He could feel someone gently stroking his cheek.

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The gentle sensation gradually brought Yuto into waking.
His eyelids twitched slightly when he tried to open his eyes, and he had a splitting headache.

“Are you awake, Yuto?”

Dick’s face was right up close to his.
Yuto gazed into Dick’s blue eyes, then cast a glance around.
White walls.
Partitioned curtains.
Clean sheets.

“Is this the infirmary?” he murmured.


You were collapsed in the showers, and were brought in on a stretcher.
Do you remember any of it?”

“Vaguely,” Yuto replied hoarsely.
“I can only remember bits and pieces.” Feeling a strange sensation on his head, he put a hand to it and felt bandages.

“You had a gash on your forehead, so you got three stitches,” Dick explained.

“My mind feels really hazy.”

“Spencer gave you a tranquilizer.
You were a little disoriented when you came here.
―It was BB and his guys who attacked you in the showers, wasn’t it?”

Yuto nodded.
There was no use lying to Dick when the man was already dead certain.

“I was set up,” Yuto said.
“Hawes and Cowen – the guard – were in on it, too.”

“Hawes, too? Why?”

“I’m pretty sure they threatened him,” Yuto said, his voice monotonous.
“They must’ve told him he wouldn’t be released easily unless he tricked me to coming to the showers.”

Dick closed his eyes as if to rein in his anger.

“―Yuto,” he said.
“Don’t answer if you don’t want to – but is BB the only one who raped you?”

Yuto had somewhat of a notion of the purpose of Dick’s question.
He wanted to know if Yuto had had intercourse with multiple people.
If so, it would greatly heighten the risk of Yuto contracting HIV.
AIDS was rampant in prison due to widespread unprotected sex and sharing of needles.

“BB was the only one, but I’d like to get a blood test, anyway,” he said.
He had meant to sound calm, but his voice came out shaky.
He berated himself a wry smile, but right then, he felt a surge of emotion rise uncontrollably in his chest.

He had been raped.
No matter how much he hated to acknowledge it, he could not avert his eyes from reality.
He knew he had to come to terms with it.
He knew he couldn’t run away.
But the incident was much too painful to accept wholeheartedly.

“Dick, I…”

He could say no more.
Yuto’s eyes welled up with tears.
He didn’t want to cry over something like this, but a mix of anger and frustration welled up from deep within his body and spilled over in the form of tears.

“I’m sorry, Dick,” he said through tears.
“Right after you’d warned me about it.
I got complacent because BB wasn’t making any moves.
It’s my fault for not being vigilant enough.
I deserved it.”

Here he was in this embarrassing state, not even a day after he’d been told not to trust anyone.
Yuto felt the weight of his own foolishness bear down on every inch of his bones.
His excuses sounded hollow to his own ears.

“Stop it,” Dick scolded him sharply.
“You’re a victim.
Don’t beat yourself up like that.”

“But you think I’m an idiot, right? You warned me so many times.”

“Of course not.
Do you know what I’m thinking about right now? How to make BB regret what he’s done.
I’ll get revenge on him.”

“Dick…?” Yuto asked warily.

“I’ll make sure he feels as much pain and anger as you did, a hundred times over.”

Dick’s eyes were glinting dangerously.
Yuto felt his breath catch in his throat as he glimpsed the bottomless rage behind the veil of the man’s cool expression.
He had never seen Dick like this before.

“If you want him to die, I can make it happen,” Dick said.

“Dick, what are you saying?”

“Killing that bastard won’t make me feel a thing.
I’ll do it if it’ll make you feel even a little better.
No need to worry.
I’ve already got blood on my hands for a long time.
A little new blood won’t hurt me at all―”

“Dick…!”  Yuto grabbed Dick’s arm, not wanting to hear any more.
It’s fine.
I’m fine.”

It terrified him to see Dick say it – that it was nothing for him to murder someone.
He wasn’t afraid of Dick himself; he was afraid of the darkness that he had glimpsed in Dick’s heart – a darkness that seemed to stretch to endless depths.

