There was a tickle at his stomach just below his navel. It was a persistent feeling which is why he’d woken. Still, it took time to wake up. Perhaps because the tickle felt good. It was drawing out a lazy smile in Kuro.
Eyes fluttering open brought clarity. Dasai was nestled against his side. Kuro’s stomach was a resting place for Dasai’s chin. His right arm rested over Kuro’s hips. It was the marker Dasai held lightly within his fingers that was tickling Kuro’s stomach.
Half asleep still, “what are you doing?”
Dasai glanced up. The grin that spread was slow, “just labelling my property.”
“You’re drawing on me,” his eyes were heavy.
“Some of my best work,” Dasai tossed the pen away with a thoughtless flick. He crawled up Kuro’s body.
They shared a good morning kiss that kept Kuro’s eyes closed. Light was his touch upon Dasai’s neck. Warm lips moved to his ear.
“Stay in bed. I’m going to make breakfast. I mean, I did all the work last night, but don’t get up now.”
Kuro chuckled softly. He wouldn’t argue any of that statement, “you can take it out on me later.”
The light nibble at his ear promised just that.
Then Dasai was gone. Kuro lay there enjoying the memory and missing Dasai. His whole body felt heavy, and there was a blissful feeling that enveloped him. The world was quiet for the moment. All he needed to do was lie here.
Yet, sleep wasn’t coming for him. Though it felt really good to indulge, his brain was already beginning to work. And it was telling him that he was being selfish by leaving Dasai to make breakfast alone. Slowly, he rolled to his side. Across the room, upon the dresser was glasswork Dasai had made; a golden shape depicting a motorcycle. The moment to be lethargic was now gone. This was just being lazy.
With a grin, he pushed up out of bed. His body ached, but it wasn’t in any way that he didn’t like. It was a reminder of everything he and Dasai had shared last night. Recalling those moments brought up a blush. From the foot of the bed, he grabbed his pajama pants. They slid up his legs as he stood up. Standing up had him stretching to work out sore muscles. Eyes closed, he stumbled to his dresser to retrieve a clean shirt. When his hand hit nothing but air, he opened his eyes. The dresser was two steps ahead of him still.
He paused when reaching for the dresser drawer. In the mirror he caught sight of Dasai’s artwork.
DASAI’S was written in scripted handwriting. Surrounding it was filigree that had him thinking of ocean waves. The artwork seemed to take shape. Curious, Kuro pulled at the waistline. He couldn’t look mad if he tried, despite that the artwork came together to point downwards. It was clear what Dasai was marking.
Dressed in an old t-shirt and his pajama pants, Kuro went downstairs.
“We made progress on the project. Thanks for the nachos, they really helped keep us going,” Emmett snuck in behind the two of them.
Kuro hid behind his books.
“Don’t try to be all embarrassed now when you’re the one that pulled him in the room with us,” Dasai was merciless!
“If only he had,” Emmett sighed with dramatical emphasis. “Would have been way more fun than the pout session I had to endure.”
“She mad?” Dasai didn’t sound particularly concerned.
“She’ll be fine,” Emmett dismissed. “But I think she’ll be dropping out of shop class.”
“Good,” his relief was heard. “She had no business there.”
“About as much as Kuro or I would, I suppose,” Emmett nodded.
“He’s picking it up nicely,” Dasai complimented. “The nerd side really picks up the details and retains them. The adorable klutz side still hasn’t realized that he put a grease stain on that cute ass in those jeans.”
“I was wondering what that was about,” Emmett laughed.
Dasai had a hold of Kuro’s arm to stop him from sidling away quietly. He’d been aiming to make a retreat. “That handprint doesn’t go anywhere.”
“Dasai,” he whispered.
“There,” Dasai placed his hand over the grease stain. “All covered.”
“So freakin’ adorable,” Emmett encouraged.
And though Kuro tried to admonish with his eyes, he didn’t pull Dasai’s hand away.
