“This is all your fault,” Kiryu muttered, feet crunching in the snow.
“My fault?” Majima asked, feigning innocence as he trudged up beside him, “I didn’t make you punch the guy we were negotiating with!”
Kiryu snarled. It was supposed to have been very simple. Dojima had sent him up north to clarify the position of a small yakuza clan in regards to a contraband trade. They had promised Tojo a thousand shipments in pre-cut, jeweler quality diamonds and rare gemstones but now they were dilly-dallying about sending them. Kiryu, on behalf of the Tojo clan and specifically Dojima, was meant to find out what the hold up was and fix it. Which he was absolutely going to do, except…
“Fuck! I’m freezing my tits off here, where are we even going?” Majima shoved his hands under his jacket covering his purple-looking nipples.
Somehow Majima had weaseled his way onto coming on this venture too. Shimano didn’t usually offer to share men with Dojima, but either out of whimsy or malice, Shimano had insisted Majima come too. And now here they were, trudging in the snow together, because no one had remembered that asking them to work together was like asking matter and antimatter to play nice.
Kiryu crested a bump in the slope they were climbing and paused to tap off some of the snow on his shoes on a stump. “The barkeep said there was an old cabin out here we could stay at, since we’re unwelcome in town.” He glared accusingly at his companion.
“Horseshit,” Majima spat, clapping his arms around his sides as he waited for Kiryu to finish his rest, “They sent us up here to get eaten by bears and you’re just too dumb and trusting to know better.” He turned from squinting into the woods in front of them to face Kiryu. “Oh, poor, sweet Kiryu-chan,” Majima sighed dramatically, batting his eye at Kiryu, “your frozen beauty will make the poets weep!”
“Well, we had lodgings in town, we had food and a warm place to sleep tonight before you started spouting off at the secretary-” Without realizing it, Kiryu had taken a dangerous few steps in Majima’s direction, putting them on a fighting footing before Kiryu could stop himself.
Majima’s eye flashed. “Ohhh, them’s fighting words, Kiryu-chan. Ya wanna have it out now?” Kiryu flinched, hearing the tanto singing through the air before he saw it. Shit, he hadn’t meant to get started.
Kiryu tried to take a step back, but Majima closed the distance. “Majima-onii-san, I didn’t mean-”
“Weren’t you just saying that this was all my fault?” Majima licked his teeth, his dark gaze boring into Kiryu, “Not gonna stand by your words?”
Kiryu groaned. “It’s freezing out here, we’d be rolling around in the snow-”
He felt a prick on his arm and a drop of red fell from the tanto to the pristine snow below. Too late to back down then. Fine.
Kiryu sighed and looked down at the tear in his suit coat. “And now you’ve stained my only jacket. I fucking hate you.”
With that Kiryu dove for Majima as Majima began cackling. Fighting in the snow was stupid, they were going to get wet and cold and exhausted and they had no shelter yet. But Majima was going for his kidneys and if he wasn’t careful that knife was going to slice up the only clothing he had left and there really wasn’t much choice about to fight or not to fight. There never was with Majima. They were always going to fight, it was only a question of when. And, personally Kiryu would have preferred to do it somewhere warm and dry, he thought as he got Majima by the leg and dragged him wriggling through the snow, but Majima didn’t seem to share his priorities.
Kiryu decided that throwing Majima into a tree would be too much. They didn’t have medical care on them after all. So he settled for shoving him into the thickest bank of snow on hand, but he immediately decided the tree was too good for Majima because the next second, Majima had bolted out of the snow and had taken Kiryu so by surprise that now they both were face down in the snow, rolling around like they thought hypothermia was a good idea.
Eventually, Kiryu got on top of Majima, pinning him to the slick ground with a knee on his diaphragm and an elbow to his throat. “Enough!” he roared, “We’re both going to die out here if we keep this up!”
“But… that’s what… makes it… fun!” Majima choked out, still trying to get his tanto into Kiryu, even as Kiryu held his knife hand down.
“Tch!” It was moments like this that Kiryu understood why everyone called him crazy. And it was moments like this that Kiryu struggled to remember why he didn’t agree. Taking a deep breath, he mastered the annoyance Majima was pouring gasoline on with every flail. “We got into this mess doing what we’re doing now. We’ll do better if we can manage to work together.”
Majima squinted at him, unconvinced, but his flailing slowed. He looked like he was prepared to say something, but spluttered over Kiryu’s elbow as he tried to draw breath. Kiryu relented, adjusting his grip to hold Majima by the shoulders instead and only too late did he see the trap. In the mere seconds of Kiryu’s eased pressure, Majima delivered a sharp kick to Kiryu’s groin, causing Kiryu to collapse and allowing Majima to wriggle free, leaving Kiryu hunched over in the snow, clutching an empty jacket.
“That’s quitter talk, Kiryu-chan!” Majima yelled from the top of the hill, sounding hoarse from Kiryu’s punishment, “How will you ever know who’s strongest if you don’t fight me to the death?”
Kiryu rolled his eyes, refusing to respond. Majima hadn’t quite kicked him in the dick, fortunately, the tender flesh around his family jewels smarted, but he wasn’t in so much pain he couldn’t stand. With a sigh, he slowly got to his feet and brushed off Majima’s jacket. “Put this back on, you’ll freeze to death.” Kiryu held out the cleaned jacket for him.
