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Once in a While

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Kaoru was reasonably sure he had to be dreaming.

He didn’t dream often—or at least not the kind that he remembered—and it was even rarer for him to recognize a dream in the middle of it, but what else could it be?

His band, a little, scrapped-together group of misfits from the store where they all worked, had just performed to a full, adoring crowd at the Battle of the Bands. It had been the best they’d ever played, and they’d won, and high on adrenaline, Kaoru had finally made his move, and kissed Toshiya.

And Toshiya had kissed him back.

In fact, Toshiya had come home with him, and was sitting there in his living room, holding a beer, and being… quiet.

Yes, there was no question about it. This had to be a dream.

Even so, Kaoru wanted to be sure that he enjoyed this rare opportunity, to see Toshiya up close and so calm, seemingly happy. He never got to be alone with Toshiya, and he didn’t want to waste a second of it.

Toshiya was watching him, like he expected him to do something, and Kaoru suddenly realized, he probably did. If he was supposed to be playing host, he was doing a lousy job of it so far. Dream or not, he could stand to be more hospitable. At least he’d given Toshiya a beer.

“You were great onstage tonight,” Toshiya said, finally. His smile was small, shy, somehow not much like the one Kaoru was used to seeing on him.

“Thanks,” Kaoru said. “I was—Of course, I thought the whole band played well. Very unified, a strong sound.”

Toshiya’s smile grew. “Guess we must’ve played all right if we won.”

Kaoru nodded. “We have you to thank for it. If you hadn’t taken the initiative to get us into the competition…”

“Please. It was obviously a group effort.”

Kaoru had to smile, too, at that. “I think you must be right.”

Silence fell between them again, and it occurred to Kaoru that he didn’t have the first idea how to disrupt it. He wanted to talk to Toshiya, to learn more about him and get to know him better, but he didn’t know where to start. They weren’t strangers; shouldn’t he already know some things about him? Shouldn’t he know how to start a damn conversation?

“Listen,” Toshiya said, startling Kaoru from his thoughts. He was looking down at his beer and his eyebrows were drawn together. “I—About the—kiss, we don’t have to do anything, I mean, change anything, if that’s not what you want.”

“Oh.” Kaoru chewed his lip. “Is… is that not what you want?”

“No, of course, I want—But it doesn’t have to mean, you know, my being here, it’s not…”

“Ah. Right.”

God, what was Kaoru, the stupidest man alive? Toshiya had come home with him, obviously he was expecting things to go a certain way, and here Kaoru was, letting him just sit there thinking Kaoru wasn’t interested.

“I’m doing this all wrong,” Kaoru said.

Toshiya looked at him, eyes all round and innocent.

“I kissed you,” Kaoru went on, “because it was something I’d wanted to do for a long time, and I'd been too much of a coward to make a move.” He shook his head. “I’m not going to keep being a coward now. I’d like to kiss you again.”

For some reason, Toshiya bursting out laughing wasn’t the response Kaoru expected.

“Yeah, no shit, I’d like to kiss you again, too,” Toshiya said. He set his beer aside. “I just wasn’t sure if you were having second thoughts."

“More like I was doubting my own grasp on reality,” Kaoru admitted. “You being here seems… too good to be true.”

Toshiya grinned. “Who’d have guessed you’d be such a romantic?”

“I do mean literally, I thought I might have dozed off.”

“Hmm.” Toshiya tapped a finger against his lips. “What can I do to properly convince you you’re awake?”

Kaoru leaned in, taking the hint, and pressed his lips to Toshiya’s, warm and still smiling faintly. He didn’t think he would ever get tired of kissing him.

It wasn’t the most comfortable or ideal of locations, both of them sitting on the floor, trying to maneuver without hitting the coffee table, hands clumsily reaching for each other, struggling to find purchase without overbalancing. Kaoru tried not to be deterred, kissed his way down the column of Toshiya’s long throat, and delighted in how Toshiya gasped under his ministrations.

Toshiya meanwhile was smoothing his hands over Kaoru’s chest, the exploration gentle and somewhat restrained.

Kaoru wanted to tell him to be bolder, to do whatever he wanted, to take anything he could reach, but his nerves kept any of it from leaving his mouth, and he remained focused instead on his task of tracing the tendons in Toshiya’s neck with his tongue.

