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“You know those friends I mentioned?”

His voice was nervous, maybe even guilty. It was different than anything Kirito had heard. Even if they hadn’t known each other long, Kline had never been nervous. Not like this. Not in the I’m-leaving-you-for-someone-else kinda way.

He hated it. Hated the way he scratched the back of his head and averted his eyes and the way that stupid crooked smile tugged at Kline’s lips.

“They’re back at the plaza somewhere…I can’t leave ‘em…”

He watched as the small sigh pushed past Kline’s lips, barely noticeable, no more than a smooth puff of air. He wasn’t meeting his eyes anymore, hands clenching into fists and Kirito thought they might have been trembling.

“Look, I’ll be fine!” He was grinning again, eyes nearly disappearing behind long lashes as he put his hands on his hips. False confidence.

“Kline…” Kirito was surprised at how small his own voice sounded, the roar in the distance of a panicking mob and the silence in their little alleyway somehow dwarfing the sound behind his lips. He tried to keep his brows unfurrowed, expression even as his storm cloud eyes lifted to Kline’s, almost amber in the setting sunlight.

Kline was still smiling, and Kirito couldn’t help but almost wince because he knew it was all a façade. The taller man was better off than most of the players here, he knew, but they all knew that strength and skill wasn’t everything. In RPG’s sometimes everything went to hell, and this time they didn’t have eighty restarts, a few rage quits, and salt enough to mock the pre-boss cut scene.

They only had one chance.

One life.

The silence that dropped over them was almost unbearable. Suffocating. Kirito could feel his legs aching to run and his fingers flexed and clenched as if his body didn’t know what to do with his hands.

What was he supposed to say? What could he say? What was okay to say?

“Okay. If that’s what you want…”

The shuffle as his feet moved forward seemed unnaturally loud, echoing off the stone walls of the empty alleyway surrounding them. He licked over his lips, glancing up at Kline again, that smile faltering as he caught his eyes. Gray eyes fell to lips pink and slightly dry, lips that were gnawed on by teeth uncertain.

Lips that he wanted to feel against his.

But he couldn’t. It didn’t matter how much he wanted to grab Kline by the shitty entry-level garb and mash their lips against one another’s, how much he wanted to touch him with hands that he wished weren’t shaking or how much he wanted to know what he tasted like, to log it away in his memory to hold onto like some sort of desperate sensory lifeline, how much he wanted to cry out ‘just don’t die!

None of it mattered. He couldn’t. Wouldn’t. Shouldn’t.

“I’ll be seeing you, Kline. Take care.”

And so he didn’t. His feet shuffled over the dirt and his body turned on its own. His legs carried him, muscles feeling like he was trudging in molasses as he pushed every fiber of his being away from want.

“Kirito!”

He froze. Head hanging, eyes on his feet and hands clenched at his side.

“Hey, Kirito…uh…you look better like this.” His voice was strained, words not saying what he meant.

“Yeah and I think that scruffy face fits you ten times better, too!” Kirito smiled, forced happiness in his words as he looked over his shoulder. He lowered his gaze, feeling his voice aching in the back of his throat. His lips parted to speak again, only to find Kline was gone. Squeezing his eyes shut, his knuckles white with clenched fists, he turned away from the plaza.

Just don’t die.


“Going out to scout the area?” Sachi’s voice was soft, always soft, almost shy. Her pale blue eyes turned their focus on Kirito, corners narrowed in an ever-smile.

“Yeah.” Kirito only nodded, short and firm.

“Tetsuo and Keito are already on watch.” It was more a question than she let it come out to be; ‘why?’

“I just…need some air.”

It wasn’t even a truth that made sense anymore, not in Aincrad. Everything was regulated here, and the air inside the inn they used as a headquarters was just as clean and crisp as anywhere else. He didn’t need air.

He needed space.

He needed to get out of his fucking mind.

It had been half a year since Kayaba had trapped them all in Aincrad. Half a year since they had been told fight or die. Half a year since he had left Kline.

That was the one that really got to him. The one that swirled in his mind, a deep dark maelstrom that beat at the walls of his skull and threatened to tear his brain apart, piece by squishy piece.

Kirito had never been able to come to terms with it; he had abandoned him. He had left Kline behind for his own survival. And he hadn’t seen him since.

A familiar twist pulled at his chest, lump in his throat fighting him as he tried to swallow a severe lack of saliva.

Thousands had died already. To the game. To madness. To despair. To each other.

His fingers tightened into themselves, blunt nails digging into his palms and the slight twinge of pain doing nothing to stop him. Even if the pain sensory was lower than real life, it served a purpose. It reminded them that they were alive.

That they had to live.

“Kline…”

The word slipped from his lips, dancing off bite-reddened flesh before swallowed by the cool breeze against his skin.

He had told himself over and over again, more times than he could count, that Kline was alive. That idiot couldn’t die. Wouldn’t die. He had people to take care of, friends to protect, a guild to manage.

He was alive.

“Hey, Kirito!”

He was alive.

The voice was familiar, unmistakable to the raven-haired young man and it awoke whatever fluttering creature had been sleeping dormant in his chest. His breath caught in his chest, words hitched on his lips and ready to spring forward on his command; anticipation.

“Kline, you’re…” Alive. Kline was alive. His throat tightened and his breath shuddered inside it with something he hadn’t felt since he had started this damn game.

Relief.

“Hey, how’s it going?” Kline smiled, hand a hailing wave in the air before dropping at his side. But his face never faltered; that same stupid grin that he had seen when they’d parted. But this time…this time Kirito thought it was real.

And it was for him.

And Kline was alive.

Kirito hadn’t had a chance to respond—what was it he was going to say?—before his gray eyes caught movement. People, Kline’s friends. Kline’s guild members. There were six of them, he counted, including the fiery leader himself.

“Wait what is that next to your name?” Kline crinkled his nose, pointed to the character lifebar above Kirito’s head, a lopsided grin tugging at his lips. “Did you join a guild?!?”

“Uh,” Something dropped into his stomach. He couldn’t be sure, but it felt a fucking lot like concrete. “Yeah.”

His eyes looked away from Kline, guilt pulling his brows together and sucking his bottom lip between his teeth. He had left him behind because too many people were a risk, and now he was part of a guild? How could he possibly face him? How could he possibly say sorry?

How could words be enough?

“He’s still hung up on that…” Kline’s words weren’t much more than a mumble to himself as Kirito turned away from him, climbing the small way up the hill with intentions of returning to the inn.

Kline was alive; that was enough.

“Kirito, wait!”

There was grunting and the shuffling of armor behind him, and then a hand around his wrist.

The shorter man pressed his lips together into a thin line, turning to look at Kline. It was almost disorienting, looking down on the man as the pale moonlight danced off his features. Caramel eyes glinted in the light, silver reflecting into pools of want.

“Walk with me.” It was more a statement than a question, fingers giving a little squeeze to the younger man’s wrist as the soft voice floated away on the breeze; waiting.

Swallowing hard, Kirito nodded. His heart seemed to squeeze inside his chest at the small, happy smile that graced Kline’s lips in response, brows lifting on his face and eyes seeming to light up.

It’s not like it was a foreign feeling when it came to memories of the redhead; it was just one he had often brushed off or chosen to ignore.

The skin on his wrist tingled where Kline’s fingers had been; as if even through his jacket it was enough to alight his senses. He rubbed over the arm in silence, following behind the taller man and only watching as he waved off his guild members.

