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kurosaki is a vocal kisser. reiji is mildly surprised that he expected kurosaki to be anything else. everything about kurosaki is loud, grounded in a present built from some far or fleeting past: the curl of his fingers in serena’s hair; the crease at the back of serena’s jacket where kurosaki’s fingers once held; the bob of kurosaki’s adam’s apple, his audible swallow as he kisses serena, allows serena to smooth her own hands along his shoulders. 

in stark contrast, serena’s touches are almost soundless, the absence of evidence almost unbearable in its gentleness. serena touches the way she kisses: soft, searching. re-affirming, almost. endeavouring for familiarity, organic or forged.

reiji has made a pastime of validating all of serena’s endeavours.

still, serena doesn’t instigate. how much of this decision is truly serena’s decision, however, reiji may never learn. the information remains rather difficult to determine, between kurosaki’s chronic inability to verbalise himself properly, and kurosaki’s constant fury at reiji’s distaste for verbalising himself politely.

it matters little, in the end. serena and kurosaki continue kissing, serena shifting so she properly straddles kurosaki, one leg on either side of his lap. kurosaki’s voice grows louder. if serena has any complaints regarding their situation, she doesn’t voice them. in this respect the three of them are the same.

then, a quiet sound: serena’s.

reiji narrows his eyes, attention drawn to kurosaki’s hands over serena’s, now settled against his neck, fingers splaying across kurosaki’s throat.

ah. so the sound was hesitation, after all.

if they are still kissing reiji cannot hear it, the momentum that tugs kurosaki to serena tempered by her careful, careful hold of his throat, thumbs tracing circles on kurosaki’s skin. she tilts her head, cheek brushing kurosaki’s jaw.

reiji doesn’t need to imagine the ghost-flutter of serena’s lashes against skin, the brush of her hair well-remembered, vicariously lived.

kurosaki meets reiji’s eyes over serena’s shoulder. reiji stares back. seemingly content leaving reiji to his own devices, kurosaki closes his eyes, hands leaving serena’s to draw her mouth back to his.

reiji leaves his perch by the door, leaning back against the wall behind kurosaki. serena’s posture stays unchanged. it is possible serena hasn’t noticed him yet.

it is possible, but not very likely.

the corners of reiji’s mouth twist upward.

from his new vantage point, he can see the moment serena presses her thumbs against kurosaki’s throat. her eyes are half-open, peering up at kurosaki. kurosaki’s eyes are still shut.

“you can press down harder,” kurosaki says. his voice cracks over the word harder. reiji resists the urge to keep him talking, voice fumbling over every syllable.

he’s about to speak anyway when serena murmurs against kurosaki’s mouth, “i needed to hear you say it.”

kurosaki, predictably, kisses her again before responding.

“and now you’ve heard it.”

“watch your mouth,” reiji adds. he rests his weight against his side, hip knocking against kurosaki’s shoulder. kurosaki growls. serena looks up at him.

“reiji,” she says. warns.

reiji hums and heeds her unspoken warning easily, satisfied. reiji’s surname is only ever a means of address when serena is genuinely upset; minor annoyances are nothing–take, for example, kurosaki, who has joined serena in glaring at reiji.

there is nothing minor about kurosaki’s glare.

sensing another–clumsy, heartfelt–outburst, reiji says, “careful, kurosaki. you won’t get anything like that.”

kurosaki stills, a movement aborted before it comes to fruition. serena sweep a thumb across his neck, trailing down toward his clavicle. kurosaki swallows.

“there,” reiji murmurs. “think you could keep that still for serena? we both know you won’t keep quiet.”

“reiji,” serena says again. there is no warning to her tone, this time.

kurosaki’s head tips forward, ducking into the dip between serena’s neck and shoulder. his hands roam down serena’s sides, settling on her thighs.

serena lets out a breath, repositioning her hands on kurosaki’s neck. she’s still looking at reiji.

reiji moves, too, taking advantage of kurosaki leaning forward to work a leg over his shoulder before sliding down behind him properly, huffing with amusement when kurosaki grunts and nudges back into him, not very gently.

“let me?” reiji asks serena, who hums, head turning to leave kisses on whichever part of kurosaki’s face she can reach. reiji lets his hands rest over the top of serena’s.

kurosaki jerks up, slow enough that he doesn’t knock into serena or jostle her or reiji’s hands.

reiji leans forward, lips very close to kurosaki’s ear.

“like this,” he breathes, pressing down over serena’s hands, digging into kurosaki’s throat. he gives in immediately, air rushing out in a ragged exhale.

serena’s hands are warm.

then there’s movement, serena’s hips rolling forward, an almost grind that mostly brings her even closer to kurosaki. reiji squeezes her hands, and kurosaki groans, serena ducking in to steal it directly from his mouth.

reiji can feel the shape of their kiss, registers each rise and fall, as he leans around kurosaki to brush his mouth–quickly, faintly–over serena’s hair.

his mouth meets her temple instead, serena tilting her head to meet his eyes. kurosaki tilts his head, too, cheek bumping into reiji’s jaw. it doesn’t hurt.

serena smiles, and for a moment briefer than a moment reiji imagines she’ll say something, kurosaki tensing up against reiji, not uncomfortably–

–and the moment passes, drifting phantom-like and unspoken, leaving reiji with only the moment occurring before him, within him. the truth of it, crystallised and almost tangible, between the curve of reiji into kurosaki’s spine, serena leaning towards them both, meeting them somewhere in-between.