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Ties that Bind

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Three months before his 20th birthday Akira wins his final game and becomes a finalist in the Kisei league. He spends hours afterwards being wrung through interviews and bombarded with speculations about him winning the Kisei title at a younger age than Cho Chikun. It's evening when he is done answering all the questions, and it is pure pride and years of social conditioning that keeps him from simply collapsing on the floor and banging his head against the floor boards.

Shindou is in China competing in an international tournament, but he calls Akira that evening, and they spend a long time discussing the game. The conversation becomes very loud, very quickly and ends with Akira slamming the phone in Shindou’s ear around the time the "did not", "did too" starts. After the call, he sits in his apartment and tries to pretend it is not too quiet. Absurdly, the three weeks Shindou has been away is the longest time they spent away from each other in years. Usually, they meet at least once almost every day, and Akira isn't used to this sudden Shindouless existence no matter how much time they spend talking on the phone.

 

Two days later, Shindou wins a game against a Chinese 9 dan. The Weekly Go reporter who corresponds with the Chinese conference is crying with joy all around the institute, talking about the pride of Japan and the future of Japanese go. The game is a Shindou special, with a move that seems innocent but which builds a trap that his opponent misses until 20 moves later when the corner suddenly becomes an opening to the middle. Akira’s breath basically hitches when he lays out the game, and he is struck by a deep and furious jealousy that he wasn’t Shindou’s opponent in this game; that he wasn’t the one to counter the flow of stones. He supposes it speaks volumes that he for a desperate second would be willing to ditch everything to do with the Kisei final to catch a plane to China and challenge Shindou right this minute.

Shindou is, of course, being insufferably smug over the phone, and Akira feels the need to remind him to not get too cocky. Shindou doesn’t agree that he is cocky. This time Shindou is the one who slams the phone, and Akira wonders how many times they’ve actually hung up the phone with a proper goodbye.

 

A week later, he gets the first match announcement. The first game of the Kisei title matches is often played in a major city outside Japan to promote go, and this time it is held in Sao Paolo in Brazil. He spends his day in interviews again, being quizzed about his expectations and language skills, and then about Shindou’s games in China, because the go press has fallen in love with their rivalry, and it is a common feature in interviews to have them comment on each other’s games. Akira is very polite, very diplomatic and tries to give his opinions on Shindou’s games without using the words ‘absolutely brilliant’ or totally irresponsible dumbass.

When he finally gets home, he finds Shindou asleep on his couch. Akira’s first reaction is utter relief. Shindou brings color, noise and annoyance, and somehow Akira has grown addicted to it. Shindou being away for so long has only highlighted this. He stands still for a while and just watches Shindou sleep. Shindou is a surprisingly quiet sleeper, and he looks very young when he sleeps, all ruffled up and taking up as much room as humanly possible. His mouth is partly open, and his bangs have fallen over his eyes. Akira is hit with a burst of emotion that feels like a punch to the chest. He can’t define it, and he can’t quite tell if he wants to touch Shindou or slap him off the couch, but he goes dizzy from the force of it. He realizes with some horror that he really, really needs to sit down and think about what this means. The thing is, that lately Shindou has been around almost constantly, and Akira has trouble thinking when Shindou is around. While he generally is pretty self-reflecting, thinking around Shindou is like trying to think in the middle of a hurricane. Not only does Shindou make no sense, Akira makes no sense around Shindou, which sets him floundering. And now, Akira is suddenly faced with a host off feelings that he has just accepted and sidelined for years, since he has been too busy being caught up in his and Shindou’s rivalry and all the intensity of their go to think about the rest of it. Now, standing in the doorway, it takes a focused effort to pull himself together.

Shindou makes a little noise and opens his eyes. For a moment he looks at Akira with befuddlement, but then his eyes focus and he stretches.

“Didn’t someone tell you that it’s creepy to stand around and staring at people when they sleep?” he murmurs sleepily.

“Didn’t someone tell you that it’s creepy to break into other people’s apartments?” Akira replies dryly.

Shindou snorts.

“I didn’t break in you dumbass. Ashiwara gave me the key.”

Akira would like to know how Shindou persuaded him to do that but decides to refrain from comment.

“If you’re here then make yourself useful,” he says instead. “Get up so we can play.”

