Title: Careful What You Wish For
Characters: Eiri and Shuichi
Summary: Eiri says he wants to be left alone, but being ignored doesn't sit very well with him.
Rating/Warnings: T, some mentions of sex, bit of language, and some mild sexual innuendo, relatively tame.
Eiri held the phone close to his ear, very carefully not listening to the other person on the other end, and wishing he hadn't picked up. Damn, this was the third such call he had suffered through this morning.
The first had been from his troublesome but harmless little brother and wouldn't have bothered him except that in the same breath Tatsuha tried to be an endearing younger sibling, he also went on to ask for some ridiculous favor involving either money or Ryuichi Sakuma. Needless to say, Eiri hung up before he could finish.
The second phone call had been from his editor, who thankfully had kept the conversation brief and businesslike. For once he was even ahead of his scheduled deadline, so he didn't even have to endure getting chewed out or needing to make excruciatingly unconvincing excuses for himself . If Mizuki hadn't offhandedly reminded him about the date, he might not have cut off the conversation early in his usual flippant manner.
Now Eiri was once again talking to someone he really didn't want to hear from.
"Blah, blah, blah," this and "Blah, blah, blah," that floated harmlessly in one ear and out the other and Eiri was beginning to wonder why he hadn't ripped the phone cord out of the wall until something finally caught his attention.
"So, we'll see you there at noon?"
"I swear, Eiri," Mika sighed in exasperation and Eiri swore he could hear her roll her eyes. "Don't you ever listen?"
"I guess not," Eiri replied. He had been answering his sister in monosyllabic grunts and halfhearted "uh-huhs" in the hopes of keeping the conversation short, but had apparently talked himself into a trap.
"I invited you to lunch with me and Tohma. Are you coming or what?"
Eiri stayed silent for a moment. Deciding he needed the fortification for the rest of the conversation, he plucked his lighter and cigarettes off the edge of his desk where they faithfully waited for him. Eiri held the phone against his ear with his shoulder as he reclined further into his office chair and lit up. It was nothing short of astonishing that Mika's patience lasted long enough for him to take his first drag.
"Look," he said as he tossed his lighter and half-empty pack back onto the desk and held phone back up to his ear, "I don't need to hear The Lecture from either one of you. Not today."
"No lectures, I promise. I would just like to see my little brother every now and again, all right? You can even bring Shuichi along if you'd like."
"Hrmph," Eiri snorted. The guilt trip was nothing new. It was a surprise that Mika would extend an olive branch to Shuichi though. She even went so far as calling him by name instead of referring to him as "that boy." Still, it annoyed Eiri that Shuichi was thought of as his Achilles heel. Even if he was beginning to come to terms with the fact that is was true. He irritably flicked ashes into the ashtray before responding. "Aren't you afraid of putting him and Tohma in the same room together?"
"Tohma can behave himself."
"Such faith in him," sarcasm practically oozed from the telephone. "Why does that kid keep putting up with your shit?"
"Damned if I know. He's crazy."
"He'd have to be. So, are you going to bring him?"
Eiri took another long drag as he thought it over.
"We'll see," he finally answered.
"So, you are coming then?"
"Yeah, I guess so." Anything had to be better than staring at the blinking cursor on his computer screen, and not getting any work done. Well, that wasn't entirely true. He had thrown his male protagonist in front of a bus, stricken the heroine with a terrible case of amnesia so the villain could take advantage of her, and had her pet dog attacked by ninjas. Unfortunately, he was only on the fifth chapter and needed to build to something, so he deleted every word of it. "Same place as last time?"
"Yes, we'll see you there."
Without so much as a goodbye, Eiri clicked the 'end' button on the phone and placed it back on its cradle. He took in one last lungful toxic fumes from his cigarette then smashed the lit end into the ashtray and let it set with the pile of others that had accumulated there since he started working early that morning.
With dismay, he noticed that there were quite a few more than normal.
Damn, he had begun writing that day hoping to distract himself, and avoid a certain live-in distraction of his, but when said nuisance actually did leave him be instead of pestering him to no end like he had expected, he became irritable and cranky.
Well, more irritable and cranky.
Why should that bother him? Hadn't he wanted to be left alone today? Shouldn't he be grateful that Shuichi had respected his wishes?
Finding those question distasteful, Eiri ignored them and pulled himself out of his office chair to stretch out his arms and legs. His neck felt a little stiff and he rubbed the sore muscles and thought, 'Damn, I'm getting old.'
He scoffed at himself for thinking such an absurd notion and shut down his computer, having made little progress on his latest story since he started on it earlier.
