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WARNING: If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't come crying to me.

Title: Stranger Stars

Author: Eleanor K.

Fandom: Blade of the Immortal

Pairing: Manji/Magatsu/Anotsu

Rating: NC-17

Posted: 7 Nov 2003

Spoilers: for Secrets

Email: emungere@gmail.com

Series/Sequel: part of the Honor Bound universe

Disclaimer: The boys belong to Hiroaki Samura and, sadly, not in any way to me.

Notes: Major, huge, megasaurus-sized thanks to Chrissy, without whom this would not even have been thought of, let alone written. She dictated all the action, and several of the best lines are hers as well. I still think she should have co-author credit, but she wishes to be credited as logistical engineer, and she beta'd, too. There you go, Chrissy. Nub you, sensei.

Check out what she calls her "innocent suggestions" here.

Innocent. Pffft.

..___..


Anotsu walks through the forest, rain-wet branches slapping against his legs. The weight of his axe is a sharp ache in his shoulder, muted only by the ache of his feet. He has been walking most of the night.

He could stop anywhere, but something has kept him going this past hour. Now he sees the light of a campfire in front of him, flickering through the pine-scented gloom.

He hears a familiar voice.

"I cooked. I'm not cleaning up."

"It's your pan."

"Yeah, and I carried it all the way from Edo and made dinner in it, so you can take your lazy butt down to the stream and wash it."

"Hey, I'm doing you a favor here, pal. Playing escort all the way to Kaga."

"Playing bait, more like, and I don't need an--" Sigh. "Just wash the damn pan, all right?"

Anotsu hesitates at the edge of the circle of light, and then steps forward. He does not know the other voice, but Magatsu seems to consider him...well, perhaps not a friend, but no worse than an irritation.

Magatsu glances up almost immediately and stares for a long moment.

"Anotsu?"

"As you see."

Magatsu shakes his head and lets out a breathless half-laugh. "Thought I was seeing your ghost there for a second."

"Anotsu?" The other man turns toward him. "Anotsu Kagehisa?"

His hand now lies casually across the hilt of his sword. Anotsu takes in the scars and the missing eye. He smiles.

"The very same. And you, of course, are Manji. I've waited so long to meet you."

The man drums his fingers on the sheath of his sword. "Well. The master himself. You lookin' for me, pal?"

Anotsu sees the uncertain look Magatsu is giving him and catches his eye. Don't interfere, he tells him silently. Magatsu will obey, though clearly he isn't happy about it.

"If I had been looking, I would have found you long ago. You hardly bothered to hide yourself."

"Would it have done any good? Everywhere I go, I've got your guys on my tail. The mask-maker said no one was following me, but I've got to say it's been a hell of a coincidental few months if that's true."

"The mask-maker. Is Araya dead too, then?"

"Yeah. You didn't hear?"

"I did not. So. Another of my number falls to your sword. How many is that now?"

Manji shrugs. "I lost count."

"I doubt that. Enough, anyhow. More than enough. High time we met."

All Anotsu has to do is brush the hilt of his own sword with his fingertips, and Manji is on his feet, blade out and ready. Anotsu smiles at him, declining to draw just yet.

"Kuroi was my first, you know. And yours. My first follower, your first victim. A shame. You wouldn't have taken him so easily if he'd known your little secret."

"Huh. Not so secret any more, is it?"

"No. It's not."

Now Anotsu draws. Even as he does, he debates the wisdom of fighting when so wearied, but it is too late for doubt. The battle is joined.

They circle each other, moving around the small fire with their swords just touching. Anotsu unslings his axe and hands it to Magatsu. He won't need it.

The rasp of metal on metal rings clear against the crackle of the fire. Anotsu can feel the vibration of Manji's sword against his, sliding so smoothly, both honed to an edge sharp enough to cut air. The barest trace of oil lingers, doing away with friction, making the slide so easy that Anotsu finds himself already closer than he meant to get.

Manji grins at him. As one, they step away from the fire.

***

Magatsu's hands strangle the hilt of Anotsu's axe. He watches the men, outlined by the fire. Every step is precise; every blow falls as if choreographed and is blocked just as neatly.

He knew Manji was better than him. He didn't know how much better. He has never seen anyone hold up against Anotsu this long, and Manji isn't just holding up. He is making Anotsu work.

Swing and flash and glitter, metal and reflected firelight, and every second Magatsu expects a cry of pain, a fountain of blood. His grip on the axe tightens and relaxes, tightens and relaxes. Tension grips his stomach and squeezes down. He can only hope Manji loses. Manji will heal. Anotsu won't.

Won't heal. Could die, in fact. Right here. Magatsu swallows hard. He's not used to being afraid for Anotsu.

He looks down at the axe cradled in his lap and finds he has unraveled half the cloth wrapping without noticing.

Clash of metal, hiss of breath. He looks up. Manji's sleeve is sliced open to the shoulder. Anotsu's kimono has a slash across the front, the edges of which are flooded with crimson.

He is on his feet without thinking.