The way Toshiya reacted was absolutely addictive. Every new sensitive patch of skin Kaoru discovered earned him shivers, shudders, tiny swallowed-down sounds, and he still hadn’t made it past Toshiya’s collarbone. Swiping his tongue over Toshiya’s Adam’s apple, Kaoru wondered how long it would take him to map out every centimeter of Toshiya this way, just taking his time tasting the salt of his skin.

He bit down lightly, and Toshiya’s whole body jerked, his knee swinging out and crashing into the table leg.

“Fuck—shit—ow!” he hissed, pulling back to cradle his knee.

“Are you okay??” Kaoru scrambled to his feet. “Shit, I’m sorry, I’ll get ice!”

“It’s not that serious,” Toshiya said, but he was still grimacing in pain.

Kaoru pulled Toshiya up from the floor and looked frantically around for somewhere comfortable for him to sit and ice his injured leg. It was times like this he regretted not owning a couch.

“Here, um, go to the bedroom,” he said at last. “Can you walk? I’ll bring ice to you.”

Toshiya shoved at his helping hand with a disapproving glare. “I bumped my knee, nothing is broken. I’m fine.” He went hobbling down the hall, and Kaoru headed to the kitchen to fill an ice bag with ice cubes from the freezer.

He was kind of in awe of his own ability to fuck things up. Did this count as their first date? And all he’d done was bruise Toshiya—in one of the not-so-fun ways. He had to be making a truly terrible impression.

When he got to his bedroom, Toshiya was sitting on the foot of the bed, frowning down at his knee—which was fully visible, since he’d also removed his pants.

Kaoru took a steadying breath and crossed to him. “How is it feeling?”

“Hurts,” Toshiya said. He held out a hand for the ice bag, and laid it gingerly over the glaring bruise on his knee. There was some broken skin there, too, raised up where he’d caught the edge of the table leg, but it wasn’t a gash, and Kaoru figured Toshiya would disdainfully reject any offer of a bandage.

Another silence stretched between them, although Kaoru didn’t feel fully conscious of any time passing.

Then, “The ice is helping,” Toshiya said, and although it was terse, it was reassuring in its way.

“It’s not… how I meant for any of this to go,” Kaoru said. He was trying very hard to keep his gaze anywhere but on Toshiya’s impossibly long, pale thighs, spread wide so he could prop up his knee. It wasn’t the time to fixate on such things, but he could hardly ignore how beautiful Toshiya was.

“Do you ever come out of your head, or you’re pretty much stuck up there 24/7?”

Kaoru’s eyes snapped up to Toshiya’s face, saw how he was watching him. “It’s a safe place for me.”

“Is it?” Toshiya asked. “Seems like you can’t get much done from in there.”

“What do you suggest?”

Toshiya chewed his lip, looking thoughtful. “I can’t ask you to totally drop your guard and open up to me all at once. I get that it takes time, and effort. But I hope you’ll gradually become more trusting and comfortable with me. Until then… Maybe you could tell me what you’re thinking once in a while?”

There was a hopeful but hesitant look in his eyes, and it scared Kaoru more than it probably should have.

He didn’t want to disappoint Toshiya, but how could he possibly tell him anything he was thinking? He wanted to make the effort, but it almost felt like too much to ask. How could anything good come of Kaoru sharing his thoughts or feelings, things so volatile and unpredictable? Surely, there was some alternative, where Toshiya could feel like Kaoru was opening up without Kaoru actually having to be vulnerable?

“You’re treating this like some puzzle with a solution,” Toshiya said. “It’s not. We’re just having a conversation.”

“It still seems like there’s a right and a wrong answer,” Kaoru said. “I don’t want to let you down.”

“You can’t think like that,” Toshiya said, frowning. “If you’re always revising what you say to make it whatever you think I want to hear, then you’ll never be really honest with me, and I can tell you right now, that’s not what I want.”

Kaoru sighed. This was going to be so much work. But he did think Toshiya was worth it. “So then, what exactly do you want to know?”

“A minute ago, you had this lost look,” Toshiya said. “I want to know what was on your mind.”

