Title:The Cottage Fandom: Prince of Tennis Pairing: Atobe Keigo/Akutagawa Jirou Rating: Slight Fluff Disclaimer: Not mine. Notes: I wrote this fic for the Song of the Rain challenge quite a while back... and I kinda rushed on it and just barely made the deadline... but overall I'm still happy with it, so please enjoy... Also this was my first attempt at this pair, so please go easy on me. Thank you. Constructive criticism is very welcome!
The protesting brakes squealed as the expensive car turned the bend. Rain lashed out, obliterating what little scenery existed. Headlights illuminated clawing branches swaying dangerously close to the speeding car. The narrow lane twisted and turned until it came to a sudden end. The clearing was small and the cottage was old, but it glowed warm and bright against the dreary torrent of water falling from the dark purple mass that was the night sky. The driver sat contemplating the situation, there were only shadows ahead, barely clearing the roof.
After a few moments, a tall, slender figure glided out of the car and up the steep wooden steps. The enticing aroma of spiced fish drifted from the open window. He knocked on the door and waited a few seconds for an answer. The door remained closed. He pounded impatiently on the door, and still no noise was heard from inside. After waiting another ten seconds, he decided to try the door, and found that it wasn't locked. As the door swung in a large overstuffed sofa and loveseat could be seen. On the sofa, sprawled in all directions was a thin, caramel haired young man. A small smile curved his lips up at the corners as he snuggled closer to the pillow.
The dark ash haired man shook off his coat and hung it on the old-fashioned coat rack beside the door. Then he strolled towards the couch, his brow furrowed in thought. Gently he sat down beside the caramel haired man, and brushed a thick, curly strand of hair back from his sleeping face. An unfocused eye opened slightly, then blinked and looked up at the frowning, thoughtful visage with the coal tint locks.
"Don't call me out, then fall asleep," he muttered irritably.
To his annoyance his only response was a yawn as the slender man rolled over to go back to sleep. He thought about picking the sleeping man up and carrying him outside. Perhaps after being drenched by the large pelting raindrops, he would appreciate everything he, Atobe Keigo, captain of the Hyotei Tennis Club, had gone through to come here tonight.
Instead, he gently rested his hand on the bony shoulder and gently shook the sleeping form awake. After another two yawns and an eye rub, the soft honey colored eyes opened enormously in surprise.
"Atobe buchou, when did you arrive here? You must be hungry after the drive, there's fish in the stove." He mumbled as he jumped up to grab plates and silverware. After they were seated at the high wooden table, he continued, "Thank you for coming so quickly. I really want to practice more for the next match."
Atobe glanced sharply at Akutagawa Jirou, but decided not to say anything. Instead, he concentrated on cutting the fish in his precise manner. When Atobe finally looked up from his task, he found Jirou looking puzzled and worried.
"You could have practiced with any one of the regulars." Atobe said condescendingly. Jirou nodded, staring at his food. Atobe noticed that he hadn't touched anything on the plate, except to play with it. "Why did you choose ME to practice with? Do you wish to become a better player than myself?" Atobe sneered.
Jirou continued to stare at his plate. Atobe was beginning to be impatient with Jirou. His blank face betrayed nothing of what he was thinking or feeling. Just as he was about to tell Jirou off and leave, round syrup-tinted eyes stared straight at him, and Jirou murmured, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt your busy schedule. Or cause you any inconvenience."
"Then why did you ask me to come here? You don't need extra practice." Atobe's annoyance showed in every word. Jirou looked away, then he stood and began collecting the plates. After the dishes were piled in the sink, he began cleaning them. Atobe watched Jirou closely throughout this performance without saying anything, fighting a losing battle with his temper.
Finally, he spoke, "You have been washing that plate for the last two minutes. Don't you think it is clean enough?"
Jirou set the plate down and slowly turned around. He glanced quickly at Atobe, then turned away blushing slightly. "I'm sorry. But I had to ask you to meet me here. And practice was the only plausible excuse I could think of."
Atobe furrowed his brow in confusion, "You had to ask me to meet you here? Why?" He asked, his derisive tone still intact.
