Chapter 1: Noticing
Gokudera doesn’t look up at the sound of the bell over the door chiming. He’s just in the middle of an absurdly overelaborate bouquet (“Make it big,” the man had said, with that harried look that said money and good taste were no object), and if he moves his hands it’s going to take five minutes to get back to where he was.
“There in a minute,” he shouts instead, yelling louder to compensate for the fact that he’s still watching what he’s doing. “Feel free to look around.”
There’s a laugh, ringing bright with easy delight, and a called-back “Thank you!” The voice is warm, so friendly Gokudera actually starts to look up at the speaker before remembering what he’s doing. When he looks back down it’s with a scowl of forced attention, irritation at being nearly distracted burning under his skin, and he’s a little more aggressive with the bouquet than he ought to be. It’s not like it matters, really -- the thing is ostentatious enough that it needs a less-than-delicate touch anyway -- and then he’s done, or at least done enough that he can set the whole thing aside and turn back to the front.
Some of the frustration with the flowers makes it into his voice, grates “Yeah?” instead of a more polite greeting. Gokudera is cringing at the sound even as it comes out, remembering his mother’s pleas that he be ‘more gracious’ and trying to compose his features into some semblance of friendliness.
Then he gets a good look at the man standing on the other side of the counter -- the short sleeves of his white shirt, the expanse of colored ink winding down across all of his arms that Gokudera can see, the faint familiarity of his features -- and his facade crumbles all at once.
“You.” He stops just shy of the counter, doesn’t lean in over the edge. “What are you doing here?”
The other blinks his attention away from the arrangements displayed around the front of the shop, focuses his gaze on Gokudera himself. He’s remarkably normal-looking, aside from the designs marking out his arms; he lacks the array of piercings and multi-colored hair Gokudera is used to seeing from employees at the tattoo shop next door, anyway. His hair is ordinary black, if ruffled up out of any sort of order, and his smile is easy and friendly. He wouldn’t be out-of-place as one of Gokudera’s regulars, if his arms were covered.
He doesn’t appear fazed by Gokudera’s accidental rudeness, either. His smile flashes brighter, curls in the corners of his eyes, and he’s pulling his hand out of his pocket, extending it over the space of the counter as an offering.
“I wanted to introduce myself,” he says, and Gokudera doesn’t think before responding instinctively to the gesture. The tattoos only extend down to the other’s wrists; his fingers close around Gokudera’s hand, squeeze warm and steady for a moment before he lets the other’s hand go. Gokudera isn’t even sure if he managed to return the handshake himself; he feels adrift, like he’s being swept along on a wave that he didn’t mean to get caught in, and the other is still smiling as if he doesn’t know the meaning of sadness. “I’m Yamamoto Takeshi.”
“I know who you are,” Gokudera says without thinking. Then he closes his mouth sharply, tries to resist the burn of self-consciousness coming up his cheeks. “I mean. I’ve seen you, that’s all. You work next door, right?”
“That’s right!” The other -- Yamamoto -- looks delighted that he is recognizable, as if Gokudera doesn’t see him coming in to work every morning of the week and sometimes on the weekends too. “I didn’t know you knew me!”
“I don’t,” Gokudera growls before he remembers he’s speaking to...a customer? A potential customer, at least. He forces the irritation out of his voice -- there’s no real reason for it, either, just that something about the glow of the other’s obvious and effusive cheer feels like it’s grating his nerves raw. “Gokudera Hayato,” he offers quickly, in a desperate attempt to cut off the line of conversation. “Can I help you with something?” There’s a surge of irritation again, unreasonable and irresistible, that makes Gokudera glance down at Yamamoto’s arms again and suggest, “Your girlfriend mad at you or something?”
He doesn’t get the retort he was half-hoping for. Instead there’s that laugh again, and there is no reason it should tighten his jaw like it does but Gokudera’s grinding his teeth even before Yamamoto answers.
“Nope! I don’t have a girlfriend.” He leans forward, rests his forearms on the table like he’s about to share a secret. Gokudera doesn’t move to meet him; the position gives him an extra inch of height, lets him look down while the other glances up at him through dark lashes. “Actually that’s why I came by.”
“What?” Gokudera asks, as the fastest way to get the other to start making sense.
“Do you want to get coffee with me?” Yamamoto blinks up at Gokudera, still smiling that stupid smile like he’s waiting for Gokudera to reciprocate. “After work sometime? I usually work later than you, but I can get off my shift early if you’re free.”
Gokudera blinks at him. There is a long moment of perfect silence in the shop while he reaches for some adequately negative refusal, finds none appropriate. He eventually settles for “What?” in the coldest tone he can manage, scathing and sharp with implied rejection.
Yamamoto’s smile doesn’t so much as flicker. “I want to take you out for coffee. After work sometime, or on the weekend if you’re free then.” He ducks his head, runs a hand through his hair, and Gokudera can see exactly why it’s so disheveled. “I’ve been seeing you for a few months now.” He glances back up. “And I wanted to get to know you. If you wanted.”
“No,” Gokudera says instantly, without even thinking about it. He’s half-hoping this will get some kind of response, maybe some shadow to dim the brightness in the other’s eyes, but Yamamoto just straightens from the counter, his smile sliding into apology but not fading in the least.
“I thought it was a long shot,” he says, shrugs like it doesn’t matter. “I knew you probably had a girlfriend anyway.”
“It’s not that I have a girlfriend,” Gokudera hisses.
Yamamoto laughs, quick and bright. “Boyfriend?”
“No,” Gokudera snaps. “I just don’t like you.”
“Why not?” Yamamoto asks, apparently sincerely.
“I just don’t.” Gokudera turns to the register, reaching for the keys with all the pointed aggression he can muster. “Did you want to buy something?”
“Not today,” Yamamoto says. His smile is back; it’s blinding, now, so bright Gokudera has to look away and growl down at the machine in front of him instead of looking at the other directly.
“I’m going to have to ask you to leave, then.” Gokudera turns farther, reaches for the list of pending orders so he can stare at it without reading it. “Don’t you have to go to work or something anyway?”
“Yeah,” Yamamoto admits. “I’ll head back over there.” There’s the sound of footsteps, the squeak of the door; Gokudera doesn’t look up until he hears the bell ring, thinking he’ll be safe then.
He’s not. Yamamoto is standing in the doorway, glancing back at him and still grinning as if he is singlehandedly responsible for the sunrise. “What if I had something to buy? Would you mind me coming back?”
“I am always glad to receive customers,” Gokudera grates, because he can’t manage to look away now.
Yamamoto laughs. “I’ll keep that in mind!” And he’s gone, slipping out the door and breaking into a half-run as he rounds the corner and drops out of Gokudera’s sight.
Gokudera doesn’t stop scowling for a half-hour, and he doesn’t get back to the bouquet for twice that long.
Chapter 2: Excuses
Yamamoto’s attention is entirely gone by the end of his shift.
He’s been distracted all day -- with good reason, he feels. Now he has a name to turn over in his head, the memory of grey-green eyes lingering hot at the tattoos across his arms to grant his daydreams some kind of substance. The only time he stops thinking about the florist next door is when he has a customer, and even then it’s only for the length of their appointment. His mental haze is back as soon as they’re on the other side of the counter, so all-consuming he rings up the wrong amount no less than three times before Skull finally bans him from the register entirely. Usually Yamamoto is the one at the front desk -- he looks a little more friendly to newcomers than Skull with his mismatched array of piercings -- but he’s happy to sit against the wall and let his attention wander through anticipation and hope and imagination. By the time his shift is drawing to a close his distraction has become clear enough to everyone else that Skull slams the register shut as a customer leaves, says “Just fucking go,” a good ten minutes before Yamamoto is supposed to leave.
Yamamoto doesn’t wait around to question this stroke of good fortune. He’s out the door hard on the heels of the customer, so quickly he doesn’t realize he’s left his coat behind him until he’s entirely around the corner, and by then the other shop is in sight and it’s not worth going back. He can get it later, anyway, can jog home to stay warm, and right now excitement is flushing him so warm with anticipation that cold is the least of his worries.
“Hey Gokudera!” he calls out as he pulls the door to the florist’s shop open. The bell over the door chimes to announce his presence in time with his words and the individual in question growls from the far back of the room without looking up.
“Go away.” He’s got a pile of roses in front of him, leaves scattered over the table and around his feet as he strips off the unwanted greenery to leave just red petals and long clean stems. “Don’t you have work or something?”
“I got off a few minutes early.” Yamamoto moves towards the display bouquet set on one of the shelves alongside the door, reaches out to brush his fingers against the feathery texture of a fern. “Are you busy?”
There’s a sound from the back. When Yamamoto looks up Gokudera has dropped the flower he was holding so that he can slam his hands flat on the desk. “I am at work,” he grates before looking up to glower at Yamamoto. “Of course I am busy.” He turns towards the front, covers the distance to the counter with long strides so he can lean against the waist-high barrier and fix Yamamoto with a glare. “Don’t you know how to leave people alone?”
“You said I could come back if I bought something,” Yamamoto says.
Gokudera groans, dips his head so the silver of his hair falls half in front of his face. “What do you want?” He looks defeated but he sounds livid, furious and raw and superheated, and he’s not looking at Yamamoto’s face; he’s staring at the other’s forearms, his gaze so hot Yamamoto imagines he can feel it scorching his skin into open flames.
“Carnations,” Yamamoto says immediately. He’s had all day to think about this, to form an excuse to come here in his head. “A whole bunch of them.”
“A whole bunch,” Gokudera repeats, so slowly it twists into mockery. “Thanks, yeah, that’s really precise.”
Yamamoto laughs. When he lifts an arm to ruffle his hair Gokudera’s head turns up to follow the motion, like Yamamoto’s pulling his gaze by a string. “Sorry, I’m not very good with the right words for this.”
“What are they for?” Gokudera asks. He still sounds irritable, the words rough in his throat, but he’s not glaring anymore.
“Just me,” Yamamoto admits immediately. “My apartment’s kinda boring, flowers seemed like they would be nice.”
Gokudera blinks, finally drags his gaze away from Yamamoto’s tattoos to meet his eyes. His mouth is curved into a frown, his stare flat and unimpressed. “Don’t you at least have a better excuse?”
Yamamoto ducks his chin, looks up past the dark fringe of his hair to smile at the other man. “Nope.” He shrugs, lets his smile slip wider. “You’d have known anyway, right?”
“Fuck,” Gokudera huffs, and pushes away from the counter, turns his back to retreat to the back of the room. “Do you even care what color?” he shouts without turning around.
“Red, I guess,” Yamamoto says. “It doesn’t really matter, though.”
“Of course not,” Gokudera grumbles. He’s fumbling with something, Yamamoto can just see motion past his shoulders, and then he’s straightening, moving back towards the back table with a cluster of flowers in his hands. He pushes the roses aside, scattering a rain of leaves across the floor, starts tugging at the carnation stems to align them while he keeps up a mumble too soft for Yamamoto to hear clearly. It sounds like frustration, idle irritation, and then he’s glancing up, scowling as he says, “You’re going to just wait for this, right?”
“There’s no rush,” Yamamoto says. “I don’t have anything to do tonight.”
I don’t want to deal with you hovering around any longer than I have to,” Gokudera snaps, looks back down at what he’s doing. There’s silence for a moment, just the sound of rustling leaves to fill the space. Yamamoto can see Gokudera’s hair shifting with the force of his motion, the action of his shoulder far more intense than the task calls for. He’s still watching the light catch off the strands when Gokudera takes a breath, says in a somewhat less furious tone, “Do you even have a vase?”
“Hm?” Yamamoto blinks, has to shake his head to bring himself back to the present. “No. I guess I’ll just use a cup?”
Gokudera makes a strangled sound of outrage, pauses what he’s doing to look sideways and pin Yamamoto with a glare. “No way. You can’t put flowers in a glass, that’s --” He huffs, looks back down at the flowers. “I’ll sell you a vase too.” He reaches out for the handle of the knife on the other edge of the table, draws it back over so he can cut the stems of the flowers to an equal length. When he collects them into a bunch Yamamoto can see the way the slightly offset heights collect the flowers together, turning them into a deliberate arrangement instead of a handful of blossoms.
Gokudera goes back to the corner of the shop. There’s the sound of running water, the clink of glass against metal, and when the other turns back he’s fitting the stems of the carnations into a narrow glass vase. He glances at Yamamoto, looks away quickly as color rises to stain across his cheekbones.
“You’ll need it, right?” When he comes forward into the better light the color is more evident, flushing pink over the translucent pale of his skin. He sets the vase down but Yamamoto is caught up in staring at him, in watching the soft shape of his lips when he frowns. “For the next time you come in with an excuse.”
Yamamoto blinks. It takes him a moment to turn those words over in his head, to see past the sound of irritation to the half-hidden implication under them. Then he starts to grin, uncontrollable delight spreading across his lips, and he reaches out for the vase as Gokudera ducks his head to truly hide his face and pushes it towards him.
“Yeah,” he agrees. “For next time!”
Chapter 3: Lasting
Gokudera doesn’t know what it is that tips him off that Yamamoto is back. It’s been days since he saw the other, and after waiting impatiently through the first day and irritably through the second he has given up on a repeat visit. It makes sense -- he’s hardly been welcoming, the last two times the other came by, and it’s hardly like he wants the interruption. But if it’s going to come he’d rather it came soon, while he’s still braced for it, and when such fails to materialize he’s somewhat out of sorts.
He’s still in a bad mood, grimacing down at the corsage he’s wrapping, when the door opens and he just knows, immediately, without even looking up, well before he hears Yamamoto’s voice wrapped around “Gokudera!” like he’s appreciating the taste of the name. Gokudera’s fingers go tense, his throat seizes up, and for just a minute his whole body is flushed hot with inexplicable electricity.
Then he manages a breath, the heat forms into familiar irritation, and by the time he looks up he’s ready to meet Yamamoto’s grin with a scowl.
“Nice of you to drop by,” he snaps, abandoning the corsage so he can stalk to the front of the shop. Yamamoto is wearing a jacket, this time, the patterns on his arms safely wrapped behind fabric, but he’s leaning in over the counter too, smiling with as much warmth in his expression as if Gokudera had greeted him with a kiss instead of sarcasm. “Decided to impose your presence on me again?”
“Yep!” Yamamoto chirps, deaf to the bitter cant of Gokudera’s voice. “I need another bouquet.”
Gokudera rolls his eyes. “Of course you do.” He’s turning back towards the bins of flowers along the walls, calling back, “Red carnations again?” without waiting for the affirmative the other offers as soon as he hears the question. The half-done corsage is spread out over the main worktable, tape and tiny fronds of fern covering the surface, so Gokudera collects the flowers and the knife for the stems and brings them back to cut at the front instead.
Yamamoto leans back off the counter as Gokudera drops the flowers with more force than is necessary and hunches over them, dipping his head so his hair casts his face in shadow while he tugs the blossoms into alignment. It’s a familiar task, simple and hardly requiring his attention, and his eyes keep drifting to the sleeves of Yamamoto’s jacket. With the coat on Gokudera would have no idea of the colors staining the tanned skin underneath, no way to tell that the other is anything other than the ordinary-looking twenty-something he appears to be.
“At least you bothered with sleeves this time,” he snaps, still fiddling with the stems of the carnations. “You’d fit in better if you had those covered all the time.”
“Those?” Yamamoto sounds at a loss, like he’s not following the conversation or is maybe just distracted. Then he glances down at his jacket and smiles. “You mean my tattoos?” He pushes at the loose sleeve, slides it up his arm, and the ink comes into view, blue and purple curves sweeping out over his skin in a tracery of images Gokudera doesn’t piece together right away. It’s just color, pattern and form lying over the other’s skin, and then Yamamoto turns his wrist and the shapes form into wings, the trailing feathers of a swallow dipping through the outline of flowers so densely packed they are more a pattern than individual shapes.
“I don’t mind showing them,” he says while Gokudera is caught staring at the intricate shapes marked out on his skin. “It’s just cold right now, is all.”
Gokudera isn’t looking at Yamamoto’s face, doesn’t see whatever expression goes along with the casual friendliness of his voice. His own hands have gone still on the flower stems in front of him, he’s dropped the knife and is reaching out, closing his fingers at Yamamoto’s wrist and twisting his arm so he can see how far the ink extends. It turns out to wrap all the way around his forearm, past his elbow and up to disappear under the bunched fabric of his pushed-up sleeve; for all Gokudera knows it could continue over his shoulders, down the curve of his back and across his hips, a garden made permanent under his skin.
“How can you do something like this?” he asks without thinking to make his voice rough. The skin under his fingers feels normal, for all the unnatural coloring the ink grants it; it’s warm, soft against the slide of his thumb, the pattern shifting along with Yamamoto’s skin as Gokudera touches the tattoo.
“Because it’s beautiful.” The answer comes quick, easy and unthinking, as if it’s no question at all. Gokudera glances up and Yamamoto is watching him, all the gold of his eyes fixed on Gokudera’s features, but the exposed tattoo that draws the other’s attention back down after barely a breath.
“But it’s permanent.” Gokudera can’t imagine asking for something like this, volunteering to have your skin marked by something so irrevocably and so deliberately. “How do you know you’ll still want this in a year’s time?”
There’s a motion, the shift of a shrug telegraphed down to Gokudera’s grip on the other’s wrist. “I just do.”
Gokudera looks up again. There’s no trace of regret on Yamamoto’s face, not so much as a flicker of doubt at answering this question, but he’s not looking at the tattoos. He’s looking at Gokudera, staring at his face like he’s reading something there, and Gokudera realizes he must have been this whole time, that Yamamoto’s been watching him stare at his tattoos, has been reading the reactions Gokudera didn’t even think to restrain.
Then he realizes his fingers are still against Yamamoto’s arm, realizes that he’s touching the other’s bare skin without even thinking about it, and snatches his hand away and looks down in quick succession. His cheeks are burning, he feels like he’s on fire with self-consciousness, and when he clears his throat it does nothing to chase off the tension in his throat.
“Did the other flowers start to wilt?” he asks, speaking down to his hands so that he doesn’t get distracted by those eyes again.
“Yeah.” Yamamoto sounds regretful, faintly sad. Gokudera can hear him tugging his sleeve back down, feels some of the nervous energy in his shoulders ease at this reassurance that the other’s skin is safely covered again. “They only lasted a few days.”
“That’s what makes them beautiful,” Gokudera says, some contrary impulse taking hold of his tongue as he straightens the stems and reaches for the knife. “You have to appreciate them while they’re here.” The greenery gives way under the quick force of the blade; Gokudera sweeps the cut stems off the counter and onto the floor, to be swept up at the end of the day.
“At least I had an excuse to come back.” Gokudera can hear the smile in Yamamoto’s voice, the pleasure coming easily to his tongue like he doesn’t have to fight for it. “I only have the one vase, after all.”
“So you had to wait to replace the last bunch?” Gokudera scoffs. “Don’t you have anyone else to buy flowers for?”
There’s silence, drawn so long he finally looks up. Yamamoto is still smiling but it’s faint, barely a curve at the corner of his mouth. It doesn’t make sense that his smile should send a shudder down Gokudera’s spine, should make him backtrack mentally to review what he has just said. He can’t find anything suspicious in his words, nothing to bring out that sparkle of inspiration in the other’s eyes, and he’s just starting to frown in frustration when Yamamoto clears his throat and says, “That’s a really good idea, actually.”
“Thanks,” Gokudera deadpans. “At least one of us has the capacity for original thought.” Even that doesn’t get him any sign of aggression, just another stupidly bright smile that catches in Yamamoto’s eyes, and that’s when Gokudera looks away to ring up the carnations with more violence than the act deserves.
He keeps frowning while Yamamoto pays, collects his flowers and leaves with a wave, as if they’ve seen each other more than three times in the last week. Maybe it’s some sort of bleed-off of frustration, the fact that he’s used up all his irritation for the day, that leaves him smiling over the corsage when usually he loathes the finicky precision required for the work. It’s the best explanation he can come up with, anyway, even if it doesn’t explain the adrenaline that lingers in his blood to keep him warm and glowing for the rest of the day.
Chapter 4: Implication
Yamamoto is smiling before he even opens the door to the flower shop the next day. He’s been thinking about this all day, if with somewhat more calmness than he demonstrated on his second visit; at least he finished out his full shift before jogging around the corner to the other shop, this time, and he’s got his jacket over his shoulder if not actually covering his arms. It’s not calculated as much as hopeful -- he can still recall the pressure of the other’s fingers on his wrist, as if the heat of the contact has yet to fully fade -- and if leaving his arms uncovered is the way to hold Gokudera’s attention, he’s more than happy to oblige.
Gokudera’s behind the counter, this time, rather than half-hidden in the shadows at the back of the room. He has the register open, is flipping through the change like he’s preparing to cash out for the day, but he looks up as soon as the door starts to open, and he doesn’t look at all surprised to see Yamamoto in the doorway.
“You’re back.” He pushes the drawer shut without any visible attempt to mark his place, shifts to the center of the counter instead of the corner. His hair is tied back, today, twisted into a messy ponytail at the nape of his neck; it’s only half-effective at keeping the strands out of his face, but it does bare the pale curve of his throat, holds back the shadows so his features are left clear for the touch of the light. Yamamoto’s gaze drops without his intention, lingers at the exposed line of Gokudera’s neck for a moment before he can recollect himself at look back at the other’s face.
“Yeah.” Gokudera is staring at him, chin tipped down so he’s glowering up at Yamamoto’s face, but he’s flushed, too, cheeks turning pink as the other watches. “I want to get something else today.”
He glances back, his gaze drawn unavoidably to that bare skin, and Gokudera moves, reaches up to drag the tie on his hair free. Silver shadows come down in front of Yamamoto’s line of sight, push his attention back, and Gokudera is truly crimson now but he clears his throat, folds his arms over his chest like he’s trying to create a defensive wall. “What, exactly?”
“Roses,” Yamamoto says. “Well. Just one, actually.”
“One rose,” Gokudera repeats back. He doesn’t move towards the back like he has before, stays where he is, and he’s staring at Yamamoto’s eyes this time, even the tattoos across the other’s arms insufficient to drag his attention away. “What color?”
There’s meaning, there, implications hanging so heavy on the question even Yamamoto notices them. At least this time he’s ready, is prepared so his request comes out sure and steady when he says “Red.”
Gokudera’s eyebrows go up, a quick flicker of surprise, and the hard line of his mouth falls soft for just a breath. Yamamoto can’t help the way his gaze drops to the other’s lips, the way his own mouth comes open as if in echo of the other’s reaction, and then Gokudera is twisting away, quickly enough Yamamoto can’t be sure if he’s blushing again or not.
“You sure like that color,” Gokudera says to the back of the room. He sounds on-edge, strained instead of angry, his movement slow and stalled instead of the irritated rush Yamamoto is used to seeing.
“For flowers,” Yamamoto agrees. Gokudera’s shoulders are tense under the dark maroon of his t-shirt; Yamamoto lets himself relax, leans in so he can rest his forearms against the counter and lay his palms flat on the cool surface. It helps to bleed off some of his own nerves, the anxious pressure of anticipation now that he’s actually started on this plan.
Gokudera turns back around from the shelves at the back of the room, holding a rose so scarlet the color is clear even in the dim light. He doesn’t look back at the front, doesn’t come up to the front as Yamamoto was half-hoping he would; he just sets the flower against the work table, leans in over it as he starts clearing the extra leaves from the stem.
“Why do you do that?” Yamamoto asks, partially out of curiosity but more to hear the texture of Gokudera’s voice in his response.
“People don’t usually want the leaves.” Gokudera sounds calmer, now, steady and calm with his voice absent even the tremble of nerves it had before. “Or the thorns.”
Yamamoto has to laugh at that. “Aren’t roses supposed to have thorns?”
“Sure.” Gokudera tosses a leaf over the edge of the table, leans in closer to fiddle with the stem. “Doesn’t mean anyone wants to actually deal with them.”
“That doesn’t make any sense,” Yamamoto says, more observation than criticism. “I wouldn’t mind.”
Gokudera’s laugh is rough and sudden with sincerity. “First tattoos, now thorns? Are you some kind of masochist?”
“No.” Gokudera’s turning back, now, holding the single flower with remarkable delicacy given the scowl on his face. “Don’t think so, anyway. I just think it’s worth it, don’t you?”
“I don’t think about it. I’m just trying to sell flowers.” Yamamoto straightens as Gokudera comes in closer, reaches out to take the smoothed stem from the other’s hold. Their fingers brush for just a moment, a tiny spark of heat jolts into Yamamoto’s blood, and then Gokudera is pulling away, clearing his throat and turning back to the register.
“What are you going to do with that?” he asks as he punches the keys to ring up the cost. “You know what red roses are for, right? They’re the sort of thing you’d bring to a date.”
“I know.” Yamamoto holds out the payment before Gokudera has a chance to speak. The other is slow to take his money; he keeps looking at the flower in Yamamoto’s fingers, flickering a glance at the other’s face before he remembers what he’s doing. Yamamoto is pretty sure the pause is intended to be leading, a silence he is supposed to fill, but he stays quiet, takes his change without speaking.
“Well.” Gokudera clears his throat, folds his arms back over his shirt. He’s staring at the rose again, his head tipped down like he thinks maybe Yamamoto won’t notice what he’s looking at. “Is there anything else you needed?”
“Nope.” Yamamoto offers a smile, even though Gokudera isn’t looking at him and doesn’t see the expression. “I’ll see you later, Gokudera.”
Gokudera looks pained. There’s curiosity creased into the line of his forehead, frustration tense at his lips, but he doesn’t protest when Yamamoto moves away. When Yamamoto glances back as he pulls the door open, Gokudera is still watching the flower, still has his arms crossed with every appearance of irritation written across his face.
It’s a victory, for Yamamoto’s purposes, even if Gokudera doesn’t know it yet.
Chapter 5: Clarity
Gokudera never thought he could be so unsettled by someone buying a single flower.
It shouldn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. He doesn’t care who Yamamoto gives the damn thing to, doesn’t care that apparently the other man’s interest is as flighty as his tattoos are permanent. Maybe this way Gokudera can have some peace in his life again, won’t have to deal with those sunshiney smiles and that too-loud voice and his life can go back to normal, go back to the way it was before. It doesn’t make sense that he can’t think about anything else, doesn’t make sense that his throat is tight with the ache of hurt feelings, doesn’t make sense that he puts off all his orders for roses just so he doesn’t have to look at the vivid color of the petals for the rest of the day.
He doesn’t leave early. He wants to, considers it, but the last thing he’s going to do is let the tattooed idiot’s inexplicable behavior get to him, and if that means sticking rigidly to his usual schedule, he’ll wait out the last few minutes in the empty shop. Finally the hour shifts over to seven, the shop officially closes, and he can drag his jacket on and head home. He makes it to the door, pulls it open and steps outside, and he’s just turning to lock the shop behind him when the color red catches his peripheral attention, and when he looks Yamamoto’s just getting to his feet from the bench where he must have been waiting.
“Oh,” Gokudera says aloud, too softly for the other to hear, and then he has to duck his head as all the lingering tension in his throat seizes tight into a knot of tears at the back of his tongue.
“Hi,” Yamamoto is saying as he comes up, his voice softer than Gokudera has yet heard it, and he’s holding the rose out, and Gokudera can’t even reach to take it for a moment because he can’t trust his hands not to shake. “This is for you.”
“Fuck,” Gokudera says, staring at the flower instead of at Yamamoto’s face because it seems safer. The other is wearing his jacket, now, the sleeves covering his color-marked skin. “Did you even leave?”
“No,” Yamamoto admits. Gokudera reaches out, closes his fingers tight around the stem of the flower, presses his grip hard like he’s reaching for the sharp press of the thorns he himself smoothed away not three hours earlier. “I wanted to catch you when you left.”
“Why did you wait?” Gokudera says, sharp and aggressive, and this isn’t the appropriate response but it’s better than tears, better than the irrational burn of emotion at the back of his throat.
“You said not to bother you when you working.” Yamamoto lets the flower go, slides his hands into his pockets; he’s hunched in slightly, like he’s cold or maybe like he’s leaning in to be an inch closer to Gokudera. “I wanted to try again when you weren’t.”
“God you’re an idiot,” Gokudera growls, reaches out to close his free hand around the front of Yamamoto’s jacket. He just intends to shake him, punctuate his frustration with the satisfaction of physical aggression, but there’s no resistance when he pulls. Yamamoto submits entirely to the motion and leans in closer, so close Gokudera has to jerk back to keep his mouth from crushing against the corner of the other’s. They’re still too near, even then; Gokudera can see the individual texture of Yamamoto’s eyelashes and the separate strands of his hair, and he can see the way Yamamoto’s gaze slides downward, the way the other’s eyes go hazy and unfocused as he looks at Gokudera’s lips. It’s only reflex that pulls Gokudera’s own gaze down, that makes him notice how close their mouths are and the way Yamamoto’s lips are half-parted in instinctive anticipation.
“Why wouldn’t you--” he says, but all the fire has gone out of him and he can’t remember, now, what it was he was going to say. Yamamoto swallows, Gokudera can see the way his throat works on the action, and then Gokudera’s blurting “Get away from me,” his voice shaking more than it is sharp.
“Okay,” Yamamoto says, but he’s not moving away, he’s still staring at Gokudera’s mouth and Gokudera’s breathing is sticking weirdly in his chest. “Can you let go of my jacket?”
“What?” Gokudera has to look down at his hand before he remembers what he’s doing and realizes his fingers are still gripping a handful of the other’s clothes. He lets go instantly, snatches his hand away like it’s been burned; Yamamoto lingers for a moment, close enough Gokudera can feel the other’s breathing against his mouth. For a moment he thinks Yamamoto might be leaning in closer still, about to bridge the remaining gap between them; then he pulls away, straightens to stand, and Gokudera’s not sure if he imagined the motion inward at all.
“So,” Gokudera says, clearing his throat like that will somehow take his blush away too. “You still want to go out for coffee, I guess?”
Yamamoto’s smile is just as bright as every other time Gokudera has seen it, warm and inviting and just as overwhelming outside as it is in the shop itself. “Yeah, I do.”
“Okay.” Gokudera ducks his head, twists the rose idly in his fingers. “Well. Fine.” He coughs, drags irritation back into his tone. “We can’t go now, I have to do something with this since you’ve had it outside for hours.”
“Couldn’t you put it in a vase in the shop?” Yamamoto asks.
Gokudera hesitates, not sure if he’s looking for an excuse or desperate to take this opportunity. “I guess,” he finally admits, turning away instead of watching the way Yamamoto’s smile catches into his eyes. “Just. Wait here, I’ll be back.”
“Okay!” Yamamoto says.
Gokudera doesn’t look back as he pushes the door open, makes for the back of the shop so he can get the rose into a vase with hands that won’t stop shaking no matter how hard he tries to steady them. He’s pretty sure he didn’t need to ask; Yamamoto seems more than willing to wait for him as long as he needs to. If that makes Gokudera’s chest tighten with the precursor to panic, it makes him smile, too, in the safety of the shop when there’s no one to see.
Chapter 6: Almost
“I still don’t get it.”
Gokudera’s not looking at Yamamoto. He’s focused in on the other’s arm, leaning in so close Yamamoto wonders idly if the other is slightly nearsighted. He’s not complaining; he can feel Gokudera’s breathing just against the inside of his elbow, raising goosebumps all across his skin unrelated to the chill of the air outside the warm of the cafe.
They’re been here for over an hour, now, other customers coming and going around them; Yamamoto’s been only passingly aware of the motion in his peripheral vision. All his attention has been pinned across the tiny table, at the smooth fall of Gokudera’s silver hair and the pout of the other’s lips, his expression so inadvertently charming that Yamamoto hasn’t been able to stop smiling since they arrived. Gokudera finished his coffee within the first twenty minutes, went back for a refill while Yamamoto has barely touched his, and by now the caffeine has had enough of an effect or his nervousness has faded enough that he’s actually reached out to grab at Yamamoto’s arm to look at his tattoos.
Yamamoto doesn’t offer any resistance. Gokudera’s fingers are warm on his wrist, the pressure sparking adrenaline into his veins even though the contact is more assumed dominance than it is tender. He doesn’t care that Gokudera isn’t looking at his face, doesn’t care that the angle of his arm is aching discomfort up his shoulder and down across his back; he’s still smiling, the wider now that the other isn’t watching his expression, and then Gokudera reaches out with his free hand to trace the splash of bright blue just under Yamamoto’s elbow.
“Like this.” His hold at the other’s wrist is too tight, just shy of bruised force, but his fingertips brush against the colored skin so gently it’s like he thinks he might smear the design if he’s too forceful. “What is this, even?”
“The bird?” Yamamoto takes a breath, careful to not move his arm and upset the precarious balance of fingers at his skin. “It’s a swallow.”
“How did you decide?” Gokudera still sounds angry, as frustrated as if Yamamoto’s tattoos affect him, but his fingers are drifting lower, following the sweep of the bird’s trailing tail against Yamamoto’s arm and farther, in against the inside of the other’s arm. He turns Yamamoto’s wrist, lets the awkward angle ease off, and with the relief of the pressure and the ghosting glide of contact against the sensitive inside of his arm Yamamoto can’t pay attention to the question. “What makes you decide to go out and get a design permanently marked on your skin?” His fingers relax, he draws his hand away, and Yamamoto takes a breath, processes that the question was rhetorical and he doesn’t need to reach for coherency right away.
“You’ve never wanted one?” he manages, drawing his arm back across the table so he can press his hand against the echo of Gokudera’s touch with at least some subtlety. Gokudera is leaning back in his chair, his shoulders slumping into unconscious relaxation instead of the tight-wound strain they had when he first sat down. His expression is relaxed, too, his eyes clear of even feigned irritated and his mouth gentle as he shakes his head, lifts his cup for another mouthful of coffee.
“Not with colors like that,” he says, and that’s not quite an answer but he’s going on anyway before Yamamoto can push the subject further. “Tattoos aren’t my thing.”
Yamamoto wants to say something to this, point out that Gokudera stares at his arms more than his face whenever he’s not wearing a jacket, that he just spent more than five minutes considering the patterns on the other’s skin with more than idle curiosity, but Gokudera looking comfortable is something Yamamoto hasn’t seen before, and he’s not willing to ruffle the other’s composure just yet. He settles for changing the subject instead, leaning back in over the table to cover some of the gap between the two of them. “What about piercings?”
Gokudera glances at Yamamoto, catches his gaze for a moment before looking away at the floor. Yamamoto can see the answer in the color that starts to rise in his cheeks and the nervous slide of his tongue against his lips even before he speaks, dodges with “Nothing major. Just earrings, maybe. Something I could take out if I wanted.”
“Earrings?” Yamamoto perches an elbow on the tabletop, rests his chin in his hand. He can see it in his imagination, the glint of metal on skin to match the silver of Gokudera’s hair. “Just one, or a pair, or…”
Gokudera looks back at him, some of the tension fading off his features along with the blush as he takes in Yamamoto’s expression. “Well.” He clears his throat, tosses his hair back from his face with a motion faintly regal in its careless beauty. “I’ve thought about a set of them, starting at the bottom and going up three or four high.” His fingers catch at his hair, brush it back behind his ear as he touches at the lobe to demonstrate. Yamamoto is staring at his fingers instead of watching his face when Gokudera huffs a sigh and says, “It’s not exciting. Like I said, this isn’t my thing.”
“No,” Yamamoto disagrees, reaches out without thinking as Gokudera drops his hand and starts to tip his head forward again. His fingertips brush warm skin, touch briefly against the other’s cheek, and Gokudera takes a sharp breath, turns his head back up as Yamamoto’s fingers bump against the curve of his ear. Yamamoto doesn’t look at the other’s expression; he’s already flushing hot just from the accidental heat of skin-to-skin contact, hyperaware of the angle of his wrist and how close his arm is to Gokudera’s shoulder. He has to think to take a breath, can feel every reflexive motion of his body coming into focus and demanding his attention until even his voice sounds odd to his own ears.
“It would look good.” His thumb brushes against Gokudera’s ear, touches a line of points up the other’s skin as if the contact is leaving a trail of painless piercings in their wake. “One here, and another, and here.” His hands are trembling very faintly; he can feel the vibration in his blood but he’s not sure it’s enough for the other to notice, isn’t sure Gokudera would notice even if it were. “Maybe one more, up here.” His fingers brush against Gokudera’s hair, along the heat of the skin just behind his ear, and Yamamoto takes a breath and looks at Gokudera’s face.
They are very close. He knew they were -- the coffee table isn’t very big and he’s leaning over half of it on his own, after all, but it’s still a shock. Gokudera is staring at him, his eyes wide and bright with nerves and tentative anticipation, and Yamamoto can’t help the way his gaze slides off the soft dark of the other’s lashes down to the damp at his lips. He can imagine the taste of the coffee clinging to the part of Gokudera’s mouth, can feel the radiant heat of the other’s skin under his fingers and tingling desire into his blood until his mouth is falling barely open, his heartbeat is fluttering frantic-fast with anticipation. Gokudera blinks, the motion flickering in Yamamoto’s periphery, and when Yamamoto glances up at the other’s eyes Gokudera is looking at his mouth too, his arm is angling across the table and he’s leaning in, all Yamamoto has to do is hold still and let Gokudera come to him.
He doesn’t know what it is that pulls him back. It’s instinct, maybe, some intuition that whispers too early when all the rest of him is purring right now. Maybe it’s just that they’re in the middle of a coffee shop, that he can’t possibly give Gokudera the kiss he wants to give him in the current setting. But he’s pulling back, his fingers trailing along Gokudera’s jaw to ease the leaving, and Gokudera blinks and reels back, falls back against his chair and flushes crimson all over his face like he’s only just realized what almost happened.
“It’s late,” he says abruptly, abandoning all pretense of conversation, and Yamamoto can’t even pretend to be surprised. “How long have we been here?”
“An hour or two,” Yamamoto says, but Gokudera is pushing back from the table already, getting to his feet and ducking his head to hide his eyes behind his hair.
“I have to work tomorrow,” he says, the words rough with his usual irritation, and he’s moving towards the door so quickly Yamamoto has to scramble for his jacket and stumble to his feet to go after him.
“Wait,” but Gokudera’s moving down the street, hunching his shoulders against the cold. “Wait, wait, Gokudera!”
“What?” Gokudera spits, turning suddenly so Yamamoto almost runs into him before he can stumble backwards. “It’s cold, I’d rather not stand around freezing.”
Yamamoto doesn’t even think about it. “Here.” He offers the jacket over his arm, holds it out by the collar when Gokudera glares at the coat without reaching for it. “It’s my fault you’re out this late anyway.”
“I can’t take your jacket,” Gokudera growls.
“You can,” Yamamoto insists. “It’s fine, I’ll get it tomorrow while you’re at work.”
Gokudera glances at him. All the relaxation of the coffee shop is gone, replaced with a glare and the familiarity of his frown, but Yamamoto has some spark of insight or maybe is just learning how to recognize submission in that expression, because he’s not surprised when Gokudera snatches the jacket from his hand.
“Fine.” He drags it on in a rush, pulls the fabric up over his shoulders and around his chest without looking away from Yamamoto’s face. “Happy now?”
Yamamoto can’t stop smiling, even with the bare skin of his arms chilling instantly cold in the wind. “Very.”
“Am I allowed to leave now?” Gokudera says, but then he’s talking before Yamamoto has a chance to answer. “You had better come and get this tomorrow, I’m not going to deliver your own stupid jacket to you.”
“Yeah,” Yamamoto says, talking to the green in Gokudera’s eyes instead of the shape of his frown. “I’ll come by.”
“You’d better,” Gokudera says, and then he’s turning without waiting, moving away down the street as if to dodge the possibility of a kiss. Yamamoto stays where he is, staring down the block at the other until Gokudera turns the corner and disappears out of sight.
By the time he gets home he can’t feel his hands, fumbles his keys twice in numb fingers before he gets the front door unlocked. It’s still completely worth it.
Chapter 7: Warmth
The jacket does its job better than it should. If the chill wind were cutting across his bare arms and slicing past the protection of his shirt, Gokudera is sure by the time he gets home he’d be more concerned with warming himself than with the burn of unsatisfied desire in his blood. But Yamamoto’s jacket is thicker than it felt at first, and it has a faint unfamiliar scent that Gokudera keeps catching on alternate inhales, and by the time he gets home he thinks he might be harder than he was when he left the coffeeshop than otherwise.
“Fuck.” It’s not warm in his apartment, but he still strips the jacket off, flings it over the bed as he storms into the bedroom with more furious energy than purpose. All his skin is aching, warm and painful for want of friction, and he knows he’s not going to take the cold shower he ought to take and the knowledge is making him edgy. “Fuck, fuck, fuck.” His fingertips are tingling, the edge of his jaw feels like it’s still on fire from Yamamoto’s touch, and when he drags his shirt off with as much aggression as he can muster he sees blue and purple tattoos in the darkness behind his eyelids.
“Fuck.” The jeans are harder, require more manual dexterity; thanks to Yamamoto’s jacket Gokudera’s hands are more than warm enough, but he fumbles the button more than once before he gets it open, before he can close his fingers in the zipper and drag it down. He’s so hard he has to pull his jeans out taut to avoid catching friction over his skin, strips his jeans and boxers off at one go rather than wasting more time. His shoes are kicked off only after his clothes are puddled around his ankles, the whole mess left on the floor for later, and then he’s free, all the excess heat of his skin burning itself off in the cool of the air instead of against the inside of his clothes.
Gokudera doesn’t turn the light on. It’s better in the dark, easier to reach for familiar fantasies instead of the new ones that leave him anxious with the awareness he’s been trying to avoid. He falls onto the bed, shuts his eyes against the press of memory and reaches out for imagination instead as he fits his hand into the familiar grip around his cock. He flicks through various scenarios, finally settles on one of his favorites, where the careful tension of his fingers is the warmth of someone’s mouth instead, the slide of his thumb the friction of a tongue sliding over him. He pauses, lets himself go long enough to lick against his palm, and then he’s resuming, stroking in a smooth unhurried rhythm like he’s easing away the tension in his shoulders. In the dark of the room it’s easy to keep his eyes shut, to let the fantasy take him entirely, until he’s standing instead of lying down, his legs spread wider than usual to grant him extra stability while he looks down at damp lips and gold eyes. The setting solidifies, forms itself into the flowers of Gokudera’s shop, and this is perfect, just the right hint of danger to spark his blood alight and speed the movement of his hand. Gokudera’s fingers slide faster, his breathing catches in his throat, and in his mind he’s reaching out, sinking his fingers into the rich softness of ruffled black hair, and Yamamoto is shutting his eyes and purring vibration around him and--
Gokudera jerks upright, snatches his hand away from himself like he can erase the shape of the fantasy from his head. Even with his eyes wide and staring into the dark he can see Yamamoto’s face, can visualize the bright of his smile and hear the easy delight of his laugh. His skin flashes hot, the side of his neck and up under the fall of his hair burning hot like his skin remembers Yamamoto’s touch, and he groans, reaches up to scrub at the sensation until it fades into an ache instead of a tingle.
