He was the son of the cursed starry night. The child of the bloody moon and shadows. Forever bound to the flesh of a beast.
With every transformation he howled in pain, he writhed and begged, and swore to lay calamity on whichever god had made him into this haunted form. But while the life coursed strong in his veins, he could do nothing but suffer: the agony of his fangs biting into his gums and lips, blood trailing down his chin; the torment of claws poking in and out of his fingers, his hands raking the ground, yearning for mercy; the anguish of bones breaking and mending back together only to break once more, leaving him no room for breath, no room for thought, no room to scream–
Every day, it was the same. Every day, as the rising sun hit the horizon in yellows and light blues, he felt the curse take hold. It left him broken, vulnerable, body shaking and twitching in the aftershocks. If he was alone, he would have given up a long time ago. If he was alone, he would have picked the easier way out. If he was alone...
But he wasn't. There used to be a time when he had to struggle on his own, but not anymore. At dawn, there was always a cold hand gently running down his bare, feverish back, a piece of cloth wiping the sweat away patiently. At dusk, an embrace of warm comfort, as his paws twitched in an effort to control the wild urge to rip apart, to chase and kill. He knew it was a risk, he knew he could not hold onto it forever – sooner or later he'd give in to the beast and hurt the one person he wished to protect.
And yet, he was never able to let go.
"Eijun." A whisper like the breeze between rustling trees caressed his ear. "Are you okay?"
He only groaned in response, throat too dry, too damaged from screaming to form words. His body echoed the pain of another transformation, but the shadows of the night crept over him, healing it bone by bone, muscle by muscle, until he could move without whimpering. He was curled on the cold ground, dirt and grass clinging to his sweaty skin, but he didn't mind it. It soothed the ache deep in his heart, enveloped him in a cloak of relief. He unwound with a shaky breath and opened his eyes.
The small clearing in the forest he came to call home was bathed in moonlight, like it had always been, ever since he could remember. His eyes were used to the silvery veil covering everything in sight, cold and ethereal. It could have been beautiful, but cursed to see it every night, everyday, forever, made the mystic light pale in brilliance. Instead, it seemed to jeer at his pain.
Eijun rolled his head away from the sky, the slow boil of hatred towards his own fate dying down as his gaze fell onto the person beside him. He was human, painfully and obviously human. A fragile life that Eijun could end with one slash of his claws. The thought often terrified him, but he never voiced it. Not after the first time when he was all but laughed at and promptly told that "You can't kill me, you love me too much."
The memory curved Eijun's lips into a small smile, even though none of his worries had been dealt with.
"Kazuya," he said, voice rough and gritty. "What does the sun look like?"
He received a snicker when the other lied down next to him in the grass, their arms touching in a comforting but not intrusive way. Kazuya smelled of leather and smoke, of harsh steel and fire, the scent of a blacksmith. It spelled strength and patience and control, all the things that Eijun lacked. He pushed his face into Kazuya's shoulder, closing his eyes and taking him in deep: his warmth, scent, presence, heartbeat.
"Why do you always ask about that?" He heard the light tone of teasing exasperation in the other's voice. "I had already told you all there is to it."
"Then tell me again," Eijun insisted. "Find new words and tell me over and over and over again. I want to hear it."
"I'm a smith, not a poet," Kazuya complained and Eijun lifted his head up to look at him.
"Then smith the sun for me, Kazuya," he asked.
The other was quiet for a moment, captivated by the request, before he cradled Eijun's face in his large, roughened by days of hard labour hands. His bronze eyes gleamed warmly even despite the cold light of the moon above them.
"First," Kazuya started. "I would have to steal the glow of your eyes because no other gold is worth being compared to the sun." His thumb stroked the skin beneath one of Eijun's eyes in a soft caress. "Then I would melt it until the gold had turned a white so pure it could match your soul." The callused fingers slid down to his neck, just as Kazuya leaned his face closer. Eijun shivered under his touch. "After that, I would mould it into a shape, round and even, like the ring of the sun up in the sky, like the one I wish I could put on your finger one day."
His eyes closed briefly and Eijun could feel Kazuya's deep regret. He put his hand on the other's chest, a gesture that he himself didn't know the meaning of. Support, comfort, guilt, sorrow, remorse. It could be any of them, possibly all, but Eijun had no words to express it. The heartbeat underneath his palm faltered and then Kazuya was looking at him again, lips smiling a tad sadly.
"And after it would cool, I would give it to you," Kazuya whispered, his nose close enough to touch Eijun's. "I would give it to you because you are my sun."
Feeling his own heart racing, Eijun couldn't help but think: how could he ever be the sun? He was the cursed being, the child of the night, bound to the cold moonlight. He could never be what Kazuya wished him to.
"I am no sun," he whispered back, allowing his eyelids to fall in order to escape Kazuya's bronze gaze.
"Nor am I a poet, but that didn't come out half as bad as I thought it would," Kazuya replied, nudging Eijun's chin a bit higher to make him look up. Reluctantly, he did. "You are my sun and moon, my stars and twilights and dusks. My everything," he said, voice tender and eyes soft. "If you can't believe that, then just believe in me."
Eijun's heart fluttered, and he leaned closer to Kazuya. They kissed gently, as if afraid to break the peace surrounding them, only the soft pressure of the other's mouth in the quiet of the night. When they broke apart, only a smudge of blood from Eijun's torn lips could serve as proof of their intimacy.
"I always believe in you," Eijun said. "I just hope you won't come to regret that trust you've put in me."
"As long as the sun comes out from behind the horizon in the morning and falls back in the evening – never," Kazuya vowed.
They settled back down on the grass, curled into each other beneath the silver disk of the moon. Listening to Kazuya's soft, human heartbeat, Eijun closed his eyes. For now, he was content with that promise. For now, he could allow himself to be...