no recourse at all

Gokudera is no stranger to the ache of wanting something.

It used to be his mother's favorite song on the piano, that high G that she played with the tip of her pinky finger, delicately extended. After that, it was the Tenth's approval; just a word or a smile would have done.

And then, half a decade later, a man with a sword and a scar on his chin -

On a grey Tuesday morning Gokudera falls out of the wrong side of bed, and sits up scratching his belly, morosely. It's his day off, and his alarm doesn't go off for another twenty minutes. Ain't that always the way, he thinks, shuffling out to the balcony for his morning smoke. He cups his hand round the flame as it sputters, flickers, and dies. High-rise buildings and still cranes and telephone poles with fat birds weighing down their wires line the distant horizon. He takes deep drags from his cigarette, tipping the falling ash over the edge of the railing as it burns away, and then goes to take a shower.

At four-thirty in the afternoon, Yamamoto drops by.

"Nice place," he says, grinning wide. Gokudera, for his part, is rather offended by the way Yamamoto flops all over the couch like he owns the place. He didn't even take off his socks, and his briefcase is lying right in the middle of the floor. Gokudera shoves it unceremoniously to one side with his foot, then pads into the kitchen so he doesn't have to watch Yamamoto getting comfortable.

"Don't you have work to do, or something?" he calls back, over his shoulder. For lack of something to do he opens the fridge, leaning down to peer inside at nothing in particular. He can hear the couch squeaking as Yamamoto shifts around, switching on the TV without asking.

"What, that stuff? It'll keep. Want to get dinner?"

Gokudera closes the fridge and then opens the freezer, trying not to feel idiotic, and failing. "I was planning to cook tonight."

"Alright, sounds good!"

"I didn't say I was going to cook for you."

"No? Haha! You're such a tsundere."

"I am not! How do you - why do you even know that word?"

"Hey, give me some credit," Yamamoto says, laughing. "I might be an idiot, but I'm not stupid."

The remainder of the afternoon is spent in front of the TV, playing Marvel vs Capcom. It's kind of nostalgic, really - it reminds him of simpler times, like when they used to go over to the Tenth's house with the kids and everyone, to do homework or just hang out. Except back then Yamamoto wasn't half this good at fighting games. After getting KO'ed for the dozenth time in a row, Gokudera hits the pause button and chucks the controller down in frustration.

"What the fuck is this, when did you get this insanely good? Do you do nothing but play this game all the fucking time?"

"No," Yamamoto says with a grin, putting his chin in his hand. The scar tissue is white against his tanned palm. (Gokudera can't seem to help the way his eyes fixate on it, but he's always secretly thought that it makes Yamamoto look kind of, well... cool.) "Sometimes I watch baseball, too."

"Oh, fuck you," Gokudera snorts, giving him a good shove. Yeah, just like old times.

Dinner is shrimp alfredo, mainly because it's easy to make. Gokudera tells himself he's cooking extra to keep in the fridge, so that he doesn't have to cook again tomorrow. It's certainly not because Yamamoto the bottomless pit is here, at any rate. Yamamoto with his huge appetite, his rolled-up shirt sleeves and messy hair and wide smiles is, at age twenty-four, still just a big kid. Funny how some things never change, Gokudera thinks, and pops open another can of beer.

"You know, this is pretty good!" Yamamoto tells him, as he goes for seconds. "I guess cooking must be in your genes or something."

"Yeah," Gokudera scoffs, rolling his eyes. "Poison cooking."

"Haha, don't be like that. It's the thought that counts, right?"

"Not if it gives you botulism."

Needless to say, there are no leftovers. Afterwards Yamamoto takes a shower, borrows some clothes, and climbs into bed with Gokudera without so much as a by-your-leave.

"I have to get up early tomorrow, so don't keep me up," Gokudera grouses, as Yamamoto snuggles up behind him.

"Yeah, yeah," Yamamoto says. He slips an arm over Gokudera's waist to tug him close, and just like that Gokudera drifts off to sleep, warm breath and a small smile pressed against the back of his neck.

In the morning Yamamoto gets out of bed first, and uses up the last dab of toothpaste while he's washing up. Then he apologizes while not sounding even remotely sorry, and, when that doesn't work, kisses Gokudera, bad morning breath and all, to shut him up. This is such a fucking disaster, Gokudera thinks, awkwardly wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. With a sullen look on his face he watches Yamamoto knot his tie, casually, pulling it up to his throat with a sort of practiced ease that comes from many years of doing the same.

