The early part of Saturday morning was kind of a blissful haze in Yata’s mind. He vaguely remembered rolling out of bed – after what felt like the most refreshing sleep of his life – and going through his usual routine before leaving his apartment, but the details didn’t seem to stick.
Really, the only thing that was sticking in his head right then was the same thing that had been there all of last night.
Saruhiko kissed me. Fucking kissed me! On the mouth!
It had felt really good. Awesome, actually. Yata couldn’t seem to wipe the grin off his face as he thought about it, and there was a pleasant squirmy feeling at the pit of his stomach. Saruhiko’s lips were so soft and warm. He’d smelled like a mix of hair product and something unique that had set off a flare in Yata’s belly. And there was something about the way heat had gathered in the small space between them that made it feel heavy and exciting.
Everything about kissing was amazing. He couldn’t wait to do it again.
Hell, there was even more, wasn’t there? They hadn’t touched each other outside of where their lips connected – actually, he’d been too unsure of himself to do anything much with his hands while it was happening. But they could! Thinking about it made Yata’s fingers tingle with a kind of want. Maybe… next time…
There was so much that could happen next time. His head was reeling with possibilities. Saruhiko liked him back. Anything could happen now.
He spent pretty much the whole bus ride re-reading their limited text conversation from last night, again and again as music flooded his ears through his headphones. There was that one very important line he kept scrolling up to see, heart thundering in his chest, and it set off the same series of sparks every time.
‘I like you too, in case you hadn’t noticed’
‘I like you too’. Fuck. It was the best.
In the end, he nearly missed his stop, stumbling off the bus at the last second with his skateboard under one arm, his phone in his other hand, and probably the stupidest grin on his face. The stares barely registered – his mood was too good to be ruined by something that simple.
Saruhiko fucking liked him – Saruhiko had fucking kissed him. He could’ve conquered the whole goddamn world.
“Morning,” Dewa greeted him blandly, when he swung open Homra’s front door. He raised an eyebrow. “You’re here early.”
“Yo, Dewa!” Yata grinned back, striding forward and lifting the counter. “I got up early, so I figured – hey – why not?” He shrugged, heading for the back. “I’ll just grab my apron and be right out!”
The other eyebrow rose up to join the first. “Uh, sure. It’s not like we’re busy or anything, though…”
He brushed that off with a shrug, pulling open the door. “S’all good – I’m here anyway, right?”
“Yeah, I guess.”
Even the lack of enthusiasm in that baffled response couldn’t dampen his spirits. Yata hummed a refrain from the last song he’d listened to, leaning his skateboard carefully against the wall before hooking a finger on his headphones and tugging them loose from around his neck. He left them on the hook in place of his work apron, draping that around his neck instead and reaching behind him to tie it at the back.
Homra was pretty quiet that early in the morning. Anna didn’t usually come down until around when the morning rush started, and Kusanagi would arrive sometime after that. Because it was Saturday, it might end up being later for one or both of them, but it didn’t matter. Nothing was putting a dent in his good mood right then.
Wonder what time Saruhiko’s off work. The thought snuck into his head as he finished tying the apron and he hesitated for a moment. Most of the time it seemed like Saruhiko worked pretty late, but it was Saturday, so maybe he’d finish early. Yata was off at four, but hell, he was always good with hanging out at Homra, so waiting for Saruhiko to finish was no problem.
… ‘Course, he hadn’t actually asked Saruhiko to do anything with him tonight…
Yata frowned a little, considering that. Was he taking too much for granted? Sure, they liked each other, but he still needed to ask, right? He was pretty sure that was how this worked. It’d be... a date. An actual date, not like that stupid fake challenge date.
A date with Saruhiko. He was already grinning again, heart pounding fast. It sounded pretty awesome.
That was another thing, though... They’d confessed and all, but they weren’t actually going out. Yet. He was pretty sure. Neither of them had properly asked or anything. That was another thing you had to do, wasn’t it? They weren’t actually boyfriends until one of them said ‘please go out with me’ and the other said ‘yes’. Right?
Wait a sec… is ‘boyfriends’ the right word? Should it be ‘lovers’ or something? Honestly, that was kind of embarrassing…
Well, whatever – they’d figure it out. After all, Saruhiko liked him. They’d kissed. The rest was easy, right? Yata straightened, his spirits buoyed and his resolution set, and headed back toward the front of the shop. All right!
He was sure today was gonna be great!
Fushimi’s day had been perfectly average so far. Normally after working late at night it took him a while to get tired enough to sleep, but last night had been surprisingly simple. He’d woken to his alarm feeling startlingly refreshed and had gone about his morning routine in what felt like a mild daze. Leaving his apartment, the bus ride, the walk up the block… all of it was completely ordinary.
And yet, everything felt different. It was like that kiss had re-shaded his entire life.
Well, it’s not a bad thing. It felt good, thinking about it. Fushimi resisted the urge to remove his cell phone from his pocket and look at the messages again. They were already burned into his brain, so it was stupid that he felt the urge to confirm.
‘i mean i liked it’
Even just thinking about that one line filled him with warmth, and he didn’t bother to repress the tiny smile that came with it. Misaki had liked his kiss. Misaki liked him. Their feelings were mutual, and they’d acted on them.
It wasn’t something he’d ever thought about for himself before this.
He didn’t mind it, though. For all the inconsistencies and annoyances and awkwardness, it was worth it to picture Misaki’s smiling face and to hold the knowledge that the resulting tightness in his throat was a feeling they most likely shared.
