Notes: Two dorks walking home of an evening. Probably a high-school fic.

Scenic Route

"Follow me," Sae said, veering off the sidewalk.

"Where are we going?" Yuuta asked, as he stepped off concrete onto grass, following Sae out of the glow of streetlights and into darkness. "I thought we were going back to my place?"

"We're taking the scenic route," Sae said, voice emanating from the darkness. Away from the sidewalk, he was nothing but a grey blur topped with the paler blur of his hair.

"Yeah, real scenic," Yuuta grumbled, tripping over something he couldn't see--how in the hell did Sae know where he was going? "Nice dark thing we've got going, huh?" Then he stumbled into a bush.

"Watch where you're going." The Sae-blur stopped and waited while Yuuta fought with the bush, freeing himself after a judicious amount of swearing.

"I would, if I could see anything!" Yuuta complained. "Why are we walking around a park at ten o'clock at night, Sae?"

"The scenic route," Sae reminded him. "Follow me a little closer, and I'll protect you from the big bad bushes."

"I can protect myself fine, thanks," Yuuta told him as they started moving again, but he did keep a little closer to the Sae-blur anyway, since it seemed like Sae had some kind of idea where they were going.

"Of course you can. You showed that last bush who was boss," Sae agreed, and even though he wasn't laughing, Yuuta could hear the grin in his voice.

Sometimes he wondered what Sae found so damn funny all the time, but Sae was so weird anyway that Yuuta also felt that, maybe, he was better off not knowing. "Of course I did," he said, as they wound their way deeper into the park. "Hey, you know, I'm pretty sure my apartment isn't anywhere in this direction."

"What part of 'scenic route' are you having trouble understanding?" Sae lilted, failing to sound either annoyed or penitent.

"The scenic part," Yuuta muttered, although his vision had started to adjust to the darkness a little.

Sae just laughed at him.

He wasn't sure, but he had been through this park a few times, albeit never cross-country or in the dark, and it seemed like Sae was heading for... the sports fields? If it weren't for the fact that Sae was so obviously in the mood to be cryptic... Aw, the hell with it. "Why are we going to the sports fields?"

Sae laughed again. "You'll see."

"Jerk," Yuuta muttered, but subsided, now that he had some idea of what was going on.

"Yeah, yeah. Watch your step, there's--"

But Yuuta had already tripped over the root. "Fuck!" He shot a glare up at the Sae-blur from where he'd gone sprawling on the ground.

"Never mind." Sae offered him a hand, and hauled him to his feet. "We're almost there. Try not to get yourself killed, huh?"

"Kind of hard to do when the plant life turns homicidal," Yuuta grumbled. "I can see the headlines now: Teen Killed By Ferocious Tree! Tennis World Devastated! Family Grief-Stricken!"

Sae snorted. "What, you think the plants are going to let me escape?"

"You're probably their evil master," Yuuta said, as they finally broke free of the trees and bushes and began crunching across gravel. "You're the one who's luring me out here to my doom, after all."

"Oh. Must have missed that memo," Sae chuckled. "Fence."

"Yeah, I see it." Or he could see the dim outlines of it, which was close enough. "Why are we at the soccer field?"

"You'll see." And Sae hoisted himself over the fence and dropped to the grass on the other side.

"You'll see," Yuuta mimicked, and followed. "Sometimes I wonder if you keep secrets just for the hell of it."

"Don't keep that many secrets. Especially not from you," Sae protested. Was he grinning? Yuuta couldn't tell what that expression was, not in the dark like this. "You know me too well."

"Yeah, whatever. Now where are you going?" Yuuta demanded, as Sae began trotting out onto the soccer field.

"Just a little further," Sae coaxed him.

"Right..." Yuuta followed, until Sae stopped dead in his tracks and flopped down on the grass. "The hell?"

"We're here," Sae announced, and Yuuta was sure of that grin. "Come on, the grass is nice."

"Wet, too," Yuuta said, scuffing a sneaker through it. "You're crazy. I ever tell you that?"

"Only a dozen times a day." Sae's teeth were gleaming in the dark. "Yuuuuuutaaaaa..." he added, sounding all sorrowful and drawing out the syllables. "A little dew won't kill you."

"No, but the pneumonia will," Yuuta growled, settling himself on the grass, which was covered with dew. "You are trying to kill me, aren't you?"

"You don't get pneumonia in the summer," Sae drawled, pulling on the back of Yuuta's t-shirt until Yuuta gave in and sprawled out. "There, see? Not so bad, is it?"

"Damp," Yuuta grunted, wriggling against the prickliness of the grass.

"You whine a lot, you know that?"

"Do not," Yuuta muttered, still squirming around.

"Do too."

"Do not, times infinity, so there." He finally found a comfortable spot, and the back of his t-shirt and jeans were pretty much soaked through with dew. "I win."

"'Course you do." Sae sounded lazy and satisfied, and not at all ruffled. "You don't whine, don't know how I ever thought you would whine... except for the part where you bitched all the way out here."

