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Crystallization

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Chota lost some things, the day he was locked away. He gained other things.

He lost time. Of course.

The loss was gradual. En used to visit him more often, once every few days. Once every fortnight, then once a month. Less than that, after a while.

Chota gained passion. Distance made the heart grow fonder. That was too true. 

Some days when En was around, Chota wanted nothing else but to just hold him close, to feel En against him however he could, they didn't even need to speak. Some days En was the same, immediately touching Chota however he wanted. 

Some days Chota wanted En to talk and talk and talk, just so Chota could gorge himself on En's voice and diction, file it away for later when he was lonely and was thinking of his aloof lover.

Some things gained; some things lost. Chota couldn’t really complain when En came to visit and it was immediately good, that everything felt right the moment the door to his tower opened. It might have been a while since they’ve seen each other, but it was alright. En was here with him and Chota was happy.

They were having a wonderful time. 

They were having tea, and En was updating him on the new contract he had signed with an up and coming magic engineering company. 

Chota knew about the happenings of En's empire from the news and from his regular correspondence with a number of En’s staff and his fellow family officials, but it was always best hearing about things straight from En. It gave him some insight on what En was thinking and how he wanted to approach matters. En was very good at expanding his reach, Chota supposed it was part of him being raised by the most fearsome devil existing.

From a professional standpoint, Chota found himself lucky that he could listen to En’s thoughts directly.

From a non-professional standpoint, he loved En a lot, and En speaking of his passion projects and current endeavors just made Chota love him even more.

So, he listened, drinking his tea every so often, savoring every second of En’s company. It wasn’t going to last, but Chota could enjoy it for now.

En was still speaking when Chota felt a foot nudge his under the table they were sitting at, just light push against him, almost non-existent. Chota was immediately on high alert, focus zeroing in on the point of contact.  

En didn't do anything else but the nudge was already so significant.

He was feeling playful, as playful as En can be. He wanted Chota to continue. 

Chota knew En, more than anything, Chota knew En so well he could write an entire thesis on the man. He might just, one day.

Chota wasn't one to shy away from an invitation, either. 

He shifted forward in his seat under the guise of heightened interest, both hands on his masked face, pushing his pecs together in a way that made them look killer. If anything, Chota was confident that he had a great body. 

En's gaze momentarily dropping was evidence, and Chota rewarded him with a light tap to his foot under the table, then ran the tip of his shoe up along the curve of En's ankle. 

En gave him a look but didn't tell him to stop. He continued his explanation on the possible new projects he wanted to start with the new company. 

Oh, but Chota was already warm all over. The idea of getting intimate with En was already preoccupying his thoughts, but he really was interested in En’s future projects. He was also so interested in the idea of putting his mouth on En, one way or another.

Chota liked to believe that En was now distracted too, considering how his gaze kept moving, shifting around but never away from Chota’s body. They really haven't met for a while.

"En," Chota had to say something, because En would never be the one to initiate in a situation like this, "If you want to..." He jostled En’s foot under the table and sat upright, hoping to allure.

By the Devil, he hoped. There was only so much his hands and toys could do. He missed En so much. 

En looked at him, and then checked his wristwatch, “I can’t stay for too long. I have a meeting at 3.”

"That's plenty of time, " Chota coaxed, trying his best, "Please?" 

En raised an eyebrow at him, and Chota felt some kind of desperation creeping up inside of him, "Look, listen. I'll set an alarm. 20 minutes, I promise I won’t get carried away; I'll keep my hands to myself the moment it goes off," he gestured to the cage where he slept, where his alarm clock was. A negotiation: whatever it would take to get more time with En, really.

Another moment of consideration, but En pushed his own chair back and stood, and gave Chota a small nod. Nothing was comparable to the gratification that came with En’s acceptance, Chota thought. He hadn’t even kissed En yet.

It was easy, from that point onwards. Chota set the alarm and En was on him right away, pulling at him for a kiss, and Chota got lost in that for a moment. So easy to lose himself in En, though he was sure that it wasn’t quite the same for En. The fact that this was temporary was present in his mind, though.

When the alarm went off, Chota made himself take a step back, forcing himself away from En, "Okay. Okay. As promised."

En frowned, then groused, “Come here.”

He pulled Chota back down, and Chota let him. Chota belatedly wondered if En got just as lost as he did, too.

They didn’t set an alarm this time.

//

They could take their time, before. When they slept in one room and in one bed, when they were in each other's company more often than not. 

That felt like such a long time ago even if Chota could vividly remember it. He might have taken those moments for granted. 

If he closed his eyes and focused only on the solid body next to his, on that specific presence that was En, Chota could pretend that they were still happily together. 

He wanted to hold En's hand so badly. En might get mad, though. 

Chota was in love, not delusional.

"En."

"Hm."

"Do you think we'll ever go back to how we were?"

A question he shouldn't ask if he wanted this moment to last longer, but Chota was feeling a little disillusioned. 

En wasn't immediately dismissive, so that was a good thing, perhaps. He was still present beside Chota on the bed, even if the air was a little tense. 

"I don't know."

A simple enough answer, one that Chota wasn't hoping for, but something he expected. 

Slowly, Chota tried to be alright with that, and En spoke up again, "It's not safe. I don't know where he is, but he's out there." 

The Cross-Eyes boss. The only living thing En feared, Chota thought. A ghost, at this point, there hadn't been sightings of him for so long now, and even the desperation of the Cross-Eyes was just further proof that even they didn't know where he was. Chota only ever heard of the man when he was with En. He was getting a little tired of it.  

"I can take care of myself, En." 

"With what?" En scoffed, and Chota opened his eyes, a little surprised, "Your magic? He doesn't have anything to dispel, you won't be able to fight him."

Chota knew that. He didn't think En thought of that. 

"...I could help, somehow. You know I can."

"You could help just fine from here," En said, "You know you can help from here, Chota."

Chota knew that, too. 

"It has to be me. I have to kill him,” En always sounded so haunted when he spoke about killing the Cross-Eyes boss, which felt strange to Chota. En was so powerful. En had eliminated so many others. Why was this different?

"It has to be you."

"Yes. I lost control back then. If I was careful and made sure that I got him...When we go back in time, I'm stopping him way earlier than that, anyway. Way before everyone else—"

En cut himself off and went quiet. 

Of course, Chota knew that En was preoccupied with this, but it had been a while since En spilled his thoughts with Chota this way. He wished he knew more of what En was thinking. 

His poor En. 

"You'll get him," Chota said with confidence, because he believed in it, "The plan is still the same, right? Find a time magic user and get rid of him. Are you still trying to find his current whereabouts?" 

"Yes. We have eyes everywhere. The plan's the same." 

“Remind me, En.”

Chota turned his head to look at En, as En sighed, but set to explaining what he had planned for the elimination of the Cross-Eyes leader. Even from the side, En looked so handsome. Without the mask, his features were softer. Chota must be one of the only people ever to have seen En from this specific angle, if not the only one. He was so lucky. 

Chota was lucky, right?

He was. He knew he was.

No one knew what was going to happen in the future. Not Chota, not En. If they finally found the magic user who could control time, then En’s plan would come into effect and they’d act accordingly.

But for as long as they haven’t found them, En was still his. For now, En was his.

Chota could be content with that.