Warning: Cherry Blossoms in the starlight is about two guys. You must be over 18 or the equivalent legal age of adulthood in your country to read this story. You have been warned.

Cherry blossoms in the starlight

Thirsk is an accountant. He has a gym membership he doesn't use, he lives with his girlfriend, in her house, that is full of her stuff. He is normal, boring and happy with it. Wait, change that all to past tense.

After being unceremoniously dumped by his girlfriend of six years and chucked out of the house Thirsk decides to drink himself into a stupor. He doesn't blame himself, who would. Except when he wakes up it's not just a night he's lost, but a whole thirty-six hours. In that time, the Thirsk walking around in his body decided to get a tattoo and befriend the unlikely good-Samaritan that picked his ass out of the gutter.

With nowhere else to go Thirsk ends up living with the enigmatic Ket, but living with the fickle builder-come-interior designer turns out to be more eventful than Thirsk could have predicted. Will Ket's easy going nature rub off on Thirsk, and will anything else?

Author's Note: This was my first ever attempt at M/M pairing, if you're expecting something dark like My twisted love you'll be sadly disapointed, its just ten chapters of me indulging myself. However I hate smut with no story line, so hold your breath for chapters 3 and 4. Cherry blossoms is finished, but I'm going to be putting it up in dribs and drabs as I get a chance to give it a final edit. Also, sorry for the random POV shifts, let me know if they get too confusing.

One - waking up

Thirsk woke slowly from his drunken slumber, the golden haze of pre-hangover blurring the boundaries between waking and sleeping. He opened misty eyes, blinked once and turned over before snuggling back down into his comfortable bed. Except as he settle back into place he realised that his bed wasn't actually that comfortable. The realisation brought him the rest of the way into the land of the living and with a groan he sat up.

The blood rushed from his head and he chucked a hand out behind him to steady himself as the cold and drafty room stabilised around him. He'd thought it was still dark, but as the room stopped spinning he realised it was just badly lit. The odd green glow cast over everything was from the thick layers of moss that coated the iron framed window panes, small rectangles of thick glass that had probably been there as long as the warehouse Thirsk realised he had chosen as a place to sleep.

With another groan Thirsk pressed his balled fists into the sunken sockets of his eyes. Now he was awake his body was slowly regaining normal function, like an ancient computer it was whirring loudly back to life, running diagnostics and telling him in no uncertain terms that he had not been treating the delicate biology of his body with the respect it deserved. His hangover was coming on with surprising speed and intensity, a weird throbbing sensation that had nothing to do with too little space in his head and everything to do with an agonising burning sensation that started in his crown and spread all the way down the right side of his body. What the hell had he taken?

Squinting even in the dull green glow that bathed the warehouse Thirsk ran a hand over his head, checking for the remnants of a fight or accident that would explain the odd pain. His palm halted on the buzz cut of his skull. His fingers ran over the odd bumps and ridges that he was not used to feeling, but that could have been because last time he'd checked he'd had a full head of hair.

He tried to remember what had happened last night. He remembered washing down a several pints of premium lager with most of a bottle of black rum – so memory loss was not a complete surprise – but even so he usually had enough left to find his way home again… thoughts of home brought a grimace to his face and his hand dropped from his head like a dead weight as the reason for that bottle of rum finally danced its way back to the forefront on his mind.

Thirsk wanted to lay back in the musty pile of hessian bags he'd used as a bed, he wanted to return to sleep and forget for a little longer. But he was too sober to really think that was a good idea and with aching limbs he pushed himself to his feet. Thirsk was just over six foot two, when he hadn't drunkenly shaved it off his hair was dark as the faint stubble growing through on his jawline. He was naturally broad and despite usually living the sedentary life of an accountant he wasn't the type of guy you'd pick a fight with.

The warehouse was an old one, most of the floor was empty except for the lonely pillars holding up the roof, the piles of pigeon shit like baby stalagmites on the floor and the small mountain of rotting hessian Thirsk had used as a bed. Most of the windows had been boarded up and those that weren't were coated in algae and moss creating the odd green glow Thirsk had found himself in when he woke. His hung-over reflexes were sluggish and his eyes were taking an age to get used to the gloom. Outside the late spring clouds were being chased across the sky by a brisk wind, and for a moment the sea of white parted and the sun winked in the brilliant blue beyond, casting its gaze on one of the few remaining complete windows, there was no ply to stop the sun – only the meagre attempts of moss, algae and generations of neglect – and a square of light was cast over Thirsk like a theatre actor.

Thirsk stared down at himself, surprised firstly to find himself in bright white wife-beater. The vest showed off his broad chest and well defined arms, but he'd definitely been in a shirt when he'd dressed himself yesterday, and he wasn't the type to wear a vest. That wasn't what really got his attention though. Last night the pale English skin of his arm had been decorated with nothing but the dark hair he'd inherited from his mother. His right arm was how he remembered it, but his left was no longer the pale peach of raw skin. Right now it was rutted with dark lines that were raised and scabbed over. They stopped at the back of his hand and reached all the way up to his shoulder, beyond where he could clearly see without a mirror. With a dawning sense of dread he ran a hand over the ball of his shoulder feeling the rough ridges that pulsed with raw throbbing pain, following those dark scabs up his neck and round the thin and delicate skin of his skull.

He cursed loudly. The sound was amplified in the empty warehouse and as it bounced back it cocooned him in the echo, making him wince and a dozen birds flee squawking from their roosts in the rafters. How the fuck had he got a tattoo, and why the fuck had he gotten one so dam big? The wind swept the curtain of clouds back over the winking sun, but the sight of his arm was already burnt into his memory. The black and grey design that was now a part of his skin had been an intricate mix of art neauvo and the traditional cartoon style of tattoos, reaching tree like tendrils up his arm interspersed with geometric designs and garish tattoo style interpretations.

Thirsk cursed again, how the hell was he going to explain this to work? His hair would grow back eventually but it would be a month before he stopped looking like a thug and he'd never be able to completely hide his neck or the parts that reached to the back of his hand.

'Yer up early?' A voice Thirsk didn't know but sounded disturbingly familiar rose from behind the other side of the hessian mountain. It was gruff with lack of sleep and over indulgence. The other man was clambering to his feet. He paused to catch his breath half way, bracing his upper body with his hands resting on his knees. A flash of memory assaulted Thirsk: blue eyes staring down at him as a thousand needles ran over his skin, behind him cool spring sunlight bathing a shop whose walls were covered in tattoo designs. Followed by another: this time darkness surrounded him, the moon was a thin slither overhead, and intense blue eyes stared out of a strange face. Delicate branches had reached up over the skull that contained those eyes. The tattoo was intricate and almost invisible beneath a not recently shaved head, flashes of pale pink had picked out the lines of the skull beneath – like blossoms were blooming and falling repeatedly on the surface of the skin.

The other man stepped round the pile of bags, and stopped in front of Thirsk. His wry grin was split by the bright line of a lip piercing and a shared understanding of indulgence and the ensuing pain was soft in his eyes. The memory was of him, except the half of his skull that was decorated with the tree design was freshly shaved. The elaborate ink was full visible as it disappeared down into the neckline of his long sleeved t-shirt, but the flowers were gone. Thirsk dropped his head into his hands, then winced at the pain it caused; what the hell had he taken?

'What the fuck is going on?' Thirsk growled, his pain turning to anger in the green darkness. The understanding smile on the other man's face wavered. His brow dropped in confusion as he stared at the angry and otherwise unrecognising glare Thirsk was shooting him. He was six foot or so, maybe an inch shorter than Thirsk, those brilliant blue eyes were set in tanned skin that was stretched over broad shoulders. None of his muscle was hidden by the fitted long sleeved t-shirt he wore, neat jeans hung from narrow hips and a silver hoop split the line of his bottom lip. He looked like trouble, especially with his half shorn head.

'Yer shittin wi me, Thirsk?' the other guy asked, his voice was gruff and cut with the remnants of a strong northern accent. His lip curled back up in a chuckle, that faltered again as Thirsk continued to scowl. 'Huh,' he mumbled stepping forwards with surprising speed. His fingers closed around Thirsk's chin, angling his head down slightly. He forced Thirsk to meet his eyes, and stared at him with an intensity Thirsk could not handle on a morning like this. The guys eyes were bottomless sea blue, the centres a deep teal that was almost green. Thirsk remembered them. He remembered them staring down at him while the god forsaken tattoo was done, and again surrounded by tattoos of flowers that were clearly not there anymore, but he did not remember the guy they belonged to.

' ' the fuck, man? Yer mental or somethin?'

'Chill out,' Thirsk grabbed the man's hand and with a surprising amount of effort tugged it from his chin. 'I drank most of a bottle of rum, that's enough to fry a guy's circuits, and doesn't make me mental.'

The stranger continued to stare, looking more puzzled than anything else.

'Yeah, fair play, yer drank a bottle o rum… on Saturday afternoon – along wi god knows what else – before I chucked yer out o Mera's shop, and before those kids started pissing on yer where yer'd passed out in the gutter, but yesterday yer were sober as a judge.'

