Raindrops pattered furiously against the window, lending a thick gloomy atmosphere to the oncoming evening. The dark, rolling sky outside was the exact reflection of Onodera's very, very foul mood.

"What is this?! Don't give me this kind of half-assed shitjob!"

It was both howling inside and outside Marukawa's Publishing House. For the poor Emerald Department, it is now the end of the cycle, and tensions are running high, as usual.

"Don't tell me you expect me to accept this!"

This was directed at the poor Kisa, whose face was already pale, haggard, and shrouded in complete misery.

"B-But... R-rittie... it looks quite alright from this angle..." Kisa was wringing his hands in a defeated manner, eyes hollow and empty from his lack of sleep.

"That's no angle at all! You hand it in this late, and you seriously expect me to look at this fucking piece of shit?!"

Onodera had learnt a very important lesson: Use coarse language if you want to be taken seriously.

"Rittie... I'm dying already..." There was a pathetic look of mute appeal fixed on his pale face.

Onodera spared him no pity.

"I told you to hand it in early, but you didn't listen to me, did you?!"

As Kisa wilted even more in self-pity and regret, Onodera started striding to the publishing department with a wad of papers, muttering peevishly under his breath. He had to wonder... just when did he become so... savage?

Well, one reason was that he was always taken as a joke, and another reason was because...

"So, Takano hasn't yet returned?"


He looked up into the sneering face of Yokozawa.


The man regarded him snootily. "I see... Perhaps he isn't missing you as much as you miss him, eh?"

Onodera had to hold in the curses and swear words that were threatening to spew out. The other reason why he was in a bad mood all week was that... Takano seems to be ignoring him.

He turned to the guy manning the printer instead, who was watching them owlishly. "Excuse me, I want 500 copies of these."

Yokozawa looked at him with one raised supercilious eyebrow, and Onodera had to force himself to walk away without doing something he'd regret to his superior.

I hadn't been myself the whole week, he thought ruefully. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn't be respectable or polite to anyone.

Takano had been called to attend some Editor Course in Hokkaido. Other than calling to inform him he'd arrived safely, he had heard almost nothing from him, except the little random messages that he'd sent him.

It's been two weeks already.

The sudden loud beeping of his phone distracted him from his thoughts.

Here's one of them again! Eyes narrowed in annoyance, he pressed 'delete' viciously. The message had read: The cigarettes here are great.

My god! He was grinding his teeth loudly as he walked back to his seat, attracting odd looks from his co-workers. Takano had ignored all his queries on when he's coming back. He had ignored him totally, period.

Onodera sat down in a huff. It wasn't easy without him. His whole being yearned for him and his touch, and whenever he started thinking about him (which was often), there would be an annoying ache in the tips of his fingers that wouldn't go away for hours. His heart would start throbbing like hell, not to mention... that part of him. It was plain torture.

He shook his head wearily. How was he supposed to work properly?

"Kisa-san, I'd be going home first. Fax me the proposal when you're done."

"I-I'll try my hardest, Rit-chan..."

Guilt seeped into him. "Erm... I'm really sorry for all that, Kisa-san. It's just that... Takano isn't here and... well, it's hard..."

Kisa finally felt a smile tugging his lips. "It's fine, Rittie... at least, you're not angry with me anymore..."

He packed his things into his briefcase sluggishly, and exited through the main doors.

Walking under his umbrella, listening to the sound of fat raindrops falling and hammering on everything, he couldn't help his mind wander in other directions...

It wasn't easy to not think of him. His mind would always, inadvertly, return to the same spot. Takano. His hair, his touch, his smell... it would all come back to haunt him. It wasn't like he was thinking of anything in particular... he just kept remembering, vividly. The things he said, the sound of his voice, the way his eyes looked at him when they made love...


At these times, his hands would ache painfully, and he would clench them tightly into fists. He wanted, badly, to run his fingers over him, to caress, to touch, to feel...

He couldn't admit it to himself, but he missed him. He missed him as much as what losing one of his hands must feel like. There was a tight knot of pent-up, unshakable feeling of frustration and longing welling up in his belly every time he thought of him. This was what made him lash out at everyone. This painful yearning was what kept him awake at night. Is this what lovesickness feels like?

He huddled deeper into his coat while waiting for the train to arrive. Do I love him? He didn't want to. But he, like everyone else, doesn't have a say in love.

I think I love him. If he disappeared forever... I would become a wreck.

The train arrived, clattering noisily along the tracks. He boarded the train and stood in a quiet corner, lost in his thought.

He doesn't want to fall in love. Not again, not ever. He could still remember that painful day, when Takano laughed at his love confession. Even though it was all just a stupid misunderstanding, he couldn't forget how he felt - like a thousand glass shards had pierced his heart. Like he wouldn't be happy, ever again.

