While walking towards choco la vie, his student sends Kouya a text with confetti, a thumbs-up and a laughing emoji which makes Kouya smile. You did well. With that task completed, he will leave another family to their fate and hope for the best for the future of their youngest son. So, for now, until he finds his next job, another person requires his attention.
He came to discuss the empty apartment above choco la vie with Souta, but it seems like he will need to remove another obstacle before that happens. Kaoruko is sweeping the stone outside the shop in the afternoon sun, but ceases to do so immediately, when she sees Kouya walking up to her. There is no question concerning her intention with that look in her eyes, when she neatly props the broom up against a nearby pot with autumn flowers.
She crosses her arms, and Kouya is smiling already, tilting his head in curiosity, “Before you go in, I need to speak with you.”
“Oh? What would you need to speak to me about?” Kouya answers, feigning ignorance and finds great amusement in the way she apparently thinks she can scare him off. She can be feisty, yes, but there is nothing about her that could ever make Kouya nervous. She has nothing on him, knows nothing about his life, and Souta already trusts Kouya more than he trusts her.
Kaoruko walks closer and in her eyes, there is pure distrust and dislike, “I don’t know what you are planning, but leave Souta alone. He has been through enough, and he is a good man.”
“Why would I be planning anything?” Kouya smirks at her, and makes sure to look unimpressed.
“Your contract is already complete, Souta is no longer interested in Saeko-san. He is better now, so there is no reason for you to keep coming here. Leave us alone.”
It is, of course, rather simple, the answer to why Kaoruko makes such a big deal out of telling Kouya off. And it has very little to do with Saeko, with Kouya tutoring Souta, with how good of a man Souta is and blabla. As a matter of fact, as Kouya walks closer and closer to her, narrowing his eyes when she does not back away, it is clear as day.
She may try to appear unfazed by him, but the slight tremble of the hands hidden away at her elbows signify that she is indeed scared of him. With good reason, “Kaoruko-san,” he starts, making a show out of offering her what could almost resemble sympathy, “It appears, you are in love with Souta-kun.”
“Huh? What, no- I mean, I am no-”
“Don’t try to fool me.” He growls, and she starts, eyes widening, “You love him.” Another step forward and he is right in her space, leaning down over her small form with a darkening presence, “If you know what’s good for you, don’t get in my way.”
The brave Kaoruko from a moment ago is gone, substituted by a trembling woman who cannot speak, and Kouya’s face twists into a brief grin, before it turns dark again, when he puts a hand on her shoulder and leans forward to speak in her ear. She gasps and shivers at the contact, her body going rigid with Kouya’s lips by her ear, “If you get in my way, I will destroy your life.”
He leaves her standing by the door, curious as to how her face will look when she recovers enough to walk back in, following Kouya. How long will she take, he wonders.
Souta is behind the counter with Olivier, talking quietly as the store is empty, and Kouya spots him immediately, his red scarf high on his neck to hide the marks Kouya left on his skin, his smile bright as the two of them share a joke.
“I am back~” he announces, taking great pleasure in witnessing the light blush on Souta’s cheeks when he sees Kouya, “When are you going out with Matsuri-chan today, Olivier?” he asks the French man, instead of greeting Souta first. And he does so for more than one reason.
“Right in-” Olivier glances at the clock on the wall, “Ten minutes, actually. Souta-kun, would you mind…?” he turns to Souta who waves a hand casually.
“Sure, go get ready, Olivier.” He grins, clearly happy at the happiness his friend has found with Souta’s sister, “Take good care of her, yeah?”
“Of course!” Olivier merely yells as he runs through the glass door, out the back. Such innocent love.
When Souta turns back, Kouya leans across the counter in front of him, grinning, “Hello Souta.” The dropping of the honorific does not go unnoticed by Souta, who freezes momentarily before his eyes start to flicker nervously to a spot behind Kouya’s head, “Are you still sore?”
That gets Souta to look at him, as he splutters and goes tomato red in the face. Which is rather cute actually. “What are you insinuating?”
They are alone in the store, and Souta is currently looking extremely flustered and caught off guard, denying things, Kouya does not want him to deny, so Kouya moves around the counter, past the beautiful glass cabinets with some chocolates, he definitely needs to check out today. Whether Souta wants to tell him that this area is off limits or ask him what he is doing, or defy him in any other way, Kouya does not really care much for, when he walks right up to Souta and backs him up against the glass wall leading to the chocolatier’s studio, with his hands against Souta’s arms. Kouya pins him there, notices how Souta’s mouth parts in what would probably have been a gasp, if Kouya had not chosen that moment to shut him up with his mouth, realising how he longed for the taste of him, once their lips meet.
He tastes like chocolate samples and of promising warmth, and he sighs into the kiss once Kouya pries his lips apart with his tongue. They do not have much time, but Kouya feels high already, craving more when he feels Souta tilting his head to grant Kouya’s tongue broader access, to allow him to taste and take more of Souta. Kouya is surprised at the lack of resistance, of Souta allowing Kouya to kiss him so deeply in his store, for everyone to see. It is not without a certain risk.
A loud gasp and another quieter one echoing the first behind Kouya makes him smirk right before the two of them pull apart.
Olivier is frozen mid-move, only half a metre away, holding the glass-door open – curious how he did not notice them from within the glass room. Kaoruko has just rounded the corner from the entrance and her eyes are wide, completely incredulous – she was probably the one with the louder gasp. There was no better way really, to show the woman what Kouya can do to Souta that she cannot, what it is exactly that Kouya wants from Souta. She most certainly did not expect that this was it.