“Haw?” Majima tossed his knife from one hand to the other, “Why do you care? Don’cha want to paint the snow with my blood?” He grinned, but Kiryu could see him starting to tremble from the cold.
“Not particularly,” Kiryu sighed and took a few steps closer, still holding out the jacket, “I’m already going to get hell for this fuck up. If you die here too, they’ll probably drum me out of the clan. You’re worth more to me alive than dead.” He glanced up at Majima, waiting for his verdict.
Majima regarded him thoughtfully then, almost imperceptibly, his body relaxed.“Ah, I gotcha Kiryu-chan, watching your back, very clever.” Majima at last sheathed his dagger. “Well, if I’m Kiryu-chan’s insurance, that’s okay then!” He beamed, taking the jacket back and slinging it over his shoulders and then merrily tramping deeper into the woods.
Kiryu just shook his head. He was quite sure just talking and apologizing would be an easier way to settle things, but somehow, that’s never how it worked for them.
It wasn’t too much longer before the cabin was in their sight. And a good thing too, their pace had slowed while they were wet and shivering and the sun crept ever lower in the sky, taking the temperature down with it.
“See? I told you they sent us here to die,” Majima sniffed, eyeing the boarded up windows and flaking paint. He sneezed, the cold having turned his nose wet and rosy.
“It’s better than nothing,” Kiryu grumbled, willing himself not to sneeze as well and failing. “C’mon let’s get inside while there’s still daylight.” Kiryu stepped onto the creaking stairs and approached the door. The floorboards were weathered and some warped, but the structure seemed solid enough. They could spend one night here without dying. There was no lock on the door though and Kiryu frowned at that.
“Careless owner,” Majima muttered, peering at the handle with him, “or a trap. Or something got here before us. Or-”
“Will you shut up?” Kiryu snapped, “If there was anything inside, it was probably scared off by the sound of your racket.” Without waiting for a reply, Kiryu turned the handle and stepped in. The insides, unfortunately, were not very encouraging.
“Well, something was here,” Majima insisted, shrugging at the single futon beside the fireplace, which appeared to have one blanket on it that had recently been the nest of something judging by the leaves and twigs in it.
Kiryu’s mouth pursed. “Well, it’s not trying to kill us, so you can calm down.”
Majima pouted. “Kiryu-chan, you wound me! I only want you to be prepared for every eventuality. What if something happened to you while I was here? I couldn’t live with myself!”
Kiryu rolled his eyes. “Your concern is touching.” Scanning the interior once more, Kiryu took stock of their supplies. One futon, one blanket, a cold, but intact hearth and chimney, and next to it, a hatchet. “Look, they left-”
“A pot!” Majima interrupted, striding towards the hearth.
“What?” Kiryu frowned.
Majima reached into the darkness of the hearth and retrieved a small, cast iron pot, complete with handle and spiderwebs. “We can have water once we get a fire going.” He smirked.
“Get chopping,” Majima commanded, picking up the hatchet and handing it to Kiryu.
Kiryu’s eyes narrowed in annoyance before he remembered that Majima did outrank him and could, technically, give him orders. He took the hatchet, begrudgingly. “And what’re you going to do?” he couldn’t resist asking before turning to head out.
“Clean up a little, this place is a mess,” Majima tsked, indicating the leaves and dirt all over the floor.
“Clean up how? There’s no broom.”
Majima stared at him and rolled his eye deliberately before marching outside in front of him. Kiryu followed, perplexed, and watched Majima walk over to a pine tree, yank down a low branch, and- oh. Kiryu gulped sheepishly as Majima waved the long-needled branch in his face. “Still so much to learn, Kiryu-chan,” Majima sang at him, before heading back into the house.
Kiryu sighed. Why did he always have to be right? At least they would be apart for a bit, Kiryu consoled himself, hoisting his hatchet and beginning to scout around for a log or stump. Maybe his head would clear a little with absence. Majima made it hard to think sometimes, with all the teasing and fighting. He couldn’t honestly say this was the first time he’d wound up in trouble because he’d lost his head trying to show up Majima instead of doing his job.
And he wasn’t presently sure how he was going to get out of this scrape either, he thought as he spied a half-buried log not far from the cabin. The cold was beginning to bite into his legs and hands as the sun dipped ever lower, hopefully he could collect wood quickly. He scraped some of the snow off, trying futilely to pull the tree carcass out of the snow. It wouldn’t budge so he started hacking at what was visible. Good, yellow wood appeared under the edge of the hatchet. He got into the rhythm of it and let his mind drift.
He was expected back in Kamurocho after tomorrow, with a shipment in tow and a guarantee of no further delays. If he came back empty-handed, at best they’d relegate him to street shake downs for his incompetence, at worst, he could face expulsion again. It wasn’t so long since the empty lot business that anyone had forgotten. And while he had been exonerated and the new chairman Sera had been put on the throne, Kiryu didn’t want to test Dojima’s generosity. At minimum, they would have to go into town tomorrow and make their apologies. It wasn’t right for the Tojo Clan to beg for anything, especially when they were the ones being cheated, which had been Majima’s point. Sort of. But now between both their egos, they were going to have to beg, making Tojo look weak in the process. God, why couldn’t Kiryu do anything right around Majima?
