disclaimer: Gravitation and it's characters belong to Maki Murakami. Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet are the works of William Shakespeare (I feel silly for even typing that).
A/N: I've been working on several Yuki/Shuichi AUs in my long absence. I hope you will enjoy this one, and feedback is always appreciated.
Yuki Eiri left the Seguchi Playhouse with a frown, watching the rain drizzle onto the crowded street, which shone like black glass, reflecting the neon lights that had begun to hum to life as evening fell. He stuffed the cigarette he'd been looking forward to having on the walk home back into the pack and pocketed it, hunching his shoulders against weather, and cursing his brother-in-law for not allowing him to smoke in his theater.
Tohma had offered to drive him back, but he'd declined, knowing he'd be waiting at least an hour as the man oversaw minor details in paperwork, or even worse, made his rounds to check up on the current production. He loathed theater types, especially actors. They were phonies and suck-ups, ruthless parasites who would do anything to score just the slightest bit more attention for themselves. He was glad his end of the bargain had little to do with dealing with them.
Thunder caused a few passers-by to still, before the rain began to come in sheets and sent many of them scattering for shelter until it passed. Eiri, now soaked to the skin, grumbled to himself as he stalked into the glaring fluorescent light of the diner he was passing, on the heels of a few others. He'd been to the place before. It was walking distance and the food was cheap. It also served a function in his process on occasion, as he sat in his usual back booth and just observed people, and listened to them talk.
Most of their conversation was pretty dull, but even their mundane babbling gave him a sense for the idiosyncrasies of speech patterns, helping with the flow of dialogue. After all, he couldn't write a play full of people who just talked and thought like him. He somehow doubted that would be very entertaining. He wasn't what most would consider a sparkling example of a conversationist.
He seated himself, and waited for the young girl to nervously wait on him. She recognized him from past visits, apparently. He supposed it wasn't very surprising, considering his appearance. She didn't remark on it, just took his order and left him alone. He'd have to remember to tip her well.
He'd settled into the casual observation of a couple who had fled the rain with him, a girl who laughed a little too much, and a boy who's spiked hair was flattened in the downpour, when the door opened for a group of loud teenagers that drew his irritated glance. He saw from a few that sported dripping uniform blazers that they were from a local private boys school. Some of them wore odd, period clothing and he'd pegged them for some sort of cos-playing club, before seeing a few of the faces bore heavy make-up that had been streaked from the weather. A school play must have let out, he surmised, realizing it also explained their appearance at such a late hour.
The gaggle parted slightly and cheered for a latecomer, who lowered a bright orange umbrella.
"Hey Juliet! Where's Romeo?" a boy in leggings with a tunic asked.
The umbrella closed, and was shaken by a slight boy with hair the most garish bubblegum pink he'd ever seen. His full, painted lips pouted as he pretended to look around.
"O Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy -- Oh, there he is!" the boy said with a giggle, as a tall boy with long, dark hair entered behind him, lowering his leather jacket from where he'd been using it to shield him from the rain.
"What man art thou, that, thus bescreened in night, so stumblest on my counsel?" the pink haired boy asked, as the other boy joined them.
"Knock it off, Juliet," he replied, giving the pink haired boy a playful bop on the head with his fist. "Man, I'm glad that's over with!"
"We still have one more performance," grumbled one of the other boys as they made their way to a table, that, much to Eiri's irritation, was directly in front of his. The one who had played Juliet sat facing him, giving him a better look at long lashes over bright violet-blue eyes and a pretty, heart-shaped face. It wasn't difficult to see why he'd been chosen for the female lead in an all male environment.
"I can't believe you didn't change out of your costume," the long haired Romeo said to the boy in leggings.
"It's comfortable!" the boy said defensively.
"We should have all come in costume!" another boy suggested with a laugh, who was also still wearing his stage clothes. "You guys are no fun."
"I'm not walking around in a dress!" Juliet said loudly, causing a few other diners to look around at him curiously.
"Aw, but you looked so cute!" one boy teased.
"My dress would've have been way worse -- those fake boobs for the nurse costume weigh a ton!" said a rather heavy set boy with a sigh, as the table erupted into laughter.
