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Nirasawa turns up three hours late, what remains of his coat sleeve dangling from its ripped seam, and drips what must be most of the roof gutter's contents onto the carpet. He's also adorned with a third eyebrow. It looks kind of good on him, Kabu admits. Four rust-red centimeters contrast well on his pale forehead, the water smeared over the dried blood giving it a layered look, like a painting. Post-dinner drinks have encouraged him to be nice, despite the many other reasons not to approve of Nirasawa right now. His thumbs twiddled, waiting. A luxurious personal gift wrecked. The need to call cleaners into his sanctuary at a delicate time.

"You get lost? Don't you drag yourself up those stairs enough?"

The brat's smiling, tremulous and so pretty the rotting leaf stuck to his chin doesn't ruin it. "I didn't, but someone else did."

"How's that," Kabu says, hearing his own irritation, but he finds himself moving over on the sofa anyway.

Nirasawa shrugs off his outerwear and drapes it over a rack before answering. Underneath is the thin reinforced vest that a few bad fights convinced him to wear, irregularly crumpled all across the left half with the aftereffects of blunt force. Wasn't just a knife exchange, then? And can't Nirasawa ever loosen his guard on the right instead, fucked up as the skin on the left side of his torso already is? "You said you wanted Onishi to walk out of your Harada deal territory or off a pier, yeah?" He peels the vest off, too, revealing a shirt more dampened from sweat than rain. "Both of those, Kabu-san. I heard both of those happened to him tonight."

"You were making yourself useful," Kabu says. Noncommittal. That's what he tells himself he sounds like, even though he can't help it, this twinge of satisfaction when his underlings take initiative and solve problems for him. He laughs at the juku-obsessed parents who check every number and character, and babble about the work and sacrifice and spoiled stuffings they put into their kids on TV; he doesn't like fledglings, wants his subordinates to go out there and goddamn fly. When they get their shit done he has time for less professional pleasures. Nirasawa lifts his lashes and scans over Kabu, and sinks onto the sofa beside him. "Did you want something? Do you think what you did's worth something from me?"

On worth the pleasure—if Kabu was less familiar with him he'd call it drugged, a fool sampling the merchandise—dims in Nirasawa's eyes. His feet flex, slump flat on the floor. Onishi's cause of death is gleaming in his hands, suddenly, in that flash-quick draw Nirasawa does better than anyone Kabu knows. Weird how a boy who claimed he hadn't knifed anyone before joining the Umezaki is such a demon with blades. Like he thought a belly-slicer as a gift meant he had to teach himself practical bladework, any blade, carry six of them on his person everywhere. "I wanted to do something for you," Nirasawa says, heavy-lidded. "Since the boss has you locked indoors for the week, and all. It isn't... I didn't do it for a reward. You're gonna give me whatever you want, whenever."

"Oh? What are you thinking now?" Kabu can pull a fast one, too. Before Nirasawa can react, Kabu has leaned in and clamped one set of knuckles over his windpipe and another over his wrist. Nirasawa must have been slowed by his boneheaded expectation of Kabu's good intentions toward him. Sideways a-sprawl he goes. The abrupt loss of verticality and breath slackens the muscles in Nirasawa's hand; momentum has his knife denting the floorboards and sliding under the table.

"It's not, I'm not... I don't have anything to trade you, yeah? You've already got all of me. This," Nirasawa says, dragging his wrist from Kabu's loosening hold and across his eyes, "and this," a jerk of hand from his nose to his ankles, "you could do whatever you want, it's all yours." His hand flops back onto the cushion. "You know why I didn't try again in the hospital?"

"Do we have to talk about ancient history?"

"Nah. But you'd like it, I think. Please let me tell you—"

"You can," Kabu says, but he doesn't stop rubbing ovals around Nirasawa's collarbone, hinting with his thumb that what he really wants to circumscribe is that soft swallowing he can see in Nirasawa's throat. Curiosity's nabbed him, and he's damn sure Nirasawa will shut up if he moves there.

"It was weird, I felt I didn't have anywhere to run. Have you ever been like that, maybe? When you know you have to run to get any of yourself back, but that's not reason enough, there's no way, you just have to wait and see what gets taken. I mean, Kabu-san, don't look like that, I didn't really think you had..."

