When Sawamura Daichi had joined the military as a young man, jumping at the chance to travel through the outer reaches of space, it ended up being nothing what he expected. He had dreams of exploring strange planets and living a life of adventure. What he received was a life of monotony with hardly any freedom to breathe. Every ship and every planetary station were built the same with plain grey walls, their uniforms made with a darker grey and space a deep abyss of black; Daichi soon forgot what colors even looked like in his monochromatic world.
He stuck with it, however, and with his exemplary service, he moved his way quickly up the chain of command. Now he had his own ship, the Zephyr, and a rambunctious crew that added just a little zest to his life. But it still wasn’t enough, and as he stared down at the monitors on the bridge he could see them heading for the one planet that gave him a taste of delicious freedom.
He wasn’t the only ship captain to have an escape. Some dabbled in drugs, others had families back on Earth, and most had their release somewhere between the vile and wholesome. Daichi wasn’t sure where his fell on the spectrum, but he liked to think it was somewhere around the middle.
“Message coming in from Command,” Ennoshita said as he swiveled in his seat toward him. “Should I patch them through, Captain?”
“Go ahead,” Daichi said as he took a deep breath and straightened his shoulders. He resisted the urge to flinch when a middle-aged man’s face flashed up on the main screen, a closer shot of him than Daichi would have cared for.
“Captain Sawamura. Everything going well with your patrol?”
“Yes, Admiral Saito,” Daichi said as he gave a bow, waiting a moment before straightening back up. “Everything was clear and calm along the Outer Reach. We’re just stopping by Axys T1 to refill on gas.”
The Admiral scrunched up his nose and sniffed.
“I cannot imagine why you’d go there voluntarily since there are other gas giants in the sector, but it’s just as well that you’re heading that way. While you’re there I need you to locate the Maelstrom and inform them that they’re running behind schedule and need to report back to headquarters immediately.”
Daichi raised an eyebrow and fought the muscles of his face to keep a smirk from slipping up.
“Of course, Admiral. I’ll make it a priority to find Captain Bokuto and remind him of the punctuality that is expected of one in command.”
A sneer rose on the Admiral’s face as he nodded.
“Excellent. Just as I expected of you, Sawamura. Carry on.”
The screen flickered to black, and Daichi rolled his eyes.
“Ass-kisser,” Suga mumbled at his console several feet from Daichi.
“What was that, Lieutenant?”
“Nothing! Of course, Captain,” Suga said as he spun around with an angelic grin pasted on his face. Daichi scowled at his second-in-command and wandered over to Ennoshita.
“Ennoshita, a little advice for when you have your own command. If you kiss a little ass, usually you get to do things your way, giving yourself an ounce of freedom. Being belligerent will take away your freedom in a snap.” Daichi leaned over and pressed the comm switch, casting a smirk over his shoulder at Suga. “Asahi meet me at the hatch in twenty. You’re coming with me once we dock.”
“Oh! Er, yes, Sir. I’ll get ready,” Asahi’s voice stammered back.
“I thought I was going with you!” Suga whined, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
“You should have thought of that before you sassed me. I’m leaving the ship to you, Lieutenant Sugawara, please don’t burn it down while I’m gone.”
“Hmph,” Suga responded as Daichi chuckled on his way off the bridge. He could feel the pressure changes against the hull as they entered the planet’s atmosphere, and already his heart was beating faster with anticipation. He made a quick stop at his quarters to pick up a few items before meeting Asahi at the hatch.
“Do I really have to go?” Asahi asked as soon as he saw Daichi, his hair completely tied up as he clutched an assault rifle to his chest.
“Yes, you do. Come on, you giant baby,” Daichi said as he clapped his friend hard on the arm. The ship rumbled under his feet as slid into place and with a final lurch, everything stopped. The light above the hatch glowed green, and he keyed in the code next to the doors to spring them open. He stepped into the dingy terminal without hesitation, glancing out the dusty windows at the barren atmosphere outside the station.
“Is that blood?” Asahi asked with a tremor in his voice, and Daichi paused to gaze at the splatter across one of the windows.
“Yeah, but it looks old. Let’s go.”
As they wandered from the terminal into the main station, Daichi’s inhaled the scent of fumes mixed with the aroma of fish smuggled in from Earth, frying in vats of oil, all the smells edged with the tang of metal burning.
“Ah, it’s good to be back,” Daichi said, nudging Asahi playfully as he trotted into the crowd. There were many places in the galaxy that snubbed their noses at anyone wearing a uniform, but the only soldiers who ventured out this far were tolerated since they turned a blind eye to any illegal activities. More than that, they usually participated themselves and were welcomed by the locals with the fresh coin they brought with them.
Daichi passed by the food stalls with a little reluctance. As good as they smelled, there was something he was even hungrier for. Swerving through the maze of bounty hunters, drug dealers, and the usual dredge of society, he heard distant cheers and boos from a warehouse just around the corner.
Well, it used to be a warehouse, but after a shootout there several years ago, the area had been reappropriated into something far more exciting. Daichi nodded to the two bouncers at the door, who eyed Asahi’s rifle but waved them in anyway. He must have looked like a little boy running into a candy store, but Daichi didn’t care as he rushed in and headed straight for the middle where a large metal cage stood, surrounded by a crowd shouting and exchanging money.
