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This Is Where It Starts

Chapter Text

Admittedly when Kyo had thrown out the suggestion for dinner, he’d honestly never expected Ruki to agree. Then again, he hadn’t expected Ruki to actually continue their “conversation” for as long as he had in the first place, but as Kyo has quickly started to learn... Ruki was a mess of contradictories.

For one thing, he looks like he’s still in junior high. Pretending to be tough by wearing dark, gothic clothes and a face full of makeup, hair multi-colored and spiking out, numerous piercings and jewelry hanging off him – all of it, the whole image, just screamed stereotypical visual kei. It was cute. And those big lips and that deer-in-the-headlights look made Ruki seem even cuter.

It was his cute, innocent facade that lead to Kyo’s current dilemma.

When he had met up with Ruki outside of the restaurant, Kyo was fully anticipating Ruki having a total freak out. Ever since their popularity seemed to have shot through the roof these last two years, Kyo has had some pretty intense first meetings with people, even from other bands. Anything from people going completely mute to breaking down in front of him in a crazy mess of tears and gibberish – Kyo was almost used to it by now. He had been swinging back and forth on whether Ruki would be the silent type or if he’d try the macho angle when he thought of meeting the other singer for the first time. From their texts, Kyo got the impression that Ruki could be quite stubborn, refusing to lose or back down from any challenge.

Instead, Ruki had looked straight at him after Kyo had called out to him and calmly stated, “Well at least you’re not a liar.” And proceeded to walk inside the restaurant without turning back to see if Kyo was even following him.

No hi, hello or otherwise. No nice to meet you or I’m such a big fan. None of that.

Kyo was... stunned, helpless to do anything but follow the young man inside. The two were greeted by a host almost immediately before being shown to an open table, all without a word from Kyo still. Once seated, Ruki calmly sat there going over his menu with mild interest seemingly unaware of the awkward silence than had descended upon the table. Or maybe he was just ignoring it. Or just Kyo - it was hard to say.

Finally lifting his eyes up from the laminated pages, Ruki paused in the middle of reaching for the customary glass of water provided when he noticed Kyo staring at him. “What?”

“Y’know,” Kyo started out with a long drawl. Menu completely ignored as he set his chin in hand so that he could put even more weight behind his stare. “I’ve only know you for a short while, but you’re probably the rudest person I have ever met. Congratulations.”

“Thank you ever so fucking much for your approval,” Ruki practically hissed. “But is there any specific reason why you feel the need to label me as such?”

Kyo didn’t even have to say anything for that one, just continued to give Ruki a blank stare with only a raised eyebrow to emphasize his point.

Kissing his teeth, Ruki turned his eyes away for just a brief moment. Kyo wondered if he did it to avoid his eyes or to gather himself, before Ruki let out this long, deep sigh. “You’re right. I’ve been acting really boorish towards you. I’m sorry.”

“Apology accepted.” Not that it seemed to help with Ruki’s mood. It was obvious to Kyo now that something was wrong. Ruki had been feisty during their texts earlier, but nothing from that time lead Kyo to believe that Ruki would be this disrespectful to his senior, much less a near complete stranger. Perhaps he really didn’t like going out. It would explain why he was so adamant earlier that he doesn’t date. Still, dinner would be absolute painful to sit through if he had to pull nails just to get Ruki to talk to him or even interact with him in a somewhat pleasant manner.

“How about we start over?” Kyo suggested suddenly. Ruki’s eyes snapping up from this place lost outside the window. “Hi, I’m Kyo. Thank you for accepting my offer for dinner tonight even though you’d rather be anywhere else but here.”

An involuntary snort seemed to escape Ruki before he could control it. “That’s not—I mean— Hi, I’m Ruki. Thank you for asking me out to dinner. I honestly thought you were just messing around with me earlier. I didn’t actually think you’d take me to dinner.”

“Yet here we are,” Kyo helpfully pointed out.

“Well, I also might have agreed to this to have an excuse to be away from the concert venue for a little while longer.” Just the tiniest blush graced Ruki’s face at that statement. It was cute.

There was that word again.

“Segawa still pretty upset over your letdown from earlier?”

“Seguchi-san,” Ruki corrected immediately. “And yes. He was still really upset over our failed... lunch.”

“You still can even call it a date?” Kyo snorted. “Poor guy.”

Glaring, Ruki quickly snatched up his menu again seeing their waitress headed their way. “Whatever. Can we talk about something else now?”

Kyo let the conversation die off there, for now, allowing Ruki the chance to place his order with the waitress in peace. Not even bothering to look at his menu, Kyo rattled off his order to the woman before handing it over. He’d been here enough times now that even with his scatterbrain he could comfortably order without second guessing himself or reading the provided menu.

“So are you banned from the venue because you made Seiichi cry? Or is it because you turned him down?”

“What—No!? I wasn’t banned, I just... Needed some space.” Ruki sputtered, just barely managing to keep his volume down in his surprise.

Kyo saw right through it.

“I thought we agreed to talk about something else?” Ruki snapped.

“I made no such agreement. Besides, part of the reason I resent my offer for dinner – after you turned me down the first time, I might add – was solely because you promised me some Seijun pain.”

Seguchi—“

“Like I care,” Kyo pressed, hand land out across the table to motion to Ruki. “C’mon. Give it up.”

“What if I said no?” Ruki huffed, crossing his arms and leaning back in his chair to put even more distance between them. Stubborn, challenging; just like Kyo had predicted he would be.

Silence fell over them as Kyo let the moment hang.

“Are you?” Kyo asked quietly.

For a moment Ruki seemed to debate with himself. Kyo could see it in his mind as he mentally played out the next few seconds before he straightened in his seat. One leg casually crossing over the other in a pose that suggested he was more comfortable than his face or attitude said. “I’m not sharing anything until after dinner, so behave or I’m leaving regardless if that means giving up a free meal.”

“I never behave,” Kyo smirked, oddly pleased that Ruki hadn’t caved into his demands right away.

Still he finally let Ruki have his way and allowed him to change the subject. Kyo was honestly worried he try for mundane topics like if he was enjoying the weather or if he liked the city, or some such pitiful nonsense. Instead Ruki immediately delved into recounting how he and his band mates had gotten lost earlier today because they took the wrong street after arriving at Namba Station. Which was ironic. The first time Dir en grey traveled to Osaka to perform they had done the very same thing.

“Maybe that’s how they weed out the morons. Can’t find the venue? Shame, guess you can’t perform. Better luck next time.”

“Poor sense of direction has nothing to do with someone’s musical talents, Kyo.” Ruki scoffed, taking another sip of his water. “Besides, we didn’t get lost because we couldn’t navigate a map or find the venue. We were given the wrong street address.”

“I think they do it on purpose,”

Obviously Ruki didn’t believe him if that snort and roll of his eyes were any indication. Undeterred, Ruki continued his retelling of their first time visiting Osaka in an official capacity. Sure, he’d been to the city before – more like traveled through it – so it wasn’t anything too new to him. It was more exciting for the band and their careers as the venue they were performing in was pretty large compared to what they were used to. Which brought back Kyo to his earlier thoughts of Ruki being too young; the band had barely gotten their feet wet in the music scene but it seemed they were starting to really draw in the fans. Impressive honestly, Kyo had heard from Miyavi about the Gazette before this. Just little bits and pieces, but after sitting here with Ruki he could come to understand more about the magnetic draw Miyavi claimed they had.

Or at least one part of the band.

Before Kyo realized it, the two had worked their way through their dinners, Ruki had even somehow managed to talk him into dessert and coffee just as easily as he goaded Kyo into sharing his own stories about his band’s first experiences in Osaka. And through the entire meal Kyo found himself to actually be enjoying it. Not just the food, but the company as well. Kyo hadn’t sat through an entire meal with someone else that wasn’t part of his circle of acquaintances in such comfort in what felt like ages. Normally Kyo would have been making his excuses and fleeing two bites into the meal either due to the awkwardness or to get away from their overzealous attentions. It was the whole reason he picked 6 o’clock for their dinner in case he needed to cite the live show as an excuse to leave early. Sure, he didn’t need to be there until 8:30 but most people wouldn’t argue about the timing. What he hadn’t expected was for Ruki to be so interesting.

Instead, Kyo found himself strangely disappointed that their “date” was coming to an end.

“Shit,” Ruki suddenly said as they were leaving the restaurant and getting ready to head their separate ways. “I forgot I was going to let you listen to my voicemail. Do you think we have enough time? It’s kind of long,” His cheap little flip phone held up between them like an offering and a little pout on those full lips. It was cute.

There’s that word again.

“Nah,” Kyo shrugged, surprising Ruki if his widened eyes were any indication. “You can let me listen to it next time.”

“Next time?” Ruki blinked, confused.

“Yep,” Even if there wasn’t an actual next time, Kyo found he was okay with that. It was an excuse to text and tease Ruki again later about another little date. Not that he needed an excuse, but whatever.

With a casual wave over his shoulder, Kyo bid Ruki goodbye and good luck with his own show. “Try not to break anymore hearts on your way back, Ice Queen.”

“Ugh. You’re such an ass,” Ruki grumbled from behind him before saying his own goodbye and hailing a taxi to take him back to his own venue. It brought a smile to Kyo’s lips as he turned the corner and tried to focus his mind on more important things, not Ruki kind of things that is. Was later tonight too early to text a potential... something just to annoy them? Maybe. He’ll wait until tomorrow afternoon and see how he feels then.

Chapter Text

Anyway, I’m hungry and you’re free. Wanna get lunch together?

Sure, but I can’t stay long.
Did you have a place in mind?

Mos Burgers.

Again?

I’m paying you have no choice.

I can pay for my own food Kyo.
Besides what if I wanted to go somewhere else?

Tough.

Ugh.
You are, quite possibly, the BIGGEST asshole I have ever met.

But fine.
I’ll keep you company while you scarf down a multitude of greasy hamburgers in an attempt to kill yourself.

Great.
I’ll meet you out front.

-*-*-*-*-

Ruki honestly wasn’t quite sure how this kept happening. Going on two months now, he and Kyo have been texting each other off and on. At first it was just quick little messages and snappy comments as they both progressed through their respective tours that ranged from asking about each other’s day to Ruki’s massive rant about why orange and blue is a valid color combination – so fuck you Kyo. But recently its grown into the two of them meeting up for a cup of coffee here, a late dinner there, an hour long smoke break when Ruki’s tour took him close to where Kyo was that day. They made time to see each other.

Now here he was once again, getting ready to meet up with Kyo for another lunch. Ruki couldn’t have been more excited.

Sure, Kyo was probably the weirdest person Ruki had ever met. He was super opinionated and could be quite stuck in his ways, but he was smart and funny in a dark and twisted way. Ruki’s never run out of things he can talk to Kyo about – he just has so many thoughts and ideas, and if he doesn’t, Kyo’s perfectly content listening to Ruki go on and on about things that he finds fascinating. It’s quite possibly the easiest friendship Ruki has ever fallen into since he met Reita and Uruha.

But mostly because for as great as Reita and Uruha could be, super goofy fucks that they are, they certainly didn’t have that same darkness lurking inside their minds like Kyo and Ruki seemed to. That churning mess of thoughts from viewing the harsh realities of the world to the horrid experiences and black emotions that rolled over a person in their darkest hour. Kyo could talk about that and still walk out of the building with that infernal smirk on his face like they hadn’t just been discussion society’s pitfalls over some beer and yakitori. Well… Water and juice in Ruki’s case, but he didn’t begrudge the older man his occasional beers. With Dir en grey’s increasing popularity, the new single coming out, and the demands of another tour getting ready to begin any day now, Kyo was a busy man and any chance he had to relax and take some time for himself he did so with vigor. Beer just helped him achieve maximum relaxation in a faction of that time.

That or it could just be spending time with Ruki.

This just reaffirms Ruki’s idea that Kyo is a weirdo; why spend time with a relative unknown visual kei singer when he could be hanging out with much bigger names. The band was getting offers from all over the country and even outside of the country to play in their venues and concert halls for Christ’s sake. He didn’t need to be catering to Ruki’s childish exciting over their band first official studio album – been there, done that a couple times over by now.

No. It had to be the beer.

A snap of fingers in front of his face suddenly jolted Ruki out of his spiraling thoughts, “Damn princess. Were you that mesmerized by the concrete or is there something I should know about this spot?”

“Huh?” Ruki fumbled. “What—No, I was just lost in thought.”

“Thinking about me?” Kyo threw out casually with a waggle of his eyebrows as he started making his way towards the brightly lit fast food chain Kyo had been dying for.

“You wish,”

“Aww, that hurts Ru-chan.” Kyo snarked, pulling Ruki through the crowd that had gathered inside the sliding glass doors and making their way to the counter.

As soon as there was an open register, Kyo rushed forward to place their order. Sometimes the man acted like he was starving and other times he wouldn’t touch a thing. It was bizarre. Still at this point Kyo didn’t even need to ask Ruki what he wanted, their same orders rolling off his tongue as quickly as he was handing over his cash; another thing that Kyo didn’t bother asking about anymore. It wasn’t that Ruki was broke or anything, he made a decent amount of money that allowed him some pocket change for outings, but with as often as they’ve been meeting up and hanging out at restaurants and shops, Ruki’s monthly funds were dwindling fast.

When he had made mention of the two of them meeting up at cheaper places, Kyo had been suspicious but thankfully kept his mouth shut. At least that was one embarrassment Ruki could avoid in front of the older singer. Only now Kyo’s taken it upon himself to start paying for everything from food and drinks to little knick knacks if Ruki spends too long staring at them in the shops. Ruki’s tried to argue against it, he’s even tried to pay Kyo back, but the man is stubborn. The best he’s been able to do was get Kyo to agree that the person paying is the person who asks the other out.

It kind of works – if Kyo didn’t somehow always twist things around to sound like he was the one who asked even if Ruki was the one to suggest it. Maybe he should start buying snacks and little cakes to bring with him to shove at the older man as a sign of gratitude. Expect Kyo probably wouldn’t take them considering he’s as bad at accepting gifts as he is at giving out heartfelt compliments.

“So what’s in the other bag?” Ruki questioned following Kyo as the older man forced his way through the same crowd to get to a secluded, open patio table nearby.

“Trash,” Kyo instantly snapped back. Crumbling up the bag and tossing it onto the table without even opening it. Which meant it was something Kyo didn’t want Ruki knowing about. It had to be something humiliating; it’s the only explanation Ruki could think of, especially when the woman at the register had handed it over to Kyo with a such a bright blush.

“Uh huh,” Ruki didn’t believe the lie for even a second. Snatching up the crumbled ball, Ruki pulled open the mashed out bag and reached inside to pull out a handful of… paper? “What the—?”

