An X Sekkushiaru Roman

by Sailor Mac
Kamui woke up to the sounds of a flock of birds singing outside his window. He turned onto his back, slowly, throwing an arm across his eyes to screen out the sunlight that was hitting his face directly.

Normally, the birdsong would make him think of Kotori. But there was somebody else very much on his mind this particular morning. Subaru.

He’d dreamed of his fellow Seal last night, as he had for quite a few nights since their attempt to visit a love hotel. And the dreams had not exactly been family-friendly.

Kamui hugged his pillow, imagining it was his lover’s body. Oh, he was frustrated these days, all right. They had to be extra-careful that the other Seals didn’t find out about their relationship . . . they had to remain focused on their goal of saving the world, and they didn’t know how the others would react.

If any of them feel uncomfortable about two men together, Kamui thought, and they find out about us . . . they may never feel the same way about me again. And if I knew they were homophobic . . . I probably wouldn’t feel the same way about them, either. And that would be disastrous to us as a team.

And because of this, Subaru and Kamui didn’t have nearly as much time alone together as they’d like. Especially at night. Every time they wanted to go to bed together . . . Sorata would stay up until the single-digit hours, watching marathons of Jackie Chan movies and laughing his head off.

When the knock came at his door, he sat up with a sigh. He didn’t feel like seeing anyone else. Especially on a Sunday. He just wanted to mull over his dream for awhile . . .

The knock came again, and he knew he had no choice. He opened the door just wide enough to stick his head out. . . and his mood instantly changed.

“Subaru?” he said.

The onmiyouji gave him one of his little smiles. “I just wanted to see if you were up yet. Am I bothering you?”

“No, no! Come on in . . .” Kamui hoped Subaru wouldn’t notice how flushed his face was. His mind was still crowded with images of those hands, those lips on every part of his body.

He sat on the edge of his bed, and was *very* aware of Subaru’ s warmth as he sat next to him. He felt his heart speed up a bit, not looking directly at him, knowing if he did he’d just end up staring and gawking.

Why do I still feel like this, he thought, after we’ve been together? It’s not like he’s any big mystery, I know what sleeping with him is like . . . but still . . . all he needs to do is come near me and my heart feels like the eye of a tornado.

“Did you sleep well?” Subaru said. He knew that in the past Kamui had been plagued by nightmares of Fuuma’s betrayal and Kotori’s death . . . just like he himself relived his sister’s death in his dreams over and over.

“Well . . . yeah,” Kamui said, looking at the floor, his hands clenching and unclenching the covers.

Subaru frowned. The answer was much too hesitant, and the boy’s aura felt full of tension. He’s keeping something from me, he thought. But what? Maybe he ran across Fuuma again when none of us were with him? Or maybe . . . Seishirou-san?

That last thought bothered him a lot. If his ex-lover knew he and Kamui were involved, and Seishirou could very well sense such a thing . . . Subaru didn’t want to think of what could happen to Kamui.

He put a hand on the boy’s shoulder, rubbing it a bit through the T-shirt. The muscles were tense, all right. “Kamui . . . is there something you’d like to talk about?”

The younger boy took a deep breath. “No . . . not really . . .”

“Did something happen?” Kamui shook his head, and Subaru didn’t notice any extra tension, so he concluded that he wasn’t lying. “Did you have a nightmare?”

“It . . . wasn’t a nightmare,” Kamui said quickly, and Subaru noticed tension again. It suddenly dawned on him what the dream could have been, and why Kamui was uncomfortable around him this morning.

“Kamui,” he said, “did you dream about me?”

A pause, and then he slowly bobbed his head in the affirmative.

A slow warmth spread through Subaru’s heart. You think so much of me, Kamui, he thought. I don’t deserve it. But . . . when you say things like that to me, I feel things I thought I’d never feel again.

Subaru pulled him into his arms, resting his cheek against the unruly mop of brown hair that felt like piles of silk. “It’s all right. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

“It’s just . . . I want to be with you so much, but I can’t. The others are always around, and we both end up going to bed alone, and . . .”

Subaru gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek, then on his ear. “They’re not around now. And nobody saw me come into your room this morning.”

Kamui raised his head and looked into his eyes. “Nobody?”

“Nobody at all,” Subaru replied, kissing his forehead. “They’re all either still asleep, or down in the kitchen already. And I think we still have awhile before breakfast.”

Kamui’s face lit up. He brought his lips to Subaru’s, wrapping his arms around him tighter, his tongue beginning to probe almost immediately.

A hot shudder passed through him as he felt his lover respond eagerly, tangling his fingers in Kamui’s hair as their tongues brushed against each other with light feathery touches, broke apart, came together again . . .

Maybe Subaru has been having dreams too, Kamui thought.

* * *

Downstairs, Sorata sang happily to himself as he tossed eggs into a huge bowl in front of him.

He was going to go all-out this morning. A full American-style breakfast. Pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon. There was no way Arashi could fail to be impressed. Sure, she’d acted impassive toward his previous culinary efforts . . . he thought he’d had her with the sukiyaki, but she’d just pronounced it “very good” and eaten it calmly . . . but *this* was an out-and-out food extravaganza. Heck, he’d even gone though the trouble of hunting down *real* American pancake syrup!

