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100 ways to say I love you

Chapter Text

They trudged back to the miraculously intact military jeep, exhausted and worn out. Covered in dirt and wounds that were already healing thanks to the demons within them.

Shinya sighed as he settled himself next to Guren, his weapon still out and his tired eyes scanning their surroundings as Guren drove them away. The rest of the squad piled up on the back in silence. Too tired to bother being their usual boisterous selves.

Soon, only the noises of soft breathing and snoring could be heard above the quiet purr of the heavily spelled car. Shinya paused in his guard to take a look to the back. He laughed softly as he saw Goshi sprawled in the middle with both Mito and Sayuri using him as a pillow. Shigure was tightly curled up in a corner.

A deep sigh interrupted his thoughts and he turned to look at Guren.

He looks tired.

More tired than fighting vampires merited at least. He had deep bags under his bloodshot eyes and his shoulders were hunched over as if he had a large weight on his shoulders.

“Guren…”

“Mmh?”

“When did you sleep last?”

Guren’s eyes flickered to him before returning to the road.

“Yesterday… maybe the day before. I’m not really sure.”

Shinya huffed, annoyed at Guren’s stupid martyr complex but with unbelievable fondness warming up his chest. Guren had volunteered for driving duty both to and from their mission. It was such a Guren thing to do.

“Pull over.”

“What?” Guren threw him a confused look and Shinya smiled softly.

“Pull over. Let me drive for a while.”

“And who is going to kill the horsemen if you are driving?”

Shinya snorted and looked around to the completely empty city. He raised an eyebrow but Guren didn’t look convinced.

“Come on Guren, you’re falling asleep on the wheel.”

“I am not!” Guren snapped as he bristled like an angry cat. Shinya leaned closer, his hand squeezing Guren’s shoulder.

“Only for a little while. We both know you need it.” He whispered, quiet enough that none of the others would hear him even if they awoke.

Shinya pulled back and watched as Guren debated with himself. Eventually he sighed and stopped the car.

Shinya kept his smile out of his face as they got out of the car and exchanged places. Knowing that if Guren saw it he might get mad enough to not let him drive.

The car came alive with a quiet purr as Shinya turned the key and soon they were off to Shibuya once more. It wasn’t even a minute before Shinya looked out of the corner of his eye and saw Guren fast asleep, his head leaning against the door and his breath fogging the window, looking even younger than his 18 years.

“Idiot. You could’ve asked.” Shinya whispered. His voice, too soft and gentle, taking the bite out of his words.

He focused back on the road and let his warm thoughts entertain him as he drove them back to the safety behind the walls.

Chapter Text

“Fuuuck,” Guren groaned as his alarm clock decided to remind him that it was time to wake up.

He reached up and patted his bedside table until he found the blasted thing and turned it off. He groaned again as he stretched on his bed and rubbed his face. He was still sleepy, having spent most of the night texting with Shinya as he got into the airplane…

“FUCK!” he scrambled out of the bed, tripping on his sheets and almost face planting on the floor but managing to recover his balance at the last minute.

He ran to the bathroom and found himself glaring at his new obstacle. The door was closed, and he could hear the hair dryer from the inside. He slammed his palm against the door and almost laughed as he heard a yelp.

“GET OUT OF THE BATHROOM YUU!”

“FUCKING HELL GUREN, I’M BUSY!”

“NO YOU’RE NOT, OPEN THE DAMN DOOR!”

“GO DOWNSTAIRS!”

“MY TOOTHBRUSH IS HERE!”

“FUCK YOUR TOOTHBRUSH!”

“Guren! Yuu! Stop fighting!”

“Sorry mom!” both called down at the same time.

Guren huffed in annoyance and slammed his hand against the door again before taking the stairs down two by two and jumping the last four steps.

“Guren!” his mother snapped at him.

“Sorry!” he called as he passed her by and entered the downstairs restroom.

Once that was done, he quickly returned to bedroom for his next, daunting, task.

What was he going to wear?

He stared with trepidation at his open closet and the ridiculous amount of clothes therein. When had he gotten so many clothes?

It took him almost fifteen agonizing minutes to finally settle on a pair of black jeans and a dark blue shirt. Fifteen minutes of fending off his annoying little brat of a brother, his overly-helpful mother and his curious father.

When he was finally done with that, he didn’t have time for breakfast anymore, so he grabbed his wallet and cellphone and hurried to leave the house.

“Guren? What about breakfast?”  his mother asked as he put on his shoes.

“No time, I’m going to be late.”

“Son, I’m sure Shinya would understand.”

“Of course he would dad, but I still don’t want to be late.”

He left the house after giving his mother a quick kiss on the cheek and a wave to his father and Yuu. He had to go, Shinya’s family would not bother to show up, someone had to go receive him.

He raced to the bus stop, checking his watch every minute and gnawing at his lip in worry. He didn’t want to be late, he really didn’t want to be late, especially as he had to change buses halfway through.

He sighed in relief as he got on the first bus and sat down, breathing heavily and with his heart racing after the run he had. He checked his watch again, made some mental calculations and sighed as he realized he would be on time, would even have some minutes to spare and everything.

Half an hour later he got down from the bus and started walking to his next connection.

He walked quickly, eager to reach his destination, when a flash of white caught his eye. He turned to see what it was and stopped.

He processed what he was seeing, and heat creeped up his neck and cheeks as he reached a decision and moved towards the shop.

It was another half an hour before he stood inside the airport, watching with a racing heart as the sign next to a particular flight changed to “DISEMBARKING”

Not long after, a familiar figure, crowned with silver white hair, made his way towards Guren.

Guren swallowed heavily, feeling a blush warm his face as he gazed upon the man he was in love with. Shinya’s smile was blinding .

“Guren! Thank you so much for coming to meet me!” Shinya’s eyes widened as he saw the white flower in Guren’s hands.

Guren took a deep breath and squared his shoulders, taking a step closer and holding it up towards Shinya.

“For me?” he asked, blushing bright red, ducking his head slightly; his smile turning shy and hesitant.

Guren’s heart beat so hard he could swear everyone around them must have been able to hear it.

“Yeah… I… it reminded me of you, ” he managed to stutter out and felt something warm and happy bloom in his chest as Shinya took the flower with a trembling hand. His fingers were warm as they brushed against Guren’s.

“Thank you… it’s beautiful.” Shinya whispered softly as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath.

Guren swallowed again and reached up to push Shinya’s hair behind his ear. Shinya’s bright blue eyes looked at him full of hope and Guren took courage to close the distance and deposit a chaste kiss on his lips.

The first of many to come.

Chapter Text

Guren sighed as he got out of work and rubbed the back of his neck. On days like this, he regretted dropping college in favor of joining the workforce.

But when he reached the restaurant where he had agreed to meet his boyfriend, he stopped regretting it very quickly. Shinya, who was finishing his studies, looked even worse than Guren felt.

“Hey,” Guren whispered as he leaned down to leave a kiss on Shinya’s forehead.

“Hey yourself.” Shinya even sounded tired and Guren was starting to think that perhaps meeting today was not the best idea.

“You look tired,” he commented as he waved at a waiter. Shinya sighed heavily and they both ordered before continuing.

“I am tired. I haven’t been sleeping well this week. Stress, I think.”

Guren felt his lips twitch.

“And coffee”

Shinya laughed a little.

“And coffee yes.” Then he sighed “I have two exams and an essay due this week, and my thesis is being a bitch.”

“I do not envy you, at all,” Guren deadpanned. Shinya threw him an unamused look

“Haha, very funny, Guren.” But Shinya did smile, and that made Guren feel the familiar flutter in his stomach that he always got when he was around Shinya.

The food came and they ate while making quiet conversation. Guren made sure to exaggerate some of his work stories and mentally patted himself in the back as he made Shinya laugh and look considerably better as time passed.

Eventually they finished their food and it was time to pay.

When they started dating, they had agreed to pay separately for their food, but Guren felt like doing something nice for his hard-working boyfriend.

“No, no, it’s my treat.” Guren said as Shinya moved to take out his wallet. Wide blue eyes blinked confusedly at him.

“I can pay, Guren.”

“I know. But… I want to do something nice for you, since I can’t help you with your studies or anything like that.” He shrugged and leaned closer when Shinya looked like he was going to argue. “Let me treat you.”

Shinya hesitated and Guren pressed on, reaching across the table to intertwine their hands together. He rubbed his thumb over Shinya’s dry skin and made a note to make sure he was drinking enough water.

“C’mon. Use the money and buy yourself a little something, as a gift from me, yeah?”

Shinya stared intently into Guren’s eyes and he made sure to show how earnest he was. After a few seconds, he nodded. Guren smiled and pecked his lips before leaning back and taking out his wallet.

He paid for the food and they left the restaurant, walking together to the train station as they spoke loving words about their future together.

They reached the train station and kissed deeply before parting ways for the day.

Chapter Text

Shinya finished braiding Shinoa’s hair and checked that Yuu was where he had been left. The boy was sitting on the couch, engrossed in his video game. His adorable little suit was still, relatively, intact.

“Shinoa-chan, here’s your DS. Why don’t you play with Yuu-kun, quietly, while papa finishes dressing up?”

“Ok, papa. Don’t take too long or we are going to be late.”

“I won’t, little one.”

Children ready.

He went to the restroom, keeping the door open so he could hear if the children got into mischief, and started brushing his teeth. Then he fixed his hair and made sure his suit looked presentable.

Teeth, hair and suit ready, Shinya stepped out of the bathroom and checked on the children again. They were still sitting, miraculously without fighting.

He looked around and realized his husband was nowhere to be found.

“Shinya, do we really have to go to your brother’s wedding?” Guren’s voice came from the stairs as he was coming down and Shinya turned to watch him.

He looked amazing in his black suit and with his hair neatly slicked back. Shinya could feel his heart hammering in his chest.

“Well, hello handsome~” he said with a wink and felt his heart beat faster as Guren gave him one of his dashing smiles. “And yes, yes we do. Why?”

Guren sighed and his hand rose to mess up his hair in a nervous gesture, he paused when he remembered it was perfectly arranged, and dropped uselessly to his side.

“This thing… ” he waved at his neck and Shinya realized his necktie was crooked “will not cooperate.”

Shinya chuckled and reached up.

“Come here. Let me fix it.”

His hands went through the familiar motions with the ease of countless repetitions and soon Guren’s necktie sat perfectly straight.

“There we go,” Shinya whispered as he patted Guren’s chest.

Their eyes locked together and Guren took his hand, lifting it up to his lips and gently kissing the knuckles.

“Thank you, my knight in shining armor.”

Shinya’s cheeks warmed up and he opened his mouth to speak when…

“STOP CHEATING SHINOA!”

“Hahaha, you’re just bad at the game, Yuu-kun!”

The moment ruined, they shared an exasperated smile before they put on their stern parent faces and went to separate them.

Chapter Text

A loud thunder made the entire class jump and the teacher pause in her explanation.

Guren turned to look out of the window and sighed. The sky was dark and full of heavy rain clouds that threatened to burst open at any moment.

He frowned in annoyance. He had an umbrella but he still didn’t fancy walking home under the rain, his shoes were going to get wet no matter what and he hated having cold feet.

As soon as he finished thinking that, the first heavy droplets started to fall.

He shook his head and turned back to the blackboard, hoping the rain stopped by the time class ended.

It didn’t.

He glared at the heavy rain as he picked up his umbrella and prepared himself to go home. Or at least that was his intention, before he caught a glimpse of his friend Shinya standing just under the roof, shuffling from one foot to the other, biting his lips and looking at the rain like he was hoping it would stop soon.

“Hey.” Shinya turned around, eyes widening as he saw Guren.

“Hey, Guren!” He grinned. “You haven’t left yet?”

Guren gave him a look and Shinya laughed.

“Right, stupid question.”

“Where’s your umbrella?” he asked then and blinked in confusion when Shinya pouted and looked away with a blush on his cheeks.

“I was an idiot.” Guren blinked and then laughed.

“When aren’t you?” His grin widened at Shinya’s eyeroll.

“Aren’t you the funniest?” was Shinya’s sarcastic response before he sighed. “I forgot it at home,” he finally admitted and Guren shook his head.

“Only you, Shinya,” he said before bumping their shoulders together.

I’ll walk you home.”

“You will? Thank you!”

It was strange, how Guren forgot all about hurrying home and ignored how his shoes were getting wet. His head was filled with calm, from the soothing noise of the rain, from the warmth of Shinya’s arm next to his, from Shinya’s voice humming a random song as they walked slowly, enjoying each other’s company.

“Guren,” Shinya’s voice was quiet and it suited the calm of the falling rain in a way that made Guren feel warm.

“Hm?”

“The two of us under an umbrella, being boys and so close together. How do you think this looks like to other people?” Guren’s eyes widened and his cheeks warmed up. His hand trembled as he held the umbrella.

“I’ll leave you behind,” he hissed between gritted teeth and hurried his steps.

Shinya gasped as the rain started to fall on him and hurried to go back under the small shelter.

“Nooo, don’t leave me under the rain, you jerk!”

“Then shut up, idiot!” Guren had not thought about what it would look like, but now he definitely did and it was making his heart race.

“Fine, fine, I’ll shut up. Meanie, letting me get wet like this,” Shinya complained as he brushed his damp hair away from his eyes. Guren forced himself to look away, doing his best to ignore his madly beating heart.

They walked in silence the rest of the way, Shinya sulking and Guren trying to not think about how it would feel to lean a little closer, to shift the umbrella to his other hand and hold Shinya’s. They were friends, he wasn’t supposed to be thinking these things.

Reaching the Hiiragi’s house was both a relief and a disappointment.

“Thanks for walking me home, Guren.” Shinya wasn’t looking at Guren, shuffling in place and toying with the keychains attached to his bag. Guren shrugged and opened his mouth to answer something nonchalant.

Suddenly he felt something warm on his cheek. It was there and then gone, barely a brush, yet it made him gasp and try to look at his white-haired friend, but said friend was already running inside the house and closing the door behind him with a loud bang.

Maybe it was Guren’s imagination, but he could’ve sworn Shinya’s face had turned a very bright shade of red as he ran away.

It made him hope.

Chapter Text

Shinya hated being sick. The stuffy nose, the sore throat, the headaches, the full-body shivers and general discomfort, it was a punishment from a very cruel god, he was sure of it.

But the absolutely worst part of all was the lack of warmth next to him in bed. A small part of him had wanted to be selfish and keep his boyfriend to his side, but the bigger part didn’t want to make him sick as well. He would never forgive himself if Guren caught his illness, a few moments of comfort weren’t worth it. So Guren had been kicked to the guest room instead.

Speaking of which…

“Hey, Shinya,” Guren said softly as he poked his head into the bedroom. “Can I come in?”

Shinya nodded and tugged the covers further up, to cover his face and keep his germs away from Guren.

Guren came in and Shinya felt his eyes watering up, whether from the sickness or from Guren being thoughtful enough to bring him a light breakfast and a pitcher of water, he didn’t know and didn’t care to find out.

“How are you feeling?” Guren asked softly after putting the tray on the bedside table and sitting down next to Shinya, his hand moving Shinya’s fringe out of the way and touching his forehead gently. “The fever seems to be down.”

“This sucks soooo much,” Shinya complained but it changed into a soft sigh as Guren caressed his cheek with blessedly cool fingers.

“I know it does, but it seems the worst of it is over.” Guren looked at his watch. “I need to go to work. You focus on resting and healing, ok?”

Shinya groaned and buried himself more under the covers.

“Kureto is going to be such a pain when I go back. God, there’s going to be so much work piling up while I’m here.”

“Hey,” Guren called softly and leaned closer to press their foreheads together. Shinya felt himself warm up again and it wasn’t because of the fever. “Stop worrying or you won’t heal, idiot. I will take care of it.”

“Take care of what?” Shinya asked softly, he wanted to kiss Guren but he knew it was a bad idea while he was like this.

“Your work. I will tell your secretary to re-schedule your meetings and keep an eye on the paperwork so that it doesn’t pile up.”

Shinya was in love with an angel.

“Guren…” his voice was hoarse and Guren hurried to help him sit up and give him a glass of water. “Guren…” he repeated once he drank and felt a little better. “You don’t need to do that. You have your own work.”

Guren shrugged and looked away in that distinct way that told Shinya he was hiding a blush.

“Don’t worry. I will take care of it.”

“But…” Shinya didn’t have time to protest as Guren turned back to him and firmly pushed him onto the bed.

“Rest. I said I will take care of it and I will,” his boyfriend answered firmly as he tucked him under the covers. “I will leave your breakfast right here, don’t worry about the dishes, I will do them when I’m back. You focus on getting better.”

“I’m sorry I’m such a burden, Guren.” It really wasn’t fair, letting his boyfriend do all the work while he lazed around, even if he was sick.

“You idiot,” Guren’s words were harsh, but his expression was soft and warm. He ran his fingers through Shinya’s hair and Shinya sighed, enjoying the gentle sensation that did wonders against his headache. “So what if you’re a burden? You’re my burden and I wouldn’t change it for anything else.”

Then he leaned down and brushed another kiss on Shinya’s forehead, it was a soft tickle that made him smile. He was really lucky to have Guren with him, just with this little fussing he already felt so much better.

As he moved down to kiss Shinya’s lips, Shinya gasped and hurried to cover his face.

“No! You’ll get sick!” Guren huffed and pulled away with an amused smile.

“Fine, have it your way. I’ll get going then, have a good sleep, Shinya.”

As Guren got up to leave Shinya’s hand snapped out and caught his sleeve. When Guren turned to look at him, Shinya couldn’t help but think again about how lucky he was to have him by his side.

“Have a good day at work.”

Guren smirked.

“Thank you, I will annoy Kureto in your stead.”

Shinya chuckled and the amusing image of Kureto’s annoyance with Guren made him sleep better afterwards.

Chapter Text

Shinya let himself fall down as they were given time to rest. Training to increase the Black Demon compatibility was about as harsh as he expected.

He hadn’t expected the dreams though. Or more accurately, nightmares. Before the surgery and subsequent contract with Byakkomaru, Shinya had rarely dreamt and when he did he almost never remembered the images conjured by his imagination.

But the images Byakkomaru showed him were too frequent and vivid to forget. A few months ago they would not have bothered him. He was too intimately acquainted with bloodied corpses and pain for that to rattle him.

No, it wasn’t the violence and gore that bothered him. It was the identity of the victim that had woken him up with a startle, heart beating harshly and breath ragged, panic seeping into his mind in a way it hadn’t done in years.

Taking a sip of water from his bottle, he thought about his reaction. A few months and already he had allowed himself to gain such a glaring weakness.

He side-eyed Guren, who was arguing with Kureto about something or other, and wondered what was the thing about Guren that made people want to care for him.

“Stupid, limp-dicked, weird-eyebrowed, bastard,” Guren muttered as he stomped towards Shinya and fell down with a huff.

Shinya felt his lips twitch into an involuntary smile and passed him his water bottle, watching as his friend took a sip before passing it back. Not a trace of doubt nor hesitation, Shinya could’ve easily poisoned or pranked him, but Guren trusted him and Shinya felt both honored and horrified by such trust.

“What’s with your face? You’re not irritatingly cheerful, for once. Did you sleep badly?”

Shinya mentally wondered about Guren’s scarily accurate instincts and stared for a bit. Now that he mentioned it, Guren also looked exhausted, the bags under his eyes were worrying and he had taken to training with a zeal that was abnormal.

Does he have nightmares like mine? Who dies in them I wonder? Sayuri and Shigure? Goshi? Mito? Mahiru? Me?

But ah, Guren would never admit to such things, might as well do something to cheer him up anyway.

“I slept like a baby, actually,” he answered with a grin that widened at Guren’s incredulous look.

“Did you?”

“Uh-huh I dreamt about you last night.” Which wasn’t a lie per se but… he could see the exact moment Guren turned suspicious.

This was way too amusing.

“Are you going to tell me?” Guren asked as he glared at him and Shinya tilted his head innocently.

“Are you going to ask?”

After a few seconds of Guren hesitating over whether he really wanted to know what Shinya dreamt, he ended up sighing.

“You’re going to tell me anyway. Just spit it out already.”

And then Shinya gleefully lied.

“Well, you were on top of a tower and had a large, puffy pink dress and long, luscious hair. Yelling Oh Shinya-sama save me! woah!” he quickly avoided the punch directed at his face and cackled at Guren’s bright blush.

“You’re the one that’s gonna need saving after I’m done with you!”

Shinya laughed his ass off as he was chased around the training grounds, Guren yelling some impressive curses after him.

Well, he’s definitely cheered up now.

Chapter Text

Guren hadn’t seen Shinya in a while. He wasn’t particularly concerned(except he was), after all, Shinya was a survivor. A Hiiragi too, and if something happened to a Hiiragi it was sure to be all over headquarters within minutes.

He wasn’t concerned(he really, really was). Missions could get delayed or extended for many reasons after all and he was only supposed to go check on some things in Ikebukuro, nothing out of the normal. (It made him nervous to not have any news.)

It took him entirely by surprise when he walked towards the meeting room, annoyed at having been summoned for another useless meeting, and he found Shinya slowly making his way in the same direction.

“Shinya?” he hurried to catch up with him and couldn’t help the sharp inhale as he took in his appearance.

The entire left side of his face was bright red and filled with still healing wounds and scabs. His eyes widened as he caught sight of Guren and a tired smile appeared on his lips.

“Hey Guren,” his voice was a little rough and Guren noticed how stiffly he was holding himself.

“You look like death, don’t tell me you came right after the mission? Have you even been to medical?”

“Where do you think I got this nicely pressed uniform from?” Shinya asked, amusement making his lips tremble and eyes twinkle.

Now that he mentioned it, other than the very obvious face wound, there was no other visible tells of Shinya’s state. Guren frowned.

“How badly wounded are you under the uniform?”

Shinya laughed.

“Oh no. If you want to see me naked you’ll have to do better than that, Guren,” he joked with a wink and Guren huffed, shaking his head.

“Guess you’re ok if you can say stupid shit like that.” Still, he gave Shinya a once over and decided to keep him company. Just in case.

“Haha, guess I am. How were things while I was away?”

They exchanged news as they made their way very slowly towards the meeting room and Guren noted how every time Shinya moved too fast he grimaced for a brief moment before smoothing his face.

I suppose showing weakness while walking into the wolf’s den is a bad idea.

The closer they got to the meeting room, the paler Shinya got with the effort of keeping himself under control.

As they reached the door, Guren held Shinya’s elbow and leaned closer to his ear.

“Take my seat,” he whispered.

“What?! Guren…”

“Take my seat! It’s the furthest away from Tenri. I will keep their attention on me so you can rest.”

He did not wait for Shinya to answer before sauntering into the room like it belonged to him and walking towards Shinya’s usual seat with a smirk on his face.

What followed next was probably one of the most dangerous, foolhardy things he had ever done. Guren yawned loudly, interrupted with sarcastic comments, made fun of some officer’s incompetence and was a general nuisance all around. He noticed Tenri’s increasing rage and prayed this didn’t end with his own untimely demise.

Not that he would let himself get killed without a fight but…

Every now and then he chanced a look at Shinya, half hidden at the end of the room, still pale but taking deep breaths and looking more amused than in pain.

… It was worth the risk.

Chapter Text

There was apple pie on the menu today. Shinya loved apple pie. Guren looked at the Slytherin table and sighed as he still could not see the white hair of his best friend.

Guren drummed his fingers on the table and huffed, before deciding he had waited long enough and serving himself a piece. He listened with half an ear as Goshi regaled some first years with some exaggerated story about Quidditch.

He kept an eye on the pie as he ate and also kept track of who came in and out of the Great Hall.

Where is he?

The pie in front of him, and those on the other tables, were starting to disappear at an alarming rate. So, with a sigh of great annoyance, he got up from his chair.

“And then I made an amazing dive to- eh? Guren? You leaving?” Goshi made to follow but Guren waved his hand.

“Just going to check on something. I’ll be right back.”

He made his way to the Slytherin table, ignoring the curious looks from his fellow Hufflepuffs and the disdainful sneers of the Slytherins that saw him. It wasn’t like this was the first time he went to them, but it was Shinya who came to the Hufflepuff table most often so he was gaining a lot of unwelcome attention.

He came to stand behind Mahiru, Shinya’s twin sister, and cleared his throat. She turned and blinked curiously at him.

“Oh, hello Guren.”

“Where’s Shinya?” He didn’t have time for pleasantries, already the pies were almost gone. Mahiru frowned for a second before smoothing out her expression in a polite smile.

“Worried about my brother? Are you sure you two aren’t-”

“Where is Shinya?” he interrupted, mentally cursing the blush that was spreading over his cheeks and most likely convincing Mahiru’s devious mind of all sorts of things.

Her grin only confirmed his suspicions.

“Brother dearest picked a fight with a Gryffindor during Defense, they broke several desks and as a result they both were sent to serve detention at the greenhouses.”

“Thank you.”

He walked back to his own table and gave a sigh as he sat down. There was a single piece of pie left and he hurried to pick it up and wrap it neatly with a napkin. The things he did for that idiot, he better appreciate it.

After dinner, he left Goshi to keep entertaining his adoring crowd in the common room and disappeared through a secret door. A quick spell for light and he was off, through twisting passageways and dark alcoves, up and down not-so-random staircases and finally ending up in a small, long abandoned classroom that had been his and Shinya’s favorite haunting for several years now.

Shinya was already there, sitting in the windowsill and staring at the sky, deep in thought.

“You weren’t at dinner,” Guren said as he closed the door behind him, startling his friend who hurried to put on a smile on his face.

“Hey, Guren! Nah, I was in detention and then I wasn’t hungry anymore.”

“Tch, you idiot. As if I would believe that, you have a black hole in place of a stomach.”

“Ahaha,” Shinya laughed at Guren’s words but stopped once Guren dropped his package on Shinya’s lap and sat down next to him.

“I saved you a piece,” Guren mumbled as he looked away, feeling his cheeks warm up again. Lately it had been happening way more often than he would like.

“Aww, you didn’t have to!” Shinya unwrapped the napkin and gave a quiet cheer. “ Sweet! Apple pie!”

Shinya wasted no time on eating it and moaning happily at the taste. Guren chanced a look and snorted.

“You look like a squirrel,” he told Shinya before reaching up and dusting off some crumbs away from his bulging cheeks. Shinya hurried to swallow.

“I can’t help it, it’s delicious! Thank you, Guren!” he said with a dazzling smile. Guren’s hand was still on his cheek and then, Guren did something impulsive.

He leaned in and kissed Shinya.

It was soft, barely a brush of their lips, but it made Shinya gasp and then lean closer, pressing their lips flush against each other, soft and warmer than anything Guren had ever felt. After a few seconds they pulled back and Guren smiled.

“Delicious, indeed.”

For once, it was Shinya who blushed.

Chapter Text

“Oh my god, you blueshelled me,” Guren sounded so offended it made Shinya cackle. “I can’t believe you blueshelled me. My own husband, in my own house, with my own game even.”

Shinya couldn’t stop laughing, he could barely breathe as Guren kept going about the depths of Shinya’s betrayal.

That’s when the phone rang.

“I’m letting you off with a warning: prepare to lose next round.” Guren showed his finger and Shinya snickered.

“I will just blueshell you again,” he said and laughed when Guren threw a curse over his shoulder.

“Ichinose house, Guren speaking. Oh, hey mom, what…” Guren stopped talking. “Mom? What happened?”

Shinya immediately detected the change in mood and got up, walking closer to Guren, who was listening intently to the phone.

“No!” He covered his mouth and closed his eyes, disturbingly quiet for several seconds.

Shinya came closer and put an arm across his shoulders, lending him his strength. He didn’t know what was happening, but it didn’t look good.

Suddenly Guren took in a shuddering breath.

“Oh mom, I’m so, so sorry.” There were tears glittering in his eyes as he opened them again. “I… I will go as soon as possible. Be strong until I get there.” Shinya could see him swallow. “I know mom, I love you too. See you soon.”

He hung up and turned to Shinya with glistening eyes.

“Dad is dead,” he said with a small and scared voice.

Shinya gasped and hugged him close.

“He just… he went to take a nap and…” he sobbed a little and Shinya tightened his grip.

“I’m sorry for your loss, Guren.”

Guren pulled away and stared at him with wide eyes and trembling lips.

“What am I going to do now, Shinya? Dad is… gone.” Shinya’s heart broke a little at how young and lost he looked.

“You’re going to pack our bags while I phone our workplaces.” He told him softly and watched with worry as Guren nodded and immediately went to do as told. The fact that he didn’t even try to argue was proof of how shaken he was.

Shinya picked up the phone and quickly arranged their absences while thinking of how long the drive to Aichi was and whether they should take a plane instead. It would be more expensive, but also much faster.

As soon as he was done with his boss, he called the airport and arranged their trip as well. When that was done, he went to search for Guren in their bedroom.

He found him staring at the wall, with piles of folded clothes and two open travel bags on the bed.

“I can’t remember the last time I told him I loved him,” Guren whispered, looking at Shinya with eyes full of tears. “Why can’t I remember Shinya? When was the last time that I…” a sob escaped him and he covered his mouth.

Shinya hurried to take him in his arms, pushing Guren’s head against his shoulder and hugging him tight. He swallowed his own tears back, no matter how much he himself would miss Sakae-san, he needed to be strong for Guren.

Shinya held him as he cried onto his shoulder and ran his fingers through his hair, trying to offer what comfort he could.

“I’m sure he knew, Guren,” Shinya started to say once Guren had calmed down enough to listen to him.

“Ho-how would you… know?” Guren stuttered as he tried to dry his tears.

Shinya reached up and held his face, gently rubbing his thumb over Guren’s wet cheek.

“Guren, Sakae-san couldn’t stop talking about about how you were such a good son and how proud he was of you, of your kindness and your strength of character, of how honored he was of being your father. He loved you more than anything and I’m sure he knew how much you loved him back.” Then he smiled softly, still caressing Guren’s cheek. “You’re not good at keeping your emotions hidden; anyone with eyes could see how much your father meant to you, including Sakae-san.”

Guren sniffed and nodded, moving to kiss the palm of Shinya’s hand.

“Thank you, Shinya.” Then he breathed in deeply. “I’m going to need you a lot... when we are there.”

Shinya felt his own expression soften and tugged him close, pressing their foreheads together.

“I will be at your side for as long as you need me.”

Chapter Text

They were walking back home from their date, making their way through almost silent streets. It would be winter soon and the cool weather was keeping most people at home.

Guren had been nervous the entire night. He had done his best to act natural, but he could tell Shinya had not bought it. Not that he could blame him, he had been a less than stellar companion this evening.

The question he had to ask loomed heavily on his mind and everything hinged on Shinya’s answer. Having so much depend on someone else made Guren nervous and unsure.

He had faced the Stage Alchemy Exam at age 15, had looked right at General Hiiragi’s face and opposed the invasion of Sanguinem, had stepped into the frontlines when his objections fell on deaf ears and done his best to end the war as soon as possible. He had killed and led men to their deaths, he had torn apart families and recruited children into a war he didn’t believe in. He had stared down at the Queen of Sanguinem as they argued over the peace agreement and exchanged prisoners with barely a blink.

But, somehow, all of that paled in comparison to the question that he needed to ask today. His hands shook, his heart raced, and he could barely breathe. He was scared, terrified in a way he had rarely been before, almost frozen with fear.

However, he was not the type to let his fears conquer him and so, he squared his shoulders and gathered his courage.

“Shinya,” he said as he stopped walking and Shinya, his companion of years, his best friend, confidant and lover, the man that went to war with him, the one he trusted above all others, turned to look at him with knowing eyes.

“Are you going to tell me what’s wrong with you today?” Shinya, perceptive as always, asked with a teasing smile. He tilted his head, snowy-white hair framing his elegant face. Blue eyes reflecting the light of the streetlamps around them.

Guren opened his mouth… and promptly forgot his long-practiced lines. This was it, there was no going back anymore, his life, his happiness, all he ever wanted and loved, all hinged on this moment. He was trembling, mind going blank with panic.

“Guren?” Shinya asked softly. “Are you ok?”

“You can have half!” Guren blurted out, blushing to the roots of his hair. Shinya jumped at his sudden outburst and stared in confusion.

“What?”

“E-e-equivalent exchange! Fi-first Law of Alchemy! Ha-half! Of my life! And you give me half of yours!” Guren stuttered out as best he could in his nervous state, falling onto the comfort of long held truths. His face, no, his entire body was burning with embarrassment and hope.

Shinya blinked once, twice and then bursted into laughter.

“Hahaha what was that? hahaha, Guren, ahaha, I can’t believe, haha, you nerd! ” Guren closed his eyes, shivering slightly. What was that indeed? He had ruined it, completely and utterly ruined it.

He looked at the floor, ashamed, but then Shinya’s hands cupped his face and forced him to look up. Shinya had tears of mirth in his eyes and his shoulders were still shaking with suppressed laughter.

“Yes, Guren, I’ll marry you.”

Shinya’s lips pressed against Guren’s and all his fears vanished.

Chapter Text

Shinya smiled as he put another scavenged piece of wood in the chimney, adding to the warmth of the room. The children and his friends slept in a pile in front of it, soft snores and sleepy mumbling joining the crackling of the fire.

They had been very lucky, finding this well insulated, easily defended home, with a functioning chimney and a decent amount of clothes and bedding still intact.

The first wave of dead had decomposed that first summer to the point they could no longer move, the second wave had taken longer, winter helping preserve the bodies, but there were fewer and fewer infected with each new wave. There were fewer and fewer truly alive people to turn as well. But they hadn’t seen any zombies in weeks , which Shinya hoped meant the virus was finishing running its course.

After wiping out a good ninety to ninety-five percent of the population, that is.

“Shinya,” Guren’s voice interrupted his thoughts and Shinya looked away from the fire.

Uh-oh, Guren looked concerned, better see what crisis they had to solve now.

Shinya followed him to the kitchen and watched as he leaned against the table and crossed his arms over his chest.

“We are running out of food,” he said and Shinya sighed, closing his eyes and rubbing his forehead.

“Of course we are, there’s a dozen people living here, even if half of them are children, it still adds up.” He shook his head and laughed softly, coming closer and shoving Guren’s shoulder playfully. “We wouldn’t run out of food if you stopped being a mama duck and attracting every parentless duckling in a five kilometer radius.”

Guren ducked his head a little, pink tinting his cheeks.

“I’m sorry, all these mouths to feed and I…”

“Shh,” Shinya interrupted by putting a finger on Guren’s lips. Warm breath tickling the tip of it. Shinya shook his head and smiled softly. “You wouldn’t be you without your kindness, Guren. It is a good thing, we all need some light when the world is so dark.”

They were so close Shinya could count Guren’s long eyelashes if he wanted to.

“I want to go look for food,” Guren whispered and Shinya nodded slightly.

“I'll go with you,” he offered but Guren was already shaking his head.

“No, I need you to stay and keep guard over them.” Shinya opened his mouth to argue but this time it was Guren who tapped his lips with a warm finger.

“I'll only scout around for a bit. It’s easier if I go alone, besides…” he paused and shrugged. “I have to take responsibility for my ducklings, right?” he joked softly and Shinya forced himself to smile.

He was still worried but Guren was right, they needed food and it was quieter and faster to move around on your own.

Shinya accompanied Guren to the front door, watching as he prepared himself to go out, putting on heavy boots, gloves, scarf and jacket. Shinya reached for his own jacket and passed it to Guren as well.

“Take my jacket, it’s cold outside.”

“Your jacket? What about you?” Guren asked even as he took the offered garment.

“I’m going to be inside so I won’t be needing it and layering will keep you warmer.” Shinya watched as Guren put on the extra jacket and took his sword. He reached for his hand, intertwining their fingers for a few seconds. “Guren, take care.”

Guren smiled and came closer to bump their noses together.

“I will. You too, hold the fort while I’m gone.”

“I will.”

Chapter Text

Shinya glared holes at the car in front of his. He couldn’t believe this. He had gotten out of his apartment so early! But nooo, the universe hated Hiiragi Shinya, so of course there would be a stupid traffic jam today specifically, just to screw with him.

And his phone’s battery was dead too, so he couldn’t even let Guren know he would be late. By this point he must be worried, angry, frustrated… Shinya banged his forehead against his steering wheel and hoped his boyfriend didn’t dump him for being an idiot.

“C’moooon, mooove,” he whined at the car in front of his, still in place.

It was snowing too, so he couldn’t just park somewhere and run the rest of the way to the concert hall.

Well he could, but he was wearing a suit, and his shoes were definitely not snow shoes. So either he stayed put and arrived at his date extremely late but in one piece, or got out of his car and tried to arrive at his date not as late but running the risk of slipping and breaking his neck.

Every minute that passed made Shinya feel more and more wretched. Guren had gone through so much effort and consideration for his sake, getting them tickets to see Shinya’s favorite pianist. He had gotten them the best seats too! Who knew how expensive those things were! And Shinya was wasting it by getting stuck in traffic.

His watch mocked him, showing he was already twenty minutes late. Shinya sighed and leaned back on his seat, eyes closed.

“Fuck it,” he hissed as he opened them again. There was a parking spot just a couple of meters away. He would make a run for it, Guren deserved it.

Shinya grabbed his coat from the passenger seat and put it on, before waiting impatiently for the car before his to move just enough to…

“There!” he quickly maneuvered into the spot before anyone else could steal it.

A blast of cold air hit his face as he climbed out and he pulled his scarf further up. It was a light thing, more for show than actual warmth, but it was what he had so he would make do.

He started running. Slipping more than once, wincing when he felt his expensive leather shoes get wet with half-melted muddy snow, teeth chattering in the cold, making his way as quickly as possible.

By the time he arrived at the concert venue, not only his shoes, but also his head and shoulders were wet and he felt himself sniffle a little. The warmth of the hall was a welcome relief that made him sigh.

“Shinya!” he was suddenly enveloped in even greater warmth as Guren’s arms surrounded him in a tight hug. “ Thank god, Shinya! I heard there was an accident and you didn’t answer your phone and I was so worried!”

Guren was babbling, which showed just how worried he had been. Shinya felt absolutely awful about making him worry so much, he held onto his boyfriend and turned to gently kiss his cheek.

“My phone died so I couldn’t let you know. I’m sorry I’m late. ” Guren pulled away slightly and stared at him with such relief in his eyes it made Shinya’s heart leap.

“I don’t care that you’re late. I’m just glad that you’re here with me.” He admitted softly and a smile stretched over Shinya's lips. He reached up to cup Guren’s cheek.

“I’m glad I’m here with you too.” They stared at each other deeply, relief and love passing through their expressions.

“Shall we go in then? The concert already started but we still have our seats,” Guren informed him as he stepped away, Shinya nodded eagerly.

Guren’s hand remained intertwined with his throughout the concert and despite the rocky start, it was one of the best dates Shinya ever had.

Chapter Text

Shinya could never decide whether he liked weddings or not. On one hand, eternal love and devotion was a shining promise he wanted to believe in, on the other hand, he was very aware of the current divorce statistics.

The newlyweds looked happy however, immersed in a perfect world where only the two of them existed. The festive air was also really nice, good music, delicious food, laughter and cheer everywhere.

He turned to look at his own husband, who was watching over the festivities with a small smile that accentuated the marks the years were starting to leave in him. His once pure ebony hair was now intertwined with a few silver strands but overall, with his perfectly pressed black suit, he looked remarkably similar to that day, years ago, when they pledged their own promises of companionship and love.

Guren’s promises were far more believable than most others and Shinya had put his heart and happiness in his care. He had never regretted it.

“They look happy, don’t they?” Guren asked and Shinya let his pleasing thoughts disappear in favor of teasing him.

“For now, let’s see how long they last before they have their first fight over leaving empty milk cartons in the fridge, or not cleaning the cat’s litter box.” Both were things Shinya and Guren had fought over more than once.

Guren laughed and took a sip of champagne. Unlike Shinya, Guren unabashedly liked weddings, he was a romantic that definitely believed in happily ever afters.

“But they really outdid themselves with the party,” Shinya commented as he took a sip of his own drink, lightly sweet and definitely very expensive. Guren hummed and nodded. “Let’s hope they don’t let it go all to waste by divorcing over something petty.”

Guren rolled his eyes.

“You’re such a pessimist,” he said, a smile twitching in his lips.

“I prefer to call myself a realist,” Shinya answered with a smirk.

It was an argument they had had many times before, after so many years it was a familiar habit, like how they always had curry on Thursdays or how every morning Shinya made their coffee and Guren their bed.

Guren mock glared and Shinya couldn’t help but chuckle, moving closer to kiss Guren’s cheek. His husband’s glare disappeared and he laughed instead, before turning to the celebration once more with a twinkle in his eyes and a pleased smile on his face.

He was so beautiful, Shinya’s heart beat faster and he wanted to get closer to him, hold him in his arms and never let go.

“Guren,” he said, getting up and extending his hand. “Can I have this dance?”

Guren’s eyes widened before a smirk appeared on his face.

“Yes, you can,” he answered, taking Shinya’s hand and allowing himself to be lead onto the dancing floor.

They twirled together, in tune with the music and each other. They had danced together so many times, their warm bodies pressed close, their eyes locked on each other, playful swings and sudden electrifying touches that left them breathless, but each time was as special as the first.

And with Guren in his arms, laughing and enjoying himself, Shinya also believed in happily ever afters.

Chapter Text

Guren woke up early, as he usually did, and turned to look at the man lying next to him. Shinya was still deep asleep. He had come home late last night, as he had been doing for several weeks now, ever since Guren lost his own job in fact. Shinya had taken double shift after double shift and Guren did his best to spread their funds as far as they would go.

It wasn’t easy, he barely saw Shinya and when he did he was always so tired all Guren could do was give him simple meals and hug him close as they fell asleep. Shinya wasn’t there when Guren walked around the city, looking for a job, and being rejected by place after place. Guren wasn’t the only one looking for a job after all, and more and more places were closing up.

But as harsh as it was to face rejection alone, Guren was sure it wasn’t as harsh as what Shinya was going through, working himself to the bone in order to keep them afloat.

