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Desert Clams

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Tsuna tugged at the waistcoat that Reborn had forced upon him while in San Francisco. During his visit, he’d felt terribly overdressed. The growing city certainly far exceeded his town's population but the staunch fashion of the east coast was out of place among miners and drunks. His 'mentor' had insisted that as the heir of his family's establishment, he should make more of an effort to 'not dress like a redneck ruffian'.

He hated travel. It was lonely and exhausting, though he was thankful for the recently opened railway that made his trip north downright luxurious. But now deposited in the middle of Los Angeles, he was baking in his high-collared east coast fashions. The long, hot and bumpy stagecoach ride it would take him to get home would not be pleasant. In front of the bustling train station, he sat down heavily on his trunk and thunked his chin down into his palms with petulant, impotent frustration.

Casting a glance around, he wondered who he’d be traveling with. A stiff-backed gentleman stood nearby, one hand on a snake-headed cane and the other held primly behind his back. On his opposite side another man hovered, shifting from one foot to the other, clearly uncomfortable. Or perhaps just cautious, Tsuna supposed, as he observed the man's fingers twitch near his holster. The gentleman was probably someone important then-- or just a man of means and paranoia, to have hired a bodyguard for the relatively short coach ride they'd be taking.

Bored, Tsuna waited until the stagecoach rolled up, horses freshly groomed and all fixtures shining in the California sun. There were five passengers total and Tsuna waited for the others to climb aboard, pausing as he met the steely eyes of what he assumed was this dandy's bodyguard. He gave a reflexive, nervous smile in spite of the hardness of the silver haired man's gaze.

A brief flash of something crossed the man's face, a tiny widening of his eyes, a thinning of his lips, but he turned away before Tsuna could process the expression.

"Everyone on!" the driver called. "We got a schedule to keep!"

Tsuna ended up shoulder to shoulder with the bodyguard, the man's charge against the other window. The other two passengers were young ladies who plucked at their gloves on the opposite bench.

A hyup from the driver and the horses whinnied and the coach lurched into a jostling roll, rattling down the cobbled city streets. Beyond the landscape of new buildings, the view gave way to rolling fields of fruit trees and finally the bleak desert.

In the silence between strangers, Tsuna couldn't help but steal glances at the handsome young man beside him. A dark blush colored his face when he was caught and hurried to look out the window.

It was a rather awkward ride. The dandy and his employee were silent and stoic and the women were talking softly between themselves. It took several hours before Tsuna took a breath and turned slightly to meet the silver haired man's eyes again nervously. "Forgive me but -- do we know each other?" he asked quietly.

The man raised a brow in a skeptical arch, but didn't immediately deny the possibility. He heaved a small sigh and and glanced at his employer as if to make sure personal conversations were allowed within his job description. The man didn't appear to communicate anything in return, but his bodyguard turned his attention to Tsuna anyway. "You're a Vongola," he answered. "I know your family."

"Oh!" Tsuna chirped, blinking. He looked into the taller man's face now, studying him with a faint frown. "You -- you went to my academy, didn't you, in grade school? In Vermont?"

The answer seemed reluctant, but nonetheless, "Yes," he confirmed. "You haven't grown much taller."

Tsuna pouted faintly, cheeks heating much to his chagrin. “Well -- I --" he stammered. "Just unlucky I guess... You though! I remember you got some of the best marks in the class. These days you're..." He gestured vaguely at the apparent work situation.

"Making use of different skills," the silver-haired man finished for him, then reached into his vest to check a well-used pocket watch. "And you. A veritable business man."

"A--hah-- something like that, I suppose!" Tsuna sort of nodded. "Just running a branch of the family business..." He cleared his throat. "Oh! I'm -- if you don't recall I mean -- Tsunayoshi Sawada." He held out a hopeful hand with a little smile.

The other man stared at the proffered hand for a moment that was just a little too long for comfort, but finally took it with a nod. "Hayato Gokudera. I've worked for your family before. Though it was probably before they made you responsible for... carrying on the family business."

"I-I see. Were you still um-- guarding bodies when you worked for us?" he asked innocent and wide-eyed.

"Something like that," the man called Gokudera answered, lips breaking into a slow spreading grin that gave Tsuna shivers.

"Well ain’t we lucky," one of the women across the way spoke up, jarring the already tense conversation. There was a rustle of skirts and the clack of metal and the male side of the car was facing down the barrels of twin shot guns. "Looks like we can take out two Vongola agents at once."

Tsuna gave a startled shriek, pressing himself flat against the back of his seat. Startling them further before Gokudera had the chance to get a word in, his employer gave a bark of laughter.

"Ladies, a moment," he finally spoke up with a chuckle and a smirk. "What an interesting moment of fortune we've come across here. Byron! Stop the coach!"

There was a chorus of startled whinnies from ahead of them and the stagecoach screeched to a rattling, shaking stop.

In less than a moment, Gokudera had his own pistol in hand, pointed at the woman who'd spoken. "What is this?" he growled, eyes darting between the two strangers and his smirking employer. "You know them?" He cocked his head toward the armed woman.

"Hardly, boy," the man scoffed. And in an entirely unexpected move, the dandy's snake-headed cane lashed out and snapped the pistol from Gokudera's hand, leaving smart bruises on his knuckles. The gun skittered across the floor of the carriage and a heeled shoe stamped down on it.

The door of the coach snapped open and another gun was shoved in their faces. "What the fuck's goin on back here, boss?!" the stagecoach driver shouted.

"Let's all be calm," the dandy said, spreading his hands open to the women who had gone from soft and pretty to threatening and hard edged. "I think we can come to a pleasing arrangement. "Although I should ask just which of our two young gentlemen here did you intend to kill?"

The women exchanged glances as though to decide whether to be truthful with this man. "No secret," the one holding the gun answered after a moment. "Got a contract here for the young Vongola master there." She nodded toward Tsuna. "Got no qualms about shooting any other gentleman might get in our way," she added, punctuated by a pointed glance for the dandy.

"ME?!" Tsuna shrieked, as though it was the first time something like this had happened. He was positively cowering in the corner of the bench.

"Well how perfectly convenient," the dandy drawled calmly. "Perhaps you'll trade my silence and confidence to keep the bigger one to myself. He has some information I'd like to... extract."

"I hate this job," Gokudera sneered, hands up, and tugged a rolled cigarette and a silver-plated lighter free from a vest pocket, moving slowly and pointedly to demonstrate that he wasn't reaching for a hidden gun. "This guy paid me like shit anyway," he confided in Tsuna, lighting the cigarette behind one cupped hand.

He took a deep drag and then with a loud POW Gokudera dropped his cigarette and the carriage erupted with a shockwave of black smoke. The closed door was blasted off, the young Vongola tossed out with the explosion and skidding across the dirt. So much for his fancy east coast fashions.

Gokudera wasn’t far behind, just as soot smeared as the rest of the company, jumping from the coach with lit dynamite in hand.

“Deal’s off!” one of the women shouted, leaping after him with rifle aimed. “The big boy’s too dangerous.”

BLAM!

“NO!” the dandy shouted, stumbling out of the coach and choking on smoke.

The explosions that followed were far louder than the rifle blast, Gokudera’s chucked dynamite hitting the twin shotgun shells in balls of angry fire. He grinned when the smoke cleared, squaring with his two lovely opponents and already reaching for the next round of explosives.

But then there was an ominous click beside his ear and the point of a pistol pressed into the side of Gokudera’s head. The second coach driver. Shit.

“Now how bout you just calm the fuck down, pretty boy, and maybe I won’t water that there cactus over there with your brains.”

Before any snapped retort or tossed dynamite could continue the conversation, two high pitched shots broke the scene.

POW POW

PING

BANG!

The shot half deafened Gokudera but the pistol somehow shot high and away. The second shot hit the driver’s trigger finger with a sickening crack and he howled in pain, falling back with blood dripping from his other clutching hand.

When all those assembled looked to the source of the shots, it was as though the slight young boy tossed aside, dirty with sand and soot, had transformed into an entirely different man. He wielded a pair of gold derringers, his gaze focused, intense and frowning.

The women burst into laughter. “Look at this runt! Hey boy, don’t you know those guns are for prostitutes to tuck in their garters?” They laughed harder but one lifted her rifle and aimed at him, grinning wildly. “Say so long little boss.”

The shotgun was cocked and fired at the same time that Tsuna’s delicate guns lifted and fired again, much to the surprise of the rest of the crew. Automatic derringers? There wasn’t time to wonder at them when the two small pellets were sure and precise, racing down the twin barrels of the shot gun to meet the shells in mid-fire. The rifle exploded into shrapnel and the laughter turned to horrified screams.

Tsuna raced forward, grabbing Gokudera by the sleeve. “Can you ride a horse?” he demanded.

Gokudera blinked back, incredulous. “Of course I can.”

“Then let’s go!” Tsuna yelped and dragged him for the front of the coach, narrowly missing another pistol shot.

Gokudera jumped onto the back of one of the coach steeds and Tsuna clambered up after him with some help. A knife from Gokudera’s boot sliced through the reigns to the coach and he heeled the horse into movement. With a shriek, Tsuna wrapped his arms around the assassin’s waist, gripping tight against his back.

But holding on as they sped away from the scene, he turned to fire off another set of shots, one handed. Two precisely hit the other horse’s reigns, slicing them apart while a third gave a PING as it ricocheted on a metal piece of the horse’s tack. It whinnied in terror and bolted wildly from the coach in the opposite direction.

The sound of fired shots whistled through the air after them, but none found their mark and quickly, they were too far away to reach. Gokudera was focused, quiet, a deep frown etched into his face as he rode them away from the scene, not bothering to spare the horse until they could spot buildings in the distance, their forms wavering a little in the desert heat. Only then did Gokudera slow their pace to a trot, only then did he turn in the saddle to catch a glimpse of the wide-eyed man still clinging to his back.

“Who ARE you?” he managed, finding his voice, not bothering to mask the awe he felt.

"Oh -- um --" Tsuna stammered, apparently back to his nervous self. "I suppose I'm the uh.... Tenth Vongola? Heir to the family? In training of course." He gripped fearfully at Gokudera's belt, clearly not at home on horseback.

Almost immediately, Gokudera stilled their mount, dislodged himself from Tsuna's grip, and slipped from the saddle onto the ground, where he took off his hat and held it against his chest. He ducked his head respectfully as Tsuna struggled to stay upright on the horse. "Forgive me, Sir. And please forgive my behavior earlier. Your skill in a standoff is significant, and I owe my life to your shooting. I realize now it was my mistake to overlook your greatness. I worked for your family in the past-- I would be honored to do so again."

"WHAT?!" Tsuna yelped, very nearly falling from the horse but Gokudera caught him, hat fluttering to the ground. Tsuna found himself suddenly uncomfortably close to the silver haired man's face, his own flushed bright red. "I mean -- I'm not anything special and I definitely don't have greatness!" He scrambled and Gokudera helped to right him. "We-- we're not hiring in Wavewood right now!" His voice cracked, face still ablaze. "I could -- uh-- I could send a message to the office in San Francisco to see if there's jobs somewhere though!"

"Let me see you safely home," Gokudera insisted, as though he hadn't heard a word of Tsuna's protests. He picked up his hat and gathered the reins of the horse and began to walk, leading the beast toward town.

"You don't have to--" Tsuna protested. He squeaked as the horse began to move again and latched awkwardly to the saddle horn. "I mean -- you obviously should come into town but --" He squeaked again, starting to slip backward and cried out, "Just come up here with me!"

Gokudera looked immensely torn for a moment, but it hadn't escaped his notice that the smaller man could hardly sit a horse on his own. "Very well," he hemmed. "But sit forward. I can better make sure you stay sitted when I'm in the back."

"O-oh... Okay..." Tsuna's face remained hot as Gokudera slid into the saddle behind him. He wasn't sure if it was more embarrassing that he couldn't ride a horse or if it was the way his slight frame fit nicely against Gokudera's body.

The pace Gokudera set the horse to was slower than the race of their escape, letting the animal catch its breath. Tsuna's silence was anxious and awkward.

"Those-- explosives," he spoke up meekly. "That was impressive. Where'd you learn that?"

"A shitty army surgeon taught me," Gokudera answered, voice rumbling against Tsuna's spine. "Where'd you learn to shoot?" he asked, voice rising noticeably in pitch. "It was aMAZing!"

"N-no..." Tsuna protested again weakly. "I trained with Mr. Reborn, one of the family's top agents... He doesn't leave much room for failure."

"Mr. Reborn?" Gokudera hummed thoughtfully. "I've heard of him-- only by reputation, of course. But it's very impressive." He leaned to the side to try and catch Tsuna's eye. "He's known for his ability to bring out the innate talent in his students. Seems that he succeeded with you."

Tsuna ducked his head quickly, trying to hide his embarrassingly flaming cheeks. “Th-thank you…” he mumbled. “He’s a very… effective tutor, if not the warmest.” He squeaked when his avoidance squirming made him start to slip in the saddle.

Gokudera's arm come up instantly, circling Tsuna's waist while still holding the reins in his free hand. He held the smaller man firm, but not smothering, and Tsuna could feel his warm breath tickle the hair at the top of his head.

The young Vongola breathed a sigh of relief but he mumbled, "Sorry. This is so embarrassing. Thankfully I don't often have to ride."

"I guess riding a horse wasn't part of your training?" Gokudera wondered, and somehow the question didn't come across as judgmental or even teasing.

"Well... it was but I was so terrible that Reborn gave up and told me he wasn't going to waste his time on me." He cringed a little.

"Maybe I could help teach you," Gokudera suggested, cheerfully, as their horse's steps carried them over the border of town. "Where to, Tenth?"

"Oh-- um-- through the main street on the other side of town. You really don't have to call me that... Tsuna is fine..." He tried not to feel too mortified at the raised brows from his neighbors at the sight of him coming into town with a handsome man's arm around his waist. It probably would have been more humiliating to fall to the street in the middle of town though.

"That's kind of you," Gokudera hummed. "But I haven't yet earned that kind of privilege." He guided the horse down the street, headless of any looks they might be drawing, and left his arm where it was, loosely cradling Tsuna's middle, until they pulled up in front of the saloon and Tsuna waved to indicate his destination.

A white haired man was cleaning the trough outside when Gokudera led the horse to it and helped Tsuna clamber down. "HEY!!!" he roared enthusiastically, rushing forward to grab the young Vongola. "You're back! HEY SIS!!!" he shouted toward the door. "THE BOSS IS BACK!!!"

As Gokudera tied up the somewhat startled horse, their company increased and a young lady came rushing down the steps with a beaming smile. Tsuna was almost recovered from his horseback ride when she swept him up in a tight hug. "Tsuna! I'm so glad you made it home safely!"

"Oh... of course..." Tsuna's own smile lit up as he wrapped her up in an equally tight hug, laughing as she enthusiastically kissed his cheeks. "I missed you!"

"Gokudera?!"

The out of towner's attention was yanked away from this scene by the surprising shout of his own name. And when he looked up, he found his own greeting barreling down the stairs to grab /him/ up in a most unexpected hug.

"What are you doing here?!" A familiar, annoyingly tall Japanese man was grinning from ear to ear at him.

"Yamamoto?" he coughed out, voice squeezed awkwardly from him as the taller man's arms crushing his ribcage. "You work for the Vongola family?" The question was incredulous.

"I sure do!" Yamamoto confirmed, scruffing infuriatingly at Gokudera's silver hair. "It's a great gig! Wait, you know the Vongola? That's great! Are you visiting?" Suddenly the taller man's eyes lit up in a strange way, like he was a child who'd been offered a brick of rock candy.

"NO!" Tsuna suddenly interrupted, startling his lady friend and quickly apologizing. "Mister Gokudera-- he-- we were ambushed on our way here. He saved me from assassination."

Gokudera looked startled and shook his head vigorously. "No no, it's the Tenth who saved me. Did you know how skilled he is at shooting?" He met Yamamoto's eyes then with an intensity that betrayed the hero-worship he'd developed over the course of the afternoon.

"Of course!" Yamamoto said cheerfully. He left Gokudera to greet Tsuna, reeling him away from his girl to rub a set of knuckles into his scalp. "Our little boss is pretty darned amazing, isn't he?"

"S-stop," Tsuna protested against the words, but he laughed and grinned at Yamamoto's familiar affection.

Gokudera frowned a little at the familiarity, wondering just how it came to be that an old comrade of his came to be employed by a childhood acquaintance-turned-savior. A young man who seemed to also be quite familiar with the smiling pretty lady still hovering nearby.

"Everyone missed you," Yamamoto said, gathering Tsuna's hands in his.

When Tsuna flushed again it was happily, bashfully, letting Yamamoto hold his hands for a moment. "You all get on fine without me," he protested. "How has Hibari-san been? Broken anything? And Lambo?"

Yamamoto laughed. "They've both broken things!" he admitted, seemed to be pleased that Tsuna had guessed so accurately.

Meanwhile, Gokudera hovered awkwardly nearby.

"Come see everyone," Yamamoto grinned and left Tsuna to offer his arm to his lady friend. Yamamoto returned to Gokudera and tossed his arm around the assassin's shoulder. "And you? How long will you be staying?"

"There's a very nice hotel in town!" Tsuna yelped. He gave Yamamoto a look that made the tall man pout. "The Thousand Flowers."

Gokudera considered the question, not quite shrugging away from Yamamoto's attention, though largely ignoring it. The other man's handsy personality was something he'd gotten used to in the army. "I'll be staying the night while I decide on my future plans," he explained. "Is the hotel nearby?"

"Yep, just down the street!" Yamamoto confirmed cheerfully. "You can't miss it, it's just about the fanciest thing anyone's ever seen! Looks almost like a riverboat dropped in the desert, hah! Come in and meet everyone first!"

Tsuna's staff greeted them happily, if some were a bit odd. It was the Tenth boss who was the most odd though, jumpy and cutting off his friend's sentences frequently.

But where previously, Gokudera might have judged him for it, now, post-live saving incident, Gokudera found him charming, his awkwardness endearing.

Gokudera lingered a little longer, enough time for a drink, a bit of catching up with Yamamoto and brief, somewhat awkward introductions to some of the other members of the House. Reluctantly, he tore himself away, reminding himself that the young Vongola was safe now, home and in the company of a number of people who he either knew or suspected were trained fighters, capable of keeping Tsuna from harm.

He checked into the too-expensive hotel and slept soundly, waking the next morning with a deep certainty. It was only just after dawn that he showed up at the Vongola Rose, freshly bathed, though in the same clothes he'd worn the day before-- the only clothes he owned now that his bag had been lost in the scuffle of yesterday.

When he swung the saloon doors open, the house foyer was much quieter than the night before. He was greeted only by his old army companion who was polishing the establishment's brass fixtures. "Hey Gokudera! Wow, you're up real early huh? How was the hotel? Fancy inside as it is out?"

"Overtly so," Gokudera agreed, striding forward with purpose, pausing in the center of the room and looking about him as though he was expecting something momentous to occur. "Is the Tenth awake?"

"Who, Tsuna?" Yamamoto mused. "Might be. I'm making coffee soon if ya wanna wait for him!"

Gokudera nodded and took a seat at the bar, pulling a small explosive from his vest and fiddling with it nervously. He'd never been particularly good at waiting, but he was willing to do it today.

Yamamoto made a huge nuisance of himself in the meantime, barraging Gokudera with questions about his life since the army as he went about his morning chores. Putting on a kettle of coffee, he seemed entirely unphased by Gokudera's monosyllabic responses and gruff nature.

It may have been the smell of coffee, a cup freshly poured for Gokudera that tempted Tsuna down the stairs. He was still sleep muzzy, hair in disarray as he came down but he stopped halfway, startled by the sight of a customer in the saloon at such an ungodly hour. "Mister Gokudera! What-- it's--" He tried to school himself, flustered. "What can we do for you? Are you well?" He tried to smooth his hair but it was a lost cause as usual.

Gokudera was on his feet in an instant, bowing at the waist and holding his hat to his chest respectfully. "Tenth-- Sir. Thank you, I'm well. I've come to offer you my services." He straightened then, fixed Tsuna with a firm stare. "I want a job. I intend to stay here indefinitely."

"What?!" Tsuna yelped in his usual fashion, very nearly falling down the last of the stairs.

Meanwhile, Yamamoto's face lit up like Christmas and he contributed, "Really!?"

"Mister Gokudera -- I -- appreciate your um -- enthusiasm and your talents," Tsuna began, stumbling to join them at the bar. "But the situation here -- at the Rose -- it's... complicated."

"I have many skills," Gokudera continued, unconcerned. "It wouldn't be the first time I've sold my body--" He smirked. "For protection OR for pleasure."

With his coffee halfway to his mouth, Tsuna froze like a startled rabbit, eyes wide.

"Goodness," Yamamoto clucked, impressed.

"You-- you figured it out," Tsuna said, mortified.

"Has anyone ever told you that you're very charming when you're embarrassed?" Gokudera wondered, smiling a little as he reached for his own coffee cup and took a nonchalant sip. "A saloon like this would hardly stay in business if all it sold was liquor," he pointed out as Tsuna sputtered. "Also, this guy's body language is..." Gokudera coughed, just a little pink-faced as he gestured toward Yamamoto, "...just a little friendlier than I remember him being in the army."

"Not /that/ much friendlier," Yamamoto protested with humor, leaning on the bar with a grin.

"You know..." Tsuna processed, staring into his coffee. "And you.." He steeled himself, closed his eyes briefly. "If... if you really want to consider employment here... we can discuss terms."

Yamamoto gave a sudden whoop that sloshed coffee out of Tsuna's mug. The long-limbed prostitute bounded for the stairs, taking them two at a time, "Hey Hibari!" he shouted down the hall. "We got a new family member!"

Gokudera chuckled faintly, shaking his head with a roll of his eyes. "Something tells me that idiot is strangely popular here."

From upstairs, there was a great clatter, a startled shout from Yamamoto and a slam of a door. And then he stumbled back down the hall, nursing a smartly bruised cheek and explained with chagrin, “He was still asleep.”

Chapter Text

As though the Vongola Rose wasn't an interesting enough place, with the arrival of their newest employee, the brothel was particularly lively. Gokudera's abrasive nature certainly contributed to that and it only took a few days for him to get into fisticuffs with half the house's members. Thankfully it seemed that his new-found, complete and utter devotion to Tsuna kept any of his antics from resulting in anyone's death although some of the Rose's furniture was taking the brunt of the tensions.

For his part, Yamamoto was there at every turn to prod that tension further with his constant cheer. His grins and laughter came just as easily at Gokudera's grousing as they had when they'd served in the army together years before.

But after almost two weeks of cheerful greetings and spurned invitations to drink or ride or just sit on the couch, Yamamoto knew he'd have to be pushier still to get the bomber's attention. So in the early afternoon, long before business would start rolling in for the evening, there came a cheerful knock at Gokudera's chamber door.

Yamamoto greeted him with a wide grin. "Hey, Gokudera!"

Gokudera stared at him, one brow raised, over the edge of a book. He was relaxing by the window, a pair of spectacles that Yamamoto hadn't even known he owned perched on his nose.

"I didn't say 'come in',"

Yamamoto blinked from the doorway. "Oh. Well... can I come in?" He flashed his most charming (and goofiest) smile.

Gokudera seemed ready to turn him away, kick him out on his ear, but instead he made an unreadable face, sighed, and then put down his book. "Fine. Just..." He waved the Yamamoto in. "Just close my door before anyone else gets the idea that I'm interested in socializing."

The expression that lit up Yamamoto's face was one of delight but also surprise and he hurried to respond to this demand, the door clicking into place behind him. And then unceremoniously, he crossed the room and flopped onto Gokudera's bed, shoulders propped against the headboard.

"Don't worry, I don't think anyone here's got that impression," he said with an amused smirk.

"With how often people invite themselves into my room, I feel compelled to disagree," Gokudera groused, dropping his feet from the window sill and crossing his room to put the book away.

"Really?" Yamamoto perked with interest. "Who's been visiting you? You don't mean customers, right?"

"That athletic guy with the broken nose," Gokudera ticked off on his fingers. "The kid who's always crying and stealing food, _you_..."

"Hey, this is my first time in your room!" Yamamoto said with hands lifted in surrender. "If I'd known everyone was doing it, I would have barged in sooner."

Gokudera snorted faintly, then retired to the small sofa that sat at the foot of his bed, turning his back to Yamamoto, but in a casual, not dismissive way. "What do you want?" he asked, stretching out to stare lazily up at the ceiling.

"To spend some time with you," Yamamoto replied easily, folding his hands over his stomach. "You've hardly told me anything about what you've been up to since the last I saw you!"

Gokudera sighed, only somewhat dramatically. "What do you want to know? I left the army and took up private security. Keeping assholes from meeting the bullets they probably deserved, mostly."

"What /kind/ of assholes?" Yamamoto pressed. "Tsuna said the guy you were working for last was trying to kidnap you! You must have worked for all kinds of interesting people."

"I don't know... assholes. Guys with too much money and too little compassion. People who can afford to throw away their money to hire an angry-looking foreigner to shadow them so their enemies think twice about confronting them on the street. It paid the bills. It wasn't... _fun_."

"Oh." Yamamoto pouted a little but then grinned again. "This is pretty *fun* though, huh?"

A soft, noncommittal scoff was Gokudera's answer. A beat later, his head appeared over the back of the couch, catching Yamamoto's gaze. "How long have you been working here?" he wondered, almost succeeding in sounding disinterested.

"Bout a year," Yamamoto shrugged. "Did some railroad work for a while and then went east to work in a hotel... but the coast is just too stuffy for me! So I came back out this way and when I met Tsuna, Mr. Reborn hand picked me to be part of the Rose's starting line up!" It was definitely pride that lifted his brows as he met Gokudera's eyes.

"I still can't believe people _pay_ for _your_ company," Gokudera rolled his eyes, smirking a little as he draped his arms over the back of the sofa to watch Yamamoto.

Yamamoto just laughed, as good natured and unflappable as ever. "I could show you why," he grinned wide.

Gokudera raised a brow, snorting quietly. "Don't think I'm gonna feel sorry for you if I've taken some of your clients," he pointed out, zero guilt coloring his words. "And I'm not gonna hire you for the afternoon just to make up for it."

Yamamoto laughed again, merrily. "I never made you pay before, I certainly wouldn't start now," he shot back with a smirk. "After all, can't be all business all the time."

"Well you must be doing something different, because no one would pay for the sex we used to have."

"Hey!" Yamamoto chortled and snatched up one of Gokudera's bed pillows to chuck it at the other man's head. He seemed no more aware of his own strength than he ever had and the pillow hit Gokudera in the face with an alarmingly loud WUMF that nearly knocked him off the sofa.

A startled grunt followed, as Gokudera flailed in an attempt to right himself, popping up over the back of the sofa with the pillow gripped tight in one hand, hair disheveled and eyes wild. "You brat!" he crowed, struggling not to crack a grin. A moment later he leapt over the sofa and onto the bed, chucking the pillow back at Yamamoto, and diving toward him, bare feet aiming to stomp out his vital organs.

Yamamoto took a good kick to the gut with an "OOF" and grappled for whatever limb he could grab a hold of. His laughter choked briefly when Gokudera landed a punch to his solar plexis but then his grip on the bomber's ankle pulled his legs out from under him and Gokudera fell backwards, head at the foot of the bed. The frame shook as Yamamoto surged forward and in an instant, had Gokudera on his back, hands grabbing for his wrists when he pressed the retired assassin to the mattress with a rough, powerful kiss.

Gokudera's hips canted upward, one leg snaking around to hook on Yamamoto's, holding him in place as he kissed back. Low laughter rumbled in his throat, and he bit Yamamoto's lip to shake him off long enough to speak. "I've got two hours before my first appointment."

Yamamoto's own laughter huffed across Gokudera's lips. "I'll try to leave you enough time to catch your breath," he teased and then captured the other man's mouth with hungry, passionate kisses. He released Gokudera's wrist to instead weave fingers through his silver hair as Yamamoto's tongue reached for the bomber's familiar, smoky taste.

The moment Gokudera's hands were freed, he reached for Yamamoto's face, palms on his jaw, fingertips scraping fine, dark hair. He gave as good as he got, competitive to the end. no intention of letting Yamamoto get the upper hand, no matter who ended up on his back.

A delighted sound met his enthusiasm, Gokudera's hooked leg holding them together tightly enough that he could feel the immediate stir of Yamamoto's cock. He was as eager and unflinching as he'd always been, hardly a new development of his career change. His frame shuddered over Gokudera as the bomber sucked savagely at his tongue, finally breaking with a breathless grin. "I really should worry about my business," he commented playfully and ducked in for his mouth to find Gokudera's throat to press kisses and nips down to his shoulder. "Maybe I'll just keep you exhausted so you don't have the energy to steal my clients."

"I wouldn't worry," Gokudera hummed, arching his neck to allow Yamamoto better access. "I attract a more sophisticated sort of client than you'd entertain anyway."

Yanamoto laughed in the hollow of Gokudera's throat before licking there once. "So what you're saying is you're a stuffy whore?" he teased.

In reply, Gokudera offered a firm pinch to Yamamoto's backside, and dug a heel into the back of his knee. "What I'm saying is that you attract ruffians while I appeal to gentlemen."

That ever present laughter rumbled in the curve of Gokudera's shoulder, Yamamoto letting that protest grind their hips together. "Present company excluded, I assume." He caught Gokudera's eye with a playful glance as he eased back just enough to get a hand between them, for his palm to find the appearing swell of Gokudera's cock through the fabric of his trousers.

"We all must sometimes stoop below our usual standards," Gokudera answered, lips staying open on a shuddery breath as Yamamoto stroked him teasingly.

"I'll try to make it worth your 'stooping'," Yamamoto replied, starting to move lower. He pushed Gokudera's shirt up as he moved, casual afternoon houseclothes offering pleasantly quick access. He continued to urge Gokudera's cock to full hardness, placing kisses on his chest and stomach, pausing to lick at a stiff, pink nipple.

"Keep doing that, then," Gokudera gasped, breath sucked sharp through his teeth, then let go again on a quiet laugh. "Nice to not have to squeeze into a tiny tent to fool around, huh?"

"No kidding," Yamamoto grinned, tongue tracing appreciatively the lines of Gokudera's lithe but defined muscle. Then a suck at his other nipple, tongue flicking mercilessly at the trapped flesh. A finger teased around the crown of his cock through layers of fabric. "Not to mention we don't have to stay silent. Or even fear for our lives!"

"If we disturb that grumpy asshole down the hall, we might have a fight on our hands," Gokudera pointed out. Still, he didn't lower his voice or grip Yamamoto's shoulder any less tightly while Yamamoto teased. "I don't know how you-- ah! how you live with that guy."

"What, Hibari?" Yamamoto chuckled between licking the pleasing lines where stomach met hip, moving dangerously low. "I think he's fun."

"I've been here two weeks and I still haven't seen him take a client," Gokudera pointed out, then squirmed away from Yamamoto to re-settle at the head of his bed, propped up in a mess of decorative pillows which he mostly hated, but in the moment were pretty convenient. "Come here," he demanded, reaching out for Yamamoto's arm to tug him close again.

Yamamoto grinned as he crawled closer and took the opportunity to drag Gokudera's trousers down his legs, leaving him naked from the waist down. "When your prices are as high as his, you can afford to be discriminating," he explained as he situated himself between Gokudera's thighs. He was distracted from further casual chat though when his fingers curled around Gokudera's cock with a pleased hum. He continued where he'd left off, lowering himself to the mattress so he could kiss the inside of a thigh, teeth offering a brief, shudder inducing bite at sensitive tendons.

Gokudera shivered, toes flexing and fingers reaching, catching in Yamamoto's hair, to give a brief, chastising tug. A pink flush was already spilling down his chest, his cheeks and ears bright red, though not with embarrassment. "Show me what you've learned from working here for a whole year," Gokudera insisted, teasing, but also completely sincere in the demand. "I want to know what you're good at."

"Pretty much everything," Yamamoto boasted cheerfully. "But I'll be glad to share it all with you." And with that, he shifted, bent over Gokudera's lap and his upright cock so that he could lick at the tip, around the head with a hungry hum. But he was just downright showing off, making sure that Gokudera had a good view when his lips slipped over the head and he let Gokudera's length slide onto his tongue and down his throat, swallowing tight around him when his nose pressed to silver curls.

Gokudera his level best to act unaffected, He held his breath, lips parted as though about to speak. He kept one hand in Yamamoto's hair, to feel the movement, not guiding him yet, just waiting to see what he'd do. He resisted the urge to fill Yamamoto's mouth too quickly, as tempting as it might be to watch him cough and sputter and completely lose the cocky, self-confident expression that colored his face at the moment. "You think pretty highly of yourself, don't you?" Gokudera finally coughed out, as Yamamoto drew back to lay a teasing kiss at his flushed tip.

"Hey, I just think it's good to acknowledge your strengths," Yamamoto joked, fingers circling Gokudera's base to give him long, luscious strokes. Closing his eyes briefly, he focused on taking in the head to let his tongue do the work, sweeping skillfully around that velvet flesh. He let an unashamed moan rumble down Gokudera's length as he took him again, this time slowly, savoring that slick slide of lips.

Yamamoto's skill was, at least, effective in silencing Gokudera's teasing for the moment, and the silver-haired man busied himself instead with arching into Yamamoto's touch. He grinned a little, tipping his chin downward to get a good look at Yamamoto's activities. "You got better at this," he hummed, not even an insult.

An appreciative groan answered him, Yamamoto too caught up in working him over to take the time to tease back. He let Gokudera almost slide free, catching the flush of his head against the roof of his mouth with an excruciating flick of tongue before taking him all the way back down again in a swift, confident movement.

When he pulled back, his hand continued, only distracted enough to work off his own pants. He licked from balls to tip, pausing for a suck or two along the way and aimed a sultry grin up at Gokudera. "Picked up plenty of new tricks, too," Yamamoto smarmed, kicking away his trousers. Then he moved, lifting himself up to stradle Gokudera's hips instead, letting the bomber's hard, wet cock settle against the cleft of his ass suggestively. His cock was full, dark and already dripping with desire. "Wanna see?"

A choked sound slipped from Gokudera's throat and his eyes went wide as he stared up at Yamamoto smirking above him. His gaze traveled downward, raking over Yamamoto's body, coming to rest at the place where they touched, where his dick throbbed at the idea of being inside Yamamoto. "Yes," he managed, clearing his throat around the word. "Yes, you shitty tease, show me."

"Mmm, good," Yamamoto grinned back and he made no hesitation in rising up to guide Gokudera's tip into place. He was dripping with saliva and precum and Yamamoto was ready and practiced so when he sank down over Gokudera's cock with a delighted groan, it was smooth and confident. He settled against Gokudera's hips effortlessly, bringing a gasp to his own lips as he ground down hard, giving a tight squeeze around him. "God, that's good..." He grinned down at the bomber, features and lips flushed as he started to rock onto Gokudera's cock. "Since I started working... mm... yeah... Regretted never doing this with you..."

"We were kids," Gokudera pointed out. "Didn't even know what we were doing." He reached out for Yamamoto's thighs, spreading his palms up his legs, fingers brushing his hip bones. He eyed the trail of fine hairs that spilled down Yamamoto's belly, dark around his stiff cock. "Got plenty of time to make up for it," he breathed, grazed the underside of Yamamoto's erection with the back of his hand.

"Mm..." Yamamoto chuckled, a fond smile cast down on Gokudera as he began a slow, controlled rhythm. "Glad to hear you say that.." He shuddered, choked on a whimper as Gokudera's fingers brushed lightly against his aching cock. "Promise not to make me pay?"

"Since I'm the new guy, and my prices are lower than yours anyway..." Gokudera grinned, thumb sliding over the head of Yamamoto's cock. "I think we can just call it even." When Yamamoto moaned at his touch, he spit into his palm and took him in hand with purpose, watching Yamamoto's face for hints of how he should proceed.

"Yes, do that!" Yamamoto gasped, letting his upstroke thrust into Gokudera's grip. In appreciation, he upped the pace, clearly practiced in not only bringing pleasure to his clients but to himself. He let his head fall back with a delighted moan when Gokudera began to stroke him in earnest. The rock of his hips took him in long, powerful thrusts that made Yamamoto's frame shudder happily when he ground against Gokudera's hips.

"Fuck, shit," Gokudera swore, watching Yamamoto writhe on top of him. "Don't put on any act," he growled, stroking Yamamoto a little faster. "I'm not your client. Just... be honest with me."

"Huh?" Yamamoto panted, eyes hazy with pleasure but then he gave a breathless laugh. "Don't worry, for you it's always been real... mm... yes..." The wet heat of his desire dripped on Gokudera's stomach, soiling the shirt he still wore, his cock jumping eagerly in his grip.

Gokudera didn't seem entirely convinced, but he didn't speak any doubts. Instead he huffed a little breath and licked his other hand, returning to redouble his efforts, stroking long and sweet, grazing Yamamoto's crown with a calloused palm. "I want to watch you come first."

Yamamoto groaned long and hungry, hips bucking and bringing a gasp to his lips as Gokudera struck deep. "What a pervert," he accused but it was with a panting grin. "Faster," he demanded and his thighs shivered as he increased the pace enough to make the bed frame squeak and a pleased gasp jump to his lips.

Gokudera grinned then, the expression turning to something a bit more lip-biting as Yamamoto took him deep. A bead of sweat ran down his cheek, and he shuddered, fighting back a wave of pleasure that threatened to undo him too soon. He stroked Yamamoto faster, obedient and hungry for it. "Come on," he growled, eyes bright with desire.

Another groan answered him, almost protesting, pouting but he was hardly about to stop. He rode Gokudera hard, fast, letting his hands come to the bomber's chest for support and leverage. His hips were more than skilled, eager and unflinching when the headboard of Gokudera's bed began to tap on the wall. Yamamoto watched the predatory expression on the other's face with his own gaze clouded with mounting pleasure. "Almost," he gasped, fingertips digging at Gokudera's chest.

"Yeah," Gokudera urged. "Fuck, fuck, Yama-- do it, come on." The words kept spilling out, demands, encouragements, insults, and Gokudera's hand matched the pace. His hips met Yamamoto in stuttering motions, but he soon stilled, keeping his back arched into Yamamoto and letting him take what he needed without interruption. "Fuck me," he groaned, under his breath.

"Yes, yes, yes," Yamamoto panted, his eyes squeezing shut as climax bore down on him. "God, Gokudera... yes... nn-ahh!" He slammed down on Gokudera's hips, grinding hard on to him until his cock jerked in his grip, spilling all over the front of the bomber's shirt. His voice fell from his lips in delighted cries that couldn't have been any 'show'. Even as the wave started to fade, Yamamoto didn't hesitate to take up the pace again without faltering. Panting heavily, barely able to see straight yet, he grabbed for Gokudera's hands to move them to his hips. "Now you come on," he demanded, gasping through his soft laughter.

Gokudera couldn't seem to help but laugh in response. Yamamoto was insistent and his pleasure was infectious. "Yeah," Gokudera breathed, licked his lips, gripped Yamamoto tight enough to bruise his skin. "Yeah, I got you." He began moving again, snapping upward into Yamamoto's willing body, shivering every time he coaxed a grunt or moan or happy breath from Yamamoto's throat. "Fuck yeah." His eyes were glassy and his lips parted, breath coming fast now. Yamamoto could tell he wouldn't last long.

"Yeah," Yamamoto repeated, his own eyes focusing to take in the other man coming undone beneath him. With his own body spent, he met every demand of Gokudera's, quickly learning exactly what he wanted and riding out every thrust skillfully. One bracing hand moved to rub, to pinch rough at a peaked nipple through the rough linen of his shirt. "Do it..."

"F-ffffuck!" The word began on a hiss but ended in a shout as Gokudera thrust upward, hard and fast. His voice caught in his throat and his fingertips dug crescent moons into Yamamoto's hips as he tipped over the edge. Held breath gave way to an exhale that was half sob, and Gokudera rose from the bed to circle Yamamoto in both arms, pressing his heated face into Yamamoto's neck as he rode out his climax. Gokudera would surely be embarrassed about this later, but in the moment he didn't seem to care about the intimacy of the gesture.

But Yamamoto didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around Gokudera's shoulders, his nose and fingers burying in his silvery hair. Hot breath panted against his scalp as Yamamoto rode out and relished every pulse so deep inside. His legs folded around the other's hips, keeping him close and enveloping him in Yamamoto's larger frame, wringing every last breath of pleasure from him.

After a breath or two, Gokudera's tension drained away and he sagged into Yamamoto's body, cheek pressed into his chest and arms going loose around his waist. "Oh fuck," he groaned, a satisfied, if exhausted sound. "Why didn't we do that before."

Yamamoto laughed, his chest shaking under Gokudera's cheek. He let his fingers stroke through the other's hair, breathing him in as they came down together. He made no move to end their joining, shivering a little as Gokudera began to soften within him. "Like you said, we were kids," he chuckled, pressed a kiss at a nearby temple. "We probably would have hurt ourselves horribly."

"True," Gokudera admitted, warm laugh washing over Yamamoto's bare skin. "You've picked up a few tricks, for sure."

Yamamoto beamed at him and shifted to let Gokudera slide free before pulling him down the mattress playfully. He didn't let the bomber get far though, tangling their legs, both on their sides. A hand idly reached for Gokudera's skin, sliding under his shirt to admire the curve of his hip, the small of his back. "I'll have to show some more to you some time," he grinned. "But I wouldn't want to make you late for your appointment."

"Damn straight," Gokudera gruffed, though he made no move to leave the comfort of his mound of pillows. He didn't even swat away Yamamoto's roaming hand. "... but I don't need to get ready for another hour."

Chapter Text

With the afternoon coming to a close, the parlor of the Vongola Rose was coming to life. Tsuna busied himself at the bar, sporting a few scratches on his cheeks from the day's sparring session with the town sheriff.

It'd been a few weeks since Gokudera had joined the family and was falling into the swing of things. On his way to the parlor, he shared an icy glance with Hibari who was perched in the balcony reserved only for the house's elusive top earner. When he joined Yamamoto and Tsuna at the bar, their boss was already pouring him a drink.

"I still haven't seen that guy take a client," Gokudera muttered as he slid onto a bar stool. "Are you sure he's worth having around?"

Yamamoto laughed merrily in greeting. "You should ask him about his prices," he said and it sounded like a dare.

"He'd only hit you," Tsuna interjected with concern.

Gokudera was in the process of lifting his glass, when he noticed the scratches on Tsuna's cheek and set his glass down a little harder than necessary. "What happened?" he demanded, reaching for Tsuna's chin with gentle fingers, turning his face to get a better look.

"What?" Tsuna startled, eyes wide. "Oh-- it's nothing." He shied away from Gokudera's touch, cheeks turning rosy under the smattering of scratches. "I was just doing some training today. As though running this place isn't enough," he sighed with self-pity.

Gokudera perked at this information. "Training? With who? How did you get injured? I thought you were a sharpshooter."

"I--I am," Tsuna protested though without any sign of pride. "Sheriff Xanxus doesn't really stick to any set of rules, though." Another sigh. "He kicked out the support of a storefront awning and brought it down on me."

"Jeeze," Yamamoto contributed with a disbelieving scoff.

"Who does that asshole think he is?" Gokudera bristled, tossed back a swallow of his drink. "Doesn't he know who you are?"

"Well, yes," Tsuna hemmed. "Part of the reason that Mister Reborn decided to place the Rose in Wavewood was so that I could spar with Xanxus. So I "don't get rusty with this cushy whore managing job"." He rubbed at a temple and poured himself a drink.

"He's pretty darn strong," Yamamoto said to Gokudera. "Fierce. And mean."

"Whatever," Gokudera huffed. "He'd better watch himself. If he hurts the Tenth any worse... he'll see how mean I can be."

"Please don't," Tsuna moaned, reaching for Gokudera's hand. "It'll only make him worse. He won't hurt me, Reborn would have him taken out if he did."

"Hm. Fine." Gokudera sighed, not quite meeting Tsuna's eyes. "But only for your sake. I don't want to make trouble for you."

"Thank you," Tsuna sighed with relief, hand resting on Gokudera's gratefully. But when the saloon doors squeaked open and Yamamoto cried happily, "Squalo!" he stiffened like a plank and squeaked himself. "Xanxus."

The town sheriff was accompanied by his deputy, both as dusty as they were surly. Squalo sneered at Yamamoto's cheerful greeting but Xanxus managed to cross the room without aiming his dangerous razor gaze at anyone. Until they reached the bar where he found a place beside Gokudera and pinned Tsuna with his eyes.

"Drink."

Tsuna gulped and nodded quickly before pouring a very generous helping of whiskey into a new glass. "Welcome, Sheriff!" he managed, his voice only cracking twice. "This is a surprise -- we don't see you often!"

Squalo sneered. "The boss has better things to do than waste his money here." He leaned over the bar and grabbed for a glass of his own, setting it in front of Yamamoto expectantly.

Gokudera tensed, but kept his back turned largely toward Xanxus, reminding himself he'd told Tsuna he wouldn't make trouble.

"Luckily you spend enough for both of you," Yamamoto chirped cheerfully as he poured Squalo a drink, chin perched on the deputy's shoulder.

It earned a bark of laughter from Xanxus while Tsuna had to put a hand over his mouth to stop his own. The sheriff knocked back his hearty helping of whiskey in one go and slammed his glass down unnecessarily hard for seconds. "Out of booze," he groused by way of explanation.

Gokudera scoffed under his breath, and took a bracing swallow of his own drink before setting it down and walking away from the bar, doing his best to utterly ignore Xanxus presence as he passed.

Xanxus' crimson eyes darted at the movement and for a moment he watched Gokudera walk away before he startled them all by snapping, "Wait." He met Gokudera's eyes before looking him all the way down and back up, gaze hard edged. "Who are you?"

Gokudera didn't quite manage to stifle the sneer that twisted his lips at the question. "What's it to you?" he snapped.

"It's my fucking town," Xanxus shot back icily. "And you're new. You a whore here?"

Gokudera looked the older man up and down as disdainfully as he felt he could get away with. Then he snorted. "I fuck people for money, yeah."

The tension was thick in the air, the entire company on edge as these two sized each other up. Xanxus startled them all with another roar of laughter, then baring his teeth in a tiger's grin. He looked at Squalo and snickered, "He looks like you when you were a nance school boy. Hah!" He turned his eyes back on Gokudera, his grin twisting the ragged marks on his face. "I think I'll fuck him."

"WHAT?!" came as a shocked chorus from everyone assembled, including Gokudera himself.

"Xanxus!" Tsuna cried out in a panic. "I mean-- Sherriff! You--you've never-- are you-- Gokudera! You don't have to! I mean--" He shook himself, rather near hyperventilation. But with a brief, centering suck of breath and he managed to imbue a bit of confidence. "All the members of my house are entitled to decide who they will or won't entertain."

Those assembled all turned their attention to Gokudera then, and silence fell over the room. For his part, Gokudera took his time, arms crossed, hips cocked to one side, mouth turned up in a contemplative frown, sizing up Xanxus. "You wanna fuck me because I remind you of your deputy?"

Xanxus shrugged one shoulder, grin turning to a smug sneer. "Yeah."

Beside him, Squalo seethed while Yamamoto gently rubbed his back. "You sick fuck!"

Gokudera looked over at Squalo, at the way his face was gradually coming to resemble a tomato. Then he looked back at Xanxus with a critical, though thoughtful, frown. When he glanced over at Tsuna, the young man seemed decidedly nervous, and he was wringing his hands together. But Gokudera was smart, and he could look after himself, and besides, the sheriff was probably loaded. He could bring in a good load of cash for the house if he took this dickbag on as a client. He didn't, after all, have to like the people he slept with. So he shrugged. "Whatever. I've got no other obligations at the moment. You want me to wear a deputy uniform it's extra though."

Tsuna bit at his lip, as though holding back his tongue but unable to quell his worried expression. Even Yamamoto's cheer fell silent, air apprehensive. Xanxus demanded another drink and downed the third full glass without hesitation, then rose to his feet, fixing Gokudera with his predator's grin.

"Lead the way, whore."

"I HOPE YOU GET THE CLAP!" Squalo shouted after them.

"Is he talking to you or to me?" Gokudera wondered as he headed for the stairs after a reassuring wave for Tsuna. "Because I'm clean, and I'd like to stay that way."

Xanxus just rolled his eyes as he followed Gokudera down the hall to his chambers. "Don't worry, I'm sure you'll catch something eventually but it won't be from me."

"How reassuring," Gokudera replied, dryly, waving Xanxus down the hall to his room. "So you actually fuck that guy? Or just fucking _with_ him?"

"No," Xanxus snickered. "He'd sure like me to fuck him though."

"Considering how often he's in here fucking Yamamoto, I have to say you don't seem like his type."

"Maybe he's just a slut without a type and should get a job here," the sheriff drawled, bored of the conversation. He glanced briefly around Gokudera's room before turning his sharp eyes on his company expectantly.

"You actually want me to dress up?" Gokudera asked, closing the door behind them and wandering over to a chest of drawers on the opposite wall, and pausing there expectantly.

"No!" Xanxus barked irritably. "Nothing fancy." In spite of his jibing about Gokudera's appearance and his lack of interest, there was still a spark of... well, interest as he approached. Lingering over the cut of his suit, the cut of his jaw. Xanxus aimed another grin at him as he came alarmingly close and lifted a hand to tuck a bit of hair behind Gokudera's ear with a chilling tenderness. "How bout you just get down on your knees and suck my cock."

Gokudera's eyes narrowed just the slightest bit. He was good at his job, but there was still a certain difficulty he found in being as obedient as many of the clients preferred. It went against his instincts as a fighter. But in spite of himself he mustered a smile and said, “Sure. That’ll be twenty dollars.”

“Twenty dollars?!” Xanxus barked with a scowl. “For a fucking cocksuck?”

“I understand if it’s too much,” Gokudera said with smug nonchalance. “You can always go back downstairs and tell everyone you couldn’t afford me.”

The scowl turned into a spiteful sneer and finally Xanxus dug in a pocket and snapped, “Fine,” as he slapped a wrinkled bill on the bureau behind Gokudera. “Now hurry the fuck up.”

"Whatever you want... Boss," he smirked, then dropped to his knees and looked up at Xanxus. He pushed back his hair with one hand, and, shooting him a saucy grin, reached for his belt.

"Hn," Xanxus chuckled, satisfied, in response, a faint smirk twisting his mouth. He took off his hat and tossed it onto the nearby chest of drawers but the feathers and tails were evidently woven into his hair and remained. "You haven't been a whore long, have you?" he questioned curiously. "You're too spirited, too surly. What were you before?"

"You want my life story, or do you want your dick in my mouth?" Gokudera queried, undoing Xanxus' belt, and pulling it loose from his trousers, then tossed it aside with a clatter.

The sheriff's eyes hardened, though without disdain, though he flicked a bit of Gokudera's hair petulantly. "Well hurry up and take it out, bitch," he sneered back.

Gokudera smirked at this, but he quickly unfastened the sheriff's pants and reached inside to cup his flaccid dick. He rubbed a little at his balls, tugged cheekily at his pubic hair, and then pulled him out, limp and heavy, dark and uncut. "Real excited to be here, aren't you, Boss?" Gokudera snickered, and slid him between his lips before Xanxus could do it for him.

Xanxus gave a low growl and a faint, throaty chuckle. "Wouldn't want to make your job too easy," he replied. "Better to make you work for it." In spite of his feigned disinterest his cock stirred against Gokudera's tongue. He watched Gokudera work, watched the urging slide of his lips and heat began to fill the bomber's mouth.

Gokudera hummed pleasantly, sucking and licking lazily, taking his time getting Xanxus hard. With one hand he lightly stroked at the shaft, pulling the skin back, suckling carefully at the flushed head, tonguing the knot of skin beneath, teasing the cluster of nerve-endings there. When Xanxus was too big to fit fully in his mouth, Gokudera withdrew with a pop, letting his dick slap wetly against his stomach. "Clothes on or off?" he asked, hand still cupping Xanxus through his slacks.

"This is fine," Xanxus answered shortly. He adjusted himself, letting his pants ride low to make him more accessible. He made sure Gokudera was watching as he gave himself a few strokes before guiding it back to the younger man's mouth with a tap of tip against his lips.

"Okay, Boss," Gokudera hummed, then opened his mouth obediently, lips parted wide and tongue extended in invitation.

A smirk quirked Xanxus' lips, hand lifting to the top of Gokudera's head lightly as he pushed past those welcoming lips. His hips tilted into it but he wasn't rough or quick, just letting himself slide along Gokudera's tongue, feeling him out and judging his skill. When the bomber bobbed lightly to meet him, the hand on his head didn't tug, only felt the movement under it. "There you go..." he said as a throaty purr.

Gokudera opened his throat to the intrusion. New to this career he might be, but this was a skill he'd been honing for years. Yamamoto --and a few of his clients during the personal security years-- could attest to that. With a wet tongue he felt out every contour of Xanxus' heavy cock, drawing back to suck lightly at the tip, then letting the larger man pull his close, to trace the line of one thick vein underneath.

For his grisly personality, Xanxus had a pleasing enough cock and now his heat swelled to fill Gokudera's mouth entirely, brushing at the back of his throat with each stroke. He let his touching hand rake Gokudera's hair back and away from his face, easing him off enough to watch the long slide of his lips and shuddering, grip tightening faintly when that skilled tongue lashed at his tip. It was with only a little more force that he guided that mouth over himself once more, either somewhat mindful of the Rose's rules or simply biding his time.

Gokudera, for his part, didn't mind a bit of a rough touch. It was something he couldn't seem to manage to convince Yamamoto to try, but with a client like this particular asshole, he could tread that line between fun and shitty behavior, while still knowing that he was, ultimately, in control. So he sucked down Xanxus like he meant it, and leaned into his touch when he smoothed back his hair. He moaned low in his throat, letting his mouth vibrate just the slightest bit against Xanxus' dick. When he drew back again, he let his saliva drip, messy between them before diving back in again.

"Shit..." Xanxus growled, his breath slow and measured as he watched Gokudera work with his sharp red gaze. When that wet heat swallowed him down further than ever, he barely fought back a groan, his touching hand turning into a faint grip at Gokudera's hair. He pulled enough to slowly pry him back and then push in again, deeper, faster. "Not bad..."

A hum of agreement was all Gokudera could manage with his mouth so full, but he gripped a little harder at Xanxus' hip with one hand, using the other to reach for and encircle the base of Xanxus' cock. Thumb and forefinger made a tight ring there, squeezing a little, making sure Xanxus wouldn't come too soon.

The grip on his hair was slowly growing tighter, Xanxus' nails digging faintly at his scalp. The sheriff's careful breath was growing deeper, a slow, shallow pant appearing in his chest. His face relayed little of his pleasure, his brow only tightening in concentration, teeth clenched. The marks across his skin almost seemed darker in all his intensity as he slid again and again through Gokudera's skilled lips. "Fuck," he hissed when the silver haired man paused to suck at the swollen, throbbing head, inspiring an unmistakable shudder through his frame.

A low, subtle chuckle hummed down Gokudera's throat, and he bobbed a little faster, encouraging Xanxus to press in deeper with his free hand, which snaked around to snag the waistband at the back of the taller man's trousers. Saliva dripped freely down Gokudera's chin now, as Xanxus' flavor grew stronger on his tongue. He let his voice sound a little, small grunts, quiet moans on every thrust, really letting his client know how much he was --at least pretending to enjoy himself.

"Nn... yeah..." Xanxus' breath shuddered through his dark purr. He started to tug more insistently, fingers tangling in Gokudera's hair to alternate between holding him still to fuck his mouth and pulling that heat over his dripping arousal. "Mm... yeah, suck that cock," he growled, downturned face revealing the flush of his approaching climax.

Gokudera's eyes turned upward to meet his, held there for a long beat, then let his lashes flutter, closing his eyes as though to put all his concentration on the singular task at hand. He stroked a bit with the tight ring of finger and thumb, palm pressing up against his balls, rubbing idly while his mouth worked overtime. He sucked hard, tongue lashing, and when Xanxus shuddered hard, he risked letting his teeth scrape just a bit, testing the waters.

"Shit," was hissed in response, Xanxus flinching faintly though not without pleasure. He grip in his hair encouraged the rough treatment, pushing deep into Gokudera's wetness, grinding against the roof of his mouth. The drip down his throat was increasing and Xanxus' guidance took over, taking charge as hunger demanded an upped pace. It wasn't long before he was challenging Gokudera to his limit, tugging him by his hair over Xanxus' cock as his hips rolled forward to meet it. His breath was a legitimate pant now, barely voiced curses rumbling in his chest.

Despite his amateur status, Gokudera took it in stride, letting his jaw go slack, opening his throat wide, ready. He abandoned his tight grip in favor of offering Xanxus, long, quick strokes to match the thrust of his hips. His tongue dipped and lathed and searched for flavor, dipping into the slit at the head of Xanxus' dick when he had the chance, groaning in delight when Xanxus choked back a curse.

"Yeah... nnh..." There was no denying the hungry groan that carried Xanxus' voice, cock twitching against Gokudera's ambitious tongue. Xanxus' breath deepened, quickened, fingers digging at Gokudera's scalp as he entered the final stretch. When Gokudera didn't hesitate, only working him harder and faster, Xanxus choked on a gasp and for a moment, let his head fall back, raking fingers through his black hair with his free hand. But then he was looking back down, eyes sharp and features flushed as he growled out, "Fff--fuck--" With a deep, loud groan rattling his chest, he pulsed into Gokudera's mouth. But before the bomber could either swallow him down or pull away, Xanxus' yanked hard at his hair and pulled him off his spilling cock to splash across his lips and cheeks, sticky come soiling his hair. Even before his final pulses, Xanxus was laughing, a low breathy sound that quickly grew into a dark rumble, his teeth bared in a devil's grin.

It wasn't the first time in his life someone had come on his face, though Gokudera wasn't particularly fond of the activity, he didn't make a fuss. Just coughed once, licked his lips, and looked up to meet Xanxus' eyes. "Classy, Boss," he sneered, then stood, untucking the sheriff's shirt as he went, and lifting the hem, wiped the mess from his face. "Bet your deputy would've loved taking your load in his face."

"You son of a bitch," Xanxus spat, giving Gokudera a sharp shove while wiping at his come-smeared shirt distastefully. He tucked himself away, giving a huff of oversensation before he hiked up his pants.

Gokudera managed not to stumble, but he did laugh a little, wiping the back of his hand across his still damp mouth. "What's wrong, Boss? Afraid to get a little messy?"

Xanxus sneered back, stooping briefly to snatch up his belt. "You're the one being paid to be a jizz rag, not me."

"Well, we can't all be good at sex," Gokudera shrugged, brushing past Xanxus to walk to the bedroom door where he paused and leaned against the doorframe, staring expectantly.

“Cocky little bitch,” Xanxus muttered under his breath, taking a moment to yank his belt back on, his breath still evening. But by the time he made it to the door, his dangerous, threatening facade was back in place. With his hand on the knob, he reached with his other to take Gokudera’s chin in his hand and swipe his thumb over the other man’s now-dry lip. “You should be honored to be the only whore in this ramshackle smut house to take the sheriff's cock. Hope you feel special.”

"Come back and see me any time," Gokdura smirked, even as his face reddened with irritation. "I've got a lot of hidden talents," he added, "So if you feel like fighting, you come see me. I see marks on Tsuna again, you won't have to, though-- I'll find you."

Xanxus' eyebrows lifted with bemused interest, hand lingering on Gokudera's jaw. His gaze had a sharpness that bored through Gokudera not unlike the Vongola Tenth at his most intense. He gave a huff of cruel laughter that gusted across Gokudera's mouth. "Guess I'm not the only boss around here sticking it to you. Don't worry, I'll leave the sullying of that cowardly twerp to you, whore." He gave a condescending pat to Gokudera's cheek.

Gokudera's teeth squeaked, he grit them so hard. He shoved away Xanxus' hand with a scowl. "Insult me all you like, but keep quiet about him. He's more of a man than you'll ever be."

The swatted hand lashed forward, grabbing the shirt at Gokudera's chest and slamming his back hard against the wall. "Don't make me laugh," he said even through a snicker, face twisted into a sneer. "It's only a matter of time before the Vongola family figures out he's good as nothing more than a two-bit madam collecting sluts in the desert. But at least you have job security."

"Last I checked, you're stuck in the same desert he is. And you don't even get to fuck the whores for free," Gokudera spat, grinning cruelly, seemingly unconcerned about having his back to the wall, or Xanxus' hand at his throat.

Tension flickered through Xanxus' jaw and his fingers in Gokudera's shirt loosened. He made little ceremony in releasing him only for the back of his hand to crack smartly across Gokudera's jaw.

Gokudera dropped, half from the blow, but then he let himself fall, ducking down to avoid Xanxus' fist. He rolled away, coming to a crouch a few feet away with a small stick of dynamite in one hand. "That's gonna cost you," he sneered. "Never mark a whore's face."

Xanxus barely had time to recognize what was in the bomber's hand before his face was burning with sparks and lungs with gunpowder. He coughed violently, choking on a roar of rage as he swatted at the smoke. As soon as he could see through watering eyes, he bored Gokudera with hatred but as he raised his fist to lunge, the door slammed open and they were interrupted by Tsuna's angry shout of, "XANXUS!"

The look the sheriff turned on him was infuriated but he did pause, twitching with anger as Tsuna glanced over the scene before him and visibly tensed with his own rage. "I didn't invite you into my house to abuse my family members!" he snapped, the typically meek young man angrier than Gokudera could even have imagined. "You know perfectly well the rules we have here. You're not welcome at the Rose anymore!"

"Bullshit!" Xanxus snarled, advancing on Tsuna suddenly. And though he was nearly twice his height, Tsuna didn't flinch, meeting and holding Xanxus' rage-filled eyes. "This is my fucking town, Vongola trash! I should fucking lock your sorry ass up for even talking to me like that! You and your sass-mouthed whore!"

"Try to take any unjust action and I'll have a telegraph sent to Mr. Reborn and before you know it you'll have assassins knocking at the station door," Tsuna replied icily. "Now get out of my house."

"You scrawny son of a--"

"GET OUT, XANXUS!" Tsuna snarled, taking a threatening step forward.

For a moment the air shivered with furious tension, Tsuna's even glare meeting Xanxus' ire. Finally the sheriff gave an angry growl, spat at Tsuna's feet and moved for the door. It slammed shut, making the entire house shiver and threaten to break to splinters. Tsuna sagged with a heavy sigh, trembling faintly with emotional exertion. But then he jerked up, finally meeting Gokudera's eyes across the room.

"Gokudera! Are you all right?! I shouldn't have let that guy in here, I'm so sorry!" He rushed forward but then hesitated, biting his lip when he saw the bruise on the silver-haired man's cheek.

Gokudera waved him off with a casual gesture and a shake of the head. "I'm fine, really. I've had rowdier clients in my past career than that," he insisted, though his expression softened at Tsuna's obvious concern. "He's an asshole, but his money's as good as anyone else's."

"Y-yeah..." Tsuna murmured, fingers twitching once as though he wanted to reach for the bruise, to see for himself. But ultimately he just sighed heavily again and collapsed onto the chaise at the foot of Gokudera's bed. His elbows came to his knees, chin falling into his palms as he looked at Gokudera for a long, almost miserable looking moment. "You know you don't have to do this, don't you, Gokudera?"

Gokudera blinked at this, wide-eyed for a moment before sitting beside Tsuna with a small apologetic smile. "I know I don't," he answered gently, fingers tangling together on his knees, almost shy. "I'm here because I want to be. Because you're here, and... and Yamamoto and don't you dare tell him I said that. And I like the money and I'm _good_ at it. And I don't have to dodge bullets every day. It's not a bad life, you know."

Tsuna sat back enough that he could study Gokudera's face, searching for any sign that he was lying. "I know you want to serve the Vongola... but if you ever wanted to, you know I would ask Reborn to find you work somewhere in the family." He looked down then, folding his hands in his lap. "But we would miss you. Yamamoto and I."

Gokudera nodded, acknowledging the offer, not insulting Tsuna by emphatically refusing it. "Thank you, Tenth. You're a good man. I hope for now you'll allow me to stay on. I promise to try an get in fewer fights with the clientele." A quick, chagrined grin.

Tsuna glanced at him askance, quirking a little smile. "Don't worry about that. You do what you have to to keep them in line."

"That's what the Rose is famous for, anyway, isn't it?" Gokudera agreed. "It's... lively employees?"

It earned a chagrined laugh. "Lively is one word. Are you well enough to join us downstairs again?" Tsuna inquired gently. "I'm guessing you could use a drink."

"God, yes," Gokudera groaned exaggeratedly, standing with a stretch and moving to the bowl and pitcher on his bedside table. "You know me so well," he hummed, wetting a hand towel and scrubbing his face clean, rubbing away the last remnants of Xanxus.

"I just know there's not enough drinks in the world that'd let me survive a night with Xanxus, personally," Tsuna grimaced, waiting for him. When Gokudera turned back, Tsuna's hesitant look gave him pause and the Tenth finally gave in to the urge to lift his fingers to the mark on Gokudera's cheek. Gently, almost apologetically, his fingertips ghosted over it, making sure Xanxus hadn't broken the skin. But instead of concern, Tsuna gave him a soft smile, letting his fingers slip away. "I think he's going to be coughing up gunpowder for a week."

Gokudera's ears went pink, and he dropped his gaze, not being able to quite meet Tsuna's. He coughed a little, feeling awkward and a bit warm. "Serves him right for marking up you," he groused, nodding lightly toward the scratches on Tsuna's cheek.

But Tsuna just laughed, his own cheeks a little pink behind said scratches. "Well, now we match. Come on, let's go downstairs."

Gokudera nodded, breathing a little sigh of relief at not being chastised for picking fights, and followed Tsuna downstairs, straightening his shirt and trying to brush out the wrinkles as they went.

Chapter Text

The welcome that the traveling marshall received from his 'old friends' was about as warm as he could have expected. Which is to say that he was greeted with "What is this trash doing here?" and "We don't need your shitty help!" and a lot of the word 'fuck'. But ultimately written orders from Reborn shut them begrudgingly up and they offered him a cot in the clink 'if there wasn't a drunk in there'.

After two days of reviewing evidence and attempting to debrief the Wavewood sheriff and his deputy on the investigation of the Millefiore crime ring, they were no less sour and disinterested. As usual Xanxus was halfway through a flask just past noon, his dusty boots up on his desk dangerously close to Dino's important government documents.

"This is bullshit," he snapped for the umpteenth time, stamping an irritable heel on the desk and peppering a map with red dirt. "All this crap could have been sent in a telegram, Cavallone, without you prancing around the town in your fucking uniform. That nance bastard'll probably halt his operation with you flouncing around."

"Isn't that a positive outcome?" Dino wondered, picking up the papers to shake off the offending dirt, his mouth turning downward in a frown. "Less killing while we gather the evidence we need." Dino sighed, gathered the papers to shove them back in a folder and leaned against the desk-- his desk now.

"Less killing would happen if we just raided the place and killed the lot of them first," Squalo sneered. "This investigative crap just slows justice and lets the dandy asshole get away with it the whole time."

"While I don't necessarily disagree with you on the efficiency of such a plan, Reborn has decided that all of us are to operate within the law this time. Besides, we'd never get close enough to take out the boss so long as the whole family's in such a strong position."

"Says YOU!" Squalo shouted in his way, a wild sneer showing his teeth. "You've never been on a rampage with US, Cavallone!"

Xanxus gave a barking, cruel laugh of agreement and drained his flask. These guys were impossible.

"Okay, then we do it my way because otherwise Reborn will show up and kick all of our asses," Dino huffed, rolling his eyes and wishing he had a flask of his own to drain. "And you KNOW he could."

Both sheriff and deputy fixed him with a murderous but silent glare. And then Squalo jumped up with a snarled "VOOOIII!" and kicked the desk violently. "This paper pushing shit is driving me nuts! Fuck this, I need a drink!"

"For once, I agree with you," Dino sighed, rubbing at a temple.

"You wanted to go say hey to those bitches at the Rose, didn't you?" Squalo prodded. "Let's go rile 'em up."

Xanxus gave a vaguely irritated and disinterested growl and tipped back to place his hat over his face with the clear intent of a nap. Squalo snickered rebelliously at the sight of him.

"Boss got banned from the place for roughing up a saucy whore," he told Dino with no small measure of amusement. But then he gave a startled shriek when a bowie knife snapped past his head and stuck in the plank wall with a sickening THUNK. A few strands of silver hair fluttered to the floor as Xanxus calmly replaced his hat.

"Uh... do you want to go somewhere else, then?" Dino asked, charitably, as he picked up his own hat from the desk.

"Get out of my office," Xanxus snapped without moving. It was unlikely that he would ever acknowledge whose office it was with the government's meddling.

"Come on," Squalo sneered, sticking his tongue out at Xanxus once he was sure the gesture wouldn't be noticed. "The Boss'll hold down the fort here. Let's go find some 'evidence'," he snickered, winked, and made an obscene hand motion as he and Dino exited the Sheriff's office.

Outside, Squalo rolled his eyes when Dino stopped to give some attention to the pale horse tied at the trough outside the station but humored him in spite of the tapping boot toe.

"You gonna shack up in that fancy-ass hotel to watch that fucker or you gonna keep sleeping in the office?" Squalo demanded, somehow making casual conversation rude and confrontational. He ignored the respectful nods they both received on the street as they made their way across town.

"Haven't decided," Dino shrugged. "Don't have my stipend from Reborn yet anyway, so for now, I've gotta stay at the station. Can't afford that "fancy-ass hotel"." He grinned a little, shrugging helplessly as he followed Squalo's steps.

"Probably for the best," Squalo drawled. "You'd come out reeking of roses and perfume and shit every day."

"Well that sounds unpleasant," Dino grinned, stuffing his hands into the pockets of his trousers and shifted his steps to avoid the cloud of dust that Squalo's heavy booted feet were kicking up. "So, what does the place we're going to smell like?"

"Like hookers and blackjack," Squalo responded with a sneer. "Maybe one of your 'Little Brother's' whores'll get you to loosen up, Marshal. That uniform's made you stuffy."

"You frequent this place often, then?" Dino wondered, a gentle, if obvious, dig.

"Better than hanging round the Thousand Flowers or the grocer," Squalo scoffed back. "Booze is fair priced, too."

DIno perked a little at this bit of information. "Well, then what are we shuffling along here for? Let's go enjoy our afternoon off."

Squalo gave a snicker of agreement and guided Dino a few more doors down where the visage of the Rose, not quite as impressive as its interior, greeted them.

"Here it is, Cavallone. Your friendly neighborhood smut shack."

Dino though was distracted by the scent of herbal smoke reaching his senses. With a glance up he found its source, a young man in the farthest upstairs window. He was ivory skinned and raven haired, perched in the window with poise, wrapped in a black robe. His gaze wasn't turned on the street or the potential customers at the entrance of the establishment, rather gazing peacefully somewhere into the distance, over the rooftops of the town. Smoke drifted from his lips and from the long, slender pipe held lightly in his also long and slender fingers.

Dino was instantly entranced. The young man seemed both relaxed and yet tensed for... fight? Flight? Something uncertain. And Dino paused, gazing upward, footsteps stilling before even reaching the front door. Squalo didn't notice at first, clomping up the steps before realizing Dino wasn't at his heels.

When he paused halfway through the saloon doors, he was already beneath the awning and unable to follow the marshal's gaze. And thankfully, therefore, unable to instantly dig into him about being a lech. But he complained, "Oi, Cavallone! Dying of thirst, here!"

Dino stumbled forward, embarrassed, and he cleared his throat, adjusting his hat and kicking the dust from his boots before stepping inside, following Squalo to the bar.

It was a relatively quiet afternoon at the Rose, a few of the family members relaxing in the lounge and Gokudera tending bar. But before he could ask "What'll it be?" Tsuna peeked over the edge of his newspaper and then abruptly set it down with a loud rustle.

"Dino?" he called from the parlor and rose quickly to meet them at the bar with a surprised but pleased grin. "What are you doing here? It's been ages!"

Dino returned the smile, and caught up Tsuna in a tight hug, ruffling his hair fondly, and laughing pleasantly when he squeaked with surprise. "Reborn re-assigned me to your town for a while," he explained, grinning as his gaze drifted about the large common room, clean if not lavish. He nodded his approval. "Nice place you've got here!"

Tsuna laughed sheepishly, sinking into a barstool beside Dino. "Thank you. We do our best! Even if sometimes things get broken. A lot. But anyway, please have a drink!"

Squalo curled his lip at the brotherly affection but let Dino have his little reunion, reaching across the bar to plunk a glass down in front of Gokudera expectantly.

"Gokudera, this is Dino Cavallone, a mentor of mine when I was younger," Tsuna explained, retrieving three more glasses for Gokudera to serve. He shared a chagrined smile with Dino. "He tried to teach me his skills with a whip but it didn't go well at all."

Gokudera raised a brow, curious, as he idly poured a glass for Squalo and pushed it across the bar without making eye-contact. "A whip, huh? Do you rustle cattle as well?" He set another glass in front of Dino, filling it without being asked.

Tsuna laughed merrily. "You've hunted down a few rustlers, haven't you Dino?"

"Haven't you, Dino?" Squalo repeated in a mocking falsetto that brought an embarrassed flush to Tsuna's cheeks. Apparently that was the extent of the deputy's attempt at polite silence.

"Maybe one or two," Dino confirmed, rubbing the back of his neck in a gesture of modesty. "Nice to meet you... Gokudera, was it?" he asked, extending a hand across the bar.

Gokudera gave a firm nod and shook the marshal's hand, perhaps more readily than he might have otherwise. But after all, if Tsuna trusted him so deeply it was easy for Gokudera to. "Pleasure," he said and then glanced at Squalo with distaste. "Yamamoto's off doing stable work today. Sorry to disappoint. You could always go fuck him out there in the stalls though, the weirdo'd probably be into it."

"Gokudera..." Tsuna groaned, covering his red face with splayed fingers.

"Here to drink, not fuck. You little shit," Squalo hissed over the rim of his glass. Gokudera just gave him a satisfied smirk, though he directed a somewhat apologetic shrug to Tsuna.

Dino, on the other hand, wasn't about to let this information go unexplained. "Ohhhh?" he wondered, turning his attention toward Squalo. "Do you have a favorite here? Are you someone's _regular_?"

"Fuck you, Cavallone!" Squalo snapped, slapping his mostly empty glass down on the bar with a light slosh. "They're all fucking insufferable here but that guy gives me the best price. Don't get any idiotic ideas."

"Tsk, Yamamoto's just the only idiot here who will put up with this guy," Gokudera gestured toward Squalo. "I've only been working here for a year and even I have figured that out."

Squalo's hand snapped out and grabbed Gokudera's tie from across the bar. "That idiot begs for my cock the moment I walk through those doors and sucks it down like he's dying of thirst," he said around a cruel grin that bored into Gokudera spitefully.

"Deputy." It was Tsuna's voice that cut through the tension, low and warning. When Squalo glanced his way he pierced Squalo with a dangerous gaze and the lawman released Gokudera's tie with a scoff.

"I think I'll go see if that guy is busy," Gokudera mused, brushing at his front where Squalo's fist had wrinkled his shirt. "Clearly you need to unwind." He put down his bar towel and nodded at Tsuna, excusing himself with one last sneer at Squalo.

Tsuna sighed a bit, reaching across the bar to refill Squalo's glass generously and cleared his throat softly. "Feel free to enjoy the comfort of our lounge, Deputy..." he suggested gently.

Squalo snorted but he was glad to take up the drink and storm off into the parlor, sucking half of it down on the way. Lambo saw him coming from where he lazed on the sofa and whimpered as he scrambled to get out of his way. He darted for the stairs, Squalo setting down his glass before flopping unceremoniously onto the sofa. Though trembling faintly, Lambo glared at him balefully from halfway up the stairs and Squalo leered back. In a flash of impudence, he made a rude face at the deputy which was returned sarcastically. A moment of pique maturity between two adult men.

"Jerk," Lambo shot at him.

"What're your prices tonight, little cow?" Squalo drawled sadistically with a glint in his grin that sent a chill up Lambo's spine.

"Tsuna! I'm going upstairs!" he shouted before taking the steps two at a time until his door slammed open and shut.

Tsuna gave a long suffering sigh, turning from the parlor with exhaustion. "Every day."

Dino laughed sympathetically, reaching out to pat Tsuna comfortingly on the shoulder. "You seem to be handling the responsibilities of brothel ownership pretty well," he observed.

Tsuna gave him a weary smile. "I try... it's exhausting but I have a good family here. But I want to hear about you! What have you been up to? It's been two or three years, hasn't it?"

He insisted that the drinks were on the house as he caught up with Dino, Squalo meanwhile napping on the couch and officially putting the town's law force to sleep in the middle of the afternoon.

Dino managed to engage in pleasant small talk with Tsuna for a good half hour before he fiddled with his glass somewhat shyly and mustered the courage to ask about the young, hard-eyed man he'd seen in the window upstairs. "Who is he?" Dino wondered.

Tsuna blinked at him as though surprised by the question. "Ah... that must be Hibari-san. Hibari is... um..." He cleared his throat a little. "Rather dangerous."

"Dangerous?" Dino echoed with no small measure of curiosity. "Did Reborn train him as well? Is he a sharp shooter?"

"No... no one is really sure where Hibari's from or who he trained with… but he’s a close combat fighter." Tsuna peered into the last of his drink, swirling the amber liquid. "He's very private. And very... unpredictable."

Dino's eyes were bright with interest. "Close combat fighting... I wonder how he'd do against a whip..." He seemed lost in thought for a moment, then colored quickly and turned back to the bar in embarrassment. "Ah, sorry, I just... I think he sounds really interesting."

Tsuna gave a rather sheepish laugh. "Interesting is definitely a word to describe Hibari... He... um..." And here he stalled, growing somewhat red-faced in spite of his lot in life. Perhaps because he was talking about such sordid matters with a close friend -- but probably just because he was terribly ill prepared for his job. "He's very picky about new clients. And he honestly charges more than most people in this town can afford. For his first three months here, Gokudera was convinced he never worked." Here he managed an almost fond chuckle.

"Hibari..." Dino mused, sounding out the name on his tongue. "That's a family name, right? What's his given name?"

"Oh -- it's Kyouya. No one here is crazy enough to call him that though," he laughed softly.

Dino grinned, as though he'd silently taken that challenge and Tsuna felt his stomach drop just a little.

"So _anyway_... how's Kyoko?"

They were given a fair length of peace until the beast on the couch in the lounge roused with a call of, "VOOOIII! CAVALONE! Bring me another!"

Dino smiled apologetically at Tsuna and lifted his brows with a nod of request toward the bottles behind the bar. "He's really a great guy when you get to know him. We grew up together, have I told you that?"

"Really?" Tsuna replied with naked shock as he reached for a clean glass. "I'm amazed you survived."

"Oh, Xanxus beat him up if he stepped too far out of line, hahaha!"

Boggling over this, Tsuna almost let the whiskey overflow but luckily the second roar of "CAVALONE!" snapped him out of it and he pushed the glass across the bar.

"It's great to see you," Tsuna said with an earnest grin. "You'll come by again, right?"

"Of course! We need some brothers bonding time." Dino smiled back openly, taking the glass with a nod of thanks. "It's a nice place!" he added as he walked away, almost stumbling on a low table, but catching himself as he spun around and made his way to Squalo's couch.

"Took you long enough," Squalo grumbled when Dino joined him and set the drink down before him. The deputy gave a yawn and a stretch. "You little biddies done with your clucking?"

"Sorry, Squalo!" Dino rubbed apologetically at the back of his neck. "I didn't mean to make you feel left out!"

"Che, shut up," Squalo spat. "As though I want to participate in your girlish little friendships. Are you ready to get back to work or what?"

"In a minute!" Dino pouted, settling down beside Squalo. "Look, I got you your drink. Relax and enjoy it!"

"Whatever," Squalo growled, pausing in his grousing to down some of his drink. "So your little brother offered you a place to stay yet? You could make a few dollars on the side." He shot a cruel, teasing grin at the marshal.

"Squalo, if you want to sleep with me, you just have to ask," Dino answered, innocently as he could manage.

"Shut the fuck up!" Squalo snarled, although there might have been a hint of a laugh there as he punched Dino in the arm. Hard. "Like I'd pay to fuck your sorry blond ass!"

"Oh? You don't like blondes?" Dino perked curiously, turning toward Squalo and propping an arm on the back of the couch, exaggeratedly casual. "You still go more for dark hair, hm? You know it'd probably be healthy for you to move on from Xan--"

"ENOUGH OF THIS BULLSHIT!" Squalo shouted with little regard for anyone else in the building. He grabbed the front of Dino's hat and yanked it hard over his brow and face. "And don't think just cause you know us you can go spreading trashy rumors all over town, you fuck! You aughta go ahead and pick something to stick your dick in around here to keep your nosy ass occupied."

"Oh, don't worry! I wouldn't want to damage your reputation!" Dino seemed wholly unconcerned about this outburst, and only reached up to removed his hat, thoughtfully. "You really think I should hire one of the Rose's employees? I mean, I hadn't really thought about it, but it might be nice to unwind a bit..."

"Sure, why not?" Squalo responded, just as unconcerned. He polished off his drink and flopped back against the sofa and aimed a leer at Dino. "There's a scrawny little English thing around here somewhere that'd probably be just right for your skill level."

"What do you think about the dark-eyed man who was in the window when we first arrived?" Dino wondered. "Tsuna said... Hibari, is his name..."

"That guy?" Squalo said with fair surprise and a faint scoff. "He's a pretty face sure but looks like a real pain in the ass. Plus they say the only ones in town that can afford him are that nance bitch cattle baron and the other nance bitch that we're stalking right now."

"I have money!" Dino protested. "Reborn gave me... well, oddly much more than I thought I would ever need. A very generous stipend."

Squalo sniffed irritably. "Well lucky you. Ain't no way that prissy oriental is gonna fuck your dusty ass, though."

"Why not?"

"Because!" Squalo shot back articulately. "Maybe get some tight fitting suit and spats and he'll give you a chance. But he don't seem like the cowboy loving type to me."

"Oh, that's good advice. I do have a nice suit! Reborn bought it for me before I came. Do you think Hibari would be more receptive to meeting me if I wore that?"

Squalo palmed at his face, long-suffering. "Who fucking knows! Maybe if you show up in your uniform he'll feel legally obligated to take your money."

"That's a good idea, too! I mean, not the legally obligated part, but my marshal uniform... maybe he'd like that. It's less dusty than my everyday clothes... fits a little better too. Maybe he likes a man in uniform..."

His thinking aloud earned him an unimpressed side-eyeing. "Didn't realize you're the love-at-first-sight type, Cavalone. Maybe we should go by the general store and pick up some pink stationary so you can write him a flowery letter."

"You're teasing me, but maybe he'd like that! I know Tsuna says he's picky, but I want to meet him. Maybe he'll at least let me talk to him... you're help me, right?"

"What?" At this, Squalo sat up right. "What do you mean, help you? Sure I'll yell at him from downstairs to get his fancy ass to work."

Dino frowned, turned his eyes to Squalo, and set upon him the expression of an eager, pathetic young pup. "You know what I mean," he pushed, pressing his lips together in a thin line. "You know I'm hopeless when I'm alone with people I've only just met."

The deputy offered him a disbelieving curl of lip. "And you think I'm gonna help? That I'm supposed to set the mood for your weird outrageous rendez vou?"

"Noooo," Dino laughed, slapped Squalo's arm lightly. "Of course not! It's just... well it would be helpful if you stayed nearby. Like... like a chaperone."

The silver haired man rubbed at his brow, as though disgusted at himself for even listening to Dino's nonsense. "And do I stick around to watch you fuck, you twisted jackass?"

"Well... there was that time when we were kids..."

"Just--just fucking stop talking, Cavallone, christ," Squalo choked, face quickly turning red. "So what-- what do I get in return? I'm not gonna watch you fumble through baby's first whore for nothin'."

Dino frowned thoughtfully, not put off by Squalo's insults or reluctance. He shrugged after a moment though. "I don't know what I can offer, but if there's anything.... ?"

Squalo's posture was very close to pouting for a moment, mulling over all this before he said, "All the station's tack and saddles. Polished and oiled."

“That’s all?”

"And--" Squalo hurried to add with that moment of questioning hesitation. "And Xanxus' and my's laundry for a month!"

Dino brightened. "See that sounds more reasonable," he laughed. "But no on Xanxus' laundry. I don't want to know that much about him."

Squalo thought over this hard, arms tightly folded over his chest. "Fine but you polish my boots, too."

"Deal!" Dino grinned, thrust out his hand to take up Squalo's with an enthusiastic pump.

Squalo shook his hand somewhat reluctantly. "And when is this scandalous deal to take place?"

"How about Friday?" Dino suggested. "I need a few days to get ready."

"Sure whatever, if the guy even comes out. He only shows his face barely half of the evenings a week."

"So if he's not around on Friday, we'll try again the next evening!" Dino answered happily, not at all concerned about this prospect.

Squalo gave a defeated sigh and lurched to his feet, dragging Dino with him. "Alright already, I'll hold your hand through the whole thing, whatever. Let's get out of here before that insufferable whore shows up to drain my wallet. I don't get paid for another week."

"Thank you, Squalo. You're a good friend." Dino slapped a friendly palm on the taller man's shoulder. He waved at Tsuna as they exited, and waited til his feet his dusty to add: "...It's cute how you have a favorite here." Dino grinned, and hopped cheerfully away from Squalo's angry swipe of a fist.

Chapter Text

When Gokudera made his way to the stables, he found Yamamoto with rake still in hand. He was dressed in work clothes with suspenders, linen shirt sleeves rolled up to his elbows. He was vaguely flushed from working in the hot afternoon, perspiration on his brow. He lit up with pleased surprise when he looked up to find his company.

"Hey, Gokudera! I was just finishing up here." He leaned on his rake with a wide grin. "Aren't you supposed to be tending bar?"

"I was, but your shitty long-haired regular showed up with the new marshal and ruined the mood." Gokudera explained, leaning against a stable wall and screwing up his nose at the smell.

"Ah..." Yamamoto gave a chuckle, wiping his brow with his sleeve, hands dusty past his wrists. "Was he looking for me?"

"Nah, just looking for trouble, and a drink," he shrugged. "Marshal's an old friend of the boss, so they're catching up." He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, looking around the space as he spoke. "You almost done here or what?"

"Yeah, I just finished the last stall." He crossed the room to hang the rake with the other tools on one nail-peppered wall. He gave a stretch and approached Gokudera cheerfully. "Why?"

"Cuz I'm sick of listening to folks chit-chat," Gokudera explained, pushing off from the wall, and stepping toward Yamamoto, hooking a finger in one strap of his work suspenders. He searched the taller man's dust streaked face with interest. "Sometimes you're annoying, but you're never boring."

Yamamoto blinked at him with distinct surprise but then he grinned broad and a little devilish. He went to reach for Gokudera and barely stopped himself, taking a moment to frown at his filthy hands. It definitely would put a serious damper on such a delightfully rare mood to streak Gokudera's work suit with muck. His grin returned with a little laugh, moving in as close as he dared without touching him. "Well how bout I go wash up and we can do something /interesting/?"

Gokudera huffed irritably. "I don't care. I don't wanna wait around for you to get pretty." He grabbed at Yamamoto's waistband and yanked him in close, kissing him hard and quick, sucking briefly at his lower lip before pushing him away with an impatient shove. "Tack room. Shut up, keep your hands to yourself, and we'll all have a good time."

Though Yamamoto had a knack for hiding behind a smile, he wasn't quite as adept at hiding certain emotions, such as the intensely aroused, surprised and pleased gaze Gokudera was met with. "Yeah, okay." He gave a breathless laugh and grabbed for a dusty cloth hanging over a stable wall to at least wipe the sweat from his brow and scrub at his hands on the way to the tack room door across the building.

The Rose's stable wasn't particularly expansive and the tack room was the size of a large closet, smelling of leather and dust and polish. Bridles, bits and reins hung from hooks on all of the walls, a few saddles at rest at the back of the small room.

"I'll do my best to shut up but you know how loud you make me," Yamamoto said with a wide grin, advancing on Gokudera when he shut the door behind them. Afternoon light shone dimly through the planks of the walls and around the edge of the door.

"If you gotta make noise, at least shout my name while you're at it, so anyone who hears knows it was me who did that to you," Gokudera grinned, feral and hungry as he backed up against a sawhorse and beckoned Yamamoto closer. "I'm gonna suck you off. And you're not allowed to touch me while I do it. Think you can manage that?"

"Hah--" It was half a laugh and half a hitched intake of breath as Yamamoto was easily drawn forward, his fingers twitching with the desire to reach for the other man. "I promise to keep my hands off," he said earnestly, lifting his palms like a cornered crook. "As incredibly difficult as that already is."

Gokudera nodded, satisfied with the answer and hooked both hands around Yamamoto's hips, tucking his thumbs into his waistband. He spun them around then, pushing Yamamoto against the wooden beam, and popped open the button on his trousers, keeping eye contact the whole time. "I'll make it worth your while," he promised, and sank to his knees.

"I'd never doubt that," Yamamoto grinned, sinking obediently to his seat and planting his feet. He'd been half hard since Gokudera's order to get to the tack room and with the bomber sinking down between his knees, his unabashed lust for the other man was hardly a secret. He placed his hands on the saw horse with enough exaggeration for Gokudera to notice him following the rules.

"Good," Gokudera praised him gruffly, and unclipped his suspenders, opening Yamamoto's fly and tugging his trousers down onto his hips, exposing the thick arousal straining against cotton underclothes. "That's for me," Gokudera grinned, not meeting Yamamoto's eyes now, his attention on the bulge at eye level now. He got up close, mouth hovering near, not quite touching, until he heard Yamamoto give a quiet whine. Then, Gokudera pressed forward, lips to fabric and breathed out, hot breath soaking through the cotton.

"Yeah it is," Yamamoto huffed unapologetically. He watched, entranced, as Gokudera mouthed at the strain in his shorts which twitched eagerly under his lips. It was a challenge even now to keep his hands in place, longing to run his fingers through Gokudera's soft silvery hair.

Gokudera sucked now, finding his head, the bit of dampness there, adding to it with his own wet tongue, tasting Yamamoto through the fabric, more of a tease than anything. His hands crept up Yamamoto's thighs, squeezing at the firm, tense muscle there.

Yamamoto licked his own lips hungrily, thighs wide and hips angled eagerly. "Mm... don't tease, Gokudera..." he groaned, his flavor growing stronger under the other's tongue.

"This is mine," Gokudera growled, then dragged his teeth down the clothed length. "I'll do anything I want with it." Nevertheless, he only gave Yamamoto one more lingering lick before pulling down his underclothes and setting Yamamoto free with a satisfying bounce. His stiff dick pointed upward, already dripping, flushed a deep pink.

Gokudera hummed a proud-sounding observation, lifting one hand to encircle the base of Yamamoto's cock, behind his balls, giving a little squeeze, more a promise than a tease.

A pleased hitch of breath was earned, a shiver going through Yamamoto's thighs as he struggled to keep his hips still. "Mm, yeah, whatever you want..." he breathed and lifted his hands. Before he could get chastised though, they instead went to the buttons of his own shirt, plucking them free so that the dusty fabric fell safely away, leaving Yamamoto's sweat-damp front bare.

Gokudera grinned, pressed down on the top of his dick with one finger, let it go and watched it spring back upward, slapping Yamamoto's stomach with a quiet pap sound. "Got you fuckin' hard," he chuckled, then gathered him up again, dipping his head to suck at the base of Yamamoto's cock, palming his balls at the same time.

Yamamoto didn't even bother looking politely chagrined, too much enjoying the sight of Gokudera finally bringing his mouth into play. "Unnh... can you blame me? You corner me like this in the middle of the day..." He moaned softly as Gokudera's mouth moved up, so sultry and wanting as he stared into Gokudera's predatory, self-satisfied grey-green eyes. "God, you're so hot..."

"I know," Gokudera sniffed, half a grin visible behind Yamamoto's dick. He kept hold of Yamamoto's gaze as he licked a long line up the underside of his cock, sucking a little at the cluster of nerves under the head, letting the tip of his tongue just barely graze over the dripping slit. Then he drew back, hummed. "Want to fuck you out here."

"Oh god, yes," Yamamoto answered instantly, breath picking up a little with his mounting excitement. "Let's do it."

Gokudera smirked, kissed the tip of Yamamoto's dick, and sat back on his heels, rummaging in his inside jacket pocket for the supplies that all house employees typically carried. He stood then, opening a small container of oil, and slicking his fingers liberally with it. "Drop your trousers," he instructed. "I'll get you ready. Since your hands are still dirty."

"Thanks," Yamamoto grinned back, quick to hook his thumbs in his waistbands and bare himself in one go. He fumbled briefly with his boots and socks until finally he was down to just an open shirt and able to catch a heel behind Gokudera's hip and pull him closer.

Gokudera scoffed lightly, directed him to turn around. "Lean forward on the sawhorse," he gestured. When Yamamoto did as instructed, Gokudera hummed, pleased at his obedience. He ran his clean hand over the curve of Yamamoto's toned ass, spreading him apart with a thumb, then introduced his slick fingers with little preamble, rubbing a small circle to let Yamamoto know he was there. Then he dipped a fingertip inside, pulled it out again.

Yamamoto shivered at the not-enough touch, thighs spread and hips angled wantonly. "Gokudera..." he whined and looked over his shoulder, flushed and demanding. "Come on... don't be gentle."

In reply, Gokudera gave him a quick pinch on one hip, clicking his tongue. “Who’s giving the orders here? Are you paying me? No, then sshh. I’m busy.” His brow furrowed in concentration and he rubbed again, two fingers now, then pressed inside again, just one, then careful, slow, the second, digits twined together, a steady twist taking him deeper, stretching him, not quite reaching that spot that would make Yamamoto’s knees weak.

Yamamoto, being himself, was unable to keep from huffing a strained, frustrated laugh. He gripped at the sawhorse obediently though, his back curved and body open with want. His thighs shivered with the almost-brushes inside him that were maddeningly-not-enough. “You’re not paying either, you know,” he managed to groan back, though he offered no more protests, instead letting his body beg for Gokudera deep inside him.

“Then next time, you can give the orders,” Gokudera decided, generously, as he added a third finger and licked a line up Yamamoto’s spine, biting at his shoulder to feel the other man tighten. “Gotta make sure you’re ready,” he murmured, teeth scraping Yamamoto’s skin.

“D-dammit, Gokudera…” the taller of the two now bent in utter begging moaned, likely the harshest words he’d offered to his one-time foxhole companion. “Nnn… you’re killing me… please…”

Gokudera growled in reply, a hungry, deep-throated sound. “I like hearing you curse,” he breathed, hot, against Yamamoto’s skin, pressing his nose and lips to the other’s spine as he drew back just enough to add a fourth finger, not quite ready to give in now that he’d had a taste of the Yamamoto that was just on the verge of shaking apart, of dropping the easy-going face, of snapping, demanding, begging.

“Ah--!” Yamamoto was able to take plenty but Gokudera’s prolonged denial of something more interesting than his fingers was far more efficient a form of torture than filling him would be. “S--it’s not… nn… very gentlemanly,” he panted out, trying to laugh into it but mostly only moaning. “Fuck-- please-- sh...shouldn’t take too long… right?”

“I changed my mind about making this quick,” Gokudera hummed, teeth still scraping at a tan shoulder blade. “We have time and privacy, and I want to make you cum slow and hard.” His fingers still moved, in and out, stretching, curling, teasing, making Gokudera shiver with pride whenever he wrung a sweet sound from Yamamoto’s throat. But he didn’t wait too much longer, as hard and ready as he was himself by then. And his fingers finally slipped free of Yamamoto’s body, leaving the man shivering. “Mm. You ready now?”

“Yes!” Yamamoto choked out, everything protesting at the barest moment of inattention. His knuckles were white from clutching the sawhorse, unable to even use his dirty hands to stifle the noises Gokudera was inspiring. He was never much above begging but for Gokudera it was something special and raw and burning in his chest when he moaned, “/Please/ fuck me,” with knees knocked wide apart and ass high.

A low, shuddering groan took over Gokudera’s chest and he had to swallow hard and bit his lip to keep from getting too close to his own limit from that voice, those words alone. “Yeah, okay,” he answered, words husky as he reached for Yamamoto’s hips, lining him up to rock against his ass just once before fumbling quickly with his own belt and slacks, shoving them open, down on his thighs, and pulling himself out with little more fanfare. “Fuck, Yama--” he breathed, guiding himself close, rubbing at his hole, one last little tease before he spread Yamamoto open, hand on one ass cheek, and pressed in, slow and careful, but without pausing again.

 

“Nnnn… yeah…” Yamamoto moaned louder than he should have when thin shafts of light littered the room from between flimsy barnwood boards. “Damn, you feel so good… every time…” Hungry for it but careful not to push the limits that he was sure would make Gokudera scold him for being greedy or over-eager, he pushed back onto the other man’s cock, making sure he was nestled deep before pulling away with his partner’s guidance.

“Yeah,” Gokudera agreed, whether with the compliment, or with the assessment of their current, delicious situation, wasn’t clear. He started slow, in and out with long, groan-inducing motions, and he watched as he filled Yamamoto up, then left him almost empty, once, then twice, then again, then deeper, pausing to rock, searching for the spot that would leave Yamamoto seeing sparks.

Yamamoto’s breath shook and he bit his lip to hold back a delighted cry when Gokudera slid so skillfully into a place and position that made him melt with want. “Too good at your job,” he joked breathlessly, cut himself off with a moan and pressed his brow to his arm.

Gokudera chuckled, began rocking his hips at the angle that had left Yamamoto shivering with pleasure. He took his time though, pressing in and holding there, small motions, hips flush with Yamamoto’s ass, grinding slowly. “This isn’t work, this is pleasure,” he corrected with a flush-faced grin.

“Tell me about it,” Yamamoto huffed back, then groaned, lost to the way that Gokudera took too much pride in breaking him down. He couldn’t offer much in way of banter only a few moments later, far too focused on begging now with his body for the rough fuck he craved. It was the best he could do when he could find nothing to complain about in the way Gokudera was currently taking him apart, slow and precise and infuriating.

Slow and steady was how he began, but it didn’t take long for Gokudera to begin to move, faster, quick snaps of his hips, then lingering rolling motions, buried deep, rubbing the head of his cock against Yamamoto’s sweet spot, skin shivering when the man moaned aloud. Yamamoto knew that Gokudera liked to hear his voice, even when he might otherwise scold him for talking too much. Here, though, deep inside him, Gokudera thrived on hearing Yamamoto come just for him.

“Gokudera--” Yamamoto moaned, syllables long enough to hear the beat of Gokudera’s hips. His teeth and brow were tight, fighting to stay appropriately quiet for someone being fucked in a tack shed in spite of Gokudera’s very successful efforts. “Someone’ll hear,” he panted helplessly, easily reading the other man’s thought and intent.

Gokudera shivered with excitement and his next thrust hit harder and deeper than before, and he held it there, held his breath, bit his lip, until Yamamoto squeaked a little and Gokudera breathed out, a shuddery, pleased sigh before he began moving again, just a little faster. “If they hear us, they should be so lucky. Customers pay a lot of money to hear your voice like this.” His hands rubbed encouragingly at Yamamoto’s hips, then one hand slid lower, reached a little farther, fingertips just brushing the base of Yamamoto’s stiff cock, a tease maybe, or he just wanted to feel how much he was affecting the other man.

“Unnhh…” Yamamoto was only able to moan back, just as afflicted as Gokudera had hoped, hot and dripping onto the dusty ground between his toes. His cock jumped at that light brush, a convulsion that then wrapped tight around Gokudera and sent a shudder up Yamamoto’s spine. “Fuck, it feels good… ah--! You jerk…” he whined breathlessly when those wandering fingers continued to tease, ghosting along his aching cock without offering any friction.

“You want me to touch you?” Gokudera asked, rocking deep and letting his fingers graze Yamamoto’s inner thigh. “You gonna be able to handle it?” he wondered, “Not come too soon?”

“Hah--” Yamamoto tried to laugh but he was cut off by his own groan. With Gokudera grinding deep, holding him there for an achingly delicious moment, he was able to pant out a few words. “Honestly? I don’t -- know-- mm, this was supposed to be fast but you’re too damn good, Hayato…”

“Ooh, I see,” Gokudera hummed. “You don’t want to rush things either now, hm?” He squeezed at Yamamoto’s thigh, fingers digging hard, letting his hips grow still as he spoke. “Feels that good, hm?”

Even for one as mouthy as Yamamoto, formulating sentences was becoming increasingly difficult. But panting, “Yeah, it does,” came pretty easily. His body shivered at the pausing of movement but he was so turned on by Gokudera toying with him this way that he couldn’t bear to complain.

“We’ve got time,” Gokudera assured him. “The door is latched.” They could afford to make this last. He began to move again, still slow, not quite deep enough to reach the spot that made Yamamoto keen, but he was taking it careful now, not pushing Yamamoto too close to the edge too soon. He still rubbed at Yamamoto’s thigh, but after a moment he gave the skin a little swat to get the other man to spread his legs a bit more.

Startled by the light slap, Yamamoto clenched tight around Gokudera’s cock and brought a gasp to his own lips with the sensation. Shivers raced across his skin from the point and he laughed with chagrin, only to happy to open himself up to direction.

“Oh?” Gokudera hummed. brows lifting. “You like that?” He gave another slap, this time a little harder, fingertips grazing his inner thigh. “Cuz you tighten up so nice when I do it…”

“Nn! O-of course I do!” Yamamoto panted back, a little indignantly after the tight shudder passed and Gokudera slid back a bit. “It’s an automatic response....” He could only manage a glance over his shoulder, taking in the look that was almost cruel but mostly lusting for him, for dominating him -- Yamamoto had to quickly look away, before he himself off, face red for being so turned on by it. “It-- it is kinda nice,” he finally admitted with no small measure of embarrassment.

“Do you have any appointments later?” Gokudera wondered, lips brushing the back of Yamamoto’s neck. He wouldn’t dare make marks that might hurt the house’s business, no matter how much he might like to leave evidence of their encounter on Yamamoto’s skin. His hand rubbed soothingly at Yamamoto’s thigh.

“No,” Yamamoto breathed instantly. “My night off tonight. You know, since I’ve been working hard-- mm, in the stables…” He ground back, arching himself as though he could take Gokudera any deeper.

“Mm. Good,” Gokudera purred into his skin, rocking slow, meeting that hungry grind. “Then we have a chance to try new things.” His fingers brushed at the Yamamoto’s hip, nails scraping just a little. “Ready?”

“Nn…” Yamamoto moaned back, ready for anything that Gokudera would bring upon him. But he really /wasn’t/ ready when Gokudera struck him in earnest, a cracking slap to the right side of Yamamoto’s ass. Even with all his experience, a startled cry broke from his lips, unable to stifle himself with hands filthy. He tightened, shuddering from top to toe and biting back moans that were far too loud -- but helpless with the way his skin prickled everywhere and burned like fire where a red handprint was jumping to the surface. “Oh -- /FUCK/ --”

The silver-haired man groaned, sparks at the corners of his vision as Yamamoto’s muscles clenched around him. He rubbed at the place he’d slapped, feeling the way his skin prickled. “Oooh, that’s good, hm?” his voice cracked-- he cleared his throat, grinned, and took a deep breath as he pulled back, slow, careful, then pressed in once more, just a little quicker, and punctuated the move with a second slap, a bit lower.

He was more ready for it this time and was able to mostly choke back the sound of agonized delight with this second strike that left the muscles of his flank trembling and his knees weak. Gokudera could hear in his breath the way that he was biting hard at his lip, everything focused on not collapsing under the power of it. He’d already been clammy with sweat when Gokudera had cornered him and now it beaded on his brow, made his linen shirt cling damp to his back. But the tall, muscular man under Gokudera’s whim was nothing if not athletic -- not to mention durable and eager -- so he was undaunted by the effort that it took to meet him thrust for thrust.

“Unnh--” The sounds he held back, tried to keep quiet were lurid, unable to hide his lust for Gokudera. “So fucking-- hot--”

“Yeah, you are,” Gokudera growled, palm soothing, brushing featherlight touches across Yamamoto’s stinging skin. He was keeping a steady pace now, not quick, but firm and deep, and out of tempo with the quick, sharp slaps that came here and there, just random enough to keep Yamamoto on his toes.

Each time Gokudera’s palm etched red prints into his skin, it both interrupted the build of pleasure and brought it surging back like bellowing fire. Doubled over the sawhorse, Yamamoto’s weight rested on his elbows, motion digging grooves into the dirt floor. He couldn’t catch his breath between chokes and gasps brought on by Gokudera’s rough attention and it was making him light-headed. Sweat dripped from his nose and jaw, salty on his lips when he managed to get a moan in.

