"Seimei."

I lay in his bed – my big brother's bed – and buried my face in his pillow.

"Seimei, help me!"

His scent still clung to the sheets, and I inhaled as much as I could. My body was still warm, and the space where Seimei had slept still retained a bit of his body heat. I rolled over and allowed my body to lie where his had been.

I could almost feel his hands on me. I knew it was wrong for two brothers to love each other as Seimei and I did, but I couldn't help myself. He was so tall and strong, and so unlike me.

I could hear him downstairs, talking to our mother. She had come after me again last night, and Seimei had protected me. That's how I had ended up in his bed.

He had heard her come upstairs, and saw her hitting me. Somehow, he had convinced her to leave me alone, and then he had sat down on my bed and pulled me on his lap.

"Ritsuka," he had called gently. "Ritsuka, are you all right?"

But I hadn't been able to answer him. My whole body hurt, and I was crying so hard that I was trembling. Seimei had stood and walked with me into the shower. I was shocked at first, especially when my older brother had started to strip me. I had cried harder and tried to keep him from removing my clothes.

"Trust me, Ritsuka. Okay?" he had whispered.

Because I did trust him, I had nodded and allowed him to remove my clothes. His fingers had skimmed lightly over me; touching, teaching, and caressing. My body continued to tremble, but I found the sensations overwhelming and confusing.

When Seimei had divested me of my clothes, I watched him as he stood back and undressed himself. Every inch of skin that he revealed seemed to be flawless perfection. I couldn't stop staring at him. Even with a mind as fuzzy and clouded as mine had been, I could still recognize the beauty and perfection in a body like Seimei's.

Flushing, ashamed of the lustful thoughts I was entertaining about my older brother, I turned away from him when Seimei came to me. He tried to take me in his arms – to hold me, but I pushed him away and hugged my arms to my chest, afraid for him to see me. I didn't want him to see how very much I needed him – how much I loved him.

But he knew anyway. He looked past the hurt, and the despair, and the fear, and he saw me. Just a boy who wanted desperately to be like his big brother. And he loved me for it.

I was pale and pitiful, and so ugly to my own eyes; and I didn't want the beauty of Seimei to be marred by my flaws. I didn't want him to see the monster that lived in me – the monster that our mother created, and then fed and nurtured. To myself, that's all I was – a monster. But to Seimei, I was something more – something beautiful.

He didn't try to make me understand; he didn't try to make me see things his way. He just turned the water on so that it flowed over both of us, and gathered me close to hold me tight. He held me until my shivers died down; until my sobs ceased; until I could stand on my own two feet again – and then he kept holding me. Even when I pushed away from him; even when I mumbled that I wanted to be left alone – he just pulled me closer and wrapped his arms tighter around my small frame.

"Just let me hold you for a while, Ritsuka," he had whispered. "I need to hold you."

I didn't understand why someone as strong as Seimei would need me, but I knew that I needed him – so I just stood where I was and let my brother hold me. Eventually, my own arms had come up around Seimei's neck, and I had found myself holding him as well.

He laid his cheek on my hair, and I was content to stand there with my face pressed to his chest and just listen to the steady, reassuring cadence of his heartbeat. Then I realized that it wasn't so steady – the beat was a bit erratic, and Seimei's breathing had gone ragged.

Confused, I pulled away to look up at my brother, but he crushed me back to his body.

"Don't move," he had hissed quietly, his whole body tensing beneath my touch.

Startled because I thought I had done something to anger him, I felt the humiliating tears begin to form behind my eyes again. "Seimei," I whispered, "What did I do?"

But Seimei only chuckled and held me tighter. "You didn't do anything, little brother. It's what I'm doing," he told me softly.

Resting my cheek against his chest again, I asked, "What are you doing?"

He sighed and pulled away from me, then held me at arms length. "I'm loving you, Ritsuka." Then he pulled me close again and laid his lips gently on mine.

His eyes were open, staring directly into mine – focused and intent on only me. His mouth moved softly over my own, eliciting little shivers that ran down my spine and curled my toes into the floor of the shower. His hands were curled gently around my upper arms, holding me in place – but not hurting me. I knew that I could break away from him if I wanted to.

I didn't want to. This was my brother, but it felt so right. It felt so good to just feel and touch and want and not be afraid that it was going to be snatched away.

When Seimei closed his eyes on a sigh and angled his head to deepen the kiss, I closed my own eyes and leaned into him. I couldn't stop the rush of emotions that poured over me – like the floodgates had been opened, and all I wanted was to soak them up. Whimpering, mewling, I tried to crawl closer to Seimei's body to achieve more of that fiery warmth he had given me earlier while he'd been undressing me. There was an aching need that was gnawing and pressing at my belly, demanding to be unleashed – and I was helpless against it.