Guren sighed and observed his partner close. His brittle hair, his dry skin, the sunken cheeks and dark bags under his eyes, even with all of that, Shinya was still the most lovely creature he had ever laid his eyes upon. It never ceased to amaze him that Shinya had chosen to spend the rest of his life with him, being rejected by his family and risking his reputation and even his well-being, should anyone ever find out about them.

Shinya had left behind a world of glamour and luxury and entered one of privation and hardship, just to be with Guren, because they loved each other. It made Guren feel guilty but also grateful, so very grateful.

He was ashamed too, he had promised to take care of Shinya, but there was little he could do when no one would hire him.  

Guren slipped out of bed. There was little he could do, but he had been saving some money, for emergencies, and he thought he could splurge, just a little. Shinya definitely deserved it.

It would be very hard to find what he was looking for, in this city cursed with recession, with closing businesses and rationed food, but for Shinya, he would do it.

He did find it eventually, after hours of search, being sold at an stupidly high price that he managed to talk down by offering his own work in lieu of money. Thus, he returned to their small apartment with the precious little jar.

Shinya had yet to wake up, it was the only free day he had this month, and Guren was sure he would be sleeping for a couple more hours.

More than enough time to prepare.

First, preparing and baking the bread with the last of their flour.

Then, toasting it carefully so that nothing was wasted.

And finally, slathering the slices with the jam he had managed to acquire.

He heard movement, so he carefully put the slices on a plate and took it to the bedroom. Shinya was awake, sitting in their bed and rubbing his eyes sleepily.

“Good morning, sleepy head,” Guren said as he came closer, sitting down and kissing Shinya’s neck.

“Morning, Guren.” Shinya yawned and started to smile at him, startling as he realized what Guren had in his hands. “Guren?” He looked confused and surprised.

“I made your favorite,” Guren said with a shrug, as if it were no big deal. He blinked in surprise as Shinya’s eyes filled with tears. “Shinya?”

“It’s been… so long since I last had toast and jam” Shinya whispered as he reached for a slice and held it up to his face. His awed expression made Guren swallow thickly, if it weren’t for him, Shinya would have toast and jam every single day. If it weren’t for him…

Shinya bit into it and his entire face brightened as he chewed.  

“This is so good, Guren!” Shinya mumbled in between chews, sending Guren the brightest, most beautiful smile. Guren blushed and looked away.

“I just… you have been working so hard so I thought…” Guren swallowed. “There’s little I can do to help but… I can do this much at least.”

Shinya’s hand took his own and squeezed, Shinya’s face coming to nuzzle his own.

“Thank you, Guren. This is more than enough, I…” Shinya laughed a little, happy tears filling his eyes. “I feel as if I could take on the world.”

“Because you had toast and jam?” Guren asked incredulously and Shinya laughed again, rubbing his tears away before kissing Guren’s lips until they were breathless.

“Because I have you by my side.” Shinya’s words had an immediate effect, making Guren’s face heat up, his hands sweat and his heart beat madly in his chest.

“Shu-shut up and eat your toast!” Guren snapped, shoving the plate on Shinya’s hands and fleeing the bedroom. “I’m getting water!”

Shinya’s laughter followed after him and Guren could feel himself smiling despite himself. Shinya’s happiness was contagious.

Their situation might not be the best, but they were together, and that was all that mattered.

Chapter Text

Guren was having a nice dream, something about a sea of curry and a ceramic boat, when a scream snapped him out of dreamland and into reality.

“NO! NO NO NO, LET GO!” Shinya was trashing in his bed and Guren hurried out of his own to go wake his roommate before he awoke the children next door.

“Shinya! Shinya, wake up!” Guren shook his best friend, who was sobbing and muttering “no, no, no” in between tears.

He shook Shinya harder and his blue eyes snapped open, wide with panic and full of tears. His hands clutching onto Guren so hard he flinched in pain, but he remained in place, Shinya needed him.

“Deep breaths, Shinya,” Guren instructed softly as he talked him out of his small panic attack. “You’re in our bedroom, we had dinner with the kids and the matron just earlier. The door is closed and the front door locked.” He talked softly, stating fact after fact that would make Shinya come back from his nightmares and memories.

It took awhile for Shinya to settle down again, but Guren was experienced in dealing with this, so by the end of it Shinya was breathing normally and rubbing his tears away.

“I’m sorry, Guren. Did I wake you up?”

Guren shrugged.

“It’s ok. I couldn’t sleep anyway.” It was a lie, but a lie that made Shinya smile so Guren didn’t mind telling it. “Scoot over.”

Shinya moved to the side and Guren slipped under the blanket. At thirteen, they were a little too old to be sharing their bed, but Shinya always slept better when Guren was close and Guren always slept better when Shinya was close, so they kept it secret and hoped they weren’t caught.

“Was it really bad?” Guren asked softly as he and Shinya held hands under the covers. Shinya shrugged.

“The same as usual.”

“You know your stupid family is never going to come for you.” They couldn’t, his father was in jail and his elder siblings in other orphanages. Good riddance to them, as far as Guren was concerned

“I know, but…” Shinya trailed off and bit his lip.

“And if they try, I will fight them,” Guren promised, as he had done a hundred times and would continue to do a hundred times more. Shinya was his best friend, his partner in crime, and the closest Guren had to a family, Guren would never let any harm come to him, he would defend him to his last breath.

“Thank you, Guren.” Shinya was smiling again, eyes half closed with sleep.

“Don’t worry about it. Go back to sleep, I will guard you,” Guren said as he kissed Shinya’s forehead and cuddled closer.

Shinya smiled and closed his eyes, it wasn’t long before he was deep asleep. Guren watched him for a few minutes, running his fingers through Shinya’s soft hair, making sure the nightmares wouldn’t return for tonight.

He fell asleep without noticing, lulled by Shinya’s calm breathing and the warmth of their intertwined bodies.

Chapter Text

Guren hated his life.

“Stay still! I can’t put on the eyeliner if you don’t cooperate!”

Absolutely hated it.

“Such a shame we have to use a wig, your hair is so nice, Guren.”

And life hated him back.

“Make sure not to wrinkle the dress, it will ruin the effect.”

That was the only explanation why he was in this situation.

“Perfect!” Mahiru clapped her hands and watched with a smile as Guren wobbled onto the high heels he had borrowed for this stupid school play.

He didn’t even want to be here. But it’s not like he had a choice, not when Mahiru’s smile sharpened with the promise of retribution every time he complained.

At least he was only one of the step-sisters, he wouldn’t need to talk too much for the play.

He made his way carefully out of the classroom, picking up his skirt and navigating the busy corridor, full of props and hurrying students. Guren mentally cursed whoever invented high-heels, Guren had good balance but he still felt wobbly and every time he saw a shiny surface he sent up a prayer that he wouldn’t slip and twist his ankle or something equally horrible.

Guren focused on making his way to the outdoor stage they were using for their play. But first, his newest sworn enemy, the stairs.

He held onto the handrail, taking a deep breath and hoping he didn’t trip and break his neck. While there was a small appeal to it, as it meant he wouldn’t be able to go on stage, Guren didn’t fancy dying just yet, so he took as much care as possible as he started to make his way down.

“Gureeen! Wait for me!” a voice stopped him just as he reached the first landing and he turned, eyes widening as a nightmare of large curls and ruffles came running through the hallway and started descending the stairs, heels clicking loudly over the tiles on the floor.

Guren watched with horror as, almost as if on slow motion, the heel caught at the edge of the huge dress and his friend lost his footing.

“Shinya!” Guren’s hands darted out and grabbed onto Shinya, who crashed against him, pushing him against a wall and knocking the air out of Guren.

They held onto each other for dear life, gasping. Guren’s heart hammered in his chest as he realized just how close that was.

“Shinya! You idiot!” he snapped, grabbing him by the shoulders and shaking him. “What the hell are you doing! You could’ve died just now!”

“Aww, you worried about me?” Shinya asked, batting his eyelashes and Guren felt heat rush to his face.

“The hell I am!” he let go of Shinya and huffed, crossing his arms. “I just don’t want to witness a stupid-face dying stupidly!”

Shinya burst into laughter again and Guren’s lips twitched involuntarily. He forced himself to frown instead.

“Now shut up and watch your step .” Guren grabbed Shinya’s arm with one hand and the rail with another, forcing him to walk slowly.

“Gureeen, we are gonna be late like this!”

“We are gonna be alive like this! Now shut up and focus on getting down these death-trap stairs.”

“Aye, aye, nee-chan,” Shinya mocked him and Guren took advantage of they finally reaching the end to punch him in the shoulder.

“That’s nee-san for you!” he called over his shoulder as he walked quickly towards their stage. Shinya followed while rubbing his shoulder.

“Ouch! You’re really getting into character, aren’t you?”

“Let’s just finish this so I can get out of these infernal shoes,” Guren complained and Shinya laughed again.

“Let’s. Though you look cute in a dress~” he winked at Guren and Guren blushed again.

“Shu-shut up,” he ducked his head and walked faster. Shinya hurrying to follow.

To Guren’s eternal shame, the play was a huge success.

Chapter Text

Shinya stood on top of the slope, taking deep breaths of cold mountain air, enjoying the amazing view. His nose hurt and he had to wear goggles because of the sun glare, but he was having so much fun, skiing and spending time with his grumpy other half.

Speaking of, he turned to the side and watched as Guren stared intently at the route they were going to take. His bright orange jacket was an eyesore, but it was unfortunately necessary for the cold temperatures and in case they got lost. At least he looked good when the cold breeze came and ruffled his raven locks, so dashing and model-like as he stood there, surveying the mountains.

“What are you looking at?” Guren asked as he turned to Shinya and he grinned in response.

“I’m looking at a loser,” he joked and immediately jumped off the edge, landing with a dull thud and quickly making his way down the slope, bending low to get more speed.

Far above him, Guren yelled an outraged “THAT’S CHEATING!” before he was also jumping down and doing his best to follow Shinya back down. He laughed happily, his throat protesting the sudden lungful of icy air that entered him, but he ignored it in favor of focussing on his path, he didn’t want to trip on a rock and come crashing down after all, that would hurt.

A loud thump resounded nearby and flash of orange appeared at the corner of his eye. He frowned, like hell he was letting Guren win. He sped up and so did his fiancé.

“Ha! Cheaters never prosper, Shinya!” The mockery made him laugh, it was nice when Guren let go of his self-imposed seriousness and relaxed a bit. Shinya’s permanent life goal was to get Guren to have fun and he was always happy when he succeeded.  

“But a loser is always a loser!” he yelled back as he veered off towards a natural ramp-like rock and launched himself, landing several meters in the lead.

Guren’s yell of offense was music to his ears.

At least until he saw out of the corner of his eye how Guren tried to cut a corner too close and then…

He fell.

Shinya gasped and immediately hurried in his direction, but there was little he could do, he was too far away. Panic seeped into his mind as Guren continued tumbling down the mountain, ski sticks flying off, skis breaking and him continuing falling. Ice cold fear gripped Shinya so tight he forgot to breathe.

“GUREN!”

He tried to follow, desperately thinking of someway to slow him down. They entered a forested area and he saw as Guren’s hand grabbed onto a root, succeeding in halting his momentum with a violent lurch.

Shinya gasped and quickly got out of his skis, reaching Guren and falling to his knees.

“Guren! Guren are you ok?” Shinya was trembling, tears gathering in his eyes, he was terrified. If Guren was hurt, if Guren was… he couldn’t even bear to think about it.

But he wasn’t, Guren was still alive, panting heavily, eyes half closed in pain, goggles long lost in the fall.

“I… think so… ah… my shoulder though…” Shinya choked back a sob, if he was well enough to complain then there was little to worry about.

For this reason they had to cut their expedition short and after a quick trip to the nearby clinic, they were now warming themselves up in their rented cabin.

Shinya wanted to laugh, watching Guren buried in his blanket cocoon right in front of the fireplace, like the cutest, grumpiest ghost. But Guren’s temper was already frayed with the mess earlier so better not to, he didn’t fancy sleeping on the couch today.

“Here, drink this. You’ll feel better,” he said as he passed him a large, warm mug.

“Milk chocolate?” Guren asked, a tired smile on his lips. Shinya nodded as he sat next to him.

“Yup! With cinnamon and vanilla! It’s good! Drink, drink.”

Guren drank, humming happily at the taste. As he did so, the blanket slipped down and Shinya caught a glimpse of the bruise on his neck.

He swallowed and he came closer, curling his arms around Guren’s waist and hiding his face on his neck.

“That was so close,” he whispered, wrinkling his nose at the smell of the ointment and sterile bandages that were on Guren’s shoulder.

“I’m sorry for ruining our trip,” Guren whispered back, turning to kiss Shinya’s lips.

It was a low kiss, the gentle pressure of lips that sought to comfort more than to please.

“You didn’t ruin it Guren. I was the idiot that edged you on.”

“Are we going to argue about whose fault it was now?” he asked, amusement making his lips quiver. Shinya huffed and shook his head.

“No... but you know, our trip is not ruined exactly.” He purred, taking Guren’s mug and putting it aside before cupping his face with both hands. “There are many things we can do while resting inside.”

“Even with my shoulder?” Guren teased him but Shinya could see, from the way his eyes darkened, that he was not opposed to the idea.

“Hmm, we just need to be… creative.”

Having said that, they proceeded to forget all about messy skiing accidents.

Chapter Text

Guren had known Shinya for as long as he could remember. He was the blue eyed devil that dared him to climb on trees, the white-haired imp that helped him steal cupcakes from the kitchen, the mischievous troublemaker that always had an excuse that the teachers bought.

Guren knew him, he knew he liked strawberries and that he was afraid of cockroaches. He knew he had a scar on his arm from when he broke it after falling off a tree. He knew Shinya was smart, that he could breeze through math problems with barely a glance but that he preferred to read novels and had a very active imagination.

Guren knew him and, more importantly, Guren liked him. It was impossible not to, for all Guren liked to pretend otherwise.

Shinya was the only one that could keep up with his leaps of logic, the one that put up with his moods and answered his snappishness with witty sarcasm. Shinya was the one that always got him the best birthday presents, because he knew Guren like the palm of his hand. He was the one that gave up half of his lunch when Guren forgot his and the one that held him when his mom died.

Shinya was the one that he spent lazy afternoons with, just reading in silence. He was also the one that kicked Guren out of his bed on early Sunday mornings to go explore the town, or eat ice cream, or just do whatever.

It was so easy to like Shinya. Shinya’s smile was the comfortable feel of early morning sunlight, Shinya’s eyes were the perfect blue sky of summer, Shinya’s hair was the softness of his favorite pillow. With him by his side, the unknown was nothing but an exhilarating adventure.

When Shinya wasn’t around, it was like missing breakfast, an empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, it was like having a teacher loom over your work, the nervousness of not knowing what will happen next, it was like every piece of furniture had been moved five centimeters to the left, uncomfortable in a way you couldn’t describe, you just knew something was wrong.

Guren didn’t know how not to like Shinya Hiiragi. He also did not know how to say no to him.

Which explained how they were sitting on top of a hill at night, learning how their lips fit together after Shinya said “Let’s kiss!” like it was the most normal thing in the world… and in a way, it was.

Guren thought he should have had a great revelation, with fireworks going off inside his head and time stopping around him, his life feeling complete for the first time, as all stories go, but he didn’t.

There was no earth shattering moment, no sudden ‘oh’, just Shinya, the boy he knew better than he knew himself, smelling like the grass they had rolled in and the strawberry tarts they had for dessert. The boy that had a face too pretty for a boy and a nose that was poking on Guren’s cheek. The boy that snored when he slept and whose breath tickled his lips.

It was natural, an extension of their friendship, the next step in their adventure together, comfortable, familiar, exactly the way it should be.

They separated and Guren’s lips were tingling, the sudden coolness of the night reminding him just how warm Shinya’s lips were.

“That was nice,” said Shinya. It was Shinya as he had never seen him before, cheeks red, lips parted, eyes shining. This new side of him made Guren’s heart beat faster.

“Yeah.” There was little else to say and they pulled away, back to looking at the sky. There was a meteor shower today and as nice as kissing was, they didn’t want to miss it.

There was no noise but the singing of cicadas and the rustling of leaves, the familiar song of summer nights in the countryside. Shinya stretched, moaning as his spine cracked back in place. Guren watched and missed the warmth from before.

“So…” he said and Shinya turned, blinking curious eyes at him. “Can I hold your hand?”

“Ah…” Shinya’s mouth opened in surprise but it was quickly replaced with a smile. “Yeah.”

The first meteor streaked across the night.

Sitting on the grass and holding hands, they looked at the sky. It was easy, comfortable, just the next step in their long road together.

Chapter Text

Shinya took a deep breath and stretched, moaning as his spine cracked nicely in place. Then he climbed on his bed and sat down with his back against the wall, a couple of pillows providing comfort as he settled down. He was finally, finally done with essays, exams and projects and now he was going to take the time to relax and read a book. The first one he was reading for fun this semester.

But, as he cracked open his book, his roommate busted into the room.

“Shinya, I’m going to die, ” Guren said with a small whimper and Shinya stared at him, end of semester hysterics wasn’t Guren’s usual behaviour so this had to really be a serious situation.

“What happened?” Shinya asked, putting his book aside and standing up.

“Some asshole stepped on my bag,” Guren started to explain, coming into the room and sitting down at his desk, rubbing his exhausted face. Heavy breathing, hair made a mess, rumpled shirt, overflowing bag hanging half-open from his shoulder, travel mug clutched in a white-knuckled grip, he looked a mess.

“And?” Shinya prompted him as he was now rummaging through said backpack.

“And look at this!” he took out a broken plastic case with circuitry falling from the inside. “My graphic calculator! Completely fucked up!” He threw it on the desk and looked like he was about to fall apart together with it.

“Wow, that looks seriously broken. Why didn’t you get the ass to buy you a new one?”

“Because I don’t know who it was!” Guren threw his hands up in the air and ran his fingers through his hair, making it even messier. “I was in the library and went to the bathroom, my calc was fine until then but when I came back and needed it for some last minute checking…”

“It was already like that,” Shinya finished for him and Guren nodded from where he was holding his face in his hands in absolute despair.

“I have an exam in thirty minutes. I’m going to go there and I’m going to fail, I’m going to lose my scholarship and my credibility, my parents are going to be so disappointed, no graduate school is gonna take me…” He started to list all the things that were going to happen because he didn’t have a calculator and Shinya couldn’t help but pity him.

“Guren, calm down. You can borrow mine, no big deal.” Guren’s face snapped up, hope making his eyes shine again.

“I can? What about you?”

Shinya gave him his best are you serious? look.

“Guren, I’m a Literature major, I got the required Math class out of the way three semesters ago,” he explained as he shook his head and went to fish his calculator out of his drawer. It was at the very bottom, under a bunch of unused paper, empty wrappers and a highlighter he had thought he lost. The calculator was a bit dusty but it looked to be in good condition so he passed it to Guren.

“You might want to check the batteries though, I haven’t even opened it since that class,” he added with a self-deprecating chuckle, but Guren was already pressing buttons and checking it.

“It still works,” and he sounded so relieved about that, “thank you so much Shinya, you saved my ass.” Guren’s pathetically grateful look made him straighten with pride. Guren had a way of making you feel important when he paid attention to you. Not even Shinya, who had known him for ages, was exempt from this effect.

“No problem. Have fun with your exam.”

“Ha! Exams are soul sucking monsters that take the fun out of learning.”

“Aww, you think learning is fun? How cute!”

Guren rolled his eyes and sent him the finger, his usual mood fully restored. It made Shinya burst into laughter before returning to his book, pleased with himself for having saved the day.

Chapter Text

G thought that the job of jewel thief was far less glamorous most people thought it was.

For starters, he was lying on his stomach, in a cramped storage attic that had not seen a mop since before he was born probably, waiting for his partner to signal the all clear.

“G, here S, guards settled down, cameras on loop. Do your magic~” His partner’s voice came from the tiny earpiece he had and G carefully made his way through the roof hatch and onto the roof proper.

From there it was strength and stamina, scaling down the taller building and carefully touching down on the shorter one. He made his way confidently towards the emergency exit and opened the door. S had taken control of the the alarm a few hours ago and he himself had left the door unlocked two days earlier, when he impersonated a maintenance worker coming to repair a leak on the roof.

He did repair the leak, because that was just one of the many random skills he had acquired throughout his life. Besides, it lent credibility to his fake persona.

Slowly he made his way down the stairs of the old building, with an empty bag over his shoulder, a mask covering any identifying features and tight clothes that wouldn’t snatch on anything nor impede his movements.

“Shit, ugly mug gonna take a look around. Get in cleaning supply room, quick!” S’s voice made him switch mid-step and carefully ease the nearby door open before closing it after him.

He plastered himself against the wall and listened carefully. A heavy set of footsteps approached his position and he held his breath.  The footsteps disappeared and G went out of the supply room, hurrying to make his way inside the workshop behind the store proper.

Once in, he breathed a sigh of relief and waited for a few seconds.

“Alright, ugly mug back to guard room. Proceed with caution.”

G didn’t need to be told twice. The safes were old school, likely no one thought a thief could get into the store to get at them, but he had an excellent partner that had made all their fancy security cameras and alarms quiet and busy with empty loops. G only needed a little acid here and there before he was dismantling them to get to the goods.

Hundreds of thousands, possibly millions of dollars worth of cut gemstones of different sizes and shapes made their way into his bag. Another safe contained gold and silver, ingots, chains, clasps, all the materials necessary to make all kinds of jewels. Another safe came with paper money, G hesitated to take that, they could be tracked far more easily than cut gems and melted gold.

In the end, he decided not to bother, and continued to the next safe.

“Bingo,” he whispered and S chimed in.

“Found them?” He meant the plans for original jewels that they had been hired to steal by a jealous competitor that didn’t wish this store to take over their own clientele.

“Got them,” G answered and took the papers, slipping them on his already half full bag.

Then he moved onto the shop proper, taking things here and there. Diamond earrings, several gold and silver watches, some chains waiting for customized lockets or medallions, engagement rings, bracelets and some more odds and ends.

“I’m moving out,” he said quietly. The bag was heavy enough on his back and he thought he had enough to make a good cushion on his and S’s accounts.

“Way is clear,” S answered, so G started to make his way back but paused as a watch caught his eye. It was the kind of ridiculously useless and obviously expensive thing that a certain someone would like.

He took it, slipping it inside his pocket and closing the zipper.

G made his way back up the stairs, careful to not make any noise, going out of the roof and locking the door behind himself. No reason to make this easy for the cops after all. Then it was up the next building and across that roof and onto the next one, over and over, up and down walls, feeling sweaty and tired, but his heart still beating fast with exhilaration.

The sun was just peeking over the horizon as he finally made his way into an alley where a van, with a cleaning service advertisement painted on the side, was waiting for him. He entered and dropped his bag on the floor. Taking off the ski mask and gasping for air, he was covered in sweat but it didn’t matter. They had done it, robbed one of the fanciest jewelry stores in Paris and gotten away with it.

“Welcome back, Guren~” a cheerful voice said before resuming his fast typing. Guren turned to look at his partner of years, white hair and blue eyes that looked ghostly with the light of the bright screen reflected on the elegant face.

“How’s it, Shinya?” he asked as he stretched his overworked muscles. Shinya hummed.

“Guards still watching the loop, no signs of alert. I’m just finishing rearming all the alarms.”

“Good,” Guren said fishing for the item in his pocket and dangling it before Shinya’s face. “Thought you might like this.”

Shinya’s eyes widened and he took the offered piece with wonder in his face. He immediately turned on the light inside the van and Guren had to narrow his eyes at the sudden brightness.

“A planetarium watch? Oh my god this is so cool,” he immediately took off his own, hyper-precise watch and exchanged it for the one Guren gave him, looking at it with a huge smile on his face.

“I knew you would like such a useless thing,” Guren joked, unable to contain the fondness in his voice.

“Oh hush you, this is the coolest thing ever, thank you so much.” His smile was blinding and Guren had to cough and turn away to hide how those words affected him.

“Yeah yeah, you finished with that? I want us to drive away as soon as possible.”

“Give me a sec,” Shinya returned to his work, but the smile wouldn’t leave his face.

Guren’s pride over the stupid amount of money they made of this job didn’t quite match the pride he felt over the fact that Shinya couldn’t stop wearing that absurd piece of finery.

Chapter Text

Shinya thought their newest barista was immensely cute.

It was a combination of his good looks, his tendency to open and close his mouth in incoherent anger when Shinya made fun of him, the way he blushed when Shinya flirted with him instead and how he stuttered when he tried to flirt back.

He was also very responsible, driven and mature. Always arrived to his shift five minutes early and always asked if they would be ok without him when his shift was done.

All in all, an excellent worker, that had dramatically improved their business over the year he had been working with them. Even if he had a bit of a temper against rude customers. Not that Shinya could blame him, the kind of people that were rude to someone who was serving them were the absolute worst.

Shinya took quite a bit of vindictive pleasure in siding with Guren against them, watching them sputter in rage when the manager refused to bend to their wishes and then stomp away with a huff.

Currently, they were preparing for the noon-time rush. Norito, their pastry chef, was busy making more and more sweet delicacies to foist unto their sugar-addicted customers. Mito, the cashier, was making sure they had lots of change available on short notice. Shigure and Sayuri, the baristas, were cleaning tables and checking that they had cream, sugar and all the necessary things in place.

He couldn’t see Guren anywhere.

“Sayuri, where’s Guren?” Sayuri looked at him from where she was restocking the soy milk.

“He went to get another box of the Brazilian coffee, Shinya-san. I think Goshi-san also asked him to get another bag of flour?” she answered with a finger on her chin. Shinya smiled.

“Thank you, I will go check on him.”

Knowing Guren, he was probably trying to be overly useful and doing something stupid. That also added onto his adorableness, oddly enough.

Shinya went to check into the storage room and immediately found Guren. Sure enough, he was somehow trying to carry a box of coffee and a sack of flour almost as big as him, both at once. He was barely keeping upright.

“Oh for the love of... Guren!” he exclaimed, going quickly to help him.

He took the bag off his arms, bending his knees to absorb the weight better.

“Shinya-san! That’s heavy, you’re going to hurt yourself!” Guren gasped out and Shinya had to laugh, as if he hadn’t found Guren almost bending backwards under the weight of it.

“It’s not heavy. I’m stronger than I look,” he told his cutest employee with a wink, smiling as Guren blushed in response.

So adorable.

“Come now, we need to get these things to their place,” he turned and walked out. Knowing his eager puppy of a part-timer would follow at his heels.

“I apologize for the bother, Shinya-san,” Guren said suddenly and Shinya smirked over his shoulder.

“Buy me a danish and we’ll call it even,” he joked with a laugh.

He definitely didn’t expect that to find a warm danish and a cup of coffee waiting for him at his office a couple of hours later. He took a cautious sip and blinked in surprise as it was his favorite cappuccino with extra cream and a dab of vanilla.

Guren was too earnest for his own good.

“I should snatch him up before he gets himself a girlfriend or something,” he commented as he enjoyed his treat.

Chapter Text

Guren walked into the theater, waving at the security guard that already knew him by face and name. Inside, the stage was being prepared, and the actors were going through another rehearsal.

He sat down near the front and smiled as he watched Shinya get into his role.

No matter how many times he saw Shinya act, it was always a very moving experience. Guren laughed when Shinya laughed and felt his eyes burn when he cried, he gasped when he had to fight another and bit his lips when he laid agonizing on the floor.

“Alright! 15 minutes break!” The director called and all the actors started to disperse and hang around, going for water or to the restroom.

Guren got up from his chair and walked to the front, where Shinya was taking sips from his water bottle as another person talked to him.

“Shinya,” he called and his boyfriend turned. His smile widened and he excused himself before almost running towards Guren.

“Guren! Thank you for coming!” Shinya hugged him tight and Guren returned it before his boyfriend pulled away, gnawing at his lips with worry. “What time is it?”

“Almost five,” Guren answered and Shinya deflated.

“Oh no! I know I said we would be done by now but the director wants another rehearsal from the beginning!”

“Another?” Guren was surprised. Shinya had been stuck rehearsing since nine in the morning.

“I’m so sorry, Guren! The original princess got her leg broken so now we gotta practice with another one…” Shinya started babbling, all wide eyes and waving hands. Guren’s lips twitched upwards.

“Shinya…”

“So the director wants to make sure that she knows her lines and besides…”

“Shinya…”

“Her acting is so different so we need to find a new balance between…”

Guren grabbed his shoulders and kissed him hard on the lips, shutting him up, and Shinya’s nervous energy evaporated as he leaned into the kiss, they took their time, leaning into each other and savoring the feel of warmth and contentment that always filled them when they were together. But then, someone saw them and started hooting and catcalling, making Guren pull away.

“I’ll wait,” he whispered softly as he stared deep into Shinya’s eyes. Shinya smiled and his entire countenance brightened.

“You will? Even though I don’t know when I’m getting out?”

“I will. Even if they only let you go at midnight.”

Shinya pecked his lips and opened his mouth to say something but then…

“Alright! Rest is over! Everyone come back!”

Shinya sighed and pulled away.

“I need to go,” he said with an annoyed huff.

“Break a leg,” Guren answered with a grin and Shinya snorted before trotting back to where the director was gathering all the actors.

Guren sat back down and prepared himself for a long wait. Not that he minded much, watching Shinya act was always a treat.

Chapter Text

Shinya hummed as he set up the table, a white tablecloth, polished silverware, their best porcelain plates and wine glasses, followed by a bottle of expensive wine and lit candles on the table and every surface that could hold a candle.

Then he checked that the food was at it’s best temperature, went to turn on the stereo, slow jazz filling their apartment to complement the dinner set up and turned off the lights. He took off the apron and a look at the clock let him know Guren should be arriving right about…

Click!

“Tadaima.”

...now.

“Okaeri, Guren,” he said as he went to receive him. Guren was blinking at him with confusion in his face.

“Shinya? Why are all the lights off? And the candles? Is the electricity… no, wait, the sound sytem is on…” Guren looked around as he stepped further into the house.

Shinya only grinned and went to hug him, nuzzling his neck and breathing in the last remnants of his cologne.

“It’s nice to see you too. Come, I made you dinner.” He took Guren’s hand and dragged him into the dining area, smiling as he noticed how Guren kept looking around curiously.

Then Guren saw the dining table and stopped.

“Shinya? Please tell me I didn’t forget our anniversary.”

Shinya couldn’t help but laugh at his adorable husband and tugged him close to kiss his lips.

“No, it’s not our anniversary,” he whispered against Guren’s mouth, watched as his beautiful purple eyes kept blinking in confusion.

“Then?”

Shinya shrugged.

“Just because.” Then he pulled away and tugged at his hands. “Come, sit down. I have a surprise for you.”

Guren did sit down, looking slightly more confident in himself, tapping his foot with the music as Shinya went to serve the food. Guren sniffed and immediately perked up as he recognized the smell.

“Curry?” he asked eagerly and Shinya laughed.

“Yep~ but a special kind of curry.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nuh-uh,” Shinya tutted as he put the plate with steaming curry and white rice in front of Guren. “You will have to take a guess.”

He put his own plate down and uncorked the wine, serving a small amount in both glasses before sitting down.

“Ittadakimasu,” they said in unison before tucking in.

Shinya watched as Guren took a bite and paused. His purple eyes flew to Shinya before he swallowed and took another bite and then another. Then he put his spoon down and gave Shinya a surprised and very pleased look.

“Shinya! This tastes amazing!” Shinya smiled smugly at the compliments. “It’s almost like mom’s… no… no fucking way.” Shinya’s smile widened as he saw the realization hit Guren. “She gave you the recipe?”

“What do you think?”

“I can’t believe her! My own mother wouldn’t give me the recipe but she gave it to you?” Guren sounded more surprised than anything and Shinya couldn’t help but laugh.

“After months of sweet talking and begging, and reminding her that her poor son has been eating less-than-perfect curry ever since he left her home.”

“I can’t believe you said that!”

“Your mom is very vulnerable to emotional blackmail.”

“I should hit you for that, but I get to eat the best curry ever so…” he shrugged instead and shoved a huge spoonful of curry-rice in his mouth, closing his eyes and moaning at how good it tasted.

Shinya chuckled and mentally patted himself over a job well done.

Chapter Text

“FUCK!” Guren cursed as they were hit by one of the Imperial Chasers. He redirected the artillery station to shoot at that one and keep it out of their tail.

Guren was an engineer! He was only a mildly competent shot with these things! But Goshi, their pilot, had come down with fucking food poisoning of all things, so Shinya, their usual artillery guy, had to take over piloting to get them the hell out of their last fucked up job.

Guren knew they shouldn’t have trusted that stupid, nervous-wreck of a backwater merchant. He smelled fishy from the very beginning, and Guren didn’t mean that he looked like a fish (though he did) but that he had been way too jumpy for someone who was supposed to be used to smugglers, pirates and other under-the-table dealers.

The whole ship shuddered.

“GUREN! GET THEM THE FUCK OUT OF MY THRUSTERS!” Shinya yelled from somewhere below Guren and he redirected his sights to the Chaser that was ramming them, actually ramming them. What was this? The thirtieth century? No one did ramming anymore!

“I’M TRYING, YOU SHITHEAD! GO FASTER!” Guren yelled back as he directed all the ship’s armaments to blow the hell out of the Chaser. It exploded, sending a shockwave that shook their small smuggler ship.

“THERE’S TOO MANY ASTEROIDS!” Shinya answered angrily and Guren had to admit that yes, there were a little too many all over his field of view, providing cover for those incredibly annoying Chasers.

“WHERE’S THE NEXT WORMHOLE?” Guren yelled down as he tried to nab the Chasers that swooped all around them like annoying flies.

“BEYOND THE ASTEROID FIELD!”

“God  fucking  damnit!” Guren hissed and managed to finally, finally shoot down another Chaser. Of course, of course it was after the asteroid field.

“SO OUR OPTIONS ARE PUBLIC EXECUTION,” an explosion interrupted him as a Chaser actually smashed against an asteroid. “BECOMING A STAIN ON A SPACE ROCK,” he did his best to shoot down another but they evaded his laser cannons. “AND A TINY, TINY CHANCE TO ACTUALLY JUMP IN AND BE TRANSPORTED FAR AWAY FROM THESE FUCKS!”

“PRETTY MUCH, YEAH!” Shinya sounded like he was laughing, of course he was, he was the kind of asshole that laughed in the face of certain death.

Suddenly the ship shook and Guren looked around desperately, he could see just beyond his camera something floating off into space and then, he was weightless. Good thing he had already been wearing the seat harness.

“WAS THAT THE GRAVITY CORE?”

“YUP!”

Guren gritted his teeth. Whatever, he would just make another one… whenever they found something that he could somehow patch up into a gravity source.

“Motherfucker!” Shinya’s curse reached him, though it was much quieter than their earlier yells.

“WHAT NOW?” he yelled at the gunner, a nervous laugh answered him.

“THERE’S A ROUTE BEFORE THE WORMHOLE!”

Guren whirled his seat around and sure enough, he could see ships of all shapes and sizes zipping in all directions to and from nearby planets, stations and colonies. And then a laser caught the shielding on their starboard, the fire alarm starting to ring through the ship.

“Shit! ShitShitShit!” Guren turned back and saw the Chasers approaching them again, their weapons all pointed at them.

He felt like his life was flashing before his eyes, memories came to him, of his father’s calm voice, of Goshi’s smug grin after a job well done, of Shinya’s face when he bought him an earring for his first piercing, of the warmth of Shinya’s hand when they intertwine them together in those brief moments of quiet they manage to steal from their hectic lives.

The ship suddenly dipped and the blasts exploded far above them.

“GUREN!” Shinya yelled reproachfully and Guren’s determination flared back up.

“LOOK BOTH WAYS AND GO!” Guren snarled as he emptied their laser charges at the Chasers. Like hell he was letting those assholes kill them.

They sped up, under and over ships, doing corkscrews, barrel rolls, loops, anything that would get them through the ships and away from the Chasers, into the wormhole and out the other way, thousands of light years away.

Guren sighed and undid his harness, carefully pushing himself through the ship and back towards the pilot’s cabin. The fire alarm had stopped ringing at some point, which meant the bot Guren had programmed specifically for firefighting actually worked.

“Small victories I guess,” he mumbled as he made his way to where Shinya was keeping an eye on the controls.

“I wouldn’t call our survival from certain death a small victory,” Shinya teased him, Guren snorting in response. He opened his mouth to respond but then a nauseating smell entered the room and both of them turned wide-eyed to the source… and promptly burst into laughter.

Crazy flying maneuvers + no gravity + Goshi’s sick stomach = a very, very disgruntled Goshi covered in his own body fluids.

But at least they were alive to clean up and see another day.

Chapter Text

“And to whomever brews the best Draught of the Living Death within the hour, I will award this!” The professor shook the small vial, the golden contents sloshing inside. “Felix Felicis, an entire twelve hours worth of Good Luck!”

Guren and Shinya smirked at each other as they listened to their professor. Shinya raised an eyebrow and Guren nodded.

The game was on.

Sixth year potions’ class was far different from the previous five. Minimum supervision, and the freedom to tweak the potions here and there for better effect, that is, if you had the smarts and more importantly, the guts, to do it.

Guren spent the first five minutes staring intently at his potions book and the instructions contained therein, making some mental calculations and checking his pocket planetarium for the positions of the planets. Shinya had already started, but then again, Shinya’s book was already full of annotations, to the point the actual text was barely legible.

He made some quick notes and then began to work.

“You took your time,” Shinya commented as he started to add the ingredients. Guren was still preparing them.

“Just giving you a bit of a head start, you’re gonna need it,” Guren answered with a cheeky grin, receiving a smug look in return.

“And here I thought you couldn’t even find the starting line,” Shinya’s response was just as cheeky. But Guren went back to focusing on his potion, he didn’t even want the Felix Felicis, what he wanted was to see Shinya’s face when he trounced him.

Alright, he was a bit competitive, so what? It’s not like Shinya couldn’t give just as hard as he got, and potions was Shinya’s thing, Guren had to be aggressive or he would be left behind.

Guren cursed when he realized Shinya’s Sophoporous Beans were already done(he made a mental note to crush them next time, instead of cutting as the book said) and his potion was changing colors. Well, whatever, he had kept an eye on them and realized that he had only put twelve. Guren thought 13 would be better, considering the size of the cauldron and the time of the year so that’s what he did, smiling as his potion quickly settled down into the prefered color.

“You ass…” Shinya whispered under his breath and Guren’s smile widened, oh sweet, sweet advantage. Still, he couldn’t let his guard down, Shinya would be passing him if he relaxed for even a second.

And then, disaster.

A loud gasp and a clang sounded at his left and his head snapped in that direction. He saw as almost in slow motion another student's cauldron tipped over and the contents were splashed everywhere. Guren reacted instinctively and jumped back, only to crash against Shinya, who screamed.

Guren turned around with wide eyes and felt his heart drop when he saw the burns all over Shinya’s hand and arm and how it was spreading over his clothes.

“SHINYA!” He didn’t even wait for anyone else to react, his wand was in his hand in less than a second and he pointed it at Shinya. “Glaceo!” A thin layer of ice spread over his arm and stopped the burning.

Potion long forgotten, he almost carried Shinya out, yelling over his shoulder that they were going to the infirmary.

Once there, he waited anxiously while the nurse tended to Shinya’s wounds.

There were no words to describe how guilty he felt. Shinya was his best friend, and Guren had pushed him into the fire. Still he leaned closer, listening to the nurse’s instructions.

“Tonight before going to sleep put more of this ointment and change the bandages, the same tomorrow morning after waking up. You should be fully recovered by lunchtime but I want you to come back for one last check before doing away with the bandages for good.”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“Alright, then I think that your friend is waiting for you.” The curtain opened and Guren scrambled away, pretending he wasn’t listening into their conversation. From her knowing look, he could tell he wasn’t very convincing.

She left them alone and Guren fiddled with the edge of his sleeve, unwilling to look up at Shinya.

“Guren-”

“I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to!” Guren blurted out, interrupting whatever accusation he thought Shinya was about to spit out.

Instead he heard a laugh.

He looked up and saw Shinya, with his arm fully bandaged, and an amused smile on his face.

“It’s fine, Guren. I would never expect you to stay in the way of a falling potion. Honestly, who do you take me for?”

It sounded stupid when put like that, but Guren still felt so bad over it, he could close his eyes and clearly see Shinya’s pained face, the pain he himself had caused with his clumsiness.

“I’m just… really sorry.”

Shinya gave him a long, searching look and Guren returned it with his most earnest expression, he probably looked pathetic but it was what it was.

Then Shinya’s smile shifted to mischievous and he got up, walking up to Guren.

“Alright, then how about you make it up to me? I lost the opportunity for twelve hours of good luck after all.”

Which sounded good in theory, but Guren knew Shinya, and couldn’t help but narrow his eyes in suspicion.

“How?”

Shinya shrugged.

“Easy. You take me to Hogsmeade and treat me to the best twelve hours ever. We do what I want to do and you pay for everything.”

“Oh,” Guren felt relief wash over him and relaxed his shoulders. “That doesn’t sound too bad. Sure, I’ll do it.”

“Awesome! It’s a date then!” Shinya clapped his shoulder with his good hand and sauntered off, humming a cheerful tune, and leaving Guren frozen in place with his heart hammering so hard he could barely hear his own thoughts.

Did he just say a date?

Chapter Text

Shinya carefully made his way through the wreckage of the city, once more it was almost summer and the threat was minimal, but that didn’t mean that Shinya wasn’t careful. There might still be a zombie or two wandering around, and he was not going to let himself get bitten now , after surviving for so long and finding so many people he cherished and gave him a reason to keep living.

“Ah, this one looks still full,” he commented to himself as he took a look through the dirty glass of a small supermarket. With a shrug he took his baseball bat and proceeded to smash the glass doors open.

Once inside, he grabbed a cart and made his way down the aisles, whistling the Sims’ shopping tune, more than happy for having found this treasure trove. He filled the cart with canned food and other random things they could use. Before soon he could fit nothing more and Shinya made a mental note to come back with some of the others to finish clearing out the place before someone else did.