Refusing to meet his intense stare, Jirou turned to look out the window. "After the last match all the regulars got together to play a game. I guess it's supposed to be a popular game." He paused, his back and shoulder muscles tensing, "They called it 'Truth or Dare'. When it was my turn I chose dare, and I was dared to ask you to come here with me." Jirou was barely breathing as he finished, unsure how his captain might react.
Atobe sat and stared at the unrelenting back of the Regular. He wasn't sure how to react or what to say; which was unheard of, Atobe always knew what to do. "Well, I am here. So, what is supposed to happen now?" A shrug was the only response he had. Clearing his throat, he stood up slowly, and leisurely made his way around the table, until he was standing beside Jirou.
Jirou turned toward Atobe as he felt a slight pressure on his shoulder. His hazelnut eyes opened a little wider, "I don't think they expected you to come. They never mentioned what would happen if you did." Atobe chuckled, Jirou could be so innocent sometimes.
Suddenly a loud clap of thunder shook the small cottage, the lights flickered slightly then everything was pitch black. Atobe felt Jirou clawing at him, so he grabbed the slighter man around the waist and held him close, trying to calm the frantic gestures. As Atobe held Jirou, the frenzied beating of his heart calmed. Finally, he pulled back, "I'm going to look for some candles and matches. Sit here until I find them," he pushed Jirou into the nearest chair.
A couple of minutes later he was back, holding a flashlight. "This is all I could find. We're stuck here until morning, with the road as muddy as it is, so we might as well see if there's a place to sleep here." Jirou nodded, his eyes half closing. Atobe dragged him out of the chair and pulled him to the only doorway inside the cottage. It led to a large bedroom, with a four-poster canopied bed, and matching oak furniture.
As another clash of thunder rattled the cottage, Jirou jumped on Atobe, making him lose his balance. They tumbled onto the bed in a heap. Jirou continued to shiver and cling to Atobe long after the rumble had died down. Atobe managed to drag Jirou to the headboard and pulled the covers over them. After the bed curtains were pulled, Jirou snuggled close to Atobe and began to calm down.
Atobe brushed his long, slender fingers through the caramel tinted hair. He was surprised to find it was thicker than his own hair. The physical contact seemed to lessen Jirou's fears. When the next boom was heard, he barely flinched.
After a few minutes, Jirou's breathing evened out and he laid still curled up against Atobe. His lips were curled up at the corners again.
Amusement and amazement battled to show themselves in Atobe's expression. He wondered how Jirou could fall asleep so easily. He continued stroking the caramel hair, it was almost as soft as his own. Gradually the rain beating on the roof lulled him to sleep.
Cheerful singing was the first thing Atobe heard as he awoke. He glanced around the room, remembering why he was there. Then he slid out of the bed and sauntered into the main living area of the cottage. Jirou had burnt most of what Atobe assumed was supposed to be their breakfast.
"Ohayo!" Jirou chirped as he flipped some unknown substance.
Arching his eyebrow Atobe commented, "Am I supposed to eat that? Where did you learn to cook?"
Jirou feigned a hurt look, "You think you could do better?"
The challenge was met with a nod, "Oresama no bigini yoi na." Bacon, eggs, and waffles were produced with such a flourish that all Jirou said was, "Sugoi."
After the breakfast dishes were put away, Atobe ventured outside to see whether his car was stuck in the mud. Relief showed on his face before he realized his was the only car in the clearing. "Jirou, how did you get here?"
"I walked from the station, it wasn't raining then." He smiled lazily, lying down on the porch swing. Atobe glanced up at the sky, to notice the clouds threatening to break into sheets of rain. "We should leave before the car does get stuck," Jirou nodded, and clambered to a standing position.
"Yeah, I'm done with my dare. Thank you for understanding." This produced a smirk from Atobe.
"Next time you play a game with the other Regulars, don't allow them to bring me into it, I don't have time to play child games all day." Jirou looked at his feet, then mustered up his most ingratiating smile for Atobe, "I'll make sure you're there the next time we play, then you will understand." Atobe wasn't sure he liked the mischievous gleam in Jirou's eyes.
End Note: Thank you for reading and suggestions and criticism are welcome.