I have spent many a happy year in this fandom, guys and I cannot thank you enough for it. I think everyone's gathered it by now, but am truly, and officially bowing out. To anyone still left in the fandom, you have my deepest respects.

This story was intended to go on for a long time yet. I had so much for it planned, but then slowly I just lot the will to continue it. I stopped relating to and caring about characters that had been so important to me for five years. I cannot explain how and why it happened, but it did. You have my sincerest apologies.

I've lost friends, believe it or not, from simply not continuing to be active in Beyblade any more. Please, never let a fandom affect a friendship.

Call this fic what you will; a let down, a "swan song" (as it has been called on one occasion, much to my aggravation), something best forgotten, but this chapter has been sitting here for a year now and I think that it needs to be posted, because it does offer some sort of direction as to where the future of it would have led.

Thank you for all of the support and kindness.

Jess.

You spin me right round

Rei sighed and glanced at the clock for the fifteenth time. He hated waiting around for their would-be competitors to narrow themselves down through elimination matches, since it was usually pretty clear from the first round who were the strongest bladers. As a professional, Rei could not only put his money on who they'd be facing off against in the final round, but also what level of challenge they'd provide. He wasn't worried about this year's qualifiers, from what he had seen so far. The real challenge would begin as soon as they faced off against Yuriy and his Neo Borg team, because upon watching the American, European, Chinese, and the African tournaments there didn't seem to be any newcomers crashing onto the scene. There was still the Mexican and Australasian tournament to go, but past experiences told him that it was unlikely they'd be facing someone who posed a real threat from those. Of course, nothing was a given and if he was honest, Rei sort of hoped that there would be. He loved to see new faces on the circuit.

"I'm so bored!" Takao sighed. Rei allowed himself a small smile at hearing his friend voice his thoughts.

"Pay attention," Kai answered.

"Oh, come on, Kai. Can you see anyone out there who could touch us?" Takao asked.

Kai was silent for a moment as he stared up at the television set in their locker room. "…No," he eventually replied.

"Still, this is the first time we've been able to show off for over a year. I want everyone to be talking about us," Max spoke up.

Takao jumped up and slapped his fist against his palm. "Yeah, let's show the world what we've got! Let's make all of the other teams feel the fear of pre-determined defeat!"

"Pre-determined?" Rei smirked.

Takao flushed. "I heard it in a film a few days ago and liked it," he shook his head, "but anyway, who cares about that? We've got to put a show on, right?"

"Well, I don't want us to give away our new moves and strength," Kai interjected, "but I think that making sure we do a great job out there will help us against future opponents."

Rei nodded, "I agree, putting the seed of doubt into someone's head is a really effective tactic."
Kai glanced at Rei in surprise and Rei flushed and looked away, having forgotten the awkward atmosphere between them for a moment. He kept doing that, especially today, in the qualifier environment. Sitting around with the guys made it really easy to relax and be open, but while that wasn't usually a bad thing, Rei felt like he should be more guarded after what had happened with Kai. He didn't know why, and if he was honest, it was kind of hard to maintain his distance from Kai because strangely enough he missed him. All they'd ever done together was simply hang out, but after over a week of next to no contact with him, Rei found himself constantly wondering what Kai would think about something, or what advice Kai would give him, or what kind of snarky comment Kai would make. It was hard, surprisingly. He'd never really had a best friend before. Rai had been more like a stand-in brother, and Takao and Max were more like his loveable cousins or something, but Kai filled that special best friend role that Rei had needed in his life. Kai had been a quiet source of support and guidance, and someone who he could talk about the kind of stuff he that couldn't talk to anyone else about.

The problem was that when Rei tried to shrug off all of the awkwardness and just act normally with Kai, he was seized with unease and his chest would ache. He just couldn't bring himself to get over what had happened, even though it was kind of normal. He'd read up on it, on the Internet he'd found out that it was pretty common for boys to… do that sort of thing to each other, and the advice had always said that there was nothing gay to it and there was nothing wrong with experimentation. It was more than that though. Something about it seemed inherently wrong and almost shameful even though various sources had told him differently.