"I'll see you later," Yamamoto tells him, stepping into his shoes. And Gokudera tries to say my house isn't a hotel, bastard, but somehow all that comes out is, "Okay."

Yamamoto passes by him; places his hand on the doorknob, for just a moment. Then he turns back around, and there's a lookin his eyes that Gokudera almost never sees.

"Yamamoto, wait -" he says, taking a step back. But Yamamoto doesn't wait. He presses Gokudera into the wall, irresistibly, holding him there to steal another kiss, this one long and deep enough to leave Gokudera winded. He sucks on Gokudera's tongue, sweeps a hand through his hair - and after they pull apart, lays one last little affectionate kiss on his mouth.

"Later," he mouths, grinning, and leaves.

Someday they're both going to regret this, he thinks, leaning against the wall and trying desperately to catch his breath as Yamamoto shuts the front door behind him. Someday, for sure... but for some reason, he can't quite bring himself to care.

And so it goes.

The last week of October is cold. So is the leather backseat of Yamamoto's car.

"It'll warm up soon enough," Yamamoto says against his neck, with a throaty chuckle. He undoes Gokudera's belt, works it out from the belt loops, and unzips his fly to slip his hand inside. And Gokudera has a thousand different protests - the windows are fogging up, any moment someone's going to come over and knock on the window and find Yamamoto with his hand down Gokudera's pants and his tongue halfway down Gokudera's throat and they'll be arrested for public indecency andjesus what will the Tenth say - but Yamamoto swallows all of them, every single one; licks the ridges of his palate, the insides of his cheeks, moves his hand fast and slick and good, and when Gokudera comes, the word on his lips could just as easily be Yamamoto as not.

Afterwards, Yamamoto looks him right in the eye and licks the come off his hand, laving his palm clean with his tongue. Gokudera suppresses a shiver, and looks away, pressing his sweaty cheek against the leather exterior of the seat.

"... I'm not kissing you after that, you know," he mutters, the backs of his ears burning.

"Tch," Yamamoto says, but he smiles slow and soft. "You always say something to ruin the mood."

At some point while all of this is happening, Yamamoto somehow cons him into making a copy of the key to his place. He tries not to think about it too much, because the very idea of it irks him. Call it a momentary lapse of judgment, or maybe Yamamoto has taken up black magic or something, he doesn't know. It's had the unsettling effect of letting Yamamoto in at his convenience, whenever he chooses, and Gokudera isn't sure that he's OK with that. Then again, if he wasn't OK with that, he shouldn't have made a copy of his key to begin with... nor given it to Yamamoto, once it was made. (The fact that this is his fault, at least partly, is precisely why he doesn't like to think about it.)

This one time he's lying on the couch half-asleep, with his headphones on, and he doesn't even realize that Yamamoto is in the house with him until he whips the headphones off Gokudera's head. It gives him such a shock that he falls gracelessly off the sofa with a yelp.

"Missed me?" Yamamoto grins, leaning over him, the end of his tie flapping onto Gokudera's face. Gokudera slaps it away and sits up, wincing and massaging his back.

"I nearly swallowed my tongue, asshole," he gripes. "At least call first."

"So you're saying I can call you whenever I want?" Gokudera glares up at him, readying some snappy retort, but Yamamoto's not listening; he's slipped the headphones on over his own ears to listen, and his eyes are already somewhere else, somewhere far away. Gokudera closes his mouth. He knows that feeling; knows it all too well. The piano's gentle voice; the ebb and flow of the major seventh chords - like golden dust motes swirling in tiny eddies, suspended within a sunbeam; like looking through a window on a rainy day. It never fails to fill him with a sense of melancholy. He doesn't know how long he's been lying there alone on the couch, listening to that song on repeat, just lying there and listening and aching and wanting all these things that he can never have -

On a whim, he touches Yamamoto's hand, tentatively lacing their fingers together. When the song ends, Yamamoto says nothing. He slips the headphones off to hang around his neck, and kneels down to tug Gokudera in for a kiss by the collar of his shirt. His mouth is warm and wet; it seeds a strange feeling in Gokudera's chest, and this time Gokudera doesn't resist.

"Go away," says Gokudera, preemptively, as Yamamoto trots into his bedroom, wearing nothing but a pair of pajama pants and that ever-present grin. "I'm reading."

"I can see that," Yamamoto says cheerfully. Nevertheless, he flops onto the bed, shuffling across the mattress to curl up against Gokudera's side. Gokudera adjusts his reading glasses and sighs, tucking an arm around Yamamoto with an air of defeat. "Is it interesting?"

