"A very nice performance, Nakamura-san," Takuji bowed again as he had a good half dozen times before. The old puppetmaster straightened and tugged down the edges of his black kimono to straighten out any wrinkles in the hemp. "Your skill with the shamisen is quite good."
Ryuhei returned the bow, but his eyes wandered past the wooden stage that had been assembled to face out into the town street. Not too many of the people walking back and forth along the crowded little spot had bothered to stop and watch the play at all. Not even Kiyoshi! The poor boy must've been stuck at the market all day trying to sell those worthless sumi-e paintings they'd been lugging around since being in Yokohama.
Ryuhei offered the old man a small smile. "Thank you, Takuji-san. Maybe you'll have a more interested audience at the next village you take your troupe to." A roll of thunder rumbled lazily overhead in the gray skies. Ryuhei looked up at thick clouds which had been threatening to release a nice spring shower all afternoon. "And some better weather."
"Ah, yes, though bunraku doesn't seem as popular these days," Takuji rubbed the top of his bald head and looked over his shoulder at his two apprentices, also dressed in black as they started to disassemble the stage for the puppet theater. "Japan is a modern country now, you know." He looked back at Ryuhei and the wrinkles in his face deepened as he grinned widely. "But the arts don't die easily, my friend. Bunraku and kabuki will outlast us both."
Ryuhei nodded and jingled the string of gold coins in his hand. "I suppose I better go before it starts to rain."
"Actually, why don't you and Ishibe-san join us?" Takuji asked. "We need a regular shamisen player and might even spend the summer in Tokyo if we do well."
"No, thank you," Ryuhei tucked his earnings for the day in the sleeve of his haori and bowed to the puppeteer. "Kiyo-kun and I have plans."
"You want to do kabuki again, don't you?" the old man laughed. "Ah, well, it was worth a shot." He turned away and started directing his two apprentices to get a move on.
Now that would be something--perform on a kabuki stage once more! Ryuhei touched his throat and laughed to himself. More than five years had passed since he'd put on a costume or taken to the stage, but who knows what the gods have planned.
"Oh, now I am in a good mood," he giggled out loud. A little flattery can go a long a way. And it had felt nice to do some performing, even if it was just playing the shamisen for a puppet troupe.
"Ryu-san! I'm sorry, I missed the play."
"Gah" Ryuhei jumped, startled. He turned around and there was Kiyo-kun, pouting at him. "How do you keep doing that? I swear I never hear you coming!" But he dug into his jacket pocket and pulled out the coins bound together through the holes in their center with a hemp string. "Look at this--we have some decent money for today!”
Without so much a glance to the money, Kiyoshi gave him a small smile. "I still would've liked to hear you play this afternoon. Better than having those gold coins."
"Oh, you're being a silly romantic," Ryuhei laughed softly, but Kiyoshi had meant it. The young man's eyes were so expressive, his love and sincerity reflected in the warm brown depths. Kiyo-kun was so unlike any of the lovers he'd known--and that was saying something. Ryuhei had had quite a few at the height of his career on the kabuki stage...enough to know when love was just another act to perform, beautiful maybe--but artificial always--and when it was real.
"Flattery can get you everywhere, you know," Ryuhei teased gently and reached out to caress Kiyoshi's smooth cheek.
Kiyo-kun leaned into the touch so some of the longer strands of hair not tied back into the ponytail at the base of his neck brushed against Ryuhei's fingers. His only reply was a soft, satisfied sigh that sounded more like a contented purr, actually.
A few raindrops sprinkled down from overhead and Ryuhei looked up at the sky. "Ah, its just going to be a drizzle," he waved it off. "We can still try to make it to the next town before nightfall." But Kiyoshi took his wrist and tugged him forward.
"Hurry!" Kiyoshi said. "Your haori will get ruined." He pulled them out of the street and under the overhanging roof of a bookshop just as the clouds burst open a covered the village in sheet of fine, sparkling rain.
Ryuhei pulled back his sleeve and stuck his hand out to catch some of the water. The drops were fat and cool, giving the afternoon a little chill. "You saved my wardrobe!" he said, shaking out his hand and leaning close to Kiyo-kun. He pressed his lips to the boy's cheek, kissing him tenderly.
"Always at your service," a coy smile tugged at the corner of Kiyo-kun's lips.
Ryuhei gave a mock gasp of shock. "Such a tease you are!" he kissed Kiyoshi's earlobe and murmured, "But I do like the sound of that..."