Kaoru thought about it, about what had been on his mind besides the inevitability of his disappointing Toshiya, and felt his cheeks start burning. “Oh. Um. I was just thinking… how beautiful you are.”

Toshiya raised an eyebrow, but he was smiling. “Is that for real?”

“It’s hard not to notice, even though I should be worried about you being hurt.”

Toshiya scoffed. “Do you think I’m made of glass? I plan to spread a rumor at the store, how I busted my knee very dramatically onstage, so this is basically a plus for me.”

“Then,” Kaoru said, slowly, “You’re not too injured for… I could kiss you again?”

Toshiya laughed, and his hand was cupping the back of Kaoru’s neck, pulling him forward until their lips met before the smile could fade form his face.

Kaoru still tried to be careful, dreaded the imaginary possibility of hurting Toshiya further—knocking him off the bed or hitting the bedside lamp so it fell on top of him—but the longer he kissed Toshiya the less he worried. It still felt unreal, but it felt so good and so correct, and he never wanted it to end.

It seemed that Toshiya had a few more ideas than Kaoru did, because without even pausing in their kissing for air, Toshiya’s hands started unbuttoning Kaoru’s shirt, slipping beneath to press warm and steady against Kaoru’s bare chest, and maybe it gave away just how rarely Kaoru saw any action, but the touch had his breath shuddering out of him, flames lighting low in his belly. He couldn’t be close enough, even if he was lying right on top of Toshiya.

Which, naturally, he was, before he could even realize what he was doing. Toshiya was pushed down onto the mattress with Kaoru over him, still delicately avoiding his banged-up knee, and intensely focused once again on kissing Toshiya’s neck from collarbone to jaw and back down.

No complaints were heard from Toshiya. His hands kept up their explorations of Kaoru’s chest, shoved his shirt off his shoulders and onto the floor, and his eyes went wide as Kaoru sat up and looked down at him in all his shirtless glory.

“Wow,” Toshiya said, running his hands down Kaoru’s arms. “You, uh. You have a lot of tattoos.”

Kaoru looked down at himself. “Do they bother you?”

Of course he usually kept them covered, for work and everything. Even in the band’s ventures, it wasn’t his habit to show off more than his forearms. Some people were comfortable displaying a lot of skin, but that had never been Kaoru’s thing, and Toshiya seeing it all at once… He was starting to wonder if he should have warned him somehow.

“Only if by ‘bother me’ you mean ‘turn me on’,” Toshiya said. “Like…. hot and bothered. I didn’t realize they covered so much of you. You look like a badass.”

Kaoru raised an eyebrow. “What, you didn’t think so before?”

Toshiya laughed. “At the store, you know, you have a kind of sexy-nerd thing going on, it’s different.”

Kaoru was pretty sure he should be offended by that but he couldn’t find it in himself to be concerned with it, not when Toshiya was lying on his bed, smiling up at him. At least he thought he was a sexy nerd.

“I’m different than I am at the store in a lot of ways,” Kaoru said, and he moved back so he could get between Toshiya’s legs, careful not to upset the ice bag still balanced on his knee.

Toshiya was watching him, his eyes curious, almost black, and Kaoru never wanted him to look away.

He ran his hands up Toshiya’s long thighs, somewhat awed by how smooth they were and by his almost irrepressible urge to mark them up with bruises and love bites. Toshiya looked like some sensual canvas, just waiting for Kaoru to decorate him.

Kaoru also couldn’t miss the erection Toshiya was sporting, obvious in his tight red briefs. As still as Toshiya was keeping, that didn’t stop his cock from twitching a couple of times under Kaoru’s intense gaze, and he refused to even pretend to be subtle about watching.

He lowered himself so he was lying on his stomach between Toshiya’s legs, trailed his hands lightly up the backs of Toshiya’s thighs this time, just to hear his breath hitch. He hid his smile against Toshiya’s skin and placed a kiss just above the inside of his left knee.

Slowly, Kaoru worked his way up, nipping at Toshiya’s thighs, sucking on the sensitive skin there, leaving a mark or two along the way. It was no secret exactly where he was headed, but he was honestly surprised by the patience Toshiya was displaying as he took his time getting there. He’d sort of imagined that Toshiya would be—not brattier necessarily, but more demanding, sure of what he wanted and determined to get it.