"Would I be reading it if it wasn't?"

"You never know," Yamamoto muses, nuzzling at his neck in a very distracting way. Gokudera smacks his arm, and he desists, chuckling. "It doesn't sound interesting."

"Algorithms are interesting."

"If you say so."

"I do say so."

Some time passes, in silence. Gokudera continues reading, and manages to get all the way to the chapter on graphs, until he realizes he's read the same line about strongly-connected components three times without absorbing a word of it. Also, his arm is falling asleep.

"Move," he grumbles. "You're cutting off my circulation."

No answer. He looks down. Yamamoto's eyes are shut; he's dozing lightly, with his hand resting on Gokudera's chest, fingers curled in towards his heart. Gokudera sighs again, slipping a bookmark into his book and setting it aside. He reaches up to work his glasses off, setting them on top of his book. Then he snuggles down with Yamamoto, careful not to wake him, and closes his eyes. He sleeps a dreamless sleep, and when he wakes in the morning, Yamamoto is still there.

"Can't see much," Yamamoto comments, rubbing his arms vigorously. The air is chilly enough to make their breath wreathe their faces with a faint mist. Overhead, the sky is darkening, the first few stars winking into view above dismal clouds.

"Thank you, captain obvious," says Gokudera, flicking his lighter, which sparks intermittently but refuses to take. Yamamoto gives him a sidelong grin, which he pointedly ignores.

"No problem."

The lighter finally deigns to function, warming his hands a little. He holds the end of his cigarette into the flame until it starts to smoke, and then shakes the lighter till the fire dies out.

"It's all the light pollution," he says, taking a drag, turning his face up to the clouds. At times like these, he can't help but remember the view from his childhood home, his father's villa in the country; how the southern Milky Way arced endless across the sky, brilliant nebulae and clouds of stardust from horizon to horizon. How he used to tremble when he saw it, even as a child - standing on the roof under the cold night sky, in his warmest coat. It's the same thing now, even with Yamamoto by his side on the little balcony, twenty years later.

He looks up into the sky, imagines the vast unseen depths of the universe which lie beyond, and is afraid.

Yamamoto slips an arm around his side to tug him close, startling him from his reveries.

"Something the matter?" he asks. His voice is unusually quiet, and he's watching Gokudera with an uncharacteristically serious expression. It's almost enough to make Gokudera smile... almost.

Instead, he just breathes, letting his eyes drift shut, the ghostly memory of starlight fading on the backs of his eyelids. Tentatively, as though not quite sure what he's doing, he tucks his face into the crook of Yamamoto's neck, sliding his own arm around Yamamoto's waist.

"Gokudera?" Yamamoto asks, again, this time sounding surprised - maybe even a little happy.

"... It's nothing," Gokudera tells him. And as he stands there with Yamamoto's arm warm and tight around him, the short hairs on the side of Yamamoto's neck tickling his nose, in this warm little center that they've carved out for themselves in all the wide world, he can very nearly believe that it's true.

Afterwards - somehow - they end up in bed. Again. He's too indulgent, he thinks, he always lets Yamamoto have his way. Or perhaps it's the other way around; perhaps it's Yamamoto who's indulging him. He doesn't know what this is, this strange thing that they've made, just the two of them, nor does he know how long it'll last. The smartest thing to do would be to just end it now, he supposes.

He'll get around to it someday. Right now, it seems easier to just let things carry on down this road, to see where it'll lead them. Yet, watching Yamamoto yawn noisily into his pillow and scratch himself, he can't stop himself from saying something -

"... This changes nothing," he declares, calmly. He leans back against the headboard, exhausted, and very carefully does not meet Yamamoto's eyes. Yamamoto, for his part, just looks over at him, like he's surprised. But after a moment or two, he grins, pulling himself up lazily into a sitting position to lean towards Gokudera.

"I know," Yamamoto says, and kisses the corner of his mouth. "But it doesn't have to. I've always -"

Gokudera puts a hand over his mouth before he can finish, covering up the words he can't bear to hear.

"Don't say it, bastard," he says, warningly.

"- Sorry," says Yamamoto, with a smile, when Gokudera pulls his hand back. Still, he wraps arms around Gokudera, dragging him bodily back down to the bed, where it's warm; he kisses Gokudera's chin, the tip of his nose, his eyelids, until he sputters and goes red. And there - under the sheets, with Yamamoto's chest shaking with silent laughter under him - Gokudera can't help but think that maybe, just maybe, he might have found something to call his own.