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The fourth time Ohno re-applies the clothespins to Jun's nipples, that's when it happens: Jun gives a low-pitched moan, his thighs tremble as he shifts his weight, and when he looks up through wet eyelashes, there's a dreamy, far-off look in his eyes that tells Ohno he's fully awash in the endorphin rush. It's been building over the last hour or so since they started, but now, Ohno can clearly see, it's nearing its peak.

The rope is always what gets it started. Usually Jun hates the feeling of being confined, but in these private moments, when Ohno is the one directing him and watching over him, everything changes. The more rope Ohno wraps around him, the more quiet and calm he becomes. By the time Ohno is finished, he's always smiling and heavy-lidded, already getting hard as he begins to float in that serene, lazy headspace he goes off to whenever they play like this.

Then comes the pain.

Ohno likes to switch it up -- sometimes he hits Jun with the back of a hairbrush or his bare hands, sometimes he uses his teeth or his nails -- but clothespins are his favorite, and that's what he's using tonight. Any pain will work, but the clothespins make it easier to draw it out; he applies them all over Jun's body, forming pretty patterns and abstract shapes, then pulls them off and starts over, and all Jun can do is take it and let his body do its job. The adrenaline kicks in, the endorphins flood his system to shield him from the pain, and with them comes the euphoria, the sense of invincibility, the dreamy look in his eyes.

Once, years ago, Ohno asked him what it was like. Jun was just starting to come out of it when he asked, and being in that state always makes him clumsy and tongue-tied, so he couldn't find a way to explain it right then. But days later, he came back with an answer as carefully articulated and thought-out as anything else he does.

It's like the end of the tour, he said, that last show, before the encore, when you go backstage and you think you're going to collapse and all you want to do is crawl into bed and stay there for a week, but then you hear the fans chanting for you and suddenly you have enough energy to do ten more concerts. You're still tired, the pain is still there, but you find a place to put it so you can keep going. And when you go back out there, it's like nothing else even exists. You just keep running and running because it feels like you're not even on the ground anymore. You're flying.

Ohno doesn't miss the implication: in this metaphor, he's the one chanting Jun's name, asking him to give up just a little bit more of himself.

If he thinks of it that way, he understands perfectly what Jun means when he talks about finding a place to put the pain. It's something they all do every day, though usually it's on a much smaller scale than that. But he knows what it does to them afterwards, and he knows what it does to Jun in particular. He's seen how exhausted Jun is the day after the final concert, and he's seen how exhausted he is the day after they do this, and he knows that when Jun gets to that point, when his tolerance for pain is a bottomless pit and he'll do anything Ohno asks... In those moments, Ohno has to tread carefully. If it were up to Jun, he'd take the pain until there was nowhere left to put it, no room inside of him for anything else, and it's Ohno's job to make sure that doesn't happen.

He knows it's a lot of power to hold, and he takes it seriously. He's a good leader, after all.

Tonight they're in Jun's living room, all the furniture pushed out to the walls to make space for them, and Jun is on the floor, wrapped in rope the way he likes. His arms are tied behind his back, each palm folded against the opposite forearm, with double lines of rope wound around his chest and biceps to anchor everything in place. His legs are crossed in front of him, more rope around his thighs, his calves, his cross-crossed ankles. One last length of rope loops around his neck and leads all the way down to his ankles, knotted halfway so he doesn't choke on it. The rope is pulled taut, keeping him leaning forward, unable to sit straight or lean back.

When Ohno finished tying him, he asked Jun to stick his tongue out, and Jun, pliant and willing to do just about anything by that point, obeyed without question. His only reaction when Ohno pulled out the chopsticks was wide eyes and a sharp inhale, because he knew exactly what Ohno was going to do with them. They're good quality, lacquered so they won't splinter, carved from dark cherry with little pink flowers painted down the sides. Ohno swiped them from a drawer in Jun's kitchen before they started, and he felt a little thrill run through him as he imagined Jun, at some point in the future, pulling them out before a meal and being reminded of this night.