“You’re lying,” Dick said flatly.
“You’re more prideful than you let on.
There’s no way you wouldn’t be hurt by being forced upon like that.
I know you’re furious.
I know you hate BB.
That’s why I’m saying, get revenge on him.
There are no laws in this place that’ll punish him.
An eye for an eye- that’s the only way to do it here.
Use me, Yuto.
I can be your arms and legs.
I can be the one to carry it out.
All you have to do is say it.”

The more Yuto listened to Dick, the more he became unsure of what was right and what was wrong.
Did justice really exist? What did it mean to be evil? But this was an uncertainty that he had always grappled with, ever since he had been arrested.

Yuto was not supposed to be here, but he had fallen for the trap and been framed, branded as a criminal and unjustly thrown in prison.
He had done nothing wrong.
Then, who was to blame? The police? The person who framed him? The jury, for declaring an innocent person guilty?

Outside of the walls, Yuto had never questioned the system of the law.
He felt lawbreakers ought to be punished severely; if not, societal order would quickly disintegrate.
Criminals should reflect on their crimes in prison with remorse, and strive toward rehabilitating themselves.
He had never doubted it.

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But the reality? This was no rehabilitative facility.
Just as Nathan said, this place was meant to segregate.
Despite his short stay so far, even Yuto could say with certainty that no criminal would see the error of his ways and try to change himself in a prison like this.
He would only harbour a deeper hatred for society, and while vowing outwardly not to commit any crimes again, he would only resolve inwardly to be smarter next time, and not to slip up and get caught.

Yuto peered into the depths of his own heart and saw hatred as well.
He hated those who hurt him, who abused him, refused to help, and abandoned him.
He hated them all.
The flames burned deep in Yuto’s heart, enough to make him ask – why him? Why did he have to suffer so much? The flames were hatred itself, burning fiercely but quietly, with anger, despair, and sadness as its fuel.

But if he were to give into his impulse and throw himself into those flames, it would be the end of everything.
It would be the end of him, as a human being.
If he let his heart harden and be consumed by his negative emotions, he could never return to his old self again.

Nathan had said that humans were swayed by the environment around them.
Yuto agreed.
But that was all the more reason to maintain a strong will.
Not for anyone else, but for his own self.

“Dick, I’ll get through it,” Yuto said.
“It’ll be hard, but I’ll overcome it.
So I don’t want you to do anything.
I’m begging you, don’t do anything stupid.
If you end up killing someone because of me, I’ll never be able to forgive myself until I die.
―And if I want to get revenge on BB, I’ll do it myself.
I wouldn’t be able to stand someone else taking care of my problems.”

Dick’s tense expression softened at Yuto’s plaintive and desperate plea.

“Sounds just like something you would say,” he said with his usual wry smile.
Yuto felt an overwhelming relief.

“I’ll be alright.
I won’t let it defeat me,” Yuto declared to Dick, and at the same time to himself.

“I can’t afford to lose,” he murmured.
Dick clasped Yuto’s hand with both hands and gripped it tightly.
Yuto could almost feel Dick’s kindness flowing directly into him from their touching hands.
The solid, real warmth of his skin gave Yuto more courage than any words of sympathy ever could.

It was then that Yuto realized something.
There was a wall to his left side, and beyond that, the door.
Which meant he was in the first bed to the right upon entering the room.
Choker had occupied this bed when he came here yesterday.

“Dick, what happened to Choker? He was here yesterday, wasn’t he?” Yuto asked hesitantly.
Dick’s eyes widened for a moment, then he slowly shook his head.
This time, it was Yuto’s turn to stare wide-eyed.

“Don’t tell me…”

He didn’t make it.
He passed a little while before you were brought in here.
Right when Nathan was visiting.”

