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21 April 2007 @ 08:14 pm
PoT Fic: Happy Accidents (Atoji, R)  
Title: Happy Accidents
Author: scoradh
Rating: R
Pairings: Atoji principally, plus Oshitari/Mukahi and Silver Pair
Disclaimer: Konomi is god!
Warnings (if any): ... fluff.
Author's notes (if any): Thanks to my betas, moshes and gin_and_ironic, for all their help.
Summary: Atobe has a secret.





Atobe's biggest secret was that he was a bit of a prude.

He didn't like the way Oshitari and Gakuto giggled about the girls they'd made out with. He didn't like the way Ohtori's hand furtively made its way to Shishido's knee whenever they were sitting beside each other. He didn't like the way Jiroh slept, with his legs splayed out and his shirt riding up over his hips.

So he shushed Oshitari and Gakuto, glared at Ohtori until he blushed and started fiddling with his shoelaces -- using both hands -- and instructed Kabaji to wake Jiroh. If the last was not an option -- and it rarely was, for dead people slept less deeply than Jiroh -- Kabaji rolled Jiroh into a more modest position.

When they got to high school, things only got worse. Instead of talking about making out with girls, Oshitari and Gakuto decided to cut out the middle woman. They soon came to regard the clubroom as their personal kissing headquarters.

Ohtori graduated from touching Shishido's knees to slipping his thigh between them. Ohtori really was rather pervy, Atobe decided, after he'd accidentally witnessed a certain encounter that left him shaken. Putting his ... tongue ... there ... Then again, Shishido hadn't seemed to be complaining. In fact, his garbled moans sounded a lot more like "Fuck, yes, Choutarou," and "Harder."

Jiroh didn't change very much. Oh, the loose folds of his shirt now revealed a spectacular set of abs, and his parted legs had deeper grooves and hollows between the muscles, but Atobe could forgive Jiroh's mutation into a Greek god so long as he wasn't poisoning Atobe's brain with dirty images.

Unfortunately, Jiroh soon started a new habit. He decided that Atobe was the next best thing to a portable pillow. If his nose wasn't buried in Atobe's neck and his hair tickling Atobe's cheek, his face was in Atobe's lap, which was considerably worse. Jiroh nuzzled.

"I think he likes you," observed Oshitari, as he watched Atobe fruitlessly attempt to pry Jiroh from his side. Jiroh merely made a kittenish noise and snuggled under Atobe's arm.

"Of course he likes me." Atobe gave up and tried to turn the page of his book one-handed. It was extremely difficult. "I'm me."

"No, I think he likes you likes you," persisted Oshitari.

Atobe wasn't in the mood for Oshitari's Kansai word-games. "If you're not going to make yourself useful and turn into a human bookmark, please go away."

Oshitari obeyed, but only after sending Atobe what he clearly thought was a speaking look. In reality he only made it as far as a mumbling glance.

A few weeks later, Ohtori invited the remnants of the middle school tennis team to his house for a sleepover. His parents had gone to America on a business trip and they trusted Ohtori so much they'd allowed him to have a 'little party.' Atobe doubted they'd feel the same way if they'd seen the pictures from the time Ohtori and Shishido went on a double date with Oshitari and Mukahi. They might have called it karaoke. Atobe preferred the term orgy.

Atobe immediately grasped the foolishness of accepting the invitation upon entering Ohtori's bedroom. Hiyoshi had abandoned tennis for kendo after starting high school. Kabaji soon followed in his footsteps, having been headhunted by the wrestling team. Taki was now playing in a band and had taken to wearing more leather and makeup than a cross-dressing Hell's Angel.

That left six of them. Two couples, Jiroh -- and Atobe.

At first the party was an innocuous affair. Hosting it far from Oshitari's four-shelf collection of romance films proved an inspired move, for it meant that they were spared the sight of the tensai's eyes welling with tears at every hackneyed onscreen declaration of love. It also halted the knock-on effect on Mukahi, who seemed to feel inadequate and tended to compensate for it either by pulling Oshitari into a steamy lip lock or punching his lights out.

Then Shishido suggested that they play Truth or Dare.

Atobe glared at him with an 'Et tu, Brute?' expression, which Shishido feigned not to notice. At the same moment Atobe discovered that Jiroh's half-slumbering squirming had brought him from the far side of the room and Ohtori's beanbag to right beside Atobe. Fearing that Jiroh would seek his lap as a replacement, Atobe brought his knees to his chest and clasped his arms around them. There. Let Jiroh try to sleep on that.

Atobe had a naturally suspicious mind. Truth or Dare was a wasted exercise on everyone else in the room. Oshitari and Mukahi were generally quite vocal about what they'd got up to, and hearing about their exploits in greater detail was merely more of the same. While Ohtori and Shishido were -- thankfully -- far more reticent, Atobe was sure that they'd spoken of their experiences with the other two, to share tips or get advice or even just to lord it over them (this was Hyotei, after all). Jiroh's most embarrassing Truth was probably falling asleep in the girls' locker room.

That left Atobe.

He began to sweat as the questions travelled the room. Hearing Ohtori frankly describe the first time he'd deep-throated or Mukahi trying to remember the weirdest sexual position he'd ever attempted made it all the more clear that Atobe was sorely lacking in this department.

It wasn't that Atobe hadn't had offers. It was just that the thought of doing it with anyone made him slightly uncomfortable. And, well, a little bit frightened. It was different for the others; they were all best friends before they'd started fooling around. They had bonds of trust. Atobe didn't even have a best friend. He had servants, and he had subordinates, and he had his tennis team. That was it.

So it was that when Oshitari turned to him with a smile as gentle as a breeze cut by a sword, and asked, "Truth or dare?" Atobe replied, "Dare."

Oshitari's eyes widened behind his Gucci glasses. "Dare? Really?"

"I said so, didn't I?" Atobe pushed extra helpings of arrogance into his tone to hide the fact that his voice was shaky. Beside him, Jiroh opened his eyes and rubbed at his cheek. It was covered in pink carpet marks.

"All right." Oshitari's gaze flickered over to Jiroh, who tensed. Atobe was too busy maintaining a mask of pure indifference to analyse the unspoken conversation between Oshitari and Jiroh. "I dare you ... I dare you to ..."

"Get on with it," snapped Atobe. He'd been there when Oshitari admitted to owning bondage gear, after all. He didn't want to give Oshitari too much time to come up with a really extravagant dare.

"Fine. I dare you to stand on the garden wall and drop your pants."

"Oh." Atobe sat back. He hadn't expected something quite so juvenile from the boy who had the highest IQ in the school.