“Gok--udera--” His voice was pleading and interrupted by the tempo of their thrusts. “Gonna-- so--oon-- Hard--er-- Nnn-mm--please! F-faster…” Thoroughly undone, Yamamoto’s begging was shameless.
Lucky for him, that begging was just what Gokudera wanted to hear, and his request was answered with swift and enthusiastic approval. The slaps ceased, in favor of directing full attention to grabbing hold of Yamamoto’s hips, braced to fuck him as hard and fast as they both wanted. That Gokudera was thoroughly effected by the moment was evident in the way his snarky commentary had faded away, replaced now by quiet grunts and heavy breath huffed between clenched teeth. He wasn't exactly rough as he slammed into Yamamoto --faster now, determined-- but he was certainly less cautious than he might have been with a customer. He knew his grip might bruise, but Yamamoto would forgive him, and more importantly, Yamamoto would remember this visit for days afterward, anytime he saw those spots of purple on hips.

Yamamoto's moans were replaced by long gasps, his body growing tighter and tighter around Gokudera. He rocked back, prying every bit of pleasure he could get and urging Gokudera to give in. He had no restraint left to hold back any longer and just barely caught himself before reaching back to grab for Gokudera's slacks with his filthy hands. Thankfully Gokudera took that opportunity to plunge and grind deep at just the right moment and briefly Yamamoto thought he might pass out. He'd managed pretty well to keep his voice under control for the sake of the thin walls but couldn't hold back the sharp cry as he spilled himself all over the dusty floor.

Gokudera would deny that there was any romance in the moment, but Yamamoto's climax was enough to trigger his own and he fell forward over Yamamoto's back, stifling a groan between his shoulderblades. He shivered as he came, knees going weak, but staying upright with the support of Yamamoto beneath him. His hands had left Yamamoto's hips and arms circled his torso instead. He'd deny it was anything like a hug, and insist it was just for support, but his palms were gentle and one rested over Yamamoto's chest, feeling his pulse.

When the tension through his whole body began to subside, Yamamoto slowly lifted himself onto his palms, breath ragged. He groaned when Gokudera shifted away and Yamamoto turned, careful since his pants were down around his ankles. Leaning back onto the sawhorse with the balls of his palms, he was an obscene vision, sweaty and dirty, flushed and panting and grinning. "That was a challenge," he admitted. "I like being able to touch you better. But damn."

"Mm-hmm," Gokudera answered vaguely, but not disinterested, still hovering nearby even as he hitched up his own trousers. "You were more obedient than I expected," he teased, eyes finally lifting to meet Yamamoto's, the hint of a cocky grin on the corner of his mouth. From Gokudera, this was nothing short of a compliment. He stepped close again then, reaching out to take Yamamoto in hand and tuck him back away, never breaking eye contact. When he was done, he leaned in and placed a brief kiss on Yamamoto's cheek. "Get back to work, Stableboy."

"H-hey, I'm done for the day," Yamamoto said on a shuddering breath, oversensitive chills shaking him when Gokudera handled his flaccid cock. His thighs trembled when he bent to pull up his trousers and fumbled with his suspenders. "And I'm a mess," he added with a huff of self-deprecating laughter. "I need a bath for my aching muscles alone." He held Gokudera close with his eyes, hands coming again to ease his weight onto the sawhorse. The way he looked at Gokudera was as though they hadn't just fucked themselves sore, as though he were ready to passionately kiss Gokudera for the rest of the day. His smile was soft and warm and affectionate and irrepressible. Before Gokudera could tear away from him in disgust, Yamamoto ducked in for a quick, innocent kiss.

"I have to put a few things away before going in. Wait a minute for me?"

Gokudera grumbled faintly, obligated to protest, lest Yamamoto get the idea that he cared enough to have waited without being asked. But he also waved Yamamoto on with a nod, taking the moment to card fingers through his disheveled hair, smoothing it back as best he could. Once he'd tucked in the tails of his shirt, he leaned back against the wall to watch Yamamoto work, more interested in watching the movement of Yamamoto's well-sculpted backside than in offering to help.

Yamamoto's knees were almost solidly under him by the time he'd cleaned up the tools and they stepped out into waning, reddish afternoon light. It so happened that as they clomped up the steps to the front entrance, they came across the town deputy and his marshal friend on their way out. Though visibly exhausted, Yamamoto perked up with interest at the sight of them.

"Squalo! Gokudera told me you had a friend in town. Who's this?" With a grin, Yamamoto took in the roguish, blond man dressed in bright military colors. The whore himself didn't seem at all chagrined at his own state of dress and disrepair.

"Ask him yourself," Squalo sneered, not quite making eye-contact with Yamamoto. He seemed irritated to have been stopped and forced into casual conversation, but then again, the expression he currently wore was standard for the deputy, so it was hard to be sure. "He looks stupid, but he does speak English."

Squalo's companion offered a momentary pout, but didn't seem particularly offended. Instead he turned to Yamamoto and offered a hand. "I'm Dino. It's nice to meet you...?"

"Yamamoto, Takeshi Yamamoto," was the bright reply though with an apologetic smile, dirty hands lifted helplessly. Even unable to lay on physical affection to strangers, Yamamoto was well tuned for his job and the way he held Dino's gaze was intimate. "Forgive me. Unfortunate for me to be in such a state when we have handsome government dignitaries visiting. You got a proper welcome, right? Squalo didn't sour your experience enough to not come back? It'd be nice to meet you after a bath sometime."

The marshal appeared to be flattered, if a little embarrassed by how easily and carelessly Yamamoto flirted. He tucked the offered hand back away, unoffended, and laughed, only a bit awkwardly. "No, no, Tsuna was very welcoming. I'm sure I'll be back again. Despite Squalo's sour attitude," Dino grinned, dodging the petulant, but half-hearted backhand that Squalo aimed his way.

"Glad to hear it! We're definitely the liveliest place in town and the food is good if it doesn't make you sick! Even Squalo likes it here." The deputy was apparently the only one not above Yamamoto's dusty contact -- truth was, Squalo's outfit was pretty dusty too, if not from mucking stalls. Yamamoto bumped him with a hip, playful and teasing. "It's so nice that you have a friend visiting!" He turned back to Dino, "Since you're staying with him and the sheriff, you definitely aught to come by often to lighten things up. You don't seem like their type."

Before Dino could answer, Squalo's hand was on Yamamoto's head, pushing him down and away with an irritated shove. "I might be rethinking my opinion of the place," he groused, but stepped back quickly when Gokudera moved in to smack his hand away.

"Don't touch what you haven't paid for," the silver-haired man snapped, not liking Squalo's rough handling of Yamamoto, particularly in public. Whether they realized it or not, law men set the standard of treatment for people like the Rose's employees, and if others saw the deputy man-handle one of the whores, they might think they could get away with it too.

For his part, Dino seemed a bit wide-eyed, watching the back and forth between the other three, but when things began to feel tense, he stepped forward, raising both hands placatingly, before grabbing for Squalo's arm to pull him away from what seemed like might turn into a fight. "Ahaha... well, we should get back to the sheriff's office, hm? Nice to meet you, again." He smiled sweetly, nodding to Yamamoto and Gokudera in turn.

"You too!" Yamamoto called, giving an obliviously chipper wave as Dino dutifully led them down the steps. "Come by any time! Squalo! Are we still on for tuesday?"

"Fuck off!" Squalo screeched, face a flattering shade of red, as he stormed out into the dirt road, dragging the marshal after him.

Chapter Text

"What the fuck are those?" was Squalo's greeting when he found Dino waiting for him outside the darkened general store.

"They're flowers," the marshal hummed, holding the bouquet of daisies --illegally pilfered from the mayor's garden no doubt-- to his nose.

With a THWAP, the deputy backhanded the bundle of flowers out from under Dino's nose and sent them skidding down the dusty street. "YOU DON'T BRING FUCKING FLOWERS TO A BROTHEL, IDIOT," he snarled. "What do you think this is, a fucking maypole dance?!"

"But-- but those were a gift!" Dino reached out helplessly for the ruined flowers.

"You don't bring GIFTS to a hooker. You bring MONEY." Squalo rubbed at his temples with a thumb and forefinger. "It's like you're six fucking years old. Am I going to have to show you where to put your dick as well?" he sneered.

Dino flushed somewhat angrily. "I know that," he hissed under his breath. "I just... wanted to do something NICE for him… Jerk." Reluctantly, he turned away from the flowers, hands in his pockets and followed Squalo in the direction of the saloon.

Squalo rolled his eyes as he fell into step. "Save it for the second date, moron. Besides, if you show up with those, their idiot bouncer would throw you into the street like the creep you are."

"The guy with the broken nose?" Dino confirmed, curiosity in his voice. "Surely he'd understand that a man of the law like me has only the most respectful of intentions--"

"Oh, of course, EVERYONE that goes looking to give money in exchange for sex obviously has the PUREST of intentions," Squalo scoffed. "Besides, knowing you, the whore’d be deathly allergic and you'd shove them up his nose. What you NEED to do is focus on not falling out a window or down a flight of stairs on your way to the room. Or breaking a limb while you fuck."

"I'll be FINE," Dino protested, despite a history of evidence to the contrary. Even as Squalo opened his mouth to offer further examples, the marshal hurried on. "... IF you go with me." He turned his eyes on Squalo, his steps slowing to a stop and his eyes widening in the most disgustingly hopeful expression he could muster.

Squalo glared murderously at him for a moment before giving a beleaguered sigh and shoving him out of the way. He stormed past the visiting marshal toward the far end of town where light still poured onto the empty street from the saloon. "The only reason I'm coming is to make sure you don't burn the place down. Other people use it too, you know. Now come on, I'm not going to babysit you all night."

Dino lit up light like a kid with a fistful of stick candy and he hurried after the deputy, only tripping once before he caught up. "What if he's busy tonight? What if he's got the night off?"

"Then I'll go get my rocks off and you can drown your sorrows downstairs," Squalo answered loftily.

The atmosphere at the Vongola saloon was warm and jovial as usual. As soon as they stepped through the swinging doors, a face lit up at the end of the bar and the tall young man from the other day was instantly upon them and wrapping the deputy in a hug. He looked nearly like a different person from the dirty stable boy Dino’d met: polished and handsome and wrapped in a black suit.

"Squalo! Where have you been all week?!" The silver haired man bristled with irritation and humiliation as the young man held close at his elbow and turned his gaze on Dino. He gave a warm smile and a friendly once over with an appreciation for the crisp military uniform. "Hello again, marshal. Hope you’re not here on government business." He tugged at the lapel of Dino's uniform jacket with a smirk.

Dino flushed lightly, rubbing at the back of his neck. "No, no. I'm not... here on business. I mean my business. I mean-- not on official, law-related business. Um."

Yamamoto laughed mirthfully, hands poised on one of Squalo's shoulders until the deputy pushed him away petulantly. But the dark haired young man caught him by the hand and tugged him toward the bar.

"Come on, let's get your poor friend a drink. I think he needs it."

Dino followed dumbly after the deputy and his seemingly mismatched consort, trying and failing to catch Squalo's eye while simultaneously scanning the room, hoping (and yet not hoping) to catch a glimpse of the man he'd come to see.

Yamamoto sat them down, an arm around each and called for drinks from a rather surly looking woman behind the bar. He leaned on the bar between them, his warm smile aimed at Dino. "So what’s the story with you, Marshal? Just passing through?"

"I-in town for a couple of weeks," Dino answered nervously, fingering the lip of his glass as he eyed the suspiciously purple whiskey. "Seems like a popular place," he observed, glancing over his shoulder, disappointed still to find no sign of the quiet Japanese man he'd seen in the window half a week earlier.

"We try to make it hospitable," Yamamoto laughed, reaching out to squeeze the deputy's knee. "Isn't that right, Squalo?"

Squalo just growled irritably, face growing red. "Shut up, idiot. Keep your pants on, I'm not here for you."

The courtesan pouted dramatically, shoulders sagging. "Mean," he chided and in spite of Squalo's protests, he proceeded to sidle into the bristling deputy's lap. And just as easily, he turned his cheerful gaze back on Dino. "So then it must be the marshal here who's searching for some relaxation?"

Dino's face bloomed into a red like he'd been out in the sun too long, and he was torn between maintaining polite eye-contact and feeling the need to avert his eyes from the way the man called Yamamoto Takeshi squirmed in Squalo's lap. "Uh -- um, I... I was hoping to... meet one of -- that is... a particular, um --"

"'Whore', dumbshit," Squalo finished for him impatiently. "For piss sake, idiot, can't you even say the word?" He turned to Yamamoto and rolled his eyes. "He wants to meet Hibari. I warned him, but he's too stupid to sense danger."

Yamamoto gave a rather helpless laugh. "Hibari? Are you certain, marshal? We do have many... friendlier companions." He took Dino's hand, giving him a sly smirk as he kissed his palm. "If it's your first time, I could help you become more... comfortable with the idea."

Dino's ears burned, and he let Yamamoto kiss his hand, but still he hemmed. "That's... kind of you," he said, and it was sincere, "but um... I -- I'm alright, really."

Yamamoto chuckled but he patted the back of Dino's hand and released him. "Hibari's upstairs." He nodded to the balcony that overlooked the main room and called to Bianchi for another drink -- specifically for the man in question. Moments later she set a steaming, handle-less cup before Dino. "Bring that to him," Yamamoto said and then turned his attention back to Squalo, arms curling around his neck. "You're going to stay with meeee, right?"

Squalo sighed, grumbling, despite the gloved hand that had already slid a bit too high up Yamamoto's thigh. "Not today," he muttered, "Gotta keep an eye on this moron, or he'll end up back at the jail house, crying and icing his crotch."

Yamamoto sighed sadly, but he kissed Squalo's cheek and slid out of his lap. "You better come see me tomorrow or I'll be very jealous," he chided and then winked at Dino and left them for more receptive customers.

"You sure you can handle this, tenderfoot?" Squalo said with a cruel smirk.

Dino looked down at the steaming drink and back to Squalo with brow raised. "I'll be fine," he insisted, steeling himself as their feet hit the stairs. "But... I'm glad you're here." He smiled brightly, catching Squalo's eyes.

"Che," Squalo scoffed. "I'm only here because I'm not interested in having your ass in the clinker for the next week."

At the top of the stairs, the balcony was less crowded, the light dimmer and more intimate. Toward the back of the room, alone at a tiny table, Dino finally spotted the man he was looking for, clad in a long robe that made him stand out in a room of boots and chaps.

Squalo flopped into a seat near the stairs. "What? I'm not gonna hold your hand through this part. Get on with it, I don't wanna be here all fucking night."

Dino swallowed nervously, but nodded, lifting the cup higher and looking down at the floor, watching for wrinkles in the rug, or anything that might ruin this moment. And somehow he made it to the end of the hall, and stood beside the man's table, hesitating for a moment before setting the cup down in front of him.

The young man -- Hibari -- looked at the steaming cup for a long moment before finally looking up at Dino with perpetually hooded eyes. He glanced over Dino's uniform silently, critically, then picked up the cup for a light sip. He eased back in his seat without looking at Dino again. "I assume by this that you're not here to arrest me."

"No," Dino confirmed, a light smile tugging the corner of his mouth. He coughed and sobered his expression. "Ah, may I sit?" He gestured to the second chair.

"Mm," Hibari replied with a light nod. He leveled his gaze at Dino across the table, calculating and incredibly standoffish for someone selling their company to others. "You're new."

"Came into town to work with your sheriff. Outlaws are getting bolder these days. Marshal Cavallone." He held out his hand in greeting. "Dino," he corrected with a grin.

Lightly, briefly, he took Dino's hand as though simply humoring the custom. "You may call me Hibari," he replied, fingers curling once more under the teacup. "I take very few customers and I'm very expensive," he added bluntly.

"I have money," Dino replied easily, placing a hand on the table, palm down, relaxed. "I'm... interested in you. You're different from the others here--"

"'Exotic'?" Hibari interrupted, unimpressed. "Or perhaps 'mysterious'? You white people are all the same."

"N-no," Dino started, sitting up straighter. "No, I mean, you're... quiet. And you... you don't look like a fighter, but I think you could be. You're beautiful a-and you're dangerous, and Squalo says I'm stupid for even talking to you, but--"

"You are," Hibari said loftily. But he was finally actually LOOKING at Dino, catching his eye sharply. "But. You have my attention." His breath gusted softly over the surface of his tea. "How do you know me if I've never seen you?"

"I saw you first in the window. A few days ago. It was open and the breeze was pulling at your hair and--" he stopped himself embarrassed. "I saw you again, later, in the mayor's garden, when the sheriff took me to meet him. You... you were meditating, maybe?"

"Hm. So you're a stalker." He smirked faintly. "How flattering."

"I-I wasn't following you!" Dino protested. "I just... asked Squalo about you and he told me you worked here. I wanted to meet you."

"Well, now you've met me. Do I meet your expectations?"

"I think... I think that you're just the kind of trouble I'd like to find." He stood then, tipping his head and straightening his shirt. "Perhaps you'd allow me to call on you again? I'd like to talk more." From a pocket inside his vest, he pulled out twenty dollar bill and placed it on the table.

For a long moment, Hibari said nothing, staring at the money, but when Dino started to turn to leave, he caught the marshal's sleeve lightly. "I have no appointments this evening," he murmured, fingers lightly brushing Dino's wrist.

Dino blinked once, then his expression softened -- though his heart-rate kicked up a notch. As he nodded, Squalo appeared behind him, grabbing a lock of hair and giving it a good pull.

"Are you still bothering the guy? I know rejection hurts but--"

"He said yes," Dino interrupted, looking almost as surprised as Squalo.

"Yes, I did," Hibari said, setting the now empty teacup down and rising to his feet. He fixed Squalo with an irritable glance, lightly taking Dino's arm. "You might consider the company you keep, marshal."

"A-ah, but Squalo is an old friend..." Dino trailed off, distracted by the touch, by the pale fingers on his dusty sleeve. He found himself embarrassed by the state of his clothing, and felt far too rough and common to be in the company of such a creature.

"Hm," Hibari replied as Squalo bristled angrily. "If you'll excuse us, deputy."

"Che, what?" Squalo scoffed and snagged Dino by the ear. "You didn't tell him!?"

Dino squeaked, embarrassed. "I didn't-- I didn't have a chance!" he grimaced, heart thudding and sure he was about to be kicked out of the Vongola house.

Squalo palmed at his face and then slapped a hand down on the table, leaning toward Hibari. "I'm in for the evening, Vongola. As an observer."

Genuine surprise flickered across Hibari's face and he looked to Dino for confirmation, only to observe the beet-red of his complexion. He sighed deeply, lips pursing. "It'll be extra. Considerably."

"T-that's fine," Dino mumbled, humiliation tight in his throat, but relieved that Hibari wasn't kicking him out. "I-I can pay it."

"Very well," Hibari quipped and tugged at Dino's sleeve. And shot a glare at Squalo as they made their way down the hall that branched off from the balcony. "No yelling."

"Yeah, yeah," Squalo grumbled, arms crossed as he followed. "Anyway, won't be me doing the screaming."

"Squalo!" Dino chastised, flushing and glancing apologetically at Hibari. "He's really a good guy once you get to know him..."

"I'm sure," Hibari replied flatly. But he tugged Dino gently forward, closer to his room. And when he spoke again, it was kinder. "It's not /that/ unusual, I suppose. I assume it's because this is your first time...?"

Dino hesitated, but nodded. "Never really interested in... visiting a house like this. Before now." He followed Hibari easily, letting himself be led without any resistance.

"And before /that/?" Hibari pressed. "You understand I must plan my evening. And if you're a virgin, I can plan for ten minutes instead of two hours."

Dino wasn't sure how he was ever going to make it through the evening when ALL of the blood in his body seemed to be rushing to his face. They had paused outside Hibari's door and Dino dropped his voice to a whisper. "I'm not a virgin," he insisted. "That is-- I've... slept with men before."

"A man," Squalo, still hovering nearby, put in.

The faintest hint of a smirk tugged at Hibari's mouth as he opened the door to his chambers. "I see. I suppose we'll see how it goes then. I believe you'll find my sofa to your liking, deputy Squalo."

The room was spartan but comfortable. Squalo crossed the room and flopped onto the couch to kick off his boots.

"Now, marshal," Hibari continued, turning to Dino to slide both hands up his sleeves, easing closer. "I do have a few rules."

"Of course," Dino nodded, eager to do the right thing, to make this stranger pleased with him. "Anything you say."

Behind him, Squalo snorted.

Hibari glared at him over Dino's shoulder. "I /will/ throw you off the balcony if you displease me, deputy."

Squalo just rolled his eyes and crossed his arms but he had no catty comeback.

A brush of fingertips down Dino's jaw waylaid his impending nerves, bringing his attention back to the young man practically in his arms. His loose-fitting yukata was slivering open, revealing new skin. "I require that my customers prove that they are worth... giving myself up for," Hibari continued, holding Dino's gaze as he tugged lightly at the robe until it slid from one shoulder. "Very few have lived up to my standards. Do you understand?"

"You... want me to do something for you," Dino answered, unable to keep his eyes from raking over Hibari's body, the slowly revealed skin, as pale and perfect as he knew it would be. His hands were already itching to touch, willing and ready to do anything the young man asked of him. "Anything."

"Good," Hibari all but purred and his hands smoothed down Dino's chest, seeming oblivious to his dusty clothes. He began methodically plucking free the tarnished buttons, murmuring as he worked, keeping his voice from Squalo's ears. "It's unusual that I'd let someone come up on the first evening. But, I must admit... there's something about the American military uniform..." The tiniest hint of a smirk tugged at the corner of his mouth as he slid said uniform's jacket from Dino's shoulders, letting it fall to the rug.

Dino shivered pleasantly, letting the man undress him slowly, resisting the urge to lean in and put his mouth on Hibari's throat. "You too," he hummed in reply. "The yukata-- the gray compliments your... eyes."

"Hmm, I see you've read a book," Hibari chuckled, tugging loose a few buttons free from the age-colored tunic beneath. And then his hands were on Dino's wrists, guiding his fingers to the band at his own waist, easing in closer still, nearly in Dino's arms. A finger traced a line down his throat, voice a whisper. "Then you'll know how to take it off." Breath tickled Dino's ear. "Show me just how much you want me."

Dino's own breath caught in his throat as his hands circled around Hibari's waist, found the knot of his sash at the small of his back -- not in front where it might be were he a female whore -- and began to work it free, taking the chance to dip his head close enough to smell the scent of Hibari's shampoo.

A cool hand slid beneath Dino's shirt, fingers spreading idly over his chest as the sash slid from Hibari's waist. The creases fell loose, fabric falling limply about his frame, the slit of fabric at the front not /quite/ opening enough to give everything away.

Dino's skin prickled where Hibari touched him and already he could feel the stirrings of arousal. Hesitating only long enough to take a breath, he let a hand rest at the side of Hibari's neck, thumb grazing his jaw, thoughts full of kissing him, of tasting every inch of him, and the only thing holding him back was the certainty that he should wait until he was given a command.

Hibari caught his eye with a flicker of bemusement. "Are you afraid?"

"Should I be?" Dino wondered, half hoping the answer was yes.

"Of course you should," Hibari scoffed. "It's simply a matter of overcoming your fear before an opportunity passes you by."

With one hand at Hibari's back, and the other drawing the young man's fingers up to his lips for a kiss, Dino lifted Hibari to his toes with a strength not immediately evident in his rather thin frame. "Forgive me, then," he murmured, hot across Hibari's ear. "For taking this opportunity before I lose it." His heart was racing, a feeling not unlike the surge of adrenaline before a fight and he lifted Hibari off his feet entirely, turned toward the bed and tossed him into the nest of pillows. He followed in an instant, pinning him to the mattress, hunger in his eyes, and challenge too.

The raw shock that stared up at him was a prize on its own for the brief moment before it shifted to rage, Hibari's cheeks blooming pink. His yukata flung open around him, the pale, lithe form arched, bare, beneath Dino. He strained against Dino's hold, though it was only testing him, bespeaking of an underlying strength beneath that milky skin. "I see you're just a common ruffian after all," Hibari hissed but his flush colored the tips of his ears in spite of the glare he leveled at Dino. "Step too far out of line and I'll bite you to death, marshal."

Dino grinned, dipped closer to press his nose behind Hibari's ear, lips just barely brushing his throat. One knee was propped between Hibari's thighs, and hands pinned his wrists, thrilling in the feel of Hibari's pulse, thudding through his veins. "Is that a promise? Kyouya..."

He felt the stiffening bristle of Hibari's body at the sound of his name and pulled back just in time to hear the snap of his teeth, lips pulled back in a sneer. "No. It's a threat," he growled quietly. The soft, quiet veneer of the aloof courtesan had faded to something darker and far more dangerous -- and far more interested. He smoldered beneath Dino and a knee rose to rub roughly, blatantly between his thighs against the obvious heaviness that had formed there.

Across the room, Squalo had stopped pretending to be uninterested, and now he watched openly -- though still scowling -- and had divested himself of his vest and belt.

Dino was smiling, but the expression was something Squalo hadn't seen before -- near as dark a look as the whore beneath him was offering -- and it made Squalo's heartbeat pick up in a singularly frustrating way.

"I'm more interested in your actions than your threats," Dino hummed. "Biting to death... maybe you'll show me how it's done..." His teeth were at Hibari's throat then, a nip at his neck, a hot tongue followed.

Hibari twisted beneath him, knee rubbing at the seat of his trousers. "If you dare leave a mark, I promise you'll regret it," he hissed, breath hot in Dino's ear, cheek pressed into his blond hair.

Dino chuckled but didn't argue. Instead, he kissed at Hibari's collar bone, admiring the shape of it with his tongue. Then he reached between them and pushed Hibari's knee flat so he could slide farther down, to admire the man's chest, the dusty brown nipples, to take one in his mouth.

The smaller man's breath quickened just faintly, the strain of his wrists against Dino's hold pressing. And though he could have thrown off the restraint, he didn't, instead feeling for a moment of laxness, of weakness. "Confident for a virgin, aren't you?" he murmured, mocking.

Dino hummed in amusement but didn't take the bait, only move to the other nipple, pleased to feel it harden beneath his tongue. "If I let go your wrists will you try to leave?" he asked after a moment.

"You're a paying customer," was Hibari's only response. And though he feigned a sense of control, his body was responding to Dino's touch, arousal pressed lightly against the marshal's thigh.

“That's no answer," Dino pointed out, a chiding tone. "But I'm going to trust that you are curious enough to let me continue." And so he let go of Hibari's wrists and moved lower, mouth working its way down the lithe body beneath him.

Surprisingly, there was no instant backlash, no surge of struggle. Instead, Hibari's fingers only found their way to Dino's hair, softly sifting through it, almost experimentally but oh so gently urging him lower.

And Dino was only too happy to comply, eager to taste every inch he could reach, tongue swirling around his navel, then over to the point of a hip bone, then the other, then lower, not quite there yet, but kissing teasingly at Hibari's inner thigh as his hand found and circled the base of his filling erection.

Hibari's fingers tightened in his hair, breath hitching faintly, arousal more eager for Dino's touch than Hibari himself might have let on. A few warm laps at his heating flesh and he was hard and flushed, upright for the other's attention.

Suddenly he tugged at Dino's hair with a murmur, "Fine. You've proven yourself. You can have me."

Dino hummed pleasantly, and a snort of surprise came from Squalo.

"Let me keep going," the marshal murmured, lips a breath away and eyes on Hibari's flushed face.

Several slow breaths rose and fell Hibari's chest, his lips pursed, stubborn. "You'd make a better whore than a john," was his only mumbled response.

This time Squalo laughed outloud. "He's always been eager to please," the deputy spoke up, Dino smiled, red-faced but not denying it.

"Maybe I want you to remember me," he hummed, then kissed him, a light fluttering touch to the underside of his arousal.

Hibari's teeth grit, glancing away from the sight and his eyes falling on the man watching them across the small room. He'd been quiet enough that he'd almost been forgotten and quiet enough that the first offense wasn't as infuriating as it might have been.

"Please tell me you're not the 'one man'," Hibari said to the deputy and his lips pressed together once more as Dino's mouth brushed against him.

Squalo snorted. "God, no," was his answer, accompanied by an exaggerated roll of the eyes.

Dino's suppressed laughter -- he clearly didn't take the deputy's words personally. Or perhaps he was too happily distracted to be bothered with them. Indeed, a moment later, he forged ahead, taking Hibari into his mouth, careful and savoring.

A faint gasp akin to surprise escaped Hibari's lips, his gaze darting back to Dino's work, to the way he slid between the marshal's lips. His breath deepened, fingers once more sifting through Dino's hair, idly stroking, flush creeping down his chest as he watched, thighs quivering. "Nn... I see your time in the military has paid off..."

"Good guess, but no," Squalo spoke up, seeming to relish the game he'd begun to play of knowing more than he let on. Dino, for his part, barely noticed the exchange, so intent on what he was doing-- determined to prove beyond a doubt that Hibari Kyouya had made the right choice in allowing Dino into his room.

Hibari might have grown irritated at Squalo's voice but as Dino took him deeper, he found it necessary to bite his lip to silence his own voice. His hips arched faintly, pushing into the velvet warmth of the marshal's mouth, a most unusual change. In spite of making a career of sex, this wasn't the position he normally found himself in, nor the sort of enthusiasm he normally experienced nor the dangerous surrender of control. Perhaps it was that which made his fingers fist tighter in Dino's hair, encouraging, hungry for what was being offered now that he'd given in

And Dino was only too happy to continue. He made no effort to hold back his own voice, groaning happily as he pressed forward, taking Hibari deep as he could, then pulling back with a hungry swipe of tongue. WIth his free hand, he squeezed and stroked, meeting the movements of his mouth and exploring what his tongue couldn't reach.

It wasn't long before Hibari was gasping, shivering with the rough and somehow pleasantly inexperienced touch of Dino's mouth. He clutched at the shoulder of the marshal's tunic, panting faintly and rolling his hips with the time of his strokes, taking as much as was given. "Nn-- ah -- are you actually... mmm... going to... it's not going to get you a discount-ah, yes - like that..."

This knowledge didn't bother Dino, and his attentions didn't lessen. If anything, Hibari's words, the delicious waver in his voice, only spurred him on further. He took Hibari's hip in hand now, squeezing at the muscle he found at his fingertips, hidden strength under the disguise of porcelain skin. He hummed, encouraging, tongue swirling and tasting and searching for more.

Groaning angrily, frustrated with the break in his usual routine and just how good it was, Hibari's head pressed back against the pillows, eyes squeezed shut. His frame shivered as he pulled at Dino's hair and clutched at his skin and clothes, nothing held back. If the marshal wanted it, he would get all of it. The slow upward thrust of hips and the demand pressing at the back of his scalp and the breath hissing between his teeth as Hibari's flavor dripped down the back of his swiping tongue. "Just -- ah.... nnn...!" Suddenly, he curled up and inward, over Dino's head, clawing at his back, breath rustling his hair as heat surged to fill the marshal's mouth and every muscle of Hibari's body quivered with his release.

If Dino was being honest with himself, he was caught just a little bit off guard, but he managed not to choke or cough, and swallowed down Hibari's seed as best he could, groaning with satisfaction. With both hands he circled Hibari's waist, palms spread soothingly up his back, beneath the yukata that still hung from his arms.

Hibari bit off his own cries as he shivered and clutched through the power of an intense orgasm, and finally went lax. Panting, still curled over Dino's shoulders, just for a moment the fight was completely drained from his limp, satisfied frame. But that didn't keep the scathe of sarcasm from his tongue. "Only a fool pays to suck someone else's cock," he panted.

For a long moment Dino had no answer, his mouth still full, his tongue still gently tasting, sweeping clean Hibari's flagging manhood. Finally, he let it slip free, wiped at his mouth with the back of a hand, and smiled, kissed Hibari's stomach. "Only a hard-hearted man enjoys no one's pleasure but his own."

Hibari sat back enough that he no longer trapped Dino in, watching him with his hooded eyes and a faintly quirked mouth. He snorted but not derisively. "You are ridiculous."

"Perhaps you meant to say 'charming and generous'," Dino suggested, propping himself up on both hands, grinning like a cat with the proverbial mouse.

"No, I certainly meant 'ridiculous'," Hibari replied easily.

"'Stupid' or 'idiotic' would work too," Squalo put in from the sofa.

Dino shot Squalo a pouting glare over his shoulder. "No fair ganging up on me now," he complained, sitting up onto his knees now, valiantly ignoring the straining bulge in his trousers.

Hibari tugged at him until they both sat at the head of the bed. The yukata still clinging lazily from his elbows, more bare than not, he came to rest against Dino's side. One hand worked free the remaining buttons of Dino's tunic and a pale hand slid over his stomach, smoothing against his skin as Hibari's mouth found his throat and fluttered there soft and wet with something that might have been appreciation or gratitude. But at the same time, from this new position, Dino found himself facing Squalo across the room. The deputy sneered at him when their eyes met and then quickly looked away.

"Well get on with it then," Squalo grumbled, turning so that only his profile faced them. He crossed his arms -- and his legs.

Dino licked his lips, sharing a glance between Hibari and their observer, wondering if this sort of situation really wasn't uncommon. Still, it was hard to linger on the thought when Hibari's hand was on his bare skin, and his lips were sucking just a little a roughly at Dino's throat.

"The last time I checked, you're not the customer," Hibari quipped, giving Squalo a glance from the corner of his eye. His cheek came to rest against the curve of Dino's throat as his hand slid between the marshal's thighs, fingers brushing teasingly over the hot bulge in his trousers. "Just because your cock is aching doesn't mean we're going to hurry up."

Squalo sneered, busied his hands with retying the thong of leather holding his long hair back. "Keep your eyes on your own work, whore," he growled. "Don't you have a marshal to look after?"

Hibari merely sniffed and found the fly of Dino's trousers, breath hot in his ear, kissing, nibbling as he drew the other man finally free. His fingers curled around his tortured length, offering a slow, light stroke as a sliver of relief. Across the room, Squalo growled rather loudly when Hibari held his eyes, mocking him lasciviously.

"Don't be -- nngh.. too hard on him," Dino urged, voice apologetic between kisses to Hibari's brow and quiet sounds of pleasure. "The sheriff rarely gives him any time to relax..."

"If that was the case, he wouldn't be so hungry," Hibari replied easily and a dark smirk was aimed at the bristling deputy. "Perhaps he's been getting /too/ much time to relax."

"Now listen here-!" Squalo surged up from the couch, holding out his good hand in an accusatory gesture. Of course, in a standing position, the effectiveness of the display the marshal and his whore had put on was quite visible.

Dino held up his hands placatingly, struggling to concentrate on anything but Hibari's touch. "Come now- no need for arguments..."

"I will not be mocked by your hooker!" Squalo interrupted, face red with angry embarrassment.

Hibari snickered faintly, pressing in closer to Dino. "Hot-headed fool."

"VOOII-- Fuck this!" Squalo snarled and he spun to snatch up a boot and yank it on. "It's bad enough that you drag me along to watch you paw around like a smitten lady, I'm not gonna take lip from a prettied up jizz rag!"

This time Dino sat up, reached out. "Wait! Squalo... just wait. Please...?" He turned to Hibari then, put a hand atop his, stilling him. The face he put on was firm, unflinching. "I'm paying for him to be here," he pointed out. "I know he's a bit..." Dino trailed off. "But I think you and he could get along well if you would try."

Hibari scowled at him like a scolded child and looked away, shrugged. "I didn't tell him to leave. If he's so worked up over everything, he should just take it out and do something about it. Or maybe we should just call that idiot from downstairs up if he's afraid of touching his own dick."

"I am NOT afr--" Squalo began, eyes bulging almost comically.

"I know you're not," Dino soothed, smiling, leaning back against the bed. "If it makes a difference, I'm flattered," he hummed, eyes drifting downward to the bulge in Squalo's pants. "Stay. Please?"

Squalo scowled at him viciously for a long moment and finally bent to pull off his boot. He then flung it violently at Dino's head and it THUDed into the wall beside the cringing marshal. Squalo flopped back onto the couch, growling irritably. "Flattered my ass. Watching you suck a dick is about as hot as watching a buzzard choke down a gopher snake."

Hibari spoke up again, "Do you mean to say you'd get an erection by watching--"

"SHUT UP, VONGOLA TRASH!"

While Hibari smirked, Dino did his best to hide the grin that he knew would only anger Squalo. "Perhaps it wasn't what you saw so much as what you imagined we might do next," Dino suggested. "Perhaps there's something you'd like to see me do to this man? Or vice versa?"

Squalo flushed irritably, arms crossed tightly over his chest. But when Hibari once more aimed that tiny, barely visible but infuriating, superior smirk at him, he growled, "I wanna see you fuck him flat."

"Is that your cock talking?" Dino wondered, somehow managing to sound kind, despite the vulgar, teasing words. "Or just your pride?"

Squalo glowered at him. "Would you rather say I'd like to see him fuck YOU flat?"

"IS that what you'd like to see?" Dino wondered, curious and unconcerned, an arm around Hibari's shoulder and fingers sifting lazily through his hair.

"I didn't come here for a peep show, Cavallone!" Squalo snapped.

"...Then what /are/ you here for?" Hibari put in, puzzled.

"S-supervision!" Squalo stuttered, clearly just a little caught off guard. "Xan-- the Sheriff told me to keep an eye on him."

"Also, if we wasn't here, I might accidentally fall out a window," Dino added helpfully. A beat passed silently and he continued. "I get nervous around new people."

Hibari looked at him for a long moment, incredulous but ultimately seemed to decide that it wasn't out of the realm of possibility, given this man's personality. He looked at Squalo sidelong and then turned his focus back to Dino, a soft hand finding its way to his chest, rubbing, lightly thumbing a nipple as he curled into the space they shared to whisper to Dino, "He's jealous."

"What? No..." Dino shook his head, arching into Hibari's touch. "Why would he be? He can spend the rest of the night with that other boy-- Takeshi?"

Hibari just shrugged. "Not of you. Of me." His breath tickled up Dino's neck and across his ear as Hibari murmured against his skin. "This is boring. Don't you want me?"

Dino had opened his mouth to question Hibari further, but when that question left the other man's lips, his brain more or less turned off all non-essential thought. And so he nodded. And grinned a little stupidly. "I do."

"Then tell your friend to do what he needs to do." His fingers trailed down slowly, following the faint outlines of lithe muscle of Dino's stomach. "And you do the same."

"I can hear you just fine," Squalo grumbled, but he was already rubbing idly at the front of his trousers, adjusting himself with what seemed to be an attempt to act casual.

Dino pressed closer, nose in Hibari's hair and lips on his ear.

Fingers curled around Dino's flagging arousal once more, fondling him, urging him back to full hardness. But fairly quickly, he let go again and shifted, sliding gracefully into the marshal's lap. Yukata still clinging at his elbows, he smoldered as he reached into the bedside table and uncorked a small vile. When the contents were poured over Dino's need, it warmed with a spicy scent. A single finger teased at Dino's tip while the oil dripped down his length.

On his knees over his customer's lap, he didn't yet take Dino in, but teased him, letting him brush his back side. His nose brushed against Dino's, lips parted, daring him to take all that he wanted.

And Dino was all too ready to take it, hands reaching out, not for Hibari's hips first, but for his face, thumbs brushing his cheeks as he held the younger man in place and kissed him, slow and hungry, not caring how much extra it might cost him.

Hibari blinked several times, hands lifted in surprise. At first he grew stiff, startled and seemed about to draw back, perhaps to chastise Dino or remind him of the bill he was racking up. But in the end, he deigned to allow the touch, sinking cautiously into Dino's kiss, with a distinct sense that it had been some time since he'd shared such an intimate gesture with another -- if ever.

And Dino was careful not to force it. He was gentle at first, the kiss heated but nearly chaste, and he kept his tongue to himself. But when he felt Hibari give in, felt him relax just a little, he grew bolder, allowing the tip of his tongue to brush Hibari's lip.

Had he not been so close, Dino wouldn't have heard the tiny intake of breath. Hibari's eyes were hooded but not closed, watching Dino's face suspiciously, uncertainly. His arms, curled loosely around the marshal's shoulders tightened, the frame that had slid over over him so liquid and sensual, stiffened. But hesitantly, Hibari's fingers slid into his hair, lightly brushing back from his temple as his lips parted just faintly, tongue barely brushing Dino's.

Dino groaned happily, parting his lips, urging Hibari's to open as well. His hands slid to Hibari's neck, his shoulders, where we gave a squeeze at the tense muscles, rubbing at the hidden knots beneath his skin. His tongue grew more daring, delving farther, then retreating.

Slowly, methodically, he worked the tension from Hibari's body, the stiff uncertainty from his lips and frame. And finally, Hibari welcomed him, tongue stroking velvet against Dino's, a tiny sound in his throat when he finally pressed back. A set of fingers clutched at the bare muscle of the marshal's shoulder, Hibari chasing him back and then finally pulling back with a sharp breath. He frowned hazily in spite of cheeks flushed pink. "You're the strangest customer I've ever had."

"I'll take that as a compliment," Dino smirked. Across the room Squalo snorted, but he was already not-so-surreptitiously rubbing at the erection still trapped in his trousers.

"Are you ready?" Dino asked then, one hand dropping between them to smooth up the underside of Hibari's thigh, then to the base of his own cock, holding it steady. He kissed at the corner of Hibari's mouth and waited.

"I've been ready for twenty minutes," Hibari replied loftily. Before he took that last step though, he paused to let the yukata slide from his elbows and tossed it away. Entirely bare, there was nothing shielding them from view when Hibari sank slowly, deliberately onto Dino's cock. His smoldering gaze held the other man's, breath giving only the faintest shudder as he settled against the marshal's hips.

The curse that left Dino's lips was reverent, breathless, and his hands found their place at Hibari's hips, holding him there for what was almost too long a moment before his lifted his hips and relaxed his arms. "God... you feel..."

"I know," Hibari purred, stroking Dino's cheek, once more back in his own element, in control. He rose and fell once more, slowly, smoothly, hips rolling just so.

Nothing was left to Squalo's imagination, particularly from the angle he'd be given. And finally, cursing under his breath as Hibari's supine frame rocked over Dino, he finally yanked open his trousers and freed himself with an irritated growl.

At first Dino stayed still, let Hibari have the control, let him set the pace. But after a minute or two, his grip grew more firm and he began to meet his motions with the arc of his own hips. He was aware of Squalo, and aware that the man wasn't unaffected by what he saw and Dino smiled a little at that-- at the idea of giving the deputy a show to remember.

"Good," Hibari murmured to him, his faint smirk insuring that there was at least a fair amount of teasing in the word. But nonetheless, the courtesan was no less affected than Squalo or himself, hard again between them. It wasn't simple habit or labor that made him slowly but powerfully thrust onto Dino's cock, it was genuine hunger, desire. But it was skill that made him anticipate each thrust and up the tempo just before Dino would have done it himself, always barely a step ahead of him.

On the couch, Squalo licked his lips, then his palm, and groaned under his breath as he took himself in hand. His grip was light at first, only allowing himself a bit of relief, but as he watched the marshal's cock fill the Japanese boy again and again, his strokes grew more deliberate, his breathing more shallow.

"You're amazing," Dino said, staring like an idiot into the face of his whore, and Squalo grumbled quietly, but didn't stop.

The way Hibari took him wasn't gentle but it wasn't fast or rough. It was powerful and deep and it made the bed creak faintly but there was never abandon, never recklessness. And when Dino's hips longingly arched into him, a hand pressed to the marshal's chest, pinning the breath from him with little more than a touch. Hibari's mouth hovered over his, hot gusts of breath washing across his lips as the foreigner looked at him with that rending intensity laden with predatory arousal. "I'll... I'll let you do that again," he murmured, whispered at Dino's mouth, careful to keep it from Squalo's earshot this time. "For free."

"What's the catch..." Dino said, but it wasn't a question, and his mouth was on Hibari's even as the last word left his lips. The second kiss was deeper, less cautious, and Dino moaned openly into it.

Hibari met him hungrily now, welcoming his taste and forcefully chasing Dino's tongue back, following it to taste for himself. A tiny moan answered the marshal's, Hibari's hips bucking, breath hitching. His weight was slight but he seemed able to press Dino into the pillows, against the headboard as though he was holding the larger man down, with a power that wasn't so much bodily. His demanding kisses pinned him to the wall, panting as he bit at Dino's lower lip, hands in his hair again, pulling faintly as passion built.

If he was at all distracted by the fact that Squalo's eyes were raking over them, fingers freely and roughly pumping his own cock, Dino could hardly imagine what Hibari might be like uninhibited.

And imagining it only made him harder, if it was possible, ripples of arousal shivering up his back and making his hips jerk and bounce. His body screamed for release but all he cared about was watching, feeling Hibari come undone atop him. He bit back, sucking Hibari's lip between his teeth, thrilling at the growl it inspired, a hum of pleased laughter warming his throat.

Arms curled around, behind Dino's head, Hibari's punishment came swiftly, a rough suck and nip of his own drawing copper onto both their tongues. He smirked when he eased back an inch of a breath, licking Dino’s blood from his lips even as he rocked steadily onto his cock, cheeks flushed and hair clinging to his cheeks.

The sight sent a shiver of delight down Dino's spine, and he licked at his own lip where Hibari had bitten him. His fingers gripped the other's hips harder, holding him still as he rocked into him, grinning harder enough to make his lip hurt, not caring at all.

With a surge of power, Hibari suddenly dragged him over, rolling Dino off his back, legs curling tight around his hips to prevent their connection from breaking. Nestled in the pillows, Hibari's challenging, predatory smile graced him, a disheveled vision below him. A heel pressed at Dino's tailbone drew him in, lithe pale figure arching just so to meet it, demanding, grinding. "Hope you don't tire easily," Hibari purred.

A quiet choking sound came from across the room, but Squalo went largely ignored as Dino stared at the gift laid out for him. "Not tonight, I won't," he hummed, and gathered Hibari's legs to hook them over his shoulders, settling into place with a groan and shifting of hips. His eyes didn't leave Hibari's then, hooded and admiring as he began to move. His hands smoothed up and down Hibari's thighs, and his mouth fell open, shallow breaths huffing past split lips.

"Mmm," Hibari groaned approvingly, toes curling with pleasure. Fists curled around clutches of the bedspread, heavy cock jumping as Dino rocked so deep into him. "Don't hold back," Hibari murmured, pausing as his breath hitched, frame shivered with Dino's thrust. "There's always round two. If your pockets are deep enough."

Dino grinned, already deciding he'd eat canned beans for a week if he had to-- his money was far better spent here, between Hibari's legs than on some fancy meal. And so he nodded, a hum in his throat as he laid into the smaller man, skin slapping skin, no longer holding back.

The effect was satisfying to say the least, drawing a cry from the young man beneath him in spite of his careful, stoic exterior. Hibari panted beneath him, curled, limber and his control coming undone. Even bent so submissively, he still rocked hard onto Dino's cock, meeting him with confidence.

But he struggled to keep his voice under control, gasping and choking on sounds that he tried to keep to himself as his own heavy arousal, dark with need, dripped freely over his stomach. Teeth gritting, face flushed, he arched, head pressed back into the pillows, throat pale and exposed, bobbing with every gasp and strain. As his breaths turned into voiced moans, urgent with climax bearing down on him, grabbing wildly at the mattress, Dino had to wonder how many men saw this side of him, vulnerable and demanding, wanting instead of commanding, taking, quick and greedy.

His immediate hope was 'none'-- that no one else had the chance to see Hibari this way, that he alone was blessed with the opportunity to take this man apart beneath him, bit by bit. It was self-centered, and unlikely, of course, but it made something tighten possessively in Dino stomach, made him grin somewhat savagely as he claimed Hibari in that moment, his and only his. "Touch yourself," he demanded, voice a hungry rasp, and even before Hibari's obeyed, Dino had to bite his own lip to keep from coming at merely the thought of it.

There was a sharp breath, as though the thought hadn't even occurred to him and Hibari bit his lip as he instantly gripped at his aching arousal. It only took a handful of rough, tight, fast strokes before a cry was muffled by tightened teeth and Hibari's frame strained against him. He squeezed tight around Dino, a savage hand grabbing for his hip and yanking him deep, holding him there with nails digging into flesh as he came in thick splashes over his stomach and heaving chest.

Dino groaned, his vision growing blurred as the heat built in his middle, behind his eyes like a fever. His mouth was dry as he panted, held still against his will, watching Hibari come beautifully undone. As much as he wanted to prolong perfection, there was no way he could, not with that look on Hibari's face, the way his body shook and his lips parted, and his release painted his naked form, slick and hot. Dino's control left him in a surge of pleasure that nearly robbed him of consciousness, his grip bruising Hibari's hips as he filled him with no warning other than a single choked cry.

Unsurprisingly, neither of them had noticed the fact that Squalo watched them, catching his breath moments after his own release. His own lingering touch made him shudder as the sweat slick bodies on the bed shivered and clutched at one another until Dino's palms finally fell to the mattress and Hibari's legs slid from his shoulders. Groans and cries subsided to three heaving rounds of breath and one long moan from Hibari as he tossed an arm over his flushed face.

Dino laughed quietly, but not unkindly, and brushed aside Hibari's arm to kiss his cheek, his brow, the corner of an eye, his mouth.

The response was a reluctant, irritated sound but he allowed the attention longer than might be expected. Finally though, once he caught his breath a bit, he batted Dino away to grimace faintly as they parted. He tugged the marshal down to the bed beside him and with a wrinkling of his nose, immediately pushed himself up and reached for the cloth and pan of water waiting beside the bed.

He eyed Squalo across the room as the deputy hastily tucked himself away, his characteristic scowl back in place. "That wasn't free, you know."

"Yeah, yeah," Squalo grumped, red-faced like a kid caught swiping candy, and crossed his arms over his chest petulantly. "Nothing's ever free with you, not even lookin'."

Dino meanwhile, flopped bonelessly in Hibari's bed, rolled onto his back with an idiotic grin.

Hibari sniffed triumphantly and, clean, set the cloth back in the pan. Idly he offered a light touch to Dino's hair, propped in the pillows above him. "Are you still too shy to be with me alone?" he inquired. "Or do we still need your babysitter?"

Dino flushed, but it was less from embarrassment and more from the understanding that Hibari was implying a desire for further time with him. He sat up enough to catch Squalo's eye with a bashful grin. "I think we can trust Kyouya, don't you?" Dino wondered, hopeful.

Squalo snorted derisively. "You're the one that asked ME to come with you, asshole! If you want to be left alone and you fall out a window, I'm not going to give two shits."

Dino pouted lightly, turning his hurt expression on the silver-haired deputy. "Don't be mad, Squalo," he insisted. "Can't we meet downstairs later? For a drink?"

"Whatever," Squalo replied grumpily, standing to retrieve the boot that he'd chucked at Dino's head and pull it on.

"I know for a fact that your favorite idiot whore has an open schedule this evening," Hibari told him in a helpful deadpan.

Squalo made a valiant attempt at disinterest, but as he left the room, he could be heard muttering something about how at least Yamamoto wouldn't strip his wallet bare before he'd gotten naked himself.

Hibari gave a pleasant sigh as the door shut and turned his attention once more to Dino, fingers playing lightly through his damp blond hair. "Much better."

Dino hummed, relaxed, content, and feeling oh-so-lucky to be there, in Hibari Kyouya's bed, his fingers in his hair and the smell of sex in the room. "You're amazing," he breathed, leaning into the touch. "And you deserve to be told so every day."

Hibari just rolled his eyes but didn't leave off in his attention, a fingertip tracing Dino's ear. "There's practice involved," he replied.

"If only I could afford to visit so often," Dino sighed wistfully and reached out to brush fingertips across Hibari's bare stomach, admiring.

"Aren't you only passing through, marshal?" Hibari asked with offhanded curiosity.

"That's the official word," Dino agreed, nodding after a moment's hesitation. "In truth? The government's plans for me may not be so simple." A beat. "Could be I'll be here longer than planned."

"Hm..." A hand wandered idly over Dino's chest, pale against his creamy skin. "Well. Perhaps if you end up staying in town we may be able to work out... a payment plan."

Dino smiled, a comfortable warmth settling into his chest with Hibari's words and his touch. "I'd like that," he agreed, reaching for the younger man's hand, drawing it to his lips to kiss the smooth palm, the subtle callouses there that made him wonder about Hibari, what he'd done before beginning his employment here, what activities he might still pursue outside of work.

Chapter Text

Flustered and uncomfortable (and still just a little wound up from watching the idiot marshal and that pretentious whore writhe all over each other) Squalo stamped louder than necessary as he made his way back down the stairs. He headed straight for the bar, uncaring whether the shot of
whiskey he got from Bianchi might be vaguely purple-tinted or not.

In the few moments he took to suck down the questionable drink and before any of the brothel's other employees could come to his aid, an unfortunate bystander found him.

"Good evening!" a grating and familiar voice chirped from the opposite side of the bar. "How are you this -- oh!" The establishment's owner jumped when Squalo lifted his head and the brim of his hat. The tiny young man shriveled under his glare. "D-deputy Squalo! I thought you were upstairs!"

Squalo sneered, gripping his empty shot glass just a bit too hard before smacking it down on the bar top for a refill. "My duties as chaperone have... been completed," he answered, forcing a modicum of politeness into his voice, despite the great effort it took.

"A-ah, I see," Tsuna stammered, fumbling for the bottle to shakily pour the deputy another shot. "I hope Hibari didn't overcharge you too much..."

Squalo took the drink and downed it quickly, tapping the bar for a third and swallowing that one too before answering-- his nerves finally beginning to settle into something slightly milder. "I ain't the one gonna pay for it. Yellow-headed marshal'll pick up that tab or I'll black his eye, see if I don't."

Tsuna laughed sheepishly, nervously as he refilled the deputy's glass for a fourth time. "It seems like you've had a trying evening, Deputy. Perhaps you need to unwind for yourself? Please have an evening on the house." He offered a shy, sympathetic smile as he pushed the glass across the bar.

Squalo took the shot glass, leveled a skeptical glance at the owner, but finally snorted, a small smirk overtaking his expression despite his determination to be in a shitty mood. "I think I'll take you up on that," he offered, setting the glass back on the bar, top down.

"Please enjoy!" Tsuna breathed on a sigh of relief. "Let me know if there's anything I can assist you with!" Looking past Squalo's shoulder, he frantically waved and slinked away when the deputy glanced over.

"I knew you'd be back!" Yamamoto's weight, flung at him from behind, hit him like a sack of flour. The younger man's arms slid around him like a snake's coils, holding the deputy against his chest, chin on Squalo's shoulder. "Tell me all about it. I've never seen Hibari take a customer that quickly."

Squalo grunted, rolling his eyes, but not making a move to shove the lithe boy away. Perhaps it was the alcohol burning through his veins at the moment. "That guy was right about one thing-- idiots flock together. Guess Hibari found someone who was the same kind of dumb shit as him."

"Did you participate in the pile of idiots?" Yamamoto inquired cheekily.

A sneer and a pause, and it was possible that Squalo was almost maybe pouting now. "Watched."

"Oh, you poor thing." Yamamoto was happy to pout openly for him, giving a comforting rub at Squalo's chest and a nuzzle at his neck. "What a good friend you are."

"More like I don't wanna hear Xanxus' shit later when he finds out I didn't keep an eye on the marshal long enough to see he didn't fall out a window." Squalo stood now, testing out his footing -- only slightly tipsy -- and dragged Yamamoto by the wrist over to the nearest plush sofa, flopping into it's welcoming cushions. He pulled the boy after him, clumsily into his lap. "Sit with me," Squalo demanded.

Yamamoto laughed merrily as he tumbled onto the couch with the other man. His legs slung over the deputy's lap, he plucked the hat from Squalo's head and placed it on his own. An arm curled around Squalo's shoulders, Yamamoto's presence all but enveloping him. He let silver strands slide through his fingers, fawning over Squalo. "You can't hate him /that/ much," Yamamoto insisted with his unyielding smile. "Otherwise you wouldn't have brought him here in the first place!"

"He wouldn't stop asking," Squalo insisted, his arms coming up to circle Yamamoto's hips despite the scowl on his mouth as the dark-haired boy began playing with his hair. "And his voice is more annoying than yours."

"No wonder you couldn't help but give in to him." Yamamoto grinned at him, curling in tighter against him, heedless of how the deputy's dusty clothes marked his own fine, black garments. "I'm glad they didn't wear you down, though. I was hoping you'd come back to see me. You've been busy with your friend all week." He pouted faintly, hat pushed back when he let his forehead rest against Squalo's.

"I'm sure you have plenty to keep you busy," Squalo pointed out, glancing up to meet Yamamoto's so-close eyes. "If you were that lonely, you'd be worthless to your boss."

"That doesn't mean I'm not hoping that /you'll/ come see me," Yamamoto chided. "And I worry about your stress level... you're terrible at relaxing and the sheriff works you too hard..." A hand slid up Squalo's neck, thumb rubbing at the base of his skull.

"I won't disagree with that," Squalo grumbled faintly, half a moan slipping free as Yamamoto's fingers went to work. There was no denying he was good at this and Squalo found himself sagging into Yamamoto's touch despite his sour mood.

Yamamoto giggled quietly and his fingers went to work in earnest, working at Squalo's neck muscles. He ducked in and kissed briefly at his ear, offering a nibble as well before he murmured to him. "I'm sensing a little extra tension but not as much as I would have expected... Otherwise you probably would have come down and just bent me over this couch, hmm? You touched yourself, then? What a lovely visual..."

"O-oi..." Squalo frowned, both at the boy's words and the way they rose a definite heat to his throat. "Don't let your imagination run away with you," he protested, uncomfortable with the idea of Yamamoto inventing details for the mental picture he no doubt had already begun forming.

"Maybe you should just show me so I don't have to," Yamamoto teased, fingers threading lightly into the base of Squalo's pulled-back hair. "Another time, anyway. You deserve better than that tonight, don't you think?" His tongue slid over warm skin, tracing the curve of Squalo's ear. "Come upstairs with me... please?"

"Vongola's covering your fee tonight," Squalo justified, shivering just a little under Yamamoto's deft tongue. "So I guess there's no reason to turn down the offer." Not to mention the fact that both men were fully aware of the erection already pressed firm against the underside of Yamamoto's thigh.

"Oh good!" Yamamoto was quickly on his feet, tugging Squalo cheerfully toward the stairs. "That means we can do whatever we want! No having to keep up a tab."

He was glued to Squalo's side, urging him up the stairs until he was eagerly pulling him into his room. He took the liberty of hanging up the deputy's hat before turning on him, predatory. Smirking playfully, he backed Squalo to the bed until he fell back, letting Yamamoto crawl atop him. He perched on Squalo's hips, resting lightly upon the arousal that warmed the front of his trousers and tugged loose and free his own tie.

"Aren't I easier to deal with?" Yamamoto grinned, working at buttons until vest and shirt fell open and he could get to work at Squalo's.

"More eager to be rid of your clothes, certainly," Squalo answered, but it wasn't a complaint and already he was reaching up for the bare skin of Yamamoto's hips, thumbs rubbing, hips shifting, encouraging. "No easier to listen to chattering on and on," he added, but it was becoming harder to stay annoyed at the young man atop him.

"Tsk." Yamamoto gave him a faux pout as he stroked a palm down Squalo's pale, bare chest and stomach until fingers caught his tarnished belt buckle. "Guess I'll just have to give you some peace and quiet." He deftly tugged open the deputy's belt and trousers, giving a pleased hum when he drew out the other man's heavy arousal. And with a quick shift, he was on his knees between Squalo's thighs and eagerly drawing him in. He caught the deputy's eye, held it as his lips slid over Squalo's cock, tight and hot and wet, tongue stroking firmly.

Squalo grunted, swallowed hard, secretly grateful that he'd already finished round one not long ago. Otherwise, the sight of Yamamoto's dark eyes and taut lips would have sent him over the edge in half a breath. Not that he'd ever admit it aloud. Nevertheless, he dove a hand into the boy's hair, encouraging, as he filled his mouth with the press of his hips.

Yamamoto's throat opened welcomingly for him and his nose nuzzled greedily into the deputy's silver curls with a groan that sent shudders up Squalo's spine. When he pulled back, slow, sucking, teeth brushing just the right amount, he watched the other man smugly. Not conceited or mean spirited, just pleased with himself and the hungry fullness of Squalo's cock. His tongue swiped obscenely over the flushed head, fingers curled around his length as he made a show of it.

"Better?" he hummed with a smirk, lips ghosting Squalo's damp tip.

Again Squalo answered with a vague grunt, but he didn't deny that Yamamoto's observation was an accurate one. "Let me fuck you," he said instead, cock giving a hungry twitch at his own words.

"Already?" Yamamoto protested. "We just got here!" He kissed affectionately along Squalo's length. "You should be more patient... we could make this last a long time..." Practiced fingers fondled his sac as Yamamoto's tongue slid slow, flat, firm up the underbelly of his cock.

Squalo's scowl was in danger of becoming permanently affixed to his face, but still he allowed Yamamoto his moment, bit his tongue as the boy worked him over, getting him harder than he'd thought he could be so soon after his misadventure in Hibari's rooms. "Were you with someone else tonight?" he wondered.

"Mm-mm," Yamamoto replied with a faint shake of his head. He pulled back for a breath, licking stray threads of saliva and precum from his lips. He grinned as he gave Squalo a few tight strokes with slick fingers, generally making a mess of things before anyone had even come. "I knew you'd come back down for me so I waited."

"Maybe you just fancy getting a few dollars more out of your boss," Squalo accused, sucking in a breath and struggling not to appear too affected by Yamamoto's touch, "since your night has otherwise been uneventful."

"Is it so difficult for you to believe I /like/ sucking your cock?" Yamamoto countered, unphased, still slowly stroking.

Squalo snorted. "Maybe I prefer to believe you like my cock inside you even better," was his answer. His hand still worked through Yamamoto's hair, thumb brushing an ear.

The younger man gave a cheerful laugh and a flirty lick to Squalo's dripping tip. "I don't see why I have to pick a favorite." He turned his head to nuzzle into Squalo's palm. "It was /my/ idea to give you a freebie, you know. I told Tsuna you'd brought in the marshal."

"Are you looking for a thank you, or just making sure I know that you wanted as much time with me as possible? Flattery will get you only what I already planned to offer," Squalo pointed out, tipping Yamamoto's face upward to meet his eyes.

Yamamoto shrugged a shoulder. "More that I have your best interests in mind, I suppose." He gave a quick kiss to the heel of Squalo's palm and finally moved, placing himself again over Squalo's hips on his hands and knees. There was a spark of mischief that instantly set the deputy's hackles up and hinted that he was unlikely to have his demands fulfilled right away. "Let's try something new for a change." He took Squalo's good hand and pressed it between his own thighs, guiding his palm over the tightness in his slacks, the shape of his cock hard and damp at the tip. "You touch /me/," he breathed, cheeks and lips flushed as he smiled down on Squalo.

"Pretty demanding for the one who's supposed to be catering to my pleasure," Squalo countered, but his fingers flexed and traced the shape of Yamamoto's erection, pinching, teasing, rubbing at the wet spot and offering a wry sort of smirk.

Yamamoto bit his lip through his grin, breath catching, hips arching into Squalo's touch. "Maybe if you give it a try, it will be," he answered and his smile thinned just faintly. "Unless you can't control yourself long enough for an intermission." The tone was an offer but there was a layer of challenge under Yamamoto's usual cheer.

It was that dare, that challenge that heated Squalo's blood as much as, if not more than, the mouth on his cock had. He grinned again, showing his teeth, a quiet growl in the back of his throat. "Ooooi... you think I can't?" he countered and pushed up to sitting, grabbing Yamamoto round the waist with his free arm, his hand continuing its exploration, the heel of his palm pressing, rubbing, daring Yamamoto to wrestle control back.

Yamamoto's breath hitched, his jaw tensing but didn't back down, hips rocking as he stripped Squalo's shirt off his shoulders. He rocked against Squalo's touch, a hand sliding over the back of his, pressing it tighter against him. And curling over Squalo he brushed his fingers down the deputy's jaw. "Bet you can't make me beg," he purred.

"Don't tempt me to leave you right now and find another whore's bed instead," Squalo growled in reply and ducked close to bite at the exposed skin of Yamamoto's neck, not hard enough to mark, but enough to feel. He didn't exactly accept the challenge, at least in so many words, but the intensity of his presence rose-- his touch became less lazy and more determined.

"You don't like anyone as much as me," Yamamoto insisted with a quiet laugh that was bit off by a moan. He tugged at his own belt, ducking in to deliver his own love nip. He bit at Squalo's shoulder, far less gentle than Squalo had been, certainly hard enough to leave a mark, hips grinding into the other's touch.

Squalo snarled, skin prickling all over in response to the teeth dragging over his skin. "I hardly like you," Squalo insisted, brushing Yamamoto's hands away to pull his belt loose, tossing it aside with a thunk. While he palmed at Yamamoto's back with his bad hand, he tugged open his trousers with little effort, then stopped, fingertips brushing at the fine hairs below his navel. Squalo smirked to himself and huffed a breath against Yamamoto's throat. "Not fair-- I'm not allowed to damage the merchandise."

"I know," Yamamoto grinned in response. Both arms sliding around Squalo's neck, his nails scraped over bare skin, digging faintly at his back. His breath shuddered, hips quivering with anticipation. "Would you like to complain to my manager?"

"Of course," Squalo answered, playing along. "Why don't you go get him right now?" His teeth grazed, but left no lasting mark, and he dragged his tongue from collar to ear lobe. Down below he still teased-- fluttering touches and fingers exploring the muscle of Yamamoto's abdomen, but no lower, not even as the dark-haired boy bit at him, not as his nails dug deeper into his back.

"And you with that throbbing hard on?" Yamamoto said. He gripped at one of Squalo's shoulders, his hold tightening faintly as fingers wandered nearer. "I didn't know you were interested in Tsuna's services."

"I'm sure your boss has seen more shocking sights than a deputy's dick," Squalo sneered, paused to suck at the tendon of Yamamoto's throat. "Then again, his demeanor seems to suggest the only services he's ever offered to even a lady friend is a drink and a neck rub."

"You might be surprised," Yamamoto replied vaguely, distracted, fingers digging into Squalo's hair. He pressed their brows together again, sultry gaze demanding his. He murmured over Squalo's mouth with lips flushed with want, "I thought you were in a hurry."

"And I thought you wanted me to make you beg for it," Squalo countered, his arm coming up to hook around the back of Yamamoto's neck, holding in in place as he claimed his mouth in a kiss that was instantly a battle.

Yamamoto groaned into it, hands tensing in Squalo's hair. He was going for a weakness and they both knew it. And hungrily, Yamamoto pounced into the kiss, tongue pushing into Squalo's mouth as though parched for its whiskey flavor. He squirmed under Squalo's unsatisfying touch, savaging the deputy's mouth in its place.

And some of the tension seemed finally to have begun leaving Squalo's frame, his shoulders and his neck, and his pulse kicked up as the fought with tongue and teeth for some small piece of dominance. He hadn't yet offered what Yamamoto's body ached for, his hand still holding back, though his arm squeezed around his middle a little too tight, urging him to grind against Squalo's thigh.

Panting into his mouth, biting at Squalo's lower lip, Yamamoto gave a frustrated groan, hips jumping, desperately searching out friction. "Why do you always have to win?" he whined, face flushed when he tugged petulantly on Squalo's ponytail.

"Because the customer is always right," Squalo answered, nipping at Yamamoto's lower lip, a breathless laugh caught in his throat. "And because you like it. Don't you."

Yamamoto was too distracted with where Squalo's hand was -- or rather where it wasn’t to offer a witty retort. Instead he rocked rougher against the other man's thigh, tip of his cock pink over the edge of his loose trousers. "Just because I say I like it when you fuck me doesn't mean I'm begging," he warned, a breath away, shivering with want as he squirmed in Squalo's lap.

"Oh, I know," Squalo hummed, "That's why I'm not fucking you yet." He licked his thumb then, brushed it over that exposed cockhead, a tease, an offer. He licked his thumb again, tasting Yamamoto there, caught his eyes, hunger and mischief and surprising patience.

Yamamoto's flush darkened, licking his swollen, smiling lips. But his cheerful and controlled facade was slipping with every moment of neglect. "It's not begging if I say I WANT you to fuck me, either," he pressed. Yamamoto's touch wandered down Squalo's chest to let fingers brush the deputy's own quite-present arousal.

Squalo shivered with pleasure and kissed Yamamoto's mouth before pressing two fingers between his lips, stroking the boy's tongue, dipping his head to bite at an ear. "Do you WANT me to fuck you?" he breathed, tongue lathing across the lobe.

"Yes!" Yamamoto answered but not in passion but rather exasperation. "I've... mm... I've wanted that since you riled me by coming in! Haven't you teased me enough?"

"Perhaps," Squalo replied, almost a purr, then sucked at Yamamoto's ear, lazily. His saliva slick fingers traced their way down Yamamoto's bare chest, pausing to roll a nipple between them, pinching before moving on, ghosting down his side. "Which do you want more? My touch? Or my cock. Right now. Which one."

"W-what?" Yamamoto froze like a deer in the headlights and hemmed for a moment with a frustrated groan. "Nn... Squalo... just touch me a /little/ first," he whined, taking the liberty of freeing himself from his trousers, heavy and dark. He nuzzled behind the deputy's ear. "If you don't like it, you can stop..."

"You're the most aggravating whore I've ever met. Not to mention self-important and presuming..." Squalo growled deeper, teeth biting into the lobe of Yamamoto's ear, nails scraping at the skin of his hip. "I should leave you right now, like this." Be he didn't and he wouldn't and they both knew that and maybe it was a sign of weakness on Squalo's part that he took up Yamamoto's cock in his hand, gave it a firm stroke. But telling the whore 'no' was harder than the deputy would like to admit.

Yamamoto's breath hitched, arms curling around Squalo's shoulders to stay close. He gave a breathless laugh that faded into a moan. "I don't think your freebie is eligible for two whores," he replied, grin brushing Squalo's neck. "Mmm, yes, please... your touch feels so good..." If there was anything Yamamoto was known for in the brothel, it was being noisy. He didn't hold back when it came to letting his customers know when they were more than a few bucks to him. And Squalo was no exception. So when his cock jumped hard, dripping eagerly over the other man's fingers, he moaned liberally in Squalo's ear. Hot breath beating, panting, whining softly, cheek nuzzled against his hair, hands gripping at his back with every stroke.

And as much as the guy irritated him with his constant chatter, these sounds, these noises were different. And they went straight to Squalo's cock, leaving him hard enough to forget that he'd already gotten off once that night. And so he stroked a little faster, ducked lower to suck at Yamamoto's throat-- careful not to mark him, but hungry nonetheless.

The reward was a break in his voice, a buck of hips. Fingers dug into Squalo's hair, mussing it as they threaded against his scalp. But he turned his head to encourage the attention, a pant forming in his breath. Flushed and unashamed, he whimpered happily as Squalo's grip tightened, quickened. "Ah -- mm, o-okay," he choked, then laughed faintly. His eyes were hooded, cheeks red when he caught Squalo's eye with his hungry smile. "Fuck me now."

"What was that?" Squalo wondered, slowing his hand but making no move to pull back. He hummed into Yamamoto's skin, licked at the tight line of his throat. "Did you want something?"

He responded with a long, pathetic whine. "Come on, Squalooo... ahh... please... that's what you wanted anyway! Don't tease..."

"I'm just not sure you want it as much as I do," Squalo answered, his touch a slow, idle rub now, thumb grazing the head of Yamamoto's cock every so often.

"I do too!" Yamamoto pouted, hips trembling. And then curling tighter around the other man, temple pressed against his hair as he murmured in the deputy's ear. "I want you to bend me over and fuck me so hard they hear the bed downstairs." Nails trailed down Squalo's neck. "I want you to fuck me until I can't take it anymore, until I scream, until I beg you to stop and I want it deep -- I wanna feel you come inside. Please... Squalo..."

Squalo shivered, a growl caught in his throat and his cock throbbed with Yamamoto's words. With what he felt was a great deal of self control, Squalo slid away, got to his feet, and turned Yamamoto over onto his stomach, legs dangling and perfect ass pink and waiting for him. Squalo licked his lips and pushed his trousers down enough take his neglected cock in hand, leaning in to press against Yamamoto's backside, a light grind before he paused. "I want you to beg me now," he spoke between gritted teeth.

"What?! I already did, practically!" he protested, squirming. He whimpered as Squalo's weight pressed his tortured arousal against the corner of the mattress. "I... nn, please...! This isn't fair..." But when all he got was a rough grind against his ass, his self-control broke, voice breathless. "Squalo... please, fuck me... I want it so bad... I've been thinking about it all night, wanting you... please... I'm ready for you, please..."

And indeed, when Squalo felt him out, making sure he'd be ready to take his girth, his fingers felt the slickness of oil and the way Yamamoto opened readily when he pressed in first one digit, then another. Squalo's cock ached to get on with it, but his enjoyment of the moment insisted that he take a beat longer to make sure Yamamoto was as ready as he claimed.

Cheek to the mattress, Yamamoto gripped at the quilt, giving a long whine as he bucked back onto Squalo's fingers roughly. "Please! Ah.. you're so cruel, Squalo... just do it..."

Squalo grunted, a wry smirk on his lips, but he withdrew his hand and took up his own erection instead, gave himself a quick stroke, and with the other hand spread Yamamoto open until he'd positioned himself properly. He was almost surprised at how easily he slid into the slighter man, how readily Yamamoto's body took him in until he was hilted with almost no effort at all. "You-- you'd been doing this a lot," he observed, not quite a question. After all, he didn't really want to know who else had been here lately.

"Mmm... It's just that I want you so bad," Yamamoto hummed, rocking back onto Squalo's cock eagerly. "Finally..." He was already moving before Squalo had even started to set a pace, hips tilting, grinding, body a delighted supine arch. "Not all of us had a chance to get off already tonight..."

"Nothing stopping you from entertaining another earlier," Squalo pointed out, then scowled at himself for even letting Yamamoto lure him into such useless conversation when he was already dick-deep in the whore. To make up for it, he took Yamamoto by both hips and upped the pace.

He groaned happily, bracing against the mattress, meeting every movement. "Hah... wanted to save this for you," he laughed breathlessly. Then moaning, pressing back for a grind, squeezing at Squalo. "So worth it... ah, yeah... mm, harder..."

Squalo didn't answer, but he did comply, fingertips digging more firmly into the soft flesh at Yamamoto's sides, bracing as he thrust deeper, more forcefully-- as much for his own benefit as for his partner's.

Yamamoto's feet planted, hips angling just so, curled over his arms. His pleasure came in waves of moans and hisses and gasps, nothing held back, shyness having little place in Yamamoto's room. His thighs quivered, trying to maintain control, to keep up with the pace. "Squalo," he groaned deeply, choked off with a gasp as their hips met rough, fast once more. "Ah! There -- mm, like that, yes -- oh god..."

"So noisy," Squalo hissed, but there was no venom or even complaint behind the words, and he seemed to have no difficulty fulfilling Yamamoto's requests. He repeated his motion, eliciting further moans as he grazed that sweet spot again, and again.

Yamamoto laughed breathlessly around another moan, "You like it -- ah -- ah!" He gripped at fistfuls of the quilt, the bed creaking loudly with every thrust. "It makes it feel better..." he breathed, sweat sheening on his back. "Mmm, you should try it sometime... you're so quiet here when you're so noisy downstairs." He grinned, flushed, over his shoulder at Squalo.

“I’m not quiet,” Squalo protested, breath a huff between his teeth. “I’m just… focused.” He wouldn’t say outloud that he did like hearing Yamamoto’s moans, didn’t want to miss a moment of it by giving voice to his own pleasure. That didn’t mean he wasn’t feeling it, of course, near lightheaded from the squeeze of Yamamoto around him, the sweet heat and pressure of their connection, the slide of skin and the prickle of sweat dripping between his shoulder blades.

The mood threatened to be disrupted by an undignified giggle that Yamamoto gave, though he was unable to keep up his innocent cheer with Squalo fucking him flat. “It’s paying off,” he panted. “Your-- focus-- fuck yes--” Though his breath heaved with the overwhelming stabs of pleasure, Yamamoto’s body had no problem keeping up with Squalo’s rough treatment. He tempted the silver-haired man further, dared him to further up the pace, not needing Squalo to moan or cry out to know that Yamamoto was taking him apart.

And taking him apart he was. Squalo’s control was already beginning to stutter, his thrusts faster, but not quite on pace, meaning that Yamamoto couldn’t quite predict what would happen and when from moment to moment. It kept him on edge, kept the sounds of pleasure on the tip of his tongue, spilling over with each slap of skin on skin, each movement that filled him up and then left him empty.

That crumbling self-control fueled Yamamoto on, reveling in the way Squalo’s fingers bruised his hips, squeezing tighter when climax threatened. His torso melted against the mattress, supine and giving himself up to whatever Squalo wanted to do to him. Burying his head in his arms, he moaned long, pleading, “God, Squalo, don’t stop-- gonna come-- hard--”

“Yeah,” Squalo breathed, voice husky with distraction. “Do it then. Make a fuckin’ mess,” he demanded, pounding into Yamamoto’s body, pressing him into the blankets so Yamamoto’s dick rubbed, trapped between cotton and the skin of his own stomach. For all of Yamamoto’s earlier insistence that Squalo touch him, he was going to come untouched now, still begging and calling Squalo’s name. The thought gave Squalos shivers, tipped him closer to his own climax.

Yamamoto made a whining sound that was protest, indignance, longing, pleasure and frustration. Frustration only that it was his bed and blankets he was about to make a mess of, though that was hardly enough to keep him from giving in to a fantastic orgasm.

He seized around Squalo, unable to hold back his cry of pleasure, although it was a little muffled as he pressed his brow into his bracing arm. The other hand blindly reached back, fumbling for Squalo’s wrist, trying to keep him in deep but unable to form the begging words to get it. Grinding back brought a sob-like sound, Yamamoto agonized on the edge of release and discomfort with his cock rubbing rough against the quilt. But it was finally enough and his bedding was thoroughly soiled.

Squalo growled his approval, not bothering to pause in his motions, working Yamamoto up and wringing him out, till the bed was a damp mess beneath them and Squalo was on the verge of finishing. With Yamamoto relaxing under him, Squalo could turn his attention toward getting himself off. But after a moment, he snarled, dissatisfied, and pulled back, dick stiff and aching. “Turn over,” he demanded. “On your back.”

Left breathless and empty for the moment, still struggling through the last quivers, Yamamoto groaned impudently. But he obeyed, grumbling with distaste at the wet, cooling spot he settled into. The whore was a post-coital wreck, flushed from his belly to the tips of his ears and damp with sweat. His petulance gave way quickly to more sultry want, sliding into place to wrap his legs around Squalo’s hips and guide him back in.

“Mmmmm…” Yamamoto relaxed into him, fighting past his own shivers to offer himself up to Squalo’s finish however he liked. “What’s the matter, deputy? Getting too old to get off again so soon after watching your friend fuck?”

“Shut it,” Squalo snarled back, without much venom, too caught up in the desire to get off to argue much. “Old’s not the problem. Wanna see more than your back.” He began to move again, without waiting for an answer, slow to start with, easing himself back into a rhythm, watching Yamamoto’s face with a sort of defensive intensity, as if daring him to make fun.

“I’m flattered,” Yamamoto purred back but it wasn’t mocking and was in fact quite genuine. In control again of his faculties, if still shivering with Squalo’s continued demand of his body, Yamamoto watched his partner with hooded, smoldering eyes. There was nothing to tease about because Yamamoto was just as interested in being face to face.

He hooked his heels behind Squalo’s tailbone but demanded nothing, just laid himself out like a buffet and invited the deputy take whatever he like. One arm tucked behind his head, pillowing, while his free hand slid down his own body, rubbing the wetness smeared across his stomach into his skin. It made him shudder at first but Yamamoto also made a pleased sound when he began to handle himself without intent, lightly fondling his mostly-soft dick and happily riding out the rest of their session.

Squalo’s eyes burned with renewed arousal, flickering between Yamamoto’s sultry face and the relaxed but seductive motions of his hand. The deputy groaned and buried himself deep, the heat of Yamamoto’s body engulfing him, the weight of his gaze making his skin flush and his blood seem to rush hotter. His cock felt impossibly hard, aching with need, and Squalo choked on a groan when Yamamoto lifted his fingers to suck on them, wetting them well before taking himself up again. “Almost…” he breathed, unable to tear his attention from Yamamoto’s wet mouth, and the small pleased hums that encouraged him to take his pleasure.

The movement of Yamamoto’s chest was deep and measured, the attention almost too much to bear but exquisite in its own right. There’s no way he would be able to come again but he moaned with Squalo’s enthusiasm, his cock twitching helplessly in his own grip. “Yeah,” Yamamoto gasped and bit at his lower lip, “Come on…” They weren’t words of impatience but of excitement, Yamamoto’s heels digging as he was carried away with the desire for the other man’s finish.

“Coming--” Squalo choked out, almost obedient in the way his body shook and seized, the heat of pleasure washing over him as his climax took over. It wasn’t fast or sudden, but a long slow build that left him gasping, fingertips gripping Yamamoto’s hips for support as he rode out the orgasm, vision going white as he forgot for a long moment to breathe. And then, he was back, sucking in a gasping breath and pulling back, out. He gripped his dick as another shudder wracked his body and another pulse spilled over his hand and streaked Yamamoto’s tan stomach with white.

Yamamoto gave a long groan, eyelids heavy while he watched Squalo’s body quake through the peak of his pleasure. With a happy sigh, he let his fingers slip through the mess on his belly and held Squalo’s gaze while the deputy tried to catch his breath. The way that he looked at Squalo was far too intimate for the purchased company of a prostitute, flushed mouth pursed in a self-satisfied smile when he said, infuriatingly, “You’re a lot of fun, Deputy Squalo.”

Squalo gave a vague grunt in response, climbing onto the bed to collapse beside Yamamoto. It was an indulgence he would have teased Dino for engaging in, but here, in the moment, he was tired and as content as he could be. One arm was slung over Yamamoto, face pressed to his shoulder, unwilling to make eye contact that would confirm the humor he was sure was in Yamamoto’s expression.

For once Yamamoto chose not to tease him, though the deputy could feel the smirk that rested against Squalo’s brow. Yamamoto wiped his hand on the quilt and settled in with a deep, satisfied sigh. With care, he guided Squalo’s long hair from his sweat-damp shoulders, pulled it aside to let the night air reach his heated skin. The fawning whore was skilled at handling Squalo’s sometimes out of control head of silver, easily letting his long fingers rake through it. There’d been times in the past that he’d begged Squalo to let him brush it (and got smarting blows in response) but tonight he was content to lazily touch.

He didn’t demand that Squalo look at him, simply limp and relaxed against the blankets, one arm looped behind Squalo’s neck. “You must be exhausted,” he said at length, a little smarmy but also genuinely impressed.

“Mm,” Squalo answered in the affirmative, pressing his nose to the cool skin of Yamamoto’s shoulder. “I don’t have your kind of stamina,” he shot back, a bit lazily, but he had some kind of reputation to uphold, and it was difficult to be a grump when he felt so comfortable. He even maybe sort of liked the attention that Yamamoto was paying to his hair. Which was surely an utterly tangled mess. Xanxus was going to notice that later and give him shit for it.

“Practice does make perfect,” Yamamoto chirped back with cheer. His fingers trailed at the base of Squalo’s skull, behind his ear and his neck. Such petting more often than not put Squalo’s hackles up -- a hardened lawman above ‘cuddling’ -- and usually resulted in him yanking on his pants in a hurry. Yamamoto was quick to take advantage of his very spent state, lulling him deeper into comfort with skilled fingers. Further pleasure was Yamamoto’s satisfied silence, effectively letting Squalo genuinely relax for long, stretching minutes. That is until Yamamoto inquired, endlessly nosy, “Is your friend going to wait for you downstairs or did he go home? He’s sleeping at the station, right?”

Another grunt, this one entirely unconcerned. “Don’t know, don’t care. He knows the way back to the station if he doesn’t want to wait.” Squalo’s voice was somewhat muffled; he didn’t bother to lift his head away from the bed and Yamamoto’s arm. “You wanna kick me out?” he wondered, grumbling. It was possible, of course, that Yamamoto might have other plans for the rest of the night. The thought made Squalo feel itchy and irritated.

“Mm-mm,” Yamamoto said with a soft shake of head, voice relaxed. “Stay as long as you like. But… you might want to let me brush your hair before you go.”

Squalo sighed, making sure he sounded as heavily put out as possible. “I suppose,” he finally grumbled. “If you think you can manage it without breaking it or pulling it out.” He didn’t want Yamamoto to think he was giving in TOO easily.

There was a tiny squeak that Yamamoto failed to stifle in time, his frame stiffening with excitement at such an unexpected agreement. “I can!” he promised. “I’ll treat it very well. I have something just for the occasion!” Though he was clearly itching to jump up and get that something, he managed some self control and stayed calmly rooted, hands soothing Squalo. “I bought such this pretty silver brush off of the fancy fella with the shop next door to the hotel. You’ll love it.”

Squalo grimmaced, guessing that Yamamoto was referring to the local undertaker-- a man whose hobbies included taxidermy and stalking. As much as Squalo was not a squeamish man, nor one who feared a big of natural dirt, part of him still balked at the idea of a brush which had likely touched the head of a dead person or a stuffed bobcat. “I hope you washed it good. That guy’s a creep.”

“He’s so nice though,” Yamamoto said with a hint of naive protest. “So cheerful. And he always has so many nice things to say about the sheriff. I washed it! I’ll show you later.”

“He’s a creep who can’t decide if he wants to fuck things or cut them open, or both,” Squalo insisted. “Only reason the sheriff doesn’t take him in is he’s good in a pinch if you need an extra hand in a fight.”

With a laugh that seemed to suggest he didn’t put too much stock in Squalo’s appraisal of the man or the situation, Yamamoto snuggled in deeper to the warm space they shared, rubbing lightly at the muscle of Squalo’s chest. “Have I been good enough to earn some gossip, Squalo?” Yamamoto asked with only a little whine. “I’m so curious about your friend! That was a… very kind service you did him, wasn’t it? Was it the first time you’d seen him like that?”

A grumble followed this tentative inquiry. Squalo didn’t particularly want to gossip about his childhood companion, but he also knew Yamamoto would keep bugging him about it until he offered him at least a little information. “He’s an idiot who is clumsier than a drunk infant, and gets nervous around strangers. If I hadn’t chaperoned, he’d probably have fallen out a window.”

“How on earth did someone that awkward become a heroic marshal?” Yamamoto wondered rhetorically. “Maybe on good looks, hm?” He giggled, grating against Squalo’s brow. “He’s quite something that way. He must trust you quite a bit to ask you to join such an intimate act. Lucky Hibari.” A jealous sigh.

“He’s one of the best fighters I’ve ever known,” Squalo corrected, a bit defensive in tone, though he’d never admit to the compliment if asked about it later. “Could take a man’s fingers off with his whip.” A beat. “He does trust me. Known eachother since we were kids. He’s impossible. That guy has his hands full.” Squalo cringed a little at his own choice of words.

“So how did this compare to the last time you guys watched each other?” Yamamoto asked with a deep innocence that almost softened the obscene suggestion. “Sexier or less sexy with a third person?”

“We never… did that,” Squalo hurriedly answered, cursing himself for getting caught up in Yamamoto’s curiosity. “Worse. Way worse,” he admitted. “That guy is irritating as fuck-- I don’t know how you live with him.”

Yamamoto laughed, giving the insulted deputy a placating snuggle. “He can be challenging. I’ve had more than a couple bruises from him. But he’s a good guy at heart but secretive -- and I’m /so/ curious about he conducts his business! What did Marshal Cavallone do to get Hibari to take him on?”

Squalo shrugged as well as he could, still laying on his side. “Just brought him that tea you gave him, and acted like his usual, simpering, over-polite self.”

“Huh.” Yamamoto marveled, fingers playing idly over Squalo’s shoulder and bicep. “Well good for the marshal! I wonder what Hibari will do to him. Hope it’s not more than he bargained for!” Then he squirmed a little, nudging at Squalo. “Let me show you the brush! You can stay as long as you like but I want to try it out. You can just relax and I’ll brush it -- get comfy, okay?”

There was some protest but ultimately Squalo consented to settling into the luxury of a plush bed and allowing Yamamoto to attend to him. He proudly showed off the brush which was quite a nice one with stiff bristles and a handle cast in pewter with a solid weight to it. Squalo rolled his eyes while Yamamoto pointed out the finely crafted flowery etchings on the back of it and along the handle.

With careful hands, Yamamoto began to smoothe the long, silver hair which was tangled from a day’s work and an evening of sex. Squalo’s hair was healthy and well groomed though and the tangles worked out easily. Mercifully Yamamoto shifted the conversation to lighter and less embarrassing things, like inquiring about the government work the marshal was around for and getting scolded for being nosy to a level of illegality.

After one or two obligatory complaints about him pulling too hard, Squalo had settled in and begun to enjoy the attention, eyes slipping closed and shoulders curling as he sagged forward with relaxation. Just about the time Yamamoto began to suspect Squalo had fallen asleep, the deputy spoke.

“You won’t tell anyone I let you brush my hair.” It was really a question, but he didn’t sound quite firm enough for it to be an order either.

“You know I won’t,” Yamamoto chided fondly.

Chapter Text

It'd been nearly half a year since Gokudera's arrival and things with Yamamoto were escalating. Despite his better judgement, they'd been spending most of their off hours together, sometimes under the guise of teaching Gokudera this or that technique, sometimes without any convenient excuse at all. It could be fun, but lately, Gokudera found it exhausting more than anything, and Yamamoto's energy and passion took getting used to.

That day Gokudera was struggling under the childish urge to hide from the tall, soft-eyed man, and his efforts in avoidance took him to the Rose's stables. He was only sitting, crossed legged in the hay loft for about half hour before the sound of another soul entering his makeshift sanctuary sent him scrabbling back into the shadows. He breathed a small sigh of relief to see, moments later, that it was the boss, and not Yamamoto who'd appeared. Gokudera, however, didn't announce his presence, only took the opportunity to observe the slender, boyish man as he hesitantly approached the new addition to the Rose’s livestock: a small, pale-maned haflinger.

As a boss, it had become evident to Gokudera that Tsuna struggled somewhat-- reluctant to be in charge, yet oddly enough, damned good at it. He wasn't surprised to see Tsuna's gentle side as he reached for the young stallion's velvet nose, but it was his more rarely seen fiery side that Gokudera was most curious about, most... Interested in.

The Tenth's outfit was of note that afternoon. More often than not, Tsuna was seen in nicely presentable house clothes, if not to the point of finery that some of the Rose's wealthier clients donned. This wasn't to say that that he was completely tenderfooted to the ways of the frontier -- Tsuna was happy to pull his weight on the grounds outside the saloon (and Mr. Reborn insisted on it since mucking stalls and hauling hay builds character.) Today though, his trousers, vest and riding boots didn't suggest an afternoon of hot manual labor.

"Hello again," Tsuna said quietly and with only the faint creaks of drying wood to contend with, his voice reached Gokudera's ears in the loft. He stayed outside the horse's stable, letting the creature give him a nervous eye but ease closer. The animal had arrived recently, delivered with a letter from Mr. Reborn letting him know that Tsuna was expected to buckle down and learn to ride properly or pack for a long, one way trip to Death Valley.

The horse, Nuts, was as nervous and skittish a creature as its new owner which had certain members of the house raising eyebrows at how effective this pairing could be. Supposedly a prized haflinger from some papered European lineage, the pale-rust colored stallion wasn't unhealthy or tiny but he certainly wasn't kin to the rugged, gritty horses that were often parked at the trough out front.

While Tsuna waited patiently, Nuts stepped back and forth a few times before approaching to greet him. "There you go," Tsuna smiled, petting the blaze between the horse's eyes. With shy nervousness easing, the horse nudged a little closer, sniffing at him. "You have to like /me/ too, not just my treats, ok?" Gokudera hadn't seen the apple in Tsuna's hand until he was offering it to Nuts. The horse was gentle, not greedy as it chewed and let Tsuna touch its pale mane. "We have to actually try saddling up today. I'd hate for Reborn to to throw you from the highest canyon wall with me."

In the meantime, Gokudera held his breath, peeking over the edge of the loft to watch Tsuna earn the trust of the skittish creature. He couldn't help the warm fondness that settled in his chest to see such a quiet, personal moment, to see the boss in a setting that didn't demand his authoritative persona (as much as Gokudera enjoyed seeing Tsuna order the other employees around).

Gokudera could tell that Tsuna was dawdling, though he couldn’t hear the things he murmured to the horse as he continued to pet at the base of Nuts' fluffy, cream colored forlock and around his ears. He laughed when his words and attention earned him a whinny.

"Okay. You ready to saddle up? Promise you'll be good? No kicking or biting?" A snort answered him and Tsuna gave Nuts' neck a pat and slipped a simple lead on him. A hoof pawed eagerly at the ground; Nuts was a shy animal but clearly excited at the prospect of a ride.

The tack station was beneath the hay loft and Gokudera had to duck back to avoid being seen when Tsuna and his new familiar came his way. The sounds below were very clear now, muffled directly below only by flimsy boards and a layer of hay. Gokudera could hear Tsuna rifling in the tack room (the tack room in which he and Yamamoto had done unspeakable things a number of times now) and return with a sudden, loud clatter that startled Nuts into a whinny.

"Gyah!!" Tsuna shrieked and abandoned the pile of dropped supplies, the haystack trembling as Nuts struggled with fright against his hitched lead. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry! It's okay!" The distressed noises from the horse and shaking of the structure slowed with soothing, apologetic words from Tsuna. "I'm terrible at this, I'm sorry." His own beleaguered sigh joined the heaving of the horse recovering from his fright. When Gokudera managed to find a peek between floorboards and hay straws, he could see Tsuna petting Nuts' neck, could see the pile of brushes, combs and picks that were scattered just outside the tack room door.

When Nuts had calmed, Tsuna gathered his supplies and returned with a curry brush that sent clouds of dust that blustered in the last beams from between wall planks. "This is already embarrassing," Tsuna sighed. "I hope you can forgive me. And I hope you don't step on me when I fall. Maybe Reborn's forcing me to learn this so he can be rid of me."

Gokudera frowned, shrinking back a little farther as though he could will himself away from the boss's clearly private moment. The last thing he wanted to do was witness Tsuna's embarrassment. So he stayed quiet, held his breath, and hoped that brushing down the horse wouldn't take TOO long.

Nuts calmed with quiet sounds and settled into allowing Tsuna to groom him. Though he still spoke quietly to his new steed, Gokudera had moved back too far to hear. It seemed that he would go unnoticed and Tsuna would lead the horse out of the stable none-the-wiser. It wasn't until he shifted just a little while Tsuna was finishing up, running a comb through Nuts' pale mane, that the horse's ears perked and his attention jerked upward. He made a soft, cautious sound and Tsuna followed his look of alarm to the beams above them. Gokudera was oblivious to this and to the way that Tsuna gently soothed his horse but observed his continued agitation. He was also oblivious when the Tenth's bootsteps turned silent and left Nuts waiting for the moment. Taking it slow and cautious let him sneak up the ladder to the haystack.

Gokudera had no idea that he had even left the saddling station until he looked up to a pair of gold derringers aimed at him across the hayloft with Tsuna's growling demand of, "Don't move."

"It's me!" Gokudera yelped, lifting his hands, leaning forward, stretching toward the lighter end of the loft, alarm and embarrassment written on his features. He laughed a little, awkward. "Don't shoot, boss!"

Tsuna's dark expression and small pistols dropped with a gasp that brought heat to his cheeks. "G-gokudera?! What are you doing up here!?"

"I was... You know... uh. Kind of sort of ... Hiding. Just a little." It was really disconcerting sometimes how hard it was to lie to the Tenth. Gokudera sighed.

"Hiding?" Tsuna repeated, baffled. "From what?"

Gokudera's eyes dropped to the hay at Tsuna's feet. "Someone," he answered, doing his best to stay vague and preserve SOME of his mystery.

Tsuna looked at him for a long, unknowing moment before his lips formed an 'o' of understanding followed by a somewhat chagrined laugh. "Not getting much time to yourself these days, Gokudera?" he teased gently and busied himself with tucking away his pistols.

Gokudera gave a halfhearted harumph in protest, but shortly joined Tsuna, standing a little straighter and making an effort to seem unaffected by how easily Tsuna could read him. "He's just so.... Nice," he heard himself say. "Sorry! You don’t need to hear about my... Personal troubles."

If Tsuna had any misgivings about Gokudera's motivations, they melted away easily. "I'm happy to!" he answered quickly. "I mean -- not happy to hear that you have personal troubles. But you can talk to me I mean! Any time. But yes, Yamamoto can be sort of... overwhelming at times. Especially if he's bored. Not that I know certain things about that! What he does when he's --"

From directly below them Nuts gave out a loud, sudden whinny that made Tsuna cut off his own rambling with a jump and a shriek.

Gokudera coughed, rubbed at the back of his neck, heaved a grateful sigh for the sudden interruption. "You've got a beautiful animal there," he observed, nodding in Nuts' direction.

"Ah... yeah," Tsuna smiled in response, perhaps also happy for the interruption. "Was just about to saddle him."

"... Want some help?" Gokudera found himself offering, moving easily past Tsuna to drop to the floor, not waiting for an answer. When he straightened, he found Nuts looking at him with what could only be suspicion.

"Um," Tsuna came up with, following with more caution (and the ladder.) "Sure." On the dusty stable ground, he approached Nuts again with a reassuring touch between his eyes. "Have you met him yet?" he asked Gokudera.

Gokudera shook his head. "Not officially." Then, "Maybe you'd introduce me?"

Tsuna laughed, his cheeks bashfully pink in a way that made him seem far younger than his twenties. "That seems silly," he said a little reluctantly. But after a moment he moved forward to take Gokudera's wrist and lead him closer. "Nuts, this is Gokudera. He's a good friend." He guided the other man's hand to lightly touch the full mane that spilled across Nut's blazed forehead.

"Hi, Nuts," Gokudera murmured gently, not at all behaving as though this were a strange thing at all. "You're very lucky to have a partner like this guy," he added, nodding in Tsuna's direction. "I know he seems sweet and innocent, but I've heard he's quite a sharpshooter."

"Gokudera," Tsuna interrupted in a protesting whisper. As though he'd just realized they were still on the back of his friend's hand, his fingers suddenly darted away. He laughed a little nervously as he moved away and instead back into the grooming stall where his tack waited. He picked up the saddle pad and gave the horse's flank a warning touch before tossing it over his back. "Nuts isn't interested in my ability to shoot -- he only cares about my ability to ride. And he's about to be very disappointed." Tsuna gave a rueful, self-pitying laugh as he returned to the pile of oiled leather and metal fixtures.

"Reborn gave you a horse and still refuses to teach you?"

Tsuna tried not to sag too much as he hoisted the heavy, cumbersome and altogether too large (he felt) saddle from its wooden holder. He stumbled with the weight of it, struggling to find a comfortable way to carry it. "He told me he didn't have the 'years of tireless dedication' it would take to teach me to ride. When he dropped off Nuts last week he just told me, 'Learn to ride this horse or die next time I come through town.'"

Gokudera gave a tsk of disapproval. He wasn’t exactly surprised, familiar as he was with Reborn’s quirks of character. “Well… if you like, I could help you practice.” He wasn’t sure where the offer came from, but after all Tsuna had done for him, it felt like a small favor in return.

“I--” Tsuna fumbled over his words and with the saddle, but thankfully he managed to make it onto the horse’s back without dropping it. “I wouldn’t want to be any burden,” he insisted, avoiding Gokudera and hoping the embarrassed red of his face wasn’t too evident as he hitched the tack into place. But when he joined Gokudera again to replace Nuts’ lead with the leather and clinking metal of bit and bridle, he gave the other man a shy but appreciative smile. “It’s pretty stupid, huh? That I can’t ride after being out here this long.”

“It’s not stupid at all,” Gokudera protested, shaking his head vigorously, but keeping his voice gentle. “We all have things we’re good at and things we need more practice at.” He smiled and rubbed the horse’s nose, slipping him a bit of sugar from his pocket. “And lucky for both of us, we have people willing to help us improve those skills we might lack.” He walked around Nuts then, careful, slow, keeping his hand on the horse, letting him know where he was at all times as Gokudera checked the bridle and saddle to make sure they were in place and tightened properly.

Tsuna watched a little dumbly while Gokudera inspected and adjusted the tack with an intensity like it was being readied for the president. The horse seemed to respond well to Gokudera’s sureness, calm and unaffected as the saddle was tugged. When he came back around the other side, he offered Nuts another treat in thanks and took the reins from Tsuna’s hand. “Well, are you ready to mount?”

“Yeah-- okay, thanks,” Tsuna said, mustering a nod with less confidence than he was trying for. “This part luckily I can manage… it’s the staying on part that’s the problem…” It was easy enough for Tsuna to hook a boot in the stirrup and hoist himself onto the horse’s back. Nuts made a soft sound and his shoulders shivered a little but he remained calm and Tsuna gave a sigh of relief.

“Alright, great.” Gokudera patted the horse’s neck, eyeing Tsuna’s posture for a moment, wanting to be sure that he could safely step away. The boss seemed nervous, but he sat fairly well despite his lack of experience. Of course, the horse wasn’t moving yet. “You think you can stay seated while I saddle up? Easier to help you learn if I can demonstrate technique on my own horse.”

“Oh um-- sure, I think--” Tsuna squeaked when he gently motioned Nuts forward and had to grab for the saddle horn like a child on a pony. Nuts moved tentatively and though it was obvious he wanted to go outside, he seemed nervous. Tsuna guided him to the wide stable doors, clearing the tack station, and the horse peeked out curiously into the midmorning sun.

As Tsuna and Nuts eased forward, Gokudera quickly moved to a neighboring stall and coaxed to attention his own horse-- a black and white palomino he called Reaper. He saddled her with ease, and, so as not to make her feel left out, slipped her a bit of sugar as well. It took only a few minutes before his heels squeezed her sides and they moved outside to join Tsuna.

He found the young Vongola on his feet rather that on his horse, clapping dusty clouds from his trousers. “I’m okay!” he immediately said with a forced laugh, waving away the protective flash in Gokudera’s eyes. “I’ll get this eventually… hey, come on now, Nuts, what’s this?”

The smallish horse seemed to be making the effort to hide behind Tsuna, looking nervously at Gokudera’s mount. Tsuna could understand -- he wondered if Gokudera had chosen to purchase the animal purely for its unique and interesting markings. On her face, white splotches set on black gave Reaper the impression of a horse skull which was strikingly beautiful but also a little disturbing.

“Come on, we’re friends, don’t be shy.” Tsuna found the reigns again and hoisted himself back into the saddle awkwardly. Once there, horse and rider looked a mess -- Nuts with his head down and ears back nervously and Tsuna with terrible form, legs stiff and splayed wide, still gripping the saddle horn. “Okay!” His effort to sound confident and enthused was difficult to listen to.

For her part, Reaper didn’t seem to be interested in paying much attention at all to the small man and his small horse. She tossed her head and stamped proudly, letting Gokudera guide her over to Tsuna and then snuffling into Gokudera’s hair when he dismounted.

Gokudera frowned, walking over to them hands low and cautious so as not to startle Nuts. “You’re sure you’re okay, Boss?”

“I am!” Tsuna squeaked, his face red with humiliation. “Just a bruise or two…”

“Okay…” Gokudera seemed a little skeptical but he respected his employer too much to argue further. Instead he stepped up close, one hand on Nuts’ neck, the other hovering awkwardly for a moment before glancing up at Tsuna. “May I?” he asked, indicating his request for permission to adjust Tsuna’s stirrups-- a move which might necessitate touching the boss’s legs as well.

“Oh-- sure, of course,” Tsuna nodded. He allowed Gokudera to adjust his tack further, tightening the stirrups to shorten their length. “That’s better.” He didn’t have to stretch his legs to their fullest to reach, letting him relax into the saddle a little bit.

Gokudera smiled with satisfaction, pat Nuts’ rump and swung himself back into Reaper’s saddle. “Alright. Now that we’re sitting well, why don’t we practice walking together? The main road is pretty smooth and even if you want to head that way--”

“No!” Tsuna protested too quickly, then sucked in a quick breath. “I mean-- what about something more interesting? Walking through town is so dull, right?” Not to mention incredibly embarrassing, particularly if he managed to fall of his horse three times down the street. His guts felt cold with the thought of the mocking both sheriff and deputy would give them if he were to make a fool of himself in front of the station. Taking a jaunt into the desert and falling on a cactus sounded more appealing. “To the east, not far, I hear there’s a little canyon with a spring. Would it be silly to go for a little trail walk? It’s not too hot today…”

“Hmm,” Gokudera considered this, a bit reluctant to take his boss out into the wild. But the canyon Tsuna spoke of wasn’t far, it was true. “Well, I suppose we could. But we should leave word with one of the others so someone knows where we’re going, just in case. Don’t you think, Boss?”