Not that there were that many people around, but Shinya wasn’t about to share this when he had a dozen mouths to feed back home.

Just as he finished thinking that, something green and red caught his attention and he stopped. It was a large bush in an overgrown garden. A bush full of red fruit.

“No,” he breathed out the word reverently, it had been so long since he had last seen fresh fruit. For a second he feared they were poisonous, but his curiosity got the better of him and he approached cautiously. A closer look made his eyes widen and a smile spread on his face.

Raspberries.

He threw his head back and laughed out of sheer joy. It was truly the luckiest of days. He grabbed one and popped it in his mouth, moaning as it exploded with the sweetest taste on his tongue. These were the good ones too, he needed to get as many as possible back home.

He looked back at his cart, the bags he had brought along were all full, but surely he could leave some of the things so that he could… But no, they would need the things in the cart too. What to do now?

It took him only a few seconds to take off his shirt and tie it into a makeshift bag. It would get ruined, but who cared?

He carefully took the fruits and put them away on his new bag. He couldn’t help but eat a few more, fingers and lips becoming stained with the sweet red juice.

Which he should have paid more attention to, considering the welcome he had once he returned home.

“SHINYA YOU’RE BLEEDING!”  Mito’s screech resounded throughout the house and everyone stopped what they were doing before scrambling to huddle around Shinya, who laughed it off and hurried to reassure them.

As he did that, Guren came running from upstairs, his messy hair and clothes showed that he had been taking a nap, and the crazy look in his eyes showed that he had heard Mito’s scream.

“Shinya!”

“It’s fine, Guren.”

“What do you mean it’s fine? What the hell happened to you?”

“I found berries! They are delicious, we should all have some, I got so many of them.” He saw how Guren relaxed as he realized Shinya wasn’t actually wounded but then tensed again as he heard Shinya’s words.

“Absolutely not! Do you even know if they’re edible?” Guren crossed his arms but Shinya only laughed and started passing them around.

“They’re raspberries , Guren. Of course they’re edible and there’s enough for everybody.”

Guren narrowed his eyes.

“How do you know? They were just growing around right? They might have diseases and shit.”

Shinya rolled his eyes. Trust his paranoid boyfriend to think of something like that.

“C’mon Guren, if the adults, though I guess we are the adults now... anyway, if the adults went through the bother of cultivating these, I’m sure they’re perfectly good to eat.” As Guren opened his mouth to argue Shinya pushed one into it, mischievous smile adorning his otherwise innocent face. “Try some.”

Guren choked a little but ended up swallowing it. Shinya could see the exact moment the taste registered and grinned when Guren reached for another one.

“Alright, but if we all get sick I’m blaming you.”

“Ok~ but we won’t~”

“Hmm, by the way, what happened with your shirt?”

“Why? Aren’t you enjoying the view?” He flexed and Guren rolled his eyes, but still a small blush spread over his cheeks.

“Nevermind, I don’t want to know.”

Shinya laughed.

 

Chapter Text

Guren groaned as he grabbed another bucket full of flowers and started making his way to the refrigerated truck parked in front of their shop.

“Let me take that, Ichinose-san.” Before he could protest, Kimizuki, one of their part timers, had taken the bucket from him and hurried towards the back of the truck, far faster Guren was able to.

It made him feel old and he was definitely not old! Like hell he was going to let those brats show him up like this!

And yet, after almost three hours of preparing and loading the order, the perspective of bending down and carrying yet another bucket was filling him with dread.

Hmm, might as well make them earn their pay.

Nodding to himself, he sat down behind the counter and then took a good look around; the store was looking remarkably empty, but that was to be expected when a marrying couple decided to buy their entire stock of flowers to decorate their open-air wedding.

“Are they done with the truck?” a voice asked from behind him and Guren turned to see his best-friend/business-partner/maybe-boyfriend come out of the back with a pen tucked behind his ear and a clipboard in his hands.

Of the two of them Shinya was the more artistic one, so he was the one that usually arranged the decorations. Guren just grew the flowers and made sure they didn’t die before they could even bloom.

“Yeah, that was the last load.”

“Excellent! Then I’ll be off, I’m taking Shihou-kun and Yoichi-kun with me.”

“Yeah, yeah, make them earn their money with the sweat of their backs.”

Shinya laughed at Guren’s words and reached up to brush his sticky fringe aside.

“Seems like you definitely earned yours,” he teased and Guren made to slap the hand away but at the last moment he changed his mind and took it instead. Moving to press his face to the rough palm for a few seconds, the familiar warmth and the scent of flowers made him relax.

“Alright, here you go.” He pulled back and dropped the truck keys on that hand, closing his fingers over it. He looked into Shinya’s curious eyes and reached up to tuck a stray lock of hair behind his ear. “Drive safely.”

Shinya’s expression softened and he huffed in amusement.

“I will, you worrywart. Take care of the store while I’m gone.” A quick look around to make sure their part-timers were still outside and they leaned close for a quick kiss before Shinya pulled away and made his way towards the entrance.

As Shinya was leaving the store, he paused at the door and looked over his shoulder.

“And rest your back! You’re too old to be carrying heavy stuff around!”

Guren gasped, soft feelings being quickly replaced by outrage, he slammed his hands on the counter as he rose up.

“I AM NOT! SHINYA! GET BACK HERE!”

“I’M OFF TO DELIVER~”

Guren grabbed a plastic watering can and threw it with all his strength, it hit the door’s wooden frame, which shook ominously but held. Shinya whistled.

“Nice aim~” He was clearly mocking him and Guren made to grab another can but he was already outside.

“Coward,” he whispered to himself and sat back down. Soon they were gone and Guren was alone once more. He stretched and looked around, as empty as the store was, it was probably a good idea to close early today and take a nap. It sounded wonderful, especially when Shinya wasn’t there to steal all the blankets.

Chapter Text

It is a nice night to kick back and relax. They had coke, popcorn, a warm blanket, a cheesy horror movie and the background noise of the thunderstorm going on outside.

They were half reclined on the couch and Shinya was using Guren as his personal pillow. It couldn’t get any better.

“Pass the popcorn, Shinya. Don’t just eat it all on your own, you’ll get fat,” Guren teased him as he playfully tugged at Shinya’s ear.

“I won’t!” Shinya gasped in mock offense, digging his elbow into Guren’s stomach in revenge. “But you better not let any fall on my hair.” He added as he passed him the large bowl. A man in the TV screamed as he was brutally murdered but they ignored him.

“What if I do?” said Guren with a cheeky grin.

“I will murder you and no one will find your body,” answered Shinya with an equally wide smile.

They stared at each other for a few seconds, before they snorted and shared a brief kiss that started to turn more enthusiastic as their bodies shifted to better accommodate each other.

And then the lights went off.

“Well… fuck.” Guren’s deadpan voice made Shinya snicker.

“That’s one way of putting it. Where are the candles?”

“Kitchen drawer.”

Shinya made his best effort to go get them but the blanket was tangled around him and trying to get out was… harder than expected.

“Ouch! Shinya!” Guren complained after Shinya accidentally slapped him.

“Sorry, sorry. Alright, I’m free now, off to get candles. Don’t move.”

“Like hell I’m moving, it’s dark as fuck... I hope you trip,” he added with a snicker and Shinya gave him the finger, and then he remembered he couldn’t see him and felt stupid for that.

“Jerk,” he said instead, and yet couldn’t stop the fondness from sneaking into his voice. He was turning into such a sap, it was entirely Guren’s fault.

He carefully made his way to the kitchen, slow enough that he managed to avoid tripping, and got the candles and some matches. Soon, they were able to see again, the entire apartment bathed in warm golden light.

Guren was sitting cross-legged now and Shinya perched himself at the other end of the couch, hugging his legs.

“Well, what do you want to do?” he asked and snorted when he saw Guren’s deer caught in the headlights look.

“What do you mean what do I want to do ?”

“Just chose something, Guren.”

“From what? The electricity is gone and the candles barely even give enough light to see let alone do something.”

“As always your lack of creativity is appalling,” Shinya answered as he rolled his eyes. “Alright, truth or dare?”

“What? No, what are we, twelve? We are not playing that.”

“C’mooon Gureeeen, stop being such a grumpy pants.”

“No, absolutely not. Let’s go to bed.”

“Then what? It’s way too early to sleep, you know?”

“Who said anything about sleep?” Guren threw him a look and Shinya stopped to process what Guren actually said.

“Oh.” Guren snorted at Shinya’s dawning realization.

“Honestly, Shinya.”

“Shut up! I was distracted.” Wow, that was embarrassing and Shinya prided himself on being able to read the atmosphere.

“Sure you were.” Guren was still snickering and Shinya huffed and grabbed his hand, pulling him up and towards the bedroom.

“Let’s just go.” He tried to ignore the knowing smile on Guren’s face.

Turns out, the night could get better and it did. 

Chapter Text

Guren yawned as he walked down the darkened hallways of Headquarters. It was late and most had already gone home. Guren was enjoying the silence and thinking about finally reaching his apartment and just passing out for several hours.

He stopped in his tracks as he caught sight of light coming from under a door. The door that took to Shinya’s office.

“What is that idiot doing still here?” he mumbled to himself and rubbed his face. He contemplated whether he should just leave him to it or do something about it. But because he was a good friend, he ended up sighing and going to knock on the door, he didn’t wait for an acknowledgement before opening it.

“Oi, Shinya! What the hell are you doing here so late?” he put on his most uninterested look but it didn’t work as well as he hoped.

“Aww, Guren! I knew you cared!”

“The hell I care. I just don’t want someone to see you and think they can make me work late too.”

Shinya laughed in response.

“But you were already working late, weren’t you? Otherwise you would have left three hours ago.”

Ah, damn. He noticed.

“Because I wanted to, I definitely don’t want someone else to make me do it.”

“Ah, as expected of the rebellious Ichinose.” Shinya nodded fake-sagely and Guren snorted in response, closing the door behind him and strolling into the room.

“Then? What are you doing?”

“Unlike you, mister workaholic, I have been long done with my day. I just don’t feel like going back to my place yet, so I’m here, enjoying my book. Or I was, until a noisy someone barged into my office like it belongs to him.”

Guren’s eyes narrowed at the jab at his work ethic but chose to ignore it lest they got into an insult contest. Still, he was a little worried that Shinya wouldn’t voluntarily go back home and he was not about to leave his friend all by himself in this dark, dreary place.

How convenient that Shinya happened to be sitting at the end of a long couch. He shrugged and, before he could talk himself out of it, went to lie down, letting his head rest on Shinya’s lap.

“Hey hey hey, who said you could use me like a pillow?”

“I’m sleepy, you shut up and go back to your reading.”

“Oh? You want me to read aloud to you? Does baby Guren need a story before going to sleep?”

“I said shut up, Shinya.” He tried to affect annoyance on his voice and gritted his teeth as he saw the teasing smile on his friend’s face.

“Well, since you asked so nicely, ahem, All that Syrio Forel had taught her went racing through her head. Swift as a deer. Quiet as a Shadow. Fear cuts deeper than swords. Quick as a snake…” Shinya’s words had acquired a very grandiose tune, loud and epic-like.

Guren felt his eye twitch. This bastard, he was doing it on purpose to goad Guren. Well, if he thought he was gonna get what he wanted he had another thing coming! Guren closed his eyes and crossed his arms, pretending that everything was fine.

As the chapter was coming to an end, Shinya’s grand speech-like reading slowly quieted down into a more leisurely tone. He started the next one with a calm, thoughtful voice. Unconsciously, Guren let Shinya’s measured words relax him and lull him into a half-sleep.

The chapter ended and Shinya paused.

“Guren?” he whispered softly and Guren barely managed to open his heavy eyelids.

“One more chapter,” he requested, half-asleep.

“One more chapter,” Shinya agreed with a smile. Guren knew that tomorrow he was going to be teased mercilessly for this, but tonight at least, he would enjoy Shinya’s soothing voice for a little longer.

Chapter Text

There was an addiction to it. There was no other way of putting it. The harsh breathing, the madly beating heart, the burning muscles, the intoxicating adrenaline rushing through your veins, the sheer, unadulterated fear taking over your body. The knowledge that there was something out there, that there was no place to hide, that there was only so much you could run, and that there was no one who could help you.

Shinya gasped, jumping over exposed roots and feeling branches lash out at him, leaving stinging pain on his face and arms. But the pain was nothing compared with the rush of exhilaration that made his lips stretch in a feral grin. He felt so alive.  

Every branch was a grabbing claw, every shadow a waiting predator, every ray of moonlight a searching spotlight on him. His steps were heavy, his breathing loud in the silence. The forest was disturbingly quiet, the creatures of the night silenced by the unnatural presence of a thing that should not be.

He reached a small clearing and slowed down, barely a second, trying to decide where to go, when his hunter reached him.

“Oof!” he gasped as a heavy weight slammed into him. A firm, icy grip seized him mid-flight and pressed him against the rough bark of a tree.

Bright purple eyes stared deeply into him, freezing him in place. The most primal fear sending him in a state of almost catatonic panic.

Long, sharp fangs pierced his vulnerable throat and it hurt. God, it hurt so much it brought tears to his eyes.

And yet…

“Ngh~” the moan that came out of his throat was not one of pain.

His blood kept spurting forth and being lapped by an almost fiery tongue, sending shivers down his back with each touch, with each puff of warm breath that tickled the sensitive spot just behind his ear.

“Gu! Gurenn~” he moaned again, tightening his grip on the other man’s clothes. He closed his eyes and let himself be enveloped by this addictive feeling of being so close, so close to the end but not there yet. This desperate struggling of his heart that, ironically, helped his hunter’s efforts to take more and more from Shinya.

His eyes snapped open as he was sucked harshly, another moan tearing itself out of him. His thoughts became foggy and hard to grasp and his fingers lost their strength, his heart slowed down and spots danced in his vision.

With a last slurping sound, the warm mouth left his neck and he sighed.

“Oh! Oh Shinya! I’m so sorry!” strong arms held his body upright and he let himself fall onto the embrace, he felt like he was floating. “Why do you always insist in making me chase you?! Do you have any idea how hard it is to not let my instincts take over? How tempting it is to tear through you and take every last drop?! You could die!”

Shinya laughed weakly, light and heavy at the same time.

“Don’t worry about me,” he whispered huskily, making Guren snarl in annoyance.

“What part of ‘You could die’ do you not understand!”

Moonlight glinted from the blood-stained fangs and Shinya felt a mix of fear and desire stir up in his body. But no, he needed to be clear-headed to reassure his stupid vampire boyfriend.

“You would change me if I were truly close to death.”

“In a heartbeat!” He interrupted Shinya before leaning down and licking the still open wounds. Shinya shivered and let a small groan of displeasure escape when Guren pulled back again. “But only if I actually have my senses around me! If you keep acting like… like…”

“Prey?” Shinya suggested coyly and smiled at Guren’s grunt.

“It’s hard to even think when you smell so deliciously of fear and…” He snapped his mouth shut and then flinched. Shinya smiled, he probably bit himself like the idiot he was.

“Desire?” he completed the sentence for Guren and he swallowed before looking away from Shinya.

“You’re the most foolish human I’ve ever met! I really don’t get why you like it like this, when we could be somewhere comfortable and warm.”

Shinya laughed again and let his head rest on Guren’s shoulder as he was picked up bridal style.

“The thrill of the chase…” He felt cold wind whip around them as Guren jumped and started to make his way out of the forest.

“Your ancestors went out of their way to avoid such things.”

“They were boring.”

“Hmm, can’t argue with that.”

“Guren?” Shinya asked as they reached his apartment.

“Hm?”

“Thank you for putting up with my whims.”

Guren sighed and turned to nuzzle his cheek.

“I suppose, since I will be changing you soon, that we need to take advantage of this while we still can.”

“Yeah,” Shinya agreed as Guren put him down on the couch and went to get him some food and juice. “Let’s watch a movie.”

“I chose!” Guren yelled from the kitchen, making Shinya laugh.

And just like that, they were no longer predator and prey, but a normal couple enjoying their saturday night.  

Chapter Text

Guren watched with a sharp eye as the Master of the Robes finished preparing Shinya for his coronation. It had taken a long time, throughout which Shinya had made casual conversation, joking around with the Master of the Robes and the Gentlemen of the Wardrobe, a good half of whom had been his brother’s men and whom he had to win over as quickly as possible.

“Leave me,” Shinya said suddenly and all the fluttering courtiers bowed before disappearing to the next room. Guren didn’t move.

Shinya’s smile had vanished as soon as they were gone and he now had a contemplative expression as he stared at his figure in the mirror.

It was a strange sight, so much red velvet, golden jewels and ermine pelt, not Shinya’s typical choice of wardrobe.

Then again, he hadn’t chosen this.

Guren pushed himself away from the wall and came to stand behind Shinya, curling his arms around his waist and pressing a kiss on his jaw.

“It looks good on you.” Guren meant it too, red wasn’t really Shinya’s colour, but the way he stood, back straight and chin high, wearing his new clothes as if he was born for them, was breathtaking and awe-inspiring. The authority that was so inherent to him truly rose to the challenge of stepping into the hole left by his father's and elder brother’s demises.

“Haha, no, it doesn’t,” Shinya denied with a laugh that quickly quieted down, face turning sad and contemplative. “It was supposed to be Kureto, here in this room, in this moment, with these clothes,” Shinya whispered softly, hands caressing the heavy cloth, moving to where Guren was hugging him and holding his hands in a tight grip.

“Don’t undersell yourself, Prince Kureto couldn’t have asked for a more worthy successor.”

He felt Shinya sigh and lean further into his hug.

“Be as it may, I do not feel ready to take on this task. Guren, what am I to do with an entire Kingdom for myself?”

Guren pulled away, gently putting his hands on Shinya’s shoulders and turning him around to stare deeply into his eyes.

“Who led the disordered army after the death of Prince Kureto?” he asked, watched as Shinya blinked in surprise before answering.

“I did.”

“Who negotiated the peace with Sanguinem?”

“I did.”

“Who reigned over this country during the mourning period?” Shinya sighed and shook his head.

“I did it, Guren. You know all this.”

“Yes, yes I do and so do you. All this time, you’ve already carried the country on your shoulders. At this point the coronation is only a formality. Shinya… no, my liege.” He stepped away and fell on a knee, taking Shinya’s hand with his own calloused ones. “There’s no other man I would follow, no other man I trust as much. You’re already the best King we could ask for, Shinya.”

He had been looking straight up at Shinya’s wide eyes and trembling lips. He watched as his lord took a deep breath, straightened out and wore his heavy mantle as if he had been born for it. In that moment, Guren certainly believed it.

“You surely have a way with words.” His smile vanished and instead a stern visage covered his face. “Thank you, I will do my best to become the King you think I am, Guren. Will you remain by my side?” He squeezed Guren’s hands and Guren nodded firmly.

“Always, Shinya.”

Chapter Text

“Don’t get mad when I do it,” Shinya said while elbowing his best friend, Guren.

“I won’t! C’mon, I wanna see!” Guren slapped his shoulder and pushed him forward a little. Shinya laughed.

“Haha, ok let me just…” He took a deep breath and then quickly ran towards the sudden dip in the terrain.

Shinya couldn’t help the whoop of joy as he jumped off the small hill. The warm wind of the meadow caught in his wings and elevated him a few feet in the air.

At age 10, Shinya was the first in his year to molt his soft baby feathers into stronger juvenile ones. Feathers that actually let him fly.

Every adult he knew told him that nothing could compare to the first flight. As far as Shinya was concerned, nothing can compare to flying, he was sure he would still love this feeling even if he did it a hundred times and a hundred times more.

The warmth of the sun striking his back, the push of the air under himself, sending him higher and higher, the cool, sharp feeling of wind against his face, the slight drop of his stomach as he looked down and his friend looked so small , like an ant. It was something that made his heart beat fast and his smile so wide it hurt his cheeks.

“SHINYA!” Guren’s voice came from somewhere below and Shinya took a wide curve to turn. He still wasn’t very good at steering so he had to go slow and wide.

Finally managing to turn himself around, he saw that Guren was gaping at him in amazement, his wings, still the soft mousy-grey of a baby, fluttering as he subconsciously tried to copy him. The feathers were soft and warm, like Guren, and Shinya had fallen asleep with his face on them more than once.

He laughed, feeling proud for having impressed Guren, and flapped his own wings, pearly-white and just strong enough to carry him short distances, making himself climb a little higher on the sky. Shinya really hoped that Guren would molt soon, he wanted to fly with him high and far, to show him all the things he had learned already.

“SHINYA COME BACK HERE BEFORE YOU FALL!” Guren yelled again, running towards Shinya.

Ah, he got mad after all.

Shinya didn’t want to get scolded so he simply turned himself away, quickly flapping his wings to gain some distance from Guren. He could hear Guren’s yells becoming more and more distant, until he couldn’t hear them anymore over the rush of wind against his ears.

After a while a glint of something shiny caught his eye and he made his descent. He stumbled as he landed, but managed to keep upright. A quick look around showed that Guren was still too far away to have actually seen that. Good, having Guren look at him with admiration made him feel so warm and happy. He didn’t want him to see that he still needed to work on his landings.

Looking around for a bit he managed to find the thing that caught his eye. A rock the size of his hand, pinkish white, glinting under the sunlight.

“Oh!” He exclaimed as he picked it up, cleaning the dirt off with the edge of his shirt. Then he lifted it up to watch how the light shone off each side. Guren liked pretty rocks, maybe he should give it to him?

“SHINYA!” He jumped and quickly hid the stone behind his back before turning to watch Guren running towards him, breathing heavily from all the running he had to do to reach Shinya.

Shinya smiled widely as he waited for him to catch his breath. He really wanted to see Guren’s face when he saw his gift!

“Close your eyes and hold out your hands!” Shinya chirped up before Guren could even start to speak. His friend crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes.

“Why?”

“Because! Do it, c’mon!” Shinya was almost jumping in his place out of sheer excitement.

He hoped Guren liked it, he didn’t like it when Guren was mad at him but  luckily it was easy to make him not-mad.

Guren huffed and closed his eyes, putting his hands forward. For all that he pretended to be annoyed, Guren liked presents.

Shinya giggled and dropped the stone on his hands, Guren’s bright eyes snapped open and he gasped. It made Shinya puff up a little, watching Guren’s entire face brighten in happy surprise.

“This is so cool!” he whispered softly, turning the rock this and that way, watching the light glint off its pink surface.

“It’s for your rock collection!”

Guren looked up and blinked at him in surprise before a bright smile appeared on his face.

“Thanks.”

“No problem!” Making Guren happy made him so happy too.

Chapter Text

“YES!” Shinya threw his hands in the air as he managed to win the stupid auction.

“In your face!” He exclaimed as he put up his middle finger at the monitor. The effect was ruined by the large yawn that followed, he had stayed up to three am, chasing after the last elusive tickets for a concert of his and Guren’s favorite band and entering a bidding war with some random internet asshole.

“It’ll be worth it.” As long as he got to see Guren’s face when he presented him with his gift that is. He better appreciate it, he had spent most of his savings on this. But now, his bed was calling to him, he had to heed that call before someone realized he was still awake.

A week later, his prize had arrived and Shinya took good care to chose an appropriate box and wrapping paper, Minions wrapping paper because Guren hated it.

The next day, at lunchtime, he let Guren go ahead to their usual spot, saying he needed to go to the restroom first. He waited for a few minutes and then grabbed his bento and the small present with it’s neon pink bow and minions wrapping. The colors clashed horribly and it made Shinya giddy, imagining what kind of face Guren would put when he saw it.

He approached Guren quietly, watching as the light that filtered through the tree’s canopy created random shapes all over him. Shinya’s breath caught in his throat and he paused to take in the sight.

The gentle waves of Guren’s hair swayed softly in the breeze, each strand like the night sky itself had been weaved into it. Sunlight patches illuminated it at random intervals, making it glitter like it had stolen the color from amethyst stones.

But that color couldn’t compare with the pure hue of his eyes, so bright and enchanting, a color Shinya had never seen anywhere else.

Guren shifted and Shinya watched as he brought a can of green tea to his lips before taking a sip. That was so unfair, men shouldn’t have lips so pink and soft-looking. They swallowed in unison.

Shinya shook his head firmly. This was not the time to fantasize about Guren and if his plan went well...

He took a deep breath and smiled, carefully sneaking around the tree Guren was sitting under.

“Surprise!” he exclaimed as he dropped his present on Guren’s lap, almost making him drop his drink and food.

“Damn it! Shinya!” Guren glared at him but Shinya only laughed cheerfully as he sat down next to his best friend.

“Well? Open it!” He said, not able to contain his excitement.

Guren narrowed his eyes at him.

“It’s not my birthday.”

“So?” Shinya laughed. “Just open it, you dork.”

I am a dork? You were the one that used minions wrapping!” Guren sounded so offended, Shinya really couldn’t stop smiling.

“We both know you love it.” Guren glared even harder at him and Shinya bumped their shoulders.

“C’mon Gureeen.” His whining was met with success as Guren tore open the wrapping and then opened the small box.

The way his eyes widened, the small catch of his breath, his mouth opening and closing without a sound coming out. Shinya lived for those moments where he could leave Guren speechless.

“You got me a ticket for our favorite band’s concert.”

“Yep.”

“Shinya… I don’t know what to say,” Guren whispered incredulously, lifting up the small paper with golden inscriptions, staring at it like he couldn’t believe his eyes. “I… I can’t accept this.” He said, putting it back down.

Shinya’s heart stopped.

“What do you mean? I thought you loved them!” Shinya couldn’t keep the wavering off his voice and Guren threw him a concerned look.

“I do!” He exclaimed, licking his lips and pushing his hair back in a nervous gesture. “But… you love them too and the tickets are sold-out. I could never go to their concert without you also being there. It’s not fair.”

Oh… Guren was such a sweet and gentle person, Shinya’s fear was replaced by an indescribable relief and warmth.

“That’s okay, I bought two,” Shinya confided with a wink, taking his own ticket out of his pocket and waving it under Guren’s nose.

“You did?!”

“You can’t have a date without two people after all.”

“A… a date?”

Suddenly, Shinya wasn’t so sure about his plan anymore. He couldn’t handle looking at Guren’s surprised eyes so he looked away, feeling his face heat up.

“Yeah. I mean... if you want.” His voice was far softer and more hesitant than he intended, where was his confidence when he needed it?!

He felt a bump on his side and he turned, finding that Guren was also looking away from him. Shinya couldn’t see his face, but he could definitely see just how bright red the tips of his ears were.

“A date sounds… nice,” Guren answered and Shinya felt like Christmas had come early that year.

“A-awesome! Cool! Then… then it’s a date!” He was making no sense and his grin was so wide his cheeks hurt but who cared? He had a date with Guren!

Chapter Text

The chandeliers sent glittering light all over the opulent room where men in tuxedos and women in long dresses, the rich and powerful of the country, were having food, dance and conversation.

Guren faked a chuckle at the minister’s joke and congratulated his wife at having such a funny husband. He smiled and nodded at their words, while keeping an eye on a person far behind them.

Dressed in an elegant tuxedo that embraced his lean frame, with pure white hair that shimmered under the lights and a smile that never failed to make Guren’s breath hitch, that unbelievably handsome man was Guren’s partner, Shinya.

Not that anyone knew that here, no. They thought Guren and Shinya were merely acquaintances that shared the same circles but weren’t actually close to each other.

The truth was that Guren and Shinya had been together for years, providing backup for their operations and emotional support when their missions became too much. It was hard work, but having someone you trust at your back was invaluable for them. It was no surprise that their professional relationship had paved the way to a closer, more personal one. When you trusted someone with your life, trusting them with your heart as well was almost easy.

Normally it would be Shinya making the small talk and distracting everyone while Guren secured their objective, but Shinya happened to be exactly to the dictator’s wife’s tastes, so he would be the one disappearing halfway through the party to conduct an affair while acquiring the information they needed.

Guren hoped he hurried, being charming wasn’t his thing. Oh, he could do it, but it was exhausting for him. Unlike Shinya, who was a complete natural and able to switch between personas in a fraction of a second, Guren had to keep thinking five steps ahead about how he would respond and what each person preferred from a conversation partner.

Shinya reached up and pushed some of his mark’s hair behind her ear, leaning close to whisper something.

That was the signal Guren was waiting, he excused himself from the couple and approached the musicians, quietly asking for a microphone to make a speech.

The music stopped and everyone turned to see what was happening on the stage. Guren, or better said, Makoto Kijima, his current alias, took the microphone and cleared his throat.

His prepared speech was about twenty minutes long. Peppered with interruptions to give cheers and drink to the general’s health, just to keep people from getting too bored. As he talked, he saw Shinya and the wife sneaking away while everyone was looking at Guren, and silently wished him luck.

It was halfway through the speech that shit went to hell in a handbasket.

The doors bursted open and Shinya, with messy hair, half-unbuttoned shirt and a handgun, dove into the crowd as security opened fire towards him… with machine guns. Guren threw his microphone at a nearby guard’s face before taking his own gun and jumping off the stage. Like hell he was letting them shoot his partner.

Weaving through a panicking crowd is easier said than done, but he managed to reach Shinya’s side and fire back at the people pursuing them. There was no time for exchanging words, but they already had a plan in case something like this happened, so they made their way to a nearby doorway camouflaged with the rest of the wall.

They disappeared through the servant’s entrance, silently grateful they had memorized the layout of the castle-turned-mansion. Too bad that, halfway through a sitting room, they were found out again. They dove for cover, Shinya behind a large couch, Guren behind a marble column. He hissed as a piece of marble shrapnel cut his cheek and stuck his hand out to shoot at their attackers.

“What the fuck?!” he hissed at Shinya, who was reloading his gun with his tongue between his teeth. Having a conversation in between being shot at is not easy, but they were annoyingly experienced with this kind of situations.

“Wife was onto me,” a shot slipped between them, taking with it a chuck of upholstery, “apparently, she thinks the general is her one true love.”

“Seriously? Bitch could’ve let us know sooner.” Still, he took a moment to take a good look at Shinya’s current disheveled state, and breathed a sigh of relief when he noticed he was completely unharmed.

“Hear, hear,” Shinya answered before briefly leaving his cover to shoot back, three grunts of pain and they were no longer under fire. “Alright, escape plan?”

They were deep within enemy territory, surrounded, outnumbered and outgunned. But his heart was beating fast, adrenaline coursing through his veins and making him far more excited than appropriate in these circumstances, but what was life without a little danger?

“We make a run for it and shoot everyone in the way,” Guren answered with a grin.

Shinya grinned back, no doubt feeling his own excitement rise with Guren’s suggestion.

“I knew I liked you for a reason.” Guren laughed and grabbed the back of Shinya’s head to leave a harsh kiss on his mouth, receiving the same in return. It was quick but intense and left them a little breathless.

“After you,” Guren whispered huskily against Shinya’s mouth. He saw the way his blue eyes darkened and his smile sharpened.

“You really know how to seduce a guy.”

Guren smirked.

“Gotta keep my edge, wouldn’t want to lose you to some pretty-faced idiot after all.”

Shinya laughed and pulled away.

“Are you saying you aren't   a pretty-faced idiot?”  He said as he readied his gun and started walking towards the open doorway, stepping over the corpses of their attackers. Guren snorted and followed, readying his gun as well.

“So I am pretty then?” He teased and Shinya winked at him.

And an idiot,” he added and went into position to step into the hallway. “Watch my back?”

It never ceased to make Guren warm, to know Shinya trusted him so fully even in the most dangerous moments.

“Always.”

Chapter Text

“It wasn’t supposed to be like this,” Guren thought. Yeah, Shinya had been feeling bad lately, fever and chills, getting tired with the smallest thing, a nosebleed or two, losing weight without meaning to. Guren had worried, constantly,  incessantly, he had even had a fight with Shinya, snapping at him to stop being stubborn and go to the doctor already, but he hadn’t expected something truly bad, not really.

Shinya had gone, angry and fuming, but he had gone. He had come back a little pale and telling Guren that the doctor had ordered way too many tests and could he please come with him next time?

So he went with him the next time and the next, and when the doctor finally had a diagnosis about Shinya’s illness, Guren sat next to him, holding his hand tight. The doctor’s voice was very gentle, but no amount of gentleness could soften the blow.

Guren felt like someone had punched him in the heart, a small, wounded, noise escaping his throat as he tightened his grip on Shinya’s cold hand. Shinya laughed, of course he did. Laughing was Shinya’s self-defense mechanism.

“Ahaha, it’s funny, I’m a Sagittarius though… ah, why am I crying? haha why am I...” a choked sob stopped his words and he covered his mouth with his hand as he started to cry in earnest.

Guren hugged him tight, let him cry on his shoulder as he felt his own tears slide down his face. This couldn’t be happening, not to Shinya, his happy, energetic, healthy Shinya.

“I don’t want to die.” The admission was said in the most frail and broken voice Guren had ever heard. He hugged Shinya closer and closed his eyes tight. He didn’t want Shinya to die either. God help him, how could he ever live without his Shinya?

But that’s not what Shinya needed to hear right now. What he needed was for Guren to be strong, to be his pillar and support him.

“Shh, you won’t die. We’ll figure it out.”

“I’m so scared,” Shinya admitted quietly and Guren’s throat closed off as he struggled to contain his own fear and tears. He turned slightly and pressed his lips against Shinya’s cheek.

“I know, I’m scared too. But we are together babe, no matter what, I’m here with you.”

Calming down enough to listen to the doctor, who had tactfully given them some privacy for their breakdown, they started to discuss Shinya’s options.

Thankfully, Shinya’s illness had been caught soon, so the doctor was optimistic about the chances of success with chemotherapy. So they went back home, packed their bags, took time off work, and moved to the hospital for a month or so.

Guren had seen enough movies to know chemotherapy sucked, but fiction could never prepare him for the reality of watching Shinya become pale and worn out, having to hold him as he threw up everything he ate, helplessly watch him cry as his hair fell out in chunks.

“I’m so-sorry, Guren” Shinya stuttered against Guren’s chest, clutching the last of his brittle white hair that the nurse had shaved off. “I’m not,” he stopped to take a deep breath, “I’m not pretty any-anymore.”

Guren shook his head, even though Shinya couldn’t see him, and held him as tight as he dared when Shinya felt so small and fragile on his arms.

“Shh, that’s not tru-”

“DON’T LIE TO ME!” Shinya yelled in his face, eyes wide and swollen with tears. “Do-don’t, Guren. I… my hair, and, and my face, I look so… so bad and…” he sniffled “I don’t even have the strength to hold you.” His voice broke and Guren immediately kissed him, cupped the back of his head to hold him firmly in place and kissed him deep and desperate.

Shinya moaned and opened his mouth, kissed back as hard as he could. Guren sighed and kissed him more, he kept going until he felt Shinya relax and then he pulled away.

He looked dazed and Guren couldn’t help but smirk and rub his thumb over the swollen lip.

“I don’t know why you worry, I’m good looking and strong enough for both of us.”

Shinya smacked his face with a pillow.

It took years to finish the treatment, very stressful years, full of doctor visits, far too many pills and some very alarming moments when Shinya's weakness seemed too much. Guren did his best to support him through it all, from keeping track of his medication to massaging his sore joints, spending many nights awake, worrying that Shinya's breathing was too shallow or too laborious.

He never complained though, no matter how hard it was for him to watch Shinya's struggles, it was a hundred times worse for Shinya to live through them, so all he did was stay by his side, crack jokes at the worst moments to make his Shinya laugh, give him a shoulder to cry or to fall asleep on.

Little by little, Shinya started to recover his strength, each day he walked a little farther, he could stomach a little more food, gained a little more weight. It set Guren's hopes ablaze. 

It took time, but when Shinya was officially deemed “cured”, they opened a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

“How does it feel to no longer be the pretty one?” Shinya asked, pushing his once more luscious hair back and winking at Guren.

Guren snorted.

“It’s a weight off my shoulders,” he answered with a grin that softened as Shinya threw his head back and laughed, happy, energetic and healthy.

“Well I’m glad I can carry this burden for you now,” Shinya said with a wink. Then, his expression softened and he hugged Guren, nuzzling his neck. “Thank you for helping me carry mine, I know it wasn’t easy.”

Guren felt a knot in his throat and had to swallow.

“You would have done the same for me.” He cleared his throat, this was getting too emotional. “More champagne?”

Shinya snorted at his obvious change of topic but thankfully didn’t comment on it.

Chapter Text

Shinya unconsciously tugged at the thin string attached to his pinky finger. It was barely as thick as a spider-web, but it was such a vibrant red it was impossible not to see it.

For Shinya at least. You could only see your own string after all.

He tugged again. It was a nervous habit, the only one he allowed himself, and only in times of great stress.

Great stress was certainly a good descriptor for this situation. It was the first time he organized a wedding this big and this luxurious. He had been slightly hesitant at first, but the amount the bride named as their budget had made his heart make a jump. Far more zeroes than he had ever seen together.

Thankfully the bride was the only one really interested in the details of the wedding. With the groom and both of the families far too busy (and self-important) to interfere, he and the delightful young lady had had almost free-reign on everything, from decorations to venue to invitations to catering.

It was an overly-elaborate affair, with a fancy religious ceremony and then a very long banquet with several courses. The ceremony was family-only, so Shinya was waiting at the high-priced hotel that had been reserved for today and tugging at his string with each new fancy car that arrived to be taken away by a valet, and the people that stepped out of said cars, their suits and dresses and kimonos all so gorgeous and tailor-made and probably more expensive than Shinya’s yearly income.

Not that Shinya earned little, event planning was a very rewarding business after all. But the top 1% were the top 1% for a reason.

His musings got interrupted by one of the staff that came with hurried steps to whisper about a guest that demanded a drink right now, even though the happy couple hadn’t arrived yet.

Ah, the bride’s estranged cousin. Shinya had been given specific instructions to deal with him so he followed the staff-member towards a group of half full tables.

It was only the first of a number of small crises he had to deal with. After the estranged cousin came the fainting socialite and then the feuding old women. So distracted was he, he didn’t notice the string on his finger growing thicker as time went by.

Dealing with crisis after crisis, Shinya took no notice of what was happening to his finger until the banquet finally started and he could stand towards the back and take a breather.

Bringing his hand up to rub his aching eyes, he found his vision full of red.

With a gasp, he snapped his hand away and stared at the now thick ribbon that was wrapped around his finger. Now of all times?

He tried to follow to where the string was going, but he quickly realized it disappeared towards the throng of mingling guests and gave a sigh. He wanted to find them, the person at the other end of the string-turned-ribbon, but he was working now, it was not the time and place to look for them.

But would he ever have another chance to find them?

Shinya looked around himself, noticed all the staff members busy but not in emergency mode, and made the best decision of his life.

He followed the ribbon.

Apologizing to the people he bumped into, he kept his eyes on the ribbon until he reached the end of it.

A handsome man was standing, alone in the sea of bodies, and looking around with wide eyes. He was rubbing his finger nervously. The finger with the wide red ribbon tied around it.

Their eyes found each other.

“Woah,” Shinya whispered breathlessly. He had never seen eyes that shade of purple, so vibrant and framed by the darkest and longest eyelashes. The face they sat in was beautiful too, to the point Shinya’s body warmed up just from looking at it.

Tall and lean, together with the perfectly tailored dark suit and the neatly slicked back hair, there was so much beautiful elegance contained in the sight, Shinya felt that the earlier white and gold vision of loveliness that was the bride in her wedding dress couldn’t even compare to the man before him.

Somehow, his feet had been taking him closer and closer to this man that he was tied to. He knew nothing about him but he already knew his heart beat for him and only for him.

They were barely a step away when he paused, breathless with wonder.

“Can I kiss you?” he blurted out. Purple eyes widened and pale cheeks turned a becoming shade of red. The picture of perfection was broken, but somehow, it had become even more lovely. Shinya felt the urge to break even more this beautiful stranger’s composure, to mess up his perfectly styled hair and wrinkle his clothes and...

“What?!” Thin lips snapped, a frown appearing in that face that so captivated Shinya.

“A kiss.” He repeated, closing the space between them. The other man didn’t move.

“I don’t even know you!” He objected, and yet, he was leaning closer, his eyes looking down to Shinya’s lips, his pink tongue darting out to wet his own.

“Hiiragi Shinya,” Shinya whispered, putting his hands on the man’s shoulders and sighing softly at the warmth and strength he could feel under his fingers. The other man’s breath hitched, his eyes darkening and eyelids becoming heavy.

“Ichinose Guren,” Guren answered, voice low and intimate, staring right into Shinya’s eyes. It seemed as if the entire world had vanished and there was no one but the two of them.

“Let’s kiss,” Shinya whispered again, he was so close, so unbearably close. He could feel Guren’s breath on his lips and his hands circling the small of his back.

“Let’s.”

Chapter Text

Guren’s marks were bright, bright blue and the calligraphy so beautiful, neat and easy to read, each letter the exact same height as the others but for the capitals that were exactly twice as high. Not that Guren measured it, he wasn’t that interested… except he did and he was.

5 days, 8 hours, 36 minutes, 20 seconds.

Thank you! I like your eyes.

But he wasn’t really sure if he wanted to meet the person that would like his eyes. His parents had been soulmates and their happiness had filled Guren’s life with nothing but warmth and light. Back then, he had eagerly looked forward to meeting the person that told him such a nice compliment.

3 days, 0 hours, 11 minutes, 4 seconds.

Thank you! I like your eyes.

Except that his mother had passed away and his father had been destroyed . It didn’t take long for him to follow her.

1 day, 9 hours, 5 minutes, 57 seconds.

Thank you! I like your eyes.

Nowadays, Guren wasn’t sure he truly wanted to meet the person that would become so intertwined with him that he wouldn’t be able to live on if they left. Was it wise to become so dependant on someone else? So inextricably linked that you couldn’t see the point of living beyond them?

0 days, 4 hours, 50 minutes, 46 seconds.

Thank you! I like your eyes.

