Lee had found something of interest for Tenjin at an auction and bought it. It was an old ring that had quite the history and he knew he’d love it. He had a lot of old jewelry in glass cases. His heart was beating overly fast when he knocked on Tenjin’s door and butterflies brushed his insides when his friend answered.
“Oh, hello Lee. What a wonderful surprise.” He stepped aside and let Lee in.
“I have something even better than me.” He joked.
Tenjin smiled warmly. “You found me something.”
“Of course.” He pulled the small package out of his pocket and handed it to Tenjin who opened it with incredible care.
“Oh wow.” He said as he held up the ring.
“I was told the previous owner was a necromancer.”
“Amazing, thank you.” He pressed a kiss to Lee’s forehead, a gesture he had come to expect. “Let’s find a place for it.”
Lee followed him, admiring him as he searched for an empty space for his new ring. “Hey Tenjin?”
“I was wondering if perhaps you would like to come on a trip with me.”
Tenjin paused, nervousness flitting across his face. He wasn’t much of an outdoorsman. “Where?”
“They call it the City of Night. It’s in another world and I think you would enjoy it. They have a lot on the dark arts and wonderful museums.” It was his hook to get Tenjin to join him.
Tenjin knew it had been a long time since he went out with Lee and that wasn’t fair to him in the slightest so he decided to go, especially since it was obvious he chose a place specifically for him. “alright, will you spend the remainder of the day here with me though?” Lee knew he just wanted to mentally prepare to leave “that’s fine with me. Would you mind making us tea? You brew it so perfectly” Tenjin smiled “of course Lee” They went to Tenjins kitchen where he got the water going and the tea leaves ready. “so tell me more about where we are going” It would both pass the time as they waited on the tea and give him positive things to look forward to.
“It’s a fascinating place, always dark. It’s said to be quite the oddity, in that the surrounding cities and villages are on a normal day to night cycle. They say a demon lord cast a curse over the place a long time ago so it’s forever night. There are a lot of crypts, old castles and dungeons, the museums have cursed and enchanted artifacts, oh and then there’s the library, it’s massive and filled to the ceiling with books on magic.”
“That sounds really amazing. How long will we be there?”
“How long do you want to stay away. I know you prefer your home, I don’t want you getting uncomfortable.” He placed a hand on top of Tenjin’s, smiling at the blush that tinted his cheeks. He was so innocent.
“Please don’t cut the trip short for me, let’s just go and feel it out. Is that okay?”
When the water was ready, Tenjin poured it over the leaves and chatted more about the trip. He was growing more and more excited at the prospect of exploring such an odd and dark place. He hoped Lee wouldn’t become bored. He did so much for him already, always thinking of him and buying him gifts that suited him. He wasn’t bothered by his interests and readily encouraged them. Lee was his only real friend and he cared for him more than anyone. He had to admit it would break his art if Lee ever got tired of him.
When the tea was ready to pour Tenjin brought out two obsidian tea cups and poured some for each of them. He smiled as he watched Lee take his first sip, enjoying how much Lee obviously liked the tea. He soon made himself look away, not wanting to bother Lee with his staring. They finished the pot then moved into Tenjins living room to sit on his luxurious couch. “oh this is heaven” Tenjin smiled happily again and sat with him “are we leaving right in the morning?”
“If you’ll be ready”
“Then we are I suppose. Thank you, for planning this for me”
“Thank you for agreeing to come. I know it’s hard for you”
“You always make my time out so fun that I don’t always notice. I’ll try to go out with you more, I’m sure it gets a bit tedious coming to me all the time.”
“It’s the favorite part of my day actually.”
“I think you just like hearing about the things my parents say.”
“You mean how I’ve corrupted their son? Maybe I do, it’s amusing to say the least, but I mean it, I enjoy coming here.”
Tenjin’s happy smile had Lee’s heart dancing. It was his greatest joy, bringing Tenjin happiness. “So, should I stay over at your place tonight then?”
“As long as you’ll be comfortable.”
“It’s easy when you’re around. I’ll pack then we can spend the rest of our time at your place. Should I bring a book for the journey? How far is it?”
“The portal isn’t too far and the city itself from there is only a couple of days so bring something you can read to me.”
