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It wasn't uncommon for Subaru and Seishirou to have a "lover's quarrel." Granted, most lovers didn't literally try to kill each other, but, then again, most lovers never had the opportunity to.

Regardless, it was the little things, like a spell that went slightly askew and burned off a handsome curl of hair, or a random attack long after the matter had been settled, that made it so much harder to apologize. And so, at the end of their latest quarrel, Subaru had simply picked up his things and left.

It was a foolish choice, but he didn't realize that, not in the first few days. No, for those days he kept himself busy, stewing in his anger, reminding himself of all the stupid things Seishirou had done (or forgotten to do), the way he couldn't even express the hint of an emotion without a near-death experience, and that stupid, ever-present smirk of his.

It was always easy to find fault, and so much harder to see the good things.

But eventually his anger waned and he found himself becoming uncomfortably aware of the lack of Seishirou in his life. Little things — tiny things, as if he were grasping at straws — became big things, things he couldn't live without. The way it felt to be wrapped in Seishirou's arms in the morning...the way he smiled when he thought Subaru wasn't looking...the way their movements flowed together, without words or thoughts, as if they knew each other so fully that words became meaningless.

...little, tiny, insignificant things...

Subaru awoke in the middle of the night, one week after he'd left, his heart aching and racing and his breaths almost gasping. He kissed the invisible wounds of his hands, as if someone else's lips were caressing them, and, in his half-waking state, he thought he saw Seishirou's shadow in the dark corners of the room, just waiting to be called back to the bed.

He shivered in his blankets, feeling empty and cold. The hot anger disappeared, like a candle whose flame suddenly burnt out. In the dark of night, he packed his bags and prepared to return home.

He didn't even remember why they'd been fighting.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Seishirou wasn't home when he returned. Subaru amused himself at first by imagining what to say. Should he apologize? Or had Seishirou been at fault? He couldn't really remember, and, at the moment, he didn't really care.

The second few hours were spent putting away clothes and tidying up the house, annoyed at the way Seishirou let everything fall to pieces when Subaru wasn't there with him.

At noon, Subaru flopped unceremoniously onto the bed and fell asleep, soothed by the familiar feeling and scent of the room, the way everything he knew was right there where it was supposed to be.

When he awoke, he began to let the annoyance creep back into his thoughts. Where was he? What was he doing that was so important?

He cursed. It was too easy to imagine up all the different scenarios, horrible and wonderful, things that could happen or might have happened or he desperately wanted to happen. The loneliness was starting to wear on his brain. He cursed their stupid argument. This time, he swore to himself, he'd never let anything — anything — get so bad that they'd fight again. Never, never, never…

He sat on his hands, squirmed restlessly, ignoring the footsteps and cars he could hear with terrible clarity.

Subaru managed to stay still for a moment. He paced around the living room, staring out the windows into the city below. The apartment seemed so far up, but he could hear everything on the street.

He smiled. They had fought here, once upon a long ago — and, as he recalled, this had been one of the many buildings destroyed. After the battle, he had sworn never to live in Tokyo, and certainly not in the high-rises, not with the threat of earthquakes causing the buildings to collapse in very messy, very real ways.

But the view was so spectacular. Especially on the cold nights, wrapped up in a blanket on Seishirou's lap, gazing at the first snowflakes falling…

Instinctively, he turned to look at his watch. Subaru blinked in confusion, staring at the bare flesh of his arm.

He groaned. He must have left it there, in his haste to get over here.
Minutes — at least, he thought they were minutes, lacking the will to actually get up and look at the clock — stretched into hours. And there was still no sign of Seishirou.

He swore. Fine, then. Pushing himself to his feet, he marched to the door, intent on returning to his apartment. With the impeccable logic of an angered lover, he told himself that, if Seishirou couldn't be bothered to be at home when he was ready to apologize, he'd could just damn well come and get him himself. And he could grovel for forgiveness.

He grabbed the doorknob, barely realizing, in his haste and anger, that it was turning just a little too easily, that the door was opening just a little too quickly, and that, quite suddenly, the cars on the street were passing just a little too quietly.

