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always and forever, by your side

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Tooru moans softly, skin painted gold where it’s flooded by the warm light from the lamp on the desk, fingers of one hand flexing tight in Tetsurou’s hair. Daichi has both Tooru’s legs hitched over his shoulders, hands gripping his thighs, dark head bent to his task as Tooru’s hips tremble with the effort of not fucking up into his mouth. It’s been ten minutes - twelve? - and Tetsurou is, through the haze of arousal clouding his mind, impressed both by Tooru for holding out and by Daichi’s skill at keeping him on the edge for so long.

“Look at him,” he whispers against the shell of Tooru’s ear, arms tightening around his waist as Daichi sinks down again and he feels Tooru’s back arch, just a little. “He’s being so patient for you, Tooru, don’t you want to watch him?”

Tooru moans again, a breathless, helpless sound, and tugs savagely at Tetsurou’s hair. Tetsurou bends, obedient, bites at the lovely arch of his neck where his head is thrown back on Tetsurou’s shoulder. He’s so terribly sweet, so achingly precious like this, all the poise and grace stripped away to leave him panting and desperate for them. This balance between the three of them is still so new, delicate and beautiful as spun glass, and Tetsurou is determined to give him everything he has to give as they make space for him in what Daichi and Tetsurou have built for themselves.

So he litters Tooru’s tender skin with hot, relentless bites, sucks where he’s learned Tooru is most sensitive, and smiles in fierce satisfaction when he cries out, soft and shuddering. There’s a rumbling groan from Daichi, and then he’s kissing hungrily up Tooru’s lithe body, dark eyes burning.

“You,” he breathes, “you’ve made your fucking point - you win, I can’t wait anymore, fuck, please -”

Tooru is so far gone that he doesn’t pause to savour the victory, that he pants, “Oh, thank god,” and fumbles terribly with the little bottle of lube, doesn’t even bother with the foil squares laid out and ready. Daichi doesn’t say a thing about this, though he usually prefers no more clean up than is strictly necessary, and Tetsurou’s mouth goes dry in a flood of arousal - if it’s even possible to be more aroused than he already is - as he realizes how badly he wants it.

Daichi’s already prepped, worked open thoroughly by Tetsurou’s deft fingers half an hour ago, and he’s straddling Tooru’s lap, guiding him inside, the second Tooru tosses the bottle aside. They moan in unison, the sexiest harmony Tetsurou’s heard in his entire fucking life, which is saying something given how long his life has been. Tooru’s hand is still clenched in Tetsurou’s hair, the other on Daichi’s waist to steady him. Daichi winds an arm around Tetsurou’s neck, presses his face into Tooru’s hair, and grinds down.

Daichi is so close that the sound of his whimper is like a physical blow, whiting out every thought in an instant. Both Tetsurou and Tooru groan Daichi’s name, and Tetsurou buries a hand in Daichi’s hair to pull his head back and kiss him as hard as he can. Daichi kisses back just as hard, but he’s soon pulling away to kiss Tooru instead, cradling his face as he rides him with deep, forceful rolls of his hips. Tetsurou holds them both as close as he can, too drunk on the sound and smell and warmth of them to do more than pant into Tooru’s neck as he listens.

They come far too soon, worked up as they are, together almost to the second. Tetsurou feels Tooru jerk between them, back arching as he cries out louder than he has all night. That sends Daichi over too, skin sweat-slick and head thrown back and lips parted in a silent moan as he spills against Tooru’s stomach.

They’re all just breathing hard for a minute, and then Tetsurou says “Holy fuck,” and the other two laugh, still breathless. Tetsurou helps them clean up as much as they’re willing, and then settles with them on either side, an arm around their waists. Daichi lays his head on Tetsurou’s shoulder with a satisfied sigh, and Tooru grins into Tetsurou’s jaw, teasing between his legs with the lightest possible touch.

“Don’t,” Tetsurou half-groans, pressing up against his fingertips despite himself. “I’ve already been tortured enough, having to watch you two like that.”

“Yeah?” Tooru looks up at him, a hint of mischief in his expression even though he was panting and fucked out only a few minutes ago. “How do you want to get off, then? I bet you wouldn’t last thirty seconds if I got my mouth on you.”

Tetsurou huffs a laugh, stopping Tooru as he starts to shift down the bed. “Probably, but you don’t have to take the trouble when you’re all worn out. C’mere.”

“It’s fine, I can -”

Tetsurou pulls him close and shuts him up with a kiss, which he melts into easily. Daichi’s chuckle is a quiet thing, warm against Tetsurou’s collarbone, and it’s his hand that slides down to where Tetsurou is painfully hard.

