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13 February 2007 @ 10:42 pm
PoT Fic: Once Upon A Time In Tokyo  
Once Upon A Time In Tokyo
Konomi's, not mine
Mature Themes?

a/n: I just want to play with Hyoutei. I ship Silver, Dirty and Sleepy. Four more permutations and I could have a troupe of performing dwarfs.

Happy pre-Valentine's Day, y'all.



01. Atobe Makes Mukahi, Oshitari, Shishido, Ohtori and Jiroh An Offer They Don't Refuse.

Atobe Keigo didn't believe in bribes. What a savvy businessman couldn't achieve through the simple expedient of oratory and cream cakes was not worth achieving, in Atobe's humble opinion. Atobe had been running a minor arm of his father's business since he was twelve. He believed he knew what he was talking about.

He'd gone to great lengths to prepare a special feast for this particular occasion. The linen-bedecked tables were groaning with all manner of sweets and confectionary. Some of it sparkled as sunlight hit the spun sugar. When Atobe left the room to confer with his butler, it was a living testament to Atobe's sublime taste in general and his skill in choosing cooks in particular.

Ten minutes later, when five of his former teammates had been shown in and given time to relax, it was little more than a demolition site.

Ohtori had the grace to look chastened, and Jiroh bestowed a sleepy and chocolate-limned smile upon him. The other three were utterly shameless. Both Shishido and Mukahi were stuffing their faces with abandon, only pausing to slap each other's hands when one of them made for an item the other coveted. Oshitari was calmly hoovering up whatever they left behind, his wide mouth opening and closing in a manner not too far removed from a tree frog's. Atobe put it down to his barbaric Kansai roots.

"Ahem," said Atobe. "If you're quite finished?"

"Shishido-chan took all the Viennese biscuits," complained Mukahi. "Do you have any more?"

"I took the last one, you had all the rest," mumbled Shishido through a mouthful of something friable, judging by the crumbs he was spraying everywhere. "And don't call me Shishido-chan."

"Whatever, Shishido-chan," said Mukahi. Shishido glared four types of murder at him. Ohtori tried to defuse the situation in his standard manner, that of random apologies.

"I'm sorry, Atobe-kun. I wasn't sure if we were allowed to eat these but I really do love profiteroles ..."

"I ate the chocolate-covered bears," Jiroh piped up, as if anyone couldn't have deduced that from the way he'd smeared them across his face first.

The babel rose and Atobe's eye began to twitch. Just as the cacophony reached its zenith, Oshitari's voice broke through with a clean verbal swipe.

"Atobe-kun," he drawled, "your fly is open."

~*~

Eventually Atobe got his point across. This necessitated four platters of Viennese biscuits, tactical deployment of Atobe's tie and Jiroh's belt on Mukahi and Shishido, and a reprint of Atobe's colour-coded flow charts and pie graphs after Oshitari 'accidentally' spilled celebratory sake on the first set. Yet not one of them voiced an objection to the scheme, which automatically made the gathering Atobe's most successful business meeting to date.

This scene of bliss, which was practically bucolic (given Atobe-san's current and uber-fashionable penchant for stuffing every room with what seemed like fifty million potted ferns), sadly did not replicate itself on the day of the great moving-in. Predictably, Mukahi and Shishido got into a fight over which bedroom they'd baggsied -- this despite the fact that each bedroom besides Atobe's own had the exact same dimensions, wall space, cupboard space and window space, as per his specifications. For some reason, both of them preferred a view of twenty slightly blue high rises to twenty slightly silver high rises, and neither could be convinced that they might possibly be able to live without it.

Less predictably, Ohtori disappeared for three hours after neatly stacking his luggage in the last available bedroom, and turned up again with a plastic bag full of goldfish. He proceeded to go around to every ensuite and place a goldfish in the tooth mug. It turned out the ensuites were bad feng shui. Atobe hadn't known that. Nor apparently had anyone else, if their astounded expressions were anything to go by.

Oshitari's unpacking spread itself around the entire apartment like an ink stain, leaving everyone to their unvoiced questions of exactly why Oshitari owned forty-two pairs of identical sky-blue silk boxers with embroidered kiss marks around the hems. He filled half the shelf-space in the TV cabinet with subbed American romcoms, which nestled side-by-side with Jiroh's anime boxsets. Atobe added one or two of his more eclectic collection, in the vain but as yet undiminished hope that culture could be transmitted by proximal osmosis.

Jiroh went to sleep in the hallway, and everyone tripped over him at least twice.

At four o'clock in the afternoon, Atobe wandered into the living room from his palatial bedroom, where he'd been surreptitiously surfing ikea.com (with porn in an open window in case Mukahi or Shishido barged in). The sunken atrium, which had been a key selling point, was strewn with all manner of garbage. Atobe presumed some of it was his new flatmates' possessions; he didn't like to judge.

Mukahi had two handfuls of Shishido's hair and was tugging, hard, while screeching curses that would have made a sailor blush. Shishido was compensating for Mukahi's Delilah impression by keeping the smaller boy in a headlock. His ranting -- while nothing like on the scale of Mukahi's -- had the advantage of pithy repetition, Shishido growling 'shut' and 'up' over and over. Oshitari had stripped down to yet another pair of sky-blue-with-kisses boxers and was lounging, Cleopatra-like, on the sofa while Julia Roberts' smile ate up the entire 103-inch plasma TV screen. Someone -- probably Ohtori -- had kindly rolled Jiroh up against the wall and covered him with a blanket. Atobe could see through to the kitchen, where Ohtori was ransacking the drawers for saucepans in which to house his superfluous goldfish.

"I think," said Atobe with satisfaction, "that this will be the start of a beautiful friendship."

