Upon returning from school Rikuo noticed Oboro-guruma standing at the entrance of the Nura mansion. He briefly wondered who the cart might have brought for a visit at the main house of the Nura clan, but he didn’t really feel like inquiring about the guest as he usually would.
Instead, he immediately turned to head to his room but was interrupted by Wakana, who called after him to go see his Grandfather in the reception room.
A tad reluctant, Rikuo complied and headed to where Nurarihyon was most likely to be found.
He slid the door open and was, as expected, greeted by the form of his Grandfather sipping from his mug. Less expected though was that the old man was sitting in the room alone.
„I thought we had a guest...“, Rikuo started, but Nurarihyon interrupted him.
„Come in and close the door, Rikuo.“
Rikuo stepped in, closed the door behind him and sat down across from his Grandfather.
„What is it, old man?“ Rikuo asked, trying to hide his wariness.
„Zen sent an invitation. Apparently, the reconstruction of the Zen-Ippa group’s headquarters went smoothly and they want to show us their gratitude for our help as well as showing us their rebuilt place. We are family, after all...“
Rikuo sighed irritably. Nurarihyon sent his grandson a warning look, then continued „... but since I’m already quite old and a long journey seems rather troublesome, I thought you could go on your own and represent the family.“
Rikuo huffed again.
„Additionally, there’s also the fact that you are now aiming to become the third leader of the Nura clan...“, Nurarihyon continued, obviously trying to make the trip more appealing. „It might be a good sign if you showed up at your ally’s invitation. Especially in this case. You were, after all, more involved in the entire incident at the Zen-Ippa’s headquarters than I was and thus have far more reason to follow the invitation.“
Rikuo remained silent.
„And then there’s the close friendship you and Zen share“, Nurarihyon added. „What do you think? Will you go?“
Rikuo stood, looking at his Grandfather. „I’ll go change. Oboro-guruma will bring me to Zen’s mansion, right?“
Nurarihyon only nodded, his gaze, which betrayed the otherwise well concealed concern about Rikuo’s momentary predicament, following the retreating form of his Grandson till the youngest Nura was out of sight.
Zen himself was already waiting for Rikuo at the entrance of the mansion when he finally arrived around sunset. Zen greeted the teen joyously and lead him to the reception room for dinner, explaining various things about the reconstruction and the mansion itself on the way.
As Rikuo followed Zen, he noticed that, albeit barely visible in the soft evening light, there were still a few traces visible here and there of the damage done to the main house and the closest buildings by the fire Hebidayu had set. But obviously the Zen-Ippa group had rebuild most of what had burned down and fixed what needed fixing within a rather short time frame with some help from the Nura main house.
After a light but sating dinner with some easy conversation, Rikuo, feeling exhausted, soon asked where he would be sleeping.
Once Zen had shown him to his room, Rikuo excused himself for the night, as did Zen. For the moment.
After finishing an already started report on a newly discovered concoction, which he hoped would come in handy in foreseeable future battles, Zen decided to check up on his young guest.
Before leaving his study though, he slid a small vial into his pocket and asked Bunbuku Chagawa to prepare and bring some tea to the guest room.
An hour had passed since Zen had left Rikuo to his own devices, and he hoped the teen would be fast asleep by now, but from what he had heard from the Supreme Commander and seen for himself during dinner, he highly doubted it.
Rikuo had tried hard to be his usual, cheerful self during the meal and the conversation, but Zen couldn’t be fooled that easily. He had known the youngest Nura for far too long not to notice the cracks in his otherwise energetic appearance that were probably caused by severe sleep deprivation.
As Zen approached Rikuo’s quarters for the night, he could already make out the teen’s sitting silhouette on the porch, gazing into space, legs restlessly swinging back and forth. He stopped to wait for the tea he had asked for. Leaning against a wooden pillar, he observed the scene in front of him, pondering what would be the best course of action.
It didn’t take Bunbuku Chagawa very long to appear with two cups filled with steaming hot tea, and after Zen poured a few drops from the vial into one of the cups, he took them and joined Rikuo on the porch.
