There was no way Atsushi would make it back to the others before the fireworks started; he was still on the footpath that wound its way around the main avenue of stalls at the festival when he heard the high-pitched hiss that heralded the first fiery explosion of color(more) above the water.
He stopped hurrying though he kept moving, eyes glued to the sky and not to where he was headed and as such he predictably almost walked into someone else stopped along the path to watch the fireworks.
"Oi," his unintended victim said harshly. "Watch where you're going-" Another round of fireworks illuminated them both, and Atsushi stared wide-eyed at a now equally surprised Akutagawa. He was clad in a dark-colored yukata, and had a kitsune mask on the side of his head, presumably to help disguise his appearance because there was no way that Akutagawa would wear a mask at a summer festival just /because/-
Their shared heartbeat of startled surprise ended with another burst of fireworks but Akutagawa's glower had strangely softened at the edges. "Akutagawa," Atsushi said, warily, his attention drawn by spirals of color in the air and when he glanced back at Akutagawa, nerves on edge, he found that Akutagawa was watching him and not the fireworks.
"Neutral ground," Akutagawa said, holding up one hand before raising his eyes to the sky to watch the remainder of the display. After a guarded moment, Atsushi followed suit and was immediately captivated - and did not notice that Akutagawa's attention once again fell to him and not the fireworks above their heads.
When the fireworks display ended, Atsushi sighed and looked to Akutagawa - only to find himself alone on the footpath and Akutagawa nowhere to be seen. Although he was strangely disappointed, Atsushi didn't linger.
It was unusual for Shiro to come home from work and not find Lance starfished out on the most comfortable available surface, but not so strange that it threw up any alarms. He pulled his shirt off and tossed it in the laundry pile by the bed, and opened(more) the door to the bathroom, where he froze in place.
There was a fat baby seal laying in the bathtub.
The seal looked up at Shiro and barked, slapping its tail against the water remaining in the tub, and Shiro slowly closed the door.
He knew the size of seals very well now, and that definitely wasn't Lance, familiar patterning on his coat notwithstanding. After a moment, Shiro cracked the door open again, and the baby seal eyed him suspiciously. Once again, Shiro closed the door.
"Lance!" he yelled, although the cabin was small enough that his husband couldn't hide easily.
He stood on the porch with his hands on hips and glared at James's truck as it rumbled up the overgrown gravel drive. "I've been trying to call you," he said, as James threw the truck into park.
"Sorry," James said. "My cell phone got, uh." He glanced over his shoulder, and sighed. "Eaten."
"Where's Keith? Have you seen Lance? Do you have any idea," Shiro gestured at the cabin behind him, "why there's a baby seal in my bathtub?"
"Yeah," James said. "Hang on."
He dropped the hatch on the pickup and a small black ball of fur unfolded, ears alert and tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.
"You have got to be kidding me," Shiro said, as James picked up the wolf pup. He looked back at the cabin. "So that's actually..." he pushed his prosthetic hand back through his short hair and exhaled. "Well, /fuck/."(less)
Atsushi looked suspiciously at the envelope that Dazai slid across the table to him. He looked around the cafe once - it was pretty much empty, Lucy was sweeping the floor in the far corner and mostly ignoring them, but no other ADA members had joined them today. Then(more) he looked at the envelope again.
"What is it?" he asked.
Dazai had his chin in his hand and an /expression/ on his face that was making Atsushi nervous, because usually this ended one of two ways and both involved bloodshed. "You haven't been getting much sleep lately, have you, Atsushi-kun?"
Atsushi's eyebrow twitched; as far as he was aware his agreement with Kyouka was still in effect. "I get plenty of sleep."
"Mm." Dazai tapped his empty parfait glass with its spoon. "I don't think I have to tell you how bad it would look were a member of the ADA caught leaving Port Mafia controlled buildings, do I?" Dazai's eyes flickered up, and he was still wearing a smug expression.
"Why would any ADA member be leaving Port Mafia controlled buildings?" Atsushi wouldn't be winning any poker tournaments lately, but he was gamely trying not to sweat.
"Mm, I wonder." Dazai tapped the end of the envelope with his spoon, and, grudgingly Atsushi picked it up and opened it. Instead of the pictures he expected to find, a single key slid out and into his hand.
Atsushi looked at the key, and then looked at Dazai, perplexed.
"Neutral territory is a wonderful thing," Dazai said. "Just put in some appearances at the staff dorms occasionally, to keep up the charade."