“It’s kind of nice out here, yeah?”

Kirito lifted his eyes to meet Kline’s, only for a moment before they were looking around. The forest. He wasn’t surprised, it was secluded and close and safe enough considering that the taller man’s guild had just cleared it of monsters.

“Your guild…”

“Fuurinkazan.”

Kirito nodded. “Yeah, are they the friends you joined with?”

This time it was Kline’s turn to nod, eyes softening a bit at the worry that was on Kirito’s face. The raven didn’t much show this side of himself, but after all the worry, he didn’t have a choice. “Yeah, great guys. You…might like them.” There was that grin again, no one really knowing what mr. lone warrior sought in friends.

“Are they—did anyone—”

Kline grinned again, wider this time in a way that crinkled his eyes and made Kirito wonder if it hurt his cheeks. A heavy hand landed on his head, fingers brushing through dark hair. “All original members.”

If he wasn’t so relieved, he’d be irritated at the gesture. But for the first time, Kirito thought that maybe—just maybe—he had made the right decision back then. That Kline leaving and rejoining his friends had been for the better for all of them.

“What about yours?”

“My what?”

Kline only rolled his eyes, pointing to the symbol beside’s Kirito’s name.

“Oh. The Moonlit Black Cats.” Kirito shrugged, almost embarrassed. “Ran into them when they were in trouble. Then they asked me to join. So I did.”

Brown eyes blinked at him, and then his lips pulled back into a smile and laughter bubbled from his chest. “That’s it? That simple?” A small snort. “I should have just asked you to join a long time ago,” His voice softened as he spoke, “Then we wouldn’t have had to wait so long to see each other…”

Kirito’s heart twisted again, breath caught in his throat and damned those things fluttering amongst his insides. Still, he couldn’t help smiling and he was pretty sure he was blushing from the way Kline had said that.  

“About that…” Kline hummed as Kirito spoke, questioning. “About that day. I—I’m sorry!” The words picked up, a slow staggering walk before they stumbled and spilled from his lips in a startling rush. His hands ached at his side, clenched into fists again.

“Don’t sweat it.” Kline let out a little sigh, leaning back against a tree so large that there weren’t any branches low enough to reach. He crossed his arms over his chest, somehow not looking awkward with the breastplate of his armor in the way. “We did what we had to. We’re both alive.”

Red armor glinted in the moonlight filtering through the trees, a casual shrug that meant more than words. “I’m glad you’re alive.”

His voice was soft again, and again it sent Kirito’s stomach spinning and left his mouth dry.

It was a feeling he was quickly becoming familiar with, refusing to ignore anymore. A feeling that he was realizing wasn’t just because they were both probably going to die, like he had thought that day when they had parted.

“Me, too.” Sometimes he really wanted to kick himself—what were words?—for his inability to form cohesive, eloquent thoughts when he most wanted to. That, it seemed, was a gift that came and went.

Still, he took a step closer to Kline, neither quite looking at each other as the not-silence of the forest became more unbearable.

“Anything you regret?” Kline’s words seemed loud as they broke the growing heaviness between them.

“Huh?”

A little chuckle, one that somehow made Kirito’s mouth even drier. “You decided to go it alone this whole time, right? Until,” Again, a finger at the icon by his name, “you joined the kiddies?”

Kirito ignored the kiddies part, knowing that they were all around his age, and knowing he was plenty younger than Kline. Still, he was right. Besides helping on the occasional boss fight or the time he temporarily partnered with Asuna, he had been a loner. Had to be a loner; as much for himself as everyone else in this twisted reality.

“Yeah, it was…for the best.” He hated the solemnity in his voice. He was happy Kline was alive. Fucking thrilled, in fact. He couldn’t remember the last time he had been so relieved, felt so…light. He wanted to just be able to sit back with him and chat and catch up and make up for all the time they’d lost.

Instead it was only this. This sadness and hardship that seemed to burrow its way to the surface for Kline and Kline only, as if it felt safe around him. Kirito wished it didn’t. He didn’t want this to be the side of him that he remembered.

“So do you regret anything?” Kirito’s eyes widened at the question, mind immediately latching onto an answer and hoping his mouth would remain shut and that Kline wouldn’t notice his reaction. But the redhead wasn’t even looking at him, as if he thought it would make it easier for him to answer. “About the past six months? Joining this shitty mmo?” There was a slight furrowing of brows under the bandana. “Anything about how we left…”

“Kline…” Regrets….He had thought about it more than he wanted to acknowledge. “Regrets—” His tongue slipped over his dry lips, mind screaming at him not to do it. “I wish I had…”

“Kirito?” They were closer now, caramel eyes caught in storm clouds.

Swallowing hard, Kirito gripped the edge of the chestplate and pushed forward, lifting onto his toes and crashing their lips together. It was rough and harsh and uncoordinated, noses smushed and lips mashing almost painfully as his fingers squeezed Kline’s arm and he pinned him to the tree with his lips.

His lips felt like burning mint—all hot and cold and tingly at the same time. His heart was pounding in his chest and blood pumped through his ears as he pulled back, lowering himself fully onto firm ground. Wide amber eyes stared down at him, perfect lips lingering in a small ‘o’ of surprise.

Panic set in, fingers shaking even as they gripped Kline’s arm and eyes darting back and forth, searching the other’s for—something. Want. Happiness. Reciprocity. Something.

“Shit—Kline—” He wasn’t sure the last time he heard his voice that unsteady; maybe when he had found out about his real parents. “I didn’t—”

And then his words died, devoured by lips against his. Fingers squeezed his arm between them, holding him close as lips worked over his, a certain desperation in them. There was a hunger there, starved and voracious, lips nipping and sucking and gnashing.

“Kirito…” Kline breathed into the kiss, his own lips swallowing the words and responding with a swipe of his tongue. There was a satisfied hum as lips parted and another tongue brushed against his, slowly.

He shuddered at the sensation, melting against Kline and wondering how long his toes would hold him. A strong arm slipped around his waist, bracing his back and pulling him against the solid warmth of the body pressed against him.

Kirito couldn’t stop the way his heart hammered in his chest, certain that Kline could feel it even through his armor, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to. Not when it meant pulling away from the kiss, when it meant not feeling lips on his anymore or not tasting that tongue slipping and sliding against his own.

He let out a little hum, vibrating between them, as Kline shifted, body sliding down until he sat heavy against the shorter man’s thigh, Kirito’s feet now firmly planted into the ground. The arm around his body slipped down, fingers moving under his jacket to latch onto his hip. Strong fingers moved to cup his neck, thumb brushing over his jaw and never quite pulling their lips apart.

And then he did. Kirito gasped as they parted, breath harsh as it pushed from his chest and his eyes felt heavy as they looked into Kline’s.

“Kirito I—” He paused, taking a labored breath. Lips brushed against Kirito’s cheek, soft and smooth, pressing wet kisses along his jaw and against the pulse pounding against his skin. “I regretted it, too.”

And there was that familiar twisting and fluttering, a tingling pooling and pulling lower into his body. He said nothing, instead crashing their lips together again. It was sloppy, tongue hungrily pushing into his mouth and saliva glistening around their lips. His slender fingers gripped desperately at Kline’s hair, pushing against his bandana until the damned thing slipped and fell to the ground beside them; forgotten.