Rei knew though, what was holding him back above all other things. It had taken him five nights of tossing and turning for him to realise that above all else, above even the fact that Kai was a man, it was fear that was preventing him from bridging that chasm between him and his best friend. It was something secret that Rei would never admit to, but he really wasn't a very sexual person. He'd been made to feel weird for that, since the teenage years were a man's most sexually charged period, but he seemed to be suddenly coming to it himself, late and much too fast. To go from pleasuring himself leisurely every day or two, Rei was suddenly engaging in and getting turned on from seductive activities, losing himself in passion and forgetting himself. And now, to have someone try to touch him; someone else touching him where no one but him had ever touched before, bringing him to orgasm, leaving him vulnerable… it was too overwhelming for him and if he was honest, it was leaving him slightly terrified.

That was why he was avoiding Kai. He didn't want anyone to see him like that, especially not someone he held in such a high regard. It was probably because of that high regard that he so often got carried away. He trusted Kai, and it seemed that his body did too, but paradoxically it was because of that regard that Rei didn't want Kai to see him at his weakest. It was all just a big mess and it was leaving him extremely frazzled.

Rei glanced around him and was relieved to notice that the others hadn't noticed his and Kai's 'interaction'. Instead they seemed to be engaged in excited chatter, completely oblivious to Rei and Kai's worry. He was thankful for their unexpected silent understanding, because he was fully aware that they'd noticed that something was off between him and Kai, and yet they hadn't addressed it. This pleased him to no end because he had no idea how to even begin explaining it. While the guys were good friends, Rei had a sneaking suspicion that they had never participated in these apparently commonplace activities, and would likely jump to the wrong conclusion if Rei even started to explain that he and Kai were using each other for relationship practice.

He sighed and toyed with his blade, staring at the bitchip that contained his precious sacred spirit Byakko. He received a comforting thrum and a slight sense of relaxation, but as usual the tiger offered no solutions to his problem.

"Right," Kai's voice interrupted his thoughts. "We're up in fifteen minutes. You all know where to go, right?"

The group all nodded. Mr Daitenji had come up with the idea of each of them taking on those who had been knocked out in free-for-all battle. They would join a group of a few challengers, and the last one standing from each would go on to form another challenger team. It was pretty clear that the members of Team BBA would be the champions of their respective dishes, so it was really just 'the last one standing before Kai, Rei, Takao or Max knocked them out of the dish', but obviously that was a bit long-winded to say. It seemed complicated, but none of them minded since it was an opportunity to get more battling in.

The following ten minutes dragged on horribly, but eventually it was time and on cue the entire team straightened up, wished each other luck and moved off to their own area. Rei trudged towards his group without much enthusiasm. Sure it would be nice to show off a little, but these were guys who'd been knocked out and judging from the mixed looks of terror and adoration on their faces as he approached them, he wasn't likely to get a great battle out of any of them.

He stood patiently as Mr Daitenji appeared and rambled on about what was going on, at which the crowd screamed with approval. He offered a small smile when he heard his name mentioned and felt the spotlight fall upon him.

And then the hall fell eerily silent and sound of the countdown filled his ears. Readying himself with a smoothness that spoke volumes of how practiced the motion was, Rei set his blade into his launcher, slid his feet slightly further apart and tore his arm backwards, sending his blade sailing into the dish in a silver flash. Almost immediately, he had taken out three of the potentials and was fast coming down on the ones who were clearly the weakest of the bunch.

A thunderous roar filled the arena as the crowd screamed, and Rei glanced at the screen and found Kai's face plastered upon it. He shook his head and couldn't quite hold back the smirk stretching across his lips, feeling both amused and strangely proud.

The crowd yelled again and this time Takao's face flicked onto the screen. Taking it as his cue, Rei turned his attention back to the dish, let out a few orders and took down the last remaining blades. The crowd showed their appreciation, and Rei offered them a smile and a wave before he turned and wandered back to the locker rooms while the judges decided on who would be offered another chance. He noticed that Kai was sitting on the bench, one leg propped up on the wood as he took a gulp from his water bottle, as soon as he entered. He froze when he locked eyes with Rei, and Rei shifted from foot to foot, trying to think of something to say.

"Phew, that was- where's Takao?" Max's voice made Rei jump and he snapped out of his thoughts.

