Wrapped Around My Little Finger

by Roumonte Emi (竜主天 蝦)

(mirrors http://s2b2.livejournal.com/4392.html)

The little wrinkled brown thing was heavy and oddly warm in Kensuke’s hand, wrapped in white ribbons and sealed with a tiny metal disc. “Just for you, my friend!” Tomoya crowed, throwing an arm heavily about Kensuke’s shoulders. Kensuke almost stumbled under the sudden weight, his fingers closing reflexively about the little brown lump.

“Aah, Tomoya, I–”

“I’ve already got mine growing,” Tomoya said, riding right over Kensuke’s weak protest. He gestured grandly at the windowsill, normally cluttered with Tomoya’s enormous collection of hentai figurines covered in a layer of sunlit dust. They’d been shoved aside, their naked pink plastic limbs tangling clumsily, to make room for a round plastic ball about the size of Kensuke’s head. A fat green shoot curled out of its open top, tipped with a small green bud. “She should bloom in another couple of weeks, and then…” Tomoya’s tongue squeezed pink and wet out of his mouth, leaving his lower lip damp.

“That… that’s great,” Kensuke managed to say, instinctively clutching the flower bulb to his chest. “But Tomoya–”

“No buts!” Tomoya said, scowling for a moment before his fleshy smile re-emerged. “Do you know how hard it is to find virgin o-hana bulbs for sale? I’ve been trying to buy one for years! Years! And then some fool up in the 812th Sector gets himself run over by a subway car and his grieving mother puts them both up for sale, seals intact! Seals intact, Kensuke! Mint condition!”

“Tomoya–” Kensuke said, despairing. Once his friend started talking about one of his obsessions, there was no stopping him.

“Pure white,” Tomoya said, clapping Kensuke on the shoulder. “None of those broken-down old bright red o-hana girls for us, eh, Kensuke?”


“It’s easy,” Tomoya said, running right over him again. “You stop on the way home and get one of those hyperhydrated plastic growth balls. You pull off the seal, take off the ribbons, and bury the bulb with the pointed end up. You put it in indirect sunlight and spend a lot of time near it to let it attune to you as it grows, and in three weeks or so you’ll have a virgin o-hana of your very own, everything you’ve ever wanted, the woman of your dreams, twenty centimeters high!”

“Yes, but–”

“And you can do anything with them,” Tomoya said, the sunlight sheening off his glasses as he leaned in toward Kensuke, his fat wet tongue running over his lips again. Kensuke recoiled slightly, his fingers closing automatically about the little warm bulb. “Anything you want. The laws don’t cover plants, Kensuke. Sure they’ve got a little bit of human DNA in ’em, but just a touch, not enough to make them qualify as people–hell, they don’t even have the kind of rights that animals do!” Tomoya’s tongue vanished with a little wet slup! sound, and he glanced over at the plant in the windowsill again. “Think about it, eh, Kensuke? Anything you want.”

“You wouldn’t hurt her!” Kensuke said, shocked. Then he thought better of it. “Would you?”

“What?” Tomoya blinked at him for a moment before his smile reappeared, wide, utterly sincere, and not totally convincing. “No, of course not! I’m just saying! And hey, she’s an o-hana, it’s not like she would say no to anything even if she could, right?”

“… right,” Kensuke said, edging half a step away. “Th-thank you for the gift, Tomoya. I’m… very grateful.”

“Damned right you are,” Tomoya said offhandedly, shoving up his glasses. “And you should be. You owe me one, Kensuke!”

“Right,” Kensuke said again, weakly. “I-I should go. I… need to get her her growth ball, right?”

Tomoya crowed out a laugh and dealt Kensuke’s shoulder a pudgy buffet that made him stumble. “Ha! I knew it! Can’t wait to get your o-hana girl started! Go on, get out of here, and I guarantee you that in a month you’re going to be messaging me to thank me!”

The little brown flower bulb was a constant and oddly heavy weight in Kensuke’s breast pocket, and he automatically curled his thin body in around it as the subway car swayed towards home. A brand-new plastic growth ball, twin to the one on Tomoya’s windowsill, sat in a plastic bag between Kensuke’s feet.

He glanced around the darkened subway car. At this time of night it was almost deserted; a drunk man slept sprawled out over the seats at the front of the car and a couple of girls were snuggled close ten rows ahead of Kensuke. Kensuke stared covertly at the two girls for a long moment before looking back down at his lap, reaching into his pocket to pull out the bulb. In the flickering lights from outside the windows, it almost seemed to pulse.

“I don’t want you,” he told the little brown thing in a near-whisper, cupping it in his hands. “I should have told Tomoya no…”

The flower bulb lay quiescent in his cupped hands, its white seal glinting in the dim light. KOUSHOU GENE-GINEERING–O-HANA BULB LOT 17, read the seal. Kensuke touched it with his thumb. “I could sell you,” he murmured. “You’d be worth an awful lot. But Tomoya’s always looking at the auctions, he’d see the sale for sure. And then he’d be mad at me, and he’s really the only friend I’ve got.”

Kensuke delicately traced out the crossed white ribbons with his thumb, then sighed and tucked the o-hana bulb back in his pocket, giving it an absent little pat. “I guess you’re mine now,” he said under his breath. Then he settled down into his seat and closed his eyes, listening to the rhythmic thud of the train’s wheels on the tracks.

Stooping to keep from banging his head against the sloping ceiling, Kensuke put the sealed growth ball on the windowsill at the foot of his bed. Unlike Tomoya’s cluttered place Kensuke’s tiny rooms were spare and clean, and the plastic ball was the only thing on the windowsill.