His blade hit snow and Kiryu fell heavily on it without the recoil. He looked up to find he had split the log into several usable pieces. That was probably enough for now. If Majima wanted more, he could go chop it himself. Kiryu picked up as much wood as he could carry and trudged back to the house. The physical exertion made him feel a bit better at least, a temporary defense against the rising cold.
Kiryu swung open the door to the cabin, difficult with his arms full, to be greeted with a much cleaner floor. He almost felt comfortable setting bare feet on this.
“What took you so long?” Majima whined, stepping away from the windows and taking some of the wood out of his arms, “It’s like you’re avoiding me.” He pouted over his shoulder before depositing the logs in the fireplace.
“I told you, I need you alive, I wouldn’t abandon you,” Kiryu muttered, setting down the hatchet and excess wood next to the hearth, “The floor looks much better, thank you.”
Majima’s eye squeezed shut as he smiled. “I’d make an excellent housewife.” He winked over at Kiryu, before stuffing the logs with the old dry branches and twigs he’d collected sweeping up. Kiryu just stood awkwardly, unsure how to take that.
Majima withdrew his lighter and flicked it on before holding it to the dry brush. The leaves immediately caught and burned out, but the embers started to catch on the twigs and branches. Majima withdrew his hand as one strong lick of flame started to fancy one of the logs.
“There, we’ll get through this yet,” Majima said as he stood and walked over to the futon. Kiryu was still watching the fire when he heard the unmistakable sound of a zipper. Kiryu whirled, body tensing like a fight was about to happen, but Majima was just shuffling out of his leather pants, coat and shoes already off.
“Wh-What are you doing?” Kiryu did not squeal. Barely.
“Didncha ever do any survival training?” Majima mused, frowning at him, now down to just his socks and underwear, “Those wet things you’re in are only gonna make ya colder. You gotta be dry first before ya can get warm.”
“...oh.” He did not watch Majima bend over to lay his clothes in front of the fire.
“C’mon, you’re soaking, take ‘em off,” Majima flicked his fingers at him as he rolled off his socks, “Unless… you wanted me to do it for you?” He leered with a savage grin.
Kiryu turned his back quickly and shrugged off his ruined coat as fast as he could. Majima snickered behind him. Kiryu set his jacket next to Majima’s on the hearth. He chanced a glance at Majima to find him peeling off his gloves, one finger at a time. Kiryu did not watch, he didn’t, he did not. His fingers fumbled at his own buttons and he turned back around, thanking whatever gods there were that Majima didn’t catch whatever that moment just was.
Kiryu decided it was safest to just wait until all of his clothes were off before putting them next to the fire, which by now was into its adolescence, just starting to give off enough heat to feel it. He laid out his clothes carefully around the little hearth, unmolested now that Majima was lying on the futon and… naked, he saw as he turned around. Kiryu breathed sharply, surprised, then mad at himself for not having noticed Majima’s black underwear lying there, perfectly obvious, next to his coat.
“What gives? I said all the way off, big boy,” Majima clapped his hands, “Chop chop now.”
Kiryu swallowed his embarrassment. This was no different than a public bath or locker room. He wouldn’t let it be different. And besides, he wasn’t shy or prudish. This was just… a surprise, that’s all. Fixing his eyes on a blank patch of floor, he rolled off his briefs and put them next to his socks before turning back to Majima who held the blanket up for him.
Majima was smirking and Kiryu did not want to hear whatever his latest observation was. But if he couldn’t stop him from saying it, he at least didn’t have to look at him while he said it. Kiryu defiantly laid down with his back to Majima, pulling the blanket quickly up to his chest.
“Ah, you really don’t know anything about surviving the cold, do ya?” Majima tsked.
If Majima was about to insist they have sex to stay warm… “What is it now?” Kiryu growled.
Majima just tapped his shoulder. “You don’t produce heat from the back, dummy. It’s produced from the front, where the heart is. We’ll be warmer faster front to front.”
Kiryu thought about that and squinted. “You made that up.” He rolled his head over his shoulder to glare at Majima.
Majima chortled. “Maaaybe, but do ya really want to turn your back on me? Who knows where my wandering eye could be…”
That was unfortunately a very good point. Kiryu rolled over.
“There, that wasn’t so bad was it?” Majima smiled, propped up on one hand, and for once there was nothing mean or nasty about his smile. It seemed almost genuine.
Kiryu looked away and fished around for something to say. Majima was behaving himself after all. “How d’you know so much about survival?”
Majima shrugged. “Was never much of an outdoorsman, but it pays to know all kinds of things in our line of work.” He sighed, unpropping himself and settling down at Kiryu’s level. “That’s a real nice tattoo ya got, tho. Who did it for ya?” Majima nodded towards Kiryu’s back.
“Utabori-san,” Kiryu answered, pleasantly surprised at Majima’s curiosity.
Majima whistled. “The legend.”
Kiryu started to smile. “Yeah. Said he didn’t get too many dragons, but he took one look at me and he knew.” He dropped his eyes, still humbled by the promise and weight on his back.