When he falls back down he’s more careful, reaches for different faces, invented and borrowed and anything other than Yamamoto Takeshi’s bright eyes and soft lips. But everyone -- blonds, brunets, redheads -- it doesn’t matter, no sooner does Gokudera’s heart start to pound with responsive interest than they slide sideways, imagined skin blooms into dark tattoos and pale hair flickers dark and disorderly. Gokudera can’t breathe, can’t fight off the influence, and then he turns his head and takes a breath off unfamiliar fabric, and he sees the problem exactly as the last of his resistance gives way.
He should have put the jacket somewhere else. He sees that now, even as he rolls over onto his stomach so he can press his nose against the inside lining, can gulp deep desperate breaths like he can inhale Yamamoto into his bloodstream and cool the overheated ache of want over his skin. The cloth smells cool, like fresh-cut grass and the faint heaviness of sun-scorched fabric, and Gokudera is throwing out a hand to close into a fist on the sleeve of the coat, pull it in closer to his face like that’ll bring Yamamoto within reach too. He’s rocking against the bed, now, bucking forward into his hand because the too-quick pace he’s setting isn’t enough, and his surroundings are dissolving, they’re turning into the flower shop and the tattoo parlor he’s never seen and the cafe he just left, he’s making a fist of Yamamoto’s soft hair and dragging him in to crush their mouths together.
Everything is blurring together; Gokudera knows where he is, on some distant rational level, but another part of him is going shaky as he stands in front of a kneeling Yamamoto in the back of the flower shop, another part is sinking down onto Yamamoto’s cock and watching the way the shine of his eyes goes heavy and out-of-focus with desire. Gokudera is panting, gasping for air against the weight of the coat, and his skin is burning, mixed in with the imagined contact is the real memory of fingers hot against his ear and trailing over his cheek, the soft flutter of eyelashes as Yamamoto blinks to stare at his mouth.
“Fuck,” Gokudera whimpers, and he lets the coat go, reaches up to press his fingers in against the edge of his jaw instead. In the darkness behind his eyes his narrow fingers become the steady press of Yamamoto’s, he can see the heat melting Yamamoto’s eyes caramel in his memory, and he’s shuddering and jerking and coming across his sheets before he has time to roll over. The pleasure crashes out into him, shakes through his fingers and sticks in his throat, and when he gasps a breath it sounds so much like a name he doesn’t let himself think about it long.
He can’t avoid it entirely, much though he wants to. His fingers are sticky, catching on the sheets under him whenever he tries to move, and he still has his face pressed close against Yamamoto’s jacket, as if there was any way to deny who he was thinking of. He’s still trembling when he sits up to rock back over his knees, every other breath sticking in his throat as he stares down at the dim-lit mess he’s made of the bed.
“Fuck,” he says again, soft and considering, and finally lets his hand slide away from the line of his jaw so he can stare at his open palm. “I’m so fucked.”
Gokudera’s never been very good at laughing at himself. Maybe it’s hysteria, this time, that makes the amusement come so easy to his lips. Or maybe it’s something else, borrowed influence from the new addition to his life, but he doesn’t think about that for more than a heartbeat. It’s far easier to shove the jacket onto the floor, to strip off the top blanket for some future washing and fall into bed to forget himself in the unconscious comfort of dreams.
If he retrieves the jacket before he sleeps, fits it around his bare shoulders before he shuts his eyes on the darkness, well, it’s only reasonable to stay warm with one of his usual blankets missing.
Chapter 8: Memory
Yamamoto makes for the shower as soon as he gets the front door closed behind him. It’s the best way to warm up quickly, he knows from experience, the fastest way to chase away the chill of the wind and replace it with the comfort of the heat better suited to his mood. His jeans are painful to manage with his aching fingers, but Yamamoto focuses his attention, pushes at the button and drags at the zipper, and then he’s sliding the fabric off his hips and kicking it to the corner of the bathroom. His shirt is easier, boxers simplest of all, and then he can step into the shower and draw the curtain around in expectation of forthcoming heat.
The water doesn’t even feel cold when it first hits him, and that is probably faintly alarming but it warms up quickly enough, pulls Yamamoto back from the uncontrollable tremors of shivering and eases away the tense hunch to his shoulders. When he ducks his head to the warmth of the spray the droplets tingle against his face, slick damp heat into his hair, and Yamamoto shuts his eyes and lets the water wash over him while his mind wanders.
It’s no surprise that it lights on Gokudera. The other has been the primary subject of Yamamoto’s thoughts for days, now, the shape of his mouth and the color of his eyes a source of endless reflection. Today Yamamoto has far more to add to the details of his memory: the soft heat of the skin just behind Gokudera’s ear, the shift of dark eyelashes as the grey-green of his eyes landed at Yamamoto’s mouth. When Yamamoto flexes his fingers he can draw up the memory of soft strands of hair catching against the gentle contact of his fingertips, and when he lets his breath go in a slow sigh of consideration he can remember the faintest whisper of breath against his lips.
Under the water it’s easy to set aside the instinct that drew him back from the kiss in the cafe, the reflexive necessity to go slower and avoid rushing forward. Yamamoto can imagine the warmth of Gokudera’s mouth against his, can envision how their lips would fit together, can taste the coffee lingering on his tongue like it’s from Gokudera’s lips instead of his own cup. When he lets his lips part he’s imagining the heat of Gokudera’s mouth opening to him, the steadying press of his fingers against the back of the other’s neck, and when he reaches up to trail a hand down and across his chest it’s not his touch he’s thinking about. The water splashes against his hair, trickles down the back of his neck when he ducks his head under its fall, and he lets a breath go as he wraps his fingers around the hardening shape of his cock and strokes water-slick friction over himself.
He doesn’t have to reach for a fantasy. For a few minutes just the memory from the cafe is enough, the recollection of Gokudera’s lips and the heat of his skin, the way he went stiff and still under Yamamoto’s touch. Then Yamamoto turns his wrist, reaches out to press his other hand flat against the wall of the shower, and the setting changes, it’s Gokudera on his bed he’s picturing now, stripped down to the pale shimmer of skin and with anxious tension arching his back up off the sheets under him. Yamamoto can imagine the shape of him, the curve of his back and the heat of his cock bumping slick pre-come against his stomach, the tangle of his hair falling around his face and catching on his lips, and when Yamamoto groans faintly against the splash of the water it’s Gokudera’s name on his lips.
He shifts his hand at the wall, locks his elbow out to hold himself in place, and when he lets his head drop lower he gives himself over entirely to the purr of his imagination and the resulting flush of heat under his skin and against his sliding fingers. He can feel Gokudera’s wrists under his hands, can imagine the angle of the other’s elbows as Yamamoto pins his arms up over his head to hold him in place while he thrusts himself forward into the tight grip of Gokudera’s body. He can taste Gokudera against his mouth, can all but hear “Takeshi” scraping rough over the edges of the other’s voice. Gokudera’s eyes go soft in Yamamoto’s imagination, melting into unfocused heat before his expression softens into the flickering shudder of pleasure; Yamamoto can feel the vibration of Gokudera’s throat under his lips, can taste the friction against the sharp line of collarbone or hip under his teeth and can feel the drag of fingers pushing through his hair. His wrist shifts, slides across the shower wall, but in his head he’s pressing his fingertips into Gokudera’s hip, dragging the other in closer to lick up against the heat of his cock so he can hear the wailing gasp of reaction spill from the other’s lips. He can see it, feel it, taste it, Gokudera pressed up against the edge of the flower shop counter or in the back room of the tattoo parlor, spread out boneless and languid across Yamamoto’s bed or straining against the knots of ties binding him to the frame, the flutter of his eyelashes or the shape of his mouth soft and unthinking under the cover of a blindfold. Yamamoto’s shoulders are tensing, his spine curling in over the steady stroke of his fingers, and then everything disintegrates, all the fantasies and images of Gokudera gone soft and desperate replaced with pure memory, Gokudera hunching his shoulders under the shape of Yamamoto’s jacket and glaring up through his hair, the angle of his mouth and the sound of the words “You better” sounding like a demand, and Yamamoto lets out his breath and his tension at once as warmth floods his veins. He lets his hand slide sideways, tips forward to press his forehead against his arm as he strokes himself through the wave of his orgasm, and by the time he lets his hand slow and his grip ease he can’t tell whether it’s the shower or the pleasure or the memory that is responsible for the comfort of the heat purring through his veins.
Yamamoto lets his hold linger for a moment, waits until the last shivers of reaction have faded into a steady warmth through his whole body. It’s only then that he lets his hand go and lifts his head back to the spray of water across his face. But the memory of Gokudera’s voice lingers, the color of the other’s eyes still clear even when he blinks his gaze back into focus on reality, and when he makes it to bed to collapse into sleep he’s smiling in anticipation of the morning.
Chapter 9: Return
It’s not that Gokudera is impatient for Yamamoto to show up at the shop. He’s busy, he has orders to fill and displays to arrange, and besides the tattoo parlor doesn’t open for another few hours and he’s not even sure Yamamoto has the first shift. It’s just that the jacket is a distraction, an anomaly in the shop that he knows so well, and besides he knows he’s going to have an interruption today and he’d rather get it over with as quickly as possible.
He takes the jacket off as soon as he arrives, tosses it over the corner of the counter and turns his back so he won’t get caught up in staring at it. It’s better that way, even if he has to bring over his order list so he doesn’t have to go back to the front of the shop, even if he can’t see who’s coming into the shop before they speak.
The first two customers are exactly that, customers, and by the third time the door opens the worst of Gokudera’s nervous energy has bled off and he doesn’t spin right away to see who it is. It’s true that his stomach drops with hope, like the gravity where he’s standing has disappeared for a moment, but he shoves the reaction away and says, “Just a minute,” without turning around for the inevitable disappointment.
“That’s fine!” the newcomer says, and Gokudera’s heartbeat skids out at the familiarity of his voice.
It’s for the best his back is turned. It gives him the cover of his shoulders for the way his fingers go tense and clumsy on the stems in front of him, gives him a moment to wait for the first flush of adrenaline to pass into tolerable calm. He sets the flowers aside, takes a deliberately slow breath, and then turns around with his expression set into the best attempt at a frown he can manage.
He thinks he’s ready. It’s not like he doesn’t know what Yamamoto looks like; it’s only been a few hours since they last saw each other, after all, and there’s nothing different about the soft of the other’s smile or the glow of his eyes. But if Yamamoto is the same something is different in Gokudera, his heart stutters too-fast at the familiar tilt of Yamamoto’s shoulders and his eyes drop and stick at the other’s mouth, and when he moves forward it’s not deliberate, it’s reflexive response to magnetism.
“You came,” he says stupidly, even his voice betraying him and coming out shocked and distant, like he had any real doubts at all.
“Yeah.” Yamamoto tips his head sideways, grins like he’s having trouble holding in his delight. “‘Course. I said I would.”
“Yeah.” Gokudera can’t keep looking at him, his breathing is going sideways and wrong. He looks down instead, to the texture of the jacket tossed over the counter. “Here.” He reaches out for the fabric, shoves it over the distance to Yamamoto with the best impression of carelessness he can manage.
“Thanks!” Yamamoto takes it immediately, shakes it out of the casual folds so he can pull it over his arms. Gokudera looks up to track the motion, watches the pattern of Yamamoto’s skin disappear into the sleeves, and it’s only then that he realizes that the other wasn’t wearing a coat when he came in.
“Don’t you have another jacket?” he demands, and then he looks up and that’s a mistake, Yamamoto is still smiling at him with that weird softness in his eyes, has he always looked like that?
“Sure.” Yamamoto’s toying with the cuffs of the coat, working the fabric under his fingers like he’s deliberately trying to fray it. “This one’s my favorite though.” He blinks, takes a breath, turns his head in to press his nose against the collar. “Did you wash this or something?”
Gokudera can feel his face go hot, his cheeks going from pale to crimson in the gap between breaths. “What?” he chokes, takes a sharp breath and forces aggression into his voice instead. “No, of course I didn’t wash your stupid jacket. Why should I?”
Yamamoto blinks at him, his eyes wide and unsuspecting, and then he laughs. “I didn’t mean you should have,” he says, and he’s tipping his head, taking another inhale against the fabric. “It just smells really good, that’s all.”
Gokudera’s blush spreads out from his cheeks, up to his hairline and all the way down his throat to dip under the collar of his shirt. “Are you saying I smell good?”
Yamamoto looks back at him, smiles without any trace of self-consciousness. “I guess so, yeah.”
“You,” Gokudera blurts, reaching for coherency that refuses to come past the heat all across his cheeks. “You are so.”
Yamamoto blinks. “You don’t need to be embarrassed.”
“I’m not embarrassed,” Gokudera chokes.
“You’re blushing really badly,” Yamamoto points out, reaches out like he’s going to touch Gokudera’s cheek. Gokudera’s hand comes up instantly, slaps the other’s touch away before he can even decide if he wants it or not.
“Shut up,” he growls, looking away from Yamamoto’s face to the relative safety of his shirt. There’s a dark stripe right across the front; it gives him something to frown at rather than Yamamoto’s eyes. “Get out of here.” His blush isn’t fading; if anything it’s going darker, he feels like he’s radiating enough heat to warm the entire space.
“Okay.” Yamamoto starts moving away towards the door, but he’s backing up instead of turning around, and when Gokudera looks back up at his face he’s still grinning like he’s won a tournament. “Are you busy tomorrow?”
“I work in the morning,” Gokudera says. He intends it to come out as a refusal but it sounds pleading, instead, the sound twisting somewhere in his throat into hopeful instead of cold. “Get out.”
Yamamoto reaches behind him for the door handle but doesn’t turn it. “Come out with me.” He sounds certain, asking and demanding in equal measures. “After work.”
“Fine,” Gokudera says. “After work tomorrow. Get out of my shop.”
The smile Yamamoto gives him is blinding, warm enough that it eclipses even the burn across Gokudera’s cheeks. “I’ll see you tomorrow!”
Gokudera hisses, starts to come around the counter, and Yamamoto laughs and opens the door, moving quickly enough that he’s out of reach by the time Gokudera has stepped outside the shop to follow him.
“Hey!” he shouts, louder than is necessary, and Yamamoto stops instantly, turns to look back at Gokudera standing in the doorway of the shop. “Where am I supposed to meet you?”
“I’ll be here when you’re done with work,” Yamamoto says immediately, as if it’s perfectly obvious.
Gokudera huffs. “Okay.” The wind gusts against his back, reminds him that he should duck back inside his shop, but Yamamoto is lingering, still smiling at him like he’d be happy to stand there watching the other for the rest of his life. They both stay where they are for a moment, hesitate past the boundary of typical behavior; then there’s another burst of wind, and Gokudera growls and moves back inside because otherwise neither of them ever will.
He just hears the catch of Yamamoto’s laugh against the wind as he steps back into the warmth of the shop.
Chapter 10: Enjoyment
“You have some weird ideas about dates,” Gokudera says, for what Yamamoto is sure is the half-dozenth time in the last hour. “Why the hell did you think this was a good idea?”
Yamamoto isn’t watching the scene in front of them. He’s turned sideways, his gaze sliding towards Gokudera’s face without any conscious thought, like it’s drawn there by the loose strands of silver ruffled by the wind.
“It is a good idea,” he says. He can taste absolute conviction on every word, the heat from the pressure of Gokudera’s arm against his turning into delight in his throat. “This is fun. Aren’t you having fun?”
Gokudera glances at him sideways, growls and turns away. “Watching a sport I don’t understand and don’t care about with a someone who’s an even bigger idiot than he seemed at first, yeah, how could I not be having fun?” He sounds bitter, sarcastic and snappish, but he’s starting to flush before he ducks his head to hide his face behind his hair. “Stop staring at me.”
“I’m not staring,” Yamamoto says, though he does turn back to watch the movement of the baseball players on the field in front of them. They’re moving smoothly, the entire team fitting together like a single organism until their movements look like a dance. “I could explain the rules to you.”
“Yeah, you’ve been doing a great job so far,” Gokudera grumbles. “You tell everything out-of-order, it’s impossible to follow.” He shifts his weight, slides in impossibly closer against Yamamoto so their arms are crushed together through the weight of their jackets. Yamamoto can feel the dig of Gokudera’s elbow against his, the angle of the other’s wrist against the sleeve of his jacket. “And it’s freezing. Who plays baseball in this?”
“At least the sun’s out.” Yamamoto can’t help himself from glancing sideways again, lets his gaze linger at the sharp line of Gokudera’s nose and the soft pout of his lips. His fingers move of their own accord, the back of his hand bumping against Gokudera’s wind-chilled wrist. “I played a game in the rain once.”
“You’re an idiot,” Gokudera says, but the words lack some of their intended bite, and he doesn’t look like he’s really seeing the game in front of them anymore. Yamamoto can see him swallow a moment before the other shifts his fingers in what might be an accident but kind of feels like an invitation. “An idiot for tattoos and baseball. Just my luck.”
“You’re smiling,” Yamamoto points out.
Gokudera looks at him before he has a chance to collect himself, the twist of tension at the corner of his mouth resolving into an expression of very-nearly happiness before it all collapses into a frown. “Shut up.” He turns away again, angles his shoulders like he’s trying to wall Yamamoto away.
“We don’t have to stay,” Yamamoto points out. He reaches out with his free hand, his fingers drawn unavoidably to the slide of Gokudera’s hair against the collar of his jacket. The strands are very soft under his touch, brush away from Gokudera’s features so Yamamoto can tip his head and see the way the other is glaring out at nothing in particular. He doesn’t pull away from the contact. “We can go somewhere else, if you want, or you can go home, if you’re that unhappy.”
Gokudera makes an odd sound, something that sounds like a growl but breaks into closer to a whimper by the end. “I’m not going to go home after going through the trouble of coming out here.” He turns back to face the field, narrowing his eyes at the players. “I can figure out the rules on my own if I have to.” He glances back at Yamamoto, his gaze sliding from the other’s eyes to flicker over his mouth and down to his throat before he blinks hard and looks away. “And stop being an idiot,” he says, spitting out the words all at once, and he’s moving his hand, pulling his fingers away so for a moment Yamamoto thinks he’s drawing back from the contact entirely. Then Gokudera’s pressing his palm against Yamamoto’s, lacing their fingers together in a sudden desperate rush, and Yamamoto’s fingers are tightening involuntarily to hold Gokudera’s hand against his.
“You’re acting like a teenager,” Gokudera declares. His voice is shaking and he’s not looking at Yamamoto, but his hand is blisteringly warm against the other’s skin. “If you want to hold my hand just do it.”
“Ah,” Yamamoto says, and then he’s laughing, delight and adrenaline spilling up his throat and out into the cold air. “Okay.”
Gokudera looks at him again, and Yamamoto thinks he might be trying for a frown, but his expression slips, his mouth goes soft, and for just a minute he’s smiling too, warm and gentle and faintly shocked, like the reaction has been startled out of him. He turns away fast, flushing crimson all over his face, but he doesn’t take his hand back, and Yamamoto doesn’t say anything about it this time.
Yamamoto doesn’t know if Gokudera understands baseball any better by the time the practice game is over. He does know that both their hands are much warmer tangled together, and he knows that Gokudera doesn’t let his hold go when they finally get up to head home, and he knows that Gokudera is smiling, still, behind the cover of his hair, and those seem like more important things anyway.
Chapter 11: Compromise
Yamamoto’s hand is far warmer than it has any right to be.
Gokudera has been trying to focus on the conversation, on the cold of the wind, on the inordinately complex rules of baseball, on anything and everything instead of how radiant-hot Yamamoto’s fingers are against his hand. It’s not working. He’s not sure what they’re talking about, isn’t sure Yamamoto is saying anything of substance beyond the delighted burble of laughter he has for all Gokudera’s insults, like he can’t hold back the happiness in his throat. Gokudera’s heart hasn’t stopped pounding since he closed his fingers on Yamamoto’s hand; he can feel the adrenaline flooding out into him from that one point of contact, until every shift of their fingers feels like an earthquake, and by the time they turn the corner to his apartment complex he can’t catch his breath. Every inhale feels forced and out-of-rhythm, he has to fight to remember every breath, and his fingers are closing tighter on Yamamoto’s hand without his intention.
“I’m here,” he manages, feeling like every word is choked out past the tension of anticipation and panic in his throat. He takes another step, one more, and then he’s in front of the gate and he can’t go any farther without making the invitation explicit.
It takes him a moment. They both stand still in front of the building, Gokudera staring unseeing at the numberplate alongside the gate and Yamamoto looking up to consider the rows of windows above them. When Gokudera glances up the other looks calm, as unruffled as if standing in the freezing wind outside someone else’s apartment complex is perfectly ordinary.
Then his head comes down, his gaze refocuses on Gokudera’s face, and Gokudera is speaking, blurting “Come inside,” with so much desperation it comes out sounding like anger instead of an invitation.
He looks down, stares at the front of Yamamoto’s jacket instead of the danger of his eyes, forces another breath and tries again. “You should come inside.” The wind catches his hair, offers inspiration. “It’s freezing, you’ll need to warm up before you go home.”
The fingers at Gokudera’s hand go tight, squeeze pressure against his skin for a moment, and for the space of a heartbeat Gokudera thinks Yamamoto will say yes, thinks that he’ll look up to see the easy warmth of acceptance in the other’s eyes. Then there’s a sigh, heavy and resigned, and Gokudera can feel hope die into the burn of embarrassment before Yamamoto says, “I can’t.”
“Yeah.” Gokudera pulls his hand free, making the motion sharp and fast so Yamamoto doesn’t have a chance to catch him and hold him back. “Of course you can’t.”
“I can’t,” and Yamamoto sounds pleading, now, anxious and apologetic and he’s reaching for Gokudera’s shoulder before the other twists away to hide behind the wall of his shoulders. “I have an evening shift back at the shop tonight, I have to be back there in an hour.” He steps closer, his hand lands gentle at Gokudera’s shoulder again. “Gokudera?”
Gokudera blinks hard, wills the cold of the wind to chill the flush on his cheeks away. He’s burning hot, embarrassed from the rejection and his overreaction both and flushed with all the pointless heat stolen from the touch of Yamamoto’s hand against his, and the stubborn tension in his shoulders wants him to unlock the gate and retreat back into the safety of his empty apartment.
“Fine,” he says instead, the word odd against his adrenaline-numb lips, and he’s turning back around, fixing Yamamoto with the best glare he can manage with his face still glowing with heat. “Fine, go to your stupid shift.” But Yamamoto doesn’t move, just keeps watching him with his mouth soft with apology and his eyes shining with concern, and he doesn’t protest when Gokudera seizes a fistful of the front of his jacket.
Gokudera’s ready, this time, for the lack of resistance he gets when he pulls. He’s a little gentler, a little more considerate of the other’s balance, because he really doesn’t want to split his lip open from a too-sharp collision. But he does jerk Yamamoto in, a single quick motion, and while Yamamoto is capitulating and his gaze is slipping to Gokudera’s mouth Gokudera leans in over the last tiny gap and crushes their lips together.
He means it to be aggressive. He means it to be teeth and tongue and frustration all together, harsh and rough until he strikes sparks off Yamamoto’s unassailable cheer. But Yamamoto goes soft against the attack, fits his mouth to the pressure of Gokudera’s like he knows what he’s doing, and Gokudera doesn’t have a chance to escalate before Yamamoto’s hands are fitting into his hair, pushing the strands back from his face and holding his head steady while the other presses in closer and eases all Gokudera’s roughness into intensity instead. There’s vibration at Gokudera’s lips, the gentle pressure of humming in Yamamoto’s throat, and when Gokudera opens his mouth to set his teeth against the other’s lip Yamamoto licks against him instead, slides his tongue past Gokudera’s lips to taste the warmth of his mouth.
Gokudera reaches out, grabs blindly for whatever he can touch until he gets an arm wrapped around Yamamoto’s shoulders to hold him in place. He doesn’t need to. Yamamoto is leaning in closer, takes a half-step forward into Gokudera’s space, and he feels like he’s melting, going soft and heavy to fit in against the shape of Gokudera’s body even as Gokudera arches in and drags at the other to pull him in closer. He can’t feel the wind at all, isn’t aware of the cold brilliance of the sun; all his attention is caught by how impossibly soft Yamamoto’s hair is against the inside of his wrist and the shuddery muffled noises Yamamoto is making against his lips. Everything is warm, Gokudera feels like he’s burning up from the inside out, and then Yamamoto pulls back to gasp a breath and Gokudera remembers that they are, in fact, standing on the public street in front of his apartment.
Gokudera makes a strangled sound and disentangles himself, shoves back as far as he can get until his shoulders hit the wall behind him. It’s not very far, not nearly far enough, because Yamamoto is blinking his eyes open and he looks drugged, and he’s still staring at Gokudera’s mouth and his lips are damp from Gokudera’s tongue.
“Oh,” Yamamoto says, letting all his air out in a single gasp, and Gokudera is reaching out for his jacket again before he can catch the motion back, close his fingers into a fist and press his hand safely against his chest.
“You should go,” he says, and he doesn’t sound angry at all, he sounds shaky and weak and as overheated as he feels. He clears his throat and tries again. “Because you have work.”
Yamamoto nods, but it’s slow and dreamy and Gokudera’s not sure he’s really listening. “Yeah. Sure.”
“Yamamoto,” and that gets his attention, gets the other to blink and finally drag his eyes up to meet Gokudera’s gaze. His eyes are dark, heavy-lidded and trailing across Gokudera’s face like Yamamoto has never seen him before, and it takes true effort for Gokudera to reel his thoughts back into coherency.
“Go,” he says again, but Yamamoto is leaning back in and Gokudera is moving to meet him, tipping closer so Yamamoto’s lips brush the very corner of his mouth, leave tingling sensation in their wake while Gokudera’s breathing whines in his throat. “You’re not coming inside and we’re in public and --” and Yamamoto’s hand is back in his hair, they’re leaning in to each other, Yamamoto’s tasting against the part of Gokudera’s lips and Gokudera’s opening his mouth wider in invitation before he can compose himself enough to shove at Yamamoto’s shoulder and send him stumbling backwards.
“Go to work,” he says, and he’s lifting a hand to press the back of his wrist to the burn of sensation at his lips like he can keep the taste of Yamamoto’s mouth on his a moment longer. Yamamoto looks at his eyes, looks at his hand, looks at the collar of his shirt; then he ducks his head, sighs out all at once, lifts a hand to ruffle his hair.
“Yeah.” He sounds lost in his own skin, looks around as if he doesn’t know where he is. “Yeah. Good.” He doesn’t move right away, stays where he is, blinking like he’s trying to put the world back into place. “Can I see you at work tomorrow?”
“Don’t be stupid,” Gokudera hisses, and the frustration gives him the composure to drop his hand and reach into his pocket. “I’ll give you my phone number and you can just call me, okay?”
Yamamoto blinks, still slow like he’s not caught up with events; then he laughs, some of the overwhelmed glaze in his expression fading with the sound, and he’s fumbling out his own phone, ducking his head to watch the screen while he enters the number Gokudera gives him. Then he’s going, jogging down the street with a rushed apology and promises to call, and Gokudera is going inside before he convinces himself to stand at the gate watching Yamamoto leave like a completely lovestruck fool.
At least when he’s inside there’s no potential audience to see him fall back against the door on knees gone weak with the heat of memory, no one there to watch the smile that spreads uncontrollably across his face as he slides down to sit on the floor and let the ache of remembered pressure at his lips spread into tingling delight in his blood.
Chapter 12: Invitation
Yamamoto doesn’t remember most of his shift. He knows it passes, looks up at the clock every few hours to be startled by how suddenly the time is progressing. He speaks to customers and rings up payments and sets ink under skin, has conversations about design and color and aesthetics and remembers none of them. His attention is elsewhere, lingering in the memories of hours ago or skipping to the hope of the future, and when he has a moment he’s touching his mouth, trailing his fingers over the recollected taste of Gokudera’s lips and the friction of the other’s teeth and pressing the heat hard against the faint bruising at his skin. He doesn’t take his phone out of his pocket, but his fingers drift there mid-conversation, brush against the hard plastic until it’s as warm as his skin, warm as the inside line of Gokudera’s wrist.
He doesn’t think about the time when he gets out, doesn’t consider the darkness of the long-since sunset or the rationality of calling when he saw Gokudera earlier that day. He just steps out of the shop, has his phone out of his pocket before Skull’s turned the sign around to ‘Closed,’ and then it’s ringing and he’s locked on the spot and breathless with anticipation.
He doesn’t have to wait long. There’s one ring, half another, and then a sigh by way of greeting and Gokudera’s voice, so familiar even over the phone Yamamoto’s skin flushes hot in reaction. “Yeah?”
“Hi,” Yamamoto breathes, grinning out at the darkness of the night in front of him. “It’s Yamamoto.”
“I know it’s you, idiot, you gave me your number earlier.” Gokudera sounds softer over the phone, or maybe it’s just oncoming exhaustion that is turning his voice nearly warm on the other end of the line. “Go back to work.”
“I’m done,” Yamamoto says, unable to gain control over the grin spreading over his lips. “I just finished.”
Gokudera heaves a sigh so heavy Yamamoto can hear the burst of static that accompanies it. “Whatever. What do you want?”
“Can I see you tomorrow?” Yamamoto asks. “I really want to.” Gokudera is taking a breath, shaky and startled, but Yamamoto is still talking, words spilling over his lips to outstrip the pace of his thoughts. “Please. Can I see you tonight?”
He doesn’t think it through. The words come out before he considers them, more a desperate attempt than a true question, and he’s not really surprised when Gokudera barks an incredulous laugh.
“Tonight? It’s ten o’clock, idiot, you want to come over in the middle of the night?”
“Yeah,” Yamamoto admits, laughing with too much jittery adrenaline to restrain. “It’s stupid, it’s fine, are you working tomorrow?”
“Hey,” Gokudera snaps, sounding legitimately frustrated for the first time since he picked up the phone. “I didn’t say no.”
Yamamoto’s breathing catches in his throat, his heart suddenly pounding overtime against his chest as his entire body flickers hot with hope. “You mean I can? Right now?”
“Do you need me to tell you again?” Gokudera is growling the words, irritation audible and sharp in his tone. “Or do you not actually want to?”
“I do, I do,” Yamamoto says, starting to move down the street as fast as he can manage without breaking into a jog. “I’ll be there in a half hour.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Gokudera protests. “It took you an hour to get out there, you can’t make it back that fast.”
“I can if I run,” Yamamoto says, the words turning into another bubble of thrilled laughter in his throat. “See you soon, Gokudera.”
“Idiot,” Gokudera says, but his voice is soft again, trembling faintly across the line. “Call me when you’re here.”
“Okay,” Yamamoto says, and the phone goes dead before he can say anything else.
He breaks into a jog as soon as he has his phone closed and back in his pocket. It’s colder with the sun down, but between the run and the flush of excitement across his skin, he doesn’t notice the chill.
Chapter 13: Aligned
Gokudera has been pacing the living room for five minutes when his phone rings again. It’s not been quite a half hour, and Yamamoto’s promises notwithstanding he’s not really expecting the other to make it to the front gate in less than forty minutes, but he can’t sit still and he can’t keep calm; every time his heartrate starts to slow his memory draws up Yamamoto’s voice, the rushing joy of sincerity when he said he wanted to come over, and Gokudera ends up taking a sharp shuddering breath as his composure evaporates again. Some of that anxiety is in his voice, turning his tone rough with worry when he picks up the phone, because how can Yamamoto be here already, maybe he’s calling to cancel instead. But Yamamoto’s speaking almost before Gokudera has the phone to his ear, blurting “I’m here,” with only a trace of breathlessness.
“Did you actually run?” Gokudera says, then “Stay there, I’ll head down” before the other has a chance to respond. He hangs up on the faint whisper of Yamamoto’s breathing and he’s out the door without pausing to put shoes on. It’s cool down the hallway and actively cold when he steps outside, but then he looks out towards the gate and Yamamoto is leaning on the metal, his arms laced through the rails and his forehead pressed to the bar. He smiles as soon as he sees Gokudera, his face lighting up like the other is the sunrise, and Gokudera ducks his head and watches the ground instead of Yamamoto as he picks his way to the gate.
“Hi,” Yamamoto says as soon as Gokudera is within earshot, sounding stunned and soft, and Gokudera has to glance up to see the part of his lips and the nighttime black of his eyes.
“I can’t believe you actually ran.” The gate swings open and Gokudera is turning away as Yamamoto disentangles himself, stepping out of range of another public kiss in favor of getting inside the faster. The gate clangs shut behind him and Yamamoto follows him, Gokudera can hear the faster pace of his breathing and the soft scuff of his footsteps, but he doesn’t turn around.
“In here.” He shoves the door wide instead of holding it for Yamamoto, makes it the entire way down the corridor to his own door before he glances back. That’s a mistake, he realizes as soon as he sees the way Yamamoto is looking at him, his whole expression going soft and warm with affection.
“Just gimme a minute,” Gokudera manages to get out, the words coming as harsh as if Yamamoto were rushing him or doing anything at all besides standing there watching him unlock his front door with as much clumsiness as if he’s never done it before. Then the door is open, Gokudera is stepping inside, and when he turns around Yamamoto is so hard on his heels he almost doesn’t need to do what he does, which is reach out to grab the other’s wrist and drag him past the door.
Yamamoto goes, stumbling but willing to be pulled, only starting to say “Gokudera?” before the other slams the door shut with the reckless force of anticipation. Then Gokudera’s letting his hold on Yamamoto’s wrist go, grabbing at the other’s jacket with both fists, and Yamamoto is sighing and leaning in to meet his frantic motion before Gokudera even pulls at him. Gokudera opens his mouth as soon as Yamamoto’s lips touch his, licks hard against the line of Yamamoto’s, and they’re back where they left off hours before, Yamamoto’s tongue against his lips and all the heat of the other’s mouth spilling into his, and some newfound tension in Gokudera’s shoulders unwinds into relief. He’s gasping out a lungful of air when Yamamoto’s hands come up to his hair, fingertips dragging over his scalp, and Gokudera forgets the comfort of relief in the burn of contact. Yamamoto’s hands are gentle against his hair, threading through the strands without catching on knots, but it’s not enough, they’re too far away even pressed in as close as Gokudera can drag them. He doesn’t pull away, but he lets one of his hands go, fumbles across Yamamoto’s jacket without looking until he can grab at the other’s zipper and drag it down. Yamamoto leans back an inch without pulling away from Gokudera’s mouth, gives the other the space to get his jacket open, and then the fabric is falling free and Gokudera is pulling back, shoving Yamamoto away so he can pull at the loose sleeves of his unzipped coat.
Yamamoto shrugs the fabric free, lets it fall to the floor without any concern; Gokudera’s not even sure Yamamoto is aware that he was wearing a coat seconds ago, from the way he’s watching Gokudera’s mouth. The whole colorful expanse of his arms is bare without the jacket, flowers and feathers shifting as he reaches back out for Gokudera’s hair again. His fingers settle into place again, but he doesn’t close the distance right away; he stalls out an inch away, breathing hard against Gokudera’s mouth and blinking slowly like he’s forgotten what he’s doing. For his part Gokudera is caught up in feeling out the bottom edge of Yamamoto’s shirt, shoving it up over the flat line of his stomach and bunching against his chest.
“You should take this off,” Gokudera suggests, more roughly than he intends, but his tone doesn’t seem to so much as faze Yamamoto. He just nods, like he’s acknowledging an order, lets his trailing touch at Gokudera’s hair go so he can lift his arms above his head and tip to let Gokudera peel his shirt off. His hair ruffles with the slide of the collar, his back curves in a smooth arc, but it’s not that that stalls Gokudera’s attention as he tosses the already-forgotten shirt to the ground.
“Oh my god,” and he’s grabbing for Yamamoto’s shoulder, pulling him around so he can see the other’s back. “What is this?”
“My tattoo,” Yamamoto says, like it’s perfectly simple, but Gokudera is barely listening anymore. He’s reaching out instead, spreading his fingers wide to fit against the smooth sweep of feathers, the outline of wings spread wide across the other’s back and down over his shoulders.
“Wings,” Gokudera says, sounding breathless and lost even in his own ears. The design is elegant, sharp clean lines cutting across gold-tanned skin and bleeding down into the color of the other’s arms. Gokudera slides his hands out farther, along the shape of the pattern, to where the points of the last feathers start to bleed into blue and purple as they meet the rest of Yamamoto’s tattoos.
“Yeah.” Yamamoto shifts, arches his back to press in against Gokudera’s touch, and the feathers inked against his skin look like they’re fluttering for a moment. “Like the swallows.”
“Fuck,” Gokudera says, but it comes out as a whisper, all the aggression stripped clean to leave it trembling on his tongue like a sob. He can’t pull his hands away, can’t make himself stop tracing the ink laid into Yamamoto’s skin, turning the usual slide of shoulderblades under skin into something uncannily beautiful. “This is--”
He is going to say beautiful. He can feel the word forming in his throat, sincerity taking over his lips instead of self-control, and it’s only at the last moment that he can close his mouth on the word and choke back the admission. But it’s still there, waiting to break free as soon as he opens his mouth, and Gokudera has to lean forward instead, shut his eyes to the wrenching beauty and press his mouth to it instead so the word muffles into an unintelligible hum against Yamamoto’s spine instead.
Yamamoto doesn’t seem to mind. He groans as Gokudera’s lips touch him, his back shifting in response to the pressure like the other’s touch is electric, and when he turns Gokudera lets his hands slide rather than trying to hold him in place. It’s easier to bear, when he opens his eyes to the rich swathes of color he’s at least become more accustomed to, but then Yamamoto is ducking his head to bump his forehead to Gokudera’s and all Gokudera’s focus flutters away again.
“Gokudera.” His name sounds like something magical on Yamamoto’s tongue, soft and warm and without any of the rough edges Gokudera is used to. Yamamoto’s hands are drifting against his hips, fingertips catching just under the edge of his shirt and pushing up for skimming contact against the other’s bare skin. “Can I…?”
“Don’t be stupid,” Gokudera says, and reaches down to catch the edge of his shirt himself. Yamamoto draws back, like he thinks he’s being rejected, and Gokudera huffs and jerks his shirt up and off in a single hurried motion. His hair catches at the collar, twists into disarray, but Yamamoto’s stepping back in before Gokudera has time to run a hand through it to tug the tangles loose, reaching back to trail his fingers across Gokudera’s waist. He’s not looking at Gokudera’s face; his eyes are skimming over the other’s shoulders, across his chest, considering the curve of his waist until Gokudera starts to flush just from the concerted attention.
“You’re beautiful,” Yamamoto finally says, shocked and breathless, and dips his head to press a kiss against Gokudera’s bare shoulder. His mouth is burning hot, wet and slick against the sensitive skin, and Gokudera’s throat closes tight against a whimper as he fumbles his hands into a hold on Yamamoto’s hips to pull him in closer. Yamamoto tips forward at the motion, as compliant as ever, and there’s heat and pressure digging in against Gokudera’s hip and Yamamoto’s leg pushing against the front of his jeans, and Gokudera isn’t sure if he’s the one who groans or if it’s Yamamoto. All his skin is flaring warm in waves, he can feel each individual surge of heat, and for just a moment Yamamoto is gasping against his shoulder and Gokudera is grinding forward against Yamamoto and it’s only the resistance of the other keeping them upright.
Gokudera’s heart is pounding, he can hardly see for the haze over his vision, but he’s the one who collects himself enough to pull back, to shove at Yamamoto’s shoulder and stumble back the half-step he needs to regain the ability to speak.
“We should.” He pauses, takes a breath, and Yamamoto is staring at him like he has all the answers, the other’s expression soft with such absolute trust it makes Gokudera shiver. Yamamoto looks like he’d do anything at all if Gokudera only asked, stay forever or leave right now, and the power of that is disconcerting and faintly terrifying. Still. Gokudera knows what he’s going to ask for, knew as soon as he told Yamamoto to come over.
He turns away from that expression, his flush going darker and self-conscious as he moves. “Come with me.” He doesn’t wait, doesn’t need to turn to make sure Yamamoto is following; he knows the other is trailing in his wake, following him through the unfamiliar apartment until he pauses to open the door to the bedroom.
It’s relatively tidy, if only because Gokudera rarely spends much time in here, but he’s not hugely concerned with the cleanliness. What’s important is the bed, familiar and meaningful all at once, and he’s moving forward to drop onto the mattress as he turns back. Yamamoto is standing in the doorway, wide-eyed and hesitant, and he doesn’t come forward until Gokudera lifts a hand to beckon sharply at him.
“Come on.” He can hear the strain of nervousness in his voice, panic making itself audible under the sound. “Unless you don’t want to?”
“I want to,” Yamamoto says, quick and easy like there’s no confession in the words at all, and steps forward into the room. The lighting is dimmer in here, turns his skin to gold and his eyes to shadows, and when he hesitates again just shy of contact Gokudera’s fingers twitch for wanting to pull him closer. “Are you sure?”
Gokudera glares up at him. “What exactly did you think I was saying when I told you to come over?” He’s blushing again, his skin burning with self-consciousness, but Yamamoto’s eyelashes flutter like he needed to be told, and Gokudera is reaching out even as he’s growling, hooking his fingers into the top edge of Yamamoto’s jeans and dragging him bodily forward. “Come here, idiot.”
He does. Yamamoto steps forward at the urging of Gokudera’s pull, leans down for another kiss, and when Gokudera falls flat back to the mattress he trails him, brings one knee up alongside the other’s hip so the warmth of his skin presses in against Gokudera’s. Yamamoto is breathing against the edge of Gokudera’s lips, hesitation tense across his shoulders, and Gokudera doesn’t bother snapping at him for it. It’s easier to curl his fingers in against the back of the other’s neck and draw him down to a kiss, to slide his tongue past Yamamoto’s lips and taste the heat of his mouth, and Yamamoto is touching Gokudera too, his fingers outlining the ticklish curve of Gokudera’s waist and tracing around to the front of his jeans. The weight of his wrist isn’t enough but it’s something, better than the lack of friction Gokudera has been getting, and Yamamoto sighs when Gokudera rocks up against him, presses his hand flat against the other and lets Gokudera grind against his palm for a minute.
Gokudera pulls back for a moment, tightens his fingers into a threat at the back of Yamamoto’s neck. “Are you gonna take my jeans off, then, or do I have to do that for you too?”
Yamamoto’s laugh is bright and startled, fluttering delight into his throat, and he’s shaking his head before he speaks, sliding his hand up to the button of Gokudera’s jeans instead of the front. “I’ll do it.”
“Good,” Gokudera manages to snap, and then Yamamoto is rocking back and away, sliding free of his hold so he can use both hands to unfasten the other’s jeans. He’s remarkably quick about it; Gokudera barely has time to take a shivering breath of anticipation before Yamamoto is sliding the zipper down and reaching to drag the denim down off his hips. It’s better without the restriction of the jeans, even though the thin fabric of Gokudera’s boxers is doing a terrible job of keeping him covered, and it’s even better when Yamamoto groans faint in the back of his throat and reaches out to press his palm back where it was. Without the jeans Gokudera can feel how warm his hand is, can feel the shift as the other angles for better resistance, and he sucks in a sharp breath and reaches out to grab at Yamamoto’s shoulder to brace himself while he arches up for more.
