This is entirely the fault of TrueDespair and her lovely new fic "Still Life".

Don't search for plot. There is none.


Yuui checked his watch. The day he had been waiting for months to come had begun almost two hours ago, yet as he eased his back against his little yellow Beetle in the half-darkness of nighttime and city lights he wondered why. It was April 2nd; an ordinary day in every way except for the fact that it was the day after his lovely boyfriend – who was currently hunched over a trash can and losing all his stomach contents – had turned a legal age. Yuui had known that he would not get his chance to be alone with Syaoron on his eighteenth birthday; it was just natural for youngsters to go out and get drunk once they were old enough to do so. So, Yuui had put all his hopes (hopes for things that he hardly talked about because they made him embarrassed and there were not much people he could talk to when it came to this, anyway) on the next day. Presuming that Syaoron would make use of that fabulous brain of his and get the hint when Yuui had offered to pick the boy up and let him stay the night. Why this has translated as "drink as much as you want I'll take care of you afterwards" the cooking teacher had no idea.

„Feeling better?" He asked as the brunet came staggering back to him.

Syaoron showed him a hearty smile that could not quite erase the expression of shame from his face. „Uh-huh." He wiped away some tears from the corner of his eyes. „Much better."

Yuui reached out a hand to muss up his boyfriend's unruly hair but Syaoron shied away from the touch.

„Don't." He said. „Please, Yuui. Don't touch me; I'm disgusting."

The blonde's disappointment grew. Well, this meant he would be all alone in his bed tonight, with no warm body to snuggle up to and an immensity of space and silence to keep him awake. As Syaoron half sunk, half collapsed on the passenger's seat, Yuui wondered again why he had been so excited for this particular day. Morning was nowhere to be seen and he hoped this day would end already.


Something dragging him down.

Feverish heat, burning him from the inside.

Back aching, chains around his chest. Warm chains. Soft.

The smell of aloe vera tickling his nose. Warm air tickling his neck.

Pain identified as a throbbing head and, with his memory slowly returning, was categorized as the first symptom of a giant hangover. How late was it exactly?

He could hear Yuui breathing, right next to him. Saturday morning, no alarm clock needed, so Yuui would hardly rise before ten, but the stiffness in his pants and the knowledge of his own waking habits let Syaoron assume that it was between six and seven am.

When he opened his eyes on the floor of Yuui's apartment, somewhere between the couch and the coffee table, with the older man's arms wrapped tightly around his chest, he had never felt so unclean before. Unclean, but loved. There was a shitty taste in his mouth and he could still smell vomit every time he exhaled through his nose and yet his boyfriend, who was the best boyfriend in the whole fucking world, had refused to leave his side. Syaoron wriggled out of the sleeper's embrace, ignoring the protests of his flopping stomach as he forced his body into a more vertical position and was happy to see that he didn't throw up on the carpet in his sleep.

He threw up in the shower though. But only a little bit. And it didn't smell that awful because it was washed away soon enough and Syaoron even used that vanilla shower gel that Yuui loved so much to make up for it. His headache had become even worse though, because sometime someone had given him the advice that sex could decrease the intensity of a migraine but apparently jerking off was the wrong kind of sex. He promised to call the guy out on it, as soon as he remembered that person – oh, wait. He did remember and wished he hadn't. Fang. He made a mental note never to trust his sister's words ever again.

Grumpy and mentally scarred, he brushed his teeth with such intensity that his gums started to bleed. Then he sneaked back into the living room and the makeshift bed (actually just a few blankets and pillows that were easy to wash, god, he loved Yuui so much for being so practical).

The blonde stirred as Syaoron draped his boyfriend's pale arms right across his chest where they have been before and a nose nuzzled his towel dried, still damp hair.

Yuui made a sound that sounded like "Hn" which was pre-coffee Yuui-speak for "Good morning" and "Don't be fooled I'm sort of awake".

Syaoron turned until he lay on the side, facing his boyfriend and placing a small kiss on the man's nose. "Good morning to you too."