Shindou grins, his whole face lighting up, and Akira knows he’s in deep shit when his legs go wobbly, and he gets a desperate urge to bend forward, pin Shindou down against the couch and bite down on his collarbone.

 

Akira leaves for Sao Paolo a couple of days before the game, and Shindou is being generally weird before the trip. He has spent almost all his time in Akira’s apartment since he came home from China, and traces of him starts to show up everywhere. A toothbrush isn’t that surprising, but suddenly a couple of Shindou’s shirts can be found thrown around the apartment, his go books show up on Akira’s desk, and a mysterious amount of ramen shows up in the cupboards. Akira sees this and wonders, but he’s too caught up in the nerves of the journey and has no time to contemplate.

Shindou, amazingly, gets up with him when he is preparing for his early morning flight and even makes him play a very sleepy game of speed go before he leaves to ‘get him in the mood’. As he closes the door, he hears Shindou yell,

"You better kick Ogata’s ass or I won’t forgive you."

 

Akira actually flies down with Ogata, which should feel stranger than it does. He has already accepted that his quick advancement through the leagues is a thorn in Ogata’s side, but, at the same time, he has known Ogata since before he can remember. Across the go board Ogata is a dangerous enemy, but outside it Akira secretly sees him as a slightly dorky older brother, and he has long since become immune against whatever mind games Ogata likes to play.

Sao Paolo is intriguingly different from Tokyo, loud and vibrant in another way, but Akira doesn’t have the opportunity to see much off it. The flight takes over a day with a layover, but the time difference means he arrives late at night. His parents call him early the next morning to check in on him, and he spends some time talking to his dad about Ogata’s favored hands, trying to ignore the jetlag. Around lunch Shindou calls.

“Hey, Touya!” he says without any introduction. “Let’s play a game.”

Akira should probably go out and look at some of the sights before the reception this evening or go down and face the press, but he has to admit to himself that a game with Shindou is absolutely what he needs right now.

It’s a fast paced game, quick and furious without any softness or slow build. They are both entirely on the offense, which for Shindou at least is unusual. And Akira gets taken in by that; he gets dragged along with Shindou’s pace in the game and when he discovers the trap it is too late to correct. He literally has to take three deep breaths before he manages to grind out, “I resign,” between clenched teeth. Shindou is, of course, determined to make it as painful as possible.

“Wow,” he says. “I hope you won’t play like that against Ogata tomorrow. Then they have to reschedule everything, because no way would you last long enough to make it a two day game.

Akira slams his head into his pillow.

“Shindou,” he says, “I hate you so much.”

He can hear Shindou laughing at him through the phone.

“No you don’t,” Shindou says cheerfully. “You just hate losing, but you totally deserved it this time. That was sad.”

Akira is still fuming during the reception, though he manages to hide it, and the saddest thing is that when he sits down in front of Ogata and over the two allotted days manages to play one of the best games of his life, the first thing he thinks after Ogata resigns is,

“Well THIS will show Shindou.”

 

Shindou is in his apartment again when Akira finally gets back, but this time Akira is not very surprised. He does get infinitely suspicious when Shindou’s first words aren’t something about the game, but,

“Hey, you’re back! I made tea. Do you want food? I’ll make some!”

If the world hasn’t gone into opposite land, something is clearly wrong here.

“You’re offering to… make me food?” Akira says to confirm, because right now the probability that his hearing has gone wonky seems pretty high. It isn’t that Shindou can’t do surprisingly thoughtful things to make other people feel better, he just never makes them in this cheerfully wide eyed and pacifying way.

“I can make food,” Shindou tells him, offended. “I’m great at food. Like, I could probably cook every day and stuff for… people.”

He carefully avoids meeting Akira’s eyes.

Akira stares at him and then sighs, gets up and goes to find the major damage that probably has occurred somewhere in his apartment. Everything looks surprisingly whole as he walks around, but Shindou’s stuff is everywhere. At first he hardly notices, but the more he looks the more there is. It isn’t only shirts and a couple of books, Shindou’s property is scattered around everywhere, not only forgotten, but made place for and put away. Akira’s suspicion is growing. The bathroom confirms it. As he opens the bathroom cabinet, he finds an array of what appears to be every single one of Shindou’s hair care products carefully arranged on the shelf.