“You’re a smart boy Ruki. I’m sure you can figure it out,”

“She gave you a bag of phone numbers?” Ruki blinked in shock. More and more slips of paper with hasty scribbled notes and yes, phone numbers, continued to fall out as Ruki overturned it onto the table. There had to be at least twenty of them, maybe more. Ignoring his own sandwich Kyo had pushed across the table at him, Ruki picked up a bright pink sticky note out of the mass before him.

“Probably from every girl behind that counter. Possibly some of the guys too,” Kyo muttered darkly between bites of beef, bread and cheese.

“Does that upset you?”

“What?”

“That some of these might have been from men?” Ruki asked still waving the bright colored sticky note as emphasis.

“I could care less if it came from a guy or a fucking alien.” Kyo snapped. “What I don’t like is being constantly hounded with attention just because the band is famous.”

“Being part of that band makes you famous too Kyo. Isn’t that one of the biggest reasons people join bands – to get famous?” Ruki teased, finally opening the wrapper around his own food.

“Not me,” With a last shove of his finger, Kyo finished the first of his burgers. Jesus that man could put away some food. Crumbling up the wrapper and tossing it on top of the love notes, Kyo completely pretending there weren’t even there as he reached over to steal one of Ruki’s tomatoes from his salad.

For all the times Kyo makes fun of Ruki for being the only crazy person to actual order real vegetables as his side, Kyo certainly ate just as much of it as Ruki did.

“Are you saying that you’d still be in a band even if you never got famous or anyone showed up?”

“I joined a band to express my emotions and thoughts through music. Even if no one showed up, I’d still be in a band.” Kyo shrugged, hunger calmed enough that he could slowly consume his second sandwich. “Not that I’d get far since I don’t know how to play an instrument, but maybe I could try being a solo a cappella artist.” He laughed.

And Kyo was probably bullheaded enough to actually do it. “I’m not buying you food if you crash and burn as a solo artist.”

“Gee, thanks brat.”

“Anytime asshole,”

He really hadn’t meant to take such a long break. Ruki had promised the guys he’d be back within the hour to go over arrangements on their newest song. With the impending date for the studio album looming in the distance, the band has been working extra hard to deliver some new material for their fans, new and old. However, the pressure to make everything perfect was getting in the way of them actually making the song they way they always have. Too focused on trying to be technical that the sound wasn’t them, in fact, it barely sounded like something they would write in the first place. It was all Ruki could focus on; already he had them rearrange the song twice now. This last time was supposed to be the final mix before sending it off to be mastered and finished by their producer.

Ruki forgot all about it whilst Kyo reenacted his latest prank on Toshiya where he had saran wrapped all of the bassist’s equipment in the studio and then later on hid his bass when he’d left to go to the toilet during rehearsals. Completely tricking him into believing he had left it in the other room and just couldn’t find it for nearly ten minutes straight.

A chime of Kyo’s phone broke the spell that had descended over the two – a message from his band leader, asking him where he was no doubt. “Need to go?” And no Ruki was not pouting about it.

For a moment Kyo seemed to just stare at his phone, obviously contemplation something before he turned off the screen, leaving the message unread. “Nah, its fine. Anyway, I haven’t even told you the best part. Toshiya was absolutely losing his shit, right? But Die, genius that he thinks he is, starts suggesting that maybe…”

Twice more Kyo’s phone rang off as the story continued. Each time Kyo glanced at it but didn’t answer. After the last message, the older man snatched up his phone with a low mutter under his breath before Kyo turning it off and stuffing his phone deep inside his pocket. No chance of being bothered now.

“Maybe you should answer—“

“So you guys are going back on tour soon right? Do you have all your venues set up already?”

“Pretty much,” Reaching into his backpack, Ruki pulled out his planner where he had listed out all the times, places and dates for their upcoming tour. He’d also included all their confirmed hotels and check in times for transport, all nicely color coordinated and organized so he could refer to it at again given moment.

“You’re such a boy scout.” Kyo teased, seeing Ruki’s planner. Fuck, he even had tabs to distinguish if it was a live, interview, or studio session in his neat, little calendar. Ignoring Ruki’s cry to fuck off as he stole the notebook, Kyo looked to see where all the Gazette would be touring. “Got a pen?”

“Huh? Oh, yeah!” Another quick look into his backpack and Ruki was offering Kyo the first ball point he could find. Curious as he watched Kyo write in something amongst the pages.

“Kyo… What are you writing in there?”

“Nothing,”

“Kyo,” Ruki warned as he tried to take back the planner. There’s no telling what mischief the older man was trying to play on him. God, he should have never handed him something so important in the first place.

After a few more failed attempts, Ruki was successful in prying the notebook away – or maybe Kyo let him take it, it was hard to tell. Quickly flipping through the upcoming days to see what Kyo messed with or changed only... Ruki couldn’t really see anything different, not at first at least. It wasn’t until he reached the month of September that Ruki found where Kyo had made additions, by that he means finding Kyo’s name written in for either every lunch or dinner slot.

“Kyo,” Ruki laughed. “You are not taking me out every day in September. For one, that’s expensive and two, that’s dumb. You can just call me when you get lonely you dumbass.”

“I don’t like talking on the phone.”

Rolling his eyes, Ruki snagged his pen back from Kyo before putting away his supplies and collecting up their trash to dispose of. Whilst he had been digging through his bag earlier, Ruki had noticed a few missed messages on his own phone that he really needed to answer. Both from Kai and his manager, but he wasn’t going to answer them while hanging out with Kyo. Still, it meant that he really needed to go now and unlike Kyo, he was mature enough to know when to call things quit.

“You don’t like anything,” he said instead of the goodbye he planned.

“Fair point. Still, since you have the time we should hang out more. Maybe we can go see that Infection movie that’s coming out October 2nd or something?”

“Yeah, sure. I’d be pretty excited to do that.” And really he would. Not only because of his love for horror films, but because spending an entire day with Kyo honestly sounds amazing. “I’ll have to do that thing you hate – y’know, texting – and get back to you later. I need to head back to the studio now.”

And really, he did need to go. But that pout on Kyo’s face was just so cute. Maybe he could stick around for just a little longer?

Another chime made that decision for Ruki. “Right. I’ll talk to you later Kyo. Behave,” he called out with a quick wave and a hasty retreat.

“I never behave!” Kyo called out to him as he threw away their trash and made his way to the exit gate. Which was so true – Kyo never behaved.

Chapter Text

“I mean it this time Kyo,” Practically marching the younger man into the room before him, Kaoru gave Kyo one of the sternest looks could muster as he motioned him to park his rebellious ass in the chair and stay. “I’m getting tired of chasing you down to work.”

“Welcome to the party, mini-man!” Die laughed. More than overjoyed to see Kyo get scolded like a little kid by their band leader. That and Die was just that excited in general, like a puppy, only large and red.

Flipping off the redhead as soon Kaoru took his eyes off him Kyo added, “Sorry. Couldn’t find those extra large tampons you needed to soak up your extra shitty attitude. A friend needed my help.”

“If by help you mean trying to find their tonsils with your tongue, then sure, I understand perfectly.”

“Fuck you,”

“So how far did you get before Kaoru tore you guys apart? Second base? All the way?!” Die pressed, absolutely way too excited to hear about the details of his meet up with Ruki in Kyo’s opinion. Mostly because he had no idea the person Kyo kept disappearing on them to see happened to be another man.

Not that it made a different, there was anything to tell after all. It wasn’t like Kyo and Ruki were… dating or making out or doing anything weird between two men. They weren’t like that. They’d only been lying out on Kyo’s couch, bundled up together under a bunch of blankets and pillows as they watched movies since Kyo had the better TV. It only made sense then for them to be at Kyo’s place. Especially when Kyo had finally gotten Ruki to agree to watch all the old Star Wars movies, it had been a task and a half for Kyo as Ruki wasn’t too keen on sci-fi films. They just weren’t his favorite genre and after he agreed to Kyo’s wheedling he wasn’t going to let him back out for any reason. So they binged watched them all night and then they started on the new ones, and because he was on a roll Kyo had just started them on Star Trek. One day Ruki will learn the beauty of sci-fi and mecha films, one day.

Of course, things had gotten kind of awkward when Kaoru literally stormed into his apartment and shoved Kyo into his shoes and jacket before dragging him all the way to the studio. Ruki had been surprised to say the least as he watched the two older men argue and squabble about before Kaoru eventually kicked him out of the apartment too. Kyo wasn’t too proud of that moment. And from the short, stilted texts Kyo had been getting from Ruki, he imagined Ruki was feeling the second hand embarrassment as well. Chances are Ruki would be too embarrassed and likely wouldn’t be agree to another meet up for a least a day or two.

Which just pissed Kyo off and now to come in and have Die of all people accuse him of sleeping with Ruki? He was beyond furious. Just because Kyo would rather be at home watching movies with Ruki didn’t mean anything. Die had tons of friends outside of work and they never jumped to the conclusion that he was sleeping with any of them. Granted, if they happened to actual be women then yes, mostly likely Die had slept with them, but that's besides the point. The point was that this was all bullshit.

“If you two knuckleheads are done trading stories about Kyo’s latest conquest—“ What the actual fuck? Did everyone here think he was sleeping with Ruki or something? “We have work that needs to be done,” Kaoru said from his seat next to Yoshinori, their producer. “We’re already behind schedule enough as it is thanks to someone’s frequent disappearing acts.”

Knowing everyone was giving him pointed looks didn’t help Kyo’s rapidly declining mood. Fuck them. If Kyo wanted to spend time with Ruki doing whatever the hell he liked, whether that was eating dinner or even… sleeping with him, that was his choice. It’s not as if every member of the band needed to be present for every studio session and they didn’t have any rehearsals schedule until next week since they only had two completed songs to work on and tour wasn’t for another month. Hell, they weren’t even sure if they were ready to start compiling stuff together for another album just yet, so they had nothing to complain about. He wasn’t missing out on anything, just them fucking around on a handful of songs that could very well get tossed aside once Kaoru and their producer really started buckling down to work on the album. Plus, he could just as easily get a recap of the previous day from Shinya, no problem. They act as if Kyo is completely forgoing the band to spend time with Ruki. Which was stupid. He was still working on his parts, albeit at a much later time than the others, and all the team meetings and conferences he'd skipped out on were things he would have slept through anyway. So why did it matter so much?

He should just leave.

Only there’d be no point now. Ruki was gone, embarrassed enough by getting thrown out of Kyo’s apartment like a stray dog than a person, and Kyo didn’t want to add more fuel to the fire. All he needed to do was suck it up long enough to get Kaoru off his back and then he was out of here. Maybe he’d take a nap or go work out some. But he needed to get out of here first, possibly sneak out the break room window if it came down to it. God, he sounded like a teenager trying to get past his overbearing parents who just grounded him.

Kaoru must have sensed on some level what Kyo was planning. Because not long after he started pretending to go over the sheet music for their latest song, Kyo was graced by the calming presence of Shinya. One of the few people Kyo could tolerate for long periods of time. Probably because he didn’t stick his nose into everyone’s business as if it belonged there. Still, with Shinya here to watch over him – and Kyo was so onto Kaoru about that – it meant he had to legitimately start working on the song now. Because Shinya would want to go over everything and Kyo wasn’t angry at him so he may as well be productive.

“Are you all right Kyo-kun?”

“Fucking peachy,” Kyo hissed.

“Yes, I can see that.” Shinya laughed nervously as he watched Kyo start stabbing at his notebook with a pen instead of just simply writing down his characters. But he let the conversation die off. Because Shinya doesn’t push, he never does.

It’s why Kyo suddenly found himself blurting out, “They think I’m sleeping with Ruki.”

“Are you?”

“No!” He practically screamed but settled down after a getting the evil eye from Kaoru. Who cares?! He was more shocked that Shinya would even ask something like that. As if he hasn’t known him for nearly half his life to know that Kyo’s not gay. He would never be attracted to a guy. Never. It was impossible – no, it was stupid – and Shinya knows that. They all knew that. They’d just lost their fucking minds temporary, that’s all.

Shinya just gives him a long look, nervously fiddling with the end of his sleeve in that restless manner of his. “It’s just… I haven’t seen you this interested in somebody in a long time.”

“That doesn’t automatically mean I’m sleeping with him!”

“Y’know, it’s all right if you are. Or even if you wanted to. No one here will judge you any differently Kyo-kun, not if you really do like Ruki-kun in that way.”

That was bullshit. They were judging him even now. Kyo could see it in the whispers and muffled laughter Toshiya and Die shared as they looked at him. Kaoru’s judgmental stare every time his eyes swept over the room to make sure they were still are present. “Who said anything about—“

“You used to do the same thing,” Shinya cut in. Because he knew Kyo, he how much he fought against any new emotions. Clenching his fist, Shinya firmed up his voice to ensure Kyo would listen to him even if he couldn’t really meet his eyes. “Back when you first started liking Rin. You were the same way.”

And he’s right. Fuck, he’s right.

Kyo is acting like he had with Rin back when they first started to get to know each other. Kyo had been crushing on her so hard then but he was too shy to say or do anything. So he found other ways to be with her. He would find some excuse, any excuse, to be near her or to get her to spend time with him. Didn’t matter what time or day, or if he had things he needed to do. Hell, Kyo’s canceled rehearsals and even quit a band just because he wanted to be with her. Rin had lapped it up. Thought it was so sweet that Kyo wanted to dedicate so much of his time to her, for her.

He’s acting like a love sick fool over someone showing him attention. That’s all it was. Because he certainly wasn’t in love with Ruki – no possible way – because that meant Kyo had feelings for a man. Which he didn’t. And he wasn’t being a dumbass and acting like a fool, the same way he had with Rin. Only that wasn’t exactly true. Because he here was again skipping work and calling out of rehearsals for another person. Kaoru had literally just forced him off his couch to come to work. How fucking stupid was that shit?

No.

He wasn’t doing this again. He wasn’t letting someone else ruin everything that he had worked so hard for. Definitely not for a man.

Not even if that man was Ruki.

A buzz in his pocket jolted him from his internal freak out.

Is Kaoru-san still upset?

Kyo was frozen.

Given your lack of response, I’m going to take that as a yes.
Guess we’ll have to do a rain check on movie night?

God. He should answer back. He should. But for a moment all the flashed through Kyo’s mind was images of Rin. Her pleased smile the first time Kyo asked her out, that blush she’d always get whenever Kyo would buy her something, the look of shock and horror on her face when Kyo had come home early and found her in bed with his best friend.

Shame. I was having a lot of fun.
I’ll text you later to let you know when I have another free day.
Good luck with the angry beast Kyo!

This was a disaster.

Chapter Text

It's been nearly three weeks since the last time Kyo and Ruki spoke.

