Love Comes to Rest
by Rana Eros

Did I mention my lack of clear OTC in GB? Hence, lots of pairings with which to play. Once again betaed by the magnificent Eliza, Rune, and Karot. Title and cut tag text nabbed from Rumi.

"Stay," Kakei says when Toshiki rises, and he's certain there's significance to the fact it's Kakei who keeps saying it. He's always felt such an outsider to Kakei and Kazuki, cut off from the connection they share, but now Kakei asks him to stay and Kazuki smiles, as though they can read what he needs.

As though he's a part of them, and they've missed that part.

He's not sure how much, though, and he doesn't want to impose.

"I should look for a place to stay before nightfall, since I can't return to my own quarters."

"This is your place."

He blinks, no longer used to Kakei's blunt ways, and Kazuki's smile turns wry.

"What Juubei means is that we'd like you to stay here, with us."

"I...." They've spent the last hour talking, after those who belonged to the outside left. He expected they'd hold council, discuss how to defend the newly free Lower Town from those above, but Masaki had only smiled at him, one arm around the man called Teshimine, smiled at him and glanced aside at Kazuki and Kakei, then turned away, laughing at something Teshimine said. Masaki walked away, and Kaoru vanished, and Kanou found some corner in which to sulk.

So when Kakei said, "Come," Toshiki followed to this room, where Kakei stays. And Kazuki too, apparently, when he's in residence. They've caught him up on the changes in Mugenjou since he left, given him some idea of why the Lightning Emperor left, who his new partner is. Kakei's admitted their own rift, and he's not sure what to think about that. They were always a united front, even against him. Hard to conceive that the damage to Kakei's eyes is the result of a battle intended to end in death.

Yet it's reason to believe they can forgive and welcome him, isn't it?

"Uryuu," Kakei says, pulling him out of his thoughts. "Makubex will expect us to work together in defense of Lower Town. You haven't yet told us where you've been all this time. You should stay."

They're two good reasons for staying. Logical reasons. Toshiki remembers this was always Kakei's way, and almost smiles when Kazuki rolls his eyes.

"We also want you to stay."

He blinks. Kazuki blinks. Kakei smiles, that rare crooked smile Toshiki remembers less well. Such declarations, such smiles, were always given to Kazuki.

Some things have changed.

Kazuki recovers first, takes a step closer to him. "Will you stay, Toshiki?"

He looks from Kazuki to Kakei, wishes again he could see Kakei's eyes, that they'd tell him anything. "Are you certain, Kakei?"

Kakei steps closer too, lifts his hand once more to Toshiki's shoulder, cups Toshiki's face with the other and leans in.

"I am," he murmurs, "Toshiki."

Toshiki stands still for the kiss, which is warm and strong and straightforward, as Kakei has always been. Lifts his own hands to Kakei's arms, holds him gently, loosely. This isn't a thing he's even imagined, and he doesn't want to upset the balance and stop it until he's certain he'll remember.

He hears Kazuki's soft sigh, closer than Kazuki was before Kakei began to kiss him, and feels a careful hand touch the small of his back. Kakei pulls back slowly; this close the visor's not opaque, and Kakei's eyes are fathomless behind it.

Toshiki wonders what those eyes would see in this moment. Feels Kakei's hand move against his face, one fingertip curling a little, and knows the answer. Slides his own hands up to hold Kakei's chin and pulls him back down for another kiss, this one under his control.

It's not as straightforward, but he tries to make it as honest.

Lips press against his bare shoulder, the one Kakei's not holding onto, and he wonders what Kazuki's kiss would be like. Will be like, because it's clear this will be all three of them; he finds he has no objections. Kakei's moved closer still, pressed up against him, and Kakei's taller than he is now, broader and heavier. Not stronger, but more solid. A formidable opponent, and a staunch ally.

He ends the kiss so he and Kakei can both breathe, and Kakei releases his face only so Kazuki can reach up and turn it aside, look at him again as he did in the virtual cathedral, with melting eyes and open mouth. This time, Kazuki follows that look with the touch of his lips, and Kazuki's mouth is sweet, hot, intoxicating as watching him wield his threads. Toshiki gasps, and Kazuki deepens the kiss, and Toshiki twists, pressing closer to Kakei and closer to Kazuki and feeling hands at his waist, removing his robe, sliding his belt free and opening his trousers.

He's startled at the speed with which they're taking this, but willing enough. He's got one hand up in Kazuki's hair, the other still touching Kakei's cheek, and he slides that one up to remove Kakei's visor. Kakei makes a sound at that, and Kazuki releases him so they can both turn to Kakei, who looks gratifyingly surprised, as though he expected to be forgotten while they focused on each other. Toshiki knows what that expectation feels like. He has no intention of fulfilling it for Kakei.

Juubei. They are Toshiki and Juubei now. He should start getting used to it.

He lets go of Kazuki's hair, lifts Juubei's hand from his own shoulder and strips it of its glove. Touches his mouth to the callused palm, flicks his tongue there. Watches Juubei's mouth open and his lashes flutter. Toshiki's never seen him look so vulnerable; after that first day, that first warm greeting, they'd fallen into the habit of wearing their battle faces for each other.

