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A(r)mour, Chapter 10

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: A bit early, although it will probably technically be Wednesday by the time I actually hit post. In any case, it was Supanova on the weekend, t'was glorious fun, I'll make a post on that sometime in the next couple of days once I have found my USB cable to liberate my photos from my camera.

Also this chapter earns its rating. Just saying. And anyone reading should have long seen this one coming.


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9


___________________

Chapter 10
___________________



“Don’t forget your assignments are due at the end of the week, there will be no extensions for anything less than hospitalisation, got it?” Hiroki barked. The collective student body nodded frantically, and he waved them irritably on their way. They rushed out, a gangly, uncoordinated human river that couldn’t wait to leave the scary mountain of the lecture theatre.

Hiroki went and sat at his desk, slowly organising his notes as the stragglers trickled out. A headache had built up behind his eyes, and the air conditioning had been malfunctioning all day, leaving the lecture theatre warm and stuffy after every class.

He walked back to the office, ignoring the students who shuffled to the other side of the hall when they saw him coming. He stood outside his door a moment, wondering if the brat was there with the Professor again, before shaking his head. What did it matter if they were? He couldn’t care less.

When he stepped inside, though, a familiar author lounged on the couch instead. Marginally more welcome, though Hiroki didn’t much feel like entertaining anyone currently. “Bakahiko, what are you doing here again?”

His old friend waved a hand, not even looking up from the book he’d purloined from the shelves. “Can’t I catch up with friends without an ulterior motive?”

“Avoiding your editor then,” Hiroki grumbled, dumping his lecture notes on his desk and digging out the previous day’s assignments. He might as well get his marking done if the author was determined to loiter.

"Actually, Takahiro's back in town," he said, casually leafing to the next page of his book.

The name didn't send the same spike of resentment through his heart that it used to - or if it did, it was lost amidst the numb ache he carried everywhere now. Belatedly, he realised it had been a long time since he heard Akihiko going on about his unrequited love. His trashy BL novels hadn't featured that name for a while, either. Did the wedding finally force him to move on? When was the last time-?

"Didn't he move to Osaka-" He calculated backwards. "-only six months ago? Hardly makes the trip worth it."

Akihiko shrugged. "He’s just visiting. Wants to spend more time with his brother."

“So why are you here then?” Hiroki huffed.

His old friend’s expression turned dark and sour. "He wasn't particularly pleased with me."

"Why not?" His gaze skipped across the next student's assignment. Another first-year brat filling up course credits - Hiroki was tempted to fail him on principle.

"Because his precious little brother has left to shack up with some strange new boyfriend he's never met, and I didn't do anything to stop him."

"Hnnn, is that so?" Hiroki muttered distractedly. He didn't know much about the kid, beyond the fact that Akihiko had taken up tutoring him at some point in the past two years. He’d resorted to tuning out most things related to Takahiro as an act of self-preservation somewhere during his second year of college. "Why didn't you?"

"I thought you of all people would understand how awkward it would be to live with your ex-lover when they were going out with another guy."

Hiroki choked.

“You…” The precious words he held so dear completely deserted him. “You… you were dating Takahiro’s little brother?”

“Not anymore, obviously,” Akihiko stated blandly.

The revelation that for the past two years his childhood friend had actually moved on struck him like a physical blow. “You didn’t think to tell me?” was the only response he could summon.

Akihiko shrugged. “You never asked.”

Of course he didn’t ask! He’d had years of speeches about the many virtues of Takahiro foisted upon him without asking – when had the rules suddenly changed?

“Besides,” Akihiko added, “You seemed to be going through your own issues at the time.”

…Right. That had been around the time Nowaki had disappeared to America for a year without so much as a phone call. In retrospect, Hiroki had been poor company, too focused on his own misery and uncertainty to pay that much attention to his old friend’s couch-bound ramblings.

Still… this was the mysterious roommate? Akihiko mentioned him occasionally, and only now was Hiroki noticing the careful omission of name, but normally the comments were about some stupid argument or what new mundane delicacy he’d cooked for dinner the night before. Hiroki had been glad for it, that his friend had found someone to live with who he could tolerate, but that it was Takahiro’s little brother

Hiroki scowled, scrambling for steadier ground. “No wonder you’ve been moping around. I thought it was a bit melodramatic to get this upset over your roommate moving out.”

