faster and rougher in their strokes than before.
“You’re so stubborn,” they muttered. “I want to have you, why can’t I…?”
“I want you to look at yourself.” Will’s gaze was focused on the mirror. “What do you look like?”
Their skin damp and shining with sweat. Their heavy breaths that made their flat, barely-toned chest heave. Their hair that was golden and messy and hanging heavy over their shoulders. Their cock that looked so small in Will’s hands, leaking the smallest bit of pre-come. In comparison to Will, who was tall, broad, tan, muscular… Lion looked delicate and small. Beyond that, they supposed…
“Like your partner,” they replied. “One that would very much like it if you would finish what you started, one way or another.”
“Haha… I guess I could do that.” Will smirked and one hand moved away, darting to pinch his butt before returning to stroking.
“Ah - that’s my method of discipline,” they huffed. “Don’t steal i - ah - I just told you not to!”
Will just laughed. The way he was touching Lion and laughing at him and the sight of him laughing and the sight of himself being touched and taken care of was beautiful. It was frustratingly beautiful. Lion closed their eyes. The sound of their partner’s laughter and the sensation of their touch was all they needed right now. With their eyes closed, there was a blissful cessation of stimuli, an abrupt end to thoughts of image and propriety. Just Lion and Will. Just two people in love.
Lion didn’t even notice the moans issuing from their throat, nor did they think to stop them. They were wanted and treasured and spoiled and they didn’t care to maintain any sort of image. Will never cared anyway. When they came, it was sudden and sweet and there was a roaring in their ears like the sound of the ocean crashing against the shore, overwhelming as though it wanted to drown them in the sensation, in the pleasure. And then, just as swiftly as it had come over them, it retreated.
They leaned back against Will, feeling drained, and slowly opened their eyes. As they processed the sight before them, even though it took them a bit longer to catch their breath, their face went bright red.
“The mirror…” As they mumbled the words, they couldn’t help staring at it.
“What about it?” Will asked.
“...You’re the one that’s cleaning it,” Lion sniffed.
It was normal that they’d end up with come on themself. It was less normal that it would end up on the mirror. Lion blamed Will’s impatience entirely.
He snorted as he hugged them, supporting their body against his. “You’re the one that got it dirty. So you should be the one to clean it in the morning.”
“By then it will be all dry… It’s better to clean it now, and I’m too tired at the moment.” Lion sighed and closed their eyes again. “...And… thank you.”
Will most likely had one of those smug, satisfied smiles on his face. The ones that made Lion pinch him just as much they made them want to kiss him. They wanted to pinch him this time for the mess. They wanted to kiss him this time for reassuring and distracting them.
“Do I need to carry you to bed now, Sleeping Beauty?” Will taunted.
“No.” Lion would have rolled their eyes if their eyelids weren’t so heavy. “I just want to stand here for a bit. You’re comfortable.”
“I see.” It sounded knowing in a mocking way. As though Will was only pretending to agree.
“And I wouldn’t be Sleeping Beauty,” they mumbled underneath their breath. “I’d rather be the prince in one of those fairytales.”
“You already are one,” Will replied firmly. “Remember, ‘Successor-sama’?”
Lion grimaced, their eyes opening just so that they could glare up at Will, craning their neck to do so. “Don’t call me that in jest. It’s a very formal title, it won’t do to tarnish it.”
It was something of their old life, their old family. It was something precious that could not be taken away, unlike their entire life. It was proof of the fact that they had, in some sense, ‘existed’ even if they never truly had. It was proof of the fact that they had been a beloved child. It was proof of the fact that their existence had been different from the witch. They had never been and would never be the Ushiromiya family alchemist. They were nothing more and nothing less than the Ushiromiya heir and successor to the Headship.
Will’s expression softened. He was blunt most of the time, but he was always quick to understand Lion’s feelings when it came to truly important matters. And, sometimes, when the mood struck him, he could even be gentle about it.
“Alright. Can we finally go to bed now, though? I still have to do what you asked me to.” An adorably abrupt change in topic that Lion found endearing.
They chuckled. “Yes. I’m glad you’ll clean the mirror.”
“And I’ll fuck you.”
“...Will, you just finished with me -”
“You said you wanted me.” It was stated so matter-of-factly, so casually.
Lion just had to pinch him. They had to. The yelp Will let out was adorable. They really were a spoiled thing, but Will was so quick to spoil them and to indulge them. So it was alright.