Damnit, it's another one-shot. I can't help it. I love these two...

In honor of December, I suppose, and the impending snow. There's sex in here, so if you don't like it...I'm sorry.


Celsius

A Jet Set Radio Future fanfiction by Bagatelle

It's cold. So motherfuckin' cold.

It gets freezing in the Garage in the winter, and he insists on giving all the spare blankets to the girls, just because they're…well…girls. They're more fragile, or something. I can't argue with that—I know they'd complain if I did, anyway—but he's so thin, himself…I worry about him. So I have to keep him warm. It's like I'm obligated to protect him, or some shit. I care too much about him, I think.

I know.

To make things worse, he sleeps without a shirt on. He says it's uncomfortable if he keeps it on. He can't stand the folding fabric against his stomach, or something. Once again, can't argue, since I don't know just what he's feeling, but he shivers in his sleep. It's not good for him. I'm squeezing my hands under my arms, against my ribs, staring at him trembling. His lips quiver, and he holds onto the pillow, like it's gonna help him or something. It ain't. But I can't tell him that…he's asleep. When I feel like my hands are warm enough, I reach out and press one against his ear, touch his shoulder with the other. Both, freezing. I scowl. Most body heat comes out of the ears, I know, but it barely helps to cover them up if all the rest of his skin is exposed like this. I reach down and pull the sheet up over him, swearing in my head. I've never known anyone as needy as he is. He doesn't even realize that he needs all this shit from me. He just gets cold. Or sick. Or hurt. And I feel like I'm supposed to fix him. Even though I'm not.

Part of me wants him to wake up so he'll realize how cold he is. I rub his arm, try to get the blood moving, but his heart beats slowly. It's like he's hibernating. He's so weird. He grimaces into it, though, leans closer to me: maybe he can feel my warmth. I think it's human nature to be drawn toward heat. Instinct, or some shit. That's probably why most people like having sex. Because it makes them hot. I move closer to him and let him find me. He presses into my chest, shivering, and I hesitate for a moment before I pull my jacket up to wrap him up in it. He sighs, seems grateful. Poor thing. God. Sometimes I'm so sure how I feel about him, but at times like these…he's more like a child, to me. He calls me his child, but…I think he relies on me the same as I rely on him. I don't think one can exist without the other.

I touch his shoulder blade, down his spine. He only trusts me, to see him like this. It's like he takes off some invisible armor, when he loses his shirt. All the scars are exposed. Abuse, when he was at that fucking orphanage…scars from the Rokkaku, scars he made himself. I can't believe it most of the time, but when I think about it, and what he said to me, it makes sense. I hate that it makes sense. It shouldn't. It's such a terrible thing…how can it be justified? If it makes sense…it's like it's okay, that he did what he did. It's not okay. He hurt himself. On purpose. He told me he didn't want to die, but it made him feel so much better. I don't understand that…but…I can understand why he would want to feel better.

But then I hate myself, because I couldn't do it for him.

Couldn't make him happy without leaving scars.

I touch them, following the tracks of his ribcage. Tiny thing. He seems smaller, when I remember how much he hurts. He needs more protection. More love. Maybe more than I can give. It's too much. Too hard. I never thought I'd feel panicked, like I wasn't caring enough about him. That was before everyone else knew for sure, though. Before serious questions were jokes, and vise-versa. So how long has this been going on? Who's on top? Why don't you hold hands or any of that shit, then? It used to be easy to just ignore it, because he would smile and brush it off, pretending like it meant nothing to him, because he knew something more than they did. We didn't need to hold hands, he would say sometimes. We didn't have to tell them who played what role when we were alone. It wasn't their business. But it was obvious, after a while: he wanted more than I was giving him. Maybe he wanted to hold hands in public. Maybe he wanted me to kiss him, and not worry about what anyone else thought. I couldn't do it, though. I still can't do it. I can't stand their staring eyes, or the loathing looks that Gum gives me. Even though I tell myself I don't care what they think, it obviously affects me. It makes me feel disgusting. So he hurts himself. And it's my fault.