“Hnnn.” Akihiko turned to the next page of his book. “Have I been moping?”

“How you can write so eloquently about the angst of the lovelorn while remaining utterly incapable of processing your own will be the crowning thesis of a grad student someday.” Huffing, he started sorting through the marking on his desk, mostly to give his hands something to do so he didn’t keep standing there like a dumbstruck buffoon.

“Maybe you’re right,” Akihiko mused. “What should I do, then?”

“Idiot. I’ll give you advice and you’ll just ignore it, as always.” There was no real heat behind the words, though. Akihiko was Akihiko, he’d been like that for as long as Hiroki could remember.

“I always listen to your advice.” The protest was so droll as to sound sarcastic.

“Idiot,” Hiroki repeated. “There’s nothing to do anyway. You just have to get over it.”

They were words he’d repeated to himself ceaselessly over the past fortnight. Sometimes he even believed they were true.

“Get over it, huh?” Akihiko mused, looking from his book to stare at the ceiling. “Maybe I need a new roommate.”

“Maybe,” Hiroki agreed, distracted by one of the papers that looked like it might actually have some interesting ideas in it. He shuffled it to the bottom of the pile, to save it for the end.

“You live alone, don’t you?”

Hiroki’s fingers twitched, and his sorting missed a beat. “…At the moment, yes.” Did he have to bring it up?

“You should move in.”

“Hm,” Hiroki muttered. Then, “Wait, what?”


………………..


"I have an apartment!"

Akihiko didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention to his protests, directing the movers with careless authority. "There's more space here. I’ve already moved your library." He waved his hand vaguely towards one of the far walls, now lined floor-to-ceiling with books.

Hiroki had no idea how this had even happened. After his pronouncement not two days before, Akihiko had turned up on his doorstep with moving company in tow, and before Hiroki could stop sputtering long enough to summon an effective argument, his entire flat had been efficiently emptied and transferred to the author’s penthouse.

“That’s not the point! I’m not going to move in with you!”

Akihiko wore a look of hurt. “Am I that terrible a friend?”

“Don’t put on that act with me,” Hiroki growled. That hangdog expression might have worked on him eight years ago when he was stewing in the deepest depths of unrequited affection, but he’d known Akihiko since they were kids. He wouldn’t give in to that kind of blatant emotional manipulation. “I’m not falling for it. We’d be terrible roommates, anyway. Haven’t you ever heard that living with friends will turn them into enemies?”

“I doubt it will, but you don’t have to stay. Just until we both get back on our feet, hmm?”

“I was already on my feet, thank you very much,” Hiroki snapped, running a critical eye over the bookcases for any missing or damaged titles. The movers had been astonishingly careful and efficient – Akihiko threw his money around like confetti, after all, he’d hired the best – but his books were his most valuable possession.

“You needed to get out of that place.”

“I thought this was about you needing a new roommate,” Hiroki challenged. “Of which I never agreed to, by the way!”

“Your boss told me he was worried about you,” Akihiko remarked, waving his protests away as though they were no more troublesome than a fly. “I agree with him. I know how you are. You’ll just stay there and depress yourself instead of finding a new apartment.”

Miyagi. He should have known the Professor had something to do with this. Still meddling, even though he had no right

Hiroki’s shoulders sagged. Whatever. He was done.

He was tired.

“Fine,” he muttered. “I guess it doesn’t matter for a few weeks.”

Akihiko was right, in a way. Staying in that apartment… it was no good for him. Too many memories. And he didn’t need the space anymore, either. He might as well use the opportunity to break lease and go somewhere else.

He turned on his heel. He needed space. Quiet. “I’ll be in the guest room.”

He didn’t see Akihiko’s pensive gaze follow his path.


…………………


Despite initial reservations, becoming Akihiko’s temporary roommate wasn’t entirely intolerable. His old friend did live in a luxurious penthouse, and Hiroki’s things were all there, so it wasn’t as though he was lacking in home comforts. And the author had in fact largely minded his own business, giving him the time and space to search for a new place in peace.

For the first five days, anyway.

Abruptly and without any warning, his bedroom door crashed open and Akihiko barrelled in like he owned the place, which technically he did, but Hiroki still snapped, “Haven’t you heard of knocking?!”

