|It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings
Author: fireblazie PM
Despite everything that's happened... they find that they always collide, anyway. Tsuchiura/Tsukimori.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Ryoutaro T. & Len T. - Words: 6,000 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 58 - Follows: 2 - Published: 08-20-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4488540
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. Seriously.
"It Ain't Over Until the Fat Lady Sings"
He never really thought he would end up here. Here, of all places. What a joke. If anyone had told him this was to be his future, he would have laughed. Hard and loud. He'd figured, back then, that he would have had a greater shot at being the next David Beckham.
But life sucks, or somebody up there really hates him, because not only is he not the next David Beckham, not only is he absolutely fucking miserable and alone, but the details of his next concert appearance have just been posted and he needs to have a little talk with his manager.
Because he is not about to play accompaniment. Not to this song. And not with him.
His manager, predictably, laughs. In his face. He thinks he ought to fire her, except he knows that no one else will ever put up with the half the bull he finds himself knee-deep in.
"Anger management," she drawls, smirking. "Remember that therapy session? Write down your feelings, what's making you angry. And then burn it. Poof." She snaps her fingers for emphasis. "That way, you'll feel all better and you can let go."
He wonders if she'll sue him if he throws the paperweight on her desk at her head.
So although he feels utterly moronic, there's nothing else he can do. So he digs out some scraps of paper, the pieces of music he wrote but never played, and attempts to scrawl legibly.
He'll be here in four days and I don't want to see his face just yet. He pauses, then scratches the last two words out – I don't want to see his face EVER.
He takes another moment to let the words come to him. Putting pen to paper, he writes once more.
Minutes later, he finds himself sprawled across the leather armchair, cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth. Ashes of paper lie scattered on the floor. He knows it's not enough, not nearly enough, but it's all he can hope for because there's nothing else he can do.
He knows he can get out of this concert, if he has to. It's just a "special appearance", after all, and all he has to do is play a song or two, and accompany one on the piano. He won't be missed. It's easy to find a piano accompanist.
He's easily replaceable.
He gazes at the smoke rising from his mouth.
It's the money, he decides. He'll get paid more since his name is splattered all over this thing, his first concert back in Japan and goodness knows Tsukimori Len is God's own gift to the violin.
It's the money, he repeats to himself. The money.
"Oh god I'm so sorry –" The thing is, he's not really, truly sorry for practically dousing this guy with his can of Budweiser, more for the loss of the beverage itself –
"No, I'm fine." Tsukimori's voice is clipped, but maybe there's a hint of strain beneath it all? Or maybe it's just wishful thinking.
Belatedly, he realizes he's still standing uncomfortably close to the blue-haired boy – no, man. The stench of beer causes his nostrils to flare and he jumps back, far too suddenly for him to appear calm.
There's a beat of silence before he clears his throat. "Well. Sorry." He backs away. It's incredibly hot and he can feel the moisture on his palms. He wasn't supposed to be here yet. He had four days, dammit, four days to let this sink in but of course he would show up early, since when has Tsukimori Len been fucking predictable?
"So I'll just see you later." His voice echoes, unnaturally loud to his ears. Tsukimori's still standing there, like he's some deer caught in headlights. He could have at least said something besides oh, I'm perfectly fine while I've been all over Europe, to Paris and Prague and Vienna while you've been sitting on your ass in Tokyo.
Not that he's bitter.
"Okay." The reply comes nearly ten seconds after he's fled down the hallway, like some spineless little coward who's afraid of the big bad wolf.
He slips his key card into the door and collapses on the bed, listening as the door slams shut. It's insane and completely idiotic. He knows he's a total masochist for even considering it, but all he wants to do is grab Tsukimori by the shoulders, slam him against the wall, and kiss him senseless.
