He likes you. Sonia’s gentle, teasing lilt echoes in his mind, and he can still almost feel the ghost of her playful punch against his arm. It was said with no real warning, so casual and it took all of the breath out of Leon’s lungs in an instant. Only fourteen, skilled in battles ( he's been the unbeatable Champion for four years now, after all ) but very much not skilled in things like romance. But he thinks about the weird flutter in his gut when he sees Raihan, thinks of Raihan, like a million Butterfree are dancing about in his stomach.
It’s nothing, he tries to tell himself. Just a fleeting crush that will go away soon-- or, that’s what he’s been trying to tell himself for the past four years. Every time he thinks he’s about to get over it, Raihan pops up again and he falls a little bit more. Like now, as he sits on a stone wall watching his five-year-old brother chase around Wooloo, ever-vigilant, because Hop is so excitable and not very cautious, shown by the numerous Hello Skitty bandages on his knees. And Leon is supposed to be focused on babysitting, but Raihan had decided to swing by on the back of his Flygon at the most inopportune time and now sits beside him on the wall. Close, too close.
He’s warm. Leon tries not to lean into that warmth.
Raihan’s just one year older than him, but even sitting Leon still has to tilt his chin up to get a real proper look at him. The other still hasn’t completed his growing, but he’s already as tall as a tree. Leon is a little jealous since he hasn’t grown an inch since his one growth spurt at twelve.
“Hey, Leon,” Raihan says, snapping Leon out of his thoughts. “You keep staring at me. Try watching your brother instead.”
His face feels hot. “I wasn’t--”
“Hey, don’t try to argue, anyone could see it! I don’t blame you anyway.” Raihan pats Leon’s knee and the touch feels electric. He knows what Raihan’s hand feels like on him already due to past circumstances ( like when Raihan drags Leon off to the next destination after he’s taken off in the entirely opposite direction, with Sonia telling him he should really make use of the maps function on his phone; or like when he had to pull Raihan out of the way of a rampaging Dubwool that one time ), but never in casual settings like this. “Who wouldn’t stare?”
“You should try modesty sometime,” Leon huffs, pulling his leg away, which prompts Raihan to laugh.
“Okay, mister big bad and unbeatable. Like you don’t flaunt yourself all the time on and off the field.” Raihan moves his hand to pluck Leon’s cap right off his head so he can ruffle the soft hair beneath. Leon lets him, but not without rolling his eyes and wrinkling his nose.
“I’m the Champion. I have to.”
“Uh-huh.” Raihan swings his legs. His fingers are gliding easily through Leon’s hair, the touch is soothing and he finds himself tilting his head into it, but forces himself to stop. Instead, he tries to focus really hard on watching Hop play like he’s supposed to be doing. The boy has his back to them, crouched down and in apparent deep conversation with his Wooloo. Raihan speaks again with zero prompting, “You get embarrassed so easily, though.”
“No, I don’t.” He does.
“You do.” Then Raihan is turning at the waist, planting one hand on the wall to keep him steady ( while keeping a hold on Leon’s cap between his index and middle fingers ) and using the other to touch Leon’s cheek and turn his head so their eyes can meet. “I wanna see you blush more.”
Leon doesn’t fight it, but his eyes are as wide as dinner plates when Raihan begins to lean further in. Close, close, closer, coaxing Leon to meet him halfway.
He knows what’s going on, he’s seen enough movies to tell, but he’s never done it before himself and never expected it to be with someone he considered one of his closest friends-- and his rival. “You can try,” he manages to splutter.
And it’s as much of a green light as Raihan will get. He closes the gap between them.
Admittedly, he thought his first kiss would be a little more romantic and a lot less clumsy than it is, but he finds solace in the fact that Raihan is clearly as inexperienced as he is. Neither of them really know where to put their hands, or how to move their lips, and Raihan’s fangs keep nearly pricking the soft skin of Leon’s bottom lip. But sparks fly, and Leon’s body feels warm. They break apart, stare at each other for a long moment, and Leon is the one who closes the space between them this time.
It’s better the second time around, less like their faces are awkwardly squished together, their heads tilted at just the right angle. Raihan has his hand on Leon’s waist now, while Leon is holding onto Raihan’s shoulders. He almost forgets they’re doing this out in the open where anyone could see, and if anyone saw it would turn into region-wide news, but that worry is pretty low on his list right now.