Interestingly enough their personalities are probably pretty accurately reflected in their go. You would think that Shindou is very straight forward, but the truth is that when he wants something it is just as probable that he will try to sneak it by you without you noticing. Akira, however, likes to be direct about stuff and desperately wishes that people could just say what they want already.

He finds Shindou in the kitchen, probably on the way to destroying his stove.

“Shindou,” he says, “are you moving into my apartment without asking me?”

Shindou gets that very distinctive evasive look in his eyes.

“Is this about the hair mousse?” he says. “Because it isn’t like you’re lacking space or anything.”

It’s moments like these when Akira cannot comprehend why he doesn’t spend his whole life with a migraine.

“That isn’t what I was asking.”

Shindou looks even more evasive.

“Do you think I should move into your apartment?”

Which is an extremely stupid question, because of course Akira doesn’t think Shindou should move into his apartment. They would spend every minute yelling at each other, and Shindou would never clean anything and probably bring in hideous design elements. But that is of course just denial, because there is really only one true answer to Shindou’s question regardless of how angry it will make Akira down the road.

“If you want to move your stuff in, just move your stuff in. Don’t drag in bits and pieces.”

And wow, he will spend his life regretting this, but it’s probably worth it to get Shindou to grin like that.

 

Challenging for the Kisei title is exhausting. Akira thought he was used to pressure, but this puts him on edge in ways he never experienced before, and just waiting for the next match date makes him snappy and tense. Surprisingly enough, Shindou being in the apartment makes it better.

It shouldn’t be that way. Shindou is a being of infinite noisiness, and Akira isn’t precisely calm and collected around him. Even worse are all these emotions that have been making themselves known, desperately intense and unforgiving. It actually doesn’t surprise Akira that much that he is longing for Shindou without clothes, obsessing about various things Shindou is a personal specialty after all, but it is the twist of that desire that worries him. Akira has after all been brought up in a loving household and has always associated love and caring with gentleness and respect. He really can’t fit that in with the desire to slam someone into a wall and bruise their wrists as you kiss them. Trying to figure it out makes his head hurt.

Despite all this, Shindou fits in like the missing piece of a puzzle in the apartment. He comes with too much stuff and terrible furniture, and the very first nigh Akira chucks a tea cup after him in fury, but coming home every day is still more relaxing than it has ever been. He keeps filling voids that Akira never knew was there, and sometimes it is almost frightening to realize how little he knows his own head around Shindou.

 

In the middle of Akira’s Kisei matches, Shindou manages to claw his way into the Honinbo league with a game which Akira insists was sloppy but which Shindou claims was planned genius. They fight about it, but without much true heat. Akira feels both that delighted pride he always feels at Shindou’s victories and, more importantly, pure anticipation. Because Akira is in the league himself, and this means that they’ll meet in an official game. Even after all these years this is a surprisingly rare occurrence. The mismatch that was established when they were 15 is still making itself known; they never seem to be in the same preliminary or at the same event, and after they left the under 18 events this has become even more apparent. Even though they play privately basically every day, an official game against Shindou is still something rare, delicious and valuable, and Akira can feel them sizing each other up and watching each other with match eyes. That brings its own set of problems, though, because Shindou watching him with that gleam in his eyes does not in any way ease Akira’s urge to push him to the floor and totally and utterly wreck him, forcing a complete and utter surrender.

 

The next Kisei game takes place in Hokkaido and the one after that goes in Himi, and Akira loses both of them. He’s furious with himself, and Shindou will not get off his back about it. He sits in their apartment in a ratty old t-shirt and with messy hair and picks apart every single hand Akira played.

“This is embarrassing,” he says. “Absolutely embarrassing. What were you even thinking?! You could basically just put up a big sign on the left corner saying ‘PLESE COME AND GET ME’. This reflects badly on me too you know. I think I have to stop calling you my rival now.”

“Does that mean you’ll actually move out and leave me alone?” Akira says somewhat out of temper. He has pretty much had enough of this, but unfortunately Shindou is right about a lot of what he’s saying, which Akira will never admit out loud and which should be forbidden by some kind of universal law.

“Hey, don’t blame me for your inadequacies” Shindou replies. “I’m just being helpful. And honest. Stop letting Ogata push you around. If you play like this in our Honinbo game I’m going to have to give you a handicap.”

Here Akira probably should have some snappy comeback, but he’s not really in the mood for snappy or all that great at it.

