Full title: If you can't stand the heat, don't tickle the dragon.

Disclaimer: I'm using characters already existing in the raw universe of Sengoku Basara. All I did was a little sidetracking, adding my fantasies to the original plotline; basically owning nothing of importance apart from my own dirty imagination.

Rating: M. Language, violence and explicit M/M sex.

Genre: Action, Hurt/Comfort ...and romance. Quite undeniably so.

A/N: Anime setting-wise, these events take place after Motochika is done in by Toyotomi and meets upon a certain Dragon lord. Following their first clash and the decision to team up, they spend some time together travelling towards Osaka; obviously looking for trouble. I could not resist that set-up. God knows what those two would have done to each other without my meddling, after all.

Thanks to my beta-reader EudaimonArisornae, for comments and support!

. . .

Chapter One

Date Masamune rested in the shadow of a large, aged oak adorning a grassy hill, a bit aside the night camp. Leaning his back against the trunk of the ancient tree, he removed his helmet and lazily stretched out his long legs, and felt his muscles ache ever so slightly.

Frowning, he rolled his shoulders tryingly in search of any other signs of physical weariness. Another weak sting of pain wandered along his spine at the movements. Really? It was not every day that he fought someone who left him in any state of discomfort. And out of all the warriors he had met, he had certainly not thought that the unchivalrous leader of the Chōsokabe clan would be one of those few.

"Che. Demon of the West Seas… Right. More like a caddish pirate brat, I'd say," he muttered silently, not sure whether to be annoyed or delighted. He could see that Chōsokabe Motochika was not just any kind of pirate. In fact, the silver-haired man was quite an impressive fighter – the Date Captain begrudgingly admitted to himself. The way he handled that odd anchor spear while exuding such overwhelming, completely untamed power was quite extraordinary. A flash of sudden excitement brushed Masamune's mind at the memory of their short, intense fight earlier.

However, it all ended rather differently than one might have thought. No one cut the other down. No one won. Instead, an alliance was formed. Masamune snorted soundlessly. Only the thought of it bothered him. Admittedly, he hosted quite an ambiguous attitude towards the pirate captain, and this new arrangement. The decision to join forces with the Chōsokabe clan was based purely on the coincidence that they were heading for the same destination, looking for the blood from the same man. Osaka. Toyotomi.

On the one hand, it was nothing but an idiotic, cowardly plan for spineless fools who did not have the courage to face their enemy on their own. On the other – it was a necessary measure to take in order to be successful. As much as it irritated Masamune, he had immediately realized he could benefit from this brief, spontaneous sort of alliance he had formed with Chōsokabe Motochika. He could use it both to achieve his long term goals and to accomplish his most urgent priority: regaining Katakura Kojuurou, his most trust strategist and right eye.

Clenching his fists tightly, Masamune tried to suppress the waves of fury which ravaged his body every time he began to think about that bastard Takenaka Hanbei, and the way Kojuurou had been snatched from him, right in front of his eyes. As he had been through it before, he knew the feeling to be only strenuous for body and mind, and so he did his best to push it to the back of his head and focus on different matters.

Below him the camp was swarming with the usual evening activities; horses were groomed, cooking fires lit, tents raised and bottles of sake were brought out. Tonight there were some slight deviations though; seeing how not only did the camp host his usual bunch of loyal soldiers, but also the rough, ragged gang of pirates who represented the Chōsokabe clan. After some first tense moments, and a few brawls, the atmosphere seemed almost merry around the camp. New stories would be shared around the campfire tonight.

Absently turning to observe the inevitable process of the sun setting in the horizon, Masamune let out a small sigh. They did the right thing, taking this opportunity to drink. It seemed like one hell of a party was coming up.

A chuckle was heard from behind the tree.

"I didn't think the One-Eyed Dragon was one to ponder."

Masamune turned around at the voice, scowling as the Chōsokabe pirate captain appeared out of the shadows, nonchalantly resting his giant anchor spear over his shoulder. In his other hand he held the Date Captain's helmet in a teasing grip.

Masamune wondered for how long he had been observing him; he had not even noticed the helmet's disappearance. Am I really that out of it? Annoyed, he rose and stepped forward to snatch the helmet from the pirate's hand. He was not in the mood for any kind of teasing.

An unusual scent filled the air around the silver-haired man; the vague but pleasant combination of sea and lavender. Masamune could not help but notice before he hastily stepped back.

"Tch. Mind your own business, pirate trash," he uttered shortly before turning around to prevent the other man from seeing any more of his expressions. Motochika laughed at this, obviously amused by his new ally's uneasiness and grumpy face.