Raihan’s lips are soft, Leon thinks he can taste sweet berries on his tongue, evidence of recent snacking. He sighs into the kiss, tries to lean in further because he really doesn’t want it to end just yet. Distantly, he’s aware that Raihan’s dropped his hat so he can use both hands to hold his waist. And he--
The kiss breaks instantly and both of them turn their heads to the source of the voice, finding Hop looking up at them with wide eyes. He points, yelling, “You two kiss! I’m gonna tell mum!”
Hop whips around and bolts back in the direction of their house as fast as his little legs can take him -- which is… surprisingly fast -- with Wooloo rolling right behind him. Leon pulls back from Raihan, ears red, and leaps off of the wall to chase down his little brother. He’ll come back for his discarded cap later.
Behind him, he can hear the sound of Raihan’s laughter.
Maybe he's a little frustrated, and maybe it shows in how he battles. It's not an official battle between the two, just training, but Leon finds himself taking it a bit too seriously.
Because when he looks at Raihan he's reminded of all the things he feels, all the things he's too damn scared to say because of the risk of ruining everything, ruining their friendly rivalry and the decade of friendship they've shared. Risking being rejected. Risking his heart being broken, because he doesn't know much about romance and relationships but knows that he's fallen a little too hard. His fall really began the first and only time they shared a kiss as inexperienced teens, six years prior. Sometimes, he still dreams about it, but in those dreams they're both adults now.
So, yeah, he's a little angry-- at himself, at Raihan being so damn hard to read sometimes because in Leon's eyes he treats everyone with the same friendliness. His heart tells him there is a different intensity in his eyes around Leon, but his brain tries to tell him he's just imagining it.
He hates how the color of the sky on a clear day reminds him of Raihan's eyes, he hates Raihan's stupid, cute smile, how his canines are sharper than normal, adding to his charm and his image as a Dragon-type specialist. He hates how his loud laugh makes his heart flutter, and how warm his skin is whenever it brushes Leon's own.
"Are you okay?" He hears Raihan call over the raging of the small sandstorm whipped up by his Flygon. Leon squints, lifts his hand to shield his eyes. "You're off your game today. Distracted?"
"I'm fine," Leon replies, choosing instead to focus on his Dragapult and Rhyperior rather than how Raihan's eyes glow through the storm, piercing right into him.
"You're not." Suddenly, the storm comes to a halt and sand drops to the ground. Leon inwardly grimaces. "You can't lie to me that easily, y'know. How long have we known each other?"
Raihan calls back his Torkoal and Flygon, while Leon calls back his own Pokémon. Then the gym leader is crossing the small field with easy strides, his long legs making him close the distance faster.
"I don't want to battle you if you're distracted. My victory wouldn't feel earned. So…" Raihan slips his hands into the pockets of his jacket and leans forward. "What's up? You can tell me anything."
Ugh, he wants Raihan to just… drop it. To stop talking. Because he's getting so close to his heart it's making Leon nervous and Leon thinks he might say something stupid if this keeps going. No big deal, I've just had a crush on you since I was ten. Been in love with you since I was fourteen. How would Raihan even react to that? Yeesh, Leon is just as bad at navigating his feelings as he is navigating a city.
Leon inhales, opens his mouth, then closes it again. He turns on his heel, aiming to leave the pitch without saying another word. Since when did he ever run away from anything? It feels a little humiliating, but he’s not really sure what to do.
Be honest and communicate, yeah, sure, but when has that ever been easy? Maybe the unbeatable Champion will run away from something for once.
Unsurprisingly, Raihan is hot on his heels all the way into the locker room. He doesn’t say anything, neither of them do, it’s nothing but silence as Leon shrugs off his cape and grabs his water bottle, popping the cap open and downing a good half of it. When he turns his head, lips still to the mouth of the bottle, he finds Raihan sitting on one of the benches, staring intently at him.
“What?” Leon says, pulling the bottle away from him and clicking the cap shut. He sets it on the edge of a bench.