At precisely seven-thirty the next morning, he's wide awake, which only irritates him further. Because he is never awake at seven-thirty in the morning. Hell, he considers noon to be a perfectly decent time to wake up. So, to sum it all up, it is seven-thirty-one AM and he would really like nothing more than to jump off his balcony. He's on the ninth floor, after all. He figures it'll be quick and painless. It'll be the fall, not the impact that kills him. Or that's what physics textbooks say, anyway.
He really needs a smoke.
Or a bullet to the head. Preferably the latter.
He clamps his eyes shut and pulls the down comforter over his head. He needs to sleep. He can't handle going out there just yet. The emotions are too vivid, the memories too haunting.
He scoffs at himself. When did he turn into such an oversensitive lump? He figures he's probably unrecognizable to most people. Not physically, though. Physically, he thinks he's still the same. But mentally, emotionally? He's a wreck. No, he's a lot worse than a wreck, really. He's been broken into a million tiny pieces and he's too tired to try to pick them up and glue them all together.
All of the king's horses, and all of the king's men… He laughs bitterly at the irony.
And as he finally drifts off to sleep, he thinks he can hear the strains of a violin sonata. But he's probably just dreaming.
So it's three hours later and he finds himself in a private rehearsal room with Tsukimori on the second floor of this godforsaken hotel. Prison would be more appealing, he thinks.
"Have you practiced?" Tsukimori asks. It's all he can do not to jump at the sound of his voice. It sounds the same, but then it's different all at once. Older. Harsher. Or something.
"No." He's lying.
An annoyed look flutters across the other man's face. "The concert is in less than a week."
"I'll manage," is his less than gracious reply. "You're the soloist here. They're not going to notice the little piano in the background."
"You have one solo to play as well," Tsukimori retorts, sharply. "I'm not going to have you ruin my –"
"Then get someone else!" he barks, just as sharply. "I'm easily replaceable, aren't I?" He sneers.
He wishes he had chosen to look away, anything to miss the look of – of – of pain that comes across Tsukimori's eyes. But he's probably just seeing things; he didn't get too much sleep, after all. But it's gone as soon as he blinks, and it's like it never happened.
He decides to be the diplomat for once, and lets out a sigh. "I've… played this before," he says, "so just… give me a few minutes to look over the music."
Tsukimori nods curtly.
He turns away and plucks the piece of music from his binder. Vitali's Chaconne. He's not lying when he told the other man that he'd played the song before, but he's not exactly telling the whole truth, either – he's never played it on an actual concert, on an actual stage.
But he's played it at home, by himself, too many times to count.
He's just never found anyone to play with.
He sits down on the bench, setting the music down in front of him. The opening bars are familiar. Hell, he's probably got this memorized, but he doesn't need to tell him that.
Because, after all, he's been playing this song (by himself, he thinks, bitterly) for nearly a decade (fucking ten years of his life he'll never get back), waiting for his violinist to come home.
Years ago, Tsukimori Len played Vitali's Chaconne for the second selection of the musical concours.
Only three people got to hear it.
One, his mother. Two, Hino Kahoko.
He remembers it vividly, of course. He'd rushed backstage, searching for his Urtext edition of Chopin's Ballades that he must have dropped earlier during the entire commotion. He huffs impatiently, not seeing the book anywhere, and is about to leave when he hears it.
It's nothing that he's ever heard of before. It's haunting and tragic and beautiful all at once. It's raw. It's different. And he has to know who is playing this wonderful music…
He's not prepared for the shock of blue hair, pale skin, and dark tuxedo. Because honestly, he's gotten used to the thought of cold, stoic, prideful Tsukimori, and he likes seeing him in that sort of one-dimensional way because he doesn't want to see him in any other way.
He doesn't know how long he's standing there, but all too soon, the music is over and Tsukimori bows his head, violin hanging limply in his hands. His mother beams at him, clapping softly, and Hino has tears in her eyes.
He turns around and walks, quickly, out of the backstage area, through the hallways, out the door. It's bright and happy and shiny, but all he wants is rain, rain and thunder, loud, crackling thunder, so that it can drown out the pounding of his heart.