02. Shishido Goes Swimming And Has A Small Epiphany.

Shishido was not by nature an early riser, and so his nine o'clock lectures were something of a bane and a curse. Far more often than he'd admit (to Choutarou, at least) he bounced his alarm clock off the floor and rolled right back over in bed. Most lecturers posted their notes on the internet, after all. Shishido read them after a fashion. Hey, self-directed learning was what university was all about, right? And Shishido was self-directed. Mainly he directed himself into bed.

It could be safely said that Shishido wasn't an expert on the morning habits of his five flatmates. His resonant snores drowned out the sound of Atobe's off-key shower karaoke and the small tornado that was Mukahi preparing for the day. His nostrils sniffed in vain at the fragrant scent of Oshitari's culinary genius while his brain slumbered on. Even Jiroh's squeals when his flatmates took it in turns to try out inventive cures for narcolepsy on him went unheeded by Shishido.

It was a sharp email from his mentor -- sounding uncomfortably like Kantoku on one of his off-days -- that brought Shishido to his senses, at least where nine am starts were concerned. He took the trouble of hanging his alarm clock from the light fixture so that he couldn't turn it off, and the annoyance this engendered in his sleepy brain was enough to kick-start it into the shower. From there he shambled into the kitchen, his shirt on backwards and his long hair standing a mess of static, like a halo dipped in praline.

Choutarou was standing on tiptoes to feed his fish. Atobe had relented on the second day and ordered a massive tank for Choutarou's pets. In Shishido's opinion, it was like renting out the penthouse in the Ritz for a couple of toddlers. The fish didn't seem to notice the difference between a saucepan and the airy glass box containing more ornaments than Shishido-san's mantelpiece. But from the way Choutarou cooed at them you'd never guess that they were anything but the dumbest bunch of fish in the greater Tokyo area.

"Morning, Shishido-san. You're up early."

"Morning, Choutarou," Shishido yawned. Atobe had suggested that they use their given names now that they all lived together, but it hadn't gone down well. For one thing, Jiroh'd been asleep at the time of the suggestion. So it went on as usual, with Mukahi and Oshitari calling each other 'Gakuto' and 'Yuushi' (when they weren't simpering 'darling' and 'sweetheart' instead), Shishido and no one else yelling for Choutarou to find his phone for him, and Choutarou calling everyone something-san like he was living in a permanent teacher's convention.

Choutarou picked up a sports bag from the floor, but hovered, seemingly reluctant to leave. Shishido noticed when he almost walked into him. "You got a lecture, Choutarou?"

"No, I'm off to swim practice." Choutarou hefted the bag higher as proof.

"You still planning to go out for the team, then?" Shishido found his green tea under the grill, where he'd hidden it from Mukahi.

"If all goes well." Choutarou rubbed at his arm, almost reflexively. He'd started swimming as a therapy when his Scud Serve had finally taken its toll on his shoulder, and kept it up as a panacea when a return to tennis was ruled out entirely. Shishido still felt a little catch in his chest when he thought about the day he'd realised they could never play a tournament together again. But it wasn't like Shishido played any more either, except for fun. And this was university. Tennis was way down the list of things you could do for fun.

"I'll be rooting for you," said Shishido, because Choutarou liked to hear soppy things like that. Of course he meant it as well, but that was a given.

"Um, I was wondering ..." Choutarou trailed off hesitantly, but rallied with, "if you like, you could come with me. Some time."

"To the pool?" Shishido thought about it. He wasn't technically a skilled swimmer, but he was fast. And he sure did like bomb-diving. "Sounds good. But I can't right now, I have a lecture." He grimaced at the thought, and grimaced even harder when he saw the clock. "In ten minutes, actually. I gotta split."

"Tomorrow then?" called Choutarou hopefully.

"Tomorrow!" agreed Shishido over his shoulder, taking the stairs at a run and, presently, a fall. He made the lecture with two minutes to spare, and proceeded to sleep through most of it.

~*~

Swimming with Choutarou was a bit of a shock. Not at his proficiency; Shishido took it for granted that Choutarou would be pretty damn good at whatever he put his mind to. But at him, Choutarou himself. Shishido shook water out of his ears and hung off the side of the pool, thinking.

It had been years since they'd last been in a changing room together. Choutarou injured his shoulder the year he vice-captained Hyoutei while Shishido was a freshman in high school. Out of lack of interest -- and perhaps, even, lack of Choutarou -- Shishido gave up tennis before Choutarou started high school. They'd remained friends, of course. The old fire, the brother-like companionship, that was gone, but they'd never be anything but friends. Choutarou couldn't contemplate it, and Shishido wouldn't let it.

But the fact was that Shishido hadn't seen -- well, an 'in the shower Choutarou' -- for a very long while. The last time had been before their voices broke, for crying out loud. Then, it hadn't been so long since Shishido shared a bath with his brother. Now ... it was a very long time since he had.

At first Shishido was amused by the changes in his friend. He was on the point of half-teasing, half-congratulating Choutarou on the arrival of the fine golden hair that furzed his belly when Choutarou leaned down for a towel. Shishido couldn't look away from the long, smooth stretch that displayed in so many ways that Choutarou was a man now.

He wasn't sure why that disconcerted him so much. After all, it was obvious. Choutarou wasn't the only one with hair on his belly, on his legs, in his pits. And in other places too, probably more of it than before. He wasn't likely to forget the day Choutarou asked him, all trembly and nervous, if it was normal to have it growing down there.

No, it was just as surprise was all.

That didn't quite explain Shishido's reaction later that day, when he and Choutarou were preparing dinner. That was to say, Shishido was supervising, tasting and pretending to chop things while Choutarou got on with the less important preparations. There was a soft rumble of chatter from the atrium, where the rest of their flatmates were assembled and waiting to be fed. Shishido turned to ask Choutarou something, and the words dried up in his mouth. And all because Choutarou had one hand on the topmost shelf, feeling around for some vital implement, and his shirt was hitched up three or four inches on the left side.