“You too,” he’s saying, insistent partially with desire for equality and more with desire for Yamamoto to take his clothes off. Yamamoto is staring at Gokudera’s face, looking entranced and hazy, but Gokudera still has another free hand to reach for Yamamoto’s pants. Yamamoto hisses in shock at the contact when Gokudera’s fingers touch his skin and that does away with the other’s intention to get the fly open first; he grabs at the edge of fabric instead, forces his hand down along the warm draw of Yamamoto’s skin, and his angle is bad but when he stretches his fingers brush hard-hot skin, and Yamamoto shudders and lets his eyes flutter shut.
“Gokudera.” It sounds like a plea, shaky and desperate, and Gokudera lets his hold on Yamamoto’s neck go to reach down and fumble with the button of his pants. It’s more rushed and less skilled than he would like, but speed proves effective; he’s got the jeans open and Yamamoto’s boxers pushed down and out of the way before Yamamoto blinks his eyes open and back into some kind of focus on Gokudera’s face. His mouth is open, probably unintentionally, his eyes as warm as his skin, and Gokudera huffs an exhale and grabs at his hip to hold the other in place while he wraps his hand into a proper grip around Yamamoto’s length. He’s hot to the touch, the head of his cock faintly slick with pre-come, and he jerks at the contact, ducks his head to press his forehead to Gokudera’s collarbone and grinds his hand down harder against the other. Gokudera shifts sideways, gets his leg up so he can hook it around Yamamoto’s hip, and when he drags himself upward their wrists collide and there’s a burst of heat and friction and Gokudera groans, digs his heel in against Yamamoto’s hip and pulls himself in closer.
There’s no chance to find a rhythm. The pressure of Yamamoto’s hand keeps shifting every time Gokudera moves his, and it’s impossible for Gokudera himself to set any kind of pattern to the desperate slip of his fingers when he’s holding himself half-off the mattress by Yamamoto’s hip. But they’re both breathing hard, Yamamoto is whining into Gokudera’s skin every time the other moves, and Gokudera’s thoughts are going hazy under the onslaught of heat and friction.
“Yamamoto,” he gasps, and Yamamoto whimpers, and that’s close enough to a response. “Are you going to fuck me or not?” Yamamoto does listen to that -- Gokudera can feel it in the stutter of the other’s breathing and the way his cock twitches hard against his fingers. He shifts his other arm, grabs at Yamamoto’s shoulder again to brace himself while he presses himself in as close as he can get.
“Gokudera--” Yamamoto manages, but he sounds overheated and shaky, not resistant.
“Take your stupid jeans off,” Gokudera growls, and lets Yamamoto go, falls back to the bed and shoves at the other’s shoulder to push him away. Yamamoto tips sideways, collapses onto his side next to Gokudera, but he’s sitting up in a rush, pulling at his shoes and shoving his clothes down his legs, and that’s confirmation enough. Gokudera takes advantage of his distraction to strip off his boxers and twists away to reach for the lube under the edge of the bed.
Maybe it takes him longer than he expects, or maybe Yamamoto is more dexterous than Gokudera gave him credit for. There’s a touch at his hip before he has a chance to roll back, lips against the edge of his jaw and the heat of contact all along his spine, and then Yamamoto is pressing in against him, grinding the heat of his cock against Gokudera’s ass, and Gokudera nearly drops the bottle in the quiver of responsive heat that rushes through him.
“You’re so amazing,” Yamamoto breathes, sounds shellshocked and broken, but when he reaches for the bottle his hands are steadier than Gokudera’s. Gokudera lets him take it, shuts his eyes and tips his head so Yamamoto can press his mouth up against the curve of his neck instead. His lips are warm, his breath warmer, and Gokudera lacks the patience to wait for his touch to return. He drops a hand to close his fingers around his cock himself, strokes up carefully over himself, and Yamamoto whines into his throat and leans back to fumble with the bottle. Gokudera’s breath is coming faster from the movement of his own fingers but all the heat in his blood is from the proximity of Yamamoto’s skin, contagious warmth catching him on fire, and then there’s the cool of slick fingers against his thigh and he shudders in anticipation. Yamamoto is breathing hard against his hair, dipping his head to kiss the curve of Gokudera’s neck, and when his fingers slide up to feel out Gokudera’s entrance Gokudera takes a breath and says “Two” like it’s a command.
Yamamoto barely hesitates. He turns his hand, shifts the angle of his fingers, and then he’s stretching Gokudera open, two slick fingers sliding into the other as Gokudera shudders in the first wave of sensation. It’s enough, for a moment, the heat that sweeps out over him as Yamamoto works his fingers in deeper, but his heart is pounding faster and enough becomes too little too fast, and Gokudera reaches out to grab at the sheets and stroke harder over himself and demands, “More, fuck, more.” Yamamoto’s breathing desperately against his shoulder, gasping on the inhales like he’s the one getting stretched open, but he obeys anyway, twisting his wrist and thrusting in deeper, and Gokudera groans an exhale and rocks back for more. Yamamoto is finding a rhythm, now, and Gokudera can feel the flicker of heat turning into a wave in him, pleasure turning into anticipation until he has to stall the motion of his hand.
“Okay,” he gasps, and Yamamoto stops instantly, goes still as if Gokudera has shouted. “Okay, do it.”
Yamamoto doesn’t ask if he’s sure. Gokudera can hear the shuddering breath the other takes, the tremble of the sound in his throat, and then he’s sliding his fingers free, leaning back so he can slick over himself instead of press against Gokudera’s skin. Gokudera shuts his eyes, takes a breath, and Yamamoto is fitting back in against him, breathing so hard Gokudera can hear the strain of anticipation on every inhale. His fingers curl against Gokudera’s hip, his lips come back against the fall of Gokudera’s hair, and then he takes a breath and Gokudera says, “I’m ready” before Yamamoto can find the words to ask.
That gets him a laugh, sincere for all that it’s faint and tense, and then Yamamoto lets a breath out and presses himself forward. He’s slick with lube but it’s still a stretch; Gokudera’s fingers curl into a convulsive fist on the sheets as Yamamoto starts to slide into him. But he’s burning with heat at the movement, too, his skin flickering in reaction to the drag of friction, and Yamamoto ducks his head to groan into Gokudera’s shoulder, the sound drawn long as his cock sinks deeper with near-agonizing slowness. It’s better than his fingers, hotter and wider, and Gokudera can feel each shiver of reaction that runs through the other’s body carried directly through to his from their point of contact.
Then Yamamoto stops moving, takes a breath, and when he draws back Gokudera tightens his grip and starts to stroke up over himself in time with the other’s movements. Yamamoto starts slow, careful like he thinks Gokudera will break, but Gokudera rocks back to meet his second thrust, and the third comes in a little harder, and Yamamoto is just starting to find his rhythm again when he shifts his angle and an explosion of sensation whites out Gokudera’s vision. Gokudera doesn’t realize he groans, doesn’t realize his hand jerks tight, but Yamamoto whimpers and tightens his grip at Gokudera’s hip, and when he thrusts in again it’s hard and precisely angled. Gokudera jerks against the sheets, lets himself go to grab at Yamamoto’s wrist to brace himself. He can hear the smile under Yamamoto’s exhale, the delight audible even in his breathing, and then Yamamoto’s hold goes slack so he can close his fingers around Gokudera’s cock instead and Gokudera’s attention starts to fray to pieces. He can hear Yamamoto breathing hard against his neck, can notice the heat of Yamamoto’s chest pressed against his back and the pressure of a knee tipped in against his, but it’s all irrelevant, everything is fading out of importance under the rising tension of friction-heat in his blood. Every thrust of Yamamoto’s hips brings a flare of sensation with it, every slide of his fingers comes a little faster and a little harder, and Gokudera is still clinging to his wrist but his hand is starting to shake, his hold is going involuntarily tight on the other’s skin as everything in him goes taut and expectant.
“Gokudera,” Yamamoto gasps, the name broken and overheated. “Gokudera, I’m close, I’m--I’m gonna come,” and it’s supposed to be a warning but it’s the last push instead, Gokudera gasps a choking inhale as his thoughts go silent, his world flushes hot, and he pulses hot over the hold of Yamamoto’s fingers. Yamamoto sucks in a breath against Gokudera’s shoulder, manages “Gokudera” once more, and he’s following Gokudera, trembling himself into orgasm against the other’s shoulder before the last wave of pleasure has let Gokudera go.
Neither of them move for several minutes. Gokudera feels impossibly heavy, warm and weak with satisfaction, and Yamamoto keeps shuddering aftershocks against him like he can’t make himself stop. Eventually Gokudera is the one to sigh and push Yamamoto’s hand away, pull away and sit up to consider the mess they’ve made of the bed. Yamamoto doesn’t move; he just turns over onto his stomach, presses his face against the sheets and smiles dreamily like he has every intention of falling asleep where he lies.
Gokudera can’t resist the impulse to reach out, trail his fingers against the inked texture of feathers along Yamamoto’s shoulders. The other smiles wider, hums satisfaction, but he doesn’t open his eyes, which means Gokudera doesn’t have to worry about restraining his expression.
“You can stay if you want,” he finally says, as gruffly as he can manage. “It’s almost midnight already.”
Yamamoto blinks his eyes open, glances back at Gokudera without moving to pull away from the glide of the other’s touch. “I’d like to.” His voice is warm, gentle with apology before he even finishes the sentence. “I have work in the morning, though. I at least need to change my clothes before then.”
Gokudera lets his touch slide down to the bottom edge of the tattoo, draws his hand away. “You haven’t been home since this morning, have you?”
“Nope.” Yamamoto pushes up from the bed, twists around to sit cross-legged and facing Gokudera. His smile is brighter up close, Gokudera can see the way his eyes flicker from his lips to his eyes to his hair in quick appreciative succession. When Gokudera glances at him Yamamoto leans in, catches the corner of the other’s lips with his, and then there’s nothing for it but to turn in to meet him, to reach out to catch the back of his neck and hold him steady so Gokudera can lick against his mouth.
“Get out of here,” Gokudera says when they finally pull away again, after Yamamoto’s fingers have tangled into his hair and his own breathing is catching faster in his throat. “You won’t get any rest like this.”
“Yeah.” Yamamoto smiles, faint but sincere. “Can I see you tomorrow?”
“It’s today already,” Gokudera points out. “Idiot.” But it’s not a no, and Yamamoto’s grin says he hears the lack of a refusal even as Gokudera grabs at his shoulder to shove him away bodily.
It’s almost an hour more before Yamamoto leaves; Gokudera can feel exhaustion heavy in his shoulders by the time he returns to his empty bedroom to strip the top layer of sheets back to be washed later. Still, he’s not surprised when his phone rings as he’s reaching for the lightswitch, and less so when he sees who it is.
“Idiot,” he says as a greeting.
Yamamoto’s laughter is soft, heavy with sleep and warm with affection. “Can I see you today?”
“Of course you can,” Gokudera says. “Go the fuck to sleep.” He hangs up immediately, turns the phone off for good measure.
He’s still smiling when he turns the light off to go to bed.
Chapter 14: Stolen
When Yamamoto comes out of the tattoo parlor, Gokudera is waiting for him.
“You look exhausted,” he says as a greeting, crossing his arms over his chest and giving Yamamoto a deliberate once-over. “You should go home and sleep.”
“Hi,” Yamamoto smiles. He is exhausted, his whole body feels heavy from lack of rest and too much adrenaline sustained over too many days, but seeing Gokudera eases the ache of absence in his chest, and when he steps in closer and reaches out Gokudera lets his arms fall so his fingers can close on Yamamoto’s hand.
His gaze drops down to Yamamoto’s mouth, flickers hot as he blinks, but he doesn’t lean in to cross the distance, just keeps staring as he says, “Seriously. We should just meet tomorrow, you won’t even be any fun like this.”
“I’m fun,” Yamamoto insists, tipping in to press his nose to Gokudera’s hair for a moment before the other huffs and pulls away to drag them down the street. “We should do something tomorrow too.”
“I have to work,” Gokudera growls. Yamamoto can’t see his face to see how legitimately frustrated he is. “It’s not like I’m at your beck and call anytime you want me.”
“That’s not what I meant.” Yamamoto jogs a handful of steps to catch up over the distance and fall into step with the other. Gokudera is flushed pink, color staining his cheeks telltale red, and Yamamoto laughs before he goes on. “I just like seeing you.”
“Yeah, you keep saying that like you think I’ll forget or something.” Gokudera’s tone is snappish but his hand is drawing tighter, his fingers digging in against the back of Yamamoto’s hand until it’s almost painful, and he’s slowing his stride to a more comfortable pace. Yamamoto can’t stop smiling, can’t look away from Gokudera’s face; when the other glances up to see him he looks away immediately, his blush going darker, and he coughs sharply before he goes on. “I really do have to work.” He ducks his head, hides behind the curtain of his hair. Yamamoto’s fingers ache to brush it back behind his ear, to trail his fingers over the warmth of Gokudera’s skin even just for a moment of contact. “Monday mornings aren’t usually that busy. I have to be there, just in case someone comes by, but.” He pauses, clears his throat pointedly.
It takes Yamamoto several seconds. He’s tired, his thoughts moving slow with lethargy, and he’s distracted by the pressure against his fingers and the way Gokudera’s hair is catching at his shoulders and shining in the afternoon sunlight. But then he backtracks, revisits what the other just said, and even in his slow-thinking state he can catch up to the barely-veiled implication.
“I’ll be there as soon as you open,” he says, rushing over the words so they tangle together into incoherency on his tongue.
Gokudera hisses frustration. “Not right when I open, that’s when there’s alway a few early-morning customers,” he snaps. “A few hours later it’s usually really quiet, though.”
“Okay,” Yamamoto agrees instantly. “I’ll be there.”
Gokudera looks back up at him. He’s trying for a frown -- Yamamoto can see the tension at the corners of his mouth and creasing across his forehead -- but then he catches Yamamoto’s gaze, his eyes go soft, and suddenly he’s smiling, the expression catching him so unawares it is a moment before he can duck his head to hide again.
“You wanted sushi, right?” he says, and even his voice is softer than usual, warm with surprise and pleasure like he’s entirely lost his self-control for a moment.
“Yeah,” Yamamoto says, looking away so he can try to collect his thoughts. “It’s right around the corner up here.”
“I know,” Gokudera growls, and he turns sharply, well in advance of the corner and with nowhere to go. Yamamoto stumbles at the sudden change of course, nearly loses his balance, but Gokudera isn’t letting go of his hand as he heads for the corner of an unfamiliar shop. Yamamoto can’t figure out what he’s doing, though he’s willing enough to follow; then Gokudera stops, half-hidden just in the shadow of the corner of the other store, twisting his hand free of Yamamoto’s so he can reach up for the collar of the other’s jacket instead.
Yamamoto is tired, running on too little sleep and too long at work, but this doesn’t take any thought at all. He leans down before Gokudera pulls, reaches out to brace himself against Gokudera’s shoulder, and he’s closing his eyes in anticipation as Gokudera lifts his head and presses his lips to Yamamoto’s. There’s no time, Yamamoto knows, this is only the quickest of stolen kisses, but he can’t help the way his whole body relaxes into the contact, the way his lips go soft and his fingers slide to fit against the side of Gokudera’s neck. Gokudera’s parting his lips, his tongue brushing against Yamamoto’s mouth, and Yamamoto’s attention is flickering away to leave him entirely at Gokudera’s mercy.
Gokudera’s the one to push him back, shoving hard at Yamamoto’s shoulder so they break apart, and he’s the one to glance out at the street to see if they were seen while Yamamoto is still collecting the scattered fragments of his composure. He can see the tension of worry ease out of Gokudera’s shoulders, feels the fingers at his collar go gentle, and then Gokudera looks back at him. The silver-green of his eyes drops down to Yamamoto’s mouth, his lips part, and for a second Yamamoto thinks they might be picking up all over again.
Then the hand at his collar jerks away, Gokudera turns to step back out into the light of the street, and when he says, “Come on, let’s go,” he doesn’t turn around, like he’s afraid he won’t be able to avoid temptation if he looks at Yamamoto again.
Yamamoto doesn’t mind. His lips are tingling with afterimages of friction, and when Gokudera lets him take his hand again neither of them let go again.
Chapter 15: Unexpected
The shop has been quiet for nearly an hour by the time Yamamoto comes in the next morning, ducking through the door with a smile half-apologetic and half-delighted, edged with the glowing joy no reasonable person should be able to muster at this hour of the day. Gokudera has been reviewing the orders for the day, planning out what he’ll do this afternoon since he can’t get anything at all productive done this morning for the anxiety of waiting, and when the other finally comes in the door he’s gone through the list four times and is somewhat snappy with it.
“Glad you could make it.” He sets the list down against the counter, crosses his arms as the best defense he has for the urge to drag Yamamoto bodily to him. “You look less dead on your feet today.”
“I slept,” Yamamoto says, still grinning so wide it’s making it hard for him to speak coherently. He doesn’t look at the shop, makes absolutely no attempt to hide the unabashed warmth in his gaze as it flickers across Gokudera’s features; he barely blinks as he crosses the distance and stops on the other side of the counter. He’s within reach but not within range of a kiss, and that means he is too close for temptation and too far for action, and Gokudera is starting to tremble with anticipation and fear of disappointment in equal parts.
“Like I said.” Yamamoto is still staring, his eyes soft and melting as his gaze trails across Gokudera’s face, and he’s leaning in with every appearance of doing so unawares, bracing a hand at the edge of the counter and tipping in over the gap. Gokudera’s heart flutters faster, his breathing sticks in his throat, and Yamamoto’s gaze hits and sticks at his lips. “You can’t stay up all night and expect to be fine the next day.”
“It was for a good cause,” Yamamoto offers, and he’s closer, and it’s only then that Gokudera realizes he’s uncrossed his own arms and that he’s leaning in himself, bridging that distance that isn’t anything like insurmountable, now. Yamamoto sighs against his lips, tips his head as his eyelashes flicker in a slow blink. “I’d do it again.”
“You’re an idiot,” Gokudera says, his lips touching Yamamoto’s on the last word, and he turns his head and fits his mouth to the other’s as Yamamoto purrs the edge of a laugh over his lips. Yamamoto’s mouth fits itself against the shift of Gokudera’s lips, either by coincidence or intent, Gokudera isn’t sure and doesn’t care. What he does care about is the warmth of Yamamoto’s skin when he gets a hand up to the back of the other’s neck and just under his collar, and the wordless pleasure vibrating over his tongue from Yamamoto’s throat, and the weight of Yamamoto’s free hand landing gently at his hip. He can feel the tension in the other’s shoulders, the trembling effort of leaning in so far over the barrier between them, but his mouth is perfectly relaxed, warm and yielding against the slide of Gokudera’s lips.
Gokudera pulls back after a moment, slowly enough that he can appreciate the way Yamamoto tips in after him to trail the contact. “Come over here,” and it’s an order, certain with assumed obedience. “I can’t reach you over there.”
“Okay,” Yamamoto agrees, and he’s moving before Gokudera can pull away, climbing over the counter itself rather than letting his hold at Gokudera’s hip go so he can come around the corner. Gokudera would offer protest but Yamamoto is sliding over the other side before he has his mouth open on the words, and then they’re pressed in together from hip to shoulder and Yamamoto is tangling his fingers into Gokudera’s hair and Gokudera can’t remember what he was going to complain about in the first place.
“I missed you,” Yamamoto breathes, and that’s ridiculous, it’s not even been quite a full day, but Gokudera is burning like it’s been months and when he opens his mouth what comes out is, “Yeah” instead of the protest he intends. Yamamoto leans in, his hands urging Gokudera in closer and his knee fitting between the other’s, and that’s when Gokudera remembers that the shop is still open.
“Shit,” and he’s tipping away, stumbling backwards even though he can’t get his hands to let go of their hold on Yamamoto’s jacket. The other follows Gokudera’s inadvertent pull, trailing him away from the front of the shop and towards the darker lighting in the back. It’s not enough to anything like hide them, but it helps ease the worst of Gokudera’s flushed panic, and when he keeps his head tipped to watch the door Yamamoto doesn’t try to kiss his mouth again; he seems wholly content to come in sideways, brush Gokudera’s hair off the side of his neck and skim his lips across the skin there instead.
“Yamamoto,” Gokudera manages, and there’s no one coming but there might be at any moment. “Yamamoto, we have to stop.”
“I missed you,” Yamamoto says against his throat, more a statement than protest. Gokudera’s not sure he actually heard the other’s words at all. “I thought about you all yesterday.”
“Yamamoto--” Gokudera starts, and Yamamoto’s fingers catch at his collar to drag the cloth away and bare an inch of skin for the drag of his teeth. The sensation burns through Gokudera’s blood, sends a full-body shudder through him, and the hand he meant to pull Yamamoto’s head away turns into a fist to drag him closer instead. “Fuck, someone could come in.”
Yamamoto pulls back at that, though not far enough; he’s still so close Gokudera can feel the weight of the other’s breathing on his skin, can see the damp of his own mouth clinging to Yamamoto’s lower lip. “You taste so good, Gokudera.”
It’s not an answer. It’s not even close to an answer, Gokudera is very sure, now, that Yamamoto isn’t listening to the words that he’s saying as much as to the broken gasp of his voice. But the simple sincerity in the words knocks Gokudera breathless, brings his hips rocking forward entirely of their own volition, and when he grinds himself against Yamamoto’s leg the other makes a brief choked wail of appreciation and Gokudera can feel all his resistance evaporate at once.
“We have to hurry,” he says instead of continuing with futile protest. Yamamoto nods, the motion quick and rushed with understanding, and his hands are dropping from Gokudera’s hair, his fingers are curling in against the top of the other’s jeans. There’s the drag of his fingertips against the edge of Gokudera’s hips, another involuntary forward motion of Gokudera’s body seeking out more friction, and then Yamamoto is moving, following the downward motion of his fingers to drop to his knees, and every inch of Gokudera’s skin flares instantly hot with anticipation.
“Oh god,” he blurts, and this wasn’t what he was expecting to do at ten in the morning but his hands are twisting into fists in Yamamoto’s hair, and Yamamoto is pushing up his shirt to kiss at his stomach, and expectation has no effect at all on his body’s enthusiasm for this idea. His skin is flaring hot, Yamamoto’s mouth is slick at his skin, and the other is just starting to pull at the front of Gokudera’s jeans when Gokudera takes a breath and says, “Wait.”
Yamamoto stops instantly, the same unquestioning obedience Gokudera glimpsed back at his apartment, looks up like he’s waiting for further instruction. Gokudera lets one of his hands go loose, tightens the other to tug at Yamamoto’s hair, and stumbles backwards without looking, reaching out until he hits the edge of the worktable. Yamamoto follows, drawn by Gokudera’s pull against the dark of his hair and his own hold on Gokudera’s jeans, and then Gokudera can lean back to let the table take his weight and replace his fingers against the other’s scalp. Yamamoto doesn’t hesitate to get permission to continue; he’s reaching for the undone button at Gokudera’s jeans as soon as they stop, shifting his knees wider to steady his balance while he works at the other’s zipper. Gokudera looks up, away from the shadow of Yamamoto’s eyelashes and the expectant part of his lips, stares out at the entrance to the shop in hopes of having a minute of warning in case someone comes in. This is a bad idea, he knows, the risk by any reasonable standard outweighs the benefit, but Yamamoto’s breathing is spiking sharp in his throat with want and Gokudera is trembling from the possibility of actual contact instead of the haze of fantasy, and it’s not a reasonable standard he’s using to run this calculation.
“Gokudera,” Yamamoto breathes, his voice jumping high with shaky appreciation, and Gokudera’s inhale sticks in his throat as fingers drag his boxers aside an clear the space for Yamamoto’s exhale to gust warm against bare skin. He does look down, then, his gaze drawn unavoidably to Yamamoto’s lips, and Yamamoto shuts his eyes and opens his mouth and takes Gokudera’s cock past his lips and over his tongue in a single movement.
Gokudera can’t control the way he curls in, folding at the hips to cast Yamamoto in his shadow and gasping air that can’t make it past the choking tension in his throat. The hot of Yamamoto’s mouth is pouring out into his blood, sticking at his tongue and surging up into a wave of sensation, and it’s not until Yamamoto stops moving for a moment that Gokudera can remember where they are, jerk his gaze back to the door even as he insists, “Don’t stop, Yamamoto.” There’s another burst of friction, the vibration of laughter, this time, and then Yamamoto’s hands are pushing Gokudera back against the table and his lips are sliding down across flushed-sensitive skin and Gokudera has to lean back, has to let the support behind him take most of his weight because he can’t trust his knees anymore. He wants to watch, wants to tip his chin down and see the relaxed pleasure all across Yamamoto’s face as he takes Gokudera’s cock back into his mouth, but he doesn’t dare, he has to watch the door and he can’t trust himself to ever look away again if he sees the expression Yamamoto is making right now. He can already feel the heat of reaction in his blood forming itself into waves, the shape of satisfaction coming clear on the horizon, and his fingers are twisting tighter in Yamamoto’s hair, tugging and smoothing alternately in time with the movement of the other’s mouth. Yamamoto is sucking against Gokudera’s length, slicking his tongue across the other’s skin as he takes him farther back in his mouth, and he’s coming in deeper with each motion of his head, offering more damp heat on each stroke until Gokudera can’t remember what it was to breathe out-of-time with the other’s movements. There’s tension winding up his spine, collecting under his shoulders and tense against his fingertips, and he’s gasping on every breath, sucking in air so hard he’s rocking forward with each inhale.
Then Yamamoto’s hands tighten, he takes a deep breath through his nose, and when he comes in again he doesn’t stop, his mouth is coming impossibly far and Gokudera has to look. His head tips down, his shoulders tensing against the sensation of Yamamoto’s lips and tongue and throat working around him, and Yamamoto looks blissful, his eyes shut against the distraction of reality. Gokudera makes a strangled sound, a gasp that sounds like a plea, and Yamamoto opens his eyes, looks up to meet Gokudera’s stunned stare, and Gokudera can feel his expression fall out of his control a moment before the heat in his veins bursts out into a rush of pleasure all through his body. His eyes are open but he doesn’t see anything; he’s too caught in gasping, choking on desperate trembling inhales, and Yamamoto is humming again, purring against his skin and swallowing through each wave of heat so they draw impossibly long, until Gokudera is going lightheaded and hazy with the friction.
“Fuck,” he manages as Yamamoto pulls back and lets one of his hands go to wipe against the damp at his lips. Without the extra balance of the other’s hands Gokudera’s knees can’t keep him upright; he slides down against the edge of the table, only slowing his descent enough to avoid a painful landing, and Yamamoto is leaning in for his mouth before Gokudera can think to lift his head and tip forward. Yamamoto’s mouth is wet, his lips sticky and tongue salty, and he’s reaching for Gokudera’s hair again, wrapping his fingers against the back of the other’s neck as Gokudera collects himself enough to shift and invert their positions. Yamamoto falls back against the table, shoulders hitting the support hard enough to drive the breath from his lungs, but he doesn’t pull away, and when Gokudera gets a hand free to shove against his jeans he bucks up against the contact, gasps a startled inhale as if the idea of reciprocation never even occurred to him.
“What if someone comes in?” he asks as Gokudera pulls away, the better to focus on the sudden complexity of unfastening the front of Yamamoto’s jeans.
“I don’t care,” he snaps without looking up. He doesn’t need to; he can hear the dazed pleasure in Yamamoto’s voice and can feel the trembling anticipation in the skin under his fingertips. “You’re not going to last long anyway.”
Yamamoto laughs. “No, I won’t,” he agrees, and then Gokudera has his pants open and is sliding a hand down over the taut line of Yamamoto’s stomach to bump his wrist against the other’s cock. Yamamoto jerks up, arching off the support of the table to get closer, and Gokudera grabs at his shoulder, pins him back and still while he closes his hand around the other’s length. Yamamoto’s head goes back, Gokudera can see his throat working on unvoiced moans, and Gokudera takes a breath and steadies his grip and starts to stroke over Yamamoto’s cock, twisting his wrist and tightening his fingers for extra friction. Yamamoto’s breathing is rushing faster, catching in his throat on every exhale, and Gokudera isn’t looking at his hand and isn’t listening for the door; he’s entirely caught on the gasping part to Yamamoto’s lips, the ways his mouth is starting to shake with oncoming tension as he arches harder against Gokudera’s bracing hold. Then he shudders, his cock twitching in Gokudera’s grip, and he’s coming over the other’s fingers and shivering himself into limp relaxation against the support of the table.
Gokudera keeps stroking over him, drags the last tremors of satisfaction from the other’s body; then he recollects himself, pulls away and to his feet with more speed than elegance, and by the time Yamamoto blinks himself back into awareness Gokudera pulling his clothes back into place and making for the sink at the back of the room to rinse his hand clean.
“Tell me if someone’s coming,” he says without turning around, the words coming softer and warmer than he intends them to. The sound of the water hitting the sink drowns out the warning of approaching footsteps so Gokudera jumps when fingers brush his hair back from his neck so Yamamoto can kiss against the top edge of his collar. His hands go still in the splash of the liquid, his eyelashes flutter for a moment, and when he says, “You’re supposed to be watching,” he doesn’t sound upset at all.
“No one’s coming,” Yamamoto says against his ear, and Gokudera knows he ought to put up more of a fight for propriety’s sake if nothing else. But Yamamoto is settling in against his back, sighing against his skin like he’s come home, and Gokudera can’t make himself move away or push the other off him.
He isn’t sure if Yamamoto can see the way his mouth curves into an unwilling smile, and for the first time, he’s not sure he cares.
Chapter 16: Patience
“At least you didn’t try to cook.”
The pizza spread out on Yamamoto’s table is almost gone by now. There’s still one or two slices left in the box, but Yamamoto has already had more than he usually eats, and from the way Gokudera is toying with what’s left of the last slice he’s all but finished too. Yamamoto’s entire body is warm like he’s been lying in the sun, relaxed and heavy just from Gokudera’s presence in his home for the last hour, and it takes him a long moment before he can pull himself together enough to form a response.
“I can only cook a few things well,” he admits. “And everybody likes pizza, right?”
“Mm,” Gokudera hums noncommittally. He’s staring at his plate -- he hasn’t actually met Yamamoto’s gaze for the last several minutes -- but his foot is kicked out far under the table, his ankle resting against Yamamoto’s like it’s an accident. “What can you cook, then?”
“I can actually make pretty good sushi,” Yamamoto declares, grinning at the way Gokudera’s eyebrows jump up in disbelief. “My dad’s a chef and I used to help around the restaurant when I was a kid.”
Gokudera is staring at him now, his avoidance wholly forgotten under the weight of shock. It makes Yamamoto laugh, the sound filling up his chest with delight as his blood starts to warm under Gokudera’s gaze.
“I’ll show you,” he offers, words coming easy with a faith in the future. “It’ll be delicious, I promise.”
“I wouldn’t trust anything you tried to cook,” Gokudera snaps, but he’s shifting his foot, turning the static pressure of his ankle into a rhythmic tap instead. Yamamoto grins, tips his knee to press back in response, and pushes back from the table.
“You done?” he asks, getting to his feet while Gokudera looks down with every indication of shock that such things as food exist. Yamamoto offers a hand, smiling until Gokudera scowls up at him and reaches out to accept the support as he stands. His fingers are warm, brushing in against the inside of Yamamoto’s wrist like the electricity hanging in the air before a storm.
“Shouldn’t we clean up first?”
“Nah,” Yamamoto says, and he doesn’t even have to draw Gokudera in closer. The other is stepping in towards him with no urging, pulling Yamamoto’s hand in to press against his waist, and when he turns his head up the soft frown at his lips looks like an invitation that Yamamoto doesn’t even attempt to refuse. He can hear Gokudera huff a sigh of relief as their mouths fit together, some of the tension in the other’s body giving way to calm, and then the hand at his wrist drops away and comes up to his hair instead. Gokudera’s fingers are delicate as they always are, careful and precise in their movements like he’s seeking out some optimal angle for his hand against Yamamoto’s hair, some ideal location for the spread of his fingers over the other’s scalp. Yamamoto is hardly about to complain; Gokudera is pulling him down and closer, parting his mouth in silent anticipation of Yamamoto’s movements, and the damp catch of his lips is flooding warm pleasure straight through Yamamoto’s body.
They both move a little slower, this time. For the first time there’s no need to rush, no deadline of parting within the next few hours. Yamamoto can lose himself against the pattern of Gokudera’s breathing against his cheek, can fit his fingers into the silver of Gokudera’s hair and stroke it back in smooth waves from the other’s forehead. Gokudera tips his head back for Yamamoto’s touch, curls his fingers under the bottom edge of the other’s shirt to push up his back, high enough along the curve of his spine that his fingertips must be brushing against the bottom edge of inked-in feathers. His touch feels like fire, burns friction up Yamamoto’s spine to spill in a whimper across his lips; Yamamoto can just catch the flicker of a smile at Gokudera’s mouth, amusement stripped free of all the sharp-edged aggression the other usually displays. Gokudera tips his head under Yamamoto’s touch, cants his head to the side so the strands fall free of his neck, and this time when Yamamoto brushes his fingertips against the back of the other’s ear he can see the shudder of reaction that runs through the other.
“You’re so beautiful,” Yamamoto says without thinking. He can’t help it; the awareness falls from his mouth like a statement, without any cues that he means it as a compliment, and even when Gokudera huffs protest the smile at his lips is lingering.
“Stop trying to flatter me into bed with you,” he says, leaning in closer so he’s pressed against Yamamoto’s chest and pushing his hand up to trail across the other’s marked shoulderblades under his shirt.
Yamamoto trails his fingers down across Gokudera’s hairline, brushing the silver strands off his shoulder so he can slide his fingers in under the soft fall of hair. Gokudera ducks his head against Yamamoto’s shoulder, hides the soft at his mouth behind the other’s shirt so Yamamoto can barely make out the shake in his breathing as he pushes his fingers in sideways over the back of Gokudera’s neck.
“I’m not flattering you,” he says. He can’t look away from the pale line of Gokudera’s throat, can’t pull himself away from the heat of the other’s skin. Everything in him is humming contentment, the pleasure in Gokudera’s presence melting over into the heat of the body pressed flush against his. “I just like looking at you.”
Gokudera’s hand slides away from his skin, closes into a fist at the fabric of his shirt. “You had better not be planning on just looking,” he growls, so low Yamamoto can feel the vibration on his skin.
Yamamoto has to laugh; it comes out more like a purr than he expects. “No,” he admits, ducking his head so he can press his lips to the edge of Gokudera’s forehead. “I like touching you too much.”
“You’d better,” Gokudera snaps, though the aggression of his tone is rather ruined by the way his voice cracks when Yamamoto opens his mouth to lick against the outside shell of his ear. The hand at his shirt seizes desperate, drags the fabric down and half-off Yamamoto’s shoulder as Gokudera gasps, “Fuck, Yamamoto, do you want to make it to the bedroom?”
“Dunno.” Yamamoto shifts his weight, fits his knee in against Gokudera’s legs so he can rock his thigh up against the front of the other’s jeans. Gokudera lets his shirt go instantly in favor of grabbing at his hip to hold him in place while he presses himself in hard against the friction, angles so close Yamamoto can feel the shape of his cock outlined under the tight-fitting denim. “This is nice too.”
“Yamamoto,” Gokudera says into his shoulder, his voice dropping dangerously even as he grinds himself in against the resistance of the other’s leg. “Take me to your damn bedroom.”
“Okay,” Yamamoto agrees.
It’s remarkably difficult to extricate themselves. For a minute Yamamoto isn’t sure they will make it after all; between his fingers tangled in Gokudera’s hair and Gokudera’s legs caught with his, neither of them is willing to pull away long enough to move. Finally Gokudera lets Yamamoto’s hip go, flattens his palm hard against the other’s shoulder, and when he pushes they both go stumbling apart, Yamamoto’s hold sliding free as Gokudera’s warmth falls back.
“Bedroom,” Gokudera says again. “Now,” and because that seems like the best idea anyway Yamamoto is moving before he can think, reaching out to close his fingers on Gokudera’s wrist before turning away from the temptation of the other’s skin and lips and hair to make his way down the short hallway to his room. Gokudera follows without protest, moving so quickly he’s all but stepping on Yamamoto’s heels, and they’re barely inside the door before he’s reaching out to push Yamamoto forward with his free hand, urging him farther inside and up against the edge of the bed.
“I didn’t expect you to be a tease,” he says from over Yamamoto’s shoulder, and Yamamoto wishes he could see him but Gokudera is pushing his shirt up, easing it up off the other’s back and over his shoulders with both hands, and the skin-to-skin contact is enough for the moment.
“I’m not trying to tease,” Yamamoto offers, weak protest as he lets Gokudera push his shirt up over his head so he can tug his arms free and toss the fabric aside. He’s turning before Gokudera can touch him again, reaching out for the other’s hips before he can see, and when he draws Gokudera in closer and leans back to fall onto the bed the other doesn’t hesitate to follow him, slides in close enough that he can fit his knees in against Yamamoto’s hips and rock up over them to press himself against the other’s chest. Yamamoto whines at the contact, lets his hands slide up under the edge of Gokudera’s shirt. Gokudera’s blistering hot under his touch, like he’s a lit fuse smouldering from the inside out, and when Yamamoto pushes the fabric up and off his skin the heat of the contact burns off any of the chill of the air. The dark cloth rumples under his hold, Gokudera curves his back and lifts his arms, and then his shirt is sliding free to join Yamamoto’s somewhere on the floor.
His skin is very, very white under Yamamoto’s hands. Even without any of the tattoos Yamamoto is used to seeing in the mirror he’s canvas-pale, the curves of his body outlined by the glow of his skin.
“God,” Yamamoto breathes, and he wants to kiss Gokudera and he wants to ducks his head in to press his forehead to the heat of the other’s shoulder but more than either of those he wants to look, wants to stare until he has this image locked into his memory and can call it up at will. “You’re gorgeous.”
Gokudera’s laugh is sharp again, brittle with disbelief as his fingers curl into the threat of a hold at the back of Yamamoto’s hair. “Shut up. It must be boring, to see just skin instead of designs.”
“No,” Yamamoto says, too caught in the curve of Gokudera’s waist to process the compliment lying under the self-deprecation. “No, it’s beautiful, look at you.” He does lean in, then, the draw of all that warmth too much to fight, presses his mouth to Gokudera’s collarbone while he traces out the shape of the other’s hip with fingers instead of eyes. “You’re perfect.”
“You’re such a fucking sap,” Gokudera says, but his voice is dipping shaky with uncontrolled emotion. “Less talking, more touching.”
Yamamoto laughs into the dip of the other’s shoulder. “Okay.” There’s things he still wants to say, words incoherent with affection and starstruck appreciation, but they have later for that. Right now it’s enough to slide his mouth sideways, to kiss the exact center of Gokudera’s chest, just under the dip of his throat, so Yamamoto can feel the give of the other’s shocked exhale as he drops his hands down to the denim wrapping narrow hips.
He’s slow with the button, careful with the zipper, and by the time he actually has the jeans open Gokudera is tugging at his hair, hissing incoherent frustration to urge him on faster. But there’s no rush, tonight, so Yamamoto reaches for the top edge of the jeans instead of the thin fabric of Gokudera’s boxers, pushes the denim down off the sharp angle of Gokudera’s hips while the other huffs and slides back off the bed long enough to kick his feet free of the cloth. His legs are as bad as his chest, all clean lines of unassuming beauty, and when he comes in to shove Yamamoto back down to the bed Yamamoto goes without the composure to attempt resistance.
“Not a tease,” Gokudera scoffs. His weight is settled down across Yamamoto’s thighs, the heat of bare skin radiating through the other’s jeans, and his fingers are tugging at the cloth, slipping the button free and dragging the zipper down in quick succession. “Sure, yeah.”
“Going slow isn’t teasing,” Yamamoto protests as Gokudera slides back off him and tugs his jeans and boxers down at one go. The air is cool on his suddenly-bare skin, but Yamamoto barely has time to start sitting up before Gokudera has his clothes off his feet and is coming back in to straddle his lap again. He’s even warmer skin-to-skin, the more so when he tips himself forward to pin Yamamoto down to the bed so the pale skin of his shoulder bumps against the inked pattern of Yamamoto’s.
“It’s being patient,” Yamamoto continues, but he’s losing the thread of his thought for the distraction of friction. Gokudera is ducking in to kiss his lower lip, catching and sucking against it while he rocks his hips down against Yamamoto’s, and the thin layer of fabric between them is nothing like enough to prevent the motion from spiking hot into Yamamoto’s veins. He groans faint in his throat, reaches out to Gokudera’s hips, and then they’re both pressing in against each other, falling into rhythm as Gokudera rocks down and Yamamoto arches up to meet him. Gokudera lets his hold on Yamamoto’s lip go, braces himself against the bed without quite closing the distance for another kiss, and for a minute they’re just gasping at the same air, close enough that Yamamoto can taste Gokudera’s breathy inhales every time he rocks up at just the right angle. Then he pushes himself up the last inch, catches Gokudera’s open mouth with his, and Gokudera whines against his lips and hooks his arm around Yamamoto’s shoulders as the other tips his weight sideways to invert their positions. Gokudera’s leg ends up around his hip, pulling him in closer even as they move, and Yamamoto lingers for a moment, scattering kisses across Gokudera’s mouth like raindrops before he shifts back and away.
Gokudera is arching up before Yamamoto even touches him, letting the other slide his boxers down off his hips and to his knees in one smooth motion. He draws one foot up, slides his legs free, and then it’s done, he’s unwrapped down to all that untouched skin and Yamamoto can’t help but duck in to kiss the trembling line of Gokudera’s stomach for a moment.
“Beautiful,” he says again, quick and quiet so Gokudera can pretend not to hear him, and then he pulls away again, stretching to reach the drawer in the bedside table without relinquishing the hold he has at Gokudera’s hip. There’s a huff at the loss of contact but Gokudera doesn’t put words to the protest, and when Yamamoto leans back in with the bottle of lube in his hand Gokudera’s watching him, his mouth soft without the thought to maintain a frown and his eyes dragging down across the patterns on Yamamoto’s arms. He’s still staring while Yamamoto gets the bottle open and slicks his fingers; he doesn’t seem to realize he has an audience until Yamamoto leans in close enough to interrupt his line of sight, close enough to press a kiss against the edge of the other’s jawline. That gets a reaction, a sharp inhale and a hand reaching up to dig into his hair, and Gokudera is sliding his legs wider in invitation before Yamamoto has even reached for him. His skin is soft with the heat in his blood, the inside of his thighs a map Yamamoto can read with his fingertips, and by the time Yamamoto is brushing slick fingers against Gokudera’s entrance the other is humming with anticipation, tipping his hips up like the right angle will persuade Yamamoto to move faster.