“We’re going out.”

“Excuse me? I’m not going anywhere,” Hiroki replied peevishly. “Leave me out of your plans.”

“Too bad you’re not getting any say in it.” Akihiko hooked him by the arm and dragged him to his feet. “You’ve been moping inside for long enough, and I’m sick of takeout.”

They were halfway down the stairs before Hiroki managed to find his feet and yank his arm free, which of course nearly sent him tumbling headfirst down said stairs if it weren’t for Akihiko catching him. “Fine! Let go, already,” he hissed. “But nowhere black tie. I can’t afford your five-star taste.”

“I’ll pay.”

“You won’t. I’m not a charity case. I have a job. Bad enough I’m living here rent free.”

Akihiko shrugged. “Fine, we can go to that bar you like. The food there was decent.” He slipped into his shoes by the door, and handed Hiroki his jacket.

He took it with a grimace. Going out drinking was very near to the last thing he wanted to do, but the author had a point. And it had been a long time since either of them had gone out for a meal or drinks – it had never been common, not after Hiroki started dating Nowaki, but he’d been a poor friend to Akihiko in general lately, and if he were being honest, an even poorer guest, holed up in his room like that. And he was sick of takeout.

“We’re catching the train,” he said. “Last time we went there you got so drunk I had to pry your damn keys out of your hand before you got yourself killed.”

Akihiko tossed his car keys onto the couch. “Happy?”

“Don’t be a smartass,” Hiroki groused. “Let’s go.”


……………….


It wasn’t like he’d actually intended to get drunk, although some distant, foggy part of his brain suspected it had been Akihiko’s plan from the beginning. Alcohol was never his coping method of choice, but once he started…

His cheeks felt warm against the prickling air-conditioning of the train carriage. “I think I drank too much.”

“Hnnnn,” was the full extent of Akihiko’s response.

“Thank god I don’t have work tomorrow,” he groaned, tilting his head back to stare out the window. The glass sat pleasantly cool against his temple, and the lights outside passed in an attractive blur. Some clinical part of him was already dreading the hangover, but the rest was far too mellowed out by the pleasantly relaxing buzz from five or six too many craft beers. “Not all of us can set our own hours, you know.”

Akihiko didn’t comment on that either. “This is our stop.”

The lights slowed, the train ground to a halt, and then he was being hauled to his feet. Hiroki stumbled against his friend as the world gently swayed around him. Akihiko just threw an arm around his shoulders, solid and warm against his side as they lurched through the thinning crowds departing the train station.

“If this starts me on my path to alcoholism, I’m holding you responsible.”

“You couldn’t become an alcoholic. Your taste in beer is too expensive.”

“Look who’s talking.” He stumbled briefly over a crack in the pavement, but Akihiko held him up with ease. “Besides, that’s what you’re supposed to do when you get dumped, right? You’re supposed to go get drunk with friends.”

“You should find somebody,” Akihiko said, the only sign of his own drunkenness in the slight burr to his voice and the rich note of alcohol rolling off his breath. Annoyingly, he’d always held his liquor better, though there was no question that he was at least tipsy himself. “That’s better than getting drunk. Go out, have a one-night stand.”

Shinoda was part of his history Hiroki didn’t want to revisit, not even with the pleasant distance provided by alcohol blurring the memory. “So I can regret that, too? No way. I’m through with this… with all this,” he finished lamely. “Learned my lesson.”

“You’re getting maudlin.” Even inebriated, Akihiko dropped ten dollar words like spare change. That was the glorious thing about hanging around literary geniuses. Miyagi was the same.

The thought of the Professor should have sent a wave of anger through him, but Hiroki felt only numb at the reminder. He pushed away, staggering slightly. “I can walk on my own.”

“If you call that walking,” Akihiko chuckled. He was definitely drunk. Akihiko didn’t laugh. He hardly ever smiled. “We’re here, anyway.”

Blearily, Hiroki stared up at the massive apartment block. Huh. He thought the walk from the station took longer. His sense of time was clearly shot. But his friend was already walking inside and calling the elevator, leaving him scrambling to catch up.

Once inside, he leaned into the corner and closed his eyes as the lift made his stomach fall. “Urgh. I’m too old for this. I’m going to have the worst hangover tomorrow.”

