In Your Arms, This Lonely Place
by Rana Eros

Sweets and pretty boys to darling Boni, divine Wrenlet, and my own dearest Eliza for rapid beta duty. This story interrupted another YnM piece I've been working on since October and insisted on being written in polite, but very firm, tones. Tatsumi's charming that way. Written to a soundtrack of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" and entirely too much Sarah McLachlan, particularly the album "Fumbling Toward Ecstasy."

Tatsumi wakes up at about three in the morning, and puts the kettle on for tea. It's not every night, and he thinks it's an unexplored part of Hisoka's power that he always knows when the boy is coming, so he always has the tea ready when it's needed.

There's a knock at his door when the water is just the right temperature, and he opens it to see Hisoka staring up at him with eyes as luminous as Tsuzuki's and, at this hour, as easy to read. They don't speak, they haven't since that first time. Tatsumi just presses his glasses up his nose, then reaches out to take Hisoka gently by the arm and draw him inside.

They begin in the kitchen, sitting at Tatsumi's breakfast table and sipping tea in silence. Hisoka's hands tremble a little, and he doesn't pull away when Tatsumi reaches out to steady his cup. Instead, he sips carefully, his eyes never leaving Tatsumi's face, and Tatsumi fights the conflicting urges to disappear into his own shadow, or take the cup from Hisoka and replace it with himself.

Tatsumi thinks he loves Tsuzuki, and he thinks Hisoka does too, but Hisoka is young, and Tsuzuki is...very damaged, and Tatsumi supposes that's where he comes in. He needs Tsuzuki alive and--not happy, that seems too much to ask in their circumstances--but content. Tsuzuki needs Hisoka alive and content, and close by. And Hisoka needs the same things for Tsuzuki, the same things from Tsuzuki, but he also needs....

Hisoka finishes his tea and sets the cup down. Tatsumi sets his own cup down without knowing if it's empty or not. All he knows is the way Hisoka is looking at him, and the way Hisoka slides out of his chair and moves around the table to press himself between Tatsumi's thighs. Hisoka cups his face, and he obediently tilts his head back the tiny amount necessary to meet Hisoka's lips, to meet Hisoka's tongue, which taste of green tea and sakura instead of blood and sweets.

Hisoka needs this, and the more it happens, the more Tatsumi begins to suspect he might need it, too. He puts his arms around Hisoka's waist and holds on tight. He is allowed to hold on, to grab and to touch and to squeeze; he is not allowed to hold down, and he must always let go when Hisoka pulls away.

It's a good thing he is very good at letting go.

Hisoka's hands are in his hair and his own hands have found their way under Hisoka's shirt when Hisoka pulls back for more than a breath. Tatsumi obediently releases him, but Hisoka lingers, trails one hand down Tatsumi's arm to tangle their fingers together, brushes the other over Tatsumi's temple, then tugs Tatsumi to his feet.

As always, Hisoka allows Tatsumi to lead them down the hall to his bedroom, then pushes him down on the bed and starts kissing him again. Hisoka undresses them both, first Tatsumi, then himself. Sometimes, he allows Tatsumi to pull his shirt off, to unbutton the fly of his jeans, but this is not one of those nights. Tsuzuki summoned fire that could burn even a Shinigami not all that long ago, and Tatsumi knows Hisoka is still feeling his helplessness in the face of the flames.

Sometimes, Tatsumi still smells the smoke, himself. Even though it would be a shame to lose Hisoka's beauty in the moonlight, it is difficult to resist the impulse to pull the shadows up around them both as a protection. That would leave Tsuzuki on the outside, however, and he does not think that is an acceptable outcome to either of them.


Hisoka's voice startles him out of his thoughts, and he blinks up at the boy once before replying.

"Yes, Kurosaki-kun." By which he means, "I am listening," and "What has led you to break our silence?" and "I apologize for thinking so often of another man while I am here with you."

Hisoka removes Tatsumi's glasses--he always waits until the last moment before removing them, for which Tatsumi is grateful--then leans forward until their foreheads are touching, and he breathes words against Tatsumi's mouth. "I think of him too," he whispers. "He is a part of this. He...."

Hisoka pauses, and swallows, and his voice is softer still when he speaks again. "We both need be well. Just as he needs both of us."

"He does not need--" Tatsumi begins, but he is silenced by a thorough kiss from that tea and blossom mouth. Hisoka's fingers are in his hair again, and so he knows it is permissible to run his own fingers up Hisoka's spine, to linger over the firm swell of buttocks with one hand while caressing the back of Hisoka's neck with the other. He brushes the spot behind Hisoka's right ear lightly with his thumb, and Hisoka breaks the kiss, sucking in a breath and arching into the touch.

"We both need you," Hisoka gasps, meeting Tatsumi's eyes as he abruptly rocks downward. It's Tatsumi's turn to gasp. "We both need you," Hisoka repeats, and the breathlessness of his voice makes Tatsumi hungry to kiss him again. "I know what he feels, Tatsumi-san. I know."

For a moment Hisoka hovers above him, still and silent and waiting. Tatsumi gathers his thoughts enough to answer, and arches up as he does so. "As do I, Kurosaki-kun."

There is a part of Tatsumi that thinks it is doubtless ridiculous for them to be so formal with each other, even when they are like this. There is another part that thinks the formality is never more necessary than these moments. Then Hisoka comes down to meet his hips again, and he lets go of thinking at all for a while.

Hisoka feels as different as he tastes, small and light and fragile, where Tsuzuki has never seemed breakable in body. Only Hisoka's hands speak of his strength. Long-boned and sure and warm against Tatsumi's skin, Hisoka's hands are only soft between the callouses from weapons practice, and Tatsumi likes the feel of those as much as anything. He used to wonder if Hisoka liked the feel of his hands as much, roughened by nothing more dangerous than near-constant use of a fountain pen over a period of decades. Sometimes, he still wonders. He likes to think Hisoka would not come back otherwise, but he knows better.

