Ren escaped the wedding as soon as he could do it without looking like he was running away, even though that was exactly what he was doing. He thought he'd throw up if he had to keep his smile up one minute longer. Not only had he smiled through the whole wedding reception, he had also smiled through the long courtship between Ichinose and Haruka. All the interviews, all the probing glances from his fellow STARISH members, all that he had endured with an artificial smile. Enough was enough, though, and he thought he deserved a break.
He had just stepped outside the hotel when he heard footsteps behind him. Fucking hell. His luck was really down. He didn't feel like pretending right now, but nevertheless, he dredged up up a polite smile and turned around.
"Escaping already, Jinguuji?"
Ah, Atobe. Ren relaxed a little. Not that Atobe was any less dangerous than the other guests. Quite the contrary. He read people like they were open books, and if Ren gave him the slightest hint that all was not well, he'd have it all out in a heartbeat. And considering that his eyes had been on Ren quite a lot at the reception, Ren was pretty certain that it was already too late. Strangely, this inevitability calmed Ren. He was so tired of pretending that it felt good to be around someone with whom he didn't have to act unconcerned.
"Couldn't the same be said about you?" Ren asked.
Atobe smiled sharply, but there was something soft in his eyes. "Ah, but then, I'm not a close friend of the happy couple."
"Touché," Ren said with a wry smile.
Atobe regarded him for a moment and then said, "Come, you need a stiff drink right now. Being stone cold sober – unlike all the other guests, I might point out – is not good for your state of mind."
True, Ren hadn't touched a drop of alcohol during the reception. He didn't trust himself even a little bit drunk around Haruka. He would have made a fool of himself, he was sure.
"Trust you to notice every little thing," Ren muttered as Atobe steered him towards his car.
"Of course. Be awed by my attention to detail," Atobe said.
Ren chuckled. "Still using that catchphrase?"
"Not really." It was Atobe's turn to smile wryly.
They slid into the back seat of the car, and Atobe gave the driver instructions to take them to his flat. When Ren raised a questioning eyebrow at him, he said, "I'm not going to let you get drunk in public. Not today."
It was good thinking, Ren acknowledged. The mere thought of what a field day the yellow press would have made Ren shudder. He could just imagine the headlines. No, he could not afford to go to a bar when he was actually supposed to be at his friends' wedding reception.
Atobe's flat was dark, the only light provided by the neon signs outside. Ren didn't particularly want bright lights at the moment, and Atobe seemed to sense his mood as he switched only a soft table lamp on. Ren sat down on a sofa and stared out of the windows.
"What do you want?" Atobe asked, startling Ren out of his thoughts.
"A whisky, please," Ren said.
Atobe poured two glasses and took a seat opposite to Ren. He had got rid of his dinner jacket and bow-tie and had unbuttoned the first button of his dress shirt. Next to him, Ren felt under-dressed, even though he had his dinner jacket on. That was Atobe for you, though: always perfect, even when he was actually imperfectly dressed.
Atobe sipped his drink, which made Ren remember that he had come here if not to get drunk, then at least to drink enough to unwind. He threw the whisky back in one go. It was horribly disrespectful of good whisky, but he felt he needed it.
Atobe continued sipping his whisky and looking at Ren with hooded eyes. "So, Jinguuji, how on earth have you managed to not strangle Ichinose for winning the girl?"
Ren winced. "You don't mince words, do you?"
Atobe shrugged. "What's the point in that? You know that I know that you are head over heels in love with Nanami-chan."
Ren kept staring at the rug. What could he say to Atobe's question? That he hated Ichinose for winning Haruka? That he hated Haruka even more for choosing Ichinose? Or that, most of all, he hated himself for hating his friends?
He heard a clink and then footsteps, but he didn't look up. It was only when Atobe sat next to him and raised his chin that Ren was forced to abandon his contemplation of the rug's pattern.
Atobe looked at him steadily. "I know your masks, Ren. You can't hide from me, so why do you even try?"
Ren closed his eyes and swallowed. Atobe drew him close and said, "Just let go for once," and finally, for the first time in years, Ren cried. All through it, Atobe held him without saying a word. He merely kept carding his fingers through Ren's hair, and little by little Ren calmed down.
Ren tried to draw back, but Atobe didn't let him go far. He merely handed Ren a handkerchief and kept his hand at the back of Ren's head, his fingers twisted in Ren's hair. They stared at each other for a moment, and then Atobe closed in and kissed Ren.
Atobe's lips were butterfly-light against Ren's. He kissed Ren softly, placing small kisses on Ren's lips and then kissing along Ren's jawline before coming back to press his lips against Ren's. Ren sighed into the kiss and licked Atobe's lips.
