The Long Weekend by HRT
Summary: Tatsuha goes to Tokyo and experiences the most difficult, yet the most important, weekend of his life. 12 chapters.
Warnings: Deals with adult topics. Contains male x male sexual situations, and some swearing.
Disclaimer: Gravitation belongs to Maki Murakami, not me.
Note: This is a stand-alone story, unrelated to any of my other Tatsuha works on this site.
Morning light was illuminating the rice paper screen. Hana, the Uesugi family maid, set her tray down next to the blanket-piled futon. The tray held a traditional Japanese breakfast of green tea, miso broth, pickles, and rice porridge, which Uesugi-san always insisted should never vary in its contents. Then the maid slid the paper wall open with a soft scrape, letting the outdoor sunlight fall across the futon. This traditional action, too, was by order of the Uesugi patriarch. The old priest insisted that nothing was better than waking up to the quiet woodland outside. It helped center the mind for Buddhist contemplation and prayer.
Except this day happened to be in the middle of winter, and snow was falling. The maid stood up quickly and hurried off to the temple kitchen, which at least had a hot stove to warm the room.
A single arm was poking out from under the huge heap of blankets, tossed there by the careless, hidden sleeper. Six blankets were usually required to get through a winter night in the Uesugi temple, which had no modern central heating, and this sleeper had seven. The arm had escaped during a bad dream and a single flake of snow blew inside the room to land on the back of the sleeper's hand. Several other flakes followed as the wind shifted.
The hand twitched.
More snowflakes blew in, the wind dusting them across a Ryuichi Sakuma poster on the opposite wall. Semi-frozen ice pellets clattered on top of a row of CD cases, and bounced off a scatter of schoolbooks on the floor. Loose pages of homework began to blow about the room, and the wind, in an evil mood, stole a sheet of differential equations and sucked it outside, dropping it right into the slushy koi pond.
The arm withdrew under the blankets again, and the mound groaned. A second later the mound shifted, and a head came out, wondering at the tiny clattering noise of the ice pellets. Eyelids opened, adjusted to the sunlight, and then--
The snowflakes were melting on the Ryuichi Sakuma poster, the paper already beginning to warp.
"FUCK! Not Again!"
The blankets were thrown across the room by the sleeper's feet, and Tatsuha Uesugi shot upwards. He was wearing thick wool socks, his jeans, a sweatshirt, his heaviest sweater over that, and he had even considered wearing a winter coat before he'd gone to bed last night.
The teenager leapt for the paper screen, remembering just in time to avoid stepping in his breakfast tray. He slid the offending screen shut and did a quick assessment of the damage. He snatched up a box of kleenex and dabbed frantically at his beautiful Ryuichi (Tokyo Festival Concert last year, black fishnet shirt and leather pants, kneeling on stage with eyes shut in ecstasy, and cradling the microphone stand between his legs like a lover--God! It was his favorite Ryuichi poster!), then he hurriedly shook snow off his CDs and retrieved his homework. The schoolbooks could get wet for all he cared. But where were those damned math equations?
The teenager sat down on his futon. He thought briefly about changing his clothes, but shuddered at the thought of doing it in his freezing bedroom. He stared at his breakfast and put a finger directly into the cup of green tea. It was already cold.
Tatsuha flopped backwards and snagged his cell phone off the cinder block bookcase next to his bed. A frantic punching got an answering machine in Tokyo.
"Aniki! Pick up. Pretty please with pocky on top." (The latter was just in case Shuichi hadn't gone to work yet. Eiri almost never answered his phone voluntarily.) The answering machine shut off.
"It's snowing in my bedroom," Tatsuha wailed. "Father's gone crazy. He just got out of the hospital and he still won't heat the place. Can I stay with you this weekend? Seriously, Aniki, I might as well be sleeping on a park bench."
"Please? This is absolutely INSANE."
"Spring is only a few weeks away, then it'll be warm again."
"So what? This is now! I'm dying! Please, Aniki?"
"Hey, I had to put up with winters at the temple, too. I endured it."
"No fair! You got to live in New York for a couple of years, dammit! They actually turn the heat on there in winter. I've already lost a Ryuichi--"
Well, that seemed to be Eiri's answer. Mad punch punch punch on the cell phone.
"Oh hi, Mika! My favorite, most beautiful sister in the whole world. How are you doing, sweetie?" Maybe he should have used the flattery on Eiri. He'd try that next time as an experiment. It might make his brother faint, however.