"Breakfast?", Yuui asked, never opening his eyes, which was good for the brunet who had started to examine and admire the shape and length of his former teacher's eyelashes. Up close they were not as long and thick as one expected, but still very pretty and of a dark amber color.

"God no, I don't feel like I could stand the thought of food ever again."

"I have bananas. And yoghurt." The blonde mumbled and pulled Syaoron closer like he had done so often before. It was amazing how dependent they were on the cuddling; that it didn't feel like a necessity even after three years. Cuddling was a behavior pattern they had to rely on because the less innocent ways of contact were technically illegal.

"What kind of yoghurt?" Syaoron inquired.


"Orange marmalade and sugar?"


Syaoron's eyes brightened. No matter how sick he felt, the thought of coffee and self-made orange yoghurt would never fail to cheer him up. He breathed a barely audible "I love you" against Yuui's lips before he kissed his boyfriend. Just a small peck that made Yuui whine in protest because he was particularly cuddly in the morning hours and making out was a good way to wake him up. (And not just making up... but that was another story.)

Yuui sniffled and for a moment – disturbing as that was – his childish pout made him look just like Fai-sensei. "You just love me for my marmalade."

The brunet chuckled, which turned out a bad idea since his head was pounding to the rhythm of his stifled laughter. "And for your body. And your kindness. And-" He snaked an arm around Yuui's shoulder and tugged not-so gently at a blonde ponytail, just enough to make Yuui crane his neck and moan. The boy used the opportunity to nip at the exposed skin "I love how you call me a terrible, terrible person after I blew you."

Yuui's eyes fluttered open, clear and very blue, pupils dilated. "Dear god, Syaoron!" He hissed, in a manner that was both disapproving and needy. Syaoron loved those words as well; he had a hungry ego and Yuui always made it sound like he was some sort of deity. There was a silent accusation hidden in it, a sense of betrayal; for they had agreed not to talk about their weak moments. They didn't talk about the moments late at night when Yuui could not sleep and his fingers started to play with the waistband of Syaoron's pajama pants until the boy let his fingertips run across the skin of the playful hand, giving the admission to go further, to sneak deeper. They didn't talk about that one time when a food fight had gone terribly wrong and they had found themselves lying half-naked on the floor, grinding their still clothed hips together until there was more than the mess in the kitchen to clean up.

But the worst was that they never talked about Yuui's needs because for some reason the man still believed that it was wrong for him to have those needs in the first place. And since they never talked about it, Syaoron was robbed of the opportunity to reply that just because something was generally illegal didn't mean it was wrong, especially in their case. He had hoped things would change when he turned eighteen and that they could slowly work on the important experience of having proper sex. But here they were, on the floor, and Yuui's glance was heavy with inarticulate desires.

"Syaoron, would you...", he began and trailed off as his conscious was getting the better of him.

"Can't," he replied and told Yuui with an apologetic smile that it wasn't like he didn't want to. "Head's still killing me. I'm afraid I would screw up or vomit on you, which you don't deserve." What Yuui deserved was all the joy in the world and as much blow jobs as he wanted. Syaoron was eager to give Yuui just what he wanted but at the same time, he wanted Yuui to have enough confidence to just ask for it.

Educating your boyfriend was a hard task. It required skill and time, the ability to find out what he wanted and make him realize that you wanted it as well, but with Yuui, you might have to make him believe that it was your idea in the first place. Sometimes, Syaoron felt like he couldn't handle it – that he had to burst because he wanted so much for the both of them but no matter how hard they struggled, he knew it was worth it.

He could hear it in Yuui's delighted, post-coital voice when the blonde called him a monster for giving a shit about decency and the law. And he was a monster, there was no doubt about it. Who else would use his boyfriend's morning grogginess to suck him off without the constant complaints of "you're not old enough"? He was a terrible person, Syaoron knew that. Yuui knew that but loved the boy no matter what. There were days when Syaoron pathetically sobbed into his pillow for being loved by a man who was just too kind for this world and too honest for his own sake.

Yuui blushed. "Actually... I wanted to ask you if you could cancel any plans that you have for tonight."

