“Aaaaaaah!” A stream of rather flustered swearing followed the startled shout, and Saruhiko groggily blinked open his eyes as he woke.
There was exactly one way Nagare could see ever joining someone like Suoh Mikoto to his cause, and no comfortable way to kill him or his directly and bring his own power to bear.
It took quite a bit of work to get a message to Homura before they did anything rash—like completely destroy Totsuka’s body.
“You can resurrect him without consequences?” Kusanagi’s voice was appropriately skeptical under the diplomatic tone.
“There are always consequences,” Nagare corrected. “But yes, I can bring him back. He’ll have my aura.”
He wouldn’t be the first with two.
“Do it,” Mikoto said.
Saruhiko still had access to his money but found himself easily drawn into Misaki’s way of life and all the moneysaving tricks his mother had taught him. Sharing shower water was certainly no hardship. Turning off lights when they didn’t need them was only annoying when Misaki started nagging. Leaving the heat off at night sounded good in theory, since they both had a pile of blankets.
It was not good in practice.
Saruhiko didn’t realize he was cold until after he was shivering. He hunched his shoulders and gritted his teeth and plotted in the back of his mind how to tell Misaki they were never doing this again in a way that would actually forestall Misaki’s numerous good reasons why he knew better than Saruhiko how to save money. (He did, in fact.)
All that fled Saruhiko’s mind when a sleepy, tousled Misaki pulled himself onto the top bunk and burrowed into Saruhiko’s covers like that made any kind of sense. His arms wrapped around Saruhiko, his warm breath suddenly heating the back of Saruhiko’s neck, and suddenly Saruhiko couldn’t even feel the cold—just every single place their bodies touched.
He swallowed and permanently retired his objections.
Fushimi hadn’t planned to leave at all, both deeply intrigued and intensely uncomfortable with the way the Blue King wanted him to leave Homura and join his clan.
Fushimi couldn’t find fulfillment in Homura, its growing problems and Misaki’s growing infatuation more and more annoying to him, but he had never planned to betray them. He’d joined them for Misaki’s sake, protected them for Misaki’s sake, and never wanted to leave Misaki at all.
But he didn’t cry when his heart was burning inside him and Misaki’s tears inflamed him. He didn’t cry until in a quiet dorm room—alone.
“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.
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.
The beanie had never been decorative. It kept people from bothering him, just as the loose sweatshirt served its own purposes to hide some of Yata’s less common features. He’d never liked leaving his tail out in public where anyone could grab it and pull and he’d only ever let one person give him scritches behind his ears, and that was a long time ago.
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.”
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.