He steps through the doorway, towel wrapped lazily around his hips, water dripping from his hair onto his shoulders. He is amazing. Most amazing, he is mine.

I want to caress his skin. I want to run my fingers down the curve of his spine. His beauty is like the orchid I call him. "Ran," I say. "Be my canvas."

He looks at me, one eyebrow down, the other up, unties the towel and uses it on his shaggy, bleached hair. "What?"

"Calligraphy. On your skin."

He stops and looks at me. Contemplates. "What sort of calligraphy?"

"A poem. In the Tokugawa period, people composed poetry on their lover's skin." It's such an odd word, lover. I rarely use it. He seems to like it, anyway.

While he turns the idea around in his head, I go to the drawer where I keep my brushes and sumi ink. When I return, he is sitting on the futon.

"Front or back?" he asks.

"Back," I say and kneel next to him as he lays on his stomach and rests his head on his arm.

Choosing the brush is important. I select a small one: a broad brush would be too big. I write the poem on his back, dry brush.

"Feels nice," he says. "Soft."

I kiss the nape of his neck. I can't resist. Focus, concentration, is key to calligraphy, and I breathe to regain it. Skin is a different medium than paper. It doesn't absorb as quickly, and too much ink will run.

I dip the brush into the bottle and place the first stroke. It's small, and I add the second beside it and third through them. The ink smears a little, and I continue, placing stroke after stroke, until the last character blooms on his hip. "Don't move yet," I say. I cap the ink bottle and carry my brush to the bathroom to rinse. I search through the drawers and find a hand mirror.

"Ran, come look."

He stands slowly, walks over, and takes the mirror, using it with the one on the wall to see his back. "You're good."

"Practice," I reply.

"What does it say? I never could read that form*."

"It's haiku. I thought of it when you got out of the shower.
a beautiful
and a strong flower
my Ran.**"

He smiles at me. "Thanks. It's kinda corny, though."

"Yeah." I smile back and kiss him, my ephemeral orchid.

[* Kanji have several forms. First form is standard copybook, and third form (iirc) is the one that looks to the untrained eye like squiggles. It's used for decorative poetry and the like.]

[**In Japanese, this is actually haiku. The text runs thus: utsukushiku/ tsuyokute o-hana/ ore no ran. Ran is the nickname Jin gave Hwoarang; it also means orchid.]

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