Ego Stroke: My first TeniPuri fic! This is also my first time doing romance, so any suggestion to improve is much welcomed. I hope you enjoy it.
Pairings: Atobe x Fuji, Oishi x Eiji.
Rating: PG-13, but may change.
Summary: Alternate Universe Fujiko, a professional companion--weaver of happy memories for the paying customers--takes up Atobe Keigo's offer to resolve the skeletons hidden between walls. Atobe x Fuji.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Konomi Takeshi, various publishers including but not limited to Shueisha and TV Tokyo. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Chapter One: Living
He stepped out of the bath tub, droplets of water dripping from his lithe form, and wrapped himself with a towel. The young man's skin glowed under the soft white lights above him. His light brown hair hung limply, wet, pestered to both sides of his face. With an automated-like motions, he rubbed himself dry. The face, chest, the legs, the arms, and lastly the hair. Each parts of his body was given a deliberate amount of attention, as if he was making sure that he had done a thorough job at cleaning himself. On closer inspection, one could see that the skin under his vigorous scrubbing had turned red, but still he persisted. The only thing in his mind was to be as filth-free as possible. The surface pain didn't matter.
The young man took a deep breath, there was no more droplets to dry away. Now he felt the chill on his damp skin. Shivering lightly, he put his silk bathrobe on. When the cool material touched his skin, he felt dirty all over again. Fists clenched, he had to tell himself that it did not matter, that however many baths he took this feeling of uncleanliness would still linger. He knew that, didn't he? He was not stupid. Taking a bath had become an act of refuge because the scalding hot water seemed to be able to wash layers of sin away, but when it had turned lukewarm the young man knew that he would soon regain the dirt. Hopeless.
A voice from the other side of the door brought him back to reality.
"Fujiko, are you quite done?"
"Wait a minute," he rasped and gathered his articles.
"I heard that it was your turn tonight with Sasaki-sama," the voice said with a sneer.
"Yes," was his only answer before opening the sliding door that separated him from the other person. "It's empty now," he said.
"Argh, you steamed the mirror!" the red-head in front of him exclaimed.
"Sorry," the young man said without meaning it. When Muu-chan passed him, he could smell the expensive cologne of a certain gentleman.
Casually the young man called Fujiko asked, "Oshitari-sama was here?"
The petite red-head stiffened before sending him a glare, "Who else? You know he's the only one who still wants me these days."
"Saa..." Sometimes Fujiko wondered why the renowned corporate lawyer kept going back for private encounters with Muu-chan. Of course he knew that some hefty sum of money had been transferred to the Club's bank account to keep Mukahi free at most of the time. Well, maybe Oshitari-sama's infatuation with the pretty Muu-chan ran deeper than just the pleasure of flesh.
How peachy it was if it had been true.
"Oh, Shuuko-kun asked for you downstairs. I think he has the new list of clients for next week," Mukahi told him before closing the bathroom door.
"Hai," Fujiko replied.
He made his way downstairs, still in his bathrobe. Underneath the white embroidered silk, he wore nothing. In this establishment, one did not care for modesty. All sense of propriety should be left at the door, along with the numerous pairs of gentlemen shoes. He liked it that way, no pretense whatsoever. Those who frequented the Club had every intention of escaping the outside world and they better acted like they meant it.
Noiselessly he walked down the dimly-lighted hallways, closing one of the doors on his way to meet Shuuko. He had caught glimpses of naked limbs and discarded pieces of clothing before quickly averting his eyes and shutting the sliding doors. Mentally he made a note to later remind Saeki about it. Honestly, his friend was as careless as ever.
Once he reached the largest room in the house, only the hand-painted fusuma doors separated him from a piece of paper with names written on it. His clients for the week to come. For one moment, Fujiko thought of turning his back and left, pretending that he had not known of its existence. Let Shuuko worry, he needed to put as much delay as possible between this week and the next. The endless stream of clients had taken its toll and he was dead tired.
Yet Fujiko opened his mouth, "Shuuko-kun, you asked for me?"
