It bothered him. Things didn't usually get to him so easily, but this had struck a chord somewhere deep inside, hidden from prying eyes, and it bothered him greatly. It wasn't the fact that Nezumi hadn't come to his aid when he was being bruised and battered by the street vendor for having interrupted his violent behaviour, nor was it when he had disappeared nimbly in the crowd, leaving him to fend for himself. What ticked him off was the woman in the alleyway. She had pulled him out of the crowded street and pressed her sticky skin against his, slipped her putrid tongue into his mouth and ran a greasy hand through his snow-white hair.
"Nezumi ̶ " started Shion as he looked over his book to greet the figure sitting on the bed.
Nezumi ignored him, continuing his reading of Much Ado About Nothing while Hamlet rested comfortably on his shoulder. He was always like that, pushing Shion away with a rough hand, mocking his feelings and effortlessly turning his convictions around. Even so, Shion couldn't bring himself to hate this man who put so much effort in building a harsh and cold exterior for himself when deep down inside, he had a warm flame burning in the bottom of his soul. Nezumi never showed his true feelings, keeping them hidden from everyone ̶ or perhaps he was unaware of them himself. Either way, Shion always ended on the wrong end of his sharp and witty tongue.
"I don't like it"
"What now? Can't you see I'm busy. Pipe down" replied Nezumi without ever breaking his sight of line from the words on the yellowed pages of his book.
"Why did you kiss her?" Shion blurted the question before he could stop himself.
Nezumi raised his gaze to meet Shion's, cocking a slender eyebrow high above his left eye. The light from the heater flickered as a draft blew into the room from beyond the bookcase. Shion noticed how Nezumi's shadow danced momentarily against the concrete wall of their room. He looked so beautiful, so perfect, even with a sneer appearing on his face.
"Oh-ho! What have we here, the Little Prince was startled by an adult kiss? I'm sorry your Mama kept her private matters away from your eyes but you see, this kind of thing happens, and leads to even more interesting things ̶ " trailed off Nezumi, a small smirk appearing at the corner of his mouth.
Shion hoisted himself from the armchair, dropping the heavily bound book from his lap with a loud clatter. "It's not that, it's just ̶ "
"It's just that she was a prostitute. I mean, she kissed me, and then you, and God knows how many others before and after us"
Nezumi stared at him for a short while before pushing his book aside and gracefully rising from his seating. He strode over to where Shion stood, a few feet from the door, his face bathed in the soft orange glow of the heater.
"So you're saying that you were disgusted?" he said coyly, overstepping well into the limits of Shion's personal space.
"And you didn't like it when she kissed you"
"And you didn't like it when I kissed her" he spoke barely above an audible whisper.
Shion stared straight into Nezumi's grey eyes and searched their depths for any sign of emotion. He found no trace of it. Shion hadn't backed away when Nezumi had come to stand inches from him, his tall body casting an enveloping darkness upon his smaller frame. He felt as though his shadow would swallow him whole, and he didn't care if it did. The other raised a gracious hand to his hair, petting a few strands and letting them run through his fingers. He had a habit of touching Shion's hair and why, he wasn't exactly sure. He found the colour ̶ or lack thereof ̶ to be striking. He trailed his fingertips along his cheek, coming to a delicate stop upon the red mark that covered it. Shion had been marked by a terrible disease, but had come back alive and stronger than ever. His hair and scar were not burdens, nor unsightly to Nezumi's eyes, they were badges of honour.
Nezumi leaned in on him, letting his warm breath caress his face. "Let's see, what did she do to you that had you so disgusted hmm? Ah yes, I remember" he mused, a smile playing on his lips.
Before Shion could say anything, Nezumi had his hands around his shoulders, his body pressing strongly against his own. Had he not found the backwall as a means of support, Shion was sure they would have collapsed to the ground beneath Nezumi's weight. Nezumi's body felt warm through his clothes and Shion felt it spreading through his own layers and reaching his skin. Nezumi was as alive as he was, his regular heartbeat against his chest proved that. Shion wished he could fuse with Nezumi, enter his body and chain their hearts to one another. Then he would truly be complete.
Nezumi pressed harder against him, bringing his attention back to reality. "She held you like this" he whispered gently, his eyes never leaving Shion's face. "And then ̶ "
Their mouths collided smoothly, heat escaped from Shion's parted lips as Nezumi made a move to slip himself into the warm cavity. Shion stared unfazed into steely grey orbs, glittering from moistness as he probed his mouth tenderly, their lips gliding effortlessly over one another. Even in the darkness, Shion could easily discern the structure of Nezumi's perfect features. His long lashes that swept across his cheeks, his chiselled nose resembling marble and his pale white skin glowing with youthfulness.
As he pulled back, he quoted from Shakespeare with a dramatic tone:
"Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceivers ever,-"
Shion still felt the warmth of his tongue against his own and compared it to his previous experience with the woman in the alleyway. As if to read his mind, Nezumi pried into his thoughts.
"Were you disgusted by this too?"
"No" he replied without hesitation.
"Hmm? Why I wonder, perhaps the Prince is unimpressed, now that he's felt it for the second time ̶ "
"That's not it" said Shion, reaching a hand up to Nezumi's face almost instinctively. "I don't know why, but that's not it".
Nezumi chuckled slightly, retreating from Shion's touch and walking back towards his book. This boy before him had no idea of how relationships functioned, nor did he comprehend physical advances such as the ones made by Safu in NO.6, nor his encounter with the prostitute in the West Block. He hadn't understood what had just happened between he and Nezumi, which only aggravated the other even more. He could be so dense at times, showing his true feelings unabashed and without pretense. Nezumi knew that this boy was special to him, ever since that faithful night four years ago. But still, he couldn't bring himself to embrace this odd creature and give him his heart, for he had none to give. Giving your heart away in the West Block meant certain death. Attachments led to mistakes, which led to losing one's life in a stupid way, and Nezumi couldn't risk that. He had to live, he had to survive to see NO.6 overthrown into turmoil and watch it burn and writhe in pain. Perhaps once everything was over, he would be able to accept Shion into his life ̶ if they survived the ordeal.
As Nezumi bent over the heater to poor himself a cup of water, he half-whispered to himself, musing:
"For which of my bad parts
didst thou first fall in love with me?"