Daichi craned his neck to see who was inside, but he mentally cursed his height that didn’t allow him to see anything. He stopped dead in his tracks as a body was hurled into the air before the hands gripping the man’s shirt slammed him back into the concrete beneath their feet. Everyone cheered, even those that had lost money on the fight which usually meant there was blood as a result.
“Captain Sawamura!” An urgent voice called, and he jerked his head around to see Akaashi Keiji rushing toward him looking miserable and disheveled in his uniform.
“Hey, are you alright?”
“Yes, will you please get Bokuto-san out of here? He’s been fighting for three straight hours and he refuses to budge. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say he was waiting for someone,” He added, narrowing his eyes slightly at Daichi.
“Ah, yeah, I’ll take care of it,” Daichi chuckled, feeling his face grow hot. “You look like you could use a drink. Asahi, why don’t you go with him and enjoy yourselves?”
“We’re on duty!”
“Go on, I’m your Captain, aren’t I? Oh, and when you’re done you can go back to the ship to relieve Suga. I know he’s chomping at the bit to get out here. The crew can take a little shore leave tonight since we’ll be here until morning.”
Akaashi groaned and turned to Asahi.
“That means we’ll be here until tomorrow as well. Come on, Azumane-san. I really could use that drink.”
Daichi watched them walk away together with sour looks on their faces and then turned back to the cage. Some of the crowd had dissipated a little bit so he could see inside the cage as a couple guys dragged an unconscious body through the chicken-wire door. Daichi’s breath caught as a figure lumbered behind them, pausing inside the door to lean against it.
His dark grey jacket was hanging open, his white undershirt covered in grease and blood stains with a hole slashed diagonally across it. The black and white spikes on his head were looking a little limp as he gazed around with a bored expression until his golden eyes locked onto Daichi. Slowly a maniacal grin spread across his lips as he raised a cigarette to his lips, took a long drag and blew a plume of smoke into the already hazy air.
“Sawamura! It’s about time you get your sweet ass over here.”
Daichi answered by giving him his most intimidating glare and began walking toward him in silence. The crowd grew quiet as their heads turned back and forth between them, sensing some new entertainment about to begin. Bokuto’s grin stretched even wider as his eyes ate up every inch of Daichi. Keeping his expression neutral was difficult under the hungry gaze, but Daichi was just able to manage as heat pulsed in his veins.
He didn’t stop until he was right in front of Bokuto, angling his face up with a smirk of his own. His eyes fell to where the cigarette was dangling from Bokuto’s grinning lips, and he lifted his hand to grip it with two fingers and pulled it free.
“These things are gonna kill you, you know,” Daichi said as he put the cigarette in his mouth and inhaled, making sure his lips puckered over it seductively. It seemed to work as Bokuto leaned further down with his eyes smoldering.
“In the scheme of things, you think that’s what’s going to kill me?”
“Nah, I’m pretty sure you’re much more likely to be murdered by Akaashi.”
Bokuto threw his head back and let out a cackling laugh, and Daichi enjoyed the view of his thick neck and the sweat curling down it.
“Yeah, you’re probably right about that. So, what do you say, Sawamura? Ready to show these slugs how real men fight?”
A few cheers and chants fluttered about the crowd, and Bokuto wiggled his eyebrows up and down to egg him on. Daichi laughed and bit his lip as he considered it.
“Hmm, it’s tempting, but there really isn’t much time. I could kick your ass right here and now, or…” He said in a low tone as he slowly ran his fingers down Bokuto’s chest and grabbed onto his waistband, jerking him forward, “We can go somewhere more private to pummel each other senseless.”
Bokuto’s body gave a little shiver of anticipation, and he blew out a long breath as he ran a hand through his wilting hair.
“Shit… that’s not an easy choice. I’ve been waiting for months to meet you here and get you in this cage.”
“Oh, I see. I guess this guy hasn’t been as lonely as I thought,” Daichi said with a pout as his fingers slid further down the front of Bokuto’s pants, holding back a laugh as several people whistled around them. Bokuto sucked in a quick breath and braced himself against the cage, his frustration showing on his face. Suddenly, the frustration was gone as Bokuto glanced at him hopefully and leaned forward by his ear.
“How about five minutes? Think of it as foreplay,” He teased as he flicked his tongue against Daichi’s ear. With a growl, Daichi shoved him back into the cage and began slipping off his jacket as cheers thundered throughout the warehouse.
“Five minutes, and I’ll have you flat on your back.”
Bokuto laughed as he began weaving around the circle with fresh energy.
“Five minutes, and I’ll have you pinned with your ass in the air, Sawamura,” He retorted, biting his bottom lip for effect.
Daichi grinned as he slammed the wire door behind him. Trapped in a cage in the ass crack of the universe with a chorus of hoots and cheers, Daichi savored his own drug of choice. His fingers itched to grip into Bokuto’s muscular back. He craved to hear rough, shuddering breaths in his ear as heat shoved its way inside of him. He wanted to drown in Bokuto’s golden eyes, relishing the only color in his life that the military hadn’t dampened yet. They could pry it from his cold, dead hands.