Tenjin got up, walking over to his bookshelf. He seemed deep in thought as he pondered what book to take. Lee just watched, finding how big of a choice this seemed to be enjoyable to witness. When Tenjin picked a book he went to pack his bag “what did you pick?”
“It will be” Once Tenjin was ready they went over to Lees home. Lee felt particularly happy. Tenjin was not only going on a trip with him but was actually in his home. He didn’t mind going to Tenjin but it felt really good he was willing to come over. The next morning they set off, Tenjin keeping close to Lee in his nervousness to be outside.
“So where does the portal come out at exactly?” Tenjin asked once they made it to the edge of town.
“A stable, a family set it up there so they could rent out horses. It was actually a genius move on their part. A lot of people travel there just to see the City of Night.”
“I’m not good with horses.”
“You can ride with me, I won’t let you fall off.”
Tenjin was happy that Lee had been right about the portal not being far. He knew there were a lot of wild animals, had even read about them out of curiosity. “Here we are.” Lee said as they stopped at two trees. They stood side by side, the gap between them just big enough for a door. Lee reached out placed his palm against one of the trunks and closed his eyes. The tree resonated with his natural energy and the portal opened between the two trees.
“Wow.” Tenjin said.
“Never been through one?”
“No, my parents were more concerned with my education rather than exploration.”
“Come on, it’s safe, I promise.”
“I trust you implicitly Lee” Lee smiled at how sweetly and meaningfully Tenjin said those words. They stepped through and Lee was glad to see him take the trip fairly well “I feel a little dizzy, is that okay?” Tenjin asked Lee with concern. “yeah, it’s normal to have a side effect or two your first time. You’ll be just fine. Would you like to sit a second before we get a horse?”
“Yes, I am nervous enough about getting on one” They sat down, Lee happy Tenjin was always so honest about his wants and needs. He wanted this to be fun for Tenjin and was in no rush at all. It didn’t take very long for Tenjin to be ready. The two stood and walked over to the stable. They were greeted by a young woman by the name of Lona. “One or two horses?” She asked with a kind smile. “Just one please”
“How long do you guess you’re going to keep them?”
“I’ll pay for a week and if we go over I’ll pay the extra when we get back”
“Fair enough, are you experienced riders?”
“Okay, you may take any horse then. If you don’t mind the suggestion the all black one, Rodney, hasn’t been taken on a trip in awhile. I’m sure he’d enjoy it”
“we’d love to take him then”
The horse danced when Lee and Tenjin approached him. Tenjin looked at him a bit apprehensively while Lee stroked his neck. “Are you sure he’s safe?” Tenjin asked nervoucsly
“Oh yes, he’s just excited.” He tied their bags on then took Tenjin’s hand and pulled him over to the horse. “You can ride in front of me, that way you won’t fall off.”
“O…okay.” Lee helped him into the saddle then climbed up behind him.
“Comfortable?” Lee asked and Tenjin nodded, blushing. “Want your book? You can read while we ride.”
Lee reached down, fishing the book out of his bag and handing it to him. He wrapped one arm around Tenjin’s waist, caging him in and making him feel secure in the saddle. He gave Rodney a gentle nudge with his heels and the horse walked out of the corral. Lee could feel the horses excitement when they hit the road and let him go a little faster. “Is this okay, Tenjin?”
“Yes, don’t worry about me.” Tenjin flipped his book open and started reading, relaxing into Lee as he did so.
Lee smiled, this trip was already so perfect and it had only just begun. Even the weather was cooperating for the journey to their destination. It was nice, nearly perfect and the horse though obviously excited to be out was behaving but he had never had a problem with any horses he rented from them. The owners were good to their horses and trained them well. The first days journey was everything Lee could have hoped for. When Lee started setting up camp that evening Tenjin said “could I help?” He didn’t know the first thing about setting up a tent but he couldn’t have Lee doing everything for him. “Do you know how?” Lee asked, ever so slightly surprised. Tenjin wasn’t lazy by any means but he doubted he knew how to do this. “No but..if you wouldn’t mind showing me so I can actually be of use next time I’d like that”
Lee smiled “I’d love to, come on, I’ll talk you through”
Tenjin was excited to learn a new skill and Lee smiled at how cute he looked as he focused on listening to his instructions. They had their tent set up in no time and then Lee took him to gather wood for a fire. “Will you let me start it?”
