“Exactly which part of you felt a need to cover me in bite marks?” (more…)
“Why did I ever fall in love with you?” Misaki demanded in sheer exasperation, right in the middle of their third angry, almost shouting match in a week.
Saruhiko paused, frozen before he could trip out his next retort to the predicted insult. Misaki was usually exactly that, predictable, and should be pointing out right about now that Saruhiko had no actual high ground when it came to putting things away where the other thought they belonged.
Instead, he’d gone and said that.
“Really,” Saruhiko finally said with a small huff under his breath and a smile he couldn’t help.
They weren’t on the same page, they didn’t think the same thoughts, and they didn’t feel the same way. Not anymore. Once, they had—or it felt like it. Both of them had wanted to destroy the world they no longer belonged in, both of them wanted their own small world with each other. Both of them wanted power.
Now here they were with Homra, and they had it, and all Misaki could talk about were the people who’d claimed him as their own.
Saruhiko was beginning to realize Misaki had wanted another family, while Saruhiko had just wanted Misaki.
It was almost bewildering, just how excited Misaki would get when Saruhiko let him play with the game he was working on or even look over his shoulder as he hacked through some supposedly secure system.
No one had ever been excited because Saruhiko did something for them or let him be around them. The only reward he’d ever received for creating before had been the immediate destruction of whatever he’d made.
“That’s amazing!” Then there was Misaki, eyes aglow, voice alight, and something lit up inside Saruhiko in response.
He found himself unable to quite hold in a smile.
Her first love came from the stars far more literally than Liz had ever imagined possible before Max had healed her, then revealed his secret. Of course, star-crossed lovers were the ones who were not meant to be.
It felt like stars bursting inside her when they kissed, when they even so much as touched. She saw stars when they lingered and reached for that other sight together. She didn’t think she’d ever be able to love anyone the way she loved Max.
Liz listened to his future self, hurting as she figured out how she could let him go.
Some things they don’t talk about.
They talk about battle plans and mission parameters. They talk about each other’s bad taste in clothes and vehicles and extracurricular activities, like trying to get oneself killed. They talk about video games and bets and how the other ought to get themselves killed.
They don’t talk about moments like this, washing each other’s wounds, unwrapping and rewrapping bandages because they don’t trust anyone else to do it, lying down on the same bed until morning because they’re partners. It’s as good an excuse as any.
Chuuya never asks why Dazai holds so tight.
Saruhiko woke suddenly. He didn’t move, though his heart beat too hard in his chest. But he didn’t live in that house any more, and the unfamiliar warm weight slotting comfortably against him wasn’t anyone dangerous. It was Misaki.
Saruhiko didn’t move, trying to process the arm slung easily over his waist, the breath evening out against the back of his neck, the way every part of his own body felt taut with tension, but he didn’t want to move or startle Misaki awake—or away.
He couldn’t quite make himself relax, but he stayed still until morning, feeling it.
When your husband tells you that you’re using your bedroom voice to talk to a coworker, it might be time to assess exactly how hung up on that coworker you’ve become.
Kalinda doesn’t like thinking about her own feelings though. She’ll stay in Chicago for Alicia, protect Alicia, threaten to sell her husband out to the cops for Alicia, but that’s no reason to stop sleeping around or start deciding exactly how much she might have fallen in love.
“Hey, Kalinda,” Alicia calls, finger raised. “Can you find out about the client’s family?”
The family they supposedly don’t have.
Anyone who was going to be Chuuya’s partner was going to be competent at knives.
Dazai winced and blew on his newly bleeding fingers. Chuuya held out his hand. Dazai stepped forward to hand back the knife.
“You meant to do that,” he accused in an undertone.
“You asked for the knife,” Chuuya answered incredulously.
“Yes, hand it to me, not throw it!”
Dazai glared at Chuuya. Chuuya glared at Dazai. They were teenagers, but when they were together, they might as well have been little kids.
Chuuya suddenly grinned, sharply. “I’ll teach you.”
“I am competent.”
“You are bleeding.”