His fault, he thinks, for his jealousy, his competitive spirit. He wonders how much of this display is because he broke down in the cathedral. They probably think it was deliberate; he was always so proud of his control. But he's been carrying the certainty that they didn't miss him, that Kazuki didn't even notice him, for years, and to be proven so spectacularly wrong was enough to undo him.

It still is, so much that he's having trouble facing Kazuki now. He won't break down again, not like this, and so he keeps his eyes on Juubei, keeps his attention on his hands holding Juubei's, not Kazuki's touching him, until he feels centered enough to divide his attentions between them both.

"Toshiki," Kazuki says, soft and fond. Juubei turns his hand and Toshiki lets go, but Juubei only traces his fingers down Toshiki's forearm. He can't feel it through his brace, but the sight is arousing. Juubei reaches bare skin, the crook of his elbow, and strokes, and he's shocked at how much that affects him; he sucks in a breath, trembling.

"Toshiki," Kazuki says again, and he might as well look, might as well murmur Kazuki's name, might as well raise a hand to Kazuki's mouth and trace his lips, because Juubei's still only touching his arm and he feels like he's unravelling. Kazuki kisses his fingers and moves closer still, and he's reminded Kazuki's also touching him by the feel of Kazuki's hand sliding up under the bottom of his shirt. Juubei's teased the ends of the laces from under the brace, and works to loosen them as Kazuki strokes Toshiki's stomach. Toshiki draws in another breath, leans forward to cross the incremental space left between him and Kazuki for another kiss, drops his hand from Kazuki's face to mirror Kazuki's movements, under the hem of the overlarge shirt and up to warm, smooth skin.

Kazuki makes a pleased sound against his mouth, spreads long, callused fingers over his abdomen, then drags them down abruptly to tease at the skin just above the base of his cock. Toshiki jerks at the jolt of feeling, tries to pull away from the kiss to gulp air, but Kazuki's got his other hand in Toshiki's hair and keeps him close, dizzy with every touch, with Kazuki's taste and breath. Distantly, Toshiki feels Juubei ease the brace from his forearm. Then Juubei presses his fingers where the brace had been and it's not distant at all.

Toshiki can't keep track after that. He tries, tries to hold onto every sensation, every touch and taste and every time either of them says his name, but he's too hungry and they're entirely too skilled. At least he manages to impress them with his own skill, stripping them as they do him, hands and mouth marking their skin, laying claim. They move in concert, drawing him onto the bed, and there's a stab of the old pain at the way they know each other, the way they act as one. They pull him into their synchronicity, though, teaching him to read their signals. Teaching him what the future will bring.

Kazuki presses long and lithe against his back, pushes into him with the hidden strength that once held Fuuga together. Juubei's solid before him, kissing and touching as though this is what he trained for. Juubei's holding them both together, stroking with one broad hand, and Toshiki gathers himself enough to intertwine their fingers, to open his eyes and watch the changes in Juubei's expression. Juubei's eyes are still closed, and Toshiki wants to see them, suddenly. Wants to see if they're the color he remembers.

"Juubei," he says, and his tongue stumbles on it a little. He tries again, "Juubei."

"Toshiki," Juubei answers, and his lids lift just enough for a flash of deep, deep blue. It's not a color Toshiki thinks memory could ever serve, anymore than the rich brown of Kazuki's; he feels something building other than pleasure, that he no longer has to rely on memory, and wonders that these men should reduce him to tears twice in one day.

He doesn't feel defeated, though. He feels very much as though he's won a battle he long thought lost. Maybe he has.

Kazuki shifts behind him, changes his angle; Toshiki gasps, lets his own lids fall, feels Kazuki's hand join his and Juubei's, feels Kazuki kiss his throat and Juubei kiss his cheek, licking salt away without a word. Feels them both move to kiss over his shoulder, and stops trying to separate sensation out beyond heat and strength, warmth and softness, Kazuki's touch within and Juubei's without. In the end, it's all he needs.

After, a little self-possession returns to him, when Kazuki carefully withdraws and Juubei rises to wash his hands and bring back a wet towel. While Juubei's gone, Toshiki begins to rise, but Kazuki's hand on his shoulder stops him.

"Where are you going, Toshiki?"

"I'm not sure this is the best arrangement. You two have a balance."

"Only when you're with us," Juubei says softly, returning. "You are not the only one with an emptiness, Uryuu."

The sound of his name is different now in Juubei's mouth, or perhaps he's just hearing it differently, the warmth of comrades trumping the sharpness of rivals. He thinks of that glimpse of Juubei's sightless eyes, a glimpse Juubei would never give an enemy. A glimpse Kazuki would never allow an enemy to have.

"Stay," Kazuki whispers behind him. "Stay, Toshiki."

He turns his head to meet Kazuki's gaze, to meet this challenge face-to-face. Juubei sits on the bed beside him, and they're both touching him again, holding him together.

"This is what you came back for," Juubei says. "Stay."

It's true, he realizes, and so he's won after all. And if they've won as well, he can only count it another victory when they want the same thing. When they're once more on the same side, once more acting in concert.

He needs only to acknowledge it.

"I will stay."


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