The large glass windows are opaque with steam, drops of condensation running down in little rivulets. Everything feels hazy, like the thoughts drifting in and out of Eiji's mind.
It's one of those grey days, where everything is wet and muted, the threat of rain omnipresent, lone individuals hurrying down the streets with their chins burrowed in gaudy scarves in a futile effort to throw off the grey.
Eiji likes these days, because being inside feels warmer and cosier, and he can snuggle under the doona against Oishi's pliant body and just feel safe.
That's why today feels really wrong- he's not inside, in Oishi's bedroom, he's alone with Oishi at the pool, sitting on a white plastic chair watching Oishi swim and breathing in a mix of chemical smells. It's stuffy and hot in here, the floor is grey and rough. He'd agreed to come because Oishi hadn't swum for a week and said he felt like a coil wound far too tight. Eiji had come to the pool with Oishi on many an occasion before, and would usually sit at the white plastic table and do his homework. Things are different between them nowadays, and Eiji can watch Oishi freely, instead of peeking out from over the top of a chemistry textbook. If he'd known it would make him feel like this, though, he would never have come in the first place.
It's as though the thick air is playing havoc with his senses, or something, but he feels like he's burning up and he can't recall ever wanting Oishi quite this badly… on second reflection, he blames it on the water undulating in circles around Oishi's lean form, acting like gravity to the water in his own body. Eiji's a Sagittarius, but now he's convinced he's a water being, his whole world rippling and swirling in response to the way Oishi moves against the water, gliding through, powerful arms plunging in again and again. He comes up against the wall and flips, Eiji sucks in a breath; maybe at the beauty of the fluid movement, maybe because each time Oishi turns something inside him churns, aches, tightens, winds. It's a blissful, agonising limbo, only the two of them in this white space of humidity and echoes. It might be like that for eternity, it might stop any second, and this is why Eiji has to watch every single movement, has to take a breath every time Oishi lifts his head above the water.
Has to watch the water coating that brown body, sliding against it, dripping from it.
He doesn't realise he's in a reverie until a happy exhalation from Oishi brings him sharply back into reality, and his heart rate is suddenly irregular because Oishi has stopped and his heart can't match Oishi's movement, around and around, thump, thump. His mind urgently tells him to scrabble to tidy up his chemistry notes, and his body sluggishly follows the instructions as Oishi climbs out of the pool. Why, he thinks, he's got nothing to hide from Oishi anymore, but there's something about this that's dangerous, illicit. As if giving into this want, this soul-ache will rob him of something, identity, will.
It's certainly robbed him of his voice, because he can't answer when Oishi approaches him cheerfully, water running over those beautiful arms off onto the floor.
"Shall we go?" He asks, Eiji nods and follows him slowly into the changeroom.
He can sit through it, he thinks, if he tries hard enough.
If he just looks away while Oishi strips himself of his swimwear and pads away to the showers, the waves of panic and desire might just abate. If he thinks hard about Ryuuzaki-sensei in a bikini, and stops gripping Oishi's towel quite so tightly, and stops listening to the splash of water on tiles and faint sounds of a sweet voice humming, he might be able to at least get home before admissions and feelings and actions pour out of him irrepressibly like water from a broken dam. If Oishi doesn't stop… Oishi…
Oishi's calling him.
"I left my shampoo, can you bring it?"
He draws back the curtain to the shower stall, extends an arm and looks away. Oishi takes the bottle from him cheerfully, sets it down, lets water run over his back before he realises Eiji hasn't left.
"Is everything ok?" he asks with a smile.
Slam! And Oishi's back is pressed up against the cold tiled wall, and the soap holder is nearly sticking into his side but that's the least of his worries because there's a tongue in his mouth, and hands grabbing at his slippery body that are trying to prevent him from falling over and claiming him at the same time. Hands raised to ward off the unexpected advance find themselves thrust amongst the sodden folds of Eiji's increasingly wet shirt, and anything he tries to say emerges as a garbled moan because Eiji's refusing to release claim of his mouth. They slip and scuffle and wrestle under the showerhead before Eiji twists his mouth away, panting, wet hair-turned-burgundy slicked in messy curls stuck to his face.
