The heat crawled through the archive, thickening the air with moisture and slowly smothering the few occupants who remained. It was only now that the sun was setting that the archives finally experienced the full heat of the day, and it caught the heat with such fever that the once sanctuary seemed to burn beneath the rich red and golden sunrays that spilt through the windows.
Kouyuu impatiently brushed the strands of hair that fallen across his eyes back behind his ears, and continued on with his work. He had been banished from Ryuuki's side earlier in the day after being deemed 'obviously exhausted' and 'in need of a few days off', and had only just managed to storm off before Shuuei could offer to walk him home. In the archives he could peacefully attend to his own work, finish the reports that were still too difficult for Ryuuki to complete on his own, while simultaneously tackling the backlog that had built up in Reishin's department now that most of his staff had fallen prey to the heat. They were idiots, Kouyuu thought as his gaze flickered longingly over to his empty glass before returning back to his paperwork. If they would only come in while it was still dark in the morning and stayed until after the sun had set, then they could avoid having to walk around in the heat of the day. It was impossible to escape the heat altogether, but really. If Kouyuu could survive while doing the work of 10 people, surely other officials could come in for at least a couple of hours.
When Kouyuu finished his last report several hours later, he only wavered when he stood because the rows of scrolls unnaturally bent the light of his candle and created a momentary feeling of vertigo. No other reason.
It was another hour before he reached the small Kou compound. The walk usually only took twenty minutes or so, however the gardeners had obviously rearranged the paths that lead to the main house again while Kouyuu had been at work. His gaze fell guiltily to the cold dinner that remained out for him in the kitchen, and he deliberately avoided his father as he slipped into his bedroom and changed mechanically into his loose evening wear.
Reishin was not going to be pleased.
Normally, the mere thought of disappointing Reishin filled Kouyuu with dread. Now, however, he simply felt a strange sort of numbness that stretched down along his arms and through to the tips of his fingers. Reishin spent as little time as possible in the palace now that the heat wave had fully hit, but he still expected everyone else to be as serviceable as they always were.
And normally, thoughts of servicing Reishin were thoughts Kouyuu enjoyed immensely. Knowing that his father was most likely waiting for him (impatiently, angrily, but still waiting) did bring a small, private smile to Kouyuu's lips. Still. Reishin was not going to be pleased.
Reishin wasn't. The other man did not even glance over at Kouyuu when he entered, and Kouyuu tensed immediately in the face of such blatant disapproval. Reishin had already changed for the evening, and Kouyuu knew that the only reason his father still sat stiffly on the edge of his bed was so that he could lash out when Kouyuu finally did returned home.
"I told you to be home before sunset." The coldness in Reishin's tone chilled Kouyuu to the bone, and Kouyuu felt a sudden, deep despair as his previous bravado slipped away. It was so easy for Reishin to tell him to be back before sunset, but with everyone else dropping like flies someone had to pick up the slack! There was nothing Kouyuu would have liked more than to return at a decent hour, nothing more he would have liked than to have a decent night's sleep- "I do not care for any of your excuses," Reishin added, and Kouyuu's gaze dropped dully to the floor.
"Come here," Reishin demanded after several endless minutes passed in silence.
The air felt strangely thick, and Kouyuu's legs seemed oddly heavy. They somehow managed to carry Kouyuu to Reishin's side all the same, although Kouyuu couldn't quite figure out how.
Kouyuu obediently sat down next to Reishin. His father curled one hand around the back of Kouyuu's neck, his fingers knotting in his hair. Kouyuu flinched silently as Reishin's gaze swept over his features before narrowing darkly. Reishin insisted that Kouyuu at least be presentable, and Ryuuki had worryingly said something about how Kouyuu's eyes seemed bruised and his skin unnaturally pale. Ryuuki had, of course, been exaggerating, but Reishin tended to pick up on even the slightest imperfections. It was almost a relief then when Reishin's grip on his hair loosened into a more sensual touch, and Kouyuu wordlessly reached for the tie that held Reishin's evening robe closed.
"Not tonight," Reishin said sharply. He cradled Kouyuu's pale face in his hands, lazily dragging one of his thumbs along the length of Kouyuu's bottom lip. Kouyuu's eyes drifted closed when Reishin leaned in and replaced his thumb with his mouth in a slow, insistent kiss. His head tilted back lazily as Reishin's mouth traced the same path his thumb had taken, before his lips left Kouyuu's and pressed idly against the crest of his ear. "You have been foolish," Reishin admonished quietly, and Kouyuu could only murmur in agreement as Reishin's mouth slid down along the curve of his ear. "A fool to work for so long in this heat-" Kouyuu's eyes flew open as Reishin gently took the lobe of his ear in his mouth, his tongue swirling over it before gently letting go and brushing his lips against the sensitive skin just beneath. "If you are going to continue to act in such a ridiculous manner, you will need to take precautions." His hands smoothed in perfect symmetry down the length of Kouyuu's neck, his thumbs catching on Kouyuu's adam's apple before being pulled across his collarbones when Reishin's fingers coiled possessively around his shoulders. The sensual smile that curled Reishin's lips was met by Kouyuu's uncertain one, but when Reishin's lips descended purposely towards his own once more, Kouyuu gave up trying to decipher the other man's strangely gentle actions. This time Reishin's mouth caught Kouyuu's in a consuming, slow burning kiss that demanded Kouyuu's capitulation. With a low groan Kouyuu's lips parted obediently, yielding instantly to Reishin's tongue. Reishin's hands flew down to Kouyuu's waist, and Kouyuu was drawn roughly onto Reishin's lap, his legs straddling the other man's and his chest pressed possessively against Reishin's own.
"To start with, you could avoid coming down with heat stroke so easily if you perhaps wore fewer clothes," Reishin murmured against his lips, and Kouyuu's robe was shoved inelegantly off his shoulders. Reishin's hands snaked around to the small of Kouyuu's back and drew him in tighter against his hips, and Kouyuu groaned as their cocks brushed, his arms desperately wrapping around Reishin's neck as he leaned in, frantic to deepen the kiss. Reishin obliged, one hand curling roughly around his chin so that he could more possessively claim him and Kouyuu relinquished complete control, moaning desperately, pleadingly into Reishin's mouth. His hands ran wildly down the strong, tense muscles of Reishin's back, his fingers catching in the silk material that still kept Reishin completely clothed as Reishin's tongue drove deeper, more enticingly-
Something akin to a mew slipped from Kouyuu when Reishin took his mouth away from Kouyuu's, his lips sliding across to Kouyuu's cheek momentarily in a short, firm kiss before withdrawing completely. Kouyuu instinctively leaned into him, relaxing against Reishin's chest and dropping his head onto Reishin's shoulder. Exhaustion slowly, suddenly started to flood his senses, numbing the sound of Reishin's breathing and his heartbeat, muting his scent. Reishin's arms slid around his waist and drew him in close as all strength seemed to siphon from his body. It was replaced by a shallow, burning heat, and Kouyuu's eyes drifted closed as the uncomfortable warmth unfurled behind his eyes and spread across his cheeks.
"Secondly, it would help if you got some sleep." A tiny, tired smile flickered across Kouyuu's lips as he felt Reishin's mouth press gently against each of his eyelids. "Stupid boy." Reishin fell backwards onto the bed, taking Kouyuu with him.
Kouyuu was asleep before they hit the mattress.