Kouya snorts, but steps back, preparing to allow Souta to be flustered, so Kouya can watch him try and talk his way out of this one. But then he gets surprised too, because Souta does neither of those things. Instead, he runs a hand through his slightly tousled hair, from being pushed against the wall, and then he casually rests his elbows on the cabinet to turn to look at Kouya, “Actually, I made a new kind of chocolate for this week. But Kaoruko thinks its too dark for the image of choco la vie. Would you mind trying it?” He completely ignores the two stunned people and the heavy mood their shared kiss just brought down, and Kouya is caught completely by surprise. He is impressed, and he is intrigued.
He smiles widely, “Of course! Let me partake in the back room, there is something I need to ask you about.” To the observers, this would probably seem like an excuse to get Souta alone to do more heady stuff, although Kouya’s intention is merely to discuss the empty apartment upstairs – which, Olivier and Kaoruko have no way of knowing of course. And true, Kouya may not be able to keep his hands quite off Souta if he gets him alone.
“Take care of the store for a moment, would you, Kaoruko-san?”
“Enjoy your date with Matsuri-chan,” Kouya tells Olivier as he walks right past him. Olivier is still way too stunned to say anything, mouth still gaping open while his eyes follow first Souta, then Kouya as they leave the store. Kouya wants to laugh, but he is almost too smug for that, enjoying this unexpected outcome to no end. What in the world did he do to deserve such a treat?
“Why don’t you use the apartment above choco la vie?”
For once, Souta is sharing a cup of coffee with Kouya, knowing Kaoruko will come asking, should she need help in the store. With Souta’s productivity today, he has time to spare for his ex-tutor. Whom he knows he will miss the moment he leaves.
Kouya is resting a small plate with an assortment of chocolates on his thigh, while sitting across from Souta. The enclosed space and their close proximity is hard to ignore.
“It is mostly used as a storage room right now,” Souta explains, “And since Olivier and I stay at my family’s house, and Kaoruko lives alone, there hasn’t really been a need for it. It is probably a terrible mess up there.” He watches Kouya’s face as he says this, wondering why Kouya brought it up to begin with. But then he thinks of the day Kouya showed up unannounced, surprising Souta in his bedroom and later charming the hell out of Souta’s father.
That day, Souta entertained the thought of having his own place, considered the opportunities and advantages of an apartment by himself if he happened to want to live with Saeko. Though Saeko is no longer someone he could ever see himself living with, there is now someone else.
“What if someone asked for permission to rent it, would you agree?” Kouya asks then, setting the plate on the small table beside him for the time being, to rest his head in his palm, his face moving closer to Souta’s.
And Souta can feel his heartrate quicken, “Would they want to though? It is right above the shop, probably noisy in the morning, and the staircase leads down to the backroom with the only way out being the back door of choco la vie. The person would run into the staff all the time. Would you want to?”
Kouya’s face splits into a grin, and in that moment Souta knows he just walked into a carefully-laid trap, and he just has time to shake his head at himself and chuckle humourlessly, before, “Why, I thought you’d never ask.”
“I cannot believe you,” Souta says, but with a smile, “You just invited yourself in, didn’t you?”
“As a matter of fact, Souta,” Kouya sips his coffee and leans back, satisfied with his mission accomplished, “I am in need of a new apartment. My current contract expires soon, and since I am done with my work in that area, there is no reason for me to stay.”
“You will have to help me move the things from up there. And do the cleaning yourself.”
Deep down, Souta is not really sure whether this is a good idea. It is all happening a little too fast to be comfortable for him, yet he could probably never refuse Kouya, knowing there would be consequences.
“Good.” Kouya reaches for the new black bonbon chocolate and hums in thought once he props it in his mouth, “This is delicious, Souta.” The praise makes Souta fidget in embarrassment, Kaoruko’s words concerning the creation completely forgotten. It is Kouya’s words that matter, and Souta knows that is a dangerous observation.
He takes the empty plate and gets up, knowing he should probably head back to the store and discuss matters concerning the apartment with Kaoruko and, when he gets home, Olivier too. Since they are also a part of choco la vie, what he just agreed to should to be negotiated with them as well.
“Here, try for yourself.” Kouya’s hand shoots out before Souta can say anything or leave, to grab a firm hold of Souta’s scarf and pull him down.
His mouth tastes like sweet blackberries and alcohol, of heat and of possible deceit.
Another day, and two fateful encounters at choco la vie. Outside, a visitor from Ricdor is smoothly charming a weakened Kaoruko into what could eventually become the beginning of an important friendship, and inside someone is picking up a long-awaited birthday cake.
The sound of a shutter goes off, catching two people in front of the shop, one of which is holding a broom.
While Souta is left unobserved.
Much has happened in Souta’s life in the short span of five weeks. While summer has ended and autumn begun, Souta’s world has tumbled down, only to start rebuilding itself. It will take time and effort for him, and the support of the one who essentially brought Souta to his knees to begin with. Souta is wounded and still healing, and although he knows one more deceit will probably render it incredibly hard, if not impossible for him to pick himself up again, he chooses to trust in Kouya simply because he has no one else.
He has heard very little from Elena, has not seen her since they tricked Saeko, and looking back, the one who did the tricking was Yoshimoto Kouya, not them. What Souta knows is that Elena is with someone else, does not need Souta’s support and warmth anymore, and he just hopes that at least she was able to win her beloved Kurashina-san.
