|Better in the Morning
Author: Alba Nix PM
A boring night at work finds Ayako, Bousan and Yasuhara opting to go to a nightclub... together. Bousan gets into some trouble, Ayako gets upset, and Yasuhara gets to have a lot of fun. AyakoxHoushou, not explicit. Same universe as Smitten Apart.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Ayako M. & H. Takigawa/Bou-san - Words: 4,112 - Reviews: 8 - Favs: 13 - Follows: 5 - Published: 07-27-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3684498
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Why am I always late with things? Grrr. This one is for Jenx's birthday. It can also be considered as a prequel to Smitten Apart, because that's what 'lit the bonfire' (or whatever that phrase is). Ergo, it kind of gives away some of Chapter 2. Typical me.
Note: This fic contains some violence, strong language and… suggestive themes – well, it's not just suggested, it's obvious. Please don't read if you don't like that sort of thing. I'm not accustomed to writing violence, so it's not too graphic (as I probably would have messed it up if I'd tried anything too fancy), but it's not very pretty – so if it makes you feel uncomfortable, don't read it. It does focus more on Bou-san and Ayako than the violence, though. Hehe.
Ahem, anyway; Jenx – sorry it's late, and I hope you like it ;)
"Bye, everybody! See you tomorrow."
"Laters, Brown-kun," Houshou called lazily.
"See you, John," Yasuhara said in perfectly accented English.
Ayako huffed at him. "Why do you have to be so perfect?" she moaned as she downed a glass of Pepsi in one gulp. "Ugh," she shuddered. "That's so bland. I need vodka."
"Like Yasuhara's going to be interested in an alcoholic like you," Houshou teased.
She threw her glass at him. "Shut up."
"See, you behave like a drunkard when you've only had Pepsi." The monk ducked as she aimed a kick at his head.
"Aren't you playing a gig tonight, Takigawa-san?" Yasuhara asked from behind a book. Which, Houshou noticed as he looked up to reply, was in French. Spanish. German?
"Well, I was going to, but the drummer cancelled at the last minute because he wanted to and visit his girlfriend in hospital, so we thought we'd just call it off," he explained.
"Pity," Ayako muttered, now filing her nails.
Houshou yawned. "Yeah, it is. I have to sit here with you, bored out of my skull, when I could have been surrounded by pretty girls."
"Oi, mister!" Ayako said indignantly, poking him with her toe. "Don't I qualify as a pretty girl?"
"You're not a girl," Houshou replied mischievously, holding her foot down with his own. "Girls are sugar, spice and all things nice."
There was a snap, and both Houshou and Ayako jumped and turned around to see that Yasuhara had closed his book, and was now looking at them with a gleam in his eye. "I have an idea," he said brightly. "Why don't we all go out somewhere?"
Miko and monk stared at him in silence.
Yasuhara shrugged. "Well, seeing as you were both saying you've been bored all afternoon, and everyone else has gone home—" he glanced at the office doors that hid Naru and Lin, and grinned, "—we might as well enjoy the rest of the evening."
"What do you have in mind?" Houshou asked suspiciously.
"Actually there's this nightclub a friend of mine at university was telling me about—"
"Ohhh no," Ayako interrupted. "I am not going into a bar with you two. Nooo way."
"Come on, Miko-san, it'd be fun," Yasuhara encouraged.
"You're not twenty-one yet," she pointed out.
Yasuhara shrugged. "Yeah, but my parents wouldn't mind. I go out often."
Ayako closed her eyes and rested her chin in her hand. "Ah, great. I'm going to end up doing this, aren't I?"
"Yep, you are," Houshou said suddenly, winking at Yasuhara and grabbing hold of Ayako's wrist to pull her up. "We might as well. We've been sitting here like sloths for most of the day because Naru's 'job' only took about an hour."
"But – but –"
"She's protesting because she won't have time to go home and get changed into something more likely to attract hot, sporty types," Houshou whispered to Yasuhara, but loudly enough for Ayako to hear. "After all, they just might think she was the scholarly, doctorish type."
"Why you –"
"Somehow I think not," Yasuhara smiled.
Ayako glared at them. "Fine. I'll go. In this. Even though I'm going to look like a right moron."
