Juubei woke up on the bed by the change of the air current. When he raised his needle anticipating the enemy, he relaxed when he heard the familiar sound of Kazuki's steps. Kazuki walked like he was dancing, light and elegant. If Juubei had not been used to hearing Kazuki's steps, he would have missed it.
He felt Kazuki sitting beside him. They sat together without saying a word, and Juubei was comfortable with it. They knew each other so long that there was no need to deliberately breaking the silence. They used to sit like this together when they were children and later on when they were in Volts. Even though so many things happened since Kazuki left, it was easy to settle into the routine.
Juubi kept his silence, breathing in and out. Kazuki would take the lead, and he would follow.
It was their way.
Finally Juubei felt that Kazuki put a hand over his. Juubei concentrated on the sensation of Kazuki's hands. It wasn't as smooth as he had remembered. He frowned. What had happened to Kazuki in the period of his absence? He wondered again whether he made the choice to stay, to let Kazuki go was correct.
"You're thinking," Kazuki broke the silence. Juubei felt that Kazuki's hand pressed stronger on him.
Juubei asked, "How's your day?"
He didn't regret his choice of penance, but despite knowing Kazuki's ability, he still would ...... worry. Kazuki had been the most important person to him since the first day he set his eyes on him. Loyalty, friendship, and something more, they all tangled and weaved together.
"Fine. We were making advance in our investigation....." Kazuki said. Juubei listened carefully, listened to the spoken and things not spoken. Juubei nodded and let the sound surrounded him. Though Kazuki spoke lightly, he felt the tension in Kazuki's voice.
When Kazuki finished, Juubei asked, "Do you need to relax?"
"I'm alway in need for you." Juubei felt Kazuki's smile against his neck.
Juubei was glad that his dark skin colour would hide any blush on his face. Kazuki was.... direct today. He heard Kazuki standing up, and the sound of Kazuki removing his clothes. Then Kazuki climbed back to the bed again and from the touch Juubei knew that Kazuki sat before him.
Juubei held the needle in his hand. Even though he couldn't see, he could imagine Kazuki's ivory-white back which would have shone under sun light if the curtain wasn't closed now.
He let the memory to to fill in , then he applied his needle.
Kazuki might be the master of string, but Juubei was the last successor of the art of needle. He knew how to use needles to not quite hurt the skin, to induce the feeling of pain filled with pleasure, to let it draw the beautiful pattern he had in mind that only deserved to be on Kazuki's back. Juubei was always amazed by the trust Kazuki put in him, and he would not deny to himself that it was intense to him too. His breath didn't speed up, his heart didn't beat faster, only because he had the best self-control in himself. His hand would have shaken with the suppression if he was so good with his hands. But he would not let his biology take over himself. It was part of his worship.
When the pattern was finished, Juubei took back his needle, and Kzuki leaned to him despite it would be uncomfortable.
"Thank you," Kazuki said.
Juubei said, "My honour."