“There,” Kensuke said, and gave the growth ball an awkward little pat before leaning over to drop the discarded seal and ribbons into the trash can. “So now I just… stay near you, huh? Well, I sleep here, so you’ll be near me all you need…” He caught himself talking to the growth ball and stopped abruptly, his cheeks pinkening.

Two minutes later he was doing it again as he puttered around his room, putting on his pajamas. “I hope you’ll get enough sun there. It’s the only window in my apartment–but Tomoya said you only needed indirect sunlight, so I think it’ll be okay.” He stopped long enough to put his t-shirt and jeans in the hamper. “I wonder when you’ll start to grow? Tomoya said it would take about three weeks for you to grow to your full size, but I’m not going to believe in anything until I see green!” He laughed a little, reaching out to flick off the light. The tiny room was plunged into darkness, save for the broad flat square of moonlight that the little window threw on the foot of Kensuke’s bed. The growth ball was a stretched shadow on the covers.

“Good night,” Kensuke said awkwardly, crawling into bed. “I, ah–” Before he could think better of it he scrambled out from under the covers again, kneeling on the foot of the bed, leaning in as if to kiss the top of the growth ball and stopping at the very last moment. “Ah… g-good night,” he said instead, his breath curling against the hyperhydrated growth medium within the little plastic ball and steaming there. Blushing furiously in the darkness he threw himself back into the bed and yanked up the covers, ignoring the silent sphere at his feet as best he could.

Four hours later he flailed out of a cluttered and confusing dream in a tangle of sweat-soaked sheets, his pajamas twisted half off his body from struggling. He had an erection so insistant that it bordered on painful, and, still half-asleep, he shoved one hand into his underwear and scrubbed the palm of his hand down the underside of his cock, mindlessly seeking to quell the throbbing. He came explosively almost as soon as he touched himself, groaning thickly under his breath.

His sticky hand fell to the side and he blinked confusedly at the low ceiling. “Huh,” he muttered in a sleep-choked voice, and then his eyes slid shut and he was asleep again, still tangled in sweat- and come-soaked fabric.

Two days later, when he came home from class, a fat green shoot had nudged out of the dirt to glow a healthy vibrant green in the sunlight. Kensuke stared at it for a long moment, his school satchel thumping heavily to the ground by his feet. Crossing the room was a matter of taking a single stride and banging his head on the lowering ceiling, and then his finger vibrated uncertainly a hair’s-breadth away from the stalk.

“Can I touch you?” he asked stupidly, then flushed pink and pulled his hand away. “I’d better not.”

Instead he lunged for his computer and spent the rest of the night feverishly searching for information on the o-hana plant. “It says here that you’ll be able to keep yourself clean without any help, but you’ll probably also like being misted with water…” he called over his shoulder, making a mental note to buy a plastic spray bottle. “And you can’t actually eat but some o-hana like to pretend to, in order to mimic their owners! I wonder if you’ll do that?”

The pictures he skipped after a single scandalized glance at the first page of little rosy-red girls, spread-eagled in the cups of their flowers like pin-ups, fingertips the size of grains of rice spreading their tiny sexes wide for the cameras. “That’s horrible,” he muttered, closing the window, and then raised his voice. “Well, I won’t do that to you.”

Three days after that the tip of the shoot started to swell, forming the beginnings of a bud. Kensuke found himself unable to stop going back to stare at it every few minutes, wondering about it and what it contained. What sort of girl did the o-hana flower think he wanted? What would she look like when her flower unfurled?

Finally, gingerly, he reached out and touched the little green bud with the tip of his finger. It was cool and smooth. “Hello,” he said softly, pulling his hand back. “I don’t know if you can hear me, but, uh, hello…”

Of course the little bud said nothing, and after a moment Kensuke straightened up, feeling foolish.

The next morning he had to change his sheets again, blushing all the while.

The bud grew larger, the green outer covering sliding back to reveal the edges of the white petals beneath. They were soft and cool, like chilled velvet. Soon the bud was the size of his hand, fat and tear-shaped, and Kensuke had lost his fear of damaging it, often reaching out to touch the slick cool green covering. The white petals he was more careful with, not wanting to dirty them, but occasionally he couldn’t resist the sueded edges.

He took to talking to the growing bud in the evening, sitting on the foot of his bed and telling it about the inanities of his day. Every week he faithfully carried the growth ball into his tiny bathroom to rest it in a sink full of water, letting the growth medium inside it rehydrate itself. Every few days he found himself changing his sheets.

Tomoya sent him a smug email stuffed full of pictures of his newly-flowered o-hana, her skin a milky ivory white. Her bust was ludicrous, her waist nonexistant, her legs impossible; in the pictures she cupped her hands uselessly over her breasts, improbably erect nipples (as white as the rest of her) jutting from between her tiny fingers. Her expression was a crude mockery of a hentai virgin’s, mouth and eyes wide in anticipatory terror, doubtless learned from any one of the thirty or so plastic figures that swarmed around her. A light rosy-pink flush spilled over her cheeks and down the front of her throat, the signature of the sexually awakening o-hana.

Kensuke swallowed and deleted the email after looking at only two of the pictures, sending Tomoya back a brief note of congratulations. She is beautiful, he wrote, not precisely lying. You are a lucky man! I can only hope that mine will be as well-suited to me when she flowers!

Tomoya wrote back almost immediately, reminding Kensuke that he owed Tomoya pictures of his o-hana when she bloomed. Good pictures, Tomoya specified, and in his mind Kensuke could almost hear the wet sound of his friend’s tongue running over his lips. Kensuke deleted the email unanswered and could not bring himself to touch the growing bud for the rest of the evening.