However, when his first step led him to smash face-first into Seishirou's chest — his very familiar, very attractive chest — he not only realized all these things, but suddenly understood why they had occurred.

Any thoughts he had immediately following that were lost in the deep abyss of passionate uncaring, as he and Seishirou fell, completely without dignity, into the empty hallway. They recognized each other immediately — faster than immediately — and proceeded to do what seemed, in that instant, the best course of action.

This was, of course, to start making out with each other shamelessly against the hallway wall. One was fleetingly tempted to make a comment about "horny teenagers," though, of course, neither of them was anywhere near that age, nor had they been for some time.

Some time later, in between the wet kisses and haphazard gropes, Subaru recalled his anger, and the question that had started it. He pulled away, doing his best to glare defiantly. "Where have you been?" he whispered, his voice husky — an unfortunate side-effect of making love, not war, first.

Seishirou looked at him — at least, Subaru assumed he did, from the position of the older man's face relative to his own, but it was hard to see his eyes beneath those sunglasses — and smirked. He cupped Subaru's cheek, and with all the coarseness and vulgarity of a complete and total pervert, he wiggled his pinky in Subaru's face. "Waiting," he said simply.

Subaru rolled his eyes, a familiar gesture that made Seishirou smile, just a hint of a smile under the smirk. "Who would be stupid enough to be your mistress?" he muttered, turning away, more out of habit than true annoyance.

He felt Seishirou move, and opened his eyes.

Seishirou was holding his watch, right there in his hand, still smirking and offering the tiny thing with his smallest finger.

Subaru snatched it up. He was prepared to say something stupid, something angry, but the tiniest glimmer of light reflecting off the watch made him pause. "You weren't…" he mumbled, suddenly at a loss for words, "You weren't there all day, were you?"

Seishirou's face changed color ever so slightly. Subaru pretended not to notice, though he secretly filed away the incident for later use. It wasn't fair to only let Seishirou make him blush, now was it?

Subaru turned to walk back into the apartment, for so long and now once more their apartment. "I was here," he said simply. Seishirou didn't move. Normally, Subaru would have kept going, but, with the pain of loneliness and a keen sense of emptiness still fresh in his mind, he stopped, and added softly, "…waiting for you."

It didn't take a genius to realize, as Seishirou kissed him, that he had been doing the exact same thing.

The stumbled into the living room, barely pausing to throw the door shut and refusing to waste the time to lock it. They were all alone in this apartment, alone at the top of the building, surrounded by nothing but sky and the last rays of sun pouring through the many windows.

They didn't quite make it to the next wall, instead deciding that the floor was good enough for their desperate need for one another, expressed in roaming kisses and tender caresses.

Subaru admitted, his mind rather hazy, that it was actually quite pleasant to be…accosted…like this. Seishirou, he had learned, was prone to letting his emotions build up, hidden away for such long times, and suddenly let them out all in one sweet burst. Often, it had been violence. But, slowly, they were working on it, as he helped Seishirou let off his emotions in shorter intervals, often while they were in the bedroom.

Still, there were times when Seishirou just… Subaru yelped as Seishirou nipped at his neck, trying to recover his train of thought. There were times… Seishirou had started to suck on his throat that time, teasing the soft flesh, making it hard to breath.

There were times when Seishirou could only let out his emotions in a long, protracted flow, a sort of dam-breaking flood that he could no longer control or stop.

Times when he was absolutely…amorous. Insatiable.

And, really, the best thing to do was to go along with him and try not to drown.

Subaru took the moment of lucidity to reflect that, in fact, Seishirou was never a better lover than when he was in one of his moods. He was so painfully eager to please and be pleased. He almost wasn't himself.

Subaru tried to hold back his blush as their clothes slowly became a sort of bedding, separating them from the harsh carpet, and pillows, to keep him from slamming his head back onto the hard floor.

He wanted to say, it's not only the pleasure. It's not only this ecstasy, this wonderful feeling of being together when Seishirou was amorous and eager and hot and begging, begging silently but insistently for more.

