“Here. Eat.”

Inoue accepted the can of soup and spoon, digging into it hungrily and shovelling the formed meat chunks and salty vegetables into his mouth. Daniel threw his can in the garbage and sauntered back over to his friend, lying down on the ratty mattress beside him.

“What’d you do today?” the teenager asked quietly, rolling onto his back and resting his head on Inoue's thigh, his ear to the boy’s stomach, listening to it gurgle in celebration of food, hearing his heart beat and every quick breath between gulps of food.

“Washed windows,” the redhead mumbled through a mouthful, “picked up garbage. Raked some yards, cleaned a pool. Made fifty bucks today.”

Daniel smiled warmly, looking up at his friend as the boy scraped the last bits of condensed soup off the sides of the can and put the spoon in his mouth, dropping the can in the trash beside the bed. He put the spoon on the night stand and looked back down at the brunette, smiling in return. “We’re going to make rent this month,” Daniel sighed happily.

Inoue lifted a hand and ran it through the dark chocolate locks absently, letting his gaze wander over the squalid place. It was all one room; the kitchen, bedroom, living area, everything was all incorporated into one room, except the tiny bathroom. But, it was theirs. Four years ago they’d run away, and it had been hard at first, but they were making do now.

Inoue had turned thirteen a few months ago. Daniel was seventeen, and he looked very different than he had when they were younger. He was much bigger, and stronger, and though he was still recognizable physically as the same Daniel, he had changed a lot otherwise. He was quieter, and darker, and had a drawn, vicious look about him. His eyes were sometimes dead when he came home from work in the mornings.

And he would never tell Inoue what it was he did for a living, to keep them in their meagre home with food and clothes. The redhead did what he could to earn money, but he was no fool; he knew that he didn’t help that much with the money compared to Daniel. It was obvious the brunette did something hard on the body; he was always coming home with bruises and cuts, but he still kept a very defined figure, thin but muscled.

He still wore his hair the same, too—short and scraggly, always a mess like he’d just woken up. Inoue had cut off his ponytail; his hair was a jagged mess about his face and it got in his eyes a lot, but he didn’t care. The ponytail reminded him of too many things.

As the redhead’s gaze wandered over Daniel, he felt that familiar sensation pricking at his senses. The brunette had removed his shirt as he always did when he came home, and unbuttoned the top of his pants, lying on the bare mattress with his eyes closed and his head on Inoue's lap.

Inoue's stomach tightened and bunched up as he stared at the boy’s parted lips, and the way his neck was exposed, looking smooth and strong.

“You ok?” Daniel muttered sleepily, woken up by the boy’s sudden movement. He had been about to drift off to sleep when he heard Inoue take a sharp breath.

“F-fine,” Inoue muttered, removing his fingers from Daniel’s hair and shifting out from under the boy’s head, sliding off the mattress.

He had tried to kiss Daniel once, a year ago. The brunette had given him a horrified look, and they didn’t speak for several days after that. When they did talk again, it was never mentioned. As though it had never happened.

So he didn’t try it again, but it still pricked at Inoue's insides, the way he felt about his best friend. He wanted to kiss him, to touch him… he knew it was wrong. But it didn’t change anything, did it? He still wanted to.

There was silence from Daniel, and Inoue hated how loud it was in his ears compared to when they were talking normally. He walked over to the bathroom and closed the door, taking a seat on the sink and pulling his feet up on the edge, hugging his legs to his chest and resting his chin on his knees.

Was he so repulsive that even his best friend refused to kiss him? Daniel himself had admitted on a few occasions that he found both men and women attractive. So what was wrong with Inoue?

Maybe it was because he’d never done it with anybody else before. Maybe it was because he was so much younger. But Daniel swore time and again that Inoue looked years older than he was!

He bit his lower lip and closed his eyes tight, trying to think of something other than Daniel. Think about where you’re going to look for work tomorrow. Think about finding a new shirt, because this one is too small. All his clothes were getting too small too quickly. He hated how clumsy he was getting, and how nothing fit him for long; he hated the noises his voice made sometimes when he spoke.

“Inoue,” the familiar voice said from the other side of the bathroom door.

“What.” His reply was flat and quiet.

The door opened slowly, and Daniel stood in the doorway, staring at Inoue. The redhead couldn’t actually see it, but he could feel it. “You always do this every few days. I come home, we talk for a bit, you go hide in the bathroom or pretend to sleep. What’s wrong?” Daniel stepped into the bathroom, and stood before Inoue, resting one warm hand on the boy’s cold foot.

“Nothing,” the redhead muttered through his jeans, pressing his face into his legs. “Go to sleep; I know you’re tired.” The hand on his foot didn’t leave, and that wrenching sensation in Inoue's gut increased.

Daniel growled. “Don’t give me that bullshit. I’m sick of this; you’re like a woman! Just tell me what’s going on and I’ll fix it! Haven’t I always fixed what was wrong? Why don’t you trust me any more?”

“I do trust you!” Inoue's head lifted and his eyes opened, violet irises flashing with aggression. “I trust you with my life! You’re the only friend I’ve ever had, and the best friend I could ever hope for! You saved my life, you take care of me, you love me! But I can’t… I mean, you don’t want…” He shook his head and looked away, frustration creasing his forehead.

