So this is going back up after being taken down last year to safeguard this fic from FF's MA purge. If you're at all familiar with my writing, you know that while I wander into adult content and explore sexual themes, the story (outside the occasional neko romp) is what I am most interested in. Citrus chapters occur pretty far into this fic.
If you have read this before, you'll see I have made some significant revisions to it. Hopefully these contribute to making what was one of my most popular stories an even stronger read.
If you are underage or think you might have issue with the themes or eventual sexual content of this story, I ask that you please click out now. I also ask respectfully that you not report this fic so that those who enjoy reading such work may continue to do so.
Now, there are all these fics out there where Hiroki is a veritable slut, and many fics where Nowaki is all but/or celibate before he meets Hiroki. So I thought it would be interesting to play with these conventions a bit.
So in this fic, Nowaki is a male prostitute. Despite this shift, I do want to try and keep the characters IC as much as possible (or at least what seems IC for me).
Disclaimer: I do not own Junjou Romantica or any of its character's.
Rated: M or generally R with occasional NC-17 moments.
Contains: Deals with the subject of prostitution and past abuse/trauma. Occasional profanity, violence, adult/sexual situations. Some non-con (more implied or moderately referenced than graphically shown).
Chapter One: Favors and Lies
Hiroki glanced around his book-strewn apartment and sighed. Shifting his gaze over to the panda clock on the wall his mother had sent him as a housewarming gift when he'd moved into his first apartment, he saw it was almost noon.
He pulled his glasses off and rubbed tired eyes.
He had been up since five a.m. grading essays for his Intro to Japanese Literature class. He'd risen after deciding it was a waste of time to continue pretending to sleep. His mind had been unable, as it often was, to shut itself off from rearranging his dissertation intro and other far less productive thoughts.
At twenty-four and just finished with his Master's degree, Kamijou Hiroki was currently the youngest faculty member in the Japanese department at M. University.
It was rare that someone without his PHD yet would be hired by the administration as a full time professor but, although Hiroki never felt as sure of the designation as the people ascribing the term to him did, he had been deemed "brilliant" by his professors at T University and M's Dean Takatsuki had apparently agreed.
He was not quite as reputedly brilliant, however, as Miyagi Yoh, the senior professor he shared an office with and was now assisting.
Miyagi had a six year head start on him though, so Hiroki knew such a comparison was hardly fair. Even so, his competitive nature had him convinced that matching and surpassing the older professor's reputation was merely a matter of time and hard work.
And personally, while Miyagi may have been the leading scholar in Japan and possibly the world on the writings of Matsuo Basho, Hiroki had soon realized that the senior professor had the common sense of a stone.
Hiroki ran long fingers through his shaggy hair and frowned. He had good reason to curse the man, and not simply because he was so far behind in his own grading since Miyagi had dumped all his own Intro essays on him to score as well.
The University's Japanese department had been trying to entice Usami Akihiko, one of the county's premiere novelists, to come and lecture since the release of his first book. And it was the idiot genius, Miyagi, who had decided to disclose at their last departmental meeting that his new subordinate was a friend of Usami-sensei's and proofread his manuscripts before Usami sent them off to his publisher.
Hiroki had been mortified when Miyagi offered this information. He had briefly mentioned his relationship with Akihiko during a drunken exchange one night, not long after he had started working with King Basho. It had been the first and last time they'd gone out for drinks together.
They had gotten so plastered Hiroki had never thought Miyagi would even remember the conversation, let alone pass along those facts to a room full of his cronies.
It had made Hiroki wonder if his senior also remembered about the blow job he had given Miyagi that night. He was still pissed that Miyagi had not bothered, until after he'd come, to cheerfully inform him that he was engaged and most decidedly not gay.
Hiroki released a long breath and glanced at his cell phone. It sat on the floor beside him. Outside an earlier call from his mother, which he had let ring to his voicemail, it remained silent. It had been days since Akihiko had last called and Hiroki was currently not particularly social with anyone else.
Should I call him?
It was not in his nature generally to call Akihiko. He preferred for his friend to ring him, however painful the waiting was. Also if he called Akihiko, he ran the chance of looking like he needed something… needed him… and this was the last thing Hiroki wanted.
Ignoring the phone, the ache in his chest, and the twist in his gut, Hiroki pushed himself up off the floor and ambled stiffly into his flat's small kitchen.
He opened the refrigerator and peered inside only to be greeted by the dismal remains of numerous convenience store takeout containers. He eyed the cans of cheap beer amidst these with longing, despite the early hour, but eventually he opted instead for an energy drink.