"Still waving to the crowds," Kai replied quietly, looking away. Rei felt his heart clench unpleasantly, though he wasn't sure why.

Max however, laughed. "Trust him."

"Trust who?" Takao interrupted as he strolled in.

"Never mind," Max chuckled.

Takao didn't seem too eager to push it. Instead he whistled under his breath. "They've got to have a fifteen-minute break to fix themselves up, and then they're going to have the deciding matches. Gah!" he sighed, and flopped heavily down onto the bench. "It's going to be at least another half an hour before we go out again. This is so boring."

In an act of forced normality, Rei brushed past Max and moved to sit down on the same bench as Kai, though he sat about as far away as he could. Kai's eyes remained fixed on the locker in front of him.

It was going to be a long wait.

The opposing team turned out to be made up of three boys and one girl. They looked like an odd bunch to say the least. One of the boys was extremely tall and dark-skinned marking him as clearly not Japanese. The other two were twins- identical ones at that, with baby pink hair and startling blue eyes, but far from sweet, they looked rather daunting. The girl was rather exotic, an albino, but asides from those striking features she was only pretty in the most generic sort of way.

Their blading skill, if watching their previous matches today had proved true, left a lot to be desired. Of course, Rei was measuring them against Team BBA, which was a little unfair since Team BBA were the undisputed champions of the sport. In fact, he wouldn't be surprised if some of the newer generation of bladers were looking forwards to Kai and the rest of them bowing out of competitive blading.

Because, really. As long as they were around, no one else stood a chance.

"Rei goes first," Kai announced as they sat on the bench awaiting Blader DJ to finish his ceremonial speech.

Rei blinked in surprise and turned to face Kai.

Takao's mouth pulled sharply downwards. "But, Kai! I want to go first."

"You go second," Kai responded. Takao made to argue further, but Kai crossed his arms and looked away to scan his eyes over the beydish, indicating that the discussion was over.

"Representing the challengers, please give a thunderous welcome to…" Blader DJ paused, evidently having finished his initial ramblings about beyblading. Rei had to hand it to him though; he knew how to do his job better than anyone else. "The snowy-haired beauty, Yuri!" True enough, the crowd roared in answer. "And," Blader DJ continued, gesturing the Team BBA with a sweep of his arm. "Representing the defending champions," he paused for a second, and Rei was professional enough to know that that was his cue. Pushing aside all confusion and doubts, Rei stood in a fluid and unhesitant movement. "The legendary blader with the ferocity of a tiger, Rei Kon!" He wanted to wince at the usual over-the-top introduction, but the hysterical screaming of the crowd seemed to prove that once again, Blader DJ knew best.

"Push it to the limit!" Max shouted after him.

As Rei moved over to the dish, he found that his body and mind had grown calmer. It wasn't surprising, and it was entirely welcome after the week of stress he'd had. After all, Rei had meditated for years, and a lot of his early beyblade training had revolved around quiet contemplation and concentration. Nowadays, though he was passionate once his blade had been launched, he often found himself slipping into a mildly meditative, calm state just before his blade hit the dish.

"You might think you're all that, but I'm going to beat you! All I know is that to me, you look like you're lots of fun," The girl – Yuri? Rei smiled, picturing Yuriy's reaction to that- called out. Rei found her trash talk sweet, but didn't deign to respond, and in a move so practiced it was done without thought, set his blade to his launcher and raised it.

"Bladers! Are you ready?" DJ gave them a moment to object, but when neither spoke up, he grinned and clapped his hands together. "Three, two, one; Go shoot!"

Rei's blade was nothing more than a silver flash. The girl's blade was a teal sort of shade, and the two left a swirl of pale colour as they circled one another cautiously, not entirely unlike a pair of predators measuring one another up.

Outwardly calm, Rei's mind was racing, analysing the situation with cool professionalism. The girl wasn't bad, but she seemed to be a more defensive player, more likely to wait to counter than to outright rush into an attack.

Rei smirked. "Driger, attack!" he called out. The sacred tiger within the blade listened and responded, surging forwards in a gleaming blur, bearing down upon the other blade.

