"Ohayou, sempai!"

"Get out."

He feigns being hurt to disguise how hurt he is. "Such a cold welcome?"

"No different than yesterday or tomorrow."

Umeda's ways are blunt, and Akiha is used to them. He blusters on heedless of the warning signs, settling himself across from the doctor, leaning back against his desk. His hands grip the edges, and a smile plays over his lips.

Easier to hide things when you?re smiling than when you aren't.

Easier to fool people.

"You could at least pretend to be glad to see me."

"No. I couldn't."

"Well, technically, you could."

"And yet I don't."

"Exactly." Akiha inclines his head to one side. "Why is that?"

"Because I don?t give a shit about you," Umeda grunts softly. He lifts his beer to his lips and a takes a deep, calming swallow. His eyes focus on the pattern of sunlight on the wall behind Akiha. His eyes focus on the tree branches outside the window bending low in the wind, straining to the ground where the comfort of their hidden roots is stored. He understands the trees quite well. He gets where they're coming from.

Akiha sighs. "Never have, and you never will."



"Now will you get out?"

"Not until you say good morning back!"

"I'm not going to and you know that damn well."

There is silence.

Akiha feels the familiar cut, deep and wrenching in his chest. He smiles over it, cheerfully bright and painfully hollow.

If Umeda were watching him, maybe he'd see.

But Umeda is watching the smoke curl up from his cigarette, now.

Umeda does not watch Akiha.

Akiha unfolds his arms and leans forward. Their faces are very close.

"Get out of my face."



The thinly veiled strain of anger in his voice.

Umeda tries so hard, Akiha notes. As hard as Akiha himself tries. Akiha understands Umeda quite well. He gets where he's coming from.

"I don't particularly want to."

"You're too close, Akiha."

"I'm not close enough, sempai." Umeda's muscles tense in the familiar game. He waits for it. Akiha's fingers lifting, graceful and light, as Umeda does not watch them curve delicately in the air. Umeda stiffens as they brush over his cheek.

Akiha's hot breath on his lips.

Akiha's warm lips on his own lips.

A stolen kiss which makes Umeda's gut clench and his senses rage.

His hands on Akiha's shoulders.

His hands shoving Akiha's shoulders.

His hands shoving Akiha back, off.

"Get out of here."

"You can't push me away forever," Akiha says.

"Yes," Umeda says in reply, "I can. Get out."

Akiha lifts a hand over his shoulder in defeated farewell.

Today, he got a little closer.

Just a little closer--

For now, stolen kisses will have to do for him. One day, he will take of Umeda freely, Umeda will give of himself freely.