Title- Don't Stand So Close To Me
Disclaimer- I do not own the characters of Gravitation but will continue to keep them tied up in my basement until they agree to make a few videos for me.
Warnings- Language, violence, alcohol use, and Tatsuha's attempted sexual exploits.
"Come on, aniki, hear me out."
"But don't you feel even the least bit obligated to help out your poor, adorable little baby brother in his hour of need?"
"No, not in the slightest. Now go!"
"How can you be so heartless? It's just for the weekend. I can't go back to Kyoto!" the pitiful youth wailed.
"Then why don't you stay at Mika's?" Eiri had listened to about all that he could stand of his brother's whining. He was already irritable due to his publisher hounding him to begin work on his next novel, even though it seemed like he had barely finished the last one. On top of that, Shuichi had been gone for the past three days and his brother-in-law had been using his lover's absence as an excuse to constantly harass him, so Eiri had every right to be in a foul mood.
The last thing the novelist needed was one more source of stress, so when Tatsuha surprised him by showing up out of the blue and asked to stay a few days, something snapped inside him. After all, Eiri hated surprises, and something had to give.
Without waiting for an answer, Eiri seized the boy and steered him toward the exit. It had been a long time since he had to resort to getting physical with him, but as Tatsuha was unwilling to vacate the premises voluntarily, Eiri was not above forcibly removing him.
"Oww, oww, oww!" Despite being violently shoved halfway out of the door, Tatsuha miraculously managed to wedge his foot between the door and the frame. "Ouch! I can't stay with sis. You know Seguchi freaks me out."
"Can't say that I blame you for that," Eiri shouted as he tried to push the teen the rest of the way out into the hallway, "but I don't give a shit!"
Damn, the kid was tenacious.
"Please, aniki, Mika can't find out about it either."
That was it. That was all it took for Tatsuha to change the tide of the battle. With that trivial confession, he had won.
He had piqued Eiri's curiosity.
Instantly, the door gave way and the normally poised teenager tumbled through the entryway and fell in a heap in front of his brother.
"What did you do this time?"
"Nothing much," the boy said as he pulled himself off the floor and tried to salvage what was left of his dignity. "I just need a place to stay 'til it all blows over."
"Again. What? Did? You? Do?" the blond repeated.
"You gonna let me stay?"
"Depends…" the writer drawled out slowly as he finally took in the boy's appearance. Disheveled and torn clothing covered in dirt and grass stains hung loosely off the kid's frame and his hair stuck up in unruly spikes reminiscent of a shonen anime hero. On top of it all, he sported an impressive-looking black eye. In short, Tatsuha looked like he'd been dragged through hell and back, and to top it all off, the image-conscious teen was still in his school uniform.
Something big must have happened for him to flee Kyoto like that.
Eiri was more than slightly intrigued, and while he could have speculated all day as to what had happened, it would be much easier to get Tatsuha to 'fess up.
"Spill it, Tatsuha. If you can manage to keep me amused, it might be worth putting up with your shit."
"You're too kind."
"What can I say? I must be getting soft."
"Pfft, that'll be the day," snorted Tatsuha as he toed off his shoes and then made his way to the living room to have a seat. Eiri followed close behind him and sat down on the opposite end of the couch.
"So, what happened? Did you get into a fight at school?"
"Nah. I wish it were that simple."
"Oh? Were you gangbanged in gym or something?"
"Get caught do-"
"ANIKI!" shouted the boy. "Do you actually want me to tell you, or would you rather we keep playing twenty questions?"
"Of course not, so why don't you begin already?"
"Arrgh… I'm thirsty, mind if I get a drink?"
"Help yourself. Get me one while you're at it."
The kid fled into the kitchen but soon returned holding two unopened cans of beer. Tatsuha made his way to sit down, but as he passed his brother, Eiri stood up and snatched both cans from his grasp.
"What the hell? One of those was mine!" fumed the teenager.
"I don't think so. You are underage after all," Eiri smirked as he sat back down. "Thanks for the drinks."