"I had perfectly legitimate questions about what the heck you were dragging me into," Yuuta argued. "Why are we out here?" he added.

"To watch the stars," Sae said.

"...oh." Yuuta thought this over, and decided that no, he had to say it. "Kind of hard to see the stars with all the city lights, isn't it?"

Sae just laughed. "Maybe."

So he still had something up his sleeve. Okay. Yuuta settled in to bide his time, and squint at the sky, trying to pick stars out through the light pollution. He wasn't able to find many. "Uh, Sae--"

Then the first of the fireflies began to circle over his head, lulled into security since he and Sae had stopped moving.

"Yeah?" Sae's voice was hushed, and sounded like he was waiting for something, as the fireflies slowly returned to their patch of the soccer field, going back to the mysterious business of being a firefly.

"Never mind. I get it, now." He was speaking more quietly, too, even though it wasn't like fireflies had ears or anything. One swooped low over his face, and he found himself holding his breath until it passed. "What the heck made you think of this?"

"I just got the idea, I don't know." Yuuta could just about hear his pleased smile. "And I thought you'd like it."

"Huh. It's nice."

"Worth risking death by shrub and pneumonia?"

Yuuta snorted, tracking the path of a pair of fireflies. "Yeah, maybe."

"Only maybe? You're a tough audience, you know that?"

Yuuta pillowed an arm behind his head and looked over at Sae's dimly-lit profile. Hard to say whether that was teasing, or a genuine reproach, since he couldn't see Sae's face. "It's nice," he said, finally, and wished for some of his usual solid ground for when he was dealing with Sae. "I like it."

"Good," and now Sae sounded very satisfied.

"What, you thought I wouldn't?" Yuuta made a face in Sae's direction, before looking back up at the idle drift of the fireflies.

"Sometimes I can't tell, with you. And you did complain a lot."

Yuuta made another face at the fireflies. Light tone, but Sae sounded serious underneath. "I like complaining," he said. "Doesn't mean I really get that bent out of shape that easily."

"I know."

That didn't sound particularly reassured, to Yuuta. He sighed, and rolled up onto one elbow. "Hey, it's me. Since when do I ever do anything that I don't want to do, huh?"

"You balk a lot, sometimes," Sae pointed out.

Where was all this coming from? "Yeah? Because I like being contrary." He made another face; who knew? Maybe Sae could actually see it, even in the dark. "Fuck, Sae, I like hanging out with you, okay? And you always have good ideas."

"Do I?" And now Sae was going all thoughtful on him.

Yuuta huffed in annoyance, and poked Sae in the ribs to convey his disgruntlement. "Yeah, you do. Shit. What is with you tonight, huh?"

"Nothing." Sae swatted at his hand. "What was that for?"

Nothing? Yeah. Right. Yuuta scowled. "You're being weird. For you. Weirder than normal. I don't know."


Yuuta flopped back down at that thinking noise and went back to watching the fireflies. Eventually, he said, "Sorry. If I whined too much. Was just teasing."

"I know." Sae was using his calm-and-rational voice.

"Well. Good," Yuuta mumbled. No, that wasn't the reason for Sae's current bout of weirdness. He gave up and asked, when he couldn't come up with anything else. "What is it? Really?"

"Just thinking. It's nothing."

Yuuta reached out and poked him again. "Nothing. Right. Pull the other one, Sae."

"God, you're nosy tonight," Sae muttered, poking back.

Yuuta squirmed away from the hand jabbing at his ribs. "Nothing to do but watch fireflies and pester you." When he went to poke Sae again, Sae grabbed his hand. "No fair!"

"You started it. I'm just finishing it," Sae pronounced, sounding so much like his father that Yuuta laughed. "What?"

"You sound like your dad when he'd yell at us for fighting," Yuuta laughed.

"I do not sound like him!" Sae argued, and it sounded like he was trying to be outraged, but the snickering was getting in his way.

"You do too," Yuuta wheezed.

"Do not. Times infinity." Sae waved his free hand in the air to emphasize the point. "So there."

"Fine, you don't sound like your dad, geez." Yuuta snorted, while his brain woke up to the fact that Sae still had his hand and wasn't showing any signs of letting it go. "Even though you used his exact words and your voice went all growly like his does and--"

"Yuuta--" Sae interrupted.

"Just saying," Yuuta grumbled. No, Sae seemed pretty content to be hanging onto his hand like that, warm fingers wrapped around his. Felt kind of nice, actually.

The part of Yuuta's brain that was in charge of keeping track of things quietly said, Oh, shit.

"I do not sound like my father," Sae said again, with more conviction than the argument seemed to warrant.

"Whatever you say. Use that tone on your kids and I guarantee they'll listen," Yuuta mumbled, absently. Sae was holding his hand. And he was enjoying having Sae hold his hand. Oh, shit, this was all kinds of a problem.

"I have kids?" Sae sounded shocked. "Did I miss that memo, too?"

"No, I was just--when you have kids, I guess. Someday." Was the way Sae's thumb was brushing against his on purpose, or just fidgeting? Should he try to free his hand? What the hell was going on here?

