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Ever After

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When Kaoru considered what he'd do after graduating from high school he wouldn't have guessed he'd become a doctor, but he would have been sure that wherever he was Sentaro would be there with him. Then Sentaro had left taking his "burden" with him and leaving Kaoru without a direction. Without Sentaro there, Kaoru's socially self destructive tendancies had played in full, and so it was unsurprising that Ritsuko had bid him farewell at the end of that Summer. Somehow their relationship had never been that rock-solid connection that some young couples had, not like Yurika and Junichi. Kaoru hadn't kept track of anyone and instead threw himself into college like he was trying to loose all the memories of high school. He probably was. The most rigorous courses, and mind numbing years later he'd graduated with a bachelors degree and a medical school offering him a free ride as one of their most promising candidates.

Kaoru had not loved being an intern. There was nothing about medicine that made his heart sing like playing jazz. He didn't have close friends. Like other students, he was married to his work. Perhaps Kaoru went to greater extremes than they did, bowing out of invitations to go drinking at the end of his shift, and keeping mostly to himself. And yet, in medicine Kaoru found a competency he couldn't shake. It settled over him with the lab coat and made his words a calm beacon in the crisis. He had steady, skilled hands, and somehow patients seemed to like him. Maybe he was just too exhausted to be depressed, or perhaps he'd grown out of the fears and anxieties that plagued his teenage years. Kaoru hoped that when the dust finally cleared and he graduated with that Doctorate that he'd find somehow in learning to heal others perhaps he'd mended parts of himself.

But life hadn't settled down, instead Kaoru had been selected to be one of the chosen few in the high stress ER of one of Tokyo's major hospitals.
"We take only the best." The young woman who handed him his name tag on the first day had said. "It's an honor for you to be here, and we're honored to have you."
"Thank you." He'd bowed to her politely before being called away to his first emergency. Somehow his life had continued without friends, or a home he really recognized: just four mint-green walls and a bed he fell into between hours at the hospital. And then Yurika had appeared, out of nowhere throwing his life upside down again with that photograph.

Maybe it wasn't Sen. There were certainly other half American Japanese men of similar heights and builds, though not many of them. Kaoru knows. He double takes in translations, runs down the hallways of the ER chasing gurneys just to be sure. The other doctors accept his odd behavior and vague remarks. "I'm looking for a friend." He's good enough that benign idiosyncrasies are forgivable. Some of the older doctors seem to understand, their eyes fill with kindness when he says "Someone I once knew in high school..." many of them went into medicine just after the war, and perhaps they too thought they'd find that lost someone. He hasn't told anyone the whole story, but they don't really care. They don't know him anyway.

So perhaps it's stupid, but Kaoru can't help himself. He has money for a train ticket; he doesn't eat much, and his rent is dirt cheap. He calls the hospital from the train station, precious minutes on the pay phone, and almost misses his departure. They know he's taking leave, a family matter. He hasn't so much has taken a vacation in two years and he rarely gets sick. They're happy to see him go. Kaoru spends the train ride with his heart in his throat. He buys a sandwich from the food cart, but can't seem to eat it. He gives it to an old woman who shares his train car. He remembers Sentaro on a train years ago, eating some poor old woman's oranges. Of course she'd been pleased, such a strapping young lad, and she couldn't eat them all anyways.

The town is beautiful, small, cozy. It takes Kaoru only a few hours to locate the new young priest, the one who causes so much trouble. With each anecdote and description he hears, Kaoru's heart grows a little lighter and his step a little faster. He also finds that the town has only one grocery store, and a small medical clinic. The church and orphanage are farther out of the town, but the walk is enjoyable, even in the early summer heat. Kaoru loosens his tie, but doesn't stop to remove it.