When Rikuo didn’t react after a few seconds, Zen took one cup and put the teen’s cold hands around it. He waited till he could feel Rikuo’s grip tightening around the warm tea cup before he withdrew his hands.
After another long moment, Rikuo finally tore his gaze away from whatever he had been staring at out there and looked questioningly at Zen.
„I thought you might like some tea in the unlikely case that you’re still out and about instead of in your bed and fast asleep like you should be“, Zen explained quietly.
He watched Rikuo put his nose over the tea to inhale its scent, but as he did not seem too eager to drink any of it just yet, Zen took a sip from his own tea cup, looking at the teen over the rim of his cup. Lightly, he added: „It’s just a herbal tea I enjoy at the end of the day. I found this specific mixture to be quite relaxing.“
They sat in silence for a while, Zen waiting for Rikuo to say or do something, Rikuo just sitting there, staring at the cup in his hand.
Finally, Zen felt like he had waited long enough and, carefully keeping in check his rising temper, asked softly: „Why are you not sleeping, Rikuo?“
The teen frowned at the question and shrugged.
„Wouldn’t you like to talk about it?“
Rikuo looked down at his cup, rolling it between his palms, and sighed.
Zen, finding it harder and harder to remain patient, was almost about to lose the struggle to keep his cool, when the boy finally mumbled: „I don’t know.“
Zen stared at him, surprised by his confession.„You don’t know?“
Rikuo shook his head.
„Wanna talk about it? Or around it?“ Zen pressed but tried to keep his tone light.
„There’s nothing to talk about. I really don’t know“, Rikuo admitted, a tad of annoyance creeping into his voice. Zen hummed at this and decided to change the topic. For now.
„Well, you could at least tell me what you think about that tea“, Zen nudged the teen, taking another sip himself, as he hoped to encourage Rikuo to finally drink his as well. „After all, I’m the Nura house’s specialist on concoctions of all kinds. Some feedback on their usefulness from the next Head of Family would be highly appreciated.“
Rikuo eyed Zen, a brief hint of wariness flitting across his face, but this time he followed the youkai’s example, lifted the cup and drank some of the tea. Zen studied Rikuo attentively and smiled slightly at the slight but immediate reaction of Rikuo’s body.
„Like it?“ Zen inquired.
Rikuo nodded. „It’s... definitely different from the teas we have at home.“
Zen chuckled. „Of course it is. It is a Zen special mix.“
„It tastes good. And it is...“, Rikuo seemed to be searching for the appropriate word.
„Relaxing? Calming? Unwinding?“ Zen suggested, suppressing a smirk.
„Something... like that“, Rikuo agreed, taking another sip.
Zen mimicked the teen, then put down his tea cup, preparing for what he was sure would come rather sooner than later. After all, he knew the effects of his concoctions well enough, even though he usually used them on demons and not on a human child.
Had anyone ever asked him whether or not he’d go as far as to use any of his concoctions on a human being, he would have answered no, because he’d never thought he would have to resort to doing such a thing. But tonight, Zen felt that an exception was rightfully in place.
„Sure you don’t wanna talk about that sleeping issue, Rikuo?“ he took up his questioning from the beginning again, hoping that the few drops from the vial would help open up his human companion enough to maybe find a solution.
„I told you... I... I don’t know, Zen“, Rikuo repeated, rubbing his eyes tiredly.
„But you are obviously tired.“
„I... am. But whenever I lie down... I.... I’m just wide awake. And can’t sleep.“ A yawn followed his statement, making it somewhat comical.
“You look quite sleepy right now“, Zen pointed out.
„I was sleepy before, too. Then I went to bed and... ended up here“, Rikuo explained a bit forlorn, his gaze again wandering into the distance. „It’s not that I don’t want to sleep, Zen. I just... I just can’t. And I can’t figure out why.“
„I see.“ Zen looked briefly at Rikuo, deciding to give the cup’s content a few more minutes to unfold its effect to its fullest.
It didn’t take that long though until Zen felt a weight pushing against his side. He turned his head slightly, just in time to notice and catch the tea cup slipping from Rikuo’s grip and put it aside.