Neither of them speak. Yamamoto is still pressed in close against Gokudera’s shoulder, his breathing gusting warm against the other’s cheek, and Gokudera is staring at the ink curving around the edge of his arm, like he can make the other move by sheer force of will. He doesn’t blink until Yamamoto starts to slide his fingers in, careful and slow with consideration; then his eyelashes flutter, his eyes shut, and for a moment the tension in his throat and the line of his shoulders goes slack. Yamamoto can feel him let the anxious want go as he presses in deeper, buries his fingers inside the heat of Gokudera’s body, and his cock is achingly hard against Gokudera’s hip but everything is hazy with appreciation, the anticipation drawing so long it’s pleasure all in itself. When he pulls back to push his fingers back in again Gokudera groans, his head tips sideways, and Yamamoto wants to duck in to kiss the smooth line of his neck but he can’t move, can’t seem to manage anything at all besides the slow drag of his fingers. His whole self is flickering out of focus, all his attention drawn in on the heat of Gokudera pressing tight against his fingers and the tremor of unvoiced moans in the dip of his throat, and Gokudera’s going warmer with every motion, melting out over Yamamoto’s bed until even his fingers go gentle against the back of Yamamoto’s neck.
Yamamoto’s not keeping track of time. It’s not a matter of minutes that tells him to rock back, not a clock that tells him to ease his fingers free. It’s just intuition, instinct reading Gokudera’s relaxation as it comes back around into the tension of desire, so the other’s mouth is only just starting to go taut again when Yamamoto leans back and pulls free.
“I thought you were gonna do that all night,” Gokudera offers, and it has the shape of his usual abrasive tone but none of the viciousness in truth. Yamamoto glances up at his face as he draws slippery fingers carefully over himself, surprises the unfamiliar warmth of a smile at Gokudera’s mouth. He flashes a smile of his own before Gokudera can compose himself into embarrassed anger, leans in close over him to catch the other’s lips with his. Gokudera hums incoherent protest against his lips but his arms are coming up around Yamamoto’s shoulders, his leg is fitting around the other’s waist, and when Yamamoto reaches for Gokudera’s hip to lift him into place he almost doesn’t need to move him. It’s just a smooth slide forward, a careful thrust of his hips, and he’s pushing into Gokudera as easily as if he belongs there.
“Shit,” Gokudera gasps, but it’s shocked and not pained, so Yamamoto keeps going, obeying the press of Gokudera’s heel against his back and thrusting forward until he’s sheathed in the tight grip of the other’s body. He takes a shuddering breath, Gokudera huffs a demanding exhale, and Yamamoto starts to move, taking every thrust slow and long and careful to draw them out long and thrumming with sensation. Gokudera moans faintly, shocked and breathless in the back of his throat, and Yamamoto lets his hold on the other’s hip go, turns his head to kiss at Gokudera’s mouth so he can taste the choked noise Gokudera makes as Yamamoto wraps his fingers around the flushed heat of his cock. Gokudera arches up at the contact, drags himself impossibly closer to Yamamoto’s hips, and it takes all the self-restraint Yamamoto possesses to keep his movements slow and even. He can feel Gokudera tense around him when he strokes up over the other’s length, can feel the tremor of reaction when he slides his thumb across the slick head of Gokudera’s cock, and it’s instinct that guides him then, only the insistent demand of slow, slow, slow in his thoughts controlling his pace. Gokudera arches like a bow with every motion of Yamamoto’s hand, groans with each thrust of his hips, and there’s heat flushing up under Yamamoto’s skin but it’s slow, the gentle wash of the tide coming in rather than the threat of an oncoming wave. Gokudera is trembling himself into relaxation again, breathing hard against Yamamoto’s mouth but giving in to the pace of Yamamoto’s touch, and then he tenses for a moment under the slide of the other’s touch and Yamamoto has no warning at all.
“Oh god, Hayato,” he blurts without thinking, and then the heat is dragging him under and he’s coming, he’s gasping and shuddering as the wave breaks out over him and warms every inch of his blood. Gokudera whines under him, sounding desperate and pleading, and Yamamoto takes a breath and starts stroking again before the pleasure has faded from his veins. His rhythm is broken, his slow pace washed away by the heat, and Gokudera is saying something, struggling for words around the gasp of his breathing so it takes Yamamoto long seconds before he realizes what he’s hearing.
“Yamamoto.” He’s arching up, pressing against Yamamoto’s fingers, and Yamamoto strokes obediently faster, curls his fingers in tighter and slides friction up over him. “What did you call me?”
Yamamoto can’t pull apart the tones of the words, whether they are shocked or angry or pleased. His thoughts are glazed, his body is still heavy and shaky with pleasure and Gokudera is tensing around him and drawing the last shudders of sensation from him. “Hayato?”
Gokudera growls, a sharp startled “Fuck” that turns into a groan halfway through, and then all the tension in him is breaking apart into relief. Yamamoto can feel the ripples of pleasure through Gokudera’s body in time with the spill of come across his fingers and over the other’s skin, the aching need in Gokudera’s body relaxing into overheated satisfaction, and even when the last of the delayed shudders have passed neither of them move away for a minute. It’s not until Gokudera’s hand twists into a fist in his hair that Yamamoto draws himself back to the present, collects the lost pieces of his awareness and lifts his head to meet Gokudera’s glare.
“You had better give me some warning the next time you decide to call me by my first name,” he snaps, or tries to snap. It just comes out petulant, makes Yamamoto start to grin even before Gokudera appends, “Takeshi,” with as much force as if it’s an insult.
Gokudera is still hissing irritation when Yamamoto starts to laugh. But his fingers are dragging the other down into a kiss to stop the sound of his reaction, and his mouth is as soft and warm as the languid satisfaction in Yamamoto’s limbs.
Chapter 17: Persuasion
Gokudera starts collecting doubts while he’s in the shower.
It takes him longer than he expected before he starts worrying. He made it through dinner, after all, and after dinner provided more than enough distraction from the immediate concern. But he thinks of it again while he’s rinsing the unfamiliar scent of Yamamoto’s shampoo from his hair, and the entire time he’s ruffling the strands dry after, and by the time he emerges from the bathroom with a towel around his hips and damp hair around his shoulders he’s all but determined.
“I should go home,” he starts as he pushes the door open to the bedroom, and then he sees Yamamoto and for a breath everything stalls silent in his head. Yamamoto is sprawled across the bed in just his boxers, a pillow crushed against his chest and another supporting the ruffled locks of ink-black hair. He’s not even under the covers; there’s just gold-tanned skin and colorful tattoos spread out over the rumpled fabric, an arm thrown wide over the remaining space and an ankle hanging over the edge of the bed to tell of his preferred sleeping arrangement.
He turns while Gokudera is stalled in the doorway, his fingers still caught working free a knot in his hair. All the too-large spread of his limbs condenses in one motion, fits him in against one side of the bed, and he’s smiling at the other while Gokudera’s heart is twisting taut between the urge to run and the desire to stay.
“Come here,” Yamamoto orders, or rather asks. It comes out as a request, but when he reaches a hand out there’s no chance for Gokudera to refuse; he’s moving in to accept before he can think, fitting his hand to the warm clasp of Yamamoto’s fingers and letting himself be drawn onto the bed. The sheets are warm, thanks to the pressure of Yamamoto’s body; they catch and hold the damp heat of the shower before Gokudera has a chance to even think of the threat of chill from the air around them. Yamamoto’s hand is sliding up his arm, his fingers gliding appreciative over the moisture clinging to Gokudera’s skin, and when he leans in closer his breath gusts warm against Gokudera’s shoulder.
“Don’t leave,” he says. It’s a request, not an order, the plea gentle on his lips. His arm is coming around the curve of Gokudera’s shoulder, slipping down the arch of his spine, and Gokudera’s heart is fluttering oddly in his chest, falling into time with the prickling reaction to Yamamoto’s fingers against his skin. “I want you to stay.”
It’s such a simple thing to say, sincerity turning the words heavy against Gokudera’s skin. His shoulders are drawing tense, learned reaction telling him to jerk away, but his hand is coming out instead, his fingertips skating tentative over Yamamoto’s hip. Yamamoto hums immediate approval, shifts himself in closer to press against Gokudera’s body, and when Gokudera tries to form an explanation it comes out shaky and uncertain.
“I don’t sleep well,” he offers, an overly-easy summation of restless nights and too-common all nighters. “I move around a lot. And I spread out over the whole bed. I’m going to keep you awake.”
“I’m a deep sleeper.” Yamamoto takes a breath against Gokudera skin, sighs heavy and satisfied against him. “You smell like me.”
Gokudera can feel his skin burst into self-conscious flush. “It’s because I used your soap,” he offers as hasty explanation, but Yamamoto is humming delight and doesn’t seem to be listening. “You’re not going to get any sleep at all with me.”
“I want you to stay,” Yamamoto repeats, tightening his hold at Gokudera’s waist. His fingers fit into the dip of Gokudera’s back, his hand falls into the line of the other’s body like it was meant to be there. “I want to be with you tonight.”
“You’re not listening,” Gokudera protests.
Yamamoto laughs against his shoulder, pulls his head back to look up. His eyes are hazy, drowsy and warm when Gokudera blinks down at him. He looks half-asleep already, looks like he’s perfectly comfortable exactly where he is, and then his gaze slides up to catch on Gokudera’s hair and he lets his hold go so he can reach up for the other’s shoulder.
“Come down here,” and Gokudera doesn’t have a chance to even consider refusing, he’s sliding down in response to the barely-there pressure of Yamamoto’s fingers until it’s the other’s pillow supporting his head. Fingers come up to his hair, slide slowly through the damp strands, and Gokudera has to fight back a shiver of pleasure in reaction to the motion.
“Hayato,” Yamamoto says, and Gokudera’s whole body tenses at that, tries to shudder and melt at the same time until he can’t even take a breath for the weird tension in his chest. Yamamoto’s fingers work a tangle loose, smooth Gokudera’s hair back behind his ear, and Gokudera has to shut his eyes to focus on resisting purring in pleasure at the contact. “Stay. Please.”
“Idiot,” Gokudera manages. His hand slides down an inch, the tips of his fingers brushing against the edge of Yamamoto’s boxers. “I told you to warn me.”
Yamamoto laughs, and Gokudera is sure, then, that he’s not going home tonight, can feel the certainty in the melting heat of affection that hits his blood at the sound of Yamamoto’s laughter. “Sorry,” Yamamoto says, and he doesn’t sound sorry, and Gokudera doesn’t push for it. He just stays where he is, with Yamamoto’s fingers untangling the knots in his hair and the sound of Yamamoto’s breathing lulling him into relaxation he’s never achieved on his own.
Even if he never manages to fall asleep tonight, he thinks this is worth it, all on its own.
Chapter 18: Waking
Yamamoto wakes up warm.
It’s not because he’s under the blankets; in fact the comforter is tangled around him, shoved down around his waist and up to leave his feet uncovered to the chill of the room. And he’s not spread out over the bed like he usually is as much as pinned down to it, held in place by the weight of the leg thrown out sideways over his knees. But he has his arm wrapped around the sleeping warmth of another’s shoulders, and there’s the heavy pattern of breathing not his against him, and when he opens his eyes it’s to see Gokudera with his usual frown relaxed into the neutrality of sleep.
Yamamoto doesn’t move. It would be impossible to extricate himself without waking the other, and he has no desire to move away anyway. Gokudera’s head is turned towards him, like he’s unconsciously aligning himself to Yamamoto’s presence, and his features are as soft now as Yamamoto has ever seen them, the tension at his lips entirely absent and the soft of his eyelashes laid out smooth across his cheeks. Yamamoto just stares for a moment, appreciating the waves of silver hair tangled across Gokudera’s forehead and the high lines of his cheekbones; then he leans in, moving slowly so he doesn’t startle Gokudera awake, and carefully sets his lips against the other’s.
Gokudera is completely unresponsive for a moment, too deeply asleep to rouse for momentary friction. Yamamoto shifts himself in closer, pulling himself in flush against Gokudera’s hip, and then the other stirs, whimpering waking confusion against Yamamoto’s mouth.
“Takeshi?” It’s muffled against the skimming press of Yamamoto’s lips, drowsy with lingering sleep, but it’s clear enough that Yamamoto smiles, turns his head to press against the soft fall of Gokudera’s hair.
Gokudera whines, still hazy and disconnected, but he turns his head too, submits to Yamamoto sighing contentment against his hair, and he doesn’t move his leg away. His hair is soft, feathery against his neck even with the tangles caught in it from sleep, and he smells good, the familiar richness of Yamamoto’s shampoo along with the underlying spicy-sweet of Gokudera himself.
He makes another noise as Yamamoto gets his mouth against the back of the other’s neck and fits his lips against the sleep-warmed skin at the top of his spine. This sounds a little rougher, a little more like waking-Gokudera, and Yamamoto’s not surprised when he follows this with, “What time is it?”
“Dunno.” When Yamamoto blinks his eyelashes catch at flyaway strands of Gokudera’s hair. “I haven’t checked.”
“We should get up,” Gokudera says, but the words are too soft still for sincerity, and when Yamamoto hesitates the other makes no motion to pull away.
So “In a minute,” is what he says, slides his arm down across Gokudera’s shoulders to cross over the other’s chest. He can feel the rhythm of the other’s breathing under his hand, the pace picking up from the steady weight of rest into the skip of response to the friction, and when he pulls back Gokudera lets himself be dragged back so he’s lying more atop Yamamoto than he is the bed itself.
“Idiot,” he says, but he’s still not drawing away, and his skin is going hot as Yamamoto’s fingers trace down over his waist to his hip. “Haven’t you had enough yet?”
That’s an easy question. “No,” Yamamoto says against the back of Gokudera’s neck, humming satisfaction at the way the refusal makes the other go taut against him as he dips his fingers under the waistband of Gokudera’s boxers. He’s hard before Yamamoto touches him, the effect of morning and friction combined, and when Yamamoto skims his fingers over the hot shape of him Gokudera tenses and shudders against him.
He has to try it again, once more, just to appreciate the feel of Gokudera’s body trembling against him. But he can feel the anxious want there too, tightening impatience along Gokudera’s spine, so he doesn’t delay as long as he could. He curls his thumb in, fits his fingers around the other’s length, and when he draws his hand up he can feel the way Gokudera shivers in advance of the “Takeshi” that is as much warning against stopping as it is a groan of satisfaction.
Yamamoto likes this position. He’s pressed in against the curve of Gokudera’s back, his mouth level with the smooth line of the other’s neck so he can feel every shivering reaction to the motion of his hand. Gokudera goes tense with each stroke, like he’s trying to arch up and reach desperately for the edge of pleasure, doesn’t relax again until Yamamoto slides his hand back down in preparation for another. After a few minutes his hand comes back, wrist bumping against the rhythm of Yamamoto’s arm until he finds the other’s hip to digs his fingertips in hard and bracing. Yamamoto thinks the pressure might be bruising, might be raising crescent-shaped marks in the skin under Gokudera’s nails, but he doesn’t stop, doesn’t even slow. Gokudera is warm against him, thrumming tighter and tighter in expectation of pleasure, and when Yamamoto tips his head in he can breathe against the radiant heat of Gokudera’s shoulder.
Yamamoto can tell when Gokudera is close; it’s clear in the way he stops relaxing at all, the aching want in his body holding him taut against the support of Yamamoto under him. Yamamoto fits his free hand in under Gokudera’s waist, reaches up to press against his chest and hold him steady, and Gokudera gasps for a breath and digs his fingers in hard and arches up to meet Yamamoto’s touch. Yamamoto strokes over him fast, slicks his thumb over the head of Gokudera’s cock and presses his fingers in as tight as he can hold, and Gokudera groans and falls back heavy against Yamamoto’s chest as he comes over his stomach and Yamamoto’s fingers. Yamamoto doesn’t let him go for a moment, holds him in place and keeps stroking the last shuddering aftershocks of pleasure out of him until Gokudera’s hold at his hip finally eases into satisfied relaxation.
They don’t move for a moment after Yamamoto’s hand stills. Gokudera is breathing hard over him, their legs still tangled together as they were when Yamamoto woke up, and Yamamoto is in no hurry to move away from the heat of the other’s skin.
“Morning,” he says, letting the word purr soft over his lips. He can feel Gokudera tense with a burst of laughter, although the amusement doesn’t quite become audible.
“Idiot,” Gokudera growls, though it sounds more like an endearment than anything else. He slides sideways, off Yamamoto and onto the bed as he disentangles his legs enough to roll over and face the other. His eyes are still heavy, or maybe just pleasure-hazed as they skim across Yamamoto’s face, but his hands are certain, reaching out to push the edge of Yamamoto’s boxers off his hips and down his thighs.
Yamamoto can see Gokudera look away from his face, down at the exposed flush of his cock as the other reaches to wrap his fingers around it. There’s a pause, a moment’s hesitation, and then Gokudera’s fingers brush at Yamamoto’s hip instead, trailing against the skin reddened by the pressure of his hold.
“I bruised you,” he says. There’s no apology in his tone, nothing but faint shock as he fits his thumb against what must be fingerprints from a moment before.
“Good,” Yamamoto says without thinking, sincerity falling from his lips without a filter.
Gokudera looks up at him, the haze in his eyes swept away by sharp consideration. His fingers press in tight for a moment, the dig of consideration as he stares at Yamamoto’s face; then he lets the other go, reaches back for the hard heat of his cock instead without looking away from his face.
“You want to be marked?” he asks, but it’s not really a question. He’s fitting his fingers around Yamamoto slowly, layering one finger at a time so each movement surges hotter in Yamamoto’s blood. Yamamoto exhales, hard so it’s almost a groan, and when he reaches out to steady himself at Gokudera’s hip he’s leaning in towards the slide of the other’s tongue as Gokudera licks his lower lip. Gokudera lets him come in close; then he turns sideways, presses his mouth to Yamamoto’s jaw instead, and when he jerks his hand up it’s hard to match the scrape of his teeth against Yamamoto’s skin.
Yamamoto does groan, then, lets his eyes shut and his hold go slack, tips his head sideways to capitulate entirely to whatever Gokudera wants to do to him. There’s the vibration of a satisfied purr, the friction of teeth trailing down his jaw to the side of his neck, and Gokudera is stroking over him so fast Yamamoto doesn’t have a chance to do anything but let the sensation swamp him. There’s heat in the wake of Gokudera’s movements, fingers squeezing tighter than he expected they could and a wrist twisting sharply around him, but it’s Gokudera’s mouth that is clear over it all. His lips are tight at the curve of Yamamoto’s shoulder into his throat, teeth clipping the skin and suction bruising against the tanned color, and Yamamoto is tipping his head farther back, arching his neck in offering for the vibration of Gokudera’s humming satisfaction against his skin. There’s another moment of pressure, the give of skin darkening against Gokudera’s mouth, and then Gokudera ducks his head, fits his lips in under Yamamoto’s chin so he can lick against the dip at the base of his throat. His tongue is warm, the vibration of his half-voiced breathing running up against the rush of Yamamoto’s, and when he growls something unintelligible and presses his thumb in hard just under the head of Yamamoto’s cock Yamamoto doesn’t have a chance to resist if he wanted to. He just jerks, chokes “Hayato” loud enough that Gokudera must be able to feel the sound of his own name against his mouth, and his world disintegrates into the white-light rush of heat and friction and pleasure.
Gokudera is watching him when Yamamoto can breathe again, can blink his eyes back into focus and look at the other. His lips are damp from pressing to Yamamoto’s skin, his breathing catching fast enough that Yamamoto can see it in his shoulders, and his fingers are still lingering sticky against the other. He looks like he wants to say something, like there’s some not-quite-formed thought lingering at his lips, but when Yamamoto smiles his mouth gives in to the softness of an echoing expression, and when his eyes flicker down Yamamoto is more than willing to take the suggestion and lean in for a kiss.
From the way Gokudera goes pliant against him, this is the right response anyway.
Chapter 19: Self-Conscious
Gokudera doesn’t tell Yamamoto he’s planning to come by the shop.
It’s something of an impulse. He’d already been toying with the idea, considering the slide of Yamamoto’s fingers against his ear on the evenings he’s not spending with the other in some form or another, the slow blink of appreciation the other had given him at the suggestion of earrings. And he hasn’t seen Yamamoto all day, thanks to the other’s early shift and a pre-scheduled afternoon appointment, and it’s not like he can’t stay busy without Yamamoto there but it seems like opportune timing to head out a half-hour before they’re supposed to meet for dinner.
The shop isn’t what Gokudera is expecting. He has some vague ideas about dim lighting, employees covered in ink and metal both, glares the moment he comes in the door. But it’s actually well-lit inside, display cases similar to his own, if filled with earrings instead of flowers, and the counter is unoccupied when Gokudera steps inside. There’s a few booklets out on a table in front of a pair of comfortable chairs, open to pictures of tattooed arms, shoulders, ankles. They don’t look anything like Yamamoto’s, when Gokudera leans in to peer more closely at the pictures. Most are darker, simpler, outlines down in black or greys instead of the colorful detail blooming out over Yamamoto’s skin. And they’re in all different locations: one picture shows the curve of a back, stylized letters laid in along the line of the owner’s spine. Another is the sharp edges of an ankle, a spray of cherry blossoms winding up the top of a foot to brush the outside curve of bone. And one is the clear line of a hip, the tattoo itself riding low enough that the person’s jeans must be pushed low out of the way to allow the picture to be taken. That one is particularly striking, clean bright lines against the pale dip of skin, and Gokudera is just reaching out to turn the page, to see if there’s more, when there’s a voice.
“Looking to get one?” The tone is slow, offset to the high range of the voice itself, and when Gokudera looks up the person behind the counter is everything he had expected from an employee. Purple hair, spiked out of alignment with deliberate attention instead of Yamamoto’s careless ruffle, a stud against the lower lip and a chain running from mouth back to a whole row of earrings. Makeup, too, purple as the hair, a swathe of eyeshadow and a teardrop Gokudera sincerely hopes is paint instead of a tattoo.
“No,” he snaps, standing a little too quickly to prove his point. His original purpose vanishes under the force of self-consciousness, his chin coming up defensively before he can stop it. “I’m supposed to be meeting Yamamoto Takeshi.”
The stranger behind the counter considers him for a minute, stares so long Gokudera can feel his cheeks going pink under the scrutiny. Then the other turns back, looks over his shoulder towards the back of the shop, and shouts, “I think your boyfriend’s here, Yamamoto!”
Gokudera’s flush darkens instantly, turns into full-blown crimson spreading all across his cheeks and up to his hairline. “I’m not--” he starts, not even sure what it is he wants to deny, and then there’s a shout back, “Hayato?” sounding so bright and delighted it completely derails whatever Gokudera was saying.
“Do you want him to wait?” the stranger at the counter calls, still watching Gokudera and starting to grin, now, at the radiant blush Gokudera can’t fight off his expression.
There’s a pause, a murmur of conversation too low to hear, and then, “Hayato, come back here!”
Gokudera can’t stop blushing. He is beginning to regret ever coming in here at all, ever even thinking about this whole misguided idea in the first place. But following Yamamoto’s voice is far better than staying under the amused eyes of the man at the counter, so he ducks his head to hide in the shadow of his hair and moves towards the back of the shop.
It’s not hard to find his way. There are several rooms, but none of them have shut doors, and Gokudera can see ruffled dark hair and bright blue tattoos through an open doorway as soon as he steps past the counter. Yamamoto is sitting with another stranger, this one blond and much less unusual than the one at the counter; he has no piercings visible at all, in fact, and just one long tattoo winding up the length of his left arm. That’s what Yamamoto is looking up from, in fact, his hands wrapped in gloves and alongside an array of tiny cups of color. He’s holding something in his hand, too, a cord running from it back to a plug, and he’s smiling as Gokudera comes into the room, his eyes wide with surprise and lips curving warm with delight.
“I didn’t think you’d be here so early!” he says, and it could be a complaint in someone else’s throat but it is just joy in his. It’s not helping Gokudera’s blush, anymore than the steady consideration of the blond with his sleeve rolled up past his shoulder is soothing his self-consciousness.
“I’m just finishing,” Yamamoto continues, looking back at the customer. “Dino said he didn’t mind you coming back.”
“Hey,” the blond says, reaching out to offer his right hand without shifting his left from its angle in front of Yamamoto. “Dino Cavallone.”
Gokudera takes it, presses quick politeness against the other’s palm. “Gokudera Hayato.”
“Good to meet you,” Dino smiles. “Yamamoto’s been talking about you for months. I was hoping I’d get a chance to meet you eventually.”
“Months?” Gokudera repeats back, trying to backtrack over the few weeks since Yamamoto first came through the door of his shop.
Dino’s grinning, leaning back in the chair and glancing at Yamamoto as if for permission. Yamamoto doesn’t see it; when Gokudera looks to him to see his reaction he’s staring right at Gokudera himself, his eyes soft in that way that makes Gokudera blush at the mere possibility of an audience.
“Yep,” Dino is saying, his tone dropping faintly sing-songy and teasing. “I came in to get the first part of this done and he was so starry-eyed about this florist next door I wasn’t sure he’d be able to keep his hands steady.” He gestures at his arm, up high where there’s the outline of yellow-gold flames laid into his skin, but Gokudera barely sees it for the burn of self-consciousness coming in under his skin.
“I’m glad things worked out,” Dino says. “At least I assume they did. You gave him those hickeys, right?”
Gokudera’s blush splashes out across his entire face again, ruining any attempt at denial before he can make it. He can’t help but glance at Yamamoto, at the loose collar of his shirt tugged off-center to expose the darkening red-purple marks from Gokudera’s mouth the morning before, and Yamamoto catches his eye, starts to laugh as Gokudera groans and lifts a hand to try to cover the blistering flush across his cheeks.
“Finish the fucking tattoo,” he growls from behind his hand, and after a moment Yamamoto gets his giggling under control and ducks his head to focus in on what he’s doing. Gokudera still can’t meet Dino’s eyes for the heat under his skin, but staring at Yamamoto’s movements is safe enough, and after a moment Dino speaks again, most of the edge of laughter now absent from his voice.
“What about you?” He’s tipping his head to the side, his smile faint and friendly. “Any tattoos of your own?”
Gokudera huffs. “No.” He sounds gruff, nearly rude with how short he’s being, but at the moment he doesn’t care.
Dino seems unfazed by this, or maybe he’s trying to make up for the teasing with small talk. “Interested?”
“What is it with you all?” Gokudera snaps. “I’m not going to get a goddamn tattoo today.”
“Just curious.” Dino looks back down, where ink is unfurling across his skin underneath the motion of the needle in Yamamoto’s hand. “If you ever do, make sure this guy’s your artist. He’s the best in the city.”
Gokudera tips his head back, tosses his chin so his hair flips over his shoulder. “It’s not like I’d let anyone else do it.”
Dino looks like he wants to say something else, or maybe like he’s refraining from an additional comment, but Yamamoto leans back and turns off the needle before he puts voice to whatever it is. “There you go!”
Gokudera doesn’t step forward to see. He stays resolutely right where he is, arms crossed with pointed patience while Dino exclaims over the new design. It turns out they’re not nearly as close to done as he expected; Yamamoto has to wipe everything down, smooth something over the fresh tattoo before he tapes it up with a bandage perfectly neat with evidence of well-worn efficiency. Gokudera mostly ignores the brief conversation of thanks and appreciation between the other two, only refocusing on Dino when the blond offers his hand again as he’s leaving.
“Seriously, it’s good to meet you.” His smile is faintly apologetic, his expression friendly and apparently sincere. Gokudera takes his hand, if only after hesitating, and Dino leans in closer, drops his voice to a conspiratorial whisper. “He really has been crazy about you for weeks and weeks. Only thing he’d talk about.” His smile curls brighter. “Glad things worked out.” Then he’s letting Gokudera go, heading for the door with a last wave at Yamamoto, and when Gokudera looks back Yamamoto is watching him.
“Hi,” Yamamoto says, that dreamy tone he takes when he’s sleepy or surprised or a little bit lost in his own thoughts. “I’m glad you came.”
Gokudera unfolds his arms, steps in over the distance so he can look down at where Yamamoto is still sitting. The other tips his head up to keep watching him, the edge of his collar sliding farther with the motion until Gokudera reaches out to catch it and drag it back over the bruises left on Yamamoto’s skin by his mouth.
“You don’t have something better to cover these?” he asks, his voice slurring a little heavier than he intends because Yamamoto’s skin is warmer than he expects.
Yamamoto blinks up at him, his mouth slow on a smile. “I don’t care,” he offers. “I like them.” He’s tipping his head sideways, turning in towards Gokudera’s wrist and bumping his nose just against the other’s arm. “Do you want me to cover them?”
Gokudera’s fingers tighten on Yamamoto’s collar, Yamamoto’s mouth skims against his skin. “Idiot,” he snaps, drags at the fabric to shake the other. “I thought you wanted to go to dinner?”
“Yeah,” Yamamoto says, and he reaches up for Gokudera’s hand, slides it free of the fabric and close in against his mouth in one motion. Gokudera doesn’t have a chance to react before Yamamoto’s pulling back and getting to his feet, fitting their fingers together and smiling down at him. “Let’s go.”
Yamamoto doesn’t tug his collar straight on their way to the restaurant, leaves it drawn to the side so their waitress stares at his neck until she meets Gokudera’s glare and hurriedly retreats to another table. But Yamamoto isn’t looking at her, he’s looking at Gokudera with that same dreamy delight in his eyes as he had in the tattoo parlor. Gokudera can see the print of his lips clinging to Yamamoto’s skin, can hear the words ‘crazy about you’ weighted with the truth of an outsider’s objectivity, and when Yamamoto’s fingers brush his wrist under the table, he turns his hand up in offering without saying anything.
It’s harder to eat one-handed, but it turns out to be worth it for the pressure of Yamamoto’s fingers against his.
Chapter 20: Admission
It’s not until hours later, back in the rapidly-becoming-familiar space of Gokudera’s apartment, that Yamamoto thinks to ask. He’s been distracted, first by the drag of Gokudera’s eyes hot across his skin and then by lips and fingers tracing out the path laid down by the fire in the other’s gaze, until it’s only in the haze of not-quite sleep that he remembers what he had wanted to ask in the first place.
“Hey, Hayato?” He’s speaking softly, careful in case the other has managed to catch the sleep he seems to find so elusive. “Are you awake?”
“I am now,” Gokudera growls into the crook of Yamamoto’s shoulder, where’s he’s managed to tuck himself, but he doesn’t pull away.
“Sorry,” Yamamoto offers, even though it’s early, still, and he doubts Gokudera was close to sleep as much as looking for a reason to grumble. “What were you doing at the tattoo parlor?”
He can feel Gokudera’s shoulders go taut against the weight of his arm, the fingers that were relaxed against his chest tighten into a fist. “Meeting you,” Gokudera says, and he pushes away, rolls over to leave Yamamoto with the pale curve of his back instead of the too-expressive features of his face. “Idiot.”
Yamamoto laughs, rolls in after him, and Gokudera hisses protest when he loops an arm around his waist but, again, doesn’t push him away. “You were really early. Did you just want to see me?”
“No,” Gokudera snaps. “I’m not the complete lovestruck idiot you are. I just.” He nearly finishes the sentence, honesty pulled from him by defensiveness, but Yamamoto can hear him catch the words, stall on the admission before deciding it’s preferable to the alternative. “I was looking at earrings, okay?”
Yamamoto lets his breath out all at once, his fingertips going hot as his memories with the remembered brush against Gokudera’s skin, back before he got to revel in it on a daily basis. “Really?”
“Yes, really.” Gokudera is going warm under Yamamoto’s arm; he must be blushing badly, in order for the heat to have spread that far down his chest. “I was thinking about getting my ears pierced before I met you,” he says, the words spilling quick and hard with defensiveness as he twists farther away. “It’s got nothing to do with you.”
“That’s amazing,” Yamamoto says, sincerity turning the words golden on his tongue. “Come back, Hayato, that’s super cool.”
“I’m not doing it because you think it’s cool,” Gokudera grumbles, but there’s a knot giving way in his shoulders, tension bleeding out of him. “And I’m not going anywhere, I’m right here.” Even as he says it he’s twisting back, pinning Yamamoto’s elbow underneath the curve of his back so he can turn the grey-green of his eyes up to meet the other’s gaze.
“It’s going to look great,” Yamamoto says, because it will, and “You always look great,” because he does. Gokudera flinches at the second, a tiny flutter of his eyelashes like he’s drawing away from the compliment, and Yamamoto leans in close, drops a kiss quick and warm at the corner of Gokudera’s suddenly-soft mouth. That makes him huff a startled exhale, knocks a little of the resistance out of his eyes, and Yamamoto pulls back to ask “Can I do it?” while Gokudera is still looking a little bit melted from the contact.
Gokudera’s eyes narrow immediately, his mouth dropping sharply into a frown, and when he reaches up to shove at Yamamoto’s shoulder it’s with enough force to push the other back to the mattress before he has a chance to react. Gokudera follows, swinging a leg up over Yamamoto’s hips so he can straddle the other and pin him to the sheets by his weight.
“Are you actually stupid?” he demands. Yamamoto is certain if he were wearing a shirt Gokudera would have his fingers twisted into fists in the front of the fabric; as it is he doesn’t have an option but to shove at the other’s shoulders, to dig his thumbs in against the dip of Yamamoto’s collarbones and push him down as hard as he can. “My boyfriend works in a fucking tattoo parlor and you aren’t sure I want you to pierce my ears?”
There’s an admission there, a roundabout declaration Yamamoto notes distantly, but there’s a more immediate part, too, something so far from his expectations he wasn’t even thinking of the possibility. “Boyfriend?”
Gokudera closes his mouth hard, stares down at Yamamoto as he starts to blush, color spreading steadily out over his cheekbones before starting to climb to his hairline. He doesn’t look away, but he does clear his throat rather aggressively before he says, “That’s what your stupid coworker called me, right?”
“Skull?” Yamamoto asks, still a little bit stunned. “Yeah.”
“And that’s what you are.” Gokudera is crimson, now, so red Yamamoto is surprised he’s not actually glowing from the inside out. “Unless you think we’re not dating?”
“What?” Yamamoto laughs, a little weak and a little confused by the question but sincere nonetheless. “Of course we are.” He reaches out for Gokudera’s hips, since he can’t sit up for Gokudera pushing him back to the mattress and the other is looking skittish, like he might try to bolt even though it’s his apartment they’re in. “I’m definitely your boyfriend.”
Gokudera rolls his eyes. “That’s what I said. Idiot.” But the tension at his mouth has eased, a little, and when Yamamoto pulls at his hips he leans down without being asked aloud, folds himself in against Yamamoto’s bare chest and lets the other support his weight.
Yamamoto slides one hand sideways, up across the curve of Gokudera’s back, brings the other in to brush through silver hair until he can trace out the shape of the other’s ear. Gokudera’s skin is soft under his fingers, warm as the pressure of the other’s mouth resting against his shoulder. “So I can, right?”
“Yes, Takeshi,” Gokudera sighs. He’s aiming for frustration, Yamamoto can hear the attempt under the words, but the name and the feel of Gokudera’s smile curling against his skin both serve to give him away. “You can pierce my ears for me.”
Yamamoto laughs, the delight coming easy in his throat, and when he turns his head to kiss the blush off Gokudera’s skin, the other doesn’t move away.
Chapter 21: Striking
Gokudera wishes he was less shaky. It’s not that he’s afraid, or not that he’s afraid in a way he recognizes as such; it’s just that his whole body is wound tight on adrenaline, tense and jittery with the motion of every breath. There’s not even anything he can use to ground himself; the edge of the high bench he’s sitting on is cold and unfamiliar, the entire room smells faintly of antiseptic and metal like the rest of the tattoo parlor, and even Yamamoto is moving differently than usual, careful and precise with his motions instead of the easy liquid grace Gokudera is used to seeing. He’s looking down at the tray in front of him right now, setting out the pair of silver rings shortly to be through Gokudera’s ears, and Gokudera’s hands are starting to shake, trembling so badly even locking his elbows out against the bench under him isn’t entirely ceasing the motion. His ears are cool still from the antiseptic Yamamoto swiped over them, tingling with expectation of pain and delayed reaction to the press of the pen to mark the placement of the metal.
“I don’t see why we can’t do them all at once,” Gokudera says just for the relief of doing something, saying something, while Yamamoto is leaning over the metal rings and the sharp point of the needle in front of him. “Wouldn’t that be faster?”
“It would hurt more,” Yamamoto says, glancing sideways and flashing the almost-apology of a smile. Gokudera manages one true inhale; then the other is looking away again and everything in his chest cinches tight once more. “And if anything gets infected it’d be really awful. It’s okay, we can just add more as the first ones heal.”
Gokudera huffs, impatience better expressed via sound than words, and then Yamamoto is straightening and reaching for the needle and he can’t breathe at all.
“Fuck,” he says, and he has to look away, unprecedented fright locking him in place until he can’t even meet Yamamoto’s sympathetic gaze.
The other hesitates. “You don’t have to do this,” he says, his voice quiet and steady. “It’s okay if you’ve changed your mind.”
“I haven’t changed my mind,” Gokudera snaps, and turns his head sharply to the side as if to offer his ear for Yamamoto’s touch. “Just hurry up and do it, okay?”
There’s another hesitation; then “Okay,” and Yamamoto’s fingers are touching the side of Gokudera’s neck. There’s an instant rush of tension through Gokudera’s body, every muscle in his back and shoulders seizing up at once; Yamamoto’s hand is cold, unfamiliar under the cover of the latex gloves he’s wearing, and Gokudera can’t relax enough to even catch his breath.
“Hayato,” Yamamoto is saying, from what feels like an impossible distance, and he’s stepping in closer, his knee is bumping against Gokudera’s. “Breathe, it’s okay.” His fingers are going warmer, the radiance off his skin heating the gloves to something closer to body temperature, and there’s a steadiness to his touch, the press of his hand fitting itself against Gokudera’s skin, that is unquestionably familiar even if nothing else is.
Gokudera lets his elbows unlock, and relaxes his shoulders, and breathes. The knot in his chest eases off with the deep inhale, panic lessening to a manageable level, and Yamamoto is really close, he’s leaning in until Gokudera is eye-level with the fabric of his t-shirt, could lean forward and press his forehead to the cloth if he wanted.
“You ready?” he asks, and Gokudera shuts his eyes, and takes another breath, and says “Do it” with all the certainty of Yamamoto’s fingers against his neck. He can hear the inhale Yamamoto takes, can feel the press of three fingers bracing against his neck, just under the fall of his hair, as Yamamoto pinches past the point of pain against Gokudera’s earlobe. Then there’s pressure, so quick and sharp Gokudera doesn’t realize what he’s feeling is pain until the needle is through, so he doesn’t hiss until Yamamoto lets his hold go.
“Sorry,” Yamamoto says, apology lacing over his tone, and Gokudera wants to snap at him for that but he’s afraid to distract him. There’s no hesitation in Yamamoto’s movements for all the resonant sympathy in his voice; he’s moving fast, now, sliding the needle and pushing the earring through in a single motion so that by the time Gokudera loses control of his throat and whines at the hurt Yamamoto’s pulled the needle through completely and is setting it back on the tray.
“That’s one,” he says, and his voice is really shaking now, but his hands are steady and quick as he slides the hoop the rest of the way through, pushes sharp so something clicks into place. Then he’s letting go, taking a half-step back, and Gokudera’s ear is starting to throb with pain but he can feel the weight of the earring, too, proof of his halfway success.
He’s reaching up without thinking, instinct bringing his hand to the unfamiliar sensation and the pain at once, and Yamamoto flinches, starts to reach to catch his wrist. “Don’t,” he suggests. “It’ll hurt worse if you mess with it.”
Gokudera glances up at him, at the aching apology in the other’s golden eyes. “How do you know?” he asks, some of his usual snap coming back as the worst of the panic in his body fades, now that the first is done. “You’ve never had one.” He doesn’t wait for an answer, just drops his hand and turns his head to offer the other ear. “Don’t keep me waiting.”
This one feels faster. Maybe it’s just because Gokudera isn’t stretched endlessly taut with nerves at the anticipation, or maybe it’s that Yamamoto is much less hesitant to start now that it’s half-done. It hurts just as much, a sudden jolt of pain at the press of the needle flaring out into a dull throbbing ache as Yamamoto tugs the earring into place, but pain isn’t what Gokudera is afraid of. The worst of it is the way Yamamoto apologizes, blurts “Sorry” as Gokudera flinches under the needle and then again, a repetitive chant as he pushes the earring into place. When he steps back Gokudera can see the apology clear in his eyes, written soft in the curve of his lips, and Gokudera starts to speak, starts to say “It’s fine, idiot,” to sweep away that leading edge of guilt.
Then Yamamoto blinks, and really sees the earrings for the first time, and the shadow across his features vanishes as suddenly as if he’s stepped forward into the light.
“Oh,” he says, faint and stunned. “Ha, wow.”
Gokudera’s spine prickles. Something about the way Yamamoto is looking at him feels like a spotlight, as if there’s something about him worth watching. “What.” It’s a statement, not a question, and he doesn’t give Yamamoto a chance to react to it. “What the fuck is it, what are you staring at?”
“You look…” Yamamoto trails off, still staring, before he shakes his head and drags his gaze away, reaches out for the hand mirror hanging off the side of the tray. His hand is shaking when he holds it out. “Here.”
Gokudera takes it, glaring at the other’s stunned expression before he pulls his gaze down to look at himself. It’s hard to see the earrings at first; he has to turn his head, brush his hair back carefully, and then there they are, set into his ear like they’ve always been there. The skin around them is red and swollen, flushed to match the heartbeat of pain around the piercing, but the rings themselves look good, the same silver color as Gokudera’s hair and bright enough to catch off the grey in his eyes. Something about them makes his eyes look brighter, greener maybe, or a little bit sharper; he looks faintly dangerous, now, a little older and a little more serious than he did before.
When he looks back up Yamamoto is still staring at him, his hands hanging limp at his sides and his mouth slightly open like he can’t remember how to close it. His eyes are nearly out-of-focus, the whole of his expression looking like he’s been punched or become instantly drunk, like all his ability to concentrate has evaporated at once. It prickles up Gokudera’s spine again, a rush of self-awareness not unpleasant as much as it is unfamiliar, and he shoves the mirror back at Yamamoto hard enough that it will pull the other’s attention back down to the object.
“It’s not that big of a deal,” he insists. His ears are really aching, now, so much that he doesn’t want to bring his hands anywhere near touching them, but when he tips his head forward enough his hair falls around his chin to hide the new additions.
Yamamoto reaches out to hang the mirror back up, tugs a glove off. “It is.” His voice is soft, gentle but steady as a rock. It makes Gokudera flush as Yamamoto pulls the other glove off to leave his skin bare again as he turns back. His hands are very warm when he reaches for Gokudera’s shoulders, the friction of his fingertips on skin startling after the glide and catch of the latex gloves.
“I hope you don’t do this with all your customers,” Gokudera says, looking up from under his hair to watch the way Yamamoto’s gaze flickers gently across his features. Yamamoto’s mouth falls into an easy smile, his hands come up to unerringly skirt the edges of Gokudera’s ear, brushing his hair back again while not quite making contact with the hurt of the new piercings.
“No,” he says, slow and considering, and Gokudera realizes he can’t smell the antiseptic anymore, can’t smell the weird plastic burn of latex; there’s just a tinge of grass, sun-baked heat lingering against clothes, a suggestion of soap as familiar as everything else that makes up Yamamoto. “There’s just you.”
