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Seven Days

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By the time Shinichi arrives home on Tuesday, Yoshimoto Kouya is already there. He can tell this from the extra pair of shoes in the hallway, and the long brown coat hanging on the rack; dinner has already been eaten and his mother is in the process of clearing it away. He knows that he should have been here to eat it with the rest of the family, but it irritates him that there is constant pressure to eat together as if they were somehow normal, as if by sharing food they could somehow ignore the glaring faults amongst them and heal the numerous rifts which Kouya has managed to expose.

It's just one more reason I need to get him away from this family, he thinks. That, and the way he thinks he can use me as some kind of plaything.

Still, he at least knows how to maintain the appearance of being polite, and so he bows as he walks past the kitchen, apologising for not being home in time for food.

“Sorry I missed dinner again, Mother.”

“Shinichi!” Kayoko smiles as she notices him. “That's okay, I've saved some so you can eat it now, or later if you...”

“I'm not hungry,” He replies matter-of-factly. Sure, he can be polite in his refusal, but there's no point in lying and forcing himself to eat when he doesn't want to. Besides, food is one of the last things on his mind right now. “I'll take it for lunch tomorrow.”

“Oh... well... okay, then.” She smiles back, but it doesn't reach her eyes, and Shinichi thinks it's pathetic how weak and servile she can be sometimes.

He gives a sigh as he heads upstairs, bracing himself for whatever Kouya might have planned for today. He's been unable to concentrate all day, and who can blame him for that? Only yesterday he submitted to his tutor in the most physical way possible, allowing his body to be used for Kouya's pleasure... and, perhaps, his own. After his tutor had left he had just lain in bed for some time, feeling the ache left by Kouya's eager attentions, until he had managed to dress himself again just in time for his parents to arrive home. And what would Kouya want today? More frantic coupling? Surely not, not with his family in the house...

“Oh! Shinichi?” Just as he reaches the stairs, Kayoko comes rushing over to him. “Sensei won't be tutoring you today – he said he needed to do a catch-up session with Shigeyuki. Is that alright?”

“What?” Shinichi manages to keep the look of disbelief from his face, but only just. Disbelief, and... disappointment?

“He said you were doing well enough for now and he wanted to make sure Shigeyuki was ready for his exams next week. Is that alright?” She looks apologetic. “I'm sorry... I know we said we can only afford to keep him for one week, but your father and I are so pleased with how your brother is doing, we want to give him the best possible chance to improve. Sensei is with Shigeyuki now... perhaps you could go and say hello to him anyway?”

“It's fine.” Shinichi turns and starts to walk up the stairs, hiding the look of sullen anger on his face from his mother. Why? Why did Yoshimoto Kouya have to tutor his brother today of all days? The worst thing about it is that Shinichi can't even tell exactly how he feels about it. Is he relieved because it means he won't have to spend two hours alone in a room with the man who took advantage of him yesterday? Or is he frustrated and disappointed because Kouya will be paying attention to his little brother instead? His little brother, who has no idea just what those hands can do, or how thorough a lover Kouya can be...

No, he can't keep thinking like this. He can't keep being distracted by remembering what happened between them yesterday. Even as he walks past the door to his brother's room Shinichi feels a shiver down his spine as he hears the unmistakable sound of Kouya's voice, and he doesn't know whether it's fear or anticipation. He's almost glad to reach the safety of his room, but as soon as he opens the door and sees his bed his cheeks flush a bright red at the memory of what happened on it yesterday. He quickly steps inside and closes the door, leaning against it to catch his breath...

..and then he realises that his bed has been freshly-made by his mother at some point today, the covers and pillowcases washed, changed, and rearranged in a way which wouldn't look out of place in a home lifestyle magazine.

Did she notice anything? Does she know? Would she even be able to tell what happened? It wouldn't be unusual for her to find... stains on the sheets, although he usually does his best to conceal the mess he makes when he pleasures himself, and she has never commented on it before. Presumably she just accepts that her sons have needs and mutely deals with the evidence, pretending somehow that if it is never spoken of, then it never happens. Like so many other things in their lives.

After a few moments of standing against the door and overcoming his initial panic, Shinichi recovers himself and sets his bag down on the floor, shrugging off his blazer and hanging it up before sitting down at his desk. Well, fine, if Kouya is going to work with Shugeyuki tonight, he can at least get started on his homework by himself. He settles down and tries to focus on his studies, trying not to think about the man in the room next door, but it's no good; just as he thinks he's grasped the concept of what he's reading, his concentration is shattered by the loud, mocking laughter of Kouya, punctuated by Shigeyuki's spirited yet good-natured protests. With rising irritation Shinichi notes that it certainly sounds like his brother is in a better mood than he has been over the past couple of months, and that's been no thanks to him.

