Title : 奇人KI-JIN I (Unconventional Friendship)
Disclaimer : I don't own Saiunkoku Monogatari. It belongs to Sai Yukino.
Rating : T
Genre : Friendship/Humour
Warnings : Yaoi
Pairing : Reishin/Kijin
Summary : Despite an unfortunate first meeting, Reishin and Kijin forge a close, though unconventional, friendship.
(1) Set one week into their stint as scholars staying in the palace hostel.
(2) This was written in response to the LJ Saiun_Challenge prompt "Unconventional"
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Dedication : 奇人KI-JIN is dedicated to alabirdie. Hang in there!
Was I too harsh?
Reishin stared, unseeing, at the text on his desk. He was beginning to feel bad about his choice of words for the telling-off.
Kijin . . . no, no, what's his name?
The trouble with giving nicknames was that one ended up forgetting the person's real name!
Whatever! HE looked so hurt. And who wouldn't be, after being told "Keep yourself and your erections away from me! You freaking ki-jin!"
No, it wasn't fair to have said that to . . .
Houju! That's his name!
Reishin was one of those people for whom waking up was a long-drawn and un-coordinated affair. That had never been an issue until he started living dormitory style in the palace student hostel. In all of his life, Reishin had no need to negotiate tight spaces in his semi-awake state. But here, the space between the hostel beds was barely two feet. That morning, Reishin had stubbed his toe against the adjacent bed, lost his balance, keeled forward, and ended up with his right hand landing squarely on Houju's throbbing crotch.
THAT woke him up, instantaneously. Reishin blushed in recollection.
It IS his fault! He watches me all the time. That's why he chose the bed adjacent to mine. Does he think I don't know? With his knees raised, does he think he's hiding his arousal beneath the blanket? I don't need to see what's between his legs to know. I can see it in the darkening of his eyes, in the tightness around his mouth, in the sheen of sweat on his upper lip. The pervert! He must be getting off watching me wake up when THAT happened!
Reishin squirmed in his classroom seat. He was a fair-minded person, and he knew it really wasn't Houju's fault. He was, after all, lying in bed minding his own erection, when Reishin grabbed his crotch, and on top of that, shouted those embarrassing words loudly enough for all the students to turn around and stare.
It's NOT my fault! Those unfortunate words are the result of that pervert's first-ever utterance to me! How am I supposed to ever forget his "I'm having an erection!" greeting? I was right to call him Ki-jin.He's a weirdo, no doubt about it!
Tap tap tap.
Reishin looked up, collecting his thoughts. Three taps. That means an announcement. He looked to the front of the classroom. Official Ro, holding a sheet of paper, was waiting for the class to be quiet.
"I have here a letter from a student, Ko Houju, to inform us that he has had his name officially changed, and would like us to address him by his new name henceforth. His new name is Ko Kijin. Kijin, will you please stand, so that the students will know you."
Amid the uproar, Kijin calmly stood up, took a bow, and sat down. The uproar, of course, was because Reishin's utterance that morning had already made its rounds in the gossip mill.
Reishin was hot and cold, all at the same time.
Is he insane? Hasn't he endured enough humiliation?
Towelling dry his hair, Reishin came to a decision. He needed to have a talk with Houj . . . Kijin. And as always, he knew that Kijin was just outside the bath-house. Unobtrusively standing guard for him, un-asked for, and un-thanked. Kijin had noticed Reishin's middle-of-the-night bath routine on the very first night in the hostel.
Just as he was about to open the door and call out to Kijin, Reishin noted how he must look, with his hair damp and down his back, and with a single-layer robe the only barrier against those eyes.
Oh, what's the difference? He gets aroused no matter what I'm wearing!
Reishin called out to Kijin to come into the bath-house.
Reishin was pleased. Exactly what with, he needed time to sort out. It could be the fact that after the first open, unguarded look, Kijin had studiously averted his eyes, keeping his flushed face in profile. Or it could be that first open, unguarded look that pleased Reishin.
Reishin noted with amusement that Kijin was taking an inordinate amount of care arranging himself on the wooden bench of the bath-house. He waited till Kijin was settled before speaking.
"Kijin, I want to talk to you about the letter you left on my bed earlier tonight. AND about your change of name, AND about a whole host of things!"
Reishin stopped short. He realized that he wasn't getting off onto a very good start. And the next thing he did was to make it worse.
"What do you WANT from me? No, wait! Don't say it, I know what you want! But I don't know how to respond to that. Your very out-front lust frightens me, but I don't want to ask you to go to hell either, because you intrigue me. And I'm sorry to have humiliated you this morning. And I don't know what to think of your letter. I've never known anyone who had his first erection at the age of eighteen! And I certainly don't know what to feel about being the one responsible for your overdue sexual awakening!"
Reishin stopped, gasping.
Kijin waited. Finally he broke the silence.
"Reishin, we both know what I want, but I'm not asking to be your lover. Well, not yet, anyway."
He grinned sheepishly.
