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A(r)mour, Chapter 5

Title: A(r)mour

Warnings: Rated M, contains yaoi and occasional swearing, if you don’t like these things please don’t read.

Summary: Hiroki just keeps getting his heart broken, again and again and again, like a fool who doesn’t know when to quit. Standard romantica, egoist, and terrorist couplings, plus Nowaki/Misaki, Akihiko/Hiroki, Miyagi/Hiroki.

Author's Note: Updating today instead of Sunday since I'll be losing my desk this evening. Actually, stuff it, let's move the update day to Wednesday, since that is less likely to have interruptions over the next couple of weeks. Lots of stuff happening irl, I'll make a post about it at some point. This is quite a long chapter, covers a lot of ground, hopefully the pacing doesn't throw anyone off.


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4


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Chapter 5
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For the first time in several weeks, Hiroki didn’t wake up alone.

For one long minute his sleep-fogged brain was convinced the past month had all been a horrible dream, and that it was Nowaki’s warmth at his back and Nowaki’s arm slung over his side.

Except Nowaki’s shoulders weren’t that broad, and his arm wasn’t that heavy, and he didn’t carry the faint odour of cigarettes.

That was when the memory of the previous night rushed back in full clarity, and he groaned.

What the hell had he been thinking? God, they hadn’t even been drunk!

The sound appeared to have woken Miyagi, as the arm around his waist tightened, and a warm waft of breath tickled the hairs on the back of his neck. “…Kamijou?”

The Professor sounded almost confused, but he didn’t seem inclined to move away.

“You cretin,” he said, though there was no real fire to the words. “Taking advantage of me on the rebound?”

“You’ve been moping about for weeks. You should be over the rebound stage already.” Miyagi’s voice was rough from sleep and slurred by laziness. “Besides, you enjoyed it, didn’t you?” His grin was positively indolent.

“You’re a rank amateur. I’m not going to be able to sit down properly all day,” Hiroki grumbled. He ached something fierce. It was no small mercy they didn’t have classes to teach that day.

Miyagi’s brow creased. “Sorry. I wasn’t thinking.” Neither of them were. “Is it that bad?”

“I’ll live. But I didn't even think you were gay," Hiroki muttered, rolling onto his back. Sure, the professor was always flirting with him and hugging him and making lewd jokes, and there had been that one time after he came in from the rain, but that was...

Miyagi shrugged, and dragged himself into a sitting position, sheets pooling around his bare thighs. "I'm not."

...That was Miyagi in denial. The guy must have been bi and completely unaware of it. Still unaware of it, apparently. "Then how do you explain this?" Hiroki asked suspiciously.

His grin turned lecherous. “I might be getting old, but I still have a healthy libido you know.”

Thirty-five was not old. Especially not when the man in question acted younger than he did most of time.

“Idiot. I’m not a free ride. If you’re that hard up you should have hired a prostitute.”

“Oi, Kamijou,” Miyagi protested. He reached down, ruffling his hair, then tenderly carding it out of his eyes. “You think so little of me? I’ll have you know I’m very picky.” His fingers settled on his head, still tangled in his hair, a heavy weight that tugged on his soul like iron chains.

“Stop turning everything into a joke, Professor.” He glared, swatting the hand away.

The Professor wasn’t wearing his usual bright-eyed smirk, though. His expression had turned serious, hard… the sort of face he wore only when it came to work. It was the Miyagi he’d admired when he’d first chosen Mitsuhashi to pursue his studies. The quiet passion in his gaze, the razor-sharp wit, and the laser-like focus, reserved entirely for his field of study. He didn’t get to see this Miyagi very often, but whenever he did, it stole his breath away, and he felt like a young idiot of a first-year student all over again.

“I’m not joking.” He dug a cigarette out of his shirt pocket – draped on the nightstand – and lit it. Hiroki was too hypnotised by the sudden change in demeanour to summon any admonishment. “I only ever had one other lover before my marriage, you know. Casual sex isn’t my thing. Not just anyone will do.” His fingers found his way back to his hair, settling there as though his head were Miyagi’s own personal hand rest.

Hiroki could hear the history in those words, but didn’t ask.

He had history of his own, after all. Most of it bad. Akihiko, Shinoda, Haruhiko… Nowaki now, too. He wouldn’t want to talk about it either.

“…I don’t need your pity,” Hiroki eventually mumbled into the stark silence.

Miyagi yawned, and ruffled his hair one last time. “I wouldn’t dream of pitying you.” He threw back the covers. “But you do need breakfast.”


.………………….


Hiroki had been sure it was going to be a one-time thing.

Miyagi was thoroughly enjoying disabusing him of that notion.

“You’re here again?”

Miyagi cheerfully shoved his usual offering of takeout into the younger man’s arms. “I barely saw you at all today.”

“And these things are related how?”

His superior grinned, leaned forward, and pecked him on the lips. Hiroki spluttered and wiped his mouth, and unwittingly gave Miyagi the chance to slip inside and take off his shoes before any serious protest could be mounted.

“That was totally inappropriate! We have to work together, you know!”

“We’re not at work right now,” Miyagi pointed out cheerfully, making himself at home in the living room. “Besides, I take my work very seriously.”

Hiroki ground his teeth, but he couldn’t summon a good argument there. Miyagi’s typical flirting might have been ramped up a notch, but the minute either of them had any real work to do it was business as usual. As much as the Professor treated everything like a joke, it was refreshing to be reminded that he did take work seriously.

Of course he did. He never would have earned Hiroki’s begrudging respect, otherwise.

It didn’t mean it wasn’t a bad idea to get involved with his superior. It was the worst. He didn’t exactly have a great track record with relationships, and starting another one so soon seemed ripe for peril. That it had the capacity to affect the one part of his life he held sacred, the one part that had kept him sane

Once Miyagi got his tongue in his mouth, though, it became really, really hard to remember those concerns.

Damn the man for being such a talented kisser.

“Sit,” Miyagi ordered. “Eat.”

Somewhat petulantly, he complied – mostly because he’d learned by now that Miyagi could be both infinitely patient and infinitely annoying when he took it upon himself to meddle.

“I never took you for the mother hen type,” he sniped.

“I’m not. I can’t stand kids,” was the flippant reply.

That made two of them.

He attacked his food with vigour, not so much out of any interest in eating as getting it over and done with. Better than having Miyagi trying to feed him, or trying to put him to bed… especially since there was a part of him that was starting to suspect that the old man was deliberately tiring him out each night.

Miyagi tried to coax him into conversation, as normal, but Hiroki didn’t much feel up to it that evening. Besides, he was determined not to let this become any more complicated than it already was, and once they got talking about work he inevitably let his guard drop and then the professor – still insisting he wasn’t gay – would be groping him and stealing kisses and Hiroki found himself simply going along with it. Because for that short little while, he could stop thinking and just forget about Nowaki and his messed up life. That sort of physical comfort could get addictive.

“Phwaaa, you’re so surly today.” Miyagi yawned, setting aside his now-empty takeout container. “You’ll be getting brow wrinkles if you’re not careful.”

“You don’t have to be here putting up with my company, you know,” Hiroki growled. “You keep coming all the way over here, butting your nose into other people’s business and sleeping over and bringing food, and then you complain about it. Don’t you have a place of your own to stay?”

“You have a point,” Miyagi agreed.

Hiroki paused. Agreement had not been the expected response.

“It would be much simpler if you just came and stayed with me!”

“...What?”

The professor all but bounced to his feet, with more youthful enthusiasm than any thirty-five year old academic should have rightly had. “What a great idea! I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before!” He headed off down the hallway into the bedroom. Hiroki was left scrambling up from the table to follow. When he finally caught up, Miyagi was cheerfully dragging a duffel bag out of his closet and tossing clothes into it.

“Hey! Don’t just go through other people’s things! What are you doing?”

“Packing, of course!” He rifled through the cupboard. “Hmm, no, don’t need that, don’t need that… will definitely need that…”

“I didn’t agree to any of this!” Irritated, he snatched up the clothes. “And don’t just throw these things everywhere Professor! Honestly.” He started folding the pants and packing them properly, forgetting that he wasn’t supposed to be packing at all.

“Why not? It’s a great idea! I have a bigger bed, a bigger apartment, and live closer to the university. And you obviously can’t manage on your own.” He pointed at the trash bag sitting in the hallway. “You haven’t even been taking out the garbage.”

“That’s only yesterday’s!”

Miyagi simply disappeared into the bathroom, and emerged with his arms full of toiletries which he dumped on the bedspread. “That’s how it starts, you know. You forget the garbage one day, then it becomes a week, and then before you know it you’ve become a shut-in.”

“I’m not going to become a shut-in!” Hiroki snapped. “And what are you doing? You’ve brought out half the bathroom! I don’t need all of this!” He picked out his toothbrush and shampoo and returned the rest to the medicine cabinet.

That was how Hiroki suddenly found himself staying at Miyagi’s apartment.


…………………


“My sweet honey!” Miyagi all but tackled him when he opened the office door. “I know, I know, you can barely keep your hands off me, but don’t get too excited! I just forgot my notes for the next class. Ah, there they are!” With one arm still wrapped around the associate professor, he reached down and snatched them off his desk.

“Professor!” Hiroki hissed.