When Choutarou turned around to give him the whisk he'd wanted, Shishido could see downy hairs protruding through the fashionable rips in Choutarou's jeans. Shishido got a sickly-sweet feeling just under his ribs, like he was about to ride a rollercoaster without really wanting to.

So. Choutarou was a man. And Shishido was a man.

A really big surprise, then.

03. Yuushi Is A Sex Magnet, But Everyone Else Are Just Normal Magnets.

A strange cloud of silence always hung over the apartment when Yuushi brought girls home. It was strange, to say the least. To hear Shishido talk, you'd think he owned a brothel. Atobe's swagger was more of the same, only cushioned in fancy words and curly euphemisms. Even Jiroh and Choutarou could be coaxed into spilling the beans of their exploits under the right conditions (ie, after their drinks had been spiked with Gakuto's fifteen percent proof vodka). But they clammed up like, well, clams the moment an honest to god, redblooded female walked through the door. Eyes slit sideways, heads bowed, voices muted, it was the overall general effect of finding a skunk at a teaparty -- minus the screams. Those Yuushi provided somewhat later on in the evening's festivities.

Usually Gakuto wouldn't be bothered by his flatmates' prudery, except insofar as he could mock them mercilessly for it. The problem was that it seemed to be catching. It wasn't like Gakuto was jumping up to greet Yuushi's lights o' love with his charm turned up full ball. In fact, he turned into the biggest, dumbest mute of all. And he had no idea why.

This pissed him off. He didn't like having to pass up such a prime opportunity for teasing the others -- especially Choutarou, who blushed, and Atobe, who pretended he didn't.

Gakuto thumped his pillow. It didn't quite disguise the muffled but somewhat similiar thumping coming through the wall from the next room. Gakuto'd chosen the one beside Yuushi on purpose. He'd nearly told Shishido that when they were fighting over it, but pointing out that the other room was beside Choutarou's worked just as well. Shishido had been gone like a shot. At least Gakuto wasn't the only one who'd wanted to be close to his friend. Now he kind of regretted it. It was like living beside an alley full of horny cats. He doubted Shishido would ever have to put up with this nightly repertoire from Choutarou, who probably said 'Excuse me' when he came.

The one good thing about these girls was that they never turned up twice. Yuushi believed in playing the field, and where he was concerned the field had the surface area of the moon. It was that rough accent, like whiskey poured over rocks, that did it. Even Gakuto wasn't immune to its wiles if Yuushi caught him unawares. The shiny hair and wicked eyes probably played a part too.

The thumps increased in volume and frequency. Gakuto threw his pillow on the floor, only to retrieve it and jam it over his head as next door's performance reached an ear-splitting finale.

"Thank fuck for that," mumbled Gakuto, and went to sleep.

~*~

Another thing that was strange was the way no one else in the flat had lady visitors. There were probably plenty of good reasons, like: Atobe and Shishido were in love with what they saw in the mirror. Or: Choutarou was too bashful to ask anyone out, and too good looking to be asked out. Or: Jiroh was always freakin' asleep. Or: Gakuto just hadn't felt the urge since high school. High school: went for everything in a skirt that flipped up in the wind and had been turned down by Yuushi first. University: couldn't be bothered. Maybe it was the lack of uniforms, although plenty of girls would cater to a simple thing like a uniform fetish.

Then again, Gakuto had surprised himself by falling in love -- with his course. He was taking modules in Japanese and European History, as well as Psychology, and they absorbed and enthralled him like he thought nothing but Grand Slam videos ever could. Not to mention that he'd joined the tennis club and the debating society. While they were good places to meet girls, he went there to do things and not to pull. It was certainly showing. He hadn't gone out with anyone besides Pam and her five sisters in nearly half a year.

He got home one night in November late, feeling the beginnings of a cold snap in the tips of his ears and nose. Predictably, he'd forgotten his gloves, so he was really looking forward to a hot cup of tea or even sake if there was any left. Shishido had a nasty habit of guzzling whatever food he found, regardless of who it belonged to and how many times he got punched for it.

It was nearly midnight. The debate had run over quite a bit, Gakuto not being alone in getting heated over the religious topics. He didn't expect anyone to be up, so he was a bit startled to find Yuushi sprawled across the sofa clad only in his ubiquitous blue boxers.

"Yo," said Gakuto. Times past he would have added something syrupy like 'honey' or 'beloved,' but he felt almost uncomfortable with that habit now. Now that Yuushi used the words for real, on other people.

"Hey, darl." Yuushi inclined his head over the back of the seat. "Where were you till now?"

"Debate." Gakuto unwound his scarf and chafed his hands together. "So, where is she?"

"Where is who?" asked Yuushi, looking genuinely confused.

Gakuto laughed. "Whatever piece of ass you've got in your bed tonight. Hello, earth to Yuushi?"

Yuushi's brow darkened. "I don't have pieces -- no one, tonight. I don't every night, you know."

"Really?" It must've been just Yuushi some of those times, then. Man, he was loud. "Sucks to be you. Have you seen my green tea?"

"Shishido put it under the grill, I think." Yuushi rolled on to his stomach and prodded the remote. A few minutes later Gakuto returned, a steaming mug in his chapped hands. He sat down beside Yuushi. It was almost like old times, although for some strange reason Yuushi was watching a car chase movie, which was a little like being held up at gunpoint by a duck.

"Your hands look cold," said Yuushi, which was also unique. Yuushi didn't talk during films and couldn't abide it when others did. Gakuto put it down to that car chase.

"No gloves. What're you gonna do." Gakuto shrugged. Between the tea and the watchable film and Yuushi's reassuringly familiar, semi-naked presence, Gakuto was getting sleepy.