"Well, let's start," he says after a solid five minutes. His fingers hover over the keys, poised and ready. Behind him, Tsukimori's already in position, violin tucked beneath his chin, bow hovering over the strings. Obviously, the blue-haired man doesn't need the music; he's memorized it long since.
(Truth be told, he doesn't need it either, but he sets the music up against the piano anyway.)
He makes a brief moment of eye contact and receives a nod. He takes a deep breath, and begins.
The music washes over them. He finds that he's listening, really listening, to the sounds of the violin, gradually rising into a forte when Tsukimori does, and gradually descending into a light piano when called for. He finds that he doesn't really have to think about anything, either. He finds it refreshingly simple.
The song ends, and he keeps his fingers on the keys for longer than is necessary. That's when he realizes that everything is pitch-black, pitch-black because he's closed his damned eyes and the sheet music pages haven't been turned at all and he jumps, scrambling to shove it out of sight before Tsukimori can say anything.
Of course, if there's anything he's learned all these years, it's that Tsukimori is the goddamned most unpredictable person in the entire world.
"You have practiced," is all he says, with that fucking smirk, before he's gone and out the door.
It's the night before the concert, and he's sitting on his balcony, cigarette held deftly between two fingers. He exhales, admiring the perfect smoke rings that come from his mouth, before shifting his gaze to the sky.
It's sometime past midnight, and there's a willowy crescent moon hanging up in the sky. It's a cloudy night, he thinks, he can't see the stars except for a few selectively bright ones.
He sighs, flicking ashes from his cigarette onto the floor. What has his life come to?
He makes up his mind in a split second, putting out his cigarette and resting it against the ashtray. He puts on a jacket (leather, a Christmas present from Hino) and walks out of the room, slipping his key card into his back pocket. He enters the elevator and stands there for a full minute, staring blankly at the numbers.
He presses two.
In the two minutes that it took for him to get to the second floor and then to the practice room, it's started raining. There are French doors that lead to a spacious balcony which overlooks the gardens, ornamented with large windows that he thinks are most likely meant to emphasize what's probably a really good view.
All he sees right now, though, are trees shaking from the force of the winds, and, occasionally, flashes of lightning across the otherwise pitch-black sky.
He shakes his head and sits down in front of the piano. He lifts the cover slowly, afraid of making too much noise for some odd reason. Paranoia, maybe.
There's always a feeling he gets, sitting in front of the piano. The sight of shiny ebony-and-ivory keys always relaxes him. It's his one escape from the world.
He's been using it for ten years, after all.
So he tinkers around with the keys for a little bit, playing little riffs of unimportant melodies he's stored away in his head. He moves on to the classics, playing a little bit of Clair de Lune, a little bit of the Pathetique.
None of them seem to fit his mood.
And so he keeps playing, because at least when he's playing, he doesn't have to think, not really. Eventually he finds himself drifting into the song he'd chosen for the concert tomorrow. One of Chopin's nocturnes. His shoulders relax (he hadn't realized he'd tensed up) and his fingers glide effortlessly over the keys.
The song is over, and if he's honest with himself, it's almost as if he never played at all. It's a quiet song, and with all of this thunder, it was hard for even him to hear it. He sighs, again, sets down the lid on the piano, and takes a step out into the balcony.
The rain is strong. Even with the awning above his head, he finds himself drenched in mere seconds. But he doesn't mind. He leans against the railing, closes his eyes. When he's out here, so removed from everyone else, it's not so hard to believe that none of this is real.
That, of course, is before the French doors swing open violently, and Tsukimori is standing there, an incredulous expression on his face. His every instinct is telling him to run, but his only exit is being blocked and so he takes a deep breath, forces his heart to slow (but when has it ever obeyed him, really?) and raises an eyebrow.
"That was you?" the other interrupts. "Playing that?"
"There isn't anybody else here, is there?"