Eiri listened for any trace of sound from either end of the hall as he emerged into the apartment outside the confines of his stuffy office, abandoning the lonely room and its dismal atmosphere. His ears failed to pick up any of his lover's usual boisterous noises, and the corners of Eiri's mouth turned down in a thoughtful frown.
It was still early, barely after ten thirty, and this was Shuichi's first day off in close to over a week.
Maybe he was still in bed.
While it was unusual for Eiri to wake before Shuichi, the kid had been doing a lot of promotional work for a soon-to-be-released album of his, and that included some late-night television and radio interviews. It seemed odd to Eiri that it was because of Shuichi that he had developed a routine when Shuichi's irregular schedule was anything but routine.
Shuichi did leave for the NG building most days, but when he went and what he did there changed dramatically. Some days he would be writing or arranging songs, others he would be recording, practicing his vocals or choreography. Though he wouldn't admit as much to Shuichi, being a rockstar was a lot more work than it was made out to be.
Most of the unpredictability in Shuichi's schedule when he wasn't on tour, however, came from promoting new songs, albums, concerts, etc. They had him doing all sorts of TV spots, magazine interviews and that sort of thing, and K frequently kidnapped the entire band and made them do something so ridiculously stupid for publicity that Eiri questioned Shuichi's sanity for letting him remain his manager. Of course, Shuichi was more than happy to jump through all hoops they gave him to get the attention, but he didn't always know his limits, and sometimes it left him drained.
Eiri, in contrast, now ate regular meals instead of forgetting them half the time, and went to sleep at a nearly decent hour instead of pulling all-nighters. He worked regularly during the day while Shuichi was away- it being impossible for him to work while Shuichi was around- and no longer spent his nights chasing tail like he used to. On one level it disgusted him that he he'd slipped into comfortable domesticity, but it filled him with a strange contentment to pack Shuichi a bento for lunch every morning, and greet him in the evening when he came home.
But now wasn't a good time to dwell on such sentimental drivel.
Eiri shook his head to clear it of those ridiculous thoughts as he approached the bedroom. The metal doorknob felt cool to his touch and he slowly twisted it and eased the door open, hoping that Shuichi was still slumbering away so that he could surprise him with an unexpected wake up call.
Eiri's mind raced with all the delightful and deliciously naughty ways he could wake Shuichi. His anticipation grew as he peeked into the room, but the mischievous smirk that he hadn't realized he was making vanished when he caught a glimpse of the bed.
It was empty.
Not just empty, immaculate.
No blankets strewn about haphazardly or piled into tangled up messes. No pillows tossed onto the surrounding floor. No underpants hanging from the lampshade where they'd been accidentally slungshot the night before. No mysterious stains caused by forgetting to put away the lubricant.
Most nights Eiri had to poke, prod, and threaten to make Shuichi sleep in the wet spot formed from their lovemaking to get the lazy brat to help him change the sheets before they went to sleep. Why was it so annoying now to see the bed perfectly made?
There wasn't even a wrinkle in the comforter.
Eiri flung the door wide open in some unnamed anger and glared at the perfect and empty bed. He didn't even flinch at the loud crashing noise from the doorknob punching a giant hole in the wall.
Oh, hell, it was only drywall, he could pay to have it repaired.
"Yuki? Are you all right?" Shuichi called. He must have heard the noise. At least he was still home.
"I'm fine," Eiri answered. He stood there a moment half expecting Shuichi not to believe him and come rushing to his aide. He frowned in irritation when it didn't happen.
Eiri growled in annoyance. Damn brat was making him feel like a fool for standing there and waiting for him. Eiri stomped away from the bedroom, past his office, and toward the living room where he'd heard Shuichi calling out from.
He quickly found him curled up on one end of the couch with a book- no, a manga- in hand.
"You sure you're okay?" Shuichi asked, looking up from the pages of his comic as Eiri stormed into the room, completely knocking the wind out of Eiri's sails.
"Yeah, I'm fine," Eiri replied. He might have overreacted a bit and felt silly for his unjustified anger.
"Oh, okay then," Shuichi chirped and went back to reading his manga.
Never mind. Eiri's frustration was entirely called for.
Eiri approached Shuichi quietly and sat on arm of the couch, leaning over Shuichi as he read. It didn't take long for Shuichi to get irritated and he started fidgeting.
"Yuuuki!" he whined and tilted his head back to glare at Eiri. "Do you have to lean over me like that?"
Ah, that was better. Shuichi was not allowed to ignore him.
"Aren't these mine?" Eiri asked, as he snatched the glasses Shuichi was wearing.