"Oh, puh-leeze, it's not like you haven't ever seen me drink before, or even supplied me with it."
"Maybe, but I'd feel a little bit guilty watching you drink in your high school uniform."
"It never bothered you before. That's just your excuse for being an ass."
"Fair enough, but what are you going to do about it? You can't exactly blame me without incriminating yourself," replied the elder brother as he popped the top on the first can and took a long sip.
"Fine! But you don't have to be a jerk about it," retorted a defeated Tatsuha as he slumped back down into his seat.
"But then how would I have any fun?"
"Hey!" Tatsuha suddenly exclaimed as he glanced around the room. "Where's Shuichi hiding out at?"
"Okinawa? What the hell did you do to him to make him run off that far?"
"Nothing!" the blond growled defensively. "That bastard Tohma sent him off to shoot some damn music video or something like that. He'll be back in a couple of days."
"Oh," Tatsuha smirked triumphantly. "So that's what has you acting so moody. You a little backed up, aniki?"
"Shut up," Eiri growled and hurled a throw pillow as hard as he could at his little brother's smug expression. Unfortunately, the boy ducked just in the nick of time and the missile sailed harmlessly over his head. Of course, that only served to increase Eiri's anger and he shouted out in frustration, "Are you gonna tell your story or what?!"
"Alright, alright, don't get your panties in a wad."
Usually Tatsuha loved making Eiri lose his cool, and he normally would have jumped at the opportunity to tease his big brother, but decided it better for now not to jeopardize his chance for refuge.
"Anyway," he began, "I was at school--"
"Obviously," Eiri interrupted.
"Hey! Hold your snide, smartass remarks 'til the end," protested the youth before he continued. "As I was saying, at school today, I found out I was failing English."
"Well, that's not exactly the surprise of the century, but somehow you still fail to explain the shiner," Eiri commented, pointing out the dark, painful-looking bruise adorning the boy's face.
"Keep your shirt on, I'm getting to that. Okay, so you see, after class I went to talk to the teacher, to see if I could weasel out of it somehow, but it didn't exactly turn out as planned. Still, if you ask me, I'd say Nakamura totally overreacted. It's not that big a deal and besides--"
"Wait a minute-- are you saying your teacher slugged you?"
"Over a bad grade? That seems a bit harsh."
"Well, it wasn't really about the grade. You see, I kinda…"
"I sorta ended up making a move on my teacher, alright?!" Tatsuha exclaimed and promptly turned the brightest shade of red Eiri had ever seen on the boy.
Unable at first to comprehend it, Eiri could only manage to blink and stare dumbfounded as he took in the information.
"So…" he was finally able to articulate. "You tried to seduce your English teacher?"
"Well, yeah," Tatsuha responded with a feral, lecherous grin. "Why not? It worked for my math teacher."
"I don't believe it. You're so full of shit."
"It's the truth!" Tatsuha argued. "If I were making this up, do you think I'd tell you I got shot down like that? Hmn?"
"No. If I were to lie to you I'd say I got hit by a jealous lover, or maybe a student rival, or something like that… Hey, is it too late to change my story? Any of those scenarios sound way cooler."
"Yes, it is, and don't try to flatter yourself. Those ideas are terrible."
"You would know."
"That's right. I do make this shit up for living, y'know."
"Aww, come on, I bet my plot ideas are at least twice as good as anything you've written lately."
"Probably, but I haven't been able to write shit for a week now."
"Writer's block, huh?"
"Maybe you should let me ghostwrite for you."
"Only if I want to flush my reputation down the toilet. Why don't you just finish telling your own story instead of worrying about mine?"
"I take it you believe me now?"
"Yeah, you're obviously too stupid to come up with a convincing lie, but I gotta say I'm a little surprised. It looks like your teacher has a mean right hook."
"And a damn good throwing arm. I barely dodged the textbook aimed for my head! I think that was a bit much. After all, all I did was kiss. I didn't even get to cop a feel. I think I should have been the one who was upset, but I was lucky to make it out of there in one piece. It's so unfair!"