Kabu's impatient, not uncomfortable. "Imply I'm like that and I'll throw you out the window myself."

"Of course." He stretches out a leg and pokes around under the table for a while. It wouldn't shock Kabu if he's watching Nirasawa fish for the knife with his toes. Nirasawa wouldn't give a fuck himself if he bled doing it, but something in Kabu thinks that Nirasawa's own dropped weapon injuring him is encroaching on Kabu's territory, and he wraps his arms around Nirasawa's chest and hauls until Nirasawa's legs are entirely on the sofa again. "You might step on it later," Nirasawa objects.

"Can't even see it, it can't be underfoot," Kabu says, and twists himself over Nirasawa to kiss him.

He comes up a second later. "Fuck, your dinner was awful." One of Nirasawa's stray bangs skims across his lips, and Kabu briefly curls his tongue around that instead. "You shop for my food, how can you still eat that crap? Did I not teach you some taste?"

"Just frugal," he pleads, clutching tightly around Kabu's knee. "For the good of your organization. The Etsunobu are moving in on our shinogi, I know—"

"You've got to know that yakuza don't save money. We don't save anyone. We create what we want, or we take it." Kabu grabs his shoulder and shakes him before towing him up, mounting Nirasawa over his thigh. "You haven't cleaned the street out of you yet? Think scrapping and scraping's going to launch you anywhere?"

"Sorry," Nirasawa says. "I'm sorry I haven't learned enough."

It's hard to stay angry at him for something like this. There's a lot to compare with, a lot of worse precedent. There was the time Nirasawa had almost gottten himself killed. He'd slid bonelessly, afterward, into Kabu's arms with still-cuffed wrists and an expression that portended his mind beating itself up harder than Kabu could kick his calf. Worse than the severe clarity of flesh splitting as Kabu realized, while the boy shuddered and his head lurched back like in a fucking car accident, that his steel toe had almost touched bone. There was the second time Nirasawa had almost gotten himself killed. The third time. That time Nirasawa had no excuse for it, couldn't name which of Kabu's body parts he was dying to see, just efficiently repositioned Kabu's questions—Kabu had been so stunned at almost losing Nirasawa again he hadn't hit top fury yet—by sucking his cock.

"Just don't insult me any more with that can't-afford-things nonsense." Nirasawa's looking cheerier, this censure more comfortable for him than mentions of his life before Kabu. Calling him stupid rarely deters him from anything. Nirasawa likes to claim he doesn't care to think for himself. "Sure you want me to kiss you? Are you going to turn into a milksop, stop bringing in the goods?"

"Yakuza all through for you, Kabu-san," Nirasawa says. That sweet liar.

It's an acceptable thing to say, though. Kabu's nose crushes against Nirasawa's cheekbone, the kid responds so eagerly. He doesn't even intend to contribute to Nirasawa's new facial bruise collection, but Nirasawa shudders and scrapes his own lips against Kabu's teeth, and the coppery undertone makes up for whatever shit Nirasawa fed on before hunting Onishi down. Kabu gets hard, kind of wants Nirasawa's knee, even wrapped in rain-steeped linen, in his lap rather than the other way around. A yielding jaw under his tongue, hands he can grab on instinct and feel the callouses on: forgetting the organization owns everything is very easy with Nirasawa anchored under him, breath huffing onto his lips.

They roll off the sofa. There's a muffled ngh as Nirasawa hits the ground hip-first. It's another battering in a place that's taken plenty tonight, but that doesn't stop him surging right back onto Kabu's mouth. Kabu should use his business sense, but requites the kiss anyway while reminding himself of the rewards of delayed gratification, how much easier it is to fuck with no furniture legs to crack their heads on. His hair brushes the table board and his view's half the white roping scar over Nirasawa's shoulder and half nice teak door.

The nice teak door falls in.

Experience teaches you to keep it together and outthink whoever the fuck's against you, which is why Kabu's body and the overturned table become an L shape and Nirasawa the triangle hypotenuse in the next half-second and Kabu doesn't resist it. His mind skitters. Nirasawa on the streets, fighting men twice his size and ducking the ones three times bigger. Kabu protected by his surname, the bloody legacy of generations before him sheltering him from the need to violently confront people capable of more violence in return.

