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"Fuck," pants Matsuoka as he cards the fingers of one hand through his hair. A storm rages within the confines of his irises as they catch the light, beads of sweat glistening across his forehead and reddened cheek, and his chest heaves up and down with every breath. Not far off, three assorted bottles of brandy lie like dead bodies on Matsuoka’s rug, drained to the last drop, and the remains of late afternoon light speckles the walls.

Midori’s large ugly doctor’s bag sits bemused on the floor, half open, and his stethoscope trails like guts on Matsuoka’s leather sofa.  Satisfied, Midori pulls back on his heels to admire his handiwork. Matsuoka is now more beautiful than usual, when the smooth veneer of that host’s smile peels away like an eggshell to give way to a vulnerable little boy, hiding just beneath.

"I’ll... tell you what... you are, Masamune,” Midori murmurs in his ear as he leans back into Matsuoka again, words slurred and warm like sake vapors rising in Matsuoka’s chest, and Matsuoka shivers as the sound worms its way down his spine and devotes itself to making him irrevocably hard.

You poor, fucked-up soul. You little bastard puppy; you stray that not even your mother could bear to keep.

Matsuoka refuses to reply, so Midori continues speaking with a lopsided leer and a contraction of his palm to where it really hurts.

"Masamune, you, you’re... really getting off to this, huh.”

He really didn’t have to; Matsuoka’s face can’t get any redder than it is, and if his heart hadn’t already been pounding hard in his eardrums it certainly is now, the ebb and flow of his blood crashing against his temples in a raging tide.

"Shaddup," moans Matsuoka unintelligibly, the discomfort forcing a blurry dampness between his eyelashes, but he lets Midori kiss him again, push his tongue between Matsuoka's teeth; lets Midori hum whispered praises into the skin of his throat, lets Midori savagely accuse him of being a good boy; a good fuck.

Midori smooths Matsuoka's fringe away from his forehead lovingly with one hand, the grain of his fingerprints rough against Matsuoka's feverish skin. Under the drape of his half-shut lids, his eyes gleam, lust shifting to the surface like a current of dye in water.

"Ma-sa-mu-ne,” he breathes, like the word’s a goddamn prayer, and nips the shell of Matsuoka's ear almost reverently. His tongue pauses to press briefly against the cold metal of Matsuoka's piercings, his warm lips moving to trace a fresh tear-track on Matsuoka's cheek. Matsuoka knows Midori can feel the small hiccuping noises that heave in his chest when he does this, and the schoolgirl’s staccato terror of his heart, and he hates this bullshit, Midori’s little pretend lovemaking game. They both know they want to fuck each other—hard—but Midori being the complete dickwad that he is, he’s going to want to delay that for as long as he can.

Midori is musky, solid, heavy against Matsuoka's hips, pressing him into the apartment wall. He also has a knee pressed casually between Matsuoka’s thighs, just high enough such that Matsuoka can’t relax without crushing his balls under his own weight.

What a fucker.

Midori sets sloppy kisses against his collarbone, coats his skin with a lustrous sheen. His hand slips underneath Matsuoka’s shirt as best as his coordination will allow, palm pressing warm against his plaster-pale lower belly as his lips move up to find Matsuoka’s again. He cups the back of Matsuoka’s head with his other hand, draws him closer, sucks on Matsuoka’s tongue insistently so he can taste the remains of the brandy lingering there.

Matsuoka’s throat is clenched so tight he’s whining through his nose every time he exhales.

He goes for for Midori’s back with his arms, wrapping tight around Midori, seeking the heat of his skin like a missile. Without quite knowing what he's doing, he’s started to grind against the top of Midori’s thigh, the resulting friction only a measly trickle into that deep, abyssal need inside of him.

He’s so on edge, he feels as though he might just come in this pathetic way, his whines turning into moans, his lungs burning.

Midori removes his knee suddenly, and the delicious friction is gone, and Matsuoka growls, pounding his fist into Midori’s shoulder as tears of frustration run down his cheeks.

“Fuuuuuck, why’d you do that? I was so cl—”

His head snaps to the left before he can see what hit him, and his cheek stings with the blow. Blindly he tries to lunge at Midori, but the heel of Midori’s palm, ruthlessly precise, catches him in the the soft flesh of his balls.

He drops like a sack of potatoes in his extreme suffering.

A hoarse cry tears from his throat as he curls, shaking, sobbing, wanting something—anything to ease the terrible agony.

“Goodness, I don’t remem… remember telling you that you could move,” Midori attempts to purr as he stands over Matsuoka, arms akimbo like the worst superhero Matsuoka’s ever been acquainted with. “If you don’t do as you’re told… If you don’t…” He pauses to think of a suitable consequence, and then his face lights up as he finds it—“I won’t get you off, and then who will?”

He smiles at this conclusion, pleased with himself. About 10 per cent of Matsuoka is fucking ablaze at this taunt, another 10 per cent is devastated because it’s true, but the remaining 90—or was it 70 per cent?—hurts too much to produce anything other than broken apologies that run into each other like careless watercolours, and Midori laughs, scathing and wild.

"A’right, ‘llright, don’t be angry. ’ll suck you off, ‘kay?”

Midori drops to the ground beside him with a deep groan, rolls Matsuoka as gently as possible onto his back, pushes his knees apart with a tenderness that might have been genuine. What it does is put Matsuoka in a fucking vulnerable position and Midori must know this, which makes Matsuoka mad that he knows, which must get Midori off because he knows that Matsuoka knows that he knows, which…

Matsuoka’s rapidly derailing train of thoughts is interrupted by Midori, wide-eyed and patting Matsuoka’s thigh like a fucking kid.

“C’mon, help me a little here, Masamune.” He’s somehow managed to unbutton Matsuoka’s pants without him noticing (which on second thoughts might have actually been rather easy). Now he lifts Matsuoka’s hips with a grunt, and because Matsuoka is totally entitled to it he goes deliberately limp, which draws an exasperated sigh from Midori as he tugs fruitlessly at the waistband. After a while he abandons this approach, and instead pulls down the zipper, and invades Matsuoka’s boxers with his hand.

Matsuoka understands exactly what he’s trying to do a second after it’s too late.

