It's always like this. His tongue in my mouth, his hands on my body, the latest inn's cheap mattress underneath our weight. He tastes of cigarettes and beer and something almost spiced that can only be his natural flavor. I've grown used to it; I've become addicted to it. But it's always the same.

He stumbles in and I set what I'm doing aside. I smile politely at him, more out of habit than as a reflection of how I feel. His eyes meet mine and a myriad of unspoken things passes between us. And then the excuse comes, just as it always does.

"I'm drunk."

He slurs his words together on purpose. I'm never sure who he's trying to fool; himself or me. So I give no response. I just smile and incline my head in understanding.

Then his arms are around me. His mouth is on mine. At least he goes out of the way to drink before doing this. At least then we can both pretend to believe what he's said is true. After all, that's all he has to hide behind. He's not attracted to men; he's just drunk.

I wrap my own arms around his solid chest, threading one hand into his brilliant red hair. I've always had a morbid fascination with his hair, and the feeling of it sliding across my fingers is something I've come to crave. But I try not to be too eager. I try not to seem too receptive. In the end I have no excuse. I don't get drunk.

The longer we go, the less he acts. Every kiss is less messy, every touch less fumbled and more hungry. The more caught up we get, the less he feels he needs to hide behind empty words. I've never questioned it; I always just nod and smile and give him what he wants. I'm beginning to wonder why he says anything at all before this starts. Doesn't he realize he can just have it?

Clothes are lost quickly, easily, tossed haphazardly to the floor. I wish he would be more careful. He doesn't have to do the laundry or the ironing. The one time I said as much though, he stopped. He laughed and he shook his head and he just…stopped. He left afterwards, teasing me about my maternal nature as he collected his clothes and retreated to his own room. So I stay quiet. The only things he'll hear from me are the small noises he elicits from my parted lips as his hands and mouth ravage me with near expert knowledge.

I'm flushed and hot and desperate but I bite my lip. I watch him through hooded green eyes, wanting to ask but afraid of the answer. I don't know why I hesitate. Perhaps I'm scared of chasing him away. Speaking just seems like a waste, an unnecessary risk. I know he'll give me what I want in the end. I just have to wait. I just have to be patient.

In the few moments in between, when he's looking for the small bottle of lubricant I've come to keep in my pack, my mind goes to the inevitable. I think of her. I think of how low I've sunk. This used to be something I did with her, and it meant something then. I didn't give my body to just anyone; I refused to treat an act so intimate as little more than an activity to pass the time. I wouldn't give myself to someone just looking for relief. There needed to be some kind of commitment. But not anymore.

Why have I lost those standards? He's not the first one to try, the first one to make advances on me. But he's the first one I let in. He's the first person who's touched me, kissed me, in nearly half a decade. Is it because I know him so well? Is it because I've grown used to his presence? Is it because he's touched me before this, without the sexual connotations? I already know, but I don't want to know. It hurts to know.

His hands are on me again, his mouth on mine. The feeling dispels my thoughts, lets me focus on something else. I close my eyes and cling to him; discretion no longer matters. He breaks off; I hear him pant my name against my neck. I whimper helplessly, so many words on my lips but unable to find the breath to get any further. I'm hopeless.

One long, experienced, finger slides into my body, the cool gel of the lubricant taking nothing away from the slow burn that radiates through my body from that point of contact. My mind is narrowing down, focusing on that feeling, craving more of everything, wishing he'd just get on with it. We've done this enough; he shouldn't have to do this. But he always does. He takes his time. He makes sure I'm ready. I suppose I should be comforted by this; it's as thoughtful as it is maddening. Or else he just likes watching me squirm. Sometimes I wonder if I know him as well as I think I do.

I feel his teeth nip at the sensitive skin on my neck, along my jaw, trying to distract me – unsuccessfully – as he slides a second finger in, stretching me carefully. My hips rise up in invitation, my breath coming in heavy, ragged, pants. I manage to get my eyes open and I plead with them, wishing he'd lift his head, read my desires there. But he's busying himself with my skin, kissing and licking and biting everything he can reach without shifting our positions. I'm always glad I wear what I do; he often leaves marks along my body without thinking. It would be too complicated to explain where they came from should the others see them.