Rustling of papers was heard before a sleepy voice answered, "Fuji? Is that you?"
Without waiting for admittance, the young man slid the fusuma open and entered the room. He glanced around the neat space and when his sight fell on the hunched figure leaning on top of the kotatsu, he smiled genuinely. He is as tired as I am.
Closing their distance, Fujiko reached out to put his arms around the other man's shoulders, "Shuuichiro, you should not sleep like this. Eiji will have my head if he finds out that I'm not taking a good care of you."
The man called Shuuichiro grinned, traces of sleep still evident on his eyes. "You called me Shuuichiro," he said with a bit of wonder. "It's been a long time since anybody called me that. Even Eiji called me Oishi."
"Saa...you are the only one here who still calls me Fuji."
"No..." Shuuichiro shook his head as if he wanted to correct the statement, but then he thought the better of it and swallowed the rest of the sentence.
Fuji knew what his friend wanted to say. There is another person.
"I miss him, you know?" Shuuichiro said suddenly.
Fujiko's grip on the other man's shoulders tightened. He knew who Shuuichiro was referring to. There was, no, there had been another person who would call his true name as if it was the sweetest thing in the world. In his deep voice, Fuji's name became soft caresses in which the young man greedily thrived upon. Not anymore. The person was gone.
"I miss him too," Fuji croaked a reply. He thought that he was strong enough not to break everytime Shuuichiro offhandedly mentioned that person. How wrong he was. It didn't help that Shuuichiro would not let the matter be. Fuji guessed his friend had still not been able to accept the loss. Then again, it was a cruel death.
"I am sorry, Fuji."
Silence fell between them, heavy as a thick blanket. Shuuchiro had taken the scattered papers on the kotatsu and tried to organize them. Fuji did not move from his position, still embracing his apologetic friend. He wanted to scream, to cry out that it was not okay, dammit, it was not okay. Yet the man his clients called Fujiko and his friends called Fuji only smiled a bitter smile. He had to smile, otherwise things would not get better, otherwise he would not forget.
Shuuichiro patted his hand lightly and Fuji removed his arms. He took a seat beside his friend and wiped his face with both hands. Briskly, he readjusted his bathrobe to conceal his bare legs. Shuuichiro would not appreciate the view, he thought. Neither would Eiji, as a matter of fact. Close friends as they were, Fuji knew that Eiji and Shuuichiro shared something much more than just a room.
When Shuuichiro had finished rearranging the papers into one neat pile, Fuji asked, "Who do you have for me, Shuuichiro? I swear, they come by the dozens just to tire me."
"Aa, that's the thing, Fuji," the other man answered hesitantly, and added, "This time I only have one client for you."
Fujiko, the professional, blinked.
"One?" he asked.
"Yes, one. Apparently he's rich enough to reserve six appointments ahead, for every day of next week."
"But, only one? Oh...he wants a full-day service, doesn't he?"
"Yes, I'm afraid so. Look, we can always decline his requests. Just tell me and I will make up a reason for you," Shuuichiro offered.
"Saa...it's okay, really. He must be very wealthy then?"
"You're not going to tell me his name, aren't you?" Fuji sighed.
"I was hoping you won't ask."
A pair of sharp sapphire eyes opened a little to get a better look at Shuuko. Fuji could see his friend fidget a little before avoiding his eyes. Something is wrong.
"Who is it, Shuuichiro?" his voice now grew stern.
The answer came as a whisper, but it was enough to take Fuji aback.
- - - - - -
To be continued
- - - - - -
I took the liberty of referring to Oishi as Shuuichiro (or Shuuko, blame Episode 132), and Mukahi Gakuto as Muu-chan. I hope I'm not confusing anyone.
The suffix -sama here refers to a person of higher social standing. The Club is a business establishment and to honor its patrons (outside of its circle), the suffix -sama is used.
Fusuma: Japanese painted sliding doors that separated rooms and hallways.
Kotatsu: A low, open wooden frame covered by a blanket, upon which a table top sits. Underneath is a heat source, often built into the table itself.