Yuto couldn’t find the words to say to Dick as he imagined the pain he must be going through.
All this time, Dick had devotedly cared for Choker; even though he knew that this day would come, it was no doubt a massive loss for him.

Yuto, who didn’t know Choker very well, felt more anxious than sad at the news of his death.
With Choker dead, that meant there was no one left to restrain BB.
The Black Soldiers were now completely under BB’s control.

The winds of foreboding would whip up a storm through the prison depending on how BB acted next.
Yuto imagined the faces of Neto and Tonya and prayed fervently that nothing would befall them.

Yuto’s stay in the infirmary was exceedingly comfortable thanks to Dick’s attentive care.
But because Dick seemed to give special treatment to Yuto, their close relationship became a great target for banter by other bored inmates.

The patients complained constantly about how Dick was rough or uncaring, and never failed to bring Yuto into it.
They teased him by saying things like, “What, is Yuto the only one you’re gonna be nice to?” or “Hey, I want VIP treatment like the newcomer over there.” Dick didn’t seem to care at all, but Yuto was mortified.

Micky and Nathan came to visit him immediately, worried about his condition.
Micky was beside himself with rage, vowing that he would get back at BB somehow.
Yuto repeatedly emphasized to him that, although he appreciated Micky’s gesture, he absolutely did not want the man to do anything stupid.
In the end Micky reluctantly agreed, knowing that it would be reckless to attack a gang boss.
Yuto breathed a sigh of relief.

After Micky and Nathan left, Gasly, the chief guard, came to take Yuto’s statement.
No matter what he was asked, Yuto responded that he was suddenly attacked from behind and had no idea who the attacker was.
Before he left, Gasly hesitantly told him that Cowen had fended for himself by claiming that the incident occurred while he was in the washroom.

In the afternoon, Tonya and Neto came by to visit as well.
Neto was largely silent as he looked at Yuto with pained eyes.
He soon got up from his chair and left the room alone, saying he needed to get some fresh air.

“I’m sorry, Yuto,” Tonya said sympathetically.
“Neto just can’t stand to see you hurt like that.” She stroked his arm gently, as if to comfort him.
“This must have been so hard on you.
BB is unforgivable.”

“Thanks, Tonya.
I’m fine.”

Dick walked in just as Yuto took Tonya’s hand.

“Oh, pardon me,” he joked as he looked at the two clasping hands.
“Did I interrupt something? Should I come back later?”

“Wh―Knock it off, you idiot!” Yuto stammered, blushing.
Dick prodded him further as he changed Yuto’s IV drip.

“Why, I never,” he said in mock offense.
“I just thought I’d read the room since you two were having a romantic moment.”

“Dick…!” Yuto said testily.

Tonya chuckled and gave Dick a stern glare.
“Oh, Dick, it’s almost like you’re jealous.
Don’t worry, I won’t make moves on your precious Yuto.”

Dick only shrugged.
Yuto panicked, since he had been expecting Dick to deny it and argue back.

“Oh, right, about what you said,” said Tonya.
“I asked one of the sisters who’s dated BB before.”

“What’d she say?”

“He seems to be quite careful when it comes to sex.
She said he’d always use a condom, even for oral.”

Yuto was taken aback by the sudden turn of topic, but his confusion was soon cleared up by Dick’s explanation.
When Spencer had conducted a rectal exam on an unconscious Yuto, he had not been able to retrieve samples of semen.
Spencer suggested to Dick that perhaps the rapist had used protection, and Dick had turned to Tonya to seek evidence to support the theory.

“BB took a blood test at his own request six months ago,” said Dick.
“He came back negative for any infections that time.
He’s a cautious guy, so he most likely used a condom when he raped you, too.”

Yuto knew it didn’t put him in the clear completely, given the incubation period for a potential infection, but nonetheless he found solace in Dick’s words.
The risk of infection was what he had been most worried about.

“Libera seems livid about Yuto being attacked,” Dick remarked.
“I saw him pacing the hallway out there looking scary, like a caged animal.”