Hiroki closed the fridge's door and leaned against it. He cracked the top to his drink and took a deep draught, grimacing at the sugared rush of it. He thought of Miyagi and silently cursed the man again. Then he thought of Akihiko and his dark eyes drifted uncomfortably back towards his abandoned phone.
But I do need him. And not just in the usual way now.
Once he'd learned of his new assistant professor's relationship to Usami Akihiko, the head of the Japanese department had of course sought Hiroki out after the meeting and all but begged for him to ask Usami-sama to come and present on his novels.
Being a low man on the departmental totem pole and desiring to advance at some point to an associate and then eventually full professorship, he had no choice now, however humiliating it was, but to petition Akihiko for the favor.
A crisp rap on the front door pulled Hiroki from his distressing reverie. He knew the cadence of that knock all too well.
It's the silver devil himself.
Hiroki loathed his heart's sudden pounding. He felt foolish too for stopping on the way to the door to glance in the mirror and make a vain attempt to rearrange his messy brunet locks.
Another determined rap sounded.
"I'm coming, Akihiko! Keep your damn trousers on!"
Internally Hiroki winced at his choice of phrasing; it conjured troublesome images. He moved quickly to the flimsy door before Akihiko took it upon himself to knock it off its hinges completely.
The moment Hiroki opened the door, the purpose of his friend's unexpected visit was clear: Akihiko was obviously on the lam, seeking refuge from his rabid editor. Again.
The author staggered in, half dead from overwork and silently handed over his newest manuscript for review; dark-ringed eyes sought Hiroki's. Hiroki looked down at the pages in his hand and felt the other old thrill added to that of his friend's presence.
"Yeah, because I obviously have nothing better to do." Hiroki gestured to his essay-littered front room with the manuscript. Then he looked back at Akihiko who stood silently, waiting.
His grumble was half-hearted and brought a slight twitch to Akihiko's lips. This tiny shift in expression made Hiroki's heart leap. He put the annoyance he felt at this into his next words.
"Go lie down before you fall down, Idiot! I don't want to be tripping over the unconscious mess of you all afternoon!"
A look of gratitude filled violet eyes. Without saying a word still, Akihiko slipped off his loafers, stumbled into Hiroki's bedroom, and shut the door behind him.
When Akihiko emerged from his futoned cocoon six hours later, Hiroki was sitting on his cluttered front room floor, three quarters of the way through the new piece. Hiroki watched as his friend wandered groggily over to the refrigerator and helped himself to a can of beer.
"So?" Akihiko called with casual interest. He leaned his long body against the counter and popped open the can. He gestured to the loose pages in Hiroki's hand.
"It's okay… Well, um, actually pretty good," Hiroki answered carefully. "What I've read so far anyway. But I have couple hundred more pages to go and you know how important the ending is."
Who am I kidding? It's breathtaking. Even if it ended here it would still be a masterpiece. As soon as Hiroki had heard his bedroom door open, he'd hardly had time to wipe the tears of wonder from his eyes before Akihiko had come in.
"When is this due?" Hiroki asked with some trepidation. He was only too well aware of Akihiko's difficulty with meeting his publisher's deadlines. He looked intently at Akihiko who was sipping his beer while he pretended not to have heard the question.
Seeing his friend's mussed silver hair and lean, muscular frame highlighted by the single, soft, low-wattage bulb in the kitchen made Hiroki's heart race again. He realized mournfully that, as usual, Akihiko's new work was not the only thing he was encountering that evening that was breathtaking.
When Akihiko refused to answer, Hiroki leveled one of his increasingly famous professorial scowls at him. Finally Akihiko acknowledged his glare with an eye roll.
"Two days ago," Akihiko offered with a shrug. He didn't press Hiroki further about his opinion of the work. He had seen the red pen lying almost forgotten on the floor.
He knew his friend's scale of evaluation well enough after all these years too. That Hiroki said it was "pretty good" was more than satisfactory for him to feel assured of its worthiness for publication.
Two days past?
Hiroki had no idea how Akihiko's editor kept from throttling him. "Did you bring your laptop?"
Akihiko looked pensive. It made Hiroki crazy how languidly the man seemed to move through his life most of the time.
"It's out in my car." Akihiko slowly set his beer can down on the counter.
"Why in the hell didn't you bring it in, Moron?" Hiroki shouted, exasperated. "You know this isn't exactly the best neighborhood."