The familiar entrance to the Homra Coffee House was coming up as he walked, and Fushimi slowed his pace, angling towards the door. He hesitated for a moment, looking through the glass, and caught sight of Misaki at the counter, talking to some unfamiliar guy.
A small but fierce rush of excitement gripped him instinctually, and he paused. Misaki was animated and lively, his smile wide and his eyes bright as he spoke. The sight made it momentarily difficult to breathe.
Stupid, Fushimi admonished himself, but there wasn’t much heat behind it. He was about to move away from his vantage point and reach for the door handle when the unfamiliar barista brushed past Misaki, mouth moving as he headed for the back. Misaki nodded and waved him on, turning to lean forward on the counter, with his elbows and forearms resting on its surface. He was still smiling, but as Fushimi watched, his face seemed to transform, eyes shutting and shoulders slowly rising and falling with a heavy breath. The smile took on an edge of something that Fushimi could only call sweet. It was a private expression – personal and deeply happy.
The grip around Fushimi’s chest gave an almost painful squeeze, and his mouth tugged up at the corners unconsciously. There was a kind of helpless mix of wonder and pleasure that came with it.
Still, enough is enough. He forced himself to move away from the glass, reaching for the door before he found some reason to linger again. I want to meet him sometime today, right? The familiar jingle went off as he pulled it towards him.
Misaki’s head jerked up; when their eyes met, his face seemed to brighten even further. “Sa… Saruhiko!”
“Morning,” Fushimi greeted him, feeling slightly awkward about it and hoping that didn’t show. He stepped towards the counter, sliding his hands into his pockets reflexively, and offered a tiny smile in response.
There was a moment of silence between them that felt… expectant. Hesitant. Charged. All of those.
It really wasn’t bad, Fushimi concluded, feeling free to take in all the little details of Misaki’s face now that concealing his interest was no longer a concern. There was a noticeable flush rising where the curve of Misaki’s cheekbones was most prominent, but he still had that unexpectedly sweet smile as he returned Fushimi’s gaze, and the warmth in his eyes seemed to draw out and enrich the amber tone.
For a brief second, Fushimi considered the possibility of stepping behind the counter again. There had to still be time before the morning rush, right?
The back door opened before he could give that ill-advised notion more thought, causing both of them to jolt a little. The barista from before came back into the room, a water bottle in his hand. He shot Fushimi a curious glance.
Misaki blinked, as if waking from a trance, and then abruptly seemed to come to his senses, eyes widening. The color on his face intensified. “R-right, so! Coffee!” he blurted loudly, his gaze darting nervously from his co-worker back up to Fushimi’s face. “You want some, huh?”
Fushimi shrugged in response. The prickle of shock was fading, and the awkward feeling had returned. Having another person in the room wasn’t helping; he didn’t particularly want an audience while he worked these things out. Also, while Misaki’s flustered reaction was kind of endearing, he wasn’t sure how to react to it.
At least I didn’t do something stupid. Seriously, the fact that he’d even considered it in the first place was ridiculous. Fushimi made a mental note to check himself in the future – evidently, the possibility of getting carried away by this romance nonsense was high. “That is generally the reason for coming into a coffee shop,” he answered finally, drawling his words a little to cover the moment.
Oddly, the flippant comment seemed to relax Misaki; his expression flat-lined and then he raised an eyebrow, huffing an amused breath. “Yeah, yeah.” With a final glance and quick grin, he turned to the machines. “Large double Americano, to go?”
“Mm,” Fushimi agreed. It wasn’t really necessary – Misaki was already preparing his drink – but it felt more amicable than silence. He pulled his wallet from his pocket, aware of the presence of the second barista as he discreetly took in all the little motions of Misaki’s arms and the shifting of his shoulders and back as he worked. With his apron on, the narrow span of his waist and hips was more streamlined than with just his usual baggy clothing.
It looked… nice. Appealing.
That was probably normal, although Fushimi hadn’t bothered to think about it before. His fingers itched with the imagined sensation of brushing along the lines of Misaki’s body; it stirred up a kind of ache. He wasn’t sure what to do with that, either. At some point, assuming Misaki wanted the same, it would be acceptable to touch, but he didn’t have any sense of the timing. The idea of broaching the subject was intimidating.
It was kind of annoying, really… Why should he be intimidated?
No use thinking about it so early anyway, right? Fushimi pulled out his card in an attempt to distract himself. He could look into the particulars later. What they had already done so far was more than enough either way.
It was certainly more than he’d ever expected for himself.
“All right – done!” Misaki turned with a grin, coffee cup held up triumphantly. “Ready to – ” He halted about halfway to the counter, expression freezing for a split second before he blinked and then spun right back around. “Wait! Just… one more thing!”
“Hah?” Fushimi watched him scramble for a moment at the back before snatching up what looked like a black felt marker and hunching forward over the counter, the to-go cup blocked by his body. “What are you doing, Misaki?”
“One sec!” The response came back with a note of urgency, as if Misaki expected him to walk off without warning. “… Right. Got it!” He turned again, holding out the cup with a sheepish grin on his face. “Sorry for the wait! Here.”
Fushimi reached out to take it from him, a bit warily. “Thanks.”
Their fingers brushed. Another of those little charges buzzed along Fushimi’s skin; he glanced up without thinking, and met Misaki’s eyes again. They softened immediately, and he felt the pleasant little squeeze within his body as they shared another tentative connection.