"I just want a chance for you to get to know me, before you make up your mind to shoo me away. I know that I come across as a pervert. But, really, Reishin, I swear there's more to me than a throbbing cock!"
Reishin laughed. He was delighted. Already he's seeing something of the fascinating man behind the uh, throbbing cock. That reminded him - he glanced at Kijin's face. Sure enough, the eyes were dark, the mouth tight, the upper lip glistening. Reishin laughed again, resigning himself to it.
I guess it's a package deal.
Indeed it is, the package comes with the man!
Reishin, his hazel eyes alight, wondered if he should say that last thought out loud.
Watching Reishin closely for his response, Kijin was both mesmerized and apprehensive when he saw the evil glint in those beautiful eyes. He was both relieved and disappointed when the eyes stopped dancing.
"Alright then, Ko Kijin, here's the deal. Friends it is. I will give you an answer as to whether I want to take it to the next level before the end of our stint in the hostel. At that point, you can decide if you still want to be my friend if I should reject you. No hard feelings on either end. Is that fair enough?"
"More than fair. No hard feelings. And I promise I'll try to keep a tighter rein on my libido."
Reishin realized this was the first time he heard Kijin laugh. It was a very nice laugh. It made him feel warm. He hoped to hear it more often. He looked at his new friend speculatively.
"I've never had a friend before, Kijin, so I'm not sure about this. But certainly, the situation we're in is exceptional. What I'm trying to say is, although it is highly unconventional, can we set some ground rules? Do you mind?"
"No, I don't mind. In fact, I like the idea. I've already got the first question : Am I allowed to tell you that you are beautiful?"
Reishin looked at Kijin sharply. Seeing his open expression, Reishin relaxed.
"Granted, but only once a day, AND that question counts as one, so no more until tomorrow!"
They both laughed.
"My turn. You are not to touch me on any part of my body."
Kijin sat up straighter, in protest.
"That's an unfair insinuation! I've never touched you. The first time we touched, you fell on top of me. The second time, you grabbed my crotch. I want you to rephrase that condition."
Reishin held up his hands, palms towards Kijin.
"Accepted. My apologies. No touching on any part of anybody's body. Satisfied?"
"Is sex an acceptable topic of conversation?"
His brows practically touching his hairline, Reishin nevertheless nodded.
"Within limits, yes. I'll tell you when I feel you're off-limits, deal?"
"Deal. I can't think of anything else. Can we keep it open, and make the other ground rules as we go along?"
"My thoughts exactly. How do you want to seal this contract? No blood oaths, please!"
"I'm not into blood-letting, either."
"How about we hug on it?"
Reishin looked at his new friend levelly.
Is he daring me?
"Brilliant idea. An off-limits gesture to seal an unconventional friendship."
Reishin stood up, and held his arms wide open.
Kijin felt the heat spreading all over his face and body. All this while he had been sitting such that his thigh hid the view of his arousal from Reishin. To stand up would be to expose himself. To hug Reishin . . .
"It's alright, Kijin. That erection that you are trying to hide is also very much a part of our unconventional friendship. To include it as part of the hug is to acknowledge its existence. In a warped sort of way, I think that is totally appropriate."
He smiled reassuringly at the flustered Kijin.
"Come here. Let's hug on it."
The moment Kijin's arms wrapped around him, Reishin knew, too late, that it was a bad idea. He felt Kijin's body go rigid, heard the sharp intake of breath, and moments later, felt the hot wetness. He had not expected Kijin to have so little control. He had forgotten that it was only one week from the day of Kijin's first ever erection. He had forgotten that this grown man was sexually no different from a boy just into puberty. Reishin's heart went out to the man in his arms.
It is my fault. Now how am I going to lessen his humiliation?
Reishin held on to the now sinking Kijin, whispering in his ear.
"Hush, it's alright. I was the same way when I was thirteen. It took some time to learn control. It's alright, Kijin, it's my fault for not remembering your unique situation."
Kijin made a strange throaty noise.
"Thirteen? Good grief! I'm five years behind! I'm going to need a crash course!"
In the process of disengaging himself from Reishin's embrace, Kijin decided that he was privileged to be Reishin's friend, and that he would not give up that friendship even if Reishin rejected him as a lover. Kijin managed to look directly into Reishin's eyes, grinning through his embarrassment.
"By the way, Reishin, do friends teach such crash courses?"
Looking at Kijin, Reishin knew, right there and then, what his answer would be at the end of their stint in the hostel. But he was not telling, not yet. Just like he was not telling Kijin that the physical attraction had always been mutual, right from the moment when he fell on top of Kijin on their first day as interns. He was not telling, because he wanted a period of friendship before they became lovers. It might be an unconventional friendship, but Reishin knew it was going to be a great one.
Reishin and Kijin's first meeting, when Reishin fell on top of Kijin, is described in chapter 7 of my fanfic Twin Irises. So too, Kijin's very unfortunate first-ever utterance to Reishin :- "I'm having an erection".