It's not only the way his fingers touched, and his mouth sucked, and they slowly moved into what was, he confessed, his favorite position, mouths crushed together as Seishirou pushed their bodies together, so close, so terribly and wonderfully close, arms and legs wrapped around each other.
It was more than that between them, he wanted to say.

It had to be…

…or he wouldn't feel so empty inside when Seishirou wasn't near, or so cold at night in his empty bed, or so lost in the seemingly-endless corridors of his cold life when he was alone.

They moved, and suddenly, Subaru found himself with a wholly different sensation. Instead of the crushing, suffocating, possessing weight of Seishirou's body atop his, deliciously heavy and wonderful, he suddenly felt so free, suddenly perched on Seishirou's body, the motion making him feel weightless, held down only by Seishirou's arms around him.

A heady, intoxicating rush of freedom and power inflamed his senses. He smiled, leaning down to whisper in Seishirou's ear, tickling the tender flesh with warm, moist breath. "Oh, Sei…" he gasped. He could practically feel that smirk, even when his eyes wee closed, his hands clenching at Seishirou's shoulder. "How do you do this to me?" The words materialized, without his knowledge or consent.

"My unmatched skills as a lover?" Seishirou chuckled when Subaru nipped him roughly. "I suppose not."

Lust, attraction…that wasn't it, couldn't be it. Anyone could touch him, make his body react like…

Subaru shuddered at the thought of anyone else's hands on him. Out loud, however, he sighed, "Why did I ever get stuck with you?"

Seishirou kissed him. "You love me, remember?"

Subaru startled, froze up. He hadn't heard that word, not since…

…not since…

"I do not," he said quickly. Instinctively, he started pulling back, pulling away, until Seishirou pulled him back down into a warm embrace.

"You don't then," he said agreeably.

Seishirou had a gorgeous mouth, Subaru realized, distracting himself from the dark sort of feeling interrupting their enjoyable reunion. How could he slip back into anger so easily? After swearing to never again…

Seishirou's mouth was hot and wet, eager and very, very skilled. Skilled when their tongues played together and his hands pushed Subaru's hair back out of his face, playing with the short strands, looking up into his eyes. Skilled when it teased his pink, fleshy nipples insistently into hard peaks and engulfed them. Skilled when he gently pushed Subaru back, against the couch, and turned his mind into a writhing, unthinking mountain of bliss with that mouth of his.

Subaru cried out, sweetly, and so loudly it hurt his throat. His fingers tore in Seishirou's hair as the older man knelt between his legs, coaxing him into a haze of pleasure, so far away from his dark thoughts.

His mouth was even skilled at gently coaxing Subaru's mind back to sanity with soothing kisses as he lifted Subaru up, dragging them to the bedroom before they hurt themselves on the hard floor.

In the brief moment when Seishirou had to leave him there, on the bed, searching for some sweet-scented lotion, he wondered at himself. Love… No, not that. Love meant sweetness, and salvation…and all they had was…
All they had was pleasure in each other's arms when they weren't fighting. And the time seemed to grow so small, lately.

Seishirou came back, leaning over him, grabbing his hand to kiss.

"I don't love you," Subaru whispered, a pained expression on his face.

"I know," Seishirou said.

He was patient, too, Subaru reflected, as he brought him slowly back to that sweet oblivion of ecstasy. Ah…they were so close as to be one being, and yet…

Could he call it love?

This almost brutal act that was wrapped in sweet pleasure, dulling away the innate violence of claiming and being claimed?

This wasn't what he had imagined in the brief dreams, so often forgotten, he'd had as a teenager. But in some ways it was so much better, so much more real than those wisps of illusionary pleasure.

Seishirou pulled him close, pushing their bodies together, into and out of, within and without. Subaru spread his legs, and it felt good, felt like they were so much closer to…

…to what? he wondered groggily.

And when Seishirou finally pushed forward, pushed into him, filling him, making him ache with the simple and infinite pleasure of togetherness, he wailed.