Olivier is with Matsuri, and they move out of Souta’s place next week, along with Souta’s father. With Souta working all the time, Matsuri was surprisingly the one to suggest their father stay with her and Olivier until he finds a small apartment or chooses to remarry. The future is bright but unknown for the three of them. It will leave Souta’s house rather empty, and Souta has been considering what to do with it. Now that Kouya will move into the apartment above choco la vie, Souta will have to find somewhere else, since he cannot afford to keep the house alone. The family house holds a lot of memories, recent ones including Kouya and that day where Souta ended up lying underneath him on the floor – the day he probably realised his attraction to the man. But Souta hopes he can create new memories elsewhere, a place where there is no traces of Saeko.
Kaoruko has detached herself from him, and Souta understands now. Judging from her reaction at seeing Souta and Kouya together, it is easy to figure out that she held some feelings towards Souta that he can never return. He just wishes he had known earlier, to at least relieve her pain a little.
Souta takes a step back and looks at the cake in front of him. He has poured all there is left of his feelings for Saeko into every single component; all the memories, all the imagery and his dreams, all his illusions of what she is, and what she stands for, all that he once thought he wanted together with her, and all the pain she left him to carry on his shoulders. It is all there, in the mousse between the layers, in the tempered chocolate coating, in the raspberry coulis, in the dark pink chocolate butterfly and the hard caramel bits in the sponge cake. It will be a bittersweet moment, giving all of it away. But he will be handing it to her and her husband – for the right person to own.
Although Souta knows what she is, he hopes for the best for Yoshioka.
It almost seems as though something over-worldly knows of his decision to let everything go, to keep his wounded heart for someone else, since the one who comes to pick up the birthday cake at noon is not Saeko, but Yoshioka. Souta is unsure whether he regrets not seeing her one last time, to be absolutely sure of his decision, or whether it is actually for the better.
He hands the fine, black paper bag over the counter for the man and smiles when he thanks him. Only once Yoshioka’s back is turned and he is on his way out, does Souta call for him.
He turns around, to look at Souta in question.
“Tell Saeko-san happy birthday.”
Yoshioka nods, “I will.”
The sound of a door being opened behind him, makes Souta turn around. And when he sees Kouya lean against the doorframe with his arms crossed and that shit-eating grin on his face, he knows he made the right decision.
Week six – Limited one-time release of crêpes suzette with dark chocolate ice cream after 3 pm.
Week seven – Earl Grey Petit Fours with lemon ganache, white chocolate and decorated with a dried edible maple leaf
It has been a week, and nothing has changed at choco la vie. Aside from Olivier and Matsuri shooting each other longing glances through the glass wall separating the work stations and the store, of course. And the daily occurrence of Kouya sneaking up on Souta in the backroom when he is changing either from or to his uniform, too. Souta’s ex-tutor shows up at least once in the shop every day, to steal a chocolate or a cup of coffee during his ‘very tiring work of carrying boxes’, as he continues to insist it is, although Souta has seen plenty of Yamato employees in their green jumpsuits stealthily – or not so stealthily – running through the back door with a bed, a couple of desks and plenty of cardboard boxes. And since Souta helped him empty the dusty rooms upstairs for old furniture and boxes of unused utensils from choco la vie, Kouya really has not been carrying much.
Choco la vie has not lost popularity, despite Kaoruko’s concern of how Souta’s ideas are changing and how his chocolates are getting ‘darker’. On the contrary, the mix of themes and tastes has brought a broader range of customers to the store, and now Souta also serves mature women and men, almost as often as he serves young women. And it is a pleasant change, with more people to talk to – and talk about – and more media exposure. Choco la vie has been given a couple of additional magazine spreads for next week, in which Souta’s Petit Fours and Pain d’epices are featured. And given how it has all happened within two weeks, Souta does not dare imagine how it will be in a month. Hopefully, the hype is not only temporary. He will just have to continue to work hard on seasonal and weekly new and limited specials.
And Souta himself is still staying in the Koyurugi house, but almost everything is packed and ready to be moved. It will only be a matter of days. And of finding a place.
It is 8 pm. that evening after the store is closed when Souta knocks on Kouya’s door upstairs, a little fidgety since it is the first time he comes to Kouya and not the other way around.
After opening the door, Kouya merely tilts his head at Souta, not even greeting him; it is only 2 hours ago they last saw each other, when Kouya poked Souta on his shoulder in the store, to inquire about recommended take-out restaurants and whether Souta had any pamphlets. Souta cannot help but look at him, at the grey sweatpants he is wearing and the tight black shirt with a V-neck, showing off his collarbones, the shape of his pectorals and defined abdominal muscles.
“I am experimenting with a new bonbon chocolate,” Souta explains, finding Kouya’s eyes darker when he looks up into them, having finished his gawking, “Would you mind trying them and letting me know what you think?”
“Isn’t it usually Kaoruko-san or Olivier, you use for that kind of job?” Kouya asks, clearly teasing Souta and enjoying his discomfort, as he stands in the dark hallway.
“It is. But they are not here right now, and I sorta…” Souta fidgets and mentally hits himself. He starts anew, “I want you to be the one to try them first.”
Souta praises himself next, because he actually manages to make Kouya look a little surprised, “Really?”
Souta nods. Kouya should know by now that Souta likes it, when Kouya eats the things he makes.
In the kitchen, Souta shows Kouya to the tray with deep red-brown chocolates shaped like autumn leaves.