“If you think I’m so handicap worthy then maybe you should play me instead of talking about a game you didn’t play,” he says instead, and Shindou grins at him over the board.

“Anytime you want.”

Akira has to sit on his hands to avoid grabbing him right then and there.

 

The fourth game takes place in Takarazuka. It’s a good game. Akira must admit that he is partly aided by the fact that Ogata seems to have relaxed a fraction. Maybe lulled into confidence by his two wins. Playing against someone you’ve known your whole life can be a detriment, since they know your go in and out. But Ogata is expecting him to play as Akira, and Akira watches the board and the road he sees is pure Shindou. He exploits it mercilessly. Ogata resigns, and afterwards he’s so furious he hardly glances Akira’s way. Akira has no idea if it has to do with the win or with the kind of go Akira played, but he refuses to in any way coddle Ogata’s ego.

 

Shindou goes from delighted, to outraged, to delighted again when he sees the kifu.

“I can’t believe you did that,” he says half complaining. “Don’t you have moves of your own? You used my go!”

“I did not,” Akira says. “I used my go, yours just happens to be a part of it.”

Shindou’s face softens at that.

“Yeah,” he admits, “I guess it is.” Then he grins “Lucky for you, huh.”

 

Akira plays Shindou the evening before he leaves for his fifth game. A proper, long game. Shindou has been away for a couple of days at an event in Osaka, and Akira has been itching to play him face to face. There is a tenseness in his shoulders, and a void that will only go away with a game between them.

It is an intense game, absolutely without mercy, and Akira gets a hold of the winning moku by pure, brutal force at the last minute. After they counted, Shindou flops down on the floor.

“Damn it!”

He sounds frustrated and pleased at the same time, because he hates losing but it was the kind of game that is hard to regret you played.

Akira flops down on the floor beside him. They are both out of breath from the game, and he is feeling a complete sense of accomplishment. All tension and itchiness is thoroughly purged from his body, and he feels boneless, but with tingles of the game high still running through his veins.

As he turns his head and looks at Shindou, who is all ruffled and trying to regain his breath, Akira has an epiphany. Why it has taken him so long to realize, he has no idea. His only defense is that Shindou’s proximity has a tendency to shut his brain down.

This is… We have been having sex for years, haven’t we?

That is what this is, or their version of it. Akira knows that he has never played go like this with anyone else and that no one else has ever left him gasping after a game. Likewise no one else has ever left him with this feeling of utter exhausted relief after they were done. But it has taken until now for him to grasp that this isn’t normal and that it fulfills functions in their life that aren’t purely game focused.

And suddenly, all that other stuff makes sense too. Because if the go is like sex, then it stands to reason that in Akira’s brain the sex equals go. And when you play go with Shindou, you need to overwhelm him. You need to get him absolutely helpless, restrain him and leave him no other option than to submit and let you invade his territory. Give him the slightest chance, the slightest wiggle room and you will find yourself on your back with a metaphorical knife to your throat. And then Akira feels something pleasant tightening in his stomach because there is nothing in that mental image he does not find wholly appealing.

He should probably be concerned. This a big realization, and he will eventually have to bring it up with Shindou, because Akira is not big on lying or avoiding truths. But right now he is just completely relieved. More than anything Akira hates stuff that doesn’t make sense, hates not understanding what is going on in his own head. Now he does understand, and it is connected to go, which probably shouldn’t be as comforting as it is. For the first time in a long time, Akira is absolutely at peace with himself.

 

He goes to Minamiuonuma the next day and has the smoothest two game days he has had in the tournament. He wins. It is brilliant.

 

The night before the sixth game Shindou is acting more stressed than Akira is. He is driving Akira insane by going around the apartment and poking everything, pulling books out of the shelves just to put them back again and being a general nuisance the minute they take a break from game discussion. Finally Akira snaps.

“Will you just stop doing that!” he snarls, exasperated.

Shindou blinks, stares at his own hands like he isn’t aware of what he’s doing ,and then he gets that glimpse in his eyes like he’s gearing for a fight.

“I’m not doing anything,” he denies illogically.

“Yes you are.”

“No I’m not.”

“Yes you are!”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Maybe I should just hover in the air so I don’t touch the floor or anything. Or you should tie me too the kitchen table so I don’t accidentally put a finger on your precious… Chinese dictionary.”

