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Inexplicable Comfort

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      Being a reaper was tedious. Roppi wondered if there had ever been a time where he didn’t feel utterly exhausted by his profession, by his very existence and purpose. He sighed from his perch atop a high rise as he watched Izaya; who in turn was watching Shizuo as the blonde took a light lunch down in the park.

      “Hmmm, maybe if I actually liked humans…” Roppi mumbled bitterly, “like that fool down there.” Rather than finish his thought, he picked up his scythe, got up on his feet, and went on his way. He took bounding leaps across the tops of buildings as easily as if he were walking along the sidewalk down below, thoughts speeding through his mind as he wandered aimlessly.

      “Humans really are such vile creatures.” Roppi thought aloud. He couldn’t stand them. Even more to the point, Roppi couldn’t stand the very thing that made them so complex- emotions. They were so incredibly useless, and the biggest reason Roppi resented reaping so much. To spend his eternity observing the convoluted mess of a melodrama that was humanity- it seemed far too reminiscent of Sisyphus. Roppi often wondered what he had done to warrant this eternal form of torture.

      With a disgruntled groan, the reluctant reaper stopped to orient himself. He was a little surprised to see that he’d made it as far as the Red Brick Warehouses in Yokohama’s Minato Mirai 21 District. He’d been so lost in his musings that he’d not paid any heed to his speed or direction. Roppi laid down his scythe and crouched to watch the water from the top of the last warehouse in the row. “Disgusting.” He spat out the word like a bitter taste in his mouth, not entirely sure if it was directed at humans or himself.

      There was only one thing that Orihara Hachimenroppi hated more than humanity- himself. As desperately as he tried to remain devoid of feeling, he was constantly disappointed to find he couldn’t escape the reality of emotions. Even his disgust and disappointment were only further proof that he couldn’t distance himself from the same feelings that he so despised in the humans he reaped. The fact of it all filled him the urge to rip himself to shreds.

      “If only that worked.” He laughed mirthlessly as he ran his fingertips along the raised ridges of scar tissue making criss cross patterns across his wrist. He hugged his knees up to his chest and glared angrily out at the water, finding no comfort in the tranquility of the picturesque landscape as the white noise in his head grew louder and louder. Soon enough, Roppi was holding his hands over his ears, as if that could really silence the deafening roar of chaos in his head.

      Suddenly, Roppi was forcing his eyes open and jumping to his feet. He bent back down for his scythe and headed back the way he’d come. There was only one way to stop this torment, even if only for a little while. He moved with purpose this time, only one thought in his mind- a searing, engulfing desire.

