Rentarou laid in the darkness of his room, underneath the thin blanket that somehow managed to keep him warm through the night. He lay on his side, staring at the wall; he was thinking, thinking about that mask. The mask that had been so close to his own face on too many occasions, though the young man would never admit that it wasn’t nearly enough times as he would like.
Enju wasn’t in his room as she usually was, which was odd, but he didn’t let it bother him. She is a strong girl, and he knows that. He had always tried to get her to stop clinging to him 24/7, but being alone in his room now was strange.
It didn't feel right that she wasn't there. A stubborn young man like Satomi Rentarou would never admit to any of his fears, especially his fear of the dark. He hadn't liked the dark ever since the operation that gave him the varanium limbs. He was put under with anesthetics; he didn't like the idea of having something in his body that forced him to go to sleep. When he was completely submerged in slumber, he found himself surrounded by open space, there were no walls and no ground; there was nothing but the dark. The darkness seemed to cling to him, every shade of black that he hadn't even known were possible sank deep into his skin, so deep, in fact, that no amount of scrubbing or scratching would ever hope to free him of its influence. He liked having Enju with him because of this. He didn't want to be alone in that terrible darkness.
There was another thought that didn't make him feel so alone though; a thought that made him feel like the darkness hadn't touched him in the first place. The thought that Hiruko Kagetane was out there in the cold, cruel world, and he is alive somehow comforted him.
Rentarou could feel his eyes widening a bit at the thought, if he wasn't paying full attention to his own imagination so tentatively, he would have punched himself square in the face for thinking about that man. But this night he needed to feel better and apparently Kagetane was the only thought that would bring him solace.
The young man was well aware of the shame welling up inside of his stomach and he let out a low groan before rolling onto his stomach and shoving his face hard into his pillow. "Why him? Him of ALL people..."
The moment his face made contact with the soft material of his pillow, he began to nod off, his eyes slowly closing as his thoughts of Kagetane took over his mind.
It hadn't even been ten minutes and the young Promoter was stuck in a light sleep, tears rolling down his cheeks.
His thoughts had brought up a feeling that he never wanted to feel again, that sickening feeling of guilt and self-hatred that he had felt when he took the masked man’s life. He never wanted it to come to that, but he had no choice, it was either kill Kagetane, or risk the survival of all mankind.
As the young man wept in his sleep, the door to his room slid open and a shadow stepped forward into the room, and one step closer to a sleeping Rentarou. It moved closer until it was at his side. The figure crouched down and looked at the weeping form in the bed. The shadow reached a hand out to the young Promoter and spoke. “There’s no need to cry, Satomi-kun.” It had a man’s voice. He gently let his gloved fingertips trace the tears off of the boy’s face before leaning down closer to Rentarou’s ear. “That last kick kind of hurt, you know, Satomi-kun.” His voice was low and smooth and it was just enough to make the sleeping Promoter open his eyes wide and sit up with a gasp.
Rentarou barely looked at the figure before he rushed out from under his blanket and headed for the light-switch with a hurried clumsiness. The lights switched on and there he was; Hiruko Kagetane. He was so close to the side of the young man’s bed and it made him wonder how long the ex-civil officer had been there unnoticed.
The young Promoter was locked in the madman’s stare, and he found himself almost unwilling to look away. He was afraid that if he blinked, he would be gone, and he would find himself alone again.
Those golden eyes called for Rentarou, they made him feel like he was the only one on the planet that the older man could see. Satomi could feel his eyes welling up with fresh tears as he lowered himself to his knees. Kagetane tilted his head to the side and chuckled the same way that he used to, before…
“I… I thought I killed you!” His voice shook as his words fell from his lips and he clenched his fists against the floorboards, trying so dreadfully hard to not voice his relief.
“You know I wouldn’t let you kill me that easily, don’t you, my friend?” He laughed again, this time it was so him, and Rentarou could tell that he was definitely alive.