“He was right,” Majima replied.
Kiryu’s eyebrows quirked. “Hmm?”
“It’s in your eyes,” Majima’s one eye drifted from Kiryu’s one brown eye to the other, “That drive, that will. The unshakeable conviction that you’ll make things better. I could envy you.” Majima swallowed and didn’t continue.
Kiryu stared at him for a long moment, a question on his lips, but it became clear that Majima wasn’t going to finish that thought. Kiryu cleared his throat. “What about you?”
Majima shook himself, startled. “Haw?”
“Your tattoos.” Kiryu glanced at the dark wings covering most of Majima’s chest.
“Oh!” Majima looked down too. “Oh, well, I thought about going to Utabori, but when I joined up, it was under Shimano and his tattoos were done by a guy called Takahashi. You ever see Shimano’s tattoos?”
Kiryu shook his head.
“Nah, ya wouldn’t, would ya? The boss doesn’t do much fighting himself these days. But, they’re a lot like mine, with the big black clouds and stuff,” Majima ran his fingers over the whorls on his chest, up and over his neck and shoulder, “And I wanted… everyone to know who I belonged to.” Majima got real quiet again, a dark, far away look coming into his eye.
Kiryu frowned at him. He didn’t really understand the relationship between Shimano and Majima; he’d heard some of the rumors, but he didn’t believe half of them. After all, there were rumors about him that he defeated a demon and took its power, that he’d literally drank dragon’s blood, and the like. But he also knew that Majima’s reputation as a “mad dog” didn’t come from nothing and it wasn’t entirely a positive association. He’d never had reason to think Majima outright disloyal, but… The way he looked now, still and dark and scary, not how he ever was in front of others, Kiryu worried that there may be something quite bad between them.
Majima shook himself this time without Kiryu having to say anything. “Listen to me, going on and on about ancient history,” he muttered, “I want to hear more about Kiryu-chan!” He grinned, big and bright, all trace of darkness evaporated.
“Me?” Kiryu squirmed a little, put on the spot, “There isn’t much to tell, really.”
“Nooothing?” Majima sang back at him, scooting closer in response to Kiryu’s squirming, legs rubbing together, Majima’s hand pulling at his bicep, “All this power and muscle and nothing? ” He teased.
Kiryu shrugged helplessly. “I’m just really not that interesting.”
“Tch!” Majima let his arm go to wag a finger at him, “See now, that I don’t get. You’re the Dragon of Dojima, you have a rep and the punch to prove it, you’re stronger than men twice your age; if you wanted to you could rise all the way to Chairman in a matter of years and you say you’re not interesting. Tell me, Kiryu-chan, what about any of that bores you?”
Majima was looking at him like he could see right through Kiryu’s flesh and bone back to that dragon on his back and the message it held. Kiryu swallowed hard. “Well,” he tried to put words to it, “I haven’t done anything yet.”
Majima squinted at him but said nothing.
Kiryu licked his lips and tried to keep going. “Ever since I can remember, people always expected me to be something, do something great. And… I’ve just always been trying to live up to what people expected of me. But no one expected me to become yakuza. I did that. I did that because I wanted to be a great man, like Kazama-san. But, now I’m here and… it’s different.” He chanced a glance at Majima and was relieved to see him nod with understanding. “It’s not what I expected, but,” Kiryu lowered his voice, “I kinda like it anyway.”
Majima wriggled and Kiryu found himself tangled in an embrace before he could squirm away.
“Oh, Kiryu-chan! You and I are just alike!” Majima squealed, leaning back just enough to pet his face, “We live for the thrill of the fight, the rush of the blood, the sweet satisfaction of putting your fist through another fucker’s face, eh, Kiryu-chan?” His ecstatic grin took on that knife-edge quality Kiryu knew so well.
Kiryu grit his teeth. He didn’t like to admit it, but it was true. He did love the fight. Hesitantly, he nodded, still held in Majima’s arms.
Majima squealed again. “I knew it! I felt it every time we fought. I knew you couldn’t burn so hot for nothing.” Kiryu flushed and began to try to extricate himself from Majima’s octopus-like grasp. “But ya didn’t answer my question,” he held Kiryu fast as Kiryu started to push away, forcing Kiryu to look up at him and answer, “If all that’s true, why do ya think you’re boring?”
Kiryu groaned in frustration. His hand tried to find an acceptable place to rest on Majima while he tried to think of an answer. His hand eventually settled on Majima’s lean ribs. “Not boring, I guess, I just don’t get it,” Kiryu said, eyebrows knit together.
“Haw?” Majima prodded.
“The expectation, the way you all talk about me. I don’t get it, why I’m such a big deal,” Kiryu sighed, suddenly finding relief in putting words to this, “I mean, I’m just Kiryu Kazuma.” He looked at Majima and Majima was staring at him, wide-eyed and face slack. Kiryu blinked and Majima erupted into roaring laughter, blanket sliding down to his hips as his spine curled back with it. Kiryu took the opportunity to discreetly pull his hand away and cross his arms over his chest.
