Pairing: Dokugakuji x Kougaiji
Summary: A short ficlet I wrote to fulfill a request: Dokugakuji cannot alleviate Kougaiji's emotional tensions, so he tries the physical. Ironic title yay.
Disclaimer: These characters are the exclusive property of Kazuya Minekura. I only claim the plot and conversations. And let's face it--what plot?
Warnings: Oh my gosh. I can actually say that there is no drug abuse, no coarse language, and no violence! Sex, though. Duh.
Echoes dripped off of the palace walls, and Dokugakuji waited patiently by the door, sword sheathed at his side, as his prince approached.
A civil nod passed between them, the redhead's jaw firmly set, as they entered the chambers of Lady Gyokumen. Doku admired his stubborn courage, undaunted by the queen's power and influence. To say Kougaiji wasn't afraid to die was an understatement. Anyone could sacrifice his life for his country—in fact, of a king, it was expected. But death was a release, and a luxury in their current situation. Kougaiji did more; he endured, and he suffered.
Although he stood behind him now, listening to the queen's words, he could still see it in Kougaiji's posture; the tensed muscles and rigid shoulders radiated a fierce aura all their own, vibrating with a potent mixture of potential energy and absolute exhaustion. It was in his face, too, in the evenings when on occasion his façade would start to slip. Dokugakuji had caught him at it once or twice, sighing into his hands or fingering one of his earrings with the most agonized expression and deep, empty claret eyes. It was the same look Gojyo used to have after their mother beat him, as if he didn't quite know what to do next, which wound to attend to first, the physical or mental.
But Gojyo had been a child on whom no one depended, and it hadn't hurt to show it, to relieve himself of the stress in his brother's arms, sobbing or just sitting silently, letting Jien stroke his hair. Kougaiji wouldn't do that; he had never succumbed to anything in as long as Doku had known him. Sometimes, the swordsman thought as they turned to go, it might do him some good to release his burden for a short time. Even Atlas had had a break. Dokugakuji wanted to be the one to bear the weight of his pain for him, even if it was only for a little while.
Kougaiji clenched his fists at the newest order, and the knuckles grew bone white beneath a bronzed exterior. A strong hand pressed to his shoulder in an uncharacteristic display of affection. "Kou." He was the only one who could call him that; even Lirin addressed her older half brother by his full name. Yaone used a proper suffix. He didn't know when this bond had developed, but treasured it with as much tenacity as he did their friendship.
Dark eyes settled on him, waiting, and a shock of auburn hair slid over his left eye. Doku pushed it back. "You're trembling."
"I'm fine," the prince responded stonily; Doku knew better than to interpret that as cruelty. If he softened, he might break. He was afraid.
"When do we leave?" Their orders had been, once again, to obtain the Maten Sutra of the fair-haired priest with whom Gojyo traveled; the life of its bearer was of no real importance, and Lady Gyokumen had expressed some desire to see his head on a platter. What they did with the others, she'd added with a flick of her hand, was their choosing.
"I leave at dawn." Kougaiji said simply. "Inform Yaone. Don't tell Lirin."
Nodding, Doku turned, "Three dragons, then?"
"Two." Kougaiji said calmly, already halfway down the wide corridor; torchlight trembled over his skin, making it glow like armor.
"Kou?" He was taller, and his stride overtook his prince's in an instant.
"You don't--" He paused, earrings swinging at the sharp tilt of his head, looking up to meet his guard's eyes directly, "I can't have you compromising the mission." He said simply, and, sensing the sudden rise of heat and pride from his swordsman, he added, "He's your brother, Dokugakuji."
And then he understood, heat blooming in his chest at the selfless gesture. Kougaiji knew it pained him to have to fight Gojyo in seriousness, and chose not to subject him to it. "I am loyal to you first," Doku recited, wanting desperately to reach and touch him, assure him somehow of his fidelity. "I will do anything you command. You know that, Kou."
"Then stay here." And that was the end of it
His room was dimly lit, glowing peach with candlelight and, in the penumbra of shadows, violet. Yaone had been informed, and asked to keep this from Lirin, to which she eagerly agreed. It was too dangerous to have her involved in this.
"Watch out for him, Yaone," Doku had requested, knowing she would understand. His appeal was not intended to call Kougaiji's fighting skills into question; he was far superior to any of them, even though he was only half youkai. It was simply that when a man is in such a state as his, emotionally tangled so tautly that the wires holding him together might snap at any moment, he needed someone capable to watch his back. And if Doku couldn't be there, Yaone would do it. She loved him as much as any of them, as a savior and a king.