They notice. They know he's unhappy. Trouble in bed? Beat asked the other day, in this cold, demeaning, completely unnecessary way. He laughed at us after he'd said it, like it was supposed to be just a joke, but I knew that he knew damn well what he was implying. He could see how upset Corn was. And maybe he'd seen something that didn't look right, when Corn took off his jacket back in the Garage. I don't know what. But whatever it was, it pissed me off, and I punched Beat in the face until he started crying, told him he'd better never say anything like that to me again or I'd peel his foreskin off and feed it to him. Corn said nothing, just sat there in contemplative silence, but I knew what he was thinking. There were problems. Constant problems. It stemmed from the outside: times like this, times when we would be among them, watching the others race, and he would reach over and touch my hand, and I would pull away. Times when he would lean over and kiss the spot just under my ear, and I would snap at him and skate off to be alone. At night, we're distant, even though I almost always find myself knocking on his door, and him, letting me in, moving closer to the wall so that I'll have room beside him in his narrow bed. I'll lie awake in the cold, hear him shivering beside me, and he'll roll over, try to pull me closer, but I'll inch away, bending away from his body, because I know what he wants from me, and my thoughts are still stuck on everyone else, thinking about how disgusting I am. I'll let him kiss me, sometimes, just to let him know that I still care, but when he rests his chin on my shoulder and touches my abdomen—reaches down, runs his knuckles over my crotch, breathing against my neck—I'll grimace and roll over, tell him I've got a headache, or that I'm too tired to do anything like that.

He gets upset. "…You could just tell me, if you don't love me anymore. It'd be a hell of a lot less painful…"

"It's not like that…!" I argue feebly.

"Yeah? I think it is. And I think that, if you're going to be like this, and lie to me…I should just find somebody else…"

That's not fair. He knows it's not fair. But he's hurt, sad, confused, and I can't blame him. I lie there, the skin on my neck prickling where he's breathing on me, my stomach churning. After a while, sometimes, I'll feel him shudder, and he'll start quietly crying behind me, because all he wants is to be close to me. He doesn't want to find somebody else. I know it just as well as he does. When he falls asleep, I'll hold him—wrap his thin, almost-naked body in my jacket—to keep him warm until I doze off, too, and I let him wake up in my arms, because it's easier to love him when one of us is unconscious, and the embarrassment is reduced ten-fold. If he's still there, when I wake up, wide awake and staring into my face, I'll freeze, and in those six or so seconds, he'll kiss me longingly, wanting it to be like it used to be, before anyone else knew. Back when I didn't worry about him getting cold. I want it to be like that, too. God…I can barely touch him, anymore. I have to think about it, first. Wonder what other people would think. We haven't had sex in over a month, and the frustration is painful. Getting out of bed and showering for ten minutes, thinking of him, letting it out. But it's not the same. I want to feel him, again. I waited so long, to be like we were…and now, I'm fucking it up. I know I am.

Gum loves it. She loves that I'm screwing this up, that I can't handle the relationship I've wanted for nearly half of my life. Corn talks to her, whispers, and I know he's telling her what's going on, but there's nothing I can do about it. She's so serious when he's talking to her, gently murmuring things to sway him away from me, but he shakes his head and turns her down, tells her that he doesn't want to leave me, he can't leave me alone. I wouldn't have anyone. She tells him that it's my fault that he's hurting. I know it. I know it just as well as she does, and just as well as he does…but she doesn't have to say it out loud. It should be one of those unspoken things: where everyone's aware of it, and everyone deals with it in their own way. I hate her saying that kind of shit to him, like I'm not good enough to have him. I am good enough. I'm just…I've…never had any sort of relationship, before. With anyone.

The touching, thing…physical contact…my parents might have hugged me once, as a child. I can't remember ever being kissed, or held, or allowed to sit in someone's lap. And it might've been just because Mom and Dad were like that—I don't know, I really don't remember much about them, at this point—or it might've been because I wasn't the beautiful son they'd hoped I would be. I know I'm ugly. I know. But I don't know if my parents cared about that or not, and the not knowing…that's made me insecure. He can be so stunning…when he's set and skating, adrenaline pumping through him, his face shines, his hair flowing behind him, his clothes loose, yet hugging his body in all the right places. My breath catches in my throat, and I'm glad for the collar of my jacket, because I can hide my flushed face and muffle my strained breathing in it. He jumps and twists, a flash of pale stomach beneath the yellow tee-shirt, and all of my muscles suddenly tense and loosen from my waist down, but I stand there, breathless, trying to hide it, because it's embarrassing. It's embarrassing for me to want him as badly as I do.

