Disclaimer: These characters definitely do not belong to me; I'm only borrowing them for my own amusement. I'm not making any money out of this and no copyright infringement is intended.

This ficlet is dedicated to Amariel, who introduced me to Junjou Romantica.

"Grow up and become a man, then you can 'take me on'."
Usagi-san to Misaki, Junjou Romantica ep 1 season 2

Growing up

Misaki has just turned twenty-one and the past two years have taught him more than all his earlier life put together. He understands so much more about people now, and that's what growing up is all about, he thinks – understanding people better and not making the mistake of relating everything they do to yourself, because sometimes it really doesn't have anything at all to do with you.

Only, with Usagi-san, it's hard not to take things personally, because Usagi is more important than anything and anyone, and everything he does goes under Misaki's skin and pierces his core, all the stupid Usagi things and all the wonderful ones.

Is Usagi more important than Niichan? Misaki wonders suddenly, pausing guiltily with the knife half an inch above the tomato he's slicing. No, important in a completely different way, he decides, and he can't imagine what his life would be like without either of them.

One of the things he's come to understand is that Usagi is an unusually prolific writer. Words flow out of him, no, they rush from him like a waterfall, and he spends his nights collecting them and ordering them in new and brilliant ways to express new and brilliant thoughts that earn him yet another award. No wonder he usually looks like crap in the mornings.

As expected, Usagi is in a foul mood when he comes home. No matter how honoured he may feel receiving an award, he still hates the ceremonies and parties where he's expected to perform like a monkey, albeit an intellectual kind of monkey. He generally needs to be soothed after, which is why Misaki has prepared a late dinner and bought irises that he knows Usagi loves. Besides, the blue of the irises brings out the blue in Usagi's eyes, which delights Misaki although he's never told Usagi this, of course not.

Maybe I should, though, he thinks, watching Usagi pull off his tie in jerky, cranky moves. Maybe I should learn to be less of an arse and tell him all the things I love about him. I make him sad by not saying them. I try to avoid being a burden and instead I make him sad.

"How was the party?" he asks cautiously, aware of Usagi's eyes being the colour of thunderclouds – never a good sign.

"Awful," Usagi growls, unbuttoning his shirt, "every bit as awful as expected."

He disappears into the bedroom, then to the bathroom and then to the bedroom again, and when he comes back downstairs he's changed both his shirt and his mood. A cigarette is hanging from the corner of his beautiful mouth, and his eyes are blue again as he gives Misaki something resembling a smile.

"Ah, you've made dinner," he says, satisfaction purring in his voice. "Have I told you lately that I love you?"

Misaki frowns and scoffs to hide the warm sensation spreading in his chest, like his entire body is smiling, inside. Usagi told him only this morning but he never tires of hearing it, even though he frequently tells Usagi differently. This, too, it suddenly hits him with painful clarity, is something that actually might be hurting Usagi. Am I being an arse again – trying so hard not to be that I'm becoming just the thing I'm trying to avoid?

Sighing deeply, he looks down at his bare feet. Growing up makes a lot of things more complicated than they were before, and that's saying something.

Suddenly Usagi is behind him, hugging him and resting his chin on Misaki's shoulder, like a horse, Misaki thinks and giggles. And then he gasps, because Usagi's large, warm hands are coming up under his t-shirt.

But much as Misaki loves this he doesn't want it now, not tonight – he has other plans. So instead of his usual protests that mean the opposite of what he says, he pulls away sharply and meets Usagi's surprised eyes.

"No," he says firmly. "Not now, Usagi-san. Food first. You didn't eat at the reception, did you?"

"I never do," Usagi says, bewildered, "you know that."

"Which is why you need to eat now, and have some wine to make you happy."

Usagi's face softens into a smile. "Misaki," he says in that voice that makes a succession of small shivers run down Misaki's spine, "I don't need wine to feel happy when I'm with you."

Even after three years, Usagi saying things like that makes Misaki blush.