"It's in the trunk and I set the alarm," Akihiko's mild response showed he felt none of Hiroki's concern.
Akihiko sighed and marveled, as always, at how tightly wound Hiroki was. As usual though, he kept his opinion to himself, not wanting to incite an eruption of mount Kamijou.
He thought Hiroki seriously needed to get laid… soon.
Given their past, thinking about his best friend's sex life made Akihiko instantly uncomfortable. Looking for a distraction from this, he started patting his pockets trying to locate where he had last stuck his cigarettes.
"Well, don't just stand there. Go get it!"
Hiroki had planned to yell something else but stopped when he noticed Akihiko's graceful fumbling. Now it was his turn to roll his eyes. "They're in your coat pocket, and you can smoke outside while you get your computer. I don't want my house or my books smelling like an ashtray."
Akihiko's brow twitched both at his friend's understanding of him and at being barred from smoking inside. He reluctantly pushed himself away from the counter.
"You can make the corrections while I finish reading," Hiroki growled. "Kami-sama, how your editor puts up with you, Akihiko, I will never know."
"She's come under the spell of the infinite Usami charm," Akihiko drawled as he headed towards the door. He grabbed his keys from where Hiroki had set them on the low table in the entry way after picking them up from where he had dropped them on the floor on his way in.
Akihiko gathered his coat, slipped into his shoes, and stepped out.
Yeah, I know all about that goddamn Usami charm, Hiroki thought miserably as he heard the door click shut.
Hours later Hiroki had finished reading not only Akihiko's novel but all his student essays as well. Akihiko was almost halfway through making his revisions.
Hiroki peered over the edge of his reading glasses once more at the panda clock. It was after two a.m.
He was incredibly grateful that he had taught the courses he was presenting tomorrow previously, when he'd been a TA working on his Master's degree. This meant he already had lecture notes prepared in advance and would be able to brush up enough in the morning to get by.
If he'd been teaching one of his new courses tomorrow, spending his whole night on Akihiko's book and getting caught up on his grading would have totally fucked with his lectures.
"Look, stay as late as you want," Hiroki yawned. "But I'm going to bed. Not all of us have the life of leisure you do. Some of us have a schedule to keep and bosses who are not as forgiving of lateness as your editor."
"Fine," Akihiko mumbled, not looking up.
Hiroki knew that as soon as he left the room, Akihiko would go out on his balcony and smoke. They had been engaged in an unspoken battle of wills to see who would last the longest.
While Akihiko looked as exhausted again as he had when he'd first arrived, Hiroki, unlike him, had not had the benefit of a six hour nap.
"I think I have another hour or two here and then I'll join you." Akihiko's long fingers continued to fly over the keyboard as he studied Hiroki's recommendations. "It's too late to drive all the way back across town."
At Akihiko's announcement, Hiroki's heart both leapt for joy and wept with despair. "Suit yourself," he muttered, trying to sound casual.
"But I'm not turning the heat down for you and if you touch the thermostat again, I'll throttle you! Last time you stayed over, I almost fucking froze to death during the night."
Akihiko's lips twitched up slightly at the warning, amused by his friend's sensitivity to temperature. For one who was so fiery, the professor seemed forever bothered by the cold.
Seeing Akihiko's smirk, Hiroki knew he'd better throw another blanket or two on the bed for himself.
As he rose to leave, Hiroki mustered his courage. He'd been wrestling with himself for hours now about asking Akihiko to come lecture. This was a good a time as any to approach the man; he'd just done his friend a hell of a service.
"Ah, Akihiko, I have a request. A favor actually."
Damn, just grow a pair will you, Kamijou? Hiroki hated the hesitancy in his voice.
Akihiko suddenly looked up; his violet eyes widened with concern. "Erm… look, Hiroki, when I said I'd join you, I didn't mean…"
Hiroki blushed furiously and chucked the red corrections pen he was still holding at Akihiko. He grew even more flustered when Akihiko caught it easily.
"Shut up, Asshole, it's not that kind of request. That wasn't my intention at all!" Hiroki wished he had a couch in this room so that he could crawl under it right now and die.
"I apologize, Old Man," Akihiko said gently. His eyes filled with the particular kindness that drove Hiroki mad.
"It's just that in all the time I've known you, you've only ever asked me to indulge you in a "favor" once before."
They both knew that he was referring to the one time, a little more than a year ago, that Hiroki had asked Akihiko to fuck him. Akihiko had been game at the time but the results of the tryst had been awful.