Akira has come to accept that this is the level that his and Shindou’s fights usually stoop to, but he is momentarily totally distracted by the image of Shindou tied anywhere. Some blood undoubtedly leaves his head.

Shindou stares at him, clearly a bit insulted that Akira isn’t honoring their tradition with a lot of yelling.

“What’s the matter with you?”

Akira’s first instinct is to hand wave it. To maybe distract Shindou with a line about his big fat fingers touching everything. But then he realizes that there really is no point. He is terrible at lying, and he hates doing it. Shindou is the one that deals in subterfuge. Akira moves straight forward and generally just says what he wants in life. He can’t imagine anything that would make him and Shindou stop playing go, and now that he has had this major epiphany there is no going back from it.

“Shindou,” he says absolutely honestly, “I would tie you up wherever you wanted if you’d let me.”

That is probably the least graceful he has ever been, and he is honestly terrified. But he also takes a certain amount of glee in the absolutely gobsmacked look on Shindou’s face. There has been so many times in the past when Shindou has said or done something to completely shock him, and this time it’s actually very satisfying to say something that makes Shindou’s jaw drop.

Shindou is staring at him with huge, round eyes; he seems to have momentarily lost his ability to speak.

“You… wa-,“ he finally says faintly. Then he shakes his head. “I’m sorry? What did you just say?

Akira looks back slightly apologetic, because it is probably not very fair to make Shindou deal with Akira’s kink issues so bluntly.

“You heard me,” he says. “Now do you want to play or not?”

Shindou blinks again and seems to come back to himself. His eyes turn a dangerous green and something lights up in them that Akira has never seen before. Suddenly the air in the room seems electric, and it makes Akira lose his breath.

“Oh,” Shindou says. “Really? Huh. Yeah ok, we could do that.”

Akira blinks but keeps his voice steady because this, like everything else between him and Shindou, suddenly appears to have turned into a challenge.

“The go or the tying up?”

Shindou leans back on his hands. How he manages to look indecent in a t-shirt and oversized jeans Akira will never know.

“Well, you know, we just played go and everything.”

For a minute they are caught in a stare off, then Akira gets up and carefully lifts the go board out of the way. Then he bends down and grabs Shindou’s t-shirt and drags him to his feet. Shindou is still grinning at him with that dangerous edge. Akira is fairly sure that metaphorical knife isn’t far away.

“So,” Shindou drawls, “kitchen, was it?”

Which is probably where Akira calmly and collectedly should walk away, letting Shindou follow if he wishes. It is, however, an already established fact that as a rule he is neither calm nor collected around Shindou, and now that Shindou is standing in front of him, dangerously green eyed and far too pleased with himself, Akira can for the first time not actually come up with any reason not to touch.

So Akira reaches out, grabs the back of Shindou’s head and pulls him in. He feels Shindou’s breath on his lips before their mouths meet, and then he finally has the chance to get to know what Shindou tastes like, lick into his mouth, bite down on his lower lip and feel Shindou shiver under him. Akira feels like he is on fire. His mind is slowly melting away in his head, his heart is beating frantically, and he can feel his hands tightening their grip. Shindou makes a sound deep in his throat and almost desperately twists his hands in Akira’s hair. Then he stumbles, and they almost go sideways into a wall.

“Come on,” Akira mumbles and tries to find his way out of the room without actually having to let go of Shindou. Shindou makes a complying sound, and together they manage to navigate out the doorway to the kitchen. As they reach it Shindou slowly lets go of him and takes a step backwards. He looks in total disarray, with messy hair and swollen lips, but his eyes still have a glimpse of that challenge. He holds his palms up.

“Well?” he says.

As Akira surveys the table, he realizes that tying anyone to it might prove difficult. He does, however, consider himself to be pretty adaptable, and there are a couple of fully functional kitchen chairs standing around.

“Sit down,” he says.

Shindou grins at him again and sits down very demonstratively, but he is breathing a bit too quickly to pull off nonchalant. Akira realizes with a dizzying thrill that this probably is the first time ever Shindou is actually obedient about anything.

“So,” Shindou continues, “is this when you unearth your secret bondage kit or are we just going to pretend I’m tied up?”

