Tsuzuki/Touda. Touda has been chained too long in human form.
Touda has been chained too long in human form. His eyes are clouded and his body sags with thick, stagnant muscle, all use forgotten; he has little strength to take the freedom Tsuzuki offers. Tsuzuki begs soap and warm water of a sullen Tenku; Touda is filthy. A tub is brought in by two guards who slosh water about in their nervousness, and Tsuzuki shoos them away with impatient thanks. He releases Touda's brittle leather bindings, unfastens his collar and draws the worn garments from his arms and legs, moving awkwardly while Touda remains on his hands and knees, his head drooping. Touda's skin looks ashen beneath the muck, and his abraded wrists tremble with the effort to hold up the weight of his own body. Tsuzuki coaxes him into the bath, crooning soft nonsense in his ears, and Touda sinks into the water without complaint, crouching like an overgrown child with his chin upon his knees and his arms coiled about his ankles. Tsuzuki soaps Touda's skin and sluices water doggedly over his bowed head, watching the dark tendrils of hair tangle beneath the surface scum. He thinks Touda might be the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.
Tenku has begrudged them even a washcloth, so Tsuzuki rummages hopefully in the deep pockets of his trench coat, passing over crumpled old receipts and fuda until he finds his handkerchief wrapped around a rather squashed daifuku he remembers begging off Tatsumi the day before. "Still good," he says, popping the cake in his mouth for safer keeping and dunking the handkerchief into the water, and then he lifts Touda's chin with a gentle finger, snorting encouragement around his mouthful as he starts scrubbing at Touda's dirty nose. Touda's dull expression lights suddenly with something like joy as he rubs the tip of his nose hard against the wet material, and Tsuzuki almost loses his cake when Touda's skin begins to slough away. It peels off in tacky clumps; Tsuzuki drops his handkerchief and strokes at Touda's face with his bare hands, pushing his fingertips beneath the skin in horror at first, and then in curiosity, as Touda follows his every move with insistent nudges and a low murmur of pleasure. He is brilliant beneath his discarded skin, his slitted pupils narrowing into focus upon his new master, his mouth flaring to capture Tsuzuki's scent, and when Tsuzuki runs his fingers over Touda's head, scalping him slowly, tenderly, Touda shakes the symbol of his strength away as if it is nothing.
There is hunger in Touda's belly for the first time in years. His taloned fingers clench at the edge of the tub as he leans into Tsuzuki, biting at the cake in his mouth until the sweet red bean paste dribbles out. He licks at it daintily, and then licks Tsuzuki's chin, and Tsuzuki swallows the rest of the cake with a choke of laughter and a fiery blush. Touda finds the strength to stand and does so proudly, preening as Tsuzuki strips him of his skin; the shedding takes hours as the old hurts and bitterness fall away slowly, until Touda finally steps from his bath on unfearing feet and walks naked and gleaming into Tsuzuki's arms. "I'm yours now, aren't I?" he says, feeling the new chains take him, and welcoming them. "I'm yours, and you're mine."