One chopstick went under Jun's tongue, the other went on top, and then Ohno wrapped thin rubber bands around each end to hold them together. With his tongue clamped between them, Jun can't pull it back into his mouth, and he can't swallow, nor can he speak. Now there's drool trickling down his chin, and there are tears spilled down his cheeks to match the angry red marks that run in two lines down his torso.

They start at his collarbones and lead down to his nipples, and from there down to his stomach, with other marks scattered across his body. There are some on the insides of his thighs, the sensitive skin between his toes, the soft bit of flesh right underneath his armpits, all from the clothespins that Ohno painstakingly pinned in place and then systematically removed, working methodically to the soundtrack of Jun's wordless moans and cries.

There are only a handful left: the two he just clipped back onto Jun's nipples, four others in a line down the left side of his stomach, and one on the tip of his tongue, the only place above the neckline Ohno ever dares to touch this way.

Ohno loves Jun dearly. He thinks he's beautiful in any form. But the secret he would never admit to anyone else, the secret that belongs to just the two of them, is that this version of Jun -- helpless, marked up from the things he's allowed Ohno to do to him, on the verge of begging Ohno to do anything at all -- just might be his favorite.

Where he's kneeling in front of Jun now, Ohno reaches out to trail his fingertips down Jun's abdomen, dragging just enough to pull at the skin pinched between the clips and smiling at Jun's answering gasp. He frames the line of four clothespins with his fingers, then pulls off the bottom one without any warning. Jun's head drops down as he exhales in a stilted groan, a silvery thread of saliva dripping down from his mouth to his bound ankles. The next three pins come off all in a row, and when they're gone, Jun's voice is coming out in one long, low whine, his arms shifting restlessly, the muscles tightening and then relaxing over and over again.

They don't talk much on these nights, but sometimes Ohno feels like he needs to fill the silence just to keep Jun there with him. He gets up on his knees and shuffles closer, close enough that when he touches Jun's shoulder, Jun can lean into him, hiding his face in the crook of Ohno's neck. Ohno strokes his side, offering comfort to ease the pain, and steers clear of the places that must be hurting.

He whispers into Jun's hair, "You're doing so good."

Jun's arms jerk again. He's pressing so close that Ohno can feel the tears still clinging to his eyelashes.

He pulls Jun back and angles his face up, but it takes a few seconds before Jun is able to focus on him. When he finally meets Ohno's eyes, he shivers, breathing out a quiet sigh.

Ohno strokes his thumb over Jun's shoulder, right below the rope that keeps him bent forward. "You want it?"

Jun nods, and his cock echoes the sentiment with a little twitch. When Ohno reaches up to tug gently on the clothespin still clipped over Jun's tongue, Jun chokes back a noise, clenching his eyes shut as another tear spills over.


He doesn't answer, just takes a breath and holds it, his eyes still closed.

The instant Ohno unclips the clothespin, Jun gives a strangled cry as his whole body goes rigid. His tongue curls up, but the chopsticks keep it held in place, unable to pull back into the safety of his mouth.

He doesn't linger on the pain, though. He finds somewhere to put it, the way he always does, and by the time Ohno has gotten to his feet and started unzipping his jeans, Jun's cry has turned to begging. He doesn't say a word -- he can't -- but his intent is made clear in the way he's tilting his face up for Ohno, his mouth obediently open even as he must still be reeling from the pain. Ohno rewards him with just the tip of his cock on his tongue, past the chopsticks; it makes Jun's eyelashes flutter, makes his shoulders relax. He tries to close his mouth around it but with his tongue held immobile, he can't do much, so Ohno reaches down to pull the rubber bands off, both at once, keeping the chopsticks pinched tight with his fingers until Jun looks up at him with an impatient whine.

When he finally slides the chopsticks off Jun's tongue, Jun's shout as the blood comes rushing back is muffled by Ohno's cock now resting fully in his mouth.