While Akihiko seemed to have put the encounter behind them, Hiroki was still devastated by it. Not that he'd ever allowed Akihiko to know that.
"Well, yeah… that was just for kicks, right?" Hiroki rubbed the back of his head as though this might somehow vicariously soothe the deep ache in his chest. "Uh… besides, I have a new boyfriend now, and it's getting kind of serious…" The lie tasted acidic in his mouth.
A glimmer of pleasure sparked in Akihiko's unusual eyes. He smiled fully for the first time that evening. The beauty of it pierced Hiroki's already badly bleeding heart.
"Congratulations! Why didn't you tell me earlier? I thought you'd sworn off relationships and men in general, for that matter, after what happened with Shinoda."
Hiroki felt his face grow hot at the mention of Shinoda's name.
After the miserable failure of his attempted seduction of Akihiko, he had hooked up with a dapper blond real estate agent. He'd met Shinoda while looking for apartments closer to campus. His current abode, however, was not one of the places Shinoda offered him.
Thankfully, Hiroki thought to himself.
His current home was much less expensive than the types of spaces Shinoda regularly showed. Not that he couldn't have afforded a better place; he simply preferred to spend his funds on books.
They'd been together for about six months when Hiroki had broken it off. It had taken him that long to realize as much as he tried, he really didn't love the man and he couldn't stay with (or continue being touched so intimately) by someone that he didn't have feelings for, despite how vehemently Shinoda had tried to convince him otherwise.
In fact, not long after their breakup, Shinoda had stalked him at the University and had ended up making a very loud and visible declaration in the halls outside the departmental lounge. So, now the whole Japanese department and some other departments as well knew that their new hire was gay
While Hiroki was not ashamed of his sexuality, neither was he overt about it. For one thing, although things were shifting in the world at large, the department he taught in had a large contingent of older faculty, many of whom were not anxious to change their opinions about orientations they found distasteful.
The whole Shinoda incident was another reason Hiroki really needed to get Akihiko to come speak: it would help redeem him from some of the lingering shame of that unfortunate occurrence.
Hiroki wondered how far he should push his new lie. He didn't want to get diverted too far before he lost the nerve to ask his favor.
"Well, you know… In the heat of the moment, swearing off seemed like a good move… but old habits die hard." Hiroki tried to keep his voice light as he said this.
"I knew you'd get back on the stick at some point," Akihiko punned. He was practically glowing; he was so happy for Hiroki's shift. It also relieved him of his lingering guilt for what had happened between them.
Then his expression sobered a bit. "So how come you haven't mentioned him before? And, if it's getting serious, why isn't he here throwing me out then?
"Doesn't speak very well of your new fellow that he's not about when you have strange men dropping by to commandeer your bedroom. Your phone hasn't rung at all either."
Hiroki was always maddened that it seemed Akihiko's acute sense of perception was able to see and acknowledge everything around him, with the exception of fact that his oldest friend had, for years, been truly and deeply in love with him.
"I didn't tell you because I wasn't ready to deal with a bunch of questions, Usami. And I am not some damsel that needs looking after, Asshole!
"You're almost as irritating as my mother!" Hiroki sounded indignant, but really he was in a panic, trying to think of a way to make his lie sound more convincing in light of Akihiko's observations.
"Just because I said it's getting serious doesn't mean we have to cohabitate. He has his own place and our schedules don't always match up the best.
"He's still a student, studying, uh, medicine." Hiroki had just recently read a novel about a young doctor. "So his studies take up a lot of his time. And he works nights and they don't like him to call at all while he's working."
"Hardly here and hardly available? Hmmmm… he sounds perfect for you." Akihiko joked. But then he asked sincerely, "Are you truly happy with him?"
From what he knew of his friend and the man's seeming state, Akihiko wondered how good the relationship could really be. He feared Hiroki was simply continuing along on his trajectory of disastrous relationships and disappointing affairs.
"Mmmmm. Very." Hiroki avoided Akihiko's eyes and studied the floor, trying hard to make sure that his voice sounded sincere.
"He's tall, good looking, and, um, reasonably intelligent." Hiroki couldn't believe the shit he was feeding his friend or that Akihiko honestly seemed to be buying it.
Akihiko could tell that his questions were perhaps a little too invasive. As long as he'd known Hiroki, with the exception of literature, the man had always had great difficulty talking about things he cared about.
