It's been a long time, people. Man, this chapter took a while to start, but I swear it's the best one so far. So much went into the making of this, I can't even express to you how happy I am to finally publish this. As I promised last chapter, we have SEX in this one. Gay sex. Hot, sweaty, man on man sex. Please enjoy, and I'll see you all at the ending A/N.

Chapter 5: Out of Balance

Classes progressed as usual on Wednesday at Sylvarant. Kiku flowed through the day until lunch time came. He sat next to Heracles who was with a few of his friends. Kiku was thankful the day was on the cooler side; it gave him a reason to continue wearing his scarf even though he was indoors. Heracles noticed Kiku was covering the evidence of last night's passion and chuckled to himself. Under the table he slyly and slowly reached over and took hold or Kiku's small hand in his big one, his face giving no indication of what was going on. Kiku felt his heart skip a beat and he froze, but only for a moment. He remained calm and put on the best poker face he could summon. For the rest of the lunch period Kiku and Heracles sat with interlocked fingers, palm to palm, and shared a quiet feeling of content. As the period ended and students began to throw away their trays and make their way back to class, Heracles looked towards Kiku and winked before getting up from the table himself. Kiku followed soon after and continued on to his afternoon classes. The final bell of the day rang, and Kiku met up with Heracles so the two could walk home together. Once outside the building, the pair began their normal route and talked casually.

"Ugh, man what a long day," Heracles said while stretching. His shirt rode up a bit while he raised his arms above his head, revealing his fuzzy navel. Kiku noticed and smiled.

"Hai, indeed. Afternoon classes felt longer. What else do you have planned for today?"

"I'm having dinner with my dad, his friend, and his friend's son tonight. Why, did you have something you wanted to do?"

"Nothing in particular. I will probably go to the museum later. I've been wanting to for a while, and since I've finished all my homework already I might as well go."

"I can go with you."

"Ahaha, but you just said you have dinner plans with your otou-san, no?"

"No, you must be hearing things."

"Ah-ah-ah, you should keep your promise."

"But what if I crossed my fingers when I made it?"

"Then I would be afraid of your pants catching on fire."

"Would you put it out for me if they were?"

Kiku blushed.

"I think stopping, dropping, and rolling would be the most effective."

"Then I'll do exactly that. But with you. On my bed. Naked." Heracles put his arm around Kiku's shoulder and pulled him in closer as they walked down the New York streets. Kiku enjoyed being close to his friend, but each time they interacted intimately Kiku's mind would wander to other topics. It was obvious they were more than just two guys who were friends. Male friends didn't kiss and touch each other the way they did. Heracles never asked him to go out together, but then again Heracles treated him different than all his other friends. Kiku had never been in a situation such as this, so he had no precedent to go off of. Taking things as they come had never quite been Kiku's style, but with Heracles, that was all he could do. He didn't want to risk saying something out of the ordinary that would end up jeopardizing his friendship. All benefits aside, Kiku genuinely liked Heracles simply for the kind of person he was. He was the first person to make Kiku feel welcome in his new school with all the changes that happened simultaneously. Setting his curiosity aside, Kiku decided it would be better to just appreciate things for what they were and let whatever happens, happen. They stopped at the entrance to Kiku's building, hugged goodbye, and went their separate ways. Kiku's mother greeted him as he entered.

"Tadaima, Oka-san."

"Okairi, Kiku. Daijobu desu ka?"

"Daijobu desu. I'm going to go to the museum in a bit, if that's ok with you."

"Hai, hai. Let me know if you see anything interesting there. Do you need any money?" Without waiting for a reply, his mother shoved $30 into his hand.

"Don't spend it all on junk food because I'll know and I know you'll know I know so don't try it." Kiku chuckled at his mother's disregard for sentence structure and accepted the money. He went into his room to drop off his school bag before heading back outside. He looked in the mirror to check on the mark on his neck. It was healing as time passed but would take a while before it resumed its natural porcelain color. Kiku put his scarf and jacket back on and left for the museum. He decided to make the most of his trip even though he was going alone. He walked a few block and then underground to a subway platform. The train was crowded as usual. Kiku decided to stand near the door so he would be able to disembark swiftly when his stop came. In about 10 minutes Kiku had reached his stop. He got off the train and shuffled his way through all the people towards the escalator and ascended to ground level. He paid for his ticket and began to tour the museum at a leisurely pace, taking in all the uniqueness of the pieces. Each exhibit was thought invoking, from the classical pieces to the provocative modern art. Kiku was preoccupied examining an oil painting when someone spoke to him from behind.

"Hey buddy." Kiku turned to see Sadiq standing close to him.

"O-oh my, hello Sadiq… You startled me, aheheh…"

"Sorry about that. I gotta say, I'm surprised we ran into each other again today. How long have you been here?"

"About a half hour or so."

"Ah, then you haven't really gotten to see most of the art yet, huh? Come with me then. I'll show you all the cool stuff." Kiku wasn't new to the topic of art, but it seemed Sadiq had good intentions, so he accepted his offer.

"All right then, please give me your guidance." The duo spent the next two hours perusing the various works, making conversations about the pieces, their time periods, and their artists.

"Well, that about covers most of it," Sadiq said. "They'll have featured exhibits from time to time, but all of that was what they keep on the regular."

"Thank you very much for showing me."

"My pleasure. Man, I'm starving. Let's go get something to eat." Sadiq strode towards the exit. Kiku hadn't really been offered a choice if he wanted to go or not, it'd just been decided. He followed Sadiq outside where they took a taxi to a casual Italian restaurant. They sat at a booth near the window. Sadiq ordered a glass of wine while Kiku got a glass of lemonade.

"Have you guys decided what you'd like to order yet," the waiter asked politely.

"I'll take the five cheese ziti and meatballs, please. What about you, Kiku?"

"Uhm… Can I have the chicken and gnocchi soup?"

"Absolutely, I'll put that right in for you guys." The waiter left to place their orders.

