Junpei leaned back lazily in the armchair, legs spread wide, moving his fingers across the brim of the sofa like trickling water.

It was cold outside. The door had swung open moments earlier, exposing the lobby's inhabitant to the chilly air along with hasty apologies from a flustered Yukari, shivering from within her pink cardigan. The brunette babbled something about dull arrowheads to a bewildered and unresponsive Junpei, before she scuttled the rest of her way upstairs.

It was Saturday. School this week had been interrupted by various holidays, ones he couldn't quite ever remember the names of. It didn't really matter though, he supposed, leaning back further into the cushy sofa. He curled his fingers into the pillows and sighed. The dark green color didn't help itself out much when it came to things like inevitable food stains upon the seat's surface.

Junpei's favorite spot was located at the rightmost end of the couch facing away from the front door and main walkway. He saw the faces of his dorm-mates every day; he didn't necessarily want to see them each and every time they walked in through through those doors, and risk himself getting cold from the wind.

He had slid further down his seat and was lazily playing with his own fingers by the time the door knocked. Quietly, controllably, he forced himself up and staggered over to answer it.

"Been waiting for you," Junpei said, smiling crookedly as he stepped back and turned toward the hallway.

Ryoji raised an eyebrow as he saw his companion walk away, closing the door behind him. It was quiet, and a bit late, the visitor supposed. No one else seemed to be around. Having prepared to start babbling incessantly about the girls he met at the mall earlier, he was surprised at the quiet prompt that followed his entrance.

Up the stairs. Junpei's shoulder slammed against the corner of the wall as he turned into the hall of his dorm room.

"Hey, careful man," Ryoji said, puzzled. "Hey, so what are we gonna do right now, anyway? You get Devil Arms 4 yet?"

Junpei fumbled in his pocket and took out a key, pushing it into the slot and spilling into his room.

There was a table lamp on. The room was in its usual state, various objects cluttering the hardwood floor as though an intruder had broken in and sifted about. A chair beside the desk had been pushed out of its spot, left facing outward toward the room. Junpei went to sit down on it, before deciding to crouch down and pick over the things that lay cluttered at his feet instead.

"You're drunk," Ryoji said, suddenly taken aback with realization.

"Yep," a normally talkative Junpei spoke for the first time in minutes, busying himself with the chore of pushing various toys and magazines underneath his bed, "just like my old man."

"Your old man...?" Ryoji said, confused.

Erratic nodding.

"...Uh, okay then," Ryoji muttered, taking his hand off his hip to scratch the back of his head uncomfortably. "So, uh...why's that?"

Erratic shrugging. "It doesn't matter," Junpei said, pushing the thought away distractedly with a wave of his hand. His belt was halfway buckled, his shirt untucked, and he beckoned his yellow-scarfed companion to sit beside him on the bed, hastily smoothing over his sheets with his arms. "Hey--Ryoji-kun--c'mere for a sec."

Ryoji put his hands in his pockets and stepped over the junk.

Something weird was going on here. Something that caused Ryoji's normally-carefree attitude to turn suddenly solemn, in the company of Junpei, of all people. He had a strange feeling in his chest, figuring vaguely that this visit was destined to be a turning point in their friendship. The air almost seemed to click with the heavy static of whatever it was that was lingering over Junpei's hatted head, whatever it was that caused him to take the actions he seemed to have already taken.

"How was your day?" Junpei drawled, head lolling about on his neck, leaning back on his arms at he gazed at his friend. "Tell me about your day, today."

Ryoji smirked a little out of confusion, forcing out a nervous chuckle. The back of his neck began burning. "Well I went to school, then I went to the mall, and then I came here," he explained shortly. "That's it."

Junpei bobbed his head, in an attempt to nod. His legs were sprawled out in front of him, brushing against Ryoji's slightly. The guest shifted semi-casually in his seat and furrowed his brow. "Hey...Junpei, I don't mean to be a hard-ass or anything, but what's wrong with you, man?"

The boy looked suddenly puzzled, and a little guilty.

"No, really." Ryoji got up, moving his scarf out of the way of his arms as he crossed them over his chest. "What's the deal with you suddenly going and getting boozed up after school? I mean, were...were you drunk at school today, too?"

Junpei thought for a moment, and shook his head.

Ryoji let out a sigh of disappointment; unnoticeably, his heart began to quicken its pace. "So...what was the big idea in the first place, huh? I mean, did you go by yourself?"

"Found it," Junpei answered quietly.

"You found it," Ryoji repeated, tone dropping. He stared at the floor pensively, unaware of what else to say. Maybe an interrogation wasn't what anybody needed at the moment.

"What do you care, anyway?" Junpei suddenly piped up, hands spread on the covers.

Ryoji blinked with surprise. "Hey, what--"

"Shhh," Junpei interrupted, gazing into his companion's eyes. "No, listen. Listen. You know this doesn't really bother you," he said confidently.