Don't hold him back. Keep out of the way.

Metal whizzes over him and the table buckles in at the middle, punched by an assailant or firing round. Kabu gets a glimmer of the thing in Nirasawa's hand as he throws himself away from the fracas. Get down. Find cover.

Nirasawa's discarded vest scrapes under him. He seizes it and coils himself into a target small enough to benefit from its protection. "Take him alive, Nirasawa!"

Nirasawa curtails his lunge, knife crashing into the table. But even as he shouts that command Kabu catches his assailant's eye, and sees the man beaming with second-rate relish, like a child with no ice cream but also no carrots and broccoli. There's an increasingly loud sound of footsteps charging up the stairwell that resolves into a gunman erupting through the empty doorframe. His gun sweeps an arc over the tableau and barks once, once only, blowing right through the back of the first intruder's skull, before he's crashing down the stairs again, and silence stumbles in and takes up residence in the room.



Nirasawa pauses at the complex's entryway, soaking up December downpour in his hastily grabbed backup coat. It was Kabu's—it hangs loosely over Nirasawa when he straightens up, and the fur ruff tickling his chin serves no purpose but aesthetics. The kid shivers in it, jingling the car keys in his hand. On the positive side, a cold beats bullets, and someone looking for it can see the patch near the hem, a proof of the owner's survival. "Do you not want to catch these fuckers for me? Hurry it, Nirasawa."

A slight shake of the head. Nirasawa hunches his shoulders, then shuffles forward and clicks and holds the door open for Kabu. He launches over the hood himself to get in on the left. His clothes are already at saturation point, Kabu supposes; Nirasawa notices his glance and glances up stoically into the sky.

"Yes," he says, as Kabu guns the car toward the coordinates Panchi's rattling through his radio. "I do."

"And you can do that by dawdling?"

"I was, guy there behind the sign! I was thinking," he says, with unusual hesitancy, "about whether I should go catch those fuckers for you. Alone."

"And you, what? You thought you'd knock me over and take the car yourself?" Nirasawa's gaze fixes somewhere out in the traffic. "Shit. You did," Kabu says, slapping him across the cheek. A pair of dog walkers suffer near-death as Kabu's other hand loses traction on the wheel. "We need to talk about your priorities."

"Keeping you alive! Having you with me," Nirasawa says. He immediately demonstrates his dedication by snapping a hand onto the wheel. Kabu has just brushed chin through into the short soft hairs of Nirasawa's neck when the car shudders over the wet pavement, pitching Kabu sideways, Nirasawa wrestling for control and swearing. Kabu doesn't try to touch him after that. Juggling the road and the commands pouring out of the radio, he has enough to deal with.

Navigating hairpin turns and grannies in parking lots—the latter very important for the family's reputation, Kabu always insists—is one of Nirasawa's less observed talents. His excellent peripheral vision can show itself more flashily, and often, in a scuffle than a real-life rendition of Shuto Kousoku Trial; Panchi usually keeps a death grip on his role as Kabu's driver. They rip to a stop before a dark alleyway, shedding speed in a zigzag across the curb. "Stay here, Kabu-san, please."

Fuck, but that boy can fly. One quick twist with a jimmy conjured from his sleeve yawns open the building's door. Nirasawa's lips part, but the elements steal away whatever he says as he's through the doorway and gone.



When the phone goes off, Nirasawa crumples the second clothing disaster of the day over his head. They're in an associate's second or fourth apartment, even more sparsely furnished than Kabu's, but every meticulously selected piece can be turned into something else in a fight. "I can't do this again. Not now."

Kabu remembers how Nirasawa had dropped wordlessly off a low balcony and crouched on the car's roof earlier, a severed hand dangling from his fingers like a cat's morning offering. Kabu worked open the sunroof impressed against his will. One of the local silence-for-pay groups uses sliced hands and feet as its signature, the only one large enough to potentially have rogue agents and cocksure enough to take every hit attributed to them as their own. "Got them?"

