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12 September 2006 @ 12:21 am
PoT Fic: Chiaroscuro (Fuji/Ryoma, R)  
Fuji/Ryoma, R (oh deary me)
Konomi's, not mine

a/n: Dedicated to moshi, for being so awesome. This fic is a little strange. If I'd been in a different mood at the time it could have turned out four times as long, but I wasn't. This may be a Good Thing. I'm such a ... a fic-botherer these days. And they're not even remotely funny anymore! PoT stole my mojo and gave it back porny!

This is where it all starts.

The clubhouse is a miasma of sweat, socks and wet towels. Momo is dancing around Ryoma, mostly dressed but with several buttons undone and his hair in a mess. Ryoma dresses slowly, methodically, neatening every fold as he goes along. He is always ready first.

"Ne, Echizen, who is, then?" Momo playfully pummels Ryoma's shoulder. Ryoma looks long-suffering and about forty years old. "Who's the best-looking guy on the team?" Momo preens, obviously hoping Ryoma will say 'you,' and worrying that he will say 'Kaidoh.' As ever, Momo is about as subtle as an elephant with a head cold.

"Che," says Ryoma, "Fuji," as if it were obvious.

Momo looks dumbstruck. Syuusuke doesn't even turn his head. He's very good at not reacting. The first time an aunt said to his mother, "Isn't Syuu-chan growing up to be a lovely boy? Far nicer than Yuuta," with a chuckle that sounded like a fish being squeezed to death, Syuusuke kept his eyes closed out of shock. He pretended he hadn't heard. Yuuta had heard, and from that day on he loved Syuusuke a little less.

So now, when Ryoma says this like it's the answer to a question only the stupidest person in the world would ask -- easily Momo, then -- Syuusuke remains tranquil as a monk's pond. He doesn't find it terribly difficult to nod along to Eiji's endless stream of conversation, like that's what he was doing all along. He smiles.

Syuusuke is fifteen years old. He's never been in love before.


Syuusuke practises kissing on his arm. Either the skin on the underside of his elbow or his lips is very sensitive, because it feels tingly. But there's not much in the way of reciprocation, and sometimes Syuusuke's mouth aches for wanting to be crushed against someone else's. Anyone else's.


On Syuusuke's last day of middle school, Ryoma seeks him out. Out of his tennis clothes and hat, he looks like a negative -- all black and white. The people Syuusuke is having lunch with seem surprised at the interruption, but they don't say anything when Syuusuke leaves behind his bento and follows Ryoma out to the stairwell.

"I want to come over to your house," states Ryoma baldly. He remembers too late to amend it to, "I mean, if you wouldn't mind, Fuji-senpai."

"I don't mind." Syuusuke smiles and looks at him dead on. Ryoma stares back, his old-gold eyes swimming like coins in a fountain. "I'll meet you here after class, okay?"

They walk to Syuusuke's house in silence: Syuusuke because he doesn't mind it, Ryoma because he doesn't say anything. Syuusuke wants to reach out and take Ryoma's hand, and once the thought appears he can't erase it. It makes the silence sharp-edged and brittle.

Ryoma wanders around Syuusuke's bedroom, touching cacti and flipping through his bookshelf. Syuusuke sits on his bed, opening his mouth to speak several times and closing it again once he's mentally edited whatever he was going to say.

Ryoma asks to see his photographs. Syuusuke guesses that Ryoma knows as much about photography as he does about auto mechanics. Does this mean he wants to see them just because Syuusuke took them? The idea confuses Syuusuke, but there's a sweetness to the confusion that suggests that he does know the answer hidden behind it.

Syuusuke gets out his favourite album and Ryoma sits down beside him. Ryoma looks a little bored by the time they get to the third series of trees. Syuusuke reaches two fingers into the space between the pages and slides out a picture he cut from one of his sister's magazines.

The man in the moody photograph is sultry, with a dark wing of hair and deep shadows etched across his naked body. Syuusuke holds his breath as he spreads it flat on top of 'Autumn #34.'

He lets it out when Ryoma leans to rest his cheek against Syuusuke's shoulder and sighs. Ryoma puts his hand on the edge of the album: just beside Syuusuke's and with his fingertips touching the edge of the ripped page.

