by Rana Eros

This one was written for the Spring Kink Challenge, for the prompt: "Saiyuki Gaiden, Konzen/Kenren (name order is unimportant): Body-painting or inkbrushing on someone's skin - 'It’s been doing that all week: / making beauty, / and throwing it away, / and making more.'" Betaed by Eliza, and dedicated to Brigdh as a belated surprise birthday present. As luck would have it, she was the one who'd submitted the prompt.

It starts when Kenren's carrying a message from Tenpou to Konzen. He's distracted in the corridor by Kanzeon Bosatsu and, once he manages to extract himself and make his way to Konzen's office, finds he's no longer carrying the scroll.

Konzen only glances up at him briefly when he explains, then looks away dismissively. "Then I suggest you get another copy, and try not to lose it. Avoiding the Bosatsu might help."

Kenren returns to Tenpou in something of a temper, but when he tells Tenpou what happened, Tenpou hums thoughtfully, watching him through half-lidded eyes. "I do see Konzen's concern. Perhaps I should use a medium connected to the messenger."

Kenren smiles, his mood immediately improved. Tenpou does not even have to voice the rest. Kenren shrugs out of his coat, and Tenpou answers his smile.

Which is how Kenren ends up in Konzen's office with Tenpou's message scrawled on his upper right arm.

"What are you doing?" Konzen asks sharply when he drops his coat. He holds out his arm and manages not to smile.

"Message from Tenpou," he says blandly.

Konzen just stares at him hard, and for a moment he's sure he's about to be chased out of the office and all the way back to Tenpou's quarters, where he and Tenpou will both get to dodge any objects that aren't bolted down, including, possibly, Tenpou's desk. But then Konzen stands, and comes around his own desk, and takes hold of Kenren's wrist, maneuvering it so it's as far from Kenren's body as Konzen can get it and still read it. Konzen looks like carved marble, but his hands are warm, callused in some of the same places as Tenpou's. The skin around the calluses is soft, though, soft in the way a soldier's skin never is, and Kenren has to hold firm not to turn his hand and touch. He also has to use all the military discipline he knows Konzen doesn't think he has not to smirk at Konzen's scowl over their disparate heights and the necessity of lowering Kenren's arm just a little in order to read Tenpou's message.

At last Konzen lets go of him, stepping back toward the desk. "This requires a response."

"There's room below my elbow."

Konzen just looks at him, and Kenren points out, "I might lose a scroll. Then I'd have to come back and wait while you wrote another one."

Kenren can almost hear Konzen clench his teeth about that. It's a dangerous game, tweaking Konzen, but he just can't help himself. He likes to live dangerously, and he likes beautiful things, and Konzen is both dangerous and beautiful when angry. His eyes flash and his cheeks flush and his fists clench, long, elegant fingers hinting at the potential for violence that Konzen so rarely indulges. Pity his eternity is locked into this office by his birth. He'd be a hell of a sight on the battlefield.

Then he seems to decide, hands unfisting, brow smoothing, face once more assuming that careful mask. "Very well."

It takes more discipline not to smile as Konzen picks up a brush and inkwell, but then he looks up and frowns consideringly. "Come here."

Kenren's not sure that's a smart move, but he can't back down now; he issued this challenge, he has to see it through. So he moves closer to Konzen's desk.

"Stand over here. No, here, where there's light." Konzen touches him again, and again it's almost too much for his self-control, especially with the light from the window warming up the tone of Konzen's skin.

"Good," Konzen says at last, retrieving the brush and inkwell once more. "Now, don't move."

Kenren does, of course, with the first brushstroke on the inside of his elbow, flinching from the ticklish sensation. Konzen has a finer hand than Tenpou.

Konzen hisses in annoyance. "I said don't move."

"You really are a sadist," Kenren mutters, and Konzen only scowls at him again.

"You're the one who wanted to carry my message this way. Stand still."

Kenren's prepared when the brush touches his skin again, but it still takes all his willpower not to pull away or press in or respond somehow. Tenpou hadn't expected him to just stand still and take it, and okay, now is not the time to think about Tenpou doing this to him earlier. Konzen's no warrior, but he can still inflict a lot of pain, and Kenren would rather pass on that today.

He tries looking away, but that only makes him hyper-aware of every stroke, so he turns his head again to watch Konzen writing on him. Suddenly, not moving is no longer a problem.

He knows Konzen has an elegant hand, he's seen it on a few scrolls in Tenpou's quarters. He also knows Konzen takes both pride and pleasure in his work. Even so, to see the concentration on Konzen's face as he presses the brush to Kenren's skin, the way his eyes focus and his mouth opens slightly, to see the lines of beauty that emerge with his careful strokes.... Kenren would stop breathing not to disturb such a thing.

Konzen works his way down toward Kenren's wrist in fine, graceful columns of characters, the sun falling on black ink, tanned skin. Falling through his bright hair, and Kenren recalls Goku telling him very seriously that Konzen's hair is made of sunlight.

"Of course it is," he'd said indulgently. Now he thinks, Of course it is.

Then Konzen is signing him and stepping away, out of the light. "There. Don't smear it."

"No," Kenren says rather dazedly, and slings his coat over his left arm, wandering back out into the corridor stripped to his waist.

Tenpou approves the look, but after only a few kisses, a teasing touch, steps back and says, "I think it would be only polite to respond to this message, don't you?"

Kenren stares at him. "You're both sadists."

Tenpou only smiles. "My reply will be lengthy. Left arm, or back?"

Kenren considers the feel of Konzen's brush down his spine, over his shoulderblades, then thinks again of Konzen's hair beside the window, and Tenpou's presence at his back. He turns around, looks over his shoulder at Tenpou.

"Better leave him a place to reply where I can see it if he decides his answer is a knife."

"Oh, Konzen would never use a knife," Tenpou says lightly as he lights a cigarette, sticks it in his mouth, then picks up his own brush and inkwell. "He does sharpen those quills of his rather a lot, however."

"You're so reassuring." But Kenren laughs, and closes his eyes, to better feel what Tenpou's doing to him, to better imagine what Konzen will.


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