Sure, he'd gotten over it, but he'd never been the same since. He didn't want to be at the mercy of someone else again. He didn't want to feel vulnerable.

God damn it all. His head was hurting like hell. Why couldn't he just have a normal, boring life? Why must he meet Takano again? His thoughts haunted him relentlessly.

The train reached his stop. He got off and headed towards the exit.

Hands in his pockets, head low and hanging, he walked slowly to his apartment, praying he'll be able to sleep tonight.

He waited for the escalator, casually surveying a man leaning on the wall next to it, thinking absentmindedly about work again. The man's head was bowed so that his chin was almost touching his chest. His hands were stuffed deep into the pockets of his coat, and his shock of black hair was wet from the rain.

Onodera's heart stopped.

The man glanced up just then, a pair of tawny eyes fixed upon him, wide with recognition.

In a second, he was wrapped by a pair of strong, warm arms.

Takano. Takano. Takano.

"I've been waiting for you, love. I missed you." The voice, usually cold and frigid, was warm like honey and twice as sweet to Onodera's ears. He inhaled the smell of old cigarette smoke, mint, and a faint hint of cherry blossoms on his shirt, as he stood huddled against his chest. He didn't know if it was just his imagination, but that smell of cherry was always prevalent around Takano. It brought back memories that made him feel sad, tortured, and confused, all at the same time.

"W-What? H-How?"

The elevator dinged.

They got in, or rather, Takano bundled Onodera in with him, not yet willing to let him go. Wrapped in his embrace, he felt happier and safer and more... at peace than he'd been in the two weeks.

Takano was caressing the top of his head and pressing his lips against his forehead. It just didn't feel like reality to Onodera.

"What happened? Why didn't you tell me when you were coming back? Why didn't you even reply to my messages, for god's sake!"

The elevator doors dinged open at their floor.

Takano didn't reply, but hauled him to the front of his apartment, whereupon he unlocked the door and proceeded to drag Onodera inside.

Before the door had even closed, his mouth was on his. Hard.

Onodera knew where this was going. But he couldn't stop. He was already melting deep within, longing for the loving that only this man can give him. What was he angry about again? What was the problem? He couldn't remember. He was lost already.

Takano deepened the kiss, pushing him hard against the door. His hot tongue was caressing his, while his hands were already at the buttons of his shirt, working them out.

"Mhhhmm..." The moan that escaped his lips was loud in the darkness. Onodera couldn't help but redden. He hadn't felt this good in ages.

It wasn't a while before both guys lost their tops, and their pants. Takano picked him up, mouth still kissing furiously, and dropped him none-too-gently on his bed.

Hungry eyes trailed along his body, touching every part. The look Takano gave him was hot and predatory. Muscles flexed as he got on the bed and straddled him. Onodera found himself unable to look away from the heated gaze his lover had trained on him. Large hands pulled at the last piece of clothing on his body. Takano must have removed his own underwear, too, because he suddenly felt something large and hard pressed against his abdomen. Ohh.

Hot lips trailed kisses along his jaw line.


A finger rubbed against his nipple. Teeth scraped at his neck. Onodera couldn't help arching his back, or breathing faster.

"Ritsu... Say you love me." The voice was ragged, the breathing harsh.

Say you love me...

His chest was tightening painfully.

Strong hands pushing apart his legs.

"It might hurt a little, love."

"Ohh..." He couldn't help but cry out a little. But the pain was soon gone and he felt deliciously full, at last.

The brown eyes on him narrowed and Takano hissed between his teeth. "S-So tight."

Their bodies moved in rhythmic sync, each thrust exquisitely painful and pleasurable to both of them.

Takano bent down and kissed him urgently. "You're mine, and no one else's, Ritsu." Onodera could only grasp his lover's jet-black hair, pressing himself closer to him.

They were close. Onodera could feel it, the tightening of something deep within him, the shudder of utter bliss... he allowed himself to be carried under and swept away.

Spent, he snuggled into the pillow. Takano ignored the dirtied bed sheets and laid down beside him, spooning him from behind and pulling him close. Onodera could feel his large frame wrapped around him and his breath against his neck.

"Ritsu... say you love me." The whisper was heavy and tinged with a soft sadness.

If I don't say it, I might lose him.

"I-I... I... I love y-you... M-Masamune." It was barely audible.

Takano's eyes widened. He really did say it...

He tucked Onodera closer, so that both could feel the other's heart, thumping unevenly inside their chests.

"Say it again. I want to hear it."

"N-No way!"

"It's an order."

"Whaaat? You can't order me around!"

"If you want to keep your job, better say it."


And so they went on, into the night.

Love is a tricky business, indeed.

*Buries head in hands* I know what you must be thinking. But I assure you, I'm not a pervert. At least... not all the time. D: But you know what? Since you're reading this... you must be one. ^.^

Don't forget to review... :D