Old from LJ. I'm very proud of this, for some reason. It was a challenge to make it work because Atobe/Kabaji isn't a pairing I follow (this was a request).

Disclaimer: I don't own PoT!


It was the morning after the graduation party – still early enough that the great house was quiet. Keigo was pacing back and forth across the plush carpet, bathrobe swinging gently against his legs.

He was sitting silently, as always, watching. He probably should have said something. Keigo did so hate wearing lines in the carpet.

"Kabaji!" Then more softly, "Munehiro."

"Usu."

The smaller man paused. He surveyed the room irritatedly. Picking up an expensive tie from where he'd carelessly tossed it earlier, he sighed.

"It isn't going to be forever." The tone was consoling, though he knew Keigo wasn't talking to him. The Atobe heir's blue eyes were focused mercilessly on his hands, where the soft gray material was winding in and out of his fingers.

In and out. In and out.

"Usu."

"Can't you even say anything?" snapped the boy in an uncharacteristic show of temper. The tie found its way to the bed again. He straightened it by reflex while Keigo stared at him.

"Sorry." He had to work to speak. It was so much easier to just say 'yes.' In that time, in that place, it was so much easier. "Sorry. I know."

They had been together since he was three and Keigo was an imperious four-year-old king of the playground. That was when they had still been living in England. Since then, when Keigo moved, he and his family came, too.

This time he wasn't coming, too.

"Oxford isn't so far away." Keigo was speaking to his hands again, and it made him seem younger. He came over to the bed and sat down beside him. Keigo took off the bathrobe and he could see the small rose tattooed on his lower back. He'd been there when Keigo got it and had been sworn to secrecy.

It was one of many secrets that he kept. Like Keigo's homosexuality, and the money he'd been saving in case anyone else found out about it.

Like Keigo's paralyzing fear of flying.

Like his nightmares.

Like his dreams.

He never asked for anything. Even so, Keigo always attended to his unspoken desires, whether outsiders realized or not.

He had not asked for this.

The Atobe heir was talking again, mostly useless chatter about England and how Kabaji could join him after the bodyguard training his (Atobe's) parents wanted for him, but suddenly, Keigo was looking at him seriously, eyes tired but bright in his shadowed face.

"Munehiro, what am I going to do without you?" The hidden catch in his voice was confusing, and Keigo's hands on his shoulders, at first desperately gripping as if to anchor his wild thoughts, now smoothed to a caress. The blanket depressed as Keigo moved closer, and he was too close and now his hands were reaching-

Hands closed about the small wrists – yes, Keigo had delicate wrists and fingers, so not too tightly – and stopped them. Keigo looked at him surprised with wide eyes.

"I'm sorry, Atobe. You don't want this." He expected resistance, some sort of outburst that ordered him not to order him around. Instead, there was bitter laughter and Keigo withdrew quickly.

"Yes, I do, but there's no arguing with you, is there." And he was brisk again, stripping off his pajamas ruthlessly and pulling on the expensive mask again.

---

Keigo hugged him at the airport, when his retinue was otherwise occupied with baggage. He smelled soft, like orange cologne and honey and the brandy he drank to quell the fear.

Despite the empty speech that his mother had given him, Keigo's arms around him still felt like goodbye. He was never going to see Keigo again.

Moisturized lips brushed his ear and he heard the words "Here's another secret for you to keep, ahn~. Forget this morning."

The only problem was that he wasn't sure anymore if he wanted to.

Then the plane was leaving, and he was waving away his best friend with nothing but the empty solace of a secret.


Review, please? o_o