When he walks in the church, Kaoru is almost sure this is the place. The drop cloth against a far wall clenches it. Kaoru is reminded of the first time he met Sentaro, when the boy was guarding the rooftop door, draped in a similar sheet. The shape isn't right, even for the body of a fully grown man. The revealed drum-set though is just as beautiful to see. Kaoru's fingers tingle, perhaps in memory of that first touch, the calloused fingers sliding around his hand all those years ago, or perhaps it's the urge to play flooding back into him like a tidal wave. Kaoru hasn't played a piano in years and an organ even longer still but it comes back as if no time at all has passed. It is perhaps sacrilegious to be playing jazz music in church, but Kaoru isn't christian and right now he really doesn't care. And then Sentaro's there. Kaoru doesn't hear him at first, lost in the music, but the shuffle of his feet over the stone floor catches the ear. Kaoru doesn't stop playing but the smile that breaks across his face has been absent for almost as long as music. Sentaro doesn't miss a beat jumping in. He matches rhythm perfectly, defining Kaoru's notes. The churches acoustics bounce back the sound till they really could be a heavenly choir. The laughter of Sentaro's gaggle of children and their off beat clapping doesn't even bother Kaoru. Everything is perfect. Even when the older priest starts yelling at them. Then they're running, like running down the slope from high school, maybe Kaoru's chasing Sen, or maybe Sentaro's chasing him, but either way it's no one but them and the blue, blue sky.

The next few days are hectic. Sentaro still has his obligations as a priest, and the head of an orphanage. Ritsuko helps him, laughing with the little ones, and pressing him for stories of the years since high school. Kaoru is worried it will be awkward around her at first. She still has the same flushed cheeks and bright eyed smile, but somehow it doesn't set his heart ringing in his ears. Instead he's able to congratulate her with an honest smile at the flash of diamond on a ring around her finger.
"He's not a musician." Ritsuko demures, "But I'd think you'd both like him. You're invited to the wedding." Sentaro is so happy at the news, he picks Ritsuko up, swinging her around like one of the younger kids, or his little sisters. She beats on his arms, yelling for him to "let me down" and Kaoru laughs so hard tears well up in the corners of his eyes.

It's clear to Kaoru that he's not going back to Tokyo, maybe Sentaro and Ritsuko aren't his direction in life anymore, but he can't imagine being anywhere else. The medical clinic only has one doctor and they'd be happy for another. The old man who runs the place seems shocked that Kaoru would move to work here rather than Tokyo.
"Are you sure?" He keeps asking, pushing the rim his glasses against the wrinkles between his eyebrows.
"I'm sure." Kaoru repeats, "I want to work somewhere less, hectic. It's beautiful here, and I want to help with the orphanage." The man nods slowly, still not quite understanding.
"Well, we'd be honored to have you. It's a very small practice of course, just myself. My wife arranges appointments. You've told your hospital?"
"I called them yesterday. They were sad I was leaving, but they understood." Kaoru had been vague on the phone, a long term matter, far away, he couldn't come back, and was sorry for his sudden departure. The woman on the other end of the line expressed her condolences and Kaoru didn't correct her. Kaoru hasn't seen his mother in a few months, but she's probably still quite healthy, enjoying running her theater of sorts. Kaoru last saw his father a few years ago, but probably would have received notice of a terminal illness. "I can work here starting next week." Kaoru confirms.
"Alright then. I'll show you around the clinic on Monday." The old man has a firm grip and his hand is raspy-dry. Kaoru shakes back firmly and smiles.

Ritsuko leaves at the end of the week, "I was only here to make sure it was you," she says with a pout and slaps Sentaro on the shoulder. "You're an idiot for making us worry all that time." Sentaro raises his hands in surrender, the gesuture so familiar it yanks at something in Kaoru's gut. It's still odd to see Sentaro's powerful shoulders wrapped in the robes of a priest, with his hair slicked back neat, but the Sentaro Kaoru knew in high school is still there, filling out the edges of this more refined, grown up version.
"I'm sorry. I should have written you. I thought about it, but you'd all moved on, and I didn't want to cause trouble. I know leaving wasn't a smart thing to do, but I didn't want to cause you any more pain." The concern on Sentaro's face is genuine. Ritsuko still frowns, but her second shove is less forceful.
"Just be sure you write, or call, or come visit! If I don't see you at my wedding I will be very unhappy. You're like family to me, you hear. And call my father, he misses you too." Ritsuko presses a folded number into Sentaro's hand before waving goodbye.

