Yata was frowning when he got the door to Saruhiko’s dorm open. He had Saruhiko practically slung over his shoulder and back, and there was an audible hiss of pain between Saruhiko’s teeth as Yata carefully maneuvered him through the door.
Honestly, Yata’s heart couldn’t quite decide between worried and furious. “I was fine.”
Saruhiko’s soft, dry laugh held all the commentary necessary to tip Yata over toward furious.
He didn’t dump him on the futon though. Saruhiko was a bruised, aching mess from having thrown himself in between Yata and an enemy on an oncoming motorcycle, instead of sensibly knocking Yata out of the way or warning him instead. Yata could appreciate that just enough to set him down somewhat gently while he got his wind back.
“You should probably go to the hospital,” he commented, knowing perfectly well Saruhiko wouldn’t unless something looked broken. Which is why he fetched the first aid kit and yanked Saruhiko’s shirt up over his head and tossed it aside to assess the damage.
“You’re acting like what I did was dangerous.” Saruhiko gave him one of those knowing looks that was more smug and condescending than sincere.
“We don’t have aura anymore! You can’t just go around running in front of other people’s knives and clubs or motorcycles!” Yata sputtered. He found a few scrapes and cuts and rooted around for the antiseptic.
Saruhiko stared at him for a long moment, flat frown on his face, then shrugged. “We’re still strong. You let my mother hit you with her car.”
“Yeah, and Kusanagi broke his foot stopping another car.” Yata swabbed the first cut.
Saruhiko hissed more pain and glared. “Is this what you call tender care?”
Yata seriously considered grabbing Saruhiko’s knife and stabbing him. Except that would defeat the entire purpose of carefully wrapping every injury in antiseptic and gauze, regardless of how much it stung.
“Just be more careful,” he said, voice softer than he’d intended.
Saruhiko blinked up at him, eyes sharp behind his glasses, frown deepening.
It made Yata feel a little self-conscious. They did vulnerable around each other. They’d always done vulnerable around each other. He finished his first aid and backed away to clean up and pack away the kit, while trying to ignore the embarrassment creeping hotly up his face because Saruhiko wasn’t supposed to be looking at him like that.
“What?” he demanded as he closed up the box. “You’re never careful!”
“Like you are,” Saruhiko answered, sharp enough to cut. “You’re never careful either.”
And it was… true. They were both equally reckless and destructive, and it was the whole reason Yata had never seen it coming that Saruhiko would leave Homra. He huffed and went to put the first aid kit away, ignoring Saruhiko frowning behind him.
“Misaki,” the sound of his name stopped him. An exasperated sigh. “Come here.”
“What?” He didn’t turn around, and there was that irritated tongue click, then a hand on his arm because of course, the idiot would get up and come over, despite barely being able to walk earlier.
But Saruhiko wasn’t looking at him exasperated or irritated. He had that look most people couldn’t even read that said in his own way, he’d been worried. “You’re never careful either.”
Yata paused, took a deep breath. It probably wasn’t fair to be mad without thinking about that. They both dove into danger without hesitation. They both had lost the power that used to protect them, even if they’d kept the strength.
Yata looked down at his clenched fist. They’d joined the clans for the power to keep each other safe. “I’m sorry,” he finally said.
Saruhiko just made a small disgusted sound and drew Yata into a kiss, softer than usual, not so much careful as still moving gingerly. It wasn’t really about apologizing.
It was about this moment when Yata took the message and carefully pushed Saruhiko back to the bed without applying pressure to any of the mottled skin up and down his ribs. Yata traced one hand over the marks, just skirting their edges, and Saruhiko looked up at him without comment or overt reaction.
They’d both hurt and been hurt and right now, Saruhiko had let himself be hurt to protect Yata. There was something warm and heady about that. He leaned down and kissed Saruhiko back, slower, longer, tasting and feeling that they were both here, safe, alive.
They had lost so many things, so many people over the years, even each other.
He kissed him until he couldn’t breathe and had to draw away for air, only to be dragged promptly back by Saruhiko, the masochist.
It was careful work, undressing without aggravating Saruhiko’s injuries or making him wince, even more careful to figure out how to actually have sex without applying any weight to those areas.
“You really should be more careful,” Yata griped from where he hovered over him. “Forget it. Up. You’re going to ride me.”
“Bossy,” Saruhiko said without heat but sat up stiffly and let Yata dig the lube out of the drawer and rearrange them.
Yata studied him a moment, the expression on his face with all the feelings tucked away out of sight again. Because they did vulnerable with each other, but not so openly as someone might expect. He gently reached up and pulled off Saruhiko’s glasses, leaving him blinking a moment, but face open.
“Hey, Saru.” He cupped Saruhiko’s cheek, pulled him close, and kissed him warmly again. “Saru.” It was enough to say his name, to feel him close, to see that faint smile on Saruhiko’s face.
Then they finished lubing and Yata held Saruhiko by the shoulders long enough to get them situated, to feel the clench and slide of penetration, and everything was hot shudders of pleasure and feeling close and together and alive. They’d lost so much, but despite everything, they’d kept each other now.
“I’m here,” he murmured and Saruhiko breathed out soft and wet, almost a gasp. They moved together, push and pull, drawing it and drinking in every single moment they could.
Misaki fell asleep not long after they’d cleaned up, cuddled around Saruhiko like he couldn’t bear to let him go.
It was terrible to think that Saruhiko was glad Mikoto was gone, but he was. He was even glad in his own way that their auras were gone. Because right now, this warmth in his arms was his and only his, and perhaps that was selfish, but a very long time ago, a King told him to build the perfect world he wanted.
Saruhiko buried his face in Misaki’s shoulder. He had.0