“God, you’re almost too good to be true,” Majima gasped, wiping a tear, “Unfuckingbelievable, you’re a legend in your own time and you don’t get why everyone makes such a big screaming deal. Fuck!” Majima shook his head at him, eye bright, “I gotcha now. But mark my words, Kiryu-chan, you’re not gonna be nobody. You’re gonna get why we’re all watching ya one of these days. You will.”
Kiryu pursed his lips. “What if I just give up now?”
“Ya won’t,” Majima’s eye glittered and he bent closer, “You’re too good for that.”
“You don’t know that.” His teeth flashed.
“Bet me,” Majima growled and this time Kiryu lunged first, hungry for this fight.
He laid into Majima unabashedly, punishing his body for the confusion Kiryu felt but couldn’t resolve. Majima took it all with relish, his hands fast and free on Kiryu’s body, pulling him into a fierce headbutt with a tender hand on his neck. They grappled, sending the blanket far-flung and disturbing the fire with their antics. Neither of them seemed to care that they were both naked as the day they were born. Kiryu didn’t hesitate, grabbing full handfuls of Majima to pick him up and slam him back into the ground. Nor did he care when Majima’s legs wrapped around him to twist his spine to pain. Kiryu writhed against it, driving an elbow into Majima’s abdomen, forcing him to release, then planting one knee on Majima’s thigh and pressing him back with both hands on his biceps, exposing the narrow sliver of un-tattooed skin under his armpits.
“Look at you,” Majima panted, licking his teeth and pulsing under Kiryu’s grasp, “So desperate to prove you’re not what you are, but look at you.” Majima’s gaze bored into him again, almost palpable on his skin and Kiryu shivered against it. “Can’t resist a fight, can’t help winning,” Majima continued, head curved back to reveal his smooth neck to the firelight, “Tell me you can’t feel it inside you. Tell me you didn’t want this.”
Kiryu’s gut coiled tight as he said it. He could feel the thrum of satisfaction under his skin, and what’s worse, a hunger beneath that. Not a cruel hunger, not a desire for pain, but… a desire that answered the way Majima was looking at him right now. It spoke words that Kiryu dare not voice, even to himself. Majima was right; he could not stay still, he could not be nothing, no matter how badly he wanted to. He trembled, caught between the desire and the denial.
“What do you want?” Majima breathed, so soft it might have been the fire itself whispering.
Kiryu blinked, coming back to an awareness that he was hovering over Majima like a bird of prey, pinning him down like any second he might devour him. Almost in response to the question, Kiryu’s eyes dragged down Majima’s body, coming to new conclusions about acceptable proximity and how this violated all of them. He swallowed and looked back at Majima’s face, who started to exhale even before Kiryu began to move off him.
Kiryu sat back a safe distance away and unconsciously folded his legs protectively against his chest. Majima stayed there a moment, splayed out and flat against the floor, before standing and walking to the hearth. He picked up his underwear, then found Kiryu’s and tossed them at him.
“Your pants are probably dry too,” Majima explained, pulling on his underwear. Kiryu watched, with a faint pang of guilt, mesmerized as the Hannya became obscured. He always forgot quite how long Majima’s tattoos were, he never got the chance to admire them in full. And he realized he’d lost the chance now as Majima squeezed back into his leather pants and grabbed the iron pot.
“I’m thirsty,” Majima offered as he strode for the door, not bothering to check his shoes or socks.
Kiryu tried to think of something he could say to ease the awkwardness, but Majima had closed the door behind him before he came up with anything. Kiryu sighed heavily. He’d thought spending the night with Majima would go a lot of ways but not like this. Kiryu rose and dressed as Majima suggested. His shirt was still damp so he left it by the fire. Looking around, he pulled the futon back to its place by the hearth and fetched the blanket from where they had thrown it earlier. He laid back down and tried to sort out what to do next. He felt like apologizing to Majima but couldn’t quite point to why. Maybe he just would rather they were friends than enemies… Kiryu’s heart twisted at the idea of hurting Majima and maybe that was enough of a reason to apologize.
Majima came back in a short while later and Kiryu opened the blanket for him invitingly. Majima just raised an eyebrow, passing him to hook the pot over the fire. He crouched next to his coat, feeling his pockets for his cigarettes. Kiryu instantly scrambled for his own lighter and flicked it on just before Majima could reach for his. Majima blinked, hearing the click, and turned to see Kiryu leaning out of bed just for the chance to light his cigarette. Majima looked at him, then bent his head and let Kiryu light it for him.
Kiryu sighed in relief, pocketing his lighter again, as Majima climbed into bed. Kiryu rolled over to look at him and Majima, thoughtfully, blew his first puff of smoke into his face. Kiryu coughed, but he probably deserved that. He knew Majima was watching him now, but Kiryu didn’t mind. Majima took another long draw on his cigarette before speaking, “You’re a difficult man, Kiryu-chan.”
Kiryu’s mouth quirked. He nodded.
“Fortunately, I like a challenge,” Majima said, leaning back in repose, belying his icy feet wriggling under Kiryu’s pants.
“Hey!” Kiryu squeaked, trying to squirm away again, but smiling.
Majima finally smiled again. “Fair’s fair! I go out in the cold, you have to make me warm again.” His intrepid toes wriggled between his legs.
