Title: the crumbling distance between wrong and right
Characters/Pairings: Atsushi/Ryou
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 1650
Warnings: Twincest, some snark, some UST and a tiny dusting of angst
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply.
Prompt/Theme: Dec 19th "there is no use in right and wrong" at 31_days & "And all I can say is that you blow me away" (A Fine Frenzy - You Picked Me) at prompt_in_a_box's Round 15 (revisted)
Notes: Blaming Lyuna for this. Written in December 2009.


Only a handful of people passed him in front of the Hon-Chiba train station, all wearing knitted caps or scarves and hiding the lower half of their faces in the upturned collars of their coats. They were all strangers. No one he was looking for.

According to the weather forecast the temperature should have fallen below five degrees Celsius; it certainly wascold in front of the East exit, not the crisp winter air before snowfall, but cold nonetheless. Even with the sun shining out of a clear sky. Maybe he should have put on something thicker.

"You can stop gawking at the sky. I'm not gonna tumble out of it," someone told him over the din of the traffic, with a voice so familiar Atsushi felt something settle inside of himself, like on the first step into his own home.

He had been waiting to hear it again for the longest time (they never phoned when they could chat and their conversations was made up of silences anyway); now that he did, he wondered how he had been able to hold out without it, without him. There Ryou was, in a red fleece coat with a matching cap and a small smirk playing around his lips. He looked stunning. When he held up one hand in a casual greeting, Atsushi noticed he wore the black gloves and the scarf their mother had knitted them. He had left his in Tokyo; they would have been perfect for this weather.

Atsushi managed to stop staring and clicked his tongue. "You never give me the chance to catch you when you're falling."

"Favors are out today, sorry. It's enough that you want to see me fall," Ryou said, in his mock apalled voice. He loved teasing Atsushi, trying to see how far he could push him, how he would react, if he could make him feel guilty, jealous or downright angry, anything he wanted. And granted, Atsushi loved when he did that. Heck, he loved doing the same to his brother.

"So I can be all awesome and save the day. And if you don't do it out of your own accord, we have to create a scenario." The ribbon that usually encircled his head was chafing against his throat as he spoke. As stupid as it looked, he had even tied a bow in it. After all, he had told Ryou over Twitter that he had no present other than himself.

"Roleplay, huh?" Ryou's lips quirked at Atsushi's small step in his direction. He took one of his own, approaching, preying. It was a dance, a game of wits between them, something that could morph into a whole other dimension if left to spin uncontrolled. They knew the steps; it would be okay as long as neither of them tripped.

"If that's how you want to call it." Atsushi straightened himself, not to come off as too eager. He couldn't afford to give his brother that much of an advantage for free, without a challenge.

"I certainly wouldn't mind trying. Though, if you're scared..." His grin widened and his eyes trailed down Atsushi's body, quick to notice the little accessory around his neck. "Rediscovered the use of this, dearest twin?" he muttered, one hand playing with the end of the red fabric, "Or did you just want to prompt me to unwrap my present right here?"

Atsushi snatched Ryous hand, as brisk as a cat scratching, and curled his fingers around the warm glove. "This was meant for later, but if you can't wait..." he trailed off, grinning.

"Now who's being impatient?" Eyes alight with mischief, Ryou tugged his hand out of Atsushi's grasp and leaned close, close enough for his breath to tickle Atsushi's ear as he spoke. "Though if you're, say, upfor it, I wouldn't mind." Atsushi half anticipated his brother's hand on his crotch to underline the statement, but it never came.

He bit his lip, stretching his mouth into a crooked grin as he did. A cursory survey of his visual field told him no one was watching, so he slipped an arm around Ryou's waist to press him close, a contradiction to the question that was to follow: "How about we head to your apartment first? You'd have to agree that it's a more comfortable place to steal each other's clothes."

Ryou drew back with a start as Atsushi nipped at his earlobe, ribbon slipping through his fingers. He scrubbed a hand over his flushed face and spun around. "I suppose I'll live if we wait. Though you are being terribly tempting today," he said after a pause.