They stay that way for a long time, until Ryoma's cousin calls his mobile and steals him home.


One day, Ryoma appears on his doorstep. He's fourteen now, with limbs swelling and stretching. Syuusuke's height, but not for much longer.

He wants Syuusuke to fix his hair. "Make it like yours," he says. Syuusuke finds that it's disconcerting when he's crowded by someone whose lips are on the exact same -- perfect maybe -- level as his own.

Syuusuke nods. Smiles. Takes Ryoma into the bathroom and makes him lean over the bath. Tucks a towel around Ryoma's shoulders. Maybe spends a little too long massaging the shampoo into Ryoma's hair and teasing out the sweat and knots and tangles -- but he's sixteen, and he wants to touch things.

Syuusuke used to cut his brother's hair, back before Syuusuke took the place of the devil and the bogeyman both in Yuuta's arsenal of bad guys. He snips at Ryoma's hair with Yumiko's nail scissors (sharp enough to draw blood). He towels it dry and brushes it, for so long that Ryoma starts to melt back against him. His eyes flutter closed. Syuusuke's fingers find the ticklish parts around his ears and stroke, just a little bit.

When he's done, Ryoma's hair glows. His cheeks and eyes match. He burns as bright as a chandelier, as a bouquet of stars. Syuusuke turns away, embarrassed by his thoughts.

"Thanks," says Ryoma. Then he adds, "Fuji-senpai?" so Syuusuke has to look at him.

His lips are puffy by nature and wet from being licked -- nerves or habit. They taste like nothing and everything, but Ryoma's mouth beats the hell out of Syuusuke's own elbow.


Yumiko takes them to Chiba: Yuuta and Mizuki, Syuusuke and Ryoma. Syuusuke forgets to be annoyed at Mizuki's presence, his five-minute lip-gloss checks, his preening in front of Yumiko. He even forgets to hate the way Yuuta's jealousy at Mizuki's attentions towards his blatantly female sister is so thick and black it could cloud out the sun. Syuusuke only has eyes for Ryoma. He wants to press his nose to Ryoma's and laugh with glee. He wants to fuck Ryoma against a dune. Ryoma is happily oblivious, scowling at the bikini-clad beach bunnies and eating ice cream.

The sand is like sugar. Syuusuke makes a sandcastle, patting and shaping and making little funnels to let the water run in. Ryoma watches for a while. He doesn't ask to help, which makes Syuusuke's heart sing. Ryoma knows he wouldn't want that.

Eventually Ryoma's patience runs out and he tugs Syuusuke into the sea with him. Once he's sure no one is looking, Ryoma arches his eyebrows and dives beneath the waves. Syuusuke follows and they kiss underwater until the air runs out. They emerge spluttering. When Syuusuke laughs he breathes in a lungful of seawater, and Ryoma looks affronted. They do it over and over, bumping knees and churning up sand with their toes. By the time Yumiko calls them in Ryoma's mouth looks as if it's been stung by a jellyfish.

They sit wrapped in the same gigantic towel. Mizuki babbles on about his father's company while Yuuta stews and Yumiko tries not to yawn. Ryoma shoves his elbow in Syuusuke's side like a kid; Syuusuke manages not to drag Ryoma's hand down between his legs. They sneak another kiss when the others are changing out of their bathing gear. Yuuta's brow is even darker on the way home, and Syuusuke thinks he might have seen.

Syuusuke can't blame his brother for being jealous this time. Ryoma's kisses are hot and wanton. Syuusuke doubts his brother has got to first base with Mizuki, or even realised that he wants to yet.

It's the first time in his life that Syuusuke has felt good about winning.


Ryoma stays the night at Syuusuke's house on his fifteenth birthday. He claims he can't bear to be around his father at the moment. Now that Ryoma is fifteen he's even closer to being a man than before. Nanjiroh associates this with increased doses of pornography. Syuusuke is pretty sure that Ryoma doesn't object to the pornography itself, only the subject matter.

They stare at each other across the white expanse of a pillow. Despite the uncountable times he's made out with Syuusuke on this very bed, Ryoma seems too shy to make a move now that he's in it. The moonlight spilling in through the curtains turns Ryoma's skin lambent, his hair into black silk. Syuusuke wants to touch him very badly indeed -- wants to rip off his clothes, spread him out beneath him, break him open -- but he doesn't know how to say it.

