The right of self defence.

Rukawa stopped and surveyed his flat. He kicked the power button of the whining vacuum cleaner with his foot. The place looked as neat as he'd ever seen it. The laundry had been tidied away, the washing up done, the dozens of papers that usually inhabited the dining table piled up together and hidden. The bedroom too had been given the tidying treatment – clothes sorted, bed sheets changed, curtains opened for the first time in weeks.

All this because Sendoh was coming over.

Rukawa wound up the power cord and tidied the vacuum cleaner away, then sat down on the sofa with the restlessness that comes when there's nothing left to do but wait.

Sendoh arrived nominally late, earlier in fact than Rukawa had predicted. His ever-present smile was still in place as he stood somewhat nervously in the doorway. As he hesitated over the threshold.

He'd been here so many times before; as a rival, as a friend, as a lover, as a friend, as a lover. Years in and years out spent between them, hopping over the division, struggling to be one or the other. Never lingering for long in any one state, as if each side burnt their feet, as if each side was so uncomfortable. Friends, lovers. Neither, both.

But now, seeing the unsettled look on Sendoh's face that exceeded all the previous airs of bare-faced denial Rukawa realised that this time something was different. His heartbeat sped up hopefully.

He was fixing two cups of tea in the kitchen as was his habit when he felt Sendoh filling up the kitchen doorway behind him, shifting from one foot to the other. Rukawa moved carefully, knowing that his long fingers and thin wrists were elegant and graceful, mixing in a teaspoon of honey just the way Sendoh liked it. As he took up the cup and turned to pass it to his demi-lover the boy spoke;

"I've asked Sara to marry me."

The sudden spill of hot honey tea burnt his toes. It was more uncomfortable than ever.

He sat dazed on the sofa as Sendoh lumbered ineffectively about in a nonsensical bid to ease his pain. Down on his knees, gently placing the battle-scared foot into a tub of cool water and Rukawa stared down on him thinking – so this is what he must have looked like. The cool ring of water around his ankle did nothing to relieve the burning sensation of the naked fingers clasped tightly on his lap.

"We haven't fixed a date but I want you to be best man."

Pretending not to have seen the rejection and the disappointment. Pretending as he always did that they were less than they really were.

"No."

Sendoh looked stung, a perfect act, as if he hadn't been expecting Rukawa's hurt. As if it was Rukawa who was being irrational.

"But Kaede… you're my best friend."

I'm more than that you damn liar.

Then Sendoh left, vanishing from the small, tidy flat in almost the same way that he always did. Almost.

Two months, Rukawa silently predicted, feeling hotness behind his eyes. Two months.


Two months later.

The ever present smile was still in place as he stood somewhat nervously in the doorway. As he hesitated over the threshold.

The flat had been tidied again because Rukawa had known as sure as the last time that he would come. That he wouldn't be able to stay away. And Rukawa let him in without comment, without judgement, as he always did.

With a lingering sense of a senseless routine he drifted towards the kitchen to make the tea. He'd only just started his ritual when familiar hands grasped his shoulder and spun him round, grasped his neck and held him still. Warm lips assaulted his with enough force to bruise.

He should push this creature of denial away, but he didn't because he knew, and Sendoh knew too, that he'd missed this. That he'd pined for this. That he needed it as badly as ever.

With the tea left half made and steaming he dropped gratefully to his knees in his cramped little kitchen, winding his arms around warm thighs and bringing Sendoh into his mouth contentedly. Like he was coming home.

Kaede, Kaede the hand in his hair said, pulling at him.

I need you just as much as you need me.

I love you just as much as you love me.

He could hear in all in amongst the pants and groans above him.

Spent, Sendoh collapsed back against the counter while Rukawa cleaned him off carefully with his rough tongue, looking up at him with unreadable eyes.

"God, I needed that." Sendoh wiped his brow gratefully.

Rukawa rose, ignoring the discomfort in his knees.

"Doesn't Sara do it for you?" with innocent casualness.

Sendoh quirked his lips in a jockish fashion. "She's just so damn prissy about it. Won't let me spurt in her mouth, wants me to pull out and all that shit. Not like you" he met the steady gaze and grinned "hey maybe I should be marrying you instead."

Rukawa stilled with bated hopefulness, and then forced himself to relax as he stood alone amongst Sendoh's peals of insensitive laughter.

"Yeah right" Sendoh answered his own question, chuckling, "you and me are just mates messing around."

Rukawa continued to return his gaze without expression.

"Whatever you want, Akira."

"Right." He thumped Rukawa's shoulder in a brotherly way. "Hey, I'm sorry but you totally milked me dry man. I don't think I've got enough in me to do you today."

"That's… fine."

Sendoh grinned happily, glad that everything seemed back to normal. "You're always so good to me Kaede."

Rukawa took a step closer, lips pursed in expectation of a kiss, but Sendoh had already turned away and was leaving the kitchen.

"Hey man, I'll see you soon!" came the confident call from the hallway along with the shuffling noise of shoes being put on.

Rukawa didn't reply or move until he heard the door close, then he waited ten minutes longer just in case he would return.

When he didn't, Rukawa reached up to the top kitchen shelf where, between a container full of pasta and the biscuit tin, a small, inconsequential camera looked down on him.

With it in his hand he wandered over to the computer.

It only took him a moment to access Sendoh's e-mail account using the password he'd stolen long ago. It was easy to pick out Sara's e-mail address from amongst the mails. With a practised hand he attached the video file and composed a brief message –

Hey Sanaki!
I filmed myself and my little fuck toy today, check it out, he's pretty hot hey?

Let me know if you wanna share – hahahaha!

- Akira.
PS Remember, don't tell Sara about this man, I don't think she knows about him and you know she would totally have me out. She's so stuck up about this kind of shit.

He sent it to Sara's email address, deleted the sent message from the list, and then went to finish his cup of tea in front of the TV.

-end


This fic took its first spark of inspiration from Dido's Song "Don't Think Of Me" although it moved quite a far away from the song in the process of writing.

Just my small effort for Senru day 2010 :D Hope you enjoyed it.