"Used to be. You only wore these a couple times then switched back to your old ones 'cause you said they pinched your nose."
"You punched the lenses out?" Eiri asked as he poked his fingers through the rims where the glass should have been.
"Well, yeah. Your eyesight is really bad. I was getting headaches."
"My eyesight is not that bad."
"Is too! You probably shouldn't drive without your glasses. It's a miracle you haven't gotten into a major crash."
"Why are you even wearing these at all?" Eiri demanded in annoyance. "You don't need them, and I don't recall you asking first."
"I like to wear glasses when I read. It makes me feel smart."
Eiri chuckled in spite of himself. He'd been doing a lot of that lately. How was he supposed to keep his broody, aloof, and mysterious façade when Shuichi's ridiculous antics so frequently broke his mask.
"You're reading Saiyuki, not Shakespeare. How smart do you need to be?"
Shuichi pouted and Eiri leaned down to take advantage of those sensual lips and kissed him. The angle was a bit awkward, the way he was leaning over Shuichi made him worry he'd lose balance and fall on top of him, so Eiri kept it brief. When he pulled away, Shuichi kept tilting his head back and staring at Eiri with a rather tempting expression.
"Can I have them back, please?" Shuichi asked, looking pleadingly up at Eiri.
A few ideas ran through Eiri's head about how he might make Shuichi iearn/i them back, but he decided there probably wasn't enough time to play those game with Shuichi right then if he wanted to get to that lunch and give his brother-in-law and sister some hell. Instead, he placed the glasses back on Shuichi's face and tried not to grimace.
He wished he could say it was a good look for the boy, but the truth was Shuichi looked like an absolute dork.
Shuichi went back to reading, and Eiri sat for a moment unsure of what to do next. He absently played with Shuichi's hair until he grew weary of the silence and broke it.
"Hey," he asked nonchalantly, "I didn't hear you get up, how long ago did you get out of bed?"
"Hmm… About a couple hours ago, I guess."
A couple hours?
"You said you didn't want me bugging you today…"
That didn't bother Eiri.
"So I thought I'd let you work…"
No, it didn't bother Eiri at all.
"After all, you said…"
"That you wanted…"
"To be left alone."
Eiri grunted in response but otherwise gave nothing away.
Another minute of silence passed and it gnawed away at Eiri's nerves; he was not used to Shuichi being so quiet.
"Hey," Eiri once again shattered the oppressive silence. "Mika invited me to lunch with her and Tohma today."
Shuichi finally set his book down and turned to face Eiri.
"Yes, I…" Eiri blanked when he tried to think of a tactful way to invite Shuichi without revealing how much he wanted Shuichi to be there.
Apparently he paused for a moment too long because the brat spoke up before he could.
"'Kay, have fun."
That was it? No 'but, Yuki, I want you to spend the day with me!'? No jealously? Anger? Shock? Disappointment? Bargaining? Just permission to have a good time without him?
If the brat didn't even care if he left, Eiri wasn't going to bother to invite him along.
"Are you housebroken enough for me to leave you here alone for a couple hours?" Eiri asked bitingly.
Such insults had once been commonplace in their complicated relationship, but as time went on the need to keep Shuichi at a distance had worn off and they had become a rarity or at worst affectionate teasing.
But this time Eiri aimed to hurt.
Shuichi winced as if struck, and Eiri could see now the stinging effect such acidic comments had.
"Yuki! You jerk!" Shuichi retaliated. "You're the one who's going, so you don't have to get mad at me!"
Shuichi stormed out of the room, retreating to the bedroom they shared together and slammed the door in his wake.
Shit! Shuichi was right.
Eiri hated it when Shuichi was right.
He knew damn well his pride wouldn't allow him to apologize, but Eiri made a promise to make it up to Shuichi later. In the meantime Eiri was going to be late if he didn't start getting ready.
Eiri headed down the same hall Shuichi had retreated through. He approached the bathroom and paused for a moment, staring at the closed bedroom door further down the hallway. With a weary sigh of resignation, Eiri changed course and kept going until he reached the shut door and gently knocked on it.
"Shuichi?" he called. "I'm going to take a shower before I head out, all right?"
What was Eiri doing? It wasn't like he needed permission to use his own shower.
He leaned up against the door to listen for any sound from Shuichi, but didn't hear so much as a peep. He wondered if he ought to check in on him, but quickly decided against it. The way things were going he was likely to make things worse.
Instead he did an about-face and headed back to the bathroom.
Under the steady stream of warm water, Eiri finally cooled down.