“I’ve got him, Tooru,” he murmurs. “You keep his mouth occupied, ‘kay?”

The gravel-rough rasp of his voice is enough to make Tetsurou shiver, just a little, and he licks into Tooru’s mouth with a sudden surge of urgency. Tooru kisses back, hot and skillful, forcing it to slow to a searing, relentless simmer. Tetsurou retains just enough awareness to realize when Tooru starts reaching down to help Dachi, and he catches his hand, brings it back up to clutch tightly against his chest.

“ - don’t have to,” he breaks away to pant, “Daichi’s got it, just kiss me -”

For a brief moment, he gets the oddest feeling that Tooru stiffens in the circle of his arm, goes still like a wary animal - but then Tooru goes back to devouring Tetsurou’s mouth, and Daichi is jerking Tetsurou off roughly, and his last, fleeting thought as he loses himself to the pleasure shuddering through him is I must have imagined it.

***

Tetsurou doesn’t know what wakes him - the patter of rain on the windows, perhaps, or a subdued grumble of thunder - but he’s blinking awake in the soft darkness, eyes and limbs still sleep-heavy. Daichi’s forehead is pressed to his back, an arm laid over his waist, and Tooru - Tetsurou frowns slightly, registering the mess of empty, rumpled blankets. Where is Tooru?

He slips out from under Daichi’s arm and pads into the dark drawing room, where there is, for some reason, the faintly lingering smell of chamomile tea. A hint of streetlight is filtering through the bay window, fractured into a thousand shards by the raindrops coursing down the glass. Tooru is a ghostly silhouette, sitting by the window with his knees hugged to his chest and his head laid on his arms.

He’s looking outside, watching the rain, and only glances Tetsurou’s way with a tiny smile when he sits down.

“Hey.”

“Hey.” Tetsurou leans his head against the glass, lifting a hand to trace a knuckle against Tooru’s cheek. “Couldn’t sleep?”

“Mhm.” Tooru lifts the mug he’s holding slightly. “I thought tea might help.”

“And did it?”

“A little.”

Tetsurou hums quietly, scanning his face. He can’t quite shake off the feeling that something is wrong. Tooru had seemed like his usual self when they’d gone to bed, and his expression is now as calm and still as a winter lake frozen over, but . . . not peaceful, Tetsurou realizes, and not natural. It’s deliberate. He recognizes this look, has seen it only a handful of times through the centuries, and only when Tooru had been trying to hide something from him. Something he knows Tetsurou wouldn’t like to hear.

It won’t do to rush this, though, so Tetsurou gently pulls both of Tooru’s feet into his lap, palms warm on his ankles, fingertips nestled beneath the hems of his track pants as his thumbs stroke back and forth. Tooru smiles again, a little warmer, and leans against the window like Tetsurou, looking down at the mug cradled in both hands. They’re quiet for a minute or two before Tetsurou says, hesitant, “Is everything okay?”

“Sure,” Tooru replies, with the perfect amount of faint surprise, but it’s a little too quick, a little too certain. “Everything’s fine, why?”

“Are you sure?” Tetsurou squeezes his ankles, a frigid little shiver of uncertainty stealing up his spine. “I just - I have this feeling that something’s bothering you. That it’s . . . maybe been bothering you for a while, now?”

Tooru takes a soft breath, opens his mouth like the denial is ready and waiting on his tongue. Then he meets Tetsurou’s gaze, holds it, and the words never come. His expression cracks open just the slightest bit, his shoulders easing down like whatever little energy he’d had has abruptly been drained away, and Tetsurou’s heart clenches into a tight little knot.

“I don’t know how to say it,” he murmurs, slowly, turning to look back out the window. Thunder rumbles in the distance, quiet and ominous. “I don’t know if . . .”

If what? Tetsurou thinks, anxiety swelling gently, sickeningly in the middle of his chest. If this is working out? If you still want both of us? Either of us?

“Did - one of us do something to upset you? Or did we say something that we shouldn’t have - that you didn’t -”

“No, no, of course not.” It’s said instantly, honestly, and Tooru reaches out to cradle one side of Tetsurou’s face. “Of course you didn’t. It’s neither of you, it’s - it’s me. Just a stupid thing I - that worries me.”

Tetsurou kisses the centre of his palm, careful and precise. “What is it?” he murmurs, sliding a hand up his calf. “Tell me, Tooru.”