"You've never played like that before." Tsukimori looks puzzled and desperate all at once. The rain falls steadily downward, plastering his bangs to his forehead. "Before, you would have never played something like that. You would have played something strong and fast, like - like the Revolutionary Etude or --" He's babbling, and Tsukimori never babbles, and some part of him regrets not bringing a camera.
"People change, don't they?" He wishes Tsukimori would just get to the point. "At any rate, I like the song, and, as a matter of fact, am going to play it --"
That's all he manages to get out before he feels lips against his -- cold, unsure, and… scared?
But then it's over, and Tsukimori's gone. He faintly hears the slam of a door, but it's easily drowned out by the thunder. The only proof that the other man was ever there is the bitter taste of alcohol and raindrops left in his mouth.
Years ago, they were both fortunate enough to be "appointed" to be the lucky musicians who got to play at the school's graduation program. He remembers it perfectly, as if it had happened merely a few weeks ago.
He remembers staying up late in the night, playing a specific measure over and over and over again, struggling to perfect it -- because he's certainly not going to be upstanded by Tsukimori. No, they are going to play perfectly.
Two days before the big ceremony, he comes down with the flu. It's nothing he hasn't had before, but, the doctor gives him strict orders to stay put and not to exert himself. He snorts in response. Since when has playing the piano been an "exertion"?
The day of the ceremony, he arrives early at the auditorium to get a few extra minutes of practice, but he stops upon seeing that Tsukimori is already there, apparently having had the same idea. That isn't the best of it, though. No, the icing on the damn cake is that there is somebody else, sitting in front of the piano. A girl. Chestnut-brown hair.
Playing his part. For their fucking song.
He stands there for a second or two, before quickly ducking behind the door. He listens to them play. It's perfect, fucking perfect. But when is it never? As far as the world is concerned, Tsukimori Len is the best in the world, the best, the best, the best.
It takes a few seconds for him to realize that the applause is coming from Kanazawa-sensei. There's a smile in his voice as he declares, "Well, very good. It's too bad Tsuchiura-kun couldn't make it, eh?"
And there's Tsukimori, damn him, voice perfectly cool and clipped. "It's unfortunate that he came down with the flu. But he's easily replaceable."
A barking laugh. "Always so serious, Tsukimori-kun."
He doesn't realize he's taken off running until he's halfway back home. The fever hasn't completely left him, and his chest heaves with the exertion, sweat dripping down his chin.
He slows down into a half-jog, half-walk. Anger courses through him like never before, and then the anger is doubled as he realizes he doesn't know why he's so pissed in the first place. Yes, Tsukimori could have had the damn consideration to let him know that he'd selected some other pianist to accompany him, but so what? What does it matter? If anything, he should be relieved, right? He doesn't have to go up on that stage anymore. Hell, he could go home now. Away from -- away from everything.
He slams the front door shut and thunders up to his room. He cranks up his stereo to the loudest it can go, and closes his eyes.
The next time he opens them, his diploma is sitting on his desk, and there is a handwritten note (Hino's handwriting, of course) saying that "Tsukimori-kun has officially left for Paris; we had a little goodbye party but you weren't there. We missed you! Get well soon."
Good fucking riddance, he thinks, crumpling up the note into a ball and tossing it in the trash.
It's nearly ten years before they see each other again, and he finds that nothing has changed, and yet at the same time, everything has.
There are ten minutes before the start of the big concert and he is wasted out of his mind. Absolutely, completely, utterly wasted. His slacks are on, but they're wrinkled and have droplets of beer all over. His shirt is barely buttoned and his bowtie is somewhere on the floor. He doesn't even know where his suit jacket is anymore.
God, where is the rest of his fucking beer?
He imagines that the entire hall is packed with people – packed like sardines. He giggles drunkenly at the thought. And Tsukimori's probably backstage, meditating or something equally to that effect, and oh, wouldn't the look on his face be absolutely priceless when he finds out his worthless accompanist isn't there?