Ryoji was not usually one for tense heart-to-heart conversations. He could admit this at the very least. But his lack of experience of dealing with friends with problems was something he was a bit unnerved about, especially because these were the ones who'd possibly know more about him than he'd ever want them to. He squirmed a little, unaware of what more to expect from his company's incapacitation.

"I mean," Junpei went on, scratching his forehead consciously, "you're so...so fucking popular, Ryo-kun, and don't try and tell me you're not. Cuz you are. So you're prob'ly only...pretending you care about me being drunk right now just cuz I'm...I'm your best friend. And so you think that you're supposed to."

Ryoji, bewildered, remained silent. He loosened his scarf around his neck uncomfortably.

"And I dunno why I did it. I mean I dunno. Maybe it's cuz I was bored--" He shrugged, eyes steadied on the wall he faced, "--or maybe it's cuz I needed to get something off my chest. I mean my old man was an alcoholic, and what was so special about it? Know what I mean?" he asked, turning an unfocused gaze back to Ryoji.

Receiving no answer, he went further. "And you got somethin' to hide from everybody, Ry. I...I know you do. We all do. I do." Sensing the stiffening of his company's body, he continued. "You're not a normal guy and everybody knows it. I mean, I don't really know but I guess..." he paused to point a finger to his own chest, "I guess that...I'm a normal guy. But you're different, you know. You're funnier, more adventurous, more stylish...not to mention, cuter than all those other guys too, eh?" Junpei said roughly, a sideways grin spreading over his face as he raised an eyebrow suggestively. "Eh? I mean you prolly...got, like, two or three chicks today since lunchtime, I'll bet. Cuz that's just how you are."

What the--? Ryoji thought, unable to process where any of this was going. "Err...Junpei, this is uh, pretty unlike you..."

"See?" Junpei chuckled, his eyes soft. "Now you're all blushing and shit. I mean I never really seen you when you're not just bullshitting with me."

"What are you saying? Ryoji asked quietly, a nervous sense of clarity suddenly overcoming him. "...Are you bullshitting with me?"

The room seemed to rock slightly. Junpei laughed.

"That's what I like to hear!" he said, moving forward on the bed, suddenly cheerful. Ryoji still stood before him, his hands opening and closing with a detached bashfulness inside his pockets. "No, of course I ain't bullshitting you. Because nobody else would be able to feel what you've felt with me...or what I've felt with you," he went on deliberately, a tinge of sympathy hanging on his words, pointing out himself with a brush of his fingers before pointing out Ryoji. "You and me...I can't deny how you drew me in, from the first second of when you transferred over here, from wherever the hell you were before. I just can't."

"What about Arisato-san?" Ryoji inquired, a serious expression crossing his face. "Is he different too?"

"Ahh, that guy," Junpei said dismissively, waving the thought way with his hand as before. "You know, I have to say at first, I kinda did look at him kinda crossways, you know what I mean? Like, I dunno," he said more carefully, pulling his baseball cap over his face a little, "maybe a little bit more than a friend. Okay yeah, that's what I said. But he's just so controlling, and he's got every fucking girl in this dorm and at school hangin' around all over his nuts too, but he's different. More into serious commitment, and shit like that. And you figure, from my point of view..." Junpei's shoulders were hunched as he put his elbows on his knees and stared at the floor in embarrassment. "...I can't hang like that. And I can't expect him to drop to my level or nothin'. I mean how could I? Lookit how focused he is on all that. He ain't got time for...for bullshitting around with another dude, who can't even figure out his own identity. You know? He ain't got time for somebody like me."

For a moment they were quiet, the dim golden light from the lamp casting distorted shadows upon the wall beside the bed. Ryoji's felt his heartbeat quicken as the gravity of Junpei's words struck him. It seemed that all of a sudden, every thought and every carnal curiosity that he'd ever pushed to the back of his mind had been spewed forward onto the floor, the answers brought forth from another dimension entirely. A dimension of impossible chances and circumstances.

He supposed that it was merely how things like this ever happened to people.

"Hey," Junpei said, scratching his stubbly cheek, his soft gray eyes burning through Ryoji's soul. "So like I was saying, I'm onto you Ryoji-kun...chan," he added, with a laugh to himself. "...At least, I only am if you let me be. You know?" His hand moved toward Ryoji's thin stomach, rubbing the area with a warm, rotating grip. "So now I'm here, and now you're here. And it's all up to you if you wanna prove something to me or not."

The hair on the back of his neck stood erect.

"Prove...something?" he asked darkly.

Again, Junpei nodded. "Yeah," he said, before beginning to drunkenly take off his shirt.

Ryoji started. "Junpei, what are you--?"

"Come on, Ry," he shot back, struggling to pull the sleeves over his head. "You know how good you are. What I need you to do, right now, is prove to me..." He floundered with words. "...something you do best."