The young man didn’t even think to go for his gun this time, what he did was something that he never thought he would do in a million years. He stumbled forward in a crawl and hugged the man.
Holding onto him for dear life, Satomi buried his face in his shoulder and cried. A sentence fully consisting of curses and ‘Kagetane’ was muffled into the man’s tailcoat, and Rentarou hated himself for doing this and showing weakness to the enemy. The man he was holding was evil and he knew it, but right now, all he cared about was the fact that the man didn’t actually die by his doing.
The older man grunted at the contact and looked down at the blue-haired young man before him, but he remained quiet. Satomi was the only one that Kagetane wished he wouldn’t have to see cry; the ex-civil officer had kept tabs on Rentarou and had watched him when he was alone; that was when it usually happened. The young man would break down, over what he used to wonder, but now, being here with Rentarou, the answer is clear. Naturally, this surprised Kagetane, but he didn’t show it.
As if needing to stop himself from weeping, Rentarou looked up at the older man through his tears and spoke. “You… You are actually here… right? This isn’t a dream?” His eyes were pleading and filled with hope.
He didn’t answer for a moment; he instead shifted Rentarou in front of him so that the young man was inches away from his mask and staring into his eyes.
Rentarou wiped his eyes with the back of his right fist and held the gaze, calming himself down enough to furrow his eyebrows into his usual angry expression to at least hold onto some of his dignity.
At this, the older man chuckled and reached his hand out to him. “Give me your hand, Satomi-kun.”
That was one of the last things that he would want to do he told himself, but he did it anyway. The feeling of his skin against the soft material of the man’s glove sent a shiver down his spine. He had always wanted to know what they had felt like, and somehow, the warmth that Kagetane emitted made it even more perfect. It made him so believably alive. “Wait-… What are you doing!?” Rentarou asked quickly, he didn’t need an answer in words anymore. His hand was pressed against the older man’s chest, over his heart. The young Promoter shut his eyes and tried to feel a pulse through the other man’s clothes and skin. He didn't feel anything; it wasn't there, and Rentarou could feel the disbelief and anger welling up inside of himself as the tears he thought he shook came back with a vengeance.
Rentarou exhaled sharply through clenched teeth and withdrew his hand. He was so overwhelmed with anger that he didn’t even register what happened in his mind during the few seconds before his pushed Kagetane onto his back and straddled his waist. Looking down at his masked face he cried, “Do you think this is some kind of fucking joke?!” The young man was sobbing out his words, the tears that fell from his eyes landed with light pitter-pattering sounds against the white, smiling mask.
Kagetane chuckled and gestured for Rentarou to lean down closer to him; Rentarou doesn’t move. “Satomi-kun, I am alive… though you may not believe it… I would never lie to you.” He grabbed the young man’s wrists and repositioned the two of them. The young man is now the one on the floor, the older man leaning over him, their faces just inches away from each other. “If you think so little of me, then I might as well be dead, shouldn’t I?” Kagetane was smirking around his words and it was all too audible. “You and I both know that you don’t want me dead though, why is that?”
Rentarou’s eyes were wide and shocked out of the sadness and anger. His breath came out shakily and he forced himself to look away; he would never admit that he was blushing, but deep down in his subconscious he was trying to tell himself that he didn’t like any of what was happening. Both he and Kagetane knew that that would be a lie though.
The older Promoter released the younger man’s wrists and sat up straight. “Well, Satomi-kun? Would you like me to say it first?” He tilted his head and watched as the other sat up as well.
The two both know that on a normal occasion Satomi Rentarou would rather die than admit that he liked Kagetane. However, now is not one of those times. The man had come to him in his sleep after coming back from the watery grave where Rentarou had left him, and now he expected the young man to not admit how he feels? Kagetane should know by now that Rentarou was never one to back down from a challenge. “No, goddamn it. I like you.”
This made Kagetane laugh, louder and more powerfully than Rentarou had ever heard him laugh before. “Only ‘like’, hm? Come now, Satomi Rentarou… you and I both know that you’re hiding something.”