And then one day he woke to discover that the white petals had unfurled, their pointed tops curling delicately back. The tiny sleeping face half-hidden in the opening was as still and serene as a marble carving, perfect and beautiful and not in the least alive. It was exquisitely detailed, down to the fringe of miniscule eyelashes casting shadows on the high cheekbones.

Kensuke found that he could not look at the ivory face for more than a moment before he blushed and looked away. Instead he was forced to study the tiny features from the corner of his eye, afraid to so much as touch the bud’s outer covering any more lest those eyes open and look at him.

But, still, he stayed home from class that day in case they did.

They didn’t.

For the next two days he was a nervous wreck, unable to concentrate in class, forgetting to eat, lying awake in bed with his ears straining to catch the sound of those white petals stroking against each other as they opened. When he did sleep his dreams were noisy, jostling things, full of thoughts he couldn’t catch and images he couldn’t focus on, and he took to sleeping without blankets so that he only came on his clothes.

He couldn’t bring himself to look at the flower or speak to it any more, suddenly as shy as a boy on his first date, and yet it constantly tugged at the edges of his awareness. Finally, on the second evening, he spoke up abruptly. “I wish you’d hurry up and bloom,” he said, the words coming out in a rough tumble. “I can’t take this suspense any more.”

He wasn’t expecting the flower to bloom on the instant, and it didn’t. But somehow admitting the thought aloud made it easier for him to deal with the waiting, and for the first time in two days he was able to concentrate on his textbook, sitting crosslegged on the foot of his bed.

Barely an hour later his eye was caught by a slight white motion, and Kensuke’s head jerked up. The petals had peeled back silently while he read, and a pair of tiny white hands curled about the flower’s rounded edges. The o-hana‘s eyes were open, white as the rest of her, with yellow dots serving as both pupil and iris. She was looking at him, her eyes wide and fascinated.

Kensuke swallowed. His throat was suddenly parched. “H-hello,” he croaked, shutting his textbook with nerveless fingers and fumbling it aside. “Are you… are you blooming now?”

He didn’t expect an answer. O-hana couldn’t speak, after all. But at the sound of his voice a delighted and guileless smile bloomed on that little white face, and her fingers pushed back the edges of her flower’s cup, transforming it into the smooth cowl of a calla lily that curled around her like a throne.

The o-hana emerged into the light all at once, reaching for Kensuke with tiny eager hands. Fingers as delicate as a mouse’s paws curled and straightened, as if Kensuke could be drawn closer merely by pulling at the air between them. The joy on that perfect face was palpable. That bliss held Kensuke’s attention for a long moment, and he found himself gaping open-mouthed, that something this beautiful could want his company so much.

Helplessly he studied the o-hana, long white hair as fine as spiderwebs that fell to perfectly rounded bare shoulders, the shadows cast by the tiny collarbones, the torso flat and slender with just the faintest hint of muscle, the o-hana‘s sex curled coyly at his groin–

“You’re male,” Kensuke said, too stunned to do anything but blindly state the truth.

The o-hana‘s smile changed at Kensuke’s hesitation, coaxing and patient. His fingers stroked the air between them, still reaching eagerly for Kensuke. The longer that Kensuke sat there resisting the beckoning, the more awkward he felt. Finally he gave up and reached out a hand.

Doll-like hands closed eagerly on the tip of Kensuke’s little finger, itself the size of the o-hana‘s forearm. Kensuke was surprised at the strength of those little fingers, so cool and velvety, and then the o-hana closed his eyes and rubbed one suede cheek against the tip of Kensuke’s little finger and Kensuke froze.

“Um,” he said, and yellow-white eyes immediately sprang open and fastened avidly on his face. Kensuke swallowed. “You don’t have to…” he started to say, and then he trailed off as the o-hana pressed its lips to the tip of his finger in an eager kiss, still gazing at him over the edge of his fingernail. “Um,” he said again.

The o-hana blinked once and straightened up, still holding Kensuke’s little finger in both hands. His eyes searched Kensuke’s face avidly. Kensuke stammered for a moment before he managed to say “You don’t have to… do that. Just…”

Immediately the o-hana nodded, reaching out to put a hand on Kensuke’s ring finger and still staring in fascination up at Kensuke’s face. Kensuke was helpless to do anything but stare back, and after a few minutes he discovered that he was talking to the o-hana, much to his surprise.

“I’m sorry, it’s not that you’re not… a very pretty flower, it’s just that I was expecting you to be female–aren’t all o-hana female?–and this is kind of a surprise…” He trailed off there and turned pink. “Um.”

The o-hana swayed forward slightly, clinging to Kensuke’s fingers like he was clinging to the railings of a fence, and smiled up at him. One hand reached out, clawing at the air between them, reaching for Kensuke’s face; without really thinking about it Kensuke dutifully obeyed the summons, leaning down until the o-hana‘s hand touched his cheek. “I… suppose you need a name,” Kensuke said awkwardly as those tiny white fingers explored his cheek and brushed curiously over his lower lip. “I was going to name you Hana-something, Hanabi, Hanako, but… well… I can’t name you that now, can I?”

The o-hana laughed–it was utterly silent, that laugh, but unmistakable. He patted at the bridge of Kensuke’s nose, then strained up until he caught a lock of Kensuke’s hair, tangling his fingers in it. Kensuke bore it all stolidly, half-closing his eyes and muttering to himself. “I can’t name you Yuri-something, either, that’s not much better… Kiku-something? Um… you’re not a chrysanthemum, but it’s as close as I can get without giving you a girl’s name… would you like to be called Kikuhiro?”

Two little hands promptly caught at Kensuke’s cheeks and the o-hana kissed the bridge of his nose, beaming a smile so wide and guileless that it startled Kensuke into smiling back. “You like that?” he asked.

The o-hana–Kikuhiro–nodded emphatically and patted his own chest.