“Well, naturally,” Tonya said, shrugging.
“Neto holds his friends very dear to him.
You should have seen him last night.
He flew off the handle in my cell, and caused such a ruckus he ended up breaking all my favourite teacups.
He was furious.
He looked like he was about to go into Block D and start a fight with BB any minute.”

Tonya smiled wryly as she saw Yuto turn pale.

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“Don’t worry,” she reassured.
“He knows his position.
No matter how angry he gets, he won’t go off and start something for personal reasons.”

“That’s a relief to hear,” Yuto said.

“But won’t BB try to start something with him anyway, even if Libera doesn’t?” Dick said.
Tonya nodded tensely.

Now that Choker is gone, a war could start any minute.”

“I want you and Neto both to be careful,” Yuto said.
“I’m worried to death about you.”

“Thank you, Yuto.
I hope you get better soon.”

Neto returned a while later.

“Tonya, time to get going.
Yuto’s recovering.
Don’t tire him with your endless chatter.”

“I was just about to,” Tonya protested.
“Ugh, men.
So impatient.”

Yuto couldn’t help but smile.
It was like watching a husband getting impatient with his wife’s long conversations.

“Neto, thanks for coming,” Yuto said.

“Rest up,” Neto said.
“Sing a song if you ever feel down.
It’ll cheer you up.”

Yuto remembered listening to Neto singing La Golondrina in solitary.

“Yeah, I will.
Maybe I’ll try singing ‘La Golondrina’, too.”

“Go ahead.
Swallows need to rest their wings during their long journeys, too.
No need to get impatient.
You’ll get to where you need to go.”

You’ll find who you need to find. That was probably what Neto meant.
It was just like Neto to encourage him like that.

Since Yuto’s injuries were not very severe, Spencer informed him during the consultation on his fifth day that he was good to return to his cell.
Having also gotten permission to bathe, Yuto told Dick that he wanted to take a shower before leaving.
There was a shower room for patients next door to Yuto’s room.

Dick first pasted waterproof tape over the wound on Yuto’s forehead, since the stitches had not come out yet, then led Yuto to the showers.

“Thanks Di―huh?”

Yuto’s mouth hung open.
For some reason, Dick had untied his hair and was starting to get undressed.

“I’m coming in, too.
I always shower here before dinner.”

“Yeah, but this is a one-person shower.”

“It’s big enough for assisted bathing, so there’s more than enough space for two of us.
Hurry up and get undressed.
Just so you know, you’re the one that’s intruding on my daily routine here,” Dick said arrogantly, with a towel wrapped around his waist. Only cares about himself, as always, thought Yuto in irritation, but it was a waste of time to start an argument here.
Yuto sullenly got undressed and headed to the shower room.

“Yuto, sit on that chair.
I’ll wash your hair for you.”

Dick jerked his chin toward a shower chair with a backrest, holding a showerhead with warm water streaming out of it.
Yuto was taken aback.

“I-I’m fine.
I can do it myself.”

“You still have a slight fever.
The last thing you want is to lose your footing and fall.
Shut up and let me care for you until we get back to the cell.”

Yuto looked exasperatedly at Dick.
So this was all a part of Dick’s nursing plan after all.
It was probably true that Dick took his showers here, since Yuto had never seen Dick in the regular prison showers.
But no doubt he had followed Yuto in here today because he was worried about letting him bathe alone.

What a doting caregiver, Yuto remarked inwardly as he sat down on the chair.
Dick briskly began washing Yuto’s hair.
Yuto turned his face up and closed his eyes as he lent himself to Dick’s touch.
The man’s fingers rubbed his scalp with just the right amount of pressure.
It felt nice.

“Apparently Hawes was released yesterday,” Dick said.

“Uh-huh,” murmured Yuto.

“You’re fine with that?”

“Yeah,” Yuto said, his eyes still closed.
“He’s a victim, too.
I’m sure he was torn about it, and it must’ve hurt his heart to do it.”

