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Paris summer heat was tolerable so long as Noé remembered to stick to the shaded parts of the cobbled streets and to accept ice in all of his drinks. The pale white and greys of his outfits were an additional precaution; he was fortunate enough to not be stuffed into black coats and velvety ribbons, the mere thought of Vanitas’s usual attire breaching unwanted into his mind’s eye. He couldn’t imagine navigating the winding, sprawling paths of Paris in dark clothing, especially those plumes of material that bunched and cinched in all the wrong places, leaving nothing to be curious over but also denying any chance of modest comfortability. He sighed, pushing Vanitas out of his thoughts. He seemed to be all Noé could think about; the past three days since arriving in Paris had been nothing but plagued by the raven and every emotion that came with him.

Before, when he had the tendency to be on his own and studying through the long summer days, the heat never bothered Noé. He’d spend the warmest part of the afternoon shirtless and doused in water, his papers often smeared with splotched ink that hadn’t been given the time to dry prior to his hair dripping amidst the letters, and then he’d have the freedom to fend off the humid nights doing whatever he pleased. Now, however, with Vanitas laying in the bed across from him, Noé couldn’t help but wonder how he’d get through these next few weeks of rising temperatures.

The window to their room was open, with sheer curtains clinging to the window frame in heavy stillness. There was no breeze tonight; nothing to bring aid from the current humidity that clung to the walls and floor, leaving Noé’s body unbearably hot where his shoulders and back spread out atop the cottony sheets. The mattress seemed to drink up his body heat, seeping it away from him only to puddle and pool in an ever-expanding mass of bedding that was already too warm; he had nowhere to roll to escape into something cooler. Noé heaved a sigh, restless.

Beside him, in the bed adjacent to his own, Vanitas mocked his sigh with childish boredom. Noé turned his head to glare are him. The shorter boy was sprawled atop his blankets, hair mussed and curling around his head as he lay nestled around his pillow. They were both in as little clothing as possible while still remaining decent, which meant a loose-fitting shirt and the lightest trousers Noé owned. Vanitas, on the other hand, had opted for a nightgown.

To put it nicely, the garb was gaudy. The collar and cuffs were frilled, something that bloomed like lace, but the body itself was streaked with differing directions of silk, giving it a patterned appearance though it lacked any color other than pearly shine. Noé had found it odd that his new roommate would wear something other than form-fitting black velvet to bed but hadn’t dared question the decision, wary of being laughed at again. It appeared to have quickly become a recurring habit of the shorter boy, and by doing so, Vanitas’s laugh always put him on edge.

Noé exhaled slowly through his nose, body twisted on the bed in an attempt to feel cool air on his overheated skin, but the action brought him little relief and he settled onto his side with a low huff. Vanitas, somehow maintaining his composure in such temperatures, raised a sly eyebrow.

“Someone seems bothered,” he cooed, words smoothing down Noé’s back in a way that gave him goosebumps. The dove tried not to roll his eyes, instead giving in to the accusation lifelessly; it was too hot to argue. He shrugged and twisted again, ever restless in such humidity.

“One could say I’m not used to summer in Paris,” Noé muttered, though it was only half of the truth. He despised the necessity to wear clothes in such weather, despised sharing a room with this boy he hardly knew, despised the way Vanitas looked at him with eyes that burned and bore; he’d been instructed to study a book, not live with the annoyance attached to it.

He closed his eyes, willing the peace of sleep to take him. Unfortunately for him, his mind flashed with Vanitas’s stare, which he knew was still on him. If only Amelia hadn’t fallen, if only Noé hadn’t been so stubborn on keeping her from Vanitas, if only, if only, if only… And yet, even as he thought this, the taller boy knew it was all futile; Vanitas held the book. If Noé wanted to please his Master’s wishes, he’d end up here regardless; their too-small room with their too-small window and their too-tense relationship that bordered closer to a work requirement than friendship.

Noé sighed again, louder this time, and wondered what having his own room atop the city’s skyline would be like. The sound of a bed creaking at his side caused the taller boy to glance at his roommate. A breeze—albeit timid and warm—crept into the room, bringing with it the smell of sun-baked wildflowers. Vanitas had pulled himself upright, eyes closed as he stretched his arms high and arched his back, relaxing with a pleasant hum and that horrible, characteristic smirk.