The fire has burned low. Magatsu clears it easily and lands between them. Anotsu's axe is in his hand, the weight of it straining his wrist.

"Enough. Stop it."

He glances between the two of them. Manji looks amused as always. Anotsu looks almost shocked, though it's debatable whether that's because of Magatsu's interruption, or the fact that Manji has actually managed to cut him.

"Just stop. Not tonight. All right?"

Manji grins at him. "Sit down, kid. You're out of your league."

Magatsu turns his back on him, presses his hand to Anotsu's chest. The blood has slowed to a trickle that oozes over the back of his hand.

"He'll stop if you will. There will be other times for this." He steps in closer and lowers his voice. "You could have had him if Asano's daughter hadn't gotten him first. You might still. Talk to him. You know he's good."

Anotsu's mouth curves in something close to a smile. He traces the slash in his kimono, running light fingers over the back of Magatsu's hand along the way.

"I do indeed. As for *having* him... I think it was you who got to him first."

"You know that's not what I meant," Magatsu mumbles.

"And yet I don't hear you denying it."

Magatsu looks up, startled, to meet Anotsu's eyes. "I'm denying it."

Anotsu reaches out and smoothes a thumb across Magatsu's cheek. Its path is sticky and slightly warm. Magatsu touches it, and his fingers come away stained. Marked with Anotsu's blood.

Anotsu smiles a tilted smile at him. "All right. Now deny you want to have him."

Pause. Deep breath. "You first."

He has just time to catch Anotsu's widened eyes before a hand lands on his shoulder and turns him around.

Manji takes his jaw in one hard hand and turns his face to catch the firelight.

"Nice makeup. Araya'd appreciate it. Are you two done now, or do you want some privacy?"

Magatsu pulls away, horribly close to blushing, and walks heavily around the fire to resume his former seat. Should have stayed out of it. Let them kill each other if that's what they wanted.

It is the silence that makes him look up, finally.

Manji and Anotsu are standing quite still, weapons hanging at their sides. Both of them are looking at him.

"What?"

Manji starts laughing, and Anotsu smiles at him with such real warmth that it steals his breath. He has to look away, and he occupies himself with pulling the rest of the wrapping from Anotsu's axe.

The curve of it is painted red with firelight, a warmer shade than blood. He runs one finger around the base of the hilt. The angles come together, front and back, in a way that feels almost organic.

He has never held it before, and the fascination of it is enough to let him forget his discomposure. It is delicately made for such a barbaric thing. His hands wander along the length and breadth of it. He remembers touching Anotsu like this, as if he could absorb some understanding of the man--or the weapon--through his skin.

Something, some slight noise, makes him look up. Anotsu is watching him. Eyes fixed, lips parted. Magatsu has never seen him so unaware of a weapon as he seems to be of the naked blade now hanging forgotten in his hand.

Manji is surely watching both of them, as he watches everything, but--with Anotsu looking at him like that, Magatsu simply does not care.

He looks up at Anotsu with half-lidded eyes and runs his finger slowly along the blade of the axe. Circling the base again, up along the curve. Slowly, slowly. Flirting with the edge, sliding up over the tip.

He sees Anotsu's mouth forming words too quiet to hear, sees him swallow.

His finger slips a fraction off course, and the razor edge of the blade cuts him open. He holds Anotsu's eyes as he sucks the blood away.

Anotsu takes one stiff step forward, looking almost unwilling. Then, with one of those lethal flashes of speed, he is on his knees beside Magatsu. He looks as if he wants to speak, but remains silent. He grasps Magatsu's wrist.

Magatsu lets his wounded finger be pulled from his mouth. The cool air numbs it, but in a second it is engulfed once more in heat. Anotsu's tongue finds the cut and delves into it.

Magatsu can feel the skin pulled apart along the split, the rough warmth penetrating, cleaning away the blood. It stings, but he finds himself pushing into the pain, wanting more. He closes his eyes and tries not to moan.

***

"Damn," Manji mutters to himself.

If there was anything he wasn't expecting out of his first meeting with the leader of the Itto-ryu...this is it, right here. Not that he's about to complain.

The way Magatsu talks about Anotsu--when he does, which isn't often--Manji would never have guessed that they were fucking. But this clearly isn't the first time.

They make quite a picture. Manji props the tip of his sword in the dirt and leans against it, taking a moment just to watch. By the look on Magatsu's face, Anotsu might as well be giving him a blow job. And Anotsu, on his knees, going at Magatsu's cut like there's nothing else in the world he'd rather be doing. Certainly not like he was fighting for his life about two minutes earlier.

And still, the man has his sword pointed at Manji as if to skewer him in place. The position must be a strain, but the arm held straight out behind him does not waver.

Manji wonders how much of that steadiness is attention and how much simply muscle memory.

He watches a few seconds longer, but he was never much for watching when he could be doing. He finds his hand moving with purpose down between his legs and decides that he's watched long enough.

He makes deliberate noise as he takes the first step, sees Anotsu stiffen, and stops. The next step is as silent as he can make it, as is the jump that puts him close enough to whip the sword out of Anotsu's hand.