"Do you forfeit?" Oshitari's eyes gleamed, and Atobe scented a trap. "If you do --"

"I don't forfeit." Atobe rose to his feet, adjusting his Italian silk pyjamas in a dignity-at-all-times way. "Front or back garden?"

"Front, of course." Oshitari took Mukahi's hand and pulled him up. "C'mon, guys. We have to watch to make sure he doesn't chicken out."

"I won't chicken out." Atobe was surprised frost didn't form in the air, his words were so cold. With a sleepy yawn, Jiroh stumbled upright. Atobe put out an arm to stop him falling right back over and was rewarded with a smile, another yawn and a faceful of popcorn breath.

"Uh ... my window overlooks the garden," said Ohtori. He'd been sitting with his hand on Shishido's knee as always, but Atobe had occasion to note that it had gradually snuck upwards. "We'll watch from here."

"As you wish," sniffed Atobe, hoping he conveyed that he really meant 'I'm sure you will.'

He lead the way down the stairs and out into Ohtori's front garden. It was a profusion of flowers dappled in moonlight. At any other time Atobe would have appreciated the beauty of the scene, but right now all he cared about was checking to see that the midnight street was quiet and deserted. He was in luck; there wasn't even a single car crawling down the road.

"Go on, then," came Oshitari's amused voice from behind him.

Atobe smothered a sigh and leapt lightly on to the wall. It was about waist-height and just thick enough to balance on. Quickly checking once more for drunken salarymen and night crawlers, Atobe pulled free the drawstring on his pyjama bottoms and let them fall to his ankles. Then he crossed his arms over his chest and stared stonily into the night for a good three minutes, before bending over to yank them back up. It was quite hard to pull it off and remain both graceful and balanced, but he wasn't Atobe Keigo for nothing.

"There. Satisfied?" he threw at Oshitari. Mukahi was gaping at him in a most undignified manner. Even Jiroh seemed fully awake for once, wearing the look he usually reserved for jelly doughnuts or Marui Bunta.

"That's ... yes." Oshitari slung his arm around Mukahi and turned him around. "Back to the game. It's your turn to ask a question, Atobe."

"Oh, joy," muttered Atobe under his breath.

They returned to find Ohtori and Shishido in a compromising position. Atobe averted his eyes and wondered how they'd managed to lose that much clothing in so short a space of time. "Ohtori, I'm going to fetch a glass of water, if you don't mind," he said. Without waiting to hear Ohtori's reply -- or even for him to detach himself from Shishido -- Atobe went back down the stairs.

It wasn't that he disapproved of Shishido and Ohtori's relationship, although heaven knew there were many who would. The fact that they flaunted it was more repugnant to most than the fact that they were having it in the first place. Of course, Shishido and Ohtori knew that.

Atobe, on the other hand, had seen Ohtori's face light up when Shishido came into the room. He'd heard the way the rough edges of Shishido's voice softened when he said the word 'Choutarou.' There was no denying that they made each other happy -- or at least, happier than they would have been otherwise. Atobe contrasted this state of affairs with that of his parents' marriage and could see where one vastly outstripped the other. His mother and father arranged their schedules weeks in advance to avoid being in the same room together. How Atobe had ever come about was a mystery to all concerned, but he presumed it was the result of strenuous forward planning.

Even what Oshitari and Mukahi had was preferable to that. They called it a friendship with extra benefits. If Mukahi's truths were anything to go by, these ranged from blowjobs to sharing homework and covering for each other in the face of parental wrath.

After a few false starts, Atobe found the kitchen, which was roughly the size of his own dressing room. He was opening door after cupboard door in search of a glass, a fridge or a water filter when he heard the pad of feet. A second later, a hand pressed a glass into Atobe's palm.

"Did Oshitari send you down here?" asked Atobe. Jiroh's eyelashes were fluttering as he attempted to keep his eyes open, and Atobe saw that they were very thick and sooty. If his genetics were more widely disseminated, mascara would never have been invented.

"No." Jiroh smiled. "I figured you might need a bit of help. Did you want water or juice?"

"Water," replied Atobe and remembered to add, "Please."

Unerringly, Jiroh opened another door and reached into the blinding white light to fetch a jug. Atobe held out his glass as Jiroh filled it. A little water splashed on to Atobe's wrists. If Jiroh had been a maid he'd be fired in a day, but Atobe knew better than to mention it.

"How did you know where the fridge was?" he asked instead.

"My kitchen at home has the same layout," explained Jiroh. It struck Atobe that he'd never once visited Jiroh's house in five years of knowing him, and felt vaguely guilty. To allay the unpleasant emotion, he put the glass to his lips and drank. The water was nice and cold, although Atobe doubted it had been boiled, filtered and purified to his exacting standards. Still, he had purging tablets at home; if necessary he could take one in the morning.

Jiroh slumped against the counter beside Atobe, head tilting so that curls shivered against Atobe's shoulder. When he spoke his voice was quiet, and Atobe presumed that he was yet again on the point of a catnap. "You have nice legs, Atobe."

Belatedly, Atobe noticed that the glass was smudgy. "Thank you," he said distractedly. Of course he had nice legs; he went to great pains to see that everything about his body was in peak condition. Besides, people told him things like that all the time. He was used to replying on autopilot.

"There you are, Atobe." Oshitari materialised at the door. "We've been waiting for ages. You get to ask Jiroh a Truth or Dare."

"Me?" Jiroh perked up. "Oh, goody!" He bounded from the room. More sedately Atobe followed, having first deposited the glass in a sink.

Upstairs, Shishido and Ohtori had settled their clothing and were sitting a whole five inches apart. Atobe didn't like to point out that they appeared to have swapped shirts. Oshitari took his place beside Mukahi, his hand finding Mukahi's fingers and curling his palm around them. Mukahi gave him a brief and very un-Mukahi-like smile before altering his expression to something more suitably evil.

Jiroh lugged over the beanbag so that he could sprawl across it and be beside Atobe at the same time. His hair was mussed up with static and he looked bright and oddly sentient.

Atobe sank into an Indian squat from a standing position. "Very well, Jiroh. Truth or dare?"

"Um ..." Jiroh rolled on to his back and kicked up his legs like a little kid. "Truth, Atobe!"

"Aa." Atobe felt a little stumped. Not only did he not have enough experience to answer a truth, he didn't have enough to ask one either. "All right, Jiroh -- how many girls have you kissed?"

"Girls?" Atobe couldn't quite tell from upside down, but it rather looked like Jiroh was wrinkling his nose. "None!"

"Oh, okay." Atobe shrugged. "I guess it's your turn, then."