There was a growl against his lips, vibrating against his chest and swallowed by his tongue. It only served to spur him on, jolting to his groin as he pressed their bodies closer together, hips flush.

“Kline—” He didn’t know what to say. He knew what he felt, what he wanted. Knew that if he could feel a hardened bulge pressing against his erection, than surely Kline could, too. But he was too damn proud to say ‘touch me.’

Touch me.

Fuck please touch me.

“I don’t want to regret anything, again,” was what came out instead. His teeth worked over his lower lip, lids heavy over his eyes and not missing the way Kline’s widened just so in surprise and then softening in understanding.

“Me, too.” Kline’s words were soft, his lips softer as they captured Kirito’s, sucking on the kiss-swollen flesh before moving his lips over his jaw and to his neck.

Kirito let out a little gasp as a warm, wet tongue rolled over his pulse point and traced the tender flesh to his ear. Lips suckled at his lobe before teeth nipped gently at the sensitive flesh, pushing an almost not there moan from his lips. He refused to accept the sound came from him.

Kline didn’t stutter in his ministrations, lips working over his neck and sucking the flesh between his teeth hard enough to leave blossoming kiss marks behind. His fingers were cool against Kirito’s skin, slipping under his shirt and ghosting over his torso, muscles quivering against the gentle touch. Slowly they moved further, seeking sensitive, pert flesh; he didn’t hesitate, thumb brushing over his nipple and gently squeezing.

“Ah—!” The strangled sound pushed from Kirito’s lips unbidden, too loud and sudden to deny.

His cheeks lit up as embarrassment washed through him. Had he really just made that sound?

“You know, your ears turn red when you blush.” There was a low chuckle accompanied by a gentle nip to the cartilage of his ear, which only served to embarrass him more.

“I—shut up—!” Kirito growled, weakly pushing away from Kline.

The redhead only grinned, holding him firmly and brushing their lips together in a not-kiss. “I like it.”

Before he could make a retort, Kirito’s lips were captured again and he felt himself melting into the kiss. He couldn’t help himself, not really. It wasn’t Kline’s fault he was embarrassed and he couldn’t really even say he disliked the way it felt when he said things like that to him.

It made his body nervous and throat tight and lips hungry and hands grabby. And so he let himself melt, let himself satiate such cravings with fingers gripping thighs around his own and a clashing mouth and languid tongue that never became unacquainted with the taller man’s taste.

He couldn’t help the way he shuddered, a moan pushing from his lips and dripping into the air as his hips pushed forward and rolled their groins together. His wasn’t the only sound slipping into the space between them; a harsh, lips-parted growl filled the air as fingers tightened on his hips and mirrored his movement. The sound twisted in his groin, encouraging him to pushing forward again, panting against Kline’s lips, his fingers digging at the bark behind him.

“Kirito.” Kline breathed out his name, heavy and hot on his lips, an unspoken question that left the raven wanting more. Strong fingers dancing under his shirt, tugging hesitantly at his belt, eyes not leaving Kirito’s.

Gray eyes dropped only for a second before moving back to Kline’s. He swallowed hard, not trusting his voice, and nodded slowly. Leaning forward, his lips moved to the other’s jaw. Stubble brushed against the sensitive flesh as he suckled on the surface, tongue brushing over as his lips closed, again, and again, moving down to his neck, breath hot against the surface and relishing the little gasps and breaths that he incited.

Kirito pressed his head against a strong shoulder, between neck and armor, and let his eyes watch as trembling fingers freed his erection, hard and wet between them.

“Wait—” Kline’s hand froze at his words, a hairsbreadth away from his shaft. “Yours, too.”

“Kirito?”

The younger man licked his lips, not lifting his head. “Yours, too. I—want to make you feel good, too.”

Apparently this was the right answer, gray eyes watching as Kline undid his own pants and pushed them down just enough to free himself. Kirito swallowed, mouth suddenly salivating. It was almost surreal, the hunger he felt just by seeing the other’s erection.

It wasn’t like he hadn’t seen a dick before; saw his own every day.

But this was different. It was…bigger. Not as thick, but longer than Kirito’s, a smooth shaft anchored in a thatch of red hair.

“Uh, Kirito?” Kline’s uncertain voice pulled him back, realizing he had been staring, unmoving.

“I…can I…” He licked his lips, His fingers trembling as he reached between them and gingerly wrapped them around Kline’s cock when there were no words of rejection. Gently, he tugged in the same way he would his own, and received a sharp gasp in his ear as a reward.

Taking it as approval, he continued, slowly stroking up his shaft, thumb pressing over the slit of his cock. He swallowed every gasp that Kline let slip from his lips, every pant and moan, as his tongue delved between his lips again.

Kirito felt the older man push back against the tree, fingers squeezing his hips and cock pushing between his fingers. His pants were growing heavier, each little broken sound making the shorter man’s cock jump.

“Kirito, wait—”

His hand stilled instantly, pulling back almost as if burned. There was a jolt of panic that flitted through him and part of him wanted to run, even if it did go against his very nature.

“Here—” Kline’s voice was hoarse as his fingers reached between them and he moved Kirito’s hand to wrap around their cocks, pushing them together and eliciting a small gasp from them both. “Good, now—” He wrapped his hand around the slightly smaller ones, leading him through the motions of stroking them together.

The heat was almost unbearable, twisting his inside into a tight knot that left his throat clenched and his groin heavy. It felt incredible, better than anything he’d ever felt—like he could compare this to jacking it in the shower?—and it was all he could to keep his hand moving when Kline released it.

“F-fuck—” The obscenity pushed a chuckle from Kline, but somehow he thought it wasn’t a bad thing.

Not that he could focus on it much.

Gray eyes locked onto the sight between them, even in the dark he could see their pulsing cocks schlicking together, heads brushing and glistening as precum beaded and dripped down their lengths.

“Kirito—” Kline’s voice was breathy as his hips bucked into Kirito’s hand, causing his own breath to hitch on his lips.

Strong hands relinquished their grip on his hips, ghosting down to cup Kirito’s ass. Unrelenting, Kline gripped a cheek in each hand, kneading and spreading them with enough force to pull the younger against his chest.

“A-ah—Kli—” His lips smacked shut, as if he wasn’t ready to moan that name yet. Still, it danced on his lips and lingered on his tongue and he thought maybe, just maybe, he liked the way it tasted.

His hands moved faster, hips rolling as Kline kneaded his ass, soft, broken moans pushing from his lips as the taller’s hips bucked and rolled as he fucked into Kirito’s hand. The sounds alone, the gasps and pants and whines and the schlorping of wet skin on skin, were enough to drive him crazy.

His fingers dug into Kline’s thighs, brows furrowing as heat pooled in his core and he knew he was close. He lifted his eyes to the other’s, storm clouds meeting burning amber, an eclipse of lust and passion and blown pupils.

“Fuck, Kirito,” the words were staggered, breathy as his cock pulsed in his hand.

“Kline, I—Kli—ah~” His warning broke as his hips bucked forward, Kline’s hands squeezing his cheeks. His cock pulsed and his hips trembled as his hand fervently pumped them together, cum splurting out over his shirt and dripping over his fingers and hot onto the other’s cock.

He slumped against Kline’s chest, his own heaving as his fingers trembled, sticky.