“Hm?” Miyagi only then appeared to notice the guest in the office, and quickly dropped the flamboyant overtures. “Oh! Your friend. Don’t mind me, I’m just on my way through.” He nodded to Akihiko, then ruffled Hiroki’s hair once more before heading back out of the office, fumbling for a cigarette, holding his papers, and trying to open the door all at the same time. Somehow he managed, and the office quietened once more.

Akihiko frowned thoughtfully at Miaygi’s back. The author and professor had crossed paths before, after all – Akihiko crashed his office often enough – but they never really interacted beyond exchanging names and occasionally cigarettes. “That’s not the same guy you were with.”

“No,” Hiroki said. No point denying the nature of their relationship. His childhood friend was too damn savvy when it came to anyone but himself.

Akihiko raised an eyebrow at him in expectation.

Hiroki sighed, and turned back to searching the shelves, as he had been before they’d been so dramatically interrupted. “If you must know, we broke up.”

“With the ridiculously tall one, right?”

“As though you’re one to accuse others of being ridiculously tall!” Hiroki wasn’t exactly short, but he certainly felt it some days. How the hell did he wind up surrounded by giants?

Akihiko made a small sound of interest in his throat. “So what happened?”

And people accused him of being blunt.

Stiffly, Hiroki said, “It’s difficult to keep living with someone who’s cheating on you.”

He expected some witty rejoinders, maybe some philosophical remarks, and perhaps a few questions about his well-being, but for once, Akihiko remained silent.

Hiroki finally located the book he’d been searching for, and thrust it at the novelist. Akihiko took it carefully, as though it were made of glass instead of paper, and held his gaze for a long moment.

Strangely, his eyes were bright with understanding and empathy.

Hiroki went back to his desk to go over his lesson plans. Akihiko settled himself on the couch.

They didn’t speak for the rest of the afternoon.


…………………


Miyagi buttoned his shirt as he walked down the hallway, fresh and awake from his morning shower.

He paused just beyond the entrance to the kitchen, enjoying a sight that had yet to lose its novelty.

It was the sort of scene poets would write about. Having Kamijou sitting at his kitchen table, nursing a cup of steaming, fragrant coffee, hair darkened with dampness from his shower and droplets of water running down his neck, only to be caught by the soft cotton towel draped across his bare shoulders…

This, Miyagi decided, had definitely been one of his better ideas.

“My sweet honey! Good morning!” He strode into the kitchen and bent to catch his colleague in a hug.

There was that twitching eyelid. “Professor…”

“What? No morning kiss?” Miyagi teased, then quick as a flash, stole one from the corner of his mouth.

Kamijou sputtered, but his cheeks were flushed pink. Miyagi grinned and beat a swift retreat, before the associate professor’s protests went from embarrassed but secretly pleased to outright annoyed.

Miyagi was swiftly learning exactly where that line was, and took delight in teasing it at every opportunity.

“And a pot of hot coffee already waiting for me!” he declared in exaggerated delight. “This must be true love!” He busied himself pouring a cup, humming a light tune under his breath.

Kamijou grumbled something unintelligible, but almost certainly insulting. Miyagi grinned a little wider. His associate professor was acting more like himself every day. “Have you eaten yet, Kamijou?”

“…I wasn’t hungry.” There was the hint of petulance in his tone.

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day you know. Here, I’ll make something.” The kitchen filled with the sound of clattering plates and pantry doors. In short order, two meals were slapped onto the dining room table.

“…Toast?” Kamijou looked dubious.

“Hey! I’m a bachelor. There’s never any real point to learn how to cook anything fancier if you don’t have anyone to cook for.”

Kamijou’s eyes dwelled briefly on the picture resting atop his bookcase as though to dispute the point, but he didn’t ask, and occupied himself with buttering his toast instead. “…At least it isn’t burnt, I guess.”

Miyagi appreciated the discretion. Discussing his old teacher was not something he was yet prepared to do.

Especially with Kamijou. He was like his teacher reincarnate - the fierce love of literature, the fiery temper, the awkward denials and imperfect armour. The resemblance in mannerisms became eerie sometimes. They even looked a little alike.

He simply saw it as Kamijou being utterly his type – despite the minor issue of gender. His colleague, though, sensitive as he was right now, would probably just see it as substitution.

Miyagi grew sombre at the thought, sipping his coffee in pensive silence. He still caught his junior crying, sometimes – silent tears in the bathroom or bedroom, when he thought he was alone and nobody was looking.

Much like when Kamijou looked at the photo on his bookcase though, Miyagi tactfully never said anything about it. They were grown men. They each had their secrets, and their pride.

“What about you, Kamijou?” he asked, curious. “Are you much of a cook?”

He responded with a grunt, then after a moment added, “Decent enough, but nothing to brag about. Nowa-” He cut himself off, eyes glazed over in memory.

