A/N: One-shot. Written for Lena who wanted some Shuuei/Kouyuu.
Disclaimer: Sai Yukino and Kairi Yura own the plot and the characters. I'm just borrowing it for non-profit means and entertainment of other Saiunkoku Monogatari fans. No copyright infringement intended.
A Winter Night Story
It was the day of the Demon's Banquet. Or rather – the night after it. The streets were empty, the air was crisp, and clouds were starting to cover the starlit sky. On that night Ran Shueei discovered that getting a drunken Kouyuu home was a rather interesting adventure, if one dared to call it that.
Though slowly becoming more and more sober in the cold winter air, Kouyuu still needed a shoulder to lean on and someone to guide him. Shuuei took up this duty half-willingly, with amusement thinking that he would have one more thing to tease his friend about. The thing that had most surprised him was the improved Kouyuu's sense of direction. It seemed that the more he drank, the more intoxicated he became, the better he knew his way around the city. Even now when the most of the intoxication was wearing off, Kouyuu was taking all the right turns without Shuuei having to guide him.
In the middle of the next street Kouyuu came to an abrupt halt, forcing Shuuei to stop as well.
Shuuei frowned, turning to face his friend. "Is something wrong?"
Kouyuu was staring at the ground. He muttered something inaudible and did not look up even when Shuuei took ahold of his shoulders and shook him.
Even more muttering.
The response Shuuei got was something he had not expected. Kouyuu suddenly moved forwad and showed him down onto the ground, getting down himself and clambering on top of him none too graciously. Before Shuuei could say a word or make a sound, Kouyuu was all over him, holding his shoulders down with drunken strength and kissing him sloppily. When Kouyuu, forgotten to breathe, pulled away panting and leaned his forehead on Shuuei's shoulder, Shuuei smirked in amusement. Had he known that sake left this kind of impact on his friend, he could have tried getting him drunk sooner.
"I feel the same way, Kouyuu, but must we do it in public?" He tried to joke, but seeing that strange expression on his friend's face when he finally looked up again, took away his wish to laugh.
Kouyuu did something uncharacteristic. He snorted.
"Let them see."
"What?" Shuuei frowned. Saying that, Kouyuu had sounded almost sober.
"Let them see!" Kouyuu repeated, now louder. "Let everyone see!"
"Kouyuu! What has gotten into you?" Shuuei tried to grab ahold of his friend's shoulders; he wanted to shake him back to his senses, but sake had given Kouyuu strength and Shuuei found himself being wrestled back down.
"If he sees, he won't force me to marry--" Abruptly, as if terrified by the things he had said, Kouyuu fell silent and hoping to erase the impact of his words, started kissing Shuuei again. His hands pulled at Shuuei's robes; his movements – though sloppy and clumsy – were feverish and the fabric tore a little, but did not give way. Kouyuu cursed into the kiss, biting Shuuei's lip on accident.
Shuuei lay perfectly still. For once, he did not know what to do or how to react. The things his friend was saying and doing were so unlike him that anyone witnessing it would be stunned into silence. He, being Kouyuu's best friend, had never known this side of him, had never even suspected that he would be capable of doing exactly the things he was doing now.
Not to mention Shuuei's pride which had suffered quite a bit once he learned that Kouyuu was only trying to use him as a cure for an unwanted marriage. He decided that, if this became known, it would ruin his perfect reputation: instead of using someone pretty-faced, he, Ran Shuuei, was being used.
But it was a late hour, the winter night was dark, and the streets were empty. There even were no drunken soldiers stumbling around the streets on their way home after the Demon's Banquet. There was no one to see them. The ego of Ran Shuuei would not get harmed more than it had already suffered.
Feeling Shuuei's unresponsiveness, Kouyuu soon gave up. He showed at Shuuei's shoulders in annoyance and got off of him, slowly rising to his feet. He avoided looking at his friend, and looked over himself instead, busying himself with straightening his robe. Shuuei stood up just as slowly, but did not bother with getting his robes back in order. He only looked at his friend's back, wondering what to make of this situation.
Kouyuu muttered something inaudible and started walking away. Shuuei sighed.
Kouyuu paused, but did not look back.
"That is the wrong way."
Kouyuu jerked his shoulders up, lowered his head and muttered silent curses. Cheeks flushed and eyes downcast, he turned around and strode past Shuuei as quickly as he could.
Shuuei made no move for the longest time. He just stood watching Kouyuu's retreating back, pondering, as he disappeared around the right corner, if they would still be friends after the intoxication wore off and a new day dawned. Idly, he wondered when he would get an explanation, if any at all all, until he decided that it did not matter and maybe he did not even want to know.
Slowly, snow started falling.
Shuuei looked up at the dark winter sky, sighed and turned on his heel. Swiftly, he made his way towards the Red Lights district.
Tonight he needed a woman.