A/N: Shiny new fandom is very shiny. And this is my way of celebrating it. Enjoy!

Warning: not worksafe. Also, might be somewhat spoilery for episode 9 and onwards. (One of these days I'll get around to reading the manga, so please don't spoil me to things not yet revealed in the anime.)

Disclaimer: Hotaru Odagiri and all associated companies are the rightful owners. This work is in no way associated with them, and no profit is being made of this.


Honesty knows not my name

"I told you not to worry about it," Shuusei says and tries to push away Hotsuma's hand, but his friend doesn't let him.

"I'll spend my whole life atoning for it," Hotsuma whispers low and Shuusei pauses.

Shuusei had intended to leave for the night, but something keeps him there, rooted to the spot. Maybe it's the look on Hotsuma's face when he sees the scar he'd left on him during that bid for self-destruction. The words Shuusei would have wanted to say won't come. He's not the one who can relieve Hotsuma of his burden; he's known this for a long time now. Though Shuusei thinks that it shouldn't be this way. He's jealous of Yuki for this, if only just a little. Some things can't be changed; he has learned this during their fights with duras.

Hotsuma's hand is warm on his wrist.

Neither of them move for a while. Shuusei is still standing and Hotsuma's gaze is caught somewhere around his knees. Wind wanders in and out through the open window and the curtains rustle softly, as if breathing. But maybe it's just the two of them, breathing; caught under the glimmer of stars. For a moment Shuusei's mind goes back to the day when they first shared a room and Hotsuma drew the curtains wide open, claiming that the light of the stars shouldn't be blocked out. Shuusei had thought to be the only one who knew the beauty of Hotsuma's smile.

"I'll try," Hotsuma whispers.

Shuusei doesn't quite understand. "Try?"

"Like you said just now. Being honest. I'll try."

Hotsuma still doesn't look up, so he can't see the expression on Shuusei's face. He smiles gently and there's so much love in his eyes that maybe, if Hotsuma took notice, it could ease his doubt and his fear of everyone abandoning him. He'd told him before, he has. Just a moment ago Shuusei had once more confirmed Hotsuma's wish. He'd stay by his side forever.

The grip on his wrist tightens.

"Stay."

Hotsuma pulls Shuusei closer and repeats himself, "Stay."

He reaches out with his other hand, slips it around Shusei and pulls him closer. His grip isn't strong on purpose. He's giving his friend a chance to break away if he doesn't want this and some part of him, at the far back of his mind, whispers that even Shuusei is going to leave him, someday, one day, maybe this very night - in a few seconds. He might be called a monster again.

Shuusei only smiles; a smile that Hotsuma won't see because he's still not looking at his face. He loses his balance a little and hastily reaches out his free right hand to lean against the back of the window seat and ends up seated awkwardly on Hotsuma's knees. Soon his left leg starts to ache from the uncomfortable angle it's bent in, but he doesn't object to it. Tonight, this is the place where he has to be - with his friend. He leans in and rests his cheek against Hotsuma's hair, lips close to his ear.

"Hotsuma..."

He's not sure what he wanted to say anymore. He's not sure what his friend will think of that strange tone, but Hotsuma's grip tightens a little, becomes more firm and he lets go of Shuusei's hand to wrap his other arm around him as well. Shuusei runs his now free left hand through Hotsuma's hair.

A sharp intake of breath near his ear later Shuusei realises that Hotsuma is looking at his scar up close. He shifts a little, would have liked to move more to the left so that his friend doesn't have to look at his own handiwork, but Hotsuma's arms hold him fast. Shuusei stills when lips touch the ruined skin and tilts his head more to the side - quite subconsciously - to give more room. He'd always hidden those burn marks from him, not wanting to add to his friends guilt. Though Hotsuma has touched them before, just not like this.

"Hotsuma."

Hotsuma makes a non-committal sound and carries on, as much as Shuusei's shirt allows him to. Shuusei sighs. If he lets Hotsuma do all the work, his guilt might take over again. Therefore Shuusei shifts a little (his left leg is slowly going numb and he'd better change his position soon) and slips his left hand under Hotsuma's hoodie, up his side and to his back, eager to show that he's not alone. That he isn't going to leave him.

Hotsuma's response is the tightening of his grip. He's still fixated on the scar, though he has slowly started moving up Shuusei's neck. Firm touches of lips, a tentative brush of the tip of his tongue every now and then, and his hands slip under Shuusei's pullover, pushing it up. For a moment Shuusei wants to struggle and pull it back down, but then he remembers Hotsuma's words from the other day. Maybe... Maybe he's too self-conscious about it. Maybe he ought to take his friend's request to heart.

He needn't hide it anymore.

"Take it off," Shuusei whispers and leans back a little. Though he's still unwilling to present those burn marks to the perpetrator so freely, this is also Hotsuma's wish. He wants to see what he'd done to Shuusei on that day. And maybe it's not just because of his guilt; hencewhy Shuusei is finally willing to go along with it.

