Gintoki/Katsura/Takasugi, in between battle, hawks do not share.
What a depressing story, Gintoki says. Can't you at least put some food in it? Preferably dessert...
We won't be able to eat until the second supply train gets here, Katsura says. You'll just get hungrier.
Then feed me, Gintoki says; and in the dark his hands reach out, climb up a steep slope of soft fabric, become hopelessly entangled in the long hair hanging loose around Katsura's shoulders. In the dark Katsura's fingers methodically pry his hands free and correct their course, placing one hand in the nape of his neck and the other on his throat. Katsura moves clinically, precisely, and when he is done, presses his hands deep into Gintoki's hair, fingers curving to follow the shape of the skull... But Gintoki's hands do not stay where they are, the way Gintoki never calls him by his full name. Only Gintoki's mouth and teeth and tongue linger where they land on his flesh; hungry, feeding. In the trees, outside the window, a starving wildcat tears into the body of a white bird, ready to feast for a thousand years -- But then a soft shadow flits across the branch of the tree, and the cat looks up, jaws red, and bares its teeth.
We are all hungry, Takasugi says. He speaks very quietly, and leans against the wall, resting a leg; his feet are bare on the inn's wooden floor. He slides the door shut behind him, they can tell by the sound it makes when frame hits frame... In the dark they can barely hear him, except where the old floorboards creak, like nerves worn thin and crying out from the slightest breeze. Gintoki has not moved since the door first slid open. Katsura's hands splay, tensed, across his back, he can feel their nails pressing against his shoulderblades. In the dark, as the weight of a shadow grows by his side and the floorboards groan beneath it, he has to remind himself that Takasugi is not that much bigger or stronger than him after all.
If you're hungry, go find something to eat, Gintoki says.
Takasugi leans down, pushing away Gintoki's arm, and crushes his mouth against Katsura's. His hand closes around Gintoki's wrist, clenches, relaxes, and then clenches again. Gintoki's other hand, braced against the floorboards, curves its fingers into angry claws - But if he lifts this arm, with Takasugi gripping his other hand so urgently, he will fall. So he stays unmoving, crouched over Katsura, listening to the silence in between the walls and the rafters, the sigh of the wind in the leaves at the window, the soft wet sounds beneath his bowed head.
Takasugi's elbow rams into his chest - oi, oi, he grunts, pushing back - Katsura's fingers claw at his back and he swears, he can hear the blood throbbing in his forehead, feel it pulsing between his legs. A sobbing breath breaches in the dark, like a flame; as it ebbs away, Gintoki recognizes Katsura's voice, calling his name. And Takasugi's. In the dark, he knows, someone is smiling, the curve of his lips pressed against Katsura's skin. His hands clench into claws again, but he does not lift them.
What's the matter, Takasugi asks.
Nothing. Dammit, I'm hungry!
Well, so am I.
What about you, Zura?
There is no answer. Gintoki reaches out, feels his fingertips brush a cheek, wet lips, teeth - oi, oi! he shouts, snapping his hand back, but he's too slow, when he puts his fingers to his mouth he can taste the blood on them. An elbow in the ribs and he goes down; stubbornly, he latches on to Katsura, he has an arm around Katsura's waist, their legs are still tangled, he refuses to let go. A whisper against his cheek, stubborn:
It's not Zura - it's Katsura --
But he can't bring himself to laugh. Lying on his side, clutching Katsura to him, he can hear that shadow growing beside him again, over Katsura's bare shoulder. Then Takasugi leans over Katsura's head and finds his mouth in the dark; gives him a chaste, gentle kiss, impossible to turn away. When Takasugi's lips part, and he can feel the smile forming against his own mouth, he pulls away sharply, but it's too late, he can feel the hands gripping Katsura's hips, Katsura's mouth and nails pressed against his shoulder, Katsura's body bucking against his with a brutal rhythm not his own. In the dark Takasugi's lips brush his bitten fingers, press softly against them; he pulls his hand away, coils it around Katsura's neck instead. But another hands comes and closes around his fingers, guides his hand down with prim, deliberate precision over the curve of Katsura's spine, into the small of his back. Katsura's skin is warm, and all about Gintoki's head there is spread the scent of shampoo (a quiet, clean smell) and also the faint reek of pipe-smoke (a quiet, dangerous smell), and Katsura's hands are in his hair again and he is kissing Katsura back, and for every thrust Takasugi makes he answers with one of his own, savagely and silently until they fall, satiated, exhausted, against each other, breathing in the scent of Katsura's hair.
I liked your story, Takasugi says.
Thanks, Katsura says.
If we ever, Gintoki says. I mean, do you think - if the Amanto - they weren't so bloody - if we weren't so - do you think we could ever -
Takasugi rises, braced on one elbow, and begins to pull Katsura's damp hair off his face, fingers lingering on the curve of Katsura's bared throat. Gintoki turns, and in the faint moonlight, catches sight of this; Takasugi's eyes meet his, and his hand halts in mid-air.
I don't think so, Katsura says, so faintly it comes out as little more than a sigh.
Yes, it's an old story.
-- OCTOBER 2007, in response to a prompt