Lip Gloss
by Mina Lightstar

Gou hated it when Taki brought women home. It wasn't because he was jealous of them (even though he was, admittedly, a little envious) or even because he thought he had a right to protest, seeing as how Gou regularly brought men (pretty, rather effeminate men) back to the apartment. It was because Taki's girls made the whole place smell like Woman.

I can't stand it! Grou growled inwardly, carefully navigating the bathroom, eyes open for discarded lingerie and leftover bottles of nail-polish. Not that he wanted to see them, he just didn't want to get within five feet of them. The first time Taki had brought a girl home, Gou had woken early and stumbled, half-asleep, into the shower. He'd been instantly awake when he'd reached up to grab a towel hanging from the curtain rod and had ended up with a snow white bra, instead.

Gou was gay to the gayest degree of gay. He'd thrown the bra away and washed his hands again.

"No women allowed!" he'd raged later on, once the culprit had been given coffee and sent on her way. "Absolutely, positively, no women in this apartment!"

"It's my apartment, too," Taki had retorted, "and you bring men home all the time."

But that was different, Gou insisted to this day. Gou was a man, Taki was a man, and their apartment was reserved for men. Taki could hump women all he wanted (though he really wished his partner would reconsider) but any humping was to be done at the girl's house, not theirs!

The bathroom, where she had washed up, was still a little humid from the hot shower and closed door. It smelled like....

"It smells like Baby Doll in here!" Gou shouted in frustration. He balled his hands into fists at his sides and ignored Taki's "Shut up!" from the office.

Gou took his shower anyway, making faces at the scent all the while. Taki's bottle of shampoo was still on the shelf; the girl had probably used it, too. Gou picked it up, popped the cap open, and inhaled its scent. It was like inhaling Taki: The best drug. Unfortunately, the real thing was forbidden to him.

Sometimes Gou wondered how he endured, but never for very long. He set the shampoo aside and turned off the showerhead. Then he reached for a towel, mindful to watch out for falling underwear.

It was after he'd pulled on a fresh pair of clothing that he saw it: Next to the cup they used to rinse after brushing was a little pink tube. Gou reached for it, curious, and examined the little hearts that decorated the brand name.

Gou's fist tightened around the tube. "She left her lip gloss here!"

Bras, bikini underwear, even make-up... damn women had to leave their markings everywhere.


"You're being ridiculous," Taki informed him. "You know that, right?" He was sitting at the computer, still looking mildly annoyed, as he had when Gou had turned the swivel-chair around so they would be face-to-face.

Gou waved the pink thing under Taki's nose. "Your woman left her mark in our apartment."

"Of course," Taki made a helpless gesture with his hands, "because if it's here, it gives her power over us. Damn it, Gou...." He reached for his cigarettes.

Gou made a face. "Now she'll have to come back again to pick it up."

"It wouldn't be a bad thing for me," Taki replied, pulling a Marlboro from his pack with his lips.

Gou stared at him. "You do this on purpose, don't you?"

"Huh?" Taki paused, lighter in hand. "You think I bring women home to annoy you?" His expression darkened, and he set the unlit cigarette and onto the ashtray by his monitor. "I don't," he stressed before Gou could say anything, "I bring women home because it's my apartment, too, and--"

"Not that," Gou spat, running a hand through his dark hair. "Never mind." He tried to banish the image his mind had conjured: The one of Taki giving Gou's fingers the same treatment as the cigarette. It worked about as well as any other time he'd tried to stop imagining Taki doing things Taki would never, ever do. "You're a cold-hearted person."

His partner turned his head aside. "I didn't do anything."

"Except that you did. You do." Gou swallowed. The way Taki's head was turned, the side of his neck invitingly exposed... Gou had to stop himself from leaning over, brushing the dirty-blond hair aside and attaching his mouth to the skin. He'd kissed Taki's neck before, many times, and each taste only succeeded in making him want more. "You're doing it right now."

Taki cracked one eye open, considered him for a moment. "C'mon, I'm in the middle of an update." He turned his chair back around and concentrated on his monitor.

Like you need to watch it update, Gou thought grumpily. I'm no technical genius, but I know it can do that kind of thing on its own. He glanced down at the pink tube of lip gloss still in his hands. It was less tempting than looking at Taki's back. "Hey."


"Why do women wear this stuff, anyway? Does it turn straight guys on?"

"Why do you even care?" The computer pinged, a window popped up, and the room was suddenly alive with the sound of Taki's fingers flying over the keyboard.

"Just curious." Gou examined the tube the way he would a lock-pick for a job. He unscrewed the cap and pulled out the little brush. The scent of strawberries filled his nostrils; he wrinkled his nose. "A lot of this stuff is really cheap."

"I would ask how you know," Taki said absently, "but some of the men you bring home are quite pretty."

"I don't think any of them have ever worn lip gloss." Gou's features scrunched up in distaste. "Not that I'd notice, since the cheap stuff doesn't even stay on very long."

"Long enough." Taki sounded like he was only half-listening. "I can smell strawberries. You opened it, didn't you."

"Mmm. Just lookin'." Gou swiped some onto his bottom lip experimentally. It felt a bit sticky. He did the upper lip anyway, and now the scent of artificial strawberry wouldn't leave him. He closed the tube and tossed it onto the desk. "Hey," he tapped Taki's shoulder, "tell me if my mouth is shiny?"

Taki twisted around, looking exasperated. "What are you--?!"

He was never really sure why Taki let Gou kiss him. Gou had never been shy with his affection and though he had never tried forcing himself onto his partner, there had been numerous incidents wherein his resolve to back off, to wait, had wavered. Gou stole kisses regularly, turned a friendly arm around the shoulders into a caress, was fairly well-acquainted with the spot where Taki's neck met his shoulder.

Sometimes Taki stopped him, with words or with force or with a gun to his forehead.

And sometimes he didn't.

Taki was still for several long moments, one arm leaning on the computer desk, the other raised as though he would push Gou away. But he wasn't pushing, and so Gou pressed his advantage, ignoring how unresponsive his partner (in everything but this) was. He would be sorry later -- he always was -- but he did things like this anyway, because moments like this one were the only chances he got. He moved, curling fingers around the hand on his chest, touching Taki's Adam's apple. Gou's muscles were beginning to protest their position and Taki's were no doubt doing the same, but Gou couldn't make himself stop. The fingers on Taki's throat trailed further down, following the V-neck his partner was wearing. Gou's other arm went past Taki to brace against the desk.

Taki chose that moment to react, shoving at Gou's chest and managing a, "S-stop, you idiot--"

Gou let the shove carry him a couple of steps backward. As usual, he was disappointed but resigned. Taki was straight, straight, straight, he said. He liked breasts and thin waists and the thought of anything different simply did not excite him.

Gou didn't bother pointing out his partner's flushed face and heavier breathing. Instead he licked his lips. "See? All gone. I'm sure the stuff wiped right off as soon as my lips touched yours."

Taki threw the lip gloss at him.