Midori cups his fingers around Matsuoka’s erection and applies a little pressure, precisely enough to get Matsuoka's attention, but deliberately lacking in stimulation. Matsuoka’s hips seem to strain upwards of their own accord as he bites out a cut-off “Fuck!”—and Midori seizes this chance to tug his pants off his ass with a groan of effort.

“There we go. You just couldn't make it easy for me, could ya?” Midori huffs, pouting slightly, and crawls forwards over Matsuoka’s body to straddle his hips. Unabashedly, he positions his ass right over Matsuoka’s raging hard-on and sits down hard, then leans forward to bite at Matsuoka’s throat, forearms on either side of Matsuoka’s shoulders like a large cat leaning into its prey.

Matsuoka chokes on his saliva.

Midori is skilful with his teeth, and he scrapes long, cathartic paths from jawline to collarbone, blends pain into pleasure with his tongue, canines sowing lines of red into Matsuoka’s skin.

(Matsuoka’s always believed that Midori was descended from vampires.)

But Midori’s so close to him again, and Matsuoka’s needy as fuck, so he thinks, screw it to hell, and pulls Midori down on top of him so he can grind his dick into Midori’s plush, round ass without shame, and dig his nails into the valley that scores Midori’s lower back in retribution, striping his skin red to match Matsuoka’s. Midori grumbles against Matsuoka’s windpipe, but doesn’t object, to Matsuoka’s relief, and they stay like that awhile, Matsuoka’s hips rocking their bodies up and down in a steady rhythm.

But not for long. Of course Matsuoka knows Midori’s just biding his time, and he’s proven right, just a mere minute later. Midori lets Matsuoka see him smile, sweet and viscuous, as he pushes away from Matsuoka, who releases a small mewl as Midori’s comfortable weight vanishes all too soon. Midori crawls back off Matsuoka to sit on his haunches, and returns his attention to Matsuoka’s aching boner, teasing the hard outline of his cock under the dampened fabric with the tip of a finger. 

“Look how hard you are, Masamune!” He exclaims in mock surprise, eyebrows lifted in exaggeration. “You must want me real badly, then.”

As if he hasn’t just driven Matsuoka to the brink of fucking implosion.

His veins have been injected with jet fuel, and Midori has shoved the engine past full throttle and left him there to immolate on the runway.

Midori shakes his head at Matsuoka’s silence, though it’s not as if Matsuoka could have said anything without receiving further abuse, pulls his boxers further down. Matsuoka obediently lifts his legs off the ground for Midori to guide them over his ankles and toss them aside. He watches them fly through the air, land with a soft whump a ways off, and squeezes his eyes shut as Midori grazes a line down his stomach with jarringly cold fingertips.

Oh, but Midori does take his time, teasing, thriving on frustration, working up enough pressure for Matsuoka to think he’s going to get him off in earnest, but then stopping to examine Matsuoka’s thighs, to push his thumb into the dark patches of bruise there like a curious child. If anything, though, the alternating stimulation and pain arouses Matsuoka even more, and Midori knows.

It’s not fair, he thinks, that Midori had seemed to perceive everything about him at a glance, knew where to kiss to pull the deepest moans from Matsuoka, where to touch to turn him into a sobbing, begging, painfully hard mess.

And he still knows nothing of Midori—it’s like groping for a fallen firearm in a night battle. He could never figure out Midori, didn't know what made him laugh, didn't even know what had triggered his wrath. He can never hope to understand Midori’s seeming-paradoxical love of Matsuoka’s smiles, and in equal parts his tears.

Matsuoka clamps his jaws shut as another bead of sweat trickles into his hair. He presses his ass against firmly the floorboards as braces himself for what must surely be another teasing squeeze.

Instead, debilitating warmth suffocates his cock as Midori closes his mouth around it, eyes fluttering closed in a sort of ecstasy. He mouths along the length, tightening his hold until it’s almost painful, then pulls off with a loud pop.

Matsuoka’s eyes fly wide open, and he gurgles helplessly, thighs seizing up at the sudden sensation, fingers scrabbling to find purchase.

Midori doesn’t allow him that luxury. He pushes Matsuoka’s thighs wider apart, and presses his tongue flat between Matsuoka’s balls. Without respite, he licks a languid, wet stripe up the shaft, and stops just below the crown, tongue dipping into the join between head and shaft.

Matsuoka scrunches his brow as he pushes his teeth into the swell of his lower lip, the tension building. “More…” The word slips out of his mouth uninvited, gasping like a fish, and he’s back to cursing himself with whatever brain capacity he has left.

Midori raises his head from his ministrations a bit, so that if Matsuoka clenches his stomach and cranes his neck, he can see his cock disappearing into Midori’s mouth, watch Midori work with long fingers at Matsuoka’s shaft, lazily teasing.

“More?” Repeats Midori with mock incredulity, voice slightly blurred as he pulls off, leaving Matsuoka’s dick shiny with spit and aching terribly. “I leave you alone for a year or two, and now you're … ordering me around?”

Unable to find the words he needs, Matsuoka just shakes his head hurriedly, hoping that Midori will let this go. “More… please, Midori-san. Want. Please.”

Midori hums cheerfully at this, seemingly satisfied, and bends back over, smearing lips and tongue and spit all over Matsuoka’s cock, wriggling his tongue to find the fluid that’s leaking from the slit.

Matsuoka shudders as the acute pleasure curls his toes, and tries to draw his knees upwards.

“Haaaahh,” he wheezes, as Midori sucks on his balls and his ribcage clenches painfully. “How’s that?” purrs Midori, pleased as a cat with a bowl full of cream as he bears down on Matsuoka’s shaft, and the ensuing squelch sends shivers cascading down Matsuoka’s spine.

Midori works Matsuoka close to the tipping point, but doesn’t let him come—whenever Matsuoka’s breath begins to quicken and he thrusts his hips upwards, fucking Midori’s mouth shallowly, Midori pulls off, leaving his cock cold and sad with neglect. Matsuoka would punch Midori at this point, if not for two things—firstly, that he doubted he it would be unexpected enough for Midori not to dodge, and more importantly, that Midori would stop sucking him off if he tried, and he wasn’t sure that he had the mental fortitude or the coordination to get himself off.