No, that’s wrong.

It’s been nearly three weeks since Kyo’s responded to any of Ruki’s messages or phone calls. Three weeks Kyo’s been drowning himself in guilt and shame over what he had been doing, was still doing. Why was he such a screw up? Completely messed up or not, but that didn’t stop Kyo from reading all of the texts and listening to the voice messages.

That was probably the worst part about what he’s done.

At first, Ruki hadn’t noticed anything different. They’re both busy men working hard on their music and touring, interviews, photo shoots, the whole nine yards… It was easy to assume that Kyo hadn’t gotten back to him yet because work had just been piling up. Or maybe that Kaoru was pushing him harder to make up for lost time. It’s happened before after all, no reason to suspect otherwise.

Back then, Ruki still continued to send Kyo updates about how his day went. How many people showed up at their lives, the new pair of sunglasses he bought himself despite not really having the money for them, the weird cat that kept staring at him through his hotel window in Niigata. For every new detail Ruki shared, he would ask about Kyo’s day. If he was still downing cheeseburgers like they were going out of style, if Shinya had gotten that cute little sweater vest for Miyuu that he’d sent Kyo pictures of, or if he was still being an asshole to everyone. Truly Ruki didn’t understand just how accurate that last little tease was; worse that Kyo wasn’t putting on an act.

Maybe because it was driving Kyo insane not responding back is the reason he continued to listen to them, sometimes even repeating a few.

Everything in his being wanted to reply back. There were so many things Kyo wanted to say. So many times he had grabbed his phone in the middle of doing – anything really – unable to help himself from wanting to tell Ruki. But each time he stopped himself, a flash of her face reminding him why he couldn’t do this. Part of him was telling him not to give in; it’ll only end in pain, his pain. Even if Kyo were interested in men there’s no way he and Ruki could work. They were too different, they were both men, they were too busy, just… Everything stood in the way. But he wasn’t interested in men, so there should have been no reason for Kyo to struggle like this.

They were friends. Nothing more, nothing less.

But then another part of him, some small lonely piece of him would beg for Kyo to reach out right now. Ruki would understand. After he explained and begged for mercy. Knowing Ruki he’d probably also have to grovel a little bit – or a lot – because Ruki was not forgiving in his judgments. And like nothing happened they would fall back into that easy pattern they’d developed in just a few shorts months. In the back of his mind, though Kyo would always have those thoughts circling around. Over and over, Kyo ran it through his head all the different ways this could blow up in his face.

All the while Kyo would listen to every message that Ruki sent him to torture himself even more, but mostly because he missed Ruki. His favorites were the short ones; over caffeinated good mornings to slurred and sweet good nights. Kyo saved each and every one to his phone like a loser in high school with a crush. Until they changed.

With Kyo’s continued silence, of course Ruki would start to get worried. They’d gone from texting each other multiple times a day to absolute silence, who wouldn’t get concerned? The worst part wasn’t even Ruki asking him if he was all right. It was the little messages Ruki would send to cheer him up. Short and goofy movie quotes or a stupid image of random shit and it was driving the knife in harder. Because Ruki wanted to make Kyo’s day better in whatever way he could. He still hadn’t truly realized just what a horrible person Kyo was. It made that lonely spot in his chest ache despite how much he pushed it away. Buried it in sheet music and blurred lines.

Kyo knew the moment Ruki began to realize what he had done. Because that last message had been dark, angry… But so quiet Kyo had to press the phone up to his ear on full volume to really make out Ruki’s words.

“You’re such a piece of shit. If you have a problem with me, or my friends or the band – whatever it is, you need to say it to my face instead of hiding Kyo. I deserve more than that from you. I deserve better.”

And then there was nothing.

Kyo hated that more than he was starting to hate himself.

-*-*-*-*-

“I’m sure if you just explained things, Ruki-kun would be willing to forgive you.” Sweet, innocent naïve Shinya; he really had no idea how quickly Ruki would tear him apart if Kyo tried telling him he was ignoring him because he might have feelings. And then he would absolutely crush him underfoot once Ruki realized Kyo didn’t even know what those feelings were, but still wanted to possess – to own – Ruki. Was it love? Friendship? Kyo’s loneliness projecting ideas of love onto the first person to show him interest outside of his known friends and family?

Kyo would like to know.

Hell, he wasn’t even certain anymore of what his feelings for Ruki were anymore. It was all just this mass of painful edges and guilt mixed in with so much else he couldn’t even begin to pull it apart. Kyo certainly wasn’t going to take the chance and discover his biggest fear was true, that he was starting to care for Ruki in that way. One colossal fuck up of a relationship was plenty enough for him thank you very much. It had taken him years after Rin to find a balance between his sense of worthlessness and coming to terms that what had happened wasn’t his fault. Having that break down with Ruki just seemed too much like the nail in the coffin for Kyo.

Besides, he didn’t know a thing about dating another man or how that would even work out. He’s tried looking at other men – men who didn’t remind him of Ruki and those that did – and tried to picture himself kissing them or holding their hands. There was nothing. Well… There was some mild disgust at the thought of touching another man’s—Yeah, no. The point is: Kyo wasn’t attracted to men physically or otherwise. Ruki was a man and therefore there was no possible way Kyo could desire to be with him, physically at least. He tried multiple times to consider Ruki is a more sexual light and every time Kyo’s mind recoiled but then at the same time, thinking about being with Ruki made him… happy. Except there was never any kissing or sex. No touching at all in fact; just a purely platonic relationship with no physical contact between them and yet there was a sense of possession Kyo felt towards Ruki.

That wasn’t a relationship. He didn’t even know what the fuck that was even supposed to be, aside from creepy, and Ruki would definitely never agree to it. Would probably kill him before allowing Kyo to ever own him in the twisted way Kyo wanted to have him.

Going by Shinya’s confused expression, it definitely didn’t make sense either what Kyo desired. Kyo’s tried to explain it – to himself, to Shinya – but it’s hopeless, more importantly there’s no way Ruki would believe any of this, much less go for it. And why should he? He’s not the one suffering from the inability to sort out his feelings for his friend. Not to mention Ruki doesn’t have any hang ups about whether or not he could love someone based solely on their gender. Segochi – or whatever the hell his name was – might have been turned down by Ruki, but Kyo had never gotten the hint that Ruki was disgusted or upset that it was a man asking him out.

So it was just Kyo who was being a shallow, horrible asshole. What else was new?

“Forget all of that Ruki nonsense,” Toshiya suddenly piped up as he practically pounced on Kyo’s hunched over form after hearing Shinya’s last comment. “What you need is a chance to blow off some steam. Relax and enjoy some commitment-free loving from a fine ass woman. I know just the one. She’s cute, fun, no commitment. What’dya say?”

“Go jump in a pool of lava,”

“That’s the spirit! I’ll set you up for a seven o’clock dinner date. How about that noodle place you love just a few blocks over? Oh, make sure to wear something presentable, preferably something without sleeves so you can show off some of those tattoos. Chicks love tattooed guys.” Toshiya crowed happily before moving onto Kaoru who just stepped into the room after a smoke break.

“Kyo-kun, I don’t think this is such a good idea,”

Standing up for his own smoke break, Kyo shrugged off Shinya’s concern. It’s not like he was actually going to go on the date. Things were already twisted enough without bringing in a stranger into that mix and he wasn’t that stupid.

Chapter Text

Toshiya was right about one thing. Natsuki was cute. With her traditional looks – long, black hair, small nose, pouty lips and shy attitude – she was definitely someone who would garner attention from men, especially with that short dress she had donned for this evening. Beyond that, Kyo had nothing to really say about her. From the moment they made introduces to now, the woman hadn’t done more than throw every generic get-to-know-you question in the book at him.

Kyo’s aware that most people go on dates for that very reason – to get to know someone, but there was only so many times a person can repeat the same answers to these routine talks. At any point, Natsuki could have simply picked up a recent copy of Shoxx or Fool’s Mate and found the answers to all her questions and more in just moments. It was just part of being someone in the public eye. Sure Kyo may not be a leading expert on Natsuki and her career, but at least he knew the bare bones of who she was. He was grateful Toshiya hadn’t set him up with a fan, but Kyo didn’t think he’d set him up with someone who had no idea about who he was or what he does. For Christ’s sake, all the man had told her was a physical description of Kyo and his name.

Nothing else.

They had spent most of dinner having the same tennis match of questions Kyo hated having to go through. What your favorite movie? Do you like cats or dogs? What kind of music do you like? Do you prefer rat poison or arsenic in your beer to make this conversation end quicker?

Considering how little she knew about Kyo and vice versa, conversation was stilted and slow as they worked their way through Natsuki’s quest for knowledge. Kyo learned early on that she wasn’t really a fan of rock or heavy metal and had absolutely no concept of what visual kei was, so Kyo tried to avoid talking about music at all after that. He wasn’t about to hold class over dinner with this woman about his music, especially not after she asked if what he did was close to what Gackt did; because she was a big fan of Gackt’s music. When he brought up Malice Mizer as a point of context to what he did, he’d lost her completely. After that, he just gave up on that topic. Better to avoid it than get mad at her for being ignorant.

On the other hand, Natsuki was a model and was very passionate about fashion and daytime television as she aspired to be in films one day or perhaps a TV host. Kyo knew very little about films and acting aside from the shows the band had been invited on and the one time he’d be asked to audition for horror film. As for fashion, most of Kyo’s interest in brands and clothes ran in the complete opposite direction to Natsuki which opened the gateway for Natsuki to just bombard him with information he never asked for. He spent most of her speech – and it was a speech – nodding his head along even though he had been left way back at the beginning when she started talking about high couture, all the way to her apparent dislike for people who combine plaid with paisley. Whatever the hell that meant.

Well, he knew was plaid was. That was obvious; more than half his shirts were plaid, but paisley? Yeah, he had no idea what that was or even what half of the terms she used were when describing her new fashion forward ideas. Wait. Was he wearing paisley and plaid right now? Is that why she kept staring at his shirt with that… that look?

“I’m really enjoying our evening, Kyo-san.” Natsuki smiled, a dainty hand held up before her lips as if to hide her expression away. It was supposed to be demure and innocent, and it was, but all Kyo could think of was when Ruki did it. Not that Ruki covered up his smiles, not all the time at least, but if Kyo caught him off guard or said something really funny Ruki would drop his mouth wide open and cackle. It was adorable but Ruki was embarrassed by it and so he usually covered his mouth whenever he was reduced to such laughter to try and muffle the sound. The best moments were when Ruki giggled. He swore up and down he didn’t giggle, but Kyo had heard it a few times and Ruki absolutely hated to do it in front of people. He would practically bury his whole face in his shirt or under a blanket to avoid Kyo looking at him.

Pulling his thoughts back from Ruki – why did they always go back to him – Kyo tried to focus his attention back on Natsuki. That’s why he was on this date in the first place, so he could spend time her and get his mind off the younger man.

“If you’re not too tired, maybe you’d like to join me for an after dinner drink at my place?”

Humming, Kyo took a bigger sip of his beer so he wouldn’t have to say anything in response just yet because honestly, he had no idea what to say. Their little date was quickly coming to a close and Kyo still hadn’t decided if he was going to take her home or just let things die out here. While Natsuki had been giving him enough heated looks throughout the meal, subtly trying to play with his fingers and brushing her leg up against his under the table, Kyo was finding his interest for her to be… Absent. She was pretty to look at and probably alright in bed, but Kyo found that he just didn’t have the urge to go for it.

In fact, Kyo was ready just to call it quits with a thanks, but no thanks on the bedroom activities when a voice cried out in that familiar cackle, “Oh, my God! Stop it!

Without thinking, Kyo’s head whipped around to see Ruki walking over to an empty table with two other men. Or at least Ruki was trying to walk. The tall blond beside him wasn’t making it easy as he pinched and jabbed at Ruki’s sides until the younger singer was practically dancing to his seat, he was wiggling so hard to avoid being tickled. A murmured word from the other friend and the blond was releasing Ruki to allow him to sit. Instead of sitting down immediately, Ruki quickly spun around and delivered a punch to the man’s shoulder, hard enough that he staggered back at step. Wide smile in place, Ruki took his seat and picked up a menu. When the blond tried to take the seat besides Ruki, the shorter man Ruki shoved him away over and over until the moron got the message and finally sat down beside the honey blond.

Kyo was riveted on the three.

This was the first time he had physically seen Ruki since he’d cut off contact with the younger man weeks ago and he couldn’t take his eyes off of Ruki. He’d changed his hair again. Not that it was surprising, that was one of the things Ruki had text him about before… So Kyo had known he was changing it up, though the split blond and black hairstyle was nice. It added a certain edge to Ruki’s look even though he was pretty dressed down at the moment with minimum make up on. He looked good and he seemed to be having a happy time with his friends as they ordered drinks and food.

Kyo wasn’t sure what was being said at their table, the distance between them was far too great, but the blond seemed to be trying to garner Ruki’s forgiveness from the way he laid himself over the table and begged him with clasped hands. A roll of his eyes and an unheard comment later, Ruki was soon pressed up against his tall friend in a tight hug. The lanky blond happily taking over the seat beside Ruki with one arm draped carelessly over Ruki’s shoulders instead of moving back like he was supposed to. God, why didn’t Ruki find it annoying to have that obnoxious guy hanging off of him?

“Is something wrong Kyo-san?” Natsuki called out, seeing the displeasure on Kyo’s face as he continued to watch the new trio.

“It’s nothing,” Kyo said, not taking his eyes off of those hands for one second because they were too close and too familiar if he was being totally honest with himself.

What made it worse was how relaxed Ruki was under that blond’s arm, how close the two sat together, how comfortable he looked – as if being that way with the blond was simple, easy. Second nature. And then to top it off, Ruki kept laughing at whatever the blond was saying. Sometimes he reacted to the third man with them but every time the blond spoke Ruki was laughing again. Smiling at his comments and showing off that adorable smile. There was no sign of the anger or frustration he had directed at Kyo just hours ago. Just looking at him, Kyo wouldn’t believe Ruki had ever been so angry earlier he had almost sounded close to tears in his voice message.

Instead, he was here in their favorite noodle shop – by that Kyo meant a noodle shop they both like, it wasn’t like it was their’s – and he had brought some guy along who… Shouldn’t be touching Ruki like that. People would start thinking that they were dating or something. And that wasn’t possible because Ruki didn’t want a relationship right now. It would distract him from the band and he had other things to focus on, other people he could spend his time with.

Kyo’s head nearly exploded when their table’s food arrived and that asshole of a blond moved his hand from Ruki’s shoulders to his leg. His LEG. Who the hell did he think he—

“I know. It’s very disgraceful to see Kyo-san.” The sound of Natsuki’s voice almost made Kyo jump; he had completely forgotten she was even there. Glancing back at her, Kyo realized Natsuki had been watching Ruki and his… friends just as intently as he was. “It’s sad to see two Japanese men act in such a manner. They should ashamed.”