The answer was an unintelligible mumble, but the slight nod was unmistakable.
„How about bed, then?“ Zen asked quietly as he wrapped his arm around Rikuo’s waist, steadying the boy.
A slight shake of the head and a soft „no“ was all the answer Zen got from the teen. He smirked.
Bracing himself, he stood up, pulling Rikuo to his feet. The movement earned him a subdued groan from the teen.
„Our beds are not that bad, Rikuo“, Zen teased lightly.
Zen struggled quite a bit to get Rikuo back to his room, even though his human form was only that of a 12 year old boy. The teen’s own support of his weight dropped steadily though, putting more strain on the older youkai.
Once they’d made it back to the room, Zen carefully laid an almost sleeping Rikuo down on the futon. The boy’s breathing had slowed down and he seemed relaxed enough to finally fall asleep.
However, just in the short time it took Zen to close the sliding door and check the candles which were the only sources of light in the room, Rikuo had once more become restless.
A tad unnerved and slightly stumped Zen crossed the room and sat down next to the teen.
„Rikuo, don’t fight sleep, you need the rest“, whispered Zen urgently as he laid his hand on the boy’s forehead.
Rikuo moaned, eyes fluttering open.
„I don’t know what exactly is going on as you should be out like a candle after drinking that special mix“, Zen explained calmly. „But I’m not willing to give up just yet. You will sleep at some point while being my guest.“
„You will“, Zen insisted.
As he started examining Rikuo by running his hands over the teen’s body, the boy flinched away. Zen looked him in the eye, raising an eyebrow questioningly, but the younger man averted his gaze.
Zen cupped Rikuo’s face, turning it just enough so that the teen was facing him. „I want to help you, not hurt you, Rikuo“, Zen explained, brushing the boys cheek while speaking. „Will you let me help you?“
Rikuo gulped but nodded nonetheless.
Zen continued his examination, applying pressure here and there and gauging Rikuo’s reactions. To Zen’s relief the teen eventually got used to the skilled touches, stopped squirming and even seemed to drift off again.
„Kusurihako“, Zen finally called out, startling Rikuo.
Shortly after its name had been called, the medicine box demon scampered into the room and promptly offered its contents to Zen. He rummaged through the various small jars, pots and vials stored inside Kusurihako until he found what he was looking for. He took the two items out of the box and put them down next to the futon.
„Thank you“, Zen said with a nod towards his subordinate, and with a small bow Kusurihako left the room.
Zen focused his attention on Rikuo again, who stared blearily at him.
„You are fighting sleep quite splendidly, Rikuo“, Zen teased gently, though there was no mistaking his determination, as he added, „But as I said before you will get a good night’s sleep while being here and I will do whatever it takes to make it happen.“
One of Zen’s hands moved down to undo Rikuo’s obi, but Rikuo jerkily brought up his hands and stilled Zen’s movement, shifting uncomfortably next to the youkai.
Taking Rikuo’s hands into his, Zen tenderly started caressing the boy’s knuckles. He continued drawing circles on the soft skin until he could sense that Rikuo was calming down again, eyes transfixed on their joined hands.
Eventually, Zen brought one hand up, cupping Rikuo’s face to get the teenager’s attention: „Do you trust me, Rikuo?“
The teen’s eyes narrowed briefly, but he gently nodded after a few seconds.
„Then just trust me with this“, Zen whispered into Rikuo’s ear.
The boy drew in a shaky breath, closed his eyes and briefly pressed his cheek against Zen’s touch.
Zen smiled and softly brushed Rikuo’s cheekbone with his thumb, before he withdrew his free hand to untie the obi while still continuing rubbing the teen’s knuckles lightly with the other one. Zen could feel Rikuo’s fingers tense in his grasp momentarily as he pushed the obi aside, but the boy remained calm otherwise. He let go of Rikuo’s hands and, with both hands at his disposition now, Zen deftly got rid of the teen’s blue haori, his black kimono and the white undergarment.
„Turn over, Rikuo“, Zen told the boy once the clothing was gone, nudging him lightly to emphasize his request.