"Oi, oi! I mean no offense!" he said, holding his hands up in a sign of benevolence. "In fact, I was coming here in hope of sharing a drink with you." Masamune reluctantly shifted his gaze to the silver-haired man, and saw him pulling out a bottle of sake from behind his back.

"Che. I don't recall making a promise like that," he retorted. "Don't make me remind you this is a temporary alliance formed merely because it's convenient for me at the moment. Don't mistake me for a friend." He put the helmet back on to fully emphasize the meaning of his words, and turned again to walk away.

Much to his dissatisfaction, Motochika did not seem discouraged in the least by this, as he continued to speak in an unaffected, almost cheerful tone.

"How cold. Next time we meet, we might as well be enemies."

"So?" Masamune asked irritably, unwillingly curious about the pirate's intentions.

"Didn't you say you'd take the gamble, Dokuganryuu? I'm making it fun on your own request," Motochika continued, raising one eyebrow playfully.

That much was true. As to why the pirate would memorize his words was unclear to Masamune; however the challenge in his voice was evident.

"And you don't play dirty tricks." Masamune repeated the pirate captain's previous words with scepticism. "I've yet to witness that. So why would I drink with you?"

"Because if you say you don't want to, I'll take it as you're simply afraid of drinking with a fully-fledged pirate such as myself," Motochika shrugged, and took some swaying steps backwards, while spinning the sake bottle carelessly in his hand.

His face fell into shadow under the oak, but Masamune could still discern the mocking grin that played over his facial features. The Dragon's blood temperature was suddenly close to the boiling point. If it was something that trigged his competitive mind, it was self-assertive displays like this. Where did he get that cocky attitude from, anyway? Masamune fumed. He was not one to turn down a challenge, and certainly not one coming from that man.

Infuriated, but with the coldest of facial expressions carefully applied, he sat down under the oak again. Gesturing to the pirate to take a seat beside him, he returned the grin knowingly. Well then.

"Let's dance, Demon of Onigashima" he said, fire playing in his one eye.

. . .

Motochika glanced at the man beside him.

The legendary One-Eyed Dragon of the Date clan had taken his helmet off again, and regained a more relaxed stance, leaning his back against the trunk of the tree. Lips attached to the mug of sake, and distantly sipping it while gazing out over the alley below them, his eye glistened provocatively in soft light of the sunset.

The laid-back attitude was of little meaning to Motochika though, as he could sense the strong awareness behind that calm face. The air around the Date Captain vibrated with intimidating, yet enticing, energy. Just being in this man's presence was somewhat overwhelming. He did not quite understand why, but it was most intriguing. It tickled the pirate's mind in a pleasant way, and he unconsciously took a ragged breath. He did not dislike it in the least.

When Masamune suddenly turned to give him an investigative look, Motochika realized he had been staring. Unable to look away, he met with that intense gaze and surprisingly felt a weak dizziness brush against his consciousness. The Date Captain let out a short burst of laughter.

"First you invite me to drink with you, then you don't seem to be in the mood for conversation. What's wrong?" he asked, his bangs sweeping over his forehead as they were caught by wind. "Seems you're all bark and no bite, Chōsokabe Motochika."

Motochika laughed at this. That deep voice and confident attitude pissed him off in a way he was not used to. He could not quite categorize the feeling since he felt a mixture of adrenalin and fury spreading through his veins. The laughter however, covered every trace of confusion.

"Did I offend you?" he grinned. "I didn't mean to, but since you kept quiet for so long I thought you might still be thinking about your precious lost right eye, and I wouldn't want to disturb you."

He hit the spot. He caught a brief look of uncertainty in the Dragon's eye before the man lowered his head with a crooked grin.

"I've managed without Kojuurou so far. I'm not some weak excuse for a general who's unable to protect his own back. Patronizing me will only cause you an early death. "

He's dead serious. A chill of anticipation ran down Motochika's spine.

Sweeping his sake, he averted his gaze with a silent smile. He needed to concentrate on keeping his cool. He would not lose it in front of this man. Unless he wants to fight. Motochika's muscles tensed at the thought. He would not mind experiencing the joy of fighting those six claws and feeling that indomitable force washing over him again. In fact, he wanted it pretty badly.

. . .

The sake was adding heat to Masamune's worn limbs as he took another sip, and tried to reorganize his thoughts. That silver-haired moron really knew how to piss him off; he could give him as much. Why did he have to bring up that annoying topic? It became less clear why he had agreed to this supposedly friendly drinking rendezvous in the first place - it was obvious the Chōsokabe Captain could not be trusted.

He glanced at the other man who was drinking seemingly without a care in the world. The chance of him passing out because of the alcohol seemed close to zero too, since he had been gulping his sake for a good thirty minutes now without showing any signs of intoxication. He's probably used to drinking. Hell, pirate life pretty much consists of drinking and games, right?