The shock of hearing Natsuki say some of very things he had being thinking to himself over and over these last few weeks in such disgust made Kyo freeze. For a moment all he could do was stare at her; a black ball of rage and… protectiveness just burning his in chest as he looked at her. How dare she?! She had no idea what sort of person Ruki really way, how hard he worked for his music and how much of a wonderful person he was. Who was she so say what was right for Ruki? How he should act or feel because society says otherwise!

And like lightning struck, Kyo realized two very important things suddenly.

Pushing back from the table, Kyo rose to his feet and quickly pulled out his wallet. Ignoring Natsuki repeated questions of what was wrong or what was going on, Kyo cursed when he realized he didn’t have any cash on him to pay the bill. Thankfully the waitress must have sense his urgency as she quickly directed him to an ATM machine in the back of the restaurant towards the bathrooms. Damn these places for being cash only.

Trying to be as quick as possible, Kyo shoved his card into the machine and punched in the correct numbers to withdraw fast cash. His eyes focused on the oblivious trio as they continued eating. Only they weren’t still getting, they were getting up!

How the hell had they finished so quickly? Did they even eat anything? Shit! Practically jabbing his finger at the ATM machine in hopes of hurrying it along, Kyo watched as the group started to make their way towards the door.

No. No, no, no, no.

“Kyo-san?!” Confused and a little upset, Natsuki came up to Kyo’s open side. When Kyo still didn’t look at her, she yanked on his arm to force his attention back on her. “Is everything alright? What’s going on?”

“Look. I need to go. You can get yourself home safe, right?” Before she could even give him a proper answer, Kyo was snatching the money out of the ATM and throwing it down on the table. Who cares if it was too much, the fucking waitress could keep it for all he cared. Quickly heading for the door, Kyo paused on the street to hopefully spot where Ruki and his friends had disappeared to.

Shit. No sign of them. Did they take a car from here?

Rushing to the end of the street to hail his own cab – he had no idea where to even start, maybe Ruki’s place – when Kyo spotted a flash of silver out the corner of his eye. Turning, Kyo caught sight of the three just down the street, heading further into Shibuya’s night life. His only saving grace were those heavily adorned pants Ruki had bought just a month ago, claiming they were an integral part of his latest visual idea for the band. The multitude of chains and links hanging off the pants had been overly excessive and typical for the bad boy look the band was projecting. Now they were like a beacon to Kyo who followed after them at a distance.

He held back from calling out to Ruki just yet. As much as he was dying to talk to the younger man, Kyo wasn’t about to have this fight out in the middle of the streets. And it would be a fight; Kyo knew it as well as he knew Ruki. So while the sight of Ruki so close to that dumb blond – they were nearly plastered together for Christ’s sake – made his blood boil, Kyo clenched his fist and continued following. Hopefully the three were going someplace Kyo could pull Ruki aside and talk to him. And hopefully Ruki wouldn’t punch his teeth in by the end of it.

Chapter Text

“You guys are not going to believe me,” Uruha spoke up after a slight lull in the conversation.

“What?” Ruki asked eagerly. It had to be something good; Uruha had practically gone silent after they had left the restaurant. At first, Ruki was concerned Uruha was troubled over something or that he had become tired but wasn’t willing to speak up and end things too quickly. However, his infrequent looks over his shoulder throughout the evening was giving Ruki a much different impression. Was he checking to make sure something was there – or wasn’t? It was weird, especially since Ruki had checked as well and had seen nothing, but Uruha continued to do it – Ruki even swore he saw Reita do it once or twice as well – and he had no idea why.

“I think…” Again Uruha glanced over his shoulder. Trying to follow his eyes, Ruki looked out towards the floor of party goers and solo drinkers filling up the booths and bar seats. He didn’t notice anything odd or weird about the sight.

“Yeah?” He prompted when Uruha remained quiet, almost shy about saying more as he spun his frosted beer in his hands.

“No,” Shaking his head, “Never mind. It’s just my imagination.” Uruha turned further towards the bar, putting his back completely to the crowd and blocking out whatever he had seen as he took a large gulp of his beer.

“Were you going to mention the person following us?” Reita threw out.

“Oh, so you saw him too—“

“Someone’s following us?! Who? A fan?!” Ruki cried out. Head whipping around more intently, Ruki tried to spot someone who had their eyes focused on them. Scanning the crowd with suspicion, Ruki tried to see if he could spot the person – or maybe it was more than one person – who had been watching them and apparently following them? Except the only people that were looking in their direction were a few individuals close by who were giving Ruki curious looks in return. Nothing in any of their stares suggested they knew who they were or any intent for something nefarious.

Instead of answering, Reita motioned with his free hand over Ruki’s shoulder to direct his sight to a booth where a lone man sat. At first Ruki didn’t notice anything special about the stranger, considering most of his face was turned away and he still had his jacket on and the collar pulled up high. That certainly changed when the man finally turned his head and met Ruki’s eyes. The recognition was immediate, those dark eyes all too familiar and yet a complete surprise to find their owner here of all places. “Kyo?!”

“Eh. You know that guy Ruki-kun?!” Uruha gasped; squinting his eyes tighter, Uruha tried to see if that would help him distinguish Kyo’s features better from this distance. As if Uruha had ever met Kyo in real life to know his features well enough to pick them out from this distance.

Unlike Ruki, who suddenly didn’t feel so good anymore, his night starting to sour at the sight of the older man. “I wish I didn’t know that guy,” Ruki spat.

“Asshole?” Reita asked.

“Majorly,” Ruki hissed.

This was unbelievable! Kyo! Here of all places! No, this had to be wrong. Kyo wasn’t here by some miraculous chance; the man hated going to public venues for Christ’s sake – no, there had to be another reason for Kyo to be here. But why else would—No, Reita had mentioned earlier that they had been followed. Uruha even confirmed that both with his admission and his weird behavior since they left the noodle shop.

Oh, God. The noodle shop, it was the same place Kyo had drug him to on numerous occasions for a quick meal in between recording sessions, rehearsals, and boredom. It was one of Kyo’s favorite haunts. Of course Kyo had been at the noodle shop, only… Ruki doesn’t remember seeing Kyo there. Not that he was really paying attention. Still, he would have said or done something right.

No. Of course not, this was Kyo. What was he thinking?! But—Had Kyo really been following them since the noodle shop? Why?!

Granted the older man had always been a little weird, but not stalker-ish weird before. Then again, Ruki couldn’t really say for certain just what kind of man Kyo really was. After all, Kyo had gone silent on him for no reason just a few weeks ago so who was Ruki to say that it wasn’t part of who Kyo really was, stalking included, after he wouldn’t respond to any of Ruki’s call or texts. Kyo had just completely ignored them all, as if Ruki didn’t exist and Ruki knows Kyo received his messages.

It wasn’t his proudest moment, but Ruki had actually gone as far as requesting Kyo’s number through upper management with a false claim about needing to inform the older man about some sensitive news. He had certainly been given quite the warning and dressing down for asking for such personal information of a senior, but some quick thinking and fast talking on his part still resulted with the requested number in his hands. The same number he had been using to send his previous messages to. The same number where all his unanswered messages sat to taunt him, the blank screen on his own phone a screaming message that older man wanted nothing to do with him. Except Kyo’s very presence here, in this place, seemed to suggest otherwise.

After making eye contact for that brief moment, Ruki turned away from meeting those dark eyes again. That didn’t mean Ruki wasn’t keenly aware Kyo was staring at them, at him. Ruki could practically feel those eyes burning into the back of his head. Daring him to turn around and acknowledge Kyo, to be the one to step forward and break the silence, but he won’t, wouldn’t—whatever. He just wasn’t doing anything that involved Kyo anymore. He’d made it clear he wanted nothing more from Ruki and Ruki knew better than to chase after someone who wouldn’t even pretend to care about him.

Not again.

But… Just knowing Kyo was so close, the closest they’ve been to each other in—shit, weeks now. It made Ruki ache. He wanted to go over there, to talk, and to see how Kyo was doing. Maybe ask about the silence between them, but if Kyo didn’t want to say Ruki could respect that. Maybe the man was just going through something difficult and he needed time and Ruki could just suck it up and be a big boy, stop pouting about not getting attention from his new friend.

On the other hand, Ruki wanted to go over there and smack Kyo for being such a bastard. He’d been worried and upset, had said as much to Kyo, and the man did nothing, said nothing. He left Ruki to fester in his worries and self-doubt and for what? Absolutely no reason that he could see, is what. Sure, maybe Ruki might not have been able to help or possibly understand what he was going through, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t at least due a text message. Something to let him know that Kyo was alive, if only to tell him he was too busy to talk.

But he got nothing. It made Ruki feel like those months they spent together were meaningless, that he was worth nothing in Kyo’s thoughts.

“Are you okay?” Reita asked, noticing the growing tension in the younger man as Ruki clenched his arms tight around himself and stopped talking completely.

“I’m fine,” At least, Ruki pretended he was. Just ignore the giant asshole that wouldn’t stop looking at him and Ruki’d be fine. Better if the jerk just left altogether so Ruki’s head and heart would stop racing in opposite directions.

Glancing out the corner of his eye, because he couldn’t help it, Ruki never could resist when it came to Kyo, but—Oh, shit! Kyo was getting up. Kyo was getting up and he was heading towards them. For a moment, Ruki prayed that the older man was just heading to the bar for another drink, but those intense eyes were centered on him. Which could only mean one thing…

Rushing through a half-hearted apology and an even lamer excuse, Ruki was up and practically fleeing to the side door. One of the reasons they enjoy this bar so much was the chance to slip in and out without being seen by fans or the paparazzi. Not that they were popular enough to get mobbed that often, but it never hurt to be prepared. They’d gotten surprised more than once now by a group of fans cornering them in public places. Ruki just never thought he’d use this knowledge to escape Kyo of all people.

“Ruki?” Kyo called out just as Ruki made it to the door, which he ignored. There wasn’t anything Kyo had to say that Ruki wanted to hear right now. Or later. Or ever for that matter.

“Ruki?!” Reita and Uruha both stood up in alarm and concern equally, but Ruki paid them no mind. He’d explain later.

Trying not to run; because that would be embarrassing but also a dead giveaway that Ruki was panicking whilst trying to escape, Ruki sprint walked down the hall in mild panic. Hoping to get to the outer door that would lead him outside before Kyo—

“Ruki?! Jesus, would you just stop already? I just want to talk,” Kyo snapped as he grasped Ruki’s wrist and halted his escape—he had been so close too!

“I’m leaving,” Ruki hissed. As if the at wasn’t obvious enough for the older man. Still, Ruki refused to turn and face Kyo, focusing his eyes on the door just two meters before him. Maybe he could make a break for it? There wasn’t anyone here aside from Kyo to see him literally fly out of the bar, it’d be fine.

It’d be humiliating, but fine.

“Ruki, please. Just let me explain—“

“Explain what, Kyo? Because as far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing to talk about,” Ruki said as evenly as he could. He could feel his emotions bubbling up under his skin the more he stayed. His concern, his fears, his confusion, his disappointment, his anger… They were all fighting to be the strongest and loudest voice to finally confront Kyo and Ruki was having none of that. He’d wasted enough time on assholes who wouldn’t talk to him. Kyo doesn’t deserve his emotions.

When Kyo tried to tug him backwards, Ruki stubbornly refused. “Look, Ruki, I—”

“I said I’m leaving!” Ruki snapped.

“Would you just—Damn it Ruki!“ He couldn’t do this. Fuck! He couldn’t do this. Twisting his arm free, Ruki started making his way towards the outer door as quickly as he could but once again, Kyo stopped him.

“Will you stop grabbing at me?!” Ruki nearly yelled in Kyo’s face as he tried to pry his arm free from the older man. Stubborn bastard wasn’t letting it happen. Every time Ruki would manage to free his arm again, Kyo would latch onto his other arm or even his clothes.

They were like to five-year-olds fighting to be the last one with the toy.

“Let! GO!!”

“Not until you stop and LISTEN to me,” Kyo grunted in pain when Ruki started yanking back his thumb in the wrong direction to get him to release his sleeve.

“Fuck you,” Ruki hissed in anger.

“Ruki—“

“I told you there’s nothing to talk about Kyo because you’ve already made yourself quite clear. You don’t want me around anymore – I got it! Thanks for coming to confirm dickhead!!”

“Jesus! Would you just—Stop! And listen!!”

“I must be out of my mind to even—“ Scrabbling out of Kyo’s grip finally, Ruki pressed himself up against the wall instead of making a break for the door like he wanted to. “Fine! I’m listening!” Ruki nearly snarled, a threatening hand rising up when it looked like Kyo was going to try and move closer to him. Maybe try and touch him again, which no—not happening again. Just that little scuffle had Ruki’s head spinning. He definitely wouldn’t make it through this conversation if Kyo decided now to start being overly tactile.

Finally getting the picture, Kyo backed down and stopped trying to reach for Ruki. Thank god.

“Thank you,” Kyo said with a sigh. Motioning with his hand back towards the main room, Kyo started to head back towards the door and to the main bar area. Or at least he would have if Ruki hadn’t remained rooted to the spot up against the wall.

“I said I’d listen, not that I’d follow you around or stay. So start talking,”

Surprised at the harsh tone, Kyo paused in mid step before moving back to Ruki who stubbornly planted himself against the wall. Mimicking his own position, Kyo leaned up again the other wall with his arms crossed in what he probably thought was a nonchalant pose. “Okay,”

“Some time this century asshole.”

“Would you calm down and be patient, brat? This is hard to say,”

“Hard to say? I doubt that. It’s not like your confessing your undying love for me Kyo, just spit it out already!”

Silence.

Which wasn’t surprising, or at least it shouldn’t be, Kyo had proven quite clearly he liked to use silence to communicate. Considering how long Kyo had followed him to apparently talk, Ruki had figured Kyo knew exactly just what he wanted to say. Not this… embarrassed silence? That didn’t make sense and yet it did, in as far as Ruki understood Kyo.

Strangely, Kyo’s silences and when he used them could say a lot more than what Kyo would actually say. Though Ruki was lost about what Kyo was trying to convey to him right now. Up until recently, Ruki had gotten pretty good at guessing what Kyo’s silences could mean, but this quiet just didn’t feel like normal Kyo. Ruki imagined Kyo coming to him numerous times to apologize and beg forgiveness for his absence – it’d never happen – and each time he would imagine him similar to now. Shy and embarrassed… and blushing?!

“Uh… Kyo?”

Silence once again fell between them, but now Kyo was avoiding his eyes. As if ashamed of his feelings.