"Is this about Dad? I thought he was out of the hospital. Has the pneumonia come back?"
"No, he's doing fine. It's about me. It's snowing in my bedroom."
"Uh-huh. And you want a weekend here? I guess I owe you, anyway. You were the one running the temple and staying with Dad in the hospital this time. If Dad'll let you come, Tohma and I can put you up."
"Thank you, my most beloved, dearest sister--"
"Don't flatter me, it's nauseating. Just show up. When are you arriving?"
"Not sure. I plan to leave after school today and be in Tokyo by dinner time."
"How are you getting here? Don't even consider riding your motorcycle. You'll get hypothermia from the wind chill."
"No, I have to get it repaired, anyway. Stupid clutch is broken."
"So what'll it be? The train? Do you need me to pick you up at the station?"
"Don't worry, I'll just arrive at the house around dinner time. See ya!"
The boy rang off, and scowled. He ate what he could of his cold breakfast, then took a deep breath and frantically changed his clothes. Then he stuffed his backpack full of supplies for the trip.
Now the hard part. Should he tell Dad? Or just slip off after leaving a note? Dad might say no, but that was no deterrent. But Dad might also say yes, and even offer a little yen for the trip.
After a moment, Tatsuha joined his father outdoors. Uesugi-san was standing quietly in the courtyard, robed in his monk's attire and contemplating the falling snowflakes. Barefoot, of course, in the snow. Tatsuha winced just thinking about it.
"Dad? I was thinking of visiting Mika and Eiri this weekend."
"Does this have something to do with the scream I heard from your bedroom this morning?"
"Huh? Oh, THAT." Tatsuha had forgotten about the scream. He scratched the back of his head in an embarrassed way. "Uh, I'd accidently stepped on one of those open claw loop thingies in one of my notebooks, and it hurt my foot."
"A monk should inure himself against physical pain and discomfort."
"Um, yeah. Like, I'm standing out here in the snow with you and all that stuff, right? So hey, how about that trip to Tokyo? I miss them." No harm in making the old man feel guilty, if it worked.
"And this is not an excuse to go see THAT BAND you like so much?"
"Nittle Grasper. You ought to remember the name, Dad, your own son-in-law plays with them. No, they're not giving any concerts this weekend."
The old man made a skeptical grunt.
"I promise they're not. You would have heard me talking on and on about the upcoming concert if they were. It's just a family visit, I swear."
"All right, but don't expect me to help you out financially for the trip. I do not approve of you leaving when the temple has so much business. And you must be back before your classes start on Monday."
Tatsuha bowed apologetically to the old man. "I know, but I want to see Mika, Eiri, and--"
He caught himself before he could say 'Shuichi.' His father would have murdered him if he had. Tatsuha had been grounded for weeks after that incident in which Shu had flashed the old man. Unfortunately, after the old man had recovered from the shock, he remembered who had given the dragged-up Shuichi a motorcycle ride to Kyoto in the first place. As far as his father was concerned, if it hadn't been for Tatsuha's meddling, Eiri would be married to Ayaka and living a quiet, priestly life here at the temple. And Eiri might actually have done so, considering the downer he'd been on after breaking up with Shuichi that time.
Tatsuha bowed again, and went back inside the temple, shaking snow out of his black hair. Now, how was he going to get to Mika's? He was almost broke, a train ticket was out of the question, and his motorcycle was disabled.
Punch punch punch went the cell phone, as Tatsuha called every friend he had, asking if anyone (or even his friends' parents) happened to be driving to Tokyo this evening. He worked the phone patiently for an hour and kept at it in between classes.
Nothing. Nobody seemed to be driving to Tokyo today.
So that was how Tatsuha Uesugi found himself after school, shivering under his backpack, fists in his coat pockets, hitchhiking to Tokyo along the highway. He was freezing as he trudged along, looking hopefully into the windshields of passing cars. Wasn't this trip supposed to be about getting out of the cold or something? Nobody was stopping. At this rate he'd get frostbite before he could get a ride, dammit. If nobody picked him up in an hour, he'd just give up and go home.
Finally, a large truck hauling industrial pipe stopped. Tatsuha walked around to the cab, and looked up with his most innocent expression. "Going to Tokyo?" the teenager asked.