There’s some weight there, the words heavy in his throat so Gokudera can feel them heating his blood even as he shoves away deliberate understanding of the meaning. His mouth is still tight around that active avoidance of comprehension when he reaches to grab the edge of Yamamoto’s shirt, to hook his fingers in against the belt loop of his jeans.
“Good,” he says, letting the word growl into possessiveness, and Yamamoto smiles and leans down to kiss him. His hands are warm against Gokudera’s neck, holding his head steady and his hair back while Yamamoto’s lips slide against his and Yamamoto’s breath catches unsteady against his skin. All of Gokudera’s panic has gone, transformed over into the languid drag of relief, and even with the weight of the new earrings pressing against aching skin, it’s easy to smile against Yamamoto’s mouth.
Chapter 22: Help
Yamamoto loves visiting the flower shop. It smells good, like roses and sunflowers and lilies all mixed together, all the scent of leaves and life that is absent from the sterile clean of the tattoo parlor. He likes the new arrangements that are on display, the casual demonstration of artistic skill in the fall of the leaves and the angle of the petals he trails his fingertips across. But mostly -- especially -- he loves it because that’s where Gokudera is, because he can push the door open and step into the humid warmth of the shop and have the other right there in front of him, in that first startled moment before he realizes it’s Yamamoto who has just come in.
Today Gokudera’s busy, so stressed by whatever he’s doing that he’s nearly frantic. Yamamoto can tell as soon as he opens the door; it’s in the stiff hunch of the other’s shoulders, the way he barely glances back before he says, “Not a good time, Takeshi,” and goes back to what he’s doing without even bothering to form a more snappish reply. He’s surrounded by flowers, green leaves so thick on the floor Yamamoto can’t see the tile itself; when the other steps forward, around the counter to the back since there’s no one else in the shop, he can see the roses Gokudera is holding, stripping the petals off with more aggression than he usually displays towards his work.
“What’s wrong?” Yamamoto asks. He wants to fit himself against the curve of Gokudera’s back, brush his hair aside and kiss just under the other’s earrings, a few weeks of healing enough to take off most of the pain of the piercings. But Gokudera isn’t turning around, he’s not even slowing the rushed movement of his hands, so instead Yamamoto comes in beside him, reaches out to pick up one of the crimson roses still awaiting the other’s attention.
“An order,” Gokudera says, and that speaks to his strain, too, that he can’t spare the attention to muster an insult or even sarcasm. “This guy called in this morning, wanted to buy every red rose we have.” He sets the flower in his hands aside, reaches for another. “Every one. Do you know how many red roses we have?”
“No,” Yamamoto admits, though he can make a guess from the catastrophe of greenery at their feet and the heap of roses at Gokudera’s side. “A lot?”
That does get Gokudera to pause, earns Yamamoto a flat stare. Gokudera’s eyes are bright but there are shadows under them, fingerprints of insomnia bruising under the color to turn his gaze sharper by comparison. “Yes. A lot.” He looks back down, reaches for another flower. His fingers are streaked green, stains laid dark over his knuckles as he pulls another rose free. “And he wants them all tonight. To be delivered to an office. At midnight.” He leans down, his hair falling into his face before he growls and shoves it back behind his ear. “Who does that?”
“That’s a big order,” Yamamoto says, reaching out to straighten the tangle of Gokudera’s hair so it will actually stay off his face. “It’s worth it, isn’t it?”
“Maybe,” Gokudera admits, skepticism heavy on the word. “It’s going to take all day. You’re going to have to amuse yourself.”
“Let me help,” Yamamoto says. “We can get it done faster together.”
“You can’t help,” Gokudera snaps. “You don’t know how to do this, it’ll be better if you just get out of my way.”
“I can,” Yamamoto insists. “I can bring flowers out to you, or move the ones you’re done with somewhere else.” Gokudera is still frowning down at the rose under his hands, but he doesn’t flinch away when Yamamoto reaches to touch the back of his neck. That’s a good sign, in itself. “I won’t try to distract you, I promise.”
“You’re always a distraction,” Gokudera grumbles. “This won’t be fun for you.”
“Sure it will be.” Yamamoto moves sideways to stand behind Gokudera, pulls the other’s hair back from his face. “Do you have a hair tie?”
Gokudera huffs. “Hang on.” He strips off the last thorn on the stem he’s working on, sets the rose to join the ever-increasing stack of smoothed flowers. Yamamoto keeps his hands where they are, holding Gokudera’s hair back against the nape of his neck while the other reaches for the back pocket of his jeans to fish out an elastic and offer the loop back to Yamamoto.
“Thanks.” It’s hard to manage the strands -- they’re only barely long enough to be pulled back, and so fine they want to stick more closely to Yamamoto’s fingers than to catch in the tie. Gokudera doesn’t say anything while Yamamoto fumbles with his hair; he just keeps working over the flowers, his shoulders moving steadily so Yamamoto has to concentrate to keep from getting distracted by the action of his shoulders under his t-shirt. Finally the tie’s in place, more or less holding Gokudera’s hair back, and Yamamoto steps away, carefully obedient to his promise to avoid being a distraction even though his skin is flushed warm from the lingering proximity to the other. He moves towards the finished flowers instead, brushing his fingers over the petals while he watches the focus in Gokudera’s face as he keeps working.
He doesn’t have to ask, this time. Gokudera glances at him as he places another flower on the pile, clears his throat as he looks back to the waiting stack and says, “Put those in the empty bucket in the back. I’ll cut them for a vase once everything else is ready to go.”
“Okay!” With the thorns stripped it’s a relatively easy task to collect the roses together so Yamamoto can press the entire pile carefully against his shirt and carry them to the back. There’s an empty container, as promised, and as he’s kneeling to settle the flowers into it Gokudera calls out, “Bring me one of the other bunches when you come back.”
Yamamoto does as ordered. Gokudera doesn’t more than glance at him before he jerks his head sideways at the almost-clear space at his elbow, where the remaining roses are waiting to be handled. “Put them there and stay out of my way until I need more.”
Yamamoto sets down the newest bundle and retreats, keeping himself out of range of the temptation of Gokudera’s hair and skin both as the safest course of action. It’s soothing to watch the steady rhythm of the other’s movements, the almost-dance of efficiency in his fingers and arms and shoulders. With his focus on what he’s doing there’s less tension in his face, the usual threat of a frown replaced by soft at his lips and only a crease at his forehead to speak to his concentration. It’s easy for Yamamoto to lose track of time like this, with the smell of flowers all around him and Gokudera moving steadily over the rustling leaves of the roses in front of him.
There’s not much Yamamoto can do, in the end, but whether due to his presence or just a consequence of Gokudera’s inherent pessimism the flowers are ready nearly an hour before they need to be, vases and vases of roses covering every available surface. It’s only once Gokudera has called for a taxi to come by in a half hour that the strain fades from his shoulders, that he slumps into exhaustion and comes over to join Yamamoto where he is sitting on the floor. Yamamoto reaches for the bottom edge of his shirt, urges Gokudera down closer to him than he would have placed himself on his own, and the other sighs resignation and fits his knees around Yamamoto’s legs, slides himself in close so he can let the other support the heavy weight of his body for a moment.
“I’m so tired,” he groans into Yamamoto’s shoulder, green-stained fingers falling motionless and heavy at the back of the other’s neck. “I’m never moving again.”
Yamamoto shuts his eyes, tips his head back against the wall and reaches out to loop his arm around Gokudera’s waist, warm comfort in the contact. “Come back with me,” he offers, taking advantage of the unusual ponytail to press his face in against Gokudera’s throat. “I’ll make you food, you can sleep in tomorrow when I go to work.”
“I don’t want to eat,” Gokudera groans. “I just want to sleep forever. I should go home.”
“You shouldn’t.” Yamamoto presses in closer, breathes in the smell of roses off Gokudera’s skin and the smoky richness of the other that clings underneath the accidental perfume. “You sleep better with me.”
He can hear the confusion in Gokudera’s voice, the scoff of disbelief worn weak by exhaustion. “What are you talking about? You always end up crushing me against your stupid bed, how is that better?”
“You look less tired when you stay the night,” Yamamoto says without opening his eyes. A strand of Gokudera’s hair is loose, is brushing against his cheek like the feather-light skim of deliberate fingertips on his skin. “You’re tired, today.” Gokudera isn’t speaking but he’s not pulling away either; he’s still against Yamamoto’s shoulder, even when the other gets his fingers in against the side of his neck to hold him still so he can press his lips against the flutter of heartbeat at the side of Gokudera’s throat. “Come home with me, I want you to.”
Gokudera takes a breath, the sound muffled against Yamamoto’s shoulder. When he speaks there’s effort under the sound, a struggle to form his words into the shape of teasing. “You’re that desperate for sex, huh?”
Yamamoto laughs against the other’s neck. “Not sex,” he says. “Just sleeping, really.”
Gokudera pulls back from Yamamoto’s mouth, leans back enough that he can look at the other’s eyes. His mouth is soft with the weight of more than a full day’s work, but his eyes are dark with suggestion, the crackle of green setting Yamamoto’s blood on fire as Gokudera hums a noncommittal sound and twists his fingers up into the dark strands of hair at the back of Yamamoto’s neck.
“Just sleeping,” he repeats, the words turning into the slow resonance of a taunt as he shifts his weight forward to press himself flush against Yamamoto’s hips. “That’s a shame.”
Yamamoto blinks up at Gokudera’s mouth, lets his head fall farther back under the tug of Gokudera’s fingers. “Unless you want more,” he manages, trying not to groan at the way Gokudera’s eyes drop to his throat, the way the other starts to dip his head in anticipation. “It’s--” and there are lips at his skin, teeth scraping across the point Gokudera favors for bruises, and Yamamoto has to pause to catch his breath as he tips his head farther to the side. “Whatever you want,” he manages, and Gokudera is licking his skin, now, tracing a slow path with his tongue against the collar of Yamamoto’s shirt so Yamamoto’s breathing goes heavy and groaning in his throat.
Gokudera hums against him, the sound of understanding without the words, and Yamamoto is ready to do anything he wants, has forgotten about the flowers and forgotten where they are and has forgotten everything but what’s important, the warmth of Gokudera on his lap and the friction against his throat and the melting pleasure of it in his veins. He doesn’t recover himself until Gokudera pulls away, makes a noise that is almost regret and mostly impatience, and then he’s sliding back and getting to his feet and Yamamoto has to blink hard to recover his focus enough to look up at the other’s expression.
“We have to deliver these stupid flowers,” Gokudera says, sounding frustrated and irritated to match the high flush of desire across his cheeks. “Then we can go back home.”
Yamamoto isn’t sure if Gokudera is talking about his apartment or Yamamoto’s house, but the details aren’t important. The joint pronoun is what’s important, the implied agreement Yamamoto was hoping for, and even with the almost-ache of postponed want in him Yamamoto is smiling when he gets to his feet to help Gokudera collect the flowers.
Chapter 23: Comfortable
Gokudera and Yamamoto don’t talk about the plan at all. They take the taxi across town from the flower shop, crowding into the backseat with vases of roses crammed across the front seat and every available space in the back, deposit the entire mess of them at their end location -- a cubicle in an IT firm, as it turns out, across the too-small desk of a redhead who looks as hopelessly frazzled by this delivery as Gokudera felt when he received the order -- and then return, fit together into the now overlarge back absent anything but lingering perfume, and when Yamamoto gives the address of his house Gokudera doesn’t even consider offering protest. It’s easier to give in to the excuse of exhaustion and lean in against Yamamoto’s shoulder, easier to shut his eyes and feign sleep while Yamamoto’s finger tug the tie in his hair loose and stroke the all-day knots out of the strands. His hands are steady, soothing against Gokudera’s scalp, and Gokudera is too exhausted to worry about what their driver might be making of the pair of them in the shadows of the backseat. He keeps his eyes shut instead, lets the motion of the car and the slow slide of Yamamoto’s fingers lull him into an almost-drowse, until he’s more than half-startled by the taxi coming to a stop.
Yamamoto tries to pay the driver himself, would succeed except for Gokudera grabbing his hand and physically holding him back. That gets him a laugh from Yamamoto, the start of a glare from the driver before Gokudera produces payment himself, and by the time he can make his escape out of the vehicle and out towards Yamamoto’s house he’s ready to be done with responsibility for the rest of the night.
Yamamoto doesn’t try to make conversation. He seems entirely content to trail in Gokudera’s wake, only moving in front of the other to unlock the door and hold it open. The darkness inside feel like an escape, protection from the demands of the world, and it’s even better when Yamamoto pulls the door shut behind them and twists the lock.
“You hungry?” Yamamoto asks as he flips the light on. Gokudera toes his shoes off, strips his coat off his shoulders and tosses the jacket over the back of the couch on his way to the bedroom.
“I’m tired,” Gokudera says without turning around. “I’ll eat tomorrow.”
“I could make you something,” Yamamoto offers from the kitchen. “You could even eat it in bed.”
Gokudera pauses in the doorway to the bedroom, glances back over his shoulder at Yamamoto’s bright-eyed smile. He looks far more happy than he has any right to at this hour of the night, after being awake as long as they have.
“Takeshi.” He speaks slowly, enunciating every syllable so there’s no mistake. “I want to go to bed. Do you want to feed me or do you want to join me?”
Yamamoto’s smile curves into a laugh, warm and fluttering in his throat with sincerity. He moves instead of speaking, stepping out of his shoes and reaching for the light in silent capitulation, and Gokudera turns back to the bedroom, switching on illumination as Yamamoto turns off the other. Gokudera is out of his shirt by the time Yamamoto comes through the door, tossing it to the corner and reaching for his jeans as he glances up to meet Yamamoto’s gaze. The other is stalled in the doorway, one hand reached up to linger idle at the frame while his eyes drag down over Gokudera’s skin with so much softness in them that Gokudera flushes hot with sudden self-consciousness.
“What?” he snaps, kicking out of his jeans because hesitation would be too much like admitting to his embarrassment.
He’s expecting some sort of compliment, one of the inane comments Yamamoto often delivers in praise of his hair or his skin or his eyes. He’s not quite expecting the way Yamamoto ducks his head like he’s trying to hide his smile, ruffling a hand through his hair with every appearance of embarrassment. That stalls Gokudera’s breathing, freezes him in place not-quite on the bed as he waits for whatever bombshell Yamamoto is about to offer this time.
Yamamoto looks back up, lets his hand drop as his mouth curves into a sheepish smile. “I was just thinking you look like you belong here.”
There’s a rush of heat under Gokudera’s skin, a flush of embarrassment followed immediately by a chill of almost-panic. He clears his throat, makes a desperate attempt at sarcasm when he answers, “Your house isn’t so big I’m going to get lost in it.”
Yamamoto shakes his head. “That’s not what I mean.” He glances at the room, seems to realize how far away he is. When he moves in it’s all at once, stumbling towards the bed so he can climb across it and reach for Gokudera’s wrist. “You look at home here.”
Gokudera’s face is burning hot, his hand limp in Yamamoto’s hold as the other tugs him in closer. “You’d like me to act uncomfortable instead?”
“No,” Yamamoto soothes, pulling gently but insistently until Gokudera actually climbs onto the bed to join him. “It’s a good thing. I like it.”
“Shut up,” Gokudera growls. Yamamoto’s still wearing most of his clothes; grabbing at his shirt give Gokudera something else to focus on, a brief distraction from the heat in his cheeks. He moves to straddle Yamamoto’s lap, twists his arm free so he can grab at the bottom edge of the other’s t-shirt and drag it up over his head.
“Okay,” Yamamoto says with equanimity, lifting his arms to help Gokudera free him of his shirt. The edges of his wings are clear over the top edge of his shoulders, ink dark and still as breathtaking as the first time Gokudera saw them. Gokudera reaches out, curls his fingers to fall into line with the tattoos, and Yamamoto sighs low and content and reaches out for his hips. “Can I kiss you instead?”
“Are you really asking?” Gokudera scoffs, and leans down to kiss Yamamoto’s smile off his lips. Yamamoto is laughing, giggling delight against his mouth, but he still tips his head to fit better against Gokudera’s lips and opens his mouth wider in invitation. Gokudera licks against the roof of his mouth, swallows back the shuddering whine Yamamoto makes, and when Yamamoto’s hands tighten at his hips it’s enough warning for him to press his knees in closer, to slide his hands across the pattern of feathers on skin to loop his arms around Yamamoto’s neck and catch his weight as Yamamoto twists to invert them and press Gokudera’s shoulders back against the sheets. The give of the mattress is familiar, soft almost more comfortable than Gokudera’s own bed, and Gokudera has a momentary understanding of what Yamamoto meant to say. He pushes the thought away sharply, shuts his eyes instead so he can focus on the way Yamamoto shifts to lean in closer against him and the way the other gasps desperate little inhales every time Gokudera pulls away from his mouth for a moment. Yamamoto’s fingers slide under Gokudera’s boxers, easing the fabric an inch down his hips with what amounts to teasing slowness, under the circumstances.
“Hayato,” he says, when Gokudera pulls back to take a breath and to tilt his hips up in silent encouragement for Yamamoto to move faster. “Can I try something different?”
Gokudera sighs, mustering as much mock frustration as he can under the circumstances. It’s a weak attempt, worn thin and see-through by Yamamoto’s hands curled against his hips, but he makes the effort anyway, if only to see the way Yamamoto’s smile catches wide at the sound.
“Does it have to be tonight?” Gokudera protests weakly. “You couldn’t pick a time other than two in the morning after I’ve been working all day?”
“That’s why I want to now,” Yamamoto answers. When he leans in his lips catch at Gokudera’s, skimming distraction so the other is left speechless even after Yamamoto sighs simple pleasure and lets his mouth drop to Gokudera’s collarbone instead. “All you have to do is lie still, I promise I’ll take care of everything.” He’s moving before Gokudera speaks, turning them sideways so Gokudera is almost entirely back against the bed before he recovers enough to shove at the other’s tattooed shoulder and stall his movement.
“Wait,” and Yamamoto goes still, blinks up at Gokudera with the wide-eyed stare of absolute attention that always prickles nervous excitement into Gokudera’s blood. “Tell me what you want to do, I’m not going to agree to something I don’t even know about yet. You could be into all sorts of weird kinks.”
Yamamoto ducks his head as he laughs, amused delight warm in his throat before he can collect himself enough to look back to meet Gokudera’s eyes. “This isn’t that weird.” There’s almost emphasis there on the first word, the suggestion of future possibilities that laces heat into Gokudera’s blood, but Yamamoto isn’t waiting for a response, he’s answering obedient to Gokudera’s demand. “I just want to bottom for you tonight.”
Gokudera blinks. “Oh.” Yamamoto leans in close again, kissing against his shoulder as he resumes his gentle urging backwards, and Gokudera doesn’t resist this time. He’s too busy processing Yamamoto’s words, trying to frame them in a way that makes sense. “Why?”
“Huh?” Yamamoto pulls back, rocks back over his heels so he’s taking his own weight instead of bearing Gokudera against the sheets. When he tips his head he looks a little lost, like maybe Gokudera is speaking a foreign language. “I want to.” His smile is easy as ever, glowing with no trace of the exhaustion he reasonably should be feeling, at this point in the day; Gokudera stares at his mouth, caught by that expression as Yamamoto shrugs. “We don’t have to, if you don’t want.”
“I--” Gokudera begins, not certain even as he opens his mouth what he can say to that. Then he blinks, and whatever vacation his imagination has been on ends abruptly. He can see the edge of Yamamoto’s tattoos, the ink bleeding out over his shoulders and spilling down his arms, and his imagination offers instead those arms braced above him, that smile gone slack and gasping as Yamamoto flushes and slides down over him, and: “Okay” he says, sounding only barely choked as his cock goes instantly hard inside his boxers.
“I can?” Yamamoto asks, sounding like a child on his birthday, and Gokudera is the one who starts to blush, heat spreading out over his cheeks in telltale for his discomfort.
“Yeah,” he manages, reaching out for Yamamoto’s shoulder to drag the other in range of a kiss. Yamamoto tips forward with instant capitulation, melting under Gokudera’s pull as his eyelashes flutter heavy in anticipation; when he’s close enough Gokudera can feel the way his breathing is catching faster on every inhale, like he can’t quite recall how to sustain a steady rhythm.
“Yeah,” he repeats, feeling the shape of the words falling into his head as he speaks. “I’m exhausted,” slow, that, deliberately distant, “But if you want to fuck yourself on my cock I guess I won’t stop you.”
It’s the most explicit thing he’s ever said aloud, he’s sure. The words feel weird on his tongue, heavy with intensity and tingling with the guilty thrill of stepping over usual boundaries. But Yamamoto shudders, the reaction an audible whimper against Gokudera’s ears, and for a moment he presses in close, his body flush with Gokudera’s so the other can feel the hot pressure against the front of Yamamoto’s jeans. Gokudera’s heart is pounding in his chest, his whole body prickling anticipation like it’s their first time all over again, and he might still be exhausted but his body is choosing to ignore that temporarily in favor of arching up hard against Yamamoto’s. They’re not moving with any intention; it’s just hands and skin, Yamamoto laughing breathless against Gokudera’s shoulder and Gokudera’s fingers digging in against Yamamoto’s back, pressing for traction and heat at the same time. Then Yamamoto is moving, shifting back over the bed so his mouth trails a path down across Gokudera’s skin, across the flutter of breathing in his chest and over the flat of his stomach. His fingers draw the other’s clothes off his hips, baring Gokudera’s skin as his boxers slide down his legs, and Gokudera is tipping up to meet him, his hips coming up as fast as Yamamoto’s mouth slides down. There’s no hesitation in Yamamoto’s movements; he’s opening his mouth, licking against Gokudera’s length as if that’s been his plan all along, and Gokudera shivers satisfaction and lets himself fall back to the bed. Yamamoto’s mouth is warm, gentle with the heat and slow with appreciation so the friction purrs pleasure out into Gokudera’s blood without the sharp edge of oncoming gratification with it.
“God,” Gokudera says aloud, letting the tension in his spine sag into relaxation and drop him over the support of the mattress. “You’re really good at this, Takeshi.” His hands come sideways, fingers fitting against the soft of Yamamoto’s hair, and Yamamoto purrs a little noise of satisfaction in the back of his throat, dips in farther so there’s just the warmth of his mouth washing out into Gokudera’s blood. Pleasure is running up against exhaustion, stripping all Gokudera’s tension out of his body and leaving him languid and heavy across the sheets, as comfortable and sedate as if he’s come already.
He isn’t sure how long Yamamoto lingers. There’s no goal to the other’s movements -- they both know this is just the precursor, the leading edge of the heat to come -- but it hazes Gokudera’s mind anyway, sends his thoughts dreamy and disconnected until his sense of time is wholly absent by the time Yamamoto pulls back. Gokudera is half-expecting the other to slide off the bed, to devote his attention to getting the last of his clothes off, but Yamamoto’s touch lingers, his fingers against Gokudera’s knee and his lips at the other’s thigh. When Gokudera lifts his head to look Yamamoto is fumbling his jeans off one-handed, sacrificing efficiency for the continued contact of his mouth at Gokudera’s skin. Gokudera wants to laugh, wants to tease him, but when he smiles it goes soft and warm on his lips, and when he reaches to tug at Yamamoto’s hair the motion becomes a stroke instead. Yamamoto’s mouth comes open on a tiny sigh of pleasure, he presses his lips in against Gokudera’s hips, and he’s struggling out of his jeans, kicking the fabric down off his feet so he can press himself skin-close against Gokudera.
Gokudera closes his hands on Yamamoto’s hair, focuses so he can deliberately pull at the soft strands. “Come here,” and Yamamoto does, slides up against Gokudera’s skin so he can blink down at the other’s face. His eyes are glowing, soft and melted over with affection, and for a moment Gokudera can’t collect himself enough to do anything but lean in for a kiss, press his mouth to the soft curve of Yamamoto’s lip to steal the edge of that hazy pleasure.
Yamamoto doesn’t resist. Gokudera’s fingers are still caught in his hair, stroking idly through the unruly strands, and Yamamoto is humming against his mouth, leaning in and down so Gokudera is caught between the pillow and the other’s mouth. But he’s still moving, reaching to fumble blind at the shelf closest to the bed; Gokudera can hear the rustle of toppling objects, but he can also feel the tension of the stretch in Yamamoto’s shoulder give way as he finds what he’s looking for and brings his hand back in. Which just means Gokudera is ready, lets Yamamoto’s hair go and pulls back from Yamamoto’s mouth as he throws out a hand to catch the other’s wrist.
“Wait,” and he’s sitting up, crowding into Yamamoto’s space so the other goes rocking backwards, sitting back over his heels with his heat-dazed eyes still trapped at Gokudera’s lips. It’s a distraction, a temptation, but Gokudera resists, forces himself to focus so he can close his hand on the bottle in Yamamoto’s hand and slide it free. “Let me.”
“What?” Yamamoto blinks, drags his gaze up with visible force of effort. “You don’t have to. I was going to do all the work for you tonight.”
“Don’t be an idiot,” Gokudera snaps. The lube is cold on his fingers, slippery-slick in a way that makes him shudder with a rush of heat in anticipation of what is to come. “I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t want to.”
Yamamoto blinks at him for a moment, like he’s considering the words and fitting them to meaning. Then he looks down, at the shine of liquid across Gokudera’s fingers, and Gokudera can see the way his throat works, the way his eyelashes flutter when he nods.
“Okay.” It’s just one word, to be so loaded with heat, but it goes through Gokudera like a shock even before Yamamoto reaches out to settle his fingers at the other’s shoulders and rock up on his knees. By rights Gokudera ought to turn them over, let Yamamoto sprawl across the bed in his place so he can better relax into Gokudera’s touch, but he’s too close, now, to pull away, too near to the warm glow of Yamamoto’s skin and too close to the taut flex of his legs as he steadies his balance in anticipation. He’s hard without Gokudera having touched him, even, flushed pink and barely slick at the head, and Gokudera can’t resist leaning in a half-inch, enough to bump his skin to the swollen head of Yamamoto’s cock as he fits his hand in between the other’s legs. Yamamoto jerks at the contact, arching forward and shivering like he’s been shocked, and Gokudera grins against the other’s chest. When he glances up through his hair he can see the out-of-focus expectation on Yamamoto’s face, the relaxation at his mouth and the excitement in his throat, and there’s another burst of sensation through Gokudera, adrenaline twitching his cock against the edge of his wrist as he slides lube-slick fingers over Yamamoto’s skin. Yamamoto is breathing hard, deep but fast, and he’s pressed in flush to Gokudera’s chest and he’s warm, so warm against the other’s fingers, and then Gokudera is touching against his entrance, and curling his fingers, and pushing slowly into him.
Yamamoto makes a sound, a little choking whimper so clearly relief Gokudera doesn’t even hesitate in the motion of his hand. Yamamoto is hot, desperately tight around even the slide of just his fingers, and Gokudera can’t breathe for imagining the way this would feel against his cock. He can feel his heartbeat pounding in his ears, spilling slick pre-come against his length, but Yamamoto is just as bad, he’s leaning in so hard against Gokudera’s chest it’s amazing they haven’t fallen over yet. Gokudera pushes in deeper, past the first knuckle, past the second, and Yamamoto isn’t protesting, is just gasping and clinging to Gokudera’s shoulders like the other is the only source of gravity.
“Jesus christ,” Gokudera says, the words twisting in his throat until they come out as a growl so low it makes Yamamoto whine again him. “You really like this.”
Yamaoto’s laugh is weak, shaky but no less sincere for that. “Yeah,” he says, fingers flexing at Gokudera’s shoulder to turn his hold into the shape of a caress. “Don’t stop, Hayato.”
“Don’t be stupid.” Gokudera shifts his weight, leans in a little to steady the two of them. “I’m not going to stop.” He draws his hand back, pushes in again, all at once this time, and Yamamoto’s head tips forward, his expression dropping into shadow so all Gokudera can see of him is the open-mouthed gasp of his breathing and the black smudge of his eyelashes at his cheeks. Gokudera keeps his eyes open, keeps his head tipped back as he thrusts his fingers into Yamamoto so he can watch the ripples of responsive heat flash over the other’s features. Yamamoto’s face goes soft on each of Gokudera’s movements, like the tension of expression is getting knocked right out of him by sensation, but Gokudera is winding tighter, the heat in his veins turning into the ache of thwarted desire, until when he falls back it’s with no warning at all. Yamamoto falls with him, lands against him hard enough to knock Gokudera’s breath away, and for a moment Gokudera lacks even the presence of mind to slide his fingers free and push Yamamoto back to upright. Yamamoto is the one to move first, slow like his thoughts are hazy with friction but still before Gokudera can find the words for what he wants. Gokudera draws his fingers free, staring up at the way Yamamoto’s throat works on a stuttered groan at the drag, and then they are moving at once, Yamamoto rocking back and Gokudera pushing at his hips to get him into place. Yamamoto shifts his weight, braces himself against the bed, and Gokudera lets him go for a moment, slides slippery fingers up across the rigid flush of his length for extra lubrication. Yamamoto rocks back, brushes in against the shift of Gokudera’s fingers, and Gokudera moves on pure instinct, then. His hand closes against Yamamoto’s hip, a match for his other, and he pulls as Yamamoto lets himself slide down to flood Gokudera with heat.
For a minute Gokudera can’t quite breathe. Air is sticking in his throat, everything flashing fire-hot like an explosion in slow motion. Yamamoto is whining, a drawn-out sound of friction made audible, and he’s still moving, still tipping his weight back and straightening his shoulders until he’s taken Gokudera completely inside him. It’s as bad as he felt against Gokudera’s fingers, worse, tighter and hotter on skin infinitely more sensitive, but it’s not enough at the same time, this has all the anxious want the slip of Yamamoto’s mouth lacked. Gokudera isn’t thinking at all when he reaches for Yamamoto’s cock, catches his fingers around its length and slides his thumb across the slick head, but Yamamoto arches at the contact, gives an open-mouthed moan of encouragement, and Gokudera can feel the ripple of sensation as it runs through the other’s body.
“Oh fuck,” he says without thinking, and then he’s moving, stroking hard against Yamamoto and forgetting entirely that he’s supposed to be lying back and relaxing. He lets Yamamoto’s hips go, pushes up on one elbow so he can bring the whole motion of his shoulder into the quick jerks over the other’s flushed length. Yamamoto’s matching him, his fingers back in place at Gokudera’s shoulder and his other hand bracing against the bed, holding his balance steady as he rocks up only to drop himself back down. His movement is steady, at least Gokudera thinks it is, but he can’t be sure; everything is rippling hot over him, friction bursting out over his skin in time with the race of his heartbeat, and he’s stroking up over Yamamoto with more attention to speed than to grace. It doesn’t matter -- Yamamoto’s panting for air over him, going slick under the rough press of Gokudera’s thumb, and Gokudera can feel him tensing, the urge towards satisfaction drawing him tight as his motion gets choppy and stutters with desperation.
Gokudera takes a breath, turns it into a gasp with how rushed it is. “Takeshi,” and he sounds almost panicked in his own ears, focused and strained with it. “Don’t...don’t come yet, I’m--”
The fingers at his shoulder go tight, Yamamoto tipping in closer like he’s reaching for a kiss. The shift of his weight changes the angle, sends another rush of sensation jolting up Gokudera’s spine, and then Yamamoto says, “Hayato,” soft and easy as if he’s just tasting the word on his tongue, and Gokudera whimpers as the tension building in him caves in on pleasure. It’s electrifying, jolting out into him and closing his fingers involuntarily tight against Yamamoto’s cock, and Yamamoto is sighing and tipping in against his shoulder and spilling hot across his fingers. The fluttering wave of satisfaction through Yamamoto’s body draws Gokudera’s own orgasm impossibly long, until his breathing is coming stuttering with desperate speed and his vision is hazy at the edges.
Eventually he manages to loosen his fingers, to let his hold on Yamamoto go slack so the other can manage a full breath, and when Yamamoto slides forward Gokudera goes backwards, sprawls over the bed to stare unseeing at the ceiling while Yamamoto gulps air against his shoulder. The room goes quiet for a moment, absent of speech and of sound but for the damp pant of Yamamoto’s breathing and the fainter hiss of Gokudera’s deliberately deep inhales. Everything is warm, humid and sticky but comfortable in spite of that, and Gokudera thinks he might just stay here forever, that he wouldn’t mind never moving again.
He clears his throat after a moment, reaches up to fit his fingers back against Yamamoto’s hair. “Takeshi.”
“Mmm.” The sound is warm, incoherent and heavy with sleepy satisfaction at Gokudera’s shoulder. It makes him smile, turn his head in so his words brush against Yamamoto’s hair.
“Now can I finally get some rest?”
Gokudera’s grinning in anticipation before Yamamoto’s laugh bursts bright against his shoulder. He can feel the delight purring out under Yamamoto’s skin, shaking helplessly through his feather-marked shoulders until Gokudera can feel the amusement as clearly as if it is his own.
It’s been a long time since he was this comfortable.
Chapter 24: Offer
Yamamoto comes straight back home after his shift is over. It feels a little weird to jog past the flower shop without even pausing to glance in the windows, without lingering for a moment to appreciate the space in which Gokudera spends so much of his time, but this time Yamamoto knows exactly where the other is, and the sacrifice of routine is worth it to get home even a few seconds faster.
He didn’t really think Gokudera would have left in his absence. Still, it’s a relief when he opens the door to the lived-in feeling of someone else in the space, when he can see the light from the living room as he kicks his shoes off in the entryway.
“Hayato?” He’s moving as he speaks, coming around the corner and out into the warm glow of the living room.
“Who do you think it is?” Gokudera calls back. He sounds irritated but he’s looking up when Yamamoto steps into view, his eyes so green for a moment Yamamoto doesn’t take in what he’s actually wearing. He can feel his mouth fall into a smile, his feet carrying him forward so he can lean over the back of the couch, pulled in close like Gokudera’s a magnet.
“Hi,” he says, the word going foolish and soft on his tongue, but Gokudera is turning to meet him and doesn’t pause to comment before he meets Yamamoto’s lips with a kiss. Yamamoto hums, warm satisfaction coming easy in his throat, and Gokudera lingers for a moment before he pulls back, though his eyes are still caught at Yamamoto’s face.
“I wasn’t sure you’d still be here,” Yamamoto says, still curled over the back of the couch. He should come around the corner, fit himself in against the smooth arch of Gokudera’s back so he can press his face in against the other’s hair, or hip, or shoulder, breathe in the warm reality of him. But he’s close already, trapped by Gokudera’s stare, and just being this near is enough.
Gokudera huffs disbelief. “You thought I’d just leave?” He rolls his eyes, but the soft of his mouth is falling into a frown, the leading edge of hesitation seeping into his voice. “If you wanted me to be gone you should have said something.”
“No,” Yamamoto blurts, and he’s moving right over the back of the couch, climbing up over the barrier so he can slide in against the other’s form. Gokudera growls protest at the movement, shoves hard at Yamamoto’s hip until they fall into alignment, but he doesn’t pull away from Yamamoto’s arm wrapping around his waist. Some of the tension in him gives way when Yamamoto tugs at the edge of his shirt to pull him in closer, a little more disappears when Yamamoto sighs satisfaction against his shoulder, and when Yamamoto stops moving Gokudera shifts under his hold until he can get his hand resting against the other’s hip.
“I want you here,” Yamamoto says into the soft familiarity of the shirt -- his shirt, looking softer and warmer against Gokudera’s shoulders than he usually considers it. “I’m glad you stayed. I just wasn’t sure you would.”
“Idiot,” Gokudera says, but his shoulders are still relaxed under Yamamoto’s hold. “I don’t have clean clothes to wear home anyway.”
“Mm.” Yamamoto presses in close, smiles against Gokudera’s shoulder. “Is that why you’re wearing mine?”
Gokudera digs his knee in against Yamamoto’s leg. “Shut up.” Yamamoto can feel him flushing hot, can’t resist the giggle in his throat that comes out only half-muffled. “I didn’t have anything else to wear.”
“I like it,” Yamamoto insists. It’s true -- the shirt looks better on Gokudera than it does on him, the bright blue bringing out the color in the other’s eyes. And the pajama pants are barely clinging to Gokudera’s hips, too long around his feet and hanging so low that Yamamoto can fit his fingers in against the sharp edge of Gokudera’s hip without pushing the fabric down at all. “I like you in my clothes.” He takes a breath, lets Gokudera’s warmth fill his chest and spread out into his skin. “And if you don’t have anything else to wear you can just stay here, right?”
“I can’t stay here forever,” Gokudera protests. He shifts his arm, curls his fingers in against Yamamoto’s hair idly. “I have to go home eventually.”
“You don’t,” Yamamoto says, careful with sincerity. “You can stay. If you want.”
There’s hesitation in the motion against his hair, a moment of the contact holding steady before Gokudera keeps going. “Don’t be stupid,” he says, out over the top of Yamamoto’s head where the other can’t see him. “All my things are at my apartment.”
Yamamoto shifts down an inch on the couch, fits himself in more closely against Gokudera’s chest. “You could move them.”
Gokudera’s laugh is a sharp thing, sudden and brittle, but he’s still not pulling away, his fingers are still soft against Yamamoto’s hair. “Are you asking me to move in with you?”
Yamamoto smiles without opening his eyes. The chill from outside has melted against the heat of Gokudera’s body, the heaviness of not enough sleep turning into dreamy comfort now that he’s not working. “Yeah.”
“You don’t want to live with me,” Gokudera says, as easily as if this is an obvious fact. “I don’t sleep well and I can’t cook and we’ll just be in each other’s way.”
“I can cook a little,” Yamamoto offers. “And you sleep fine with me.” He turns his head up, blinks his eyes into focus. Gokudera is watching him, his eyes uncharacteristically soft as he considers the other’s features. “I like sleeping with you,” Yamamoto declares up to that shadowed green. “I like coming home to you.”
“Maybe I don’t want to live with you,” Gokudera suggests, like he’s offering a potential answer instead of a true protest.
Yamamoto smiles. “That’s okay.” There’s a shadow in Gokudera’s eyes, some half-skittish fright under the color, but his mouth is soft on almost-a-smile; it’s that that Yamamoto watches, the suggestion of pleasure at the corner of Gokudera’s lips. “You could have some extra clothes here, though.” He glances up to meet Gokudera’s eyes, grins sudden and bright. “Or you can just wear mine. They look good on you.”
Gokudera snorts amusement, shoves his hand roughly through Yamamoto’s hair. “Don’t be an idiot,” is what he says, but his smile is forming itself in truth, his eyes warming away from the edge of panic. When he ducks his head Yamamoto lifts his chin, shuts his eyes in anticipation of a kiss, and he’s rewarded almost immediately by the friction of Gokudera’s mouth fitting against his.
They don’t talk about it again that day. But when Gokudera leaves he’s still wearing Yamamoto’s blue t-shirt, and he leaves his own shirt behind, and neither of them say anything about that either.
Chapter 25: Impression
Yamamoto is a terrible distraction.
Gokudera has been struggling with this all day, keeps finding himself stalled out over a handful of flowers or forgetting what he’s doing when he goes into the back room. He keeps getting sidetracked by the thought of Yamamoto’s smile, the steady affection under his casual declaration of the day before, and he couldn’t have been serious, really, but Gokudera can’t let it go, can’t stop replaying the words over and over in his head like he’s looking for the hidden catch. He keeps twisting at his earrings, too, pulling at the rings without thinking until his ears are starting to ache from the unusual abuse, and then after all that Yamamoto has to show up when Gokudera is with a customer.
It’s the worst possible timing. Gokudera is just starting to distract himself, focus all his attention on the high-strung anxiety of the nervous teenager in front of him, when the door comes open, and his head comes up, and there Yamamoto is, smiling with the delight that is becoming alarmingly familiar in Gokudera’s life.
“I’ll be right with you,” Gokudera manages to say, coherently if not politely. He sounds like he’s growling instead, irritable if not downright angry, and when he looks back the kid in front of him is eyeing him like he thinks Gokudera might bite him if he asks to see another bouquet. It’s the last thing Gokudera wants to deal with right now, and in the end he’s probably less gentle than he should be; he ends up pushing the teenager towards roses for what is probably his first serious girlfriend, convinces him to come back in a few hours to pick up the arrangement. The kid stalls on his way to the door, hesitating to stare at the inked designs running up Yamamoto’s arms, and Gokudera can feel the last reserves of his limited patience run dry as the boy asks, “Hey, don’t you work at--”
“Yes, he does,” Gokudera snaps. “Ask him about his tattoos later, kid.” That gets him a frown, a glare and a huffy head toss, but Gokudera isn’t paying attention to the boy anymore anyway. He’s focusing back on Yamamoto, his mouth falling into a frown that’s been a very long morning in the making in inversion of the other’s widening smile.
“I told you not to bother me while I’m working,” he says as the door swings shut.
“Sorry,” Yamamoto says without a hint of contrition in his tone. “I wasn’t trying to bother you today, really.”
“Just dropping by to say hi counts as bothering,” Gokudera snaps. Yamamoto’s collar is slightly sideways, riding low enough on his neck that the top edge of his collarbone is visible. Gokudera can see the line of a metal chain running against the curve of Yamamoto’s neck, tracing out long-since faded marks of Gokudera’s mouth on the other’s skin before the chain disappears inside the collar of the t-shirt.
“It’s not just that,” Yamamoto says. He leans in over the counter, closing the distance between them. Gokudera doesn’t lean in to meet him -- a victory, he feels -- but he does cross his arms over his chest, a reflexive wall to help maintain the gap between them. He’ll take whatever advantage he can get.
“You’re not here to say hi?” he demands, raising an eyebrow in disbelief. Yamamoto is gazing up at him, the angle letting the overhead light wash his features into glowing pleasure. It’s not fair, for him to look like that when Gokudera is trying to be irritated about his lost morning.
“That too,” he admits, bubbling into a laugh before Gokudera can get traction on true irritation. “Hi.”
“You’re ridiculous,” Gokudera says, and turns away before Yamamoto can see the twitch of a smile at his lips. His irritation is fading faster than he could wish, melting warm delight into his veins like spring come early. “I knew that was your only reason.”
“I said it wasn’t,” Yamamoto laughs in protest. “I have something for you. A present.”
“I swear, Takeshi, if that is a pick-up line--” Gokudera starts as he turns back around, but whatever threat he had to finish off the sentence stills as Yamamoto tugs the chain up off his head, finishing the weight it carries up out of the neckline of his shirt. Gokudera is half-expecting a ring, before he sees what it is, but the shape is all wrong, too flat and too big; then he thinks a pendant, maybe, some strange jewelry, and then Yamamoto catches it in his palm, and holds it out, and he can see what it is in truth.
“Holy shit,” he says instead, air rushing out of his lungs and leaving him as breathless as if he’d been punched. Yamamoto ducks his head, smiles a little sheepishly, but doesn’t pull back what Gokudera can now clearly see as a key.
“It’s for my place,” Yamamoto says, pointlessly stating the obvious. Gokudera steps in, reaches without thinking to press his fingers to the metal. It’s warm from Yamamoto’s skin, caught as it was between his shirt and his chest. “So you can come by anytime you want.”
“Don’t be stupid,” Gokudera says, aiming for his best growl, but he’s not pulling his hand away, he’s curling his fingers in around the clean edges of the key as if it’s magnetic. “It’s not as if I’d want to come by when you’re not there.”