Akira looks at him, considering, and then he unites his tie and slowly pulls it out. As long as they have known each other, it has been an immense source of frustration for Shindou that Akira dresses like he does, and that he sometimes just keeps his shirt and tie on when he gets home instead of changing into something more casual right away. Now he watches Akira’s fingers on the tie, and his pupils dilate so much that his eyes almost look black.

“I am never, ever saying anything bad about your ugly ties again.”

His voice sounds a bit shaky, and Akira feels that need to wreck him again, totally and utterly. He wraps the tie around his hand, leans down and tugs Shindou’s t-shirt over his head and throws it aside. Then he kneels down behind the back of the chair and pulls Shindou’s arms behind it. Shindou offers no resistance. He seems content to sit still and be maneuvered after Akira’s wishes, which certainly is a new character trait for him and one Akira is getting addicted to. He lightly kisses the inside of Shindou’s wrist, enjoying the warmth of the skin, and hears Shindou’s breath hitch. Then he carefully wraps the silky fabric around both wrists and ties it tightly.

Finally he gets up to observe his handiwork. Shindou is sitting shirtless, messy, visibly aroused and panting in the kitchen, with pupils blown and his hands tied behind his back. For a moment Akira experiences a sense of vertigo, and his mouth feels like cotton. He wants in a way that almost scares him, brutal and all encompassing.

“So are you just going to stand there and admire the view, or are you actually going to do something?”

That kicks Akira into gear and makes him grin, because it’s so very Shindou to be abrasive when he’s tied up and half naked. A bolt of pure pleasure goes through him when he realizes that right now it is unquestionably his job to shut Shindou up.

“So what if I want to admire the view? What are you going to do about it?” he answer with deceptive mildness.

“Well, I could get very, very bored,” Shindou returns, thought the defiance is bellied by the hoarseness of his voice.

Akira smirks and then slowly walks to stand directly in front of him.

“Well, I wouldn’t want to bore you, Shindou,” he says, and then he carefully straddles Shindou’s lap. Usually, Akira’s main response when Shindou is aggravating (which, to be honest, is a perpetual state for Shindou) is to yell at him and tell him to stop being an idiot, but, right now, he realizes the joy of thoroughly tormenting Shindou for his misdeeds instead.

Shindou makes a very low noise when their thighs make contact and pushes upwards, and Akira takes some time to thoroughly ravage his mouth. He allows his hands to wander over overheated skin and relishes every gasping sound Shindou makes into his mouth. His own hands are trembling slightly from pure want; it’s almost shocking how much pleasure he takes in this amount of control. He envisions it in his head like a go board, Shindou’s white mercilessly cut off from all sides, helplessly waiting for one final blow.

He pulls back again. Shindou tries to follow his mouth a couple of inches, but Akira has another goal in mind. He bends, pressing kisses against Shindou’s jaw and neck, and at the same time moves his hips forward so that he for the first time grazes the hardness in Shindou’s lap. Then he does what he has been wanting to do forever and bites down on Shindou’s collarbone.

Shindou yelps. Loudly. His hips thrust up to meet Akira’s, and then he curses a pretty impressive amount before he complains,

“Fuck! I have to go out tomorrow, you jerk.”

“Well, I guess you’ll need to wear something with a higher collar than a t-shirt,” Akira responds pleasantly as he soothes the bite with his tongue. He is darkly pleased to notice that non-withstanding Shindou’s complaining, he is bending his head back to give Akira better access. Shindou’s hips are still thrusting up, trying to get as much contact between them as possible, and Akira is actually forced to hold himself back to not press himself against Shindou and give into that friction. That would give white a way to live, though, so instead Akira’s hands wander from the heated skin of Shindou’s upper body down to the buttoning of his jeans.

Shindou actually closes his eyes at that and shivers.

“You know,” he says, his voice raspy and uneven, “I shouldn’t be the only one getting undressed, you should take some off too.”

Akira considers.

“No,” he says, “I don’t think I will.”

Then he moves his hips just out of reach from the hardness there and bites down on the same spot of exposed skin. Shindou yelps, groans and very distinctly says,

“You fucker.”

Akira doesn’t feel that this requires any answer more thorough than, “Hmmm,” as he kisses, licks and lightly bites his way from Shindou’s collar bone down his chest. Shindou tastes warm and maybe a little salty, and Akira can feel his muscles tensing and relaxing in the wake of Akira’s mouth and feel the rapid beating of Shindou’s heart in his chest. Then Akira gets off his lap.