During the time Zen needed to get the vial and pour some of its fluid into his palms, Rikuo sluggishly turned onto his belly. Once the boy had settled into the new position, Zen dispensed the now warm liquid over Rikuo’s neck, shoulders and back; then he started his massage with Rikuo’s neck and shoulders. The teen whimpered a few times while Zen was working out the knots, but once they were gone and Zen extended his treatment to Rikuo’s entire back, the soft groans intermingled more and more with blissful moans and even some giggles.
Zen took his time massaging the boy, enjoying the reactions he elicit from Rikuo with his mere hands.
However, when Zen realized that Rikuo was beginning to drift off, he paused, nudged the boy lightly and repeated his former request: „Turn over again, Rikuo.“
He hadn’t finished his treatment of the young Nura yet and didn’t want to stop in the middle.
While Zen turned around to get the vial with the massage oil Rikuo fought to do as he’d been asked by the youkai. However, as his limbs denied their full cooperation, the teen was only partially successful with the task, and when Zen turned around after retrieving the flask he had to suppress a laugh at the boy’s awkward position.
Still smirking, Zen helped Rikuo turn onto his back properly before he continued his ministrations, this time starting with the feet and slowly working his way up the teen’s body. By the time Zen reached the arms, Rikuo’s breathing had evened out and his body had completely gone limp.
Zen was just finishing his massage around Rikuo’s shoulder, neck and throat, when suddenly a strong arm wrapped around his waist and wrestled him around. He found himself thrown onto his back and pinned down by a body definitely not belonging to a 12 year old human boy.
„Ma...master?“ Zen stammered, blinking incredulously into another pair of red eyes.
„Rikuo will do, Zen“, the Nura heir smirked. He stared intensely into his subordinate’s eyes and continued in a more serious tone. „Tell me Zen, what did you do to the little one?“
„I... I just...“, Zen gulped.
„Hmmmm?“ Rikuo brushed his forefinger along the older man’s jaw line, clearly enjoying himself and the other’s predicament.
„I...I just made him sleep“, the older youkai answered feebly. „Or rather... tried?“
Rikuo hummed his understanding, leaning further down with a smirk.
„I guess I have to repay a debt then, Zen“, Rikuo whispered into the other man’s ear. He turned his head slightly to watch the other’s eyes widening in – fear?
„There’s no need to be afraid, Zen“, the Third-to-be chuckled, cupping the older youkai’s face, tenderly brushing his thumb over the other’s cheek. He slowly moved down from Zen’s ear to the his neck, lips touching the other man’s skin oh so teasingly – until he suddenly bit down.
„Ah!“ Zen cried out, body jerking into Rikuo’s.
A mischievous glint in his eyes, Rikuo moved back to face his companion and drawled: „You’re wearing way too many clothes, you know that?“
Zen blinked, eyeing his master questioningly.
Rikuo answered with the raise of an eyebrow and started playing with the hem of Zen’s haori.
Zen glanced down at Rikuo’s hand and then back up into the eyes of the next Commander of the Hyakki Yakkou.
At that, Rikuo waggled his eyebrows, an impish grin playing around his lips.
„Take them off, then“, Zen sighed, rolling his eyes.
A stern look.
Rikuo snickered at the sudden change in demeanor from his subordinate, but he wasn’t really surprised. Zen’s mood swings were quite famous within the Nura clan after all, and he didn’t mind them under normal circumstances, let alone if he could have his way with the other man faster through one of those swings.
Gleefully, Rikuo removed the offending clothes and once the last piece of clothing was gone, he paused, admiring his companion’s body.
„Like what you see?“ Zen interjected cheekily.
„You have no idea“, Rikuo murmured huskily, before he bent down and kissed Zen roughly, grinding his hips against Zen’s at the same time.
Zen’s body moved against Rikuo’s on its own accord and as he moaned, Rikuo immediately took advantage of the opening, his tongue darting into the other’s mouth. Rikuo broke their kiss eventually, distancing himself a little to cherish the sight in front of him. A light sheen already covered Zen’s body, and the older youkai was panting heavily.
Anxious about the other man’s well-being Rikuo reached out and cupped Zen’s face, searching for any signs of serious overexertion.