“Well, then,” Kensuke said, gingerly disentangling himself and sitting back up. “Um. Hello, Kikuhiro.”

Kikuhiro immediately grabbed for Kensuke’s fingers again, patting at his fingertips before wrapping one arm around Kensuke’s middle finger companionably. His fascinated eyes never left Kensuke’s face.

“So… we can be friends?” Kensuke asked, wiggling his fingers slightly. Kikuhiro grabbed the tip of Kensuke’s ring finger with his free hand and nodded again, beaming. Kensuke sighed in relief. “That’s good. I… I don’t mean to…”

Kikuhiro tipped his head to the side, impossibly fine white hair spilling over his cheek. Kensuke gave up. “I’m. Um. I’m Kensuke. I don’t know if you knew that.”

The o-hana‘s lips moved, rounding, silently shaping the syllables of Kensuke’s name. Kensuke watched the little dumbshow, fascinated. “That’s right,” he said. “Ken-su-ke. I, ah…” Pinned by Kikuhiro’s eager gaze, Kensuke cast about for something interesting to say. “Maybe I should, ah, tell you a little about myself, right? Well, ah, I’m nineteen, I’m in university, thinking about majoring in history… wait. No. Why am I telling you that? You’re a flower. You don’t care about things like that.”

But Kikuhiro was still watching him, utterly rapt, his yellow eyes hanging on every little movement that Kensuke’s lips made.

The next morning, when Kensuke woke up, the events of the previous evening seemed like a dream. At least, they seemed like a dream until he sat up in bed and confronted Kikuhiro, curled snugly into the cup of his lily, seeming to drowse. In the morning sunlight both Kikuhiro and the flower that enfolded him glowed, the pale yellow sunlight caught and transformed by the creamy white petals into solid sheets of light.

Covertly, sleepily, Kensuke studied the o-hana‘s sleeping face. It was still as perfect as the first time he’d seen it, but now it seemed to race with life, merely at rest instead of still and carved of ivory. White hair straggled in waves across his cheek and tickled his nose, and even as Kensuke watched Kikuhiro sleepily rubbed his nose with the back of his hand, chasing the hair away. It was as human a gesture as Kensuke had ever seen.

Kensuke swallowed and crept out of bed as quietly as he could, closing himself up in the tiny bathroom to shower. “What am I going to do?” he asked himself, the words lost under the hissing of the spray. “I can’t–he’s male, I’ve never even heard of a male o-hana…”

Wearing his towel he tried to sneak back out of the shower, to no avail. Kikuhiro was awake now, still curled in the cup of his lily but clinging eagerly to its curling edge, peering over the side at the bathroom door; as soon as Kensuke appeared in the doorway Kikuhiro’s smile bloomed on his face and he threw his free hand out towards Kensuke, gesturing. Kensuke stifled a sigh and padded over to the windowsill, holding up his towel with one hand and offering the other to Kikuhiro.

“Good morning to you, too,” he said, as Kikuhiro clung happily to his fingers and pressed his face to Kensuke’s shower-steamed skin. It was rather like having a dog, Kensuke thought, and the thought made him relax a little. Like a dog. That was easy to handle. “I can’t stay long,” he told Kikuhiro. “I have to get dressed soon, all right?” Kikuhiro nodded, rubbing his cheek against Kensuke’s palm.

A stray drop of water tracked down Kensuke’s arm and caught at the side of his wrist, and Kikuhiro neatly reached out and plucked the drop free, cradling it like a ball in his tiny palm. He was so small that even an ordinary drop of water became something new and different in his hand, a quivering gelid globe. “What are you going to do with that?” Kensuke asked, laughing a little. “Better not throw it at me!”

The quality of Kikuhiro’s open-mouthed smile changed on the instant. It was not sly, precisely, but rather sort of sulky, like a child’s. Kensuke imagined he could almost hear the ‘nyaaaah’. Then Kikuhiro brought the quivering droplet up to his mouth and sucked at it, the little drop of water shrinking and vanishing into his mouth. Kensuke blinked. The o-hana just smiled, his little white tongue flashing out to run over his lips.

Kensuke hesitated, then forced himself to laugh. “Oh, well, you’re thirsty, why didn’t you say so?” he said, reaching up to squeeze a stray drop of water from his hair. “Here, would you like another?” He held his hand out to Kikuhiro, the drop of water rapidly dispersing into his damp skin.

Instead of plucking the dissipating droplet from Kensuke’s skin with his hand, the o-hana swayed forward on his stalk and pressed his mouth to Kensuke’s finger, sucking the water from its tip. Both hands caught at him, holding his finger still, although it wasn’t necessary; Kensuke froze, terrified. “I, uh… Kikuhiro… I have to get dressed now,” he finished lamely, not daring to tug against Kikuhiro’s grip lest he hurt the tiny o-hana.

Kikuhiro paused and glanced up at him, still mouthing the pad of his forefinger. Kensuke could feel the oddly cool swipe of Kikuhiro’s tongue, like a little scrap of damp suede against his skin. “Kikuhiro,” he said again, despairingly. “Please let go.”

And just like that the o-hana smiled and let him go, settling back in his flower and giving Kensuke’s finger one last friendly squeeze. Kensuke shivered a little and edged away, forcing himself to drop the towel in the hamper and get dressed despite the o-hana‘s avid little eyes on him. By the time he was dressed he was almost calm again, having convinced himself the whole thing was innocent.

“I have to go to class now,” he told Kikuhiro, sitting on the foot of the bed to pull his socks on. “I’ll be back this afternoon. Will you be all right?”