"Well now that the vase business is pretty much finalized, let's chat a little."

"Oh, ok. Sure." Kiku fidgeted slightly in his seat. The only person Kiku ever conversed about himself with was Heracles, and he was not him.

"All I know about you so far is that you're a transfer student from Japan who likes art, so tell me about yourself. What makes Kiku, Kiku."

'Wow, there wasn't much couth in that.' Kiku thought.

"Well um, I'm 17. I'm an only child."

"Oh? Me too," Sadiq replied. "Ah, sorry. Please, continue."

"Aside from art, I enjoy video games and movies a lot. I enjoy learning about cultural differences as well."

"I see, I see. Well, I'm 18, but I'll be 19 in a few months. I also enjoy art, but I love doing things with my hands as well. I like piercings as you can see." He pointed to the triple helix in his ear.

"When I want to party, I party. Hard. But there's also something to be said for just sitting home and bumming out for the day."

"I enjoy being home as well. My room is my sanctuary," Kiku said.

"It should be. It's one of the few places where you're truly sovereign."

The host walked by with a group of four men, seating them a few tables across from Sadiq and Kiku. Kiku watched the group be seated and recognized one of the men. It was Heracles. He also noticed the man sitting next to Heracles was his father.

'Oh, this must be the restaurant he and his father were coming to.'

Heracles sat down and surveyed the restaurant's patrons. He looked to his left and spotted a familiar face. Kiku and Heracles' eyes met; Kiku waved and nodded his head, acknowledging his friend. Heracles turned his head to the side and gave Kiku a confused grin. This wasn't the kind of restaurant people ate alone at, plus Kiku would have told him if he planned to go out to eat. It was then he looked across from Kiku, and his confused grin turned into a scowl of disdain. Sadiq noticed Kiku wave so he turned to see who it was. There sat Heracles with a group of others. Sadiq noticed Heracles' glare. He feigned a surprised expression while discreetly giving Heracles the middle finger. Heracles turned away but made a note to keep an eye out for Kiku. He wasn't sure what circumstances would bring those two to a restaurant together, but he'd ask Kiku about it later. Kiku, on the other hand, would have liked to talk to Heracles, but decided to give his group their privacy. The waiter returned shortly with their food, and poured some more wine for Sadiq.

Throughout their meal Heracles and Sadiq would occasionally sneak glares at each other, but when he was sure he had Heracles' attention, Sadiq decided to up the ante. He saw a thin black curve on Kiku's delicate cheek bones and took his chance.

"Kiku, hold still."

"Hm?" Kiku replied. He looked up from his food and stopped moving. Sadiq reached over and caressed Kiku's face with his finger tips, gently picking up the fallen eyelash.

"I didn't want your eyelash to fall into your eye. Make a wish, but it won't come true unless you close your eyes." Kiku pondered for a moment. He took the reasonable route and decided to wish that the play would go well. Kiku leaned towards the eyelash sitting daintily on Sadiq's index finger. He closed his eyes and expelled a gentle breeze as he made his wish, but was taken by surprise when another set of lips met his. His eyes opened and his gasped slightly when he realized Sadiq had taken the opportunity to steal a kiss. Kiku blushed as his fingers gently traced the space where Sadiq's lips had just been.

"Well, my wish came true. One of them, anyway." Sadiq smiled smugly and gave a side-eyed glance to Heracles, who had watched the entire thing happen, but could do absolutely nothing.

Heracles was pissed. The only thing Heracles could do was not give Sadiq the satisfaction of seeing him angry. He wanted to reach for his phone and text Kiku, but his father would be disappointed about his disinterest in their dinner guests. He turned away and occupied himself in the ongoing conversation of things he couldn't care less about. Back at the other table, Kiku was just getting over his initial shock.

"Sorry if that caught you off guard," Sadiq said.

"Uhm.. yeah.." Kiku wasn't sure what to say so he silently resumed his meal. He was eating a bit quicker than before; his present state of discomfort brought to mind how his parents would be looking for his return soon. He eventually reached a point where he saw their waiter passing by and asked for a box, while Sadiq asked for their check as well. Kiku reached into his wallet but Sadiq told him to keep it, despite his protests. As they donned their outerwear Sadiq threw what seemed to be a friendly arm around Kiku's shoulder, but in reality was a statement to his rival. A statement that he would not be intimidated, nor would he be passive in vying for Kiku's affection. Heracles, forever watchful, received the message loud and clear and began to conjure his own strategy.

Outside the restaurant, Sadiq once more hailed a taxi for him and his friend. After they told the driver Kiku's address, he changed the topic to something a bit more serious.

"So what's up with you and Heracles?" Sadiq asked bluntly.

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, what's up with you two. He hangs around you a lot."

"Well, when I first moved here he was the first person to really talk to me. He was most helpful in showing me around school and the city, and helping me adjust from such a big move. He said the same thing happened to him when he was younger, so it felt nice having someone to relate to. He's a very good friend, and I cherish our friendship." Kiku was unsure of Sadiq's reasoning for such a question, but he answered honestly nonetheless.

"That's really nice, but I was more so asking about that mark on your neck. You've worn that scarf all throughout the day."

"O-oh, so you noticed…"

"I notice more than a majority of people would like to give me credit for. Maybe it's my looks, maybe it's my attitude, but when people underestimate you it kinda gives you the upper hand. Look at me, Kiku, and listen to what I'm about to say." Kiku looked up and faced Sadiq. It was nighttime, but because of the close quarters and passing street lights Kiku could make out the serious expression on Sadiq's face.