They go out drinking that night. There are only two small bars in the town, but they recognize Sentaro both as the young priest and as a regular.
"If you're a priest should you be drinking?" Kaoru asks, as the slide into a booth in the back.
"This place is also a family restaurant, and I'm in plain clothes today. Off work you see." Sentaro says, plucking at the starched collar of his white button-down shirt. Kaoru shakes his head.
"That looks weirder on you than the priests garb does. I thought you were a priest for life, can you take a night off?"
"I'm the rogue priest, right?" Sentaro flashes a grin, "I have a bad reputation to maintain." Sen demonstrates with a flourish of invisible drumsticks and Kaoru concedes the point.

Kaoru hasn't been drinking since the first few years of college. He doesn't think his tolerance has changed since then, but perhaps the alcohol here is stronger. He and Sentaro stagger back to the rectory. Sentaro seems more sober, but Kaoru can't really tell with the way they're leaning on each other. They try and creep stealthily through the corridors but Kaoru isn't certain they've achieved their goal in keeping silent. Sentaro's room is small, and sparsely furnished but unlike Kaoru's place back in Tokyo it feels homey. Each item is clearly chosen with care, from the quilted bed spread that adds warm color to the room, to the small picture frame on the desk. Kaoru picks it up while Sentaro falls back against the bed. It's the same picture Ritsuko kept. Sentaro, grin wide, hair wild, the few visible beads of his rosary curling along the side of his neck, and his arm hauling Kaoru into the picture. Kaoru's eyes are closed, his hair askew, but he's clearly happy in this picture.
"It's a good picture." Sentaro says from the bed. His words aren't slurred, which Kaoru thinks is impressive. He's not as confident of his own vocal abilities.
"Hmmm, my eyes aren't open." he mutters, but puts the picture back down on the desk with great care. He turns it to face the bed so they can both see it. The chair at the desk doesn't look comfortable, the only other place to sit is the bed, or the floor. Kaoru can't decide which he'd rather and winds up sliding half on half off the bed with Sentaro's hand curled tight around his upper arm.
"Watch yourself." Sentaro cautions. With the extra stabilization, Kaoru manages to sit on the bed. Suddenly Sentaro seems very close.

There's only the one lamp in the room. Far away on the desk, it doesn't seem to do an adequate job of lighting the whole room. Kaoru supposes that in the daylight the windows would do just fine. Maybe it's how they try and get priests to go to bed early. Kaoru studies the curve of Sentaro's jaw. It's not much wider than when they were in high school. Of course Sentaro always had a strong jaw. Handsome. The memory punches Kaoru in the gut. Ritsuko wasn't Kaoru's first kiss. There had been that one evening in the basement of Ritsuko's father's record store. They'd been playing music, long after Ritsuko and her father had gone to bed two floors above. Kaoru had told his aunt he'd be staying at a friends. Yawning with the late hour, Kaoru had been about to leave. Gathering his neglected school bag from beside the piano, Sentaro's large hand catching the back of his neck took him by surprise. Confused, he'd turned into the other boy, opening his mouth to ask, "what?" when Sentaro brought their lips together. The kiss hadn't been gentle, a clash of teeth and mashing noses. Kaoru's glasses bit into his face and Sentaro's hand fisted tight in his hair sent an almost soothing sting along his scalp. It had been over almost as soon as it happened. Sentaro stepped back. His eyes were dark, the line of sweat from the hours spent drumming still glistening against his neck. His mouth twisted in something like an apology, but he didn't speak, mearly nodded his head before turning and running away up the stairs. Kaoru had stood in the basement hand pressed to his lips, staring at the abandoned drum set until another, jaw cracking yawn spurred him into movement.