"Oh, that. Huh. Yeah. Someday. Kids. Right..." Sae trailed off. "Christ, are you trying to give me nightmares?"

"No! It's just... that's what you do, right? Get married, have kids?" Yuuta replied, mouth on autopilot. What if he didn't want to let go of Sae's hand--wait, he was holding Sae's hand back. And it felt nice, the way their fingers felt together. Oh, shit.

"Oh. I guess." And Sae's voice went all quiet again.

Fuck. Yuuta made a face at the fireflies dancing over them as his attention swerved back to Sae's mood. That didn't sound good. What had just happened? He ran back over the conversation in his head, and couldn't find anything, exactly, that should have triggered that. Or had he? Yuuta bit back a groan of frustration. This was getting too confusing.

Then again... What the hell was he lying here driving himself crazy for? Leave indirect and subtle for other people. Fuji Yuuta didn't do subtle. "Hey. Sae."

"Yeah?" Sae's voice was kind of distant, and still quiet.

"For the record... I like this, too." Yuuta squeezed Sae's hand, quickly, and hoped like hell he wasn't jumping to the wrong conclusion.

Sae went still on him--okay, he'd already been still, but this was a kind of frozenness that was completely different. "You... do?"

And now it was Yuuta's turn to freeze, at that little lilt of disbelief. He shouldn't have said anything, because now things were going to go weird between them, and--

His mental voice of reason pointed out that Sae's grip on his hand was tight enough to make the bones creak. "Ow, geez, ease up, Sae, that's my tennis hand!"

"Sorry, sorry," Sae mumbled, releasing him, and sounding abashed.

Yuuta shook the feeling back into his fingers, and tilted his head to look at Sae. "I do," he mumbled, picking up the dropped thread of their conversation. "Like it. When you're not mauling me, that is." He reached, and slotted his fingers between Sae's, loosely this time. "I just thought you should know."

"Oh," Sae said, and his voice was a different kind of quiet. And this time, it was very deliberate when his thumb stroked over Yuuta's. "I'd--um."

It was weird, having Sae here like this, caught without words. A Sae who didn't have a ready quip was a rare beast indeed.

That was leaving a lot of the talking to him, though.

Yuuta sighed, and curled onto his side, grass prickling against his bare arms and dew further soaking the thin cotton of his shirt, and covered their hands with his other hand. "Didn't get it till just now," he muttered. "Never was too quick on the uptake." He paused. Sae was still too quiet. "You... okay?"

Sae turned his head, and Yuuta could just about make out the flash of teeth as Sae grinned. "Oh, yeah," Sae breathed. "I'm okay. Definitely okay. Jesus, Yuuta..."

He relaxed. This was getting back to the Sae he knew, yeah. Good. "This why you've been weird on me all night long?" he asked, finally.

"I'm not being weird," Sae protested, rolling onto his side to face Yuuta, that Cheshire cat grin still shining through the dark. "I'm perfectly normal."

"And I'm the fucking queen of Sheba," Yuuta said.

"Your Majesty. I had no idea," Sae said, going solemn.

Yuuta just snorted. "Jerk," he muttered, and hello. Sae was getting close, fast.

"Whatever Your Majesty says," Sae agreed, and his free hand was curving over Yuuta's jaw, the pads of his fingers rough over Yuuta's skin in ways Yuuta would never have expected to make him shiver like that.

Yuuta swallowed, hard, and was sure Sae could feel his pulse hammering away. "In that case... Sae?"

"Yeah?" Sae was close enough that Yuuta could feel his breath ghosting over his face, and his fingers where sliding down Yuuta's throat.

"Shut the fuck up and kiss me already," Yuuta growled, and leaned forward to close the last little gap between them.

It was rough, and clumsy, and there was a certain amount of teeth clicking together and noses bumping while they sorted the logistics out, but that didn't stop it from being a good kiss, since enthusiasm was going a long way towards making up forawkwardness.

Yuuta pulled back just a fraction, and blinked at Sae. "Wow," he managed.

Sae sounded as dazed as he felt. "Yeah."

Yuuta leaned back in, ready to try again, this time with improvements, when, with a soft whir and then a whoosh, the sprinklers went on.

"...the hell?" Yuuta demanded, when water sluiced down over them. He sat bolt upright. "Sae?"

"Oops." Sae sat up, too, and he was laughing. "Forgot about that."

Yuuta growled, and swatted at him, and another spray of water washed over them, cold in the night air. "Sure you did."

"Honest, I forgot!" Sae climbed to his feet, and Yuuta hauled himself after. "I got distracted."

"Yeah?" Yuuta said, voice quiet under the sounds the sprinklers were making, and since he was already soaked through, the sprinkles didn't really matter, much. He reached out, hand closing on Sae's shirt, and dragged him close for another kiss. Sae came to him easily, arms coming up to sweep Yuuta against his chest, and they were both grinning when they broke apart again for breath, while the sprinklers showered them again. "If I die of pneumonia, I am never going to forgive you."

Sae just laughed at him, and caught his mouth for another kiss.