Tsuna nodded with relief for his fragile ego. “Agreed. And take some water with us. It’ll be nice!”

To his credit, Tsuna managed to stay on his horse the short distance from the stables to the front of the Rose where they tied the animals briefly. Bianchi and Lambo were the only ones downstairs when they checked in, a detail that made Gokudera more eager to get under way.

“Oooh?” Lambo was stretched, indolent and useless, on a velvet chaise. “Boss and the bomber man are going out to play cowboys, hm? How rugged and manly of you,” he teased, making a face at Gokudera.

“Be careful,” Bianchi chided as she handed Tsuna a flask of water and some biscuits wrapped in a cloth. “Don’t let anything happen to the boss, Hayato.”

“O-of course I wouldn’t!” Gokudera protested with as much insult as he could muster. To his credit, he managed to swallow past the wave of nausea that accompanied his sister’s words, and to spin around on his heel to avoid looking at her for too long.

Once outside again, Tsuna breathed a sigh and then looked at Gokudera with a genuine and grateful smile. “Thank you. This is very kind of you, Gokudera.”

Gokudera breathed his own sigh of relief once they were back in the fresh air, and nodded to acknowledge Tsuna’s gratitude. “Of course, Boss. Learning to ride is important!” A beat. “And… it really is a nice day, isn’t it?”

With a cheerful grin and a nod, Tsuna unhitched Nuts from the post out front. “It’ll be good to get out of town for a change. And I’m not sure Nuts is ready to meet the interesting population of Wavewood yet… He seems so nervous.” Tsuna offered a comforting caress to Nuts’ forehead. “You’re alright, now, let’s have a walk.”

They mounted again and it was a simple matter to pass through a few alleys and meet up with the main road on the east side of town. Tsuna managed to stay seated but his form was hopeless and Nuts tugged uncomfortably at the reigns. The only thing keeping Tsuna in the saddle was his vise grip on the horn, his body jostled thanks to his poor posture. With a kindness and patience he spared absolutely no one else, Gokudera offered suggestions to improve Tsuna’s ride.

Nuts’ gait improved as Tsuna finally started to learn to relax into the movement of his mount. By the time Wavewood was behind them, he was only holding onto swell of the saddle with one hand though his knuckles were white from gripping the reigns. He wasn’t constantly on the verge of falling off but Gokudera kept a keen eye open for any sign he might need to surge forward to catch the unstable boss.

The desert engulfed them quickly, Wavewood a tiny speck in a desolate but breathtaking wilderness. The road was well worn, cutting distinctly through the landscape from decades of wagon trails, livestock and stagecoaches. Rusty red dirt and green scrub stretched to the distant mountains: strange, massive, blocky shapes stark against a brilliant blue sky.

Nuts was afraid of the cactuses. When one was too close to the road, he would watch it apprehensively as they approached and list to the other side of the road. Flies agitated him greatly and he whinnied and shook his head dramatically when harassed by them. Tsuna still unsteady, sighed when a tortoise crossing the road brought them to a stop. It took a lot of coaxing and comforting (and for the tortoise to get across the road) for their party to continue.

When they got going again, Tsuna gave Gokudera a smile deeply grateful for his patience. “I guess we both need some practice riding, Nuts and I,” he said with good humor. He was starting to relax into a posture more comfortable for both of them. “Hey Gokudera, who taught you to ride, anyway?”

“Same guy who taught me about explosives and women,” Gokudera snorted. “Good ol’ Doc Shamal. He’s an asshole, but he was a good horseman before he became too much of a drunk to stay seated on a horse most of the time.” Despite the derogatory words, Tsuna saw the fondness in his expression, and rumor had it that a decent chunk of Gokudera’s pay from the Rose went toward helping Shamal maintain the local clinic.

“Shamal trained you?” Tsuna repeated, sounding baffled. “That must have been…”

Tsuna knew the town doctor well enough since he was a fairly common fixture at the Rose, though he never had gone upstairs and frequently (and loudly) complained about the shameful selection of whores in Wavewood. This did not though, prevent him from spending plenty of hours of the day drinking himself into a stupor and advancing on any woman in the vicinity. More than once Ryohei had been required to help the doctor make it back to his home at the clinic.

“...Interesting,” Tsuna finally finished. “And here I thought my training with Reborn was trying.”

Gokudera laughed sympathetically. “No, you still have me beat. Shamal is a hardass, but Reborn… whew. He is… tough. But he’s good at shooting, maybe the best I’ve ever met. You can learn a lot from him.” He shrugged. “We can’t always choose our teachers, but we can always get something out of their training if we make the effort, hm?”

Tsuna gave him a smile and a nod. “Please don’t ever tell him so, but Reborn was a good mentor in his own way. As you say, he's incredibly skilled and sure, he’s abusive but he knows how to keep me motivated!” He gave a long suffering little laugh. “But Shamal taught you the explosives stuff? I assumed you learned it in the army.”

Gokudera nodded, clicking his tongue to ease just a step closer to Tsuna, conscious of the possibility of spooking Nuts. “I honed those skills in the military, yeah, but Shamal was the one who first taught me the chemistry involved, and showed me how to construct dynamite when I was… oh… ten? It’s a miracle i still have all my fingers, honestly.”

“It really is,” Tsuna said. “...Do you really make your own dynamite?” He sounded impressed but also a little nervous, mystified by the many strange (and dangerous) things that happened in his house. “You’re a very talented man, Gokudera.”

Gokudera’s eyes widened momentarily at the compliment, and he looked quickly away, coughing into his shoulder, ears growing visibly pinker. “You’re kind to say so, Boss,” he managed, grinning out at the trail in front of them. “I could show you how to make it sometime if you like!”

It got him an earnest smile and Tsuna said, “Sure, that sounds fun.” (He didn't add the thought that is also sounded terrifying.)

Things were going well and Tsuna hadn’t even had a fall since they’d left town. His posture was improving and he was starting to look almost comfortable in the saddle, gently swaying with Nuts’ gait. That is until a gila lizard slithered out from behind a yucca plant and scuttled across the road. This startled and terrified Nuts so much that the horse reared back with a screaming whinny, echoed by a startled shriek from his rider.

Tsuna barely managed to stay on, fumbling with the reigns before grabbing for Nuts’ neck. He held on tight when the horse made another frightened sound, kicking with his back legs.

“Calm down!” Tsuna begged, voice jarred and high with fear. “It’s okay, Nuts! Please!”

Gokudera pulled Reaper around, circling her back and coming up beside Tsuna and Nuts to reach out for the horse’s reigns, doing his best to calm him with a strong and confident hand.

“Tsuna!” he spoke, low and firm. “Lower your voice and speak calmly, let Nuts hear and feel that you aren’t afraid.”

Though in a panic, Tsuna did his best to swallow his fear while holding on for dear life to the bucking horse. “Nuts,” he tried again, voice cracking but still calmer. Gokudera had caught one of the whipping reigns and tugged the horse back into reality, bringing a frustrated snort from Nuts’ nostrils. Tsuna managed to pet his neck while clinging on. “Nuts it's okay. It's okay it was just a lizard. You don't have to be scared.”

Finally Nuts began to settle, stamping his hooves nervously while Tsuna took back the reigns and continued to pet him. Tsuna sagged against the animal’s neck and was rattled when Nuts shook himself, slapping Tsuna’s face with his mane.

“Gosh he's jumpy,” Tsuna lamented, though he was gentle and affectionate when he smoothed the horse’s hair back into place. “Haven't you ever seen a lizard before, Nuts?”

As though it could understand him, the horse gave a heavy snort and tossed its head, though not in fear this time. Gokudera chuckled lightly, scrubbing at Nuts’ ear before pulled away again, clucking at his own horse to maneuver her back to Tsuna’s side. “Perhaps it was a good plan to travel this trail. Seems getting your mount used to the common sights in nature is going to be important to training the both of you.”

“Agreed,” Tsuna replied, laughing with chagrin. “Also, anything we could encounter out here would be less startling than some things that happen in our town. I'm not sure what he would do if deputy Squalo was to start screaming at us from the sheriff's office.”

Gokudera gave a derisive snort. “That guy. Is he even capable of speaking at a normal volume?” He respected the deputy, of course, for his fighting prowess, but Gokudera never much liked the way he was always visiting the Rose, demanding Yamamoto’s time, and hardly even acting as though he enjoyed the hours he spent there. Gokudera wasn’t even sure he was capable of making an expression that didn’t involve a heavily furrowed brow.

“Sometimes if he's got a secret, he'll get real close to whisper it, “ Tsuna said in a half-hearted defense of the the deputy. “But then after he tells you he'll scream something in your ear. I don't know how Dino hasn't gone deaf spending so much time with him and Xanxus.”

“I suspect wads of cotton in his ears,” Gokudera guessed, snickering at the thought.

By now, both the boss and his mount were calming down and Tsuna’s form seemed to be improving without guidance from Gokudera. They fell into a sort of comfortable silence, enjoying the steady pace and the good weather, eyes peeled for any wildlife that might startle the boss’ horse.

Shortly, they came upon a stream that cut a ditch into the road, a mere trickle of half-inch deep water. Nuts nearly brought Tsuna down in it when he jerked the reins, lowering his head for an eager drink. Turning to follow the stream brought the nearby canyon into view: a split between smoothed limestone at the edge of the foothills which stretched to the horizon. The trickle strengthened as they approached the mouth of the canyon and green plants hugged its edge.

“It’s really pretty,” Tsuna said with a relaxed smile, admiring the atmosphere. The clop and gentle splash of the horses’ footsteps echoed softly off the variegated canyon walls.

“It is,” Gokudera agreed, though his gaze was drawn as much to Tsuna’s profile as to their natural surroundings.

The floor of the canyon narrowed and an incline appeared as well as the distant sound of a trickle. Soon the trail ended in a most lovely sight. A thin, tall waterfall tumbled over the edge of the stone face that brought the path to a stop and picked up the stream fifteen feet above them. At the foot of the waterfall was a pool formed in the boulders from millions of years of gentle erosion. Plants crowded the pond from whatever dirt they could cling to, even climbing the rock face to reach for the spray of falling water.

Tsuna beamed as he tied off his reigns to the saddle horn and dismounted. Nuts gave a shake that rattled his tack and made clouds of dust puff from his coat and mane. Then he began nosing around the new territory, quick to find the rare tender greens that lined the pond.

Meanwhile Tsuna was taking in the view with awe, the mist of the waterfall cooling their sweaty faces. Tsuna tugged off his bandana and removed his hat, revealing the disastrous state of his hair. He rolled up his sleeves and tugged open a few buttons of his shirt before dropping to his knees before the inviting pond.

He splashed his face with a handful of the clear water and shivered before giving a laugh. “That feels great,” he sighed happily. He dipped his hands to cool his face and throat and tried to tame his sweaty hair a bit.

“Hm, what?” Gokudera, startled at being spoken to, quickly averted his eyes and finished dismounting, setting Reaper off to make Nuts nervous by standing too close. “Oh yes,” he continued, removing his own hat to face into the spray. “Very nice.”

After patting at his hair a little, Tsuna sighed and ducked to unexpectedly dunk his head into the water, managing not to fall in. He squeezed the worst of the water out of his hair and then sat up to scruff at it in a spray of water. After smoothing his hair away from his face he sat back and started to pry off a boot. “Come put your feet in!”

“Oh! Yes, good idea,” Gokudera answered lamely, hurrying toward the edge of the water, and plopping down on a rock to pull off his boots. In just a moment he was distracted by his own embarrassing behavior by the delightful sensation of cool water up to his ankles. “Oh, it is nice…”

Grinning, Tsuna rolled up his trousers and dunked his own feet into the pool. He stretched his legs and wiggled his toes, stiff from tensing in the stirrups. Then with another happy sigh, he flopped back into the patchy greenery and let his legs dangle in the water. “This is wonderful. Who would imagine there'd be such a perfect place in the middle of the desert. Thank you for bringing me here, Gokudera.”

Gokudera’s cheeks grew pinker though he seemed to at least try to shake it off, nodded to Tsuna’s words. “Ah, yeah, of course. I think it’s especially nice at this time of year.” With Tsuna laying on his back, it was easier for Gokudera’s eyes to flicker over to him without being noticed, and he watched Tsuna for a long moment before he grew too self conscious and had to look away.

Tsuna closed his eyes peacefully, a little smile on his lips while they listened to the pour of the waterfall that tinkled in soft echoes through the narrow canyon. After a while, he looked up to watch small, puffy clouds wander through the blue sky.

They lost track of time in the comfortable peace that was a drastic change from the day to day and was a welcome for both of them. Finally, Tsuna turned his face to Gokudera with a soft expression.

“I could stay here til dark but I suppose we should get a start on the ride home.”

“Ah… yeah I guess so,” Gokudera nodded, slouched over comfortably, elbows on his knees as he swirled a heel through the submerged sand. The sky was already dimming, though with creeping clouds, not sunset.

Boots were tugged on and Tsuna struggled to fit his hair under his hat. The horses were calmly nibbling at fresh greens when suddenly both of them raised their heads, ears satelliting with alarm. A deep but distant rumble met their ears and then slowly tapered off. Then another rumble, dramatic and rolling and closer.

“Thunder?” Tsuna wondered, eyes wide when he looked to Gokudera.

They both looked to the sky which was bright and blue beyond the high, reddish canyon walls. Until a puff of grey and then another, ugly fat clouds wandered into their view at an alarming speed. The thunder crashed and it was much louder.

The sound that followed though was far more terrifying. A dull roar appeared that quickly grew until the pebbles around them were shivering continually. The horses shrieked in sudden fear, both of them rearing.

“Flash flood!” Gokudera shouted surging to his feet to grab for Tsuna’s wrist.

Reaper immediately threw a wrench into their escape by turning tail and running without her rider. “Dammit, horse!” Gokudera shouted uselessly. “You’re supposed to be the brave one!”

Tsuna however was unfazed, acting immediately by swiveling his wrist and instead catching Gokudera’s with his own hand. “Come on,” he commanded, voice stern and icy cold. He yanked Gokudera forward.

Nuts either had more fondness for his rider or was simply frozen in terror. In an instant Tsuna had mounted and pulled Gokudera firmly into the saddle behind him. “Let’s go, Nuts. HYAH!”

He heeled the horse hard, reeling him around with a yank of the reins. With a wild snort, Nuts’ hooves hit the streambed with the speed of a demon and the agility of a cat. But he barely had a head start when the massive gush of storm water burst over the edge of the waterfall and turned the stream into a churning death trap.

Tsuna yanked Gokudera’s arms around his waist and leaned expertly over his steed’s neck, in complete sync with the beast. The roar of the deluge on their heels was deafening, crashing and resounding off the walls of the canyon, picking up and slamming together huge boulders in its tidal wave. The path that had been an easy slope to walk up seemed like a treacherous, rocky downhill drop, slippery with water. Nuts vaulted from boulder to boulder, skipping bends in the trail like a nimble jack rabbit.

As they neared the entrance of the canyon, waters roaring behind, the path opened up and Nuts’ breakneck speed had them catching up with Reaper who had, at least, had the good sense to run in the right direction.

“Take the reigns,” Tsuna ordered, pressing the leather into Gokudera’s hands. He then swiveled in place as much as he could, putting his left arm around Gokudera’s neck to shoot with his right. He covered the other man’s ear with his hand when he let off a shot which struck a rock with a loud PING. Crumbling sounds followed, one rock tumbling onto the next, knocking it onto a larger one until an avalanche of stone was crumbling to meet the surge of water. It was a cacophony of destruction that rattled the very air around them.

The avalanche was enough to briefly deflect the water until it spilled over, sloshing violently up the side of the canyon wall. It wasn’t much, only bought them a scant few seconds. Tsuna took the reigns back as Nuts, heaving with wild breath, met up with Reaper.

“Get her!” Tsuna shouted to Gokudera, holding Nuts neck and neck with her.

Gokudera said nothing, caught up in the adrenaline of the situation, shocked into unquestioned obedience by Tsuna’s authoritative orders. He nodded sharply and leaned in the saddle, swiping for the reins dangling over Reaper’s neck. He missed the first time, growling with frustration, and waited til the horses were shoulder to shoulder again. This time he grabbed them, tugging her close enough to clamber up onto Nuts’ saddle and make the leap onto Reaper’s. It wasn’t very graceful, and Reaper huffed and swerved when he landed, barely missing the pommel jamming into his thigh. He looked over at Tsuna then, lips in a tight line, and nodded.

“Hyahh!” Gokudera kicked his heels back and shot forward, sure he could feel the spray of water on the back of his neck.

“Almost there, Nuts,” Tsuna told his horse calmly and Nuts answered with a wild, fierce whinny. He wasn’t slowing down, keeping ahead of Reaper by a nose.

The canyon widened and the stretching plains were in sight. The surging sounds around them changed as the deluge widened but was still on their heels. But finally they shot out into the open land and behind them the flood gushed out onto the thirsty sand of the alluvial fan.

Finally growing weary and heaving with wild breath, the horses slowed but by the time the water reached them, it was barely deep enough to splash over their hooves. They still kept at a lope until they reached the trail, floodwaters trickling weakly across the gritty desert ground.

They came to a stop and abruptly, Tsuna lurched out of his saddle, barely staying upright when his feet splashed into the muddy plain. Then he started laughing hysterically, hyperventilating between laughs. The calm and collected boss was gone, replaced with delirious mania from nearly dying. Tsuna collapsed backwards into the mud with a splash, still laughing. His horse was less hysterical but Nuts was gasping for breath, a thick froth on his flanks and his knees were practically knocking.

Gokudera swung down out of his saddle hurriedly, rushing to kneel by Tsuna, one hand gripping his shoulder as though he were going to shake him. “Boss! Are you alright?” He started looking him over, searching for injury.

“I’m fine, I’m fine,” Tsuna said between gasps of laughter. He sat up and got himself under control enough to only gasp for breath. His face was red and flecked with mud when he looked at Gokudera with a shaky smile. “Somehow we didn’t die! That jump was incredible, Gokudera! Wow.” He was trembling from head to toe when he slowly got to his feet.

Gokudera helped him up with a hand and a bashful grin. “It wasn’t incredible,” he protested. “I barely made it. More importantly, you rode so impressively! When the chips were down, you rode like a veteran cowboy. I think Reborn would be proud.”

Though he seemed distinctly embarrassed, Tsuna nonetheless beamed at Gokudera’s compliments. “T-Thank you. I’m always surprised what almost dying can make you do! I wish it didn’t happen so often. Oh!” He startled and touched his head. “I lost my hat!” He pouted. “I liked that hat.”

Gokudera looked back at the swollen waters and clucked his tongue. “Maybe it will show up when the water recedes.” In the meantime, he took his own hat in one long-fingered hand, and sat it on Tsuna’s head. “Here, stay dry.”

“But-- I’m dirty--” His protest came too late and his eyes disappeared under the brim of Gokudera’s hat. He tilted it up with a sheepish smile for Gokudera, accepting his kindness. “Thanks.”

A breath later, the sky opened up and water crashed down around them. The shallow floodwaters were rising, dragging mud and rocks away from the canyon outlets. Nuts gave a nervous nicker, stamping back and forth. Then thunder rolled and he surged forward to butt at Tsuna’s shoulder with his head, giving a shrill whinny when lightning flashed.

“Yeah, let’s go home,” Tsuna fretted, turning from Gokudera to mount. “It’s still plenty dangerous out here.” The trail was partially obscured by the flowing waters but they were still able to find their bearing.

Gokudera obeyed without question, swinging back up into Reaper’s saddle, pushing the wet silver hair back from his forehead, and following Tsuna’s lead. They didn’t push the horses into a gallop, but their pace was far from leisurely as they headed back toward home.

When they reached Wavewood, the storm had calmed to a slow and steady rain. The town streets were a mess of mud and puddles. By the time they made it back to the Rose, Gokudera and Tsuna were soaked to the bones and their horses were visibly beleaguered. On the porch three figures waited: Yamamoto, Ryohei and Kyoko.

As the horses plodded closer, the young lady came rushing down the steps, futilely trying to hold her skirts from the muddy ground. “

“Tsuna!” she cried, shock etched on her face at the state of her companion. “My big brother said that you went riding into the wilderness! Are you alright?!”

The worst of the mud had been washed away by the torrential rain but as Tsuna made to dismount, his foot slipped and he fell into the mud with a SQUELCH.

“Tsuna!” Kyoko fretted again, rushing forward to help him to his feet, paying no mind to the mud that stained her dress as she took his hands.

“I’m okay,” Tsuna gasped on a humiliated laugh, on his feet in front of his lady friend. “We were fine! Just got a little soggy! It was perfectly nice out when we left but things took a bad turn real quick.”

“You’re soaked! You’ll catch your death, this way!” She untied the kerchief from her hair and took the hat from Tsuna’s head to she could wipe the mud from his cheeks and forehead. “We were worried sick about you.”

“I’m sorry to worry you,” Tsuna said, features softening with her affection. “Oh no-- Kyoko, your dress!”

“I don’t care about my dress!” she scolded and wrapped him in a muddy hug. “I’m so glad you’re okay.”

By then, Ryohei and Yamamoto had joined them, preceded by Ryohei shouting, “This weather is dangerous TO THE EXTREME! Did you see anything get hit by lightning!?”

“Looks like you two had an adventure,” Yamamoto said to Gokudera with a smile as he approached where the bomber was still astride his horse. Yamamoto offered a pet to Reaper’s head and even Gokudera’s standoffish horse was no match for Yamamoto’s kind nature, nudging into the man’s hand.

“It was only supposed to be a riding lesson,” Gokudera explained, glancing over at the Boss and his girl, swallowing a twinge of jealousy at their closeness that he knew wasn’t fair. He liked Kyoko-- she was smart and kind and had a cheery sense of humor. He felt no ill will toward her, in truth. He couldn’t bring himself to have genuinely bad feelings for anyone who cared about Tsuna, after all.

“Well it sounds like a story I need to hear. Tsuna!” Yamamoto called. “Why don’t you go get warmed up and clean? Gokudera and I will take care of the horses.” He approached Nuts who eyed him warily but didn’t move away.

Tsuna looked to his friends and gave a smile to Kyoko to excuse himself for a moment. First he approached his horse, coming close to rub at his forehead and between his wet ears. “Yamamoto’s a very good friend, he’ll get you all cleaned up, okay? You did such a good job today, Nuts. I think you liked it a little, didn’t you?” The horse butted him in the chest and he stepped back. “Thanks, Yamamoto,” he said and then turned a smile on his other friend. “And thank you, Gokudera. I’ll uh--” He looked down at Gokudera’s mud-smudged hat in his hands. “I’ll get your hat cleaned up.”

Gokudera waved off his concern with a smile. “Of course, Boss. And take your time!” As Tsuna turned away, Gokudera caught Yamamoto looking at him with a cheeky smile, as though he could read Gokudera’s thoughts. “What? Shut up, and help me with the horses.”

Tsuna offered his arm to Kyoko and together they made their way back to the warm, dry safety of the brothel.

“I’m really so sorry! We must buy you a new dress!”

“Silly Tsuna, it’s just dirt, it’ll wash out. Or I’m sure that Mr. Undertaker has some more dresses he can offer me.”

“Kyoko, no! Lussuria takes those from his clients!"

Chapter Text

It was still afternoon -- long before most men left off work for the flesh and liquid pleasures of the saloon -- when Rokudo Mukuro appeared at the entrance of the Vongola Rose. Owner of the local distillery and a full fortune’s worth of cattle, most folk guessed he was the heir to some big estate in New England, due to his manner of speech and dress.

In spite of the weather in Wavewood which was generally uncomfortably hot, Mukuro was never seen around town in anything but expensive dandy finery. He wore tailed waistcoats and silk vests which were tailored to fit his slim frame as precisely as physically possible. No matter how sweltering it was, he was never seen without an ascot or tie. He often accessorized with one of an assortment of many top hats and an elegant onyx cane that seemed to be purely ornamental.

He was an intimidating and alluring man who carried himself with a true sense of importance: confident, entitled, taking little notice of those around him unless he needed something from them. And he needed something now.

Mukuro pushed apart the saloon’s swinging doors and behind him, his sandy-haired shadow followed. Dressed in simple work clothes in shades of brown, he looked poor and common in comparison to Mukuro’s immaculate appearance. His gaze was simultaneously nervous and adoring when it rested on Mukuro and cocky, aggressive where it met anyone else's.

"Sawada," Mukuro drawled, hardly raising his voice as he addressed the woman behind the bar. "I desire to speak with him."

The surly barmaid eyed him for a moment with a sneer and then shouted, "TSUNA!" It didn't disturb much, since the only patron was the town drunk (incidentally also the town doctor) slumped in a corner table.

With a scuffle, the establishment's slight owner appeared at the balcony over the parlor. His eyes widened as they fell on Mukuro and his servant and he scrambled down the stairs. "M-Mister Mukuro!" he sputtered nervously. "What a pleasure to -- see you here!" He glanced at the blond man at the dandy's side who sneered at him, all but growling. "H-How may I help you today?"

"We have need of a room," Mukuro smiled. Far from comforting, the gesture instead sent a sick sort of shiver down Tsuna's spine. "As well as the company of two of the spirited young men in your employ. The tall one and the tobacco smoker."

"I-I see..." Tsuna swallowed hard, glancing between them.

In any other case he might have warned the customer that his order would be particularly expensive -- but he wouldn't dare insult this man. Though he wasn't a frequent patron, neither was Mukuro a stranger, and he'd made it a point to sample each of the Rose's employees at least once. Bianchi had used the phrase "staking a claim". Tsuna suspected he'd simply done it to make the point that he could -- that he was capable and virile both sexually and financially. Once he’d gone through that, he settled into an agreement with Hibari that mystified the entire town. Since then, his visits, aside from this one, were regular and scheduled.

"Of course, assuming they agree…” Tsuna said and cleared his throat. “Bianchi would you mind--”

“YAMAMOTO! GOKUDERA!”

Though Tsuna and Mukuro’s companion jumped at Bianchi’s booming shout, the dandy stood calmly still. Often, the blond that stuck to Mukuro's side accompanied him to the Rose, sometimes with his employer's other assistant, a tall quiet, unflappable man. Each time had resulted in the feisty servant -- Ken -- getting drunkenly rowdy and disruptive until he was tossed into the streets to wait for his master to finish.

Today was unusual. Ken didn't flop onto a comfortable couch to nap or snatch up a whole bottle of whiskey. Instead he waited at Mukuro's side, glare challenging anyone who looked at him.

Upstairs, both of the requested men appeared at the balcony and different shades of surprise colored their faces. “Good afternoon, Mister Mukuro!” Yamamoto, infallibly cheerful, called as they descended.

“Mister Mukuro has an offer of engagement for you two,” Tsuna said, fretting visibly.

"Yeah?" Gokudera demanded, staring fearlessly into the dandy’s haunting eyes. He looked singularly unimpressed by whatever it was that Mukuro wanted to discuss. A cigarette dangled from his lips, thumbing a box of matches as though already waiting to be dismissed.

"I require the service of the both of you. I’m in need of someone who plays well with others," he explained, his eyes drifting to the dark-haired man who looked innocently curious. "And a man with experience and the ability to... teach what he knows with a firm hand." His gaze shifted to the lithe Italian whose expression seemed to suggest a barely suppressed desire to stomp back upstairs.

"If you have any other appointments today, consider them cancelled." Without waiting for reaction, he turned to the other man, Yamamoto. "Takeshi, correct? You may join us in the surly one's room." Mukuro recalled Gokudera Hayato's room being one of the cleanest of the Vongola Rose, the man himself unusually fastidious for a whore.

Gokudera started, glancing at his co-worker with a scowl. He shoved his matches into his pocket. "Che," he scoffed, turning on a heel. "Of course. Fine. Let's get this over with."

For his part, Yamamoto only grinned, cocking his head slightly at Ken, then offering Mukuro an obedient nod. "He's really very charming," Yamamoto chirped as they turned to leave, indicating Gokudera. "Once you get to know him."

Gokudera rolled his eyes as he led the small group to his room and his clean, well-made bed. He paused in front of his door and startled once more when he saw Mukuro's guard hovering at his elbow. "Eh? *He's* coming with us?" he demanded, aghast.

Mukuro was already closing the door behind them as he answered. "Of course," he hummed, one hand sliding up the side of Ken's neck, fingers grazing his jaw. The smaller man shivered visibly at the touch, his pale hazel eyes going wide. "Puppy training," Mukuro explained, "Is the primary reason for today's visit."

Yamamoto laughed and casually tugged loose a handful of buttons on his own linen shirt. He slid close to Mukuro then and touched his unoccupied arm. "Will you be joining us? Or I can arrange a chair for your viewing pleasure?" Yamamoto offered, his voice free of coyness or shame.

Ken literally snapped at Yamamoto with a sharp clack of teeth and a snarl that startled his touch on Mukuro's arm away. "No one is touching master Mukuro," he interjected.

Mukuro's grip tightened harshly on Ken's shoulder, and he held him in place as he addressed Yamamoto. "Today I will merely observe, direct. A chair would be welcome, yes."

Yamamoto nodded, never losing his easy smile, even for the rough manner with which Mukuro's lackey spoke to him. Instead, as Gokudera sat on the edge of the bed, smoking, waiting, he fetched a fine, plush chair from the corner of the room. He situated it nearby, though far enough away to afford full view of whatever scene might soon play out there.

With a pat on the cheek, Mukuro left Ken hovering by the door and he crossed the room. He daintily removed first his rings, then his white gloves and settled in, fingers playing across the velvet of the chair's arm. "I'll be blunt," he began, when everyone's eyes were on him. "Ken would like very much to engage in a sexual encounter with me."

The blond choked audibly, but gave no voice to protest.

"However-- Ken is woefully inexperienced in such arts and I have no interest in..." He smirked. "breaking him in. However, as his master, I feel obligated to oversee the training he requires. You may proceed to undress him now."

It took a moment for the information to sink into the room, their 'pupil' red with humiliation and pent up aggression. Gokudera stared at him for a long moment before giving a huff of smokey laughter.

"So we're here to teach you to fuck, doggy?" he snickered, lacking almost all of the manners that Yamamoto possessed.

Thankfully Gokudera had been stubbing out his cigarette on the bottom of a loafer because a breath later, the butt fell to the floor when Ken tackled him mercilessly. He sprawled Gokudera on the bed, grabbing a fistful of his shirt as he pinned the other man down. Nails dug at Gokudera's chest through the fabric.

"I /know/ how to fuck," Ken grated. "I just need to practice."

"If this is your idea of foreplay, no wonder your /owner/ isn't interested in you," Gokudera answered back, not bothering to struggle, but thrusting a hand into the blond's hair to pull back roughly at his scalp. Yamamoto's laugh punctuated his observation.

"Don't hold back," Mukuro instructed the men he'd hired. "Ken won't respond quickly enough to positive reinforcement."

Ken wrenched at Gokudera's grip angrily, wincing as it yanked at his hair. "I'm not here to /romance/ you, nancy boy," Ken snarled in response. Then he sneered cockily down at Gokudera. "He wants me enough to pay for you goons to help me train. Don't forget who's the one in charge."

"I think your sugar daddy just gave me the reigns," Gokudera smirked, and reached up with his other hand to pinch roughly at a nipple through Ken's shirt.

Ken gave a startled gasp, jerking back instinctively. He glowered at Gokudera reproachfully and took a moment to look back at Mukuro, seeming to put himself in check when he met his master’s eyes. "Then what now?" he groused, shoulders curling when Mukuro's gaze cowed him, though he still perched over Gokudera's hips.

"Mister Mukuro instructed us to undress you," Yamamoto reminded him cheerfully, climbing up onto the bed and reaching around Ken's waist to unclip his suspenders. The dark-haired man caught Gokudera's eyes and smiled. "You'll help me, won't you, Hayato?"

Ken's anger shifted to a cautious hesitation, looking over his shoulder at Yamamoto. His grip on the front of Gokudera's shirt was shaken off when Yamamoto started to tug at Ken's shirt buttons.

"Just settle down, you idiot," Gokudera sneered even as he peeled Ken's shirt off.

Mukuro had clearly had him prepared for the afternoon, Ken cleaner than he had been in perhaps his entire life. The smell of cologne irked him, irritating his nose but it was something that he was told he would have to get used to if he wanted to share Mukuro's intimate company. And he was told it would make it much easier on his trainers if his tawny skin and mop of blond hair were clean when their hands reached it.

Perhaps Yamamoto -- who came from a family of fishermen -- wouldn't have minded a little dust behind the ears, but it had been the right choice to avoid giving Gokudera anything further to grumble over as he helped his partner strip Ken down. Despite his gruff manner and methodical actions, Gokudera was still an expert at what he did, and his touches lingered, his thumbs grazing a nipple here, a hip there, his knee lifting pointedly between Ken's thigh.

Yamamoto too, skillfully assisted, his breath washing hot over Ken's ear when he leaned in close to the knot of Ken's bandana. "Let's give your master something nice to watch," he suggested, a breathy whisper meant just for Ken.

Most of Ken’s angry gusto drained and gave only a stubborn whine or two as he was undressed. When he was naked, sitting upon Gokudera's hips, flushed and uncertain, Ken found himself leaning back into Yamamoto's frame. He tilted his head back and experimentally, hesitantly, licked an earlobe.

Yamamoto hummed encouragingly, but Mukuro snapped his fingers, demanding attention. "You," he pointed at Gokudera. "You'll show Ken how to suck your cock. He's a terrible amateur and this I can't have."

Ken flushed a dark red, sinking in deeper to the curve of Yamamoto's body. For a brief moment he paused, the tall warmth against his back reminding him of his own partner in crime. He shook himself and shifted away from Yamamoto, turning his attention on the lean, silver haired man laid out on the bed before them. He gave a soft snort and moved onto hands and knees. Ken bared his teeth in a grin as his palm found the front of Gokudera's trousers, rubbing there unapologetically as he leaned in closer.

"How big is this little training dick?" he wondered, sneering breath on Gokudera's neck as he felt out his cock.

"Having to look at your ugly mutt face isn't helping it get any bigger," Gokudera snapped back.

Yamamoto chuckled and ran a hand up Ken's bare back. "Now, now. Let's not fight, hm? Not when there's much more fun things to do..." Then Yamamoto leaned over Ken, kissing the base of his spine and reached between his legs to cup Ken's sac, giving it a gentle roll as he hummed into Ken's skin.

Ken's breath caught, glancing over his shoulder, thrown off balance by Yamamoto's soothing. He gave a quiet growl and curled in to press his mouth to Gokudera's throat, tasting him with a hot drag of tongue as he tugged free the buttons of the paler man's shirt. His sharp nails trailed up Gokudera's stomach as Ken kissed rather roughly at his neck.

"Enough of that," Gokudera scolded, pushing at Ken's jaw. "Take out my dick."

"Undo his trousers and kiss him here, at the point of his hip, then here, below his navel," Yamamoto murmured helpfully, still fondling Ken's filling cock while he illustrated his instructions with fingers brushing against Gokudera's skin.

Hunkered, naked between the two men who happened to both be taller than him, Ken balked again for an uncertain moment. Yamamoto's casual touches made him shiver. He glanced over again at Mukuro, looking for assurances. When he found Mukuro's eyes only watching him with unimpressed boredom, his stomach sank and he swallowed hard.

Steeling himself, he followed Yamamoto's instructions, shifting to kiss along Gokudera's body. He tugged Gokudera's trousers and briefs lower, easing Gokudera's still soft cock free. Ken watched Gokudera's face, still vaguely confrontational when he looked him in the eye and licked above the edge of silvery curls, giving Gokudera a glimpse of Ken's unusually sharp teeth.

"You bite me and I break your face," Gokudera warned, but his voice didn't have quite the same edge it had just moments before.

"Take it in your hand," Yamamoto urged. "Lick along the underside and then close your mouth around it. Gently, no teeth," he echoed Gokudera's warning with calmer words.

"Do what he says and I'll let you fuck him," Mukuro addressed Ken, still maintaining an air of boredom, though his hand had strayed to his lap, resting there between his thighs as though waiting for something worth getting off to.

Ken perked at the sound of Mukuro's voice, glancing from the corner of his eye. Yamamoto's touch and voice calmed him enough that he took a breath and did as he was told, turning his attention in earnest to Gokudera. His tongue was hot and eager enough when it slid wide and soft along the length of Gokudera's cock. He let his eyes lower as he let the flesh slide gingerly onto his tongue, giving the softest suck, urging Gokudera toward hardness. His sharp nails trailed over his hip and side as he tasted this new flavor almost curiously, letting Gokudera's tip slide across his tongue.

Gokudera's voice rumbled at the back of his throat, a wordless hum. His hand moved to Ken's hair, gripping there, directing his movements. "Use your hand too," he instructed. "Pull back the skin slowly, make a circle with your fingers. Lick there, no... there. Yes, better. Not great. But better." Then, "Oi, Yamamoto, come up here." He reached out toward the taller man, who climbed up the bed to settle beside him, expectantly. "Kiss me," he demanded, only vaguely flushed.

Yamamoto gave a quiet laugh, hands already on Gokudera's skin. Ken frowned around the silver-haired man's cock, watching as Yamamoto's mouth worked its way up Gokudera's pale throat to nibble at an ear. Yamamoto offered Ken a reassuring smile, fingers pinching at a nipple before he turned Gokudera's face to catch his mouth in a hungry, familiar kiss.

Ken's movement stopped for a long moment as he watched with wide eyes; Yamamoto's tongue pushed past Gokudera's lips and the heat that filled his own mouth twitched to life. He might have continued staring if Gokudera didn't grab him roughly by the hair with an irritated sound. Ken growled but his mouth moved with a new interest, offering long laps over Gokudera's swelling cock, one hand curling around its base. Without instruction, his wet tongue traveled lower, lapping at Gokudera's sac.

Gokudera groaned into Yamamoto's mouth, hips lifting, burying himself deeper into Ken's mouth as his cock filled.

"If you gag, you'll be punished," Mukuro purred, leaning forward with mild interest.

Yamamoto's hands eagerly explored Gokudera's body now, unclipping his suspenders, lifting the shirt over his head, then dipping lower to suck a stiff nipple between his lips, relishing the way Gokudera's body shuddered and the way his breath hitched.

Sharp nails dug faintly at Gokudera's thighs as Ken took him in, cheeks growing flushed over the scar that split his face. He whimpered faintly, trying not to gag or let his teeth scrape the tender flesh. Panting faintly, he pulled back for a moment to lick languidly around the flushing head.

He looked up when Yamamoto's hand surprised him by curling around Gokudera's shaft, giving him a few tight, long strokes that made Gokudera's hips roll, made him groan into Yamamoto's devouring mouth. When Yamamoto spared him a glance, Ken gave a lick over Yamamoto's knuckles and back to Gokudera's cock. Then he was taking over, imitating the movement of Yamamoto's grip as he sucked hungrily at him again, enthusiasm swelling as Yamamoto worked them both into excitement.

"That's good," Yamamoto praised, circling Ken's fingers with his own, directing his motion, showing the blond what he already knew Gokudera liked. "See? It's not so difficult once you get the hang of it."

Ken moaned softly, almost appreciatively as he sucked at Gokudera with growing ease, saliva dripping over both his and Yamamoto's fingers. A whine escaped as Gokudera's flavor appeared on his tongue and he lapped at it greedily. He found himself nuzzling into Yamamoto's wet palm when it brushed his cheek, the other man's gentle coaxing and touches breaking past his bristling exterior to the creature secretly hungry for praise and approval and affection. He did avoid Gokudera's eyes though, even as tears pricked at his own when he took him as deep as he dared.

"Enough," Mukuro waved one slender hand. "Show him how to fuck. Are you prepared already?" His gaze caught Yamamoto's eyes over Ken's back, and Mukuro raised a questioning brow.

Yamamoto gently eased Ken upward by the chin, wiping saliva from his lip. He smiled. Gokudera groaned and shivered at the sudden loss of stimulation. Yamamoto ran his hand through Gokudera's hair, nodding his answer to Mukuro's question. "Of course."

Ken's eyes were hazy, his cock hard as he sat back between Gokudera's legs, wiping at his mouth with the back of a hand. He licked his lips, a pleased smirk appearing as he was given permission to have some real fun. He crawled forward, completely ignoring Gokudera and fixating on Yamamoto. "You're good at this," he observed, grinning faintly, predatory as he dragged off Yamamoto's slacks.

Yamamoto laughed pleasantly, rubbing a thumb over Ken's brow. "I've had a lot of practice," he explained, ever humble. Nearby, Gokudera snorted. "Also," Yamamoto continued, "I've been told I have a talent for it." He grinned and lifted his hips, rubbing into Ken's palm before turning himself over, bare now from the waist down. He lifted his ass into the air, giving Ken an unimpeded view, and catching his eyes over one brown shoulder. "Ready to move on with your training?" he asked, moving his hips from side to side, enticing.

Ken licked his teeth and very nearly pounced on Yamamoto, groaning as his dripping cock rubbed against the larger man's slick cleft. He tasted Yamamoto's shoulder, his neck, licked curiously behind an ear. He offered a baleful look at Gokudera beside them, clearly favoring Yamamoto's attention. "I like your smell," Ken growled, nuzzling into Yamamoto's hair, nipping at his scalp as he started to grind against the firm muscle of Yamamoto's ass.

"Haha! Well, thank you," Yamamoto beamed, rubbing back against Ken, moaning appropriately, and licking his lips. "Will I be your first this way?" he wondered, just a little coyly, sounding pleased, but not judging. Gokudera scoffed, but his hands were on Yamamoto's neck, fingers dipping under the collar of his loosened shirt, nails grazing at his skin.

"Nnnh," Ken groaned back, his face hot against Yamamoto's neck. "Yeah. But don't worry," he added, biting gently there while sharp nails raked up the other man's thighs. It took a moment and a blow to his dignity when he had to try several times to guide himself into Yamamoto's ready body but as he sank in, he gave a long, tight groan. His forehead fell against Yamamoto's back, hips jerking to hilt himself, gripping hard at his 'teacher's' hips. "Nn-hah-!"

"Nngh, there you go," Yamamoto hummed. "Take it slow, get used to me. It'll be-- ah! different than with a woman."

Ken nodded, breathlessly into Yamamoto's back, nuzzling into the fabric as he struggled to control himself. He was curled awkwardly over the taller man's bent form and he shivered with the push and pull as he adjusted to the heat of Yamamoto's body.

"Breathe, idiot," Gokudera warned with a roll of his eyes. It was pure pity that made him sidle closer to Yamamoto, his touch finding his colleague's flagging cock to offer a comforting stroke.

Ken growled at him irritably, but his self control was stretched thin and he could barely work up a bristle. Instead, his hips rolled, moaning as Yamamoto tightened around him. As he started to feel out a stilted rhythm, a hand tangled in Yamamoto's shirt, pulling it from his shoulder where his teeth strayed, biting softly, moaning against Yamamoto's skin.

Yamamoto's breath stuttered, a whimper on his tongue as Gokudera worked him back to full stiffness. Ken shifted behind him, searching for the best angle, learning as he went. "Ah, yes, there," Yamamoto hummed, pressing back, meeting Ken's amateur movements. "Don't hurry," he suggested. "Take your time, thrust into me and pause, then draw back slower. It will feel better for you and your partner."

Ken was panting, doing his best to follow Yamamoto's instructions but struggling to control his movements. Slowly, his rhythm steadied and he learned to roll his hips, to pause, grind, feeling Yamamoto move with him. Ken gave a low, hungry growl, urgency starting to take hold. His breath was hot on Yamamoto's neck, followed by teeth, softly, then biting hungrily, hips bucking, grinding. "Nnhhh, yeah... fuck..." he moaned into Yamamoto's hair, biting again, harder, rougher, nails digging at a hip.

"Oi," Gokudera warned, watching Ken as he squeezed at Yamamoto's cock. Ken just growled in response, baring the teeth that closed around Yamamoto's shoulder.

Yamamoto sucked in a sharp breath, eyes squeezing closed, then flying open again, pupils dilating as Ken's teeth scraped, then dimpled his flesh. "W-wait," he gasped, then choked on his own voice as Ken pounded deep, pointed teeth breaking skin, smearing bright red blood that stained his mouth.

"Motherfucker!" Gokudera snapped, grabbing once more for a fistful of Ken's hair, yanking him back painfully, eliciting a yelp and a snarl. "We have rules here, Mukuro!"

Ken's teeth let go and Yamamoto cried out, reaching back to press a hand to the oozing marks left behind. His eyes flashed with pain and anger and though Ken still filled him, Yamamoto had gone still, no longer receptive to the other man's entry.

Mukuro stood then, his dick hanging from his trousers, still hard, still unattended. He crossed the space between the chair and the bed and swiftly backhanded Ken across the jaw.

With a sharp cry, Ken was shoved back, hitting the wall. Instantly, he was cowering, curling away from Mukuro, panting, swiping the blood from his lips guiltily. "I-I'm sorry!" he whimpered, shoulders hunched.

"If you had done that to me, you would be dead," Mukuro spoke, terrifyingly calm, but no one present doubted the sincerity of his words. He turned around then and went back to his chair, settling in again. "Clean yourself up," he waved off Yamamoto and turned to Gokudera. "It seems my dog needs more intensive training. You'll teach him how to take another man's cock now."

With Mukuro's intervention, Ken was completely cowed, his gaze genuinely apologetic as he met Yamamoto's eyes briefly. For Gokudera, however, he still had a smidge of anger in his eyes. But after a moment's hesitation, he ducked his head, frowning, defeated. He licked Yamamoto's blood from his teeth as he himself sat up beside Gokudera, frowning at the red that smeared his fingers.

Gokudera did not respond to his cowering through, surging forward to shove Ken to the bed.

Yamamoto, previously the 'good cop' of their scenario, frowned somewhat coldly as he slipped from the bed, crossing to Gokudera's dresser where a pan of water stood, ready for whatever sort of clean up a customer might need. He wet a small towel and cleaned the bite as best he could, all the while watching as Gokudera pinned Ken to the mattress, teeth bared in a snarl of his own.

"No one damages Master Sawada's property. Especially without his permission. Bitch," he spat the words, grip hard enough to bruise Ken's wrist as he hovered over him.

"It was a mistake!" Ken snarled back, though with hardly any of the gusto he'd come in with, but he did strain against Gokudera's grip. He squirmed, uncomfortable, ashamed with all the displeased eyes on him. "Just get it over with!”

Before Gokudera could make a move, he felt Yamamoto step up beside the bed. When he turned his head, he found Yamamoto holding something out to him, wordlessly, but smiling just a little.

"If Mister Mukuro is in agreement, I think maybe you could begin with this."

Ken's eyes widened as Yamamoto placed a glass phallus in Gokudera's hands -- smooth, soft blue in color with bumps and smoothed ridges along its sides. "What -- what's that for?" he asked.

"For fucking you with," Gokudera answered, sneering. Yamamoto had returned to the dresser and resumed patching himself up, keeping one eye on the proceedings in the bed. Mukuro made no protest, only nodded his assent when Gokudera glanced his way.

"This way, I don't have to try and keep it up for your doggy face," Gokudera added, then spit into his hand, slicking the glass with saliva. "Lift your hips," he ordered. "Hold up your legs here, behind the knees."

Hesitantly, Ken did as he was told, feeling particularly vulnerable on his back, thighs spread with Gokudera over him. He shuddered heavily, a nervous sweat appearing on Ken's brow as Gokudera rubbed the glass tip along his entrance, for a brief, teasing moment. "I-- I haven't done this before," he murmured.

Gokudera quirked a grin. "Then you'd better listen very carefully and do everything I say so that no one else gets hurt."

Across the room, Mukuro smiled and gave himself one long lazy stroke.

Ken looked like he was struggling to hold back an argument but with Mukuro watching and Yamamoto's still-disapproving gaze, he instead shrank and nodded. He watched with wide eyes as Gokudera fished in his bedside drawer and spilled oil over the glass rod. The silver haired man looked positively devious as he rubbed slick fingers over Ken's exposed, tense entrance, bringing a whimper to his throat.

As clear as it was that Gokudera wanted to punish the shivering man beneath him, his own professionalism demanded a certain degree of care. So he readied Ken, pressing into him with one, then two fingers, spreading him wide, grinning at the whimpering sounds slipping free from Ken's open mouth.

In the meantime, Mukuro waved Yamamoto over to his chair, gestured for him to sit on his offered knee and proceeded to help him tape a bit of gauzy cloth to the bite that Ken had left. "He's simply out of control," Mukuro murmured, an apology of sorts.

Yamamoto quirked a patient brow over his shoulder and took the liberty of sinking back into their client's lap. "You have very... interesting tastes, Mister Mukuro," he hummed.

It was likely that Ken would have had a fit about the contact between them -- that is, if he weren't shivering nervously as Gokudera's touch worked him open.

"Relax already," Gokudera scolded impatiently.

"It feels weird!" Ken complained back, not much bite left in his voice.

"Your master's dick up your ass is gonna feel a lot worse than weird if you don't fuckin' relax," Gokudera snapped.

Yamamoto chuckled lightly. "He's having fun," he observed, smiling at his silver-haired companion.

"I knew he would be the one to bring my Ken into line," Mukuro agreed, almost smiling. "He's a wonderfully loyal dog, but his instincts tend to get the better of him from time to time."

"So I noticed," Yamamoto huffed, but he wasn't really angry anymore.

"I'm not interested in fucking something so unpredictable, you see," Mukuro explained. "Aside from his painfully obvious inexperience."

"I can hardly blame you," Yamamoto chuckled, idly toying with Mukuro's long tail of hair over his shoulder. "Though I hate to say it may end up taking more than one training session. This is... a challenge."

The blond before them gave a frustrated snarl but he didn't argue, instead falling back against the mattress and squeezing his eyes shut. His breath came in short pants but he managed to relax for Gokudera, lips and fingers twitching, toes curling.

"That's better," Gokudera smirked, chuckled as he let his fingers slide free. "Ready for the rest?"

Ken shuddered, eyes hazy -- but then widening as the cold, slick tip of the phallus pushed where Gokudera's fingers had been. He whimpered again, clutching at the bed as the smooth tool started to press into him, slowly, carefully.

"Ah... there he goes," Yamamoto hummed, fingers still running idly through Mukuro's hair. He remained attuned to the other man, even as he watched the happenings on the bed. He knew, both from stories and from experience that Mukuro's moods could shift quickly and inexplicably, so he stayed poised, ready to shift his attentions if need be.

"A challenge, yes," Mukuro hummed, turned his head to kiss at Yamamoto's palm, "but there's potential."

Ken balked, squirming with a gasp as the cold, smooth glass was pushed into him. His spine arched, a long whine escaping before Gokudera snapped, "Relax, stupid!" and pushed him roughly back to the mattress.

This time, Ken couldn't even muster a snarl, simply cringing back and forcing himself to breathe. Gokudera waited for the shudders to subside, his breath to even.

"That's better. Stay still. Breathe. And don't be such a prissy bitch about it."

A tiny flicker of anger showed through but then Gokudera was pressing deeper into him and instead he was gasping, thighs parting. Ken pressed his hands over his face, muffling the long whine as he was filled. He managed to stay still, though he trembled all over.

"Go on," Mukuro hummed, patting Yamamoto's backside, urging him back toward the bed. "He'll fret himself to pieces. Such a delicate puppy."

Yamamoto chuckled but sank back down onto the bed, drawing Ken's head into his lap, peering down at him with a smile far more gentle than Gokudera (or Mukuro for that matter) would ever offer. "Take it easy," he coaxed, reaching to brush Ken's hair from his sweaty forehead. "You're lucky you know-- this is much smaller than Gokudera would be."

Through his fever, Ken stared up at him for a moment, uncertain. But with a simple brush of Yamamoto's hand, he melted into his touch gratefully. He nuzzled a flushed cheek into Yamamoto's palm, apologetic, needy, thankful. His breath shuddered as Gokudera pushed deeper, pulled back, every ridge making him tremble the more he relaxed. "It just--"

"I know, I know," Yamamoto soothed with a chuckle, fingers stroking through unusually clean, blond hair. "But the more you relax, the better it'll feel."

Their patience was paying off, Ken's whimpers turning from pathetic and fearful to confused and wanting. A squirm and he was suddenly writhing away and though Gokudera started to scold him, grabbing for his ankles, Ken managed to turn over. A sound like a sob fell from his lips, the glass still deep inside him as he presented himself to Gokudera on his knees. He pressed his cheek to Yamamoto's thigh, nudging his hand with his nose for more attention.

"There you go," Yamamoto soothed, fingers brushing Ken's cheek, feeling out his scar. "Just lean into it. Gokudera knows what he's doing."

And so he did, though he still smirked over the rise of Ken's hips, catching Yamamoto's eye with a hint of mischief there that told the dark-haired man that Ken's treatment of him would not go completely unpunished. He worked Ken slowly, pointedly, not exactly rough, but rather, unrelenting, never quite giving him a moment to catch his breath.

“I think he likes it," Yamamoto commented casually, smiling at Gokudera as his fingertips circled Ken's ear, chasing the flush of pink across his skin. "He'll be a pro at this in no time."

"He'd better be," Mukuro hummed.

Gokudera snickered, skillfully searching, angling until Ken cried out, clinging to Yamamoto as his hips jerked. He slid closer, boldly but submissively, nuzzling into Yamamoto's stomach with a long moan. "S... s'good," he groaned. "Nn-- ah--" Ken's breath was hot in Yamamoto’s shirt as he started to rock with Gokudera's movement, moans spilling over though his now-flushed cock remained untouched.

"I think he wants something else," Gokudera smirked, giving the glass a little twist, then slicking it up again with another pour of oil, never letting it completely leave Ken's body. "Look at him, he's practically begging for it."

Yamamoto raised a curious brow and Mukuro laughed. By then, Ken was beyond humiliation, breathing Yamamoto's scent, panting. A moan hummed against the point of Yamamoto’s hip, Ken nuzzling there with hungry affection, hopeful eyes aimed up at his 'mentor'.

Yamamoto blinked, as though honestly surprised by the turn of events. "It isn't often I have the company of a man so eager to offer me so much attention." His hand was in Ken's hair then, nails grazing, subtly encouraging.

Gokudera scoffed audibly. "Shut up. Everyone wants to suck your cock. Don't act so surprised."

"Don't be jealous, Gokudera," Yamamoto teased in reply even as Ken eagerly nuzzled at his soft cock with his permission. Ken’s whimpers were growing hungrier, the curve of his spine wanton as he rocked back onto the toy. "You'll get your turn later."

"I wouldn't suck you off if you paid me," Gokudera prickled with denial.

Yamamoto laughed again, still petting Ken’s hair. "Go ahead then," he urged.

Ken was too distracted with Gokudera working that new pleasure into him to focus on the whores’ banter. However, when he got the invitation from Yamamoto, his eyes lit up over his flushed cheeks. He glanced at Mukuro for the permissive nod -- and then Ken met Yamamoto’s eyes just once more before his tongue found that silky skin with long, exploring strokes. It muffled his whines as Gokudera started to thrust in earnest, working him faster.

Yamamoto smiled patiently, touching Ken's face, his jaw, directing him with subtle motions. He wasn't very experienced, it was clear, but his enthusiasm made up for it, his desire to please. "Good," Yamamoto praised him, rubbing at a pink ear.

Gokudera responded to this by burying the toy particularly deep.

By that time, Yamamoto was filling his mouth and the keening sound Ken made vibrated down his cock. Ken panted through his nose, thoroughly undone with no remaining trace of anxiety or hesitation. Sounds flowed freely from him, as muffled as they were. Urgent, begging moans rattled in his throat, his nails clutching at Yamamoto’s thighs. His brow was knit with concentration and abandon, doing his best not to choke or let his teeth rake. Finally he had to stop for a breath, giving a wet, broken cry.

He rubbed his cheek lewdly against Yamamoto’s spit-wet cock, Ken’s face and chest red. He’d utterly given in to Gokudera’s abuse, unable to choke back a few cries that rubbed his wet lips against Yamamoto’s length. “Master!” Ken called out, trembling with the ceaseless sensation Gokudera was working into him. His voice was broken, shamelessly begging. “Master Mukuro-- can I-- can I touch myself?”

Mukuro’s answer felt painfully late in coming, though it was only a second or two before he chuckled, amused by the desperate question. “I believe that should be left up to your trainers. Has my dog been obedient enough to deserve a treat?”

Gokudera smirked, met Yamamoto’s eyes. “I think he’s been kind of a shitty student, so I vote no. But you’re the one he bit, so you should decide when to reward him.”

Even with Ken’s bite bruising under a bandage, Yamamoto had sympathetic looks for worked-up blonde clinging to his waist. With the decision placed on the tall Japanese man, Ken’s flushed face looked up at him imploringly and his plea came in a long, wet lick from Yamamoto’s base to his tip. Yamamoto gave a laugh, a shudder raking up his spine with the sensation.

“Well…” Yamamoto hummed, generously running his fingers through Ken’s messy hair. The tawny young man leaned into the attention, awash with aroused adoration of Yamamoto. (Nevermind that it was actually Gokudera’s skilled efforts that had reduced Ken to a writhing slut, practically begging to be fucked from both ends.) “I think Ken here has learned an important lesson. But I wouldn’t want us to rush his training. There’s lots to enjoy… Ken, why don’t you touch yourself a little… but just your nipples.”

Yamamoto grinned down at him as though he were suggesting a game and Ken looked back, disappointed and confused. But he nodded obediently and took one hand from Yamamoto’s thigh to touch his own chest, startled by how hard and sensitive his nipples were. The teasing he gave himself did worse than nothing to alleviate the stablehand’s agitated state. Ken gave loud whines and moans, body bent to take Gokudera’s abuse, frame shaking each time he was filled again and again. Eyes barely seeing, what little focus Ken had left went to sucking and lathing at Yamamoto’s sac and the base of his shaft.

His nipples were soon pink and aching from his pinching which made his body shudder that much more. “It’s too much!” Ken cried out against Yamamoto’s wet skin.

“Hold out just a little longer,” Yamamoto encouraged, smiling over the tortured, panting customer between himself and Gokudera.

“Yeah, you’re going to have to learn more self control than this if you want to please that pervert with the long hair who you’re so wet for,” Gokudera added, casting a grin at Mukuro.

Yamamoto gave a good-natured laugh that more or less reinforced the sentiment and Ken gave a long, frustrated whine. Even so, the reminder of his goal made Ken shiver back into attention, thinking on the fact that this training was so that Mukuro would be able to fuck him as long and as hard as he pleased. It was enough to renew his determination and Ken left off on his self-serving touches to instead focus wholly on pleasuring Yamamoto and enduring with vigor anything Gokudera could unleash on him.

Feeling the change in Ken’s body language, Gokudera smirked and slowed their pace, leaving the glass phallus inside for a moment while he shifted and resettled, getting more comfortable before gripping at the base of the toy once more. He gave it a little twist then and pulled it back slow and steady, almost entirely out of Ken’s body, before pressing it back in, deep and angled to graze that spot that made Ken’s sight go white, made saliva drip unbidden from his parted lips.

By now, Ken was quite a lurid image spread out between the two men. His fingers were fisted in the sheets his torso sagged against, ass lifted high to invite Gokudera’s worst treatment, now able to rock back fearlessly onto the invasion. He was noisy and his sounds base, guttural moans stifled by a full mouth. His focus renewed, Ken did his very best to give plenty of attention to Yamamoto. Even if he was not all that skilled yet, it was undeniably pleasing to watch him shamelessly and messily worship Yamamoto’s cock. The rougher Gokudera was with him, the more desperate his sucking and licking became. Ken’s whole frame shivered each time Gokudera plunged the toy deep and he cried out whether his mouth was empty or full but he would not be distracted from his task.

“Takeshi,” Mukuro hummed from his nearby chair, meeting Yamamoto’s hooded eyes with a casually commanding air. “Come over here and show my dog what I may one day let him do.” He gestured to his lap, and the sizable bulge beneath the fine fabric of his expensive slacks. “Give him some extra motivation.”

Ken’s efforts were getting to him and when Yamamoto had to turn his attention to Mukuro, it made a full body shudder rip through him. But per request, he eased Ken’s mouth from him and gave a final pet on the head. “Be good, ok?” Ken watched with wide eyes as Yamamoto crossed the room and sank to his knees before Mukuro.

“M… master…” Ken protested weakly but Gokudera’s skilled work had fucked the ability for coherent conversation right out of him. So he watched helplessly as Yamamoto began to handle Mukuro’s hard cock.

Though Mukuro had only employed Yamamoto’s company a handful of times,Yamamoto acted quite familiar with him, though with the respect that Mukuro’s social standing demanded. Yamamoto was far less perturbed by Mukuro than any of the other house members, Hibari included. Whether it was because he was oblivious or reckless, Yamamoto’s sly flirtations extended even to the terrifyingly unpredictable dandy.

Thus, Yamamoto didn’t hesitate or grumble when he settled between Mukuro’s thighs and in fact aimed a coy little smile up at him. Yamamoto’s hands slid up his legs, appreciating the luscious feel of obscenely expensive suitweight over toned flesh. Mukuro’s waistcoat had been left at the door but his vest remained and Yamamoto helpfully opened it, but didn’t seek to divest him of clothes any further. It was easy enough to release Mukuro through the front of his slacks, giving a long stroke that he made sure Gokudera and Ken could see.

“Glad to see you’re enjoying our services,” Yamamoto teased, smiling fearlessly up at Mukuro while he let his lips brush along the man’s neglected shaft. He didn’t waste time with further banter. He sensed that Mukuro was interested in being done with the task, so put his expert skills to work and took Mukuro into his mouth with a pleased sigh.

“Mm hm,” Mukuro hummed his brief agreement, one hand resting in Yamamoto’s hair, fingertips carding through the strands, grazing his ear, encouraging and approving in a way he’d never yet offered Ken. “I was right to buy your expertise for this training,” he spoke, words a low rumble, eyes turned down on Yamamoto, not even bothering to lift up to take in the ongoing scene on the bed. “Your mouth is the best here.”

Yamamoto smiled but took his time in tasting Mukuro, tongue working over just the right places to bring the tangy flavor of his desire. “How very flattering,” he purred back, easily won over with compliments even by dangerous individuals. He kissed at Mukuro’s palm once and then set to work in earnest, ready to bring the dandy to an impressive climax whether he watched Ken being fucked or simply enjoyed the view of Yamamoto sucking him off.

On the bed, Ken was making very frustrated noises. He was bristling and biting at the pillow that Yamamoto had been sitting on. Watching Yamamoto lick at his master’s cock made Ken prickle with anger over every inch of skin but it also drove him out of his mind with arousal. Growling angrily, he jerked back against Gokudera’s torture, his body exhausted and cock painfully aching with neglect.

“Ugh, you’re pathetic,” Gokudera groused, then shoved Ken onto his side, rolling him onto his back, to give his shaky limbs a break, and hurry along the climax of the evening. It wasn’t as interesting with Yamamoto’s attention turned fully to Mukuro now, and Gokudera felt motivated to finish Ken off quickly. “You’ll have to learn how to come quickly and when your boss demands it,” he spoke, slicking the shaft of the toy with oil once more, preparing for a hard, fast, finish. He glanced over to Mukuro for his approval, and waited for the nod before reaching for Ken’s stiff dick to give it a good, hard tug, then drop it back against his belly with a wet slap. “This time you can touch yourself. But eventually, you’ll have to learn to come without being touched there.”

Ken gave a yelp and grabbed indignantly for his manhandled dick with an angry look for Gokudera. But when the silver haired whore stared him down, his glare dark and dominating and ready to beat him down, it made Ken balk with unexpected, wide-eyed lust. “I /will/,” he insisted but the edge of anger in his voice had dulled. With his legs spread invitingly wide, Ken rocked impatiently onto the slick glass and gave a long whine. “Come on…” With permission given, Ken gripped his shaft and gave himself a long, slow stroke and his chin tilted to the ceiling with a groan of denied relief.

Gokudera gripped the phallus again, but paused before resuming his attentions, instead leaning over Ken, free hand pressed against Ken’s chest holding him still, in place. “Do not think just because I’m not your master that you can order me around,” he growled. “We go at the pace -I- choose.” Only after this did Gokudera begin to move again, filling Ken’s body, massaging the sensitive spot inside him with steady and increasingly relentless attention.

With Gokudera’s strength flattening him, the breath drained from Ken’s lungs, thoroughly pinned to the mattress. Goosebumps prickling up on his skin, he stared into Gokudera’s frightening face while he absorbed the scathing orders. When the glass inside him finally moved again, he sucked in a deep gasp that strained against the smoke-stained fingers that still held him down and Ken gave a long groan, eyes snapping shut. He grit his teeth and took up his cock again to stroke but, obediently, no faster than Gokudera’s own motions indicated.

Within moments, Ken was quivering under his ‘tutor’ and the expert attention being paid. His face was red and he bit at his lips to try to keep his voice under control but ultimately he couldn’t stop the loud moans that rumbled from his chest. “Feels… so good…” He was quickly falling apart, his aching cock dripping over his fingers to make his own tight grip deliciously slick.

Nearby, Mukuro watched with practiced disinterest, one hand still resting in Yamamoto’s hair, petting idly, while the dark-haired man attended to the erection which Mukuro almost seemed not to care about. In fact, it wouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone in the room if Mukuro had called Yamamoto over solely for the purpose of frustrating Ken.

“We’ll be leaving in ten minutes,” Mukuro finally spoke, tone relaxed, posture softer than usual. “Wrap things up and prepare to return to the estate, Ken.”

At the sound of Mukuro’s voice, Ken’s head fell to the side, staring at the movement of Yamamoto’s head as he vigorously sucked at the dandy’s cock. Finally he gave a nod and said breathlessly, “Yes, Master…” He watched a moment longer, entranced and infuriated by the way Mukuro ran his fingers through Yamamoto’s short hair. But then Gokudera got his attention by grinding the toy deep in him and Ken cried out, back arching. He began stroking hard, with intent, but the sensation was almost secondary to the raging pleasure that Gokudera worked through him in powerful waves. Ken’s head fell back helplessly, voice rising to the beat of Gokudera’s control.

“Good,” Gokudera huffed, sounding almost as though he were praising Ken until he continued. “I was getting bored. You almost done over there?” He called over to Yamamoto, idly pinching at Ken’s nipple, his other hand skilled and quick, relentless in his attention.

Yamamoto paused enough for a breath and a laugh, glancing over his shoulder at the bed where Gokudera worked. “I think we’re just about finished,” he replied and gave a playful wink to Mukuro before going back in for the final stretch.

Under Gokudera, Ken whimpered when his nipples were teased, overwhelmed by sensation. He’d utterly given in, hips rocking with Gokudera’s grinding thrust. He shivered from his feet to his ears, his legs lifted and toes curling at the air. With the permission (and in fact, order) to finish, Ken pumped himself hard and increasingly fast. “Nn...nnn… ahh…!” He squirmed, shameless, but didn’t impede Gokudera’s work, in fact desperate for the attention.

Finally, with a loud cry, Ken spurted over his stomach and chest and continued to howl as Gokudera worked him mercilessly through his climax. Ken’s own hand jerked mindlessly, brutally yanking his cock while his other hand clawed at the sheets.

Back in the chair, Yamamoto’s only warning was a slight tightening of the fingers in his hair, and then Mukuro filled his mouth, holding him in place long enough that Yamamoto had no choice but to swallow. He did so easily and without hesitation, offering a long moan as he took Mukuro’s climax. The older man made no sound beyond a quiet huff of breath, and a sigh when his fingers relaxed and he eased back in his seat, indulging in a brief moment of afterglow.

“I chose the right teacher,” he purred, when Yamamoto sat upright, wiped his lips with the back of his hand, smiling indulgently up at Mukuro. “I expect Ken to learn this,” he clarified, already tucking himself away again. “Though I don’t expect him to ever achieve your level of skill.”

“That’s very kind of you,” Yamamoto said with a chuckle, lifting himself to his feet where he gave Mukuro’s knuckles a kiss and excused himself. “I’ll do my best to educate him.”

On the bed, Ken was a panting, sweaty mess. He lay limp on his back, trying to catch his breath and watched Yamamoto come over to pick up his shirt. He gave a startling scruff at Ken’s hair before putting it on.

“I think Ken did pretty well for his first time!” Yamamoto praised with cheer. He handed Ken a towel and the ranch hand looked up at him gratefully before shakily cleaning himself off.

“I’ve had worse first-timers,” Gokudera allowed, the closest thing to a compliment Ken would likely ever get from him. He held up the glass phallus with an expression of distaste and folded it up in a second towel offered by Yamamoto. It wasn’t his job to clean the toys afterward.

As Ken struggled to tidy himself up, Mukuro stood, re-tied his hair, and smoothed the front of his re-buttoned vest, looking as sharp as he had when he first entered the room.

“Three minutes,” he said, deceptively casual. “Have a glass of water before we leave. You’re likely dehydrated.”

Ken nodded numbly, still a little shaky when he sat up to sit on the edge of the bed. Yamamoto fetched him a glass of water and Ken beamed at him before downing it in one long swallow. Then he went about finding where his clothes had been discarded and was soon snapping his suspenders into place.

“Would you like to schedule another training session, Mister Mukuro?” Yamamoto wondered, lounging, naked, at the foot of the bed. He was either oblivious to or ignored the irritated glare that Gokudera shot him while he lit a cigarette.

“Not today,” Mukuro answered, a small shake of his head. “I’ll bring him back again when I feel he’s earned it.”

“We’ll need a day’s notice to make sure we’re both free at the same time,” Gokudera pointed out. “Unless you only need this guy next time,” he gestured at Yamamoto with a careless thumb, trying not to sound hopeful.

“Whatever you see fit,” Yamamoto laughed.

Ken’s cheeks were still pink when he stood before his master, fully clothed, though the state of his hair hinted at his recent activities. He aimed an adoring, fanged grin up at Mukuro, no longer engaged with the other men in the room. “I’ll train as much as I have to, Master,” he promised passionately.

“I know you will,” Mukuro replied, the words, and their implied approval, as much a reward as anything Ken had experienced that evening. He lay a hand on Ken’s shoulder and steered him toward the door.

“Byyyyye,” Yamamoto called as they took their leave and Gokudera’s door clicked shut. He propped his cheek in a palm, grinning up at his companion who was working on a well-deserved smoke at the head of the bed. “Well, that was fun, wasn’t it?”

“That was insufferably annoying,” Gokudera corrected. “But at least it was something different.” He shrugged, settled himself comfortably on the disheveled bedding, took a long drag, and offered the cigarette to Yamamoto.

With a laugh, Yamamoto moved to join Gokudera at the head of the bed, stretching out on his side beside his friend. “I find our home quite interesting and unexpected.” He didn’t often indulge in tobacco but accepted the generous offer and smiled at Gokudera with trails of smoke spilling from his lips. He only took a single drag and returned the cigarette to Gokudera’s mouth, then settled with his head on the Italian man’s shoulder.

Yamamoto had been stripped down to an open shirt, but Gokudera still had trousers on and his shirt was open as well. Yamamoto’s arm settled on Gokudera’s pale chest and idly let his calloused fingers play along Gokudera’s collar bones.”Wanna fool around a little?”

Gokudera gave a knowing little snort. “You got left high and dry, hm?” he teased. He gave his thumb an idle lick before taking the last drag from his cigarette and stubbing it out in the glass ashtray on his side table. “Always a risk with that pineapple headed pervert.”

“It is a hazard of the job,” Yamamoto agreed with a sigh but his expression was no less cheerful and relaxed. He could have pointed out that Ken had sucked both their cocks and been interrupted, but he suspected Gokudera would deny feeling anything at all.

Snuggling closer, Yamamoto continued, “But the best part of the day is unwinding after work, right?” Without further permission, a hand on Gokudera’s jaw drew him close, pulling him down to the mattress. He reached for the harsh tobacco flavor of Gokudera’s mouth with a passion and hunger that had nothing to do with their recent professional activities.

Gokudera bristled instinctively, but no more than a beat later, the tension fled from his shoulders and he sank into the kiss with something he wouldn’t admit was relief. When he came up for breath, he didn’t pull back far, doing his best to hide his grin. “Let’s clock out,” he agreed, and rolled onto his back, pulling the other man along with him.

Chapter Text

Dino’s heart was in his throat when he approached the Rose on this very special night: his first /scheduled/ appointment with Hibari. Their initial evening together had been a week ago now -- an evening that had occupied Dino’s thoughts for the week since. It had gone better than he could have hoped, especially with the awkward addition of Squalo to his visit. Hibari had even let him lounge in his bed for a while, entertaining Dino’s flirtatious compliments and questions to a point. That is, until he grew irritated by how playful and familiar Dino was and shoved the marshal out of his bed and ordered him to dress himself.

But not before Dino had secured an appointment for another evening of Hibari’s company. And though Hibari had scowled at him while he herded Dino from his room, he allowed Dino to steal one last, brief, delicious kiss before he was shoved out the door.

The remainder of his night was spent waiting for Squalo to finish his own evening and Dino fell asleep on one of the Rose’s many comfortable sofas. He awoke to Squalo’s thrashing of him but the deputy was in better spirits and his hair looked stunning. Since then they’d only shared a few words about the experience, Squalo making it clear he’d be happy to forget it’d ever happened. Around the station, Dino completed the tasks he’d promised with a cheerful whistle and an irritating smile.

And now he was en route to spend an evening with Hibari alone. He was a little worried about his ability to maintain his composure but for the most part was feeling that his growing affection for Hibari would allow him the ability to stay on his feet.

He gave himself enough time to stop by the saloon and inquire to Tsuna’s well-being, rather than bolting up the stairs. Yamamoto teased him for showing up in his government outfit again but with Hibari’s hint that he was partial to the look, Dino had no shame in taking advantage of his profession for this instance. When a polite number of words had been exchanged, Dino excused himself with a tip of his hat and a bright smile.

With his pulse thundering in anticipation, Dino knocked lightly on Hibari’s door. When it opened, Hibari stood in the doorway and, with an innately critical air, looked Dino over with darting eyes. His lips twitched as though he were considering whether to allow the marshal to enter.

Though he was dressed more casually than Dino had seen him before, the slender Japanese man was still a vision in a simple black robe that ended an inch above his knee.

“Good evening,” Dino said in his most polite voice while taking the hat from his head. He placed it against his chest and bowed his head.

Hibari’s expression made it plainly clear that he was unimpressed with American courtship rituals. Nonetheless he answered, “Good evening, marshal.”

Instead of inviting Dino in, Hibari stepped into the pair of wooden sandals waiting beside his door for the instances that he deigned to leave his room. He joined Dino in the hall, saying, “I took the liberty of planning the details of our evening. I’m sure you won’t mind. I have a hot bath prepared.”

“Of course I don’t mind,” Dino said, unable to quell the grin that he felt plastered to his face. “A bath sounds great… I hope that you’ll be joining me…?”

“If you clean up well enough to share bath water,” Hibari replied agreeably. He took Dino by the elbow to lead him down the hall to the bathing room.

The southwestern town of Wavewood was southerly enough and at a low enough elevation that it didn’t experience significant seasonal shifts. But consistently, no matter the time of year, the desert nights bordered on uncomfortably cold and dry. It was November, plenty past sunset so it didn’t get much colder than this in their neck of the woods, making a hot bath a particularly pleasant prospect.

He wasn’t expecting the wet, steamy heat that rolled out of the bathing room when Hibari opened the door. The room was almost too hot for comfort, the air thick with moisture. Dino fanned his face with his hat and gave a laugh. “Hot as a Florida afternoon in here,” he said, trying to sound impressed.

Hibari waved him over to the pegs and shelves that waited for Dino’s clothes. “Undress. Then you’ll thoroughly wash before you may enter the tub.”

Dino had quite thoroughly washed before making his way to the Rose, not about to risk ruining his chances with Hibari via undesirable odors. But he had no problem re-enforcing his dedication and undressed without hesitation. Hibari sank into a chair beside the steaming copper bath tub and picked up a book and a hot cup of tea that were waiting for him.

The bathing room was small and simple, with terracotta tiled floor and not much more space than was required for the big bath tub and the modest stove in the corner. A healthy little flame flickered in the stove and a pot atop it steamed. At the end of the tub a small basin also steamed, set beside a stack of small, clean towels.

Thoroughly naked, Dino set to the task of making himself as clean as physically possible. With his clothes shed, the heat of the room was much more pleasant, already relaxing his muscles in an unexpected way. The hot water he used to wipe himself down continued to coax the sensation.

“Don’t mistake my intent. The invitation to bathe isn’t a critique of your hygiene.” It was practically a compliment coming from Hibari.

“It’s fine if you just feel like taking a bath, Kyoya,” Dino replied with a playful, knowing smile.

Hibari looked at him with an ever-inscrutable expression but Dino thought he might detect the tiniest hint of something that resembled a smirk. Then he looked back to his book.

Dino’s skin was pink from scrubbing when Hibari gave him a wave to indicate that he was allowed to enter the tub. The bath was scorching, hotter than any bath that Dino had experienced and at first he winced. Hibari watched with amusement as the marshal slowly lowered himself into the water. Dino hissed softly as he settled and adjusted to the intense heat that made his skin prickle painfully. But after a few breaths it grew more comfortable. Hibari set his book aside and instructed Dino to wet his hair.

He was starting to melt into the heat of the tub when Hibari moved his chair to the head end of the tub and guided Dino into resting his neck against its rim. A bucket caught the drips of water from his blond hair hanging back. The shampoo that Hibari used on him was scented with lavender and foamed a bit when he started working it in.

“Oh Kyouya… that’s wonderful…” Dino moaned, eyes closed.

Hibari made a smug sound of acknowledgement. Dino leaned back into the press of those skilled fingers, groaning under his breath as Hibari washed his hair-- such a simple act, but Dino couldn't remember the last time getting clean had felt so good. Gripping the sides of the metal tub, Dino made no secret of how exquisite the attention was.

Silently, Hibari scrubbed at Dino's hair, massaging his scalp and taking his time. Rubbing behind his ears and at his temples with a firm, skilled pressure. Finally he tilted Dino's head back and used a pitcher to let more warm water spill through his hair.

Dino hummed audibly, determined to enjoy every moment of the experience. "When will you get in here with me?" he wondered, cracking open a single eye to catch Hibari's gaze.

"When you're clean," Hibari replied easily, fingers running through Dino's wet hair. "Which I believe is now. First, though..."

He dried his hands and went to the stove and the steaming pot. Dino couldn’t see what he was doing, but when Hibari returned, he brought a pair of tiny ceramic cups and a small carafe that he held with a towel. He set the cups on the slim table beside the bath and filled them with a lightly steaming, translucent liquid.

Hibari perched on the edge of the tub and offered one cup to Dino while sipping from his own. "You may enjoy this."

Dino blinked and sat up straighter, taking the small cup in hand and sniffing at its contents. The alcohol was fragrant, and Dino raised a brow before sipping, exhaling as the warm liquor slid down his throat, just enough of a bite to tell him it was working. "Sake?" he wondered, curiously. Though his knowledge of Japanese culture was larger than most, he couldn't say as he'd ever partaken of their alcohol.

"Mmhmm," Hibari replied with a pleased sigh. "Most Americans can't seem to handle it. We'll consider this an experiment. Shall I join you now?" He tugged lightly at the tie around his waist.

Dino set aside the cup on a nearby stool and nodded, only a little eagerly, eyes first on Hibari's hands as he loosened the knot and then on his face as the Japanese man turned that now-familiar smug look upon him. "Please, do," Dino hummed. sitting up a little straighter in lazy, but genuine anticipation.

Placing his yukata on a hook, Hibari gingerly stepped into the tub, letting out a long slow breath as he sank down into the hot water. He slid into place at Dino's side, halfway in the marshal's lap and reached for his sake cup again. "I suppose this is a great improvement from a campfire on a cold range for an evening."

"As much as I enjoy a pot of beans and bacon, yes," Dino agreed, hands coming to circle Hibari's waist under the warm water. "This is most definitely better."

Hibari chuckled and poured another drink for both of them before he curled in against Dino's body, winding an arm behind his waist beneath the water. "You're more... interesting than most men I've met since I came to the Americas," he remarked offhandedly, shrugging under the other man's arm until it was around his shoulder to his liking.

Dino's chest warmed with the words -and the sake- and he smiled, despite himself. "I will endeavour to live up to your expectations of me," he promised, sipped at his drink, and leaned close enough to place a kiss on Hibari's bare shoulder.

"I'm still curious as to how someone so mild mannered ends up in the company of the vile lawkeepers of this town." The smaller man's frame melted against his, obviously more interested in soaking than in immediately raising funds.

"I'm very good at winning fights," Dino answered simply, kissed at his shoulder again before resting his cheek against the smooth skin. "I'm quite skilled with both a firearm and a whip." His hands, beneath the water, had begun to move, smoothing up the small of Hibari's back, encouraging the closeness of bodies.

Hibari finally set aside his cup. Hands free, one came to rest on Dino's stomach, fingers lightly stroking beneath the water. His cheeks were flushed with hot bath water and alcohol but it somehow didn't prevent his smirk from being distinctly dark. "Perhaps I'll have a chance to best you outside of the brothel some time."

Dino grinned. "I knew this couldn't be the only thing you were good at. You have a fighter's hands." And yet he lifted said hand from the water, brought it to his lips to kiss the flushed knuckles. "I hope we do get a chance to spar elsewhere."

Hibari chuckled quietly. "It comes in handy with customers reluctant to pay their bills." But he watched, pleased as Dino's lips ghosted across his fingers. "It's rather difficult to picture a simpering herbivore such as yourself wielding a whip. But you did surprise me with your other... prowess."

"Now you're just flattering me," Dino protested, turned Hibari's hand over to kiss his palm. "Not that I mind the attention," he admitted, a teasing glint in his eye. "Maybe I'll show you what I can do with a whip if we have the time later this week. For that matter, I'm a fair hand with a rope as well."

"We'll see," Hibari replied noncommittally. "I try not to make it a habit, wrangling dirty beasts. Present company excluded, of course."

"Has anyone ever told you how charming you are, Kyouya?" Dino hummed, eyes laughing as he drew Hibari's arm closer to kiss at the crook of his elbow, lazily, slowly working his way up the man's arm.

"Watch it," Hibari warned, giving a sharp pinch to Dino's nipple. "You only met me a week ago. Don't be so familiar."

Dino flinched but laughed a little, lazily, relaxed. "How long do I have to know you before I can become familiar enough to call out your name?" Dino asked, draping Hibari's arm over his shoulder and thumbing at his jaw, grazing his lower lip.

Hibari answered with a vague shrug but he sank easily enough against Dino's body, lips parting faintly at his touch. "Hmm... I couldn't tell you. No one ever has."

Dino's thumb continued feeling out Hibari's mouth, grazing across his lips, dipping once against the tip of his tongue. "I like a challenge," he admitted. "And I like you."

Hibari nipped at his finger. "I could tell," he smirked faintly back. He let his cheek settle against damp skin, watching Dino's face with his inscrutable expression. "Tell me about who taught you to kiss like that."

If his skin hadn't already been flushed with the heat of the water, Dino's face would have shown pink at the question. He hemmed, fingers playing at the hair behind Hibari's ear. "He was... older than me. I looked up to him quite a bit, you know. Wanted him to like me. I suppose I annoyed him." Dino laughed a little.

Hibari chuckled at him, damp hair clinging to his cheeks. "You're a sickeningly innocent man to be warming the beds of frontier whores."

"Told you this isn't a habit," Dino corrected. "Yours is the only bed I'd had for a-- an embarrassingly long time." A beat. "And you might not think me so innocent if you knew the things that man taught me."

Hibari's smirk widened. "With any luck, you'll be able to show me your learnings, hm?" With a shift, he slipped through the water, silken as he brushed over Dino to settle atop him. He threaded his fingers and placed his chin on them on the marshal's chest.

"I'm sure there's nothing new I could show you that you haven't seen," Dino admitted, ever humble, staring down at Hibari with that sort of expression that said he was still honestly surprised to find himself here, in this position, with this man.

"Don't be so certain," Hibari replied. He slid his arms lightly around Dino's neck. "You're nothing if not intriguing, marshal."

"After all of Squalo's warnings, I feel as though I should be suspicious of your compliments," Dino grinned. His hands slid under the water then, circling Hibari's waist, rubbing lightly at the small of his back.

"It wasn't necessarily a compliment," Hibari replied calmly. Water movement echoed faintly in the brassy walls of the tub. "Even an insect can be 'intriguing'."

"I do hope I rate slightly higher than an insect," Dino wasn't quite pouting.

"Slightly," Hibari agreed and was nearly grinning as he curled in closer.

"I’m sure I can prove myself more interesting," Dino smiled, leaning up to kiss at Hibari's jaw. "Please tell me I can see you outside your room. I'd like to see you fight..."

"Mm... We'll see. Let me think about it." He turned just the slightest to catch Dino's lips lightly to seal the deal.

Dino responded easily, lips parting, taking Hibari's lazily, but with evident enthusiasm. Under the water, a knee lifted, bringing Hibari closer, holding him there.

Hibari hummed just the faintest, tongue easing past Dino's lips. His frame draped over the larger man was relaxed, melted against him. His arms though slid tighter around his neck, nails raking faintly up as he let a sliver of hunger show itself at his lips.

Dino groaned faintly, arousal beginning to stir beneath Hibari's thigh. His hold tightened, his skin shivered under Hibari's touch and though he'd already had an active evening, his energy had begun to return. "What next?" he hummed, eager to feel Hibari come undone once more.

"You're the customer," Hibari chided, smirking against his lips. "But... since you've just been bathed... perhaps you'd like me to return your misguided favor from our previous engagement."

Dino could feel his cock jump at the suggestion of being in Hibari’s mouth and he was almost embarrassed at how good that sounded to him-- but he didn't want to come across as too eager, too much of a kid. "If.. if you want to -- I mean, if it's okay, I would, um. I'd like that, yeah." He was reluctant to leave the tub, but it was an offer he couldn't say no to.

A brow arched at him, the tiniest hint of a smile just barely twitching Hibari's mouth. He slid away, fingers trailing fleetingly over the length of his forming arousal, and urged Dino to rise. With the marshal standing over him, Hibari settled on his knees in the comfortably heated water and slid his palms up Dino's thighs. "Feel free to brace yourself if you need to." Fingers curled around Dino's length, stroking him to full hardness as his lips ghosted over a damp hip.

"Oh lord," Dino swore, then bit his lip as Hibari kissed teasingly at his skin. He strained against Hibari's touch, waiting, breathlessly, hooded eyes on the kneeling figure, his dark hair, those dark eyes that glanced upward once or twice, meeting his.

His lashes lowered and Hibari’s first breath on his cock sent a shudder up Dino's spine, warmth followed by a soft brush of lips. The kisses that played up his length were slow and languid, letting Dino watch until he reached the tip and Hibari's tongue unexpectedly soothed his ache with a slow swirl around the flushing crown.

Dino didn't hold back his voice, not with Hibari so skillfully drawing it out. He moaned, not loudly, but audibly and ran a hand through Hibari's hair, brushing it back so Dino could see his face, could watch the way his tongue moved, the way his lips parted.

Though he started with tongue, Hibari wasn’t a tease and his attention was deliberate, sucking and licking gracefully at all the right places to make Dino’s cock harder than he realized it could be. Hibari smirked up at him, satisfied with the eager and obedient response of Dino’s body, and rewarded him with a tight stroke of his hand. Then Hibari’s mouth took him in and Dino could barely keep himself from gasping.

Hibari’s mouth had to be as hot as the bath water and took him easily, fearlessly. He didn’t take Dino deep past his own comfort but it hardly mattered with the skill he administered to sucking Dino’s cock. Saliva dripped liberally down his length and Hibari was an obscene vision when he took a moment to slick his palm by stroking Dino’s wet cock a few times. Then his mouth was back and his wet hand was feeling between Dino’s thighs.

He was perfectly at ease, one hand around the base of Dino’s cock, saliva dripping over his fingers, while his other hand fondled Dino’s sac. Then that hand shifted, Hibari’s long fingers exploring further, rubbing at the sensitive stretch between cock and ass.

Dino bowed, clutching at the edges of the tub, legs shivering under the strain of keeping him upright while Hibari serviced him so thoroughly. “Kyouya,” he breathed, laughed a little, self-critical at his own inability to stay stoic in the face of Hibari’s skill. His hips tilted, nudging forward, cockhead sliding along the heat of Hibari’s tongue. “You’re so… good at this...”

Hibari smirked up at him, shameless but nontheless elegant with Dino slipping between his lips. He paused for a lazy breath, pulling back with thick wet strands clinging between his mouth and Dino’s skin. “So I’ve been told.” Unhurried, he gave a few long, tight strokes, attention focused on the twitch of Dino’s cock and the moisture gathering at his tip.

He wet his other fingers thoroughly and without warning or permission, let them slide between the cheeks of Dino’s ass. At the same time that his tongue licked around his crown to distract, two of Hibari’s slippery fingers rubbed at Dino’s hole for the first time, testing his reaction and fearlessly exploring his anatomy. At first he was fairly gentle, rubbing a few expert rings around his rim to see Dino’s reaction.

A short squeak slipped past Dino’s throat, his fingernails shrieking against the copper of the tub. “O-oh,” he breathed, looked down at Hibari’s cocksure expression, and shivered when he felt one of those fingers move, press against him suggestively. “We-- we could do that,” Dino nodded. “Though I’m not sure I could stay standing.”

Hibari gave a little chuckle, watching the shudder of Dino’s features from between his thighs. “Let’s see what you’re capable of. Alert me if you feel faint.” His words were delivered matter-of-factly and his focus turned to his work and wetting his fingers yet again. Idly, his lips fluttered against Dino’s cock but he was more interested in cruelly testing how much Dino would quiver with a finger teasing just inside him, barely offering anything at all.

When Dino obediently relaxed and let loose a moan with a sweet hint of complaint, Hibari smiled against his cock in a most dangerous way. A single finger slid into Dino, slow and deliberate and squishingly wet until his last knuckle was rubbing tight against Dino’s asshole. Hibari started by fucking him slow and deep with that single finger, brushing expertly at places that made Dino’s whole body seize and grip at Hibari. His teasing seemed to end there and when Dino started to squirm and show the ache for more, Hibari pushed two slippery fingers deep into him.

Until then Hibari’s mouth had been offering only soothing touches but now he seemed to settle in, the situation apparently to his liking. He watched Dino’s face as he slowly sucked his way, base to tip, over the thick vein along the bottom of Dino’s cock. The two fingers inside him found a slow rhythm, deep and grinding, with breathtaking precision.

Dino bit off a quiet curse, tongue between his teeth as Hibari worked him open skillfully and relentlessly. He bowed his head, but didn’t lose his footing, still gripping the sides of the tub, panting at the sight of Hibari swallowing him down. “I’ll finish too quickly,” he gasped, face hot, pulse throbbing fast and off-rhythm with Hibari’s attentions.

“Mm,” Hibari disagreed with a slight shake of head that rubbed his wet lips against Dino’s slit. “Don’t worry.” His words were dismissive, as though Dino’s input on what took place during their time together meant very little. Then he lowered his gaze to ignore the marshal and wholly focus on his work.

He sucked at Dino slowly, moving up and down his shaft at a pace that was excruciating. The thrusting of his fingers was similarly so, pushing into him slowly, grinding and twisting deep. As much as he was able to use his skill to stimulate all the right places, he was also able to avoid them. The pleasure that washed over Dino in surges was powerful but was never quite enough to mount, to push him toward orgasm. Instead it just swept through him again and again, leaving him panting and sweating and unsure of how much time had passed.

“Kyouya,” he breathed, some minutes later, a bead of sweat slipping down his jaw to drip from his chin. “I can’t take it....” He sounded apologetic, knowing that the admission would no doubt disappoint Hibari, but his legs felt weak, and his body throbbed with the tension of being just on the edge of climax for what felt like hours. His cock was dark and slick with spit and precome, achingly hard, and bobbed against Hibari’s lips when those fingers crooked teasingly inside him. “Please, let me come…”

If Hibari was displeased with Dino’s breaking point, he didn’t say so. In fact he groaned quietly, his voice vibrating down Dino’s cock. Then his movements changed, the angle of his fingers shifting just the slightest and suddenly Dino’s knees wanted to give out. Hibari still worked him at a steady pace, didn’t force him into orgasm immediately, but he gave Dino what he wanted and promised him a good finish. His mouth slicked over him with finality, head bobbing to take him with the rhythm of his thrusting.

He sensed Dino’s orgasm upon him and Hibari growled, a deep but loud sound that rumbled around the dripping cock filling his mouth.

It was that sound, and the faintly demanding scrape of teeth, and the way his fingers teased Dino at a fullness he didn’t often crave (but found himself wishing for now) that finally pushed him past the crumbling point. One hand snapped into Hibari’s hair, raking across his scalp to grip at the back of his head, and Dino cried out once, choked back his voice, and came into Hibari’s mouth, filling his throat with a shiver of relief, climax washing across his skin in waves.

Hibari kept his lips sealed around Dino’s cock through the pulses of his orgasm, both hands working. One stroked hard and fast between Dino’s balls and Hibari’s lips with embarrassing sounds. His fingers stayed deep, letting Dino’s muscles clutch at him, not quite satisfied but driven mad. Hibari rubbed furiously at that place inside him that made Dino’s head spin until it was almost too much, enough to make his muscles hurt and his eyes throb.

It only ended when Hibari carefully removed his fingers and Dino’s whole frame trembled when his climax ebbed. His legs threatened to give up on him but Hibari guided him back to sitting in time that he didn’t fully black out. The water that he sank back into with an awkward slosh was shockingly hot, leaving him feeling raw, breathless and overstimulated.

While he tried to sort himself out, Hibari sat back and picked up a cloth from beside the tub where he deposited Dino’s climax. He then wiped his mouth and poured himself another cup of sake. Calmly and with apparent good cheer, Hibari returned to Dino’s shivering side to rest against him with his drink.

“Are you alright?” he asked, watching Dino’s face while he sipped his alcohol.

Dino laughed a little, breathless as he sank deeper, until the water lapped at his chin. “I’m… good. I’m good,” he decided, reaching out of the water to lay a palm on Hibari’s bare shoulder. “Will you pour me another?” he asked, nodding at the cup in Hibari’s hand. “Please?”

With an affirmative hum, Hibari shifted to pour another drink and set aside his own empty cup. Then he settled against Dino’s broad, overheated chest that still heaved lightly. He seemed quite peaceful, brow against Dino’s clavicle while the marshal sipped at his drink. Idly, he let a set of fingertips touch the surface of the still-steaming bath, just barely enough to break the surface tension of the water so it clung to his skin.

Dino emptied his cup after the second sip, sighing with satisfaction at the delicious burn left in his throat. He watched Hibari’s movements, transfixed by the image of Hibari’s delicate fingers stirring the surface of the water. “What happens next?” he finally wondered, after a long, comfortable moment of quiet. His eyeline drifted downward to the water, and Hibari’s body obscured beneath it, wondering if he was hard, waiting to be touched, or if he’d deny Dino that pleasure tonight.

Hibari chuckled and lifted his head, letting his hand settle under the water, skimming along the muscular surface of Dino’s body. Over his stomach and the points of his hips and his thighs. It was a surprisingly intimate gesture, especially when Dino had already been sated, but Dino sensed more sly possession than sweet affection in his touches.

With a simple shift, Dino could feel and see that Hibari was still mostly hard, his cock settling against Dino’s hip, at the seam with his thigh. Hibari tangled their ankles together and lay back down against Dino’s body, wiggling to find the most comfortable way to fit together in the tub. Thankfully it was quite large, designed with exactly such activities in mind.

“I very much enjoy a hot bath,” Hibari said in a careless tone, ignoring the question. “One of the most tragic losses of leaving /Nippon-koku/ was leaving behind the luxury of nearby /onsen/. Natural hot baths. But I find this a fair substitute considering our desert locale.”

Dino’s already flushed face heated further, his hands moving almost of their own accord to rest in the small of Hibari’s back, encouraging the way their bodies pressed together, the hardness that dug into his hip. “Do they really allow this sort of thing at… ‘onsen’?” he wondered, teasing, though honestly curious.

“Only if you’re at the right onsen,” Hibari said with a little chuckle. His responses to Dino’s touches were slight but noticeable. He pressed tighter at Dino’s side, giving just the slightest grind, toes curling against Dino’s feet. Under the water, Hibari’s arm was settled around the small of Dino’s back. His free hand began tracing the shapes of Dino’s tattoo with his fingertips.

“What about privacy?” Dino wondered, thrilling at the little touches, the way Hibari so subtly rocked his hip into Dino’s, gestures which, coming from Hibari, were hardly expressing a subtle message. “Aren’t Japanese baths full of old men?”

Hibari gave a sound of stifled laughter that was muffled against Dino’s chest. “An onsen worth visiting has private baths,” Hibari explained. “But yes, common onsen entertain old men. But so does this bath.” He turned his eyes up to grin cruelly at his very rude joke.

Dino screwed up his face with distaste, though he kept his hold on Hibari’s hips, not pulling away. “Oh, no. I’m having such a nice time, I don’t want to hear about all the old codgers you’ve slept with. No thanks.”

Hibari’s expression of mean spirited humor melted into disgusted irritation. “I was talking about you, you ass! I don’t fuck old men,” he insisted, bristling at the implication.

“Oh!” Dino answered, perking right up and turning a shit-eating grin on Hibari. “So I’m not an old man! Because we definitely fu--”

Dino’s breath was shoved out of his chest when Hibari punched him directly in the solar plexis without quite enough force to stop his heart. Hibari glared up at him. “Shut up and touch me before my dick gives up on you entirely, you miserable idiot,” he snapped.

“Oof,” Dino said as the wind was knocked from his lungs. His smile was back quick enough though, used to taking harder blows just tripping on the stairs or walking into a doorframe. “Sorry sorry,” he wheezed, hands already travelling down Hibari’s spine to grip both sides of his buttocks, rocking up against Hibari’s weight, grinding back with enthusiasm.

Hibari gave a thoughtful hum against Dino’s throat, letting the marshal’s hands glide over his body. Then he moved, turning over and positioning Dino to his liking until Hibari was mostly in his lap with his back against Dino’s chest. Being on top of Dino left Hibari’s chest, stomach and full cock just above the surface of the water. With his hands on Dino’s wrists, he invited the larger man’s arms around his waist.

Dino allowed the repositioning without comment, happy to be guided to whatever Hibari liked. He circled the man’s waist obediently, looking over his shoulder, and down the length of Hibari’s body to where his dick bobbed from the water, flushed and wet. “You look good,” he breathed into Hibari’s ear, lips moving against it. He liked the look of Kyouya’s hunger. He felt it suited him, though he didn’t add that outloud.

“Mm,” Hibari gave a sound of agreement, finding just the right way to lay against Dino’s frame for the sake of his own luxury. His hands on the back of Dino’s hands guided them over his chest and stomach before setting him free, inviting Dino to explore his body while his own arms went back into the delightfully warm water. His head found a nice place to rest in the curve of Dino’s shoulder and watch the man’s hands, tanned and work-worn, slide over his pale skin.

Dino took his time, lazy in his own afterglow, quietly worshipful of the body stretched out over his. Palms dipped in and back out of the water, tracing the planes of Hibari’s hips and belly and thighs, biding his time, waiting to see what Hibari would ask him for.

Hibari’s body relaxed against him and he didn’t hurry Dino along, seeming content to take their time and enjoy the bath water as much as possible. He gave little sighs that directed Dino’s attention and led the marshal’s touch to Hibari’s nipples. They stiffened under pinching fingers and with his weight atop Dino, it was impossible not to detect the subtle way Hibari’s frame arched and twisted.

Dino drank it in, filed it away for the uncertain future, tickled to be learning how best to make Hibari moan and writhe, determined not to forget a single thing about the evening.

The younger man’s cock reacted readily to the attention, soon full and stiff. His head fell back into the curve of Dino’s neck and he turned to let his softly panting breath wash over Dino’s throat. Hibari choked back a sound and then placed a hand on one of Dino’s. He pushed it lower, guided Dino to wrap his fingers around Hibari’s dick and angled his hips to thrust lightly into the circle of Dino’s hand.

Soon he was stroking Hibari’s cock with purpose, his other hand rubbing at one nipple, harder than he would have done voluntarily, but at Hibari’s urging, had firmed his touch. “I want to see you come like this,” he whispered, kissing Hibari’s ear.

“I will,” Hibari responded, his voice low and not unaffected. His nipples, chest and cheeks were pink, as was the dripping tip of his cock when it was visible in Dino’s slick grip. “It’s good…” He wasn’t directing or ordering with the encouraging words, more like he was soaking in the sensations in the same self-indulgent way he soaked in the heat of the bathwater. “Stay like that…”

The pace he requested wasn’t fast or hard but it was powerful. Hibari’s hips began to rock and meet Dino’s hand with each stroke, his body otherwise limp atop Dino’s. “Hh… ah…” What little sound Hibari made echoed in the tinny space of the tub they shared. “Soon…”

“Mm, good,” Dino urged, obediently keeping the pace and angle Hibari seemed to like best, pressing his nose behind Hibari’s ear, and kissing at the lobe. His free hand lavished the rest of Hibari’s torso with attention, thumb grazing one nipple, then the other, leaving them when Hibari’s breath tightened, trying to draw out the moment just a beat or two longer. “Could watch you like this forever…”

A few words in Japanese tumbled softly from Hibari’s lips, head turning to press his cheek to Dino’s neck, letting him listen to the increasingly quick but quiet breath. With Dino’s arms tucked beneath his own, wrapped around him, Hibari let one of his own arms come to rest on the one Dino was stroking with. His nails dug at Dino’s forearm and though he provided no direction, there was a promise of red crescents in his skin.

His other hand reached back to bury his fingers in Dino’s damp hair, nails digging there as well, pressing Dino’s jaw firmly against his brow. Even spread out and open above Dino’s body, Hibari managed to coil around the other man in a dangerous-feeling manner that made Dino’s spent cock twitch.

Hibari gave a quiet gasp and his nails dug painfully, and then he was coming in lovely splashes over his damp chest and stomach. He was quiet but for heaving breaths and tiny choked sounds but the intensity of his pleasure were quite obvious. As the grip of his orgasm made him tremble, Hibari turned his head and sank his teeth into Dino’s neck, just below his ear. There was a growl that sent chills up Dino’s spine and the bite was hard and long enough that there was little doubt of the bruise and teeth marks that would be left behind. The painful bite continued through the last pulses of his pleasure, Hibari thrusting hard into Dino’s slick hold.

Dino gasped and shivered under Hibari’s teeth, not loosening his grip, letting Hibari ride out his climax, watching, transfixed, the way his chest heaved and his hips rocked, the way a thick bead of cum slid down his pale side and dirtied the bath water. “Fuck,” Dino swore under his breath, head tipping backward to knock against the copper bath. His free arm tightened hard around Hibari, pulling him close, body dipping back under the water. “Incredible,” Dino hummed, fingertips pressing into Hibari’s ribs.

Finally the power of Hibari’s climax faded and he released Dino from those painful points, though his skin still stung with the promise of marks. His hand stayed in Dino’s hair, fingers tangled in it. Hibari’s body sagged against Dino’s, a long, deep sigh gusting from his lips. For a few seconds he lay there, then fumbled blindly, without moving, for the towel within reach. Head still lolling back against Dino’s shoulder, he wiped his stomach clean and tossed the towel aside.

Another long, pleased sigh came from him and he let go of Dino’s hair but showed no interest in moving, though he did lazily splash some still-warm bath water onto his exposed front.

“I may never be able to take a bath again without getting aroused,” Dino chuckled a little, dipping his head to kiss Hibari’s cheek, his hands now resting lightly on Hibari’s waist.

Hibari gave a quiet little snicker, utterly relaxed against Dino’s body. He shifted a little so he dipped a bit more into the water but seemed for the moment to be content in their current position. He said nothing for a long time, eyes closed, cheek against Dino’s skin. Just when Dino thought he might have fallen asleep, he gave a little sigh and moved, nudging Dino to his liking until he was able to sink deeper into the water. Hibari settled into a position similar to the start of their bath, cheek against Dino’s chest and one arm draped across his stomach.

The water was just still barely hot enough for soaking but the air in the room was still warm and wet and Hibari seemed happy to stay right there for a little while longer.

And Dino was perfectly content to follow suit. He was comfortable, and a little lightheaded to think about how lucky he was to not only have been allowed this appointment with Hibari, but that he wasn’t being immediately ushered out of the room now that Hibari had been satisfied. Instead he was given this opportunity to indulge in the afterglow, and he couldn’t help but think it wasn’t something that many of Hibari’s clients were offered. Dino said nothing, just pressed his nose into Hibari’s damp hair, and waited, soaking in the moment for as long as the other man would let it go on.

The minutes stretched long, Hibari’s air content and comfortable, resting against Dino with a hand on his stomach. Finally the water grew tepid and Hibari gave a wistful sigh and sat up to stretch. The air was still warm and moist so it wasn’t too uncomfortable to leave the bath behind. Hibari stepped out of the tub and wrapped himself in a towel, then handed one to Dino. It was maroon colored, exquisitely soft and luxurious.