Somehow in his recollection, Kaoru's hand has floated to his mouth. Probing his lips with two fingers he watches Sentaro stare at the picture. He never had figured out what that day meant. Kaoru had snuck back into his own house, and in the morning it seemed as if it were all a dream. Sentaro certainly never mentioned it again. Then he was chasing after Yurika and Kaoru was trying to get over Ritsuko who clearly liked Sentaro better. Who wouldn't, really. But it was still his first kiss and even when he's tried to forget it, the memory still stays with him.
Kaoru clears his throat, "So you're a priest." Sentaro looks over at him.
"Yes, I am."
"Does that mean you don't..." perhaps Kaoru isn't quite drunk enough for this conversation. Inebriated enough to be thinking of it, but perhaps not enough to say so.
"Mean what?" Sentaro asks quizzically. Sentaro's fingers play drum patterns against his ribs where his fingers are splayed across his sides. Kaoru wonders if Sentaro knows he does the motion or if it's second nature.
"You don't have a wife then?" Kaoru asks instead. Sentaro laughs, the kind of full bodied sound that engenders laughter in others. Kaoru can't help smiling.
Sentaro shakes his head, "No, I don't have a wife. I won't ever be married."
Kaoru furrows his brow. Sentaro has always wanted a family, children, a home. Kaoru can't imagine him living alone in the world. Of course maybe the orphans are his children now. The thought softens Kaoru's smile, Sentaro father to the whole world, Father with a capital F, even. But he still has to ask, "Don't you want to?"
"No." Sentaro answers simply, and then, after a moment, follows with, "I'm a priest." Sentaro's stare is curious, "You don't have a fiance, don't you want to get married? You aren't still pining after Ritsuko are you?"
Kaoru scoffs at that, "No, of course not!" Sentaro shrugs as if to say 'just asking'. "No. I don't think I'll ever marry. Up until now I've been married to my work, and now..." Kaoru can't actually decide what now, but he's fairly certain marriage isn't in his future. He's only ever dated Ritsuko. Maybe she was the only girl for him. Still Kaoru can't regret it. He can't imagine being happy even if that was his diamond around Ritsuko's finger.

Sentaro watches him considering. "Well that's good because Ritsuko's getting married, and we're going to the wedding!" He sounds almost as startled by the news as Kaoru feels.
"I know!," Kaoru laughs, "And Yurika's having a baby."
"Jun's probably beside himself." Sentaro agrees. "I guess everyone's grown up."
"Where does that leave us?" Kaoru muses. He stares at the lamp opening and closing his eyes so the purple green after images of the light flicker like fireworks. The bed dips as Sentaro shifts closer. The movement makes Kaoru's elbow slip he falls down against the bed with a thump. Leaning over him, Sentaro's face blocks out the lamp light. The words are bubbling up in Kaoru's throat but he can't pick the right ones so he remains silent. Slowly, Sentaro leans down. Kaoru could move if he wanted to. He doesn't. Less than a foot away, Sentaro closes his eyes.

This time Kaoru knows how to turn his face. He leans up on his elbows, meeting Sentaro's lips with a gentle brush of his own. The years between the two kisses stretch, intimate moments with Ritsuko and the uninspired, unintentional moments in college and medical school, one night stand's blurred faces pass between them, Kaoru imagines. But the kiss is sweet, gentle in a way the first one wasn't. Kaoru cups the back of Sentaro's head in his hand. He guides the man closer pulling him down to the bed. Sentaro's hair is tacky with whatever creme he uses to keep it smooth but Kaoru doesn't mind. He takes advantage of their new position to twine closer, looping his free arm over Sentaro's side. The groan that rumbles in Sentaro's throat when Kaoru swipes a tentative tongue over his lips sends shivers from the soles of Kaoru's feet all the way up to his hairline. The first kiss was never this deep, this hot. It makes something pull tight in Kaoru's gut, a tenderness emanating from his whole body. He wants to wrap himself closer. Sentaro responds eagerly to the pull of his hands. His weight settling firmly against Kaoru, bodies aligned just so sends sparks dancing along his nerves. The first roll of his hips makes Kaoru dizzy. Sentaro's moan is muffled against Kaoru's lips, a sound more felt than heard. Kaoru breaks the kiss to pant heavily against Sentaro's neck. He repeats the motion, if only to hear that sound again. He hasn't wanted someone this much in a longer time than he perhaps cares to think of this moment. The sound Sentaro makes is deliciously ragged, low in his throat and almost startled in it's intensity. Kaoru mouths kisses against Sentaro's jaw. His fingers fumble between them caught on the second button of Sentaro's perfect white shirt. One hand sticky with the product from Sentaro's hair and the other dumb with lust where Kaoru can't divide enough attention from heat coiling through his body. Even the occasional dig of Sentaro's belt buckle against his stomach is a welcome sensation.