The sheets whispered as he slid out of bed, and the curtains echoed the same sound when he jerked them apart, peering out into the dark of the night. The clouds in the North were moving away from them, revealing a netting of asterisms overhead: the summer sky. It changed so slowly, stars rising no more than four minutes earlier every evening, so that one hardly noticed it until entirely new constellations appeared on the Eastern horizon. And then everything that had been, the familiar map by which one had navigated, was no longer present. Kougaiji was much like that, forever changing, and yet trapped at the same time, unable to pull himself out of a downward spiral, weighted by obligations and the love for his country that seemed, to him, more precious than life. That utter selflessness and brazen courage in the face of what seemed impossible was why Dokugakuji loved him.
It wasn't the same way Yaone loved him, admiringly, from a distance, as a savior. No, Dokugakuji loved him the way his brother loved the green-eyed healer of their ikkou, fiercely and eternally and without question. Kougaiji had saved him, but his devotion was no repayment of a debt; it was love, genuine concern for what became of him.
That was, one could reason, why he was striding down the labyrinthine halls of the palace at such an odd hour to scratch at the prince's door, announcing himself quietly when he heard a body shift, and a chair squeak. So Kougaiji wasn't sleeping either. Doku wondered if he ever did.
"Come in, Dokugakuji." There was some confusion in his tone and upon entering, the youkai realized his prince anticipated further argument about the mission.
"Kou." He was sitting at his desk, papers and scrolls strewn about; several ink pens sat in a slender jar. Red hair fell over a loose white shirt, halfway unbuttoned to reveal a V of dark skin. He had taken off his shoes, and his bare feet sunk into the carpeting below, almost lost in the hem of his cotton trousers.
"Don't you sleep?" Hands slid over his shoulders, and he felt Kougaiji grow tense, muscles achingly hard in his hands. Such a simple contact unnerved him? "You're tense."
"What are you doing?"
"Look." And Doku wondered fleetingly if it was just him, or he really did sound like his brother then, "If you're going into battle tomorrow without me, it's my obligation to see to it that you're fit enough to fight for both of us."
"I can handle myself."
Doku smiled, "I know that. But you're suffering."
"Everybody suffers. What are you getting at?" Standing, he turned to face the man head-on, eyes blazing beneath long lashes.
"I just think you need…a release," He didn't intend for the words to have sexual undertones. Shrugging, he let his hands fall to his sides, because it seemed to make Kougaiji more comfortable. "Yaone and Lirin are worried too, y'know. None of us want to see you like this. Sleep isn't a luxury, Kou, and you don't have to sacrifice it to win. In fact, I'm pretty sure if you do, you won't."
"It's not just about the weird hours," Doku plowed on, "it's about the way you carry this burden, clutching it all to yourself. I know neither Yaone nor I is stronger than you, but that doesn't mean we can't handle some of it. Let go a little bit, Kou. Delegate some of the stress to us—we can take it."
"It isn't your burden." Each word was clipped at the tail, enunciated perfectly. Kougaiji's temper was fraying.
"But yes it is! That's what you don't seem to get—we care about you Kou—we can't stand to see you suffering to this extent, living in a nightmare and unable to do anything about it. I know we can't do the big stuff. We can't oust Gyokumen, and we can't save your mom," he said quietly, "but all the steps it takes to get there, we can help with those. The mission tomorrow--"
"You're not coming."
"But it would be so much easier if I did. Let me make sacrifices too. Don't dishonor me." The quiet plea struck some corresponding chord of honor in him, and he hesitated.
"Dokugakuji…he's your brother."
"I know. But you're my king." The taller youkai stepped closer, "and my friend," he breathed, one cupped hand resting on Kougaiji's left shoulder. It slid down his chest to rest atop his heartbeat. "I love you just as much."
He silenced him with a kiss, strong arms slipping about his smaller waist, hands pushing beneath his shirt to stroke tense muscle and smooth, firm skin. Kougaiji tasted like wild herbs and incense, like burning frankincense oil and nutmeg. The touch scalded, and Doku dove for more, mouth moving roughly over one shocked into immobility. Hands had risen to his chest, as if to push him away, but remained frozen for a moment in uncertainty. A snarl gave him sufficient warning, and just as he drew back from the kiss, he felt Kougaiji acquiesce to him, and realized the growl was one of need.
"Doku--" He had never heard him like this, voice trembling, body uncertain, moving awkwardly and lacking the usual self-assured grace Doku had come to admire in battle.
"Kougaiji…" He breathed his name, enveloping him in a quick embrace and crushing their mouths together in violent, needy kisses. His prince responded with equal aggression, red claws slicing through the back of his shirt and shredding the material easily, flecking pale skin with blood. His hands shook at the realization, and drew back. Doku placed them on his chest.
"Kou," he knew better than to soften his kisses or turn what was to be a night or relief and release into one of romance. Kougaiji needed someone else's strength now, and he wanted nothing more than to provide. "Don't hesitate with me," he murmured, dipping low to press eager kisses against the man's neck, "I want to make love to you, but tonight is something different."