"You're not going to look like a moron," Yasuhara pointed out, "because you have make-up on. If anything, you should look like a moron for having gone to work as a miko wearing lipstick and foundation. When the only people here are two teenage boys, two teenage girls, a Catholic priest… that leaves Lin-san and Bou-san here. Who is it then?" he teased.
"Oh, come on, Yasuhara, she's really going to tell them she's a miko, isn't she?" Houshou snorted. "That would really help her street cred. In other words, make it more non-existent than it is already."
"Shut up, you!" Ayako shrieked, whacking him.
The door to Naru's office opened and a black head appeared around its frame. "If you have no further work to do, I would appreciate it if you left," Naru said slowly. "Some of us are trying to work."
As the door shut, Houshou muttered, "Workaholic."
"Well, that leaves us with no choice then!" Yasuhara said cheerfully. "Let's go!"
"Aren't you going to go and dance, Miko-san?"
"Shut up, Yasuhara," Ayako said irritatedly, leaning against her stool with her arms folded. "I am not going out there while that moron is supposedly entertaining a circle of girls, right in the middle of the bloody dance floor." She blew a strand of hair out of her face and harrumphed. "He's such a hog."
"Why, does he hog the covers at night?" Yasuhara suggested teasingly.
Ayako turned to him indignantly. "Watch your mouth, young man!" she scolded. "You've had too much to drink," she said, reaching behind her for her glass and emptying half of it.
"On the contrary, Miko-san, I've only had one glass of beer," Yasuhara replied; his eerily pleasant smile never left his face.
As they watched, Houshou said something to the young girls around him; whatever it was, they didn't like it, because they all groaned. Seconds later, the girls were heading for the door, and he was walking back towards Ayako and Yasuhara, a wolfish grin on his face.
"So easy," he said triumphantly as he picked up the pint of beer that he'd asked Yasuhara to watch. "They're so gullible. And so innocent, unlike some people," he added, grinning at Ayako in a manner that was almost a leer.
She simply made a 'hm!' sound and turned away from him, nose in the air.
"I think Miko-san is jealous," Yasuhara whispered loudly.
"I am not!" Ayako protested, whirling around. "Why would I be jealous just because he gets all the attention?"
"I meant of the girls, Miko-san," Yasuhara smirked.
Ayako frowned. "Yeah, why would I----ooooooh, Yasuhara, I am gonna get you!"
"Isn't that paedophilia?" Houshou said, highly amused. "You could get done."
"Oh, yeah, I'd just say he raped me," Ayako snorted.
Houshou laughed. "And who do you expect them to believe? Priggish, alcoholic, supposed 'doctor' who pretends to be a miko, or straight-A university student who was council representative in high school?"
"Just you wait, mister, that one was below the belt," Ayako slurred angrily.
Before Houshou could reply, they were approached by a tall, good-looking man with dark hair and shades, swaying a little as he walked. Ayako moved over in disgust; the man took the opportunity to lean against the bar and smirk at them.
"Hey, dude," he slurred to Houshou, "fancy ditching this place?" He raised his eyebrows; Ayako stared at her drink as though she was going to be sick.
His response was a sceptical, but somewhat nervous, smile. "Sorry, mate," Houshou intoned, "but I don't—"
"Hey!" Yasuhara interrupted. "Don't you go hitting on my boyfriend."
Houshou's jaw dropped. "I'm not your—"
"So," the man said to Houshou, ignoring him, "prefer the nerdy type, do we?"
Ayako snickered behind a perfectly manicured hand.
"As a matter of fact," Houshou said defiantly, "I just don't go for thugs."
The man slammed his fist down on the bar. "I'll have you know—"
"Now now guys," Ayako said tipsily, holding her arms out, one towards each chest. "Let's not fight. You can have your lovers' tiffs at home, but not here."
"Lovers' tiffs," he snorted, looking at Yasuhara. "This one looks like he wouldn't hurt a fly, because he wouldn't be able to."
"That's better than squashing them, isn't it?" Yasuhara said calmly, looking from the man's face to his clenched hand.
The man sneered and turned to Ayako. "And who are you?" he asked. "Male prostitutes' secretary? Or are you the lesbian? 'Cause every guy's got to fuck a lesbian once in his life, and you wouldn't be in a bar with two guys otherwise."
