“She’ll always be our mom” - Batfam x Fem!Reader
Synopsis : Damian is terrified of growing up, because he finally found a family and doesn’t want them to be around him less because he grows older...He’s especially scared that his mom, you, will slowly stop taking care of him. Because that’s what growing up is right ? Your parents just slowly stop taking care of you because you’re an adult. His siblings reassure him that...this is definitely not gonna happen.
Sudden burst of inspiration, had to jump on the occasion to write ! Like y’all, I hadn’t been able to sit down and write for that long in over six months, the fact I wrote this in an hour without stopping once is a good sign for me hehe. I hope you’ll like this, and of course as always feedbacks and reblogs are super welcomed !! :
My Masterlist : @ella-ravenwood-archives
“Hey buddy, I have some important meetings today and won’t be there for lunch. Your dad too. I left some food for you, see you tonight, love ya.”
Are the simple sentences that set Damian off.
Alfred had his day off (and Damian couldn’t feel bad about that, the butler rarely took days off and when he did they were planned well in advance and he’d usually prepare everything for everyone). You and Bruce were busy. And his siblings were out and about. Damian could definitely reheat food for himself. It wasn’t really a challenge. It’s just that…
That him alone in the manor, it reminded him of bad days from the past, when he always had to fend off for himself.
He felt absolutely ridiculous feeling that way, because that was the first time since he came into your life that he actually was home alone. But he couldn’t help it. He’d gotten used to always having someone around. And he hated being alone.
At first, he always sought to be on his own. It was all he ever knew. And he thought that’s how life was. He spend hours on end all alone in his room, when he wasn’t in the Batcave. Up until…
Up until you sought him out. Whether it was to watch a movie, bake some cookies or just be silly. And if it wasn’t you, it was one of his siblings. He thought you were all so annoying, in the beginning. He always sighted, growled and got snappy with you all when you came look for him at first. But then…
Then he realized that, when you finally started to leave him alone thinking he just liked to be on his own…He felt lonely.
And it always brought an onslaught of bad memories, when he felt that way. So today ? Yeah. To him it was silly to have those emotions, but he couldn’t help it. He just couldn’t. He wasn’t used to be alone anymore.
The truth was, this couldn’t be a worst timing.
It was almost his birthday, reminiscent that he was getting older and older, closer and closer to the age he’d have to leave the Manor and fly on his own.
And he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to and this wasn’t fair ! He was already ten when he came into yours and Bruce’s life, so much less time than most children to enjoy their parents’ care ! And to be the “baby of the family”. He only had eight years of this bliss.
Eight years of finally having care and love, and someone who would always be there for him.
For some reasons, in his very pragmatic and cartesian mind, once you turned eighteen, you were on your own.
Was it because this was the age his grandfather had originally planned for him to start taking over the world for real ? The age his grandfather always mentioned as the final trial before he had to handle himself (even more than before) ? Before he had to put his years of training into action ? A perpetual “Year of the blood” ?
And maybe if he wasn’t so afraid, he would’ve seen how, even though Dick and Jason had their own place in town, they were still very obviously your babies (just the week before, you went to Dick’s apartment to bring him some chicken soup, and stayed there the night because he had the flu !).
Or maybe he would’ve noticed Cass had turned 18 not long ago and was still here with no intention yet of leaving. Cass actually had the same sort of thoughts than Damian, except in her head, because she only started to have love and care at age 12 when she was officially adopted by you, she had lots to catch up, and her plan was to stay as long as she could at the manor.
Not that it would bother you nor Bruce. The place would feel too lonely without them (Bruce’s secret wish would be that none of his kids would ever leave the nest, and he did everything to convince them to stay…Alfred had to have a stern talk with him when he tried to dissuade Dick to take his own apartment and scare him into staying home).
Yes. Maybe if he hadn’t been so afraid, Damian would’ve realized that of course you’d never just stop caring for him once he turned a certain age.
But fear. Fear always numb the mind, and you can never think straight when something that primal rises inside you. And it was oddly set in his mind that once you turn eighteen, you had to leave your family.
He had only about four or five years max left now. It wasn’t much.
It wasn’t enough.
And he was so afraid.
To be honest, he had been thinking about it for a while now. And the mere thought of having to leave the manor filled him with anxiety and distress.
He needed some fresh air. Whenever he felt like he was going to explode because he felt too many things at once, he’d go out in the garden (most of the time with Titus). To think. And to refresh himself. And he would-
“Uuuum, I’m sorry young man but where’s your jacket ? It’s October, and COLD.”
Damian jumped a little in the air, he was most definitely not expecting anyone. As he turned around and saw Jason there, a frown on his face, the gloominess he felt about being alone for lunch instantly faded away.
“What are you doing here ?”
He asked a bit harshly, to keep composure. He was not about to tell his brother, especially not that one, that he was feeling the way he was feeling. Jason had a tendency to remember things way too well.
“Mom told me to come check on you, she wasn’t sure she left enough food for your lunch. Dad called too, cause of course he would. As if I forget to do things, you know ? Anyway, I brought veggie burgers and fries. Oh. And Dick also texted me like forty times to come because I wasn’t doing anything “important” -how would he know anyway- and he was busy…being a cop or something.”
Jason said, ignoring the bite in his little brother’s voice. Just like everyone else in the family, he came to recognize when Damian didn’t really mean the things he said, or the tone he took.
As if it was the most normal thing in the world, he took his jacket off and put it on Damian’s shoulder.
“Honestly, wearing a t-shirt in this weather. You’re lucky mom’s not here. You’d never hear the end of it. If she can make a speech about wearing proper warm clothing to dad, out of everyone, to the Batman himself, she can definitely talk your ears off about it too.”
“I’m not cold.”
“Sure you’re not.”
Truth was, yeah, Damian was starting to feel a little cold. He didn’t really think about taking a jacket when he got out. Mmm. Someone reminding him to wear a jacket.
It’s the little things, you know ?
That he’ll miss. When he’ll be too grown up for it. When his parents, and even his siblings will just assume he can think of a jacket himself. And like, yeah, sure, he probably could. Once you’re an adult you have to think about this kind of thing.
But what if he forgot ? Nobody anymore to remind him, or to bring a warm way-too-big-for-him coat to wear...
He’d miss that.
Jason was staring at him, immediately noticing something was wrong, and said:
“Alright, out with it.”
“Something is obviously bothering you. Come on, tell me. You know you can trust me.”
“Sure it’s not.”
Damian clicked his tongue in annoyance. Jason had this particular sarcasm and irony about him, that instantly made you understand that he did not believe you. He shook the bag containing the veggie burgers, a warm and appetizing smell coming out of it, and said :
“Come on, let’s go inside. Eat. And we’ll see if you wanna talk then.”
Damian did talk. And it was easier than he thought it would be. Jason made a comment about him not eating any of the food you made, and how it would worry you and...It just poured out of the little boy’s mouth.
All his worries. His fears and his stress.
“I know it’s stupid, but please don’t mock me.”
He said, dejected. There was a short silence before Jason said :
“I’m not about to mock you for that, little brother. I feel ya, really.”
Ah yes. Yes. There was probably no one better than Jason who understood exactly Damian’s feelings right now.
As a child, Jason was constantly afraid he’d do something wrong and you would stop loving him, so he always worked extra hard to be good, even when it was hard to. And after he died and came back in the way he did…It’s like his worst fear happened. Because he thought the reason Bruce never killed the Joker was that he didn’t really love him. And the reason you and him adopted Tim was to replace him.
Of course, now, he understood how wrong he was. And of course, at the same time, his anger and hurt was justified. But this was another story.
The point was, Jason understood Damian’s fear right now. And so the perfect words to reassure his brother came naturally to him, too. It were the words he wished he heard, all those years ago (and that you eventually did tell him) :
“Ok but Squirt, if you think that just because you’re gonna be a “grown up” or whatever I’ll stop caring about you, you’re very wrong. I will call you to remind you of very basic things till the end of days. You’re sixty, have a wife and children ? I’m in my seventies screaming at you to were a jacket. It’ll never end. Never. You’re always going to be my little brother. And mom’s kid. Always.”
He’d never admit it, but Jason was kind of the “mom brother”. People always thought he was the rebel who only fought with his family…that wasn’t true. He fought with Bruce, sure. And he constantly bickered with Dick but that’s because they had this little “big brother competition” going on (and when they were children, Jason admired Dick and felt embarrassed about that so he would snap at him for no reasons because he still had a hard time processing his emotions…after all, he grew up all alone, nobody ever explained to him it was ok to want to be loved, to be angry, to be hurt etc).
He resembled you greatly in that way, really. It was because of his life in the streets, and his broken family. When he finally found the love of a Family, he never let it go. Even when he was so angry, in the first few years of being Red Hood. The reason he was, was because he loved all of you so much.
And he resembled you. The same comments about eating enough, drinking water, sleeping enough, wearing warm clothes or not watching TV in the dark. He’d “mom” his siblings when you weren’t there, and they pretend they were annoyed by it while really, it was the opposite.
And Damian thought, well, if his brother, who was so much like you, said that. If he sounded so sure about never ever stopping caring and loving him...Then surely, you would too, right ?
Because you were really a like, he thought. Really alike.
And he was happy to not be alone for lunch.
“Jason ! You’re still here, oh you’re staying for dinner right ? Alfred always make too much food just in case one of you will pop in anyway. He’s coming back tonight”
The sheer and simple happiness written on your face as you see your son is obvious. Damian sees it. And it’s reassuring. So, so reassuring. The same smile Is still on your face when you turn to him and say :
“How was it today ? Did you have enough food ? See when Alfred has his day off I always feel like I don’t feed you enough.”
“It was fine mom. Also Jason brought veggie burgers and all so we had more than enough.”
“Oh good. What did you two little buddies did today ?”
“You two little buddies”. Jason, who was in his early twenties, and Damian, who was quite younger...were called the same way.
It meant something, right ? It meant you both saw them the same, right ?
And so...it meant than when Damian would be older, you’d still see him as your little kid ? And care for him ?
You hadn’t seen Jason for barely three days, and yet you attacked him with dozens of questions about how he was doing, and what he was doing and...it reassured Damian. Greatly.
Yes. You left space for your children as they grew up. But when they didn’t want that space ? When they needed you ? Like right now, as Jason was telling you about his recent adventures ? ...You were there.
You were there. And by all means, it felt like you would always be there.
Jason noticed the relief in his little brother, and gave him a partner-in-crime kind of wink. Which made the little boy smile, despite himself.
“Mooooom !! Can you make that “PB and J samwitch” you’re famous for please ?”
“With the crust cut off ?”
“No worries little buddy.”
Dick hadn’t been home for more than an hour, before he launched his infamous “Moooom” and asked you for something. And honestly ? Didn’t bother you one bit. He had always been polite about asking you things, and it was never too difficult. Just small rituals between you two.
Like the PB and J “samwitch”. Almost an inside joke between you and him. One of the thing, as silly as it sounds, that made you so close all those years ago, when he was a little heartbroken eight year old. And when you promised yourself you’d always be there for him.
So what if sometimes you made him his favorite sandwiches ? He definitely was grateful and this little reminiscence of past years always warmed your heart. Making those sandwiches, cutting the crust off, eating them with him...It all brought only good memories. And it made new good memories. So why would you stop doing it ?
Dick smiled and went to sit in the comfy armchair of the main living room. Damian was sitting in another one, reading a book. However, very fast, Dick felt his brother’s eyes on him and turned around, a question in his eyes.
“...You’re twenty-four.” Damian said, an eyebrow raised.
“Yeah, I am. And so ?”
“”Samwitch” ? Crust cut off ? Can’t you do that yourself ?? Are you a child or what ?”
There’s a small silence, during which Dick seems to ponder Damian’s question. And ah, of course he takes it very seriously. A little too seriously maybe, as he puts a hand on his chin, as he always does when he tries to think of a plan of attack during his “vigilante work”.
“Well. Yeah. I can do it myself. And I do when I’m back in my apartment. But mom is here so, yeah.”
It sounded like an evidence in Dick’s mouth. Of course. Of course if his mom was here, if you were here, he’d take advantage of it and seek to be pampered by you. And where was the bad in this ?
I mean, he’d been living on his own for a while now, couldn’t he sometimes be indulged and treated like if he was still a kid ? You always told him he’ll forever be “your kid” anyway. And your sandwiches, although made the same way he made it, somehow still tasted better.
Dick could see Damian had some trouble fathoming his behavior, and as the big brother he was, of course he’d properly explain.
“We’re lucky to have an awesome mom who loves us. Who wants to be there for us, even if it’s to make our favorite food. Why wouldn’t we be happy about it, and let her do it ? I’m always happy to do things to help her out, like when I pick you or Tim at school. Stuffs like that. It’s um...Our love language ?”
“Love language ?”
“Yeah, you know. The way we show we love each others. Amongst other thing. Like we both have multiple love language I feel but it’s not really the question here. Listen, yeah, I’m twenty-four. And maybe it’s a flaw, to still love to be treated like a kid by my mom. Maybe it’s not normal, even. But out there, whether at work at the police station, or when I’m Nightwing...Things are rarely great. We always see broken families, people in pain, horrible things happening. So what if, when I’m home, with my mom, I like to be taken care of ?”
Damian was stunned. Yeah. Yeah he understood what Dick meant. But he just didn’t know you could be THAT old and still have your mom do all of that ! Which is a little silly, because he did see his mom act that way towards Dick or Jason before, without batting an eye.
Why is it that when it came to himself, he always thought there were different set of rules, he always was so hard on himself about everything ? You and his siblings made him understand.
He deserved love too. And-
“Here little buddy, your samwitch. And you, littlest buddy, do you want anything ?”
You were speaking to him. He hadn’t even noticed you came back, pondering about what Dick just said. But he answered :
“Could I have some cookies, please ?”
“Of course. White chocolate chip ?”
“Yes ! Um, could I help you ?”
“Of course, come one, the more the merrier. Let’s try to not eat all the cookie dough before though, like last time. Wanna join, Dickiebird ?”
“Gladly ! Always love to cook with you.”