"What are you…" Oishi manages to say before Eiji kisses him again, pressing him up against the wall so hard he can barely breathe. The only sounds in the room are the splish-splash of water, the smack of Oishi's bare feet on the floor, the squeaking of Eiji's sneakers, the sounds of their bodies and breath. Eiji's hands are getting tangled amongst his shirt buttons as he wrestles with the fabric, trying to move against Oishi, kick off his shoes full of water, trying to climb inside of and fuse with Oishi, as if it was even possible. This time Oishi manages to stay balanced, slides a hand over Eiji's waist up beneath his shirt and tries to kiss back more slowly, if only to distract from the dark desire he feels mounting slowly within his own core, and regain a sense of control.
"Eiji, are you… what are you…"
Eiji's response is rushed and garbled, eyes large and black as he stares into Oishi's face.
"Oishi… please will you… there's no-one here, just you… please will you just…I need… Oishi… please…?"
"That's not what I'm wo—"
"I want to make su—"
"Please Oishi, just… don't… please!"
All the hesitation written in Oishi's posture is slowly washed away with the echo of the plea as he gazes into Eiji's eyes, at Eiji's red mouth, as Eiji wriggles himself out of his wet pants, smack! onto the floor. He licks his lips, strokes Eiji's waist, and before he knows it, Eiji's the one pressed up against the wall, Oishi's hands running over his body as they kiss heatedly under the steady stream of water. Eiji's really not sure where he ends and Oishi begins anymore, can't separate the muggy haze of steam from the dizzy feelings he's experiencing as Oishi lays claim to his lips, massages a hand over his back and buttocks. His hands are everywhere on Oishi too, slipping, stroking, trying to keep them balanced as they manoeuvre to be connected in the most intimate of ways. They grunt and moan as their bodies squeak against the tiles, water running over and dripping from open mouths.
"You're so beautiful, Eiji…"
When Eiji has a knee hiked over Oishi's arm and feels nothing but heat and intensity filling him, bodies entwined in synch, he realises that he has little free will when it comes to Oishi, if any at all. He presses his face hard into Oishi's neck, brokenly crying out when they move together for the last time, shuddering. They stumble to the floor holding eachother, the water pelting against their backs and faces as they try to control their ragged breathing. Eiji doesn't want to move.
After a while, Oishi finds he has to speak, and caresses Eiji's arm.
"Hey," He says in a soft voice, "the water's getting cold."
It's then that he realises Eiji is crying silently into his shoulder.
"Eiji!" Panic turns Oishi's heart stone cold. "What's wrong? What's the matter? Did I hurt you?"
Eiji's fervent shaking of his head does little to slow the fast beating of Oishi's heart, but he speaks a little slower and combs at Eiji's hair with his fingers.
"Then… what is it? Tell me? Hey..?" He tries hard to seek Eiji's gaze beneath the tangle of red fringe obscuring his face.
"It's not that we messed up your runners, right, you know we can always put them in the dryer?"
Eiji chuckles a little, a good sign; Oishi brings their foreheads together, brushing wet strands of hair away from Eiji's cheeks with both hands. Tears are coursing down his cheeks, mixing with the lukewarm water from the showerhead.
Oishi speaks softly. "Hey."
Eiji draws in a shuddering breath and quickly wipes at his eyes, attempting a smile which disappears as quickly as it materialises. "N-nothing. It's nothing really…"
He draws his clothes and runners to him, bundling them together and stumbles out of the shower stall with shaky legs; just like that, he's gone.
Oishi finds him hunched over his own knees, one lean calf partially clothed by a soggy trouser leg that refuses to be pulled any higher; he watches Eiji try to wrestle it off again and his heart just about breaks as Eiji throws his jeans to the floor with a cry of despair and slams his fist against the wooden bench.
He comes to Eiji's side, picks up his wet clothes and puts his other arm around him, gently manoeuvring and ignoring his protests.
