“You haven't been getting any sleep.”
No doubt Akira had an obstinate denial prepared, but he was foiled by the sudden clenching of his jaw as a yawn threatened to escape him. All he could offer was a glare as Seiji smirked. “There wasn't any point bringing a book for the journey when you're as easy to read as one.”
“So what?” Akira snapped back, once he'd fought down the reflex to inhale and exhale. “It isn't any of your business.”
“On the contrary, it’s important that my bodyguard isn't on the verge of taking a nap while I'm talking.” Seiji scanned the train carriage, ensuring that their fellow passengers didn't have ears turned their way before he continued. “And if something comes up, then I want you on full alert.”
“Won't be a problem…” Seiji ignored the irony of Akira saying that while fighting back another yawn. “Hasn't affected me in the matches. Won't here either.”
Akira’s last match had been three weeks ago. Seiji frowned. “Just how long has this been going on, exactly?”
“Doesn't matter. It'll fix itself.”
That was Akira’s ‘solution’ to many physical ailments. Annoyingly, he was usually right. Where Seiji would be bedridden for a fortnight from fever, Akira’s immune system would kick out the bug within a few days. His father must've had damn good genes. Not that his parentage was a topic Akira wanted to breach, especially now that he knew the extent of it thanks to Kakuya’s Game.
Actually, that very well could be the thing that'd been keeping Akira up. Even Seiji still had nightmares about it, and he'd only been a satellite to the horrors that Akira had gone through. That it was only sleepless nights plaguing the boy was a testament to his will in of itself.
“…Jeez, a bull would be less stubborn.” Flipping open the novel in his hands, Seiji turned his attention to the neatly printed rows of kanji. “Well, it'll be an hour till we get there, so you might as well take a nap now.”
“You have anything better to do?” With a knowing sneer, Seiji flourished the book towards his friend. “Want to explore the metaphysical mysteries of Kafka on the Shore with me instead?”
Fifty-fifty on whether Akira even knew what metaphysical meant. “…I’ll pass.” With no further convincing needed, Akira crossed his arms and closed his eyes, head tipping back until it rested against the wall of the carriage. The train had just moments ago departed from the station, and now would be nothing but smooth vibrations until they reached the next stop.
“Don't let the bed bugs bite.” Seiji crooned.
“Don't wake me up if you get bored.”
Offering his friend a friendly finger that, naturally, he didn't see, Seiji made himself comfortable (as much he could when dealing with the substandard seating of public transport) and tuned out the world to focus on the story before him.
…And then, about twenty-five minutes later, brought the book down onto his knee with an irritated sigh.
Seiji tried not to sleep over at Akira’s ramshackle apartment if he could, whilst Akira didn't often find reason to bunk at Seiji’s. So he wasn't super familiar with his friend’s sleeping habits, at least not the ones he'd procured after they graduated middle school and sleepovers became less of a ritual.
Hence why he hadn't known that Akira breathed as heavily as lead when he slept.
It wasn't quite snoring, but that didn't make it any less cacophonous as Akira sucked in air like his life depended on it. His mouth hung open gormlessly, his body unfazed by the occasional sway of the carriage. He looked comfortable. How nice for him.
“Disgusting…” Reaching his hand around the back of his friend’s head, Seiji ever-so-gently pushed it forward until it reached a tipping point and fell so that his chin rested against his collarbone. Now that his mouth wasn't quite so open to the world, Akira’s breathing grew less harsh. “You should be thanking me, really. A bug could've flown in there.”
His arm still resting on the back of the seat, Seiji took the moment to fish his mobile out with his other hand. Nothing from his men, which was good. They'd already figured out further travelling arrangements for when the two boys reached the station; any texts now would be to report a change in the plan.
As was often the case, Seiji hadn't needed to bring Akira along with him. There were plenty of lackeys who could fulfil the same role. That said, things just seemed to work out more smoothly when he had Akira at his back. And, well… not that Seiji would admit it, but he got antsy when Akira wasn't with him for his out-of-town meetings. Having too much distance between them didn't feel right.
When the carriage swayed just so, causing the displaced weight of Akira’s body to list and fall against Seiji, he realised the irony of that thought.
“Hey-!” Being a good few inches taller, Akira’s head ended up butting against Seiji’s cheek. His unruly strands of hair tickled Seiji’s nose, prompting him to turn his own head away. That made things better and worse, as Akira’s head instead slid down to rest against the crook of Seiji’s neck and shoulder. With Seiji’s arm still outstretched on the backseat behind Akira, the position was almost comfortable in a strange way.
And yet, it still wasn't a position that two boys should've been in. That thought inspired a low throbbing of panic in Seiji’s gut, clashing against his realisation that the warmth and weight against him felt almost nice. Stupid Akira always made his thoughts so complicated…
Still, the other passengers didn't seem too interested in the commotion. The train wasn't packed, but still busy enough that most were content to bow their heads and faze out of the crowd until their stop arrived. After a few awkward minutes, in which the world still continued to turn, Seiji hesitatingly loosened his hackles. He looked back down at his phone, as if it were completely normal to have his friend using him as a pillow.
A round black circle stared back at him. The Kyocera mobile was a little ugly, honestly, but it was the first of its kind- a portable phone with integrated camera. Of course Seiji, the spoiled Yakuza prince, had been one of the few to receive it as a gift. It only held twenty photos, and he wasn't the sentimental sort, so despite its novelty he hadn't found much use for it yet.
He could feel the rise and fall of Akira’s chest against his. The puff of Akira’s breath against his clavicle. When was the next time he was going to catch Akira off-guard like this? The question floated tantalisingly in his mind.
Casually, he navigated through to the phone’s camera. The screen lit up with his own face, miniaturised and grainy. A puff of black pressed against his neck, and as he slowly tilted the mobile Akira came into view. It was weird to see him so peaceful. Without his usual frown, the lines of his face were round, almost graceful. His closed eyes were two crescents highlighted by a smooth line of lashes, barely visible with the phone’s reduced quality. Still clad in all-black, but looking no less threatening than a baby.
Seiji had snapped the shot before he even realised it.
The camera made an audible click and immediately Seiji hid it away in his pocket. He caught the attention of a few people at the sound, but no-one seemed to have connected it to him. His heart pounded in a way that left him exhilarated. No matter what it was, getting away with anything illicit granted him a high that was impossible to replicate. That was the Yakuza life for you.
Once sure that neither the passengers nor Akira were going to stir, Seiji slid the phone back out and into the cradle of his hand. The sudden movement hadn't ruined the picture, as he found out when he opened up the gallery. The angle and lighting of it wasn't great, but Seiji hadn't been given much to work with. It was parsable, and that was more than he could ask for.
He couldn't let Akira know about it, of course. Or anyone for that matter. It was too weird to use one of his few photo opportunities to catch his friend sleeping on him. That said, the idea of e-mailing the picture to Hazuki, with a single caption of ‘Jealous?’… that was very tempting. He could at least savour the thought as he pocketed the phone once more.
“I'll keep this our little secret.” He whispered, his outstretched hand curling in to ruffle Akira’s hair. Playfully, for the sake of their potential audience, though he was now hyper-aware of how soft the locks felt when his fingers skimmed over them. He heard Akira grunt at the motion, exhaling the weak sound before returning to his steady breathing.
So, too, did Seiji return to his novel. Or he tried to, at least. Despite his best efforts, his focus kept sliding off the words, always returning to the warmth of Akira’s body against his.
Stupid, stupid Akira.