Dick didn’t care, when his team mates from Teen Titans mocked him because he called his mom every day. He didn’t care, when the Young Justice, and now the Justice League mocked him when his mom called him “Dickiebird”, “Little buddy” or “my baby”. For Dick, you still sometimes almost babying him was a great treat.
Because he was right. His life was hard. Harder than most. And so, what if he wanted to get a hug from his mom, or to just be generally pampered by her ? If you were around, he for sure still would ask you to tuck him in...and where was the shame in this ? Those moments were so rare nowadays. And he was an independent adult. So what if sometimes, just sometimes, he wanted to escape the harshness of real life just to feel cared for by his mom, or his dad ?
There was no shame in this. None. Which is why Dick never cared when other mocked him about it. This was hardly something he was ashamed of.
And today, Damian understood this, too.
No matter how old he would be, he would always still still be allowed to have his mom take care of him.
“I turned 18. I am now an adult, by law. But mom doesn’t care much about law. Look.”
Cass says, and on that note, she smiles at her brother tenderly before going to where you were sitting, and just…Ah yes. Damian saw her do that before.
Damian and Cass understood each other really well. They both had a difficult and loveless early childhood, and were craving affection now. And it wasn’t rare that he would see his sister…demand a hug from their mom (and even from their dad, the boys were sometimes a little too proud and awkward for that, but Cass ? She didn’t care. If she needed comfort, she wouldn’t hesitate to seek it. Not anymore.)
And Damian instantly knew what she was trying to show him.
Cass was grown up now. By all technicalities. Yet if she wanted a hug, she’d get it. And both Damian and her knew that whether she was twelve, eighteen or forty, as long as you were there, you would give one to her.
As usual, without any words, Cass was able to convey all her meanings to her little brother.
Damian felt warmth in his heart the rest of the evening. Feeling happy to see her sister happy. But also that yes, age definitely didn’t matter when it came to motherly love. And that made him more than happy, a feeling he had no words yet to express.
But as Cass constantly showed, sometimes, you didn’t even need any words to show your true feelings.
Damian’s concerns came to Duke’s ears, one day. And although Damian was less and less afraid of the eventuality you would one day stop caring for him, the topic of conversation still came up as they were patrolling, and Duke was more than willing to let Damian open up to him.
Especially since this was the first time they had this kind of heart to heart conversation. Damian was a tough nut to crack. He always kept his distance at first, suspicious of any newcomer. And he also was a little jealous of the attention given to Duke, for sure.
But this conversation ? It came naturally as they were just casually talking while on their patrol, and nothing much was happening.
“I’ve been here for less time than you, but I have no doubt in my mind that Bruce and (Y/N) will never cease to see us as their kids.”
It’s true. Duke hadn’t been here for as long as all your other kids. And his situation was a little special, as his parents were still alive and there was hope for them, even after all this time. He hadn’t yet called you or Bruce “mom” and “dad, but he didn’t think any less. You took that place in his heart, right along sides his own parents. You taught him that he could still treat all of you like his family without betraying the family he already had.
And that was precious.
And oh so needed, after all he’s been through.
And for Duke, there really wasn’t any doubt. He knew he’ll forever be able to count on you.
“See it that way, if I needed you, twenty years from now, would you not come to help me ?”
Damian looked at Duke, outraged in his eyes, and exclaimed :
“Of course I would come !”
“Well it’s the same for all of us. We fight sometimes, and we say things we don’t mean. I know I haven’t been around long, but I also know I would jump in any situation if it was for any of you. In the short time I’ve been here, I was able to feel the family love. And the strong bond we now all share. So believe me Damian, when I say none of us will ever stop caring about and for you just because you grow older, I truly mean it.”
It’s true that Duke hadn’t been a member of the “Batfamily” for long. And this new perspective he brought, Damian didn’t even think about it ! Sometimes, it felt so obvious to all of you that you loved each other, that you forgot to remind that to one another. But for Duke, it was all new. And he had no qualms reminding his new little brother that yes.
Yes, he’ll always be there.
It’s a shame, really, that no one else was around when Damian gave that first hug ever to Duke, who gladly accepted it.
But in a way, this first brotherly move, first trace of the bond that had been built between them, well, maybe it was meant to only be between the two of them.
It just happened.
One evening, he was feeling particularly anxious and scared, and he just spilled the bean to..his dad.
And Bruce’s reaction was immediate, and it was obvious by how quickly he spoke that he didn’t quite think things through (if he had, maybe he would’ve known what was about to happen, given a certain son’s presence) :
“Son, your mother even baby me sometimes, so I really do not think she’ll ever stop seeing you as her precious little boy.”
“She…babies you ?”
“Yes, and he LOVES it !” Jason chimes in, snickering and obviously reveling in the fact his father was almost blushing.
With his dad, it was always about the micro-changes in his facial expressions. It was hard, to decipher it. Only the trained eyes could see it, and oh, you trained Jason since he first came in to show him the small changes in your husband face. To recognize his “smiles”, his worry, his anger...
Bruce spend years learning how to school his facial expressions, how to control his emotions. But sometimes, with his family, he didn’t fool any of them. And right now, he was clearly not going to react to Jason’s little mockery, so naturally Jason thought he’d add, speaking to his brother :
“You probably saw it. He lays his head in her lap and she scratches it. Kind of how we scratch Ace and Titus’ heads.”
Bruce kept a neutral expression (and how frustrating it was how much he could school his expression to let nothing appear), and answered, matter of factly :
“She does not “scratch” my head. She runs her hand through my hair. -short pause- It’s soothing.”
There was almost a comical gap between his lack of facial expression, his monotone tone, and his words, and it made Jason’s smile even wider. Damian too, couldn’t help but smile a little too much.
"But um. Yes. Sometimes, she just...sooth me.”
Bruce knew this sounded ridiculous, and out of character (to anyone not truly knowing who Bruce Wayne really was). But he also knew that this was the truth. You had this gift. Sometimes you’d sing him sort-of lullabies when he had bad nights. You’d hold him until he fell asleep. You’d run your hand through his hair, caressing his scalp...And he would never stop you.
He would never admit to anyone else but his children this very fact. Never. But if it could reassure his son in any way, what was the harm ?
There was none. And as the night started, Damian felt all warm inside. By the fact his parents love always made him happy for some reason (when they weren’t being gross and kissing -bleargh). But also because, if his forty years old father still had the “soothing treatment”, why wouldn’t he, when he was grown up ?
Your kids were pretty good at keeping secrets...but it never lasted long when it came to you. You always knew what was going on. Oh, and once Bruce knew about it ? There was no way he could resist you.
He always told you everything.
And so you came to know Damian’s worries, and even though you understood that everyone reassured him already, you felt like it was your duty to reinforce everything. So, one night, as you were tucking him in, you chose a particular story to read him.
It was a small children’s book. Definitely destined for kids way below his age. Not the kind of thing you would read to him. Usually, you’d both read classics. Adventure books. Lately you read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy. Etc etc. Never actual kids’ books. But tonight, this choice seemed appropriate.
It was a book called “Love you Forever” written by four authors, and the last words went something like this :
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.”
And there was no need for more. He knew you knew.
He knew one of his siblings told you about his fear, probably out of worries. Or that his father, as you “ran your hands through his hair”, spilled the bean. And he didn’t care.
Because by reading just a simple bed time story, you erased all his fears.
“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living,
My baby you’ll be.”
It was rare, to have all of your kids home. But sometimes, it happened. When they took the rare night off (and only because Kate was out, because they knew it’d be calm...even in Gotham, certain nights were eventless). It happened less and less, as time went on and they all grew up.
You always felt a pinch in your heart, thinking about how one day, they’ll all leave. Ah if only. If only they could all feel like Damian feels right now.
Like he never wants to grow up, like he never wants to leave.
But you knew. You knew that even him, one day, would take his flight. And you knew that he would do great.
You also knew you would never cease being a mother. And that as soon as they’d need you, you’d be there.
It was getting late, and you were thinking about all this when Dick, who was always great at reading your feelings and knew you were a bit nostalgic at the moment, said :
“Hey, say, mom, since we’re all here and have the night off…what about a bed time story ?”
Oh. Ooh. How could you resist ? As Dick asked you that, a wide smile on his face, you had a flashback of the sweet little eight years old boy who used to ask that same question every night. And you never could say no.
And when they were all here ? It was impossible to refuse the offer.
Yours and Bruce’s bed was a unique bed tailored especially for you that your husband ordered years ago, when Cassandra officially became your daughter and your old bed was starting to be too small for all of you when it was “story time nights”.
It was a bed especially made for your family, and each one of your children had their spot on it, as you started to read one of the house’s favorite. Even Bruce, was listening, and the sound of your voice plus the presence of his children had the most soothing effect on him.
You all regularly joked that he was the first one to dose off, off in a deep sleep. He didn’t care much, those were the few moments he could genuinely sleep. And that made all of you happy.
One by one, your children fell asleep, a cute tangle of arms and legs (Dick had the habit since a long time to almost strangle Jason, clinging to him as he fell asleep, and as Jason grew up and became much taller than Dick, it just went from cute brotherly love to hilarious “hugchokehold”). Damian was the last one to close his eyes, as usual, wanting to enjoy moments with his family as much as he could.
The story was over since quite a while, but you weren’t asleep yet. You were just basking in the warmth and love of being surrounded by those you loved, your children who would always be your babies, and your husband who was the love of your life.
Sometimes, amongst all the hardship and troubles, there were really blissful moments.
I hope you liked it. Just a little silly story that came to my mind as I was thinking about my own mom :). Maybe it’s stupid, I still enjoyed writing it ! And I hope you liked reading it. As usual feedbacks and reblogs are always welcomed, and see you soon with a new story !
a little death / hayakawa aki
You meant everything to him, and Aki promised to keep you safe, even if it meant dying for you.
fic playlist: click here!
pairing: hayakawa aki x fem!reader
word count: 20.6k
tags: 18+, smut, angst, smoking, love confessing, that one trope where they step in front to protect you, tending to wounds, hand job, finger sucking, tender sex, aki is touch-starved and needy as hell
this work contains explicit content intended for 18+ individuals. please read the tags and do not interact if you are a minor.
Human life is expendable. In this world, it always has been. If someone dies, they'll simply be replaced, such is the perpetual ill-fated existence of a devil hunter.
In a way, it's like the cigarettes Aki smokes. Sometimes they burn halfway, sometimes they burn down to ash, but when you're done, you just smoke another. They do well to remind him of the fragility of life in more ways than one. He inhales, and even though he knows it's slowly killing him, when the rich taste of smoke fills his lungs, all he can feel is heaven. Yeah, she was right. Life is so much better when you have something to take the edge off.
Aki pulled the cigarette from his lips, tapping it with his finger over the ashtray and watching the dying embers scatter. The smoke from his exhale rose into an oddly calm, cloudless blue sky. As it left his lungs, Aki could almost feel his stresses melt into the tranquility of the cool breeze. Almost. He was only escaping from his work for a short time, because once this cigarette was spent, it was begrudgingly back into the fray.
Why was it always on the nicest of days that Aki had to be stuck working? Actually, that's a stupid question, considering he works pretty much every day. But shame on him for wanting to patrol peacefully with you and enjoy the nice weather for once.
Whatever, the devil this time was supposed to be weak anyways. Only you and him were dispatched to the scene, and you were told it was okay to take your time, so this must be something the both of you could handle quite easily. Soon, the sun would set, but maybe if you both managed to get this job done quickly, he'd be able to enjoy what was left of the day.
"Shit, Aki, I can't find mine. Can I have one of yours?"
"Nope, it's my last one. Sorry." Aki replied, taking another long drag from the cigarette.
"Dammit, I left my jacket at home 'cause it was supposed to be hot today. They must still be in my pocket."
The sun was beaming down, blistering heat radiating off the concrete sidewalk, but while standing in a large shadow cast by the looming buildings, a soft breeze dancing through the air cut through the tepidity. It brushed against Aki's arms bared by rolled up sleeves, tickling the side of his face and the hair on the back of his neck. This corner of the city was calm and quiet today, with the only sound being the rhythmic hum from cars on the nearby street whizzing by.
"Hey, Aki, let me have a hit of that one."
Aki shook his head. "No way."
"Oh come on, I'll be quick. There's no way I'm getting through this mission without some nicotine in my system."
Aki took the thin cigarette from his mouth once more, holding it carefully between his fingers, puffs of smoke wisping up from the firefly light on the end. He turned his head, finally meeting your pleading gaze. You cocked your head at him and he hesitated, if only for a moment, before sighing in defeat. He brought the cigarette to your lips until they closed around it.
You followed the command, breathing in as he held the half-burned cig steady. The moment the smoke hit your lungs, it instantly flooded your senses with pure bliss.
It wasn't very hard to convince Aki when it came to you, never has been. But there's something about sharing his cigarette with you, something about watching you take a hit between his fingers, eyes locked onto his. Something about it enthralled him every time. So if you asked, he was sure to let you have a taste, and this time was no different.
He pulled away when you took in a sufficient breath, bringing the cig back to his own lips. You tilted your head upwards, catching glimpses of pale blue obscured by a tangled web of power lines before the smoke was blown out steadily from your mouth.
Funny, at one point, you told Aki you'd never smoke. Yet now, here you were. Somehow, "Ew, I'd never," turned into, "Fine, I'll try it," turned into, "What brand do you get again? I'm just curious," turned into now, all right before his eyes, and all because of him. It filled him with a little sense of pride.
If you were going to be a devil hunter beside him, experiencing the same loss and turmoil as he has his entire life for the rest of yours, he supposed you deserved something to indulge in. Or at least, that's what someone else taught him a long time ago. When you first became his partner, whether it was a nostalgic force of habit or an urge to put you through the same rite of passage he himself once underwent, Aki made it his goal to convince you to smoke.
With how adamantly against it you were at first, he almost gave up. But after countless missions together, months spent growing closer and further trusting one another, something seemed to crack. He managed to convince you to try it, and in no time at all, he had turned you into just as much of a hopeless addict as he was. It was a satisfying feeling at first, but now, that feeling wasn't enjoyed without a sharp pang of guilt.