Atsushi stared at the key, turning pink. "Is this to a love hotel?"
Dazai choked and laughed, then waved his hand. "More like a love nest," he smirked. "Yours."(less)
"I like the way you smell," Masayoshi said, chin seated on Gotou's shoulder as he leaned against him. Gotou's ears flamed red but he somehow didn't drop his keys or the bag from the convenient mart despite Masayoshi's weight pressed against his back.
(more) "We had this talk about you and scenting," Gotou said, and Masayoshi hummed, nuzzling closer to Gotou's neck. He was so drunk he couldn't stand upright without something to lean on but the moment he caught wind of Gotou he'd plastered himself to Gotou's side like they drawn together with magnets.
"Thanks for coming to get him," Mizuki had said, the only still-sober person present, and the sly look she gave Masayoshi made him suspicious of their intentions.
"Still smell good," Masayoshi's breath brushed over the nape of his neck and the tingle shot straight down his spine. Gotou unlocked the apartment door and in one smooth motion spun them both inside. Masayoshi stumbled and sat on the small step hard, and he let out a soft 'oof' as Gotou heeled his shoes off and took several large steps to the kitchen area to get some distance.
"You need to get laid," Gotou informed Masayoshi from said safe distance, as he put his drinks away. "Or something."
Masayoshi hadn't moved from where he had sat, slumped slightly against the wall. "Don't you like me, Gotou-san?"
"I like you plenty," Gotou said. "As a friend, Masayoshi. Don't let your whole," he gestured with the can in his hand, although Masayoshi didn't turn around to see it, "alpha-ness get in the way of it, okay? And no more scenting."
Masayoshi let out a disappointed sound. "But you smell so GOOD."
"That's gross, 'yoshi."
"Don't need to get laid," Masayoshi mumbled, mostly to the wall. "Just wan' be with you."(less)
Dazai trailed along slightly behind Kunikida, tagging along on his task because the office was empty and he had no one left to bother (or, more accurately, Kunikida wasn't interested in leaving him alone in the office as he'd been eyeing the support beam for half the afternoon). They(more) were halfway up the street when Dazai spotted Atsushi crossing the road, dressed in his casual clothes and leading a rather put-out looking Akutagawa by the hand.
Dazai smirked to himself, made a mental note to see if Atsushi even made it back to the staff dormitories tonight - and promptly walked smack into Kunikida's back.
"What," Kunikida said, eyes locked on target, "is Atsushi doing with the dangerous and WANTED member of Port Mafia, Akutagawa?"
There were very few things that could outpace Kunikida's sense of righteous indignation; fortunately Dazai was one of them. "That's not Akutagawa," he said cheerfully, hands securely in his pockets still.
There was a momentary pause, as he processed this information and Dazai just went ahead and plunged full steam ahead. "Of course it's not. Doesn't that Port Mafia member always wear a huge, garish black coat? And look, the guy with Atsushi is wearing glasses, to boot."
Kunikida squinted across the street; fortunately the pair had already turned a corner. "Atsushi-kun knows better than to fraternize in public," Dazai continued, and Kunikida wrinkled his nose, and glared at Dazai.
"YOU don't get to talk about fraternization," he said pointedly, and Dazai took his hands out of his pockets to shrug.
"Guilty," he said. "But don't you trust Atsushi-kun to make good decisions, Kunikida-kun?"
Kunikida sighed, pushing his glasses up his nose and glancing back up the street. "More than I do you."(less)
James grumbled into the pillow as a wet nose pressed behind his ear. He was exhausted, eyes gummy and when he finally managed to squint them open it was still dark. "Wh-?" he mumbled, trying valiantly to keep his eyes open and mostly failing.
(more) The cold nose had transformed into hot breath, brushing along the shell of his ear. "Wan' fuck," Keith slurred, and James dropped his head back into the pillow and made an attempt at just straight-up going back to sleep. It wasn't to be, as Keith caught his ear with teeth that were just a bit too sharp to be entirely human, and rutted against James's backside.
"You're drunk," James said, and yawned.
"So 're you," Keith mumbled, pulling at James's boxers.