"If I hadn't, I wouldn't have come back," Nirasawa said, just on the tolerable side of arrogant/candid. "They're finished." A flicking motion of dismissal and the victim's wallet and other hand slid easily from his sleeve, wrapped in plastic to protect the coat from viscera stains while preserving visual evidence for the boss. Thoughtful. Nirasawa remained thoughtful the whole drive back, discussing loose ends as easily as though he hadn't a drained and wrinkled hand tucked behind his shoes. Nirasawa had been managing the drug circle long before they met, Kabu remembered; had been seeing bodies at their worst for a decade. Had tossed his coat over the headboard, uncovering more red blooms across his vest before tearing that off too. They were from someone else's blood, Kabu trusted.

The phone stops beeping before he can flip it open and hiss Sure this is good. Kabu pitches the phone across the nightstand and shakes his head, focuses on the body lying before him. His old man was wrong about Nirasawa: he doesn't look anything like a lap dog. When he's aching about something he doesn't go for the wide-eyed bone-begging gape. His eyelids slip down until the irises are all you see, and he won't protect his stomach or conceal a broken leg. He hangs out his flaws and weak points, dares you to come after his throat, wrap your palm around that fragile column of arteries and press. Kabu's fingers tighten. Nirasawa's breathing doesn't change at all.

He's like a trapped animal who's already found the trap inescapable—but Kabu shies away from considering the form of the trap.

"Don't want to kill for me any more, is that it? Die for me?"

Nirasawa laughs, weakly. "Throw me away if I ever say no. Or check if the Aiga have injected me with some new product." His head tips back: his Adam's apple surges under Kabu's hand like the reveal of an amateurishly hidden gun. Nirasawa slowly stretches his limbs out wide on the bed. It's morning. Kabu had seen children trying snow angels in the same shape on their way here, the rain having changed in the predawn chill to a weak snow.

It's scary how unanimated Nirasawa looks when he's not in a fight or fawning over Kabu. Kabu can intimidate with smile-and-sliver-eyed-stare as well as any yakuza, but Nirasawa leaves that routine to him. A jab and twist of his thumb under Nirasawa's jawbone gets a reaction that looks like a yawn. "Nirasawa, are you falling asleep on me?"

Nirasawa doesn't need to say anything. Kabu closes his hand around one of his wrists and wrenches up, irritated by this sudden mismatch between his hard-on and Nirasawa's non-response, and finds him wired, the double cord of muscles taut under his touch. His pulse thrums like a car's engine as it revs up. Waiting for direction. Oh, that's better. "Got nowhere to run," Nirasawa whispers.

"Because I'm holding you down?" He lets go. Nirasawa falls back onto the sheets. "What was all that shit you sung at me then, I want you, huh, I love you—"

"I wouldn't run anywhere even if I could," Nirasawa says, shuddering. Maybe exhaustion is finally catching up to him? He's been bloodied and weather-rinsed twice today and should look worn out. Instead it's like he was showered in oil, something to make him shine. Kabu's used to associating sexy with easy to damage; he's not used to this, yet. "Kabu-san. If you march up to the gates of hell I'll walk before you and eliminate the demons first. Do you expect less?"

"Act like it," Kabu says, although what he means is I don't know what to fucking expect from you at all. That'd kill the mood. Nirasawa emotionally flares up to the point of explosion whenever Kabu doesn't have a job for Nirasawa to do, even more so if he suggests he doesn't trust Nirasawa to finish whatever work he already has, becoming dangerous to both bystanders (yeah, fine) and himself (messy). Kabu gives him dangerous jobs whenever he can bear it and takes blowjobs during quiet spells. They fit each other, that way.

Nirasawa curls and springs up onto him. Even without the weight of his waterlogged outerwear Nirasawa's heavy enough to make Kabu's stomach hurt for a moment before he jolts up again and assumes a position more comfortable for Kabu, lying across his chest and legs. "What—"

"They could come back," Nirasawa says, low and earnest. "Please let me cover you."

"They're done, we agreed on that," Kabu mutters, but if Nirasawa's so badly determined to shield him, so be it.