Rentarou blushed angrily and stood up. He stomped over to the light switch, flipped the lights off again and then returned to his spot in front of the man in the mask. Just to test the waters, the young man reached his hands out to feel for the edges of the older man’s mask. When he found them, he gave the mask a light tug, and it easily came off. He placed it aside and got on his knees to better reach other man’s lips. Rentarou placed his hands on the man’s shoulder and looked before him at the now shadowy figure in the darkness. “Uhm… Bear with me for a minute.” The young Promoter slid his hands up Kagetane’s neck and to the sides of his face. Satomi brought his face up to the other man’s and used his thumbs to feel for the corners of his mouth. His skin was normal from what Rentarou could feel, there may be a few scars hidden somewhere, but he didn't want to find out about them just yet.
Kagetane, growing impatient, took it upon himself to close the gap between them. His arms snaked around Rentarou’s waist and he tilted his head to the side to deepen the kiss. He listened to the sounds that the kiss elicits from the young man as if they were the last thing he was ever going to hear, and he chuckled against his lips.
Rentarou’s arms were already around the other’s neck and he was trying to keep himself as quiet as possible, but one of Kagetane’s hands slid smoothly down to his ass which was covered only by the light fabric of his boxers and he let himself believe that the whimper that came from him was only in his head. The older man took the opportunity to slip his tongue into the younger Promoter’s mouth and deepen the kiss further, as if he wanted to devour Rentarou.
The 17 year old moved his hands back to the other man’s shoulders and gave a light push, his lungs ready to explode from the lack of air. Kagetane obviously understood this and he pulled out of the kiss with a low hum. The young man’s heart was pounding as he panted, breathlessly. His face was hot and he could only assume that every inch of him was bright red. “Ka-Kagetane…” He spoke through heavy breaths of air.
The older man laughed, it was almost human sounding, but something told Rentarou that that just wasn’t possible for someone like Kagetane.
“Satomi-kun…” His voice was barely higher than a whisper, but in the silence of the night in that dark room, the young man could hear him perfectly. “You’re lucky that I really do like you. Not just anyone can take off my mask and live to tell about it.” He chuckled and folded his arms in the darkness which was audible through the sound of his clothes rustling.
Rentarou froze at that. He could kill me if he wanted… but he doesn’t want to? He thought to himself as he stared at the figure before him. Finally, he decided he would do it; he was going to confess to the other man how he actually felt. “Li-Listen… Kagetane… I don’t know what’s going to happen after I say this, and I don’t really care right now… so you better not fucking laugh at me!” He takes a deep breath and straightens out his back as his sits up with an all too familiar grumpy expression. “Hiruko Kagetane… I lo-“
A young girl's scream rippled through the open air and Kagetane had his mask back on in one swift motion, Rentarou gasped and shot up to his feet. “E-Enju…” the young man breathed out her name in worry and rushed out of the room and straight into his Initiator’s quarters. “Enju!” He thrust the door open, the older man close behind him, and saw Enju’s form standing on her bed in a stance that screamed ‘come any closer, and you’ll regret it.’ There was another figure in the shadows, it was Enju’s height. Rentarou slammed his hand against the wall and switched the lights on, and there at the side of the young girl’s bed, a blue-haired child stood, swords drawn, and a smile plastered on her face.
“Kohina,” Kagetane spoke from behind Satomi, his hand discreetly pressed against the small of the young man’s back. “I thought I told you to stay at home.”
“Come on, Papa! You said you were going to see an old friend, and I wanted to do the same!” She looked over at her father and frowned.
Enju shouted at the other young lady, “He is not Rentarou’s friend, and you always try to kill me! We are not friends!”
Satomi flinched at that and stepped further into the room, “O-Oi! Listen, girls… calm down.” He took a deep breath. He looked back at Kagetane who must have been staring at him the whole time, because they immediately made eye contact and Rentarou gave him a look of pained confusion. If I tell Enju that I want to be with him, she’ll kill me… and so will Kohina… but if I don’t tell her then it’ll be hard to hide.
