The lower world was a pretty interesting place, but sometimes in all the wrong damn ways. This was, as far as Kenren could see, one of those times. Too hot, too humid, too many things trying to kill or at best maim them. Seemed to have worked, kind of - he felt... battered. That was about the only word for it. At least it was over now. He could tell that much even from the corner he was slumped in, though he couldn't say much more.
Tenpou, when he finally showed up at a half-run, had a lot of blood on him too. Kenren couldn't figure out straight off if it was his or other people's. Hard to say - they were a long way from the only ones hurt, after all that. He was pretty sure no-one was actually dead, but hell, fighting creatures like that was no damn fun when you could only hit back so hard. Tenpou for one was still standing, if awkwardly, so there couldn't be too much of his blood, anyway. Good start.
"You've looked better, Marshal," he drawled. Tenpou raised an eyebrow and watched him struggling to light his cigarette with unsteady hands - didn't even try to help until Kenren dropped the lighter, sending it clattering away across the rocks to who knew where. Damn.
"I could say the same to you." The flare of a match, a warm hand steadying his, and the merciful inflow of smoke to his lungs.
Tenpou's fingers trailed across the back of his hand as he withdrew, almost a caress, leaving faint marks in blood on his own skin, old enough to look dark and sticky. Kenren took a slightly less than even breath, let it go, slouched a bit further down the rock face he'd found to collapse against.
There was even blood on the damn cigarette now. Shit.
"Wanna tell me what the hell just happened?" he asked. He'd better figure it out. It looked like it was going to be generating one hell of a lot of paperwork, for a start.
"Ah. I believe we almost died."
"Yeah, I noticed that much."
"Ten out of ten for observation."
The cigarette was plucked from between his fingers. Kenren watched it with fascination, train of thought momentarily derailed by the way Tenpou's lips closed around it, the way his eyes drifted half-closed as he inhaled. There was a sizable smear of blood across his face, even a bit on his glasses.
"I needed that," he objected, without a whole lot of force.
"Mm. So did I."
Tenpou dropped awkwardly to his knees beside Kenren and shuffled around to join him in making friends with the rock-face, staring absently up at the sky.
The cigarette was passed back to him, and they smoked like that for a while, silent.
"We're fucking filthy," Kenren observed in the end, just to be saying something, even if it involved stating the bloody obvious. "And I think I lost the sake."
It took him a moment to realise that the noise Tenpou was making was laughter. Way too happy for someone who'd just gone a few rounds against some things with teeth bigger than his arm. Especially when most of that had involved creative running away and hiding.
"We appear to have lost the men, too," Tenpou pointed out as soon as he was done.
"And whose fault is that?"
"...Ah. My apologies."
It hadn't been like this before, as far as Kenren could figure. Not this bad, not so much pressure on the army from so many directions at once. He didn't know if he was more worried about that or the way Tenpou almost seemed, on some obscure level or other, to be enjoying himself.
Kenren shrugged, finished smoking, flicked the butt away.
"Something is going on. Don't you think?"
Well, sure. But it was weird for Tenpou to actually raise the subject. Maybe it was because they were alone, maybe because they were alone and not in Heaven. Maybe because this time really was so much worse than usual.
"Sure looks that way," he said, fumbled for a cigarette again, overly familiar motions. His hands were steadier now. That meant it was mostly adrenaline fucking with him. Just as well. "Up above, maybe. You'd know more than me. Why? Gonna do something stupid?"
"Who knows. Are you?"
Kenren grinned with a laziness he didn't feel. "Heh. Who knows."
It pretty much all depended on your definition of stupid, in the end.
He lit up again, took that first drag, grinning a little wider at the memory of other conversations. When is it that you feel like you're really alive? Through all the blood and dirt, the risk of dying, the sense that the world above was only getting more fucked up – yeah. Right there.
"Actions which could be classified as stupid are something of a specialty of yours, after all," Tenpou murmured, close beside him.
Right. Of his.
"You mean actions like rushing into dangerous situations alone and," a quick glance at Tenpou, a closer inspection than he'd been able to manage at a distance, "getting your leg cut open because you didn't wanna wait for backup?"
"Mm," Tenpou hummed. "Touché, I suppose. Still, I've never been relocated for sleeping with anyone's wife so far."
"Or disciplined for telling your commander where he could stick his orders. Yeah, yeah, I know."
There was a thoughtful pause.
"My, my. So you actually did that. I was under the impression that particular story was only a rumour."
"They were fucking stupid orders."
Tenpou didn't argue, just leaned in closer to swipe Kenren's cigarette again. He didn't shift away when he'd got it, though. Kenren could feel his body-heat even through their uniforms, Tenpou's solid body close beside his, more muscular than you'd ever think to look at him shuffling around his office in slippers as though he just hadn't bothered to get dressed properly in the morning.
Kenren couldn't think of a good reason not to lean against Tenpou, leaving their bodies more firmly in contact; and he probably would have done it even if he could. Tenpou made a vague noise of appreciation, and Kenren figured he could spend some time thinking about what that meant, or he could just run with it.
Running with it seemed good. Over-analysis pretty much didn't suit him. It was fine when he managed to push himself up onto his knees, leaning in over Tenpou to kiss him, and it was still fine when Tenpou slung an arm around his shoulders to hold him there, even if he had to bite back a hiss when Kenren knocked his leg by accident.
"Idiot," Kenren told him indistinctly. Though his own body wasn't exactly thanking him either.
"Ah. I suppose so. I'm--"
Tenpou's lips were rough and dry, and tasted like salt, something a little more. Blood, Kenren figured.
"You don't mind, I hope," Tenpou murmured when he pulled away. He wasn't talking about the occasional kiss, Kenren was pretty damn sure of that.
"Me?" he asked, half-incredulous. "Heh. 'Course not. But I'll kill-- I'll think really hard about killing you if you do anything that stupid again."
Tenpou smiled. It might even have been sincere, or near enough. It looked pretty weird, given his current state, but not bad. A really long way from bad.