Disclaimer: These characters definitely do not belong to me; I'm only borrowing them from Shungiku Nakamura for my own amusement (and hopefully that of others). I'm not making any money out of this and no copyright infringement is intended.

Author's Note: Small ficlet written as a birthday present for Eldrum, who gave me the idea/prompt.


Whenever Nowaki used earphones to listen to music Hiroki went jittery, and today he'd been using them all morning, idling on the sofa with a small, content smile on his face.

Come off it, Hiroki said to himself. It's one of his rare days off – let him do what he likes. We had great sex this morning; he's not ignoring me.

But somehow that wasn't enough. Seeing Nowaki cut off from him like that was like something crawling under his skin, an itch that didn't go away. He kept wanting to pull the earphones off Nowaki and say "hello, I'm right here, look at me!"

It was stupid and childish and he tried to occupy himself with other things, like cleaning the bathroom and going to the bookstore, but when the bathroom was spotless and he had bought a whole bag of books the itch was still there.

Nowaki was in the kitchen washing up, still wearing the earphones, nodding rhytmically in time to the music, looking pleased and absent-minded. Hiroki decided to make coffee and placed a hand lightly on Nowaki's shoulder when he passed him. When he leaned across to fill the kettle, their arms touched. Nowaki looked at him, gave him a smile and began to hum, lost to the world again.

Hiroki sighed and let his eyes wander down past Nowaki's shoulders, down his back... and he shouldn't have. The jeans Nowaki was wearing today were an exceptional fit and Hiroki found himself ogling a perfect arse, clearly designed to tempt him. Not good. Definitely not good to be this needy. Ignoring the heat in his lower belly, he coughed loudly and busied himself measuring coffee, but couldn't resist placing his hands on Nowaki's hips briefly as he left the kitchen.

Hiroki plopped down on the couch, frowning. What was the matter with him? Slinking around like a tomcat in March, casting yearning looks. Well, at least he didn't meowl. But if this went on… He tried to focus on his book but all he could think of was Nowaki's broad shoulders and slim waist in that fitted dark sweater, sleeves shoved up to the elbow to stop them getting wet, showing off wiry forearms and strong hands.

The kettle was boiling and Hiroki threw the book on the table, reaching up to brush some invisible lint off Nowaki's shoulder as he went past him again. The back of Nowaki's neck looked eminently kissable, still with a hint of a tan even in November...

What the hell's wrong with me? Can't I leave him alone for two seconds?

The answer was clearly no. Soft, grey light from the window fell over Nowaki's profile, casting a small shadow under the chin and an even tinier one below the lower lip, making Hiroki draw a breath. He wanted to reach up and catch that lip between his teeth, push up the hem of the sweater just enough for his fingertips to touch bare skin, pressing himself into Nowaki's warmth...

Nowaki emptied the sink, removed the earphones and met Hiroki's eyes.

"Hiro-san. You know that if you want something, you only have to say so?"

He had the same extremely patient voice he used with the kids at the hospital. It irritated the hell out of Hiroki.

"Huh, what? I don't – "

Even more annoyingly, he knew he was blushing, and tried to divert Nowaki's attention from the fact by glaring at him. Nowaki sighed and demonstratively let his gaze slide down to somewhere below Hiroki's navel.


"I have no idea what you're insinuating." Hiroki tried to push past Nowaki but a large, warm and wet hand caught his wrist.

"Hiro-san, look at me."

How long could you blush furiously without passing out or something? Hiroki's face was burning when he lifted his eyes to Nowaki's. They were blue and soft and... sad?

"Just once," Nowaki said quietly, "it would be wonderful if you said something. Or did something. And not just waited for me to initiate it."

"What – "

"I love you, you know that, but I can't do all the work. I don't mind doing most of it, but once in a while..."

Without finishing the sentence, he let go of Hiroki's wrist and left. When Hiroki poured hot water over the coffee in the French press, his hand shook. This was exactly what he was so afraid of all the time – that Nowaki would decide he'd had enough and leave. That he'd get tired of the whole thing. Tired of me. But I can't change my personality!

When he took the coffee to the living-room, Nowaki was on the sofa with eyes closed and legs stretched out in front of him, earphones back in place. Hiroki watched him for two long seconds before dropping to his knees in front of him, placing his hands on the jeans-clad thighs. Nowaki's eyes opened in surprise and Hiroki looked up at him, just looked without knowing what to say. His fingertips slid in under the sweater and t-shirt, meeting warm, powder-smooth skin as he reached up to touch Nowaki's mouth with his own, a quick kiss as he wasn't sure it was welcome. But Nowaki smiled under it and Hiroki pulled back so their eyes could meet, very close.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm just so... I don't know. It's stupid but I'm scared all the time."

No, this was unbearably embarrassing. He snatched up a cushion and buried his face in it, but it was pulled away immediately.

"Scared of what, Hiro-san? Me?"

"No," Hiroki muttered, "not you. Myself, I think. Or... this."

He took Nowaki's hand and pressed the fingertips to the pulse point at the base of his throat, feeling his blood rush loudly, hammering through his veins.

"Hiro-san." There was a smile in Nowaki's voice. "Would you like my professional opinion? Your heart rate is perfectly normal... under the circumstances." He leaned forward, a hand cupping the back of Hiroki's head. "The diagnosis is quite simple," he mumbled against Hiroki's mouth. "You're in love. It's a common condition, not usually fatal."

"Idiot," Hiroki muttered, and Nowaki kissed him again. He really needed to remind himself sometimes, he thought vaguely, that it wasn't necessary to think all the time. Sometimes it was enough just to feel.