A/N: Written for himitsuhitori on tumblr.
House shopping in winter, only that guy would consider something like this fun, Hyuuga thought with no little aggravation, stamping his frozen feet several times in an attempt to get some semblance of feeling back into them.
The January breeze ruffling his hair was crisp and cold. The scent of snow teased the chilly air, but was overpowered by the fragrant aroma of cherry wood spiraling out in smoky rings from a nearby chimney. Shivering, he huddled deeper into the padded, bulky warmth of his green parka, shoving his hands as deep into the pockets of his jeans as they would go, silently wondering if he had lost his mind, agreeing to this whole "living together" business. College roommates were one thing, but this … this was something else entirely.
This was fighting over the last croquette at the dinner table and using the same tube of toothpaste and washing clothes together and arguing over who gets which side of the bed, and this was probably, most likely, without a doubt what forever looked like.
From this moment, his life, their lives, would irrevocably change for better, for worse, Hyuuga didn't know. What he did know was the man now walking toward him, limping a little (the cold aggravating that old knee injury and you would think the idiot would remember and choose a different day to go house hunting, but no it had to be today he'd said, eyes shining with anticipation like a little boy's and well Hyuuga just couldn't say no to that face now could he), had somehow become the center of his universe, for all his bluster and crankiness.
He couldn't pinpoint the exact moment it happened. When an unexpected, celebratory hug after their high school graduation ceremony had turned into an unexpected kiss, and then astonishing heat and a tangle of long arms and legs and big hands roaming gently and then fiercely over his body. Nah, it was probably before then, back in that hospital room, when his heart had nearly broke in two at the sight of tears streaming down that normally strong, happy face, and Hyuuga had thought no, not again, I won't let him be sad again, I'll protect what's important to him until he gets back, until he can fight again. Yeah, that must have been it, that moment.
Of course, thinking about it now was freaking embarrassing. He could feel himself blush, and could only hope Kiyoshi would attribute the color to chafing from the frosty wind rather than question him. For all his goofiness and seeming lackadaisical manner, he was actually sharp as a whip and almost as sadistic as one when the mood hit him.
"What took you so long?" Hyuuga barked as soon as Kiyoshi was within earshot. "I'm freezing my ass off out here!"
Okay, he was a little bit grumpy, but he had been up since the crack of dawn, they'd already seen four houses (and Kiyoshi had found fault with every one of them – too small, too big, not enough light, not enough closet space, not soundproof – that last one had sent Hyuuga out the door and into the street, leaving Kiyoshi to finish up with the realtor), plus the little trip he just taken down memory lane was making him feel pretty damn awkward.
Laughing merrily, the laugh that crinkled his dark eyes at the corners and brightened his whole face and made you just want to laugh with him no matter how bad a mood you were in, Kiyoshi replied, "Sorry, sorry. They were sold out of the brand you liked, so I had to find a different vending machine. It took a little longer than I anticipated."
While he was speaking, he handed over one of the two black cans he was carrying. Hyuuga took it with a frown, glad for the warmth seeping from the can but still feeling the need to complain a little. It made him happy when Kiyoshi went out of his way like this, and it made him uncomfortable. He knew it didn't make sense to feel such conflicting emotions, but he couldn't help it.
"Stupid, you could have just gotten whatever," he mumbled, rolling the can between his hands, leeching heat from the aluminum surface before turning it upright and opening the tab.
Kiyoshi's smile faded a little, but the glow in his eyes remained. Reaching out, he pushed Hyuuga's glasses up and then wiggled the red, frozen tip of his nose with large, gentle fingers. "It's okay, you are already humoring my selfishness today. The least I can do is buy you the kind of coffee you like."
Gah, just that one little touch, and he felt it all the way to the tips of his numb, icy toes. Bringing the can to his mouth, he tried to cover up his reaction by grousing, "At least you recognize your selfishness."
Chuckling again, Kiyoshi threw an arm over his shoulder, pulling him close. "Well, it's your fault for indulging me all the time. You've quite ruined me, you know."