He resigns himself to pouring his frustration into a deep, resonating groan that eases the edge off a little, but nothing is enough, and he’s so turned on he could explode, and he just really wants to feel Midori’s cock in his ass but Midori’s not letting him, and—

Midori pauses in his motions at the sound, a sprinkle of concern garnishing his voice as he sits up, looks Matsuoka in the eye. “What's wrong, Masamune?”

Matsuoka attempts to summon a coherent response from his vocal chords, and fails miserably.

Emitting a soft “hmph” shallow in his throat, Midori continues. “Don't pretend you don't like this, Masamune. Remember that time, when you wanted me to fuck you, into a carpet, with your hands tied… behind your back? That other instance when you begged me... to shove a drill bit up your ass?”

Matsuoka shivers, his skin tingling as he feels the cold metal, the serrated edges pushing deep inside him, the hurt that makes him forget about his mother who left him and the relatives that didn’t love him and the climb over the fence on the roof that had seemed so tempting.

Midori chuckles, obviously delighted at the memory.

He wobbles to his feet, makes the arduous journey across the living room to his bag, and retrieves a small bottle from its depths, which he clutches tight in his hand as he stumbles back over to where Matsuoka is. He waves the bottle in Matsuoka’s face, and Matsuoka manages to make out that it’s lube. Lube. He knows what this means.

Dragging Matsuoka up, Midori leads him across the room to his sofa, pats the seat.

“Sit.”

Matsuoka sits, the leather cold against his bare skin, and pulls his legs onto the sofa eagerly as Midori pops the bottle open and slathers his fingers.  Midori climbs onto the sofa, seats himself between Matsuoka’s parted legs, and presses a finger between Matsuoka’s thighs, teasing.

Matsuoka grits his teeth together, tries to scoot his hips down, but Midori presses against his thigh firmly with a palm. “Be a good boy, Masamune.” As he speaks, he presses his lips to Matsuoka’s thigh, fumbles his kisses,  but that only serves to stir up more of that needy desperation inside Matsuoka.

“Please, Midori-san, please—”

He’s rewarded with the familiar stretch-and-burn of fingers slowly pushing in; one knuckle, and then the second, disappearing into Matsuoka’s body.

“Be patient, Masamune,” Midori cautions evenly as is possible for him, his voice wobbling a little, and Matsuoka wiggles his hips, craning his neck to try and plead with his gaze. Midori ignores him, curling his fingers in as Matsuoka whimpers, his fingers reaching out for Midori, and then all of a sudden Midori splays his fingers wider inside Matsuoka, stretching him almost to the point of tearing.

Matsuoka’s eyes open almost impossibly wide, his irises dancing with pain and fear and mutated, blunt pleasure.

“Aaaahh! … H… hurts… Fuck, fuck, fuck—!”

He tries to vocalize Midori’s name, but doesn’t even manage to get past the first consonant before his voice breaks into another series of unsteady cries, and he clutches at the back of Midori's shirt for support, fingers curling like eagles' talons.

“Shhh,” murmurs Midori soothingly, almost absentmindedly, and Matsuoka does as he’s told, falling silent as he clamps his teeth down on his fingers. His eyes fill yet again with tears that disturb their surfaces like ripples caused by a cast pebble.

All that's left is the whining of the otherwise empty room in Matsuoka's ears, and the persistent wet noises as Midori sinks his fingers into Matsuoka's ass. Matsuoka's moans wobble higher and higher every time Midori twists his fingers inside Matsuoka, as if he were trying to start up the ignition of an old truck.

"Fuck," gasps Matsuoka, finally breaking as Midori shoves his fingers in deeper, pressing against his prostate and causing spasms to shoot up Matsuoka's limbs.

"Ahhhnnhh, f—uck, Midori-san—" His knuckles are white and raised, and a line of red crescents sweep across his palm from where he's dug his nails deep into his skin. Matsuoka screws his eyes shut, mewls as he buries his face into the crook of his arm in an all-consuming shame.

"Don’t be shy, Masamune," murmurs Midori as the fingers of his free hand move lazily to cradle Matsuoka’s cheek, to force his elbow away from his face. He ignores Matsuoka’s panted protests, waits just long enough for their gazes to meet before he kisses Matsuoka with a ferocity that betrays the pensive demeanour, kisses Matsuoka till he feels sick.

Matsuoka moans into Midori's mouth, wraps his arms around Midori's warm, broad chest, and in return Midori bites Matsuoka’s lip until the heady scent of Matsuoka’s blood washes across both their tongues.

“... P...put it in... please,” mumbles Matsuoka suddenly, before a sudden thrust lifts the end of his plea so hard that it turns into a question, like a section of road forced upwards by a ground-rending earthquake.

"Hmmm?” asks Midori, having decided on pretending not to understand, even though he knows perfectly well what Matsuoka wants, the terrible bastard. “What was that, Masamune? You’ll have to speak up if you want something, you know. What do you want, Masamune?”

What do you want?

Matsuoka presses down the ache pouring into his lungs like concrete, and swallows his answer.

Midori’s expectant silence doesn't do much to ease Matsuoka's broiling desperation, so he blurts, “Want you, you—ahh… fuck, just—oh—please... fuck—inside… inside already...”

“Oh, look at you,” chuckles Midori, “just look at you.”

Matsuoka only wishes he didn’t have to.

Midori doesn’t disappoint, though; pushes Matsuoka’s shoulder around and slams him into the wall so hard, he’s glad Tachibana is at school. All the air whooshes out from Matsuoka's lungs, his chin banging painfully into the plaster, and he slumps, his knees giving way. Midori turns him onto his hands and knees and pushes in slowly from behind, large and rough and intruding .

Midori never took off his clothes when he fucked Matsuoka, always liked to keep a shield of fabric between his skin and Matsuoka’s heart.

As he pushes in, Matsuoka struggles for stimulation, throwing his hips back against Midori, only to be stopped by Midori's nails digging into his stomach, breaking the skin there and forcing a cry out of him.

Midori doesn't jerk him off as he thrusts, so the only stimulation he gets is Midori pounding into his ass and the burn as the chill air hits his bleeding flesh and it isn't nearly enough. He screws his eyes shut as Midori fucks him, painfully hard and brutally fast and almost the way he loves it, and then they're forced open again with a clipped moan as Midori seizes a nipple and twists, harshly.

Damn him. Damn him for being forever unpredictable.