When they've eaten, Misaki hands Usagi the irises, nervous as always when he gives Usagi something. His gifts always seem so small and insignificant, compared to what Usagi lavishes on him, compared to what Usagi is used to and has been used to all his life. Sometimes Misaki thinks about that enormous, palace-like house his family owns, thinks about Usagi dismissing fourteen million dollars as pocket money, and the thought surfaces now like something huge and ugly and misplaced like Godzilla rising from the waves, as Usagi takes the blue flowers from his hand and looks like he's been given the world and all the clouds and stars above it.

"Misaki," he says again in that voice and his eyes are blue, dusky blue, iris blue, before Misaki is suddenly on the floor with Usagi heavy on top of him, kissing his ears, eyes, nose, cheekbones, and finally his mouth.

Three years, and it still makes Misaki tremble.

"No," he says, squirming away from under Usagi, and again he can tell Usagi recognises it for what it is – a real no, not the usual no no no meaning yes yes yes, not the usual stupid stupid Usagi meaning Usagi I love you, I love you so much.

Usagi is practically sitting seiza, looking a little lost, looking at Misaki with concern. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing," Misaki says huskily, nervous at what he's about to do. "Nothing. I just don't want it that way. I want you to come with me."

P-u-z-z-l-e-d, the whole air around Usagi says when Misaki takes him by the hand and pulls him upstairs, snatching up Usagi's discarded tie from the floor as they pass. But when they enter the bedroom and Misaki pushes him down on the bed none too gently, the question mark above his head straightens out into an exclamation mark and the expression on his face as he looks up at Misaki says incredulous, incredulous, adoring.

"It's my turn tonight," Misaki says, and if his voice is trembling a little it's only from excitement, because his nervousness is all gone seeing Usagi look like that.

Usagi will like this, oh, he'll like it; Misaki is sure of that like he's never been before when giving Usagi presents.

Each button on the expensive shirt slips unresistingly out of its respective hole and the supple, tightly woven fabric slides off Usagi's body and on to the floor like a whisper. Heart pounding, more aroused than he wants to admit even to himself, Misaki straddles Usagi's chest, ties his wrists together above his head with the discarded silk tie and fastens it securely to the bedpost, staying in this position a little longer than strictly necessary, taunting Usagi with his obvious erection so close, only an inch away from Usagi's face but unreachable.

"Misa–" Usagi begins, but Misaki claps a hand over his mouth.

"Don't talk," he orders and Usagi's eyes widen, but he complies.

When Misaki moves his mouth down Usagi's smooth chest and abdomen there's even a small gasp that makes little butterflies flutter all over Misaki's skin and gather along his spine. Usagi's expensive trousers and underwear come off with the same whispering ease his shirt did, and with a hand on either side of Usagi's hips, Misaki inhales deeply. He loves the way Usagi smells and tastes, and taking him into his mouth and as far down his throat as he can is like a dark, secret dream come true, like something he's wanted deeply, wildly for years without knowing. Usagi has done this to Misaki countless times and never allowed him to reciprocate, but tonight it's Usagi's turn to lose control and Misaki's to take it. His tongue orders Usagi to moan and his fingers around Usagi's balls order him to squirm and buck and arc up into Misaki's mouth, before Misaki's finger enters him and orders him to gasp and cry out and come, and come, and come.

When Misaki has licked him clean and wiped his mouth, he realises Usagi is crying.

Sharp fear spears him and he hurries to untie the silk around Usagi's wrists, horrified.

"I've never cried in front of anyone since the day I was born," Usagi said that day long ago, the day Niichan announced he was getting married, the day it all began for real.

He cried on Misaki's shoulder then and he allows Misaki to kiss away his tears now. Misaki licks them gently, tasting their saltiness and not understanding, only wanting to heal.

"Did you not want this, Usagi-san?" he mumbles into the smooth warmth of Usagi's neck, excitement cooling off and giving way to the old, old insecurity that returns full force.

"Yes," Usagi says, sounding very strange, unused to tears and to speaking through them. "Yes, I wanted it. I just hadn't realised how badly."

His arms are holding Misaki like a vice and Misaki can barely breathe, but if this is how he's meant to die, if he's to suffocate, then there's no other way he'd rather do it than right here, right now, with his nose pressed into the familiar smell of Usagi's skin.