Kiyoshi took Ryuhei's hand again. "Then we should stay, at least until the rain passes." He had such a sweet, delicate voice--too deep to be feminine in any way, but just soft enough that a stray breeze might carry it away. Oh, but it was a seductive voice too and Ryuhei felt hot under the layers of clothing he had put on for the bunraku performance.
"A very good idea," Ryuhei agreed. "Maybe it would be best if we just stayed the whole night also, to make sure we don't get caught in the rain later on."
"That would be dreadful," Kiyoshi whispered.
"Horrible, even," Ryuhei added.
"We need to find an inn right away."
The haori be damned, both men darted out from under the shelter of the bookshop. They ran up the street and burst into a cozy looking ryokan dripping wet.
"We need a room!" Ryuhei shouted dramatically and grabbed hold of the innkeeper by the front of his kimono. "It's an emergency of the best kind!"
Kiyoshi laughed that innkeeper's puzzled look but Ryuhei remained dead serious. "And we'll need sake, a good hot bottle or two."
"And dumplings!" Kiyoshi added. "Please bring us dumplings. Hot ones, stuffed full of the most wonderful tastes you have to offer."
"Yes, yes," the innkeeper said. He motioned for a boy to show them to a room and as they followed the lad upstairs, Ryuhei came up very close behind Kiyoshi, his hand reaching out to rub along the firm swell of the younger man's rear. "Dumplings Kiyo-kun? Stuffed full of the most wonderful tastes they have to offer?'
Kiyoshi chuckled and stopped short at the top of the stars so that Ryuhei ran into him, sending a jolt through both their bodies. Kiyoshi reached back, stroked the front of Ryu's hakama, pressing his slim hand into the pleats. "Yes, and I want your dumplings most of all."
Ryuhei whimpered and wrapped his arms around Kiyoshi's shoulders while he pressed into the touch. "Fuck dinner," he giggled softly in Kiyoshi's ear. "You can have me instead!"
Oh no...That prickling, itchy sensation started in Kiyoshi's gums. He pulled his hand back to clamp it over his mouth, startled at how the two sharp fangs distended so quickly.
The boy stopped just ahead of them and pulled back a shoji leading into an empty room. Ryuhei gave Kiyoshi a gentle nudge forward
"Hurry, hurry!" he teased. 'Lead the way, Kiyo-kun."
Kiyoshi's pulse quickened, the growing bulge at the front of Ryuhei's hakama brushing against his rear and inflaming the already swelling desire inside of him. He kept his hand over his mouth and nodded, kicking off his sandals before entering the room and pulling away from Ryuhei.
He took a few breaths to try and calm his blood. Oh, but it was boiling with their passion already! Before meeting with Ryuhei he'd gone to the market, but not to sell the sumi-e as he'd said. Starved after weeks of suppressing his thirst, Kiyoshi had dropped the paintings into the cart of a traveling merchant and took the time he had away from Ryuhei to...hunt. Kiyoshi knelt down on the tatami and closed his eyes against the memory of how he searched the market until he found an old ink maker, the man close to the end of his years and ill. Taking him as he slept in the back of his shop had seemed a mercy to Kiyoshi, but even so. And since he'd fed before meeting with Ryuhei, he was even more sensitive to their emotions...their lust...
Suppressing the nature of a kyuuketsuki--a blood-drinker--dwelling inside of him was hard enough, and keeping it a secret from Ryuhei was harder still.
Outside in the hall, Ryuhei dropped a generous number of coins into the boy's outstretched hand and waved him off. "Bring the sake right away! Go, go!"
“Oh, Kiyo-kun,” Ryuhei sighed as he slipped out of his haori and hakama. He took his time in folding them neatly then crossed the floor to kneel behind his lover. He wrapped his arms around the slender man and nuzzled his neck. “It’s been a long time since we spent a decadent afternoon wrapped in each other’s arms.” He kissed Kiyoshi’s neck, slid his hand up beneath the sleeve of his haori and kimono, teasing the smooth flesh with the tips of his fingers. “I adore making love to you long into the night but in the daytime, watching your beautiful body and face when you come is like Heaven on earth.”
