RYUUEN'S BAN/KAZUKI FICLET COLLECTION

VI.

It is the morning after the first night that Ban usually dreads, regards with an almost irrational apprehension that isn't quite surprising, considering how he isn't really good at dealing with such things. Not that he would admit it to himself, of course, let alone out loud, but there is a certain… finality about mornings after that just scares him, sends warning bells ringing in the part of his brain that isn't too dead/asleep/hung-over at that time. And that nagging feeling that there's something he should say or do or think or feel but goddamnit! he just wasn't made for these romantic crap...

Of course, he has had his fair share of lovers in the past (how could he not, with the whole broodingly mysterious image he's got going for him?) – meaningless flings that, in retrospect, should have mattered more than they did, people who shouldn't have been reduced to nameless faces or faceless names that sometimes blur together into a myriad of monochromic hues – and the morning aftereach one was different. Some of his lovers had lashed out at him, blaming him for that one night they considered to be a mistake, and it had taken every ounce of patience Ban never thought he had to just silently get up, pick up his clothes from wherever they were lying, dress and walk out of that person's home and life without as much as backward glance. Some had just stared at him, an unreadable look on their faces, before bursting into tears, and Ban had to spend the better (or worse) part of an hour staring blankly at the ceiling, trying to convince himself that hitting a person wasn't a good way to get them to stop crying. Still others had tried to engage him in one of those philosophical/pseudo-romantic conversations that he just wasn't really ready to deal with at four fucking o'clock in the morning and to which he had merely grunted and nodded at (what he hoped) the right places while desperately wishing for an aspirin to cure his throbbing (hangover-induced) headache. And, of course, there were those who just shrugged it off as easily as he did, casually sharing his post-fuck cigarette and shower, before asking him calmly what he would like for breakfast, leaving Ban with a nagging feeling that, as ideal the situation was, there was something incredibly wrong about the entire ordeal and that maybe, just maybe, he was missing something important.

But Kazuki is different, has always been different and, Ban supposes, it was that difference, that uniqueness, that attracted him to the long-haired man in the first place – more than his beauty or elegance or kindness or charm or that damnable wit of his that made late-night conversations with the Itomaki almost as gratifying as having sex. For their relationship wasn't about sex at all -- at least, not entirely. If it were, he didn't think he would've allowed himself to get this much involved, wouldn't have allowed himself to get close enough to be affected. And he wouldn't have found himself standing outside the other's apartment in the middle of the pouring rain (and at two o'clock in the morning at that) trying to apologize for something he didn't do, something he didn't say. And Kazuki had let him in, into warmth and safety and home, and it was then that Ban finally realized that maybe he had finally found that something important after all.


Waking up with Kazuki snuggled against his side, fine hair tickling his nose and the scent of his lover invading his senses, is, Ban acknowledges, one of the more memorable experiences of his life. He sighs, watching Kazuki's sleeping face and the play of early morning sunlight upon his fine features lending him an almost ethereal glow. And it almost seems too fucking surreal to be here, holding him, touching him, feeling him – an arm around his waist, a hand tracing the curve of his cheek (soft, so soft) – and Ban has to pinch himself just to make sure he isn't dreaming. A soft sigh, and he could only watch, half in anticipation, the other half thinking things like ohshit!ohshit!ohshit as impossibly long lashes flutter open. A smile, and as golden-brown eyes meet his…

"You're beautiful," he says, and wishes that he could just die. For this is the morning after the first night and there are things that just. weren't. said. and it would fucking kill him if such simple things as mere words could ruin something that could be beautiful. So he closes his eyes, wills himself not to run away, and he waits... waits for the denial and the blame and those damned Fuuchouinryuu strings to come at him and end his misery.

They never do.

An eternity within a heartbeat, a hand clasping his, and he finally opens his eyes...

Kazuki doesn't lash out at him, doesn't scream or shout or cry or even ask why. He simply smiles, squeezes the hand he is holding and kisses him. And Ban could almost hear the unspoken it's okay and I'm alright and it doesn't really matter...

And Ban kisses him back, almost desperately, and answers with his own thank you and I'm glad and this feels right...

And he draws away, cupping his lover's blushing face in his hands, raining gentle kisses upon it. For this is the morning after the first night and he should be leaving...

But Kazuki is beautiful and Kazuki is warm and Kazuki is the only one who has ever made him feel... So he stays, draws his lover closer against him, and smiles, the play of early morning sunlight on their skin a prediction... of similar mornings to come.