One more finger. One more agonizing minute of waiting. But he's humoring me now; he's slowly thrusting his fingers in and out, in and out. I want him so badly. My head is spinning with it. And yet I still can't speak. My words all seem to die in my mouth, leaving a flat, disgusting, aftertaste. A reminder of how pitiful I've become. I can't even say his name.

Yet that's never bothered him. It's never made him stop, never caused him to pause. He seems to understand, or maybe he doesn't care. I don't necessarily care which it is. We're both satisfied in the end.

Finally, I feel his fingers pull out and the thick head of his length pressing against me. He's muttering something into my neck, his hands locked on my hips. I'm not listening. I don't have the sense of mind to. My mind is fixed on the feeling, the teasing, the craving to have him inside of me. I want to be filled. I want to stop thinking about anything other than how he feels pounding into me.

He relents as I arch my body, sliding into me. The feeling is exquisite. I press my head back into the mattress, a silent cry on my lips as I roll my hips against his, trying to take more of him into me. I can feel my muscles stretching and mindfully relax them, wrapping my legs shakily around his hips. The sounds he makes against my shoulder are a mix of breathy words of adoration and incoherent musings of approval. And he's smiling. He always seems so happy when we're caught in this rapture, this dance. I suppose I am too. After all, there's a smile on my face as well.

As he's finally sheathed inside of me, down to the base of his straining length, he stills himself. His hands massage my hips, squeezing and releasing in languid motions. I remember what she used to say, how she used to adore my hands so much. How I soiled those same hands and became the monster I am today. I don't want him to stop. I don't want this moment of thought. I curl those hands that were once adored tightly in his hair; I shift my hips as best I can and try to get him to move. All my requests are wordless. If I speak, I'll think. I don't want to think.

Sometimes he'll laugh at me. Sometimes he'll scold me teasingly. Sometimes he'll do little more than groan and give me what I want. I'm lucky tonight; he's as desperate as I am. He sets a steadily increasing pace, pulling himself out to the head before driving back in, burying himself deeper with each thrust. I'm panting, whimpering, clinging to him for all that it's worth. My head is spinning, my eyes shut as I feel my release cresting. He always outlasts me; I suppose years of practice have given him that advantage.

He moves harder, faster, pounding into my body with lust driven abandon. This is what I want. This is what I wait for. There is no room for thought here, no room for doubt or haunting memories. There is only the heat of our bodies pressed together, the heady scent of sweat and sex, the mingled sound of our voices as we lose ourselves in one another.

One of those wonderful hands moves across my stomach, trembling fingers wrapping around my otherwise neglected member. My head snaps back against the bed, the breath knocked from my lungs as he mindfully begins to pump me in time with his hips, teasing the sensitive head with his calloused thumb on every upstroke. I can't take it anymore. With a strangled cry my body bows off the bed, my mind obliterated by the exquisite flash of orgasm.

I can feel him moving against me, can feel his teeth on my shoulder. But the feeling is almost detached now. I shudder and tremble, my hands still clutching at his body desperately, not wanting to lose any of this yet. He growls against my skin, his own muscles tensing as he joins me in this post-coital bliss. I can feel the heat of his release in my body; I can feel him slowly relaxing in my arms. Most importantly, I can feel his heart beating in time with my own.

I'm closer to him in these few moments after the act than I ever have been, or ever will be. I can still feel him inside of me, his chest is against my own, his breath is on my neck. The hair I find myself so taken with is stuck to his face and forehead and I gently brush it aside. And I can feel him smile again.

Carefully, he slips out of my body, shifting his weight just enough to roll off to my side. I don't let him leave. I never let him leave. The one time he tried, I snapped. I don't yell often; he knows that. He hasn't tried to leave me after this since. Instead, he contents himself by lying at my side, his arms wrapped loosely around my waist, his head tucked comfortably on my shoulder.

This is always the hardest part. We have to pretend again. He has to be drunk and I have to be the willing victim. He mutters incoherently, going out of his way to slur every sound together into nothing but a garbled mess of syllables. And I smile and I nod. No words. Not yet.

I wait for him to sleep, for his breathing to even out and his grip to loosen further still. His arms are barely slung over me now, his legs attempting vainly to curl with my own. I don't want to sleep yet. I stare at the ceiling, the smile on my face fading as my thoughts return. My thoughts of then. My thoughts of her. My thoughts of him. And finally, words come.

"I love you, Gojyo."

He has his excuses for doing this. I have mine. But while he can tell me his, I can only ever speak mine to the dark.