He didn't have a plan when he started this, but he has one now. He grins as Anotsu turns toward him. One vertical slice, precisely judged, and then two horizontal, and Anotsu's clothes fall in shreds around him. Manji lets his grin turn a little smug. Not only did he do that left-handed without drawing a drop of blood, but he did it with Anotsu's own sword. He has reason to be smug.

Anotsu stands and takes a step toward Manji. The pure arrogance on his face doesn't falter as Manji looks him up and down. His lips are wet and shining, and he licks them as Manji watches.

No anger, no attempt to regain his weapon or his clothes. This isn't going quite how Manji pictured it. Anotsu simply stalks toward him with such intent in his eyes that he's hard pressed not to back away.

Anotsu doesn't stop until he is close enough that Manji can feel breath against his face. A half-smile creeps onto Anotsu's lips as he pulls first one sword and then the other from Manji's loosened grasp and lets them fall to the ground. One eyebrow lifts in inquiry, and Manji is torn between laughter and irritation.

It is, he tells himself, solely in an attempt to wipe the that arrogance from Anotsu's face that he falls to his knees and takes Anotsu's cock in his mouth.

***

Magatsu can do no more than stare. And want.

His eyes follow the clean line of Anotsu's back to where it is broken by Manji's hand, moving to squeeze his ass. They are turned enough toward him that he can see where Anotsu's cock disappears into Manji's mouth.

This is not what Magatsu wanted.

Manji's hands hold Anotsu's body in place, forcing this pleasure on him, and Anotsu has given himself up to it. His neck arches, and his hands are buried in Manji's hair. His eyes are closed. He knows nothing but this.

It is all too clear. Manji is giving Anotsu what he needs. They are evenly matched, even in this, and Magatsu feels the ache of jealousy in his bones, in his heart, in his cock. He is hard, despite everything--or because of it--and getting harder every second he watches.

He closes his eyes. This time, he cannot break them up. He wants to leave. Just walk off into the forest, forget about both of them. Continue on the road to Kaga on his own. Find Shira. Slaughter him.

Images of blood and destruction play on his closed eyelids, far more attractive than he'd like them to be. His hands tighten again on Anotsu's axe, and the image of Manji and Anotsu bleeding into a carpet of pine needles is vivid and terribly real. He wonders if Manji would die if he cut off his head.

He wonders if he could go on without Anotsu in the world. Long enough to take care of Shira, anyway. That's what matters.

A hand closes over him through his clothes, and he looks up, startled. He never heard them approach. It's Manji's hand, but it's Anotsu's eyes he stares into.

He hears Manji's rough chuckle as the hand rubs at his hardness. "Feeling a little left out?"

The question barely registers. Anotsu's eyes are gentle, and his knuckles stroke Magatsu's cheek. He cups the back of his head and draws him close. Their lips touch lightly at first, then harder, deeper, and Magatsu can't help the sounds he's making as he opens to Anotsu's searching tongue.

Anotsu opens Magatsu's robes, pressing him to the ground and laying him bare for Manji. Shirt stripped off over his head, trapping his arms for a moment while Anotsu sucks at his neck. Then the shirt is gone, but he is reluctant to move for no reason he can name. His arms lie heavily on the ground at his sides, as if bound there. Anotsu is above him, blocking the world from his sight, but he can feel a hand moving idly up and down his leaking shaft that is far too large to be Anotsu's, even if Anotsu's hands were not already occupied.

He tries to sit up, but Anotsu presses him back down immediately, one hand hot on his chest, the other in his hair, kissing him hard. The pressure of his lips is brutal and unyielding, no room for argument, and the nip at Magatsu's lower lip is serious. Almost enough to break the skin, to make him bleed again. As if this night hasn't made him bleed enough already.

Anotsu watches him as if waiting for something, but Magatsu cannot move, or think of anything beyond this second. Past and future seem equally dangerous and uncertain. He feels that any action will shatter both and leave him with nothing.

He tenses, and his hands curl into fists at his sides. Anotsu takes hold of his wrists and places Magatsu's hands where he wants them--on his body.

Paralysis broken, Magatsu finds himself able to take what he has been given. Anotsu's skin is fine, smooth, and pale. Magatsu's hands remember, though it has been so long, the shoulders, the chest, the corded muscle of his arms. He reaches around to Anotsu's back, bumping over the ridge of each vertabra. Halfway down, Anotsu tries to stop him and pull back, but he won't let that happen. He needs to erase Manji's touch somehow, if that's even possible any more.

He remembers the exact curve of Anotsu's lower back. As he slides his hands lower, Anotsu gives up trying to stop him and pulls him up into his arms for another vicious kiss.

Falling into the kiss, he reaches down to get his hands under Anotsu's ass and pull him closer--and freezes.

Another hand is in his path. Not covering Anotsu's ass, but moving against it in a slow rhythm. Not against it, he finds with a second hesitant touch, but in it. And the rhythm is one Magatsu recognizes from the hand slowly jerking his own cock.

He opens his eyes, pulls away from Anotsu's mouth, and stares. Manji is grinning at him over Anotsu's shoulder.