“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” Ruki whispered to himself in shock as the thought just hit him. Kyo likes him? Kyo was coming to confess to him? “You like me? And that’s why you ignored all my calls and texts?”

This wasn’t happening. This had to be a joke and he said as much to Kyo.

“It’s… Not quite that simple.” Kyo mumbled.

“Oh, I think it is. Either that’s exactly what you did or you have WAY more explaining to do here mister.”

More silence. God, the man was just so frustrating, Ruki just wanted to reach over and throttle him until the words would fall from his lips already. This drawn out guessing game was driving Ruki’s anxiety through the roof, but the worst part was knowing he couldn’t force it out of Kyo. Because, for all his gusto early in getting Ruki to stop and listen to him, Kyo has no idea what he really wants to say and Ruki can see it easily enough that he has no idea how to explain away why he ignored Ruki these last few weeks.

And that’s Ruki done. If Kyo really wanted to talk he can be the one leaving a hundred messages this time. “Great talk Kyo,” he waved, as Ruki started making for the door.

“Ruki?! Wait—“

“When you feel like growing a pair of balls and actually talk to me, sure, I’ll wait. Until then you can go f—“ Suddenly he’s being yanked back by his wrist and he just sees red. How dare this asshole think he can just yank him around like some toy whenever he feels like? Fire practically dancing in his veins, Ruki spins around ready to verbally tear Kyo’s face off, but soft lips suddenly put a stop to any words he wanted to scream out.

What just happened?

The touch was feather light. Soft, sweet. Things Ruki would never associate with Kyo and yet those were the only words Ruki could used to describe such an innocent press of lips. If Ruki hadn’t experienced it himself, he probably would have never believed it had happened. Kyo had kissed him.

Kyo kissed him.

Kyo kissed him.

Kyo kissed him.

“I just—“Again the words just wouldn’t form for Kyo. Ruki could see in his eyes that Kyo had so much he wanted to say and even more he wanted to express, but it was like they were all stuck in his throat. But seeing Ruki leaving, really leaving, just made those trapped words burn like acid in his mouth. He needed to let them out or he would die, his eyes were saying to Ruki. So desperate to make him understand. “I just can’t stop thinking about you.”

What?

“Ever since the day I met you, it’s like you’ve completely taken over my mind. I can’t think or do anything without wondering about what you’d think of it, if you’d like it or hate it – me. I was scared of that answer.”

“So you thought not talking to me would be better?!” Ruki asked, hurt. As lovely as Kyo’s words were, it was like eating a poisoned apple, so sweet and enjoyable to consume but deadly in the end for Ruki.

“I just… needed to be away from you.” Instantly Kyo knew that wasn’t the right thing to say. Not that anything he’d said tonight has been good, but from the anger in Ruki’s eyes at that last sentence, Kyo knew that was a big no-no.

“Well, I’m glad we’re on the same page finally! Now if you’ll excuse me! Good night, Kyo!!” Once more Ruki was trying to flee the building, more specifically Kyo, but the older man held fast to his wrist. The same wrist he’d never released much to Ruki’s aggravation. “Fucking let me go, you bastard!”

“Just let me explain—“

“You’ve said enough—“

“Damn it Ruki!” Suddenly Ruki finds himself being forced backwards. He manages to keep steady for a step or two, but the fumbles on the next and suddenly he’s falling back. Back into the wall, only to be pinned there, unable to escape as Kyo uses his whole body to cage Ruki in. “I know I’ve been a jackass! Okay! Message received, now would you stop trying to run away and let me talk?!”

“Says the man who avoided me for nearly a month because he could deal with having a stupid crush!”

“Cut me a little slack here, Ruki. I’ve never liked a man before and I honestly wasn’t sure if what I was feeling was even anything romantic or just super fucked up.” Kyo snapped. “I was trying to find a little solitude to figure my shit without you distracting me!”

There was so much Ruki wanted to say to that. His mind and heart both flying high with questions and doubts, anger and hope. So many emotions just assaulting Ruki all at once that he didn’t know where to begin honestly. Too many things were screaming at him to question or demand first from the older man, but mostly he just wanted to know…

“Why now?”

“Huh?”

Rolling his eyes, Ruki repeated his question. “Why tell me why now? Obviously this wasn’t a planned confession on your part from the way you stalked me and my friends here.” Kyo at least had the decency to blush at his shameful behavior. “And your shit confession leads me to believe you never intended to tell me about your feelings. So why now?”

Once again Kyo fell silent. Really, what could he say to Ruki?

He could tell him how he finally decided to confess partly due to his jealousy at seeing Ruki with another man – well, not really with another man, but enjoying another man’s company. Or he could maybe admit to trying to date someone else in hopes that the sexual gratification from spending a night with a woman whose only appeal was the fact that she was everything Ruki wasn’t to Kyo was enough to make him forget Ruki. Then again, Kyo certain if he admitted to either one of those things, Ruki would probably be all too happy to finally put his fist through Kyo’s face. Kyo might not be the most observant person in the world, but even he could recognize Ruki’s barely restrained violence towards him for a better part of this said attempt at a love confession.

Was it even a love confession if Kyo couldn’t state with confidence that he was in love with Ruki?

Like confession? Like-you-but-don’t-want-to-sex-you confession?

That sounded stupid, even to in own questionable thoughts, but Kyo knows he needs to say something! Needs to do something or he knew Ruki would walk away again and not just out of the building, but away from Kyo entirely. And it’d be nothing less than what he deserves, but…

“I couldn’t let you go,” Kyo finally admits to Ruki… and to himself. “No matter how hard I tried, you were always there and I realized that I didn’t want to let you go. I want you to be mine,”

“Yours?” Ruki blinks, stunned.

“Yeah,”

“Your what? Your boyfriend?”

“Uh…” Again, Kyo’s stumped, because y’know – he wants him, but not like that – but he can’t just say that because that’s not fair to Ruki. God, he has absolutely no idea how to say this! “No?”

“No, you don’t want me as your boyfriend?” Ruki asked to clarify, his voice getting lower as the anger makes a return. Shit! He needs to try something else.

The kiss the second time around is just as quick, but harder and just as unexpected for Ruki. Their lips actually pressing together enough to feel the impression of teeth behind skin, hard enough for Ruki to lose both his breath and mind at the same time. His mind a white space for just a fraction of a second before he’s burning in anger and shoving Kyo away harshly.

“How dare you?!”

“Ruki, I—“

“I’m not someone to be played with Kyo!”

“I told you already—“

“You’ve said NOTHING!!” Ruki practically screams before suddenly he’s deflating, his anger gone in an instant to be replaced by pain. “I just want to know why?”

Slowly Kyo approaches Ruki, mostly because Ruki looks like he might swing at him any second, but also because Kyo finds it difficult not to be close to Ruki. It almost physically hurts to be so close to Ruki and not reach out to touch him. Which is new, or not, Kyo doesn’t really remember it that well but he vaguely remembers being just as touchy around Ruki when they had just simply been friends before. So maybe it wasn’t that new, but having feelings attached to the need to touch was certainly new to Kyo.

“I promise I’ll explain everything Ruki.” Oh-kay, evil eye of doom. “Eventually. And I’m not playing with you or making fun of you, I swear. I like you. I really do,” Kyo confesses in a quiet whisper as he finally gets his hands on Ruki without them getting slapped away. “And I promise I won’t ignore you anymore, not like that.”

For a long moment, Kyo holds his breath as Ruki falls quiet as he considers Kyo and his sad confession. Maybe he should try the whole beg and grovel route?

“Give me a chance? Please? I… Don’t know what I’m doing or how to explain this, but I’ll try if you give me a chance.”

With a snort, Ruki rolls his eyes so hard Kyo’s surprised his eyes don’t fall out of his head, in an attempt to pretend Kyo’s confession doesn’t affect him that much. As if hearing Kyo likes him doesn’t make Ruki want to smile stupidly after months of crushing on the older man, practically since the first time they started texting each other. He still has so many questions he wants to beat out of the older man, but Ruki can understand – a little – of how hard this must be for Kyo.

A little more patience wouldn’t hurt, right?

Chapter Text

A solid month into his relationship with Kyo and there hadn’t been a single kiss since the club. Not to say that there hasn’t been any physical contact, but after those eye opening kisses, Ruki found that he both ached for them and didn’t. Which… was odd; aside from what they were accustomed to in terms of physical touch – lightly brushing hands, a hand wrapped around a shoulder, a hug that would last a second longer than most – there was practically nothing. In fact, you could almost argue that aside from claiming to be in a relationship – and really, could they say such a thing? Ruki had only told Reita and Uruha that he was in a relationship only recently but wouldn’t name Kyo specifically, though Ruki suspected both were aware of whom it was even if he kept his silence, for now. Still, there was nothing that would suggest to an outside observer that they were more than friends, certainly not because of their overly affectionate displays towards each other.

Ruki turned that phrase over in his head a lot these days. More than friends – he was Kyo’s boyfriend, Kyo was his boyfriend. They were dating. It still felt weird to say it, to think about it as such. The last relationship Ruki had been in had been a brief few weeks with a man he had thought was interested in something long term, but had only wanted a shallow relationship that didn’t go further than the bedroom. And now he was in a relationship with a man who for all intents and purposes probably would never want or even consider getting into the whole bedroom aspect of their relationship.

But somehow this, whatever it was they were doing, was even more meaningful and impacting for Ruki than anything he had done physically with his last boyfriend. He couldn't put his finger on how or why. It was just a feeling he got whenever he was near Kyo, the warmth he felt whenever Kyo looked at him or asked him out on another lunch date Kyo could not be dissuaded from. When he was working or cooped up in the studio, Ruki tried to keep himself from bombarding Kyo with too many texts or phone calls like he had before. Scared maybe that he’d run Kyo off again by being needy or bitchy, but Kyo always responded, eventually that is. His words may not be considered the most inviting, but Kyo always sounded pleased to hear from Ruki even when he was insulting or teasing him.

Which was an odd way of showing affection, but Ruki honestly didn’t think Kyo knew how to act any other way. Kyo definitely wasn’t one to proclaim to the room at large that he favored Ruki by reaching over to hold his hand over the table or place a kiss on his cheek. Kyo showed his affection in other, quieter ways. Like tonight…

Ruki was standing in the kitchen helping Kyo with the dishes after another night in for the two. Ruki had complained about Kyo helping since he had been the one to cook their meal, but Kyo ignored him as usual, the stubborn mule. Kyo had insisted on coming over after Ruki’s live was done, not for any other reason than to talk and to see him, but also because on nights after a live Ruki sometimes had trouble winding down. The energy from live shows was addictive and powerful, and sometimes would leave Ruki so high strung he just wanted to fly apart to let the emotions out. Other times he was so drained from giving so much of himself to the show that he couldn’t even be bothered to shower before collapsing in bed. A bad habit to get into and one Kyo tried to steer Ruki from as often as possible as the older man knew how destructive such behavior could become. So that’s how Ruki found himself with Kyo in his apartment helping him clean up after making dinner. It wasn’t anything fancy or complicated, but the thought that someone wanted to be there for him and take care of him made Ruki almost glow with happiness.

Dir en grey was currently taking a short break before heading back into the studio to record their next album, which meant Kyo had more free time than usual. Time he spent either with Ruki, when he was available in between his own live shows, and his usual habits of sleeping and being a professional couch potato and Ruki soaked it all in. Every moment spent with Kyo and that’s when it hit him. He could be happy with this; just this, for the rest of his life. He hadn’t even realized he’d paused in the middle of drying a serving platter used to present dinner, the towel hanging from his limp fingers at the realization.

"Ruki?"

"Nothing," Ruki automatically said. Kyo would know it was a lie, he always knew, but it seemed impossible for Ruki to express this new found happiness of his without implying something was wrong as well. It’s not like there was anything lacking in what they had now, even if he did want more, things were… not perfect, but good, stable – and Ruki realized he didn’t need to have more.

He was happy where they were at now because he knew that Kyo was happy with it. That Kyo was comfortable and secure with how things stood now. Sure, Ruki had only had one short exchange with another male lover before this, but Kyo was completely new to all this. It must be terribly scary for the older man to try and be more forward with his own feelings, and Ruki recognized that in how much time and effort Kyo put into being with him since their separation. In fact, Ruki was certain Kyo had never even considered another man to be someone he could be interested in, romantically or physically, and it made him more appreciative of the brief moments Kyo had given him so far.

So what if Ruki yearned to press a kiss onto those soft lips, to feel along those dark lines that were slowly growing over Kyo’s arms, or to be held in that strong embrace again? It wasn’t for them. Not now, and maybe not ever, and Ruki found himself okay with that. Honestly.

And the sooner his dick caught up with his heart, the sooner he could truly enjoy this amazing opportunity with Kyo.

Grabbing the plate Kyo had been holding out for him, Ruki pretended all was fine in the world as he soaked up droplets of water with a hand towel, but he could feel Kyo's mood shift. Biting at the side of his tongue, half to keep from saying the wrong thing and half as punishment for not knowing what the right thing was, Ruki tried to keep his face calm, serene. He could be happy like this, sure, but only if he didn't fuck it up.

"If you’re tired," Kyo said. "I can go. You don’t have to push yourself to spend time with me."

They had finished their live at Zepp Tokyo only hours ago and Ruki was fairly tired. It had been exciting with all the fans and the music flowing that Ruki ended up exerting a lot of energy trying to match everyone’s enthusiasm. Normally, Kyo would be fine if Ruki wanted to turn in, he understood just how raw the lives could leave him afterwards, so there wasn’t any way Ruki could offend him if he asked him to leave now. Sometimes Ruki was able to work through that excess energy from the shows on his own, and sometimes having Kyo there was necessary for him to finally find a place of calm.

However, that was before Ruki had gone weeks without Kyo, of not hearing from him after that last time he said goodbye. Ruki was scared of sending him away, even if he was tired. Worried he wouldn’t want to come back. That he’d wake up and realize that this wasn’t a real relationship – he’d just confused his feelings of friendship in his loneliness or—

“Ruki,” Kyo reached out, a hand coming to rest over Ruki’s where he was holding onto the counter.

Ruki found himself staring at their hands. Even that much direct contact was rare enough that it made Ruki's breath come short.

"Don't leave," he said, begged almost. "Unless you want to. I don't want you to—I mean. Don't leave because of me."

Kyo's face went soft in a way that Ruki had only ever seen a handful of times since they met. It made Ruki’s heart flutter and his stomach twist in all sorts of knots. Especially when Kyo started rubbing at the skin over Ruki's knuckles with a smooth thumb, "I’m not leaving."