"Here." Yuushi took Gakuto's free hand and slid it under his warm thigh, hissing a bit at the cold. "That'll warm you up."

"Thanks." Gakuto yawned. It wasn't until after he'd finished his tea, extracted his hand from under Yuushi's silk-clad leg, left his mug in the sink for Choutarou to find and gone to bed that he thought what Yuushi had done was maybe .. weird.

The next night Yuushi brought home, not a girl, but a girlfriend. How Gakuto knew was that he kept bringing her back.


04. Atobe Finds Procrastination To Be The Better Part Of Valour.

Atobe flattered himself that he excelled at procrastination as much as anything else. So far that night he'd made pancakes; made pancakes again when the first lot turned out to share an unfortunate similarity to wet concrete; re-ordered his pen drawer in terms of company of manufacture instead of colour; checked the ink on his three printers; rearranged the cushions on his bed into a more aesthetically pleasing pattern; checked his hair in the mirror every five minutes in case something should change in the intervening time; and seriously considered going into the atrium to hang out with his flatmates. Even though no Atobe would do anything so plebeian as 'hang out.'

The sad fact of the matter was, Atobe had an essay due on the history of economics. It wouldn't have been half so bad, nowhere near verging on the tragic, if Atobe had actually finished it. Or, indeed, started it. But, well, he'd expected to ease through economics on a wing and a prayer. Had he not run a company -- an actual, living, dynamically growing company? Did he not have a director's chair ready and waiting for him, being butt-warmed by a parade of toadying sycophants as his father indulged Atobe's 'fling' with student life? Yes, and yes. And yet he could find no loophole that said he was allowed to skip out on assignments and still pass. It was ridiculous, it was almost cruel, but it was a fact.

Atobe booted up his computer and spent a good five minutes staring at the Van Gogh portrait he used for a screensaver, in spite of the fact that he could go see the original any time he liked -- but only if he was prepared to risk running into his father at company headquarters, of course. He idly clicked on the word processor, opened the empty file marked 'hist. econ. essay' and nearly fell off his chair in his eagerness to answer the door when someone knocked.

Jiroh was standing on the threshold, looking sleepy. That was hardly unique. His black t-shirt and jeans were something of an anomaly, though. Normally Jiroh dressed as sedately as a hyperactive child who'd come off his meds without permission. Nausea-inducing combos of oranges and lime-greens were more his stock-in-trade. Even his shoes were unusual -- no runners today, but shiny black grown-up shoes.

All this Atobe disseminated in five point two seconds, after which he dragged Jiroh inside. Jiroh could be forgiven for his startlement at Atobe's eagerness. Atobe rarely welcomed interruptions with such alacrity. In fact, he had been known to rig up booby traps over his doors to prevent anyone getting near him during exam time.

"What's up, Atobe?" Jiroh ruffled his hair as he bent over Atobe's state-of-the-art laptop that, for all its up-to-the-minute and fresh-off-the-drawing-board features, had yet to include a 'writing essays' programme. "I guess you still haven't finished that essay, huh."

Atobe had long since given up trying to figure out how Jiroh knew things. It was easy, if fallacious, to assume that because Jiroh spent so much time asleep, he missed vital information that was being spoken around him. Perhaps Jiroh wasn't fully asleep, only dozing; Atobe didn't know and didn't much care. What he would have paid much to discover was how Jiroh knew things that no one else did.

"No," said Atobe, who hadn't spoken of this essay to a single soul, not even to his classmates. Smug bastards to an off-the-peg business-suited man, they all had it done.

"You can ask for an extension. I'm sure they'd give you one."

"Why, because I can pay them?" snapped Atobe. Some small and hitherto silent morsel of integrity had revealed itself at Atobe's student registration, and told him that he wasn't going to use his monetary influence to survive the college experience. He wasn't about to back out of that deal just because one curly-haired scrap of an art student thought he should.

Jiroh opened his eyes wide, a rare occurrence and one that always made Atobe think of a chocolate bar melting around the edges. "Not the first thought that sprang to mind. No, I meant because you've handed everything else in on time. You've shown yourself to be responsible. They'll probably think there's a good reason for you not doing it this time and extend the due date."

"Huh." Atobe didn't want to acknowledge that he hadn't thought of that. "I don't think it'll make a difference, though. It's not that I'm running out of time to finish. I'm running out of time to start."

"Got a lot on your mind lately?" Jiroh's gaze was strangely probing. Atobe picked up one of his executive toys and started playing with it.

"Not more than usual. I mean, there's always work to be done, even when I think there isn't. Plus, I'm running for chairman of the Law Society --"

"Keigo." Jiroh's hand came down over Atobe's, stilling his twitching fingers. His palm had softened in the years since he'd abandoned tennis. "I know you can dissociate better than anyone else -- you're you, after all -- but I refuse to believe that some deep-down part of you doesn't know what date it is."

"Of course I know that," snapped Atobe. "Nineteenth of December -- I do possess a calendar, you know ... oh."

"Oh," repeated Jiroh. His hand tightened around Atobe's, which had started to tremble without his prior permission. "I know you want to block this out, but I can't let you."

"I wasn't ..." said Atobe feebly. But one thing he wasn't very skilled at was denial. "Where are the others?"

"Oshitari's driving them. I told them we had something else to do."

"Really? What?"

"Come outside and I'll show you." Jiroh's hand was insistent, pulling Atobe away from his safe cocoon.

"It's raining," protested Atobe, in a last ditch attempt at resistance.

Jiroh smiled, and the warmth of his eyes was like hot cocoa after walking across miles of ice. "That's kind of the point."

~*~

By Tokyo standards, Atobe's apartment block was not a very tall one. At the same time it didn't give off such a feeling of squatness that one would feel okay about jumping off the roof. Atobe stayed well away from the parapet around the edge, which gave him a square foot of space in which to rotate.