He liked that feistiness to be sure, but he couldn’t deny that there was also something deeply arousing about Toshiya’s willingness to place himself under Kaoru’s control, to let him take the reins and mark him up, trusting that he would take proper care of him and give him what he needed.

And in due time, Kaoru’s mouth hit the edge of Toshiya’s underwear, and the briefs had to be removed so he could continue on his path.

Kaoru didn’t tease once he was there. He took Toshiya’s length into his mouth, the flat of his tongue pressing along the underside, and, as if they were drawn there magnetically, Toshiya’s hands found their way to Kaoru’s hair. It was still down from after the live, hanging tousled around his face, but Toshiya’s hands anchored there like it was their home, and Kaoru moaned softly at the possessive touch.

Toshiya echoed the sound, deep in his chest.

That was something Kaoru could stand to hear a lot more of. Toshiya’s voice was so low, he wanted to hear him saying all kinds of desperate, needy things, maybe even begging, all in that incredibly sexy rumble of his.

The thought made Kaoru redouble his efforts, and he swallowed more of Toshiya down, until his cockhead was bumping the back of Kaoru’s throat, and low curses were spilling from Toshiya’s open mouth.

It was very tempting to get Toshiya to cum just like that, to have him bucking up into Kaoru’s mouth, emptying himself down his throat—but it felt too obvious, like the easy way out, and or like Kaoru was just trying to get it finished as quickly and efficiently as possible, and that wasn’t the case. This wasn’t some hurried encounter; he wanted to give Toshiya the full experience.

Kaoru pulled off almost reluctantly, nosed at the short hair around the base of Toshiya’s cock as he caught his breath. His tongue laved absently over Toshiya’s balls, and Toshiya made a noise, considerably higher and more punched-out than some of his others. A smirk pulled at the corner of Kaoru’s mouth.

“K-Kaoru,” Toshiya said quietly, pulling gently at his hair until he looked up at him. “I—want more.”

Kaoru kissed the top of his cock once more and nodded as he sat up. “Anything you want, baby.”

Toshiya licked his lips, then hooked his hands behind his own knees and pulled his legs up, giving Kaoru quite a spectacular view. “I want to give you what you want, too.”

It would have been stupid to ask how Toshiya thought he knew what Kaoru wanted, given the way Kaoru was staring. He had to look so hungry, and there was no disguising how hard his own cock was, straining against the confines of his clothing.

“Unless that’s not….” Toshiya started, doubt flickering over his face as he started to lower his legs.

“No, I—Toshiya,” Kaoru said, one hand on Toshiya’s calf, “I want you. I would like nothing more than to… share this kind of intimacy.”

Just like that, Toshiya was laughing at him again.

Kaoru bristled. “I don’t see what’s so funny about that.”

“It’s not, it’s just,” Toshiya said, and bit his lip to quiet his laughter. “God, are you like this about everything? I’m glad you want me, but it doesn’t have to be so serious.”

Kaoru couldn’t help his frown. “I want you to low that I take this seriously.”

“I just want you to enjoy it, too.”

There was no imaginable scenario where Kaoru didn’t enjoy getting to be with Toshiya like this, but he supposed he’d have to do better showing that, since it wasn’t apparently as obvious to Toshiya himself.

Actions speak louder than words, so Kaoru reached for the lube he kept in a drawer of his bedside table without any further debate.

Toshiya’s eyes locked on the bottle with pure, dangerous desire, and he held his legs wide, giving Kaoru access to the most intimate parts of his body.

It was hard for Kaoru to fully process how he’d ended up here, his slicked-up fingers pressing into Toshiya’s hole, warm and tight. It accepted him without difficulty. Toshiya’s head was tilted back, his lips pressed together, preventing him from crying out, and every rigid line of his body was beautiful in its tension. Kaoru wanted to worship him, to cover every centimeter of Toshiya with kisses until his skin was singing, but he couldn’t let himself be distracted at this point.

He got Toshiya prepared quickly and efficiently, and only paused to briefly check in before he was opening his own pants, getting a condom over his erection and lining himself up at Toshiya’s entrance.