They talk about their mother all the time, but sometimes Mary swears Dickon sprung up full-formed from the moor that might as well have given him birth. The animals swarm him with delighted sounds, gentle as though they were tame, and plants grow under his fingers as though his blood sings with magic.
Ide’a had never been a disappointment to his parents. He had a knack for business, was capable with the technology, software, and processes that kept his extended family firmly in control of the Flux’s mining economy, and knew how to manage business ‘partners’ with the appropriate balance of conciliation and hostility.
He’d never disappointed them until he took mandatory affinity testing and scored too valuable a potential pilot to avoid being drafted.
But when he arrived at his tiny bunk with his two permissible duffel bags, on equal footing with every other candidate, he exhaled his cage and inhaled relief.
Saruhiko caught his breath staring. No bone. No blood. No ash.
Mikoto gave a sort of bone deep weary sigh and leaned back with that tired look about him that sometimes made Saruhiko wonder if he ever felt regret.
“That’s too bad,” Kusanagi said.
Saruhiko blinked at him in surprise for the understated reaction, then looked down at his own hand. It was shaking. They’d said as much, but it was only hitting Saruhiko now that by taking Suoh Mikoto’s hand, he could have died.
A moment ago, there was a person. Now, there was nothing: no bone, blood, ash.
Ostensibly, Mikoto knows what a pillow is. His personal definition, Kusanagi thinks with some chagrin as he tries to reach around a grumpy redhead’s hair and face to fill in the next problem on his math, seems to be the person I like’s lap.
Mikoto grunts a complaint and Kusanagi almost swats him on the side of the head. He refrains, but he can feel the corner of his mouth quirking up in a small smile.
“Your choice to sleep there,” he comments easily, laying blame for all the awkwardness squarely where it belongs.
Mikoto just huffs. “Yeah.”
Yata wasn’t normally the fastest in picking up on conversation around him in the bar, but today he seemed particularly out of it.
“Are you all right?” Kamamoto asked.
He only got a mumbled reply, barely intelligible with Yata’s mouth buried in his arms on the counter.
“What’s wrong, Yata?” Kusanagi asked.
Yata looked up, blushed bright red. “What do you do when someone kisses you?”
The bar went quiet.
He blushed harder, buried his entire face.
“It depends,” Kusanagi answered. “Either you say you’re not interested or you kiss them back.”
“It’s gotta be Fushimi.”
Too violent. Too harsh. Too unwilling to use violence until pressed. Willing to use too much violence after.
Reasons to throw her from one complement to another, one look at clawed hooks on her wingtips enough to teach anyone she’d been built at Canaf. Playing nice shouldn’t be her first reflex.
“A diplomatic envoy?” Maru asked, skeptical of her pilot.
“In a war complement,” Taseta said, tossing her braid and grinning. “A permanent post. We’ll serve as point.”
A war complement. They could use both her violence and her restraint.
“You really think it’ll last?”
Taseta shrugged. “At least try.”
Mikoto was like the kind of big cat that let kids crawl all over him. Particular kids. Just two really.
Anna could snuggle up right next to him and even tuck her hand into his without even a grunt of protest. Totsuka could make Mikoto his own personal blanket if he wanted and Mikoto wouldn’t do more than sigh.
He never failed to complain whenever Kusanagi encroached on nap space in an attempt to sit down, but then again, Mikoto may have been audibly put upon but he let Kusanagi sit down anyway.
“Softie,” Kusanagi teased.
Mikoto’s grumpy glare notwithstanding.
Wanting Misaki like this was a discovery, unpleasant and unwelcome burning in his belly. It was easier when they were friends, then when they were enemies, easier than looking at Misaki’s cheerful face and realizing he wasn’t content to be friends again, even best friends.
“Saru! Pay attention!”
Saruhiko didn’t really need to pay that much attention to win the video game, but it would be helpful to think a little less about how distracting Misaki was and more on winning against him.
He didn’t. He leaned over, shoved the controller out of a startled Misaki’s hands, and kissed him.