The girl grinned. "Hah!" he laughed. "Your impatience has led you right into my trap! Empea, counter attack!" The teal blade wavered in response, before crashing into Driger and intercepting its charge. Her cocky smile faded, however, as soon as she looked back at the utterly calm expression on her opponent's face. When his eyes flickered down, she followed them, and blanched in horror at the sight of Driger using the force of her attack to swing around and come back at twice the speed and power. She realised, far too late, that Rei had not only been expecting her counter, but had used it against her and for his own benefit, rather than simply just avoiding it.

Yuri conceded with a small smile, as her blade bounced off the floor by her feet, that she was still quite a way off matching the heights that the BBA had reached.

"Thanks," she said. "It was an honour."

Rei smiled back at her. "You're a good player. Keep at it, okay?"

"Okay!" She agreed, screaming on the inside about the fact that the Rei Kon had just complimented her. Still, with her future career in mind, she forced her face to keep as neutral as possible. "I hope to battle you again some day." Rei smiled and nodded at that, and, fighting to keep herself from grinning in excitement, she turned around and marched back off to her seat.

"And Rei takes the first match!" DJ shouted, causing the crowd to scream in approval. Rei gave them a small wave before he turned around and walked back to his bench. Takao passed him on the way, already ready to battle before Blader DJ had even announced that the second match was about to start.

It wasn't rude that Rei didn't pay attention to the following match. Takao was Takao, so when the arena filled with the sound of a roaring tornado followed by the clattering of a beyblade hitting the ground, none of his team needed an instruction manual to tell them what had happened.

"And Takao whips up a storm with his Dragoon, obliterating the competition," Blader DJ shouted into his microphone, shamelessly flaunting his puns. "Which all means that the BBA Revolution have taken the victory. Now, as per usual we will have three battles, so this is the challenger's chance to take the glory of bringing down one of the BBA." He paused to make a sweeping gesture. "Teams, you may now select your next player."

Max fidgeted; sliding slightly forwards on his bench in order to stand, when Kai stood up suddenly, scarf swishing around him rather dramatically.

"Kai?" Max asked, eyes wide in question.

Kai glanced at them all, though Rei could have sworn his eyes lingered on him.

Then he nodded once. "I'm taking this one."

As if the crowed was waiting with bated breath, the moment Kai took a step forward noise erupted in the area, louder than ever before. They cheered and stomped so loudly in wild excitement that Rei found himself smiling at their infectious joy.

Blader DJ however, was struggling to make himself heard. "And the BBA have sent out Kai Hiwatari." The crowd –if possible- roared even louder. "The challengers have sent out Fuuma Hiroto."

Fuuma –one of the twins- paled and stared at Kai with a mildly horrified expression, obviously having anticipated Max to be his opponent. Rei couldn't help but pity him since Kai's reputation was legendary. The fact that Kai so rarely battled in competitions helped that opinion along, so him taking the initiative to fight the third round was a hugely exciting (or dreadful, in Fuuma's case) surprise for everyone.

Rei fought back a chuckle as Kai took his sweet time approaching the dish. Intentionally, Rei was sure, the boy was at least slightly sardonic after all.

Kai's opponent didn't seem as amused.

"Now as we all know, this is sadly Kai's last year competing," Blader DJ went on, waiting as the crowd made various distressed noises. "But it looks like he wants to get off to a fantastic start to it by showing the next generation how the pros do it!"

Kai reached the dish and stared straight ahead, making his opponent fidget. Rei felt almost sorry for the boy.

"Bladers, are you ready?" DJ announced, causing the crowd to immediately quiet down. Kai and his opponent raised their launchers.

"Three!"

Kai shifted his feet until they were shoulder width apart.

"Two!"

Red eyes flickered to stare right at Rei, and for some reason, he suddenly found it hard to swallow.

"One!"

Kai's lips moved, but Rei couldn't understand what he was saying. He frowned lightly and tried to make sense of them, but—

"Go shoot!"

Kai was no longer facing him and was instead sending his blade darting into the dish in a blue blur. The crowd gasped though, when they noticed the blade give a threatening wobble as soon as it had hit.

"It's too slow!" Takao hissed. "I don't know what he's doing out there, but it's too slow. He's not going to last a minute at the speed he's going at!"