“How is that fair?” Kiryu protested, but didn’t push away.
“I saved you from hypothermia! The least you can do is prevent my frostbite,” Majima pouted, rolling over to press against Kiryu’s chest.
“You caused the hypothermia,” Kiryu retorted, squeezing his legs around Majima’s feet so he couldn’t wriggle anymore.
“Tch!” Majima sneered, lolling back, “Ah, I’m too tired to argue with ya.” He brushed Kiryu aside with a lazy hand gesture, “If I freeze to death in the night, remember me fondly, Kiryu-chan.” So saying, he rolled onto his side, still puffing on the cigarette.
Kiryu rolled his eyes. “If you freeze to death, I’ll freeze to death along with you,” he muttered, fixing the blanket so it fell evenly on them, “we go down together.” Kiryu caught the soft smile on Majima’s face as he laid down too, back to back.
Kiryu looked at the warm fire, the little black pot hanging above the flames. He could see the ice start to sink in the pot. It wouldn’t make much water, but it was something. It was enough.
“...good night, Kiryu-chan.”
When Kiryu woke up, it was at the behest of Majima’s feet.
Kiryu groaned as another swift kick was delivered to his spine. The “anywhere, anytime” mentality was really getting old in Kiryu’s opinion. He rolled over, preparing to throwdown, only to find that Majima was still deep in sleep. Majima’s face was, in fact, screwed up in the grips of some terrible dream as he thrashed, unwittingly stabbing Kiryu from time to time with his sharp toes.
“Ow!” Kiryu grunted as another kick found its mark on the back of Kiryu’s thigh. Well, dream or not, Kiryu didn’t have to stay here to suffer through it with him. Reluctantly, Kiryu forced himself out of bed, deciding to wait out this fit by tending to the fire. It was looking low anyway.
He wondered sleepily, as he nudged another branch onto the glowing embers, what nightmares Majima had. Maybe he was losing a fight, although that never seemed to bother him too much. Maybe there was only one snakeskin jacket left at the thrift store and-
Kiryu started at a wet gasp behind him. He snapped around, coming fully awake, to see Majima bolt upright, clutching tightly to the empty futon Kiryu had left behind. Kiryu’s heart twisted to see the look in Majima’s eye; it was an expression he’d never seen: panic. Pure, unadulterated terror beneath wrecked hair. And suddenly that eye was on him, wild with the natural fear of a scared animal. Kiryu’s mouth filled with dusty gravel, unable to say anything to that look. He instantly dropped eye contact and busied himself tending the fire.
Moments later, he felt the cold draft of the open door and shortly heard the frustrated clicking of a lighter outside. Kiryu blew out a breath he didn’t know he’d been holding. He retroactively felt guilty for imagining Majima’s demons so lightly. He didn’t know precisely what the man’s history was, but from that little glimpse, he could see why Majima didn’t feel like sharing.
Kiryu turned back to the empty room and saw the snakeskin jacket left behind. Kiryu grimaced; he’d freeze like that.
Outside, Majima was so focused on whatever was in his head, he didn’t even look up when Kiryu walked out and stood behind him. But he did flinch before he realized Kiryu had just dropped the blanket on top of him. Majima poked his head out from under it and stared questioningly at Kiryu.
“Don’t stay out too long, you’ll get cold,” Kiryu chastised, frowning.
Majima made no answer, but he lowered his gaze in a sort of approximation of a nod.
Kiryu nodded in return and walked back inside. The fire was going again, so he laid down on the mat, still warm and slightly damp where Majima had been lying. Kiryu wrapped his arms around himself. It wasn’t as warm now without the blanket, but he’d rather be cold and know that Majima was okay than the reverse. He shut his eyes and willed himself to relax. He was still very tired and, if there was a just god, sleep would find him again.
When Kiryu woke again, it was to a stab of sunlight in his eyes. Through the poorly-boarded windows, the clear light of morning was streaming in, directly into Kiryu’s sore, tired eyes. He screwed them shut, but it was no use. The light amplified on the snow and his eyelids were no match against the glare. He was going to stay awake now, whether he liked it or not.
No longer allowed to sleep, Kiryu slowly blinked his vision to adjusting. The fire was now nothing but ash in the grate, long since burned out and cold. The cold should have woken him long before the light then, but oddly he felt comfortable, not quite toasty, but not freezing to death either. Kiryu shifted unconsciously and realized why he felt so temperate as Majima’s arm adjusted with him.
Kiryu gulped hard as his body helpfully informed him that his heat source was the full length of Majima’s body pressed against his back, his arm curled loosely around his middle, and the thin blanket Majima had, evidently, laid over both of them when he came back to bed. At this revelation, Kiryu completely forgot how to breathe. His body was at war with itself; some parts shocked into total stillness, others frantic and racing. His brain couldn’t decide which side to be on. He was suddenly very paranoid that even his change in breathing would wake Majima and focused on slowing that down. But then his heart was beating too loudly and surely Majima would feel the pounding under his hand. And his body was all rigid now, not lax with sleep, Majima would know he was awake from that alone. Kiryu realized he looked, and felt, nervous. He gulped again, understanding washing over him as to why this was. The morning had blessed him with a stiffness that had nothing to do with cold or nerves and if Majima realized, Kiryu was sure only one of them would leave this cabin.