Ayako stared at him. "How dare you—"
"Oi, who do you think you are?" Houshou demanded. "You can't just go round saying things like that to her."
"I can do whatever I like," the man said loudly, leaning in and poking him in the chest.
"Then go fuck yourself, 'cause I can't imagine any girl wanting to, let alone a lesbian," Houshou snarled.
The man clenched his fists, but didn't say anything; he simply knocked Houshou's glass over so that it narrowly missed him – instead, it spilled all over Ayako's arm. The man sneered and walked off.
"Why, that bastard—" Houshou said through clenched teeth, "—if I could get him alone—"
"Er, Matsuzaki-san, are you alright?" Yasuhara said from behind him.
Houshou turned around to see that Ayako's eyes were shining, and she was squinting as though trying to fight off tears. "Oh, no," he said in horror. "Oh, for Kami's sake, Ayako! Fuck it, please don't start crying…"
Ayako burst into tears. Yasuhara winced.
"He's only right!" she said tearfully. "That's obviously why I've never been able to hold down a boyfriend—"
"Ayako, stop it," Houshou interjected helplessly, looking around as though a Fairy Godmother would magically appear to comfort her. "You're a strong person, you shouldn't listen to people like that—"
"People sometimes let it all out when they're drunk," Yasuhara suggested.
"YOU'RE NOT HELPING!" Houshou shouted. "Ayako, listen to me. That guy was a complete arsehole—"
"That didn't stop him speaking the truth though, did it?" she demanded, somewhat hysterically.
Houshou looked at Yasuhara pleadingly.
"You always manage to comfort Mai," he pointed out.
"It's different with Mai, she's like a sister—" Houshou said indignantly, turning back to Ayako and running his hands through his hair in desperation. "Kami, help me, what do I say?" he moaned. "I can't handle this!"
"You seemed quite the ladies' man before," Yasuhara put in.
"Shut the fuck up, Yasuhara!"
Yasuhara shrugged, nonplussed.
"Don't give me that! Aren't you going to do something here?" Houshou almost squealed.
"You should be the one to comfort her," Yasuhara replied, a shadow of the eerie smile passing over his face.
"I don't need a frigging cryptic message, I need to know what to say!" Houshou yelled.
"It wasn't cryptic," Yasuhara smiled, "you're just stalling. What do you think you should say? She's still upset, by the way."
Houshou looked over at Ayako; she was still crying, only now she was drinking at the same time.
"No no no, Ayako, no more vodka!" he said desperately, grabbing the glass out of her hand. She stared at him as though utterly lost. "Snap out of it," he said loudly. "You've had too much to drink, you're taking him too seriously—"
"Not gonna make her feel better," Yasuhara interrupted. Houshou glared over at him. "You asked me to help," he said in amusement. "Fine if you don't want me to."
"Ayako," Houshou said firmly, taking hold of her shoulders. "I think you're gorgeous," he said quietly.
"Well done," Yasuhara muttered somewhat tiredly.
Ayako's eyes widened and she seemed to sober a little; she looked like she was about to say something, but footsteps told them that the man from earlier was approaching. Houshou let go of Ayako's shoulders, and turned around – only to come face to face with not the guy he'd been expecting, but two unfamiliar faces.
"Which one of you trespassed in my territory?" the taller demanded.
The second, who looked younger and a sort of apprentice, added, "You shouldn't mess with my brother."
"We don't know what you're talking about—" Ayako said shakily.
"Ah, this must be the secretary," the taller man sneered. "How cute, she's defending her bosses."
Houshou gripped Ayako's wrist tightly and reached over to squeeze her hand. "Leave her alone," he said in a low, angry voice.
"Bou-san, maybe we should just leave—" Yasuhara suggested.
"Oh, you're not going anywhere," the man replied darkly, "until you've learned to show some respect!"
He aimed a punch at Houshou, but he ducked; Ayako screamed and staggered backwards. "Ayako, don't—" Houshou began, but the younger man – no, boy, he was barely older than Naru – took the opportunity, while he was speaking, to push him towards the bar.
Ayako leapt towards Yasuhara, clamping her hand over mouth as Houshou fell against the bar, smacking the back of his head on the counter. As he slid to the floor, the older man kicked him in the stomach and he doubled over in pain.
"Hey, that's not fair—" Ayako protested.