"Another delightful run-in as usual, Tatsuha." Eiri couldn't help his amusement over the poor kid's predicament, but he also felt a small amount of sympathy, so he tried to keep his snickering to a minimum as he got up and strode into the kitchen.
So far it had been worth letting Tatsuha stay for awhile.
"It's not that funny!" shouted the boy indignantly as he shadowed his older brother into the next room. "I'm in some really deep shit, aniki."
"Well, duh. What do you expect when you make an ass of yourself?" Eiri casually stated as he put some ice into a small plastic bag and wrapped a dishtowel around it.
"Ice, you retard."
"I know that. What's it for?"
"This," Eiri replied, and then elaborated by placing the pack over Tatsuha's bruised visage.
"Ouch!" The teen hissed and groaned at the sudden contact.
"Hold that. It will help the swelling go down."
"Thanks," huffed Tatsuha, accepting what, coming from Eiri, was a rare gesture of kindness.
"So then what happened?"
"After you ran away like a little girl, or is that all there is? Interesting, but it hardly merits a weekend stay."
"There's more." Tatsuha walked back to the couch and sat down clutching the ice over his tender and swollen eye. Eiri followed close behind him, sprawled out on the other end of the couch, and waited.
"So after the books and furniture started flying, I pretty much got the hell outta there as fast as I could. Unfortunately, I missed my ride in order to talk to Nakamura to begin with, which means that I had to run all the way home, so I ended up getting there late. I didn't want to risk running into the old man which is why, instead of strolling through the front gate of my own house, I wound up hopping the fence as though I were trying avoid an angry father yelling at me for 'defiling his precious daughter.'"
"Have much experience with that, hm?"
"Plenty. Unfortunately, I keep getting caught."
"You wouldn't if you'd use a little discretion."
"Like I haven't heard that argument a million times before." Tatsuha rolled his eyes. "Do you want me to go on or what?"
"I think I can guess what happened next."
"Oh?" Tatsuha asked, quirking a dubious eyebrow at Mr. Know-it-All.
"Yeah, you overshot the fence and ended up crashing into the sakura tree."
"How'd you guess?"
"You still have the blossoms in your hair. It's rather cute, actually," teased the older man.
"Ah, fuck!" the boy exclaimed and stood up to try to brush the remaining petals off.
"Hey! Don't get that shit all over the place!" Eiri roared. "You better clean that up before you go, which will be pretty damn quick if you don't watch it."
"Fine, I'll take care of it when I'm finished. Okay?"
"You damn well better."
"I will. So after I fell out of the damn tree, dad's favorite by the way, I ripped up my jacket and nearly blew my cover shouting obscenities into the wind."
"The old man didn't hear you?"
"Nope, luckily, I think he's going deaf."
"Yes, lucky you."
"First bit of luck I had all day, and it didn't get any better than that."
"Nada. After that, I tried to get a change of clothes but nearly ran into someone. I had no idea the old bastard had company over. I managed not to get spotted but didn't dare go into the main house after that. I had to sneak around in the garden to get to my bike on the other side of the house."
"You rode your motorcycle? Why didn't you just take the train?"
"Do you have any idea the kind of weirdos you run into on that thing? No thanks."
"Good point. Continue."
"I wheeled my bike out to the main road before starting it so no one would hear me, but I'm not sure if it worked or not. I thought I heard yelling as I tore outta there, but I sure as hell wasn't gonna turn back to find out."
"I'm amazed you got here so early. That ride usually takes forever."
"Only for you, slowpoke."
Eiri chuckled mildly at the youth. Both brothers drove at a speed that showed reckless disregard for the safety of themselves and others. The only difference, near as Eiri could tell, was the reason: while he couldn't stand going slow, Tatsuha genuinely loved going fast.
Both of them were madly competitive about it.
"So, did you beat my record?" Eiri asked.
"I would have, if it hadn't been for that damn traffic cop."
"You got pulled over?"
"Yeah, but apparently I haven't completely lost my charm 'cause I was able to flirt my way out of a ticket."