Matsuoka begins to cry out in earnest as he starts to tear, the ring of muscles in his ass having been chafed raw by the unrelenting rhythm. His voice strains as every thrust tears an accompanying cry out of his throat. His arms have given way, and he's slumped to his elbows, the new position further accentuating the sleek curves of his back and ass.

Midori’s hands are clamps against his hipbones, the low, rhythmic pants coming from behind broken only by the occasional gasped swallow.

Blood begins to trickle down Matsuoka’s spread thighs, warm and thin and fast-moving, but he can barely feel it through the mental haze.

If this is what Midori is really like, Matsuoka delights in the way his fingers tremble, white from holding Matsuoka in place, craves the focused points of heat at each of his fingertips, loves the way he starts to keen, low and heart-piercing, as though he were calling out Matsuoka’s name in an animal language.

Matsuoka has always known that he’d break if he threw himself at Midori, but he was willing to do it, over, and over, and over again, if it meant that by shattering himself, he could chip away at the cold, stone exterior, and grasp a fistful of the struggling, thriving wildness inside.

 


 

He shouldn't have let Midori in, should have slammed the apartment door right back in his face and driven him back into the rain when he had the chance, but his hands won’t move, and his nerves are solid, dead ropes in his arms. His throat is closing up, and his tongue shrinking against the strange, sweet taste in his mouth he always gets when he’s about to throw up.

Matsuoka is terrified by that smile tugging at Midori's lips, pulling memories straight back out from where he's locked them into the dark recesses of his mind.

“Hello, Masamune.”

“You… I… uhhh… wha…”

"I hope you're holding up well, Masamune," Midori had remarked coolly, his gaze slanting downwards and away onto a patch of flaking paint on the wall beside his door.

Matsuoka had only stared, speechless, the freeze spreading across his whole body and fixing him in place like an insect settling into amber.

"Well?" continues Midori, as though having forgotten that just a few days ago, he had sat astride Matsuoka's body, etching Matsuoka's entire torso with bruises like purple stars being printed over a spreading sky. "Aren't you going to let me in?"

He's already halfway into the sitting room, nonchalantly dropping his forest-green umbrella onto Matsuoka’s umbrella stand as the last of his words leave his mouth.

Matsuoka recovers sufficiently, the rage and hurt filling in his veins just enough to thaw him into action.

"What," he hisses, grabbing Midori by the shoulders with both hands and slamming him against the wall of the entryway before he realizes he's done it, "are you fucking doing here? What the hell are you fucking doing here?" He's noticeably taller than Midori, though in all the time he's spent in Midori's shadow it's never been this apparent till now.

He regrets it almost immediately. Midori’s gaze flicks up to meet his, face half-shadowed, the pinpricks of his pupils smouldering like embers. Matsuoka barely has time to think oh, fuck—before Midori moves.

Before he knows it, he’s flat on his face against the floor, his arm twisted painfully behind his back as Midori crushes him against the cool wood, weight dense and suffocating on his hips. The fork of Midori’s finger and thumb pinning down the back of his neck is close to cutting off his oxygen. His eyes wide, Matsuoka babbles incomprehensibly as he struggles wildly, his mind incapable of any rational thought. The muscles in his free arm cord and strain as he tries to pry apart Midori’s death-grip, but it's impossible, not with just one hand. His upper arms, completely immobile, are burning with the fiery contradiction of a motionless struggle.

"Still moving? I thought you would have learned your lesson by now."

On the last word, Midori drives his knee hard into Matsuoka’s spine, and Matsuoka lets out a rattling scream; hears the sound leave his mouth as a labored, alien disturbance of air. He cries wordless curses with his remaining breath, trying to expel the hard knot of frustration and fear inside him. It doesn’t help his cause - his heart is still fighting against his ribs, shoving brutally against his collapsing lungs with each palpitation. The pain seems to have diffused into his blood, riding the tides in his veins to propagate the hurt everywhere.

Above him, Midori is coiling his will about Matsuoka, snakelike; the slits of his pupils emanating light like a room with its door left ajar. His lips are pulled back in a sadist’s smile, losing their usual plump fullness to stretch against his teeth, thin and pale.

“That's right, struggle all you want. You won't be able to escape, Masamune. You never have.”

 


 

Midori allows Matsuoka’s yells to subside, waits patiently for the heaves of Matsuoka's voice into hitches and his shouts into sobs, before he places a cool, haughty hand on Matsuoka’s shoulder, speaks from somewhere high above him. His words are distant and smudged in Matsuoka’s ears, as though Matsuoka is listening to him yell through an Impressionist landscape.

“I’m going to let you up now, Masamune. No sudden movements, understand?” Still cool and calm as a fresh-thawed lake, and Matsuoka fucking hates it, hates it as much as he fears it to his core. He nods mutely, though, tears running down the bridge of his nose to tremble at its tip.

“That's a good boy.”

As soon as Midori releases him, Matsuoka scrambles away, the skin of his palms and knees squeaking against the floor as he makes for a corner of the hall, and huddles there, his body jolting with spasms. Tiny strings of whimpers bubble from his throat as if from boiling water, as he tucks his knees up, bars his arm across the plateau they've formed, and moans

i'msorryi’msorrysosorrysorrysorrysorry

Midori watches him coldly, a predator in his home, his gaze stabbing into the back of Matsuoka's neck like hypodermic needles. Matsuoka tries to curl himself into a smaller ball, to make himself as little a target as possible.

"What a warm welcome, Masamune, and after me taking all this trouble to come and see you, too,” Midori chastises finally, light as a sprig of herb. Matsuoka flinches at the sudden change in tone, then curses himself for doing so. He clamps his jaw together to keep his teeth from chattering, fights to ignore the pearl of sweat tracing the line of his jaw as Midori approaches. Matsuoka whimpers as Midori stands in front of him—now he once again towers over Matsuoka—tries to dig his heels more firmly into the floor.

Midori plants an elbow onto the wall, bends over to box Matsuoka in. He stares at Matsuoka with a look that Matsuoka can feel crawling with thin, scalpel-like legs into his pores, though he can't even see Midori from where he is.

"Look at me, Masamune."