"Ayako, stay out of it," Houshou said in a strained voice. "You'll only – get – hurt –"
"What, aren't you going to fight back to impress your boyfriend?" the boy jeered as the man took hold of Houshou's jumper and pulled him into a standing position.
The man grabbed his hair and pulled his head back – Houshou winced; suddenly there was a smashing sound and Ayako gasped as blood began running down the side of his head. Houshou coughed – when he pulled his hand away, it was red. The two men sneered and let go of him; without them holding him up, he fell instantly. Ayako rushed over as they walked off, smirking; the boy was shutting what looked like a phone with a camera.
"Kami, they're sick," Ayako hiccupped as she knelt down. "Are you alright?" she asked worriedly. "You've hurt your head – can you stand?" She'd stopped crying, but now she sounded on the verge of tears.
"I'm calling a cab," Yasuhara said quickly, pulling his phone out of his pocket.
"Hey, are you alright, mate?" the barman called over as he cleaned a glass.
"Fine," Houshou groaned, "better in the morning…"
Ayako pulled him up into a sitting position, her usually scornful eyes clouded with worry. "Why didn't you defend yourself, you pushover?" she demanded.
After moaning in pain as he moved his head, Houshou smiled drowsily. "That's… better…"
Having finished on the phone, Yasuhara crouched next to them. "There's a cab on its way," he said, and although he was suitably solemn, his eyes looked almost amused. "Will you take him home, Miko-san? I live over the other side of town and I need to be at university in the morning."
Ayako frowned at him – but she seemed genuinely confused about something. "Yasuhara, are you suggesting—"
Yasuhara raised his eyebrows. "In his state? I'm not suggesting anything, Miko-san, only that if you don't carry him up the front steps he'll collapse." He looked from Houshou to Ayako, and then said, "Come on, you take one arm, I'll take the other."
Taking a deep breath, Ayako stood up. She staggered a little drunkenly before grabbing onto the bar to steady herself, and reaching down to pull Houshou up at the same time as Yasuhara. They each draped an arm around their shoulder, and slowly began to make their way outside.
As Yasuhara had promised, a cab was waiting just in front of the bar. There were shouts coming from down the road, but none of them paid attention. Yasuhara helped Ayako position Houshou inside, then drew back. "Here," he said to Ayako, holding out some money. "That's for the cab. I'm sorry about this."
"Oh, forget it, Yasuhara, you didn't know that was going to happen," Ayako said, but she accepted anyway.
"Not… your fault…" Houshou muttered.
"Ssshh," Ayako said immediately.
"I'll see you guys tomorrow, then, I hope," Yasuhara said with a smile, and shut the door.
He banged the top of the cab, and as it drove away, he smiled again, this time to himself. "I'm not really sorry," he said to the air, and pulled out his phone to call another cab to take him home.
"I'm not letting you in your apartment on your own in this state, stupid," Ayako said firmly. "Where are your keys?"
"Right… pocket…" Houshou wheezed.
"See? You can hardly speak!" Ayako scolded, yanking his keys out of his jeans and shoving them into the door. She kicked it open with her foot, positioned the keyring between her teeth, and helped Houshou into his apartment. "This is a mess," she said in disgust as she closed the door behind them.
Houshou shrugged. "Bet… yours… isn't exactly… pretty…"
"You don't have the energy to talk, let alone insult people," Ayako reprimanded him, dragging him over to the couch and making him sit down. "I'm going to get you some water and aspirin, then I'm going to go and get a cloth for your head. D'you get that?" she said slowly.
"Yeah… You're… the drunk… one…" Houshou slurred – with pain, not intoxication.
"Oh, shut up," said Ayako, but she smiled slightly in relief as she entered the kitchen and rooted about for some aspirin. Finally finding some buried away at the back of the cupboard, she took it – and a glass of water – back into the main room, where she set the glass on the table and lifted Houshou's chin with her hand.
"Open," she ordered. She popped the aspirin into his mouth, and then held the glass of water to his lips.
"Thank you… Matsuzaki-sensei…" Houshou said, teasingly even in his current situation.
Ayako just rolled her eyes – and regretted it, because it gave her a headache. "Ugh, I feel sick," she said as she looked for the bathroom.