He looks back to Anotsu, not even sure what he's looking for, not sure what he wants from this, because at this point he can't honestly say he wants to stop--whatever the outcome.

He finds his answer in the stillness of Anotsu's body and the question in his eyes. Anotsu is waiting for his permission.

His permission. He could stop all this now, with a word, with a look. Anotsu would obey. He can see it in those eyes, that expression. Raw and open, deliberately exposed. For him. All for him.

He closes his eyes for one second, and then kisses Anotsu hard. Gives him the answer he wants. Puts his hand on Anotsu's cock and jerks once, almost roughly, before stopping to spread slickness from the leaking tip up its length.

***

Anotsu nearly cries out at that first harsh tug, nearly comes right there. Manji's fingers are working viciously inside him, and it was hell to hold himself still when every movement hit just right, when every thrust was a pleasure almost too intense to bear. Manji was doing it on purpose, of course. Trying to get a reaction out of him. Trying to win this game they're playing--only now Magatsu is in it, and with Magatsu it is never a game.

But that look of trust, that permission granted and sanction given is so much what he needs. He can't imagine stopping now, and Magatsu's hand on him is driving him closer to the edge every second.

He feels Manji shift behind him, though the fucking he is getting from those two strong fingers doesn't falter. There is a rustle of fabric, and then he feels the heat of Manji's chest pressed flush against his back. Manji's mouth, open and sucking on his shoulder blade. Manji licks upward, across his shoulder, up to kiss his neck, his jaw. Manji's other hand starts to turn his head so their lips can meet.

Magatsu stops it. Wrenches the hand away and stares hard over Anotsu's shoulder at Manji. His face is fierce and set, and the expression is plain enough for anyone to read: Mine.

Anotsu shivers and can't look away. Doesn't want to look away. Magatsu's free hand cups his face, expression unchanged. He touches Anotsu's jaw where Manji's mouth was. His fingers stop at Anotsu's lips and press inside.

Anotsu takes them in, sucking as he did before, tongue pressed against that cut for the last trace of blood. Magatsu leans forward and kisses him around his fingers, licking at his lips. Then he draws back and sets up a gentle rhythm, thrusting shallowly into Anotsu's mouth as he works his cock.

Anotsu moans. Can't hold it in any more. Two fingers fucking his ass, three in his mouth, and he can't pretend for a second he doesn't wish it was Magatsu's cock instead. He grips Magatsu's upper arms desperately and gives himself up to it.

He rocks back and forth, caught and incapable of escaping even for a second the sensations filling his body, his mind, all of him. Out of control for maybe the first time in his life, held by these two men, he can feel himself slipping away. His moans are louder now, broken and needy. In the small corner of his mind still available for thought, he knows how he sounds, and knows he will be ashamed later, because he sounds, oh god--wanton. But for now, there is no shame.

His eyes are closed again, and he only realizes it when he hears Magatsu telling him to open them. He does, and that same look of possession still blazes on Magatsu's face.

It is too much. Another rough thrust from behind, another slide of Magatsu's fist over the length of his aching cock, and he comes. His body is rigid as pleasure washes through him, so sharp it almost hurts. Magatsu and Manji work him till the last, till he slumps forward, panting and spent.

Magatsu slides his fingers out of Anotsu's mouth and tips his head up until their eyes meet. The possessiveness is still there, but softened, tinged with something that looks almost like awe.

"Beautiful," Magatsu murmurs to him. "So beautiful."

He is panting, heart slowly coming down from a wild pace that makes him feel he has run for miles. A film of sweat covers his body, sticking against Manji's chest. Manji's breath is hot against his ear. He feels himself sway forward and tightens his grip on Magatsu's arms.

He catches himself for a moment, but his grip doesn't hold for long. He looks in Magatsu's eyes and lets himself fall. It is exhaustion, he tells himself. Walking all day, the fight, then this--exhaustion. That's why he is shaking ever so slightly. That's why he has no thought of resistance as Magatsu pulls him closer, into his arms, into his lap.

He twists his fingers into Magatsu's hair and buries his face against the salt-sweet skin of his neck. Magatsu strokes his hair, his face, his back, speaking softly in his ear all the while. Telling him he's beautiful. Telling him so much more. And exhaustion is a good enough excuse for the tears he has to blink away.

His breath catches in his throat, almost a sob, and Magatsu kisses his hair and lays them both down. Rolls them over until Anotsu is under him, cradled in his arms and happy to stay there. Magatsu brushes his lips over Anotsu's jaw to the corner of his mouth. He pauses there for a moment, and Anotsu turns his head into the kiss.

It's a feeling of sinking when he opens his mouth to Magatsu. Sinking into warm water, or his own bed. The comfort of a perfect fit. It is a slow kiss, but there is no hesitation as Magatsu's tongue slips past his lips and slides wetly against his own.

For long moments, he is aware of nothing but how their mouths move together, how Magatsu tastes, how it feels to be held so close. Then he feels Magatsu's hardness pressing against his hip. His first touch gets him a low hiss, and he wants to hear more.