“Of course, you don’t even have to ask. I enjoy seeing your magic.”
Tenjin blushed, thinking he sounded a bit childish. “So, is it still okay for us to share a tent? I know it can be a bit strange.”
“You don’t like being alone out here, I understand. Besides, we’re friends so don’t worry about it. Stick as close as you like.”
“You shouldn’t be so accommodating all the time, you’re allowed to want things too, it doesn’t have to always be about me.”
Lee came to a sudden halt, making Tenjin swallow. He hadn’t meant to sound like he was complaining. “Would you look at me?” Tenjin raised his eyes, relieved to see Lee smiling. “Perhaps I like giving you your way and doing things for you, maybe that’s how I enjoy my time with you, maybe it makes me happy to see you happy. So please, don’t think you’re taking advantage of me. If you were, I would tell you, you know I don’t lie to you.”
“I know, thank you for being so kind.”
“I’m not mad, I promise. Now, help me gather wood, big and small pieces.”
Tenjin went right to work, trying to be as big of a help as possible though this wasn’t something he was used to. He was proud of himself once they had the fire going and Lee couldn’t help but wear a wide grin again. It was a mixture of relief Tenjin was having a good time and happiness simply to see Tenjin so proud of himself. In moments like these he was an adorable man. Soon after the fire started Lee pulled meat he had already gotten ready to home and began to cook it. “should I read to you while you cook for us?” Tenjin asked and Lee answered “I was hoping you would”
Lee enjoyed Tenjin’s voice, how calming it was as it filled his ears. He truly loved the time they got together away from the city and his parents. A part of him wanted to thank them for sheltering him so much because they might not be friends otherwise. When he finished cooking, he almost didn’t want to interrupt Tenjin, but he also wanted him to eat. “Hungry?” He asked and Tenjin looked up from the pages, smiling.
“Looks really good.” He marked his place and took his plate. “Thank you so much.” He took a bite and made a sound of delight.
“Do you like it?”
“Yes, you always make the best food. Sometimes I just want to make you come over and spoil me with it.”
“All you have to do is ask.”
Lee chuckled. “That settles it, from now on our dinners will be spent together.”
“Lee, you don’t have to.”
“No arguing, I’ve already decided.”
Tenjin took another bite, his heart doing a joyous dance at the thought of spending all his dinners with Lee. He could tell it really wasn’t an inconvenience to him so he didn’t protest it anymore and simply looked forward to it. After dinner they laid under the stars together and talked about the gorgeous night sky and everything about their trip so far. To Lee it sounded like Tenjin was genuinely having a good time and not simply just trying for him. A few hours later Lee stretched and said “we should get some rest. Maybe we can start again early in the morning.” Tenjin agreed and followed Lee into their tent, feeling a mixture of nervousness and happiness that he would be sleeping close to Lee
Tenjin fell asleep almost the moment his head touched his pillow and Lee chuckled as he pulled the blanket up, not wanting him to get cold. “You really are beautiful, Tenjin.” He gently stroked his cheek. He leaned down and pressed a kiss to his forehead. “Sweet dreams.” Tenjin made a little sound in his sleep and scooted closer, making Lee’s heart skip a beat and a smile spread across his lips as he settled into sleep.
Tenjin woke first the next morning and felt his entire body warm when he realized he was cuddling with Lee. He moved away so quickly that it woke Lee.
“are you okay?” Lee asked quickly, worried something had bitten him. “I’m sorry, I just got startled waking up..not used to not being home as you know”
“Oh, you’re okay though right?”
“Yes, I’m fine, lets work on breakfast. I also want to help you fetch it”
“alright, we’ll go when you’re ready” Lee got out of the tent to give Tenjin a moment. When Tenjin finally followed they set out to find some eggs or maybe a small animals since neither were particularly hungry. Once their stomachs were full Lee and Tenjin took down camp then led the horse to nearby water to be sure Rodney had gotten some before traveling again.
“You’ll continue reading for me right?” Lee asked once they were going.
“Of course, anything you want.”