Sentaro's hands cover his. The button's open easily for him and Kaoru almost laughs at that, but Sentaro is shrugging the shirt from his shoulders, baring the muscled expanse of his arms and chest. Kaoru spent years admiring that physique. The ripple and bunch of his arms playing the drums, the way he could stand, stolidly supporting a child in each arm while two others attempted to use their older brother as a jungle gym. In comparison, Kaoru had always been ill defined, not waifish but slender almost to the point of femininity as a teenager. He's grown into his shoulders, stretched into the broader shape of a man, but he still has little muscle definition. Sentaro hasn't grown larger, or even taller but he's perhaps more settled, heavy in his body in a way that makes Kaoru think of fatherhood and dependability. Sentaro is a man, certainly, no longer a teenage boy, but his heart still beats an endearingly fast drumbeat beneath Kaoru's fingers. Kaoru shifts his hand and presses a kiss there. He trails kisses across Sentaro's chest, following the definition of muscle. Sentaro stays perfectly still, allowing Kaoru to move above him as he pleases. Kaoru smiles, presses a kiss with just a hint of tongue against one of Sentaro's dusky nipples. Sentaro's entire body seizes and a strangled sound echoes in the room. Kaoru looks up, and experimentally licks again, a broader swipe followed by a pointed roll of tongue. Sentaro bites his lip, face flushed, his head tossed back. Kaoru grins and moves to the other side of his chest. After a few minutes lavishing attention there as well, Kaoru starts to trail his way down. He counts each of Sentaro's ribs with his fingers and curls is tongue over flex and jump of Sentaro's abs. His finally his fingers close over the clasp of Sentaro's belt.

Sentaro's hand on his shoulder clenches almost painfully, and Kaoru looks up. Sentaro's face is tight, flushed but he doesn't look quite happy.
"What is it?" Kaoru asked concerned. Up until a moment ago Kaoru could have sworn they both had the same idea.
"I, uh, I haven't." Sentaro stammers. He averts his gaze, seemingly unable to continue watching Kaoru's face. His expression is frustrated, but not angry. Kaoru waits, uncertain. "This is the first time I've know." Sentaro gestures with the hand not on Kaoru's shoulder. It's vague enough that it could encompass Sentaro's entire body, perhaps the whole situation at hand. Kaoru sits up, gobsmacked, for a better look at Sentaro's face.
"You haven't ever...with anyone?" He asks, incredulous. Sentaro looks back at him, snaps,
"Well, I haven't really had- What have you?"
Kaoru nods, a clear movement, "Yes, I have. I went to college. I haven't really dated anyone, but...there was a boy in one of my chemistry classes. We were working on a project together and after spending so much time, all those late nights, it just sort of, happened I guess." Kaoru shrugs. "It's not something I've done often, certainly, but it's not like it's unheard of."
Sentaro clears his throat, scoots up the bed so he's sitting, facing Kaoru. He's not just flushed, he's actually blushing now, the pink stain high up on his cheeks.
"I'm a priest, Kaoru." The use of his name jolts down Kaoru's spine. "I haven't done this sort of thing with anyone, women or men, at all. Well, not since I dated Akiko my freshman year of high school, and neither of us ever took our shirts off." Sentaro laughs a little, nervously rubbing at his hair. It looks more natural sticking up at odd angles again.
"You've never had sex with anyone." Kaoru reiterates, just to be clear.
Sentaro blinks at his directness, ducks his head sheepishly, with a muttered, "No."
Kaoru rocks back a little, leaning against his hands and studying Sentaro. "Alright. I think. I have to think about this." Kaoru shoves a hand through his hair with a sigh. "I'm still tipsy and you're..." Kaoru gestures that same, vague, encompassing motion. Sentaro is starting to look angry but Kaoru cuts him off. "I want to do this. With you. I have for a while. You were my first kiss. Did you know that?" It's Sentaro's turn to look surprised. His expression is so scandalized that Kaoru can't help laughing. Soon the two of them are howling loud enough it's probably waking up the other priests, but Kaoru's glad the tension has broken. Finally when his laughter subsides to a few hiccups, Kaoru regains his breath.
"I just want this to be perfect for you. It wasn't, for me, not the first time and I wouldn't want that between us."
Sentaro greets this statement with seriousness, "I appreciate that you want that. For me. For, us?" His voice turns hesitant. Kaoru closes the space between them, leans forward for a gentle brush of lips.
"I'm working at the clinic here. I'll be here for a while. So..." Sentaro's face lights up, a joy that sets something equally warm burning in Kaoru's chest.
"So we have time."

