maybe when I'm done with thinking
maybe you can think me whole
maybe when I'm done with endings
this can begin


Hakuryuu has never been able to see properly out of his left eye - doctors claim something must have happened during development - but its murky depths never really bother him. His face always tans darker around it & his sister once teased him about it until he cried for hours past what is reasonable. He has an apartment full of delicate, beautiful plants and an irrational fear of fire.

He has half a business degree, 2 semesters of premed, and 16 credits in ceramics from the local community college because throwing slabs of clay relieves stress that he doesn't think he should have. His therapist thinks it's good for him. He thinks he needs to get over himself and learn to succeed like the rest of the family, but the idea of going back to academic classes fills him with panic.

Hakuryuu doesn't like visiting his family home. The smiling family portraits look half empty, and he can't help the dark pit of hate that settles in his stomach when he sees his mother's face. He once filled a sketchbook with familiar faces that he'd never seen and cried alone in his room, and he can't go back to that place.

Once, a model from his figure drawing class followed him home and never learned how to leave.

x・x・x

Calling Judal's schedule flexible is a generous term. He comes and goes at all hours like some sort of dark fae, leaving strips of clothing around the apartment and jewelry on every surface. His make up covers Hakuryuu's sink, and his shampoo crowds out Hakuryuu's own. He picks Judal's hair out of the drains anyway.

His counters and fridge are full of fruits and he almost feels like he should be sketching stereotypical fruit bowls, but Judal always eats them before he has a chance.

Judal has pretty jewels hanging from his ears, unnaturally red eyes, model flawless skin, and he'll listen to Hakuryuu talk for hours. He laughs like he's never learned shame and looks at Hakuryuu like he's the most important thing in the world. Hakuryuu can listen to Judal ramble about nothing and everything and never feel like he's wasted a moment of it, and sometimes it's nice to just exist in the same room together, shoulders touching as they focus on their own tasks.

x・x・x

Judal is leaned so far back in his chair that Hakuryuu fears he'll go clattering on the ground. "I don't like your mother."

"You've never met her."

He shrugs and somehow maintains his careful balancing act. "I didn't like your face when you were on the phone with her. What was that...yesterday?"

"Last week." Hakuryuu puts his neatly balanced checkbook away and clears the table of spare papers. "She means well. I just don't think we have the same values."

"Still don't like her," Judal responds, finally shoving the chair forward with a bang. "There's that fish I like in the fridge. Bottom left. Can you make it?"

"I was going to go to the studio tonight." Hakuryuu's already pulling a pan down, though. He doesn't mind cooking, never has, and he can take some with him instead of another night of instant noodles.

Judal leans back again to stare into the kitchen. His hair falls around him in a pitch black ocean, and Hakuryuu feels immeasurable fondness for him. "I'll just ruin it. Or eat it raw. Come on, you don't want me to get food poisoning."

Hakuryuu merely sighs and turns his back to light the stove. He sees burning faces in the small flames and holds back irrational tears.

Fish is easy. Butter, salt, pepper, no green herbs or Judal won't touch it, flip once, serve with more butter. He has spinach in another pan for himself and leftover rice in the microwave that's fair game for them both, but Judal eats all his fish and half of Hakuryuu's instead.

"Ahh, I can't do that at all! And take out never tastes as good! You're a gift." Judal looks like a well fed cat with a mouth full of sharp teeth, but Hakuryuu kisses him anyway.

x・x・x

Judal has two scars on his chest, shiny slashes against his pale skin and nearly identical on each side, but one is covered by a sprawling mass of a tattoo. It's made of vines and bones and Judal claims it has a shape, it's just not done yet. Hakuryuu can see it dip into his pants and across his hips, the spines making jagged edges that are softened by leaves and flowers.

Hakuryuu's newest piece is wrapped in carefully carved skeletal designs and his cheeks burn when he finally brings it home. It sits on the table for a day until Judal screeches with joy at its presence. He points out the single flower in its cradle of leaves and bones and kisses Hakuryuu until neither of them can breathe properly. When they pull apart, Judal looks pleased enough to fly, full of joy and love, and he bops Hakuryuu on the nose.

x・x・x

Hakuryuu's hands shake the first time Judal crawls into his bed. He's inexperienced and nervous, he feels awkward in his own skin; how can he touch someone else and bring them any sort of pleasure?

"I'm not going to break if you touch me." Judal is topless and propping himself up on one elbow, the rest of him under a thin, silky sheet. Hakuryuu doesn't own silk sheets, but apparently Judal does.

He resists hiding his face in his pillows like a silly child. "Well, yes. I know that. But I also don't know what I'm doing and you're...so..." he trails off as he gestures.