Without pulling away, Ohno leans forward just enough to reach one of Jun's hands. Jun's fingers are pressed against his forearms, but when he feels Ohno nudging the chopsticks into his hand, he grasps for them and holds on tight. They both know that from this point forward, the chopsticks will act as their guide: if Jun intentionally lets them go, it will be a call on his part for Ohno to stop and untie him; if he drops them by accident, it will be a signal to Ohno that Jun is lost in the rush, too far gone to call the shots anymore. Either way, if the chopsticks hit the ground, everything else stops. It hasn't happened many times in the past, but it has happened, and Ohno is always careful to keep watch.

But for now, Jun is holding onto them as tightly as he can, so Ohno runs his fingers through Jun's hair to cradle the back of his head and begins to thrust. He fucks Jun's mouth, his throat, moving deep and slow, spurred on by the way Jun is moaning around his cock like this is exactly what he's been waiting for.

When Ohno feels like he's reaching the point of no return, he eases out, letting Jun feel it inch by inch as Ohno's cock drags over his tongue. Jun tries to follow him, but Ohno holds him fast with a hand gripped in his hair.

"Not done yet, remember?"

He crouches down, still holding Jun in place, and reaches with his other hand to twist the clothespin over Jun's right nipple.

Jun just barely holds back a scream, letting it out instead as a low growl, his jaw clenching as he presses his lips together. He tenses against Ohno's hold on his hair, then relaxes a moment later, his breath coming out in a shaky exhale.

Ohno releases him and crouches down, settling onto his knees. He moves his hand to the rope looped around Jun's neck and trails his fingertips down the length of it, all the way to his bound ankles, watching Jun's eyes track his movement the whole way. When he reaches the bottom, he unties the knot that keeps the rope tethered to Jun's legs, but he keeps the rest of it around Jun's neck. He'll need it later. For now, he unties Jun's legs and ankles, checking as he goes to make sure his skin is still warm, that his circulation is okay. Once he's certain, he gets up and moves to the wall, to the ottoman that usually sits in front of the couch, and drags it back over until it's right in front of Jun.

Slowly, he eases Jun up onto his knees and leans him over the ottoman until he can rest his shoulders and head on it, taking some of the weight off his legs. He listens carefully to the sound of Jun's breathing as he guides him, waiting for any sounds of discomfort, but his legs seem okay even after being tied up for long, and his fingers are still curled tight around the chopsticks. Ohno gets back up and walks around Jun so he can take the rope looped around his neck and tie it off to one of the legs of the ottoman.

As he's starting to to walk back, Jun whispers up to him, a quiet plea: "Leader."

Ohno rubs his hand between Jun's shoulder blades, smiling when Jun tries to lean up into the touch. "Almost there, Jun-kun." He keeps his hand on Jun as he continues around and as he settles down behind him, and still as he reaches for the lubricant, placed with forethought beside the pile of discarded clothespins. He only breaks the contact so he can open the bottle to coat his fingers, and then as he slides one into Jun, his other hand returns to the small of Jun's back.

He takes his time, trying to be thorough, and doesn't speed up even when Jun grows restless and starts to shift against the ottoman. He's not close enough to rut his dick against it, but he rolls his hips and whimpers, "Leader, please," when Ohno finally, slowly, works a second finger in.

"Be patient," Ohno says. He reaches around to flick one of the clothespins over Jun's nipples. Jun hisses and goes quiet, but he keeps moving his hips, both of his fists clenched.

By the time Ohno feels like Jun is ready, Jun is panting and his fingers are gripped so tight around the chopsticks that his knuckles have gone pale. Ohno slides in and Jun moans, his back arching, fingers flexing around the chopsticks without letting them go. Ohno fucks him like that, one hand on Jun's hip and the other roaming over Jun's body, over any patch of skin he can reach. He grips Jun's thigh, skirts his hand just barely past Jun's dick, moves up along his stomach and thumbs at one of the clothespins just to hear the choked groan that comes out of him. He gets his fingers in Jun's mouth and Jun immediately starts to suck on them, his tongue sending sparks down Ohno's spine that make him shudder, make him work his hips a little faster.

