Slipped into the Sleepy Dusk
Author: Jusrecht

Warnings: WAFF

Character(s) or pairing(s): Dino/Hibari

Prompt: Dino/Hibari - Daybreak; "I close my eyes and I think of Rome."

When he returned, the sun had just peeked over the horizon, a burst of gold and brightness at the feet of static blue. His futon was laid out, inviting, and Hibari only had enough care to shed his black jacket off before toppling onto white sheets, grace and tonfa discarded, one noiseless, the other a dull thud against tatami floor.

He still smelled of blood, from the red marks around his nails to a shallow gash somewhere down the length of his left arm. Under his cheek, the soft pillow spun stupor out of silk and exhaustion, a spell to coax his weary muscles. The last thing Hibari saw before drifting to sleep was the pale sky, soaked with sunlight and morning's cheer—but the picture painted behind his eyelids was of another: clear blue, with wisps of white cloud threading the vast expanse, all colours of summer.

In his ears—or memory, or both—the distant toll of bells glided above a stirring city.

When he opened his eyes, it was to an altogether different spectacle: the bleak gloom of grey, frowning clouds and constant pitter-patters of the rain. The chill was a cool whisper on his skin, light tiptoes across his rousing awareness, and for one faint, disorientated moment Hibari even wondered why.

The hour was not late enough to engulf his room in pitch-black darkness, but the fact that he was not alone registered late. He noticed the black gloves and whip first, neatly set side by side on the floor—and would have reached for his tonfa if the latter's significance had not dawned on him. Temporarily eased, his gaze travelled further to the foot of his low writing desk, and the figure sitting behind it.

A frown settled slowly across his brow, but Hibari did not move. Dino had his head bent over papers in the pool of yellow light, with a pen poised above the surface as his other hand absentmindedly stroked the top of Hibird's head. The angle of his face made it impossible for Hibari to see his expression, but there was something curiously familiar, even intimate about the sight, so much that he would not have it disturbed at the cost of his comfort. He watched instead, pensive in the cloak of silence as seconds lengthened into minutes, until Dino looked up, suddenly alert.

"Kyouya." Even in surprise, his lips still curved into a smile which made Hibari think of that summer sky. The colour of his hair, bolder than the sun despite the meek wash of light, offered a different take of the memory, but still of the same branch, the same city.

And then it occurred to him that it might not be the sky, or the city, or even the memory itself—but the person. This person.

"It's almost six," Dino gave the information unasked as he rose to approach. Hibari would have recoiled from his sudden closeness, and lashed at him for this assumed familiarity, but did not; he endured it instead, favouring lethargy over the need to vent irritation. With this man, the latter had proven useless far too many times.

"Are you hungry? Should I get you something?"

Only Hibird twittered an answer as he landed on the pillow next to him, seeking for attention. Hibari rewarded him with a tap of a finger on the small yellow head, but otherwise remained silent until Dino decided to imitate the gesture, a few light, affectionate pats to the top of his head.

Hibari glared at him. "Stop that."

Dino was grinning, triumphant but rueful. "Since the only way to get your attention is to annoy you..."

This Hibari did not bother to contradict, but neither did he ask what are you doing here. It felt like he knew the answer already, the intimacy chafing, constricting, but there all the same.

"It was nothing."

"Oh, I know." Dino was now stroking his hair. "And it's impossible that you'll ever fail a mission. Still."

He let the word linger there, unclaimed, and Hibari was tempted to glare again. He hated that he understood, that he could know enough just by listening to Dino's voice. He hated that many things had run off track, away from his absolute control since this man had come into his life. He hated that he could no longer look at Namimori's sky and simply be content, instead of thinking of another sky.

Above all, he hated that he didn't want Dino to remove his hand, when he finally did.

"So, are we going out for dinner or do you prefer to stay here?"

The answer didn't take long. Dino made a surprised sound as his supporting arm was forced to give way, the work of a vengeful, purposeful leg. Hibari smothered a wince when the weight of a body heavier than his had him pinned to the futon, riling stiff muscles and untended cuts. For all his battle grace, Dino had once been a child at odds with balance, and life did not erase, only buried.

"Thought so." Now he was laughing, breath warm on Hibari's nape. "Am I the appetizer or dessert?"

Hibari silenced him. He still hated the fact that an armful of certain herbivore could make a difference to his day, no matter how small, but for the moment he was content to enjoy.