***

Manji sighs. That's it. Time to give up and take care of himself. Those two wouldn't notice if an entire sword school held practice five feet away. They sure as hell aren't going to notice one horny kenshi. Or care if they did.

He's not really upset. He sort of feels like he *should* be--it's a hell of a thing to do to a guy, get him all worked up and leave him hanging. And he won't try and deny that that little scene got him worked up. Anotsu between them, moving like something wild, just the way he fought--unbelievable. No restraint, no limits.

So maybe he should be upset. But he looks at the two of them, and it's so goddamn obvious what they are to each other. So obvious this is way more than just sex to them. So he can't really resent it.

He could be jealous...but no, not even really that. Love isn't all it's cracked up to be.

They can have their privacy--and it might be better to get going before Anotsu remembers that the original plan was to cut him into little pieces. The guy is fucking amazing with that katana. And Manji can't help noting that the sheer weight of that axe could shatter almost any weapon he's got.

Not that he couldn't take Anotsu if he had to. He just doesn't want to spend another two weeks on his back healing from the fight. He's got things to do.

He stands and starts off down toward the stream, but gets only a few steps. As he walks past them, he feels something catch at the hem of his kimono. Still hanging open, it slides back, baring his shoulders. He looks down.

Two hands, Magatsu's and Anotsu's, are holding him in place. They are still wrapped up in each other, not even looking at him. But it's an invitation, from both of them.

He thinks briefly of the alternative--his own hand, a cold walk until dawn. Fuck that.

He lies down carefully beside them. Not quite touching, but closer than he's comfortable with. Anotsu doesn't seem to have the fight on his mind, but Manji still feels wary. Most people don't switch gears that completely. Maybe Anotsu's one of those people, but maybe he's just a tricky bastard.

***

Anotsu watches Manji watching him. There's a suspicion there that Manji doesn't need tonight. Not any more.

Something changed when Manji got up to leave. Some slight stiffness in Magatsu's body that wasn't there before. It's gone now, and Magatsu thrusts into his hand for the first time as Manji lies down beside them. Anotsu sees the turn of his head toward Manji, hears his soft intake of breath. He looks unsure, but he is growing steadily harder.

Anotsu shifts his weight and rolls them over until they are on their sides, facing each other. Magatsu is between them now. He's not meeting Anotsu's eyes, but Anotsu feels his reaction as his shoulder touches Manji's body.

Manji is stroking himself slowly, watching Anotsu with caution and an affected disinterest that is less than convincing.

Anotsu isn't entirely sure that he wants Manji anywhere near Magatsu, but...they look good together. And he likes Magatsu's half-concealed shivers at the brush of Manji's skin on his. And he can't do what he has in mind himself; he is too drained. And...maybe the idea of watching as Magatsu is taken is hotter than he'd like it to be.

He looks at Manji over Magatsu's shoulder.

"You want to touch him. Don't you?"

There is a small noise of protest from Magatsu. He ignores it.

"Yeah." Manji's voice is rough.

"Do it. Put your hands on him."

Manji hesitates, one hand hovering less than an inch above Magatsu's skin. "Yeah?"

"Yes."

Magatsu breathes out softly at the first touch of the broad hand on his shoulder, and Anotsu smiles. Magatsu needs this. The reason doesn't matter. Anotsu wants him to have it.

He looks down to find Magatsu looking back at him, expression torn between uncertainty and longing. Anotsu kisses him gently--gentle as the kisses Magatsu has been giving him--and then moves down his neck, tasting sweat and desire.

He slides down Magatsu's body, mouth on the flat plane of his chest, licking over his nipples, teasing with the tip of his tongue until they harden. Magatsu arches toward him, hissing between his teeth.

Manji shifts closer, pressing Magatsu between them. His touch is more sure now, and he pinches Magatsu's nipple between thumb and forefinger just as Anotsu leaves and slides lower.

He presses wet, open-mouthed kisses against the soft skin of Magatsu's stomach. Manji works on already-sensitized nipples until Magatsu is squirming between them. Anotsu knows exactly how he feels--moving away for some relief from too much pleasure and finding only more, no matter which way he turns.

There must be an end eventually, and Anotsu knows how he wants this to end. He works his way across heated skin and kisses Magatsu's hip just as Manji's hand finds its way there.

Manji freezes, eyes shadowed with wariness, and Anotsu smiles to himself. The man who killed Kuroi Sabato and Araya Kawakami is afraid of him. Well. That adds a certain edge to all this, doesn't it?

He brushes his lips over Manji's knuckles and licks up the length of his forefinger before taking it into his mouth. He holds Manji's eyes as he sucks steadily and flicks his gaze to Magatsu.

By the surprise in Manji's eyes, he gets the message, and Anotsu lets the finger slide out of his mouth, thoroughly wet.

***

Magatsu saw that exchange between them. He knows what's coming, but it's still a shock when it happens.

Manji's finger rubs over his entrance for a brief second and pushes in, just as Anotsu swallows his cock in one long slide.