Brown eyes widened. Wait... was Yuui implying what he thought he was implying? "I don't have any. I told Dad and Syaoran that I would spent the weekend here. If you don't mind, of course."

"Oh. Good. Because I thought we could stay here, drink a glass of wine and..."

Their eyes met and Syaoron could see Yuui's Adam's apple move as the man swallowed and searched for the right words. 'Come on Yuui,' Syaoron cheered inwardly, 'you can do it. I know you can. I have faith in you.'

"... you know, just celebrate a little."

In ninety percent of the cases, celebrating meant kissing and light petting on the couch until one of them got too excited and had to disappear in the bathroom. The brunet's forehead wrinkled as expectation and reality failed to match. "But we always do that. Save for the wine, I mean."

"Um, I meant... in the bedroom."

There was no way to know for sure, but the student was positive that this was Yuui-speak for "there might be a chance I'll fuck you tonight", but no, wait, this was Yuui, so the more accurate term would be "I think I'm ready to make love to you".

"Does this involve you taking me out to a fancy restaurant?"

"No. Just this. Or would you rather-"

"Nonono, it's okay, just wait a sec." And with that the young man - forgetting about his hangover – shrugged off the sheets, jumped to his feet and ran to the wardrobe, dressed in nothing but boxers and a pair of orange socks.

"Syaoron?", Yuui called after him, slightly puzzled.

"It's okay. Stay where you are."

He returned with his shoulder bag, the very item he had left the day before when he had bothered to stop by to exchange some friendly words and a kiss or two before he met with the rest of the birthday kids. The boy sat down at the end of their makeshift bed. Yuui had assumed the bag would hold a few clothes for changing and a book – Syaoron never left home without a book – but that did not explain why the brunet was searching through its contents so fiercely. The boy ('Man', Yuui corrected himself, 'he's a proper adult now, I should stop calling him a boy, I really should') put on his glasses first, this lovely thick-rimmed glasses that made him appear like a hipster. Unlike some people who just used glasses as a fashion accessory, Syaoron actually needed them for reading, so Yuui assumed what his boyfriend was searching for was rather small. And hard to find, according to the outburst of profanity that was caused by not finding it.

The blonde was propping up on his elbow and nudged Syaoron's ankle with his toes.

"Hey." He said. Just 'hey'. Yuui didn't like to be ignored.


When Syaoron shouted out triumphantly, Yuui sat up. "Got it?"

"Uh-huh. Now close your eyes and give me your right hand."

'O~kay', Yuui thought but did as he had been told. He really hoped this was not going to be some sort of prank. Syaoron hadn't pulled a real prank in months and the man was starting to get nervous. But then, the brunet's pranks all had a sneaky quality to them and putting disgusting things on your boyfriend's hand was anything but sneaky.

The cooking teacher could hear the rustling of paper and a case snapping shut. Then there was the sound of Syaoron crawling closer. Warm fingers placed an item on Yuui's palm. Small and round, with a smooth surface – just from the touch he could tell what it was. And his mind went blank for a second.

"Yuui Fluorite", Syaoron said and the elder took it as a sign to open his eyes again, "Will you be my special someone?" There it was, glinting in the morning sun, a pale green ring made from some sort of stone or gem.

Yuui stifled a nervous laughter. This... this wasn't a marriage proposal, right? It couldn't be. He had been ready to take their relationship to the next steps once Syaoron turned a legal age but this... this was a leap. They hadn't even begun talking about what Syaoron wanted to do after school and whether or not it was a good idea to move together (which also depended on the question where the boy wanted to study, if it was studying he had in mind) and, and-

Yuui could feel the cold hand of panic grabbing him by the neck.

Eventually, he said: "I don't understand."

Syaoron rubbed the back of his neck, a bit flustered. "I know it's not much and it's just jade, so it might break if you're not careful but... it would mean a lot to me if you'd wear it. It's not an engagement ring... it's, well, it's just a ring, to tell everybody that you're with someone. That you're with me. It's a promise."

"A promise," Yuui echoed. "What kind of promise?"