Its not just Kouya's ability to encourage and improve Shigeyuki which angers Shinichi. After everything that happened yesterday, the least Yoshimoto Kouya could do would be to acknowledge his presence, but he hasn't even bothered to come and greet him! Is he scared that by seeing him, Shinichi will be reminded of exactly what happened and approach his parents about it? Or perhaps he's afraid that Shinichi has actually managed to get hold of some evidence against him, something which proves that he isn't Yoshimoto Kouya after all?

After half an hour of unsuccessfully trying to read the same page of English verbs, Shinichi throws down his textbook in frustration and gives an exasperated growl, rolling his eyes and running his fingers through his tangled hair. He's had enough of this! He gets to his feet and opens his door, storming along the corridor to Shigeyuki's room and throwing open the door to glare at Kouya; the tutor is sitting on his brother's bed, Shigeyuki is sitting at his desk, and in his hands he is holding some kind of photobook with a woman in it. Not that Shinichi cares what his brother is holding. No, what matters more is the interested look on Kouya's face as he glances up to look at the older son.

“Shinichi-kun?”

Damn it, Shinichi should not be having this kind of reaction to that face. He feels his cheeks flush bright red on seeing the man who took his virginity, a rush of desire coursing through him as those eyes stare straight into his own; he quickly suppresses those feelings with a hateful snarl, trying to mask his shame with anger.

“Sensei.” Again, that mocking tone of voice, but Shinichi has to keep himself reined in when he's in front of his brother. “You need to keep the noise down in here! I'm trying to study!”

“Oh, you are? Good!” A smile spreads across Kouya's face, a smile which causes Shigeyuki to laugh, but which Shinichi recognises as being one of smug triumph. It's almost enough to make Shinichi stubbornly refuse to study at all, but at this point he is not ready to sacrifice his academic achievements just to spite Kouya. “I'd expect nothing less of an honour student like you.”

There is veiled poison in Kouya's words, for Shinichi knows full well that his tutor is aware of his more unsavoury hobbies – his shoplifting, the knife which he carries and willingly uses, his casual disregard for any of his fellow students.

“And would you expect anything more? Because it's clear by now that you already do.” The words are out his mouth before Shinichi can stop them. “I'm not just a toy you can use and then throw aside when you don't want to play with me any more, Sensei. Do you understand?"

"Shinichi..." It's Shigeyuki, who looks shocked and somewhat confused by his brother's outburst.

"Forget it, Shigeyuki." Shinichi waves aside his brother's concern, not even bothering to look at him.

"If I'd known you were going to be upset about Sensei working with me tonight, I wouldn't have said it was okay." Shigeyuki hangs his head, his expression one of guilt and regret. "Mother said it would be alright, but I guess she didn't ask you first."

"Awwww, Shige-kun!" Kouya just beams at Shigeyuki's words, leaning over to clap his hand on the younger boy's shoulder as he smirks at Shinichi. "Isn't that the most touching thing you've ever heard? Your little brother just loves you, doesn't he?"

"I'm not upset." Shinichi glowers, and he can't help but feel that he has somehow been caught in a trap. "I don't need you to help me with my studies. I'm doing just fine on my own! At least, I would be if you could shut up!"

"That's mean, Shinichi-kun." There's a look of mock hurt on Kouya's face, and he lets go of Shigeyuki's shoulder. "Could you really hear us through the walls? I'll admit, I was hoping they were well sound-proofed..."

Once again Shinichi's cheeks flush a bright red and he bites back a snarl, knowing full well what Kouya is implying. He just looks at his tutor for a moment before turning on his heel and stalking out of the door, leaving a somewhat downtrodden Shigeyuki to wonder just why his brother seems to hate Kouya so much.

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Back inside his room, Shinichi has to sit down for a moment to recover himself. Seeing Kouya again has affected him more than he thought it would; he's not even sure what he was hoping for, but it certainly wasn't a heated exchange of words in front of his little brother. Much to his frustration he does recognise his jealousy, his envy that his tutor is with Shigeyuki and not him, although he knows that Kouya has no interest in Shigeyuki other than as a student. In a way that just makes it worse; Kouya would rather spend his time with a boy who won't even give him the same kind of pleasure that he can. Was he not good enough? Has he been snubbed already? These doubts and worries play upon Shinichi's mind until he reminds himself that he doesn't even want Kouya to think about him in that way, although it doesn't seem to make his studies seem any easier to focus on.