Seimei's hands on my back were like little whispers of golden sunshine all along my flesh – setting my skin to singing wherever he touched me and igniting a flame that refused to be doused. I was burning in his embrace, singed by his love and the heat we were creating, but I didn't care. All I could think as he held me was, "More."

His fingers raced lightly over my skin, touching, teasing, caressing, and so very careful to not frighten. When I stood on my own in the circle of his arms and tried to calm the racing of my heart, Seimei pulled away from me and knelt on the floor of the shower so that he was looking up at me.

The water ran in rivulets down his face and forced his shaggy hair to lie on his forehead. It dripped enticingly off his chiseled lips and made me want to lick it away.

Staring into my eyes, he whispered, "Ritsuka, let me love you. I need to love you."

Still not quite understanding what he meant, I only looked at him.

He sighed, and then wrapped his arms around my hips and pressed his cheek to my belly. I gasped and brought my hands to his head in an attempt to push him away.

"Let me," he pleaded again.

There was such patience and love in his words, I found my hands gripping his hair and pulling him closer instead of pushing him away. When he turned his face and pressed an open-mouthed kiss to the sensitive skin just below my belly button, my whole body tingled and a flare of heat arrowed straight to my young flesh. When he blew warm air across the wet flesh that he had just kissed, I heard a low, breathy moan. It took me a moment before I realized that the seductive sound had come from me.

Then I didn't have time to wonder anymore became Seimei's long, clever fingers were dancing on the soft, full globes of my arse and I had never felt anything so wonderful. His fingertips stroked back and forth softly, up and down, making small circles, and dancing ever closer to the small, puckered ring of muscle that he sought. And while his fingers were wreaking their havoc, his mouth was doing some exploration of its own – trailing light, soft kisses over my abdomen; brushing gently over the thatch of sparse hair that arrowed downward; nibbling and licking in random spots so that I never knew what to expect next.

My own fingers were clenched in Seimei's hair, and were spasmodically opening and closing with every ragged breath I took. My head was tipped back; my eyes were squeezed shut; and my legs were trembling so badly I was afraid that if Seimei had not been holding me up, I'd have collapsed on top of him.

Suddenly, my knees did give out, and I found myself sinking to the floor of the shower. Seimei flowed with me, moving his hands from my arse to my hips to help me lie down. I nearly whimpered at the loss of his fingers on my backside, but it turned into a needy moan when those fingers closed around my already throbbing shaft.

He pumped me gently a few times, still kissing and sucking on the skin around my belly button, and then he swiped his tongue around the head of my swollen flesh to collect the drop of dew that had gathered there.

My body jackknifed upward, and I let out a keening cry that was, fortunately, muffled by the pounding of the shower.

I felt, rather than heard, Seimei chuckle. His hand was still clenched around the base of my erection, and he opened those sinfully delicious lips and swallowed me whole.

I couldn't breathe; I couldn't think; I couldn't do anything but lie there and feel. Seimei's hands; his tongue; his hair beneath my fingers; the warm water pounding down on us; the bumpy floor of the shower pressing into my back – and all of it was so sensually erotic and wonderfully new that before I could form another single thought, Seimei's throat was closing around me and I was arching up into his mouth to pour my young seed down his throat.

He swallowed convulsively, his tongue and lips and throat all caressing my flesh and milking me for every drop.

I lay there panting and gasping for a moment as Seimei licked and sucked away the sticky wetness that remained. Then he levered himself up beside me – which was no mean feat, considering that our shower is fairly small – and grinned down at me.

"Feel better?" he had asked, running his fingers through my soggy hair and moving it off my forehead.

Because my body was still singing from his ministrations and I was still ashamed of the way I felt about him, I only turned my head away from him and concentrated on breathing.

"Ritsuka?" he questioned softly.

But I only shook my head and refused to look at him. To my horror, I felt tears welling up in my eyes again, and cursed myself for my lack of strength.

For a little while at least, Seimei had taken away my pain and made me feel loved. Cherished. I would always treasure that. But I knew it couldn't last. Our mother would never let me be happy – she'd never allow her precious Seimei to sully himself with something as disgusting as me. She'd find a way. I knew she would. She always found a way.

My tears were selfish, I knew. I wanted to be happy with Seimei. I wanted to feel loved and cherished, and I wanted Seimei to be the one who loved me. It hurt so badly to know that this was the only taste I would ever have of that.

I didn't quite have time to hide the tears in my eyes before Seimei gently tucked his fingers under my chin and turned me to face him. His eyes widened as he caught sight of my weakness.

"Ritsuka! I didn't hurt you, did I?" he asked worriedly.

I shook my head at him again. "No," I whispered back. "You didn't hurt me."

"Then why are you crying, love?" came the gentle question.