“Don’t—” Kline panted out. “Don’t stop—” Keeping one hand on Kirito’s ass, he wrapped the other around his hand, moving them together. His breath was ragged in his chest, broken moans slipping from his lips as his hips jolted forward.

He was close.

So close.

Kirito swallowed hard. He had done this, he had made Kline feel this way, feel this good. Mustering the strength he had, he squeezed their cocks together, hand slipping over the cum-covered surface. His own breath came in gasps, sensitive in the aftermath of his orgasm but relishing the way Kline’s cock pulsed hot against his own.

“Fuck—Fuck—Kirito—Kirito—” His name came out strained on lips that were ripe with lust, pupils blown with ecstasy as his eyes snapped shut and his lips parted and bared his teeth in a way that made Kirito shiver.

Kline thrust forward, fucking erratically into Kirito’s hand and squeezing his cheek hard enough to leave a bruise. His voice was loud in the empty forest, harsh, desperate moans pushing from his lips as he called Kirito’s name and rode out his orgasm, cum splurting a mess over both of their hands.

He slumped heavy against the tree behind him, breath heaving in his chest and pulling Kirito forward to lie against him.

It was awkward but not uncomfortable. He just…didn’t know what he was supposed to do now. What he was supposed to say. It wasn’t like he had ever done this with anyone before and he didn’t exactly want to ask Kline for advice on that.

They stayed like that awhile longer, parting long enough to generate a cloth to clean themselves and finding a sort of relief that the sullied material simply shattered into nothing when they were done.

“Kirito?”

He swallowed hard, lifting his head to see a grinning face above him. Lips pressed into his, hard in a way that said let’s remember this.

“Let’s not wait so long to meet again.”


It was cold. So fucking cold. Beyond cold. Beyond anything Kirito had felt in the real world. Snow dusted his hair and clung to his lashes and the biting breeze that nipped and tore at his bare skin threatened to freeze the spit on his tongue.

His fingers ached, tight fists in his gloves, and the fur-lined duster did little to warm his body.

Was it really necessary to be this cold? Aincrad was a controlled environment, and he was certain that they could have had a ‘white christmas’ without it being so damn cold.

Then again, maybe he deserved it. Not maybe. He deserved it, he knew. Deserved to be uncomfortable. Deserved to be in pain. Deserved to have Jack Frost claw away his skin and keep him in a jar like a prized firefly; watched with amazement until he suffocated within glass walls.

His steps halted, feet crunching into the snow up to his shins, at the familiar glow and accompanying sound of a warp.

“What’s up?” The voice was completely nonchalant, fiery hair and stupid grin appearing among a group of six.

“You followed me?” His voice was bitter, but maybe part of that was just because he hated the way his stomach twisted in his gut. He wasn’t allowed to feel something like that…not when they were dead.

“Of course! You’re after the revival item, aren’t ya?” Kirito only nodded, a hum of acknowledgement. A sigh slipped from between Kline’s lips, brows furrowing into a seriousness that he had never seen on his usually easy-going face. “Man you can’t be fucking around in this death game. Once your HP hits zero that’s it, your brain gets fri—”

“Shut up.” Kirito couldn’t muster the energy to even sound like he cared.

“I’m trying to get you to stop with all your stupid soloing!” His brows furrowed deeper, hand moving to his chest. Kirito thought he was angry; thought he deserved it. “Come on, join up with us!”

Join…with Kline..?

It was tempting, he could feel his heart pounding at the thought of it. Being by his side, being with him. Waking up in the same room and knowing he was all right. But…

His heart twisted, brows furrowing as the memory of Sachi’s face just before she shattered filled his vision. It was something he saw frequently, never able to rest from it for more than a moment.

If he was with Kline…

If that was Kline…

If Kline died…

“Whoever gets the revival item gets to keep it, no hard feelings.” Kline was talking with his hands, something Kirito had noticed he did a lot.

“But then, there’d be no point—” Sachi will still be—you might— “I have to do this.” His fingers, still nearly numb from cold, gripped the hilt of his sword. “Alone.”

He didn’t have to turn his eyes to know that the sound of surprise and the shuffling of feet in the snow meant that the Fuurinkazan were reaching for their weapons. He’d fight them if he had to, he thought. But…he didn’t know if he could fight Kline. Not if it meant he might die.

“Think about what you’re doing, Kirito—its suicide! And I can’t let you die like that!” There was something in Kline’s voice, a slight change in pitch and almost crack that tugged at Kirito’s strings and made his stomach churn. “Come on!”

There it was again, that same twinge. That same pull that made Kirito want to squeeze his eyes shut and turn away—or run into Kline’s arms, he couldn’t be sure which.

Before either could say any more there was a warp-glow behind the guild, one of larger numbers than they had.

“I guess you were being followed, too, huh, Kline?” He didn’t flinch as Fuurinkazan shifted and moved to surround Kirito, backs to him and weapons ready to fight the new arrivals. Kline, standing ready in front of him.

“Uh-huh, sure looks that way.” And that stupid grin was back, shoulders hunched just so with his hand on the hilt of his sword.

“It’s the Holy Dragon Alliance. They’ll do anything for a rare item, shady bastards.” It was one of Kline’s guild members, Kirito couldn’t say he really knew any of their names.

“Screw these guys, Kirito! Get out of here!” He couldn’t see his face, but Kirito was certain if he could his brows would be furrowed and he’d have a rare snarl on his lips.

“No way! I’m not leaving you—”

“Leave these guys to us, we can handle them. Go!”

There was no question in his voice, no opportunity to argue. Kirito swallowed hard, reluctantly letting go of the hilt of his sword. This again? Leaving them? Just like this? With these hinky-ass bastards?

His stomach twisted up and his eyes screwed shut as he turned, snow crunching under his boots as the sound of a battle—swords crashing, throats growling, cries of war—erupted behind him.

Just don’t die.

When Kirito returned, he couldn’t even remember the battle. His chest burned and the cold air sliced his throat, breath sucking in through open lips. His fist clenched around the item in his hand and his eyes, unfocused and lifeless, couldn’t be bothered to look up as his boots crunched through the snow.

“Kirito—hey!”

Kline sounded so happy—so relieved—to see him. But…he just couldn’t. Couldn’t pretend. Not after that.

He tossed the item, a small sphere, to Kline. “That’s the revival item.”

The menu dinged as Kline opened up the item information. “Must use—within ten seconds!?”

Kirito clenched his teeth, jaw tightening. Maybe that was just how Saint Nic was; patron saint of thieves and whores, far too busy to bring back Sachi.

“If someone dies in front of you someday, make sure you use it.” He didn’t mean to sound so cold, to be so cold. It wasn’t Kline’s fault, he knew. But…he just couldn’t anymore. He had lived with this for so long, and now, his last ember of hope had died, buried in the snow of winter.

His feet seemed to move on their own, as if his body had some ingrained self-preservation instinct instead of letting him die, frozen in the snow, like he’d have liked. There was crunching and shuffling behind him, but he didn’t care. Couldn’t care.

And then there it was. Warmth. Strong, warm arms wrapping around his shoulders, body pressed to his back. It was loose, gentle, but…so warm.

“Stay alive, Kirito.” His voice was tight in his throat, and there was something warm and wet against Kirito’s cheek. Tears… “I don’t care how you do it; just stay alive, until the end!”

