Obligatory disclaimer: I own nothing.

A Night Like Any Other

by Sakayume

It ended that night just as it had countless times before; I, my wings crushed and aching to beat against the furs laid beneath me as I cried out for him; he, ears folded flat against his head, fine features strained, nails pressing scarlet indentations into my hips. It was not in his nature or habit to return the favor of calling my name – perhaps he still preferred some semblance of anonymity; I never questioned it – but often and on this night he would mutter it as he dropped atop me and sank his head against my shoulder. It was the only time he ever showed any vulnerability, something we both possessed the good sense not to point out.

I tried not to disturb him with my shifting as he laid there, panting breaths warm against my skin, but knew I'd been unsuccessful when he drew his head up and regarded me with some expression I couldn't quite decipher. Amusement, perhaps, though blurred with weariness and not quite as smug as his usual repertoire of glances. Without a word he rolled to the side, legs tangling with mine as he pulled me to do the same, perfectly understanding my restlessness. He always knew me best.

Once I had stretched to contentment, and offered my opinion of the whole experience with a low sated groan, it was all too easy to just lay against him that way. Would have been, at least, if not for the curtain of black that kept falling into my eyes. He always pulled out my hair tie, every time. Always bothered with the leather wound about my arms, too. I asked him about it once. He said he liked to see me free. That always stuck with me.

My fox-everyone's fox-was free as well. I'm not sure how long we'd been partners at that time; a few years, maybe, blink of an eye to a creature like him. For a while, that freedom blossomed in the way it tended to with youkos. I never told him that I hated it when he came back smelling like some stranger. I never had to; my abstinence, or at the very least reluctance on those nights seemed to get through to him, because eventually he started returning to the den earlier, scent only his and that of the veritable garden he kept on him.

The bed, if it could be called that, was more than spacious enough for us to spread out. Mostly it was a heap of fine pelts, some longer than I was tall, and scattered around it were a few immense, ridiculously soft pillows. We'd grabbed those from a palace. His idea, of course. He'd laughed as we ran out of there, practically drowning under the floppy cushions on his back and tossing lewd comments to me about the use we'd put them to all the while. Such use began that night.

We didn't, though. Spread out. My hold, arm slunk around his waist and fingers stroking softly at the silver fur of his tail, was loose enough to be pulled from without any real effort. But he lingered in it, something unusual for him and made doubly so by the fact that he was no longer spent and weary enough for that to be his excuse. He seemed recovered from that already, and after a long moment of just laying like that I spoke up, tone tailored to be perfectly casual.

"What's on your mind?" Normally, what I was doing now, fingers combing out the silky fur…it would have put him at ease. His ears would fold back just slightly, eyes half-closed, and he'd get this wonderful lazy grin. True contentment. Now, however, it wasn't so. The gold of his gaze, while half-lidded, stared as if distracted at some spot between my neck and shoulder, and none of the weary peace I'd expected to find on his expression was there.

"Tomorrow. I have a bad feeling about it." He admitted that only after a decent pause, one long enough to almost make me speak again in search of his attention. The words didn't fit him. He was rarely superstitious, placed much less belief in omens or 'bad feelings' than I did, and never revealed a lack of confidence like that. He was too proud, put too much faith in his own abilities. That contrast, between the youko I knew and the one who'd just spoken in a tone quieter than usual, was troubling for only a moment before I put it aside to focus on the issue at hand. Tomorrow we had a raid planned, a rarity in itself as most of our ventures were spontaneous. This one took foresight, though, as the mansion we were hitting would have its security up by the time we got there. The owner had recently purchased at auction a mirror, a fine thing that would fetch untold sums on the black market. Knowing him, though, he'd want to keep it around the den. Just because he could. He did that kind of thing.

"What about it?" The hand not draped over his waist-he was thinner up close than he looked, really-had already moved to my chest, thumb and forefinger toying at the crimson stone that hung there. Another of my habits, one he'd put up with without complaint all this while. I wouldn't have even noticed I was doing it if not for the fact that suddenly the youko's hand covered my own, holding it still. He didn't answer my question, and when I caught sight of his expression, I knew he wouldn't. He was uncertain, and on the rare occasions when that was the case, he tended to drown it away with whatever was handy. At the moment, that position fell to me. And his eyes were hungry.

He was atop me before I could even see him move, and the ache of a wing's curve jabbing unpleasantly against my back made me grunt in protest, trying to find a comfortable position. My longtime cooperation with being on the bottom like this was due only to the fact that I knew it was his favorite way, and that he could generally make me forget my discomfort in a matter of moments. Now, however, my halfhearted protest seemed to catch his attention and he looked up from beside my neck, where his lips had already descended.

For a while, I don't know how long, we stared at each other silently. I thought I saw regret flicker across his countenance, for just a moment, but it was gone as soon as it had come and I passed it off as a trick of the mind. What had he to regret, anyways? It would take a lot more than a sore back on my behalf to render such a mood unto the cool fox. If anything we'd joke about it the next day, he teasing as I attempted to rub away the ache, a nearly impossible task that usually ended in him offering a hand and, subsequently, the same thing that had led to the soreness in the first place.