He offers Kouya one by placing it in his open palm, “I made them of semi-dark chocolate infused with various mild spices and they are filled with lemon meringue.” Souta explains while Kouya chews slowly on the chocolate, having popped all of it into his mouth at once. His slow, pondering chewing gives Souta a moment to take in the view in front of him again, now in the light: The way the black shirt clings criminally to Kouya’s chest and muscular arms, his tousled long hair, the sweatpants cradling Kouya’s hips and making Souta’s eyes dart to outlined places below, he does not want to be caught staring at. He swallows.
Kouya makes a show out of looking speculative, gazing at the ceiling and looking at Souta as his tongue pokes around in the corners of his mouth, a movement Souta catches himself following, “It is very different,” Kouya admits and nods once, before he steals another chocolate from the tray, this time biting off half of it. And Souta smiles. “You know, this would be great as a cake.”
Kouya stares at him, tilting his head slowly when Souta does not reply, but simply stares back, the possibilities and ideas rushing through his head. The texture of chewy meringue accompanied by some kind of soft curd or cream…
“You just made a suggestion.” Souta observes slowly, dumbly.
Kouya’s small smile at Souta’s antics weaken, “You don’t like that?”
“No, no that is not it. I like it…” Souta leans against the counter, eyes darting to the floor as he speculates, the ideas running through his head faster than he can grasp one of them, “A cake with vanilla curt perhaps?” he mumbles, “And meringue on top. And white chocolate spheres…”
Caught in his web of ideas, Souta does not notice how Kouya stops smiling and moves closer, until a warm hand worms around his waist, and Souta is pulled up against Kouya’s chest. Souta’s shirt is thin and the way he can feel Kouya’s hard muscles against his lower stomach makes short bursts of heat pierce up the inside of his thighs. When he looks at Kouya’s eyes, his mind goes completely blank, cake long forgotten with those fat, black pupils so close.
“You are so irresistible,” Kouya confesses with a quiet breath, and Souta feels his thumb tracing random circles at Souta’s lower back.
But Souta is the one to surge forward, hands shooting out to touch, one to the back of Kouya’s neck, the other to his upper arm, feeling the biceps move when Kouya embraces Souta tighter, pulling him flush up against him. And Souta is the one who pokes his tongue between Kouya’s lips to taste and fight against Kouya’s tongue, want welling up and hitting him like a bullet train.
Kouya has never suggested anything before, has never offered his input, and now that he does, Souta loves it, wants Kouya to know how much his help and encouragement means. Had he not been by Souta’s side, who knows what would have become of choco la vie and of Souta himself? While Souta does realise that Kouya was the one to push him over the edge to begin with, the fact that he held Souta’s hand to keep him from falling makes Souta eternally grateful. And he tries to show that now, wondering if he has given Kouya reason to believe it before, whether Kouya knows how much he has come to mean to Souta. As crazy as it may sound. Perhaps, Souta is just quick to attach himself to others.
Kouya tilts his head and forces Souta’s tongue up against the roof of his mouth, to roam through Souta’s mouth in retaliation, and Souta does not ask when he lets both hands move down boldly over Kouya’s chest, to reach under the hem of the fabric and touch naked skin. Muscles jump against his palms, when he slides one hand up to touch Kouya’s pectoral, the other moving to his back to trace skin along his lower back and hips, upwards to heavy muscled shoulders. And Kouya growls against Souta’s mouth in reaction to the bold touch, biting at Souta’s lips and licking them better again. When one of Souta’s fingertips trace his left nipple, Kouya’s hand grabs Souta’s ass tight and as he pulls him forward and grinds his pelvis against Souta’s, Souta releases a guttural moan, shivering at the sensation of Kouya’s clothed erection against his own.
With the onslaught of sensations in his body, Souta parts from Kouya’s mouth, panting, leaning up to breathe his name against his ear, only for Kouya to place a harsh bite against the side of his neck that has Souta gasping.
“Wrap your legs around me.”
The words are hardly out of his mouth before Souta does as he is told, jumping for Kouya’s arms to wrap around him, one at his backside, one daringly settling on his ass to openly grope with Souta’s legs so nicely wound around Kouya’s waist.
The ease with which Kouya seems to be supporting Souta’s bodyweight, convinces Souta that there was absolutely no need for the man to use Yamato’s employees to carry boxes or to even whine about it. But that is just one of those things about Kouya that makes him so utterly unpredictable – and amusing – and Souta cannot help it when he hides his face where Kouya’s shoulder meets his thick neck, and he chuckles breathless, strung out from being so utterly aroused, after what was essentially only a heavy make out.
Kouya’s voice is sultry and deep by his ear, “You sound so good, I just have to bring you with me.”
“Show me how you’ve decorated the apartment,” Souta agrees, skin rippling in the pleasure of having Kouya so close. This will be the first time Kouya brings Souta ‘home’, and the realisation brings along a sense of combined excitement and bashfulness.
Kouya moves only a few steps away, with Souta’s arms once again around his neck, to cling to him like an octopus, “What about the chocolates?”
“Leave them.” There are more urgent matters to be taken care of. Right now, Souta could not care less for his chocolates.
But Kouya does not seem to agree. Holding Souta closer with one arm, he bends slightly forward – Souta yelps and clings tighter – and snatches a third chocolate from the tray. He looks incredibly proud of himself once it is in his mouth, smiling at Souta, with his hand back at Souta’s backside, stroking up and down possessively. Souta grabs Kouya’s neck forcefully before he knows it, and when he presses his mouth to Kouya’s and pries their lips apart, he steals what is left of the chocolate, the sweet taste mixed with the taste of Kouya. And when Souta breaks away again, the dark gaze in Kouya’s eyes tells him he just did something incredible.