For some reason, Atobe caught Oshitari's eye. The tensai crooked his eyebrows. Atobe felt a sharp twist in his stomach, as if it knew what Oshitari was implying even if his head didn't.

Truth or Dare ended soon after when Ohtori mentioned that he knew where his father kept a private stash of sake. Despite that, the game stayed on Atobe's mind for some time after.

__


Atobe didn't forget that he'd been inconsiderate in not visiting Jiroh. He engineered it so Jiroh had reason to ask him over on the pretext of doing homework.

Atobe didn't need study groups. He could afford to hire a fleet of private tutors any time he felt he was getting behind on schoolwork. Still, it paid to keep things normal and flaunting his wealth never got him very far with the tennis team. They still rode the dozen blocks in Atobe's limo, because Atobe saw no reason not to and Jiroh loved the mini-fridge.

Jiroh offered to make him a snack when they arrived. Atobe readily assented and knelt at the kitchen table. The room was fascinating by dint of its very smallness. Atobe rarely had reason to visit his own kitchens, but he knew that they were about the size of Jiroh's house. How anyone ever got anything done in such a tiny space escaped him, but Jiroh seemed to be managing fine.

Afterwards, they went to Jiroh's bedroom. Jiroh was keen to show it off, and when he opened the door Atobe could see why. Although nothing on the scale of Atobe's suite, it was far more welcoming and very Jiroh. There was a shelf of plushies arranged in the colours of the rainbow. The ceiling was a deep blue and someone had gone to a lot of trouble to paint swirling galaxies and sprays of stars across it. The lampshade was a huge tennis ball. His bed was small but covered in a sky-blue velvet comforter that made Atobe want to wrap himself in it and snuggle down. And he wasn't a boy much given to snuggling. His mother had told his nurse to take away his teddies and security blanket the day he turned five. He gathered that they had all been burned.

"Where do you do your homework?" asked Atobe, not spotting a desk.

"Oh, on the bed." Jiroh plopped down and patted the space beside him. "It's comfy."

Atobe had to agree. Jiroh fetched a notebook and wriggled around until he was on his stomach. Feeling a little foolish, Atobe followed suit. Their shoulders bumped and Jiroh smiled around the biro in his mouth and before Atobe knew it, Jiroh was asleep again, curled up like a fossil.

The velvet comforter was very soft. Atobe ran his hand through it, delighting in the texture. He shifted a little so that his cheek was pressed against it. As his eyes drifted closed, he reflected that it was a good thing they hadn't really had any homework to do.


__



Atobe always turned his back on the rest of the room when he changed for tennis. He knew that he was a physically perfect specimen, but he still didn't like it when people looked at him for too long. Equally he didn't want to chance getting glimpses of his teammates when they were naked. Shishido and Oshitari were both prone to wandering around in the buff, complaining loudly about lost socks or teasing their boyfriends.

Jiroh's locker was near to Atobe's, which probably explained why he always fell asleep on the bench where Atobe was changing.

On his way out, Atobe was privy to the end of a conversation between Jiroh and Oshitari. His ears perked up, because these two rarely had anything to say to each other. (Other than: "Wake up, Jiroh! We have a match, damn you!")

"-- tried everything you said, Oshitari," Jiroh was saying. He sounded disconsolate. "I don't seem to be getting any response at all."

"Don't worry too much," replied Oshitari. "Seduction takes time -- particularly when the subject is as tough as yours."

Atobe couldn't restrain himself. "Who are you seducing, Jiroh?"

Jiroh's eyes widened and he went bright pink. Oshitari looked similarly discomfited, but he retained enough composure to say smoothly, "What are you talking about, Atobe? Have you been eavesdropping?"

"Hardly. This is a public changing room," Atobe pointed out. "Whoever you are seducing, Jiroh, please make sure it doesn't interfere with your tennis. Regionals are nearly upon us and I won't have you flaking out over some girl."

"I won't," said Jiroh. He sounded a little squeaky.

"I can vouch for that," sighed Oshitari, pushing up his glasses with one manicured finger.


__



Atobe was still trying to figure out the identity of Jiroh's crush the next day. He hadn't seen Jiroh display noteworthy partiality towards any girl of his acquaintance, but then again Jiroh wasn't in most of Atobe's classes. He was wondering if it would be unwise to press Oshitari for more information when he entered the changing room, and saw the very object of his ruminations sitting on a bench kissing Mukahi.

Atobe felt himself go very still. Jiroh had his hands on Mukahi's shoulders, and Mukahi's arms were wrapped around Jiroh's small waist. They were kissing slowly, with tongues dipping and swirling. Over the soft wet noises, Atobe could hear Jiroh making little hums of contentment. Jiroh's eyelashes were dark smudges against his flushed cheeks. He shifted a little to deepen the kiss.

Atobe turned on his heel and left, totally failing to notice that Oshitari was leaning against a nearby locker with a stopwatch and notebook.


__



Atobe sat huddled in an abandoned classroom. The floor was dusty and he didn't even care. His mind was whirling.

He knew he was a prude because he felt uncomfortable when Oshitari was making out with Mukahi, and when Ohtori very obviously had his hands down Shishido's pants, and when Jiroh jumped for the ball and displayed his hard, cream-coloured belly. Yet the life-sized nudes in his father's study didn't bother him at all. The cleavages and short skirts of his fan club left him unmoved. What then did this mean for Atobe's motivations?

Was he uncomfortable because, secretly, he liked the idea of kissing other boys, of touching other boys, of ... Jiroh?

The image of Jiroh's mouth moving on Mukahi's sprang unbidden to Atobe's mind, and he stifled a groan. His timing could not have been lousier. He'd developed -- or acknowledged -- a crush on Jiroh on the very day Jiroh was making it with Oshitari's boyfriend.

And what the hell did Oshitari think of that? For all that both Oshitari and Mukahi maintained that theirs was not a serious relationship, Atobe doubted Oshitari would cheerfully acquiesce to sharing Mukahi with Jiroh. For one thing, Oshitari was an intensely selfish being. He'd never liked sharing things that he regarded as justly his, and Mukahi surely came under that heading.

It was all so messed up. Entirely heedless of the carefully sculpted gel in his hair, Atobe buried his head in his hands and groaned for all he was worth.

It was time to take drastic measures.


__



Atobe had been well brought up, so resting his head in his hand and dozing off was not an option when out on a date with a pretty girl. In his heart of hearts, he could tell that she was terribly nervous. This was the reason for her incessant babbling, her tinkling laughter, her constant fiddling with her hair. Yet even with this knowledge firmly at the forefront of his brain, Atobe couldn't help but be annoyed by her. Very annoyed.