"Fuji-senpai," breathes Ryoma. Then he corrects himself. "Syuusuke-kun." That's when Syuusuke knows he's allowed.

They both move at the same time, rolling into the little dip in the mattress. Syuusuke reaches for Ryoma, feels him sink into his arms. Their cloth-covered erections brush, wringing a moan from Ryoma. Syuusuke's hands clench, catching up folds of material and skin. They rock together, awkwardly at first, then faster and faster. At the last minute Ryoma tries to wrench away, but Syuusuke's hands on his back prevent him. He comes with a shudder and tears on Syuusuke's neck.

"It's all right," soothes Syuusuke, and when Ryoma's calm he pulls down his pyjama pants a little and they do it again.


This is where it ends.

"I love you," pants Syuusuke. He's close, so close, and Ryoma is achingly, burningly tight. He doesn't notice Ryoma's grimace or the way he turns his head away.

The next day he doesn't answer his phone. By the end of the week Syuusuke finds out from Momo that he's changed his number. Syuusuke's emails bounce. Ryoma's cousin is always cool but polite when she answers the door. No, Ryoma isn't here right now. No, she can't say when he'll be back. Yes, of course she will pass on a message.

Yumiko changes his sheets after a month. Syuusuke screams at her, the first time he's ever raised his voice to his sister. He rips them out of the washing machine but it's too late: the suds have obscured all the last traces of Ryoma. They also spill all over the floor. Syuusuke has his allowance stopped until the new machine is paid for.

He doesn't know what hurts worse: the fact that he told Ryoma that he loved him, or that he still does.

It's late autumn in the park. Syuusuke snaps the shutter of his camera, but every angle is wrong and the colours blur like tearstains. He drops out of the tennis team and forgets to hand in assignments. He has several sessions with the school counsellor, who reports with confusion that Fuji-kun seems perfectly fine.

It continues for months, until the day Syuusuke finds a photograph shoved into his locker. It's a very bad snapshot of a cat, who would be a photogenic subject were its head not half out of the frame.

The world starts turning again, a little differently than before. Syuusuke breathes in, breathes out, and light and shade begin to creep back into the world.

A familiar hand has scribbled two words on to the back of the picture.

Me too.

Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: Rocky Took A Lover (Bell X1)
Jenny Penny: mada mada daneweirdlyyours on September 11th, 2006 11:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not in love with this pairing, but the way you write them makes my heart ache. Fuji kissing his elbow, Mizuki being flamingly gay and yet startlingly straight, and Ryoma's mouth looks as if it's been stung by a jellyfish.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Pretty facescoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
Fuji kissing his elbow,

Yeah, I used to do that. I have no shame. :D

, Mizuki being flamingly gay and yet startlingly straight

Between the purple shirts and the could-be-more-obvious impress-you techniques with Yumiko, Mizuki is the posterboy for bisexuality -- don't you think? ♥

My little mermaids. [pets them fondly]
(Deleted comment)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chibi Ryomascoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:29 pm (UTC)
Hee, I liked the idea of kissing underwater. I always wanted to be a mermaid. Splash and Disney had far too great an influence on my formative years.

It would take exceptional circs for me to end on a truly unhappy note. Besides, the whole point of this was for them to get loved-up. I guess you could say he freaked out. Reasonable enough, when Fuji is your boyfriend ... :D

I'm so glad you liked it. ♥
Gin: Smoking is bad for you but SO HOT.backinblack on September 12th, 2006 12:02 am (UTC)
I keep reading crap I know nothing about, directly. It doesn't help that this fandom is complicated as hell. I enjoyed Syuusuke practicing kissing on his arm. You always write so realistically, so fluidly, I'm always surprised when I remember that they're not real people.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chatting ballerinasscoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:22 pm (UTC)
Yes, this may or may not be because I used to do that. With the elbows and all. [coughs]

For a quick run-down, you could try ... or for basic facts with piccytures, . I mean, if you are going to keep reading my stuff no matter what, it might help. :D :D :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Dracoscoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
So that reply sucked but deleting it is far too much effort:


Run down post

[wails] I'm so TIRED YO.
I, Ociwen: hit listreposoir on September 12th, 2006 12:24 am (UTC)
Ooooo- I like this! Rather miserable, and a little haunting. The last section was my fav, with the scene of the sheets and then the photo....