“Glutton.” Souta comments and Kouya bites at Souta’s lips.
The way up the stairs go much smoother than Souta would have thought, even if they have to slow down incrementally more than once when they kiss, or when Souta sucking at Kouya’s neck becomes too distracting and Kouya has to slam Souta up against the wall, to dig his nails into the softness of his flesh, in warning and make Souta let go.
The apartment above choco la vie consists of one small combined living room and kitchen, a bathroom with a toilet and shower and one small bedroom, which Kouya has decorated with a small double bed, a desk and a small drawer. Books are stacked on the floor and the desk, making the path to the bed rather linear. Souta wonders if the small apartment will be able to fit all these books. More often than not, Souta wonders when Kouya will reveal more about himself; what kind of book he reads, whether he listens to music and likes movies, why he chose his line of work, where he went to school. Kouya knows so much about Souta – practically everything – and Souta knows close to nothing aside from how Kouya loves food and cake, how he is incredibly intelligent – how intelligent exactly, Souta has yet to figure out – and now how he reads a lot. They still have not known each other for long, and there is still time for Souta to learn, he is not yet impatient.
Since Souta continues to cling when Kouya puts a knee on the bed and tries to put Souta down, Kouya ends up with his arms propped up on either side of Souta’s head, hovering over him, until Souta pulls him down for a kiss. It is deep and languid, their pace slower than usual.
Souta believes he has gotten more sex in the past two weeks than he had in total before meeting Kouya, but he is not complaining. Their relationship – whatever category it goes under – is now an established fact in choco la vie. Olivier and Matsuri have stopped teasing Souta about it, and Kaoruko has warmed up a little, once it became a fact that Kouya was not merely toying with Souta while Souta was pining for Saeko. Moreover, since Kaoruko has started seeing Sekiya from Rikudou’s store, and she no longer has to listen to ramblings about Elena or Saeko, she has become softer and less cold towards people around her. Souta suspects Kouya has had a role to play, but he has not quite figured out how and to what extent. Maybe Kouya will tell Souta himself one day.
Kouya makes quick work of Souta’s shirt, to start working on littering Souta’s chest with nibbles and kisses. As usual, he lingers on Souta’s nipples, to suck bruises around them and to pull at them with his teeth until Souta is writhing and arching to rub his crotch in circles against Kouya, to feel the coiling pressure increasing in the pit of his stomach.
“Kouya-” he sighs, breath hitching when Kouya’s hand sneaks below the waistband of his pants and boxers, finding the head of his cock with ease. Souta claws at Kouya’s back beneath his shirt, one leg still thrown around Kouya’s hip, and soon he starts rocking forward to the slow pumping Kouya does, up and down his painfully hard length. His hand is so warm, the tightness of the hold just right, and it feels incredible.
Kouya shushes against Souta’s ear, blows cool air at his dampening skin and listens quietly to the soft whimpering sound Souta makes when Kouya thumbs at the slit, “You should move in here with me,” his hand moves downwards to fondle his balls, “I would be able to take you up here, every night,” a squeeze to the base has Souta drawing a sharp breath, barely keeping himself from tumbling over the edge, and Kouya has only just started, “I could take you every day, after you finish work, and every morning before a new day begins.”
The envision makes Souta moan and dig his nails harder into Kouya’s back, scratching deep with the wish to see angry, red markings come morning. With the action, Kouya chuckles darkly and withdraws his hands, leaving Souta panting hard when Kouya leans back to hover and look down at him. He takes off his shirt in a smooth move, and makes quick work of Souta’s pants and boxers afterwards. At that point, he scoots further back and away from Souta, leaving him cold without his heat to warm Souta up. And there is a moment of question in Souta’s mind, and he looks up at Kouya, just in time to watch him as he grabs a hold of Souta’s knees and spreads his legs apart, bending them sideways for Souta’s feet to touch and expose him to Kouya’s relentless stare.
At the realisation of what exactly Kouya is doing, Souta blushes deeply, he can feel the way his neck and cheeks heat up, and he instantly throws an arm over his face, his way of hiding, when he knows there is no way Kouya will allow him to pull his legs together and deny Kouya the view. Souta bites his lip hard and listens to the soft breathing of Kouya above him, until he feels Kouya place his hands on the inside of his upper thighs, to push him open further. He cannot hold back a loud moan then, a tremble going through him, indicating that precome is slipping from the tip of his cock at the thought of what Kouya sees, of how he exposes Souta completely with no option for him to say no.
There is the sound of movement against soft sheets, weight shifting underneath Souta, when a slick finger breaches his entrance boldly, slowly forcing its way inside, and Souta jerks,
“You’re mine, Souta.” He sounds so dark, the words possessive, and he is right above Souta, chest touching Souta’s as he bends down further and further. The finger inside Souta retracts slowly, only to push back, causing Souta to groan at the burn and stretch, “You’re mine.”
“Kouya.” When Souta removes his arm from his eyes to reach for Kouya’s face, Kouya’s arm catches the wrist before Souta can touch him, and he pins it down beside Souta’s head. When he leans down further, to stare right into Souta’s eyes, the intruding digit crooks inside Souta, finding a spot Kouya quickly became familiar with through thorough exploration, and Souta arches with a muffled whine.
“I won’t let anyone else have you.”
And I won’t let anyone else have you. The thought of Kouya being with someone else tears at Souta’s heartstrings, even if he knows how dangerous such thoughts are this early in their relationship. There is no telling what will happen today, tomorrow, in a week. Although Kouya’s possessive words bring some consolation to Souta and makes him ache even more for him.