Tooru releases him to hug his knees once more. His eyes are soft, sad, luminous even in the faint light, even through the delicate bars of his lowered eyelashes. “You’ve done so much to make me feel welcome,” he says quietly, with all the deliberation of a craftsman laying their tools out, one by one. “To show me that you want me here, with you. And I - I’ve loved you two for so long, and I was - so happy when you asked me to be yours. But if you hadn’t, I would have . . . endured, I suppose, as I’d done for so long. I’d never have asked for anything else.”

He looks up, then, still sad, but with a hint of an edge in his gaze. “Do you understand that, Tetsu? Your happiness, and Daichi’s, always meant more to me than my own. It still does. I couldn’t have come in between you two any more than I could have cut my own arm off, and if I thought that you would be better off without me, I wouldn’t hesitate to leave for an instant.”

Tetsurou’s leaning forward without realizing it, frowning without being able to help it, as he tries to piece his words together. “I understand, of course I do, but we’re not better off without you. How could we ever be? You complete us, the three of us together are -”

“Do I?” The edge is growing stronger, sharper. “You were complete already, before me. You were happy without me for centuries.”

“Well - yes, but we always cared for you, both of us, and we might not have known then that we loved you, but we know now, and - Tooru, why are you saying these things?” Tetsurou squeezes his calf, searching his face with almost painful intensity. “You know how much we want you, that we’re happier with you -”

“Are you? Are you really?” The words are suddenly snapped, whip-like, and Tetsurou flinches. “You do everything to show me that you are. Every date is something I like to do, places I like to go, food I like to eat. The bookshelves are filling up with books that neither of you like to read. Even in bed, all your attention is on what you think I want, on making me feel good. When I’m alone with you, all I hear half the time is how much Daichi cares about me, and I hear the same from him about you when you’re not around.”

Tetsurou opens his mouth to say - what, he doesn’t know, but Tooru is relentless.

“And all I end up thinking is wow, they’re trying really hard to show me how much they care, and then I feel like a bastard for being insecure because my boyfriends are giving me too much attention, god, you’re so, so fucking good to me, but - it’s like you have something to prove, that both of you have to try to be something you’re not just for me, and I - I can’t bear that thought.” Lightning flashes bright outside, painting Tooru’s skin pale for a split second, his gaze diamond-hard as it bores into Tetsurou. “If you have to force yourselves to be happy all the damn time just for me, if you have to sacrifice your own interests and wants and needs for me out of some kind of - of misplaced guilt because I wanted you for so long and you never realized, then I’d rather walk out the door right now. I refuse to be a burden you have to accommodate if all I do is get in the way of what you had together before, I can’t - I won’t -”

He stops short when he sees the first tear fall down Tetsurou’s cheek, suddenly looking stricken. “Shit, I’m sorry,” he whispers, a hand hovering over where Tetsurou’s fingers are curled tight into the fabric of his pants before pulling away, as though he’s afraid to touch him. “I’m so sorry, Tetsu, I didn’t mean . . .”

“Come here,” Tetsurou says, his voice the barest thread, and holds his arms open until Tooru sets the mug aside, shuffles hesitantly into his lap and puts his arms around his shoulders. Tetsurou hugs him tight and hides his face in his chest, sniffling quietly, as he tries to get a grip on the storm of emotion writhing in the pit of his stomach. How had he not known that Tooru had been so worried about this? What kind of boyfriend was he, to have missed it all this time?

- out of some kind of misplaced guilt because I wanted you for so long and you never realized, then I’d rather walk out the door -

God, that single sentence had cut so deep, had hurt more than he’d ever known words could.

“We love you,” he whispers when his voice is halfway steady, lifting his tear-stained face to Tooru’s. “Tooru, we love you so, so much, and we’re not pretending to be anything. It’s not guilt, it’s - okay, maybe we do feel a little guilty, but we try not to blame ourselves for what you felt for so long, because we know that’s not what you want. We’re just trying to make up for lost time, we - I want to know how you like your coffee in the morning, and that you read dusty old war journals, and that you keep every single letter you’ve ever received because you can never bear to throw any of them away. I want to know every single thing that you’ll let me, because I know I’ll love you for all of it. And yes, we were complete without you, but that doesn’t mean that you’re - that you’re unnecessary. You’re not some kind of fucking - Subway add-on that we can do without, just like that -”

Tooru laughs at that, startled and sweet, and the relief of seeing that drawn look vanish from his face sweeps over Tetsurou in a rush more heady than any drug. “Tooru,” he says, reaching up to cradle his face in both hands, “Daichi and I, on our own, are not the same as the three of us together. There is no more Daichi and I. You’re not any kind of burden, god - you’re ours, and we’re yours. Yes, we were happy for centuries before you, but we’ll be much happier for centuries more with you. We wouldn’t be complete anymore without you.”