He was soaked to the bone, and complaining loudly about it to compete with the sound of the rain and his own beating heart.

"This is ridiculous!" he shouted. "I'm sure I heard thunder! If I catch pneumonia and can't sit my exams, what'll you do then?"

"Call a doctor." Jiroh rolled his eyes. "C'mere." His hand -- Atobe hadn't let go of it yet -- tugged again. Atobe took a reluctant step away from the safety zone. "Close your eyes."

"If this is a belated attempt to usurp my company by murdering me, I have to tell you it's very ill advised," said Atobe, but he closed his eyes. All at once the sound of the rain amplified. He could fill his shirt clinging to him, his jeans collecting water like environmental biologists. He let a quiet moment slide by, then said in a much less strident tone, "So, are you going to tell me the point of this?"

"It's raining." Water squelched between skin as Jiroh squeezed his hand tighter. "Your face is all wet. No one will be able to tell if you're crying."

"I'm not going to cry." Atobe spat out rain and hoped Jiroh hadn't heard the hitch in his voice. With his eyes closed, there was nothing for him to see but the cars smashing, crumpling up like tissue paper; and the inert body, the Hyoutei polo shirt two shades of red.

"I know." Jiroh's voice was soft and right beside his ear. With his eyes still closed, Atobe groped for Jiroh's other hand. Jiroh used it to pull him forward, until Atobe's face was buried in his shoulder, until it was almost like they were dancing.

Then, and only then, could Atobe cry for Kabaji.


05. Fisticuffs At Mid-Evening.

"Where's Ch -- everyone?" Shishido asked Mukahi. He wouldn't have, only it was a choice between Mukahi and a chair, and while Shishido would probably feel less inclined to GBH the chair after five seconds furniture on the whole wasn't known to be terribly communicative.

"Well, I couldn't speak for everyone," replied Mukahi, his eyes gleaming with an unholy light, "as I don't know everyone in the world. I can't speak for Ch-everyones either. But, if we were referring to a certain ash-blonde, 'bout five eleven, with big puppy dog eyes, who happens to live here with a revolving population of goldfish ... then he's out picking up hookers, like he does every Friday night."

"Be serious," sighed Shishido.

"I resent the implication that I'm not," said Mukahi. "I'm terribly serious. In fact, if I were a disease I'd be terminal."

"Where is he really?" said Shishido, succumbing to the fact that Mukahi knew he was asking after Choutarou, and Choutarou only.

"I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific than that. Half the world's population is made up of 'he's." Mukahi flipped through the pages of the TV times with a huge degree of absorption. "Oh look, reruns of Neon Evangelion. Be sure to inform Jiroh, he'll be over the moon."

"Mukahi!" Shishido restrained himself from pole-vaulting the sofa and turning Mukahi's scarlet bob into a ready-made wig, with scalp attached. "Where. Is. Choutarou?"

"Mmm." Mukahi tossed aside the magazine. "I don't know. He wasn't here when I got home, but Jiroh did mumble something about study groups before he fell asleep on top of the fridge."

Shishido took a peek into the kitchen. Indeed, Jiroh was curled up on top of the fridge. A cat couldn't have done it better.

"Study groups." Shishido slumped into an armchair. Choutarou was studying political science. Shishido hoped that study groups weren't as corrupting as politics on a larger scale. "What about ever -- Jiroh, Atobe and Oshitari?"

"Atobe and Jiroh went out to eat because Choutarou isn't here to cook. Oshitari --" Mukahi's voice took on a sharper note "-- is out with his girlfriend. It's their two month anniversary, or something equally nonsensical."

"How unlike you to be jealous," said Shishido, pleased for once that he had a definite upper hand.

"I am not jealous," hissed Mukahi. "No more jealous than you will be once you find out that Choutarou-chan's study group consisted entirely of girls."

Shishido sat bolt upright. "It is?"

"No, but your reaction was picture perfect." Mukahi kicked moodily at the coffee table. "I suppose I am jealous of Yuushi, at this moment in time. He's out having fun right now with a girl who'll fuck him later, and what do I have? Inane conversation with you."

"It could be worse." Shishido started yanking the band out of his hair and shaking it free. Long hair was hot, but unfortunately in both senses of the word. A long hard day left it sweatier than five fat men in a sauna. "They could be fucking in front of you."

Mukahi shrugged. "How bad? Cheaper than porn, at least."

"Like you don't know where to get that for free." Shishido rolled his eyes.

"This is pathetic. I'm reduced to talking about porn with Shishido Ryou."

Shishido narrowed his eyes. There was something about the way Mukahi snapped out the word 'Ryou' that bugged him. The only other people who used that name were his family, who didn't count, and Choutarou once or twice in his entire life. When he said it, it was like a holy word surrounded in a nimbus of light. Mukahi pronounced it like a swear word. Shishido wasn't sure he appreciated the difference, even if it was appropriate.

"No one's stopping you from going out and getting laid too," he pointed out. "They sell alcohol in bars, you know. That would surely disguise your many physical and mental defects from a prospective lay."

"What are you doing tonight?" demanded Mukahi.

Shishido toes off his runners and kicked them across the room, approximately to his bedroom door. That one landed in a pot plant was only a minor miscalculation. He ran his fingers through his hair, massaging his scalp, and sunk back with a sigh. "I'm gonna watch TV and eat some noodles."

"The excitement is killing me," drawled Mukahi. "What are you watching?"

"I got a DVD."

"Too bad. I'm watching Death Note, and I was here first."

"Hey!" cried Shishido. "No fair, you're going out!"

"I never said that, it was entirely your imagination," countered Mukahi. "Anyway, I have the remote. Possession is nine-tenths of the law."