Shindou makes a half pained, half offended sound, but whatever he’s going to say seems to get stuck in his throat as Akira kneels down between his open legs. When Akira properly undoes the fly and pulls down the zipper, Shindou actually whimpers.

“Lift your hips,” he tells Shindou.

Shindou immediately complies, and Akira moves out of the way and pulls both Shindou’s pants and his underwear completely off. And pulls his socks off too, because if anything is worth doing properly it’s this. He kneels back into place. He’s still wearing his work outfit minus tie and suit jacket, while Shindou is completely naked in front of him. Akira sits absolutely still for a moment and leans his head against one of Shindou’s thighs, just breathing, to keep a hold of himself. Shindou’s whimper is much more pronounced this time.

Then Akira straightens and leans in. Maybe it should be daunting to be so close to another person’s dick for the first time, but it really isn’t. He strokes the inside of Shindou’s thigh and then lightly scratches his nails against the soft skin. Shindou jumps.

“Are you actually going to do something or what?!” Shindou sounds out of breath and desperate.

“Hmmm,” Akira agrees, because he will. Eventually.

Shindou squeezes his eyes shut and leans his head back, breathing out explosively, his whole body as tense as a bow.

“I.hate.you.so.much.”

“Well, if you hate me, I should probably stop doing this, shouldn’t I?”

Shindou chokes and goes silent.

Which is about the moment when Akira realizes that he truly is a sadist.

“Oh, well,” he says, “too bad. Wait, I’ll untie you.”

Shindou’s eyes open immediately, and the amount of outrage in them is legendary.

“You worst asshole jerk, I- what are you doing??”

Akira smiles and leans back on his hands. Their eyes meet, and then Shindou closes his eyes again and takes a couple of deep breaths.

“Ok. Ok. Wait,” he says. “You’re not the worst. Can you just. Can you...”

He takes another breath and grinds out,

“Can you please…”

He doesn’t get further than that. It isn’t the most ardent begging Akira has ever heard, but it means something coming from Shindou, and, in truth, Shindou isn’t the only one who is dying right now. So he leans forward again, puts his hand on Shindou’s hip to keep it still and puts the dick in his mouth. Shindou would almost have arched off the chair if Akira hadn’t pushed him down again, and he makes breathy gasping sounds as Akira is figuring out a technique. Akira uses his other hand to stroke the base while he is figuring out how much he can get into his mouth, and while Shindou draws sobbing breaths and trembles under his hands. The whole act surprises Akira. He isn’t naïve, and it’s hardly a surprise that Shindou is enjoying this as much as he is, but it is a complete and utter surprise how much Akira himself is getting off on it. The taste and feel and Shindou’s desperation all work together to set him on fire. It actually goes to the point where he has to let go of Shindou, not to keep Shindou from coming but to keep himself from doing it. Shindou makes a sound deep in his throat when Akira lets go, and Akira hears him bitterly groan out,

“The next time, you are so the one that’s getting tied up.”

“The next time,” Akira says dangerously, “I will bend you over the table and fuck you.”

And at that Shindou’s whole body tenses, and he comes without warning and without Akira actually touching him.

Akira wasn’t prepared for that at all. He actually gets some of it on his face, and for a moment the only thing he can say is, “Oh,” while Shindou is going from a bowstring to some form of jelly in the chair. Then Akira’s head catches up with him. He rubs his face and realizes what’s on it, which should absolutely not be hot, but it is. Perhaps he should demand that Shindou makes some sort of effort, but he doesn’t even have the patience for that. He puts his hand in his pants and takes care of it himself with his forehead pressed against Shindou’s thigh again. It doesn’t take very long.

 

Afterwards, they both sit absolutely still for a couple of moments, panting.

“Holy shit,” Shindou says. He sounds like someone drugged him, words slow as molasses.

“Mmm,” Akira agrees.

He has no idea how long they would have sat there, if not for the sudden cheerful knock on the door. They both automatically look towards the hallway.

“Who’s that?” Shindou says, bewildered.

Another knock, then, to both their horror, the sound of keys in the door and Ashiwara’s cheerful voice in the hall.

“Ashiwara?? Ashiwara still has a key??” Shindou hisses out, panicked, and Akira looks at him wide-eyed, because of course Ashiwara still has a key.

