Shounenai-BL-Yaoi warning! If the thought of two beautiful men who are attracted to each other makes you squick, best go read something else!!

A/N: Written as a gift to cheer up my fanfic sempai, as always.

.oOo.

It's All an Act, You Know

(four: Ryuu)

A frown on his face, Ryuu flipped to the next page in Q Class' current case file. He studied the known personal information on their main suspect, one Doctor Takamiya Nakato. Dr. Takamiya was 37, worked in the ER of a prestigious hospital, and volunteered in his spare time at a health clinic for the indigent. He appeared to be a kind, generous, well-off, and attractive man...who also happened to be currently under investigation as a main head-hunter for a yakuza prostitution and slavery ring.

Dr. Takamiya's position at the health clinic gave him access to the perfect victim type: desperate homeless kids unlikely to be missed. And now, one of the Q Class students would be going undercover to gather evidence that would hopefully lead to not just the doctor's conviction, but all the way up through the yakuza ranks.

It seemed the slavery ring was on the hunt for young victims. Young, male victims. That immediately disqualified Megu. Kinta was unquestionably too old. Ryuu himself would have been a good candidate for the infiltration--he was certainly attractive enough--but his height, deep voice, and his intense demeanor rendered him too mature as well. Kazuma fit the lower end of the target range, but his parents had flat-out refused. This was fortunate, since the boy did not yet have the inner strength to handle something this volatile. And that left one person.

Ryuu rubbed his forehead in agitation and closed the file. He leaned back in his chair, crossed his arms, and brooded.

When Kyuu bounced into the room, he flashed an excited grin. "Hey, Ryuu!" He hopped on top of the next desk and held out his now-bandaged and braced right wrist and hand. He gestured at it with flourish using his unbandaged left. "Hongou-sensei did a great job on this fake injury," Kyuu said with a laugh. "The bandaging even looks a couple weeks old! See?" He thrust his arm toward Ryuu.

Ryuu examined their teacher's work with eyes alone. "You're right, it's perfect. Seems tight, though." He glanced up to Kyuu's face and blinked. For just a tiny, fleeting moment, Kyuu's eager smile had faltered. Or had he imagined it?

"Can you move your fingers at all?" Ryuu asked to cover his surprise, watching his friend's face.

Kyuu didn't respond for half a second, the smile frozen in place, then he slowly pulled his arm back and dropped his gaze to study it. His fingertips wiggled slightly in answer. "Not much, but check this out." Kyuu turned his forearm over, then used his left hand to pull a white cord out from beneath the brace's end, close to his inner elbow. "One good yank on this and the brace snaps apart internally, so I can shake the whole thing off if needed. Hongou-sensei had me try it. Works great! It's a pain to get it all back on again, though. I can't use the quick release for just any reason. Emergencies only."

Ryuu made a noise of agreement and studied his friend once more. The eagerness and energy were back in full-force, eyes ablaze at the upcoming mission.

"Oh, you have the case file! I definitely want to look it over again." Kyuu reached for it, then laughed self-consciously and exchanged his outstretched bandaged right hand for his left. "I'm going to have to get used to this role fast, so I don't ruin the case."

Ryuu closed the file and gave it to Kyuu, who sat properly at the desk and began to page through it, eyes skimming the information. Ryuu leaned his head on one arm and reviewed the file from his seat. He'd read it so thoroughly he had the information almost memorized. Underneath his benevolent facade, Dr. Takamiya was a ruthless man who not only liked his side business, but appeared to enjoy setting up hopeless boys for slavery.

In only two hours, Kyuu would be in the man's waiting room.

Ryuu resumed watching his friend, who was carefully perusing the doctor's personal information sheet. Why was Ryuu so disturbed by this case's undercover aspect? Yes, it was dangerous, but Kyuu understood that. Hongou-sensei was fully confident in his abilities. Megu and Kazuma had wished him well. Kinta had clapped him on the back and told him to break a leg. Even Kyuu's mother, while concerned, believed in her son. So why was Ryuu the only one upset?

He rubbed his face, trying to erase the worry he feared was plain upon it. If Kyuu knew how disturbed his friend was, it would upset him and endanger the case. But...

Unable to watch Kyuu cheerfully prepare himself to face the danger any longer, Ryuu turned his head away and stared blindly out the window, his fists clenched out of sight in his lap.

After a moment, he felt Kyuu's left hand grip his shoulder. He stiffened beneath it, trying not to think about the warmth from the touch.

"Ryuu? Hey, Ryuu, you okay?"

He didn't dare admit the truth. Solving this case was too important, but more than that, Ryuu did not want to endanger his friend any more. Kyuu had accepted the risk, and he was prepared to face it. Kyuu was too intelligent to not be nervous, but it was at a healthy level. One that would help him stay safe. Ryuu refused to disturb Kyuu's mindset with his unwarranted worries.