He thrusts his hips upward and does a backflip, falling down from the towering overhangs in Shibuya Terminal, and my eyes don't leave his pelvis, taking in the crease in his pants near his crotch and thinking about running my hand down that groove and…I shiver, feel my blood churning, threatening. It's horrible, because I have these thoughts all the time—pent-up lust, things I can never act on because of the overwhelming guilt I feel when the right time comes—but I never follow through with them. All of the times I've had chances…a spare moment in a back alley of Hikage Street, or while we're crouching together in some corner of the sewers…even times in his bed, late at night, when I'm refusing him…I've never taken advantage of my opportunities. I know he thinks about me, too: I've seen this look on his face, one that I'm sure I get, too, when I'm skating or lying on the couch, or dancing, or even just standing there…the hungry look, the wanting look, his blue eyes glazed over beneath his bangs, clicking his teeth, his nose pink, his lips wet. We'll get it at the same time, even, on rare, horrible occasions: I'll be staring at his hips, or his "back pocket", as I used to say—"just making sure your wallet's still there"—and he'll catch me looking, and subtly, slowly, reach back and hook his thumb into the back pocket of his pants, running his fingertips over his ass, pulling his pants down just enough for me and me alone to see a small sliver of skin beneath his shirt. I'll tear my eyes away, furious, and excuse myself. I know what he's trying to do to me. He doesn't get it, though. I already want him. I want to fuck him and love him, and I want to be able to hold him when he wants it, and fall asleep gasping and sweaty, like we used to…but the thought of them knowing, of them possibly overhearing us, scares me half to death.

It's obvious to me that they think about us doing that sort of shit. It makes me nervous. Do they think that I'm fucking him, or that he's fucking me…? Do they know, like Beat, like Gum, that we haven't even been close to each other in all of this time? I don't want them to think about us. To envision me touching him, or him touching me. It's an invasion of privacy…and…what if they envision something real? Something that's actually happened? I know it's probably irrational, but…I can't stand it. I hate them. I want them gone. I want to be alone with him, so that I can love him the way he wants me to. I want to make him happy. I don't want him to hurt himself, anymore.

Conflicted, I stare at him, sleeping, so close to me. By now, I think he might be half-awake, his arms wrapped around me, his cheek resting in the crook of my neck. He's still shaking, still frozen, even though my jacket is pulled gently around him, covering him. His lips, in the dark, are pale, and I grind my teeth, my hands pressed over his ears, trying to warm them up. Slowly, I lean forward and kiss him, press my tight-lipped mouth to his, and I gently exhale into him afterward, trying to warm his lips up with my breath. His eyes crack open, and he looks startled, for a moment, before his hands reach up and run over the back of my head, and I want to pull back, but I can't. Not with his eyes on me, like this. He moves his legs, his boxer shorts catching and riding up, and I feel his bare thigh touch my hip. A very sexual gesture. I grimace and try to move away, but he lets out a low, quiet whimper, and my teeth chatter.

"Please…please, Soda…just let me love you…"

His voice is soft, gentle, after our argument. It must be around three o'clock in the morning, and I know everyone else is probably asleep, by now. I stare at him. If someone hears us…if someone mentions it to us in the morning…I'd never be able to bring myself to share his bed again, and that would be the end of us. Not by choice. Not at all by choice. I shudder, feel his fingertips massaging my skull. It feels good. It feels so fucking good. God, and that sparks it, the fire, the lust, everything all of a sudden comes pouring into me, and I want him, I want him so badly that I don't care, at last, and I pull him into me and kiss him miserably, his lips trembling against mine, still cold, in desperate need of my warmth. His body arches into my hands, and I move them down his ribs, his waist, grab onto his underwear and pull them down until he can kick them off, working at the sweatpants I'm wearing and my own underwear as he grabs onto my ears and kisses my face, my neck, my chest, both of us still beneath my jacket. I struggle out of my clothes, frantic to feel him, to be close to him again, and he groans, touches the small of my back, pushes down and rubs his flat stomach against my crotch, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end from the sensation.