It's over an hour later that Shinichi finally hears Kouya leaving his brother's room – an hour of having to endure listening to that laugh, an hour of knowing that Kouya is lavishing his attention on Shigeyuki and not him. Granted, it's a very different kind of attention, but nonetheless it stings and hurts Shinichi's already-wounded pride. It feels almost as though Kouya just used him and tossed him aside... as though he's being ignored, now that Kouya has taken what he wanted. Not that he'd admit it, but it's as though Shinichi is being treated in the same way that he treats other people.

Shinichi just can't stand it any more. He gives Kouya a few moments to make his way downstairs and then follows after, grabbing his bag and following as quietly as he can. By the time he reaches the foot of the stairs Kouya is already talking to his mother, tucked around the corner where she's taken lately to spending hours on her laptop. He pauses, holding back to try and eavesdrop on their conversation, fighting back the urge to confront his tutor and call him out on whatever trick he's trying to play now.

“No, you should definitely go for those ones.” He can hear his tutor supposedly giving Kayoko his advice, although Shinichi is suspicious as to why he would even take such an interest in what his mother is doing. “Their value is guaranteed to go up; it might even pay out by the end of the week.”

“You're sure?” Kayoko sounds wary. “They didn't do so well last Tuesday...”

“Would I be telling you to get them if I thought it would be bad?”

“I suppose...” Her voice trails off, and there's the frantic clicking of mouse buttons. “Oh.... I've bought them. I've bought them!”

“Good!” Kouya laughs, and Shinichi steps back as he hears his tutor saying his farewells to Kayoko. He ducks quickly behind the kitchen wall as the man gets his coat and steps out, closing the front door behind him, and then the true anger hits. How dare he! How dare that man do what he did to him yesterday, practically ignore him today, and then leave his house without even as much as a goodbye! No, he's not going to let Kouya get away with this. Scowling, Shinichi moves out from where he's been hiding, briefly acknowledging his mother on the way out of the door. She doesn't even ask where he is going; clearly whatever she is doing on her computer is far more important than her eldest son.

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Closing the door behind him Shinichi steps outside carefully, glancing about to see if he can see Kouya; as expected, he's just reaching the junction at the end of the driveway, and he turns the corner even as he watches. Satisfied that he can tail the man without being seen Shinichi walks quickly after him, also reaching the corner, where---

“Shinichi-kun!” Kouya is standing there waiting for him, arms folded expectantly across his chest. Of course he's waiting for him. Shinichi mentally kicks himself for not even having considered the possibility. “Don't you have some studying to do?”

“Sensei,” Shinichi hisses, once again furious at having been caught out, and for once he is at a loss for words.

“Did you really miss me that much?" The tutor smirks triumphantly, and they both know that he is speaking the truth.

“You ignored me.” It comes out sounding far more petulant than Shinichi had intended and he snarls, angry at his own inability to express himself as much as at Kouya. “After everything that happened yesterday, you ignored me!”

“What were you expecting, flowers and a dinner date?” Kouya raises an eyebrow and seems to be biting back his laughter. “I'm your personal tutor, not your boyfriend.”

“Tutors don't just casually sleep with their students!”

“Not all of them, no. Only the ones who interest me.” The older man smiles, and despite himself, Shinichi can't help but feel a flush of pleasure at what amounts to praise. "So, then. Are you coming along or not?"

“Where are you going?" He wants to be angry but curiosity gets the better of him, just as Kouya knows it will.

“Well, since you seem so upset, I'm taking you to dinner.” And, before Shinichi can say anything in response to that, he continues, “You didn't eat anything this evening. You're not going to be able to focus on anything if you don't eat.”

For moment, Shinichi is conflicted. He's still not feeling particularly hungry, and he resents the way Kouya is acting like a parent, telling him to eat. At least it won't be unusual for the two of them to be seen together in public; they've already been out together several times when they've been trailing Shigeyuki, and if anyone questions him about it, Shinichi will just tell them the truth, which is that his tutor is taking him to get some food as he doesn't want him studying on an empty stomach. He also tells himself that the fact he's sulking over Kouya ignoring him doesn't have anything to do with it.

“Fine. But you're paying."

"Your father doesn't pay me that much!" Kouya protests, but then he gives a heavy sigh and unfolds his arms. Besides, Numata Kazushige actually does give him a tidy sum for supposedly tutoring his sons. "Okay. Fine. I'm paying. But we're going to a noodle bar, not a fancy restaurant."

"Whatever."

Shinichi shrugs and glares at his tutor, who clearly already has somewhere in mind as they start to walk. Why has he agreed to this? He's going for food with a man he barely knows, with a man who seems to take great pleasure in tormenting his little brother and manipulating his mother, with a man who thinks nothing of ignoring him after doing that to him... he's going to spend time alone with the man who's been occupying his thoughts for most of the day... and he realises that he's actually looking forward to it.