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Fandom: Daegaer’ Fluffy Japanese Schoolboys
Pairing: Hanabusa Akinari / Tanaka Chojiro (since there isn’t really anyone else in the FJS universe)
Notes: For Daegaer, Christmas 2005! :) This is really not what I wanted it to be, but I sorta ran out of time (read: “am lazy and disorganized).
Further Notes: This story follows my other Fluffy Japanese Schoolboys fics, (in order, “On Waking,” “Meeting Again For the First Time,” a drabble which can be skipped, and “Everything Old Is New Again,” all of which which sequel Daegaer’s FJS story, “Remembering Monsters” ("Good Omens” fic on the first order, for those few poor souls who might be unaquainted with it.)
Tanaka Chojiro could hear the Watanabe girl’s voice long before she rounded the corner — it could be called a bell-like voice, as it had a similar irritating effect to that of an alarm clock, her words a string of high-pitched notes struck so quickly that one was hardly divisible from the next. He flattened himself against the wall and decided to take the direct approach. As she rounded the corner he leaped forth, seized the boy she was talking to by the front of his shirt and bellowed into Watanabe’s face: “Get lost!”
The result was admirable — she shrieked and ran, leaving him with a handful of shirtfront attached to the person he desired. He pulled Hanabusa Akinari, all flapping limbs and dropping books, behind the corner and pushed him roughly against the wall, pinning him with his entire body, and leaning into a kiss. Akinari responded to the kiss for a moment, drinking it up, which Chojiro thought was only right — he’d considered this move for a while, and thought it pretty hot, although he hadn’t figured in the girl.
He was surprised when Akinari broke the kiss and pushed him away, looking annoyed.
“Was that really necessary?” Akinari asked, brushing his shirtfront down.
“I didn’t want you to run, too,” said Chojiro, grinning at Akinari’s peevish tone. When he was annoyed Akinari would sometimes drop into mannerisms which seemed as though they should belong to a much older man, though he did that far less often since they had both been sick.
“I didn’t mean the shirt, I meant scaring Kita. She’s a nice girl, you know, and she doesn’t mean any harm.”
“Oh, a nice girl,” Chojiro mimicked, mincingly. “Don’t you feel bad about leading her on?”
“I’m not leading her on.”
“Come on. You know what she wants. Christmas is coming up, and she hopes for a boyfriend to parade around. One who’s ‘nice’ and gets good grades.”
“But she can’t think... Well, I mean, most of the school seemed to know about me and you before we did.”
“Just think what a coup that would be for her among her little clique - converting the gay boy. And she wouldn’t have to put out for you, an added bonus for a nice girl.”
Akinari flushed, and, attempting to cover it, bent to pick up the books.
Chojiro couldn’t resist — he took a quick swat at Akinari’s rounded butt, smacking it perhaps harder than he’d intended, still energized by the fun of yelling and seeing the girl run.
Akinari stumbled, almost falling. “Would you please stop!” he shouted.
Chojiro stopped. For one moment he went cold, with a lump in his throat, feeling foolish for being childish and playful, and then that was washed away with a hot rush of anger, which was more acceptable. His fists itched to smash Akinari’s face, and he crossed his arms to restrain them, feeling as if something was choking him.
“Why do you always have to be so disrespectful to me?” Akinari continued. “I’m not your property, okay? I won’t put up with you treating me like that!”
“Is that the way it is? Want to try being a nice little boy, do you?”
“Oh for -” Akinari began, but he was drowned out.
“I can very well stop, if that’s what you want. Run along after her, Hanabusa!”
He turned and stormed off, ignoring Akinari calling after him. His feelings were hurt, he was angry, and he knew he needed to retreat before he physically hurt Akinari.
On his way home he encountered a bully intimidating a smaller boy, who watched the ensuing scuffling with wide eyes and thanked him after the bully ran off. Chojiro shrugged his shoulders, uncomfortable that his intentions were misinterpreted as altruistic, and continued on his way.