“Well, if you’re not going to sleep,” the shorter boy proposed, “why don’t we play a game?”

It was Noé’s turn to sit upright, and he did so impatiently, welcoming the fresh air against his sweat-soaked back. Rolling his neck to work out the subtle knot that had begun to form between his shoulders, the dove shrugged with indifference.

“What kind of game are you suggesting?”

Vanitas grinned, lips curling, and Noé wished he could bite back his words.

“One that will tire us both out. Come on, I think it’ll be fun.”

Fun, in the raven’s definition, wasn’t something Noé felt confident he would enjoy. Nonetheless, the too-small room had thickened with humidity and the too-small window was void of wind once again, leaving the two boys suffocating amidst the stifling heat. It was this game or silence, and Noé didn’t think that would help him fall asleep either. He accepted Vanitas’s suggestion with a hesitant nod, though the curiosity in his chest bubbled.

Upon Noé’s agreement, Vanitas released a brief laugh—the sound making Noé’s ears burn—and he crossed his legs over the edge of his bed. For a moment, neither spoke as the raven seemed to ponder his words, but then the room was filled with bright, humored vocabulary.

“Considering that you’ll be my bodyguard–”

“–assistant!”

“-for the foreseeable future, I only think it’s fair that I get to know the man protecting me. I’ll ask you about yourself, and if I have the wrong answer, you’re allowed to ask me about the Book Of Vanitas.”

Noé perked up a fraction, hating the way his insatiable interest in Vanitas’s beloved grimoire tugged him along like a dog on a leash. The shorter boy’s gamble was an interesting one, however, and he wanted to know more. With a delicate tip of his chin, Noé fully met Vanitas’s stare, his violet gaze holding the beginning of a challenge.

“Go on.”

The raven’s smirk was rapacious; as it spread across his lips, it seemed to know no bounds, deepening until Vanitas practically glowed with the excitement of his peculiar game. His eyes flashed in the pale light, dangerous and gleeful.

“You,” started the younger, “have a cat?”

Noé knew then that he’d been fooled. Of course, Vanitas wouldn’t play fair. He sighed, shoulders slumping, and nodded. His roommate chuckled cooly.

“Hm, let’s see; this is your first time in Paris?”

Each question was staged like a statement, which Noé knew they were, but the subtle agony of his new predicament only worsened when he realized he was unaware if this rattling of already known facts would ever end. He dropped his head back, staring at the ceiling, and hummed in affirmation.

Vanitas hummed back, though it was lighter with his unique tone of voice.

“What next… Ah! You find me attractive.”

The declaration sucked what little air was left in the room out the window, hollowing Noé’s lungs and gut in a punch of shock. He dropped his sight to Vanitas once more, eyes wide. The shorter boy was smiling at him coyly, gaze smug and confident as if he knew he’d won. Noé’s mouth worked in a sign of protest, but no proper words came out, and he settled on an exasperated grunt. Vanitas merely hummed in victory, still watching him.

That one wasn’t a question,” the dove muttered and scratched the back of his neck. “Besides; I don’t see how this is meant to tire us out.”

Vanitas uncrossed his legs then, leaning back on one hand while brushing the other through his thick hair.

“I wasn’t done with my questions, silly. But if you’re bored, we can stop.”

It was said with an air of nonchalance, Vanitas turning his head to look out the window and gaze across the dying lights of Paris. Noé paused, biting his inner cheek. Vanitas had asked three questions—all of which he’d won—and now he was giving the taller boy a way out; did Noé take the bait and bite, possibly ensuring a genuine question while also risking further embarrassment? Or did he give up before he was ever ahead?

The dove exhaled slowly, deciding his fate.

“One more,” he said. “I’ll answer one more.”

Vanitas faced him again, dangerously wicked. He leaned forward on the edge of his bed and bludgeoned Noé’s senses with the scent of peppermint. It clung to the other boy’s clothes and hair, practically enveloping him as the heat stewed their skin in leeching humidity. Noé leaned back a fraction, unprepared for such an assault. He blinked in time to clear his head and hear his roommate’s words frame their question.