“Someone has been very agreeable this trip. Are you that excited to get there?”
“Well yeah, but also I want to do things for you too.”
Lee tightened the arm around his waist. “You’re so sweet.”
Tenjin blushed as he opened his book and continued from where he left off. He was so engrossed in his book that he didn’t notice the sky had started to darken until Lee gave him a gentle shake. He raised his head and gasped at the sudden change. It looked like there was a blurred border between the daytime sky and the night time one. It was like a painter had used a brush to blend the edges. “Amazing.”
He let his eyes drop from the sky to the city in the distance. The city lights looked like stars twinkling at them, calling them in. “How long until we get there.”
“The end of the day.”
“I can’t wait.”
“Me either, I know you’re going to adore it there. I can’t wait to see your face” Lee contained his chuckle as he felt Tenjin heat again. When they arrived at the end of the day Tenjin couldn’t get off the horse fast enough. He was beyond ready to explore this perfect place. Lee took Tenjins hand “I don’t want you leaving me in your excitement. If you don’t come home in one piece your parents will kill me.”
“I’d never let them touch you” Lee was actually surprised at how defensive Tenjins words sounded. It was sweet and touched his heart but it was still surprising. Tenjin seemed a little embarrassed and just tugged Lee along to start looking around. Lee let it drop instead of teasing, just soaking in being with him.
“There’s so much here. I could look forever. How long can we stay out? Can I buy some new books?”
“Tenjin, you’re an adult silly.”
“I know, but I don’t want to keep you out if you’re tired.”
“We’ll be here awhile and nothing you do could tire me. How about we check into a place and get the horse to a stable then we can have dinner, they have some of the most amazing food. It’s specifically made to reflect this place.”
Lee tucked some fly away hair behind Tenjin’s ear. “Don’t sound so down.”
“You even pouted a little.”
“I did not.”
“You did, it was cute.”
“Is the same face you make when you leave my house?” Tenjin shot back with some teasing of his own.
It was Lee’s turn to blush. He had to admit that he did hate leaving Tenjin, spending time with him was his favorite thing in the world. “I can’t help myself, you’re my best friend, Tenjin and it sucks when I can’t see you.”
They just looked at eachother a few moments, lost in words they were too cowardly to say to one another. It was Lee who broke the eye contact and got them both back to reality. They found their horse a stable first then went to an Inn Lee had researched before coming. Being Tenjin didn’t get out much he had wanted to be absolutely sure to get in the nicest place possible so Tenjin would be comfortable. Now that they had secured a place indoors to sleep for the night they decided to find a good place to have dinner together.
“I can buy dinner.” Tenjin said when they finally found a place they liked.
“Nonsense, this trip is for you.”
“But you’ve already spent so much on me with the horse and the rooms and the gifts. Can I please? Let me treat you for once.”
Lee smiled as he let out a little sigh. “Alright.”
They looked through the menus, Tenjin having trouble deciding what he wanted. Lee moved to the chair next to him and Tenjin’s heart did a little dance. He wondered if Lee felt the same warmth and excitement he himself did. He wanted to tell him how he felt, but he became nervous at the thought of making their friendship awkward. “How about these black noodles, I bet they look weird.” Lee said as he tapped the item on the menu. “Probably like black worms.” He joked.
“Alright, as long as you eat them with me.”
When the noodles came they were actually pretty amazing tasting and they made note for another day. That night when they returned to their room at the Inn Lee asked “so what is bothering you? Do not tell me nothing. I know you too well for that Tenjin”
“I’m just worn from the journey here…not used to it” He lied and Lee knew it so he just sighed “I’ll grab a shower then but if something does start to bother you please let me know. Truly, I just want you to be happy” Tenjin gave him an embarrassed smile but still, though he knew his friend knew he was lieing he wasn’t ready to tell him how he felt.
When Lee got out Tenjin got in and afterward Lee read Tenjin to sleep. Once he was out for the night Lee kissed his head “Please be honest with me soon Tenjin. You can tell me anything”
When Tenjin woke the next morning, he found himself alone. He sat up, grabbing Lee’s pillow and hugging it to his chest. He wondered where he was and how long he had been gone. He inhaled the smell of his shampoo and blushed as he felt the stirring of desire. The room door opened and he froze as Lee walked in.