REALLY effective last line.

Thank you for sharing this with us! :D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art thou a witch?scoradh on September 12th, 2006 10:34 pm (UTC)
REALLY effective last line.

Random first thing that came to my mind? This is why I shouldn't write fics on the fly. Well, more on the fly than usual. >.>

Glad you liked it! [smooches]
Halrloprillalar: ryomaprillalar on September 13th, 2006 04:20 am (UTC)
I liked this a *lot*. I thought you did a really good job with Fuji especially. These two are both hard to get hold of, I think, and for different reasons, for all that they're alike. The mood was great -- I could feel that desperate loneliness of adolescence.

And Mizuki was so much love I can't even say. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Gauzyscoradh on September 13th, 2006 08:48 pm (UTC)
These two are both hard to get hold of, I think, and for different reasons, for all that they're alike.

Oh hell yeah. Numero uno reason why this fic is as short as it is -- any more and I would have shown up some near-fatal flaws in my characterisation. :D

Mizuki and his awesome wardrobe must be given their due credit, yesyes.

♥ for reading.
Def Leopard's one-armed drummer: BATHTIMEbloodybrilliant on September 14th, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
I love this pairing and have not read close to enough of them together. You do an amazingly good job with writing two tough characters and making it so so incredibly moving and tactile. I hope you write more of them. :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chibi Ryomascoradh on September 15th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC)
Why, thank you very much! I hope to write more too, but I think I broke my writing drive. :D
Tiniest ranting sexpot trollop: Fuji thinks rather thrilling thoughts.goldie on September 17th, 2006 08:45 am (UTC)
....OH GOD.

Sorry, you just kinda broke me. Um. This was so very, very beautiful. I.... that. What iso said above me. *cops out of proper review but dear god, MS SCORADH...*
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Beltsscoradh on September 17th, 2006 09:42 pm (UTC)
*cops out of proper review but dear god, MS SCORADH...*

That's okay, I copped out of writing a proper fic! Honestly ... I'm so lazy now, if it takes more than a day to write it just moulders in my hard-drive unfinished forever and ever. Like that GP one with the karaoke. o.O

Anywhat, glad you approved! Lurve l'icon. :D
Tiniest ranting sexpot trollopgoldie on September 17th, 2006 10:28 pm (UTC)
I see no problem with that :D. Who says fic should take more than a day and be all serious-like? :D Although, okay, yes, there is something very satisfying about length and complicated plot and all that, I do understand what you're saying, but to someone like me who likes to read in short bursts about her favourite ships and with all the details about what makes them them then this was perfect. More than perfect. Please keep doing it? *pleads with pleading-like eyes*

Mwehehe. How could I not icon that cap, right? The billards ep comes up so well in icons too, with the colours. :D
karorumetallium: lovemekarorumetallium on September 19th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
Ok. I'm officially a fan of yours now, and I'll tell you why: I don't even like this pairing, but you pulled out a FANTASTIC fic. Full of misunderstandings, need and angst; just the way I like it.

I wuv you.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Hadesscoradh on September 20th, 2006 08:44 pm (UTC)
I don't even like this pairing, but

I love hearing that! It's like ... qualification of my negligible skills in writing. Arigato, mwah.

Love ya too, as I do anyone who fangirls my stuff. I hope you don't mind that my affection is rather whorish in that sense. :P
karorumetalliumkarorumetallium on September 21st, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
Negligible? I wish my skills in writing were as negligible as yours xD

Well, that's a good form of whoring if there's one xDDDDDD
i'd kiss you if you weren't so damn ugly: Fuji goes takewing on October 26th, 2006 03:47 am (UTC)
This has been sitting in my memories since you posted it, and it's taken me this long to read it. Yay fic binge?


This was brilliant. Just so many brilliant scenes and details and everything.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Hanamura lock up your childrenscoradh on November 22nd, 2006 10:24 am (UTC)
... and it's taken me this long to reply. Oh how I suck.