The next few weeks are extremely busy. He has little to ship from Tokyo but there's still the necessities of setting up a house. The doctor's wife is very helpful, bringing him leftovers and helping him beat out the old futon Sentaro managed to acquire from somewhere. Kaoru doesn't have a copy of that particular photograph, but his small apartment begins to look like a place he lives. Then the doctor catches a cold and Kaoru runs the clinic on his own for a week. He still goes out to dinner with Sentaro two evenings that week, but each time he goes home early with an apologetic smile. He has to open the clinic early the next morning. But through all that, Kaoru's still thinking about it. The almost shy look on Sentaro's face. The fact that Sentaro has never been with anyone. It makes something catch in Kaoru's throat each time he thinks it. A pleasant, almost possessive heat, curling in his stomach when he insists on paying for their meal and Sentaro's eyes turn thoughtful and suggestive. They aren't precisely dating, spending time like any two, old friends would, but Kaoru knows there's more to it then that. The thoughts don't keep him up at night, but they do enrich a few of his nightly activities. By the time, three weeks later, when Kaoru wakes to find he's spoiled his sheets, hazy memories of what he's fairly certain was a dream about sharing his wedding bed with Sentaro, Kaoru is sure he's become obsessed. He feels like a teenager again. Flashes of lust that catch him completely off guard in totally inappropriate ways, like when he's playing the organ in church and Sentaro's drums come in just perfectly, melding the two sounds into a musical duet.

Kaoru wants to ask Sentaro if it's as bad for him, but if he says anything he's pretty sure he will wind up doing something about it. And he's not ready for that yet. This has to be intentional. Finally, a month of apartment furnishing and stolen kisses later, Kaoru palms a note into Sentaro's hand as he leaves their booth in the restaurant. He doesn't look back to see what Sentaro's reaction is. Instead he hurries home and distracts himself with making dinner for the next day. When Kaoru leaves in the morning, he makes sure to open the windows and air out the apartment. It's another beautiful summer day. The forecast promises rain in the evening so it won't be too hot the way the last few days have been creeping. Kaoru will just have to make sure he's home before the rain.

The clinic is quiet, the elderly doctor hums to himself as he putters about. Kaoru helps reorganize the medicine cabinet with the new stock. The doctor's wife serves them both lunch and they eat out on the front step. They watch for patients, but no one comes. By late afternoon it's clear that today will just be another of those empty, slow days. Clouds are rolling in over the water, bringing the damp air that promises rain.
"Go home before you get wet!" The doctor declares, shoeing Kaoru out the door. Kaoru doesn't protest. The brisk walk home works wonders to clear the calm of the day from his head. He's practically jangling with nerves by the time he fumbles the lock in the door of his apartment. He shouldn't be this worked up, he at least has done this before. Somehow, though, it's different. This is Sentaro, and Sentaro hasn't done this before. Somehow that's a possibility Kaoru could never imagine. Sentaro always seemed so much older, wilder, more worldly, even if they were the same age. Kaoru carefully arranges plates on the table, laying out the food for dinner. He closes the windows at the first gust of cold air. He considers lighting candles. The doorbell rings as he's still dithering over the decision. He places the candles, neatly unlit, on the table and wipes his sweaty hands on his pants before opening the door.