He was the one to move, finally. In an easy, wordless motion he slid off of me, and for a moment I expected that was it, and we would fall asleep as we always did, close but not quite touching. It wasn't to be, for in the next instant his hand closed around my wrist, tugging me over till I was propped on free hand and knees above him. This was a rare treat, a victory in more ways than one…I don't know if he realized it, but he was always so much louder when he was the one being taken. Restrained and quiet on top; not so otherwise. It was part of the reason this variation thrilled me as much as it did. He could get me just with the way he sounded.

My clothes laid to his side, beneath where I'd previously been. His own were tossed somewhere, thrown hastily off when we'd began. Regardless of where they were now, they weren't in the way and that was all that mattered. I remember how he'd looked at me when I leaned to kiss him; surprised, first, for such things were frivolous and this particular one not too intense…and then somehow grateful, before he pulled me down closer and I let my eyes fall shut.

He was a youko. That said it all, as far as our sex life went. Some weeks we spent more time with those games than we did on anything else, sleep and thievery included. I'd never been with one of his species before, and in the beginning it had been…in all honesty? It had been exhausting. Somewhere along the line I learned to keep up, deeming it necessary if I was to keep him at my side-and somehow, that was vital. And so when at last he'd decided my devotion to the various curves and shapes of his body was sufficient and pulled his legs back to press his heels against the base of my spine in wordless direction, I was ready for him.

That was the thing with him. He was beautiful, and he knew it, and so did everyone else. He still looked like some kind of god even when he was in pain, eyes squeezed shut and teeth gritted. I didn't move again, hard as it was to resist, till he opened those eyes. I knew exactly what they'd look like, unfocused and gleaming, and being looked at that way inevitably made it impossible to hold back. I didn't try to.

I guess it was because he was so used to being the one in charge that he tried to keep doing so even when the tables were turned. And I suppose I'd gotten used to it too, because before long it was his body, his motions that directed the push and pull, and I was doing little more than going along for the ride. Neither of us cared. It was perfect.

Soon his breaths were hitching, breaking free as halting gasps, and I forced my own eyes open once more to see what lay beneath me. He'd teased me about it, in the past, about how sensitive I was to things like that. I guess he didn't understand what it felt like to see what I was seeing then, but then again how could he? For now there was no teasing, only my own low moans echoing his and his fingers all but clawing at my shoulders.

There were always signs, he'd told me once. We'd both been spent then, laying around in bed as if there was nothing better to do – and there wasn't – and somehow we'd come to talking about how it was that he always knew just how long I was going to hold out. According to him, there were no exceptions. Everyone did something, beyond their control in the moment said control was finally lost.

He liked mine, he'd gone on to say, grinning and stretching languidly out across the furs. My wings. Just before I came, they fluttered wildly. Made the place drafty, he added with a chuckle, seeming pleased by my skeptical expression. That was probably when I started looking for such things myself. Sure enough, there were no exceptions, at least not between the two of us. For me, it was the wings. For him, the giveaway was always in his ears. Normally, for them to fold back signaled anger or distress, but those proved not to be the only causes for such a display.

And now it was happening, the furred triangles cocking back against the sides of his head and his fingers pressing more solidly into my back; I had a handful of tiny, incriminating crescent-shaped scars in that area from times when we'd gotten carried away. I never realized they existed till after the fact, though.

It didn't matter anyways, for now he was straining beneath me, arching his back and urging me on more intensely with the press of his grip. It was more than I could bear, as it always was. He didn't bother to point it out any more, afterwards, but the air around us swirled as my wings beat uselessly at the air, rendering me dizzy and weightless and, finally, exhausted. A moment later and I would have missed it, but my conscious mind remained in place just long enough to catch the cry that escaped from the shivering figure beneath me.

"Ku…Kuronue!"

We didn't speak after it, that night. Rarely did. No more mention was made of the upcoming raid, or of his earlier worries about it. He let me lay atop him as I caught my breath, long fingers petting through my still-unbound hair. I seem to remember admiring what I saw then, the way those dark strands dripped past my cheek and over his chest to mingle with his own lighter mane, the silver and black a perfect contrast. I fell asleep there, and when I woke he hadn't moved from the spot.

His bad feeling about the day's mission seemed unbidden till its very end, and as the cliché goes, the rest is history. There is a part of me that regrets surviving, absurd as that seems…The story of how that came to pass is not worth telling, nor deserving of recollection. Our den was uninhabited when I returned to it. The rumors of the great Youko's death, shot down by a hunter, spread quickly.

I left, of course. Left the place exactly as it was, the bed still in disarray from whoever he'd brought back there last. Became a wanderer again, as I'd more or less been before he came along. There are rumors, lately, of someone who fights under his name. In the realm of the humans, no less, a place of fairytales and myths…Just couldn't let go of the legend, I suppose.
Typical of him.

Typical of you, Kurama.