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12 July 2011 @ 02:52 pm
Something’s Burning: Deny, deny, deny. [Gintama, 4/8]  
GINTAMA and all characters/ideas/concepts/places therein are not mine, although the writing certainly is.



Title: Something’s Burning: Deny, deny, deny.
Characters/Pairing(s): Kawakami Bansai and Takasugi Shinsuke
Rating: R
Summary: A possible look into how Kawakami Bansai and Takasugi Shinsuke met, and why Bansai follows Takasugi in the first place. Part four of many.
Warnings? Implied sex, violence.
Notes: This takes place before the start of Gintama, well after the end of the Joui resistance but years before the beginning of the series.



Something’s Burning: Deny, deny, deny.



Moonlight filled his vision the moment he opened his eye. Everything around him was cool and quiet – a strange contrast to the warm bed sheets he was sprawled on. They bore signs of the previous nights, of hours spent fucking/feeling everything.


Takasugi watched the window, tracing, in his exhaustion, the way the moonbeams washed over everything in the room, painting it all in its eerie glow. Every inch of him ached, protesting over the fact that he was awake too soon after so much activity. What time was it anyway? He shouldn’t care about such things, but there was always something to do these days. There were so many places to go to, so many things that needed to be done.


The man let out a soft sigh, brought a hand up to his face to wipe the sweat off his brow, and turned his head away from the window. He lifted himself up on one elbow, reaching for the brazier and the pipe from where he had left it at the side of his bed. He heard the one lying beside him shift against the sheets. He did not turn around, not really: he only moved to lie down on his stomach, propping himself up just a bit to bring the pipe up to his lips and light up. He felt his companion’s hand slide under the sheets covering the lower half of his body, skimming over the small of his back.


“So you’re awake.”


No answer, as expected: just the slow crawl of Kawakami Bansai’s fingers up his spine. His touch never failed to wake up every nerve in his body, making him resonate in a way that he had thought he had forgotten. It made him remember the bite of silk strings wound about his wrists, the shakiness of his own thighs and knees, the sound of that voice in his ear. The press of Bansai against his entrance, the feel of the musician inside of him.


(It also made him remember things he had cut away from himself, in the time he had spent fighting the Amanto alone, in the years he had spent in prison, not-so-quietly going insane.)


Bansai’s lips had replaced the touch of his fingers, kissing the curve of his back, breathing prayers over his spine, murmuring his admiration with teeth marks. The skin had a mind of its own, and was accustomed to repetition: it was easy, then, to see what was happening in the present and juxtapose it against the many yesterdays before it.


(Too many, in fact, because in losing one’s self, it was easy to sink too deep into what was better left to lie in the rain of one’s imagination and rust away into nothing.)


There was a hand reaching for his face, turning it away; another hand wove its fingers between the ones that he had clutched around a pipe, gently removing it from his grip, setting it aside. The first kiss was small and chaste; the ones that followed were not. He lost himself in them.


He wanted to taste Bansai again, because the musician was his to keep.


(He wanted to taste Bansai in order to reaffirm the difference. That was that now and not before. That the man did not remind him, in the least, of one who had left him behind.)


***


“What time is it?”


The ghosts were still chittering away at the back of Takasugi’s head, but it was easier, at least, to ignore them. He was on his back, breathless, awake. Bansai was moving over him, going lower, kissing him, tasting his skin. They had fucked already, but it looked like they were going to do it once more.


“Does it matter?”


Bansai shifted closer, moving against him. The heat of the other man’s body almost made the breath catch in his throat. Still sensitive, too sensitive.


Takasugi steeled himself, pursing his lips, taking his gaze from the ceiling and focusing it on Bansai instead. His body was humming from under the weight of all the attention Bansai was giving him. He tried to ignore it.


“Of course it does.”


Bansai only responded by kissing his mouth. When he did not respond, when he tried to turn away, the musician’s hand drifted down, stroking the tender skin on the inside of his thigh. The weight and the touch made him squirm. He lost sight of the wall of the room they shared, catching, instead, the light in Bansai’s eyes. The noise was building up again; his head felt light and strange.


He forgot to struggle, when Bansai moved his mouth down there, marking his thigh with quiet kisses. Maybe it would have been best to sink into the other man again, to lose himself to the act rather than his own thoughts. It was convenient and maybe even right—


– But when did it become that way? When did the man who was supposed to serve him stop becoming a tool to use/a toy to play with? When did they get that close, that familiar?


(When did he start needing it? When did he start remembering G—)


Bansai was moving his knees aside, attempting to spread him open. Takasugi shifted out of his grip.


“We’ve done enough.”


He felt Bansai’s eyes on him as he turned away. He ignored it.


***


A cold (solitary) shower later, they were on opposite sides of the sitting room. Bansai was sitting by the doorway, with his shamisen: his typical spot, and the usual way he passed the time, plucking at strings, listening to the sound of them fade. Takasugi stayed by the window, armed with his pipe and a book. It was at morning already, but hours before sunrise. Old Yoshiwara was silent, and the sounds of the city were too distant to come through to them.