"Told you… too much alcohol," Houshou called, his speech becoming clearer with the water. He coughed then, and said, "Ayako, can you bring me some tissue?"
"Sure," she said, swaying and holding onto the bathroom door frame. "Hang on…" Once inside, she found a flannel cloth and soaked it in water; she pulled a box of tissues down from on a shelf and returned to the living room, putting them on the table and seating herself on the couch next to Houshou.
"Thanks," he said as she placed the cloth against his forehead. "That feels better."
"Good," she said in slightly slurred approval. He smiled genuinely at her as she wiped the blood off his face, and she felt herself blush.
"You're blushing," he said softly.
There was silence for a while: Houshou sipped water; Ayako nursed his head, one hand holding the cloth against the wound, and the other cupping the back where he'd hit it on the counter.
"Um… Houshou," she said slowly.
"Hmm?" He looked a little surprised, but didn't seem to mind her using his given name, so she smiled tentatively and continued.
"Why didn't you just co-operate with them? Why did you provoke them? You didn't have to tell that guy to go and fuck himself…"
"I wasn't going to stand there while he insulted you," Houshou said vehemently, then coughed. Luckily, the blood had stopped now, and his voice sounded less hoarse. "Did you really expect me to?"
"You insult me all the time," she pointed out.
"Yeah, but that's different. I don't actually mean to upset you. It's just for fun. Y'know, banter. You do it, too."
"Mmm." Ayako leant back against the couch, still keeping one hand against Houshou's forehead. "Houshou?" she asked. She found she liked the sound of his name.
"Did you mean it when you said you think I'm gorgeous, or were you just trying to be nice?"
He looked right at her, then; he'd been looking at the glass of water in his hands, but he put it down on the table, and reached for his forehead. With a wince, he pulled her hand away and threw the cloth onto the table as well, then he took her smaller hand in both of his, seemingly examining it. "No, I meant it," he said slowly. "I do think that."
"Don't you think I'm a loud-mouthed cow?"
He laughed. "Well, yeah," he acquiesced, "but that's what makes you… you, isn't it? I mean, Naru wouldn't be Naru if he wasn't a narcissistic brat."
"You don't talk about your seventeen-year-old male boss in these situations," Ayako pointed out vexatedly.
Houshou cringed. "Sorry. I'm not actually very good at this, y'know."
"Then why are you such a flirt?" Ayako asked.
"I dunno. Like the attention, I guess. It's easy with young girls who think saying hello is the same as kissing."
Ayako nodded and closed her eyes. "I'm not really good at it, either."
"We're even then," he said quietly.
She opened one eye and looked up at him, and found him watching her. "You perv, you're staring at me," she whispered.
"I did say you're gorgeous."
Feeling suddenly inspired, she leaned up and kissed him.
It was only brief; but as soon as she pulled away he was pinning her against the couch and kissing her again. She pushed him backwards and knelt on his lap, stopping only to say breathlessly, "I'll stay on top, thank you."
He smiled against her, and leant back to say with a grin, "I still feel tired; can you help me take my clothes off?"
A student had known before he had…?
"Wow," he whispered under his breath.
Ayako yawned and rolled over, stretching and blinking sleepily. She was wearing one of his nightshirts, and – as far as he could tell – nothing else. Rubbing her eyes subconsciously, she turned over, caught sight of him, and sat up as though someone had placed a firework under her pillow.
"Oh my God," she whispered. "Did we…?"
"Yeah, I think it's evident that we did," Houshou yawned.
"How can you just sit there and yawn about it?" Ayako demanded, but she yawned halfway through her sentence, and they both started laughing.
Catching her breath, Ayako whispered, "Well, fuck me…"
"Again already? Was it that good?" Houshou smirked.
Nothing had changed. And that was what he'd wanted. For everything to progress, not change.
Houshou smiled. He felt better… then he became acutely aware of the pain in his head.
-----end… for now
Note 2: I couldn't actually write the scene. I'm sorry. I don't write lemon! So use your imaginations.
If you're curious: I said it was a prequel to Smitten Apart; to find out how he got from smiling to calling her a selfish bitch, please stay tuned for Chapter 2.
That was actually one of the hardest things I've ever written (haha, not funny). I've never really written anything remotely violent before, but I think it turned out okay. I hope Jenx thinks it turned out okay XD Happy birthday!