Aki's life was expendable. If he died, what impact would he leave on the world? He had no loved ones, no family, no-one he cared about, besides you. And the very day after he breathed his last, you'd find that he'd be replaced, just as simply as everyone he himself has come to lose. You'd forget about him and move on with your new partner. A stick of tobacco was certainly not going to be his final nail in the coffin, but it doesn't really matter either way, does it?
Your life though, your life was different. Your life was precious. It was filled with time he didn't have, filled with hope he didn't have. In himself, he saw nothing, but in you, he saw love. To him, you were love. You were the embodiment of everything that made life worth living, everything beautiful. A star-filled night spent drinking the sweetest liquor, or finally getting home and taking off your shoes. The world beat him and broke him down, but in your soul, he found solace.
But hey, that's something he would never admit. Not out loud, anyways.
Regardless, you were someone he found worth protecting, and that's exactly what Aki vowed he would do, and that's exactly why he changed his mind. If he could go back, he would have never given you a cigarette. Hell, he would have quit smoking if that's what it took to get you to never try one. Your life was precious, and he should have never taught you to shorten it.
Ugh, he was thinking too much. What he should do is shake these thoughts from his head and start focusing on the mission.
Aki took a final drag in before stamping the cigarette bud out into the ashtray. "Alright," He spoke through a mouthful of smoke, "You ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." You pushed yourself off of the wall you had been leaning on, stretching before you stood up straight. "You okay Aki? You've been spacing out."
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry." Aki replied nonchalantly. You walked closer to him, hands reaching to grab his tie, and you pulled on the fabric, adjusting it straight around his collar.
"Remember," Aki starts, "If things go bad, you stand behind me, understand?"
"Don't worry, we've got this." You stated, looking up at him, "And after we're done, we can go out for some celebration drinks."
When your gaze met his, Aki felt his worries fade away, like snow melting to a warm flame. He smiled softly, something only you could seem to make him do, he thinks. Drinks together after a stressful day sounded great. All he had to do was get through this mission, and then he could relax. And with the two of you, it would be easy, right?
Aki nodded, "Right. Let's go."
Devil Extermination request for the Public Safety Commission. Devil sighting inside block #9's parking garage. According to the request, the devil fled to the 3rd floor. It is described as a rather weak Spike Devil. All civilians have been evacuated safely from the area. Dispatching two devil hunters from Public Safety Devil Extermination Special Division 4.
It was never supposed to happen this way. It was supposed to be an easy job. It was supposed to be to go in, locate the devil in the building, and eliminate it. Get things done like you both always do and get out, simple as that. So how did you end up getting cornered like this?
From the minute you saw the state of disarray the parking garage was in, you knew "rather weak" was a complete lie. You've been a devil hunter long enough to know this much damage couldn't be caused by a mere low-rate devil. Cars were toppled everywhere. Some appeared to be flung with incredible force, and some were covered in holes where something had pierced straight through the metal. A chill was sent up your spine when you began to wonder what that something could be. This devil was definitely much stronger than it may have appeared.
Likewise, you've been fighting alongside Aki long enough to know when he gets quiet like this, gritting his teeth roughly, sweat coating his furrowed brows, it's usually a bad sign. The only time he goes silent is when he knows things are about to go to shit.
With no words exchanged, you made your way to the third floor alongside Aki. Neither of you were sure what to expect, but you both were saying silent prayers in your minds as you climbed the stairs. Prayers that this devil really was weak, and prayers that today wouldn't be either of your last. Once you were face to face with the titular Spike Devil though, your assumptions were dreadfully proven.
First of all, it was no small-fry, boasting a rather large body of contorted limbs and mismatched appendages. It was a disgusting freak of nature, like every devil you've come across. What was most interesting were the equally sizeable spines that covered the entirety of its body.
The devil appeared to be able to shoot them out and recall them back to its body at will, so not only did it have great range and offense, but when recalled, the spikes also provided an excellent layer of defense. They weren't porcupine levels of spines either. The size was comparable to railroad spikes, and they were heavy enough that it took a wide swing of your sword to deflect them, leaving your arms aching.
Second of all, thanks to all of those limbs helping to propel it, the damn thing was blisteringly fast and incredibly relentless. Its movements were a blur you could hardly even make out. All you could manage to do was block, block, block, never having the opportunity to get a hit in.
Despite the growing severity of the situation, you were able to control your breathing and maintain some of your cool. You were both going to get out of this alive, you always do, don't you? After all, you had your full trust placed in Aki, and he had his full trust placed in you. You stood back to back, pressed close to one another, covering for each other's blind spots to deflect the devil's attacks.
Aki has always been more agile than you, so at this point, you were relying on him to land a blow while you focused on simply keeping yourself from being impaled. Unfortunately, try as he might, he was just as unsuccessful as you. At least he was able to take a few swings at it, which was more than you were able to accomplish, but they proved to be fruitless when the devil dodged them easily.
With every movement of your sword, it seemed to become heavier and heavier in your hands. In your chest, you could feel every single pound of your heart. It was hard to breathe, almost like the air was being forced into your lungs. You were slowing down, threatened to succumb to your exhaustion.
Aki could sense it. Where you started to lag, he only moved faster, swinging his blade wider, harder. He blocked where you failed to, and before you knew it, the fight was in a league all its own and you truly weren't a part of it anymore. Aki deflected every hit on his own while slowly backing away with you behind him, taking every opportunity, each break in the devil's attacks to put space in between the two of you and itself.
Eventually, you both were able to back up far enough that the devil's attacks subsided a little, although not completely. Instead of sending out as many continual attacks as it could, the devil instead honed in on concentrated strikes. It was trying to eliminate one of you, and it clearly didn't care which, with one strong blow. Aki deflected the first hit, but not without briefly staggering under the weight of the impact.
"Go. Run away."
Your attention was pulled away from the fight when Aki suddenly spoke, his voice breathless yet resolute. It was the first thing he'd said in a frighteningly long amount of time. His command hung in the air, his eyes remaining locked on the devil as he deflected another attack.
Do something, fucking do something, you screamed at yourself, but you were rooted in place and couldn't think, couldn't move. Everything was a blur, moving in fast motion while you were stuck in the past. All you were able to do was uselessly stand at Aki's side, your eyes darting between him and the devil as he blocked strikes with the flat length of his sword, loud clangs of metal against metal echoing throughout the garage.
Aki abruptly turned to you, grabbing your shoulder, and his iron grip paired with his sharp gaze meeting yours was enough to briefly shake you from your trance. He raised his voice, shouting, "Did you not hear me?!"
"I… I heard you, but I…" You stammered frantically, trying to come up with the words, trying to come up with anything at all. Right now, you're aware that you're only a liability, just someone he has to protect. But you didn't want to leave him. You couldn't. You were hoping somehow, someway, you'd find a way to assist. If you searched your brain hard enough, you'd have to come up with something.
Aki's face seemed to soften the slightest amount when he spoke again, staring into your eyes with an expression ever pleading. "I can handle this, you're only going to get hurt if you stay so please, please just-"
You should do something. Anything. Something to help him, something more useful, something better than just standing there.
No, you should run. You should listen to him. You should take the chance he's made for you and get out. So why weren't you? Why were you numb, unable to move?
Wait, when did he start standing so close in front of you? And when did the noise of clanging metal cease?
And why was Aki not moving?
The air was filled with a suffocating silence, save for a faint plip, plap sound of droplets splattering on concrete and the twofold echo of weary gasps for breath. You were terrified to look, shaky vision remaining fixated on the devil, but when a spike stained crimson was recalled to its body and the sound grew from a light dribble to a loud splatter, your eyes darted downwards.
Blood. Aki's blood.
Aki's sword slipped from his loose grasp, falling to the ground with a clatter amongst the spots of red painting the floor below. His legs buckled, and as he swayed forward, you reached out and caught him by his waist.
"Aki, oh my God, I'm so sorry, Aki please-"
Everything was scrambled, surreal, and you were fumbling over your words, shaking, struggling to hold up his weight and not even sure what was going through your mind anymore.
Aki wrapped his arm around your shoulders, still wobbling but regaining a little bit of his balance. He opened his mouth to speak, but as soon as he tried, he sputtered into a cough, spitting up spots of blood into his hand.
His mind was a dizzying blur, coherent thoughts swirling, drowned out by a razor-edged pain that kept hammering away at his senses. He's losing blood. He can feel it warm and wet against his side. Even though his adrenaline is pumping right now, he can't have much consciousness left before he's done.
Make the best call, otherwise we're both dying here.
The devil seemed to be taunting you now, taking its time to lick the blood off the spike clean. But Aki was the only one who noticed this. You couldn't tear your eyes away from him.
Despite how much it made your heart sink to see his face contorted in such pain, his lips parted as he took in ragged breaths, your gaze remained locked on. You focused only on watching the heave of his chest, right above where his white dress shirt is stained a vivid red, because you were terrified of the thought that if you looked away, when you looked back, it wouldn't rise and fall anymore.
At least the devil seemed to have finally let its guard down. The damn thing probably thought it had already won. The two of you had lured it all the way to the edge of the parking garage. Orange rays from the setting sun cast large shadows upon the devil's figure.
Now was the only chance Aki had to finish it, and he needed to do so quick, before the monster started paying attention again.
"Aki, please, come on, we need to get out of here-"
Make the best call, make the best call, make the best call…
Was this close enough? Was it too dangerous to summon it here? What if the entire building toppled?
No, stop hesitating or you'll die, idiot. He had to do it, and he had to do it right now.
Aki brought a heavy, trembling hand up, middle and ring fingers pressed faint to the pad of his thumb. Through blurry vision growing dim, he aligned the circle between his fingers with the shadowy silhouette of the devil.
Before he even spoke, he could feel the blood bubbling up in his aching throat, but he forced himself to push past it. He choked out the one word he needed so quietly he might as well have been mouthing it.
The fox's head burst through the nearest wall like it was nothing, its might obscuring the glow of the setting sun, and in one fell swoop, the Spike Devil was gone, swallowed in the Fox Devil's jaws whole. Aki used a final burst of energy to hurriedly twist until he was in front of you. He wrapped his arms around your back and held you close, his tall frame leant over yours to shield you from the flying debris.
The devil was taken down, Aki kept you safe, and once this realization hit him, the ache in his chest seemed to increase exponentially. It was a piercing, hot, all-encompassing pain, like nothing he could even describe, and nothing like anything he's ever felt before in his life. His ears were ringing, and every breath he took in was starting to become shorter and shorter without his control.
There's so many things he wants to tell you. He wants to say it's alright, we did it. Don't worry about me because everything is going to be okay. But words wouldn't form anymore, let alone comprehensible thoughts. He was at the end of his rope now, wasn't he?
It hurts, it's fading away, everything is fading. I don't want to die, God, please don't let me die.
"Aki, hang in there, look at me, please."
But your face was a blur, a mere swirl of colors growing hazy, almost as if he was being swallowed into the darkness of a long, pitch-black tunnel.
Don't give in just yet, don't give in, it hurts it hurts it hurts it hurts…
"Focus on me, please don't close your eyes…"
But your voice was growing fainter, muddier, as if Aki was plunged underwater, the depths threatening to claim him, and his eyelids were starting to feel so, so heavy.
I'm going to die.
The realization should have been terrifying. Instead, he felt release, like finally letting go when your hands had been burning from holding on for far too long. The end should have hit him much harder than it did. Instead, he found it soothing, like a river's rippling waters finally settling into a still, tranquil pool.
It's okay, please don't cry. I didn't have that much time left, anyways.
It was never supposed to happen this way. It was supposed to be an easy job, and now the person you cared for the most was dying in your arms.
"Can you hear me? Aki?"
At this point, if you were saying anything, he couldn't tell what it was anymore. He could feel himself slipping, losing the fight, and before he knew it, he was speaking before he was thinking. Soft words tumbled from his aching throat at barely more than a whisper.
"I'm sorry, I love you."
And then, he was done.
Aki's head fell to rest on your shoulder. His body went limp against yours, motionless and heavy. You could feel the ever so subtle tickle of his shallow breaths against your neck.
He was barely breathing, but at least he wasn't dead yet.
It's happening again. He's there, but at the same time, he is watching himself, a mere observer to the snowglobe that is the microcosm of his life. Inside the dome is a familiar house, surrounded by dead trees with branches clothed in white. Through frosted glass, he can see it; he can see himself, tiny and meager, while as innocent and pure as the pale white snow. But all he can do is watch.
All he can do is watch as the scene plays out just as he knew it would, just as he's seen in his dreams countless times before. Someone shakes the globe, and all at once, his home is torn into the sky, blown away with the same disorder present in a gorgeous flurry of snowflakes and glitter.
It's strange. Seeing it now, so small, so far away, a swirl of mesmerizing crystalline, it almost seems beautiful. But as he watches, he can taste the bile rising in his throat, he is weighed down by the sinking of his heart, and in that moment, he's filled with the same sense of dread he felt that day. The feeling of being lost at sea with nothing but miles and miles of blue in sight. Nowhere to run to, no-one to reach out and help you, left treading water until you drown in the deep.
Aki feels cold, down to his bones. Is it because of the snow? Or is it coming from within?
The scene fades, and a new one opens on what he remembers to be the first time he wielded a sword. He watches a much younger, inexperienced version of himself through the shiny reflection on the blade. His fragile hands grip the hilt tight and he swings with a reckless naiveté. God, he was so young to be fighting, and even though he tried to hide it, Aki knew him better than anyone, and he knew the boy he saw in the mirror was terrified.
He became a spectator to his first devil kill. Adrenaline pumped through his veins and he was overwhelmed with the satisfaction of finally doing something useful. From then on, he killed more, more. He didn't stop, not even for a second.
His sword was plunged into devil after devil, but the madness didn't end for him once they were dead. He cut their bodies open and searched through every last revolting inch of their insides until he found what he was looking for. When he was done, his palms were stained red, down to the crevices. He remembers feeling as though it would never wash out of his pores. With his blade coated in blood, Aki could no longer see through the steel, and so the scene faded anew.
When the picture took shape once more, Aki was standing on a lonely street. Through a wide set of windows, he could see himself inside, eating dinner with his late partner. Or perhaps it was lunch, he can't remember. The inside of the restaurant appeared to be empty apart from his table, and although he could see himself clearly, the one sitting in the chair across from him was blurred. He knew exactly who it was, and yet, her face was obscured and just wasn't quite right.