The o-hana nodded cheerfully, snuggling his shoulders ostentatiously back into the cup of his flower and closing his eyes against the slanting midmorning sun. “I’m glad,” Kensuke said, and he smiled as he stood back up. “I’ll see you then, okay?”

Kikuhiro nodded, and then threw both arms out emphatically. Kensuke laughed wryly and held out his hand. “I’ll miss you too,” he told the o-hana, as Kikuhiro hugged his fingers tight and enthusiastically nuzzled his nose against Kensuke’s palm. “I’ll be back before the sun sets.”

Kikuhiro settled back again, curling the edges of his flower around him, and waggled his fingers goodbye.

“Kikuhiro?” Kensuke called as soon as he ducked in the door, dropping his satchel in its usual spot and kicking off his sneakers. For a moment he actually listened for an answer; then he snorted and rolled his eyes. O-hana couldn’t talk.

But Kikuhiro was waiting for him, beaming expectantly, and as soon as Kensuke came into sight the o-hana leaned forward out of his flower and reached eagerly for him with both arms. Kensuke couldn’t help but laugh, trotting over to hold out his hand to Kikuhiro. “I guess you missed me,” he said, and Kikuhiro stopped rubbing his cheek against Kensuke’s finger to nod emphatically. One tiny white arm shot out from between Kensuke’s fingers, beckoning imperiously, and Kensuke smiled and leaned down, letting Kikuhiro touch his cheek.

“Was everything okay while I was gone?” he asked while the o-hana patted his jaw and squeezed the tip of his nose. “You weren’t cold or anything, were you?”

The o-hana paused to consider this, his hand resting on Kensuke’s lower lip. Eventually he shrugged and shook his head, pointing over his shoulder at the window. “The sun kept you warm?” Kensuke guessed, and was rewarded with a wide smile and a nod. “That’s good,” Kensuke said, relieved. “Were you cold last night while it was dark?”

Kikuhiro considered this, then shrugged and see-sawed his free hand back and forth. Kensuke frowned. “I don’t really have control of the temperature in here… I could get you a, a handkerchief or something to sleep under–”

The o-hana‘s little hand promptly grabbed at Kensuke’s upper lip and tugged it down, shutting him up. Kikuhiro shook his head and laughed at Kensuke, then leaned up and kissed him resoundingly on the tip of his nose–a truly odd sensation from a pair of lips that small. Kensuke couldn’t help it: he turned a little pink. “Well, I guess I won’t worry about it,” he mumbled, still half-muffled by Kikuhiro’s grip on his upper lip.

Kikuhiro nodded emphatically and let go, looking thoroughly pleased. Kensuke couldn’t shake the idea that he was being trained.

He sat on the foot of his bed, letting the o-hana keep his hand. “Let me see… I have some reading that I need to do tonight, and I’d wanted to look up some more information about you online… I should probably get my reading done before dinner. Do you mind?”

Kikuhiro shook his head and let go of Kensuke’s hand. Kensuke smiled and, on a whim, reached out to gingerly tousle the o-hana‘s white hair with his fingertip. Kikuhiro’s hair fell in his face and he sneezed silently, swatting the hanks of hair aside. Kensuke laughed and fetched his textbook from his satchel, curling up on the foot of the bed with it and automatically reaching out to give his hand back to Kikuhiro.

He’d barely read a sentence before a little white hand slapped loudly down on the open page, startling him. “Aah! Kikuhiro…? What?”

Kikuhiro pointed to the page, then to Kensuke, then to himself. Kensuke frowned, confused. Kikuhiro laughed and mimed holding a book open, his little lips moving silently–Kensuke got it. “You want me to read it to you?”

The o-hana nodded happily and settled back down, pulling Kensuke’s hand over himself like a blanket. Kensuke rolled his eyes and laughed a little. “Well, all right, but don’t blame me if it bores you to sleep.”

Kikuhiro shook his head emphatically and pointed again, watching Kensuke’s face avidly from the gap between Kensuke’s fingers and his thumb. Kensuke smiled and squinted at the page. “‘Firearms became important for both attack and defense during the Sengoku era, although they did not entirely replace the sword…'”

Later, after dinner, Kensuke dropped in front of his computer and asked it for information on male o-hana. There wasn’t much and most of what there was was useless to him, speculation and lascivious voyeuristic fantasy on messageboards. Koushou Gene-Gineering’s own webloc made no mention of the possibility at all.

None of this was of any use to him. However, when he thought about it, he realized that he’d mostly stopped caring. So Kikuhiro was male. So what?

Their days quickly took on a routine. Kikuhiro bade him goodbye every morning and joyfully welcomed him home every night; Kensuke found himself talking to Kikuhiro constantly, about his day, about his studies, about anything that came to mind. When he wasn’t talking to Kikuhiro, he was studying him; the o-hana was fascinating. Kensuke was riveted. He felt like some sort of anthropologist. Botanist. Anthrobotanist?

Kikuhiro was fastidious like a cat, Kensuke quickly learned, often ‘bathing’ two and three times a day. The o-hana kept himself clean by breathing little bubbles of a slick dense substance–some sort of sap, possibly, Kensuke didn’t know–into his cupped hands and washing himself vigorously with them, as neat a bit of genetic engineering as could be wished. Kensuke would often find himself covertly watching Kikuhiro ‘bathe’ instead of studying, the textbook lying ignored in his lap while he watched the o-hana stroke himself clean. Kikuhiro was utterly matter-of-fact about the process, and often Kensuke would have to look away once Kikuhiro’s busy hands fell low enough.

“I was going to get you a spray bottle,” Kensuke remembered one evening, watching Kikuhiro breathe into his cupped hands and ‘wash’ his face. “I remember reading that some o-hana like to be misted with water. Do you think you’d like that?”