This was a feeling he wouldn’t mind getting used to, really.
The other barista cleared his throat, making them both jolt, and the moment ended. Fushimi pulled his hand back with the cup, offering up the card in its place. “Here.”
“R-right.” Misaki took it from him sheepishly. “I’ll ring it up, just wait.”
The transaction was short from that point; Fushimi slid his card back into his wallet and turned reluctantly, pausing just long enough to say, “See you,” before heading for the door.
“Yeah! See ya! For sure!”
He thought of the black marker again once he was safely outside, and brought the cup up, lowering the sleeve. As expected, Misaki had written a message underneath.
‘Come to my place after work?’
There was a lopsided sketch of a crow with wings spread beneath it.
What an idiot. Still, Fushimi felt the now-familiar tug of a smile pulling at his lips as warmth flooded through him. He shut his eyes for a second, letting out a soft amused huff, and then pulled out his phone.
Misaki’s message window was still open. It didn’t take long at all to type his response as he walked.
‘As long as you don’t mind waiting.’
There wasn’t much of a wait before ‘for sure!‘ appeared beneath it, followed by ‘txt when you’re done’.
Fushimi typed back a quick agreement, glancing up from his phone habitually to take stock of what was around him.
With everything else, he’d nearly forgotten about the challenge board, but there it was in front of him now. The sign had been changed, and as he drew closer, he could start to make out the new challenge.
‘Get to third base with someone’.
Fushimi stopped walking.
Yata’s phone buzzed again just as he was sliding it back into his pocket; he hastily reversed the motion and pulled it back again, fumbling with it for a second before catching himself and hastily unlocking it.
Dewa gave an amused snort. “Your guy didn’t seem that chatty when he was here.”
“Sh-shut up!” Yata felt his cheeks heat, shooting his friend a quick scowl before turning his attention back to the messaging screen.
‘Did you already see the challenge?’
“Eh?” Yata blinked, then raised an eyebrow, frowning. What’s that about? ‘nope what is it?’ he typed back, hoping the response would make things clearer.
There was a brief pause, and then a picture loaded on his screen. Saruhiko had apparently taken a shot of the board and sent it to him. He clicked on the preview to get a better view of the text.
For one brief, blissfully ignorant moment, his brain took the words on the screen and supplied, Hey, cool, a baseball challenge.
Seconds later, reality struck home.
“Ha… HAH!?” Yata pulled his phone in closer to his face as if that would somehow make the image change into something else, staring incredulously. “What the fuck?” There was heat crawling up his neck and over his jaw, all across his face and onto his ears. Third base… third base… He couldn’t even bring himself to think about the meaning, but the words kept repeating in his head. “Is… is this even for real?”
Dewa took a couple steps toward him, peering curiously over his shoulder. “What’s the problem?”
“Fucking… this!” Yata shoved the phone practically into his face. “What the hell kind of challenge is this?”
For a moment, Dewa just blinked at the screen. Then his eyebrows rose. “Huh.”
“That’s all you’re gonna say? ‘Huh’?” Yata’s fingers clenched around the case of his phone. “This is – this is – ” He couldn’t think of strong enough words; his brain seemed to have blanked out in a mass of frustration and embarrassment. “Seriously, what the hell?”
He got back a shrug. “Guessing you guys aren’t at the ‘handy’ stage, then.”
Yata gaped at him. “The… the…” He could feel his face growing even hotter as he sputtered, and finally managed an outraged, “N-n-none of your goddamn business!”
Dewa raised an eyebrow at him. “Not like it’s a big deal. Don’t do it if you don’t like the idea.”
Yata glared back at him, disgruntled and embarrassed. “Y-you don’t need to tell me! There’s no way I’m doing that!” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, though, there was a sneaky little voice at the back of his head that whispered, Am I?
Almost immediately after that traitorous thought struck him, he had another, even more alarming one: What if Saruhiko thinks I want to?
The implications were still sinking in when Dewa tilted his head with a mild questioning look. “You okay?”
“N-never mind!” Yata turned sharply away from him, hunching over his phone as he went through the messages again. Saruhiko hadn’t sent him anything else – just that question about whether he’d seen the challenge and then the picture.
He… doesn’t seriously think that, right? Yata swallowed hard, anxiety stirring up in his belly. The invitation he’d left on the cup had been about hanging out, maybe playing a game or something and – okay – he’d kinda been hoping they might kiss some more, but not… not…
Saruhiko hadn’t said anything else – was he not gonna come over at all now, because he thought Yata was a pervert or something?
No way… Feeling a bit panicked, Yata hastily typed out ‘you’re still coming over, right?’ and sent it before he could think it all the way through.
He was chewing on his bottom lip, weight shifting from one foot to the other with agitation, when the response came back: ‘Why wouldn’t I?’
The relief was staggering. Yata let out a long breath, shutting his eyes briefly as he released most of the frantic tension. Right. Of course there’s no way he’d think that! He opened his eyes and typed back ‘ok cool’ before turning off the screen.
As he was sliding his phone back into his pocket, the thought occurred to him that maybe – just maybe – Saruhiko did think that.
… And liked it.
Nah, it can’t be. Yata shook his head, trying to clear that idea out of it. There was no way Saruhiko would expect him to get to third base. Or – y’know – expect to get to third base with him, same difference. They’d only just kissed for the first time yesterday! They – they weren’t even going out yet! This kinda stuff didn’t happen that fast.