"You should know…" Seishirou whispered against his ear, breaking through the haze of thoughts and pleasure. Subaru moaned as Seishirou pushed against him again, so good, so wonderful and sweet. The older man leaned forward again, and he was almost gasping, his eyes dark, his hands and hips and everything feeling so good everywhere, and whispered, "I don't love you either."

Subaru's eyes went blank, for a moment, and in the blinding shock of his climax, he knew. This wasn't like love, that madness that had nearly broken their hearts all those years ago. Not this beautiful, wonderful thing between them.

It was so much better…!

He moaned in protest when Seishirou stopped him from curling up and drifting off to sleep. Seishirou draped a shirt over his shoulders, suddenly shivering from the lack of contact between them. He pouted, so much the spoiled clan head.

Seishirou pulled him close, shirt and all. "I want you," the older man said softly, and Subaru blinked. He chuckled. "Do you want me to explain, Subaru?" There was a naughty twinkle in his eye.

Subaru stared at him, uncomprehending. "Again?" he whispered, feeling a slight thrill in his heartbeat. All that…so quickly again…?

"Yes, and no."

Subaru loved and hated that smirk. But his curiosity was piqued, and he was already starting to feel a little warm.

Seishirou leaned back against the bed, pulling Subaru atop him, one hand in his hair, another pulling waiting lips to his.

Subaru blushed suddenly. "You don't want me to…" he trailed off, unable to process the dirty thought. Even the word was…!

"…to?" Seishirou raised an eyebrow. "I can't tell you until I know what you mean."

He was a sadist… "With you…down there, and me…" He opened his mouth, trying to force out the terribly embarrassing image he'd once come across, completely by accident, in Hokuto's book collection. "…me riding you!" he shouted quickly.

Seishirou's face went blank, and then he began to laugh. Subaru buried his head in a pillow, mortified. "That's not quite what I had in mind," he said, stroking at the back of Subaru's head, "although, now that I know you know about things like that, perhaps…"

Subaru squeaked softly. He was fine with what they usually did, used to it and expecting it and…and enjoying it very much, but things like that were just so…!

"I don't think you'd find it as distasteful as you think," Seishirou said still chuckling. He smoothed a hand over Subaru's back. "Tell me, can't you guess what I want?"

Subaru shook his head against the pillow. "Don't wanna," he moaned against the pillow.

Seishirou kissed the back of his neck. "Please, Subaru? Think hard."

Subaru pushed himself up, finally, and looked down, into Seishirou's smirking face. "I really don't…" he started to say, and trailed off, turning an interesting shade of pink. "…don't want to think about it," he finished.

"I want you to take me," Seishirou said, completely and totally serious.

Subaru nearly fainted. "You want me to what?" he sputtered out, unable to decide whether he was more shocked or stunned.

"Well, in technical terms, I want you to — " Seishirou started to say, but Subaru cut him off.

"I…I know what to do," he stammered, "but…why?"

Seishirou shrugged. "You seem to enjoy it," he said pointedly.

"I've never…"

"Nor have I. So there will nothing to compare to, Subaru."

"You…"

Seishirou's ears pricked at the whispered word, and he watched a blush shadow Subaru's cheeks. "What was that?" he asked amicably.

"I have to compare to you," Subaru murmured. "I'm not like you…" He looked away. "Not strong like you, or experienced like you…"

"That's what makes it so appealing," Seishirou said softly, kissing Subaru on the side of his neck before drawing the boy's eyes back to him. "You never lie to me." He smirked, just a flash of teeth and tantalizingly moist lips. "And you can understand me far better than anyone else."

Subaru closed his eyes, let the sensations of Seishirou's kisses wash over him. Could he…? Well, obviously he could physically, but…

He had a sudden image of what Seishirou might sound like if he cried out, just the way Subaru himself did, and it brought a blush to his cheeks. The idea was more arousing than he cared to admit.

"Yes."

"Care to qualify that for me, Subaru?"

"Yes," Subaru said again, his mouth suddenly dry. "I want you, Sei."