'Yesterday was Saturday,' Thirsk clarified and the other guy gave a weary shake of his head.

'Bloody hell. No, mate, yesterday was Sunday,' he tugged a smartphone out of his jean pocket and checked the screen. 'Today is Monday, automatic date an time updates don't lie,' he flashed Thirsk the screen that announced it was indeed Monday and was just passed eight in the morning.

Thirsk cursed again, and tugged his own battered old phone from his pocket, but it was dead anyway.

'Woah, well, this is weird,' the other guy said with another weary chuckle. 'Come on, let's get some breakfast at least.'

Without waiting for an answer the blond guy turned to leave. He crossed the breadth of the warehouse and heaved open a huge steel sliding door. Thirsk watched, waiting for something to come to him, but his mind came up blank, all thoughts trumped by the idea of breakfast.

They were in the industrial district and it was a short walk to the nearest greasy café. Outside beat up cars lined each side of the pavement and a steady stream of guys who spent too much time behind the wheel of a truck and in pubs and not enough working it all off passed in and out of the creaking doors of the café. Inside there were seven plastic tables that had once been white but were now a creamy yellow colour. Matching chairs were pulled up around them, most full. Thirsk walked passed them all through the gap at the end of the counter and pulled two metal stools up to the end of the narrow shelf that held the condiments. The chubby woman behind the counter was wearing a blue floral apron over her jeans and t-shirt and she waved at Thirsk's companion without looking up from the bacon she was frying. The air smelt of bacon, chip fat and bleach.

'Two for breakfast when you got a minute, Maggie.'

'Five minutes, Ket,' the woman called back and her open hand shot over her head with her five fingers outstretched in case he hadn't heard. Ket took a seat on one of the stools and Thirsk took the other one. He stared at the guy; trying to put that name to the brief flashes of memory in a vain attempt to recall something of the last thirty-six hours that was not this man's face.

'So your name's Ket?'

'My name's Henry Madison-Kettleness, but people call me Ket.'

'You always give your full name like that?'

'Nope, but yer asked yesterday what kind o name was Ket, figured I'd save yer the trouble second time round.'

'So what the hell happened? And why on earth do I have this fucking tattoo from my head to my fingers?'

'S'not on your head, bit on your neck. The ridges yer feel are the stiches they put in yer in on Saturday,' said Ket he clocked Thirsk's shocked glace and gave a weary shake of his head. 'The long an short o it is yer turned up in my cousin's tattoo parlour, clearly wasted at four in the afternoon, I chucked yer out, next thing I know there's a bloody commotion outside. Me an Mera find this gang o idiots on yer; you're knocked out an bleeding like a stuck pig, an they're pissing on yer, laughing like the fucking brats they are. I felt guilty on account of me chucking yer in the gutter in the first place, so I drove yer to A an E. Then they said yer didn't have any next of kin an the girl on yer phone wouldn't answer so I took yer home. Yer still wanted a tattoo in the morning when yer were sober, so Mera obliged.'

'So you tattooed a concussed guy, great.'

'Nope, doctors checked; no concussion. Yer cut yourself on a piece of broken glass in the gutter when you rolled over in your sleep, the guys were just pissing on you when you were down, literally.'

The story was interrupted by two cups of milky tea that were dropped on the side in front of Thirsk and Ket. Ket grinned his thanks and proceeded to empty two packets of sugar into the pale excuse for tea. Thirsk suddenly felt nauseous and the plate of greasy breakfast that was dropped in front of him did not help.

'You been sleeping in that bloody warehouse again, Ket?' Maggie said in a voice that had smoked too many cigarettes in its youth, her hands rested on the padded swell of her hips.

'Yer get a taxi to come out here at four in the morning Maggie an I'll ride it home. Until then the warehouse is fine.' He stood and pressed a kiss to her blotchy red cheek.

'Urgh, you stink lad, eat yer breakfast and go home and shower.' She turned to Thirsk, her eyes skimming over the freshly inked markings on his arm. 'An' you dun get swept of yer feet by a pair o' blue eyes; jus' cause yer both guys dun mean he won't screw yer over.'

Thirsk's face dropped but Maggie was already bustling back behind her counter to see to the next lot of bacon now her warning had been given. Thirsk turned back to Ket, who was apparently tucking into his breakfast with gusto. But a smirk was curling the corner of his lips and eyes.

'Other yer was less of a homophobe too,' Ket mumbled. He wiped a line of ketchup from his chin with his thumb, and his gaze darted up to watch Thirsk who hadn't touched his breakfast. 'Are yer trying to work out if your arse is sore?' he mocked as his gaze flicked down to where Thirsk was indeed thinking of. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat while he tried to figure out if he had lost his male virginity on top of everything else, but he had no idea what it would feel like anyway.