"Not that drunk-" Keith succeeded in divesting him of his undergarments, and James rolled a little, kicking at Keith. A werewolf might be ready any able to go whenever he wanted but James wasn't so drunk as to realize how bad an idea that was right now. "Keith, stoppit-"
Keith caught his ankle and turned him on the bed, crawling between his legs, naked cock dragging heavy against Jame's flaccid dick. Oh, okay, THAT wasn't quite as bad an idea, and James shifted, letting Keith rut against him again. "Okay?" Keith mumbled, and James groaned at the small amount of friction between them.
In response, James pressed their cocks together with his hand, and Keith let out a happy whine, thrusting raggedly into James's tight grip. The sensation was good, but not nearly enough for him - but Keith came quickly, happily growling as his release spurted, sticky between their bodies.
"Okay," James said, eyes still barely open. "You good? Because I'm going back to sleep."
Keith, sprawled heavy atop him, let out a softsnore. (less)
Akutagawa was always rough, but that was okay. Atsushi could handle rough. He would never admit it, least of all to the man between his legs, but he totally got off on being manhandled; and Akutagawa definitely served that in spades. Atsushi clung to the sheets above his head,(more) back arched as Akutagawa snapped his hips again and again, driving in deep enough on each thrust that Atsushi saw stars.
"Fuck," Atsushi hissed, hips jerking as Akutagawa's cock slid over something just right and he couldn't take it anymore. His entire body was getting hot, too hot, and fuck if he didn't come soon he was gonna explode. "Akutagawa-"
He reached for Akutagawa, got his hand on his sleeve, only for Rashomon to shoot out and grab him by the wrists, slamming them back into the mattress above his head and keeping him pinned down. "Harder," Atsushi gasped, squirming against Rashomon's hold as, miraculously, Akutagawa actually complied. Maybe he was close himself, he so rarely actually listened when Atsushi demanded - unless it was mutually beneficial, of course.
Akutagawa leaned over him, hips flush to Atsushi's ass, pushing him almost double. Atsushi took great, gulping breaths, nearly to the point of wheezing as the angle changed, as Akutagawa stared him down and emptied his load, expression barely twitching. Atsushi bit his lip, pressed his head back into the mattress and squeezed his eyes closed, because looking for what he needed in Akutagawa's face was still a fruitless gesture.
Rashomon released Atsushi when Akutagawa pulled free, and Atsushi rolled onto his side, yanking his cock with his hand and finally forcing himself over the edge, coming hard across the sheets. Exhausted to the bone, Atsushi laid on his side, panting, as Akutagawa slid off the mattress. "No cuddles this time, huh?"(less)
For the first time in a very long time, Atsushi didn't wake from a nightmare. He woke naturally, gradually; coming awake warm and secure, face pressed to a pillow that had a faintly familiar scent, and one hand tucked against his face.
(more) His other hand was warmer than it should be, and he flexed his fingers and felt fingers respond in kind. It took a few more boot cycles before his brain processed the peculiarity of that - and the fact he was comfortable in a bed and not sleeping on a futon in the closet.
Atsushi opened his eyes.
There was a hand resting in his open palm. Their fingers weren't threaded, but Atsushi's eyes followed the thin wrist and pale skin until it disappeared under the shared blanket and, with growing horror, finally glanced at the other pillow in the king-sized bed.
Akutagawa was sound asleep next to him.
Atsushi yanked his hand back, pulling them both to his chest like he'd been stung. They had been HOLDING HANDS. In their SLEEP. Atsushi watched in horror as Akutagawa made a small, distressed noise and after a moment pulled both his hands in toward himself as well - but he didn't wake.
Which all things considered was probably a good thing, because he would likely straight-up attempt to murder Atsushi the second he realized the were-tiger was sharing his bed.
Akutagawa's face creased, as if he were trying to wake up, and Atsushi hesitated in his attempt to stealthily exit the bed. He'd never seen Akutagawa look so vulnerable, and after another beat Atsushi sighed and slid back under the covers.
He wasn't going to let anyone know where he woke up, so ... a few more hours weren't really going to change anything, anyway.(less)
The great black dragon lay felled in a field of fresh snow. The white wolf approached the beast slowly, though the rise and fall of its chest was faltering, and its once-mighty wings lay shredded and bloody.
There was no chance the beast would rise again but still(more) Shiro skirted it, eyes alert and ears forward. He'd never seen a creature this big outside a museum, and caution ruled his stride. As he came around to its head he realized for the first time that they weren't alone; a cloaked figure lay against the dragon's horned crest, and the soft crunch of Shiro's paws in the snow made him stir, turning to acknowledge the interloper.