There was nothing peculiar about the scenario: that was how they usually were, when there was nowhere to go and no one to meet. The quiet, however, bothered Takasugi. It was perfect, so perfect it made everything, from the tiniest noise to the weight of the air, grate on his nerves.


He had been unsettled since his meeting with Katsura. ‘Unsettled’, in fact, didn’t even begin to cut it. He wanted to stop (the memories) thinking. He wanted to (stop the noise) relax. No amount of smoking or drinking or fucking could help him, it seemed.


Bansai’s fingers shifted up; his plectrum struck another note, searing the air with another sound. Takasugi brought the pipe back to his lips – the smoke rushed out in a restless, irritated huff. He had been staring at the same page for the past ten minutes. He spoke to distract himself.


“I gave you an assignment. Shouldn’t you be preparing?”


His own words sounded hollow in his ears; he hoped, for one blind, misguided second, that Bansai wouldn’t notice. From the way Bansai looked at him a moment before setting his shamisen aside, he knew that the musician had.


“I thought you trusted my skills, Takasugi-dono.”


“A slip-up could revise my opinion of you quite easily.”


Bansai didn’t answer him, at least not in words; he could hear the man standing up, opening the door, leaving. It was in the man’s absence that Takasugi finally noticed how stifling it had been for him as of late, to have Bansai there but not there, always within reach, always hovering, always ready to act on his word. When had that started? He had been perfectly fine with it before. Tools were meant to stay close at hand. They existed to be used.


We need each other.


He chased the memory away with a drag of his pipe.


“Would you like a drink?”


Absorbed as he was at trying (not to remember/rediscover was normal was) to read his book, Takasugi had failed to notice that Bansai had returned; the musician was sitting in front of him now, setting a tray with a sake bottle and two cups on the floor, smiling, serene as ever.
A name came to mind, and the recollection of a different pair of eyes beyond the one watching him now: deep red, like old wine. Silver hair.


“Did I not tell you to prepare?”


“I cannot leave until I am sure that you are comfortable.”


“How remarkably attentive of you.”


He liked to think that it was nothing but a light tease. No veiled threat, no tension lining the edge of his words. He had no past, no future. There was nothing but the moment, no yesterday to consider. To drown in.


Bansai was setting the tray aside. The cups and the bottle barely rattled, barely made a sound, but it was already too loud for Takasugi’s tastes.


“Something is bothering you.”


“It’s hot. I’m tired.”


Excuses, excuses.


The shadows were leering at him. Takasugi set the book aside, plopped his chin on one hand, looked away. Better that than looking within, to where they were waiting.


Bansai was moving again, shifting closer, lifting his foot, kissing his toes before pressing his thumbs against the sole. The musician drew smooth lines between the skin, moving down until he reached the ball of his foot, then back up. Takasugi knew that the man was only trying to appease him, to help him relax. The gesture had the exact opposite effect.


“I don’t need a massage.”


“Maybe so, but you do need a distraction.”


Smooth as ever, even while he was kissing Takasugi’s ankle, shin, knee. The noise was building up again, with every touch of that lips against his skin. His head hurt all of a sudden, with the sharp abruptness of a blow that he hadn’t ever seen coming.


Takasugi sucked in a calming breath, shifting one hand up to his face. The old ache was resurfacing, centered around his missing eye, the old stitches and scars. The light in the room was painful to look at.


“Are you all right?”


Bansai was reaching up, attempting to touch his cheek. Too hot, too close, toomuchlikethatone—


“I’m fine.”


Light headed, shaky, sick. He attempted to brush Bansai’s hands away. In the next moment, however, those hands were circled around his wrists, dragging him to the floor. The impact knocked the wind right out of him.


“Something is wrong.”


Bansai was not smiling anymore. The man was pinning him down, keeping his hands on his wrists and his weight on Takasugi’s body. It should have been easy to throw him off, or to at least attempt to fight. He could do nothing, however, but try not to shake, try to remember how to breathe.


“You’ve said nothing since we returned from that little village. You haven’t even told me what you saw there. Who you met.”


He tugged one wrist free. Bansai merely shifted, taking that and his other wrist up in one hand, slamming them both against the floor once more. That left the musician’s hand free to wrap around his throat. A familiar scenario.


“Who are you remembering? Who do you see now, when you look at me?”


An attempt to kick at the taller man’s legs earns him nothing but fingers tightening around his neck.


“I can make you forget.”


The next kiss stole his air.


“I can also end it.”


When he broke free, it wasn’t on his own strength. It was because the shadows were clawing at his brain and he had to answer them. They used his legs to stand with, his voice to speak with, and his eyes to stare down at the man who had promised to kill him.


“Leave.”


He was expecting Bansai to retaliate. The musician stared up at him, lips pursed, eyes cold. He knew for a fact that it would be only too simple for the man to try and take him down again. It was for that reason that Takasugi did not take his gaze away from Bansai, up until the latter stood up and walked out the door.


Someone was laughing, somewhere. He thought to look, and then remembered that there was no one, nothing but himself and too many ghosts.
 
 
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