New position for them both, Kabu half-crouched against the headboard, Nirasawa for once propped over him. One of his hands rises and lowers hesitantly like he's finding the best angle to show off his scars. The brat's lucky. Kabu has to hire shoppers and smoke his lungs out to look that good; sunlight cooperates right away with Nirasawa as it angles in from the high barred window. His cheekbones slash beautifully over his face. "Like that," Nirasawa continues, sounding like he's dredging up someone else's words. "If anyone wants to touch you, they have to slice through me first."

Kabu doesn't feel like imagining it. The image rises anyway: Nirasawa shattered into blocks of sinew and bone and loyal veins, the scars rolling from his shoulder to his knees the dividing lines, his neck choked to block off his pretty words. It gives Kabu ideas. No. Or no one else, he thinks. That's why I envelop you in the best suits and ties yakuza money can buy. They protect you from others getting under your skin. "Close your eyes."

"Can't do that. I'm supposed to watch you, aren't I?"

"You're supposed to watch for other shitheads gutting me." Kabu scrapes his fingers through Nirasawa's hair and pulls back and up, forcing Nirasawa to follow or lose his bangs. He arches, a lean tight curve that provides the side benefit of thrusting his hips toward Kabu for easy unzipping of trousers, which Kabu does. Cock still kind of soft, the bastard. Maybe Nirasawa's so knotted up in his head that his blood's not flowing down? Loosen him up. "And here," Kabu says, curling Nirasawa's fingers around the headboard, "hold on, here, now," and Nirasawa takes all of his torso's weight onto his arms, digs his nails in so hard he'll leave sickle-shapes in the wood. Heat pools in Kabu's chest at the sight. He sketches two leisurely loops over Nirasawa's back, feeling the texture shifts in the skin as he skates over scars, tension in Nirasawa's muscles wherever he presses down, then—Kabu's fingers having met in the center—breaks the symmetry, walking up and down his spine until he finds two scar lines. Traces them outward for a handswidth, then imitates Nirasawa's claw on the board. Wishes he could see the skin around the scars blanch further, the returning rush of blood when he stops stabbing in his nails.

Yeah, Nirasawa's hard now. "Nnn," he exhales, "can't keep watch with you doing that..."

"You've got me covered. Not gonna need you to watch at all." Nirasawa has the shakes, too, as he squeezes his eyes tightly shut. The scritch-scritch of his pant waist against his hips masks the sound of his feet scuffing on the sheets. "Strip," Kabu orders.

He enjoys watching Nirasawa grasping the board tighter and trying to get his clothes off with only ripples of his hips, but removing well-tailored trousers by undulation alone is an awkward and chancy business. Kabu taps one of Nirasawa's hands; his fingers splay right over the cigarette marks. Nirasawa unsteadily shifts his weight to one arm so he can tug with the other, spreads his ankles apart so he won't kick Kabu in the shin with the last fumble. Then his bruised knees are bare to match his ribs, and Kabu considers them. What they can take. The clear sweeps of skin they bridge.

They'd closed the other room's curtains, earlier. Kabu doesn't remember doing it. Even his hands aren't entirely steady, much less his head, as he unsheathes the knife Nirasawa used—they washed it, too?—and passes it over the flame of his cigarette lighter. Once against disease, once against the memory of death. What he holds is just an object, but the flickering light lends it a sense of vitality, and even after he stops clicking the lighter it sheds warmth into his hand.

Kabu lobs the last of his clothes into some corner and slides under Nirasawa's still-braced arms. "Nirasawa." He moans back Kabu-san, dips his head. His tongue glides over Kabu's shoulder, wet and hot along the dragon-mane, and although Kabu had insisted on the crisp simplicity of this tattoo—rejected the old-fashioned curlicue nonsense of his uncles—he begins to wish there was more of it for Nirasawa to lick over. Nirasawa stops right at the teeth, huffs on them. "Thought I told you to close your eyes," Kabu says, and Nirasawa's smile crooks a bit; feels nice, that turn of lips on his skin.

"I don't need sight to tell where that is."