"Oh yeah? Then call me the last tenth!" With that, Shishido dived and grabbed in a manoeuvre polished after years of similar altercations with his brother. The ensuing scuffle was vicious even by their high standards, and came to an abrupt end when Mukahi punched Shishido hard in the balls. Shishido's eyes crossed in way he thought only happened in cartoons, and he rolled off the sofa and on to the floor. It was too painful even to moan.

"Ha!" said Mukahi, but his jubilation was short-lived. Shishido had never thought Mukahi was even capable of feeling remorse, let alone expressing it, but the face that hovered over his was definitely showing signs in that direction. "Are you all right?"

"Fuck," Shishido managed, after intense effort. He squeezed his eyes shut and, finally, the agony began to abate. "Fuck," he said again, for emphasis and because he now had room for anger.

When he opened his eyes Mukahi had appropriated what looked suspiciously like an ice pack. "I think you should --"

"You stay away from me!" said Shishido, which came out far more high-pitched than he'd intended. "You've done enough damage."

"Oh, I think you'll still be able to reproduce," said Mukahi. And, because he was Mukahi, he added, "Unfortunately."

"Fuck you," snarled Shishido. "That was low. That was bitchy. It's not even as if you wanted to watch Death Note. I know you hate Death Note, it was just because I wanted to watch something. What are you, twelve?"

"Well-spoken for a thirteen-year-old," said Mukahi, who was regaining his previous vim now that Shishido didn't appear to be dying. "Like you wouldn't have done the exact same thing, in my position."

"I wouldn't," said Shishido, with great dignity, "have touched your balls."

"Yeah, well, maybe I just wanted a piece of the action!"

Shishido stared. Mukahi went red.

"Um, I didn't mean it like that --"

"Good. I'm glad you didn't mean it like that. I don't want to know how you meant it." Shishido clambered to his feet. "I think I'll just go to bed."

"Shishido, I'm sorry --"

"Wish I had a tape-recorder." Against his better judgement, Shishido looked back. Mukahi was slumped against the side of the sofa, looking very lost and forlorn. Like a baby wolf, warned Shishido's brain, but he didn't listen to it. And he had years of practice on his side.

He limped back across the room until he was standing right in front of Mukahi. The big problem there was that while Mukahi had shot up, Shishido hadn't so much, so they were pretty much of a height. Shishido wasn't much good at the whole comforting gig, but he thumped Mukahi's shoulder a few times.

"It's okay," he said. "You probably are horny. I know I am."

"I don't like you like that," Mukahi half-spat, half-sighed.

"I don't like you like that either," Shishido felt the need to add. "So we're even."

"Yeah."

"Yeah."

"Are you planning on gripping my shoulder all night, or can I move sometime soon?

"Oh, right."

"Thanks."

There was a long, uncomfortable pause, during which Shishido became intimately acquainted with the pattern on the carpet. At last he broke.

"Have you ever --" began Shishido, at the same time as Mukahi said, "Oh, fuck it," and kissed him.

06. Gakuto Finds Metaphors Singularly Unhelpful.

There were a lot of things about the situation that Gakuto felt free to deplore. For one thing, he was getting his groove on with a member of the same sex. And not even a hot stranger, or someone he'd liked for a long time but hadn't admitted it. No, it was with Shishido. It was possible that somewhere deep down he actually liked Shishido, could appreciate his brusque nature, arbitrary approach to hygiene and non-existent dress sense, but the emotion was buried deep beneath layers of irritation, frustration and downright loathing.

But Gakuto could put up with a lot for sex. And therein lay the problem: he wasn't having any. Not as such. Motions in that direction, a sort of hesitant acknowledgment that was to the act of love what a broken signpost was to a lost tourist, but the actual naked-and-sweaty part -- niet. Nothing. Zilch, zip and squat.

And far from time being the great healer -- in this case, of both his and Shishido's shattered notions of just who they'd be doing this with, if they had to do it at all -- it seemed that everything was going down the tubes faster than a bulimic's lunchtime cracker.

Gakuto angrily scrubbed out yet another misspelled word in his psychology essay. It was a cruel twist of fate that had him analysing Freudian thought at this juncture of his life. There are times when a cigar is just a cigar. This wasn't one of them. To someone who's desperate for some action, everything looks like a cigar.

The first kiss -- although it hardly needed that qualification, seeing as how there hadn't really been any others -- had been nice. A lot nicer than Gakuto would've expected, were he in the habit of imagining what kissing Shishido would be like. But even then it was more of an accident of gravity than anything else. They'd both happened to have their mouths in the same bit of air, type-thing. All the time Gakuto wasn't sure if Shishido was pulling away, wanted to pull away, or if he himself wanted to pull away. It seemed as if Shishido was equally confused, so for every second of kissing there was five of twitching, cheek-rubbing and uncertain hand movements.

Gakuto just didn't know what to do. That was the beautiful thing about heterosexual relationships. You just assumed that a boy and a girl, given sufficient time and interest, would end up doing something to ensure the survival of the species. You didn't have to be coy unless that was your preferred modus operandi. You could just go up to a girl and say 'Hey, fancy a fuck?' The chances were she'd put you down as a boor and refuse, in all probability with violence, but it might just work. And if it did everyone knew where they were.

Not so with trying to get your rocks off with a flatmate you didn't even especially like. If he had to save everyone from a sinking ship, Gakuto'd probably rescue Atobe before he did Shishido. Except that Choutarou would get all sniffly and red-eyed.

And that was another thing. Gakuto was pretty sure Shishido had some kind of a crush on Choutarou. Maybe sort of like the crush Gakuto didn't have on Yuushi. What were they thinking?

Right at that moment Gakuto was thinking: if only I could skip the weird bits and have Shishido right here on my bed, preferably with no clothes on ...

... and maybe a cigar.

~*~

"Mukahi?"