The minutes blurred together, a sensual haze of kisses and touches, gentle at first, coaxing their bodies back to their full strength, lazy but insistent, sweet and unexpectedly tender.

For once, Subaru's thoughts were clear. Blissfully, wonderfully clear.

But, then again, there really wasn't much thinking involved.

He didn't move, wouldn't move, from his position above Seishirou, one that rapidly becoming not only comfortable, but very arousing. Some still-functioning part of his mind reasoned that he was not completely in control, not with the way Seishirou gripped at his wrist, his waist, holding him firmly in place as his mouth tasted and explored Seishirou's face and neck eagerly. And yet, the rogue part of his mind went on, the same could also be said of Seishirou, considering the way Subaru's legs were prone to lock tightly around his body as they rocked together on their many, many nights of exquisite pleasure.

And so, he concluded, nearly subconsciously, there really wasn't any need to have complete control…or to give it up. Though, that could be very entertaining…

Subaru mimicked the way Seishirou had always treated him, though, secretly, he doubted Seishirou would react the same way he did. The man was just so…stoic.

He wrapped his lips around the older man's pink, soft nipple, something he'd never thought to do before. He'd never had to do anything to pleasure Seishirou except moan and gasp delightfully, a task made so much more easy by Seishirou's torturous talents of pleasure.

Seishirou…no, surely not. Subaru didn't quite trust his ears, not when his blood was pumping hotly through his veins, making his head throb and ache.

Then, again.

He stopped suckling to look up at Seishirou's face, seemingly so impassive, and gently flicked out his tongue to slurp at the hardened bit of flesh.

This time, he was sure, having seen — truly, implausibly, and unbelievably seen — Seishirou's mouth open up in what sounded suspiciously like a tiny bit of laughter, or, dare he say, a giggle.

"Sei," he whispered, stunned. He tried to collect his thoughts, and could only come to one startling conclusion. "You're ticklish, aren't you?"

Before the older man could answer, he boldly brushed his fingers along Seishirou's shoulders, the outside of his strong arms, and sneakily moved lower, closer inwards…until the older man's face contorted painfully and he could barely suppress a squeak of laughter.

Seishirou's retaliation was swift and certain, and within moments, both of them were gasping, laughing, about to fall off the bed and not caring a bit.

Subaru found himself in a familiar place, Seishirou leaning over him again, leaning down to kiss him. "Cheater," Subaru whispered affectionately. Seishirou raised a threatening hand towards the sensitive padding of his foot, and Subaru pulled away, a smile on his face. "No more, okay?" He waited for Seishirou to nod his affirmation, and, with the brightest, most innocent smile he could muster, he promptly attacked Seishirou's chest again, teasing and tasting, until he felt Seishirou's hot, hard flesh against his stomach.

He pulled away, and gulped back a breath, suddenly remembering the sweet challenge ahead of him.

The shadow crept over him again, the darkness of his thoughts, his secret weakness: the need to please, and make others happy before he could even fathom being happy himself. He'd tried to explain it to Seishirou, once, though it was never to his satisfaction.

How could he enjoy himself, knowing that he wasn't doing enough, wasn't trying hard enough, wasn't…wasn't even able to show Seishirou a fraction of the utter bliss the older man had gifted to him, so many times over.

Seishirou's hand was suddenly at his cheek, forcing him to open eyes he'd closed, making him smile, despite the grim thoughts. Seishirou's kiss was gentle, and thorough, wet and intimate. His lips formed a wide smirk, as if to chase away the foolish notion that he was begging. No, the smirk said, he was only joking, only manipulating, only trying to get Subaru to obey his wishes.

And yet, his barest whisper, sweet and hot against Subaru's ear, "Please," said exactly the opposite.

It gave Subaru a startling rush, intoxicating and heady.

Power. Total and utter power.

Maybe he could forgive Seishirou for some of his excesses, some of the things he did.

If his hands were trembling, if they fumbled with the slippery stuff slicking his fingers or dug a little too hard into Seishirou's strong shoulder, he didn't notice.