He pushes forward automatically. He can't think with them doing this to him. Anotsu by himself can drive him half out of his mind, but that finger pushing softly and insistently into him is sending him over the edge and out of control.

Anotsu's mouth sucks greedily at him, and long fingers play with his balls, stroking, tickling. He can't help or even temper his thrusts any more. Forward into wet heat, backward into brief flares of pleasure. He opens his mouth to ask for more, but can't get the words out.

Still, Manji seems to read his intent. There is another finger at his entrance now, but it's too much, stretches him too much, and the friction is verging on painful. He doesn't want them to stop, but--

Anotsu's hand shoots over to grab Manji's wrist. He pulls off Magatsu's cock, and even with lips red and swollen, the look on his face is a warning Magatsu can't imagine anyone ignoring. Manji stops.

Anotsu slides up until he and Magatsu are face to face. His voice is pitched low, for Magatsu's ears only.

"I should have asked you."

He shakes his head. "No. It's okay."

"It's not. Do you want this? Do you want him?"

"I can't... Not like this." He can feel himself blushing, unsure whether in embarrassment at the conversation, or in shame for not being able to take the pain. "It hurts. You know."

"Do you have anything?"

And that just makes it worse, because of course he does. He's been carrying around a bottle of cream that O-Ren gave him, ostensibly for sunburn, for months now. Since long before he and Anotsu parted.

He fumbles through the folds of his discarded clothing and presses the bottle into Anotsu's hand. Finds he can't do this with no explanation. He pulls Anotsu close and kisses him.

"For you," he whispers. "It was--"

"I know. Hush."

Anotsu opens the bottle and simply waits, looking over Magatsu's shoulder, until Manji holds his hand out. Anotsu smiles briefly and takes it, kissing the back before spreading the cream over his fingers.

A second later, Magatsu shuts his eyes at the feel of those cool fingers stretching him and Anotsu's lips on his.

Anotsu eases back down, not taking him in fully this time, but licking at his cock, distracting him from the near-pain as he is opened.

"You all right?" Manji asks quietly. He can only nod. "You got to relax, okay? It'll go easier if you relax."

"Relax?" He could almost laugh at that. "You two are killing me."

Manji chuckles in his ear. "You want me to stop?"

"No!"

"Didn't think so. At least try. It'll make a difference. Promise."

So he does try, letting himself go limp and leaning back against Manji's solid heat. And abruptly, it is easier. Two fingers slide in, and he gasps at the feeling.

"Told ya."

He can hear the grin in Manji's voice and resists the urge to send an elbow back into his ribs. It's not as if he enjoys taking instruction from him at the best of times. He didn't think it would be so painfully obvious that he's never done this before. He wonders if Anotsu knows. Probably. He expected this to feel wrong, simply because it isn't Anotsu--taking him. He wonders what it means that it doesn't.

"One more," Manji tells him.

It's not much warning. He has no time to worry. Three fingers inside him now, pushing in and leaving him gasping for air as they hit that spot, sharp and hard. His hips jerk forward and then back.

"Enough!" His voice is too loud, and he doesn't care. "Enough. Just do it."

Manji twists his fingers. "Impatient?"

"I can reach that axe from here," Magatsu growls. "Just so you know."

Manji laughs. "I can take a hint when you beat me over the head with it. Hang on."

The fingers are withdrawn, and Magatsu can't stop the sound he makes at the loss.

Anotsu's mouth leaves him at the same time. Anotsu moves up and takes Magatsu's face in his hands, holding his eyes as he feels the head of Manji's cock push into him.

He bends his leg at the knee, trying to accommodate this new invasion, but it's not enough. He throws his leg over Anotsu's hip, and Manji slides home in one long thrust that steals Magatsu's breath and makes his heart hammer.

"Oh, god..."

Manji is still now, waiting. Magatsu reads the question in Anotsu's eyes and nods jerkily. He's as ready as he's likely to get.

***

Manji figures he can stand not moving for about ten more seconds. He's holding his breath and holding on too hard to Magatsu's arm, trying for patience. His patience is likely to leave bruises.

Anotsu's hand touches his hip and slides to cup his ass, pulling him forward, urging him to move, finally. He does.

He watches as Anotsu takes Magatsu's face in both hands again, expression rapt and unwavering. Manji finds himself watching Anotsu just as hard as he bends himself around Magatsu's body, searching for leverage, trying to get deeper. Finally, he has to look away, curling his head down and pressing his forehead against Magatsu's back, straining for *more* and unable to get it.

He reaches out blindly and finds Anotsu's shoulder, pushing back, hoping he hasn't gone too far because it would kill him to stop now. Anotsu rolls willingly onto his back, taking Magatsu with him. Manji braces his hands on either side of them and slides in deep. Feels like he's been hard forever, needing exactly this. He draws out and pushes in again, opening his eyes to watch the play of muscles in Magatsu's back.

The position is hard to maintain, but it seems somehow necessary. And having Anotsu laid out under both of them is a point in favor of it. Magatsu is propped up on his elbows, forearms braced on the ground on either side of Anotsu's head.