"Aki, wanna job hop to the civilian side with me?"
Even though he was watching from outside, he could hear the conversation clear as day, like it was coming from inside his brain.
"We don't have to hunt that damn gun, y'know?"
Aki didn't look up, although now, he wished he did, because if he had, maybe he would have remembered her face more.
"I'll go drinking with you as much as you want," He replied firmly, "But I will never go to the civilian sector."
If he could go back now, would he have changed his answer?
Right now, he isn't sure, but in this world where he's only an onlooker, it doesn't really matter. He is on the outside looking in, left staring at his double and the hazy vision of Himeno, the window pane seeming fogged up around her form as she lights a familiar cigarette.
Why was Aki seeing all of these things? Is this what they call your life flashing before your eyes?
He stood idly, watching the film continue to play out, although he already knew how it was going to end. For a second time, Himeno died right in front of him, and for a second time, he was utterly powerless to stop it. He was a prisoner to a story already told, and even though the rest of the memory was fuzzy, he could remember everything about her as he watched her slowly disappear.
That memory was always the clearest. His own brain is so cruel.
Aki couldn't bear to see much more of this. He turned and started walking, then running, leaving the stage behind him.
Perhaps it was because he hoped to enter a memory more pleasant, or perhaps it was because your face was the last thing he saw, your voice the last thing he heard, and so you were still lingering in the labyrinth of his mind. Whatever it was, Aki began to reflect on recollections of you.
The first time he gave you a cigarette. He demonstrated how to smoke it before passing it off to you. When you coughed and sputtered, it was almost endearing, like watching a younger version of himself. You didn't give up though, and when he watched you, he couldn't help but smile. That day, he smiled for what was the first time in a long time.
The first mission you completed together. He didn't think it was anything to write home about, but you were so excited, and some of that cheerfulness couldn't help but be rubbed off on him. You praised him for how strong he was, rambled about how much you wished you could be a devil hunter as strong as him. Never become like me, was what he wanted to say, but instead, he offered to train with you, show you some of what he knows. You graciously accepted, and after that, training sessions together became a regular occurance. That was only the start of Aki spending time with you outside of work.
The first time he took you to his family's grave. He told you it wouldn't be anything fun, but you insisted on coming. He's still not sure why you did.
It was chilly that day. You both left early in the morning. You slept on his shoulder on the train ride there. Then, on the boat, it was freezing, so while you looked out at the water, he took off his jacket and draped it over the two of you like a blanket with his shoulder pressed against yours. Lastly was the bus, and even though it was totally empty, for some reason, he stood close to you. Close enough that every bump in the road caused him to lean into you. Close enough that his fingers kept accidentally brushing against yours.
Another thing he's not sure of is why you decided to grab his hand then. It could be because you were getting tired of all those accidents, or maybe it was because you figured it was awfully close anyways, so you might as well. It wouldn't be a far extension of what was already occurring.
Or possibly, it was because you could see right through him. You could tell deep down, he was troubled with the reminders of all of this, of everything he lost that day. So when you took his hand, it was to give him something to hold on to. A small form of comfort. He likes to think the reason was the latter.
"Your hands are cold." You commented.
"Yours are warm."
The trip was always a long one, but with you, it seemed to go by in an instant. You prayed alongside him, and something about you being there made it easier, made him feel less alone.
In his eyes, in every memory, your face was clear. He could see every detail of it, but he swore it was more beautiful than he remembered.
The first time you came over to his house, he showed you around, and when you were hungry, he peeled and cut an apple for you. He remembers the way your face lit up when you saw the bunny-shaped slices, the way you smiled at him as you ate. You watched movies together, talked about stupid shit and gossiped about co-workers while forgetting about the world. For just one night, everything was normal. Aki remembers wishing he could freeze time right at that moment.
The first time you went out drinking together, you both probably shared more secrets than necessary, but Aki can hardly recall what was said. What he does remember is taking you home when you got too drunk, your whole body leaning on him, your infectious laugh when you wobbled, and the way you relied on him to keep you safe without question. It made him feel important, made him feel like he was needed by someone.
It's the dullest of moments that Aki remembers the clearest, he notes. They also happen to be the ones he loves the most, because when every devil might be what drives you to the brink of insanity, a little bit of something simple goes a long way.
Aki relives a conversation he had with you on his balcony, over a shared cigarette and under the dull light of the crescent moon. He recalls something you asked him that night.
"If you could go back and change your past, would you?"
You posed it as a pretty casual question, teasing him when he simply replied he doesn't know.
Ask him any other time, and Aki would have said yes, absolutely. There were so many things he'd like to change about his life. So many people he'd want to save, and when he really thinks about it, all of this started with that stupid house and that damn gun. Against the impossible odds, he'd find a way to prevent it, find a way to save his family. Find a way to fix his life.
Now though? He's come to feel a bit differently, not just about that question, but about his life as a whole. No matter how much you wish it could, the past can't be changed. The only thing you can do is learn to live with it. Accomplish your goals and treasure what you have left until it's gone. And if you do, you might just find something that makes all the suffering worth it in the end. Someone who makes you look forward, instead of looking back all the time.
The only thing he regrets is ever giving you a damn cigarette.
This world has always hated him from the start. Was showing him all of this the universe's way of trying to get him to finally give up?
To hell with that. Aki still had a job to do, and for once in his life, he had someone out there waiting for him. Someone who would cry if he died, and he can't let that happen. He needed to get out of here.
"Aki, where are we going?"
With no warning, he found himself on a busy street, and he heard your voice clearly through the suffocating crowd.
"We have to patrol the south side," Came his response, although it wasn't coming from his own mouth. Aki turned to where he heard it, and standing out from the group as if a spotlight was shown upon them was the striking image of himself walking with you close on his heels.
"Try to keep up," His duplicate continued, "I won't have time to babysit you."
"You must have pretty low expectations of me, sir."
"I have low expectations of everyone, especially softies like yourself."
Aki felt his hands ball up into fists. Man, was he always such an asshole?
"And why's that?"
"Because everyone in Public Safety ends up either-"
Aki charged forward, closing the distance between himself and you. Before he let himself say another word, he reached out and grabbed your hand. Your palm was warm, and he could feel it when you gripped back, the touch distinct and real. For a moment, his heart skipped and he hesitated, a gravity almost drawing him away, but he held on tight and let it pull him with you in tow.
He moved as quickly as he could manage, shouldering past those in the way, and when the sea of people seemed to part, he started running.
"Aki, wait!" Your voice cried out from behind him, and you were slowing down, stumbling, struggling to keep up. "Where the hell are we going?"
His vision was growing muddled, and he wasn't sure where he even was anymore. His surroundings were a confusing, vague blur, in an uncanny kind of way.
"We're getting out of here," He replied, and the next thing he said poured from his mouth thoughtlessly, "I'm not ready to die."
"You're not dead, Aki."
Aki froze in place. "I'm not?" He murmured, although to be honest, he knew a long time ago that he wasn't. He knew from the moment he first saw your face, and from the second he felt your touch so strongly when he grabbed your hand. He could feel this was only a dream that he was on the edge of waking up from.
And as if on cue, a loud boom pierced right through the languor, and the calm haze of a quiet dream was severed in favor of a heart-pounding awakening.
I'm not dead yet.
Aki awoke suddenly, the fog blanketing his mind rapidly fading to a clear consciousness. The first thing he heard was the crack of thunder, and once his eyes fluttered open, the second thing was the rolling thrum thereafter. He fought against the grogginess still lingering in his mind and the heavy weight of his eyelids begging to close, attempting to take in the area around him. The room was dim, covered in a veil of grey, and the gentle patter of rain could be heard outside.
He sat there for a moment, pondering the loose threads from his dream still lingering in his memory. As his senses returned, he felt something in his open hand, holding it carefully, but firm. Your touch blended so well with his dream that it took him a bit before he noticed. Fabric rustled as he turned to look at you, your head rested on the edge of the bed. You had pulled up a chair next to him, and although he couldn't tell since you were facing away, he guessed you were sleeping.
Aki felt his body relax and his heartbeat slow once he saw you, and for a minute he was settled there, simply enjoying the feeling of your hand in his. It was warm. So warm.
He could tell from his surroundings that he must be in the hospital. How long had he been asleep? Or, more importantly, how long had you been waiting for him to wake up? Hopefully he didn't worry you for too long, he thought, and as he attempted to recall how he got himself into this in the first place, the memory of the day prior began to return.
That's right, you and him were dispatched on an extermination mission for the Spike Devil, and that's where he became injured. He remembered fighting alongside you, stepping in front of you, and taking a spike right through his stomach. Aki could feel his middle wrapped in something snug, and to confirm it true, he snaked his free hand up his hospital gown. Sure enough, when his fingers met his side, he felt the smooth cotton of a bandage cloth.
The next thing he recalled was the pain. How sharp and hot it was, and then the feeling of almost dying that followed. It felt oddly calm, like slipping into a peaceful slumber, but now, the mental image it conjured utterly terrified him.
He summoned the Fox Devil, didn't he? Yeah, he definitely did. He can't forget to feed it later.
You weren't hurt, were you? No, if you were here now, you must have gotten out safely. Aki remembered your panicked voice as you begged for him to stay awake. The look on your face that shot a bullet through his heart when he realized you were crying. He remembered being held in your arms, slowly slipping away, whispering his last words…
Oh, fuck. They were supposed to be his last words, anyways, but considering he was alive and well right now, they certainly didn't turn out to be. He wasn't sure if that was a good or a bad thing.
In the moment, his mind was in shambles, and all he was concerned with was making sure something left his mouth so you could hear his voice one last time. He wanted those words to be meaningful and good, but he didn't have much time nor energy left to decide on them. The grim prospect of death was staring him right in the eyes, and he could tell from the dwindling sand within the hourglass that he didn't have much time left. He dug a hole for his own grave, and as he did, he unearthed feelings he had long since buried in the dirt. In the moment, all he could think of was not allowing those feelings to be forever buried alongside him.
Aki could feel his heart constrict in his chest. I love you. I love you. I love you. Each resoundment was like a punch to the gut, echoing throughout his head, spoken in his own voice. Out of all the things he could have said, why did he have to go with that? Maybe it would have been endearing if he had actually ended up six feet under, but in this instance, all he did was force his feelings onto you.
He shouldn't have said it. The time and place couldn't have been any more horrible. You shouldn't feel pressured to accept his confession just because he almost died, so Aki decided the first thing he's going to do when you wake up is take it all back. He'll tell you he didn't mean any of it, even if that was an outright lie.
Speaking frankly, Aki didn't know much about love, but somewhere down the line, he became pretty sure he was in love with you. He could feel it clearly in the way his heart came alive every time he was around you, and in the way your presence alone brought him so much peace. You treated his life as anything but expendable, and you cared about him in a way almost no-one else ever has. There was something about you that captivated him and made him grow him very, very attached, until before he realized what was happening, you became the most precious thing in his life.
Nevertheless, for so many reasons, he swallowed those feelings and kept them concealed. You were his partner firstly, his friend secondly, and he couldn't allow something stupid like this to get in the way of either of your jobs. Besides, if you grew closer to each other, it would only lead to more hurt when one of you inevitably departed. Aki had to keep you at a certain distance. For his own sake and yours, you two could never be more than friends.
But when you find yourself on the brink of death, something about you changes. You start thinking of all those things you've tried to keep hidden and you're met with a choice: speak now, or die beside them.
Oh, whatever. What's done is done, so it's not worth agonizing over now, is it?
Searching for something to distract himself, Aki finally decided to push himself up, doing so slowly as to not wake you. The second he rose, he immediately felt the strain of fatigue on his body, like a hook held by a taut line threatening to drag him backwards. The slightest bit of movement also triggered a steady throb in his side. He brushed strands of long hair from his face, rubbed some of the stress from his temple, and forced himself to stay up.
A dull flash of lightning brought his attention to the window beside him. Gentle droplets tapped against the glass, then steadily cascaded down, obscuring the view with blurry streaks of water. Dark, puffy clouds hung low in the sky and blotted out the light from the sun. The slosh of water could be heard when cars in the streets below passed by, headlights casting streaks of yellow that travelled across the room.
For a while, Aki watched the rain, the soft rhythm beginning to settle his thoughts. He could still feel your hand in his, and he faintly closed his fingers around it, holding it in a tender grip. The drizzle outside bounced off of the sidewalk and soaked into the soil. Where it had the chance, it collected into puddles that reflected the city's colorful glow. It could have been his imagination, but he swore the storm was only picking up.
A voice calling his name stirred him, but before he could fully turn towards it, before he could even form a word in response, you had already flung forward and wrapped your arms around him. Aki's breath hitched in his throat. For a few seconds, he stalled, before he hesitantly returned the embrace, shaky arms clutching around your back. Loosely at first, but tight when he gave in.
You held him close, close enough that how glad you were to see he was okay was conveyed through your touch alone, and without a single word spoken, he understood. You could feel his heart beating through his chest and the fabric of his clothes was balled up tight in your hands.
His heartbeat. In the grand scheme of things, it was inconsequential, but hearing it now made it sound like the world's most perfect melody.
Although his lips trembled like there was something he wished to say, Aki was rendered speechless until you pulled apart. You held his shoulders, the look on his face one of relief. When he met your gaze, he got lost in your eyes, and when he spoke to end the silence, his voice was low. To hear it after so long made it sound especially comforting.
"How long have you been here?"
"Since this afternoon," You replied, "They've been letting me off work early 'cause I can't patrol without a buddy."
Aki looked away, his face tensed in thought, and you spoke again, figuring you knew what was on his mind. "You've been asleep for three days now."
Three days? He should be grateful he wasn't out for longer, but three days was still far too long to have left you worrying about him. He was so stupid, so sloppy, such an idiot. How could he let something like this happen?
Aki sighed, "I'm sorry."
"You're sorry? For what?"
"Fuck, for everything," He answered, his voice fragile, like it was glass about to break into a million little pieces. "For failing you, for making you worry about me, for what I-"
The hospital room's door opening with a creak caused Aki to trail off, his attention and yours shifted to a nurse standing in the hallway.