He's half-asleep when his manager barges into the room, cheeks flushed with anger. "What the hell," she hisses, buttoning up his shirt and forcefully shoving his arms through the sleeves of his suit jacket. "You have pulled off a lot of crap in the past, but this really takes the cake." She laughs scornfully. "This is one of the best opportunities you will ever get, you moron! Why are you sitting here like some lovesick bastard, chugging cheap beer like there's no tomorrow?"
"M'drunk," he mumbles as she throws his arm over her shoulder and proceeds to drag him out of the room. If he were sober, he'd laugh; he's a good six inches taller and considerably more solid.
"No shit, Sherlock," she snaps.
"Can't play," he protests, as soon as he registers the fact that he's standing (well, leaning, really) in an elevator.
He's mildly surprised when she laughs in reply. "No, really. Who are you trying to kid?" He squints, trying to focus on her face, but there's three of them and he gives up immediately. "I've seen you play in worse conditions," she says, confidently, "I've seen you play when you're half-conscious in a bar, for god's sake, and you always sound brilliant." It sounds like it hurts her to say the next part, but she goes on – "You may be a jackass half the time, but you are talented."
He wonders if he's hallucinating. But as soon as he opens his mouth to emit some smartass comment, he finds that he's hunched over and heaving. As he blearily opens his eyes, he registers that he's staring at a pair of black pumps.
"GODDAMMIT, THOSE WERE PRADA!"
He chuckles hollowly, then empties the rest of his stomach's contents.
He's not sure what he's doing backstage, stomach doing backflips like a gymnast on crack. He's still drunk, and after that "magical" sobering concoction his manager had forced him to down (for his good, she'd said, but he thinks it was just revenge for the shoes), he's feeling doubly worse.
He vaguely registers that the sound of his name and finds that he's being shoved towards the spotlight. The audience claps politely, but to him, it feels like he's at some rock concert. He winces. He didn't see Tsukimori leave. He hasn't even seen Tsukimori all day. He laughs at the thought of Tsukimori seeing him perform, on stage, in his concert, in this condition.
The applause dies down, and he slumps over heavily on the piano bench. He lifts the lid, staring blankly at the keys. Somewhere in the back of his mind, it registers that he has to play (well, well, maybe that sobering crap had worked after all), and he places his fingers on the keys a little too heavily, causing a jarring dissonance to echo throughout the hall. Murmurs and gasps abound throughout the crowd, and he jumps back and clears his throat.
His mind, suddenly, is the clearest it's been that entire night, and he effortlessly plays Chopin's Nocturne in C-sharp Minor, Posthumous. It's the song he'd been playing last night, at the practice room at some ungodly hour. The song he'd played when Tsukimori –
He swears under his breath as he misses a note, and focuses what's left of his concentration on the song. The song, the song, he chants to himself, just play the song –
It's over, finally, and he's greeted with applause. He grimaces again at the sheer loudness of it all. He's all good and ready to retreat backstage, and he bows. He's barely taken a step towards the backstage area before Tsukimori clamps a hand around his elbow, grip firm. The look in his eyes is disapproving (sorry for getting wasted before your concert, Mom, he can't help but think) and he hisses, "Where do you think you're going?"
He shakes his head and slaps his face a couple of times for good measure. Sticks a cheesy grin on his face while he's at it. "My bad, my bad." His mouth hurts from the smile. "Let's go."
They make their way to the center of the stage. He trips over the piano bench and receives a scathing glare from Tsukimori in return. He figures he must still be high off that beer, because he slaps that same cheesy grin on his face before plopping heavily down on the bench. He shakes his head again, reminiscent of some poor dog that's just had a gallon of water dumped on him.
It's absolutely fucking ridiculous, but as he jumps head-on, face-first, into the opening chords, he realizes that he doesn't want to make a total ass of himself in front of him. The chords are played slowly, but intensely. For this brief period of time, he forces away the haze of the alcohol and focuses solely on the piano, the keys, the notes, the song.