Kline’s hands were trembling when Kirito pushed them from his shoulders, stepping away and not looking back. “See ya…Kline…”


Kirito couldn’t think anymore. Couldn’t feel anymore.

Couldn’t stop feeling.

Fuck how he wished for some semblance of numb apathy.

Something.

Anything.

Just…not this.

Sachi’s gift had…it had been something. Done something. It hurt and it was a balm and it burned so badly. It left an ache in his bones and fire in his salt-rubbed eyes.

He just couldn’t do it anymore. Couldn’t be alone anymore. Couldn’t fight anymore.

He was tired.

So fucking tired.

He just wanted to forget everything. Forget who he was. Forget the guild. Forget Sachi. Forget that it was his fault.

The menu dinged, fingers typing out a message; the name of his Inn and his room number.

Then he waited, elbows on his knees and head hanging between his shoulders. He wouldn’t come. Shouldn’t come. Don’t come.

Please come.

Kirito’s head shot up as the door to his room rattled.

“Kirito!”

Storm cloud eyes widened just so, body pushing itself up and moving toward the door. His cheeks were taut from tears and his eyes burned and lashes felt crusty. He was certain his nose was raw but at least he could breathe again.

He opened the door.

There was a rush of air and red, arms immediately around his shoulders and hand in his hair pulling him against a warm, strong chest. He was tense, shocked, as a nose pressed into his scalp, warm breath puffing into his hair.

“Kirito.” The voice was quiet, almost cooing, but tight, like Kline was on the verge of crying himself.

Slowly, tired arms moved to wrap around Kline’s body, fingers twisting into his clothes. He wasn’t wearing his armor. Kirito didn’t think he’d seen him without his armor since…since the first day.

“How did you get here so fast?” Kirito’s voice was muffled against the other’s chest.

“Heh,” Kline pulled back, stupid grin on his face but a softness in his eyes as he looked into Kirito’s. “The guild decided to stay here for the night, you know, just in case…”

Just in case I needed you…

Kline didn’t have to finish for Kirito to know. He wasn’t sure if it was more pleasant or painful to know.

The air was somber, almost palpably so, as Kline released him and moved into the room. Kirito closed the door, taking a silent breath and releasing it slowly.

He was…happy Kline came.

But he didn’t deserve to be happy.

His feet shuffled along the floor, taking the few steps to sit on the bed beside Kline. He always got the cheapest room available, empty but for a bed and a desk, a single frosted-over window letting moonlight dance through onto the wooden floorboards.

They said nothing. Did nothing. Neither made a move to speak or touch or do anything but exist within the same space. The air was heavy and silent, interspersed with soft breathing and errant thoughts.

“Kiri—”

“They died.” His voice was hushed, almost hoarse in its softness. His elbows were heavy on his knees again, hands tangled between them. “They’re all dead…” He swallowed hard and was pretty certain that it was audible, lump in his throat making it far from effortless.

“I—I thought I could protect them. That’s why I joined them. I was level forty…so far past them. They just…I thought if I stayed—if I stayed they’d be okay. I thought—” He bit his lower lip, pain welcome. “I thought that I couldn’t just leave them like I did…with you…”

Gray eyes flicked toward brown from under heavy bangs. They were soft as they looked back at him, brows furrowed and lifted.

“Kirito—”

He turned away. He couldn’t look at him, not when he was looking at him like that.

“I…never told them. I lied. I thought that if I told them…they woulnd’t want me around.” Stupid. “Then…” Another hard swallow in a heavy, dry throat. “There was a trap. The teleport crystals wouldn’t work….”

He sighed, breath shuddering in his chest. “They didn’t stand a chance.” His voice was quiet, and he vaguely wondered if Kline could even hear him or if it was all in his head. “Keita…when he came back he…”

His hands shook and his vision blurred as his eyes burned, tears welling up and spilling down his cheeks. They dripped down his neck and off the tip of his nose onto his fingers. He could feel his lips pull back, contorted with pain.

“He called me a beater…said it was my fault and then—then—” A broken sobbed hitched in his throat. “He jumped.”

There were no words, just a warm arm around his shoulders, a strong hand gripping him and pulling him gently to his chest.

“He was right—it’s my—it’s because I—” Nothing was stopping the tears now, dripping down his face and soaking into his shirt. “I killed them, Kline! I did! I put the sword to their chest and I—I—” His hand twisted into Kline’s shirt, squeezed desperately as his lips snarled and he wanted to break something hurt something hurt himself.

I killed them.” It was a whisper, angry and harsh, rasping like sandpaper against the fragility of a butterfly’s wing.

“Kirito.” Kline’s voice was soft, Kirito didn’t think he’d ever heard it so soft. So…serious.

Not angry, not concerned, not desperate, not easy-going. Just…there. And real and focused. He turned to look at him, knowing his eyes were red and dripping, knowing his lips were screwed up and he couldn’t stop the tightness in his throat that threatened to hitch and break into a sob.

Strong, slightly calloused thumbs, brushed over his cheeks, gently swiping away tears, new and old. “It’s not your fault, Kirito.”

This time his breath did hitch, a small sob that he swallowed down as warm hands held his cheeks and kept him looking into those eclipse eyes. Soft lips danced over his lashes, ghosting kisses over one closed eyelid. And then the other. They brushed over his forehead and pressed to his temple.

“It’s not your fault.” Kline repeated, pausing his movements and staring into the blur of Kirito’s gray eyes as if seeking permission. “Kirito…”

He didn’t hesitate, pushing forward and crashing his lips into Kline’s. There was a sharp inhale of surprise, hands slipping into his hair and kissing him back.

“Kirito—” Kline tried to pull back, barely having enough time to get the name out before lips were mashing into his again.

His lips were harsh and hungry, desperate as they opened against Kline’s and his tongue slipped over the pink flesh. He had shifted before knowing it, throwing his leg over the older man’s and straddling his hips.

A needy sound slipped from his lips and was swallowed by Kline’s, hands at his lower back—strong and ever-present but making no move to progress. But Kirito wanted it—needed it—desperately sought it. His fingers dug into the red hair, throwing the bandana to the side and pulling himself closer against the other—hands never leaving him, lips never breaking from the heavy kiss.

He felt…

He just felt.

He felt something other than sorrow. Something other than blame and self hatred and guilt.

There was heat and hunger and anticipation—promises of gasps and moans and the grinding of hips.

Promises of release and harsh memories lost in the heaviness of sex and the fog of orgasm.

Promises of amnesia.

To forget.

Not forever but just…for now.

“Nn—Kirito—” His words were jumbled around teeth tugging at his lips, fingers digging at his neck as hips pressed forward against him.

“Kirito—”

Kirito’s breath was heavy and short, hot between them as his mouth covered Kline’s again in a sloppy attack.

“Kirito!” Kline pulled at Kirito’s shirt, pushing him back and holding it tight so that he could look at the younger man. His breath was heavy on his lips, but nothing compared to the raven’s. Gray eyes flicked back and forth between his, wide-eyed and almost frantic.

“What!?” Kirito nearly shouted, body aching to move forward, muscles in his legs taut with tension.

“Stop—you can’t do—”

“What is wrong with you? You were fine with me before—” His teeth clenched, almost a snarl. It was backhanded but he was desperate. “Just let me—I need you! I—I need this!” He growled out.

“No, you don’t…” Kline’s voice was soft again, and somehow that irritated Kirito even more.