The nurse stated simply, "Visiting hours were over a long time ago."
Your hesitation made Aki almost think you were going to protest, but instead, you responded, "Okay, I'm leaving in a minute."
When the nurse left, you pulled Aki into another curt hug. You were about to tell him not to apologize because there was nothing to apologize for, but when he rested his head on your shoulder, you heard him say quietly into your ear, "You should leave now anyways, the rain is picking up."
As much as you didn't want to, you cut the hug short and decided to leave the conversation there, since it seemed like what Aki wanted you to do. You began shuffling around the room to find your belongings. "Yeah, I guess you're right, but I wanted to talk to you for longer."
"I know. Me too."
"I'll come back tomorrow as soon as I'm off work." You said, pulling your arms through the sleeves of your jacket.
Aki shook his head, "That's not necessary."
"You don't want me to?"
Of course he wanted you to. If he was truly listening to his heart, he would have begged for you to stay and never fucking leave his side again. But he has to listen to his head.
"No, just… Don't worry about me, okay? I'll call you when I get out, we can talk more when I'm feeling better."
"Alright. Do you need anything before I go?"
"I could use a cigarette, but I doubt they'll let me smoke in here, so..." Aki pondered with a shrug of his shoulders, but without a care for what he just said, you rooted around in your jacket pocket, tossing a lighter and then a half-full pack of cigarettes at him. He saw them out of the corner of his eye and spun to catch them with ease.
You were about to leave the room, but as you grabbed the door handle, you stopped to say one more comment, "Hey, make sure you get some rest, alright?"
"Didn't I tell you not to worry about me?"
In response, you only chuckled.
Aki spoke between the cigarette already placed between his teeth, "Be safe."
"I will, see you later. Call me."
Aki waved, and after catching one last glimpse of him, you left and closed the door behind you.
Aki never called you.
After almost a week of not hearing from him, you decided to take matters into your own hands. You went to the hospital first, only to find his room empty upon opening the door. You flagged down a nurse, who informed you he left a few days ago. Against the wishes of his doctor, might they add. Yeah, sounds just like him.
So next, you tried to call his phone, but of course, it rang infinitely without an answer. When that plan failed, you didn't waste any time trying to leave voicemails. You got in your car and drove right to his apartment.
Considering what the nurse told you, it wasn't hard to believe he was ignoring you because he was trying to get some rest, but considering what you knew about Aki, the real reason was probably because he didn't want you to fuss over him. It was either that or he was too embarrassed to talk to you.
You parked in front of his apartment and then made your way to the door. The sun hung low in the sky, casting orange ribbons of light upon everything it touched. A sharp chill was settled in the air, leaving goosebumps on your arms in its wake. You raised your knuckle and knocked.
You rung the doorbell, hearing the muffled chime resound from inside.
No answer, again.
The lights weren't on, but his car was parked in the lot, so he definitely was here. Was he okay? Something didn't happen to him, did it? You're starting to get a little nervous.
You were about to try knocking at the door again, but to your surprise, it unlocked with a click. You hurriedly moved your hand away, and when it swung open, you couldn't hold back a sigh in relief.
Aki leant on the doorframe, his hair down and an utter mess. He was wearing comfortable clothing, what you assumed to be his pajamas, and a weary look was present in his eyes. Maybe he actually was resting after all. He eyed you up and down before asking in a flat tone, "What are you doing here? Do you need something?"
You scoffed, "You said you would call me and you didn't, idiot."
"Oh, sorry." Aki replied, his attitude standoffish, and he averted his eyes, looking down at the floor.
Could he be any less subtle about this? At least you were here now, so he couldn't avoid you for any longer.
"Can you let me in? It's cold out here." You said, crossing your arms.
Aki appeared to be unsure, but regardless, he opened the door further and moved aside, allowing you to walk in before he closed it behind you. The second you entered, a heavy warmth settled over your body like a cocoon. The familiar smell of his apartment and the distinct musk of his cigarettes filled your lungs. The scent was comforting, albeit a little suffocating, but it smelled exactly like him, and that's what you loved about it. His living room was lit solely by the rays of light shining through the balcony's sliding glass door.
He wobbled past you, and before he sunk down on the couch, you noticed how he was clutching his side. "There's beer in the fridge if you want one," He said, grabbing a can from the coffee table in front of him.
You rolled your eyes, but decided to take him up on that offer, walking over to the kitchen. "Isn't it bad to drink while you're recovering?"
Aki brought the can to his lips, head tilted back as he took a drink. After a swallow, he simply stated, "It helps take the edge off."
After rummaging around in the fridge, you grabbed a beer can of your own, cracking it open with a satisfying hiss. The bitter taste of alcohol pricked at your throat when you took a sip, and as you made your way to the living room, you looked at Aki again. He didn't look to be in much pain, but he was still holding his stomach like something was sore there. His expression was plagued by exhaustion and his hair was in total disarray. He probably hadn't even brushed it since he got home. Most curiously, his arm was wrapped in bandages stained a dark red from dried blood.
"Aki, are you alright?" You asked, plopping next to him, the couch sinking under your weight.
"You don't look fine." You snapped back after his curt response, pointing to his arm as he brought the beer can to his mouth again, "How'd you get that? Have you been changing your bandages at all?"
"I fed the Fox Devil flesh from my arm in exchange for using its power."
"You didn't answer my second question."
Aki looked away, unresponsive. There was your answer, you supposed. You took another swig of your beer before setting it on the table and pushing yourself up.
"Where are you going?" Aki asked, peering up at you.
This was far from the first time you'd hung out at Aki's place, so you knew exactly where the bathroom was. You dug through all the cabinets and drawers until you found everything you were looking for: a roll of bandages, a bottle of rubbing alcohol, a washcloth, and his hairbrush.
When you returned, Aki immediately saw everything you were holding and a slight look of annoyance formed on his face. "You don't have to-"
"Come on, let me help you." You interrupted, setting everything down on the table besides the brush, which you held in your hand. "Face forward, I'm gonna brush your hair first."
Aki gave a few more flustered comments, but you ignored them. You stood behind him and grabbed his chin when he tried to twist around, tilting his head back until it was forwards. Realizing there was no sense in fighting you, Aki sighed rather dramatically and reluctantly kept still, allowing you to run the hair brush through his tangles.
You were gentle, as much as you possibly could be, anyways. Aki tried his hardest to keep still. It was impossible for you to tell from this angle, but if you could see his flushed face, you would know he was totally embarrassed. Not embarrassed enough to stop you though, of course. It's fine if you wanted to brush his hair, because he definitely wasn't enjoying this and his heart definitely wasn't pounding right now.
"Hey, Aki, I have something I've been meaning to ask you."
"Yeah, what is it?"
Oh, were you finally going to ask him about his last words? It's okay, he already prepared what he was going to say, so it'd be fine. It'd be awkward, but he'll get over it, you'll get over it, and everything will go back to normal.
"On our last mission, why did you step in front of me?"
Why did he… do what? For a second, Aki was taken aback. This isn't what he expected you to say, not at all, in fact. Was this really all you were wondering about?
At first, he isn't sure why. In the heat of the moment, the only thing in control was his reflexes, and when he protected you, he did so without a conscious thought. But the more he thought about it, the more the answer became obvious to him.
Aki is used to losing partners. It's nothing new, and even though he tells himself he's not going to get attached, he always does. When they die, reduced to nothing but ash, their souls burn on in his memory, haunting him until he drowns in salty tears and the thick smoke of another cigarette. They're replaced with hardly any time given to mourn, and the cycle repeats itself. The world discards them, but he never will.
The thing is, you're not just another partner to him. You're not just someone who can be easily replaced. You meant so much to him, more than you would ever really know. If you died, you'd be taking a piece of him with you, and the void left behind is one he would never be able to fill again. Not with anyone else. Not with the cigarettes or the alcohol or the rush from fighting devils. Nothing else would compare.
Aki is tired of this, and he realized he was a long time ago. He's sick of the world giving him something he thinks he can cherish, but no matter how tight he holds on, it always ends up slipping away, right between his grasp. He can't do this anymore. He can't sit back and be complacent, allowing the cycle to repeat itself over and over again until everything he finds beautiful is wilted, all right before his eyes. He can't sit back and let this shitty world win.
He doesn't care about all the pain he's in now. The temporary sting from this injury doesn't compare to how much it hurts to lose someone he cares about, a wound that aches everlasting. And he knows he could have died, he knows the feeling of death to an uncomfortable degree. But if keeping you safe means giving up his life for yours, he'd do it in a heartbeat, and he did.
Hah, finally, he understands her now. He finally gets all those letters he read that day, why she wanted him to quit so badly, why she kept him alive. This was what she must have been feeling back then, wasn't it? And when he protected you, must he have been feeling the same emotions she was?
"Aki, did you hear me?"
"I did it because I didn't want to see you hurt."
You stopped for a moment, before exhaling a long sigh. "I don't want to see you hurt either, you know. You could have died."
"Don't apologize, just next time, let's both be more careful. I don't want you dying on me any time soon."
Aki didn't say anything back, half expecting you to ask him something else, but the discussion stagnated.
I don't want you dying on me any time soon. How could one little sentence carry so much weight? He'll try, God, he'll try. He'll do anything and everything in his power to stay with you for as long as he can.
By this point, you finished brushing out his hair, and it was soft to the touch when you ran your fingers through to make sure you didn't miss any knots. One thing's for sure, it looked a hell of a lot better than when you started.
"All done," You said while moving to stand in front of him, setting the brush down on the table, "I'm going to do your bandages now, take off your shirt."
"I said I'm going to do your bandages now. I'll do the wound on your side first since that's gonna be the harder one."
"No, no," Aki shook his head, reaching for the bandages, "I'll do it."
You promptly put your hand on his and pushed it away. "No, you won't. Aki, please. Let me help you."
Although his mouth opened like he was about to argue, he ultimately kept it shut, the pleading tone in your voice convincing him. He sunk back on the couch and his gaze avoided yours as he reached down, grasping the hem of his shirt and pulling it up and over his head, the faintest blush dusted on his cheeks when he tossed it aside.
It's the first time you've seen Aki without a shirt, and under it, he's a lot more fit than you expected him to be. His body is lean, but with defined muscle. Especially in his biceps, which you would assume is from wielding a sword. Bruises kissed his skin and scars decorated every last inch. You could imagine each one telling a different story: some of sorrow, some of triumph, but all a reminder that through everything, he lived. Just below his ribs, stained bandages were wrapped tightly.
"Uhm, how should I…" You stood in front of him, leaning down, attempting to figure out the best way to go about this. After feeling around, you located the end of the bandage, pulling on it and beginning to unwrap it from around his body. You could see the gentle rise and fall of his chest and hear the sound of his breathing: soft, and a little shaky. The angle was awkward and quickly caused an ache in your back, so to alleviate it, you rested your knee on his legs.
When the last of the bandage was unwrapped, you finally got a good look at his wound, and the only thing you could think was this would definitely leave his biggest scar yet. The cut was sealed by stitches and travelled up the length of his abdomen, dried blood coated around it.
You took the bottle of rubbing alcohol from the table, then the washcloth, pouring a small amount onto the surface. When you turned back to him, you decided the easiest way to continue would be to climb into his lap.
Aki couldn't hide the blush on his cheeks anymore, nor could he stifle the way his breath hitched when he felt your weight settle on top of him. You were so close, way too close, and when you shuffled against him, his entire face suddenly felt very, very hot. He could feel the warmth all the way from his cheeks to the tips of his ears.
"Alright, this is probably going to hurt. Are you ready?"
God, why was he so embarrassed? Why couldn't he calm down? His heart was thrumming against his ribcage, pounding so hard he wouldn't be surprised if you could hear it through his chest like he could hear it in his eardrums. With you pressed up against his lap, he could admire the details on your face like he never could before. The curve of your nose, (Was it always so perfect?) the color of your eyes, (Were they always this beautiful?) each and every mark and… and he didn't know where the hell to put his hands. Maybe he should… No, it'd be best if he just-
"Ow! Holy fucking shit that hurts, why didn't you warn me?!"
"I did, you dumbass."
The second you pressed the rag to his cut, a sharp sting shot through him and he flinched back instinctively. When you pressed it to him again, he tensed up and subsequently jerked away.
"Aki, you need to hold still."
You gave him a second to compose himself before trying once more. Aki winced and swore under his breath, but he was able to keep still this time. You cleaned around his wound carefully, taking the washcloth away to give him a break whenever he squirmed or made it obvious he was in pain. Searching for something to hold onto, he grabbed your shoulder, squeezing tight to ground himself.
"You shouldn't have left the hospital so early, this looks horrible." You ascertain.
"I- shit, ow… I need to get back to work, I've-" He cuts himself off with a sharp intake of air, "I've lost enough time already."
The pain stung like all hell, but there was something about being looked after by you that felt nice, almost calming, in a way. There was also something about how you fit in his lap that felt so, so right. Aki could hardly get over that feeling, and when he was squirming too much so you gently held his waist to keep him still, your soft touch against his bare skin was tender and heavenly and perfect. Any more of this, and his heart might pop like a balloon.
"I'm almost done," You said softly, your tone comforting, "You're doing good, hang in there for me."
Aki gave a quick nod and you continued. You cleaned the entire length of the wound, and once you thought your work was sufficient, the next thing you grabbed from the table was the fresh roll of bandages. You began wrapping them around him, winding them up the width of his body once, then twice, then a third time for good measure. When you were finished, you asked him, "Are you okay?"
Aki merely nodded again.
"Are the bandages too tight?"
He shook his head. You secured the bandage with a knot, and when you started to slide off of him, Aki suddenly stopped you by grabbing your arm.
He can't let this moment end. Not right now. Not when he needs it. Not when he's needed you for so long.
"Wait," He said nervously, swallowing, "Can we… Can we stay like this for a little bit longer?"
You smiled, "Of course."
You slid back into his lap, carefully straddling him, and Aki couldn't help but feel the way your body connected to his was like puzzle pieces finally fitting together. He's not sure if he planned to or if it was purely by natural reflex, but he was a slight bit bolder this time when he allowed his hands to find your waist and hold it faintly through the fabric of your clothes.
