by Mina Lightstar

Kurapika opens his eyes at five-forty-seven because the sun is almost risen and he forgot to close the blinds. His bed is between the window and the night-stand: An ideal position for bright mornings to wake him up -- whether he wants to be awake or not. Unfortunately, the string for the blinds is too far away for him to just reach up and close them. Accomplishing that task will require actual movement, which Kurapika is unwilling to execute at the moment. So he starts to roll over, intending to simply turn away from the sun and go back to sleep. He's barely started moving when he discovers he has a problem: There is an arm draped over his waist, a warm body taking up half of the mattress. He is not the only one in his bed.

He can hear it now, because he's listening: The slow, even breathing coming from the form lying next to him. Leorio, he realizes with a quiet gasp. Of course; last night, they.... He feels tense, notices it is his own doing, and forces his body to relax. Nothing happened, he reasons. He checks just in case, just to make sure, and breathes a quiet sigh of relief when he affirms that he is still wearing his pants.

... Expensive dress pants, he reminds himself with a wince, and groans. It's a good thing his suit wasn't rented, he thinks, and then thinks, Why am I worried about a pair of pants? because he has something more important to concern himself with.

"Leorio," Kurapika mumbles, telling himself he speaks the name to wake his friend up, but his voice is much too quiet to accomplish the task. Leorio sighs contentedly in his sleep and begins to shift. He ends up even closer, spooning Kurapika's body. "Hey..." Kurapika protests, propping himself up on one elbow and glancing back at his roommate. "The bed is big enough for you to move back over there," he points out, ignoring the fact that Leorio is asleep, and thus, is not listening to a word he is saying.

Leorio's smile widens suddenly, and Kurapika wonders what he is dreaming about. Probably Maya. He makes a face and flops onto his back. If he is dreaming about Maya, I'll.... He'll what? He isn't sure. Until last night, he was sure Leorio's casual dating didn't bother him. One kiss later and he is.... Leorio mumbles something incoherent and shifts again. It is almost comical to realize a man of Leorio's size is trying to curl into a ball, except it isn't funny at all because he is snuggling up against Kurapika, planting his face against Kurapika's neck. "Awkward" is not the word for this.

Kurapika closes his eyes against the sunlight, listens to Leorio's rhythmic breathing, and feels the other's exhalations -- they are warm against his skin.

Suddenly, Leorio snorts, props himself up and stares down at Kurapika, blinking sleepy eyes. He looks disoriented and confused.

Kurapika blinks, and can't help noticing how this looks. Leorio is still wearing his pants, but the way he is braced above Kurapika, one hand on either side of him, it's almost like... "Leorio?" he tries, realizing the older man hasn't said anything yet. "... Leorio?" He wonders what is going through his friend's mind. Leorio was the one who had initiated the kiss, the one who had taken his arm and guided him to bed, the one who had climbed in with him and acted like it was the natural thing to do. Maybe he regrets the whole thing, Kurapika thinks, and he honestly isn't sure if that's good or bad.

And then Leorio grins broadly, looking like the happiest man alive.

Kurapika raises an eyebrow, ignores the way the grin makes his heart jump.

Leorio says, "Pancakes," and goes back to sleep.

Kurapika closes his eyes again, feeling a headache coming on. He hasn't even had three hours of sleep. He should get up, shove Leorio onto the floor, and then walk on him for good measure before reclaiming the entire bed for himself.

He turns his head and considers his friend, once again lying on his side and looking content. "How can you sleep at a time like this?" he mutters, raising a hand to shield his eyes from the sun.

In answer to his own question, Kurapika suddenly yawns. Finally, he decides he's too tired to care anymore, and turns away from the window, settling on his other side to go back to sleep. He ends up huddled against Leorio's chest, but is practically asleep by the time he realizes that.

It's warmer this way. He wonders how he's ever done without it.


He wakes up again when Leorio moves -- slowly, ever so slowly -- out of bed. As Leorio has evidently put tremendous effort into not waking him, Kurapika plays along and pretends to sleep through his friend's tip-toes to the bathroom.

He sits up once the shower starts, rubs at his eyes. According to the clock, it's eleven-sixteen. But they don't have anything to do today, so Kurapika doesn't feel as though he's wasted any time.

On the other hand, this means they will be together all day. Kurapika has nowhere to go and he is sure Leorio mentioned the same on Thursday.

I'm overreacting, he tells himself, slipping out of bed and hunting for the rest of his clothes. A kiss doesn't have to mean anything, he knows. Of course, he tells himself this, but as rarely-explored as his sexuality is, he is still thinking of Leorio's lips and how they felt, and how his abdomen had tightened when Leorio had put him to bed, and of Leorio's body and how warm it was, and Why am I folding his clothes?

Kurapika throws the shirt and blazer to the carpet and goes to make coffee.


He slams the mug onto the table, feels smug satisfaction when Leorio jumps and cries, "What the hell?!"

"Coffee's ready," he chirps, pretending not to notice that some has spilled onto the place-mat, or that Leorio is staring at him with incredulity. He goes to the sink and starts getting ready to take care of the dishes. It's not that they can't wait, or even that it's his turn to do them -- he just wants something to occupy himself with.