"I asked you what was up between you two for a reason, and that reason was out of respect for you. If you had made a decision in regards to your relationship with him I planned to honor that, but from what you just told me and from what I've seen, you guys are just friends. But this contradicts the mark he left on your neck. Speaking for myself, I'm the kind of guy where I like clear definition. I like you, Kiku. I like you a lot. We've only just begun to know each other, but since I was given the chance to interact with you from the day we met in the auditorium, I've wanted to spend more and more time with you. I don't know for sure what it is that draws me to you, but I'm going to find out, so I figured it'd be best if I'm upfront with you about our feelings. My goal is to get you to feel the same way about me that I feel about you. Now I know your friends with Heracles, and I can't say I'll get along with him, but I see how uncomfortable it makes you when we "talk", so when you're around I'll hold back and respect that. But I want you to know that there's nothing he can do that would dissuade me from getting to know you better. You with me so far?"

Kiku nodded his head in stunned silence, mouth slightly agape.

"Good. Now I stole a kiss from you tonight, but I want you to know it won't happen again. Instead, I'm going to tell you when I'm going to kiss you from now on, so you can move away if you want. I don't know if you're going to choose between me, Heracles, or someone else entirely, but I do know that until you tell me otherwise yourself, I'm going to keep trying to win your heart."

Kiku was so absorbed in Sadiq's declaration that he didn't recognize they were already in front of his apartment building until he looked out of the window.

"Th-thank you for dinner tonight.. I appreciate it."

"It was my pleasure. Kiku, I'm going to kiss you again." Kiku turned to face Sadiq, who leaned in close but then hesitated for just a moment, their lips a breath away from each other. He sensed no opposition, so he closed the gap and kissed Kiku sensuously. Kiku felt his soft lips press upon his, the stubble on Sadiq's chin, and his hands caress his neck. They broke the kiss very briefly.

"Kiku…" Sadiq whispered. He reprised their kiss, but this time he gently licked Kiku's bottom lip, hoping he would understand. Kiku's lips parted causing Sadiq to rejoice silently on the inside. His tongue intertwined with that of his smaller partner. When Sadiq was satisfied Kiku got the point he halted their passionate embrace.

"Don't forget tomorrow we have to pick the color for the vase after school, all right?"

"H-hai, of course."

"Great, I'll see you then. Goodnight, buddy."

"Oyasuminasai, Sadiq."

Kiku's mind was busy processing everything he'd just heard. As soon as he entered his apartment he hastily bid his mother and father good night before retiring to his room. He changed into his pajamas and plopped down on his bed, staring at his ceiling. Sadiq confessed his feelings for him. He didn't even try to hide it, he just flat out told him how he felt. If Sadiq was nothing else, he was bold; Kiku gave him that. It was times like these that Kiku wished he had a book with what the appropriate course of action should be, but he knew that wouldn't happen. Kiku was good at making decisions, just not ones that involved matters of the heart and other people. For now he thought it best to concentrate on things he was sure of, mainly getting this vase project finished. He turned over in his bed and closed his eyes, willing his mind to stop and let him rest. The day's adventures had taken their toll on Kiku, and within minutes he drifted off into sleep.

Thursday morning began much like every other. Kiku woke up, showered, and prepared himself for the day ahead. Once he got Heracles' text saying he was outside, Kiku was out the door and down the elevator. On their way to get their morning tea and coffee, Heracles had some questions he wanted answered.

"How was dinner last night?" Heracles asked.

"Oh that's right, I saw you there with your father. It was fine, I just got soup."

"Mm. So how did you end up there with him?"

"O-oh, Sadiq? When I was at the art museum he and I ran into each other. He showed me some of the different exhibits, and afterwards he said he was hungry. He didn't really ask me if I wanted to go, he just kind of said 'Let's go'. How was dinner with your father?"

"Eh, how is dinner ever with parents? I'm still alive so I guess that means I survived without too much brain damage." They entered the café and purchased their respective usuals. Kiku and Heracles exited the shop, and Heracles said what was really on his mind.

"I saw him kiss you last night too."

"I didn't know he was going to though, honestly. He said I had a stray eyelash and to make a wish on it, so when I closed my eyes and wished it just happened…" Kiku wasn't sure how Heracles would react, but Heracles knew the entire ordeal was just a way for Sadiq to antagonize him, and Kiku had got caught in the middle. The mild distress was evident in Kiku's voice.

"Hey, hey, calm down. I'm not mad at you. He did it because he knew I was keeping an eye out for you. I just want to make sure you're all right."

"Yes, I'm fine." Kiku sighed, reassured that Heracles wasn't angry with him personally.

"Good, that's what I care about most." With his free hand, Heracles gently stroked the fading hickey on Kiku's neck. He then tilted Kiku's face up to his as he bent down and kissed the smaller boy.

"You're special to me, you know that?"

"A-arigatou," Kiku responded while blushing.

"So you're picking out the color for the vase today, right?"

"Hai. I'm going to get the paint and start making it this afternoon. Opening night is Saturday so I need to start soon."

"Wait, as in this Saturday?"

"Hai. Would you like to go with me?"

"Aww man, I'd love to but I'm going to be with my dad that day. What time is it?"

"It's from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. But it's ok though, don't worry about making it. They will have more shows than just that one."

"Ok then, cool. I can't wait to see your handiwork be admired up on stage."

"I admit, I'm a bit excited myself. I've never made anything specifically to be displayed before." The boys continued their tête-à-tête as they arrived at school. Each went his separate way to their morning classes, already wanting the school day to end.

As promised, once the final bell rang Sadiq texted Kiku as soon as school was over. They met at a craft shop in Manhattan and took a few minutes to find just the right shade. They eventually settled for one that was similar to the color of Sadiq's favorite coat.

"This color, this one right here!" Sadiq exclaimed.

"Hmm, yes, it will do nicely. Well then, I should get back to school. I asked for permission to stay after and use the craft room. I want to get at least half done today."

"Oh, cool. So are you going to be there alone, or…?"

"Yes, I believe so. I don't think the art teacher will still be there. Most likely just the janitorial staff."

"Want me to keep you company then?"

"You can come if you'd like, but I can't promise I'll be too much fun since I'll be concentrating."