Max stared at Takao before turning his gaze to Kai. "Why would he do that?"

"Kai doesn't seem to have gotten off to a strong start, and his opponent has noticed this. Could this possibly be a day that we see the great Kai Hiwatari proved past his best?" Blader DJ yelled, whipping the crowd into frenzy and causing Kai's opponent to smirk with newfound confidence.

Rei however, felt a strange sort of indignation wash through him. Kai? Past his best? How could anyone even say that? The boy was a genius, he was the best of the best when it came to blading for Goodness' sake!

"I don't know what's going on. He's not concentrating!" Kyouju announced, looking panicked. "His readings are completely unheard of. His output's low, his rotational speed is decaying rapidly… if I didn't know Kai so well, I'd say that he'd done this intentionally to lose."

"Shut up," Rei snapped, causing wide eyes to turn on him. "He's never let us down when it matters and he doesn't do lack of concentration. Have some trust in him. He knows what he's doing!"

"How can you be so sure, Rei?" Takao asked, though he no longer sounded quite as shocked. If anything, he looked to be considering the possibility.

"I don't know," Rei admitted. "I don't, but I know Kai too well to ever think that he doesn't know exactly what he's doing when it comes to his blade. I just… I trust him." He was surprised at his own words. For the past week he'd been unable to do anything but mistrust Kai, but now… He didn't know how to explain it, but it suddenly occurred to him that Kai really was someone who wouldn't let them down. He wouldn't let Rei down.

Kai's blade was moving slowly now, but it still swerved quite neatly, leading his opponent around the dish in swirling patterns. Without even being aware of it, Rei rose to his feet, causing Kai to glance back at him. Kai's opponent took it as his cue, and punched an arm into the air.

"Amphara, attack!" he screamed. His blade accepted the order, surging forwards at an increased pace.

Kai smirked victoriously and turned back to his opponent. "Dranzer, dip!"

The crowd gasped as Kai's blue blade followed his lead, leaning precariously towards his fast-approaching opponent's blade. It seemed to be a mad strategy, especially when the other blade hit Dranzer and sent it flipping up into the air.

"There's no way it can land!" Max gasped.

"Shhh," Rei hissed. He's going to do it. I don't know how, but he's going to do it.

Dranzer had finished its upward surge and was beginning its descent. If someone had slightly less sharp eyes than Rei, they wouldn't have noticed that the downward momentum was causing the blade to spin slowly. At that second, Rei got it, and he could feel nothing but awe and pride.

"Do it, Kai," he whispered as a smile spread across his lips.

Though Kai couldn't hear him, he responded. "Suzaku!" he shouted, summoning his mighty bird out of the blade. The rotation of the blade accelerated as flames erupted from it, building up just enough speed so that the second it hit the dish again, it darted off like a flaming rocket straight into the completely unprepared blade of his opponent.

The crowd remained locked in a stunned silence as the blade imbedded in the wall on the opposite side of the arena stopped smoking. Kai's hand flicked out, snatching Dranzer back as it streaked towards him, turning away with a dramatic swish of his scarf as soon as he had caught it.

It was then the audience erupted into screams, shouts and cheers. It was also at that moment that Rei remembered just why he valued Kai so much in the first place. For everyone in the room, Kai had reaffirmed that he was the one who would put on the best show in the entire sport. He was the original champion, and final circuit or not, he had just proved that he wasn't about to go out with anything less than a bang.

"And in a fantastic display, Kai Hiwatari takes the last match! Team BBA win the Japanese tournament," Blader DJ announced. The rest of his speech was lost on Rei as Kai approached the benches and was swarmed by the rest of the team.

Kai was smirking, looking entirely pleased with himself, but strangely Rei felt his heart constrict painfully.

Without a word, Rei turned and hurried off into the corridor.

"Hey!"

Rei stopped dead in his tracks, swinging back to find Kai fast approaching him, catching up with him only moments after he'd left the main room.

"Hi," he responded simply.

"Where are you going?" Kai asked, voice strangely low.

"I'm not…" 'sure' was what Rei wanted to say, but he thought it would make him look a little strange. So instead he said; "Can we talk?"