“You did quite well with my experiment earlier,” Hibari finally spoke, drying off his hair. “Perhaps I’ll plan to explore that more for our next appointment.”

Dino stood, just a little shakily, and accepted the towel gratefully. He began to scrub at his own damp hair, relaxed and blissful, watching Hibari with undisguised appreciation. “Yeah? I mean… y-yeah. It was fun-- good! It was good. I mean.” He laughed at himself, shook his head. “I’d… be happy to try whatever you like. At our next appointment.” He couldn’t stop grinning at the casually referenced promise of ‘next time’.

Hibari turned a smile on him that was genuine but also decidedly terrifying: thin and predatory. “That’s what I like to hear.”

Dino shivered, a thrill speeding down his spine at Hibari’s expression, the words of approval, and the solidified implication of their next meeting. He couldn’t take his eyes off the slender man, skin warm in the candlelight of the room. Dino watched him even while stepping from the water, entranced, not paying quite enough attention to the height of the sides of the tub. With a grunt of surprise, Dino caught his toe on the copper edge, pitching forward too quickly to right himself. The sharp crack of his head making contact with the floor and the sound of something ceramic shattering were the last things he recalled before his vision went dark.

 

 

When Dino slowly came to and his eyes fluttered open, he found they were covered. His senses started to return and he realized there was a cool, wet cloth placed over his eyes and brow. He was on a bed -- then he remembered where he was, what had happened and sucked in a little gasp.

Before he could grab for the towel on his eyes and sit up, a firm hand pressed down on his naked chest and Hibari said, surprisingly patient sounding, “Don’t just jump up or you’re likely to faint again, you ridiculous law man.”

“I-- I broke something, didn’t I,” Dino groaned, but allowed himself to be pressed back to the bed without much protest. His head throbbed from a point above one eye. “I mean, something of yours. I heard it break. Oh Kyouya, I’m so sorry, was it very valuable?” He was frustrated-- he’d been doing so well, and his clumsiness had been less destructive lately.

“No, it’s quite alright,” Hibari replied with shocking disinterest. “It wasn’t anything important, just the sake set. That was a gift from a client I’m not fond of, so I don’t much care. I removed the cost of the set and your fees for this evening from your wallet.”

The cloth was removed from Dino’s face and Hibari looked down at him with nothing more than clinical examination. Dino found himself in Hibari’s room, naked atop the bed where they’d fucked a week ago. Hibari sat on the edge of the bed, dressed in a more concealing robe than what he’d been wearing earlier. He lightly touched the sore spot above Dino’s eye and the marshal winced at the sharp pain.

“You didn’t make yourself bleed but you’ll have quite a bruise. Feel free to tell people I gave it to you.”

Dino chuckled, his embarrassment evident. “That’s far less humiliating than the truth, thank you.” He reached for Hibari’s hand, gave it a small squeeze. “Did you carry me from the bath?” he wondered, suddenly realizing he must have gotten to this bed somehow.

Hibari humored his touch briefly, before placing Dino’s hand on his own chest. “Mm-hm,” he answered without concern and returned the folded cloth to above Dino’s brow. He stood to pour a glass of water and set it on the easily accessed bedside table. “You should rest here for a few minutes. Drink that. Your clothes are by the door when you feel you can stand.”

He crossed the room and stepped into his sandals beside the door. “I’ll return shortly, I must find the little cow and tell him the bathing room needs cleaning.”

Dino’s expression was somewhat star struck when he imagined Hibari carrying his dead weight back to the bedroom. He really was much stronger than he looked. Dino liked that about him. “Thank you,” he found himself repeating, watching Hibari sashay toward the door. “I’ll just rest for a few more minutes,” he promised, eyes fluttering closed while he waited for the headache to ease, enjoying the luxury of Hibari’s bed, and the smell of him on the pillow. “Just wake me up when you get back, Kyouya…”

“Very well,” Hibari responded and the door shut behind him, leaving Dino grinning up at the ceiling in spite of the throbbing of his head.

Chapter Text

With a lovely afternoon settling in and the saloon clean and ready for the evening, Yamamoto considered getting some exercise with his afternoon... Perhaps Ryohei needed some help in the stables or errands needed to be run for Tsuna. But as he lounged at the bar, waiting for his tending shift to end, something perhaps more interesting bumped the saloon doors open.

The straw haired stable hand from Mukuro's plantation paused in the doorway, looking rather nervous. But when he met Yamamoto's eyes across the room, he squared his shoulders and approached the bar. When Ken stood across from him, he seemed to be struggling to put a scowl on his lips. But mostly he appeared chagrined as he set a small, velvet box on the bar before Yamamoto.

"This is for you," he said simply, avoiding Yamamoto's gaze.

Yamamoto perked up considerably, blinking with surprise and delight as he opened the box to find a small wedge of crumbly chocolate, nestled in wax paper. "Chocolate!" he smiled, reaching across the bar to rest a palm on Ken's fingers. He didn't often receive gifts from clients, and it'd be something to show Gokudera later. Maybe he'd even stick around to share it. "What's this for?"

"For... You," Ken repeated, seeming to struggle somewhat with getting the words out. It clearly wasn't the wild boy's forte to have polite conversations with people, let alone genuine ones. He coughed. "For... Helping me." A faint flush hovered along the track of his scar as he stared down at the hand that Yamamoto was so friendly to offer. "And for the biting." He glanced up at the courtesan with raw apology etched on his features.

Yamamoto's expression melted into fondness and he shook his head. "Already forgiven," he promised, closing the box and tucking it away into a pocket. "Just warn me next time!" he added cheerfully, squeezing Ken's hand.

A tentative grin tugged at the corner of Ken's mouth as he sank into a stool at the bar. He glanced down at Yamamoto's touch, uncertain but clearly soothed. "I-- would you let me?" He blurted. "Not bite you! But -- visit you again? Not with that other guy..." He growled vaguely under his breath with distaste. "But... You're nice. And I need practice... And Master Mukuro sent this." Ken dug in his back pocket to produce a fairly battered paper envelope and handed it too Yamamoto. A quick peek inside revealed a startling number of crisp bills.

"Wow!" Yamamoto chirped, thumbing through the stack of bills before closing the envelope and tucking that away too. "Lucky for us, I'm free all evening!" he grinned. "After my shift down here, anyway. Have you eaten yet? Have some dinner here and I'll finish things up and be ready after that! How's that sound?"

Ken's eyes lit up, his posture straightening. "Really?" He wasn't particularly adept at keeping a reign on his expressions and his teeth bared in a grin with the offer. "That's-- yeah, okay. Make it something good! And a drink." He hesitated. "There's enough in there for that, right?"

There was more than enough, so Yamamoto nodded, thinking to himself that Mukuro was kind to send a little extra. "Oh yes," he assured Ken. "We'll get you a good meal! I'll even make sure Bianchi doesn't make it," he winked.

It took a bit of effort not to squirm in his seat, particularly when he was already trying not to beam. It wasn't often that Mukuro took him out and it certainly didn't involve anything so fancy. By the time Yamamoto finished up his tasks, he found his new charge looking practically as satisfied as he might at the end of an evening at the Rose. He was eagerly on his feet when Yamamoto approached, wiping quickly at his mouth with a napkin.

"You're done?" Ken asked and then paused to polish off his drink, as though it might be stolen from him. "We can go upstairs?"

Yamamoto laughed, but not unkindly. He stepped close and tucked a hand in the crook of Ken's elbow, nodding. "I guess your meal was good?" he wondered conversationally, as he guided them to the bottom of the staircase.

"Oh - yeah, it was good," Ken replied, rather flustered by the whole situation without Mukuro to guide him through it and act as his manners. "Thanks. You do a lot of stuff here," he observed. "Cleaning and cooking AND fucking."

Again, Yamamoto laughed out loud, unoffended by Ken's observation. "It's true! I do a lot of things," he agreed. "I should really ask for a raise, don't you think?"

A somewhat shy grin was inspired by Yamamoto's easy candor and cheer. "Seems fair. Mukuro says you're one of the top earners here." He straightened, tucking Yamamoto's grip at his side, steeling his pride. "Only the best for me." Ken watched him from the corner of his eye with intense curiosity. He followed Yamamoto into his room, peering around with fascination. He looked closely at a parchment brushed with ink on the wall, a momento of his family. "Do you live here all the time?"

Yamamoto nodded, grinning as Ken poked around his space. "Do you like it?" he wondered, closing the door behind them and moving to stand behind Ken as he peered in his polished oak wardrobe, wrapping his arms around the blond's waist and resting his chin on a shoulder. "Hayato thinks it's too casual, but I think it's comfortable!"

Ken stiffened sharply, blinking as Yamamoto's arms slid around him, warmth pressed to his back. He felt his cheeks heat in a most confusing manner -- particularly considering the situations he'd already been in with this man. "It's nice. I mean, not nearly as amazing as master Mukuro's mansion," he boasted with a little grin. With a swallow, he let his cheek brush Yamamoto's, clawed fingers trailing lightly over the backs of his hands. "Have you... Has my master visited you before?"

"Yes," Yamamoto offered without hesitation, "He's visited all of us here." He brushed his nose against the back of Ken's neck, kissing at the fuzz of his hairline. "Does it bother you to know that?"

"Nnnn..." Ken considered this uncertainly, turning to let Yamamoto's touch send shivers down his spine. "Yes," he grumbled, "but it means you can help me. If you know what he wants."

"What do YOU want?" Yamamoto asked instead, leaning down into Ken's space, eyes bright and interested.

Ken balked, squirming in Yamamoto's arms until he was caught between the taller man's
body and the dresser. Hesitant amber eyes met Yamamoto's bright ones and he shrugged. His hands came to Yamamoto's arms, giving a testing squeeze at the taut muscles. "I dunno... I mean... I always figured master Mukuro would tell me what to do."

"Well..." Yamamoto considered, pursing his lips in thought. "Mr. Mukuro isn't here right now, so I guess you can can do whatever feels best!" The dark-haired man grinned in triumph, and carded his fingers through the hair at the back of Ken's head. "We did some fun things together when you were here... or we could do something new. Lots of choices!"

A little grin formed, even bristly Ken unable to resist Yamamoto's infectious cheer. Not to mention the soothing touch running through his hair that brought a happy, soft groan to his throat. He leaned into it, relaxing in Yamamoto's arms. "Nn... Not really used to having choices, I guess..." He tentatively let his arms reach to curl around the other man's neck and pouted faintly at how far he had to reach. "You're too tall," he complained. "Even Kakipii isn't as tall as you." He seemed to hem for a moment in distracted thought, considering in his options based on what little experience he had. But he had a feeling that whores weren't for cuddling or kissing or telling secrets to.

Yamamoto chuckled, a huff of breath washing over Ken's ear. "I won't seem so tall if we're sitting down," he pointed out, reasonably. "Or laying down." He placed a gentle kiss at the corner of Ken's eye. "Hm?"

Another flush bloomed across Ken's scar but Yamamoto's attention coaxed free even more smiles. "Yeah, okay..." In a moment of bravery, he pushed the other man back and glanced around the room. A tug at Yamamoto's sleeve coaxed him to the plush love seat tucked in a corner of the room. He was still grinning somewhat sheepishly as he climbed into Yamamoto's lap and after a moment's thought, he returned the gesture of running his fingers through the other's short black hair, his clawed nails dragging just slightly. "How come you're so much nicer than that other guy?" Ken asked, studying Yamamoto's features curiously. "Even after I bit you..."

Yamamoto shrugged, leaning to rest his cheek on Ken's arm. "I guess I'm just a laid back guy." He hummed happily as Ken's nails scratched lightly at his scalp. "Anyway, it's totally not the worst thing a client's done here. I know you didn't mean to hurt me." He spoke brightly, no concern audible in his voice at all.

"I didn't!" Ken agreed, appreciation showing in his eyes for the understanding and forgiveness that was almost never allowed to him. "I just got... Excited... Cause it felt so good," he mumbled. He eased in to nuzzle into Yamamoto's hair, to breathe in his smell that was just as clean as his usual cohort’s. The feel of his body coaxed memories of his first training session and his heart rate picked up, his stomach starting to ache as he settled against the taller man's hips. He nuzzled closer still, smelling him, nosing at his throat, offering a lick to his ear. "Was it any good when I... You know, after when I sucked on you...?"

"You were a fast learner," Yamamoto praised, humming happily as he bared his throat for Ken to touch. "Is that what you wanna do first?"

"Ah..." For a moment he was distracted with tasting his skin, tonguing curiously at Yamamoto's Adam's apple, lips brushing the faintest hint of stubble on his jaw. It was good practice to learn for his master... A thought that made his cock stir eagerly even to imagine. "Yeah," he answered with sudden enthusiasm and squirmed out of Yamamoto's lap to slide to the floor. He tried not to let his nails catch on the fine fabric of his slacks as he settled on his knees between those long legs. "I want to be really good at this," he proclaimed and offered a fanged grin as he nuzzled his cheek to the inside of Yamamoto's thigh.

And then without further warning, he pressed his face into the courtesan's clothed lap to nuzzle and nudge and breathe much the same way as he had at his neck. He murmured as he nosed at the shape of Yamamoto's soft cock, sniffing eagerly at the now familiar smell of his musk. "You tasted good," he added, a hand aiding him to rub at the bulge that he would need to coax to life.

"Mm," Yamamoto agreed, eyelids drooping a little as he settled in, relaxing into the back of the sofa and letting his legs fall open further, inviting. "You felt good," he answered generously, lifting a hand to touch Ken's hair, encouraging. "Why don't you remind me what you learned last time?"

Ken nodded happily, unable to hide his beaming at the liberally applied compliments. He breathed hot into Yamamoto's slacks, mouthing at the shape of his cock, watching his face carefully. A moment later, he was clumsily tugging his slacks open to draw the stirring arousal free. He licked eagerly at the head, his interest captured by the desire to earn ever more approval from what he realized was his brief surrogate master. After a little more exploration, licking carefully at his softest places, Ken let his length slide onto his tongue, easy enough to deal with as he only began to harden.

"Mm, good," Yamamoto hummed, fingers rubbing at Ken's scalp. He watched, grinning when their eyes met and Ken flushed pink. Yamamoto was practiced, good at his job, so it didn't take long before his body was responding, cock filling in Ken's inexperienced, but warm mouth.

Ken’s lashes fluttered blissfully at the touch, urging his attention. Without the fear of his master watching, the nerves and irritation of the silver haired man in their first encounter, Ken's jaw relaxed easier, his tongue more excited to please. He moaned faintly, pulling back to use a hand to squeeze and rub at his heating cock. He nuzzled rather obscenely at his wet length, smearing his cheek with saliva. "Do a lot of customers do this?" He wondered and kept his eyes on Yamamoto's face as he licked lightly at the slit, and then more hungrily, searching for more of that appearing flavor.

"Some of them," Yamamoto agreed, thumb rubbing at Ken's cheek. "Though not usually so enthusiastically!" It may have been a lie, but if so, it was a kind lie, one for Ken's benefit. Yamamoto was, after all, the man to whom Tsuna sent clients who needed some emotional comfort, some gentle brightness in their day. It came naturally to him to treat his customers like they were home.

It worked whether it was true or not, Ken flushing happily at his touch and praise. He pressed his cheek to Yamamoto's palm affectionately before refocusing his attention. Trying to recall the things that had made Yamamoto quiver, his lips sliding wet over the heat that had grown to fill his mouth. He was very cautious, aware of the sharpness of his bite, delicately pressing Yamamoto to the roof of his mouth. He whined faintly as he struggled to let that heat slip in and out of his wet mouth while sucking. There was a slight pant in his breath as he let Yamamoto free and cast him an apologetic glance. "I get worried about..." He licked at his sharp teeth.

"Don't worry," Yamamoto shook his head. "I know you're being careful. And if your teeth scrape a little, that's okay." He brushed the hair back from Ken's forehead, caught his eyes warmly."You're very sweet." Despite the thick heat that now bobbed between his thighs, Yamamoto didn't seem urgent or impatient, and he was gentle when he guided Ken back to his task. "Please, Ken. I want it."

His confidence was bolstered by Yamamoto's words, his kind ease and it was with genuine hunger that he returned to his attention. Still mindful, he took the other man deep, moaning around the hardness that he was rather proud to have inspired. When his teeth dragged and he stiffened with worry but instead he was rewarded with a pleased sound, it made a shiver race up his spine. Fingers curled tightly around Yamamoto's base to squeeze, tug and hold him as Ken learned and became more comfortable, a newly sparked desire letting his mouth work deeper, faster. Instead of gazing upward for approval, he let his eyes shut in concentration, a lurid moan humming down Yamamoto's cock.

"That's pretty good," Yamamoto grinned, licked his lips, rubbed a thumb at Ken's temple encouragingly. "Have you been practicing?" he wondered, and leaned back into a deeper slouch, knees falling open further.

When Ken glanced up it was with a smile in his eyes, even if his lips were busy. He let Yamamoto slide free for a draw of breath, messy saliva clinging between them. He licked at it hastily, then let his fingers take over, squeezing at his wet length so Ken could aim a grin up at him. "Not this. But I've been practicing other things." He licked at the inside of Yamamoto's thigh. "Master Mukuro got me one of those fancy glass bits."

Yamamoto raised an interested brow, bit his lip coyly-- an expression which he wasn't particularly good at, but which was, nonetheless, sincere. "Oh, that sounds fun. How do you like it?"

"A lot," Ken confided with a measure of chagrin. "S'hard to use it by myself." He didn't pause in his attention, though his licks and strokes were slightly more distracted. "Better it I have someone to help me... but I haven't had the real thing yet." With cheeks flushed, his glance could be considered nothing short of shy as he licked at the base of Yamamoto's cock.

"No kidding!" Yamamoto clucked, shook his head. "You're so cute, too. I can't believe no one's offered to be your first yet." He pet at Ken's hair, brushed his fingers across one cheek. "Or is it that your master wants to be the first?"

Ken paused for a long moment, seeming torn between the drunk happiness with every compliment and distractedly thinking about the question. "He... hasn't said so," he settled on and bit his lip. "I-- I think he'd not want to be." He sighed, sagging in a moment of self pity, leaning into Yamamoto's touch. Ken's grip still attended to his cock with slow, tight strokes.

Yamamoto touched his shoulder reassuringly. "It doesn't matter, you know. Mostly, the first time is terrible! I think it's silly that people put such significance on it. When you do it with someone you care about, it shouldn't matter if it's the first or the hundredth time! So cheer up! You'll get really great at it, and totally impress him."

Ken offered him a grateful smile and tugged his trousers off as he crawled into Yamamoto's lap. Settling against him, Ken's hips rolled to rub them together. "Well... I guess I'm lucky because my first time won't be terrible," he said. He pressed a grinning kiss to Yamamoto's cheek as he tugged open his own shirt buttons.

"I'm honored," Yamamoto smiled in return, lifting his hand to shoo Ken's away so he could help him finish disrobing. He pulled the shirt over Ken's head and dropped it to the floor, taking a moment to appreciate the sight of the lithe blonde alert and naked on his lap. "And flattered," he added, reaching to give Ken's pert arousal a gentle, not-quite-teasing tug.

A pleased hum rumbled in Ken's throat, happy to let himself slide through Yamamoto's fingers. "You're being paid, you don't have to be either of those things," Ken argued, but his voice was soft with pleasure. His lashes fluttered with each squeeze, his cock aching eagerly for a touch. "But -- me too," he tried, too distracted and horny to navigate pleasantries. "Can we lay down?"

Yamamoto laughed kindly and nodded. "Of course. We can do anything you want." He helped Ken stand then, led him shyly to the bed and sat himself down on the edge of the mattress. He drew Ken close, tugging him down to kiss his mouth. "Let's go slow," he suggested, eyes bright.

Ken blinked at him several times, touching his own lips with surprise, as though it'd never occurred to him that they could do that. This wasn't terribly unfamiliar territory, having demanded touches like this from time to time from his partner. So it was with some semblance of confidence that Ken could climb onto the mattress beside Yamamoto and find his mouth again with tentative enthusiasm.

Yamamoto touched his cheek, fingers gripping lightly at the back of his neck, holding him in place as he dipped his tongue into Ken's mouth, taking him apart with enthusiastic, heated kisses. And Ken began to realize why Yamamoto was so highly sought after here at the Rose.

Their legs tangled together, Yamamoto keeping him close, making sure he didn't get cold feet, making sure he felt wanted. His arousal pressed against Ken's thigh, obvious and hungry.

It took long moments of tense surprise for Ken's body to start to relax into Yamamoto's grip. At first he was stiff, defensive, startled by the enthusiasm that crashed into him. It took longer still for Ken to loosen his tight jaw and let him between his lips. He was shy and uncertain, but with all the grooming Chikusa had been imposing on him lately, he could at least feel somewhat confident. Especially when Yamamoto's clean, spicy smell and taste invaded his senses. Finally, he reached for the creamy skin at his fingertips, nails leading with a shiver-soft touch over Yamamoto's hip.

As he sank into the taller man's arms, his eyes slowly closed and the slick of his tongue finally pressed back. Happy whimpers tickled Yamamoto's mouth as Ken matched his enthusiasm, squirming for leverage to thrust against his hips. The palms that searched the plane of his wide back were hard with calluses and dangerously sharp but when applied properly, the just-so drag of claw sent shudders up Yamamoto's spine.

Yamamoto grinned, pressing his nose to the hammering pulse in Ken's throat. He licked there next, groaning with pleasure, his own fingertips gripping at Ken's hips and grinding back, directing his movements into a rhythm that left Yamamoto gasping dramatically. "Tell me what you want," he asked, licking his lips.

Thoroughly undone by Yamamoto's touch, all aggression kissed out of him, Ken was transformed into a flushed, wanton thing that squirmed in his grip. "I-I wanna try it," he groaned. His palm slid over Yamamoto's hip to curl around the other man's hard cock, moaning into his hair with a firm stroke. "With you inside. Please..."

"Mmm, good, that'll be fun," Yamamoto smiled, bit his lip at the touch of Ken's warm hand. He rolled them over then, laying on his back and settling Ken over him, guiding him to straddle Yamamoto's thighs. "We’ll start from here," he instructed, eyes lazy but words firm. "It'll be easier on you, let you feel things out, to find what works best so I don't hurt you."

Sitting on Yamamoto's hips, full heat pressed against his rump, Ken blinked comically for a moment. "O-okay," he said uncertainly. He steadied himself on the other's broad chest with one hand. "I've-- only done it bending over," he explained, face red as he felt between his thighs for Yamamoto's heat. Though he was already wet and prepared, he spat into his palm for good measure and didn't hesitate to guide him in. For all his frayed nerves, Yamamoto was surprised at how readily Ken let him in. The tawny blonde bit at his tongue, moaning as he sank onto Yamamoto's cock. His thighs trembled and his eyes were hazy but he shifted experimentally, giving a happy gasp as it let that heat slip deeper inside him.

"There you go," Yamamoto encouraged, voice a low rumble that verged on a moan. "Take it slow. There's no rush here. Find the angle that feels best and then move. I'll help if you want, or tell me to stay still," he lifted his hips just a little, showing Yamamoto what it could feel like when he was ready for it.

Ken made a startled sound, palms tensing against Yamamoto's chest but he didn't shy away. "Nnn - ah--" Some sort of instinct or antagonism or plain bravado made him buck back, but it left him gasping and shivering, then whimpering until Yamamoto's touch and voice soothed him again. Reminded to slow down, he searched with a roll of hips, lips parted and eyes closed as he rolled slowly over Yamamoto's cock. He shivered as he settled for a moment against his hips, a long whine from between Ken's lips as he gave a slow, delicious grind.

"Good," Yamamoto breathed, palm smoothing gently across Ken's knee. "That's good. Slow and deep. That feels good, Ken... do you like that?"

"Yeah," Ken groaned, sweat beading on his brow as he learned his body. Eagerness and hunger were quickly winning over nerves, aching to feel the things he'd teased out of himself -- and made his partner in crime also tease out of him. "S'way better than the fake thing," he breathed, squeezing tight at Yamamoto's cock. He gave a breathless grin as he drew himself up, sank down again, long and slow and delicious. "Not cold."

Yamamoto chuckled warmly. "No, I'm definitely not cold. I probably fit your body better than your practice toy too, yeah? Your master seems like the go-big-or-go-home kinda guy, huh." He lifted his knees a little, gave Ken something to lean back into if he needed it.

"Mmm," Ken hummed, eyes closing happily at the mention of the prize at the end of all his training. He welcomed Yamamoto's support, squirming, shifting, taking his own breath away until he gasped. He gripped at one of Yamamoto's thighs, bucking to fill himself. He was too distracted to answer the whore's question, back arching as he sought out a stilted rhythm.

Luckily, Yamamoto wasn't an easily threatened guy, so Ken's failure to confirm his suspicions didn't weigh on his mind. So long as his client was happy, size was the last thing that mattered. "There you go," he praised, rubbing at Ken's thigh as he squirmed and bucked, searching for what felt good.

In a bold moment, Ken caught Yamamoto by his wrists and shyly pulled them to his own hips. His scar was a pale track in the crimson of his cheeks, thighs quaking in his exertion. Though his inexperienced riding was a slow push to climax, Ken's cock dripped between them, full and untouched. Somehow he was more interested in the joining between them, in squeezing at Yamamoto's cock until it made him see stars.

"Need it to be good for you, too," he panted shortly, vigilant to his training even as he cried out with pleasure. He was pliant to Yamamoto's touch, eager to please. "Show me..."

"It will be different for different men," Yamamoto warned, "But I'll show you what feels good for me." He grinned, squeezed at Ken's hips, arranged him just so guiding him into an angle that let Yamamoto press in deeper. "You're so sweet," he praised, eyelids drooping lazily as he bit his lip to hold back the moan that followed his words.

A delighted keen answered him, a grateful smile warming Ken's face as he watched Yamamoto. He didn't balk in the least at giving up control, instead sinking eagerly over the other man's heat.

"Nnnn, s'good..." Ken breathed, biting at his lip. He cried out as Yamamoto sank deep but his hips were ahead of those wide, guiding hands when they bucked over him.

Ken did his best not to interrupt the rhythm as he shifted, palms sliding over Yamamoto's chest to brace at his shoulders. Curled over the taller man, he had better leverage to meet his slow, sure thrusts. His honey colored eyes were nothing short of adoring when his lips brushed Yamamoto's, a tremulous request.

"Good," Yamamoto hummed, the words a tickling buzz against Ken's lips. He let Ken reclaim the rhythm more fully then, effortlessly guiding him to find and keep it well, as he returned Ken's nervous kisses with heated assuredness. "Don't be afraid to make a little noise," he urged the red-cheeked young man. "If anyone hears us, they'll just know what a good job I'm doing." His words were teasing, but the encouragement was genuine.

Yamamoto's skills were exactly what his master had had in mind, Ken decided as he moaned deep and happy into hungry kisses. With every murmur cheering him on, his hunger grew and body gave in, utterly to Yamamoto. He whimpered from parted lips, hands clutching tight at the pillows beneath his partner's head.

"Fuck..." Ken's eyes squeezed shut, tonguing deeply at the spice and musk of Yamamoto's mouth, his moans growing louder, more urgent with every meeting of their hips. Wetness pooled on Yamamoto's stomach, Ken dripping, shuddering with delight when his cock rubbed between them.

"See? It's not so bad, hm?" Yamamoto purred up at him, eyes hooded and hungry, and he reached between them, swiped at the dripping tip of Ken's cock, brought his fingers to his own mouth, licking at the flavor he found there, making sure Ken watched him as he did so.

The wild boy's eyes widened over his hot cheeks, swallowing hard as he watched Yamamoto sample him. "You're... fuck -- ah! Oh fuck," Ken cried out, suddenly squeezing his eyes shut. He clutched at the bedding, bucking hard enough to hurt himself but heedless when it brought another delighted cry to his lips. His muscles quivered under Yamamoto's hands, struggling to keep up with his passion.

"Oh good, yes, like that!" Yamamoto urged, reaching to take hold of Ken's neglected arousal, palm quickly slick enough to offer a quick, hard stroke. "Don't hold back, okay?"

“Y-yeah," Ken stuttered to agree, melting into a sob of pleasure with Yamamoto so generously attending his impossibly hard cock. It wasn't into that grip that he bucked, though, instead grinding hard, quick against the larger man's hips. He managed to get one last grateful grin in before he had to shut his eyes, pleasure starting to wring sense from him.

Every ounce of his focus went to feeling the rock of Yamamoto's hips, trying to match his every move, to ride him just right. It might have been a difficult task, considering how easily it would be to be distracted by Yamamoto's professional touch stroking him to the best pleasure he'd ever experienced by far. But with how incredible it felt to rock with the thrust of the other's hips, to grind him deep, rough -- he almost felt more distracted by that.

By the time he managed, "Shit -- I'm gonna --" his plaintive, thrilled cries and whines were plenty loud enough to show off Yamamoto's work to the rest of the house.

"Do it," Yamamoto urged, excitedly, his strokes fast and loose, his hips lifting to meet each downward grind of Ken's body. "Do it for your master."

A startled yelp burst from Ken's lips, riding hard and fast as he came harder than he'd imagined possible. Broken cries wracked his frame, gripping like a vice at the mattress that squeaked with his efforts.

His cries came with a sense of disbelief as pleasure continued to course through him, shaking him ragged and exhausted. As it melted from him, orgasm flickered back through him impossibly and he whimpered with delight as Yamamoto's gentle, slow attention coaxed every last spark of pleasure from him.

Ken's eyes suddenly blinked open, panting heavily as though he'd been completely unaware of Yamamoto's perfect, slow care to work him through the experience, to give him a moment to breathe.

"What are you doing!?" Ken shouted suddenly, chest heaving as he forced his shaky muscles back to work. It was almost too much to jerk back onto Yamamoto's cock indignantly but he managed. Through the exhausted haze of his afterglow, he fixed Yamamoto with a smoldering smirk from beneath the fringes of wild, mussed blond. "You have to do it too!" Fearlessly, he rocked into their rhythm again, trying to work the pace back up.

Yamamoto laughed, licked his fingers clean, and hummed happily at Ken's demand. "Yes, yes, I will, believe me!" he gasped, pink with pleasure and good humor. Poor Ken could barely keep up the motions, however, and Yamamoto took pity on him, flipping them over in a surprisingly deft move. "I hope you don't mind too much," he grinned, pressing into Ken's body with a groan, hiking Ken's legs up and over his shoulders. "It won't be long," he promised, and moaned as he found his pace again quickly, driving deep, but not roughly.

There was only a brief moment's surprise before Ken was bracing, rocking against Yamamoto's need with enthusiasm. "Yeah, do it," Ken growled, gritting his teeth against the discomfort of his sensitive body. His toes curled, the cries coaxed from his lips just as hungry and genuine as his own pleasure. Though breathless, Ken urged him toward climax, squeezing at Yamamoto's cock, relishing with moans the building tempo of his thrusts.

Yamamoto came with laughter on his tongue, smiling and gripping Ken tight, eyes squeezed shut with the sensation and head thrown back in pleasure. A moment later he was pulling back, gently, but hardly slowly, and collapsing to the sheets beside Ken, one arm tossed across his bare chest. "Mm," he decided, cheek pressed to Ken's shoulder. "That was great!"

"Yeah," Ken panted in agreement, staring up at the ceiling. Flushed, sweaty and boneless, his tongue lolled from his grinning lips. "You're really good at that." He shivered happily when he turned his cheek to nuzzle lightly into Yamamoto's dark hair.

"You're gonna be good too, if you keep practicing," Yamamoto chirped, laying a kiss on Ken's shoulder, brushing his fingers across one hip.

Ken's smile widened. "I hope I can practice a lot..." Flat on his back, limp and exhausted, he relished Yamamoto's kind touch. Perhaps if he wasn't so spent, he might have been more steeled against giving in to his hunger for affection. But as it was, he snuggled just a little closer, sighing in Yamamoto's scent -- and that of their sex. He gave a faint, happy groan. "Do I have to leave right away?"

"Nah," Yamamoto gave his head a little shake, patted Ken's stomach lightly. "You're paid up for at least another half hour," he explained, his voice teasing.

A laugh spilled from Ken's lips, squirming faintly. He nosed lightly at Yamamoto's ear. "Do you kiss everyone like that?" he asked curiously.

"Not everyone," Yamamoto answered, after considering the question for a moment. "Just the nice ones," he added, lifting his head to kiss Ken's jaw, a quick peck.

The blond beamed, cheeks flushed. He buried his nose in Yamamoto's hair again. "What about that other guy? When I was here before, the jerky one. He's not a client. You guys kissed real fierce."

"Ah, you mean Hayato?" Yamamoto grinned, shifting to lay back and card his fingers through Ken's hair lazily. "He's a good friend. Even if he doesn't realize it."

Bliss instantly melted Ken's frame, his eyes shut in a grateful smile, soaking in every offered touch. "He's a jerk," Ken repeated but there wasn't much heart in it, too distracted and happy for posturing. "Can I maybe -- next time my master comes to visit that stupid Japanese guy-- er --" He flushed, a walking social faux pa. "I wanna make an appointment then."

Yamamoto chuckled lightly. "Of course. You can visit me any time. I'd like to see you again!"

A relieved, pleased sigh deflated Ken's chest. He reveled utterly in his last moments of attention. "Mmm... Kakipii says our master might buy that guy out for himself. What a waste of money."

"Oh?" Yamamoto perked a bit at this, but his voice betrayed nothing but mild interest. "I can't see Hibari liking that much..."

"Whatever, my master has more money than he can imagine," Ken boasted haughtily. "No one says no to master Mukuro."

"Yes, I imagine that's pretty much accurate!" Yamamoto laughed. "Well, I would certainly pay to be there when Hibari hears your Master's offer!"

"Feehhhhh." Ken stuck his tongue out in dramatic distaste. "Gross. I hate that guy. I think you're the only one I like here."

"Aw, that's too bad," Yamamoto clucked, "There's lots of great people who work here! And there's Tsuna too, who runs everything! He's great too. Have you met him?"

Ken bristled like an angry coyote in his arms, a low growl in his throat. "I hate that guy most of all," he ground out. "Master talks about him ALL THE TIME. And he's just some scrawny little twerp."

"Well, he is pretty small, I'll give you that!" Yamamoto answered good naturedly. "But you should try to give him a chance. He's a good guy!"

Ken's growls subsided to grumbles, unable to outright disagree with his new found companion. Instead he just pouted and gave a snorting sigh. "Maybe," he finally said. He shook it off to turn on his side, ankles brushing Yamamoto's with a grin. "I have great stories to bring home. Kakipii's gonna be fuckin' jealous, hah."

“Kakipii?” Yamamoto questioned with genuine curiosity, when the name came up again. “Who is that?”

“Oh-- um…” Ken scratched at the side of his head. “He’s that tall guy with the glasses that goes here with us sometimes. Chikusa. He’s the accountant for master’s estate. Me and him and Mukuro… we…” Their childhood past of being kidnapped for their tiny bodies and hands to be enslaved for dangerous mining work seemed a little heavy for pillow talk so Ken just finished with, “We’ve known each other a long time.”

“Yeah? You must like him to have a nickname for him,” Yamamoto teased. “Seemed when you saw us the first time you had at least some experience. Has he been helping you practice?”

Ken’s face flushed bright red and he hemmed, embarrassed. “A-a little, I guess,” he admitted vaguely. “We don’t do-- stuff like this. We’ve just been… together… not TOGETHER together -- just, living together, around each other… since we were kids.” He did his best at an unconcerned shrug but his face was still hot and pink. “Sometimes-- once in a while, I sleep in his bed. But it’s not…. Anything serious.”

Yamamoto listened with genuine interest, his smile for Ken gentle and disarming to the point that it loosened the normally prickly stablehand’s tongue. “It’s good to have a friend we can feel close to,” was what he said when Ken finished his awkward explanation. He pulled Ken in a little closer to snuggle him with affection. “And I think kissing can be just as fun as the ‘serious’ stuff, myself.”

It seemed unmanly but Ken couldn’t help but honestly admit “Yeah” in agreement, grinning at Yamamoto. The taller man pinched one bright red cheek and Ken gave a humiliated laugh. Yamamoto chatted with him a little longer until he sighed with regret, mumbling that he should get back downstairs.

They dressed together and when they were clothed, Yamamoto helpfully used his fingers to comb Ken’s bed-wild hair into place. “Come on, let’s have a drink at the bar before you head out, ok?”

Ken gave an eager, happy nod and followed Yamamoto into the hallway, smiling like an idiot when Yamamoto guided him down the hall with a friendly arm around his shoulders. He was definitely the luckiest ranch hand in the world with the greatest boss in the world who had bought him the best whore in the world.

Chapter Text

Breaking Hibari’s sake set was one of the most mortifying moments of Dino’s life, which was saying something because he’d experienced a lot of mortifying moments in his life. When he told Squalo about the incident, the deputy laughed hysterically at him and was thoroughly shocked that Hibari hadn’t killed him, let alone allowing him to schedule another appointment. Dino had to agree with the assessment and could only be deeply thankful that something gave Hibari the mercy to merely require Dino to pay for the drinking vessels.

When he’d gone home that evening, he stayed up late to compose a letter to Romario about the recent happenings in his life. The metal tip of his dip pen scratching at paper by the light of a lantern, Dino found himself smiling, his cheek propped in a palm. At the end of the letter, he explained the incident with the sake set and asked Romario to find him a suitable replacement in Los Angeles, where he was currently stationed, and send it to Wavewood post haste.

First thing in the morning, Dino went to the building that served as Wavewood’s post office and bank and he arrived just as Basil was unlocking the front door. Dino greeted the young British man cheerfully and handed over five full pages to be sent to Los Angeles by telegraph in long form, by order of the US government. Basil’s expression was politely schooled but his brow twitched with dread as he took the stack of papers from Dino.

It took ages for Basil to send the message via morse code, tapping endlessly at the brassy device that sat on his desk. When he finally finished and handed the papers back to Dino, he looked exhausted and was rubbing his wrist. His face was a bright red from translating the personal details of Dino’s love life but the marshal seemed to have no problem with sharing the information and left the post office with a whistle on his lips.

Two days later, a package arrived at the sheriff’s station with a long letter from Romario full of words of friendly encouragement and gentle, brotherly warnings about getting himself in too deep. Dino smiled fondly as he read the note, not the least bit offended by Romario voicing his concerns. They were all thoughts Dino himself was having anyway.

This didn’t keep him from immediately crossing town to check for the off chance that Hibari was spending time in his window or on his balcony in the saloon that afternoon. His cheery plans were temporarily curbed when Dino accidentally stumbled on an uncomfortable scene outside the brothel.

He could tell from quite a distance that it was Tsuna and Kyoko who were standing at the bottom of the steps of the saloon entrance. They were clearly talking, so Dino slowed his gait as he approached, giving them time to notice him so he didn’t interrupt anything. It seemed they were very wrapped up in their conversation and were quite close, holding hands between their bodies. To avoid accidentally spying on his little brother or barging in on the situation, Dino came to a stop a few doors down, pausing in the shade in front of the general store. He would just wait there nonchalantly until their conversation was finished.

Before he could properly look away, Dino witnessed Kyoko put her hands on Tsuna’s face and then she moved in to kiss him, obscuring the view with the shady rim of her bonnet. Tsuna’s arms wrapped around her and the kiss lasted longer than Dino would have expected from the two of them in a public place. He hurried to avert his eyes.

After a few moments, he glanced back just in time to witness them part ways in a most tragic manner. To Dino’s surprise, when Kyoko let go of Tsuna, she turned and fled down the street in the opposite direction of Dino. Tsuna’s hands were limp at his sides as he watched her go, until his shoulders started to tremble. Then he stepped back and sat down heavily on the brothel steps with his face in his hands.

“Hey. What’s going on Mr. Lawman? Is a crime happening?”

Dino was so startled that he smartly smacked his elbow on the nearby pillar that supported the general store’s awning. He hissed, holding his elbow and glaring at his sneaky audience.

“Shi-shi-shi! Is there a fight? A duel? Is someone going to die?”

From the open window of the general store, two faces were watching him, chins set on the sill. The men that ran the town’s shopping establishment were incredibly obnoxious. The one with the droopy face wore a black bowler which was comically large. Atop the other’s mop of yellow hair was a bright white, black banded boater hat which was comically small.

“Are you finally raiding that hotel? What are you going to do with all the opium?”

“Be quiet, Fran!” Dino hissed, pressing the heel of his palm to his brow. “Don’t just talk about such things in public! Nothing’s happening out here!”

Fran and Bel scowled with disappointment.

“We’re bored,” Bel complained dramatically. “Come in and buy something. We just got in fresh licorice and some great spiked brass knuckles. You can try them out on this guy.”

Fran just blinked at Dino, shrugged a little, not seeming to be bothered by Bel’s offer. Dino frowned, sighed.

“I told you to stop stocking such weird things!” Dino did his best to put on an authoritative posture and tone to shoo off the shop keepers so he could check on his little brother. “Go on now, there’s nothing going on out here and I’m not shopping today!”

“Fuuuu…” they both hissed with deeply disappointed faces. They ducked back inside and the window slammed shut but in way of parting, Bel smushed both of their faces against the glass and made obscene gestures.

With a sigh and a roll of his eyes, Dino moved along with a quick step. When he approached the front of the Rose, Tsuna was still sitting on the stoop, wiping at his face with what was clearly a ladies’ handkerchief. He heard Dino’s boots approach and looked up with alarm but relaxed a little when he saw it was his friend.

Tsuna’s nose and eyes were red from crying and his face only grew redder with embarrassment when Dino came and sat down next to him. “Dino-- please forgive my state--”

Without waiting for Tsuna to finish his sentence, Dino wrapped him up in a tight hug. “Hey,” he spoke, quiet and gentle. “Bad day, hm?”

More or less immediately, Tsuna collapsed into the generous hug with a sniffle, grateful for the comfort. “Yeah,” he mumbled into Dino’s shoulder. He wiped at his face again when Dino let him go, but stayed close with an arm around Tsuna’s skinny shoulders.

Tsuna gave a sigh. “Kyoko… she was accepted to the school in Boston. She’s going to be a nurse. Maybe even a doctor some day if things change.” He gave a smile that was sad and rueful. “It’s all for the best. She deserves better things than… this. More normal things.”

“Ahh,” Dino nodded. Tsuna had mentioned the possibility of his lady friend taking the long shot of applying to a college in New England. “For the best or not, losing someone you love is difficult, whether it’s to death, or to life.” He ruffled the hair at the back of Tsuna’s head affectionately, sympathetically. “It’s okay to feel sad, you know.”

“Mm,” Tsuna mumbled vaguely. He let his head flop against Dino’s shoulder, helpless. “I just thought… maybe it could work. That we could have something stable, something special. But it’s selfish to hold someone back from their dreams… And who knows what’s going to happen to me when this phase of my ‘training’ is done. I would have lived in guilt for the life she’d have because of me.” He sighed again. “I’ll miss her though.”

“Of course you’ll miss her,” Dino agreed, welcoming Tsuna into the curve of his arm, continuing to pet his hair. “I’m sure she’ll miss you too. It’ll be tough for a while. But you have your friends. And you have me. And!” he continued, voice perking with cheerful energy, “I’m sure Reborn will keep you so busy, you won’t have a moment to think about hard stuff.”

Tsuna gave a pitiful laugh but he smiled, thankful for Dino’s affection and humor. “I’m sure. He’ll probably show up to make my life a fresh hell when he finds out. No time for heirs to mope.” He shook his head but chuckled a little. “It’s… certainly hard to be lonely around here, I’ll give you that.”

Dino smiled warmly at this, glad to see the younger man already making the attempt to rally his positivity.

When he shifted, Tsuna noticed the box that was on the step beside Dino. “What’s that? Were you bringing something over?”

Dino flushed at the question, glancing down at the box, and gave an awkward laugh. “Ah-- yeah, it’s… just a little something for Kyouya-- ah, for Hibari. To replace something of his I broke.”

Tsuna’s mouth made a little ‘o’ of understanding. “I heard about the dishware. Was he very angry?”

“Strangely enough, no?” Dino answered, scratching at one ear in confusion. “He only charged me for the value of the set. But… I still felt bad, so I wanted to get him something to replace it. Had Romario pick it up for me in Los Angeles. It’s very fancy.”

Though dealing with his own sorrows, Tsuna had a genuine smile for his friend’s good fortune and happiness. “I’m sure he’ll appreciate it, that’s very thoughtful of you. Come on in, I’ll get him for you.”

Dino followed Tsuna into the saloon, hemming uncertainly. “O-oh, that’s okay, I wasn’t really going to bother him, just… seeing if he was around or… maybe I was just going to leave this with whoever was manning the bar to, you know, give to him later…”

“Don’t worry,” Tsuna insisted, leaving Dino at the bottom of the stairs. “He’ll listen to me.”

Dino stood there nervously, awkwardly, feeling certain that Hibari would kick Tsuna down the hall and never agree to see the marshal again. But Tsuna showed up again, unharmed, and gave Dino a little wave before disappearing down the upstairs hall in the direction of his office.

Above, Hibari appeared at his balcony and motioned for Dino to join him.

Swallowing down the butterflies that thundered around in his middle, Dino climbed the stairs, gift clutched in both hands, silently wondering to himself why he was so nervous. Aside from the hitting his head and passing out, things had gone… well, really well last time he was here. Hibari hadn’t even seemed mad at him. But there was just something about the younger man that wasn’t predictable. Dino liked that, even though it made him nervous.

“Hello, Kyouya,” he managed, when he reached the balcony.

“Don’t immediately spoil the mood, marshal,” Hibari scolded, glaring at him. Nonetheless, he waved Dino to sit at the small table in the balcony that seemed to be Hibari’s own domain. Hibari sat across from him, expectant but not sour. “Sawada said you have something for me.”

“A-ah, yes,” Dino nodded, placing the gift box on the table and pushing it toward Hibari. “It’s… an apology of sorts, for knocking myself out that night and breaking your sake set.”

Hibari gave a curious hum and opened the box, revealing a lovely new set with four cups nestled in carefully crafted packaging. They were jet black, matte ceramic with glossy accents. Different than the sleek white set Dino had broken, but beautiful and masterfully crafted. Hibari picked up the carafe to turn it over in his hands, brows lifted with appreciation for the craftsmanship. “They’re very nice. Thank you.” He looked at Dino suspiciously. “How on earth were you able to find a replacement so quickly? Surely those two idiots up the road are not carrying such fine and useful items.”

Dino made a face at the mention of Fran and Bel and shook his head. “No, not them. I telegraphed my right hand man, stationed in Los Angeles, to send it to me. His taste has always been impeccable, so I knew he could find something that suited you. I’m… glad you like it.”

Turning a cylindrical cup to admire its detailed design, Hibari smirked. “What an excellent use of your government contacts.” He turned that shrewd smirk on Dino, looking him in the eyes. “Well played, Cavallone.”

Dino’s ears got hot with the unexpected praise and for a beat he could only stare at Hibari, blinking with surprise. “Th-thank you,” he said, then broke into a smile more typical of the easy-going marshal. “Maybe the next time I visit, we can use them,” he suggested, gesturing to the sake set.

“Perhaps,” Hibari agreed. He remained seated with poise, taking a long moment to look Dino over in a way that made the marshal shiver. Like a cat considering the fate of a mouse.

Before Dino could react to that and the ripple of arousal that gripped him, they were interrupted by a door opening nearby. Yamamoto and a client entered the hall from his room and Yamamoto offered Dino a friendly wave. His companion on the other hand, came to a halt in front of their table and stared at Dino. The short, tawny blond narrowed his eyes, then looked at Hibari, then at the gift, then back at Dino.

“Who’re you?” Ken demanded, filled with suspicion.

“Ah… Marshal Dino Cavallone.” It was awkward. Yamamoto looked on helplessly while Ken stared Dino down. “And you are?” The marshal offered a hand in good nature but Hibari interrupted before Ken could accept the handshake.

“Mind your business, you nosey mongrel,” Hibari snapped venomously. It startled Dino who hadn’t seen Hibari quite so livid before.

Ken reeled on Hibari with an angry growl but Yamamoto caught him with a long arm around Ken’s shoulders. “Come on, Ken,” the tall Japanese man whined, reeling him down the hall. “You said you’d have a drink with me. Believe me, that’s much better than being bit by Hibari!”

Hibari glared after them, then gave an irritated sigh and turned back to the bewildered Dino who offered an unknowing smile.

“The hired help of a client of mine,” Hibari explained shortly and then gave a snort that finished his frustration. “As I was saying… regarding your next visit.” At this, Dino’s back straightened with attention. “I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do to you for our next appointment. So we shall see if there’s time for sake.”

“S-sure, of course, sounds good!” Dino agreed, licking his lip. “I’m… looking forward to it.” He hovered on the edge of his seat, not wanting to stand first, but not wanting Hibari to think he intended to take up the man’s afternoon with idle chatter-- something he suspected Hibari would hate.

Hibari studied him for a moment longer, taking in the red of Dino’s face with a smug appreciation. Then he stood and picked up the box. “Thank you for the gift. I’ll expect to see you thursday at six. Your bruises are healing well. I’ll have to give you some new ones.”

Thankfully, the knock to Dino’s head caused more of a goose egg than a bruise but the bite mark that Hibari had left on his throat was still red with the purple tracks of his teeth. And thankfully, his bandana covered it almost entirely but the mark was still tender.

As Dino stood, he reached up to touch the mark, almost unconsciously, laughing a little under his breath. He couldn’t look in a mirror without being reminded of that evening, and every time his handkerchief brushed against the healing bruise, the sensation sent shivers across his skin.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he spoke, then dipped his head in thanks, tipping his hat to Hibari and shooting him an anticipatory grin. “Thursday at six, then,” he confirmed and stepped away from the table, kicking the leg of his chair with a heel and nearly falling over, but catching himself on the railing. “Whoops, I’m good. Okay. I’ll… see you then.”

Hibari watched him expressionlessly and finally said, “Farewell,” and walked down the hall to return to his room.

Dino whirled around and made his way back downstairs quickly, ears hot, but mouth smiling. He looked around for Tsuna, but saw no sign of him, so settled for waving at Gokudera who was manning the bar. The silver-haired man frowned at him, clearly confused as to why Dino would address him at all. But the marshal wasn’t put off. His mood was high and his step was light, and he had an appointment to look forward to.

Chapter Text

The Rose was relatively busy at this time of night, regulars and passersby palming drinks. Between appointments, Gokudera filled the lobby with the play of his skilled fingers over ivory. Hibari leaned on the railing in the hall that overlooked the lobby, smoke curling from the long, slender pipe that barely hung from his long, slender fingers. Waiting.

The young marshal showed up early, the local sheriff and his deputy in tow. The sheriff, who had recently been allowed back into the Rose on a probationary basis, headed straight for the bar, and his silver-haired partner tagged along, punching Dino in the arm on his way. Dino looked around the room with interest, waving to Gokudera, and kissing Bianchi's hand. Tsuna appeared shortly, greeting Dino warmly, chuckling nervously when Dino grabbed him up in a hug.

Hibari watched lazily from his perch, warm smoke spilling from his lips. He smirked as he witnessed the marshal's discomfort -- his hurry to get pleasantries over with. He was at least smart enough to realize that Hibari wouldn't bother to come downstairs to greet him. A snicker was spared under Hibari’s breath as he watched the blond man stutter and blush like a teenager until the deputy kicked him away from the bar.

"JUST GO FUCK YOUR WHORE ALREADY, VOOOIII!"

Dino flushed attractively, laughing at Squalo's outburst. "You're so energetic!" he observed, earning a snort from Xanxus. "Alright, don't have too much fun without me!" he warned his two companions, footsteps already on the stairs.

He took them two at a time, tripped twice on the way up and grinned as his gaze came to rest on the young man leaning lazily against the railing. "Hey," he grinned.

"Good evening," Hibari replied with the vaguest sense of amusement. He cast a last glance at the lobby before turning with a drag off his pipe, sandals tapping lightly on the dry wood floor. "You're certain you wouldn't rather drink yourself ill and noisy all night like your friends?"

Dino laughed, running a hand through his hair. "Yes, I'm sure," he nodded, following after Hibari as gracefully as he could manage. "My friends don't know what they're missing." A beat. "O-or maybe they do?"

At his door, Hibari stopped to aim a deeply unimpressed look at the officer. "Hardly. I have the right to turn away that which I find unsavory."

He led Dino into his chambers which were a far cry from the awkward evening that had been his 'application' for Hibari's companionship. Candles lined the surfaces of the fine Japanese furniture that furnished Hibari’s space. The light filled the warm room with a pleasant glow that flickered on the new dressings of his bed. Plush silk covered the mattress and a mountain of pillows piled at the head, all in shades of red.

Dino paused, leaning on the door frame, taking it all in with a wide-eyed expression. "Wow. Your room is... it's all so beautiful! And all those candles..."

"I like to be able to see what I'm doing," Hibari replied easily, loftily. He gracefully spilled into the sofa that overlooked the room. "Undress. Hang your things by the door." Lips brushed at the tip of his pipe suggestively as he watched, smoke clinging to his dark hair.

Dino chuckled nervously, snagging a toe on the floor as he entered, but managed to close the door behind him. He removed his hat first, hanging it on one of the waiting, empty hooks. He licked his lips, taking a steadying breath, and popped a button off his shirt as he fumbled to get it undone.

Bemused, Hibari watched him thumb stupidly at his clothes for a few moments before snuffing his pipe and setting it aside to slink once more to his feet. He stilled Dino's hands, pale graceful fingers plucking free buttons and unclipping suspenders until the cowboy's trousers were sliding to the floor.

"No need to be nervous. You've already passed the initial test."

"I just don't want to do anything to ruin your... well your room, everything." Dino breath came shallowly, Hibari close enough to smell his shampoo, the scent of smoke. He lifted a hand, fingers brushing at the back of Hibari's head, silky black hair just a little longer than he remembered.

Hibari just chuckled, letting fingers drift along Dino's jaw briefly before stepping away, toward the bed. "Don't worry. I have a plan for your... condition."

In his defense, Hibari was distractingly beautiful, all silk and sharp edges, eyes flashing with candle-light and danger. So Dino couldn't help wanting to follow him right then and there, heedless of the garments still pooled around his ankles. He hit the floor with a solid thump, which might have sent Tsuna upstairs to check on them had the Rose's proprietor not been already familiar with the marshal's weaknesses (as well as being just a little afraid of Hibari's wrath at being interrupted).

Amazingly, somehow, Dino managed not to knock over a single candle, though he was sure his knees would be nearly as bruised as his ego. "Ow..."

Hibari stared down at him for a long, deadpan moment. Then in a single sweep, he scooped the marshal off the floor with shocking strength and tossed him onto the bed, pillows buffering his fall.

Hibari sighed as he turned on his heel, sparing a rake of a glance over the tousled, embarrassed and flushed marshal. "Just wait there and don't move," Hibari said, long suffering.

He turned to the rest of his shimmering room, padding across his waiting area where he opened a small trunk. "I'm going to share with you something from my homeland," he explained. A coil of a great deal of white rope slid through his hands when he turned back. His long fingers brushed a few loops of the cord down Dino’s cheek. It was as soft as the blankets, silky and cool. "I'm sure you'll enjoy it."

Dino's heart rate kicked up a notch but he didn't pull away, instead looked up to meet Hibari's gaze. "You're... going to tie me up?" he wondered, flushing red at the way his cock stirred with the thought.

"Do you object?" Hibari arched a brow, the soft cord playing through his fingers.

Dino swallowed nervously. "W-well, no... I suppose not..." He squirmed a bit, trying to sit up to get a better look.

Instead, the pillows wumfed as Hibari pushed him back down and crawled on top of him. His robe barely stayed closed, his bare skin brushing Dino's stomach. He settled in and threaded the rope around Dino's neck. Hands smoothed over the blonde's warm skin and Hibari let out a breath that almost seemed like approval.

The second there was a flicker of movement through Dino's frame, a growl came to Hibari’s throat. "Be still," he commanded, fingers already starting to pull knots into place with the calm skill of a sailor or an artisan.

"Sorry," Dino mumbled, willing himself to stay still, hypnotized by the way that Hibari’s hands worked. Once he had an initial few loops in place, he positioned Dino to his liking, guiding him to sit with legs folded, facing the head of the bed.

Rope was criss-crossed over Dino’s chest, making elegant patterns that met up with whatever Hibari was doing behind his back. His wrists were guided behind his back and the soft cord was threaded around his arms, Hibari’s fingers tickling his spine until a light pull forced Dino’s posture to change. His shoulderblades were drawn together, arms secured to one another behind his back.

"What... what are you doing, exactly?" he wanted to know. He did his best to ignore the way his cock was already filling, anticipation and Hibari's nearness coupled with the excitement of the strange and new, all too much to not be affected by it. He felt like the meal of a spider, the cords working down his arms, just tight enough to lightly dimple his flesh.

"I'm securing your arms," Hibari replied, his fingers working slowly, his control coiling around Dino's frame. "So that you don't set the room on fire when you suck my cock."

"O-oh, haha, right..." Dino chuckled, embarrassed but good natured. "Seems like you're putting a lot of work into it," he noticed. "Not like roping cattle, I guess!"

"No, not like that at all," Hibari replied with his usual enthusiasm. Slowly, threading, coiling around his arms, working downward. Each knot and pulled rope drew his wrists closer together, his shoulder blades drawn tighter. Hibari's smooth hands dipped curiously around him, smoothing along his chest and stomach, fingertips sliding under the ropes that pressed snugly again him.

Dino shivered, somehow thrilled by the uncertainty of the situation. His arms were useless now, roped together, palms touching, but it wasn't painful. The cord was soft as skin, and Hibari clearly knew what he was doing. "I wish I could see it," Dino sighed, wistful. Everything Hibari did was beautiful-- he was certain even this was no exception.

"You'll be looking at other things," Hibari purred in his ear, securing a tight knot between Dino's wrists.

Task completed, Hibari guided him to turn back around, sitting with his back to the headboard and legs stretched out in front of him. Hibari straddled his knees, taking a moment to look over his work and Dino’s state.

"How does it feel?"

"Strange," Dino answered honestly. "But... not bad. You're very skilled, Kyouya. At many things." Dino let his eyes linger, taking in all of Hibari, the bare skin peeking out from between soft silk, the dark eyes still so unreadable, but, Dino thought, not dissatisfied. He ached where Hibari almost touched, cock hard and upright, but this, at least, he wasn't ashamed of. Hibari was just that good, and Dino thought he deserved to know how much the dark-haired man affected him.

When Hibari smiled his tiny sliver smile, it sent chills up Dino's spine, racing along the silken rope that pressed there. And then he was easing forward, stealthy and smooth like a panther as he slid into Dino's lap. "I'm glad to know my services are appreciated," he replied easily and draping his arms around Dino's neck, slowly enveloped him further into his coils.

Dino groaned quietly, did his best not to sound too lewd, though it was difficult when under the gaze and attention of a man like Hibari. "Very appreciated," he breathed. "What are you going to do with me now?" he wondered, lifting his chin as Hibari's nose slipped beneath his jaw, lips open on his throat.

"Don't rush me," Hibari scolded loftily. "I'll do what I want with you, as I please." He pinched roughly at a nipple, tongue dragging over the sandpaper stubble of Dino's adam's apple. "You just sit back and try not to fall off the bed."

His palm came flat on the marshal's chest, pushing him back, Hibari looming over him. In spite of the tie still in place, his robe was sliding open, his waking arousal resting against Dino's hard stomach. He made sure the other man was watching when he took it in a pale hand, working himself slowly.

Dino bit his lip, trying not to smile too widely, lest Hibari think him making fun. The truth was, he was simply happy to be there, and more than a little excited by the sight of Hibari's thin, pale fingers taking himself up like this, the pull and squeeze, the tiny huff of breath on Hibari's pink mouth. Dino watched, entranced, his own cock twitching with growing need, but he ignored it as best he could, because this, he thought, was probably a rare sort of sight-- the stoic young Japanese man, lips tight in concentration, working himself so sweetly.

Abruptly, Dino felt the ropes around him be yanked, and before he knew what was happening, the marshal was flipped over and sent tumbling to the ground. When he regained his wits and looked up, he found Hibari perched on the edge of the bed. Robe open, but still tied at the waist, his cock was full and erect between the falls of fabric.

"Come here and suck this," he demanded in a velvet purr.

Dino stared, startled and somewhat in awe of the man above him. Still, he managed to pull himself together in a reasonable period, climbing awkwardly onto his knees, arms making balance difficult. Hibari's hand in his hair helped, guiding him close and Dino groaned gladly as he pressed his cheek into the soft skin of Hibari's inner thigh.

"Goddamn..." he sighed, nosed closer, taking in Hibari's scent. His tongue snaked out to lap at the seam of his sac, then the underside of his cock, thrilling a little with the way it jumped at his touch. It was delicious: the involuntary motions that bespoke of the pleasure Hibari wouldn't have otherwise admitted to.

Hibari's dark eyes smoldered, watching with his critical gaze. His fingers guided him into Dino's mouth, other set fisted tight in the mop of his blond hair. He rolled his hips into the circle of his damp grip -- and onto Dino's tongue.

Dino moaned around the meat of Hibari's cock, tongue lathing, tasting, wanting more. He pressed forward, hair tugging in Hibari's grip as he took him in deeper, opening his throat hungrily.

There was no complaint from Hibari, his lashes hooded as he watched Dino swallow him eagerly. Slowly he sank back, hips rolling into the heat of Dino's hungry, welcoming mouth, just a little too roughly. "Mmm... you're good at this..." Hibari breathed, grinding at the other's mouth.

Dino hummed happily, pleased and surprised by the compliment and redoubled his efforts, sucking and bobbing his head, awkward as it was without his hands on Hibari's knees to steady himself. He drew back when Hibari let him, taking a breath and tonguing at the tip, shivering with pleasure at the flavor. He sucked at the slit, coaxing forth the tang of precum and watching Hibari's face for his reaction, for a sign he was performing well.

The lithe young man's voice stayed in check, Hibari's self-control ironclad. But his cheeks were deeply flushed, his lips wet and parted as he held Dino by his hair to slowly fuck his mouth. His breath huffed, a groan on his lips as he slid against the soft back of Dino's throat. Pale fingers clutched at a pillow as Hibari's leg drew up the marshal's side, then over his shoulder. His bare toes slid and played over the soft knotwork that wound Dino's arms together. His hips thrust shallowly, foot bracing on Dino's back.

"So hot," Dino groaned, when Hibari gave him a moment to pause. Still he pressed his lips to Hibari's cock, letting his voice hum against his skin. "Want to see you come..."

"Then work harder," Hibari growled, without anger or threat -- simply power. A pleased, superior smirk rewarded Dino as the courtesan smeared precum across his swollen lips.

He knew he must have looked filthy and worked up, but Dino could find no shame, only groaned and redoubled his efforts, letting Hibari's hand guide his pace as he swallowed him again, spit and precum leaking from the corner of his pink lips.

"Yesss..." Hibari breathed, followed by something in his native language under his breath. His fingers wound tighter into his shaggy hair, pulling, thrusting slow and deep into his wet mouth. He took what he wanted, as though he were the one paying for services, head tilted back, breath deep. "I hope you're ready for me to come on your face," he purred, pulling hard at Dino's hair.

Dino moaned, hoping he sounded encouraging, and punctuated the sound with a rough lap of his tongue, dipping it hard into the slit of Hibari's cock.

A deep groan bubbled up from Hibari's chest, nails digging at Dino's scalp. "Like that... nnn... /kimochi/..." He gripped his own cock, stroking himself firmly, letting Dino focus on his most sensitive places. Hibari's taste dripped freely, heavy onto his tongue. The smoldering haze in his eyes watched Dino's work, his intense gaze boring into Dino's. "Don't stop..."

Dino hummed in his throat, the closest he could manage to reassuring HIbari that he had absolutely no intention of stopping. Not now, not with Hibari nearly begging for it.

The dark haired boy's orgasm crashed on them suddenly, a delighted cry bursting from Hibari's lips. He pushed deep into Dino's mouth, pumping once down his throat before yanking at his hair to free himself, come splashing over Dino’s lips and cheeks and chest. Those dove-soft hands stroked himself hard, tight, back arched as he twisted his other fingers hard in Dino's hair.

Dino gulped, half-choked, definitely moaned with the pleasure of having brought Hibari off so spectacularly. He licked at his lips, then let his eyes slip open, finding Hibari's flagging cock still close enough to take again, sucking him eagerly clean. Hibari's fingers in his hair pulled hard enough to hurt but he scarcely noticed.

Hibari's breathing slowed, shivers wracking his frame in spite of the intense control he had over his body. He watched, panting as he came down and Dino serviced him clean. "Mm.. I suppose I didn't make a mistake in taking you on..." A soft, pale hand smoothed his hair from his forehead. "Have your limbs fallen asleep yet?"

Dino kissed the tip of Hibari's cock once more before it fell away from him, out of reach, and he looked up to meet the younger man's hazy eyes. "Only a little," he hummed pleasantly. Though his own dick still throbbed, he didn't seem to mind-- Hibari's climax so immensely satisfying that it served to distract him well enough for the moment.

The dark-eyed courtesan chuckled softly, running his fingers through Dino's hair. He noted how clean it was, satisfaction swirling with afterglow at the effort and money that his new client was willing to invest in him. With a tug, Hibari's waistband slid away and his yukata fell open. "Can you make it back onto the bed?" he wondered.

"If I can't, will you help me?" Dino wondered, quirking a grin.

"Depends how funny it is," Hibari replied evenly, leaning back onto his palms.

Dino laughed somewhat ruefully, feeling his face flush all over again as he struggled to his feet, managing it somehow, despite the tingling in both his legs. He wasn't nearly so graceful as he tripped his way over the edge of the bed, panting with exertion as he lay on his stomach beside Hibari, lower body still dangling off the side. "You are a damaging man, Kyouya," he chuckled. "My ego may never recover."

The devious smirk that Hibari aimed at him was almost warm. He took pity on the marshal and grabbed him by ropes to haul him onto the bed. He turned Dino over and once more pushed him into sitting, pressed up against the pillows. He eased in close, reached for a towel on the bedside table and wiped the sticky mess from Dino's face.

Dino smiled at him with a stupid, twitterpated grin that would probably make Hibari uncomfortable, but the marshal couldn't bring himself to care. "Thanks," he breathed, the word a humbled laugh.

Hibari slid the robe from his shoulders and let it flutter to the floor. He settled lightly between Dino's thighs, letting a finger drag down the belly of his customer's impossibly hard, alert dick.
Dino's attention must have put the foreign man in particularly good spirits, judging by the quiet smirk that remained in place as he draped himself over Dino's lap.

"Have you ever been fucked, Marshal?" Hibari wondered, fingertips ghosting over hot flesh, without anything resembling satisfying contact.

Dino's hands itched to be able to touch him. It took him a moment to realize that Hibari had addressed him and he stuttered as he searched for his words. "U-uh. Um. Well. Once or twice, I suppose..."

"You don't say," Hibari hummed with interest. His touch wandered, ghosting along Dino's length to slide down, cupping him with a firm massage. "How do you like it?"

"A-ah..." Dino hissed, biting his lip against the sensation of Hibari's hands on him. "W-well, it wasn't with anyone as... skilled as I imagine you are."

"Very few are as skilled as I am," Hibari replied in his lofty, dismissive way. He braced on Dino's hip as he reached past him to open one of the small chests on his bedside. A string of stone beads poured out and over his fingers and Dino's shoulder, down his chest. "We'll try something a bit more interesting."

He let the beads drape around his bare neck while his fingers set to work, testing the muscle between Dino's thighs and working him slick with oil. Hibari's cheek rested against his hip, watching the marshal's face as he slid a wet finger into him.

Dino groaned, tensed, took a breath and tried to relax, breathing through barely parted lips. He lifted his hips as best he could laying on his arms as he was, trying to show Hibari that the attention was welcome, if strange to him. "What-- nngh... what's this for?" he wondered, eying the strand of beads.

"Allow me to show you," Hibari purred in reply. He hummed as he let the beads slide from his shoulder, down Dino's body and between his thighs. He gave a lazy, half-hearted lick at the swollen head of his cock as he matter of factly pushed the first bead inside.

Dino shivered, clenched around it, remembered to breathe and stared Hibari in the face, startled. "T-then what?" he wondered, marveling at Hibari's knowledge of the tools for pleasure. Beads? He'd never have guessed one could do such things.

"Then... more," Hibari replied, slowly pushing in another. A kiss was pressed to Dino's tip, a smirk as he felt the shudder and the relaxation. Teasing, fingering around the muscle that quivered with sensation -- he pushed a third inside.

"It feels like you're teasing me," Dino accused, squirming as began to feel fuller, gasping as he felt the beads shift inside when Hibari pressed a fourth in. He didn't want to come right out and say that he wanted Hibari to fuck him, but nonetheless he couldn't not think about it.

A brow was lifted, and another bead, this one larger than the last was pushed in, shifting the others. "It just takes some patience. Would you like me to go faster?" Another, pushed in quickly, carelessly.

Dino cried out, then bit his tongue, embarrassed. "I-I'm sure you know best, Kyouya," he managed, his voice, shaky laughter, his toes, curling into the sheets at the foot of the bed. His arms were beginning to ache but he didn't dare mention it now, not when the evening had been going so well thus far.

"Don't take liberties," Hibari warned, his fingertip following the next bead, pushing them all deeper. His lips brushed along the side of Dino's cock, never quite giving him the contact he desired. "Are you full yet?" he questioned, sultry as yet another, larger bead was pushed in... very... slowly...

"Nnghh..." Dino lifted his hips, pressing back against the intrusion, searching for more of Hibari's hot mouth, and finally he nodded, jerkingly. "Y-yeah, full," he agreed, the fingers of his bound hands twining together under his back. "Want you..."

"Mmm, do you?" Hibari perked faintly. "You want what, my mouth?" His tongue dragged along his length obscenely, a thumb rubbing at that tender flesh above the beads that shifted and teased inside him. "Or do you want /me/?" Licking slow, wet all the way around his flushed, aching crown. "You want me to fuck you." He flicked his tongue once at Dino's tip and pulled free a bead.

Dino cried out, not bothering to hold back his voice now, wanting Hibari to understand the power he held over him. "Oh god, yes," he breathed, cock aching, hole clenching reflexively around the strand of beads as he shivered in anticipation of whatever Hibari would do next. "Please, Kyouya. Please."

"I need a /little/ time to recover," Hibari chided. His tongue answered the beg, but he was still slow. "Six left. Perhaps if you can keep from coming, I'll fuck you, hm?" He sucked lightly at Dino's head, eyes turned up to watch his face as he sloooowly pulled the next bead free.

The next sound that left Dino's throat was not unlike a sob, his whole body tensing, then dropping like a snapped clothesline. "Oh god, Kyouya..." he breathed, willing the sparks behind his eyelids to settle. "It's good. You're so good..."

"Mmmm," Hibari responded, his hum shivering down his throbbing cock. Slowly he took Dino deeper, sucking gently, letting two more beads slide free. Nails dug at the peach globe of his ass as Dino shuddered and gasped and sobbed.

And then confidently, Hibari was moving, pushing him, guiding until Dino's cheek was pressed into the pillows. Arms still secured tightly behind his back, Hibari forced his hips into the air -- he smirked and tugged another bead free while Dino struggled to settle.

"A-ah! Sh--" Dino turned his head, muffling his own voice in the pillow beneath him. His knees shook and his face flushed darkly to find himself in this position, utterly exposed, bare, presented to Hibari like a prize. "Want you..." he heard himself say again. "Need it, please..."

"You're far more interesting than I'd expected... Marshal," Hibari quipped. And then with a sharp, fast tug, he yanked the remaining two beads from Dino's shaking body. He squeezed hard at his ass while the cowboy struggled to compose himself, convulsing pleasantly.

Though his customer had him on age and size, Hibari had no hesitation about curling over Dino's body, sinking smoothly into his heat. His breath groaned into Dino's hair as he ground deep into him. "Try not to faint."

Dino choked on a groan, eyes hot and body quivering beneath his bed partner as his brain struggled to catch up to what his body was experiencing. The beads lay abandoned on the sheets beside them but Dino was full again-- Hibari was filling him.

"Faint?" he tried for a laugh, managed a moan. "And miss any moment of this? Never." He bowed his back, tilting his hips further to let Hibari deeper, and sparks flew behind his eyelids when the dark-haired man withdrew and sank deep again. "God, yes..."

A pleased sigh escaped Hibari's lips, easing back to grip Dino's hips. To admire the tousle of his sweaty blond hair, the way his sun-kissed muscles strained against the pale cords of his bonds. He sank deep, slowly, guiding with a single hand on Dino's bound wrists. "Mmm, you're much better like this," he breathed, rocking forward, pulling Dino to meet him. "Even if you still talk too much..."

Dino let out a huff of a laugh at this, gratefully letting Hibari guide them, pull at his hips, his wrists. "If there's anyone who can shut me up, it'll be you," he observed, having a tease at his own expense. He clenched around Hibari's dick, keeping him in place for a moment before relaxing.

"Mmm..." Hibari licked his lips, rolling himself deep, hard, pressing Dino's cheek to the pillows. The rock of his hips was completely self-serving, nevermind that he was the one being paid. Jerking deep, grinding, nails cutting at Dino's hip. Though he explored, tilting, searching for the sob of the other man's pleasure, it was on his terms. "Tell me about the first time you noticed me," he purred.

"I saw you... in the window," Dino gasped, licked at his dry lips, lifted his hips hungrily to meet Hibari's. "You were half-dressed and staring at nothing, smoking. A-and... nngh yes please... like that... And your hair was just a little disheveled, like you'd slept funny..."

"Such a pervert," Hibari breathed but it was on a groan, hips rolling with the rhythm they were finding together. He threaded his fingers through the rigging that kept Dino in bonds, using it as leverage for the rough thrust of his hips, crushing Dino to the mattress. "Peeping in windows..."

Dino balked at the words, but not at the treatment, and thrilled at the way Hibari was handling him. Rough but still careful. "I didn't peep!" he protested. "You were on the top floor, leaning out the window... I walked past..."

Hibari chuckled with a particularly rough snap of hips. "And you just had to have me," he purred, teasing. "How delighted you must have been to find that I'm a whore."

"Actually, knowing that.. ngh, shi-- yes... knowing that made me more nervous. How -- ah! -- could I hope to impress you, knowing you'd had mm... far better suitors."

"And yet, somehow you came through," Hibari purred. And then, still yanking roughly at the ropes, he reached past, his long fingers curled tight around Dino's aching cock. A sharp bite stung Dino's shoulder as he started to tug hard at the marshal's erection.

"God, Kyouya..." Dino choked, strained in Hibari's hold, hips jerking between the two points of offered sensation, nearly overwhelmed. "So good... please, please. Harder... fuuuuck..." He closed his eyes then, panting heavily into the pillows as he arched his hip up as high as they'd go, thighs shivering and cock twitching in Hibari's grip. He knew he wouldn't last long like this, but he steeled himself to hold out a little longer.

A pleased, deep hiss shivered down Dino's neck, Hibari's skilled hips grinding into him. Collected and powerful, a low moan built in his throat as his pounding increased in pace, in hardness. He rode the curve of Dino's body perfectly and quickly grew bored with his cock, instead weaving his fingers once more into his silky knotwork. His grip guided DIno's body like the rigging of a ship and Hibari growled softly when he found the perfect place for himself. He yanked the cowboy onto his cock, riding his cheek raw into the silky pillows when his breathed, commanded on a whisper, "Come."

Dino groaned, shook beneath Hibari's insistent thrusts. "Sh-shit, Kyouya.... I can't just--"

A flash of eyes and a slam of hips cut him off in a sharp cry. Hibari's fingers wound tighter into the silky ropes and with a twist, everything grew tighter. His flesh pinched, body wrenched back as Hibari pulled his shoulderblades tighter together. The soft bonds dug into his chest, arms, shoulders, Hibari's power squeezing him as hard as he fucked him. "I said. Come."

"O-oh, fuck," Dino shuddered, eyes rolling back before he squeezed them shut. Hibari's demand, the rough treatment, the feeling of being so utterly and unexpectedly possessed by this man-- all of it added up to a complete inability to ignore his order, to ignore the power he had over Dino. And so he cried out, voice hoarse, limbs aching, and he came, untouched, harder than he could remember ever having come.

A delighted gasp rolled into a break in Hibari's voice, breath ragged as he pounded through Dino's orgasm. His fingers twisted tighter still, mimicking the tightness of Dino around him, squeezing the breath out of him. With a sharp cry of his own, his binds holding Dino at the crest of his climax, he filled the other man to spilling. Slick come dripped down his back, over the cords, wet sounds between them as Hibari ground, spilled deep into his abused body.

Dino still shivered, though he'd gone otherwise still, vision blurred and breath still coming in short gasps as he struggled to regain himself. "Goddamn," he groaned, hardly able to stay on his knees, relying mostly on Hibari's strength to hold him up.

Somehow when Hibari led them to collapse to the pillows, it was graceful, Dino's body drawn close. He wrapped a thigh around Dino’s hips, grinding impossibly deep through delighted aftershocks that wracked them both. Even as he continued to wrench pleasure for himself from Dino's body, his skilled hands began to loosen the knots that held those strong arms.

Dino sighed with relief as his arms dropped to his sides, skin and muscles aching, but sweetly. He knew there'd be bruises, but the thought didn't bother him. In fact, it sent an arousing thrill down his spine to realize he'd be reminded of Hibari every time his body gave an ache or twinge in the next week.

The pale, lithe man joined him in that sigh, finally slipping free of Dino's body. Hibari's arms slid around him, both of them tangling in the loose ropes as though in a net. His flushed cheek pressed in damp, blond hair, breath panting on the back of Dino's ear. "Not bad."

"I can't imagine it ever being bad with you," Dino hummed, turned his head to kiss Hibari's bare arm.

A pleased chuckle rewarded him, generous with afterglow touches in spite of his rough treatment. "I suppose you're right."

Dino smiled, happy to hear Hibari's laughter. His heart swelled a little, in a dangerous way that made him somewhat uncomfortable. But he didn't think about that now. Instead, he drew Hibari's hand to his lips, idly kissed each finger.

Tangling them further in the ropes, Hibari forced him to shift, to lay on his back. Draped across the larger man's broad chest, he tilted his chin to allow his worshipful touch. In contrast to his sharp, angry demeanor, in the soothe of satisfied afterglow he basked greedily in Dino's attention.

"Will you kiss me?" Dino ventured, then pressed his lips to Hibari's upturned palm, his eyes not quite meeting Hibari's, a little nervous despite himself.

"Mmm, I suppose so," HIbari breathed on a chuckle. He slid onto Dino, ropes soft and damp between them as he softly pressed his customer into the pillows with his kiss.

Dino sighed into the touch, not deepening it or demanding more, just letting it happen, drinking in the moment, letting it relax him fully, shivering once, twice.

Hibari rested comfortably atop him, his kisses slow, relaxed. His mouth was spicy and soft, his even more hands threading through Dino's hair. He breathed into it, sighing his own body into exhausted bliss.

"May I stay a little longer?" Dino whispered, lips grazing Hibari's smooth jaw. "Please."

"Mm, I have no other appointments tonight if that's what you're asking," Hibari purred back.

Dino smiled, lifted aching arms to touch Hibari's face, hands half-chilled with the loss of circulation that was only just now coming back. Hibari was warm, and even his eyes seemed less sharp, more sleepy now. "I'm asking if you'd like me to stay."

"I don't play girlish games, Marshal," Hibari replied flatly, his stone exterior slipping back into place even as he brushed a bit of hair out of Dino's face. "If you'd like to pay, I'd like you to stay. Is that sufficient?"

Dino frowned briefly, but quickly schooled the expression into an exaggerated childish pout. "You've got no sense of romance at all," he complained, touching a finger to the tip of Hibari's nose. "But I'll stay. Since you asked so nicely."

"I'm not in the business of 'romance'," replied Hibari with a roll of his eyes. "Stop saying such stupid things or next time the ropes go in your mouth." A long, thoughtful pause.

Dino grinned, reclaimed Hibari's hand to nip lightly at a finger. "I always like trying new things," he replied, eying Hibari meaningfully.

A tiny, devious smirk met Dino's warm brown gaze. "Good. I won't hold back next time."

Dino couldn't quite disguise the choke of surprise that slipped past his lips. "A-ah haha! Oh good! That's... wonderful. Haha..."

Hibari gave a quiet huff of laughter and eased from Dino's arms. He slid from the bed and back into his silky robe, letting it hang open from his shoulders as he gathered the cord from Dino's sore, damp frame. "But perhaps not tonight. I try not to leave too many bruises at once. The runt downstairs thinks it gives us a bad reputation."

Dino lifted himself onto one elbow to watch Hibari move about the room, straightening up, tucking away the ropes, pouring himself a glass of water from the pitcher on his vanity. "I don't see how you could bring anything but fame to the Rose."

Hibari ignored the compliment entirely, matter-of-factly setting the pitcher beside the bed with a clean cloth. "Clean yourself up. I'll be a moment."

When he returned several minutes later, it was with a steaming teapot that he set to work with. He sank languidly into the sofa across from the bed, measuring the fragrant dried leaves.

"You're a man of many skills," Dino observed, still nude, but cleaner now, just a little pink from where he'd scrubbed the cloth across his skin. He sat on the edge of the bed, toes touching the floor, hair disheveled but not unattractive.

"I come from a place where people do things other than shoot and fuck," Hibari agreed, carefully setting the lid on the delicate teapot. "Have you ever even had tea before?"

"Of course!" Dino scoffed, only a little rankled by Hibari's observation of the cowboy life. "Maybe not this particular kind, though... What is it?"

"Green tea. With plum." Steam swirled thick from the porcelain cups as Hibari's graceful hands poured. He got as far as starting to extend the hot drink before memory dawned on him and he paused. A reproachful, questioning frown looked down at Dino.

"I won't spill it!" Dino promised. "Here, I'll hold it with two hands. That's how it's supposed to be done anyway, right?"

A brow arched skeptically but Hibari let the drink settle between Dino's palms. Hibari himself sank with poise into the spill of pillows, robe closed loosely once more. He settled slowly, silently and closed his eyes as he breathed deeply the sweet, hot steam.

"Smells good," Dino commented, not entirely used to the idea of comfortable silence yet. He lifted the cup slowly, carefully. His body wasn't quite as confident with his ability to avoid a spill as his words had insisted. But he was relaxed and calm, comfortable here in the room with Hibari who, if not "close" to, then at least had begun to regard him with a sort of familiarity. Dino sipped at the tea, cautious of the heat and let the flavor sit on his tongue a moment before swallowing. "Mm. It's lovely."

Hibari hummed softly in agreement, drawing the delightful flavor onto his tongue. His breath slowed, sighed and he sank silently deeper into the embrace of his bed. Eyes closed. Peaceful.

Dino wanted to say a hundred things, but any of them would have broken the stillness of the moment, might have ruined the tenuous sense of comfortable companionship the he felt might be growing between the two of them. So he stayed quiet and sipped his tea, smiling to himself.

It seemed certainly a test -- but then, it seemed likely that everything Hibari did was a test. As Dino settled calmly beside him, his silence respectful and complete, Hibari let free a long, pleased sigh. As his tea drained, he sank, let his shoulder ease to Dino's.

Dino was surprised, but not unhappy, and he hummed quietly, pleased, to himself. He too, shifted a little, just enough to let Hibari know that he was aware of and enjoyed the close contact. "Thank you," he finally murmured, when his tea was half gone. "For tonight."

"You really never have had a whore, have you?" Hibari intoned, his eyes slitting open with a disbelieving glance. "You're a strange creature, marshal."

Dino flushed faintly but blamed it on the steam rising from his cup. "I never made this sort of thing a habit, no," he admitted. "Does that really make me so strange? What are the men o-or women you see usually like?"

Hibari shrugged lightly, considering. "Rich," he said flippantly. "Enamored by the 'exotic'. Or by torture and domination."

"Hm," Dino considered this, nodded vaguely. "Am I so different? Affluent family... utterly enamored by you... and, well..." He blushed a bit then. "I can't say I didn't like the things we got up to tonight..."

Hibari's brows raised slowly, his eyes slitting to look at Dino askance. "You didn't mention the affluent family."

"Haha well, I didn't exactly have the typical rich kid upbringing. To... prepare me for taking over the family business, my father was rather fond of the... well, 'toss 'em in the lake to teach 'em to swim' style of instruction." Dino laughed a little, staring downward as he rubbed a thumb over the lip of his cup. "By the time I was ten, I'd had to rescue myself from hired thugs twice. After that, he started letting me kidnapped for real. Got pretty good at fighting though!"

It was a bit difficult for Hibari to pretend not to be interested, turning his gaze across the room. "I suppose you became a civil servant to escape it all?'

"Actually, my tutor suggested it. Thought it would be a good change of pace, that it'd teach me new and valuable things by demolishing drug runners, cattle thieves and kidnappers. I think my father only listened to Reborn, because me being a marshal would give him a man on the inside of the law."

"Did you say Reborn?" Hibari started, gaze jerking to Dino. Surprise was a strange expression on the stoic young man's face -- though no more so than the rosy flush that came to his cheeks. "You were trained -- by that man?"

Dino blinked, taken nearly as off-guard by Hibari's reaction, as Hibari seemed to be by his words. "He was my tutor for almost ten years. Do you know him?"

"He often visits our shrimpy madam." Hibari looked quickly away, his fingers curling tighter around his half-empty teacup. "He's... quite remarkable."

"O-oh," Dino blinked, in retrospect wondering why this information was, in any way a surprise. Still, he found himself smiling, pleased to see Hibari emoting in an unexpected way. "Yes, he is. A very large part of the man I am today is due to his training, his influence, his," he hesitated. "...attentions."

For a long moment Hibari stared at a point across the room, letting Dino's words sink in. Slowly, he turned a lip curled with disbelief on Dino. "Impossible."

Dino stared at Hibari, brow raised questioningly. "You can ask him if you like-- the next time he comes to visit the Rose. He's sometimes a bit standoffish, but I'm sure he'd talk with you." He trailed off a little then, blushing a little at the realization that perhaps Hibari already HAD spoken with Reborn. Or more. Dino could easily imagine Hibari being the type of man to interest the dark-eyed hitman.

Shockingly though, it was Hibari's blush that rivaled Dino's, his dark lashes quickly falling as he looked away again. "He's never... shown any interest in the Rose's companions," he replied quietly.

"Oh," Dino mouthed, feeling decidedly awkward. "Well, I guess he's never really lacked for-- I mean he's always been kind of a... a... see, he's a great teacher and a great fighter, but he's also... well, kind of a jerk, really. So... yeah. Um. But if you wanted to meet him, I'm sure I could..." Dino trailed off yet again, uncomfortable in the face of what was clearly an infatuation of sorts, embarrassed to be witnessing what were probably very private feelings. It didn't help that he suspected he must have looked very much like this when he entered the Rose to look for Hibari that first time. Smitten.

Hibari shook his head lightly and it seemed to bring him back to himself. "No," he replied simply, firmly. He paused for a long, centering breath and a drink of his cooling tea. "It is kind of you to offer, though."

Dino managed a small, strained sort of smile and finished his tea, setting it aside on the tray beside the bed. The conversation had taken a strange turn, and he wasn't sure how to proceed. Clearly Hibari had some sort of intense interest in Reborn, and since Dino had a connection to the tutor, Hibari might thus want to maintain a connection to him. Still, it was more than a little awkward to realize that the man Dino wanted to know was more interested in the man that Dino had once been... very close to.

Hibari seemed perfectly centered, not one to dwell on emotional trivialities. He set aside his cup as well and generously moved closer, sliding into Dino’s arms and thoroughly distracting him from the strange topic of conversation. Impossibly soft silk shielded the pale skin beneath from Dino’s touch, tempting him.

“When would you like to visit next?”

“When are you next available?” Dino asked immediately.

Hibari snickered. "Be careful, marshal. I'll drain you dry. Your pocketbook, I mean."

"Meals are overrated," Dino teased back. "I can skip a few if it means seeing you more often. Anyway," he continued, arms coming up to wrap around Hibari's trim waist, leaning close to kiss a shoulder. "You're worth it."

"You at least know what to say every now and then," Hibari chuckled. A finger under Dino's chin lightly guided him into a slow, gentle kiss.

Dino hummed happily, a measure of tension leaving his body as Hibari's actions reassured him that he hadn't totally ruined the evening or the mood. "I just tell the truth," he murmured, lips moving against Hibari's, a thrill shivering down his spine at the touch.

Idly, Hibari's fingers slid into his hair, lacing lightly through the recently-washed silky blond. His dark eyes looked over Dino's face, unhurried, as though really looking at him for the first time. As though he hadn't bothered until now.

Dino couldn't help but feel a little bashful at such attention, but he did his best not to look away, to meet Hibari's gaze when it strayed to his eyes, to quirk a small smile. "What are you looking for?" he wondered, hand slipping up Hibari's arm, enjoying the cool slide of the silk.

"Hesitation," Hibari replied. Smirked, breath on Dino's lips. "Fear."

"I think we're beyond hesitation at this point," Dino quipped, reached to tuck a bit of that inky hair behind one ear. "As for fear? Well... maybe I'm a little afraid-- that you might get tired of me too quickly..."

Hibari sank lower into the pillows, into Dino's arms, offering a few more minutes of attention. His own limbs slid around the taller man's neck, loosely curling around the back of his blond head. "I have a feeling you'll be able to keep me entertained.”

Chapter Text

It was a particularly busy night at the Rose, the evening just settling in to let the drinks flow. Most of the town was there, from the drunk doctor harassing women to the flamboyant undertaker who was engaging Ryohei in a card game that seemed in involve the removal of clothes.

Even Mukuro was out on the town, seated to the left of his blond lackey, who seemed nervously to be trying to decide whether to play the two aces he had or to fold them and avoid accidentally beating his boss at cards.

For his part, however, Mukuro seemed in fine spirits, waving Bianchi over and tipping back the drink she offered with no ill side effects.

It must have been a particularly good mood when the brave move on Ken's part earned him winnings without even a scowl. Ken preened happily as Chikusa shuffled the cards. The ranch hand perked at the sound of the saloon doors creaking.

"Hey, hey, master Mukuro, there's the guy I was telling you about," Ken said with sudden delight, pointing over his boss’s shoulder. He wasn't unfamiliar with the noisy deputy, but the blond marshal he had in tow was a new fixture. "The penniless Yank that's fucking Hibari!"

Mukuro turned only slightly in his chair, just enough to look Dino up and down without expressing TOO much interest. He gave an uncomfortably familiar smile and a nod when the blond marshal met his eyes.

"Chikusa," Mukuro hummed, calm, casual, as he turned back to the table and the modest stack of chips still in his possession. "Would you please go upstairs and tell Hibari Kyouya that I'm ready to part generously with my funds?"

There may have been the faintest chink in Chikusa's impenetrable expression at this request, to coax the tiger from its den, but he nodded obediently.

Ken's eyes widened with interest. "You're bringing him down here? Will he even come out?"

"Oh he'll come," Mukuro hummed easily. "He likes my money too much to say no."

Chikusa seemed only slightly shaken when he returned to the table and offered Mukuro the nod that was all that he needed.

Ken squirmed with anticipation in the ominous smug silence of his employer. More than one glance was pulled to the staircase when Hibari appeared, scowling at being forced to descend into the saloon. It wasn't often that he chose to spend time downstairs, especially not on a busy night like this. When he reached Mukuro's table, there was a steaming cup of sake waiting for him. He didn't look at it, or anything else in the room, simply pierced Mukuro with his glare.

"Too lazy to ascend the staircase to fuck now, are you?"

"Oh, I fully intend to do that as well," Mukuro grinned, then turned in his seat and patted his thigh in an invitation that was really an order. "But please, save the dirty talk for your bedroom. You'll embarrass my fragile table companions."

Hibari glared at him for another defiant moment before sinking gracefully into the seat beside Mukuro. "At least let me have a drink first," he sniffed and picked up his sake. He peered disdainfully over the cup at Mukuro's cohorts. "You're actually going to subject me to parlor games with your ranch hands?"

"I'll bet you can tell when someone bluffs, can't you?" Mukuro mused, ignoring the question, but refilling the sake cup once Hibari had drained it. "You're so very skilled at reading people after all..."

"It doesn't take much to read the thoughts of people as simple as animals," Hibari replied, turning his gaze back on Mukuro, on drilling him with slowly burning irritation. But he also slid his chair in closer, palm reaching for the thigh that had just been offered to him. A thumb rubbed along the inseam of Mukuro's expensive, tailored slacks. "Just come upstairs, I'm bored already."

"In a minute, love," Mukuro hummed, catching Hibari by the wrist and pulling him close, hungry for the infuriated flash of eyes and biting mouth that the action would invariably inspire. "Help me play this hand."

A dangerous growl under his breath rewarded him, Hibari bristling as Mukuro reeled him into his lap. Hibari gave in grudgingly and let an arm slide around the other man's neck, if only to steady himself. He offered a disinterested glance at Mukuro's glass-eyed minions and opted to focus his attention elsewhere.

His breath tickled Mukuro's neck, sighing before he offered a sharp nip at the shell of his ear. "I charge a lot more when I have to endure you /with/ your clothes on, you know," Hibari muttered, a hand sliding under Mukuro's waistcoat to rub at his chest -- and let his fingers brush his wallet.

"I'm fully aware of your fees," Mukuro hummed. "Deal.” He nodded to Chikusa, eyes on the deck of cards, ignoring the glances he knew were being cast their way. It was what he wanted, after all. To be seen with Hibari, to be seen half-ignoring the best whore at the Rose, to spend his money making the foreign man angry and uncomfortable.

With a sneer, Hibari shifted in his lap as he settled in for this dull errand. Idly, he let Mukuro's hair slip through his pale fingers, not paying particular attention to the cards being dealt or the envious glare of Mukuro's blond servant. As Mukuro eyed his hand, Hibari's cheek brushed his neck, lips tickling. "What's your game today, monster?" he wondered almost idly, eyes wandering over the cards in Mukuro's grip.

"Five card draw," Mukuro smiled, thumbing his cards in consideration.

Hibari smirked. “Shit hand.”

Mukuro took four of them and tossed them into the center of the table. "With you as my lucky charm, maybe I'll get a better one," he purred, reaching to slide a palm down the small of Hibari's back, then lower, to give him a squeeze he knew would set Hibari's teeth on edge.

He was familiar enough with the coil of the other man's muscle that Mukuro could feel the moment of rage flicker through him. But it only seared briefly, sizzled as Hibari's tongue boldly brought on a hot chill down Mukuro's spine. He nipped at the tender inner shell of his ear, warning. "Exhibition isn't on my menu, you know. Not everyone can have a list of perversions as endless as yours."

"I do like ordering off the menu," Mukuro grinned, reaching around Hibari to pick up his cards, fanning them out between his fingers with a cocky chuckle. "What did I tell you? You give me luck."

"Considering the company you keep, you're /quite/ lucky to have me here," Hibari agreed with a roll of eyes and a clawed squeeze at Mukuro's thigh.

Chikusa cleared his throat awkwardly. "I'll start the bet at fifty cents."

The table put in their bets, and the game moved forward with a casual air unmatched to the interaction between Mukuro and the man in his lap.

 

Across the room, Dino hunched over his drink at the bar, staring, near unblinkingly, with a scowl cutting deep grooves into his brow.

"Voooii. You're gonna break your glass," Squalo said on a harsh laugh and a sneer as he followed Dino's glare across the room. "Hah! What did you think, Cavallone? He's a hooker and there's plenty of cocks to suck around here."

Dino shot Squalo a brief glare, face flushing frustratingly before he jerked his attention back to the drink. He emptied it and passed the glass back to Bianchi. "I know that," he snapped, frowning. "But does it have to be him? That flashy bastard?"

Squalo turned to lean back against the bar and tick off two points on his wooden hand. "One is the priciest whore in town. The other is the richest man in town. So, yeah, guess it does have to be him."

"I don't like him," Dino huffed, laying down another coin for a refill of his drink. "He smiles too much, and his hair... is too long. And he just... flaunts... everything."

"So when are you going to propose?"

"Shut up, jerkface," Dino pouted, reached across the distance between their stools and punched Squalo in the shoulder. "I hate you and you're mean. I'm just saying, Kyouya deserves better than having to entertain THAT guy."

"I think 'Kyouya's' fat wallet would disagree with you," Squalo drawled, unimpressed. As they watched, some moment of extreme irritation made Hibari yank hard at the dandy's ponytail though he only earned laughter for his efforts.

"He'd never speak to me again if I walked over and punched that guy in the face, would he?"

Squalo gave his own bark of startling, cruel laughter. "That whore'd knock you clear across the street, Cavallone, don't kid yourself."

Dino sighed. "Yeah, yeah. You're right. Ugh. Buy me another," he demanded, tapping his empty glass down in front of Squalo.

 

In the parlor, Hibari's cheek rested against Mukuro's soft hair, naked boredom written on his normally inscrutable features. Lazily, without asking, he plucked a card from Mukuro's hand and tossed it into the discard at the center of the table.

"I'm going to be very displeased if you lose your evening's spending money on these idiots," Hibari warned Mukuro, ignoring the bristling growl that Ken tried to catch his eye with.

Mukuro chuckled pleasantly-- a disturbing sort of sound coming from him. "That's what I have you here for, Lucky," he teased. "So you have a vested interest in making sure I win."

Hibari gave him a disgusted curl of lip and waited for the hand to finish. He then pushed Mukuro away and slid back into his own seat, stealing a small stack of Mukuro's chips on the way.

"Deal me in," he told Chikusa. He reached into his robe to retrieve a thin pipe which he turned to Mukuro expectantly for a light.

A few hands later and he'd succeeded in wiping some of the smugness from Mukuro's face, Hibari having accrued at least half of the money on the table.

"I thought you hated these 'vulgar games'," Ken sneered at Hibari from across the table as the blonde man lost another small stack of chips.

"I do," Hibari replied, focus on placing his winnings in neat, tall towers before him. "But I hate seeing him win even more." He'd easily taken from Mukuro through gambling the same as he'd take with his body that evening. Hibari rose and looked at Mukuro expectantly. "Are we done?"

Mukuro smirked just a little darkly, the edge of irritation in his voice. "Sit down. I'm still paying for your time, aren't I?'

Hibari's own features darkened dangerously, the tension in the air suddenly crackling in a way that made Mukuro's underlings fall raptly silent. A fist slammed down on the table and it exploded into a shivering clatter of poker chips and upended glasses.

"Dammit, Mukuro," Hibari snapped, clearly fed up with the dandy's games in every sense of the word. "Keep your money. No price is high enough to endure your insufferable company. If you require my services, you can find me /upstairs/."

He then turned gracefully and violently kicked his empty chair out of the way, smashing it into several pieces against a nearby supporting pillar. And without another glance around, he stormed up the stairs and his door slammed.

From the bar, Squalo raised an arguably impressed brow, glancing askance at the marshal. Dino, more than a little drunk, snorted happily and flipped Mukuro off when he wasn't looking.

Back at the young crime lord's table, Mukuro had taken Ken's handkerchief and was wiping at the alcohol that had spattered his hands. "What a tantrum," he muttered, shaking his head. "That boy has no patience for the concept of delayed gratification."

"He doesn't know /anything/ about obedience, either," Ken agreed eagerly, jumping on the rare opportunity to bad mouth Hibari. Meanwhile he was not-so-surreptitiously digging into the damp pile of poker chips Hibari had left behind.

Mukuro didn't seem to care, or at least didn't reprimand him for it, distracted as he was by the the departed Hibari. He frowned up at the balcony, rubbed at his chin. "I suppose I should make him wait a bit. So as not to appear eager," he mused.

"Or not even go up at all tonight," Ken added, trying his best to sound intellectual.

"Don't be jealous," Chikusa spoke up from the other side of the table, his words matter of fact, rather than critical.

Ken curled his lip in a sneer at the other man, rebellious. "Look, our master just deserves a better acting whore! That guy's a pain and he doesn't even listen!" He pouted, avoiding Mukuro's eyes as he pawed at the mess on their table, picking up a damp ace. "He ruined our cards."

"He's a jerk, yeah, but he fucks well." Chikusa shrugged, then stood from the table to retrieve a towel from the bar.

Ken sputtered, flabbergasted after him. "Well--he--" There wasn't much way to recover from that.

At the bar, Yamamoto offered Chikusa a somewhat beleaguered smile and a clean towel. Mukuro's dark haired companion paused for the briefest moment, meeting Dino's eyes from behind his spectacles. For that breath he was as impossible to read, gaze darting over the marshal once before turning away to return to his employer.

"Why don't you have a drink first?" Chikusa suggested while he went about cleaning up the table around Mukuro. "Before you allow him to entertain you tonight."

Mukuro sighed, self-pityingly. "I suppose I deserve something nice for my trouble," he mused and left his minions to clean up the table and dispose of their soiled cards.

Yamamoto gave Mukuro a cautious smile as he joined the small assembly at the bar. "Give me the best bottle of wine you have around here," Mukuro told him, settling with a flourishing gesture. "I'll take the remainder up when I join him."

Yamamoto rummaged beneath the counter briefly before serving up the wine for Mukuro's examination. With his approval, Yamamoto worked the cork free.

"Your whore's pretty rowdy tonight, Rokudo," Squalo said, tilting his hat lower over his eyes, between Dino and the cattle baron.

"He appreciates a man who doesn't bore him," Mukuro explained, eyes flicking to Squalo, then to the marshal briefly. "Might want to bring down that silver-haired whore with the filthy mouth," he added, addressing the suggestion to Yamamoto. "Have him play your piano real loud for a while." A wink.

Yamamoto gave him a humoring chuckle. "Generally your companions provide plenty of distracting noise when you visit us, Mr. Mukuro," he said cheerfully. He poured a glass of richly red wine and recorked the bottle, leaving it with an extra glass for Mukuro. "Unless you'd like me to keep Ken entertained while you're enjoying your evening...?"

Mukuro shrugged, sipping at the wine. "Worse things to spend his allowance on. If you can put up with him for an evening, feel free to offer your services."

Squalo turned his gaze on Yamamoto with a disbelieving sneer. "You're fucking this guy's mangey dog?"

Mukuro gave a whistle and from the parlor, Ken perked up from behind a high backed chair. He had little dignity in rushing to his master's side in bounds that carried him into the bar. His face lit up as he met eyes with Yamamoto and flung himself into a barstool. "Hey!" he greeted Yamamoto cheerfully.

"Hi, Ken," Yamamoto smiled pleasantly, reaching across the bar to touch his hand briefly before pulling out a glass and pouring Ken two fingers of whiskey.

"This nice young man has an offer for you, Ken," Mukuro hummed over the lip of his wineglass.

Ken's attention turned on Yamamoto raptly with a somewhat smitten grin. "Yeah?"

"Would you like to join me upstairs when Mr. Mukuro retires for the night? Get in a little practice?" He returned Ken's smile with his own easy one.

"Yeah!" Ken said instantly, enthusiastically. Then glanced immediately to Mukuro. "Is it okay?"

Mukuro waved a dismissive hand, the other cradling his wine glass gracefully. "Send me the tab," he told Yamamoto.

Unnoticed or ignored beside them at the bar there was a palpable sense of seething disgust as Squalo watched Yamamoto fawn over Mukuro's eager, dimwitted pet. He said nothing though, just gripped at his glass.

When he tore his dagger gaze away from them, Squalo's eyes instead met Dino's. The marshal was giving him the cockiest look, lips pressed together, brow raised as though to say "See? Doesn't feel so great, does it?" A hairline crack snapped down the side of Squalo's tightly-clutched glass.

"Master Mukuro is the best boss in the whole world," Ken was bleating, eyes watery with the sort of affection Squalo found particularly revolting.

Mukuro gave him a little pat on the cheek before Yamamoto took the liberty of leading him toward the stairs, a friendly arm tossed around the shorter man's shoulders. The dandy then took his time at the bar with a relaxed sigh as he savored his wine and let Hibari wonder if he was going to bother coming up at all that night.

 

When the cheerful rap finally came at Hibari's door, after a moment it snapped open and Mukuro was greeted with the Japanese man's deadliest scowl, arms folded tightly. He said nothing.

"I've brought wine," Mukuro announced cheerfully, and brushed past Hibari into the room.

Hibari gave an irritated sigh and kicked his door shut violently. He stepped past Mukuro and before he could reach the bureau, snatched the bottle and glass out of his hand to pour himself a large serving of wine before thunking the bottle loudly down on the top of a dresser. "As though this excuses your appalling behavior," he sneered and sank with impossible grace into a chaise with wine glass in hand.

"Lucky for you, I didn't lose all my funds at the poker table tonight," Mukuro spoke, shrugging out of his overcoat and laying it across the back of a chair before joining Hibari, lifting his legs to slide under them.

Hibari allowed it, settling with his legs stretched out over Mukuro's lap while he drained a fair amount of his glass before relaxing somewhat. He didn't bother replacing the slide of his robe that revealed a sliver of pale thigh. "Very nearly though, hm?" Hibari responded smugly.

"You're skilled in many things," Mukuro agreed with a small smirk.

Hibari answered him with a condescending yet somewhat satisfied chuckle and took his time in finishing the rest of his drink. "Undress," he sighed, with a wave of his hand. "You've already made my evening quite long as it is."

"I hope you aren't tired already," Mukuro hummed, though he was already unbuttoning his shirt. "Tell me about this new marshal in town. I hear he's taken an interest in you."

The courtesan's gaze snapped to him with those words, features hardening and jaw setting. "And how is that in any way your business?" he demanded icily.

"Everything that happens in this town is my business," Mukuro hissed back, words equally sharp-edged. "This town belongs to me." A pause. "I also have a vested interest in making sure you aren't spread... too thin."

Appearing to barely be listening to him, Hibari finished off his glass and shifted from Mukuro's lap. He set aside his empty glass and lazily returned to where his customer was half-undressed. A hand snapped out, landing solidly on Mukuro's bare chest and slamming him into the sturdy foot board the chaise was against.

"Are you daring to question my stamina and abilities?" he asked, deadly eyes staring into Mukuro's haunting ones, close enough to feel his breath.

"I question everything about you," Mukuro hissed. "You are an enigma. A mysterious violence wrapped in silk. When you are angry, it makes me desperate for you. I can never decide if I want to break you or to be broken by you. Show me what you're best at."

There was a tightening of tension with Mukuro's raw, unabashed words, Hibari taking a slow, deep breath in. His hand slid up Mukuro's chest and throat until it came to rest there, letting the bob of it settle in the curve of his thumb which pressed uncomfortably. "You're completely impossible," he growled. Hibari's knees found the seat on either side of Mukuro's thighs, forcing him to look up as Hibari rose above him. "Maybe tonight I'll finally fuck some sense into you."

"All we can do is try," Mukuro answered, swallowing against the push of Hibari's hand. "You might have to get rough with me. You know I have a problem accepting someone else's authority." He reached out to slide both hands under Hibari's robes, pushing them back from his lap, giving him a pleasing view of bare skin. "And you're so skinny... how you can dominate anyone is the biggest mystery."

Hibari sneered down at him, upright on his knees over Mukuro's lap. With no preamble, he grabbed for a fistful of long, inky hair and shoved Mukuro down, forcing him to half slide off the chaise. Meanwhile his other hand tugged off the sash from Hibari's waist, letting his robe fall open and reveal him entirely. Hibari yanked him roughly to his soft dick and growled, "Stop your yammering and suck my cock."

Mukuro groaned a half-hearted protest, sliding to his knees, chaise edge pressed painfully into the curve of his back. He gripped at Hibari's thighs, fingertips just rough enough to mark, but not enough to leave bruises later. "You smell like sweat," he hummed, nosing at the soft warm skin, lips brushing the seam of Hibari's sac. "Did you fuck anyone else today?"

He was guided with a firm hand, Hibari watching as he let his faintly stirring cock slide obscenely over Mukuro's lips. "I suppose you'll never know," Hibari told him with mock-sympathy for Mukuro's persistent curiosity. His fingernails dug at the back of Mukuro's scalp. "You best not hold back, monster. But don't worry, I'll have plenty of stamina to fuck you flat even if somehow you manage to make me come."

Mukuro groaned, rocking in close, hand spreading up Hibari's back as his hot breath washed over Hibari's disinterested cock. "Don't tease," he whined, then opened his mouth for Hibari's dick, sucking and licking and nuzzling with enthusiasm.

He slid readily onto Mukuro's longing tongue and though Hibari was a vision of apathy, his arousal was quick to stir, perhaps from habit or hurry or grudging desire. He used Mukuro's mouth as a tool, pulling his hair to please himself as he began to fill Mukuro's mouth in earnest.

"That's better..." Hibari hummed, watching himself slide through Mukuro's lips. Pushing in deep, holding him there to steal the delicate velvet at the back of his throat. "Nice and quiet..."

Mukuro hummed in wordless approval, both hands settling on Hibari's hips, not to control his motions, but simply to feel them. He took Hibari in eagerly, small sounds slipping from the back of his throat each time Hibari pulled back. The more he worked, the more enthusiastic he got, until his teeth scraped just a little.

A dark, delicate growl rewarded him and Hibari's hand wandered under his jaw to press again at the bob of his throat, to feel him swallow and shiver convulsively around his cock. He slowed down, pulling long strokes along Mukuro's lashing licks until pulling out enough to rub his head against Mukuro's wanting, extended tongue.

"Such a filthy slut," Hibari hissed and pushed in again, now full and hot as he claimed Mukuro's mouth.

"Devilish temptation," Mukuro mumbled when Hibari pulled back again. His lips were slick and shining with spit and precum and his eyes told Hibari he was hungry for it.

A soft, sinister chuckle was a satisfied, amused sound, Hibari's lips pursing in a smirk. "Suck," he commanded.

He left off his control to instead let Mukuro prove how much he wanted it, hips and grip stilling to let Mukuro's hands at his back and hips guide him to let the man worship, beg for his cock. Hibari's head fell back in a delighted sigh, letting Mukuro's silky tail of hair sift through his fingers.

And Mukuro jumped at the challenge, bobbing his head with gusto, clinging to Hibari's hips like his life depended on it, and swallowed Hibari's cock like he was starved for it. Despite his energy, Mukuro proved to be rather skilled, both with tongue and lips, and the way his dark lashes lay across flushed cheeks was, Hibari had to admit, an attractive vision.

Hibari sucked in a sharp breath, reaching out for the footboard of the bed for support. His body arched pleasingly, tongue between his lips as he watched Mukuro's lurid desperation devour his cock. His free hand wandered, feeling the tension in Mukuro's neck and throat, fingers playing over his shoulder and soaking in the way his entire body went into the task.

He let Mukuro thoroughly prove himself until again he was gripping at dark hair, pushing deeper down his throat as Hibari's breath began to pick up. But the moment there was a flicker of joy through Mukuro, of anticipation at the chink in Hibari's armor, he pulled out and stepped back. Leaving Mukuro to sink all the way to the floor, left only in his trousers, Hibari crossed the room and retrieved a bottle which he tossed to Mukuro.

"Prepare yourself and get ready to ride," he demanded.

Mukuro obeyed instantly, pulling himself up on the chaise to climb out of his trousers, full cock bouncing up to slap at his bare stomach. In a moment he was entirely naked and he carried the bottle to the side of Hibari's bed, laying down on the immaculate sheets and spreading his legs.

Hibari busied himself with pouring a second glass of wine, robe open and cock full. He leaned back against the chest of drawers to take in the sight of his client so obediently sliding slick fingers into himself. Hibari opened a drawer, tossed a glass phallus onto the bed beside Mukuro and settled back to enjoy his drink and the view.

Mukuro paused in his attentions, sitting up briefly to pick up the shaped glass, shiny and clear with a ribbon of gold shot through. "Sometimes I wonder if you must be wealthier than me," he huffed, then fell silent as he slipped the glass into his mouth, to slick it with saliva.

Hibari's smirk was genuinely amused as he watched Mukuro's saliva drip down the twisted glass. "Moreso with each visit," he chuckled. He sipped at his wine without hurry, licking a stray drop from his lips as he was served a fine view, the glass toy sliding into Mukuro's ready body.

Mukuro's breaths came shallowly, his toes braced in the bedsheets as he lifted his hips, found the right angle to fill himself with Hibari's toy. "Do you like to watch?" he wondered, words breathy and catching. "Or do just hate touching me that much?" He laughed a little ruefully.

"Must I choose one?" Hibari hummed and swirled his drink for a breath before finishing it off. He set it aside then to join Mukuro on the sheets and shooed his hands away to take the base of the toy in his own. He pillowed his cheek on one palm as he fucked Mukuro with the toy in long, powerful thrusts.

"Fuck,” Mukuro groaned, pressing his head back into the pillows, baring his throat, and breathing through his teeth. "Fuck you. You're a shit-- you're a shitty fuck."

At this, Hibari laughed, a particularly cruel grin on his lips. "Is that so? And yet you continue to pour your funds into me." He eased closer to taste that pale arch, sucking at Mukuro's pulse enough to mark as he ground the phallus expertly at his most sensitive places.

"You're the only person I know who isn't afraid of me," Mukuro hissed, reaching up to grab for Hibari's neck, scraping his nails through slick black hair. "And no one else would believe you even if you told them what we do here."

“And I have no desire to share that information with anyone," Hibari replied with disinterest, pulling back to watch Mukuro's face as he slid the toy from his body and set it aside.

It wasn't as though each encounter was the same, that there weren't nights that the tables were turned, when Mukuro had the upper hand. Hibari would have cared no more for any of their cohorts to know of the nights when he allowed Mukuro to mark him, gave him a moment's claim and let Mukuro fuck the breath from him.

But tonight control was Hibari's and he wasted little time in hauling Mukuro closer, rolling onto his back and dragging the flushed dandy over him. His hands were hard, forceful and far too expert when he arranged them, fingers trailing over intimate places only once before pushing into Mukuro's body. Mercilessly, he took both hips and pulled Mukuro down onto his cock, his own hips grinding up to fill him completely. Smug, smoldering pleasure watched Mukuro's face when a palm slapped hard at the clammy skin where rump met thigh, the sharp sound and sting promising a lasting, red hand print.

"Now, ride," Hibari commanded in a purr.

"Fuck," Mukuro hissed, and he arched his back, chin dropping to his chest as he began to move, fast at first, without rhythm-- a punishing pace that wrenched breathy whimpers from his own throat.

A vaguely surprised grunt echoed him, Hibari's thumbs digging hard at the points of Mukuro's hips. He let Mukuro take the pace though, hips bumping up to meet each of his erratic, brutal rocks onto his cock. He delighted in how undone Mukuro already was, such a flustered mess compared to the slick, put together creature that had tried to lay public claim to him an hour ago.

Leaving him to take Hibari's cock, the whore lifted a hand to his lips and let Mukuro watch as he licked his palm until it was wet and slick. That grip of slippery, dove-soft skin wrapped around Mukuro's cock and stroked him tight and hard but slow, ignoring the rhythm of Mukuro's thrusts.

"Need to _feel_ it," Mukuro growled, rocking hard and deep, shuddering bodily when Hibari took him in hand. He curled forward now, knees spread, heels digging into the sheets. He didn't seem to feel any shame about his change of face, comfortable enough with Hibari's policies of silence to take exactly what he wanted, what he needed, from the man beneath him. "Fuck me."

"Nngh," Hibari growled back, stroking harder, faster at Mukuro's cock, hardly unaffected. For a few breaths, he indulged in watching his desperation, in challenging him to last through the rough, fast motion of Hibari’s hand. Hibari lifted a hand to touch Mukuro's face, palming his cheek and letting a thumb slip past his lips. A growl rumbled deep in his chest as Mukuro sucked at it readily, bit faintly as Hibari pet his tongue and felt his stifled moans shiver there.

Then suddenly his pleasing touches stopped and he grabbed again for Mukuro's hips to yank him to Hibari's desires. Effortlessly he flipped them over and Mukuro found himself on his back, thighs wide as Hibari drove deep into him. Deftly, Hibari caught the dandy's wrists and pressed them to the bed beside his hips, Hibari's hands clamped around them, pressing him to the mattress. The position nearly bent Mukuro double and let Hibari use that grip as leverage when he slammed into Mukuro with an open, hungry panther's growl.

Mukuro adjusted quickly, letting his hips relax, his legs bent over Hibari's arms, heels just brushing the sheets as they rocked. "Yeah," he groaned. "Fuck..." He watched Hibari drive into him, eyes hooded and face hot, the flush of arousal prickling from face down to his navel. "Come on," he urged, lifted a leg to hook his knee over Hibari's shoulder.

There was a satisfied, predatory gleam in Hibari's eye, his gaze raking greedily over Mukuro's utterly prostrated body that shivered with his power. There was an approving hum as Mukuro's shift let him press as deep as possible, made it easy to yank back and slam in again. Hibari turned his head to bite hard at Mukuro's calf, leaving a dark bruise in his wake. The grip on his wrists wrenched Mukuro's frame further, drawing his shoulder blades down and together, forcing his back into an arch as Hibari used this as leverage to yank Mukuro ever harder onto his cock.

Mukuro cried out as Hibari bit him again, just a few inches away from the first mark. "Please..!" he groaned, panted, flexing his trapped fingers, squirming to try and get closer, get him deeper.

It was to the pull of his own body rather than Mukuro's begging that sped the snap of Hibari's hips but in either case, a rough passion swelled from him that crashed into Mukuro. He devoured the sight of Mukuro twisted to his liking, flushed and sweating and pleading, long hair strewn and matted beneath him. Hibari's brutality pounded him into the mattress until he grew tired of Mukuro's squirming efforts to contribute.

Hibari released his wrists at last, giving him back some mobility but instead he grabbed for Mukuro's hips to hold him firmly in place for Hibari to fuck mercilessly. Another slap cracked through the room, leaving a matching smarting print on the other side of Mukuro's ass.

"Touch yourself, you cockslut," Hibari hissed.

Mukuro didn't waste time answering, just fumbled quickly for his cock and stroked it roughly back to full hardness. Precome dripped down his knuckles and his skin sang where Hibari's teeth and palms had marked it.

"Yes," Hibari breathed. "Like that..." With Mukuro's leg still hiked on his shoulder, the other around his waist, it was delightfully easy to plow into him, nails digging crescents into Mukuro's pale hips. "Don't you dare hold back," he ordered, breath hitching as he took Mukuro's body entirely for himself. The bed shook with his efforts, his eyes bright and dangerous and starving as he watched Mukuro yank himself toward release.

"Who's... holding... back?" Mukuro huffed each word between thrusts, voice muffled with the angle of his neck, the motion of his body as Hibari fucked into him relentlessly, perfectly. "Fight me, whore," he choked, the words trailing off into a moan as he gripped tight the base of his cock, fighting back the building wave of pleasure.

Hibari bared his teeth in a dark grin, for a moment slowing the pace for a few long, jarring, deep thrusts, yanking Mukuro's hips just so. As unpredictable as he was, Hibari knew his body well at this point, knew how to unravel Mukuro utterly once he had the upper hand. "I've already won," he hissed back.

"Then claim your fuckin' prize," Mukuro spat, breaths shallow, face red with exertion, hair a mess, plastered to his sweaty brow. "Make me yours."

Hibari gave a huff of laughter, his breath now brought to quiet pants. "Very well," he purred back and suddenly yanked out. Without losing their position, he dragged Mukuro across the bed, leaving his long hair like an inky blood trail across it. With one knee on the corner of the bed and the other foot planted on the floor, he had the utmost leverage and thrust to twist Mukuro to his pleasing.

"Keep your hand on your cock," Hibari demanded. He was flushed, sweat beaded on his brow in spite of his outward control. Then with a deep, centering breath, he closed his eyes and sank in again. His breath was a low growl, his brow tight as he laid into Mukuro again with jarring, fast thrusts.

With slit eyes, Hibari watched the body beneath him. He didn't hide the swell of his pleasure from Mukuro and drank in the vision of his submission. It was delicious to know that no matter who the man fucked, it'd never be as good as this, where he paid for domination and humiliation from a man who disdained him.

"Do it," Mukuro hissed, yanking at his own dick with a rough, careless hand. "Come in me. Use me." His voice was deep, a choked sound in a throat tight with effort and, debatably, emotion. He leaked over his fingers, thin threads of precome dripping to his bare and taxed abdomen. He would be sore, and more than a little raw tomorrow, but Mukuro wasn't thinking about tomorrow. He wasn't thinking about anything but how to get Hibari to make him feel exactly what he wanted to feel. "You like power," he hissed, coughed. "So take it out of me." His eyes, wide, met Hibari's and for an instant he could have sworn he saw Mukuro's good eye flash red. "DO IT."

He met those desperate eyes, panting through Mukuro's manic demands. "Shut up," Hibari finally snapped and one hand released a pale hip to deliver a brief, sharp slap to Mukuro's jaw before lashing out for his throat. He bent Mukuro double, his weight cutting the breath from his throat as he slammed his arousal through the man's frame.

"Shut up and take it," he managed to growl before he was lost in stifling gasps and his fingers shuddered against Mukuro's throat. Hibari fought the urge to clamp his eyes closed, instead watching Mukuro's face redden as he released as deep as possible inside him. He held nothing back in the passion of his orgasm, grinding hard and snarling with his final pulse.

He was still in the grip of it when he let Mukuro have a breath and Hibari's shining eyes pierced him when he hissed, "Fucking come," and clamped back down again.

In that brief moment, Mukuro gasped a sharp, sudden breath, bringing just a little color back into his ashy lips before Hibari was at his throat again, sweet pressure pushing Mukuro to the edge of panic and pleasure. His eyes felt hot, his skin burned with imagined fever, every sensation distilled down to Hibari's fingers around his neck. Every other sense faded out to only the sight of Hibari's eyes drilling into his. He almost didn't notice when his body tipped him past the point of climax, slamming into him like the ground would if he'd jumped off the roof of this building. Then all at once it caught up with him, and he choked, tried to shout, leaned upward into Hibari's grip as he came in thick spurts up across his chest.

"Yesss," Hibari hissed, shivering in the tight grip of Mukuro's earth-shaking climax, still deep inside and riding out shuddering aftershocks of his own. He held on for just one more of his own breaths before releasing the man's throat, letting oxygen flood his lungs in spite of the temptation to simply hold on a beat or two longer.

Only a little shakily, he eased back to let Mukuro's frame unwind, letting him arch blindly through the last dripping pulses of orgasm. Huffing with breath, Hibari slid free and fell to his palms over Mukuro, a knee between his thighs. He watched with hooded eyes, sweat starting to cool, as Mukuro's color and breath returned to him and climax drained away.

"Not bad, monster," Hibari hummed and lifted one hand to take Mukuro's jaw lightly, thumb brushing over still-stinging welts.

Mukuro couldn't seem to find his voice for a long beat, or perhaps he was choosing to ignore the condescension in Hibari's words. But finally, he let his head roll into Hibari's touch and met his eyes with a strange mix of gratitude and scorn. "Takes one to fuck one," he croaked out through a bruised larynx.

His response was a rare, genuine laugh and Hibari sank down to lay beside Mukuro and stretch his taxed muscles. If nothing else, this man was a good workout. He let the blood start to flow to Mukuro's brain without comment for the moment. His own breath slowed as he raked an inspection over Mukuro's flushed, damp body and took stock of the marks mapped out over all of his pale skin. His jaw, his throat, hips with fingertip bruises and nail bites. Teeth on his calves and thumbs on his wrists. With any luck, he'd be too sore to fuck for a week.

Mukuro was perfectly content to lay there in peaceful quiet, letting his breathing return to normal, and the blue drain from his lips. As he came back to himself, the little reminders that Hibari had left him began to ache or throb or itch, and he groaned, stretched, and reveled in the sensation that reminded him he not only existed, but was painfully, gleefully alive.

Poised with his chin in a palm, Hibari let his body relax and thoroughly come down, grateful for Mukuro's blessed silence. Perhaps he'd have to choke him more often. Peacefully, Hibari let his fingertips trail once over the welts on Mukuro's long, pale throat and then he sat up and slid from the bed. The silk of his robe slipped back onto Hibari's shoulders as he crossed the room and poured himself a glass of water and took his time drinking it. He then poured another and returned to Mukuro with it offered. The dandy hummed in appreciation, eyes slipping closed briefly with the cool relief on his parched tongue.

Hibari left him to return to himself, to recover from nearly passing out and leisurely took the time to clean himself up at the bureau. When he returned to the bedside, robe tied closed once more, he had a basin and cloth for Mukuro which he left on the table. He then moved to the chaise at the end of the bed, thoroughly relaxed as he settled in with his pipe, smoke swirling from past the footboard.

Mukuro's quiet lasted while he took up the cloth and wet it with the cool water. He shivered at its touch as he wiped himself down, washing away sweat and spit and come, but leaving teeth marks and bruises in delicious, secret places that would be hidden by his clothing when he dressed again. For the moment he seemed to have little interest in dressing, only raked his fingers through the tangle of his hair, retying it as best he could without a comb. Then he joined Hibari on the chaise, still naked, and gestured for him to share the pipe.

He handed it over easily, shifting to make room for Mukuro to join him on the chaise. "No stitches needed?" he wondered with lazy curiosity. "No iodine?"

"You went easy on me this time," Mukuro whispered, not quite able to speak at a normal volume yet. He took a hit off the pipe gratefully, sucking the smoke slowly into his lungs, savoring the mild burn, the spirals that slipped from his lips a moment later.

Hibari chuckled, leaving the pipe in Mukuro's fingers for the moment as he lazed against the textured silk of the chaise. He idly watched the smoke pour from Mukuro's lips, let his legs stretch out over the other man's naked lap. Finally he requested his pipe back and melted into the embrace of fine furniture, letting the delightful tug of opium laced tobacco unwind him utterly.

He was patient enough that night to allow Mukuro to linger, in spite of the fact that the dandy's antics had made it a particularly late evening for Hibari. But eventually he did complain, prodding Mukuro back into his clothes. Hibari moved to the bed, lounging in his pillows as Mukuro dressed.

"I've heard them chattering here about how you're having that gangly fool of a whore 'train' your idiot stablehand," Hibari said conversationally. "Are you actually planning to fuck him or just toying with him?"

Mukuro shrugged as he buttoned up his shirt, taking his time, but not dallying enough for Hibari to call him on it. "Depends on how well he trains him, I suppose." His collar was, conveniently, fashionably tall and effectively hid most of the marks of their activities. What redness did show was subtle, and only noticeable if one was looking for it. "It's good for his self esteem," he added with a smirk.

Hibari just looked at him with scoffing disbelief. "You truly have too much money on your hands," he said with a shake of head.

"I'm always willing to be convinced of how to part with it," Mukuro reminded him. He stood before the mirror at Hibari’s bureau to inspect himself and fix his hair with the silver comb that waited for him. When pleased with his appearance, he pulled his overcoat back on and straightened each sleeve with a practiced tug.

"Luckily there are so many ways," Hibari replied with a vague roll of eyes. He slid from the bed to approach Mukuro and slide a hand under his coat to pluck free his wallet. He removed a thick selection of bills which he tucked into his own robe and replaced the wallet before helpfully buttoning Mukuro's waistcoat.

"Buy yourself something nice," Mukuro hummed, then caught Hibari by the jaw and pulled him into a brief, but hungry kiss. He allowed it, even returned it faintly before he was shooing Mukuro out of his room petulantly. When ushered into the halls, Mukuro was somehow just as put together as when he'd entered, in spite of his state moments ago.

Chapter Text

Whenever Mukuro showed up before noon, it sent a defensive shudder through the Vongola Rose. It meant business that usually ended in something getting broken and/or someone getting hurt. So when the dandy appeared at the front door at 11:00 AM wearing a crisp top hat, both Gokudera and Tsuna froze at their place at the bar where they were discussing the newspaper. His towheaded ranch hand trailed him but as soon as they entered, Mukuro gave a sharp snap of fingers and Ken gave the proprietors a baleful look before taking his leave to the parlor.

"Mister Mukuro!" Tsuna greeted after he stumbled from his perch atop a bar stool. "You're here early -- did you decide to come into town for some breakfast? I can fetch Bianchi right away--"

Mukuro waved dismissively, removing his hat as he joined them at the bar. "I'm not here for eggs," he interrupted, eyes scanning the room idly, almost lazily. He passed over Gokudera’s sneering face as though he were part of the furniture. "I came to speak to you." At the last word, his gaze snapped to Tsuna's face, locking eyes with the smaller man. His lips curled into a thin smile.

"Oh-- I see," Tsuna hemmed, a sense of dread gripping his stomach suddenly. He cleared his throat awkwardly. "Would you care to join me on the sofa? I'll have Gokudera make some coffee."

Mukuro reached out to rest his hand on Tsuna's shoulder before he could turn away. He didn't grab or dig his fingertips in, but nonetheless there was a power in his touch that made Tsuna feel rooted to the spot. "Privately," Mukuro clarified.

"Oh," Tsuna said again, gripped by Mukuro's rather terrifying presence and the way that he made his gaze inescapable. He swallowed and nodded, finally able to shake himself into movement. "My office?"

Gokudera’s suspicious scowl followed them as they left the saloon. Tsuna managed not to wring his hands as he led Mukuro up the stairs to the private room next door to his bed chambers that served as his office. The room was simple but rich in design -- the Vongola family certainly wasn't poor.

Mukuro was still smiling as the door slipped shut behind them with a soft click. "You may offer me a drink," he spoke, crossing the rich throw rug to settle into a plush lounger, crossing his legs at the knee, leaning forward just a little. His eyes made Tsuna think of a mountain lion's.

He considered pointing out that it was 11:00 AM but whatever response Mukuro might have come up with made it seem hardly worth it. "Of course," he said with a nervous laugh and he hurried to the bar near window. “A scotch perhaps? Or brandy?"

"Whatever you like," Mukuro answered smoothly. "After all, we're here to toast your new-found romantic independence."

With his back to Mukuro, Tsuna froze before the bar, a chill racing up his spine and shivering through his scalp. He grabbed for the scotch and poured a serving. He hadn't been planning to pour a drink for himself and in the moment he was very torn. On the one hand, he didn't want to play into Mukuro's coy mind games. On the other hand, he had a feeling he was going to need that drink in his system very soon. So when he turned back to Mukuro with a tremulous but also chagrined smile, it was with two drinks in his hands. "News gets around in Wavewood."

"I have little birds almost everywhere," Mukuro agreed, words teasing, but Tsuna believed in the truth behind them. He tilted his head then, curiously, the motion more animal than human. "Your heart appears to be intact," he observed, looking Tsuna up and down as though he could read his love life in the minute shift and twitch of fingers, feet, shoulders. "You're a stronger man than most would first guess."

Tsuna frowned at him, standing awkwardly for a moment once he handed over Mukuro's drink. He finally sank into the chaise that sat adjacent to Mukuro's seat and allowed himself a hearty swallow of scotch.

"It wasn't much of a surprise," he answered, surprising himself with how even his voice came out. "She applied to the school a number of weeks ago. We didn't really believe she'd be accepted... The first woman at the academy, you know."

"An accomplished young lady," Mukuro agreed. "I'm certain she'll go far in her field." A pause, as he swirled the liquor in his glass. "In the meantime... you're here. Lord and master of your small domain."

"Mm," Tsuna agreed blandly, as though he hadn't really heard. He kept his eyes on the amber in his glass. He mostly held off a sigh and said, "I'm fortunate to have my friends here."

"Indeed," Mukuro agreed mildly, then sipped at his drink. "A whole house of friends to keep you from becoming too... lonely."

Tsuna turned a petulant scowl on him, cheeks instantly turning red. "You know I don't partake of the services of the house."

"A shame," Mukuro answered easily, unsurprised. He reached up then, loosening the knot of his tie, tugging free the top button of his starched white shirt, somehow free from the smudges of red dirt that colored almost every resident of the town. "I admire a man who can remain unmoved in the midst of so much temptation."

Tsuna looked away from him with his scowl in place but he didn't speak up to deny the implication. "And of you, Mister Mukuro? Did you come today to speak to me about my house's temptations or simply to drill me about my love life?"

"Can a man not have more than a single motivation to visit a... friend?" Mukuro wondered.

There was a distinct ripple of apprehension at Mukuro's words, Tsuna tensing a bit but lifting his gaze to meet Mukuro's eyes. But then he looked at Mukuro for a long moment, a frown tugging as he seemed to read clues that might have been somewhat more obvious than Tsuna realized. "You came here to proposition /me/, didn't you?"

Mukuro lifted an innocent hand, drank from his glass, then set it aside. "Nothing so crude," he swore, though without much determination. "I came here to make an offer... though I find myself more than willing to put aside business for the moment..." He stood, stepped up to Tsuna's chair, looked down at him with unblinking, evident interest. "...if it means getting to know a man like you just a little better." He leaned close, one arm lifting past Tsuna's shoulder to rest long fingers on the back of his seat -- a cage, undoubtedly, but one Tsuna could easily escape if he wished.

Tsuna stared up at him with wide eyes, his back pressed to his seat stiffly but he didn't make a run. "I'm not anything special," he insisted, seeming troubled or frustrated. "Is Hibari-san not providing you adequate service, Mister Mukuro?" There was perhaps the tiniest hint of playful teasing in the words.

"One does get tired of fucking whores and subordinates," Mukuro shrugged, with his free hand reaching to hook a single finger under the hem of Tsuna's vest. "Once in awhile, one likes to spend time with a man of some... stature." He smirked. "I've seen you fight. I know you're more than the wilting, stuttering boy you let everyone believe you are."

The young Vongola's face went through a series of emotions, from surprise to embarrassment to indignant and ended with him sputtering. But that piercing gaze now holding him in place kept him from much protest -- particularly with how distracted and startled he was with the brush of fingers sliding between the layers of his clothes.

"That's quite -- flattering, I suppose," Tsuna managed. He set his hand on Mukuro's wrist lightly, not pulling him away. It wasn't the first time this sort of thing had been implied. Though he played the part of the gentleman dandy quite well, Tsuna had felt more often than not the man's predatory eyes on him when together. And he would be fooling himself to think that there wasn't a tiny part of him that was excited by it and the lewd implications that at times were found under Mukuro's flowery vocabulary. For a frozen moment, he hesitated with warm fingers around Mukuro's wrist.

"I meant it to be," Mukuro agreed, eyes darting to the touch at his wrist, then back to Tsuna's face with a small smile. "You interest me," he added, moving closer, close enough to feel the hot huff of a laugh against his cheek. "You might despise me, but I know I interest you, too."

"Despise is a strong word," Tsuna heard himself say, non-confrontational and trusting to a fault. Mukuro though... he was so difficult to read that it seemed impossible to trust him. But Tsuna found himself entranced by the dandy's haunting appearance and by the predator's hunger that held him down. His thumb dug faintly at the tendon in Mukuro's wrist, his touch having grown to a tight grip at some point.

"I'm pleased to hear you say that," Mukuro hummed, then lifted his wrist, and Tsuna's hand along with it, to kiss at the younger man's pale knuckles. "All I'm offering is an opportunity." He gently pried Tsuna's fingers loose to kiss their tips, one after the other. "To explore your... curiosity."

Silently, Tsuna watched the soft brush of Mukuro's lips across his hand, unconsciously chewing at his lower lip. He was barely aware of the way his breath came just a little faster, just a little shuddering. But what he was aware of was the heat bubbling up in his center, of the tightening in his chest that came with this wholly unexpected scenario.

In the life he led, it was of course impossible for such thoughts not to pass his mind from time to time. After all, he was more than unusually aware of the fact that many of his friends were fucking, whether he had himself facilitated the business or he had merely heard or stumbled upon less business-oriented liaisons. It wasn't as though he didn't know he could be... privy to such activities if he so desired. Yamamoto had said as much on occasion in his sweet, innocent way (amending of course, if it weren't for Kyoko.)

But that was it -- if it weren't for Kyoko. Which was no longer a barrier and with the mourning period passing, he would be fooling himself if he denied how his thoughts had wandered to such matters lately. And as he watched Mukuro's lips move to his wrist, kissing there tenderly and speaking of his curiosity... Tsuna felt his breath slow with a hot temptation that boiled in his middle and his gaze hooded just faintly, his naive shock fading.

With Mukuro kissing his wrist, his palm brushed the dandy's pale cheek curiously, fingertips tickled by his dark hair. "I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that you're the first to offer..." Tsuna murmured and his voice came out huskier than he intended.

Mukuro smiled, leaning into the brush of Tsuna's fingers encouragingly. "Well now... /I'm/ surprised to be the first. I would have expected some competition for your attention." He hummed low and pleasant as Tsuna tucked back a bit of inky hair. "Their loss."

"I think perhaps my friends are less... brazen, Mister Mukuro," Tsuna replied with a smile that could only be described as coy. There was still a lingering hesitation, in spite of his distinct interest, but his curiosity got the better of him and he let Mukuro's tail of hair slide through his fingers. He guided it over the dandy's shoulder as he let the impossibly long, silken ink slip through his touch.

Mukuro chuckled, a deep, throaty sound. "My point still stands," he nodded, drawing Tsuna just a little closer with a light touch under his chin. He didn't force or demand, only suggested, and let Tsuna's instinct --and perhaps his desire-- choose to follow. "Their loss is my gain."

Tsuna was sure at this point that Mukuro had a history as a professional hypnotist. Or perhaps it was that red eye, the deformity as haunting and entrancing as the rest of the man. Or perhaps Tsuna only told himself these things to excuse the way he let Mukuro ease him nearer, let him tilt his chin up and let his eyes close as he caved in to his curiosity and the selfish thrill of Mukuro's want for him. Tsuna took a sharp breath through his nose at the first brush of lips with another man but didn't pull back.

Mukuro gave a small, but satisfied hum and locked his mouth on Tsuna's, just a little hungrily, letting their lips part together, then pausing, waiting for Tsuna to give a huff of frustrated breath before his tongue grazed Tsuna's and pulled away.

The Vongola Tenth's brow twitched uncertainly, his eyes shut tight. He breathed into the kiss and heard himself make a soft, protesting whine. And then a sharp tug at Mukuro’s tail of hair jerked his kiss deeper and Tsuna's tongue met him, pushing past Mukuro's lips boldly. Permission granted, Mukuro's hands found the side of Tsuna's neck, the other, his knee. He hummed approval, allowing Tsuna to explore his mouth, letting him learn what he liked.

Unsurprisingly, the dandy tasted clean, sweet and minty. Tsuna found himself leaning into the kiss, lifted his own hand to Mukuro's pale jaw. With a confidence he had no idea he had, he stroked at that sweet flavor, at the softness of Mukuro's tongue.

His experience until now was embarrassingly limited. With Kyoko, while they cared for each other deeply, it wasn't much of a priority... and they were both so painfully shy and awkward with one another that things derailed fairly quickly. But here, in this situation, his core heated, Mukuro's intensity infectious, and Tsuna's inhibitions melted shockingly fast. His hand slid around to the back of Mukuro's neck, though his tongue withdrew to swipe across the other man's lip.

"Let me help you with that," Mukuro hummed against his lips, reaching to tug loose the collar of his shirt, but slowly, ever slowly, giving him the feeling that Tsuna, himself, was ultimately in charge of their direction.

When Tsuna's eyes opened again, they were heavy, lidded as he met Mukuro's gaze. But when Mukuro reached for his collar, his fingers closed around the other man's wrist. And with a precise tug, he yanked Mukuro into the chaise beside him, sending him sprawling across the red velvet. Tsuna's hands planted on either side of Mukuro's head, his knees astride the other's hips.

"You move quickly, don't you, Mister Mukuro?" Tsuna hummed.

"Only as fast as you're ready for," Mukuro purred back, but his eyes flashed with interest, and he managed to make what should have been an awkward position, into something alluring and inviting. His eyes dropped, almost demure, then raised again to meet Tsuna's, patient, expectant.

Tsuna just chuckled and his gaze couldn’t help but rake over Mukuro's willingly prone form, his blatant seduction. He had to wonder if this is how he was for Hibari. Somehow he doubted it.

But what he was for Tsuna was alluring, delicate and perfectly groomed but powerful and lusty. And though there was a nag of conscience, he went for Mukuro's mouth again, pressing him into the padded velvet. Mukuro groaned approvingly, voice muffled by Tsuna's tongue. He spread his knees willingly as Tsuna's found a place between them, and his hands found Tsuna's waist and chest.

A soft bite at Mukuro's lower lip was a surprise to them both but Tsuna didn't hesitate in his attention. He coaxed Mukuro's tongue past his own lips to suck at it, to fill his own mouth with Mukuro's minty flavor. Tsuna's hand slid over Mukuro's waistcoat, tugging free the buttons until he could at least trace the curve of his side over the silk of his vest.

Pulling back for breath, Tsuna fixed him briefly with a satisfied look before ducking back in to instead kiss at the long, delicate arch of Mukuro's throat. Mukuro lifted his chin gladly, a hum vibrating under Tsuna's kiss. He seemed entirely willing to let Tsuna take over, to direct their movements now.

That feeling, that temptation was like a flickering lamp to a moth, Tsuna's hands feeling over him and the thin but fine fabric of his crisp dress shirt. He thumbed at buttons, teasing as his kisses wandered up and explored the delicate flesh below and behind an ear. As he eased closer, whether he intended it or not, his hips settled between Mukuro's thighs. He could feel that Mukuro was half-hard, the heat of his arousal pressing into Tsuna’s hip, and when he moved, the man offered him a low moan, his own hips rolling up against Tsuna. When Tsuna drew back for a look, he found Mukuro’s eyes hooded, lips parted and wet.

“I’d very much like if you were to continue like that,” Mukuro hummed, when he noticed Tsuna watching him.

That grind of hips, the feel of Mukuro filling against him and the realization that he was similarly affected, made the spell stutter and Tsuna tried to blink some sense into himself with a shake of his head. “I-- shouldn’t,” he managed, though unable to tear himself away from the perfect vision of a ravaged gentleman beneath him. “This is terribly unprofessional, Mister Mukuro…”

“I have no interest in engaging you in a professional capacity,” Mukuro agreed, reaching up to rub his thumb across Tsuna’s damp mouth. “I was hoping for something more… personal.” After he spoke, Mukuro lifted his chin a bit, offering up the flushed skin of his throat for Tsuna’s further attentions.

“You /did/ say that you had business matters to discuss…” Tsuna protested weakly in a way that trailed off at the end. He couldn’t tear himself away from the sight of the dandy’s skin, flushed but as ivory as the starched collar of the shirt that practically begged to be ripped off. With a frustrated groan, Tsuna went back for another taste and breathed in Mukuro’s expensive aftershave. The other man’s body against him was pure sin, no secrets between them in spite of layers of suit weight that kept them apart. When Tsuna crushed Mukuro to the sofa again with his kiss, it may have been to stifle a sound at the way Mukuro’s hips tilted to grind his.

Mukuro seemed to melt easily into subservience-- more so than Tsuna could have expected. He wasn’t forceful, didn’t even grab for him, just let his hands rest on Tsuna’s hips, squeezing a little as he gasped affirmatives into Tsuna’s mouth. “Business can always wait,” he breathed, then allowed a moan to slip unfettered past his lips, rocking into Tsuna with restrained enthusiasm, but leaving no doubt as to how the younger man was affecting him.

A shudder racked Tsuna’s frame, Mukuro’s moan across his mouth racing to his core so quickly that it shocked him back into reality. “N-no--” Tsuna gasped suddenly and pulled away to sit back, to force himself onto his feet before he did something he deeply regretted. “I’m very sorry to mislead you Mister--”

“Wait,” Mukuro interrupted, rolling to his side to reach for Tsuna’s arm, to keep him from leaving. “You want this,” he insisted, the words panting, breathless as the man tried to get ahold of himself. “Why deny yourself something good?” The words were careless, but Mukuro’s eyes couldn’t entirely conceal the desperate arousal that left his chest flushed, his words shaky and his dick undeniably hard.

“B-because-- this isn’t me,” Tsuna insisted, struggling with self control. He didn’t jerk away, sinking to the edge of the chaise and letting Mukuro hold his arm. He closed his eyes and breathed in slowly, trying to smother the coals aching inside him. “Your interest is flattering, Mister Mukuro and -- obviously -- tempting. But this is the sort of thing I’d like to save for, you know -- certain people.” He sighed and opened his eyes to look at Mukuro with genuine regret. “I apologize for not handling myself properly. I don’t know what came over me.”

A spark of irritation shot through Mukuro’s eyes and the crimson seemed to flash brighter. “Surely you don’t buy into such old fashioned notions as ‘saving yourself’ for the right one,” Mukuro scoffed, squeezing Tsuna’s arm just a bit tighter. “You don’t know what you’re missing by denying yourself this opportunity,” he sneered, Mukuro’s facade of calm unconcern cracking under the strain of a sorely untended erection.

Tsuna turned a frown on him that was more pout than anything. “I’m not ‘saving myself’,” he responded defensively. “That’s not what it’s about. I would just prefer to do these sort of things with… people I consider close friends… you know, someone I’m intimate with.”

Mukuro scoffed, a rude, irritated sound, and still didn’t let go of Tsuna’s arm, unconcerned about the possibility of bruises. “You ought to try dropping this goody two shoes routine, and give in to that other side of yourself that I’ve seen and I know you keep under wraps. Let that man-- the one can shoot the wings off a fly without blinking-- let him out to play once in awhile, and I’ll show you what intimacy can mean.”

The young brothel manager looked scandalized, starting to pull his arm from Mukuro’s grip. “Just because I get a keen shot off now and then doesn’t mean I’m some sort of savage inside -- and this isn’t a routine!” Huffing and pink and growing indignant, Tsuna tried to stand.

But Mukuro wasn’t letting go. “Not savage!” he corrected, pulling hard at Tsuna’s arm to keep him in place. “Glorious! Uninhibited, pure essence of skill, of power! Tap into that and believe me, you’ll be incredible!”

“Mister Mukuro, let go!” Tsuna insisted, grabbing at Mukuro’s wrist with his free hand. “I don’t need your advice in such matters!”

“If you knew what was good for you, you’d listen anyway!” Mukuro snapped, dragged him down with a yank of his arm. The furniture squeaked and scraped across the rough wood floor and Mukuro was over him. Before Tsuna knew quite what had happened, the smaller man was on his back, an elbow on his chest, and fire in Mukuro’s eyes.

There was a moment of shock and sheer terror as Tsuna was dragged back into the chaise. By the time Mukuro was looking him in the face again though, it wasn’t fear that met him. Tsuna stared into Mukuro’s manic visage with disdain and disinterest. A set of fingers hooked in a belt loop on Mukuro’s trousers at the same time that a familiar CLICK filled the tight space between them. Tsuna’s weapon was small but a loaded derringer slid along the inside of a thigh was no less intimidating than any colt or winchester.

“I believe you had some business to discuss before you depart,” Tsuna purred, the tip of his gun running slow up the length of Mukuro’s hard cock.

Mukuro choked, his face turning a bright, humiliating shade of red as he glanced down between their bodies to confirm what he’d heard. For a moment he gritted his teeth, brow knitting, but then he exhaled and closed his eyes, and sagged over Tsuna, head drooping, long inky hair spilling over his shoulder and onto Tsuna’s chest. “My… apologies.” The arm on Tsuna’s chest moved instead to brace him on all fours over Tsuna’s body. He didn’t move away. He seemed, for the moment, rooted to the spot, and a hiss of breath left through gritted teeth as he shifted and his cock pressed against the barrel of the gun. “I forgot myself for a moment,” he continued, a tight smile on flushed lips.

“I understand,” Tsuna said, sympathetic but not the soft creature that had been fretting over propriety a moment before. Even if Mukuro had wanted to move, Tsuna held him firm in place by the trousers, watching his expression and the bob of his throat. His hand moved slow but deliberate, running the hard surface of the gun along Mukuro’s aching cock. Metal hissed against Italian silk, probably leaving snags in the fabric when nudged against his balls. “Your business with my House, Mister Mukuro?” Tsuna prompted expectantly.

“I came to speak with you about Hibari Kyouya,” Mukuro gasped, lips parted and eyes unfocused as his hips twitched under Tsuna’s idle inattention. He took a breath, let it out shakily, tried on a half smile. “But found myself distracted by an equally alluring creature.”

“Focus, good sir,” Tsuna pressed with half-sincere patience. He used the barrel to lazily adjust Mukuro in the confines of his trousers, making it easier to tease along the full length of his dick. “What do you need to speak with me about regarding /my/ Hibari Kyouya?”

“A-ah,” Mukuro replied, whether an acknowledgement of Tsuna’s order, or simply a sound of aroused distress, was not immediately obvious. He rocked into the slide of the derringer, seemed not to care about the danger of snags, or worse. “I propose to… ah… to pencil myself in on his calendar… exclusively.”

“Exclusively?” Tsuna repeated with surprise, looking over Mukuro’s features for deception. “Hibari-san? He won’t like that. You must be prepared to make him an impressive offer.”

Mukuro mustered a half-hearted smirk, licked his lips and gave a short nod. “Of course I’m aware of this. I’m a man of --a-ah! of many means,” he spoke hurriedly, breath coming in short huffs between words. “He knows me w-well enough to know what I’m offering.”

“I have no doubt,” Tsuna responded evenly, pondering, taking his time. The tip of his derringer trailed up, along the belly of Mukuro’s trapped cock until tracing out the head with frightening precision. “To what end do you request this change? Has Hibari-san not been adequately available to you recently?”

“M-my reasons are my own,” Mukuro hissed through gritted teeth, hips bucking once, then shivering as he fought to keep himself in check. “Your house wouldn’t lose out. I propose to pay for even the times I’m not there, to ensure my exclusivity. I suspect Hibari will r-rather like having more time to himself, instead of having to more frequently entertain… lesser men.”

Tsuna’s eyes narrowed critically at this remark and with a sharp movement he pushed Mukuro back and uncocked his gun. He rose to his feet, leaving Mukuro flustered and red on the chaise.
“I suggest you write up precise terms for Hibari-san,” he said, taking a moment to check and spin the small but full revolver chamber. “It will be entirely up to his discretion if he’ll accept the proposal. From my perspective… I’m sure you’ll treat him with the respect and compensation he deserves if he decides to accept.” He offered Mukuro a little smile and tucked his gun in the slim holster under his vest.

For a long moment, Mukuro said nothing, just lay half-sprawled on the chaise. Then, stiffly, he nodded, tried for a cocky grin. “Of course, ‘Boss’,” he spoke. “Thank you… for your consideration.”

“I’m afraid Hibari has a guest this morning but you might find someone downstairs willing to offer you assistance with your little dilemma.” Tsuna indicated his… state.

Mukuro offered a sour grimace and a narrowing of his eyes in response. “Thank you, but all I need is a moment to compose myself, and then I’ll be on my way.”

Tsuna offered him in return a kind smile and held out Mukuro’s glass and the two fingers of scotch still inside. “Perhaps you’d like to finish your drink.”

The look Mukuro turned on him wasn’t particularly kind, but he said nothing and sat up slowly, hissing as his still-evident arousal rubbed against his inseam. When he was upright, managing to sit almost straight, he took the drink, only offered a tight nod of acknowledgement and knocked back half the glass in one swallow.

Tsuna smiled, feeling victorious and really pretty powerful even though his knees and insides started quivering when he turned his back to Mukuro and crossed the room to his desk. “Would you like to be the first to speak with Hibari-san about your proposal or would you prefer me to soften the offer for him first?”

“You may… leave that particular duty to me,” Mukuro confirmed, taking the opportunity to adjust himself with a small gasp of breath while Tsuna’s back was turned. He finished off his drink next, hissing as it went down harsh.

A soft, understanding huff of air answered him and Tsuna picked up his own abandoned tumbler. He stepped around his solid oak desk to sink into the high backed leather chair. “Anything else I can assist you with today, Mister Mukuro?” he prompted expectantly.

“I believe you’ve already made it quite clear that you aren’t interested in assisting me further,” Mukuro pointed out, crossing his legs with a faint choking sound.

Tsuna giggled and sipped at his scotch, in spite of the fact that it couldn’t even be noon yet. “If I’m not mistaken, if you make it home you have a number of options available for assistance,” he pointed out coyly.

At this, Mukuro laughed, a little wryly, and the sound seemed to scrape his throat a bit, but he mustered his self-respect and stood, still visibly hard, straining tight against the fly of his expensive slacks.

“I believe it’s time I took my leave,” he spoke, bowing, shoulders shaking just a bit as a shiver went up his spine. “We’ll do lunch next week.” He paused at the door, his hand on the knob, as he gave one last tight, but amused, look back at the owner of the Rose who lounged comfortably at his desk. “Good day. Tsuna.” And then he was gone, slipping through the door and shutting it behind him with a click.

Tsuna gave a heavy, relieved sigh a few seconds later, flopping forward onto his desk with dramatic agony. In the process he knocked over his tumbler and scrambled to right it, managing to slosh scotch all over himself and the surface of his desk.

Chapter Text

When Mukuro had gone upstairs, Ken wandered over to the bar and harassed Gokudera for a while by bragging about how great he fucked under Yamamoto’s training. With both of their bosses busy upstairs, there was chance for serious escalation and Ken’s eyes glinted with the prospect of a fight while he ordered Gokudera to pour him a whiskey.

He wasn’t the only person in the place, which made it especially fun to harass the silver haired man while he worked. Ken placed himself directly in front of where Gokudera most frequently had to work at the bar and baited him every time he returned from helping other customers.

Gokudera feigned disgusted disinterest in him for the most part but the underlying irritation delighted Ken. So when he made Gokudera stop to pour him another round, he said, “You know, I bet people pay Yamamoto just to kiss him. Master Mukuro says he’s got the best mouth here, you know. I bet both for dick sucking and for kissing. I just can’t decide which he’s better at. What do you think, smokestack whore?”

Teeth clenched around Gokudera’s lit cigarette which twitched with ire. He was wiping out shot glasses and his towel squeaked sharply against the glass which he then set down with a loud CLACK. He tossed the dirty towel into a bin of dirty towels behind the bar and turned his eyes on Ken. “Listen, you pathetic, low-class, flea-ridden son of a bitch--” He paused and glanced down to where his hand had been blindly reaching but found nothing.

“HEY! LAMBO! Where the fuck are the towels!?” Gokudera shouted. The volume of his voice blasted in Ken’s face when he addressed the young man who was lounging listlessly on a sofa in the parlor behind Mukuro’s ranch hand.

“I don’t knooooow,” Lambo called back lazily.

“IT’S YOUR ONE FUCKING JOB TO KNOW, YOU SHITTY LITTLE COW!”

“IT’S A REALLY HARD JOB, GOKUDERA! THERE’S A LOT OF TOWELS!” Lambo shouted back in his whiny-but-angry voice. “I’M VERY IMPORTANT!”

“THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU IN THERE SLEEPING, YOU LAZY LITTLE SHIT!” Gokudera screamed in Ken’s face.

“IT’S HOT TODAY! I’M TAKING A BREAK!”

“DAMMIT, IT’S NOT EVEN THAT HOT!”

To be fair, Lambo’s job wasn’t easy or pleasant. He was still practically a boy and though he lived in the Vongola house, he wasn’t on the entertainment staff. There was little doubt (if only from looking at him) that in several years he might join those ranks and would be sought after for very different reasons than the three men that currently offered their services at the Rose.

As it was, Lambo assumed the role of a janitor of sorts. His job was to keep towels and bedding clean for both the brothel and the saloon and to clean up messes and toys.

It wasn’t a great job and he didn’t like it and he complained and shirked all the time. This is why regularly, a gathering happened that completely horrified Tsuna. When Lambo inevitably fell behind on his work, cheerful friends were happy to pitch in. Yamamoto, Ryohei, Haru and worst of all, Kyoko, would gather to help Lambo on a hot day and act like it was some kind of washing festival while literally airing the brothel’s dirty laundry.

“Get your ass up and get back to work!”

“You get YOUR ass back to work!”

“I /AM /WORKING YOU STINKING COW PIE!”

“Funny, you don’t look like you’re on your back,” Lambo shot back, letting one eye close.

“Oh, YOU FUCKING--”

Ken ducked down under the bar just in time to miss Gokudera’s swinging foot when the bomber jumped over it, wielding a handful of dynamite in his grip. Ken started laughing, watching from a distance as the argument turned into a full on brawl with kicking and hair grabbing.

Then abruptly, a firm hand grabbed Ken by the shoulder and yanked him roughly from his barstool. He gave a little yelp as he struggled to get his footing, and found himself face to face with his boss, red-faced and angry-looking, pinning him against the bar with one hand, fingers digging uncomfortably into his shoulder.

“Come with me,” Mukuro demanded, voice husky, huffed through wet lips. “-Now-.”

Ken froze, face going slack from the enraged snarl he was about to turn on whatever stranger was about to start a fight with him. Luckily he didn’t swing a punch before realizing it was his boss. “Master?” he questioned, though when Mukuro jerked his arm, he went willingly. “Are you done with your business?”

“You’re going to help me finish,” Mukuro answered, pulling him by the wrist, dragging him behind the bar and through the door that led to the kitchen. A hallway separated the kitchen from the bar and Mukuro pulled Ken past the kitchen door at a fast clip.

Just past the door, Mukuro grabbed him and ducked under the shadowed stairway at the end of the hall. With his back against the wall, he held Ken against him and his arousal was evident then, pressed hard against Ken’s ass. Mukuro’s hot breath washed over his ear. After a moment, footsteps appeared and receded--Bianchi, a tray of food in hand, heading for the common area.

“Hurry up,” Mukuro hissed, snagging Ken’s wrist and moving toward the kitchen, strides long, if not exactly hurried. When they were through the door, Mukuro turned and slammed it shut, clicking the lock into place.

When the door closed and Mukuro turned back on him, Ken's eyes were bright and his face was red and he was trying very hard not to grin. Mukuro's stable hand wasn't the brightest fellow in town but he wasn't dim enough to not immediately pick up on the opportunity that was being handed to him.

"What do you want me to do?" Ken asked eagerly, hands already reaching for the clasp of Mukuro's trousers. It was only the caution that Mukuro wanted something different that kept him from dropping instantly to his knees. "Anything!"

“Over there, against the counter,” Mukuro directed, voice rough with unspent desire. “Bend over.” He followed Ken, grabbing his hips and steering him into place, fingers digging, demanding. Once Ken’s cheek was against the scarred wood, and his trousers sagged on his thighs, Mukuro let out a shaky breath of relief. “I can count on you, can’t I, Ken,” he breathed, rocking against Ken once, twice, then undid his own slacks, hurriedly, drawing out his abused and neglected arousal. Heavy and hot, already dripping in his hand, he nudged at Ken’s backside, slipping between his cheeks, rocking once, then drawing back to tuck it down. “Squeeze your legs together,” Mukuro groaned, breath hot on Ken’s ear, licking at his jaw.

"Yes," Ken gasped out, shocked by everything suddenly dished out for him out of nowhere. He didn't care what had riled Mukuro so and wasn't about to ask, far too focused on bending exactly how Mukuro wanted him. He panicked a little at the dandy's directions -- this hadn't been in his exercises with Yamamoto -- but he got the idea quickly what Mukuro had in mind. He had a pang of disappointment that Mukuro didn't intend to penetrate him, but there was no lack of enthusiasm when Ken took the liberty of licking his hand messily and wetting the skin he offered to his master.

"I belong to you, take whatever you want," he moaned, lurid and achingly hard within seconds of Mukuro's hands on him. Though his stable hand was short in stature and ill in temper, the backside he eagerly offered was pleasing -- skin naturally tawny and muscle toned from labor.

“You do, and I will.” The words were a growl through clenched teeth, and Mukuro pressed forward, aided by the slickness of Ken’s saliva, to slip between his thighs. He went slow at first, breath stuttering as he nudged at Ken’s sac, sliding up against the underside of his cock, already as hard and wanting as Mukuro himself. When he was pressed up tight against the smaller man, Mukuro took hold of his hips, fingers gripping just a little too hard to be pleasant, and directed him, adjusting their angle to lift his ass higher. “Keep your legs together,” he hissed, then reached around to take Ken’s dick in the circle of his fingers, leaving them wide enough to take himself as well, as he rocked forward again. “Like that,” he groaned, snapping his hips forward once, pushing them both into his waiting hand.

Ken was beside himself, hands and cheek flat on the counter like there was a rifle to his head. He closed his eyes to shut out the view of flour stains and dented utensils and pour all of his focus into feeling Mukuro between his thighs. Rolling onto the balls of his feet to give Mukuro better access, Ken bit his lip but it did nothing to stifle his delighted whimpers. He kept his thighs tight, let the deliciously crushing grip yank and pry him into place and hoped there'd be plenty of bruised fingerprints on his hips. The other man's hand on his cock -- the rub along his balls and the slick, rough push against his asshole with Mukuro's thrusts was almost too much for him. He dripped in Mukuro's fingers, doing his best not to lose himself instantly. "S'good, Master," Ken moaned into his own arm, then muffled a sound of pleasure there.

It was then, while Mukuro thrust them both into the tight wet circle of his hand, hissing with impatience and unsatisfied hunger, that the door to the kitchen rattled-- Bianchi trying to get back in, most likely. A loud banging followed immediately after, coupled with what sounded like a renewed and vigorous attempt to shake the door unlocked.

“WHOEVER IS IN THERE HAD BETTER OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR.”

Mukuro snarled at the interruption, but continued without any more sense of urgency than the’d already been operating under. “I want to hear you,” he ordered, dragging his fingers over the slick head of Ken’s dick before giving himself a good hard stroke. Now that someone had found them though, he felt a new urge, to drag this out just a little longer.

Though his whole body tightened up with the banging on the door, there was nothing as powerful as Mukuro's orders. Ken's voice spilled out instantly in a long moan, his frame shuddering under Mukuro's attention. His nails dug into the cutting board, Ken straining to keep his body in check, to let Mukuro use him and resist spoiling his master's tempo by jerking into his touch. "Please!" he gasped, as though all his desires weren't coming true. Or at least most of them -- Ken bit his tongue against begging for more that he knew he wasn't going to be given that day. That didn't prevent him from howling his pleasure, thighs tight and sweaty around Mukuro's cock.

“OPEN THIS FUCKING DOOR RIGHT NOW. I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL MURDER YOU.” This announcement was punctuated with another vigorous round of heavy thumps. But the kitchen door was sturdy and well-built, and also Mukuro could not have cared less about the ire of the woman on the other side.

Instead he focused on the man before him, his body hot and writhing and wanting-- everything Tsuna should have been, almost was. It irked Mukuro, to say the least, but he could decide what to do with that situation another day. For now, he had only one goal, and that was to finish in this kitchen what Tsuna had started upstairs. His hand left Ken’s dick with a mean-spirited tug at his foreskin and a palm slapped against his quivering backside. A broken and grateful cry rattled the utensils hanging before them. Mukuro squeezed at the muscle with a growl, then spread Ken’s cheeks, nudging him open with the tip of his thumb.

“Look at you,” he sneered. “Aching for me. I see that whore taught you to want filling. Good.”

"So-- so much," Ken gasped. "I'm good at it now. I want you so bad -- Master -- when you'll have me --nnn--ah-- I'd do anything for you to fuck me!"

“Mm, if you’ll do anything, then you’ll also wait. Anticipation is half the pleasure of it after all.” Mukuro grinned, feeling some sense of control finally start to seep back into his body. His hips still rocked against his subordinate, cock still leaked, slick beads of precum sliding down Ken’s thighs. Mukuro wet his thumb at the tip of Ken’s dick, a quick, rough swipe, and then it was back, pressing into him, until he was in up to the first knuckle. “Mm. Your body wants it,” he observed with a sort of detached interest. “Did he show you how to come from this alone?” Mukuro wondered, drawing back, then pressing in again, beginning a slow pumping motion, stroking Ken from the inside.

Ken gave a sound like a sob into the curve of his arm, but the second gasp he gave he let Mukuro hear. His entire body shivered, the muscle that Mukuro teased opening for him, Ken's body desperate for his every touch. "N-no," the blond managed to answer after a few breaths. "B-but with Mukuro doing it, it's-- tough not to--" A defeated whine was pressed into the spit-damp wood, Ken's thighs shaking.

Neither man seemed to notice or care that the racket at the door had ceased-- though it was likely to mean that Bianchi had left to find something or someone to break down the door. Mukuro was far too focused to care, and they’d be finished here before they could be interrupted again anyway.

“I want you to come,” Mukuro told him, crooking his thumb at an angle, pressing as deep inside as he could go. He thrust between Ken’s thighs, hard and fast, motions slick and easy. He curled over Ken’s back, breath hot at the back of his neck. “Don’t hold back anything. This is what I want from you. Understand?”

Ken nodded furiously, a long, shameless moan obeying Mukuro’s demand for his voice. Nails carving new scratches into the surface of the table, Ken squeezed at Mukuro’s exploring thumb, jerked back onto it. Now that he’d been through training, had felt Yamamoto release in him, Ken was agonized, crazed in that moment for all of his reward. Mukuro could hear it in the pitch of his whines and cries and the frantic heave of his breath. In spite of offering only the stimulation of his thumb, Mukuro’s determined and precise work was plenty to have Ken completely undone in moments.

“Almost, master -- I promise -- gonna --nnn-AH-- come -- so hard --”

“Good,” Mukuro hissed, a terse bit of praise that didn’t interrupt his work, or his pace. His thumb rubbed, stroked deep, searching for the place inside that would make Ken howl, aching to feel him come apart beneath him, to give himself up to Mukuro like Tsuna should have done. The snap of his hips slowed somewhat, waiting for that moment of satisfaction and ownership, unwilling, or perhaps unable, to give into his own pleasure until he’d achieved that. “Do it,” he demanded, a hot breath on Ken’s spine, and then his teeth were scraping skin, biting, bruising.

Shouts of Ken’s climax rattled the small room, certainly able to be heard round the house even if the sounds weren’t uncommon to the environment. His body clutched at Mukuro’s thrusting, torturing thumb, Ken’s skin sweaty and goose-fleshed under his teeth. “M-master!” Beneath the table were stored cookwares -- all of which were soiled when he erupted in thick pearly pulses that splashed pots, pans, terracotta tile floor and the edge of the table.

Only then did Mukuro reach back around, grabbing Ken up again, heedless of how sensitive he must be in this moment. He was careless, but intent as he stroked Ken through his orgasm, milking him for every bit, spitefully painting the kitchen white. His own arousal ached for release, but he wasn’t there, not quite. “Do it again,” he ordered, handling Ken’s dick demandingly. “I know you can do it. You aren’t done yet.”

“W-what!?” Ken gasped out, sounding surprised, broken hearted and terrified. “H-how--I--ah--!” He cried out helplessly, cock twitching, dripping eagerly in Mukuro’s grip even as his body tried to come back down. Shaking and sweaty, Ken’s thighs squeezed tight at Mukuro’s dick and he jerked his hips into his master’s insistent stroking. He clutched at the table for support, reeling with the shift in sensation and the way Mukuro’s voice ordering him like that made him dizzy with arousal. Especially saying something like /‘I know you can do it’/: words that shot through him like an electric shock.

Though he mustered every ounce of enthusiasm in his struggling muscles to continue, Ken’s cries were broken, overwhelmed with pleasure, overstimulation and exhaustion. Aftershocks still flickering down his thighs, he didn’t even have the chance to soften -- his body was far too desperate for Mukuro’s touch and insistent on following his commands. “Y-yeah-- ok-- I-- I will--” Ken panted belatedly, communication very challenging. “P-please-- Master Mukuro also… ahh-- s--s’good--please--Master!” Begging, babbling, Ken put everything he had left into clenching, grinding at the hard heat of Mukuro’s cock.

Arousal spiked in Mukuro’s blood as Ken shook and begged, his voice cracking, his body shivering with the strain of answering Mukuro’s demands. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good. It wasn’t what he’d come here for, but it was a reasonable compensation. Co-opting (and ruining) the Rose’s kitchens made his humiliation sting a little less too. He jerked at Ken’s dick with swift, skilled motions, reveling in the tortured pleasure he pulled from the man’s body.

The way Mukuro pounded between his thighs, seeming to want him, it made Ken’s voice rise to obscene levels. The work bench rattled hard enough that several pots and a bottle were sent tumbling to the ground. The glass shattered with a crash as Ken howled, “M-maaasteer--r-r!” and squeezed his thighs together as hard as he could.

His sobbing, anguished but delighted cries drowned out the slamming and splintering happening behind them. A twitch of his foot knocked over the pots stacked under the work bench (already wet with Ken’s first go.) Finally, agonized to the point of madness, Mukuro’s stable boy came again between his fingers -- and Ken had plenty of enthusiasm and vigor, this orgasm no less messy or quaking. He pressed his brow to the corner of the table, pleasured shouts rattling the pots beneath them.

Mukuro’s hum of approval was drowned out by the clatter and by Ken’s cries, but the suddenly tight grip of his fingers and the sharp snap and hold of his hips gave away his long overdue completion. He came quietly, brow furrowed and teeth grit, spitefully adding to the mess beneath them. Then he pulled back quickly to stroke himself through the finish, another pulse shuddering through his frame as he came over Ken’s bared ass and the back of his thighs. It wasn’t what he’d come for, but it was, admittedly, satisfying.

He wiped his softening dick and his dirtied hand on the tails of Ken’s shirt, before tucking himself away and taking a step back to survey his handiwork with pride. The kitchen was, in a word, a disaster.

“Put yourself together,” Mukuro ordered, straightening his clothing and catching his breath.

Thighs quivering and breath shaky, Ken nodded his understanding and jerked his trousers up with little regard for the mess they’d be soaking up. As he fumbled with his suspenders, the ignored smashing of an axe finally broke through and several boards burst to splinters across the room. The remaining shards were kicked out of the way and Bianchi’s murderous visage appeared among the shattered wood. Seconds later she was in the room, axe raised high over her head with a warrior’s scream.

“I’LL KILL YOU YOU FILTHY DEGENERATE PIG FUCKING ANUS TARTS!”

She was an impressive and terrifying vision of revenge and hatred, long hair flying as she lunged at Ken. He himself gave a scream and barely managed to fling himself out of the way, scrambling across the floor. The axe landed with a solid WHACK in the edge of the workbench and ripped chunks of wood out when she wrenched it free. She reeled, hardly done with him and the next swing narrowly missed and send shards of floor tiles exploding in all directions. The next was a CLANG when the axe came down on a heavy pot held over Ken’s terrified head.

In the meantime, Mukuro pulled a comb from his pocket and smoothed his hair back into place, little concern for the rage of the resident cook. As she raised her axe for another swing, he lifted a hand and took hold of the wooden handle, keeping it still and unwavering with what appeared to be almost no effort at all. He met her eye-to-eye then, unfazed by the murder in her expression, and reached for the wallet on his belt with his free hand. Without breaking eye contact, he pulled forth a small handful of banknotes and set them on the nearby, ruined, counter top.

“That should cover the damages,” he smiled, slick and calm.

For the barest second, Bianchi’s eyes flickered to the wad of bills amongst the disaster of her work space but not the slightest bit of murderous intent drained from her. With a hard yank that took Mukuro off-guard, she wrenched the axe free and swung at him with a scream of, “This kitchen will NEVER RECOVER FROM THE EMOTIONAL TRAUMA!”

With the weapon held high and wild madness in her eyes, a snarl interrupted and she gave an enraged “OOF” when Ken tackled her around the middle. They hit the floor hard and the axe went flying, landing and sticking with a solid THUNK in the half-ruined door-frame just inches from Tsuna’s head.

Finally alerted to the disaster taking place downstairs, the house’s proprietor stared helplessly upon what had unfolded in his kitchen. The two tousling on the floor created a cacophony of snarls, slurs and expletives like that of a full on bar fight. Ken was barely put together, his suspenders half-off while Bianchi rubbed his face into the dirt ground. That is until he managed to fight back enough to get his head up -- at which point Bianchi grabbed him by his shirt and flung him into the nearby supply cabinet which failed loudly and spectacularly, pouring out both glass and tin kitchenware alike.

“Bianchi!” Tsuna shrieked with horror while Ken, yelping, was buried in an avalanche of tumblers and dinner plates.

“WHAT.” Her response was less a question and more an accusation, irritated by the interruption of her vengeful punishment. Nonetheless, she did, at least, pause and cast a glance at the boss, rather than leap after Ken to finish the job.

For his part, Mukuro seemed nothing more than mildly bored and vaguely off-put by Bianchi’s wild reactions. He stared down at his bruised and cowering lacky with a sigh and then turned to Tsuna, gesturing to the money he’d left behind.

“As I was saying. For the damages.”

Withered and defeated, Tsuna could only silently survey the destruction and nod numbly to Mukuro. There just wasn’t much else to be done, was there? Limply, he pocketed the money without bothering to examine it. “Please-- see your ranch hand to the exit,” he begged miserably, thumb and middle finger each rubbing a temple.

Said ranch hand had managed to climb out from the rubble without too much damage, though he was sporting a few red nicks and scratches. When Bianchi looked at him, Ken bolted for the door, shoving Tsuna out of the way. With a startled shriek, he stumbled into Bianchi who caught him deftly while lunging forward to snatch the axe from the wall in a shower of splinters. In that moment she had the prowess of a skilled hunter, using the momentum and movement to swing after Ken in an almost -- /almost/ deadly arc. Threads were nicked from his tunic but the suspenders faired poorer, sliced cleanly apart. That Ken managed to keep his pants from falling around his knees was likely the only thing that saved him as he scrambled for the front door and out of sight.

The axe, having been thrown like an oversized hatchet, arced left and crashed solidly into the second supply cabinet -- this one filled with food stuffs. The room exploded into a cloud of flour and strangely appetizing smells: sugar, vanilla, corn meal. But also less appetizing smells: vinegar, pepper, hard liquor. With a snarl of blind rage, Bianchi ended her attack with a fit of frustration by chucking Tsuna out of the room. He hit the hallway wall and left a white, powdery imprint on the burgundy wallpaper.

Stunned and trying to stay on his feet, Tsuna was a little displeased to see that Mukuro had somehow escaped the unleashing of ingredients that now had his suit (and floor and kitchen) dusted in white. Ken must have escaped and at the end of the hallway, most of the rest of the employees and a few customers had appeared to look on with shock. In the kitchen, Bianchi’s rage was serving as final demolition crew, her swearing accented by the axe tearing through various materials.

“Gokudera?” Tsuna coughed and at the end of the hall, his right hand man startled from where he was trying not to be noticed. Normally Gokudera could have been counted on to intervene but when it came to matters that involved a terrifying older sister of his, he was understandably a little less reliable.

Nonetheless he obediently croaked, “Yes Tenth?”

“Please get a hold of Spanner and let him know we need a new kitchen. Again.”

Chapter Text

That day Hibari kept him waiting so long that the young marshal fell asleep on a sofa in the common room, snoring softly while Haru -- having shamelessly entered the brothel to visit Tsuna -- sat nearby weaving flowers from the tables into crowns to drape on Dino's brow.

It was terribly bemusing to Hibari who decided to take a smoke break in his balcony rather than wake his customer.

"Woman," he called softly and Haru startled with a soft 'hahi!'. Hibari smirked at her, smoke curling from the corner of his lips. "I'll give you a nickel if you weave them in his hair."

A coin landed softly on the sofa beside her.

"Send him upstairs when you're done."

"Whatever," Haru pouted, sticking out her tongue and snatching up the coin. "I was going to do that ANYWAY, Mr. Grumpy."

The sound of Hibari's laugh sent a chill down the spine of anyone who heard it before his door snapped shut.

When Dino blinked blearily awake it was to the sight of Haru's grinning face, inches from his own. He startled, barely managing not to plow his head into her jaw, and clutched at his chest to still his thundering heartrate. "H-haru? What-- oh damn... how long was I--?"

"Ah!" Haru sat bolt upright, allowing Dino to realize that his head had been resting in her lap. "Not long, not long!" she insisted, eyes darting. "Mister Hibari wanted me to wake you, just now!"

"What?? He did?" Dino blinked, looked around as though Hibari might also be standing there. He sat up straighter, then lifted a hand to his head, the expression on his face turning curious, noticing the heaviness on his head.

"Yes! He did!" Haru yelped, jumping up from the couch. "He's ready for you! Please enjoy yourself, Marshal, you look lovely!" And Haru, being Haru, ran out of the brothel, blushing furiously -- and maybe crying?

Dino blinked again, shook his head as he watched the young woman sprint away. After a moment to collect himself, he turned to the stairs, and took them, two at a time up to Hibari's balcony, then past it down the hallway. He held a gift for Hibari-- wrapped in brown paper and string -- and with his free hand, rapped lightly at the door.

"Enter," came from the other side of the door. Hibari lay on his stomach, facing the entry.

Hibari had thought he'd been prepared for what walked through the door. But when Dino opened the door, triumphantly holding the gift with white and purple daisies woven in his blond hair... Even a soul as hard as Hibari's had a breaking point and the laughter that he burst into was likely the most laughter anyone had heard from him. Ever.

Dino's grin turned to confusion, then he looked to his left and saw himself in Hibari’s bureau mirror. The halo of petals that framed his face was positively absurd looking. He couched and ducked his head in embarrassment as he toed off his shoes and closed the door behind him. "A-ah, it was Haru-- the owner's friend? I fell asleep and--"

"I only paid her a nickel but I would have paid an entire dollar for this." Hibari was practically beaming with devious delight. "You make a beautiful princess."

"YOU did this!" Dino accused, laughing now too, and stepping farther into the room, closer to the bed and Hibari. "Well if I'm a princess, what does that make you then, hm?" he wondered, taking a seat at the end of the bed and leaning back to catch Hibari's eye. The package he placed on the covers between them.

"The very deadly prince, obviously," Hibari hummed in reply. His brows lifted as the parcel was placed before him and he propped himself on his elbows to open it. "I do like gifts."

Dino grinned. "As the prince, you should be showered in gifts," he answered with mock severity. "I hope you like it."

Hibari peered into the box which contained another box -- this one made of thin, green paper parchment and adorned with familiar, hand brushed characters.

"Incense," he observed, sitting up beside Dino at last. He removed the top from the smaller box, revealing a series of clay colored cones. He breathed and gave an appreciative sigh. "A well-planned gift," he said to Dino, sounding surprised.

He slid out of bed, socked feet padding to one of his fine tables. With delicate fingers, he placed a cone on an incense burner and in a moment, delicate streams of smoke curled toward the ceiling.

In another moment, Hibari was sliding into his lap, in a better humor than Dino had seen thus far. He untangled a flower from Dino's hair to press to his lips. "I'll burn it only when you visit, Princess."

"I'm honored, Prince," Dino answered, taking the flower from Hibari's fingers and tucking behind Hibari's ear. "I'm glad you like it," he murmured, quietly, honestly, bringing Hibari's hand to his lips, kissing his knuckles.

"Hmmm," Hibari agreed. His free arm curled around Dino's neck, quietly watching the warm, soft kisses he was offered. He let fingertips brush over his lips, perhaps the marshal's most attractive feature. Full and pink.

He pressed in close enough to breathe the fresh flowers and Dino's scent, spiced with the incense... Hibari's gaze was strangely peaceful, pleasantly lazy when Dino searched it.

"I suppose you're well rested," he remarked and took back his hand to pull another flower from Dino's hair. Soft, cool and tickling, Hibari traced his jaw, his lips, down his throat with it.

Dino laughed a little, kissed Hibari's fingers as they brushed past. "I am," he agreed, unable to keep the smile from his mouth as he admired hibari's face, in awe as the relaxed expression he found there, the lazy way that Hibari touched him. "Thank you for letting me come see you today, Kyouya." He risked the personal name, so caught up in Hibari's presence.

It earned him an icy twitch of brow and Hibari shoved the flower under Dino's nostrils. "Don't get cocky," he warned. "Just because you shower me with gifts doesn't mean I won't still bite you to death."

"I like that side of you too," Dino hummed, then bit at the flower in Hibari's fingers.

Hibari startled, unprepared for such a response and gave Dino a baleful look. He tossed aside the abused flower and put his hand to better use plucking free buttons from Dino's shirt. "I find you to be... pleasantly versatile, Marshal." By now his yukata was rumpled as he settled more into Dino's lap, milky skin easily within reach.

"Thank you!" Dino reached for Hibari's waist, fingers sliding through silk, seeking the touch of that skin. "That's sweet of you to say." He leaned back then, head and shoulders in a small mountain of pillows. "I find you to be pleasantly unpredictable. Also you look good in black."

Hibari slithered onto the bed beside Dino, coaxing him entirely onto the mattress. He sank on his side into the pillows, but it still left a hand free to tug off Dino's suspenders and ease him free of his shirt. A pale hand smoothed over Dino's chest. "And you haven't even seen me in a suit. Perhaps some day I'll like you enough to eat a meal with you."

Later, Dino wouldn't be ashamed to admit that these words alone got him halfway hard. The thought of Hibari in a suit... Dino licked his lips, perhaps too obviously. "I'm trying to imagine how fantastic you'd look in a suit and feeling a little short of breath," he admitted.

Hibari shrugged indifferently. "Western clothes are very uncomfortable," he complained. "And difficult to get off." He yanked open Dino's trousers, pushing them firmly past his hips. Demanding his naked skin, his fingertips brushed here and there. But he was lazy today, happy to take his time, to appreciate the body of a particularly pleasant customer and the earth spice smell that hung delightfully in the air.

"That's half the fun," Dino argued lightly, helped Hibari rid him of his pants, tossing it to the side to join his shirt and suspenders. "Makes the anticipation greater." He relaxed into the bed, reaching out to graze a touch down Hibari's arm, tugging loose his yukata enough to show off a bare shoulder.

"Just slows everything down," Hibari dismissed. And then as if to prove the point, he tugged away the tie at his waist and let his robe fall open. Let his naked body slide against Dino's as he sidled closer. He dropped a few more flowers on Dino's chest, freeing up enough room to let Hibari run fingers through his blond hair, making more tumble to the mattress.

"Alright, well, that _is_ kind of nice," Dino admitted, reaching up to touch a shoulder here, the back of his neck, the point of a hip there. He didn't mind about the flowers, and didn't move to brush them away, but he did lean up into the touch of Hibari's hands as they delved into his hair.

With eyes closed, Dino could feel Hibari's stare on him as his careful fingers brought him to relaxation. He was surprised though when lips brushed his, followed by a firm, slow kiss.

He was surprised, but certainly not reluctant, and he sighed happily into the kiss, cupping Hibari's face with both hands, thumb brushing the hair away from Hibari's cheek. He was probably already in too deep, but in the moment, it was hard to back up, to think rationally, to brace himself for the fallout that would inevitably come after being involved with this man.

The last of the flowers tumbled from his hair as Hibari took his kiss with a soft but palpable hunger. The silk of his sleeves skimmed as cool and soft as his hands over Dino's skin.

"God," Dino breathed, pressing his brow to Hibari's, a huff of disbelieving laughter warm on Hibari's skin. "You're just so..." He kissed him again, out of words and flushed hot enough to feel almost lightheaded.

A leg crept up Dino's, brushing, Hibari against his side, just almost pressing him to the pillows. He tasted not unlike the incense smelled, spiced and smoky. Hibari's fingertips passed over the petals that littered Dino's chest. He smiled into the kiss, the nipple he searched out easily teased stiff.

Dino hummed and arched into the touch, groaned as Hibari bit at his lip. He slid the silk from Hibari's shoulders then, slowly, offering him the chance to change directions. Every inch of skin took his breath away, hot under his fingertips.

The silk slid away like liquid, Hibari's arms coming to curl around Dino's neck. Naked, tangled, Hibari's hunger swelled, stealing both their breath away. Nails against Dino's scalp, tongue warring with him for a moment, then pushing past, claiming victory.

Then with a pleased sigh and a faint moan, he sank away and his sharp, lazy eyes opened to peer at Dino. "Have you thought of me every day since I last saw you?" It had been almost two months now, with regular visits.

Dino took that moment to catch his breath, reaching up to touch the back of Hibari's neck, awe in his eyes. "I think about you all the time," he answered honestly, almost surprised, as though this information should have been evident. "I miss the marks you gave me-- they faded so quickly."

Hibari's eyes warmed as he drank in the praise, the power he had over Dino. "Mm, is that so?" He slid over Dino's more solid frame, coming to rest on his knees, sitting lightly above his hips. "I'd be glad to refresh them." With both hands on Dino's sternum, Hibari curled over him. For a breath, he let Dino hang from his lips before he ducked in closer. Kissing, nibbling and then shortly, giving a sharp bite just behind his ear.

Dino gasped, gripped at Hibari's hips, fingertips dimpling the flesh there as he held him firm. When he ground upward, arousal pressing against Hibari's thigh, it was almost involuntary, and he sucked in a startled breath. "Yes, Kyouya-- please... I want you..."

An approving hum rumbled against his skin, his rough, sucking kiss traveling down Dino's throat. He bit a few times for good measure on the way down, leaving bruises in his wake. He smirked faintly to himself as he bit hard in the curve of Dino's shoulder. Hibari's fingers dug at his chest, moaning as he felt Dino's skin begin to give, barely releasing in time to avoid drawing blood.

"Fuuuck," Dino hissed, flushing darkly, shivering under Hibari's attention. "Yes, god yes. Pleeeease..." He didn't stop to give any thought to whether or not it might be strange or inappropriate to be one step away from begging Hibari to leave him needing stitches.

Hibari met his eyes as he moved down his chest and held them as he bruised a deep, purple mark of teeth where Dino could see it. Blood oozed just faintly and Hibari lapped it away calmly, then licked his teeth. "You're such a pervert, Marshal," he smirked, taking a moment to rest on Dino's ribs.

"I want to do everything with you," Dino said, pleasure loosening his tongue, the heat in his face making him honest. He touched Hibari's hair, breathing as slow as he could manage.

Hibari chuckled and turned his cheek to let Dino's knuckles brush it. "Everything?" he repeated. He shifted, his light weight on Dino, and offered a smug smile as he rubbed back against his hard dick. Dino fit obscenely between his spread cheeks and he could feel the damp oil that promised what had been prepared for him. "Do you want to fuck me again?" he murmured calmly.

Dino swallowed hard, licked his lips. "Yes," he hissed, breathed through his open mouth, too turned on to be embarrassed at himself. He squeezed at Hibari's bare ass, rocking up against him.

"Lurid," Hibari purred dangerously. There was no other warning before he moved, body ready, eager to take Dino in. Lifted on his knees, he spread his fingers delicately and growled, "Don't move." as he sank over Dino's upright cock in one smooth motion.

Dino choked a little, light-headed from the sudden sensation of Hibari’s body, snug and slick around him. He let out a shuddering breath, and smiled up at Hibari, obedient to his command to stay still. “You feel good,” he hummed.

A soft tone of agreement answered as he ground down firmly onto the marshal’s solid frame, pleased with the control that Dino had to keep his hips still. After a several visits now, Dino had come to realize that the style in which Hibari conducted his business left little room for the will of his clients -- instead he took from them what he was craving that day. So far the results were nothing to complain about.

Today he took it slow, sitting upright and allowing Dino to see all of him in the desert-dusty afternoon light that streamed into the room. Hibari’s eyes raked over the body beneath him, taking him slow and deep to the tune of his own pleasure. He let a set of fingertips trace the angry marks he’d left on Dino’s chest, tender and red with broken vessels.

Dino shivered, a little surprised, but not disappointed by Hibari’s tenderness. He breathed in through his nose, out through his mouth, watching Hibari’s eyes for his cues, flush spreading down his chest as he steeled his self-control to keep his hips still. “Can I touch you?” he dared to ask.

“Mmm,” Hibari purred with permission, letting a hand come to rest over the one on his thigh, moving it to his waist instead. He leaned back to brace himself on Dino’s thighs, thumbs digging into tight muscle with the roil of Hibari’s pleasure, squeezing with the rush of breath brought on when he teased himself just so.

Dino breathed a sigh of relief, lifting both hands to smooth his palms across Hibari’s bare thighs. “You’re in a good mood today,” he hummed, drinking in the sight of the man above him. “I’m glad you let me visit.”

Hibari was lazy and his good mood was in fact evident, though on these words he did still have a sour look to offer. It faded quickly though and Hibari didn’t answer for long moments, taking his time with a few more languid meeting of hips and breathing in the smell of incense that now filled his room and made the air cling with gentle smoke.

“I like gifts,” he said casually, his eyes turned down to wander over Dino. Fingers reached for the sharp chisel of Dino’s jaw, smoothed by the razor because he knew Hibari appreciated cleanliness. “And pleasant weather.” He touched Dino’s throat and moved to his arm, fingertips sliding over the colorful swirls of his tattoos. He looked up, a coy smirk on his lips. “And a customer whose body is adequate.”

“Shot to my heart, Kyouya,” Dino pouted, though he wasn’t hurt. It was practically romantic coming from Hibari, after all. Anyway, the man’s touch and the roll of his body were sweet enough to make up for his words. Dino’s fingers moved, feeling out Hibari’s hips, the gentle curve of his stomach, the tender skin at the inside of his thigh. He felt lucky, a little overwhelmed if he were honest with himself.

His heart fluttered a little at the soft bit of laughter that it brought to Hibari’s lips even as he sank slow onto Dino’s cock. His hands smoothed over the back of the marshal’s, showing their contrast -- Hibari’s remarkably more delicate and smaller but still calloused in interesting places that made Dino wonder at the weapon that the escort was trained in. Dino’s hands seemed particularly work and fight weathered in comparison and dark tan from daily doses of desert sun. Hibari encouraged the touches, fanning his fingers down Dino’s wrists and forearms. It was the kind of afternoon he was content to let run long, to indulge in his own power and sexuality and take what he wanted from the man paying his bills.

Luckily for Dino, he didn’t have much in the way of other indulgences, so he wasn’t particularly worried about counting the minutes they were spending together. Hibari’s laugh was worth every cent, maybe even more than his touch. It was, after all, rarer. He watched their fingers twine together, smiled. He couldn’t help it. It was, perhaps, the most intimate thing they’d done together so far, and Dino wanted to revel in it as much as Hibari would allow.

The confident man over him was particularly open, even closing his eyes to focus on sensation, on breathing, on the movement of his own body and the obedient stillness of the one he rode. “Bring your knees up,” Hibari instructed, settling again with a comfortable sigh in appreciation of the support it offered when he arched back further. He let Dino keep his fingers for the moment to let the shuddering tension of pleasure flicker between them at those points with particularly stunning grinds of hips.

Dino was all too happy to follow Hibari’s instructions-- never the sort of man who felt threatened by giving up control in intimate situations. After a long, comfortable moment of watching Hibari take his time, Dino managed to catch his eye with a hopeful look. “Would you mind…?” He wondered, letting the back of his fingers brush at the side of Hibari’s cock, smiling a little, but waiting permission.

Hibari sighed pleasantly, affirmatively -- no manufactured, put out expression -- and offered a quiet moan when Dino gently took him in hand. “Only for a moment,” he warned, breath slow, and he adjusted to again touch Dino’s chest, thumbing at a hard, pink nipple. Lids heavy, he bit lightly at his lower lip, enjoying the slow exploration of angles and positions, searching for the best way that they fit together. And expertly, smoothly, he let that rhythm add the rock of his hips, forward into the light grip of Dino’s rough hand that was bringing eager moisture to the tip of his cock.

“Just tell me when,” Dino agreed, following Hibari’s slow, easy pace, his hold loose and teasing, letting his thumb slip across the slit, just once, waiting to see what Hibari wanted. He shivered when Hibari gave a quiet moan, and Dino’s free hand bit into Hibari’s hip.

Though his manner was carefully controlled, Hibari’s cock betrayed him, dark and dripping in Dino’s grip. His breath deepened, lazily arching back against Dino’s thighs. His frame shuddered, hips jerking when the fingers around him tightened. Fully visible, naked in afternoon light, Dino could see the shift of tight muscle as Hibari rode him -- a hint of the incredible strength in his deceptively svelte body.

It wasn’t long before Hibari eased his hand away, cheeks pink when he looked back at Dino. He guided the marshal’s hands to his hips, showed him to tug at Hibari. “Finish yourself,” he purred, predatory but affected. “I want to see you come.” He ground down hard against Dino’s hips, inviting him to take for himself.

The invitation alone was almost enough to push him over the edge, but Dino bit his own lip to keep hold of his control, wanting nothing more than to obey Hibari’s desires, and to hold out a little longer, for him. So he nodded, both hands moving to Hibari’s hips, to keep him still while Dino hilted himself slow and deep, breath slipping from his teeth with a hiss.

It didn’t take long until his hips were snapping up, short, quick thrusts, Dino’s voice audible in the back of his throat, half-swallowed moans. He couldn’t look directly at Hibari, not while his skin prickled with heat, his climax close enough that Dino found himself on the edge of panic, torn between dragging it out and letting go. “K-kyouya,” he groaned, not a question, but a polite request nonetheless.

Giving up control left Hibari struggling not to gasp or moan, his breath heavy as rode out Dino’s desires, unable to hide the pleasure he took from it. His hands came to Dino’s chest, pressing, fingernails digging at fresh, tender bruises. “Yesss,” Hibari growled, low in his throat, like a sound a panther might make. He openly watched the lost abandon as Dino begged, in his way, to be allowed to come.

“F-fuck--” Dino swore, bit his tongue, and gripped Hibari hard enough to bruise, hips lifting the smaller man up off the bed, and orgasm slammed into him. He surged upward, arms wrapping around Hibari’s frame, and buried his face in Hibari’s chest, breath gusting from his lungs as his climax shook him hard and faded away.

Hibari allowed it, though he bucked hard into Dino’s lap, dragging out his orgasm and demanding every bit of stimulation from Dino’s body. His nails raked up Dino’s back before suddenly the marshal was shoved back with surprising force. Before he could question what he had done wrong, he was struck by the vision of Hibari above him. His hand was on his cock, jerking himself hard and fast, his other palm flat on Dino’s chest. It was almost too much, his cock oversensitive and wrapped tight in Hibari’s body.

It was well worth it when Hibari came with a choked cry, splashing long streams across Dino’s stomach and chest. He eyes squeezed shut, his lips were open, panting, face and chest red and his hand stroking himself furiously through a long climax.

When it finally subsided for both of them and their bodies stilled from the torrent of pleasure, Hibari remained over him, fingers spread across the hot skin of Dino’s chest. Hibari panted slowly, looking into Dino’s face with a smoldering expression. After a moment though, he sat back, Dino still inside him, and smoothed his sweaty black hair away from his forehead and cheekbones and gave a long, satisfied sigh.

For a long beat, Dino could only stare up at him, eyes wide and bright, impressed and breathless, adoring Hibari with every ounce of his attention. He reached for Hibari’s thighs, palms smoothing across his skin, almost idly, distracted by the vision above him. “Yeah,” he agreed. “Wow.”

Hibari lounged back lazily, elbows on Dino’s bent knees. He seemed to appreciate what was laid out beneath him: the toned and sweaty marshal with a few flowers still tangled in his mussed blond hair, Hibari’s come streaked across his front. After a few more breaths, Hibari gave a sigh and let Dino slide free. He reached to retrieve a towel from his bedside table and wiped down the other man.

Hibari moved off of him and took a moment at the head of the bed lighting his pipe and allowing his body a moment to recover from the rigorous activity. Naked and half draped over Dino, he allowed the slow peppering of kisses on his skin while he smoked. When he stepped out of bed, he slipped back into his robe and tied it

“Would you like some sake?”

“Please,” Dino agreed with a hum of appreciation. He sat up and let his legs hang over the side of the bed, pleasantly relaxed, as he watched Hibari.

Every task Hibari completed felt like a ritual. He moved with such grace and focus with everything he did, even something as simple as setting a tray of drinks. The attractive black set that Dino had purchased for Hibari some weeks ago was placed on the bedside table and Hibari poured them each a serving. Hibari pulled a chair over for himself to relax into its velvet and redwood hold, pipe balanced in one set of fingers, a sake cup in the other.

Dino sampled the drink and though it wasn’t hot like the first sake he’d been given, it was nonetheless a lovely flavor and burn that washed his tongue and throat. With a sound of appreciation, he looked up with an undisguised happiness. “Thank you, Kyouya.”

The marshal’s escort ignored him by tasting his own drink and savoring it with eyes closed. Then he studied the edge of his cup, the shiny glaze that made patterns along the edge of the rim. “It’s quite a nice sake set. Send your man my compliments for his taste.”

“I will,” Dino agreed. “Romario will be pleased to hear you like it.” He took another sip, enjoying the taste, and watching the way Hibari’s eyes closed with subtle satisfaction at his own drink. They lapsed into a silence then, that was, somehow, comfortable. Every time he visited Hibari, Dino felt his defenses slipping further, found it easier to be… well, easy around him. He was learning, picking up on the other man’s desires, the delicate shifts of his moods that took navigating.

When they were finished, Hibari took away the dishes and repacked his pipe. He returned the chair to its place, then sank into the chaise at the foot of his bed to smoke, an unsubtle hint that Dino should dress.

“It’s been a while now that you’ve been in town, marshal,” Hibari spoke up, watching Dino step into his pants. “Any word on a new assignment?”

Dino shook his head lightly, doing up the buttons on his trousers, then looking around for his shirt. “No… I haven’t heard anything on that front. But for all intents and purposes, I’m ‘on call’ for them to pull out and relocate at any time.”

He frowned as he shared this. The uncertainty of his residence from month to month had been something he sort of liked before, always travelling and seeing new places. But now, the thought of being called to work with some other law enforcement in some other town away from Tsuna and… away from Hibari-- put a lump in his stomach.

Hibari nodded absently, smoke spilling from his lips. When Dino had snapped his suspenders into place and was shrugging into his jacket, Hibari rose to approach him. “When would you like to visit next?”

“Whenever you’re free,” Dino answered instantly, picking up his hat and dropping it into place, tapping the brim back to meet Hibari’s eyes as he stepped up to meet Hibari’s approach. They stood like that, a breath apart, Dino’s chin tilted down just a bit, to hold Hibari’s gaze. “Can I kiss you before I go?”

 

Though Hibari looked at him like he was a strange puzzle, he no longer scoffed or teased Dino when he made such requests. His dark, intimidating eyes looked over Dino’s face in detail, calculating. But ultimately, his lips twitched in a tiny smirk and he tilted his own chin up slightly, his breath on Dino’s lips when he said, “You may.”

“Thank you…” Dino hummed, dipping his head to match Hibari’s lips, just brushing first, sighing happily. His eyes slipped closed, and he deepened the kiss, but took his time, slow and sweet, not desperate, just soaking in it. One hand found Hibari’s waist, rested there, thumb finding the point of a hip, pulling him close.

Hibari didn’t seem prepared for this sort of kiss and his response was stilted, uncertain. Ultimately he gave in, allowing himself to be pressed against Dino, even letting an arm slide around the taller man’s neck. He kissed back and his lips parted to invite Dino in, only to bite his tongue. It wasn’t enough to damage but it was rather startling and would leave his mouth sore for a few hours, especially when Hibari continued to abuse it by sucking.

When Hibari eased back, it was with a smug little smirk. “Four days from now. Wednesday, at six.”

Dino was a little breathless when he nodded and answered, “Y-yeah, that’s great. I’ll be here.” He stared at Hibari for a moment, a little star-struck, and touched Hibari’s cheek reverently before drawing away to reach for his boots, and to try and calm the thundering of his heart beat.

“Good night, Ky--”

Hibari halted him with a set of fingers placed over Dino’s mouth. “Good evening, marshal.”

Grinning, Dino managed to kiss those fingers once before the door was shut on him.

Chapter Text

Squalo was kicked back in Xanxus' chair at his desk, boots resting on the heavy wood. Xanxus was away to the next town over and Dino was sharing with the deputy some plans for military train tracks that would soon be nearing the town.

The ring of the bell on the door snatched Squalo's gaze to the man who stepped into the room. Hibari was, for a moment, almost unrecognizable in a perfectly tailored black suit and tie, complete with gleaming leather shoes (undoubtedly Italian.) On his shoulder perched a tiny fluff of yellow which on closer inspection was a little bird that shivered and preened itself.

"Voooiii..." Squalo hummed with interest. "Who let the tiger out of its cage?"

Hibari ignored him and looked directly at Dino. "Cavallone. I require a conversation."

Dino took an embarrassingly long beat to answer him-- to do anything beyond staring, frankly. The figure standing before him, flawless, androgynous beauty sheathed in crisp, masculine lines, sent a shock straight to his chest, closing his throat briefly. Then, all of a sudden, time snapped back to normal speed and he straightened quick enough for whiplash. "A-ah, of course. Um. Squalo?" he glanced at his still-seated friend, who showed no signs of moving. He caught Squalo’s eye with a pointed stare, gave a little jerk of his head toward the door.

Squalo glared at him. "Why the fuck should I leave? This is MY building," he snapped. "If you're gonna fuck, do it at the whorehouse!"

Hibari's glare was /far/ more powerful than Squalo's when it pinned the silver haired man to the wall. Utterly deadly. Something silver flashed between his fingers at his side but but he didn't lift a hand. "Get out."

Palpable rage made the air in the dry, warm room quiver. But finally Squalo's boots hit the floor planks with a THUD. "I'll be back in an hour. If I find you fucking here, I'll throw you in the trap for a week."

He shoved rudely past Hibari on his way out and slammed the door hard enough to make the building shake.

Dino rubbed a temple and loosed a small sigh. "Sorry about that... he's... well he's rude to everybody. Um, do you want to sit?" He gestured toward the chair Squalo had angrily vacated.

Hibari looked at it for a long moment. The bird on his shoulder looked at Dino, tilted its head and chirped. Ultimately he decided to take the offer and sank primly into the weathered wood.

Dino managed a small smile as he settled against the edge of the desk, facing Hibari with one hand in his pocket and the other fluttering about. "Who's the little guy?" he indicated Hibari's feathered companion. "I didn't know you liked animals."

A shrug. He wordlessly offered the creature his finger and it hopped on easily. "Hibird." Cheerfully, a tune flowed from the little yellow puff. He hopped a few times on Hibari's finger. He extended his arm to offer the bird to Dino, its curious face turning examine the new person. "I don't let him around while I'm working. It would be too traumatizing."

Dino grinned, openly delighted by this new knowledge and held out a finger, surprised, but secretly touched at the gesture. When the tiny creature hopped from Hibari's hand to his, Dino beamed. "Kyouya," he chuckled, “did you name him after yourself?"

"It's a pun," Hibari replied flatly. "You wouldn't understand it."

"Are you sure?" Dino teased. "Because it sounds like you just changed the 'ri' to 'do'." He held the bird close to his face then, meeting its little bead eyes, and matching the tilt of its little head with a grin. Hibird chirped and launched from Dino's finger to flutter once around his head before settling down in the mop of blond hair.

Hibari stared up at him with an inscrutable expression, his lips pursed faintly. The bird nestled happily into Dino's hair, making himself at home. But suddenly, Hibari stood and raised his hand to urge the bird onto his finger once more. Before Dino could protest, he took Hibird to the window and leaned out. "Go home."

The bird was reluctant but with a nudge, he fluttered from Hibari's finger toward the Rose.

When he turned back to Dino, he seemed irritated but also... tired somehow. He returned to the chair. "I have news."

Dino cocked his head, in a gesture not unlike the one he'd shared with the little bird moments earlier. "Are you alright, Kyouya?" he asked, moving around the desk to stand before the shorter man, suddenly concerned.

There was a pause where Hibari wouldn't meet his eyes. But then he looked up, squared his shoulders and said, "Mister Rokudo Mukuro has made me an offer to engage in an exclusive contract. I've decided to agree."

In an instant, Dino's cheer evaporated, the color draining from his face equally quickly. "M--Mukuro?" he repeated, a chill racing across the back of his neck. "Kyouya... that man... he's -- he's..." But it wasn't his place, not to judge a man who-- while certainly skeevy, perverted, and suspicious, nonetheless had no criminal record, nothing solid to give credence to the deep feeling of dislike he inspired in Dino. So he fell silent, lips thin, breath shallow. He knew what it meant, of course, the exclusive contract. It meant that Hibari would be taking no other clients. Surprisingly though, his biggest concern lay not with this knowledge, but rather with Hibari's safety. "Just... promise me you'll come to me, or Squalo, or the sheriff if... just... I know you can look after yourself, but if he ever... hurts you. In any way--"

"What?" Hibari interrupted, with unusual surprise. For a moment, there was a great struggle in his features. Briefly Dino thought that he might laugh. But then, "I appreciate your concern." Condescending but not exactly mean. "The only way he can ever hurt me is if I consent and he empties his pocketbook," he said frankly.

Dino's jaw clenched tight at this. "I hate the idea of his hands on you like that," he breathed, fists clenching at his sides. His eyes felt hot, his tongue dry.

Hibari frowned at him reproachfully and leaned back in the chair. But still, he seemed poised to leave at any moment. "That's none of your business," he said coldly. "I'm not sure what you thought you were entering in to, Marshal, but I couldn't give a fuck what you think about it."

Dino's lips thinned further, and he wouldn't meet Hibari's eyes, but he did lean against the edge of the desk again. "I know you don't," he finally spoke, low and tight. "I know I'm just a-- a former client. You don't owe me anything. I don't _expect_ anything. But you don't -- you don't have the right to tell me how to feel, Kyouya." He looked up then, catching Hibari's eyes with intent. "And if it's selfish of me to say that I give a fuck about you... well, then I'm selfish. And I'm sorry. But I won't lie to you."

Dino had never seen Hibari so visibly uncomfortable. His scowl was deep, brow set hard. He stood and it seemed like there was the faintest tremble to his frame. What from, anger? Or something else? He barely met Dino's eyes. "You're an idiot for it. Only a naive fool would let himself grow attached to a whore."

"Then I'm a fool, Kyouya," Dino sighed, pushing to his feet, fighting the urge to reach out and take Hibari by the arms. "Maybe the biggest fool in this town. But naive? No, I'm not naive. I knew what I was getting into. I just decided it was worth it. To get to know you better. And whatever you think of me, I don't regret my choices."

The words were in their own way soothing, relieving Hibari of any responsibility. But they only seemed to rankle him more, bristling with irritability. "Just find someone else to fuck and I'm sure you'll feel much better," he said into Dino's face. He seemed uncomfortably close, his eyes burning with something... something impossible to read. "I'm sure there's plenty of idiots in my house taking new clients."

Dino's face must have registered the hurt he felt at these words, at the dismissal inherent in them."Do you honestly believe it was just about the sex?" he heard himself ask, voice steady, words clipped.

"That's what you hired me for." Hibari mustered up an icy stare for him.

And just like that, Dino's expression shuttered closed, his fists fell open. The set of his shoulders suggested defeat, but the line of his mouth spoke of swallowed anger. "You should go," he managed, the words a gravelly breath.

An impossibly tense moment passed, in which Hibari breathed a stuttering breath. Finally, he just nodded and stepped past Dino. The bell on the door chimed as he opened it.

When he was gone, and another minute later, Dino fell into the empty chair and laid his head down on the desk. When the chair leg under him snapped, it sent him flailing, graceless, onto the floor. He lay there, cheek pressed to the wood, unmoving. It was pitiful, he knew, but he didn't care-- not even when Squalo found him asleep there and thought him dead at the hands of a whore.

Chapter Text

It was evening time, past supper, but Chikusa insisted on keeping his office lit with the oil lamps on the walls well past dark. He spent the majority of his life there. Most of his time was occupied with operations and paperwork for Mukuro’s businesses and the Kokuyo ranch. When he wasn’t working, he spent his time reading books from the estate’s impressive library and gazing out the spacious window onto a very pleasing view. In spite of the desert landscape beyond, the mansion that Mukuro shared with his closest companions was hugged by carefully maintained gardens. It took obscene amounts of water to keep a lawn and a few hardy breeds of flowers alive in the desert heat. But as a family, they’d learned that money could make anything happen.

After escaping slavery in the mines as children, taking with them a small fortune, they had a brand new life. Even at a tender age, Mukuro was a masterful leader and his skill for manipulating people turned that small fortune very quickly into a large fortune. In a matter of years, they’d gone from living in an abandoned boxcar to staying in places nearly as swank as the estate that Mukuro eventually built.

Now that fortune furnished Chikusa’s office with sprawling oriental rugs, a sturdy redwood desk and opulently plush furniture. It was a cozy and tidy space that he inhabited unless sleeping, out on business or enjoying Mukuro’s company. But it wasn’t as private as he might like it to be. For instance, Ken was more or less a fixture during his off hours or when he was shirking his work. Several times a week Chikusa would have to clean Ken’s favorite sofa where he thoughtlessly lounged in his dusty work clothes.

But that’d been less of a problem lately, ever since Mukuro started grooming him and sending him to the brothel. These days when he got off work, Ken dutifully cleaned himself up and changed into fresh clothes (clothes that Chikusa had selected for him so he would finally fit their fine setting a little better.) He still refused to wear shoes unless he was working on the ranch but it was a great improvement.

Tonight Ken had made himself comfortable lying on his back on his favorite sofa and chewing on a cigar that he’d pilfered from a box in Chikusa’s drawers. He stared up at the ceiling peacefully, letting Chikusa focus on the bit of extra paperwork that kept him at his desk a little late.

For the most part Ken didn’t bother Chikusa much, unless the ranch hand was feeling particularly bored or restless. Many evenings they settled into a habit of Ken falling asleep with his head resting in Chikusa’s lap while the tall man read by lamplight. In general his presence when they were alone was, to Chikusa, irritating at its worst and comfortably companionable at its best. But when Chikusa had to work it could be a nightmare.

Much of Chikusa’s work was executed by Chrome, the shy young woman who skillfully managed Mukuro’s estate, acting as his right hand. When he was around, Ken made working with her almost impossible. If there was business to deal with regarding the ranch, which was Ken’s responsibility, he was ornery, opinionated and difficult to work with. As a rule, when it came to Chrome, Ken was a pain in the ass.

So when there was a light, recognizable knock at the heavy oak door, Chikusa gave a small sigh and prepared for what would follow when he called, “Come in.”

Chrome peeked her head in and Ken jerked up, yanking the cigar out of his mouth. “Hey! HEY!” he barked. “It’s after work! This is man’s time, what do you want, WOMAN!”

“Stop, Ken,” Chikusa admonished him and turned his attention on poor Chrome who stood uncomfortably in the door. “Ignore him. What is it, Miss Dokuro?”

“W-well, actually, I was looking for Ken,” Chrome hemmed, tangling her fingers together nervously when she looked at the blond man across the room. “Master Mukuro asked me to fetch you for him. He’d like to see you in his personal salon. He said he was certain you could guess why.”

Ken had gone back to chewing petulantly but when he processed this information, his face went slack with surprise and the cigar fell from his mouth. “W-what? Really?” He sat up straight, eyes lit up as though this was the most fantastic news he’d ever heard. “You hear that, Kakipii!? He-- he--”

“Thank you for delivering the message, Miss Dokuro,” Chikusa interrupted. At his desk, he sealed his inkwell and cleaned his pen nib. “You may go. I suspect you may not want to hear the conversation that will follow.”

She stared at him with wide, innocent eyes but the pink on her cheeks didn’t go unnoticed. As fragile as she was, Mukuro spared few details when it came to sharing his personal life with her. “Y-yes… of course… you have a lovely evening, both of you.” She couldn’t look at Ken when she slipped out of the room.

“DID YOU HEAR, KAKIPII!” Ken all but shouted, jumping up from his position on the sofa, the wet cigar tumbling to the floor.

“Yes, Ken. I heard.” Chikusa sighed, putting a finger in one ear to express his mild distaste for the volume of Ken’s announcement. “Congratulations. You’ve worked very hard for this.”

“I /have/,” Ken agreed proudly. He crossed the office in two big steps and joined Chikusa behind his desk. Without asking permission, he started going through the other man’s things, digging through drawers. “Mints, mints!” He was almost frantic with excitement but also an edge of nervousness. He found the tin he was searching for and shook a handful of candies into his mouth. “Do I smell ok?”

Chikusa gestured him closer with one hand, then without standing, leaned in close to get a whiff of Ken’s neck when he stooped low. “You smell fine,” Chikusa declared, with a tight nod. “Like you usually smell. But with mint. You bathed today, so I’m sure the master will be satisfied.”

Ken gave a relieved sigh and then grinned at his friend, his posture straight and alert. “Ok. I’m going. I’ll tell you all about it later!” he called before the heavy door shut behind him.

“No thank you,” Chikusa spoke as he exited, his words lost in the snap of the door closing.

Ken ran down the hallway to stop by his room to clean up a bit more and made the bold decision to slick himself with the oil Yamamoto had gifted him. It could backfire on him if Mukuro decided it was too presumptuous but if it got Mukuro to fuck him quicker it could be worth it and maybe he’d be pleased by his initiative and the attention Ken was paying to his orders. This was what was on his mind as he hurried to push two wet fingers into himself, huffing under the pressure to work quickly. He was thankful for Yamamoto’s help with keeping his nails short and clean -- something he was still getting used to but was quite thankful for in that moment.

His legs were a little shaky and his dick was half hard when he yanked his suspenders back into place, wiped off his hands and was back to running down the hall. When he came to a stop in front of the entrance to Mukuro’s rooms, he was panting just a little. He took a deep breath and knocked on the carved redwood door cheerfully but not TOO cheerfully.

“Come in,” Mukuro’s voice came, muffled through the heavy wood. When Ken pushed open the door, he found Mukuro seated in one of the chairs in his personal salon. A cup of tea was paused halfway to his lips, a book laying open, perched on his knee. He was, as always, slickly dressed: today in a soft lavender grey wool suit, dark hair spilling over one shoulder, rather than tied back as per usual. “You’re late,” he noted. He didn’t sound angry, though. If anything, the words sounded almost bored.

The door clicked softly shut behind him and Ken stood up straight with alarm, his eyes wide. “Sorry master-- I --” He wasn’t sure what would get him more scolded, if he should come up with an excuse but ended up blurting out the truth, “I went to my room real quick t-to clean up. To be my best.” He tried to look his most earnest, hopeful for a positive reaction but also nursing a knot in the pit of his stomach.

Mukuro looked particularly incredible and Ken was unable to look away from him. He stared at the long, inky fall of Mukuro’s hair, his fingers twitching with the desire to touch it.

“Mm,” Mukuro nodded, thoughtfully. “Well, next time you’ll be quicker, I’m sure.” He sipped his tea, hummed as though pleased by the taste, and returned the cup to its saucer, setting it aside on the small table beside him. “Sit down,” he gestured at the second chair. “And drink a cup.” Mukuro poured a second cup of tea and pushed it across the table to the space he’d indicated.

Ken nodded dumbly and entered the room with a quick glance around. They’d lived in the Kokuyo estate for years now but Ken had only seen this room a handful of times. It was as elegantly decorated as the rest of the mansion, offering several luxurious seating options and boasting a large bar full of fancy liquor bottles. The door in the corner led to Mukuro’s bedroom but Ken couldn’t allow himself to hope he’d see that tonight.

He was undeniably awkward when he slid into the plush velvet seat adjacent from Mukuro’s. Holding a delicate teacup, his hands looked gnarled and it was difficult to will the shake from them. But he did his best and took a drink of the hot, fruity tea, looking at Mukuro attentively.

“The whore you’ve been training with has raved to me about your progress.”

Ken’s eyes lit up with this information and he grinned. “Y-yeah? He’s been a good teacher. Taught me a lot of stuff. He’s real great in the sack.”

Mukuro’s brow twitched faintly at Ken’s rough language, but he wasn’t unused to it of course, having lived with him for a long time now. “Indeed. This is, certainly, a reason why I employed him to teach you.” He took another sip of his tea and watched Ken, searching him with unsubtle eyes. “Do you think you’ve learned enough to be ready for me?”

“Oh, yes,” Ken answered instantly, nodding so hard that he almost spilled his tea. “I know exactly what to do and -- and I’m good at it,” he blurted, not without confidence but with some anxiety. His face was growing red. “And-- every time, I think about master Mukuro. I think about it-- /you/ all the time.” There was a pleading edge to Ken’s voice, his eyes on Mukuro’s face intensely watching his features. “Last week -- in the Vongola kitchen -- was just about the best day of my life. I can’t stop thinking about it… I want more of you so bad… m-master…”

Finally he trailed off and glanced down at the cup in his hand as though he’d forgotten about it. Doing his best to be polite, he drank again, peering at Mukuro over the edge of the cup.

“Mm. Good,” Mukuro answered, setting down his empty cup and meeting Ken’s eyes, holding his gaze for a long moment that might have been uncomfortable for someone else. For Ken, however, he knew it would be more than welcome. Enticing and suggestive, even. “You’ve done well. I’m interested in seeing the results of your training for myself. I’d like you to strip down for me, please.”

A hot chill passed over Ken’s entire body and for a moment he was frozen, a tiny little smile quirking his mouth. Then he gulped down the rest of his tea, in case it was rude not to finish it and managed to return the cup to its saucer without breaking anything in his excitement. Then he was on his feet and grabbing for his suspenders.

His new clothes were nice but they were simple, easily shed and draped over the back of a sofa. It didn’t occur to him to be embarrassed until all his clothes were off and he was standing in front of Mukuro’s evaluating gaze. It was the second time Mukuro had seen him naked but he hadn’t experienced the same scrutiny when he’d been wedged between Gokudera and Yamamoto.

At first he covered himself by instinct but realized that would probably be displeasing. Instead he let Mukuro see how he was half-hard just under the instruction and the hope of what might happen. He didn’t know what to do with his hands and they ended up in tight fists at his side. He dared to seek out Mukuro’s eyes but it was with clear deference, in spite of the smile Ken was unable to hide. “W-what can I do for you, Master?” he asked quietly, hopefully.

“Come over here,” Mukuro gestured, guiding Ken to stand directly in front of him, and looked him over head to toe. He nodded, vaguely, then reached out to cup a hand between Ken’s legs, as though testing the weight of a handful of gold to judge its value. “You bathed today,” he observed, gloved hand squeezing lightly, fingertips grazing the skin behind Ken’s sac, teasing maybe, or just idle touches while he spoke.

Ken couldn’t bring himself to be ashamed at how his cock twitched and swelled instantly with Mukuro’s almost casual touch. Even unashamed, his face was red, a little overwhelmed by experiencing Mukuro’s touch there. Every way Mukuro had touched him the week before raced through Ken’s mind and left him reeling with depraved hunger. “I do every day,” he said, voice a little shaky. “In case you decide that’s the day you want me.”

“Mm, good answer.” Mukuro gave him one more squeeze, then let a single finger drag up Ken’s shaft from base to tip, before pulling away and uncrossing his legs. He set aside the book he’d been reading, and patted Ken’s hip. “Down on your knees now. Show me what the whore taught you.”

His knees were on the floor so quickly they were probably going to be bruised. He barely had a thought about maintaining dignity and barely stopped himself from surging forward between Mukuro’s thighs. Just in time, he managed to slow himself enough to savor the moment and not be greedy. Ken struggled to keep himself from shivering continuously when his cheek touched the inseam of Mukuro’s fine, tailored slacks.

He shifted forward, rubbing against Mukuro’s thigh until he was pressing his face against the other man’s bulge. Unable to help himself, Ken paused there to take a deep, intoxicating breath. He didn’t press too hard, afraid of marring Mukuro’s clothes, but it was enough for heat to seep through the fabric. Ken inhaled his scent like it was a drug, his eyes closed to block out anything but that smell and the feel of Mukuro’s package pressed against his cheek. Intoxicated, he opened his eyes to look up at Mukuro with naked, ravenous desire.

Before he could get scolded for dawdling, Ken moved on, hands coming to the front of Mukuro’s trousers to feel him out. And in fact, he did so rather skillfully, urging Mukuro’s cock to respond through layers of fabric. Shamelessly, Ken rubbed his face there again, one palm rubbing at Mukuro’s balls while the other tugged suggestively at the fastener of his trousers. “Can I open these?” he pleaded as he nuzzled with agony at Mukuro’s cock. “Please?”

“You may,” Mukuro breathed in reply, eyes locked on Ken, watching his every move, perhaps searching for any mistakes Ken might make. His cock was definitely responding, a delicious thickness pressing against Ken’s cheek, tight in his slacks. He let his legs fell open further, offering Ken easier access. “Take me out,” he ordered, breath just a little huskier than normal.

Ken tried not to pounce on the offer and managed to be careful with Mukuro’s clothing in spite of his eagerness. When Mukuro’s dick was free and filling under his attention, Ken couldn’t help but stare up at the object of his intense affection and marvel at how gorgeous his master was, so in control and powerful but so beautiful with his hair falling over his shoulder that way. Mukuro’s cock was perhaps even more perfect than Ken could have imagined and his mouth watered at the sight of it.

Maybe it was taking too much liberty, but Ken dared to push Mukuro’s shirt up, to run his palm over his master’s firm lower stomach. Though Mukuro was slim, Ken knew quite well from first hand experience just how strong and deadly the man was. His first touch was a kiss at the base of Mukuro’s cock and it made him clutch at his master’s pale stomach. Then he was licking up, wasting no further time before getting his lips around Mukuro’s cock.

To avoid getting lost in staring at Mukuro, Ken shut his eyes as he filled his mouth and his brow tensed in delighted concentration. The hand on his stomach moved to hold and squeeze at Mukuro’s base while Ken focused on the head with surprisingly precise attention. His tongue lashed around the velvet flesh that filled his mouth and made Ken’s dick impossibly hard with the flavor. Careful not to get too messy since Mukuro was still dressed, Ken let enough saliva drip down his master’s cock to make his touch slippery when his fingers stroked up to meet his lips.

A deep moan rattled around Mukuro’s cockhead, Ken’s tongue searching his slit for more of his taste. Then he paused for a quick breath before taking Mukuro deeper, letting him nearly press the back of his throat. After practicing this a number of times with direction, Ken had figured out how to keep his teeth from causing harm -- and just how much teeth was a good thing. Carefully but not too slowly, Ken pulled back and finally opened his eyes to look up at his master when he was licking obscenely around his crown.

For his part, Mukuro stayed mostly quiet, silently observing, and no doubt taking mental notes regarding Ken’s skill and progress. He didn’t touch Ken yet, offered no guidance, clearly first wanting to see what he could do on his own without direction. When Ken finally looked up at him, hungry for approval, Mukuro blessed him with a small nod, his lips twitching in what Ken would later remember as a smile of pleasure. Anyway, Mukuro’s dick was undeniably hard, pointing upward, flushed and wet, so Ken must have been doing something right.

“Stop now,” Mukuro spoke after another half a minute, and Ken felts fingertips slide into his hair, graze the top of his ear, then grip and tug him back. “Are you ready for me?”

There was a pang of disappointment, tongue swiping greedily at Mukuro’s tip as he eased away but the question set Ken’s blood boiling. His mouth was wet, face flushed when he looked up at Mukuro with hopeful longing. “Yes, Master, I’m ready... /please/…” he begged as though it was his dying wish.

“Good,” Mukuro hummed, hand leaving Ken’s hair as he stood, gesturing for Ken to rise as well. “You’ll wait for me over there,” he indicated a small, plush loveseat in the opposite corner of the room. “Stand at the back of it. Prepare yourself for me.” He pressed a small jar into Ken’s hand and set to slowly removing his jacket and loosening his tie.

After a stunned moment of watching Mukuro peel off his gloves, Ken gave a vigorous nod and hurried into action. At the couch, he wanted to stare at Mukuro, wondering how much clothing he would deign to take off for Ken. But he suspected it would get him scolded so forced himself to focus on getting ready. It was easy enough, since he’d already done a quick job and now his body was throbbing to have Mukuro inside.

His eyes shut, it was no problem for Ken to slide two, then three wet fingers into himself. It was torturous. His own touch had never been so dissatisfying, so infuriating than when right on the edge of getting what he wanted. But Mukuro needed to know that he was ready, needed to know how much he wanted it. So bracing on the back of the sofa with one arm, Ken fucked himself slowly with his fingers.

When he slit his eyes open to see if Mukuro was ready, he found Mukuro watching him. Mukuro, standing there with his hair now tied back, but his chest, shockingly, was bare, creamy skin and lithe muscle… rarely seen. He wore his slacks, but his cock hung heavy from the open fly. He still wore his shoes, an oddly professional seeming gesture, but perhaps it was simply made to distinguish himself from Ken’s always-barefoot fashion, to remind him of who had the upper hand. Not that Ken ever needed reminding.

“That’s enough,” he said, and moved toward the loveseat, keeping eye contact as he approached a visible smirk on his lips now. He rounded the sofa and let a hand smooth across Ken’s bared backside. Mukuro's uncovered fingertips were cool, his nails scraped just a little. “Very good... “

Ken could barely stand the anticipation, skin and muscle shivering under Mukuro’s light touch. Mukuro’s praising words were as intoxicating as the strongest alcohol and made Ken’s knees feel weak, brought an irrepressible little grin to his lips.

He wanted to jump on Mukuro, feel his bare chest and kiss him hard until they were biting each other, until he tasted his master’s blood. He wanted to touch Mukuro so much that his palms tingled. But he’d learned. He’d learned that to get any of what he wanted, it would be on Mukuro’s terms and he was willing to do and be whatever Mukuro wanted from him.

“Th-thank you, Master...” Ken murmured, his voice thick with aroused gratitude. He gripped at the back of the couch, his hips tilting with obvious, lurid prostration, begging for Mukuro to touch him more, to take whatever it was he desired. “I want this so bad… I want you inside me so much… please, Master…”

“I know,” Mukuro purred, both hands on Ken’s ass now, squeezing the muscle, spreading his cheeks, exposing him fully. “I’ll give you what you want. Just be patient and don’t come until I give you permission.” Still, Mukuro didn’t seem interested in too much teasing, certainly not in foreplay of any kind. Instead, already he pressed a thumb between Ken’s cheeks, rubbing to feel the oil and the easy way Ken relaxed and opened to his touch. He made a small sound in the back of his throat which Ken was happy to interpret as approval and then two fingers were dipping into him, testing him.

Ken gave a long, delighted moan, his hips canting just so into the touch, desperate for more. It was enough to make his head spin, Mukuro touching him there with every intent of being in him. Another moan rattled him when Mukuro’s fingers pushed all the way into him. Intentionally, he squeezed at the intrusion, longing for something bigger and deeper, longing for it to be Mukuro’s cock he clutched at inside.

“I promise,” Ken said, just a little breathless, his face red and hot. He dared to look over his shoulder and felt faint with the way Mukuro was watching him, so gorgeous and powerful and striking. “Not until you say, master. I promise.”

“Good boy,” Mukuro answered, letting his fingers slide slowly back out, wiping on Ken’s backside before their touch pulled away. After what felt like a long, torturous moment without Mukuro touching him, Ken’s patience was rewarded by the feel of hot, hard flesh, nudging against him. Mukuro’s fingers took hold of his ass once again, spreading him open. He didn’t enter right away, instead rubbing against him, letting him feel Mukuro’s thickness, his heat. “Is this what you want?” Mukuro leaned closer, whispering against Ken’s spine.

“F-fuck,” Ken said on a shuddering breath. Shamelessly, he bucked back against that feeling, not unlike the last time Mukuro had touched him this way. The belly of his cock sliding slick against Ken’s tingling hole was excruciating and Ken let out a long, broken whine. “Fuck, yes, please… I need it, Master, I’m dying for it…. Please, Mukuro, please…” His heart was racing, his voice unable to convey just how much he needed this from Mukuro. He shook with the terror that somehow Mukuro would change his mind and turn Ken away after all.

“You’ll get it,” Mukuro chided, pinching the flesh of Ken’s backside just a little to quiet him down. He didn’t make Ken wait anymore, however, quickly tapping himself against Ken, waiting for him to relax and open up. When Ken obeyed easily, he heard a pleased grumble in Mukuro’s throat and got no further warning than that before his master entered him in one long thrust.

Ken imagined that this was what it was like to be struck by lightning. Electric shock took over his body and he couldn’t even cry out, could only gasp loudly, happily when he was finally, finally, finally properly claimed by his master. Then he cried out quietly, unable to hide his delight when Mukuro’s hips ground against him. “Y-yessss…!” He held onto Mukuro’s length as though he intended to never let go. “So good… Perfect… mmmm, big…” he moaned, a grin wide on his face, eyes closed to feel just how good it was and be thankful that he was ready for this, instead of being an anxious virgin for Mukuro.

Mukuro didn’t make much in the way of sounds, but neither did he silence Ken, by this omission giving permission to Ken to express his pleasure. What he did was rock forward, burying himself slow and deep, then drew back, blunt (but perfectly manicured) nails dragging down Ken’s sides, digging tiny crescents into Ken’s flesh when they gripped at each cheek. He was methodical, unhurried, breath measured, pace consistent. He was slowly driving Ken to distraction with a rhythm that was torturous.

“Ahh… fuck, you feel so good…” Ken moaned, not too loudly, though he certainly could have howled with joy and relief. But not unless he got the signal that Mukuro wanted him to be loud. He might not want everyone in their mansion to hear Ken’s screams of pleasure the same way he’d wanted Ken’s voice to echo through the halls of the Vongola brothel.

The way Mukuro handled him was exquisite and challenging but it was exactly this that he’d trained for and Yamamoto had done well. If Mukuro wanted him to last through the tantric movement of his hips, Ken could do it. He could even do one better, intuiting Mukuro’s motions to meet him without increasing the pace or demanding more. Yamamoto had described this sort of challenge as a game, the target to gain the upper hand and outlast the other.

Up on his toes, Ken bent shamelessly over the back of the loveseat and clutched at the overstuffed suede cushions. His eyes were shut with intense but joyful concentration, body arching just so, making Mukuro’s slide in and out of him slick and easy. He’d been very liberal with the oil and was a little worried about the state of Mukuro’s slacks but mostly he was enjoying the slippery grind deep inside him when Mukuro gripped his hips.

“Nnnn--” He was panting but not in agony, just in pleasure, completely focused on enjoying every second Mukuro was inside him and make it last as long as possible. But it was becoming a struggle to keep his voice under control, biting his lips against delighted cries. “Ah… ah… yes… Mukuroooo…” The long moan of the other’s name was muffled into the cushion but easily reached Mukuro’s ears.

“Hold out just a little longer,” Mukuro whispered, curling over Ken’s back, arms wrapping around his chest, voice closer than Ken expected. “If you stay quiet this time, I’ll fuck you at the Rose next time, and let you scream all you want.”

“Oh--” Ken stuttered with the promise, his mind racing with happiness. “Yes… Sounds wonderful… I can stay quiet... You’re so good… I wish--nnnnn…”

Mukuro gripping him, grinding inside him just so made his mind go numb for a moment. He had to muffle some moans into the cushions but he wasn’t crashing, wasn’t losing control. One hand found one of Mukuro’s where it gripped against Ken’s chest. He didn’t do anything with that hand, just felt the other man’s touch there. Ken’s body shivered all over when Mukuro’s firm but silky front was against his naked back.

After stifling another long moan, Ken came up for air from the suede pillow with a genuine, happy laugh, sweat beaded on his brow. “Wish… we could do this forever…” he panted, utterly surrendered for as long as Mukuro would have him.

“Enjoy the moment,” Mukuro breathed, kissing the back of Ken’s ear, then pinching one of his nipples with his free hand. “It won’t be the last,” he added, a quiet chuckle that to anyone else might have sounded chilling, but to Ken, was like music. Mukuro reached between Ken’s legs without warning, palming him lightly, fingers curling, giving a stroke, thumbing the slick head, and still rocking into Ken’s body without pause. “I’m going to finish soon, and I want you come right after me. Do you think you can do that?”

“Yes,” Ken gasped instantly, nodding his head vigorously. The surge of pleasure that crashed over him with Mukuro’s fingers around his cock almost made him a liar but he persevered, shaken. “I can last. Please, master… fuck… I want-- I want to feel you come in me -- please…” He wasn’t pleading exactly because he was being given exactly what he wanted. But he had to make Mukuro know how /much/ he wanted it, how much he needed it.

If Mukuro had any issue with Ken’s begging, he didn’t say anything against it, nor did he shut him up with a word or a hand. He was, rather, far too focused, all his effort put into maintaining his composure, while still stroking Ken rigorously. He filled the shorter man completely to the hilt with each snap of his hips, drawing back slow in between his thrusts. He made hardly any sound aside a hiss of breath through his teeth, the occasional grunt.

The only warning Ken had was Mukuro’s grip tightening, his pace stuttering, and his free hand digging suddenly harder into Ken’s hip. Then Mukuro’s arm went around his waist, and he held him in place, squeezing hard as he pressed his brow between Ken’s shoulder blades. He shuddered through his climax, coming inside Ken’s body without apology, claiming him in exactly the sort of way Ken had been desperate to be claimed.

A loud sob was muffled deep inside the sofa pillow, Ken clutching around it with both arms. In the next breath, though, he pulled back enough for Mukuro to hear him but kept his voice at a reasonable level. His sounds were wordless, joyful and breathless, his mind reeling far from the capacity for words. He was on the edge of release but trying to hold out for exactly the right moment, fighting off a sense of panic because if he didn’t come soon he was going to /die/.

First, he had to focus wholly on the burst of heat so deep inside him, Mukuro holding him tight and close and /wanting/ him. In that moment, Ken clutched at him, wrenching sensation from the pulses of Mukuro’s climax. It was /just/ as he felt that final shudder, the subtle gasp of breath, that Ken let himself go and locked down even tighter on Mukuro’s sensitive cock.

Ken’s hand went to his own dick where Mukuro’s hand still squeezed at his aching length. He cried out quietly, unmuffled and with elation, gaining urgency until he finally spilled hard into his own palm, careful of dirtying the fine furnishings of Mukuro’s parlor.

Mukuro let out a gust of breath, hot against Ken’s spine, and indulged in a moment there, panting quietly, still wrapped tight around him, still deep inside him. After his breathing evened out, Mukuro sighed and loosened his grip, kissed Ken at the nape of his neck.

“Good boy,” he whispered, and slipped free of Ken’s body with a low groan.

Everything in Ken shuddered, from his scalp to his toes, his heart and his breath -- and his thighs and knees when his heels finally met the rug again. The arches of his feet ached from being on his toes for so long. He smeared his wet fingers over his stomach until they were mostly clean.

“Thank you, master Mukuro…” Ken sighed back, awed and otherwise speechless. He had, without a doubt, never felt so good in his entire life. He’d wanted this for so long, since he’d been old enough to think about such things, at least ten years ago. He’d thought about it so, so many times. Yet somehow it’d turned out better than any of his fantasies. And there would be more, Mukuro had promised there would be more.

The following moments Mukuro allowed him were better than what Ken thought heaven could be like. The familiarity of Mukuro holding him this way, strong arms around him, solid and real against his back, it was almost overwhelming and Ken’s chest felt unbearably tight with emotion. As his breath returned, he had a fleeting, terrifying thought that this could be a dream. He’d had many, many dreams like this. But Mukuro’s hot breath was in his hair and he shivered at the sensation of his master’s release dripping down his thighs and was sure it was real.

From Ken’s point of view, it wasn’t nearly a long enough time that they stayed like that, curled over the back of the couch, back to front, Mukuro’s open mouth brushing against his skin. And all too soon, he was straightening up, loosening his grip, a trail of fingers smoothing almost idly down Ken’s back and then withdrawing as Mukuro stepped away.

“You may use the pitcher and basin there to clean yourself up,” he hummed, voice still low and breathy. When Ken looked back, he was already wiping himself clean with a handkerchief, tucking himself gingerly away again.

Ken nodded obediently, though silently wondered if his legs would still work. It turned out he could manage and he found the pitcher with some clean towels on an end table. Cleaning himself up raised a prickling gooseflesh over Ken’s skin that almost made him giggle. When tidied, Ken turned back to Mukuro, unable to keep the happy grin off his face.

He didn’t yet reach for his clothes, because Mukuro hadn’t told him to dress, but he approached and requested the dandy’s eyes with irrepressible joy, sincerity and gratitude. “That was... better than anything. You’re an incredible man, Master.”

Mukuro had taken a seat on the sofa, still shirtless, and instructed Ken to put his trousers back on and join him. “You’ve been adequately trained,” Mukuro hummed, reaching for the carafe of brandy on the side table. He poured a glass, sipped at it with a nod, then handed it to Ken and poured a second glass for himself. “Drink that, then you may go and brag to your Kakipii.” He smirked a little, seemed uncharacteristically relaxed.

Ken wondered how many hours he could stretch a glass of brandy with tiny little sips. But it wouldn’t do to get scolded on only the second time for rudely monopolizing Mukuro’s time. And anyways, he couldn’t complain about how perfect it was to join Mukuro on his sofa with a tumbler of expensive liquor in hand. He was brave but cautious when he slid into place beside Mukuro, close enough to let their bare shoulders touch.

The brandy burned his throat that was dry from panting but somehow the discomfort was delicious and it made Ken grin. Unable to help himself, he let his head lol, let his cheek come to rest lightly against the point of Mukuro’s shoulder. He spoke quietly, happily, “We have a really great life here.”

“Mm,” Mukuro agreed with a tiny nod. He didn’t embrace Ken, but he didn’t push him away either. Instead he took another drink and nodded again. “Yes we do. And I will do anything and everything to make sure it is never taken from us.”

Grinning wider, Ken turned his head a little to nuzzle his brow and his nose against Mukuro’s skin. He smelled so good, in spite of the subtle aftershave he wore. “Me too,” Ken agreed. He drank, let a moment pass, just basking in the intimacy that Mukuro was gracing him with. Then he looked up at Mukuro and cocked his head curiously. “Do you still want me to go train at the brothel?”

“I did not find you inadequate,” Mukuro reminded him. “But if you wish to… polish your skills, I will not forbid you from returning. All men have needs,” he added, with a small chuckle. “And I will not frequently satisfy yours.” This wasn’t said unkindly, or as a threat, but simply a matter of fact. Mukuro was, Ken knew, a very busy man.

Ken nodded with his grin unwavering. Whatever attention Mukuro was willing to spare for him was enough. He let his cheek again come to rest against Mukuro’s shoulder, completely relaxed. “Thank you, master, that’s gracious. I do have some fun there.” This last bit of brandy he could reasonably stretch into two more sips.

“Mm,” Mukuro nodded, vaguely, nursing his own glass. He seemed distant, though not upset. Before Ken could speak again, he found Mukuro’s free hand at the back of his head, fingers dipping into his blond shock of hair. “Finish up and let me have my solitude now, Ken,” he whispered, leaning over to to press a brief kiss to Ken’s brow.

Ken nodded, smiling with eyes closed against the sweet gesture. Then he dutifully rose and shrugged on his shirt. When he was all put back together, he returned to the sofa where he dropped to one knee and requested Mukuro’s hand to kiss his knuckles once, lips smiling. “Thank you for your company, Master Mukuro. Sleep well.” He didn’t push his luck, releasing that hand in an appropriate amount of time so he could rise.

“Good boy,” Mukuro hummed once more, touching Ken’s jaw lightly before dropping his hand back to his lap. “We will speak tomorrow.” He turned away from Ken’s gaze then, picking up the book he had been reading before and returning his attention to its pages.

When the door shut behind him, Ken was still grinning, feeling as though his feet weren’t even touching the floor. Exhausted, satisfied and elated, he made his way back to his room. He stopped when his hand met the knob, and frowned into the woodgrain. He hadn’t really intended to bother Kakipii tonight but his bed seemed sure to be cold and lonely and gripped with bad memories and dreams that would ruin his mood. So without much hesitation, he let go of the door and continued, his candle light dancing on the walls of the dark hallway.

Chikusa always left his bedroom door unlocked. Though he had the appearance of a mild-mannered bookkeeper, he possessed a hyper awareness and ability to protect himself, wrought from an unpleasant past. Ken knew he always woke up enough to recognize the bare footsteps of his friend ‘sneaking’ in. He snuffed the candle before undressing down to his undershorts. Then he slid under the blankets to settle into his warm spot against Chikusa’s long back. Arm around the larger man’s waist, Ken snuggled against Chikusa’s sensible, modest-but-silky pajamas, nose between his shoulderblades.

“Did it go well?” Chikusa asked, unmoving while Ken made himself comfortable and enjoyed the readied heat and comforting smells of Chikusa’s bed.

“Yeah.” Ken nodded into Chikusa’s back, a wide grin plastered on his face. “It was great.”

“If you must, you can tell me about it in the morning. I’m tired.” His voice, per usual, conveyed little emotion but Ken always understood him. He wasn’t unhappy, wouldn’t truly dislike if Ken wanted share the details but wasn’t compelled to seek out the information.

“Okay, Kakipii.” Ken was tired too. His muscles, among other things, ached from use and finally coming to rest in Chikusa’s bed was like heaven. He rubbed his face against Chikusa’s back and breathed deep. Ken would never ever tell Chikusa so, but he found the taller man’s smell very appealing. Maybe it was just its familiarity. Mukuro’s taste lingered in his mouth and their master’s smell was still on his skin. The combination of both of them filling his senses made a deep feeling of comfort come over Ken as he became still. His nose, nestled in Chikusa’s hair, was cold on the back of the other man’s neck.

Since the the attack on him when they were children, Chikusa had slept on his right side and didn’t move at all in his sleep. Before then, he was the brightest and the most hopeful of the three of them. But then he was struck in the head with a shovel by one of their slavers for dawdling. For a long time, he stopped talking entirely. Even when he finally started saying things now and then, cheer was never again seen on his face.

They were kept in wooden crates lined with straw at night. The three of them shared a small space, just enough for them to lay down and sleep, with one tattered blanket to share in the cold of the desert night. After the strike, Ken slept like this, against Chikusa’s back, holding tight around his waist. At the beginning, he and Mukuro wondered every night if their friend would still be breathing in the morning. And if he was, maybe tomorrow would be the day he’d say something.

He remembered Mukuro sitting over them, watching them while Chikusa slept in a way so still that it was unnerving. Ken would struggle to sleep, focused on the slow heartbeat that he could feel with his forehead against Chikusa’s back. Chikusa changed after that but so did Mukuro. Ken could feel it when Mukuro watched them like that. Something dark appeared.

In Chikusa’s bed, Ken startled when the other man suddenly moved. He turned over slowly and settled instead on his left side, facing Ken. His chin firmly nudged the top of Ken’s head, forcing him to settle with his nose in the dip of Chikusa’s clavicle. A long arm came to rest around Ken’s shoulders, not pulling him close but draping over him to share their warmth. Ken tucked his hands between them, resting lightly against the silky chest of Chikusa’s pajamas.

There had been a few times that Ken had gotten Chikusa to kiss. They found that he usually didn’t care for it much: only when he was in his best mood or had made himself unbelievably drunk. (And it appeared to be the only effect that alcohol had the tall man.) In general, Chikusa was made uncomfortable by anyone’s touch except Ken and Mukuro and that had its limits.

But he rarely rejected Ken’s affection or requests for attention. He never sincerely complained about Ken sleeping in his bed, not in the sixteen years they’d been companions. Ken spent more than half of his nights in Chikusa’s bed, almost always with Ken against his unmoving back. Now and then, though, Chikusa would turn over and sleep like this, with Ken close against his chest. Here, Chikusa’s heartbeart was louder and Ken could feel his shallow but steady breath.

They figured it was about two years that they were enslaved. It was hard to tell when days ran together in the seasonless desert and hunger muddled thoughts. So they must have been about ten years old when Ken was caught stealing food. Their captors slashed him across the face with a knife as punishment and the wound quickly became infected. Malnourished and fading, he was worked until he could no longer stand and then they locked him in the crate to die.

His friends had told him that he was in the crate for days but he didn’t remember much about it. What he could remember was Chikusa around him like this. Holding him silently. Mukuro would be on his other side, against Ken’s back. His body shook with fever and he cried because he felt so cold, because the pain was unbearable. They would press tighter against him, wrapping him in a heat that did nothing to calm his fever chills.

Though consciousness came and went, he would never forget Mukuro’s hot breath in the hair at the back of his head. When Ken was awake enough to bawl, Mukuro would say quietly, over and over, “It’s okay. I’ll make it right. It’s okay.”

Mukuro had found a large piece of obsidian in the mine. When they were wedged inside the rocky tunnel, they were unsupervised. The adult men who held them captive couldn’t have dreamed of climbing into the tight spaces the children were forced to navigate with small shovels and picks and candles. It was easy enough to sharpen the obsidian into a formidable blade in the privacy of the tunnels.

What was more challenging was breaking out, but Mukuro achieved it. He made it out of the crate and as they slept, he slit the throats of the six men who had tortured them for years. When they finally managed to find civilization, Ken was more than half dead, his emaciated frame carried on Chikusa’s back. He probably wouldn’t have lasted another day if they hadn’t found him a doctor. Somehow, because of them, he lived.

They slept close like that for a long time after escaping captivity. Their new bed of straw was in a rusty, abandoned boxcar where one of them kept watch while the other two slept with the heavy sack of uncut diamonds between them. As they aged and Mukuro’s plans came to fruition, things changed. Soon they were sleeping in a bed and soon after that, in their own beds. It had been a difficult and distressing transition for Ken.

Often it was simply too much to sleep alone and at first, he would crawl into Chikusa’s bed, crying, after staying in his own bed as long as he could manage. Ten years later, he still relied on Chikusa’s patient care, whether it came from love or apathy. And ten years later, he still thought every night about Mukuro against his back and what it felt like and smelled like when they used to hug him tight between them.

When they got separate beds, Chikusa started sleeping on his right side again. They found it comfortable most of the time to sleep with Ken against his back, especially because Ken’s nightmares often made him lash out in his sleep, kicking and biting. With his back to Ken, Chikusa took less damage before calming him down.

But it felt good to lay this way sometimes. Once in awhile they would kiss a little if Chikusa felt like it. Mostly they just held each other and missed how things had been, before they grew up and Mukuro had confined himself to his own bedroom.

Tonight, Ken’s thoughts didn’t turn sad and his mind didn’t conjure up bad memories. He just felt good. He snuggled in closer to Chikusa, knowing the taller man would subtly let him know if it was too much. Smiling, he wrapped his arm around Chikusa’s waist and soaked in his closeness, its safety, its protection like it was a hot bath.

Just barely awake, he found himself thinking of his very earliest memories. He remembered the plains and the constant, crunching roll of wheels and the canvas wagon tops that looked like the big white clouds in the big blue sky. He remembered that his parents said they were in a place called Colorado and that even though they’d traveled so long, they still had a long way to go. The three of them would sneak away from the wagon circle where they could lay in the pitch dark and look for pictures in the stars.

When he faded into sleep, he probably hadn’t had such peace since those days. Because he belonged to Mukuro and Chikusa still loved them and Mukuro loved them both. And maybe, they might even need Ken a little too.

Chapter Text

It was the middle of the night and Tsuna was having trouble sleeping, same as he had every night for more than two months. He hadn’t slept well since Mukuro’s very inappropriate visit. He wished Dino was still around. Tsuna would have been able to talk to Dino about this. But he’d been reassigned and left town over a month ago. The marshal was out on the range so Tsuna couldn’t even pen him a letter. Even if he could send a letter, the idea of writing down all the things that were running through Tsuna’s head made the young Vongola feverish with blushing.

Since Mukuro’s scandalous offer, Tsuna had been doing his best to not think about it or anything related to it. This wasn’t easy, especially given the life that he had and the proximity to the distracting events and people he endured. It wasn’t that he was caught up on the idea of Mukuro. That had been a moment of weakness where his recently discovered libido had nearly gotten away from him. Mukuro was a stunning, terrifying vision of a man but (when he could think straight) Tsuna didn’t really want to lose his virginity to him.

Regardless, the incident opened the floodgates of something that Tsuna had been avoiding for some time. Even with the comfort of Kyoko out of his life, almost three months ago now, he’d hoped that his latent interests would remain low-key. Now, thanks to Mukuro, the ignored desires had been unlocked and it was extremely distracting. It didn’t help that he had so many options to think about. He found himself with an unfamiliar, salacious sense of curiosity and it was driving Tsuna crazy.

It was easy to let his mind wander back to the brief memory of the feel Mukuro’s body and the sweet-mint taste of his mouth and that hypnotic look like he wanted Tsuna to devour him. Though they’d finished the encounter without relief, Tsuna suspected that whenever he wanted, he could visit Mukuro’s estate and the rich dandy would offer himself up on a platter. It was also easy to let his mind wander in that direction, wondering what Mukuro would want from him or want to do to him. Wondering what he looked like naked, wondering what his--

In the dark, Tsuna shoved a pillow over his face as though he were going to smother himself to death. He gave a scream that was as quiet as he could make it, given the late hour and his friends with fine-tuned senses.

Just when he’d calmed himself down by thinking about math or mucking horse stalls, his mind would cycle back to the topic of physical needs. When he refused to think about Mukuro, it was more than happy to consider the companions he DID want to offer his body -- ones that were more appealing and tempting and had entered his thoughts on occasion for longer than he would admit to anyone ever.

It’d been ages since he’d been unable to tune out certain noises of the house, especially at night. He’d never before felt… strange when Yamamoto got fresh with Gokudera, teasing the bomber to his limit. When Gokudera would storm off, Yamamoto would grin, and even Tsuna wasn’t naive enough to not realize what would happen a short time later or that evening when Yamamoto could get him alone. Tsuna had never experienced the twist in his gut that he was humiliated to admit, even to himself, was jealousy. But at the same time there was a second twist that was undoubtedly arousal.

He did his very best to never imagine what his two friends did together in their private time. He did his best not to think about what they were like together, if Gokudera was as aggressive as he was downstairs, if Yamamoto liked to be on-- Trying not to think about things was not going well. Trying not to think about them kissing, probably rough and passionate. Trying not to imagine the flavor of Gokudera’s tobacco mouth or how solid Yamamoto would feel against him. Trying not to imagine being between them, being kissed and held and str--

With a jerk, Tsuna sat up straight in bed and tossed the covers aside. If he lay in bed any longer there would be consequences and he couldn’t trust himself right now to not give in to filthy fantasizing that would leave him hot in the face whenever he looked at his friends the next day.

He needed a drink.

In the presence of his friends, he did his best to hide all the symptoms of his deviant thoughts but that wasn’t going well either.

First of all, he was probably making Gokudera nervous.

He kept thinking back to a year ago when the bomber found his way to their town. When they first met on that fateful coach ride, Tsuna had thought him strikingly gorgeous -- so confident and tough looking. Their escape from danger had been like something out of a dime novel and Tsuna would never forget riding through the desert with his back tight against Gokudera’s chest.

That opinion of Gokudera had only changed a little bit since then, after a year of Gokudera’s overtly demonstrative devotion. Obviously he was still gorgeous. But Tsuna could barely think of him as mysterious anymore. Not when he could be such a goofy, overly enthusiastic open book for Tsuna.

At first Gokudera’s intense attention was overwhelming, exhausting and exasperating. And often it still was. But at this point, most of Gokudera’s antics in their personal relations just made him protest weakly or laugh or shush his self-proclaimed ‘right hand man’. In fact, a lot of the time Tsuna found himself thinking Gokudera’s strange quirks were charming and flattering.

It wasn’t until Tsuna started watching Gokudera that he realized Gokudera spent a lot of time watching him. Over the last month there had been multitudes of horrible, awkward moments where they each caught the other looking and Tsuna wanted to sink into the floor and die. But even if he looked and showered Tsuna with compliments and declared undying loyalty, Gokudera kept a reasonable physical distance between them. Tsuna was always second-guessing the nature of Gokudera’s respect -- never knowing if his loyalty was pure business or something deeper. That uncertainty combined with the bomber’s intensity made the idea of closing the physical space between them a little terrifying.

Then, on the other hand, there was Yamamoto.

Yamamoto had always had plenty of affection for Tsuna, which had been much appreciated during his recent life changes. But months after his breakup, it was probably now at the point of unforgivably inappropriate, the way he indulged in Yamamoto’s closeness.

It started just enjoying the hugs and touches that Yamamoto had always showered on him, comforted in a time of distress. But when the pain of Kyoko’s departure eased and after crossing paths with Mukuro... feeling another man’s body against him, wanting him… when Yamamoto drew him close to casually cuddle him on the sofa, Tsuna sank into it and tried to will the red from his face. Stubbornly, he insisted to himself that this is how it’d always been, that it wasn’t strange at all.

He tried not to recall the numerous times that Yamamoto had flirted with him, dropping suggestive but playful remarks about ‘if Kyoko wasn’t around, he’d be the Boss’s favorite employee’ and other mortifying things. All of which were in the back of his mind when Yamamoto nuzzled his hair or rubbed his shoulders and Tsuna knew how eager and delighted Yamamoto would be to--

Tsuna barely stopped himself from thunking a heavy bottle down on the bar. He fumbled it a little and set down the whiskey gently and retrieved a glass for himself. This wasn’t like him at all, lying awake in bed for hours trying not to think untoward things until he finally had to get up. It wasn’t like him to drink alone in the middle of the night either but he couldn’t think of what else to do. Well, he could think of something but he was trying his very best to keep his thoughts about his friends as pure as possible.

Unfortunately for Tsuna, solitude was not in the cards that night. As he downed his first finger of whiskey, the sound of footsteps descending the stairs drew his attention and there, clad in a black robe, was Yamamoto. His hair was sleep-mussed and he was barefoot and droopy eyed, but he perked up and shot a wide grin at Tsuna when their eyes met.

“Hey, Boss!” he called, managing to keep his voice quiet, and waved, then quickly tightened his loosely tied robe. “Couldn’t sleep either?”

A wave of panic and guilty delight hit Tsuna and he did his best not gulp audibly when Yamamoto joined him. Sitting in the seat of a customer, Tsuna’s sensible cotton pajamas felt childish compared to the tall, handsome man who settled behind the bar. “Mm,” Tsuna answered with a nod. He watched Yamamoto select a drink for himself and pour. “What’s keeping you up?”

“Hmm? Oh that?” Yamamoto waved the question away with a laugh. “Would you believe it-- after Squalo left this afternoon, I fell asleep and slept the rest of the day!” He didn’t seem embarrassed or ashamed by this admission, and the smile he turned on Tsuna was full of genuine amusement. “I woke up… Oh an hour ago? And couldn’t get back to sleep. How about you?”

“Oh, just distracting thoughts,” Tsuna responded as vaguely and casually as he possibly could before plowing on to less incriminating topics. “I never thought about that, somehow!” He said with an awkward laugh. “Do you wake up with insomnia often?”

“Only when I fall asleep too early.” He leaned on the bar, chin in his free hand, eyes turned upward as though trying to remember the times he was talking about. “And that only happens when a customer really wears me out, you know,” he added, the smile on his lips somehow innocently friendly, and not at all lewd.

“Right,” Tsuna said, nodding entirely too much and then refilling his drink. He might normally laugh awkwardly, but not THIS kind of awkwardly -- maybe make some sort of half hearted joke or long suffering remark about the deputy. In this instance he couldn’t bring himself to say anything, especially because he didn’t need the vivid ideas of what Yamamoto had earlier done with and to Squalo. The best he could come up with in the moment was, “You have a very impressive-- --work ethic-- Yamamoto.”

Yamamoto, for his part, seemed unaware of Tsuna’s inner turmoil, and only laughed at this statement. “You think so?” he wondered, running a finger over the lip of his glass. “Hibari calls me lazy and good for nothing all the time.” He didn’t seem bothered by this. “And Gokudera says I’m too cavalier… but I just like being good at my job. And it’s fun to make people feel good! Especially when I already like them. Anyway, it’s you who works hard!” he pointed out. “You keep this place running!”

“Eehhhh, I don’t know…” Tsuna said, sheepishly. “I just put out fires mostly, you know.” He smiled, put at ease by Yamamoto and his friendly and unassuming airs. “Most of the time it just makes me feel crazy and out of my depth…” He cleared his throat and went for his alcohol again in an uncharacteristic manner. “At least we make good money for the family! Reborn hasn’t threatened to come by for one of his ‘inspections’ in months.”

“The employees like you, Boss,” Yamamoto hummed. “Our ‘hard work’ is as much for you as it is for the customers.” He leaned across the bar then, reaching for Tsuna’s glass before he could take another drink, and pulled it from his hand, fingertips grazing along the side of Tsuna’s hand as he went. “If you come with me to the kitchen, I could heat up some milk for you. Better on your stomach.”

Tsuna looked up at him, lips still poised to drink, and blinked for a moment. “I-- uh-- I guess if you’ll have it too. Otherwise I’ll feel like some little kid, Yamamoto!” He plucked back his drink insistently but gave a little grin as he slipped off the stool to join his friend behind the bar. Tsuna knocked back the last bit of whiskey and left the glass when he hurried to follow Yamamoto, candle in hand, into the interior of the building.

The kitchen of the brothel was dark, with a single window, unlike the saloon and lounge which drank in moonlight from the wide entryway. Tsuna transferred the flame to an oil lamp that hung from the rafters and blew out the candle. It wasn’t much in way of light but it was enough to work by. He peeked into the stove and gave a pleasant sigh at the warmth of embers that hadn’t quite been consumed by the night air.

“We’ll have hell to pay if Bianchi finds out we’re down here drinking milk in the middle of the night…” Tsuna hemmed only a little and took the liberty of rustling the coals back to life and adding a small bit of wood.

“I won’t tell if you won’t!” Yamamoto answered cheerfully, already rummaging through the kitchen cabinets until he came up with a slightly-dented sauce pan which he placed atop the heating stove. “There it goes… toss another log in there, would you, Boss? I’ll grab the milk from the cellar.”

It took only a minute for Yamamoto to retrieve the jar of milk, but by the time he was pouring it into the pan, Tsuna had coaxed a decent flame underneath it. “Do you like cinnamon with your milk?” Yamamoto asked, digging through another cabinet of spices. “I love it, but not everyone does.”

“I haven’t had it before but I’ll try,” Tsuna responded, smiling fondly as he watched Yamamoto nose around the kitchen. He fanned his fingers in front of the warming iron stove, a comforting sensation even though the night wasn’t all that cold. “This isn’t something you do often, after a customer has worn you out, is it, Yamamoto?”

Yamamoto laughed a little, not guiltily, but not exactly innocently either. “Maybe once or twice,” he admitted. “I’ve only been caught by Ms. Bianchi once though! She took a good swing at me! I avoided her cooking for a few days after that, haha!” Yamamoto tended to the stove as he spoke, sprinkling in a pinch of cinnamon, a small spoonful of honey, and stirring the whole thing with Bianchi’s second favorite spoon. Hopefully she wouldn’t notice. “This won’t take too much longer. Want to grab a couple of cups?”

Chuckling and shaking his head, Tsuna did so, finding a pair of bland clay mugs for them, as well as a ladle. He breathed in the sweet and spice of the drink that was beginning to steam. “Smells wonderful,” he hummed. “I’ve had Bianchi swipe at me for much less legitimate and worthy reasons than this.”

“Even if she finds out, it will be worth it,” Yamamoto promised, taking a sip from the spoon and deciding with a nod that it was ready. “It’s so good.” He ladled the steaming milk into one mug, and passed it off to Tsuna before serving himself and leaning back against the wood top kitchen work space. “Try it, try it!” he gestured and brought his own mug up to his lips, breathing in a deep sigh of pleasure before even tasting it. The moan he made when he did swallow the first sip was not exactly an unfamiliar sound to hear around the house.

Tsuna joined him, settling beside Yamamoto and cradling his own mug carefully. Before he could get it to his mouth, he very nearly spilled his drink at the pleased sound that rumbled in Yamamoto’s throat. He mostly managed to save face, though he burnt his tongue a little when the milk sloshed clumsily over it. Thank goodness for dim lamplight and how it at least somewhat hid his blushing face. When the flavor of the drink finally registered, Tsuna sighed happily and looked to the other man with an appreciative smile. “Wonderful. Thank you, Yamamoto.”

A pleasant silence followed while they sipped at their drinks, trying not to burn their tongues until Tsuna was giggling at Yamamoto’s frustrated enthusiasm. When they settled at a reasonable temperature, Tsuna let himself ease closer, allowed himself the comfort of lightly leaning against his friend’s shoulder. “Yamamoto…” he began, heart thundering as he looked into his mug. “Can I tell you something? Like a-- a secret?”

“Hm?” Yamamoto blinked, found Tsuna’s shy eyes in the dim. “What? Of course you can! You know you can tell me anything.” He placed his hand on Tsuna’s shoulder, offering a comforting squeeze. “I’m great at keeping secrets.” He winked.

“I know you are,” Tsuna said, chin tucked -- he swallowed hard when it made his cheek brush Yamamoto’s fingers. “I know I can. Tell you anything.” He mustered a little smile and then let out a long breath. “Okay. Here goes. A while back, before Dino left -- when Mister Mukuro came to visit to propose his contract with Hibari? When he and I were convening… in my office… some… inappropriate things happened.”

His face hot, Tsuna let that information hang in the air while he tried not to bite down on the rim of his clay mug.

To his credit, Yamamoto didn’t gasp or drop his mug or even laugh, though Tsuna was bracing himself for any one of those things. Instead the taller man only lifted a curious brow and grinned a wide grin, and squeezed Tsuna’s shoulder again. “Really? Good for you, Boss! You deserve to unwind and indulge a little!” He leaned in closer, conspiratorily, curiously, “Tell me everything!”

“Wh-what!” Tsuna /did/ nearly drop his mug at this response. Seconds later he wondered why he expected anything less from Yamamoto than a proud clap on the back. “I wasn’t-- trying to-- nothing got unwound!” he sputtered. “Nothing really happened! Hardly anything, I mean. It was very sudden and very surprising!”

At Tsuna's response, Yamamoto’s face grew serious. “He didn’t do anything you didn’t want, did he?” Yamamoto pressed, holding Tsuna’s gaze unflinchingly. “He’s got lots of money, I know, but if you don’t like his attention, you know the rest of the house has your back.”

“No!” Tsuna exclaimed in a whisper, shaking his head. “It’s nothing like that! I mean, he was -- surprisingly gentlemanly -- until the end anyhow -- but I don’t think that’s a problem. I don’t think he’ll bother me about it… too much. I put down some firm boundaries!” He hesitated and swallowed. “But in the moment, the experience of it was really… something else.”

The smile returned to Yamamoto’s face as quickly as it had left and his defensive posture melted away to relaxed again, as he settled back against the countertop. “So…” he prompted, took a sip of the warm milk, and continued. “You… encountered Mukuro, and… you didn’t entirely dislike it?”

“Not entirely,” Tsuna replied with measured embarrassment. “It really wasn’t much though! No one’s clothes even came -- completely… off -- anyhow, it was actually pretty… nice.” He buried his face in his mug, hoping to drown in hot milk.

Teasing in his eyes, Yamamoto bumped against Tsuna’s shoulder, splashing milk up Tsuna’s nose. “So… what part did you enjoy most, then?” he wondered, grinning behind his own mug.

“Well -- the uh -- kissing, I guess,” Tsuna managed to cough out. “Mister Mukuro is certainly… proficient with his mouth. ...And he tastes like a mint julep.” He made a noise that was sort of like a hiccup and was maybe a laugh.

Now Yamamoto did laugh, but not unkindly. “A mint julep? How funny!” He turned then, leaning with his hip against the counter and a twinkle of interest in his eyes. “And it wasn’t too strange for you? To kiss another man?”

“N...no,” Tsuna admitted with a little effort and in a quiet voice. “It was different… obviously…” His milk was running dangerously low and it was not only busying his hands but also giving him the chance to take breaks during this very humiliating confessional. “But I ended up feeling less… afraid somehow. I don’t know why.” With a sigh, Tsuna rubbed at his brow. “That doesn’t make a lick of sense, does it? Especially not with -- Mukuro -- of all people! Most terrifying dandy in the west.”

“It makes perfect sense. Mukuro is… exciting,” Yamamoto admitted, grinning. “And it feels good to be desired, doesn’t it?” He licked his lips, finished the last of his milk in one swig and set the mug aside. “I mean, I know I like that feeling…”

“Yeah,” Tsuna said on a breath that recalled /that/ sensation and sent a shiver down his spine. “Not--that what I had with Kyoko was bad but -- well, like you said Mukuro’s very… it was just so intense! And to be honest, a little difficult to resist… I barely escaped with my purity, just barely.” Steadfastly holding his mug and the last swallow of his drink, Tsuna was finally starting to relax. At least part of his list of secrets was dealt with. He leaned into Yamamoto.

“Do you--” Yamamoto started, then stopped, hemmed a little as he tried to choose his words. “Is it important to you? Your… purity?” he asked, smiling, but not joking. He let his chin dip down enough that his nose brushed Tsuna’s hair.

“What?” Tsuna looked up at him, genuinely surprised but then gave a little laugh that was more at himself than anything. He shook his head. “No, it’s not that… Mukuro’s just not the person I’m interested in sharing that sort of thing with. You know, when I’m being sensible.”

“Mm,” Yamamoto nodded seriously, his breath warm in Tsuna’s hair. “Then… you haven’t had a chance to… encounter anyone else since then?”

Tsuna laughed softly but Yamamoto’s proximity, the warmth of his body and his comforting touch -- it all made Tsuna’s temperature rise so quickly he felt it -- and he knew it was time to bite the bullet. He set aside his empty mug and brought himself to give Yamamoto his full attention, as nervous as he was. Turning into the curve of the taller man’s body and arm, Tsuna lifted a hand to catch lightly in the front of Yamamoto’s robe. “That’s where it gets complicated, though,” he complained, looking up to meet his friend’s eyes for at least a moment. “What do I do if there’s… two people I… want… to be… what if there’s two people I want to share that with…?” Tsuna crumpled into Yamamoto’s shoulder, praying that they knew each other well enough (and that Yamamoto was secretly perceptive enough) that he understood.

Yamamoto’s arms circled Tsuna in a long, warm hug, and he huffed a friendly laugh into Tsuna’s hair. “I think that’s wonderful, Boss,” he hummed, lips just brushing Tsuna’s brow. “You have so much love and affection, it would be selfish for only one person to take it.” His cheek pressed against Tsuna’s, and his breath was almost too hot on Tsuna’s skin. “I think… it could be fun, hm?”

The relief that crashed over him with Yamamoto’s acknowledgment and words almost took Tsuna off his feet. Thankfully he was wrapped up in Yamamoto’s arms and his own wound tight around the taller man’s waist. “Y-yeah?” Tsuna asked tremulously, turning to nuzzle at Yamamoto’s cheek and breathe him in. He just wanted to -- but before he got too far -- he murmured over Yamamoto’s ear, “Do you think Gokudera will think the same thing?”

This time Yamamoto did hesitate. He laughed a little, almost chagrined sounding. “Well… he definitely can take some time getting used to things,” he admitted, thumb rubbing reassuringly between Tsuna’s shoulder blades. “But… I know he admires you a lot. And, well… he won’t admit it, but I think he likes my company too. I think he’ll be glad to hear you want to share that sort of thing with us. Even if he might loudly complain about me being a third wheel for a while.”

A giggle was muffled into the shoulder of Yamamoto’s robe, Tsuna grateful for Yamamoto’s humor and optimism. “I think so too,” Tsuna admitted, easing back enough that he could enjoy the other man’s familiar, smiling face in the dim light. “I…” He took a breath and swallowed hard, arms lifting to Yamamoto’s shoulders. He rocked on to his toes to give a first light kiss and then murmur, “I could never choose between you. You both mean too much to me.”

“Oh, good! I wouldn’t want to have to choose either!” Yamamoto’s eyes sparkled with laughter. “Though I didn’t think I’d ever be getting the chance to choose you at all. What a nice midnight surprise…” He leaned down and kissed Tsuna again, both hands on Tsuna’s face now, cupping it sweetly. Maybe not quite as reverently as Gokudera might if given the chance, but still arguably a little bit in awe of this quiet, powerful man standing before him, offering this.

Yamamoto could feel the worry and tension melt from Tsuna’s frame with that kiss. The fear and self doubt that he’d been holding onto faded and Tsuna pushed the kiss deeper, humming gratitude against Yamamoto’s mouth. Then he giggled again, interrupting and offering an apologetic grin. “It’s a little weird. Because we’ve known each other so long,” he explained.

“I think it’s just an extension of our friendship!” Yamamoto countered, licking the taste of honeyed milk from the corner of his own mouth. “We’ve known each other so long, isn’t it natural to want to get closer?” Then his eager expression dissolved into a giggle of his own. “It’s a little weird. But nice, right?” He leaned in, pressing his brow to Tsuna’s with a grin. “I always thought it’d be nice.”

“I did too,” Tsuna admitted without hesitation, then stammered a little. “Being close to you at all -- that’s always been nice. So yeah, I guess it is natural to want to get closer.” The grin that brushed Yamamoto’s was giddy; thrilled but nervous. The smaller man’s arms found their way around Yamamoto’s neck and pulled them together to try another kiss, to be so close. With a delighted sigh, Tsuna drew him into something deeper that hinted at a long harnessed interest.

This wasn’t like any embrace in Tsuna’s embarrassingly limited experience. Though affectionate and pleasant, most of the kisses he’d shared with Kyokyo had been modest at best. And the incident with Mukuro had been entirely the opposite, setting something on fire within him that was terrifying and unstoppable. But this kiss was perfectly in between -- not too hot, not too cold. Yamamoto against him was just right; it felt familiar and welcoming and his desire for Tsuna was so flattering it left him dizzy.

His arms looped around Yamamoto’s shoulders, Tsuna found their considerable height difference to be irritating. So he pulled back to move their mugs safely out of the way and hoist himself onto the practically unmarked kitchen workbench.

The rebuilt kitchen was exquisite and though it was two months old now, it still felt new. The luxurious remodel was the only thing that had kept Biannchi from going on a homicidal rampage after the… incident. Spanner did an excellent job with the buildout which Mukuro funded and flooded with cash in such a cocky manner that one would think he’d be stopping by to make souffles. The stove gleamed with newness and carefully painted accents, boasting extra spaces for cooking pots. The new wooden furnishings, including the counter, were polished and treated redwood from the forests to the northwest.

Tsuna gave no pause when he settled onto the relatively unmarked surface and reeled Yamamoto back in. Much better. Here he had plenty of leverage to push his tongue into Yamamoto’s mouth with a soft moan. Yamamoto didn’t seem at all put out by suddenly finding himself the shorter of the pair and he slid forward between Tsuna’s knees, arms circling Tsuna’s slender waist as they indulged in lazy kisses.

It was heady but comforting, Tsuna's fingers trailing lightly through his friend's choppy black hair. Their closeness felt natural, Yamamoto's arms and smell familiar from friendly nights on the couch or Yamamoto's casual affection holding him in an idle hug at the bar (usually to Gokudera's quiet irritation.) With only flimsy night clothes between them, it was particularly cozy to snuggle close, to hook a bare heel behind Yamamoto's knee. Yamamoto was as good a kisser as Tsuna had expected -- and had imagined -- solid but pliant, anticipating and soothing the last flickers of nervous energy.

Yamamoto's light robe was a luscious silk that felt heavenly under Tsuna's palms and his fingers clutched at it when the equally sinful silk of Yamamoto's tongue explored his mouth. But his touch was drawn instead to the skin of Yamamoto's throat or chest, dipping just barely past the edge of his clothes, fingers spreading, breath slowing with appreciation for the body he'd admired for some time.

When their lips parted, Tsuna let out a breath that felt like steam off the heat building in him. It was only further stoked by the way Yamamoto looked into his eyes in that moment, open and loving and passionate. "This is..." Tsuna murmured around an irrepressible smile. He finished lamely but sincerely, "Really great."

Yamamoto didn't judge him for his creatively lackluster compliment. Instead, he squeezed Tsuna around his middle and pressed their brows together. "You're really great," Yamamoto amended, then kissed the bridge of Tsuna's nose.

Tsuna let his thumbs hook on the edges of Yamamoto's robe, slid them down until encountering the sash around his waist. "Did you happen to lock the door when we came in?" He was still a tiny bit shy but not at all uncertain and his hands were poised with intent awaiting the answer. It was an act of hubris and hypocrisy to fool around in the recently abused and remodeled kitchen but even for fumbling Tsuna, the moment was too good to let pass.

"I did not lock the door," Yamamoto admitted, looking down at Tsuna's hands with surprise. "It would have been somewhat presumptuous of me, don't you think?"

Tsuna laughed softly. “You’re always a gentleman. But we were also nabbing Bianchi’s ingredients in the middle of the night. I’m not sure which we’d get in more trouble for.” He drew Yamamoto in for a quick kiss and said, “Lock the door.” It wasn’t far to go and when Yamamoto turned back around, Tsuna was unbuttoning his modest cotton pajamas and had a grin that glowed with excitement.

"Look at you," Yamamoto observed with a raised brow. "You must really be feeling adventurous, hm, Boss?" He crossed the small room back to where Tsuna perched and slid his hands onto both of Tsuna's knees, standing back just far enough to appreciate the view. "Promise you'll take me out for dinner if we get caught. Can't trust Bianchi's meals if she knew what we were up to, after all."

“I promise,” Tsuna replied with a giggle. He squirmed a little at Yamamoto looking him over like a treat but it didn't impede his mirth. "I'll take us to dinner at Byakuran's for a week if we get caught. For our own safety." He didn't remove his shirt but let it hang open when he reached again for the sash around Yamamoto's waist and reeled him in. "I've been... looking forward to this," Tsuna admitted with a pursed smile. 'Looking forward to' and 'agonizing over' were mostly the same thing.

"Oh?" Yamamoto answered cheekily. "You've been planning this? Or maybe...imagining it?"

“I wouldn’t say /planning/…” Tsuna whined. “But sure I’ve thought about it a few times… Don’t act innocent!” He gave Yamamoto’s shoulder a shove but then tugged him closer by the falls of his robe. “As though you haven’t been saying untoward things for years!”

Yamamoto scoffed, the perfect picture of innocence when he replied, “If I’d known I actually had a chance to get this close to you, I would have flirted more often!” His hands slipped from Tsuna’s waist to rest on his clothed thighs, giving a little squeeze. “But we can make up for lost time, right?”

“Not lost,” Tsuna corrected with a smile. “Just different. Now’s the right time for this.” He took a tiny breath to steel his confidence and requested Yamamoto’s mouth again, easing him into a slow, hungry, passionate kiss.

With a light tug, he released the knot of Yamamoto’s sash, letting Yamamoto’s robe fall slack and Tsuna tried to keep his eyes above the waist. With his knees sliding beneath the fabric, his guiding settled them close enough that it revealed all secrets between them in spite of Tsuna’s still present cotton pants.

His hands felt out the exquisite washboard of Yamamoto’s stomach, wandered to his naked hips and coaxed him to press in tighter. Tsuna’s lips shivered against Yamamoto’s, his eyes closed tight, when they rubbed together for the first time. He didn’t shy away though, his thighs open, craving his friend’s body against him.

When their eyes met again, Tsuna could see arousal in Yamamoto’s gaze, but also some hesitation. “You sure you don’t want to do this somewhere more comfortable? Haha...! I feel a little weird hooking up with the boss in a kitchen...”

Tsuna grinned at him and eased back a little, putting his hands on the edge of the counter and tilting his hips to grind against the hard length of Yamamoto’s cock. His cheeks flamed hot and his lips were red from kissing but he wasn’t shy or shaky anymore. “I don’t know… this is sort of fun, isn’t it? The door’s locked…”

The cotton pants were starting to get damp in certain places so in a moment of true bravery, Tsuna pushed the waistband down and revealed himself. It was a little tight but it worked well enough to let them slide together, Tsuna’s leg hooking around Yamamoto’s waist. He gave a sigh of relief at some legitimate friction and reached between them to experimentally handle them together.

“Are you more nervous than me, Yamamoto?” Tsuna asked, breathless but smirking.

“Maybe a little,” the dark-haired man admitted, affected but not ashamed. “You’ve kind of been an untouchable figure, you know. A good man and a great friend, but unattainable.” He stared down between them then, watching Tsuna’s exploring hand with curiosity and eagerness. “You aren’t as shy as I expected,” he added with a chuckle, though he also angled his hips to give Tsuna a better grip.

“You can probably thank Mister Mukuro for taking the edge off for me,” Tsuna admitted in return, though with a little bit of chagrin. He wasn’t quite bold enough to look down for long, relying more on feel to hold them together, let his fingers circle them. Yamamoto was, unsurprisingly, a bit bigger than Tsuna and his thick cock rutting against Tsuna’s made shivers race up his spine. “But doing this is… It feels easy with you. I mean-- not that /you’re/ easy-- just this feels-- natural.” He ended this mess of a sentence with a shudder.

But Yamamoto wasn’t offended in the least, and he only shook his head fondly, leaning close again to kiss Tsuna’s cheek, nose brushing his ear. “You’re sweet,” he decided, rocking slowly into Tsuna’s touch as the smaller man got used to this sort of intimacy. “It feels good to me, too. You don’t need to rush. This is new to you, right?”

“Yeah,” Tsuna huffed against Yamamoto’s neck, then kissed a few times. With a quiet moan, he nuzzled there while he focused on tracing, exploring the curves of Yamamoto’s cock. He tried weakly for a joke, “Don’t underestimate me though…!”

“Never. I would never,” Yamamoto answered, voice husky but completely sincere. “You might be new to this, but you are a formidable man in many ways, and I respect you very much.”

Maybe it was a relatively chaste way to start things off but Yamamoto slipping through his grip, learning what made the other man gasp, it made Tsuna feel aroused and powerful and confident. His touch was sure and intuitive, following Yamamoto’s guidance with ease. Tsuna turned to kiss behind Yamamoto’s ear, tasting the pulse under his lips. His voice was quiet.

“I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. I want to know everything that you and Gokudera can do.”

“O-oh,” Yamamoto answered, voice a throaty stutter as Tsuna’s words and intentions when straight to his middle, spiking his arousal and making him throb in Tsuna’s grip. “Yeah, okay. Um. We can do that. Definitely. A-after this.” He hadn’t exactly been prepared for any of this. “Listen to me, Tsuna. I sound like a new employee. Or a virgin!”

“Hey, careful trash-talking virgins in mixed company,” Tsuna warned in a husky giggle. He paused in his attention long enough to shed his pajama shirt, leaving himself topless, cock full and jutting from his pants. When he reached for Yamamoto again he knew what he wanted. His legs wrapped around Yamamoto’s hips to hold him in place, close. One hand came to Yamamoto’s shoulder, the other returned to his cock while ignoring his own.

Tsuna didn’t shift forward to kiss right away but sat back enough that he had a nice view of Yamamoto’s fully naked front. Considering it was his first time, Tsuna took him up again with surprising skill, needing little guidance. He smiled, watching Yamamoto’s face and gave a long, tight stroke from tip to base and promised, “You can pick what to do after this.”

Yamamoto nodded, near speechless, shivering under Tsuna’s attention, surprised by the Boss’s confidence. He dripped in Tsuna’s grip already, excited by the situation as a whole, even aside from Tsuna’s skill. “I want to suck you off,” he admitted, breathless.

“I know,” Tsuna giggled back, less teasing and more conspiratory. But a little teasing. He held Yamamoto at enough distance that he could watch the effect this was having. The flush starting to spread down his throat and the way he seemed undone by such simple touches. The hand not working Yamamoto wandered over his skin. It paused on Yamamoto’s broad chest and teased a nipple, lightly, tentatively at first. When Yamamoto shuddered, he smiled and began another lesson in taking his friend apart. “Want to do it in my bed after this?”

“Tonight?” Yamamoto said, reaching out to brace against the counter as Tsuna’s attentions weakened his knees. “I mean, yes, definitely, I want that. But shouldn’t the boss try and get -some- sleep tonight?” He grinned and rocked into Tsuna’s touch, back arching to encourage the attention. “I would feel a little guilty if you’re tired tomorrow…”

“I can sleep any night,” Tsuna chuckled, clearly pleased by the affected quiver of Yamamoto’s body. “I’ve got better plans tonight.” To silence any further banter, Tsuna eased him into a light and lingering kiss. His eyes remained open, lids hooded with startling confidence. He drew Yamamoto’s breath from his lips, occupying him with soft, wet brushes. His working hand moved with intent now, grip tight and sure and demanding surrender.

With Tsuna’s answer, the last of Yamamoto’s hesitation fell away, and he gave himself over to his boss’s attentions. He curled forward, lips leaving Tsuna’s, to press a line of distracted kisses down Tsuna’s throat, not bothering to still the movements of his own hips, hungry for that touch. He laughed a little, breathy, speaking into the Tsuna’s skin. “I won’t last like this,” Yamamoto whispered, apologetic. Already he dripped over Tsuna’s knuckles, slickening each stroke, sending shivers down his thighs.

“That’s okay,” Tsuna replied, his voice cheerful but deeply husky. He nuzzled his cheek into Yamamoto’s hair, his breath slow and shuddering in his friend’s ear. “I want it…” His hands were sure now, attuned to the shivers and twitches he produced. Merciless, in spite of Yamamoto’s warning, he used his free hand to rub and pinch at an achingly hard nipple. Tsuna’s frame was taut with attention, anxious for the other man’s release.

Yamamoto gasped out loud, shivering with the sudden added sensation of Tsuna’s rough pinching. His chest flooded with color, blushing red from neck to navel, and he bit hard at his own lip, trying to last just a moment or two longer, to drag it out. It wasn’t to be, however, not with Tsuna’s concentrated attention and the heat of his breath over Yamamoto’s ear.

“Tsuna--” he gasped, rutting quick and hungry into his boss’s hand. “I’m-- I’m coming, I’m-- oh fuck--!”

Tsuna stroked him rough through it, falling back onto an elbow to watch the spurt of Yamamoto’s climax through his fingers. He was filthier a vision than even Yamamoto’s over-active imagination could have come up with. He bit at the corner of his lip in a grin while Yamamoto’s release splashed over his bare front and full, exposed cock. He worked Yamamoto expertly until he cried out with overstimulation. Then, unflinching, he sampled Yamamoto’s flavor, still warm on his fingertips, and said, “Ready to go upstairs?”

Yamamoto’s breath was rough, and a wheezing laugh following Tsuna’s suggestion. “Boss?” he asked, staring down at the mess he’d left on Tsuna’s front and the flushed, stiff dick pointing up at his navel. He swallowed hard, a surge of excitement rising in his middle, though it was far too soon for him to be ready again. “We can’t go through the hallways like this!”

“It won’t be comfortable,” Tsuna admitted. A quick glance around and he spotted a beaten towel which he used to clean himself hastily. He slid from the counter top and tucked himself away with a wince, his thin pajamas hiding almost nothing. He was about to throw the towel in the wastebin but then thought better of it and instead tossed it onto the embers still hot in the stove. The evidence went up in a quick flame.

It wasn’t until after cleverly hiding the crime that he realized they hadn’t cleaned up after their other crime, their midnight snack. Tsuna was forced to use his pajama top to wipe out their mugs and the pan they’d used. Once the utensils were safely put away, he grimaced as he shrugged into the damp garment. He still had a grin for Yamamoto when he pulled him toward the door.

They crept up the stairs with absolute silence, Tsuna tucked behind Yamamoto’s tall frame in case anyone were to appear in the hallway. Thankfully luck was on their side for once and they made it to Tsuna’s chambers without interruption. Stifling giddy laughter down to a whisper, Tsuna immediately stripped off his soiled top.

Yamamoto shut and locked the door behind them with a sigh of relief and followed Tsuna eagerly toward the bed. “So many surprises from you tonight,” he hummed, pleased and feeling very lucky. “I like this daring side of you, Tsuna.” He tossed off his robe, baring himself completely as he stepped up to the foot of the bed. He reached down and smoothed his palm over the fine sheets. “I didn’t expect to ever be here,” he grinned. “May I?”

“Please,” Tsuna replied just as eagerly. Shimmying out of his pajama trousers, Tsuna had flagged during their treacherous journey up the stairs but he was clearly ready and tossed the edge of the blanket aside. He was quick to draw Yamamoto close, but there was a hint of shyness in his eyes now that the intensity of their moment had been interrupted. That didn’t, however, keep his hands from seeking out Yamamoto’s skin as they settled under the light blankets.

“Mm, the boss’s bed,” Yamamoto hummed happily. “I already feel spoiled.” He turned onto his side, smiling, letting Tsuna touch him, watching his eyes. “There’s so many things I’d like to offer you,” he laughed a little, fingers skimming down Tsuna’s hip. “But what do you want now?”

His head on Yamamoto’s arm, being wrapped in his tall friend’s embrace, tight against each other’s naked bodies, it was just as good and better than Tsuna had imagined. He was a little nervous now, a bit uncertain when it came to his own desires and embarrassed to say such things out loud. But he was no less starving for Yamamoto’s attention when he met his friend’s eyes and murmured, “That thing you mentioned earlier… sounds really great.”

Even so, he inched forward so he could press a soft, brief kiss to Yamamoto’s mouth. His hardness was evident between them, trapped snugly between their stomachs.

“Yeah?” Yamamoto’s breath was warm against his jaw, eyes hooded but bright. “I’d like that.” He kissed Tsuna again, then pushed him onto his back, lifting the sheets to climb over Tsuna’s body, straddling his hips. There he paused to give Tsuna’s dick a teasing fondle, humming with approval before shimmying lower, under the sheets, curling over Tsuna’s frame to lay another kiss on his belly. “Okay, I’m gonna do it now,” he announced, voice somewhat muffled. “Are you ready?”

“No--” Tsuna protested immediately, giving a shiver but then moving away. He shifted to sit up a little, shoving some pillows behind his head. Then he lifted the blanket away from Yamamoto’s head to rest on his shoulders. They’d put the lantern out but the moon was full and bright, giving the room plenty of light to see Yamamoto. It was a little chill on Tsuna’s naked skin but it was well worth it for the aroused shudder that threatened at the sight of Yamamoto nuzzling at the seam of his thigh.

Tsuna was red in the cheeks but he smiled down at Yamamoto and reached tentatively to brush fingers over his black hair. “That’s better.”

Yamamoto beamed, turning his head to kiss Tsuna’s palm before dipping his head to press his nose against Tsuna’s belly, breathing him in with a pleased sigh. “I am really lucky,” he said aloud, laughing a little, then slipped down between Tsuna’s knees, reaching up to drag blunt nails through the fine hairs that trailed below Tsuna’s navel. He kissed Tsuna’s inner thigh once, then nosed closer, hot mouth grazing the skin at the base of Tsuna’s cock. “Really lucky…” he murmured again, and drew a long, slow line from base to tip with his tongue.

Tsuna’s entire body tensed at that first hot drag of tongue and he sucked in a long, sharp breath. His eyes were wide, face hot but he couldn’t look away from the vision of Yamamoto tasting him for the first time. “Oh… my…” fell from his lips shakily. “You --” He stumbled over the words but found himself unable to keep himself from saying them. “You look -- i-incredible, Yamamoto…”

Yamamoto gave a cheeky sort of laugh, never one to have difficulty taking compliments, even from the boss. “I’ve barely started,” was his answer, lips moving against the slick velvet of Tsuna’s cockhead before taking him in without further warning, careful of his teeth but enthusiastic with his tongue.

His friend’s mouth was like nothing he’d experienced and certainly nothing like Tsuna’s own hand. He bit at his lips as he watched Yamamoto lower onto him, tongue doing things that Tsuna couldn’t even understand. And he did it with such ease but also such a flirtatious and smoldering look that it all made Tsuna feel light headed with arousal and sensation.

“I--” He gave a long shudder when Yamamoto’s lips pulled back, slick and tight around him. “I’m sorry if-- if this is brief--” There was no way he would be able to keep it together long and was embarrassed by how he was already being thoroughly taken apart.

“It’s okay,” Yamamoto answered cheerfully, sucked at a spot under the head of Tsuna’s cock that made him see stars, then released him to speak again. “I’m hoping this won’t be the last time I get to do this.” And then he was filling his mouth again, taking Tsuna down to the root, then sliding back, slow and determined, his cheeks sucking in as he went, eyes glancing up at Tsuna, somehow both smoldering and easygoing.

“Yeah,” Tsuna agreed on a groan, eyes wide as he watched Yamamoto take all of him in a display that made Tsuna’s entire body hum. “Me too… definitely… unnnhh…” He kept his voice hushed but was unable to hide his soft moans and didn’t really try. Tsuna touched Yamamoto’s hair, lightly running his fingers through it, then brushing his ear and the side of his face. He closed his eyes, unable to watch anymore, overwhelmed by seeing Yamamoto’s tongue lap around his flushed cockhead. “My god… That feels wonderful… nn… hahh… so good...”

This time Yamamoto didn’t pull back to speak, but instead re-doubled his efforts, groaning low in his throat with approval. One hand came up to circle the base of Tsuna’s cock, stroking in time with the bob of his head, while he lifted Tsuna’s leg up over his shoulder to get a better angle. He was determined now, not trying to drag it out, clearly wanting to see Tsuna fall apart under his attention. He closed his eyes and concentrated all his effort on pushing his boss toward his climax, hungry and determined.

Tsuna gave a long moan, helplessly letting his head fall back against the pillows. With Yamamoto wracking him with overwhelming waves of pleasure, all of Tsuna’s effort went into keeping his voice at a reasonable volume. While pretty much every other room in the house might be expected to house such noises, if anyone were to hear such things from Tsuna’s room the gossip and questions would fly. But he couldn’t keep himself from letting Yamamoto know how good it was in his quiet moans and panting breath and the tremor that took his body every time Yamamoto’s perfect lips slid down to his base.

His toes curled at the air above Yamamoto’s shoulder, his fingers raked through his short hair and Tsuna whispered, “So close… Please… You’re amazing…”

Yamamoto hummed his approval, without letting up for a moment, determined to wring Tsuna’s finish out of him, with no sign of pulling away or slowing down. He stroked him hard, swallowed him deep, opening his throat in a skillful way that spoke of both talent and practice. He was ready and waiting, driving Tsuna hard to the edge of his limit.

When Tsuna’s climax hit him, hardly a minute later, he let go of Yamamoto to clamp both hands down over his mouth. It muffled sharp cries that probably would have woke up half the house. His eyes squeezed shut, his back arched and he came hard between Yamamoto’s hungry lips. He didn’t hesitate to pulse into Yamamoto’s mouth but the sensation of the other man swallowing around him made Tsuna’s head spin. It lasted so long, peaked so high that his muscles screamed with tension until Tsuna collapsed against the sheets. Trembling, panting through his nose, finally he took his hands off his mouth to give a long, soft moan, utterly spent and reeling from heights of pleasure he hadn’t been aware of.

Yamamoto echoed the sound, a satisfied hum as he swallowed down the last of Tsuna’s pleasure, licking a bit from his palm. Then he climbed back up out of the sheets to hover over Tsuna for a moment, grinning down at him before collapsing beside him and draping an arm and leg over Tsuna’s shivering frame. Yamamoto pressed a kiss to his shoulder and sighed happily. “Mm, that was… great,” he said, wrapping his arm tighter around Tsuna’s waist. “You came so much! I was impressed.”

“Yamamoto!” Tsuna hissed, face bright red. He swatted hard at the other man’s shoulder. “You can’t just say such embarrassing things!”

In no way did this protest and humiliation prevent Tsuna from immediately snuggling close to Yamamoto, greedy for his affection. It put a pleasant, warm ache in his chest to find how they fit together, Tsuna guiding Yamamoto to rest his cheek against Tsuna’s shoulder. It let him curl an arm around Yamamoto’s neck so that he could idly touch his ear, his cheekbone, his jaw. He nuzzled into his friend’s short hair, breathed in his familiar smell and let out a happy sigh.

“Ah, sorry sorry,” Yamamoto purred, not sounding sorry at all, but rather fond and maybe a little too pleased with himself. But nevertheless he happily joined in the afterglow, nose pressed comfortably against Tsuna’s neck. “It was good though,” he insisted. “You have to admit that.”

“It was… unbelievable,” Tsuna said, a deeply sincere mumble against Yamamoto’s brow. “I had no idea it could be like that…” He sighed blissfully, spent and warm and wrapped up in Yamamoto. He turned Yamamoto’s face to his so that he could nuzzle their brows, then their noses together, Tsuna’s eyes peacefully shut. He couldn’t remember a time that he’d been so relaxed and so happy, a weight taken from his chest and replaced with thoughts of more of this in the future. “Thank you…”

“You’re welcome!” Yamamoto answered cheerily, giving Tsuna’s lips a peck and squeezing him tighter. “Hey, can I stay here a bit or would that be too improper?”

“What? You’re spending the night,” Tsuna insisted, snuggling closer and tangling further with Yamamoto, as though physically securing him to the bed. “We can sneak you out in the morning. But for now you’re not going anywhere.”

“Oh good. I like this plan. I promise I can be discrete.” Yamamoto seemed to have no problems with being pinned down to Tsuna’s bed, and indeed, he made himself comfortable, doing his best to touch as much of Tsuna as he could. “If you wake up first, just poke me and I’ll sneak back to my room,” he added, already yawning.

With that settled, they melted against the sheets together with idle touches, listening to each other’s breaths and heartbeats. As afterglow dwindled and reality reestablished itself, instead of drifting off into peaceful sleep, they found themselves together in a pit of anxiety.

Tsuna interrupted the silence by murmuring, “Yamamoto, how do we tell Gokudera about this? When?”

He hadn’t really intended for things to play out this way. Though he’d been distracted with thoughts about his friends, he hadn’t actually been planning to do something about it. And now without hormones setting his blood on fire, he realized he hadn’t handled this situation very well at all and a lump of guilt started to grow in Tsuna’s stomach.

“Um. Well, that is a very good question,” Yamamoto blinked, the uncertain tug at the corners of his mouth indicating he was sharing similar worried thoughts. “I… think you should talk to him.” He laughed a little, nervously. “He won’t take it well coming from me. When he finds out I fooled around with you before he had a chance to… hahaha… oh boy.”

Tsuna squished his cheek against Yamamoto’s forehead with a defeated sigh of agreement. “Yeah, exactly… You’re right. I’ll talk to him. Right away. I don’t… I don’t want him to think we’re hiding something from him.” He tensed a little at the idea of having such an awkward and intense and emotional conversation with Gokudera but it’d have to be done.

“Hey, it’ll be okay. Hayato’s gonna be so happy that you’re interested in him, this won’t be a big deal.” He almost sounded like he believed it.

“Mm...” Tsuna tried to sound like he agreed but he couldn’t stop the feeling of dread. Gokudera would forgive Tsuna of anything, whether he deserved it or not. And yes, as Yamamoto said, he felt confident that Gokudera would be interested in him. But these facts didn’t make him look forward to explaining this whole situation to Gokudera. And he had a sinking feeling this was going to throw a no-good-Tsuna wrench into his friends’ relationship, whatever its nature was.

In spite of this, with Yamamoto’s gentle urging, he sank again into the embrace of his bed and the other man’s arms and silent promises of more time spent this way. Even if anxious, he felt good and exhausted and relaxed. He was brimming with guilt but he was already wondering when he might be able to get Gokudera into his bed. If he could face his fears about the conversation, no doubt there would be an excellent payoff. When, he wondered, face hot at his own thoughts, had he become such a pervert?

After a moment in his own musings, Tsuna realized Yamamoto had fallen asleep, breath deep and even against Tsuna’s throat. Smiling, he kissed his friend’s brow one last time and finally, sleep claimed him.

Chapter Text

Though Tsuna had begged that his birthday be a quiet affair this year, this was a more or less impossible request to fulfill. The house was closed for business and all its members were given the evening off, creating the opportunity to make an impressive dinner. This didn't stop certain townspeople from stopping by to make nuisances of themselves by dropping off gifts and happy returns.

Long before dinner rolled around, Mukuro came by with an outrageously expensive bottle of wine. Not long after his arrival, Byakuran made a very unusual appearance. The white-haired dandy owned the hotel and only restaurant in town, the Thousand Flowers, and though he didn't patronize the Rose, he had on many occasions showed scandalously overt interest in Tsuna. Judging from the gilded bottle of champange and the touch he had for Tsuna's shoulder, things hadn't changed.

An irritated, haughty tension was palpable in the lobby of the Rose with the crossing of the two wealthy dandys, one a vision clad in black, the other in white. They were so polite and well spoken to one another that it was physically painful to witness. Cracking his knuckles, Gokudera offered to oust the two men but Tsuna, though chagrined and fairly terrified, dismissed him.

What was even more difficult, particularly for Gokudera, to witness was the afternoon that followed. Tsuna accepted their company, far too polite a man to take such generous gifts without sharing a glass. It gave Byakuran and Mukuro plenty of time to snipe at one another, to expertly belittle one another's alcoholic gifts and to offer inappropriate touches to Tsuna whenever possible. Tsuna himself was surprisingly amenable to it, draining several glasses of red wine and champagne before dinner.

Astoundingly, this small gathering at the bar managed to not end in disaster and both men were polite enough to leave when the evening meal was drawing close. They both pressed a parting kiss to the inside of Tsuna's wrists, leaving him shocked, horrified and red faced.

The meal was less 'intimate', the whole family and several outside friends coming together with yet more alcohol and plenty of frivolity. It was early when Hibari left to his room and quite late when it was down to Tsuna, Gokudera, Yamamoto and Ryouhei, playing cards in the lounge. For a while they played poker until Ryouhei collapsed in a drunken exhaustion to the floor where he was snoring. Yamamoto's surrender to the night was slightly more graceful, falling asleep in a high backed chair with a hand full of playing cards.

Though there were now cards scattered on Yamamoto's lap and the floor, Tsuna, giggling, urged Gokudera to keep playing until they polished off the current bottle of whiskey. But he insisted on Go Fish because he'd forgotten the rules to all other card games. Sure a few cards were missing because of Yamamoto's hand but it'd just make it more challenging.

Tsuna's cheeks were glowing pink, his eyes bright and relaxed while he peeked over his cards at Gokudera in the late lamp light. His spirits had been high all evening, his loving family's affection (though overwhelming, terrifying and, more often than not, destructive) was too heart-warming for any irritation. He and Gokudera shared the sofa and Tsuna had been sitting close enough to him that night that Gokudera couldn't stop from secretly hoping it wasn't just the alcohol.

"Do you have any fives?" Tsuna asked, smiling.

“I’m sorry, Tenth,” Gokudera hummed, looking genuinely crestfallen-- his not-so-subtle desire to let Tsuna win thwarted by rules that he couldn’t break without magically conjuring the cards Tsuna wanted. “I don’t have any… Go fish…” He looked across the low table with an accusing expression aimed at Yamamoto. “I bet he’s got the fives,” Gokudera accused, eyeing Yamamoto’s abandoned cards.

“Probably,” Tsuna agreed with another giggle while he pawed a fresh card from the deck. But then he gasped with delight and plucked several cards from his stuffed hand. “Or maybe not!” He slapped down four fives with two other sets of his collected cards. “Oh-- I get to go again. Ummm--” He scanned through his cards, smiling and relaxed and grateful and more than a little tipsy. “Have any threes yet or are those between Yamamoto’s thighs?”

Gokudera gratefully pulled the 3 of hearts from his hand, glad Tsuna wouldn’t have to go diving into Yamamoto’s lap in search of the card he wanted. “Here you go, Tenth! Does that help you?”

Tsuna laughed and accepted the card, tucking it into the fan between them. “You’re not supposed to be so excited about losing, you know, Gokudera,” he said with a coy smirk.

“He likes losing, cuz the look on your face when you win is so cute, Tsuna,” Yamamoto hummed, one leg stretching out under the table to poke at Gokudera’s knee.

The bomber gave Yamamoto a sharp glare and reached down to shove away the other man’s roving foot. “Shut up, baseball freak,” he sneered, sticking out his tongue, ready to blame this own flushed features on the alcohol he’d partaken liberally of.

The house’s leader startled at Yamamoto’s voice but he offered the other man a shy grin when he met the one cracked, sleepy eye that looked at them across the lounge table. “You’re supposed to be asleep,” Tsuna chided, then paused to peek at the cards in his hand. “But do you have any threes?”

Yamamoto laughed, a sleepy, warm sound as he reluctantly shifted to get a better look at his neglected cards. “Um… I might have,” he patted around the cushion at his hip, picking up one card, then putting it back down where it had been with a shake of his head. He did this two more times before Gokudera lost his, admittedly limited, patience.

“Tenth!” he complained, throwing up his hands with a scoff. “Just ignore this guy and tell him to go back to sleep so we can finish our game.”

“Ha-ha! Oh hey, our boxing buddy is down here. Is he okay? Hahaaa, yeah he’s okay. Hellooo Ryouhei.”

Tsuna grinned, holding Gokudera’s eyes while they listened to Yamamoto’s drunken cooing. He settled with a heavy THUMP on the floor and all that Tsuna and Gokudera could see was Ryouhei’s ceiling-pointed knees. Said boxer was snoring, though not obnoxiously so, and seemed oblivious to Yamamoto flopping onto the floor with him. “Have you two ever seen this guy’s muscles? Impressive.”

Tsuna choked on a laugh, smothering his face in his cards.

“He only mucks out our stables twice a week,” Gokudera answered with a roll of his eyes, “And -you- try getting him to wear a shirt while he does it.” The bomber snorted, only a little irritated by Yamamoto’s complimentary assessment of the house’s part-time help.

“I’m only a little jealous,” Yamamoto admitted with no small amount of slur. From their place mostly underneath the low table, Ryouhei’s snores gave a sharp snort and Yamamoto gave a loud giggle.

“Don’t worry, Yamamoto, you’ve never received a single complaint,” Tsuna’s voice was unmistakably flirty and startled Gokudera with how close it was. Still grinning, his boss was much closer, looking over Gokudera’s shoulder at his cards. But from the way Tsuna’s cards had been set aside on the table, he seemed to have lost interest in the game.

“That doesn’t seem possible,” Gokudera scoffed, gesturing at Yamamoto with the cards still in his hand. He felt a little cheated that he wouldn’t have the chance to let Tsuna win the game. “Not one complaint? I don’t believe it… not that I’m doubting you, Tenth!” Gokudera scrambled to amend. “It’s just, aren’t you being too nice to this guy?”

Tsuna laughed while Yamamoto protested, “Hey!” They could hear his dramatic pout.

“Well…” Tsuna admitted slowly, his weight coming to rest against Gokudera’s shoulder. He’d been awfully close to Gokudera that evening, with light touches and smiles. Maybe it was for enduring the sight of him letting Mukuro and Byakuran fawn over him -- Gokudera had very obediently kept his distance though his scowls could not be controlled. “All the complaints were from Deputy Squalo so I don’t really count them.”

“Squalo COMPLAINS about me?!” Yamamoto gasped, outraged.

Gokudera couldn’t help but laugh aloud at this, some of his irritation fading away with his win and this new piece of delicious information. Not to mention the physical closeness that their boss seemed all too willing to offer at the moment. It would normally make him nervous-- had been making him nervous for the last week or so, trying to determine if the narrowing distance between them was his own imagination, or if Tsuna really had been getting closer lately. Tonight, however, with alcohol in his blood, every small brush of skin, every grin, just further warmed his middle, made Gokudera’s breath flutter in his chest. It took a notable amount of self-control to keep himself calm and collected, but here, with Yamamoto and Ryouhei in the room with them, he was determined to keep face-- no swooning or simpering.

"You know how he is!" Tsuna protested, all comfort and laughter for their friend sprawled on the floor. When Gokudera didn't flinch from him, Tsuna shifted in closer, his thigh a strip of warm against Gokudera's. Tsuna leaned forward to retrieve his glass and work on the last bit of spiced whiskey that had been Yamamoto's gift. When he settled again, his free arm threaded under Gokudera's and casually hooked in the crook of his elbow and he relaxed against his frame.

Pink-faced, but pleased with the attention, Gokudera glanced down at the hand hooked into his elbow and then over to Yamamoto. He didn’t seem to notice, however, occupied with pouting and gathering up the strewn playing cards, projecting his most betrayed expression toward their boss.

“You’re too cruel, Boss,” Yamamoto whined, dropping a small, slightly bent stack of cards back onto the table. “I don’t think I like this side of you!”

There had, indeed, been a change in Tsuna since Kyoko had left for New England over two months back (though it wasn’t the one Yamamoto complained about). Tsuna had spent a portion of that time in a depressed slump but with such persistently loving friends and such a hectic and dangerous home, he was moving on. Somehow lately he seemed more confident, just a little less stuttering and shy. Maybe it was just that Gokudera was so well tuned into Tsuna's moods and needs -- he just seemed /different/.

The most noticeable had been the change in how he was with Gokudera, particularly in moments that they were alone. Tsuna looked into his eyes more often, sometimes even lingered too long, leaving Gokudera in moments of panic where he questioned reality. He was sure he'd felt Tsuna's eyes on him more than once, was sure he'd caught Tsuna blushing when he glanced his way.

/This/ was an entirely new level and done so casually! He seemed entirely at ease, his affection genuine and appreciative. When Tsuna spoke there was no tremble or nervousness or fear in his voice. "Besides, Yamamoto, he complains but Fuuta says he accounted for 65.2% of your transactions last year."

Gokudera burst out in renewed laughter, slapping the knee not pressed against Tsuna's. “65 percent?” he echoed, incredulous and enthusiastic. “He must be saving up all his little pennies for youuu.” Gokudera grinned across the table at Yamamoto. If he’d been a little more sober, he might have worried or at least wondered about the way that Tsuna was so affectionate and so unconcerned, even in front of the other man.

"Wow," Yamamoto said, mouth a surprised 'o' with this information. He was on his hands and knees on the opposite side of the low table that their cards were scattered across (and Ryouhei was passed out mostly under). It seemed unlikely that he would be making it back into his chair and he didn't seem to bothered by that. He laughed then, sitting down on the floor heavily. "Do you think I should give him a discount?"

"No!" Tsuna protested with a laugh and set his empty glass down. There was a tug at Gokudera's elbow, urging him to settle back into the sofa and Tsuna's affection. "He gets too much attention for free as it is! And drinks!"

Yamamoto slumped onto the table on folded arms, giving Tsuna a piteous look. "But his job is so haaaaard."

“Oh, please,” Gokudera rolled his eyes, glancing briefly at Tsuna as he allowed himself to be guided into a more comfortable-- and more intimate-- position on the sofa. In an effort to keep things casual here in the public common area, he kicked his feet up on the table’s edge, avoiding his glass, and tossing down the rest of his cards. “Squalo is a whiny suck up, who comes to you because if he complained to his boss, he’d get his ass kicked.”

Yamamoto's pout turned on Gokudera, clearly defensive of the *other* silver haired man that consumed large portions of his attention. "That's easy for you to say. If Xanxus was our boss we'd have lots to complain about too! We just happened to strike gold in the boss department. And he *is* a lawman, you know, keeping our town safe. You really think Xanxus is out there solving our crimes?"

"You're practically providing a civil service by soothing his nerves," Tsuna teased and Yamamoto beamed stupidly at him.

By now, Tsuna was warm against his side, arm still hooked in his and fingers plucking idly at the linen of Gokudera's shirt. With Gokudera trapped between the sofa arm and himself, Tsuna let his cheek come to rest against Gokudera's shoulder. His weight settled and there was no way to describe it but... Cuddling.

Though Tsuna was generous with affectionate and thankful touches or gestures, Gokudera had not been given an opportunity for such closeness outside of the few times they'd ridden together. There were no more excuses for him to get close like this, close enough to feel the tickle and smell Tsuna's auburn hair.

Unlike their friend on the other side of the table who never needed an excuse. When he’d arrived at the brothel, it took Gokudera a good few weeks to be certain that Yamamoto and Tsuna weren't sleeping together. When he found the answer, it didn't prevent the twist of irritated jealousy in his gut when Yamamoto put a friendly arm around Tsuna or ruffled his hair. Their friendship had been deep before Gokudera had arrived and though there were times when his flirting pushed too hard until Tsuna gave embarrassed protest, for the most part Tsuna seemed to enjoy Yamamoto's closeness.

However, in Gokudera's rapt and attentive memory of Tenth-related information, he'd be happy chatting for an evening with Yamamoto's arm around his shoulders but Gokudera had never seen Tsuna initiate any more than a friendly or comforting touch for Yamamoto. And certainly nothing like sidling up on the sofa with him like this.

Whatever the motivation involved, Gokudera intended to enjoy it. And so he generously --if somewhat nervously-- lifted his arm to allow Tsuna to get closer, to lay his head on Gokudera’s chest rather than his shoulder. And when Tsuna took that invitation with a contented sigh, Gokudera silently celebrated this small victory. He also glanced across the table to see if Yamamoto had been watching.

Though drunk and disheveled, Yamamoto was still awake, still sitting on the floor, but with his arms and head resting on the table. He met Gokudera’s eyes with a smile, warm and fond.

“You two look super cute together,” Yamamoto purred.

Though calm with drink and a long day of good company and food, Tsuna wrinkled his nose at Yamamoto and stuck out his tongue. But he didn't hesitate to snuggle closer to Gokudera, fitting nicely under his arm. A hand came to rest lightly on Gokudera's stomach, fingertips toying with the tip of the bomber's silk tie.

Before the moment could be ruined by Gokudera's struggle not to kick the edge of the table and dislodge him, Yamamoto said, "Oh! Suddenly tired." And he slid away from the low table, disappearing from view to join Ryouhei in his exhausted sprawl on the oriental rug.

After the limp 'thud' of him hitting the ground, Tsuna gave a little giggle, the incredulous shake of his head nuzzling into Gokudera's chest. Then he looked up and a warm smile met Gokudera, and though Tsuna's cheeks were pink, he wasn't shy. In fact, his gaze was relaxed and he looked into Gokudera's eyes.

"Have either of you kissed this guy?" Yamamoto asked abruptly from under the table.

Gokudera wasn’t sure whether to curse the guy out, or thank him for the unexpected distraction. If Tsuna had continued to stare like that for much longer, it might have been difficult to maintain his already tenuous professionalism.

“What? No!” Gokudera scoffed, looking at Tsuna, then quickly away. “I mean, first of all, he couldn’t afford me!”

“He’s Kyoko’s brother!” Tsuna said with horror, fingers clenching in Gokudera’s shirt.

“Yeah, I guess that’s true,” Yamamoto replied vaguely, in response to either one or both of their remarks. There was a long pause, both men on the sofa waiting for some other silly, drunk or inane thing to come out of his mouth. Instead there was a loud snort that interrupted Ryouhei’s snoring followed by the SOCK that could only be a punch. The table they were under jumped violently, making Tsuna yelp and grab at Gokudera and knocking over the thankfully empty drink vessels. Luckily the glasses didn’t hit the floor unlike several playing cards that went fluttering. Yamamoto gave a short but loud laugh and then there were two snores punctuating the quiet of the dim lobby.

Tsuna went limp against Gokudera with the laugh and relief of someone startled, then looked up at him with a grin. The light provided by the oil lamp beside the sofa felt very intimate when things fell (mostly) quiet and Tsuna was so much closer than ever before. “I guess this means we’re technically alone,” he said with a purr in his voice that was unfamiliar to Gokudera.

No -- maybe he’d heard something like it a few times. When they first met, the first time he’d seen Tsuna shoot and learned his identity. There was a powerful clarity in that moment of danger, when Gokudera could see the skilled and compelling leader under his shyness. He’d heard it other times, but always in moments that required a controlled, smoldering anger. Which was most often times that he had to remove certain troublesome patrons from the house or deal with drunks or thieves or cheating card sharks that passed through. It was different this time, but still familiar, that lacing of anger replaced with something… else.

There were very few people in this world that could make Gokudera feel that sharp twang of fear, but also a more familiar lurch of warm arousal at the same time, with only a look, and a quiet drawling voice. But even with the others gone or asleep or knocked out by a sleep-punch, Gokudera still hesitated. “Boss…” he hummed, red-faced and hating himself just a little. “Maybe we should get you upstairs to bed.”

Tsuna smiled, unflinching and looking over Gokudera’s embarrassed features in a pleased manner. “Goodness, Gokudera,” he hummed, teasing and flirting and all the things Gokudera never expected to hear from the man in his arms. “I didn’t expect you to be so forward.”

Before he really had the chance to process those words, Tsuna’s hand was at his throat, two fingers hooking in Gokudera’s still crisp tie knot. With that he drew Gokudera down to him, himself stretching, pressing against Gokudera when he took the silver haired man’s mouth with surprising confidence.

He kissed deep before Gokudera could reel away, his tongue awash in the flavors of a full day’s worth of drinking. But there was still unquestionable honesty in the longing that he pressed into Gokudera’s mouth, fingers leaving his tie to instead dig into the shaggy hair at the back of his head, forbidding him from jerking back.

Though he couldn’t pull away, Gokudera found himself still startled into immobility, eyes wide and hands lifted as though forbidding himself from touching the other man. It was his own intoxication that made him consider following through, and he felt himself lean toward Tsuna, to start to kiss him back-- it would feel so good, so sweet. But… “Wait,” he choked out, cleared his throat, tried again. “Wait… Boss… you’ve been drinking. And… it’s not that I wouldn’t be… interested, but maybe we should wait until we’re both sure that you are too.”

“No,” Tsuna protested, still hooked with an arm around Gokudera’s neck, hanging from his lips. “I mean -- I am. I’m sure that I am. I have been. If you don’t believe me, ask Yamamoto.” He glanced toward the table and their friend unconscious beneath. “But-- later--” Insistent, he turned his eyes back on Gokudera and shifted, backing the taller man into the corner of the couch when he shied away for the sake of propriety. But in spite of his protests, Gokudera found Tsuna half in his lap, trapping him against the cushions with another kiss, this one brief. “I’ve been thinking -- lately -- too much. I just-- I want this. Just a little…” Both hands lifted to Gokudera’s face, soft and gentle on his jaw, a murmur warm against his lips of, “Please.”

Gokudera could feel his will crumbling away, and he didn’t even have the benefit of his own sobriety to help steer him in the proper direction. “Boss…” he hemmed, reaching to let his fingers brush ever so gently across Tsuna’s heated cheek. Then, “Wait-- you talked to Yamamoto about this? About me?” He blinked up into Tsuna’s face.

“Mm-hm,” Tsuna hummed, turning his head to nuzzle gently into Gokudera’s hand. His smile softened, looking more familiar, more like the Tsuna that sat across the bar from him almost every morning for coffee. “I was-- nervous. This is all new to me… But he um. Made me feel better about the whole thing -- and--” Here Tsuna stuttered a little, sobering with the challenge of explaining himself. It was easier to just smother Gokudera in kisses and his eyes begged for as much, the light from the lamp over Gokudera’s shoulder reflected there. “He thought you wouldn’t mind.”