“You know ‘what’,” Raihan shoots back, leaning forward, his elbows resting on his legs and hands hanging between his knees. “Look, I’m- I’m not gonna force you to say anything. But…”
One hand lifts and Raihan rubs the back of his neck. “I just couldn’t sit around and do nothing if you feel bad. You can talk to me.”
“I’m fine,” Leon says again, hastily, with a spark of something akin to anger that almost no one has ever witnessed before. It clearly startles Raihan, who sits up straighter than before, brows shooting up. Leon takes a deep breath in through his nose, and out through his mouth, counting to ten until he’s felt that uncharacteristic anger die down. It’s not like he’s angry at Raihan - well, he is, sort of, but it’s nothing that’s really Raihan’s fault and more of a byproduct of his irritation at himself. It’s replaced by guilt, because Raihan didn’t deserve to be at the receiving end of his negativity. He looks away, nearly reaches up to grab his cap and use it to hide his face - a force of habit. “Sorry.”
Raihan is standing up now and Leon doesn’t even move as he approaches him. He tips his chin up to properly look at the gym leader in the face, and the look on Raihan’s face is inscrutable. All Leon can tell is that he’s thinking, because he’s just like that. Always thinking, everything much more meticulously planned than a lot of people realize, whereas Leon was the more reckless of the two.
When he speaks, his voice is soft, so soft that it makes Leon’s heart ache, “You don’t have to lie.”
“I’m not,” but he can’t even convince himself of that, it’s clear in the tremble in his voice. Raihan tilts his head, brow raising. “I’m-- ugh.”
It's now or never, he supposes. If he bottles it up any longer he might just explode, and it takes him a few moments to force himself to be at peace with the fact Raihan could very well just turn him down. He’s risking a lot here.
Breathe in, one, two, three; breathe out, one, two, three.
"It's because I-" Leon's voice is weak and hoarse. He ducks his head down, his curtain of hair framing his face, hiding it. "I think- I think I'm in love with you, that’s all.”
"You know, I'm not too good with my feelings, or knowing what other people are feeling," Leon continues. He feels oddly weak and small then, not befitting of the famous, unbeatable Champion of Galar. "I just want to know how you feel, and if I should just get over it."
Raihan is staring at him with some sort of dumb shock written across his face. He opens his mouth like he's prepared to say something, then closes it again. The silence is unbearable, Leon wishes he would say something, anything, because the anxiety and ill feeling in his gut is growing to be too much to handle.
"Leon…" Raihan finally manages. There is a hand touching his arm suddenly, feather-light. "You're hopeless."
"Huh?" That… was definitely not the response he was anticipating.
"I've been flirting with you for years."
What? What? What?
"Really?" Leon's brain is scrambling to make sense of it all, to put the pieces together, to remember everything from the past few years and… when he thinks about it, in hindsight, all the signs were there. Has he always been that oblivious? "You have?"
"Did you think I just kissed you for fun?" Raihan's hand is moving up to Leon's shoulder now, still light enough that Leon can pull away if he wants to. He doesn't. "If you hadn't of run off, I wanted to ask you out."
"What?” The gears are turning, definitely, but Leon isn't quite catching up.
"I'm saying …" Raihan begins, then he beams so bright, bright as the sun. "That I love you, too, you big goof."
Oh, jeez. "Oh." Leon doesn't know how to respond, he didn't think he'd ever get this far. Honestly, he expected Raihan to turn him down and insist that the only thing between them was close friendship and friendly rivalry. "Cool."
"Just cool?" Raihan laughs, but there is an embarrassed edge to his voice and Leon wonders if he touched the leader's face, would the skin be hot? "What, Meowth got your tongue?"
Leon decides to just act on his impulse and reach up, his hands smoothing out over Raihan's cheeks to find that they're very warm, and there is a mix of shock and excitement in those bright blue eyes. The skin is so soft, smooth, which isn't surprising given the amount of time Raihan dedicates to looking good. Is it soft everywhere else, too? He doesn't say anything until Raihan speaks again, "Leon?"
It snaps Leon out of his trance. He splutters, yanking his arms back. "Sorry! Not sure what I-"
There are hands around his wrists before he can completely pull them back, the touch loose and careful. Raihan is staring at him with a determined intensity brewing in his gaze, towering over him, his brows furrowed.
