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The Light That Scorched The Sand

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Shiro and Kuro are standing close together on the outcropping jutting over the wide open sea when they summon him. Shiro's got his eyes closed; he can't call him himself, so he's enjoying the salty breeze playing through his fringe. He knows Kuro's put out the call when he feels fingers tangle in his, clumsy from lack of practice.

"D'you think he'll come?" Shiro asks.

"He has to." is Kuro's reply.

The heavy silence that follows feels out of place on such a sunny day and with gulls squabbling so close by, and Kuro shifts to bump his shoulder against Shiro's. There's quiet for a few moments more until Shiro opens his mouth to say something and then the Minotaur is there.

The only thing to announce his arrival is the snapping of his cloak in the wind, but they are expecting him so they don't react to his sudden presence.

"Well?" he spits, "You're here together now so I don't know why you called me here." His heels hang over the edge of the rock and he leans back, testing. From under the mask his eyes dart between the two boys appraisingly and he slides one foot to hang off the cliff.

Kuro reacts first, closing the space between them and putting both hands on his mask to pull him close and off the ledge. The Minotaur tenses up but he continues, using one hand to lift the heavy skull up and off of his head while the other slides down its smooth surface to rest on the newly revealed skin.

Squinting in the sunlight, the Minotaur can feel the tension running out of his body like sand, and even as he scowls he finds himself involuntarily leaning into the contact. He closes his eyes to avoid the heavy gaze his mirror image fixes on him.

Kuro's hand rubs across his jaw softly and the warmth that spreads from the point of contact to clump densely in his throat is so disarming that he nearly tips back into the ocean.

Sensing his own unbalance, the Minotaur's eyes shoot open and fix on Shiro. At some point he's moved closer to stand just behind his brother's shoulder. As he rights himself they make eye contact and for a split second Shiro's expression is curious, shrewd, and-- despite his childish demeanor-- wise far beyond his years.

The moment passes, and the Minotaur's display of vulnerability registers in Shiro's mind, slotting carefully in with his gallery of precious things between the moths that flutter around the headlights of their car at night and the indulgent tilt to Kuro's mouth when he's had a good night's sleep for once. His face splits open wide in a grin; suddenly all the Minotaur can see is chapped lips peeling back to reveal teeth gleaming like new chalk sticks fresh out of the box.

He's never been the subject of such a blinding light before.

He feels sunsick.

"Are you gonna answer my question?"

It's the last thing he manages to say before two sets of arms close around him, shielding him from the sun.