Outside the window, he could hear the clashing of metal on metal as Arashi and Yuzuriha sparred with swords, as they often did to keep their skills up. She’ll have an appetite after her workout, all right, he thought.

He began to heat the big pan on the stove and poured his batter out into perfect little circles. Kamui’s gonna like this, too, he thought. Poor guy, he’s really acting like something’s bugging him lately. Especially at night. He gets *real* jumpy. I keep asking him to watch movies with me, but . . . he just goes off and sulks somewhere.

“Well, he’s not gonna sulk anymore when he tastes THIS!” he said, getting out another bowl and breaking more eggs into it. “I can’t imagine anything that would make him feel better than a good breakfast!”

* * *

Kamui kissed Subaru deeply, hungrily, tongue pushing into his mouth, then sliding out to tease his lover’s lips. One hand began to trail down, slowly, over his neck, then his chest. He began to massage through the fabric, feeling Subaru arch toward him, into his touch.

Their lips broke apart, and Subaru kissed slowly across Kamui’s cheek, to his ear. He took the lobe in his lips and nibbled a bit, whispering, “That must have been some dream.”

Kamui’s fingers slid along the bottom of the older man’s shirt, teasingly. “Want to see more of it?”

What a question, Subaru thought. “Oh, yes,” he said, laying a trail of soft kisses along Kamui’s neck, nipping at the skin a little.

Kamui yanked the shirt upward, and Subaru raised his arms, eager to be rid of the garment. I can’t believe how I can just let myself go with him, he thought. With Seishirou-san, I was so shy . . . I just let him do as he pleased . . .

Kamui leaned over, running the palms of his hands slowly up and down Subaru’s bared chest, caressing the skin in small circles. He leaned over and began to kiss the flesh, savoring its warmth, his spicy scent. His tongue snaked out to flick lightly, and when he felt Subaru shudder with excitement, an answering shudder passed through him.

“Gods, Subaru,” Kamui gasped, rubbing his cheek against his lover’s chest, feeling overwhelmed with desire for him. His own shirt was starting to feel like a prison, and the boy pulled away just long enough to yank it off and throw it away. When he came back, he wrapped his arms around Subaru tightly, bringing his mouth to a nipple, kissing it softly, flicking his tongue over it, kissing it again, then drawing it in and sucking.

Subaru began to moan, deeply, tangling his fingers in Kamui’s hair. He leaned backwards, arching against him as one hand slipped down his back, stroking and massaging.

As Kamui’s fingers came into play, caressing one nipple as he hungrily sucked the other, Subaru reached down further, caressing the younger boy’s bottom through his underwear.

Oh, he had such a perfect little bottom. Subaru blushed as he remembered Kamui wearing a pair of snug-fitting jeans once that had outlined it perfectly . . . and he hadn’t been able to keep his eyes off it. He blushed deeper as he wondered if any of the other Seals had watched him staring at Kamui transfixed as the boy bent over to pull up weeds from the grass . . .

Kamui groaned as he felt the contact. The fabric felt like a brick wall between them. He wanted more, oh, gods, how he wanted more! He eased away from Subaru, hopped off the bed, pulled off his underwear and flung it aside, then lay back on the bed on his stomach, pulling his knees up a bit, offering his bottom completely.

It was an offer Subaru was not going to resist. He stripped his own remaining clothing off, then leaned over Kamui, kissing the small of his back, nipping at the skin here and there. His fingers slid down, slowly, along the boy’s hips, caressing and massaging, making Kamui whimper a little in anticipation.

Then, he cupped both cheeks in his hands, squeezing, releasing, squeezing, releasing . . . His fingers began to trace soft patterns over them, little swirls, back-and-fortth strokes, before rubbing the palms over both gently rounded curves.

Kamui arched against him, moaning, feeling heat pulse through every inch of him. It felt so good . . . so, so good . . . Every touch of Subaru’s fingers seemed to be burning him. And when he felt his lover’s lips there . . . kissing gently on both mounds, hot breath followed by a maddening scrape of teeth that made Kamui almost cry out loud . . . he thought he’d explode.

Subaru kissed some more, pressing his lips hard against the firm flesh, the texture making his heart pound. Another nibble here, and there . . . He threw his head back, moaning with desire for this boy, as he shifted his body so his chest was against Kamui’s bottom. He began to rub, back and forth, feeling his nipples brush against the mounds, which made both of them moan even louder.

He began to move up, slowly, still rubbing back and forth, his chest sliding across Kamui’s back, until their bodies were molded together, Subaru’s thighs straddling Kamui’s, his mouth at the boy’s neck, his erection, oh gods, cupped by the twin cheeks of his bottom.

They began to move, sliding against each other, up and down, back and forth, creating full-body friction that made both let out long, low sounds of need. Kamui tossed his head back so it was pressing against Subaru’s, one arm reaching back to cling to his lover, to press them both together.

“Subaru,” Kamui panted. “So . . . so good . . .”

But his lover eased away. “Why?” Kamui cried. “Why did you stop?”

“Sssh,” Subaru whispered, sitting up on the bed. “I don’t want to end it so soon . . . and I would, if we kept doing that.”