Yamamoto shrugs with one shoulder, his smile flashing wide and delighted for a moment before it falls back into the soft sincerity Gokudera can’t quite look at straight-on. “You could. If you wanted. It’d be nice to come back to you.”
“I could just let myself in anytime,” Gokudera points out. He takes the key from Yamamoto’s palm, draws his fingers into an unconscious fist around it. “Interrupt you at whatever you were doing.”
“I don’t mind,” Yamamoto says, and his voice is so soft, now, that Gokudera has to look up, has to meet the melting gold of his eyes, the expression that says Yamamoto thinks he’s something perfect and valuable. “I always want to see you.”
“Shut up,” Gokudera snaps, the words going rough in time with the heat flushing up into his cheeks. “You say the most embarrassing things.”
“They’re not embarrassing if they’re true,” Yamamoto claims, and Gokudera growls hopeless protest, attempting words that fail to catch on his tongue. Yamamoto is still talking, anyway, reaching out to touch the loose ends of Gokudera’s hair like he’s not even thinking about it as he goes on. “I wanted to have it for you yesterday, but I would have had to do it on my way home.” A glance at Gokudera’s face, another flicker of pleasure like it’s being startled out of him. “And I wanted to see you sooner.”
“I said shut up,” Gokudera hisses, his whole face burning now. He can feel the edges of the key digging into his palm, pressing the imprint of open locks against his skin, and for a moment he can understand the impulse that has marked Yamamoto’s body with its breathtaking patterns, wants to shove the key against his skin until it sinks permanently into him.
Gokudera can feel the heat in his cheeks threatening his eyes and tightening against his throat. But Yamamoto is still watching him, his expression still soft like he’d be happy to just watch forever, and there is no way Gokudera is going to let himself cry about a stupid key.
He kisses him instead. Yamamoto is smiling as Gokudera’s mouth lands at his, soothing away the sharp edges of Gokudera’s resistant scowl with the soft of his lips. The familiar heat of his mouth loosens the knot of almost-panic in Gokudera’s chest, lets him take a breath before he leans in closer, parts his lips and touches his tongue to Yamamoto’s mouth and forgets to think about things like breathing. But even when Yamamoto loses his balance and almost falls over the counter, both of them breathless and gasping against the other’s mouth, Gokudera’s hold on the key doesn’t loosen.
Chapter 26: Unintended
Yamamoto isn’t expecting visitors when he hears the door of his house open. There’s no knock, no warning except for the rattle of the lock, the squeak of the hinges, but that’s okay. It’s enough to bring his attention snapping up from where he’s sprawled across the couch, enough for him to work through the information he has and come to the correct conclusion, so when he calls, “Hayato!” it’s a chirp of certainty instead of a question.
There’s a beat of silence; Yamamoto can almost see the hesitance flickering across Gokudera’s features, can imagine his fingers lingering at the handle of the door. Then “I didn’t know you were home,” the growl on the words familiar and humming pleasure down Yamamoto’s spine, and Yamamoto is laughing before Gokudera comes around the corner and into view. He’s holding a bag, letting the weight of it dangle off his arm as if he’s trying to disavow any association with it, and there’s the burn of a flush high across his cheekbones, the color drawing Yamamoto’s eyes as much as the sharp curve of the frown at his lips.
“I just wanted to drop off some shirts,” he’s saying, the words rough and forced as he drops the bag and kicks it in against the wall alongside him. “I didn’t know you were at home today.”
“Skull’s training the new kid today,” Yamamoto volunteers, reaching out over the back of the couch to stretch for the contact of Gokudera’s fingers. “He’s taking my appointments today and I get the day off.” Gokudera’s frown deepens, but he steps in anyway, reaches out to close his hand at Yamamoto’s fingers while the other keeps talking. “I’m glad I got to see you. Do you have to go back to work?”
Gokudera shrugs, the motion an irritable negative. “I was going to go home after I dropped those off.” His eyes draw up the patterns on Yamamoto’s skin, up to his shoulder, catch at the sleeve of his shirt. The touch against the other’s hand drops, Gokudera reaching out to grab at the fabric instead of at Yamamoto’s wrist. “Is this mine?”
Yamamoto doesn’t even have to look down. “Yeah.” Gokudera’s frown is slipping, giving way to the parted lips of shock instead; it makes Yamamoto smile wider, tingles delight up under his skin and meltingly warm in his eyes. “I like your clothes.”
“You just wear my shirts when I’m not here?” Gokudera asks. He’s still staring at the shirt, his eyes dragging across Yamamoto’s chest like he can’t quite process what he’s seeing.
“Sure.” Yamamoto touches his fingers to the edge of Gokudera’s jeans, trails his fingertips just along the line of the waistband. “It’s nice, it makes it feel like you’re closer.”
That finally does it, pulls Gokudera’s gaze back to Yamamoto’s eyes. He looks blank; Yamamoto can see the stalled-out stillness behind his eyes, the lack of traction as he reaches for some sort of coherency. He looks back, down at the soft fall of the fabric against Yamamoto’s skin, and this time his gaze goes down farther, wanders down against the pattern of the other’s boxers and to the bare skin of his legs.
Yamamoto can see him swallow, the motion of his throat working to regain a grasp on coherency. Tension collects across Gokudera’s forehead, creases a line between the dark silver of his brows; then he lets his breath out all at once, manages, “You’re not wearing very much else,” and Yamamoto’s blood fires hot at the low almost-threat in his tone.
“I wasn’t expecting a visitor,” Yamamoto points out, but Gokudera is letting his hold go already, moving so fast around the end of the couch instinct tells Yamamoto to flinch back from the inevitable collision. He ignores the impulse, leans in instead of away, and it’s only Gokudera’s hand shoving his shoulder down and against the couch that keeps him from pressing his mouth against the other’s shirt as he leans in close.
“I can’t believe you,” Gokudera is saying, the purr in his voice sounding a little like laughter and a little like a growl. His free hand is catching the bottom of the shirt, hitching it up high across Yamamoto’s chest, and Yamamoto takes a sharp breath, lets himself relax against the cushions in submission to whatever Gokudera wants to do to him. Gokudera’s eyes are fixed at the skin he’s baring, his gaze as hot as the press of his fingers, and when Yamamoto reaches out for him it’s to hook his fingers against the edge of his jeans rather than to make any move to slow or stop him. “I come by to drop off a bag,” and his hands are curled against Yamamoto’s waist, sliding the other in closer to him by sheer force. “And not only are you at home.” He shifts his knee, fits himself between Yamamoto’s legs as the other obligingly slides his knee wider in offering. “You’re wearing my clothes and nothing else.”
“I’m wearing boxers,” Yamamoto protests weakly, the weaker because Gokudera’s fingers are digging in against his back, dragging friction in against his skin until Yamamoto’s breath catches at the force of the sensation washing over him.
“Not for goddamn long, you aren’t,” Gokudera says, his voice perfectly even with certainty, and Yamamoto shudders with the force of the heat that crashes into his veins. Gokudera ducks in over him, presses his mouth to Yamamoto’s lips in a sloppy-fast kiss, and Yamamoto is too hazy from the brief crush of pressure to understand what is happening when Gokudera pulls away and gets to his feet.
“Where are you going?” he asks, the words twisting plaintive as Gokudera steps out of reach before Yamamoto can tighten his hold on the other’s jeans and keep him in place.
“The bedroom.” Gokudera is moving fast, barely glancing back at Yamamoto as he goes. “You stay right there.”
Yamamoto blinks, confused and with only the lingering afterimages of Gokudera’s touch to warm him, but he does as told. He can hear Gokudera moving in the other room, the mumbled sound of curses and drawers opening, and he’s just realized what the other is looking for when Gokudera reemerges. Yamamoto barely has a chance to see the bottle in his hand before Gokudera is back, swinging around the edge of the couch and dropping to his knees next to Yamamoto’s hips.
“Hold this,” he says, pushing the lube at Yamamoto; no sooner has Yamamoto taken the bottle than Gokudera is reaching for his clothes again, sliding his fingers under the other’s boxers and dragging them hard off his hips. Yamamoto arches up off the couch as far as he can, lets Gokudera peel the clothes down his legs and off his hips, and his heart is pounding before Gokudera has even touched him, he’s flushing hard in anticipation as Gokudera climbs back onto the couch to fit back between his legs. Spreading his knees apart leaves him completely exposed, offers nearly all his skin for Gokudera’s consideration, but Yamamoto doesn’t hesitate, doesn’t even need the push of Gokudera’s hands to urge his legs apart. He’s holding out the bottle too, Gokudera’s impatience catching contagious into his veins, and when Gokudera snatches the lube from him Yamamoto barely resists the urge to whimper in anticipation.
“This is not what I was planning to do with my afternoon,” Gokudera hisses, sounding so frustrated Yamamoto nearly believes the irritation laid over the heat in his tone. He’s slicking his fingers as he speaks, his movements smooth with a need for efficiency, and Yamamoto is tipping his head up to watch, unconscious of the way his mouth comes open at the slip of Gokudera’s fingers against each other.
“Me either,” Yamamoto offers. The words draw Gokudera’s eyes up to him, the clear green of them gone shadowed and dark under the fall of his hair. He smiles, sudden and quick, and when he speaks the words come at the same time as his fingers touching cool against Yamamoto’s thigh, his hand curling under the other’s knee to push his legs wider.
“Well, whatever your plans were.” His fingers slide higher, teasingly close to where Yamamoto wants them. Yamamoto can feel his cock flush harder with another surge of heat, has to drop his head back to the couch cushions so he can get a breath. “I hope you don’t mind me fucking you into your couch instead.”
“No,” Yamamoto agrees, instant agreement without any need to consider. “I don’t mind at all.”
“That’s good,” Gokudera purrs. He shifts his hand, blinks himself into complete focus on Yamamoto’s face. He’s still watching the other’s features as he starts to ease a finger into him, the motion remarkably gentle for all the tight-wound want Yamamoto can feel under his skin.
He could go faster. Yamamoto wouldn’t mind, right now, would welcome the explosive burn of friction into his veins. But this is good, too, this slow slide so he can appreciative every inch of depth Gokudera is claiming, and he’s trying to hold Gokudera’s gaze but it’s hard to keep his vision in focus as the other’s finger sinks in deeper. He’s turning his hand as he goes, shifting the angle and flaring heat out in waves over Yamamoto’s skin, and when he crooks his finger to press in harder Yamamoto has to give up the attempt at vision, has to shut his eyes and whimper at the sensation. He can still hear, though, can hear the huff of an exhale Gokudera offers, and then that touch is drawing back, pulling away by an inch to thrust forward again, a little deeper and harder than the first time. Yamamoto is spreading his legs wider without thinking, without any conscious decision at all, instinct making his entire body into a plea for more, and Gokudera is breathing audibly loud over him, his inhales coming faster like they’re tied to Yamamoto’s. He’s not touching Yamamoto’s cock at all, his hand occupied in bracing out the other’s knee, but Yamamoto doesn’t care, isn’t reaching down to stroke over himself either. The friction of Gokudera’s finger thrusting into him is enough, is pushing the burn across his skin hotter with every movement, and then Gokudera pulls back to add a second and Yamamoto has to grab at the couch to hold himself steady.
Yamamoto has no idea what expression he’s making. He can feel his mouth open on gasping inhales, his throat working around sound that feels like a moan and comes out like Gokudera’s name, and he can’t manage to focus his gaze and he can’t even think to offer coherent instruction to guide the other’s movements. From the feel of it, Gokudera hardly needs assistance; he’s falling into a rhythm, deep thrusts with his fingers and drawing back slow so the drag of his touch pressing against Yamamoto makes the other tremble helpless against the cushions. Yamamoto can feel the head of his cock going hot, slick and damp where it’s pressing against his stomach, and he thinks if he reached down to touch himself he could come right now.
He doesn’t. He curls his fingers into the couch, grabs at a handful of a cushion and braces himself against the frame, and Gokudera growls something wholly unintelligible and starts to thrust in earnest, driving his fingers in so far the pressure forces Yamamoto’s breathing into sync with the movements of Gokudera’s arm. Yamamoto can feel his cock aching for friction, is curling his back in a desperate attempt to let the swollen head drag over his stomach with the tiny shift of his hips, and his eyes are open again, he’s staring at Gokudera for seconds before he can take in what he’s seeing. Gokudera’s mouth is open, his eyes fixed on Yamamoto’s mouth and falling as visibly out-of-focus as Yamamoto feels. He’s still fully dressed, even, for all that he’s got himself shoved so close against Yamamoto’s leg he can grind against the resistance through the tight-stretched denim of his jeans. Yamamoto can feel how hot he is, the hard outline of his cock through the layers of his clothing, and Gokudera’s lips are wet and his eyes are shadowed and it’s almost enough, it’s so close Yamamoto can feel the edge of possibility hazy under his skin.
Then “You had better not come on my shirt, Takeshi,” Gokudera says, and the edge comes clear and inevitable at once. Yamamoto’s hands fall slack, the tension of anticipation giving way to the calm of certainty, and then Gokudera presses his fingers up deep inside him and there’s a burst of heat, pleasure rippling out on a wave into Yamamoto’s veins. He’s shaking against the couch, moaning the shape of “Hayato” across his tongue, and he’s coming around Gokudera’s fingers and, yes, across his t-shirt, spills of sticky white lacing over the cloth. Gokudera doesn’t draw his hand away; he just sustains the pressure, lets Yamamoto quiver himself into limp exhaustion while he holds his fingers steady against the other. It’s not until the last of the aftershocks have trembled themselves into heaviness in Yamamoto’s legs that Gokudera slides his hand free, leans in close to cast Yamamoto into the shadow of his shoulders.
“I told you,” he is saying, trying to growl around the force of the smile trying to pull across his mouth. “You can’t even keep my clothes clean while you’re wearing them.” He ducks in closer, his hair brushing Yamamoto’s skin as he presses a kiss into the corner of the other’s mouth, the action as desperate as it is affectionate. His fingers push up Yamamoto’s hot-flushed skin, shove the fabric up high on his chest, up past his shoulders. Yamamoto doesn’t try to pull away, isn’t sure he could manage it even if he had the least interest in doing do; the most he can do is to wiggle against the couch, tipping his shoulders up alternately and lifting his arms up over his head so Gokudera can peel the stained shirt up over his head.
He stops just shy of actually tugging it free, while the cloth is still caught at Yamamoto’s wrists and holding his arms up above his head. Yamamoto can see the way Gokudera’s eyes drags over him, hot with all the as-yet-unsatisfied want in the other’s blood, and when Gokudera’s hand closes at his hip Yamamoto knows what he wants without being told. He turns instantly, rolling over and sliding back against the couch at once so he can lie on his stomach across the cushions. His feet are a challenge, take some maneuvering to fit back around Gokudera, but Gokudera is moving too, shifting his knees in some way Yamamoto can’t see until the two of them fall back into alignment. Yamamoto’s hands are still tangled over his head, wrists held down by the fragile shackles of the shirt, but he makes no move to slide them free. He can hear Gokudera’s breathing catch at the sight of his tattoo, can feel the other’s fingers trail down across the pattern; then the touch is gone, replaced by the sound of a zipper and Gokudera hissing something too soft for Yamamoto to hear.
“What did you say?” Yamamoto asks, turning his head so the words come clear of the interruption of the cushion. The friction of the couch against his still-sensitive cock is almost too much, nearly an ache low against his spine, but that’s not why he arches up off the couch and tilts his hips up as high as he can in offering. “Hayato, what did you say?”
Fingers close at his hip, shove him back down against the cushion. “I said.” Another touch, the glancing brush of knuckles at the back of his thighs, and Yamamoto spreads his knees an inch wider with no urging at all. “That I’m going to fuck you till you can’t remember your name.”
“Oh,” Yamamoto says, his cock twitching in a desperate attempt at response against the couch, and Gokudera laughs low over him and fits the head of his cock in against Yamamoto’s entrance. He’s hot, Yamamoto’s skin is burning with the glancing contact, and then Gokudera starts to push forward and Yamamoto’s skin flares hotter than he has ever felt it before. It’s an entirely different experience with Gokudera setting the pace, him thrusting forward instead of Yamamoto lowering his own weight, and Yamamoto is grabbing at the shirt, twisting his wrists in tighter at the fabric even before Gokudera’s hand closes on it to shove his hands down against the couch.
“Hold still,” he says, and then he’s leaning in closer, his hand shoving at the shirt as his mouth lands against Yamamoto’s shoulder, presses hot against the pattern of feathers laid into the other’s skin. Yamamoto can’t help the way he jerks at the contact, his body flashing hot and responsive to the friction and the damp at once, and when he whimpers it’s just as involuntary, unconscious reaction instead of deliberate sound.
Gokudera goes still. Yamamoto can hear him breathing hard, can make out the desperate shape of his inhales against the other’s shoulder, but his hips have gone still, even his fingers locking out into the fist pinning Yamamoto’s hands to the couch.
“Are you okay?” he manages, sounding desperate and aching but sincere for all that. “Do you want me to stop?”
Yamamoto’s hands jerk at the shirt wrapped around them, his fingers tightening into fists before he can think of it. There’s a thousand things he wants to say, a million different ways to put words to the burn under his skin, but in the end he can’t trust his voice, just opens his mouth and lets instinct take over.
“No,”he says, the words hot and damp against the cushions. “No, Hayato, don’t stop, more.”
It sounds broken. He sounds shattered, melted down to complete desperate want, but Gokudera makes a sound to match over him, and shifts again, and Yamamoto doesn’t care as long as Gokudera is moving. Gokudera’s cock is wider than his fingers, harder and hotter, and he keeps coming, sliding in slick until Yamamoto can feel the stretch all through his body, running taut up his spine and shivering under his skin. He’s hard again, now, the friction of the couch under him more a promise than a taunt, and every part of him is burning, he can feel the pressure of Gokudera’s movements flickering down his legs and out to the very tips of his fingers.
“Fuck, Takeshi,” Gokudera says over him, and he sounds breathless, lost in his own skin when they’ve barely started. “Your back,” and that’s not a sentence but his mouth is coming down again and Yamamoto isn’t about to question that. He can feel Gokudera’s teeth catching at him, the pressure of Gokudera’s mouth sucking a bruise across the line of his shoulderblade, and there’s still that heat inside him, Gokudera rocking his hips back and snapping them forward to drown Yamamoto in intermittent bursts of heat. It’s enough to lull him into overheated satisfaction, to leave him boneless and gasping against the couch, but every thrust is sparking up his spine as Gokudera sinks into him, the head of the other’s cock drawing explosive promise into Yamamoto’s blood, and then Gokudera twists his hand under Yamamoto’s hips and Yamamoto knows he’s done for even before the fingers touch him. Gokudera’s fingers are slender, the shape of his hands dextrous even when he’s shaking with an overload of heat, and if the couch was good the grip of Gokudera’s fingers is infinitely better. Yamamoto whines into the cushion, gasps something that is a plea for more and incoherent encouragement at once, and he can feel Gokudera shudder against him, the shift of the other’s weight against his back before Gokudera can steady his weight and fall into a rhythm in earnest. The pace he sets is fast, would be too much if Yamamoto weren’t still pleasure-warmed from his first orgasm, and by rights it should be too soon but Gokudera’s fingers are slipping over him and drawing out a flicker of anticipation too familiar for Yamamoto to deny. He still could pull his hands free of the makeshift bonds, but he doesn’t; it’s easier to reach up, to curl his fingers in against Gokudera’s bracing hand like he’s holding himself steady, to let that point of contact ground him out while Gokudera’s cock draws heat out impossibly fast into his blood. He can hear Gokudera’s breathing, can feel the vibration of sound against the bruise coming over his shoulder, and the fingers against him are spasming too-tight, the rhythm of the other’s strokes falling out of line.
Then Gokudera’s knee slips, his next thrust drives him in deeper, and Yamamoto chokes on a breath and tenses around him. For a breath Gokudera stops moving, the various harmonic pieces of his motion going still; then Yamamoto gasps his exhale, and Gokudera whines open-mouthed against his shoulder and comes. Yamamoto can feel the heat spilling into him, can hear Gokudera gasp through the separate waves of sensation, and he’s shutting his eyes against the pleasure even before Gokudera’s hand jerks rushed friction up over him. It’s a desperate, uneven movement, but it doesn’t have to be smooth; it unfolds into Yamamoto’s veins like sunlight, bursts over him like fireworks, and he’s gasping against the couch, shuddering under Gokudera and coming against his fingers as his vision whites out.
He can’t find it in him to move, afterward. Gokudera eventually slides his hand free, tugs the shirt off Yamamoto’s unresisting wrists so he can wipe his fingers more or less clean. Yamamoto only moves when Gokudera pulls back and starts to slide away off the couch, and then only to grab at his wrist and hold him still.
“Don’t go.” When he looks up Gokudera is staring at him, his mouth uncommonly soft and the green of his eyes untouched by any shadow but the haze of pleasure. Yamamoto can see the line of the necklace against his throat, the glint of the house key hanging over his chest.
“I’m not,” Gokudera says, but Yamamoto doesn’t let his hold loosen until the other drops to sit next to the couch instead of standing. Then he lets his fingers go gentle, a stroke instead of a grip, and Gokudera rewards him by not pulling away, giving him a smile instead of a scowl.
“So.” His free hand comes up, runs through Yamamoto’s hair. The sensation is soothing, draws Yamamoto’s eyes drifting shut more for appreciation of the contact that out of true exhaustion. “Do you remember your name?”
“Mm.” Yamamoto smiles, opens an eye to squint at Gokudera’s smile. “I remember your name.”
The way Gokudera laughs is bright, startled into sincerity and catching into his eyes like surprise. He leans in, close enough Yamamoto thinks he might be angling for a kiss before he catches himself and draws back, contents himself with a smile instead.
“I guess that’s the important part, after all,” he allows. “Takeshi.”
Yamamoto laughs easy, warm and heavy and satisfied. “Hayato,” and the name tastes rich on his tongue, sweet and dark and precious.
Gokudera’s laugh is cut short from the way he leans in to kiss the slur of his name off Yamamoto’s lips. It’s worth it, for the way his smile tastes.
Chapter 27: Soothing
The worst part of the second set of earrings is the pain.
It’s not so bad when Yamamoto fits them in place. Gokudera was expecting the pressure of the needle, this time, all the tight-wound anxiety of the first set absent for the second. But the ache doesn’t fade like the first did, it lingers and builds, until even painkillers only hold it to a pounding hurt under Gokudera’s skin. It’s ignorable, or at least tolerable, while they’re awake, and if the spray of the water when they shower is enough to elicit hissing pain Yamamoto’s willingness to wash Gokudera’s hair for him more than makes up for it. But then Gokudera climbs into bed, and Yamamoto turns the light out and fits himself in against Gokudera’s side, and as his breathing smooths into the beginnings of sleep Gokudera can feel his hope for rest slip through his fingers with the rising ache at his ears.
He doesn’t get up right away. There’s always a faint hope, the edge of desperation even though he knows the taste of insomnia well enough at this point to recognize the jittery strain of it immediately. But he’s been sleeping better recently, dropping off into unconsciousness within a matter of minutes after lying down, and some part of him is hoping that whatever magic has allowed him to fall asleep before will work now.
It doesn’t. His ears are still aching, the throbbing getting worse as the medication starts to fade, and there’s a strain under his limbs, locking him uncomfortably still for fear of disturbing the slowing pace of Yamamoto’s breathing as the other slides easily towards unconsciousness. He waits as long as he can, for what feels like hours and is probably thirty minutes; then he slides sideways, pulls away from the arm draped over his stomach and starts to sit up to go to the other room.
“Mmgh,” Yamamoto whimpers. The slack weight of his arm goes deliberate, his fingers closing on Gokudera’s hip before the other has entirely pulled away. “Hayato? Where are you going?”
He sounds sleep-hazed, drowsy and confused and more unconsciously affectionate than he usually manages while awake. Gokudera flinches at the confirmation that he did, in fact, wake Yamamoto up, grabs at the other’s wrist to pull his hold free.
“I can’t sleep,” he snaps, short and quick and too-loud for the darkness of the room. “I’ll keep you awake if I stay.”
“You weren’t,” Yamamoto protests, and now he’s sitting up entirely, reaching out with both hands to pull Gokudera back against him. “I was asleep.”
“You’re awake now,” Gokudera retorts, but Yamamoto just laughs, the sound warmed over into delight as he tips his head in to press against Gokudera’s shoulder.
Gokudera huffs, gives up on trying to force Yamamoto back into bed. “It’s the piercings.” He can’t help the whine under his voice; he feels petulant, there’s no way to keep it out of his tone. “They hurt. I don’t remember the first ones hurting this bad.”
“Mm, no, they wouldn’t have.” Yamamoto curls his fingers in against the side of Gokudera’s neck, close enough to the ache to make the intended comfort clear while avoiding even glancing contact with the hurt itself. “These are farther up, starting to get into the cartilage. They’ll hurt more and take a longer to heal.”
“Great,” Gokudera hisses. “I’ll just wait to sleep until they hurt less, then.” He goes to pull away again but Yamamoto laughs at his shoulder, slides his arm back around Gokudera’s waist.
“Don’t go.” He’s purring it, turning it into a plea instead of just a request, and Gokudera is locked in place for a moment by the warmth under the words. “Stay here, it’s fine.”
“I can’t sleep,” Gokudera points out. “There’s no point in you staying awake too.”
“You’re stressed,” Yamamoto says, completely ignoring Gokudera’s statement. Gokudera wants to hiss at him for that, wants to demand that Yamamoto listen to him, but the fingers at his neck are sliding down, pressing gently across the taut hunch of his shoulders, and he can’t resist the relaxation bleeding out from the contact of the other’s hand at his skin. He’s slouching under Yamamoto’s touch, the ache low in his back giving way to melting calm, and Yamamoto is purring against his neck, satisfied even as he says, “Let me help. Even if you can’t sleep at least you can calm down.”
“I am calm,” Gokudera snaps, whip-quick and disproving his own words, and Yamamoto laughs and pushes at his arm to urge him down to the bed. Gokudera frowns into the dark, drags his arm free so he can lie down at his own pace, but he does go, in the end, presses his face against the lingering warmth of Yamamoto’s pillow instead of adding pressure to compound the ache at his ears. It’s harder to take a breath against the soft at his lips, but the fabric carries the clean scent of soap, the touch of rain-wet grass that always clings to Yamamoto’s skin, and Gokudera can feel the tension sagging out of his shoulders even before Yamamoto shifts in to straddle his hips and press his palms warm against Gokudera’s shoulders.
“You’re so warm,” Yamamoto says, slow and soft with appreciation as his hands slide down against the curve of Gokudera’s back. He’s going slow, the friction of skin-on-skin warm instead of a burn, and digging the heels of his palms in against the knots of strain under Gokudera’s shoulders until the other has no choice but to let his breath go and let his body relax heavy against the sheets. Yamamoto keeps talking as he moves, shifts the pressure of his palm to the shifting points of fingertips digging in against Gokudera’s back, working comfort in against the curve of the other’s spine to match the sleepy glaze over his voice. “How do you ever sleep all wound up like this?”
“I don’t,” Gokudera says against the pillow. His ears still hurt but the pain is getting swamped by the satisfaction of Yamamoto’s fingers digging in against him, the shuddery satisfaction of pressure pinpoint where he wants it. Even his hands are relaxing, the curl of his fingers going gentle instead of edging up on a fist, and the words in his throat melt gentle over his tongue instead of harsh as he intends them. “I--ah--” Sudden, that, startled by Yamamoto’s thumb digging in against a starburst of tension at his back. “I don’t sleep, except with you.”
Yamamoto doesn’t voice skepticism, doesn’t offer the disbelief of someone who’s never spent a night staring exhausted and sleepless at a dark ceiling. He just hums, low in the back of his throat, works his fingers back up Gokudera’s shoulders and down again, curving out steady across the other’s back. He lingers there for a few minutes, working steady pressure against the knots at Gokudera’s spine, before he works back upwards, against the line of Gokudera’s neck as Gokudera tips his head down farther to let Yamamoto push his hair up off his skin.
“I guess you’ll just have to have me with you every night,” Yamamoto finally offers, the laughter audible just under the words. His touch is gentler against Gokudera’s neck than it was at the other’s shoulders, massaging gentle comfort into the ache of tension along Gokudera’s jaw and at the back of his head. It’s not fair that his fingers can strip away the ache so easily, pull apart the pieces of Gokudera’s stress until even the constant hurt from his new piercings seems forgettable.
“You think I should just take you with me everywhere I go?” Gokudera asks. He means it as mockery but the pressure of Yamamoto’s fingers against his pulse and digging into the curve of his shoulder draws the words low and heavy with more sincerity than he expected. Yamamoto laughs and leans in close, lets the weight of his body settle against Gokudera’s in pressure that is more warm comfort than it is stifling. Gokudera shifts his weight, curves his back to press himself closer, and Yamamoto smiles into his shoulder, pushes his fingers to ruffle up against Gokudera’s hair.
“I wouldn’t mind,” and that sounds sincere, too, easy with truth instead of sticky with emotion. It makes Gokudera smile, makes him glad for the cover of the pillow to hide the soft at his expression when he reaches up to shove weakly at the soft of Yamamoto’s hair.
“Idiot,” he says, but it sounds like an endearment, the insult slipping soft with the comfort of Yamamoto’s fingers against his skin. Gokudera twists, careful to keep his ears clear of the pillows as he turns over, and Yamamoto lets him, pushes himself up and waits until Gokudera is settled again before he lets himself curl back in against the other’s shoulder. The worst of Gokudera’s tension is gone, knots of anxiety pulled into smooth lines under Yamamoto’s fingers, and he’s not sure he’ll be able to sleep but his eyes are burning with the desire to close, the imitation of sleep coming easy instead of a strain.
“Maybe I should,” he says, belated response to Yamamoto’s agreement. Yamamoto presses his face in closer at Gokudera’s shoulder, sighs contentment like he’s falling back asleep. The weight of his tattoo-patterned arm is a draw towards unconsciousness, forces the comfort of relaxation to linger in Gokudera’s body, and when Gokudera reaches out it’s to let his fingers land on Yamamoto’s wrist instead of to push him away.
He might not be able to sleep, Gokudera considers as his thoughts go hazy and disconnected. But this is definitely better than waiting out the night alone on the couch.
It’s the last clear thought he has before dreams claim him.
Chapter 28: Attempts
Gokudera isn’t even sitting on the couch as much as curled up into a ball at one end by the time Yamamoto gets back from opening the windows. It’s colder with the spring-cold air filling the house, but the smell of burning hangs less heavy in the air, and this way they’re less likely to set off the smoke alarms.
“Don’t touch me,” Gokudera snaps as soon as Yamamoto moves to sit within range of him. “I don’t want your comfort.”
“I’m not trying to comfort you,” Yamamoto says truthfully. “I just like touching you.”
Gokudera huffs a sigh, but it’s weighted with resignation, so Yamamoto figures he’s probably safe to initiate contact. The other’s shoulders are hunched in tight against his pulled-up knees, effectively forming a wall until touching the curve of his spine is equivalent to Yamamoto running his fingers against unresponsive stone.
“Don’t worry about it,” he offers, looking at Gokudera sideways even though all he can see is the silver curtain of the other’s hair. “I burn things all the time.”
“Not when you’re trying to cook for me,” Gokudera snaps, but he’s not actually flinching away from the weight of Yamamoto’s fingers dragging across his shoulders, and that has to count as some kind of a victory.
“I’ve had a lot of practice,” Yamamoto points out. “I used to make the worst messes. I had to throw away a couple of pans when I burned them too badly to save.”
That gets him a laugh, like it was supposed to. “Idiot,” Gokudera offers, muffled against his knees, but when he reaches out to hit Yamamoto the impact lacks any force, and he doesn’t tuck his arm back in. “What did you order?”
“Pizza,” Yamamoto answers, distracted by the temptation of Gokudera’s hand to reach out and fit his fingers against the others’. “Just cheese, like you like.”
“I don’t even know how you know that,” Gokudera grumbles. He turns his hand palm-up, lets Yamamoto interlace their fingers more thoroughly. “Did you go through my phone contacts and talk to my sister or something?”
Yamamoto laughs. Gokudera glances at him, his mouth twisting on a fought-back smile before he looks back down at their entangled hands. There’s a burn against the inside of his wrist, a tiny red streak that Yamamoto strokes around without actually touching.
“You always pull off the pepperoni and mushrooms when you steal slices off my plate.” Gokudera frowns, opens his mouth like he’s going to offer some protest, but Yamamoto grins and talks fast over him. “Is cheese okay?”
Gokudera glares at him for a moment, but his shoulders are relaxing and his fingers are curling in against Yamamoto’s hand. “Fine, yeah, whatever.”
Yamamoto leans in, quick, fits himself in against the line of Gokudera’s shoulder so he can kiss the high arch of his cheekbone. “Stay right here.” He goes over the couch instead of around it, hopping over the back while Gokudera is still turning to offer some half-formed confusion about where he’s going. It only takes a moment, anyway; then Yamamoto is coming back with the comb from the bathroom, offering a smile as he comes back out to find Gokudera turned around and leaning into the couch to look after him.
“Here.” Back over the couch, more of a step than a jump, and he reaches out to push gently at the lingering tension in Gokudera’s shoulders. “Sit in front of me.”
Gokudera rolls his eyes. “I don’t need you to brush my hair, you idiot. I’m just going to take a shower later anyway.” He’s moving in spite of his protest, sliding off the edge of the couch so Yamamoto can move sideways and hook his legs around the outside of Gokudera’s shoulders. Gokudera fits between his knees, the ends of his hair just brushing against Yamamoto’s jeans, and for a minute Yamamoto has to give in to the impulse to duck and press a kiss to the top of his head. Gokudera growls but doesn’t move away, even when Yamamoto pulls back and starts to slide the comb through the silver of his hair. There aren’t many knots, just an occasional catch before Yamamoto’s gentle tugging works the tangle free, but it’s soothing just to watch the teeth of the comb glide through Gokudera’s hair, pleasant to watch the strain in Gokudera’s shoulders and tension in his neck ease as Yamamoto continues.
“It’s fine,” he says after a moment, when he judges it safe to return to the topic of cooking. “It’s sweet that you tried.”
“I didn’t want to try,” Gokudera says without turning around. “I wanted to succeed at making you dinner. Not set your kitchen on fire.”
“It was a small fire,” Yamamoto laughs. When he brushes Gokudera’s hair back over his ear he can tip his head sideways, watch the way Gokudera’s eyes are fluttering shut under the glide of the comb and the way his mouth is going soft and relaxed as it loses the shape of his frown. “It won’t happen next time.”
“No it won’t,” Gokudera snaps. “Next time I’ll actually make dinner for us.”
When Yamamoto drags the comb against the back of his neck he tips forward to let the weight of his head hang; the strands of hair slide away from his skin, leave a pale line at the back of his neck above the collar of his shirt. Yamamoto lets his hand still, ducks in to press his lips to the back of Gokudera’s neck, and Gokudera groans, so faintly Yamamoto almost doesn’t hear it. Yamamoto smiles against his skin, parts his lips to touch his tongue against the salt caught at Gokudera’s neck.
Gokudera’s breath catches, his voice dropping low into a warning. “Takeshi.”
“Mm.” Yamamoto hums without moving away.
“Isn’t there pizza on the way?”
“How long do we have until it gets here?”
Yamamoto laughs, pulls back to sigh against Gokudera’s hair. “Not long enough.”
“Idiot,” Gokudera growls. “Don’t start something you can’t finish.”
“Sorry, sorry!” Yamamoto says, resuming the slow glide of the comb through Gokudera’s hair. “You have a really nice neck, is all.”
“You said that about my collarbones yesterday,” Gokudera points out. “And my hip the day before.”
“All true.” Yamamoto is smiling, isn’t even trying to hold the expression back. “You’re irresistible.”
“I hate you,” Gokudera says, but Yamamoto can hear the laughter in his voice, and when Yamamoto trails his fingers against the pair of silver earrings Gokudera turns his head to offer his skin for Yamamoto’s touch.
Yamamoto can feel the response he wants to offer on his tongue, the words as true as his compliments. He keeps his lips pressed together, swallows the confession back as he has the last several times he’s thought it.
Gokudera will accept his flattery, now. Yamamoto’s not sure, yet, if Gokudera would believe his I love you.
Chapter 29: Admission
Yamamoto makes delicious sushi. Gokudera would be irritated by this except, well, it’s really delicious, and he’s too busy eating to be bothered with getting frustrated. Eating also saves him the trouble of admitting how unbelievably good Yamamoto’s cooking is, at least out loud, although the way the other is grinning at him says he understands the implications in Gokudera’s silence as much as he would words.
Gokudera finds that he doesn’t mind this as much as he expected. It makes for an unusually quiet dinner, if one far better than Gokudera would have on his own. It’s not until they’ve gone through nearly everything Yamamoto made that Gokudera slows enough to really look up and realize that Yamamoto hasn’t been eating for the last several minutes.
“What?” he demands between the last few bites of sushi. There’s no point in wasting it, after all. “Stop staring at me.”
“Sorry,” Yamamoto says without looking away. “I didn’t realize I was.”
“You still are.” Gokudera eyes the piece still left on Yamamoto’s plate, contemplates his options for a moment; then he reaches out to claim it for his own, pops it into his mouth quick, before the other has a chance to protest.
He doesn’t -- there’s no words, anyway, nothing but his smile flickering wider for a moment to say he noticed -- but Gokudera can feel himself starting to blush anyway, is crimson by the time he’s swallowed and can growl, “You weren’t eating it.”
Yamamoto shrugs, one shoulder shifting idly under the fabric of his t-shirt, leans in over the edge of table to touch at Gokudera’s arm. “It’s fine.” Gokudera is expecting a hold, some sort of reason for the contact, but Yamamoto is tipping his head sideways, trailing his fingers up across Gokudera’s skin to brush at the bottom of his sleeve without any real intention to the motion, and Gokudera’s blush is only going darker with the contact.
“What is it now?” Gokudera manages to get out around the tightness of uncomfortable self-consciousness in his throat. “Imagining me as a blank canvas again?”
Yamamoto laughs, the sound spilling over his lips like it’s startled out of him. He slides around the corner of the table to get closer, shakes his head without looking up. “I’m just appreciating you.”
“Not thinking that I’d look better all layered with color like you?” Gokudera intends it to come out rough with aggression, but the words slip on his tongue and sound half-panicked instead, sound more like a plea for reassurance than anything else.
“Mmm.” Yamamoto’s touch draws back down, his eyes moving up to land and linger at Gokudera’s face. “I like you, Hayato.” Gokudera hisses at the name, moves to snatch his hand away, but Yamamoto just leans in after him, reaching to curl his fingers at the other’s wrist as he tips in to press his forehead to Gokudera’s shoulder. “However you are.”
Gokudera scoffs aloud, puts voices to sufficient disbelief so he can disguise the fact that he’s not pulling away, that he’s twisting his fingers into the loose edge of Yamamoto’s shirt to brace himself or hold the other where he is, he’s not sure which. His heart is thudding drumbeat-hard in his chest, adrenaline choking him so he has to force the words out, so his speech comes out strained and desperate. “You wouldn’t like me more, with a tattoo?”
“It doesn’t matter,” Yamamoto says into his shirt, tips his head up so he can flash a smile up at Gokudera. “You don’t have to get a tattoo for me.”
“I don’t want one for you,” Gokudera snaps, and well, there it is, his confession spoken aloud so it’s too late to turn back. He can see Yamamoto’s smile go slack into the blank-slate shock of understanding in the moment before he turns his head away, stares fixedly at the empty dishes on the table to avoid eye contact as his face goes hot. He feels like there’s more he should say, some kind of explanation or expansion, but his throat is tight and his skin cold with panic, and as it is he’s still trying to remember how to breathe when Yamamoto says, careful and clear, “You want to get a tattoo?”
“Not for you,” Gokudera says, loud and sharp, and there, that’s the knot in his throat gone loose, at least. “Don’t think it’s for you.” Yamamoto stays quiet, doesn’t so much as shift his weight, and Gokudera takes a breath and steels all his strength against his shoulders.
“The shop was my mother’s,” he says, quick and all-at-once, the past tense falling off his tongue with the ease of years of practice, repeated over and over till even the ache of loss is scarred into habit instead of bleeding agony.
Gokudera is expecting sympathy, is ready with a shout to drown out the sob in his voice if -- when -- Yamamoto offers the apology for not knowing what he couldn’t have possibly guessed. He’s not expecting the clarity of “You want a tattoo of flowers,” on Yamamoto’s tongue, the question so nearly a statement there’s no inquiry left in the tone at all. It derails him, sweeps in sideways with intuition he didn’t expect, and in the first blow he’s devastated all over again, the heat of loss burning through him and catching behind his eyes before he can stall it in place.
“Yeah” and god, his voice is a wreck, he can hear it shaking even before he shuts his eyes to hold back the threat of tears. “Yeah.”
Gokudera’s shoulder are tense with panic, bracing in a desperate attempt to fight back the tears he knows will drown him if Yamamoto asks anything else, if Yamamoto speaks at all, if Yamamoto so much as breathes a sound of sympathy. He chokes on an inhale when the other moves, but there’s no sound forthcoming; there’s just the slide of Yamamoto’s arms around him, the other tipping forward and down so he’s more in Gokudera’s lap than sitting on the floor. The weight of his arms around Gokudera’s waist is steadying, offers a point of connection to this moment, this present instead of the grief of the past. Yamamto doesn’t speak for long minutes, stays silent until Gokudera can manage an even breath again before he breaks the quiet.
“Do you want me to do it?” The question is sincere, absent the emotional overlay or either hope or fright, just a query as straightforward as if he’s asking what Gokudera wants for dinner.
The irritation is familiar, frustration as calming to Gokudera’s ruffled composure as it is heating to his blood. “For fuck’s sake, Takeshi.” His hold at the other’s shirt pulls taut, his hand jerking the fabric to underline his point. “How can you possibly think I don’t want you to?”
Yamamoto’s laugh comes first, the bright chime of relief giving his expression away before he tips his head up to glow delight up at Gokudera.
“It’s not that I thought you didn’t want me to,” he starts to explain. Gokudera lets the bottom of his shirt go in favor of grabbing at his collar, dragging so he can force Yamamoto to let him go and sit back up. Yamamoto goes without hesitation, sitting upright again so Gokudera can see his expression right-way up. “I just didn’t want to assume anything.”
“Jesus,” Gokudera groans, lets Yamamoto’s shirt go to slide his fingers around to the back of the other’s neck. “Do you really think I’m going anywhere?”
Yamamoto’s eyelashes flutter, his lips going softer even than when they are shaped around a smile. His gaze drops, slipping away from Gokudera’s eyes and over his lips to dip along the edge of his collar, to the line of the key-weighted cord disappearing under the fabric. Gokudera can feel himself start to flush, self-consciousness burning itself into his cheeks, but Yamamoto is leaning in before he can fit words around the self-defense of an insult, startling him into silence with a heartbeat-fast kiss.