Like and want are words for the living. Even need can be too costly for their kind, and it seems that even with his current need, he can only let go of thinking for so long. His body moves still with Hisoka's, his senses are flooded with Hisoka's touch, Hisoka's scent, Hisoka's sounds and tastes and beauty, which equals Tsuzuki's and Tatsumi never, ever thought that possible. And yet he cannot lose himself in the shadow of Hisoka, in the shadow of his own need. It is one of the first things he was taught when he came here. To control the shadows, you cannot ever let them overcome you.

Hisoka's face moves closer to his again, close enough to see clearly even without his glasses. Hisoka's eyes are wide on his face, and in them he can read his own worries, his own fears, his own doubts and his own weaknesses. Then Hisoka closes his eyes, and all Tatsumi can see is a beautiful boy sketched in shadow and moonlight, drawing closer to one ecstasy they still share with the living.

He closes his own eyes, draws Hisoka down into another kiss, and feels pleasure building in a wave he can never allow to crest too high or break too hard. Hisoka shifts against him, keeping the same rhythm as they change position. Just as he does not hold Hisoka down, Hisoka does not push him, does not try to make him lose control, and does not pull away and leave him floundering on those occasions when he must slow them both down, must stop, must gather himself and stuff the shadows inside back down. That is perhaps the greatest difference of all, and the one about which he feels the most guilt.

His control drove Tsuzuki from his bed, and he thinks now it might be what lures Hisoka into it. Tsuzuki's partner, Tsuzuki's heart, Tsuzuki's sanity.... And Tsuzuki would no doubt forgive Tatsumi this betrayal, would perhaps not think it a betrayal at all, but Tatsumi knows what Hisoka is to Tsuzuki. He knows what Hisoka means, and what it might mean to Tsuzuki that Hisoka is here. With him.

What does it say about him that he'd rather it hurt? What does it mean that if he cannot have Tsuzuki's love, he will take anything at all? Even this, that he has only because Tsuzuki will never push and Hisoka will never ask. That he has only because he will never lose control enough to try to claim it, though he will take it every time it is given.

Hisoka breaks their kiss to say, "Enough, Tatsumi-san. Breathe now, and stop being so foolish."

It's good advice, and a reminder that his control is not so impressive these days. He draws in a lungful of night air, and focuses on matching Hisoka's rocking, on riding his pleasure without being pulled under by it. It does not take long, with Hisoka panting in his ear, warm and soft and only as abandoned as required by their mutal need. Hisoka always comes first, the curse or advantage of his eternally young body, and it is the feel of his seed spilling between them that gives Tatsumi that final push. It's a calculated risk, surrendering even this much, but he is not capable of denying himself altogether. He cannot even bring himself to imagine trying.

So for a moment he looses the shadows enough to let this sweet light wash through him, to bask in the touch of flesh against flesh. And then he gathers it all up again, precise and ruthless as if the shadows and his own sensations are numbers he is trying to balance. He leaves himself with only the darkness, and the soft sound of Hisoka breathing in his ear.

He waits for Hisoka to rise, so they can both move to the washroom and clean up before Hisoka dresses and Tatsumi sees him to the door, ever the proper host. Hisoka surprises him again, however, turning to him with the washcloth and cleaning him silently. He hesitates, then returns the favor; it would be rude to do otherwise. Hisoka sets his washcloth aside when he is done, and Tatsumi follows suit. Then he reaches out and touches Hisoka's shoulder, and Hisoka looks up to meet his eyes.

"Kurosaki-kun," he says, and lets the word stand as the question he's not sure how to voice without breaking what little peace they've found in this ritual. He is not the empath here, he does not know what Hisoka is thinking. It occurs to him this could be the last time they do this. The depth of pain at the thought is unexpected, though it really should not be.

Hisoka does not answer with words, instead reaches up to pull him down for another of those strange and lovely kisses. Perhaps he should not allow so many of them, but he knows Hisoka does not give them lightly, and so he thinks he can accept them without tempting fate too far. Or perhaps that is just a rationalization for daring to want, and he will pay for it before EnMaCho releases him from service. It is another calculated risk, he supposes. He did not know himself to be such a rebel.

Hisoka makes a soft sound against his mouth that might be laughter, then slips a hand into his and pulls away, tugging him back toward the bedroom. He goes, settling on the bed and turning to face Hisoka when the boy lays down beside him. Hisoka reaches out a hand to touch his face, and he turns into the touch, kissing the palm.

He should pull away. He should get out of the bed and hand Hisoka his clothes and tell him to get dressed. He should not allow this to happen again, as he should never have allowed it to happen in the first place, and he should not hold onto the memories so very tightly. He should--

"You should get some sleep," Hisoka murmurs, caressing his cheek and then closing the distance between them to kiss him again. He closes his eyes for this kiss, and keeps them closed when he feels Hisoka pull away. He waits again to see if Hisoka will leave now, but instead he feels Hisoka shifting slightly, probably to get more comfortable, and then he is left again with the darkness and the sound of Hisoka's breathing, evening out into the cadence of sleep.

He expects to lay there listening until sunrise, long unused to another sleeping presence in his bed. And Tsuzuki had been a cuddler, never allowing this distance between them. Until Tatsumi pulled away. It is something of a shock to open his eyes on fuzzy sunlight, but less of one to find the other side of the bed empty.

He wonders if it will stay that way now, and tries not to hope one way or the other.


Yami no Matsuei
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