Follow If You May

You learned his scent long ago: part of you is still human and tries to recognize by sight, but it has almost become instinct now, to identify by smells. It takes effort, at times, to filter out a single person from the cacophony that makes up Judoh in sight-sound-smell, but you’ve learned to take pride in that. It’s a sign of your mastery over the beast within you; it’s proof that you’re still human enough.

Still, you’ve learned their scents, the both of them. Vampire’s men were thorough when their master was not, and they gave you a scrap of cloth torn from Daisuke Aurora’s coat: heat-laced ozone and metal from the machine (from J), dust and sweat and cheap soap. In many ways it’s no different from the thousands of others who live in and below Judoh, but.

But.

You’ve learned him, and you cannot escape him. You’ve promised your service to him, and maybe in that way you’re as much a beast as your face suggests, ready to heel at your master’s command.

And yet, Daisuke makes no real demands of you; he asks instead of orders, suggests instead of asks. He’s careless with you as he is with his machine, like a smile and a wave is all he needs to get what he wants; even when it’s the two of you alone, he turns his back on you without second thought, relaxed and easy and even laughing at his own jokes. Every now and then, however, he will look back at you, midsentence, and his eyes are keen and unafraid. Sometimes it is easy to forget that he is a warrior himself when he is so small compared to you and to his machine, but you remember his hands on his own sword, how he met and matched you without flinching and without backup.

He’s strong enough to look into the broken pieces of your self, to pull them together and figure out the puzzle, and he never once flinched.

He likes you, he says. J likes you, he says.

You have sworn yourself to him.

+++

You haven’t heard Brad whisper to you since you remembered the truth, and sometimes you miss that, even the false whisperings of betrayal and disdain.

It’s … lonely, without him. Without Usagi.

And that makes you sometimes careless: you walk too close to Daisuke and his machine when you follow them, you let part of your cloak flutter through the light when you turn the corner past them, you wait a full ten-second count before releasing chaff when you leave them. You watch the sunlight off his yellow hair and in his green eyes and you watch him move with lanky unhurried grace, and sometimes you let him catch you before you retreat. Brad used to laugh that you were a master at flirting without ever meaning to be, alternately and effortlessly intense and disinterested.

This isn’t flirting, though. You’ve never seen a point in being coy, especially when honesty is so much easier.

This is you, waiting for him.

+++

When it happens, it’s a little bit of a relief. Daisuke does not go to your apartment, nor do you meet him at his office; he takes a walk down Kabuki Road by himself, in the pale hours where last night bleeds into this morning with enough space for someone to go beside him, if they so choose. When you step out and into step one step behind and half a step to his right, he just looks at you and smiles — one of those bright easy ones, one of the ones he gives out like candy, that curves his mouth and slants his eyes and makes him look like he already knows everything.

Perhaps he does.

He leads; you follow. Neither of you are in a rush, and despite the rain coming down, you could follow his scent through a crowded room. He leads you to an alley in the divide where Kabuki Road slips and slides down and the slums claws and struggles up, slipping past a hooker and her john as they come stumbling past. The two of them stink of sex and alcohol and you recoil from it just slightly, seeing how Daisuke’s brow raises at your reaction. Eventually he decides on saying nothing, and you follow him down the alley, to a locked door whose key he produces from his pocket, and into a tiny dark room.

“Not the best of places,” he says. These are the first words, and they’re apologetic but only just: they have the same loose flippancy that make up so much of Daisuke. “I think my brother’s watching my place still. It’s kind of a pain, really.” He tosses the keys into the air, catches them, pockets them. “You don’t mind, do you, Boma?”

You move forward. He tips his head back to watch you, but doesn’t back up until you’ve pressed against him, until you’re bodily pushing him back to the wall. Even when he hits he doesn’t flinch; he leans back as far as he can and he looks at you with a smile and a quirked eyebrow and the length of his throat openly exposed. This close, you can hear his heartbeat, and it comes back to you steady and strong. He’s not afraid. He’s *not afraid*.

“Hey, hey,” he says, and you hold very still as he puts his fingers to your neck, his thumb against the collar of your holomask. Daisuke doesn’t touch others very often: he ruffles his own hair, he speaks with his hands, but he rarely initiates contact that isn’t a fighting blow. Yet there is his hand, gentle upon your throat, his eyes steady as he looks at you. When he finds the tiny switch that phases the mask out, you don’t stop him, and he grins — *grins* — at the sight of your true face.

“You know,” he says, “I’ve always thought that human face of yours is handsome, but this isn’t so bad either, is it?” He lifts his hand from your throat and you go still.

Maybe you even tremble a little when he touches your furred cheek, when his fingers trail up and finger the long delicate point of one ear, then the other. You bow your head to him and permit him the touch.

“Heh, not bad,” he says. He leans in and his cheek is against yours. “I always wanted a dog, you know. My brother always said no.”

You curl your lip, but you don’t quite growl. He laughs at that — you don’t know if he saw it or he felt it — and his fingers find a sensitive spot behind your ear, blunt nails digging in. “Sorry,” he says, and his breath is hot and a little sour against your face, another scent-piece of the puzzle that fits together into Daisuke Aurora. “Just kidding. You’re human, Boma. You’ve always been human.”