“No,” he says when he pulls back, grinning bright and flashing, and Gokudera growls protest for something he can’t define and leans in to follow the draw of his smile. Yamamoto’s hands slide into his hair, they both tip back to fall across the floor, and Gokudera lets the burn of self-consciousness convert into pleasure against the warmth of Yamamoto’s hands.
It’s starting to feel like permanency, the familiarity of that touch on his skin, and Gokudera is starting to not mind the lack of panic that comes with that thought.
Chapter 30: Introductions
Yamamoto is still in the bedroom when he hears the front door open.
“Hey,” he shouts without looking away from the mirror. “I’m in here.”
Gokudera’s sigh is so loud he can hear it without moving to the doorway, is looking up to catch the flickering heat of irritation in the other’s eyes as he comes around the corner. The distraction ruins his latest attempt at a knot, but it hardly matters; Yamamoto’s pretty sure this is a lost cause by now, anyway.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” he says, quick, while Gokudera is paused in the doorway staring at him. “I don’t think I know how to tie a tie.”
“What are you wearing?” Gokudera demands without moving any closer. “I didn’t even know you had nice shirts.”
“Ah.” Yamamoto looks down at the clean white of the fabric, the rumpled edge where it won’t quite stay tucked into his pants. “Just a few, for special occasions.”
Gokudera growls wordlessly, steps over the space between them so he can knock Yamamoto’s hands away from where they’re still idly holding to the ends of the tie. “I don’t know where you got the idea this is a special occasion,” he snaps. He’s not meeting Yamamoto’s gaze, for all that they’re close enough to kiss, his hands are shaking very slightly on the soft of the fabric in his hold. “And who the hell let you free on the world without knowing how to tie a tie?” His movements are smooth in spite of the motion of his hands, drawing the tie over itself with the easy grace of complete certainty.
Yamamoto laughs, reaches out to ghost his fingers against Gokudera’s hip. He’s dressed better than he usually is, too, although in his case the loose collar of his shirt leaves the knot of his own tie several inches lower than Yamamoto’s own. Gokudera frowns at the contact but doesn’t pull away, and Yamamoto lets his hand linger where it is.
“I just never got the hang of it,” he admits. Gokudera tugs at the tie, the folds and loops falling into the pattern of a proper knot under his fingers, pulls until the fabric falls straight across Yamamoto’s shirt. It’s like magic, how easily it comes together, Gokudera rolling his eyes at this minor miracle and sliding the knot up against the line of Yamamoto’s collar. It fits tight, cinched in close against Yamamoto’s throat, but it’s worth it for the way Gokudera’s eyes flutter into shadows for a moment, the way his fingers slip up to trace along the edge of the white collar.
“You can’t be trusted alone,” Gokudera says. He’s smoothing Yamamoto’s collar down, his movements rough and dragging against Yamamoto’s skin, and Yamamoto knows better than to comment out loud on how close he’s standing, how warm his hands are, how much he wants to kiss him. He just waits, lets Gokudera finish what he’s doing, and when the other steps back he lets himself grin, holds his hands out in display.
“What do you think?” The clothes are unfamiliar, the sleeves longer than he’s used to and the tie a strange weight against his neck, but Gokudera is staring at him like he’s seeing Yamamoto for the first time all over again, and that’s more than worth it. “Good enough?”
Gokudera glances at his face, presses his lips together tight and glances away. Yamamoto can see his cheeks flush dark before he manages, “It’s not like it matters.” When he turns away Yamamoto trails him, drawn instinctively in Gokudera’s wake as the other moves to the door. “There’s not going to be anyone to see you anyway.”
Yamamoto takes a longer step, reaches out to curl his fingers against Gokudera’s hand. The other glances back at his hand but not at his face; there’s still heat lingering in his cheeks, but it’s not self-consciousness now as much as half-repressed emotion. Yamamoto doesn’t speak, even when Gokudera pauses to collect the bouquet of white flowers he had left by the door when he came in. Gokudera’s letting him keep his hold on his hand, is in fact tightening his own fingers like he’s trying to reassure himself Yamamoto is there, and Yamamoto doesn’t interrupt whatever is in his head with words. The contact is enough, for now.
The train ride takes almost thirty minutes, and Gokudera spends the entire time completely silent. Yamamoto is watching him rather than the scenery, staring at the way his fingers are white-knuckle tense on the stems of the flowers in his hand and watching the way shadows collect on his features from under the cover of his hair, but he doesn’t say anything either. Gokudera is still holding his hand, unusual even with the near-empty midday train and their knees to mostly hide the fact, and all Yamamoto’s skin is tingling with awkward self-awareness, like the line of the tie against his neck is drawing his attention to every angle of his body.
Gokudera’s the one who pulls them to their feet, drags Yamamoto up by his hold on the other’s hand rather than by speaking. He’s still got his head ducked, is still hiding under his hair, leaving Yamamoto to stare at the back of his neck, where the silver strands have slid away to bare an inch of pale skin just over the line of his shirt. He can see the tension there, worse than he’s ever seen it before; he wants to press his mouth to the knot of panic, dig his fingertips into the ache to press it free, but the first is impossible and the second would be a mistake, so he just stands still, watches the evidence of strain under Gokudera’s skin until the train doors open and the worst of the tension gives way to the relief of movement.
Gokudera aims straight for their destination. There’s plenty to see, flowers and offerings and stone weathered so old the letters have faded into unintelligibility, but Gokudera barely looks around them once they’re past the front gate. He’s just moving, cutting around corners and across low grassy hills, until they come around a tree and Yamamoto sees their goal.
He doesn’t know how he knows. They’re too far off to see the name on the stone, yet, and there are several other graves around them with more ornate headstones or more expensive offerings. But Yamamoto knows at a glance, something about the simple curve of this particular stone or maybe the silver-white color of it, so like Gokudera’s hair in the sunlight, until by the time they stop in front of it he’s walking alongside the other more than being led. It’s as they stop that Gokudera finally lets his hold go, drops the pressure of his fingers as if all his self-consciousness has hit him at once, and Yamamoto is left to take a breath and stand alone to read the letters shaped into the stone while Gokudera sets the bouquet across the ground before it. They form smooth curves, elegant in their simplicity, formed around the name “Lavina Bianchi” until Yamamoto can almost hear the sound of a woman’s voice warm over the syllables.
Gokudera pushes to his feet, stuffs his hands into his pockets. He’s not looking up when Yamamoto glances at him, his shoulders hunched in like he’s expecting a blow.
“That’s really all,” he says, still staring at the flowers he brought rather than meeting Yamamoto’s gaze. “It’s not like I’m going to talk to her or anything. I just bring the flowers every few weeks.”
Yamamoto’s throat is tight, like he’s fighting back the tears on Gokudera’s behalf. He has to clear it to steady out his voice before he can manage to speak. “You took over the shop when she died?”
Gokudera does glance up, then, a little of the tension in his shoulders giving way. “Yeah.” He looks back down, coughs, takes a breath. “She loved the shop. Kept working way after she should have.” When he drags his hand through his hair the neat-brushed strands ruffle into a tangle, a breeze catching the trailing ends and blowing them back from his face so Yamamoto can see the tiny smile of nostalgia tugging at the corner of Gokudera’s mouth. “She insisted on having flowers even in the hospital. The nurses got real mad at me for bringing so many in.”
Yamamoto laughs, more in appreciation than out of amusement. He can see it without being told, the shape of a woman’s face formed from the delicate lines of Gokudera’s familiar features, the sterility of a hospital room overrun with flowers in every size and color, their perfume filling the room with sweetness.
“She sounds amazing,” he says, the honesty coming easy over his lips. His hand bumps against Gokudera’s, more on accident than intention, and Gokudera turns his palm up, grabs at Yamamoto’s wrist to hold him still while he fits their hands together without looking.
“She was.” He delivers this admission more as a defense than a statement, the words pulling in the back of his throat like they’re being forced. Yamamoto doesn’t comment on the way Gokudera’s struggling to keep his breathing quiet, the way his eyes are starting to shine before he ducks his head and looks down again. “She would have liked you.”
That’s fast, all at once and so soft Yamamoto almost doesn’t hear it; then he pieces the sounds together, forms the meaning out of the words, and he can’t help the smile that curves over his lips, the pleasure in his voice when he asks, “Really?”
Gokudera sighs, loud like he’s admitting something. “Yeah. Probably would have thought you were cute or something.” He glances up, catches Yamamoto’s smile for a minute, looks away fast but not so quickly Yamamoto can’t see the amusement pulling at the corner of his mouth. “And she always liked people who liked me.”
Yamamoto has to lean in at that. There’s too much burning in his chest, amusement and pleasure and bittersweet sympathy, too entangled to pull apart into words. Gokudera looks up to meet him, his gaze fluttering down to Yamamoto’s mouth as the other leans in, and when Yamamoto’s lips brush carefully against his there’s a flicker of warmth along Yamamoto’s spine, like the sunshine is slipping through his shirt or like there’s a hand pressing comfort against the breadth of his shoulders.
He doesn’t say thank you aloud. He’s pretty sure he doesn’t need to, for a spirit to understand him.
Chapter 31: Negative Space
“What about something like this?”
Gokudera bends in over the table, pushing the remains of the dishes from dinner aside to make space for the angle of his elbow supporting his weight. They are surrounded by empty plates and failed drawings alike, crumpled paper surrounding Gokudera’s knees like a strange parody of the flowers Yamamoto is trying to capture. It’s to Yamamoto’s credit, really, that he’s still drawing possible tattoo designs, still smiling idly over each fresh sheet as if this really might be the last one.
Gokudera lacks his optimism. The paper feels like it’s piling up, like he’ll drown in his own indecision before they find the right answer; between his own poor attempts at explanation and Yamamoto’s monopoly on drawing skills, the entire night is beginning to feel like an exercise in futility. This latest sketch is no better, for all that it looks noticeably different from the ones that have come before; Gokudera barely glances before he crumples it, leans forward to let his head land on the table.
“What don’t you like?” Yamamoto asks, as patient now as if he hasn’t been producing drawings to be rejected for the last hour and a half.
“Too much color,” Gokudera says into his arm. “Too much detail. Too much everything.” He sighs against the table, lets his weight tip sideways to rest against Yamamoto’s arm. “We’re never going to figure out the design.”
Yamamoto shifts, his arm coming up to settle around Gokudera’s shoulders. The weight of it is faintly comforting, even if it doesn’t untwist the knot of discontent along Gokudera’s spine. “We will,” he says, and he sounds so certain Gokudera almost believes him, would believe him if he weren’t so tired and so frustrated. “Maybe we’re coming at this the wrong way.”
“What, you want to just go in and hope for the best?” Gokudera scoffs.
Yamamoto’s laugh is bright over him, clear like the chime of a bell before he presses his mouth in against the top of Gokudera’s head. “That’s not what I meant.” He sounds gentle, calm, still, like Gokudera’s sharp tone has gone right over his head. “Do you know where you want it?”
Gokudera can feel his shoulders hunching defensively. It’s for the best that Yamamoto’s head is pressed against his hair; it saves him from having an audience to the color that sweeps out over his cheeks at the question.
“I’m not completely decided,” he dodges. “I mean, I have a few ideas. Why does it matter?”
“It might help me picture it,” Yamamoto says. His fingers pressing against Gokudera’s shoulder are steady, warm right through the thin fabric of the t-shirt.
“Fuck,” Gokudera sighs, and leans away, breaking free of Yamamoto’s easy hold so he can tug at the edge of his shirt. He doesn’t look up as he holds the fabric up to draw his fingers sweeping across the line of his hip, just above the top edge of his jeans. He can feel his cheeks burning as if with a sunburn, embarrassment flaming across his features, and he has to clear his throat before he can trust himself to speak.
“I was thinking here.” He draws his hand back, moves to let his shirt fall back into place. “Not that I’m decided. It’s kind of a stupid --”
Yamamoto’s hand catches at him, his thumb pressing in against bare skin. Gokudera turns, startled out of self-consciousness into seeing Yamamoto’s reaction, but the other isn’t looking at him. He’s staring at Gokudera’s hip like he’s never properly seen it before, leaning in so close he’s fitting himself into the gap between Gokudera and the table as he pushes the other’s shirt back up to bare his skin.
“Here?” His thumb skids across the line of Gokudera’s hip, his eyes come up to meet Gokudera’s stare. Yamamoto looks dazed, warm and all but glowing from the inside out, which would make a lot more sense if Gokudera had even said anything to warrant this reaction.
“That’s what I said,” he says instead, shoving at Yamamoto’s shoulder with no real force. “Get off me, you’re heavy.”
Yamamoto nods, like he’s agreeing to some suggestion Gokudera doesn’t remember making. Then he actually obeys, pulling away so fast Gokudera is left off-balance and confused while Yamamoto turns to lean over the table again, drawing another sheet of paper towards him with the finality of inspiration.
“This is pointless,” Gokudera points out, leaning in over the edge of the table in an attempt to catch a peek at what Yamamoto is drawing. “You’ve tried dozens of ideas already, how is knowing where I want it going to be of any help at all?”
“I can see it now,” Yamamoto says with all the reverent faith of an artist. Gokudera rolls his eyes but Yamamoto’s not looking at him to see his reaction so the frustration goes unseen. Gokudera can’t get a good angle on the lines on the page, either, has to settle for crossing his arms in preparation of rejection while he waits for Yamamoto to deem the sketch worthy.
It doesn’t actually take very long. Gokudera is barely settled into his position when Yamamoto leans back, bumping in against his arm without looking. The glancing warmth of his skin is distracting, nearly as bad as the soft pleasure of the smile clinging to his lips, but he’s holding up the paper without speaking, and as soon as Gokudera sees the sketch everything else falls right out of his head. His arms uncross, he’s reaching out to take the paper, and Yamamoto is laughing soft and delighted but Gokudera can’t even spare the moment it would take to look at him.
The design is simple, in the end, just clean dark lines against the white paper so Gokudera can actually picture them imprinted on his skin in rich black ink. They don’t quite connect at the corners, form the suggestion of petals rather than the shape in explicit truth, hint at the curve of blossoms while leaving the white space between the lines to fill in the rest. At first glance it looks almost abstract, an asymmetrical design across the page, but when Gokudera blinks he can see the flowers -- gardenias, his mother’s favorite -- rising out of the lines as if they had been planted there and awaiting Yamamoto’s touch to bloom.
“Oh fuck,” he says, and he has to duck his head against the sudden threat of tears in his throat, let his hair fall over his face so Yamamoto won’t see him cry. There’s a tug at the paper, Yamamoto sliding it free; Gokudera lets him take it, uses the opportunity to drag a hand across his eyes and take a deep breath past the knot in his throat.
“That’s it, right?” There’s almost no question in Yamamoto’s tone; it’s more delight than anything else, joy bubbling over into his words like he’s inviting Gokudera to share in the pleasure with him.
“Fuck,” Gokudera says again, lets out a breath so fast it almost sounds like a laugh. “Yeah, it is.”
“I knew it,” Yamamoto purrs, delighted more with the success than with himself. His arm is coming up around Gokudera’s shoulders, he’s leaning in to kiss at Gokudera’s hair; the extra weight throws Gokudera off-balance, makes him yell a half-formed protest, and then they’re on the floor and Yamamoto is laughing against his shoulder.
“Idiot,” Gokudera growls, but he’s smiling too, Yamamoto’s laughter too infectious to ignore entirely. When he tries to pull away he just ends up twisting onto his back, Yamamoto shifting to match him, and when he tosses his hair out of his eyes the other is smiling down at him like Gokudera’s the only thing worth looking at in the world.
“It’s going to look so good,” Yamamoto says, no space in his delight for disagreement. He ducks in, fast, like he can’t help it, kisses quick against the corner of Gokudera’s mouth while his fingers seek out the edge of the other’s hip. “It’ll be so beautiful on you.” There’s a glancing touch, the press of his thumb in against Gokudera’s hip, and Gokudera breathes out hard, turns his head without thinking to catch the words off Yamamoto’s mouth. Yamamoto meets him like he was waiting, tips his head to fit their lips more closely together, and when Gokudera reaches up to drag at his hair Yamamoto’s fingers go sideways over Gokudera’s stomach, his hand spreading out to press the other flat against the floor. He’s gentle with the kiss, licking against Gokudera’s mouth like he’s trying to memorize the shape of the other’s lips until Gokudera growls and drags him in closer and deeper. Then it’s heat, hard and fast and thorough, Gokudera’s teeth dragging across Yamamoto’s mouth and Yamamoto whimpering sound that is nothing like protest over his tongue, and those fingers still pushing hard against him.
Gokudera is out of breath by the time they pull apart. His only consolation is that Yamamoto is downright gasping, his eyes dreamy and out-of-focus until he can’t seem to look at anything but Gokudera’s mouth.
“Do you want to go to the bedroom?” Gokudera asks, trying to fight the urge to arch his back and press himself up against the pressure of Yamamoto’s hand.
Yamamoto’s head shake is instantaneous, no need for consideration before he gives his answer. “No,” and he’s leaning back in, kissing along Gokudera’s jaw instead of his lips this time. The damp of his lips is enough to persuade Gokudera to turn his head, to offer the line of his throat for the gentle press of Yamamoto’s lips, and the hand against his hip pushes up, hitches his shirt up higher to bare inches of skin to the cool of the air. It’s nothing like cold, wouldn’t be even without the flush of sensation tingling out from Yamamoto’s fingers against his skin; as it is Gokudera is hot, feels the thin weight of his shirt like a blanket as Yamamoto kisses down to his collar. There’s a moment of hesitation, there, lips pressing against his collarbone and lingering for a long span of heartbeats; then Yamamoto is moving down, sliding himself to fit between Gokudera’s knees so his breathing is gusting warm over the other’s stomach.
Gokudera doesn’t try to sit up to see what Yamamoto is doing; it’s better to lie still, to shut his eyes and let the warmth of the other’s touch drown out the details of his senses. There are kisses against his stomach, fingers tracing unseen patterns into his hip, and then Yamamoto’s mouth is against the canvas of Gokudera’s future tattoo, his tongue sweeping across the dip of sensitive skin. Gokudera doesn’t have a chance to fight back the whimper in his throat, fails entirely to restrain the shudder that pushes his hip up to meet Yamamoto’s lips, and he can feel the other’s melting sigh against him before Yamamoto pulls back.
“Beautiful,” he says, voice low and shivery with sincerity, and Gokudera suspects he’s not talking about the tattoo anymore but doesn’t ask. It’s safer to let the uncertainty linger, easier to keep his eyes shut while Yamamoto ducks his head to kiss his stomach again. Yamamoto’s hands drag back down, trace out the edge of Gokudera’s jeans, and Gokudera knows where this is going and has no interest at all in stopping it. He pushes his hands back into Yamamoto’s hair, lets the soft strands trail across his palms as Yamamoto works his jeans open. It’s an easy thing, after that, to let Yamamoto tug the denim down off his hips, to let the air brush against more of his skin, and Gokudera can feel Yamamoto going breathless in anticipation against him.
“Hayato,” and the name is drawn long, weighted with affection into something far more valuable than it has ever seemed before. For a moment Gokudera thinks there might be something more, an unspoken addition to that sentence; then Yamamoto lets his breath out, and catches his lips against Gokudera’s cock, and he forgets how to think coherently. Yamamoto’s mouth is warm, hot, damp and slick and gentle as he licks down over Gokudera’s flushed length. It’s perfect, it’s awful, it’s slow and drawn-out and it’s maddening and teasing. Gokudera is groaning, a long whimpered note of mingled frustration and appreciation, his hands twisting into fists of Yamamoto’s hair, and Yamamoto whines against him and takes the rest of him back all at once. Gokudera chokes on his breath, the burst of sensation nearly painful for its intensity, and Yamamoto is drawing back again, his fingers curling in against the base of Gokudera’s cock as if to brace him steady while he hums audible appreciation against the other’s skin. It’s hard not to rock up into his mouth, hard not to seek out more heat, to rush towards the satisfaction Gokudera can feel tightening along his spine; it feels like a victory, in some overheated part of Gokudera’s mind, that he doesn’t, that he lets Yamamoto suck over him without trying to take control of the rhythm. He can feel the want pooling low in his stomach, electric tension sparking up under his skin, but Yamamoto just keeps moving, slow and warm and thorough, pausing on every motion to slick his tongue up against Gokudera’s cock before he pulls away.
By the time he starts to move his hand to match, Gokudera can’t remember what it was he wanted to change. His hands are still clenched tight at Yamamoto’s hair, an attempt to hold himself steady now instead of desire to drag Yamamoto where he wants him, and his breathing is catching high and panting in his chest, his heart pounding overtime to keep up with the rush of friction from Yamamoto’s mouth. Gokudera can feel the humming all through his body, now, Yamamoto’s vocal appreciation given form in his blood; everything in him is tensing, leaning into the inevitable pleasure of the future before it is quite here.
Then Yamamoto tightens his lips, drags his tongue hard across the head of Gokudera’s cock, and everything goes hot and relaxed. Gokudera’s hands go slack of their own accord, the full weight of his body dropping boneless to the floor; his thoughts scatter like birds, his vision clear but unimportant. There’s a ringing in his head, disbelief and shock in equal parts, his whole body humming in time with Yamamoto’s movements. He’s not sure he’s breathing, is still trying to decide if he needs to when Yamamoto slides back down, licking as he goes, and that moment of breathless calm trembles itself seamlessly into pleasure. Gokudera barely even feels the individual waves of heat as separate; they’re too much and too fast to tell apart, everything in him falling away in instinctive submission to the force of sensation in his blood. He can feel sound in his throat, a gasping attempt at Yamamoto’s name, but he hears none of it, neither the groan in his own throat or the delight he can feel humming against Yamamoto’s lips still slick against him; there’s only his heartbeat, so impossibly loud against the flood of sensation it’s as if he’s gone deaf for a moment.
It fades slowly. Gokudera’s hearing comes back first, followed shortly by his sight; he blinks and everything fades back into focus, the world realigning itself around him as Yamamoto carefully slides back and starts to move back up over him. By the time the other is blinking at Gokudera, his eyes nearly black with hazy heat, Gokudera can breathe again, can even find the words to say, “What the fuck did you do to me?”
Yamamoto giggles, the corners of his eyes turning up with the delight bubbling up his throat. When he leans in to kiss the corner of Gokudera’s parted lips the other lets him, reaches up to drape one shaking arm around Yamamoto’s shoulders while he aligns the other with Yamamoto’s hip through the weight of his jeans.
“I had some new ideas to try,” Yamamoto says, the words soft and heavy at Gokudera’s mouth. He pauses, sighs in satisfaction as Gokudera’s fingers drag sideways so the other can press his palm against the heat at the front of Yamamoto’s jeans. “Did you like it?”
Gokudera wants to reach for sarcasm, wants to rolls his eyes and insist no, obviously I hated it, but he can’t find the sharp edges he needs when he tries. Instead he huffs a sound that is part a sigh and almost a laugh, tightens his fingers to press harder against Yamamoto through his jeans.
“Of course I liked it.” He’s pushing at the button with his thumb, maneuvering the metal free of the denim, and Yamamoto’s arm bracing him is starting to shake; Gokudera can tip his head to watch the way Yamamoto’s eyelashes are fluttering dark in time with the speeding pace of his breathing, can see the other’s shoulders going tense with anticipation. The button slips free, the zipper draws open, and when Gokudera gets his fingers pressed inside he’s watching Yamamoto’s face, can see the shudder of reaction that runs through his shoulders and drops his mouth open on a groan. It’s easy to take advantage of the other’s distraction, simple for Gokudera to drag his fingers up so he can fit them between the elastic of Yamamoto’s boxers and the radiant heat of his skin, and then he’s tightening his grip on the hard shape of Yamamoto’s cock and Yamamoto is gasping, tipping his weight sideways to steady out his suddenly-precarious balance.
“Couldn’t you tell?” Gokudera asks, not because he wants an answer but because he wants to watch Yamamoto’s eyes flutter open, wants to watch the dazed confusion of pleasure short-circuiting his comprehension. He pulls himself in closer, or pulls Yamamoto down; it doesn’t matter, either way they’re close enough to share body heat, close enough that Gokudera’s wrist brushes over his own hip as he strokes up over Yamamoto. “Didn’t you like it?”
Yamamoto is staring at his mouth, his eyes glazed and out-of-focus, and for a minute Gokudera thinks he won’t get a response at all. He can feel Yamamoto flushing harder and hotter in response to his touch, the slick of pre-come spilling over his fingertips and sliding his own rhythm faster in instinctive response. But then fingers settle into his hair, Yamamoto’s eyes flutter as he leans in, and when he says, “Yes,” it’s breathed out against Gokudera’s mouth with so much heat Gokudera can feel his control over the conversation sliding through his fingers.
“Takeshi--” he starts, but Yamamoto cuts him off, presses his mouth to Gokudera’s so for a minute all Gokudera can focus on is how hard Yamamoto’s breathing, how warm his mouth is. Then he pulls back, says, “Hayato, I --” and Gokudera can feel himself go tense in expectation of something he can’t quite frame.
Then Yamamoto blinks, his eyes coming back into focus for just a moment, and when he moves it’s to bury his face in Gokudera’s shoulder instead of speaking. His breath is hot against the other’s shirt, his fingers fitting into a hold against the other’s hair, and Gokudera doesn’t think before he tips his head in to press his mouth to Yamamoto’s cheek. He can feel the huff of amusement Yamamoto makes into his shoulder, can hear the stutter of his breathing falling out-of-sync, and then Yamamoto sighs satisfaction in the moment before he shudders and comes over Gokudera’s hip. Gokudera can feel the breathless tremors wash through Yamamoto’s body, can hear the other gasp himself into relaxation against his shoulder, and even the weight of Yamamoto gone exhausted with pleasure over him isn’t enough to convince him that he wants to move.
Yamamoto doesn’t seem any more willing to pull away. He’s let his hold on Gokudera’s hair go, is feathering his fingers through the strands now like he’s appreciating the texture on his fingertips. When Gokudera turns his head to see his face Yamamoto is staring at him, his eyes hazy and so warm with affection Gokudera can feel a flash of responsive heat under his skin.
“What were you saying?” Gokudera asks, the question coming over his tongue without any chance to consider what he’s asking. “Just now. You were going to say something.”
Yamamoto hums a tiny pleased noise, leans in closer so when he blinks his eyelashes catch on Gokudera’s hair. “The tattoo’s going to be perfect,” he says, the words spilling like liquid warmth against the other’s skin. “Just like you.” Gokudera groans at this unprecedented display of sappiness, manages to roll his eyes before he lets himself give in to the urge to kiss Yamamoto’s laughter off his lips.
He’s pretty sure that’s not what Yamamoto was about to blurt, suspects he knows what words stalled out on the other’s tongue before he could hear them. Right now, patience seems like a better option than pushing for more.
Gokudera thinks that soon he might be ready to hear what Yamamoto didn’t say.
Chapter 32: Indelible
“I hope your hands have stopped shaking.”
Gokudera’s voice is sharp, louder than it needs to be in the enclosed space, but Yamamoto doesn’t look up. He’s sincerely not sure he can do this if he looks at Gokudera’s face, is pleased enough to have made it this far without getting entirely derailed. It’s hard enough when he has Gokudera stripped down to skin and laid out over the bed where Yamamoto can do what he wants with him, but this is almost worse, with several inches of pale skin bared to the glow of the light overhead and marked over with the outline of the tattoo Yamamoto is supposed to be pressing into that pristine white.
“They aren’t shaking,” he says, more softly than usual so it comes out as almost a whisper. They aren’t -- he learned long ago how to deal with adrenaline, wouldn’t be able to do this job if he hadn’t -- but it’s still an intense temptation when he glances over, the flat of Gokudera’s stomach above the low-hitched edge of his jeans trembling visibly with the nervousness the other is pretending he doesn’t feel.
Gokudera huffs a sound of disbelief, shifts his weight on the seat. The motion tips his hips up higher, catches the light off the lines printed cleanly across his skin, and Yamamoto has to look away while his heartbeat flutters desperately in his throat. He distracts himself with fitting gloves on, instead, the latex clinging well enough that it won’t impede his dexterity at all.
“Isn’t that unnecessary for us?” Gokudera asks. His voice is going rougher, his put-upon aggression cracking at the seams. Yamamoto glances at Gokudera’s hands, watches them flex white-knuckled against the arms of the chair while he fits words over his tongue.
“It’s standard,” he says. He really can’t stall much longer; there’s nothing left to do but to reach for the machine and start on the tattoo proper. “We have to keep everything sterile.”
“So you won’t be touching me?” Gokudera asks, and this time his voice does crack, skids up into a high enough range that Yamamoto flinches from the disappointment.
“I will,” and he reaches out, fits his fingers against the flutter of adrenaline across Gokudera’s stomach. He can hear the hiss of inhale Gokudera takes, can feel the other shudder under the contact. “I’ll take them off as soon as we’re done.”
“Huh,” Gokudera tries, attempting the shape of a laugh. His hands are still fists on the chair. “Already thinking about after? Maybe I should have someone else do this, if you’re just gonna have a hard-on the whole time.”
Yamamoto doesn’t mean to whimper. It just spills past his lips, unintentional reaction to the images that unravel across his thoughts. Gokudera is breathing harder, nearly panting under the steadying brace of his fingers, and for all his teasing he’s not unaffected either; Yamamoto’s wrist is too close to the line of his low-slung jeans to miss that, his eyes too easily drawn to the tension under the zipper.
He looks up immediately, all his attention brought to bear at the sound of his name, at the tone of that voice. Gokudera is staring at him, his lips pale and tight with stress, his shoulders so tense he can’t even relax against the chair, and Yamamoto forgets where they are, forgets about the temptation of pale skin and the burning thrill at what he’s about to do, what Gokudera wants him to do. There’s just concern, the need to offer reassurance, and when he opens his mouth this time the words fall easy with sincerity.
“It’s okay, Hayato.” Gokudera’s eyelashes flutter, his shoulders sag with relief, and Yamamoto offers him a smile, soft and reassuring and steady. “It’ll be fine.”
He doesn’t look back down until Gokudera nods, quick and rushed but agreement all the same. Then it’s the rhythm of professionalism, the needle and the ink and the pattern, his attention narrowing to just those and pushing away all the distractions. His hands are perfectly steady as he brings the needle in close, his gaze level and unblinking as he presses the first point of dark color under Gokudera’s skin.
There’s a gasp from over him, a tremor in the skin under his palm, and Yamamoto flinches, sympathy burning under him though he doesn’t pause to look up. “Sorry,” he says instead, moving out over the line without waiting for Gokudera’s response. “It’ll hurt less in a minute.”
“‘S fine,” Gokudera manages. He doesn’t sound like he’s in pain, exactly, just like he’s trembling all over with adrenaline. His fingers are starting to ease on the arms of the chair, his body relaxing under Yamamoto’s touch, and it really is a good thing Yamamoto has steady hands or he would be shaking with the intimacy of the moment. It’s not the act itself that is surging hyperawareness into his thoughts; it’s that it’s Gokudera, that this is the first tattoo, that he can feel the other’s stress dissipating under the pressure of his fingertips. The lines are going dark against Gokudera’s skin, the faint trace of blood not enough to dim the clean black of the ink, and Yamamoto feels giddy, thrilled delight rushing out into him to match the catch of Gokudera’s breathing as the other relaxes to the ache of the needle at his skin. Yamamoto is hard, flushed hot all over his body and aching with desire against his jeans, but so is Gokudera, though Yamamoto is angling his arm up so he doesn’t elicit an accidental tremor from glancing friction. The air around them is superheated, electric with tension like Yamamoto can’t remember since before they first kissed, every breath on his lips tasting like the prelude to a confession.
Experience carries him through the process, holds Yamamoto’s fingers steady and his attention in place even while Gokudera’s breathing goes hotter over him, even when he can feel every shivering breath under the weight of his hand holding Gokudera still. The lines spread out under his fingers, form into the suggestion of flowers, like he’s outlining the beauty that has always already been waiting just under Gokudera’s skin. It looks right, to have the clarity there, looks like the ink was always meant to be a part of Gokudera’s hip, until even when it’s done Yamamoto has to go still for a moment to just stare at the finished pattern.
He doesn’t move until Gokudera shifts, until the sound of “Takeshi” like something between a warning and a seduction makes it through the haze in the air between them to his ears; then he recovers himself, draws away to set the needle aside. It’s harder to pull his hand away from Gokudera’s skin; the glove is keeping them apart, but only just, the radiant heat coming off the other’s body more than enough to warm the latex to body temperature. But the tattoo needs to be cleaned, and covered, and Gokudera is shifting against the chair, rocking his hips like he’s trying to press in against the front of his jeans for friction. The reminder is enough motivation to urge Yamamoto through the last steps, smoothing antiseptic across the clean black lines of the tattoo itself and the aching red of the skin around them, fitting a bandage over the pattern with only a brief pang at covering the beauty of it before he tapes it down over Gokudera’s hip. Gokudera has let the chair go completely, now, has an arm angled up over his face; when Yamamoto risks a glance up at him he can’t see the other’s eyes, only the damp pant of air over his lips as he breathes.
“Hurry up,” Gokudera says, when Yamamoto’s hands have laid still at his skin for too long. He’s aiming for aggression, Yamamoto suspects, but it sounds nearly like a moan instead, the sound aching in his throat with all the raw drag of want. “I’m all out of patience.”
“Almost done,” Yamamoto says, looking back down to finish taping the bandage against Gokudera’s skin. “We can go straight home after this.”
Gokudera makes a desperate sound, a moaning choke in the back of his throat. “No,” and he’s arching up off the chair, bumping hard against Yamamoto’s arm. “No, it’s too far.”
“Okay,” Yamamoto agrees without protest, because his heart is pounding too, his blood feels like fire in his veins. “The back of the shop?”
“Yeah.” Yamamoto pulls his hands away, tugs one of his gloves off, and Gokudera is sitting up before he’s got the second one free. There are fingers at his hair, pushing down under the collar of his shirt to drag across the top feathers of the tattoo over his shoulders, and Yamamoto is shuddering, all his steadiness evaporating under Gokudera’s touch.
“Hurry,” Gokudera says against his hair. Yamamoto whimpers, drags desperately at his last glove as Gokudera’s lips brush his ear, as Gokudera’s teeth catch against the sensitive earlobe. There’s a tug, pressure just shy of pain, and then the second glove is off and Yamamoto is turning, reaching for Gokudera’s untouched hip with one hand and for his hair with the other, his lips already parted in anticipation of heat. Gokudera’s eyelashes flutter, dark silver over smoky green, and then Yamamoto is fitting his lips to Gokudera’s and everything is melting together. His fingers are hot, unbelievable warmth burning into him from the skin-to-skin contact, and Gokudera is sliding off the chair completely, rocking Yamamoto back over his heels so he can straddle his lap. They fit together even as they are, kneeling on the floor of the room with Gokudera’s hip wrapped in a bandage and both of them wearing far more clothing than they should, and then Gokudera pulls back and gasps “Back,” and Yamamoto nods, blind agreement to whatever Gokudera wants.
He gets to his feet as quickly as Gokudera does, pushing himself upright so he can take the lead out the doorway. Gokudera’s fingers skim his arm, curl into a desperate grip on his wrist, and Yamamoto wants to slide the other’s hold down to fit their fingers together but it doesn’t seem like it matters much, under the circumstances. They maneuver through the shop, past the other rooms for customers and around the corner; Yamamoto is trying to consider their options as he pushes open the door to the back, but his thoughts are hazy, melting apart under the fire in his blood, and the heavy gasp of Gokudera’s breathing at his shoulder doesn’t help.
“The bathroom has a lock,” he says, hesitating in the doorway and starting to look back to catch Gokudera’s reaction.
“Good enough” and Gokudera is pushing past him, his trailing hold becoming a leash as he moves. Yamamoto is willing to be led, drawn in a straight-line path towards the door at the corner, and then Gokudera is dragging him inside, slamming the door behind them with enough force to speak to his desperation. It’s clean enough, if cramped, and in this moment Yamamoto is more grateful than he has ever been that it’s just a single room with a lock. Then he looks down, sees the white edge of Gokudera’s bandage, and some vestige of rationality comes back to him.
“Wait.” It’s hard to speak, with Gokudera staring at his throat like he can see the marks he’s going to leave already, with Gokudera’s eyes hazy and out-of-focus before either of them have their clothes undone. “Wait, you should be careful,” and he reaches out, skims his fingers against the clean white of the bandage.
Gokudera slaps his hand away, his motion rough with instant aggression. “It won’t hurt the tattoo, will it?”
Yamamoto shakes his head, hopelessly caught by the damp flush at Gokudera’s lips. “It might be painful though.”
“If I was afraid of pain I wouldn’t have done this in the first place” and he’s leaning in, shoving Yamamoto back against the wall and holding him there so he can crush desire against the other’s mouth. Yamamoto goes, falls against the wall and lets his knees go shaky as Gokudera’s fingers twist against the front of his jeans, drag rough at the fastenings along the front. The button falls free, Yamamoto’s jeans as quick to respond to Gokudera’s movements as Yamamoto himself, and then Gokudera’s fingers are sliding in under his clothes and Yamamoto is sliding down the wall, reaching to hold at Gokudera -- at his hip on one side, and safely high on his waist on the other -- so the other follows him down. There’s weight across his lap, Gokudera leaning in as close against him as he can get, and his fingers are more seeking than deliberate as yet but Yamamoto is shaking already, trembling over gasping inhales every time Gokudera’s fingers drag over the heat of his cock.
“Fuck,” Gokudera says, the word sticky and heavy on his tongue. His fingers pull away, the loss of contact enough Yamamoto has to bite back a whimper, but it’s only so he can tug against the dip of his own jeans, hanging so low on his hips Yamamoto isn’t completely sure how they’re staying up in the first place. He gets the button open and the zipper half-down, and then he’s shoving the denim away, sliding sideways just long enough to kick his feet free of the jeans and his boxers both. It’s too much, there’s too much to look at and too much to appreciate, but Yamamoto’s hand is dropping from Gokudera’s hip to reach out for his flushed cock instead, drawing a brief convulsive shudder all through the other’s body as he makes contact.
“You were thinking about this the whole time, weren’t you?” Gokudera manages, pulling up a smile as he rocks up onto his knees, leans in so close he brushes against Yamamoto’s t-shirt. They’re going to be a mess, Yamamoto knows, can see the difficulties of cleaning up in the near future, but right now he doesn’t care about anything beyond the promise of Gokudera’s pale skin and the tremble of sensation Yamamoto can see running through his thighs.
So “Yeah,” he says, “You’re so beautiful” less of a non-sequitur than it seems, in the haze of his thoughts where everything is Gokudera, where everything has always been Gokudera. It gets him a laugh, shaky on adrenaline but more sincere than he’s ever heard from Gokudera before, and then fingers at his free hand, a desperate grip dragging his fingers up to Gokudera’s lips. Yamamoto looks up as Gokudera slides his mouth down over the other’s fingers, starts to slick his tongue up across the skin with such complete focus he doesn’t even look down at Yamamoto’s whimper of appreciation. His eyes are nearly shut, all the usual stress in his features faded off to simple want, his mouth soft and wet against Yamamoto’s fingers. Yamamoto’s hand has stalled, his thoughts gone blank and still, and then Gokudera draws back and opens his eyes. The green is almost completely eclipsed by the black of his wide-blown pupils, his focus gone like Yamamoto has never seen. It’s overwhelming to see, it’s impossible to look away, and when Gokudera reaches out to brace himself on Yamamoto’s shoulder Yamamoto doesn’t think at all. He lets Gokudera handle his own balance, reaches to trail his fingers up the back of Gokudera’s thigh, and when he brushes spit-slick fingers against the other’s entrance he thinks for a moment they’re both going to fall sideways. Gokudera shudders, his eyes falling shut again, ducks his head so the ends of his hair brush and catch at Yamamoto’s.
“Hayato,” Yamamoto blurts without thinking, the name slipping over his tongue warmed over with the affection burning in his skin. He tips his head up, reaching Gokudera’s mouth, can feel the gasping exhale of reaction Gokudera gives as Yamamoto’s fingers slide into him. He’s always warm, startlingly radiant every time Yamamoto touches him, but this time it’s overwhelming, all the heat of his body burning around Yamamoto’s fingers like he’s coming alight under the other’s touch. Yamamoto presses in deeper, lets his fingers sink farther into the tight grip of that heat, and Gokudera makes a whining sound, desperation coming out as a plea before he ducks his head to stifle the noise at Yamamoto’s mouth. It’s not enough to go quiet completely -- Yamamoto can feel it, now, the vibration catching off Gokudera’s tongue to hum across his own -- but it urges him faster, convinces him to let his hold on Gokudera’s cock go so he can brace the other in place against the thrust of his fingers. Gokudera’s fingers tense at his shoulders, Gokudera leans in hard against Yamamoto’s support, and Yamamoto’s not sure either of them is breathing enough and he doesn’t care, not when he can feel every shudder of anticipation as it ripples under Gokudera’s skin.
He’s completely forgotten what the end goal is, has lost track of the fact that this isn’t it; it’s only when Gokudera pulls away from his lips to gasp an inhale and insist “Enough” that Yamamoto comes back to himself. He slides his fingers back, gentle as he can manage under the circumstances, and Gokudera is shaking over him but his hands are quick in spite of their trembling, shifting to drag Yamamoto’s jeans off his hips entirely. Gokudera isn’t looking at him; he’s focused on what he’s doing, licking across his palm so he can stroke makeshift lubrication up over Yamamoto’s cock, and his fingers are amazing but they’re nothing on his face. Yamamoto can’t look away, can’t pull his gaze off the sweep of silver hair, the attention in those green eyes, the unconscious frown of focus at Gokudera’s lips. Even when he tosses his hair back and lets Yamamoto go so he can brace himself against the other’s shoulders, leans in so close Yamamoto’s breath hitches in anticipation, Yamamoto is still staring at his face, the line of his cheekbones and the determination in his jaw.
Then Gokudera starts to sink down onto him, and for a moment Yamamoto doesn’t see anything at all. Everything is silver, white sweeping out over his vision; he doesn’t realize he’s leaning in to press against Gokudera, doesn’t hear the way Gokudera groans “Takeshi” like it’s a confession. Everything is heat, burning out under his skin and lighting every inch of his skin on fire, and he’s gasping against Gokudera’s shoulder, desperate to blurt the emotion flaring under his skin.
“Hayato--” and it’s too much, it’s too late, he can’t call it back anymore. “I--”
“I love you,” Gokudera gasps, and Yamamoto’s chest goes tight, disbelief freezing everything in him into a moment of silence. When he blinks Gokudera’s head is dipped down, his eyes open and melted over with heat in the shadow of his hair. “Takeshi,” he appends, like there was any question of who he was speaking to. He rocks his weight back, lifts himself up an inch to slide back down, gasping for air like he’s only just learned how to breathe.
“Oh,” Yamamoto says, faint and startled, and then “I love you too,” and he’s reaching out, grabbing against Gokudera’s unbandaged hip and pressing his other palm flat to the other’s stomach so he can trail his fingers downward in time with their rushed breathing. Gokudera is staring at him, his eyes wide and dark with adrenaline, and Yamamoto keeps talking, all the things he’s wanted to say spilling out over his tongue like a storm finally breaking. “I love you,” because he can, and “Hayato” because he wants to, and “You’re perfect” because it’s true, and finally the uncertainty in Gokudera’s eyes gives way, a flicker of hesitant trust lighting up the green from the inside.