Toshiya’s eyes were on him, not impatient, but expectant once again, and Kaoru outright refused to disappoint him. He breached his hole with little resistance and slid home in one patient movement.

“Toshiya,” he whispered. He meant to get a response, confirm that he was comfortable and that they could continue, but it came out sounding more like some desperate plea. He breathed out, tried again, “Are you okay?”

“I’m way past okay,” Toshiya said with a hoarse chuckle. “Or do you not realize just how fucking long I’ve wanted you inside me?”

“I… you wanted this?”

Sure, on some level, Kaoru had known that Toshiya wanted this, based on his favorable responses and declared interest, but the thought that Toshiya had been imagining Kaoru filling him, had been wanting it, left Kaoru shivering.

Toshiya’s expression faltered. “You ask that like it’s something you never thought about yourself.”

Once again, Kaoru doubted himself, his ability to produce the right answer. There had been times when he’d thought of having this with Toshiya, when he’d wanted it so badly his chest ached, but he’d always cautioned himself against wishful thinking or hoping for the impossible, so such fantasies had tended to be short-lived.

It seemed like that wasn’t what Toshiya wanted to hear. Was he really not bothered by the invasion of his privacy inherent in Kaoru's having those thoughts about him?

Toshiya’s hips rocked, and his body squeezed around Kaoru’s length, bringing his attention back.

“I’m just saying,” Toshiya said, “I’ve spent a whole lot of lonely nights thinking about you, so knowing you were thinking of me, too, might make me feel better.”

“I’ve thought of you,” Kaoru said simply.

Toshiya made a pleased sound, and his arms wrapped around Kaoru’s shoulders, pulling him in close enough to speak against his lips. “How does it compare? C’mon, tell me how it feels.”

Oh, right, Toshiya wanted him to talk about what was on his mind. That was so much easier said than done.

There Kaoru was, balls-deep in this impossibly beautiful man, more excited than perhaps he’d ever been, honestly, but when he tried to find the words to describe how it felt, all he could come up with was “warm” and “nice”. He had the distinct impression that those were the kind of responses that got Toshiya laughing at him.

Hoping it sounded at least a little bit sexier even if it lacked poetry, Kaoru said, “Good. Feels—so good, having you all around me.”

Maybe that still wasn’t what Toshiya was looking for, but he accepted it, and kissed Kaoru, his tongue sliding along his bottom lip, then past it into his mouth with no other warning.

It shocked a moan out of Kaoru. He was a capable man, used to being in control and managing things; having someone so easily yank the rug out from under him left him almost dizzy, and his hips jerked, driving him just a fraction deeper into Toshiya’s body.

Toshiya gasped, arching his back. “Yes.” He pulled back enough to look at Kaoru and whispered, “Fuck me.”

Some small rebellious part of Kaoru wanted to refuse, to draw out the teasing just to show Toshiya who was in charge here. The heat in Toshiya’s gaze overtook that impulse, told him to make it good and not hold back.

Toshiya held onto him, but never stopped moving. He met Kaoru’s thrusts where he could, arched and writhed, and litanies of pleasure fell continuously from his mouth.

Kaoru got lost in the moment. He was usually the one with his feet on the ground, but he was nowhere near it now, and by the time he realized he was mumbling his own streams of praise and sweet nothings it was too late to cut himself off.

He couldn’t regret anything he was saying anyway, even if he had half an idea what it was; he was far too happily distracted by the sheer feeling of Toshiya tight around him, moving below him, his cock hard and slick against Kaoru’s belly.

There was a rushing in Kaoru’s ears, almost like the crowd cheering for them up onstage, and the high feeling of joy and fulfillment wasn’t so different either. His whole body was vibrating right along with Toshiya’s, the two of them making music of another kind altogether, and it was bringing something up inside Kaoru, something powerful and unfamiliar, and before he could recognize what was happening, his orgasm was overtaking him, crashing through him rather traditionally, like a tidal wave, and he could barely gasp out Toshiya’s name as he shook through it.

Toshiya whined, clenching around him, rubbing his cock against him, chasing that dull friction until he, too, came, with an almost pained cry.