Tooru hesitates for the longest moment, and then nods slowly against Tetsurou’s palms, his eyes looking suspiciously wet. “I just - I feel like your attention is always on me, you know? Both of you. But I don’t want to be the odd one out, the one who’s catered to, I just - want to be to both of you what you are to each other.”

“You are.” Tetsurou reaches up to kiss his forehead, fervent and lingering. “Sweetheart, you are. We just wanted to show you how much we care, but maybe it was a little too much. Daichi and I have had centuries to get used to each other, and maybe we tried too hard to create that in - what, three months? Three months is nothing compared to how long our lives are, and it makes sense that we’d need a little more time. But whether it takes a year or a decade, we’re not letting you go anywhere. Okay?”

“ . . . Okay.” Tooru tucks his face into Tetsurou’s neck, his voice breaking just a little. “Okay. Tetsu -”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you. So much. And I’m sorry for - sorry that I -”

“Shh, it’s okay,” Tetsurou says into his hair, stroking gently down his back. “It’s okay.”

Tooru sniffs, and they’re quiet for a minute or two before he murmurs, so quietly that Tetsurou almost doesn’t hear it over the drum of rain outside, “There’s, um - one more thing that I worry about.”

“Mhm?”

Tooru pulls back so Tetsurou can see his face, and to Tetsurou’s dismayed shock, he’s crying hard, tears gleaming silver as they spill from his lovely eyes. “Daichi,” he says, his hands trembling ever so slightly where they’re laced behind Tetsurou’s neck, “does he - really love me? He’s not just doing it for you - because we knew each other before?”

“Tooru -” Tetsurou’s heart damn near breaks in his chest, and he wipes Tooru’s tears away with his thumbs, on the verge of crying once more. “Of course, of course he does, how could you even ask that? He loves you so fucking much, he’d do anything for you, he -”

“I know,” Tooru says, almost sobs, reaching up to hold Tetsurou’s wrists tight. “I know, I know, but I just - I don’t want to lose you, either of you, and I just get so scared sometimes, I’ve wanted you for so long -”

“You will never lose us,” Tetsurou says fiercely, pulling Tooru close and hugging him as tight as he can. “Never. You hear me?”

Tooru nods jerkily into his shoulder, still crying. Tetsurou listens to the soft sweep of his breathing slowly grow steadier, holds him warm and secure and kisses his hair until he quietens. Maybe twenty minutes pass before Tetsurou judges them both to be calm enough that he murmurs, “Tooru, next time . . . will you talk to us about it, when you’re worried? Don’t keep things like this to yourself, sweetheart.”

“Yeah,” Tooru sighs quietly. “Yeah, I should’ve told you earlier. I just thought it was ridiculous - I mean, who worries about their boyfriends being too nice?”

Tetsurou chuckles, nuzzling into his jaw. “Eight hundred-year-old immortals, apparently.”

“God. I feel so juvenile.”

“Hey. No.” Tetsurou leans away to look at him. “This is important, and it’s something we’re going to work through, and it’s something you’re going to talk to Daichi about tomorrow. Okay?”

He winces but sighs assent, his nose wrinkling adorably. He’s so beautiful, Tetsurou thinks, all of him suddenly aching with love for the man settled in his lap. He’s so strong and so proud and so intelligent, and he’s so beautiful now, with his eyes still red and his shirt rumpled and his bruised heart so entirely bared for Tetsurou to kiss better.

“Bed?” he asks softly, brushing a lock of Tooru’s messy hair behind one ear. “You must be sleepy.”

“Mm.” Tooru tips Tetsurou’s face up to kiss him, long and gentle, before slipping off his lap. “You go ahead, I’ll put the mug away and be right there.”

So Tetsurou goes. Daichi is still sleeping, breathing even and peaceful, and Tetsurou can’t help tracing a light fingertip across his cheek before lying down and carefully tucking Daichi’s arm close over his waist. Tooru follows a handful of seconds later, getting into bed beside Tetsurou with a kiss to his temple and a warm smile, one hand brushing Tetsurou’s hair from his eyes.

Tetsurou smiles back, kisses his fingers, tugs him closer by the arm. Tooru pauses before he lies down, though, looking across at Daichi, and Tetsurou’s just about to ask if something’s wrong when he leans over to kiss Daichi’s shoulder.

And Tetsurou sees the tender care with which he does it, sees the firefly-soft glow in his eyes as he pulls the blanket up to Daichi’s neck, and as Tooru lies down and curls close against Tetsurou’s chest, he knows - despite the shock and hurt and worry that tomorrow will bring, when Daichi hears all of this - that they’ll work through it. They'll be just fine.

Now, and forever.