The Date Captain, on the other hand, was feeling the effect of the alcohol, dull heat pulsing through his body and mind. The sensation would have been pleasant if he would not have been in the company of that man. Masamune's somewhat impaired intuition told him that losing any control in the pirate captain's presence would be a fatal mistake.

"I know you do."

The voice startled Masamune who had been lost in thoughts, and he turned to Motochika with a vigilant look. Now what's he babbling about?

"I've fought you and don't doubt you're fully capable of taking care of yourself and your army," the pirate continued thoughtfully. "However, Katakura Kojuurou would be a too valuable asset to be lost just like that. If you gave up on him without a fight, you wouldn't be the One-Eyed Dragon, I get that. And if that's what you've set your mind on, I also get that nothing can stop you. You'll take whatever you want, isn't that right?"

Masamune stared at the silver-haired sea captain incredulously. Who does he think he's speaking to, acting all buddy-buddy like that? He truly is an insolent, bothersome idiot. What was even more troubling though; was how those spoken words seemed to get under his skin and spread a pleasant kind of warmth. It irked him to no end.

Motochika insouciantly stared back, his one eye sparkling with mischief. And beyond that, something more – honesty?

Masamune inhaled deeply, contradicting feelings battling for dominance within his mind. He covered the confusion by turning his head away and stared blankly ahead.

If the pirate captain attempted to toy with him, he did not intend to respond. As far as Masamune was concerned, playtime should be about the raw and brutal reality of fights, and not within the distortion of minds. Then again, if he wants another fight that wouldn't be so bad… He unconsciously slid his fingers along his katana, the exciting rush of a foreboding fight sending tingles along his arm.

. . .

Motochika sighed inwardly. He did not know why he felt the need to tell the Date Captain the truth. Perhaps it was because he wished for a fight so intensely, and he figured just speaking his mind would annoy the Dragon enough to make that happen. Or, it could be because he sensed an intriguing tenderness behind Masamune's surface of strength, and true to his habit, he immediately wanted to break that wall down. Curiosity was in his nature. And even though he wanted to keep his own composure, it was impossible not letting fragments of his true self slip out. (Also, he was not completely immune to alcohol - in opposite to what people might think. However, he was a natural talent when it came to cover up for whatever marks the sake might be leaving on him.)

Moreover, the reaction his words caused could not be described as anything less than… fascinating. He did not intend to take the word 'cute' in his mouth; he would rather not even form it in his mind -yet that weird, fluffy word seemed to be the most appropriate way to describe the present version of Date Masamune. He probably did not know it himself, but he currently wore a deep frown as he caressed his sword with impatient fingers, and his cheeks were slightly flushed.

A completely exciting, breathtaking sight, Motochika decided. I want to see more of those expressions.

Even if the wish itself was not very specific, the silver-haired man's body understood it to be something quite clear, as it suddenly tensed up and started to move on its own accord. Motochika enjoyed the adrenalin pulsing through his veins as he leaned in close to the Date Captain and wordlessly pressed his lips against his ear.

His first thought had been to just upset the man, and to get an even more exciting reaction out of him to observe. Hence, Motochika did not expect this feeling.

The moment his lips made contact with Masamune's skin, he felt overwhelmed by heated emotions. It made him feel slightly vertiginous. He did not expect the skin of such a man to be so soft. What did it taste like, was it as sweet as the feeling of kissing it? No longer aware of his actions, he let his tongue run along the Date Captain's earlobe.

He pulled back fast enough to avoid Masamune's fist crashing down on his face. His heart thundered against his ribcage as he watched the furious head of the Date Clan gritting his teeth, unable to even speak in his state of rage. Pure joy filled Motochika's mind.

At least I succeeded in getting a reaction.

. . .

Masamune's fist was shaking from slamming into the tree trunk instead of the silver-haired pirate's face. A smirk played in the corner of Motochika's mouth, slowly spreading in the same way uncontrolled rage spread through Masamune's blood.

His first reaction had been to check the area to make sure none of their men were present. Just the thought of anyone seeing him being friendly with the Chōsokabe Captain like that, made his face hot. Assured there really was no one looking from nearby, the waves of fury slowly took a hold of his body.

"What the hell do you think you're doing?" he asked in a low voice, jagged with repressed anger.

"Oh, I got the feeling you might be in need of some comfort. Just a friendly display of affection, do you mind?" the pirate captain grinned, tilting his head to the side in a mocking gesture of innocence. "I didn't think you'd like it so much."

Vision hazed with red, and mind slightly fogged by sake, Masamune could no longer control his actions. Something about this man, that grin and that sly, cocky attitude of his pissed him off beyond any normal limits. Lashing out at the pirate again, he let his body be controlled by the overwhelming, furious emotions.