What if he was rejected though? He knew that sort of things happened, there were a lot of sad poems and songs talking about the emptiness of having a soulmate that wouldn’t take you. Guren didn’t want to go through that heartbreak. He had his pride damn it! He didn’t want to be one of those deemed not good enough.

0 days, 0 hours, 8 minutes, 1 second.

Thank you! I like your eyes.

Guren sipped his hot tea, warily eyeing his surroundings. The coffee shop was full of people, it was snowing outside and Guren had no intention of leaving anytime soon. So it had to be one of them right?

Just then a couple bursted into the coffee shop, complaining about the cold and shoving each other around. The man went to order, while the woman looked around for a place to sit.

Then she came towards Guren and he bit his tongue. He wouldn’t say anything, he wouldn’t. No matter how beautiful her hazel eyes and long ashen hair were.

0 days, 0 hours, 3 minutes, 16 seconds

Thank you! I like your eyes.

“Hi, sorry, are these seats taken? There’s no other free ones.” Her voice was soft and melodic but Guren relaxed, his clock hadn’t quite finished yet and her first words to him didn’t match. So it wasn’t her.

“Yeah, they’re free.”

“Thanks. Pretty cold out there isn’t it?”

“Yeah, quite cold. I’m Guren by the way.”

“I’m Mahiru, my brother Shinya is ordering aaand coming back already?” She looked confused and Guren turned to take a look at her brother.

His breath caught in his throat and he bit his tongue again. Now he wouldn’t say anything, definitely, no matter that Mahiru’s brother, Shinya, had mesmerizing blue eyes and a breathtaking face and pure white hair that looked so soft it made Guren’s fingers itch to touch it.

And then he laughed.

“Hahaha, tough luck Mahiru, they don’t have hot chocolate anymore,” he mocked his sister and poked her cheek, making her snap something that made him laugh again. It was a beautiful sound that resonated deep within Guren, a happy laughter accompanied with twinkling eyes and lips that spread in a dazzling smile.

It was the proverbial arrow to the heart and Guren forgot all about his determination not to say a word.

“I like your laugh.”

Shinya whirled to look at him with wide eyes and his perfect mouth open in surprise. Mahiru was looking at Guren in surprise too, but he didn’t notice, he only had eyes for Shinya’s expression.

An expression that brightened immediately, surprise being replaced by an immense happiness, the beautiful smile and twinkling eyes returning as well as a light dusting of red spreading over his soft cheeks.

“Thank you! I like your eyes.”

Guren was smitten.

Chapter Text

When Shinya woke up, he was confused at first. He wasn’t the type to wake up just because, and he hadn’t had a nightmare so…

Sniff, sniff…

Turning around, he stared at Guren’s back, barely illuminated by the moonlight that filtered through their window. His back moved in time with the noises and Shinya realized he was crying.

A quick look at the wall showed him the date and he felt a pang of guilt for forgetting about it. Guren never felt well this day, the anniversary of his parents death. He was his best friend, his companion and partner in crime, Shinya should’ve remembered it.

He heard another muffled sob and it was such an odd sound to hear coming out of the always strong and determined Guren, that it broke Shinya’s heart.

Slipping out of his bed, he silently made his way to the other side of the room and tugged at the covers.

“Hey, Guren,” he whispered, watching as Guren paused in his shivering.

“Wha-what?” he hiccuped a little and curled more on himself. Shinya sighed and pouted before gently pushing Guren towards the wall.

Guren moved without complaint and Shinya sneaked under the covers, curling around him, running his fingers through the soft black hair. Guren was shy, and he hated when people saw him crying, but Shinya knew he wanted to be comforted too.

“I miss my papa and mama.” Guren whimpered and then started crying again. “I want my family back,” he sobbed softly and Shinya moved to put his arms around him and hug him tight.

“Don’t cry,” he whispered softly, pressing his face against the back of Guren’s neck. “Don’t cry, Guren. We are your family too. Matron, the children and me.”

Shinya didn’t really know how to comfort him, which was very unfair, because Guren always comforted him after his nightmares. All he could do was hold Guren and let him cry.

“Besides,” he spoke up when Guren paused, breathing heavily and rubbing his face, “Matron always says that the people that leave us never leave us completely. As long as you remember, they will remain here,” he said, lifting his hand to tap Guren’s temple, “And here,” he added as he touched the center of Guren’s chest. He could feel his heartbeat under his palm, strong and fast.

They were quiet for some time and Shinya felt himself begin to doze off, he tried to keep himself awake, but it was hard when Guren was so warm and his bed smelt so nice.

“Shinya.” Guren’s voice snapped him awake again.

“Yeah?”

“You’re not allowed to leave me,” Guren said, his hand coming up to hold Shinya’s in a painful grip, “never.”

Shinya smiled and curled closer, humming softly.

“I won’t.” He kissed Guren’s temple. “Go to sleep, I will remain by your side. I promise.”

Guren relaxed and Shinya kept his promise, studying the many reflections of moonlight on Guren’s dark hair, rubbing his thumb over Guren’s warm fingers. Only after his best friend’s breathing calmed and his heartbeat slowed down, Shinya allowed himself to drift off as well.

Chapter Text

Guren hadn’t done this in forever. Mostly because of lack of time and when he had the time he didn’t have the energy. It was far easier to get himself distracted by checking his facebook and twitter or watching movies.

But once he started, he barely had to think about it, just let his hands thread the old paths on their own. The movements were familiar, and brought memories of his childhood and the cold days of winter when they were snowed in and he was bored enough to let his mother teach him. His hands gained speed as he got back into the well-known rhythm, his mother’s easy instructions swimming around his head. The memory of her voice a calming lullaby that made him almost melt into his armchair.

“I should do this more often,” he commented to his cat Noya, who was toying with a piece of yarn and only paused briefly to look at him before continuing. “Yeah, I know. Far more relaxing than checking every five seconds to see if Goshi posted something embarrassing.”

The click, click of his knitting needles and the small footsteps of Noya on the wooden floor were the only noises as he focused on the pattern that was emerging from the colorful yarn he was using for this piece.

Navy, azure, ice, turquoise, seamlessly going from one shade to the other, the scarf was turning beautiful in a way he hadn’t expected.

“It matches his eyes,” he whispered suddenly, realizing that the yarn he had bought on a whim, actually matched his eyes. Heat spread over his face and he hid behind the half finished scarf. “How didn’t I notice it before?” he complained with a groan.

“Meow.”

“Yes, I’m an idiot. You don’t need to tell me.”

“Meow.”

Revelations about how deep Guren’s stupid feelings actually ran aside, he still had to finish the scarf.

Taking a deep breath, he tackled his work again. This time thinking of glittering blue eyes and a beautiful smile, of the jokes they made at each other’s expenses, of their quiet moments when they simply enjoyed the company, of the hesitant words they exchanged barely a month before, sealed with a gentle kiss, the memory of which still made his lips tingle.

Somehow, remembering those times when they tentatively held hands, trembling with nervousness and excitement, and the quiet laughter that followed when they accidentally bumped noses as they searched for each other’s lips, made row after row of stitches appear almost without Guren noticing how far along he was.

It took him three days, three days of avoiding Shinya and all of his friends while he worked on his present.

But then it was done, beautiful colors brought to life by a simple but elegant pattern. It made him proud. He could already see how well it would fit him.

The next day, he waited until he came to pick him up for lunch.

“Close the door. We need to talk,” Guren said after Shinya stepped into his office. He grimaced when he noticed how harsh he sounded, he hadn’t meant to, but his nervousness was getting the better of him.

“Guren?” Shinya looked worried and hesitantly made his way further into the room.

“Here.” He shoved the small bag at Shinya with trembling hands. “You’re always complaining about how cold you are and pulling your stupid turtleneck up so… I made this for you.” Guren looked away, face burning up.

“You made this for me?” Shinya repeated, surprise coloring his voice as he immediately dug into the bag. Guren nodded and watched from the corner of his eyes as Shinya took the scarf out. “Woah.”

Shinya's scarf

Alright, that look of amazement was doing some very nice things to Guren’s ego. Not that he was going to let him know that.

“This looks amazing, Guren! And you made it yourself?!” Shinya didn’t wait for an answer before he was winding it around his neck and then burying his face on it. “Ah~ it’s so soft and warm. Thank you!”

He stepped closer and Guren had to look at him, heart beating madly at the sight. Shinya’s eyes were blue, many different shades that formed an indescribable color that Guren could only call ‘Shinya’s blue’. The scarf was not exactly the same, but it was close enough, and it enhanced the view of Shinya’s lovely face in a way that made Guren’s breath catch in his throat.

“Come here,” Shinya whispered softly and Guren forgot all about blue as their lips joined again in a kiss that warmed him up far better than the heating in his office could.

Chapter Text

Shinya was worried about Guren, the bags under his eyes were getting darker and he was snappier with each passing day. Not that Shinya was in much better state, even as smart as they were, college was kicking their asses.

Their room had become a battlefield of discarded flashcards, empty coffee and ramen cups, wrinkled bags of chips and cookies, and in a corner, Guren was sitting at his desk hunched over a book that must’ve weighed as much as himself, taking notes on a very worn notebook with a hundred colorful tabs sticking out of it.

Shinya’s exams were over, thankfully, but Guren, being the ridiculous overachiever he was, still had two more to go. He stared from his bed at Guren’s hunched back, at the tense line of his shoulders, at his leg that bounced so fast it was almost dizzying, at the hand that went up every five to ten seconds to brush through the thick black hair that stuck up in every direction.

There was no other way of saying it, Guren was falling apart.

Well, Shinya was currently free, wasn’t he? Might as well help.

He put his hands on Guren’s shoulder and laughed softly as he jumped like he had been pinched.

“Hey, it’s just me.” He snickered and Guren threw his head back to send him an upside-down glare.

“Shinya, what the fu- oh!” Purple eyes widened and his mouth opened in surprise.

“Is this ok?” Shinya asked as he dug his fingers into Guren’s incredibly tense shoulders. Guren gasped and then a rumble-like moan escaped his throat.

“Yes, oh my god, yes.” His head fell to the front and Shinya’s thumbs rubbed hard on the sides of his spine, tearing another moan out of his roommate.

He rubbed careful circles on the base of his skull and moved further down to keep working on the knots on Guren’s shoulders, and man, those knots were stubborn.

“Just like you,” Shinya commented as he squeezed between Guren’s shoulder blades, making him gasp and then moan again.

“Wha-at?” Guren asked breathlessly and Shinya laughed, leaning down to leave a kiss on the crown of his head.

“Take off your shirt and lie down on the bed, your back is a mess.”

“But… I have to study…” To Shinya’s ears that sounded like a complaint for the sake of complaining and with the way Guren was almost melting in his hands, it didn’t sound convincing at all. He laughed again and moved to press his lips against the shell of Guren’s ear.

“The books will be here when you come back, c’mon, a little break will make you focus better.” He whispered softly and it didn’t take much to make Guren go to the bed and lie down with a groan.

“This better be worth it,” Guren said as he hugged the pillow and turned his head to look at Shinya with a pseudo-glare that didn’t work at all on him as he straddled his waist and rubbed his hands to warm them up. “Because you’re taking time that I could use for studying to- ahh!” He gasped out as Shinya pushed onto his back.

“Good?”

“Mm hmm!” Guren’s voice came out muffled as he had buried his face on the pillow; there was red reaching the tips of his ears and Shinya laughed. How cute, Guren was embarrassed.

“You’re killing yourself like this, Guren. Next semester you should take less classes.” Shinya’s hands were moving as he spoke, working the knots out of Guren’s broad back.

“But…” Shinya playfully tugged at Guren’s ear to shut him up.

“No buts; do you really want to get this stressed every single exam season? You’ll get an ulcer before you’re thirty.” He pushed his point by tightening his grip on Guren’s muscles and making him groan, low and loud.

“You cheating bastard, that feels so good.” Guren was almost boneless under him and Shinya had to laugh.

“Haha, I’ll cheat as much as it takes to make you agree.”

“Ok, ok, I will - ah! - I will take less classes.”

Shinya smiled and made sure to give Guren a very nice reward for listening to him.

Chapter Text

Guren woke up to a blue shine on his face. He groaned and buried his face on the pillow.

Said groan sounded suspiciously like Shinyaaa.

But the aforementioned was frantically typing at his laptop, oblivious to Guren’s annoyance.

“Shinya, what the hell?” he tried again, this time turning so that his words were not muffled by the pillow.

“Guren?” Shinya turned and blinked bleary surprised eyes at him. “Why are you awake?”

“That’s what I should be saying, it’s...” He turned to look at the clock and groaned again. “It’s three in the bloody morning! What are you even doing?!”

“Well, I woke up and had this really cool idea that I had to put down before I forgot.”

Guren sighed and pressed his face back into the pillow again, dating a writer had some very annoying downsides. It also had amazing upsides, like Shinya’s unbelievable creativity when planning dates, the surprise gifts, the poetry and other romantic details that made his life so much better than before meeting him.

But waking up at three in the morning because his boyfriend was inspired, was not among the list of things Guren considered romantic.

“Shinya…”

“Hm?” Shinya hummed, already back to typing and most likely not really listening to Guren.

“Are you done with your idea?” Guren asked, peering into the brightly lit screen and finding… something that didn’t make much sense.

“Hmm, kinda, there’s some interesting implications that I want to-hey!” Guren pushed the laptop closed and almost caught Shinya’s fingers with it. “Gureeen, I wasn’t done yet!” he whined, but Guren ignored him, taking the laptop and turning to put it away on his bedside table. As far from Shinya’s crazy midnight ramblings as possible.

“You jerk! Give that back!” Shinya tried to climb over him to grab the laptop back but Guren was ready for it and easily kept the sleep-deprived Shinya at bay with one arm as he put the laptop away.

“No,” he answered. Now with both hands free, he turned to catch his boyfriend in a bear hug and push him down onto the bed, Shinya was so tired his struggling was more cute than anything, Guren had to keep his laughter down. “Go back to sleep.” He tried to sound stern but he couldn’t keep the fondness out of his voice.

“I can’t sleep!” Shinya complained, pouting. “I have so many ideas I need to put down!”

“You were writing gibberish,” Guren informed him with a mocking smile. Shinya gasped, clearly offended.

“I wasn’t! I waaaahh” A large yawn interrupted whatever he was going to say and Guren’s smile softened. He moved to nuzzle Shinya’s cheek as he pushed him back down to the bed.

“See? Go to sleep, you can see tomorrow if you wrote gibberish or something useful.” A snicker escaped him and Shinya slapped his shoulder with barely any strength.

“You’re awful and I hate you,” he mumbled under his breath, even as he turned to nuzzle back and cuddle with Guren. He was snoring within seconds and Guren felt his face soften as he watched him sleep.

“What a dork,” Guren whispered with open fondness before kissing his forehead and letting the gentle rhythm of Shinya’s breathing and the warmth of their intertwined bodies lull him back to sleep.

Chapter Text

Shinya was bored, watching from his perch on a cloud as, far below, people went about their lives in that indescribable hurry only those with little time had. His siblings never understood Shinya’s fascination with humans, thought he was strange, and left him to his own devices.

Not that he cared, he could see his siblings whenever, people lived so fast though, Shinya felt that if he looked away for just a moment, he would miss out so many interesting things.

“Where’s Guren? I want to see him,” he whispered to himself, thinking of his most favorite person. The person with the warm hands and the warm voice, the person that kissed so soft and loved so hard. The person made of stardust and dreams.

“I want to see him.” He repeated, pouting when the universe didn’t accommodate him and made Guren come outside where Shinya could see him.

“Oh Guren,” he sighed the name, it was his favorite word, honey-sweet and feather-soft upon his tongue.

He had lived for such a long, long time, but it was the first time thinking of another being made the primordial heat within him rumble in agitation, the first time the memory of a person’s company made his physical shroud ache with longing and he wanted so badly to see him soon, to walk with him under the starry sky, to listen to his voice and touch his hair.

“Oh! I should give him something!” He perked up. People gave things to each other all the time. He should do the same, give Guren something to make him smile!

He jumped off his cloud, dashing with the wind and letting it carry him through the night.

By the time Guren was finally outside, walking the serpentine road towards his home, Shinya’s arms were full.

“Guren!” he called out, floating softly down until his feet were on earth, his clothes rearranging themselves into mist and darkness around him.

When Guren turned, Shinya could clearly see how his beautiful, beautiful eyes widened in surprise.

“I picked these for you!” He chirped, letting armfuls of glittering stars go to Guren, floating all around him, illuminating him with their faint white light.

“Woah…” Guren whispered, barely a breath of air, and Shinya couldn’t help but smile and move closer, his arms winding around Guren’s middle and his face resting against his shoulder.

“Do you like it?” he asked quietly, and when Guren smiled at him, the beat inside his body hastened in happiness.

“I do.” Guren looked so breathtaking with the light bouncing off his hair and making his eyes shine that all Shinya could do was sigh. He had never seen anything so beautiful. “It’s beautiful, thank you, Shinya.”

“I like it when you smile,” Shinya confessed as he moved to brush his cool lips against Guren’s cheek. “You shine far brighter than these.”

The heat of Guren’s face increased and Shinya laughed, holding him closer.

Chapter Text

It was a typical Sunday morning for them. Guren was lazily scrolling through facebook on his tablet as he swirled his tea around and waited for Shinya to join him.

“Anything interesting?” Shinya asked as he entered the kitchen.

“Goshi changed his status back to single,” he answered as he looked up.

“Again? Poor guy.” But even as he said that, Shinya was snickering at their friend’s bad luck in love. Guren snorted in response and took a sip of his tea, leaning back on his chair to enjoy the view.

There was something very satisfying about watching Shinya putter around in the kitchen, wearing a loose sweater that slid down to the side to reveal a beautiful shoulder, very short boxers that left his long legs uncovered and with his hair still humid from the shower. It made Guren want to get all over him again.

At least until Shinya opened the refrigerator, got the milk carton and started drinking directly from it.

“Shinya!” Shinya choked and started coughing, making Guren feel slightly guilty about startling him, but still… “Don’t drink from the carton! That’s gross!”

Shinya finished coughing and turned to roll his eyes at him.

“You were shoving your tongue down my mouth just a few minutes ago!” he reminded him, blue eyes flashing with amusement. Guren grimaced.

“That’s not the same!”

“Oh, pleeease, I’m pretty sure our germs have long since reproduced together to make new baby germs.”

Guren wrinkled his nose at the mental image and Shinya, the asshole, laughed at him. He narrowed his eyes, and was about to make a comment about Shinya’s germs when the phone rang.

“I’ll get that. But do remember how many times we have kissed, very thoroughly.” He winked and Guren pushed his hair back with a sigh. He was married to a jerk.

“Ichinose house! This is Shinya speaking…” he trailed off and Guren immediately noticed the way his back straightened. “Oh, hi, Kureto-niisan.”

Guren also straightened on his chair, a frown appearing on his face. It was rare for Kureto to call the house’s phone, he usually called Shinya’s cellphone instead.

Suddenly Shinya, for lack of a better word, slumped.  Alarmed, Guren hurried to get up and go to hug him from behind, hooking his chin on Shinya’s shoulder and letting his husband lean against his chest for support.

“Ah, I see. I will…” Shinya swallowed. “I will think about it.” He hung up without saying goodbye and put the phone aside before pulling away and going to sit down on the couch with a lost look in his eyes.

Guren followed, worried about the uncharacteristic silence, and hovered nearby, unsure about what to do.

“Father had a heart attack. He’s in the hospital,” Shinya said in a monotone voice that made Guren’s breath hitch, then he continued with the same tone. “Kureto-nii says he wants to see his children.” He let go of a bitter laugh at that. “Pretty sure he just wants us all to wait at his beck and call so that he can tell us all of our flaws and how much we disappoint him.”

There was no way in hell Guren was going to let him face that alone.

“I’ll drive you to the hospital.”

Shinya looked up with wide eyes before sending him a small smile.

“Guren, you hate my family,” Shinya reminded him with a nervous chuckle. Guren shrugged, it was true he didn’t get along with them, but Shinya looked shaken and Guren would be damned before he left his husband without support.

“The feeling is mutual, I’m sure. However, this is your father we are talking and you should go, at least to see what he wants. But I won’t let you deal with this alone.” Guren answered, sitting next to Shinya and bumping shoulders softly. “Hey, chin up, maybe Tenri will recover out of sheer spite for me.”

“Haha,” Shinya chuckled and reached out to intertwine his fingers with Guren, leaning his head against Guren’s shoulder. “Thank you, Guren.”

Guren kissed the top of his head.

“Anytime Shinya, anytime.”

Chapter Text

“Ugh, homework,” Shinya said as he sent his books a disdainful look.

Guren hummed in agreement as he finished serving the snacks and drinks his mom had prepared. Shinya immediately took a handful of cookies and started eating them. Guren chose to take a sip of iced tea as they took a break from the studying they hadn’t even begun.

“Do you have anything to do this Saturday?” he asked as he put his tea aside. Shinya looked at him and Guren snorted at the cookie crumbs all over his mouth before reaching out with a napkin and cleaning him up.

“Thanks. Also, I got nothing this Saturday, why?” Shinya blinked with curiosity, tilting his head and looking so much like a puppy Guren almost reached out to pat his head. But he managed to hold back, thankfully. He was sure Shinya would never shut up about it if he actually did something like that.

“Do you want to go to the movies? I got a two for one coupon thing.”

Shinya’s eyes immediately brightened as a smile spread on his face. Guren couldn’t help but imagine a little tail wagging behind him and it was really hard not to pat him.

“Sweet! Sure, we should go.”

“Awesome. Ok, study time now.” Shinya groaned but complied, teasing Guren about getting fat eating his mother’s amazing cooking and receiving a pillow to his annoying face in response.

Saturday arrived sooner than expected. They took longer than usual choosing something nice to wear, because he and Shinya kept texting each other with their wardrobe choices and messing around with their clothes. So distracted were they by their texting that they were almost late.

Guren ran to where Shinya was waiting. His friend was also red of face and panting for breath, so he hadn’t been waiting for long at all.

“What do you want to watch?” He asked once he recovered his breath and Shinya huffed at him, reaching out and brushing Guren’s sweaty fringe away from his eyes.

“You’re the one paying, shouldn’t you chose?” Guren shrugged and pulled away to fix his hair again.

“Nah, go ahead. I trust your movie taste…” Then he thought it better. “But I chose the snacks.”

Shinya mock gasped before throwing his head back and laughing. A clear, happy sound that made Guren grin until his cheeks hurt.

“You don’t trust my snack tastes?!”

“No,” Guren deadpanned, having a hard time keeping his lips from forming into an amused smile, Shinya was giving him the most outraged look.

“Wow, rude.” He turned away, bright cinema lights bouncing off his silver hair, and crossed his arms before looking over his shoulder again. “Just for that, I’m going to choose a romcom.”

“You will suffer with me, you know?”

Shinya was quiet for some time.

“Wonder Woman then.”

Guren snorted before shoving him towards the ticket counter.

“That was quick, you're so lame Shinya. C’mon, we should hurry to get our things.”

“Ouch, don’t push me!” Shinya complained before grabbing Guren by the neck with his arm and winking. “As apology, buy me the biggest coke they have.”

Guren thought about it before nodding.

“We’ll share it.”

Duh, I wouldn’t be able to drink it all on my own anyway.”

Guren shook his head with amusement. He was glad he had invited Shinya, hanging out with him was always fun.

Chapter Text

Guren and Shinya were too slow, while the rest of their friends had already made it to safety, they were still struggling to keep away from the falling rocks.

Guren was wounded and his speed hadn’t been that great to begin with as he was weighted down by his paladin armor, whereas Shinya was heavily wounded as well and that made it impossible for him to run as fast as he normally could.

“Hurry up you two!” Mito screamed from the other side of the subterranean acidic river. The faint blue glow of the crystals embedded in the cavern gave her a ghost-like appearance.

“Run faster Master Guren! Shinya-san!” Sayuri was covered in dust, one of her arms cradled gingerly against her chest. She had transformed into an eagle to try and get her comrades out, but a rock had clipped her wing and she had barely been able to get herself and the small Shigure to the other side of the river.

Shigure was also covered in dust from when she and Sayuri had rough landed, and was frantically looking inside her bag of holding for something that could help this situation.

“Goshi! Find something quickly!” Mito turned to their wizard friend, who was also frantically scouring his books for anything that could get them out of this pinch.

“I’m trying!” Goshi snapped, uncharacteristically sharp, his hair standing on end from the magical charge of accumulated stress. “Give me more time!”

“WE DON’T HAVE MORE TIME, THEY’RE ABOUT TO BE SQUASHED LIKE MOSQUITOS!”

Meanwhile, Shinya and Guren, tired and wounded, had reached the shore and the small boat that could take them to safety.

The boat that only fit one person.

“You can go first.” For Guren, it wasn’t even a choice. No matter what, he had to keep Shinya, his best and oldest friend, his dearest family, safe.

“What?! No! Come with me, Guren!” Shinya stared at him with wide, imploring, eyes.

Guren glared at him.

“The boat will sink if we both go! We tried it out on the way in, remember?! GET INSIDE BEFORE THE CAVE-IN REACHES US!” He yelled, stepping closer to Shinya.

“WHAT ABOUT YOU?!” Shinya yelled back.

“I HAVE ARMOR! GET IN THE FUCKING BOAT!”

Guren pushed him and, wounded as he was, he couldn’t keep himself up, falling inside the magical boat that immediately started to move towards the other shore.

“GUREN! DON’T DO IT GUREN!” He yelled himself hoarse as he was being taken against his will, further and further away from his long-time friend.

Guren smiled, knowing that with this, all of his friends would live on. He closed his eyes and let the rocks crush him.

Silence.

The roll of dice.

“Guren takes 31 points of crushing damage,” Kureto informed them with his infuriating smirk. Guren sighed and nodded, he had known this would be his last stand. Well, at least now he could reroll something with better movement or range.

“DAMN IT!” Shinya snapped angrily, getting up and walking away, pushing his bangs back in sheer frustration. “I can’t believe-!” He cut himself off and took a deep breath.

Around the table, everyone looked grim. Sayuri was outright crying and Shigure was hugging her, her own eyes suspiciously shiny. Mito was staring at the map on the table like she couldn’t quite believe what had just happened, while Goshi gave a deep sigh and rubbed his face, looking exhausted. Shinya was still angry, standing away with his arms crossed and his jaw tight.

Guren hadn’t thought they would be that affected by it. But he had to admit, Kureto had a real gift for storytelling.

“Guren,” Shinya said suddenly and he turned back to his best friend. “If you ever try to do something like that in real life, I will kill myself and follow you into the afterlife just so that I can punch you in the face.”

Guren couldn’t help but smile. In real life, if Shinya was ever in danger like that, Guren would do the exact same thing without hesitation. But Shinya didn’t need to know that.

“Noted.”

Chapter Text

Shinya took a deep breath, the smell of the ocean filling his lungs. His smile was so wide it hurt his cheeks, but he didn’t care. Because there in front of the ship was Tokyo bay.

He was back home.

And the timing couldn’t be more perfect, the sea and the sky stained with the colors of the setting sun, orange, red and purple. A bright purple that reminded him of Guren’s eyes.

The memory made him sigh and lean against the railing, hand propping his chin up.

Ah, Guren. When Shinya left Japan the boy with the deep black hair and bright purple eyes had been an awkward teenager, not yet grown into his gangly limbs. Shinya had been the same, tripping on his own feet and stumbling into things. He remembered Guren laughing and then tripping as well. What a pair they made.

He sighed again and closed his eyes, remembering the face of his friend as he was, with chubby cheeks, perpetually messy hair and eyes that were almost too large for his face.

It had been five years since the last time they saw each other, Shinya was fully grown and Guren must be as well. They had exchanged uncounted letters while Shinya studied abroad, but it wasn’t the same as being face to face. He wondered which of the two had grown taller in their time away from each other. He opened his eyes again and looked at the city. Well, he would know soon enough.

He had sent a letter ahead, letting Guren know when he would be arriving, as well as telling him how much he had missed him and how he looked forward to spending time together again. A very long, very flowery letter. Shinya giggled, imagining Guren’s face at the exaggerated tone he sometimes used in the letter. Soon he would be able to personally witness Guren’s eyerolls and hidden smiles at his jokes.

He couldn’t wait.

After the ship reached port, Shinya grabbed his travelling suitcase and marched towards the plank. Stepping onto land again after the long trip made him sway a little, he took a moment to regain his balance and looked around. The place was full of people, travellers reuniting with their loved ones, harbor workers unloading the ship, horses and carriages taking and bringing people and things.

How was he going to find Guren in this mess?

Shinya sighed and made his way towards a side where he wouldn’t be on the way, studying the crowds around him. Maybe if he climbed somewhere?

“SHINYA!” A deep voice called his name and he whirled around. From where? “SHINYA! OVER HERE!”

He saw a hand waving nearby and hurried in that direction. As the crowd parted, he felt as if time had stopped.

An achingly familiar and yet so different face was waiting for him, with the same wavy black hair and the same bright purple eyes of his memory.

“GUREN!” He rushed towards his friend, almost throwing his suitcase to the floor in order to throw his arms around Guren’s shoulders.

“Shinya,” Guren’s whisper sounded like he was fighting back tears. Shinya couldn’t blame him, his own eyes were burning with the emotion of seeing his dearest friend once again.

He pulled away and took a second to study him, noting that he was just as tall as he was, with the same build and no doubt similar weight. And his face...

Even with the blur of tears, he could still tell that Guren had grown unfairly handsome.

“Did you get my letter?” Shinya asked, smile soft but still heartfelt. Truly, it felt like he would never be able to stop smiling.

And then Guren’s own smile dropped and Shinya was surprised to receive a glare.

“You idiot!” Guren snapped and grabbed Shinya’s cheeks to pinch them.

“Ouch, ouch, ouch, Gureeeeen.”

“I got your letter this morning! This! Morning! Couldn’t you have posted it earlier? What would you have done if I didn’t get it in time to come for you? Huh? What?!”

“I’m sorryyyy,” Shinya tried to say in between the pinching, though it sounded more like “’m sewwyyy.”

“You better be, idiot!” Guren let go of his cheeks and Shinya rubbed them, glaring at Guren and being glared back.

After a second, Guren snorted and Shinya started to snigger. Soon, both of them were laughing.

It was as if Shinya had never left, the warmth, the happiness, the comfortable teasing.

He had truly come back home.

Chapter Text

Shinya walked calmly down the hallway. Guren squad had just returned from a dangerous mission and while he was eager to see how they were, it wasn’t a good idea to show just how worried he had been.

It wasn’t a good idea to show anything at all while the Hiiragi were looking but, well, he could get away with pretending he was bored and wanted to poke at his favorite toy instead.

Kureto wouldn’t believe it, he knew very well just how attached Shinya was to Guren-squad, but the others? Seishiro, Tenri-sama, their lackeys, they would believe it… hopefully.

He stopped in front of Guren’s door and knocked in a random pattern. He didn’t wait for an acknowledgement before entering. They were long past that sort of formalities.

Guren looked up with a glare. It took him a second to recognize Shinya, if the blink and slight relaxing of his shoulders was any indication.

“You look like shit,” Shinya informed him with a mocking smile, stepping into the room and closing the door behind himself.

He truly looked awful, his hair sweaty and sticking to his forehead, his uniform jacket a rumpled mess on a nearby chair and his white shirt was just as wrinkled and dirty, mud, blood and who knows what else marrying the white of it. He had deep bags under his eyes and his lips were set in an unhappy curve.

“What do you want, Shinya?” Even his voice was a mess, rough from yelling orders no doubt, slow with tiredness and the desire to sleep.

“Nothing, just wanted to see how my favorite Lieutenant Colonel was holding up,” Shinya answered with a careless shrug as he stepped forward to take a look at the papers spread over Guren’s desk. “Shouldn’t you be resting?”

“I would, but paperwork doesn’t fill itself, and it needs to be done as soon as possible,” he answered with a sigh before lazily signing something and adding it to a pile. “Now go away, you’re distracting me and the sooner I finish the sooner I can go to sleep.”

Shinya thought about it for a moment. Staring deeply at Guren’s tired form, it was dangerous to be so unguarded while at Headquarters.

“I’ll do it.”

“What?” Guren looked up with something like hope in his eyes that was quickly squashed down.

Oh Guren, when would he learn to take the hand that was offered to him?

“I don’t want to go to my office, they will find me and make me do work for them. If I stay here it’ll take them longer.” He walked around the desk and pried the fountain pen out of Guren’s slack fingers. Wow, he really must be tired if he didn’t even try to stop him. “You go take a nap on the couch, I’ll wake you up if someone comes.”

Guren blinked very slowly and Shinya rubbed his back in a silent reminder.

I will guard your back, as always.

“Alright, but wake me up to sign the papers.” As always, seeing how much Guren trusted him made him smile and feel like he had been given something precious beyond words.

He made a noncommittal sound as he watched Guren walk to the nearby couch and lie down, putting an arm over his eyes. He was asleep within seconds.

“Good night,” he whispered before he started filling up forms. “You idiot, as if I needed to wake you up for something like this.” He easily faked Guren’s signature and added it to the pile.

He wished Guren would depend more on him, but at the same time, he wouldn’t be Guren if he did. So Shinya simply helped him silently, letting him recover his strength for a little longer.

Chapter Text

Guren finished ringing up the last customer of the night, an office worker from the suit and the late hour he dropped by, and followed the man to the door.

“Thank you for shopping at Moon Demon Books, have a good evening,” he said as he held the door open for the customer and watched him leave. With a sigh, he closed and locked the door, turning the sign to ‘Closed’ as well.

“Boss Guren! I finished restocking the manga section!” His newest employee informed him with a wide smile and a tilt of his head. He looked stupidly cute, like a puppy or something.

However, Shinya was one of the hardest workers Guren had. He always came for his shift on time, offered to cover for his co-workers when they couldn’t come and treated books as tenderly as Guren himself did.

With a fellow bibliophile at the store, Guren’s work was much easier and even enjoyable. When there weren’t customers around they had long talks about the latest book they had read, compared notes and gave each other recommendations. Guren could almost call him a friend, if only he weren’t paying his salary.

“Thank you for your hard work, help me close up the store and then you can go. You’ll get a little extra for staying with me so late.” Guren felt he deserved it, Shinya wasn’t the scheduled worker but since one of the others had to go to his hometown for a family emergency, he had quickly volunteered to cover all of his shifts.

Guren was a little worried, truth be told. Shinya had been working a lot lately but, at the same time, it wasn’t affecting his work yet so he felt it wasn’t his place to ask.

“Haha, right away boss! And thanks for that, I will do my best!” He winked at Guren and almost skipped towards the windows to start lowering the metal blinds.

Guren would never admit that the wink made something inside his chest jump.

They did quick work of closing up and Guren stepped on the sidewalk to send Shinya off. Was it just him, or was it a lot darker than usual tonight?

“Oi, Shinya.” Shinya finished unchaining his bike and looked up.

“Yes, boss?”

“Do you live far away?” He looked surprised at the question but still took a moment to think about the answer.

“Hmm kinda? I have to bike for around 20 minutes to get to my apartment, why?”

20 minutes? When it was so late and he looked so young and helpless and only had a bike to move around?

“Call me when you get home.”

“Huh?” Shinya blinked in confusion but then a grin appeared on his face. “Aww, is boss Guren worried for little old Shinya?”

Guren felt heat rise up his face and forced himself to glare sternly. Somehow, that only made Shinya snicker more.

“Shut up and just do it, or I won’t give you the extra.”

Shinya’s eyes widened comically and he hurried to get on his bike.

“Sir, yes sir! I will call as soon as I’m home, safe and sound.” He still sounded like he was being cheeky, and the smile was definitely irritating, but as long as Guren got the reassurance that he had arrived safely, then he will let it slide.

“Go away, shoo!”

“haha, good night!” He disappeared into the night and Guren huffed and went back inside his store. He still had to make dinner and maybe rearrange the shifts so that Shinya didn’t have to stay with him until so late.

Chapter Text

Shinya knew there was something wrong with Guren from the moment they said hello to each other in the morning. He was distracted, constantly avoiding Shinya’s eyes and not rising to his challenges or teases, failing to ask the teacher’s questions and doodling on his notebook instead of taking notes.

It was worrying; worrying enough that Shinya missed his cue and got a face full of color-changing spell while in spellcasting practice.

Well, at least that made Guren laugh, so it wasn’t so bad.

During lunch, Guren managed to avoid Shinya’s questioning by somehow leading him and Goshi into a passionate argument about sigils and runic arrays of all things! By the time he realized, the bell was ringing and Guren had barely said a word, mostly to edge them on.

Now class was finally over and Shinya stood next to Guren’s desk, arms crossed over his chest. No way he was letting him away without an explanation of what had him so fidgety.

Guren took one look at him and sighed.

“Nothing escapes your sight, right?”

“I have a harpy ancestor somewhere up the family tree so no, nothing does.”

Guren looked away again.

“Right… I actually…” he paused and sighed, pushing his hair back in a nervous gesture. “There’s something I want to show you.”

“Ok.”

“Not here though, let’s go to the park.”

Once at the park, Shinya stopped to ask what was wrong, but Guren kept walking, making Shinya sigh and follow along. They walked past the playgrounds, past the pond, past the walking trails, they walked and walked, deeper and deeper into the forests that were considered sacred by the druids that lived in the city.

The deeper they went, the more Shinya gnawed at his lip. Just what was so important and secret that Guren needed to bring him all the way here…

“Here,” Guren said suddenly and Shinya almost crashed on his back as he stopped on his tracks. He looked around, it was a rather large clearing in the forest, large and secured by what looked like sentinel trees all around it, each ancient and covered in moss.

“Guren?”

“I’m… ok, this is kinda hard to explain. So, you know I’m not fully human right?”

Shinya blinked and then snorted.

“Guren, the great majority of people attending Shibuya First aren’t fully human, not even I am fully human, you know that. There’s harpy and siren and even fae blood running through my veins.”

“Right,” Guren said before licking his lips and then swallowing. “But I am… somewhat less human than you.”

“What do you mean?” Shinya asked as he narrowed his eyes. Less human than Shinya? Shinya’s last non-human ancestor was his great-grandmother so for Guren to be less human…

“Let me show you,” Guren said as he put his bag down and then took a step back.

What happened next, Shinya  could never describe. One moment, Guren was standing there, a small figure with a school uniform. The next moment, it wasn’t Guren anymore, but at the same time, it was still Guren.

His eyes were the same striking purple, if split by dark, elongated pupils. He had scales now, scales that covered the back and sides of his neck, as well as the top of his arms and the back of his hands. Said scares were black as night at first sight, but shifted to iridescent purples and blues as he moved and the sunlight struck him at different angles. The wings that came out of his back had the same mesmerizing iridescence and while tightly held against his body, Shinya still could see that they were far larger than Guren was tall, even with the pair of obsidian-black horns that added a good foot or so to his height.

Guren shifted, clearly uncomfortable with Shinya’s long silence, he picked at his long black claws and a small puff of smoke escaped his nostrils. The long tail that reached the floor behind him swished a little, bringing attention to the sharp onix-like spikes at the end.

“I’m sorry,” Guren’s teeth were sharp. “I know it doesn’t look very pretty, but I wanted you to be the first to know. My mother was a dragon so… yeah.”

Guren looked uncomfortable, hunching his shoulders and crossing his arms, purple eyes narrowing in wariness. Shinya ignored his defensiveness and walked closer, incapable of looking away.

“I think you’re beautiful,” he blurted out, clearly taking him by surprise, making his tail twitch and his wings flap a little.

He reached out and ignored Guren’s sharp intake of breath as he let his hand touch the side of his neck. It was warm, very warm, the scales smooth to the touch, almost silky really. It was an odd look certainly, in another person, the mix of reptilian and human characteristics might have clashed horrendously but in Guren...

“So beautiful,” he repeated, awestruck. The flesh under his hand heated up and a small cloud of smoke escaped Guren’s mouth. Shinya wondered if this was how dragons blushed.

“You’re so weird,” Guren whispered but closed his eyes and allowed Shinya to touch him more, tracing the scales over his arms, and rubbing the horns over his head.

Shinya laughed.

“You’re half-dragon! Excuse me if I can’t help but think this is so cool. ” His awe was quickly replaced with excitement and when Guren shook his head, little puffs of smoke coming out of his mouth in time with his laugh, Shinya thought it was amazing.

“Shinya…”

“Hmm?” he made a question noise as he tugged at Guren’s wing and watched open-mouthed as he indulged him and extended it completely. It was huge.

“Thank you.”

“What for?”

“For not being weirded out or scared.”

Shinya laughed.

“You’re an idiot, who would be weirded out? This is the coolest thing ever! Also you’re my friend, I could never be scared of you.”

The temperature definitely rose up and Shinya couldn’t help but grin. Even as a half-dragon, Guren was too cute.

Chapter Text

Soul switching, the newest fad, was making waves throughout society. It seemed as if everyone and their mother had an opinion about it. From religious fundamentalists that condemned it as sin, to adrenaline junkies the kept paying for a switch mid-bungee jumping, or mid-paragliding, or mid whatever, to doctors that warned about possible addiction to soul-switching, to those that thought it was just a fun little game.

It wasn’t the most expensive hobby one might have, but it was not very affordable to the masses either. The device was clunky, heavy, and only good for five switches of two hours each, but for some, the price was worth it.

Guren thought it was interesting, but not interesting enough for him to fork over the asking money for the machine. Luckily, or unluckily according to your perspective, he had a very rich and very bored boyfriend that bought a pair for the two of them.

“Are you sure?” He asked dubiously as Shinya strapped the heavy harness around his chest. He personally didn’t mind trying it out, but for Shinya to do it with him, when he would be stuck with Guren’s body…

“More than sure!” Shinya’s voice was high and excited. Guren liked Shinya’s voice, laughter bubbled in every syllable and he had perfect diction, which made it easy to pick up all the differences in tone, the pauses and elongations. Guren could pick up Shinya’s true feelings no matter what his words said. It made it easier for them to become friends and later boyfriends. “I want to hear what you think about seeing things!”

