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The day had been long and hard, and Tidus was exhausted. He was too exhausted to even really care that they'd won the game, though the win was a particularly important one, as it decided their place in the championship tournament later on.

"I'm back," he called out half-heartedly as he let himself in, not expecting a reply. Nor did he get one. He shrugged to himself, and headed upstairs, assuming he'd find Auron in his room. Even though technically Auron was no longer Tidus' guardian, and hadn't been since Tidus had turned seventeen three months ago, they still lived together. The reason why was a no-brainer, really. They were sleeping together.

Okay, so there was more to it than that. Auron loved him, he knew, though the man had never said so in words. And Tidus still needed Auron to be near, though he would never admit that. But he needed Auron to be there for him, to comfort him when he was upset or scared or sad, and to reassure him that he wasn't alone, and to stay for as long as Tidus wanted or needed him to. Auron had promised Tidus he wouldn't "let go", and most of the time, it was enough.

He smiled slightly, remembering Auron's roughly spoken "I won't". But the smile quickly dropped off his face as he stopped short in Auron's doorway, taking in the empty room.

Okay, so where the hell was Auron? He hadn't said anything about going out anywhere tonight... "Auron?" he called tentatively, raising his voice loud enough to be heard throughout the houseboat. There was no answer.

Panic started to rise up in him. He choked it down, ignoring it for the time being. There was probably a perfectly reasonable explanation for Auron's absence. No sense in getting all worked up about it. Still, he couldn't help the niggling worry in the back of his mind that said Auron had left him, that the thing he'd feared had finally happened.

"No! He hasn't left!" Tidus growled out loud, angered at himself. Shaking his head, he headed back downstairs to go rest on the couch and wait for Auron's return.

* * *

The quiet latch of the lock as the door slipped shut roused Tidus from his dream. He sat up with a start, looking about the dark room sleepily, trying to figure out what was going on. Where was he? ...Oh, the couch. Right.. He started to remember as he came slowly awake, wondering when he'd fallen asleep. He hadn't meant to.

"Auron?" he asked softly, spotting a dark shape standing just beyond the doorway of the room. The dark shape moved across the room, and there was a click of a light switch turning on, revealing that it was, indeed, Auron standing there.

Tidus smiled, relieved to see him, but there was something--warning bells started going off in his head. Something wasn't right about Auron, though he didn't know what. "Auron?" he asked again, uncertainly. "...Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Auron grunted, but his voice was rough and unsteady. He sounded like he was in pain. He turned away from the blond and started to head off upstairs, but Tidus jumped up off the couch after him, reaching out and grasping his wrist, holding him back.

"You're hurt," Tidus said grimly. Auron tensed, but merely shook his head and calmly freed himself of Tidus' hand. Tidus angrily grabbed it back, upset by Auron's steadfast stubbornness in such matters.

"Let go of me." The command was almost hissed, the tone of his voice a warning to any ordinary person—but Tidus wasn't ordinary.

"No way. You're hurt, Auron. What happened?"

"It's nothing," Auron said gruffly, practically yanking his arm back this time and once more attempting to leave the room.

Tidus stared after him a moment before chasing him. "Goddamn stubborn self-centered idiot—" he fumed openly at the older man. Normally this would have elicited a low chuckle, or at least a smile, from Auron, but the man remained silent, body still tense. "Why can't you just accept someone else's help for once?!"

Auron sighed, the sigh that always signified his giving in, however reluctantly. Relieved, Tidus followed him upstairs and helped the man out of his kimono, sucking in a quick breath when he saw the deep slash on his chest that ran almost parallel to the scar already there. "Geeze Auron, what the hell happened?"

"Fiend," Auron said shortly, not willing to elaborate. Tidus didn't push, satisfied just to be getting this much out of Auron. He could always get the rest later. Instead, he just did what he could to help Auron, getting him a potion, helping clean and bandage the wound. Auron winced a few times, but gave no other indication that he was in pain.

He watched from the doorway of the small adjacent bathroom as Auron went into the bedroom once they'd finished, shedding the last of his clothes and climbing into the bed. "Are you just going to stand there staring all night?" Auron asked dryly, finally sounding a bit more like himself.

Tidus felt a light blush stain his cheeks, but he managed to grin cheekily at Auron. "Just admiring the view."