There was anxiety churning up in his stomach again. Yata swallowed hard, squared up his shoulders, and turned around. “Hey,” he said, attempting to keep his voice calm but unable to quite suppress the edge of tightly contained panic. “N-no one actually expects – y’know – like that…” – he waved a hand in what he thought the general direction of the challenge board was – “… that kind of stuff on like. Like the first date. Or anything. Right?”
Dewa blinked at him. “Uh…” He shrugged, crossing his arms over his chest and looking a bit uncomfortable about it. “Well, depends. I mean, Chitose does a lot of one-night-stands, so I guess you could say it’s the first and last date…”
Fuck. He hadn’t thought of that. Yata made an effort to steady his nerves. “Y-yeah, but that’s different – I mean, in – in an actual thing, like dating and all…”
He got back a doubtful look. “Even then, it depends, though. I mean, if you’re super into each other…” Another shrug. “Sometimes you just kinda get carried away. It happens.”
It felt like he was shrinking back into the center of his own head – as if the shop and Dewa and everything else became distant. “O-oh.” Yata swallowed again, trying to ground himself. “R-right. I guess…”
He probably wouldn’t expect it, though. Even as frazzled as he was, that still rang true in Yata’s mind. Seriously, if he thought about it, he really couldn’t see Saruhiko with his standoffish attitude and his prickly behavior suddenly morphing into someone who expected a hand job on the first date. That certainty alone calmed some of his frayed nerves. Right? There’s no way.
Hell, it wasn’t like Yata didn’t want to do it – the thought was as exciting as it was nerve-wracking – but it was just… he wasn’t prepared? Something like that. He didn’t know how any of this crap worked – hadn’t even kissed open-mouthed yet – and what if he screwed it up? What if Saruhiko ended up thinking he was a creep or something?
Fuck that. It was definitely better to wait. Forget this stupid challenge. No way.
“Sure you’re okay?” Dewa’s voice cut into his thoughts.
Yata glanced up at him sharply, and forced a grin in response to the dubious look of concern. “Yeah, it’s cool!” There was nothing to worry about. It was all figured out. “I’m good.”
All he had to do was convince the rest of his brain, and everything would be fine.
One of Fushimi’s fingers was tapping against the break room table with mixed agitation and annoyance. He was getting some funny looks from Akiyama, the room’s only other occupant, but he deliberately ignored that, staring at his phone with a frown.
On the screen was the result of his search: a page on a website for defining modern slang.
‘Third base’, defined as ‘Hand Job, Fingering, or Oral Sex’.
This must be a joke…
Fushimi clicked his tongue. He’d been harboring some suspicions about the source of the challenges over the past few days, and for the most part he thought he had it figured out. The key was when you stopped assuming they came from a single person. Once you allowed for multiple people writing them, it became easier to make correlations. He couldn’t exactly prove anything, but… well… he was fairly sure he was correct.
And then there was this outlier.
Well, it’s not the only one. There was one other that still had him baffled: the fateful ‘Spend an hour in a dangerous place after dark’. It didn’t seem like there were any similarities on the surface, but they both had a lazy feel to them, as if the person who’d written them had gone with the first thing to enter their head and just decided ‘well, that’s good enough’.
Kind of infuriating, really.
He clicked his tongue again, frown deepening as he turned his attention back to the words on the screen. According to the page, third base meant getting one of those three things, which meant he’d need Misaki’s cooperation if he wanted to complete the challenge.
To be honest, he had no intention of completing it, or even making an attempt. It was ridiculous.
If Misaki wanted to, though… If Misaki asked him…
There it was: that was the thought that was really bothering him. He had no idea what Misaki might be thinking about this. Based on their interactions, from the stammered confession to the awkwardly returned kiss, he was fairly confident that Misaki didn’t have any more experience than he did – which was to say, none at all. But experience and willingness to do things weren’t the same thing.
Which meant that it was entirely possible that Misaki might want to do it. He had no way of knowing until it came up.
The uncertainty was bothering him more than anything. Fushimi clicked his tongue a third time, lowering his phone a little but not clearing the search result from his screen. He didn’t like situations where he couldn’t predict the outcome, but this was entirely different from most things. The invitation to Misaki’s home still stirred a tiny buzz of anticipation inside him. He wanted to go – wanted to kiss Misaki again. Wanted to touch him. Wanted to just… see him. Talk to him. Anything, if he was being honest. He wasn’t about to refuse or cancel, not when it meant passing all of that up.
As he narrowed his eyes at the screen, the words seemed to stand out sharply.
Still, if it came down to this…
Fushimi clicked his tongue yet again, frustrated. He couldn’t say he hated the idea. Not that he’d ever considered it before as something he’d want, but with Misaki, it became intriguing – even exciting. There was a little telltale stirring in his body at the thought, and he had to suppress a shiver. But even so, having it presented as something that would happen now was jarring.
Even without experience, he could tell the pacing was wrong.
How annoying. He clicked his tongue again, deliberately pressing the power button on his phone. The screen went satisfyingly blank.
“Is something the matter, Fushimi-san?” When he glanced over, Akiyama had set down his book and was eyeing him with mild concern. “That’s the fifth time you’ve clicked your tongue like that in less than a minute. I thought something might be bothering you.”
“No.” Fushimi stood, tucking his phone into his pocket. “Nothing important.”
