Mori woke to the absence of presence in his bed. He looked to his left, expecting to find Honey there like he always was. But he was gone.
The sheets were ruffled from where he slept, and when Mori touched the empty spot, it was still warm. He wasn't gone for long. So why did he have this awful pit in his stomach?
"Mitsukuni?" He called, not really expecting an answer since the room was empty.
Mori got up and walked downstairs. Something in his head drove him toward the kitchen. He entered the room and turned the light on. He saw Honey wearing strange white silky clothes. He was crouched in front of something he couldn't see.
"Mitsukuni..." He said.
Honey slowly stood and turned around. The object on the ground came into view, and Mori's heart almost stopped.
It was Honey's body. Covered in blood. Lifeless.
"W-what..." Mori couldn't form a sentence. He was wracked with sobs at the horrifying sight in front of him. He sank to his knees, and Honey's ghost approached him.
"I'm dead, Takashi. You killed me," he said. He didn't sound angry. He was extremely sad.
"I-I didn't! I... would never." Mori tried to make sense of what was happening. He couldn't believe it.
"But you did," Honey explained. "You weren't here to protect me. I was so scared, and it hurt a lot. You weren't here..."
"No," Mori choked out between sobs. He shook his head. "No!"
Mori reached out to touch the apparition, but his hand went right through the image of Honey's face.
"I'm so sorry," Mori whispered so quietly, he wasn't sure Honey could hear him.
"I can't forgive you for this, Takashi."
Mori bolted upright in bed with a gasp. His body was covered in sweat and shivering. Something wet slid down his cheek. He was crying.
It was a nightmare.
"Takashi?" A tired voice sounded from his left. Mori turned to see Honey looking up at him with confusion.
Without thinking, Mori reached out for the boy and crushed him against his shirtless chest. He let tears of relief escape as he ran his hands over the small body, making sure he was really there. He buried his face in the soft blonde hair, inhaling his sweet scent.
"Takashi, what happened?" Honey sounded concerned for his friend now.
"Mitsukuni..." Mori breathed, "I thought I lost you."
"What?" Honey pulled away to look at him. His gaze was laced with fear as he clutched his stuffed bunny. "You lost me?"
Mori, seeing scared expression, shook his head quickly. "I had a bad dream. Y-you were..." He couldn't say it out loud.
Honey smiled slightly and swiped his thumb over his friend's cheek, wiping his leftover tears. "It's okay. I'm right here, and I know you won't let anything happen to me."
The dark-haired boy hesitantly reached out to touch Honey's face. Remembering his nightmare, he had to tell himself that this wasn't a ghost. Honey wasn't dead, and he could still touch him. His fingers brushed the smooth skin, and Mori sighed in complete relief.
Cupping Honey's face with his palm, Mori found himself wanting to touch his cousin even more. That dream was too frightening. He needed to feel the small boy's flesh, hear his heartbeat.
Mori angled Honey so he was sitting in his lap with his knees on either side of the tall boy's waist. He pulled the rabbit-spotted fabric of Honey's pajama shirt off his shoulder and pressed his lips to the pulse in his neck. He heard Honey take in a sharp, quiet breath, he but also felt his small hands rest on his chest. The steady beating of skin against Mori's mouth comforted him. He closed his eyes and raised his head slowly, trailing his lips up Honey's neck. He breathed in deeply, smelling the familiar scent that is his Mitsukuni.
In this moment, Mori wanted nothing more than to finally show Honey his hidden feelings. Would Honey hate him if he knew? Mori didn't think so. At least... he really, really hoped he wouldn't. But no matter what would happen, he had to get this off his chest. No more hiding.
Mori pulled away and looked Honey in the eyes. The small boy seemed curious, blinking a few times and cocking his head slightly to the side. Bringing a hand to the back of the blonde's neck, Mori leaned in closer until their lips brushed together. The taller boy's eyes were closed, but they snapped open when he felt
Honey press forward, kissing him for real.
Honey definitely wasn't expecting a kiss from his cousin, but he wasn't complaining. He knew for a while that his feelings for Mori weren't normal. He vaguely wondered if this kiss meant his affections were reciprocated. He felt a stirring in his chest that made him want more of his cousin. It was familiar; he felt it when Mori was touching him oh-so-wonderfully in the bathtub.
But deep down, he knew it shouldn't feel this good. And that's why he broke way first.
Honey pulled back and got off his cousin, refusing to look him in the eye. A light blush was spread on both of their faces.
"I'm sorry," he heard Mori whisper.
Honey felt like crying. Sorry? He regretted it? That hurt a little. Honey liked kissing him, and he wanted to do it again. But something was stopping him. He couldn't let Mori see how much he enjoyed it. It shouldn't be possible to enjoy it as much as he did.
"You're mad at me." It didn't sound like a question. Mori was just that good at reading him, but this time, he was wrong.
Honey finally met his gaze. "I'm not mad. Just... surprised."
"I love you, Mitsukuni." A hard as it probably was to admit that, the words seemed to slip from Mori's tongue like he had said it a thousand times. It was at that moment Honey realized just how far back Mori's feelings went.
"You do? You really, really do?" He knew his tone came across as desperately hopeful, but he didn't care. If Mori felt the same way... did that make it less wrong?
Mori nodded. "I really, really, really love you. A lot."
Honey moved closer to his friend and laid a hand on his jaw. Their broad smiles were mirrored, and Honey recognized the fluttering feeling in his chest. Could it be too good to be true? No, this was real.
Just as real as the words that slipped from his mouth.
"I love you, Takashi."
Just as real as the look in Mori's eyes when he heard those words.
Just as real as the meeting of their lips again.