He faced Kyuu again, and his friend's hand left his shoulder to trail down his back and rest on the edge of Ryuu's chair. Ryuu met Kyuu's concerned gaze and felt a stab of guilt. So much for not upsetting him.

"It's nothing, Kyuu. You need to stay focused on the case."

Kyuu frowned. "It's not 'nothing'. How can I focus when you're obviously bothered about something?"

With a frustrated noise, Ryuu turned away to glare out the window once more. "I'm overreacting, is all."

"Overreacting to what?"

When Kyuu made a small gasp, Ryuu flinched. For once, he did not welcome his friend's deductive powers.

Kyuu's hand returned to his shoulder and gripped him tightly through his shirt. "Ryuu, are you that worried about me?"

Feeling the blood rush to his face, Ryuu pivoted to fully face the other boy. Kyuu had also turned sideways in his chair and was leaning forward, eyes intense.

"Kyuu, I--"

"Oi! Kyuu!" A clearly irritated Kinta shoved the door back with a foot and stomped several steps inside. "Hongou-sensei says you need--" the high-schooler trailed off.

Ryuu tried to fight down his blush, which he suspected contrarily burned even brighter, and steadfastly returned Kinta's blatant stare. From the corner of his eye, he saw Kyuu's smile falter again before the boy removed his hand from Ryuu's shoulder, sat back, and grinned a welcome over at their classmate.

"Hongou-sensei says what?" Kyuu asked.

"Uh...he says you need to shave." Kinta walked to them and held out a small black case and a fluffy towel. "Nanami-sensei loaned us these." Kinta shifted his weight, eyes flicking back and forth between them. He blurted out, "You any good shaving with your left hand? You're supposed to look thirteen or so. A shaving nick'll spoil that."

Kyuu grimaced. "Uh-oh."

Jabbing a finger at Kyuu, Kinta said, "You really should have taken care of that before the fake bandage was applied."

Kyuu ruefully picked up the shaving kit in his left hand. "Yeah...oops." Ryuu was startled to see a blush appeared on his cheeks. "Um, Kinta..."

"I'll do it." Ryuu swiped the shaving kit from Kyuu's hand and brusquely stood. "Let's go now, Kyuu. You have to change into street clothes anyway."

Kyuu stared at him for a second before jumping out of the desk. "Yeah, good plan." He scooped up his school uniform jacket and the duffel holding his disguise and led the way out of the classroom. Ryuu followed him, taking the towel and giving Kinta an all-business nod of thanks as they passed. He felt the older boy's gaze burning into his back but refused to let himself dwell on what Kinta might be thinking about his and Kyuu's friendship. Ryuu had enough on his mind as it was.

.oOo.

Inside the men's room, Kyuu leaned forward to peer at his reflection in one of the mirrors over the row of sinks. "You know I only have to shave a couple times a week, but Hongou-sensei's right. If you look closely, it's obvious." He made a face and rubbed at his chin. "For once I'm not happy about maturing."

Ryuu made a noise of agreement as he set the towel down on the counter and opened Nanami-sensei's borrowed kit. "You'd better sit on the counter for this." He glanced up and saw his friend was watching him in the mirror with a grin. Ryuu raised one eyebrow. "Take off your shirt, too."

The grin widened. "It's a button-up, Ryuu."

With a sharp clack, Ryuu set the safety razor down on the counter next to the small tube of shaving gel, crossed his arms, and stared at Kyuu.

"I've never been shaved by someone before, I just want the whole experience!" He actually bounced up and down on his toes.

"You're going to get the whole experience, but we both know you can unbutton your own shirt."

Ryuu stared straight at Kyuu, refusing to give in. Shaving his friend was going to be strange enough, Ryuu refused to even consider undressing him as well. On some level he knew it shouldn't bother him, since they were friends and both guys, but it did and that was the end of it.

Kyuu held the stare for a full ten seconds before sighing and giving in.

Ryuu politely averted his gaze and turned on the hot water at the sink. He focused on the stream and tried not to pay attention to the sounds of Kyuu removing his shirt. Kyuu had never been shy about stripping off his top in front of him when they were home, but here at school where things were formal and straight-laced, it felt...different. Odd. Intimate. Ryuu stifled that thought and washed his hands in the now-hot water, adjusting the temperature to not be scalding. By the time he was drying his hands with the standard bathroom cheap paper towels, Kyuu was already washing his face and neck as best he could with his left hand. The right he held out, away from the water.

"Keep bathing your face with the water, Kyuu. We need your skin as soft as possible." Not wanting to stand there and just watch, Ryuu picked up the tube of shaving gel and read it. Luckily, it was unscented. Nanami-sensei knew what he was about, at least in regards to disguises.