His mother was out — probably at another forget-the-old-year party — the house was cold, and he went directly to his room, throwing himself on the bed. Why the fuck did everything have to be so complicated with Akinari? It had to qualify as one of the most bizarre and fucked up relationships... friendships? Something. ...in the history of mankind. They hadn’t even gone very far, mostly just necking in whatever secluded corner they could find, because Akinari’s mother had forbidden him to see Chojiro after they had both been ill, thinking that the illness and memory loss which they had both experienced had been caused by drug use, which of course her son would never have done without the bad influence of that Tanaka boy. They could remember meeting and becoming friends, but only in a distant way, as though that part of their lives had been lived by other people. Sometimes it seemed the only thing they had in common was having been ill, and the holes in their memory. And each other, with the teasing of the other kids at school about their relations with each other, though most laughed behind their hands to avoid a beating. So they had clung to each other, and that had somehow become what the other kids teased them about, the teasing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Chojiro stared at the ceiling and wondered what he would do without Akinari. He’d be fine. Sure. If he wanted someone else to do that stuff with, he could find someone easily enough. The kid he’d saved from the bully seemed a likely prospect. He’d looked at Tanaka Chojiro as though he were a hero — adoring. Yes, he would probably be accommodating, unquestioning, not challenging Chojiro.
He kicked off his shoes and pulled the blankets over him to try to get warm. He would just lie here and think about what his options were.
His cellphone’s music woke him, slowly, growing increasingly more loud and insistent. The room was dark. He rubbed his eyes, reaching his arm out from under the blanket and groping in his jacket on the floor for the phone. Flipping it open, he peered at the incoming number. Akinari. He hit the receive button.
“What do you want?”
A pause. “I wanted to find out if you were okay.”
“You seemed upset. I figured I should check on you.”
“Well. Okay then. If you’re sure you’re fine.”
“Yeah.” This conversation seemed to be going nowhere. Perhaps he should add something to it. “How about you?”
“I’m... not so great, really.”
“Yeah. I’m feeling crappy about snapping at you like that. I’ve been needing to say that, but I said it all wrong.”
Chojiro didn’t know what to say.
“Just wondered if you were still there.”
“Well, what about it? What do you think?”
He cleared his throat, swallowed. “I think... Look. Most of the time you seem to like stuff I do when I’m doing it. When we’re in the middle of it.”
“I’m here,” Akinari responded, firmly enough, but then his voice dropped to almost inaudible as he continued. “I — I’m not saying I don’t like stuff we do. Sometimes I just feel as though... As though I shouldn’t. Because, by allowing you to be disrespectful to me, I’m not respecting myself.”
Why did things have to be so difficult? Chojiro rubbed his fingers across his forehead, where it ached. He just wanted to be able to do, and not have to put things into words.
“Look.” He didn’t know what to say. “Look. Aki-san? It’s not as though I don’t respect you. You’re not scared of anything. I’ve seen you take on bullies twice your size. You’re a nutcase. I know that if you took it into your head to be pissed at me about something I do, I’d know it, instantly, because you’d kick the shit out of me. That’s cool.”
He could hear the slight smile in Akinari’s voice as he responded, “Is it?”
“Yeah. It makes everything more exciting.”
A chuckle from the other end of the connection. “Um. Thanks.”
A silence fell again, and Chojiro began to be aware of his shoulder aching. He shifted position.
“This house is freezing. I need to go turn up the heat.”
“I just wanted to say — I think you’re a really good friend and I’d still want to be your friend no matter what. Okay?” The words came tumbling one on top of the last, so that it took a moment for Chojiro to understand them all.
“Yeah. Okay. Thanks.”
The connection was broken and Chojiro dropped his hand, hit the hang-up button, and stared at his phone. Such a weird kid. He realized he was smiling. Why, when he still wasn’t sure what the hell was going on, he couldn’t say. At least Akinari didn’t hate him - that was something to smile about.
He turned on the lights and went to turn up the thermostat. Only a few days left to Christmas. He really needed to get something for Akinari. What was appropriate?
The next morning he went out early and took the long route so he could look in the shop windows on his way to school.