“That guy…” Gokudera grumbled under his breath, reminding himself to give Yamamoto a good verbal thrashing tomorrow. The hangover Yamamoto was sure to have would make it only that much more satisfying. Then, the rest of Tsuna’s words registered, and Gokudera felt a surge of fondness overcome him for a moment. “You… you were nervous? About asking for something from me? Oh, Boss… you know you can ask me for anything…” He risked letting his fingers graze softly down Tsuna’s throat. Just a kiss would be alright, wouldn’t it?

“I want you to kiss me,” Tsuna breathed, as though reading Gokudera’s thoughts. He was close but didn’t demand or press himself on the other man again. By now he was on his knees over Gokudera’s hips, pinned by Tsuna’s body and the way he looked at Gokudera with raw honesty. He lifted a hand to again touch Gokudera’s hair, this time lighter, tucking a lock behind his ear. He let his fingertips play over the piercings there in a way that made them both shiver. “I’ve… /wanted/ you to kiss me.”

“O-oh,” Gokudera answered, a little dumbly. He wouldn’t have allowed himself to consider that this man would ever look at him with this kind of interest, and it left him somewhat speechless. He examined Tsuna’s face with a sort of intensity that he might not have allowed himself if sober. “J-just a kiss,” Gokudera finally spoke, not a question, but also not quite as firmly as he’d intended the words to come out.

“Okay,” Tsuna said with a pleased smile, in spite of the way his cheeks were just as red as Gokudera’s. He eased in a little closer, cautious and watching Gokudera’s carefully but fondly as he reached for this promised kiss. With the soft brush of lips, Tsuna’s eyes slid shut to enjoy it. This time his enthusiasm was reigned, instead gently urging, begging Gokudera to show that he felt the same. Slow and soft and longing.

A small earnest whine slipped from Gokudera’s throat as he gave in to Tsuna’s request, lips parting just a little, breath hot against Tsuna’s mouth. His kiss was more tentative, but no less desirous, and his hands moved from Tsuna’s face, to his neck, his shoulders, sliding down his arms to take hold, as though grounding himself on Tsuna’s more confident frame.

Tsuna melted against him, hands coming to rest on Gokudera’s chest, to support him as he coaxed Gokudera to relax into him. He wasn’t forceful but did kiss deep enough to reach the other man’s tobacco flavor, then hummed when he briefly caught Gokudera’s lip between his teeth. When Tsuna eased away, it wasn’t far and he was smoldering again, in that predatory way. “Just one more?” he pleaded, taking a moment to kiss the day’s light stubble at Gokudera’s jaw. “Since it’s my birthday?”

Gokudera groaned faintly, tried not to think too much about how nice the weight and warmth of Tsuna felt against him. “One more,” the bomber agreed, managing to swallow most of the waver in his voice. “If you promise you’ll remember it tomorrow, okay?”

“Of course I’ll remember,” Tsuna chided, surprised. With a chagrined smile, he tugged at Gokudera’s ear. “I’ve been working up the courage to do it for the last week.” Without waiting for a reaction, Tsuna ducked in to claim his last birthday kiss and made it a good one. This time his tongue pushed past Gokudera’s lips, demanding a better sample of his flavor. He pressed Gokudera into the sofa arm, hands again on his chest with fingers digging faintly. He kissed deep and hungry, in a way that someone as sweet and innocent looking as the Tenth had no business knowing how to kiss. And he let it drag long, waiting for Gokudera’s breaking point.

This time, Gokudera managed a breath before Tsuna went in, and he closed his eyes to it, letting himself just feel the touch. The whiskey made his head swim; the heated intimacy didn’t help. When Tsuna’s lips eased back, painfully slow, a flick of tongue and a smile Gokudera could taste, the bomber whimpered audibly. The sound caught in his throat as Tsuna finally broke away. But Gokudera followed, catching his face with a palm, kissing him again, still far more chaste a gesture than Tsuna had offered, but still undeniably desirous.

Tsuna hummed against his mouth, lifting his hand to place it gently over Gokudera’s. He didn’t press Gokudera into anything further, only gratefully took this last, unquellable kiss. Then he pulled back, taking Gokudera’s hand with him to nuzzle, to kiss at his knuckles. They’d settled together at some point, Tsuna relaxing into Gokudera’s body until they were warm and comfortable. Finally Tsuna released his hand to lie against Gokudera, letting his head come to rest on the bomber’s chest and look up with a smile. “What a lovely birthday. I’m exhausted. Will you stay with me here?”

“H-here, Boss?” Gokudera echoed, looking around the dim lit common area. It wasn’t that he minded falling asleep with Tsuna wrapped up in his arms, it was only that if they weren’t the first awake, they would certainly be discovered like that and then there would be questions, and someone was sure to kick his butt, whether it was Hibari or Reborn or even Kyoko, changed her mind and back from the big city. As his brain processed all these terrifying possibilities, Gokudera’s eyes lost focus and he blinked, wide-eyed over Tsuna’s shoulder.

“Mm,” Tsuna hummed back affirmatively. His hand was over Gokudera’s, resting on his chest. “The stairs are so far away… plus... I want to sleep like this… but… if I take you to a bed I’m not going to be able to let you sleep.” He smirked up at the other man, cheeky.

If Gokudera hadn’t already been red-faced from the liquor and the kissing, Tsuna’s thinly veiled implication would have been enough to set his cheeks aflame instantly. “O-oh,” he replied, nodding a little, at a loss for words, his brain tripping off into that interesting category of thought. “Well, maybe just a little sleep here.” He offered Tsuna a nervous but genuine smile, not wanting the man to think him uninterested or ungrateful. “I’m glad you had a good birthday, Boss,” he added, reaching to tug at a bit of Tsuna’s celebration-mussed hair.

Soft fingers lifted to brush Gokudera’s cheek and jaw with idle, warm touches. He gazed up at the silver haired man in a way that made him blush from the tips of his ears to his collar bone. When Gokudera could barely stand it any longer, Tsuna smiled and nuzzled in close to find the most comfortable position. “Thank you. Just a little sleep here.” When he settled into a place tucked under Gokudera’s chin, an arm around his neck, it took only a few breaths for the Tenth’s body to go limp against him in a deep sleep. Apparently he had been as exhausted as he’d been aroused.

While Tsuna slept, Gokudera lit a cigarette from the case he kept in his pocket, and breathed through it until his nerves settled. Tsuna was a warm, comfortable weight against him, and it was only when the soft snore that signaled Tsuna was truly out, did Gokudera reach to thread his fingers through Tsuna’s hair, thumb grazing the curve of an ear, palm brushing his cheek. It was a long time before Gokudera found sleep himself.

 

When he woke he discovered that somehow Tsuna had managed to slip away without waking him. It had to have been scant minutes before; Gokudera's front was still warm from where the Tenth had laid against him for the larger part of the night. As it was, dawn was just starting to show itself outside, inky black giving way to faint light. The two idiots were still asleep under the table, both snoring without dignity.

Gokudera fumbled for his cigarettes and breathed one to life, sighing out its much needed soothing. His free hand laid against the warm spot on his chest, he licked his dry lips and remembered what had happened last night. Tsuna’s desire had been unexpected, but not unwelcome, and a million thoughts were ricocheting like bullets in Gokudera’s brain. And he surprised himself with the insistent and irritating thought that he needed to talk to Yamamoto.

He wanted to know if he’d really talked to Tsuna about this, if he was really okay with the idea of Gokudera spending time with their boss... after hours. Not that he believed Tsuna would be lying, but if there was one thing Gokudera knew about Yamamoto, it was that he was good at putting on a smile even when he was feeling like shit. And it felt… weird to not hear it from him. Just in case. Gokudera wanted to be excited and happy about this apparent new chapter of Tsuna’s life, in which he might have the chance to participate. Be he wanted to be able to do it without any nagging, distracting worries like-- he sighed and scowled dramatically down at his tobacco-stained fingers-- like Yamamoto’s feelings.

He was halfway through his smoke, when he heard a 'psst' and looked over the back of the sofa. With the darkness of the downstairs hallway behind him, Tsuna stood with two mugs. He gave a nod of his head, beckoning Gokudera to leave the plush couch. The bomber hurried up, careful not to step on any wayward limbs on the floor, and followed Tsuna into the bar.

There was a shy smile and a hot cup of coffee waiting for him, Tsuna perched on a stool with his own cup. "Good morning," he said quietly and patted the seat next to him. He might not have jumped straight to the point if he hadn't been clearly anticipating the words that wanted to spring to Gokudera's lips. "I'm so sorry about last night."

“Boss…” Gokudera shook his head, holding up a hand to silence Tsuna before he continued. “You don’t have to apologize to me. I should have been the one to… maintain boundaries. After all, you’d been drinking and it wasn’t proper of me to go along with it, no matter how--” He cut himself off, knowing he was rambling, and catching the fond humor in Tsuna’s eyes and the patient expectation there, waiting for Gokudera to finish his moment of mild panic. “Sorry, um… you were saying?”

Tsuna gave an approving smile. “You were-- the perfect amount of gentleman, Gokudera. And yes, I remember everything quite clearly…” He cleared his throat softly, trying to will the pink from his cheeks and glancing away briefly. “It was so inappropriate… and stupid of me to… use that situation to show you how I feel.” He rubbed at a temple and gave a self-deprecating sigh then looked back at Gokudera with regret pinching his brow. “I’m sorry it wasn’t a-- a more… romantic way for me to tell you that I… c-care for you that way…”

“I’m… I’m not--” Gokudera floundered a little, caught off guard by Tsuna’s confession, not expecting any more than the initial apology. His own face bloomed in shades of red, ears especially pink as he glanced away with an embarrassed laugh. “I don’t need romance,” he managed, setting down his coffee cup to press his sweaty palms against both knees. “I think you already know that I care very much for you too. And… the kissing… it was really nice.”

“It was.” Tsuna wouldn’t let him look away, trapping Gokudera with his smile which was sheepish but there was without a doubt something there that brought up even clearer memories of the night before. There was something more confident, more desirous under the layer of shy hesitation. Tsuna’s fingers twitched, wrapped around his mug. “/Really/ nice. I was hoping… maybe we could do it again sometime… And maybe more. But-- not-- not like business. Not as your boss or-- or a client. If you want.”

Gokudera’s heartbeat stuttered with the words and he had to clutch at the counter for a moment to steady himself. “I-- I’d really like that, Boss-- ah, I mean… Tsuna.” The name felt strange on his tongue, unused to addressing the man by his name and not his title. It still felt a little disrespectful, but he knew Tsuna would be pleased by the effort. “But I-- I should tell you first that-- and I mean, maybe you already know this, but in case you don’t…” He groaned a little, palming his brow with frustration at his own difficulty with communication when he was around Tsuna. He sighed, took a breath and tried again. “You should know that… I-- that Yamamoto and I sometimes... “ He gestured vaguely, hating having to say it aloud, particularly to Tsuna. “You know. Not business, but just…” He trailed off, finding it impossible to explain just why his relationship with Yamamoto was the way it was and what it meant, and how he felt about it.

His feelings for Tsuna were so much more straightforward, but it was only now, in the moment, that he realized he couldn’t, in good conscience, continue down this path with Tsuna without first being up front about his… extracurriculars with Yamamoto. And, as much as it pained him to admit, he didn’t feel good about proceeding (as much as he desperately wanted to), without being transparent about it with Yamamoto too. And -that- realization put a scowl on Gokudera’s face and a knot in his chest that he definitely didn’t want to examine right now.

There was no shock evident on Tsuna’s features and in fact he seemed sympathetic to Gokudera’s struggle with their conversation. “I know,” he said, trying not to chuckle. “Yamamoto isn’t exactly subtle. I’m-- I’m glad that you have each other that way. I think you’re good for each other.” Tsuna couldn’t help but laugh at the expression on Gokudera’s face, though his giggle wasn’t unkind. “About that -- um -- I actually -- Yamamoto and I had a… a talk about this the other day… and we thought maybe you’d… um… you might be interested in… the three of us… you know… together.” He ended the stuttering sentence on a cough. His face red, Tsuna’s eyes darted between Gokudera and their coffee cups on the table.

Gokudera’s eyes widened with this new information, and he echoed Tsuna’s cough with one of his own. “Um,” he began, then fell quiet again, struggling to process this offer. For a long time he’d compartmentalized his relationships well. His and Yamamoto’s had always been physical: compatriots who weren’t exactly friends, but found a certain satisfaction in eachother’s bodies. His and Tsuna’s relationship had always been that of a devoted follower and the man he worshipped, even loved, largely from afar. And maybe he’d always been a little bit in love with Tsuna, but he -knew- that would never go anywhere so he’d never allowed himself to consider it.

And now… that possibility was here, while, separately from all of this, things with Yamamoto were getting… confusing, and nothing was simple or easy anymore. Tsuna’s new interest and his offer for more was mixing things up so those relationships didn’t fit into nicely organized boxes anymore.

And that, kind of freaked Gokudera out. And realizing he was kind of freaked out, made Gokudera kind of angry with himself, because why wasn’t he just saying yes? He’d always said yes to Tsuna, never wanted to say no to anything he asked for.

“I… Can I think about it?” he finally answered, feeling dumb and lame and bracing himself for the disappointment Tsuna would, no doubt, feel toward him now.

“O-oh… of course,” Tsuna answered, not exactly disappointed but maybe a little surprised. And a little worried. “Of course. I know… this is sudden. But it’s something… I’ve… I’ve been thinking about for a while.” He swallowed hard, staring down at his hands folded in his lap. He’d spent days trying to figure out how this conversation would go, coming up with things to say. But none of them would come to his mind and it certainly wasn’t going as Tsuna had planned or expected.

He braced himself for what he had to do next. Gokudera’s concern for keeping Yamamoto on the up and up in the face of Tsuna’s confession made the Tenth’s stomach twist with guilt. Neither he nor Yamamoto had been considerate enough to look out for Gokudera’s feelings and Tsuna was about to experience the fallout.

“I--I have to tell you something,” he began, hands wringing in his lap. Where was that hidden confidence when he needed it? Even if it was that very confidence that had put him in the middle of this emotional mess. “We… when I told Yamamoto about this… That I um… was… that I didn’t want to choose between you…” Tsuna pressed a palm over his eyes briefly and took a deep breath. “We figured, together, that you’d probably… be interested. And we um…” Tsuna’s face was hot with shame and regret and apology but he couldn’t bring himself to look away from Gokudera when he confessed, “We messed around a little. I’m sorry, Gokudera, we should have talked to you first. It’s my fault -- I was -- a little-- forceful.” Anxiety gripped Tsuna as he watched Gokudera’s face and suddenly he took one of the other man’s hands in his own. “I’m so sorry.”

Gokudera’s expression, always so easy to read when he was around Tsuna, went slack. He blinked and his eyes seemed to gloss over just before he looked away, down at the hand Tsuna held, and then at the floor. He heard a small laugh slip from his own lips and he shook his head, opened his mouth to speak, but he couldn’t think of what to say. So he just shook his head again. “Boss… what you do and who you do it with is your own business. You and I… you know I’ll always be there for you-- you earned my loyalty and sleeping with-- I mean, you know, whatever you do won’t change that.” He hesitated, his hand twitched in Tsuna’s but he didn’t pull away. He didn’t meet Tsuna’s worried gaze either.

A hard knot of… something had settled in Gokudera’s throat, but he didn’t feel mad, or even, really, upset with Tsuna. He’d known that Tsuna was lonely after Kyoko left-- he just hadn’t expected him to seek out companionship within the Rose. He certainly wouldn’t have expected him to want to take their relationship beyond the flirtatiously worshipful boss/right hand man dynamic. And he wouldn’t have expected Tsuna to… test the waters with Yamamoto before talking to Gokudera about it.

The lump tightened and Gokudera swallowed stiffly. “I should… go, probably. I have some things to think about. I-is.. is that okay, Boss?”

Tsuna gave a tiny nod but his face was etched with emotional agony. His eyes sheened with tears that he blinked back, then swallowed the knot in his own throat. “I understand,” he said quietly, voice tight. He was very still for a moment but when Gokudera rose from his barstool, Tsuna stood as though unable to stop himself and wrapped a hug around the taller man’s waist. His head dropped, brow against Gokudera’s chest, he squeezed tightly for just a moment. “I just… I’m just so sorry. I know Yamamoto will say the same thing. It was -- selfish and insensitive for us to… to be like that before we talked to you…”

"I know. I’m not… angry with you,” Gokudera answered, his hands on Tsuna’s shoulders, but not quite hugging back.

Tsuna pulled back. “Sorry. I just want you to know how much I… how much we both care for you. Take as much time as you need to think, okay?”

Gokudera nodded, taking a step back and letting his hands drop to his sides. “Can I take the day off?” he asked, his feet already itching to take him out of the room and avoid Tsuna’s sad face.

“Of course,” Tsuna said, trying to school the emotion out of his face.

Gokudera couldn’t help the twinge of guilt that clutched at his chest. It would be easier to just shrug it all off and be okay, and make Tsuna smile, but no matter how he tried, Gokudera couldn’t muster the effort. “I’m… I’m sorry too.”

Tsuna shook his head hard. “No! You have nothing to be sorry for, Gokudera! Don’t even say that, okay? Please?” His eyes pleaded for only a moment before Tsuna looked away. “A-anyway, I’m going to go upstairs… Another hour of sleep sounds incredible right now.” He sighed at his own failure at sounding casual. “I’ll talk to you later…” One last quick glance and he stepped past Gokudera, letting their fingers just barely brush as he left for his bedroom.

“Bye,” Gokudera answered, somewhat lamely, immediately cursing himself for how pathetic he knew he must sound. As Tsuna retreated upstairs, Gokudera slumped against the bar, sighing down at the water rings Lambo had failed to wipe clean. He stared at the countertop, at the back of his hands, and steadfastly did not think about anything else. Not yet.

He stood there for a while, not thinking. His legs didn’t feel like they could work but it turned out they could and mechanically, he cleaned up their coffee cups and wiped down the bar. The sky outside was a dull, pale shade of purple, the sun probably about to peak. Gokudera headed up to his room.

A few minutes later, he reemerged with a small overnight bag. Yamamoto and Ryouhei were still sleeping, as were Lambo and Fuuta when Gokudera made a quick stop by the downstairs room the two of them shared. He left a note on Lambo’s pillow and then exited the Rose. He turned his steps east, toward the town’s medical clinic. He just hoped that Shamal wouldn’t be entertaining any female ‘patients’ today when he came knocking on the doctor’s door.

Chapter Text

It was a bit past sunrise when there was a banging at the front door of the Wavewood medical clinic. The building was small. There was little more than an examination room that offered no privacy other than a sheet strung from the ceiling. The back of the clinic was dedicated to storage and modest living quarters for the town doctor.

Said doctor ignored the banging on his door for a full five minutes until Gokudera’s shouting finally made Shamal give in. He stood, in night clothes, at the door with a put-out expression for the man who had once been his charge. “Dammit, kid, you better have a serious head injury to show up on my doorstep this early in the morning,” Shamal complained dramatically. Even so, his droopy eyes glanced curiously at Gokudera’s overnight bag and he toed open the door with a socked foot.

Gokudera wasted no time squeezing past him and crossing the exam room. He barged into Shamal’s living space, just in case the doctor changed his mind. “I need to stay for a day, maybe two. Are there any women here?” he wondered, already peering around, stepping over Shamal’s cluttered room.

“Not at this moment but I can’t make any promises for the next two days,” Shamal said incredulously. He followed Gokudera into his living quarters which were simple: A desk, a bed and shelves and cabinets that lined the walls, crowded with green, blue and brown bottles, books and medical equipment. Shamal sank down into the chair at his desk and removed a silver flask from the top drawer. “What happened? You get fired from the whorehouse?”

“No,” Gokudera scoffed, scowling at Shamal in a way that made him look like a petulant kid again. “Just… some drama I need to get away from for a while. Doesn’t matter.” He dropped his bag in the middle of the floor and starting looking through the shelves. “Where do you keep the liquor, old man?”

“Not up there with the poison bottles, that’s for sure,” Shamal replied loftily. He toed open the bottom drawer of his desk and produced a corked, brown bottle which he tossed to Gokudera. “Ahh, I raised you well, Hayato.” He laughed and tipped back his own flask again. “Drama? Your sister causing you problems?”

Gokudera popped open the bottle with snort of reluctant appreciation, then took a swig that burned his throat enough to keep him from speaking for a moment. “H-holy shit, Shamal,” he coughed. “Are you sure you made this and didn’t just hand me a bottle of rubbing alcohol? It tastes like crap.”

“Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, you little bastard,” the doctor sneered back. “I’m not about to pay the prices that dandy fuck charges at his distillery. I just haven’t perfected the recipe yet. Besides, it all tastes the same in your bloodstream.” He raised his flask in cheers and knocked back another. “So what’s the drama going on at the Rose? I should know. It could be a public health issue.”

Gokudera rolled his eyes, but drank again anyway, being sure to make as sickened a face as possible. “You’re such a gossip. Let me settle in at least. Offer me a meal before digging for dirt. You’re worse than a ladies’ knitting circle, fuck.” He crossed the space and flopped down on the doctor’s bed, sprawling to take up as much of it as possible.

“You’re gonna show up on my doorstep at this ungodly hour and demand booze AND food from me?” Shamal said, disgusted. “And you don’t even offer any gossip. What a useless nuisance you are.”

“It’s nothing, whatever! Just some people I had to get away from for a while, okay? God.”

“Some people, huh?” Shamal repeated. He tucked his flask away in its drawer and stood to cross the room where a small cooking stove was in the corner. For a few minutes he was quiet while building a fire, then called over his shoulder, “Not many people there. Not your sister, so my next guess is that beau of yours. Is the honeymoon over?”

“What? No! Shut up,” Gokudera rolled over onto his belly, pressing his face into Shamal’s pillow briefly, groaning dramatically. “He’s not my ‘beau’. He’s a fucking asshole. And no one fucking talks to me, they just decide things. It’s bullshit. I just had to get out of there.”

“He’s an asshole, no one talks to you and you had to get away from some people huh?” Shamal pondered dramatically, tapping a spatula against his lips. “You’re better off spitting it out. Otherwise I’m just going to start coming up with my own theories.”

“Shut up, you’re the worst!”

“Is that boyfriend of yours eloping with that sour faced whore?”

“No--”

“Or maybe it’s the noisy deputy.”

“No! UGH!” Gokudera turned over sharply, smacking the mattress with an open hand, snarling up at the ceiling. “GOD. FINE. I’ll tell you! Just shut up, fuck.” He punctuated this last demand by whipping Shamal’s pillow at his head.

“I’m cooking here, you shit!” Shamal snapped at him, slapping the pillow out of the air. The sound of cooking eggs reached Gokudera’s ears.

“He… he slept with our boss. Like… not as a client.” The words were growled out, low and throaty.

There was a long moment of silence, punctuated by the sizzle of eggs, followed by a low whistle. “Damn. That’s a rough one,” Shamal finally said as though he were impressed. “I did not see that coming. He’s so meek I thought that scrawny Vongola might die a virgin.”

Gokudera scowled harder, if it was possible, wishing he had another pillow to throw. “He wasn’t a virgin, asshole. I… I don’t think.” This possibility made the whole thing even worse to consider, and Gokudera cursed his plan to come here. Had he really thought Shamal of all people could somehow make him feel better? But he had to do something. He couldn’t stay at the Rose, and he didn’t have anywhere else to go, or anyone else to talk to.

“Anyway, I mean, it’s… it’s whatever. I don’t care if Yamamoto sleeps around. It’s not like we’re married. Besides, exclusivity is a joke to a whore. But he-- he knew I… I cared about the boss. He knew that. And he still did it. And then they… neither of them told me about it. For days.”

His back to Gokudera, Shamal shook his head with a tsk of his tongue. “That truly is some textbook drama. Did they end up telling you or did you find out somehow?” He crossed the room to with a piece of toast with a fried egg on it.

“They told me,” Gokudera mumbled, face pressed into the bed again, stomach aching with humiliation. “Tsuna did.”

Shamal stood over him, Gokudera’s breakfast in hand, and gave a put upon sigh. “Come on, come on.” He lifted a socked foot to jostle at Gokudera’s shoulder until he turned over, scowling. He shoved the toast against Gokudera’s mouth and let go so he had no choice but to bite/catch the toast or end up with it on his front. Then Shamal sat down on the edge of the bed. “So, what’s the story? The tall guy done with you or does he want to keep on with it?”

Gokudera groaned like he’d been injured, and sat up, sighing dramatically. He took a bite of toast and egg, chewing and swallowing before answering Shamal’s probing questions.

“I don’t know what he thinks about it. I only talked to the boss. To Tsuna. And he... “ Gokudera glanced around as though someone might be eavesdropping somewhere in Shamal’s room. “He said… that the two of them had talked, and decided to ask me to….” He gestured vaguely, meeting Shamal’s eyes, but didn’t seem to be getting his point across, based on the blank look on the doctor’s face. “They fucked, and then -after- they fucked, they sat around and had a conversation about how, hey, Gokudera is neat, and he seems to like us both, let’s ask him to fuck too next time.”

Shamal blinked at him slowly, his brow creased in a deep frown as he processed this information. “So then they /both/ want to fuck you?” he concluded with both disbelief and a vague distaste at having to talk about such things. “Shit, it’s practically as good as it could get for you, with your little crush on that madam! If that’s it, then what’s the problem!?”

“Because they-- they knew how I… because he knew how I felt about Tsuna and... “ The next words were hard to get out-- the idea of saying anything bad about their boss was an anathema to Gokudera, but he couldn’t deny what he felt. “And Tsuna knew Yamamoto and I were… sleeping together. But they fucked anyway. Without telling me. And they think a threesome is gonna fix it.” He glanced over at Shamal, then scoffed, throwing himself back down on the bed, toast half eaten. “I don’t expect you to get it when you clearly have no standards about who you let share your bed. You probably became a doctor so you could cure your own ‘social diseases’ without having to pay someone else.”

“What a vulgar-mouthed whore you grew up to be, Hayato,” Shamal said with exaggerated criticism. Then he slapped Gokudera’s wrist with the metal spatula. “Get over yourself! Shit, kid, if I had two hot fillies who wanted me to be their third in a biblical getting-to-know-you, I’d be the happiest man alive. You’re terminally ungrateful!”

“You’re an idiot,” Gokudera scoffed, swatting at the spatula. “Even if you don’t get it, you’re supposed to be my parental figure or some shit. Comfort me, dammit.”

Shamal laughed and stood up. “Eat your damn food,” he said, pointing with the spatula at the half eaten toast.

He crossed the room again to busy himself at the stove. He was quiet for a while as he made his own meal and then returned to the bed with toast in hand.

“I suggest we go out to the desert and blow some shit up today. I’m guessing your skills are embarrassingly rusty after a year of the cushy life of a whore. You should keep your talents honed for when your looks fade and you have to get a job using your explosives for mining or railway building or carnivals.”

 

There was some comfort in leaving Wavewood for the afternoon, putting some physical distance between Gokudera and his problems. They rode far from town where the barrage of dynamite would be out of earshot of its citizens. Shamal brought a catapult -- the same one he’d used to tutor Gokudera as a child, once he’d graduated from paper planes. The fact that he still had the item brought merciless teasing about him being a pitifully sentimental old man.

Shamal also contributed some firing fodder which he strapped in a sack to the back of his saddle. It contained old junk like a rusty bedpan, cracked vials and bent dishware. The doctor had a horse which he boarded at the Rose: a thin, sickly looking black stallion which he called Buzz. The animal was stubborn and inattentive and, like Gokudera’s Reaper, was unfazed by the repeated blasting of nearby explosions.

Gokudera’s target practice didn’t include any warning or pattern. Sometimes Shamal would make him wait in long, tense stretches, listening for the snap of the catapult. And then there it was SNAP and an old shoe was sailing through the blue desert sky.

Gokudera was, in fact, rusty at first, the timing of his explosives just off enough to miss destroying targets, and he took out a couple of cacti on accident, though he claimed he had been aiming for them. Still, it didn’t take too much time to settle into the rhythm, for his body to remember the techniques Shamal had taught him. The lit cigarette which offered the flame to light his dynamite also served the second purpose of relaxing his nerves. By the time he was on his third, and half the stuff that Shamal had brought was in tiny pieces on the desert sands, Gokudera was, somewhat begrudgingly, feeling better.

“Finally shaping back up,” Shamal commented critically and he abandoned the catapult to go dig in his saddlebag. He produced a canteen and took a long drink before handing it over to Gokudera. Thankfully, it was water and not moonshine. “Apparently I’m gonna have to drag you out here now and then or you’ll become totally useless.”

Gokudera took the offered water with a nod and drank deeply, rolling his eyes at Shamal’s commentary. “I just needed to warm up!” he protested, dragging an arm across his mouth and shoving the canteen back into Shamal’s hands. “But hell, anytime you want me to blow up your shit, I’m happy to help.” He smirked then, comfortable in the familiar banter between them, silently relieved that Shamal seemed willing to perform such parental responsibilities as making an effort to cheer Gokudera up.

Shamal snorted. “Don’t be setting anything off at my place. Between the still and the medical supplies you could blow up half the town.” He returned to the catapult and rattled the sack of junk. “Still got a few pieces left, so don’t get lazy now.” He loaded a clay mug that had a crack down its side and waited for Gokudera to light his next cigarette. “After this, I’m gonna start launching cactus bits at you.” SNAP

Gokudera had no problem hitting this next target, the small explosion sending down a rain of ceramic shards a few dozen yards away. “Lazy? That’s a joke coming from you,” Gokudera scoffed. “Maybe you should leave off the catapult and start throwing things yourself, you know, just to get a little exercise.”

The next target-- a bent bed pan-- seemed to be aimed quite a bit closer to Gokudera’s head than safety would approve, and he flung two sticks of dynamite, sending the metal pan flinging high into the air, back in Shamal’s direction. The flaming bedpan hit a little wide of its target, lodging itself firmly into a thick cactus a few feet away from Shamal.

“These arms are the arms of a surgeon,” Shamal said loftily. He tossed the remainder of a broken vial into the catapult, his other hand busied with his flask. “If I were to throw out my shoulder, the whole town could face a state of emergency.” He shot the small glass item directly at Gokudera, across their sandy ‘playing field’ rather than clay pigeon style.

There wasn’t enough time to toss an explosive at the vial, so Gokudera ducked and rolled away from it, snarling at Shamal.The glass shattered on a cluster of rocks behind him. “So desperate for patients that you have to injure me to get any business?” he hollered, but the grin on his face spoke of the fun he was actually having.

“Just keeping you on your toes, Hayato. Are you a hunter or are you a fighter?” Smirking, he triggered the catapult again and a twisted spoon was flung at Gokudera.

“It’s helpful to be both, you know!” Gokudera sneered back, dodging the utensil, and slinging a stick of dynamite after it, hitting the spoon before it touched the ground.

Eventually they ran out of junk and then Shamal made good on his threat of launching cactus, producing tongs and a large knife to lob chunks off the nearby plants. Gokudera mostly managed to avoid the cacti’s threatening thorns, until the blast from one particularly explosive bit of greenery shot a handful of spines his way. This prompted a brief timeout during which Shamal got to make himself useful and patch up the arm Gokudera has used to shield his face.

After that, there were no more incidents, and Gokudera hit every target efficiently and uneventfully. When shadows started stretching, they repacked their things, mounted their horses and headed for home.

“Take me to dinner at the hotel,” Shamal ordered from his saddle, pointing at Gokudera with his flask. “I know you can afford it. I hear they’ve got salmon.”

“Fine, but you’re buying the drinks since you -charged me- for the /minor/ medical attention this afternoon.”

Thankfully when they returned to town and put up their horses, they didn’t run into anyone at the Vongola stables. They were both dirty and sweaty when they showed up in the sweet-smelling opulence of the Thousand Flowers lobby. Shouchi looked at them nervously but directed them to the hotel’s restaurant.

Byakuran must have been otherwise occupied because he didn’t make an appearance to fish for Vongola gossip. It was probably for the best, since Gokudera had gotten his fill of the white-haired dandy the previous afternoon, before Tsuna’s birthday celebration and might have been a little explosive if Byakuran came harassing him in that moment.

When they made it home, they were both exhausted but neither would admit it to the other. So with an unspoken understanding, they readied for bed and crashed. Gokudera slept in the front office area, on the cot used for examining patients.

The front window of the exam room was covered by a sheet and Gokudera ended up sleeping later than his normal schedule prompted. When he woke, he could smell coffee and bacon. Hair mussed and clothes wrinkled, he yawned as he wandered back to Shamal’s living quarters, following the tempting scents.

“You have no idea how good it is to get a break from my sister’s cooking,” he groaned with appreciation when he found Shamal at the stove.

“I’ll be sure to pass that on the next time I see her,” Shamal replied and turned to offer Gokudera a steaming cup of coffee. “Food’s almost done.”

Gokudera made himself comfortable on the edge of Shamal’s bed and was given a plate of biscuits, gravy and bacon. The doctor flopped into his nearby desk chair with his own meal. They ate in silence for about half their meal before Shamal asked curiously, “How long you gonna take off from the Rose?”

Gokudera shrugged, mouth full with half a biscuit. He didn’t answer, not wanting to ruin a perfectly good breakfast by addressing the issues that brought him to Shamal’s doorstep in the first place.

“Well, whatever. You can stay here another night unless a bleeder or a vixen shows up.” He continued eating for a minute. “You could always get out of town a while. Catch a coach to the coast.”

“I guess so,” Gokudera agreed, after swallowing the next massive bite of gravy-drenched biscuit. “Maybe. Thanks… you know. For letting me stay.” He tried to steel his expression into something tough. “I mean, not like it’s your familial duty or anything.”

Shamal shrugged a shoulder carelessly. “You’re just lucky I didn’t have a lady friend over or you’d be shelling it out for a few nights at the hotel.” He took a moment to pour from his flask into his coffee mug. “But must’ve been pretty terrible back at your place if you were willing to come visit my ass.”

“Your drama rarely involves me, so it’s preferable at times,” Gokudera explained, after sticking out his tongue at Shamal’s assessment of the situation. “You’re an asshole, sure, but you’re family. And that’s the softest I’ll get so don’t get used to it.” In truth, as rough as some of their interactions where, Gokudera still owed Shamal a whole lot for looking after him during his unpleasant childhood at his father’s New England estate. If drunk and pressed, Gokudera would even, possibly admit to considering Shamal more of a father figure than anyone else in his life had been.

An ugly, smug grin was aimed at Gokudera over the desk. “You’re becoming quite mushy, aren’t you, Hayato? What’s all this sentimental stuff they’re teaching you at the Vongola house?”

The scowl that Gokudera shot at him was deadly. Shamal always knew how to get under his skin, and questioning the sharpness of his edge always managed it. He decided not to dignify the remark with a response and chewed his last bit of bacon slowly, drifting into thought after laying down on his side, head propped in one hand.

“Do you really think I’m… making too much of a problem out of nothing?” he asked the wrinkled bedsheet.

Shamal made a thoughtful ‘hmmm’ and took a while in responding. His food finished, he kicked his socked feet up on the desk, coffee in hand, and looked up at the ceiling. Finally he said, “Nah. Yeah, if I was in a similar situation I sure wouldn’t be complaining about it. But… these are your friends. And they did something pretty fucked up. It’s okay to be upset.”

Gokudera sat back up, blinking, honestly surprised. He looked away quickly, though, in order not to let Shamal see his unguarded expression. “O-oh, yeah,” Gokudera answered, but Shamal’s words had sparked something. Yes, they were his friends, but if it was as simple as that, why would their activities, and their offer bother him so much? If they were only his friends, it wouldn’t. But it -wasn’t- as simple as that. “...thanks, old man,” he mumbled, embarrassed and reluctantly grateful.

“HOWEVER,” Shamal said suddenly and loudly, turning his gaze away from the rafters. “It is NOT a reason to turn down the chance for a hot men-aj! And think of this! You hold all the cards cause they fucked up so bad. You could get whatever you want out of them. Hell, they’re probably shopping for apology gifts already.”

Gokudera snorted dryly. There was the Shamal that he knew. The unrepentant pervert. Somehow it was more comfortable like this. “Yeah?” he prompted, smirking up at Shamal. “What kind of gifts, you think?”

“Well, fuck, I don’t know, they’re your friends. They probably know you better than I do. Maybe like flowers and chocolates and gunpowder. Since I’m sure you’ve already got plenty of sex toys.”

Gokudera snorted out a laugh, amused by Shamal’s discomfort with the way the conversation had turned. “I have… so many sex toys,” he agreed. “A whole chest full. But you know, you can never have too many--”

“All right, all right!” Shamal interrupted with a put upon groan. “That’s about as much shop talk as I can handle. Besides, given the /emotionally sensitive/” -- (He made a voice and a gesture like he was a dramatic Southern belle.) “-- nature of the situation, a sex toy would pretty much be the most tactless gift they could possibly give you.”

Again, Gokudera snorted, rolled his eyes at Shamal’s spot-on impression of a fancy Southern lady, and shrugged at the astute observation the doctor had come to. “Well, if they do give me such a ‘tactless’ gift, you can expect to see me on your doorstep again, with a dildo for the catapult, and a box of dynamite.”

Shamal gave a hearty laugh and slapped his knee. “Well now we know what to do when the equipment around the whorehouse breaks down.”

“Do you know, I’ve never actually considered what to do with the worn-out ‘tools’,” Gokudera pondered, smirking. “Perhaps I really will bring some interesting objects for the next time we do target practice.” Their mutually shared humor settled about them both in a surprisingly comfortable moment, and the quiet that followed their laughter wasn’t even awkward. Gokudera took the opportunity to refill his coffee and return to the edge of the bed.

“So, what do these guys want from you, anyway?” Shamal asked after a beat or two. “Are they looking for just a sex thing or is it a feelings thing?” With his coffee drained, Shamal produced his flask and poured a hearty serving into the mug before offering the flask to Gokudera.

Gokudera accepted and added a healthy dose to his coffee before handing the flask back. To Shamal’s question he sighed and shrugged a little as he considered his answer. “I don’t know. Both, I guess. Or… well, Tsuna talked about ‘feelings’ but his offer was to fool around with both of us, so I guess I’m not completely sure what he’s expecting. Honestly… it’s all kind of out of left field. I never really thought he’d show an interest in me. I never even thought he and that girl of his would ever break up.”

“So what you’re saying is that you freaked out and took off before you could get any of the details,” Shamal said, bemused and certainly not surprised.

Gokudera shot him an irritated look, huffing at Shamal’s smug, but nonetheless accurate assessment of what had happened. “I got enough of the details to know that they didn’t think about how I might feel at all!” he retorted defensively.

“Fair enough,” Shamal said reasonably, tipping his head. “They fucked up. Real bad. So now what? Will you be able to forgive ‘em? Gonna be real tense around that place if not.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to forgive them,” Gokudera sighed. “I just don’t know what to do next-- how do I accept their apology while maintaining my self-respect?” Gokudera scoffed immediately after his own words left his mouth. “And why am I bothering to ask you about self-respect?”

Instead of taking offense, Shamal snorted. “I’m a doctor. You’re a whore. The math speaks for itself.” He plowed on before the conversation could allow the discussion of any particulars. “You dish out some punishment and then get what you want! Give ‘em another day or so to make ‘em squirm, then go home and take control of the situation. I mean, I assume you’d jump at the chance if the circumstances had turned out different, right?”

Gokudera hesitated, but nodded. He cradled his spiked coffee, face a bit red between the alcohol and the subject of the conversation, but he listened to Shamal with thinly disguised interest. If anyone had experience with juggling a complicated social life, Shamal was definitely the one.

“So take what you want! Don’t let the fact that they fucked up the initiation destroy the chance for all three of you. Smutty opportunities like this don’t come along every day. They shouldn’t be squandered! ”

It was impossible to keep his eyes from rolling after Shamal’s ‘helpful’ advice, but the old man was, maybe, not completely wrong. What he said out loud, however, was, “I shouldn’t be surprised that a pervert like you would give me that sort of advice.” The unspoken translation: /Thank you for helping me figure this shit out./

Shamal just shrugged, unaffected by the evaluation of his priorities. “Maybe so, but it’s still good advice.” He stood then and started gathering their dishes. “So you spend another night here, let them sweat it out, stew in their guilt. Then tomorrow you go home and order up your man sandwich on your terms. And without any more drama so I don’t have to talk to you about this shit anymore.”

Once he’d cleared their breakfast, Shamal returned with the last bit of muddy coffee in his mug. He retrieved the flask from but not much poured before there was a sad drip drip from its spout. “But for today, you can help me out with some stuff around here. My supplies need organizing and there’s a spider nest in the rafters of the exam room.”

Gokudera made sure to complain about Shamal’s requests as much as possible, but he, nonetheless, carried out the menial tasks set before him, even helping with the clinic’s laundry (“Every man should know the basics of getting blood out of fabric, kid.”), and picking up supplies from the general store.

The break from the Rose was good for him, and Shamal kept him too busy to linger on his own thoughts for long. They didn’t do much more in the way of Serious Talking, but by the morning of the third day, Gokudera felt ready to go back home and face whatever necessary conversations would have to come next.

“And the groveling,” Shamal reminded him. “Try and enjoy that part. There might not soon come another time when you’re so in the right that you get to see two guys grovel for your forgiveness, so make the most of it. And if any of your apology gifts are alcohol, that would be an acceptable thank you for everything I’ve done for you.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Gokudera hefted his bag over one shoulder and headed toward the door, pausing long enough to turn back and grasp Shamal’s hand in a firm grip. “Try not to poison yourself on that swill you call booze before I see you again.”

“I’ll come by soon,” Shamal replied, squeezing tight at Gokudera’s hand. “It is nice to imbibe in something other than home brew once in awhile.” He released their handshake and then scruffed Gokudera’s silver hair as though he were seven again. “Take care of yourself, Hayato.”

Gokudera grumbled, but his red cheeks told the truth of his familial affection for the man who had more or less raised him, even if he could hardly be said to have raised him -well-. “You too, old man,” he grumped, then left the clinic before things could get any sappier.

It was time to go home.

Chapter Text

Yamamoto had not seen Gokudera for two days now. His bartending shifts were being covered by Lambo who refused to say what dirt Gokudera had on him to force him to work the bar.

Both of them were going crazy. Yamamoto desperately wanted to go knocking on Gokudera’s door but Tsuna was resistant, emphasizing that Gokudera had asked for some time to think. Still, they both fretted together that maybe what Gokudera wanted or needed was for one or both of them to interrupt his isolation. Finally Yamamoto, unable to bear it, went knocking on Gokudera’s door on the morning of the second day. There was no answer and it was locked. Gokudera didn’t seem to be home.

But where had he gone? The Thousand Flowers for a few nights, maybe? Any other option made both of them very worried but neither thought that Gokudera was the type to skip town to avoid his personal problems. Or rather, they hoped.

After Tsuna delivered the news about the early morning chat with Gokudera, a cloud of gloom and guilt hung over both Yamamoto and Tsuna. After recovering from their hangovers and struggling through a day of work, they sat in the parlor with a lantern and talked late into the night. They had a lot to talk about, including their embarrassing mistake that had left Gokudera so hurt.

They argued over “it’s my fault” vs “no it’s my fault” for a while but in the end they decided to shoulder the blame and guilt together and figure out how to make things right with Gokudera.

Tsuna ended up resting under Yamamoto’s arm for the hours they were chatting but they agreed that doing anything more would be disrespectful. Whatever ended up happening with the three of them, they needed to wait until Gokudera was able to sort out his thoughts.

On the morning of the third day, Yamamoto was shocked to find Gokudera casually laying on a chaise in the main parlor, face hidden in the week’s newspaper. Yamamoto entered the room cautiously, carefully, as though he were sneaking into a wolf’s den.

“Hey Gokudera…” he tried to sound like his friendly, unflappable self, especially in a public space but even Yamamoto’s best efforts couldn’t hide the awkward anxiety in his voice. “It’s good to see you down here.”

Gokudera didn’t answer for a long moment, didn’t bother to remove the paper from his face. Then, “That fucking barn cat came in through my window again and it won’t leave.”

Yamamoto’s face lit up with delighted surprised. “He came back? That’s wonderful! Is he sleeping on your bed again? Did you name him yet? Oh, please take me up to meet him!”

“I sent Ryouhei up to get him out and clean the room,” Gokudera scoffed, not looking up from the paper. “Two days worth of dust and cat hair on every surface doesn’t make for good client relations.”

“O-oh,” Yamamoto responded, his cheer falling back into the dumps. He stood nearby, perhaps more visibly nervous than Gokudera had ever seen him, even after their time together during the war. “So you did take a trip, huh?”

“Mm,” Gokudera answered, “Not really. I was just helping out at the clinic for a couple of days.”

“Oh…” A long, awkward pause. “When you um…” Yamamoto rubbed at the back of his neck, shifting from one foot to the other. “When you feel like it… could we talk?”

Gokudera’s newspaper lowered just enough for him to glance over it, and find Yamamoto’s dejected-looking face. He sighed a little, set down the paper, and opened his mouth to reply when suddenly, a massive BANG shook the whole house, in tandem with a blood curdling scream.

From upstairs, some more screaming followed, and some more bangs, and then a door snapped open and slammed shut again. Panting, Ryouhei came hurtling down the staircase and stopped in front of them. He was peppered with oozing slashes on his face and arms and hands, and had tufts of pale fur stuck to his clothes.

“That cat has an EXTREMELY BAD ATTITUDE!” Ryouhei proclaimed loudly. He performed many odd jobs around the property and acted as a bouncer on busy nights, quite proud of his ability to round up unruly drunks and kick them into the streets. Still, Gokudera’s barn cat friend was apparently outside of his skillset. Ryouhei shouted, “Sorry Gokudera, buddy, you’re on your own with this one!!” as he ran out of the building before Gokudera could demand he give it another try.

Gokudera sighed loudly, and stood to approach the staircase. At the foot of the steps he turned around to catch Yamamoto’s attention. “Well? Are you coming? You said you wanted to meet the little monster.”

“Yeah!” Even with the awkwardness, Yamamoto couldn’t help but smile as he followed Gokudera upstairs.

They found Gokudera’s room in a state of disrepair. The big noise had been a chest of drawers falling over, spilling Gokudera’s clothes onto the floor. Other furniture was knocked over or askew, as though there’d been a wild brawl between humans there. The cat was sitting directly in the middle of Gokudera’s bed and its eyes narrowed as they entered the room.

“Awww, look at him! He’s so cute!” Yamamoto crooned, immediately infatuated in spite of the lashing tail and low, unfriendly sound that emitted from the cat’s throat. He crossed the room to right a chair that had been thrown to the floor. “Does he let you pet him?”

“Sometimes,” Gokudera shrugged, ignoring the cat for the moment to stand over his upturned dresser and sigh. “What a pain in the ass. Come here and help me get this back up.” He gestured at Yamamoto, who was already halfway toward the bed, apparently intent on petting the cat, despite the obvious warning signs. “Don’t, idiot,” he scolded. “Ryouhei can afford the scrapes, but no one's gonna hire you if your face is all scratched up.”

Yamamoto pouted dramatically but joined Gokudera to help with the dresser. When it was righted and the furniture straightened out, they looked back to the cat which had curled itself into a comfortable ball with clear intent of sleeping on this bed. At the very end of the bed, Yamamoto sat down and let the animal watch him. The cat was blond and brindle and had red eyes that followed Yamamoto suspiciously.

“Did you name him yet?” Yamamoto asked again.

Gokudera hesitated, as though weighing whether to answer Yamamoto or to tell him to leave, but after a beat he sighed and sat on the other side of the bed, holding out a hand for the cat to sniff. “Uri.”

Initially Uri made an irritable sound and reached to bat at Gokudera, without unleashing claws. But then, nonchalantly, he sniffed Gokudera’s hand and shoved his furry head against it. Gokudera scratched under his chin when the tilt of head demanded it. Uri seemed both put upon and smug about the attention but relaxed into the comforter.

“So… cute…” Yamamoto whispered, stars in his eyes as he witnessed Gokudera interact with the animal. He laid down on his side and watched Uri grow more comfortable, eyes happily lidded. “Look how much he likes you!”

“It makes no sense,” Gokudera shook his head. “I’ve never done anything but shout at him and try to get rid of him. The rest of the time I ignore him. But he keeps coming back even though there are clearly no mice to hunt in my rooms.” Despite his complaints, Gokudera still continued to idly pet Uri, staring out the still-open window where the cat had come in.

“He just knows good company even if it shouts at him. He’s got that animal sixth sense,” Yamamoto said with cheer. “You know Gokudera’s a great guy, don’t you? Will you let me say hey?” he asked of the cat and tentatively offered his own hand beside Gokudera’s. Uri gave him a good sniffing but deigned to allow Yamamoto to pet him. “Aw, how nice…” He smiled and scratched behind Uri’s tufted ears. When Yamamoto left off petting, Uri aggressively butted at Gokudera’s hand for the attention to continue.

Gokudera gave a surprised snort. “I guess he’s okay with you, seeing as you still have all your fingers.” He sighed a little but went back to petting the finicky cat, even cracking a tiny smile when the thing started purring at him.

Though he avoided Yamamoto’s gaze, Gokudera could feel the other man watching him, watching his face with a longing that was so obvious that it almost made Gokudera want to roll his eyes. “Gokudera…” he said quietly, at length. “Are you okay?”

For a breath, Gokudera said nothing, just focused on the slide of Uri’s fur through his fingers. “Well, I’m back. And I’m talking to you, aren’t I?”

“Yeah,” Yamamoto said on a tiny little, self-deprecating chuckle. “Thank you for that.” He turned his gaze to Gokudera’s petting fingers and the cat which had closed his eyes and was kneading at the bedspread. “I’m… I’m so sorry, Gokudera. I’m a Grade A asshole. I got carried away and I screwed up… You’ve got every right to give me a beating if you want to.”

“I don’t want to beat you up.” Gokudera huffed. “Not now. Shamal already let me trash a bunch of his old junk. Blowing shit up is better than punching faces anyhow. And stop being so apologetic. It makes it difficult to be mad at you. Because you’re right. You did screw up.” He sighed again, staring down at the cat and avoiding Yamamoto’s piteous gaze.

Yamamoto just nodded, mouth tugged in a humiliated quirk.

“I don’t know if you’re… together now, or what. I don’t know what happened and I don’t really want to. But I hope you get that the right time to make an offer like you did is -before- things get...complicated. Not after you fool around and then feel guilty for not telling me. I know, I know, you don’t owe me anything. It’s not like we’re ‘together’. You’re just my only friend here, or whatever.” Gokudera huffed and turned away abruptly, clearly having gotten more carried away than he had expected.

“It’s not like that--” Yamamoto hurried to protest. “It’s not about owing anything -- I just thought -- I thought you’d be really happy about it! Not about what we did but-- about Tsuna being interested in both of us… I figured you’d be you know… excited! I know that doesn’t excuse what we did. I shouldn’t have taken it for granted that you’d be interested. And I shouldn't have been with Tsuna before you had the chance.” The man who normally wore an endlessly easy smile now instead frowned deeply and had to stop for a sigh. He didn’t look much like himself at all. “I wish I could turn back the clock and do it right so maybe it’d make you happy… I don’t really know what ‘together’ boils down to but… All I ever want to do is make you happy.”

“Do you know what Shamal told me, when I went to his place to sort things out?” Gokudera asked, staring down at Uri, scratching idly under his chin.

“What’s that?” Yamamoto asked cautiously.

“He said, ‘Shit, kid, if I had two hot fillies who wanted me to be their third in a biblical getting-to-know-you, I’d be the happiest man alive’,” Gokudera answered. A snort of weak laughter followed the quote. “I suppose he wanted me to acknowledge that I’m lucky in some way that fits that fantasy of his. But what I realized is that he’d never had someone like Tsuna, who makes him wonder when he crossed the line between loyalty and love. His fantasy of a threesome doesn’t include the man who he’s already sleeping with, who he thought of, in his weaker moments, as the closest thing to a best friend he’d ever had. Do you get what I’m saying?”

Yamamoto blinked slowly, absorbing this information. “I… yeah, I think so,” he said quietly. “I didn’t… I didn’t think you thought that about me. I mean… I don’t mind it but I thought mostly you just tolerate me. Hah... I guess...” He gave a rueful little smile. “I guess I should be happy that you’re so upset… cause I think this means we’re more serious than I thought.”

“What I’m saying, is that the Boss-- Tsuna, and… and you, are not just ‘two hot fillies’. And I don’t want to be anyone’s fling, or fun night, even yours. Either of you. If you care about me, if you’re ‘serious’,” he continued, using Yamamoto’s word, “Then you won’t ever lie to me or keep secrets like this again. Next time it happens, I won’t come back at all. I deserve better.” Gokudera leaned over the cat, and poked Yamamoto hard in the middle of his chest. “But….” His fist opened, and his palm pressed flat, feeling Yamamoto’s rapid pulse. “But I want to give this a chance.” Finally, finally, he looked up at Yamamoto.

Yamamoto stared at him with wide eyes, his heart hammering against Gokudera’s hand. Then he nodded slowly. “I promise I’ll be a hundred percent honest.” Tentatively, he lifted his own hand to place it lightly over Gokudera’s. “I… I know Tsuna will be too. I’m happy you want to try this but I want you to be completely comfortable with it.

“I can’t promise that,” Gokudera answered back, not shaking off Yamamoto’s touch. “It’s gonna be weird for a while, probably. But it doesn’t mean I don’t want to try.”

“Okay.” Yamamoto gave a tiny little chuckle. “I trust you to be honest with us about how you’re feeling, na? I know you can take care of yourself.” Gingerly, he lifted Gokudera’s hand from his chest to bring it to his lips. He kissed the heel of Gokudera’s palm, breathed the perma smell of tobacco and gunpowder that was always reliably there. He smiled behind Gokudera’s hand, watching the bomber’s face with an uncomfortable amount of emotion. The relief and fondness, adoration really, that he looked at Gokudera with was nothing short of irritating.

Gokudera looked away then, scowling, ears red, but it was the sort of mild annoyance that Yamamoto recognized and was almost sweetly familiar. It was a hint of the normal Gokudera and it eased the knots in Yamamoto’s throat just a little. “Of course I can take care of myself, idiot,” he scoffed, pressing his palm into Yamamoto’s face, presumably to avoid having to look at him too much.

“I’m so glad you’re home. We were so worried.” He kissed again at Gokudera’s wrist, then released his hand to instead lean in and press a kiss to the other man’s mouth. He sighed into it with apology and relief and overflowing emotions. And Gokudera seemed to allow it, even maybe leaned into it a little. But after just a second, a low, warning growl from between them made Yamamoto jerk back. Uri glared at him with an angry noise, tail flicking with the agitation of Yamamoto invading his space. He really was a lot like Gokudera. “Okay, okay, sorry! I get it, this is your spot.”

Gokudera smirked down at the little cat when he straightened up again, the distance between him and Yamamoto an arm’s length once more. “You can tell Tsuna I’ll be back at work tomorrow,” he spoke, watching Uri settle back down to purring again, now that Yamamoto wasn’t taking up his space. “A-and, you can tell him…” He gestured vaguely at the space between them. “You can tell him what we talked about here.”

“Okay. You should talk to him too, though, Hayato,” Yamamoto said gently. “When you’re ready. He’s really fretting about you and… what happened.”

“I-- I know. And I will,” Gokudera said, nodding. “But… you can talk to him first.” He wasn’t quite asking.

Yamamoto nodded too, giving Gokudera an understanding little smile. “Okay, I will.”

Unexpectedly, Yamamoto stood and rounded the bed to sit down again behind Gokudera. Before he could get scolded, his arms were wrapping around the other man, Yamamoto pulling him tight against his front and burying his face in Gokudera’s hair.

Then with a tug, Yamamoto coaxed him to sink to the bedspread until he could clamp onto Gokudera the same way, with them laying down. It left Yamamoto spooned against his back, breath in his hair, while Uri stayed curled in a ball near Gokudera’s chest. With Uri in the middle of the bed, it left a small sliver of space for the two men to share. The cat watched them move suspiciously but mostly seemed to wonder why the petting had stopped again.

“Do you have to go anywhere right away?” Yamamoto asked quietly and on most days there would be a purr of temptation in his tone. Most days that went like this, he would be urging Gokudera into making out for a while before lunch, giggling as he slid a hand under the bomber’s shirt. Right now, though, he just held tight to Gokudera, and added, “I just want to be like this for a while.”

“I… I don’t have any appointments until tomorrow,” Gokudera said into the pillow, staring ahead at the far wall. He seemed a little tense under Yamamoto’s touch, but he didn’t push him away, and, after a moment, his hand came to rest on Yamamoto’s, patting once, then, tentatively threading their fingers together. “You can stay, if you want.”

“Thank you.” With loafers kicked off, Yamamoto tangled their legs together, thoroughly drowning Gokudera in his affection. He wasn’t playful or giddy or flirty. His hands didn’t rove, his mouth didn’t seek his skin. He just lay there and held Gokudera tight against him and breathed against his neck. “This is my favorite place to be,” Yamamoto said softly into his ear.

“Be quiet and let me nap,” Gokudera answered, but his voice held no hard edges, and he left his hand tangled with Yamamoto’s. “I’ll try not to kick you off the bed in my sleep,” he added, downright affectionately.

Yamamoto gave a quiet laugh that he huffed into Gokudera’s hair. “That’s very generous of you.”

Chapter Text

Two weeks after Hibari cut ties with him, the home office shipped Dino to another town, forty miles south of Wavewood. The local authorities there needed assistance with a newly emerged gang of cattle rustlers who'd been making particular trouble. The whole thing had been a frankly welcome distraction for the marshal, and Dino relished the chance to throw himself into work. In contrast to Wavewood’s law enforcement, the local sheriff and deputies were respectful of his position and grateful to have his help.

Romario and some of his men joined him there and their company was a relief. They was there for nearly a month, before the final showdown that left half the gang's members facedown in the dirt. The rest of the criminals needed transportation to the state prison, a duty which, as marshal, fell to him and which Dino undertook cheerfully and successfully.

By the time the dust had settled and he was ordered back to Wavewood, he'd managed to cultivate a decent mood, putting his last encounter with Hibari to the back of his mind.

Still, upon his return he procrastinated the task of going to greet the rest of his friends at the Rose. That is, until Xanxus asked (well, demanded) he transport a package meant for Tsuna. Dino didn't ask what it was, nor was he sure he wanted to know. And though he wasn't technically under Xanxus' authority, he felt it best to stay as far on the violent man's good side as possible. So he sighed and even rolled his eyes a little, but ultimately there he was, with sundown approaching, on the front steps of the Rose. For a long time he stood there, frowning hard at the door before an exiting patron made it too awkward to continue lingering, unmoving, on the porch.

When he entered, Dino went straight to the bar where he greeted Bianchi and asked first for a whiskey, second for the whereabouts of the owner. He didn't look up at Hibari's balcony. He didn't even want to think about anything but soothing his nerves with a drink.

"Dino?!" He was forced to glance at the top of the stairs when Tsuna cried out for him. The balcony was empty in the corner of his peripheral vision. But Tsuna beamed at his from the top of the stairs and dashed down to meet him at the bar.

"I got your letter but I didn’t realize you had already come back!" the establishment's owner said with an excited and affectionate grin. "How are you? Do you need something to eat?"

Dino smiled despite himself, always glad to see the young proprietor. He reached out and took Tsuna's arm with a friendly squeeze. "No, no, I've eaten. I'm actually just here to deliver this to you.” He patted the package, and slid it down the bar to Tsuna. "I don't know what it is, but it's from the sheriff, so I'd open it carefully."

"A-ah..." Tsuna stared at the package with an intense sense of dread. He preferred to not even touch it yet. "Yes, I'll be sure to look at that later... or maybe I'll ask Gokudera..." Tsuna pulled himself up onto the bar stool beside Dino, leaning close. "You look well. So tan!"

Dino chuckled lightly, took a swig of his drink. "Travel will do that. And you? How've you been?"

There was a long pause where Tsuna chewed at his lip with low-key distress and then he said, "Well -- things have been -- interesting? I’ve been… going through some stuff. It’d be nice to talk privately sometime. But-- um-- Business has been good... and everything's as hectic and noisy as ever. Especially with um... certain people spending a lot more time here over the last few months."

Come to think of it, wasn't that a new sofa? In general, the place seemed more polished. The carpet on the staircase had been replaced as had several of the tables.

The few patrons downstairs paused when a loud shriek was heard from above. Lambo came stumbling down the hall, looking pale and upset as he descended the stairs. “Marshal Dino!” the young man whined, falling against the saloon doorway dramatically. “That scary guy upstairs told me I have to send you up or he’ll give me a beating.”

Dino hesitated, gaze flicking from Lambo to Tsuna and back. "I... don't want to make trouble," he spoke carefully. "It seems prudent to avoid stepping on the toes of... certain important patrons..."

"Don't worry," Tsuna said with a surprising, calm confidence as he placed a hand on Dino's wrist. "That guy can do as he pleases. It's fine. You should."

Dino frowned, but he lifted his free hand and closed it over Tsuna's, giving him a little squeeze. "It's your house, so I'll trust your discretion." A beat. He knew he was having trouble erasing the grimace from his face, and he hesitated to get down from his stool.

Tsuna laughed. "I'll walk with you." He tugged at Dino's arm and pulled him from his seat with a pleasant, innocent smile. He led Dino toward the stairs, disallowing him from procrastinating at the bar.

"Things have been very lively here," Tsuna said as he ascended the stairs with Dino. "But it's been good for him, I think. Just don't be too surprised by what's on the other side of the door." At the foyer, Tsuna gave him a playful shove toward the door at the end of the hall. "Go on!"

He pulled a face at the younger man, but sighed and faced Hibari's door when Tsuna just laughed and waved him on before turning to return to the main floor.

Dino didn't know what Hibari wanted him for and he was on the verge of angry just thinking about all the things that Hibari MIGHT say to him. But he took a breath and tried to shed any and all expectation before the gave a light rap at the door.

Even erasing all of his expectations didn't prepare him for the surprise of Hibari greeting him with a relaxed and almost /pleasant/ expression. He was as perfect as Dino recalled often, dressed in a grey yukata with a tasteful pattern and a crimson waistband.

"Marshal," he said in a quiet voice. He opened the door and invited Dino in. "Shoes there, please."

When Tsuna had warned him, Dino realized it hadn't referred to Hibari himself. Instead, he had to be referring to the room that had been completely and utterly transformed. Hibari's furniture had always been an obvious reminder of his homeland. But now, stepping into the room was like stepping across the Pacific. Tatami mats covered the floor, the walls had all been remodeled and even the windows had been redone in a Japanese style of rice paper and bold slats, in spite of the western American streets that lay beyond. Instead of a bed, his room now boasted as its centerpiece a luxurious looking futon that gleamed silkenly. Before it, like some sort of altar, a table low to the floor plainly displayed a familiar black sake set, the carafe steaming with fresh heat. Dino thought that detail was a little cruel.

"Would you join me for a drink?"

Dino swallowed back a wave of -- yes, he'd admit it -- _jealousy_ as the image of Mukuro sprawled out on that bed leaped unbidden, unwelcome into his mind. But he shook it off, licked his dry lips and nodded once. He followed Hibari's gesture to sink, cross-legged, onto a cushion beside the low table.

Elegantly, Hibari sank to the floor across from him, seeming strangely calm, collected and unflappable. Of course he shouldn't be nervous, he's the one who always held the cards, wasn’t he?

Silently, he poured steaming, tiny drinks for each of them and pushed one across the table. "It's been a while," he remarked as he picked up his own sake cup to sip delicately. "Have you effectively saved the American dream and freedom, then?"

Dino lifted the cup, sipped once and then knocked the rest of the serving back before setting it down on the table again. "I helped some cattle ranchers protect their herd. I killed four men and took three more upstate to Vendicare Prison."

"Ah," Hibari hummed and picked up the carafe to pour another drink for him. "How dashing." For a moment, Dino saw a tiny flicker of uncertainty. But it was just a split second, his composure hardly allowing for such things. "How long will you be here this time?"

"Given the centrality of Wavewood, my superiors want me to remain here for now, so I have reasonable access to any surrounding towns that might need assistance. I'm to establish a sort of home-base here. The state is going to pay for an expansion to the sheriff's office so I have somewhere to work from."

"I see." Hibari refilled his own cup -- and Dino's for a third time. A moment of silence passed, tense and unpleasant. "Perhaps you can keep those two in line. They've been particularly difficult and surly while you've been away." A sip. "How do you care for my renovations?"

Dino took a moment this time to finish the sake in his cup, to let his gaze take in all corners of the room. Thankfully the warm burn of the alcohol was numbing some of his nerves, and he drew in a deep, centering breath as his eyes lingered on the futon. "You've done well for yourself."

"Hmm," Hibari hummed again. "Part of the agreement was that he would rent a second room in the house for such things. Sawada's office was converted into a new visiting room. The privacy it's afforded has been exquisite, not entertaining in my own quarters."

Dino nodded vaguely, parsing this information with an embarrassing amount of relief. Not that it was his place to feel it-- after all, he had no claim on anything belonging to Hibari. Still, he couldn't help but be glad that he was sitting in a room that Mukuro hadn't been given permission to enter. He caught himself quirking the smallest of grins as he thought about poor Tsuna-- displaced by Hibari's demands in exchange for the no-doubt large inflow of cash from Mukuro's pockets. The kid had a remarkable talent to simultaneously achieve the worst and best luck.

"I'm sure you think I'm quite abused," Hibari said loftily after a moment of Dino's silence. "But I have all the freedom I demand. Perhaps not with whose coin I take but aside from that, he holds no power over me." His tone was a little defensive. Only a little.

"I'm glad to hear that," Dino answered, carefully, but sincerely. "You're looking well."

"As are you. Though not nearly as filthy as I expected."

Dino laughed at this. "Are you pleased or disappointed?" he wondered, the words slipping out before he could stop himself. It had always been easy to flirt with Hibari, and hard to stay aloof, as much as he tried to hold onto the resentment born two months prior.

"Che, as though I'd let you in my rooms if you were dusty," Hibari replied, though his airiness didn't seem cruel. Instead he was sly, a tiny smirk at the corner of his mouth. The superior sense of almost playful control he'd once held over Dino was uncomfortably familiar. "Other than Sawada, you're the first person I've let in."

"Well, then I'm honored, I guess!" Dino fingered the edge of his half-empty cup, debating whether to finish it or call it quits and keep his wits. "It really is a lovely room."

"Thank you," Hibari said, though he was clearly distracted. He downed his own third. "An... additional aspect of the agreement with Mukuro is that... I am free to spend my time with who I wish, so long as I'm not accepting payment for services. Since he only visits once or twice a week."

Dino blinked, tried and failed to catch Hibari's eyes. He took in a breath and let it out with a self-conscious cough. "Well. I'm glad to hear that he isn't trying to control every aspect of your life." It may have come out sounding harsher than he'd meant, but dammit, it wasn't exactly a secret how Dino felt about Mukuro.

This did earn Hibari's gaze, suddenly irritated, bristling. "I've told you that I'm in control of the situation," he said shortly. "And you're missing the point, you stupid cowboy."

Dino sighed and decided to finish the sake in his cup after all. "Yes yes, I know. You can take care of yourself. I'm sorry that my worry is personally insulting-- I never intended to imply that you couldn't look after yourself. I'm glad to know that you're not unhappy with the situation, and I'm delighted to see that you've managed to divest that asshole of so much of his money."

Hibari glared at him so hard that for a moment, Dino thought he might toss the steaming cup of sake into his face. "My point," he growled and he was no longer uncertain or aloof. Instead, there was a deadly edge in his voice. As though it was taking every ounce of patience not to break every bone in the marshal's body. "My point is that I am free to open my bedroom to anyone that I please and you are the first person I've allowed inside. But perhaps I've made a mistake." The next cup he poured for himself was relatively sloppy in his disgust, almost sloshing over the side of the fine ceramic.

Dino hesitated, lips parted for a long moment before he took a breath, cleared his throat. "Look... Kyouya." The name felt almost strange on his tongue, so long had it been since he'd spoken it aloud. "I think it's important to be honest here. I'm not... my visits to you-- they stopped being about the sex pretty quickly. I paid you for sex because... because it was the only way I could spend time with you. I enjoyed sleeping with you, don't misunderstand. But I wanted... I wanted most just to BE with you." He paused, licked his lips, started again. "I want you, Kyouya. As much as ever. More. But sex... it's just not enough anymore. I'm sorry." He pushed back, climbing to his feet, face red with humiliation.

"I didn't offer you sex," Hibari snapped unpleasantly. He rose to his feet as well, frame stiff with agitation. "You think I couldn't have instantly pried that from you if that's what I was inviting you in for? As though you'd be able to resist me for even a moment."

"What ARE you offering me, Kyouya?" Dino sighed, no energy to rise to Hibari's bait. He felt drained, frustrated and a little heartsick. His body was angled toward the door, but he wasn't moving yet. "I know it goes against your every instinct, that you're a guy who plays it close to the vest and I swear I respect that 99% of the time, but please. This time. Please, just tell me."

The deceptively slight frame before him trembled with anger, the request clearly warring with everything that composed Hibari’s very being. For long moments he was silent, face flushed and staring spitefully into Dino's chest. But then just as Dino gave up, started to take his first step, Hibari's hand snatched out to catch him by the wrist. He moved closer, holding on to Dino's sleeve with one hand but he wouldn't look into the marshal's face. Still staring at the gleaming buttons of his uniform, he said quietly, frowning, "I missed you."

Dino's breath caught painfully in his chest, and he tried to swallow around the lump that rose in his throat. He stopped moving toward the door, but he didn't turn back to Hibari either. "I missed you too, Kyouya."

"I don't /need/ any more sex," Hibari said after another long, tense moment where he held Dino's sleeve. Maybe warring with himself, bringing himself to let one brick of prideful wall crumble at a time. "But there are times when... company is not entirely unpleasant. And you're one of the few whose company does not instantly make me want to bite someone to death."

Despite himself, Dino allowed a small huff of laughter slip past his lips. "I like you too, Kyouya." He turned then, just a little, just enough to look at Hibari again, to take in his hunched shoulders, the top of his head, the white knuckles where he still gripped Dino's sleeve.

It didn't inspire any real response for a moment, though he could see the displeased sneer that curled Hibari's mouth. Finally, wordlessly, he moved, putting himself between Dino and the door. He was still angry, cheeks flushed sourly when his dove soft hands lightly took the front panel of Dino’s uniform. He held there and rolled onto the balls of his socked feet, neck stretching slightly to be able to press a kiss -- an unsure, almost nervous kiss -- to Dino's mouth.

For a moment, Dino was still, unmoving. But then his hands lifted, cupping Hibari's face, holding him there to return the kiss, gentle and easy-- no desperation or urgency in the gesture. When he pulled back, his hands stayed, and Dino sought Hibari's eyes with intent. "Maybe you don't want to hear it," he breathed, leaned in again to ghost a kiss over Hibari's mouth. "But I care about you. And you're just going to have to deal with that knowledge."

Hibari stared into his face, meeting his gaze in a manner he hadn't until just now. Sincerely. Even so, he didn't smile or smirk. Just looked, his face resting in Dino's palms without resistance. He murmured, "Very well."

"Thank you," Dino breathed, letting his eyes close for a moment, brow coming to rest against Hibari's. They stayed that way for a long beat, before, with a little hitch of breath, Dino shifted, his arms moving to encircle Hibari instead, drawing him up close in an embrace that was just a bit too tight to be comfortable.

With his chin on Dino's shoulder, Hibari stared at the wall behind him. The hug wrinkled his yukata and made his ribs ache just the faintest. With Dino's grip, of course. With the scent of his hair and skin filling Hibari's senses, slowly he turned to press his face into Dino's neck. His hands slid into place at Dino's back, taking light fistfuls of rough but clean ranger fabric.

At the sensations of his gesture being returned, that lump in Dino's throat grew, and he smiled, wide enough to hurt his cheeks, riding a ridiculous surge of emotion that he'd disallowed himself to feel in the last two months. He didn't want to interrupt the moment, so he didn't speak, but he gave Hibari a squeeze, kissed his ear and let one hand slide up Hibari's spine to delve into the inky black of his hair.

A light hand on Dino's cheek turned him back to Hibari's face. Again his mouth found Dino's, demanding a kiss that he could sink into. The grip on his back let him gain some leverage in spite of the height difference. Let him push into the it a little more, searching for the kisses that had been from the first, a strange delicacy that Hibari seemed once again drawn back to.

Dino sank more fully into the kiss, caution still evident in his movements, but some of that melting away in the face of Hibari's surprisingly gentle demand. He let his lips part, let Hibari in with a warm swipe of tongue, and sighed pleasantly into the touch. When finally Hibari leaned back, Dino lifted a hand and brushed back the hair from his cheek, thumb lingering on the smooth skin, eyes searching his face.

"When my place is finished being built, will you visit me there sometimes?" he found himself asking.

"If you furnish it properly," Hibari replied. And there was that spark of teasing, the smug, quiet confidence that had twisted Dino to submission. "And if there's a lock on the door to keep those sociopathic lawmen out."

"There will be three locks," Dino chuckled. "At least. Can't be too careful." A beat, and he kissed Hibari again, reveling in the feel of it, not even minding the flush that painted his features pink when he thought about how very much he liked this. "And will you wear a suit again?"

"Mm. Fine," Hibari hummed back. Slowly, his arms dared to come up, to curl lightly around Dino's neck. "You may be required to take me somewhere else though. For a meal or something similar."

"I'll take you anywhere you like," Dino agreed, turning his head briefly to kiss at Hibari's wrist. Then, "Is it within the rules for you to let me buy you dinner once in awhile?"

Hibari shrugged. "If I say it is, then it is."

"Of course, your income far surpasses mine at the moment," Dino pointed out with a grin, giving Hibari's neck a little rub. "So maybe you should take _me_ out to dinner instead."

"Don't get ahead of yourself, marshal," Hibari replied with a little snicker. "My contribution is a place to lie that doesn't have criminals on the other side of the door. It might be a welcome change as a place to sleep occasionally. From the rickety cot in the sheriff's office."

"Don't be surprised if I take you up on that." Dino smiled. "It's gonna be at least a couple months before construction is finished."

Hibari slid away from him but stayed close, catching Dino's sleeve again. "Perhaps you'd like to give it a try now?" he suggested.

Dino knew he should say no. It was too soon, this thing between them was too raw. They'd hardly talked at all, really. There was so much more to be said. And falling into bed with Hibari now... it didn't seem smart. But. But his chest ached at the words. He wanted to get closer, wanted to make this tenuous connection they'd forged more solid. Wanted to remember what it really felt like to touch Hibari. And so he took a breath, licked his lips, nodded yes.

Without another word, Hibari's arms were again around his neck. And the kiss he found then was hungry and firm and he squeezed at Dino's neck, pressing them tighter to one another. His teeth scraped, eyes closed, his mouth tasting like sake and herbal smoke. A low groan escaped Dino's throat and arousal shot through him. He gripped at Hibari's hips and began guiding him backwards to the futon, thrilling at each scrape of teeth and tug at his hair, at the promises these gestures made.

Hibari moved with him easily, gracefully until he was falling atop the expensive, plush indigo of his new bed. "It's far better than some unpleasant, squeaky mattress," he told Dino, sprawled elegantly below him. His cheeks and lips were flushed, letting Dino recognize him from nights they'd spent together where Dino almost forgot that he was paying for the man's company. And now he wasn't and that gaze was still aimed at him, tempting him to join Hibari on the lush comforter.

"Much better," Dino echoed, as he climbed over Hibari's body, loosening the tie around his waist, tugging the garment open to lay him bare and taking a long moment to just look.

And here there was a shift, Hibari's usual greed for attention and worship faltering as Dino's eyes looked over him. A tug at the marshal's trousers urged him lower, to his knees over Hibari's thighs. His eyes focused on his hands as he began unbuttoning Dino's uniform with deft fingers. Soon he was shrugging off the shirt, bare skin prickling with the heat of Hibari's fingertips as they grazed his shoulders. He dropped the garment onto the floor, then helped Hibari free himself from his own sleeves.

None of it was rushed, no hurry or desperation in their movement. Dino caught at Hibari's hand once to press a kiss into his palm, breathing the scent of his skin. Hibari watched him with his hooded eyes, taking in the sight of the officer in a way different than Dino had seen before. Raking over his body, indulging in a moment for himself to drink in the sun browned skin and firm muscle.

A hand smoothed over the raised texture of Dino's tattooed arm. "Have I ever mentioned how unseemly this is?" he murmured, indicating the etched ink with the barest smirk. "You should get rid of it."

Dino chuckled. "You mean you don't like the rough, yakuza type?" He laid a hand over Hibari's, threading their fingers and pulling his touch away from the tattoo to kiss his knuckles instead. "It's to honor my family," he explained.

"Hmmm..." Hibari sank to the side and into the embrace of a pillow. His fingers lingered at the cut of Dino's jaw, tracing the rough stubble that needed to be attended to. He didn't complain though, letting his fingers wander down Dino's throat. Aimless, unhurried, almost without purpose. "I suppose I can accept it, if that's the case. In the name of cultural relations."

Dino smiled. "That's so understanding of you, Kyouya. You know..." he began, leaning into Hibari's touch, letting a knee slide between Hibari's thighs. "I think you'd look amazing with a tattoo."

A sharp pinch to the inside of Dino's thigh startled him. "Oi, marshal," he warned. "Just because I've invited you into my bed doesn't mean you can be that familiar yet. You haven't even taken me out for a meal."

"When are you free next?" Dino wanted to know, reaching down to knead at Hibari's thigh. "I want to take you to dinner. Tomorrow? The next day?"

"Mm..." Hibari groaned faintly, appreciatively. His hand grazed along Dino's side idly. "The next day. And yes, I'll even wear a suit."

"Mmm, wonderful," Dino grinned, pressing a kiss to Hibari's sternum, thumb grazing the inside of Hibari's thigh as he massaged the muscle there. "You look so good in a suit. So authoritative."

With a lazy sigh, Hibari sank deeper into the soft of the futon and blankets. His idle fingers played with the silly, flipping tips of Dino's blond hair. "I knew from the moment I met you, you just wanted to be dominated," he teased.

Dino laughed, not taking this assessment personally, though he knew Hibari was trying to get a rise out of him. "Sometimes a law man needs a break from being the one in charge all the time," he agreed, fingertips already worshipping Hibari's bare skin, tracing his jaw, the curve of an ear, the hook of his lower lip.

It earned him a pleased hum, Hibari more receptive to his touch than he even recalled. His pale hands slid over Dino's chest and shoulders. He liked to think that the faint sigh from Hibari's lips was his pleasure at the feel of the bare skin that had become familiar to him. Letting his cheek rest in the curve of Dino's palm, his lashes lowered until a thumb touched his lips and he met Dino's eyes as he let his mouth brush it, let his tongue dip out just once for a soft lick.

Dino shivered happily, pressed his thumb just the slightest bit forward, slowly, waiting for Hibari to let him in. His thumb tip slid across Hibari's tongue, and the sensation shot straight to his groin. When he drew back, a strand of saliva followed his thumb, and made him swallow hard. "Turn over," he said, not a demand, but the request came out a bit throaty.

Hibari raised a brow but he deigned to do so, sliding out of his yukata to turn over so that he could lie on the silky garment. His fingers played idly over the fine embroidery that etched even the impossibly soft inner lining. With a stretch and a sigh, he sank against the futon and looked over his shoulder expectantly.

Dino smirked a little when their eyes met, though the expression faltered a little as he settled over Hibari's hips and began to get a closer look at his bare skin. He found bruises here and there: dark purple fingerprints in his pale flesh. He frowned more deeply when he saw the pink welts crisscrossed over Hibari's backside, and the fading bite mark on one shoulder blade made him scowl openly.

"Stay still," he instructed, only a little gruffly, and reached for Hibari's shoulders, willing the touch to be gentle instead of claiming. He began to knead at the muscle there, searching for the knots he knew he'd find.

The pale frame tensed, Hibari blinking into his pillows for a few confused moments. Dino could sense the 'what are you doing' on his lips but managed to curtail it with a tender squeeze. Slowly, he began to melt under Dino's hands. "Mmnn... is this my reward for offering my bed?" Hibari wondered. Almost innocently, genuinely uncertain.

Dino leaned close to kiss Hibari between the shoulder blades, lips brushing over a bruise. "Let's just say I'm reminding you that I'm here for more than just sex." Thumbs worked their way down the sides of Hibari's spine, gentling over the places where Mukuro had marked him.

The rumble in Hibari's throat was of curious interest, followed by a deep sigh. Even so, there were layers of tension to be worked through, making it clear that it was an unfamiliar form of attention. But Dino's touch was determined enough to find his way through it until Hibari shivered happily under his fingers.

They settled into a comfortable sort of quiet after a bit, Dino coaxing low sounds from Hibari's throat as he worked through each knot, from neck to fingertips, down to the dip in the small of his back, as though he could will away any lingering aches from Hibari's time with Mukuro.

He had to effectively be doing so, judging from the low, soft but consistent sounds that Hibari allowed to slip past his lips. His hips shifted appreciatively as Dino's thumbs worked over every muscle, pulling a pleased moan from him. It had been quite some time between teases or smug quips, a tribute to Dino's ability to utterly undo him.

As he worked, a warmth spread through Dino's own chest, like he could hardly believe he was here, in Hibari's room, welcomed, invited, _wanted_. And there was Hibari, pliant, even maybe a little bit happy, under his hands, eyes closed, cheek pressed into a pillow, fingers curled loosely in the sheets and he just looked so beautiful, so perfect, that Dino's throat closed up a little.

Even further Hibari's frame relaxed... and further... until there was no question that he'd fallen asleep under Dino's kneading touch.

When he was sure that Hibari was asleep enough that his movement wouldn't wake the younger man, Dino eased off of him, onto his side. He hesitated only a moment before letting an arm drape over Hibari's back, his lips press against the ball of his shoulder. "Goodnight, Kyouya. I'll see you in the morning," he murmured, barely a whisper.

Chapter Text

Somehow, following his invitation into Hibari’s room, Dino woke up to morning light in the same bed in one, peaceful piece. There was, sadly, no warm body pressed to his but when he opened his eyes, he was presented with the pleasant silhouette of Hibari, back in his yukata and kneeling gracefully before his low table. His slender hands were expertly working a whisk while steam rose from the pot and tiny stove before him.

Dino hummed pleasantly, lifting himself onto one elbow to watch Hibari work, breathing in the scent of the tea and taking in the sight of Hibari's still-mussed hair. He said nothing, not wanting to interrupt the moment.

Hibari didn't look his way until he was carefully pouring water into the mixture. Then with two bowls, quite unlike the usual cylindrical teacups that he usually used, Hibari rose to pad across the room. His robe was barely held together as he silently sank into the bed beside Dino and offered him a violently green, thick-looking hot drink.

"Thank you." Dino smiled and took the offered tea. He wanted to ask if Mukuro had imported it straight from Japan, but then he didn't really want to bring up that man's name, not when he was feeling so relaxed and warm, so glad to be drinking tea with Hibari the morning after they fell asleep together. He waited until Hibari had sipped first, then took a drink himself. It was earthy, thick but lovely. Dino was used to drinking cowboy coffee anyhow, so he knew about strong drinks.

Quiet, Hibari sipped at his tea and the relaxed air in the room spoke of his appreciation of Dino's respect for his peaceful morning routine. But when he spoke he said, darkly, "I do not look forward to what will happen in this house when you walk out that door."

Dino warmed his hands under the bowl of tea and thought for a moment. "I could always sneak out the window," he offered.

Hibari considered it for a moment. For a very long moment. Frowning. "No," he finally sighed, pained. "It will only be worse if they were to find out I was hiding it."

Dino chuckled at this, somewhat chagrined. "Yeah, I suppose you're right. Gossip tends to spread pretty quick around here, huh?"

The irritated dread was coming to a slow boil on Hibari's face. Abruptly, he rose. "Wait here," he commanded.

On the way out his door, Hibari paused to slide on a pair of wooden sandals as though he was going into the outdoors by stepping foot in the saloon. Perched in Hibari's bed with a still hot bowl of tea, Dino couldn't make out any words but he could hear the goings on downstairs through the floorboards.

He could hear the sudden outcry as Hibari made his brief morning appearance and was greeted with enthusiasm. Probably with extra enthusiasm since it was unlikely that anyone in the house was unaware that the marshal was still in Hibari's bedroom. There was some talking. And then there was some shrieking (Tsuna) and a great crash, followed by some various commotion. Not long after, the door slammed open and Dino heard Yamamoto whine "Come on, Hibari!" from downstairs before the door was kicked shut with a force that shook the whole house.

Calmly, Hibari stepped out of his sandals and crossed the tatami to set down a breakfast of sausage, eggs and rice (a house staple demanded by Hibari) for both of them at his low table.

For a long breath, Dino said nothing, but he finished the tea in his cup, and he slid to the edge of the futon, trying to catch Hibari's eye. "Well. Didn't sound like you killed anyone anyway?"

"No one died," Hibari agreed, gracefully lifting chopsticks to his lips. A second set were on Dino's plate. "Yet."

Dino's smile stayed as he crossed to join Hibari at the table, crossing his legs beneath him with, if not grace, at least a reasonable amount of poise. He picked up the chopsticks deftly, pleased that Hibari remembered he could handle them, and started in on the rice. "Did anyone say anything?"

"They said many things," Hibari said flatly. He aimed a death glare at his meal that threatened to break the bottom of his plate. And perhaps the kitchen beyond, beneath them. "They're like bored children, obsessing over the most mundane of things. They should learn to read."

"I think you underrate yourself, Kyouya," Dino pointed out, after he'd swallowed a bit of egg. "Your life is very interesting! Not mundane at all!" A beat. "None of their /business/, but still..."

Hibari sighed and gave a roll of eyes while managing to eat fried sausage with an uncanny elegance and dignity. "That tall hooligan is the worst of them all. I'll have to give him a good beating every time I step out of my room for a week."

"Oooh, he's the one Squalo likes. He's probably already on his way to the sheriff's office to spread the news," Dino groaned.

"Entirely likely," Hibari replied. He seemed to take some pleasure that at least he wasn't alone in this suffering. But slowly his smugness faded into a displeased frown as he sank into his own quiet thoughts over his cooling tea.

Dino busied himself with his meal, trying not to cast too many worried glances over his plate. Finally though, he cleared his throat. "I guess we should talk about this," he began, somewhat reluctant to break the silence. "What you want me to say if anyone asks..."

Hibari's frown deepened and Dino could feel the characteristic bristle that traveled through him. He stared into his tea, lips pursed tight. "I don't know," he finally answered in a quiet, tense voice.

"That's okay," Dino nodded, gentle. "It's no one's business but ours. And until you want me to say something else, that's what I'll tell people if they ask. Okay?"

His shadowed eyes were apprehensive when he glanced at Dino but he sighed and nodded. "That gangly fool is also fucking Mukuro's little dog... I'll have to truly bite some discretion into him."

Dino gave a helpless little shrug. "If not from Ken, he'll find out somehow eventually. Anyway, it's not a breach of your contract-- do you think he'll be angry?"

"I don't care," Hibari replied airily -- but also hotly. "I simply don't want to deal with his sickening, superior smugness until absolutely necessary."

Dino smiled at this. "I can understand that. He really is insufferable, isn't he?"

"Incredibly," Hibari quipped in reply. But he shook off his irritation and set his chopsticks down on his empty plate. For a moment he was quiet, eyes closed. "Are you working today?"

"I don't have to be," Dino raised a brow, offered a mischievous grin. "We could put off the inevitable explosion of my reappearance at the top of the stairs just a little longer..."

"No," Hibari replied with a shake of his head. "Go ahead and deal with those monkeys. Then go back and fetch yourself some clean clothes. You'll have to pay the Vongola for the use of his bath but the shave will be free."

Dino perked at this. "A bath sounds amazing. And a shave, even better!" He stood then to search for his shirt and uniform jacket. When dressed, Dino dropped to one knee beside the cushion where Hibari sat. He touched first his shoulder, then brushed a bit of dark hair away from Hibari’s cheek. "You look beautiful today."

Hibari's eyes blinked open wide, as though startled by such casual affection outside of bed. But he didn't lash out, even if his shoulders stiffened somewhat. And, to his obvious fury, his cheeks flushed a deep pink. "Save the compliments for when you're naked," he said stiffly, lifting his chin.

"Don't worry," Dino grinned. "I've got plenty more for later." He leaned down then, taking advantage of Hibari's lifted chin to catch it in his fingers, to kiss him, quick but firm. And then he was heading for the door where he pulled on his boots. "Wish me luck!"

An unenthused hum came with Hibari's dismissive wave of hand. Dino took a breath, braced himself and stepped outside.

At the bottom of the stairs, the entire Vongola house looked up at him with varying levels of interest. Even Haru had shown up (however she had caught the news) and her face glowed with hunger for gossip.

"Dino!" Yamamoto called cheerfully from a couch in the sitting area. "The man of the hour. You tamed the wild beast!"

Dino paused in Hibari's balcony, leaned lazily over the railing, hat in one hand. "Take it easy on him today, hm? You know gossip makes him grouchy."

"PLEASE don't make him grouchy!" Tsuna begged from the bar where Gokudera was working on fixing a chair that had likely been a victim in Hibari's outburst. "I don't think we can afford another punishment like that."

"We would never bother Mr. Hibari. He's so shy and private." A few of those assembled twisted their faces as Haru squirmed and blushed. "But you, Mr. Cavallone. You should join us for a drink and tell us all of the details!!" Practically squealing, she reached across the bar to snatch up a bottle of whiskey and slam it down before them.

"It's ten in the morning!" Gokudera snarled.

"No can do, ma’am," Dino placed his hat and tipped it politely. He walked over to the bar, however and reached behind it for a shot glass. Just one, he motioned to Gokudera with a grin. Haru wilted but stayed glued to her barstool for whatever scraps she might get. Gokudera rolled his eyes but yanked out the stopper for Dino as he lit up a cigarette with his free hand.

"Hey, Little Bro." Dino turned to Tsuna, leaning against the counter. He nodded his thanks to Gokudera and tipped back the shot, humming pleasantly as it burned down his throat. "Can you pencil me in to use your bath this morning?"

"Oh-- well-- of course." Tsuna blinked up at the marshal. "I assume you won't need-- any company..."

"I'll pay for the bath," Dino promised. "I assume that won't be breaking any of Mukuro's rules? Just like renting a hotel room."

"No, no, that should be fine," Tsuna hemmed, perhaps a little nervous about whether or not it was outside the bounds of the contract. The truth was, even so, it was likely that Mukuro would be difficult to everyone involved in the situation. He gave a little smile but the way he caught Dino's eye was with a glint of concern. Had it not been a full room, he got the impression that Tsuna might be asking some serious brotherly questions.

Weight was suddenly pressed against Dino's back, Yamamoto's friendly arms curling around his neck. "Coming back for seconds already?" he teased with a wide grin.

"Just a shave," Dino laughed, reaching back and scruffing Yamamoto's already wild hair. "If I'm gonna be sticking around this town, I have to look presentable." He tapped the counter with his glass. Just one more shot, to steel his nerve before he faced Squalo and the inevitable judgement.

It was Tsuna who handled the bottle this time and he ducked in close to catch Dino's ear. His pour was shaky as he murmured, "Hibari-san has-- an appointment this afternoon. Later in the day but -- I thought you should know..." Tsuna's face was flushed red, ever ill equipped for his industry.

Dino felt something only a little bit ugly twist in his stomach, but he swallowed it, smiled and nodded. "What time?" he whispered back.

"Four, I think," Tsuna murmured with an apologetic glance.

"Plenty of time for a bath and a shave," Dino grinned. "I won't be long... just gotta pick up some clean clothes and I'll be right back."

Tsuna smiled and sighed with relief. Dino slugged down his shot and tossed the glass to Tsuna, who fumbled it for a moment with a shriek but managed after all. Suavely, Dino waved his goodbye, stepped out the door and, out of sight of his friends, instantly fell off the steps and face down in the street.

 

Dino managed somehow to more or less avoid Squalo when he stopped by the office to pick up his clothes. The deputy was in one of the cells, interrogating a guy who was in the process of sobering up. When Dino snuck past, the man's face was pressed into the concrete, sandwiched between the ground and Squalo's boot.

"Voiiii, Blondie! I want to talk to you! Where are you going!"

"Sorry, Squalo! Got an appointment! Busy busy! Gotta run!"

"An appointment, my ass!" Squalo yelled after him, giving the bars a shake as Dino darted out of the building. "If you come back here cryin’, I'm gonna kick the shit out of you, Cavallone!"

"Yamamoto misses you, by the way!" Dino called, the last word before he slammed the door shut and headed back to the Rose.

He was dusty and a little overheated by the time he reached the building, but he took a breath and pushed through the door.

"Twelve minutes, thirty-seven seconds," Yamamoto said from the bar where the whole gang was looking over his shoulder at his wrist watch. Until Dino walked in.

"Haha," Dino snarked, letting the door swing closed behind him. "Taking bets, were you? Who won?"

Tsuna cleared his throat, cheeks pink and raised his hand shyly.

The bar erupted in laughter. "Go take care of that guy so he's less grumpy later!" Even Ryohei had come in from his labor for this event, apparently.

"Yeah yeah, you all can go back to your jobs now!" Dino waved at them, like an old lady trying to scatter pigeons. "Hey kid," he turned to Tsuna then, smiling so the Vongola Tenth wouldn't think he was mad. "The room available?"

Tsuna nodded. "I think he's been getting it ready. Enjoy your afternoon, Dino." He offered the older man a genuine, warm smile that earned him a ruffling of hair on his way to the stairs.

The room froze as, when Dino started to ascend, all eyes were drawn to Hibari. At the top of the stairs, he was a vision in a crimson kimono, radiating waves of dangerous hatred. Tucked under an arm was a wooden basin with soaps and towels.

His voice growled through the silent, startled room, sending chills up every spine. "I'll bite each and every one of you to death." His eyes flicked to Dino and he then turned and swept down the hall.

Dino turned to cast one last cocky grin down at the main floor and those assembled. "Wish me luck!" he mouthed, and followed Hibari's steps down the hallway.

The door was cracked and when Dino followed him into the bathroom, he was impressed by how much of Hibari's rage seemed to be under control. He was surprisingly centered, calmly working at tying back his long sleeves. The copper tub was already filled halfway. It was shaping up to be a hot day and as it was, the room was warm enough that a cool bath was very promising.

"How did you possibly manage to get so dirty in twenty minutes?" Hibari said incredulously, finally taking a good look at Dino.

"I hurried," Dino answered. "Might have tripped once or twice..." He set his clean clothes down on a nearby shelf, dropped his hat and boots by the door and caught Hibari's eyes with fondness. "Hey."

"Hello," Hibari responded. Probably not with the affection that Dino was looking for. From within a sleeve, he pulled out his long pipe and sank lightly into a chair beside the tub. "Be sure to wipe down like I showed you, before you get in. It'll be cleaner," he said, lips around the tip of his pipe with fingers working a book of matches.

Dino smiled, nodded seriously, and watched Hibari for a moment, waited for him to light up, and when he meet the other man's eyes again, there was a raise of brows, an expectation. Dino echoed the expression, the tips of his ears getting a little pink, but he stood before Hibari, between him and the bath and began to undress. His dusty uniform jacket and then his shirt, dropping them to the floor.

Hibari watched him with only the mildest interest, clearly taken with breathing smoke to life between his lips. But as more tan skin was bared, dusty clothes set aside, it took more effort to maintain that aloofness. As Dino worked on wiping down his toned, naked body, he'd given up and just let his eyes linger. He met the marshal's gaze with a long exhale of smoke.

Dino smiled and licked at the corner of his mouth, tasting earth. He wiped the damp cloth over his face, behind his ears, the back of his neck. He held Hibari's eyes, as he draped the rag over the side of the tub, then turned a slow circle, hands out. "Do you approve?"

He almost laughed. Dino could have sworn he almost laughed. But instead he coughed faintly into his smoke and rolled his eyes. "Hurry up and soak so I can wash your filthy hair."

With a grin, Dino climbed into the tub and dowsed his hair, slicking it back. He propped his chin on the edge of the tub to catch Hibari's attention. "It's nice.”

"Mmm." And now the smirk that Hibari raked over him seemed almost fond. Lingering on his mussed, damp blond hair and slick skin. In a haze of herbal smoke, Hibari turned his attention on his bucket of tools. He was at least polite enough to tap out his pipe before he guided Dino into place so that he could begin the slow, meticulous process that Hibari had for washing his hair.

"Nnngh, Kyouya, that's amazing." Dino groaned into his massaging touch, eyes drifting closed. "You have... crazy good fingers."

A soft hum answered him, Hibari wordlessly taking his time to work over Dino's scalp. Expertly, he unwound every point of his neck, making his body melt under Hibari's touch. He was almost exhausted by how good it all felt by the time Hibari had carefully rinsed his hair with clean, cool water. But then the off-duty courtesan stood and when he went to the corner of the room, only then did Dino realize that the small stove there was running. When Hibari returned, he guided Dino to relax again and a clean, hot towel was carefully placed over his face. He could hear Hibari turn back to his tools. The hum of a razor honed on leather.

Dino sighed happily, shifting under the lukewarm bath water, palms spreading across bare thighs. He was torn between total relaxation and the beginnings of arousal, a spark of warmth settling into his middle. "Do you do this a lot?" he wondered. "Offer shaves to your clients?"

"Not often," Hibari replied. Dino could hear the whisk of a brush, a whole new clean smell reaching his senses. "I find it to be very..." He trailed off for long moments, the heat soaking wonderfully into Dino's face, relaxing him further still. "Intimate," Hibari finally finished with a hint of coldness to soften the honesty. He lifted the towel, still hot, to work on cleaning and relaxing Dino's features utterly. Slow, soft, hot fabric pressed over his brow, under his chin and eyes.

"Feels amazing," Dino sighed, relaxing into the feel of Hibari's fingers, the hot towel, and let his eyes close. It was a not insignificant level of trust he was affording Hibari-- letting the younger man literally hold a blade to his throat. And yet he was shockingly at ease.

The easy air of the other man helped, he supposed. Hibari's utter confidence in the way his fingers ran over Dino's skin, his hands impossibly soft as they stroked the rough stubble that hadn't been touched in at least a week. The fluff of foam was smoothed across Dino's jaw.

"Mm," Dino hummed pleasantly, lifting his chin to give Hibari better access. He kept one eye cracked then, watching Hibari with interest.

His eyes were shadowed, both avoiding Dino's gaze and concentrating on his work. He delicately and precisely worked the fresh smelling fluff into place. The horse hair brush scraped at his blossoming beard.

"Regrettably," Hibari broke the silence, inspecting his work and letting the hot soap soak into Dino's skin. "I have to work this afternoon, so I will not be able to entertain you for long."

"Tsuna told me," Dino replied, avoiding the urge to nod while Hibari was gearing up to put a blade to his skin. "I'll miss you," he added with a smile, glad to be able to get the words out without a sinking stomach.

Hibari paused with a frown, his gaze on the blade he lifted into the light to inspect. "He doesn't trust me." There was an unusual bit of emotion in the courtesan's voice. Irritation but also -- perhaps a hint of hurt?

"Tsuna?" Dino blinked, confused. "Why do you think that?"

"He thinks I'll hurt you," Hibari said dismissively. His sigh was equally so.

Dino said nothing for a long beat. He frowned at this, torn between annoyance and affection that Tsuna seemed to be so concerned with his welfare. He finally quirked a half-smile. "The kid is sweet, but he underestimates me."

"Hn." However Hibari felt about the situation was quickly filed away with a final snort. He turned back to Dino with a softer, rather more dangerous expression. One hand on his blade, his free hand tilted Dino's chin toward the ceiling. "May I?" he purred.

"Yes, please," Dino agreed, lips parting as his jaw relaxed. He was, honestly, a little surprised that the touch of metal to his throat made him feel comfortable, not nervous at all.

Hibari's breath deepened, his fingers and blade resting for a moment on Dino's chest. Encouraging him to breathe slowly. The pressure of the blade along his flesh was impossibly expert, like the steady hand of a surgeon. Slowly, carefully, he scraped the first clean line into place.

Dino swallowed, let out the breath he'd held, a small shiver creeping across his shoulders. He caught Hibari's eye with a smile, encouraging him to continue. That sharp, attentive gaze turned to his work once he wiped the blade clean. Delicate fingers traced the flesh alongside steel, caressing his handiwork on each stroke. Long, slow, perfect strokes that were so precise that Dino could barely feel but for the pleasant whisper of Hibari's fingers.

"I thought you might be able to..." Hibari murmured, interrupting the silence. His eyes traveled down Dino's toned chest and stomach dipping into the cooling bath water. "You might offer me something pleasant to think about this evening."

Dino raised a curious brow and did his best not to smirk, but inside, his heart gave a thud and the warmth in his middle grew hotter. "You give me something pleasant to think about all the time," Dino breathed. "The least I can do is return the favor."

"Good." Hibari sat up to focus on his work, turning Dino's head to let the razor come to rest against his throat. "Please be careful not to move *too* much. I promise not to get distracted." With a sigh that was difficult not to experience as arousal, he let the blade run up Dino's throat to the tip of his chin.

Dino held back the sound of satisfaction that hovered in his throat until Hibari lifted the blade to wipe it clean. Something about this, about the ultimate trust he was affording Hibari, about the danger of the knife, and the steady, focused way that Hibari wielded it-- all of it added up to the warmth in his middle migrating southward. His cock gave a little twitch and he licked his lip.

Hibari dipped low enough, close enough that his shaggy hair brushed Dino's nose, breath on his brow. The blade glided along the side of Dino's throat, dipping against the soft place beneath his jaw. He knew his skin must be silky soft, Hibari's fingers tracing every line of his handiwork. Checking for every rough patch that might offend his ivory dove skin.

"Touch yourself," Hibari murmured. His voice startled Dino with its tone. The words came out firm, but they weren't orders as they usually would in these moments. There was an edge of hunger, of hesitation and it was more request than demand. For a moment, Dino thought he might even say 'please'.

It was enough to spur Dino to action without waiting, though his face must still have registered a certain surprise, even as he reached for himself beneath the water. He was already half-hard under Hibari's ministrations and as his fingers closed around warm flesh, a quiet groan slipped past his lips.

A long, pleased hum vibrated in Hibari's throat. He only cast the briefest glance down that beautifully sculpted, damp body and licked his lips before placing his entire focus on his work. It was, after all, delicate work and it was important to pay attention when your subject might be prone to a twitch or a shudder.

His breath set the tone. Slow and meditative, he took a beat to clean the blade. The cool steel of the back side, the handle brushed lightly over Dino's chest and along his now-clean throat. It gave him a moment to watch as Dino worked himself into hardness.

It was a challenge, definitely, to find a rhythm, something easy and pleasant, and not too rough, nothing that would disturb Hibari's work. He bit the inside of his lip, jaw tight, unmoving as his cock throbbed between his fingers.

"Very nice," Hibari whispered. "Slow, careful."

It was agony, letting his grip tighten, his body shudder between the purr of the razor over his skin. When he finished one cheek, the warm towel returned, wiping his skin clean before Hibari's lips were there, kissing the now softened flesh.

Dino's eyes had closed, letting his sense of touch expand, sharpen, and he shivered at the breath that washed over his jaw. He lifted his free hand from the water, reaching to find the back of Hibari's neck, wet fingers splaying across bare skin, dipping under his collar. And he listened, taking it slow and steady, but it was driving him slowly crazy, the more he dragged it out.

All that remained was the detailed and delicate bits around his mouth. Hibari's touch grew firmer, guiding him just so. "Careful," he hummed, smiling softly to himself as he revealed flesh with slow, artful strokes.

With a long sigh, Hibari sheathed the razor and the hot towel returned to Dino's face. With the threat of sliced flesh out of the way, his touch firm as he wiped away soap, rubbed his skin and invited him to continue his own work.

"How-- nhh... how do I look?" Dino smiled, looking up at Hibari above. He lifted his hips, shifting so that his feet were under him, the tip of his dick just breaching the water on every slow, squeezing upstroke.

"Very... good..." Hibari hummed, his own tiny smile in place below pink flushed cheeks. His attention wound down from razor sharp tension, his fingers replacing blades. A sharp, musky lotion coated his hands that smoothed over his jaw, his temples, down his throat and chest.

"Mmm, a perfect shave," Hibari praised himself, eyes wandering from Dino's parted lips to the movement of his pleasure, the shudder of his muscles.

As Dino's speed picked up, unimpeded, Hibari leaned over him and for a breath, his cheek replaced his hand. It let him put it to the ultimate test, letting that pink, sensitive skin brush the pale silk of Hibari's. Testing just once the softness of Dino's jaw -- and then sinking into an upside down kiss.

Dino let a moan slip between his lips, tongue following to graze Hibari's teeth, back arching to follow the curve of his back. His strokes stuttered briefly, surprised by the kiss, by the gentleness of Hibari's touch, but he recovered, redoubling his efforts. It took only a moment for Hibari's mouth to relinquish to him, hungrily letting Dino in, then chasing him back.