After a minute, Ryuu picked up the towel and used it to tap Kyuu's upper arm. Kyuu straightened and took the towel with a smile. "Thanks. Now I remember why I shave fresh out of the shower." He ruefully mopped the water off his chest.

Still avoiding looking at the shirtless Kyuu, Ryuu took a double handful of paper towels and dried the counter on the left side of their chosen sink. "Sit here." He tossed the towels in the trash bin and grabbed Kyuu's jacket. And then, with the sharp inward order to stop being ridiculous and act his age, he turned to face his friend.

Kyuu had already hopped up on the counter and was sitting there comfortably, legs spread, feet dangling and swinging slightly. He appeared completely at ease, right down to his normal cheerful grin.

The sight of the other boy revealed under the harsh florescent lights made Ryuu start. Being at school, outside the familiar comfort zone of their house, forced him to truly look at Kyuu.

Kyuu's bared torso curved forward so his corded forearms could rest on his thighs. Under the school's fitness and hand-to-hand fighting instruction, Kyuu's body was quickly shedding baby fat to reveal a hard and lithe figure no doubt destined to be more heavily muscled than Ryuu's own svelte body.

For some reason, that last observation made Ryuu's chest feel tight.

Ryuu knew it was pointless to hide his appraising gaze and explained it with the comment, "This is likely the last time you'll be able to impersonate someone younger than your actual age. Try to keep your shirt on in front of Dr. Takamiya. You certainly don't have the torso of a thirteen-year-old any longer."

Kyuu's grin turned almost sharp. "That's a shame, huh?" He laughed, and Ryuu realized his voice was deepening, too.

"Definitely the last time," Ryuu muttered to himself, then tossed the towel and jacket at Ryuu. "Here. Keep the towel in your lap where we can both can easily reach it, and wrap your right arm in the jacket to protect it from any splashing."

"Oooh, there's gonna be splashing? How fun!"

Ryuu felt his face burning and absently wondered when the blush had started. He wet his hands under the water, squirted in the proper amount of shaving gel, and worked up a lather. "This is serious, Kyuu. You know how dangerous that doctor is."

"Yeah, I know." He chuckled, another unexpectedly deep sound. "I'm just relieving tension, Ryuu."

"Hmm." Ryuu held up his lathered hands and half-way bowed. "Time for your shave, oh honored customer," he delivered in a dry tone.

Kyuu stared at him for a moment, shocked, then guffawed.

Ryuu couldn't help smiling at his friend's enjoyment of the joke. He waited until Kyuu's laughter calmed down before he stepped close. "All right, here we go."

With the formerly tense air now dispelled, and Kyuu trying to control his grin and doing his best not to snicker, Ryuu managed to relax. He rubbed the foam over Kyuu's skin in small circles, starting on one cheek, moving across his chin to do the other side. Kyuu's smile returned with a vengeance when Ryuu's fingers circled his mouth, and he kept grinning when Ryuu trailed his hands down Kyuu's jaw to his neck. Kyuu even stretched his head up to help.

At that, Ryuu glanced up and met Kyuu's eyes, who had remained focused on him the whole time. This close to the other boy, Ryuu realized Kyuu's position on the counter made him seem taller than Ryuu. The feeling was decidedly disconcerting. Ryuu took a step back, out of Kyuu's personal space, to rinse and dry his hands. He then picked up the razor.

"Time for the tricky part. Do try to stop grinning, Kyuu. The whole point of me wielding the blade is to prevent nicks." Ryuu inhaled a steadying breath, exhaled, and moved back towards Kyuu. He touched his left hand to Kyuu's jaw line and raised the razor in his right.

Kyuu's mouth worked as he valiantly tried to control his grin, but it was no use. He used his left hand to firmly push Ryuu away. "Just give me a minute here, okay?" He grinned apologetically at Ryuu, then stared down at his lap and took a steadying breath of his own.

Ryuu waited for several moments, then suggested, "Try closing your eyes."

The other boy looked at him askance as he considered. "Good idea." He straightened, closed his eyes, and the grin faded at last.

Ryuu silently observed the sight before him. Shirtless Kyuu, his developing body golden under the bright light, his face and neck covered with white shaving foam, his eyes closed and face stern. Like this, without the eager grin and energetic gestures, Kyuu definitely could never pass for thirteen again. Ryuu was not sure how he felt about that. He was almost sad to see his friend changing, but at the same time, those changes were...

Ryuu viciously cut that thought off before it could go any farther. Now was not the time, not with this important case riding on Kyuu's successful undercover mission. He firmly gripped the razor in his hand and stepped back towards Kyuu. "Second try's the charm."

He once again, he touched his left hand to Kyuu's jaw to hold his friend steady, and raised the razor in his right. He began on Kyuu's left cheek and pulled the blade down to Kyuu's chin in one smooth stroke.