Maybe this was where Seishirou's overwhelming confidence — his arrogance — came from? It was…it was like he was feeding off it, the way Seishirou's eyes were clouding up, the almost-gasps coming quick and hard, the unintended tightening of muscles and fingers in his hair, at his back.

He was disappointed when Seishirou presented his back, wondering, in the back of his mind, if Seishirou's face would be even a little expressive of his pleasure. Strange that he'd never taken the time to watch before. Strange, and, Subaru admitted to himself, not a little bit selfish.

"I…" Subaru started to say, feeling the need to say something before they… He swallowed the blush rising to his cheek. "I don't know what to say," he whispered, nuzzling against Seishirou's back, taking in a moment of the older man's racing heartbeat. "There's no words…"

No, there were no words except "love," not in their language. And he couldn't say "love" when he didn't mean it.

"There is one," Seishirou said.

"What?"

"I'll tell you after," Seishirou replied succinctly. Subaru imagined he was smirking, although his face was buried in the pillow.

"You're evil," Subaru whispered. A low chuckle rose in his throat, growing into a warm laugh until Seishirou finally began to chuckle along as well. An easy sense of…Subaru couldn't describe it, really. But his nervousness faded away, overrun by warm desire.

Strangely enough, the actual act was far less stressful than the preparation, at least in Subaru's mind. The repetition of motion was oddly soothing.

It felt like there should have been something…something more. Some great realization as he pushed forward, tasting new ecstasy for the first time. Pure ecstasy, at least physically, free of even the mildest pain. And yet, he had to admit he enjoyed the mental freedom of being taken, the freedom from fear of impotence and ignorance, the wonderful freedom of just lying back and letting Seishirou, as they said, do all the work.

Different kinds of pain, he thought. Different kinds of pleasure.

Or was it the physical aspect he was anticipating? The wonderful pleasure of, as Seishirou put it, doing what he was equipped to do? Or even on a more primal level, the possessive claiming of a mate, the becoming one with the person he cared for the most?

He sighed. He thought too much, always thought too much.

"Are you going to sigh all day or start moving?"

Subaru wondered if he caught a desperate note to Seishirou's voice.
And then his world became wrapped up in the shattering pleasure of thrusting.

He wanted to think that time didn't matter, not in this mindless pleasure, but some vestige of pride made him think that time was of the utmost importance.

But ultimately, it didn't matter. He couldn't say how long it lasted, if it even lasted at all. He cried out his pleasure, and Seishirou's groan echoed and answered his. In the darkness of a midnight that had fallen sometime since they came to bed, both were content.

"Tell me," Subaru whispered, the two of them slowly, lethargically moving to curl together in their usual positions, sore muscle and scratched skin crying out in annoying pain that would be worse come morning. "I don't…I don't love you, I don't think."

"And I don't love you."

Strange, Subaru thought again, that the words seemed so right, when years ago they would have broken his heart.

"Then what…?" he whispered.

"It's very simple, Subaru." Seishirou's arm lazily reached around his shoulders, pulling them close, echoing their sensual embraces.

Subaru snorted, softly. Smug bastard, he thought, and it brought a smile to his face.

"We need each other."

Subaru opened his mouth, but thought better of it. It was perfect, and needed no more words.

They needed each other. Light and shadow, white and black, life and death, so intertwined, so different and yet needing each other so much.

"I need you, Seishirou." He tried out the words. It didn't slip off the tongue quite as well as the other words, and yet…

"And I need you as well, Subaru," his lover replied, gently, almost playfully kissing him on the forehead. A heartbeat passed, a moment of indescribable perfection and bliss, and…

"…although, you know, I was still right," Seishirou said softly.

"Were not," Subaru replied automatically, pressing his fist against Seishirou's chest in mock-anger.

"Yes I was."

Subaru sighed. "Alright, then," he murmured. "You were."

He could feel Seishirou smirk. Feel it. Closing his eyes, he let himself sink into a blissful exhaustion, barely coherent, until he heard…

"I'm glad to hear that, Subaru, whatever we were arguing about.