Author's Note: This was my final Fic for a Pic entry for the LiveJournal golden-pair community's second annual contest. This was the trickiest for me to write, too, for some reason…inspiration just didn't want to hit. But once I finally started writing, everything just came out, and actually, I'm very, very pleased with how it turned out. Plus, if I could write something I like for a challenge where I was totally, 100 stuck, I can write pretty much anything I put my mind to. So the additional good news is, for those of you reading The Other Half…I figured out what I was stuck on, and I'm working on finishing the second half of the final chapter, FINALLY, right now. Hooray for beating writer's block! In the meantime, enjoy your reflective fluff!
There's probably a reason why teenagers crack jokes and wink knowingly when someone mentions a sleepover. When they're little, they just think of them as fun parties with their friends, but as children grow up, the very word becomes a hotbed of innuendo and images of teenage girls in tiny underwear in suggestive pillow fights and other implications if a girl or a boy has to stay over at their house for even the most perfectly innocent reason.
There's a reason for this, and it's simple: if two people are really in love, they aren't just lovers. They're best friends, perfect compliments, just a more adult extension of those friends from childhood that no one can do without. Every night is a sleepover, in both the childhood sense and the euphemism way. And if it's true love, they could have either one and the affection would still be there.
Kicking against Oishi as he wraps an arm around me in a headlock and pulls me back against his chest, all of these thoughts run through my mind. My parents think it's just an innocent sleepover. Fuji gave me that knowing smile when I told him Oishi was coming over tonight that said he knew better. And even though my parents are closer to being right at this particular moment, that only proves that I really do love him.
"Let go!" My sides hurt from laughing and it's hard to get enough breath to speak. "Come on, Oishi, let me go!"
Oishi just smiles and loosens his grip so I can breathe better, though I still can't get out. "Nope."
I'm still laughing, but I play along and try my best to fight back. I fling my arms out and up behind me, hitting him as best I can without being able to really see him. I land a couple of light blows before Oishi grabs one hand and forces it down to the ground with his own, snickering smugly. "You jerk," I gasp breathlessly, shivering at the shock that runs down my back and through my stomach at the feel of his hand over mine. "No fair!"
Oishi shifts to avoid my free hand before it connects with the side of his head, wincing, and I almost fall into his lap. His knee and the way my arm is held down keep me at least semi-upright. Unfortunately. The good news is, I can see his face now, and stick up my tongue playfully. "I can do this all day," I pant, sides aching, cheeks sore from smiling so hard.
"So can I," he replies with a wink. "You're doing all the work."
"You'll wear yourself out," Oishi whispers as he leans over a little bit more so I can see him without craning my neck quite so much. His breath is warm and familiar against my face, and not just because he borrowed my toothpaste tonight. Someone else might think it would be hard to keep from lunging up to him, to hold back from kissing him and capturing his breath for my own, but they probably haven't really been in love. I can wait. Oishi isn't just my boyfriend. He's my friend, my best friend, my partner, and everything else I can't do without.
I shift so that I can rest with the small of my back against his thigh and notice something that makes me smile even more than before. "Maybe you're right," I admit slowly, relaxing my arms in defeat. "You're being so mean, nya. This isn't a fair fight at all."
I can feel Oishi's hand let up a bit where it holds mine down, the pressure lifting just enough. But I don't move yet. "Nothing I can do about it, either."
"I know you," Oishi points out with as smug a look as he can managed. "I can read you like a book."
"Mmm," I agree, and pull my hand free to slip it beneath his open blue pajama top lighting fast, running my fingers up and down his side lightly. Oishi lets out a cry of surprise and releases me, crumpling into a ball on the floor and laughing uncontrollably as I turn over and tickle him mercilessly with both hands, taking full advantage of the fact that my struggles pulled the buttons free of their holes on his shirt and left him fully exposed to my attacks. His arms fly about and push at me weakly, but he's laughing too hard, trying to protect too many vulnerable spots, and it's completely ineffective. I swing my legs over his to keep them pinned, and his hips buck as he tries to kick in reflex and fails, his laughter spiraling up until his voice cracks and he gasps for breath even more than I did earlier.
"Guess there was something I could do," I snicker, and tickle him harder.
Oishi's sides are heaving and he can't stop squirming beneath me. "Stop it," he begs between gasps. "I can't breathe!"
I grin, unable to resist, and drag my fingernails down his side one more time before letting up. He can't move for a moment. It's still too hard for him to breathe evenly, worn out like that. I just sit there on his thighs and grin broadly, trying not too laugh too hard at it all.
At last, Oishi manages to prop himself up on his elbow to glare at me almost face to face. "Now that wasn't fair."
I make my eyes as wide and innocent as I can. "What do you mean, nya?"
Oishi closes his eyes and shakes his head, but his words are affectionate anyway. "You drive me crazy sometimes."
That's just too much for some reason. I suddenly can't help but laugh, and roll to the side to lie beside him, one hand pinching the edge of his sleeve to keep me steady. And somewhere in there, I start thinking about how if this were a scene in an anime or manga or something, it would be so easy to mistake it for something totally different, something much more questionable, and that makes me laugh even harder.
Then what happens next? That's easy. Nothing. Well, not nothing, but not what the rest of the team will think or what everyone who knows about us will assume tomorrow when we come to school together, both looking exhausted but happy after a night together. We talk, we wrestle, we tease each other, we complain about tricky classes in school, we worry about whether we'll be too tired to play well during tennis practice tomorrow and if Tezuka will make us run extra laps, and we don't bother to sleep even then until we can't keep our eyes open any longer. At some point we actually make our way to the futons Mom pulled out for us, and though we push them together so we can stay just as close as we were on the floor, we still lie on our own pads beneath our own blankets and chatter at each other in low voices across the small space between us in the dark, in the quiet, hands lying next to each other and not quite touching, feeling not the distance, but the closeness.
We don't need to do anything more. That's the best thing about truly loving someone. And there's no one else in the world I love the same way I love Oishi.