"Hey," Raihan mumbles, and he suddenly looks a little unsure. A little nervous. "Since everything is out there now…"
"Can I kiss you? I really want to."
Leon's blush spreads all the way down to his chest, hidden well beneath his clothes. But he doesn't hesitate when he says, "Please."
It's instant, Raihan moving forward, dipping his head down low to be on level with Leon's height. Those hands release his wrists, land on Leon's waist to tug him closer and Leon lets him. His chin is tipped back, he's rising up on his toes to meet Raihan halfway. The way Raihan kisses him now reminds him of the first time, less clumsy, but still tender with a surprising amount of inexperience.
With his hands free to do whatever he pleases with, they cradle Raihan's jaw. There is a hint of teeth grazing his bottom lip, obviously unintentional, but neither of them say a word about it. Too caught up in the moment, in the feeling.
His cap is knocked off at some point, landing on the floor at their feet. Raihan inhales deeply through his nose and Leon does the same, his fingers curling at the same time Raihan squeezes his waist.
They break apart, admittedly with some reluctance, and stare at each other in dumb silence until Leon manages to speak again.
"You're the only person I've ever kissed," comes the admission, and Raihan looks taken aback by that statement.
"For real?" The disbelief is clear as day. "You, the Champ, able to get anyone, have only kissed me?"
"It's true," Leon says. He scratches his cheek, looking away. "I've kind of, uh, been holding onto hope--for years--that we'd do it again."
A gentle touch to his cheek turns his face back to Raihan's.
"What if I told you it's the same for me?" Raihan tilts his head, puppy-like. "You're the only one."
"Wow. I don't believe that."
"It's true!" Raihan insists, affronted. "People always offer, but I always turn them down, 'cus they're not you."
Leon's heart is pounding in his chest, like a little bird is trying to break free of his rib cage. He doesn't know how to respond in words and acts purely on impulse, tugging Raihan back down for another kiss that's a little more sloppy, but hopefully conveys how he feels. They both laugh into it, because it's all a little silly: that pining hidden under years of good-natured rivalry and friendship outside of the stadium, that belief from both of them that the other didn't reciprocate their feelings no matter how obvious they made it to each other.
"Hey, Leon," Raihan mumbles, nibbling on Leon's bottom lip. "Does this mean we're dating now?"
"Do you want to?" Leon replies between kisses.
Raihan grins against his lips.
“It was a good match,” Leon says, trailing back into the locker room after Raihan. The sound of the crowd doesn’t sound like it’s going to die down anytime soon, but it’s muffled now that they’re off of the pitch. The frustration the other exudes is palpable, but also typical. The battle went like it always did, with Raihan being so close to finally taking down the unbeatable Champion before Leon effortlessly swept his whole team. After who knows how many tries, it’s only natural for someone to get frustrated over one loss after another.
… Or, that’s just what Leon assumes, because he hasn’t lost a battle in ten years.
Maybe it’s even more annoying now that they’re dating, but Leon isn’t about to hold back just because Raihan is his boyfriend, and he knows Raihan wouldn’t want him to do that anyway.
Leon removes his cap, running his gloved hand through his hair. His skin still feels flushed, warm, with a thin layer of sweat, and his heart is still pounding hard in his chest. It’s always like this after every big match, the adrenaline coursing through him, making his blood feel like fire and his heart ready to burst. He never really knew how to come down from that high, he always just sat and waited it out.
“Come on, better luck next time?” Leon keeps his voice light, playful. Raihan gives him a dirty look, his nose scrunching.
“You always say that,” Raihan grumbles. He’s wiping sweat from his brow, and Leon becomes very aware of how Raihan's shoulders and chest move with each heavy breath. His eyes hone in on Raihan lightly biting down on his bottom lip, a sign of annoyance. Leon’s fingers twitch.
“I have to make sure you don’t give up,” Leon replies, taking a few steps forward, setting his cap aside. It’s feeling a little too hot to wear it. “It wouldn’t be as fun without you, you know.”
“Pfft.” Raihan pivots to face him. “You get a thrill from beating me?”
“I didn’t say that.”
“So you do.”