They go through the rest of the dishes without Ruki freezing up again thankfully. After wiping down the counters, Ruki found himself with nothing to do but unable to open up to Kyo like he knows the older man is waiting for. Instead Ruki started to make tea. It’s way too late in the day to be drinking it, but the motions help to calm Ruki’s nerves and Kyo doesn’t complain. They sit beside each other at the low table to drink it, the silence from the kitchen following them. Looking out the window, Ruki let his thoughts about the inevitable moment when Kyo would have to start the long drive back home play in his mind, how much he would miss the man when he was gone.

He should tell Kyo.

It was only fair to share his own doubts and thoughts with the older man. After all, he had been the one to force Kyo into promising he would discuss his own feelings and doubts if it concerned them. Now here he was, tight lipped and breaking their promise of communicating which had been the very thing that had caused their separation not so long ago. But could he saw it? Would Kyo understand how he felt without feeling angry? Guilty?

Both were things Ruki didn’t want to bring out of Kyo. He could feel Kyo watching him, still waiting for Ruki to spit out whatever was on his mind. He didn’t know if he could do it.

Ruki held the mug up to his face and breathed in scent of green tea for a moment of bravery and decided to just try. "When I was nineteen, I dated this guy from one of the bands I’d only played a few gigs with. Things didn’t work out with the band, but we got along pretty well. At least I thought we did. It took me nearly two weeks to work up the nerve to kiss him."

"And?" Kyo said trying to be patient as he raised an eyebrow in inquiry.

"He asked me never to do it again, said it felt too weird for him.”

Silence fell between the two men for a long moment.

“How long did you guys go out?”

“Three months… Maybe four?” Ruki guesses. Honestly he doesn’t really remember the exact amount of time. They’d only seen each other on a hand full of occasions, just a quick few hours to tumble in and out of bed before they went back to their own lives. Now that he’s thinking about it, Ruki isn’t even certain that they had spent any time together that didn’t involve sex as the main motivator. It was a complete one-eighty to how he and Kyo spent their time together.

“And you never kissed after that? For three months?” Kyo scoffed. Anger building up in those dark eyes and Ruki knew he miss stepped.

Of course Kyo wouldn’t want to hear about Ruki’s previous relationship with another man. God, he was so dumb sometimes. “It’s fine. He wasn’t comfortable with it and I wasn’t going to push—“

“Jesus, Ruki.”

Instantly Ruki was snapping his mouth closed. The sound of disappointment in the other man’s voice was faint, but there, and Ruki could feel the flush working its way up to his face. The sense of shame and guilt burning hot inside of Ruki. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

“Y’know, there are easier ways of telling me I’m being a dickhead,” Kyo sighed heavily, knuckles going white against the cup he held too tightly.

“What—No! I wasn’t—I didn’t tell you that story to make you upset!” Ruki cried out, hands flying up to reach out but he stopped short because he didn’t think Kyo would appreciate being touched right now. Immediately pulling his hands back into his space and clenching them together, twisting the joints, Ruki eyes fell to his lap in shame. Unable to bare the look in Kyo’s as he spoke, “I just wanted to let you know that if you never wanted… That I would be okay with it. I know some people don’t like to do those things with me, with another men, and its fine.”

“Did I say I never wanted to do that with you?” Kyo bit out.

He hadn't, not exactly. Back at the club Kyo had admitted that he had never been with a man before and didn’t know what he was doing; all he had asked for was patience from Ruki, not distance. Still, he never really said or did anything to suggest he would welcome Ruki’s physical advances either which scared Ruki just as much.

There had been a number of times that Ruki had wanted to just lean over and give the older man a kiss, a real kiss. Times where they were standing just too close, staring at each other in silence just a little too long, that made Ruki want to take that next step. The urge sometimes was just so instinctual that Ruki had to forceful stop himself before he went too far. It also didn’t help that Kyo seemed to have developed some kind of sixth sense about Ruki's intentions, always managing to change the subject or move away enough that the moment would pass and Ruki would be left with a sense of having missed his chance. But he didn’t push for more. Ruki may not be an expert when it comes to these things, but he can tell when Kyo’s not ready or willing for that kind of thing.

"Do you even want to?" Ruki asked quietly, trying to hold himself back from sounding snappish. Kyo didn’t need him feeding this conversation with his own frustrations and worry.

"Yes,"

Ruki looked up in mild surprise at the confession. Only Kyo was the one staring off, his eyes focused towards the darkened kitchen to avoid meeting his eyes. "So why haven't we?"

"You have enough to deal—“

"You're not something to deal with," Ruki said, maybe too forcefully as it brought Kyo’s dark, intense eyes back to him, but he persevered. Moving just a little closer to Kyo, Ruki leaned into him to show Kyo he wanted to be with him without actually pushing too far into his space.

"Yeah, right.” Kyo scoffed. “If I had been a normal person, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”

"I thought we already established that I like you crazy.”

“This isn’t a joke Ruki,” Kyo set his own mug aside and straightened up from his hunched over pose. As if to prove a point, Kyo reached over and took Ruki's hand between his own. Pulling Ruki’s hand so he could turn it over, Kyo traced one finger along the lines of Ruki's palm slowly, his fingernail digging in just enough to wake up the nerves. The touch was so light, so innocent, but Ruki was gasping at the sensation like Kyo had done something far more intimate than that. His whole body completely focused on where they were touching, craving more, more, more.

It made it very obvious how touch starved Ruki was to be reacting to something so simple.

Ruki swallowed. "We could just keep it like this. We don’t have to go any further.”

"That would be boring,” Kyo’s lips twisted just enough to hint at a smile, but his mood was far from jovial.

His eyes didn't rise up from where they were focused on their hands. Instead, Kyo unbuttoned the cuff of Ruki's shirt, pushing the sleeve up and away along with his sweater to get at the skin underneath. The feather light touch followed the shadow of Ruki’s veins, up to the crook of his arm and back down until Kyo’s thumb rested there on tender skin of his wrist. Stroking slowly, softly, as Ruki practically started panting in excitement.

Ruki shifted closer, their knees touching, thighs almost pressed together as he sat beside Kyo. "I just meant that you don’t have to push yourself into something if you’re not comfortable with it. I understand.”

Kyo bent down and kissed the inside of his forearm, halfway between wrist and elbow and Ruki’s heart nearly stopped. Or maybe it jumped up in the air and landed face first, because it certainly felt like his heart was flying and in pain all at once. "You deserve more than that.”

Opening his mouth to protest that idea, Kyo continued on, pushing past Ruki’s reassurances. “Just give me a little more time. I’m still getting used to this, but I promise… Someday I’ll get there.”

“Okay,” Ruki whispered. Not really agreeing but unable to argue his point anymore. Not when Kyo pressed another gentle kiss to his arm, fingers now dancing over Ruki’s palm before becoming entwined with his own.

“I’ve thought about it. A lot,” Kyo admitted. His voice was low and soft; it sent heat curling through Ruki's stomach as Kyo pressed his face against Ruki’s shoulder while they stared at their clasped hands.

“Thought about what exactly?”

“Kissing you,” Another gasp left Ruki’s lips, barely audible but Kyo was so close he wouldn’t have been able to miss it. Ruki’s heart was trying to do another flip in his chest at the idea of Kyo kissing him.

“And?”

“Part of me wants to agree with you about never going beyond this.” Ruki’s heart plummeted, hard. If that did come to pass, if that’s what Kyo really wanted, Ruki would do it. It would hurt at first – it usually did, but Ruki would do it because he wants to be with Kyo. In whatever way he can. “But that part of me is scared. Confused. The other part just wants me to kiss you right now - to own you entirely, your mind and your body.”

The words were pretty, but Kyo’s voice was dark, deep. The silence that followed Kyo’s confession was pressing and heavy, possessive almost and it made Ruki ache. To be wanted and consumed entirely by this man.

“Please,” The word had fallen from Ruki’s lips before he even realized he was thinking it and for a moment he panicked. He didn’t want to pressure Kyo into being intimate with him, to facing those baser emotions of his so soon, especially when he wasn’t ready for such things. That’s not why he’d started this conversation.

Kyo looked up, hair falling loose across his forehead, eyes almost black in the dim light. Ruki froze. Staring as Kyo closed the few inches between them until soft lips were moving against his and his eyes shut on instinct. The kiss was as light and soft as when Kyo had been playing with his fingers, sending shivers down Ruki’s spine from how gentle the man could be sometimes. It always shocked Ruki and made him want to press harder against Kyo. To open his lips and taste Kyo so badly, but he held himself back. This was Kyo’s kiss and Ruki wanted to give him time to get used to it even if his entire being was burning on the inside for more.

When Kyo pulled back, Ruki let his eyes slowly flutter open, dizzy from the feeling of Kyo’s lips on his own to stare into those dark eyes. For a long moment there was just silence between them as they both took in what that kiss meant before Kyo started pulling back. Thinking Kyo had enough, Ruki was more than prepared to put some distance between them for Kyo’s comfort when Kyo shifted his entire body and reached out for him. A hand wrapping around Ruki’s waist as the other cupped the side of his neck to pull him into a second kiss.

They were so much closer now. Kyo's lips pressed harder against his as Ruki fumbled for a moment on where to place his own hands. Ruki finally let them rest on Kyo’s shoulders to keep himself steady, tilting his face further into the kiss. The first touch of Kyo’s tongue made Ruki clutch him tight, positively lightheaded at the thought, the feel, of Kyo. Immediately Ruki was parting his lips, gladly accepting Kyo’s tongue into his mouth, though trying to keep in mind he needed to remain calm. To let Kyo explore and—Kyo was really good at kissing.

For a moment Ruki lost himself in the sensations. That second kiss became a third and then a fourth. By the time Ruki lost count, all the thoughts and worries in his mind were quiet, if not gone entirely. When Kyo finally pulled away for good, Ruki was dazed and burning up with arousal for the older man.

“I think I could get used to that,” Kyo joked, seeing the stunned look on Ruki’s face.

“Yeah?” Ruki sighed happily, anxious for more but he wouldn’t push. Already this had been more than he thought he would ever get out of the older man.

“Definitely,” Kyo said. Pressing another brief kiss to Ruki’s lips, Kyo moved back to his previous position to finish his tea. Absently, Kyo reached for the remote to turn on the television to occupy the space with color and sound. A clear indicator that Kyo was done with the conversation for now, but Ruki remained hopeful – and partly aroused. Even more so when Kyo’s hand found his once more and didn’t let go until they were saying goodbye at the end of the night. Kyo hadn't given him a kiss then, as they stood with the door to his apartment open, but Ruki understood.

Chapter Text

“I’m the worst boyfriend ever,”

It says something, Kaoru thinks, about them – about Kyo – that such a sentence doesn’t even make him blink twice. “Yep,”

“You’re not supposed to agree to that statement.” Kyo grumbles, practically falling onto the stool next to Kaoru.

Knowing Kyo had more to say, he always did when he got cynical about himself, Kaoru casually lit another cigarette as he waited. A long drag and a few sips of his beer later finally rewarded Kaoru with his prize.

“I have no idea what I’m doing.”

“About what?” Kaoru prompted because Kyo was being stubborn tonight.

“About Ruki—Us! About all of this—this…” Kyo broke off suddenly. His words trailing away as Kyo lost his ability to explain himself further, but Kaoru had a pretty good idea. He might not be as informed as Shinya, no one ever was concerning Kyo, but he knew enough about his supposed involvement with a singer from another band, a male singer at that, to make an educated guess. It's definitely a first for the younger man; it must have been just as much of a surprise to Kyo as is was to Kaoru to learn he had feelings for another man.

“So what exactly is the problem? Did you piss him off? Does he not like men or you? Give me something more to work with here Kyo.” Taking another long drag, Kaoru waved the stall attendant his desire for another round and one for Kyo. They weren’t getting through this conversation without some liquid courage, plus the beer would help Kyo relax a little. He looked so tense sitting on the stool, Kaoru’s honestly worried he’ll strain a muscle or something.

“Pfft,” Kyo scoffs hard. “It’s not him. Well… Sort of,” And Kaoru’s lost him to his own thoughts once again.

“So I guess it’s got something to do with you then?”

“When doesn’t it?” Taking the offered beer, Kyo stares at the chilled glass for a long moment before finally taking his first sip. “Ruki thinks I should stop drinking.”

Okay… Kaoru honestly doesn’t think this has anything to do with Kyo’s drinking habits, but whatever, he’ll follow down this rabbit hole. “Except you won’t because you never do anything someone tells you to.”

“He thinks I might be having a reaction to it,”

That has Kaoru’s attention, “How so?”

“Calm down mama bear,” Kyo laughs, dry and without any actual humor in the sound. “He just thinks part of reason I have such bad hangovers and get sick so easily after drinking is because I might be allergic or something. I don’t know all the details; I wasn’t really listening at the time.”

Humming in thought, Kaoru thought back through Kyo’s more recent illnesses. It sounded plausible. Of course, Kyo hadn’t been drinking every time he had gotten sick, but alcohol had been involved in a number of them over the recent months. Maybe that was something Kaoru should bring up with the doctors on Kyo’s next—

“You’re not taking me to the doctors,” Kyo glared and Kaoru didn’t even attempt not to look guilty about having that very thought.

“I’m surprised Ruki knows about something like that,” Kaoru says instead.

Shrugging his shoulders, Kyo turns back to staring at the bottle in his hands. “He’s like that. Smart.”

Nodding along, Kaoru finishes off his cigarette and stubs the rest into the filling ash tray between them. Silence falls between them, but Kaoru doesn’t mind. Instead, he uses the time Kyo needs to gather his next sentence to order an appetizer plate. He hadn’t intended to spend a lot of time at the booth tonight, but with Kyo here – and wanting to talk apparently – this could take quite a while. And Kaoru definitely wasn’t going to suffer through it hungry.

“He didn’t even want to date in the beginning. Said that he wanted to focus on his career,” Kyo says.

Uh. That’s news to Kaoru. “Then why did he agree to go out with you?”

“I was wondering the same thing,”

“You don’t know?” Kaoru blinks in mild surprise and confusion. That… Honestly sounds a little suspicious. “Do you think he’s stringing you along?”

“No,” If anything, Kyo felt like the one stringing Ruki along. Not intentionally, but… “I think he said that as a way to protect himself. Easier not to get a broken heart if you don't let anyone get near it, y’know?”

No, Kaoru did not know. But it sounded logical enough – it definitely sounded like Kyo and the way he would push everyone away from his own desire not to be hurt again. So the two had something in common on that end, but Kaoru still doesn’t know how this links back to Kyo being the worst boyfriend.

“Do you feel like you pressured him into dating you?” He asks.

“I think he feels like he’s pressuring me,”

Huh? What the hell does that even mean?

“Because I’m not used to dating men, I don’t know how to treat Ruki. Or what I should do now.”