He couldn't believe his ears. Titling his head back, he gave the taller man a sharp, incredulous look. "Hah? What are you saying? You've been like this from day one, always pushing, trying to get your way. I don't know why I keep putting up with you."
"Mmm, probably because you love me," that deep voice suggested huskily, and he was almost too late in recognizing why Kiyoshi's face was suddenly getting closer until their lips were mere centimeters from touching.
Hyuuga managed to slap one hand over the fool's mouth and used his other to push on the wide chest crowding against him.
"Oi, what the hell do you think you are doing?" he glanced frantically around, hoping no one had seen the almost embrace.
Thick, dark brows lifted inquisitively. "Um, kissing my boyfriend?"
Whoosh, just like that, he wasn't cold anymore. Boyfriend was such a juvenile, adolescent word, and just like an adolescent, his face caught fire every time Kiyoshi used it.
"Not in the middle of the street, dumbass! Anyone could see us. The next house we're going to tour is right there. The real estate agent might see us!"
"Ahh," Kiyoshi nodded, and then his eyes widened dramatically, "hey, I think that realtor already thinks we're together."
"We are together, idiot," Hyuuga shrugged out from under his arm. "And it's all your fault she knows. Asking about soundproof rooms and baths big enough for two men. She's probably telling all the people in her office about the homos she's helping shop for a house."
Crossing his arms, Kiyoshi affected a serious, thoughtful look. "Hey, those things are very important pieces of information we need to know before making an offer."
No they aren't! he wanted to yell, but more than that, he wanted to get out of the cold before his ears succumbed to frostbite, so he simply sighed and shook his head. "Whatever, let's just go, alright. The realtor is probably getting tired of waiting for us, and I'm tired of standing out here in arctic weather."
The small house turned out to be perfect, and after two weeks, the pair moved in.
"Hey, hey! Be careful with that one!" Hyuuga yelled as Kiyoshi lifted another cardboard box from the pile and began to unpack it.
Kioyshi looked up at the sudden outburst. Other than grousing about the amount of stuff Kiyoshi owned or mumbling to himself that he must be crazy, Hyuuga had been conspicuously silent for most of the day. Well, he couldn't help it, could he? Now that they were here, surrounded by their belongings, shoes side by side in the entryway, his toothbrush in the cup with the other man's, his clothes hanging in the closet along with Kiyoshi's in the closet, suddenly the whole thing seemed more real, much more permanent, and he found himself a giant, nervous wreck.
Peering into the box, Kiyoshi discovered the contents and a smile curved his lips. "Ah, your Sengoku figures. Seeing these bring back memories."
"Shut up! There's nothing wrong with a man having a hobby," Hyuuga scowled to hide his embarrassment. "Give me the box."
"I didn't say anything," Kiyoshi's expressive eyebrows shot up, but he dutifully handed the box over.
Hyuuga took it and Kiyoshi stepped back. A flash of pain crossed the taller man's face. He shuffled his legs slightly, and Hyuuga knew he was shifting his weight off his bad knee. All of the moving and lifting must have aggravated it. Of course he hadn't said anything, the retard, he wouldn't. That's how Kiyoshi was, always wanting to be the strong one. It pissed Hyuuga off, but what made him even angrier was the fact he hadn't noticed Kiyoshi's pain before now.
Carefully setting his box of treasures down, he straightened and thumped Kiyoshi on the head.
"Dammit! If you are hurting, say something. We don't have to unpack everything tonight."
Kiyoshi scratched his cheek, looking somewhat chagrined. "Ah, you caught me."
Hyuuga popped him again. "'You caught me, my ass.' What will you do if you seriously hurt yourself?"
"Sorry," Kiyoshi dropped his hand and those deep eyes of his snared Hyuuga's, "I was just so excited to be finally moving in with you."
Adjusting his glasses, Hyuuga looked away. "Idiot, we were already living together."
"But this is different. Like before we were just two guy's occupying the same space, but now we're actually living together."