“Hey sleepy head.” Lee said with that heart stopping smile. “I got breakfast.”
“Oh, th…thank you.” Tenjin felt like a pervert.
“Are you okay?” Lee asked asked as he put the bag from the bakery on the table. “You’re flushed. Do you have a fever?” He sat down on the edge of the bed and leaned forward, pressing their foreheads together. “You’re burning up.”
“I…I’m fine, just warm is all.”
Lee gave him a concerned look. “What’s wrong? Please tell me.”
“Um, I’m hungry. What did you get?” How could he tell Lee he wanted him. If he was honest with himself, he had lived him since the moment they had met. Lee had been the only one to accept his oddness. He remembered the first gift Lee had bought him. It had been an art book full of sketches and paintings of dark and sinister things. He had loved Lee in that moment, he just had not known it at the time.
“come on, please, I’m sorry to be pushy but something has been bothering you since yesterday. I’m afraid you felt pressured to come and are now unhappy.”
“No, it’s really not that at all”
“But it’s something” Tenjin was afraid but Lee looked so worried and upset over him. He decided it was scary but Lee deserved honesty. “I just…I’m..I” he couldn’t force it out which embarrassed him further. Lee rubbed his back “You what Tenjin”
“I love you” he almost yelled it but he had said it. Lees heart skipped a few beats and he smiled “I love you too” Tenjin looked into Lees eyes “you do” Lee slowly moved in to kiss Tenjin,happy he was able to press their lips together without Tenjin pulling away. Lee chuckled when Tenjin broke the kiss “I’m so relieved it wasn’t you being unhappy and wanting to go home”
“I could never be unhappy when you’ve done so much for me.” His cheeks were bright red. “I’ve wanted to tell you for awhile, but I’m such a coward, I couldn’t.”
“Hey, it’s not cowardly to be scared. I felt the same, almost like I was taking advantage of the situation.” He stroked his cheek. “I’ve wanted you from the moment I set eyes on you. I loved everything about you, how shy and gentle and innocent you are. I love that you’re getting to experience all of your firsts with me. I should thank your parents.”
“Don’t you dare, they might do something terrible.”
Lee chuckled then said “you know, you could come live with me and be a little more independent of them. I understand if that is too much too soon but I want you to know you’re welcome to live with me. Even if it’s a no for now the invitation will stay open”
“You..you want to live with me? Really? I’m…you might find me a little more weird than you realize once I’m living with you”
“I love you Tenjin, weirdness and all” Lee’s voice was soft as he said those words and it gave Tenjin goosebumps that didn’t go unnoticed by Lee. Lee smiled again, a wolfish grin “I need to kiss you Tenjin” he whispered and moved so that just the smallest movement would have their lips touching.
Tenjin closed the small breath of space between their lips, his heart hammering against his chest as he slowly kissed him. Lee’s tongue parted his lips and he moaned as he opened his mouth. He was in a daze as Lee pushed him back and got over him, his hands pulling at Tenjin’s shirt until it was off and on the floor. He tangled his fingers in Lee’s hair as Lee’s lips moved to play at his neck then down to his chest where he gently bit him. “L…Lee, what about br…breakfast?” He was nervous at his own inexperience.
“I want you for breakfast.”
“But, you know I’ve never had sex, so I’m a little scared.” He felt so cowardly and covered his fac ein embarrassment. “I’m sorry, I know it sounds stupid.”
Lee let out a soft laugh as he grabbed Tenjin’s hands and pulled them away from his face. “You know I love seeing your eyes, they’re so beautiful so would you look at me?” He stroked Tenjin’s cheek. “I really love you, more than anything and if you want to wait then we can.”
“But what if you get frustrated? Then I’d be nothing but a tease.”
“We have all the time in the world to make love, so don’t rush it.”
“You’re seriously the most amazing man in the world Lee…I mean it” He shrugged “for you yes. You have my heart Tenjin and I will never hurt you or do anything that upsets you if I can help it. I know I’ll make mistakes but I do my best for you” The two ate breakfast then cuddled with one another. There was so much to see and they were both excited but for now, the desire to be close kept them in that room. The world could wait, at least for a day or two.
~ The End