Kamui turned over and sat up, leaning over and kissing Subaru hungrily again. Their tongues sought each other, rubbing and caressing.

Subaru’s fingers began to massage the side of Kamui’s neck. Kamui imitated his action, and as Subaru’s fingers began to slide down his lover’s chest . . . so did Kamui’s. They leaned back, each watching the other mirror his actions, as their hands slid lower, to a nipple . . . Subaru squeezed Kamui’s gently between thumb and forefinger, and then gasped as the same was done to him.

“Beautiful,” Subaru moaned. “So, so beautiful . . .”

“So are you,” Kamui murmured, as the hands moved down over flat stomachs, stopping to squeeze, caress here and there, just prolonging the anticipation.

Kamui reached his lover’s erection a split second before Subaru, and his fingers lightly caressed the head before starting to move down the shaft.

Subaru moaned loudly, and his moan was answered by Kamui’s as the boy’s fingers repeated his own movements. In unison, they began a slow, up-and down stroke, just quick enough to send warm, tingling waves of pleasure through their entire beings.

Up, and down . . . a brush on the head, a caress along the shaft . . . each feeling the shape of the other, the texture, marveling at how they could both be so alike, yet so different.

Subaru caught a glimpse of them in the mirror on Kamui’s closet door. Two naked young men, two sets of fingers stroking along two erections, two faces flushed with desire, eyes glazed with passion . . .

It was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen in his life.

This time, it was Kamui who eased away. “Subaru . . . I want to end this with you inside me.”

Subaru let go of Kamui . . . slowly, reluctantly . . . then leaned over and kissed him. “I’m definitely not going to argue with that,” he whispered.

Kamui lay back on the bed, purring and stretching like a cat, as he watched Subaru open the nighttable drawer and get out the condoms and lubricant he’d left there.

Oh, yes, Kamui thought. This is even *better* than my dream.

* * *

Sorata chuckled to himself as he heard the front door open. The girls were done . . . and it was time to unveil his masterpiece . . .

“Come right in, nee-chan!” he called. “I’ve got breakfast waiting for you!”

*Now* what has he done? Arashi thought, heading for the dining room with trepidation. Sorata was always going to ludicrous lengths in an attempt to impress her.

Like the time she’d expressed nostalgia for a certain kind of Chinese pear that she’d had at Ise from time to time, and he’d come back with a bushel of them, loudly bragging he’d gone to seven different produce dealers to find them . . . and blowing a good chunk of their food budget for the week in the process.

She’d chided him for that, told him they imposed on Imoyama-san enough as it was, and if they had to beg him for more money, then *Sorata* would be doing it.

She stopped short when she saw the table piled with a huge mountain of food. On one platter, a tottering pile of pancakes. Another held a mountain of eggs that seemed to be the size of a street garbage can. And Sorata was taking something *else* off the stove.

Behind her, Yuzuriha was just about hopping up and down with joy. “Wow!” the younger girl cried, racing past Arashi over to the table, her spirit-dog Inuki at her heels. “This is great, Sorata-san! I haven’t had bacon and eggs in years!”

Sorata brought in the platter of bacon grinning ear to ear, setting it on the table as if he were presenting the Queen of England with her crown jewels. “Surprise, Nee-chan!” he said. “We’re going American this morning!”

Arashi folded her arms and gave him her usual icy look. “What makes you think that five people are going to eat all *this*?”

“Once you taste it, you’ll be begging for seconds and thirds!” he said.

“We’re only going to end up with a pile of leftovers. And they’ll get wasted.” Wasting food was a pet peeve with her. She knew all too well what it was like to live on the street, starving and foraging for scraps.

“You won’t be saying that after you taste these pancakes with . . .” He threw open the refrigerator door with a flourish. “Authentic Vermont maple syrup!”

Arashi looked into the fridge. There was nothing even resembling a bottle of maple syrup.

“I don’t see it,” she said.

Sorata looked into the fridge . . . moved bottles around . . . looked in again . . . moved more bottles around . . .

And then, it dawned on him. Oh, no, he thought, the syrup is in the bag with the deodorant and shaving cream. Which is still in my room . . .

He shut the door, turned around with a big grin, and said, “Back in a flash!” He turned and rushed for the stairs.

Yuzuriha was circling the table, taking inventory of the food again. She hoped he’d come back with the syrup soon . . . she was getting hungry. Inuki followed, letting out a little whimpering noise, as if he shared his mistress’s hunger.

And where are Kamui-san and Subaru-san? she thought. They don’t want to miss this! Maybe they’re taking a walk around the campus.

“Sorata-san’s a great cook, isn’t he?” she said to Arashi.

Arashi folded her arms again, her eyes roaming over the piles and piles of food. “He’s got to learn he *isn’t* feeding a small army,” she said, with her usual chilly tone.

But part of her was thinking about the effort he must have gone through to do all this . . . and she felt a strange warmth deep inside.

* * *

Subaru couldn’t get the condom out of the wrapper and onto him fast enough. Fingers trembling with desire, he opened the tube of lubricant and quickly prepared himself, then squeezed more of the gel out, letting it remain on his fingers long enough to warm it up.