Kaoru shrugs, “I’m no expert either, but it can't that be that different from dating a woman.”

That must have been the wrong thing to say, because suddenly Kyo threw himself back from the booth. The stool nearly lost to the ground as Kyo started to pace back and forth behind the side of the booth he and Kaoru have taken over in agitation.

“This is nothing like dating a woman!” Kyo groans. “If Ruki had been a woman, this would be easy. I would know what I should do or say, what not to do and that all that. But he’s not! He’s a… A he!!”

“So what have you done then?” Kyo wouldn't be this nervous if all they were doing was eating store bought ramen and playing video games all day, so obviously something has happened between the two.

“Nothing!” Kyo cries out, suddenly spinning around to face Kaoru with this wild look in his eyes. “We’ve done nothing! I mean… We hang out and talk almost every day,” And boy doesn’t Kaoru know it with the increase in disappearing acts these last six months. “But we haven’t gone out on a date or anything like that—Like a real couple!”

“Nothing?” Kaoru asks just to clarify. Honestly, he was expecting Kyo to snap at him about not listening, but instead Kyo starts to turn red. Kaoru is stunned. “So… not completely nothing?”

Sighing out, Kyo rubs a nervous hand across the back of his neck as he mumbles, “We’ve kissed.”

“You’ve kissed?” There’s that glare Kaoru was expecting. But hey! He was allowed to repeat things here, he was the one being forced to offer couple advice on the fly! “Anything else?”

The warm glow on Kyo’s face is suddenly replaced by thin lips and more pacing. “No, I—I couldn’t go any further.”

Couldn’t go any further – Kaoru mentally repeats that to himself this time. Meaning that Kyo and Ruki have been dating for a little over a month now and they haven’t even gotten to light petting? Making out? None of that?

That was… bizarre.

Sure Kyo wasn’t exactly a womanizer or anything, but he was a healthy young man. Kaoru knew he greatly enjoyed the physical intimates, sometimes more than he actually favored the woman he was seeing, but even in those relationships it hadn’t taken Kyo more than a week or so before he slept with his partner. Sometimes that’s all his relationships with certain women were. But this… This doesn't feel right.

“If you don’t want to sleep with him, you should probably just end things then Kyo—“

“No! I'm not going to—That’s not what I—I mean, I want to. I just… I can’t.” The strange look he gave Kyo at that statement must have spoken a lot better than he intended. Because really, all Kaoru could think at this point was, huh? “Y’know?” No, he doesn’t. He really, really doesn’t.

With a heavy, deep sigh, Kyo lowers himself back down onto the stool he had claimed earlier and to Kaoru’s greatest shock yet, actually explains. Everything. Sure, it’s a bit jumbled up as Kyo’s own thoughts jump back and forth between his fear of losing Ruki if he doesn’t show him he desires him just as much and his fear of being intimate with a man for the first time. To his concerns about not knowing how to please a man, his only sexually knowledge is about woman and he highly doubts Ruki would enjoy the same things a woman would in bed, but he also doesn’t want things to be awkward or bad. Because Kyo is inexperienced he worries about what role he’s supposed to take in bed. The worst part was Kyo fears he won’t be able to satisfy Ruki if he expects certain things from Kyo, physically that is. So far kissing and platonic touching is fine, the as soon as Kyo thinks about Ruki getting aroused, that he would have to physically pleasure a man he freezes up. How could ever justify asking Ruki to be with him if he could never truly be with him. And not just in bed, but emotionally as well. One of the benefits of being with a woman was the fact that it was acceptable for him to be soft or sweet; things he could never express or act out with Ruki because society would never accept their relationship.

Kaoru is floored. The amount of fears and concerns that Kyo had just… poured out was heavy and intense. He didn’t even know where to begin to even try and help Kyo with this heavy weight on his shoulders and mind. “That’s… a lot.”

That dry laugh without any humor is back. “Yeah, I guess.” Kyo mumbles. His beer is empty – has been for a while – and for that last few minutes as they sat in silence after Kyo’s speech, he’s simply been peeling off the label. His fingers as anxious and twitchy as his mind right now.

“So… Basically, you’re asking me how you can get around your homophobia in one night?”

“I’m not a—“

“Yeah, you are. Intentionally or not.” Kaoru scoffed as he blew out a smoke cloud straight into Kyo’s snarling face. “I guess that would be your first step.”

“Yeah, great. I’ll just go and get myself a psychiatrist real quick. Hopefully they have a magical pill that can cure me.” Kyo rolls his eyes in contempt.

“Well have you tried, I don’t know, working through it with Ruki? You’ll never know if you can or not until you do it after all.”

Their side of the booth grows quiet again.

“I understand, y’know, about why you’re so scared and worried. But if you don’t actually push yourself to try for Ruki you will lose him. Doing nothing can sometimes be worse that doing the wrong thing, after all. At least if you make a mistake or hurt Ruki, you can apologize and you guys can move on. But doing nothing… There’s no coming back from nothing.”

With another wave of his hand, Kaoru signals for his bill. The evening has grown long during their talk and after his third denial for another beer or offer of food, Kaoru figures he should at least settle his tab so they can start closing up. If need be, he’ll drag Kyo home with him to crash on his couch until Kyo felt he’d exhausted his mind enough over his high school crush to sleep.

“You know what really funny?” Kaoru suddenly pipes up as the thought just hits him.

The lackluster grunt from Kyo doesn’t even hinder Kaoru. He just spent the last hour listening to Kyo whine about wanting to be with Ruki but he couldn’t… Which honestly sounded like the plot to every b-rate shounen-ai Kaoru’s ever heard of.

“If you ignore the gay factor, this almost sounds like you going through puberty all over again. You like someone but don’t know how to express your feelings. You want to kiss them but don’t know how or if they’ll like it. You want to have sex but have fuck all knowledge on how that works – will you enjoy, will they?”

Despite Kaoru trying to lighten the mood, his suggestion that Kyo is acting like a school boy doesn’t go over as well.

“I’m not saying you’re acting like a kid or anything.” Kaoru amends. “I’m just drawing a parallel here Kyo. Something to help you visualize and draw knowledge from – like for example – when you first wanted to have sex, how did it go?”

“Uh, terrible?” Kyo shrugs.

“What? Really?”

“Everyone’s first times suck, Kaoru. I was nervous and scared; she was probably even more than me. It wasn’t pretty or nice. Hell, I don’t even know if teenage me was even aware enough to ask if she enjoyed it or even came that night.”

“But you got over it and improved,” Kaoru offered.

“After doing it over and over again, yeah. Anyone would improve.” Kyo scoffs.

“Of course it does help that you’re an adult who can communicate with his partner about preferences in and out of bed.” Kaoru pointed out heavily to Kyo. “And the fear about sex? Did that stay with you?”

“I know what you’re implying here, Kaoru.” Good, because for as helpful as he’s being Kaoru really was lost on the best way to help Kyo here. Hopefully this is working in some small way, otherwise…. Maybe he should consult Shinya – no, that won’t work. Maybe he can buy a book or something about this? Surely, there had to be like hand-outs or pamphlets to help people going through their first gay crisis. Yeah… He’ll get Kyo the whole fucking collection as a New Year’s gift.

“So?”

“I guess I just got to try,” Kyo mumbles.

“Or you can just break up with Ruki—“

“No,” Kyo snaps. Quick and sharp, and honestly Kaoru is less and less surprised at how vehemently Kyo reacts to the suggestion of him and Ruki going separate ways. Only a few weeks – months, maybe – since Kyo and Ruki started things and already Kyo was so lost in Ruki. Which probably wasn’t health or normal for someone, but truly Kaoru just hoped and prayed that Ruki could hold up against Kyo’s brand of love. Because Kaoru honestly doesn’t think Kyo could let go of Ruki, now or later.

“Then I guess you should get to practicing, you homophobic asshole.”

“I’m not a homophobe!”

“But you are an asshole?” Kaoru laughs.

“Shut up,”

“Y'know, I fully expect to be paid for my services tonight.” Stern and mock-serious, Kaoru holds out a hand to Kyo for his demanded payment.

“No way,” Kyo’s words and face might suggest he’s angry, but Kaoru can tell in his eyes that he’s starting to relax. That, for now, his fears and worries are calmed. At least until Ruki kisses him again and sends Kyo spiralling into his next gay crisis, Kaoru thinks with a snort.

“Fine. I’ll accept payment after you’ve gotten over your fear and ignorance—“

“I’m leaving,” Standing up abruptly. Kyo throws down a few bills and not because Kaoru demanded payment but because he knows he ran up Kaoru’s tab keeping him all night. It’s the least he could do for his friend and band mate for all of this.

“If you need more assistance, you can reach me at my office of one Dr. Niikura; semi-decent relationship expert.” Kaoru calls out to Kyo’s retreating back who completely ignores him and continues on down the street.

Back at the stall, Kaoru lingers just a bit longer to finish his last beer. With a tap on the bar top to let the owner know he was done, Kaoru stood up and started making his way home himself. His mind filled with his own concerns and fears over how Kyo will handle things over the upcoming days. Hopefully it’ll all work out for the better. Kaoru would like to see Kyo happy again. Truly happy.

Chapter Text

Ruki lay on the couch after dinner watching Kyo do the dishes. The television was turned down low so the sounds were there, but not the main focus after the two had finished their meal. Background noise. Something to cover up the silence which was different for them, normally Kyo was more than happy to sit in silence for however long he wanted. Over time, Ruki’s gotten used to it. He’s even found himself mimicking the habit from time to time when he’s thinking deeply or considering a difficult decision. Tonight is was being used to create noise, to fill the silence and discourage chitchatting.

Ruki didn’t really know why Kyo didn’t want to talk, but he could sense it. A heavy burden lay over the older man’s shoulders tonight that he wasn’t ready to acknowledge. And Ruki was fine with waiting. He’d play along until Kyo was ready to talk, or not. Kyo’s surprised him more than a few times by remaining silent through one of their meet ups, gravid with his troubles only for the storm to suddenly lift without any input from Ruki at all. Maybe it was just another of those nights?

Still, troubled or not, Ruki had used the excuse of having a film on during dinner to justify being pressed so close to Kyo. If Kyo had complained or moved away, Ruki was going to play innocent so as to not make Kyo feel he was rejecting his touch. He’s never outright said anything to suggest it, but Ruki knows those are some of the thoughts that cross Kyo’s mind every time he pulls back or doesn’t return Ruki’s fleeting touches.

Ruki had thought they had come to an understanding about this. They both know Kyo isn’t going to be the proactive one and so all of the more intimate moments have all been initiated by Ruki, with the understanding that if Kyo wasn’t comfortable or ready he’d say so. So far Kyo’s avoided actually speaking up against anything, but he has pulled away or changed a more deliberate caress into something innocent, except every time he’s looked guilty. As if he was hurting Ruki by asking for distance or more time.

Stupid, adorable, just… crazy man, he could be so frustrating, but Ruki tried to be patient and calm. He knew how scary these thoughts and feelings could be the first time, especially with a partner that didn’t respect when you said no or to slow down. He wanted Kyo to be comfortable with… everything, to be able to trust that Ruki wanted him just as much as he wanted other aspects of their relationship. And Ruki wanted to feel those things from Kyo as well. He didn’t want someone dating him, sleeping with him, just because Ruki was the one to want things that way.

He’d wait a thousand years if that’s what it took, but lately Kyo’s been different. It’s like something has come over Kyo. He hadn’t exactly been overly affectionate… just more involved. Like tonight, Ruki was all ready with an excuse if Kyo pulled away during dinner. Claiming some excuse about wanting to see the film better as to why he was so close to Kyo. Only, Kyo had been just as close. Pressing his own weight into Ruki and even being the first to join their hands together as they shared an after dinner drink at the table.

The few kisses they had traded tonight had also felt different. Kyo wasn’t doing anything different, at least not technique wise, but the kisses certainly felt different. They had burned Ruki from the inside out, not the usual lustful flame either, but a slow burning ache in his chest that made him consider tossing the idea of dinner out the window just to kiss Kyo all night.

They were Ruki’s new favorite way Kyo kissed him.

Either way, Ruki was using this chance to soak in more of the older man, in all his confusing, wacky ways. Glutting himself on Kyo’s willingness to be even closer to Ruki, how it made his heart soar to be with someone who fought against his very nature to be with him. It was empowering in a way.

Except Ruki was restricted to the couch and away from Kyo. When Kyo had started gathering up the remnants of dinner, Ruki had jumped to help him like usual. It had sort of become their ritual whenever they shared dinners together, so domestic and yet Ruki loved it. At least until Kyo had banned Ruki from the kitchen. He wasn’t even allowed to dry the clean dishes or get fresh drinks before being grounded to the living room.

”I'm going to fall asleep if you don't let me help," he warned in a huff. Pouting at the man’s back in hopes that his pitiful voice would incite Kyo into turning around so Ruki could torment him until he gave in.

"Then go to sleep. I’ll wake you up when I’m finished." Kyo said easily, picking up another plate to wipe away the sauce clinging to the surface. And not turning around to witness Ruki’s being distraught over being stuck in the other room.

Teasing bastard.

Giving up for now, Ruki resumed his reclined position on the couch once again, eyes drifting half closed as he sank further into the plush cushions of Kyo’s ridiculous couch and that was not an understatement. Truly the thing was a monster. Overly plush, the couch was a wrap around that Kyo had spent a ludicrous amount of money on and bragged just as much about it to Ruki these last two weeks. Ruki had to agree the claim was completely justified after spending two days practically living on the couch with Kyo and getting to experience first-hand just how awesome the couch was. Not that Ruki was going to tell the older man.

It also had the magical ability to put Ruki to sleep in record time.

To avoid ending things too early – again – Ruki focused his attention on Kyo. Watching Kyo’s back shift and move with each motion of him washing a dish, rinsing and drying, before moving over to deposit it inside the cabinet. The rhythm of his body was hypnotizing, the play of muscles beautiful to watch, especially his ass.

Blushing at such a perverted thought going through his head, Ruki tried to keep his eyes – and mind – off of such things. Kyo wasn’t even doing anything sexual, simply cleaning the dishes. Dishes he probably wouldn’t have touched if not for Ruki being over. Kyo was a horribly lazy man and any excuse not to do housework was a good enough excuse for Kyo any day of the week. However, whenever Ruki came over he couldn’t help but wash a dish or two here and there when he stepped into the kitchen. He couldn’t help it, his compulsive cleaning was hard to reining in sometimes, but it did force Kyo into cleaning more often if he didn’t want to walk in on Ruki wiping down his counters or spontaneously sweeping the floor.

It only happened once.

Maybe twice.