The space between them is growing smaller. Leon has to crane his neck so he can look Raihan in the eye. The air is hot, there is sweat shining on the exposed skin of Raihan’s neck; his mouth is slightly open, baring a hint of a pink tongue and sharp canines. Leon’s hands move, lightly touching Raihan’s chest which heaves with each breath, where he can feel the rapid heartbeat beneath his palm.
“I mean, if I do…” Leon looks down briefly, and then peers back up at Raihan through his lashes. “What’re you going to do about it?”
It happens so quickly that all the breath leaves Leon’s lungs in an instant, hands grabbing his waist and yanking him impossibly close, Raihan ducking down to fit their mouths together. Leon leans up on his toes, letting out a little noise, his fingers curling into the front of Raihan’s jacket. All that post-battle tension is being released within a moment, with the air electric around them.
A hot tongue runs along his bottom lip, and he opens his mouth enough to allow Raihan entry. Distantly, he registers Raihan fumbling with his cape, letting it drop to the floor, and then suddenly those hands are on the back of his thighs, lifting him up effortlessly. Leon immediately throws his arms around his shoulders, clinging onto him even though he knows Raihan wouldn’t let him fall.
His back hits the lockers, a dull ache shoots up his spine but he doesn’t really process it just yet-- he will later, and he might be annoyed by it later, but for now he doesn’t care. All he cares about is Raihan pressed up against his front, between his legs, hands with a vise grip on his thighs, kissing him and kissing him and kissing him.
They need to leave soon, there are interviews to be had, but he thinks they can spare a few more minutes. The press will wait forever if they have to, and they’re strictly forbidden from entering the locker room and the pitch. The moment they step out they’ll immediately be accosted, that’s how it always goes. They’ll just have to act like they weren’t swapping spit a minute prior.
They part briefly and Leon manages to say, breathless, “Sit down.”
Raihan complies without question, keeping his grip on Leon and taking the few steps back to plop down on one of the benches with Leon now straddling his lap. Leon tosses his hair over his shoulder and then grabs Raihan’s face to kiss him again, sighing when teeth press down on his bottom lip and playfully tug. His tongue darts out, and in response Raihan meets it with his own.
He wonders if it would be possible to just sneak out the back and dodge the press just so they can immediately go back to Raihan’s place. Leon doesn’t really want to stop kissing him. At one point, he becomes vaguely aware of Raihan’s fingers boldly slipping beneath his shirt, warm hands rubbing against his hips. Sparks shoot down his spine.
“Okay,” Leon laughs breathlessly, tilting his head when Raihan presses kisses down the length of his neck. There is a knock on the door, someone calling out both of their names to come out for interviews. Leon half considers ignoring it, but knows that could very well mean someone would walk right in on a very heated makeout session between two men who have done very well to keep their relationship under wraps. “Raihan, that’s enough.”
With a hum, Raihan presses one more slow kiss to Leon’s lips before nudging him off of his lap. Leon’s legs feel like jelly, standing up properly takes a few moments and Raihan snickers at the sight. Both take a minute to regain composure, Leon finding his cap and his cape and putting both back on, straightening his shirt and the waistband of his shorts, patting his still-warm face. Raihan seems much better off, which is a little infuriating, but at least his frustration looks like it’s faded away.
“Come on,” Leon finally says, adjusting his cap. “We have to talk about how hard I kicked your butt.”
Raihan snorts, following after him. “Just wait and see how hard I’ll f--”
“Hey! We can talk about that later.”
Leon is a very private man.
You wouldn’t expect it when you saw his public persona, but he kept many things out of the public eye. There was still so much they didn’t know about him. It’s mostly to keep press away from his family and his friends, but also because-- well, why should they know everything about him? Just because he’s Champion? As if.
Still, that secrecy opens himself up to many rumors. And, of course, one of the many things people talk about is who he could be dating, as if that was anyone else’s business but his own. He and Raihan have been together for a good year now, but they both agreed to keep their relationship away from the public for the sake of Leon’s comfort. Not that Leon is ashamed of dating Raihan, far from it; he just isn’t fond of the thought that people could start speculating their relationship and watching their every move.