"That we'll stick to each other, no matter what. That you're sure of me. That we will do our best to make this work, even if..." He shrugged and smiled rather sheepishly. "Even if we find out that we're absolutely horrible in bed. Which is likely; given that we are both inexperienced."

Yuui couldn't help that his mouth gaped open and his cheeks caught fire as he was introduced to a concern he had not come up with so far. He had always assumed that as long as he was well informed on the matter, the rest would just... ensue, even with a lack of physical experience. For this, he had even gone so far as to ask Fai for advice, even if it meant embarrassment and receiving information on certain kinks that he not wanted to have. Especially when it came to the kinks of people he had to work with. (It would take a while to ban the image of Kurogane in a maid outfit from his mind.)

"Yuui?" Syaoron asked, concern etched on his face. "Are you alright? You're not disappointed, are you?"

"Wh- nonono, I'm fine, I was just a bit surprised, that's all", he said hastily, maybe a bit too hastily for his boyfriend to buy it. The brunet was staring at him, the infamous left eyebrow of disbelief raised but before the teen could open his mouth to shape words for expressing what was written all over his face, Yuui blurted out: "I'm nervous. That's all. It has nothing to do with the ring and everything with... tonight."

"Oh. Um, in that case..."

Yuui sported a reassuring smile and closed his fingers over the ring, the item which was representing a choice Yuui had already made when they secretly became a couple. He was going to slip it onto his left ring finger when he noticed two things. First of all, was he even meant to put it on the left hand? It was custom in France to wear an engagement ring on the left hand but again, this was not an engagement. Besides, they were living in Japan. And Syaoron was Chinese. He had no idea which customs to rely on. Second, the ring didn't fit. He could try it on, all right but, it was too wide to feel snug and comfortable against his skin. If Yuui had believed in superstitions he would consider it a bad omen. Currently, he just found it unnerving but he told himself that this mistake was easily made. One would not expect a man to have such slender fingers, right? Unless, of course, if one has been with that man for almost three years now and shared his bed (and even the shower once) and kissed parts of his body that not even the sun was allowed to kiss. [1]

Yuui could feel the frustration stir inside him, a well-known companion since his childhood, yet there was a voice in his head telling him that Syaoron didn't do mistakes. Accidentally. Expectation met reality when he raised his head only to see an impish smile.

"It's too big. But you already know that."



This was too serious a business for a prank, even by the standards of Yuui's little prank master. So, there was only one opinion left: it was a riddle. And he had a notion that finding the right place for this little item was only one part of the resolution. The ring was too small for fitting on his thumb, that much was obvious. His index finger and his ring finger did not differ much in size and shape, so it had to be the middle finger, right? But which hand? There had to be a clue.

"Could you hurry up, please? I'm getting cold," Syaoron complained and rubbed his arms in emphasis.

A ring. A promise. A promise concerning their relationship, so – Yuui's eyes wandered to Syaoron's hands, those strong, calloused hands, marked with a few pale scars from various cuts... no ring.

"You're supposed to wear one, too." The blonde stated.

"Oh, right." More rummaging in the shoulder bag, this time with less cursing. His own ring had been stuffed inside his pencil case to be easily retrieved. The stone it was made from was black and shiny, maybe obsidian or onyx. Without hesitation, the student slipped it onto his left middle finger. Yuui mirrored the action and then patted the blankets next to him.

Syaoron hurried under the covers of the makeshift bed.

It wasn't long until a very cold leg made its way between Yuui's, though. The man shivered, but didn't complain. No, he embraced the icy lump that was his boyfriend's body, wrapped one arms around a shoulder that was broader than his own, so they could lie face to face, on their sides. It were moments like these that Yuui allowed himself to miss the boyish body that Syaoron had outgrown, because just two years ago it had been far easier to wrap his limbs around the brunet like a very cuddly squid and misuse him as a teddy bear.

"So, why the middle finger? And why the left one?"

Syaoron shrugged. He nudged Yuui's nose with the tip of his nose and snaked a hand around the man's waist to rest on the curve of his lower back, signalizing that being next to each other was just not close enough. Basically, if there was space for air between them, something was wrong. Yuui chuckled and snuggled up closer until they were chest to chest and hip to hip.

