the first half to two thirds is pretty bad

Summer has been Issei’s favorite season for as long as he remembers, but it isn’t until the summer after high school that he decides that his favorite part of the hot season is all the naked skin on display. Not just any skin, though. In fact, he doesn’t recall ever paying anyone mind for longer than the duration of a curious glance before he came along. He who crashed his world with his hands in his pants and his heart on his sleeve. He who leaned into him on their way home from club activities, who invited him for sleepovers when they were supposed to be studying. His best friend who pressed a sleepy kiss to Issei’s lips when they woke up one morning, tangled on the couch, just like that.

Maybe it’s not the skin thing at all. It’s him. The best part of that summer is that he gets to spend it with him.

When they first start a relationship, they tell each other they’d take it slow, that they have all the time in the world. To see how things develop. To get to know each other more, get to know themselves more.
Issei thinks there were some rules, promises, scribbled on the back of his timer, but he also thinks they’ve broken every single one of them. Issei has no regrets, though, not with the way he gets to wake up every day now, with an arm draped over his chest and Takahiro drooling on his sheets. He wouldn’t give that up for anything.

The first time someone approaches Takahiro about a dark red mark just below his ear, Issei melts into the floor in embarrassment. He hadn’t meant to put it there, it just happened somehow. He thinks back to the previous evening, how his best friend’s skin had felt on his tongue, and he melts some more.

The second time is only half as bad, but it still irritates Issei. The guy who asks about the little bite mark on Takahiro’s shoulder must be about their age, and the way he raises one eyebrow is enough to show he knows exactly what it is. What irritates him isn’t the question itself, but the comment that follows. “Your girl’s pretty possessive, huh?”

While the first two times are accidents, the third time is absolutely not. Something’s different in Takahiro’s eyes when they go to bed that night, and it stokes a fire in Issei’s bloodstream that doesn’t burn out before the stars fade to black.
The next morning, Takahiro’s neck is covered in bruises and love bites, galaxies of red and purple and blue, and he’s fucking beautiful.

So maybe it does come around to the skin thing in the end, because Issei would be lying if he claimed he didn’t enjoy watching his boyfriend flaunt kiss marks and scratches alike, half hidden by tank tops and jeans shorts, accompanied by grins so wide he thinks his lips may split. He wears them like Olympic medals.

That aside, Issei loves the little secrets they share, too. The softness of tracing a set of fingerprints on Takahiro’s hip, the fresh kiss mark on his inner thigh. Maybe those are his favorites, because no one else gets to see them. Because they’re reserved for him and him alone to view—or maybe because he put them there when he heard the words “I love you” from Takahiro’s lips for the first time.