“You give people too much credit,” Dick muttered.
Yuto would be lying if he said he didn’t harbour any anger toward Hawes.
But he was a scrawny, elderly man who had lived in this horrid place for twenty years and was finally being freed.
Getting revenge on someone like that afforded Yuto no satisfaction.

After Yuto’s hair was thoroughly washed, Dick then told him to stand up so he could wash his back.

“I think I can manage by myself,” Yuto said.

“I’ll do your back.
You can do the rest.”

“Are you my mother, or what?” Yuto muttered as he got up from the chair.
He put a hand on the wall to steady himself, and Dick began washing his back with a foamy bath sponge.

“You’re pretty overprotective, huh?” Yuto murmured, almost to himself.
“I would never have guessed.”

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“Not to just anyone,” Dick replied.
Yuto felt his heart jump.
The way Dick said it made it sound like Yuto was special.

“You’re bruised.”

Dick reached out from behind toward Yuto’s hand on the wall, and traced the mark on Yuto’s wrist.
There was a slight bruising on both of his wrists where they had been pinned during the rape.

Staring at the bruise made the memories rise to the surface again.
Although he didn’t want to remember, the steamy air and sound of the shower reawakened his nightmare.

The dark hand clamped around his wrist.
The sneering lips.
The water, pink from his blood, streaming over the tiles.
The unbearable pain of being forcefully penetrated.
Various scenes flickered rapidly through Yuto’s mind like a flashback.

His heart was pounding, his breathing becoming ragged and shallow.
His hands began to tremble.


Dick’s chest touched his back.
The moment he became conscious of the other man’s towering body right behind him, Yuto fell into a panic.
The horror of being raped from behind by BB came vividly back to life.

“Agh… no…!”

Yuto shrank away from Dick and turned around, pushing his back against the wall and covering his face with his hands.
But blocking his vision or closing his eyes did nothing to get rid of the fear that had started to bloom.
It came after him no matter what he did.

“No… please… stop it…”

“Yuto, listen to me.
Calm down.”

Yuto flinched violently as Dick grabbed his wrists.

“Let me go! Stop!”

“Yuto, look at me!”

Dick grabbed his arms and gave him a forceful shake.

“Look me in the eye.
Who’s the man in front of you? Say it out loud.”

A pair of blue eyes were staring earnestly at Yuto.
He felt like he could get lost in the brilliant colour.
They were Dick’s eyes.

Dick Burnford.”

It’s me.
I’ll never hurt you.
You know that, right?” Dick smiled.
Yuto could feel his tension ease instantly at Dick’s gentle and forgiving smile.

“Dick, I… I was so scared…” Yuto murmured in confession, pressing his forehead against Dick’s broad shoulder.
“When I was raped, I was angry, but more than that… I was scared.
I was frozen.
I couldn’t move.
I didn’t even put up a fight, I just let BB… do it.
And I hate myself for it so much, it makes me want to throw up.
In the end I was just a coward.
Hopelessly weak.”

All this time, he’d tried not to think about it because he didn’t want to admit it.
But he had been forced to see the harsh reality after witnessing himself lose composure so easily.
No matter how much he tried to appear strong, in the end this was what he amounted to.

“Dick, I’m done.
I can’t… I can’t anymore…”

A myriad of emotions burst through the barrier and flooded into his heart, leaving him grasping for words.
He shook his head, impatient with himself.
He didn’t even know what he wanted to say, but he wanted Dick to know – who he was as a person, and also the tumultuous emotions that swirled in his heart.

“Yuto,” Dick said.
“Anyone would be terrified after going through what you did, and they’d feel just as hurt and weakened.
There’s no need to blame yourself.
Admitting that you’re having a hard time doesn’t make you worth any less.
―You looked so calm about it, I was under the impression that you were fine.
But there’s no way someone can recover that quickly.
I’m sorry I wasn’t able to notice.”