Shiro's heart thudded in his chest as the hood fell from Lance's face.
No - it was Lance, but it wasn't, brown hair speckled with white, his skin almost translucent and eyes glowing a preternatural blue. The quiver on his back lay empty, a broken bow forgotten in the snow, and Lance stared at Shiro with wonder and fear in his eyes.
The great black dragon gave a shuddering gasp and exhaled its final breath. Lance choked out a broken noise, closing his eyes and pressing his forehead to the dragon's rough skin - and as Shiro watched he seemed to dissolve entirely into the snow.
Lance's hand closed on Shiro's shoulder and he was awake, chest heaving as he flung himself upright, disoriented by the darkness and the heat. "Shiro, Shiro," Lance said, grabbing at him now, both hands on his shoulders, warm and familiar. "You were having a nightmare, it's all right-"
He looked at his husband wildly, the image of a pale, shattered Lance dissolving into snowflakes still fresh, and pulled Lance close. "It's okay," Lance said, patting his back. "It wasjustadream."Shiroclosedhiseyes,pressinghisfacetoLance's,andwondered.(less)
Today it took seven inflammatory text messages and the kicker of a lewd selfie to finally get Chuuya to come to him. Dazai sat on a rock and kicked his feet in the sand, expression beatific as Chuuya grabbed him by the front of his shirt. "What," Chuuya snarled,(more) "the FUCK is WRONG with your BRAIN?"
"I was bored," Dazai said as Chuuya shook him once.
"You're a pervert and you're horny," Chuuya let him go and crossed his arms.
"That too." Dazai brushed sand off his trunks and grinned, stepping closer into Chuuya's space and catching his wrist before he could get smacked again. "And I can think of plenty of perverted things for us to do here."
Chuuya curled his lip, but before he could respond there was a muffled noise that came from neither of them. Dazai heard it too, and they both looked at the familiar rocky outcropping.
"I think someone's beaten us to it, this year" Dazai said.
The noises, as it turned out, were a certain familiar pair of ability users busily at work on a public indecency citation.
"They grow up so fast," Dazai said, eyes sparkling as he peeked over the outcropping. "Chuuya-kun, I want a baby."
"God, no. No you don't." Chuuya yanked at the back of Dazai's shirt. "Stop watching them, you pervert."
"Let's make a baby," Dazai grabbed Chuuya by the wrists, eyes sparkling. "I want to get you pregnant!"
"That's not even POSSIBLE-" Chuuya yelped as Dazai slung him over his shoulder. "Shitty Dazai, I'll kill you-! Put me down-!!"
Atsushi lifted his head and Akutagawa's cock slid from his bruised lips. "Did you hear that?" he said, suddenly self-conscious.
Akutagawa brushed his hand through Atsushi's hair and urged his back down. "No," he said. "Don't stop."(less)
Atsushi was sitting under the beach umbrella on a towel and recovering from being on Dazai duty when he felt a small tug on the back of his hooded shirt. He glanced over to see a tiny Rashomon head that swiftly wrapped around his wrist, and after a brief,(more) silent tug of war he got wearily to his feet.
"Where are you going?" Ranpo said without opening his eyes, sprawled out on a towel under the umbrella as well.
"Gotta, uh-" Atsushi blushed. "Take a leak."
"You should just use the ocean like everyone else." Ranpo lolled his head and squinted his eyes at Atsushi, who hid his wrist behind his back. After a moment, Ranpo closed his eyes again and settled his head back on his crossed arms. "Have fun."
With a relieved sigh, Atsushi trotted off, tugged impatiently by Rashomon. It didn't take long to find where he was headed - after all Akutagawa's ability only had a certain range - and after climbing over several low rocks Atsushi found him, nestled under a slight overhang and out of the sun. "Took you long enough," Akutagawa said.
Atsushi let out a small huff. "Dazai-san kept throwing himself into the ocean with floaters loaded with sand, I'm very tired."
Disappointment flickered on Akutagawa's face, the emotion almost too fast to catch. "I see."
"Don't pout." Atsushi ran his foot along the sand, checking for rocks before he dropped to his knees. "I keep my promises, you know that." He rested his head against Akutagawa's thigh and closed his eyes for a moment. "I missed you."
"I wasn't gone that long," Akutagawa said, sounding puzzled. Atsushi shook his head, letting out a small laugh as he pulled at the waistband of Akutagawa's swim trunks.