I sat up in the shower and pulled my knees up to my chest. The water struck my bent head and fell in a curtain over my face, mingling with the tears that coursed down my cheeks. "Because I love you too much," I told him. "And this is wrong."

I felt his hands on my back, tracing over the old scars and fresh bruises that marred the flesh. They were another gift from our mother – to remind me how horrid and ugly I was.

"I love you too," he whispered back. "And love is never wrong."

Then he had stood up and pulled me to my feet. He turned me around gently to face the rear wall, and had begun to wash my back. His soapy hands were gentle and tender, and they soothed away the aches and pains caused not only by our mother, but also from the hard floor I had laid on only moments ago. I allowed Seimei to wash me, and he took his time about it, even going so far as to wash my hair for me. Then he pushed me away for a moment and told me to stay put so he could wash up.

When he stepped under the spray alone, I looked my fill at him. He was so beautiful – all that tanned, dusky flesh sprinkled lightly with a dusting of hair; the long, lithe muscles that rippled under his skin as he moved; the trim hips that gave way to strong, hard thighs and sculpted calves. My gaze was drawn to the blatant evidence of his arousal between his thighs, and I found myself thinking how much bigger Seimei was than me. Then I realized that he had brought me to my own completion, but hadn't achieved his own.

Almost before I thought about it, I found myself moving forward to join him under the water once again. When my hand closed around him, his eyes flew open and his jaw clenched. I saw the surprise in his eyes, and I'm sure he saw the doubt in mine, but I had made up my mind. Seimei had given me a little taste of Heaven, and now I would try to return the favor. If I could never again have this with him, I was determined to have at least these few precious moments before it was all shattered.

Lowering my gaze to my hand, I watched myself as I gently pulled and tugged at his flesh. Seimei just stood there and watched me stroking him; his eyes brimming with passion and love; his hands clenched into fists at his side; his breathing labored and uneven. After only a few moments of my tentative touches, he uttered a hoarse cry and pulled my hands away from him.

Startled, I glanced up at him and quickly found my mouth being devoured.

This kiss was not the tender, gentle sort that Seimei had first given me – this was passionate, and hot, and demanding. I thought for sure we would leave scorch marks in the floor, because I felt as though my body was on fire again.

Seimei yanked me against him and crushed his mouth to mine over and over again. His arousal was pressed up firmly against my own, and the friction between our flesh was so acute, so painfully pleasurable, I found myself trembling. Moaning into his mouth, I tried to convey my desire to Seimei.

He pulled his mouth away from mine and buried his nose in my neck. I could feel his breath shuddering out of him, and his whole body was wracked with tremors.

"Ritsuka," he whispered. He sounded as if he was in pain. "Why did you touch me?" he asked quietly.

I wrapped my arms around him and held on. "Because I wanted to be loved." I dropped kisses on his shoulders where I could reach them. "And because I'm tired of being afraid to love." I pulled away from him and stared up into his eyes. "Show me," I pleaded. "Show me how it feels to be loved. I want you to love me."

Seimei stared at me for a moment, then nodded. He shut off the water in the shower and handed me a towel to dry off with. Then he got one for himself.

If I hadn't known that his hands were shaking and that he was having just as much trouble drawing his next breath as I was, I would have thought that he was unaffected. But his hands were trembling – and that soothed me somewhat.

Seimei finished drying off first, and he threw his towel on the counter and disappeared into his bedroom.

Curious, I hurriedly finished drying myself and followed him. I found him sprawled on his bed, propped up by a couple of pillows. My mouth went dry at the sight.

He grinned and beckoned me closer. "Come here, Ritsuka," he said softly.

I went. I don't remember telling my feet to move, nor do I remember thinking about it – but I couldn't have stopped myself from climbing on that bed and crawling up his body even if I had wanted to. I dropped small kisses here and there on his skin as I made my up on the bed. Hearing the small sounds that I drew from Seimei told me that I was doing something he enjoyed. I lowered my head and nipped at the sensitive flesh on his inner thigh, and he moaned and bucked his hips. I could see his hardened flesh lying flush against his belly; the mushroom-shaped head an angry purple color; the skin soft and velvety looking; with a small pool of liquid gathered right at the tip. I darted my tongue out and lapped up that liquid – just to see what it tasted like. Seimei gasped, and I raised my eyes to his face. He was watching me intently, and his eyes were focused on my mouth. I swiped my tongue over the tip of his straining erection, and he let out a low, breathy moan that had my head spinning.

"Ritsuka, don't…" Seimei breathed.

I paused, but allowed my mouth to hover over him. When I spoke, my breath misted over his damp flesh and he groaned. "Why not?"

"Because… I won't… won't last," he panted.

"So?" This time, I allowed my tongue to swirl around the head, and had the pleasure of hearing Seimei's protest die in his throat.