Why couldn’t he just let him—why wasn’t he good enough anymore? Why wouldn’t he allow him this, just this once, to help him forget. Just—

Why?

“Yes I do dammit! I need to forget! Just come on—” He tried to dive back in, eyes burning as Kline held him back. “Just make me forget!!”

“I can’t!” Kline’s voice was harsh, almost broken. “I can’t Kirito…I can’t make you forget…”

Brown eyes looked up at him, hands loosening at his waist, and softened. There was a sad, soft smile on his lips, brows pulled together with sympathy.

It only served to piss Kirito off. How could he look at him like that. How could he act like he understood, like he was there for him, and then—then—deny him?!?

Angry fingers twisted into the front of Kline’s garb, handfuls of the cloth as he jerked him just so. His lips pulled back in a snarl and his body ached with tension.

“Just fuck me!” It was more growl than words, breath pushing heavily from his lips in the moment of silence that followed. Warm fingers brushed over flushed cheeks, thumbs wiping away tears that Kirito hadn’t realized had fallen.

“No.” It was so…gentle.

Kirito’s eyes were wide, darting back and forth with disbelief. Scared. Desperate. Almost manic.

And then there were lips on his, barely ghosting over the soft flesh before gingerly pressing into them. A hand cupped his cheek, the other slipping around his waist.

It was soft, tentative. And it left Kirito’s heart beating in his chest like a hummingbird.

Dark lashes fluttered shut over dark eyes, Kirito’s body relaxing into the pure gentleness of the touch. It was different than any time before. Different than the testing or the hunger of the forest. Different than the desperate fear he had only moments before.

It was…tranquil.

Slowly, so slowly, Kline’s lips began to move. Gently he sucked Kirito’s lip between his own, pulling the smallest of gasps from him before closing his mouth against the other’s again. Their bodies were still, hands warm but unmoving, as only their lips shifted and worked together.

Kirito’s eyes opened to a slit when Kline broke the kiss, lips brushing over the corner of his mouth. He ghosted satin flesh over soft jawline, moving his lips to press beside his ear, over the ridge of his cheek and to the tip of his nose. Dark lashes fluttered as the other pulled back enough to look at him.

Strong fingers brushed dark hair from his cheek, and then it was a blur again as he kissed his temple, his eyelids, brushed his lips over his forehead.

“Kline…” His voice wavered, but then there were lips on his again.

They were as gentle as before, careful in their movements as a tentative tongue slipped over Kirito’s lips. His breath shuddered in his lungs as he willingly parted them, welcoming the familiar taste on his tongue.

Kirito’s fingers tugged gently at the front of Kline’s garb, almost whimpering for the tongue slowly working over his mouth. Slowly, hands brushed over his neck and down to his front, pushing his jacket heavily to the ground. There was a rush of cold against his skin, quickly blanketed as warm arms wrapped around his body, hands slipping up the back of his shirt.

They were soft, almost to the point of tickling. Carefully, they brushed over his skin, tracing the muscles in his back and ghosting over the curve of his spine. Kirito arched against him, breath puffing out as his own hands slipped between them and he tugged at the cross of Kline’s shirt. It took more effort than he would have liked, but soon enough he was left in a black undershirt—red pooled around his hips.

“Kirito I—” Kline’s words died on his lips as he studied Kirito’s eyes. He couldn’t say it. Not yet. Not like this.

Kirito’s brows furrowed questioningly, but then the redhead smiled softly, leaning back in and capturing his lips with his own. There was a soft hum as he melted back into the kiss, relaxing and question flittering away into nothingness.

Reluctantly, Kirito pulled away from the kiss. There was a sense of loss for it, but he licked over his own lips for a moment as he took in the deep eyes staring up at him—looking at him like he was something more, something special. Breath hitching silently in his chest, he gripped the back of his collar and gently tugged the shirt over his head.

His throat grew tight with nervousness, unable to stop the way he pulled his shoulders forward and averted his eyes. He couldn’t help but feel so…vulnerable.

He was the black swordsman, solo player. Vulnerable wasn’t something he did.

“Kirito you…” The voice was soft, shaky almost, but not as soft as the lips that pressed over his shoulder and brushed against his collarbone. Gentle, open-mouthed kisses that left heat in their wake and made Kirito’s hands tremble and torso tighten.

Fingers slipping into red hair, the young swordsman nuzzled against Kline’s cheek, nudging his face until he turned toward him and Kirito caught his lips once more, taking a heady breath of their mingling scents and arching against him.

His center of gravity shifted, strong arm bracing his body and at his hip, and then there were cool sheets pressed against his back and a soft pillow under his head. Storm clouds looked into a hazy eclipse; a mix of fire and stone and warmth and gentle tenacity.

He tilted his head as he pulled Kline closer, lips pressing together into a kiss. Then another. And another. His fingers slipped under the black shirt and pushed it toward his shoulders, tips gracing the sculpted muscles beneath. The redhead pulled back just long enough to slip out of his shirt before he was kissing him again.

His lips moved lower, soft and warm and wet against Kirito’s skin. Slightly rough fingers brushed over his torso, muscles quivering underneath them. He traced suckling kisses over his chest, a small purple bloom appearing in their wake. Kline paused, eyes flicking up to the other’s only for a moment before his lips covered a nipple, tongue lolling over the sensitive flesh.

“—A-ah—” The broken, strangled sound pushed from Kirito’s lips, chest arching against Kline’s lips and fingers twisting in the sheets. He thought he saw the redhead smile before his lips closed over the pert skin for the second time, suckling and nipping gently and pulling another gasp from the raven.

It wasn’t until Kirito’s breath was coming in short, hot pants that Kline began to move again.

He brushed his lips over the shallow line tracing the middle of his abdomen, pressing his lips gently to his naval. Fingers soft at Kirito’s side, he sucked the skin that dipped at his hipbone, slowly, not letting up until there was a trail of purpling kissmarks. His breath shuddered hot against pale skin, tongue skipping over his lips before leaving a wet trail down the creased ‘v’, stopping at the barrier of his pants.

Brown eyes looked up at him, fingers gripping the waistband and asking silently for permission. Kirito, cheeks flushed and chest heaving, nodded without hesitation. Strong, deft fingers popped the button and slipped the zipper down with a whir.

He paused, fingers gripping the waistband at his hips. With a slow breath, he tugged them down, pulling them slowly over Kirito’s feet and pushing them onto the floor. Then he was silent.

Kirito looked at him, shifting uncomfortably, knees bent and not liking the silence. No one had ever seen him like this and the silence was…unsettling.

“Kirito you—” Kline’s voice wavered and he swallowed hard. “You’re beautiful.”

He knew his cheeks were heating up but stifled the knee-jerk need to tell him to shut the fuck up.

But then there was a warm hand on his ankle. He watched as Kline lifted his foot, brushing his lips over the palm and pressing them gently to the ball and then to his toes. They curled and his lips pulled back as he stifled a laugh—it tickled.

Kline seemed to know, smiling softly at him only for a second before moving his lips to his ankle and brushing them over his shin to kiss his knee.

Kirito couldn’t take his eyes off of him, watching as he loved—loved—on him. He was fixated. But then his eyelids fluttered shut as warm, hot kisses pressed against his inner thigh. His body shivered, fingers tightening in the sheets. His skin tingled, burning in the most delectable way, as his tongue lolled between his lips and slipped over the sensitive surface, teeth gently nipping and scraping.