      “I need to see Tsuki.” He told himself as he sped along. Heiwajima Tsukishima- a human, but different. The only human in the swirling sea of humanity that Roppi didn’t hate, the one Roppi secretly thought of as his.

~~~

      “R-roppi? What are you doing here?” Tsukishima asked as he appeared at the top of the stairs and walked up, pulling his keys out of his pocket.

      “I just needed to see you.” Roppi admitted with a weak smile as he picked himself off the ground. He moved aside to let Tsukishima unlock the door to his apartment and watched as the endearingly predictable blush bloomed on the blonde’s cheeks.

     Tsukishima adjusted his glasses and pushed the door open, gesturing for Roppi to walk in ahead. “Where’s your scythe?”

      “Hmmmm, put it away.” Roppi shrugged as he slipped out of his shoes and lined them up by the door.

      Pushing the door shut carefully with his foot, Tsukishima unwound the scarf from around his neck and hung it on the coat hook. “Would you like some tea, Roppi? Or probably coffee, right?” He slipped off his shoes and put them neatly next to his guest’s. “Though, I think some chamomile tea might be better for you. You seem upset.”

      Roppi couldn’t stop the soft, rosy pink spreading across his own cheeks as he regarded his host for a moment. ‘Tsuki is always so kind,’ he thought, ‘always trying to help.’ He fidgeted with the fur cuff of his jacket sleeve. “Ummm, I’ll stick with coffee, Tsuki.” He turned to head over to the couch. “Thanks.” He threw shyly over his shoulder before plopping down onto his friend’s luxuriously overstuffed couch.

      ‘Friend?’ He asked himself as he watched Tsukishima getting their drinks together. It struck him, and certainly not for the first time, how odd it all was. Truly, he despised humans. All of them, with a blinding passion. All of them, that was… except the awkward loner currently putting some coffee on to brew. It was impossible to explain and Roppi felt he would never figure it out, but Tsukishima was just special. His face grew as red as the lacquer on his nails as he let his thoughts meander. ‘He’s more than a friend, and you know it, Orihara.’ His mind whispered. Roppi swallowed thickly at the thought and gave his cheeks a light slap, hoping to calm himself before Tsukishima noticed.

      “Here, Roppi.” Tsukishima handed him a mug and sat down beside him with a cup of tea. “Black, just how you like it.” He added with a fond smile.

      “Black.” Roppi snorted. “Like my soul?” He asked teasingly before taking a cautious first drink. As always, it was delicious. Roppi wasn’t sure if Tsukishima just knew where to find the best coffee or if it always tasted so perfect because it was Tsukishima who made it for him.

      “Ha ha, Roppi.” Tsukishima matched Roppi’s playful tone. He paused to take a long sip of his tea and set his cup down on the coffee table before continuing. “Do Reapers have souls?” He asked with an earnest curiosity as he watched his closest confidant savour his drink.

      Another moment passed and Roppi placed his mug down next to Tsukishima’s cup with a satisfied sigh. “I’m… not sure.” He answered honestly. He gave a dismissive wave and waited for his host to take another drink of tea and set his cup back down. As soon as Tsukishima had reclined back against the couch, Roppi leaned in to his side and took a furtive sniff of his special human’s homey scent. “It doesn’t matter, really, does it?” He asked rhetorically.

      Tsukishima wrapped an arm around Roppi, resting his hand rested awkwardly against the brunette’s arm, his fingers balled up into a loose fist so that the he wouldn’t forget himself and accidentally grip Roppi too tightly.

      Roppi let out an exasperated breath. “Please Tsuki.” He rubbed the side of his face up against Tsukishima imploringly. “I want to be able to feel your touch. How many times do I need to remind you? You don’t need to worry about hurting me.”

      “Uh. Sorry, Roppi. I forget.” Tsukishima sighed as he finally allowed his muscles to relax. His uncurled his fingers and hugged Roppi even closer into his chest, planting a soft kiss on the top of the reaper’s head.

      Roppi closed his eyes and focused on the sound of the other man’s heartbeat against his ear. “Babies,” he began in a sleepy purr, “like to be kept close to their mother’s breast, snuggled up next to her heartbeat. It makes them feel safe. It reminds them of being in the womb.” Roppi could feel Tsukishima’s heart beating faster as he talked. It was oddly electrifying and comforting all at once. “I’m not a human, though. I had no mother. So why should I find it just as wonderful?” He muttered against Tsukishima’s chest.

     “Well,” Tsukishima began as he threaded his fingers into Roppi’s hair and began teasing the silken strands. “From what I’ve learned, Reapers as a species are not too drastically far removed from humans. There are more similarities than there are differences, it seems to me.”

      “Don’t remind me.” Roppi huffed. His ire was extremely short lived, however, as he could never last long against the comfort of the awkward, gentle soul currently stroking his hair as if Roppi were something precious. Before the reaper’s mind could catch up with his body, he was wrapping his arms around Tsuki in an affectionate embrace and whispering against him. “Why are you so different? Why do I like you so much?”

      Roppi knew Tsukishima was blushing, and likely grimacing in embarrassment, by the way the blonde’s fingers stopped and very nearly slipped out of his hair entirely. A chuckle leapt up from the brunette’s throat and he smiled when he felt Tsukishima’s body relax again and his fingers ease back into stroking Roppi’s hair tenderly.

      “Ummm… I-I don’t know Roppi,” Tsukishima stammered, “but I’m glad. I… that is to say… ummm.” Tsukishima stopped playing with Roppi’s hair and carefully tilted the brunette's head upwards so they could look at each other. Taking the hint, Roppi shifted so that he straddled Tsukishima’s lap and looked down into the kind, adorably nervous features of the blonde's face. “I like you a lot too, you know.” Tsukishima offered a shy smile before pulling Roppi down for a soft, soothing kiss.

      How funny it seemed to Roppi that in the end, it was only this one human that could bring a peaceful stillness to the raging waters of his mind. 'This is all I needed.' He thought as he deepened the kiss. 'Tsuki is always all I need.'