Kaoru regretted his angle, how he wasn’t in the best position to see everything, to watch Toshiya cum, to then witness his face, blissed-out and sated. He wanted to stare at him for hours, but he was too close and too far away, and he needed to do things in the proper order.

After cautiously pulling out and extricating himself from the lazy tangle of Toshiya’s limbs, he hurried to get a damp cloth to help them both get cleaned up, and made sure to pick up the ice bag that had fallen on the floor, so it could go back on Toshiya’s knee, even if the ice was mostly melted by that point.

Toshiya stayed where he lay, eyes half-lidded, a small smile on his face. “You’re all set on takin’ care of me now, hm?”

Kaoru didn’t pause in his walk around the room to collect all the abandoned clothing into a tidy pile. “Would you prefer if I didn’t?”

Toshiya shook his head, still smiling. “’s’nice. You’re sweet.”

Kaoru set the clothes where they could be easily found, and sat on the bed. “I like you, so I want to take care of you. I doubt most people I meet would use the word ‘sweet’ to describe me.”

“Guess I’m just lucky that way,” Toshiya said. “This… is really nice.”

“I’m glad you think so.” Kaoru laid his hand on Toshiya’s thigh, feeling the warmth and realness of him. “You’re something special."

Toshiya looked like he was going to laugh again. “You, too.”

“Are you hungry?” Kaoru asked. “If there’s anything I can get you…”

“Think I’d just like to sleep for a little bit, if that’s okay,” Toshiya said. He pulled at Kaoru’s hand. “It’s been a long day.”

“Of course that’s okay,” Kaoru said, and lay down beside him. “I kind of can’t believe everything that’s happened today.”

“Seriously. Being up there, rocking…”

“And winning,” Kaoru added.

Toshiya grinned. “And winning. The fucking dream, man. We get to record.”

“There’s a lot to think about.”

“Especially with the new job positions you’re creating.”

Kaoru winced. “Ah yeah. Those.”

“What, you thought you could just kiss me and I’d forget all about your shenanigans with the store?”

“I didn’t just kiss you…”

“You’ll at least do it fairly, won’t you?” Toshiya said, tucking one hand under his face like a pillow. “Make the announcement, give people the chance to apply and interview for more responsibilities?”

“Would that make it appropriate for me to promote you, despite our, ah, relationship?” Kaoru asked.

“More appropriate than your refusing to promote me because of our relationship,” Toshiya said.

Kaoru thought about it, then nodded. “Of course I’ll give everyone equal opportunity to pursue some advancement in the store.”

“It’ll be strange not having Kyo there anymore, though,” Toshiya said. He looked up towards the ceiling. “I think the guests will miss him. Maybe more than they’d realize.”

“He is efficient,” Kaoru agreed. “I tried to convince him to stay on, maybe just a few days a week, but I suppose… He’ll make great things on his future path.”

“Oh, I don’t doubt it. Did you hear Die say that Kyo made his outfit for the live? I had no idea he had that kind of skill. I can’t wait to see his designs on some runway.”

“And at least he’s not leaving the band.”

“Yeah, that’s lucky.”

As they fell into silence, this one considerably more comfortable, Kaoru let his hand wander over Toshiya’s bare skin, just touching, feeling, learning. Toshiya didn’t react at all, until he flinched very slightly when Kaoru reached halfway down his leg.

“How’s your knee?” Kaoru asked, fingers drifting back up Toshiya’s thigh, away from the injury.

“It’s fine,” Toshiya said. “Actually, it’s the perfect cover. I can show it to everyone when they ask why I’m walking funny tomorrow.”

Kaoru felt himself blushing. “I’m sorry if I was too rough…”

“You weren’t at all,” Toshiya said. “I loved it. You could even stand to be a smidgen rougher.”

“Noted.”

As it got later, Toshiya was fading in and out of wakefulness, and Kaoru was following. He had the good sense to set some alarms for morning, and then turned all the lights officially off, and settled in to sleep.

There was something very wrong and unfair about the fact that the store would be open tomorrow, that their humdrum lives would have to continue even after everything that had happened.

But, Kaoru reminded himself that going back to the store didn’t erase other areas of reality. What he had now with Toshiya, fantastical as it seemed, would still be there in the morning, and that thought made waking up the next day seem like something to look forward to.