"Sorry, Hiroki. I know it's really none of my business." Akihiko offered this as a way indicating his willingness to abandon the subject of his agitated friend's love life. "But you're my best friend and I care about you."
Not enough, Hiroki thought miserably.
He wasn't usually like this, but after the discomfort he'd just experienced, he felt the need to punish Akihiko.
"Speaking of boyfriends," Hiroki's voice was laden with sarcasm, "How's Takahashi?"
Akihiko's eyes narrowed. He regarded Hiroki with disappointment.
"Well, your new love interest obviously hasn't tempered your cruelty at all, Kamijou." The warmth of his earlier tones had quickly faded and the frost on the edges of his voice was biting. "Your reference to my unrequited seems rather a low blow, especially considering your own recent good fortunes."
Then Akihiko's voice shifted to the particular timbre that was reserved only for speaking of Takahashi Takahiro. To Hiroki this had come to sound like fingernails on a chalkboard.
"His little brother has been having a lot of health problems lately, so he's been so wrapped up in that and his job. I've hardly seen him at all in weeks.
"It's so honorable the way that he has taken on all the responsibility of his brother. Takahiro's Misaki is a very lucky boy."
Akihiko sighed. He was irritated with Hiroki for bringing Takahiro up when his friend so obviously (and for no apparent reason that he could ascertain) disliked Takahashi. Akihiko was also disappointed in himself for being jealous of a sickly child he'd never met.
Having had enough of this painful subject, Akihiko's mind wandered around again to the thing that had been the origin of their conversation. "So back to your request… What is it then?" Violet eyes pinned Hiroki under the weight of the inquiry.
Hiroki was mentally kicking himself. What a stupid way to go about asking a favor, completely upset the person you're making the request of first.
Great going, Kamijou! Your conversational skills and adept diplomacy have once again worked their wonders. He felt the familiar and unwanted blush creeping back into his cheeks.
Oh, what the hell, I might as well ask and take the rejection so I can at least give my department chair his answer.
"Look, Akihiko…" Hiroki shifted uncomfortably. "I wondered if you would come talk about your work...You know, give a lecture at 'M'."
Akihiko made a face. In any other situation, seeing the usually impassive countenance so contorted might have gone as far as to have elicited a laugh from Hiroki.
"This isn't your request. Is it, Hiroki?" Akihiko carefully studied his friend. "It's someone else's." He sighed deeply and began patting his pockets down again. "You know how much I hate that kind of thing."
"Your cigarettes are on the counter, Akihiko." Hiroki stepped over to retrieve them. "I do know. And the head of my department asked me to ask you.
"So here I am, as a friend, asking for this fucking favor. All I need from you is a yes or a no." Already mortified enough by Akihiko's earlier assumption, Hiroki was not about to degrade himself further by begging.
"It would help you in the department?" Akihiko asked, starting to rise.
"Yes." Hiroki tossed the pack to Akihiko and began to move towards the short hall that led to his bath and his bed without waiting for an answer.
Akihiko walked over to the sliding glass door to the apartment's tiny balcony and opened it. Before he stepped out he looked back at Hiroki's retreating form.
"Okay. I'll tell Aikawa-san tomorrow and she'll have Isaka-san set it up."
Hiroki stopped and turned back. His cheeks were hotly flushed. He'd thought for a moment it might have actually been easier when he'd asked Akihiko to fuck him.
He dipped his head slightly. "Thanks," he murmured just loud enough for Akihiko to hear.
Akihiko offered a slight, tense smile and shrugged before he moved outside and slid the door closed behind him.
Hiroki got ready for bed and fell into his futon. Two hours later, Akihiko slipped in and crawled under the covers next to him. Hiroki knew this because he couldn't sleep, despite how exhausted he was. It was like this for him whenever his friend was around: Akihiko churned up things within him that refused to be stilled.
Hiroki waited breathlessly until he was sure Akihiko was asleep.
Once out, Akihiko was a profoundly deep sleeper; Hiroki knew this since they had often shared a bed when they were younger. Akihiko had lived at the Kamijou home more than his own until they were in high school.
When he felt assured that his friend was asleep, in increments Hiroki inched over until his back was almost touching Akihiko's. Then the author shifted in his sleep: moving over, settling his broad shoulder's against Hiroki's slighter narrower ones.
Feeling the solidity of his own unrequited behind him, so close and yet simultaneously so infinitely far away, Hiroki finally, silently, allowed his tears to carry him to sleep as Akihiko slumbered unknowingly on.
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