"Kyouya..." The name was a breathy whine between kisses. Dino's eyes were closed again, and his movements were jerky, without rhythm. "Oh god..." A grimace, a gasp, hips thrusting upward, fucking into his hand with abandon, and all he could think of was showing Hibari something he wouldn't forget-- something that he'd dwell on all day, that even when he was with Mukuro, he'd be thinking of.

The touch to his face slid away and instead Hibari sank behind Dino and the tub and his chin came to rest on a tan shoulder. A hand warmed down Dino’s chest and rubbed at his damp muscle. Hibari's breath shivered in his ear as he watched Dino's climax bear in on him, greedy gaze soaking in the urgency of his touch, the desire that dripped into the bath water.

Dino turned a little, leaning into the touch of Hibari's cheek, mouth open and panting, eyes now cracked open just enough to watch Hibari's hand map out his chest, graze over a stiff nipple. He sucked in a breath, grit his teeth around a groan and hurried his hand, shivering on the edge. When Hibari's lips brushed across his jaw, when his fingers pinched at that nipple, it was too much to take. Dino's voice caught in his throat, half a sob as he came, hard and messily, up over his stomach and hand, into the water which could hardly be called clean anymore.

A groan rattled in his ear as Hibari watched Dino work himself urgently through his climax, watched him shudder with pleasure as though unable to bear Hibari's presence without arousal. He licked at Dino's ear, then bit at it as he came down, dragging out extra jolts of overstimulated delight.

“Commendable performance, marshal,” Hibari purred in Dino’s ear.

He remained draped over the taller man’s shoulders, seated on a stool that placed him in a convenient position to let a hand drag lazily over peachy skin. He splashed a bit of bath water onto Dino’s stomach to clean him off before his palm would pet there, Dino’s pulse returning to normal. His cheek was against Dino’s neck, breathing deep of his clean hair and skin and just a little bit of sweat.

“Worth recalling later?” Dino queried with a breathless grin, his skin still sparking with aftershocks.

“Mm, yes, I suppose so…” Though the words were blase, his tone was more approving than usual. He offered a long, soft bite at Dino’s still-thundering jugular and murmured, “Thank you.”

Dino closed his eyes again, relishing the moment for just a little longer. “Thank you, Kyouya,” he sighed, lifting a hand from the water to tangle his fingers with Hibari’s. “That was, by far, the best shave I’ve ever had.”

Hibari chuckled and seemed shockingly amenable to allowing Dino to come down and soak, and to continue to share his closeness. “Yes, I have no doubt,” he agreed. His free hand touched Dino’s cheek and he smirked with self-satisfaction while he ran fingertips over the perfectly-smooth skin. “I may do it again sometime.”

“I’m already looking forward to it,” Dino answered, shivering happily under Hibari’s touch.

He suspected he ought to feel at least a little embarrassed by how quickly he’d caved to Hibari’s attention, how just the sight of him, the smell of him, had crumbled Dino’s hesitations. But he felt too good, and Hibari had been so, surprisingly, open and willing to hear Dino’s sincere declarations of emotion. He wanted to enjoy this time, to selfishly burrow himself into Hibari’s thoughts enough to keep Hibari occupied during his appointments with Mukuro. He could handle the jealousy if he knew Hibari would be thinking about him. It gave him a little thrill to think on, truth be told.

They were like that for a while, comfortable and quiet and so intimate it made Dino’s chest ache. With his sleeves tied back, Hibari could let his hands skim through the water idly, allowing Dino the time to enjoy the bath. Finally, he gave a tiny little sigh and moved away from Dino to dry his hands on a small towel.

“I should give the little cow some time to refresh the bath for my afternoon use,” he said and crossed the room to where his things waited. He returned and offered Dino a towel which was jet black and was perhaps the softest material Dino had ever touched. The Rose had very nice linens but this was beyond exquisite -- without a doubt from Hibari’s own personal cabinets.

Dino was reluctant to exit the bath, but didn’t want to damage the comfortable mood between them, so he obediently rose from the water. He scrubbed his hair and face with the towel, humming pleasantly with the luxury of it. He laughed a little at the thought of Lambo being forced to clean up the bath water. “That kid gets all the fun jobs around here, hm?”

“/Someone/ must attend to such matters,” Hibari seemed to agree, the ‘and it certainly isn’t going to be me’ left silent. He appeared in good humor, sitting back to watch Dino dress himself. When the marshal was stepping back into his boots, Hibari approached him again. “As we agreed, I will join you for dinner tomorrow. I will be outside the Rose at five.”

“I’ll be here,” Dino answered, lifting Hibari’s hand to press a kiss into his palm, eyes sparkling up at him with grateful and undisguised affection. “Take care, Kyouya. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Lingering in the doorway, when Dino released his hand, Hibari eased in close enough to press a soft, brief kiss to the marshal’s mouth. It was chaste compared to most kisses they’d shared but the gesture was strangely sincere. “Until then.”

Dino flashed him one last smile, then slipped out with a nod, waiting until the door was closed before sighing happily and heading back downstairs. All in all, it had turned out to be a pretty damned good day.

Chapter Text

The last week had been among the worst in Tsuna’s life. His unusual path had brought upon him many unpleasant situations, ever since his training as a teenager by Reborn. He’d been shot at, nearly drowned, tied to train tracks, beaten within an inch of his life… all during Reborn’s training before he was fifteen. Since then, he’d dealt with kidnappings, ransoms, armed robberies, armed burglaries, assassination attempts, duels, stalkers and many other distressing and troublesome situations. But this week he had discovered that none of the discomfort he’d lived through compared to the guilt of so deeply hurting a friend.

He couldn’t stop remembering Gokudera’s slack, shocked expression and the light touch on Tsuna’s shoulders when he’d tried to embrace the bomber. Tsuna had never seen him that way. Gokudera never had anything but smiles and cheer for Tsuna and /only/ for Tsuna. But he’d screwed up so bad he’d managed to wipe that special smile off Gokudera’s face. It made his stomach hurt every time he thought about it.

Not only that, he had another dose of guilt to deal with when it came to the event that had put them in this uncomfortable situation. Obviously he regretted the way that things had happened and how he’d handled it. It certainly hadn’t been bad -- it’d been quite incredible, in spite of the sketchy circumstances. But at the same time, he kept remembering Yamamoto’s surprise and his hesitation and his mild protests in the kitchen.

Teasing, he’d swept his friend’s concerns under the rug and now, in retrospect, he was afraid he’d pressured Yamamoto into it. It was easy for Tsuna to forget that his friends considered him their boss -- that technically he /was/ their boss. But it almost never felt that way to Tsuna, not until there was something ‘bossly’ that he had to deal with. When he thought about it, it was easy to imagine Yamamoto, in spite of his own misgivings, feeling obligated to… please Tsuna. He was afraid to ask about it because he was afraid of the answer.

For the last three days, there’d been a pit in his stomach like he was going to throw up at any moment. He worked mechanically, going through the motions of his day and finding himself strangely relieved when rowdy situations came up to distract him from his own thoughts.

Midday on the third day, Yamamoto delivered the news about his discussion with Gokudera that morning. They couldn't’ talk much during business hours, leaving Tsuna antsy for the remainder of the day. Dino’s appearance after his long absence was a nice surprise but Tsuna wished he’d had the opportunity to talk to his friend alone before he was whisked off by Hibari’s demands.

It was a relief to close the saloon with Yamamoto so they could sit together in the parlor to talk. It was great news. Really, the best news they could have hoped for. It did a lot to lift Tsuna’s heart out of the dumps, giving it something to beat with excitement for, that Gokudera actually wanted to give this crazy thing a try. But it did almost nothing to assuage his sense of guilt. Gokudera’s interest made the next time they’d meet somewhat less terrifying but he knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

Though he’d been hoping for it, Gokudera didn’t show up for their morning coffee the next day.

As a child, Tsuna had been a chronic late sleeper but after a decade under Reborn’s rule, he was wired to wake at sunrise, even when his tutor wasn’t around. He didn’t /want/ to wake at sunrise and he didn’t really /feel/ awake at sunrise but inevitably he would be unable to fall back to sleep. It became habit to reluctantly haul himself out of bed, still tired, to make coffee before the rest of the house woke up.

He figured that Gokudera had always held a similar schedule -- he seemed like the type who woke at sunrise because they were sharp and alert. Or maybe he just kept Tsuna’s schedule so he could be always at Tsuna’s call. Had it really been nearly two years ago since Gokudera had joined their family? For that long, they’d shared the first cups from the pot almost every morning while the sky turned from orange to blue.

When they’d started their regular mornings together, Gokudera tried to take the task of making coffee off his hands but Tsuna insisted that he enjoyed the routine and it helped wake him up. So instead, each morning Gokudera greeted him cheerfully at the bar when Tsuna brought out two cups. The rest of the pot was left for the family who would soon be awake. Every morning, he thanked Tsuna heartily, proclaimed the coffee to be “perfect” and asked how he’d slept.

Gokudera was always precisely put together by the time they met at the bar. He started his day in a suit, handsome and dangerous, first thing in the morning. In comparison, Tsuna tended to blindly pull on some trousers and a linen top and went barefoot until after breakfast. Gokudera didn’t seem to think any less of him for it.

The morning after Yamamoto’s news about their talk, Tsuna’s heart was in his throat as he started a fire in the stove. When the kitchen was filled with earthy coffee smell, he hesitated before filling only one cup. As he sadly expected, when he went out to the bar, there was no Gokudera with his crisp tie knot and friendly smile.

Tsuna sat with his coffee and after a while Bianchi was up and the house started to smell like sausage and eggs. Soon the rest of the house was awake with plates full of breakfast and gossip was floating around about how no one had seen Dino leave the night before. Gokudera made a quiet entrance and Tsuna was barely able to give him a little smile before Hibari appeared from upstairs and a massive commotion started.

Not long after that, Dino came down and the playful atmosphere was a nice respite. By the time the marshal returned to have his bath, it was after the Vongola breakfast and time for work. For the staff, this meant tending bar for the mid-morning meal that Bianchi offered to the paying citizens of Wavewood every day. The food’s flavor and edibility depended on the cook’s mood from day to day but everyone in town had learned better than to complain. Passersby who found the food sub-par were taught a brutal lesson about manners.

For Tsuna, it meant readying himself for the day’s work and whatever trying official matters might come his way. He was reluctant to leave, having only been able to exchange brief, awkward hellos with Gokudera. But customers were appearing and Gokudera was busy and Tsuna was practically still in his pajamas.

A while later, when the morning rush had ended and Tsuna was properly dressed, he took a deep breath at the top of the stairs and descended into the saloon. He found Gokudera at the bar, cleaning glasses and joined him with a cautious little smile. “Hey… It’s good to have you home.”

“Hey, Boss,” Gokudera answered, offering a nod and a gesture of invitation for Tsuna to sit down. He seemed relaxed, his voice casual, but Tsuna could see the slight tightness in Gokudera’s shoulders, the hint of nervous energy that Gokudera was doing his best to conceal.

Tsuna slid into a barstool and took a look around. It was fairly quiet at the moment, no familiar faces in the saloon, only travellers. Still, it wouldn’t do to let conversation get too heavy in the middle of the work day. He did his best to be normal and casual but their shared anxious tension made it a challenge. “Yamamoto said you visited Shamal for a couple days. I’m glad. How is he?”

Gokudera laughed a little, rolling his eyes at the mention of his mentor. “As surly and drunk as ever. But he’s fine. Can... I get you anything?” he asked, only hesitating a moment before extending the offer.

“I’m alright, thank you.” He smiled fondly, trying not to look too hard at Gokudera. It was torture not being able to have an honest conversation. Tsuna’s tongue itched to pour his heart out in the way he’d been going over in his head for the last few days. He chewed at his lip for a moment. “I… I don’t want to distract you during work… but… I hoped maybe later-- or some time-- I hoped we could talk-- you know, alone. When you’re ready.”

Gokudera gave him a small, but sincere smile, setting down the glass he was drying to meet Tsuna’s eyes. The tips of his ears seemed to be just a little pinker than Tsuna remembered them typically being. “Bianchi is taking over the bar at 3, and I have an appointment at 4, but I have the evening free if… if you want to talk then.”

“That’d be really nice. Thank you.” A little bit of the weight on Tsuna’s shoulders lightened and he breathed a tiny sigh. He let his arms come to rest on the bar, trying to feel like it was another normal day where he spent time in Gokudera’s company.

Attempting to sound more casual and less business-like, he continued, “Basil brought home a telegram from Reborn yesterday. Everything’s been arranged and the family is officially funding the construction of the train station. Wavewood’s going to be getting a lot bigger all of a sudden. And Reborn is assigning /me/ to be the one to coordinate on behalf of the Vongola with the government and the local authorities.” He grimaced a little -- it would be nice to have the chance to work with Dino but extra time with Xanxus and Squalo wasn’t exactly a thrilling prospect.

“That’s wonderful, Boss,” Gokudera answered, a fond sort of laugh on his tongue that meant he had picked up how unenthused Tsuna was about some of his upcoming responsibilities. “I’m sure you’ll do very well.”

Tsuna gave a snort but said, “Thank you.” A little sigh. “I suppose it’s not too bad to have a change of pace. Even if it requires a bunch of reading. I’m sure we’ll have a lot of interesting people come through town. I was hoping that… when things start rolling, you might be willing to come with me to the meetings I’ll have to deal with. You know how trouble always seems to seek me out and it’d be nice to have someone watching my back. And maybe keeping an eye on Xanxus.”

“I’d be happy to help, Boss,” Gokudera answered easily, chuckling. They both knew he had little fear with regards to dealing with Xanxus.

“Oh, good,” Tsuna said with relief. “If you didn’t want to, I thought I might be able to hire Hibari-san but I’d rather be able to spend the time with you. Thank you.”

At that moment, a handful of customers spilled into the bar, and Gokudera cast Tsuna an apologetic smile before his attention was pulled away.

After that, the afternoon seemed to take forever. Thanks to his new responsibilities, Tsuna was locked down to his desk with letter writing and document reviewing which just made time feel even slower. Finally there was a knock at the door and Tsuna stood up so fast he almost tipped over his chair.

After one quick, deep breath, Tsuna opened the door with a smile. “Hello.”

“Hey, Boss,” Gokudera hummed. He was dressed casually, in a loose linen shirt and well-worn but not worn-out trousers, clearly off duty for the evening. His hair was just a little damp and his cheeks a little flushed, perhaps having bathed after his appointment that afternoon.

“Would you like to-- um…” Here he hesitated uncertainly, looking to Gokudera. “Would you like to come in? Or would you like to go somewhere else?”

In the past, it wouldn’t have been awkward. It was easy to have private conversations when he had been the proud owner of his own office. Thanks to Hibari’s contract with Mukuro, that room had been converted to the dandy’s personal playground, leaving Tsuna without a place to work.

The irritating conclusion was that Tsuna was forced to cram all of his furniture into his bedroom. The Vongola family taste in home dressings made it a particularly challenging fit with large, robust pieces like Tsuna’s four poster bed and heavily ornamental redwood desk. Add book shelves, a plush sofa, end tables and visiting chairs and Tsuna’s room was a little crowded, if very finely furnished.

Worst of all was that he had to keep his dirty laundry off the floor in case any business contacts came by with need for a personal meeting. (The last thing he needed was Mukuro or Xanxus seeing his dirty underwear.)

Gokudera accepted the invitation and stepped into the room which he had yet to see in its new, crowded layout. “I hope whatever Mukuro is paying you is worth giving up your office,” he observed, sympathetically. “I mean, it’s still a nice room, just…”

“...Yeah,” Tsuna agreed with a sigh. “I’m still getting used to it. It feels awkward having business meetings next to my bed. Maybe I can convince Reborn to have some space added onto the house while we’ve got construction people in town. Make yourself comfortable.” He paused beside his desk to tap some papers into stacks and set weights on them before disaster could strike .

For a moment Gokudera hesitated, unsure where to sit, but the brandy set beside the sofa beckoned, promising a useful distraction if the conversation became too awkward. He settled on the plush couch, wishing he had a cigarette but managing to project an air of relative calm despite the craving.

When finished at his desk, Tsuna had his own moment of uncertainty as he glanced around at his seating options. The sofa cushion beside Gokudera beckoned to him and his thoughts flashed back to a few nights ago when he’d had the other man pinned against a similar couch downstairs. The heat of a blush rushed over Tsuna’s face and he rather abruptly sat down in the one of the two velvet-upholstered high backs that faced the couch, near Gokudera.

“Thank you for coming,” Tsuna said in a quiet voice, looking down at his hands for the moment. “I…” His heart was racing, thundering in his ears as he tried to remember all the things that he thought he might say when they got to this moment. “It’s good to… to have you back. Lambo said you’d be back in a couple days but I… I was a little afraid. After what happened. But I’m glad you took some time to yourself.” Mustering his courage, he met Gokudera’s eyes with a tremulous but genuine smile and continued on before the bomber had the chance to apologize for his absence.

“This-- this is all so crazy. I feel so crazy.” He gave a tiny laugh but then swallowed and offered a deeply regretful look. “I’m sorry this all happened this way. I hate that I didn’t have the sense… and… the self-control to handle it all properly. I hadn’t really planned to… act on what I was feeling... I should have talked to both of you at the same time instead of telling Yamamoto privately… Which is just the first on a long list of ways that I messed this whole thing up and caused a bunch of crappy problems.” He swallowed hard and took a breath, searching for his sometimes annoying hidden confidence. “Yamamoto told me about what you guys talked about and I’m really… really happy. I hope I can prove to you that I can do better than this. I’m sorry that-- it was so unpleasant to get here but I-- I’m happy that you… uh… like me back.” Defeated, Tsuna rubbed at his brow.

“Boss… Tsuna,” Gokudera corrected himself, thinking that it was a more appropriate form of address for the situation. “You and Yamamoto… made some mistakes.” It wasn’t easy to more or less accuse Tsuna to his face of messing up, but Gokudera knew it was necessary if he was going to convince Tsuna that he was sincere in his desire to repair things and to move past it all. “But after some time with Shamal and some… thinking, I can honestly say I forgive you both, okay? So long as all three of us are included in any important future conversations about…” he gestured vaguely between them, “...this whole thing, then I think we can make it work.”

The expression on Tsuna’s face reflected the relief and happiness that came over him, watching Gokudera intently. “That’s… it’s so wonderful to hear you say that,” he said earnestly. “I agree -- no more secrets or assumptions. I wasn’t really… thinking things through when I told Yamamoto what I was feeling about you both. But now that I have the chance for it, I want to do this right.”

Tsuna smiled and felt it reach his eyes for the first time in days. Then he cleared his throat awkwardly. “By the way, just so you know… I don’t mind if you guys keep… you know… the two of you on your own, I mean.” He coughed and pressed two fingers between his eyebrows briefly, bracing himself for talking about weird topics. “I know you guys… have something.” He choked on a giggle at the twitch of Gokudera’s face with that statement. “I don’t want to interfere with that... you know?”

It didn't seem like it would ever be easy for Gokudera to have a conversation with Tsuna where he wasn't tempted to wave away every concern and ignore his own feelings in favor of making Tsuna happy, but it was evident by the faint grimace on his face that Gokudera was, at least, making an attempt.

He nodded, a little stiffly. “Ground rules are a good place to start,” he agreed. “And, for the record, who you sleep with is completely up to you. What happened between you and Yamamoto… I was jealous. Because it happened under my nose, without either of you telling me about it. But if… if we do this differently, if we're all on the same page, and talking honestly, then I won't be upset with whoever you want to sleep with. You're a grown man, and I do trust you.”

Tsuna nodded slowly, his face on fire with embarrassment. “O-okay,” he said, a little uncertainly. “I mean-- I probably… won't, but, you know, I guess that’s probably good.” Thoughtfully, he smiled to himself, looking down at the hands folded in his lap. “When… when I started thinking about who I might… um… want to do this with, I knew…” Here he sighed and ran a hand through his unmanageable hair.

The young Vongola became aware that he was sitting perched on the edge of his chair, back straight and awkward. He took a deep breath and tried to relax, to sink into the luxury of his seat like a normal person. It required some effort but he even looked up from his hands to meet Gokudera’s eyes while trying to speak honestly. “I feel just… silly and stupid for saying this but… I don’t want to share… that… myself, I guess --” His ears were burning like he’d been cooked by the desert sun. “I don’t want to share that with someone I don’t love. And I… I would never be able to choose between the two people I love most, let alone disrupt what you two have. So I wasn’t going to do anything about it… but it turns out I have a really lousy sense of self-control when it comes to this sort of thing.” He gave a gravely self-deprecating, humorless laugh.

Gokudera swallowed hard, ears flushing with Tsuna’s confession of love. Being a man who “shared himself” with whoever had the money to pay for it, he didn't entirely understand the sanctity of sex, but he could understand at least being particular with it outside of work. After all, up to now, Yamamoto had been the only person he slept with for fun. If Tsuna had asked him to stop doing that, Gokudera would, more than likely, have obeyed, but he couldn't deny the spark of relief he felt to know that Tsuna wasn't interested in laying sole claim to him (as flattering as it might have felt).

“You aren't silly or stupid,” he said, with a soft smile. “You're a man who is figuring out what you need and want from your life. That's very normal. And I'm honored to be a part of your… journey.”

Tsuna’s expression warmed with gratitude and relief and fondness. “Likewise,” he said with sincerity and he grinned. “I’m thankful we got kidnapped together and almost killed, it was worth it.”

Gokudera have a surprised snort of laughter and shook his head. “I’m not glad we almost died but I am glad you're part of my life.” He held Tsuna's gaze for a long moment, then coughed and turned away awkwardly. “H-hey, do you want to go for a walk with me? I haven't spent enough time with Reaper lately and I was thinking of bringing her a treat…?”

With an even brighter smile, Tsuna gave a nod. “That sounds nice.”

He didn’t bother changing out of his slacks and vest, but did step out of his polished leather loafers and into riding boots for a stroll over to the stables.

 

Downstairs, things were rather slow and Yamamoto was tending the bar. His eyes lit up when Gokudera and Tsuna walked into the saloon together, both looking in fair cheer.

“Hey, you two!” Yamamoto greeted happily and things felt almost normal when they joined him at the bar. He glanced between them hopefully, looking for positive cues. “What are you up to tonight?”

“We were gonna go for a walk and visit the horses,” Tsuna said with a brightness that was infectious to their tall friend.

“Awww, that’s nice,” Yamamoto simpered, leaning with elbows on the bar while gazing at his two companions with overwhelming fondness.

“Hey, would you sneak down to the cellar for us and nab a couple of apples?” Tsuna pleaded. “Where’s Bianchi at?”

Yamamoto laughed. “She’s off for the night, I don’t think she’s anywhere around. Keep an eye on things for a minute.” He winked and slipped into the back. When he returned, he handed off three apples, each cut in half and wrapped in a cloth. More than three would have been far too suspicious.

“Thanks,” Tsuna said with a grin.

“Have a nice time and say hi to Kojiro for me,” Yamamoto said with a cheerful wave.

Gokudera nodded, his eye contact lingering with Yamamoto for a beat after Tsuna headed toward the door. He managed a small, but sincere smile, and Yamamoto beamed back, offering a nod of encouragement.

 

Six out of the ten stalls of the Vongola stable were currently occupied. Those six were the permanent residents of the stable, while the remaining four stalls were available to rent for travelers. Byakuran’s hotel had its own small stable but it was often full and the Thousand Flowers staff would reluctantly send the overflow business their way.

As Tsuna and Gokudera entered, lamp light shining over the main walkway, there were curious nickers and snuffles through the building. It was past dark and most often that meant a visitor horse checking in.

At Tsuna’s insistence, they stopped by the other family member’s horses before their own, giving out enough treats for everyone, to be fair. Two of the apple halves he gave to Gokudera for his family’s horses -- Shamal’s Buzz and his sister’s Scorpio, an unpredictable Morgan stallion.

Gokudera stepped up to the great black quarterhorse, who stretched its long thin neck out, snuffling for the treat. Buzz was somewhat skinny and sickly looking, but of good spirits and, in Gokudera’s opinion, a much better personality than his master. He took the half an apple delicately, and whinnied his gratitude, bumping into Gokudera’s hand affectionately.

Scorpio, on the other hand, was very much a match for Bianchi, tall and proud and beautiful, with an unpredictable attitude and a haughty kind of air about her. Gokudera was rather fond of her, though, and chuckled when she snorted at the apple suspiciously, snuffling at his fingers and stamping her hooves before finally deciding the treat was trustworthy enough to consume.

After that they stopped by Ryouhei’s steed’s stall, and the tan Apaloosa mare approached them with confidence. Ryouhei called his horse Virtue and she was as bold and fearless as her rider. She took her apple from Tsuna’s hand and gave a low grunt as she chewed.

Then was Yamamoto’s beautiful Kojiro who greeted them readily, familiar with the two men from times they’d traveled together. Yamamoto’s horse was a stunning Arabian with a coat of such a deep gray that she was almost blue. Their friend had paid an outrageous amount of money for the prized animal and Yamamoto pampered over her lovingly. She could outrun every horse in town, probably any horse she went up against.

After giving Kojiro her apple, Tsuna gave the gentle mare some attention, petting her head and rubbing between her ears. “Yamamoto says hey. As though he doesn’t check in on you a couple times a day,” Tsuna told their friend’s horse fondly. Then he turned to Gokudera with a smile, the last apple halves in hand. “I’ll give one to Reaper and you can give yours to Nuts, okay?”

Gokudera agreed and followed Tsuna to the stall where Reaper waited, somewhat impatient after witnessing the others receiving their own treats.

“Hello, Reaper,” Tsuna said in that high pitched way of talking to animals, offering the apple to Gokudera’s fearsome looking Paint horse. “It’s weird to say hey all friendly because your rider gave you such a scary name.”

In spite of her frightening appearance, Reaper was a well-tempered and reliable animal and Tsuna liked her quite a bit. As Gokudera looked on, she took the treat from Tsuna’s fingers politely and nudged against his hand when he pet her face.

“You’re very beautiful even though you’re intimidating looking,” Tsuna told her and then aimed a tiny little smirk at Gokudera and moved on before he could see the other man’s blush.

When they turned to Nuts’ stall, Tsuna gave a sigh. His was the only horse who hadn’t come to their door at the obvious sound of treats and attention. Tsuna had been given Nuts more than a year ago and though both of their training had finally paid off quite a bit, the horse would probably never outgrow his skittish nature.

“Nuuuts,” Tsuna called, whining a little at his steed’s shy behavior. “Come on out.” He looked into the stall and startled with alarm. Nuts’ stall was empty. “Nuts?!”

Tsuna yanked the stall door open and rushed in, where he found his horse pressed tight into the corner right beside the door. The small Halfinger stallion was trembling and made a fearful, imploring whinny at the appearance of his owner.

“What on Earth is wrong?!” Tsuna asked. When he moved forward to comfort the horse, Nuts’ eyes, wide with fear, stayed fixed on something over Tsuna’s shoulder.

In the opposite corner of the stall hung a net that was stuffed with hay for Nuts to snack on. When Tsuna swung around to shine the lantern light in that direction, a pair of demon-like eyes flashed in the dark. A creature was hanging off the side of the sack of hay and it hissed loudly at Tsuna.

With a surprised “HIIIEEEK!” Tsuna stumbled backward at the same time that his horse gave a deafening, high pitched whinny of terror.

Red eyes shining green in the dim light, Uri stared at them with wild defiance, twitchy but completely unafraid. He almost seemed proud that they’d found him terrorizing Tsuna’s horse.

Gokudera scoffed at the cat, then glanced apologetically at Tsuna. “Sorry about this-- he’s such a pain…” With a sigh, he handed the last piece of apple over to Tsuna and stepped into the stall, hand outstretched. “Come on, you little terror. Leave the poor horse alone.”

Uri stared at Gokudera with his dilated eyes, ears back flat, tail flicking wildly. The cat scrambled along the outside of the hay ball like some unholy monster and Uri hissed at Gokudera from a higher point. This was his domain. He darted into the space created at the top of the hayball, near the ceiling, where he settled in and emitted a long, low growling noise.

Nuts relaxed a little when Uri retreated, but both he and Tsuna were still shaky. “Maybe-- maybe we ought to give Nuts a different stall for tonight. I’m not sure he’ll sleep very well.”

Gokudera sighed and dropped his hand, not surprised that Uri had rejected his approach, but glad, at least, that he’d retreated to a more respectful distance. He agreed with the prediction of the horse’s situation and willingly helped Tsuna move Nuts to an empty stall.

“Sorry about that, Boss. Uri has really… made the Rose his home. He’ll keep the mice down, though!

The laugh Tsuna gave was easy, all of them now safely in a stall that hadn’t been claimed by the cat. “You don’t have to apologize,” Tsuna chided Gokudera but he smiled, handing over the last apple half. “Just because he picked you as a friend doesn’t make you responsible for him. I don’t think anyone would be able to tame that cat… but he definitely does a good job! I’ve seen him catch a mouse. It’s pretty gross.”

Nerves settling, Nuts rubbed his head against Tsuna’s back gratefully. With a little coaxing, the horse let him pet his face with soothing words, though Nuts was still too distracted to notice the untouched treat. “You’re awfully dramatic,” Tsuna scolded, but he showered his spooked horse with affection.

“Hey, come on, Nuts,” Gokudera hummed, a gentler voice than even Tsuna typically heard from him. “Don’t you want a treat?” He slipped up closer, standing beside the other man to hold out the apple while Tsuna calmed him.

Finally Nuts noticed what was being offered to him and looked at Gokudera nervously before sniffing the apple a few times. Eventually, his lips hesitantly took the treat and he chewed slowly, acting generally traumatized. Nuts was quite familiar with Gokudera’s company so after swallowing, he was happy enough to let Gokudera pet him too. A long-suffering huff sputtered against Gokudera’s chest while he combed fingers through Nuts’ fluffy, cream colored mane.

When Gokudera glanced at Tsuna, he found his boss watching him with obvious, warm affection and he didn’t look away when Gokudera balked at the look. “What…?” he asked, quickly looking back at the horse who bumped his chin companionably.

Tsuna just smiled, idly petting his familiar’s neck. “I was thinking that… I don’t know what I would have done these last two years without you. And Yamamoto too. I don’t mean cause it’s been bad. Really, being out west has been some of the most peaceful time of my life after grammar school. I… actually like it here. I’m kind of happy about the railway… It means we’ll all be able to stay here for a while, you know? Lots of settlements like ours aren’t making it but Wavewood is going to be a stable spot on the map. It feels like a good home… and I can’t imagine it without the two of you.”

“I--- I’m glad.” Gokudera wasn’t able to meet Tsuna’s eyes, finding it easier to speak to Nuts. “I’m happy to be here too. It… it feels like a family.”

“Yeah. It does.” With his free hand, Tsuna tentatively reached for Gokudera’s, letting their fingers brush lightly.

Gokudera gave a short sucking breath, hand twitching once before he thread their fingers together and gave a little squeeze. He managed, this time, to look over at Tsuna, smiling, then cleared his throat to steel his resolve.

“Why… why don’t you take me to dinner tomorrow night?”

Tsuna’s face lit up with surprise, though not displeased surprise. “Yeah? Would you let me? I’d love that. You won’t get in a fight with Byakuran if he bothers us?”

“I can’t promise anything.” Gokudera’s brow twitched with irritation at the thought of that guy. “But I will do my best,” he finished, with a small smile. “It would be… nice to do that together.” Asking such a favor from Tsuna went against his instincts, but Shamal would be proud that he at least had gotten himself a nice dinner out of the whole ordeal.

Squeezing tight at Gokudera’s stitched fingers, Tsuna’s face brightened. “That’ll be wonderful. Thank you. You know, for accepting my invitation.” He offered a shy but undeniably coy smile.

Gokudera’s cheeks heated, but he nodded, licked his lip, and met Tsuna’s eyes. “Yeah. Yeah, I think it’ll be alright. I mean, good. It’ll be… really good.”

“Oh!” Tsuna said suddenly, startling both his friend and his horse. “This is perfect! C’mon, let’s go back inside. Goodnight, Nuts! Hopefully Uri doesn’t follow you into this stall…” He patted Nuts between the eyes and with fingers laced tight with Gokudera’s, tugged the taller man for the door.

Gokudera stumbled after him, blinking with surprise at Tsuna’s sudden activity. It wasn’t until they were rounding the corner to the front of the saloon that Tsuna released his hand. His hand felt a little cold where Tsuna had let it go.

“What? What is it?” he laughed, his chest warm with fondness.

“Something perfect for going out to dinner. Come with me,” Tsuna replied, leading the way up the stairs and into the saloon where they found Yamamoto cleaning up for the night. Only a few customers were still lingering.

Yamamoto lit up with delight when he saw them, as eager as a puppy upon seeing the smiles on his friends’ faces. “Hey, guys! How are the horses?”

“Um, mostly fine… there’s a little bit of drama out in the stable…” Tsuna said as he and Gokudera took stools across the bar from Yamamoto.

“Uri moved into Nuts’ stall,” Gokudera explained with a sigh. “He’s nesting in the hay bag and just generally harassing that poor, neurotic horse.”

“Oh jeeze, that cat really is something else,” Yamamoto laughed. “I guess he expects to have his own room in exchange for his hard work.”

“There’s four open stalls out there, he could have any of those!” Tsuna protested, though was snickering. “Hey -- Yamamoto -- do you have that thing with you?”

“Hm?” Yamamoto puzzled momentarily. “Oh, that thing? Yeah! Is now good?”

With a grin, Tsuna nodded. Yamamoto fished inside his vest for a small pocket and when he offered his open palm to Gokudera, he revealed a pair of cufflinks. The were simple and elegant, silver settings with polished stones that were quite unique. Mostly dark black, whatever the stone was had thin streaks here and there that were white but almost irridescent when the light shifted.

Gokudera looked up at them with surprise. “They’re… really nice,” he said, lifting one up to the light to turn it one way and another. “You didn’t need to get me anything,” he added, recalling Shamal telling him to look forward to apology gifts. He hadn’t actually expected it to happen, however.

“We won them in a card game while you were at Shamal’s!” Yamamoto announced proudly.

Tsuna palmed his face. “Yamamoto, you’re not supposed to tell him that!”

“Why not? It was amazing.”

“What did you win with?” Gokudera wondered with a grin, not at all offended that the gift hadn’t been purchased from a jeweler. “Or did you bluff your way to victory?”

“It was the second night you were gone. This gorgeous fella rolled in, real well put together in a suit but not too dandy fancy, still manly. You would have liked him. My first thought was well, I know my plans for tonight. But then Tsuna noticed his cufflinks and said, “>sigh< I wish we could get something like that for Gokudera without having to go to Lussuria.” And then I said, “Well maybe we can get those!” So we challenged the guy and a couple of his men to a card game. Tsuna tore up the table! He was impossible to read and won hand after hand.”

Tsuna shrugged and smiled sheepishly. “I guess I’m good at poker when I’m feeling determined?” There was an understanding between the three friends that when they played cards together, they avoided poker. This was because Tsuna was phenomenally bad at poker, constantly forgetting the rules, without any poker face or ability to bluff whatsoever.

“Then, it’s just down to Tsuna and this guy and everything is on the table and it’s super serious because this guy doesn’t like losing and his men are all pissed off,” Yamamoto continued, his excited tone building the tension of the story. “Tsuna says, ‘What now, sir?’ Gamma absolutely thought you were bluffing, Tsuna. So the guy puts down his cufflinks and says, “Are you able to match that, Vongola?” (Here Yamamoto dropped his voice sexily.)

“It’s really Yamamoto that made it happen,” Tsuna interrupted with a laugh. “He went upstairs and came down with this baseball with at least a dozen signatures on it.”

“It’s the Brooklyn Atlantics 1867 lineup,” Yamamoto explained. “One of ‘em I got when I lived up north with Tsuna after the war. New York is just about the craziest place in the world. Anyway, I knew this guy was a sports guy because I’d heard him complaining earlier about how we don’t have a billiard table. By the way, Tsuna, do you think we should get a billiard table? I know Byakuran has one but it might be fun to--”

“Focus, you dumbass baseball fan,” Gokudera snickered, snapping his fingers in front of Yamamoto’s nose.

Unaffected, Yamamoto laughed. “Anyhow, the guy knew the value of it so he took the bet. And Tsuna slaughtered him! He had a flush, but Tsuna had a full house!”

“As usual,” Tsuna said with dry humor.

“Wow, I… I wish I’d been there to see that go down,” Gokudera said, impressed, holding up the cufflinks for one more look before tucking them away in his pocket. “You shouldn’t have risked your baseball, though, idiot. What if you’d lost it?”

Yamamoto just shrugged carelessly. “Then I’d have one less baseball. It was worth a shot and I believed in Tsuna’s instincts, anyhow! The guy ended up being a surprisingly good sport at the end of it all and took defeat well. After that, I took him upstairs and man, he was /hot/,” their tall friend concluded, wistfully.

“Yamamoto…” Tsuna groaned, face turning red.

Gokudera just chuckled, used to Yamamoto’s particular enthusiasm for their career. “But if Tsuna cleaned him out in poker, how did he afford you?”

“Oh, I gave him an I.O.U.,” Yamamoto replied flippantly. “He said he’d be back in town at some point soon.”

“Did you REALLY, Yamamoto?” Tsuna gaped.

“You’re gonna send Tsuna to the poor house if you keep trusting your customers to ‘pay you back someday’,” Gokudera chided, shaking his head, but he was grinning.

“Awww, he seemed like a trustworthy guy. I felt a little bad that Tsuna worked him over so much. He said he’d teach me to hustle pool next time he’s around! Good night, folks!” Yamamoto called with a wave as the last two patrons of the night took their leave.

Tsuna and Gokudera turned to acknowledge the last of the customers as well, and Gokudera followed after to lock the doors behind them. “Pour me a whiskey and tell us more about this ‘Gamma’,” he called over his shoulder.

Lambo was supposed to be helping Yamamoto with the closing shift but was nowhere to be seen -- which wasn’t unusual. Normally Gokudera would go on a hunt for the boy, wherever he had found to shirk his duties with a nap, but instead he and Tsuna helped with the few closing tasks. After, they retired to the lounge where Yamamoto and Gokudera shared a sofa and Tsuna made himself comfortable in an arm chair.

For a while, they talked there, catching Gokudera up on what had happened in the three days he’d taken leave. They delayed any heavy conversation, and though Yamamoto avoided physical contact with either of them, things felt almost normal. Lately, Yamamoto had been particularly fired up about baseball and Gamma had known a bit of what was currently going on with the many east coast leagues that had been formed following the end of the Civil War. Add the news about the railroad putting a stop in their town and Yamamoto was hit into high orbit with wild ideas about Wavewood becoming big enough to have a team in the Pacific league.

Politely, his friends listened, supportive of Yamamoto’s fervent interests. Or rather, Tsuna was polite and supportive and firmly but silently demanded on a regular basis that Gokudera endure his sports fan ravings. Usually he just thought about math and physics and explosives until Yamamoto was done with his ramblings. Tonight, he talked until Tsuna started to nod off and Gokudera declared the end of the night.

On the second floor of the Vongola Rose there were five bedrooms and two bathing rooms. From left to right they were: Tsuna’s ex-office aka Mukuro’s Playground, Tsuna’s bedroom, followed by Gokudera, Yamamoto and Hibari at the far end of the hall.

“Goodnight, guys,” Yamamoto said, his smile almost unbearably bright before he slipped into his room.

When Gokudera looked to his left, hand on his doorknob, he found Tsuna a few yards away at his own open bedroom door. He smiled his own sweet, fond smile and said, “Goodnight, Hayato.”

The use of his first name caught Gokudera off guard and his ears flared red, face heating. He nodded once, met his boss’ warm brown eyes, and answered back. “Goodnight, Tsuna.”

Chapter Text

Just as promised, when Dino approached the Rose with the sun beginning its dip to the horizon, Hibari was in view. Leaning over the dry wood of the building's front banister, his red tie tugged slightly in the breeze.

Dino's breath caught in his throat at the sight. Hibari was clothed in a slim fitting suit-- wrapped in it really. It wasn't the same suit he'd seen him in before-- which meant that Hibari had at least two, if not more, suits. This one was good though. Really good. He swallowed hard, straightened his own jacket-- clean but not fancy -- and walked across the road to meet his date for the evening.

"Punctual," Hibari greeted with all his usual charm.

"I wouldn't leave you waiting," Dino grinned. "You ready?"

Hibari nodded and straightened his tie, tucking it neatly away as he fell into step with Dino. "I assume we're going to the Thousand Flowers. Unless you've planned some epic carriage trip."

Dino chuckled a little. "Not this time," he admitted. "I hope that’s alright."

"Of course," Hibari replied easily. As they crossed town nearing the end of the day, he walked surprisingly close and didn't bother making eye contact with those they passed on the streets. It might have been to avoid curious stares but Dino figured he'd probably act this way no matter the circumstances.

Besides, secretly, selfishly, he wanted this evening to be about them. He didn't want to watch Hibari meeting eyes with others who might have been his clients at one time. He didn't want anything to distract Hibari from the time they were going to spend together. He looked over at Hibari then, smiling at the way his own heart skipped a beat to see that profile, delicate and yet somehow still intimidating. He held out his elbow then, hopeful, catching Hibari's gaze with a raised brow, questioning.

Hibari stared at the arm for a moment, as though uncertain what to do with it. Then glanced at Dino. He looked away as he let his arm slide into the marshal's with only the faintest rolling of eyes. Dino knew it was silly, that there was only another short block left before they'd reach the Thousand Flowers’ brightly lit entrance. But he couldn't keep the grin from his face as he squeezed at Hibari's hand just a little.

Wavewood was a small town, but it had its share of money, easily evidenced by the gleaming white facade of the Thousand Flowers Hotel. It was the only place in town as lavish as the Rose (and much more so), barring Mukuro's private estate.

Hibari's hand fell away from Dino's touch as they approached the lamp-lit paradise. The lobby accosted the senses in a wave of fresh flowers and blinding white. Everyone in town wondered how much Byakuran had to pay to have so many fresh flowers shipped into the frontier on a regular basis. Lilies and hydrangeas and sparkling white roses burst from vases all over the opalescent lobby.

"Oh goodness, Marshal, don't you clean up nicely." Leaning lazily at the marble counter across the foyer, Byakuran practically disappeared into his surroundings. Pale hair, pale skin, pale suit. "Shou-chan told me about your intriguing dinner reservation with us."

"Ah, yes, um, well," Dino stepped further into the lobby, his eyes darting between Hibari, who seemed to be inspecting the marble tile as if bored and Byakuran who watched Dino like a cat stalking an insect. "It's a beautiful hotel."

"Oooh, thank you ever so much, Marshal," Byakuran purred and crossed the lobby to meet them. As he passed the centerpiece, he plucked a rose from a vase. "Though not nearly as beautiful as your company this evening."

Hibari's gaze slowly turned on him and a tension that Dino couldn't read flickered through the room when their eyes met. Byakuran smiled pleasantly as he offered Hibari the rose. He accepted it with a strange, cold silence and Dino looked between the two of them with uncertainty.

"That's very... kind of you." He nodded to Byakuran and took a step closer to Hibari, lifting a hand to touch lightly at the small of his back. "I assume our table is ready?"

"Ooh, of course, of course, this way," Byakuran giggled and ushered them to the right of the lobby. A vase waited beside the candles that lit their table dramatically. Hibari raised a brow, his stony silence continuing as he dropped the white rose into the prepared water. Before Dino had the chance, the snowy-haired dandy was pulling out Hibari's chair. He sank into it silently and watched Byakuran from the corner of his eye.

Byakuran handed over a pair of menus and chirped, "Please enjoy your meal." And was gone.

Dino let a moment of silence-- not altogether uncomfortable, after all -- pass between them. Then he cleared his throat, caught Hibari's eyes over the top of his menu. "Do you want something to drink?"

Hibari was surprisingly at ease, settling into his plush seat. He folded his hands over his menu. "Something to share?" he suggested. "It's been quite a while since I've had wine."

Dino nodded, browsing the wine menu until he found an expensive Italian wine he recalled being a favorite of his old tutor's. Shouichi brought the bottle to their table and presented it with a sort of nervous flair, before filling their glasses and disappearing back into the kitchen. "Let me offer a toast," he said, lifting his glass. "To good food, and getting to know each other better."

Peering over the edge of his own glass of deep maroon liquid, Hibari's expression seemed unimpressed. But Dino had spent enough time with him now to recognize what was more likely uncertainty. He tapped his glass flippantly.

"You presume I'm interested in learning about you," he remarked and sipped.

"Presume?" Dino raised a brow. "Oh, I'd never. Hope, maybe." He sipped then, humming pleasantly at the flavor. He looked over the top of his glass, waiting for Hibari's reaction to the wine. "It's Reborn's favorite, you know."

Interest flickered across Hibari's features at the name. But then his lips pursed sourly and he took another drink. "That man came through town while you were away," he remarked with a distinct coldness.

Dino blinked. "Did he really? I had no idea he'd left the east coast." He didn't want to pry too deep, lest he upset Hibari, but he was curious why the man's former admiration seemed to be somewhat soured. Then again, Reborn tended to rub people the wrong way upon meeting them, so Dino couldn't be entirely surprised if that was the case.

"Yes," Hibari said stiffly. "And according to the obnoxious gossip in my house, he’s in romantic upheaval with the woman cook. Why he would engage with that psychopath, when there are skilled professionals around, is beyond my understanding."

"Oh..." Dino bit his lip faintly, staring into his wine glass to keep from smiling fondly. "I'm sorry to hear that… he doesn't know what he's missing."

A snort. "Indeed." Then, loftily, "The truth of the matter is I wouldn't want a customer with such questionable taste."

"Reborn is a great man, and a skilled gunslinger, but well... yes. He's always had sort of strange taste in bed partners."

Hibari smirked at him from across the table. "Present company included."

Dino flushed deeply, choking on the swallow of wine he'd just taken. "W-well you know, it wasn't really... um. It's not like we... you know..."

"Oh?"

They were interrupted by the timid Shouichi to take their orders. When their menus were taken away, Hibari threaded his fingers over his wine glass and let his chin rest on them.

"What /was/ it like?" he wondered with faux-innocence that hardly matched the demon's glint in his grin.

Dino coughed, clearing his throat of the last of the wine he'd inhaled. "It-- it was okay, I guess. Reborn-- he... well he mostly... well he was my mentor so he, you know, taught me things. He was very... instructive."

"Hmmmm." For a moment, Hibari had a far away, unreadable look, with a tiny, dangerous smirk. Then he picked up his glass again to swirl the last bit of his drink. "I'll have to thank him next time he passes through. For sending you my way with /some/ amount of experience."

"Uh, yeah, haha. Well, I'll give him that-- he's a good tutor." Dino's cheeks and ears were still quite pink, and he finished off his wine in one swallow, hoping the alcohol might give him a better excuse for his flush than pure embarrassment. "Anyway, how did you learn about Reborn?"

"There were times in the past that our paths have crossed, thanks to.... professional obligation. Occasionally, he'll contact me with work."

"You still haven’t even told me what weapon you're trained in," Dino complained, pouncing on the chance to change the subject from his sexual experience. "Will you fight with me some time?"

"How do I know if you're any good?" Hibari wondered in reply.

"Well... I guess you'll just have to try me and see," Dino hummed, leaning forward just a little, his face lit by the candle in the center of their table. "But I suppose if you need proof... I did beat Reborn once. Just once, but I did it."

Hibari focused on him with an interest that outshone any glimmer of intrigue he'd let Dino see before. "Is that so?" he murmured, eyes hooded as he studied Dino's face. Probably deciding whether he was lying or not. "How interesting. That knowledge will make biting you to death that much sweeter."

Dino grinned openly then, hands busied with unfolding his napkin and laying it out on his lap. "I can't wait to see you fight," he agreed. "I'll bet you're even more beautiful then."

He was rewarded with the widening smirk that was aimed at him. "You're probably right," Hibari agreed.

The first course arrived then, small salads which Dino was only half interested in, but he hoped the fresh produce would impress Hibari just a little.

Not that determining this was any easy task. Thankfully their time together gave Dino an edge when he witnessed the softening of Hibari's brow, the almost imperceptible relaxation of his shoulders as he sampled his food. He held a fork with the same delicate poise as he handled his chopsticks, a vision of elegant class.

The silence that settled over them was surprisingly comfortable, Shouichi stopping by to refill their wine glasses once more before the main course arrived. The smell of fresh food washed over the table, even Hibari unable to hide his pleased smile at the perfect cut of fish.

"It took some time to acquire a taste for the way fish is prepared in the states," Hibari remarked as the meat flaked away under his fork. "But I've grown to appreciate its merits."

"Maybe some time you and I can eat fish together Japanese style," Dino suggested, holding himself back just barely from clutching his own chest at the warmth that spread through him at watching Hibari enjoy his meal. The number of genuine smiles he'd seen Hibari crack could probably be counted on one hand, but each time it was that much more precious because of its rarity.

"Anything could happen," Hibari remarked. After long moments and a tiny, pleased sigh or two, he picked up his wine glass once more. "You're certainly confident, being seen like this with the town dominatrix."

Dino cast a look of surprise across the table. Like it didn't even occur to him to feel anything but confident. "I'm _lucky_," he clarified. "To be able to be seen with the most interesting, multi-layered, aggressively attractive man that any of the people in this town has ever met."

The look of surprise that mirrored back at him at him held its own value of rarity. For a moment, Hibari was speechless even though he quickly put on a scowl, feigning disgust over Dino's simpering compliments. But Dino was fairly certain he wasn't just imagining things when he caught the hint of color that seemed to flush Hibari's cheeks.

He touched his napkin to his lips before returning it to his lap. "I suppose I can't disagree with that," he finally said.

"You could," Dino grinned. "But you'd be lying. And modesty doesn't suit you."

After that they fell into another comfortable quiet, each enjoying their meals, each casting glances at the other. Dino's were affectionate and interested, Hibari's were harder to read. But by the time the plates were being cleared, Hibari seemed downright relaxed. The last of the bottle was drained in the modest dose that signaled the meal's end. With pale fingers cradling his glass, he aimed his satiated gaze at Dino.

"Thank you," Dino hummed, limbs loose and smile easy. His glass was empty but he held it still, mostly for something to do with his hands.

"Mmm," Hibari hummed pleasantly. He finished off his drink and set it down. "Thank you for the meal. I'm glad I can still be draining /some/ of your income." A smirk.

"Got more to spend now," Dino agreed. "Spoil you a little." Not as much, perhaps, as Mukuro certainly was, but well, maybe this could mean a little more.

"As far as customers go, you always treated me quite well," Hibari replied with a shrug. "But I'll rarely turn away gifts."

"Well I'm not a customer anymore... so I have a higher bar to reach now," Dino laughed and reached across the table, fingertips brushing at Hibari's. "Which is why we're also ordering dessert. Anything you like."

Hibari's brows lifted but his tiny smile returned. "I believe I noticed tiramisu on the menu."

When the exquisite dessert was set before them, Dino was treated to the eager glow in Hibari's eyes as he lifted his fork. Once it brought the first piece of spongy sweetness to his lips, Hibari's eyes slid shut. A tiny sigh escaped as he let the flavor wash over his senses.

As he went back for his second bite, Hibari's touch tickled over Dino's knuckles before his fingers settled lightly on the marshal's. Dino blinked, surprised to have Hibari return the touch, to offer it back so willingly, so easily. So he felt himself smiling again, for the nth time that evening. He was happy just to gaze at Hibari, biting his lip a little at the sounds the younger man made as he enjoyed his dessert.

Fork resting on his lip for a moment, Hibari caught his eyes curiously. "Won't you be having any?"

"Oh, no, that's alright," Dino shook his head a little. "I want to see you enjoy it."

Hibari scowled at him and promptly shoved a forkful of pastry past Dino's lips. "Pervert," he accused.

Dino startled a little, but slid the bite of dessert from the fork, swiping his thumb over the corner of his mouth where a bit of cream had smudged. "I can't help myself," Dino spoke after he'd swallowed.

An irritated snort. "Help me eat this, it's too much," he ordered, gripping his fork in such a way that suggested it might go from eating to stabbing. "I'll give you something to watch another time."

Dino laughed a little but picked up his fork and dug in, though he still intended to leave the lion's share for Hibari. "When?" he asked.

A few more bites passed while Hibari considered this. He licked briefly at his lip. "I don't know yet."

Dino leaned forward a bit more, his fingers reaching once more to find Hibari's, squeezing a little. "I can't wait."

With the last course dwindling, he allowed the touch, even letting his fingers slide deeper into Dino's hand. But Hibari said nothing, his eyes falling to the table and the last few bites which he worked his way through with a certain pensiveness. But he didn't seem unhappy when he turned his tiny smirk on Dino, collected the last of the custard onto a fingertip for him to hum his final appreciation.

"You know exactly what you do to me," Dino accused, then risked entwining his fingers with Hibari's. "Was that good?"

"I /am/ a professional, after all," Hibari replied with humor. "It was excellent. Well played."

"So does that mean you'll want to do this again?" Dino wondered hopefully.

"So long as you don't give me a reason to murder you between now and then," Hibari replied.

"I'll do my best," Dino nodded, seriously.

Hibari chuckled faintly and politely looked away as the check was delivered. When they left, he didn't even bother glancing at the rose Byakuran had given him at the beginning of the meal.

Chapter Text

The day following their stroll to the stables, things between the three of them felt much better. They made it through their interactions of the work day without any awkward moments, even when Yamamoto took the risk to offer a friendly touch to the both of them here and there. Mid-evening, Tsuna and Gokudera met in the parlor, both crisply and nicely dressed.

Ryouhei was working the bar while Yamamoto waited for an appointment, giving their friend a chance to get a look at them before the dinner date. He fawned over them with such overt affection that they fled to saloon to escape.

Unexpectedly, as they arrived at the Thousand Flowers, they crossed paths with Dino and Hibari as they were leaving. Stopping on the porch of the hotel, Tsuna and Dino embraced, ignoring the tense reactions on either side of them: Hibari with the irritation of crowding and Gokudera with the irritation of standing next to Hibari. Laughing, the two friends chatted on how unlikely the odds were and how was your meal until Hibari grabbed Dino by the sleeve and jerked him away.

“Tsunayoshi,” Hibari said with a nod, his version of excusing them. To Gokudera he offered a more formal nod and then dragged Dino down the stairs with an iron grip.

“Sorry, Tsuna, see you soon, okay?” Dino called as he was swept away. “Have a nice meal!”

Tsuna was laughing when Gokudera held open the wide front door of the hotel, decorated with stained glass depicting flowers. Inside, the lobby was an affront to the senses, all bright-lit sconces and blindingly white flowers and gleaming pale marble. Compared to the familiar smells of their saloon -- booze, Bianchi’s cooking and travellers coming in from the desert -- the air in the hotel was almost overwhelming, thick with the sweet smell of flowers. It made Tsuna’s eyes water.

The hope was that Byakuran would be occupied elsewhere but such convenience didn’t work out in their favor. Instead when they entered the lobby, they found the white-haired dandy in the middle of the expansive, shining room, fussing with the large wrought iron centerpiece that overflowed with a mountain of fresh flowers.

When the owner of the establishment set eyes on Tsuna, a smile spread across Byakuran’s face that made Tsuna’s spine straighten with alarm. “Tsunayoshi?” he purred, slinking forward to immediately snatch up Tsuna’s hand for a lingering kiss to his knuckles. After this, he continued to hold Tsuna’s hand between his own. “What a delightful surprise! Have you angered the Vongola cook again?”

“Good evening, Mister Byakuran… N-no, no trouble at home this time,” Tsuna said nervously, casting a quick glance at Gokudera who was bristling just a little. “Just out for a nice supper…”

Byakuran’s gaze followed Tsuna’s to Gokudera, as though just noticing the other man’s presence. The dandy smiled sweetly and gave Tsuna’s hand a squeeze. “How generous you are, darling Tsunayoshi, taking your employees out on the town. Such kindness.” Gokudera offered him a sneer in reply, which Byakuran seemed not to notice. “Come, allow me to show you to the dining room.”

Before they exited the lobby, Byakuran picked up a large vase exploding with white flowers which he placed at the end of their table. The chair was pulled out for Tsuna and one more kiss was pressed to his hand. “Please enjoy your meal and be sure to tell me if there’s /anything/ I can do to make your experience more pleasurable.”

“Th-thank you…” Tsuna sputtered, face crimson, and Byakuran (for the moment) took his leave.

When Shouichi came to attend to them, he was juggling two menus and two more vases of flowers which he managed to set down on either side of the one larger one. When he left them to make their selections, they felt dwarfed by the towering, fragrant offering.

“Sorry about this,” Tsuna sighed, shaking his head as he perused the artfully-scripted menu.

“I don’t like that guy at all,” Gokudera sniffed, eyeing the flowers with suspicious irritation. “He’s much too handsy with you.”

“Yeeeaah, I agree,” Tsuna said with a sigh. “I never know what to do in those awkward situations.”

They ordered and the conversation was easy and casual, all things considered. They talked about what was on Byakuran’s menu and how it reflected the conditions of surrounding settlements. They talked about how the food options in town might change with the new railroad and what sort of things they missed from their childhood home on the Atlantic, like crab and lobster and clams. Chin propped in a palm over a glass of wine, Tsuna smiled at him in a way that made Gokudera’s stomach hurt and asked if he could remember anything about the food in Italy before he’d immigrated.

Soon there were steaming plates in front of them, pheasant for Tsuna and venison for Gokudera, both smelling delicious enough to overpower the smell of flowers. They ate slowly, savoring a meal quite a bit elevated from their usual fare (not that a single sane person in town would say such a thing to Bianchi.)

The conversation wandered to things back home and Tsuna giggled as he cut his dwindling meat. “Yamamoto is getting very excitable about baseball again,” he observed fondly. “You never got to see him at his worst. I went to games with him when we were in New England together.”

“Do you really think they’ll bring baseball out here?” Gokudera wondered, chuckling lightly, trying to imagine Yamamoto even -more- excitable about the sport than he already was. “You might have trouble keeping him as an employee if he gets it in his head to play baseball.”

“I’m sure it will eventually,” Tsuna replied. “It was absolutely huge in New England when we left and I’ve seen people playing it in Los Angeles and San Francisco. I doubt he could get /too/ distracted… I mean… We had nice friends back east for him to play with but he wasn’t trying to join a club or a league. I don’t… expect he’d be very welcome.” He gave a sad little sigh, conveying a bit of worry for their friend’s high hopes. It wasn’t likely that a full-blooded Japanese immigrant would be invited to play on any recognized team. “But anyway -- how could somebody make a job out of playing baseball?”

“Perhaps he’ll marry a rich widow who thinks he looks cute in a baseball outfit,” Gokudera joked.

Tsuna choked on a laugh, covering his mouth too late for it not to be loud. “That’s a strange and disturbing future. And… It’s really not very attractive, the baseball outfit. It’s kind of… goofy,” Tsuna said as though he were telling a secret. “Don’t tell Yamamoto I said so.” Well it was sort of a secret.

“I won’t tell,” Gokudera promised with a finger touching his lips, enjoying the way Tsuna laughed again, and how embarrassed he got when a nearby patron shot them a disapproving glance.

Shouichi appeared to take their empty plates and on his heels was Byakuran, wielding two small dishes which he set in front of Tsuna and Gokudera with a magician-like flourish. Before them were two spongey yellow cakes, stacked with sliced strawberries that were as red as rubies and topped with cream.

“In appreciation of the frivolity and interesting reputation you both provide for our town,” he explained with a bow so gracious it was grating.

“Ah… Thank you, Byakuran, you didn’t need to…” Tsuna hemmed, but couldn’t help but look excited about the glorious dessert placed before them. “It looks delicious.”

“Much like yourself this evening, Tsunayoshi,” Byakuran purred to him, out of Gokudera’s earshot with a hand on Tsuna’s shoulder before he tittered, “Please enjoy!” He again made an exit, leaving Tsuna’s face red.

Moments later, Shouichi swung back to deliver two flutes of dessert sherry, also compliments of the Thousand Flowers. By the time he took a bite, Tsuna’s fork was a little shaky but the treat was no less tasty. He gave a sigh, both in suffering over his lot in life but also in pleasure at the flavor. Smiling around his fork, he watched as Gokudera tried his own dessert and Tsuna found something about the image of the mysterious-looking bomber sampling strawberry shortcake to be terribly charming.

“Can I ask you something personal, Hayato?” Tsuna asked with pensive curiosity

“Of course, Boss. You know you can ask me anything.”

“When…” He cleared his throat quietly and lowered his voice, even though there were only a handful of customers in the restaurant. He knew his cheeks were pink. “How old were you when it occurred to you that… you... Um… like… gentlemen?”

Gokudera looked a little surprised, but he wasn’t put out or annoyed by the question, understanding why Tsuna (only just recently exploring that part of his sexuality) might be asking.

“Ah, well… I suppose I knew pretty young,” he answered, with some measure of embarrassment. “I-- had a crush on an older man, a family friend, when I was a child in Italy. And then… I just never had those kinds of feelings for any woman I met.”

Nodding slowly, Tsuna nibbled at a bit of strawberry. “I’m sorry for asking weird questions. It’s just… a strange experience, sort of. I guess… I just never thought past Kyoko. I liked her since I was a kid but before Reborn I was so pathetic, I never expected to have anyone, let alone her. Then before I knew it my whole life was training and trying to get her and then having her. When it ended, I found myself as an adult realizing I’d never properly /thought/ about… this sort of thing.” He gestured vaguely at their situation and then he startled, seeming to catch up with his own words, face red when he said, “Ah! I’m so sorry for talking about such awkward stuff on a date!”

Gokudera waved a hand reassuringly. “No no, it’s okay. I don’t mind. I’m… glad you trust me enough to talk about such personal thoughts. It’s-- you know it’s perfectly normal to have attraction to both men and women. It isn’t strange.”

“I-- I know,” Tsuna said and gave a little laugh at himself. “It’s… disconcerting how different I… respond, depending on… Women are very intimidating but…” A few slices of strawberry remained on Tsuna’s plate and he pushed them around as though words were hiding under them. “So, I wasn’t sure if I should tell you this but I figured that… for the sake of honesty, like we talked about, I should let you know that I um… got a bit close with someone b-before Yamamoto…”

Gokudera raised a curious brow, sipping at his drink and nodding, gesturing for Tsuna to continue. The idea of Tsuna being with other people didn’t inherently bother him-- if anything, he felt a bit proud of his boss for exploring his newly discovered desires.

“You see-- a little after Kyoko left I was um… approached by Mister Mukuro with an offer… not a business transaction but… for his um… you know…” Tsuna gestured uselessly, face hot. “A-anyway, I didn’t… fully take the offer… but… almost. Anyway, that’s sort of when I started thinking about all… this.”

A shadow passed over Gokudera’s face at the mention of Mukuro’s name. It was no secret that most of the people at the Rose weren’t fond of him, and Gokudera in particular did not enjoy the thought of that particular man putting his hands on Tsuna in any way. “He didn’t threaten you, did he?” he hissed quietly, reaching across the table instinctively to take hold of Tsuna’s hand.

“No, no, not at all,” Tsuna hurried to assure him, prepared for such a reaction (and in fact, for something much more dramatic). “It was purely civil and he took my rejection gracefully.” It was at least 85% true. “We’re on fine terms now and he’s been respectful.” A solid 90% truth. Tsuna set aside his fork to take Gokudera’s hand tight in both of his, smiling shyly across the table. “Sorry if it’s weird but-- thanks for letting me tell you, I guess? I thought… it would feel wrong if you found it out from someone else.”

Gokudera squeezed back, the first extended physical contact they’d had since before Gokudera had left to stay with Shamal. It felt, surprisingly comfortable. Natural even. “You don’t need to feel bad about that. I understand how that guy is, boss. He gets what he wants. That you walked away from that encounter with your dignity intact is something you should be proud of.”

At the same time, he may or may not have been silently plotting the best way to blow up Mukuro’s beautiful face.

Tsuna laughed, clearly relieved to have that bit of information off his chest. He let one hand slide away to reach for his half-drained flute of sherry. With the other hand, he stitched their fingers together, resting on top of the fine linen table cloth. “We should do this more often,” he said, capturing Gokudera with his warm, happy gaze. “It’s always nice to spend time with you away from the house.”

“I agree and… I’d like that,” Gokudera hummed, looking down at their threaded fingers. “Though… maybe next time we should invite that baseball freak too,” he added, only a little reluctantly, scoffing with exaggeration.

Though he tried, Tsuna was unable to stop the giggle that escaped from him. “That’d be nice too. He’d like that a lot.” Plates and glasses empty, the young Vongola lingered, watching Gokudera’s face. Tsuna’s thumb caressed lightly along Gokudera’s.

Gokudera shivered, licked his lip, and let his eyes close briefly, centering himself before looking up again, mouth open just a little, like it was suddenly hard to breathe. “Tsuna, I--”

“I hope everything was to your liking?” Byakuran’s wide smile seemed to appear from nowhere, startling Tsuna into yelping and yanking his hand away. The bill was placed on the table before him.

“Y-yes!” he squeaked. “An excellent meal, please give our compliments to your kitchen staff.”

“I’m so very glad to hear that,” Byakuran chirped. “Quite an honor to have the young Vongola with us tonight. It would be a delight to see you here more often, Tsunayoshi.”

Tsuna glanced between the two men, already fishing in his vest for his wallet to complete this transaction as quickly as possible. “That’s kind of you to say, Byakuran, thank you,” he said nervously as he set down a bill and a few coins to cover their meal. Smiling, he rose, ready to excuse them. “It’s always a pleasure to visit your beautiful hotel.”

“Such a flatterer,” Byakuran replied coyly, kissing a hand before Tsuna had the chance to sneak away. “I’ll have your flowers delivered to the brothel. Farewell for now, young Vongola.”

Outside, Tsuna stumbled down the front stairs of the hotel and breathed a huge sigh of relief. A few steps later, he grabbed for the hand that he’d relinquished back in the restaurant and threaded their fingers again for the short walk home. “Good food comes with a cost in this town.”

“I seriously hate that guy,” Gokudera grumbled. “So much.” But he gripped Tsuna’s hand again, goosebumps appearing on his arms with the realization that Tsuna was comfortable taking his hand in public. Nevermind that it was night and the streets were less than crowded.

When they got home, the saloon was fairly well occupied but Ryouhei and Lambo had things in hand. Yamamoto was likely upstairs with a customer. When Gokudera and Tsuna walked into view of the bar, Ryouhei shouted loud enough to shake the rafters (since it was sort of loud in the saloon already, this was Ryouhei actually /yelling/), “HEY GUYS DID YOU HAVE AN EXTREMELY NICE DINNER AT THE HOTEL?”

“MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, YOU CREEP!” Gokudera shouted back, but with Tsuna’s hand still in his, he couldn’t quite manage to look as convincingly angry as usual, and Ryouhei beamed happily back at him, seeing right through his affected irritation. Tsuna could only semi-stifle a laugh at his friends and offered a chagrined wave to Ryouhei as they passed through the parlor.

“Thank you for suggesting that. I had a great time, even with Byakuran over our shoulders.” Tsuna hesitated nervously at the bottom of the stairs, letting his palm slide away from Gokudera’s. He held Gokudera’s attention with his smile, shy and sincere. “I look forward to the next time.”

“Wait!” Gokudera started, reaching out for Tsuna’s retreating hand, then withdrawing apologetically. “I mean… I’d like to do it again too. But…” After a glance around the room, he took comfort from seeing that everyone there seemed preoccupied with their own activities, even Ryouhei was distracted by serving another round to a particularly noisy group. Nonetheless, Gokudera lowered his voice, leaning in close enough to be heard. “We… we don’t have to end this evening already. If-- if you don’t want to.”

Frozen, Tsuna stared at him for a long moment, looking a little like a startled rabbit. He glanced up the stairs where his bedroom door beckoned, inviting with tempting privacy -- and then to the parlor and a nice little table and chairs in the corner, with people around, where his urges would stay under control. He sucked in a breath. “I-- I don’t… want to presume anything,” he said, just loud enough to be heard. He looked at Gokudera’s face briefly and then away, as though he couldn’t handle it. “But… if… um… I would be glad to spend the rest of the evening with you… however you’d like.”

“It’s too crowded down here,” Gokudera breathed, sounding oddly like Hibari in that moment. He tipped Tsuna’s chin up with a gentle touch to his jaw, hovered there, not quite close enough to kiss, but ever fiber of him wanting to, and waited for Tsuna to notice. “Take me upstairs?”

A smile twitched at the corner of Tsuna’s lips. He turned to brush his cheek against the inside of Gokudera’s palm, giving a tiny kiss against its heel. Then he took that hand in his and led Gokudera upstairs and into Tsuna’s room. The door clicked quietly shut behind them and Tsuna reached for him.

It wasn’t sudden or urgent, but Tsuna drew him in for that longing kiss he’d seen at the bottom of the stairs. He released Gokudera’s hand so that both of his own could come to the bomber’s face, thumbs brushing his cheekbones as Tsuna kissed him with surprising chastity. Really, no more of a kiss than he might have risked somewhere in public, but there was a crackling of electricity between them, the light tickle of lips almost too much to bear.

Gokudera sighed into it, shoulders dropping and the tension that fluttered in his stomach easing away. His empty hands lifted to Tsuna’s waist and drew him close, thirsty for him. “Take me to your bed?” He dared not to add ‘please’, reckless in how he addressed the young Vongola, asking for what -he- wanted, instead of simply waiting for Tsuna to express his own desires. He knew Tsuna would be more comfortable this way, reassured that the wasn’t forcing the moment on Gokudera before he was ready. “I’m ready,” he pushed, certain.

With Tsuna watching him closely, reading Gokudera in that way he had, it was easy to catch the flicker of something dangerous that flashed over the Tenth’s features. But it was less than a second, and Tsuna’s cheeks were pink and his brown eyes soft as he coaxed Gokudera into taking a step back. Gokudera’s jacket was slid from his shoulders as they moved, set aside on a chair before Tsuna reached for the other man’s tie. By the time Gokudera’s seat met the edge of the bed, Tsuna was tossing the tie over his shoulder and starting on buttons.

Though he was careful not to work too fast, Tsuna’s actions were deliberate and unhesitating and soon Gokudera’s shirt was open and hands greedily explored his skin. Thighs, still in his slacks, were parted when Tsuna moved between them, still on his feet, while Gokudera was urged to perch on the mattress. A brush of lips on his neck, his jaw and then Tsuna was kissing him in earnest.

It was much like Gokudera’s burning hot memories of their drunk encounter, though without the unbridled urgency that Tsuna had pressed on him that night. Still, the sureness and the longing and the lust were there, though in less of a torrent. More under control. A breath, Tsuna’s eyes looking into his in search of any misgivings. When all he found was want, his hands dove into Gokudera’s shaggy hair and he kissed again, deep, tongue begging for his tobacco bitter flavor.

Gokudera groaned audibly, not interested in holding back or pretending to be coy. Perhaps Shamal would have encouraged him to hold out longer, to make Tsuna feel guilty longer, to coax more gifts out of him, but all Gokudera really wanted was this. To feel Tsuna’s hands on his body, to see the fire in his eyes turned on him, to be claimed on the boss’s bed and then, maybe, to brag about it to Yamamoto tomorrow. Maybe he’d even invite that baseball freak to the stables tomorrow to talk about it privately. This whole arrangement might just work out.

“Tell me what you want most,” he breathed, his mouth on Tsuna’s neck. “Tell me what you thought about doing with me.”

The words sent a shudder through Tsuna’s frame that both of them felt. An embarrassed but husky laugh gusted against Gokudera’s ear, Tsuna nuzzled deep into his silver hair. “I’ve thought about… a lot of things,” he murmured shyly.

Letting his suit jacket slide from his shoulders, he became distracted with the piercings that lined the edge of Gokudera’s ear. They shared aroused shivers when he tongued at the metal, then tugged faintly with his teeth.

“Let me…” Hot breath on his ear made tingles race up and down Gokudera’s spine. “Let me try… with my mouth… down there… please?”

Hands smoothed up the fine fabric of Gokudera’s slacks, appreciating the feel of him before settling on the fly and letting Tsuna in. Without hesitation and with a small, pleased gasp, he carefully drew Gokudera out and wrapped a gentle grip around him. Gokudera shuddered, hard already, flushed and stiff in Tsuna’s hand.

“O-oh,” he breathed, hips canting forward, eager and ready for it. He might have argued with Tsuna, unsure about being the full focus of his attention, but he respected the man enough to believe that Tsuna knew what he wanted, and it wasn’t Gokudera’s place to argue with that. Not when he could hardly deny wanting what Tsuna was offering. “Yeah. Yeah, okay,” he finally agreed, glad he was already sitting down, as weak as his legs felt with that first touch of Tsuna’s hand.

“Mm…” A happy sound hummed in Gokudera’s hair, Tsuna’s fingers giving him a long, experimental stroke, as though deliberately testing his reaction. After one more hungry kiss, Tsuna pulled away. He loosened his tie and tugged free two buttons, but his vest stayed in place when he reached for Gokudera again.

Before anything else, with a strange sense of intimacy, Tsuna removed Gokudera’s fine leather shoes and peeled the socks from his feet. Slacks and undergarments easily coaxed off, the bomber was left in nothing but his dress shirt and the cufflinks that Tsuna and Yamamoto had given him. Tsuna smiled fondly at the way Gokudera squirmed a little at being fully revealed in this instance, in spite of his line of work.

Thighs were again pushed apart and Tsuna knelt before him, hands smoothing over sensitive skin. Though Tsuna’s cheeks were flushed dark pink and he cast a somewhat shy look up at Gokudera, he was unafraid. He started with a kiss, then a lick at Gokudera’s base before exploring his way up the belly of his cock. It only took moments for him to be sliding his lips over the tip, eyes closing to focus on the flavor and texture when his tongue swept over the head. It might have been his first time doing this but Tsuna’s actions were intuitive, feeling just as expert as Gokudera imagined his own mouth was.

“Oh fuck--” Gokudera started, then clamped a hand over his mouth, somehow embarrassed to be heard swearing in this scenario with Tsuna. He didn’t pull away, or do anything to stop Tsuna’s motions, however, instead watching with rapt attention as Tsuna swallowed him up hungrily. “It’s good,” he urged, biting his lip, willing his hips not to betray him by thrusting deep into Tsuna’s sweet, hot throat. “Don’t stop.”

Tsuna made a sound that was definitely a giggle, though it was muffled with the way he thoroughly filled his mouth. Exploring, he found it surprisingly easy to take Gokudera reasonably deep, though he didn’t yet push his limits. Instead, he used a hand to stroke what didn’t fit in his mouth, soon slick and moving to meet his lips. Tsuna’s other hand wandered over Gokudera’s skin, sliding along the outside of a thigh while a moan vibrated down his cock.

When he pulled back for a breath and turned his eyes up to meet Gokudera’s, the silver haired man’s heart stuttered. That look -- sizzling hot and just a tiny bit frightening, aimed up at Gokudera like nothing mattered but this moment. And Tsuna, still nicely put together in one of his finest suits, the looseness of his tie just enough to give a glimpse of the dip of his collarbones, he would have seemed innocent if it wasn’t for that look.

He gave one long stroke with his wet fingers and then his mouth was back with purpose, intent on wringing pleasure from him. And Gokudera was ready for it. Ready to be taken apart bit by bit, ready for those burning eyes to be locked on him, ready for every ounce of Tsuna’s laser focus and dying-will effort to be channeled into dragging him to the edge of physical and emotional pleasure and pushing him over.

Though typically a quiet sort of man during sex, Gokudera allowed his voice to slip out more freely now, guiding and praising Tsuna when he did something that felt just right, letting him /know/ how good it was until it was just /too/ good.

“W-wait,” he breathed, one hand sliding into Tsuna’s hair. “I won’t last like this. Please, I want… I want it to last a little longer…”

Mouth tight around Gokudera’s cock, Tsuna pouted up at him. But he respected Gokudera’s request and slid away reluctantly to instead lick his own red lips. Tsuna’s pink cheek came to rest against the inside of Gokudera’s thigh and he took a deep, happy breath. When he let it out in a sigh, it was like the scalding steam coming off a hot train engine.

“What do you want?” Tsuna demanded to know, nuzzling into Gokudera’s palm when fingers brushed his jaw.

Gokudera stared down at him for a long moment, struck dumb by the sight, by Tsuna’s easy confidence, and, more basely, by his half-swollen, pink mouth. His fingers carded deeper through Tsuna’s hair, brushing past the curve of his ear, fighting the urge to guide him back to his dick to finish what they’d started. But it would be better, he knew, not to rush things.

“Fuck me,” he breathed, a shiver going down his spine to hear the filthy words spoken boldly aloud from his own lips to Tsuna.

The matching shiver that rippled along Tsuna’s spine was visible, making his shoulderblades twitch. He rose to his feet and leaned in to press a light kiss to Gokudera’s mouth, confiding, “I was hoping you’d say that…”

Tugging free his tie, Tsuna stepped away and began to undress while walking to the head of his bed. He tossed aside the edge of the luxurious covers and offered Gokudera an inviting smile as he let the vest slip from his shoulders. Clothing was tossed carelessly onto a nearby chair until Tsuna was down to his shorts and climbing into bed with Gokudera. It was only when he was under the covers that Tsuna shimmied out of his underwear, maybe still a little shy even if he had a lot of confidence.

Immediately he reached for Gokudera, sighing happily when their naked bodies touched for the first time. On their sides, Tsuna tangled their ankles, arms wrapping around Gokudera’s neck and thoroughly knotting them up. It put their hips together, Tsuna just as hard as Gokudera when they rubbed in the tight space between them. It made Tsuna shudder but for the moment he was just smiling, brown eyes soft as he looked into Gokudera’s with such a fondness and intimacy that it made Gokudera’s stomach twinge.

“It feels good,” Gokudera breathed, pressed his nose into Tsuna’s neck, sighed with something close to contentment, despite his stiff and aching need. “Being this close.”

His arms curled around Tsuna’s back, hips rocking just a little, finding the most comfortable way they fit together. It was almost unreal, being together like this, and yet, it felt somehow familiar. They’d been close friends for-- well it seemed like it had been a long time, though he supposed it wasn’t very long at all. And yet, Gokudera couldn’t deny he’d imagined something very much like this, more than once, when he was alone. It was better than any imagining. “Touch me,” he pushed, a gentle but hungry request.

Tsuna smiled, his hands already filling the request, eager to touch every part of him. One arm curled around Gokudera’s head, fingers playing through his hair while Tsuna’s other hand mapped out all the skin he could reach. He nudged Gokudera into kissing him again, giving a faint bite when their cocks rutted. Tsuna’s palm was hot -- and so was his mouth, now seeking skin, kissing Gokudera’s throat and neck. The touch that ghosted over a nipple was tentative at first but when Gokudera shivered, Tsuna teased him curiously, searching for his breaking point.

Gokudera was torn. He very nearly begged Tsuna not to tease him, to be quick, to fill him up without waiting, but he wanted to be able to take his time too, to stretch the night out a little longer, to take in and appreciate every moment. So he bit his lip and closed his eyes, and held on tighter, letting Tsuna take him apart a little at a time, until he was shivering and panting, face and chest flushed. His eyes cracked open, hazy green searching for Tsuna’s sharp, determined gaze.

“Please,” he finally begged, fingertips pressing into Tsuna’s hip, desperate.

The only pause Tsuna gave was to take in the look of him, to appreciate the way his stoic right hand man was crumbling under his touch. Tsuna eased away and moved to sit with his back to the solid headboard, pushing pillows out of his way as he settled. Though he looked away bashfully, he pushed aside the blankets enough to let Gokudera see him fully in the lantern light, bare cock stiffly upright.

After fishing in a drawer in one of the bedside tables, Tsuna produced a capped jar which he handed to Gokudera and said sheepishly, “Yamamoto said we might need that.”

Gokudera, rolled on his side, raised his head to rest it on Tsuna’s knee. He took the offered jar with similar self-consciousness and scoffed at the reference to Yamamoto’s forward thinking. “That pervert,” he accused, though his tone was gentle and carried no genuine offense. “Ah… um,” he continued, looking at the jar then up at Tsuna, where he sat, exuding an air of royalty ready to be bowed down before. “Do you… want me to… do it myself?”

Petting his fingers through Gokudera’s hair, Tsuna gave a contemplative hum, then tugged at him with gently guiding hands until Gokudera was on his knees over Tsuna’s thighs. It revealed Gokudera fully, lamplight dancing over his pale body. The smile Tsuna aimed up at him was sweet on his pink lips but there was undeniable coy lust in his eyes. “Show me how it works,” he murmured.

“O-okay,” Gokudera stuttered, somewhat awkwardly, particularly given his usual professionalism. But being with Tsuna for the first time was different than being with a client. All his usual ease and authority were shaken, and he felt on the spot in a way he hadn’t in a very long time. He kind of liked it.

It took only a moment to open the jar, to slick up his fingers. The stuff had a sweet scent that Gokudera wouldn’t have chosen for himself, but would make do with. Watching Tsuna’s face, intense and interested, Gokudera felt utterly on display. He held his breath as he reached between his legs, ignoring his own, neglected arousal, to rub the tip of his ring finger over his hole, teasing himself before letting out his breath and pressing in. Experience allowed him to relax into his own touch, and it wasn’t long before he was adding a second finger, moaning a little, while he met Tsuna’s eyes, silently begging to be praised.

In his lounge of pillows, Tsuna watched raptly, burning gaze traveling from the movement of his hand, up his body to meet Gokudera’s affected expression. Then hands lifted and smoothed up Gokudera’s thighs, thumbs rubbing lightly at the points of his hips. Easing in, kisses were brushed against Gokudera’s chest where Tsuna murmured after a happy sigh, “You’re so gorgeous, Hayato… please… I want you… Are you ready?”

Gokudera nodded, a little breathless with three fingers inside him, but he looked down at Tsuna with equal desire. Tsuna’s compliments left him feeling warm and light-headed, not having ever expected to hear such words from the man beneath him. “I’m ready,” he answered, fingers slipping free, gasping with the sensation.

A bead of sweat rolled down his jaw as he shifted, positioning himself over Tsuna’s hips. He reached for him, shuddering with pleasure as he guided Tsuna into place. With hands sliding up Gokudera’s back, Tsuna looked up at his friend’s face, unflinching, though his pleasure was apparent in the quiver of his breath and the flutter of lashes. Letting out his held breath, slow and steady, Gokudera sank down and filled himself up.

A gasp, chased by a moan escaped him as they joined for the first time, Gokudera’s hips and weight coming to rest against him. With his back against the headboard, it put Tsuna in a comfortable position to rest his brow against Gokudera’s collar bones when the sensation of being deep in the other man’s tight heat overwhelmed him. The hands flat on the plane of Gokudera’s back clutched when he ground down, squeezing at Tsuna’s cock.

“God…” he whispered against Gokudera’s chest, followed by a few kisses while his arms held Gokudera there, deeply connected, just feeling it. “It’s so good… You… you feel incredible… Hayato…”

Tsuna lifted his head enough to kiss at Gokudera’s throat while his hands explored more, bringing a shiver through Tsuna’s frame when his palms wandered over the firm roundness of Gokudera’s ass, felt how wide his thighs parted for Tsuna. Almost involuntarily, Tsuna took hold of two fistfulls of toned muscle and his hips canted, pushing even deeper into Gokudera’s body. A shaky gasp gusted against the silver haired man’s throat, Tsuna’s body giving a sharp twinge of pleasure under him.

“F-fuck,” Gokudera swore throatily under his breath, sagging forward, pressing his nose into Tsuna’s hair and breathing a good deep inhale of his scent. He rocked his hips, getting a feel for the way they fit together, humming as he settled into it, grew accustomed to the feel of Tsuna deep inside before he lifted himself onto his knees, not quite high enough to let Tsuna slip free, but enough to stroke the length of his cock, then sink back down, taking him in again.

“Ah--!” Tsuna cried out against Gokudera’s skin, clinging to him when sensation overtook him. He held tight around Gokudera’s middle for the first few earnest thrusts, squeezing him as though Tsuna could barely take the intensity. With a throaty moan, he then eased back, letting his spine straighten and chin lift. Both hands in Gokudera’s hair guided him into a kiss that was molten hot but slow and savoring, tongue pushing past Gokudera’s lips with his next breath.

After thoroughly tempting the bomber into a hungry clash of mouths, Tsuna’s hands went to his hips and took hold. He didn’t demand control necessarily but there was something about the slight movements of Tsuna’s body that directed him in ways that sent sparks tearing through Gokudera.

The pace Tsuna requested was slow and deep, taking the time to get lost in languid, messy kisses while hips met again and again. Gokudera was more than willing to let Tsuna take what he wanted, eagerly following his guidance, matching his motions. He was content to let Tsuna devour him and to devour Tsuna in turn, taking him in with a slow pointed grind, gasping aloud when that spot inside him was pushed against.

“Yes, please,” he groaned, knees and toes digging into the sheets, arms resting on Tsuna’s shoulders, hot breath in Tsuna’s hair. “Want you… fill me up. Fuck… fuck, Boss-- Tsuna… It’s so good.”

A shudder ripped through Tsuna’s body with the words but a chagrined little laugh huffed against Gokudera’s neck. “Believe me, I will…” Tsuna whispered, his voice husky and breath deep. The heat around him twisted tight and he cried out, muffling himself in Gokudera’s skin. “You’re amazing, Hayato -- hahh-- Please, don’t stop…”

Hands on Gokudera’s thighs squeezed with Tsuna’s pleasure, hips moving just so to meet Gokudera’s rise and fall. Though he matched Gokudera with an intuition that left them both moaning, he held on to the other man helplessly, lost in the tantric rhythm that they found together. Tsuna pressed his brow above Gokudera’s hammering heart, gripping hard at his pale, muscular back as pleasure built and Tsuna couldn’t stifle his voice.

Every sound, every breath or moan or growl that left Tsuna’s mouth sent shivers of pleasure across Gokudera’s skin. His dick, stiff and flushed, bobbed with his movements, slapping against his own stomach, dripping with the anticipation of his orgasm, barely able to hold back from finishing before he was ready, before Tsuna came. “Yeah, don’t-- don’t hold back,” he encouraged, words panted through parted lips. “Keep going…” He wasn’t directing their motion or their pace, but he felt comfortable enough to beg. “Come inside me, please.”

Again, Gokudera’s words made Tsuna shudder heavily, but this time it ignited something in him, like bellows breathing across red hot embers until a flame burst to life. He grabbed tight at Gokudera’s hips and tugged him down just a little roughly, bringing a hiss to his own lips. Then he was taking control fully, gripping and pulling and thrusting up sharply into his friend’s body. Panting, Tsuna’s chin turned up to demand rough kisses until neither of them could keep it up and Gokudera’s brow came to rest against his, breathing each other’s air while Tsuna’s moans crested.

Tsuna’s climax hit them suddenly, a cry tickling against Gokudera’s lips. The hands on Gokudera’s hips yanked him down hard and an arm around his waist kept him in place. Another cry was ripped out of Tsuna as he began to pulse deep inside but it didn’t stop him from feeling between them for Gokudera’s painfully neglected arousal. Fingers wrapped, sure and expert, around Gokudera’s pre-cum-wet dick and stroked him hard and fast to the time of the sharp twitches of Tsuna’s hips.

Gokudera echoed his sounds, moaning loud and indulgently as he let Tsuna take full control. Hand on his cock, and Tsuna still buried deep, the stimulation was almost more than he could handle. Panting heavily, he looked down at Tsuna, meeting his eyes before his gaze dropped to the man’s bare chest, flushed and pink and heaving. “I can’t…” he gasped, rocking, hips arching into Tsuna’s touch, sensation pricking at his skin, heat building in his center. “I can’t last-- oh fuck, oh shit, oh fuck, I’m gonna--”

With a cry, stifled between grit teeth, Gokudera tipped over the edge and crashed down, curling forward as he came in long, thick spurts that spattered Tsuna’s bare torso, and dripped down his hand as he worked Gokudera through it. His own climax receding, Tsuna moaned his encouragement into Gokudera’s shoulder. He stroked every drop free, until the other man grabbed for his wrist, shuddering against Tsuna. It took a moment of twitchy aftershocks between the two of them as they settled and the electricity of shared orgasm subsided.

Tsuna’s clean hand threaded into Gokudera’s hair, hot breath panting between them. His other arm coiled around Gokudera’s trim waist while he kissed softly, making them both tremble with overstimulation from lightly stroking tongues. When he opened his eyes, they were bright with affection and sleepy satisfaction.

“Hayato…” Tsuna murmured across his mouth, voice soft and relaxed and happy. “That was just… incredible. Thank you.” Petting idly through his silver hair, he kissed feather light against Gokudera’s throat.

“As good… as I imagined,” Gokudera hummed, ducking to press his brow against Tsuna’s, nose brushing his. He laughed a little, surprised by his own contentment in the moment. He didn’t know if this whole arrangement between the two of them and Yamamoto would work out, but right this second, he couldn’t say he regretted making the effort. “Thank you.”

They both shivered when they finally parted and took a moment to clean up before Tsuna dragged Gokudera down to the sheets. The lantern had very nearly run out of fuel, struggling to keep a dim flame alive. It felt like he’d been inside Gokudera for hours. Tsuna shrugged his way under Gokudera’s arm, settling with his cheek on a shoulder and arm on Gokudera’s chest. He smiled up at his companion happily, a sweet post-coital mess of kiss-flush lips and messy hair.

“You’ll stay the night with me, right?” he asked, hopefully.

“Of course,” Gokudera insisted, without hesitation, though he knew Shamal wouldn’t approve of his giving in quite so easily. But what did the old man know? He couldn’t keep a girlfriend for longer than a few days. And Tsuna felt good in his arms, the heat of his body pressed up tight against him. And beyond all that, Gokudera was comfortable and sleepy, and the idea of leaving now, or even standing upright at all, sounded downright terrible. “Yeah, I’ll stay.”

“Good,” Tsuna sighed, finding a nice place to snuggle in under the larger man’s jaw. “I’ll wake you for coffee in the morning.”

“That sounds… perfect.”

Chapter Text

Dino left Hibari his space for a couple of days after their date. Courting his stoic young companion required a strategic battle plan, which took into account Hibari’s unpredictable tendencies. So, as much as he wanted to visit Hibari the very next day, he restrained himself to waving from the street once or twice as he made his rounds about town, between supervising the construction of his new offices and making plans for the future train station.

On the morning of day four, the next stage of the plan went into effect. Though their date had parted well, even ending with a light kiss, he had not been able to pin down when Hibari would see him next. Thus, he would have to make himself available for a chance meeting.

His footsteps carried him with excitement toward the Rose and he was openly grinning by the time he pushed through the door, greeted by the smells of breakfast.

He was surprised to find the saloon nearly empty: Lambo in his pajamas, laid out on a sofa in the parlor, and Tsuna and Gokudera sharing coffee at the bar. They all looked as surprised to see him as he was to see only them. It was, apparently, earlier than Dino had realized.

Nonetheless, Tsuna’s face lit up at the sight of his older friend and he hopped off his barstool to meet him. "Dino! Good morning!" His companions greeted the marshal with lazy waves. "You're looking well!"

"He should be, he's in love~" Lambo crooned with his usual wink. He yawned, seeming to still be quite sleepy.

"Shut up, you saucy cow," Gokudera snapped from across the room, likely not for Dino's benefit, but just for the fact that the silver-haired man disliked Lambo that much.

Dino chuckled somewhat awkwardly, taking a seat at the bar after offering Tsuna a friendly hug and clasping his shoulder firmly. "How're you doing, little brother?"

Tsuna beamed at him so brightly, so cheerfully that it made Dino’s brows rise in curiosity. "Things are well! And yourself? Between the building progress and you taking Hibari-san out, the gossip has really been flying around town," he said with a sheepish, but not at all disapproving laugh.

"Really?" Dino chuckled at this, though his ears tinged pink. "And Kyouya hasn't killed anyone yet?"

"Mmm..." Tsuna rocked back and forth in his seat.

"He's been unpredictable," Gokudera explained for him, hands resting on his mug. "He's like an irritable cat, you never know what'll set him off or if he's in some creepy ass good mood."

Dino smiled fondly at the comparison, secretly agreeing that yes, Hibari was quite cat-like, and how rewarding was it to lure that cat, purring, into his lap?

"You know I'm not one for gossip," Tsuna began shakily and cleared his throat. "But... I gotta admit, I'm pretty curious... did it go well?"

"Our date? It was... well, Kyouya would be upset if I shared too much, but yes, it went well. He even smiled once or twice! But don't tell him I told you that."

Tsuna just grinned at him. "I had a feeling. Congratulations." His cheeks were pink with mirth.

Gokudera shook himself out of gazing adoringly at his blushing boss to put in his two cents. "Just watch yourself, Cavallone. I'm still not convinced that guy has a heart to win."

"Aww, of course he does!” Yamamoto disagreed, suddenly appearing behind Gokudera at the bar, an arm coming up to drape over his shoulder. "It's just hard to find, like a vein of gold in granite."

"Because you have to drill so deep to find it?" Gokudera sneered.

Yamamoto just laughed and pressed closer. "Hayato just doesn't get along because they're too alike," he teased and nuzzled into Gokudera's hair. Tsuna stifled a laugh while Gokudera shoved the taller man off of him.

Dino smiled, shook his head a little. "It's worth it though, isn't it?" He met Yamamoto's eyes from over Gokudera's shoulder, where he'd reattached himself. "All the work to get to the gold."

"Fucking hell," Gokudera groaned and elbowed Yamamoto in the gut. "Someone get this guy his beau so he'll shut the fuck up."

"Lambo?" Tsuna called. "Would you mind letting Hibari-san know that Marshal Cavallone is here and ask whether he may come upstairs?"

From the sofa in the parlor, Lambo looked up with wide eyes. "W-what? Why me?" he whimpered.

"You heard the boss," Gokudera shouted with a demonic grin. "Go rouse the monster, shitty cow!"

"B-but!"

When Gokudera reached under the bar for a stick of dynamite, staring into Lambo's frightened face, he jumped up from the couch. He whined all the way up the stairs and down the hall.

The lobby waited with bated breath when he disappeared. A minute or so later, there came a scream, a scramble, a crash and a SLAM. When Lambo stumbled to the top of the stairs again, he was shaken, with tears streaking his cheeks.

"He doesn't want any company," he relayed, voice wavering as he descended the staircase.

"Why?" Tsuna asked, frowning with concern.

"I-- I don't KNOOOOWWW!" Lambo burst into sobs and flung himself down the hall and into his own room with a slam of door.

Dino frowned and felt his heart sink just a little. Gokudera was, of course, right about one thing-- Hibari WAS unpredictable. So it couldn't be a real surprise that he'd retreat into his room just when Dino thought things were getting good between them. He wasn't offended, understood that this thing with Hibari was a work in progress. But still, it was just a little embarrassing.

"A-ah, that's alright," he nodded, standing up from his stool. "Maybe you'll pass along my well-wishes then. Oh and this too." He reached into his vest and pulled out a small box. He wasn't sure if Hibari liked chocolate, but he figured if he liked tiramisu, then maybe there was a sweet tooth there.

Tsuna looked up at him with the most sympathetic of expressions as he took the package. "Don't worry. He'll come to his senses." His amber eyes flickered to the balcony in such a way that it was clear that he would be having a heart to heart with his family's most stubborn member. He tugged Dino by the elbow. “Stay for breakfast? We haven’t had the chance to properly catch up since you got back…”

“Ah, alright, that sounds good,” Dino answered, shaking off his disappointment to give Tsuna a grateful smile.

By the time Tsuna returned from the kitchen with two plates of food, the rest of the house was appearing for breakfast. Fuuta and Basil were trying to soothe Lambo into eating. Lambo, still in his pajamas, was sniffling and wiping tears from his eyes.

Ryohei resided in a shanty near the stables, providing security for the horses at night. When he came in the front door to join them, he froze with outrage when he saw Lambo’s crying. “Who’s been beating up on the kid!?” he demanded loudly, storming into the saloon. “PICKING ON KIDS IS EXTREMELY LOW!”

“Shut up, turf for brains,” Gokudera snapped. “Stop trying to fight all his battles for him!”

“SO IT WAS YOU, YOU HEARTLESS TENTACLE HEAD!”

Tsuna handed the marshal a plate of food and a cup of coffee and hurried to escape the scene, giving Dino an urgent beckon of his head. They fled up the stairs as fighting and more crying exploded behind them. The young Vongola led Dino to Hibari’s balcony which was delightfully private.

Settling in with a meal in front of him (and perhaps shirking his duties as the peacekeeping leader of his family) Tsuna sighed with relief and gave Dino a bright smile. “I do love them all.”

“You certainly have a colorful family here, ‘Boss’,” Dino chuckled, digging into his meal with appreciation. Bianchi must have been in a good mood that day because the food (grits, a biscuit with honey, and a slice of bacon) looked and tasted pretty good.

Beaming, Tsuna gave a laugh that was without irony or weariness. There was definitely a particularly bright glow to him today and something a little different about him overall, since Dino had left Wavewood. “I sure do. I suspect I will never get bored.” Smiling, he sipped his coffee before continuing on, “Don’t worry about that guy.” He gave a slight nod in the direction of Hibari’s room at the end of the hall. “He’s difficult to deal with but he’ll get over it. He wouldn’t have… initiated things with you, gone in public with you, if he didn’t mean it. It was probably difficult for him. But he wouldn’t put his pride on the line and make such a bold choice just to back out so quickly.”

“I appreciate that, Little Brother,” Dino replied, nodding his head humbly. “I… care for him very much, but there’s much about him I’m still learning.” From the red in his cheeks and the wistful smile he showed Tsuna, it didn’t seem like Dino minded very much at all. “But enough about me.” He waved, changing the subject with little to no subtlety. “You seem to be much happier than you were last we saw each other. Take up a new hobby to get your mind off Kyouko?”

“Do I?” Tsuna chirped, peering into his coffee with a smile on his face, though his cheeks quickly flooded pink. “Hah… well… About that… I, um, my life has been… quite eventful since you left, actually…” Though his cheer didn’t waver, Tsuna was visibly overwhelmed by shyness, pushing food around on his plate in nervous habit. “I’ve um-- had-- some interesting… experiences… hah… I guess… first of all, when we ran into you the other night at Byakuran’s… Gokudera and me were there as um… more than just friends.” With anxiety, Tsuna’s eyes glanced up to see Dino’s reaction.

Dino raised an interested, if not visibly surprised, eyebrow, and a slow smile spread across his face. “You sly dog, you! Little Brother! I’m impressed! Wow!” He stood up from his chair and lurched awkwardly across the table to wrap up Tsuna in a congratulatory hug that left him narrowly missing knocking over their coffee mugs.

Squeaking with surprise, Tsuna’s frame stiffened in Dino’s hug but then he gave a very embarrassed laugh. When Dino sat back down, Tsuna’s face was red like he’d been cooked by the sun. “Hah-- it wasn’t actually um… the first time… er… first person… either… erm…”

It took a while for Tsuna to spill his guts and tell Dino everything that had happened in his rather tumultuous love life over the last three months. He started at the beginning, decidedly awkward as he described (with anxiety ridden vagueness) what had happened between himself and Mukuro. Given the uncomfortable relations between the marshal and the dandy, he was particularly nervous, and a little guilty, to share this news.

“I can’t say I exactly approve of you…. Literally flirting with danger like that,” Dino grumped a little, his opinion of Mukuro largely colored by the way he engaged with Hibari. “If I’d been around during that, I would have been so worried for you! But I’m glad you found better people to spend your time on,” he finished, beaming with pride for the man he thought of as a younger sibling.

Looking thoroughly admonished, though smiling, Tsuna continued on to describe the months that had followed and his inner turmoil surrounding his friends. “I wish you’d been here,” he said with a chagrined laugh. “I was a mess.”

Red faced, he explained what happened with Yamamoto that night in the kitchen and then at his birthday celebration with Gokudera. It was clearly cathartic for Tsuna to share the story, even if he stuttered uncomfortably through most of it. It still helped to express the misery and self-loathing he’d gone through while Gokudera took his leave, as well as his elation when Gokudera accepted his and Yamamoto’s invitation before their date.

“You handled everything well!” Dino seemed impressed. “I mean, after the initial mistake… but I’m proud of you for working it out. And without even needing any advice from me!”

When Dino asked, knowingly, if the dinner date with Gokudera had gone well, Tsuna nodded, humiliated but also unable to keep from smiling.

“S-so… that’s uh… what’s been going on with me,” Tsuna finally concluded, looking exhausted from the conversation but also grateful to have a friend to share it with. Their plates and mugs cluttered the table between them, sitting empty for some time now.

“So much happened in a few short months!” Dino shook his head. “And you handled it all, very adult-like. I guess I don’t have to worry so much about you anymore,” he teased, reaching out to slap Tsuna fondly on the shoulder.

Tsuna gave a laugh that indicated that he wasn’t so sure of Dino’s assessment but appreciated his sentiment nonetheless.

“‘Adult’ is an apt way to describe my recent life,” he said with self-pitying humor. “But… I’m really happy.” He shared a shy grin, bright with the glow that Dino had noticed when he came in.

Elbow on the table, chin in his palm, Tsuna watched the parlor and bar from their private spot in Hibari’s balcony. Downstairs, things were very noisy. The Vongola breakfast had ended and a few Wavewood townsfolk had shown up for the midday meal, including Shamal and Haru who were both pestering Gokudera.

Distracted, Tsuna smiled while he watched the silver haired man’s irritation rise until Yamamoto came over to make things worse. Then Shamal said something that caused Haru to spasm, Yamamoto to laugh, and Gokudera to throw down his dishrag and storm away, red-faced. Tsuna giggled to himself.

“Now I just have to come up with a time for us three to…” he thought out loud wistfully, then suddenly shook himself, blushing furiously as he realized his own private reverie. “Ha-- Thanks for listening, Dino. I’ve missed you!”

Dino chuckled, a little pink faced at Tsuna’s slip of the tongue, but pleased for his happiness nonetheless. “I’ve missed you too, Little Brother.”

“But it’s quite exciting that we’ll be able to work together!” Tsuna said brightly. “And it sounds from the gossip that your new home is nearly finished. It’s strange to think how much Wavewood is about to grow! Has Reborn sent you anything lately?”

After that, the conversation turned to more business-related things, like the railroad and other plans, peppered with stories about Dino’s recent adventures and anecdotes about the antics of Wavewood’s citizens while he was away. Eventually, morning had become early afternoon and they finally took their empty plates downstairs, laughing amicably.

“Thanks for joining me,” Tsuna said cheerfully, watching Dino drop hat onto his roguish mop of yellow hair. “Come back soon, okay! You’re always welcome, even if you’re not seeing Hibari,” he added with maybe just a tiny bit of a pout.

“I’ll make sure, next time, to visit you specifically,” Dino answered, giving a wink to Tsuna’s teasing. “Take care of yourself, Tsuna. And those men of yours too.”

Tsuna saw him to the steps, and after waving goodbye, found his two companions at the bar, both nicely dressed in their ‘on-duty’ clothes. Yamamoto was behind the bar, making sure glasses were filled while Gokudera sat across from him and kept his eyes out for any customers that might be interested in the services of the house. Gokudera was smoking and sneering while Yamamoto was snickering and Tsuna couldn’t help but smile over how charming they were.

A few days back, when Yamamoto had been informed that Tsuna and Gokudera had ‘sealed the deal’, he was ecstatic to a degree that infuriated Gokudera and humiliated Tsuna. He’d hugged them as though they’d struck gold together, ignoring their shared embarrassment. When Tsuna ran away, babbling an unlikely excuse, Yamamoto pounced on Gokudera for details. After he’d pried all he could from Gokudera, he hunted down Tsuna to interrogate his poor shy friend.

//“Wow,” Yamamoto had said with a dreamy look on his face. “I honestly gotta say, I did not expect that from you, Tsuna, but that is so hot.”

“Don’t say things like that!!” Tsuna protested in a quiet shriek, smothering Yamamoto’s face with a pillow from the couch they shared in the parlor.//

Things started to feel, perhaps ironically, more normal after that. The tension around the rocky start to their understanding seemed to be fully eased, even if Tsuna was having a lot of trouble looking at either of his two friends without blushing. (Meanwhile Gokudera was having trouble not looking at Tsuna /and/ not blushing.) A new tension was building but this one was much more pleasant, if a little tortuous.

Unsurprisingly, it was Yamamoto who broke the ice surrounding casual touching, simply by being his usual self: perching his chin on Gokudera’s shoulder or squeezing Tsuna close enough to nuzzle into his hair. They agreed not to be overt about it and keep their personal lives confined to Tsuna’s bedroom, but Yamamoto’s sneaky, casual touching was easy to submit to under the guise of his overly-affectionate personality.

Now, as they met together at the bar (as they had most every day for two years), in spite of the changes between them, things felt blessedly normal.

The young Vongola realized that he himself was still wearing his casual house clothes from breakfast. He didn’t let that prevent him from