Kiyoshi sucked in his breath and clamped his jaws as the maddening ache traveled through him from the fangs searing his gums to his tightening balls and cock which longed to be buried deep inside the passionate actor’s hot, willing body. He turned his head, his lips eagerly pressing against Ryuhei’s. it was almost too much this thing they shared and Kiyoshi feared that he might lose control and drain his lover in the throes of passion one day and yet he prayed to the Gods to keep him doing so. He prayed that they would let him keep this rare love he had found and treasure it for as long as he could.
Ryuhei trailed his lips down the side of Kiyoshi's neck, making happy little noises in between each soft kiss he left behind. Kiyoshi tilted his head back, exposing as much of his throat to Ryuhei's exploring lips as he could while he loosened the ties at his waist.
"Pure heaven," Ryuhei murmured and pulled back the collar on Kiyoshi's under-kimono to reach the naked skin underneath as he sucked on the flesh above Kiyoshi's left shoulder.
"Oh, you feel so warm," Ryuhei wrapped his arms around Kiyoshi, his lips still planting those teasing little kisses along the shoulderblade.
Kiyoshi's face flushed as he felt the blood pool between his legs, most of his body's heat rushing to a certain aching organ if anything. He couldn't control the rise of his temperature, no more than he could his fangs earlier.
Ryuhei's fingers gently pinched at both his hard, fully protruding nipples and smoothed over his chest. Kiyoshi arched back and gasped, the touch sending a shudder of pleasure through his body. He moaned and Ryuhei dropped his hand lower, going into the folds of Kiyoshi's hakama and fundoshi to find the swelling cock inside.
Kiyoshi pulled away when a polite tapping sounded on the shoji.
Ryuhei grumbled then stood. “Come in!” He glared at the boy and the young man quickly set down the tray with their food and drink then hurried out, quietly sliding the door shut behind him. “I suppose we should eat.”
“Yes,” Kiyoshi whispered, taking a deep breath before standing and crossing the room to join Ryu.
“You’re not hungry today?” Ryuhei asked when Kiyoshi waved off the steamer of dumplings.
“I had something this afternoon.
Ryuhei laughed. “Then drink up,” he teased offering the sake bottle. “You’ll get drunk quicker then I can have my wicked way with you.”
Kiyoshi feigned shock as he poured them each a drink. “Oh, Ryu-san I fear for my virtue. Surely it’s true what they say about you wicked performers.”
"I'm afraid so," Ryuhei sighed dramatically and pressed the back of his hand to his forehead as he accepted the palm-sized cup of sake. "And now that I have you captive up here, no one can rescue you from my seductive traps." He giggled and took a sip of the liquor.
"You seduced me a long while ago, Ryu-san," Kiyoshi smiled and took a drink, noting how bland and flavorless the rice wine was compared to the taste of Ryuhei's lips on his own.
Ryuhei picked out a bite-sized pork bun from the steamer, nibbling at the soft breading. "Did I?" he blinked innocently, returning the chopsticks to the tray. "You know I've only have the purest thoughts of you, Kiyo-kun. Whatever could make you think otherwise?"
He stretched out sidewise on the bamboo mat, propping himself up on his elbow, his loose-fitting kimono tenting around the very conspicuous bulge between his legs.
Kiyoshi grinned. “Ryu-san did you ‘forget’ to put on your fundoshi this morning?”
Ryuhei stroked himself through the layer of fabric. “I might have. I don’t remember.”
Tapping his lower lip wit h his index finger, Kiyoshi pretended to concentrate on the matter. “Perhaps you’re getting forgetful in your advancing gage. I wonder if I should check to make sure?”
Ryu nodded gravely. “Perhaps you should. It would be most embarrassing if these lapses were to happen again and I find myself walking down the main thoroughfare stark naked.”
Kiyoshi laughed. “I can’t say as that would be an unpleasant thing to see….”
Ryuhei flopped onto his back with an exaggerated sigh. “You are so cruel to a forgetful old man, Kiyo-kun. How can I ever bear it?”
“Like a gentleman, Ryu-san. Like a gentleman.” He grinned and grabbed a mouthful of sake before crawling over to the prone actor. Slipping his hand into the soft strands of Ryuhei’s hair he lifted his lover’s head and dipped his own for a kiss. When their lips parted he let the warm sake flow form his mouth to Ryu’s then let his tongue dip inside as Ryuhei swallowed the rice wine and let his own tongue snake out to tease and stroke Kiyoshi’s.
"I've never tasted finer sake," Ryuhei breathed as Kiyoshi pulled away with a smile.
"Some things taste even better," Kiyoshi whispered.