It’s going to have to come out eventually, though. Especially since he’s already let it slip that he’s seeing someone, but refused to talk further about it. Of course people have guessed it could be Raihan, but plenty have also claimed it could be Nessa, or Piers, and the most common one seems to be his childhood friend, the granddaughter of Professor Magnolia herself, Sonia. It drives her up the wall, too, since she’s also already in a relationship and has zero interest in men whatsoever, and is one of the few aware of his involvement with Raihan. And it’s invasive. They’ve started feeling like they can’t even publicly talk to each other.
He might as well just put an end to the rumors himself, and in a way only a Champion could.
“Hey, during our exhibition match tomorrow,” Leon says one night, his cheek on Raihan’s chest as they lay across the leader’s couch. “I’m going to surprise everyone.”
Raihan runs his fingers through Leon’s thick hair, nuzzles the top of his head. It makes Leon’s heart flutter with affection, warmth spreading in his chest. “What’re you going to do?”
“It’ll be a surprise for you, too,” Leon replies, turning his face into Raihan’s chest and burrowing in close. He feels exhausted from a long day and a belly full of good food, and they both need their rest for their match. For tonight, they’re boyfriends, but tomorrow they’ll be the rivals that everyone knows them to be.
“I don’t even get a hint?”
The crowd goes wild as Raihan’s Duraludon shrinks from its Gigantamax form and collapses to the ground, unconscious. The sandstorm around them fades with it, and Leon’s Charizard lets out a bellowing roar that shakes the stadium before it shrinks down as well, victorious. Leon puffs his chest out with pride, his smile reaching from one ear to the other, threatening to split his face in two. Raihan tries to be nonchalant about his loss, but Leon sees a familiar spark in his eyes that makes his smile wider.
Confetti falls across the stadium and the crowd is louder than the music, drowning it out with their yells and cheers. Leon pats Charizard on its snout, congratulates it on a job well done and that he’ll make it and the rest of his team delicious curry when they get out of here. But first…
Leon turns back to Raihan, and they both walk across the field to stand before one another.
“You didn’t beat me this time, Raihan,” Leon’s voice is amplified across the stadium, “But that doesn’t mean you should stop trying.”
“I’m not planning on giving up,” Raihan responds, his eyes glinting. “I’ll definitely take you down one day.”
It’s hard for him not to crack a joke at that, but he’s about to throw all professionalism to the wind in just a few moments.
“I’m looking forward to it.”
They join hands to give a firm shake, just like after every other battle, but Leon moves quickly and unexpectedly. He gives Raihan a sharp tug forward, causing the leader to stumble forward with a surprised gasp, and before he can ask what Leon’s doing Leon is already pulling him down by the front of his jacket, standing on his toes to kiss him right there. Right in the middle of the field. Surrounded by thousands of people. On national television.
The crowd falls silent for just a few seconds in shock, and then the cheers start up again - louder than ever. Cameras flash, trying to capture photos at every angle they can. Leon can’t help but laugh into Raihan’s mouth, but Raihan seems to have gotten over his shock and is happily kissing him back, hands on his waist, squeezing. Something about this is just… so relieving, like a huge weight has been lifted off of his shoulders. Sure, even with this, some people will doubt it; some might say it was just a publicity stunt. But most people will know not to question it.
They break apart briefly and Raihan speaks low, only for Leon’s ears, “That was your surprise?”
“Do you like it?” Leon grins wide.
Raihan blinks, shakes his head in disbelief with a laugh, and he’s suddenly dipping Leon down with an arm around his waist and a hand cradling the back of his head as he kisses him again. His cap falls to the ground, but he doesn’t care, because he’s giddy and happily in love, and happy to show the world that, and show them just who he loves. They both giggle into the kiss like they’re teenagers again, like they both can’t believe this is really happening.
“This’ll be on the news for weeks,” Raihan says, straightening back up, pulling Leon along with him. “Are you ready for that?”
“Are you?” Leon asks.
“I’ll definitely be enjoying it.” Raihan kisses the crown of his hair, then has the decency to lean over and pluck Leon’s cap off of the ground. “Now everyone knows who stole the unbeatable Champion’s heart. I’m happy about that.”
Leon laughs. Raihan can’t seem to keep his lips off of him, because he kisses his forehead. “We can celebrate later. Let’s just get past the press first, yeah?”
“After you.” Raihan releases his hold on him, and Leon steps back. Charizard lets out a plume of smoke as it snorts in fond exasperation and trails after the two trainers as they exit the field.