Still, he was going to see this through to the end. It meant pressing his lips to hers. They were cold from the night air and covered with a sticky substance that felt like it had come from the belly of a whale. It was nothing like the rapidly absorbed lip balm Atobe wore to protect his lips from chapping during matches.

He didn't object when she stuck her tongue in his mouth, even though he thought it quite forward of her. If he weren't already thoroughly uninterested in her charms, it would have put him off. He couldn't quite place the sensation -- a little rough, extremely wet, and warm in an unpleasant way -- but he had a feeling that he shouldn't need to be analysing it.

"Wow, Atobe-kun," the girl said on drawing back. Her eyes were a little glazed, but that could have been from the wine. She'd made a fuss about not being of legal age. Atobe didn't waste his breath informing her that money could smooth many rocky pathways, including this one. She'd partaken of plenty in spite of her reservations.

"Goodnight," he replied. He handed her out of the limousine like a gentleman, and made the driver stop outside an all-night drugstore so he could buy mouthwash.


__



It was only by pretending that his eyes weren't sliding across to Jiroh every five seconds that Atobe survived the trip to his cottage at all. Jiroh was giggling with Mukahi in the next seat. They looked like a couple of giddy grade-schoolers pulling a prank.

The strong sunlight poured in the bus windows like molten beer, turning Jiroh's lightly tanned skin a fiery gold. Atobe wanted to reach out a hand and stroke his fingertips across Jiroh's cheek. He wondered if he was going entirely insane or just slightly.

Oshitari didn't seem to mind his boyfriend's blatant flirting. He was reading a romance novel with every evidence of enjoyment. Atobe didn't even want to imagine what Shishido and Ohtori were doing in the backseat.

The day was hot for the mountains, and Mukahi immediately proclaimed his intention of swimming in the pool. Oshitari paused to ascertain that they had Atobe's permission to do so before running -- actually running -- off after Mukahi to 'claim a room.'

Ohtori sent Atobe an innocent look. Atobe passed a hand over his eyes. "Talk to the maids," he said. "I phoned ahead to ask them to prepare a suite for you."

"Thank you." Ohtori frowned in puzzlement while scratching at a hickey on his neck.

"I think you misunderstand me," sighed Atobe. "I asked them to prepare a suite ... for you and Shishido to share."

"Really?" Ohtori's brown eyes lit up like Christmas puddings doused in brandy. "Did you hear that, Shishido-san? We get to share!"

"Che," said Shishido, pulling down the brim of his cap. Atobe wasn't sure if he were blushing or smirking underneath.

Atobe was about to send a maid to rouse Jiroh when two warm arms encircled him from behind. Atobe stiffened, feeling his heart begin to race. It had no call to be betraying Atobe like that. His stomach jumped, too.

"Aa, Atobe-kun," mumbled Jiroh. "I'm so sleepy! Where'd everyone go?"

Atobe cleared his throat, in which a number of frogs had instated an orchestra. "Mukahi and Oshitari are going for a swim in the pool. Ohtori and Shishido are inspecting their bedroom."

"I think you mean 'christening' it," chuckled Jiroh. Maybe it was just sleep, but his voice sounded suddenly deeper. Huskier.

"I don't care to think of it at all, thank you," said Atobe firmly. "Do you wish to swim too?"

"That'd be fun," agreed Jiroh, but he made no move to take his arms from around Atobe's waist. In fact, he nestled his face into the crook of Atobe's neck and breathed in.

"Jiroh?" asked Atobe suspiciously. "Are you ... smelling me?"

A few strawberry blonde curls tumbled across his line of vision. "Yes. Atobe smells nice."

"That's all very well, but --" Atobe struggled to find the right words, and also to prevent his hand from creeping up and threading through those messy curls. At that moment, a fortunate diversion appeared in the form of Mukahi. He was dressed in pink swimming trunks that clashed horribly with his hair, and wanted to know if Jiroh was coming or not at the top of his lungs.

Actually, now that Atobe came to think about it -- while watching Jiroh scamper after Mukahi with sudden alertness -- maybe 'fortunate' wasn't the best way to describe it.


__



"Don't you burn, Atobe?"

"Hmm?" Atobe put a finger in his book and looked over the top of his tinted sunglasses. "What did you say, Jiroh?"

Jiroh was standing in front of Atobe's sun lounger. He wore blue trunks, slightly damp from multiple dive-bombings and clinging to every muscled contour. Atobe swallowed, his throat suddenly dry.

"Don't you burn? Your skin is very light." Jiroh put his head on one side. His hair was quickly drying in the heat and already beginning to kink. "My sister is the same, and she burns easily."

Atobe noticed the bottle of sun lotion in Jiroh's hand. "You're quite right, but I always make sure to apply sunscreen every hour to prevent such an occurrence."

"It's nearly been an hour," Jiroh pointed out, with an engaging smile. "I thought you might like to try mine. Its factor thirty, but it's scented with pineapple. It smells nearly as good as you."

"Thank you," replied Atobe. He pretended not to notice Oshitari's smirk or Mukahi's stifled giggle. "I will ... try it."

He reached out for the bottle, but Jiroh had already plumped down on the edge of Atobe's sun lounger. Without so much as a by your leave, he plucked Atobe's book out of his hands and placed it on the table with the drinks.

"Hold on a minute --" Atobe began to protest, but he was abruptly halted when Jiroh placed a finger against his lips. It was cool and dry and Atobe felt his heart crash against his chest.

"Page four hundred and twenty-five," said Jiroh. "Lie back, please."

Afraid that everyone could hear the pounding of his heart, Atobe complied. He soon wished he hadn't when Jiroh poured a liberal amount of sun lotion into his hands and rubbed them together. The gesture was hopelessly suggestive. Atobe had to close his eyes. Then he nearly jumped out of his skin when he felt Jiroh's hands on his bare chest.

"It's all right, Atobe-kun." Jiroh's voice was low and pitched out of the others' range of hearing. "I won't hurt you."

"I know that," snapped Atobe. "You startled me, that's all."

"The cream's probably a bit cold, that's why you're shivering. Don't worry, it'll warm up as it sinks into your skin."

"I'm not worried," grumbled Atobe. He fought the urge to cross his arms over his chest as Jiroh leaned forward, his hands sliding across Atobe's skin. In all honesty, Atobe couldn't have said if Jiroh's fingers were hot or cold; he just knew that they were leaving trails of shuddering sensation everywhere they went. His nipples were already standing up in hard little nubs, a fact Jiroh could not have failed to notice.

"Do you want me to do your back, too?" asked Jiroh.

Atobe hadn't wanted Jiroh to do his front. "No, that's all right. I'll be lying on my back. Thank you."