Kamui lifted his hips in anticipation, mutely begging Subaru to do it, to fill him with his fingers and get him ready.

And when he felt the finger start to gently probe his entrance, he let out a whimper of anticipation, lifting his hips even more, not caring when he started to feel a little pain . . . because he could think only of when that pain would give way to pleasure.

When it did, it washed over him warm and sweet as hot chocolate. Subaru began to move his finger in and out, slowly, as he leaned over and kissed Kamui’s right nipple, licking at it before taking it in his lips and sucking.

Kamui gave a small cry, writhing, his fingers clutching the blankets as a second finger entered him . . . a flash of pain was followed by more honeyed sensations, which only got stronger as Subaru continued to lick his nipple . . . then suck . . . then kiss . . . then lick again . . .

Finally, Subaru eased away, wiping his fingers off on a towel on the nighttable, and positioned himself atop the boy, manhood pressing at his entrance. They kissed tenderly.

“Ready?” Subaru asked.

Kamui nodded, and steeled himself. It would hurt at first, he knew that from their previous experience. Subaru’s hardness pressed inside him, filling him, stretching him, and the pain was there. Kamui bit his lip, determined to get through it.

Subaru paused. “Are you all right?” he said.

“Yes,” Kamui panted. “Please, Subaru . . . keep going . . .”

Subaru began to move, slowly, pushing in and out . . . He moaned at the sensation of the boy’s tight sheath gripping him, sucking him in, the heat enveloping him and seeming to spread through his whole body. He wanted to thrust deep and hard and fast, but he knew he had to build up gradually.

Kamui began to groan as Subaru picked up the pace, every thrust bringing a small wave of hot tingles coursing through him. Gods, it was so good to be filled, to be *one* with him . . . his hips began to move with Subaru’s thrusts, his fingers clutching at his lover’s back, reaching up to tangle in his hair.

The younger boy writhed, his body twisting this way and that like a serpent’s, his head rolling side to side as he panted, gasped, moaned, eyes closed, mouth open and forming an O . . . until Subaru’s lips claimed his, and they kissed passionately, tongues stroking rapidly as they moved together, over and over.

Kamui tightened the muscles inside him, just a bit, and heard Subaru let out a deep groan of pleasure. He did it again, faster and tighter, and his lover cried out louder, thrusting deeper . . . and hitting a sweet spot inside Kamui. He moaned very loudly, bucking his hips, wanting Subaru to do that over and over . . .

Subaru thrust fast and hard, knowing he was hitting Kamui’s pleasure spot, and oh, gods, it was getting to be too much, too much, he was overwhelmed, burning, he was going to burst into flames any second, but it was so good, so good . . .

Kamui tightened his arms around Subaru as the hot thrusts came over and over and over . . . and then, his breath caught, and his whole body stiffened as the world seemed to stand still.

Then, there was a frantic release, and a flood of fiery, delicious sensation poured over him in waves, his whole body burning, and burning . . . and then relaxing, a sensation so exquisite it defied description filling him right to the tips of his toes.

Subaru felt Kamui’s passage grip him hard in the throes of orgasm, and it suddenly touched off an answering explosion inside him. He buried his face in the crook of Kamui’s shoulder, muffling his cries as he was seized by one spasm after another of electric bliss, fading, then roaring back stronger than ever, consuming him until he finally sagged atop Kamui, limp as a rag doll, kissing him softly.

* * *

Sorata rushed up the stairs. Great, he thought. Everything was going terrific until then . . . stupid, stupid, stupid syrup, why did I have to leave it in my room . . .

He found the bag on his bedroom floor, snatched the bottle and headed for the stairs.

And then, a noise from Kamui’s room made him stop, suddenly.

He’s groaning, he thought. He sounds like he’s in pain . . .

Sorata stood rooted to the spot. The noises inside . . . something was *definitely* wrong . . .He heard Kamui scream out Subaru’s name. And where is *he* when Kamui’s in trouble? he thought.

He tried the door. It was locked. “Kamui!” he shouted.

Downstairs, Yuzuriha, who was sitting at the table, gave a start. “Something’s wrong with Kamui!” she cried, rushing for the stairs with Inuki bounding after her.

Arashi followed, rapidly. Whenever something like this happened, they all automatically feared the worst . . . that Fuuma and the Dragons of Earth had come up with a way to breach the defenses of Clamp Campus, and they were attacking Kamui.

The girls arrived at Kamui’s door to find a frantic Sorata twisting the knob this way and that, fruitlessly. “What happened?” Arashi said.

“He’s hurt, or sick, and I can’t get in!” Sorata cried, trying the door again.

“Hold on!” Yuzuriha said, bringing her hands together. The others watched her start to concentrate, wondering if she was going to raise a keikkai.

Instead, Inuki leapt into the air, his wolflike body instantly surrounded by white light. The light grew brighter, and the dog’s body dissolved into pure, pulsing white energy, which rapidly reformed into the shape of a key.

Arashi and Sorata watched in amazement. They knew Inuki could transform into a sword, or a shield, but this was a totally new skill.

Yuzuriha snatched the key out of the air and fitted it into the lock. It worked perfectly.

Inside, Kamui and Subaru sagged against each other, panting, holding each other, softly kissing . . .

Their reverie was broken by the sound of the door rattling.

“What was that?” Kamui said, sitting bolt upright.

There was a clicking sound, like a key turning in a lock, and then the door swung open.

And then, there were three faces staring at Kamui and Subaru, eyes and mouths wide open. The key in Yuzuriha’s hand clattered to the floor and turned back into Inuki. The dog instantly averted his eyes, as if he could sense what was going on.

Sorata put his hands over Yuzuriha’s eyes and pulled her out of the room, rapidly. Arashi just turned crimson, then put her hands over her face and fled.

Kamui just sat rooted to the spot, unable to comprehend what was happening.

They *saw*, he thought. They saw Subaru and I . . . on the bed, naked . . . and it was obvious we just . . .

Subaru was equally shaken. This is bad, he thought. This is very, very bad. They saw me, and it’s embarrassing enough, but . . . poor Kamui . . .

He put his hand on the younger boy’s shoulder. “Kamui,” he said, “What just happened was . . .”

Kamui wanted to shrug the hand away . . . but he couldn’t move. He was still in shock.

“What just happened,” he said, quietly, “was the most embarrassing moment of my life.”

“We didn’t ask for that to happen,” Subaru said. “It was totally an accident. If we went down and talked to them . . .”

“I can’t,” Kamui said. “I can’t face them.” What good is that going to do? he thought. They all know about us now . . . and the looks on their faces . . . Arashi just ran away, and Sorata couldn’t get Yuzuriha out of there fast enough. What do they think of me now?

* * *

Downstairs, the other three Seals sat around the table, the piles of food now forgotten. A dead silence settled over the room, as nobody could think of the appropriate words to say.

Then, Sorata said, “Well . . . that *wasn’t* what I was expecting to find.”

“I feel bad about it,” Yuzuriha said quietly, looking down at the plate in front of her. “If I had known, I would never have opened that door . . .”

“There was no way any of us could know,” Sorata said. “Hell, you hear something like that around here . . . the last thing you think of its, well . . .”

Arashi just sat quietly. It didn’t surprise her that Subaru and Kamui were involved. She’d seen them together, she knew they looked like more than casual friends. But it was bothering her to have walked in on them at such an intimate moment . . . and to have experienced that moment with Sorata at her side . . .

It was if an intimate moment had passed *between them*. And she didn’t know if she was ready for that.

“I think we should go apologize,” Yuzuriha said, reaching down to ruffle Inuki’s gray fur. The spirit-dog gave a small whimper, as if he were agreeing with her.

Sorata shook his head. “Nah. He may not want to see us right now. We’ll talk to him later, when he’s ready.”

He took a fork and poked at the now-cold bowl of eggs. He hoped Kamui wouldn’t be angry at them. He’d wondered just how much his friend cared about Subaru, and he’d been meaning to ask him about it. He’d just been waiting for the right moment. The last thing he’d expected was for the boy to have been suddenly, forcibly outed.

He’ll come down later, he thought. At lunchtime. And then we’ll have a talk.

* * *

As the sun was sinking below the horizon in a glorious explosion of hot pinks and oranges, Karen Kasumi walked up the path leading to the wing of the Imoyama mansion occupied by five of the Seven Seals.

She came here every Sunday night for dinner. It did her a world of good. After a long, long week of the tawdry roleplay of the bathhouses, it was so nice to be among people who were . . . *real*.

And being among this particular group especially renewed her spirits, because among them, she could experience the kind of carefree adolescence she’d never had.

She loved watching Sorata tease Arashi, and her seemingly cold responses. She loved Yuzuriha’s cheerful prattle. Looking at any one of them, you’d never know they were literally carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders at such a young age.

And then, there was Kamui and Subaru. There was just such a *tenderness* there, in the way they gazed at each other, the way their fingers would graze each other lightly sometimes, and linger for a heartbeat more than they had to. Karen wondered if they were even aware of the depth of their feelings for each other.

But when she knocked on the door, a glum-looking Yuzuriha answered it. Alarm bells instantly went off in Karen’s head.

“Yuzuriha,” she said, “what happened?”

“Come in, Karen-san,” the younger girl said. At her feet, Inuki plodded along as she led the way into the living room, his eyes fixed on the floor.

Karen sat down on the couch, carefully tucking the black sundress that was cut just a little too low on top and just a little too high on the bottom under her legs. The whole place seemed quiet . . . far too quiet.

“Where are the others?” she said.

“Sorata-san and Arashi-san went to get takeout,” the girl said, looking down at her folded hands. “None of us felt like cooking tonight.”

“And Kamui?”

Yuzuriha looked up at the older women with sorrowful eyes. “He hasn’t come down since this morning. We haven’t seen Subaru-san, either.”

Karen frowned a bit. It wasn’t unusual for either one of them to be moody. And Subaru was a very secretive person . . . she doubted that anyone, with the possible exception of Kamui, really knew him. But this, coupled with the look on Yuzuriha’s face . . . something wasn’t right.

“Did they have a fight with each other? Or one of you?”

“Well . . . not exactly . . .”

She looks like she’s dying to tell me, Karen thought, but she can’t find the words. And the way she’s fidgeting . . . whatever it is, it’s making her very uncomfortable.