"Where's your tanabata wish?" Atsushi said, holding a brightly colored piece of paper in both hands. He was leaning forward slightly, staring intently at Akutagawa, who didn't look anything other than put out at the attention he'd drawn. "Akutagawa!"
(more) This wasn't a date. This was total coincidence, them just meeting at the shrine during the festival and wasn't, perhaps, orchestrated in the slightest by a meddling, bandage-wasting machine who was probably lurking behind a stall and watching them like the pervert he was.
"People like me don't get wishes," Akutagawa said severely, and Atsushi frowned at him. It was a full-body frown, nose scrunched up and brow furrowed, and he leaned forward /again./ Akutagawa held his ground though, unaffected.
"Everybody gets a wish," Atsushi said. "Kunikida-san said so."
"He's wrong." He didn't know why he was arguing, or even remaining here. Something compelled him, at least - the same thing that compelled him to keep his attention on Atsushi. Akutagawa cocked a smirk. "So what is your wish then, were-tiger?"
Atsushi, who had been leaning closer all the while, suddenly took an enormous step back, paper envelope tucked to his chest. "If I share it it won't come true!"
"You are such a child." Rashomon slipped around Atsushi, and plucked the paper out of his hands before he could react. Atsushi yelped as Rashomon slid back to Akutagawa, unfolding the paper.
There was a flash of blue, and Rashomon's head disappeared, struck through with tiger claws. Atsushi's eyes had gone gold, and he held the paper again in the hand that hadn't grown claws sharp as diamond. "If I tell you," he hissed, "it won't come true."
Akutagawa remained outwardly unaffected by the display, but he had glimpsed the awkwardly-written kanji. "Whatever you say," he said, and turned to leave.(less)
"Were-tiger," Akutagawa said, his voice rough as always, coarse and heavy as he pushed the words into Atsushi's skin. Atsushi sighed out a small laugh, Akutagawa's forehead pressed to his bare shoulder, and shifted so he could look back, at the top of Akutagawa's head.
(more) It was a little frightening how comfortable he was here, naked in a strange bed, vulnerable with the man who'd sworn to kill him ... but Atsushi had come to grips with the strangeness of his life long ago, and aside from the occasional spurious thought, he had accepted that this was apparently just the way things were now.
Atsushi shifted his weight again, hiding the slight wince and turning enough so that Akutagawa had to lift his face from Atsushi's back. "I thought I told you to stop calling me that."
Akutagawa made a noise of discontent. "I will call you what I wish," he said imperiously, and Atsushi snorted a laugh, leaning back on his hand and staring at Akutagawa. He grinned, easy and open.
"Ryuunosuke," Atsushi said, enunciating the syllables clearly, and Akutagawa flushed red and looked away angrily. "We agreed." He shifted the hand he bore his weight on, sliding it to cover Akutagawa's own atop the mattress.
"It is strange to hear you say it," Akutagawa said finally. He took a breath. "Atsushi."
Atsushi beamed at him, and Akutagawa looked away again, though the anger was absent in his expression now. "See? That wasn't so hard."
"Were-tiger suits you," Akutagawa mumbled as Atsushi turned completely around on the mattress, one hand on his bare thigh. "My were-tiger," he added, his tone thick and heavy, like syrup.
"Yes," Atsushi said, pulling Akutagawa's hand from the mattress and bringing it to his mouth, kissing Akutagawa's knuckles. "I am that, if nothing else."(less)
One of my favourite memories of that year is of the weekends we spent at your parents' house, shifting shadows around its circular walls through the day. It is where I learnt to love beer. After our morning toast with sprinkles and that strong Dutch coffee with creamy koffiemelk,(more) your dad would offer us a dubbel from his pantry on his way out to weed the garden. Just a taste, you said, sharing it with me to make room for the trippel that would follow.
That house, its garden, that's where you and I made a cold avocado soup from unripe avocados, dessert for four from a can of frozen coconut cream and fresh berries. That's where I saw the first photo of you when we were getting to know each other, announcing a year after you'd left that you were back to the land of bikes and little frogs jumping in your parents' pond.
It's where we pored through Diane Arbus' photobooks and snuck in a little shot of something with the 8 pm family coffee around the TV. It's where I learnt to eat cheese, crackers and fig cakes, and to take sheer pleasure in the hedonism of a weekend well-spent. But mostly, it's where I found the warmth of family in a flame, so beautifully absorbed into yours while being so constantly, continentally away from mine.(less)