Dick wrapped his arms around Yuto tightly as he murmured those words.
Dick’s deep voice had a strange power – it always calmed Yuto down and reassured him.

“Dick,” Yuto said.
Dick crinkled his eyes in a smile and used both hands to brush Yuto’s wet hair off his forehead.
As Dick gazed at him, Yuto could feel the emotions that had been choking his chest begin to dissipate.
A moment ago he felt like he would be crushed if he didn’t put those into words, but now he didn’t feel the need to say anything.
No words were needed.
He had forgotten how comforting it was to be embraced and to feel the warmth of someone’s skin on his; his whole body and soul relaxed to the point that he felt like he was melting.

Dick softly pressed his lips against Yuto’s forehead.
It was a gentle, compassionate kiss.
Yuto did not feel repulsed; in fact, he found himself longing for more.

His skin burned where they touched.
The sensual feeling of Dick’s wet skin on his made something stir deep within Yuto.
It was something risky, dangerous―

Yuto panicked as he felt heat begin to gather in his lower regions.
The lower half of their bodies were pressed right up against each other.
It would only be a matter of time until Dick noticed.
But the wall behind Yuto prevented him from pulling his hips back.
He couldn’t escape.
Yuto hastily pushed against Dick’s chest.


“I… I’m fine now,” he stammered as he desperately twisted his body, but Yuto’s erection was already forming a bump in the towel around his waist.
Dick looked down, his face registering a slight surprise.
He’d noticed.

Yuto was so embarrassed, he wished he could disappear right then and there.
Dick was only consoling him, and her he was getting aroused.
He had no decency.
He was sure Dick was unimpressed; he might even feel contempt for him.

“I think I’ll get out now.” Unable to stand it anymore, Yuto tried to break away from Dick.
But the man quickly pushed his shoulders back, and Yuto found himself with his back to the wall again.

“I haven’t finished washing you yet.”

Dick picked the sponge off the floor and ran it down Yuto’s neck to his chest.
Although he was well aware of the pronounced change in Yuto’s crotch, Dick continued to wash his body as if nothing had happened.

“Dick, I’m fine.
I… ah!”

Yuto’s breath caught in his throat as his towel fell away from his waist.
Dick let go of the sponge and closed his foamy hands around Yuto’s stiff member.

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“Dick, what…”

“Don’t worry.
Just stay still.
I won’t hurt you.
Just trust me, let your mind go blank, and leave it all to me,” Dick murmured reassuringly as he slowly moved his hand up and down.
Yuto found his body going taut as a tingling pleasure instantly welled up within him.

“Dick, you shouldn’t… ah…”

As the man’s large hand wrapped around his member and gently rubbed him from the base to the tip, he felt all the blood in his body gather to that one spot.
The warmth of Dick’s hand only amplified the pleasure, and Yuto felt himself losing control.
He could no longer think.

“It’s alright,” Dick soothed him.
“It’s nothing.
Don’t be shy.
Just relax.
It’s been a while since someone’s done this to you, huh? You just have to sit back and enjoy it.
There’s no one else here but me.
I’m the only one watching.”

Dick’s lips were touching his earlobe.
Yuto felt a shiver run down his back every time he felt Dick’s warm breath exhale against his skin.
Dick’s hand moved dextrously, taking Yuto further and further to the edge.

“Ha… ah… nh,” Yuto panted.
The pleasure was so intense, he felt tears welling up in the corners of his eyes.

The lack of privacy in prison made it hard to have a moment to pleasure oneself, but Yuto, being sexually indifferent, hadn’t minded it much.
Rather, given his mental state, he hadn’t had the desire to masturbate in the first place.

But being caressed like this awakened his forgotten desire, which now seemed to gush forth endlessly.
Even though he knew he shouldn’t, he wanted to drown in this sweet stimulation.
He found himself almost bucking his hips in anticipation.