Kai's frown faded and he stared at Rei with wide eyes for a moment before he nodded curtly and walked past the other, heading towards the nearest door. Rei followed him, thankful that the door wasn't locked and glanced around once at the empty hallway before following Kai inside the room.

Flicking on the lights revealed that it was a locker room; similar to the one they had been in earlier.

"I don't think anyone's using this one," Kai muttered.

Rei nodded. "Okay."

They stood in silence for a while; neither one venturing any words until Kai finally grew impatient. "So…"

"Yeah," Rei agreed. "You…" he trailed off, unsure of what it was he wanted to say in the first place. "You wanted to give him a shot, didn't you?" He said instead.

"That Fuuma kid?" Kai asked, answered by Rei's nod. "Yeah. I wanted him to have a chance of battling me on a slightly more even playing field. I wasn't about to just let him win, but I was interested to see what he'd do with me."

Rei chuckled. "Everyone thought you'd screwed up in the beginning."

"Yeah, what little faith they all have in me," Kai smiled. "You knew from the start though, didn't you?"

Rei looked away and smiled. "You don't do screwing up, Kai. You always know what you're doing."

"Well, I do with blading at least," Kai replied, and Rei was thankful for the unspoken implication, though he wasn't sure why. "I guess you just know me too well."

"I guess so," Rei replied. "Kai , you were… I mean, that really was…" was what? Rei found himself reflecting upon the match he had witnessed. The edge of the seat excitement and anticipation, the tactical mastery, the flashy finish… Kai was an utter credit to the sport and the thought of him not being there next year made Rei's chest hurt. There would never be another Kai; there would never be someone with such professionalism and flamboyant showmanship.

How on Earth could Rei put that into words? How could he possibly begin to express the pride he felt at being friends with such an amazing person? How could he ever tell anyone sufficiently how lucky he was that he had Kai as his Beyblading partner?

Most of all, how could he even put into words how much he'd missed his closest friend during the last week.

He was only dimly aware that he was approaching Kai, and even less in control of his actions when he reached up to place his palms against Kai's cheeks and tilted his face downwards as he expressed all of his apologies and admiration by pressing his lips to Kai's.

I'm sorry, he wanted to say. I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry. You're the person I admire most in the world. I don't want to feel uncomfortable with you any more because I don't like it when you're not in my life. You're my best friend. You're my hero.

A kiss was the only way the could think of to express the jumbled up mess in his head, and, call him crazy, but there was something about the way that Kai's arms tightened around him as he kissed him back that said I'm sorry too.

Kai broke away from the kiss for a moment, and opened his mouth to say something, but just like Rei, he gave up on words and plunged his mouth back down onto Rei's, swinging his body around at the same time to non too gently pin Rei against the wall next to the door. The younger of the two made a small noise of surprise, but soon refocused upon their kiss, tongue meeting the other's with just as much enthusiasm.

There was something strangely desperate in their motions, and their relief was tinged with sadness. They'd missed each other. Not just this physical intimacy, but also their presence in each other's lives, their friendship, their moral support for one another. Neither of them could believe it. How could they ever have let themselves lose sight of what was important? They were best friends and they had let a wall of silence and discomfort grow between them. They had complicated what should have been simple.

In all, Rei felt nothing but shame, and to his surprise it had nothing to do with kissing another boy. What he was ashamed of was how he had reacted the previous week. Kai was his closest friend and he'd made a mistake. He wasn't gay, he had just got carried away with whatever fantasy he'd been having, and who could blame him for that? Rei himself had lost sight of the situation they had been in.

There was that strange thrill again. Kai's fingers were digging almost painfully into his shoulders, and his tongue was relentlessly demanding ownership of his mouth, leaving Rei feeling utterly dominated. He didn't mind so much though. He was the one who'd fucked up more than Kai, so the least he could do was to allow Kai to have the upper hand. He wasn't in much of a position to complain either, since his head was beginning to spin.

Kai left Rei's mouth and tilted his head lower, gusting extremely hot air across the skin of Rei's neck. Rei shuddered at the sensation, not remembering his neck being so sensitive before. He tilted his head back, annoyed when the other didn't do anything else. Kai sent back a puff of air that may have been a laugh, before attaching his mouth to the unblemished neck. Rei's eyes fluttered as once again he was reminded of just how good that sort of thing helped. He clutched onto Kai's arms, finding that his lungs felt strangely heavy in his chest, almost like he was being constricted, but though it made him breathe more heavily, the feeling wasn't exactly unpleasant.