“You’re an idiot,” he says, and then he smiles, and Yamamoto can’t breathe even before Gokudera starts to move over him again. There’s no trace of tension in Gokudera’s face, the usual frown at the corner of his lips gone like it was never there. His forehead is perfectly smooth, his eyes serene and steady, and when he laughs it lights up the green into sparkling delight.
“Takeshi,” and he has a hand up in Yamamoto’s hair, now, is tipping the other’s face upward as if Yamamoto is even capable of looking anywhere else. “I want to move in with you.” He’s shifting his hips, rocking himself over Yamamoto as if to punctuate his words with heat; Yamamoto can’t think, can’t process the words, hardly realizes that he’s sliding his fingers up over Gokudera’s flushed length, drawing the other’s breathing fast and desperate to match his own. “I want you.”
“I love you,” Yamamoto says again, his thoughts stuck on that one phrase, his lips making up for the weeks he hasn’t said it. Gokudera’s eyelashes flutter, his throat works on a moan, and Yamamoto is babbling, now, confessions and declarations and truths all tangling on his lips. “You’re perfect, you’re so beautiful, Hayato, stay with me forever.”
Gokudera laughs, or what Yamamoto is pretty sure is supposed to be a laugh. It comes out as closer to a moan, the sound dropping low as Yamamoto presses his thumb up against the head of Gokudera’s cock to feel the way he shudders against the sensation. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says, and he’s leaning in, he’s breathing the words against Yamamoto’s mouth. “I love you, you idiot, you’re stuck with me now.”
Yamamoto takes a breath, some half-formed sentence trying to coalesce in his thoughts; then Gokudera gasps an inhale, sharp and stuttering with adrenaline, and Yamamoto’s entire body flashes instantly hot in anticipation. He draws his hand up faster, turns his head in to kiss against Gokudera’s gasping lips, and when he rocks up to meet Gokudera’s downward motion the other shudders into heat. Yamamoto can feel warmth spilling over his fingers and across his shirt, can feel Gokudera tightening in convulsive waves around him, and he’s gone, he’s lost, he’s groaning “Hayato” as the wave of pleasure drags him down into incoherency. The air is superheated, warmed against Gokudera’s lips, and it’s not quite a kiss but it’s enough, to have Gokudera’s skin hot on his and Gokudera’s breathing burning in his lungs and Gokudera’s fingers buried in his hair.
Usually Gokudera’s the one to move first, to disentangle himself with some complaint about being too warm or needing a shower or having things to do. But he doesn’t shift at all after they’ve caught their breath, just tucks his forehead against Yamamoto’s shoulder and breathes still and calm like he’s never going to move again. Yamamoto tips his head to look at him sideways, to watch that unusual calm settle against the other’s familiar features, and when the urge to speak comes, he doesn’t push it away.
“I love you,” he offers, clear and careful with the sincerity of the words.
Gokudera doesn’t open his eyes. He just smiles, soft and amused, huffs a sigh against Yamamoto’s shoulder. “Yeah, you keep saying that.” When he moves his head it’s to press his lips to Yamamoto’s skin, to scrape his teeth against the other’s neck just above the collar of his shirt. “Sap.”
The warmth in Yamamoto’s veins goes hot, bubbles into irrepressible delight until all he can do is laugh. Gokudera grins against his skin, presses his lips in harder against Yamamoto’s neck, and the motion feels like the words Yamamoto doesn’t need to hear again to understand.
Chapter 33: Debts
It takes them a long time to make their way home. After their interlude in the back of the shop, neither of them is painfully anxious to make it back as much as dreamy with the heat still lingering in their veins. For his part Yamamoto is sure he could be content forever with this, Gokudera’s words imprinted as clearly in his head as his ink is drawn on Gokudera’s skin. The reality of more, of Gokudera’s fingers tangling unselfconsciously in his and Gokudera’s expression going soft and warm every time he looks up at Yamamoto’s face, is nearly more than he knows how to bear.
Gokudera pulls them aside once, around a corner to a street more residential than commercial, winds his fingers into Yamamoto’s hair and draws the other down into a slow kiss more weighted with the promise of later than it is rushed under the present circumstances. Yamamoto doesn’t bother with pausing their movement, himself; it’s enough to fall into step hard on Gokudera’s heels, to lean in so his shoulder bumps Gokudera’s and his lips skim accidental against silver hair on alternate steps. It makes Gokudera laugh, faint and sincere instead of the attempt at rejection he usually tries, and Yamamoto is certain they look lovestruck in every way possible and can’t feel anything but joy at the idea.
By the time they make it in the front doorway, Yamamoto is more wrapped around Gokudera than he is supporting his own steps. He has an arm weighting across the other’s shoulders, his mouth pressing kisses against Gokudera’s hairline as the other fumbles with the key looped around his neck to get the front door unlocked. When they move inside it’s with a single motion, half-falling over the doorway as Yamamoto leans in for a proper kiss before he has yet reached out to push the door shut.
“You’re ridiculous,” Gokudera points out as he stretches out to shove at the door, but he’s reaching up anyway, digging his fingers into Yamamoto’s hair to steady his motion as Gokudera leans in to drag his lips over the other’s. He tastes like heat, fire and sunburns and electricity blended together on his tongue until all Yamamoto can do is shiver under the sensation. “We’re barely in the front door and you’re ready to go again?”
“Not if you don’t want to,” Yamamoto caveats, even though he is ready, all his skin aching with hope for Gokudera’s touch.
Gokudera frowns, a familiar crease settling in at his forehead. “I didn’t say that,” he insists. His fingers loosen at Yamamoto’s hair, trail down the front of the other’s t-shirt to curl against the bottom hem of the fabric. “Lift your arms.”
Yamamoto does. Gokudera’s movement is smooth, elegant with the lack of hurry; the shirt slides up smoothly over Yamamoto’s waist, bares his chest, tugs free of his head and down over his obediently extended arms, leaving Gokudera with Yamamoto’s shirt and Yamamoto with the hot drag of Gokudera’s eyes against his shoulders.
“Bedroom,” Gokudera says, slow and careful, and stays still in the doorway, waiting while Yamamoto toes off his shoes and moves down the hall. Yamamoto can feel the lingering heat of Gokudera’s eyes on his shoulders as he goes, is listening to catch the tiny huff of satisfaction the other makes in his wake, and he knows he should keep going but he can’t help hesitating and glancing back to see the expression on Gokudera’s face. Gokudera’s gaze is lingering against Yamamoto’s tattooed shoulders, his lips barely parted around the gust of an exhale he offered, and even with Yamamoto looking back at him it takes him a moment to blink himself back into focus on the other’s face. His mouth twists as he catches Yamamoto staring at him, like he’s reaching for his usual frown of irritation, but the tension doesn’t hold, it keeps sliding away into affection, and then he’s moving to follow, grabbing at Yamamoto’s shoulder to turn him away by force and urge him down the hallway.
“I thought I said bedroom,” he’s growling against Yamamoto’s shoulder, but it sounds like nearly a laugh, and the hold that is intended to be bracing is going gentle, Gokudera’s fingers sweeping out over the curve of Yamamoto’s back like he’s tracing the lines of his tattoos. Yamamoto’s steps stutter, his balance tipping away from his feet until he nearly falls, and Gokudera is sighing against his back and winding his arms around his waist and Yamamoto is barely around the corner into the room before he’s twisting around again, reaching out to tangle his fingers into Gokudera’s hair and duck his head to Gokudera’s mouth. Gokudera’s smile tastes like fire, a backdrop of warmth to the motion of his tongue as he braces Yamamoto in place to lick against the roof of his mouth, and Yamamoto would be content with this, too, is always willing to be completely happy with whatever Gokudera wants of him.
Then Gokudera pulls away, purrs, “You always taste so good,” and Yamamoto shivers before the hands pressed against his back slide sideways, up across the line of his chest to push against his shoulders with enough force to overwhelm his shaky stance. He stumbles backwards a handful of steps, falls without turning, not at all surprised when the soft of the bed catches him instead of the hard resistance of the floor. Gokudera hesitates for a moment, his eyes drifting back down against Yamamoto’s skin; then he reaches for the edge of his own shirt, drags it up over his head in a single quick motion that takes the weight of his key-necklace with it, and by the time he reemerges he’s hissing at the motion of his hip, his expression turned around a flicker of hurt instead of soft and shadowed as he gazes at the other.
Yamamoto flinches in sympathetic pain, pushes to sit up on the bed so he can reach out towards Gokudera. The other is moving in, only barely limping against the pain of his new tattoo, and Yamamoto gets his arm looped around Gokudera’s waist, leans in to kiss comfort against the flat of his stomach.
“Sorry,” he offers, almost-guilt collecting under his skin at the truth of Gokudera in pain due to something he did. “It’ll heal pretty quick, but we’ll have to be more careful with it for a few days.”
“Idiot,” Gokudera says over his head, his fingers twisting into Yamamoto’s hair to pull him in closer. “Don’t apologize, it’s not like you made me get it.” When he tips in it’s to press his knee alongside Yamamoto’s hip, to lean them both back over the bed. “Scoot back, there’s no room.”
Yamamoto goes. He’s all misaligned on the bed, diagonal instead of fitting in with the actual sides, but with them pressed in together like this there’s more than enough space in spite of that. Gokudera trails him with no hesitation, fitting his knee in between Yamamoto’s as he goes, and Yamamoto can feel the rhythm of Gokudera’s inhales against his lips when he shuts his eyes and presses his mouth to the other’s chest. Gokudera doesn’t push him off right away; instead he curls in, his shoulders drawing in over Yamamoto’s head, and Yamamoto whines appreciation, fits his fingers against the curve of Gokudera’s back and parts his lips to touch his tongue to the faint salt collected on his skin. Gokudera shudders at the contact, something that sounds almost like a laugh spilling past his lips and into Yamamoto’s hair; then he’s tugging on the dark strands, urging him back and down. When Yamamoto blinks up as his shoulders hit the bed Gokudera is leaning over him, his hair falling in a silver curtain around his face and his eyes dark and unusually soft. Yamamoto can see him open his mouth to speak, close it again on uncertainty, watches the slide of his tongue across his lips and the flutter of his eyelashes as he braces himself for words.
“I meant what I said,” he finally manages, his gaze sliding off Yamamoto’s eyes to land at his shoulder instead. Gokudera’s mouth is regaining the shape of his usual frown, falling into an almost-pout of uncertainty as he swallows himself into focus. “I really do love you.”
Yamamoto had thought that it would be less shattering to hear that the second time, the third, the force of the words wearing softer with repetition. But he’s whimpering starstruck appreciation again, trembling under the burst of heat that hits him at those words wrapped in Gokudera’s voice, and there’s less shock but more strength; he can feel the pleasure like an ache in his chest, tangible pressure crushing all the air out of him until he can’t take a proper breath.
“Hayato,” he gasps, the name coming up in throat in lieu of air, his priorities scrambled and muddled by the heat in his veins. “I love you too, I’ve loved you so long, I wanted to tell you before but--”
“Fuck,” Gokudera blurts, Yamamoto’s words cutting off at the exclamation on the other’s lips. He sounds frustrated but when Yamamoto blinks up at him his eyes are clear, his mouth twisting against the soft of that impossible smile. “You wanted to? Before?”
“Yeah,” Yamamoto says, and Gokudera pushes up and away, rocks back over his heels so he can slide down Yamamoto’s legs, can free his hands of their task of support to reach for the fastenings of the other’s jeans instead.
“How long?” he asks, his fingers pushing buttons free and tugging Yamamoto’s zipper down without a flicker of change in the tone of his voice. He’s not even looking at what he’s doing; he’s staring at Yamamoto’s face, the smile at his mouth allowed to linger in the form of a smirk. “Tell me, Takeshi, how long?”
“Weeks,” Yamamoto admits, instantly, willing to capitulate immediately to anything Gokudera wants of him. He arches up off the bed when the other tugs at his jeans, lets those slender fingers pull the denim off his hips and down over his knees. “Months, maybe.”
Gokudera blinks at him, jerks the jeans off Yamamoto’s feet and tosses them off the edge of the bed. “Months,” he says, slow, the repetition heavy until it sounds nearly like a threat. He leans in, drops his shadow back over Yamamoto’s glazed vision. His hand hits Yamamoto’s shoulder, fingers spread wide against the other’s skin, and Yamamoto takes a sharp overheated breath as Gokudera starts to drag his hand down the other’s chest. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I didn’t think you’d want to hear it,” Yamamoto says, and Gokudera’s fingers tighten against his hip, fingernails dragging against pale skin to trail lines of heated friction in their wake. He can’t help rocking up into the contact, can’t repress the way his vision flickers into desire for a moment or the faint moan in his throat. “Ah.” Gokudera’s fingertips slide under the edge of his boxers, flush heat out across untouched skin, and Yamamoto has to take a breath before he can go on. “I thought I’d frighten you away.”
“But not now?” Gokudera asks, and that’s not disagreement but Yamamoto knows better than to point out that particular fact. His hand is dragging sideways, pulling at the elastic of the waistband with his wrist as his fingers trail down along the inside of Yamamoto’s thigh, the contact low enough to be explicitly suggestive even before he moves far enough to bump against the weight of the other’s flushed cock, his wrist catching near-accidental pressure against the overheated sensitivity as Yamamoto angles his knees wider in unthinking encouragement. “Now that you’re certain of me, you’re going to just say it whenever you want?” His tone is rough with assumed irritation, but his eyes are dark and hot, his mouth still shaped around that smile, and Yamamoto laughs instead of protesting, tips his hips up in unspoken plea for more.
“Yeah,” he agrees. Gokudera tips his head like he’s considering Yamamoto’s reaction, slides the tips of his fingers to brush against the other’s entrance, and all Yamamoto’s skin flashes burning with anticipation, his cock twitching hot against the side of Gokudera’s wrist. “I love you.”
Gokudera’s laugh is bright, vivid as a splash of color on a cloudy day, warm enough to make up for the loss of his touch when he draws his hand free. Yamamoto can see his gaze flicker up towards the drawer by the head of the bed, moves before Gokudera can shift his weight; it’s an easy stretch for him, to pull the drawer open and find the bottle of lube to hand off to the other’s expectant hand. Gokudera takes it without offering any sign of gratitude, assumes Yamamoto’s compliance as a given, and Yamamoto falls back to the bed, draws his knees up so he can push his boxers down off his hips and kick them off to join his pants. Gokudera is moving in as fast as Yamamoto is relaxing over the bed again, catching the other’s knee as he moves to spread his legs and bracing it up higher against his chest, spreading Yamamoto’s legs wider than the other can manage on his own.
“You’ve been biting your tongue for weeks about this,” he says again, like he’s framing a thought in his head. His fingers are cooler, now, lukewarm instead of burning, but the friction of his touch still makes Yamamoto shudder with sensation, draws his legs flexing tight with anticipation as Gokudera smooths lube against his skin. “How many times didn’t you tell me?” he asks, pressing a pair of fingers into Yamamoto without waiting for an answer.
For a moment Yamamoto can’t even attempt an answer. His whole body is flushing hot, his legs trembling against the rush of sensation out over his skin, and any cool clinging to Gokudera’s fingers has melted away, his touch is sparking hot as he sinks his fingers in past the first knuckle.
“Hayato,” he says again, reaching for coherency, and Gokudera makes a faint noise of disapproval and pushes in deeper, hard enough that Yamamoto arches off the bed entirely for a moment.
“How many times, Takeshi?” He sounds determined, focused on the answer he wants; Yamamoto is certain that Gokudera will keep going as they are, with Yamamoto’s knee pressed up against his chest and Gokudera’s fingers working him open, until he gets an answer one way or another.
“I don’t know,” he says, the words slipping warm over his tongue as Gokudera draws his hand back, spreads his fingers a little wider as he presses back in. “A dozen?”
“A dozen times,” Gokudera repeats. He curls his fingers, draws shivery sensation out into Yamamoto’s veins from the press of his fingertips inside the other’s body. “Takeshi.” Chiding, faintly teasing; when Yamamoto blinks himself into focus on Gokudera’s face the other is grinning, the lopsided smirk that means he’s not thinking about the expression at all. “You owe me.”
“Okay.” Yamamoto’s hands are starting to shake, now, his usual steadiness finally giving way under the rippling friction of Gokudera’s fingers pressing him open. “Anything you want.”
Gokudera leans in closer. His hand is still moving, setting a slow, languid pace, like he’s willing to linger like this for hours, but his breathing is faster as he draws near enough for Yamamoto to feel it on his lips, his eyes going darker with every shift of his eyelashes.
“Tell me now,” he says, and his mouth is on Yamamoto’s before the other can obey. Yamamoto shuts his eyes to the heat, opens his mouth to sigh satisfaction as Gokudera licks against his lips, and then they’re apart again, Gokudera panting to catch his breath but staying so close Yamamoto can feel the warmth of the air against his skin. “For all those times you didn’t say it.”
This Yamamoto can do. It’s hardly a request at all, when he has to fight to keep the words from sliding across his tongue in a downpour of affection now that he knows he can. “I love you.”
Gokudera’s smile goes wider, warmer, and he’s leaning back, drawing his fingers free and leaving Yamamoto spread open and radiantly warm over the bed. “Keep going,” he says, sliding back to get to his feet while he undoes the front of his jeans. Yamamoto tips his head to watch, breathless at the unconscious ease of Gokudera’s fingers working on the fastenings and the deliberate care as he pushes the denim clear of his bandaged hip. The reminder of the dark lines now set under Gokudera’s skin sends another wave of heat through Yamamoto, flushes him hot and slick against his stomach as Gokudera kicks his feet free of his clothes and steps back in. His hair is falling loose around his shoulders, his eyes all green-tinted shadows and silvery lashes, and his motions are so composed of so much unthought grace that Yamamoto can pick it up secondhand, can slide his legs wide for Gokudera to fit between them without needing any cue at all. He can read the motion right off Gokudera’s skin, can see the shape of himself against Gokudera’s edges, and when the other steadies his weight over his knees it’s Yamamoto that tilts one leg wider and higher, careful to avoid bumping the ache of the new tattoo across the other’s skin.
“You’re perfect,” Yamamoto says, watching Gokudera’s expression fall into focus as he strokes a slippery hand up over the pale flush of his cock, his cheeks tinging faintly pink as he moves. His hand comes out to brace Yamamoto’s knee and Yamamoto capitulates to the gentle push, arching his hips up as Gokudera leans in and down to line them up. “You’re beautiful and you’re brilliant and--” Gokudera glances up at him, catches Yamamoto’s gaze with the shadowed-silver color of his own, doesn’t look away as he starts to thrust forward.
“I love you,” Yamamoto blurts, again, the words forming a rhythm on his tongue, and Gokudera makes a breathless sound, turns the shape of his long exhale into a groan as his cock slides into Yamamoto in one smooth motion. Yamamoto’s vision goes hazy, his eyelids fluttering of their own accord, and Gokudera’s breathing is loud with pleasure, his fingers curling tight enough to bruise where he’s bracing Yamamoto’s leg up. He’s hot to the touch, his hand and his hip and his cock all radiating heat until all Yamamoto can do is gasp for air and spill adoration like it’s the tribute Gokudera deserves.
“I can’t believe you’re with me,” he says as Gokudera leans in over him, the sound of his breathing coming loud as he starts to move in long, unhurried thrusts absent the desperate frenzy of earlier. “I’ve wanted you all this time, I’ve loved you all this time, and now you’re here with me and everything is completely perfect.”
“God,” Gokudera gasps, “You really are a hopeless romantic.” But he’s smiling, nearly laughing on the heat of his exhales, and Yamamoto takes that as encouragement, reaches up to twine his fingers against the back of Gokudera’s neck and up into his hair while he keeps talking, his sentences getting less coherent as his skin flushes hot as summer.
“You’re so wonderful,” as he hooks his leg up over Gokudera’s unhurt hip, tips his weight up so the other’s next thrust whites out his vision with a jolt of pleasure, burns a moan across his tongue. “I love you,” and Gokudera braces his hand over Yamamoto’s shoulder, reaches down between them with his other so he can drag his fingertips up over Yamamoto’s cock. They both shudder when Yamamoto jerks, Gokudera leaning in to kiss hard at Yamamoto’s parted lips, and for a minute the words go silent, leaving just the slick damp of skin moving on skin and half-swallowed whimpers of appreciation Yamamoto can’t hold back as Gokudera’s hand moves up over him. Everything is drifting apart, easing into a slow tide of heat instead of the rushed desperation of earlier, all Yamamoto’s expectation of rejection gone foolish and ephemeral under the press of Gokudera’s lips.
“Stay,” Yamamoto manages as the other pulls back, Gokudera’s breathing stuttering out-of-sync as his movements go unsteady, each forward thrust lingering like he’s trying to gain an extra inch of depth. “Stay with me forever, Hayato, just let me love you.”
Gokudera’s laugh is a husky thing, straining against the tension hunching in his shoulders, but Yamamoto can see it soften his eyes with sincerity even before the other leans in to kiss the corner of his lips.
“You make it sound like a favor,” he purrs against Yamamoto’s skin, the sound soft and teasing.
Yamamoto’s vision is going hazy, his skin flushing in steady waves of heat. He thinks he might be sliding across the bed with each of Gokudera’s movements, or maybe it’s just the insistence of his heartbeat thudding faster in his veins granting that illusion, but he can feel the slow slide of Gokudera stretching him open on every thrust, the pressure of each of Gokudera’s fingers tight around him, and all he can manage is a laugh, bright and melting into the edge of a groan.
“It is.” Gokudera chokes a gasp, sounding startled and shocked at this agreement, and Yamamoto shuts his eyes, turns his head in towards Gokudera’s lips as he draws his fingers out over tense shoulders, presses as much skin to the other as he can. “Hayato,” and there, it’s coming, the slow inevitable crush of satisfaction building on his horizon. Yamamoto takes a breath, his body drawing tense against the sheets of its own volition, and he barely forms the words “I love you” once more before his orgasm unwinds around him, drags him under and incoherent for an endless shuddering eternity. He’s aching pleasure under Gokudera’s fingers, spilling come over the other’s hand and across his trembling stomach, and he can hear Gokudera’s breathing coming faster, starting to whine on each inhale like he can’t get enough air.
Yamamoto falls back to the bed as the first convulsive tension fades, gasps a breath that flutters around the slow-cresting aftershocks, and then he can pay attention to the curl of Gokudera’s shoulders, the anxious pant of his breathing. Words are still too far for him, coherency too much of a struggle, but his hands are still at Gokudera’s shoulders, easy to draw in and up to cup at the other’s face. Yamamoto draws Gokudera’s face up from his shoulder, blinks his own eyes into focus so he can see the hazy anticipation glazing over Gokudera’s. Gokudera looks desperate, looks breathless and tense and burning with his own inner fire, and Yamamoto does the only thing he can, and leans in to kiss him.
He can feel Gokudera come apart. It’s in the fingers tensing at his shoulder, in the part of the other’s lips as he gasps for air, in the pulse of heat into him as Gokudera’s movements stutter to a stop. All the tension in him gives way, cracking apart like Yamamoto has shattered it deliberately, and Gokudera goes limp, drops heavy and boneless against Yamamoto’s shoulder like he’s coming home.
Yamamoto keeps his knee out sideways to avoid pressure on Gokudera’s bandaged hip, but Gokudera doesn’t seem to mind what might seem an awkward position; he just presses his face in against Yamamoto’s shoulder, heaves a sigh like he’s just remembering how to breathe, and murmurs, “I love you,” so softly Yamamoto can only hear because of how close they are pressed together. Yamamoto lets his arm slide down, fits it in under Gokudera’s elbow to fall along the smooth curve of his back, and when he turns his head in it’s so Gokudera can feel his smile pressed against the other’s skin.
He’s not sure he’ll ever be able to stop smiling, with Gokudera.
Chapter 34: Beauty
By the time Yamamoto has worked his way down from the back of Gokudera’s ear, along the dip of his collarbone, and over the line of his arm to the inside bend of his elbow, Gokudera has used up all his resistance.
“I don’t even know what you mean about ‘underappreciated,’” he says to the top of Yamamoto’s head, because the other is too busy fitting his lips against soft-thin skin to lift his gaze to meet Gokudera’s. It hardly matters anyway; Gokudera knows without having to see how Yamamoto looks, his eyes glazed right out of any attempt at focus even though he hasn’t done anything but kiss Gokudera’s shoulder. “If anyone’s body is appreciated, it’s mine.”
“Not equally, though,” Yamamoto says against his elbow. He’s lingering there far longer now that he’s arrived, slicking his tongue across the skin so Gokudera can feel little jolts of heat running up the inside of his arm to his shoulder. “There’s all these corners that get ignored usually.”
“What, my elbows need to be worshipped?”
“Mm,” Yamamoto hums, scrapes his teeth against the dark lines of veins running under the skin before he lifts his head. His hair is a mess, tangled up into soft points and falling across his forehead, and probably he ought to get a haircut but Gokudera doesn’t point this out, just reaches out with his as-yet untouched arm to fit his fingers in against the dark strands. Yamamoto sighs delight at the contact, closes his eyes and leans in to Gokudera’s touch like he’s melting into it. “And your knees, and the bone at your ankle, and the dip at the small of your back.”
Gokudera smiles, making no attempt at all to hold his expression in check. “I can’t believe you, don’t you have better things to do than think about the forgotten parts of my body?”
Yamamoto blinks his eyes back into focus, gives Gokudera a slow, dragging smile, like the pleasure that seems to be a constant in his veins is overflowing in a new way as it gets too much to bear. Gokudera can see the fading imprint of his lips from days before at Yamamoto’s shoulder, a bruise printed into the skin like the shape of some undiscovered flower. Yamamoto’s hand settles against Gokudera’s hip, thumb falling into place with the dark outline of ink that has become more familiar now than the pale skin that was there before, slides up against the other’s body so he can duck in and kiss at the dip between Gokudera’s collarbones.
“Nope.” He’s not teasing; his tone is pure sincerity, warm and delighted, and Gokudera huffs incoherent protest and tips his head back so Yamamoto can fit in closer against him. Yamamoto makes a little purring sound of appreciation, turns his head to press his nose against Gokudera’s throat, and when he moves it’s to slide his tongue against Gokudera’s skin and leave a slick of damp heat in its wake.
Gokudera can’t help but shiver, a tremor of reaction flaring out under his skin from the pressure of Yamamoto’s tongue. They’re been at this for a half hour, Yamamoto working over his skin with as much care as if this is his job, as if his entire life is dedicated to his attention in this exact moment. It’s almost frustrating, how slow he’s going, would be maddening except for the way he’s humming, the gentle vibrations along Gokudera’s skin making him feel lazy, relaxed, like the sound is pushing aside the usual tension that knots across his shoulders.
“You’re so beautiful,” Yamamoto says as he draws sideways, lingering against the edge of Gokudera’s collarbone. The words are familiar, so often repeated Gokudera thinks he could recognize them just from the feel of Yamamoto’s lips shaping them against his skin, but repetition has yet to dim the heat they carry, the flush of pleasure that spills out under his skin and makes him smile at the ceiling.
“You always say that,” he points out, lifts a hand gone heavy with relaxation to tangle into Yamamoto’s hair. Yamamoto turns into the touch, twisting to drop a kiss against the inside of Gokudera’s wrist, and that hardly counts as an underappreciated part of his body but Gokudera doesn’t put voice to this protest, just angles his hand and lets Yamamoto drag his teeth with agonizing gentleness across the sensitive skin. “Won’t you ever get tired of repeating yourself?”
“Never,” Yamamoto says against his pulse, shifts his leg so he can slide his leg up a little higher between Gokudera’s. There’s not much between them, just a double layer of thin boxers, but Yamamoto has been avoiding direct contact with the slow flush of Gokudera’s cock this whole time, either with intention or just by accident. Even now he pauses well short of where Gokudera is starting to ache for friction, steadies his weight with his knee pressed in against the inside of the other’s leg so he can lean in and start to kiss along the back of Gokudera’s ear again. When Gokudera turns his head Yamamoto’s teeth click against the rings in his ears, the full row of three making a smooth line up the outside edge. It tickles, sends sensation fluttering down the back of Gokudera’s neck and along his spine so he shivers and huffs a laugh. Yamamoto sighs pleasure against his hair, presses his nose in against the silver strands, and when Gokudera tips his head farther in submission to the affection Yamamoto takes advantage, breathes hot against his skin and trails a line of kisses along the edge of his jaw and down along the far side of his neck.
Everything in Gokudera’s world has gone hazy and gold-tinted. He’s not even looking at Yamamoto, is gazing unseeing at the wall of their bedroom, but his vision isn’t important; it’s everything else that matters, the heat of Yamamoto’s breath gusting over his skin and the gentle friction of fingertips at his hip and the faint murmur of pleasure Yamamoto makes before he curls in closer to slide a hand in around Gokudera’s shoulders. Gokudera’s not even sure if he’s being encouraged to turn over or not; it doesn’t matter, in any case, his motion is as natural as breathing in this moment. His hip turns up, fits in against Yamamoto’s legs for a moment, and for a brief, breathless moment Gokudera can feel Yamamoto press against his hip, the hard shape of his cock as clear as if the fabric between them weren’t there at all.
Then Yamamoto moves, slides around behind him, and the clarity of desire is gone again, fallen back into the misty heat that is sapping all Gokudera’s energy and permeating the whole room until everything feels like foreplay, from the press of Yamamoto’s toes against the back of his ankles to the ruffle of his hair under Yamamoto’s breathing. Gokudera lets out the breath he didn’t realize he was holding, curves his back to press in closer against Yamamoto’s chest, and Yamamoto sighs against the top of his head, fits his fingers against the ink etched under the skin at Gokudera’s hip. He doesn’t say anything, but Gokudera can hear his breathing catching faster as his fingers run over the marks, trace out the lines of the petals as precisely as if he’s staring at them.
Gokudera lets him go on like that for several minutes; he can feel the delicate friction burning out into his blood, as much tight-wound anticipation as if its the first time again, all the heat of Yamamoto’s hands against him with neither the pain of the needle nor the minimal separation of the gloves to keep them apart. But even the delicate heat starts to ease over the edge into pain, anticipation stretched so tight it becomes an ache, and finally Gokudera moves, hisses wordless impatience and reaches down to hook his thumb under the edge of his boxers.
“Are you going to tease me all day?” he demands without turning over, pushing the clothing down an inch in invitation. He knows the motion strips him down to the pale skin of his hip, bares the sharp line of it for Yamamoto, as much as he knows Yamamoto can’t resist the invitation. Sure enough, the trailing fingers at his tattoo drop down immediately, drawn in the wake of his inviting touch, Yamamoto rocking in closer to press warm against his back, gasping like Gokudera’s the one who’s been denying them more than featherlight touching. His fingers curl against Gokudera’s hip, his thumb pressing in low against the other’s back, and Gokudera rocks back against him, brings his knees up so he can push his boxers free and lose them under the weight of the blankets tangled over them.
“Hayato,” Yamamoto says against his hair, the name drawn warm and affectionate. Gokudera slides his legs back down, lets Yamamoto press their knees to fit together, and when the hand at his hip pushes he rolls over without protest, rocking forward to lie on his stomach over the sheets while Yamamoto sighs against the back of his neck and slides down against him. The bed is warm from their body heat, Gokudera’s own skin radiant enough that the loss of the cover of the blankets doesn’t even make him shiver. It just tingles against his skin, the cool of the air a pleasant counterpoint to the heat of Yamamoto’s mouth pressing kisses against each vertebrae of his spine, the pressure of Yamamoto’s thumbs fitting in against the dip of Gokudera’s waist. Yamamoto keeps working his way down, lingering at what feel like random points to lick slow and thorough against Gokudera’s spine. His hands are shifting too, down across Gokudera’s ass and digging gentle pressure in against the back of the other’s legs, until Gokudera is relaxed as much from the pleasure of the impromptu massage as from the anticipation of more. He’s lost all sense of time, everything is stretching infinite and timeless, until when Yamamoto’s fingers skim across the inside line of his thighs he’s nearly startled by the flicker of heat that runs up his spine.
He shudders against the bed, hips rocking forward involuntarily against the resistance of the mattress, and he’s certain Yamamoto is smiling, doesn’t have to look back to see the melting delight spread out across his face. It makes him flush, self-consciousness and arousal burning each other into greater strength, but he doesn’t say anything, just slides his knees an inch apart in suggestion.
Yamamoto takes the hint. His fingers slide higher, trailing all along the oversensitive inside of Gokudera’s legs as he goes, until Gokudera is starting to shake before Yamamoto’s hand comes back out and up against his back again. He can’t help the growl of frustration in his throat, the way his fingers curl into a fist against his palm as Yamamoto leans in over him again, the drag of his boxers reminder that the other isn’t even naked yet.
“Takeshi,” Gokudera says against the pillows, hissing the name with all the irritation he can muster under the circumstances. “That had better be lube that you’re reaching for or I swear I’ll take charge myself.”
“It is,” Yamamoto soothes, sounding warm and content and infuriatingly patient. Gokudera can feel how hard he is through the cover of his clothes; it’s not fair that he can be so calm, so sure of himself when Gokudera is starting to tremble with need against the bed. “Just relax.”
“I can’t relax when you’ve been teasing me for an hour,” Gokudera snaps. Yamamoto laughs, warm and steady, and Gokudera is just bracing a hand against the bed and starting to push himself up when a hand lands at the curve of his back, slides down with enough force to feel like intention. Yamamoto is humming, like the sound will somehow ease Gokudera’s tension, and Gokudera can hear the bottle opening and that does help, offers the promise of oncoming satisfaction. He lets his arm relax, turns so he can pillow his head on his forearm, and when he looks sideways and up through his hair Yamamoto is watching him, his mouth caught on a smile so soft it must be wholly unconscious.
“I love you,” he offers, as unprompted as his affection always is. He sets the bottle aside, down at the foot of the bed where it won’t be in the way, sets his free hand against Gokudera’s hip and leans in low again, shuts his eyes to press his lips to Gokudera’s shoulder. The heat of his mouth radiates out across Gokudera’s back and down his spine, knocks the air out of him and leaves him trying to remember how to breathe when Yamamoto’s slippery fingers touch against him. There’s a moment of hesitation while Yamamoto lines his fingers up, angles his wrist before he moves, and then he’s sliding in, one finger nearly more teasing than it is satisfying. Gokudera groans, not sure if the sound is appreciative or anxious, and Yamamoto presses in deeper, the joints of his knuckles dragging sensation out into Gokudera’s body. It’s good, the stretch and the heat and the friction, but even as it satisfies it pushes Gokudera’s desire higher, leaves him breathing harder and just as desperate for more as he was moments ago.
“Takeshi,” he says, his voice jumping high in his throat, and Yamamoto says “I know.” He rocks back on his heels, shifts his hand, draws back slow so he can push back in. That helps, the movement bringing the heat of friction in its wake, and Gokudera shuts his eyes and lets himself relax into the pressure. Everything is warmer with his eyes shut, even the vibration of his breathing in his chest purring itself into proof of heat, and Yamamoto is turning his hand, pressing his finger in against Gokudera so every motion of his wrist pulls shivering satisfaction in its wake. He’s sighing pleasure on each exhale, appreciation writ so clearly in the sound Gokudera doesn’t need the words, doesn’t need to hear Yamamoto’s awestruck “You’re so beautiful” to be flushing under the other’s consideration. It’s overwhelming to know how Yamamoto is looking at him, like he’s something precious and perfect and fragile, and for a minute Gokudera can’t breathe, can only lie still with his tongue pressed into silence by the weight of pleasure in that awareness. Then Yamamoto hums delight, and Gokudera has to smile and fall back into the easy rhythm of heated inhales.
Gokudera almost doesn’t realize when Yamamoto pulls his hand back to fit a second finger inside him. The motion has become almost lulling, heat climbing in his veins with so much promise he’s not even straining for it, is letting the bed take his weight and Yamamoto’s movement stretch him open without anything to do but let the friction burn up his spine and out to tingle in the tips of his fingers. He’s not even rocking against the bed; the gentle force of Yamamoto pushing into him is sliding him over the sheets, collecting heat low in his stomach, and if his fingers are tensing now it’s involuntary, clutching at the sheets only because he can’t reach Yamamoto’s hair from the angle he’s at. He can hear Yamamoto’s breathing coming faster, dropping into the low range he hits when he’s not thinking about anything but the easy instinct of his hands on Gokudera’s skin, and he wouldn’t mind staying like this for hours except that the lingering heat of the bed is a poor substitute for Yamamoto’s shoulders under his hands.
“Fuck,” and he turns his head, presses his mouth to the inside of his arm like that will help grant him patience. “Takeshi, I want to touch you.”
He can feel the shiver that runs through Yamamoto’s arm, the involuntary tightening of his fingers inside the other so Gokudera jerks at the burst of sensation. It’s no surprise when Yamamoto’s next word is almost a whimper, gusting warm against Gokudera’s back like the other has collapsed forward from an excess of want. “Hayato” and there’s not even any meaning to that, anymore, it’s just a stand-in for the emotion audible under every syllable. Gokudera lifts his head from his arm, reaches out to brace himself on the bed, and Yamamoto’s fingers are sliding free as the other starts to turn, the motion granting Gokudera one last shudder of sensation before he’s left empty and trembling with the lack.
He doesn’t try to find words. Yamamoto looks glazed over, his eyes entirely out-of-focus for the shadowy heat in them, his hands unsteady at his hip until it’s faster for Gokudera to reach out and push his boxers free himself. Yamamoto laughs, weak and shaking in his throat as he shifts his weight so Gokudera can get the clothing free, and then the sound is spilling seamlessly into a groan as Gokudera closes his fingers around the flushed-hard heat of Yamamoto’s cock, slicking his thumb against the spill of pre-come wet against the head. Yamamoto laughs breathless appreciation, ducks his head to press his nose to Gokudera’s collarbone, and Gokudera hooks his legs around Yamamoto’s hips, leans back to pull the other down atop him. Yamamoto goes without trying to catch his balance, the warm weight of him landing against Gokudera’s chest, and he’s kissing against the other’s skin, fitting a hand between them to trail his fingers against Gokudera’s length as the other tips his hips up, shifts his hold on Yamamoto’s cock so he can line them up. Yamamoto is moaning against his shoulder, trembling with every incidental movement of Gokudera’s fingers, and he sounds incoherent but he’s moving as soon as Gokudera aligns their bodies, his hips tilting forward precisely as Gokudera takes a breath of anticipation. Then he’s there, the familiar heat of his cock stretching Gokudera shaking and satisfied even before their hips come fully together, and all Gokudera’s senses are going warm and white at the same time. He can hear Yamamoto making a sound, far in the distance of his melting awareness, a mewling groan that drops his mouth open and wet at Gokudera’s shoulder, but he’s moaning too, gasping “Takeshi” so long and drawn-out he can feel it thrumming in his throat like music.
“Hayato,” and Yamamoto takes a gasping breath, closes his fingers against Gokudera’s cock. Gokudera jerks, rocking up against Yamamoto’s touch as much as he can, and Yamamoto lets his hand slip friction over him, his fingers drawing tight against the sensitive-flushed head. “I love you, I love you so much.”
“You always say that,” Gokudera manages as Yamamoto draws his hips back an inch, tips forward again to bury himself inside Gokudera in one deep thrust. Gokudera’s exhale comes all at once, startled out of him by the flood of heat, his cock twitching hard and going slick against Yamamoto’s fingers, and he’s reaching up unthinking, tangling his fingers into the other’s hair so he can arch up closer, can bring the ache of his skin to press harder against the other’s mouth.
“Takeshi,” and there’s a world of meaning in that one word, all the phrases that stick on Gokudera’s tongue coming easy in the syllables that have come to mean I love you, have come to mean forever. “More, god, more.”
Yamamoto makes a whimper of agreement into his shoulder, shifts his knees a little wider. His next thrust is faster, the tilt of his hips letting him sink impossibly deeper, and Gokudera can’t see, can’t speak and can’t breathe. Yamamoto’s fingers are slipping over him in rhythm with the stretch of Yamamoto’s cock inside him, everything formed around the panting breaths falling hot at his shoulder, and he’s breathing in sync without even trying, his inhales coming at pace with Yamamoto’s as everything in him surges hot and aching with promise. Yamamoto is talking, gasping and murmuring words lost to Gokudera’s skin, but Gokudera knows what he’s saying, doesn’t need the clarity of language to hear the love in every breath or to feel the devotion in the press of the fingers bracing at his hip. Their movements are falling into sync, every shift bringing them closer and hotter until Gokudera is starting to lose the boundaries between them, until the lines are blurring as badly as the tangled familiarity of the patterns spread out across Yamamoto’s arms. All Gokudera can do is let a hand fall to lay flat at Yamamoto’s shoulder, take a breath and gasp “I love you” into Yamamoto’s hair, and then everything is melting away, pleasure and heat too entangled for him to tell if it’s his own shuddering convulsions that pull Yamamoto over the edge or if it’s the hot slick of Yamamoto coming into him that lets the building wave of orgasm crash over him.
They’re both shaking as they come back down from the first rush of pleasure, Gokudera struggling to find the rhythm of his breathing again and Yamamoto going warm and heavy against his chest like he intends to never move again. It makes Gokudera smile at the ceiling in the moments before he collects himself to tug at Yamamoto’s hair and urge him up higher.
“Come here,” he demands, and Yamamoto does, slides languid-lazy with satisfaction until he’s blinking his heat-shadowed gaze to meet Gokudera’s. Gokudera leans in to kiss the part of his lips, can see Yamamoto starting to smile even before their mouths meet; he can taste words on Yamamoto’s tongue, the endless flood of affection he is always ready to spill for Gokudera’s hearing. Gokudera doesn’t need to listen to it, right now; he can feel it radiant and glowing under his skin, in the lingering heat in his blood and the sticky slide of Yamamoto’s fingers as he lets his hold go, reaches sideways to fit his hand against the ink at Gokudera’s far hip, the sweeping V-shape of a swallow’s wings to match the petals outlined on the other side. When Gokudera pulls back to catch his breath Yamamoto smiles dreamily at him, tips his head down and tucks his forehead in against Gokudera’s shoulder so the other can feel the sigh of overheated satisfaction breathed out directly into his skin.
He’s gentle, when he ducks his head to press his mouth to Yamamoto’s shoulder, sets his teeth against the gold-tanned skin and sucks the mark of his lips against the skin like it’s a promise of the future. Yamamoto purrs appreciation into his shoulder, turns his head so his breathing comes warm at the side of Gokudera’s neck. When he shifts his weight Gokudera moves too, draws them into a more comfortable alignment so when he trails his hand down across the pattern on Yamamoto’s back he can let his arm fall heavy and relaxed around the other’s waist.
His smile comes easy, curving against his mouth before he’s pulled away from Yamamoto’s shoulder so the other can feel the evidence of it against his skin. Gokudera doesn’t care. It’s easy to let himself be happy, with this much beauty in his life.