There will be a lot of questions for the next while, but Leon is nothing but happy with his decision.
They can’t stop looking at each other even through interviews, their eyes shining and smiles wide.
Yeah, this is up there with the best decisions he’s ever made.
Sun filters in from the blinds, slants across the bare skin of his back, comforting and warm. It makes him curl up tighter, nose pressed to the duvet, his breathing soft. The world is distant and hazy to him still, barely awake, but he feels the sun and he feels the weight of another beside him.
That weight moves then, and a few moments later the telltale click of a Rotom phone snapping a picture is what causes Leon to open his eyes. The device shoots out of his view immediately, and warmth presses against his back right after, a callused hand spreading out over his belly, thumb rubbing circles around his navel.
Leon blinks blearily, hums in contentment, and turns his head to look over his shoulder; he gets a hazy view of Raihan behind him.
"Hey," he says, voice rough with sleep, but there is a softness at the edge, warmth in his eyes that's reflected in Raihan's own.
"Hey," Raihan echoes, nuzzling against his ear, his breath hot against his skin in a way that reminds Leon of the night before and makes a tingle travel down his spine, a pulse of heat in the pit of his gut.
He manages to roll onto his back and Raihan shifts around enough to accommodate the new position comfortably. One of Leon's hands moves, fingertips ghosting along a sharp jawline, his thumb running along a soft bottom lip.
"Sleep well?" Raihan murmurs, propping himself up on one elbow, cheek to his knuckles.
"Yeah." He always does whenever he shares a bed with Raihan, whose presence is nothing but a comfort now. Over ten years of rivalry has turned into this: a soft and gentle love with an equally soft and gentle man, kind and clever and sensitive. Thoughtful, always thoughtful. He never fails to make Leon laugh. When Leon stretches his legs out beneath the sheets, he feels a dull throb between his thighs. "I think I'm still recovering from last night."
The hand on his belly palms slowly into his skin while Raihan snorts. "Was it too much?"
"It was fine," Leon replies, blowing a stray strand of purple hair from his face. Raihan immediately moves his hand to tuck Leon's hair back, the touch tender. Leon turns his head into it. "More than fine."
Raihan hums, obviously pleased. It wasn't their first, it won't be their last, but each time they still learn something new about each other and their bodies, their limits, what they like and what they don't, and Raihan is always so careful even if Leon is far from fragile.
"I could tell," Raihan says with a beaming smile. Leon huffs, his ears growing warm.
"You know…" Leon turns over again, balances himself on one elbow and reaches out to cradle Raihan's cheek with one hand. "This is the only time you'll ever top me in anything."
Then he grabs his nose and squeezes, causing Raihan to playfully snap at his fingers. Leon pulls his hand back instantly, then moves himself forward, hands splayed out across Raihan's chest, pushing the other over onto his back while he sits on his belly.
Raihan looks up at him with heavy lidded eyes and a toothy smile. "Don't be so sure about that, love. Everyone knows you're not unbeatable anymore." He reaches to the side, finding his phone lying in the sheets again, and lifts it up to snap a quick picture of Leon sitting on top of him. It won’t be posted, none of them ever are--these are only for them, these quiet and private moments. They aren’t for the eyes of thousands of strangers.
Leon just smirks, his eyes soft, lids hanging low so he can peer at him through his lashes. When he leans forward, his hair spills over his shoulder, tickling against Raihan's skin.
He kisses him, and kisses him, and kisses him. Slow, long, languid. Raihan's hands settle on his waist. He could get lost in kissing him, the feeling of Raihan’s lips, how pointed canines catch on his bottom lip. All he does when Raihan sits up, arm around his waist, and leans him back is sigh, content.
His back hits the bed and Raihan hovers over him. His hand cups Leon’s cheek, his eyes shining. “What’s it like being the most handsome guy in the world?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.”
It makes Raihan splutter, taken aback, and instead of saying anything he just ducks down and kisses Leon again. Arms wind around Raihan’s neck and in the morning sunshine filtering in through the window, among soft sheets, they get lost in one another again.
He likes you. Those words Sonia said to him many years ago still echo clearly in his mind.
He likes me.
He loves me.
I love him.