"Are you alright?" You asked him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just really missed you."
To be honest, that didn't even begin to scratch the surface. Aki missed you so goddamn much. He longed for your touch, for your mere presence alone. To have you in his lap now was a blessing, and what he didn't tell you was on that day, when he woke up at the hospital and you wrapped your arms around him, the feeling which leapt through his heart was the most he's felt in a long, long time.
Fuck, he was so stupid. Why did he ever try to push you away? Why did he think that was a good idea?
"I missed you too." You replied.
"I'm sorry, I should have called you."
"Aki," You said with a half-hearted laugh, "It's okay."
"No," Aki shook his head, his eyebrows furrowing, "It's not, and I'm sorry. It's not okay for me to get hurt so badly I'm out for three days, or for me to ignore you, and I won't let it happen again. I promise."
His expression seemed to soften, and the next thing to leave his mouth was spoken a little quieter, a little softer, and much, much warmer.
"I don't ever want to be apart from you, not for that long. You matter too much to me."
The way he said it so genuinely took you by surprise and ignited a little feeling inside your heart. It was a few seconds before you responded, "I don't want to be apart from you either."
The room grew silent, and in between the two of you, only deep breaths and lingering gazes behind heavy blinks of eyelashes were exchanged. The sun is nearly set by now, the day nearly spent. Twilight casts the faintest lush glow of orange on half of Aki's face, and the other is obscured by the dark shadow the light creates. The way it makes him look is practically ethereal, and your hand starts to drag up, up, until you're caressing his jawline, cupping his cheek, feeling warmth radiate from his skin when he leans into your touch.
Aki's not really sure what it was, or how it happened, but something fell into place right then. A want turned into a need turned into a desire, and Aki knew, he knew he was done for, but quite frankly, he didn't care.
He shouldn't be doing this, should he? His fingers shouldn't be trailing under your shirt. They shouldn't be shaking, climbing slowly upwards until he can study your waist, the dip of your sides, the outline of your ribs. He shouldn't be losing himself to you, nor should he be allowing you to touch him so earnestly, so intimately.
With one hand, you toy with the piercings on his earlobes, and the other you run up the back of his neck, tangling it in his hair until he can feel tingles throughout his scalp. Meanwhile, he touches you with the delicacy of feather-light fingertips against your skin, like he was scared you might shatter if he wasn't careful, and the nervousness of unsure movements and trembling hands. And when he does so, he shouldn't be wanting more. If he shouldn't be doing this, why did it feel so good, and so right?
All he knew anymore was right now he wanted, no, he needed you, more of you. More of your touch, more of everything you'd be willing to give him, and then some. He needed you to take him somewhere far away from this world, because when you touch him like this, he doesn't feel empty anymore. He doesn't want it to end, even if he should, even if it would be the smarter choice. Truth is, he's been cold inside ever since that snowy day, and this is the most warmth in his soul he thinks he's felt since then.
You're his partner, nothing more. But in this space away from reality, inhabited by just the two of you, the world of devils doesn't really fucking matter.
Maybe it's because he was a little tipsy, or maybe it's just because he was high on you, but his mind was a dream-filled haze, and with a budding, lovesick ache in his chest, Aki felt words blossom until they were falling from his mouth like petals, words he thought he would never say again.
"I love you."
It came so naturally, as did his affectionate hold on your chin between his thumb and finger, as did the way you whispered I love you too in return without missing a beat.
Do you? It felt like a dream, but if it was, this was one Aki definitely didn't want to wake up from.
I do, always have. It wasn't a dream, it was real. You loved him. You said you loved him, and he didn't even know how to process it. He didn't know where to begin. But with you right here, he didn't think, he didn't complicate it, he just believed you. He let his heart take control and allowed everything to unfold.
His eyes dropped to your lips, and then gravity started to pull him in closer, closer, listlessly, his hand seeming to guide you forwards in the same way. His voice was quiet when he asked, Can I kiss you? and your response only came in the form of eyes fluttering closed and your mouth pressed against his.
His lips were soft, hesitant, woven with sparks, filled with a longing he didn't even know he had, and to him, yours felt like a dizzying sense of relief. All of his longing, all of his infatuation. All of the times he was so close to you but stopped himself from doing anything more. All of the indirect kisses shared through sticks of cigarettes. All of it led up to this. And yet, the moment was cut short when he pulled away almost as quickly as he leaned in.
When you met his gaze, you smiled, and told him, "You can kiss me like you really mean it, you know."
"Like… Like how?"
Your lips sought his again, but this time they pressed harder, for longer. In between struggles for breath, your mouths parted. Suddenly, your hands were becoming lost in his hair and he was kissing you much deeper than he ever could have expected or imagined. He tasted vaguely like cigarettes and beer, the ones you both always smoke, the kind you both always drink. Comfortingly familiar.
It had been forever since he'd kissed someone, and never since he'd been kissed like this, so everything was clumsy and messy. The dance became one you were teaching him how to do, and eventually, he started to get the hang of it. He was hesitant at first, but when he pulled you closer by your waist and you rocked your hips hard against where he was stiff beneath you, all nervousness and any attempt to control himself went out the window.
Sucking on your tongue has him feeling lightheaded, and with soft sighs and gasps echoed between each other, it was then that Aki realized: you didn't just taste like his cigarettes, you felt like them too. Your lips on his felt like the way nicotine soothes your lungs, working its way into your blood until you're left hopelessly addicted.
When you pulled apart, he was breathing heavily, eyes filled with lust and an almost divine sense of adoration. Your hand pressed to his chest, the steady beat of his heart thrumming beneath, and you pushed him until he settled backwards. Tender kisses were blessed to his cheek, his jaw, his neck, where he tilted his head up to give you better access, and then you kissed the Adam's apple in his throat, where he let out the sweetest whine.
Your lips traced downwards, and where they did, they wrote words Aki wished he could etch forever into his skin. There was a kiss on his collarbone, then one on his chest, over a faded scar. Another, on top of a bruise, and although still sore, the pain was drowned out by tingles of pleasure.
If it's possible for heaven to exist on Earth, Aki thinks this might be what it's like.
Somewhere down the line, his hand met yours. When exactly? He doesn't know, but what he does know is your fingers fit into the crooks of his too perfectly to be a coincidence. He knows it's ridiculous, but it has him thinking perhaps, his hands weren't meant to summon devils or hold the hilt of a blade. They were meant for something more like this.
Somewhere down the line more, he's asking, Can I touch you? and the hand that's free is moving on its own the second he sees you nod, his palm exploring wherever it oh so desperately wants to. It slips under your bra, caressing and squeezing your breasts, rolling the nipple between delicate fingers. Callouses morph his touch into a mix of rough and gentle, providing the slightest bitter reminder.
A moment of clarity finally befalls him when he notices your fingers playing with the drawstrings of his pants. A moment which whispers to him, Hey, this is your last chance to get a grip, are you going to take it? He chooses to pretend he didn't hear.
Actually, he chooses to go directly against the little voice in his head when he grabs your hand, his fingertips brushing against your knuckles as he starts to guide it down, down, right to where he's craving it to be. There's a gnawing hunger for more that festers in his heart, in his stomach, and in between his legs and… For fuck's sake, when did he get so hard? He's so turned on it hurts… Was all of this just from a little kissing?
He's hopeless. Way more hopeless than he thought, way more needy than he thought. And who can blame him? No-one has ever touched him like this or loved him so strongly, not once in his life. Certainly you can't blame him for being a little desperate.
So if he wants you to touch him, you will. If he wants you to make him feel good, you'll make him feel even better, all because he deserves it. He works so goddamn hard, he's been through so much. He deserves to be happy, he deserves to be pleasured, he deserves to be loved. He deserves to have a break from how horrible the world can be and indulge in something much sweeter.
You know exactly what he needs, and so, you give it to him. Grant him a little taste to hold over his appetite. And God, when you do, Aki's mind is so far down the gutter there's truly no hope of saving him. (Not like there ever really was, anyway.)
"Fuck," Aki swears under his breath once you palm the shape of his dick through his pants, nearly stuttering. When he speaks again, his voice is barely uttering the words, but they roll off his mouth so effortlessly that he hardly knows what he's saying anymore. "Right there baby, just like that, holy shit…"
It doesn't take long before his legs are starting to squirm and his head is tossed back, needy moans punctuated by his Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. His hand flies to cover his mouth in an attempt to muffle the noise, and his hips rut upwards in a desperate plea for friction. Even though you're only rubbing him through his sweatpants, the feeling that pumps through his veins, settles in his core: it's addictive. He can feel himself sitting thick and heavy against his thigh, leaking out all over it. Your touch feels so damn good he doesn't even notice when your hand slips down, past the hem, until it starts feeling a whole hell of a lot better.
One less layer of fabric makes all the difference. You can feel the outline of his cock more prominently, big and incredibly hard, the cotton of his boxers damp and slightly see-through over the tip. He needs something to hold onto, anything, so he grabs your waist with a firm, white-knuckled grip. The way you're squeezing him and rolling your palm is driving him fucking crazy and he knows he can't hold back anymore, not when it feels this amazing, not when he wants it this bad. All it takes is one more grind into your hand before he's on the edge, and when everything is tumbling over, he's riding it out and letting it happen.
Cries of your name are entangled with gasps for air as he finishes, cumming right in his boxers. His back arches into you, his entire body tensing before it abruptly goes limp. His moans are so perfect, and the way he whimpers even after his release is absolutely adorable.
You give him a moment to catch his breath and recollect himself, his chest rising and falling with force. You reach up, brushing his messy hair from his face and tucking it behind his ears. Then, you lean forward, lips connecting with the nape of his neck. The skin gives between your teeth, and he sighs when you softly suck a deep mark, one you know will last 'til morning.
He must be so pent up. That's the only explanation behind him cumming before he's barely been touched, before you've barely even done anything. He must have never been touched by anyone like this. Hell, he probably didn't even touch himself like this. There must be so much built up tension, so much that he's starved for any kind of touch, so much that he'd get hard from just a kiss, from just you sitting in his lap.
You want to touch him more, give him more, give him everything until he's whole again. You can help him relieve some of that tension, couldn't you?
You pull back, admiring the bloom of dark purple on his neck, before kissing his jaw. Then, you trail up, where you nibble at the metal piercing on his earlobe, kiss the shell of his ear, and whisper, "Can you keep going?"
Aki's mind is in a complete daze when he answers, his voice light, like he's high, "Yeah…"
Your thumb hooks around the waistband of his pants and the briefs he's made a mess out of, and he raises his hips to help you pull both garments down just as far as necessary. You know his dick wants to come free so bad, and when it does, it springs up and taps against his abdomen.
Aki can hear you spit into your hand, hear his heart pounding in his ears like a drum. He knows what you're going to do, but he's still nervous. The anticipation might kill him, but he's too embarrassed to look, so when your hand suddenly wraps around him, the surprise causes him to jolt and his breath to catch in his throat.
His pretty cock has a certain weight to it, a certain curve and thickness which makes your fist fit perfectly around it. Paying careful attention to the high he just came down from, you stroke him slowly, gently, almost in a lazy manner, sliding off of his lap and making yourself comfortable beside him so you're able to get a more desirable grip. The mixture of his slick and your spit is enough to make your hand glide up and down easily, echoing a soft, wet sound. Your shoulder is pressed to his, and here, you're able to utter the quietest of words into his ear.
"Does it feel good?"
Aki nods. "Mhmm…"
"How good? Tell me."
"Really good, really really good… Ah, fuck-" Aki momentarily cuts himself off when your palm swipes against the sensitive tip, his hips rocking upwards desperately, "Please, don't stop."
It feels amazing. Being touched by someone else like this, and that someone being the one he's so desperately in love with. It's like nothing he's ever felt before. It's making his head spin, like he can see stars. He's already fully hard again, and he can feel himself fucking throbbing.
"Do you want more?"
"Yes…" Aki groans between sucks of air through his teeth. He's thrusting into your tight grip shamelessly now, his dick sliding in and out of the hole you've made with your fingers, to the point where you don't even have to move it anymore. He's whining, getting himself off on your hand and dribbling precum all over it, all by his own doing.
"What do you want?"
"I- You- I…" His attempts to get the words out mostly end in failure until you hear him swallow, and with a sigh, he admits, "I want to fuck you."
His comment is direct, way more inappropriate than you thought possible for him to say, and goes straight between your legs. It's hard to keep up your previous confidence now, but still, you tease, "Do you? How bad do you want it?"
"I want it so bad, I want more of you, I want to be inside you," Aki begs, each sentence punctuated by a breath as he fucks your hand, "I need you so goddamn much. You don't understand."
"Yeah? You wanna fuck me so badly, huh? I can tell."
"Yes, yes… Fuck- I'm gonna cum again, I'm gonna cum, oh my God-"
You jerk him off as his thrusts take on an unsteady rhythm and all of the sudden, Aki is falling apart in your grasp, moaning as he cums all over his chest and his stomach. It shoots out in ropes, and even when he thinks he's done, it still drips out of his cock, coating your hand and making your fingers sticky. And after everything, even once he's came, he's still half-way hard and thrusting slowly into your hand like he can't get enough.
You abruptly take your hand off of him and he whines in dismay. You lick your fingers first, then shift back on his lap and bend down, dragging your tongue from the bottom to the top. Over his stomach, over his bandages, up his abs and over his chest, all the way until he's squirming and you've licked up every last drop of his cum.
When you're finished, you comment, "I think I understand a little."
"Huh?" Aki replies, still catching his breath.
"I mean I understand when you said you need me."
"Do I make it that obvious?"
You smirk and plant a faint kiss on his lips, one that makes his heart jump a little in his chest, and then pull back to speak against them, "You always have."
Aki grabs your chin and goes to drag you in for another, but he's interrupted when you're blabbering, "Wait, wait, wait, wait," and pulling yourself away from him.
You point to where his arm is wrapped in bandages, "I need to take care of that. I'll give you what you want after."
Aki can't even attempt to hide his disappointment before it's plastered all over his face. "Are you serious? Can't it wait?"
"You're not going to want to do it later, so no, it can't."
