All Kaidoh wants to do is kiss. For an hour at a time, until Inui's jaw is sore and his lips are swollen and he has to move his head to let Kaidoh's mouth slide along his cheek, his jaw, his neck, then finally away. Kaidoh wipes his mouth with his fist and swallows, looking at the floor or the television or anything else that's not Inui.

There are rules that Kaidoh follows when he kisses Inui, which Inui has deduced through observation. Kaidoh's eyes must be closed. He must not speak. He may only touch Inui where his skin is bared: throat, forearms, along Inui's waist where his shirt has pulled free, but never past the borders of his clothing. Inui teases Kaidoh with fingers at the small of his back, a hand on his calf underneath the leg of his jeans, but no more than that. Kaidoh can be tricky and so Inui is careful. Because Inui likes Kaidoh a lot.

Kaidoh will only kiss Inui somewhere where they can't be seen and so far, that's just his bedroom or Inui's. Sometimes Inui steals a kiss in the park, behind a tree, just to see Kaidoh scowl and pull away. One time, Inui pushed Kaidoh up against a shelf in the back of a bookstore and now Kaidoh won't go in there anymore. But he'll still go about with Inui, so that's all right.

He'll still invite Inui over to watch a movie and spend fifteen minutes inching closer until his breath is hot on Inui's face and Inui turns his head to let their mouths meet. They've started the same film five times now and Inui finally borrowed it to watch alone, so he could see how it ended.

Kaidoh will still show up at Inui's apartment and sit down on Inui's bed. He lets Inui make conversation until he can move his hand onto the back of Inui's neck and start them moving slowly inward to punctuate Inui's sentence with a kiss. After a minute, Inui takes off his glasses and Kaidoh puts his arm around Inui's waist and their thighs press together, side by side. Kaidoh's mouth waters when he kisses and Inui has to keep swallowing. One day, when they were training, he made Kaidoh spit into a glass vial and later Inui tested the pH and put the saliva under a microscope, though he wasn't quite sure what he was looking for.

It's Sunday afternoon and Inui is writing a literature essay when Kaidoh comes over. Inui offers him a snack and Kaidoh refuses and they go into Inui's room and shut the door. Even though it's a cool day, Kaidoh is wearing a sleeveless shirt. Inui can see the tension in Kaidoh's body, the potential energy of a tight-wound spring. It makes Inui want to back Kaidoh against the door and trap him there, arms on either side of him, and whisper things in Kaidoh's ear that will make his eyes widen and his heart pound.

But then Inui thinks of something better. He sits back down on his computer chair and faces Kaidoh. "What did you want to do, Kaidoh?" he says and the look in Kaidoh's eyes makes Inui smile, just a little. Kaidoh knows that Inui knows what Kaidoh wants to do and talking about it does not follow the rules. Inui thinks he knows how Kaidoh will react, but he's been wrong about that before.

"Um...I..." Kaidoh says and then stops.

"We'll do whatever you like," Inui says. "Just tell me what that is."

"Maybe we could..." Kaidoh trails off again. Inui can almost read his thoughts: Kaidoh knows that whatever he suggests, Inui will do that, and only that. Inui almost hopes Kaidoh will ask to play a video game, just so he can feel the frustration grow in Kaidoh as they sit next to each other, close but not touching. But then Inui wouldn't get to kiss Kaidoh either.

"I'm just finishing up my homework," Inui says. "Let me know when you've decided." And he turns back to his computer and starts working.

There's a creak as Kaidoh sits down on the bed and Inui thinks Kaidoh must be staring at Inui's back and cursing him, or just hoping that Inui will take pity on him and go over. But not today. Inui keeps typing, making a mental note to rewrite this section later when he's not so distracted.

After seven minutes and thirty-two seconds, there's another creak and Kaidoh pads across the room to stand behind Inui. Inui spins around and catches Kaidoh reaching out, probably to put his hand on Inui's shoulder. Inui takes Kaidoh's wrist and he can see Kaidoh relax at the touch. Kaidoh starts to lean down, but Inui rolls the chair back. "Tell me what you want, Kaidoh."

Kaidoh's eyes dart from side to side and Inui wonders if Kaidoh is going to bolt. "Inui-senpai," Kaidoh says and his cheeks are beginning to flush. "Please."

"Please what?" Inui says and lets go of Kaidoh's arm. "Say it, Kaidoh. Tell me why you're here."

Kaidoh hisses softly and the hard line of his jaw shows through his cheek. His eyes close to slits. Inui looks at the hollow in Kaidoh's bare throat -- the suprasternal notch, it's called -- and thinks about resting one finger there to feel the beat of Kaidoh's pulse. He wants badly to touch Kaidoh now, to pull him into his arms, to lie down with him and press their bodies close together. But he doesn't.

"Kaidoh," Inui says once more, and thinks he should have planned this in advance, to give himself more of an advantage. He's still not sure what Kaidoh will do -- probably an even chance he'll mumble an apology and leave. A tiny chance that Kaidoh will stop showing up at Inui's door altogether. "Tell me what you want," Inui says, because it's too late now to change his strategy.

Then Kaidoh draws a deep breath and Inui knows he's won. "I want...I want to kiss you," Kaidoh says all in a rush and Inui is relieved he didn't yell it at the top of his lungs.

"I want to kiss you too," Inui says and it's not an easy thing for him to say aloud either. But it's worth it to see Kaidoh's eyes light up and his mouth curve into a smile. He pulls Kaidoh onto the chair with him, so that Kaidoh is straddling Inui's lap and Inui's hands are on Kaidoh's hips. "Don't smudge my glasses," Inui says and just waits until Kaidoh pulls them off, slowly, gingerly, and sets them down on the desk.

All sharp detail is gone and the edges of Kaidoh's face diffuse into the blobs that used to be posters and the cream-coloured paint on the walls. Kaidoh's eyes are a dark blur, with no differentiation between the pupil and the iris. Inui likes this softness, this smudging of the world. He locks his arms around Kaidoh's waist. Inui can't wait any longer for this; by now he's wound tighter than Kaidoh. "Go ahead," he says to Kaidoh and at last Kaidoh leans down and kisses him.

Inui can't get enough of Kaidoh's mouth, his tongue, his skin. He sucks at Kaidoh's lips, pulls them with his teeth. He runs his hands up Kaidoh's arms and then he can't help himself -- he slides his hands under Kaidoh's shirt, up and down and up his bare back. Kaidoh shivers but he doesn't stop Inui. It's all Inui can do not to go further, but this will have to do for now. He just holds Kaidoh close and kisses him and kisses him and for the first time, it's Kaidoh who finally pulls away.