"No problem," said Jiroh cheerily. "Oi, Gakuto, are you diving or making out?"

"For crying out loud," muttered Atobe. He hadn't noticed the wet noises coming from his right before, having been fully occupied with Jiroh's sudden fixation with sun protection.

Mukahi rolled off Oshitari with a reluctant mewl. Oshitari sent him on his way with a pat on the bottom and retrieved his now rather crumpled novel from under his sun lounger.

"Must you indulge in company?" demanded Atobe.

"Jealous, are you?"

"Of Mukahi?" Atobe snorted. "Hardly."

"That's not what I meant," said Oshitari, mildly enough, although his eyes were flashing as they always did when someone cast aspersions on Mukahi. A loud splash accompanied Mukahi's entry into the water. Oshitari laughed, and Atobe reluctantly turned his eyes to where Jiroh was standing on the diving board.

Really, those trunks were hardly modest. Especially when Jiroh was stretching and bouncing in preparation for his dive, pulling his skin taut over his hollow stomach and lightly defined muscles. Why, if Atobe squinted he could almost see --

"Don't stare, Atobe-kun," laughed Oshitari. "You'll give yourself a wrinkle."

"Excuse me, I was not staring," returned Atobe haughtily. "Whatever gave you that idea?"

"Because I was too." Oshitari's voice brimmed with amusement. "Little Jiroh's turned out quite lovely, don't you think? His ass is nearly as sexy as my Gakuto's."

Atobe winced, remembering Jiroh kissing the very same Gakuto to whom Oshitari was referring so familiarly. "Not everyone is as perverted as you, Oshitari."

Oshitari raised one eyebrow. Atobe hated the way he could do that, when Atobe couldn't. "Not everyone admits it so readily, you mean. C'mon, Atobe. Don't pretend you haven't at least looked."

"I'm going to have a shower," announced Atobe. "All this sunscreen is making me sticky." He ignored Oshitari's noise of disbelief, and didn't notice Jiroh's face as he emerged from the water in time to hear Atobe's parting shot.

In the safety of a stall in the poolhouse, Atobe peeled away his trunks. As he slipped his hand down and began to move it just so, he reflected that he hadn't even been lying.


__



Jiroh was asleep with his head on Mukahi's shoulder. Atobe didn't know why this made him want to grind his teeth into powder, but Ohtori had glanced over at him more than once because of the strange sound.

To add insult to injury, Mukahi was all but in Oshitari's lap at the same time, rubbing his cheek against Oshitari's and generally being a disgusting flirt. He didn't seem to mind that he was jostling Jiroh, or that he was two-timing him in his very presence.

"Do you not like this film, Atobe?" ventured Ohtori during an ad break. "We can change the channel if you want."

Atobe couldn't have even said what the film was called. "It's perfectly fine, Ohtori. In fact I may go to bed." And leave all you lovebirds to it, he thought sourly.

At his words Jiroh's eyes fluttered open. "Did someone say bed? I want to go to bed."

"Atobe will show you to your room -- won't you, Atobe-kun?" Oshitari raised one eyebrow again. Atobe felt like ripping it off and feeding it to him. "Jiroh gets lost when he's sleepy."

"Come along, then," barked Atobe. Jiroh got to his feet, wavering a little bit, and trotted after Atobe as he strode out.

"What's wrong, Atobe?" Jiroh tugged his shirt. Of course, he was as fit as Atobe and perhaps even faster; it was no wonder he caught up so easily. "You seem out of sorts."

"I'm just tired," lied Atobe. "Even ore-sama feels less than perfect when deprived of sleep."

"I see." Jiroh was keeping pace with him now, his knuckles brushing Atobe's with every second step. "D'you want to borrow my sunscreen tomorrow too? I brought two bottles."

"Thank you, but no." Atobe couldn't blot out the image of Jiroh holding Mukahi in his arms. "I have plenty of my own."

Jiroh sagged. "Oh. Okay."

"Here's your room." Atobe gestured to a door. "Sleep well, Akugatwa-kun."

"Thank you, Atobe-kun," said Jiroh quietly.

Tossing his head impatiently, Atobe made his way to his own suite. It was no business of his what his teammates got up to, or who they got up to it with. His foolish notion -- that he had some special feelings for Jiroh -- was just that: a notion. A notion, moreover, that did not befit the heir of the Atobe name -- or anyone with a particle of sense. Besides, Jiroh was involved with Mukahi. Oshitari didn't know or didn't care, so why should Atobe?

He stayed awake until three in the morning trying to resolve that point.


__



Shishido had eventually been coerced into removing his shirt. This was mainly due to Mukahi's coaxing, itself inspired by Mukahi's insatiable curiosity. But even Mukahi had been stunned into silence by all the marks on Shishido's chest. He looked like he'd been attacked by a vampire wearing cherry lipstick.

"I guess I got a little carried away," admitted Ohtori, when all eyes turned to him. Atobe noticed that although Ohtori's chest was categorically hickey-free, he was wearing long trousers. But Atobe quite liked the silver-haired minx, so he didn't bring that fact to Mukahi's attention.

Atobe was just settling down for a surreptitious nap -- he certainly hadn't got his beauty sleep last night -- when a discreet cough alerted him to the butler's appearance. With an impatient flick of his hand, Atobe gestured the man closer.

"My apologies, Atobe-san." The butler bowed low. "A message has come through from the housekeeper in Tokyo."

"Some kind of emergency?" Atobe's chest tightened. Nearly all of the most important people in his world were right here with him -- and currently fighting over the last lemon crush cocktail, he noted with annoyance -- but that didn't rule out his parents. He tried to remember where they were. Okaasan was probably at the Paris fashion shows. Otousan had mentioned something about a trip to China in his last memo.

"Ah, not quite." The butler coughed. "You appear to have been receiving a number of phone calls to your home residence. The young lady in question was quite ... insistent, I believe. In truth, the housekeeper is at her wit's end. She begs Atobe-san to at least call the girl, or change the phone number."

Atobe's heart sank. There was only one girl who had his number -- the girl with whom he'd gone on that single, disastrous date. Perhaps he'd drunk more wine than was wise, to say that he'd given her such vital information.

"How often has she called?" asked Atobe. Poolside, his teammates took a sudden interest in the conversation -- all bar Shishido, who took the opportunity to steal the last cocktail and spit in it so no one else would want it.

"Twenty times," replied the butler. Atobe's eyes widened. "A day," added the butler.

"Very well," said Atobe ungraciously. "You have the number there?"

The butler brandished a piece of notepaper embossed with the Atobe crest, now soiled with a string of numbers. Atobe snatched it and gestured the man away. It was churlish to take his temper out on someone who had no control over the situation, but Atobe was not feeling particularly fair-minded at that moment. How dare this girl assume that she had the right to pester him with her attentions? Atobe had made her no promises. And what the hell was her name, again?

He turned around to find a curious ensemble. Shishido was guzzling his drink with all the grace of a wildebeest at a watering hole, but the other four were staring at Atobe with undisguised shock. Oshitari and Mukahi had moved to flank Jiroh, almost as if he were about to fall over.

"If you want more cocktails, just tell the maids," snapped Atobe. "That's what they're there for."

"Atobe-san," whispered Jiroh, and was it Atobe's imagination or did Jiroh's voice sound congested? Perhaps he was coming down with a cold. He probably hadn't dried his hair properly after swimming yesterday.

"You have a girlfriend?" asked Mukahi. His voice was unnaturally loud and fell into a sudden void of noise. Even the bees buzzing around the rosebushes and pretending to look busy appeared to have fallen silent.

"You never mentioned that." By contrast Oshitari's voice was almost a hiss. Atobe had never heard him use that tone before.

"Why should I mention it? It is not remotely important." Atobe raked a hand through his hair. If the girl had sparked his attention at all -- if he could even remember her name -- he would of course have informed his teammates. His friends. But she hadn't and he didn't, so why were they acting like he'd admitted to roasting babies over spits?

"Atobe-senpai," said Ohtori rebukingly. "A girlfriend is a very important thing. I am sure she would agree."

Atobe snorted, thinking of the all the split-ends the girl gave herself by twirling her hair. "I'm sure she would."

"I have to go --" Jiroh pushed past Mukahi. The little acrobat went right into the pool and emerged spluttering and enraged. But no one paid him any attention, because in his rush Jiroh went skidding on the wet tiles. With a sickening lurch, Atobe saw Jiroh fall. There was a dull crack, and Jiroh lay very still.

Atobe stood frozen. He couldn't even bring himself to help his friend, as the others were doing. Mukahi flopped out of the pool and scrambled over to Jiroh without even getting to his feet. Shishido dropped his cocktail with a smash of glass and hared off after the butler. Oshitari began to perform CPR.

Vaguely, Atobe wondered where Ohtori was. He didn't wonder for long, because all of a sudden his body started to move all on its own. He dropped to his knees and was sick on the grass. Ohtori was right behind him, cool hands holding his hair away from his mouth as he retched and retched. Ohtori made soothing noises, like Atobe was a child or a wary dog.

"It's all right," Ohtori was saying. "He'll be fine, it's all right."

Atobe pretended to be sick again so Ohtori wouldn't see the tears in his eyes.


__



"A bad concussion." The doctor unlooped his stethoscope and placed it in his huge black bag. He could have fit a dead body in there easily, Atobe reflected. "If he doesn't wake up in the next twenty-four hours there could be permanent damage, but he's young and strong. I'll be back at eight o'clock to check on him."

"Wait, you aren't staying?" Atobe was aware that his voice was high and frantic, but he couldn't help it. "How much do I have to pay you to get you to stay?"

The doctor's expression was half-pity, half-sympathy. Atobe couldn't decide which he hated more. "I have other patients to tend to, Atobe-san. Besides, there is nothing more I can do for Jiroh-kun at the moment. He needs quiet and rest so that his body can recover quickly."

"Can I -- see him?"

"Of course. Don't make any loud noises, or turn on bright lights." With a ubiquitously reassuring smile, the doctor slipped out of the room.

Feeling as if every step was taken over sharp knives, Atobe went into Jiroh's bedroom and crossed to the bed. Jiroh lay unnaturally still. His face was pale. The doctor had dressed the gash on his forehead, but there was still blood in his hair. There was blood on the pool tiles, too. Atobe had seen it when they carried Jiroh inside, although Ohtori had tried to stop him looking.

"Oh, Jiroh," murmured Atobe. He sank to the floor beside Jiroh's bed. One of Jiroh's hands lay lax on the coverlet, and Atobe curled his fingers around it. He wanted to curse and call on the gods he barely believed in, demanding or pleading that they made Jiroh well again. He wanted to turn back time so that he could catch Jiroh before he fell. He wanted a lot of things, and for the first time in his life money could buy none of them.

He didn't know how long had passed before Ohtori found him and made him come away. "You'll be no help to Jiroh if you collapse too," said Ohtori firmly, which was the only part of his reasoning that convinced Atobe to follow him to the dining room.

There, everyone else was staring down at barely-touched plates of dinner. Ohtori went around the table, clapping his hands and chiding them. Mukahi shook his head; his eyes welled with tears. Oshitari managed a few bites before turning away with a moue of disgust. Even Shishido only fiddled with a rice cake for ten minutes before shoving it back and slumping down in his chair.

Atobe hadn't been raised to give precedence to his emotions. He ate methodically, clearing his plate piece by piece. Ohtori looked at first pleased and then concerned by his behaviour, but Atobe paid him no mind. "May I go back now?" he asked, as soon as he'd swallowed the last grain of rice.

Ohtori said nothing, looking to Oshitari for guidance. Atobe was at the door when Oshitari spoke.

"Baka."

"What do you say?" Atobe kept his voice low, giving Oshitari the chance to take it back.

"I said --" Oshitari stalked up and shoved his face down into Atobe's "-- baka. You. Are. An. Idiot."

Atobe curled his lip, all the polite manners that had been hammered into him flying out of his head. "Watch your mouth, Oshitari."

"Why'd you have to go spout all that about your girlfriend, huh?" snarled Oshitari. "You knew Jiroh liked you and you went and said that like you didn't care, like he didn't even matter --"

"Wait, what?" Atobe pressed a hand to his suddenly clammy forehead. "What are you talking about? Jiroh likes me?"

"Of course he likes you!" spat Oshitari. "He's been trying to pluck up the courage to tell you for months now. Like it wasn't obvious, Atobe. Don't tell me you and your famous intuition missed that."

"Yuushi," said Mukahi warningly.

"Don't, Gakuto." Oshitari held up a hand to his boyfriend, never taking his burning glare from Atobe's face. He opened his mouth wide to enunciate the words clearly. "It's your fault he fell, Atobe."

All the air whooshed out of Atobe's lungs. He felt dizzy, and clutched the doorframe for support. "No."

"Yes! You shocked him -- if he hadn't needed to run off to save a tiny bit of dignity he wouldn't have slipped --"

"Yuushi!" cried Mukahi, at the same time as Ohtori exclaimed, "That's enough, Oshitari-senpai."