That is his kindness: he believes this about you, unwaveringly. He *knows* you are human as he knows he himself is, and in his belief, you can maybe find something to hold onto yourself.

His fingers feel good, tucked up and moving behind your ear.

“Boma,” he says, and you follow.

+++

First you lick his chin, a single broad swipe of your tongue that surprises a laugh out of him. It turns into a lower noise when you lick his throat, and you can’t help it: the threads of the wolf inside of you are drawn to his arched neck, and the offer he made you without fear. You have sworn yourself to him (he likes you) but he gives you his belly without second thought. That’s how Daisuke is, a man who fights to the death for his friends and doesn’t even realize the significance of it, always certain he’ll land on his feet.

Under your tongue his pulse skips and he makes a stuttering sound; it smooths out to a pleased noise when you do it again. One of his hands clenches behind your ear and you catch the other, feeling the strength of his wrist flexing in your grip. Still he lets you pin his hand to the wall, and a laugh chuffs from somewhere deep in his chest when you lick behind his ears, following the taste of sweat where it curls strongly against his skin. He makes a comment you only half-hear, something about unexpected affection, but that cuts off into a surprised noise when your other hand slides under his shirt, spreading against the warm skin of his back.

Daisuke’s scars are thin and scattered: one cuts diagonal from his shoulder to his hip; another presses a divot in the skin dangerously close to his spin; if you slide your hand up, you can feel a fine network across one shoulder blade that you might be able to read, given time and familiarity. His back arches against the press of your hand. He rubs your ear again and you can see his face, relaxed and unafraid even as he stands here in some dirty anonymous room with an animal (a man) pawing at him.

You say his name; you sound out each syllable. They feel strange on your tongue, rolling off against the taste of his skin.

He presses his hand to the side of your head and holds your face still; he looks into your eyes unafraid. There aren’t many who ever could, even before your transformation; you think, perhaps, Brad was the only other.

“Boma,” he says, and he’s mocking your tone, his voice a low drawl that pulls your name out, suspends it in a rolling sound. He wriggles against the wall and for a moment you wonder if he’ll try to break free — but all he does is shift his balance and lean back, hooking one long leg around your hips, and he says, “I’ll blame you if I’m late to work.”

And this is also Daisuke, irrelevant and laughing at the responsibilities he himself takes so seriously.

You don’t laugh, but the amused noise in your throat makes *him* laugh, and maybe that’s enough.

+++

Daisuke doesn’t fit perfectly against you: he’s too tall, too lean, too many angles that are at odds with your own. But he bends with the flexibility of a dancer, his back arching towards you and his head dropping forward. Sweat turns the hair at the nape of his neck dark gold and makes it stick to his skin, and the only thing you can smell is him. This is what you’ve learned; this is what you will always remember. He’s mostly quiet, making abortive low noises in his throat as he ruts back against you, and you think this is less because of where you are (in the slums, on Kabuki road, somewhere in-between) and more because of his own habits. You press your muzzle between his neck and shoulder, his hair crushed to your fur, and you think of nothing at all.

For once, the silence in your own head isn’t so lonely.

You fist his cock in one hand and stroke it hard and fast, and and have to tighten your arm around his stomach when he arches and tosses his head back; his breath falters and skips, then comes sharp and gasping, the next inhale before he finishes the exhale. His hips move as best they can, trapped against you, by you. His voice rises and it’s low and guttural and rougher than you’ve ever heard from him, and you like it. You lick the side of his throat now, press your tongue to the rapid flutter of his pulse, and think maybe you could count heartbeats.

He says your name then, choked and broken into two words; *bo* and then *ma* like he’s forgotten everything else. When you thrust and twist your hips, he jerks to a stop in your arms — his movements, his words, his breath, maybe even his heart — and you wait it out, because maybe you’ve borrowed some of his peculiar brand of serenity, and maybe you nuzzle his hair a little, snuffling against the dampness, and are a little smug that it’s because of you.

When he comes it’s with a wordless shout and damp heat in your palm; his head falls back against your shoulder and you open your eyes to admire the white curve of his throat before you regain your rhythm and move against his pliancy, against the quiet exhausted fondness in his voice when he says your name, against heat and friction and *Daisuke* until your end.

+++

“Nothing visible, right?” he asks, and he tilts his head first this way, then that, for your inspection. He’s already mentioned going back to his apartment for a shower before work, and maybe he’ll not even be late — though from the lazy grin on his face and his heavy eyes and the cautious edge to the looseness of his movements, you’re pretty sure not.

There is a dark bite-bruise on his collarbone, and the edge of it just peeks up over the edge of his shirt. If he tugs his jacket just a little closer, that would hide it. You cock your head at him, blink at his expectant look.

“Nothing,” you agree, and watch that mark until he turns, and so you watch the way his hair curls damply at the nape of his neck, hiding most of another bite mark. “… Daisuke.”

He stops. He looks back. His smile is easy and genuine; there is nothing awkward in how he meets your eyes.

“… until next time,” you say. If he wants, then good; if he doesn’t, then it will be when you’re needed–

His grin widens; he salutes you. Under the edge of his glove, you can see the marks of your fingers on his wrist. “Till then,” he says, and he turns and walks away, waving over his shoulder as he does.

You wait until he’s gone, his footsteps and his scent, then rise to your feet and go your own way.

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