When he feels Jun's teeth around his knuckles, he knows Jun is close. He tugs his fingers free, gets his other hand around Jun's cock, and when he twists one of the clothespins, Jun yelps and tries to jerk back, but the rope around his neck keeps him in place. While Jun is still gasping, Ohno unclips the clothespins entirely, one right after the other, and this time Jun outright screams, his whole body jolting as his cock twitches in Ohno's hand.

Ohno throws the pins to the side and starts fisting Jun's cock faster now, and Jun's voice is still going, one long, breathy moan that hitches every time Ohno thrusts into him. Ohno squeezes his hand tighter, gets his fingers back in Jun's mouth to pinch the sore tip of his tongue, and Jun sobs and trembles as he finally comes.

Ohno is close, so close. He spares a single moment to check that the chopsticks are still in Jun's hand, and then he lets his eyes drift shut and loses himself in sensation: the whimpery sounds Jun is making, the wet glide of Jun's tongue under his fingertips, the warm glow of his orgasm as it washes over and through him.

He basks in it for a few quiet, blissful seconds, and in the back of his mind he wonders, not for the first time, if this is what Jun means when he says he feels like he's flying.

It's tempting to just stay where he is. His body is sated and tingling, and he sees nothing but the nebulous colors against the backs of his eyelids, feels nothing but the shivery aftershocks of his orgasm and Jun's body beneath him. The he takes a deep breath and opens his eyes. His job isn't over yet.

He pulls out, moving slow, and strips out of his shirt so he can use it to clean between Jun's legs, then finds a dry corner to wipe Jun's face clean. He tries to take the chopsticks, but Jun still has a death grip on them; he has to rub his hand between Jun's shoulders and whisper, "Jun-kun, come on," before Jun lets him take them.

With the shirt and chopsticks tossed aside, he begins the lengthy process of untying Jun's arms. They're a little cool to the touch, so he goes slow and gently massages each part as it's freed -- Jun's biceps, his elbows and forearms, his wrists. He gently lowers Jun's arms down to his sides, and when Jun tries to raise them up so he can rest them on the ottoman, Ohno firmly guides them back where he wants them. He knows the pins and needles are going to kick in soon, and if he doesn't keep Jun's arms below his heart to get his blood flowing again, it'll just be that much worse.

He gives Jun's wrists a gentle squeeze as he says, "I need you to stay like this for me, Jun-kun. Just for now, okay?"

He can just make out Jun's response -- a hoarse, barely-there "Okay" -- so he pats Jun's wrists and moves on.

He crawls around to the other side of the ottoman so he can get to the rope around Jun's neck. He loosens it just enough to slip it over Jun's head and leaves the rest on the floor, to be cleaned up later with everything else. He gathers Jun up by his shoulders and helps him sit, and he spends the next few moments rubbing his hands up and down Jun's arms until his skin feels warm again.

Jun is looking away, but Ohno turns him with a gentle hand on his jaw so they're face to face. "How are your legs? Think you can stand yet?"

Jun's eyes slide over to him. They're heavy-lidded, still a little glazed, like he's just woken up and hasn't put his contacts in yet. He shakes his head, so Ohno carefully lays them down, right there on the floor. Jun immediately moves towards him, pressing as close as his can, and Ohno does his best to soothe him by running his hands over Jun's arms, his back, his waist, avoiding all the parts that might hurt. It feels good to lie together, even on the floor, and he's pretty sure both of them could fall asleep like this, but he knows there's more he needs to do before that can happen. That knowledge is the only thing keeping him awake, but right now, he doesn't need anything else.

When Jun begins to shiver, Ohno pulls him up and starts leading him down the hallway. Jun's a little wobbly on his feet, so Ohno keeps his hands on Jun's shoulders, ready to catch him if he trips, but they make it to the bathroom without incident. He makes Jun sit on the stool in the shower while he draws a bath, adding some of the soothing oils Jun likes, and then he cracks open the bottle of juice he left sitting by the towels and hands it over to Jun, who works his way through half the bottle in slow sips before handing it back.