Auron snorted, amused. "It's a lot better from where I'm at."

"That so, huh?" Tidus asked teasingly, relieved that Auron was opening back up again. He hated it when Auron closed himself off, putting emotional distance between them. He knew Auron only did it so he wouldn't worry Tidus, but he still never seemed to understand that it only worried Tidus more. He went over to Auron, removing his own clothes and getting in next to Auron, not caring whether Auron wanted him there or not. "Well, now the view's perfect," he said to Auron softly.

He reached out a finger and gently stroked the length of the bandages around his chest. "You should be more careful."

Auron didn't say anything, but Tidus could feel his body stiffening under the touch, not from discomfort this time but from want. So he did it again, as lightly as before, grinning as he noticed Auron's growing hardness.

Auron let out a low growl from deep in his throat that never failed to turn Tidus on; and then he was on top of the blond, assaulting his lips fervently, almost bruising them in his force. Tidus groaned as he kissed him back, falling back on to the pillow, wrapping his arms around Auron's neck and pulling him down with him.

Auron went without resistance, shifting and positioning himself so that his entire body was hovering above Tidus', hands flat on the bed on either side of Tidus, bracing, holding his weight so that he wouldn't squish the teenager beneath him.

Tidus nibbled against Auron's lower lip, his tongue pressing lightly, seeking entrance. Auron parted his own lips, letting Tidus in, tongue running over his teeth, exploring the familiar territory of his mouth once more. He trailed his hands lightly down Auron's spine, a soft feathery almost non-existent touch that caused Auron to shudder and bury his head into the crook of Tidus' shoulder, breathing going unsteady.

Auron carefully shifted his weight to his right shoulder and put his left hand on Tidus' chest in retaliation, running his hands over a tan nipple, teasing the oversensitized flesh. Tidus gasped at his ministrations, involuntarily thrusting his hips upward. The movement caused his cock to brush against Auron's, and he moaned. "Auron..."

Auron just laughed, though his own breath had hitched in his throat as their cocks came in contact. He left off bruising Tidus' lips to move further down his body, mouth taking in a now-hardened nipple, tongue flicking against it lightly. Tidus moaned again, and his fingers dug down hard into Auron's back, leaving little nail marks that would still be there in the morning.

He couldn't help arching his body upwards again, seeking contact, needing to feel Auron's cock against his own, enjoying it, savouring it. Apparently Auron enjoyed it just as much as he did, because he heard the other man let out a small moan, which Tidus always considered a small victory.

He gave a helpless whimper as Auron's mouth closed over his once more while his hand tightened roughly over his nipple again, squeezing as hard as he dared. After six months of sleeping together, learning each other, Auron knew just how to turn Tidus on, to arouse him to the point where he felt he'd explode.

Still, two could play at that. He knew all Auron's weaknesses too, and took full pleasure in ruthlessly exploiting them.

Loosing his hold on Auron, he reached with one hand, grasping Auron's hot hardness, running his hand roughly up and down its length a few times before relaxing his grip, choosing to lightly caress the man's cock instead, grinning as he felt Auron shudder all over above him. Auron groaned into his mouth, reaching his own hand down to close over Tidus', whether to stop him or to help him, neither was sure.

Taking small mercy on him, Tidus stroked Auron's cock hard a few more times, the way he knew Auron liked it most. Auron didn't make any more noises, but Tidus could hear him draw in a ragged breath, trying hard to maintain his iron control.

His hands left the man's cock then, tracing their way back up the length of Auron's chest and along his face, stilling on the dark glasses still on Auron's face. Asking permission.

Auron hesitated, and then to Tidus' surprise he nodded, ever so slightly. Tidus simply smiled softly, and pulled his glasses off slowly, carefully, setting them on the small table next to the bed. He gently traced the scar that had permanently closed Auron's eye.

Auron flinched, swallowing hard, but he kept his amber gaze focused solemnly on Tidus' sparkling blue eyes, amazed as always at the easy acceptance he saw there. To Tidus the scar was simply another part of Auron. To Auron it was a disfigurement, a physical representation of all his flaws, an ugly reminder of his mistakes—including the one that cost him his life.

Tidus put his fingers to his lips, kissing them, then touched the scar again, pressing lightly. "I love you," he said fiercely; the first time he'd ever dared say it out loud to Auron.

