Whiling the Afternoon Away
by Karen


Ohtori had always equated Akutagawa Jirou with a force of nature - not something huge and flashy, like a bushfire, but something slow and steady that built up and overwhelmed. Like water, deceptively tranquil and seeping through any cracks and openings there were.

His senpai had always seemed to manage getting into the strangest of places with little more than a happy smile and an innocent look; deceptively cheerful as he broke down all barriers.

That ability, Ohtori thought, was why he was currently entertaining one Akutagawa Jirou in his otherwise empty room. Shishido-san had gone off elsewhere for the afternoon with little more than a grin and admonition to 'not wait up', not even telling him where he was going.

Ohtori thought that he already knew.

He'd resigned himself to an afternoon alone, perhaps for catching up on homework, since he hadn't the heart to go find one of his peers - even if they were barely two doors down. The knock on his door had come as a total surprise, as had the bouncing blonde that had been revealed.

Akutagawa-senpai only seemed to have three modes. Asleep, awake but trying to sleep and so awake that he made caffeine junkies look slow. It looked like he was in the latter, today.

"Akutagawa-senpai!" he had said, surprise making his voice slightly louder. "What are you doing here?"

"Visiting!" his senpai had said cheerfully, brandishing a CD at him. "My parents sent me a care package and there's a CD in it that I thought you'd like more than me. Can I come in?"

"O-Oh, of course," he'd said, appalled at his own lack of manners as he hastened to step aside. "Come in, senpai." The blonde had cheerfully taken his invitation and then taken over the bed, sprawling onto it with the lack of self-conciousness and casual disarray of a puppy.

And that was where they were now, soft strains of classical music floating from the stereo system.

"Where's Shishido?" Akutagawa asked, as he peered curiously around.

"Shishido-san? Oh, uh... he went out," Ohtori explained hastily. He took a seat at his desk chair, spinning it around since presenting his back to a guest would hardly be proper. He fidgeted nervously with the CD case in his hands. "Did you need to see him...?"

"Nope," Akutagawa said cheerfully, shaking his head. "I came to see you. Buchou's gone out as well, so we've both been ditched by our roommates."

"They've, uh... probably..." Ohtori fumbled with the words, as he relentlessly turned the the CD case over in his hands.

"Gone out together?"

"Ye- wait." Ohtori blinked blankly at his still-smiling senpai on the bed. "You know?"

Akutagawa shrugged, then threw himself onto his back on the bed, head turned to keep watching Ohtori. "Just because I like to sleep a lot doesn't mean I'm stupid."

"S-senpai!" Ohtori protested vehemently. "I didn't mean that!"

"I know," Akutagawa said, placidly cheerful. "But I'm just saying. Some things are hard to miss."

"I-... oh," Ohtori finally said, sounding slightly defeated. "But you're not... upset?"

"Nope," Akutagawa replied, still smiling. Ohtori looked uncertainly at him, as his hands tightened compulsively on the CD case, unsure whether or not that was a lie. It looked sincere... "Atobe and I aren't like you and Shishido."

"Shi-Shishido-san?!" Ohtori's voice almost cracked embarrassingly on the high note he reached. "I. But we. We're not...!"

"Obviously," Akutagawa said, with a nod of his head. He squirmed around on the bed so that he could better face Ohtori, uncaring that he was mussing the bedsheets. "Otherwise there wouldn't be that. But, you wanted it."

There was no censure in his tones or on his face, something that Ohtori made himself search for, forcing himself to look his senpai in the face. "You... oh," Ohtori said, softly. "You know a lot."

"Only some things." Akutagawa gave him a smile of unparalleled sweetness.

Ohtori blushed and looked down at his hands. Musicians hands, Shishido-san had said, laughing that laugh, when Ohtori had helped him bandage his wounds and then later cut his hair. Not meant for such manual labour and dirty work. When he spoke, it was in a voice hushed and soft. "Do you... uh, about the others? On the team?"

Akutagawa grabbed the pillow from the head of Ohtori's bed and curled around it, as he smiled sleepily sweet. "I'm selfish," he explained, as he shook his head. "Only the people most important to me."

"Oh," Ohtori whispered, after a pause. He looked down at his hands, as he tuned the CD case over and over in his hands. For a long moment there was no sound in the room but the sweet strains of the violin, swelling into a full orchestral accompaniment.

"Akutagawa-senpai?" he ventured hesitantly, refusing to look up.

No answer.

Ohtori fidgeting for a moment longer before looking up. Then startled into a soft smile.

Akutagawa Jirou, famed throughout Hyoutei for his ability to sleep anywhere and at anytime, had fallen asleep on his bed, still curled around his pillow.

Taking care to be exceptionally quiet, Ohtori rose to his feet. He moved across his room, filching a blanket from Shishido-san's bed on the way, to stand silently by his bed. Akutagawa-senpai was...

Ohtori draped the blanket gently over his senpai's sleeping form and padded back to his desk. Let Akutagawa-senpai sleep; he had homework to do and the quiet company was nice.

And that was how they spent the afternoon - one sleeping, the other doing homework - all to the soft sound of Akutagawa's CD, put on endless repeat.




The End

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