"The door's open," said Gakuto grumpily. It was nearly midnight and he had never needed to spend so long drafting an essay before. He'd already had to have two showers because of the thoughts engendered by Freud's 'phallic stage of development' theory, and his hair was all fuzzy. Suffice to say he wasn't exactly feeling at peace with his fellow man. Particularly when that fellow man turned out to be Shishido.

"Hey," said Shishido. He was wearing long pyjamas that had probably been last spotted on Tiny Tim, and was carrying a bald towel over one arm. As seduction attire went it wasn't much, and Gakuto swallowed a splinter of disappointment.

"What do you want?" he asked, just about politely.

"My shower's out," explained Shishido. "I was wondering if I could use ... yours?"

"Do you usually shower this late at night?"

Shishido had the grace to look embarrassed. "Yeah. That's why I'm asking you. No one else is up, or home, or ... alone."

"Oh," said Gakuto, managing to get a lemon's worth of sourness into that one word. He could study with music turned down low, and it had the added benefit of blocking all but the loudest noises from next door. In his distraction he'd never noticed that the Girlfriend was in Yuushi's room. "Well, it's through there. Don't get my floor wet."

"I'll try." There was a pause. "Uh, thank you."

"Huh." Gakuto flipped through his books with more force than he really needed. A few moments later, the sound of running water almost obliterated his music. Giving the essay planning up as a bad job, Gakuto tidied his books and changed into his own pyjamas -- black silk with green embroidery. They'd been a present from Yuushi. Yuushi liked silk. Gakuto could take it or leave it. He wondered if Yuushi bought his girlfriend silk clothes, but only for a moment. He was very good at pushing that sort of thing right to the back of his mind.

He was curled up on his bed, reading, when Shishido padded out of the bathroom. His long hair was damp and ruffled, his towel slung around his shoulders, and his cotton pyjamas clinging to obviously not-quite-dry skin. Gakuto wasn't sure how he felt about that, but he was definitely glad he already had his legs tucked against his chest.

"Water hot?" he inquired.

"Lukewarm. I like lukewarm."

"How convenient for you." Gakuto turned a page. "I suppose I have to wish you goodnight, then."

"No. I mean, yes. If you want to."

"If I don't, do I have to?"

"Gakuto." At the sound of his name, Gakuto looked up. Shishido's face was flushed. Strange, given that Gakuto had used up most all of the hot water. "I was wondering ..."

"My toothbrush is out of bounds. Sorry."

"No, I --" Shishido tugged at a lock of hair. Gakuto raised his eyebrows when Shishido sat on the edge of the bed.

"Don't drip on my duvet if you can possibly help it, please."

"Fine!" Shishido jumped up again. "Sheesh, I don't know why I bothered."

"Bothered what? Washing? It's always to be recommended --"

"My shower's working fine," muttered Shishido, going dangerously red. "I just wanted -- oh, never mind."

Gakuto sat up straight, heart thumping wildly. Picking the right thing to do was like finding his way in a fog, only the fog was in his brain. Shishido was blushing, Gakuto's pants were tight. He was standing up slowly like an unfurling vine and curling his hand around the back of Shishido's neck.

"This?" he whispered. "Was this what you wanted? Because if it's not I'll be so embarrassed I'll have to kill you and feed you to the goldfish."

"Goldfish are herbivores."

"Shishido!"

Shishido shrugged. Gakuto could feel the skin shifting under his fingers. It was warm. Without meeting Gakuto's eyes, Shishido found the edge of Gakuto's pyjama shirt and started folding it between his fingers.

"You could ... call me Ryou."

"Fine then, Ryou." Gakuto tried to be cavalier, for all that his breath was now coming faster than the beat of his racing heart. "Can I kiss you?"

Shishido took a deep breath, and when he let it out he shivered a bit. "Yeah."

"Good answer," mumbled Gakuto, closing his eyes at the touch of Shishido's lips. Everything was warm -- Shishido's body heat, his skin, his hair, his stubbled cheek -- except for inside of his mouth. That was burning hot. When Gakuto slipped him the tongue, Shishido jumped and backed away.

"Ry-ou!"

"Shut up." Shishido ran a trembling hand through his hair. Gakuto scowled. He'd been so close -- and he'd swear Shishido'd opened his mouth for it a second before he went all holy mary on him.

Gakuto flopped back on the bed, totally missing the way Shishido's eyes marked the movement. If Shishido wasn't going to stay, he wanted him to go. Preferably with great speed, so Gakuto could deal with exactly how much his body wanted Shishido to stay.

"Hey, Gakuto?"

"What?"

"Can my shower be broken tomorrow night, too?"

possibly the end
 
 
Current Location: zoned out on Aero Bubbles
Current Mood: scaredscared
Current Music: I've never been to me (Charlene)
 
 
 
ex_whisper13623 on February 14th, 2007 12:30 am (UTC)
Ohtori and his goldfish slew me. And Atobe's stealth Ikea shopping with porn coverup. Furniture shame issues win.

And aaaaaaw, Shishido's in looooooove...or lust. Either works. Mmmm...Choutarou.

Gah. Stupid Yuushi. Gakuto's better than any stupid girl. I revoke your tensai license.

You killed Kabaji. You...I...he...o.O

Shishido...Gakuto...ah..whuzzahuh? Poor, desperate boys. Somebody buy them some porn or something. Atobe, you have money, stop snuggling with Jirou for a second and help your flatmates out. Poor things.

I love you for this, by the way. It's wonderful.




every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Golden Pair: Eiji heartscoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
:D I love the way you're talking to my characters! It's not like I have any control over them really.