“Maybe I should go up and talk to him,” Karen said, quietly.

“I don’t know if he will,” Yuzuriha replied, reaching down to ruffle Inuki’s fur. “Ever since we saw him and Subaru-san . . .”

She suddenly caught herself, turning bright red. And Karen was beginning to get a picture of what had happened. Poor Kamui, she thought. To have been struggling with a hidden relationship on top of everything else he went through, and then to have that relationship exposed . . .

“He may talk to me,” she said, and headed for the stairs.

* * *

In his room, Kamui lay on his bed, his arms around his pillow. There was still a faint scent of Subaru clinging to it. He thought of their lovemaking, how beautiful it had been . . .

And then, how things turned sour and bitter when the others had burst in on them.

Subaru had left shortly after the incident, saying he needed to go for a walk. He’d invited Kamui to join him. Kamui had declined. He didn’t want to risk running into any of the others.

I wish Kotori were still here, he thought. She’d understand. And so would Fuuma . . . the *real* Fuuma . . .

He buried his head in the pillow again. He didn’t want to think of Fuuma and Kotori on top of everything else.

When the knock came on his door, he ignored it. Just go away, he thought. But the knock came again, accompanied by a voice this time: “Kamui, please open the door. I want to talk to you.”

It was Karen. They must have sent her up here, he thought.

“There’s nothing to talk about,” he replied, pulling the pillow over his head as if to shut her out.

“If you’ve been hiding in your room all day, I think there is.”

Fine, he thought. I’ll talk to her for a couple of minutes so she’ll leave me alone. He went to the door and opened it.

Karen was alarmed by the look on his face. There was a mixture of anger and pain there that she usually associated with the aftermath of confrontations with Fuuma. The room behind him was in total darkness, except for the weak last rays of the setting sun coming through the window.

“Come on in,” he said as he walked back to the bed and flopped down on it.

She reached over to the light switch and turned it on, then pulled up Kamui’s desk chair to the bed and sat down. For a second, there was total silence, he looking up at the ceiling, she folding her hands on her lap and waiting for him to talk.

Finally, she said, “What happened this morning, Kamui? Yuzuriha seemed very concerned.”

He raised his head. “Nothing. Nothing, really.”

“Did they walk in on you and Subaru?”

He suddenly sat bolt upright, violet eyes blazing with fury. “Who told you?” he said.

“I have eyes, Kamui. I’ve seen you together.”

The boy flopped down to the bed and stared at the ceiling again. “Are we really that obvious?”

“Well, I noticed it,” she said, smiling gently. “It’s a shame, really, but it just goes to prove . . . all the good men are married or gay.”

“I’m not gay,” Kamui said, quickly, sitting up again. “I mean, I’m not . . . not *really* gay. Not completely. I just . . .”

“You’re just in love with Subaru,” she replied.

He looked down, fiddling with the blankets. “Yeah.”

She got up and sat at the foot of the bed, putting a hand on his wrist. “Kamui, being gay does *not* make you any different.” She gave a wry smile. “Do you think that the instant you acknowledge it, you’ll be transformed into a member of the Village People?”

“No,” he said, quickly. “It’s just that . . . I’m worried what the others will think . . .” He looked down again.

“In my old school, in Okinawa, there were a couple of guys who were gay, and as soon as the other guys found out . . . well, guys who used to be their friends didn’t want to be with them anymore. They even got beaten up. I don’t want that to happen. Especially not with . . . what we have to go through together.”

“Kamui,” Karen said, letting go of his wrist and brushing back her red curls, “do you really think any of them would have a problem with it? You’ve known them for awhile now . . . are any of them that kind of people?”

He shook his head. “But . . . the look on their faces when they walked in . . “

“And precisely what state were the two of you in when they walked in?”

Kamui turned a bright crimson and said nothing. She had her answer.

She gave a little chuckle. “People tend to react when they stumble in on that no matter what the combination of people involved. Believe me, in my line of work . . . I know.”

Kamui blushed again. He tried not to think too much about the fact his friend made her living in the bordellos that were given the euphemistic name “Soaplands.”

“So . . . what should I do now?” he said.

“Go down and talk to them. They’re worried about you. Yuzuriha looked downright depressed when I arrived, and you know that’s saying a lot.”

Kamui got off the bed and reached for a pair of jeans . . . he’d been in his T-shirt and underwear all day. “Okay . . . tell them I’ll be right down. And Karen-san . . . thanks.”

She gave his shoulder a squeeze and walked toward the door, then looked back over her shoulder and said teasingly, “And it really *is* a shame that the best ones are gay or taken. Or, in this case, both.” She gave him a wink and left the room.

Kamui finished dressing and went to the mirror, quickly running a brush through his unruly hair. She said she noticed Subaru and I together, he thought. And if she noticed it, the others must have *really* noticed it, since they live with us. And it’s not as if we were still *doing it* when they walked in, right?

He started for the door, when it opened again and someone else walked in.

“Subaru!” Kamui cried, rushing to his lover and throwing his arms around him. “Where did you go?”

Subaru hugged him back. “I went . . . to be near my sister. I wanted to think, and I figured that would help . . .”