He can’t, he can’t, he can’t. His lungs aren't working, his throat malfunctioning as he gulps down golf balls of air, and he can't feel his fingers; doesn't know where his feet are. His brow is jammed into a thick ridge above the hollows of his eyes; his crumpled lids; the quivering blades of his lashes.

Eventually, Midori sighs, a note of disappointment lacing his voice, and releases the tension, as though giving Matsuoka some slack on a collared leash. When he next speaks, his voice has regained its usual, kindly timbre. He shakes his head, smiles as though reproaching a kid afraid of an injection.

"Come on now, Masamune. Where's that usual confidence of yours gone, hmm ?"

It takes Matsuoka all his effort to raise his head, as though gravity has doubled in that short span of time, no—tripled. It’s like looking into a row of floodlights, made even more dazzling by the fact that Midori is smiling down at him, with an expression suddenly devoid of malice.

It’s that same grin he remembered seeing when they were both in high school, when Matsuoka tripped over his shoelaces; when he got his knee skinned; when he forgot about the blowback on his Desert Eagle. It's a grin he’s felt with his own lips, sharp as an ivory blade and full of teeth and unvoiced challenge.

Midori, seeing Matsuoka’s terrified expression, clicks his tongue. His friendly grin spreads impossibly wide as he moves to shove Matsuoka lightly on the shoulder.

"Aww, come on, Masamune. You really are a queer one. Why, what did you think I was here for?"

He gestures in the direction of the doorway, where the half-open mouth of a sagging black bag reveals the metal antlers of a stethoscope and a black case with a shiny leather exterior and silver clasps.

Matsuoka resists the overwhelming urge to fling himself into Midori’s arms and beg for forgiveness.

"Yu... Yukki's gonna k—kill you if he finds... finds out," he sniffles, as a last-ditch effort to stitch together what's left of his tattered pride. Somehow this just seems to amuse Midori even more as he pats Matsuoka on the head, fingers curling gently into the blonde hair, and Matsuoka instinctively pushes himself into the chuckles rising out of Midori's chest. Midori's hands are warm and soothing on the small of Matsuoka's back, his rigid, lithe bulk almost motherly in its protectiveness.

Well, if your mother delighted in having her hand over your mouth while she offed you repeatedly with your own gun. Matsuoka had never felt anything so predatorily executed it was almost sexual.

Midori scrapes his thumb across Matsuoka's cheek, the nail coming away wet and shiny; gazes through him with an expression Matsuoka fails to read. It always unsettles him—he's a host; he's supposed to tell what people are thinking by looking at them.

As Matsuoka moves to rest his head into the warm, soft hollow between neck and shoulder, nervous sobs still wracking his frame, Midori hums, brings his hands up to still the shivering of Matsuoka’s upper arms. "You really are adorable when you cry, Masamune."

He still doesn't know how Midori can be here, how he can manage to turn up uninvited and just plain walk his way into Matsuoka's home.

Midori pushes him off firmly, but not roughly, guides him further into the apartment, and sits him down on the sofa. Matsuoka watches him as he waltzes about the apartment, intimately familiar with where Matsuoka shelves his Blue Label; his expensive crystal snifters. There’s the music-box note of the glasses as he sets them down on the surface of the coffee-table, and the rich rush of liquid as he pours the brandy with a practiced hand. Matsuoka swallows slowly, takes the glass offered to him, and watches the light filter through the liquor as it warms in his hand.

Midori’s pursing his lips as he brings the glass up to sip at the brandy, his eyelids falling like a quiet dusk, and Matsuoka realizes he’s been staring at Midori’s eyelashes for too long, the smooth swell of his throat as he swallows, tipping back his head slightly; the long lines of his crossed legs ending in his bare toes. When he lowers the glass, Matsuoka can see the wetness shining at the fringe of his upper lip, like a beach newly washed over by a wave.

Under the intense need to do something other than kiss the hell out of Midori, Matsuoka takes a hurried gulp of liquor to calm his racing heart and chokes, his nostrils overpowered by the strong flowery scent and his brain doing trips back and forth across the interior of his skull.

You idiot.

All those years of training as a host, and he’s managed to make such a beginner's mistake.

Midori’s lips curve against his own glass in amusement, and that sets Matsuoka’s cheeks faintly alight, but he manages to compose himself, to place the glass back down onto the table. The dual collision of the base against the glass surface as his hand shakes is embarrassingly obvious in the stillness.

Midori says, “Miss me, Masamune?”

Matsuoka scrubs his toes into the well-worn wood and doesn't reply.

Still, some part of him wants to cry "yes", wants to fling himself at Midori and shake him by the shoulders; wants to make Midori hold him like he used to, when Matsuoka fit perfectly into the space beside him on the survival game field, way past the time when everyone else had packed up and left.

They would lie back, side by side and barely touching, watching the stars that could only be found there in the quiet deep, as if peering upwards into a vast aquarium that made up the whole of the heavens.

Matsuoka's mind is swirling with questions that he's never asked, not since Midori left him there soaking wet in the pouring rain, his words discordant and jarring against the insides of his temples, and the inhibition is swelling him uncomfortably from within, like dinner with a client he didn't want to see.

"I don't want to play with you, Masamune."

Why not?

"I just don't feel like it anymore, I guess. There's only so much I can do here, with you, and it isn't enough."

Matsuoka hears it, the implication shooting deep within him like a defibrillator's lightning pulse.

You aren't enough.

"I... I've been training hard." Empty words that don't even answer the question. They both know, but he lets them fall out of his mouth and into the air, where they do very little to cushion the oppressive silence.

Midori nods slowly, as if in approbation, and this makes Matsuoka's chest full with a slow, spreading burn that isn't from the brandy.

"Good... That's good to hear, Masamune."

And since when have you ever cared?

Matsuoka wants to scream, to threaten him at gunpoint until he receives a satisfactory answer. But even so, he knows, knows that Midori has been watching and indeed, caring, albeit in his own, twisted way.

Matsuoka takes another sip of brandy, the alcohol easing into his nerves, tries to force himself to relax. Midori, on the other hand, is completely at ease as he drinks, sighing in appreciation as he sets his glass back down. Matsuoka wonders if anyone will ever catch him off guard, and what he will look like then, if he’ll be splintered and worn out like Matsuoka has been.

It makes a dull fire burn in the pit of his stomach.

"This stuff is really good, Masamune. Do you buy it yourself?"