Atsushi snickered. The same applied to his brother. Then again, Ryou was always tempting him. He remembered the time at the ice cream parlor when Ryou would lick his spoon with all the suggestion of a promise. It had been innocent enough in its own way, but Atsushi would sometimes tend to misinterpret signals in his favor. So, he hadn't been able to help but lean in and lick the ice cream running down his brother's pinky finger. Bane's eyes nearly bulged when he did and Kentarou's jaw dropped. Atsushi's heart had been racing so fast, as if he had lied or done something illegal; he had expected it to break down from overload anytime, if it hadn't been for Ryou's flustered expression. He hadn't done anything wrong and that thought had been a small triumph for Atsushi, a revelation.

On the ride to Ryou's apartment, he cooled down a bit among the presence of other people in this closed space. He couldn't shake the tightness in his chest however, the inability to breathe deeply, as though someone was smothering him with a pillow. This sensation overcame him whenever he was with Ryou or even thought of him and he wondered if it was trying to tell him something he didn't want to hear, condemning him. It was easy to question his choices, especially if you have spent years confronted with the daily talk of sins as he had done. He had always wondered who gave those pompous Catholic priests the right to judge, because that's what they did, look down on other people, "evil" they called them, and their deeds, thinking up befitting punishments for them and never including themselves, as if their occupation was a free-pass for heaven and they, as messengers of God, exempt from sins. Sure, there were others and some of it was justified, but he didn't buy this inequality of love thing. If God loved everyone, why couldn't everyone love who they chose to, why did some of it have to be labeled as abomination? Atsushi had the creeping suspicion that some of the priests sold their own opinion as the Holy Word and never even thought about the consistency of it.

"Any plans for the weekend?" he asked, disturbing their silence and his train of thought. There was nothing to gain from juvenile musings he hadn't dug up in a while except for seething bile. And that just didn't fit the occasion.

Ryou leaned his head back to rest against the glass. "Hm, we could to Kamogawa Sea World. They've got penguins there until February. Or we could drive up to Choshi like we did last summer. It was beautiful."

Ryou smiled then, lost in memories, and he almost looked like he had on top of the lighthouse at Cape Inubosaki, watching the sea. That was last June, one of the months offering the greatest variety of fish and marine mammals around Choshi, a city north of Kujukuri Beach, at the northeast tip of Chiba.

"It was," Atsushi agreed. He remembered they had shared their first public kiss behind the lighthouse, where they thought no one would see them. So maybe it wasn't exactly public, but it was a daring thing to do anyway. The hours away from closed doors and their anonymity among the citizens had been getting to them.

Ryou pried the back of his head from the glass to look around, then got up. "What are you waiting for?" he asked. "This is our stop."

"Don't rush off so fast," Atsushi said as he slung his backpack across his shoulder, "I'm still tired from the train ride."

"That was less than an hour of sitting around," Ryou grinned up from the sidewalk, breath misting in front of his face. "Where's your stamina? Did you leave it in Tokyo?"

"I'll show you where I left it when we're home." Atsushi nudged Ryou's shoulder with his own, partly to throw his brother off-track, partly to warm up against the cold.

"You're stupid," Ryou said, but the grin never faded.

"I know."

As soon as they were in Ryou's apartment, Atsushi threw his backpack on the floor and waited only long enough for his brother to close the door before pinning him against it. Ryou's breath caught and his cheeks darkened like a sunset. The tightness in his chest constricted as Atsushi leaned in, closed his lips over Ryou's parted mouth.

For a moment he feared he was doing something wrong, something damnable, as Ryou pushed at his shoulders, pushed him away.

"Shouldn't we take off our shoes first?" he asked with a laugh lurking behind his eyes. Atsushi kissed him again, relieved.

"If you insist." Atsushi poked the middle of Ryou's forehead, then dragged his finger higher to to slide his cap off. It fell to the floor, unheeded.

"Uh-huh," Ryou nodded, pulling off his gloves. "But first," his fingers glided from Atsushi's cheek to the ribbon around his neck. "Let me open my present."

With a grin, Atsushi threw the notion of right and wrong overboard, not even caring to watch it drown. It was no longer needed.

Behind closed doors, they had all they needed: themselves and no one else. They were safe from the judgment of others.