Beauty is truth,
truth beauty -
that is all ye know on earth,
and all ye need to know.
It is gorgeous, the way he pulls his shirt off in one fluid motion, letting it drop to the floor just like his ponytail falls back down against his skin as the fabric is lifted free from his head. He grins at you as he approaches the bed; he already knows what you want, how you want it - sometimes you think he knows you too well, but sometimes you think that's not a bad thing.
He climbs up next to you, over you, sleek as a hunting cat, and presses a kiss to your mouth.
You've always prided yourself on knowing beauty - on being able to appreciate the small, inconspicuous nuances that slip past the senses of lesser, busy beings, gathering all the elegance around you and keeping it, because beauty is attracted to that like itself, and you yourself are beautiful. You know you are beautiful, in the same way a rose knows it is beautiful and no one will keep it from climbing, wrapping its vines where it may, even if its thorns mar what it holds. Beautiful like a stained glass window, a thousand tiny pieces held together as one to play color and light across the faces of those who admire you.
Beautiful like a tennis match - a perfect match that you can lose yourself in as the ball arcs and falls in its rhythm, like the slice or cut of a racquet to control the point perfectly - like the perspiration on your brow and hair mussed by the wind, no longer precisely in place but still perfect, because it is beautiful.
You have no patience for the ugliness of the plain and ignorant, but you love the strong and true, and beauty is yours.
You do not think yourself selfish, because who but you deserves to have all this? He is not a nuance of beauty, a forgotten rose dropped along the sidewalk; he is natural and flowing, silky and deathly shining even among the bright lights of wealth. Temptation on legs, if you want to resort to crude imagery - temptation on slender, muscular legs when you are far from any Gethsemane - and maybe that isn't as crude as it seems, the same way rich bastard never sounds like an insult when it is uttered through his grinning lips.
You appreciate, maybe even love, how he flows, how every movement is fluid and graceful and finished off with a flick of his ponytail, like a curlicue in the signature on a love letter. It is something that has always caught your eye - he moves as seamlessly as you have worked to make your life flow, so maybe it was meant for your lives to flow together just as smoothly, so smoothly that even ragged breathing and the rough, uneven grappling before release will not hide the beauty of the moments when you are together.
"You're a rich bastard, Atobe," he'll mutter sleepily against your skin.
Sometimes you will lay tangled and sweaty together on the bed, his hair in wisps across his face and his eyes closed - you never know if he's asleep or not - and you think how alike you are.
He never talks about your relationship, and neither do you, and you will never admit it but you suspect it is because neither of you know exactly when you have. You started together with a tangible, selfish confidence even though everything was so new; you know it was because you are so alike, so well learned - he said jaded once, with a smirk and a bitter laugh, but you disagreed, unable to admit the morbid intrigue you always had when the adults were up late talking as they lounged, their minds too washed with wine to think to dismiss you to bed.
Sometimes you think you should not like to touch him as much as you do. Part of your beauty is your autonomy, you know; you have set yourself on a pedestal where everyone can admire you, gaze in awe at your elegance, where you can smirk down at them with the absolute knowledge that they all crave you yet not one of them deserves you. You take pride in the way people need you, but you do not need them; you are perfect on your own, shining and beautiful.
Yet when he drags the elastic slowly from his ponytail and shakes his hair out, tumbling down his shoulders and back in long, dark waves, you cannot help but reach out and tuck it back behind his ear.
You would never tell him, but your hands are gentlest when you do that.
He leans down to kiss you again; your hand slides to the back of his neck and his hair falls soft against your chest, darker than his skin against yours. Everything seems so slow tonight, steady and leaden, like the world itself has stopped turning and you are pushing time forward by yourselves - for a moment before he pulls away, his hair is falling like a curtain around your both, and a thought flits across your mind that maybe this is a completely different world from the everyday trials of school and tennis and life.
Then he sits up, shaking his hair back so it tumbles down his back, smirking down at you like he almost knows what you are thinking - but he cannot, because even you do not know what you think around him; you feel like you are a completely different kind of beautiful with him, sometimes. You are looking up at him like looking through a haze, as if your eyes are clouded like your mind.
He rides you slowly, moving up and down in smooth, languid movements and your hands automatically find his hips to guide them. It is beautiful, you think faintly, how lost you can get in these moments, how there is nowhere else you can do this - a perfect Eden created just for you, filled with beauty and elegance and him, because he is beautiful like you.
There is moonlight streaming in from the window between heavy embroidered curtains, striping the bed and painting your bare skin in pale light, illuminating the air between you. You can gaze up at him and see his features gilded in soft silver - the line of his jaw, his lips slightly parted and moving with each breath, his eyes closed almost reverently and his head tilted back to reveal the smooth line of his throat, marked lightly from teeth and lips, and you wonder how those tiny imperfections can seem so beautiful.
He is not perfect, you know. Only you are perfect; only you are perfectly beautiful. But he can still take your breath away sometimes.
He finishes with a ragged jerk, graceless and harsh, and your thoughts cascade from your head with that climax and for a fleeting moment it all seems so simple - it's just you and it's him and it's beautiful. You pull him down to sprawl next to you and he mutters against your shoulder, you're a rich bastard, just like you knew he would, so you laugh and wrap an arm around his waist.
You fall asleep like that, his hair fluttering silkily against your face, and you know there is no one else who deserves such beauty.
But then the serpent comes, winding, hissing, to drive you out of your Eden, and he will no longer meet your eyes, and you can no longer bring yourself to reach out and touch his hair.
And then he is gone, his eyes shining up at someone else, and those long, dark waves of hair fall to the ground like feathers from a bird soaring high above the clouds. You can hear your voice, feel your mouth moving - feel his eyes trained on you - and you know somehow that this is beautiful, too, but it will never be the same.
You walk away, and those locks of hair lay forgotten on the sidewalk.
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