Happy Mother's Day, Momma Sth. ^_^



Symmetry
by Ruebert


He prefers silence when he writes, prefers the complete and utter stillness of air only punctuated by the swift clatter of keys being pressed down. His computer is old and decrepit, a slow machine of worth to few but him; it has a word processing program and that is really all that he needs.

He prefers silence, but over the sound of his fingers on the keys, over the whisper of words being formed in his mind are the faint chords of an electric keyboard. He would get up from his cushion, move to the next room over and ask the player to turn the volume down again, or get a pair of headphones while he practices, but he's caught in a scene, and if he moves from the keyboard before him, he would lose the thread entirely.

A keyboard where words are being composed, a keyboard where music is being composed; he likes the symmetry in that.

It does not bother Hiyoshi too much, anyway. He's gotten used to hearing soft music played in the room next to his; it stopped causing him problems with writing a while ago, though he's not sure when the irritation ceased to occur, when he became so comfortable with hearing another's noise in his private space. His fingers are flying, eyes darting from keyboard to monitor -- he never learned to touch-type, and it's too late now, he figures; his method suits him well enough, though he has to be careful to check for errors.

The music halts, falters; his fingers do on the keyboard as well, and he is distracted for just a moment before the notes begin again, a new variation that he can only barely notice. He is not a musical person by nature. The written word is his favored form of expression, releasing the thoughts and voices trapped inside a mind long consigned to verbal silence. Even this is new to him; it was not until the music began to irritate him that he found he enjoyed writing. He blames that self-discovery and many others upon the player.

The music has stopped, but he doesn't hear it, still too caught in the denouement; he does not know how many minutes have passed when his fingers halt, when his mind relaxes and finds itself satisfied with the words on the screen before him. He does not know how long someone else's breath has been mingling with his in the air. He shifts on the cushion, looks up and behind, over his shoulder to see the tall form leaning against the wall, watching him with a faintly amused expression. The dark leather jacket contrasts well with silvered hair, with dark, tight jeans and a thin white shirt; a cross catches the afternoon light, silver chain shining.

"Did you need something?" His voice is slightly sullen, though the tone is unintentional; he simply doesn't like being interrupted. This is not really an interruption; he's been watched before, and though sometimes it disconcerts him, having eyes watching him as he sits and types, he's gotten used to it. Ohtori does not speak loudly or interrupt him, does not read over his shoulder, respects his silence; he can handle that.

"Was I being too loud again?" When he moves into the room, Ohtori does not approach the computer itself; he instead takes a few short steps -- the rooms in their apartment are small -- and seats himself at the small table in the center of the room, folding long legs comfortably beneath him, leaning back to support his weight on his arms.

"Not really." A pause, and he inputs the command to the computer to save his work so far; Hiyoshi leans over to check the pile of printed pages sitting next to the monitor, then prints out his new pages of writing to add to the stack. He is more cautious with this computer than he was with the last; he is leery of losing even a day's worth of work. Ohtori tried to persuade him to buy a new computer, one less likely to self-destruct on him, but he doesn't see the point. When he slides the new pages to the bottom of the stack, beneath the older, and shuts the machine down, he hears movement behind him, and Ohtori approaches at last. The unspoken rules have been set down since they began to live together, and the other young man knows that this is Hiyoshi's silent signal that it is all right to approach, to initiate real conversation; to make contact.

The first time long arms settled across his shoulders, not quite leaning into him, he flinched; this time he does not react at all, glancing back up to see Ohtori's face out of the corner of his eye. He waits for the words, waits for the little ritual which both have become accustomed to. He is not disappointed.

"Will you let me read it?" Ohtori's breath brushes against his ear, warm.

"When it's finished."

"Is it close to being finished, then?"

"Almost."

An almost like a kiss brushed against his temple, a little smile meant only for him. Ohtori shifts behind him, his folded arms dropping away so that they can slide around his waist, and he lets himself be drawn into an embrace. The first time this happened, Hiyoshi was startled; now he looks forward to the contact that the other seems to crave. He leans back into Ohtori, accepts the offered support. A bony chin rests on top of his head, but he doesn't mind the pressure.

The silence between them is comfortable; such peace can last for an hour, or for only a few moments. Today it is the latter, and uncharacteristically, it is Hiyoshi who breaks it. "It's four," he says as he pulls away from the other's arms, and in those words there is a wealth of unspoken information; in his movement, quiet accusation.

Ohtori knows exactly what he means by his words, and actions; they have known each other since they were twelve, and while this long familiarity is helpful in deciphering Hiyoshi's silences and soft-spoken statements, keeping communication between them easy and free of misunderstanding, Hiyoshi also hates it. It is difficult for him to hide what he is feeling from one who has long made a study of detecting his emotions and reactions.

Ohtori's lips are pursed as he studies the bent back before him, and then he reaches for Hiyoshi, grabs for the reluctant one, runs his hands up beneath a knit shirt so that his fingers can reach skin and muscle and bone.

A surprised "Don't!" escapes Hiyoshi's lips before he can contain it; he knows what is coming, and when Ohtori begins to tickle him in earnest along his sensitive sides, over his ribs, he tries to pull away, squirming and struggling. Ohtori knows that he is reluctant to fight back seriously, to do anything that may potentially cause harm to him, and presses his advantage. Only a few seconds pass before Hiyoshi is pinned to the ground beneath the larger boy-man's weight, laughing helplessly as he fights away hands that are merciless in their attack. Hiyoshi does not really like laughing; the first time Ohtori did this, discovered how easy it was to reduce him to undignified protesting and coax sounds of faux mirth from his throat, he did not speak to the other boy for a week. He doubts that Ohtori even realized he was sulking at the time; since then, such dishonorable attacks became commonplace in private interactions. He tolerates it only because he knows that Ohtori will never spring upon him when other people are around, knows that it will embarrass him horribly.

