A/N: Thank you so much for all the great reviews! I haven't submitted anything new in a while, and the encouragement was much needed. - Love, Lucy May xoxo

Eiri stood outside of the door of the small Shindou household, feeling like he were in some surreal dream as he knocked on the door. He may as well have brought flowers, he thought to himself. He'd never gone through this much trouble for a piece of ass before, Eiri thought with a frown, deciding it was well past time to turn on the charm that had always been such a success with the ladies. The kid would be putty in his hands in record time, he was sure.

"Just a minute!" he heard Shuichi chirp through the door, shortly before the boy opened it. He looked like he'd put some thought into what he was wearing, Eiri noted, looking over Shuichi's zippered sleeveless shirt and tight black slacks. This was a good sign.

"Everything's ready, if you're hungry," Shuichi said with a smile.

Something did smell good, Eiri thought as he removed his shoes just inside the door and followed the boy into the kitchen.

"We don't have any beer, but I did find this," Shuichi said, holding up a bottle of red wine he'd placed on the table with a pleased expression. "I think mom got it from my uncle for New Year's. She's probably forgotten all about it."

"I'll have some if you do," Eiri said, giving him a wink.

"S--sure," Shuichi said, coloring slightly.

Eiri sat at the table where several bowls had been laid out with rice, scallion miso soup, and pork and cabbage rolls. Shuichi poured his wine before sitting across from him, and carefully pouring his own.

"Looks good," Eiri said, giving him his best seductive smile. Shuichi beamed, watching him closely as he raised the first bite with his chopsticks.

"Delicious," Eiri confirmed. "Where did you learn to cook so well?"

"Oh, it's nothing really," Shuichi said, looking very pleased. "My mom usually makes my sister and I help out in the kitchen, so I picked up a few things."

"You look really good," Eiri said, letting his eyes wander. Shuichi dropped his roll from his chopsticks, looking up at Eiri with surprise.

"Thank you," Shuichi said. Eiri wondered if the boy was feeling lightheaded from all the blood rushing to his face.

"The wine is nice. You should try it," Eiri said, lowering his glass. It was actually cheap swill, he thought to himself, but if it gets the boy nice and relaxed it was fine by him.

"Oh, yeah," Shuichi said, tentatively raising the glass to his lips before taking a huge gulp. His eyes grew wide and watered as he swallowed, sputtering and gasping for breath.

"Sip it. Don't drink it like it's water," Eiri advised, trying not to sound irritated. Shuichi nodded, slowly taking another small sip, and wrinkling his cute upturned nose.

"That's a good boy," Eiri said soothingly, receiving a shy smile.

"It's just kind of bitter," Shuichi said with a little laugh. "I feel a little funny already."

"Is that so?" Eiri asked. Shuichi nodded.

"Feels kind of nice," Shuichi said with a goofy grin, taking another sip.

Eiri engaged him in some idle chit chat, trying to feign interest as the boy talked about his school and family. This was much easier now that Eiri knew what he wanted, he thought to himself. After this had played out, he'd come back to his senses and get the boy out of his system.

"You're different," Shuichi said, his head tilted to one side, as Eiri readily refilled his glass for him.

"Really?" Eiri asked, smiling at him.

"Yeah. You're nicer all the sudden," Shuichi said, smiling dreamily back.

"My aren't you a flatterer?" Eiri asked teasingly. "Are you finished eating?"

Shuichi nodded languorously, as Eiri stood and began clearing their bowls.

"I should be the one doing that," Shuichi observed, but made no move to help.

"When does your mother and sister get home?" Eiri asked, weighing his options. He'd love to get the boy into the bedroom and take his time, but he'd settle for the living room couch he spied through the open doorway.

"Hmm? Oh, Maiko should be another hour, I guess. Mom probably won't be back until evening. It's a long drive," Shuichi said, watching him closely as he placed everything in the sink. "We can do it in the living room. It's more comfortable in there." Eiri gave him a surprised look, almost dropping one of the bowls.

"I've been reading the play all week. I've already memorized a soliloquy," Shuichi said with a grin. Eiri nodded, realizing that his one-track mind had colored his comprehension.

Shuichi led Eiri into the living room, Eiri making sure to carry the wine and glasses with them. He didn't think Shuichi needed much more, but it wouldn't hurt to be prepared, he thought to himself, as he settled in next to him on the western styled brown chenille sofa.

"Thanks," Shuichi said as he handed him his glass, turning to face Eiri and placing his feet on the cushion between them, his legs bent at the knees.

Eiri placed a hand on his knee, squeezing it slightly, and leaning towards him.

