walked into my kiss as a stranger
by Rana Eros

I knew I'd write these two eventually, but they ambushed me one night and I jumped on the opportunity. Title taken from e. e. cummings, beta provided by the magnificent Eliza.

They find an unclaimed room off some garbage-strewn alley. No room in Lower Town is either of theirs anymore, or all of them are. Masaki supposes it depends on how you feel about Raitei, about his Kings and the man who raised him and their return, their impossible triumph. Masaki knows better than to think it will last, but for once he's not looking past the end of the night, and that'll last long enough for his purposes.

Teshimine's hair glimmers in the twilight; Teshimine's dangerous eyes and dangerous smile draw him on, and Masaki saw Ginji's partner, knows exactly where Ginji got the preferences that led to him. Whipcord lean with a predator's grace, a predator's beauty, a predator's instincts turned to protection. Masaki knows.

Teshimine stops, leans against the wall and waits for him, watching. When he comes in range, Teshimine reaches out and pulls him in, kisses him hard, bites his lower lip hard enough to draw blood. Payback and claiming all in one gesture.


Of course, Masaki makes his own claim, has his own instincts. He let Teshimine walk away once, struck him down when he returned rather than let him do it again. Predator turned protector turned predator again in the name of self-protection. He's turned himself around so many times that he only knows where he stands now because Teshimine is holding him there.

Nor does Teshimine seem inclined to let go. That's fine with Masaki. That means he can hold on too, as tight as he likes, push Teshimine against the wall and lean in for more of those hard kisses. They might get softer, as the night goes on; they might not. He's always liked the little uncertainties and core certainty of Teshimine, the contrast to those who've directed his life since before the advent of Raitei.

"I knew you'd come," he says, and Teshimine bites him again, this time on the throat.

"Then you knew we'd fight."

"Yes." Because he wouldn't let anyone else face Teshimine. Because Teshimine had been his long before Kaoru claimed Ginji, long before Toshiki even knew who Kazuki was. Because the fight was all he could claim after his betrayal.

"What would you have done if I'd died?"

He laughs, tightens his hold, sets his own teeth to Teshimine's ear. "You saw. I was trying to make Raitei kill me."

"There is no Raitei anymore."

"No. There are the GetBackers, and they told me they can get anything back."

"Not what's dead, my friend."

He presses his hand over Teshimine's heart, feels it beating strong and fast. "You're not dead."

"You thought I was."

"I thought we both were. I was going to make Mugenjou our tomb, if Ginji didn't beat me."

Teshimine makes a sound that might be a gasp or might be a laugh. "As if there was any question he would. You know better."

"I forgot." He pulls back enough to look Teshimine in the eye. "I forgot a lot of things."

"I want to know what you remember."

It's a challenge, and he owes it to them both to answer.


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