His lover had some of the strangest habits, Yuki Eiri thought to himself, long ago distracted from watching the news, as he observed the little pink haired singer. They were more than habits. They were rituals, really. The way he hit the front door at a run, practically bouncing when his mood was good, or stomping fitfully when he was being pissy about something. The meek way he'd enter his study, first thing, perching like a little bird on the chair behind him, waiting impatiently to be acknowledged. Yuki had worked it to such a science that he could literally count the seconds that lasted, before Shuichi would unsubtly begin to squirm and make those funny little huffy sounds. There were three of them. One, two --

"Yuki, what are you thinking?" Shuichi asked, with searching violet eyes, as the writer absently observed the singer's current routine activity, rubbing lotion onto his arms and legs.

"I'm thinking how annoying it is when women -- and you -- ask such stupid questions," Yuki muttered, leaning forward to stub out his cigarette and catching the heavenly, clean and soapy scent drifting from his freshly showered lover and the moisturizer he was applying.

"Oh," Shuichi said, turning his attention back to what he was doing, seeming mollified with his response. Perhaps Yuki's attempts to housebreak the brat were finally working, he thought with satisfaction as he sat back, beer in hand.

But he knew better. Let's see, it would be about two minutes, give or take one, before that attack on Shuichi's masculinity got a response. He may as well enjoy the show while he waits, he thought with resignation.

His eyes followed nimble fingers as Shuichi slowly, methodically rubbed the thick moisturizing cream over his arms, making them glisten in the blue light of the television. He was mesmerized as the teen switched to massaging the slick substance into the well toned, long legs that were revealed by his short kimono robe, wondering how the brat could be more guilessly sexy without even trying than any of the gorgeous women he used to take home could with their most practiced ploys. No one is that naive, he thought suspiciously, he has to know what it does to me.

He'd read somewhere of conditioned behavioral responses and the curious way they applied to cats once, using it as a metaphor in one of the lousier short stories he used to churn out before his first novel was published. The article had said that cats perform rituals that were neurotically, almost superstitiously complex when they felt that these steps would lead to some desired result, such as food or attention, even repeating such things as being bumped in the head by an opening cabinet door if the action had once preceded their owner providing a treat from said cabinet. He wondered if he'd subconsciously trained his little kitten to undo him like he always did with this dutiful bit of grooming every evening in order to earn the response he was inevitably going to get.


Yuki tore his gaze away from the singer's lathered legs to meet the exasperated look Shuichi was giving him.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" Shuichi asked defensively. "You're thinking that what I'm doing is girly or something aren't you? Well, I'll just have you know that it's important for someone in my profession to take good care of their body, and --"

Shuichi stopped, looking at Yuki with utter shock when the writer gave him a rare smirk. Two minutes exactly.

"You're laughing at me, aren't you?" Shuichi groaned. "Look, just because I ask what you're thinking, and like lotion because it smells nice, and okay I did wear Maiko's uniform -- and that yellow dress with those cute little black pumps -- doesn't give you any right to --"

"Shut up, already," Yuki snapped, cutting off Shuichi's indignant rambling with a sigh, and studied his face curiously. "You really have no insight at all into what I'm really thinking, do you?"

"Um, so what were you really thinking about, then?" Shuichi asked in a tiny voice.

"And it's probably a good thing that you don't," Yuki said, finishing his previous statement, more to himself than to Shuichi, and shaking his head.

No, Yuki thought, walking over to Shuichi and wordlessly pulling him up by the arm, as predictable as he is in his routines, he's still completely off the charts of prediction when it comes to the usual manipulative bullshit of human nature.

"Where are we going, Yuki?" Shuichi asked him blankly. Yuki spared him an incredulous look as he pulled him along.

"You're half naked, moron. We're obviously not going for a walk," Yuki said, rolling his eyes, and smiling slightly to himself upon turning away.