They cleaved to one another, stumbling back against the wall with a groan from the guard and a responding growl of anticipation from his prince. Doku felt a strong thigh pressing against his hip as Kougaiji raised his leg, and then the scalding iron of his arousal pushing against suddenly very thin cotton pants.
"The bed," Doku breathed, leading his lover to the wide, silk-covered four-poster and pushing him back only to climb over him and rest between his thighs.
"Ungh, Kou…" He shrugged out of the tattered remains of his shirt and tore through his prince's in a similar manner. Blunt nails flicked across an amber chest, gently rubbing small, perfect rosettes atop either pectoral. Kougaiji howled, arcing his back and jerking his hips roughly, dampening the clean fabric.
Disrobing swiftly, Doku slid a hand gently down his own member, imagining Kougaiji giving up the control for the first time in his life and opening like a flower beneath him. He wondered if that was what he wanted. As if reading his thoughts, Kougaiji wriggled from his own loose trousers and drew his thighs apart in offering.
Amazed and honored by the submission, the guard slid strong hands along the undersides of his thighs, mapping the territory gradually. Kougaiji was in no mood for foreplay, and snarled at him in exasperation, drawing his strong, hard body down atop him for a feral kiss, all teeth and hot, wet tongue.
Obliging his king and lover's request, Doku prepared him efficiently, lying at his side until Kougaiji was practically writhing on the blade of his fingers. It was a sight he never thought he would see, his king in such a rare, vulnerable position. He lay with his legs spread, hips canting forward eagerly against the push of the guardsman's fingers; long claws latched onto the bed sheets, and the muscles of his arms and shoulders strained at the effort. Chest and stomach muscles heaved with breath, glistening in the light of a single lamp. His throat, slicked and beaded with sweat, arced as his head fell back into the fiery corona of his mane. Naked. Vulnerable. And he trusted Dokugakuji enough to let him see.
"Is it release, Kou, or pleasure?" He whispered, warming at the throaty response.
He echoed the sentiment with sharp cries as Dokugakuji sheathed himself between his thighs, thrusting with as much force as he thought his lover could handle, burying himself to the hilt each time. He was unbearably tight, like a wet, red-hot vice constricting about him with each breath. They moved in a brutal, tidal rhythm, gasping and choking on moans. Kougaiji demanded more, and Doku obliged. He absorbed his stress and swallowed his suffering, groaning at the effort as they messed the sheets and made the bedsprings creak.
His own pleasure began to crescendo just as Kougaiji tightened in orgasm beneath him, letting out a low-throated bellow in rapture and utter abandonment, as if he had forgotten they might be overheard. It was enough. Dokugakuji scathed his insides with his own release, hips faltering in their movements until they both lay tangled together on the centre of the bed, slicked with sweat and breathless. As the effect faded, Kougaiji's wine-dark gaze began to sharpen, and Doku felt a trill of apprehension. Would he regret this?
"Kou…" Breaking the heavy silence, he leaned forward, cupping a hand about the air just above his king's cheek. "Are you…?"
"Fine," He spoke quietly.
"I meant what I said, you know. And I'm not sorry we did this."
The redhead looked confused, pushing loose strands of hair back from his temples; his earrings caught the light. "Should I be?"
"No," he breathed, shaking his head and leaning close. "You were suffering. I wanted to relieve you." Physically, yes, but emotionally too; Kougaiji held too much in, and never permitted himself to lean on anyone. Dokugakuji had forced him to.
"Don't forget about me, Kou." He kissed him, passionately this time, and drew his body close. "Let me protect you once in a while, and give you release of your burdens." Everyone needs a place to take refuge, and Dokugakuji wanted nothing more in his life than to be that place, for Kougaiji. "You can't do everything alone. When it's too much, come to me. Please."
The king nodded, clawed hands gentle now on his chest. "Sometimes I feel very alone." He said it so simply, not searching for sympathy or answers, only stating a truth.
"You don't have to be."
Kougaiji looked up at him with realization in his eyes, and Doku felt some of the weight on his shoulders being shifted, transferred, as if it had physical properties, onto his own. He accepted gratefully, drawing Kougaiji closer. He would be there whenever he was needed.
The moonlight pouring through the windows shifted across the carpeting in slanted squares as the night progressed, washing their bed in a silvery glow. Kougaiji spoke, his voice husky with disuse, "You spoke of pleasure, before."
Doku looked to him, tracing his fine profile against the darkness, and nodded.
"What about love?"
A blush bloomed across his cheeks. "I do love you, Kougaiji," he murmured.
A small smile crackled at the corners of the king's mouth, and he nudged the sheets back. "Show me?"
Dokugakuji grinned broadly in relief, moving over the redhead with an eager growl, intent on showing him just how he made love, "Gladly."