Still, just seeing Kyo in such a dressed down state; comfortable and soft, completely at ease while doing dishes of all things had Ruki burning with desire. It was like a flame lived in his veins whenever he was around Kyo and it only burned hotter the closer the man got to him. Surely, he would burn away if Kyo ever decided to truly touch him?

Not wanting to scare off Kyo with his wanton desire, Ruki closed his eyes and tried to force his mind onto other… non sexual things.

The next thing he knew, Kyo's hand on his ankle startled him from the light sleep he’d fallen into. "Ruki. I said I would wake you, but you can sleep." Shit! He hadn’t even realized he had been falling asleep.

"It's early," Ruki mumbled, not wanting this night to end so soon. He started to sit up against the pillows. Being active and moving around will definitely wake him up more, maybe he should even stand up and walk around, only a warm hand on his chest stopped Ruki entirely.

"Don't. Stay as you are,” Kyo said. His voice low and barely there, but Ruki heard it as if he had been yelling across the room.

“Okay,” Ruki agreed, breathless and happy to do whatever Kyo wanted.

For a long moment, they stayed that way. Ruki half reclining against the couch and Kyo hovering over him with a hand on his chest as they stared into each others’ eyes; Ruki wanted to say something, do something, but the look in Kyo’s eyes held him. It was obvious there was something he wanted to say, something he was working up the courage for.

Whatever it was must be too difficult to say for him, because instead of words Ruki feels a gentle caress across his chest. Curious, Ruki glances down to find Kyo’s thumb slowly and softly brushing back and forth in an arch, waking up Ruki’s nerve endings and feeding the fire that's been burning away inside of him. Gradually the touch became firmer as Kyo started to using more of his hand, trailing his fingers and palm up higher, and over his collarbone. Up Ruki’s neck, rubbing and pressing against the delicate skin before finally reaching up to cup his chin and finally his cheek. That same thumb was now brushing against Ruki’s lips, resting there, and Ruki had stopped breathing altogether.

“Kyo?” Ruki whispered. Afraid to say anything more, to speak any louder, but he was cautious of where Kyo’s mind was right now. Should he try reciprocating or just stay still?

He didn’t receive a response. Instead, Kyo’s dark eyes dropped down to where his thumb rested, pressing ever so gently down on Ruki’s bottom lip. The pressure just enough to part his lips and it was like Ruki was kissing Kyo’s thumb. Hell, he if he stuck out his tongue, he’d practically be making out with it.

Ruki did it.

Keeping his eyes on Kyo’s, Ruki carefully brushed the tip of his tongue over the skin of Kyo’s thumb. Just enough to wet his skin, to taste the salt of it; the light touch had Kyo sucking in a deep breath, expression blank but his eyes… They were as fiery as the feeling inside Ruki.

“I want to try something,” Kyo spoke up finally and Ruki tried not to think about how much deeper his voice sounded all of the sudden.

Still, "Yes," Ruki says with no hesitation.

Kyo snorts, “You don’t even know what it is.”

“I don’t care. The answer is yes,” Maybe he would care more if Kyo wasn’t so close, wasn’t touching him in such a way, but Ruki’s lost his reason for self-preservation around Kyo a long time ago.

“Can I—“

“Can you?” He parrots back, but Kyo doesn’t answer. Ruki can see how anxious he is, whatever request he was going to make will probably remain unspoken tonight, but that’s fine. Except, Kyo’s eyes drop down to Ruki’s lips again and to Ruki’s surprise, Kyo opens his own lips and licks them. He looks so hungry, so intense. It sends shivers up and down Ruki’s spine, but he wasn’t moving.

“Thought we agreed that kissing was fine?” Ruki tries to joke.

He knows Kyo wasn’t asking if he could kiss him. It’s more than that or else Kyo wouldn’t have tried to ask at all. After their talk weeks ago, kissing as been one of the few things Kyo has been comfortable with in the sense of their physical relationship. So Ruki knows that this time, he’s asking for something different, something more, and Ruki can’t wait for whatever it is Kyo wants to try.

“Please?” He hadn’t meant to beg, the plea had just simply slipped out before he could restrain himself.

Whatever Kyo had been contemplating over must not have been that concerning, or maybe he finally worked up the courage to face it, because suddenly Kyo was moving closer. Completely covering Ruki as Kyo leaned over his prostrated form, warm lips capturing his own in a soft, brief kiss that didn’t last long. Unlike the sweet or short kisses they exchanged before, this time Kyo was a man on a mission. Going back and forth from sucking on Ruki’s top lip or biting at his bottom lip, driving Ruki absolutely wild, that when Kyo finally snuck his tongue into play Ruki’s please gasp was lost amongst the collection Kyo was wringing out of him. Following the direction of Kyo’s hand on his cheek, Ruki tilted his head into Kyo’s palm, and let the man ravage his senses with his lips and tongue alone. He tried his best to return the favor, but honestly Ruki felt like his was floating and didn’t mind one bit that Kyo had completely taken control of the kiss.

It let him savor the sensations so much better when he didn’t have to worry about stupid things like if he was using too much tongue or if the angle was awkward.

No. This felt like heaven.

Eventually, Kyo pulled away to let them breath or to let Ruki collapse on the couch panting, however you wanted to look at it. “That was amazing,” Ruki sighed out. Not even the least bit angry when Kyo snorts in response.

“You wanted to ask if you could do that?” Ruki asked incredulously. Pulling Kyo down further onto both him and couch, Ruki rearranged their limbs so that Kyo could still lay over him without lack of air or an elbow hitting him in the ribs.

“That wasn’t… what I wanted to ask about.” Kyo admitted shyly, those dark eyes darting to the side for a quick second before meeting Ruki’s again.

“Oh,” Ruki blinked, surprised. “Then what—“

But Kyo’s lips are back and joining in on the attempt to rearrange Ruki’s world are those wonderful hands Ruki’s been thinking about way too often lately. They’re rubbing across his chest, across his nipples, and down over his stomach. They’re everywhere. Distracting Ruki as he tries to return Kyo’s kiss, until wandering fingers are at the edge of his shirt and then suddenly they’re inside. Calloused fingers dragging over hyper sensitive skin that’s all too aware of who is touching him and so soon.

“Wait—“ Ruki tries to say, but it’s swallowed up in another kiss.

“You don't need to be so careful about everything with me, you know."

What? What does that even mean?

“I want you too,” Kyo says against Ruki’s neck where he’s started trailing kisses now.

Ruki’s head is spinning. How can Kyo even think of holding a conversation right now?

“Wait,” He needs to think. He needs to breathe. “This is too soon.”

As Ruki is trying to pull back, and it’s not lost on him that this is the first time it’s him trying to pull back, but he needs to. Whatever Kyo had been thinking about earlier, this was too soon. Too much, too soon.

“We need to talk—“

“All we do is talk!” And Kyo is up, not off the couch at least, but it’s a close thing Ruki can tell. Instead, he just jerks upright against the back of the couch, hands coming up to brush through his hair and gripping the back of his neck with a groan of pure frustration.

Ruki wants to apologize. Wants to say that it’s fine and that they can continue this until Kyo’s ready to stop, but…

“Do you think you’re ready for this?”

The glare Kyo directs at his is severe, hot, but Ruki knows part of it isn’t truly meant for him. Sure, Kyo might genuinely be upset Ruki paused things just as they were getting somewhere, but this just felt too rushed. It felt like Kyo was trying to prove something and it wasn’t to Ruki.

Drawing in another long, deep breath, Kyo lets it out nice and slow before speaking. “This is so dumb. Normal couples don’t talk this much before making out and yet—“

“We’re far from a normal—“ Ruki started but frozen when Kyo’s eyes narrow at him. Okay, he got it. Not the time for jokes or teasing. “You have to admit this isn’t like you, Kyo. I have a reason to be worried when you suddenly come at me as if this is our last night.”

“Maybe I’m just really into you?” Kyo quips back.

Ruki scoffs, “That fact that you had to phrase that as a question should be answer, big guy.”

“Maybe I just want to try. To know what it feels like to be with you without stopping all the time just because I’m freaking out.”

“Are you?”

“Am I what?” Kyo huffs, crossing his arms over his chest in a defensive pose.

“Freaking out?”

For a long moment Kyo’s quiet, nervously biting at his lips as his eyes dart back and forth from Ruki’s face to the opposite corner of the room.

“No,”

“Bullshit.” Ruki immediately snaps back.

“I’m not freaking out about us being together or that you’re a man.” Kyo glares. “I’m nervous I’ll disappoint you.”

“Disappoint me? How?”

“Like—What if I—I’m not—Argh!” Kyo cuts off with a growl almost. “I just don’t want to disappoint you.” He sighs, completely turning his face away from Ruki so he wouldn’t be able to see his frustration building.

Heart melting, Ruki slowly tugs at Kyo’s arms. Pulling the stubborn man out of his curled up position to once again drape himself half over Ruki and back into his embrace. Still, Kyo tries to keep his head turned away until Ruki takes his face in both hands and presses a gentle kiss to his soft lips. And another one just for good measure. “If you think you’re ready—“

“I am!”

Smiling up at the obstinate man, Ruki presses a kiss to both of Kyo’s eyelids and then his nose. All soft and gentle as his previous kisses, trying to calm both Kyo’s frustrations and his lingering fears, “I believe you. I just want you to be sure. I don’t mind waiting longer Kyo; you know this, because you’re more important than five minutes of gratification.”

The silence returns as Kyo takes in Ruki’s words, but he hasn’t pulled away again so hopefully Ruki didn’t make him feel stupid or something by expressing his worries like this.

“I’m insulted you think I wouldn’t last longer than five minutes,” Kyo suddenly says, face blank but his eyes tell Ruki he’s only teasing.

“Oh, forgive me. Ten minutes then—Ah!” Ruki cries out as Kyo leans down to nip at his neck. And this time when Kyo pulls him into a kiss, Ruki lets it build up. He lets the fire from before slowly rise up again as Kyo starts sucking at his lips, teasing his mouth with his tongue.

Kyo presses a hand against Ruki's back, under his shirt and burning against his bare skin, and brings their bodies closer together. The feel of it, of so much of Kyo pressed up against him, has Ruki gasping in arousal. Arms surrounding Kyo’s neck and upper shoulders to pull him further, to keep him there, in Ruki’s embrace, in Ruki’s kiss.

Unlike before, Ruki isn’t afraid to return those searing kisses. To fight Kyo for control of the kiss or to tease the older man with his own teeth against skin, bruises finding their way onto pale skin either by hand or mouth. Ruki wanted it all. He wanted more. Arching up against Kyo as he put his teeth to Ruki’s neck and trailed downwards, as he sucked marks onto Ruki’s skin as he bore more of his skin to the open air. Not even hesitating to push up Ruki’s shirt to gain access to more of Ruki.

Somewhere along the way, Kyo lost his own shirt completely. Ruki doesn’t remember if he had removed it or if Kyo had done away with it himself. Things were a blur of sensation.

"Oh, god. Kyo,” Ruki sighed out, voice hiccupping between gasps as Kyo thrust once against his thigh and suddenly his full weight was between Ruki's legs, cock pressed up against Ruki's and both of them hard.

Kyo’s hard against him.

He’s grinding his hips down against Ruki’s, "Yes, fuck—“ Ruki cries out as he clutches at the back of Kyo’s neck, keeping his teeth, his hot mouth pressed against Ruki’s neck as his other hand reaches down. He’s not even thinking anymore, all he can feel is Kyo. All he wants is Kyo.

Yanking at belts and zippers and buttons until he had them both bare, Ruki groans in triumph when he finally gets his hand on Kyo for the first time. God, how many times has he thought about this these last few weeks? Too many to count and certainly something he thought was much further away than now. And yet here he was, his hand wrapped around Kyo’s hard member, giving him a few teasing strokes to test his reaction.

The deep groan that the first tug pulls out of Kyo is addictive.

But things seem to be just fine for Kyo as he humps his hips harder into Ruki, pushing his cock further into Ruki’s palm, silently begging for more. Ruki’s all too happy to give it to him as Kyo continues laying down kisses and nips along his neck and upper shoulders, across his collar bone. Some deep rumble of approval rolled up out of his chest as Ruki rocks up against him, his denim covers hips brushing against Kyo’s bare flesh.

“Should I—“ Kyo asks as he shyly reaches for the fly of Ruki’s jeans, having just realized that Ruki hadn’t taken himself out as well. “Do you want—“

Not wanting to push Kyo too fast, Ruki quickly undoes his own jeans, pushing the material down enough to pull out his own length. And then they’re touching. Kyo’s cock hot and throbbing and his own pressed along the side of him, moisture collecting at the tips as Kyo groans out and Ruki lets his head fall back with a loud gasp. Hands reaching out instinctively to cling to Kyo’s back as the feeling of their cocks rubbing together rids Ruki of all thought.

"Just move," he whines out.

Kyo obeys easily. Moving in long, slow thrusts as the slide grows easier, slicker, as pre-come continues to leak and dribble from them both. Bending down, Kyo presses another rough kiss to Ruki’s bruised lips, swallowing up Ruki’s cries and whines. Pulling Ruki closer into a better position as his legs naturally come up to cradle Kyo, squeezing him around his hips just like Ruki’s arms cling to him.

They move together, breathing hard, every thrust winding their bodies tighter and higher. Kyo pushes his fingers through the hair at the back of Ruki's neck, and Ruki's got both hands on his ass, pressing down as he thrust up. He could feel sweat on his spine and the desperate, harsh press of Kyo's mouth on his and Ruki loves it.

Kyo came first, fingers so tight in Ruki's hair that it hurt, mouth open against the underside of his jaw as hot breaths pour over Ruki’s skin. After that sight, Ruki couldn't hope to last. Seeing Kyo enjoying this, them, it made Ruki burn so brightly it was like a nova, not even a flane, had taken up residence in his chest. Clutching Kyo tightly, Ruki cried out as he covered himself with his own spend, adding to the come already spilt on his stomach from Kyo just seconds before.

For a long moment, they simply lay there. Too tired and way too relaxed to even consider doing anything just yet but getting their breath back, about letting their hearts settle. And maybe cuddling closer, but Ruki was going to admit to that part.

“Thank you,” Kyo says, lips pressed up against Ruki’s shoulder and the breath in Ruki's lungs freezes. “This was amazing.”

God, at his rate his heart is never going to be right again. It’s just going to always be racing when he’s around Kyo, or melting away from his sweet words. Unable to think of something to say back, to express his own gratitude – and he’s so fucking thankful for Kyo, for this chance – or his own delirious happiness about this moment between them, Ruki decides to follow Kyo’s example. He kisses the older man, long and drawn out. Hoping that he’s able to pour all of his feelings into the kiss, that Kyo will understand; how much he loves him, how happy he is right now. Everything.

Kyo kisses him back just as long.