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The Best Medicine

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“That was awesome!” Ren celebrated as he bounced into the apartment, throwing his schoolbag on the floor and hazardously kicking off his shoes. “Did you see the way that pretty girl with the glasses was looking at me? So cool.”

“Yeah,” Makio said with a dry smile as he followed Ren in, hanging his bag on the appropriate hook and slowly sliding out of his sneakers. Makio leaned in briefly against the doorframe while Ren switched on all the lights with a childish glee. It was such a typical thing for Ren to do, anarchy on a tiny scale (and while no-one was watching). Makio shook his head in amusement and pushed away from the door, trailing after his friend. Ren’s parents were off on a business trip, and the apartment had already taken on that musty, day old smell of teenage rebellion. “Not exactly how I thought we were going to spend the night, but hey. We’ve still got the rest of the evening to study, right?”

They had meant to come straight to Ren’s place and work on their assignment together, but they’d sort of gotten waylaid on the way back. It wasn’t Ren’s fault, really. The small café were they’d intended to pick up dinner just happened to be running a date night, and they’d been short of male participants.

Ren had been in his element. Sauve pick up lines that made no sense, pretty girls hanging onto his every word because they’d paid to flirt with cute guys for an hour and Ren was their only viable option. Makio had smiled at the right times and nodded when it was appropriate, but he’d spent most of the hour eagerly devouring the multi-course meal Ren had bribed him with.

Makio sat down gingerly on the couch, masking the sudden hitch of pain behind a warm smile. Ren dropped down beside him with a satisfied sigh.

“Good day, huh?” Ren said warmly, stretching backwards. “School, practice, awesome food and cute girls. Doesn’t get much better than that.”

Yeah, Makio was totally beat. Just the thought of all those things squeezed into one day made him want to take a nap immediately.

“In fact,” Ren added, his gaze sliding briefly over to Makio. “I think we’ve spent the whole day with each other.” He grinned widely. “You even walked me to school.”

“Technically, you walked me to school,” Makio reminded playfully. “You picked me up on the way through.”

“That is true,” Ren conceded. Makio’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. There was something a little off about Ren’s posture, although he couldn’t quite put his finger on what. “So, you can’t say I haven’t given you every chance to explain yourself.”

Huh?

Makio yelped as Ren moved with the fluidity of fire, pressing Makio down onto the couch and straddling his hips. The sudden shift rippled across his stomach and sent sparks of pain shooting up his ribs, and stars danced momentarily in front of his eyes.

“Ren?!” Makio burst once the room settled back into something more permanent. He tried to sit up but Ren shoved him back down, pulling up the hem of Makio’s shirt in one sweeping motion.

Damn it. He should have known better than to try and keep something from his ridiculous best friend.

“You idiot,” Ren breathed out, concern tightening his voice. “When did this happen?” Calloused hands ran expertly over the bandages wrapped low around Makio’s ribs. The slight pressure of his fingertips didn’t hurt, not in the same way that accidently banging into his desk or getting a friendly elbow in the stomach did at school. Ren’s touch still made Makio’s breath catch in his throat all the same. He felt Ren’s panic trembling down through his hands, even as his amber eyes blazed through with anger and annoyance.

“You know that little incident with Sensyu?” Ren swore, his mouth thinning. “It’s ok,” Makio said soothingly, always the calm one even in situations like this. “It’s not serious. I dropped by the nurse yesterday and the nick is healing well.”

“Why didn’t you say anything?”

“There were more important things to worry about at the time.”

Ren’s eyes narrowed. “Bullshit. Do you think that if I told Kokonoe and Ibuki about this they’d agree with that little assessment of yours?” Ren slammed his hand down on the couch beside Makio’s head, and Makio’s startled gaze flickered between the hand and Ren’s eyes. “Do you really think they haven’t noticed the way you’ve been moving so tentatively? I bet they’re as concerned as I am.”

“It was a shallow wound that did little damage,” Makio said simply. They’d done worse to each other during practice. “Besides, there is nothing you could have possibly done.” Logic generally didn’t work on Ren, and he looked less than impressed at Makio’s attempt. Dubious eyes stared down at him, impatiently waiting for Makio to get his surely ridiculous defence over and done with so that Ren could go back to scolding him. Makip grinned, trying to lighten the mood. This was getting silly. “Unless you plan on kissing it better?”

The pale, insipid glow from the street-lamp picked up the gold in Ren’s hair and cast shadows across his suddenly hooded gaze. Makio’s pulse leaped as Ren studied him with unusually thoughtfulness, his head dipped to the side.

It wasn’t really a secret that Makio crushed a little harder on boys than he did girls. Ren had teased him for years about his tiny, totally not obsessive thing for Jin-san. The older boy was easy to find attractive; smooth and friendly and so much an impossibility that Makio felt completely and utterly safe getting a little starry-eyed over him. Impossibilities were nice dreams to have, as they never threatened to develop into anything more.

Realities were something Makio found entirely more difficult, especially when they spent most days at your side and had a smile like sunshine. Jin-san was perfect and talented and beautiful, and he filled Makio with so much awe that the world went all sparkly around the edges whenever he was around.

Jin-san couldn’t hold a candle to the intensity that held Makio captive now.

Makio had maybe been in love with Ren for a while. It was something he usually pretended didn’t exist, because feelings could get messy and Makio quite liked having Ren in his life.

This, however, was kind of difficult to ignore.

Ren drew backwards lazily, resting on his heels and giving himself enough room to lean forward and press a kiss against Makio’s bandages. Makio’s breath hitched and his mind simply froze, wide-eyes working on behalf of all his useless other senses. Ren’ mouth (his fiery, pouty, scarred mouth) moved over the bandages to where they met skin, placing one-

Makio gasped, his hands clenching helplessly into fists.

two –

His back curled upwards all on its own violation.

- three kisses there, his lips brushing like feathers against Makio’s skin.

“Did they help?” Ren asked, looking up along Makio’s chest with half-lidded eyes. This couldn’t be Ren, because Makio had seen Ren with girls before and he never looked so penetrating. Yet, how could this possibly be anyone else, when the passion and humour that shone now in his eyes were exactly the same as when they sparred?

Makio tried to get his mouth to work, but nothing came out.

“Seriously, now your mouth is broken?” Ren huffed in agitation, sliding up over Maki’s chest until his face lingered just above Makio’s. “I only have so many kisses, you know.”

And, yeah.

“This is ok, right?” Ren asked, an unfamiliar uncertainty creeping into his voice. “I mean, I’m not totally reading this wrong, right? Because I’ve been wanting to do this for months-“

Words, words. Come on, you bastards.

“Urag.”

Crap.

Ren blinked. “I have no idea what that means.”

To hell with it.

Makio reached up and grabbed the front of Ren’s shirt, dragging him downwards. Ren yelped as he lost his balance, crashing down onto Makio’s chest before losing the plot completely and tumbling off the couch.

Because Makio’s was clearly caught in the world’s most mortifying slap stick comedy, Ren’s last attempt to grab onto anything to stay upright resulted in Makio joining him on the floor in a mesh of limbs and humiliation.

Oh, god.

“That didn’t go quite how I thought it would,” Makio said when he managed to detangle himself, desperately unable to keep the mortification out of his voice. He dropped his head down onto his knees; his back slumped against the base of the couch. Ren sat beside him, all rigid lines and totally unable to meet Makio’s eyes.

Makio had never felt so uncomfortable in his life.

Makio rested his head back dizzyingly, one hand creeping unconsciously to his ribs. His forehead creased, and he brought his hand up into his eye line. A thin thread of wetness lingered on his fingers.

“I’ll get you some fresh bandages,” Ren said quickly, scrambling to his feet with such obvious relief that Makio felt something crack inside of him. He dropped his gaze knowingly, a bitter smile sweeping across his lips. This hurt far more than his freshly-opened wounds, cutting way deeper than the sword had ever nicked. “Just one thing,” Ren added, spinning back around and bending over Makio. Startled, Makio’s eyes flickered upwards, finding Ren suddenly way too close.

The kiss was light and hesitant, whispered against Makio’s mouth like the faintest touch of summer rain.

“Don’t go anywhere, ok?” Ren said with a self-satisfied smile as he drew back, a hint of a blush dusting across his cheeks.

“Eyeahm?”

Ren’s grin widened, and his eyes danced.

“That’s the spirit!”