Guren frowned.

“Shinya, I don’t need to be fixed.”

“I know that! But aren’t you curious? It’s like… like, trying a new food! You don’t have to, but a little taste never harmed anyone right?”

He snorted.

“Remember what happened when you tried to eat a habanero?” Oh, how Shinya had lamented that day. Guren’s smile was maybe a little wider than it was polite, but he had warned Shinya and yet he did it anyway, so he had deserved the pain afterwards.

“... We agreed not to talk about that.”

“You said we wouldn’t. I never agreed to anything.”

“Aaaanywaaay,” Shinya interrupted him with a firm tug at his harness. “This is done and so is mine, we will go sit down and turn this thing on.”

“Did you get the mirror?”

“Yeah, yeah, I know you want to know how amazingly hot your boyfriend is.” Shinya kissed his cheek and Guren huffed. “So I got the mirror like you asked, it’s on top of the table, can’t miss it.”

They sat down and Shinya turned on the machine, it was surprisingly quiet, a whirl-like sound that made Guren think of a fan and then a sense of weightlessness overcame him. It was barely a second before he felt heavy again.

“Guren? Wow, it’s actually not completely black? More like uh… nothingness? Uh, this feels kinda funny, hey, I can smell my shampoo from here!” Shinya had immediately started babbling, in Guren’s voice, which sounded really weird babbling like that, but Guren took that to mean that it had worked. He opened his eyes.

“Wow, this is… everything is so different,” how else to describe it? He wasn’t overloaded, this was Shinya’s body and Shinya’s eyes and Shinya was used to seeing perfectly. “Everything looks so so different, I-” he made himself turn to Shinya and stopped. “What color is my hair?”

Shinya smiled and there was something about the smile that was so Shinya, even though it was Guren’s body that performed the action.

“Black and your eyes are purple,” he reached up and touched the collar of his shirt, “this shirt I, I mean your body, is wearing is dark green and the machine tied to our chests is silver. The shirt my body is wearing is light pink.”

Shinya listed off colors as Guren looked at him and then his current body. As he did so, his eyes caught the table, and the mirror lying on top.  

“What color is the mirror?”

“White with little light blue decorations.”

Guren took the mirror and turned it around to look at Shinya’s face.

Shinya’s eyes were blue too, like the decorations in the mirror, and his hair was white, like the back of the mirror itself… had he brought this one because the colors were the same?

Guren brushed the long fringe aside, helplessly staring at the reflection. His fingers traced the arch of the eyebrows and the length of the nose and then the lips, oh! Shinya’s lips were more ticklish than his own. Were they pink? The color was a little like the shirt Shinya’s body was wearing but not exactly the same. He looked up, Guren’s body’s lips were a slightly different color.

“Are our lips pink too?”

Shinya’s tilted his head.

“Yep! You’re learning fast!” Guren huffed at that silly but heartfelt praise. “Oh! Let’s walk around the apartment! Ask me stuff so I can teach you about all the colors!” Shinya was getting up and already walking forward, and then his knee hit the table. “Ouch!” he yelped and rubbed at his knee.

Guren snickered.

“You idiot, you have to pay attention to where everything is!” Still he got up as well and walked around the table to take his body’s elbow. “Come, I will guide you around like you do when we are in a new place.”

Shinya smiled and quickly switched so that he was the one holding Guren’s arm.

“Lead ahead!” He sounded so excited, all that Guren could do was shake his head and obey.

They spent an enjoyable couple of hours walking around the apartment, Guren asking about colors and Shinya exclaiming every time he could hear or smell or feel things that his normal body couldn’t.

“We gotta do this again soon!” Shinya said after returning to his usual body. Guren was rubbing his eyes, all the excitement of the afternoon had tired him out, but he forgot about his tiredness when he heard Shinya’s words.

“Are you sure? Isn’t being blind-”

“Don’t worry about it!” Shinya interrupted while sneaking his arms around Guren’s waist. He kissed the side of his neck and hooked his chin over his shoulder as he continued. “I think it’s cool how you can sense so many things that I can’t! Next time we should switch while we are at the Botanical Gardens! That way I can tell you all the colors of the flowers and I can smell all the scents better! It’s gonna be a blast!”

Guren smiled and turned to kiss Shinya’s cheek. Hearing him get so excited, he couldn’t help but look forward to their excursion as well.

He was starting to think that the machine was worth it’s price tag after all.

Chapter Text

It was sports day in the kids’ school and Shinya was missing it. He pouted at his supposedly important papers. This sucked so much, he wanted to be there to cheer up on Yuu and Shinoa’s races and jumps and all their activities but noooo, he had a very important meeting today that he couldn’t reschedule.

He was so jealous of Guren being able to go cheer on them. So so jealous.

Just as he cursed his stupid job for the hundredth time that day, his phone rang, the tune a very cheesy love song that he actually liked so he knew who was calling him without even looking. He hurried to answer, grinning as he saw it was a video call.

“Hello handsome,” he said as the image of Guren appeared on his screen. Guren gave him an exasperated look.

“There’s so many children here and they’re all loud and annoying-” Guren started complaining and Shinya snickered at him.

“What were you expecting, Guren?”

“Oh, I was expecting the children, but I wasn’t expecting the parents!” he added and then lowered his voice. “I was standing next to this tiny woman, making small talk while we waited for a race to start and when it did, she screamed her lungs out! I swear a window broke!”

Shinya was trying not to laugh at his poor, long-suffering husband, but it was so hard when he looked so cutely annoyed.

“One of the fathers cut in line while I was trying to get drinks for the twins! The nerve of that jerk! And a mother was bragging about her shitty brat and then asked me where my wife was, when I told her my husband was at work, she got this face and said ‘Oh, you’re one of them’ and then walked away like, what the hell? I swear all these annoying brats are better behaved than their parents”

Shinya covered his snort with a cough.

“Aww, it’s ok babe. It’ll be over soon right?”

“Yeah, there aren’t many events-”

“Dad dad dad dad!” The twins voices came through the speaker and Shinya watched as Guren turned away from him.

“Calm down, I’m talking to your papa. Say hello to him.” He brought the camera over to the children and both of them waved at him.

“Hi papa!” they said with large smiles on their sweaty faces before immediately turning to Guren again.

“Dad, there’s a race!” Yuu said as he almost jumped in place with excitement.

“A dads and moms race!” Shinoa added with a twinkle in her eyes.

Shinya saw the moment when it clicked in Guren’s head. The smirk that spread on his lips spelled trouble for the other parents and he couldn’t help but snort. His hubby was going to destroy everyone.

“Shinya, gotta go.”

“Have fun,” Shinya sing-songed. He was happy for Guren, he would get to vent his anger in a constructive way for once.

Guren’s smirk sharpened, his eyes glinting dangerously. Shinya sighed longingly, he looked so sexy when he was thinking evil thoughts.

“Oh, I will.”

Shinya returned home that evening to find a very smug husband with a golden medal hanging from his neck.

Chapter Text

Guren knew they shouldn’t have gotten distracted with that zombie movie marathon last night! But they had been so comfy and entertained and before they knew it, it was already midnight and then they overslept.

Oversleeping was a capital sin when you ran a bakery.

Guren kneaded the dough as fast as he could, while Shinya manned the ovens, putting unbaked trays in and taking them out as soon as they were done, moving around to gather more flour, water, butter, whatever Guren needed.

It was a bit frenzied, but there was still some order to it.

“Shit, shit, shit, it’s 6 already. We gotta hurry, Guren,” Shinya babbled as he sped up on doing all the decorations and handling the trays.

“I’m doing it as fast as I can!” Guren called over his shoulder, but even so he tried to speed up.

CLANG!

The noise made him jump and whirl around, eyes wide and heart hammering in his chest. His breath hitched as he quickly took in the view.

A tray had fallen on the floor, spreading a couple dozen of rolls, but that wasn’t important. The important part was Shinya, holding his hand with the other, face white as a sheet, lips tightly pressed together and eyes watering in pain.

“Did you burn yourself? Water it, quick!” He guided Shinya towards the faucets and opened it for him, watching with a grimace as he put his hand, and the bright red line that crossed it, under the stream.

“Damn it! And when we are in such a hurry,” Shinya cursed softly as Guren went to grab a jar of honey.

“Don’t worry, it happens. I’ll just call the others to come in earlier.” He said as he put the honey nearby to slather Shinya’s hand with it once it had cooled off enough.

Just then, one of the many timers went off.

“Shit, the bread!” Shinya gasped as his eyes widened in panic.

As he made to leave the water, Guren pushed him back and pulled a chair closer.

“Sit down, I’ll get it.”

“But the baking-” He pushed Shinya onto the chair and turned to get the timer and the bread.

“It’s fine,” Guren reassured him as he put some gloves on and opened the oven, he squinted at the hot wave that hit him and started pulling trays out. “A little toasty, but fine.” He added once he had a good look at the bread, Shinya sighed.

“I’m sorry.”

Guren huffed and shook his head as he put unbaked loaves into the oven in place of the ones he just got out. Honestly, who cared about the bread when Shinya was so clearly in pain?

“I told you, stop worrying about it.” He leaned close and kissed Shinya’s forehead. “You just concentrate on patching yourself up while I call the crew. Your health is more important than anything.”

Shinya smiled, soft and warm, and Guren knew he would be alright.

Chapter Text

Shinya carefully arranged his hair, fixed his tie and tailored suit, and stared at his reflection this and that way to make sure no wrinkle was visible and no hair out of place. At the risk of sounding egotistical, he did look pretty damn good. Which was exactly what he was looking for as today he intended to go all out.

Nodding to himself on the mirror, he got out of the small bathroom attached to his office and picked up the half dozen red tulips that had just been delivered.

Bringing the flowers to his face, he took a deep fortifying breath. This could go awfully wrong, very publicly too. But he wanted to show how seriously he was taking this and a very public and obvious display seemed like a good way of doing it.

You could take back words whispered in darkness, you could excuse yourself with alcohol or lust or whatever. But on broad daylight and in front of everyone? You had to mean it or otherwise you could face ridicule and a loss of respect.

He had never felt this way before and he believed that the person that gave him such unbelievable happiness deserved to be spoiled. Shinya hoped that his own actions showed at least a fraction of his gratefulness and his desire to spend many many more months and years together.

Leaving his office, he rode the elevator several floors down to the legal department. He couldn’t help but send a serene smile at the interns that were trying to be sneaky about their staring, laughing internally at their jumps and quick look-aways. Ah, how he loved spooking the newbies.

He reached legal and made a quick walk towards the office at the end of the large open-floor, receiving even more looks from the several lawyers and interns that worked at this particular floor.

But he didn’t need to enter said office as the object of his many thoughts was outside of it, explaining some matter or another to his secretary, who was taking notes on her computer.

Shinya cleared his throat.

Guren turned and frowned, he opened his mouth to clearly snap at him, something like ‘what the hell do you want?’ most likely. But then, his eyes found the tulips on Shinya’s arms and he froze.

Purple eyes widened, and his cheeks gained a little color, he swallowed and put his papers down on the desk in front of him.

Shinya was starting to feel nervous now, his hands were shaking, and somehow he had become hyper aware of all the eyes that were now locked on them.

“Hello, Guren. These are for you.” Somehow, his voice didn’t shake as he spoke up and passed his bundle to the man before him, who took the flowers like they were the most fragile thing he ever held. “There’s six of them because, well, the last six months were… the best six months of my life. And… ah...”

There was silence then but it wasn’t uncomfortable. Shinya was too busy losing himself on Guren’s eyes, which had softened as he spoke. If only he could remain staring at them for the rest of his life.

But he heard some excited whispering behind him and it hit him again that they weren’t alone. Guren glared over Shinya’s shoulder and he realized he had to hurry before he got distracted with scolding his subordinates.

“I made reservations,” he blurted out and Guren’s attention returned to him. “For lunch, I mean, if you want to?”

That was not as smooth as he had been practicing most of the morning, but it would do.

Guren snorted and shook his head.

“Shigure, put these on some water and on my desk will you?” He passed the flowers to his secretary before turning back to Shinya and grabbing his arm, dragging him along as they quickly walked through a dozen people that were clearly dying to speak up but didn’t dare. “Let’s go, I’m starving. It better be a good place.”

Shinya only had time to blink in surprise before he laughed and followed along.

“It's the best place. You deserve it, Guren.” As they entered the elevator he sought out Guren’s hand and gave it a squeeze, Guren squeezed back.

The doors closed behind them and the office exploded with gossip they would have to deal with later, but for now, they focused on enjoying each other’s company and the good food that awaited them.

Chapter Text

Guren woke up, blearily blinking as he gathered his scattered thoughts. He had been having some kind of dream, though he could no longer remember what it was about.

More importantly, why did he wake up?

He propped himself up on an elbow and looked around, rubbing his tired eyes. His bedroom was shrouded in darkness but for a patch of moonlight that filtered through the open window. A cool breeze entered the room and he shivered, goosebumps appearing over his uncovered chest and arms.

He couldn’t recall opening the window before going to bed.

As soon as that thought pierced through the fog of sleepiness, his eyes snapped wide open in alert, looking around with wariness. He was not usually the type to make up monsters in the darkness that surrounded him, in fact, he was someone who enjoyed the quietness and the sense of privacy the dark provided.

However, while he didn’t make up monsters, that didn’t mean that monsters didn’t exist.

A cloud covered the moon and the room was filled with darkness for a handful of seconds. Just then, movement from the corner of his eye made him turn at the time his hand sneaked under his pillow, where he kept a knife, just in case. Before he could close his fingers around the handle, a dark mass slammed into him with full force.

Guren gasped, hand slipping away from the knife as he was forced on his back by a heavy weight upon his body. He tried to use his fists to pummel his attacker but cold hands grasped his wrists and forced them back against the pillow with incredible strength.

Panic rushed through his body as he vainly attempted to throw his attacker off. It was then that the cloud moved away and he had time to see pure white hair glinting under the moonlight, he stopped resisting just before piercing pain and pleasure stabbed his throat.

“Ah~” the moan escaped him before he could stop himself, his body reacting without his input.

His heart hammered with wild abandon as his precious life seeped out of him, drop by drop, to be lapped up by the predator that had found him in his most unguarded moment. In contrast with the cold grip of the hands, the mouth was warm and demanding as it sucked Guren’s blood.

From the side of his neck, heat spread inside his body, sluggish but still overpowering, making him want and almost ache for the touch of the sharp fangs and the eager mouth that took from him like he was the most delicious morsel, tearing a soft whine from him as his hands held onto the welcomed intruder, trying to get him closer somehow. The weight on top of him becoming comfortable, even as it made it hard to breathe.

Guren only hoped he hurried, the more blood he lost, the more his strength left him and the harder it was to gather his thoughts. His body slumped without meaning to and darkness crept at the edges of  his vision.

“Shin… ya…” he gasped out, barely able to form the sounds as his body begged for more air, more biting, more everything.

“Shit! Guren!” the weight scrambled away from him and Guren was finally able to take a deep breath, thoughts becoming clearer for a moment.

The side of his neck pinched and he reached up to hold it.

“Ah! No, let me.” A soft hand tugged his own away and the fiery tongue darted out to carefully lick his open wounds before nuzzling his neck with a quiet sob. “I’m so sorry! I was so thirsty Guren, please forgive me!”

Guren sighed and reached up to card his fingers through the soft whiteness of Shinya's hair. Gathering his thoughts and strength as his wound healed and he tenderly held Shinya’s shivering form.

“I don’t mind,” he said, once he could actually string a sentence together. Shinya held Guren tighter but still mindful of his strength and Guren’s weakened state.

“But I did it without consent!” he hissed angrily, pulling away to glare at him through eyes that glittered with unshed tears.

“You didn't. I recall telling you you could come whenever you were thirsty.” He lifted an eyebrow, but even that tired him. Shinya had sucked a lot of blood. “In fact, you should’ve come earlier, had a sip before it got this bad.”

Shinya bit his lip, still looking at him like he was going to die any moment. That was kind of annoying. Guren sighed.

“Look, if you feel so bad, go make me a meat sandwich.” He was barely done speaking when Shinya jumped off the bed and ran out of the bedroom, most likely towards the kitchen.

He snorted and closed his eyes for what felt like a second but must have been more, because when he opened them again Shinya was back, with a tray that had a plate piled high with sandwiches and a glass of milk.

“That’s way too much,” Guren whispered but he still sat up, his stomach was demanding to be fed and he wasn’t about to deny it. Shinya smiled sheepishly and put the tray on his lap.

“I drank way too much, so I think you need to eat way too much too.”

Guren snorted in response and took a bite out of the sandwich, moaning and closing his eyes at the taste. For someone that didn’t eat food, Shinya was amazingly good in the kitchen.

“If you feed me like this every time, you are welcome to drink me up whenever,” Guren said as he demolished the sandwiches, he was hungrier than he thought. Shinya giggled a little in response.

“You always think with your stomach.”

“As if you don’t!” Guren teased him back and Shinya laughed, seemingly recovered from the earlier scare.

“We are made for each other,” he whispered as he reached for Guren’s hand and held it gently. His hand was warm now, with Guren’s blood running in his veins.

Warmth suited Shinya and Guren was happy to give it to him.

Chapter Text

“TAKE THIS!” he yelled his battle cry as he ran through the recently fallen snow towards Guren, getting pelted with snowballs but ignoring them with single minded determination. He would get a winning hit on Guren or die trying.

Taken by surprise, Guren couldn’t stop the snowball that smashed into his face, and taken by surprise, he lost his balance, panicking and grabbing Shinya’s arm, dragging him down with him into the snow.

Shinya gasped as they fell into the icy surface and the air was knocked out of him, but immediately started laughing, breathless with joy. Receiving a frown from the man below him.

“Get off, you’re heavy.” In between laughter, he rolled off Guren and let the snow receive him in its cold embrace.

After a moment, Guren started laughing quietly as well.

“What are we even laughing about, you dork?” Guren asked after a moment, a smile curving his lips.

Shinya’s laughter trailed off, panting heavily to catch his breath back.

Above him, thousands and thousands of stars spread throughout the night sky in a breathtaking display of beauty.

Next to him, Guren was staring also at the sky, his eyes glittering with the reflection of the stars above, his cheeks flushed red with exertion and cold, little puffs of mist rising up from his open lips. He was laying on the white snow, his hair a dark crown bejeweled with icy crystals. Even more beautiful, even more breathtaking than the display above them.

“I’m just so happy Guren, why wouldn’t I laugh?”

Guren hummed and closed his eyes, all of him relaxed and at peace.

“You like making me lose, don’t you?” but there was no anger in his voice, only amusement.

Shinya laughed again and sat up, taking off his gloves and unzipping his jacket.

“What are you doing? You’re gonna catch a cold and I’m definitely not taking care of your miserable sick ass,” Guren asked as he sat down as well, looking curious but pretending he wasn’t.

He only smiled in return, feeling his cheeks hurt from so much smiling and cold but not caring. He couldn’t care as he unzipped and reached inside his inner pocket, taking out a small velvet box.

“I have a present for you.”

“If it’s garish mismatched socks again Shinya, I swear-” whatever Guren would’ve done remained a mystery as he noticed the box in Shinya’s hand. “Oh”

“Hmm,” Shinya hummed and took Guren’s hand, gently prying off his thick glove, absentmindedly nothing how he was shaking. “Instead of making you lose, I’d prefer it if we were in a team?” he asked softly, squeezing the trembling fingers and looking into Guren’s watery eyes.

“Ok,” he answered back, barely above a whisper, but the smile that brightened his face was more than enough to make all of Shinya relieved and eager.

The ring was simple silver band with three small amethysts in the middle, Guren was too practical for anything gaudy and heavy, besides-

Looking up at Guren’s face, Shinya watched, helplessly enamoured with his expression as he slid the ring onto Guren’s finger. A perfect fit for the most perfect man he knew.

Guren let go of Shinya’s hand and brought it up to his face, blinking tears away as he studied the new accessory on his hand.

Oh but he was so beautiful, snowflakes on his hair, blushing cheeks and glittering eyes the same color as the stones Shinya had chosen for the ring.

“It brings out your eyes,” he whispered, heart hammering, thoughts fluffy with happiness, his own hands shaking with the strength of the sheer emotion he was feeling.

Guren looked back at him and breathed softly, eyes widening in surprise at whatever they saw on Shinya’s face and smile becoming impossibly soft and warm, another wave of emotion rising on Shinya’s overwhelmed heart. “Thank you,” Guren whispered, leaning closer, “but there’s something still missing.”

His words cut through his happy cloud and he blinked in surprise, trying to rake his brain for whatever he had done wrong, and then he saw Guren tap his lips and the realization hit him. “Oh! Right, of course.”

A kiss, with warm lips and cold noses, hearts that beat in unison, hands running through hair and them falling onto the snow once more with breathless laughter.

Chapter Text

With a grunt, Guren slashed at a vampire, turning it to dust. Shinya was behind him, shooting at another vampire until it disappeared. Once alone, they exchanged a look and nod.

They started running again, their squad had been ambushed by at least two dozen of vampires, vampires that were clearly stronger and smarter than the usual, and they somehow managed to separate them.

“Stupid bloodsuckers,” he muttered under his breath, pumping more of the curse into his legs and speeding up, hearing Shinya keeping pace just a little behind, they were weaving in and out of buildings, stopping here and there to check their surroundings before moving through uncovered terrain. They were surrounded, outnumbered and outclassed, they could still win, but they needed to be careful about it.

And they needed to regroup, together they were stronger. Besides, Guren was worried, very worried, Shinya and himself were the strongest fighters in the squad, without them, the others were in even more of a disadvantage.

Even as he worried for his friends, his eyes didn’t stay still, taking in his surroundings. He kept his hold on his sword light but firm, ready to react at a moment’s notice.

They stopped behind a pile of rubble catching their breath after their run, but still alert to any movement around them.

“I’m going to look around,” said Shinya as he shouldered his rifle and quickly climbed the half destroyed building, Guren kept guard underneath. Shinya would be most vulnerable as he scouted the area surrounding them.

And then he heard Shinya curse.

“Shit!” his friend jumped down and looked at Guren with sharp eyes. “Incoming, four of them, three blocks away.”

Guren hissed a breath and tried to think on some way to outmaneuver them.

But no, they couldn’t win like this; they needed to rendezvous with the others if they wanted any chance of success.

“We’re hiding, c’mon,” he turned on his heel and ran into another building, one that was a little more intact and would still have plenty of places to hide.

Rushing up a flight of stairs, they reached for the first door and opened it.

“A supply closet?” Shinya frowned and Guren mentally calculated how much time they had.

“There’s enough room for both of us,” he insisted as he grabbed Shinya’s arm and shoved him in, ignoring his hissed protest as he stepped in as well and closed the door.

Guren had placed himself between Shinya and the door, not that there was much space, and kept his hand on the handle of his sword. If a vampire found them, it’d have to go through Guren to get at Shinya. And he was more than prepared to give his life to protect his friend.

The closet was dark, only the barest hint of light slipping in through the cracks between door and frame. It was getting warm too, with two grown men so close in such a confined space.

“Doesn’t it feel nice to have Shinya’s chest pressed against your back? If you move a little, you’ll feel his-“ he viciously shoved Mahiru-no-yo’s voice to the back of his head, now was not the time.

He directed the demon curse to his ears at the same time he calmed his breath and slowed down his heart beat. He listened in silence as Shinya did the same and then turned his focus outside, where he could just hear the faint rustling of the vampires running along the street.

After a few moments, they could hear the vampires moving away and relaxed.

“Guren,” Shinya whispered so low no one without enhanced hearing could pick it up, but for Guren it was too loud and he swallowed back a scold; he really didn’t want his voice to attract the vampires again. “If you wanted to get close together in a small dark space you could’ve just said so.”

“Shut up,” he hissed as he sent his elbow back and into Shinya’s gut. He heard the small grunt and his lips twitched, jerk deserved it.

Chapter Text

It was a beautiful day under the sea, the sunlight filtered through the waves, creating a kaleidoscope of light and shadow that brought the vibrant colors of the reef barrier to even brighter shades.

Shinya smiled as he swum through a school of fish that dispersed in alarm at his presence. He laughed but while he felt tempted to follow and scare them some more, he had somewhere else to be.

Using his powerful tail, he pushed himself through the warm currents that led him closer and closer to the shore and eventually he reached a familiar rock formation and shot straight upwards towards the glittering surface.

“Ah!” he gasped as he broke through the surface. He blinked as the bright sunlight made spots dance in front of his eyes and once he got used to it, he allowed the waves to push him towards the beach and a nearby cluster of rocks that he climbed on top of.

Climbing was a little hard when you only had your arms and minimal help from your lower half, but he had a lot of upper body strength so it didn’t take him long until he was laying atop his favorite sunbathing rock, taking deep breaths of sharp air, so different from breathing water, and enjoying the warmth of the sun on his skin.

After a few moments he sat up and looked around, he was alone, but a quick look towards the sun’s position let him know that he wouldn’t be alone for long. With a smile, he fixed his hair, patted his jewels to make sure they were all in place and checked the small bag he had tied around his waist, making sure its contents were still in place.

“Shinya!” he looked up, smile widening and heart racing as he saw a person hurrying closer, climbing down the cliffside to reach the small beach they had claimed as their own.

“Guren!” he called back, bringing his hand up to wave happily as his favorite person in the entire world came closer to him, his tail swished and splashed water around, making Shinya feel a little embarrassed and grateful that Guren didn’t know much about merpeople. It would be even more embarrassing if he knew that he got so excited he lost control of himself like a child.

“Sorry, did you wait long?” Guren bit his lip as he made his way into the water and closer to Shinya’s rock.

“Not at all!” he said as he shook his head and then patted the space next to him. “Come sit! I brought you a present!”

“Ah, Shinya, you shouldn’t-” Guren started to say but was interrupted as Shinya opened his bag and brought out a thick silver chain with a round silver thing hanging from it.

“Look! Isn’t it shiny?! I found it in an old broken ship that way!” he pointed roughly in the direction he came from and then pushed the jewel in Guren’s hands.

Guren brought it closer to his face, his beautiful purple eyes wide with wonder and shining more than any jewel Shinya had ever seen. His silky hair swayed with the sea breeze and all of him seemed to shimmer under the sun.

He wanted to look at Guren forever.

“Woah,” Guren exhaled softly, turning it this and that way, pink lips open in quiet amazement. “This is a beautiful watch, thank you, Shinya.” Then he threw Shinya a look before looking away towards the sea, slumping, his happiness seemingly vanishing without a trace, making Shinya panic a little. “I don’t have anything for you…” his voice was quiet and remorseful, bringing a pang of pain to Shinya’s heart.

“That’s fine, Guren! I don’t need anything!” He hurried to reassure him.

“No, it’s not fine!” Guren snapped, eyes flashing with anger and startling Shinya into silence. “You always bring me such beautiful things and I don’t have anything to give you back! And you deserve to have lots of beautiful things too but I can’t give them to you even though I…” he trailed off and looked away, face burning with shame. “I want to give you so many things because you’re important to me” Shinya’s breath hitched at Guren’s words, “and because… because I…” Guren bit his lips and clutched the watch tightly.

Shinya came closer and carefully reached out, he didn’t know why Guren was getting so worked up, but he had his suspicions and he wanted to help him, he wanted to do something to make it right.

“You don’t have to say anything,” he whispered softly, covering his trembling hands with his own webbed ones. Guren turned to him, their faces so close Shinya could feel the heat of his skin and the tickle of his breath, his eyes dark and intense, staring deeply into Shinya’s own, his hand turning to grip Shinya’s in its warmth.

And then Shinya leaned closer and pressed his mouth against Guren’s, hoping he understood the unspoken words correctly.

Guren kissed him back and his relief was quickly overshadowed by the feeling of Guren’s lips on his own, soft and firm at the same time, tasting like nothing Shinya had ever tasted before but already becoming his favorite in the whole world.

He wanted to kiss Guren forever.

The feeling intensified as Guren’s hand came up to hold Shinya’s cheek, a rough thumb caressing his sensitive skin and sending shivers down his back and tail.

But forever was not possible and they separated, panting softly, eyes locked on each other, a world of meanings and possibilities suddenly opening between them.

Then Guren wrinkled his nose.

“You smell like fish,” he said with an amused glint in his eyes and the moment was ruined.

“I DO NOT!” Shinya pushed him away and didn’t feel a sliver of remorse as Guren fell down from the rock and into the water with a large splash.

Guren looked up at him, soaked through, with a grumpy pout on his face and algae hanging from his head.

It took Shinya a second to process what he was seeing and then burst into laughter.

“Hahaha who smells like a fish now, huh?” he asked with a grin that widened at Guren’s glare.

“Shut up.”

“You deserve it, now come here.” He patted the rock again.

“Hell no, you’ll just push me again,” said Guren as he stood up again and took the algae off his head.

“I won’t,” Shinya answered, doing his best to stop himself from snickering at Guren’s mess.

“Yeah, you will,” Guren said again and Shinya rolled his eyes. Honestly, sometimes, Guren could be so dense.

“I won’t, Guren, I want to kiss you again,” he admitted, feeling his face warm up at the memory of the kiss, and his tail splashed again. Guren had an incredible ability to make his emotions get the best of him like this.

Guren startled and blinked at him several times, face turning redder before climbing up once more.

They spent the rest of that afternoon chasing after that elusive forever they yearned for.

Chapter Text

Guren stretched his leg against the wall, he had pulled a muscle during the national championship, which netted him a bronze medal. He definitely didn’t want to repeat that disappointing experience so now, at the Grand Prix Final, he was going to make sure he was 100% stretched and warmed up.

A familiar figure leaned against the wall right next to him.

“How’s your leg?” the question made Guren grit his teeth in irritation, but he swallowed it up and sent a smirk in his competitor’s direction.

“Good enough to trounce you.”

He received lyrical laughter as an answer.

“Good joke that.”

His irritation rose another notch and he sent his companion a glare.

“Have you forgotten who’s the current leader in scores, Shinya?”

Shinya waved his hand dismissively.

“Two points difference after the short program is nothing, Guren,” Shinya answered with his ever present smile that Guren wanted to punch out of his face. “Besides, I have a new and improved free skate that is gold material,” he said with a tilt of his head, sharp eyes staring at Guren, no doubt analyzing his reaction.

Guren eyed his fellow competitor up and down, what little could be seen of his costume under his oversized jacket definitely didn’t look like the blue-green one he had worn during the qualifiers, and the makeup he wore now was a dark smoky grey that made his eyes seem brighter than ever.

Having a new skate for the final wasn’t unheard of, but not common either. The time between the qualifiers and the actual final was so short that being able to come up with, practice and perfect a program was beyond most people’s capabilities.

Abruptly, Guren remembered Shinya winning silver in both of his qualifier rounds and how he and his rinkmates Shigure and Sayuri had laughed when the camera showed Shinya’s displeased look at his scores.

Guren’s eyes narrowed. Shinya was definitely competitive enough to overhaul his free skate if it gave him a greater chance at gold.

But then he smirked. So what if he changed his program? Guren was confident in his own strength.

“Bring it on, I can still beat you no matter what you come up with.”

Shinya smirked back.

“Keep dreaming, that gold has my name on it.”

Then he turned and left Guren alone with his thoughts. He took the opportunity to close his eyes and internalize his irritation with Shinya’s stupid smile, his stupid confidence and the stupid shine of his eyes, his free skate demanded a lot of energy and he could use his irritation to fuel it better.

As the highest scored competitor, Guren would go last and he kept his body warm as he watched skaters leave and come back, occasionally eyeing the television in one of the walls that showed the competition as it was being broadcasted. Soon it was Shinya’s turn and Guren had a quiet conversation with his coach, his father Sakae.

“I want to see him from the side.”

His father blinked in surprise, Guren rarely wanted to watch other competitors during the competition itself, preferring to focus on his own programs until after it was over and done with.

“Are you sure?”

Guren nodded. His father’s dark eyes stared at him for a long time before eventually nodding.

“If you think it’ll help.” His father knew about Guren and Shinya’s rivalry and while he always encouraged Guren to be less hostile towards the other japanese skater, he wasn’t above using said rivalry to improve Guren’s performance.

Guren and Sakae moved themselves to a side of the rink, arriving just in time to see Shinya go out into the ice to skate a quick lap and loosen himself for his program.

The costume was definitely different from the one Shinya wore for the qualifiers, now he was clad in the darkest hue of midnight blue but for the thousands of rhinestones that decorated his back, shoulders and arms, slowly tapering off towards his front, an illusion of wings that became more evident as he skated towards the center and stretched his arms upwards in a graceful pose.

Under the bright lights of the rink, Guren realized that even Shinya’s hair glimmered with rhinestones weaved through it.

And then the music began.

((start playing the music please))

The gentle voice of a woman accompanied with flute and piano prompted Shinya to glide through the ice, movements elegant and full of gentle longing. Instead of racking up points by starting with some jumps as was his habit, Shinya followed the mournful sounds of the song with a step sequence that lured you in with it’s flowing movements, taking advantage of his long arms and legs to give off the sensation of flight. The expression of his face was soft and his eyes kept glancing towards the ceiling in despair, the dark makeup making the motion far more obvious than it would’ve been otherwise.

Guren took a deep breath as he followed the story Shinya weaved in the ice, the longing sadness of a bird caged away from its brethren, the yearning for the open skies and the moonlight in it’s wings.

And then the drums kicked in.

Shinya jumped with the sudden crescendo, jumped again and again, a beautiful combination with the perfect height and number of rotations. The struggles of the bird against the cage that kept it on the ground, face full of anger and determination.

The song slowed down again and with the slowing came Shinya’s second step sequence. The bird healing its wounds, singing for the sky just beyond its reach. Shinya’s spins lifted no ice and the beautiful arch of his back, rhinestones glittering under the lights, made Guren’s throat dry out.

A second drum entrance and more jumps, including quads. Guren was surprised that Shinya still had the energy for those and, forcing himself to stop sighing at the breathtaking beauty of Shinya’s performance, he managed to see the sweat on Shinya’s face and the frown that could’ve been part of the performance of the sad and frustrated bird, or could be because he was tiring out, there was no way to tell.

The last jump was a quad, his highest and most difficult one, he succeeded. Landing back gracefully and spreading his arms wide in a breathtaking Ina Bauer, a smile brightening his face, the music slowing to a peaceful flute solo. With the final notes of the music, the bird was free.

Guren hadn’t realized but at some point he had brought his hands up to his chest, almost as if holding his harshly beating heart, but the roar of the crowd snapped him out of his daze and made him drop his hands back down.

Shinya was now bent over, holding himself on his knees as he tried to get his breath back. The routine, beautiful but complex, had taken a lot out of him. He was barely able to wave at his adoring and loud public before slowly making his way towards his brother and coach Kureto, while picking up a couple of plushies and flowers that had been thrown into the rink.

Guren and his father were only a little to the side of them and got to see as Kureto grabbed both of Shinya’s shoulders and squeezed.

“Good job,” was all he said but the sheer pride that filled his face was unmistakable, as was the happiness in Shinya’s own.

And with good reason, that had to be a gold performance.

Shinya’s eyes roamed around and found Guren’s.

“Wow,” he said and saw how it made Shinya smile wider and stand straighter, face flushing with pride. Guren felt no shame in his appreciation, they might be rivals, but that had truly been a breathtaking performance full of an artistry Guren would be hard pressed to reach, let alone beat.

“See you at the podium,” Shinya said with a wink before his brother took him away.

Guren’s resolve reaffirmed itself at Shinya’s words. Shinya believed in him and Guren wouldn’t disappoint. Even if he couldn’t win gold, he would definitely give a performance worthy of Shinya’s rival.

Chapter Text

The sun wasn’t up yet but Shinya was already completely awake, slowly making his way up the floors of Guren’s apartment complex, taking as much care as possible not to rustle the box in his hands.

“Could’ve lived a few floors lower, jerk,” he pouted as he finally reached Guren’s floor.

He paused before the doorway and carefully moved the box around until he was holding it with one hand, using the other to rummage in his pockets for the appropriate ofuda.

“Aha!” he whispered as he took the small piece of paper filled front and back with an immensely complicated spell that he had spent months working on. With an unnecessary flourish he placed it on the door.

An electricity-like spark spread in a circular patter over the door and surrounding walls before disappearing as if it had never been there. Shinya tried the handle and it opened without resistance.

The spell had worked.

With a pleased smile he stepped into the apartment, no longer worrying about the traps that Guren’s paranoia thought were necessary. Not that Shinya blamed him, his own apartment was just as trap filled.

He hummed under his breath as he stepped into the kitchen and put the box down, undoing the top part and revealing the rich brown of the chocolate cake that had taken him a lot of hard work to earn.

Guren better appreciate it.

He quietly rummaged through the cabinets until he found a couple of small plates, forks and a knife, balancing it all and the cake took some conscious effort but it was nothing Shinya couldn’t handle.

With soft steps he slipped into Guren’s bedroom and gingerly moved towards the bed. He set down his burden upon the bedside table and flinched when the cutlery clinked.

A quick look towards Guren showed him still asleep and Shinya breathed a sigh of relief before fidgeting nervously. He actually hadn’t expected to reach this point without Guren waking up and cursing him to hell and back so he had no plan for this. After a moment, he kneeled next to the bed and thought about how to approach waking up his friend.

Guren slumbered on, unaware of his visitor. He must have been overworking himself to the point of exhaustion if he fell asleep so deeply. The thought made Shinya shake his head and make a mental note to annoy him for it later. For now, he had other things to do.

He couldn’t help but take advantage of the opportunity to stare at Guren’s sleeping face. It was so rare to see him without furrowed eyebrows, without intense eyes and sharp words coming out of his mouth.

Like this, he looked peaceful. His face completely relaxed, not a hint of the usual intensity to be seen. His lips rested on a soft curve, a little open and a little dry. Looking at them made Shinya subconsciously lick his own. Guren’s eyelashes fluttered over his sleep-warmed cheeks. His dark hair spilled in inky waves over the pillows, starkly white by comparison.

For a short moment, Shinya allowed himself to entertain the thought of what it would feel like, if his own hair joined in, white and black intertwining, their faces close together, their eyes lost on each other, their breaths synchronizing as they shared warmth.

“You could do it, just lean closer, let yourself have this moment, the warmth of his lips, the softness of his skin. You want it Shinya, take it.”

Shinya took a deep breath and made himself lean away, closing his eyes and forcefully pushing away the images Byakkomaru was showing him.

This was dangerous, better to cut it off quickly. He normally had iron-clad control but he didn’t trust himself when it came to Guren and Byakkomaru’s temptations.

“Guren,” he called softly, watched as Guren’s frown scrunched up and his eyelids fluttered open. The beautiful purple of his eyes coming into focus almost immediately.

“Shinya? Something happened?” he asked, immediately sitting up, alert and ready for anything. Shinya was sad to see the warmth and softness disappear so quickly, but also pleased with Guren’s strength and reflexes.

“Happy birthday,” he said, laughing as Guren’s sharp attention disappeared in a wave of confusion.

“What?”

“I said, Happy Birthday.” He sat on the bed with a bounce and poked Guren’s cheek with a teasing grin. “Honestly, are you even awake, doofus?”

Guren slapped his hand away and glared at him.

“Of course I am! I just-” He turned away from Shinya, mumbling something under his breath.

“You what?” he asked, teasing grin still in place as he leaned closer. “I can’t hear you~”

Guren mumbled again, red darkening the tips of his ears, just visible among the messy black curls.

“Nope~ still can’t~” but now he was really curious, just what was so hard to say?

“I forgot, ok?!” he finally snapped and Shinya blinked in surprise at Guren’s outburst. But then he chuckled and straightened out again with a wide grin.

“Well then, you’re lucky that I remembered, like the awesome friend I am, and brought you a cake!” he gestured with a flourish and saw how Guren turned in surprise towards the fancily decorated cake.

“Oh.” Guren’s soft exhale of wonder, eyes shining and mouth slightly open, made all of Shinya’s efforts so worth it.

But even that didn’t compare to the way that Guren ducked his head, a shy smile spreading on his lips as he looked up through his fringe. Shinya’s heart lurched painfully.

“Thank you.”

He felt his own face soften, the mood had shifted back to the warmth and quiet of before. No doubt he looked as besotted as he felt, but it was just the two of them so he didn’t bother hiding it.

“You’re welcome, Guren. I’m happy you were born.”

Guren’s sharp inhale meant something, thought what, Shinya didn’t dare to guess.

“Just… cut the cake, smiley idiot.”

The moment was gone and Shinya barked out a laugh.

“Sir, yes sir!” he mock saluted as he shifted closer to the cake.

“And give me a bigger piece, since it’s my birthday and everything.”

“Hey, hey, who said you could boss me around?”

“It’s my birthday.”

“That doesn’t mean I’m just going to do whatever you want.”

They continued to argue good naturedly as they had some cake and coffee to begin their day.

Chapter Text

Guren underlined another sentence with his ever trustworthy red marker, the wording was too ambiguous; he was sure some enterprising Gentleman or Lady Of The Underhills would definitely try to take advantage of this if his client signed it.

He could never understand what kind of idiot would want to make a deal with the Gentry, but since those idiots made the bulk of his clientele, he couldn’t exactly stop them. Only make sure they came out as alive and in one piece as he could.

BOW CHICKA WOW WOW

“Speaking of idiots,” Guren growled under his breath as he snatched his cellphone up, face burning, and hurrying to answer the call before it kept embarrassing him. He opened his mouth, ready to berate his annoying partner for changing his ringtone again, when the sound of an explosion interrupted him.

BOOM!

“BEGONE TO THY DOMAIN, BEAST!”

“Shinya?”

“Not you, Guren. Sorry, give me a sec.”

“Are you calling in the middle of an exorcism?”

The sound of rocks falling and a curse from the man on the other side answered him. Guren frowned and reached for his office phone, he had some magical heavy weights that owed him favours among his contacts so maybe…

“Do you want me to send someone?” he asked before pushing the buttons, knowing that Shinya had his pride, though he would not say no to help if he was truly over his head.

“What? No no, I have it under control. I called for something - RETURN FROM WHENCE YOU CAME - something different.”