“Kline, please—” He breathed; he thought he should probably be ashamed but couldn’t manage to.

Red hair glinted in the light as he shifted to look at Kirito, as if gauging his sincerity, or how far gone he was. He nodded softly, sitting back onto his knees. He brought up an item menu, scrolling through and pushing a button until small bottle appeared in his hand.

“What is that?” Kirito shifted just so, pushing the button to turn on a dim light next to the bed.

“Heh, all-purpose lube?” Kline grinned, scratching the back of his head with embarrassment. In Aincrad all-purpose actually meant all-purpose.

“Wha—why do you have that?”

Kline quirked an eyebrow, grin turning into a smirk. “Ten guys living in one house, Kirito.” He tilted his head and lifted his eyebrow matter-of-factly.

“Ah—right—”

And then Kline was close, lips brushing against his softly. “I never used it with anyone.”

Kirito turned into the kiss, pushing softly against his lips. It was reassuring. He didn’t know why, but it was.

His breath stuttered in his chest as Kline shimmied down on the bed, moving between his legs. His lips brushed over his thighs and the crease of his legs, pressed kisses into the thatch of dark hair and then gently, tentatively, brushed against his shaft.

Kirito let out a gasp, eyes watching carefully, cheeks hot and flushed. But he couldn’t look away. Lips gently worked up his length and pressed against the tip. When his tongue rolled against the slit a strangled moan pushed out into the silence, knees bending and hips bucking harshly only to find strong fingers pinning them to the bed.

He was breathing heavily when wet lips slipped over his dick, hard and needy between his legs. Slowly, Kline sucked him into the back of his throat. It was agonizing how slowly he moved, tongue languid against his dripping cock.

He barely caught the movement as Kline poured lubed into his hand—never taking his lips from their focus. Gently, he brushed his fingers along the seam of Kirito’s ass, pushing a soft gasp from his lips. Circling gently over his entrance, but not pushing in, he pulled his lips from his cock with a pop.

“Kirito…” Gray eyes moved to him with his name. “Relax, breathe out slowly.” He waited, watching, as Kirito swallowed and nodded slowly.

Kline watched as his chest rose, waiting, waiting, then slowly began to fall. Carefully, he pushed a finger inside.

“—a-ah—” Kirito sucked his bottom lip in, brows pulling together as he looked anywhere but Kline.

“Shh, shh, just breathe.”

Lips brushed against his hip again, moving over his pelvis, Kline nosing into his hair, free hand rubbing gently over his thigh. His body shivered, but he breathed—slowly—willing himself to relax.

Gentle lips wrapped around his cock again, tongue twirling around the head as he slowly—so fucking slowly—bobbed his head. Kirito couldn’t help but gasp, torn between tendrils of pleasure and the pure weirdness of having something moving inside his ass.

Still, Kline was gentle. Gentle and soft and patient. So fucking patient. He didn’t move until Kirito relaxed, then slowly thrust his finger inside of him, brushing his inner walls as he pulled out, only to do it again.

“A-ah—that—” His hips arched, knees opening on their own as a second finger slipped in with the first. He hummed appreciatively, eyes shutting as his hips opened.

The mattress dipped and bounced as Kline moved, pushing his face into Kirito’s neck. His fingers moved slowly inside of him, slick and hard against his inner walls, spread as he retracted them, twisting and stretching him. He could feel himself relax, but somehow every part of him on full-guard.

“How does it feel?”

He sounded nervous, Kirito thought. The trembling hand on his thigh would concur.

“…Weird.”

He gasped as teeth nipped at his ear.

“Bad?”

“huh-mm.” He shook his head, fingers squeezing into Kline’s upper arm. “Just…weird.”

Kline smiled softly, lips brushing against Kirito’s neck. “I’ll make you feel good.”

Fingers twisted and crooked inside of Kirito, pushing against his walls and finding a dense spot. Storm cloud eye’s snapped open, lips parted in a strangled mewl as his hips bucked off the bed. He thought he heard a satisfied, almost amused, hum against his neck.

“What the fuck was th—” Again, sharp pleasure jolted through him, cock bouncing and dripping onto his stomach, and leaving him breathless. Kline didn’t let up, fingers pulling back and twisting, stretching him to his limit only to dip in and brush unrelenting against that spot that made his thighs tremble and his voice catch in his throat.

“K-Kline—” He breathed out, panting and digging his fingers into his arm. “I’m—ready.”

Kline’s fingers stilled, eyes locking onto his for a moment before nodding. Taking a few seconds, he tossed his pants to the side, and then was sitting on his feet between Kirito’s legs. He drizzled the lube over his own throbbing erection, and then down the other’s seam—swallowing hard as his entrance pulsed as the liquid dripped over it.

Trembling fingers wrapped around his cock, lining himself up but not pushing in. He leaned forward, brushing his lips along Kirito’s brow again, over his cheek. It was just as his lips graced his eyelid that Kirito felt him sliding in, pushing past the slight resistance.

Both let out a strangled sound, Kirito’s body arching and Kline’s breath hot against his cheek. The redhead froze, trembling with willpower that should be rewarded with a medal.

“Don’t stop.” Kirito panted out, knees open and thighs pressed against Kline’s hips.

Kirito shivered as slowly, slowly, slowly Kline lowered his hips. His mouth was on the raven’s face, brushing over his jaw and ear and nose and everywhere but his mouth, fingers brushing through his hair as a stuttering breath pushed against his skin.

There was a stillness when Kirito felt warm, strong hips press to his cheeks. Hands rubbed over his thighs, and he couldn’t be sure which were trembling—or maybe it was both. Yet still, lips moved to his neck, suckling and nipping and marring the tender flesh, pulling a sharp breath from him and he could feel himself tighten around Kline.

He felt so…full. He thought he liked it, the warmth of Kline on top of him—around him—inside of him.

“Kline,” Now his lips were on Kline’s shoulder. “Move.”

It wasn’t a question, and Kline didn’t hesitate to listen. Gripping Kirito’s hips, he pulled back slowly before thrusting to the hilt, filling him.

“A-ah! Kl—” Fingers dug into Kline’s shoulders, teeth sinking deep into the crook of his neck.

“Kirito, did I hurt you?” There was panic in his voice, hands trembling on Kirito’s hips.

“No,” He breathed, hair dancing over his forehead as he shook his head, breath hot against Kline’s skin. “Keep going.”

He felt Kline nod before his hips started moving again. It was a slow, languid pull that left him feeling like his inner walls were going to be turned inside-out; only for the redhead to snap his hips forward and fill Kirito to the brim.

Kirito couldn’t help the way he moaned, teeth sinking deep, deeper, into the soft muscle in some attempt to muffle his voice. He knew by the ache in his jaw that there would be a perfect imprint in Kline’s skin, a beautiful, brilliant bruise that would last for days.

“Kirito you—” Kline rasped in his ear, hands slipping over his thighs.

You’re so tight. You feel so good. It’s so hot inside you.

He almost sighed as he prepared himself for the same things he had read in porn a million times—it was hot, but not what he wanted to hear. Not now. Not from Kline. Not like this.

Instead, he felt himself shifting, hips being lifted and Kline bracing himself above him. He was panting, chest heaving and muscles quivering. Kirito thought he saw his hips tremble, as if rejecting his decision to stop moving.

Kirito kind of agreed with them.