In the press of the school halls between classes he spotted Akinari, who saw him a moment later. Akinari’s face went from closed to assaying a tentative smile when he saw Chojiro, and Chojiro felt a pleasant kind of pressure in his chest and stomach, and smiled back.
“I’ll stop by your place this evening.”
Akinari’s face fell. “My mother.”
“I’m hoping she’ll let me in.”
That evening as he waited by the door to the Hanabusa house his stomach seemed filled with flocks of birds, but when it was opened by Mrs. Hanabusa a new strength came into him.
He bowed deeply. “I’ve brought a gift for Hanabusa Akinari. May I wait inside while you deliver it to him?”
She stared down at him (though not by much, as he was quite tall for his age), and at the enormous fruit-basket he carried. Eventually she allowed that he could come in from the cold and take a seat in the front room while she took the fruit up to her son. He carefully handed the basket to her so that the large, open card was right where she could not help reading it while she carried it up.
A very few minutes later she returned, still somewhat reserved, but much warmer, told him he could go up to Akinari’s room, and asked him if he’d like to stay for dinner, as it would be ready in a very few minutes.
Akinari stood from his desk as Chojiro entered the room. The fruit basket took up most of the desk, and he was holding the card, with a slight smile. ’Thank you for teaching me the meaning of true friendship,’ it read.
“You can tell me what a genius I am, now,” Chojiro prompted, teasingly. “Do you think your Mom will let me spend Christmas Eve with you?” Chojiro asked.
“Yes, here,” said Chojiro, plumping himself down on the edge of the bed. “I’d like it to be somewhere else, but I’m sure I can’t hope for that. Here will have to do.”
Akinari sank down in his chair, twisted so he could rest his chin on the back and face Chojiro. “She might,” he mused. “If you impress her at dinner. She invited you, that’s a step in the right direction.”
“She’ll fall to my wiles, yet,” Chojiro said, winking.
Dinner did go fairly well. Fate, in the form of Mrs. Hanabusa, smiled on Chojiro, and Akinari’s petition to have Chojiro over was accepted.
Chojiro laid his plans, and laid in his supplies, carefully. His next appearance in the Hanabusa household was with a large knapsack in tow, as well as a satchel with his schoolbooks for the next day.
Akinari bounced as he led the way up to his room, and presented Chojiro with a large box of chocolates, at least equal to the cost of the fruit basket.
“Chocolates? You are the girl! This isn’t Valentine’s Day!” Chojiro teased him.
“It fits with what I had planned, though,” Chojiro continued. He carefully began to unpack his satchel, placing each thing onto the desk with ceremony and aplomb. Padded within his pyjamas were a set of wine glasses, a bottle of wine, and even a small set of candles, which he lit. He crossed to the door to turn out the lights, and turned to see Akinari regarding him with an odd look on his face.
“You really do think I’m a girl, don’t you?” said Akinari, advancing on him, and giving Chojiro a slight push. Chojiro stepped back, came up against the door.
“So what if I do?” For the next few minutes the most pressing thing on their minds was keeping the ensuing wrestling match quiet so that Mrs. Hanabusa wouldn’t check up on them. Eventually Chojiro was forced to gasp out, between muffled giggles; “No, I don’t! I don’t think you’re a girl at all!”
“And what’s this all about?” Akinari demanded, grinning and putting the pressure on some sensitive parts so that Chojiro gasped.
“Wanting to show you a nice, romantic evening is a bad thing?!”
Akinari laughed in triumph, and kissed him. “Not bad at all. I might let you.”
Endnote: I actually did some research on Christmas in Japan and it inspired me. In Japan it’s not a real holiday, so no day off from school. Very small gifts are given to people one is close to (I wrote a choker-necklace drabble, but then I wasn’t sure where to fit it in in the story) and gifts of fruit baskets or the sort — things that it’s easy to check the price of so that the recipient can respond with a similarly expensive gift — are given to people who’ve done you some good turn during the year (teachers, managers). (So, Chojiro was trying to show respect for Akinari as if he were a kind of mentor in the friendship department. Hopefully I got that right.)
Also, girls all want a romantic date for Christmas Eve — it’s hugely important to have a boyfriend to show off at Christmas time.