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In the silence are your breath and his.

The unclosed door lets in light from the other room, enough to see each other in the dark, for you to catch the uncertainty in his eyes that matches the hesitation of his hands. Your brother wants you to urge him to continue. To tell him that he is not in the wrong, that he will not regret this.

The longer you look at him, the more you cannot do that. Between you and him is an innocence so thin that it will tear under one more touch, but your body aches enough that you do not care. He can look for guidance. He just cannot from you.

You abandon him.

His grip tightens, shakes. He wants to say something before his thought is interrupted by the lift of a branch. The outside noise forces his attention away, to the window reminding that the world does not belong to two.

When he untangles from you, the air turns colder. He touches the edge of the window, but pauses.

"If it doesn't feel right, Sasuke..." You bundle your shirt on the floor in a half-open fist. "No one is forcing you to continue."

There is a violent rattle. "I never said we're stopping."

His actions contradict his words, and the shouji stops halfway open. He cannot face you.

"You are not locked by decisions. It is fine to be mistaken."

"We are not a mistake." It sounds less than a confirmation, but you push him no more.

You step from behind, enclose him in your arms. Within your touch are pulses from a turbulent heart, skin damp of sweat. Every inhale brings the bitter ashes of a day's labor, the sweet freshness after a thunderstorm. If you bring your lips closer, you would taste a tension that can melt into tenderness given more time.

But you do not. He is life once cradled in your arms. That he could be in your arms again is already more than you could ask for.

When you release him, your heart has calmed, but his has not. He shuts the window, just as you find the light.

The apartment looks smaller, the bare walls and tatami, and two sets of futon whose edges now touch. Both you and your brother carry secrets, some insidious, some not, but the room is honest. To an outsider, there is no suspicion except that the corners box in too close for strangers, though not so for family.

Or lovers.

Your brother is cautious when you separate further. You take out a package from the drawers. "It's late. Why don't you take a shower."

The air turns sharp. "I thought I said we're not stopping."

You beckon him to come closer, and on habit, he takes the first step. But his second and third are wary. "Nii-san-"

You place the package into his hands. "I have nothing against impromptu sex, Sasuke, but I would prefer you don't tease me, then stop halfway. You just came back, and haven't revolved your head around the matter yet. So take some time to think over how far you want to go."

When he unwraps the package, he finds a jar of lubricant, and tries hard not to react. And his expression does not betray him, though you place a hand on his shoulder and smile. Your little brother has not changed, of no experience yet always eager to try.

"That is, if you still want to," you say, then leave him be in privacy.

While he takes your advice, you secure the front door, and other windows. You glance once more at the outside.

The night is serene, with lights from downtown. Families are done for the day, the children sent to bed. They have no incentive to face the winter air, to be outside your apartment.

This is the first time you close a window, and bolt it shut.

From the bathroom, the water is running. The wait is long, though longer for him. He must decide, while you have no remaining contentions. These years, you only wished for home. To fall asleep in safety, and wake up to those you cherish. Anything is fine, as long Sasuke can still call you his brother in the morning.

The door to the bathroom opens.

There is no preamble, when you find water dripping from his hair, down to your shirt.

"Sasuke..." His lips brush against yours as you speak. "Do you want to dry off first?"


As long as he can call you his brother in the morning, you cannot have any protests.

Sasuke has no patience when he strips you, throws your clothes across the room, out of your reach. His mind is made up, and his fingers tangle into your hair when he takes your lips, mouth and tongue.

He wants you closer, and your thigh slides against him as he pulls you to him. When the pace is too slow, he compensates with force, and you feel his hardness against your lap. Feel your own vulnerability when his knee locks between your legs, leaving no gap between your bodies, and no escape.

You feel him. You taste him. He builds your fervor until you are tighter around him.

He fumbles with the jar in impatience. You take it from him before he can shatter it against the wall, and unscrew the lid. As you dip your fingers into the lubricant, you look once more at him.

Gone is the cold, the numb. He has broken himself from within. His eyes now burn, the breath in his chest heavy. His mind is in the same disarray as his hair, sharp and gleaming in water.

He is deconstructed.

You have no right to think you can reach into him and pull out his pain, put him back together whole. You have no right to put your hand on him, hoping to find him happiness through pleasure.

But pleasure is the only thing left your love can give him, so you press your lips to his cheekbone in an apologetic kiss. It is you who breaks your tie of brotherhood when you touch him. And truth be told, you do not know if this is wrong, or if this will bring both of you regret. You only know this is something he wants, something you are capable of giving.

And you cannot deny him anything.

He pushes you down. Your stomach is warmed by covers, and you rest in the pillows when he enters you. It is not an intimacy you have experienced, and the deeper he pushes inside, the more you relax your hold on the sheets. As he has wanted, you give control of your body to him, left with nothing but the ability to feel whatever he wishes you to feel.

Pain will not be one of them, even when everything becomes open and dripping. His gestures are too kind to bring you hurt, as he laces your hand with his, rests against your bare back.

Against your neck, his lips pull into a smile, one that makes you forget the thundering in your ears, the delicacy of it all. "You are mine, nii-san."

Something fragile inside you breaks.

You are.

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