"Hey, uh," Leorio ventures hesitantly, "are you okay?"

"Just fine, why?"

"... No reason," Leorio replies in a tone that says there is one.

Kurapika growls inwardly and resolves to ignore his friend for the rest of the day. It's easier than breaching the subject they know they are going to have to talk about eventually. He doesn't want to be the one to bring it up, because Leorio hasn't said a word about it and he isn't sure what that means.

The phone rings. It's a cordless, lying on the kitchen table, so Leorio reaches forward and answers. "Hello? ... Hello! How are you? ... I'm great, great...."

Kurapika wonders if it's Maya. Or maybe Lina. The last one was Lina, wasn't it?

"... Today? Hey, isn't that the new place down on fifth avenue? ... Uh huh, that's what I thought. Hang on," he laughs suddenly, "let me ask my wife."

Kurapika stiffens, hands tightening on the rag and the plate he is scrubbing. It's a joke, it's been a joke since they moved in together, but now it hits too close to home.

"Kurapika," Leorio says, and Kurapika knows the phone's mouthpiece is covered so the caller won't hear them.

"What?" He keeps scrubbing the plate, keeps busy so he won't have to turn around. Leorio makes the wife joke all the time, but he never actually asks for permission, so what does he -- ?

"Colleague's on the phone -- you remember Kenji, right?"

"I remember." An image comes to mind: A cheerful looking young man who dyes his hair according to the season.

"He wants me to join him for a convention -- I forgot Morita-sensei was giving a speech today -- and then go for drinks at Sakura."

"Sounds fun."

"... You don't mind if I go?"

Kurapika blinks, unsure if he's heard correctly. "Why would I mind?"

"So you don't?"

Kurapika twists around to deliver a heartfelt glare in his friend's direction. "No, I do not. Honestly, Leorio, I can't believe you're even asking! I've never been upset with you when you went anywhere before, and I'm not going to start today, all right?"

He regrets saying so much immediately, but what makes it worse is that Leorio appears unaffected by the outburst. Instead, he looks contemplative, gives Kurapika a measuring look, and keeps their gazes locked as he raises the phone back to his ear. "Yeah, Kenji? ... Yeah, I won't be able to make it. ... Uh huh, something's come up. I'll catch you later, okay? ... Take care." He turns the phone off.

Kurapika turns back around, sticks his hands back into the hot water, and goes back to scrubbing the plate. "You should have gone. It sounded interesting."

Leorio chuckles. "I don't feel like going out."

They are quiet for several minutes, and then Kurapika hears the chair's legs scrape against the tiles as Leorio stands up. He keeps his eyes on the dishes in the sink, keeps mechanically scrubbing at the same plate, but tenses up when Leorio appears directly behind him.

"You know..." the taller man looks over his shoulder, "you don't have to scrub the designs off."

"Look," Kurapika starts, but falters immediately because Leorio's arms are suddenly around him. "Leorio," he says, not quite protesting.

His friend hooks his chin on Kurapika's shoulder, and Kurapika lets the plate sink under the water. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong?"

I hate him. Except that he doesn't. "Leorio," he snarls, dropping the rag and struggling to turn around in the older man's embrace, "if you are so stupid that you actually have to ask what's wrong--"

"I'm not," Leorio assures him, and when they are facing one another, the taller dives in and initiates their second kiss.

Strangely, Kurapika feels less conflicted about it than the last time. He thinks, The counter is much more comfortable than the bookshelf. Then he stops thinking, because it's hard to think when Leorio is sucking his tongue. Leorio pulls him closer, fingers bunching up the fabric of his blue tank top, and Kurapika has to throw his arms around Leorio's neck -- has to anchor himself somehow. Leorio still isn't wearing a shirt, smells so good, and his hair is freshly-washed and feels so soft.

He doesn't know how long they remain entangled, swept up in kisses and shy caresses. When they finally break apart, Kurapika feels like the edge of the counter is the only thing keeping him upright.

Leorio is panting, looks simultaneously lustful and frustrated. "We... you and me...."

Kurapika thinks he is wearing a similar, if not identical, expression. "This," he stops to swallow -- though he isn't sure why his mouth is dry after all the saliva that has been exchanged, "this could be a very big mistake." It's only fair, he reasons, to give the warning.

"Mistake?" Leorio echoes. He rubs himself against Kurapika, letting him feel the taller man's arousal when it presses to his stomach. "I don't think this," he shifts, moves one leg between Kurapika's and pushes against his erection, making Kurapika gasp, "or this... is a mistake."

"Leorio--" Kurapika's breaths are hitched, "We...." He still has misgivings, some fear... but it's gone when Leorio kisses him again.

When this kiss ends, Leorio pulls away, taking Kurapika's hand. "Come?" he asks, still looking dazed -- but happy, very happy.

"Where?" Kurapika asks, but he's already following -- has a feeling he would follow Leorio anywhere at this point.

The other smiles as he leads the way. "Back to bed."