Eiri watched the boys with horrified fascination as they talked about the play, made fun of each other good-naturedly, and enacted the basic over-dramatic, attention seeking behavior that Eiri thought he had escaped from at the theater. He wasn't sure what exactly it was about this obnoxious group of teens that had him so transfixed, and was more than a little surprised as he noticed that the waitress had taken his third cup of coffee away, and the storm that had initially driven him here had long passed.
By this time, the herd had thinned considerably, and the third to last boy was saying his goodbyes, leaving only Juliet and his Romeo, who's name he'd overheard as being Hiro. The pink haired boy was really named Juliet for all he could tell from being addressed by the others, he thought irritably, wondering what his real name was.
"Um -- Hiro -- I know you're kind of sick of the whole play thing, but --" Juliet began timidly, then bit his bottom lip. Eiri found himself bewitched by the manipulative little gesture, licking his own lips in turn.
"You want to rehearse a scene, don't you?" Hiro said with a sigh that conveyed this was hardly the first time such a request had been made. His eyes softened in a way that told that the request had never been denied either. "Still some part you're not sure about?"
"I think I flubbed in scene five, act one," Juliet said, looking at him expectantly. Hiro rolled his eyes, and took a deep breath.
"If I profane with my unworthiest hand this holy shrine, the gentle sin is this: My lips, two blushing pilgrims, ready stand to smooth that rough touch with a tender kiss," Hiro said, boredly. Juliet grabbed his hand, placing his palm to his.
"Good pilgrim, you do wrong your hand too much, which mannerly devotion shows in this; for saints have hands that pilgrims' hands do touch, And palm to palm is holy palmers' kiss," Juliet said, looking in his friend's eyes. Hiro squirmed slightly.
"Have not saints lips and holy palmers too?"
"Ay, pilgrims, lips that they must use in prayer," Juliet said, a bit breathlessly.
"O, then, dear saint, let lips do what hands do; They pray -- grant thou, least faith turn to despair."
"Saints do not move, though grant for prayers' sake."
Eiri grew still, watching closely.
"Then move not, while my prayer's effect I take," Hiro said, as Juliet leaned forward ever so slightly. "Um -- I'm not kissing you, silly. Thus from my lips, by yours, my sin is purged." Juliet blinked rapidly, dropping his hand, and looking away, blushing.
"Then have my lips the sin that they have took," Juliet said, his voice smaller, and his eyes accidentally meeting those of the audience he hadn't known he'd had. His blush grew deeper, as Eiri unapologetically held his gaze.
"Um -- that's good enough. Thanks, Hiro," Juliet mumbled, breaking the lingering stare and looking back at his friend. "I think I've got it now."
The spell seemingly broken, as the boys talked of other things in a forced way, trying to diffuse a moment's awkwardness, Eiri glanced down to find he had been taking notes in a distracted manner, as he sometimes did when he found his eavesdropping especially inspirational. They were mostly observations of a boy named Juliet.
"Do you still want to catch a movie tomorrow?" Hiro asked, before yawning.
"Yeah, of course," Juliet said, with a bright smile, as Hiro laid his tip on the table, and slid out of the booth.
"Are you coming?" Hiro asked, when he saw his friend wasn't following.
"I -- I think I'll just finish my soda," Juliet said, with a shrug.
"Okay then, I guess I'll see you later," Hiro said, looking concerned, but letting it go.
The boy stared out of the window forlornly, watching as Hiro walked past outside. He slowly turned his head towards Eiri, and again their eyes met.
"So," Eiri said, exhaling smoke from his cigarette. "Can you actually act, or does it just come easier when you don't have to pretend?" The boy's eyes widened, then narrowed.
"I don't know what you're talking about," he said, his voice trembling, as he quickly threw down a few bills and scrambled from his seat.
Eiri's eyes never left him, his lithe frame gracefully sliding around the table despite his panicked pace. Every move he made was so expressive, so alive. The boy had presence, not like those hacks Tohma herded in to butcher the words he'd put so much thought into. He demanded your eyes with an orbital pull. He had such an aura of sincerity, he --
Eiri shook his head. What the hell was this? He had been ogling a teenaged boy for the better part of his evening, and now that said youth was gone, the reality of the situation was finally starting to dawn on him.
What exactly was his interest, a decidedly straight man that women usually fawned upon, in some immature, sexually confused little brat like him? And a wannabe actor, of all things.
Then have my lips the sin that they have took.
Damn, that Hiro kid was an idiot.