“Do you want to fuck me?”

On instinct, the older boy belted out a surprised laugh. He fixed Vanitas with a bewildered stare and shook his head, perplexity dissolving into awkward confusion. After a beat of the boy’s unchanging, insistent look, Noé laughed again. He ran a hand through his sweaty hair.

“What, is this your weird way of getting me to sleep with you?”

It was a joke. He was joking. But as the raven stood, humming with acknowledgment, Noé swallowed; hard. The warm air stirred between them as Vanitas crossed the distance and the smell of peppermint grew in intensity. The scent was clouding Noé’s head and he blinked through a sudden bout of dizziness.

Vanitas’s nightgown shimmered around him, patterned lines catching the moonlight and curling down the length of his short frame as he strode to the side of Noé’s bed. He put his hands on his hips, smirk deepening, and bent at the waist. All at once, the dove’s space was full of the younger boy; his heartbeat picked up, dangerously close to giving away his interest in the shifting situation.

“Are you going to answer my question?” Vanitas murmured.

His words were like poison, and the longer Noé listened the weaker he grew. Against his better judgment—and he knew it was his better judgment because the voice in the back of his mind was screaming at him to look away and go to sleep—Noé licked his lips. He reached out his hand, half-thinking, and thumbed a pinch of Vanitas’s nightgown. The silk was smooth like flower petals, but as Noé’s knuckles brushed the raven’s leg through his clothing, he quickly pulled back.

“Are you saying yes if I’m saying yes?” Noé quietly asked, voice far smaller than he’d intended. Vanitas blinked, eyebrows twitching, and he appeared taken aback by the taller boy’s remark. He recovered quickly, hand colliding with Noé’s chest and pushing him flat against the mattress.

“Use me,” Vanitas whispered, voice like velvet and liquor, “to your heart’s content.”

Noé sucked in a composing breath and swallowed thickly, but his silence didn’t go unnoticed in the warm ambiance between them.

The raven hummed again, a devilish sound, and grinned. The white of his teeth flashed in the pale blue light and his eyes—not fully human, Noé was realizing—glowed. He straightened up, swept his hair out of his face, and swung a leg over the edge of the dove’s bed. Immediately, the taller boy sat up, hands shooting out to protest, but Vanitas was quicker; his legs came to straddle Noé’s lap, weight pressing firmly on his shoulders and once again laying him flat, nothing but inches between their heated skin. Vanitas’s nightgown bled around their bodies, covering the swell of his thighs and swallowing Noé’s hips, leaving them veiled in the same fabric.

Noé made an unsure noise in the back of his throat, brow furrowed, only to fail at silencing the dark, raptured sound that reverberated through his chest as Vanitas sat atop his lap.

His first thought survived for less than a heartbeat, and it consisted of the word, “Fuck.”

His second thought—the one that went unchecked—focused entirely on the delicious heat. It was blinding, searing his skin through his clothes, leaving him prickled with sweat and wriggling beneath the raven. Vanitas chuckled, a godly sound, and his hips shimmied a fraction. He was everywhere. Sucking Noé into a warmth he’d only tasted in fire and blood, something he’d never dreamt of feeling this close, this flush against him. He choked out a gasp and wondered why his chest was heaving.

“Should I keep playing?” Vanitas cooed, though there was a tantalizing airiness replacing his usual confidence.

Noé blinked, clearing the edges of his vision that were still swimming, and took a second to access the sight of Vanitas on top of him. His hands were curled lightly on Noé’s abdomen and his cheeks were already rosy with the summer night. He embodied the moonlight that shone into their room, yet his gaze was anything but; it burned with something deep, something red-hot and hungry. Noé settled his hands atop Vanitas’s thighs and curled them into the plush skin.

For however annoying Vanitas was, he was equally intoxicating; Noé wouldn’t put up with him if there wasn’t genuinity under that facade, an honesty that brought him closer to a real person with a real personality.

And, truth be told, Vanitas was gorgeous too.