"Can you tell where this is, then?" Kabu raises the knife to Nirasawa's throat, their bodies pressed so closely together that if Nirasawa let go of the board and spun the knife Kabu'd get it, oh, in the nipple. But Kabu doesn't receive an extravagant response, just the fluttering of Nirasawa's lashes on his still-closed eyes. It's a step back. Trying to get Nirasawa off here, Kabu reminds himself. Kabu pushes a little harder, feeling the coil in his stomach tighten, thinks about how little effort it'd be to drive far too deep, how someone like Nirasawa so intimately familiar with this particular blade can tell by the curve of the edge how simple it'd be. The knife too, how simple! It's only an object until Nirasawa quivers over it. Nirasawa changes things.

Nirasawa's changed a lot of goddamn things for Kabu. "Stop moving or I'm gonna hurt you," he says.

"Yeah," Nirasawa murmurs, "that's right..."

Kabu slaps his ass. Good fleshy bounce that travels through his body. Nirasawa doesn't clamp down on it becoming a movement of his throat. It's hard to see at this angle—Kabu gestures upward, slanting the knife parallel to Nirasawa's neck so it won't cut right through—but the skin should be nicked by now. "I've already scratched you. Stop it."

"I can take more than this," Nirasawa says, and as Kabu stares he shudders through a long slow inhale and forces his throat forward. Blood swells up and diffuses over the blade edge until Kabu could imagine this red stripe came from a much bigger wound, the kind his underlings generally don't suffer under his leadership. It should be from the kind of affair that ends in vendetta and a string of unmarked packages in the river.

"You," Kabu says, pulling the blade away to swing an elbow over Nirasawa's back, "I told you don't do that." Nirasawa keeps hanging through the first and second elbow jab, but Kabu eventually shoves his hips and thighs flat on the bed and squeezes out from underneath him. A leg over Nirasawa's waist keeps him from sliding further down, forcing his chest against the headboard. Kabu rubs his thumb over the same scars he'd clawed into earlier. "What was that for? You've got old marks everywhere."

"They've been fading. Please... do it again..."

Kabu's lain awake at night enough thinking about the scars Nirasawa already has. "You want me to give you another? Burning your hand open wasn't enough?"

"I got those because I wasn't good enough."

"Nirasawa—" What the hell do you say to that? Nirasawa is why he has an intact ass to sit here with. Where can you rip someone open and not make them bleed buckets? Kabu stares down at his left fingers, the jagged ridging of the skin beneath, and is reminded of the procedure undertaken by the most dedicated and deranged of his uncles: like irezumi, he'd described it, except without ink. He'd reopened his own burn scars several times, each new injury leaving a subtly different gradation of color on the skin, the final march from pink to tan like the terraced steps of a miniature geyser pool. Kabu pins Nirasawa down by the shoulders, still looking between the knife and the scars. Is Nirasawa thrusting his hips on the bed is a good enough reason for what he plans to do? Well. Kabu's too far gone, his own skin feeling superheated and raw, to think about it any longer. He growls, "Really don't fucking move this time."

And he stretches one of Nirasawa's scars as smooth as his skin will allow and traces over it three times. Once with his finger, once with his tongue, and once with the edge of the blade. Up close the scar line's not a line; following it exactly and keeping the knife from going too deep isn't easy, and Nirasawa's muffling noises against the wall that make it even harder to focus on the narrow trough of repaired flesh. It's a keen knife, though. The skin parts neatly and cleanly wherever Kabu touches it down. And as long as he minds the depth of the old scar tissue, the new wounds only bleed tiny droplets and don't close—he won't give Nirasawa more scars but he can redraw the ones that already sprawl over his back and thighs. Make them belong to Kabu too.

"What does it feel like?"

"Doesn't hurt or feel bad," Nirasawa says, in one of the calmest voices Kabu's ever heard from him. Trailing the sentence, quieter, "Hurt enough."

"But look how hard you are," Kabu says, palming Nirasawa's cock, trying to coax him into less restrained noises by stroking over and over the slit. "I haven't cut in, have I? I'm barely even touching you. Your body can react to danger alone, submit to me—I'm all you need, too—" and then why the fuck not. He lets the knife slip off track, into the pinched skin around the scar. Nirasawa at last looks like the fire has spread to him, blushing down to his waist; Kabu's pleased. Kabu's falling out of control, himself, watching his hand guide the knife over Nirasawa's body and past, unsure if he's sweating himself wet or dry, disbelieving it could possibly be winter in this heat. He touches his own cock, just light grazes along the veins, trying to ease the building pressure.