“I can’t say that I like this version of the person you’re becoming Kuro,” Darcy was boldly being upfront.
And because she was, Kuro felt he needed to hear her out. “What do you mean?”
“Jack and I had a really good talk after you and Dasai…left the room,” she was uncomfortable.
And that made him uncomfortable. He glanced about hoping to find Dasai or Emmett.
Unaware, she continued, “we both think Dasai is too strong a personality for someone as sweet as you. I don’t think it’s malicious, but he can so easily bully you into something you’re not ready for.”
Kuro was breathless.
“Darcy?” Tam called her name. She and Vince were coming their way. “Do you have the algebra notes from yesterday?”
“Need a copy?” she asked.
“Sure do,” she was all smiles. “I dropped my notebook in a puddle yesterday!”
“Yah, I can lend you mine.” Darcy looked at him, “we’ll finish talking later, okay?”
He nodded, still looking dazed.
Vince was next to him, “you okay?”
The forced smile emerged. He nodded because he didn’t trust his voice not to give him away. When Tam called for Vince, Kuro bowed out silently. Feelings were welling up that he wouldn’t be able to hide for much longer.
At the stairwell door, he glanced back at Darcy in worry. She was turning his way. Rapidly, his feet carried him off.
The door to the roof closed with a bang behind Kuro. He hadn’t meant to let it slam shut, so it caused him to flinch. Walking backwards across the roof let him watch the door. Worry had him do this. There were times when a person needed to be alone. Even though it was breaking Dasai’s rule.
Confident in the isolation, Kuro turned around. The edge of the roof was nearby. Despite the dangers, it was his destination. His feet hung over the edge when he took a seat. There was a thrill coursing through as he leaned forward. The ground was so very far away. Objectively, it was clear that the fall would kill him. But, there was still an urge running through his veins to jump anyhow. Magic, superpowers, an outside force. Something would save him at the last moment.
Or he’d die from the fall. Just another statistic lost on the internet. His gaze turned sad as he leaned a little further out. The palms of his hands held to the edge. The strength in his arms held him up as he scooched a little further over the edge. It wasn’t that he wanted the pain. But that was sort of the point.
Troubled thoughts moved on the air current which came from the sigh escaping his chest. He leaned back, which allowed his legs to lift as he spun around. His feet landed safely upon the rooftop. The next class would begin soon. He stood up and froze.
Dasai was ten feet from him, frozen with the strangest look upon his face. There was fury, but there was also panic! He was reaching out as though to stop Kuro. His legs had stopped in motion. Was it because Kuro had suddenly pulled himself back?
He stood motionless, unable to form a proper thought.
Life returned suddenly and violently to Dasai. Rage took over, bringing him storming to Kuro’s side. A flinch was the natural response. It didn’t prevent Dasai from tightly gripping the back of Kuro’s neck. A dark aura rolled off. Kuro’s feet fumbled to keep him upright as Dasai hauled him off the roof.
Words tumbled out, “I just came here. I wasn’t. It’s not what it looks like.”
Dasai said nothing.
Down the stairs all the way to the main floor, Dasai dragged Kuro without a word right into the school counsellor’s office. Mr. Landon looked up in surprise at the unexpected interruption. One hand on Kuro, the other pulled a second chair before the desk. Dasai firmly planted Kuro in one and claimed the other.
“Talk,” it was the first word Dasai had said!
Hands gripping the edge of the seat between his legs, Kuro’s eyes darted between the two. His mouth worked but no words were coming out.
Dasai made short work of this, “this school has a serious problem with bullying. So, you’re going to listen to his story. And if I ever catch you up on the roof again, I’m gonna kick your ass.”
“Roof?” Mr. Landon managed a word. “That’s off limits to you kids.”
“Not the issue, genius,” Dasai ground out. He glared at Kuro, “you were going to jump.”
“No, I wasn’t!” he frantically shook his head.