It didn't take long for a well-known tingling sensation below the belt line to make itself known. Rei blushed at it, berating himself for not expecting it to happen. He hadn't touched himself all week due to his and Kai's previous incident and now he was feeling it. If he wasn't careful, Kai would feel it too, and that would be horribly embarrassing.

Shaken from his pleasure haze, Rei very subtly (because he'd only just made amends with Kai- he didn't want to give him the wrong impression) tried to slide out from Kai's grip. Kai on the other hand responded by tightening his hold, pressing Rei further against the wall to prevent his escape. Rei shifted his hips away from Kai's body as much as he could, but Kai must have mistaken his movement for him trying to pull away. Somewhere in the squirming that followed, Kai's thigh managed to press itself firmly against Rei's crotch.

A thick groan tore itself from Rei's throat before he could do anything to quash it, and Kai froze suddenly, obviously taken by surprise. Then, tentatively, he pressed his thigh closer to Rei, rubbing slightly as he did so which caused Rei to shudder and grip onto him tighter. Against his expectations, Rei didn't feel embarrassed, as he'd expected. If anything, for the first time in a long time, his mind was perfectly blank and free of the stupid worries that had been weighing him down. The heat and the sudden neediness of desire running through him made it too difficult to think anyway. He revelled in his momentary freedom, and clutched at Kai, panting and rubbing himself slowly, but insistently against Kai's leg as the need for relief overrode any doubts he might have otherwise had if his mind had been clearer.

In a sudden motion, despite what had happened before, Kai moved back momentarily before replacing his thigh with his hand. Burying his face into Rei's neck, Kai leaned heavily against the younger one as his hand roughly kneaded the noticeable lump of Rei's erection through the flimsy material of his trousers. Rei's head hit the wall, face tilted upwards towards the ceiling as his eyes rolled back, far too gone to offer any sort of protest.

This would be what it would feel like with a woman doing it to him, he told himself, though he regretted that a woman's hand would be smaller and not as firm. Regardless of any of that though, what it felt like was utter bliss. Heat was raging within him now and Kai's hand scorched him, even through the cloth of his trousers. The feeling intensified beyond all belief when Kai reclaimed his hand for a moment before his fingertips fumbled for the zipper of Rei's trousers and yanked it down, before finding the elasticised waist of his underwear and plunging his hand past it to pull out Rei's cock. After moment's hesitation, Kai took it in his fist and began to jerk him in a fast, sharp rhythm.

Rei cried out, unable to believe how mind-blowing it all felt. His stomach squirmed and knees shook. He found it a struggle to even keep standing and clutched onto the other as if he was a lifeline. Kai's breath exploded hotly against his neck in a similar beat to his own ragged pants, causing goose bumps to rise across his flesh. His body was beginning to tremble, his hips quivering as they answered the motion of Kai's fist, and it felt as if molten heat was pooling in the pit of his stomach. Even the wet sounds of Kai's hand jerking him and their heavy breathing seemed nothing less than erotic to him as he lost his mind more and more to the thing building up inside of him.

The sensation of Kai running the pad of his thumb over the head of his erection proved to be the catalyst to his downfall. Something inside of him snapped, and with a strangled sob, he shuddered once before driving his hips into Kai's hand. Though Kai slowed in his motions, he did not stop as Rei spasmed against him, milking him for everything he could give and only stopping when Rei had finished spurting.

Rei let out a shuddering sigh of satisfaction and slumped forward against the other. He relished in this utterly sated feeling, wanting to focus on that rather than worry about what had just happened. Kai on the other hand was staring in shock, red eyes fixed on the spot where Rei's head was buried in his shoulder, and monumentally surprised at what he'd just done.

Still neither could deny that it was nice to be this close again. It was really strangely comforting.

--

Takao looked at his watch as he swung his feet to and fro. "Where are those two?

"I don't know," Max replied gravely. "But I hope they make friends again soon."