I'm glad you liked it, regardless of the fact that I can barely remember what happened in it myself. :D
Lullaby in my hand: hinata by sa_kanyatodaythesamesky on December 27th, 2006 09:29 pm (UTC)
And now another one I have to leave a proper review for later because I am blown away. Just. Wow. That ending.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Chibi: Atobescoradh on January 9th, 2007 09:08 pm (UTC)
It was so going the other way before I wimped out and bailed ... :D
Lullaby in my hand: akudantodaythesamesky on January 9th, 2007 09:13 pm (UTC)
That icon looks like it was made by Atobe. :|
Lullaby in my hand: fujitodaythesamesky on January 9th, 2007 03:05 am (UTC)
Okay, first? Your writing is so, so beautiful. Seriously, even if this had been about nothing at all, your words would have had me.

This fic is so... haunting is the word I want, I think. I mean, it doesn't sum up all that it is, how beautiful it is, but it hurts, a dull achy sort of hurt all the way through because of lines like this:

Yuuta had heard, and from that day on he loved Syuusuke a little less.

And I want to say that you've made Fuji a Real Boy but that would be incredibly dorky of me, but anyway what I mean is that your characters feel so real, Ryoma not helping with the sandcastle and kissing under the waves and Yuuta's jealousy-- it feels like sunshine and the beach in that scene but still it has everything else lying on top of it, like this line:

It's the first time in his life that Syuusuke has felt good about winning.

And then the part about the sheets, with Fuji losing control. That broke me.

And your ending. Your ending worked so, so well.

This is the best FujiRyo I have ever, ever read.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Bellescoradh on January 9th, 2007 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'm so flattered. It's strange for me to think I've created something that could be called 'beautiful,' but I'm glad that I have, all the same! Whenever I write Fuji I go into a weird trance-like thingy, and it seems to work out just as well (if not better). I certainly like the Fujicest best of all I've done in PoT.

Which is a roundabout way of saying arigato gozaimasu! ♥
Blindmouse: catblindmouse on June 10th, 2008 06:05 am (UTC)
I've been hesitating over reading this for months. I'm so wimpy about Fuji fics, and particularly Fuji pairing fics. I know that he's almost impossible to get right, and god knows I have about eight abandoned attempts on my hard drive, but even so I'm so completely untolerant of people getting him wrong, and most people don't even try. I hate it when people take the easy fanon route, because Fuji is ... so completely fantastic and owns my soul. Er.

Anyway, this is to say that your version - worked for me. He wasn't quite my own canon, but I can't even express my own canon - eight abandoned attempts, as I said. I think this is the closest I've ever come to truly shipping him with somebody.

I don't even know if this comes off as a positive comment, so I will add that it was gorgeous, and the kissing underwater was brilliant and Syuusuke is fifteen years old. He's never been in love before. made my heart catch in startled happiness.

I almost have the nerve to go and read your Fujicest, now.

p.s. I feel as though I've left you several dozen comments on these fics over the last few weeks, and I know you're not even writing PoT these days so it must be a bit random - but you are, for what it's worth, my favourite writer in this fandom, and if you DO start ficcing for it again, I will be smiling fit to break. I like your HP fic, but it never clicked for me the way the tenipuri fic does.
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on July 25th, 2008 08:14 pm (UTC)
I'm so sorry I haven't replied sooner! I get kind of swamped with work and stuff.

I remember this story - it feels so long ago now. Writing a fragile Fuji - as opposed to the serial killer trope - was ... interesting. To say the least.

I'm sorry about the fact that I don't write in PoT anymore, if you really think that! ♥ I think the fandom is nearly dead in the water now? You'll just have to come on over to bandom. *TEMPTS*
Blindmouseblindmouse on July 25th, 2008 11:23 pm (UTC)
Writing a fragile Fuji - as opposed to the serial killer trope - was ... interesting.

Well, I'm glad you did. Serial killer Fuji makes me rather tragic and unreasonable.

I think the fandom is nearly dead in the water now?

I hope not :(

I've learned to never say never, and I have been reading the bandom that turns up on my delicious network, but I think the manga fandoms are going to hold onto me for a while yet - even if I'm writing more than I'm reading, these days.
the source of all heresiesms_worplesdon on July 12th, 2009 03:31 am (UTC)
Oh, this made my stomach twist!