“Oh… kay… I’m listening.” Guren’s hand still hovered over the other phone, just in case.

“Yeah see, I may have told my sister I was going to get her a cake from this bakery downtown-”

“Sister?” Guren interrupted, mind quickly jumping through the information he had about Shinya’s family. He groaned again and pinched the bridge of his nose. “Shinya! How many times did I tell you not to Promise things! Sister or not, you know that she’s turning into a fai-”

“SHH! Don’t say it! Do you want to call Attention to us?” Guren grimaced at Shinya’s tone but realized his mistake, Attention was a Bad Thing. “Anyway, I know I shouldn’t have done it but she’s my sister! Oh shit!” Shinya stopped talking and Guren could hear gasps, cursing and chanting, before he returned. “Anyway, I already did it, I Promised a chocolate cake but the bakery closes at 6 and I’m not-” the sound of some kind of electricity interrupted him and Guren had to put the phone away from his ear for a few seconds before it died down.

“What?”

“I said that I can’t go! I didn’t think the purification ritual would turn into a full on exorcism! I’m not going to be done by 6!”

Shinya sounded exasperated and Guren’s eyes flickered to the clock on the wall, it’d soon be 5 pm and Guren himself would be done with work.

“I’ll pick it up after work.”

The sigh of relief Shinya gave made him want to go and pat his head or something. So much trouble for a cake.

“Thank you so much Guren, you’re a saint!”

Guren huffed and shook his head. This man, why did he even marry him again? Oh right, he was stupidly in love with his charm and idiocy.

“Just come back in one piece and maybe I’ll share the other cake I’m also going to buy.”

“Haha! You know how to motivate a guy, see you later!”

“In one piece Shinya!” he gave a last warning and heard him laugh again.

“I’ll do my best!”

The line went dead and Guren put his phone down. With a sigh, he put his papers away and started to prepare for leaving.

He had to get a cake for a future Queen of Fairie, who’d have thought this would happen when he married that witch?

Chapter Text

Excel cells were starting to blur into each other and Shinya pulled away from his computer, rubbing his burning eyes. He hated when people screwed up their jobs. It meant he had to recheck everything from the beginning and it sucked so much.

He sighed and rubbed his shoulder, it was barely… his tired eyes moved to the clock on his wall, it was barely ten and already all of his back felt like a giant gordian knot.  

“Alright, time for a break then.” The work would be there when he came back.

With a groan he rose up from his chair, fancy and ergonomic, but still not good enough to stop his stress from tying his body into knots… what he needed was a distraction.

“I wonder what Guren is doing today?”

He hadn’t been able to see him yet after all, coming in early only to get engrossed with that very delicate but very dull job of catching other people’s mistakes.

“But first, coffee!” There was no way he could keep going through the day without trying to drown himself in caffeine.

He plastered a smile on his face as he walked through the hallways, greeting everyone but making sure to seem in a hurry so no one would stop him. The nice, approachable guy act was a bit of a pain sometimes, but it made people trust and like him and it made his life easier overall so he kept it up, even when he was exhausted and not up to chatting up.

After finally reaching the coffee room and preparing himself a large mug of black but deliciously sweet coffee, he took a sip and felt himself truly relax for the first time in many hours. He swiped a jam-filled donut off the table and moaned happily as he bit into it and it bursted in his mouth with soft and gooey heaven.

He felt a true smile spread on his lips for the first time in the day, but there was still one thing needed to make him truly happy.

With a spring in his step, he made his way back into the elevator and used his elbow to push the button up to Guren’s floor. He hummed with the music as he alternated between chewing his sweet treat and sipping his coffee.

Hmm, what to do, what to do, should he tell Guren about his day? Whine and play the swooning maiden on his couch? It always annoyed him and he made the funniest faces as he snapped at Shinya to take better care of himself or so help him, he would force him to.

Guren’s brand of caring was a rough around the edges, but genuine in a way that never failed to make Shinya feel better, and he definitely felt like he needed it.

His plans flew through the window as he invited himself into Guren’s office and his eyes landed on the owner.

Guren looked horrible. Bloodshot eyes that stared at his computer without seeing anything, greasy hair, pale skin covered in sweat and he was coughing so badly it sounded like he was trying to spit his lungs out.

“Guren, what the hell?” he called out and Guren startled, looking up at him with confused eyes.

“Shinya? When did you come i-” a coughing fit interrupted him, making Shinya hurry to the small attached bathroom and dump all his coffee to fill his mug with water instead, hurrying back to give it to Guren, who drank all of it greedily. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome, but Guren, what are you doing here?” Seriously, just looking at how miserable he looked made Shinya want to wrap him up in a blanket and cook him chicken soup or something.

It felt strange to have such unfamiliar protective instincts rise up in him.

“Working,” Guren said as if it was obvious, rolling his eyes but immediately snapping them shut and holding onto the table. “Stop spinning damn it,” he whispered to himself but Shinya heard him loud and clear.

He frowned and shook his head. Trust Guren to come to work even while clearly sick.

“Alright, that’s it. Get up.”

“Wha- why?”

“I’m taking you home, c’mon.”

“Shinya! I have work to do!” Guren snapped, or tried to, as he sounded too tired to convince Shinya of anything but the pressing need to get him somewhere quiet and warm where he could rest.

“It can wait until tomorrow! You’re sick, Guren! You should be in your bed, sleeping it off. How did you even get here?” He easily tugged Guren up from his chair and the fact that his attempts at resisting were completely useless showed just how weakened and tired he truly was.

“I took the train. I usually drive but…” he didn’t need to finish that sentence, Shinya could only give thanks to what little sense remained in Guren’s stupid head that helped him realize driving in this state would be a Bad Idea.

He bit his lip as he helped Guren into his jacket. It was seriously weird seeing him in such obvious need of help and yet, he was a little happy too.

Don’t get him wrong, it was awful to see the usually strong and independent Guren having to hold onto Shinya’s arm just to walk in a straight line. But there was a part of him that was relieved to be able to pay Guren back for all the times he had cared for Shinya. He liked being able to support Guren when he needed him.

Chapter Text

“Race you to the river!” Shinya called out as they got out of the school room where all the village’s children had lessons, running off before he was finished speaking and with Guren hot on his heels.

They dropped their bags and kicked off their shoes before jumping into the water, yelling and splashing at each other, arguing good naturedly about who won this time.

But it didn’t really matter who won. What mattered was having fun, and they definitely had lots of fun. Running around, splashing and trying to catch frogs, talking about this and that, making fun of their teacher and classmates, dreaming about having far off adventures, fighting dragons and trolls and finding long lost treasures.

As the sun started to dip into the horizon, they sat side by side on the shore, letting the warm summer breeze dry them off before returning home.

“Hey, Guren,” Shinya whispered after a few moments in silence.

“Hmm?” He hummed in response, enjoying the warm wind that made his hair sway and the croaking of the nearby frogs.

“Want to know a secret?” Hearing the word secret made Guren’s head snap towards his friend.

“Sure!”

“But it’s really, really important so you have to promise to never ever ever tell anyone!” Those words made Guren’s heart beat faster, it sounded so exciting! He nodded his head several times, eyes wide with curiosity.

“I promise! I will never ever ever tell anyone! Cross my heart and hope to die!” he crossed his heart and lifted his hand; to their childish minds, this was the greatest promise one could make and Shinya smiled widely at him in return, eyes lighting up with excitement.

“It’s so neat, Guren! Father made me promise not to tell, but you’re my bestest friend in the entire world so I had to show you!” he cupped his hands, “look!”

Guren looked at Shinya’s hands and a gasp escaped his lips as a small light started to shine between them, barely brighter than a firefly but still a light that appeared out of nowhere.

“Is that magic?”  Guren asked, full of breathless wonder as he watched the little light bob up and down over Shinya's palms.

“Yes! Isn’t it cool?” Shinya's excited whisper made Guren nod eagerly.

“It’s so cool, can I touch?”

“Yep!”

They spent the rest of their afternoon gushing over Shinya’s newfound talent and returned to their homes quietly happy with the secret they shared in that innocent way children had when they knew something no one else did.

Ten years later, their secret would be put to the test as a man with a royal decree dropped by their village and threw their lives in disarray.

“... and all able bodied men and women with magical talent are ordered to serve his majesty’s army in defense of all the people that call this kingdom their home…” the man was reading from his decree in a loud voice, making their gathered community fall into a mess of hushed whispers as he kept reading. “Any mage that does not heed this call to duty will be severely punished, as will be any who help in hiding them from his majesty’s recruiters.”

Shinya’s eyes widened and he shrunk a little on himself as some of the villagers sent him looks. Shinya’s talent had grown rapidly ever since that time by the river and it had been impossible to keep it a complete secret. Still, they had only seen the smaller things he could do, like light up kitchen fires with a wave of his hand or make farm animals obey him; to them, he had been nothing but a slightly more useful than average young man.

But with this soldier intruding into their peaceful lives, that image was already shattering.

Guren gritted his teeth and stepped in front of him, like hell he was letting them take his friend to die far away just to keep the king’s fat ass safe!

“Very nice of the king to remember we exist, but sadly there are no mages here, so you’ve wasted your time, herald,” he called out over the crowd, hushing them into quiet. As the village leader’s eldest son, he had some amount of influence on what they said to this stranger that visited them, so they would keep their wagging tongues to themselves… for now.

The herald rolled up his parchment and shrugged.

“That’s not for me to decide, young master. I’m just a messenger; the recruiter will come in a week and they will know if there are mages or not here, but of course, even if you aren’t a mage you’re welcome to apply to the infantry troops.”

Guren’s scoff told him exactly what he thought of his offer and he turned to leave, Shinya trailing behind him, quiet and subdued.

He only spoke up once they reached their spot by the river.

“You didn’t have to lie for me, if the recruiter finds out, you’ll get in trouble.”

Guren shrugged and picked up some rocks to skip them.

“I did promise to keep it secret, didn’t I? Crossed my heart and everything.”

Shinya snorted and shook his head, but something warm shone in his eyes.

“You’re such a child. Don’t blame me if you get thrown into a dungeon.”

“Oh I definitely will, and I will tell my cell mates and the jailor and anyone that listens how it was totally my bastard of a best friend’s fault,” Guren answered with a smirk and threw a rock, it skipped twice and Shinya moved his hand, making the water come up and pull the rock down to the depths. “Hey!”

“I’m serious, Guren. I don’t want you or anyone else get into trouble.” He sighed and shook his head before sending him a sad little smile that tugged at Guren’s heart. “You know keeping it secret won’t work forever, sooner or later someone is going to let it slip, either because they’re scared or because they offer them money or because they were too drunk to realize. It’s better if I just-”

“Let’s run away then,” Guren cut him off and Shinya stared at him for a second.

“What?”

“You’re right; we can’t keep it secret forever, but you don’t really want to go to war, do you? So let’s just leave, the recruiters can’t take you if they can’t find you.”

Shinya frowned, clearly taking the time to think over Guren’s proposal. But Guren was doing the same, and the more he thought about his impulsive idea, the more sense it made.

“I should go off on my own. You have your dad to worry about,” Shinya reminded him but even as he did so, Guren could see that he didn’t want to be alone.

Which was fine, because Guren was not going to leave him alone. He would get himself lost or killed or robbed or who knows what else; Guren could never live with himself if he let Shinya wander around without anyone to turn to.

“He’ll be fine; he has Yuu. Besides, I’m sure that when I tell him he will agree that you won’t survive without a babysitter.”

Shinya’s lips twitched and his fist lashed out instantly, hitting Guren on the shoulder and making him yelp.

“Ouch! What was that for?!” he snapped as he rubbed his shoulder, that was going to bruise.

“Who’s going to babysit who? If I didn’t let you come you’d probably just follow me anyway and starve to death or something.”

“Hey!”

“Well, I guess there’s no choice. You can come.” Shinya nodded and Guren gaped at him. The nerve!

I can come?! It was my idea in the first place!”

“It’s going to be such a chore, making sure you don’t fall down a cliff or something-” Shinya was saying as he started walking away, Guren following quickly.

“I would never!”

“Or get mauled by a bear, those things are vicious after all and you do have a temper.”

“Are you even listening to me?”

“I guess you can help carry some stuff at least.”

“You’re unbelievable!”

And that’s how their adventure started.

Chapter Text

Guren took a deep breath as he saw the white-haired man enter the cafe with his long designer coat and loose scarf wound around his neck. He had already seen him more than a dozen times, but it never ceased to send a shot of adrenaline through his veins.

It was Shinya Hiiragi after all, the famous author of his favorite book series and his inspiration to go into writing as well.

Mr. Hiiragi dropped by every few days, always at around four in the afternoon, and always asked for black coffee with two sugars, before taking his time to decide which pastry or cake he would have that day, always trying something different.

The first time he came in, Guren had been so excited that it made his hands tremble and someone else had to serve him.

He had been so overwhelmed that his manager had given him a good scolding and told him to get a grip of himself or he would get kicked out. Their establishment prided itself in providing a quiet and restful place for people that wanted peace from their adoring fans after all.

It was on his second visit that Guren managed to serve him, maybe a bit stiffly, but he had remained professional, even when Mr. Hiiragi’s smile sent his heart aflutter.

Ever since, he had done his best to be the one serving him; his coworkers kept teasing him about it but they knew how important it was for him, so they let him take care of the man that had saved his life with words that spoke deeply to the troubled teen he had been.

It was fascinating to watch him at his table, though he tried to not stare and to be as discreet and non-invasive as possible. But still he couldn’t help but study him sometimes. Always taking a table by the window and always people-watching as he waited for his order, chin propped up on a hand and eyes lost somewhere far away.

When his coffee and pastry arrived, he always gave his server, usually Guren, a bright smile and a cheerful thank you. Guren normally had to make a hasty escape at this point to go to the changing room and quietly freak out for a minute.

Once he was done he would return to serving tables, but always keeping half an eye on Mr. Hiiragi, making sure he always had everything he needed. That’s how he knew that most times he would people watch the entire time he was there, but sometimes he would take out a sleek laptop and either start typing or lazily scroll down something or another.

Guren made sure to never look at what he was doing in it, he did respect the author’s privacy after all and besides, he didn’t want to get spoiled for whatever next masterpiece he may be writing at the time.

Today was different however, because even though he took his usual table, he didn’t take his laptop out or watched the people walking outside at all, he simply stared into the empty space before him with a slump in his shoulders.

Guren bit his lip and hurried towards the kitchen. It was only a couple of minutes later that he had perfectly brewed coffee sitting on his tray and the menu ready on his other hand.

“Good afternoon, here’s your coffee and your menu, sir,” Guren said quietly as he set the cup down, startling the young author, and offering the laminated card at the perfect angle to be read.

Mr. Hiiragi blinked in confusion at the cup before him before sending Guren an equally confused look.

“But I haven’t ordered?”

“I hope you don’t mind my impertinence. It’s two sugars, right?” Had he made a mistake? From this close it was obvious that Mr. Hiiragi needed a pick me up, with the dark bags under his eyes and the tenseness in his shoulders, but if he had overstepped his bounds he would certainly apologize and-

Mr. Hiiragi smiled, his entire face changing, angles softening and eyes brightening until they shone like jewels. Guren felt like he was being blessed by a god.

“No, no! This is perfect! Thank you for remembering- ah, I don’t know your name.” His smile faltered and Guren hurried to reassure him.

“My apologies, I never introduced myself. My name is Guren.”

Mr. Hiiragi’s smile brightened again and he could swear there were heavenly choirs singing around him.

“It’s nice finally knowing my cute server’s name,” Guren felt heat rise to his face and his breath hitched as Mr. Hiiragi winked, “thank you, Guren, for the coffee and consideration. Do you have recommendations for today’s sweet?”

Guren blinked in surprise, Mr. Hiiragi had never asked for his recommendation before.

“The chef is currently preparing a highly recommended Petit Gâteau, there’s a choice of ice cream to go with it, personally,” he cleared his throat, it wasn’t the first time that he gave recommendations but he had never wanted a costumer to like his recommendation as badly as he did today, “personally, I would go for a light vanilla to complement the richness of the chocolate.”

“Then let’s go with that! Ah, I will be here for a while so a second coffee once I’m done with this one will be nice,” he took a sip, “oh! You really did remember.”

“Of course, Mr. Hiiragi. You’re a very dear patron to me- us! us I mean!… I- I will go bring your cake, enjoy your coffee!” he hastened to depart, ears burning and Mr. Hiiragi’s giggles following him until he had reached the sanctuary of the kitchen and could take a moment to curl up on himself and try to stop himself from crying.

Get a grip, Guren! This was not the time to freak out over that supremely embarrassing mistake! He would have time later to hate himself, now he had a cake to get.

But the true freaking out didn’t occur until after Mr. Hiiragi left, with a cheery wave and cheerier smile, leaving behind a frankly ridiculous tip and a napkin with something scribbled on it:

To my cute waiter, Guren:

Thank you for the superb service you always give me!

009-xxx-xxx

Call me ;)

Shinya

Guren’s subsequent freak out saw him sent home early and his pay docked, but it was so worth it.

Chapter Text

>> hey, wanna come over?

can’t, studying <<

>> rly???

lol dont sound so surprised!!! I know im a genius but i do need to study sometimes<<

oh<<

>> pfff if you’re a genius then I’m a teapot

>> what?

some girl is having a nervous breakdown the next table over<<

…<<

aaand she’s crying now <<

>>damn

yuup<<

>> seriously, come over, it’s quiet and I have coffee

you rly know the way to my heart <3 <<

>>dork

 

“I haaaate Calculus sooo much,” Shinya whines as soon as Guren opens the door. It makes a smirk spread on his face.

“Should’ve thought about that before going for engineering,” he answers with a chuckle, letting him in. Shinya sighs as he kicks off his shoes and goes to the table, dropping his bag on top of it and using it as a pillow.

“I knooow, I’m an idiot! Should have done Business Administration like father wanted.”

“Hmm, the same father that kicked you out for being gay?” he asks while filling a pair of mugs with coffee.

“Still less painful than Calculus.”

Guren snorts and set the coffee before Shinya’s face. He pulls back but Shinya immediately grabs his hand and kisses the knuckles.

“You’re a saint,” he whispers fervently before letting him go and grabbing the coffee like it’s his last lifeline.

Guren snorts again and shakes his head before sitting down next to him, watching quietly as he takes slow sips of the hot beverage. Shinya’s face is the picture of contentment, soft smile and relaxed expression, looking peaceful for the first time since he entered Guren’s apartment. Tired too, with the wrinkled clothes, bags under his eyes and lanky hair.

“When was the last time you slept properly?” he asks after a moment and Shinya startles for a second.

“What?” He looks disoriented and Guren shakes his head. Oh, the joys of undergrad.

“Sleep, when,” Guren repeats with a raised eyebrow and Shinya blinks at him.

“Oh… what day is today?” That… doesn’t sound good at all. Guren narrows his eyes as he answers.

“Friday.”

“I think I slept… Wednesday maybe?” His lips are pouted in thought and Guren decides that’s enough.

“Alright, time for a nap,” Guren gives no room for complaining as he grabs Shinya’s arm and pulls him back up.

“What? Gureeen, I need to study.” And yet, he’s not resisting Guren’s manhandling at all.

“If you don’t let your brain shut off then it won’t retain any information. Trust me, I know what I’m doing.”

“But Calc!”

“I’ll help you study.” That gives Shinya pause.

“You will?” He sounds so hopeful that Guren feels his heart ache. He really should’ve offered before but he had been trying to be fair to the other students, who don’t have a teaching assistant to help them. But to hell with them, his boyfriend’s well-being comes first.

“Yes, after we take a nap.”

Shinya’s smile makes any guilt he feels over the possible unfairness vanish like smoke.

Chapter Text

They’d been working the whole afternoon and both of them were covered in sweat and exhausted, but it looked like they were, finally, done.

“Thank you so much for helping me move, Guren. I don’t even know where I got so much stuff from!” Shinya exclaimed as he peeked into the box Guren had just brought over.

Books, again. Since when did he have so many books?!

Guren waved his hand as he drank from a water bottle, quickly emptying it.

“Don’t worry about it. Besides, you’re buying me dinner,” he added with a wink that made Shinya smile and his heart flutter.

“Guess that’s fair, just don’t eat me out of the house,” he teased as he went towards the newly installed phone.

“I promise nothing!” Guren called out and Shinya barked a laugh.

“Chinese good for you?” he called over his shoulder, already pressing the numbers.

“Sure!”

“Good, because that’s the only delivery I know by memory.”

Guren burst into laughter, a deep and warm sound that made Shinya chuckle as he waited for the connection.

Watching Netflix, Guren sitting next to him, eating their usual Chinese delivery, their feet propped on the coffee table and a beer passing between them, it was as if he had always lived in this place.

If you ignored that ridiculous amount of unpacked boxes that is.

“Want me to come over tomorrow to help you unpack?” Guren asked as Shinya got up to throw all their empty containers and bottles away.

“Nah, you should enjoy what’s left of the weekend, Guren.”

“Mmh, if you say so. Then I should probably go before-”

RUMBLE

Both of them stopped and looked outside, through Shinya’s big and airy new windows. It was already night but the dark clouds were visible as lightning bolts spread across the sky.

Drip, drip, drip

Within seconds it became a torrent.

“-it rains,” Guren finished lamely and sighed, walking to the floor to ceiling windows to watch the rain with a worried frown.

Shinya bit his lip, he could take Guren back in his car but-

CRASH

He flinched as loud thunder made everything vibrate and his heart jump in his chest. Yeah, he definitely didn’t want to drive out in that.

“Hey,” he said, coming closer to Guren, lightly bumping their shoulders together. “Stay over.”

“You sure?” Guren asked, looking around at the mess of unpacked stuff.

“Sure! You can shower here and I can lend you some of my clothes, it’ll be like a sleepover! I don’t know where my sheets are but who needs sheets? I did find the blankets, so we can make a nest here in the living room and-”

“Keep watching Netflix until we fall asleep, right?” Guren finished for him, indulgent smile already in place. Shinya laughed.

“You know me so well! So?” he asked, not worried at all about Guren’s answer, already thinking of provoking Guren into a pillow fight if he could find the pillows.

“Ah what the hell? Sure, let’s have a sleepover,” Guren tried to sound like he was giving in with much protest but Shinya knew him, so he answered with a little shove.

“First to find clothes gets dibs on the shower!” and then he ran.

“COME BACK HERE YOU CHEATER!”

“Haha!”

One day, he’ll convince Guren to move in with him, but for now, this was nice enough.

Chapter Text

Shinya woke up to twittering birds and Guren’s snoring.

This was the normal state of things really, so all he did was huff softly and shake his head as he carefully pushed the covers aside and got up from bed. The floor was warm from the sunlight that streamed from the window and he stopped to enjoy the sensation under his feet.

Guren grumbled something and he turned to look at him. His partner shifted in his sleep onto Shinya’s side of the bed and hugged the pillow he had been using just seconds before, pressing his face into it and sighing in sleepy contentment.

The sight made him smile, warming him as surely as if he were standing in front of the heater.

“Dork,” he whispered, impossibly fond, allowing himself to bask in all the mushy feelings the view gave him. But while he felt very tempted to return to bed and enjoy Guren’s cuteness. There was something else he had to do.

With a low hum, he dressed up and took care of his morning routine, before making his way to the kitchen and finding his objective.

He loved being swept off his feet by Guren’s attentions, and that jerk knew that so well; he kept surprising him with random romantic dinners like last night’s. With luxurious and delectable food he must have slaved away to prepare, expensive wine that they kept drinking until they were all giggly and warm-faced and slow dancing in the living room to their favorite songs before stumbling into the bedroom and loving each other until the early hours of the morning.

Really, after the dream-like night he had, battling with soap and crusted food was the least he could do.

He turned on the stereo at a low volume, he didn’t want to wake up Guren yet after all, and set about putting the coffee machine to work while cleaning up their mess.

First he tackled the dishes and glasses, piled and forgotten in the sink, smiling as he thought about how beautiful the presentation of the meal had been, colorful salads arranged in beautiful patterns, sauces that glistened under the candlelight, meats cooked to perfection with the most mouthwatering spices, and the dessert! Light and sweet, the perfect complement for their flavorful meal, everything had been so good it took all of his good manners to not lick his fingers.

But all of that paled in comparison to the way Guren shone with quiet pride in his skills. Eyes twinkling, with the candlelight adding warmth to the deep purple color, hair deep black and perfectly styled to fall onto his face in the most flattering ways, a smile that was a times dashing and at times shy dancing on his lips and softening every angle of his face to a gentleness that Shinya coveted and held dearly in his heart.

Throughout the meal he had been unable to stop praising Guren, kissing his hands and enjoying his bashful blushes and his insistence that it hadn’t been a bother for him to prepare everything, but it was obvious he still appreciated the compliments and Shinya was more than happy to shower him with them.

Shinya still didn’t know how he had gotten so lucky to get Guren into his life, but even if he didn’t think he deserved such overwhelming happiness, he could admit that he was selfish enough to hold onto it with all his strength.

Dishes cleaned up, dried out and set in their respective places. Shinya turned to the living room, where all the furniture had been pushed aside to make a makeshift dancing floor for them.

The music kept going in the background and while Shinya was supposed to start putting the sofas and armchairs back in place, all he really wanted to do was relive those moments where they floated together, foreheads touching and eyes lost on each other.

Well… you only live once, right?

With a smile, he indulged himself, standing in the middle of the living room and closing his eyes. Slowly he started swaying in time with the song, remembering how Guren looked, soft and warm and his , the world fading away as they let their bodies go through the motions, too lost on each other to be able to think about what they were doing.

He remembered the feel of Guren’s hand around his back, the warmth, and the comfortable feeling of being so close they could feel each other’s hearts beating against their chests; he remembered how Guren’s other hand had held his own and brought it to his lips, kissing each knuckle with soft devotion and tearing pleased laughter out of him.

He remembered tugging the hand and bringing it to his face, pressing his cheek against it.

A gasp escaped him, body jumping in surprise as a pair of strong arms circled around his waist.

“There you are, why did you leave the bed?” Guren’s groggy tone was a little whiny and it made Shinya laugh.

“I did the dishes,” he answered, holding tight onto Guren’s arms, leaning against him, happy, so indescribably happy.

“Hmm, didn’t have to,” Guren mumbled back, pressing his face against Shinya’s neck and breathing deeply. Shinya reached up to run his fingers through the messy bedhead.

“I know, but I wanted to. You did so much for me last night, it’s the least I can do.”

“Hmm, thank you.”

“I made coffee too.”

That definitely pierced through Guren’s sleepy brain, if the way he straightened up and quickly kissed Shinya’s cheek was any indication.

“You’re the best,” he said fervently before letting go and turning back to the kitchen, no doubt in search for coffee.

Shinya had to bite back a laugh.

“Shinya! C’mon, the coffee is gonna get cold!” Guren called out and he hurried after him with a spring in his step and a smile on his lips.

A good morning to follow a good night. He really was the luckiest bastard alive.

Chapter Text

There was something to be said about being woken up at 3 in the morning by his doorbell ringing, nonstop, for several earsplitting seconds.

“I’M UP! I’M UP!” Shinya yelled as he kicked the covers off, the doorbell had stopped but his ears were still ringing and he could feel the beginnings of a headache starting.

Waah, waah…

He rubbed his face, tiredness slumping his shoulders. He hated waking up abruptly; hadn’t had to deal with something like that since he moved out from home and didn’t have to deal with his screeching younger siblings anymore.

Waaaah, waaah, waaah...

He could still hear their wailing in his dreams.

Waaaaah…

Wait, that wasn’t his dream.

He got up and hurried to his door, where he was more than surprised to find Guren, in all his exhausted glory. With messy hair, dark eye bags, and suspiciously stained shirt. In his arms, his little nephew Shuusaku was screaming his lungs off.

“I’m so sorry Shinya, I know it’s 3 in the morning but I know you have younger siblings and I don’t know what’s wrong with him, please help me.”

Whatever irritation he might have felt vanished immediately and he smiled, tired but truthful.

“You didn’t have to ask.” How could he ever say no? Specially when he looked so pitiful. “Give him here.”

He gathered the screeching boy in his arms and let Guren in, closing the door, mentally marvelling that none of their other neighbours had come out to see what the screaming was all about.

“Did you feed him?”

“Yes! Of course I fed him and checked his nappies, I tried to sing to him and rock him in my arms, nothing worked!”

Shinya hummed and patted the still screaming Shuusaku’s back. Little one had an amazing pair of lungs, didn’t he?

“Alright, let’s try a little bath then.”

“What?”

“A bath, c’mon help me run a warm bath.”

Warm water, soft humming and washing and soon Shuusaku’s screaming was replaced by sniffling and then, as Shinya carefully washed his little chest and arms, he started nodding off.

“Oh god, he’s quiet,” Guren whispered, barely audible, clearly scared to wake him up again. Shinya laughed softly and brought him out of the sink to swaddle in one of the towels he had on hand.

“Of course he is, no doubt he’s twice as tired as you, all that crying is exhausting you know?” he teased softly as he put the baby back on Guren’s arms. “Want some tea? To calm your nerves.”

“Please,” Guren looked so grateful Shinya’s heart went out to him.

It couldn’t be easy, being suddenly saddled with a baby right after his sister’s death, having to raise him by himself. Shinya hadn’t had to do anything so drastic, whatever he knew, it was because he was curious and wanted to help the nannies take care of his siblings.

“It’s ok if you hate him a little, you know?” He said as he served Guren a calming herbal tea.

Guren sputtered at him.

“I could never!” he hissed, hastily looking down to make sure he hadn’t woken the baby.

“Resent him then, or your sister, or the situation.” He could tell Guren wanted to deny it but Shinya was not going to let him. “It’s a normal reaction. Babies have a way of taking over your life and putting it upside down whether you want them to or not,” he added as he sipped his own tea. “I wasn’t very happy when I went from spoiled only son to responsible older brother, you know? And we had an army of servants to make sure all our needs were taken care off. Even so I still resented having to share my time with my screaming younger siblings that couldn’t spend a night without waking me up, who had to be fed before me, mouthed my toys and vomited on my clothes.” He chuckled and saw that Guren was huffing a small laugh as well. “What I mean to say is that you don’t have to overcompensate in caring for your nephew just because you feel guilty about your feelings.”

Guren looked down again and ran his fingers along Shuusaku’s chubby cheek.

“I don’t hate him though, I just… wish there was someone else, someone better, to take care of him.” He bit his lip. “There’s no one else though, just me and little Shuu.”

“Hmm.” Typical Guren, he was going to burn out at this rate. “I resent that, who’s the one that made him fall asleep again?”

Guren looked up at him and shook his head.

“I’ve imposed on you enough. Thank you, but I really shouldn’t-” Shinya covered Guren’s mouth with his hand.

“I’ll stop you right there mister,” he said, eyes softening. “Don’t you know the saying ‘It takes a village to raise a child’? You can’t do this on your own and as your partner in crime, I can’t and I won’t  let you do it.”

Guren sighed, the breath tickling the palm of Shinya’s hand and then pushed it away, smirking at him.

“You just want a baby to spoil, don’t you?”

Shinya gasped and had to cover his own mouth to stop the giggles from waking Shuu up.

“Alas! You’ve discovered my dastardly plan! I was going to make Shuu like me more and steal him so I could’ve my own tiny human.” Guren gave him an unimpressed look but then smirked.

“I’m his uncle, you’re just the weirdo that lives next door.”

“Hey!”

“But I guess I could let you help out every now and then.”

Shinya huffed and pushed his fringe away in mock irritation.

“Here I am, offering to help out of the kindness of my soul-” he cut himself off when Guren reached for his shoulder and squeezed. Guren’s eyes were grateful and his smile soft.

“Thank you, really.” He squeezed again and pulled away. Shinya’s throat dried out and he hurried several gulps of his tea while he composed himself, what was it about Guren that always left him shaken and wistful?

“Drop by tomorrow and let me share some of my baby handling wisdom with you then.”

“Will do. Good night Shinya and thanks again.”

As he watched Guren leave, he couldn’t help but think that he looked so gentle with the sleeping baby in his arms, and somehow that made his heart warm.

Chapter Text

“Hey, wanna go to the concert with me?” He grimaced and tried again. “What’s up? Anything to do on Friday? Ugh no.” He stuck out his tongue at his reflection. He was just trying to be casual and invite his best friend over! Since when did he have to practice something so small? Why was he so awkward?!

But he knew exactly why, it was because now he knew that he wanted more than he currently had, he wanted to show off, he wanted to be cool and he wanted Shinya to like him the way he liked Shinya.

He groaned and let himself fall on his bed. Why was it so hard?! It was Shinya! His best friend since like, fourth grade or something!

“I’ll just wing it.”

-/-/-/-

It was lunchtime and most of their classmates had gone off to buy food or eat outside under the beautiful weather. Not Guren and Shinya though, they had their own bento and Guren... Well, Guren wanted to take advantage of the relative solitude to do the thing.

But Shinya spoke before he had the chance to even open his mouth.

“Guren! Do you want to go to my place on Friday? We can play Overwatch!” he said, all bright smiles and even brighter eyes, as he jumped up to sit on his desk.

Guren flinched and looked away, not seeing how Shinya’s smile faltered a little.

“Can’t.” He said, brain working as fast as it could, trying to come up with some way to invite Shinya instead.

“You can’t?”

“No, I-” he licked his lips and looked back at Shinya, now or never. “I’m going to the concert.”

He saw the way the sparkle disappeared from Shinya’s eyes and wanted to kick himself so hard. What is he doing? Why isn’t he just telling him to come along!

After barely a second Shinya seemed to recover his enthusiasm and smiled wide, jumping off his desk to go back to his own.

“Wow! You’re so lucky you got a ticket! I’m so jealous! I couldn’t get a ticket before they were sold out, though luck right? Haha”

An opening! Take it! Take it!

“So you want to go?”

“Well duh! You know how much I love them Guren!”

“That’s good because-” he licked his lips, nervous, but forged on before he could lose his courage again. “I bought you a ticket.”

Shinya blinked, confused smile frozen in place.

A second passed, then two, and then realization hit Shinya all at once.

“You what?!” he exclaimed, all of him glowing . “Really?!”

Guren shuffled uncomfortably and then nodded.

“Oh my god, Guren, you’re the best!” He was taken completely by surprise when Shinya jumped at him, arms circling around his body and squeezing. “The absolute best!”

“Shu-shut up! You’re embarrassing! Let go!” he did his best to push that annoying ass away but Shinya only laughed, completely ignoring him as usual.

“Haha!”

But it wasn’t so bad, seeing him so happy and carefree.

Chapter Text

Shinya hated being cold. Absolutely despised it. Ever since that one month during his training, when the examiners had lowered the temperature so that they were always cold and miserable. It was not cold enough for hypothermia or frostbite, but it was cold enough that they were always uncomfortable and it made it hard to sleep. It had been a kind of test of their endurance under adverse conditions or some other bullshit like that. Many had died that month simply because the lack of sleep and the frayed nerves made them easy pickings for those who could withstand it better.

Shinya had been one of those that could, but just because he could put up with it didn’t mean he liked it.

He liked it even less after The End; it was very easy to get cold nowadays, with the military regulating the electricity supply. It was forbidden to use electricity for non-essential things after 10 pm.

Shinya was a Hiiragi and he doubted anyone would’ve dared to speak up if he turned on the heater some nights. But he abhorred attracting attention when he didn’t have to and he was used to (trained to) be obedient. He could disobey, but it was much easier and less nerve wracking to comply with such small details. He just got himself extra blankets and made do.

At least, that had been his habit before.

It was all moot point now that he had his own personal space heater.

Of all the unexpected upsides of Guren and him becoming… closer, this one was Shinya’s personal favorite.

He tightened his grip around Guren’s waist and pressed his face against his chest, feeling the beating of his heart against his cheek and soft puffs of warm breath tickling his forehead. Guren’s arm was curled around his own body, heavy and comforting, holding him close. Their legs hooked around each other at some point of the night and Shinya couldn’t feel his own but he didn’t care at all, he was way too comfy to care.

Inside the cocoon formed by their blanket, it was warm, almost toasty really, but Shinya loved it. Truthfully it didn’t matter what temperature it was outside, he loved how Guren felt against him, radiating such wonderful heat.

Guren shifted and Shinya pulled a little away, looking up at his slowly waking face, eyes fluttering just a smidgen open, dark eyelashes casting shadows over the purple of them.

“Morning,” Guren whispered, voice rough from sleep.

“Morning,” Shinya answered, his own expression softening to match Guren’s. God help him, but he was happy to be in this man’s arms.

“Time is it?” He asked as he reached up to rub the sleep off his eyes, Shinya pouted a little at the lost of its warmth but he still answered.

“About seven.”

Guren stiffened.

“Shit, I have a meeting.”

Now it was Shinya’s turn to frown.

“Noooo,” he whined and tightened his grip, burrowing his face under Guren’s chin.

“Shinya, I have to go.” And yet he still brought his arm back down to rub circles on Shinya’s back.

“You’re warm! Staaaay,” he whined again, but even as he did so, he knew that the time of separation was rapidly approaching and was resigning himself to it. Stupid responsibilities.

Guren snorted.

“I knew it. You’re only using me for my body heat,” he teased and Shinya couldn’t help but snort as well, pulling back again to look at Guren’s smirk.

“Of course, I’m a heat leech,” he deadpanned in response, receiving a chuckle in return.

“Right, I should’ve known. I still have to go though.”

Shinya huffed and finally released his tight grip.

“Fine! But I want cuddles again tonight!” He was not going to sleep while being cold! He refused!

“Yeah, yeah, I’ll give you your cuddles,” Guren promised even as he got up from the bed, taking his wonderful warmth with him.

Shinya sighed as he watched him go. It was all a joke for Guren but, sometimes, Shinya thought he only went through his days just so that he could come back to his arms at night.

Wow, it kind of sounded pathetic when said like that, didn’t it?

“Shinya! We can be warm in the shower too!” Guren’s voice came from the bathroom and snapped him out of his self deprecating thoughts. He jumped out of bed as fast as he could, almost running towards the bathroom.

Sometimes, Guren had the best ideas.

Chapter Text

“Please! Please stop! I’ll tell you everything!” said the man on the chair, or at least that’s what Shinya thought he said, it was a little difficult to figure it out when so many of his teeth were missing and his face was so swollen.

“As if a lackey like you would have any information we would want,” Guren sneered in answer and slammed his gloved fist back onto the man’s face.

Shinya stopped examining his knives for a second and looked up.

There was a wild sort of beauty in the sight before him. The dark gleam in purple eyes and the sharp smile that promised pain made him swallow, his throat suddenly dry, and the meaty thud of Guren’s gloved fists impacting on the weasel’s flesh followed by whimpers of pain sent a shiver down his back.

He could see the strain of the muscles on Guren’s forearms as he used all of his considerable strength to teach their little traitor a lesson he would never forget, the white sleeves having been folded back to his elbows and yet not entirely escaping the spray of bright red blood.

White and red, purity and sin, the duality that was present in Guren was so breathtaking to watch. Who would have thought that the devoted son and protective elder brother could also be the vicious punisher before him? The terrifying enforcer of the biggest Mafia family in the country?

Guren paused, breathing heavily as he straightened away from the bloody mess he had made; his chest moved, up and down, with each deep breath he took, and watching him made something flutter in the pit of Shinya’s stomach. His eyes were locked on Guren, magnetically attracted to the power contained within, unable to look away as Guren lifted an arm to swipe the sweat out of his forehead and leaving a streak of bloody red on tanned skin. Shinya sighed, fingers aching to reach for the stain that now marred his skin and remove it.

“He’s unconscious, damn it,” Guren cursed as he spit on the floor in disgust and then turned to Shinya. “Why are you staring?” he asked, anger replaced by bafflement.

Shinya’s mouth spread in a knowing smile, eyelids falling with seductive intent.

“No reason,” he purred, voice low and inviting.

“You sick weirdo,” Guren answered, but his eyes shone with interest. “Hang onto that for later, we’ve got work to finish.”

“Yeah, yeah,” Shinya sighed in disappointment but knew Guren was right, it was his turn. “Wake him up, Kureto-nii wants him to feel it until the last moment.”

He gathered his knives while Guren threw a bucket of icy water on the man’s face, waking him with a startled choke.

Time to work on the message that was going to be sent to those fools that thought they could plant a spy among them.

Chapter Text

Guren was fifteen years old when the dreams started.

At first it was just a silhouette, white or maybe blue or maybe silver, hazy along the edges, smokey yet solid. It extended a hand and Guren took it without giving it a second thought, it felt warm and soft like the old teddy he pretended he didn’t sleep with.

“Who are you?” he tried to ask, but the question got stuck on his throat and all his dream self did was smile as he and his companion ran into a playground, one that looked like the one at his old school and yet not. The one he remembered didn’t have the monkey bars that looked like half a ball, but the other took him to them and they started climbing, racing to the top and having fun.

It was only a dream after all, so he didn’t mind being childish for a while.

It was a long time before he saw the other in his dreams again, but when he did it made his heart beat fast and a smile appeared on his face even without him trying to smile.

He waved and the other waved back and when Guren came close, he realized he could see two eyes now, bright blue and so pretty it left Guren open mouthed.

The other leaned close, with his eyes staring straight into Guren, as blue and wide as the sky.

And now they were in a field, and without even talking they decided to play tag. Somehow Guren didn’t feel embarrassed at all, even though he could only hear his own laughter.

The third time he had pure white hair that fell into his eyes and the fourth time his body was not fuzzy but clearly defined.  

They spent their time playing games, running around, climbing trees, throwing chalk at each other, having simple fun and growing to like each other more and more.

As Guren grew older, he had many dreams of the other and more and more he could see his features. His straight nose, his rosy lips, his pretty hands with their long and elegant fingers.

Sometimes they didn’t play games, sometimes they walked hand in hand and showed each other their old schools, their favorite places, their homes.