"But --" Atobe blinked rapidly. His vision seemed to have become blurry. And his face was wet. Was he bleeding? Had he gone blind? No time to think about that now "-- I saw him. With Mukahi -- they were kissing. Why would he -- he doesn't like me, he likes Gakuto ..."

"That was -- well." Oshitari scowled and snatched off his glasses. "Jiroh asked me for advice. He wasn't getting anywhere on his own." A little of the fire returned to his glare. "He doesn't have much experience anyway. At least we could help him with that. I gave him some suggestions as to letting you know how he felt, and Gakuto taught him how to kiss properly. He kissed Gakuto for you, Atobe, you -- baka."

Finishing on a last hiss, he turned and strode from the room. With a helpless look at Ohtori, Mukahi darted after him.

Atobe felt remarkably clear-headed and unmoved. His earlier faltering had drained him. He resolved to work harder in future not to expose such weakness.

"Atobe-senpai?" Ohtori's voice was soft and uncertain. Shishido was standing nearby, twirling his cap like he always did when nervous.

"I'm going to check on Jiroh, like I said earlier," stated Atobe.

"All -- all right." Ohtori shared a glance with Shishido. Atobe suddenly hated them and their looks and their synchronicity.

With something like unadulterated joy, Atobe saw that Jiroh's eyes were open and blinking when he arrived. He started forward, only to see Jiroh's face contort into a hideous grimace.

"Atobe!" cried Jiroh. "No, go away! I don't want you! I want Gakuto! Gakuto! Gakuto!"

His calls were loud enough to summon Ohtori, who had clearly followed Atobe. He flipped open his phone and rang Mukahi. "Calm down, Jiroh," he said, moving into the room. He sat on the bed, hiding Atobe from view. Jiroh quietened a little. "Gakuto will be here in a few minutes. Is there anything I can do for you in the meantime?"

"Yes." Jiroh's voice was wobbly, but still quite clear. "Make Atobe go away."

Ohtori didn't need to. By the time Ohtori turned around, Atobe was gone, walking rapidly down the thickly carpeted hall and pretending he didn't care.


__



Atobe did everything he could think of to make Jiroh's convalescence more tolerable. He flew in Jiroh's parents and put them up in the plushest of the guest rooms, the one with its own atrium and Jacuzzi. He hired a fleet of experts to inspect Jiroh and confirm that the doctor's diagnosis was correct. Every day he had a present delivered to Jiroh's room -- a green plushie (he'd noted that the colour was under-represented on Jiroh's bedroom shelf), his favourite comics, a book, DVDs to play on the plasma TV he had installed on the first day. But never once did Atobe set foot in the room himself.

When Jiroh was well enough, Atobe gave orders to the staff to prepare a new bedroom for him, one that overlooked the pool. From there he could sit on the window seat and call down to the others. Jiroh himself had insisted that they return to enjoying themselves, and after a little reluctance they obeyed his request. Someone always stayed in the bedroom with him and helped him make fun of those trick acting in the water.

Atobe sat on a sofa in the hallway and listened to the low hum of Jiroh's chatter, the soft pad of Jiroh's mother's footsteps as she ran little errands for her son (Atobe had put a team of maids at her personal service, but oddly enough she preferred to do things herself), the contented sounds of Jiroh's father smoking a pipe and reading the sports sections from twenty-seven newspapers. Atobe kept a phone in his lap in case Jiroh should need anything, and a book to provide an alibi for being there. In truth he hadn't read more than a few pages in a whole week.

Oshitari approached Jiroh's door, ready to relieve Shishido. He was wearing a navy and white yukata. This annoyed Atobe. Oshitari could have bothered to get dressed.

To Atobe's surprise, Oshitari stopped in front of his sofa instead of entering. "Still engrossed, I see. Page twenty already? You are a fast reader, Atobe-kun."

With an immense effort Atobe prevented himself from doing something rash, like sticking Oshitari's glasses up his nose. "You do talk a vast deal of nothing, Oshitari-kun. And you're keeping Jiroh waiting."

"Such solicitude!" Oshitari's voice was mocking. "One would almost think you cared."

"I do care," snapped Atobe. "Jiroh nearly died. Do you think I'm so cold-hearted I could forget that?"

Something in Oshitari's face relented slightly. "No, I don't. Truthfully, I'm just confused. How can you sit here every day and wait for Jiroh to ask for something you can provide, but not walk in there and tell him the thing he most wants to hear?"

"I'm sure I don't know to what you are referring," said Atobe stiffly. "And Jiroh made it quite clear that he didn't want me to visit him. So I shan't."

"Che, would you listen to yourself? You sound like a five-year-old! Jiroh was upset and he'd just been injured. He still thinks you have a girlfriend. He still thinks you've broken his heart without a care in the world. He deserves to be told the truth."

"Oshitari, you've been reading far too many romantic novels." Atobe was nearing the end of his tether, although he was well schooled enough not to show it. "While it may -- may -- be true that I care for Jiroh a little, it makes no difference in the grand scheme of things. It's all very well for you and Ohtori to fool around with other boys, but you don't have the obligations and expectations I do. I am the only child in the Atobe family. I am required to marry and produce an heir."

"Calm down," drawled Oshitari. "No one's expecting you to make a life-long commitment here. Even if you went out with Jiroh, or -- how did you put it? -- fooled around with him, it probably won't be the great passion of your life. It's just a little fun."

"Is that what you and Mukahi do? Have a little fun?"

Atobe could have sworn that Oshitari stiffened. "What Gakuto and I do is no concern of yours. We aren't spreading our problems around like some venereal disease. I've gone out with girls before and I probably will again. But right now, I have Gakuto and ... I really don't want anyone else. That's a good feeling, Atobe. You're stupid to deny yourself the chance to feel like that."

"I can live without the censure of the world, thank you." Atobe snorted and Oshitari gave up.

At that point Ohtori came in search of Shishido. Oshitari took the chance to ask them if they'd gone out with anyone else -- perhaps to stress the point that what they had was an inconstant and short-lived thing, Atobe didn't know.

"I made out with a few girls when Shishido left for high school, but that's it." Ohtori shrugged.

"Nope, there was no one else." At their stares, Shishido tugged at his cap and added defensively, "What? I was busy! With tennis, and ... school and stuff." It was hardly the most romantic declaration Atobe had ever heard in his life, but it made Ohtori smile fit to burst. Shishido blushed.

"Yeah, but you're only seventeen," said Oshitari dismissively. "There's plenty of time."

"My parents met when they were seventeen." Shishido cleared his throat. "Hey, Ohtori, feel like playing a match?"