"Atobe," he whispered.
"Keigo," Atobe whispered back. "You had better call me Keigo."
"Keigo, why are you – oh yeah, like that," Ren moaned when Keigo sucked on the base of his throat.
"Why am I what? So awesome?" Keigo licked the spot he had just sucked at.
Ren chuckled and then gasped. "O-oh. Yes. I mean, no. I mean, yes, that too, but that’s not what I meant."
Keigo drew back and looked at Ren with a serious expression. "Ren, can you set all the whys and wherefores thereof aside for tonight and just feel?"
"Just one question, Keigo. Please?"
"Fine. One question."
Ren swallowed. "You’re doing this even though you know that I’m interested in Haruka-chan. Why?"
"Well, you had better get interested in me, and fast, because we, my dear, are going to fuck."
Ren blinked for a few seconds. Then he buried his head in Keigo’s shoulder and laughed helplessly. "That’s not really an answer. But fine, I’ll accept that you don’t want to talk about it. Now, where were we?"
"Sitting on a sofa, uncomfortable," Keigo said and rose up. "Bedroom, now. Come."
Standing in Keigo’s bedroom, Ren felt somewhat self-conscious. People thought of him as a ladies’ man, but truth be told, he rarely had sex, whether with men or with women. And every time he did have sex, it felt like betraying Haruka-chan. But now, now there was no betraying her because she was another man’s wife. Ren breathed deeply.
Keigo came to stand behind Ren. He wound his arms around Ren’s body and rested his head against Ren’s back. "Despite what I just said, we don’t have to have sex if you don’t want to. I have no intention of pressuring you into anything."
Ren turned around and raised Keigo’s chin to be better able to drop a kiss on Keigo’s lips. "I do want to. I just have some inner demons to defeat."
"Then, just relax. And if you at any point want to stop, just say so."
Keigo slipped Ren’s dinner jacket off his shoulders. He pushed Ren onto the bed and climbed on after him. Then he straddled Ren’s hips and bent over to kiss Ren. Ren opened his mouth and Keigo slipped his tongue in. The weight of Keigo’s body on top of Ren’s felt good, and Ren relaxed against the mattress. He drew the hem of Keigo’s dress shirt out from his trousers and slipped his hands under it to stroke Keigo’s back.
He felt Keigo’s breath catching in his throat, and he caught Keigo’s lower lip gently between his teeth. It felt good to know that, despite his somewhat sporadic attempts at sex, he still could affect someone like that. He flipped them over, catching Keigo by surprise, and knelt between Keigo’s legs. He made short work of both of their shirts and trousers. Keigo looked at him with hooded eyes as he took in the lines of Keigo’s body.
"You’re beautiful," he whispered. "So beautiful."
Keigo rose into a sitting position and drew Ren down to a kiss. "So are you, you know."
Keigo drew his fingers along Ren’s chest, and Ren shuddered. "What do you want?" Ren asked.
"Shouldn’t I be asking you that question?" Keigo murmured.
"I don’t know. Does it matter?"
"I guess it doesn’t," Keigo said. He looked at Ren for a long moment. Then he said, "Fuck me. Please."
"Yes," Ren whispered.
"Then watch," Keigo said and stretched out on the bed. He slicked his fingers and pushed two of them inside himself. He caught his lower lip between his teeth as he panted. He looked obscene and beautiful, and Ren was rock hard as he slipped on a condom. Keigo’s body was hot, and little pearls of perspiration dotted his upper lip as Ren pushed inside him.
"Oh, fuck," Keigo swore.
"You okay?" Ren asked.
"Yes. More than okay. In fact, if you don’t move right about now, I’m going to kill you," Keigo panted.
Ren laughed, but the laugh turned into a moan as Keigo clenched his muscles. Ren’s hips snapped forward, and Keigo swore again. Keigo locked his ankles behind Ren’s back and drew Ren even tighter against himself. Ren took the hint and began moving. He didn’t think there was anything else he could have done.
The thought "Haruka-chan" skittered somewhere across Ren’s mind, but it was gone in the cascade of pleasure that drowned all rational thought. The world narrowed to include Keigo, and only Keigo. And when Keigo screamed in his orgasm, his muscles were like a vice around Ren’s cock. The haze of pleasure coalesced into a sharp point, and then it shattered into a thousand pieces.
Later, when sleep was about to claim Ren, Keigo spoke. "Because I wanted to. That’s why."
"Huh?" Ren asked. He was too sleepy to follow Keigo’s train of thought.
"You asked me why I did this. It’s because I wanted to. Because I wanted you," Keigo whispered.
A warm glow enveloped Ren, and he drew Keigo flush against his body as he slipped into sleep.