Sentaro leans awkwardly against the doorjam. He's holding a bouquet of wildflowers Kaoru has seen growing behind the church. The image should be funny, but the laughter is all dried out of Kaoru's throat. He ushers Sentaro inside, quietly locking the door behind him.
"Wow," Sentaro says, when he notices the table. Kaoru shrugs. He takes the flowers and finds a vase. It fits neatly between the two candles. Kaoru thinks to hell with it and lights the candles. Turning back from the lit table, he finds Sentaro beaming.
"Thank you." He wraps his arms around Kaoru drawing him into a hug that is so familiar despite all the years. Kaoru turns his nose into the juncture of Sentaro's neck and shoulder. The scent is the same too, comforting, warm.
"You're welcome." Kaoru says when he steps away. "I did make it myself, so I can't vouch for the cooking, but it should be edible."
"I guess we'll find out!" Sentaro starts loading up his plate. Kaoru smiles and takes a seat himself.

Somehow dinner is normal. Normal conversation about the slow day at the clinic, the girl who skinned her knee and left a trail of blood all over one of the church pews. Playing catch with the younger boys who want to be baseball stars when they grow up.
"They helped me pick the flowers actually." Sentaro laughs, "it was a whole expedition to find the prettiest flowers. I love children that age."
This time, Kaoru doesn't mind the swell of fondness that makes him smile. "I'm sure they know they're lucky to have you."
"Eh, I cause enough trouble with my jazz playing, rascally ways. But you're probably right."
"I know I'm right." Kaoru shrugs.

Almost before he's ready, they've finished dinner. In silence they gather the remaining dishes and Kaoru runs water over them to sit in the sink. Wiping his hands on a towel he turns. Sentaro is standing, suddenly nervous again. His fingers tap a jazz beat against the countertop. Kaoru's heart lurches.
"My bedroom's through that door," Kaoru murmurs. Sentaro follows his gaze, then turns his eyes back to Kaoru. They stand like that, eyes locked, staring for a few moments before Kaoru swallows, "We could..." His voice breaking that silence spurs Sentaro to action. His hands fist in Kaoru's shirt. He drags Kaoru, tripping over his feet, and walks backwards into the bedroom. They barely get the door closed before Kaoru's shirt it's the floor. It's going perhaps faster than he anticipated but Kaoru doesn't care, helping Sentaro's frenzied hands make short work of his belt and trousers. The air isn't cold enough to illicit shivers, but they ripple up Kaoru's spine anyway when Sentaro traces a hot hand over his shoulder blade. Kaoru doesn't let himself get distracted by the kiss, working on Sentaro's clothes until they're both standing with their pants pooled around their ankles. Kaoru hooks one teasing finger into the waistband of Sentaro's underwear pulling lightly. Sentaro's head bobs in an urgent nod. He backs against the bed, sitting down, then arching his hips to help Kaoru pull the underwear off. He kicks it free. Kaoru misses where it lands, to busy staring at Sentaro, completely naked in front of him.
"Sen," he whispers but Sentaro's hands tug at his own underwear, cutting him off. Kaoru helps shimmy them off and steps to the bed. The first brush of skin against skin rips an undignified sound from his throat, but Sentaro doesn't seem to mind. They lay like that for a moment, pressed together, still but for wandering, caressing hands.
"This is, okay?" Kaoru asks finally.
"Better than" Kaoru feels the rumble of Sentaro's voice through his whole body. He wriggles to get just a bit closer and lines them up there.