Oshitari stared after them, disgust and pensiveness mingled on his features. Atobe sniggered. "Perhaps I'm not the only one feeling something he can't admit to himself, ne?" he suggested. Oshitari merely scowled and stomped into Jiroh's room.

It was only when he was gone -- and Atobe had time to mull over the conversation -- that he realised he'd pretty much implied he felt something too.


__



Atobe couldn't sleep -- a new and disturbing development. He always did yoga and drank herbal teas prior to sleeping; he had the maids spray his sheets with lavender to ensure restful slumber. He did not feel up to dealing with insomnia.

Perhaps it was because he hadn't been getting his usual amount of exercise lately. He decided this even as he was pulling on a raw silk dressing gown and slippers embroidered with his personal crest. A little walk would tire him out sufficiently. Perhaps he would even take a detour to the kitchens and make some hot chocolate from the machine. He didn't like to call the maids at this hour, even though there was a night roster for that very purpose.

He found himself by the pool with no clear recollection of how he'd got there. It was the first time he'd visited since Jiroh's accident. He was drawn to the site, his slippers scuffing over the tiles. They'd been meticulously scrubbed clean and not even the faintest mark remained to show where Jiroh's blood had spilled.

It seemed Atobe had given up the ghost, for a strange feeling of calm engulfed him at that moment. He sat down on a sun lounger that might have smelled slightly of pineapple, and shrugged off his dressing gown. The night air was warm and he didn't need it. In fact he was almost too hot, so he kicked off his slippers too and curled his toes against the cool tiles.

A lone, heat-sensitive floodlight had come on at his arrival. The lamps beneath the surface of the water lit up with an eerie blue glow. Atobe recalled parties his parents had held here. The pool had been laced with floating flowers that filled the air with heady perfume. As darkness fell and Atobe hid from his nurses, the lights shone up through the flowers like the torches of mermaids. When he'd said as much to his mother she told him not to be foolish, and where was Nurse Marcia? Nurse Marcia had left the Atobe employ soon after that, if Atobe remembered rightly.

There were no flowers now, no overdressed women pretending to laugh at his father's blandishments, no tinkle of wineglasses. Just the water, and the light.

Without really thinking about it, Atobe stood up and pulled his pyjama shirt over his head. He let his pants fall and stepped away, relishing for a moment the forbidden feel of air purling against his bare skin. Then he rose to his toes and executed a perfect dive into the pool.

He opened his eyes as his fingers touched the pebbled surface at the bottom. This was not an Olympic-standard pool but a fashionable, kidney-shaped one. There was a Jacuzzi at one end and a flight of steps at the other, where women in heavy makeup and impeccable costumes could pretend to be in the water without wetting anything more important than their manicured toes.

Atobe surfaced and turned on his back. The cool water sent delicious shivers down his skin. He felt vaguely aroused -- not enough to do anything about it, but enough to give the sensation of swimming naked an extra little frisson.

He rested his elbows on one of the many handholds and let the rest of his body float. An inflated lilo bobbed past. Atobe had caught glimpses of Shishido and Mukahi holding staged battles over the possession of the thing. Ohtori had given Atobe a strange look when he offered to buy a new one to stop the fights.

"But they like it, Atobe-kun," Ohtori had said, which puzzled Atobe exceedingly. Still, he did not offer again.

Atobe idly scissored his legs, loving the way the water flowed into places that were usually well protected by swimming trunks. It felt ... naughty. Purposely naughty, which was different from accidentally breaking vases or spilling food and being told that it was 'naughty,' even though Atobe had never meant to do them. Heat was beginning to pool in his groin and he was just thinking about slipping his hand under the water when --

"How's the water, Atobe-kun?"

"Jiroh?" Atobe went to say, only shock loosened his hold on the side and he sank underwater. When he emerged, several feet away from where he'd started and with streaming eyes, Jiroh was perched on the edge. His pyjama pants were rolled up and he was splashing his legs in the water.

Jiroh's eyes flickered from the puddles of clothing to Atobe's face, which was heating up in spite of himself. A smirk tugged at the corners of Jiroh's lips. "Atobe-kun, are you naked?"

"Yes," said Atobe, with as much dignity as he could muster. It wouldn't have filled a thimble. "What -- what are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be asleep?" And not talking to me? he added mentally, but he couldn't lower himself enough to say it aloud.

"I've had plenty of sleep, thanks. Plus, the light woke me." Jiroh gestured at the floodlight. Of course, Jiroh's room was in the wing facing the pool. "I looked out of the window and I saw you."

"You saw me?" repeated Atobe. "Oh."

Jiroh had seen him taking his clothes off.

For some reason this only made the heat between Atobe's legs intensify, until it was all he could do to keep his hands treading water. The blush didn't abate, though. If anything it worsened.

"So." Jiroh thoughtfully gazed up at the sky. "Oshitari told me you had something to say."

"He did?" Atobe cursed the meddler's name. He'd be on the next flight back to Kansai if Atobe had anything to do with it. "Well, I suppose I should have told you about the girl I went out with. I didn't mean to shock anyone. Especially you. That is, I'm very sorry that you slipped and I would do anything to --" Atobe frowned. This wasn't coming out at all right.

He looked at Jiroh. The boy was still staring at the stars. Curls fell over the gauze bandage so that it was hardly visible. Anyway, Atobe was more interested in the long pale column of his throat and how much he wanted to touch it. Wait -- no, he didn't. His mind was betraying him again.

"I'd do anything to make it up to you," finished Atobe, after an embarrassing pause.

"Really?" Jiroh's head came down, bringing his gaze in line with Atobe's. Atobe flushed so hard he could barely breathe. Honestly, this reaction was totally disproportionate. Why were his ears thundering like there was a brass band nearby? None of it made any sense.

"Yes," he managed.

Reflected, watery light danced across Jiroh's face. Atobe watched, mesmerised.

"Okay, then, Atobe-kun. Do you own any Speedos?"

Part deux
 
 
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Aret: Oshigaku Kissblufox_o7 on June 24th, 2007 06:10 am (UTC)
HAHAHA! The last line is soooo Jiroh. Hahaha.

I'd like to believe Yuushi's in denial too, though. In my own lil' world, Yuushi wants to spend the rest of his life with Gak-kun. Hahaha!

Nice read, btw. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Gakuto: Cutescoradh on June 24th, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC)
Thankee!

I totally agree. In fact I'd be hard pressed to imagine anyone in Tenipuri with anyone outside Tenipuri ... which would probably suck for them, while remaining v.v. pretty.
Ji-chan: atojihikarino_aki on March 23rd, 2009 08:49 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwww... like it sooooooooooo much *_____*

They are sweet ^___^