It wasn’t as if Noé worked without eyes; it took an idiot not to see that Vanitas—God, even he knew it—thrived under the heavy burden of being the prettiest person in every room.

Vanitas’s hummed softly at the sensation building between them and Noé clung tighter, crashing once more into reality. He keened his hips, a silent promise of just how far he was willing to go.

“I like this game,” he murmured, breathless. Vanitas grinned and it was wicked. He curled like ribbon over Noé’s chest, hands sliding from the taller boy’s shoulders to his biceps, and then his forearms until they came to rest on his wrists, where he firmly pressed and pinned. Curling, still curling, he lowered his face just inches from Noé’s. The thick swathes of his black hair framed Noe’s line of sight; his view was Vanitas and nothing more; he felt drunk on it. The raven seemed to read him, seemed to know they were both committing to far more than either of them appeared to realize, and dipped his lips to Noé’s.

The kiss was burning. It was featherlight for a heartbeat, nothing but lips testing each other and checking, and then it was deep and open. Tongues tasting, licking, sucking, spit scalding like too-hot tea; and that was how Vanitas tasted. Like floral jasmine and red, rich oolong. He was sweet; too sweet. Noé was growing weak by his mouth alone, but his head reeled and his fingers palmed desperately at the thickness of thighs, hips, ass, which he brandished and cupped with possessive need. He ground upwards without thinking, drugged on tea leaves and sweltering body heat, and Vanitas made a noise against his mouth.

Noé pulled away, almost swearing he could see their breaths puff in the sweltering air around them, and caught Vanitas’s gaze. His pupils were blown, sapphire irises a mere sliver, and his lips were kissed, sucked, bitten an intoxicating shade of red. There was a bead of sweat dripping from his eyebrow, one that slowed and almost stopped, but then Vanitas shifted and it raced down his cheek, clinging to his jaw. Noé lost all sense of sanity and sat up, bringing the raven with him. He heard a small sound somewhere between shock and protest, but it quickly dissolved into a choked moan as he licked the sweat gone and set to consuming Vanitas’s throat. Noé never bit—never used his fangs—but the taste of salt and something sharper, something like sex, was maddening enough to keep him sated. He pulled Vanitas closer, clung to him tighter, and the new angle had the shorter boy sitting perfectly against the feverish hardness growing between them.

The dove pressed a kiss to the mark he’d sucked into the juncture of Vanitas neck and shoulder and cupped his ass again, mesmerized by the softness.

“You’re out there saying I annoy you,” Vanitas panted, sucking in sweet air, “But you’ve been fucking me in your mind this entire time.”

He wasn’t wrong, but it was infuriating to hear him tease at a time like this. The heat was so much that Noé thought for sure he couldn’t take more, until—despite his taunting—Vanitas readjusted his weight and whimpered slightly at the friction. Noé was set on fire. He tightened his grip on the raven and spread, plush ass opening around him, and with a roll of his hips, he slotted between the two cheeks. Noé’s length fit as if it belonged there; Vanitas shuddered.

“You talk too much,” Noé explained, hands breaking away from the swell of the shorter boy’s ass long enough to lift and tug on the nightgown. “Tonight I’ll fuck you here, now; show you everything I’ve been thinking about.”

The nightgown was discarded, revealing planes of milky white skin and flushed pressure points that beckoned for Noé’s fangs. Vanitas managed a snort, though his hooded eyes and crumpled brows sent a very different message. He seemed too busy removed Noé’s shirt, fingers rushed. The garments were gone in an instant, and then Vanitas was flipped onto his back, meeting the bed and the unbearably hot mattress Noé had been sinking into moments before. Their tunics ended up not being enough, and Vanitas was stripped to nothing—his underwear shucked aside gracelessly—as he fumbled with Noé’s trouser ties. The taller of the two helped him, peeling his clothes off in desperate need of cool air on his heated skin, but the relief hardly mattered as he set back to work on frantically tasting every inch of Vanitas. The curves and juts of his collarbones were delicious, as were his shadowed abs, but Noé needed more. He was parched, mouth dry at the sight of what lay below, and it wasn’t until he had one hand palming Vanitas’s erection and his tongue swirling around a budding nipple that he thought, just maybe, he’d survive a little longer.