“You were more than halfway off the edge,” Dasai gripped Kuro’s shirt at the throat.
“What?” Dasai’s challenge was cold, “your obituary going to tell everyone you tripped off the roof?”
Kuro’s face turned a shade lighter. His shoulders sank.
“Tell him what’s going on?”
“Look Dasai, there’s a proper way,” Mr. Landon seemed to be getting his feet back on the figurative ground. “I’ll book a private appointment with uhh…”
Dasai had his phone out. With the cell to his ear, and one hand still gripping Kuro’s shirt, he ignored them.
“Free up your schedule, I’m on the way,” he hung up. “Should have known you’d be useless.”
“That isn’t fair when you just storm in here,” Mr. Landon began the calm argument.
Dasai hauled Kuro to his feet, “move it.”
“Dasai,” Mr. Landon called out.
They walked down the hallway with Dasai not letting go of Kuro. When the afternoon sun fell upon them outside, Kuro got up the nerve, “don’t you think you could be overreacting a little?”
This stopped Dasai short. The hand at Kuro’s neckline trembled. His head was down, but he turned to face Kuro, revealing the tears he couldn’t hold back. “Don’t make me live without you.”
Kuro’s eyes grew wide. Reaction had him moving without a thought into Dasai’s arms. His face pressed to Dasai’s chest, “okay. I’ll talk.”
The engine of the bike died as Dasai turned the key. They were near the beach. Kuro pulled his helmet off and removed Dasai’s leather jacket from his shoulders.
“This way,” Dasai put his arm around Kuro.
“Where are we going?”
“To see a friend.”
Kuro looked up, waiting patiently.
Dasai glanced down, “you’re going to see the person I talk to.”
The words hit his ears but took a bit to sink in, “you see a counsellor?”
“Have for about a year. Why do you think I’m so well adjusted?” his grin revealed a level of self-deprecation.
“I think you’re pretty amazing,” soft was the statement.
Warmth glittered in Dasai’s eyes. His fingers found their way into Kuro’s hair to pull him closer.
“Dasai?” Kuro stared at the sidewalk as they walked.
“What?” there was an edge of warning.
He hesitated as he struggled to find the right words.
“You’re going to talk to this guy,” Dasai wouldn’t back down.
Emphatically, he shook his head, “it’s not that. I’ll talk. I just…I wanna know; did I…did I bully you into sex last night?”
Fear of this had tears coming to Kuro’s eyes.
“What?” the question was flat.
Kuro wrung his hands together, “Darcy said it about you pushing me into something I’m not ready for. But, what if I did that to you! I’m the one that did the pushing…”
“I did my fair share of pushing,” Dasai reminded him with an amused chuckle.
Kuro blushed as he shrank in on himself.
Dasai stopped them from walking. He coaxed Kuro to look at him, “do I seem like I can be pressured or bullied into doing anything I don’t want to do?”
He shook his head.
“You’re going to keep worrying about this, aren’t you?”
With a remorse-filled grimace, he nodded.
Dasai let out a sigh, “you weren’t the only one doing research.”
Kuro stared blankly up at him.
“I told you about my first time. I didn’t want that to be your experience, so I looked into things.”
“For me?” he was breathless!
“Then you spouted your crap about us getting better, which really took the pressure off. And here we are today, so…whatever.”
Kuro stared up at him, a blissful grin washing over him.
“Move your ass,” Dasai barked with a pleased grin emerging. “We have an appointment.”
Dasai’s body guided him into a building just up the road from the beach. A young woman with pastel pink hair was at the front desk. Warmth radiated from blue eyes, “hi Dasai. Who is this?”
“He’d better be free,” Dasai kept walking.
The girl’s smile grew.
“I’m Kuro,” he waved, but since Dasai’s arm was still over his shoulders, he couldn’t stop.
“He’s waiting for you,” she waved back.
They walked into the only segregated room the small office had.
“Danny!” the name slipped out in surprise.