This time, Ohtori seems particularly focused on reducing him to breathless gasps; when his fingers pull away at last, Hiyoshi is panting, eyes closed, sides and stomach aching. The weight atop him shifts, and he barely notices this until he feels the soft brush of skin against skin; lips on his brow, kissing the skin exposed there when his hair falls back from his forehead. His breathing slows, evens. He waits for the other to move, release him from his position trapped against the tatami mat; when Ohtori does not, Hiyoshi opens his eyes, looks up at the face hovering just inches above his.

"It really doesn't matter," Ohtori says, and then he smiles. It's the 'things are all right -- don't worry about it' face, and Hiyoshi is instantly suspicious and on his guard. This shows in his silence, in the way his body tenses beneath Ohtori's. Of course Ohtori had known what he meant, of course Ohtori knew exactly what he was thinking; on this subject, his feelings make themselves known to the other far too easily. It's four. You need to go; you have to pick Shishido up at the airport, shouldn't you be leaving now? I don't want you to go.

"I'm just picking him up from the airport and taking him to his hotel." A patient sigh; Ohtori knows him, knows exactly what his body language implies. "It won't take long at all. I'll be back in two hours." Still he does not relax, still he stares up unflinchingly. Still he does not say it.

Frustration is in Ohtori's voice when he continues, and his eyes narrow when he speaks; he is not angry, but disappointment is thick in his voice. "Don't you trust me, Wakashi?"

The use of his given name startles Hiyoshi; it is rarely used by anyone outside of his blood relations. Ohtori knows this, knows that it can make him feel uncomfortable, knows that it is a private thing for Hiyoshi, and usually refrains from using it. That he has this time means that he is serious, and Hiyoshi is not immune to the tone of his voice. He feels brief guilt, expressed in the way slate eyes refuse to meet warm brown.

He knows that Ohtori's infatuation with their senpai is a thing of the past; knows that the brief relationship Ohtori and Shishido shared in high school is long since past. He would feel more comfortable if it had ended badly; the close friendship between himself and Ohtori began then, during the long searing months of a summer spent covering for a friend who snuck out until late to spend time with his boyfriend, listening to hours-long, one-sided conversations on the phone, finding himself an unlikely support when the two drifted apart, and Ohtori found himself without a lover or doubles partner. He would find himself more comfortable if he knew that their short affair had ended because both wanted it to, and not because Shishido's family had moved away from Tokyo during the summer of his junior year.

It has been four years; high school has ended and college begun. They have been roommates for nearly seven months and he stills feels jealousy when Shishido Ryou's name is mentioned.

"It's over, Wakashi." Now Ohtori's words are soft, a note of soothing apparent as long fingers slide through Hiyoshi's hair. He isn't surprised, though it rankles that Ohtori can read him so easily. It is not that he can't trust Ohtori; it's that he can't trust himself. Hiyoshi rarely feels inadequate about anything; he is confident in himself and his abilities, but Ohtori's affections are one of the few areas in which he feels he cannot measure up to the standard that has been set. He is not Shishido Ryou, and he never can be; nor does he wish to be. Ohtori has never whispered Shishido's name in the dark when they share a futon, and for that he is grateful.

He knows that he is the reason Ohtori will be back in two hours; he knows that he is the reason Ohtori will not take his old friend out for dinner to rehash old memories. Shishido will only be in Tokyo for two nights. His unspoken fears whisper that two nights is long enough.

Ohtori sighs, and pulls away, and still Hiyoshi does not speak, does not move from his position laying on the floor. "I'll be back in two hours," he says, and he stands up, looking down at the other. "I'll call if it will take any longer." He moves toward the door, and Hiyoshi sits up, watching his back. He moves suddenly, reaching for the computer table; his hands find white fiber, and he stands, steps toward Ohtori, who has turned at the sound of his scrambling, looking at him curiously. He folds the paper up, reaches for Ohtori's jacket, tucks it into a pocket.

Dark eyes dart to the stack of paper next to the computer monitor, then back to Hiyoshi's face. Ohtori smiles. The apology is accepted, and he touches Hiyoshi's cheek gently. "It's four," he says, and the words mean something entirely different in his voice, in the way he acts. It's four. I need to go; I have to pick Shishido up at the airport, I should be leaving now. I promise I'll be back soon.

"I know."

Ohtori turns and leaves, and Hiyoshi does not follow him into the shared space of their apartment, does not watch him pull his shoes on and close the door. When he hears it shut, he moves to his window, looks out and down in front of the small apartment building; he watches Ohtori seat himself on the motorcycle, check that the second helmet is secured before putting his own on, fumbling with straps before pulling his gloves on. He looks up to the window, and he raises his hand in a wave.

Hiyoshi may never tell Ohtori that he loves him; he is sure the other knows this, knows it as well as he can read his emotions, his body language. He may never repeat back the words Ohtori murmurs to him when they lay tangled together, when warm breath mingles and bodies fit against each other.

As Ohtori pulls away, and man and machine disappear down the street and around the corner, Hiyoshi turns to his computer and sits before the table to turn it on again; he opens up his word processing program, and reprints the first page of the manuscript.

Almost is enough.




The End

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