Along with the juice, there are two clean pairs of underwear and a few plastic baggies filled with snacks: almonds covered in dark chocolate, pretzels with little chunks of sea salt, pieces of dried fruit and berries. When he presents all three options, Jun just looks at them, his eyes hovering over each one in turn, and then glances back up to Ohno. "Shower first?"

"You know the deal, Jun-kun." Ohno gives the bags a tiny shake, just to get Jun looking at them again. "Just a few bites. Then we can shower."

Jun heaves a sigh, as if this is the most difficult thing Ohno has asked him to do tonight, but he finally nudges his chin in the direction of the almonds. Ohno fishes out a small handful and deposits them into Jun's cupped hands, and he stands there and watches until he's certain Jun is going to at least attempt to eat them; sometimes he just holds on to whatever Ohno hands him until Ohno gives up and takes it back, and on the nights when he's particularly moody -- Ohno can never predict when those will be, so he always has to prepare for them just in case -- Jun has gone so far as to flush the snacks down to the toilet or hide them somewhere when Ohno isn't looking. Ohno doesn't think he'll ever forget the time he emptied the cabinet below his bathroom sink so he could fix a leaky pipe, only to find a pile of soggy pretzels stashed behind the cleaning supplies.

Maybe it's the chewing, he thinks. Next time he'll have to remember to make Jun a smoothie instead.

But tonight, Jun doesn't put up a fuss. He's not particularly happy about it, but he manages to get down three of the almonds before he hands the rest back to Ohno. Three is a bit of an achievement, so Ohno doesn't fight him on it, just opens the bag so Jun can drop the rest back into it and rewards him with a hand through his hair. "Good job, Jun-kun."

He tosses the bag back onto the counter and starts up the shower, making sure to keep the water pointed away from Jun until it warms up. When it finally does, he washes both of them, rinsing away the come, the sweat, the tears, and once they're clean, he turns the shower off and leads Jun straight into the bath. He holds tightly onto Jun's hands as Jun steps over the side the tub and lowers himself into it, breathing out a sigh as the warm water laps over his body. By now the bath oils have made the room smell like honeysuckle and jasmine, and as soon as Jun is settled into the tub, he closes his eyes and tips his head back, letting his body slide down until the water is up to his chin.

Ohno sits with him and strokes his thumb over the back of Jun's hand for a few minutes. When he tries to slip away, Jun's fingers clamp down around his hand and pull him back. Ohno has to lean in so he can press his lips to Jun's forehead, then the back of his hand, then his fingertips, telling him, "I'll be right here, Jun-kun," before Jun will let him go.

He's already mostly dry, but he grabs a towel to finish the job so he can step into some clean boxers. He feels silly walking around the apartment completely naked, but he never bothers with more than underwear on nights like this because he knows that as soon as they get into bed, everything else he might have put on would just come right back off. Not for sex -- usually they're both too drained for that -- but because something about lying together skin-to-skin helps Jun ease out of whatever he's going through.

Jun watches him the whole time, and even shifts around in the tub so he can rest his arms along one side of it and perch his chin on his folded hands. He looks more alert now, and he doesn't fight when Ohno gives him the juice again, or when Ohno feeds him as many almonds as he'll accept, one at a time, his fingertips brushing Jun's lips with each pass.

When Jun is full, and the juice is gone, and the water has begun to cool down, Ohno helps him out of the bath and watches as he dries off. Jun stumbles a little as he's putting on his boxers, but Ohno is there in an instant, steadying him with a hand on his shoulder.