It's about time he showed Tsukimori just how fucking irreplaceable he truly is.
His piano molds itself beautifully to the other's violin… He finds that he's never quite played like this before. It's like when they were practicing – but different, somehow. He can't explain. It's like Tsukimori is his source of gravity, or – or something, and he pulls him closer, no matter how hard he tries to resist, he can't help but fall…
When they'd first played the song together, back when they were practicing, he'd been the one molding himself to Tsukimori's music. Subconsciously. Unconsciously. But now – the music rises in a gradual crescendo, and he's actually, truly lost, for once, in the music, god, he's forgotten how good this felt – it's like – almost like –
They're – they're both molding themselves… to each other.
It's the perfect balance. Tsukimori's confident, high-strung music entwines with his strong, solid chords. This, he thinks, desperately willing the music to never ever end, this is what he's been waiting for, for all this time.
A sharp halt; a sharp decline in tempo, followed by a rapid increase – it's all so beautifully choreographed, and at the same time completely improvisational.
The tempo builds, the volume rises, and they play the theme one final time. A dramatic ritard, and then the final notes are played and he finds that there's a thin sheen of sweat on his face and he's breathing rapidly, and the audience is on their feet and Tsukimori's looking at him and dammit, it's over.
Because after this, Tsukimori's going to go back to Paris or Vienna or wherever, and he'll still be here, in Tokyo, alone.
His feet move numbly until he's standing next to Tsukimori. He bows, once, and then exits the stage.
He's lying on his bed, drifting in and out of consciousness, when he hears a knock on the door. He groans. The hangover has just settled in and he's still dressed in full concert attire. He grabs a pillow and holds it over his face.
Another knock, more forceful this time.
"Go away!" he manages a sort of strangled yell through the down pillow.
A pause, and then, so quiet he can barely hear it, "No."
He thinks he must be pretty pathetic to be able to recognize Tsukimori's voice from here. And he thinks his patheticness (is that even a word?) has just tripled after he finds himself stumbling out of bed, across the room, and flinging open the door.
"What the hell do you –" is all he manages to get out before Tsukimori's shoved him back against the wall and has his lips pressed openly, hungrily against his. He thinks he can taste alcohol (some sort of fine wine, knowing him) on his tongue.
He manages to lead them back to the bed. He's on top now, staring defiantly at the other man. Both of their shirts are unbuttoned and every inch of them is pressed against the other. Lips find lips and they can't seem to let go.
"Am I going to regret this in the morning?" he murmurs against the other man's mouth.
"Probably." Tsukimori's always been honest.
And for some reason, he can't bring himself to care.
He wakes up alone the next morning.
He doesn't quite know what to expect. He laughs at himself, mostly. What did he think, that Tsukimori would leave him a fucking note?
By the time he's showered and dressed and packed, it's slightly just past noon. He ignores his manager's nagging about how he'd barely made it to checkout, and squints at the CD case sticking out of his old backpack.
The cover boldly proclaims, Tsukimori Len, and there's a cheesy picture of the guy up on stage with his violin, eyes closed, lost in the music.
He can't help but laugh. When he opens the case, noticing the definite lack of plastic (cheapskate wouldn't even give him a brand new copy, he rolls his eyes), the CD isn't there.
He stares at it for a bit, and then tosses it back into his bag. He doesn't think he'll ever understand the enigma that is Tsukimori Len. But that's okay, he thinks, because Tsukimori is nothing but a cryptic bastard anyway.
It's two-and-a-half months before he sees him again, and it's just as unexpected as it was the first time.
The doorbell to his cozy little apartment (furnished generously through his manager; he'd have nothing but a futon and a TV if it were up to him) rings, and he gets up from the soft leather couch.
He opens the door, and has to fight the urge not to slam it shut in his face.
