“There is a certain someone already,” he said. He had given his name as Aoi, though it was not the same name that he gave to clients during the day; there was a blue rose in his jacket lapel. “I would ask that you do not inquire too deeply.”
The other man, who had introduced himself as Murasaki and kept a violet rose in his own lapel, just smiled. “That is fine with me,” he said. “There is also a certain person in my circumstances. I won’t ask if you don’t.”
Aoi looked relieved at the admission. It made him wide-eyed and youthful for a moment, like a boy who had stumbled into this strange world entirely by accident. He put down his wine glass with a hard clink and kept his hand braced against the table, as if to take his weight; he wet his lips and cleared his throat and couldn’t quite look Murasaki in the eye. With his other hand he tugged at his collar to loosen it, exposing a pale stretch of skin. Then he laughed, his hands still in place, and his smile turned wryly self-deprecating. “I don’t know what to do,” he said. “I came here because I wanted to learn, but now that I’m here, I have to be taught even that.”
Murasaki rose to his feet. At slouched relaxation, he and Aoi were at eye-level with one another. He crossed the room and was pleased to see that Aoi held his ground–young, yes, and nervous with his inexperience, but not stupid. He smiled and placed his own hand on Aoi’s cheek. His fingers were rough and sun-browned, but he kept his touch gentle as he traced the line of Aoi’s cheek and said, “I came to forget. You may have my knowledge instead, if you’d like.”
“There’s someone,” Aoi said, and Murasaki laughed before he could finish, pressing a thumb to Aoi’s chin so that his mouth opened. He pushed until Aoi’s head tipped back and looked thoughtfully at the graceful line of exposed throat. Under his hands, Aoi was still, but his breathing was fast and a touch unsteady, and the restlessness coiled inside of him was very nearly its own tangible sensation.
“There always is,” said Murasaki. He leaned down and pressed his mouth to the blue line of the vein in Aoi’s neck. It jumped under his lips and he laughed there, exhaling warmly against that skin. One of Aoi’s hands found a spot on his shoulder and flexed there before curling into the material of Murasaki’s shirt. “I don’t mind. After all, we’re in the same situation.” He set his other hand against Aoi’s hip to brace his weight, then bit down, not precisely gentle, and tugged him closer when he yelped until their hips were pressed tightly together. Aoi pulled back to look at him with those same wide eyes as before, his mouth open in a rounded o shape. Murasaki smiled at him and released his face to douse the candle.
“This way,” he said. He took one step back, then another, keeping his hand pressed tightly to Aoi’s back so that Aoi moved with him, like the steps of a waltz, until they reached the bed on the far side of the darkened room. Murasaki moved until he felt his legs hit the bed, then sank down onto it, smoothing his hand from back to hip, letting his thumb dig into the soft dip of flesh just above the jut of Aoi’s hipbone. His other hand moved to the button-fly of his pants and slipped each button free one by one; they made soft snapping noises in the dark. Murasaki took one of Aoi’s hands–the fingers were soft all the way to their tips, with only the faintest hints of a writing callus on thumb and index finger–and tugged it down to press against his half-hard cock.
“Do you do any work at all?” he asked. He rubbed his thumb, with its sword-roughened pad, against the soft sweep of skin across the back of Aoi’s hand. “It doesn’t seem like it …”
“Don’t be rude,” Aoi protested, but he didn’t pull his hand away. “I do plenty of work. In fact, I help my father–”
Murasaki tightened his grip on Aoi’s wrist until the other man winced. “Shush,” he said. “I won’t ask, but don’t volunteer the information like that. We haven’t even done anything yet.” And he smiled again to take some of the sting out of his words, though Aoi flushed slightly, the red color stark against his pale skin.
“I’m sorry,” Aoi said, and when Murasaki loosened the grip on his wrist, he turned his hand, brushing his fingers hesitantly over warm skin and rough hair. “Sometimes, when I–I’ll stop.”
“You can still talk, if you want,” said Murasaki, and pushed at Aoi’s shoulder until the other man’s knees bent and he sank down to kneel on the floor beside the bed. “But something like that doesn’t have a place here. Even when you’re learning.”