„’s okay’, Zen breathed, seeing the concern in Rikuo’s eyes. He reached out too, drew the younger man closer and initiated the next kiss himself to dispel all of the other’s worries.
Rikuo kissed back reluctantly, though, and it didn’t seem like he wanted to go back to their heated interaction from just minutes before any time soon.
A tad annoyed, Zen eventually grabbed Rikuo and, with the moment of surprise on his side, wrestled them around. With a flabbergasted Nura heir sprawled underneath, he growled: „Don’t you dare implying I am weak like this... because I.WILL.PROVE.YOU.WRONG.“
Rikuo stared at his subordinate, knitting his brow in consideration.
Zen glared back defiantly, his face dead serious.
After a few moments had passed, Rikuo swiftly, without any indication, restored their former positions, astonishing the older youkai with the sudden move. A smug grin spread across Rikuo’s face, before he initiated the next kiss.
Zen ground his hips against Rikuo’s in response, causing the younger man to groan. This time it was the older youkai’s turn to engage the younger one in a battle of tongues.
Their interaction steadily became more heated and has Rikuo’s hand roamed downwards, Zen broke their kiss, mouthing a slightly breathless: „Wait.“
He reached out with one hand, grabbing the jar he had retrieved from Kusurihako along with the massage oil and put it into Rikuo’s hands.
Rikuo looked at the jar in his hand and then at Zen with a smirk. He kissed his companion again, opened the jar and covered his fingers with its content.
Their first time was rough and needy, and neither Zen nor Rikuo lasted for long. But Rikuo made sure to make up for it the second and third time.
He had been watching over Zen while the other youkai dozed off after his climax, only to wake again after about an hour.
It was getting close to sunrise when Rikuo’s companion stirred again. He smiled wickedly at the prospect of kissing and touching and driving the other over the edge once more before the night was over, thus he bent over and started a trail of kisses where he’d bit the other man up his throat.
Zen’s eyes fluttered open as Rikuo kissed his Adam’s apple and he turned his head to get a proper kiss.
„Sleepy head“, Rikuo teased.
„It’s partially your fault, you know“, Zen shot back, grinning.
„I think I can live with that. You?“
Zen answered with another kiss, both men feeling their smiles against each other’s lips. Kissing, they rolled over, Rikuo lying on top of Zen again. Their movements were slow now, more sensual.
Rikuo broke their kiss first. He still wanted to know something that had been nagging at the back of his mind. „You still haven’t answered my question from the beginning...“
„What did you do to the little one?“
„I told you... I tried to make him fall asleep.“
„Yes. But how?“ Rikuo insisted, his hands wandering over Zen’s body on their own accord.
„First with a diluted sleeping draught.“ Zen raised an eyebrow at Rikuo. „And then with the massage oil.“
„I see...“ Rikuo trailed off.
„What is bothering you?“ Zen cupped Rikuo’s face, a little concerned now.
Rikuo sighed: „It’s just... I haven’t been able to come out at night since little Rikuo started having his sleeping issues. We also weren’t able to communicate.“
„And no one found out?“ Zen stared at him.
Rikuo shook his head: „I don’t think so.“
Zen suddenly smirked. „Well then, I guess my massage oil worked. Actually better than I had hoped for.“
Now it was Rikuo’s turn to raise an eyebrow.
„To put it simple: while the oil is sleep-inducing for humans... it is not so sleep-inducing for us“, Zen admitted, a light blush appearing on his cheeks.
„I didn’t know for sure. It was just a rumor. Until yesterday“, Zen babbled nervously.
„Then let’s just take advantage of those now proven effects once more before the sun rises“, Rikuo laughed, once again devoting all of his attention solely on Zen.
The sun was barely up when Zen woke the next time.
As he looked down to verify the owner of the extra weight on his body he was greeted by a mop of brown hair. He shifted his attention to the boy sprawled over his body and realized that Rikuo was finally fast asleep.
Carefully Zen wrapped his arms around the teen, smirking as he remembered Night Rikuo’s reply to his last question.
With a wicked grin still playing around his lips, Zen drifted off again, as well.