“I don’t want what? I don’t get you, Inoue! What don’t I want that’s making you so upset?”

So what if they didn’t talk for another few days? The redhead decided, it was worth it. He’d try one more time. Inoue let his legs dangle over the edge of the sink and placed his hands on Daniel’s shoulders, leaning in quickly and pressing his lips to the boy’s, squeezing his eyes shut.

There. He felt mildly better.

He pulled back and looked at Daniel, seeing the shock on his face, in his grey-green eyes. It started to change, however—the surprise shifted into something else, and Daniel began to laugh, taking a step back and letting his shoulders shake with the laughter. “Holy Christ,” he mumbled through laughter, “that’s what it’s been, all this time? Jesus, Inoue!”

The redhead gasped as Daniel lunged forward and put his hands on either side of the boy’s head, holding it firmly and closing their mouths together in another kiss. Inoue lurched, shocked and pleased all at once, and very confused. Daniel’s tongue pressed against the redhead’s lips, pushing at them, between them, into Inoue's mouth, and against his tongue, flicking at it, teasing.

Inoue whimpered softly as he was pressed back against the mirror behind the sink, and Daniel closed in, pushing his tongue all the way into the boy’s mouth as his hand reached down and grabbed between Inoue's legs firmly, squeezing, rubbing. Inoue lurched again, arching his back as his hands clamped down on Daniel’s shoulders with all his strength, and he parted his legs further to allow better access.

He didn’t know what any of this meant, why Daniel was suddenly so aggressive, but he was drowning in it, floundering in lust and new sensations. As their kiss broke, Daniel looked down between Inoue's legs with determination, and began to undo the jeans quickly. He pulled the redhead’s hardened length out between the flaps of denim and began to stroke it slowly with his fingertips.

Da—ah!—Daniel, what are you doing…?” Inoue asked, his voice wavering and his cheeks burning.

The brunette glanced back up at his friend immediately. “It’s what you want, isn’t it?” he asked almost sarcastically. “You want to be fucked?”

“I don’t know!” Inoue cried out, as the brunette’s hand closed firmly around his cock, gripping it. “I just wanted to kiss you so much, but I was afraid to, because the first time I tried, you didn’t like it!”

Something changed in Daniel’s expression suddenly, and it softened once more. He looked at Inoue sincerely for several long moments and then sighed, a small smile on his lips. “You stupid kid,” he muttered, a short bark of a laugh escaping him. “I pulled away from you then because you were fucking twelve years old. I always forget that you’re so much younger than me, and how little you know of the real world.” A sigh escaped Daniel’s lips as he released Inoue's erection and leaned in once more, placing soft, gentle kisses on the boy’s cheeks and lips. “I’m sorry to have scared you. But I guess it’s time you learned something about the real world, Inoue. Come back to the bedroom.”

Inoue allowed himself to be picked up off the sink and carried to the bedroom, where he was placed on the mattress gently. Daniel pushed him onto his back, then took hold of the redhead’s jeans, pulling them off completely.

“Inoue, you have no idea how I make money, do you?” Daniel asked softly as he took a seat between the boy’s legs and ran his fingers up and down the hardened member slowly. Inoue shook his head. “I sell drugs, mostly. When I was living with my aunt, it was just minor stuff. I sell the major stuff now, but there isn’t always someone around to buy it, you know? And when we really need money for rent or clothes or something, I just have to stand around on the sidewalk for a while, and somebody will stop their car. They’ll open the door for me and I’ll get in, and we’ll drive to someplace dark. There, he’ll take off my clothes and put his cock in me as many times as he wants, or make me suck his cock until he comes in my mouth. Then he’ll give me a few bills, drive me back to where he picked me up, and it’ll start over again. Do you understand what I’m saying to you?”

The redhead lay there, horrified, staring at his best friend, seeing the pain in his expression and not knowing what to do. How long had this been going on for? How long had Daniel had that hurt look in his eyes, and Inoue never noticed?

“Don’t be sorry for me,” the brunette suddenly snapped, glaring at Inoue. “Don’t take pity on me. I made my choices, and I’d do it again! It’s worth it, Inoue; it’s worth being able to live with you, hear you laugh, see you happy! You’re my little brother, my best friend, my family! I’d let a thousand guys fuck me to keep you happy!”

Inoue sat up slowly, and wrapped his arms around Daniel’s neck, burying his face in the boy’s shoulder. He felt strong arms wind around his waist in return, and soft kisses were placed on his neck and ear. “Teach me how to do it,” the redhead whispered, feeling Daniel tense immediately at the words.


“Yes. Teach me.”

“…I don’t want you to do that stuff, Inoue.”

“Teach me,” the redhead whispered again, kissing Daniel’s neck the same way his had been, imitating. “Teach me right now. Fuck me.”

He felt Daniel’s shudder, and nodded in approval as the brunette pushed him onto his back once more and began to kiss his way down Inoue's chest and stomach. The redhead cried out immediately as his length was taken into the boy’s wet, hot mouth, and Daniel’s hands pinned his hips down, keeping him from bucking again.

Inoue cried out as he felt the boy’s tongue swirling against the underside of his erection, then around the head, and his cheeks darkened immediately as he felt a finger push inside of him.

This was what Daniel had been going through all this time, for him? Then this was what Inoue would learn. This was what Inoue would do, too.