Ryuhei sat up, taking Kiyoshi's mouth in his own. He hungrily tugged at Kiyoshi's lower lip, and Kiyoshi cradled his lover's face in both hands. "I think I'd like to find out about that," Ryuhei murmured, his breath warm and heavy against Kiyoshi's cheek.
Kiyoshi sat back on his heels as Ryuhei stood and unfolded the futon in the center of the room. He shrugged out of his kimono, revealing his lithe but well-toned body, sculpted from the decade he spent as one of the Nakamura-ya playhouse's finest actors. By mortal count, Ryuhei was thirty-six years of age and just as beautiful as he had been the first night Kiyoshi had seen him perform in the kabuki play The Love Suicides at Sonezaki.
Kiyoshi rose, letting his own clothing drop to the floor as he crossed the tatami and embraced Ryuhei from behind.
"I love you, Ryu-san," he whispered.
Ryuhei turned and guided him down on to the futon. He eased Kiyoshi down on to his back, traced a path of kisses down his chest and belly, brushed his lips over the downy hair surrounding Kiyoshi's erection.
Kiyoshi writhed upon the futon, his fingers tangling in Ryuhei’s hair pulling it free from it’s ties. He tugged Ryu’s hair as his lover licked his cock and balls with agonizing slowness. HE could hear Ryu’s blood rushing through his veins fell his own swirling like mad, making his hunger for sex and more grow by the second. He tugged Ryuhei’s hair when his mouth became too ardent. “No today. I want you in me. Please.”
Ryu planted a tender kiss upon his thigh then slid up until their lips came together in a series of slow probing kisses until Kiyoshi pulled away and turned onto his side. Ryu went to rummage through the small pouch tucked inside the sleeve of his haori and removed the coppered bottle of ointment he’d taken to carrying since he and Kiyoshi had met. He returned to the bed, Kissed Kiyoshi’s slim back and shoulders then prepared them both.
He entered Kiyoshi slowly, tugging his love back closer against his body as they began to move in perfect harmony first slow then steadily faster, their bodies heating, and soon glowing with a sheen of perspiration. He stroked in and out of his love, kissing and licking the sweet saltiness of sweat from his back and shoulders.
“Harder, Ryu. Please,” Kiyoshi groaned
“Anything for you, Kiyo-kun. Anything. He shifted, coaxing Kiyoshi onto his knees, moving with him so as not to break the sweet contact for more than a second. Kissing the small of Kiyoshi’s back he slid one arm around his waist and tugged on his lover’s rigid cock as he began thrusting again.
Pushing back at the same time, Kiyoshi took Ryuhei's entire engorged organ deep inside himself. A series of low, throaty moans spilled out of him as Ryuhei doubled over half on top of him, their bodies moving in that steadily increasing rhythm that matched the pounding of their hearts.
Ryuhei continued running his hand along Kiyoshi's cock, gripping and stroking the oil-slicked length. He pumped harder and faster to meet Kiyoshi's demands while his hips all but rammed against Kiyoshi's backside.
Kiyoshi was spiraling towards his climax, his entire body trembling under Ryuhei and still he wanted more. Ryuhei's breathing grew even quicker, as close to hitting his peak as Kiyoshi was. The feel of his passion, the heat of his skin and the sweet coppery scent of his blood drove Kiyoshi over the edge.
Grabbing Ryuhei's wrist, he pulled the man's hand away from his cock and brought it to his mouth. He the slick palm, sucked each finger clean of the precum coating them. Just as Ryuhei came with in a hard, rushing burst, Kiyoshi bit down on his wrist, unable to resist the lust for both flesh and blood any longer.
Ryuhei cried out as his body spasmed harder and he began to rock back and forth in time with Kiyoshi who sucked upon his wrist in earnest until he too came in a series of shudders and gasps.
Kiyoshi collapsed to the futon, taking Ryuhei on top of him. He continued to suckled Ryu’s wrist then began to lick and caress it until finally letting go.
A throaty laugh jostled Ryuhei as he slowly slid out of Kiyoshi’s beautiful body , showering the slick salty shoulder with a few more tender kisses. He flopped onto his back, turning to caress his precious Kiyo-kun’s face. Chuckling again he massages his wrist, grinning at the purplish bruise. “Such an animal you are, Kiyo-kun.”
Kiyoshi snuggled up against him, wrapping his arm lightly around Ryuhei’s waist. “You have no idea, Ryu. You have no idea…”