I stare down at him, and he looks back up at me, one wide eye visible through his hair. His entire body is covered in goosebumps, and he leans back up to kiss me fiercely, again, before he asks me what I want from him. "Anything…anything…" is all I can choke out, caught now in the moment, in the fire that's deep in my abdomen. He nods briefly, understands, gives me clearance, as well, before he rolls over and pulls me on top of him, arching his body back and pressing into my warmth, again. He reaches behind himself with one hand when I hesitate and he fumbles for my hand, taking it in his and leading my fingers down a familiar trail. Come on. What are you doing. I'm waiting. He moves back, but I reach up and spit in my palm before I move my hand forward against him, my body slowly regaining motion as I remember what I'm supposed to be doing. What I want to be doing. He moans softly when I move another finger forward with my thumb, and I grunt, trying to keep up with him. His inner thighs are warm against my hips when I thrust forward, and he shudders and gasps, trying to get used to the feeling after such a long time. He pants heavily after a moment or two, forcing himself to relax, and his body responds naturally under mine, my hands gripping his hips and pulling him back when I need more leverage. He cries because it's too hard to get used to it in time, but he hisses at me to keep going, please, please, Soda, do this for me…it doesn't take long for me to become over-stimulated, and my hips clench, a low groan preceding relief. His head jerks to the side as I'm moving backwards, pulling away from him, and he looks over his shoulder at me with glazed-over eyes, his face flushed, tear-stained. I struggle forward and grab his shoulders, kissing him with all the strength I have left, and he tries to say my name against my mouth, his entire body warm and giving off radiant heat.

He's a mess, I slowly realize, as the hot dampness suddenly becomes sticky and lukewarm, and this part seems less familiar, but I don't care. I grope around until I find his underwear and I hand it back to him, looking at him to make sure he knows what he's doing. He stares at me, dumbfounded.

"I don't care," he murmurs. "I…I don't care, I'll take care of it in the morning…"

"Go…rinse off," I whisper, and he looks at me silently for a moment or two before he nods and gets up out of bed, pulling his underwear on, his legs still shaking, a little. I stare at him, as he has his back to me, and I can see the faint outline of his body in the dark—tallish and slender, bony, but masculine, with muscle where it counts. Dim yellow light touches him from the crack under his door, and he hesitates for a moment to regain control of himself. He leaves the room, leaving the door a little bit open, and I listen intently to my own breathing, cracked and uneven, slightly gasping. I had forgotten how he felt. How well his body fits mine. Unsteady, I kick my jacket off of the bed, moving to find my pants and underwear. There's always a chance that Gum will come to wake him up tomorrow, hoping that I won't be in here, and if she does, I don't want her to see me in such a vulnerable state, lying beside him. It takes a little while for me to cool down, but I manage to pull my pants back on just as he comes back in and shuts the door behind himself. He climbs over me, back into bed, and he looks at me for a moment before he rolls over to face the wall, I suppose expecting that I'll want to be alone, now. But I grip his arm and gently ease him back to face me, pushing hair out of his face affectionately. Everything seems so vibrant, again. I've missed this. I've missed him…

He presses contentedly into my chest, sighing tiredly. "…You…are you…okay…?" he asks softly, obviously worried. It means so many different things, though. Are you over it? Do you want me, again? Will things be alright, now? I wrap my arms around him, feel him smile against my arm, and my heart thuds in my chest. He is everything. Everything. Christ, and I had forgotten that…

"…I'm fine," I murmur. I am. I always did. Yes. I promise…he kisses my collarbone, his long hair falling in wisps about my throat. His heart is pounding, too. I can feel it.

"…I…Soda…" he breathes, and I know what he wants to say to me. But I shake my head, holding him gently against me and silencing him. I haven't earned that, yet. I haven't earned the right to hear that, from him.

"…Go to sleep," I mutter, stroking his hair. "…The sun'll be up, soon."

"…Yeah. I know."

He's breathing deeply within minutes, and the instant that I know for sure that he's out, I shudder and hold fast to him, sobbing. Goddamnit…Gum…is right.

I really don't deserve him.