"That's fine. I'll sit back and watch you work," Sadiq said with a smile. It only took a few blocks walk before they entered Sylvarant after hours. Kiku noticed how different the school seemed when it wasn't in use for school. The only ones there were a few secretaries and the janitors. The boys entered the crafts room and Kiku began to gather the necessary materials. Sadiq pulled around a chair and sat backwards on it while grabbing an apple out of his bag. Once Kiku had everything he could think he'd need, he took off his coat and scarf and began to sculpt the vase.

"I'll just be sitting over here. Just let me know if you need something though."

"Arigatou gosaimasu."

Sadiq sat and watched as Kiku channeled their vision into a tangible object. From the way Kiku molded the clay, to the delicate designs he painted on its surface, it was clear he took pride in his craft. Sadiq observed Kiku's features quietly. His black hair, small stature, and petite hands had a certain allure to them. He thought Kiku was simply beautiful. Sadiq enjoyed being around Kiku. At first he thought it was just because he was new to school, but the more time he spent with him, the more he genuinely just wanted to become closer to him. But he wasn't the only one who thought that way. Kiku's mere friendship with Heracles was evident of that. Sadiq knew the only real way to get Heracles out of the picture was to officially make Kiku his boyfriend, but that wasn't an option if Kiku didn't reciprocate his feelings, and he couldn't force him to feel the same way. He wondered what he could do to make Kiku like him more. While Sadiq pondered to himself, Kiku had been working pretty quickly. All he had to do now was fire the clay in the kiln overnight and the vase would be finished, even in time for the drama club to use it as a prop for rehearsal.

"Wow, that came out very nicely. I'm impressed."

"Ahaha, arigatou. I appreciate your compliments. It should be done by tomorrow morning, and you all can use it for rehearsal."

"Nice. You gonna come see me on Saturday right? It's opening night."

"Indeed, I do plan on coming to see the play. I just need to find out how much tickets are."

"Well for you they're free. You helped with props, so even though you're not a part of stage crew, you still get free tickets."

"Oh? That's good to know then. Now that this is all done we should probably get going; it's getting late."

"Yeah you're right. Come on, I'll walk you home."

"Oh, you don't have to. I'll be fine on my own."

"Haha, I'm sure you would be. But I can't just let you roam the mysterious streets of New York City alone at night. That'd be irresponsible of me."

"I'd hate to inconvenience you though. I already had you sit here with me for hours."

"I offered to sit with you, just like I'm offering to walk you home. You can't inconvenience me if it's something I want to do, can you?"

"I suppose you're right. I concede."

"Good, now let's get going."

Sadiq and Kiku walked and talked from the school to Kiku's apartment building. Sadiq thanked him once more for his hard work, hugged him, and bid him a good night. Kiku went up to his room satisfied that the project came out better than he envisioned. Now all that was left was to get his ticket and see how the actor's used the vase in the play. As he lay on his bed his mind wandered to how Heracles was doing. Even though Heracles would never turn him down if he wanted to spend time together, he knew everyone needed their space as well, so he didn't feel too bad. He thought it'd be better to have a natural absence of his presence rather than have Heracles tell him he was being overwhelmed. Exhaustion from the day had set it, and Kiku was soon fast asleep.

Kiku was still sleepy from yesterday when he woke up on Friday morning. A small part of him wanted to sleep in and just go to school later, but his better judgment kicked in and wouldn't allow it. As he got up he could smell that his mother was cooking breakfast, so he groggily went to the kitchen to see what she had prepared.

"Ohayo, Oka-san."

"Ohayo, Kiku." His mother went to kiss him on the forehead and then returned to the stove.

"What are you making?"

"Just some bacon, eggs, toast, and pancakes. I was making your father's bento for today and as I was looking though the cabinets, I found your old bento box, so I made you one as well." Kiku looked on the counter top and there sat his Hamtaro lunch box from his younger years."

"Aw mom, you didn't have to do that."

"Oh it's no trouble; in truth it was nostalgic for me to do it. You're growing up so fast… Soon you won't need me to make your bento. Since you're almost an adult I'll have to find some way to occupy my time. Maybe I'll turn to a secret double life of crime. Or gardening. Whichever is easier."

"Hahaha, Oka-san, I don't think Otou-san would approve..."

"That's what you think." Kiku ate breakfast while trying to help his mom weigh the pros and cons of being a criminal. His father soon joined them, and much to his surprise, his father wasn't totally against the idea, so long as Kiku promised to bail them out after their inevitable capture. After eating Kiku finished his morning preparations, and when Heracles told him he was outside, he slipped his bento box into his bag and was out the door. Downstairs Heracles greeted him with a smile and a strong hug.

"Hey there."

"Ohayo, Heracles," Kiku said as he hugged him back.

"Ready to go?"

"Mhm, let's go."

"How was your day yesterday?"

"It went well. I went to go get the paint, and I was able to finish the molding and painting ahead of schedule as well. I put it in the kiln to fire last night, so it should be done this morning. Thank you for reminding me as well, I have to take it out and deliver it to the drama club."

"Cool, cool."

"How was your day?"

"Eh, it was fine. I went for a jog around central park, but that was pretty much it. Did you get your ticket for the show already?"

"Not yet, I'm going to do it today."

"I'm sorry I can't go with you."

"Please, do not worry about it. I'm sure you'll enjoy your day with your father."


Kiku and Heracles arrived at school and proceeded to their respective classrooms. The last class of the day dragged on until the final bell chimed, signaling the beginning of the weekend. Kiku went to retrieve the vase from the kiln and subsequently brought it to the drama club. Everyone marveled at the intricate details and beautiful craftsmanship. Sadiq bragged about how he watched Kiku make it in just a few hours without even breaking a sweat and the club was amazed further. Kiku did his best to downplay it, but Sadiq wouldn't let him. Kiku eventually excused himself and left them to their rehearsal. He met up with Heracles and walked home with him since he was busy yesterday; they stopped for frozen yogurt on the way. The boys parted ways upon reaching Kiku's apartment, promising to text each other later in the evening. Kiku took the rest of the day to catch up on some video games he hadn't finished. He lost himself in his other hobby long enough for night to fall. Just as planned, Heracles texted him as he was getting ready for bed. They spent the next hour chatting with each other until Kiku fell asleep, ready to see the vase he worked so hard on be an integral part in tomorrow's production.