Judal laughs at him, long enough that his voice starts cracking as he loses his breath.

"I hardly think my inexperience is something to laugh at." His face is flushed bright red. He wants to flee to the safety of the couch and leave Judal to his bed for the night instead of continue with this embarrassment.

"Hakuryuu, I hate people touching me! But I want you, I want your hands all over me and in me, and I've never wanted anyone the way I want you. So don't worry. You'll be fine."

"Oh." He still feels like he's going to mess up everything they've built together. But Judal's excited smile is contagious, and he can never deny him when he looks so happy.

Hakuryuu rolls closer to kiss him properly and he catches Judal's uneven, nervous breathing. Some of the stress falls out of his shoulders as he realizes that it's new territory for both of them, but they want to discover it together.

It's nice, being so close. Judal's breath catches when Hakuryuu slips a hand down his pants, a soft sound against his throat. He learns that Judal can't figure out how to work a button when rushing and that he becomes a graceless mess of limbs once they're both naked.

Judal is whiny and demanding, desperate for more movement, more of Hakuryuu, more of everything; he thinks Judal would crawl into his skin if given the chance. But instead they're two bodies, moving together until they find a perfect, wonderful rhythm, and Judal goes silent with bliss.

He claws at Hakuryuu's back and begs for more, more, he'll move the world if Hakuryuu will love him.

It's silly. Hakuryuu has loved him since they found each other, and he tries to tell him as much. But it comes out as a gasped 'I love you' as he comes, Judal's legs hooked around his hips and squirming in pleasure.

Afterward, Judal laughs at the mess. Hakuryuu tells him to clean it with his stupid silk sheets.

He falls asleep with Judal curled on his chest, tracing lines around his heart.

x・x・x

Hakuei is his only sibling. They grew up in a nice neighborhood with their overbearing mother and busy, always-at-work father. He has more cousins than he feels like he can keep track of and a mostly normal home life.

He misses brothers he's never had, waits for the an unexplained tragedy takes his father's life, and can't make eye contact with half his cousins. Every phone call with his mother sends him into a panic, and he can't help but hide his personal life from her. When he fails college, he expects mocking taunts instead of her honest worry.

His therapist calls it anxiety, but Hakuryuu finds that too simple of a word for a very complex problem.

x・x・x

Judal brings things home, from little presents to groceries, and once a near lifetime supply of tissues. One night Hakuryuu comes home after an exhausting day in the studio to find Judal cooing over a small skeleton.

He drops his messenger bag. "W-what is that?"

He gets a grin in return. "Belial! Isn't he beautiful? Can you believe he was only $20?"

"But. Why is it a skeleton?" He tentatively makes his way to where Judal is sprawled on the floor to better inspect his newest find. It's some sort of small animal, perfectly arranged and reinforced with small wires at joints.

"I wanted a pet! And cats always love me, so I figured this was perfect."

"It's dead."

Judal laughs. "So? Easier to clean up." He delicately pets the cat skeleton on the head. "Come on, pet him. You just gotta be careful."

Hakuryuu leans against Judal and stares at the cat. "You are a strange man."

"Yeah, yeah, whatever. Don't ignore him, you'll make him feel unloved."

"He's dead."

"Don't be rude. I've been dead before."

"Now you're just being contrary."

Judal lolls his head back to stare up. "Ehh, but so have you."

Hakuryuu looks away from the cat to shoot him a confused look. "Please try to make some sense, Judal."

He turns a shrug into a full body movement and rolls into Hakuryuu's lap. "I didn't like it. Should have saved you. Ah, but we're here and now and I like it more anyway."

"You're speaking madness."

He grins and his eyes sparkle with power, wrapped up with a pretty bow and hidden away for the world's safety. "You get me, though. You do." Judal reaches up and traces jagged lines across Hakuryuu's face, around his left eye and slashed across his nose. "It's why I like you so much."

Hakuryuu has so many questions for why Judal is here, this odd man full of half forgotten stories who wants nothing more than a place to stay and Hakuryuu's attention.

Instead, he ruffles Judal's hair and tells him about his day at the studio.

x・x・x

Hakuryuu sits statue still as Judal sets out his needles. The pleather covered chair feels too sticky, too unstable; he fears it might shift and then where will Judal pierce through? His cheek? The air? His good eye? He grips the arm rests and nearly digs his nails in.

Judal's smiling face is right in his. "Hey, Hakuryuu, calm down! I got you. I promise not to stab any vital organs. Or you know. Important bits."

He takes a deep breath. "You're not helping."