It was all due to the sounds.

Vanitas was known for being loud, but this was something new; something lewd and unhindered, laced with dark and dangerous desire that left Noé aching to devour him. He moved from one nipple to the next with a wet pop, hair enduring the abuse he likely deserved under Vanitas’s slender, vengeful hands. The raven was fighting to keep down his moans, hips thrusting into Noé’s hand now that he was being touched, possessed, movements increasing with earnest, with need, pace growing more and more erratic until–

Noé removed his hand and mouth. He ground against, finding his hole between the heat of his ass, and reveled in the sensation against his own erection; but offered no other touch. The shorter boy curled his hands so tightly in Noé’s hair at the loss of contact that the dove struggled to conceal a moan of his own, scalp throbbing under the attack of not-quite-human nails.

“Oh, you brat!” Vanitas cursed, body twitching as it tried to find friction again. Noé continued to deny him, though it stemmed from greed rather than sadism; he wanted Vanitas’s orgasm to break him, and he wanted all of it to be because of Noé. Parting from the shorter boy’s sweat-slicked skin long enough to fish a bottle of lube from the bedside table, Noé returned with a wry laugh.

“Payback,” he said, soaking in the whine that followed, “but I’ll make it up to you.”

Filling Vanitas’s space again, the taller boy wet his fingers until it was nearly too much, yet he was far past the worry of making a mess. Even the thin walls were of little concern, his blood boiling to ingest every experience the raven had to offer. As one tanned finger circling Vanitas’s hole, Noé pressed open-mouthed kisses to the shorter boy’s inner thighs before looking up, seeking his eyes.

“Is this alright?” He whispered. Vanitas rolled his eyes, blush so dark he would’ve looked sunburned if it weren’t for his leaden, lustful gaze, but he nodded swiftly and wiggled his hips against Noé’s subtle pressure. That was all the taller boy needed to carry on, and sunk his finger into the tight heat that was somehow hotter, somehow more. He struggled to imagine burying himself in it, feeling it clench around him. It would be unbearable.

He needed it.

Vanitas arched his back, body reacting gorgeously to the intrusion, and his moans increased in quantity. He rocked his body in time with Noé’s hand, asking for more, but the dove was slow to give it to him, instead busying himself with adding more marks to the paler boy’s thighs and hips, blooms of color that would only deeper in the morning light. Noé wanted Vanitas to wake up and see, feel, the events that took place, not just remember them. Upon adding the second finger, Vanitas twisted the sheets so tightly in his grip that Noé thought they might tear, and by the third, he was begging with such feverish desire that Noé’s head bubbled drunkenly. He nuzzled his nose into the soft crease between thigh and short, shaven pubic hair, relishing in the sound of a pounding heartbeat, then lifted his head and licked a stripe up the raven’s leaking cock—somehow it smelled like peppermint here, too. Noé swallowed the small ripple of pride that twisted in his gut at the wail that clawed out of the shorter boy.

“Please, Noé,” Vanitas pleaded, eyes glassy with unshed tears as he hooked his feet around the taller boy’s hips and pulled him closer. “Please fuck me.”

Noé had to oblige.

He slicked his throbbing erection with several lubed strokes, nearly seeing stars at the much-needed attention, and lined himself up with Vanitas’s spread hole, which fluttered and puckered against him in beautiful anticipation.

“Ready?” Noé asked. Vanitas reached for him, hands grabbing at the empty air until Noé dipped and slid closer, offering his neck and shoulders as an anchor.

“I have been,” the raven assured, but his voice was hoarse and wrung out. Noé nodded and held himself in one hand, unable to ignore the way their bodies trembled against each other as he slowly eased in. Immediately, Vanitas tossed his head back and gasped, hips bucking. The action sucked Noé deeper, both of them groaning at the unplanned insistence, and Vanitas made a sound close to desperation. He appeared unaffected by the fullness and cursed the air for more. Noé gave in, burying himself to the hilt; his vision went white.