"J-Junpei-kun, come on," Ryoji said, grabbing Junpei's arms. "Snap out of it. You...don't need to embarrass yourself like this right now."

"Embarrass??" he sputtered incredulously, beginning to stand. "I don't see what's so embarrassing about it, if I'm not the only one. Who's embarrassed anyway? Who the fuck cares?" Unbuttoning his jeans, his face moved close enough to taste his companion's breath. "And you know, Ryoji...this ain't a one-sided thing."

"W-well..."

A sly tickle crossed his face. "Heheh, well," he said, before dropping his jeans around his ankles. "Your turn."

A few rustled minutes passed, and a yellow scarf draped a new pile of clothes on the floor.

"Alright, well..." Ryoji said, face on fire, feeling his underwear. They stood there facing one another, slender and bony body parts exposed to the open air and each other's drawn breath, sharing the shy awkwardness of two pale teens who never quite lost their virginity. How is this happening? he thought wildly to himself.

"Now then," Junpei said, pulling his cap backwards on his head, a devilish grin on his face. He pulled Ryoji's neck with him as he dropped backwards onto the bed, fingers fondling the contents of his own pelvis as he pushed the underwear away from his body.

"Now you gotta prove to me...that you're as good as I think you are."

Junpei moved his hand clumsily from his pelvis up his torso, as he turned over across the sheets and pushed his own face into the pillow. The midsection of his body was suspended in the air, held up by the angle of his knees against the mattress. His eyes were closed, his hat still backward, arms positioned securely at his sides as he clutched the edge of the bed.

Ryoji's stomach turned, cheeks red hot with shy anticipation. He did feel a little guilty about proceeding, but in his wild warmth and jumbled thoughts he couldn't think of anything really harmful about what they were about to do.

Besides, it was what he had wanted.

"Quit dawdling, Ry," Junpei mumbled quietly, back arching, "and just do it."

Ryoji hesitantly complied. Moving his pelvis precisely, he brushed around the area of interest until he pinpointed it and penetration occurred.

Junpei breathed in deeply, his eyes squinting with pain. "Wait, no--" he gasped, yanking himself away. Still crouched over, he spit into the palm of his hand and, as Ryoji pulled back, roughly applied it to his backside.

"--okay."

For a few moments the blue-eyed boy's pale thighs were pressed closely against the backside of Junpei's, legs moving about with readjustment and repositioning. Carefully, as their conditions were confirmed, Ryoji began swinging his hips backward and forward as on a hinge, sweat beading on his face with focus.

They kept at it for a short while, every so often Junpei groaning and reaching back to grab onto Ryoji's slim waist for support. He could feel the sweat running down his partner's torso as the speed increased, his own parts throbbing enduringly. Finally he was prompted to switch onto his back, slender legs sticking ungracefully into the air, looking down at a warped mishmash of muscled curves and bare skin.

"Is that--" Ryoji panted, grimacing, "--good? For you?"

A strange chuckle escaped Junpei's mouth, his teeth still clenched in concentration.

A few more minutes passed before the two finally lay still upon the springy mattress, bodies stretched across its expanse with their arms hanging over the sides, legs entangled within the blankets. The air was strangely tranquil and still; an aftermath.

"Junpei-kun," Ryoji said softly, chokingly, scratching the back of his own head.

Junpei said nothing. His back was curved inward as he lay sideways, forehead inches from his knees, eyes still closed in the way they were before. Ryoji sat up and ran his hand through his slicked-back hair, away from his face.

"You asleep?" he muttered.

No answer.

The dim light of a table lamp spilled from underneath its shade, glowing faintly upon their faces like a candle. Scratching his cheek slowly in thought, he moved from his back to an upright position, looking down at himself with tired eyes and a slight sense of shock. A few leftovers of video game paraphernalia were still littered upon the hardwood floor in the corners of the room, and he smiled to himself as he saw a poster of a woman in a bikini tacked crookedly upon the wall. He could hear the soft, heavy breathing of an exhausted boy who fell asleep, and looked over to see Junpei's nude body curled into itself, his hat gripped loosely in his hand and the sheets tangled around his legs. Hopping up to pull his underwear and pants over his thighs, the hipster dragged the sheets up over the rest of Junpei's limbs.

What a fucked-up thing, he would have thought before about the scene that lay before him. There's no way that this just happened.

But as a sympathetic smile overcame his raw lips, he tucked the covers under Junpei's drunken shoulders and stroked his rough cheek with a hand, softly. Leaning down and pressing his mouth into the short, warm, sweaty, wonderful hair covering his young comrade's head, he whispered something he would have never dared utter until the time and the place came for the end. For he knew not the severity of his words, the explanation behind his thoughts; merely the sentiment that lay behind them, and that presented itself as a muse for his untapped emotions.

"May Death take you with honor and with none but your gentle soul and heart...and may you fight for those you love, even if they include Death itself. For He watches over you as His equal: carefully, with respect, and with admiration."

He kissed.

"Amen."