In the bedroom, the blankets are already turned down, and waiting for them on the nightstand are a few bottles of water and a tin filled with lotions and ointments, each cap bearing a label so Ohno knows immediately which one to grab. When it comes to tying Jun up and making him hurt, Ohno needs no direction, but the parts that come after... He enjoys taking care of Jun just as much as he enjoys breaking him down, but he's not quite as good at it. He needs a little help. It's Jun who picks out the bottles and jars, Jun who keeps them stocked and labeled, not with their brands but with the ailments they're meant to heal. There's a tube for cuts, a bottle for scrapes, a jar for rope burn. If it weren't for Jun's handwriting to remind him, Ohno wouldn't know what to do with any of these things, and when Jun is coming down from that headspace he absolutely cannot think straight to explain. This is a system they've been using for years, and it works well for them -- Jun helping Ohno to help him.

Tonight, Ohno reaches for the glass jar that's labeled bruises and is filled with pale, silky cream that smells a little like honey. He lays Jun out on the bed and rubs some of the cream between his palms to warm it up, and then he spreads it all the way down Jun's torso, over all the little marks that run from his collarbones to his thighs, rubbing his fingers in gentle, circular motions to work the cream into Jun's skin. He scoops out more for the stray marks on the insides of Jun's thighs and the few that are dotted along his arms, and even the ones between his toes, and when he's done with that, he works it into the ligature marks that have already begun to fade around Jun's ankles and wrists, his calves and biceps. Jun makes happy noises under his touch the whole way through, always shifting his face in Ohno's direction as Ohno moves around to reach another part of him.

Now that he's not in the steamy bath anymore, Jun is starting to shiver again. When Ohno is done with the cream, he twists the lid back onto the jar and puts it away, then wipes his hands down the front of his boxers and pulls the blankets up to Jun's shoulders. He makes him sit up to drink some water, and when he holds the bottle up to Jun's mouth, Jun takes it from him with a smile and says, "I've got it," a hint of teasing in his voice as if Ohno is being silly for looking after him so carefully.

Jun drinks and lies back down, and Ohno adjusts the blankets around his shoulders. He tells him, "There's more water here if you need it," and then, before he steps away, "I'm just gonna clean up," and then at the door, "I'll be right back."

Jun is still smiling as Ohno turns the light off, but Ohno knows Jun gets antsy when he's away for too long. He hurries into the living room and does the bare minimum to make it presentable: he throws the chopsticks into the sink, scoops the clothespins into a zippered pouch and leaves it on the ottoman along with the messily coiled rope, gathers all the discarded clothing to be tossed into the hamper in the bathroom. Everything else, like rearranging the furniture and putting things away properly, can wait until tomorrow night, when he'll accompany Jun home from work to watch over him just a little bit longer.

He turns off all the lights except for the one in the hall, in case Jun needs to get up in the middle of the night. He leaves the bedroom door cracked open, and in the barely-there glow from the hallway, he can see that Jun has turned to face Ohno's side of the bed, the blankets pulled all the way up to his chin. Ohno navigates his way through the darkness, finding his way to the bed -- to Jun -- under the covers and finally skin-to-skin.

Jun immediately moves closer and curls an arm around Ohno's waist. He feels warm again. Good. Ohno lays a hand over gently over Jun's neck, strokes his thumb along the curve of his jaw. "How are you feeling?"

Jun says nothing, just gives a little nod.

"Thirsty? Hungry?"

A small shake of his head.

Even after all this time, it feels odd whenever Ohno has to be the one to try and coax a response out of Jun. Still, he keeps going, certain Jun is holding something back. "Are you comfortable? Do you need anything?"

When Jun finally speaks, his voice is quiet. "I don't want you to leave again."

"I'm not going anywhere. Tell me what you need."

There's a moment of hesitation, and then: "Still a little cold."

Ohno leans in to press his lips to Jun's forehead, and he whispers against Jun's skin, "Thank you for telling me." He gathers up Jun's hands, kisses his fingertips, and tells him, "I'm gonna go get another blanket. Just going to the closet."

Jun nods, silent again, so Ohno gets up and stands on his tiptoes to pull out the extra blanket Jun keeps folded on the top shelf of the closet. He drapes it over the bed, makes sure it's covering Jun from his shoulders down to his toes, and then slides back into his spot. It's a little toasty for him, but when he asks, "Better?", Jun nods, and that's all that matters.