Matsuoka doesn't reply; fingers the stem of his glass nervously.

Midori catches the slight movement with his hawk-eyed gaze, makes Matsuoka suffer it for another long, lifeless minute, before he says, face breaking into an easy smile, “Jeez, why don't you relax a little? It wouldn't kill you, would it?”

There's enough irony in that to build an army of metal robots.

"I got you a little something from the hospital,” Midori says. He rubs his hands together, and Matsuoka can't help but notice how the sleek fingers slide over each other as he crosses them.

He bites the inside of his cheek; keeps silent, his gaze quivering.

Midori pouts at the lack of enthusiastic response, but waves his arm at Matsuoka.

"Lie back for me, will ya?"

His tone is that of the friendly, caring paediatrician, everyone's ideal older brother,  and Matsuoka shifts with the sluggish tempo of an animal just awakened from hibernation. His glass of brandy remains standing, barely touched on the table, its tinted shadow like stained glass colours in a cathedral.

Fuck. That was one of the better bottles, too.

As instructed, Matsuoka reclines with all the ease of a plastic doll placed against a wooden mattress. He can’t see what Midori’s doing, can only hear his padded footsteps going back across the hall to fetch his bag, and then the door shutting with a note of finality, the lock being drawn.

The still air cups the shells of its hands against his ears. The rain has stopped, and the early afternoon sunlight rules out neat patches of light on the door of his cabinet.

A rush of air as Midori returns, drawing up Matsuoka’s chair from under his table to beside the sofa, and pulls off his slightly damp jacket, hanging it over the back. Matsuoka twists his head to the side so he can see Midori sitting down, setting his knees into the leather seat covering. He moves into a rectangle of light as he does so, and the glow singes the edges of his hair a lighter green; sunlight streaming through forest foliage.

“Shirt up,” he purrs, lazily. Swallowing, Matsuoka grasps the hem of the fabric with both hands and pulls, the cool air hitting his skin. He feels more exposed than he ought to, and there's nothing better he wants to do than just curl up and see if he can disappear through the sheer force of willpower alone.

There’s a moment of subdued sound as Midori bends away to reach into his bag, and then his fingers, cold with ointment, sweep arcs across Matsuoka’s skin, painting his torso shiny, returning to still across his stomach. Matsuoka starts with a gasp at the sudden sensation, though he'd been expecting it, and Midori chuckles.

"Tell me if it hurts, Masamune. No need to act brave. "

Matsuoka clamps his jaw shut.

It hurt so much more when you left me, and I never did tell you, did I?

The slow transfer of heat from Midori’s palm is hypnotic, the rhythmic motion as he seeks out each bruise and methodically soothes the angry skin there. Matsuoka watches the minutes go by, watches the angle of Midori’s back as it tracks the progress of time like the shadow of a sundial, feels his flesh go ever more pleasantly numb.

His eyes have closed of their own volition, and all he can feel is Midori, the ointment having killed all other sensation.

 


 

Midori's fingers stop suddenly, leaving his skin like a butterfly taking flight, and Matsuoka almost whines at the loss, but confines it into a barely-perceptible surge of the chest. He keeps his eyes closed as Midori tilts his head down to murmur in his ear, "Left some painkillers on the table for you."

This close, Matsuoka can smell the rich brandy still lingering on Midori's skin, and can hear the soft, satisfied hum that Midori makes in his throat, so near to him.

 


 

This isn't the Midori who had taken him for target practice at a fairground stall, whooped his ass with one hand behind his back, and then pressed the oversize teddy with the beautiful bright peepers he had won into Matsuoka’s arms, saying that there was no space at home anyway. Matsuoka dimly remembered it sitting forlornly in a cardboard box in his storeroom, large amber eyes glassy and vacant.

 


 

This isn't the Midori who had walked home with him in a summer rainstorm, blue umbrella to green umbrella, laughing at the howling gale that snapped and bit at their ankles like thwarted lapdogs.

Midori had asked him where he’d gotten his pretty umbrella, told him it was the colour of his eyes; the colour of the sky.

Matsuoka still had the umbrella; it sat on his umbrella stand, well-used and thoroughly loved. Hadn’t someone handed it to him when he was sitting out in a rainstorm?

And here I was, being an idiot and thinking it was Mother…

“I don’t know,” he’d answered truthfully. Somehow that response had mysteriously, as always, irked Midori in some way, and he’d jumped into the next puddle they came across, baptizing Matsuoka with puddle water. Once they’d gotten to Midori’s house, Matsuoka had begun to sneeze uncontrollably, and Midori had had no choice but to lend him a sweatshirt and pants, and huddle beside him under the kotatsu , grumbling all the while.

He’d worn them home afterwards, Midori’s clothes, and they smelled like him, like the grass after rain and the deep of the forest in the game field.

Matsuoka had intended to shove them in with the rest of the laundry, but somehow exhaustion overtook him, and after changing out and tossing Midori’s clothes in a corner, he'd forgotten about them completely.

The next morning, they'd mysteriously disappeared, but his aunt vehemently denied having seen any garments of the sort. He'd searched high and low, but to no avail, and eventually, they slipped out of his mind like all the other things that just stopped mattering after a while.

Midori had never asked for them back, and Matsuoka had found them in a cardboard box with a panda on the side while unpacking his things in the apartment. He never remembered packing them in, but there they were, nestled between a row of books and a bottle of vintage.

The scent was faint; but still there—crushed pine needles and petrichor. He’d folded them, slipped them back into the box, and pushed the box into his storeroom.

 


 

This isn't the Midori whom he had felt, hot as an imploding star against his back, shivering with the thrill of the hunt. Matsuoka had trembled too, knowing that in a few seconds, they would either shoot or be shot down. As the whispering, rippling shadows moved towards the ring of stacked crates they had hidden in, Midori had ruffled Matsuoka’s hair and opened his mouth to say something, something that was obscured by the obnoxious, angry chatter of a machine gun opening fire, and the moment had slipped like sand through his fingers, gone and never to return.

 


 

As much as he dares, Matsuoka pushes up into Midori's lips, a soft whine rising from his vocal chords as he tries to wrap his arms around Midori's shoulders to pull him back. Midori tenses for a scary, seemingly interminable moment, then goes passive, letting Matsuoka drag him down to bask in their shared warmth. Matsuoka searches his face for any sort of emotion, but Midori’s eyes are blank and dull, as if something inside his heart has had its wires cut; artfully suppressed.