Shuichi was acting weird today. Not the everyday Shuichi-weird that Eiri was accustomed to, some new kind of weird and Eiri was thrown off kilter.
Or maybe it was all in Eiri's head. After all, he had to admit that he had been acting kind of unusual too.
Eiri sighed and turned off the faucet.
He'd spent a long time in shower turning his thoughts over and over, and he hoped he hadn't wasted too much time. He quickly dried himself with a bath towel and wrapped it around his waist before exiting the bathroom, though modesty was rather pointless by now.
The bedroom door was open again, and Eiri hoped that Shuichi had gotten over his fit. He was usually pretty quick to forgive, and Eiri didn't want today to be the exception.
Eiri entered the bedroom and found it as perfect and as empty as he had earlier. He didn't hear any movement anywhere else in the apartment and wondered if Shuichi had left.
He didn't think he'd made Shuichi that upset, but Eiri realized it would be better if he got dressed before seeking him out.
He dressed quickly checked the time as he slipped on the watch Shuichi had given him a year ago. He still had plenty.
"Hey, brat?" Eiri called when he exited the bedroom. He didn't want Shuichi to think he was sorry for being an ass earlier.
Suddenly, Eiri heard the door to the apartment open and close. He rushed there to catch Shuichi before he could run off in another display of melodrama, and drew to a halt when he saw Shuichi removing his shoes in the entryway.
"Where were you?" Eiri asked, trying only to sound mildly curious, not concerned.
"I went to go feed that stray cat of yours," Shuichi answered amiably.
It looked like he was back to normal, or as normal as Shuichi got.
"You call it my cat and a stray in the same breath? Isn't that contradictory?"
"Well, that cat you like so much then," Shuichi said. He eyed Eiri up and down and gave a cluck of approval for Eiri's ensemble. "You going then?"
"Yeah, I'll be back soon though. You know I can't stand all that family bonding crap for too long, it's just going to be fun giving those two a tough time."
"Don't be too mean or I might not get to see my in-laws anymore."
Eiri snorted and playfully swatted Shuichi on the head.
"They're not your in-laws, and you're not lucky enough me to chase away my family. If I could have, I would have a long time ago."
"Oww!" Shuichi pouted. "That's not nice. And you wouldn't cut me off from my cute little nephew would you?"
"He calls me Uncle ShuShu."
"Only because Mika thought it was a better alternative to 'That Man Uncle Eiri Sticks His Di-'"
"YUKIIIII!" Shuichi squealed.
Shuichi glared up at Eiri and Eiri grinned smugly. He was very pleased to know that after all these years he could still make Shuichi blush.
"I'll be back shortly," Eiri said. "Try to stay out of trouble while I'm gone."
"Okay then, see you when you get back," Shuichi said and stood on his tippy-toes to give Eiri a goodbye kiss then went back into their home.
Eiri considered changing his mind about inviting Shuichi to come along, but remained resolute. Mika and Tohma were enough to deal with, he didn't think he could handle adding Shuichi into the mix.
He grabbed his coat and made sure he had everything he needed.
Check and double check.
Eiri checked the hook on wall where he usually kept them and they were gone. They weren't on the table near the door either. He double-checked all his pockets to make sure they weren't hiding in a corner of them, and then checked his other coat, which was still hanging up in the closet.
Eiri growled in frustration. He usually wasn't this absentminded. Where the hell did he put them? He was pretty sure they weren't wandering off on their own.
He hadn't gone anywhere for the past couple days and couldn't remember what he had done with them last.
Didn't he set straight to work after his last meeting with his editor? Maybe he'd accidentally left them in his office.
Eiri walked past Shuichi, who was back to reading his comic book, and Shuichi looked up at him as he went by but didn't say anything.
The keys weren't on his desk or in any of the drawers.
His pants pockets maybe?
Eiri went to search through his laundry from the past few days.
He was going to be late. Ugh… He didn't want to start out with Mika bitching at him for it and Tohma trying to defend him and acting as though he were still a child that needed to be coddled.
Eiri passed though the living room again, trying to retrace his steps from the last time he could remember driving his car, and heard some stifled laughter from Shuichi.
Eiri turned abruptly to face Shuichi, and didn't fail to notice how quickly Shuichi hid his face behind his book, pretending to read.
"What did you do with them?" Eiri demanded.
"D-do with what?" Shuichi stammered, shifting his eyes suspiciously.
"You know what. Give them to me."
First Shuichi acted like he didn't care what Eiri did, now he trying to prevent him from leaving? Couldn't he make up his mind?