“You asked,” Aoi protested, but he sounded more petulant than upset. He adjusted his weight minutely a few times, then wrapped his fingers firmly around Murasaki’s cock, stroking it out of his pants, into open air. Through a gap in the curtains, just enough light slanted through across his face and highlight his expression of concentration: eyebrows drawn together, jaw set, and just the tip of his tongue peeking out over the wet curve of his lower lip. He did not notice he was being watched; his gaze was instead riveted on Murasaki’s cock like it was some sort of great and complicated question he had never considered before.
Perhaps he had not. Murasaki gentled his own touch further, curling his fingers around Aoi’s to tighten their grip. When Aoi looked up at him, eyes wide, Murasaki said, “The best way to learn is to just try.”
“It won’t be very good.”
“It will be good enough.”
Aoi’s mouth twisted for a moment, as if he tasted something sour already, but then he broke eye-contact to study Murasaki’s cock again. He moved his hand slowly, carrying Murasaki’s touch with it, and he leaned in until his breath was warm and damp over the head of Murasaki’s cock. As he hovered, caught by indecision, Murasaki slid his other hand into Aoi’s hair, which was finer and softer than his skin, and dragged his nails briefly against the scalp. He tugged down and arched his hips up at the same time but said nothing, and Aoi took a deep breath and leaned the final hairsbreadth of distance to fit soft slack lips around the head of Murasaki’s cock. The hard edge of his teeth were a fleeting presence before Aoi pulled back and made low coughing noises in his throat. Before Murasaki could prompt him again, though, he leaned forward once more, setting one hand against Murasaki’s hip as if to brace himself.
“Ah,” Murasaki breathed, as Aoi’s mouth slid around him again. His teeth scraped for a second before he figured out folding his lips over them, and he did not go down the whole way; he was awkward, and as warned, not very good–but his expression was still one of intense concentration; he was entirely focused on his task. Murasaki exhaled through his teeth and nearly smiled as he stroked his hand through Aoi’s hair again, then removed it to the bed to hold his own weight; his other hand, he used to direct Aoi’s on his cock, setting a slow steady rhythm to keep himself interested and sustained in a holding pattern. He did not close his eyes as he might have normally, choosing instead to study the pale curve of Aoi’s cheek in the moonlight, or the shadows cast by the long sweep of his eyelashes.
Murasaki only knew one other person with skin this pale without the aid of powders or creams.
The thought made something hot unfurl in his stomach. His breath hissed out between his teeth in a moment of genuine surprise, and Aoi gave a low hum in answer. Sweat prickled along Murasaki’s hairline and his fingers fisted harder in the sheets, and he could not make himself blink, staring hard at Aoi’s half-shadowed face. There was nothing feminine in his beauty, but there was a nearly familiar grace in the aristocratic line of his jaw and in the untried softness of his hands. He was too tall, too broad-shouldered, too angular to look anything like the person who haunted Murasaki’s thoughts, but for a moment–for just a moment–
Of their own volition, his hip rocked up. Aoi made another noise and pulled back, lips swollen and wet, and he released Murasaki’s hip for a moment to scrub the back of his hand over his mouth. He looked up to meet Murasaki’s eyes and his were darker than before, their light dimmed into something more diffuse. He said nothing, but when Murasaki touched his cheek, he leaned into it for a moment before he bent to take Murasaki’s cock into his mouth once more–more easily now, less awkward, if not any deeper. The movement had hair sliding across his forehead, hiding his face further, and Murasaki made a noise that was not quite a groan, letting his hips rock again, moving into a steady, shallow rhythm.
This time, he closed his eyes. He could nearly imagine that someone else knelt in Aoi’s place, delicate nearly to the point of being fragile, with heavy golden hair that clung to his fingers when he slid his hand through it and small clever fingers that stroked him with slow deliberate precision. The knot of heat in his belly tightened again, pulling a grunt out of him, and he reached for Aoi’s hair, too fine to match with his fantasies, and said, “Now, ah, now–”
Aoi’s head jerked for a moment, as if to pull back, and then he swayed forward again, his mouth sliding down further than before. Murasaki squeezed his eyes shut and bit the inside of his cheek until he tasted blood to keep from saying the name that rested on his tongue, ready to break free. His climax was a quiet–a choked shudder, a brief rush of heat, a brilliant smile seared in his mind’s eye–and then it was over and Aoi pulled away coughing; when Murasaki opened his eyes, he watched Aoi wipe at his mouth and felt another small warm curl in his belly. It could almost be named affection.