"I want… ahh!… to make… nnnggh!… love to you!" he ground out. But that's as far as he got before I opened my mouth and attempted to swallow him whole. I was only able to take about half of his length into my mouth, but judging by the low, keening cry he uttered, I didn't think he minded.

Unfortunately, Seimei was far stronger than I, and he soon grasped me by the arms and hauled me up his body to seal his mouth to mine. Before I could protest, he rolled us over and pinned me to the bed.

He pressed one of his heavy thighs against me, and I moaned, arching my back to try and get closer to him. He kissed me and swallowed each of the sounds I gave him, all while running his talented fingers over my heated body. Everywhere he touched felt like I was on fire, and my nerve endings were screaming from all the sensations.

"Please," I whimpered. I wasn't sure what I was asking for, but whatever it was, I knew that only Seimei could give it to me.

He pulled away from me and leaned up on his arms so that he could look down at me. "You're sure? I don't want to hurt you."

Breathing heavily, my aching flesh throbbing for his touch, I arched myself into him and nodded. "I trust you," I told him quietly.

Seimei nodded and reached over to the nightstand that was beside his bed. He pulled a small cylindrical tube out of the drawer and squeezed a small amount of gel onto his fingers.

"This will make it easier," he told me, lowering his mouth to mine. He kissed me softly, drawing my lower lip into his mouth and suckling it gently. His tongue probed for entrance, and I gave it to him – sighing when his tongue slid against mine in a frankly erotic dance.

I was so busy paying attention to what his mouth was doing to mine that I didn't notice his fingers until they were probing at my entrance.

I gasped into his mouth and tensed at the unfamiliar sensations – but I did my best to relax. Spreading my legs further apart to grant him better access, I concentrated on mimicking the movements of his mouth until I could get over my embarrassment. His fingers danced and played around my hole until I thought I'd go crazy, but still I lay there and allowed his teasing torture to continue – still pressing my mouth hungrily to his.

He slid one of his fingers into my body, and I thought my head would explode. The feeling was so foreign, so alien – and yet, so erotically wonderful. I tore my mouth from Seimei's and buried my face in his shoulder, gasping for breath. He gently pushed that one finger inside me as far as it would go, and then gently, hesitatingly added another. It was so tight, so incredibly tight… I was sure I'd never be able to hold more than those two fingers.

Then Seimei began to move his fingers inside me. He slid them in and out, scissoring them apart to help open me up, and he hit something deep inside me. I nearly screamed, and ended up biting down hard enough on his shoulder to draw blood. He continued to push his fingers in and out of my body, constantly brushing against that spot that made stars burst in front of my eyes until I was a mindless, babbling mass of nerve endings.

"Please… pleasepleasepleasepleaseplease…" I babbled at him. Honestly, I'm not even sure it was a full word… probably more of a "Pluh…pluh" sound. But he seemed to understand what I wanted, because he withdrew his fingers and rose up over me. I whimpered at the loss of his fingers in my body, but already anticipating something else.

I felt the large, blunt head of his erection pushing gently at the solid ring of muscle, and I winced at the burning sensation.

"Relax, Ritsuka," Seimei whispered. "Relax."

Then with one short thrust of his hips, I felt the tip of his engorged flesh penetrate me. Already I felt uncomfortably full, and I wondered how the rest of his length would fit inside me. Slowly, inch by agonizing inch, he fed me the entire length of his shaft until he was seated root-deep inside me.

He lay against me for a moment, his damp hair lying on his forehead, his breathing uneven, and I could see him fighting to regain his control. I wrapped my arms around his shoulders and my legs around his waist and pulled him down to me. Kissing his temple, I whispered, "Love me, Seimei."

He trembled in my arms, but slowly began to pump his hips. I arched into him when he again brushed against that spot inside me. Crying out, I squirmed beneath him, trying to get closer to him – to reach that pinnacle that I could sense was just around the corner.

As though knowing what I wanted, Seimei pulled away slightly and wrapped one hand around my aching, throbbing flesh. He stroked me gently in time with his thrusts, each pump of his hips driving me closer to that peak and each pull of his hand sending a shaft of need arrowing through my body until I finally convulsed and covered his hand with my essence. Crying out, I felt Seimei shudder and release himself inside me, his own cry muffled against my skin.

Afterwards, he had slipped out of my body and pulled me close, whispering, "I'll never let her hurt you again. I love you, Ritsuka."

That had triggered another round of tears, but this time, I had Seimei to hold me. When I was spent and devoid of tears, he held me close to his body and stroked his fingers through my hair until I fell asleep.

Now, lying here the morning after, I find myself happier – more content – than I ever thought I'd be. I knew that she was downstairs, and that she'd attack me if given the chance. But now I knew that I had Seimei to protect me, and I believed him when he said that he wouldn't let her hurt me again.

I had found my own loving ecstasy, and she would never take that from me again.