Eiri walked over to Shuichi slowly. He put his hands on the backrest of the couch, and one of his knees on the seat next to Shuichi, effectively towering over him. Feeling a bit intimidated, Shuichi trembled slightly, but tried to allay Eiri's suspicions.
"I-I don't know what you did with your keys last. Did you check the kitchen? They could have gotten lost when you brought in groceries the other day."
Eiri quirked his eyebrow and Shuichi realized his mistake.
"I don't recall telling you what I was looking for," Eiri said, leaning in even closer to the panic-stricken singer.
"Where are they?"
There wasn't any point left in feigning innocence any longer so Shuichi dug through the couch cushion where he had hidden them and dangled the keys coyly in front of Eiri.
"We'll talk about this when I get home," Eiri said as he snatched the keys away from Shuichi. He didn't have time to deal with it right then, but thought perhaps a good spanking was in order when he returned.
He didn't wait for Shuichi's response and instead hurried to meet his family. Mika had promised not to lecture him, but he doubted her word would hold water if he kept her waiting for too long.
He fumed as he rode the elevator down to the parking garage where his Mercedes awaited him. One passenger who was unfortunate to catch the lift with him cowered in the opposite corner hoping to avoid the brunt of the poisonous aura Eiri was emitting.
If that damn brat wanted him to stick around why didn't he say so? Why hadn't greeted Eiri in the morning when he got up like he usually did? Why was he ignoring him today? Damn passive-aggressive little shit! Why was he acting so odd?
The elevator finally dinged, and Eiri exited it, leaving its other occupant so relieved that he forgot to exit himself before the elevator's doors slid shut on him.
Eiri stormed through the parking lot until he reached his car. He finally calmed some and once again checked his watch. It looked like he wouldn't be too late after all, as long as traffic wasn't heavy.
He walked over to the driver's side of his vehicle, pressing the button on the key fob to unlock it. He reached for the handle to open the door and stopped abruptly.
There was something on the seat.
A very neatly wrapped gift.
Eiri opened the door and pulled out the unexpected present. There was a small note attached and Eiri read it over a couple of times.
Happy Birthday, Yuki!
You said not to make a big deal
of it, but I got you something
Eiri closed the door to his car and set the gift on the trunk of his car to unwrap it. He very carefully untied the ribbon around it then started removing the wrapping paper. He folded the paper back up, having not torn it, then lifted the lid off the very nondescript box.
Inside it was a strawberry shortcake from his favorite bakery. Eiri wondered how Shuichi had kept it hidden until he was able to sneak it out the car. He lifted it out of the box and noticed there was something beneath it.
Pink fur lined handcuffs.
Eiri grinned in amusement. He placed the dessert back in the box and as he put the lid back on, the note it had come with fluttered to the ground. He knelt over to pick it up and noticed it had some writing on the back.
P.S. I'll see you when you get home.
The rest of your gift is upstairs,
already unwrapped and waiting
for you in the bedroom ^_~
Eiri straightened up and began digging through his coat pocket for his cell phone. He started going down the list of names in his phonebook and stopped when the saw Tohma's. Shouldn't he have come across Mika's first? Eiri decided not to think about it and called the number.
Tohma picked up almost immediately.
Had it even rung once?
"Eiri-san!" Tohma exclaimed cheerfully. "How are you? We are still expecting you for lunch right?"
"Yeah, but something's come up and I'm going to be a little late."
"Are you okay?" Tohma asked. "Is something wrong? Do you need directions?"
"No," Eiri answered, trying not to lose his patience. He knew Tohma meant well, and there were few people in this world that he could count on as much as Tohma Seguchi, but there were times when Tohma still thought of him as a lost little boy. "I'm fine. Shuichi and I will be joining you shortly."
Tohma twitched on the other end of the line. Eiri couldn't see him, but he was sure of it.
"Good," He said, never letting his polite tone falter. "When can we be expecting you for lunch?"
It was silent as Eiri thought about how to answer.
"As soon as I've had dessert."
Eiri smiled and turned off his cell phone. He picked up his present and locked up his car. Then he headed back upstairs where he knew there was an extra special birthday treat waiting for him.
Eiri does a good job of pretending he doesn't want to get fussed over, ne? Good thing Shuichi knows better. Looks like J-pop tart is on the menu for his special day, enjoy ^_~
Wow, guess I never posted this one here (though oddly enough, I did post the ficlet that was inspired by some of the comments I received for this on my livejournal; It's in my 'Vignette' collection)
Late fic is late.
Happy Birthday, Eiri Yuki!
Thanks for reading, please feed the poor muse and leave a kind review.