In the dim light, he can see that Jun is watching him. His eyes are open wide, his expression indecipherable.

Over the years, Ohno has done his best to piece together everything Jun has told him and everything he's read on his own, with a little help from Sho-kun, who thought he needed the information for himself on those days when he's in the dance studio from noon til midnight. He understands the basics; he knows why the adrenaline makes Jun feel so invulnerable, why the come-down makes him so clumsy and jittery, and why the drop in blood sugar makes him so damn contrary, and he's learned how to help Jun through all of that. He knows they're just chemical reactions -- that's how Sho-kun explained it to him -- and all he needs to do is balance everything out again.

Afterwards, when Jun is warm and hydrated and has some simple sugars in his system, there are a few peaceful moments that feel as if everything has returned to normal. His mood evens out, he comes back around to lucidity, and Ohno feels proud for having successfully pulled Jun down to earth from where he was floating through the clouds.

And then it's like the ground opens up beneath his feet.

That dangerous sense of invincibility is turned on its head, and suddenly Jun is more vulnerable than he's ever been. Ohno has done everything he can to help Jun's body, but in those moments, when Jun refuses to let him go and refuses to open up, he can't even begin to imagine what's going on in Jun's mind. All he knows is that Jun needs him.

He pulls Jun close, rubs his hands down his back and through his hair, and he tells him, "You did good, Jun-kun." Jun curls against him and hides his face in the crook his neck -- a mirror image of earlier that night, when Jun was still tied up and covered in clothespins and high on the endorphin rush. Now that it's gone, Ohno guesses the feeling of floating has changed into something a little closer to sinking. He presses his lips again to Jun's forehead and whispers, "You did so good. Always so good." He hears Jun's breath hitch, feels Jun shudder against him, and he holds on tight and keeps talking because right now, that's all he can do. "I love you. You're always so good for me. My beautiful, brave Jun-kun."

He keeps stroking his fingers through Jun's hair, keeps whispering praise until Jun's body has relaxed and his breathing has evened out.

Ohno is bone-tired, but he doesn't let himself fall asleep until he knows Jun is already there.

He wakes up to the sound of groaning.

It's dawn, and the morning light from outside is just barely starting to seep in through the curtains. When Ohno turns over, bleary-eyed but jolted awake by the thought that Jun might need him, he sees that Jun is still in bed with the blankets all shoved down to his waist, propped on his elbows and rubbing his eyes with the heels of his palms.

Ohno reaches for him, making it halfway before he drops his arm back onto the mattress. "You okay?" he mumbles.

Jun croaks, "My fucking nipples."

Ohno snorts, and Jun reaches over to smack him half-heartedly.

After carefully maneuvering himself out of bed, Jun drags his feet to the bathroom, and Ohno somehow finds the will to stand up so he can make coffee and get the rice cooker going. He nearly falls asleep slumped over the kitchen table, but the smell of freshly brewed coffee finally pulls him awake. When he returns to the bedroom with a steaming mug, Jun is back in bed, on his side this time with just the sheets pulled up to his ribs. He takes the coffee with wide eyes like it's some kind of blessing and moans happily as he takes his first sip.

Ohno just stands there for a few moments, too tired to move, before he finally gets back under the covers. Their alarms haven't even gone off yet; he can afford a few more minutes of sleep.

They hit the snooze buttons on their phones about fifteen times between the two of them, but when getting up is no longer unavoidable, Ohno dismisses his final alarm and shuffles zombie-like back into the kitchen. He scoops the rice into bowls, grills some fish from his catch the other night, and whips up some miso soup; when he's this tired, he usually just drinks the broth by itself, but today he sprinkles in some green onions and bite-sized cubes of tofu. He loads everything onto a tray that he carries back into the bedroom, and he is presented with the somewhat hilarious tableau of Jun, asleep, snoring softly with half his face pressed against the edge of the mattress, his arm outstretched to rest on the nightstand where his fingers are still curled loosely around the handle of his coffee mug.