“Then hold me.” When Kouya looks at him next, Souta swallows hard, making sure to gaze intensely at him through heavy eyelids, “Hold me, and don’t let go.”
Kouya has only been working him with three fingers for around ten seconds when he pulls the digits out. There is barely contained lust in his hurried movements of rolling on the condom and slicking himself up, and Souta follows the actions with legs parted widely in open invitation, resting on his elbows so he can see how Kouya’s leaking cock is hard enough to align with his lower abdomen. Souta licks his lips and tilts his head backwards, when Kouya’s focus suddenly snaps from preparing himself to stare right into Souta’s eyes.
“Keep looking like that, and you won’t be able to walk tomorrow,” he promises, voice gravelly. But Souta just further cranes his neck to the side, parting his lips wider, and when he moans softly, he makes sure to hold Kouya’s eyes.
After the first time with Kouya, Souta has learned more and more about himself and his desires, finding that he and Kouya are incredibly compatible in terms of preferences. What one of them wants, the other wants to give.
Souta gets one last, hungry kiss before he feels the blunt head of Kouya’s cock against his entrance, the only warning is the brief sensation of cold lube on burning skin, before Kouya presses inside. And he groans deeply as he goes, all the way to the hilt in one painful move. He does this often, but nevertheless it still makes Souta’s breath get stuck his throat, his chest heaving at the delicious stinging pain. Souta feels so full, Kouya is thicker than three of his fingers, and Souta’s walls fight to accommodate the size of him.
“Next time,” Souta pants, closing his eyes briefly to try and breathe properly, only to fail utterly, when Kouya hardly gives him a chance to adjust before withdrawing slightly, to push back in, in a shallow rocking motion, “Skip the condom.”
The reaction Souta gets is Kouya groaning softly against the skin of his jaw and lightly scratching his teeth against the bone, indicating exactly what Souta’s request does to him, “You’re sure?”
“I want-” another thrust, this time a little faster than the previous, “I want all of you.”
The next slide of Kouya’s cock in him feels smoother, slicker, and soft pleasure starts to take over the pain inside him. Souta wraps both legs around Kouya to draw him in deeper, and Kouya grabs onto one of his thighs, palm enveloping the muscle, for him to pull it slightly upwards. Then he speeds up, his breathing becoming laboured as an indicator of their shared pleasure. Souta twists in the sheets, balling them up in his fists and moaning when Kouya suddenly draws out slowly, only to slam back in, in a quick, deep motion.
“As you wish.” Kouya promises, and allows no more delicate movements. The slick, obscene sounds from below increase in volume as he goes harder, deeper, now taking what he wants, how he wants it, “I will mark you.”
Pressure starts to build in the pit of Souta’s stomach, his thighs tingling, and he welcomes it, does not care that there could be less pain if their pace was slower; this is how he wants it, and he takes it, when Kouya raises his leg further up towards his shoulder, and he can feel every inch of Kouya’s cock in him when he pistons harshly in and out of him. Souta tries to follow his pace, to grind downwards to receive what he is given and meet Kouya in return and it is so deep, Souta losing his voice in a soundless moan, as he throws his head back. There are lips on the newly bared skin, teeth sinking into his Adams Apple and his sternomastoid, before Kouya starts sucking bruises around his collarbones and shoulders.
Kouya slows down one moment, to move Souta’s leg again, to place his ankle on his shoulder, and he groans at his next thrust that is hard but gets even deeper, when Kouya uses his other hand to pull at Souta’s hip to scoot him closer across the sheets, and upwards, forcing him to arch his back and hold the pose. But it is worth it when Kouya picks up his pace again. Souta does not last long after that, with the incredible friction, and the tip of Kouya’s cock hitting what he imagines could very well be the end of him, receiving Kouya to the hilt.
“All the things, I want to do to you,” Kouya’s dirty whispers in his ear pushes him closer, “I will not hold back, Souta.” Souta writhes and moans unrestrained, knowing exactly how that affects Kouya.
Kouya’s thrusting becomes unrhythmic, faster, hurried and what starts as a growl in his throat increases to a groan when he, with one brutal thrust and a harsh pull at Souta’s hip, that will bruise, comes, the sound he makes and the shudder Souta can feel rolling over his skin, setting Souta’s orgasm off in turn. He does not know how loud he moans, but Kouya is surely bound to tease him about it in their post-orgasm bliss.
Not that it matters now, with the warmth enveloping him as a pleasant buzz cradles his muscles. This means a lot more now, Souta realises. With the choice of following Kouya to his place, to enter a sphere that is not at a safe distance, the situation changed. With Kouya still lying with half of his body on top of Souta, Souta ignores his fears and entangles his fingers in Kouya’s hair and strokes the strands softly, watching as the locks tangle and untangle in his hand.
It is too late, really, he has been too slow to realise, but right then, Souta realises that all those new weekly chocolates and cakes at choco la vie, those six weeks of inspiration turned to creation, have been different from before he knew Kouya. Nothing, since he met the tutor, has been inspired by Saeko, even when Souta still thought he loved her. From the very beginning, Kouya was the source of his inspiration. What happened in Souta’s conscience when he met Kouya, he cannot possibly ever comprehend, and he will have to settle for that. Nevertheless, the discovery is so shocking – and scary – that he will keep it to himself.
At least for a while longer.
Final week – Pain au chocolat
There is no warm body to share the space and sheets with, when he wakes up. And the realisation makes him sit up so fast that his vision blackens, and his mind swims as the blood rushes downwards. He feels a spear of slight pain in his chest at the thought of Souta having left some time during the night or early morning, not feeling safe or comfortable enough to stay the night beside Kouya.