Saturday had finally come, and Kiku was looking forward to tonight's show. He texted Heracles telling him to have fun with his dad, and that he'd tell him about the play later. Around 6:30 p.m. Kiku made his way to school. He checked back stage to wish Sadiq good luck before his big performance. Since he arrived early he picked a seat that was front-row center. The auditorium began to fill as more and more people filed in. Once the house was full, the lights were dimmed and the curtain rose. As the show went on Kiku found himself positively spellbound by Sadiq's performance. He nailed all his lines and his acting was superb. It was easily one of Sadiq's best performances, but for Sadiq, his motivation was right in front of him. He wanted to impress Kiku, and by the look on his muse's face, it was a mission accomplished. At the end of the final scene Sadiq placed his hand on the vase as it shone in the spotlight and gave his ending monologue. When it was over, the entire house stood up and gave a standing ovation. As Sadiq bowed on stage he gave a slight nod and winked at Kiku in the front row. As the patrons began to exit the room Kiku went and stood by the stage door to congratulate his friend. It took a few minutes before Sadiq exited the door, and even less time before he was mobbed by those who wanted to tell him how splendid of a performance he gave. After courteously accepting their adoration, Sadiq found the one person he really wanted to be his fan.

"Hey, you stayed! I see you got a seat right in front. Did you enjoy the show?"

"Yes, very much so. I was enchanted the entire time."

"I'm glad to hear it. You know typically the star of the play gets flowers from his biggest fan."

"Ahaha, I'm sorry, I forgot to get some on my way here. I hope you can forgive me."

"Well, maybe we can work something out. I'll overlook this small issue if you come out with me tonight."

"Are you going to the cast party?"

"Nah, I've been working pretty hard with the play and schoolwork, so I really want to let go and have fun tonight."

"Ok then, where did you want to go?"

"You'll see when we get there. Let's hurry before someone else comes to bother me." Sadiq grabbed his jacket and lead Kiku out of the school building. They quickly walked down the block and hailed a taxi. Sadiq told the driver where he wanted to go while glancing over Kiku's outfit. Kiku had worn a pair of black combat boots, skinny jeans, a black t-shirt and a spike studded bracelet.

"Yeah, you should be fine in that."

"What do you mean? Is there something wrong with my outfit?"

"Not at all. When we get there don't say anything ok? I'll handle it."

"That's not exactly comforting," Kiku responded. Sadiq just laughed as they soon reached their destination. The taxi pulled up next to a building that radiated loud electronic dance music. Kiku could see a line of guys along the side of the establishment, with two burly body guards at the door. Sadiq got out first and helped Kiku exit the car.

"Remember what I said, all right?"

"Hai, but what is this place?"

"This is Dark Desires, my favorite club in all New York City."

Kiku would've never guessed this was where Sadiq wanted to go. For starters, he was still a minor. His 18th birthday wasn't coming until summer, and everyone in line looked to be well into their 20s and even older. Sadiq grabbed his hand and walked boldly up to one of the guards. Sadiq said something to the guard that wasn't English, so he assumed it to be his native tongue of Turkish. The guard looked inquisitively at Kiku who tried to not let his virgin amazement betray him. Eventually the guard waved them by, much to the displeasure of those already waiting in line. Inside the club the beat banged, the bass boomed, and the lights dazzled all over the dance floor. Even though they were standing right next to each other Kiku could barely hear Sadiq when he spoke.

"Welcome to the night!" Sadiq yelled. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a plastic bag that had two small pills inside of it.

"Sadiq, what is that?"

"This is what gets the party started. Some call it MDMA,"

"And other's call it Ecstasy…" Kiku finished. He only knew from paying attention in health class.

"Ahh, yes, yes they do." Sadiq opened the bag, put a pill on his tongue and swallowed it. He took the other one out and placed it on the tip of his finger.

"You ready?"

"S-Sadiq, I don't know about this…" Kiku protested.

"Hey hey, come on now, don't be scared." Sadiq moved closer until he was standing right in front of Kiku. He placed one arm around his waist and looked down at him.

"You won't have anything to be afraid of, ok? I'm going to be right here with you the entire time. The only thing that's going to happen is pure, uninhibited fun. I know how straight laced you are, but you gotta live sometimes. I know you heard all the bad things about drugs but it's different in reality. Just give me one chance to show you a good time, and if you don't like it, I promise you'll never have to do it again. So please?"

Sadiq spoke with such a soothing and reassuring tone that Kiku actually debated about what to do. He was right when he said Kiku always played it safe, and in reality he sometimes thought about how it would feel if he were to do something dangerous; all good children did. As soon as those thoughts came he would quickly come to his senses and dismiss them. But tonight was different. Whether it was the heat of the moment, peer pressure, Sadiq's persuasion, or all of the above, Kiku let go of his sensibility.

"Okay…" he whispered breathlessly.

"Thank you." Sadiq responded devilishy.

"Say 'Ah' for me."

Kiku closed his eyes and opened his mouth. He felt a small tablet in the middle of his tongue.

"Swallow," Sadiq commanded. Kiku obliged. Once Kiku swallowed the tablet Sadiq cupped his face with both hands and kissed him deeply. After what seemed like an eternity Sadiq broke the kiss.

"Now let's step out on the floor and burn it up." As Kiku followed him to the dance floor he panicked for a split second. What was he doing? He knew his parents would be heartbroken if they knew what he was doing and where he was right now. But then he steeled his resolve, for tonight he made a decision, and he wasn't going to start regretting it now.