His fist landed on the other man's cheek this time, but he did not even get to feel satisfied about it before his arms got caught and he was pressed down flat against the ground, rather harshly. His arms were held back in a firm grip behind his back, and the pirate used his weight to keep him pinned on his back, as he was practically lying on top of him.

The bizarreness of the situation froze the Date Captain's brain, leaving it temporarily inactive and wrapped in a soft layer of denial. Body and mind would not communicate, and although the grip around his wrists was not particularly tight, he suddenly found it impossible to move. That hot breath against his neck freaking paralyzed him.

"Getting violent, are we, Ryuu Oniisan?" Motochika spoke close to his ear, amusement audible in his voice. Some strands of silver hair fell forward and tickled the soft skin at his temple. What? The smell of sea and lavender filled Masamune's nostrils now, flooding his senses effortlessly.

"Get off me!" he hissed, anger and desperation dangerously merged in his voice.

"Why?" the silver-haired pirate asked bluntly, placing a gentle kiss on his neck. Masamune tensed at the feeling of the other man's lips against his skin again. It sent a hot, almost painful sensation down his spine, and inexplicable excitement spread its flickering wings in his chest as another kiss was pressed against his neckline. Heat was undeniably pooling down his crotch.

Brought back to reality by this sudden realization, he was able to gather the shattered shreds of strength and rationality left inside him – and push a sharp elbow into the pirate's chest. The pain caused a surprised Motochika to temporarily loosen his grip, and Masamune used it to his advantage, quickly freeing his other arm and grabbing his swords in a split second.

. . .

The One-Eyed Dragon of Oushuu had unsheathed his six swords.

Standing in front of him like this could be compared to being face to face with the Grim Reaper - that was about everything Motochika's brain managed to process before the claws of the Dragon were brought down on him.

Only thanks to his intuition, the pirate captain jumped back at the sudden attack, and escaped the death any normal man inevitably would have met, by a hair's breadth. Still, he could not completely avoid injury in his somewhat dazed state of mind, and three of the six claws sliced his chest deeply enough to make the blood spurt. Out of pure reflex he lifted his hand to touch the damaged area. Three parallel gashes stretched the length of his chest.

However, the Chōsokabe Captain did not feel any pain at this very moment. Captured in a dream of sorts, all that existed was the hypnotizing sight in front of him.

The Date Captain's fighting stance was strong, yet graceful. The wind rustled the fabric of his coat and hair slightly, though his legs stood firmly to the ground, making him look tall against the night sky. The six swords were pointed at him, shimmering in the moonlight, and so was his one eye. The malice radiating from that very eye slowly burned a hole in his chest. Somewhere in the back of his head, Motochika realized he would have been cut, even if he had not been this mindlessly aroused.

Lightheaded from the blood loss and out-of-control desire rushing through his body, at first he did not even notice his legs giving out on him, or that he suddenly was on his knees in front of the intimidating head of the Date clan. The insight slightly amused him, laughter close as he analyzed the feeling to be completely out of place.

"Ahaha..aaaargh ahah." The sound he was making was a mixture of laughter and a groan. He was on his freaking knees, blood dripping in an alarming speed and pooling on the ground in front of him. In front of a pair of feet.

Why are you so damn close all of a sudden?

Just exactly how much of his awareness had he lost already, Motochika wondered as the pain caught up with him, poking his misty mind sharply. Oh right, I've been cut. Sliced nicely by those three claws. He chuckled uncontrollably at the thought and lifted his gaze to meet with the burning eye of the Dragon.

"Nngh, wanna kill me? Now's a good opportunity, don't you think?"

He managed to sound assertive despite being on his knees in front of one of the most feared men of this world - quite an impressive feat. Then again, he was not called the Demon of the West seas for nothing. Fear was nothing but a pleasant feeling, sharpening his senses in a thrilling way. In fact, he was searching it. And what he searched stood in front of him; eyes hazed with something he could not quite understand anymore. The world was slipping.

"Tsk. Good opportunity my ass." The deep voice flooded Motochika's mind. "You're gonna assist me in kicking Toyotomi's ass, that's the whole fucking point of this alliance, isn't it? What use will I have of a dead ally, idiot."

Trying his outmost to understand the meaning of these words, the pirate glanced up at the man in front of him in wonder. He could hardly see his face, as his vision was quickly darkening, but he imagined he saw something awfully similar to worry brush the Date Captain's facial features, before he turned around.

Catching a glimpse of a crescent moon and yellow feathers dancing through the sky, Motochika felt his mind tuning out the rest of his surroundings – and the night finally embraced him.

To be continued.