Kyuu remained completely still and let Ryuu work.

Trusting his friend not to move, Ryuu used his left hand to slightly stretch Kyuu's skin for each stroke. He finished the left cheek, taking care to rinse the blade often. Ryuu nudged Kyuu's chin to turn his head when he was ready to start the right cheek, and Kyuu obliged without a sound or smile.

"Time for your neck."

Kyuu tilted his head back, still silent.

Ryuu remained focused on his task. When the razor revealed Kyuu's tanned skin over his carotid artery and Ryuu realized Kyuu's pulse was pounding, he paused. He noticed Kyuu's breathing had increased to match, though the boy was fighting it. A quick glance to Kyuu's left hand where it rested on the towel revealed it was clenched tight.

Kyuu's eyebrows twitched, and Ryuu resumed shaving with a quick, "Sorry." He debated for a moment, then decided to address the issue.

"What's on your mind, Kyuu? Your heartbeat is racing." He rinsed the razor to give Kyuu a chance to answer.

"I'm...just nervous about the whole situation."

Ryuu turned back to Kyuu and touched his neck again to warn him the shave was about to continue. "Yeah", he agreed. He didn't ask if Kyuu meant the undercover case as a whole, or their current circumstances. He didn't know which one he meant, either.

When his neck was finished, Kyuu was left with a goatee of white foam over the top of his chin and around his mouth. Ryuu rinsed the razor again, and when he turned back, Kyuu was watching him.

Their gazes locked. They stared at each other for a very long moment, not saying anything.

Ryuu chose to break the silence and said softly, "Almost done."

He leaned forward and once again used his left hand to hold Kyuu's head steady. "Curl your lips around your teeth."

Kyuu complied, and with very careful, short strokes, Ryuu shaved his chin and around his mouth. Whenever he flicked his eyes up, he found Kyuu watching him intently. In a detached part of his mind, Ryuu realized that even with his own face only a few inches from Kyuu's, and held by that direct gaze, he didn't feel the slightest bit self-conscious.

When he finished the last stroke and Kyuu relaxed his lips, Ryuu did not step back. He studied Kyuu's mouth, then raised his eyes to meet Kyuu's again. As he expected, the other boy was still watching him.

Kyuu ended it this time, averting his eyes with a mumbled, "Thanks." He scooted forward on the counter and lightly dropped to his feet, forcing Ryuu to back away. He moved to the next sink over, turned on the cold water, and scrubbed at his face with his left hand.

Ryuu noticed the back of Kyuu's neck and his ears were bright red. The sight made his own face burn. He snatched up the shaving kit's small bottle of unscented moisturizer, swallowed, and walked the short distance to Kyuu. He flipped open the bottle's top and waited for Kyuu to finish using the borrowed towel to dry his face.

Their eyes met in the mirror, but both looked away after the briefest of glimpses.

"Your left hand, please." Ryuu's voice sounded deep and hoarse. He cleared his throat.

Kyuu thrust out his hand without comment, and Ryuu squeezed a portion of lotion onto the palm. He moved away fast when he heard Kyuu rubbing it in and deliberately concentrated on rinsing the razor one last time, drying it, and repacking the kit. "I'll return this to Nanami-sensei while you change. Meet you back in the classroom."

Ryuu was reaching to push open the door when Kyuu's voice stopped him.

"Wait!"

He hesitated before turning. "Yes?" He was grateful his voice had returned to its normal and detached tones.

Kyuu tossed the balled-up towel at him. "Don't forget that."

Ryuu caught it and hoped his desire to flee the room wasn't as obvious as he feared.

"Hey, Ryuu." Kyuu waited to continue until Ryuu looked at him fully again.

Ryuu saw that the blush had faded from Kyuu completely, and the other boy's confident and easy-going manner had returned.

"Thanks for the shave."

"No problem," Ryuu replied.

Kyuu's brilliant grin returned and stole Ryuu's breath away. "I'm gonna catch this guy."

Ryuu matched Kyuu's grin with a smile of his own. He felt profoundly relieved that his sunny, outgoing, always-energetic friend had ousted that intense almost-man he had shaved. He licked his lips and replied, "Yeah. He doesn't stand a chance."

.oOo.

(completed 3-5-10, last tweaked same day)

A/N: I've never been struck by so many giggle fits while trying to write as I did with this chapter. You see...watching a man shave is one of my odder kinks. I know it's decidedly strange--if still vanilla in the larger scope of the world--but there you go! I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. :3 Also, it felt completely bizarre to describe Kyuu as a gorgeous, built, sensual man. O.o Many thanks to my male friend for answering my ignorant girl questions about shaving and kindly pointing me to an instructional Youtube video that was almost pornographic for me to watch. Because of the kink thing. Heh. Oh my...