Matsuoka’s heart aches like a bird with an injured wing.

It's selfish of him, Matsuoka knows, and there's no way he can make this last, but there's no denying that it feels good—perhaps the transient nature of the embrace makes it feel even better, this pathetic clinging to the body that is Midori’s shell.

"Gotta go, Masamune," purrs Midori out of nowhere, voice low and soft like a bed of lichen, and sounding almost like it used to in high school. He carefully removes Matsuoka's roving hands like he's trying to disentangle himself from an overly clingy child.

Matsuoka could just leave it at that, let Midori walk out of his door and out of his life again, return to their cold, separate spheres.

He could.

His hands fly up to grab Midori's shoulders, pulling him in, and Midori, caught out by the sudden movement, falls forward onto Matsuoka. Matsuoka clutches Midori close, kisses him fierce and desperate. Grunting with effort, he pushes Midori up until they're both sitting, so he can get a better angle at Midori's throat, his fingernails digging into Midori's upper arms. He drags his teeth along Midori's windpipe, pausing to suck at the hollow of his collarbone. Midori tastes like sweat and cologne, and bitter, broken promises, tastes like the tangy metal of a gun barrel.

Matsuoka's gaze flicks back up. Midori’s eyes have gone alight once he's gotten over the initial shock, and seems to be reacting more in amusement than the passion or even anger that Matsuoka's hoped for, watching to see what Matsuoka will do next.

So... you wanna play this game?

Fighting for control, he drags Midori upright with a heave, pushes them blindly into the sofa, drops to push up Midori's shirt so he can kiss Midori's chest, his ridged stomach. Before he knows what he's doing he's loosened Midori's belt buckle, pulled down the zip.

It sends a tingle of excitement through him when he sees that despite what Midori’s face is telling Matsuoka, he's half hard, and when Matsuoka takes Midori’s warm cock into his mouth, sucks at the shaft, Midori's release of breath is slightly jarred. His hands have started to tangle into Matsuoka's hair, his grip deathly tight, and his cheeks have acquired the faintest of flushes, his eyes half-shut in silent ecstasy.

Because Matsuoka is good. Matsuoka is very good. Sure, the majority of his clients are women, but it's not as if he's had the heart to reject good pay when it comes in his direction, and he's picked up more than a little skill along the way.

"Masamune," gasps Midori through the stillness, the first word he's said since Matsuoka has kissed him, and the sound of it leaves Matsuoka aroused something awful, sends shivers spidering into his crotch.

He pushes Midori deeper into his throat, forces away the gagging sensation, and concentrates on how Midori is making little moans above him through clenched teeth, his right hand moving from Matsuoka's hair to press fingers into his own temples, as if trying to press back the flood of feeling there.

"M...Masamune." Midori’s voice is not shaking, not shaking at all through his clenched teeth now as Matsuoka continues to suck him off relentlessly, using a skillful combination of lips and tongue and the pads of his fingers. He’s stiff as the barrel of a gun, but there's no room for touching himself, not now.

Even though he’s seated, Midori’s knees tremble on either side of Matsuoka's waist. He smooths Matsuoka's fringe away from his forehead between murmurs of his name; repeatedly, violently; as if by doing so, he can calm the jolts of arousal that flood him at every slight movement.

Matsuoka hums, low in his throat, shifts on his knees so he can spread saliva across the underside of Midori’s cock with his tongue. His releases of breath are accompanied by soft, seductive whines as he forces the air through his nose. Midori judders as Matsuoka mewls, the vibrations concentrated around his slit and the swollen, shiny head of his erection. He cants his hips forwards, trying to get at more of Matsuoka’s warm, wet heat, but Matsuoka pulls his head back just as fast, having anticipated the movement.

Midori’s frustrated growl goes straight to Matsuoka’s cock.

Matsuoka changes angles, scrapes lightly around the crown of Midori’s cock with his teeth, and Midori hisses, glaring downward with glittering slits for eyes. His teeth are clenched together, his breath ragged, and in that instant, his expression loathes his own infatuation.

Matsuoka’s settling into a rhythm here, and he thinks, yeah, I’ve got this, I can handle this. Midori seems to think so too, because he pushes at Matsuoka’s shoulders.

“Masa—” he begins evenly, then shudders harshly, and comes violently into Matsuoka’s mouth with a harsh cry. Midori rides out the rest of his orgasm silently, almost grudgingly, his back arched against the sofa, throat exposed and flushed.

Matsuoka isn’t prepared for this, but then again, neither of them are, so he just takes as much as he can without choking.

Then he flicks his eyes up, and catches with a perverse delight the tensed, trembling planes of Midori’s stomach in his gaze, the formerly unsettling amber gaze directed towards the heavens. His palms have curved off the wood on either side of him, and the sinews in his forearms ripple and strain, like beams of steel twisted at both ends.

Matsuoka's name is a whispered mantra on Midori’s lips, and he puts his hand against Matsuoka's throat to see if he'll swallow.

Matsuoka works the muscles of his throat as hard as he can, and Midori laughs quietly, in joyous disbelief.

"You're such a little cockslut," hisses Midori, once he's stopped shivering with fury in the afterglow. "Well done, Masamune, you—”

Matsuoka rears up like a wild stallion, fuses his mouth with Midori’s, and for a wild moment, he’s got his former partner cuffed to his chair, he’s feeding him his own cum, and Midori’s eyes are so wide Matsuoka can see every shade of emerald in the irises, and—

Matsuoka catches the wooden floor with his wrist, and a sharp flash of pain lasers up his arm. Bewildered, he throws his gaze up, and Midori is standing right above him like a god, palm outstretched, a wild mix of wrath and gratification in his eyes; something almost like a horrified, defeated love.

The world turns to flame, and silently, they both burn.

Then, slowly, but gaining surety with every passing second, Midori moves out of his reverie and begins to buckle up, the sound of his belt buckle cracking the silence; huffs out a small, shaky laugh.

“Well, that's that,” he says, cheerfully, though his voice crackles in his throat like static.