'Do yer want to fuck every girl yer see on the street, mate? Or do yer think that gay men have to resort to random acts of kindness to get a laid?' Snickering Ket reached over and tugged Thirsk face in his direction planting a greasy kiss on his stubbled cheek. 'Yer right, I find yer irresistible, that's why I took yer to a party that meant we'd sleep in a warehouse rather than taking yer home and sticking my dick in that sweet little hole of yours,' he purred under his breath, his voice laced with sarcasm. Then with a burst of astounded laughter he pushed a squirming Thirsk back towards his breakfast and returned to his own.

'Honestly, straight men…' Ket gave a cynical shake of his head. 'Just eat yer dam breakfast before it goes cold,' Ket added when Thirsk continued to stare at his plate.

Reluctantly Thirsk did as he was told, cutting into the rich yellow yolk and toast below, working a chunk of sausage onto his fork and forcing it into his mouth. His stomach churned in complaint as it hit the remainder of last night's booze but he forced it down all the same. He gave up trying to work out what was going on. For now, eating something that may waylay the oncoming hangover was all he cared about.

A shrill beeping sounded from Ket's pocket and he tugged it out with one hand. With a grimace he clamped it between his ear against his shoulder so he could continue eating.

'Daren… nah I'm not in this morning,' he mumbled with his mouth half full of bacon and fried mushrooms. 'Seriously? I've had this booked off for months… I could come in for an hour this afternoon… three? …Time an a half right?' Ket grinned and hung up.

Thirsk groaned as he suddenly remembered it was Monday, and he certainly hadn't had today booked off for months.

'Shit, can I borrow your phone, I need to call work.'

'Sure,' Ket handed the phone over without looking up from his food, 'yer made me promise not to let yer call Stella last night; that still stands.'

Thirsk's lip curled in distaste and he didn't respond just plugged in the number for his work hoping reception was open. It was and he reeled off some excuse about being ill, which went over well because he sounded like shit.

'Call a taxi as well… bloody hell, yer don't even know my address do yer, Cotton Mews off Tow Road,' with a sigh Thirsk just did as he was told and turned back to his rapidly cooling breakfast.

As he wiped up the last smear of golden egg Thirsk realised Ket had already finished and was staring at him over the rim of his heavy white mug.

'What?' Thirsk mumbled plucking up his own mug.

'It's weird how different yer are, I mean, you're the same miserable twat, but not…'

Thirsk couldn't help but laugh; it was like a punch in the stomach after the weekend he'd had. Stella's words on Saturday morning sung through Thirsk's memory like a slap around the face, "you're just so miserable and boring…"

In a way the events that had followed were such a cliché it was almost embarrassing to realise he'd had it in him: he'd drunk himself into a stupor, injured himself and been pissed on in the street before getting taken to Accident and Emergency by a stranger. Getting a tattoo in some kind of mind blank and ending up being looked after by a gay punk who slept in warehouses for fun was just… well he just felt rather sad and sorry for himself. He dropped his face into his hands, ignoring the shots of pain that ran up from the contact and buried themselves deep inside his throbbing brain.

'Cheer up, sunshine,' Ket dropped his hand on the back of Thirsk's head. His palm rested lightly over the puckered stiches that ran from where Thirsk's neck met his skull up and over to his right temple.

Ket had heard most of his story the day before even if Thirsk didn't recollect telling it. But it was hard to remember the dark haired Thirsk didn't have any recollection of the conversation, or the light hearted friendship that had come after.

'If I didn't like yer miserable twat o a self I would have kicked yer out on the street yesterday morning after I'd done my good Samaritan duty. So stop moping like you're the only one whose ever been dumped an called boring. Now, let me tell yer, it's more of a pain in the ass having to repeat all this shit to yer, so if yer forget again I'm going to leave yer ass to stew. But that lass of yours will come back crawling when she realises what she wants doesn't exist, an' yer'll have yourself a nice time while that happens, maybe yer'll meet a better lass, it's not the end of the goddam world.' Ket glanced down at his phone as it beeped again. 'Come on the taxi's here.' He dragged Thirsk to his feet by his none-inked shoulder and waved at Maggie. 'I'll drop yer the cash at three Maggie.'

'Sound boy, make sure yer have a shower before yer come back.' A chorus of chuckles went up from the queue of truck drivers and a couple of the regulars shot Ket gruff greetings as he dragged Thirsk out of the Café and into the waiting taxi.