When Kiryu thought about the end of the world, he normally assumed it would be some massive bomb drop or an ill-conceived war. He had, truthfully, never considered this as an option. But now it was here, hard in the arms of Majima fucking Goro, and he could not imagine anything more horrifying.
Kiryu grit his teeth and tried desperately to think of a way out of this. A quick dip in the cold snow would shrink this right up, but it was already morning, already time to be awake, and he couldn’t risk a sudden movement waking Majima the rest of the way. He could try to imagine terrible, disgusting things to turn himself off the hard way, but, and here he was already blushing, he was honestly too goddamn comfortable for those thoughts to take. And that was the real root of the problem. He could pretend this was down to a lot of things, but when push came to shove, Kiryu didn’t consider himself a man capable of lying to himself. He knew, deep down in some completely unhinged part of him, that this… reaction he was having was actually about Majima. The thought should have made him retch, should have made him shoot out of bed, shame be damned, and march into town rather than spend another second here. But not one muscle fiber actually wanted to leave and that fact, more than the erection itself, scared Kiryu to his core. That Majima- fuck!
Behind him, there was a stir and then a faint groan. “Mmm,” Majima hummed, high and breathy. His face nuzzled his back and then found his neck, bare. Kiryu froze. Oh no.
“Goooood mornin’, Kiryu-chan,” Majima purred in his ear, insufferably cheerful first thing in the morning.
Kiryu swallowed hard and bit down on his tongue, terrified of what sound might come out of him. He nodded stiffly.
“Awww, don’t be that way,” Majima whined, squirming as he moved to see Kiryu’s face properly, “I just wanted to thank ya for-” In his rebalancing, his hand had swept low on Kiryu’s belly and. Well. This was how Kiryu Kazuma died.
Kiryu kept his eyes determinedly fixed on the woodgrain in front of him, rendered coarse and extreme in the harsh light of day. He did not register Majima leaning back in his periphery, or the blanket getting pushed off them for confirmation, or the hedonistic, triumphant, giddy gleam in Majima’s one eye.
A crowing laugh bubbled up from Majima’s chest and spilled out, growing in volume until it filled the whole cabin. Kiryu felt sick.
“Welly, well, Kiryu-chan! I was going to ask you if you slept well, but I see there’s no need!” Majima could barely contain his giggling.
“Shut up,” Kiryu mumbled.
“Awww, don’t be such a spoilsport,” Majima whined, sliding down next to him until Kiryu could feel an answering hardness pressed against his thigh. Kiryu bit down on his tongue even harder.
“It’s quite the compliment ya giving me, I’m mighty flattered.” Kiryu could feel the shit-eating grin behind him as he said it. He tried not to picture whatever dark and intoxicating deeds were probably dancing around in Majima’s glowing eye.
“I said shut up,” Kiryu growled at length, voice thick with what he hoped he could pass offer as sleep, “it’s got nothing to do with you.”
Majima snickered. “Yeah, and the snow’s got nothing to do with the sky,” he cuffed Kiryu’s shoulder, “face it, kid, ya got it bad -”
Kiryu finally rolled over, forcing Majima to scoot back or get sat on which- Kiryu didn’t permit himself to think about how that might have gone.
“Ohhh, now I’ve made you angry,” Majima grinned up into Kiryu’s glowering face, “You wanna take a swing at me, I can tell,” he purred and Kiryu didn’t understand why it all seemed the same to Majima, fighting, sex, it didn’t seem to make any difference. Here they were, lying in bed together, at various states of arousal, and Majima was lying back on his elbows, open and receptive, but his mouth was full of barbs. Kiryu didn’t get it and he didn’t have time to try to get it either.
Majima cocked his head. “You’ve made up your mind about something.” His eye glittered.
“Have I now?” Kiryu refused, stalling for time.
“Ohhh yes, I know my Kiryu-chan like the back of my hand,” his mouth spread wide, “I can tell what you’re going to do before ya even think to do it.”
It was bait, obviously bait, but Kiryu was too frustrated and the wires between aggression and attraction were too muddled for him to stop himself. He grabbed Majima by the shoulders, hauling him up until they were nose to nose kneeling on the mat. This close, this dangerously close, Kiryu could feel the crackle of tension in every place they weren't touching. “And what have I decided?” He breathed, eyes locked on Majima's.
Majima stayed annoyingly silent. Such a chatterbox, right up until the second it mattered, right until he knew Kiryu was in too deep. Kiryu hated it; he loved it.
“Kiryu-chan….” Majima whispered and Kiryu suddenly noticed how warm and soft Majima looked, there was something heated in his eye, but not the usual mania or bloodlust. Something else entirely.
“Kiss me.” Kiryu’s fist collided with his mouth just as he started to grin. Majima fell to the side in a shuddering collection of giggles.
Kiryu reeled back, disgusted. Just when he thought something was happening… But never mind that, it was apparently all one big joke to Majima. “You’re the worst,” Kiryu sneered. Majima peered up at him, still all smiles, and Kiryu’s heart lunged uncomfortably. Shit, what was going on?