"Were both right handed. Figured they shouldn't get in the way so easily, so we have less excuses to take them off. And the middle finger – well, I spent hours discussing this topic on skype with Fang because she's going to get married soon and she did some research on Chinese wedding traditions but all her sources were contradicting themselves and mom was not helping because she and Dad were never married."

"Fang was the physician, right?" Yuui asked, having trouble to remember who of Syaoron's older sisters was who because he had not the pleasure to meet them in personal so far, knew them only from Syaoron's stories.

"Nah, Fang's the lesbian bitch."

"Oh." Yuui was quite positive that Syaoron regarded bitch as a term of endearment, at least when it came to his sisters.

The boy in question blinked at him, eyelashes fluttering against bangs that could use a cut, like he was pondering about a very difficult decision. The way he swallowed told Yuui that the brunet's decision was probably about touching some part of his body. He wasn't the least disappointed when the hand supporting his back skated upwards, underneath his sleeping shirt, fingers rubbing against his ribcage.

"So, while all sources agree that there are no rings required for engagement, the question where a wedding ring belongs depends on which philosophy you refer to. According to some ancient Chinese philosophy the ring finger represents your partner while the middle finger represents yourself. According to the yin and yang principle however a wedding band belongs to the middle finger, but husband and wife wear their rings on opposite hands, which drove Fang into a frenzy when I asked her if she or Kelly is supposed to be the guy."

Yuui started to rob Syaoron's ankle with his toes and hoped his boyfriend would come to a point already. He liked the young man's voice, liked its rough quality and his obsession with pronouncing words as clear as possible, like he was reading a story even if he was merely chatting; but the sound of Syaoron's voice also reminded him of the times when they had huddled together on the sofa, Syaoron reading poetry in a hushed tone and Yuui letting his fingers crawl over the back of his neck until both of them had become too distracted to notice anything else...

Recalling this led to Yuui wanting. Wanting to touch, wanting to be touched. Wanting to be wanted and wanting to show his former student how much he appreciated him. And it was so mean that Syaoron could lose himself in the strings of his own narration until he was oblivious to Yuui's impatience.

"But then she asked me what I would do when I was in her position, and I thought that if we ever got married, I would want to do things your way, because I don't care about traditions and frankly, I don't care much about weddings; I just want to be with you, so I'd oblige to anything tat makes you happy. But if you ever want to, you know, get married I wouldn't want to replace the rings we have now with the new ones, I would like us to wear both. So I called your mom and asked her about French wedding traditions-" Syaoron was shut up the very moment that Yuui chose to roll them both over until he was lying on top of the brunet, mashing their lips together.

"Hey," said brunet protested as soon as his partner let go just for a second. "I wasn't finished yet."

"Doesn't matter. I was." His cheeks were flushed but he wore this look of definiteness that made his eyes look a stronger shade of blue. A look that meant that he was not to be disobeyed. "Geez, do you even hear yourself talking? You know how I respond to this sweet and ridiculously romantic fussing, so don't you dare complain."

He wouldn't dream of it, not when Yuui was so assertive because an assertive Yuui was a sexy, but dangerous thing and every act of rebellion would later be avenged with a sharp bite at places where Syaoron didn't want to be bitten. If he was a good boy, however... his eyes brightened at the prospect. "What about breakfast?" he asked, bringing one hand up to twirl a blond ponytail around his fingers.

"After." Yuui's breath was a warm sensation against his cheek. "Does your head still hurt?"

"A bit. Mainly when I move."

"Well, in that case..." A thin smile spread across the blonde's lips that evoked associations of cruel intentions, demanding voices and hungrily licked lips. "You should better not move, huh?"

Which meant that his dear boyfriend was free to do things to him; things that were going to make Syaoron shudder and curse and plead. Things that were somewhere between rough and tantalizing sweet and he was so looking forward to it.

Syaoron snorted, which grew into a barking laughter.

"And you call me the monster."

[1] Aaaand that was when I wondered how Yuui might do when he found himself at one of east Germany's infamous nudist beaches.

See? No plot. I'm a mess.