"Oishi, forget about it, it's stupid, I'm pathetic, don't worry about it…"
Eiji pushes at him half-heartedly, lower lip trembling as he fails to suppress a second wave of tears that burst out of him like they used to when he was seven. Oishi walks slowly him over to the small hand dryer, loops arms around his waist and holds him from behind. Eiji looks small and tense as he cries himself out, standing rigidly in front of Oishi as they dry his clothes under the stream of air.
The low hum of the machine starts to calm him, and after a while he leans back against Oishi as he sniffles, warm skin a wall against his back, just there.
After a while Oishi presses a soft kiss against his shoulder and feels Eiji tense again, just a fraction.
"Oishi…" The words are quiet. "You know… I always think about you."
"You're not the only one that does that," Oishi laughs a little bit, but stops when he hears Eiji suck in a quiet breath.
The humming of the dryer and dripping of the taps fills the room.
Oishi frowns, and nestles his nose at the nape of Eiji's neck, breathing, before he answers.
"All the time."
"All the time how?"
"It's… all the time."
"All the time how?"
"…I don't get what you mean, Eiji." Oishi tries to turn Eiji to face him but is thrown off with a shove.
"All the time how? Like, 'only when I wake up and when I go to sleep, Eiji,' or sometimes during class, or only at mealtimes and special occasions, or on Sundays, or is it more like every single second of every minute of every day, because that's how it feels sometimes, like I can't even control it anymore, Oishi, because it's always… just… you!"
Again the tears are threatening to fall; Eiji twists away and flops back against the wall next to the dryer, cringing. Oishi clutches Eiji's clothes in his hands.
"That's… that's what it's like. I don't even know who I am sometimes, like it's… you're who I always want to phone and talk and touch and have and … god knows what would happen if I ever had to play singles, it's… oh god… I always … have to have you there and I can't stand to think about it if you weren't, and sometimes it's like… you… don't…"
"Don't what?" Oishi says quietly.
"Don't… want… don't want me the same," Eiji finishes softly, looking deflated and miserable, eyes averted.
Oishi drops the wet clothes on the floor, takes Eiji's limp hands to put around his own waist. He doesn't have to read Eiji's posture to know he won't be thrown off again, now, and rubs his back gently as they hug.
"How can you even say that Eiji…" He starts, nearly interrupted with a protest from the redhead. "No really… didn't you see that time I got hit in the head with one of Inui's serves because I was too busy looking at you? Or the number of times I've missed my stop thinking about you? Or phoned you by mistake when I was meant to be phoning someone else?"
"But that's… you're always so calm about it all…"
Oishi pulls back to look seriously in Eiji's eyes. "You know that's not true."
A small smile tugs at the corner of Eiji's lips. "W-well, you were pretty fantastic, that time… I can't believe we weren't caught doing that…"
Oishi coughs. "I was actually thinking about… you know, the panic attacks."
Eiji looks chastened and Oishi smiles ruefully.
"But even then, Eiji, you know… it's only you that can… if I didn't have you then… I can't…" Oishi swallows and looks away, carefully pressing his cheek up against Eiji's in a curiously shy gesture. "It's scary, you know? And that you said all that before… I feel exactly the same way, like I couldn't… be without you."
They stand there that way for a while, just breathing; by now Eiji's arms are locked tightly around Oishi's bare back and they luxuriate in eachother's warmth and smell. When they do move they gravitate to one another slowly, heavy, Oishi's nose dragging over Eiji's cheek until their lips meet, tension palpable and magnetic. They feel their bodies reigniting already from the mere tension of standing so close, and they kiss slowly, full of promise and something deeper.
Eiji pulls away slowly. "Someone might find us, we should probably get dressed."
"Eiji!" Oishi remarks with a smile. "We've got this place entirely to ourselves, there's no-one here but you and I, remember?"
"Mean! What if a cleaner or someone came? How many people do you know that cuddle naked in a changeroom?"
"Not that many," Oishi says, softer.
"Not that many," Eiji echoes, and goes to pick up his clothes. He puts them on.