The other pointed at Guren’s dream teddy and started shaking with obvious laughter. Guren could feel himself blushing and he grabbed a pillow to hit him over the head, the other gave him a betrayed look and grabbed another pillow. They fought long and hard, feathers flying everywhere, and it ended up with both of them flopped on the bed, breathing heavily but laughing without a worry in the world.

Guren was never happier than when he was in his dreams with the other, there were no expectations and no judging, only acceptance and welcoming warmth.

The day he became twenty years old, he fell asleep and opened his eyes to see the other fully revealed to him.  

“You’re so beautiful,” he whispered, holding his face between his hands and letting him do the same to him.

The other gasped and a smile that could shame the sun spread on his face.

“I can hear you now,” he whispered, voice cracking a little with suppressed tears. Guren inhaled sharply as he could hear him clearly as well.

“Your voice is beautiful too,” he answered earnestly and the other threw his head back and laughed, a clear sound that brought a smile on Guren’s face.

“You incorrigible sap!” the other said as he reached with a finger to wipe a tear away. “You’re too cute.”

Guren felt his cheeks warm up.

“Shu-shut up! You’re the cute one!” and when the other burst into laughter again, Guren was filled with such happiness he could do nothing but lean close and press their lips together.

The other made a noise of surprise but immediately relaxed into the kiss, kissing back with careful movements that made Guren’s lips tingle and heat spread throughout his body.

When he pulled back, the other pinched his cheek.

“Ouch ouch ouch! What the hell?”

“That’s for kissing me without even telling me your name! You’re so rude! Next time give me some warning at least!” but while his words were scolding, his tone was far too cheerful for Guren to take him seriously.

“Ichinose Guren.”

The other tilted his head and pushed some strands behind his ear.

“Guren huh? It suits you. My name is Hiiragi Shinya.”

“It’s a beautiful name,” he hurried to add.

“Is that the only thing you know how to say?” Shinya teased him but Guren only shrugged.

“Well, I mean-” and he waved vaguely in Shinya’s direction, almost laughing when he saw how he blushed and looked away.

“Utterly unbelievable,” he whispered under his breath before turning back to Guren with a determined glint in his eyes. “Right, umh, I want to meet you. For real now.”

Shinya’s request matched Guren’s feelings so perfectly he could do nothing but put his hands around his back and hold him close, marvelling at how they were the exact same height and how he could so easily lose himself in the blue of Shinya’s eyes.

“Yeah, me too.” To be able to have Shinya in his arms in reality would be a dream come true… literally.

“Where do you live?”

“Aichi, you?”

Shinya wrinkled his nose. “Miyagi.”

Guren made a noise of understanding, they were far from each other but-

“When are you free? I’ll meet you halfway.”

“You don’t have to, I’m the one that asked-”

“I insist,” Guren interrupted him, reaching up with a hand to caress his soft cheek again. “You shouldn’t have to do all the work. We are partners after all, made for each other from the beginning.”

Shinya’s gaze softened and he leaned close to press their foreheads together.

“Let’s meet halfway then.”

Chapter Text

Guren gasped as he tripped and skidded on the sand, spluttering and cursing as he listened to his friends laugh at him.

He stayed where he was, catching his breath back and waiting. The sun was warm on his back and the smell of sea salt heavy on his nose, but he only had to wait a little longer.

“Is he ok?”

“He’s not moving.”

“Guren?”

He felt a shadow fall on him and with a loud HA! he turned around and pulled the trigger, soaking the one that had checked on him.

“ARGH GUREN!” Goshi yelped, jumping away from the cold stream of water coming from Guren’s water gun.

A little behind him, Mito bursted into laughter, only to squeal as Guren turned his gun towards her, hurrying to run away with him chasing on her heels.

Summer time never failed to bring out a more playful mood on all of them and they took advantage of that to go to the beach and have some fun.

“Everyone! We’ve got the watermelons!” Sayuri yelled to bring back their attention, beside her, Shinya lifted the bags in which he carried the large fruits.

Hunger and thirst winning over, they set aside their differences and agreed to a truce in order to join their other friends under the umbrellas and get some delicious treats to ward off the heat.

“Hmm,” Guren hummed happily as he licked the sweet red juice from his fingers. The sea breeze ruffled his hair and his friends were laughing happily. It was the picture of contentment and he gave a deep sigh, enjoying himself.

“Damn it,” Shinya’s quiet curse snapped him out of his musings and he turned, finding him shaking a small bottle and frowning heavily as nothing came out.

“Sunscreen?” he asked, not waiting for Shinya’s answer to reach inside his bag and retrieve his own bottle.

“I’ve been putting more every couple of hours but I didn’t expect to run out so soon,” he bit his lip, “this suuucks, I wanted to go for a swim.”

“Take mine,” Guren answered, offering the bottle without a second thought.

“Really? What about you?”

“Pshh, as if this little sun could burn me,” said Guren as he gave Shinya his most confident smirk, receiving an eyeroll in return.

“Don’t complain to me if you turn lobster red later.”

Guren waved Shinya’s concern off, the sun wasn’t too strong and he had darker skin than Shinya, he would be fine.

-/-/-/-

“Ouch, ouch, OUCH”

“Told you so~” Shinya said with a snicker as he kept putting Aloe Vera on Guren’s back.

“Shut uuuup,” Guren groaned as Shinya laughed at his misery.

Chapter Text

It was a hot summer day, but Shinya almost didn’t feel it, busy as he was with licking the large ice cream cone in his hand.

Next to him, his best friend Guren was also licking his own.

They were at the local park, they had been playing at the playground when they saw the ice cream cart and quickly ran towards it, eager for the sweet treat that their moms wouldn’t have allowed them if they had seen them. But their moms weren’t there, they were big boys now, and they were allowed at the park without su-per-vi-sion.

So they had bought the ice creams with their pocket money, and had wandered to a nearby bench with large smiles and giggling over doing something they weren’t normally allowed because “it’d ruin their appetite”.

“Guren look! Duckies!” Shinya pointed at the small pond where a family of ducks were swimming. Guren immediately turned to where he pointed and gasped in surprise.

“They’re babies!” he said, leaning forward in excitement to get a better look.

Neither of them noticed that his ice cream was slowly leaning forward as well, until gravity did as it usually does, and pulled the ball of creamy goodness onto the floor.

SPLAT

Both of them jumped and looked down in surprise.

Shinya watched with a sinking feeling in his tummy as Guren’s bright eyes started filling with tears, his lower lip trembling as he stared at his ice cream, melting on the floor.

“Shh, shh, don’t cry Guren,” he said softly, patting Guren’s head the way his dad usually did his when he felt bad. Then he felt a cold thing on his hand and he realized: he still had his ice cream! “Look!” he put his melting ice cream in front of Guren’s face. “We can share!”

“Really?” Guren asked, turning to look at him with his huge purple eyes, tears running down his face.

Shinya nodded firmly with a large smile.

“Of course! You can have half because you’re my bestest friend in the entire world!”

Guren sniffled and rubbed his eyes, leaving a streak of chocolate ice cream on his cheek.

“Uh... ok,” he agreed, and gave the ice cream a lick.

Shinya perked up and brought it back to give it a lick before returning it to Guren, who took it and licked it again.

They took turns enjoying the ice cream as they cheered for the ducklings swimming around, fallen ice cream forgotten in their excitement.

The shared cone was gone quickly, but neither of them minded as they jumped off the bench and ran back to play once more.

Shinya was specially happy as he watched Guren laugh and decided that, since he was so good at it, it would be his job from now on to keep Guren’s tears away.

Chapter Text

Shinya was born with a bright purple five petal flower on the back of his neck.

It was a very rude place to be and Shinya would have words with his soulmate as soon as they met. He needed two mirrors just to see it!

At least it was a pretty mark.

The mark remained the same throughout his childhood, never growing nor becoming smaller, which he should know as he had taken to measure it with a ruler every now and then. It was frustrating to know that the distance that separated them remained the same; that they still had some time before they met.

Frustrating and lonely. Shinya wanted to meet his other half so badly, to have someone that would understand him like no one else, someone with whom he could smile for real, someone he could show his moments of melancholy without being told that it was weird for him to be sad.

Someone that would hold him when he needed it and whom he could care for as well.

The day he came back from high school and took off his clothes, only to find that his mark had spread all the way to the tips of his shoulders in twirling vines covered with flowers, he felt like his heart was going to get out of his chest.

“Well, they’re closer now,” his brother Kureto said, inspecting the new marks with narrowed eyes, as if he could divine the match’s owner just by looking at it. “But it stopped there, right?”

“Yeah, what do you think it means?” Kureto was the only one in his family to have met his soulmate, so his word was much more believable than any other, Shinya thought.

“I think, that they lived farther away but just moved closer, maybe even in the same city.”

Shinya perked up immediately and looked over his shoulder.

“We are going to meet soon?” he asked, almost bouncing in his seat.

Kureto shrugged.

“Maybe, or maybe it’ll stay like this for years as you live your lives in completely different parts of the city.” Some of Shinya’s disappointment must’ve shown on his face because Kureto added: “But the likelihood of the two of you meeting has definitely increased. It’s only a matter of time now.”

And it was indeed, only a matter of time.

It was that very same summer that would change Shinya’s life forever.

He woke up like any other summer day, hoping he could remain under the AC forever but eventually getting kicked out by his mother to “be a normal teen and socialize!”

Not that he did much of that, other than sending random texts throughout the day to his friends Mito and Goshi, he simply wandered about, eating ice cream and taking pictures of the scenery. As time passed, he walked into a local park and sat down on a bench that faced a small river.

“Quacklity time w/da bois” he typed under the picture he took of some ducks swimming around and sent it to Goshi, sniggering as he received a bunch of laughing emojis in response.

And then he saw purple out of the corner of his eye.

With a sharp inhale, he watched his arm as the flowers appeared from under his shirt, eyes widening as they made their way towards his elbow.

He ignored Goshi’s next text and put his cellphone down, incredulously staring at his arms as they were steadily being covered, vines circling around, flowers blooming. Slowly but unstoppably.

A moment of pause and the mark would shrink just a little bit, another stop, and it would start growing again. His smile widened as he watched in real time as the person who belonged by his side slowly made their way closer.

Just from this he could tell they were independent and stubborn. Instead of letting fate dictate their meeting, they were determinedly making their way towards Shinya, occasionally going the wrong way, but never taking long in correcting themselves. To have a match so determined to meet him made his heart beat so much faster that he was almost dizzy with joy.

He bounced his leg and bit his lips, eager to have the emptiness beside him filled with companionship and understanding. He wondered what sort of person his soul was calling for. Where they kind? Funny? Gentle? He couldn’t wait to find out.

The vines twirled around his arms, spiraling around his wrists, flowers blooming all over his skin. He watched, mesmerized, as they grew faster and faster towards his fingers.

Running footsteps approached him, louder and louder as they got closer, but in a sudden bout of nervousness, Shinya didn't look up, instead keeping his eyes locked on the marks; what if they didn’t like him? What if he wasn’t good enough?

A shadow fell over him, the marks had reached his fingertips.

“Umh… a yen for your thoughts?” Hearing the hesitation in the voice made his nervousness vanish. He couldn’t help but smile.

“I was thinking about you,” he answered, looking up to find a dark haired boy around his age with beautiful eyes the same color as his marks and bright blue flowering vines covering his arms. He rose up from his seat and reached out with trembling fingers. “Hey.”

The boy blinked and then snorted, visage softening with a tenderness Shinya craved immediately.

“Hey yourself,” the man answered, and reached out as well. As their hands got closer, the vines grew into their palms and as they touched, purple and blue weaved together, fading into one seamless gradient.

At age sixteen, Shinya Hiiragi and Guren Ichinose met their match.

Chapter Text

That day, Guren woke up before the sun was up, hurrying to water his crops and tend to his animals. His unavoidable duties completed, he changed into climbing boots grabbed his leather backpack, where he stuffed a few handmade cereal bars and a small first aid kid.

The sun was barely peeking into the still sleepy Moon Village as he made his way up a mountain path. He paused to rest and turned to enjoy the beautiful sight of colorful roofs and neat rows of farmland that surrounded them.

Really, he had made the best choice when he decided to leave the city and move here. The air was clean, the stress low, and the people friendly… and a particular friendly neighbour had somehow burrowed his way into Guren’s heart, a warm and comforting presence he didn’t want to let go of.

Spying a cluster of medicinal plants near the roots of a tree, he hurried to grab a couple of handfuls and store them in his backpack. Maybe it was his inner city dweller speaking, but when it came to money every bit counted, specially as he wanted to remodel the house and…

His face warmed up and he quickly shook his head. Right, he had come here with a mission, it wouldn’t do to distract himself too much.

Thus he continued his ascend, slow but steady, occasionally grabbing nuts or more plants to sell, but mostly keeping on track. At midmorning, he grabbed one of his cereal bars and munched on it, recovering his strength to keep ascending.

Around midday, he reached the place he had been looking for. A sheer cliff, about thirty meters tall, covered in small cracks and hidden nooks, peppered with barely visible nests.

A matched pair of blue tailed hawks remained together for life, building their nests together, taking care of their young together, hunting together; their faithfulness was legendary and it was said that if one of them died, the other would follow soon after, consumed by grief.

It was the reason why they were considered the symbol of romance and why from ancient times the characteristic blue feathers of their tails were used as a declaration of marriage intent.

“Alright Guren, you’ve come this far, no going back,” he talked quietly to himself as he set his backpack down and approached the rock wall.

On this day and age, most people would just buy the feathers from merchants that got them from goddess knows where, but Guren thought that it was more genuine to gather the feather by hand. Facing the danger that the climb and the angry falcons represented was supposed to be a show of your commitment after all. And he was very committed, he wanted to do this, to show the depth of his affection to the one man that made him feel like no other.

Slowly he made his way up, carefully finding foot and hand holds as he approached one of the nests.

Spring was both the best and the worst time to gather the feathers. The best because the Hawks were shedding their winter coats and the worst because they were in the middle of courting and nest-building season so they were more aggressive than usual.

With a heave, he reached one of the nests and found himself face to face with a nesting hawk.

SCREECH

“Woah, woah, woah, easy there, I’m not gonna take your eggs,” he tried to talk in a soothing manner, heart beating in his throat as sharp yellow eyes stared right at him. “I just want a feather, just one, I promise,” he continued as he slowly moved a hand towards a fallen blue feather.

Some kind of instinct alerted Guren of the danger, but he was too slow to respond and as soon as he grabbed the feather a sharp beak snapped at his hand.

“FUCK!” he snarled and the noise startled the hawk so badly it let go of him.

Guren’s hand was bleeding and throbbing in enormous pain that brought tears to his eyes. Still, he didn’t let go of the feather, bringing it close to cradle it against his chest. It was harder going down when he only had one hand available, but he made do, and after the longest minutes of Guren’s life, he was once more on solid ground.

“A-ah,” he whimpered and grabbed the feather with his other hand, putting it in a safe pocket inside his backpack and taking out the first aid kit.

That had really hurt.

-/-/-/-

Years later, he won’t be able to explain what possessed him to go directly to Shinya’s farm instead of going back home and making himself somewhat presentable. He suspected the pain had made him a little delirious, though not delirious enough to not take out the feather, carefully straightening it and making sure it had survived the trip in good condition.

Only once the feather was presentable, he knocked on the door.

“Guren? What happened to you?!” Shinya exclaimed as he opened and stared at Guren’s dirty, tired form.

Guren could only stare, transfixed, as the light of the living room casted a halo of fire around Shinya’s silver locks. After a moment of breathless contemplation he managed to snap out of it and present his offering.

“I want you to have this,” he said, using his left hand to show Shinya the sleek blue feather, the intense color shimmering under the light.

He watched with a smile as realization hit his beloved, clear blue eyes widening and a hand coming up to cover his open mouth.

“I- really? Me?” he asked breathlessly as he took the feather with trembling fingers and brought it close, staring almost incredulously.

“Well, yeah. Who else?” Guren answered with a shrug, bringing his hand to push his hair back- “ouch!” It was the wrong hand.

Shinya’s eyes flew to his bandaged hand.

“Is that blood? Don’t tell me you actually went to the mountain and-” he didn’t need to finish, because Guren’s sheepish smile was enough of an answer. “I can’t believe you! Get in! Now!”

He was ushered in and made to sit at the table by a scolding Shinya, but he couldn't help the smile on his lips as he watched his future husband gently set the feather on a side table with a soft smile and flushed cheeks.

Just to see that expression made all the pain worth it.

Chapter Text

Guren was a worrier, that was just how he was. He had a hard time expressing his feelings in words so he compensated by acting and by thinking, some would even say over thinking.

“My cellphone is on speed dial on 1.”

“Mhm,” Shinya hummed distractedly as he herded Guren towards the door.

It was Monday, a week and a bit since the accident and while Shinya seemed to be somewhat recovered, Guren hated the idea of leaving him alone.

“The medicine schedule is taped to the refrigerator door, don’t forget to take them.”

“Yes, I know, Guren.” Shinya was rolling his eyes and Guren finished putting on his shoes, getting up to face his husband. Messy haired and still in his pajamas, Guren thought him to be the most precious thing in the world.

He leaned close, tenderly holding his soft cheek as they kissed.

“Are you sure you don’t want me to stay? I still have vacation days saved up and-”

Shinya barked a laugh and pushed him away.

“No! Stop being a worrywart and go to work!”

Guren pouted but Shinya pointed to the door with a smile and he had no choice but to open it. Still, he paused and looked back. Guren knew Shinya was strong, stronger than him even, to be able to put up with his injury without much complain, but he seemed so delicate with his arm in a cast that looked far too big for him.

“Call me if you need anything,” he whispered earnestly, in his eyes was one last plea to be allowed to stay.

“Go to work!” Shinya ignored his silent begging and laughed, pushing him out of the door.

“I mean it, Shinya!” he insisted as he grabbed the doorway, looking over his shoulder with a frown.

Shinya laughed again, clear and free of pain. It made Guren’s heart lurch, the last few days Shinya had been uncharacteristically grumpy, his arm alternating between throbbing with pain and itching like a hundred mosquitoes had bitten him. (Shinya’s words, not his)

Guren still had nightmares of the old handrail cracking as it breaks, of Shinya’s widened eyes as he falls down, of his pale face as he lies on the floor, unmoving, his arm at an unnatural angle.

“Yes, Guren. I promise I will call you if anything comes up. Anything at all,” Shinya finally relented and gave him a final little push. “Have a good day! Say hi to nii-san from me!”

And then he closed and locked the door. With a sigh, Guren realized he had no choice but going to work. He rubbed his face tiredly, what was he doing? Shinya was a grown man, he could take care of himself!

With this final pep talk, Guren nodded to himself and went to his car, determined to put his trust in Shinya.

He still called him as soon as he got to work to check on him.

Chapter Text

When he volunteered to explore the recently discovered planet, Shinya hadn’t thought he would actually be chosen, but he was! They had been impressed with his Xenobiology degree and had taken him on almost as soon as he sent his application. To be able to expand the frontiers of human understanding was a dream come true! So he wasted no time in calling his best friend and sharing the news over a nice cup of coffee.

“Cygnus 1b is amazing! The rover came back with the most incredible images, look!” he leaned closer to Guren and showed him the pictures in his cellphone. “These are from some kind of jungle! Of course we can’t call it jungle until we determine the ecosystem layout but look at these trees!”

“Why are they purple?”

“I have no idea!” and he was very excited to find out the answer. He kept swiping photos, exclaiming over this and that plant. “And this one over here, see the opening? We think it spits some form of acidic compound. The rover’s scientific equipment was damaged and we couldn’t determine exactly what it was, but man, I’m dying to get my hands on some samples!”

Guren gave him a look that clearly showed he was doubting Shinya’s sanity, but he was used to that kind of looks so he ignored it. “Hmm, sounds interesting,” he said after a moment and Shinya pounced on the opportunity.

“I know right?! Even more, check this baby!” and he swiped to a photo of what looked like it might have been a tiger… if tigers had four eyes and spider-like pincers in their mouth. “Isn’t it gorgeous?”

Guren had paled a little at the sight, but put on a brave face and Shinya felt so proud of him when he ventured a question.

“How big is it?”

“Well the rover is two meters tall and seeing the angle of the camera… hmm… I’d say about two and a half meters tall?”

“Oh dear.”

Shinya giggled.

“But I saved the best for last!” he kept swiping until he found what he looked for. “Tah-dah!”

He knew he had struck gold as Guren leaned forward with clear interest, his apprehension forgotten as he took in the picture.

“Geothermal vents?”

“That’s what we think too! The rover got stuck on something so we have lots of pictures from this part! I’ll send them to you so you can geek your heart out.”

“Poor rover though.”

“Oh, he’s gonna be fine! We couldn’t get all the data from it because of some atmospheric conditions, so we will be picking him up as soon as we settle our base.”

“If he doesn’t melt from the vents.”

“If he doesn’t melt from the vents,” he agreed with a shrug. “Man, I can’t wait to go there and learn so many new things!” he was even rubbing his hands together, thoughts of all the science he was going to do circling around his head.

“Sounds fun.” There was something about Guren’s tone of voice that made him turn to look at him.

Guren was staring intently at his coffee, but Shinya could recognize the pout for what it was.

“Do you want to come too?” Guren startled at his question and Shinya saw the hope rise up before it was quickly hidden away under nonchalance. What a dork, as if Shinya didn’t know him better than he knew himself.

“To a geologically active planet full of carnivorous beasts and acid spitting plants?”

“Yep!”

Guren stared at him for a long time but Shinya didn’t let go of his best and brightest smile.

“You can’t offer that, you’re not in charge of the mission.”

Shinya waved his concerns away.

“Psh! They don’t have a Geologist yet! If you apply you’ll be a shoe-in for the position, I’m sure of it!” he leaned closer, all the strength of his intent to have Guren by his side focused on the man next to him.

“I guess someone has to take care of you.” Oh Guren, always pretending he didn’t want the things he wanted, he was lucky Shinya was fluent in Gurenesque.

“YAY! ADVENTURE!” he yelled as he threw himself at Guren.

“GET OFF ME!” Guren yelled back, but Shinya only laughed. They would be going on an adventure together! Expanding humanity’s horizons! He really couldn’t wait.

Chapter Text

“I can’t do this,” said Guren with a shake of his head, he was rooted on the spot where Shinya left him.

“Of course you can, Guren,” Shinya answered with a soothing tone. He was doing his best to be as patient as possible. Phobias weren’t rational after all, and it wasn’t Guren’s fault.

“No, no, I really, really can’t.” Guren was shaking his head, eyes wide and lips trembling a little. It was the most heartbreakingly adorable thing Shinya had ever seen and he wanted nothing but to give in and bundle Guren up and coo at him. But he hardened his heart, Guren had asked for his help after all and Shinya recognized that this was something that Guren had to get over.

“Why not?” he asked instead, patient and understanding, giving him an encouraging smile.

“Because…”

Several seconds of silence, Guren avoiding his eyes and Shinya thinking that this was both cute and kinda silly.

“Because?” he prompted and finally Guren snapped.

“Because it’s scary!”

Shinya softened his face, Guren really did look scared, trembling in waist deep water, such a contrast to his usual confident self.

“It’s ok to be scared Guren,” he reassured him softly, moving away from the chest deep water, closer to Guren. “But I’m here, and you know I will never let you drown.” He reached out and put his hands on Guren’s hips, trying his best to offer support.

“I know that, I know, I trust you but-” Guren bit his lip and moved a hand to discreetly rub his tears away. “I don’t think I’m ready for this.”

Shinya shrugged.

“That’s fine. I’ll still be here when you’re ready,” he promised softly and smiled when Guren startled at his words, soon replaced by a teasing smile.

“What if I’m not ready until next year?” His question made Shinya laugh.

“Then I’ll just look like a raisin! All wrinkly and gross.” Guren snorted at his words and he leaned closer to leave a peck on his wet cheek. “I mean it though, we don’t have to do this yet if you’re not ready. There’s no hurry and I’ll still be here a year from now or ten years from now, whenever you need me.”

Guren sighed in barely concealed relief and pressed his forehead against Shinya’s neck.

“Thanks.”

“No problem! Want to sunbath at the edge?”

“Hmm, put lotion on my back?” Guren asked with a low voice and heavy-lidded eyes.

Shinya gave him a smile and a wink in response.

“I love it when you read my mind.”

Chapter Text

“So this is an auto-matic mobile?” Shinya asked, all wide eyes as he walked around Guren’s mother’s car, making the half-blood sigh.

“Just call it a car, Shinya.”

Car huh? Catchy, I like it.”

“Of course you would,” answered Guren with a soft huff, it was far easier to say than automatic mobile; honestly, where did Shinya even got that from? “Now, remember what I told you before?”

He nodded several times, almost bouncing on the balls of his feet from sheer excitement. Merlin help him, it was like watching a puppy.

“Yep! No matter what happens, don’t use magic while the car is turned on!” then he frowned. “How do I know it’s turned on?”

Guren paused next to the driver’s door and thought about how to explain.

“It… vibrates.”

“It vibrates?!” Shinya gasped, looking at the car as if he had never seen it before.

Guren sighed again, introducing purebloods to the wonders of muggle technology was not something he was made for.

“Just get in and I’ll drive you around.”

“Ok!” he stood next to the passenger door and stared intently at it for a few moments. “Aha!” He grabbed the handle and pulled, opening the door. Immediately he looked at Guren with a smile, clearly wanting to know how he did.

So much like a puppy.

“Good job, can you get in without help?” He asked with a raised eyebrow.

“Of course I can!” Shinya scoffed. “Who do you take me for?” and proceeded to smash his forehead against the edge of the roof when he tried to get in. “Bloody hell!”

“Sure you don’t need help?” Guren couldn’t help but tease him a little, leaning on his elbow. Shinya glared at him.

“Shut up,” he answered with a pout and tried again, this time taking care to duck his head enough to fit in.

Guren chuckled and got in as well. They closed the doors and looked at each other. Guren hid his smile by coughing and looked away immediately, there was a very bright red spot in the middle of Shinya’s forehead. He distracted himself with explaining more about the car.

“So, you know how in a broom you move the handle left or right when you want to steer? This is a steering wheel and works the same, turn it left, car goes left, turn it right, car goes right.”

Shinya rolled his eyes.

“I know I’m a clueless pureblood but you don’t have to explain step by step.”

“Alright, alright, I’ll only explain the important parts then. So, first of all, the number one most important thing,” he started with a deep voice, making Shinya blink and unconsciously lean closer, “your safety net, the only thing that will save you if a drunk muggle smashes their car against us: the seatbelt!”

Shinya’s shoulders dropped.

“Aww c’mon Guren, that’s the lamest name ever.”

“And yet that’s the actual name,” he answered with a grin, making Shinya frown.

“Really?”

“Hmm, it’s on the side of the door, grab it and pull it slowly over your chest like this,” he demonstrated and waited until Shinya had copied him; it got stuck when he pulled too fast and Guren sighed. “Let it go and try again, slow this time.”

“Yes, yes, slow, I got it,” Shinya waved his hand dismissively and tried again, this time far more slowly than necessary, but as long as it worked Guren wasn’t going to nitpick.

“Ok, now, keep your arm inside the belt and take the buckle, the silver thing there, take the buckle and bring it to your other hip, yes, just like that. Now see this red thing? Push the buckle inside the small slot next to it, all the way in until it clicks.” Guren’s belt clicked and he waited until Shinya’s did the same.

“Now what?” he asked with a bright smile.

“Is your seatbelt on?”

Shinya gave him an unimpressed look.

“Guren! You just saw me putting it on!” Guren shrugged at his complain.

“Yeah yeah, I know; but it’s extremely important to always check that you have it on, Shinya,” he couldn’t help but soften and reach up to Shinya’s cheek, touching it gently. “I don’t want you to get hurt.”

Shinya swallowed.

“Is it really that dangerous to be in a car?” he asked nervously and Guren shrugged.

“I’d say it’s just as dangerous as Apparating, but the difference is that muggles can’t fix wounds with the wave of a wand, so they, and us while we are here, have to be extra careful.”

“Oh, ok. So like splinching risk?”

“Hmm, pretty much. But we are as safe as we can be now, so!” He put the keys in ignition. “Ready?”

Shinya’s somber mood immediately changed to excitement once more.

Wroooom

Shinya yelped and then bursted into laughter; the happiness in his face made Guren grin. “Merlin! It really is vibrating!”

“Told you so! Time to go though, wouldn’t want to miss the movie.” A change of gear and they were off, Shinya woo-hooing all the way.

Chapter Text

The phone ringing startles him out of his sleep. He had been dreaming of something, something warm, though he can’t remember it anymore. Not with the incessant ringing forcefully pushing him into wakefulness.

“‘Ello,” he grumbles hoarsely as he presses the cellphone against his ear and his face against the pillow.

“Hey Guren, sorry for calling so late.”

“Shinya? It’s-” he looks to the clock on his nightstand and the numbers 1:45 am mock him with their cheery brightness, “almost 2 in the morning.”

“Yeah, I know,” Shinya says and there’s something about his tone that makes Guren blink and turn onto his back, a little more alert now.

“Are you ok? You sound tired.”

A deep sigh answers him.

“I’m exhausted, Guren. I’ve worked the whole day long, practicing and practicing, meeting with sound technicians and trying out the new costumes for the concert, arguing with my agent over every little thing. I had no time to myself and I was looking forward to a quiet night of sleep after the day I had but nooo, my feet hurt from so much walking and standing and my throat is raspy from all the practice and my head is full of so many little details that I can’t stop thinking about: calling my stylist, telling Mito to check the light positioning, forcing Goshi to get a chiropractor for his shoulder, write a new backup vocal arrangement for Sayuri and Shigure. I want to sleep!”

After his rant he goes suddenly quiet, though Guren can still hear his heavy breathing on the other side. He can clearly see in his mind’s eye Shinya lying on his bed, pouting at the ceiling, impatiently tapping his fingers on the blanket.

For all that he likes to complain about it, he’s keenly missing Shinya’s nervous energy at his side. Somehow he’s always so calm on the day of his concerts but the days before he works himself up to a frenzy much like now, when they’re in the same city Guren can take care of him with kisses and cuddling but now they’re in different sides of the country so they’ll have to make do.

Say nighty-night and kiss me.

Just hold me tight and tell me you'll miss me.

While I'm alone and blue as can be.

Dream a little dream of me.”

“A lullaby for me?” Shinya’s delighted voice interrupts him and Guren stops singing with a smile.

“You might be the rising young star but don’t underestimate the power of experience,” he teases and immediately hears Shinya’s giggle.

“You know I would never complain about a private show.” Oh he knows that well; he still remembers that time when Shinya came to him with a bashful expression and a CD he wanted autographed.

Even though Shinya is a far more successful musician, he keeps insisting that Guren is the superior one.

They have agreed to disagree on that.

After a moment, he continues, softens his voice to match the intimacy of the moment, quietly wishing he could sing this directly to Shinya’s ear instead of through the phone.

“Stars fading but I linger on dear

Still craving your kiss

I'm longing to linger till dawn dear

Just saying this.”

“I really like this song,” Shinya whispers and his voice is slow and rough with sleep. Guren closes his eyes and remembers the many times that he watched Shinya fall asleep, the way his eyes would flutter shut, how his face would relax and his smiles soften until it was barely there.

“Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you

Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you

But in your dreams whatever they be

Dream a little dream of me”

He pauses and listens for Shinya’s commentary but only soft breathing can be heard. A smile spreads on his face and he thinks of how Shinya must look, his pretty hair a mess on the pillow, face relaxed and free of worry, with the phone to his ear and a smile on his lips, peaceful and deep asleep.

“Sweet dreams, Shinya.” And because he’s a sap and Shinya can’t hear him anymore, he kisses his phone before hanging up.

Chapter Text

Shinya slammed his forehead on the steering wheel. What was he doing?! Sitting in his car outside his ex-boyfriend’s parents’ house like a creep?

It had been five long years since the last time he saw Guren face to face. He really should be over him! He had a job and a life and better things to do than sit here and mope.

He sighed and hit his forehead again. Closing his eyes, all he could think about was Guren’s laughing face, his sharp eyes and soft hair. The way he loved so intensely and unconditionally, how he cared so deeply even though he liked to pretend he didn’t.

How many times had he been scolded for not being more careful when they played sports? How many times had Guren helped him and their friends study for finals? How many times had he received the most thoughtful birthday gifts that nearly brought him to tears?

Shinya reached up and grabbed his chest, feeling the pain that had never really gone away but he had gotten very good at ignoring.

This was all Mr. and Mrs. Ichinose’s fault really. Even after he and Guren had broken up, even after Guren left to pursue his university dreams, he was still welcomed into their warm house, still fussed over as a second son, still being kept in the loop of Guren’s life.

They were sneaky about it, never directly telling him but always just casually mentioning to each other this and that. And Shinya, like the sucker he was, always lapping up every little detail.

“When did Guren said he would come again?”

“Friday, I already told you Sakae. His exams will be over Friday and he’ll take the afternoon flight.”

“Hmm, he’ll probably be tired on Friday. But the next day he’ll be dying to know about everyone, right?”

Why was he even here? They broke up! It had been the most painful thing Shinya had ever gone through! He didn’t want to go through that ever again!

Knock, knock, knock

His back snapped straight and he turned to the passenger seat to see Guren, standing right there, glaring at him through the window.

Oh hell… growing up really suited him. The last of Guren’s baby fat had faded away into chiselled lines that made Shinya’s heart beat faster, his eyes didn’t look so much like doe-eyes as they used too, instead sharpening with an intensity that made his heart skip a beat. If he had to choose a word, he would call them smoldering.

When did his cute little Guren become this handsome?

“Shinya! Open up! It’s freezing!”

He shook his head and quickly unlocked the doors. Now was not the time for woolgathering!

“Thank fuck,” Guren grumbled as he entered, quickly closing the door and rubbing his hands, blowing heat into them. Shinya increased the heater’s temperature and Guren made an appreciative noise that sent a shiver down his back.

He did his best not to stare at his long lost love, but still couldn’t help but sneak a glance or two. Guren wasn’t wearing a coat, only a sweater that suited him so well it made Shinya’s throat dry out.

“Then? What are you doing here?” Guren’s question snapped him out of his thoughts and he was talking before he was finished thinking.

“Well, you know…” he hesitated. What the hell was he supposed to say? He actually had no idea why he was here. “I was in the neighbourhood...” he started, giving Guren a sheepish smile.

In return, Guren sent him an unimpressed look.

“And- and I thought that I could say hi to Mr. and Mrs. Ichinose!”

“And you stayed here in your car for thirty minutes because you wanted to greet my parents?” Guren’s raised eyebrow clearly showed what he thought of Shinya’s excuse and he flinched slightly but quickly recovered.

“Well, it’s cold outside, so I was talking myself up to getting out, haha.”

“Riiight.” He totally didn’t believe him. “Why are you here Shinya? The truth now.”

Shinya sighed and leaned his head against the backrest, staring straight into the empty road. Why was he here? Truly?

“I just… I wanted to say I’m sorry. For what happened back then.”

Silence answered him, but he didn’t turn to look at Guren. He wasn’t sure he actually wanted to see his expression.

Then he heard a sigh.

“It’s fine. We were both idiots back then.”

That made him snort.

“You can say that again.”

Guren hummed. “Yeah. I was trying too hard, always looking ahead, taking everything so seriously. As if my life would end if I didn’t get perfect grades and got accepted in my chosen college. And you…”

“And I couldn’t take anything seriously. Hiding my head under the sand, not wanting to face the fact that we were growing up. I was too scared of becoming like my parents, an unfeeling slave to money and work.”

“Yeah, we had different priorities back then. It hurt, what happened, but I think it was for the best.”

Shinya swallowed the painful knot in his throat; he knew Guren was right, he knew that very well. Not having Guren by his side forced him to grow up. Without Guren, he had had to mature, had to learn how to be responsible without a crutch... and yet…

“I’ll be graduating next semester and moving to Nagoya.”

Shinya’s head snapped towards Guren, eyes wide with surprise and, dare he say it, hope.

“Nagoya? What happened to Tokyo?”

Guren shrugged and picked at some imaginary lint on his cuffs.

“Tokyo is not what everyone always talk it up to be.”

Shinya swallowed, and despite the fact his head was screeching at him to get a grip, his heart was already shaking the frost away, remembering the warmth of his Sun.

“You know,” he tried to keep it cool, just an offhanded mention, “I live in Nagoya now. I could give you a tour sometime.”

Guren’s eyes flickered in his direction and determinedly returned to his cuffs. Ah, it was so nostalgic, how many times would Guren avoid looking at him whenever he was embarrassed-

“I know, mother told me.”

Oh…

“Not that I’m moving there because of you! I already made the decision when mother told me!” Guren insisted with a glare, but Shinya didn’t quite believe him, his cheeks were a little too red for it to be the truth.

“Whatever you say, Guren.” Shinya’s smile was making his cheeks hurt.

“Let’s just go in, mother is making curry for dinner. You’re staying, right?” Guren’s narrowed eyes were clearly telling him he wasn’t allowed to say no.

Not that he wanted to.

“Of course! I love Mrs. Ichinose’s curry!”

And if their hands found each other as they walked up to the Ichinose residence, well, it was cold outside after all.

Chapter Text

It was supposed to be an easy job.

It wasn’t only them, but also a couple of other spies, younger and less experienced but still quite talented. Guren would pretend to be a negotiator for a new but successful drug dealer, while the other two would pretend to be his bodyguards. They would meet the local drug lord, make some business, record everything the pile of shit say, and then fall back to their safehouse, send the info to headquarters and wait for future instructions.

Meanwhile, Shinya would play the part of chauffeur, staying at street level near the car, making small talk with the underlings and doing his magic to make them talk about all the little details that wouldn’t come up in a high-ranked meeting.

It was a run of the mill job for them, they had done things like this countless times. They had even brought the newbies to teach them a thing or two.

But the explosion took them all by surprise.

His training kicking in, Shinya immediately threw himself onto the floor, covering his head and waiting for the glass and debris to stop raining on him and for his ears to stop ringing. Specially the left one, where he had a hidden earpiece that let him know just how loud the explosion had sounded several stories up.

A terrible cold settled in his stomach as he realized the explosion must’ve occurred in the same floor Guren and the other two were. He trusted Guren, but that had come out of nowhere and he feared that he hadn’t had the time to get under cover. He swallowed and barely even noticed as a large piece of masonry fell on his arm, definitely leaving a bruise.

He was otherwise unharmed as he climbed back on his feet and took advantage of the confusion and panic to hide himself in between cars, reaching up for the earpiece and grimacing at the amount of static that was coming from it.

“Guren! Guren can you hear me?” he whispered as quietly as he could as he peeked towards the underlings and bystanders that were either running like chickens without a head or staring up at the large hole on the side of the building without comprehension.

Only static answered him and he cursed under his breath, his stomach dropping as the seconds passed without any contact.

“Guren! Guren!”

“Bzhhya crack ghhssshh Shishhhgg Shinya”

The sheer amount of relief he felt when he heard Guren’s voice barely coming through couldn’t be described with any words. But now was not the time for emotional displays, they had to get out of here, and fast.

“Status?”

More cracking, more static, and then finally he got a clear answer.

“Minimal wounds, ankle might need to get looked at but for now will do. Shuusaku has a dislocated shoulder, Makoto has a large gash on his side, we’re stopping the bleeding as best we can.”

Shinya cursed under his breath and got out of cover, he could hear sirens in the distance and he definitely didn’t want to be here when the firemen and police arrived at the scene.

“Stay there. I’m coming to get you.” He promised as he entered the building that was being evacuated; no one paid any attention to him, they were too busy trying to get the wounded out of the falling apart building. No matter what happened, he had to get Guren out of there and to safety. Any other outcome was simply unthinkable.

“Shinya no! It’s unstable!”

“I didn’t ask. I’m telling you,” he answered with a smile as he ducked into a deserted hallway and made his way towards a secondary staircase that no one should be using. Once he was sure he was alone he pulled out his cellphone and activated the tracker that was connected to Guren’s beacon. It looked like they were some floors up.

“Don’t you dare!”

“Already inside~” he singsonged even as he frowned at a pile of rubble that was blocking the staircase and turned around to find another way up. Worst case scenario he could just climb the outside, but he would rather not, that kind of thing tended to attract attention.

Of course, if it was the only way to get to Guren, then he would do it without a second thought. But for now, he would make the attempt to keep his presence a secret.

“You… agh! Fine! Hurry up then, we stopped Makoto’s bleeding but I don’t want to move him without backup.”

“Got it, and Guren?”

“Yeah?”

“Thank you for not dying.” He meant it too, he didn’t know what he would do if his partner, best friend and lover, the only one he trusted his back to, didn’t return to him.

“Shut up, stupid.”

Shinya laughed, translated from Gurenesque that was almost a declaration of eternal devotion.

Chapter Text

“I think my landlord wants to kick me out,” Shinya opened as soon as they sat down for their weekly coffee hangout.

“What did you do?” Guren asked, lips twitching at Shinya’s offended gasp.

“Excuse me? What did I do? What if my landlord is just a jerk, huh? Ever think of that?” Sharp blue eyes narrowed as he leaned forward to glare at Guren. Guren simply took a sip of his coffee and waited.

Three, two, one.

Like a balloon, Shinya deflated, pressing his face on the table and sighing deeply in dejection.

“No respect at all…” he complained in a low whine that made Guren chuckle. “Alright, alright, maybe it was my fault after all, he admitted after a moment of pouting. He lifted his head and gave Guren his best puppy eyes. “But I didn’t have a choice! The forecast said a storm was coming! I didn’t want to be in the woods all wet and miserable with stupid lightning hitting the trees around me!”

Guren stopped.

“Are you telling me,” he set his cup down, “that you transformed in your apartment?” his question ended up in a hiss. Shinya waved his hand nonchalantly, as if he hadn’t just risked the secrecy of their entire world for a little comfort.

“It’s ok. The landlord doesn’t suspect a thing about that.” Shinya’s voice was soft and soothing, his best charming smile spreading on his lips as he tried to calm down Guren’s anxiousness. “Don’t worry, I had already turned back when he dropped by for a surprise inspection,” his wrinkled nose showed exactly what he thought of such a surprise. “But he found hair, well, everywhere.”