Kamui knew exactly the place he was talking about . . . the one sakura tree in Ueno Park that bloomed throughout the year. The Sakurazukamori’s tree, where Hokuto Sumeragi had died.

“I didn’t come down all day,” Kamui said. “But Karen-san and I had a talk, and . . . I’m feeling better about it now.”

“I’m glad,” Subaru replied, gently easing away from Kamui’s embrace. “What happened this morning . . .”

“It was embarrassing,” Kamui said. “I wanted to die. And it was the worst possible way for them to find out about us.”

“I know,” Subaru said, quietly. “I wanted to die, too.”

“I didn’t want them to find out I was . . . well . . .”

“Gay?” Subaru said, stroking Kamui’s hair.

Kamui nodded, slowly.

“Is it really such a bad thing, Kamui?”

“No,” Kamui said, quickly, sitting back down on the bed. “Not at all. When we were together . . . gods, I was so happy . . .”

“You have to be true to yourself, Kamui. You can’t do things based on what other people think.”

Kamui’s hands clenched and unclenched the bedcovers. “I know, but . . . I . . . I don’t want anyone to be uncomfortable with my choice to be with you.”

“And they won’t be,” Subaru said, sitting next to him and taking his hand.

Kamui tightened his fingers against Subaru’s, trying not to look at the downward-pointing pentagram on the back of his hand that marked him as they prey of the Sakurazukamori. Subaru was my age when he was with that bastard, he thought.

“Subaru . . . can I ask you something?”

“Of course,” Subaru said, gently kissing Kamui’s forehead.

“Were you always gay? I mean, did you always know?”

Subaru stroked Kamui’s hair gently with his other hand. “Yes, I did. I think Hokuto knew before I did. From the time we were very small, she used to tease me about liking this guy or that guy. And, a lot of times . . . she was right.”

“And you never had a problem with it?”

“No,” Subaru replied. “It was just the way I was . A part of me . . . like my onmiyoujutsu ability.”

“I always liked both guys and girls,” Kamui said. “I didn’t want to admit it, though. I’d tell myself that I wanted to be with a guy because we were such good friends, or because I really liked his sister, but . . .”

“But . . . you can admit it now.”

“Yes,” Kamui said, squeezing Subaru’s hand. “And I don’t have a problem with it. I just worry . . “

“Don’t,” Subaru said. “If you don’t have a problem with it . . . that’s all that matters.”

Kamui pulled Subaru into his arms, and the two embraced, followed by a soft kiss.

“I guess we have to go down and face them, don’t we?”

“Yes,” Subaru said. “But . . . we have to just talk to them and try to put it behind us. There’s more important things than that.”

This took Kamui aback, and he moved away from Subaru a bit. “There’s more important things than you and me together?”

Subaru reached out and grasped his hand. “No, Kamui . . . I mean there’s more important things than worrying about what happened. Like your Wish. If you worry too much about little things, you won’t be able to fulfill it.”

He wanted again to ask Subaru what *his* wish was. He still wouldn’t tell Kamui, except to say it would make people sad if it were to be fulfilled. But he figured this wasn’t the time or place.

“I guess you’re right,” he said, quietly.

Subaru hugged him again. “Are you nervous about talking to them?”

Kamui nodded his head.

“Don’t be. It may be awkward at first, but . . . I think you’ll get through it.”

As they headed for the door, Kamui said, quietly, “Subaru . . . since they know about us anyway . . . will you stay with me tonight?”

There was a pause, during which Kamui wondered if he’d been too forward, if he should have said anything.

But Subaru put an arm around his shoulder, gave him a squeeze and said, “Yes, I will.”

* * *

Kamui and Subaru came down the stairs to find Karen, Sorata and Yuzuriha talking in the living room. Arashi was coming out of the dining room.

All eyes turned toward them, and conversation came to a dead stop. Suddenly, Kamui didn’t feel so self-assured about this anymore. In fact, he felt like he wanted to sink into the floor.

They’ve seen me naked, he thought. And they saw me with Subaru . . . He felt a blush creeping over his cheeks.

Arashi just hovered around the kitchen doorway. I can’t think of a thing to say right now, she thought. Yuzuriha looked at the floor, similar thoughts in her own head.

Well, Sorata thought, looks like it’s me to the rescue again! He leapt to his feet and clapped Kamui on the back.

“Hey, Kamui . . . want some dinner? It’s just sushi, but I picked it out myself . . . with some help from my gorgeous assistant, of course.” He winked at Arashi, who crossed her arms and scowled at him.

Yuzuriha gave Kamui a big smile, but it was obvious she was feeling awkward. Kamui could only smile back. He looked up at Subaru, and saw the tension in his lover’s face as well.

Karen just sat on the couch, giving him an encouraging look . . . which was doing him no good whatsoever.

This is *not* working, Kamui thought. It’s just as bad as I thought it was going to be . . .stiff and uncomfortable all the way around. We shouldn’t have even tried this. I have to say something . . . something to break the ice . . .

He heard himself blurting out, “Subaru and I . . . it wasn’t . . . well . . . um . . .”

The words finally melted Yuzuriha’s shyness about the incident. She hopped out of her seat and rushed over to him. “Kamui-san . . . it’s all right. It really is.”