“I see. Well, that’s good.” Akiyama gave him a small smile. “Sorry to have interrupted you, in that case.”
“It’s fine.” He hesitated for a second, and then added, somewhat awkwardly, “Thanks.”
Akiyama looked a little startled, but his smile widened with a certain amount of warmth. “Of course. Any time.”
Fushimi nodded, turned to leave, and then hesitated again. When it came to being discreet, Akiyama could generally be relied on – and he didn’t make an issue out of most things. He’s probably seen the challenge anyway, so it’s not like he wouldn’t know.
Still, he kept his gaze facing forward and his tone flat when he asked, “You wouldn’t happen to be aware of any obscure etiquette around getting overly physical on a first date, would you?”
There was a moment of startled silence. When Akiyama answered, his voice was slow and cautious. “Not… really.” After a brief pause, he added, “In general, I think it’s best to go with your own feelings on the matter. And your date’s, of course.”
“Hm.” Well, that was more or less what he’d expected. Fushimi stepped towards the door again, not stopping this time. “Thanks again.”
“Not a problem.”
In the end, it seemed like he was just going to have to enter this situation without knowing what to expect and see what happened.
“Right here.” Yata stopped in front of his apartment door, glancing back over his shoulder with a quick grin before fishing into his pocket for his keys. “Welcome!”
“You don’t even have the door open yet,” Saruhiko reminded him in that deliberately drawling tone.
“Yeah, yeah,” he grumbled back, not really serious about it. Honestly, the mood between them was good. Things had started off a bit awkward when they’d met up outside of Homra – not really a bad awkward, but… different. They looked at each other a lot, and it felt like his stomach was doing flips every time Saruhiko’s eyes met his. But after a while they’d just sorta started talking normally about random stuff, and then they’d spent the bus ride playing Apocalypse Bunker, shoulders brushing and warmth building between them. It had been really nice.
And now here they were. At his apartment. Alone. Yata hastily fumbled with his keys, feeling a little of his earlier anxiety kick in. He was more excited than anything – even if nothing happened, he was going to spend a whole evening alone with Saruhiko – but there was that one nagging worry…
Not gonna happen. Stop thinking about it.
When they got inside, they might kiss. That thought alone was making his skin prickle up. It had felt really good last time. And here, they didn’t have to stop. Maybe – maybe there’d even be tongues involved this time. Or touching.
With anticipation and nervous excitement pulsing through his veins, Yata turned the key, opening the door and stepping inside so Saruhiko could follow him into the narrow entryway. “All right! Now you’d better accept a welcome, you picky bastard!”
Saruhiko let out a small huff, sounding amused. “If you say so.” He let the door shut behind him and turned around, bending to remove his boots.
Yata kicked his own shoes off, carefully leaning his skateboard against the wall and heading forward. He hadn’t thought too much about what his place looked like, but now that he looked at it, he couldn’t help but feel a little self-conscious. It was probably kinda… well, small. Not that he really needed much space. But he didn’t know how Saruhiko lived. He had a fancy job as a secret spy agent, so maybe he had a big place.
Yata’s apartment was a one-room with an attached unit bath and a kitchen nook. He had a tiny little table with two cushions to sit on, the futon he never bothered to put away, and his TV and game consoles. It was cramped but livable, and he kept it clean. What more could you ask for?
Well, a lot, but this was what he could afford.
He probably has a lot more money than I do, though…
As that thought popped into his head, Saruhiko finished with his boots and straightened, stepping out of the entryway. He glanced around with mild curiosity.
Yata shot him a sheepish grin, hoping he wouldn’t be too disappointed. “Sorry, it’s kinda small.” He reached up to rub the back of his neck. “S’not a bad location, though, considering…”
Saruhiko turned to meet his gaze. “Mine’s not any bigger.” He gave a small shrug. “It’s fine for one person, isn’t it?”
That little edge of nervous tension retreated. Yata’s grin widened, feeling less forced and more enthusiastic. “Right? That’s what I think, too!” He lowered his hand, turning so that his body angled more towards Saruhiko. “It’d be cool to see your place sometime, y’know.”
“If you want.” One corner of Saruhiko’s mouth tipped up. It was a cute gesture – like he wanted to be happy but wasn’t too sure if he should. “There’s not much there.”
“Hey, not like there’s much here either.” Yata waved a hand carelessly at the room. “I’m sorta curious.”
His eyes followed the slight motion as the other corner of Saruhiko’s mouth curved up to join the first. It gave him a little shiver – he still vividly remembered what it felt like to have that mouth pressed up against his. At the time, Saruhiko had been the one to kiss him.
Does that mean I should do it this time?
Was it really okay to jump right to kissing as soon as they came in?
“You’ll probably be disappointed,” Saruhiko murmured, and Yata blinked, forcing his gaze back up. There was a questioning look in those blue eyes, but also something intense – almost expectant. “I don’t keep many things.”
“O-oh.” Yata swallowed, wrestling with himself. Here they were, alone, and there was that charged atmosphere between them – he was pretty sure by now that it was the ‘I like you’s hanging around in the air like invisible threads strung between their bodies. He felt strongly that he wanted to act – to reach out and take Saruhiko’s hand, twine their fingers together, or step forward and lean up to capture those thin lips with his own. But then there was that anxious uncertainty hanging out at the back of his head, left over from the beatdown he’d taken when Homra had disbanded. A bruise to his self-confidence that chimed in here and there to warn him that he was probably jumping in too soon and aiming too far.