It takes a few minutes of prodding and decreasingly gentle persuasion, but Jun finally agrees to get out of bed when Ohno starts waving a bowl of miso under his nose.

As Jun sits up and stretches, Ohno notices the light bruises that have formed in the places where he remembers twisting the clothespins last night, and there's a magnificent one under his left armpit. Ohno doesn't bring it up right then, more concerned with putting some food in their systems, but later, as they're getting dressed, he corners Jun and pokes one of the bruises on his stomach.

Jun nearly jumps out of his skin. "Ow!"

"Let me put some stuff on them."

"You don't have to fuss over me," Jun tsks, batting Ohno's hands away.

But Ohno is stubborn on the best of days, and when it comes to taking care of Jun, he's not ashamed to admit that he can be downright pushy.

Jun already has his pants on, but before he can get to his shirt, Ohno pulls him to the bed and makes him sit on the edge, makes him fold his hand over the back of his neck so his arm is up, putting the bruise on perfect display. It's surprisingly big for having come from something so small, and it's already deep purple, with faint smudges of pink around the edges. Ohno stands between Jun's spread knees and leans down to kiss it -- just a gentle brush of his lips on Jun's skin, but it's enough that Jun still breathes in a hiss.

He warms up the cream between his palms, just like last night, and he rubs it into Jun's skin as gently as he possibly can. When it's all worked in, leaving Jun's skin silky soft, he guides Jun to lean back with his hands propped on the mattress behind him, and then he crouches between Jun's legs, dabbing some more cream onto his fingers for the few bruises on Jun's stomach.

Jun watches him the whole time, completely silent, but it's not like it was last night. This time he's fully alert, here in the moment right alongside Ohno, and his eyes on Ohno's face are darkly, intensely focused.

Ohno teases, "Here too?", waving his fingers dangerously close to Jun's nipples.

Jun reaches out to hold one of Ohno's wrists. He strokes the pad of his thumb over Ohno's pulse, the corners of his mouth just starting to turn up. "Thank you for taking care of me."

"You're welcome," Ohno says, and then he ducks his head to lay his teeth into Jun's thigh, barely enough for him to feel it through the thin material of his slacks. Above him, Jun sucks in a breath and releases Ohno's wrist to card his fingers through Ohno's hair instead. Ohno runs his own hands down Jun's waist, presses his thumbs along the crests of Jun's hips, and when he glances up again, Jun has his bottom lip caught between his teeth.

"We have to go to work soon," Jun says.

Ohno pulls a serious face as his fingers drift down to the button of Jun's pants. "It's fine if we're a little late."

"Oh yeah? You've decided this?"

Over the sound of the zipper's metal teeth pulling apart, Ohno says, "Well, I am the leader."

Ohno does all of this because he and Jun like it, first and foremost. He would never dream of asking for something like this if Jun didn't already want it, and if the opposite scenario were true, if it were Jun who wanted Ohno to do these things to him but Ohno wasn't into it... He doesn't think he'd have the courage to put Jun through all of that if he didn't understand himself why it could also be pleasurable.

Be he does understand, and it's something they both crave, and to Ohno, that's enough on its own.

But there are other benefits as well. He enjoys having an outlet for all the things he only dared to fantasize about when he was younger; he enjoys using the rope and the pain to make Jun even more beautiful than he already is; he enjoys knowing he's the only one who does, the only one who can; he enjoys the power that comes with it, even if it is a big responsibility, and he enjoys taking care of Jun afterwards, even if he does need help sometimes.

It can be a little scary, like when Jun is floating so high that Ohno feels like he's chasing after a wayward balloon, or when Jun sinks down so low that all Ohno can do is tell him how much he loves him and hope it's enough. But they're never more careful than when they do this, and it's always worth it when Jun pulls him close the next morning and kisses him, holds him, whispers "Thank you" with such sincerity in his voice that Ohno never has to doubt.

This is what they want for themselves -- it's what they want with each other -- and Ohno is happy to make it happen.

He's a good leader, after all.