"Damn, you've got a pair on you."
"That's right, and don't you forget it. Oh, and by the way, Officer Madarame - no, Watanabe? …Well Officer Something-Or-Another is a big fan of yours and gave me a number if you ever wanna call."
"Damnit, you weren't impersonating me again, were you?"
"What would make you think that?" asked Tatsuha, trying his best, and failing miserably, at feigning innocence.
"I better not find myself in the tabloids over this or you're dead meat, got that?"
"So is that the end of this tragically pathetic little tale?"
"Pretty much. After that, I arrived in Tokyo without mishap and came to beg at the feet of the greatest, kindest, most generous--"
"If you're referring to me, you ought to have your head examined."
"Okay, truth be told, I ran out of alternatives."
"Couldn't stay at a girlfriend's place?"
"No, they all found out about each other."
"Well, this is all very fascinating, but what makes you think you can hide out here? You're still going to get it when you get home."
"I know that, but if I can come up with an excuse for the black eye at least dad won't find out about Nakamura."
"You don't think the teacher will report you?"
"To avoid being the laughingstock of the whole school."
"For being hit on by a student?"
"For being hit on by one of his male students, yeah."
"You tried to seduce one of your male teachers?"
Eiri snorted, then burst into a fit of hysterical laughter. Horrified, Tatsuha tried to back away from the unusual display. He couldn't remember the last time he had heard his brother laugh so hard, or at all.
"It's not that funny!" the boy yelled in panic. "What am I gonna do, aniki?"
Eiri straightened up and held his sides. It had been a long time since he'd laughed like that and he positively ached from it.
"If I were you…" Eiri began.
"I'd pull out the prayer beads and get cracking. You might be a poor excuse for a monk, and, let's face it, corrupt as all hell, but it might be your only chance."
"Thanks, but I was hoping your advice might be a little more helpful."
"How? Face it, you screwed up. Big time. I can't think of a single thing that will get you out of this mess."
Eiri paused for a moment.
"Hmm… I guess you could try apologizing your ass off when you get back to school on Monday. Tell your teacher it was all a poorly thought-out joke. Then, if you're lucky, and if you work really hard in that class from now on, maybe he won't make your life a living hell for the rest of the school year."
"Y'know, you don't sound very convincing when you say 'if' and 'maybe.'"
"You have any better ideas?"
"Not at all," the kid admitted, "but was all that trouble at least worth a few days sanctuary?"
"I suppose so, but don't interrupt my work."
"What work?" scoffed the teen.
"Believe it or not, my books don't write themselves."
"I should hope not. I doubt they could even stand to read themselves."
"You're treading on thin ice, Tatsuha."
"Alright, shutting up."
"'Bout time," said the author. "So what did you tell the old goat about staying here?"
"Nothing. I haven't talked to him yet."
"No. I purposely avoided him, remember?"
"But you could have called him."
"How? I don't have a phone."
"And you couldn't find one anywhere between Kyoto and here?"
"I didn't think about it," Tatsuha grumbled defensively. "I don't see what the big deal is. Why do you care?"
"Because," explained Eiri, "every time you disappear, the bastard uses it as an excuse to have Mika harass me."
Right on cue, the front door to the apartment slammed open and a shrill and angry female voice filled the room.
"WHERE THE HELL IS HE?!" shouted Mika Seguchi as she stormed into the room. "I can't believe that little shit skipped out on temple duties! Again! When I get my hands on him, I'll knock his lights out!"
"You're a little late for that, sis," Eiri commented wryly.
Tatsuha, meanwhile, looked up meekly from his seat and tried to sink further into the cushions.
"Tatsuha!" Mika gasped when she caught sight of the boy. Anger forgotten, she rushed over to her youngest sibling, paying absolutely no heed to the damage of her sharp high-heeled stilettos on the hardwood floor, took the icepack from the boy, and scrutinized him.
"What happened?" she demanded.
"I decked him," Eiri announced nonchalantly and got up to stand beside his sister.
"What?!" she exclaimed, shocked by her brother's declaration.