Fuck. Okay. Let’s play it safe. Gotta do this right, huh?
He straightened, squaring his shoulders. “So. Uh. You wanna play some games or something?” He managed a bit of a grin with that. “I got Empire of Death if you wanna try co-op mode…”
Saruhiko returned his gaze for a moment, looking strangely blank, and then shrugged again. “Fine with me.” He tilted his head just slightly. “I’ve only played the first chapter solo, though.”
“S’cool. We’ll figure it out.” Yata turned to head in towards the TV and then paused as a thought occurred to him. “You want a drink or snacks or something?”
“Right. Yeah.” He scratched at the back of his head, shooting Saruhiko a rueful smile. “Sorry, there’s just the futon to sit on.” It wasn’t like he usually had many people over. “But anyway, I’ll set up the console, so go ahead and make yourself comfortable!”
They ended up sitting next to each other on the futon, Saruhiko with his long legs stretched in front of him and Yata loosely cross-legged as they played. They were close enough that his knee brushed against Saruhiko’s thigh. The combination of that and the warmth that gathered in the short space between their shoulders was pretty distracting, but Yata figured he wasn’t making too many mistakes.
Saruhiko was still doing better than him, but whatever. It was a hundred times more fun than playing by himself.
“Got it!” he cheered, swinging his fist up in triumph as the screen announced their successful completion of the first chapter. “Told ya there’d be no problem!” He turned a grin towards Saruhiko, allowing the controller in his other hand to tip to the side. “That only took us – what – ”
“Four hours,” Saruhiko supplied without hesitation, lowering his own controller and shifting his shoulders a bit as if to release tension. “And twenty minutes. Or so.” He turned his head to meet Yata’s gaze, offering a tiny, rueful smile.
Yata blinked at him. “Huh. Really? It’s been that long?” It sure as hell hadn’t seemed like it. “Damn.” They’d met up at six, made it back to his place by quarter to seven… “Guess it’s getting kinda late, huh?”
That little hint of a smile faded. “I guess.” Saruhiko turned his head again, letting out a long breath and then shutting his eyes. “I should probably go, then.” He set his controller off to the side, shifting in preparation to push himself up.
A rush of sudden panic flooded Yata’s system; he reached out before he could think twice, catching hold of Saruhiko’s arm at the elbow and ignoring the dull thud of his own controller hitting the floor. “Wait!” It came out sounding almost desperate, but he couldn’t quite manage to care; as Saruhiko turned his gaze back sharply, Yata felt his heart start to beat hard and fast against his chest, spurring him on. “I got an extra futon,” he blurted out urgently. “You should – I mean, you could stay over.”
For what seemed like a long, tense moment, those words hung in the air between them.
Shit shit shit. The thundering sound of Yata’s heartbeat was starting to overwhelm him. I really just did that, didn’t I? He’d seriously just invited the person he liked – the person who’d admitted to liking him back; who’d kissed him – to stay the night.
He wasn’t sure if he was more terrified or pumped. His head was kind of a mess right then.
Saruhiko blinked, seemingly taken aback, and then his expression settled. “I don’t have a change of clothing,” he said, voice slow and faintly cautious.
It wasn’t an immediate rejection. A large part of the nervous tension eased off, and Yata managed a small smile in return, slumping a bit with relief. “You could borrow some of mine,” he offered, eager to settle the issue. “We’re probably close enough to the same size, right?”
The words were barely out of his mouth before he was struck by the implication – Saruhiko, wearing his clothing – and Yata felt his face start to grow hot. Fuck… “I-I mean,” he stuttered, trying to shrug off the embarrassment, “i-it’s not – not like it’s a big deal. Y’know? Right?”
Saruhiko returned his gaze evenly for a second, and then let out a little huff, his lips turning up again with open amusement. “Who are you trying to convince?” he murmured and lowered his eyelids a bit, looking back at Yata through his lashes. “All right. I’m fine with it.”
Something about that look had him swallowing hard, unable to tear his eyes away. Yata was suddenly, keenly aware of his hand still gripping Saruhiko’s arm. “O-oh. Yeah,” he muttered awkwardly. The combination of the intensity in those blue eyes and the feel of warmth under his fingers had a little spike of anxious excitement jarring through him, and he felt the urges from before rising up strongly.
Saruhiko was so close to him…
Should I – ? Is this actually a good time to – ?
His body seemed to be ahead of his thoughts, drawn in by the pull of Saruhiko’s gaze. Yata was barely able to process the fact that he wasn’t the only one leaning in – that space was decreasing slowly between them, and he could feel the brush of unsteady breath against his face. His heart was echoing loudly in his ears again, and his stomach was in knots, but it felt good – everything about this was a tantalizing mix of discomfort and pleasure that had his free hand clenching into a trembling fist and his fingers tensing against Saruhiko’s arm.
Somewhere in the middle of all of that, he’d closed his eyes. Tilting his head forward blindly just a fraction more, he felt the brush of something against his lips, and then the gap closed.
It felt like tiny explosions going off in various places through his whole body – all branching out from that single point of contact: the sensation of another mouth against his, warm and soft and belonging to Saruhiko. Yata sucked in a breath through his nose, tilting his head to the side instinctively to improve the angle, and felt Saruhiko’s lips move against his, almost separating, pressing forward with clear intent and fitting in more firmly.