Anotsu must see something in his eyes because he pulls Magatsu's head down for a kiss, roughly. Manji moves steadily over them, and when Magatsu pulls back, panting, his lips slide over Anotsu's cheek with the force of Manji's next thrust.

Manji almost forgets what he's doing, stilling for a moment as Anotsu's eyes close and his neck arches back. He comes back to himself with his hand slipping on the fabric of Magatsu's discarded robe. He shifts back onto his knees, pulling out, and hesitates.

Magatsu has bent his head until his cheek rests against Anotsu's. Once again, Manji might as well be a thousand miles away.

He takes Magatsu's hips and pulls him back sharply until he is forced up onto his knees. His body is still straining down toward Anotsu, but the second Manji gets his cock pressed up against his ass, Magatsu moans quietly and pushes back. Manji lightens his grip and lets Magatsu move, lets him push back onto his cock and move on it. Fucking himself deep, deeper than Manji would have dared this soon.

It's been so goddamn long, and as Magatsu thrusts back again, body taking Manji's cock in a tight, hot grip, Manji finds himself biting his lip. Not just to keep quiet, but hard. Until he tastes blood. Looking for pain, for some way to keep himself from coming too soon. Because if it was up to him, this would go on forever.

***

Anotsu smiles as Magatsu's thrusts grow more and more wild. He leans up and catches his mouth for a quick kiss. Rests a hand on the back of his neck. Slides his mouth over the hard angle of Magatsu's jaw to his neck. He pauses there, sucking, tasting faint salt, running his tongue in circles and relearning the fine texture of Magatsu's skin. If he leans up just a little further, he can catch one earlobe between his teeth and nibble. He can't help smiling at Magatsu's shiver.

"Is this what you wanted?" He pauses to kiss Magatsu's cheek. "Is it? For your first time? Or did you want it to be me taking you? Pushing into you. Opening you up one inch at a time. I know you've thought about it. How did you see it? You face down on the bed, naked and waiting for me?"

Magatsu moans. His eyes are scrunched shut, and his head twists towards Anotsu's lips.

"Or on your back, legs spread. Stroking yourself as I work my way up the inside of your thigh. I'd go so slowly, taste every inch of you. Mark you every step of the way."

"Oh god, stop, you have to-- I'm going to--"

"Or maybe this is exactly how you wanted it. He could break you without half trying, you know. Take you so hard you'd feel it for days, remember the feel of him inside you with every step. Is that what you want?"

Magatsu is shoving himself back onto Manji's cock now, rough and hard. His hands are bruisingly tight on Anotsu's shoulders. His breath comes in sobs and gasps.

"I think so," Anotsu murmurs. "I think that's exactly what you want. So easy to let him overwhelm you, yes? So strong, so rough. You look perfect like this. Fucking yourself on his cock. Beautiful."

Magatsu opens his eyes, and the look in them makes Anotsu catch his breath. He can't say any more.

Everything Magatsu feels for him, everything that Anotsu has tried so hard in the past not to acknowledge, is right there. Magatsu's eyes are on fire with it--and with need. Pleading with him to finish this. Anotsu can only stare for a moment, wondering what Magatsu sees in him that puts that look in his eyes.

He breaks away from that hot gaze and catches Manji's eye. Not difficult to do. Manji's been staring at him all night. Fear, wariness, or simple desire, he doesn't know which, but he wouldn't have expected this man, Kuroi's killer, to be so...malleable. Manji will take his slightest cue.

Manji holds his gaze for a second longer. Then he lays a hand flat on Magatsu's back, pressing him down, holding him down. His face is against Anotsu's chest, hips raised, legs spread. Manji's hands tighten on his hips, pulling him back to meet each thrust.

Anotsu looks now to the man pressed against him and cradles Magatsu's head with one arm. The other he works between their bodies, sliding easily across sweat-slicked skin, until he finds Magatsu's cock. Hard, hot, and leaking, he takes it in his hand. He wants to taste it again, but there is no time for that.

Magatsu whimpers softly at the touch. Behind him, Manji moves faster, hips snapping forward with enough force that Magatsu's body is shaken by it. Anotsu doesn't need to move his hand so much as squeeze as Magatsu's cock is pushed into it over and over.

Magatsu presses his face hard into Anotsu's chest. Each breath is a sob. He is keening now, high and steady, punctuated by gasps as each thrust drives home. The sound wavers and disintegrates, and Magatsu is pleading and swearing, voice broken and ragged, eyes shut.

Anotsu slides down and cups Magatsu's cheek, lifting his face. Magatsu opens his eyes.

"Please," he says. "Oh god please, you have to-- I need--"

Magatsu is looking at him as if he can neither see nor imagine anything or anyone else in the world.

Anotsu kisses him and speaks against his lips, words he thinks he may regret later, but cannot regret now. "You are my heart, Magatsu Taito. My heart and my soul. Come for me. Now."