But then the smell of fried eggs and coffee fills his nostrils, along with a sweet fragrance that makes his mouth water. His body rises from the bed automatically, without him putting any thought into it, aside from the knowledge that Souta is nearby, and Kouya wants to find him. He picks up a pair of black boxers from the drawer on the way, and need only open one door, before that whiff of a smell he caught in the bedroom intensifies. If that does not make him walk faster to the kitchen.
It is almost a shame that Souta is wearing something and is not cooking naked, Kouya thinks, but when he realises that Souta is wearing one of the shirts Kouya had lying on top of his drawer, because there was not enough space inside it, he hums in approval, and walks up behind the man to peak over his shoulder.
“It smells of pastries here,” he states as a way of greeting. And he catches the way Souta smiles shyly, the tips of his ears turning slightly pink.
“I got an idea this morning, so I have been down in the shop to use the oven.”
“Oh?” Kouya walks around to lean against the counter in order to see Souta’s face, “You’ve been busy.”
His brown hair is tousled and the left side is flat, some locks standing proudly upwards almost vertically, and he looks so cute. He looks like a Sunday morning, as is right. And when he looks at Kouya, his eyes are shining healthily,
“I will bring you some.”
“So secretive.” Kouya smirks, fingers tingling with the urge to reach out and touch Souta, to hold this person Kouya really wants to just bring back to bed with him right now. But he holds back, a little stunned by his desires. It is an entirely new feeling, Kouya probably needs to get used to before he can accept it.
“I really am surprised at how great of a cook you are, Souta.” Kouya admits as he follows Souta to the small dining table upon which Souta has already set a pair of mugs and cutlery, some juice – where did he get that? – and salt. It is all rather domestic, and Souta has taken quite a few liberties in Kouya’s kitchen. But Kouya is not a very private person in that matter, and it does not bother him at all, knowing Souta has made such a big effort, “I guess you are a genius with all tastes and temperatures.”
“Now, you should probably taste it first, before you give me all those compliments,” Despite saying so, Souta looks incredibly happy at Kouya’s praise, and Kouya makes a note of remembering that when they are in bed.
Kouya follows Souta with his eyes as he puts down a set of plates with two fried eggs on each, sunny-side half-cooked, exactly as Kouya likes them, and he cannot help but smile and raise an eyebrow at Souta, wondering if this is some scheme to make Kouya love him. Because if that is the case, it is working.
“I’ll be right back.” Souta scuttles off and down the stairs, and Kouya rests his head in his palms, gazing after him, where he vanished from sight.
Quiet settles over the apartment, allowing Kouya some time to take it all in; what exactly is happening, how much that has changed in just 24 hours compared to the months he has watched and been around Souta. This moment seems way too good to last.
Souta is carrying a big basket when he comes back a moment later, and Kouya’s eyes widen when he realises what kind of pastry the basket is filled with.
“Did you-?” he is honestly taken aback, his expression stunned enough to make Souta chuckle.
“Do you remember the idea for the ultimate pain au chocolat?” Souta asks, before setting the basket down in front of Kouya, to allow him to look. First, he places one round pastry with roasted almond flakes on top, then a plain-looking traditional croissant beside it on Kouya’s plate, “So, this round pastry made with croissant dough is a new idea. There is a kind of chocolate mousse inside, although it is more of a dark ganache, with a slight bitterness to it which goes well with the roasted almonds, I think. With the texture of the chocolate, it is as good fresh and hot as it is cold. The second one is a quick idea in the heat of the moment with the leftover dough. It is a traditional croissant but with salty-sweet marzipan inside.”
Souta looks so happy, when he finishes talking, his cheeks heated in a healthy red colour, and there is a spark of eagerness in his eyes, a light that Kouya can only identify as pleasure of having created something he is proud of, something he cannot wait to show to the world. And he takes Kouya’s breath away. If the chocolatier is not a genius, Kouya thinks the world is a lie.
He is not sure of what to say, given the anticipation in the way Souta looks at Kouya. Kouya never gets nervous, but this moment has him finding himself at a loss for words. At the end, he just lets himself smile and look at the pastries on his plate.
“This looks amazing, Souta.” He tells him with unrestrained honesty, “Really, what did I do to deserve this?”
Souta blushes a deep crimson, “Nothing. I just got inspired, and I want you to try them and tell me what you think.” He sits down opposite Kouya and occupies himself with pouring them coffee, clearly nervous and fidgety. To Kouya, it just makes Souta all the more alluring.
It is no surprise that the pastries taste amazing. Kouya has never tried anything like it, and he has surely tried a lot of different cakes and pastries, especially after coming across choco la vie and Souta, “You have outdone yourself,” he admits seriously, locking eyes with Souta, “I don’t think you realise, Souta, but you can do anything. Anything, you put your mind to.”
Choco la vie and the creation of chocolates and pastries is a lot more than just work to Souta, Kouya understands now, watching when Souta bites his lip and has to look down, “You think so?”
“I know. I just got proof.”
Souta’s eyes are shimmering when he looks at Kouya again, but he is smiling, nodding in humble thanks.
They finish the breakfast in silence although their eyes interlock several times across the table. Kouya hates the table in those moments, as it makes it impossible for him to reach out and touch Souta, to pull him close and be near.
