Prompt: #2: Love

Characters/Pairings: Mikage/Teito

Summary: Teito is loved by many people but he has only loved one person. Slightly AU in that Mikage's reincarnation isn't found for a little while longer.

Song: 'Bright Morning Stars' by Abigail Washburn

There were warm, calloused hands on his hips, holding him tightly against a firm chest. Hot breath ruffled his bangs and he shut his eyes, leaning into the embrace. Trembling lips kissed his forehead before travelling downward, trailing lightly down the bridge of his nose until meeting his lips. He sighed and tilted his head up, mouths pressing more firmly together. The hands on his hips slid up his back and pressed him closer, forcing him to get onto his toes. Normally he would protest this, since it emphasized his lack of height, but he was scared of the desperate meaning behind these actions and submitted without complaint. His hands tangled themselves in short blond hair and finally they broke apart, breathing heavily. He opened his eyes to see a pair of gold ones staring back.

"Love you—want to—you're beautiful—Teito…"

He couldn't remember the words that Mikage said that night but he remembers the tears that the other boy thought he had missed.

Pale hands twisted around each other in a way that would have been a sign of nervousness if not for the fact that slim fingers were pressing into certain points with practiced ease. He was trying to massage the kinks out of his hands. Teito hissed as he hit a sore spot on the fleshy part of his palm, glaring down at the burns that were unevenly spread over his hands. He had been trying to help the sisters in the kitchen but somehow he had spilled boiling water. Needless to say that he was definitely not allowed back in the kitchens and the sisters were even more watchful than before. He accidentally prodded at another burn and grimaced, wishing they would heal soon.

But the pain was distracting and that was something he desperately needed. Teito clenched his fists and took a shuddering breath, trying to push the memories away. He stood up and rolled down the sleeves of his mourning robe, looking towards the gate of the church that led to the bridge. The bridge where he and Mikage had been reunited. Teito shut his eyes and turned away.

The sun was burning brightly with no clouds to obscure it. He hadn't had a mission in weeks, and he was actually enjoying his time off. The breeze felt nice against his heated face. There were fingers sliding down his cheek to his neck and back up again.

"Hey, tilt your head to the side—ahaha, you're really bad at this, you know."

"Sh-shut up, Mikage! It's not like I go around kissing people all the time!"

"Mh, that's right, I was your first kiss, wasn't I?" An awkward, embarrassed blush and light laughter. Hands tugging gently at his hair and pulling him close for another kiss, guiding him so that their movements were gentle and slow.

The library was a place of sanctuary for him. Of course, the whole church was a safe haven, but the library was where he felt at peace. Large, dusty tomes surrounding him and the familiar scent of paper. If he shut his eyes he could pretend it was the library at the military academy. Mikage would be sitting at the table with a bored expression as he tried to read an uninteresting textbook about zaiphon theories. Teito would be looking at the text without really reading, having already memorized the information long ago. His thoughts would be focused on training or missions. And then his eyes would glance up, just for a moment, and he would meet Mikage's stare.

If anyone saw him hold the book he was reading closer to his face and the way his shoulders began to shake, no one mentioned it to him.

"You're so small, Teito! Look at how my shirt practically swamps you, it's so cute!"

"Mikage! Shut up!" The blond stopped talking but he continued to laugh. Teito blushed with irritation and tugged on the t-shirt he had pulled on, the hem reaching halfway down his thighs. Mikage was taller than him, but the other boy didn't need to rub it in. Mikage noticed Teito's red face and fell silent, a soft smile on his lips.

"I'm not trying to make fun of you. You know, you really look good in my clothes. But you look even better without any at all..."

"M-Mikage!" His complaints were drowned by laughter and soft sighs, and soon enough he forgot what he was mad about in the first place.

It didn't hurt as much to think of the past. Teito spent his days helping the bishops carry out various tasks, though Frau appeared to have disappeared. Castor said nothing about the blond's whereabouts and when he had asked Labrador, the kind bishop merely smiled and asked if he wanted some tea. So Teito occupied himself to take his mind off of things. Sometimes he would find himself wandering into the corridor where he and Mikage had battled. Of course the majority of it had been blocked off but there were some things remaining that kept him coming back time and again. Mikage's final messages were scattered along the floor and walls and Teito traced the words with trembling fingers. I love you. I'm sorry. Continue to live.

I love you. I love you. I love you. How can I live if you aren't here? Living was easier said than done. Teito turned away and walked out of the corridor, ignorant of the doll that watched him and the man who looked through the doll's eyes with a heavy heart.

Mikage held him tightly as though the world was going to come crashing down around him at any moment. It scared him, how desperate the blond was at this time.

"Remember that I was your first, okay, Teito? Remember that I'll always love you."

"S-stupid. You're my only." Mikage's smile was strained and painful, but before Teito could ask about it the blond was kissing his questions away.

It was painful to see the marks Mikage left on his hips and thighs disappearing. They were all he had left of his bestfriendhislover and they were fading as time passed. Teito crossed his arms over his body and covered the bruises on his hips with his hands, his fingers nearly matching with the marks. And he let himself cry in the dark room, because there was no one who could hear him and Mikage couldn't hold this against him.

Time may erase the love bites and it may make the memories more bearable, but it does not heal all wounds.