He makes a last effort to rein himself back. "If you snap your hips like that, I can't keep these cuts clean."

"Please let them show, Kabu-san," Nirasawa says.

Kabu withdraws his hands and rearranges himself to cover up his surprise. It's anger too, this feeling, yeah? He bites down on Nirasawa's shoulder, wanting his teeth to sink in, anything to distract Nirasawa from this stupid idea and where it's led. On a sudden whim he refuses to think too hard about, he holds the blade up to one of the untouched belts of Nirasawa's skin and prepares to flip him. Only at the last moment does he remember to turn the blade, facing Nirasawa with the blunted edge, before he knees Nirasawa from underneath. The arch of Nirasawa's back levels out and his breath audibly reels in. With a well-placed shove he's belly-up, and finally Nirasawa cries out, sound coming from deep in his throat, his eyes shocked open. Nirasawa had to feel the metal touching him. He couldn't have known instantly whether it was about to gouge.

"Enough?" Kabu asks.

"I would treasure it if you cut me like that," Nirasawa says, "thank you, thank you."

The stupid crazy boy. "I can't give you things like this if you get yourself killed, do you hear me—suck me," Kabu says, unable to wait any longer with Nirasawa flushed and fully engaged and looking at Kabu's tattoo like he wants one of his own, today. Nirasawa obediently begins with his tongue, then quivers, opens wider, takes Kabu into his throat, tears welling up. "I can't have you like this. You can't let anyone take your guts out, even me." Kabu has to push Nirasawa's head down, yanking on his hair to control the final angle, so he doesn't have to look back at Nirasawa. He's unbelievable, swallowing Kabu down with his blood streaking over the sheets. For a second Kabu can almost feel the presence of Nirasawa's victims around them: but then Nirasawa the assassin sweeps like velvet over Kabu's cock.

Kabu comes a lot faster than he wanted to.



He's not thrilled to have to call an associate to ask where he stashes first aid supplies in the apartment. At least a benefit of the wakagashira position is an immunity to questions for himself, and Nirasawa's probably even proud of necessitating this conversation, the freak. By the time Kabu returns, bandages in hand, Nirasawa's calmed himself down just enough to start trembling from cold. But—"Want to come," he sobs out. Kabu can see where his tears ran through the sweat and rain-damp on his face.

He settles back onto the bed. "Gonna have to wait a while for that."

"You don't have to fuck me," Nirasawa says. He's probably right. His cock is as firm as when Kabu groped his way out of the sheets in search of something to bind Nirasawa's back with. "The knife's good."

"What? You want me to stick the handle in your ass?"

Nirasawa lowers his eyes. Kabu's annoyed at how little he can care when the hostesses try that move on him and how susceptible he is when Nirasawa does it. "What you did before? Please, Kabu-san?"

The out-of-bed jaunt has given Kabu enough distance to think that repeating the cut is not the best idea. He takes Nirasawa into his lap and licks at the scar going over Nirasawa's shoulder instead, allowing Nirasawa to rut frantically between his thighs. He gets sloppier at it the harder Kabu pushes his tongue against his skin, but he's not going over the edge. At last Kabu reaches around and maps out the oldest of Nirasawa's scars by touch, surrendering himself to the memory of Nirasawa pointing each of them out with a mirror and an attitude of apologizing for his flaws. He picks up the blade again and presses, with the blunted edge, into the sensitive skin along its border. That's all it takes for Nirasawa to make a fucking mess on his legs.

Nirasawa keeps staring at him, luminously satisfied, for a while after. "Oh, now that I want you to sleep you're gonna lie awake?" Kabu asks.

"Just one last thing." He plucks the knife from between their pillows and slinks out of bed, knife gently swinging at his side.

"And what the fuck do you think you're doing with that?"

"Cleanup," Nirasawa says, at the bathroom door, far more cheerful than a recent murderer ought to be, and licks brightly at the blade.