“Oh, the worst am I?” Majima growled, then shot at Kiryu, tackling him to the ground.
Kiryu gasped in surprise before his instincts kicked in, trying to fit his legs under Majima’s abdomen to throw him off. He wasn’t sure what was happening anymore as they tossed each other around the futon, but he felt breathless and dizzy. This was much easier than whatever they had been doing before, but the weird, pent-up energy inside him hadn’t abated yet. In his distraction, Majima swept his legs, landing him face down on the futon and Majima pinned him with ease.
“Ha ha! Losing your edge, Kiryu-chan!” he crowed, hands tight on Kiryu’s wrists, straddling his hips so Kiryu couldn’t wriggle free, “What’s a-matter? Something on your mind?”
Kiryu snarled and tried to buck him off, but Majima held tight, rolling with him with a tight squeeze on his hips. “Whoa, easy now!” Majima chided, “I haven’t heard your admission yet.”
Kiryu went still. His heart beat in his throat. “A-Admission?” He tried to sound normal.
“Of defeat,” Majima clarified. “Why?” he drawled, “What other admission could I mean?” Kiryu knew that patented false innocence anywhere and deigned to respond.
Kiryu tucked his chin in and buried his face in the foam mat. It wasn’t comfortable, but it was safer than worrying Majima could read all his fears and desires on his face. Not that it was easy to fool Majima about anything. There might have been a way out of this, if Kiryu was a smarter, cooler-tempered man, but as it was he was hard and frustrated, hot and adrenaline-addled, and it was about all he could do to not think about Majima, mostly nude and hard above him and the position they were in. So, beset from all sides, he gave up. “I lost,” he muttered.
“Hmm? What was that?” Majima bent low until Kiryu felt one of his stray hairs brush his ear.
Kiryu forced his head to the side so his mouth was unobscured. “I lost, you won,” he repeated, with a slight tingle of anticipation.
“Mmm,” Majima hummed pleasantly, tightened his grip on Kiryu’s wrists… and slid off him.
Kiryu blinked. That… wasn’t how this was supposed to go, was it? He stayed in that position for a second, trying to process. Majima had had him totally at a disadvantage, he could have stayed there as long as he wanted, he could have pushed for more than just an admission of defeat. And Kiryu found he was a little disappointed that Majima hadn’t.
He sat up slowly, rubbing his wrists that still burned with friction and stared at Majima plaintively. But Majima just sat contentedly on the floor, legs stretched out before him. Kiryu watched him reach over to the pile of his jacket and fish around for his pack of cigarettes, take one out and light it, like there was nothing at all he wanted. Kiryu swallowed around something messy and writhing and was about to ask why he had stopped when there was a knock at the door.
“Now who could that be?” Majima exhaled before lifting himself up and padding over to the door. Kiryu just watched helplessly, an ache of loss growing inside him.
“Majima-san!” An official-looking man with a troupe of rough men, some of which Kiryu recognized from yesterday, stood at the door, bowing low in the bright light.
Majima snorted, blowing smoke out his nose. “Yeah? What ya want?”
“I am Tanaka, lieutenant of the Shibara family. My men and I offer our sincerest apologies about the misunderstanding yesterday and the offensive way you have been treated since,” Tanaka remained in bowing position, “We have no wish to cause any further distress to the Tojo Clan and want to make amends. If you and your compatriot will join us in town, we would be most honored to escort you to proper lodgings where we can make terms.” He finally rose, gesturing graciously back down the hillside to the town.
“Bullshit,” Majima grumbled, flicking his cigarette to the floor and stamping it out under his heel, “you’ll give us terms here and now.”
Tanaka blinked hard, as did Kiryu, clearly not expecting this response. “E-Excuse me, sir?”
“What, ya want to butter us up with your cushy chairs and hot food, which we’ll be very grateful for after a night out here in the ball-biting cold, and make us forget why we came in the first place?” Majima started to bear down on the shorter man, “So we’ll be so overcome with gratitude, we’ll let bygones be bygones, as if your boys weren’t ordered to give us a hard time and start a fight, hmm? Not fucking happening.”
Majima had all but crowded him out of the doorway now and the rest of the men were slowly backing up into the snow. “Here’s what’s gonna happen. You’re gonna give us two shipments,” Majima held up two fingers, “Not one, two, to take back to Tokyo. And you’re gonna sign a guarantee that there will be a shipment every month waiting for us with your name on the fucking bottom, not your boss’s. Because guess who gets a visit from us again if there’s even a whisper of delay?”
Tanaka looked like he regretted living to see this morning. “Yes, sir,” he whispered to the floor.
“And, just to prove there's no hard feelings, you will serve us breakfast, out here in the hut you feel we deserve. Make sure it's piping hot and a lot of it, we both put away half a cow each on a good day and I'm feeling like it's gonna be one hell of a morning!” His grin was all dazzling daggers in the sun.
He turned back to Kiryu, hidden in the interior of the cabin, still sitting dejectedly on the futon. Majima was painful to look at in that early morning sun, the reflection off the snow making a blinding halo of backlight. Kiryu could just make out the fall of his hair as he tilted his head to trill, “Ain't that right, Kiryu-chan?”