All around him was liquid heat. In his blood, in his brain, curling through his veins until he was sick on it, staggering his hips forward and back in a broken, stuttering pace, fucking Vanitas so slow and so deep that the fire in their bones threatened to burn them from the inside out.

Vanitas was ruined. His whole body was shaking as it clung to Noé, damp with sweat and pre-cum. He was no longer diminishing his volume, moans and cries unbridled as he accepted each of Noé’s splitting thrusts with pleas for more. The dove couldn’t say no; he would never say no.

As the warmth—the simmering, boiling lust—pooled in his body and mind, Noé filled Vanitas so fully that he was sure they’d both break, pounding to some ungodly rhythm that only the devils knew.

Sin was likely the only word capable of describing the sounds in his ears, the overwhelming, mind-numbing heat that swallowed his cock deeper, tighter, so fervently and loyally that he gasped out a word that might have been, “Vanitas,” and straightened his knees, lifting the raven’s hips off the bed with his hands. The result left the Vanitas’s clinging to Noé, shoulders hammering into the mattress as gravity sunk each of Noé’s shoves down, down, until the dove was plowing the shorter boy with reckless, thoughtless abandon. Every snap of the dove’s hips had him hitting that spot inside the raven, the one that beckoned his voice to crack and his body to shiver with satisfaction, the one that splintered his being into agonizing pleasure. Noé was sure that with every passing second the heat had reached its peak, but then the next second came and it only grew, grew until he lost sight of which body was his, and which sounds were his, and which orgasm crashed into him first.

Was it his own, leaving him spilling into Vanitas with a cry of his name and rough, hungry thrusts that filled the room with the sound of skin slapping skin as he feasted on, worshipped the body beneath him? Or was it Vanitas, the raven clenching around Noé’s cock and milking him with the torturous pressure of his hot, stretched walls, hands raking bruises down Noé’s back as he sobbed, mind no longer his own but his pleasures?

He didn’t know. He didn’t know.

Finished, the taller boy’s knees gave out and the two of them melted into the bed. They laid there, arms and thighs shivering, breathing in the scent of sex and sweat and cum, Noé holding Vanitas under him as the raven pulsed with his sensitivity. Noé didn’t pull out immediately, unable to stand the thought of additional friction. Instead, he massaged the shorter boy’s arms and sides, hands gentle, until they were both breathing calmly again. It was only then that he gripped himself at the base and pulled out, though the noise was obscene and slick. Vanitas’s legs shook, but he didn’t stop him, and they both relaxed a fraction as their bodies once again become their own.

“Was that alright?” Noé asked, still softly panting in the heated room. Vanitas nodded, slow and tired, and he reached out blindly, one arm settled over his eyes. The dove took his hand in the warm Paris night, dropping their clasped fingers on the bed beside them. The raven squeezed in silent teasing but didn’t speak.

“I should clean you up,” said the taller, making a move to stand. Vanitas grunted. For a moment, Noé thought he wouldn’t let him go, though Vanitas eventually released him and was left to lay in recovering silence until Noé returned on wobbly knees with a dampened towel. He wiped them both down tenderly, savoring in the feeling of cool fabric on his skin, and finally collapsed onto the bed once they were situated for a comfortable end to their day. Vanitas threw out his arm, finding Noé in the moonlight, and softly hummed.

“Did you have fun?” He whispered, eyes peeking open to shine like slits of ocean blue crystal.

The dove nodded, already feeling the exhausting lulling him to bed. Vanitas grinned, but it was tired and slow, and for a moment Noé wondered why he’d ever let that smile bother him.

“I must admit, I’m not sure which one of us won that game; we might need to play it again tomorrow unless you’re content with a draw.”

All at once, there it was again; that sly tone of voice and maddening smirk, the ones that made Noé’s skin itch. He let out a half-hearted huff and thumbed Vanitas’s jaw, turning the shorter boy to face him. Noé kissed him silent with a searing kiss before he could say something equally irritating.

“I’ll win, idiot. Now go to sleep; your game worked.”

Oh, how he tried to ignore the wicked glee that crept into the brilliant blue of Vanitas’s gaze.