Heracles was still pretty disappointed he wasn't able to accompany Kiku to the play tonight. After he and his father got settled in the house, he told his Dad he was going to go congratulate his friend on his success. After being told to be safe by his dad, Heracles made his way to Kiku's apartment. It was around 11 p.m. and well after the end of the play, so Heracles was certain Kiku would be home. Outside his building, Heracles shot a text to Kiku, but got no response. He sent two more, and called as well, still receiving no answer. It wasn't like Kiku to ignore his calls, and he even said he wanted to tell him how the night went. Heracles entered the lobby and took the elevator up to Kiku' floor. He found his door and knocked gently. The door opened and behind it was Kiku's father.

"Yes, can I help you?"

Heracles had never officially met Kiku's parents, but he did know about them. He put on his best smile and formally introduced himself.

"Hello, I'm Heracles Karpuzi, I'm friends with your son Kiku."

"Oh yes yes, we've heard so much about you. It's nice to finally put a face to the name."

"Thank you, I appreciate it. I'm sorry for coming over so late, but is Kiku here?"

"He's not here. In fact, he said he was going with you to see a play at school…"

"I see…" Heracles said hesitantly.

"Did he not go with you?"

"Well, I had to attend an event with my father all day so I wasn't able to go with him. I was trying to find out how it was."

"Ah, well then please come in. We'll try giving him a call. He should have been back by now." Kiku's father stepped aside and let Heracles enter. He knew from talking with Kiku that removing one's shoes when entering a house was customary, so he did just that and sat at the kitchen table. Kiku's father pulled out his phone and tried calling his son. It went straight to voice mail, just like it did with Heracles. He looked at the phone befuddled, and tried dialing again. The same results were yielded. Kiku never ignored his father's calls, and he always had his phone with him. His confusion soon gave way to anger as he called once more to no avail. His mother began to show visible signs of worry in her face as she fidgeted with her hands. Heracles watched and knew that something was wrong. He figured he would be proactive in helping them locate Kiku.

"I'll run up to the school and see if he's still there; he might have gotten hung up talking to the cast or crew members." Kiku's mother thanked him as his father showed him to the door. His father gave Heracles the house phone number and told him to call if he found anything out while they kept trying to reach him. Back out on the street Heracles took off jogging toward the school. He pulled out his phone and text Kiku again.

'I just came back from your house. Your parents said you haven't come back and they're worried, as am I. Where are you? Is everything ok?'

He hit send and maintained his pace as he headed for the school building. It was closed, so Kiku couldn't still be in there. He ran to their favorite café to see if he was there. He wasn't. Heracles began to panic now. Kiku wasn't known to just disappear, let alone not respond to the people he cared about. The only other place Heracles thought of looking was the museum. It was a long shot, he knew that, but he thought maybe they had some sort of special midnight exhibit going on and Kiku was there. He took a bus going in that direction and stood near the door, ready to leap out. Just like their school, the museum was closed as well. Heracles was at a loss at this point. There were no other places Kiku would have gone too. He called the house phone number Kiku's father gave him, hoping that maybe in his absence he had returned home. His mother frantically picked up the phone, desperate for news that her son had been found. Heracles could hear the despair in her voice when he told her his search hadn't been fruitful. She said they contacted the police, but in order to file a missing person report they would have to wait 24 hours from the time he went missing. Heracles lamented that he was unable to do anything more. All that the three of them could do now was wait and hope for Kiku's safe return.

Back at Dark Desires, Kiku was having the time of his life. The drug had practically turned him into a brand new person. Everything was funny, the music was amazing, the lights were brilliant, and every touch felt electric. Sadiq had got him a mango margarita and passion fruit martini from the bar and he loved it, but Sadiq also made him drink plenty of water in-between. Sadiq taught him a few dance moves at the beginning, but as time went on and the Ecstasy took full effect, Kiku's hips awakened to their latent potential. He loved the feeling of Sadiq's large hands gliding over his body as the beat banged. The temperature was rising and soon Sadiq took his shirt off. His body glistened with sweat in the strobe lights, accentuating his large, muscled torso. Kiku was engulfed in his own world, so much so that he barely noticed Sadiq taking off his shirt as well. Once his upper half was exposed Sadiq pulled him close, chest to chest, skin to skin. Kiku moaned feeling the warmth of the larger boy's body, at which point Sadiq bent down and kissed him again. Kiku welcomed his advance and opened his mouth so their tongues could dance with each other as well. They heard the whistles from fellow partiers as they put on a show. The music intensified while the boys began to bump and grind on each other with their lips still connected. Sadiq noticed someone moving close to them in his peripheral vision. It looked as if he wanted to cut in, but Sadiq extended a strong, stiff arm to ward them off. He wouldn't relinquish this moment for anyone because tonight, Kiku was his and his alone.

It was four in the morning when the club finally began to die down. The D.J. announced his last song as everyone went to have one last dance. Sadiq grabbed Kiku and told him it was time to go, much to Kiku's disappointment.

"But wait, there's one more song left," Kiku whined.

"Yeah, but once that's over everyone in here is gonna be fighting for a cab. We'll beat the rush this way." They exited out the front door and found a taxi within a minute. Inside the car, Kiku let out a deep breath before laughing at nothing in particular.

"So did I lie? You loved it didn't you?" Sadiq asked.

"Aahahahaha, yes, I loooooved it. You were sooooo right. Is that what you want to hear," Kiku said chuckling.

"Abso-fucking-lutely." He replied. Kiku brushed his hand down his jeans and felt a rectangular object in his pocket.

"Wha-?" He reached in and pulled it out.

"Ooooohh, it's a phone! Is this my phone?" he asked innocently.

"Hehehehheh, yes, it's your phone."

Kiku pressed the power button, and as the screen lit up he felt his heart drop and a chill within his soul.

"Oh my god…" he mouthed.

"What's wrong?" Sadiq responded.