“Welcome Kuro,” the return of his name came on warm tones.
“You’re a counsellor,” then he blushed because he knew how ridiculous he sounded.
Dasai directed him to a seat in front of Danny’s desk, “it’s why we know each other.”
“Dasai blasted in here about a year ago. I remember…”
“Your degree may be cheap, but you aren’t,” Dasai sneered. “Can we get to fixing him?”
“That’s not what I do,” Danny wasn’t insulted.
“It is what you do,” Dasai challenged.
“I simply give you the tools to fix yourself,” Danny’s grin hinted at an inside joke between them. He looked at Kuro, “but Dasai trusts me, and I’d like to help out if I can.”
“Take your shirt off,” Dasai barked the order.
Kuro was instantly red!
“It’s not that kind of therapy, idiot!”
Danny’s amused chuckle had them both looking at him.
“It’s always a safe place here, Kuro,” Danny assured him. “Besides, Dasai’s right here with you.”
Defeated by life, Kuro could only work up the ability to nod slowly. Kuro gripped the hem of his shirt. Shame kept that head turned down. Danny watched the two of them intently.
He didn’t gasp, though he certainly wanted to when the shirt was pulled over Kuro’s head. His brain worked to pull on his training, his education, his experience, and his personal knowledge.
Dasai’s impatience prevailed, “he didn’t do these to himself. It’s the bullying. I’ve taken care of them, so you take care of the aftermath.”
Danny’s eyes shifted to Dasai, “what kind of a monster does filigree? I hope that’s not permanent marker.”
Dasai scowled. But the light comments had Kuro’s shy smile emerging. In his lap, he clutched his shirt to hide his nervous habit.
“So, tell me Kuro,” Danny put his elbows on the desk and his chin in hand, “what is it about him that you like?”
“The hell, Danny,” Dasai grumbled.
But Danny only grinned without apology, “don’t question my methods.”
“I’m questioning your integrity,” Dasai crossed his arms.
Kuro was watching Dasai. The barest smile softened his worry.
“So, that’s what it is,” Danny leaned back, satisfied.
They both stared at Danny in mute question, lost as to what it was he saw.
“I’m going to take this call.” He looked pointedly at Dasai, “so you have fifteen minutes, then we’re meeting Erica for lunch.”
“He’s a talker,” Dasai challenged. “You’d better make it thirty.”
“Uh huh,” Danny snickered. “Just clean up after yourselves.”
With that parting comment, Danny left with his cell already pressed to his ear.
Kuro blindly struggled to put his shirt on, “what does he mean by cleaning up?”
Dasai’s grin was filled with wicked amusement. Kuro’s shirt fell to the floor when Dasai pulled him up out of the chair, “by the way you’re blushing, I think you’ve figured that out.”
“Your artwork told on us,” he negated his shy tone by the way he was pulling himself towards Dasai for a kiss that spoke a different story.
On a breath, Dasai confessed, “I think my love-bites may also have something to do with him figuring it out.”
“Dasai!” his blush reached a new level.
“Wow, is that blush going all the way down your pants?” Dasai mocked. His fingers touched the scar at Kuro’s back. They lingered there a moment, “thank you for talking.”
Kuro held him. His lips made silent promises.
Dasai maneuvered them over to the couch. The belt at Kuro’s waist coming undone.
“Wait,” Kuro breathed the word. He reached into his pocket before his pants could drop.
“Your wallet?” he questioned, his lips taking what they wanted of Kuro.
The dusting of the blush that emerged was, as always, enchanting! From inside the wallet, a condom was produced.
Laughing, “you carry condoms around now?”
Still blushing, “I don’t want there to be a reason we have to stop. I-if that’s what you want.”
Delighted, he threw Kuro onto the couch. Straddling him, Dasai pulled the front of his pants open, “then let’s get to it. Put it on.”
Anticipation had Kuro chewing on his bottom lip.