His heart felt like it was going to burst with how frantic its pace was. Yata’s fingers tightened reflexively against the arm beneath them, little sparks appearing around the edges of his eyes even as he kept them closed. When he tipped his head up further, clumsily searching for motion and rhythm, his nose bumped the frame of Saruhiko’s glasses.
They separated, breathing fast and hard. Saruhiko’s pale cheeks were flushed, but his eyes looked very dark with how wide their centers seemed to have gotten, and his lashes still hung low over them, like a veil. The sight of him made Yata’s breath hitch, the tension in his lower belly increasing with confused longing. Before he could act on it, Saruhiko reached up and slid his glasses off one-handed, folding and setting them to the side before tipping his head down again to bring their mouths together.
For a moment, they kissed like that, closed-mouthed, breaking apart every few seconds to adjust and come together again. It was greedy and clumsy and it felt good, but it was also like a fire had lit in Yata’s body.
Having this taste wasn’t enough – he wanted more.
If I just… maybe…
Spurred on by the way Saruhiko pressed back into the kiss and the tense excitement forming in his gut, Yata pulled back his hand from the arm he’d been grasping and awkwardly reached out to set it on Saruhiko’s knee instead, testing the water.
The response was immediate and promising; Saruhiko made a surprised little hum against his mouth and shifted his body, the hand that had been trapped by Yata’s grip now brushing hesitantly against the small of his back.
Even that light touch set off a little spark within him. Yata squeezed his fingers in reflexive response, feeling brave enough to slide his hand just a little higher up Saruhiko’s thigh. Fingers traced up the line of his spine in response, as if mapping it out.
The sensation was oddly intense – Yata gasped as a shiver seemed to follow the path of those fingers, his mouth opening against Saruhiko’s. He felt a hitch of breath close by, and then the first tentative touch of Saruhiko’s tongue against his bottom lip, slick and wet and – oh.
The fire seemed to flare up into an inferno within him. The damp heat of Saruhiko’s open mouth against his was intoxicating, and the glide of his tongue felt weirdly exhilarating, taking Yata’s breath away and making him feel like he was drowning for a dizzying moment. His fingers jerked against Saruhiko’s thigh as he felt the beginnings of a familiar ache stir between his legs.
It was so good… too good… He didn’t want to stop.
Their mouths broke apart, readjusted, and came back together, open and clumsy and heated, mutually hungry as they pressed back into each other. Saruhiko’s fingers trembled against his back and Yata squeezed his thigh again, pleasant shivers rushing over his whole body.
Vaguely, at the back of his mind, he thought he understood now what Dewa meant when he talked about getting ‘carried away’.
Saruhiko shifted again, fingertips trailing forward along Yata’s back to curl around the far side of it, bringing their bodies into closer contact. Yata pressed back in response, a low sound escaping him. He took it as his cue to snake his free arm up around that narrow waist in return, a little thrill running through his body at the feel of toned muscle under his hand. Saruhiko’s free hand tentatively brushed against his hip, and he felt the surge of pleasant tension in his lower body again.
It was overwhelming, this feeling – not at all like when he… when he…
Realization struck – outside of the haze and the rush, the reality was that he was sitting here making out with someone for the first time ever – someone he really fucking liked and wanted to impress – and that was definitely a hard-on pressing up against the fly of his shorts.
Embarrassment flared up over the arousal that had clouded his thoughts. Yata pulled back, mumbling a quick, mortified, “Sorry,” before extracting both hands and hunching forward in an attempt to conceal the obvious bulge at his crotch.
“What?” Saruhiko sounded breathless and baffled – when he risked a glance up, those blue eyes were squinting at him with confusion. There was a dark flush across Saruhiko’s face, too, and his lips were noticeably reddened.
Yata’s own lips tingled with an echo of the desire in that expression; he licked them nervously, noting how different they felt now. The urge to lean up and continue was so strong it almost overrode his humiliation at his current predicament.
Almost. “I-I need a minute, okay?” It came out defensive. Yata hunched his shoulders further, feeling his face burn, and turned his gaze forward. His hands clenched into fists at his sides.
Calm the fuck down… stop thinking about it… His body was way too keyed up to listen. Fuck…
Saruhiko let out a slow breath, withdrawing his hands somewhat awkwardly. “Are you really that bothered by it?” he mumbled. “Isn’t it normal?”
Yata jerked his eyes back up, shocked, and met Saruhiko’s even gaze. “Y-y-you… you saw…?”
He got a raised eyebrow in return. “I guessed.” That came with a soft tongue click, though with the flush and the squint, Saruhiko looked more disoriented than annoyed. “Anyway, like I said, you don’t need to worry about it.”
“Huh? What the hell would you know? It’s not like you – ” Yata holded in the middle of his flustered rant, belatedly coming to a realization. He lowered his eyes slowly. “… Ah.”
There was a very prominent bulge between Saruhiko’s legs as well.
Wait… so… he also…
“Finally realized, huh?” There was a sardonic edge to Saruhiko’s voice, but it wasn’t too sharp. When Yata glanced back up, there was the barest hint of a wry smile on his face. “Took you long enough, Misaki,” he drawled, eyelids lowering into another of those unintentionally smoldering looks.
“Sh-shut up.” It came out weak; Yata was still kind of reeling from the realization. Saruhiko was… like that, too. Turned on. The thought sent a wave of heat through his body, stronger than the embarrassment from before. His fists trembled at his sides. “I… I was just… y’know… sorta…”
“Mm.” Saruhiko interrupted his stream of babbling by reaching up to touch his face, fingers brushing lightly along the curve of his cheekbone. They felt cool against his flushed skin; Yata shivered again, involuntarily, and tipped his head a little into the touch. There was a mix of amusement and a kind of heat in Saruhiko’s eyes. “So?” he murmured. “What’ll you do now, Misaki?”