Ugh, he knows you're right. Once he gets started with you, he's not going to be able to stop, and either you're going to forget, or both of you are going to end up too exhausted. He knows he has to listen to you, but fuck if it isn't frustrating to have to control himself right now. Honestly, he's not sure if he can, and he definitely doesn't want to. He needs you and he's tired of waiting any longer, so he brazenly asks, "Can you do it while I'm inside? On my lap?"
You brush off the vulgarity of his comment as to not let it affect you, but it's hard to ignore the feeling between your legs when you start to imagine it. "I can't multitask like that. I want this as badly as you do, you know."
"I won't move. I just want to feel you."
He seems awfully sure of himself with that statement, so sure you almost believe him, so sure you're starting to consider it…
"Are you sure you can't wait?"
"You're annoyingly stubborn, you know that?"
Aki watched your hands find the bottom of your shirt, where you grasped at the hem and pulled, wrestling it and your bra over your head before tossing both articles of clothing in a heap on the floor. You reached for your pants next, and he asked, "Is that a yes then?"
"It will be if you help me." Came your reply, your pants and underwear discarded at the same time, just as hastily.
Your answer comes in the form of you straddling him, grabbing his hand, and bringing his fingers to your lips.
The sight that follows is one Aki simply cannot begin to tear his eyes away from. It's a bit befuddling at first: the way your mouth parts, and the way you lick a prudent stripe of saliva up the length of his middle and ring finger. When you take the digits further, pushing them down your throat, wet and hot tongue swirling around them, Aki's breath gets caught in his lungs, and it's there that he realizes what you're trying to do.
His gaze remains fixated to the display. You're sucking on his fingers, gagging, practically choking on them with tears pricking at the corners of your eyes. They're getting all wet and messy with your spit and drool. It's such a fucking cocktease, and it's making him imagine things he shouldn't be imagining, but things he absolutely needs. He doesn't protest when you drag his fingers out, prop yourself up on your knees, and proceed to guide them right between your legs.
Aki has no idea what to do and he's totally transfixed by you, so he allows you to press them inside you, and then he follows your lead, shoving them in the rest of the way. You groan when his fingers fill you, leaning over and whispering quietly in his ear, reassuring him, "I'll show you what to do, it's okay."
You've taken his fingers all the way down to the knuckle. They're slender, trained, and fucking long, much longer than yours. They reach so deep inside, feel so amazing stretching you out.
Aki really, really wants to make you feel good, and that's the only thing running through his mind as he concentrates fully on you. On the feeling of your cunt around his fingers, on your moans, on your beautiful face. He needs to return the favor for you, and he desperately wants to see how you look when you're overwhelmed by pleasure, hear how you sound when you can't hold back, and he wants all of it to be because of him.
So he pays the closest attention. His fingers are slick from your saliva and spit, and he takes note of the way you're pressing them in and out. When you instruct him to curl them, he does so, and when you're screaming, There! Right there! he commits that spot, that movement of his fingers to memory.
He's a rather fast learner. You understood this when you kissed him, but with the way he's working you, massaging that perfect spot inside again and again, you've become aware of it even more so. Your instructions were no longer needed, and Aki took the liberty of fucking you with his fingers all on his own, scissoring them, until you're getting wetter and wetter around the digits. They're so damn good to you, so perfect, as perfect as the way they sit between the crooks of your own. Surely, his hands were made for you.
"So wet… It's squeezing so much." He mumbled quietly, half to himself, almost as if he's in awe.
Searching for more stimulation, you maneuvered a hand to your clit, rubbing tight, hasty circles. Aki noticed your movement and your noises starting to pick up, so he innocently asked, "Can you show me what you're doing?"
When you grab his hand and pull him out of you, Aki can feel the resistance, as if his fingers are being sucked back inside, and the thoughts that immediately manifest in his head would be enough to send him to hell ten times over. They come out covered in your slick, and you press them to your clit carefully.
It takes him a little bit longer until he's got a good grasp on this one. He keeps a slow, deliberate pace, mindful of how your body reacts and the manner you're guiding him. He doesn't always find the sweet spot at first, but each time he manages to, it feels like utter bliss. In due time, he begins to pull more noises from you, and when your focus starts to shift from teaching him to grinding against his fingers, searching for more of your own pleasure, he starts to take the initiative.
His fingers rub precise halos right where he can tell you're most sensitive. They're so disciplined, so dead on, and fuck, he's teasing you with them. Rubbing your clit determinedly before slowing down, stopping, edging, before starting up again, and repeating the process. His dick aches just by watching you and knowing he's making you come undone in this way, so he's trying to draw this out, make this last as long as possible.
"Is this good?" Aki asks curiously, sweetly.
"Yes! It feels amazing, oh my God, Aki-"
His name falling so deliciously from your lips makes his heart flutter before it goes right between his legs, making his cock throb. It's an abrupt, awkward realization when Aki notices he's been dribbling precum all over his abdomen, and probably all over his bandages too. Damn, between that and him finishing all over them, he's created more work for you, hasn't he?
Your knees feel like they're going to give out, so you rest your hands on Aki's shoulders for support. Your breath is coming out in ragged gasps as you feel your release already close, and when your head dips, Aki is using his free hand to hold you up, support you, lovingly muttering into your ear, "I wanna make you cum baby. Are you gonna cum all over my fingers?"
Everything in your core builds to a fever pitch, and all at once, you're wrapping your arms around him as you finish, clumsily grinding your hips against whatever part of his hand you can find, making it messy. His arm goes around your back, and he praises while you tremble, voice smooth and resolute, "Just like that baby, just like that. You're so beautiful when you cum."
Aki holds you while you come down, and you almost, almost forgot what your objective was going into all this, until you can feel the bandages on his arm rubbing against your bare back. You're a bit reluctant to move, but you'd be lying if you said you weren't eager for more, eager to get his cock inside you. His fingers were one thing, but they weren't enough, and almost as if he can read your mind, Aki whispers low and breathy into your ear, "Do you want my dick, sweetheart?"
He's asking you, but it's mostly his way of telling you, of prompting you. Telling you he wants you too, right now. And God you want it, need it, and you really don't need him to tell you twice.
Your hand finds his cock and he sighs as you pump the length a few times, getting it wet with his precum. It's so hard, thick, and throbbing steadily beneath your palm. With how needy he is, it's impossible to tell he already came two times before this.
You grasp the base and hover your hips over him, aligning it until the tip presses right against your entrance, prodding, teasing, so close but not quite and making your cunt pulse around nothing. He grabs your chin, tilting your head until he can look at you. His eyes meet yours, and behind the kind, cerulean gaze, is nothing but lust and desire.
"Do you want it?" He asks again, unflinching.
"Yes, I want it, yes…"
"Then take all of it."
Aki grabs your waist and pulls, guiding you to sink down on his cock. He's whimpering the moment he's inside of you, but he doesn't get greedy, continuing to drag you down awfully slow as he opts to enjoy the feeling of filling you up inch by inch.
Your cunt is squeezing him so much, sucking him in, taking all of him so well. He's not sure what to focus on: your beautiful face contorted in pleasure, eyelids fluttering closed, or the near addictive view of his dick becoming buried further and further inside. The sight is somehow enough to make him even harder, and he can't contain himself from rolling his hips upward in tandem with pulling you on him further.
It's you, it's him inside you, and holy shit, it's a feeling that's hardly set in yet. It doesn't hit him fully until he's stuffed in to the hilt, filling your stomach, with your weight settled on top of him. In this moment, it feels as though now, more than ever, the love he'd kept hidden for so long is finally tangible, finally real. He almost moves, nearly thrusts up, but he stutters and stops himself before he can once he sees you reaching behind you for the roll of bandages.
Fuck, he almost forgot.
"These first," You gesture to the bandage wrapped around his sides, speaking through ragged breaths, "You got them filthy."
Despite the calm veneer you're trying your best to maintain, it's clear you're hurrying, unwrapping the bandages with haste and a hint of desperation. They're tossed to the side without a care when you're done. Aki's chest heaves with every shaky breath, so you instruct him to hold it, otherwise the bandages won't be secure. He complies, and when he does, he can hear his heartbeat in his ears, feel it pulse in his dick; it's near agonizing to keep still, and he hardly can.
When you're finished there, you reach for his arm next. Thankfully, this wound isn't anywhere near as bad as his other one, but the press of the rag against it is still enough to give him a sharp sting. Trying to avoid hurting him too much, you slow down a bit and focus, well, as much focus as the situation will allow.
Aki shifts beneath you, his hips fidgeting, fingers of his hand still held deft to your waist drumming against your skin just to keep himself busy. You can tell he's desperate for something more when you feel him twitch inside your stomach. Right now, he's so enthralled in you, in the feeling of being inside you, in being one with you. It's not long before the pain blends with pleasure and he doesn't even notice it anymore. He'll let you do whatever you want to his arm while he stares at you, drinking in the view like this'll be his last time seeing it.
You wrap the roll of bandages around his arm once. He's shuddering, and he can't resist rutting his hips up a bit, just barely so that you won't notice, but just enough to get an ounce of relief.
Twice. You've almost wrapped up the length of his arm. One more time, just one more time around and he'll get to fuck you.
Three times. He's so dizzy the room is spinning.
Four times. Fucking hell, he can't handle being teased like this, was now really the time to be this thorough?
Finally, finally, after the fifth time, you wrap the last of the bandage around his arm, tear it off and tie it. The second you've tossed the roll aside, his hands are grabbing fistfuls of your hair to pull your lips onto his. The kiss is frantic, sloppy, and he's using way too much tongue, but you don't have the time to correct him, nor does he have the patience to be corrected.
When Aki pulls away, he wipes the spit from his mouth with the back of his hand while thrusting into you, wasting no time at all to satisfy everything he'd been craving and fulfill the pleasure he was desperately waiting for. His grip on your waist guides you to bounce shallowly on his cock. He doesn't let you go up far before he's dragging you back down again, longing to stay deep inside you. Each press down has his eyes threatening to roll back into his head, and each thrust up has him moaning a pathetic string of swears, practically whining between every word.
"Fuck, fuck… You feel so- a-ah, fucking good baby, oh my God-"
He reaches so deep inside you, and when he guides your body by your waist, it's not only for him, but for your needs as well. He tilts, curved cock fucking into you at just the right angle to hit the perfect spot like he was made for it. His hips are moving with reckless abandon now, rolling upwards to an unsteady, ragged rhythm. You hold his face, caress his parted lips with your thumb, feel his hot breath ghosting against your skin, and suddenly, he stops. His hips halt as he firmly holds you still, and his voice is rough, a bit hoarse when he gasps out, "Can we change positions?"
You're a bit confused, but give an affirming nod. Aki pulls you off of him gently, slowly, savoring the feeling for as long as he can. When he's out, he uses his strength to easily twist you around until your back is on the couch and he's oriented above you, pulling his pants and boxers off the rest of the way and discarding them on the floor. Long, dark hair falls over his face in a mess, and he reaches up to comb a hand through, pushing it out of his vision so he can see all of you properly.
"Are you okay with this? Are you comfortable?" Aki asks at barely more than a whisper, his eyes locked onto yours as he grips your thighs and tenderly pushes them open. When the couch has no more space to provide and your leg is about to slip off, he grabs it and tosses it over his shoulder.
"Yeah, I'm okay," You answer, continuing to say, "Aki, don't push yourself. You're still injured, remember?"
"I won't, I'll go slow. Don't worry." He affirms with the faintest smile.
Aki's never been dirty-minded, but when he looks at you, allows his hands to take to your body, palms gliding up every curve of your form, his mind can't help but wander. You bring out something in him that he's never experienced before, something that makes him want to have his way with you. It's awfully strange to him, that feeling of wanting, of yearning. For so long, he's wanted a lot of things and never got them, but he's never desired something this selfish before. Every second of your time, every inch of your body, your everything, he wants all to himself. It feels good to want something, someone.
Aki's never been much of a daydreamer, either, but he can't say he hasn't imagined this from time to time. Meaningless sex has never appealed to him, but sex with someone you trust, with someone you truly love, deeply and passionately, is another story. Being as close and as vulnerable as possible to another person, giving them all of you, and they trust you enough to give themselves in return; it's something he's always desired to experience at least once in his life before he dies.
Yeah, maybe he shouldn't be doing this. He shouldn't have let it get this far from the start. But after a lifetime of never being selfish, never getting anything he wanted, right now, what he should or should not be doing doesn't matter. All that matters is you under him.
His hands settle on your hips, adjusting them until they're lined up with him, and then he leans down to murmur, "Are you ready?" And all that matters is the way you whisper back, "Yes, Aki, please, give it to me. I need you."
That's all it takes. That's all it takes before there's no going back, and Aki is fully drowning in this sensation of utter want and utter desperation. He's so easy to convince when it comes to you, always has been, and if you're telling him that you need him? Being needed by you is the best feeling in the world, and when you ask him like that, he couldn't deny you any longer even if he wanted to.
Aki presses inside you steadily, colliding his mouth with yours and stealing a quick kiss to silence his moans, his hair tickling your face as he does. You're still so wet, and he slides in easy, filling you up until his hips are flush with yours and your legs are wrapping around his back, crossed at the ankles. When he pulls away, he notices your arms splayed above your head. He grabs your hand, linking his fingers with yours, his grip tight, safe, and familiar. Warm, for the first time in a long time.
Aki doesn't move, not at first. He catches his breath, stares at you, at your face, admires everything he finds perfect about it. He can't stop himself from smiling now, and from the way you're smiling back, he's sure he must look like an idiot. So he lets his head fall, burying his face in the nape of your neck, softly mumbling, "God, you're so beautiful."
When he finally does start moving, every drag of his cock out is done at an exceptionally slow, meticulous pace, and once he presses back in, he puts his full weight behind the roll of his hips, shoving himself as deep inside as he can possibly get. His breath is hot and quivering when he moans into your skin.
"Oh my God," Aki whines, "You're so fucking good to me baby, feels so good… Can I go faster? Please?"
It wasn't much of a question, more like a heads-up, because before you're even telling him yes, Aki's moving faster. He bites at your neck as he becomes a bit rougher, a bit less contained, but steady; he's still holding back. He leaves impressions of his teeth and places wet, open-mouthed kisses all over your neck, sending a tingle up your spine. Finally, he gives you one last kiss before he draws himself away, his eyes immediately connecting with yours.