Ah, they had been feeling the same thing. Hyuuga lifted his eyes. Kiyoshi's expression burned with sincerity. It was that sincerity that had dragged him back into the world of basketball, had pushed him to keep trying even when it made more sense to give up, had made him fall in love.
He realized he was just staring, no doubt with some stupid, sappy look on his face. Flushing, he grabbed Kiyoshi's arm and tugged him toward the sofa.
"Sit down and shut up!" Hyuuga barked, pushing Kiyoshi down but being mindful of his knee. "I'm going to get some ice for your leg so just stay there."
Kiyoshi chuckled softly, raising his hands in surrender. "Yes, yes, whatever you say, Jun-chan."
Hyuuga froze at the endearment and felt his face flame. "I told you not to call me that," he said in a strangled voice.
"But it's cute," Kiyoshi cocked his head, "just like you."
"I'm not cute, idiot!" Hands fisting at his side to keep from throttling the stupid man, he turned away and marched to the kitchen.
He dawdled around in there for a bit until he calmed down, finally returning to the living room with an ice pack and a towel. His steps faltered as he came around the sofa. Kiyoshi was staring out one of the windows, hands folded in his lap, and the happiness on his face was so beautiful, so profound, Hyuuga felt his heart squeeze.
Noticing him, Kiyoshi glanced up with a smile. "Look, Hyuuga, it's snowing. We should—."
"I love you," Hyuuga blurted out, cutting his boyfriend off. Kiyoshi looked surprised, but not as surprised as Hyuuga who had definitely not planned on saying that. "Ah, no, the thing is," he stammered and stuttered, feeling ridiculous and beyond embarrassed.
Kiyoshi's smile softened. "Hyuuga." It was just his name, yet a lifetime of promise rang out beneath it. It nearly drove him to his knees.
"Any-anyway," he coughed, not sure what to do with all of the emotions whirling inside him, "I'm going to massage your leg and then you are going to ice your knee."
He moved to the sofa and knelt down. Dropping the towel and ice beside him, he took Kiyoshi's leg in his hands and began to rub. It wasn't the first time he had done this. Riko had taught him, at his insistence. Kiyoshi would never know the hours he had spent with her and her dad, learning the techniques. Hyuuga didn't plan on telling him, either. It was just too embarrassing.
"That feels good," Kiyoshi sighed after a few moments, his body relaxing into the sofa cushions. Hyuuga just grunted, concentrating on his task. Another couple of minutes passed and Kiyoshi suddenly laughed. That drew Hyuuga's attention.
"What's so funny?"
"Ah, I was just thinking I have found a good wife," Kiyoshi sounded serious but his eyes were sparkling with amusement.
Hyuuga took the bait and reared up, outraged. "Who's your wife?!"
Fast as lightening, Kiyoshi's large hand reached out and cupped the back of Hyuuga's head, tugging him in for a gentle, loving kiss. When it was over, he leaned his forehead against the shorter man's and exhaled. "I love you, Hyuuga."
With Kiyoshi's hand holding him in place, there was no escape. "I know that, stupid." Hyuuga mumbled, wondering if he would ever get used to this thing between them, wondering if he really wanted to, because each kiss, each touch, each word of affection, felt like the first time, with all of its magic and excitement and nervousness. He wouldn't admit it, but he kind of liked those feelings.
However, he still wasn't as comfortable with the mushy stuff as Kiyoshi was. Pulling away, he picked up the ice pack and used the towel to wrap it around Kiyoshi's knee.
"Leave that on," he ordered as he stood up. Arching his back, he surveyed the room, with its half open boxes strewn everywhere, and a sense of unimaginable contentment poured over him.
"I'm getting kind of hungry. What do you want for dinner?" He glanced back at Kiyoshi, who rubbed in chin in thought.
"No," Kiyoshi shook his head and pointed at his partner. "What I want for dinner is Hyuuga."
"Don't be a moron!" Hyuuga spun around. He was almost to the kitchen when he called back over his shoulder. "That's dessert."
A small smile graced his lips as Kiyoshi's surprised laughter followed him into the other room.