“Did you learn something?” he asked.
Before he answered, Aoi cleared his throat and then looked up. There was a small twist to his lips as he said, “Maybe.”
Murasaki laughed again. “I will teach you one more thing, then,” he said and reached down to pull Aoi first up to his feet, and then down on the bed beside him. “After that, it’ll be better if you learn with the partner that you’re pining for.”
“I’m not pining,” Aoi said, but he dropped his gaze as he spoke.
“Then the other person in your thoughts,” said Murasaki, and he reached to place his hand squarely between Aoi’s legs, rolling the base of his palm against the hardness he found there. Aoi let out a startled yelp and swayed into him, both hands clutching at Murasaki’s shoulders, his mouth and eyes open and round in shock. Murasaki leaned to press his lips just under Aoi’s ear, not quite a kiss, and massaged his fingers with firm unrelenting pressure. His other arm slid around Aoi’s waist to hold him close and upright; through that contact, he could feel the small shudders that rippled through the other man’s body at his touch.
“Oh,” Aoi gasped. His voice was small and surprised. “Oh, oh–”
Against his ear, lips moving against his skin, Murasaki whispered to him: “This is what it feels like for you.”
“I,” Aoi began, his voice quavering, “I don’t. I’m not. I.”
“Bodies are made for this sort of thing,” Murasaki said, his voice a low soothing murmur. He plucked at the fastenings for Aoi’s pants–two large round buttons–deliberately missing several times, letting his fingers trace the outline of Aoi’s trapped cock instead. “If you can’t recognize what it’s like, it will rule you.”
“Murasaki,” Aoi ground out, his fingers clenched hard in Murasaki’s shoulders, “with all d–due respect, I have done–things with myself before, so I, I’m, it isn’t like I haven’t–”
“Ah,” said Murasaki, “my apologies.”
He slipped the buttons of Aoi’s pants open, one and then the other, and wrapped his fingers firmly around the cock that sprang free. Aoi made a keening sound as if in pain, his entire body jerking as if shocked. His head fell back to expose his throat and the sharp wing of his collarbone. The blue rose in his lapel was wilting, bruised, but still mostly intact. Murasaki slowed his touch and leaned down, until he could breathe in that delicate scent. He heard Aoi say his name again, soft and almost confused, and squeezed his fingers tighter. With his other hand, he tugged Aoi closer, enough so that his nose was pressed into the rose; once it was, he began to move his hand hard and fast, nearly merciless. He kept his eyes closed, tilting his head so he could brush his lips against that rose, and pretend.
It did not take long at all for Aoi to come. He made a single choked noise, his fingers digging in with unmistakable force into Murasaki’s shoulders, and his cock jerked in Murasaki’s hand with all the eagerness of the enthusiastically inexperienced. Murasaki murmured nonsense words into the heart of the rose, letting the petals catch against his lips, then opened his eyes.
The shirt Aoi wore under his jacket was white and no longer as crisp as it had been earlier in the evening. Tucked into the breast pocket, just barely peeking out, was a dark satin ribbon with a tiny yellow rose embroidered on the end of it. It was the sort of ribbon that normally found its place braided into someone’s hair–something he’d seen only one other person wear, dark dark red against bright gold hair….
Aoi’s hand rose up into Murasaki’s line of vision and tugged his jacket firmly shut. The gesture crushed the blue rose between his own hand and chest. Murasaki looked up and met Aoi’s eyes and saw something in them so familiar it was nearly like looking into a mirror.
“There is a certain someone already,” said Aoi quietly.
And Murasaki laughed, though the sound was strained even to his own ears. “I see,” he said. He put a hand over the purple rose on his own lapel and closed his eyes. “We’re in the same situation after all.”