He's so damn pretty. Everything about him is pretty, from his staggered whimpers and moans in pleasure, to the lovely mark you've left on his neck, to his messy dark hair. It frames his face perfectly, and loose strands he has to keep pushing out of the way stick to his forehead from sweat. No-one gets to see him like this, with his hair down, since at work, he makes a habit of always keeping it up in his topknot. At work, he's a totally different person: the Division's strongest, coldest Devil Hunter. But here? He's just yours.
You're the only one. The only person who knows how pretty he is, and what he's really, truly like, under all that coldness. You know it's just a facade, and underneath everything, he's just someone who wants to be loved. All he desires is a little bit of intimacy, a little taste of something normal, just to feel something. Perhaps, you're the only one who understands, or perhaps, his warmth is something you draw out of him.
You bet you're definitely the only one who gets to see what his face looks like when he's all hot and bothered, though.
Aki's tempo is quickening more, the couch starting to creak under the pressure. He's breathing harder, and he chokes out as he fucks into you, through gasps of air, "I know you can be louder than that sweetheart… Don't hold back… Let me hear you."
If what he wants is to hear you, that's what he's going to get, and he's going to get all of it.
"Aki! Fuck!" You cry out, and you swear you hear him start to hold back his own whines so he can focus on yours. "It feels so good-"
"Yeah?" He teases, a little smirk present on his face. He still hasn't broken eye contact with you, fawning over you with blown pupils and a half-lidded gaze like he's so unbelievably head over heels. His voice is light, bordering on a whine when he speaks again, "Does my dick feel good?"
"Yes! It's s-so… fucking good." You're slurring, stumbling over your words, just focused on him, all of him.
"I bet it does baby, you're- fuck- taking it so well, you're so perfect."
Aki's grip remains tight on your hand as he drinks in every noise that comes out of your mouth. The sun is well past the point of dipping below the horizon, rays of light starting to fade away. The room is growing dark, growing dim, illuminated by only the faintest pink glow, but through it all, you can still see the outline of his face, his body. His defined nose, sharp jawline, dark hair, and broad shoulders. Earrings that shine when they catch the dying light at the perfect angle. If Aki had more patience, he'd get up and turn on a light, but he doesn't, so this will have to do.
The sound of skin slapping against skin echoes around the room. The way Aki makes love to you is tender, relaxed, languid, like he has all the time in the world and he's going to savor it. He hardly cares about chasing his own release, just about enjoying it and making you feel good, but multiple times, he finds himself having to deliberately slow down to keep from finishing too quickly.
He can feel his body tensing up, but each time he gets too close to the edge, he shoves himself all the way in and stays there, lets himself calm down. His cock is throbbing, and holy shit, he wants to cum so bad. So bad that if he moves even the slightest inch right now, he's not going to be able to hold back, but he has to. He has to when you get impatient, rut your hips against his, and plead, Aki, move. Please.
He wants this moment to last, so he's going to hold on for as long as he possibly can, staving off his orgasm until he just can't take it anymore. He gives himself a couple more moments to come down from the euphoria before he's fucking you again, giving you everything you want.
And he's so damn vocal, so much more than you expected he would be. He doesn't attempt to hide how good he's feeling at all, moaning at every thrust, at every clamp of your pussy around him. He teases you, praises you, like he can't hold back from saying any and every thought that happens to enter his brain.
You want me to fuck you deeper? Harder?
Tell me. Whatever you want, I'll give it to you.
Are you comfortable, baby? Does it hurt?
Ah, fuck, I'm so close already, I don't wanna cum until you do, baby.
Aki holds himself off, for longer, for further than he even thought possible. Even when he wants to cum so bad he's fucking delirious, he holds it, focusing on giving it to you just how you want, just how you beg him to. You're begging for him to go faster, Fuck me harder, I can take it. Fuck me like you really mean it. And you and him both know, whatever you ask him to do, he's going to do it. His side is starting to hurt, a little dull throb, but he ignores the pain when it's overwhelmed by waves of pleasure.
The sounds coming from the both of you are so obscene, so loud they can probably be heard a few apartments over. Aki is still holding your hand, never let go, and his grip is clammy and sweaty, but he still holds onto it tight. He can feel you beginning to tense around him, and when he does, he doesn't relent. He keeps up the same deliberate pace, just how you like it, hitting the perfect spot inside you every single time. The way your pussy squeezes around him is making his head spin, and when he once again finds himself right on the precipice, he knows it's over, he can't hold back anymore.
He can't stop, there's no way in hell he can. Not with your moans and screams and chants of his name in his ear. Not when your cunt is throbbing around his dick, so hungry for his cum, so demanding of all of him. He rolls his hips and fucks you deeply, hand reaching down and fumbling to find your clit, and when he does, he rubs clumsy, rough circles that quickly build up a tight coil of pleasure right in your core. His head dips and he presses even closer to your body. Your hand snakes into his hair, fingers threading through close to his scalp where you grab and yank back hard, drawing a needy whine from his lips.
"F-Fuck, I'm gonna cum, please," Aki begs, voice high-pitched and desperate, helpless, "Please let me cum inside you, please, I need it so bad, I can't- I-"
He can hardly speak, and each thrust of his hips is sloppy and inconsistent. Between his dick fucking butterflies into your stomach and his fingers messily working your sensitive clit, the stimulation is growing too much to handle, and you can't deny him. You can't when he begs so sweetly like that, when he sounds like he needs it so goddamn bad. Before you know it, you're gripping his hair tighter and commanding, Cum for me, Aki, fill me up with all of it.
"Yeah? You want all of it? Then- Fuck!" He cuts himself off, ramming into you one more time before his hips are shaking, his whole body's shaking, actually, and he's stammering, "I'm cumming I'm cumming I'm cumming, oh my God, I love you, I love you…"
Aki's holding onto your hand so hard his grip might break it, and his voice in your ear is enough to throw you over the edge. You cry out, cunt pulsing hard around him. The steady throb around his dick feels like it's milking him, pleading for every last drop he's willing to give, everything he has left. And he's going to give it to you, pump you full of it and not even let a single drop go to waste. It's what you want, after all.
Everything, it's so overwhelming, it's too much, it's nothing like Aki has ever experienced in his life. He's shaking so hard and he can't stop it, and his vision has gone so blurry he can't see a thing, all he can see is black. He's gasping, whining, and he can hardly breathe, just feebly choking on air as he fills you with so much of him. When he's finally done, the feeling that overtakes him is utterly euphoric.
It's like he's floating. His body goes limp, and his heart is pounding, but he's calm. Incredibly calm, like finally letting go, vulnerable, allowing the waters to take you wherever they so choose. He's tired, so tired, but not a heavy, exhausted kind of tired. The sleepy kind of tired that holds you tight and weighs you down, that promises to take care of you and if anything, never let you go. It envelops him until he's slipping away, and it's kind of like, kind of like…
It's kind of like dying, isn't it?
To die by your hands is a pretty good way to die.
Aki's body pins you to the couch as you both come down from your high. The both of you are covered in sweat and smell undeniably like sex. He's so close, so warm, to the point where you start to feel hot, but his weight pressed on top of you feels nice. It's comforting, feels safe and puts your mind at ease.
For a while, the two of you lay there, relaxing and letting yourselves sober up. His heartbeat is slow; you can feel it through his chest pressed up against yours, and eventually, the rhythm of your heart begins to match his. He's still inside, still holding your hand, but through a much looser grip. His head is nestled in the space next to yours and you can feel his steady breaths fan out on your neck, tickling the shell of your ear.
He's quiet, really quiet. His breathing is so deep… Is he falling asleep?
No response. None.
"Aki. Hey." You squeeze his hand and shift a little bit under him, wiggling like you're attempting to push him off of you, although there's clearly no real effort put behind it.
Nope, nothing. He doesn't move an inch. He's got to be out cold.
"Come on," You drag your hand away from his to shake him a little by his shoulders, and it seems like your grip disappearing was enough to wake him up a little. He shifts, just the tiniest amount, and you continue, "Aki, I know you can hear me."
He doesn't move, again. Just grumbles in your ear.
You sigh in defeat. Fine, he can lay on you for a little bit longer. His injury might be hurting him. He did work himself really hard, after all. If he's exhausted, he can rest, he deserves to get some. You run your fingers through his hair, stroking the back of his head, listening to the constant inhale and exhale of his breath.
The moment is oddly peaceful, considering what just transpired. The room is covered in a thick darkness now. It's deathly still and incredibly silent, save for the distant whistle of a train passing by somewhere in the city, but it feels like you and him are the only ones to exist in this world.
Aki is just barely awake, teetering on the edge of falling asleep for real. His weight on top of you and the rhythm of his breathing might be enough to lull you to sleep as well, that is, until he starts mumbling in your ear.
"Love you. So much." His voice is groggy and tired, to the point where it's difficult to tell what he's even saying. You can make it out close enough, thankfully.
"I love you too."
You laugh half-heartedly, "What are you thanking me for?"
"Everything." He replies simply, and finally, he decides he's ready to get up, pushing himself off of you with a large exhale of breath, his muscles feeling weary and spent.
He meets your gaze and asks, "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm okay." You nod.
Aki's eyes briefly rake up and down your body before he slowly pulls out, flopping back hard against the couch with an annoyed groan.
"My side fucking hurts."
"I wonder why," You push yourself up on your elbows, staring at him with a knowing look, "I told you not to push yourself too far."
"You were the one babbling about, 'Go faster' this and, 'Go harder' that. I think it's your fault."
"No way… Aki."
"You got any smokes?"
Aki laughed. A real, genuine laugh. Now there's something he never does.
"Let's get dressed. Then, I'll give you one."
Aki turns on a light resting on top of a table beside the couch. He outright refuses to allow you to put on your dirty clothes, stopping you when you went to reach for them on the floor. From his room, he brings you some of his clothes, and some for himself as well. He takes care of you first, kissing your forehead as he pulls a shirt over you, gently lifting you by your hips to pull on a pair of his boxers and pajama pants. His clothes fit baggy on you and they're covered in the smell of him.
He dresses himself next, hastily, before rummaging around his apartment to find where he left his box of cigarettes. Actually, they're your box of cigarettes that you leant him at the hospital. He hasn't had the opportunity to go out and buy some more because he's been resting at home, so he's been trying extra hard to make this box last.
How many were left again? There's probably a couple. He opens the box to check and…
One. Just one. Did he really smoke that many? They go by so fast.
"There's just one in here," He muses, walking over to where you're laid back on the couch and showing you the near-empty box.
"I guess we're sharing again." You reply with a smile.
It's not long before you accompany Aki to the balcony. The night air is cold, and there's the slightest hint of a chilly breeze passing through. Aki holds the cigarette between his teeth and shields the lighter from the wind with his palm, striking it once, twice, three times before it comes to life in a flurry of sparks. You stand close, holding his arm, leaning on him.
Aki can't help but feel… strangely euphoric. Now that he's coming to his senses, thinking more clearly about everything, he knows he probably, definitely shouldn't have done this. He's letting himself grow closer to you. What's going to happen when you die? When he dies? When one of you is killed in the line of work, it's not going to be fair to the other. It's not fair to fall in love with someone when you always tow the line between living and dying.
It's not fair. It's not fair, the world isn't fair. In another life, maybe Aki would have a better chance with you. Maybe you two could be a regular couple, be normal for a change. But he can't change the past, can he? All that waits for him is the future.
He's made his choice. He made his choice to be selfish, and now he's got to live with it, but fuck if he isn't going to enjoy it for as long as he possibly can. A man like him doesn't kick the bucket so easily. He's through with complicating things, done hiding anything. He's going to live for as long as possible, and it's going to be with you, whether the damn universe likes it or not.
And if you die, it's going to kill him. It's going to be the death of him, and he knows it.
But the world is better with a little self-indulgence, even if it kills you, right?
"Will you stay the night tonight?" Aki asks, ending the silence, taking a long drag out of the cigarette before exhaling and watching the smoke rise into the starry night sky. The nicotine immediately soothes his lungs and aching body, and with you pressed close to him, all he can feel is total relaxation through his veins.
"Yeah, I can."
"Good. Because I don't want you to leave."
"I won't leave any time soon, then."
A little smirk forms on Aki's lips, and as he goes to take another hit of the cigarette, you push against him, pouting. "You were supposed to share."
"I will. Hang on a sec."
Aki takes another long hit, breathing in the smoke, holding it in his lungs. He turns to you then, and he grabs your chin firm, tilting it up to where he leans over you. In an instant, his lips press against yours in an open-mouthed kiss and your eyes flutter shut in response.
Aki blows the cigarette smoke into your mouth slow and steady, and when he pulls away, it's only slightly, only enough to let stray wisps rise in the space between the two of your mouths. He already breathed in all the nicotine, so there's none left for you, but the smoke still pricks at your throat, still gives you that familiar feeling. Maybe you should complain and ask him to give you a proper hit, but his kiss is just as addicting as any cigarette, so honestly, you don't really care.
"How was that?" Aki asks quietly, pulling away to give you a chance to exhale.
Aki smiles, "Of course."
He's so easy to convince when it comes to you.
Aki falls asleep by your side.
He drifts off with his large frame pressed against your back, his dark hair fanned out over the pillow. His whole bed smells like him, and his blanket and sheets are soft. As his arm is splayed over your body, his hand is connected to yours, holding gently where it lays delicately in front of your face. You can feel his heartbeat against your back, his gentle embrace clutching you closer to his body, the warmth radiating off of him, his breath hot against your neck.
For the first time in a long, long time, Aki doesn't dream of that stupid house, or of people dying right before his eyes. He dreams of something much more serene. His own slice of heaven, in this wretched hell.
He dreams of a future with you.
And even though he knows in the back of his mind that it's going to end tragically, he doesn't care. Even though he's aware he's going to die, and just how soon he's going to die, too, he ignores it. Forgets about it.
It's selfish. So, so selfish of him. But he's stopped looking at himself objectively. He'll only look to the future, with no turning back, and it doesn't matter how unattainable that future might be.
He's going to love you until the end.
And besides, there's no one else who's arms he'd rather die in than yours.