Thank you. &haerts;
(no subject) - scoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:16 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - ex_whisper13623 on February 14th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on February 14th, 2007 09:47 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Aiaiwritingfic on February 14th, 2007 06:09 am (UTC)
Wow. <3

(You killed Kabaji. T_T)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Tezuka: Prettyscoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
:D

No, I forgot him.
Maxinemaxine_chan on February 14th, 2007 07:48 am (UTC)
akjhsdklfjasdf. Well now I want more Shishido/Gakuto!! And I want to hug Atobe and I love your Jiroh and Oshitari and kajsdhfkjas Choutarou doesn't play tennis anymore! Wow. Heee, ok, so basically I loved this. More please? :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Tezuka: Ice lollyscoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'll do my best. :D
Tifatifarette on February 14th, 2007 08:13 am (UTC)
Oh, so THAT's why Kabaji wasn't living with them...

Your dwarf comment made me laugh. What are Gakuto and Shishidou then, Grumpy? XD

This was very interesting, I liked it.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Power Trianglescoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC)
Truth is, I kinda ... forgot him. At first. >.>

Good call. Grumpy they are!

Thank you. ♥
Cedony: Hold Me Kabaji!cedony on February 14th, 2007 09:24 am (UTC)
I am using my KabaAto icon in remembrance of Kabaji T_T.

I'm always so happy when I see that you've posted a fic, because I know that I'll have something great to read! And I was right, again! This was so cute!

Choutarou and his goldfish, the ShishidoxGakuto! The way that you've written them together was great, and the dialogue between them was really fun and snarky and just perfect.

Oh, and the part where you mentioned Ohtori going to Shishido to ask if it was normal to have hair growing down there was too cute! I could picture Choutarou going something like that, and had a lot of fun imagining Shishido's reaction. Lol.

That cannot be the end. That can't possibly be the end, because I still want to see what's going on with all of them... ^_^
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: It's dead. Let's eat it!scoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)
I was just going to say I love that icon. Very colourful. :D

I wish I could remember who I was channelling when I wrote that ... possibly myself, when I had boys to snark with. All the boys I know now are too polite to snark. [sad]

I hope I can summon up some will to write (this is from Christmas), but. Meh. Thanks though! ♥
Serenia: Atobe princeserenia on February 14th, 2007 10:33 am (UTC)
Ahh, that was all kinds of delightful! I loved Ohtori and his goldfish, and your similes cracked me up. Until that first kiss, I didn't see the Gakuto/Shishido coming, but it was good. :)
Only, I'm of the opinion that Oshitari belongs with Atobe. XD
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Fake: Ryoscoradh on February 14th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
Until I wrote it, I didn't see the Gakuto/Shishido coming. Which speaks volumes about my mad plotting skillz.

I can only really countenance Atobe with Jiroh. After that, the amount of ego in the room goes for broke.
Sera: Sleepymahoubunnybell on March 7th, 2007 11:29 pm (UTC)
Oooh. I liked this. It was really cool. I hope you write more too it, I'd like to see where things go.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Niou: Oh Yagyuuscoradh on March 8th, 2007 07:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Me too. ;D
LOL, SCONErolling_scone on March 9th, 2007 11:26 am (UTC)
I absolutely loved this. the way you let the scenes shift and slide and intermingle was great, and the POV changes are love :3

Atobe = ♥
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Shishido: windowscoradh on March 9th, 2007 01:41 pm (UTC)
It is rather Crash-esque, I suppose! Which is odd given that I didn't see Crash until after I posted this. Still. Thank you!
moraumorau on April 18th, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
(chokes from all the WIN)

"Atobe-kun," he drawled, "your fly is open." --- This line PWNS.

It's all so hilarious. So much love.

Poor Kabaji...T_T
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on May 3rd, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
Well, you know Oshitari'd be lookin'. :D

Thanks. I wish I'd managed to finish it (obviously Dirty and Silver pair were supposed to reunite) (god that sounds like an Abba fan motto) but I've totally lost the impetus now. [sad]
Aret: Oshigaku Kissblufox_o7 on July 15th, 2007 02:19 pm (UTC)
You gotta be kidding me. You left me with that? AN OPEN END?

NO WAY!

You haave to continue this! *goes down on my knees*

PLEASE??
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Gakuto: Cutescoradh on July 15th, 2007 08:35 pm (UTC)
I totally would, but my ideas petered out right there and this was back six or seven months ago. I think Oshitari was supposed to have some unrequited crush on Gakuto that I was going to requite at first, then I thought putting him with Shishido would be fun ... eh, my mind, I control it not!
(no subject) - blufox_o7 on July 15th, 2007 08:49 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - scoradh on July 15th, 2007 08:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
seregil_1982: pot 12seregil_1982 on October 11th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
and another completely wonderful story from you! i so loved the fish and Atobe's shopping spree at Ikea. *snickers*
and Shishido/Gakuto? mhh, i can definitely see this happen, though i like them better with their doubles partners!
the source of all heresies: Prince of Tennis- Inui hey tharms_worplesdon on July 12th, 2009 12:39 am (UTC)
Holy shit, is there another part to this?? I opened everything tagged as PoT fic on your journal (stalkey stalk stalk) and didn't see another part.

I loved this. I seem to remember having read the first section ages ago but hadn't read the whole thing, and I am so intrigued and desperate to know what happens next!

Just so you know, I'm friending you so that I can keep up on new fic updates. I'm not even sure if you write PoT anymore, but your HP stuff was also awesome, so hey. Nice to meet you. :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 12th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
Hi, and thank you for all your lovely comments! I'm afraid I don't write PoT any more - it's all about the bandom now - but of course, you're still very welcome to stick around!
(Anonymous) on April 13th, 2011 12:07 pm (UTC)
Can't wait to make a contribution
Hi - I am really delighted to find this. Good job!
(Anonymous) on April 14th, 2011 01:51 pm (UTC)
Hoping to make a contribution
Hey - I am definitely delighted to discover this. great job!