"Y--you know, I might be a little too tipsy to read just yet," Shuichi said, as Eiri's hand snaked higher.

"Yeah, let's take a little break first," Eiri said, scooting closer, and taking the wine glass from him, placing it on the side table.

"Yeah, good idea," Shuichi murmured, as Eiri moved his hand to Shuichi's calf, pulling his leg over his lap. Eiri stifled his gasp, placing his lips to Shuichi's.

The boy made the sexiest little noises, Eiri thought, as he pressed the boy back into the chair arm, coaxing his mouth open with his tongue. He slowly ran a hand beneath the tight black shirt, stroking the soft skin of his side, when Shuichi broke away with a small titter. He busted into giggles, as Eiri froze, glaring down at him impatiently.

"Sorry -- ticklish," Shuichi managed. His hair was tossled as he looked up with glistening blue eyes, the smile fading from his swollen lips. "Maybe we should stop."

"I thought you were ready to trade up from that boy to a man who knows what he wants, Shuichi," Eiri said, his voice low with need. "You shouldn't tease me like that."

"I -- I didn't mean to -- I'm sorry," Shuichi said, looking away from him. Eiri sighed, sitting back to allow Shuichi up.

As Shuichi scrambled for purchase in rising up, his elbow upset the wine glass behind him, tilting it so that the contents pooled onto the cushion beside him. With a cry of alarm, he righted the glass too late.

"Oh, no!" Shuichi moaned. "What am I going to do? This is going to get me killed on so many levels it's not even funny."

"Not my problem," Eiri said, nearly gritting his teeth with frustration a he stood. He'd nearly made it to the door, when a soft voice called after him.

"So that's it, huh?" Shuichi asked. "I won't -- go further with you on our first -- whatever this is, so you're just going to take off?"

That's the plan, Eiri thought to himself, despite finding himself turning around ever so slowly to see the boy's eyes well with tears.

"Go get me some salt and a rag," Eiri said. Shuichi stared at him in confusion, before slowly nodding and going to the kitchen to do as he asked.

He returned quickly, and Eiri took the shaker of table salt from him, unscrewing the lid and applying it liberally to the wine stain, after dabbing at it with the cloth.

"Now I need a rag soaked in warm water, and some laundry detergent," Eiri ordered.

Shuichi returned from the laundry room, and watched in wonder as Eiri treated the stain, the salt having soaked up most of the red coloring.

"Where did you learn to do that?" Shuichi asked, as Eiri knelt on the floor and blotted the spot with the rag.

"I used to live with my sister. Her husband is the fussiest housekeeper in Tokyo," Eiri muttered, at last satisfied with his work.

"You can hardly tell it's there now," Shuichi said. "That's amazing."

"Now it just needs to dry," Eiri said, starting to rise, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.

"Thank you," Shuichi said, nervously leaning down and brushing his lips with his own. Eiri was loathe to release him when Shuichi stood straight once more, but thought that if these sweet kisses were anything to go by, that the rest might be worth a little more trouble.

"I want to take you somewhere," Eiri said, raising up from his knees.

"Where?" Shuichi asked.

"It's a surprise," Eiri said, walking towards the door and looking back. "Come with me."


"Why did you bring me here?" Shuichi asked as they reached the front of the Seguchi Playhouse. Eiri had been asking himself the same question the entire walk there. This was becoming dangerously close to a romantic gesture, he thought to himself. He'd just have to blame it on sexual frustration due to the kid being such a cock-tease earlier.

"They're holding auditions for my play, remember?" Eiri asked. "Thought it might interest you."

"Really? That's so cool!" Shuichi said, following him inside. He looked around at the lavishly furnished lobby. "Wow, I haven't been here since I was a kid. I guess I never appreciated how nice it was back then."

"The Dragon was a dump. Tohma's renovated it," Eiri said.

"You're on a first name basis with Seguchi Tohma?" Shuichi asked, impressed.

"He's my brother-in-law," Eiri said, leading the way to the main auditorium. "Try not to be so noisy."

Shuichi nodded, as he followed Eiri beyond the heavy double doors into the darkened room. Rows of seats gently sloped towards the foot of the stage, where a table had been set before the front row, which was occupied by two men and a woman. On stage, a young actress read aloud from the script she held, looking frail and self-conscious.

"That will be all, thank you," Tohma said, before glancing back to see who had opened the door. "I believe we will take a short break now."

Several of the actors who had been waiting to be called upon looked relieved, one passing them by quickly and muttering to one of the others that he was going out to smoke.

"I'm very pleased to see you here, Eiri," Tohma said, as he ascended the aisle towards them. "Won't you join us up front?"

Eiri nodded, meeting him half-way down, Shuichi close on his heels. Tohma peered around him at him curiously, looking back at Eiri.

"This is Shindou Shuichi," Eiri said, offering no further explanation.

"It is an honor to meet you, Seguchi-san," Shuichi said with an awkward bow. Tohma gave him a long look before returning the greeting and continuing back to his seat.

Eiri sat in the first row behind Tohma and the others, introducing Shuichi to Sakano and his sister, Mika.

"I know you," Sakano said with a smile. "You were Juliet in my nephew's play! He was your nurse."

"You were there?" Shuichi asked excitedly. "Yeah, Shimuzu-san is a friend of mine."

"You were really good," Sakano said. "I even teared up a little towards the end."

"Wow, thank you," Shuichi said. "That means a lot to me coming from someone who actually works for the theater."

"So, are you here to audition?" Sakano asked, flipping through the pages on his clipboard. "I don't recall seeing you on the sign-up sheet."

"Oh, no I --" Shuichi started, giving Eiri a hesitant look.

"He's with me," Eiri said.

Both Tohma and Mika turned their focus to the two of them, their scrutinizing stares clearly unnerving Shuichi, who began to squirm in his seat. Before anyone could say anything, a voice called loudly from the back of the theater.

"Hey, Tohma! I'm sorry that I'm late! I had to do a re-shoot on a scene for the season finale," Sakuma Ryuichi called cheerfully, bounding down the steps. Many of the other actors turned in their seats excitedly, craning their necks to get a better view of the star, and the room erupted into chatter. Eiri stared him down as he stopped at their row, but the actor took no notice, sliding into the seat right next to Shuichi, who looked stunned.

"So, what did I miss?" Ryuichi asked, leaning forward over Tohma's shoulder.

"Two young ladies read for Avaron," Sakano answered for him, as Tohma stood and addressed the room, informing everyone to be prepared to be called on.

"Didn't they read with other actors?" Ryuichi asked.

"I read the other parts aloud from the script," Sakano said, as Tohma announced the next person to read.

Eiri first watched Ryuichi, who's brow wrinkled as he watched the set up where Sakano would read the other lines in the scene in a bland monotone, as he had described. But his squirming and apparent boredom only distracted him momentarily from the eerily still Shuichi, who appeared to be giving everything his rapt attention. By the time the third person up was reading the same scene, Eiri could see Shuichi's lips move, mouthing the lines silently to himself.

As Mika snapped a Polaroid for the reference file of the last actress to step off the stage, Ryuichi looked over at Shuichi, sizing him up with a long stare. Shuichi looked back bashfully, and said hello.

"So, are you auditioning, too?" Ryuichi asked.

"N--no, Sakuma-san," Shuichi stammered in reply.

"Then can you do me a huge favor? Pretty please? I'll love you forever," Ryuichi said playfully, batting his eyelashes. Shuichi giggled nervously, looking back uncertainly at Eiri. Eiri shrugged, wondering what the television star could possibly want from Shuichi.

"I know you are probably very busy, Ryuichi, so I will let you read first for Toshi," Tohma said to him in a soft voice, looking behind him.

"Thanks, Tohma," Ryuchi said, standing, and looking over at Sakano with an impish grin. "You can take a rest, Sakano-san. This guy is going to read Avaron's part for me. You see, acting is reacting, and I need someone to bounce my energy off of." Shuichi gawked at him, as everyone within earshot turned to get a look at Shuichi.

"That will be fine, Ryuichi," Tohma said, with a voice that conveyed infinite patience to all but the most trained ear. He and Ryuichi were the odd pair as ever, Eiri thought. It had always seemed strange that someone as obsessed with control and order as his brother-in-law was so thoroughly linked with a man like Ryuichi, who seemed to thrive on chaos and spontaneity.

He felt an odd sort of resentment for the star, as he watched Shuichi nervously make his way up to the stage behind him. He didn't like this obviously manipulative man that was used to getting his way in everything using his Shuichi, Eiri thought to himself. Did he just think of the boy as his?

He watched the boy's anxiety turn to exhilaration, as he reached the stage. Shuichi waved off the offered script with a smile, explaining he had seen the scene enough times to know the lines. The thought that this was probably a dream come true for the him, acting with the actor he idolized, whatever that idol's intentions, did little to comfort Eiri as they began.

Eiri had thought Tohma was just trying to bring in a gimmick to ensure the success of his play by considering a man who was thirty to play the nineteen year old he'd penned, but watching him now he knew Ryuichi could nail it. He effortlessly channeled the youthful exuberance of Toshi, as he pitched the wares of the fish booth while trying to capture the eye of the passing Avaron.

