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“Aikawa!”

His words come out ragged but Risu doesn't stop to catch his breath, rushing to his partner’s side as soon as the last enemy drops. He can see that Aikawa's bleeding but he's fine, he's breathing and he's swearing and he's alive . Aikawa meets him halfway, pulling Risu’s body close and gripping him like an anchor. They shouldn't have had this much trouble on a job but their info wasn't accurate. They walked straight into an attack. Risu can feel the stretch of an open wound on his side and he knows that Aikawa is worse for wear but he grips him tighter; the thought of losing his dear friend is too much. He can feel Aikawa’s heart hammering in his chest, vibrating against his own ribcage. It’s comforting, in a way; every beat a reminder that they’re both alive and safe and together. Aikawa sighs deeply and cards a hand into Risu’s hair. The simple action is so calming that it makes him want to cry -- in fact, he chokes up a little, his hands tightening on the worn fabric of Aikawa’s sweater. His embrace is comforting and warm, and Risu goes a bit weak in the knees. But Aikawa holds him tight, keeping him grounded and upright.

“That… was too close.” Aikawa finally speaks, his voice muffled by his mask. Risu hums in agreement, resting his head in the crook of his partner’s shoulder. He doesn't quite trust himself yet to speak without tearing up. Risu is slightly taller than Aikawa but, at this moment, he feels so small; nearly drowning in the waves of anxiety pouring from both of them. Then Aikawa pulls away too soon, far too soon, and surveys the damage around them. There was at least 8 dead, and Risu recalls seeing a few others run off in the turmoil. The whole scene is a mess. Aikawa suddenly grips his arm tightly.

“We need to leave.” Risu nods and they take off, navigating haphazardly through the twisting alleyways. Risu’s apartment is much too far away, so he simply puts his trust in Aikawa and follows his lead. When they finally stop, it’s in a tight alleyway between two large buildings, deep in the maze of the city. Aikawa takes off his mask, wiping sweat from his forehead and breathing heavily. Risu’s exhausted and stressed but he can’t help the way his expression softens when he sees Aikawa’s face. He’s easier to read this way, even if only slightly. Risu finally brings himself to speak.

“Aikawa, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I didn’t know this job was going to be so dangerous and I’m sorry that I put you in danger and Aikawa, Aikawa, please, I-” He cuts off with a choked sob and he stumbles, stepping forward quickly to wrap his arms around his partner again. He holds him tight, as though he might slip from Risu’s grasp at any moment. He feels like he should be angry; a job has never gone so wrong before. But instead, he feels a painful mixture of relief and worry, as well as the familiar tightness in his chest that usually accompanies Aikawa’s presence. His heart aches as Aikawa returns his embrace, his broad hands burning against his back.

“Hey, it's okay, Risu. You know I'll always be there for you, no matter the circumstances. That's what partners are for, right?”

“I know, I know, but...” Risu’s breath hitches. “Fuck, Aikawa… I don't want to lose you.”

He feels Aikawa still against him, his comforting hands now rigid. His sudden hesitation makes Risu start to panic, a nervous energy rising in his throat when Aikawa pulls away. Risu’s eyes are wide and fearful, but his partner’s gaze is soft. Aikawa raises his hands to cup Risu’s face, wiping away a smear of blood on his cheek.

“Risu… I'm not going anywhere.” Aikawa’s voice is low and quiet, but the sound of his name from his partner’s lips echoes in Risu’s head. His heart is beating loudly and he can hear his blood rushing in his ears and then Aikawa is kissing him. His mouth is warm and surprisingly soft; Risu practically melts into his touch, leaning in closer with his hands on Aikawa’s chest. Aikawa’s back hits the brick wall and he grips Risu's waist, pulling his body against his own.

Aikawa must have gotten a hit to the face, because Risu tastes iron on his tongue. But he really can't bring himself to care when Aikawa’s hands tighten on his hips and his teeth scrape Risu’s lip. Something about the fight has stirred up an unfamiliar sense of desperation, and Risu feels as though every touch, every moment could be their last. His heart is racing in his chest and he presses a kiss to wherever his lips meet, peppering Aikawa’s face with near-frantic affection. He must have sensed Risu’s nervous energy because Aikawa grips his shoulders and switches their positions. Risu wants to touch him more but the look on Aikawa’s face makes him pause. His pupils are blown wide, a blush painting his cheeks. Risu wouldn't dare say it out loud but he looks cute. There's almost a whine to Aikawa’s voice when we speaks.

“Risu, I'm here. You're not going to lose me... and I'm sure as hell not going to lose you.” His face softens and he repeats, quieter: “I'm here.”

Aikawa presses his forehead against Risu’s, raising a hand to slide to the back of his neck. He lets out a shaky sigh and closes his eyes. There’s a terrible part of Risu’s mind that tells him that he has no real reason to trust in Aikawa’s words; in truth, he knows next to nothing about his partner. And yet, he finds himself comforted. He’s still a bit shaken and anxious but he drowns his worries in Aikawa’s touch, Aikawa’s promises. He leans against his partner, his arms limp at his sides.

“Then stay with me.”

His voice comes out at almost a whisper but he knows Aikawa hears him. “You know I have room for you in my apartment.” He reaches up and grips Aikawa’s sleeves, still not looking him in the eyes. “You don’t have to keep me at a distance.”

“Risu-”

“Yes, I know.” Risu cuts him off, pulling back to face him properly. “You have your own schedule and your own jobs to do. But please… at least stay the night every once in a while. I think it’s the waiting -- waiting to see you again, safe and sound -- that might be the worst feeling in the world.”

He isn't entirely sure in the low light but Risu swears he sees a split second of guilt flash across Aikawa’s features. Aikawa sighs again and slowly slides his hands to hold Risu’s face. He has to stand on his toes but he reaches up and presses a soft kiss to Risu’s forehead.

“Alright.” He says quietly, his breath brushing Risu’s skin. “I can do that.”