Auron exhaled heavily and sat back, not used to such sentiments and a bit frightened by the intensity with which they were spoken. He stared down at the blond beneath him, not sure what he was expected to say back. "Tidus—"

Tidus smiled at him again, a beautiful smile that lit up the room and took Auron's breath away. "Don't," he whispered. "You don't have to say anything. Just stay with me. Don't let go."

"I won't," Auron said, voice husky as he reiterated his promise of six months ago. He leaned back down to kiss Tidus again, more desperately fierce this time, the words having changed the intensity of their love-making.

He started to nudge Tidus' thighs apart with his knees, but Tidus stopped him, and he sat back up again, concerned something was wrong. However, Tidus only said, "Not this way. I don't want to hurt you," as he reached up to touch the bandages, as if to remind Auron of his wound.

Tidus re-positioned himself on the bed until he was on his knees, hands braced against the headboard, ass in the air. One of Auron's hands was pressed tight on his hips, the skin feeling good against his own flushed and overheated skin.

Then one of Auron's now-lubricated fingers was slipping easily inside him, slick and considerably cooler than his own warm passage. He groaned, rocking back slightly, wanting Auron's finger deeper, trying to get him to hit that spot within that felt so damned good.

Auron added two more fingers at once, going deeper, at last hitting that spot, sending waves of pleasure radiating out through Tidus' body, causing the blond to writhe and moan against Auron, gasping the man's name as Auron stroked his fingers a few time, continuing to hit that same spot.

It was all he could do not to whimper in disappointment when Auron's fingers slowly left him, but that disappointment was quickly forgotten as he felt the head of Auron's hard cock against his entrance, just lightly brushing it. "Ready?" Auron breathed into his ear, the hot breath tickling and sending a tingling sensation down the length of his spine.

"Please, let me," Tidus whispered, and felt stubble grazing his cheek as Auron nodded his consent. Tidus took a deep breath and let it out slowly, then carefully started to lower himself down the length of Auron's shaft, savouring the feel of being stretched full with Auron, letting out another whimper of pleasure that was almost a sob this time.

He kept his hands braced, lifting himself back up most of the way before slamming back down, impaling himself on Auron, Auron thrusting up to meet him on the downstroke, voice crying out in wordless ecstacy, lost in the rush of sensations and emotions that threatened to overwhelm him.

Auron's cock was slick with lube and sweat, and it slid in and out of Tidus easily as they thrust together, hard and fast and rough, urgent in need as they neared the edge. Tidus was moaning, but he could barely himself over the rush of blood in his ears and the loud pounding of his racing heartbeat.

Auron snaked his hand around Tidus' stomach and grabbed the painful hardness jutting out from between his legs, his strokes quick and sure, his rough calloused hands against the sensitive flesh only adding to Tidus' excitement.

His entire body was shaking just then, quivering as he struggled to hold out for as long as he could, wanting it to last forever, forever—

A particularly hard, forceful thrust from Auron, going deep. Tidus let out a loud cry as orgasm overtook him, gasping out Auron's name as the older man gave him one last stroke, seed spilling out into Auron's hand, some of splashing against his stomach and legs. His muscles clamped down tight on Auron, causing Auron to come as well, for once unable to hold back his cry in the grip of powerful orgasm. His hands gripped Tidus' hips tighter, pulling the boy closer against him as they rode through the aftershocks, breaths harsh and ragged-sounding.

At last Auron pulled out of Tidus, releasing his hold on him. Tidus promptly collapsed against the blankets, limp and exhausted, but happily satiated. Auron lay close next to him, their shoulders touching, neither wanting even the slightest complete separation of bodies.

But for Tidus, it wasn't enough. He turned on his side, facing Auron, and snuggled up closer to him, burying his blond head in the hollow space between Auron's neck and shoulder, careful not to press up too tightly against Auron's injury. He smiled when he felt Auron move to wrap his arms around him, embracing him.

"Uh, Tidus," Auron whispered hesitantly. "I..."

He knew what it was that Auron wanted to say, was trying to say for his sake. His smile widened, and he lifted his head a bit to press a soft kiss against the man's cheek.

"Auron," he whispered back. "Like I said before: don't."

So Auron didn't.