As for Shuichi, he felt he played the heroine a tad weaker than he might have were he not obviously intimidated by Ryuichi's presence. He caught himself having the strangest urge to explain to the others that he knew Shuichi could do better. He's not even auditioning, Eiri reminded himself.

"Thank you, Sakuma-san," Sakano said, as Ryuichi bowed to scattered applause and left the stage. Tohma stopped Shuichi with a gesture before he could follow.

"Shindou-san, would you mind very much if I asked you to read with the other actors?" Tohma asked. Shuichi looked stunned.

"Um, sure. That would be fine with me," Shuichi responded.

Tohma glanced back to where Eiri was eying him warily.

"I would rather not have anyone complaining that Ryuichi had an unfair advantage," Tohma explained in a hushed tone.

"Thanks, Tohma," Ryuichi said, standing in the aisle. He looked back at Shuichi and gave him a little wave before continuing towards the door. Shuichi waved back, still giving the appearance of a deer in headlights as Tohma called the next actor to the stage.

None of the actors who followed seemed to hold the same charm as Ryuichi, but without the distraction of the star's presence, Shuichi's readings seemed to only improve upon repetition.

"He's stealing the scenes from the ones auditioning. Some advantage," Mika muttered after the fourth actor left.

"He's actually better than any of the actresses who read," Sakano said, stroking his chin thoughtfully.

"Hey, you said he played Juliet. Let's just stick him in a dress and see if anyone notices," Mika said boredly. His eyes met Shuichi's and the boy smiled at him before the next actor took the stage, oblivious as to what was being said about him. Eiri frowned, gripping the armrest tightly, as Shuichi gave him a confused look before turning his attention to playing the scene once more. The boy had had enough of playing chicks, Eiri thought. How would it make him feel if he were even cast as a girl outside of the boy's school?

"Let him read for Iwao, Avaron's brother," Eiri said. Mika and Sakano both turned their attention from the stage to him, much to the irritation of the auditioning actor he was sure.

"We're only casting the leads tonight," Tohma said over his shoulder, keeping his eyes on the stage.

"Then I'll bring him back tomorrow," Eiri said. "We're leaving as soon as they shut the hell up."

"But there's still two more --," Sakano said, his words dying under Eiri's steely gaze. He'd had enough of this crap for one night anyway, he thought, and he really needed a cigarette.


"They really want me to audition -- for real?" Shuichi asked, as Eiri walked him home.

"Think you can handle being in two plays at once?" Eiri asked. Shuichi shook his head.

"The shows would probably overlap," Shuichi said with a troubled expression.

"Well, which one do you want to do?" Eiri asked.

"I'd be crazy to turn down the chance to be on a real stage. And I'd be acting with Sakuma-san," Shuichi said thoughtfully.

"There you go then," Eiri said.

"But you were going to help me with Hamlet," Shuichi said. Eiri stopped. They'd just reached the quiet neighborhood where Shuichi lived. The sidewalks were empty at this hour and the traffic was light.

"So what?" Eiri asked, looking at Shuichi in the soft glow of the streetlights.

"Would I still see you around the theater? You know, if I get the part?" Shuichi asked, nervously rolling up the script he'd been given in his hands. Eiri's eyes narrowed, and he stepped closer.

"You don't need anymore lame excuses to come see me, moron," Yuki said. Shuichi's eyes widened as he looked up at him.

"I don't?" Shuichi asked.

Yuki shook his head, then kissed him lightly, surprised as Shuichi responded with more enthusiasm than before, winding his arms around his neck and allowing him to deepen the kiss. His body thrummed with pleasure as he pulled that lithe body close to his, his lips traveling down to nip at Shuichi's throat.

"Thank you," Shuichi murmured breathlessly tilting his head back. "Thanks for everything, Yuki-san." Eiri released him, giving him a sharp stare.

"You don't have to let me fuck you to get the part, you know," Eiri said. Shuichi blinked, looking embarrassed and confused.

"What kind of person do you think I am?" Shuichi demanded, meeting his eyes. Yuki looked away and shrugged.

"Do you honestly think I just -- I like you, Yuki," Shuichi said quietly. "I like you a lot. If -- if you want me to skip the audition --"

"No," Eiri said firmly. "Don't be stupid. Forget I said that, okay?"

"I don't get it," Shuichi said, placing a hand on Eiri's chest, his eyes staying firmly on his own fingers. "It's not like that would be the only reason I was interested, you know."

"The audition's at six," Yuki said, feeling a loss for any other words as he stepped away, letting Shuichi's hand fall.