“You really are an old man. You used to be able to put away twice that much without blinking an eye.”

“Bakahiko,” Hiroki swiped as the elevator arrived at the penthouse.

“Tch, so cranky. You need to get laid.”

“You keep saying that. But I’m not going to hook up with some stranger for a one night stand. What else am I supposed to do? Hire a prostitute? No thanks.” Hiroki kicked off his shoes and set about shrugging off his jacket.

Heavy arms suddenly enfolded him from behind, and warm breath brushed over his ear, carrying with it the cloying reminder of their evening’s drinks. “I could do it.”

Hiroki stilled.

When he finally found his voice, it came out rough as sandpaper. “…Don’t joke about that.”

“I’m not joking.” Cool fingers ran up his neck, tangling in his hair. “You did it for me once before. I can return the favour.”

It had been an unspoken contract between them to never, ever bring that night up again. It had taken months for their friendship to recover. “You regretted it.”

“Things have changed since then,” Akihiko murmured, and there were lips against his throat now, not quite kissing buthe could feel every word mouthed. “Neither of us is waiting for someone else this time. We just both need to move on.”

It was a stupid idea. The absolute worst. Even through the haze of alcohol, some part of him recognised that. That this wouldn’t be distraction, or comfort. That this would be punishment.

Except those cool fingers against his too-warm cheeks felt good, and without even meaning to he found himself pressing against Akihiko’s firm bulk at his back, and turning his face to stare into those so familiar almost-lavender eyes.

The smart thing to do, the sane thing to do, would be to pull free, go to his room, and lock the door until they were both sober.

Hiroki didn’t have a great track record with these kinds of decisions.

“You’re overthinking, old man,” Akihiko murmured. “It’s no big deal. We’ve done this before. Just pretend I’m someone else.”

Hiroki turned his face away. “You’re a cruel man.”

But when Akihiko threaded their fingers together and pulled him towards his room, he followed along quietly.

This time, there was no blindfold, no awkward teenage fumbling where neither of them quite knew what to do with their hands. “You’ve lost weight,” Akihiko remarked, hands settling on the bones jutting out at Hiroki’s hips. “I can see your ribs.”

“And you’ve gained weight, shut up,” Hiroki muttered, balling up his shirt and tossing it carelessly aside. It had been seven years, after all – of course they’d changed.

Akihiko just chuckled, and then it was like the last seven years had never happened at all – all cold hands, shallow breaths, and sweat-slick skin as they tumbled to the bed. The sheets bunched and twisted beneath his bare shoulders as Akihiko mouthed at his chest, fingers running a delicate pattern across his stomach.

It had obviously been too long for them both – in what felt like no time at all, they were ready, burning arousal rushing them along. Hiroki squeezed his eyes shut, body shuddering as Akihiko slid inside. His fingers curled, tangled in the sheets, all coherent thought lost to waves of pleasure. To those oddly familiar hands gripping his waist, drifting up to tenderly cup his face. Hands too cold for the memory.

“-aki… Nowaki…”

It was nothing more than a breathless whisper, but Hiroki froze as soon as the word had left his lips. His eyes snapped open and caught, for just one instant, a shadow passing over his friend’s face.

It was gone in an eyeblink, and some barely functioning part of his logic centres wondered if it had been a trick of the light. Then Akihiko was moving again, faster this time, and Hiroki threw his head back, spine arching.

Akihiko leaned in close until their chests were almost flush, a puff of breath warming his ear. “I’ll make you forget about him.”

Hiroki didn’t have the breath to reply. He just closed his eyes, and let his thoughts drift into mindless oblivion.



Next chapter


Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
qem_chibati
Nov. 14th, 2013 10:00 am (UTC)
aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I am not feeling very articulate of late, but ahhh Akihiko reaching out to Hiroki and then bulldozing his way into Hiroki's life and then them trying to provide comfort for each other except it hightlights their issues even more and just aaaaaaa.
sinnatious
Nov. 14th, 2013 12:42 pm (UTC)
Issues, right? <3 They have so many.
ladyazurith
Nov. 17th, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
Alcohol always makes things more interesting! And forgetting isn't that easy >> At least not come morning.
sinnatious
Nov. 17th, 2013 11:44 am (UTC)
Indeed - to both points. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )