The hum of the Circus ship has gotten comfortable really fast, enough that Gareki feels sort of relieved to hear it when he wakes up -- that steady drone, the machines carrying them through the sky. So if that's fine, and he wasn't dreaming about anything, then what --
He listens for another minute and hears Nai whimper in the bunk below his. Like a little animal having a nightmare. Gareki's face gets hot. To think he'd care enough to wake up just because of something like that.
But hell, after Nai's last dream, he can justify it, can't he? He shoves his blanket down as Nai makes the sound again. Not about to let some weird dream-Karoku fill Nai's head with bad ideas.
Gareki drops down off the side of his bunk and ducks into Nai's, molding himself to Nai's back so there'll be room enough. The kid's really warm, but trembling, too. Gareki hopes it's not a fever.
"Nai, cool it," he says quietly. "Come on, no more weird dreams, okay?" No more of Karoku telling Nai to push him away. He reaches up and sort of rubs behind Nai's ear, like he's seen Hirato do with his pet niji before. He feels sort of dumb, and also sort of like a creep, but Nai wiggles a little, pushing closer to him, so whatever. "You're going to quit with those dumb ideas, right?" he says. "You don't need to chase me off. I can handle myself."
Nai rolls over and burrows into the hollow of his shoulder, clinging. Gareki pets his back. The kid puts off heat like a little furnace.
"There you go," Gareki says, when Nai catches hold of his shirt and hangs on. "Not so scary, huh."
"Mmn," Nai says, maybe trying to get words out, maybe still asleep. He squirms like he's still trying to get closer. Gareki knows what this looks like. He wonders if Nai does.
He's got...instincts, at least, even if he doesn't know what they mean. It's not hard to figure out what feels good, when you get this close to someone else. Nai has one leg thrown over him and is moving a little more like it's intentional now, tiny hip-rocking pushes that make it pretty clear what his body wants.
"You awake?" Gareki asks. It's weird enough if he is, never mind if he's not.
"Nn," Nai mumbles. "Gareki? ...I feel funny."
"That right?" Gareki says. "Sick?" He's pretty sure the answer's no -- who wants to do this stuff when they feel sick? -- but Nai's weird and needs looking after.
"Not sick," Nai says. "Just like -- I don't know."
Gai rubs his back some more. He could probably just tell Nai to cut it out. The kid knows he doesn't get people, he'd listen. But leaving him alone, feeling funny and not sure what to do with himself, would be -- it's like -- Gareki doesn't want to, that's all. Nai's his responsibility.
"Okay," he says. "I'll help you out, okay? And then you're going to go back to sleep."
"Mmm," Nai says, and nods.
"Here, come on," Gareki says.
He's known plenty of kids who did this kind of stuff to get by -- it's a little safer than stealing, even if the Security Force doesn't like either. He's never gone for it himself, though, because getting close to people is almost never worth it. Still, it's not like Nai's going to know if he's sort of awkward, is it?
He gets Nai's pants open and reaches in. Nai holds onto his shoulders with both hands and makes a noise like a hurt puppy when Gareki touches his cock.
Gareki stops. "I'm trying to help, okay?" he says. "So tell me if it doesn't feel good or anything."
Nai pushes into his hand, so that sort of answers that. Gareki tries to get a decent grip so he can stroke. It's a funny angle, compared to taking care of himself. When he gets it right, though, Nai makes more noise, little whimpering sounds that leave Gareki feeling pretty funny, too.
"Quiet, okay?" he says. "Everybody else is sleeping. Don't wake them up." He still doesn't really know what to make of the Circus guys some of the time, but he's pretty sure he doesn't want them getting any ideas about Nai this way, or about him and Nai together, or -- whatever.
"Feels good," Nai whispers, his breath a little puff against Gareki's neck.
"Yeah," Gareki says. "That's what I'm doing it for." Probably Nai doesn't understand enough to realize how mushy that sounds. He hopes so, at least.
It's weird to be able to feel Nai's reactions, how he gets tenser as Gareki touches him, how his breathing gets uneven. Gareki chews the inside of his lip, tries not to pay too much attention to the way he's getting hard too. That's not what this is about. They're not messing around together. He's just...helping Nai out, is all.
There isn't even any mess when Nai gets off -- Gareki thinks he might have missed it, except that Nai makes more little panicky noises and then bites Gareki's shoulder as he shivers his way through it. It'd be nice if he was coming dry just because being transformed makes him...weird, makes him work differently from actual people, but Gareki doesn't think that's it.
"Ow," he says, shrugging his bitten shoulder.
Nai lets go of him, tries to pull back. "Sorry," he says. "I didn't mean to."
"I know," Gareki says. He wishes the bite had hurt more, really. He's still hard. "Feel better?"
"Mmn," Nai says, nodding.
Gareki takes a deep breath and lets it out. "Good," he says. "Get some sleep, then."
He tries to get up to head back to his own bunk, but Nai grabs his shirt again and holds on. "Stay."
"You really -- hell. Okay," Gareki says. Looks like Nai's gotten...attached to him or something, dumb as that is. Well. He doesn't mind so much.
Even if he's going to have a hell of a time getting back to sleep.