“He what?!” With a sinking stomach Guren could already see it all happening, the man stepping in and finding Shinya’s couch covered in white hairs. Under most circumstances, Guren thought Shinya’s fur was the most beautiful out of all werewolves he knew, but right now he was wishing it was a less eye catching color.

“Hey, Guren, Guren,” he felt Shinya’s hand taking his own, a thumb rubbing circles in the back of it, “breathe with me, c’mon, in, out, in, out,” Guren followed Shinya’s instructions, breathing in unison and calming his racing heart. “You feeling ok?”

“Yeah, yeah,” once calm enough, Guren was able to think about the situation more objectively. “Considering there aren’t any crazy people chasing you with torches, I assume you gave him a good explanation…”

Shinya shrugged and smiled sheepishly.

“I told him I had been dogsitting for a friend. He scolded me because pets aren’t allowed but I argued that it wasn’t my pet and it had only stayed for a few hours so it didn’t count. He didn’t look convinced at all; I think he thought I was hiding a dog somewhere but as much as he searched for it, he couldn’t find it.”

The irony of it made Guren snort, there had been a dog alright, standing on two feet right in front of the man’s face.

Then Shinya sighed.

“He let me off with a warning but I really do believe he thinks I lied to him-”

“Well, to be fair, you did.”

“True, but I’m not keeping a dog at my place! It’s tiny! Poor thing would drive itself stir crazy,” he explained with a mournful tone. Guren thought Shinya himself was going a little crazy there, but it wasn’t like he could afford a bigger place. “Anyway, I think the man is just looking for an excuse to kick me out now that he thinks I’m disobeying the rules.”

With a groan, Shinya went back to pressing his face on the table.

“What am I going to do?” he whispered quietly and Guren’s heart went out to him.

He reached out and patted his head.

“Well, if you ever need a place to stay… The key is under the mat.”

Shinya shifted and looked up at him.

“Guren, I couldn’t possibly-”

“Stop talking. What kind of person would I be if I let my friend be homeless?”

“But-”

“Nope, not hearing it. My house is your house and all that jazz.” And then he thought it over, and gave Shinya a look. “But if you shed on my couch, I’ll shear all your fur off.”

Shinya burst into laughter and soon Guren was following, any dark mood leaving without a trace.

Chapter Text

Shinya huddled into his cloak as he followed Guren further into the mountains, even the fire that burned brightly on the tip of his staff was not enough to keep the cold at bay.

There was supposed to be a village somewhere around here. A village that might be in need of a couple intrepid adventurers, if the stories about werewolf sightings were true.

However, the temperature kept dropping sharply and Shinya hoped they found the village quickly or…

A gust of freezing wind hit them in the face and forced them to stop, closing their eyes against the sharp stabbing pain of the cold.

“Ah damn it,” Guren’s quiet curse made him look at his friend and then follow Guren’s eyes towards the sky.

Those clouds were eerily dark and a sense of foreboding gripped him.

“We need to find refuge, quickly,” he said, abandoning all thoughts of the village they were supposed to get to.

Guren nodded and they started looking around, checking for animal tracks and any cracks or outcroppings that would give them shelter for the oncoming storm.

And then Shinya tripped.

“SHINYA!” he heard Guren’s yell but couldn’t respond as the world spinned around him, rocks and branches scratching his face and arms as he tried in vain to hold onto something and stop his momentum.

Finally he managed to snag his staff on a tree root and with a jarring jank of his arm stop himself from rolling further downhill.

“Ouch ouch ouch,” he groaned as he carefully sat down.

“SHINYA! SHINYA!” Guren was screaming somewhere above him and he turned to tell him he was fine, when a dark spot caught his attention.

“I’M FINE! COME DOWN HERE, I FOUND A CAVE!” he yelled back, and carefully checked himself for wounds as he waited for Guren to gingerly make his way down the steep slope.

Satisfied that he hadn’t broken anything important, he tried to get on his feet. The keyword being: tried.

As soon as he put some weight on his left foot a stab of pain rushed up his leg and it folded under him, his world tilting as he inevitably fell down.

Except Guren caught him before he could reach the floor, strong arms curling around his body and holding him upright.

“Shinya! You idiot, you just fell down a mountain and you’re trying to get up?”

“Technically, I rolled down a hill.”

“Technically, that still makes you an idiot,” Guren answered with a snort and then turned towards the cave opening Shinya found. “Huh, guess you’re useful for something after all.”

“Excuse me!” Shinya gasped in mock offense. “I’ll have you know-” His words were interrupted by a snowflake landing on his nose.

Guren barked a laugh. “Just in time too, let’s get in.”

Shinya limped into the cave using Guren as a crutch and with his magical ability and some wood they found around, they managed to get a small fire going on. Outside, the snowflakes started falling faster and faster, until a full on blizzard was raging just beyond the entrance.

Inside, the fire gave warmth and light, and Shinya grimaced as Guren ever so gently pulled his boot off.

“Sorry,” Guren whispered as he looked up at Shinya pained face, but he only shook his head with a tense smile.

“It’s fine, it’s my fault for being an idiot and falling down. Then, what’s the verdict? Will I lose my foot?”

Guren sent him a glare hotter than the fires of hell. “Don’t joke about that!”

“Haha, sorry, sorry, but seriously, how’s my foot? Ouch!” he yelped as Guren carefully twisted his foot to one side and then to the other, bringing tears of pain up to his eyes. It wasn’t like this was the most painful thing he ever felt, that honor went to the time a juvenile wyvern chomped on his shoulder, but it still hurt.

“Twisted ankle, but seeing as you aren’t screaming your head off, I think there’s nothing broken,” Guren decided with a nod and grabbed some bandages and healing salve. “You’re damn lucky, you know? You could’ve broken your damn neck with that stunt.”

“Haha ouch what can I say? Ouch I have a talent.” He kept gasping and biting his lips as Guren massaged the salve around his ankle.

Guren hummed in agreement and they fell into silence as he kept his ministrations, massaging and then tightly bandaging the damaged area. Shinya was more than happy to let himself be pampered like this.

After some time the salve started numbing the pain and he leaned back against the cave wall, closing his eyes as he let the lack of pain and Guren’s careful fingers as he cleaned the scratches on his arms and face lull him into relaxation.

“Hey, Shinya?”

“Hm?”

“I’m sorry.” Uh-oh, he knew that particularly self deprecating tone far too well.

“What for?” he asked as he opened his eyes and looked at Guren, who was staring down at the wet rag in his hands like it had personally offended him.

“It was my idea to run away from our town and no matter how much I try, you keep getting wounded- don’t make that face, I know you still have bruises from the bridge troll- and adding onto that what happened now...”

“It was my own impatience that got me these, Guren,” he whispered with a small smile but Guren shook his head.

“We wouldn’t have gotten in any of these situations if we had stayed in our village, we wouldn’t be cold and hungry and wounded more often than not. We would be sitting in father’s living room, enjoying a warm meal and listening to his stories…” Shinya reached out and pressed a finger against Guren’s lips, silencing him. This foolish man, how come he still didn’t understand how much it meant to Shinya that they were together and free?

“It doesn’t bother me,” he whispered with a smile, moving his hand to brush Guren’s fringe and then cup his cheek. “Roughing it up in the wilderness, going hungry, getting beaten up. I don’t mind these little hiccups at all. As long as we’re together, I feel like I can take on the world.”

He pressed his forehead against Guren’s and stared intently in his eyes, still full of remorse but with a spark of understanding slowly igniting in them. “I’m grateful you took me away. You know we couldn’t have stayed, not with the army recruiters breathing down our necks. This is leagues better than marching with an army for a man that couldn’t find his own arse if it wasn’t stuck to his body.” That made Guren burst into laughter and while Shinya knew his remorse wasn’t gone, not entirely, he was relieved that it had backed down for now.

Chapter Text

“Take this!” Guren yelled, demonic curse rushing through his veins as he swung his sword down at Kureto with all the strength he could use without losing control.

It was a considerable amount, the ringing noise of their swords colliding with each other reverberated through the large field they were using for training and a cloud of dust spread out with the shockwave.

Kureto grunted at the impact, arms trembling with exertion but still holding fast, knees refusing to bend. His eyes flashed red for a second and Guren growled. “Fall already, you freak!”

“As if I would let you win with only this” Kureto snarled back, calling forth more power from his demon and holding Guren off.

At the same time, with their enhanced senses both of them realized the danger they were suddenly in, pushing off each other in a fraction of a fraction of a second and just barely missing the trail of blue fire that passed between them.

The heat alone burned their skin, but it healed just as fast with the amount of demonic power they were letting through. While the smell of burnt hair lingered longer, neither of them remained in place enough to realize this, Kureto taking advantage from that smallest of distractions to throw Guren off with all his strength.

Guren hit the ground harshly, breaking off pieces of hard stone and dirt flying everywhere as he did his best to stop his momentum by rolling around.

After he stopped, a groan escaped his lips, but that was all he allowed himself as he hurried to his knees and his eyes scanned around for the threat Kureto represented.

But he wasn’t there.

He bit off a curse as he heard the sound of Shinya’s gun going off several times in a row and turned to that direction, only to see Kureto had avoided the shots and was rapidly approaching Shinya with sword at the ready as the younger teen ran away, still shooting and throwing out all manner of magic talismans in an effort to delay Kureto long enough to gain a vantage point.

Kureto wasn’t letting him.

“Oh fuck this,” Guren muttered under his breath, ignoring the ache on his ribs and back as he set off a quick chant to summon a lightning bolt onto his fingers to strike at Kureto.

Technically it was a free for all between the three black demon wielders, but he wasn’t about to let that jerk win. Least of all against Shinya, one of the few that he admitted, but only in the privacy of his own mind, he considered a friend.

Too little, too late.

Kureto had already reached Shinya and while he put up an admirable fight, his weapon put him at a disadvantage so close up, and he was thrown off with a forceful kick that sent him flying away and, much like Guren, leave a path of destroyed dirt and stone behind him.

A bell rang, signaling the end of the training, and Kureto was the only one left standing.

“Guren, dedicate more time to training, I know you’re capable of more than this,” Kureto started to say, absentmindedly brushing some dust off his sleeves, “I won’t have unrealized subordinates under my command.”

Guren spat some blood on the floor and rose up.

“Yeah yeah, whatever you say.” Guren was going to dedicate more time to training and battle simulations, but not because Kureto said it, he was going to do it because he needed to be stronger than this.

Kureto ignored his tone and turned to Shinya.

“Shinya, you’ve been given the Hiiragi name, work harder if you wish to keep it.”

Guren watched as the other teen’s jaw tightened, the bruise in his face too stark against his pale skin, and then his head bowed. Somehow, the sight made something in Guren’s blood boil.

“Yes, nii-san.”

Kureto was gone soon after, the Hiiragi heir far too busy to stay longer than absolutely necessary.

“Fuck you too, eyebrow-freak,” Guren muttered under his breath as he stretched. “Hey, wanna go play some games?” he asked as he turned back towards Shinya, only to stop.

Shinya was summoning his gun once more.

“Sorry, I want to stay a little longer and train some more.” His smile was so fake Guren had to fight the urge to slap him.

Through constant pain and experiments, through the exhaustion of harsh training and sleepless nights, Shinya continued to smile and smile. An empty smile that Guren hated to see in him. He couldn’t remember the last time he saw him smile for real.

Yeah, that wouldn’t do.

“Shut up and come to my place. Yeah, that ass said to train more, but we have to train smart too. Just going on and on without resting will make you burn out with nothing to show for it.”

Shinya had the gall to shrug.

“Who cares if I burn out? I’m only the disposable foster son after all.”

Guren hated initiating contact, he usually didn’t have to since Shinya was a very tactile person. But this time he was the one that approached and bumped their shoulders together in an attempt to reach through that thick skull of his. “Don’t say that. You’re not disposable.” Through the months they’ve known each other, Shinya had been indispensable for his survival and for their efforts in researching the demon curse. More importantly he had a place in Guren’s life now.

Shinya’s answering smile had no humour in it. His eyes freezing cold in a way Guren had only seen rarely but which instinctively made him recoil.

“You heard him, Guren. They gave me the name and with it they allowed me to live in order to fulfil a mission. Well, Mahiru, my mission, is gone now, and if they continue to allow my existence it’s only because I’m useful. Otherwise, I’m as unimportant as that rock over there.”

“Shut up!” Guren snapped, grabbing Shinya’s shoulders in a tight grip, tired of listening to him demean himself like that. “Shut up! You’re important too!”

Shinya inhaled sharply and for a moment Guren thought maybe he understood, that Guren’s words had made an impact and he would stop being such a stupid... but then he gave a hollow chuckle. “Am I?” his voice was toneless and the look he gave Guren was one of pity, as if Guren was the one in need of pity here.

“You are to me!”

The realization came like a sudden splash of cold water. The meaning of Guren’s words reaching both of them at the same time with startling clarity.

They stared at each other in wide eyed silence, only the sound of their breathing reaching their ears.

But Guren steeled himself, lifting his chin and narrowing his eyes. He wasn’t going to take it back, and all of him was ready to attack if Shinya dared to deny it.

“Pfff,” Shinya snorted and quickly covered his mouth. “What the hell, you’re such a sap Guren.”

His face burned.

“Shu- shut up!” he snapped, turning to hide his embarrassment.

“Aww, you’re blushing!”

“I’m not!”

“Cu~te~”

“I swear if you don’t shut up right now-”

“Hehe, what? You’ll confess your undying love to me?”

“... I’m leaving.” As soon as he took a step Shinya quickly jumped at him. Guren knew he was coming, he could have avoided it, but he stayed and let him hang from his shoulders. Having Shinya return to his normal behaviour was a good sign after all.

And if he was being honest, he didn’t dislike it.

“Wait! You said we could go play games!”

“You’re not invited anymore,” Guren deadpanned, which prompted a whine from his companion and made his own lipst twitch with amusement.

“Aww, don’t be like that.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Do you think Sayuri-chan is making curry?”

“If she is, I’m not giving you any.”

“How stingy!”

They left the training grounds with the usual banter, but a new understanding between them.

Chapter Text

Space, the final frontier. Or so it had been called for countless generations, Commodore Shinya Hiiragi was nothing but the latest of a long line of star-besotted spacemen, from the very first astronaut, to the daring colonizers that spread humanity beyond their homeworld, people have been fascinated by stars for as long as there have been people.

But Shinya was nothing as harmless as an astronaut or a colonizer. He was a soldier and this particular fleet’s chief of staff. They were en route to their next battlefield, and Shinya was taking a break from his duties, hiding away in a small alcove, with his only source of light the live-feed of the view from the bridge that covered one of the walls.

It was as beautiful as it was deadly; radiation, supernovae, black holes, every small twinkle was a furnace of creation and destruction.

People had not been made to traverse the stars and it was a testament to humanity’s ingenuity and sheer stubbornness that they still sailed among them.

But he wasn’t just playing hooky, he was here because their astronomers had predicted a supernovae within a few minutes and Shinya was not about to miss it.

The quiet hum of the metal door sliding open made Shinya look over his shoulder, a smile spreading on his face as he recognized the silhouette framed by the bright lights from the hallway.

It was Colonel Guren Ichinose, commander officer of the fleet’s shock troops and Shinya’s best friend.

“There you are, didn’t want to share the viewing party with anyone else?” The question made Shinya chuckle.

“Something like that, but I saved you a seat, Guren,” he said, patting the cushioned bench  next to him.

“Cheers, how long until the show starts?” Guren asked, passing Shinya a bottle of juice and sitting down with a heavy sigh.

“Less than five minutes,” Shinya answered, uncapping the bottle. Guren uncapped his own and they clinked the bottles before taking a sip.

“Ready for the spectacle of a lifetime?”

Shinya hummed in response, eyes never straying far from the field of stars.

“Can you imagine how lucky we must be? To think that we would be oriented in the exact direction of the supernova and that we would be at a safe distance to watch it, the probability must be staggering low.”

“Shigure calculated that we have more probability of hitting the same asteroid thrice.”

Shinya whistled in surprise.

“Really lucky then,” he said and then bumped his shoulder with Guren’s. “And lucky that it’ll happen before the battle, or we might have not both been alive to see it.”

“Your pessimism is touching as always,” Guren answered dryly, tearing a surprised laugh out of Shinya.

“It’s called being a realist,” he defended himself, Guren opened his mouth to retort, but the room immediately became brighter and their heads turned back to the screen.

“Woah,” they breathed out as one, the field of stars a beautiful but overpowered backdrop to the myriad colors of stellar gas and dust heating to otherwise impossible temperatures, spreading like gauzy curtains of silk surrounding the magnificent death throes of a blue giant.

“Guren?”

“Yeah?”

“I’m glad I got to see this with you.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth pain bursted from his shoulder, having been punched by Guren none-too-gently.

“Stop talking like we are going to die tomorrow! Separatists have nothing on us, we’ll make them pulp and then go back home and celebrate with curry, and there’s nothing you can do to stop it!” Guren hissed angrily before pressing himself against Shinya’s side, a grumpy pout on his face.

Shinya laughed and turned back to enjoy the spectacle with his dearest friend at his side.

Chapter Text

There’s little that can compare to the feeling of a large beast under your control. The rumbling under your hands betraying the tamed power ready to be unleashed at your command. Your heart beats faster as the time comes closer, when the world becomes a blur and every moment stretches eternally, each of your senses honing sharply in the here and know, the acute knowledge of the dangers of the race bringing sweet, intoxicating, adrenaline to your veins.

There’s little that can compare to that feeling, and yet Guren’s excitement is tempered by the tranquility that comes with years of experience, with the confidence of his many, many hours of training and his intimate knowledge of his car and of himself.

The upcoming race doesn’t make Guren nervous, not the way his first race did. He has long grown used to the roaring of the crowds and the expectations of his team, his rivals, his sponsors; he’s a sea of serenity.

“Nervous?” a familiar voice interrupts his pre-race meditation and he opens an eye to half-glare at his recently arrived companion.

With a face that could belong in the cover of a magazine and the natural grace of a dancer, his friend and fellow competitor Shinya makes the thick racing uniform look like the most stylish of fashions. Guren thinks this is incredibly unfair, but he would rather die than admit it.

Shinya’s ego is big enough as it is.

“Hardly. The competition is lacking,” Guren answers nonchalantly, fully opening his eyes to look at his nails in mock boredom.

Shinya’s smile turns sharp.

“Careful there. If you fall asleep in your laurels you might find yourself waking up to a nasty surprise.”

“Oh? Have you grown so used to eating my dust that you’re hallucinating now?” Guren challenges with an equally sharp smile, almost cackling at the twitch of anger in Shinya’s eyebrows.

It’s not easy to get the rise out of Shinya, but the fact that he keeps getting second place to Guren is definitely a sore spot. One that Guren likes to poke at every now and then.

It’s not like he hates Shinya, quite the opposite, he enjoys the other man’s cheer and his competitive spirit. He enjoys the fact that Shinya keeps him on his toes; Guren has never had an easy win when Shinya raced against him. If Shinya isn’t in the race Guren hardly needs to try to win, but when Shinya is in the race?

That’s when the game is on.

Poking fun at Shinya before the race is just an attempt to push him into wanting the win more than Guren does. Push him into challenging him and maybe even steal the win from him.

His heart races as hard as his car when Shinya is at his side, he wants to know how it’d feel if he’s in front.

“Oh, believe me, I’m more than tired of second place, Guren.” The way he narrows his eyes and whispers his name as he leans closer sends a shiver down his back, but Guren ignores it in favor of leaning into Shinya’s space.

“The prove it,” he hisses, staring right into his sky-blue eyes, willing him to rise up to the occasion.

Shinya holds his stare, the fire of competition lighting his eyes in a predatory way.

It is then that the intercom announces the race is about to begin and for the competitors to go out into the tarmac. They pull away from each other with a barely contained sigh.

“Time to race,” he says, patting Shinya’s knee and getting up with barely a second glance.

“Guren.” Shinya’s voice stops him and he turns back.

He’s standing alone in the middle of the break room, the sunlight that filters through the window gives his hair a halo of golden-silver and the shadows that fall on his face brightens the fire of his eyes.

“It won’t be the same today,” he says, his words are a calm affirmation that does nothing but ignite his excitement even more.

He smirks.

“Then, I’ll see you later,” his not answer throws Shinya into confusion, but he turns and walks away before the other man can ask for a clarification.

There’s nothing Guren loves more than the thrill of competition, of having to fight and earn his crown, but if Shinya wins, if he can prove himself fiercer than Guren…

The thrill might go down to second place as well.

Chapter Text

“Hey, hey Guren." With those words, Guren felt a finger poking his shoulder.

"..." Guren said nothing, firmly staring ahead as the subway made its way through the tunnels beneath Tokyo.

"Hey, hey I say, Guren, tell me." More poking.

"..."

"Tell me, tell me, tell me," Shinya punctuated each request with a new poke and finally he reached Guren's limit as he quickly grabbed his finger and bent it back. "AH! Let go! You asshole!" 

Guren let him go, smiling at Shinya’s pout.

“I'm not telling you. I told you already that it’s a surprise.”

“But I want to knoooow.”

“And you’ll keep wanting, I’m not telling,” Guren said firmly, turning away from Shinya and checking the next stop's name in the sign above the doors.

“Meanie,” Shinya pretended to be hurt and Guren laughed, turning back to give him a smirk.

“The meanest,” he agreed without hesitation, laughing as Shinya stuck his tongue out at him. “Fine fine, I can tell you we are two stops from it.”

Shinya brightened up and quickly turned to the subway map that was on the train’s wall, trying to figure out where they were going.

While he was distracted with that, Guren hurried to check the map in his phone, just to make sure he still remembered exactly how to get to-

“What’s that?”

He shoved his phone in his pocket and pushed Shinya's face away again. Honestly, it was like having a needy cat begging for attention.

“Stop bothering me or I’ll make us take the train back.”

Shinya gasped in mock offense.

“You wouldn’t!”

Guren raised an unimpressed eyebrow.

“Don’t try me.”

Shinya threw his head back with a pearl of laughter that was as beautiful as it was contagious, prompting Guren to fall into laughter as well.

They ignored the weirded out looks from the handful of other passengers as they calmed down and playfully hit their shoulders together.

“Calm down, ok? I promise you’ll like it,” Guren said as the train stopped and some passengers moved in and out of it.

Shinya smiled so wide his eyes were wrinkling cutely. But Guren did not just think that.

“I know that, I trust you. But I’m just so excited!” He pushed his hair aside and regalled Guren with another one of his blinding smiles. “Surprises like this are not your usual style so I’m really curious!”

Guren ducked his head, looking away and rubbing the back of his neck.

“Well, we got into our chosen high school after all, I thought we could celebrate.”

From the look in his eye Guren knew Shinya was about to tease him but before he could talk the train stopped again.

“Off we go then,” said Guren as he got up and pulled Shinya along.

“To adventure!” Shinya cheered as he hurried to move before Guren, turning around who was dragging whom.

Guren let him do it with a laugh, but as soon as they were out of the station he stopped him and took the lead, as he was the one that actually knew where they were going.

Shinya was practically skipping at his side as Guren carefully navigated the busy streets and turned towards a more quiet one.

“Oh! You almost can’t hear the cars from here! I had no idea this place existed!”

“Hmm,” Guren hummed absentmindedly as his eyes scanned the block, quickly finding what he was looking for in a small open door between an arts and crafts store and a dentist’s office. A door with painted paw prints around it. “In here.”

Shinya looked curiously at it, something like understanding dawning on his face.

“Guren?”

“You first, up the stairs.”

Shinya threw him a shrewd look but did as told, slowly going up the wooden stairs, occasionally throwing Guren a look over his shoulder, almost as if he wanted to make sure he was still there.

Atop the stairs was a small hallway with a couple of doors, but the one they were looking for was right next to them, painted pastel blue with more pawprints in brighter colors, with a chalk sign hanging from it.

As soon as Shinya read it, he gasped and turned to Guren with wide eyes.

“Are you for real?”

Guren chuckled and pushed him a little towards the door.

“Yeah, I am. You said you had never been to one before; so I figured, why not come here?”

Shinya’s look of astonishment was soon replaced by excitement as he hurried to open the door.

Inside, feline heaven awaited.

-/-/-/-

Guren sipped his cappuccino, petting a small calico that had decided to lie across his shoulders, as he stared in amusement at Shinya’s form spread on the floor, covered in cats.

“Guren, Guren, I love cats,” Shinya whispered fervently as his hands moved from purring cat to purring cat, as if unsure which one he wanted to pet more.

“I noticed,” Guren answered dryly, smiling at Shinya’s look of pure bliss as a white fluffy cat licked his face.

“I am in heaven right now.”

“I noticed that too.”

Shinya sat up slowly to not spook the cat that was napping on his lap, and looked at Guren with flushed cheeks, shining eyes and the softest curve of his lips.

“Thank you for bringing me here.” His words sounded so heartfelt that Guren felt something inside him ache.

“You’re welcome, Shinya.” It came out soft, he really didn’t want to disturb the peaceful image before him.

Chapter Text

“Guren,” Shinya started, leaning against a wall as he watched his friend count the syringes inside a small suitcase he had gotten from who knows where.

“Hmm?”

“What are you doing?” Shinya pressed his lips tightly as the question hung in the air between them. Guren paused for a fraction of a second before continuing with his self-imposed work.

“Counting how many doses we have left. That brat better get the hang out if this before we run out or-”

“You know that’s not what I meant!” His voice came out sharp, startling Guren into looking up, eyes wide and showing more emotion than in the last twenty four hours combined.

Shinya swallowed thickly. He was worried, had been worried for days, no, months now. Locked in a jail cell, he had thought long and hard about what Guren had done and what had pushed him into doing those things. Nagoya had been a mess and whatever had made Guren act as he had - Shinya had more than a few suspicions as to why he had done it - he still hadn’t recovered from it. Shinya could tell, he was too familiar with the sight of eyes that held nothing but emptiness and desperation.

Those that held eyes like that didn’t last long under his hands.

A few days ago, he had been about to shoot Guren’s heart, thinking it the best way to end his misery. He had been very close, very very close.

But he hadn’t.

Because despite everything that happened, despite the deaths and the betrayal, despite the fact that he was hiding something big from Shinya, as they stood in that jail cell Shinya knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Guren wanted to die by his hand.

A Guren that felt guilty enough to wish for death was a Guren that still had something inside worth saving, or so Shinya had thought.

The fact that now he was the Guren to Guren’s Mahiru did not escape him.

He wanted to laugh at his own idiocy, hadn’t he thrown his heart away by age ten? Hadn’t he been prepared to discard everyone for the sake of his own survival?

But something about Guren’s kindness had inspired something warm to awaken within himself, something he wasn’t willing to let go of, and now here he was, going down the exact same path, chasing a hare that was rushing towards its own destruction.

“We are inside a vampire’s mansion, one that happened to be equipped with food fit for humans may I add. We are engaging in forbidden research that already destroyed the world once; and for what? To save a vampire? But that’s only a middle step, isn’t it?! What is the end goal of all of this, Guren?!!” With each question that went unanswered his voice turned sharper and more demanding and still Guren kept silent, bowing his head and avoiding Shinya’s eyes.

Frustration mounted and he bit his lip hard enough to draw blood. On the far back of his mind, Byakkomaru purred a soft reassurance but Shinya wasn’t in the mood to listen to him.

“ANSWER ME, DAMN IT!” he snapped, hitting the wall with the side of his tightly-closed fist, hearing the sharp cracking of stone but ignoring it in favor of keeping his eyes on Guren’s shadowed face.

“What do you want me to say?”

“You can tell me anything,” he pleaded softly, far too aware of the lengths he would go to for Guren’s sake. What did it matter if they were destroying little Yuu’s body and soul? What did it matter that they had to make a deal with fucking vampires? What did it matter that they were risking the annihilation of what was left of the world?

Ah, that’s right. He wasn’t the Guren to Guren’s Mahiru, he was too selfish, too callous, there were too few things he truly cared about and too many he would willingly sacrifice without a second thought.

It was no wonder Byakkomaru liked him so much.

Shinya didn’t truly believe Guren was about to destroy the world; he knew Guren, possessed or not, destroying himself or not, giving up his own humanity or not, he was still Guren and he didn’t have it in him to do such things.

Which is why Shinya should be the one shouldering this burden, because he would do them, he would do all the things that Guren was killing himself to do and he would do them without an ounce of remorse.

“I cannot.” Guren shook his head.

“It’s just the two of us here, Guren. I will not repeat it to the others, please-”

“I cannot tell you, Shinya,” Guren interrupted him, purple eyes looking at his, almost begging. “Stop pushing.”

“I don’t need your protection!” Shinya snapped in frustration.

“You need it the most out of everyone!” Guren snapped back, eyes flashing red for a moment. They glared at each other, breathing heavily and baring their teeth.

Purple-black curse marks started to spread over Guren’s cheek.

“Tch!” he snapped his tongue irritably and pulled his sleeve up.

Shinya gasped.

“Wait!”

Guren ignored him in favor of taking one of the syringes and stabbing himself without a second thought.

A long, interminable moment stretched while Shinya’s heart raced unbridled and the curse marks slowly retreated, leaving unblemished skin behind.

“How long?” he asked as Guren took the needle out of his arm and discarded the now empty syringe.

“Since Nagoya.”

He wanted to break something, scream, hit Guren, anything at all. But all he truly could do was tighten his fists.

“Drugs like that lose effectiveness over time, how often do you have to-”

“I’m dealing with it.”

“Guren-”

“Stop it, Shinya. Just… stop it.” He looked tired, exhausted really, and so very sad.

Shinya felt a knot in his stomach and stepped back.

“Ok,” he said softly. “Ok, I’ll stop.”

The relief he saw in Guren’s slumped shoulders stabbed him through the heart.

“Do you truly not need my help?”

Guren’s smile was far too brittle, Shinya didn’t know what to do with it, didn’t know how to fix it, how to make it better.

“I always need your help, Shinya.”

“Heh, at least you admit it.” The joke tasted bad in his mouth and fell flat in his ears, but Guren chuckled, and that was enough.

For now, it was enough.

Chapter Text

Guren’s fingers pressed the keys of his saxophone as he ran through the music in his head one more time. It was a lot of responsibility to have the solo part, but he had practiced until he couldn’t feel his lips and his fingers cramped and he thought he was up to the task.

He was vaguely aware of another school currently playing on stage, but he wasn’t really paying attention to them. They were in nationals and he needed to focus.

It was easier said than done when his bandmates were all around him going through various stages of panic or disturbing calm.

Seriously, Goshi’s empty face as he sat atop a box, moving his head and mallets to a rhythm only he could hear, was creeping him out. He turned to the other side, where Sayuri was shaking her hands in a small panic, with Shigure and Mito trying to calm her down.

“They’re good, Yuki-chan!”

“Yes, they are.” Shigure agreed in her quiet voice

“Really, really good.”

“This is nationals after all, not even one band here is a bad one,” Mito said, pushing one of her piggytails off her shoulder. “But you know what? We are better.”

Sayuri turned to her with big eyes shiny with unshed tears.

“You think so?”

Mito scoffed and gave her a confident smile.

“I know so. We practiced harder and longer than anyone else out there. I know it and you know it. We are gonna go and we are gonna take that gold!” she punched the air for emphasis and Sayuri seemed to perk up at her confidence.

“Penny for your thoughts?”

Guren startled and turned to glare at the owner of the voice. Bright hair and mischievous eyes immediately clueing him in onto his identity.

“What are you doing here? This is for band members only.” He tried to sound stern, but there was an odd sort of comfort at having Shinya at his side, as he had been in their previous two attempts at Nationals.

He should’ve gotten used to not having him around, but he never could. The emptiness at his side had always been too cold for his taste, even after a promising first year filled the chair that used to be Shinya’s.

“Ouch Guren, how cold! I used to be a band member too!”

Guren huffed and looked away from Shinya’s smile, bright even in the backstage darkness. God, but he had missed him.

It was a ridiculous feeling, it wasn’t like he didn’t see Shinya every day at school but… it wasn’t the same as playing with him.

“But to answer your question, I snuck in to wish you guys good luck. I’ll be seating near the front by the way.”

“It pays to have a famous musician in the family, I suppose.”

Shinya chuckled but didn’t deny that he used his brother’s influence to get a good ticket.

“Nervous?” he asked instead, bumping their shoulders together. Guren bumped him back, smiling almost without meaning to.

“No, I practiced so much I could play it in my sleep.”

“Hmm, must be nice.” Guren’s eyes flickered to his friend’s wistful expression. It was their last year of highschool after all, and Shinya had dropped out of band to focus on his studies. Guren himself was planning on continuing onto music school, but Shinya had other aspirations, or so he claimed.

“Hey,” he said, using his sax to poke at Shinya and prompting a smile out of him. “You’re gonna cheer for me, right?”

“Of course! That’s why I’m here after all!” He sounded almost offended that he should ask.

“Good, I’ll play it for you, so pay attention.” Guren gave silent thanks that the darkness covered the blush that no doubt covered his now burning cheeks.

Shinya blinked in surprise.

“What?”

Guren shrugged and just as he was about to answer, Mito called out.

“Shibuya first! It’s time!”

“I hope you like it,” he hurried to say before jogging up to where everyone was meeting up to go upstage.

“Guren!” He turned at the sound of Shinya’s voice just as the back curtains opened and everyone started walking onto stage.

Shinya’s lone form was illuminated by a sliver of light, the only spot of brightness in the dark, his blue eyes intent on Guren’s.

“I’ll look forward to it,” he said before turning and running off to get back to his seat.

Guren’s grip on his saxophone tightened and he straightened his back.

Today, he would give the performance of his lifetime.

Chapter Text

Shinya popped some popcorn in his mouth, watching as Guren hunched over his computer, typing away at some thing or another.

“Hey, Guren.”

No response. Purple eyes were deeply engrossed in the shiny screen, thick eyebrows furrowed in intense concentration.

“Guren.”

Silence. A pause of his hands let him know he definitely heard him this time and Shinya chewed more popcorn, lazily draped over the couch, legs swinging back and forth, and still staring at his friend. After a few moments, he insisted again.

“Ichinose Guren.”

Even more silence. But the downturn of his lips meant he was about to crack through his stubborn act of ignoring him.

Shinya’s persistence always paid off in the end. He couldn’t help but smirk and called out again:

“Guren-chaaan~”

Finally, he stopped typing and reached up with two fingers to rub his temple.

“What do you want, Shinya?” he said with an annoyed sigh.

“Me? I want you to be happy,” Shinya answered earnestly, popping some more popcorn in his mouth.

Guren paused and turned to look at him with an expression like he hadn’t expected such a response.

Shinya lived for this surprised expression of his.

“I am happy,” he said, slightly confused, but Shinya shook his head.

“You’ve been frowning at your computer for thirty minutes; you’re not.”

“So? Temporary setbacks.” Guren shrugged and returned to his computer.

“Guren…”

“Hm?”

“You hate this job.”

An annoyed huff and a glare were sent in his direction.

“No, I don’t.”

“Yeah, you do.” Shinya knew his friend better than he knew himself, and he knew that Guren absolutely despised his job. “Just quit already.”

“Shinya! I can’t quit just because you told me to!”

“Why not? Ever since you started you have done nothing but complain about your boss, your co-workers and the work they make you do. You bring home even more work and slave yourself until midnight or even later.” He popped another handful of popcorn in his mouth and chewed thoughtfully, staring at Guren and silently daring him to correct him. When he didn’t try to deny his words, he continued. “You worked so hard to get your degree, and instead of respecting your knowledge and skills, they use you for menial tasks that are so beneath you it’s not even funny.”

Guren was quiet for a long time, staring at his computer without really seeing it.

“Is it really that bad?”

“You’ve been complaining of heartburn for two weeks now, if that’s not a sign of unneeded stress I don’t know what is.”

“...” Guren opened his mouth and then closed it again. Shinya was right and they both knew it.

“I can cover the rent for a couple of months if that’s what you’re worried about.”

Guren immediately frowned at him.

“We agreed we would split the rent.”

He waved him off.

“It’s fine, you can cover the full rent later when you get another job. Seriously, a couple of months is perfectly doable for me.”

“But…”

“Guren,” Shinya interrupted, putting the popcorn bowl aside and getting up from his comfy seat to get closer and hold his shoulder in a tight grip. “You’re miserable; you’re in pain; don’t do this to yourself for them, they’re not worth it.”

“... They need a thirty day notice,” he finally said, shoulders slumping down.

The fact that he gave up without putting much of a fight was a very clear sign of how worn out he was with this whole thing. Shinya squeezed his shoulder and, thinking that wasn’t enough, he curled his arms around Guren’s head, hugging him close.

Guren hugged his waist and buried his face in his stomach.

“Don’t think of it as giving up, think of it as them being beneath you.” From the way Guren’s shoulders relaxed, he knew he had gotten a bullseye with that comment. He ran his fingers through the messy hair.

"Shinya…”

“Hm?”

“Are you putting popcorn salt in my head?”

Shinya tried to dash away but Guren held him tightly in place.

“Oops?” he said instead, smiling nervously at Guren’s glare.

“Die,” Guren curled his fingers and Shinya instantly started laughing and squeaking.

“Ahahaah, no, no, hahaha, stop, ahahahahaha, Gureeen”

Chapter Text

“Mamaaa,” little Guren whined as his mother cleaned up his face after eating, shifting uncomfortably as the wet wipe rubbed his face too hard.

“Stay still or I won’t finish cleaning you!” she scolded him softly, rubbing more. “This wouldn’t have happened if you ate more slowly, you know?”

“But I wanna go see Shinya’s race!” he said, bouncing on his tiptoes. “Pleeease, let me goooo.” He made sure to use his best pout, the one that always got him what he wanted. He could hear his dad laughing a little behind him, but he didn’t turn. He had to get his mom to let him go!

His mom sighed.

“Fine, go.”

“Thanks, mama!” he quickly kissed her cheek and ran off before she could change her mind.

It was the sports festival and the school grounds were full of families like his, having meals, laughing and walking around, cheering for their children, simply having a good time.

Guren’s race had already finished, but Shinya’s hadn’t started yet, and he hurried towards the athletic field where they were already announcing the next race.

“Hi Hiiragi-san, bye Hiiragi-san!” he called out as he ran past Shinya’s parents and elbowed his way towards the long ribbon that marked the edge of the field, almost running into Kureto and Mahiru that were standing there to cheer for their brother. “Move you two, I wanna see too!”

“Watch it,” Kureto snapped when he elbowed him away, but still stepped to the side to give him space.

“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Guren waved him off before cupping his hands around his mouth and yelling at the top of his lungs. “SHINYA!”

His bestest friend in the entire world turned as he heard his name. His curious face immediately breaking into a bright grin.

“GUREN!” he lifted his little hand and waved enthusiastically. “I’LL DO MY BEST!”

“I BELIEVE IN YOU!”  Guren yelled back, prompting Shinya’s smile to widen even more, beautiful sky blue eyes wrinkling with happiness.

“THANK YOU!” Shinya yelled, before flinching and smiling sheepishly as his teacher scolded him.

Another teacher gave Guren a stern look and he quickly covered his mouth with both hands, face growing warm with embarrassment.

He hadn’t been that loud… had he?

He turned to the side and saw both Mahiru and Kureto covering their ears with identical annoyed expressions.

Oops.

Chapter Text

Shinya grunted as the enchanted spears pierced through his body and Guren’s, using all his strength to hold down his friend’s possessed trashing.

Heh, friend. He never thought he would use that word and truly mean it. 

“Shh, it’s alright. I got you.” 

“CURSE YOU! CURSE YOU! DIE YOU BITCH!” The thing with Guren’s face yelled loudly as the blessed energy was pumped into their bodies.

Shinya hissed as well, narrowing his eyes. He was used to pain, but this was a new and different kind that he hadn’t experienced before so it took him a moment to get used to it, to acknowledge and disregard it. 

After all, he also had taken in a demon within his body and the holy energy was damaging to him just as it was to Guren’s possessed body. 

But that was fine, he had known this would happen when he ordered Mito and Goshi to use the chained spears. He had been prepared for this small sacrifice in order to save Guren. 

He had not hesitated to jump at the chance for more power, accepting to become something else, to give up his humanity, if that meant that he could help Guren retain what was left of his. 

He wondered if his lack of hesitation had been what prompted Mito and Goshi to agree to the same. There was a very faint uncomfortable feeling when he thought about it too long. After all, they were not like him. For all that Shinya was now officially non-human, there had been something about him that hadn’t been very human in the first place. Whether he had been born like that, or whether his training had broken something inherent to him, he couldn’t recall.

Whatever the case, Shinya had long known that he wasn’t like others. He was different, cold, uncaring, selfish in a way beyond most people’s ability for selfishness. When he saw others, he didn’t see his fellows but only obstacles and stepping stones. They were not like him and he was not like them, and whether they lived or died mattered little to him as long as it aided in his own survival.  

He had not hesitated to give up his humanity because he had had little of it in the first place. 

Not like Guren. When Guren gave up his humanity he had done it for his very human motivations, his very human feelings, his very human goals. Guren had seen and experienced the worst the world threw at him and still remained uncompromisingly and beautifully human.

Guren was stronger than him, he knew it. Not physically, in that regard they were equally matched, but in some intrinsic part of his heart that Shinya had been long without. 

“You can do it,” he whispered, believing as he had never believed in anyone before. 

Because if Guren, the strongest and kindest person he knew, lost himself now, what hope did anyone else had to remain themselves? 

“I know you can, Guren. Beat the demon and return to us,” he kept whispering reassurances through Guren’s thrashing and loud curses. He kept his grip tight and felt his heart beating in time with Guren’s, their bright red blood spilling onto the floor, mixing together in a puddle where you couldn’t tell which was Guren’s and which Shinya’s. 

Both their fates and their bodies were now tied together, whether Guren regained his senses, died or lost himself to the demonic energy. Shinya would follow him. 

With a sigh, he buried his face on Guren’s neck and prepared himself for the long night ahead.