It takes three days for Shigeo to finally ask, "Ritsu, shouldn't we be heading home soon?"
The wind blows through cracks in the old wood cabin they've spent the better part of a weekend in. Ritsu had asked that they go away for a bit over summer vacation, just the two of them, to bond as brothers.
Shigeo had thought nothing of it, had packed his bags the night before for a weekend of hiking, had been so impressed at Ritsu for being able to arrange a trip like this without their parents help.
They'd left early in the morning, too early to say goodbye to their parents properly. Shigeo had thought that odd but Ritsu said they knew all about the trip and where they'd be, they could leave a note if it'd make him feel better. He had decided that there was no need, never doubted Ritsu's diligence in planning out all aspects of this trip.
He hadn't questioned their quiet escape from the house, and he hadn't questioned the dizziness he began to experience maybe two hours into their hike up the mountainside, shortly after he'd started in on his second water bottle, kindly provided by Ritsu.
He'd thought he'd built up more stamina than that, but anemia still got the better of him now and again. He'd passed out, and woken up in this cabin, which Ritsu said was their destination anyway.
There's a small pond just outside of the cabin, and an astounding lack of spirits. Maybe Ritsu exorcised them while he'd slept, Ritsu's powerful enough for that now, and it'd be just like him to thoughtfully clear away any nuisances before Shigeo could even begin to think of them as such.
That first day Ritsu had gently and thoroughly rubbed sunscreen into Shigeo's skin, and while he told Ritsu he could get his own front, his own limbs, Ritsu's insistence that he wanted to do it had been enough to make Shigeo acquiesce. They'd spent the day in the lake, playing games and floating lazily, and Shigeo thanked Ritsu for planning such a great trip.
Now it's Monday, and Shigeo thinks, sure, they don't have classes, but what about their other obligations? He'd had no idea how long they planned to be out, hadn't know what to tell Reigen other than that he'd be away for at least a weekend with Ritsu. He has no service this far in the mountains, he can't even text Reigen to let him know how long he'll be gone. And surely Ritsu has many things to get back to as well. But Ritsu just smiles and says they have this place for a while, and shouldn't they live a little, take a nice long get-away?
And well, every day Shigeo has fun, completely at ease with Ritsu, and every night he sleeps so incredibly deeply, for so long, and wakes up feeling so oddly relaxed and satisfied. Yes, he agrees, a longer vacation is fine. A solid week away will do them good.
(But he notices that their provisions never seem to run low. He hasn't seen a working clock since his phone died. Ritsu is very punctual about giving him a glass of milk in the evenings. Shigeo does reality checks all day, has lucid dreams at night he can't wake himself up from.)
A week passes. Shigeo asks again, "It's been a week, when are we going home?"
But Ritsu looks at him with brows furrowed, seemingly genuinely confused, and says, "It hasn't been that long, Shige. Tired of hanging out with your little brother already?"
No, Shigeo assures, of course not, never.
But that night Shigeo does his best to puke up the milk Ritsu gave him. That night he doesn't fall asleep so easily, though he does sleep. That night he wakes up to Ritsu naked in his lap, Ritsu taking his cock, Ritsu murmuring "brother, brother," against his sleep-lax mouth.
His power lashes out before he can think, throwing Ritsu across the room with a shout. Ritsu hits the far wall, hard, before falling to the floor. For a moment Shigeo remembers--Ritsu on the ground--blood pooling--a dead cat--more bodies--hospital lights--an empty apartment--
"Ritsu!" Shigeo shoots out of bed, mindlessly pulling his sleep pants up as he stumbles over to Ritsu's crumpled form. Ritsu's still breathing, good, Shigeo gently touches Ritsu's hair, finds no blood, also good. But when Ritsu opens his eyes there's real terror. Not good.
The fear dissipates a second later as Ritsu winces, rubbing his own hand over the back of his head. "Shige, that hurt."
"I-I'm sorry," Shigeo stammers, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, I just--I was surprised. I'm sorry Ritsu. But what, what you were doing, Ritsu--"
"What was I doing that was so surprising?" Ritsu asks, guileless, wide-eyed and hurt and asking why, why did you hurt me again brother?
Shigeo comes up short, at a loss to explain why Ritsu shouldn't do what he was doing, not to Shigeo, not when he's sleeping. Of course that's surprising, horrifying even--right? Maybe he overreacted, Ritsu wasn't hurting him, not like he'd hurt Ritsu, but--but they're brothers. It's wrong. He didn't even know it was happening until he'd stopped it.
"You can't do those things Ritsu," Shigeo says after a long silence.
"Can't do what?" Ritsu asks. Something petulant, contrary, starts to peek through the confusion in his voice.
It shames Shigeo to have to verbalize it. "Um, kissing me, I mean. And the other, the other thing. We're brothers, you can't. That's for, for people you love."
"I love you," Ritsu says, fervent. "I love you, brother. So what's the problem?"
Shigeo can feel the blood draining from his face, the anxious cold blooming through his body. "No," he tries to say, "no, not like--"
"Do you not love me, Shige?" Ritsu asks, looks away, looks like he might cry. "Well, I guess you already answered that question, throwing me like that."
The room feels like it's moving around him, under him, every detail of their little cabin warping and blurring. "No, Ritsu, of course I love you, but--"
Ritsu reaches out, pulls Shigeo in. Says against his mouth, "It's fine, we love each other, it's okay," and kisses him again, his tongue hot and wet in Shigeo's mouth, turning his stomach but he can't move, has to lock himself down, afraid to hurt Ritsu any more than he already has.
Shigeo breathes, keeps deadly still as Ritsu crawls over him, wishes he'd never woke up as Ritsu worms a hand down his pants, jerks his body back into hardness, wishes he'd just drank the damn milk after all so he'd never have to know what it felt like for Ritsu to take his cock.
Shigeo lets himself be used that night, tells himself he loves Ritsu, he can't hurt Ritsu, anything is better than hurting Ritsu. Falls asleep with that mantra playing over and over in his head, with Ritsu's head pillowed on his shoulder.
"When are we going home?" Shigeo asks the next morning. He thinks he knows the answer, but he has to ask.
"Why can't this be home?" Ritsu replies. "It's peaceful here. Haven't you been relaxed? I'll take care of everything, Shige, you can live a stress-free life here."
"But what about our parents? Our friends? Won't they be worried?"
Ritsu tilts his head to the side. "Why should they be? We can take care of ourselves just fine."
"Ritsu, they'll miss us--miss you. They'll be sad. We have to go back."
Ritsu puts down his chop sticks over his empty bowl of rice. Shigeo hasn't touched his.
"We don't have to do anything, Shige," Ritsu says with conviction. "We have everything we need here--each other, and I can take care of the rest. Besides, isn't it nice, not having to worry about your powers? There's nothing here to hurt, or make you lose control."
Shigeo can't help flinching back from the words. "I hurt you. What about you?"
Ritsu's expression softens, and he comes around the table to sit next to Shigeo, to lean against him reassuringly. ( 'You love Ritsu. You can't hurt Ritsu. Anything is better than hurting Ritsu--' )
"It's okay, Shige. I know you were just confused--but everything's clear now, between us. I love you, we'll be okay. You're the most important thing to me. Please, stay here with me, big brother."
You love Ritsu. You can't hurt Ritsu. Anything is better than hurting RitsuRitsucan'thurtRitsu--
"Of course I'll stay, Ritsu. I'm your big brother, after all."