Kikuhiro smoothed his slick hands back over his hair, plastering the fine white stuff close to his scalp, and considered the question. Then he nodded and smiled, reaching out for Kensuke and leaving a smear of slippery stuff on the side of Kensuke’s hand.

“I’ll get you one tomorrow,” Kensuke promised, lightly tapping Kikuhiro’s nose with his forefinger.

“I got this one because it’s specifically for misting plants,” Kensuke told Kikuhiro, presenting the empty red plastic bottle for Kikuhiro’s approval. “I’ll wash it out really well first so the water won’t smell too much like plastic, okay?”

Kikuhiro swayed forward, his little hands patting curiously at the neck of the bottle. After a moment, he figured out how to unscrew the cap and did so, pulling the spray mechanism aside and sniffing at the mouth of the bottle; the disgusted face he made was eloquent. “I know, I know,” Kensuke said, laughing. “I’ll wash it really well. I promise.”

Kikuhiro laughed silently up at him, neatly dropping the cap back into the bottle and squeezing Kensuke’s thumb. Kensuke extricated himself and the bottle from the o-hana‘s playful grip and headed for the bathroom.

He washed the bottle out with alcohol once and with soap and hot water twice, swirling water around in the bottle until all he could smell was clean, hot water, slightly metallic from the pipes. Getting the temperature right took him another few minutes, as he waffled: room temperature? a little warmer? Finally, giving up with a little sigh, he caught a little water in the palm of his hand and took it out to Kikuhiro. “Is this warm enough?”

Kikuhiro dabbled his fingers experimentally in the water and then beamed up at him, flashing Kensuke a thumbs-up. (Kensuke wasn’t sure where the o-hana had picked that up, but he thought it was cute.) “Okay,” Kensuke said, and ran back into the bathroom, filling the bottle and screwing it shut. As an afterthought he grabbed the washcloth off the rack, in case Kikuhiro wanted to dry off afterwards.

“Ready for your shower?” he asked, waving the bottle. Kikuhiro nodded emphatically and thumped his tiny chest with both hands, then spread his arms wide. Kensuke poked the spray bottle at Kikuhiro and pulled the trigger gingerly.

The resulting fine mist hit Kikuhiro square in the face, enveloping the o-hana in a momentary haze of white. Kikuhiro spluttered silently, then ducked his head into the spray and vigorously rubbed his hands over his chest, scrubbing himself ‘clean’ before laughing up at Kensuke. His tiny lashes were glued together, his eyes squinted against the mist, large droplets of water clinging to his hair and hanging from his skin. Kensuke smiled. “Again?”

One of Kikuhiro’s eyes cracked open and he smiled a lazy little smile, stretching his arms up above his head. Privately Kensuke decided that that was a ‘yes’, and he squeezed the trigger again, watching Kikuhiro wriggle ecstatically under the spray.

Kikuhiro slid his tiny fingers through his wet hair, slicking it back in wide furrows, baring the exotic planes of his face and revealing the perfect oval of his skull. (Was there actually a skull in there? Kensuke wasn’t sure, but the shape of the o-hana‘s head mimicked it so closely that he supposed it didn’t matter.) He gleamed now, suede turned to polished leather, water beading in the hollow of his shoulder.

Kensuke swallowed and pulled the trigger.

Kikuhiro stretched under the third blast, the little ball of water slipping from his tilting collarbone to run heavily down his chest, collecting other stray droplets of water and leaving a shrinking rivulet behind. By the time it reached the o-hana‘s narrow white pelvis it was comparatively enormous, a glass sphere catching on Kikuhiro’s miniscule sex and slicking down the fine dusting of white pubic hair that Kensuke had never noticed before. Finally, reluctantly, it let go and traveled down the inside of Kikuhiro’s thigh, slipping behind his knee to limn the faint bulge of his calf before washing along the underside of Kikuhiro’s foot, catching on his rice-grain toes. It swelled there for a moment before gravity pulled it away, to splash into the cup of Kikuhiro’s lily.

Hypnotized, Kensuke pulled the trigger.

Kikuhiro closed his eyes and arched blissfully forward into the mist, twisting his head from side to side before letting it fall back to loll against the cup of his lily. His yellow eyes cracked open and he smiled a pleased little cat-eyed smile up at Kensuke, another enormous droplet of water slipping down the back of his ear to bead like a glass earring off its lobe.

Before Kensuke realized he was going to do it, he reached out and gently swiped that watery earring away, the tip of his finger brushing against Kikuhiro’s ear and the curve of his jaw.

The smile fell off Kikuhiro’s face as if Kensuke had wiped it off. His lips rounded, parting slightly, as if he wanted to say something. Instead he stared up at Kensuke, his usual avid fascination tempered by a bit of something else, something startled, something hopeful… a faint pink stain appeared across his cheeks, like a blush. After a moment, he tilted his head ever so slightly away, until the stem of his throat touched Kensuke’s finger.

Kensuke swallowed again, helpless to stop himself from tracing the slippery curve of Kikuhiro’s throat to where it met his shoulder, and from there across Kikuhiro’s collarbone to the roundness of his shoulder muscle. In the wake of his finger the tiny beads of water combined, sheeting off Kikuhiro’s skin and leaving him damp. The faint pink blush deepened, painting the bridge of Kikuhiro’s nose and curling over the shells of his ears, and belatedly Kensuke remembered why the o-hana blush.

His eyes flicked down unwillingly. The tiny rosy-pink thing that jutted from Kikuhiro’s groin was a little longer than the last joint of Kensuke’s little finger, and slender, and it bore little resemblance to the curled white Grecian-statue genitalia that Kikuhiro had always had before. Kensuke moaned, deep in his throat. Kikuhiro moaned silently in answer, his mouth now a tiny pink ‘o’ in which white teeth still gleamed, and both his hands whipped up to catch the tip of Kensuke’s finger and draw it down in a gentle line over Kikuhiro’s chest.