The driver looked middle-aged, and was smoking a cigarette in a tired way. He stared down at the boy for a long moment before answering. Tatsuha was disturbed by the silence.
"Yes," the driver finally answered. "Get in."
Tatsuha walked around and climbed inside. "I'm going to see my sister," he explained, feeling the need to appear as normal and unthreatening as possible. From that oddball look on the driver's face Tatsuha decided he needed to reassure the guy that his passenger wasn't criminal or insane. "I usually don't hitchhike, but my motorcycle's broken. I'm Tatsuha, by the way. What's your name?"
After another long silence, and a sidelong look that made the teenager uneasy, the driver took the cigarette out of his mouth. "Sanjiro," he replied shortly. He tossed the cigarette out the window, and when the rig got up to speed, reached over and put a hand on the boy's thigh.
Tatsuha shut his eyes. Dammit. He sort of suspected something like this might happen. But he really wanted to get to Tokyo. Opening his eyes again, he spread his legs and nudged the man's knee in acquiescence.
He tried not to startle too violently when the man's hand reached over and roughly unzipped his jeans.
Almost four hours later, Tatsuha was walking again, plucking at the strap of his backpack. Now he was on a Tokyo street, heading towards Mika's. The strap kept chafing his shoulder.
He wondered why he had done such a crazy thing. Tatsuha was not a virgin with either men or women, but he'd never indulged in anonymous, pickup sex before. He had always known, and indeed rather liked his partners. They had been friends or schoolmates, or ex-girlfriends of Eiri's. People he trusted. This, however, was different. And what he had done with that driver had been different, too. After traveling a few miles, Sanjiro had pulled over.
Lying on his back, his leg wrapped around the driver's waist to allow him better access.
Hurriedly, Tatsuha squelched the memory. He had never gone uke for anyone before, and hadn't liked the feeling of helplessness. Always before, he had insisted on being seme. Sex somehow felt safer that way, with all the control in his own hands.
Sanjiro had let him off at the highway exit closest to his sister's house, but that still left Tatsuha with about a mile to walk. As it was still freezing, he had to stop in a hamburger shop to warm up again before attempting the next leg of his journey.
It had been scary, sliding his jeans and underwear completely off, and his shirt too, at the driver's insistence. Then lying down in the back of the cab for the guy, without a condom or any lubrication. It had hurt more than he--no, he didn't want to remember that, either.
He stepped into the bathroom of the restaurant for a moment. He really needed to clean up, but this wasn't a convenient place to do it. At least he could attend to his shoulder. He swung his backpack off and opened his coat. Unbuttoning the neck of his shirt, he was able to see the mark. The spot was swollen, but it looked like it would heal completely, without a scar. But the weight of the backpack had been irritating it.
Sanjiro, smoking. Gazing lazily down at him. Then taking the cigarette out of his mouth and gently touching the burning tip to Tatsuha's shoulder like a kiss--
Only Tatsuha's startled jerk and yell had saved him from an ugly branding. He'd had to use all his persuasion to keep that cigarette from returning.
Once, in chemistry class, Tatsuha had given himself a pretty good burn. He'd been melting a tube of glass in a Bunsen burner to make a right angle bend, and had accidently touched the molten spot with a finger. He'd hopped around the classroom waving his hand from the pain. The skin had turned white instantly, but the spot had been so small that it eventually healed over.
This doesn't look as bad, he thought. He cleaned the burn with soap, and walked out of the restaurant with his backpack looped over just one shoulder.
That's the LAST time I ever go uke, he thought with venom. I can't believe I did something SO STUPID.
The driver had actually paid him money, which Tatsuha had not expected. After letting his passenger off, Sanjiro had called him over to the window, and unexpectedly handed him some folded yen. Too surprised to look at the cash, Tatsuha had stuffed it in his back pocket, watching the rig drive away. Then the cold roused him to himself and he began to fast-walk to Mika's.
Suddenly a thought came to him in mid-step, and he stumbled. Uesugi, he said to himself, by taking that money, you have officially committed an act of prostitution.
The boy shuddered.
He was glad he was walking right now. His mood was filthy. He couldn't show up at Mika's like this. Hopefully, the exercise would put him in a better temper before he arrived.
Before long, Tohma's house was in sight, and Tatsuha knocked on the door. He put on his public smile, the one he wore for temple services, and did his best to look like a little brother who had not been getting himself into a lot of trouble.
Continued in Chapter 2.