"What on earth are you doing?" Thaniel asked, staring at Keita from the doorway to his room.
Keita, lying supine and half-naked on his bed, didn't so much as twitch when Thaniel spoke. "Still not a fetish," he said, a hint of laughter in his voice.
"No, I can see that," Thaniel said. If it were a fetish, then surely Keita would have taken his trousers off as well, and not just his shirt.
Katsu released his grip on Keita's neck and wriggled his way down Keita's bare chest; when the little octopus reached his stomach, Keita burst out laughing.
Thaniel's mouth twitched upwards in response. It was rare to see Keita so uninhibitedly happy.
"I never...was tickled...before Katsu," Keita managed to say between gusts of laughter. Katsu slid off his stomach--accompanied by a crescendo of giggles--squirmed across the bed, and started exploring his right hand.
Keita smiled down at him and spread his fingers so that Katsu could loop his tentacles around and between them. "If you know where you're about to be touched, then it doesn't tickle," he explained, "which is why you can't tickle yourself, and why Katsu's the only one who can tickle me."
"How often do you do this?" Thaniel asked, fascinated. Keita was flushed and bright-eyed, a smile lingering on his lips even as his breathing steadied.
Keita shrugged, which Katsu seemed to take as an invitation since he abruptly left off toying with Keita's fingers and began crawling up his arm. "Not all that often. Once or twice a month."
"You could tell me next time," Thaniel said with some degree of confidence in the request. If Keita hadn't wanted to share this with him, it would've been a simple matter for him to arrange it so that Thaniel never walked in on him today. Which reminded Thaniel: "Where's Six?"
"Playing with Margery Carter down the street. She'll be back at 4:24."
Thaniel glanced at his pocket watch. It was just past 3:30. "Good," he said and crossed the room to sit on the bed next to Keita. He didn't intend anything amorous; lovely though Keita looked right now, it would be a shame to divert him from his bimonthly amusement. But Thaniel did want to touch him, and Six shouldn't walk in on Thaniel caressing a half-naked Keita, no matter how innocently those caresses were intended.
"Is this all right?" he asked as he laid his hand on Keita's left shoulder.
Keita arched into the touch. "Yes, of course." Then he squirmed suddenly and laughed as Katsu insinuated several tentacles into his armpit. His dark eyes gleamed up at Thaniel, shining with joy and perhaps the faintest sheen of tears.
Thaniel smiled back at him and stroked the warm skin of Keita's arm and chest--quivering periodically with laughter as Katsu tickled him--with his own foreknown, yet no less welcome, touches.