The bottle slipped from Kensuke’s nerveless fingers to bounce on the carpet. A nipple barely the size of a pinpoint slid under the pad of his finger, and whether Kikuhiro had actual ribs or not, Kensuke could feel them rippling by under his moving touch, until his finger rested in the hollow of Kikuhiro’s stomach, overflowing his tiny vestigial navel–

–the phone rang, jolting Kensuke from his trance.

“Oh!” he squeaked, his hand twitching in Kikuhiro’s grip. “I have to… let me… I…” His words ran dry at the sight of Kikuhiro’s face, flushed and open-mouthed, luminous with want; the o-hana gasped silently for breaths he did not actually need to take, his chest rising and falling rapidly above Kensuke’s fingers. The phone rang again. “The phone,” Kensuke repeated stupidly, and leaving his fingers in Kikuhiro’s possession Kensuke strained for the phone with his other hand, his fingers brushing against the receiver twice before he managed to fumble it off the hook and bring it to his ear. “Hello?” he squeaked, trying not to look at Kikuhiro.

“Kensuke!” Tomoya’s voice blared, making him wince. “My man! I haven’t heard from you in ages! What’s the matter, you too obsessed with your o-hana girl to mail me?”

“To-Tomoya!” Tiny fingers pulled urgently at Kensuke’s hand and without looking, without letting himself think about it, Kensuke let Kikuhiro have it. Six inches of damp suede torso immediately pressed against the palm of his hand, tiny arms wrapping around his wrist, something as tiny and as hard as a wishbone rubbing against the meat of his palm… “I, I’m sorry,” Kensuke babbled, trying desperately to ignore what was going on, “I meant to mail you but I’ve been so busy…”

Tomoya’s coarse laugh bellowed down the wires and into Kensuke’s cringing ear. “I bet you have, Kensuke! I’ll just bet you have!” Tomoya cried. “So where are my pictures, buddy? You’re holding out on me!”

Kensuke’s response dried up in his throat as Kikuhiro’s hips pulled back, then slammed forward again. The o-hana‘s wetted fingertip of a cock wedged itself neatly between Kensuke’s index and middle fingers, the top of it rubbing insistantly against the webbing that connected them. Desperately Kensuke swallowed, even as miniscule teeth dented the skin of his wrist and Kikuhiro writhed forward into his palm. “I’m t-trying, Tomoya,” he managed to say, and for a miracle he thought he sounded almost normal. “But she’s… kind of shy, and I’m not getting really good pictures…”

“Shy?” Tomoya tutted. “Kensuke, you have to be firm with her,” he said, even as Kikuhiro desperately drove himself into the tight damp space between Kensuke’s first two fingers, the water turning the o-hana and Kensuke’s hand alike slick, but not slick enough. “Remember, you can’t back down! Just keep insisting and she’ll do what you tell her!”

“Right,” Kensuke said numbly. Kikuhiro’s legs whipped up, wrapping around Kensuke’s fingers and pressing them more tightly together around his cock, his little body straining and taut. Kensuke cleared his throat, again, barely noticing his thumb curling around Kikuhiro’s ribcage like a miniature copy of an embrace. “I’ll keep, ah, keep trying, Tomoya!”

“Remember,” Tomoya said, his voice taking on a lecherous tone so overdone it was oily, “she loves you, Kensuke.”

Kensuke nodded. Then he remembered that Tomoya couldn’t hear that and amended it to a weak “I know.”

“I’ll be waiting,” Tomoya half-sang. Kikuhiro’s movements became erratic and his arms squeezed Kensuke’s wrist almost hard enough to hurt. “Remember, Ken-chan, you owe me!”

“Right,” Kensuke said, closing his eyes. “I–” Do, he meant to say, but the words cut off cleanly as Kikuhiro jerked his hips forward and the space between his fingers flooded with a one-eighth-scale obscene heat. “I’ll talk to you later,” he said weakly, and fumbled the phone back onto the hook before Tomoya was done saying goodbye.

Kikuhiro clung to Kensuke’s hand like a drowning man might cling to his rescuer. His chest heaved against Kensuke’s palm and his fine white hair hung in limp hanks over his face–his pink-tinted face, the remains of that blush still painted across it. The tiny head of Kikuhiro’s wilting cock still peeped slyly out from between Kensuke’s fingers, surrounded by a small white blotch of rapidly-drying fluid.

I’ve been pollinated! pinballed crazily through Kensuke’s mind. “Let me go, Kikuhiro,” he said hoarsely.

The o-hana clung to him for a minute longer before his legs reluctantly unwound and his arms slid away, freeing Kensuke’s hand. Kensuke parted his fingers carefully; they came apart with a faint wet squelching sound.

Numbly he brought his hand up to study the small blotch, scraping at it with his thumbnail. Dry weightless bits of the stuff flaked away, tumbling prettily away like feathers to dance on the air currents before eventually drifting to the carpet.

“Kikuhiro,” Kensuke said, and he stopped, not knowing what to say.

At the sound of his name the o-hana lifted his face, and the blaze of adoration on Kikuhiro’s features so blinded Kensuke that he almost staggered back a step. “Kikuhiro?” he said again, helplessly, and the disheveled o-hana swayed forward in his lily, tiny white–no, ivory-colored, now–hands landing determinedly on the front of Kensuke’s jeans, scrabbling for the buttons.

As the o-hana‘s hands clawed at the denim, Kensuke belatedly realized that he’d never been so hard in his life.