“Feel good…?” Dick asked as he pressed his forehead against Yuto’s.
Yuto nodded, his lips trembling.
“Don’t hold it in,” Dick said.
“Let it all out.”

Dick’s lips were right there.
They were so close, they could feel each other’s breaths.

He longed for it – the sweet taste of Dick’s lips.
He didn’t know why, whether it was just lust or something more.
He only knew that he wanted Dick’s kiss more than anything else.
His sense of reason did nothing to restrain his burning desire.

Yuto’s found himself parting his lips slightly as if to invite Dick to kiss him.
He pleaded wistfully with his eyes for the man to take him.
Dick, always attentive, promptly responded to Yuto’s wish.

Their moist lips locked deeply.
As Dick’s tongue slid into his mouth, Yuto felt a sweet tingling sensation run through his body, and moaned softly into Dick’s lips.

“Mh… fh…”

Their tongues intertwined as the shower streamed down on them.
Even while they kissed, Dick’s hand continued to move, bringing Yuto further over the edge.
Yuto didn’t last for long, and their lips were still locked as he climaxed.

“Ah… mh…”

His body twitched from the pleasure washing over him.
Yuto went limp, his chest rising and falling from his ragged breaths.
Dick embraced him and gave him a light kiss on the cheek.

After heat of the moment passed, only awkwardness remained.
Yuto was mortified.
But before he could regain his senses completely, he was met with a fresh wave of embarrassment as he noticed what was happening to Dick.

“Um… Dick…”

He felt something hard pushing against his belly.
It was Dick’s erect penis.

“Do you want me to… um… give you one? With my hand?” Yuto said, his voice so tiny it was almost a whisper.
It was horribly embarrassing having to say it out loud, but he felt guilty for being the only one to enjoy it.

“You’ll do it?” Dick teased, thrusting his hips up against Yuto.
Yuto’s face tensed up.

“I mean… if… if you want me to,” Yuto stammered quickly.
Dick smiled wryly and drew back.

“Don’t force yourself.
I was never going to make you.
I only did what I did because I wanted to.
I’ll take care of myself later.”

As apologetic as he felt toward Dick, Yuto was admittedly relieved.
He knew it was unfair of him, especially after initiating the kiss, but it required a lot more courage than he had to give someone else a handjob than receiving one himself.

“You should get out soon.
You’ll get dizzy if you stay in hot water for too long,” Dick said, pushing his shoulder.
Yuto nodded, though he still felt a touch of guilt.

Dick promptly started washing his hair.
When Yuto turned back to close the shower room door behind him, he caught a glimpse of Dick’s back.
His muscles were toned and developed naturally, not the kind of bulky bodybuilder muscles that were intended for show.
He had a practical and well-balanced build.

Yuto couldn’t help but gaze in admiration, but he froze as his eyes fixed on one spot.

“What?” Dick turned around, noticing Yuto standing stock-still with the door still open.

“…Your back,” Yuto said.

“Hm? Oh, this.
It’s a burn scar.”

Dick washed away the foam on his body, revealing a stark scar of tightened skin covering a large area on lower back, around his hips.
It was a noticeable and unmistakable burn scar.

“Were you in a fire, or…?”

“I screwed up on a mission when I was in the army.
I was in a demanding unit, and they put us through hell.
Thanks to that, I’m covered in scars.”

Yuto felt like he had been struck with lightning.
With shaking hands, he closed the door.
He grabbed a bath towel, but was so in shock he couldn’t wipe himself off.

The burn scar.
Military experience.
A white man, around thirty years old.
Serving in prison for murder.
Dick checked off all the boxes of Corvus’ characteristics.
Not only that, he had a past of killing a police officer.
He had an antisocial mindset.
He was cold-blooded enough to say that killing someone would mean nothing to him.
Appropriate traits for a terrorist, were they not?

He knew nothing was certain yet, but he felt all the energy drain from his body.

Yuto fell to his knees, his palms landing on the cold floor.

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