That felt like a challenge. A rush of exhilarated fire blazed to life behind his chest, and Yata felt the grin building on his face in response before he’d even made up his mind. “Just you wait, Saruhiko,” he shot back, voice low, and reached out impulsively to wrap his arms around that thin waist, falling sideways onto the futon without letting go.
Saruhiko let out a surprised grunt as he landed on his shoulder, and Yata followed up on his advantage, leaning in for another firm, insistent kiss.
Think I’m getting better at this!
There was only a moment of startled stillness, and then Saruhiko was pressing back against him, mouth opening and tongue prodding at Yata’s lips again. He parted them obligingly, arms tightening as that wave of heady bliss ran through his body at the intimate contact. So good…
When his shoulder was pushed, he gave without thinking, rolling onto his back and pulling Saruhiko’s body over him with the grip around his waist. The kiss broke, elbows planted on either side of his face, and thin legs straddled one of his. Then Saruhiko’s mouth was seeking his again, fumbling and frantic, and they connected, breath mingling in quick, uneven pants as they found a rhythm.
The kiss was still sloppy, but the slick weight of Saruhiko’s tongue was a pleasant pressure in his mouth. Yata moaned a little without thinking, brain flooded by the signals of sensation rushing in from all over his body. It was like Saruhiko was everywhere, surrounding him, and he didn’t know what to do with all the stimulation. He felt shaky and overwhelmed, wound up to the point of short-circuiting.
It was almost too much.
Saruhiko’s hip brushed against the covered lump of his erection, making his legs jerk involuntarily with the unexpected spike of pleasure, and all of a sudden it really was too much.
He pulled back from the kiss a bit gracelessly, turning his head to the side and loosening his hold on Saruhiko’s waist, unsure if he should let go entirely. “Sorry,” he muttered again, shutting his eyes and letting out a shaky breath. “I-I’m not… I mean, I don’t think…” He grimaced, feeing stupid about the whole thing. “… goddamnit.” Drawing in a long breath, he braced himself and blurted, “This is just… ugh! It’s too much, okay? Right now, I mean. I can’t.” He turned his head again, forcing himself to meet Saruhiko’s unreadable gaze, and set his mouth stubbornly. “Sorry.”
There was a brief, tense moment where Saruhiko just squinted at him in silence, and then he shut his eyes and sighed, leaning forward and abruptly resting his forehead against Yata’s shoulder. “Me too,” he mumbled. Then, almost as if to himself, he mused, “The pacing is off.”
Yata blinked, attempting to look down at the top of his head. “Eh? Pacing?”
“Never mind.” Saruhiko shifted his body to the side and Yata automatically loosened his hold, one arm slipping loose as they separated. Their faces were still close on the futon; he could see the faint edge of a wry smile directed back at him. “I’m saying that I agree with you.” There was a moment of hesitation, and then he added, “Well, I feel the same, anyway.”
Crazy how such a simple thing could make him feel so much better. Yata smiled back, a warmth that had nothing to do with the heat from before stirring in his chest. It was pleasant in an entirely different way, but no less sweet. He rolled onto his side, bringing their bodies in line. “Yeah?”
He wasn’t sure who started first, but somehow a breathless chuckle escaped him, and Saruhiko’s shoulder shook as he let out one of those amused huffs. What was left of the tension seemed to dissolve in that moment.
“The hell? We’re both so lame.” Yata let the smile spread into a grin, fully satisfied when their gazes locked and it felt like that rueful understanding passed between them. “So much for that challenge, huh?”
“It was a stupid challenge anyway,” Saruhiko answered, dismissively. His expression was content. “It’s not worth worrying about.”
“Yeah.” Feeling more confident, Yata leaned forward to kiss him again, close-mouthed and simple. It was a bit awkward with the angle, but just the feeling of Saruhiko leaning into it, his mouth curving to fit Yata’s, set off that familiar flurry of excitement in his stomach. Even more when he pulled back and tipped his head forward to rest their foreheads together, the smile on his face reflected back from across that short distance.
This is seriously the fucking best!
All the same, there was still that one thing he was gonna need to deal with… Yata shifted uncomfortably, clearing his throat. “I’m gonna… have to go use the toilet for a bit, though,” he muttered, unable to help turning his gaze aside as he felt a prickly heat crawling up his neck. “Just… y’know…”
There was a pregnant pause.
It was broken by Saruhiko’s tongue clicking. “In the interest of saving time,” he muttered back, sounding a bit put out, “why don’t I go use the toilet and you stay here? We can text each other when we’re done.”
Yata found his eyes drawn back up immediately, skin prickling in shock. Saruhiko returned his gaze flatly, but there was a downturn on his lips that was almost an exaggerated irritation – as if to cover his own embarrassment. For a moment, Yata was struck speechless, unable to process the implication.
Can’t believe this is actually happening…
He shut his eyes and rolled onto his back again, letting out a low groan. “Goddamnit… Yeah, all right.” Getting his hands under him, he pushed himself to a sitting position and turned his head to meet Saruhiko’s gaze again. This time, what passed between them was resignation.
“Let’s get this over with then, huh?”