"What's wrong? This is what's wrong!" Kiku showed the screen to Sadiq. He looked and instantly knew the source of Kiku's distress. He had 48 missed calls and 32 unread text messages.

"Oh shit."

"Oh my god they're going to kill me. What am I going to do…?" Tears welled up in Kiku's eyes. He put his face down in his hands and hunched over as he sobbed. Sadiq knew Kiku had an entirely different set of rules than he did. He didn't know Kiku's parents but he was sure they'd be furious at the current state of affairs. He quickly came up with a plan to at least try and mitigate the damage. He leaned over and wrapped Kiku in his arms.

"Kiku, listen to me. I know this isn't going to be what you want to hear but just listen for a second ok? I think you should come stay with me at my place tonight."

"Have you gone mad!? How can I possibly-"

"I know, I know. But right now you're drunk and rolling on Ecstasy. I really don't think you want your parents to see you like this. Just come with me to my house, sleep it off, and I'll take you home in the morning."

Kiku couldn't contest Sadiq's logic. Everything he said was right. Deep down Kiku knew whatever punishment would befall him, it couldn't be as bad is it would be had he just went straight home. Sadiq told the driver to change course and head directly for his house. Sadiq lived about a few minute's drive away from Kiku. They exited the car and silently rode the elevator up to Sadiq's apartment. He quietly opened the door and motioned for Kiku to be quiet as both his parents were sleeping. Kiku didn't take the time to look around, he just somberly followed Sadiq to his bedroom. Sadiq closed his door behind them and began to change. He reached in his dresser and pulled out a pair of pajama bottoms for him and a spare t-shirt. He hung the shirts they wore to the club on the back of a chair in his room to dry, while tossing the spare one to Kiku.

"You can put this on. I'm sorry I don't have any pants that fit you."

"It's fine.." Kiku said dejectedly. He put on the shirt and took off his boots and pants, leaving him in just the top and his boxer briefs. Sadiq took of his pants and socks as well and slipped on the pajama bottoms. He turned down the covers of his bed allowing Kiku to crawl in before he did so himself. Kiku laid with his back facing his friend so he wouldn't see him cry himself to sleep. Sadiq placed an arm over Kiku and did his best to comfort him. Kiku's body finally began to relax, and though he had a rough patch ahead of him the next day, Kiku allowed himself to fall into a deep slumber.

As soon as Kiku roused from his sleep he let out a small, depressed sigh. He had hoped the previous night had been a dream, but as he looked around the unfamiliar room and felt the body heat of the boy laying next to him, he knew this was his reality. Sadiq had woken a while ago but decided to let Kiku sleep. He was sure he'd need all the rest he could get for today. Kiku turned over to see Sadiq awkwardly smiling at him.

"Hey…" Kiku said.

"Back at ya." Sadiq replied. They sat for a minute and stared at each other in silence. Kiku was the one to speak first.

"Regardless of everything that happens today, I really do thank you for looking after me. I don't know what the price I'll have to pay for last night is, but I honestly did have fun."

"It's no problem at all, I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. You know no matter what happens today I'm always here for you right? Do you want me to talk to them for you?"

"No, it's ok. I made the decision so this burden is mine to bear. I don't know exactly what to tell them but I'll just be honest. Except for going to the gay club. And the drinking. And the drugs." They both laughed at Kiku's current perception of 'honesty'.

"Are your parents home right now?"

"Maybe, but I've had friends stay the night before. As long as I'm quiet and not getting into trouble I'm free to do as I please. And plus, I'm 18."

"Must be nice."

"You'll be there this summer, you know. Ready to do this?"

"Hai, ikimashou."

Sadiq and Kiku got out of bed and dressed themselves. They spent the ride over to Kiku's house talking about their experience last night. Before Kiku got out of the cab, Sadiq made sure he promised to call him later so he knew everything turned out ok. Kiku hugged him and thanked him once more before going inside.

Kiku stood outside his door and took one last deep breath before putting in his key and entering his apartment. His mother and father were sitting at the dining room table exhausted. They had stayed up all night hoping their baby boy would return safely. They heard the door open and saw Kiku come in. As soon as he closed the door he bowed deeply and immediately told them how remorseful he was. Their initial anger faded after a while and gave way to reveal how distraught they were, and ultimately, their relief that he was safe. Kiku told them he did indeed go to the play but that afterwards one of the cast members invited him over, so they hung out and eventually lost track of time. His parents admitted he was getting older and that soon he would no longer be a minor, but they also stressed and reinforced the importance of staying connected with family and friends. It's a dangerous world out there and they wanted to be certain he knew how paramount it was to keep in contact. Kiku apologized to his parents again and told him he would make sure they wouldn't have to worry like that again. After accepting his apology they told him there was still one other person he needed to make amends with. His parents recounted how Heracles had searched all over to help them find him. He agreed and told his parents he would head straight over to Heracles' house after he showered, which is exactly what he did.

Heracles heard a knock on the door and went to see who it was. His dad went to brunch with some coworkers earlier, so he was home alone. He opened the door and was shocked to see Kiku bowing.

"Hontou ni gomen nasai, I'm truly very sorry." Kiku said. Heracles didn't reply, but instead went and wrapped his arms around Kiku.

"I'm so glad you're safe. I was so worried about you. What happened? Your parents didn't even know where you were."

"It was a long night, I'm really sorry," he repeated.

"Come in and tell me about it? My dad left so it's just me here."

"Sure, if you don't mind."

Heracles led him inside to his bedroom. It was a lazy Sunday for him, so he was still in sleep pants and a tank top. He sat on his bed and patted the spot next to him, motioning for Kiku to have a seat.

"So, what happened?"

"Well, I went to the play, but afterwards Sadiq invited me to go out with him."

"To the after party?"

"No… to…w-we went.. to a club.. called Dark Desires.."

"You went WHERE!?" Heracles shouted. "Kiku, what the hell, what were you doing there?"