Magatsu stares at him, no breath, no sound. So still, just for a second. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. Then he is shaking with the force of his climax, spilling over Anotsu's hand. His eyes close for a moment, and one tear falls to land hot on Anotsu's cheek. Magatsu's lips shape words that Anotsu cannot hear, but as breath returns, he hears his own name whispered again and again like a prayer.

***

Manji is nearly still for a moment, and Magatsu is grateful for that. He has no room for anything in his world but Anotsu and what Anotsu has just said to him. He feels himself shaking, and it has nothing to do with the echoes of pleasure still ringing through his body.

He doesn't know how long it is before Manji starts moving again. He expected it to hurt, now that his own pleasure is over, but it is an almost calming feeling. Not gentle, but it is a good feeling to be rocked between these two, held and safe and warm. Each long stroke inside him heats his body, but there is no urgency as there was before.

Still, he can feel Manji straining and desperate above him, and he pushes back into each thrust, squeezes his body around Manji's cock. There is pain from that, but it is distant and unimportant.

Manji's forehead is pressed to his back, and he can feel every harsh breath against his skin. Then, Manji is jerking forward and filling him, hips pumping in short thrusts that seem to get him ever deeper, until he slumps against Magatsu's body with a long sigh.

There is a pause, then. A moment of stillness. Magatsu can hear all three of them breathing in the near-silence of the night. Somewhere far off, a cicada drones. A breeze stirs the trees overhead. One leaf falls nearby, a herald of the coming autumn.

Manji pulls out of him without a sound, hands moving soothingly over his lower back. Magatsu shifts, meaning to sit up, but Anotsu holds him still until Manji returns with a cloth to clean him. He'd rather not be touched there again right now. Too sensitized. But Anotsu's hands on him are insistent, and he submits.

***

Manji sets the cloth aside. He kneels, hands resting on his thighs. He's trying to clear his head, to make some sense of what just happened, but it's not going well. It happened so goddamn fast.

Yesterday--just a few hours ago--things were simple. Magatsu was a kid who reminded him a bit of himself long ago, and he was doing a good deed helping him out and following Rin's trail at the same time.

And he was not, definitely not, abso-fucking-lutely *not* thinking of him...like this. He's got no business thinking of him--of either of them--like this. He watches Anotsu's hand moving steadily over Magatsu's hair. No business at all. Especially not now, seeing what they have.

He looks at Magatsu's back and sees the shadows of bruises forming where his fingers were a minute ago.

He blinks. Picks up the cloth and pushes it into Magatsu's hand. He needs to be away. Now.

He stands, aware now of an ache in his legs, in his arms, in his hands where he was holding Magatsu so tightly. He puts the fire between them, needing even that small separation. He spreads his blankets on the ground and all but falls onto them. He curls on his side, facing away from them. That lasts maybe a minute. He turns over, not wanting to, but feeling compelled to watch.

Magatsu is wiping away come from his stomach and Anotsu's hand, looking into Anotsu's eyes the whole time. Anotsu pulls him down, and they lie tangled together, exchanging kisses, touches, words that Manji cannot hear. He doesn't want to hear. Anotsu looks at him suddenly over Magatsu's shoulder, eyes sharp and clear and knowing, and damned if Manji can't hold his gaze for more than about two seconds.

He turns away again, staring into the dark.

He gets no warning, no perception of movement. Anotsu is simply there, standing beside him, looking down at him. Not smiling, but his expression is softer than...than usual, if Manji can make that judgement after only one night. He thinks he can.

Anotsu spreads out his blanket beside Manji and lies down on his side, facing him. Manji turns his head at a slight noise and finds Magatsu has done the same on the other side. Magatsu is smiling at him crookedly, looking almost shy. He lays a hand on Manji's cheek to keep him from turning away and kisses him, slowly, savoringly. Manji turns toward him and pulls him down, arms wrapped tight around him. He has a vague idea of keeping him here, not letting him go.

Magatsu breaks the kiss at last and lies warmly against Manji's side, head tucked under his chin. His breathing is already evening out into the rhythms of sleep.

Manji looks over to Anotsu, almost unwillingly. He can't imagine there's anything in Anotsu's eyes that he wants to see right now.

In fact, there is nothing at all in Anotsu's eyes. Nothing that he can read, anyway. Only that unaccustomed softness. After a moment of watching him, Anotsu smiles and gives a little shrug. He curls against Manji's side and lays his head on his chest.

Manji looks down at the top of his head in surprise, but Anotsu doesn't seem to be going anywhere. After another long moment of listening to the nights sounds, the rush of water over rocks, he unwraps one arm from around Magatsu and pulls Anotsu closer to him.

Anotsu murmurs something unintelligible and stretches up briefly to kiss Manji's jaw. He takes Manji's hand in his, pulling the arm tighter around him, and brushes a kiss over Manji's knuckles. By chance, perhaps, their joined hands settle over Manji's heart.

The stars are just visible through a rift in the darkness shrouding the sky. Manji lies perfectly still and watches as wisps torn from the clouds cover and reveal them. He listens to the two men beside him breathe. Magatsu's hair, moved by a brush of air, tickles his chin.

He smiles at the stars and lets his eyes close.

-------
..end..

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