Hotsuma doesn't act on those words right away, but once he does, he's fast about it and Shuusei barely manages to lift his arms up in time. He laughs a little, as they both struggle to get his arms free, and lifts himself off of Hotsuma's legs before lying down on the window seat, grunting at the ache and the unpleasant tingling feeling in his numb leg. His gaze fixes upon Hotsuma's face; the latter can't not look at him now. Their eyes finally meet and Hotsuma looks so serious, so intent, that Shuusei can only smile.

"You too," he says with a slight gesture towards the hoodie he's still wearing.

Hotsuma pulls it off and tosses it to the side where it falls next to Shuusei's pullover. For a moment there Hotsuma had thought that Shuusei would get up and leave, but now that he sees him lying there like that, he hesitates. He feels uncharacteristically out of place, but Shuusei is already reaching out for him.

"Come."

Hotsuma doesn't comply, not fully. He leans forward, hovers above him and... asks himself if he really should be doing this. Is this really atonement, he wonders briefly; but then it already doesn't matter.

Shuusei touches him. Determined fingers trace his chest and move down to the front of his trousers, pressing against it and rubbing a little.

"Come."

The window seat isn't all that wide and on top of that it's also slightly curved, therefore they don't have all that much space for manoeuvring, yet somehow they manage. With Shuusei lying down, it's a bit difficult for Hotsuma to balance himself above him; mainly because his left leg doesn't have anything to lean on but the floor and this forces him to use his hands for additional support while he'd rather have them both free. So he settles for the next best option and before Shuusei can get a word in, he's already working on the zipper of his jeans.

Shuusei is touching him, keeping them close, keeping them both grounded within the feeling of not being alone. And Hotsuma is grateful from that like he's never been before of anything, save for Shuusei's existence, his presence.

"Shuusei," he manages, and it's a request, a plea, a confession, a hundred of something else at once. They'd communicated with touches for a while now, finding words unnecessary and even this one word seems out of place for Hotsuma.

Shuusei's eyes are half-lidded and he glances up at his friend - and something more - responding to his wish with actions. He shifts and lifts his hips so that Hotsuma (both his knees on the seat now - he'd backed away a little) can pull them off. He leaves them around Shuusei's knees and lowers himself onto one elbow, once more adjusting his position so that he can take him in his mouth. He starts off slowly, helping with his hand where his mouth can't reach and Shuusei holds his ground, orders himself not to move. His lips part slowly, breath coming in soft pants, and eyes slip shut. He wants to take it all this in, commit it to his memory because they're crossing the line he'd never imagined having erased in their friendship.

He doesn't consider it to be all that bad.

Hotsuma slowly picks up the pace. He hasn't looked at Shuusei in a while, limiting himself to just listening and feeling his response, and he groans when Shuusei runs his fingers through his hair so gently, so carefully, so... you're forgiven. He closes his eyes for a few seconds and just pours himself into the moment. Still propped on his right arm, he searches with his right hand for Shuusei's side, wanting more contact; and then he can feel him breathing, can feel the heat coming from his body. And for a moment his scars don't matter. For a moment, atonement doesn't matter. There's just the sense of being here, together, of someone else moving against him, next to him, breathing. For a moment, the possibility of somebody calling him a monster doesn't matter.

Shuusei comes and Hotsuma chokes slightly, caught off guard. He swallows nevertheless, the back of his hand pressed against his mouth. This is atonement. Shuusei watches him, still panting, still with eyes half-lidded. He sits up, forcing Hotsuma backward. Shuusei lowers his feet to the floor; never mind that his jeans slip down his shins and tangle around his ankles. Though unzipped, Hotsuma still has his trousers on.

"One for one." Shuusei smiles and leans against him, using his torso as support. His hands find their way back into Hotsuma's pants and set to finish what he'd started before the initiative was taken from him.

"You don't need to," Hotsuma mutters into his hair, and means it, though he hates himself for saying that.

"You didn't need to, either."

And Shuusei ends it at that, stroking him firmly. He's not comfortable enough to go about it any other way. For now, he thinks and is somewhat startled at this thought before deciding that maybe he wouldn't mind repeating this some other time.
Hotsuma comes faster than Shuusei had, but he'd also waited longer. Shuusei sighs and slowly withdraws his hands.
They are unsure of what to do now and the silence ruling over them is... okay they figure.

"We should wash," Hotsuma suggests in an odd voice and those words sound exactly as wrong as he'd pictured.

Shuusei withdraws a little and leans back against the seat. "Go on ahead."

Hotsuma shoots him a sideways glance, about to say that he can stop hiding from him, but not a word escapes him. He nods and gets up, pulling his trousers back up and zipping them. He grabs his hoodie and leaves the room.

When he comes back Shuusei isn't there. And though he can't see it (not that he remembers to check), he'd also cleaned up the place before leaving.

Hotsuma stands in the middle of the room for a while, staring out at the glimmering stars in the night sky. He has no idea whether his attempt at being honest did any good to either of them. Or if it even was an attempt at honesty.