His shoulders set, he turns away from Matsuoka, who is still half-sunk onto the floor, trying to ignore the painful throbbing between his legs. His head is cast down, like a rag doll, his knees turned in, legs splayed. The fabric at the crotch of his pants strains with the effort of holding back his erection, and a light dampness has spread across the cloth.

Midori either doesn’t see, or pretends not to, as he pulls his shirt down, taps the lid of the can of ointment on the table and proceeds to turn his arms into the sleeves of his jacket, his back to Matsuoka.

“Here,” he says, his voice trembling slightly, “I’ll leave this with you. After you use it, hold off showering for about an hour or so. Got it? Two times a day, until the bruises fade...”

“...Masamune? Are you listening?” Midori squats back down next to Matsuoka, creating a breeze of air that stings cold against the wetness on his cheeks. Matsuoka remains utterly motionless.

“Come on, didn’t I tell you to look at me when I’m talking to you?” His fingertips are warm, Matsuoka thinks, as warm as they were so long ago, when he had lifted Matsuoka’s chin to kiss him, as he does now.

It’s impossible to hold the tears back, not when Midori’s lips are so soft and achingly familiar against his own, not when his heart feels like Midori’s coming at it with a bunch of syringes filled with vinegar. The tangy sour of acid fills his mouth and corrodes his vision, the tears spattering onto Midori’s skin like the long-awaited start of a humid summer thunderstorm.

All talk of being manly goes out the window.

He clutches at Midori wildly, as if they’re at the departure gate of an airport, as if somehow he can force his way out of himself and tear away the interminable wall of skin that separates them to blend together their flesh as an artist blending colours on his palette.

Matsuoka is passionate like a sunflower is passionate about the sun; face always turned faithfully towards its life-giver.

Which way does a sunflower face when the sun goes down?

Midori’s smile is velvet stained with wine as he shifts along the bridge of Matsuoka’s nose to rest his kiss upon Matsuoka’s forehead. Matsuoka fits the hollow under his brow to Midori’s sleeve and sobs, discordantly male, awkwardly large.

High school Midori would have clapped him on the shoulders and told him that he was getting too big for this, that real men didn’t cry, that as long as there was a next time it would all eventually work out somehow.

High school Midori had also told him that whenever Matsuoka was feeling down, he would only need to call Midori, and Midori would take him back to the field where he had first fallen in love, to relive the high-domed arch of the sky; its fleeting cloud angels, its hailstorm of cherry blossoms, and Midori’s flung-out, unbridled apotheosis.

There are gonna be people in the world who’ll hurt you, Masamune. Don’t let them get you down.

… As long as you’re alive, you’ve got to keep fighting!

...

 


 

 

Midori rises slowly in a rustle of fabric, and this time it's with a mournful finality as he says, “Keep looking forward, Masamune. It won't do to dwell on past wrongs.” 

Stop—wait, no, no—please, wait—no—

He grabs his bag off the floor in one swift motion, and this is all a bad dream—Matsuoka’s frozen to the spot, and he can't seem to wake up; Midori is headed for the door, his footsteps are dry and crackling against the floorboards; he's into the hall; putting on his shoes; blindly grabbing an umbrella from the stand; the light from outside floods into the room, lighting up his silhouette—

And then, he's gone. Or rather, it's as if he has never been. The drained crystal glass on the table scatters confused brightness onto the walls.

 


 

Midori keeps growling Matsuoka’s name, thrusting into Matsuoka, filling him utterly, overly. The weight of his strokes is threatening to bowl Matsuoka’s trembling knees over at any moment. His movements are more erratic now, less calculated; he’s close.

Beneath him, Matsuoka is shuddering violently; incoherence spilling from his mouth as a verbal climax.

“Ahh, please, I c...can't, anymore— please…!”

Matsuoka’s skin is feverish, and the smell of sweat, of sex and brandy, pervades his nose as he comes, in white, messy spurts, all over his hand and Midori’s old shirt; onto the floor and against the legs of the coffee table and the sofa, between which he’s been sprawled. The empty bottle of liquor is lying on its side—it must have tipped over at some point.

The coffee-table is a mess; tissues and the snail-like trails of dried white and half-translucent smears, his vibrator lying on its side, and not far-off from that, his silver cock ring. The box of carpet patches has tipped over, and the scraps of fabric have piled themselves into a small slope, gushing from the mouth of the box. The case of drill-bits is lying open; the metal implements wink dully from within. One of the foam silhouettes is empty.

Not far off, the cardboard box with the panda on the side sits with its panels ripped off, clear tape strewn everywhere. The amber eyes of the stuffed bear inside accuse him in their glaring reflections.

He tries to move, the sticky skin of his back peeling painfully from the leather sofa, but his arms fail him, and his knees, slick with the blood streaming down his thighs, give way.

He bangs painfully into the coffee table; cuts himself on something; glances down. One of the snifters has shattered, large crystal shards amidst a pool of brandy and powdery glitter, and his hand is covered in it, the glass-dust prickling his palm. He wipes it off on a small, garish-green sample of carpet lying close to one of the sofa’s legs, which just gets more blood everywhere, and tries to move again, with more success.

He manages to heaves himself onto his knees, and jerks; moans as something inside him scrapes against his oversensitive prostate, chafing him fresh and raw.

Trying to still the twitching of his fingers, he reaches behind him; fumbles around; pulls, gasping.

The thick, heavy drill-bit slides out of his ass with a wet sucking sound, and he emits a lurching moan, squeezes his eyes shut as his ass contracts, twitches, burns. Gasping, he tosses the bit aside, where it clatters across the floor, spinning to a tremorous stop. Its deep grooves are slick with crimson, and his fingers are slippery with it, too.

He stares down at them in disgust, averts his gaze towards the window under the pretense of looking outside. Only then does he notice that it’s been raining again. Another oppressive underbelly of clouds has gathered, and given way, and the remnants of its outburst trickle from roof gutters, roll in plaintive streams down asphalt roads.

 


 

A couple of streets away, an errant ray of sun punches through the cloud. Streaking down from the heavens, it lights up a street corner like an ordinance.

A shaking of droplets from plastic in wonderment, like a wet dog after its first shower, and Midori Nagamasa slowly closes a worn umbrella, with a shade of blue to match the new-born sky, the sunlight catching the upturned, sorrowful glimmer of his bright amber eyes.

-fin-