Title: Equals
I took creative license with timelines again, so no manga context.
Volume 5 onward
Kazuma has returned after his mysterious disappearance, and Nora has some things to say to him - as well as something that maybe can't be spoken.
Disclaimer: Nora: The Last Chronicle of Devildom isn't mine either.

"And to top it all off," Nora continued, finally winding down from one of the longest rants he'd ever gone on, "you just ran off, right when the Resistance is trying to track me down, just so that you could be more powerful!"

Kazuma stared at him. "Wow. I didn't even know you could focus on a single topic so long–"

"Don't insult me, I want an apology!"

"An apology for what?"

"For taking off like that!" Nora glared. "Admit it, you got jealous of my power and decided that you had to find yet another thing to be better than me at. You just had to go find a way to surpass me–"

"I didn't go to surpass you, Stray," Kazuma interrupted. Nora's tirade died away.

"You didn't?"

"No." He stepped forward, putting less than a foot between their faces. "And now that you're finished yapping, you tell me something. Why did you assume that?"

"…What?" Nora asked, feeling as if he wanted to lean away, but also as if he'd be backing down if he did. Why the hell did Kazuma have to come back so tall?!

"You assumed I went to gain power to surpass you. Why?"

"Because you're a jerk who likes to boss me around! What other reason do you need?"

Kazuma smirked. "Are you sure it wasn't because you were a little scared? That me surpassing you is your greatest fear?"

"Why the hell would I be scared?" Nora snapped. "You couldn't surpass me even if you wanted to, you're just a human!"

Kazuma stepped forward again. Nora stepped back against his will.

"Maybe you thought I wouldn't need you anymore," he said, staring down into Nora's eyes. "Maybe you thought I wouldn't want you anymore."

"Shut up, you bastard," Nora spat.

"Bitch," Kazuma countered, grinning at the rage that ignited in his partner's eyes. There was something about that fire that he liked…

As Nora snarled out insults, stringing most of them together into an unintelligible blur, Kazuma shook his head. Eventually Nora had to stop to breathe, and he took the opening.

"You dumb puppy. You're so ready to call everyone your enemy, and you can't even recognize the enemy you fear most."

"And who do you think that is?"

"Loss. Death. You can't stand the idea of something being taken away from you, so even though you crave it, you convince yourself you don't want it."

Nora opened his mouth, but no sound came out.

"You assume the worst. You decide ahead of time that you'll lose something so that you won't get attached to it. That's why you assumed I left to become stronger than you – you didn't want to admit that it was that very truth that you feared more than anything."

"You…how dare you…what the hell…" Nora sputtered. Kazuma inched closer.

"I wanted to be your equal. I didn't give up five years of my life to remain below you, nor to surpass you, but so that I could stand with you on even ground. I didn't do this to leave you; I did it so that I could stay with you."

Nora's jaw was still hanging loose. Kazuma regarded him, slightly baffled that he hadn't been bawled out yet. "What's the matter? Cat got your tongue?"

Suddenly, Nora's hand shot out and tangled in Kazuma's hair. He gripped the roots and pulled his face down to his, capturing his mouth.

He felt Kazuma's lips part. With a hungry growl Nora kissed him harder, taking control. His eyes sought his master's. There was no sign of surrender or shock in them.

At that moment, Kazuma bit his lip. Hard.

"Ow!" Nora jerked away, raising his free hand to his mouth. He could see blood on it when he pulled it away. "You're an asshole," he snarled.

"Then why'd you kiss me?" Kazuma asked, looking – there was no other word for it – amused.

Nora, his fingers still gripping Kazuma's hair, fell silent.

"I'm waiting, Stray."

I wanted to tell you something.

Nora could still taste the salt of his bloody lip. He could also taste something else...something nice.

I needed to tell you.

He was no good with words in the first place, and Kazuma always twisted everything he ever said into something else. He'd needed another way to speak. His body had come up with one for him. But what had he been trying to say?

I…was scared.

"I don't know," he finally said, glaring. "Happy now?"

"No." Kazuma wrenched free of his grasp, apparently unaffected by the loss of the hair that remained trapped in Nora's fingers. He, in turn, grabbed Nora's collar, and pulled him closer. "We may be equals in power, but I'm still the master. Therefore I get control of the kiss. Got it?"

"Like hell–" That was as far as Nora got. Kazuma's lips and tongue effectively blocked any chance of him making a sound. He was being held in place, but felt no real desire to move. That nice taste was back.

Kazuma's heart thumped pleasurably at the sight of the rage fading away in Nora's odd-colored eyes, fading into something new. Something he liked even more than the fire. The flame returned though, moments later, as Nora found another chance to speak.

"If you think," he panted, "that I'm going to be content to be your little submissive–"

"Shut up, mutt."

"I told you, I'm a purebred!" Nora retorted before another kiss silenced him.

Notes: Why do I love these guys? I don't even know. They're both foul-mouthed arrogant jerks and yet I adore them together. Normally the whole kiss-rape type of scenes annoy me, but it's just so in-character for them that writing it out fluffy simply wouldn't work.

Happy birthday Marie! I know you don't like shounen-ai, but um...happy birthday anyway! xD