“No, it isn’t!” Kamui cried, pulling away from Subaru. “You all saw us together. . .”

“Kamui . . . it *is* okay,” Sorata said. “I haven’t got a problem with it. If two guys want to be together, hey, that’s cool! Especially two boys as pretty as you.”

Kamui looked at Subaru, then back at Sorata. “You . . you mean that?”

“Sure, I mean it!” he said.

“And . . . I mean it too,” said Yuzuriha, looking down shyly. “Walking in on you . . . it was strange, but . . . it *was* all an accident. And . . . I’ve kinda thought you belonged together all along.”

“You have?” Subaru said, obvious surprise in his voice.

“Yes!” she replied. “Right after you brought him out of his heart, after Kotori died . . . I saw how you two looked at each other, and I thought . . . that you liked each other right away.”

“Thank you,” Kamui said, softly. “And, um, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure!” the inugami-mistress said, as they headed for the dining room.

“How did you get in?”

“Inuki can turn himself into a skeleton key,” she said. “I taught him to do that when I was a little kid so . . .” She stopped and blushed.

“So . . . what?” Kamui said.

“So I could get cookies out of the cabinet. My grandmother always locked it.”

Karen hung back, watching the scene. I told him there was nothing to be concerned about, she thought. I didn’t think anybody would mind a bit. Kamui is special, and they all know it. And she was happy for Kamui and Subaru . . . if anybody needed to be happy, it was the two of them.

They settled down at the dinner table, Kamui and Subaru side-by-side. They passed the sushi, Yuzuriha slipped a piece to Inuki, Sorata made a remark about how nobody could swirl wasabi around like Arashi, she poked him with her chopsticks . . .

Things were back to normal. Subaru had to admit he felt relieved over that, although he wouldn’t admit it to Kamui. He didn’t want anything getting in the way of his lover’s happiness.

He knew that nothing and nobody would ever replace Hokuto and Seishriou in his life, and he’d never truly be at peace until he settled things with Seishirou once and for all. But here, with Kamui, life itself didn’t hurt the way it used to. And for him, that was enough.

* * *

It was a couple of days later. Sorata was making breakfast again.

This time, he thought, I’m *really* going to impress her! He opened the box he’d bought the other day . . . from a professional cooking supply store, no less! . . . and took out the authentic Belgian waffle iron.

And I’m gonna make her five different types of waffles! he thought, opening a bag and taking out cans of fruit compotes. Strawberry, cherry, blueberry, peach, and the piece de resistance . . . butter pecan!

The can of pecans he’d bought, however, wasn’t in the bag.

Not again! he thought. The pecans . . . were bought at the same store as the socks and razor blades, which means . . . in my room again.

He raced up the stairs, grabbed the can, started heading back . . .

And heard a sound coming from Kamui’s room. A soft moan, followed by a “Subaru . . . that feels so good . . .”

Sorata continued down the stairs . . . where he proceeded to take all the cans, and the waffle iron, and put them back where they came from.

He walked outside, where the girls were finishing their sparring practice.

“Ladies,” he said, “we’re going out for breakfast this morning. My treat.”

After all, he thought, I gotta let the lovebirds have their privacy, right? Because soon, they’re going to be doing the same for me and Nee-chan!

* * *

Subaru finished the massage, and wiped his hands off on the towel. “There . . . how’s that?”

Kamui sat up and flexed his shoulders. “Much better.”

“You should warm up some before you have your fencing lessons,” he said. “You’ll be a lot less likely to pull a muscle then.”

Kamui hopped off the bed and buttoned up his uniform shirt. “I know, I know . . . I’m sure Arashi’s going to say the same thing to me. Let’s go downstairs . . . Sorata’s supposed to be making a great breakfast this morning.”

“Another one?” said Subaru, capping the bottle of oil and putting it back in the nighttable. “What is it this time?”

“Belgian waffles,” said Kamui. “He was all excited about it last night.”

They came down the stairs . . . strange, Kamui thought, I don’t smell anything . . .

The kitchen was empty. So was the dining room.

Kamui realized what must have happened . . . and started to laugh. Softly, then louder, and louder . . .

“What’s wrong?” Subaru said.

“Nothing,” Kamui replied. “Come on, I think we’re eating out this morning.” And then, an idea came to him, and he turned to Subaru with a sly smile. “That is . . . unless we want something other than food for breakfast . . .” He put his arms around Subaru and kissed him.

“Hmm,” Subaru said. “What brought this on?”

Kamui kissed his lover’s neck, and said, softly, “Well, if everyone *thinks* we were upstairs in bed . . . we don’t want to make liars of them, do we?”

Subaru smiled back at him, and they kissed again, before heading back up the stairs.

AUTHOR’S NOTES: This story began as a “remake” of another piece I’d done a long time ago, a short slapstick bit about a couple’s rendevous being interrupted by friends who misinterpreted the sounds inside the bedroom. It evolved into a much more serious coming-out story.

Thanks tons to my editor, Steve Savage, and my friends Cheyne, Sonya-chan and Rachel, as well as the members of the Subaru_Kamui ML!

X is the property of CLAMP. These characters ain’t mine, I’m just borrowing them for a little while.