The difference between the movement when clothed is electric. All Kaoru's breath leaves in a gasp and Sentaro's hands dig against his sides. He might have bruises in the morning but Kaoru honestly doesn't care. All that matters is the fricative slide of his hips when Sentaro tries his own, tentative roll. It doesn't take long for Sentaro to become less tentative, his movements grow assured with the whimpers rising from Kaoru's throat. Finally Kaoru manages to gasp, pressing a stilling hand down against Sentaro's muscled abdomen,
"I'm not going to last if you do that much longer, and I thought you wanted?"
Sentaro swallows, nods, "I do. I do want." His hips still. "What should I."
Kaoru takes a few deep breaths. "Well, first, would you like to do me, or should I..."
Sentaro doesn't avert his eyes, "If you would?" he asks, and it almost sounds like begging. Kaoru almost blinks in surprise but stops himself.
"I, yes." He nods, leans in to kiss hungrily at Sentaro's mouth. There's a can of vegetable shortening, down beside the bed just out of sight. Kaoru fishes around blindly, unwilling to take his eyes off of Sentaro. "I'm going to be as gentle as possible. Tell me at all if this hurts." Kaoru cautions, his voice taking on the edge of his 'I am a doctor' lilt. Sentaro just smiles crookedly and arches his hips a little at Kaoru's urging. When he has three fingers decently slick, Kaoru starts to work the first in, gentle none intrusive circles against Sentaro's anus. He kisses the other man as distraction, using his tongue as he would his finger, probing and circling until the two are almost moving together. Then he slowly eases out and starts the process over with a second finger. By the third finger Sentaro is pressing back against him. The sounds Sentaro utters make Kaoru impossibly harder. He bites against his own lip, watching Sentaro's fingers grip in the sheets, his hips rocking back and the tendons in his neck standing taut against the skin. Kaoru leans down to nip at one.
"Just, do it already." Sentaro growls. Kaoru grins. Sentaro whimpers when Kaoru removes his fingers. He wraps his hand around himself, adding a bit more vegetable shortening to the slickness of precum gathered there. "Come on!" Sentaro urges, spreading his legs wider and Kaoru takes the invitation.

He is still sure to move exquisitely slowly. The feeling makes it difficult, the hot clench of Sentaro around him, and the sight of Sentaro before him, eyes hot on Kaoru's face like he's memorizing this moment. Finally Kaoru is fully seated, sheathed within Sentaro's body. He leans over panting, presses a kiss to Sentaro's heart. Then slowly he rolls his hips. Sentaro hisses and slams his body back against Kaoru. Kaoru returns the movement with a gasp and suddenly they're rocking against each other at a furious pace. The burn of it takes up in Kaoru's thighs, but it doesn't matter, only one more sensation on top of the pleasure zipping through his body. Kaoru manages to wrestle one of Sentaro's hands free of the blankets, positioning it over Sentaro's own cock with a sloppy pull of his wrist. Sentaro groans, taking up an echo of their rhythm. Not long after that Kaoru can feel the start of Sentaro's orgasm. The other mans body spasms around him, as he throws his head back in a long throaty moan. Kaoru's hips jerk chaotically, pleasure arching through his spine, tightening with each spasmodic twitch. It drains out of him like water, leaving him limp and laying across Sentaro's chest breathing harshly. Sentaro's hands come around his back, holding him close and pulling him up for a kiss. One hand is vaguely damp, sticky with cum but Kaoru's going to need a shower anyway. Sentaro hitches a soft sound against Kaoru's lips when Kaoru slides free.
"So," Kaoru murmurs, "how was that?"
Sentaro huffs a laugh, "Worth waiting for." The words buzz against Kaoru, little happy spikes of interest, but he's too sated to react with more than a smile.
"Good. You know, I fantasized about this for years. Of course, I was often imagining you doing that to me but..." Kaoru interrupts himself with a yawn, "I really couldn't imagine anything better." He presses a sleepy kiss against Sentaro's cheek. "And there's time enough for that later."
"Really?" Sentaro asks, sounding less sleepy himself. "I could? You fantasized about me?"
"You could, and I did." Kaoru agrees. Sentaro's hands stroke over his shoulders and long, soothing sweeps.
"You'll have to tell me about that someday. What you, what you fantasized about."
"Mm. Tomorrow. Sleep." Kaoru mutters, Tugging the edge of the rumpled quilt over them.