It's mid-December, and the wind is chilly. Even as the wind bites at his face, he can't help but stare, wonderingly, helplessly, and just a little bit angrily. What is this supposed to be, anyway?
Tsukimori doesn't ask to come in. Instead, he simply stares, impassively. A good three minutes passes before he finally raises an eyebrow in question.
And of course, he lets him in. There was never any question about that in the first place.
All in all, it's a pretty strange situation. It's a two bedroom, one bathroom kind of apartment, and he finds it incredibly difficult to sleep knowing that freaking Tsukimori's sleeping just across the hall.
It's only when he catches Tsukimori in nothing but boxers as he groggily makes his way to the bathroom at six-thirty in the morning that he realizes just how difficult this is going to be.
He looks at him constantly. It's a weird habit, a compulsion, an addiction. A need to know where he is at all times.
Sometimes, he thinks Tsukimori looks back.
It's one thirty in the morning and he's sitting in the living room, watching some late night show he's not entirely paying attention to, when Tsukimori enters the room, wearing dark flannel pajamas and a gray t-shirt. He's holding something in his hands.
"Couldn't sleep?" he inquires, keeping his eyes glued purposefully on the television screen.
"No," is the short reply. A pause, and then, "here." He holds out a CD. Just the CD. No case. Nothing.
"My CD." It's just two words, but he realizes what they mean. He remembers the empty CD case Tsukimori'd left behind after – after that night – the night of their concert, and…
"Is this some kind of joke?" He feels compelled to ask.
Tsukimori has never failed to surprise him, and this time is no exception. The man lets out what can only be classified as a snort. "Isn't this all a joke?"
And for once, he decides to be honest. "It doesn't have to be."
Tsukimori brings in boxes and suitcases when he thinks he's not looking. But oh, he's looking. And he notices. And it frustrates him to no end that he doesn't know what's going on.
They're sitting in the kitchen, and he's cranky and irritated because Tsukimori's just finished off the last of the damn instant ramen, and what the hell is he supposed to have for dinner now?
"What are you doing here?" he asks the question that's been on his mind for the past twenty-three days (not that he's been counting).
A sigh. "I was thinking of moving in." He notes that Tsukimori keeps his eyes steadily on the cereal, and no one else.
"I was under the impression that usually, the owner of the apartment is the one who extends the damn invitation," is his coarse reply.
There's no reply, and it hits him that Tsukimori is being serious.
"You're staying?" he asks in disbelief. "Here? Here?" He knows Tsukimori will be able to distinguish the difference.
A curt nod. "Yes." A flicker of hesitation he could barely see it, "if it's not too much trouble." And he's beginning to close up, beginning to put that damn mask back on, "If it is, however, then I can always find other accommodations, I understand if –"
He doesn't let the other man finish. Before his brain can catch up, he finds that he's practically leapt across the table, grabbing Tsukimori by the shoulders and backing him up until he hits the sink. His hands move down his sides until he's clutching the cold metal of the sink, still pressing every inch of his body against the other's.
"You're staying," he murmurs, eyes dark, "and you're never leaving again."
"Controlling, possessive fool," is the reply, accompanied by that smirk, before their lips crash together.
Maybe this was how it was meant to be all along, Tsuchiura thinks, because despite the heartbreak and pain and abandonment and anger and betrayal, they always, always, find themselves colliding anyway.
They stumble into the bedroom, crash heavily on top of the bed. There's no other sound besides heavy breathing and strangled moans.
For a brief moment, Tsuchiura pulls away, ever so slightly, just enough to gaze into Tsukimori's eyes. His eyes are clear and level.
"Am I going to regret this in the morning?" It's the same words he'd said the first time this happened, but what he really means is, Are you going to be here in the morning?
A smirk. "No. Not this time." Restraining orders couldn't keep me away.
And that, Tsuchiura thinks, as their mouths collide, is good enough for him.
Notes: Yes. I did it. I wrote it. I'm insane. But you love me anyway. HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYY BERRY-CHANNNN.