Kouya swallows the last of his marzipan croissant with a sip of coffee, when Souta suddenly gets up and walks around the table to Kouya’s side. He says nothing, merely takes the coffee pot to pour Kouya some more, but when he does, he moves his body very close to Kouya’s chair, and his presence has Kouya’s fingers twitching. There is intent in the way he slowly puts the pot back on the table, but nevertheless it takes Kouya off guard when Souta turns around, to reach out and put his hand on the backrest of Kouya’s chair, to lean into Kouya’s space, face so close. His gaze is burning, and Kouya is not sure he has seen that look in his eyes before. Tension seems to be cracking in the air between them, while Kouya can hardly recognize this aggressive being as the Souta he met for the first time in choco la vie, nor the one from two weeks ago. He has grown.
Souta’s hand is by his lips then, fingers softly touching to remove some flakes of pastry from the croissants, and Kouya’s hand surges up like a striking viper to grip Souta’s wrist. The action is more instinctual than it is an actual wish to stop Souta, but it breaks the moment; Souta’s eyes widen in shock and fear of having done something wrong. And Kouya hates himself right then. He did not want to see that look on Souta’s face, so in a desperate attempt to save the moment, he pulls at Souta’s arm, pulls it over his shoulder and reaches for Souta’s face with his free hand. Souta’s eyes flutter shut, when Kouya brushes his fingers over Souta’s jaw, caressing skin in a featherlight, soothing movement. Long eyelashes brush close to Souta’s cheekbones, and Kouya is momentarily breathless, in this intimate moment, with the way the warm light shines through the windows and creates a homely, comfortable mood that must be a first for Kouya to ever experience.
He wants Souta closer, he wants Souta in his lap, and he shudders in relief when Souta’s expression softens and falls back to how he looked at Kouya before, seduction evident in his languid movements when he places a leg on either side of Kouya’s chair, one hand tangling itself in Kouya’s hair. Then he uncharacteristically pulls to have Kouya tilt his head backwards, and it shatters the serene moment, when Kouya growls at the provocative behaviour, and Souta shuts him up with a filthy kiss, mouth opening pliantly when their lips meet, to invite Kouya to slip his tongue in. Souta moans as Kouya settles a hand on his hip possessively, to pull Souta up against him and feel his undeniable want against his lower abdomen.
“Thank you.” Is whispered against Kouya’s ear when Souta breaks off to drag his lips teasingly along the skin of Kouya’s neck from his ear to his shoulder, while Kouya’s movements are a lot rougher, teeth sinking into the soft, fragile skin beneath Souta’s jawbone to cause pain and mark ownership.
When Souta starts rutting forward, seeking friction with only their boxers separating their cocks from rubbing right against each other and giving them both enough pleasure to lose it and come if given enough time, Kouya’s patience snaps. He takes Souta with him as he stands up, ignoring the way the coffee cup tumbles over, instead shoving the cutlery out of the way for it to clatter to the floor. When he lays Souta down on top of the dining table, Souta spreads his legs with no objection for Kouya to stand between them, and it earns him a guttural groan of want, before Kouya starts working on placing one hickey after another across the fragile, white skin of Souta’s neck.
Something besides want affects Kouya’s behaviour and drive; he seeks more than just pleasure and control with the markings he scatters all over Souta’s body; there is a more meaningful desire behind their moment over shared breakfast and Kouya just has to accept it now that it is too late.
He was not meant to fall. It was all supposed to have been a game, a series of outcomes bringing Kouya amusement. Instead, while consuming Souta, Souta consumed him in return.
Kouya has so far never really known what he wants, whether he wants anything at all. He finds amusement in the pain of others, he enjoys toying with and manipulating people, watching the outcomes, like a puppeteer moving the people on strings for the most satisfactory, and sometimes most devastating, outcome. But he has never truly wanted anything. Not really. Until now.
Souta is warm in his arms, his skin so soft under Kouya’s fingertips as he traces the muscles by his broad shoulder blades. This. Souta in his arms with his back and hips neatly decorated with bruises, with hickies on his thighs. Souta beside him, content and happy in his rest. This, Kouya wants. If he could, he would stay like this, for however long Souta wants him to.
He chuckles quietly, and Souta stirs in his arms.
“What is it?” he asks, head lifted, and those beautiful brown irises rest on Kouya, watches his face. Kouya wants them to always look at him like that, never with hate, never with displeasure or spite, or disgust…
“Nothing.” He nuzzles his face into Souta’s thick, brown hair and smiles.
Who knew this overly romantic, sappy chocolatier could ever teach Kouya anything. Could teach him everything.
With all that Souta has given him, surrendering his body, his soul, his dreams, it is only fair for Kouya to give him something in return. He silently reaches across the bed – with a little difficulty, causing Souta to raise himself from where he has been lying on Kouya’s chest to follow the path of Kouya’s hand with question in his eyes – to search the inside pocket of his jacket.
What he fishes out is what used to be a white doll, a small ningyou made of yarn, but it is now brown in colour, the colour of dried blood. Whether Souta realises this or not, is uncertain, but he props himself up with an elbow, his body heat no longer against Kouya’s. He shoots Kouya a confused look, worry in his voice, “What is that?”
Kouya smiles softly, images passing through his head as he stares at the eight-year old memento between his fingers, “This is my past, my present and my future.” It is me.
With all that Souta has given Kouya, it is only fair for Kouya to offer him everything in return. Offer himself. He just hopes Souta will stay with him afterwards. He, who has never hoped for anything.
“You’ll be the first one to know.” He takes Souta’s hand, and there are tears in his eyes when he presses the soft doll into his palm, “It is yours.”
You’ll be the first. You’ll be the last.