"Sorry! I wanna hold your hand, but, well..." Judal wiggles his gloved fingers. "Safety reasons!"

Another deep breath. "Yeah. That. That makes sense."

Judal hums as he makes dots along his ears, two on each side, because Hakuryuu let himself get talked into this. He's terrified and excited and can't look in the mirror to check their placements. He trusts Judal with his heart and soul; needles shouldn't be a big deal.

He leans forward and drops a kiss on Hakuryuu's forehead. "Ready?"

"Just go for it. Please."

The needles pierces his earlobe quickly and Hakuryuu feels a rush at the brief sting. Judal efficiently slides the earring through and pulls out another.

"See? No big deal!"

His breath hitches. "Do another."

Three quick pierces later, his ears feel warm and Judal is fawning over him. In between gushing, he gets a word in. "When do you get off work?"

Judal looks taken aback. "Uh. Usually later. Need something?"

He tugs at the waistband of Judal's pants. "You should walk me home. I," Hakuryuu begins before catching himself. He breathes out and attempts to remain calm. "These feel nice."

There's a beautiful dusting of pink across Judal's cheeks and a flash of raw, honest love in his eyes before it's masked with amusement. "Course I can. Too woozy after getting your wee first piercings?"

"S-something like that."

They get up the stairs and in the front door before Hakuryuu has his hands on Judal, pulling him in for a needy kiss. Adrenaline pumps through his veins as they crash onto the couch and he bites bruises down Judal's neck.

Judal makes pleased noises and pulls at his pants, fumbling and rushed in his excitement. "I would travel the stars for you," he says, breathlessly, before he squirms out of Hakuryuu's lap and half on the floor. "But right now I want to stay here with you."

Hakuryuu watches him work wonders with his mouth, lips wrapped around his cock and eyes closed in pleasure, his mascara beginning to shed onto his eyelids but beautiful nonetheless. Judal knows every intimate inch of his skin and yet makes it his goal to do better every time. He's humming as he bobs up and down his shaft, something Hakuryuu might recognize if he wasn't so distracted by the wet warmth of Judal's mouth.

He swallows him whole when Hakuryuu bucks his hips up, whining but staying in place as Hakuryuu comes. Judal crawls into his lap again as Hakuryuu collapses against the couch, nuzzling his neck. It's cute until Hakuryuu realizes Judal is wiping cum on it.

"You're gross. Stop that."

"I just had your dick in my mouth. Don't complain!" Judal grins and leaves a very purposeful, wet kiss on his cheek. Hakuryuu can feel the mix of spit and cum and grimaces.

"Really, that's really gross."

Judal shrugs and curls up against him. Hakuryuu's ears are still burning warm from the new piercings and he wipes his face before it can dry on him. He should ask when Judal is supposed to go back to work, but instead he dozes off on their couch.

x・x・x

In early fall, Hakuryuu finds Judal in a park surrounded by cats. They're all over him, crawling in his lap and meowing for his attention (and the bag of treats in his hand). He stands on the sidewalk, watching Judal laugh as he plays with them. His smile is bright and carefree and Hakuryuu wishes he could capture this moment forever.

"Judal!" Hakuryuu jogs over and joins him on the ground. "I see you found some new cats?"

"New? Nah, I come here all the time! Like I've said, cats love me."

"Then why not bring one of these home? We could have a real cat."

Judal looks so offended, Hakuryuu fears for a moment he might start crying. "A real cat? But Belial is the perfect cat! I wouldn't want to offend his territory."

"I thought you were actually hurt."

"I am hurt. Belial is an important part of the family."

Hakuryuu sighs. "He's a skeleton."

"So?" A cat crawls up Judal's leg and screams for pets, momentarily distracting him. Hakuryuu gives up and takes the bag of cat treats, welcoming some of them into his lap.

Hours later, he's shoulder to shoulder with Judal, the cats gone for the day and the beginnings of sunset coloring the sky. Hakuryuu ducks his head a bit to catch Judal's earlobe briefly in his mouth.

"I love you."

Judal's face turns beautifully pink and he shoves Hakuryuu's shoulder with his own. "Yeah. Yeah, I know."

"Good." Hakuryuu's ears burn, and he can't blame it on the now months old piercings. Judal is usually open with his affection, but Hakuryuu has learned how to catch him off guard. He watches the blush fade as the sun dips below the horizon, and he can't imagine anywhere he'd rather be.

x・x・x

Once, a boy followed him home and worked his way into every corner of his life until Hakuryuu couldn't remember what it was like without Judal by his side.


we can make it into something beautiful
yeah, we don't have to try
we can make it into something wonderful
we'll never say goodbye