Miyagi took another sip of his coffee – growing lukewarm already – and waited it out.

Soon enough, Kamijou shook himself out of it and swiftly changed tack. “Hey,” he mumbled, blushing slightly even as he glared at the half-eaten remains of his toast. “I was thinking… If we’re going to be… like this… then…”

“Then…?” Miyagi prompted.

The words tumbled out in a rush, as though the faster they passed the quicker he could put them behind him. “…Then you may as well call me by my first name.”

Miyagi smiled. It was all in the little victories.


…………………


Somehow, it felt like life was getting back on track.

Which didn’t make any real sense to Hiroki, as he seemed to be stuck in some sort of real-estate limbo. For the past two months he’d been more or less living at his superior’s apartment. He still paid all the bills on his own, going back there occasionally to fetch particular books, collect mail, and pick up some warmer clothes as the weather started to turn, but he rarely slept or ate there. It had turned into a sort of glorified storage.

“You should just move in,” Miyagi suggested. “I’m sure we can find room for all of your books in here somewhere.”

“And have them all smelling like cigarettes in a week? No thanks,” Hiroki had scoffed.

That said, it was impractical, having a whole second apartment he barely used. Maybe it was paranoia, or some lingering sense of sentimentality. Like how he’d kept his previous apartment for a whole year, on the off chance that Nowaki might return and need to find it.

Which didn’t make any sense in this scenario. If he were being logical about it, getting rid of the place, or at least moving to a smaller one, was the proper reaction. Shed the memories and cut off that avenue of contact with his former lover. And save some money, besides.

Miyagi shrugged and dropped the subject, turning his attention back to his book. They were sitting on the horribly uncomfortable L-shaped couch, Hiroki with his reading glasses perched on his nose as he sifted through the stack of marking he’d brought back with him. Miyagi had sprawled next to him with a novel, gradually migrating until he’d wound up with his head on Hiroki’s thigh. “You’re too skinny,” he remarked, shifting in place. “You’re all bones.”

“Excuse me for being uncomfortable,” Hiroki groused. “You do have another two chairs and the rest of the couch to sit on, you know.”

“You’re still more comfortable. Ah, I don’t know why I agreed to buy it without testing it first.”

Hiroki rolled his eyes, and double-checked his records with the assigned marks. This was the first class of third-year students he’d taken on board – having been managed exclusively by Miyagi in the past – and he was putting in the extra effort to make sure he was thorough with his feedback.

He could even go for most of the day without thinking of Nowaki now. With the safety of time and distance, he could see that it was for the best. There had always been that strain in their relationship – an associate professor and a student were both at very different stages of their lives. Nowaki had been impatient to catch up, and there had never been any way that Hiroki would have let him catch up. Nowaki really liked kids, wanted a family, and Hiroki couldn’t stand either. Nowaki was pure physicality, openly affectionate, and liked to get outside to the park, or go for walks, or play sports, whereas Hiroki would be just as happy to be holed up in a library with a stack of books for the entire weekend and hesitated to even hold hands in public.

Their relationship would have eventually died under a thousand tiny cuts even if Nowaki hadn’t found someone else. In some ways, this might have been a mercy.

He still wished his former partner would have let him end it on his terms. Back when he’d wanted to, and made the decision to let it go. But he didn’t want to be the sort of man who constantly looked back on ifs and maybes. This was reality. He wouldn’t mope and drag and waste away like some lovesick abandoned puppy in a tragic children’s story. He was ready to move on and embrace the present, and put the whole sordid affair and all of his bad decisions into the back of his mind.

He glanced at the professor using his leg as a pillow from the corner of his eye.

If he were being honest, it was only thanks to Miyagi that he’d been able to reach this point so soon. His gratitude was deep, and Hiroki had to admit that it wasn’t just comfort and lust and respect for the greater academic keeping him here anymore. Somewhere in the midst of that complex muddle of emotions, genuine affection had been born, when he’d been sure he was no longer capable of it.

So of course right when he’d started to regain some confidence, right when he’d begun to grow comfortable, did a scrawny brat with sandy-coloured hair appear in their office to mess everything up.



Next chapter



Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
qem_chibati
Oct. 11th, 2013 08:58 am (UTC)
/o\ yeah,. I def saw that happening once things settled down.
sinnatious
Oct. 11th, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC)
Heh heh.
ladyazurith
Oct. 11th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
Pacing seems fine to me :) Sometimes theres not a better way to handle things. Glad to see things are looking at least a little up :)

Hope your move goes well!

Edited at 2013-10-11 05:57 pm (UTC)
sinnatious
Oct. 15th, 2013 10:02 am (UTC)
Thanks! Next chapter will be posted tomorrow. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )