Disclaimer: Prince of Tennis does not belong to me, and I am not making any money off of the writing and posting of this piece of fanfiction.

Warnings: Vague spoilers for the Yamabuki arc. Also, Akutsu swears like a sailor.

Quality Time

Kawamura's cheerful "Hello, Akutsu!" rang through the apartment, startling its sole occupant from his snooze. Jin shoved a pillow over his head in response. It was barely noon, damnit, and they called it the graveyard shift for a reason. He heard Kawamura's keys clatter into the small brass bowel Jin's mom kept by the front door, then the near-silent padding of Kawamura's feet over the carpeted floor of the apartment.

Towards his bedroom. Of course.

"Akutsu!" Kawamura called again as he opened the door. Jin snarled at him from under the pillow, which was quickly plucked from his grasp. "C'mon, get up."

"Get the fuck out," Jin growled. He tried to grab the pillow back, and when that failed, lunged for it. "I said get out!"

Kawamura frowned and dodged, causing Jin to fall out of bed with all the grace of a stone-legged cow. "Akutsu, you promised you'd come out with me today," he insisted. Jin looked up at him, at his unwavering gaze, then huffed and pounded the floor twice in defeat. The downstairs neighbors pounded back. Fuck them. "I traded restaurant duty with my sister because you said this was the only good time. Just because you're grumpy--"

"I know," Jin answered, pushing himself to his knees and glaring at Kawamura. "I know already. Just shut up, I'm gonna take a shower." He stood and headed for the door, deliberately jostling Kawamura's shoulder as he passed him. Screw grumpy, he was pissed.

"Akutsu," Kawamura said just as he'd stalked out of the room.

"What?" Jin snapped, rounding on him. He shoved his face up next to Kawamura's and stared him right in the eye, though he kept his fists carefully at his sides. Mom liked the guy--fuck if he could figure out why--and he'd just have to deal with more of her boo-hooey bullshit if he hit him. "What is it, Kawamura?"

Kawamura frowned again as he unceremoniously thrust a green button-down shirt and pair of black slacks into his hands. "Here. Your mom picked these out especially for today."

Jin thought he might just clobber the guy after all. Sure, maybe they were just laying out on his night table, and sure, maybe he did promise to dress up or some such shit, but no one touched his stuff without his permission. No one. Even his mom knocked before she came into his room. Where did this guy get off?

No, wait, he knew exactly where this guy got off. He growled again as he exited the room, gripping the clothing so hard he was probably wrinkling it. Well, good. He might've promised to spend some time with Kawamura today, but he never said he had to like it.

"Your shirt's wrinkled," Kawamura said as they boarded the train.

"Fuck you," Jin answered. The train was pretty much empty, so he plopped himself down in a window seat and spread himself over the one next to it. Kawamura didn't get the hint, of course, and pushed Jin's leg over to sit down next to him. He didn't bother with Jin's arm, though, so Jin left it there on the back of Kawamura's seat, stretched out behind Kawamura's shoulders like Kawamura was a girl and they were on a--oh fuck no. He snatched his arm back and stuck his hand in his pocket, glaring intently out the window.

"Did I wake you up earlier?" Kawamura asked pleasantly. It made Jin want to hit something. Preferably something that would cry.

"What do you think?" he said instead.

"Ah, sorry, Akutsu," Kawamura said. Akutsu glanced over at him, only to find him doing that annoying rubbing-the-back-of-his-neck thing. Shit, if you were gonna get embarrassed later, why do it in the first place?

"Forget it," Jin answered.

"I guess it was kind of rude to just barge in like that--"

Jin whipped around to face Kawamura, teeth bared. "No, seriously. Forget it. Forget it and stop talking. I got a headache." He turned to look back out the window at the scenery rolling by--skyscrapers, Tokyo was in love with its fucking skyscrapers, wasn't it?--only to turn back when he felt Kawamura shift.

"I thought you might," Kawamura said, rooting through the pocket of his own slacks, "so I grabbed some aspirin while you were in the shower." Finding the bottle, Kawamura pulled it out, opened it and shook two tiny red pills into his hand. He held them out to Jin and smiled like the two of them were old friends. "Do you need water?"

Jin paused a moment, then grabbed the pills and swallowed them dry. Kawamura smiled as he put the bottle away, and there was nothing about it that made Jin glad at all. Not a fucking thing.

Jin couldn't believe Kawamura had brought him to the Tokyo Tower of all places. Hell, he could barely believe Kawamura had brought him out in public at all, but the fucking Tokyo Tower? He wrinkled his nose at the layer of smog blanketing Tokyo from his vantage point on the special observation deck. When the height started to make him dizzy--and he'd kill Kawamura if he breathed even a word about that little phobia--he leaned his back against the railing and sneered at the shiny happy couples that littered the deck. He hated this place already. It was so... cliché.

He grinned when a round-faced young man grabbed his girlfriend's hand and pulled her away, glaring at him suspiciously. The girl was pretty enough to screw; too bad she had bad taste.

Eventually he ran out of visitors to scare off and glanced over at Kawamura, who was leaning against the railing, looking out at Tokyo. Jin wondered what he was looking at for a brief moment, then decided he didn't give a fuck. He blew out a lungful of air and opened his mouth to ask how long they'd have to stay here for it to count, but Kawamura beat him to it. To something, at least.

"It must have been difficult for you," he said, picking his words like they were bits of glass on the floor.

Jin stared at him. What the hell was up with this guy? Dragging him out on this... this... togetherness thing, and now saying stuff that made no sense, right out of the blue.

Kawamura's face fell, and he looked almost... sad? Like Jin cared. "Look, Akutsu. Yuuki told me a bit about... those other guys. How they treated you."

No blow to the gut could have outdone those words. Holy shit, he wanted to say, you did not just say that. Mom could not have possibly told you about that. She wouldn't dare. Instead, he said, "What the fuck ever," after he got his breath back, glaring intently at everything in the vicinity but Kawamura.

"Akutsu--no, Jin," Kawamura said, voice completely serious. "I'm not like them. I'd never do anything to hurt you like that."

Jin snorted and glanced over his shoulder at Tokyo, which was just as ugly as ever. "Like you could. Like I'd let you."

"Even if I could, I wouldn't," Kawamura insisted.

"Yeah, yeah, I know," Jin answered. Kawamura smiled again, and Jin sincerely wanted to punch him in the face.

In fact, that was starting to sound like a great idea. Punch Kawamura, get thrown out of the Tower, and he'd never have to come here again. Repeat in every damn spot in Tokyo if need be. He clenched his fist, but before he could make it happen, Kawamura glanced down at his watch and pushed away from the railing.

"Come on, Jin," he said, making his way over to the elevator. "We'll be late if we don't hurry."

Jin glared daggers at his back. Like he cared if he was late? And what the hell made Kawamura think he had the right to call Jin by his given name? Sure, maybe it was the normal thing to do in situations like this, but fuck, nothing in Jin's life had ever been normal, and it'd taken a turn for the bizarre ever since Kawamura had moved in.

Kawamura got to the elevator, then turned around. Upon seeing Jin right where he'd left him, Kawamura said nothing. He just stood there and smiled like he'd wait forever.

This pissed Jin off even more than before, so he stalked across the deck and grabbed Kawamura's collar. The sleepy security guard standing a few feet away watched them, but until someone threw a punch, it wasn't his job to interfere, Jin knew. Years of toeing the expulsion line in school had given him a sixth sense for troublemaking.

He spared a derisive stare for the guard, then turned his attention back to Kawamura. Who, instead of cowering like most people did, or breaking his hold like Jin knew he could, reached behind himself and pressed the elevator call button.

Jin blinked, then huffed and shoved Kawamura away. Really, this guy was just too much. He stuck his hands in his pockets and faced the doors, pointedly ignoring Kawamura, who was mimicking his stance only a hands' breadth away.

He couldn't believe Kawamura had brought him to this restaurant. Well, maybe he could. It was his mom's favorite, after all. Didn't make Jin like it any more. It was open--way too open, his instincts told him--and warm, and the wait staff was too friendly for his tastes. Who gave a shit about some random guy's name?

And there were couples everywhere. Again. Giggling. Kissing. Holding hands. All in this open, warm, friendly atmosphere.

So fucking romantic. It made Jin want to puke.

"Hey Jin," Kawamura said suddenly, sipping his ice water. "Do you remember that time we met here? Back when we were in middle school?"

Jin snorted and took a sip of his own cola before he answered. Stupid Kawamura wouldn't let him get a beer. Well, fine, if Kawamura wanted him sober, he'd get him stone-cold. "Yeah. You gave me that dumbass lecture. So what?"

"And you poured your drink on my head."

"Crap, are you gonna bring that up again?" Kawamura didn't seem fazed at all, the bastard. Jin pressed on. "Not like you didn't deserve it, fucking know-it-all."

"No, I'm not mad about that," Kawamura answered. "I wasn't, even then."

"So why bring it up?"

"I was just remembering." Kawamura took a sip of his own water before he continued. "Some of my teammates were there."

"Oh yeah." Damn brat. Jin never did pay him back.

"They thought your mom was my girlfriend."

Jin's eyebrows shot up, and he took a gulp of ice water before he spoke. "Well isn't that fucking ironic."

Their waiter came, bearing a basketful of foreign bread with a name Jin wouldn't remember even if he knew it, and they munched in silence for a while. Jin wondered how long he was gonna have to do this. The way things were going, it looked like the rest of his life.

"Jin," Kawamura said after the last piece of bread was gone. He was staring at Jin's face, at his mouth.

"What?" Jin asked as he swallowed his mouthful. His eyes shot wide open as Kawamura leaned across the table, hand stretched out towards him. He scooted as far back into his seat as he could. "The fuck you think you're doing?"

"You have crumbs in the corners of your mouth," Kawamura answered, picking Jin's napkin up from the table and holding it out to him.

OK, maybe now he'd punch Kawamura. Just as he clenched his fist to do so, though, Kawamura smiled at something over Jin's shoulder, his face lighting up like a paper lantern, and he waved. "Yuuki!" he called. "We're over here!"

Fuck. Mom would never forgive him if he got violent on Kawamura in front of her. Jin grabbed the napkin and wiped viciously at his face, then threw it back down.

He scowled as his mom's girly perfume invaded his nose, scowled even more as she handed him her purse to set down on the seat next to him. "I'm so sorry I'm late!" she gushed as she slid into the booth next to Kawamura. "The traffic on the way here was just terrible."

"I'm just glad you're here," Kawamura said. They gazed into each other's eyes, their faces drifting closer and closer together.

Jin looked away just as his mom started to kiss her soon-to-be husband, barely suppressing a gag. There were probably worse things in the world than having Kawamura Takashi for a stepdad, but hell if he could think of one.

The End

What? It's exactly what I said it was. Technically.