"H-he said that he was really wound up from preparing for the play and he just wanted to relax and have fun, so we went there and danced."

"All right, but then why did you ignore your phone all night?"

Kiku glanced around the room nervously. He knew Heracles wouldn't like what he said next.

"W-when we went… after we got there a-and before we started dancing we… w-we had a few drinks and took.. Ecstasy…"

Heracles rubbed his temples in disbelief and stunned silence.

"H-he promised to take good care of me and he did. After we left, I went with him to his house to sleep everything off.."

"Kiku those are things you only do with people who really care for you!"

"B-but he's my friend just like you are, and he does care."

"Don't compare him to me. He could never care for you as much as I do. Do you know how dangerous what you did was?"

"I do, but I took a chance."

"So do you just plan to take chances with any and everything now? I was worried something serious might have happened to you, but instead, you were just out taking chances. I ran from your house, to school, to the café, and even took a bus to the museum looking for you!"

"Heracles, I'm sorry, but-"

"But what, Kiku? You don't understand my feelings toward you so you just won't get it."

"What do you mean I don't understand?"

"If you did it then you'd see why I'm as upset as I am."

"I'm apologizing to you now."

"An apology doesn't just make people feel better."

"So then what else do you want me to do?" Kiku exclaimed. "You keep saying that I don't understand, so what is it I don't understand!?"

Heracles moved towards Kiku, grabbed him by the shoulders, and kissed him. Kiku pushed Heracles off and repeated himself.

"No, tell me, what is it I'm not getting!?"

"That's exactly what I'm doing!" Heracles kissed him once more, but held on to him strongly this time. Kiku was charged with emotion. All his sorrow and frustration started to release as he started to kiss Heracles back. The longer it went on, the more feverish they got. They both struggled to catch their breath in between kisses.

Heracles had had enough. He took off his shirt and Kiku followed suit. Heracles pushed Kiku back on the bed and resumed their lip-lock while he undid Kiku's pants. He started to kiss his way down his body while simultaneously sliding down Kiku's pants and underwear. Kiku's erection sprung forth as he was disrobed. Upon reaching Kiku's feet, Heracles took off his socks as well and tossed everything to the side. He thrust up Kiku's legs revealing his virgin orifice. As his lips made contact, Kiku gasped loudly. Kiku's hands replaced Heracles' as he held his legs up in the air. Now that his hands were free, Heracles began to stimulate Kiku's member as his tongue lashed at his opening. Kiku's hands gravitated towards his nipples, teasing them with his index fingers. Heracles' hunger got the best of him and he could wait no longer. He reached over and took out bottle of lubricant. He warmed it up in his hand with his fingers before putting an ample amount on his own erection and Kiku's delicate flower. Heracles wrapped Kiku's legs around his waist and took a moment to position himself.

"Kiku, look at me." Kiku peered dead into Heracles' eyes.

"Are you ready?" He asked.

"Yes," Kiku whispered. There was no hesitation in his answer.

"Brace yourself," Heracles replied. He leaned down and kissed Kiku as he made the first three inches of initial penetration. Kiku yelped at the pain. He threw his arms around Heracles and dug his nails into his back.

"Breathe, Kiku, and relax. Just breathe, and relax." Heracles gave him a moment for his body to come to terms.

"Keep... going..." Kiku said. Heracles sank another two inches deeper, followed by another two, and eventually the last two, all with small breaks. Kiku had taken Heracles to the hilt. Heracles began to move back and forth, establishing a steady, rhythmic motion. Each thrust was filled with so many emotions: worry, anger, frustration, relief, passion, and joy. In the midst of their coitus, Kiku finally understood what Heracles meant earlier. Heracles loved him. All of the words, the looks, the touches, and the time itself that they spent together, there was meaning in everything.

"I understand," Kiku said, choking back tears. "I understand. I'm so sorry."

"I forgive you," Heracles whispered in his ear. Heracles started to move with more urgency than before. They kissed each other frantically, as if the world would soon end.

"Heracles… hyaku…" Kiku whined.

"I know, Kiku, I'm close too. Together, okay?"

"Hai," Kiku replied. Not long after their mutual agreement Heracles gave one final thrust as both he and Kiku shuddered uncontrollably from their respective orgasms. Heracles collapsed spent on top of Kiku. Kiku ran his fingers through Heracles' hair as they both caught their breath.

Heracles picked up his head and looked down at Kiku through his hair. When they locked eyes, he gave him a smile and leaned forward to peck him on the nose. He wouldn't mind seeing his sweaty, disheveled, post-sex look more often.

There were so many things going through Kiku's mind it was hard to concentrate on one. He experienced more firsts in one day than he could have ever thought possible. He went to a gay night club, drank, tried drugs, stayed out all night, got into an argument with someone very dear to him, and to top it all off, lost his virginity. But there was another first Kiku was faced with. He had a choice to make. And for the first time in his life, he knew deep inside that he would have to knowingly break someone's heart, and there was no other way around it.

Whoa. Major shit went down in this chapter, right? As always, I hope it was worth the wait. I know I say it every time but I really am going to focus on writing things in a timely fashion. I usually go months without writing and then take about 4 days and get one done, so by that logic if I would just space shit out I wouldn't have these stupidly long breaks. I'm know a lot of you aren't fond of Sadiq, but the more I write and develop his character, the more I fall in love with who I envision him to be. But I still have love for Heracles as well, he's my "first born", so to speak. I honestly don't know how this story is going to end, but I know either way it's going to be difficult for me. Hopefully you guys will keep reviewing and encouraging me, I can never tell you how much of a motivator it is. Another shout out to xkuroikittiex, my most awesome beta reader. In addition to QC, she gave me some amazing ideas as well. Now that this is done and published, excuse me while I go mix some pineapple gin and orange juice. I need some inspiration for Chapter 6. Also, I'll have an origin story for Heracles and Kiku coming soon, just need to find out what angle I want to use.

Please keep in my, if you're going to sin,