The attraction of a distraction

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Warnings/notes: Tetsuya/Keisuke, likely ooc (seeing how I've only read up to part 8 of the manga), shortie, two lines of seriously bad language.

Disclaimer: I don't own Fushigi Yugi.

written at 17th march 2005, by Misura, for a request made by Cairnsy in the livejournal-community ficondemand.

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There is, Tetsuya thinks, nothing wrong with worrying about the people you care about. Keisuke's sister has vanished to some strange world in a book, and it's pretty dangerous in there, so, naturally, because Keisuke loves her, he worries about her safety.

However, when 'worrying' becomes synonymous to 'not eating or drinking or getting enough sleep, and generally looking like you're on the verge of death yourself', things are going a bit too far. Tetsuya supposes he could tell Keisuke that making himself ill isn't going to help Miaka in any way, but what would be the point?

Keisuke isn't stupid. (Added to which, there's the fact that Tetsuya has already used this particular argument several times during the past few days, and even if it's still sensible and valid, he feels like he's worn it out somewhat.)

Still, -something- has to be done. Because during the weeks after their first meeting, Keisuke has become one of the people whom Tetsuya cares about.

Drinking his coffee, staring at Keisuke who seems to have no attention for anything other than the book he's found who-knows-where and that might -theoretically, possibly, hypothetically- contain a clue about The Universe of the Four Gods. Or, at least, about the nephew of the translator of a version of The Universe of the Four Gods -or something along those lines; Tetsuya has lost track a little of what trail they're supposed to be checking up on today.

Nowadays, it seems that there's not much of a 'we' to their expeditions to various libraries anymore. Tetsuya guesses that makes some sort of sense; it's not like all books are big enough to be read by two persons at the same time, and he doesn't really mind to simply sit here, watching Keisuke.

At least, he didn't mind to look at Keisuke fully engrossed in some ancient -or not-so-ancient- text, his eyes aglow, his cheeks flushed and his lips slightly parted. That image is one of the past though; right now, Keisuke's expression is more than of a harried, drowning man who sees his last chance at survival slipping through his fingers.

"Your soup's getting cold," Tetsuya chides, shoving the no-longer-steaming plastic cup another centimeter in Keisuke's direction, careful not to place it so close that Keisuke might accidentally bump into it with his arm.

If truth be told, Tetsuya doesn't have much trust in the nutritional value of soup out of a machine that also produces coffee and tea -or, at least, two liquids that vaguely look like they might, at some point in time, with a lot of imagination, have been called coffee and tea, before someone took a sip of them. It's better than nothing though, and it spares Keisuke the horrors of experiencing what they dare to call 'hot chocolate'.

Keisuke's hand twitches, and for a moment, Tetsuya allows himself to get his hopes up. When Keisuke finally lifts his hand, they plunge again, since all his friend does is turn the page. Tetsuya sighs.

He really, truly doesn't want to interrupt Keisuke in his reading, but ... well, what are the chances that his doing so endangers Miaka's safety? Considering the result of their searches thus far, Tetsuya doesn't think they're big enough to matter. Besides, Keisuke's falling apart; the danger -he- is in is a confirmed reality, while Miaka might be perfectly safe at the moment, aside from the small detail that she's in a book.

"Listen, Keisuke, I think that maybe you should take a break," Tetsuya says, bracing himself for a storm of protests, for Keisuke jumping up and accusing him of being all kinds of ugly things.

"Hm-hm," Keisuke replies, not looking up. Which, in a way, is a worse reaction than any that Tetsuya might have feared for.

"There's this new ice-cream parlor, only two blocks away from here." Tetsuya ploughs on bravely. "We could go there, see if it's really as good as people say."

"Hm-hm," Keisuke answers.

"Or we could go grab a movie. They probably don't have any tickets left for Star Wars eight, but we could rent something else, maybe the 'Journey to the West', that you mentioned you wanted to watch one day?" Tetsuya knows there's a thin line between stubbornness and stupidity, but he assures himself he knows when to give up. And that point hasn't been reached yet, not by far.

"Hm-hm."

Tetsuya decides that the situation calls for a last-ditch effort. Not, of course, that he'll give up on Keisuke if this last attempt fails as well, but he -will- change his tactics. Somehow, he'll think of another way to make Keisuke stop ruining his health in the process of seeking clues to help his sister.

"Of course, we could also always go to my apartment to have hot, steamy sex."

In the past, there have been days that the emptiness of some libraries bothered Tetsuya, because it made him feel like he was a geek for being there, instead of where most people were. Today though, he's quite glad that he and Keisuke are the only human beings around.

As he notices the distinct absence of any 'hm-hm' sounds, Tetsuya looks at Keisuke. Who is staring at him, with wide eyes, red cheeks and slightly parted lips. Tetsuya supposes that at least has answered the question whether or not Keisuke has been listening to him at all, these past minutes.

"Tetsuya ... " Keisuke starts.

The sound of the book that Keisuke has been reading snapping shut seems to startle both of them, even if Keisuke is the one who has closed it and now rises to put it back on the shelf where it belongs.

As he turns his attention back to Tetsuya, there's something about the expression on his face that makes Tetsuya wonder if maybe ...

They have never really spoken about it, of course, because it's simply not the kind of subject that pops up in conversations very often, but ...

Well, Keisuke -is- pretty cute, and nice, and Tetsuya admits that he certainly cares about him quite a lot, perhaps even to the point where one might use a word like 'love', and it's not like either of them has a girlfriend ...

"Ice-cream sounds great." Keisuke smiles. It's not a full-out, the-world-is-a-perfect-place kind of smile, but Tetsuya hadn't expected a smile like that anyway, so he's quite content.

Following Keisuke out of the library, Tetsuya tells himself he has only imagined the words Keisuke murmured after his reply, as he bent down to pick up his bag.

"And after that, we'll see about the hot and steamy sex."

OWARI