In Kikuhiro’s hands the buttons of Kensuke’s jeans were the size of dinner plates, and whatever passed for muscles worked in Kikuhiro’s arms as he yanked at the denim, working the topmost button free. “Kikuhiro!” Kensuke squeaked, his hands hovering helplessly to either side, reluctant to actually grab the o-hana and risk hurting him. Kikuhiro paid him no heed, just yanked the second button free.

“Stop,” Kensuke said weakly, the word completely devoid of force. He gingerly brushed a finger against one of Kikuhiro’s wrists, guiding it away from the buttons; Kikuhiro responded by laying that hand on the bulge in Kensuke’s pants and giving it a sharp little squeeze.

Kensuke’s breath caught in his throat, his cock leaping hard enough to shove Kikuhiro’s hand away again. His own hands dropped uselessly to his sides. He gave in. He couldn’t have done anything else. “All right,” he croaked eventually. “All right. Just, just this once…”

The immediate joy–the sheer need–on Kikuhiro’s face brought a brilliant red blush to Kensuke’s own cheeks. Quickly, his little hands trembling, Kikuhiro dealt with the last few buttons before looking up at Kensuke, tugging at the denim. Kensuke nodded, once, terrified, and fumbled with his jeans, shoving his pants and his underwear to his knees in one single nervous gesture.

Kikuhiro caught his cock as it fell, two slender arms hugging it like a drunk man might hug a lamppost. Kensuke’s vision swam and he swayed forward, catching himself awkwardly on the windowsill, hunched over Kikuhiro’s growth ball with his forehead pressed to the cool glass. “Don’t,” he choked, not meaning it, staring down at Kikuhiro, unable to tear his eyes away from the insane spectacle of it all.

The short and sturdy stem of Kikuhiro’s lily was surely getting a workout tonight. The o-hana leaned back into his flower, ivory-white hands stroking obsessively along the top of Kensuke’s cock, pressing it down against his oddly cool chest; a drop of fluid formed at the reddened tip and quick as anything Kikuhiro’s tiny pink tongue swiped it away. Kensuke swallowed a moan of protest.

Kikuhiro’s eyes opened. Yellow-irised and -pupiled, wide and fascinated, he stared up at Kensuke’s face even as he rubbed his cheek against the head of Kensuke’s cock, almost the size of his own head. “D-d… don’t,” Kensuke breathed again, even as he reached out trembling fingers to touch Kikuhiro’s shoulder.

The o-hana swallowed, doubtless just mimicking a gesture that he’d seen Kensuke make a thousand times before, and his eyes closed again. Leaning back farther, forcing the stem of his lily to flex even farther back, Kikuhiro lashed both his legs around Kensuke’s cock, cradling the entire thing against him like a… like a lover, Kensuke thought disjointedly. Like a lover.

Craning up Kikuhiro ran the flat of his tongue around the tip of Kensuke’s cock in a wide, wet circle–no, not just wet. Slick. Kensuke choked on his next breath and could not stop himself from rocking forward into Kikuhiro’s full-body grip, Kikuhiro’s crossed ankles bumping against the skin of his groin, the head of his cock nudging insistantly at the underside of Kikuhiro’s chin.

The o-hana squeezed him tight, rubbing his damp and cool sueded skin against the heat of Kensuke’s own, and Kensuke’s world fell apart in a jangling of heat and wet and need as Kikuhiro squirmed around him. Dimly he was aware of the o-hana rubbing frantically up against him, his own tiny cock hard again and pressed desperately to the underside of Kensuke’s, turning this crazy act into frottage on a surreal scale. It didn’t matter. He didn’t care. All he wanted was more of that friction, more of that cool wetness, more of that… more…

Letting go of the windowsill with one trembling hand Kensuke stifled himself just as he came, his shaking moan dying muffled against the meat of his palm. Even as he came Kikuhiro’s arms and legs tightened around him, tightening almost to the point of pain, and the o-hana bucked frantically against him for a few seconds longer, making Kensuke twitch with the intensity of it before Kikuhiro stiffened, and squeezed him, and came again, pressed tightly to him.

For a long, long moment Kensuke was still, breathing hard, his eyes squeezed tightly shut. Only when Kikuhiro unwound his arms and legs did Kensuke open his eyes–and promptly winced at the extent of the damage. It was as if Kikuhiro had gone swimming in mayonnaise.

“I…” he croaked, reaching up to gingerly wipe an enormous splatter of his own come off Kikuhiro’s face. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to… doesn’t that burn?”

Kikuhiro, eyes tightly shut against the flood, simply shook his head and pointed at Kensuke, then made a quick squeezing motion with the his first two fingers. Kensuke gaped at him for a moment, then scrabbled after the water bottle, which had fallen and rolled under the bed. “Here,” he said, and pulled the trigger, soaking Kikuhiro again.

Kikuhiro ducked his face into the spray and made a lazy beckoning gesture–again–even as dirty whitened water slid off him to pool in the cup of his lily and slide from there down the stem to soak into the growth medium of his ball. Kensuke sprayed him again. And again. And again, until Kikuhiro was soaking wet but entirely clean, his movements lazy and satiated as he stroked stray droplets of Kensuke’s come from the inner walls of his lily.

“I’m sorry,” Kensuke said again, lamely, and Kikuhiro immediately thrust out an imperiously beckoning hand, refusing to relent until Kensuke leaned down. The o-hana‘s hands caught Kensuke’s cheeks and Kikuhiro kissed Kensuke full on the mouth, his lips leaving a single tiny drop of water quivering on the middle of Kensuke’s lower lip.

“Kiku–” he started to protest, and Kikuhiro grabbed his upper lip in one hand and hauled down on it, shutting him up before kissing him again, more firmly.

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