He looked up at him through narrowed eyes, lips parted and tongue glossing them with saliva. His hair stuck to his forehead and he knew his ears were red.

“Kirito you’re amazing.”

He tensed, a little gasp from Kline proof that it went through his whole body, and looked at him with widened eyes and surprise on his lips.

He was amazing. Not his body. Not his ass.

Him.

Kirito watched in awe, body shivering at the fullness inside him, as his palm pressed to Kline’s lips, a soft kiss to the skin and slight scruff against his wrist.

“Beautiful,” A kiss to his wrist. “And strong,” The back of his hand. “And brave,” Lips brushing against the back of his fingers, then pressing to his thumb as eclipsed eyes caught his. “And absolutely amazing.”

“Kline…” Kirito bit his lip, hands reaching out to slip into Kline’s hair and pulling him down. He captured his lips, eyes screwing shut tight. It was desperate and hungry, but not as before. Not desperate to forget.

Desperate to remember.

Desperate to catch this feeling in his memories and hold onto it forever.

This one moment, exactly how it was. The way Kline’s tongue tasted on his, the way his breath was hot between them, the fullness inside him, and the way his hands trembled against his hips, his sides, his body.

“Kline,” Another kiss, tugging softly at the larger man’s lips, “Keep going, I—” He captured his eyes, not looking way no matter how embarrassing it was to say. He wouldn’t turn away this time. “I want to make you feel good, too.”

I want to make you feel as special as you’ve made me feel.

He nodded slowly, holding Kirito’s hips firmly. He rocked his own, pulling almost all the way out before thrusting into him. The new angle was better, so much better, allowing Kline to rub the entirety of his pulsing shaft along that spot that left the raven gasping and shivering.

He almost squirmed, hooking his ankles around Kline’s hips and squeezing him tightly as if to anchor his own body. He didn’t slow, thrusting slowly and kissing along Kirito’s collarbone and over his chest, every kissing turning into a nip or suck, peppering him with marks.

“Faster, Kline—fas—” He hadn’t even finished the request when Kline complied. His hips snapped forward, pushing into him hard and heavy. Kirito couldn’t stop the moans and cries that pushed from his lips, lifting his hips to rut back against the cock schlicking inside him. Just the feel of it, full, fast, and fervent; it made him shiver.

“Kirito, Kirito, I—” Love you. Don’t want you to go. Am terrified of losing you. Want you to stay by my side, forever. “I’m close.”

His voice was raspy, heavy against Kirito’s lips as they devoured them.

“Tou—hah—touch me—” Kirito didn’t wait, pushing one of Kline’s hands between them needily.

Kline didn’t hesitate, strong fingers wrapping around the dripping, neglected cock that bounced between them. Kirito let out a small gasp-moan at the contact. There was no pomp and circumstance about it, hips snapping forward and pulling back rapidly, hand gripping his cock and stroking it fervently, voraciously.

“Kline—shit—Kline—ah—hah—Kline—!” His gut twisted, tightening and pulling until all tension washed out of him in a wave of almost painful pleasure. His voice was loud against Kline’s lips, his name on his tongue and throat hoarse from the sounds pushing from him, a mantra of name and release and something that he wasn’t quite sure was human.

Before he had a chance to breathe, Kline’s lips were on his, desperate and hungry—so hungry—biting and nipping and licking. Fingers dug harshly into his hips as he pushed hard into him, thighs and hips trembling. He growled into Kirito’s mouth, harsh and high, a forceful and fervent series of cries that sounded suspiciously like his name but the raven couldn’t be sure as his lips reverberated and his devoured the sound and his legs tightened as he rolled his hips, pulling the other through his orgasm and letting out a few of his own moans as warmth spread inside him, dripping out and down between them and onto the sheets.

There was a heaviness between them—content and relieved—as they came down. Lips lingered, slow, suckling kisses as neither allowed the other to move.

Slowly, reluctantly, Kirito’s fingers drifted from Kline’s hair and down his neck, breaking the kiss.

Their eyes met. Kirito smiled. Kline laughed. They kissed again.

Kline eventually pulled back, slowly slipping from inside Kirito and pulling the last dregs of a gasp from them both. With a few swipes of his fingers, he had a warm cloth to wipe the cum from both their bodies—unsurprisingly gentle with his lover—and clean sheets on the bed. Just one of the perks of Aincrad, it seemed.

Brown eyes looked at Kirito softly, questioningly. He watched as they darted to the door and then back to him. ‘Do you want me to go?’

Kirito only smirked—probably the first real one since the incident—grabbed his wrist and pulled him down beside him. He said nothing, turning away and holding Kline’s arm around him. He relaxed as a warm back pressed against him, legs tangling in his and the last thing he felt before slipping into unconsciousness was soft lips pressing against his neck.


When he woke, he found himself alone. Or at least the bed was empty. There was a moment of panic before he heard a, “’Morning.”

Kline was sitting in the corner, shirtless. He was eating what looked like a cinnamon bagel, holding another out to him. He took it.

Kirito swallowed before taking a bite, eyeing the shirtless figure before him. His chest and neck were spotted, an unmissable, ripe plum of a bruise at the base of his neck. Cheeks flushing, he wasn’t sure if he was embarrassed or proud of what he’d done.

“You went out like that?”

Kline shrugged, stupid grin on his face again. “Yeah, why wouldn’t I?”

Proud.

Kirito was proud, he decided.

They ate in silence, somehow admiring each other in the afterglow. Or at least Kirito had caught Kline eyeing him more than once, appreciating his naked form, sheet pooled around his hips. He wasn’t sure what he was supposed to do now, what they were supposed to be. But somehow, he couldn’t be bothered to feel awkward or embarrassed—not really.

Not after the way Kline had looked at him the previous night.

Like he was the sun in his garden.

The ding of a message interrupted the silence, Kirito watching as Kline read it over.

“It’s the guys.”

That was their cue, he guessed. With a few swipes through his menu, he was dressed and on his feet; Kline doing the same. They paused at the door, knowing as soon as it opened this moment ended.

Kirito swallowed, licking his dry lips and turning toward Kline. He refused to look up at him, fingers tugging at the cross of his shirt. “Kline I—” Like you. Maybe even love you. “Don’t want this to be the last time…”

He looked up as a warm hand pressed to his cheek, finding Kline smiling. A strong arm around his body pulled him close, lips pressing gently against his.

He couldn’t count how many times they had kissed the night before, but it still left a heady, warm feeling inside Kirito.

“It won’t be.”

Then they kissed again. And again. Lips pressing together in soft, tender kisses, and then deeper, tasting and memorizing the surface of their mouths and feel of their lips.

Each time they parted, it only lasted a beat before one or the other pulled or pushed, crashing their lips together and holding fast.

Kline had managed to pin Kirito’s back to the door, their fingers slipped together as their lips brushed and small, soft kisses turned into nips and bites and mischievous grins and little, broken hums of approval and pleasure.

And then the door rattled, someone pounding on it from the other side.

“Kline!”

“Yeah, I’m coming, I’m coming.”

Kline sighed as he leaned close, kissing him one last time and resting their foreheads together. Kirito said nothing, squeezing his hands just a little tighter.

The redhead smiled softly, words dancing on the tip of his tongue, but knowing he couldn’t say them, that they wouldn’t be accepted. Not yet. Instead,

“Just don’t die.”