“Akira?” Ashiwara calls. “Are you here? I brought food!”

Food which is probably seconds from being put in the kitchen. For a moment, Akira and Shindou can only stare at each other, then Akira scrambles into action. He manages to get around the chair and get his hands on Shindou’s tied hands in a fraction of a moment. For a terrible second, he’s afraid he won’t be able to untie the knot, but fortunately Akira is apparently not very good at knots so with some tugging it gives. Then, desperately rubbing his own face again, he runs to the hall, leaving Shindou scrambling for his pants.

Ashiwara is standing at the door, putting on house slippers when Akira shows up. Akira can’t even imagine what he looks like to Ashiwara right now, and he is sure that what he and Shindou just did must be written all over his face. Ashiwara, though, takes one look at him and draws what for him must be the most obvious conclusion.

“Akira,” he says sternly, “did you have a fight with Shindou-kun again? This isn’t the night for that.”

It isn’t often Akira is speechless, but he is now. He opens his mouth, closes it, and then tries again.

“Ashiwara-san, you really, really should… knock,” he manages to get out. Which is the polite version of please don’t just walk into our apartment.

Not surprisingly, the sentiment runs off Ashiwara like water off a goose.

“Oh, I did! No one answered, so I assumed you were playing and didn’t hear me.”

He beams at Akira.

”I figured both you and Shindou-kun would forget to eat tonight, so I made you some food!”

“Oh. Well. I guess we could take it into the living room,” Akira begins, so off his game that he doesn’t even remember to say ‘thank you’.

“Right! Just let me put the extra boxes in the fridge!” and then Ashiwara walks right past him into the kitchen before Akira can react.

Mercifully, the kitchen is empty, and nothing in it gives any clue to what just went on. Akira can hear the shower running and lets out a very deep breath. He notices Ashiwara staring at something, and for a moment he tenses again, but Ashiwara only very amusedly comments,

“Is that Shindou’s sock? Why on earth would he leave that in the kitchen?”

 

When Shindou emerges from the shower, with wet hair and bare feet, Ashiwara and Akira are placed at the living room table, eating a lot of scrumptious food. Shindou is beamingly happy with the world, eats a lot of food and then falls down like a puddle on the tatami mats. Akira looks longingly towards the bathroom. Shindou must have read the desire in his eyes and decided to take pity on him, because he suddenly says,

“Hey, sorry for occupying the shower, I know you wanted one. Why don’t you take one now? I’m sure Ashiwara can put up with me for 15 minutes or so.”

Ashiwara assures that he absolutely can, and that Akira should do whatever he needs to do to feel in shape. Akira, for once, gratefully abandons common curtesy, grabs a change and flees to the shower. When he returns, pleasantly clean, Ashiwara and Shindou are discussing Ogata’s latest game outside the Kisei league. Shindou is still lying like a puddle on the floor. It is approximately the state that Akira currently is in too.

Ashiwara looks at them with reproach.

“What on earth have you been doing tonight?! You need to get fired up Akira, not exhausted. You could win the title tomorrow! That’s enormous.”

Shindou looks guilty, but Akira stands his ground.

“I’m not exhausted,” he protests. “I’m focused and relaxed, just what I need to be. Ogata-san would prefer that I was nervous, anyway.”

Ashiwara harrumphs.

“I’m not saying you can’t relax. But sometimes I think you should see Ogata more like you see Shindou-kun, Akira.”

Shindou wakes up from his puddled state to make an outraged sound that resembles half a cough and half a hiss. Akira considers Shindou and Shindou’s go and the tie that probably has been disposed of in the laundry and diplomatically says,

“I don’t know if that would be possible, Ashiwara-san.”

 

The next morning, Akira is getting ready to leave. He feels amazingly in balance. Shindou is leaning against the wall, so majorly pleased with himself that it’s radiating from him.

“Win today,” he says. “Then you have a title to comfort yourself with when I kick your ass in the Honinbo league.”

Akira raises an eyebrow at him.

“Or I’ll win this and the Honinbo and have two titles to comfort myself with.”

Shindou snorts and opens his mouth to retort, but then he suddenly goes quiet. For a moment, Akira doesn’t know why, but then he realizes with a jolt of immense pleasure that Shindou’s eyes are frozen on his fingers as he’s tying his tie.

Akira is fairly sure he will have plenty to comfort himself with in the future.