As if he understood the Rentarou’s thoughts the older man chuckled and stepped out from behind him and made himself that protective barrier that Rentarou was desperately looking for. “Lower your weapons, daughter of mine,” this earned him a short-lived protest from the blue-haired girl, and then he looked over at Enju, “and as for you, young lady. There will be no rash actions and you will listen to what both me and Satomi-kun have to say, understood?”
The rabbit model threw her hands up in protest and shouted, “Hey, mister! I don’t know who you think you are! I only listen to Rentarou, see?!”
“Enju.” Rentarou pinched the bridge of his nose and grumbled to himself. This quieted her down, “E-Er… Kohina and Kagetane are going to stay the night, all right? He and I have a lot to talk about.” The older man looked back at him, his golden eyes filled with intrigue.
A grin spread across Kohina’s face and she practically squealed, “I’m going to sleep with Enju tonight!”
Enju yelled to Rentarou, “What?! Rentarou, if I’m gonna be woken up in the middle of the night by another woman who wants to kill me, then at least let us use the TV to watch Tenchu Girls for a little while!” This was Enju’s way of making friends. She would have other little friends over and she would immediately turn on Tenchu Girls. If they liked it, then they were A-Okay in her book, if not, then they had some things to get straightened out.
“Is that okay with you, Hiruko-san?” Rentarou inquired as he stepped forward next to the taller man.
“That should be all right. Kohina, there shall be no sword-play, are we clear?” He chuckled softly and turned slowly to leave the room, but stopped to add a quick, “Have fun. Good night, you two.” He held his hands behind his back and walked out after that.
Rentarou walked over to the two girls and kneeled down and gave Enju a hug, “Goodnight, Enju. Behave yourself, okay? Be nice.”
Enju hugged him in return and managed to land a nicely placed punch to the young man’s head which made him yelp. “That’s for not telling me that we had company!” She pouted and stuck her tongue out at him. He couldn’t help but chuckle as he rubbed his now throbbing skull. He quickly turned his attention to Kohina. He turned to face her and took a deep breath to try and keep his fear at bay. He leaned forward and wrapped his arms around the young girl. “Goodnight, Kohina. Have fun, okay? Uhm… if you need anything just ask Enju or me, ‘kay?” He released his light hold on her and gave a soft smile.
Kohina smiled back and whispered almost menacingly to him, “Be nice to my Papa.”
Rentarou grunted and couldn’t help but nod. Geez, this kid is terrifying. He thought to himself before he turned and walked out of the room, shutting the door so that the girls were left in peace. The older man wasn’t anywhere to be seen in the connected room, so quietly, Satomi called out to him. “Hiruko-san?...” He checked the kitchen. Not here. The TV room was going to be occupied by the girls, so he wouldn’t be there, but he checked anyway. “Oi, Kagetane!” Rentarou raised his voice only slightly since he lived in an apartment building and didn’t want to get in trouble. My room, he’s gotta be there. The young man walked through the dining room and slid the door to his room open. “Kagetane?” The room was empty. He took a few steps further into the room and looked around in the darkness.
“I like it when you call my name, Satomi-kun.” The older man was in the doorway, behind Rentarou.
Startled, the young Promoter stumbled backwards slightly, a light pink color staining his cheeks. He sighed after a moment, and went to sit back down where he had been sleeping earlier. “You could have just asked me to say it, you know, you didn’t have to scare me.”
Kagetane straightened up at that and walked over to sit beside Rentarou. “Would you really have done that for me, I wonder, or would you need some persuasion?” The mad man was smirking as he let his words slide smoothly out of his mouth.
Rentarou’s eyes widened and his face flushed a vibrant shade of red. He knew that he shouldn’t have said what he did, and now he knew he was in for a long night, but at least he wouldn’t have to go through it alone.