"Do you think you're the only one who gets tired of his shit, Mika? Can you honestly say he didn't have it coming?"
"Maybe he did deserve it, but you still shouldn't have hit him. My god, Eiri, it's hard to believe you're the oldest son of a Buddhist priest."
"This coming from someone who just kicked my door in and threatened to beat him up herself?"
"Well, yeah, but I--"
"But nothing. Besides, I gave all that up when I moved out, remember?"
"Still, he's your little brother, Eiri. How could you hit him?"
"Someone had to. Maybe if the old man did a better job of disciplining him, he wouldn't keep running off to--"
"And maybe he wouldn't feel so compelled to get into trouble if the brother he idolizes set a better example to begin with!"
"Um, excuse me," interrupted Tatsuha, who had grown tired of being discussed as though the feuding siblings were oblivious to his presence, "but it's not that big a deal."
"Shut up, Tatsuha," growled Eiri.
"Yeah, keep out of this," Mika continued. "It has nothing to do with you."
What? Nothing to do with him? Wasn't he the focal point of their argument?
Tatsuha thought it better to remain neutral and stood back, waiting for the debate to continue. However, the combatants had apparently run out of cannon fodder because the fight had de-escalated into little more than a staring match between Eiri and Mika.
There never was an Uesugi that wasn't stubborn as hell, but the contest was surprisingly short lived. It was even more surprising that Mika was the first to concede.
"Fine," she sighed and turned her attention back to the younger of her two brothers. "Tatsuha, father is furious. Did you forget about the funerary rite you're supposed to perform tomorrow? Dad even brought the head of the Yamamoto family home to meet you today."
"Shit! I didn't realize, I--"
"Never mind," Mika said. "Grab your things and meet me outside. I'll drive you back to Kyoto. Father is still going to be pissed, but maybe I can convince him not to murder you."
"Uh… thanks, aneki, but what about my bike?"
"If you start behaving yourself, I might have Tohma send it back home later. Oh, and Tatsuha?"
"Watch your language. You're getting to be as bad as Eiri. Hurry up. And Eiri, I'm not finished with you yet, not by a long shot."
And with those parting words, the force that was Mika departed, leaving two very relieved young men in her wake.
"What was all that about?" asked a slightly bewildered Tatsuha.
"All that. Why did you take the heat for me earlier?"
"Can't I look out for my 'poor, adorable little baby brother' every now and again?"
"No, hell hasn't frozen over yet."
"Very funny," Eiri replied, "but you should learn to count your blessings. Now you don't have to explain how you got your clock cleaned, and Mika's gonna try to keep Baldy from killing you. All in all, I'd say you're fairly lucky and you ought to show a little bit more gratitude."
"Thanks, bro," Tatsuha said sarcastically as he kneeled down to slip on his shoes. "I owe you big time."
"Don't worry about it," Eiri said as he leaned against the wall and stared down smugly at the boy. "I have every intention of making sure you pay me back as soon as you get the chance."
"Ah, shit!" Tatsuha cursed and stood up, realizing that a debt owed to Eiri was worse than a deal made with the devil.
A loud honk from the street below woke the boy from his lamentations.
"Looks like you'll have to make it later," shouted Tatsuha, scrambling out the door in a rush. "Thanks a bunch, aniki."
And with that, the boy was gone, leaving a very amused romance novelist with nothing more than a few new ideas to run by his editor and a whole mess of sakura blossoms that needed cleaning up.
aniki- older brother
aneki- older sister
Thank you everyone for the warm reception of my last fic, "Little By Little." I'm very flattered by those of you who added my story to your 'favorites' list, thanks. I'd like give an especially big thank you to youkai chick supreme, EmiFL4N, and kieta2061 for taking the time to write out such thoughtful, kind reviews. I hope this story is just as well received.
Thanks also to my terrific beta, lawless523, for helping to whip my mass of poorly assembled words into something almost resembling English. Huggles.
Thanks for reading, and be sure to click the 'review' button when you're finished; It's fun.