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Statistical Outlier

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The problem with having become sexually active, Shion discovers, is that now he finds himself wanting to kiss and touch and hold and do other, not-appropriate-to-mention-in-public things with Nezumi all the time, and it makes day-to-day life incredibly difficult.

It would be fine if there were a particular stimulus or catalyst he could just avoid, like you would a food allergy or sensitivity to the dander of certain animals. But he can't. Shion knows this because he had been keeping a mental list ever since he first suspected the problem existed. It had started with predictable, rational, completely normal things like 'Nezumi's eyes', 'Nezumi's hipbone' and 'the sounds Nezumi makes when he's naked' (not to be confused with 'the sounds Nezumi makes when he's half-naked' and 'the sounds Nezumi makes he's fully-clothed but probably will be naked in the near future'). But soon other things, data Shion couldn't explain with logic or comparative studies or observation, had begun to populate the list: by the time it had devolved into material like 'the way Nezumi braces himself over the bathroom counter when he's brushing his teeth', there had been no denying the conclusion that he was several deviations away from the standard.

The only solution is to either ask Nezumi to stay at a reaction-free distance or to stop being himself altogether.

So Shion mostly resigns himself to it.

"Stop giving me crazy looks," Nezumi hisses at him, after Karan slips off to fetch the oven-fresh poppyseed muffins she'd promised Nezumi. Shion flushes.

"I'm not," he protests, but it has no heat to it because his look was, indeed, crazy under even the most vague classification system. Still. He has to make a token effort at self-defense, if only to avoid Nezumi's ire, which seems to spike whenever Shion doesn't respond to open provocation. "I'm allowed to look at you. There's no law against it."

"No, because laws are made for normal people, not people like you," Nezumi snorts. It is almost a compliment. Nezumi folds his arms crossly, and the action makes his shirt pull across his shoulders and shift the v-neck collar. Shion doesn't think his expression changes at that, but it must have because Nezumi emits a fierce-sounding tsk. "Stop it!"

"I'm sorry," Shion begins, feeling something horribly honest coming on, but fortunately his mother reappears at that moment to distract them both.

"Shion, whatever are you apologizing to Nezumi for?" she asks, setting the plate of hot muffins down directly in front of Nezumi. Nezumi dutifully picks out one from the centre of the arrangement, handling it in quick finger movements to prevent burning, and sighs.

"Your son's the weirdest person I know," he tells her, and Shion flushes for entirely different reasons when Karan laughs and doesn't do a lot to disagree.

"Can I have a word, Nezumi," Shion asks, in his best 'I am being civil because my mother is here, not because you deserve it' voice.

"Why? Surely whatever you have to say to me can be said in front of your wonderful mother," Nezumi rejoins, in a voice specifically designed to counter Shion's. The message behind it is more or less 'See how many fucks I give? None.' "What is it?"

"I don't feel well," Shion announces blandly, ignoring his mother's worried 'oh, are you sick?' and leveling his gaze on Nezumi. "Can we go home?"

"We just got here," Nezumi whines, clearly thinking of the muffin he's still letting cool on his plate and hasn't gotten to eat yet, but Karan is off and running already, her hand on Shion's forehead and instructions for his proper care spilling out from her mouth.

They're out the door less than forty seconds later.

"Hurry home if you won't stay," Karan reasons. "If you need medicine—"

"Got it covered," Nezumi interjects smoothly, steering Shion by the shoulders. "Thanks again."

"Bye, mom," Shion offers, a little guiltily. It's not her fault she's stuck with defective progeny.

Nezumi guides him more or less tenderly down the street until they have to turn off and the bakery is out of sight. Shion's up against the wall of a convenient building in no time at all, Nezumi's face right up in his, hands locked on either side of Shion's head.

This can't be right, Shion thinks, as his pulse rockets upwards. Normal people can't be like this.

"What the hell," Nezumi prompts, "was that about?"

"You wouldn't talk to me in private so—"

"I take it back, there's nothing I want to hear about less than your retarded little diabolical plans. We're in private now," Nezumi reasons, clearly ignoring the fact that they're less than three metres away from a main commercial street, "So what is it, your imperial majesty?"

"I—" and now all of Shion's momentum slips from his grasp like water. He's suddenly very aware of the odds of Nezumi laughing at him over this, and they're not in his favour.

"And stop blushing," Nezumi commands, rolling his eyes unsympathetically.

"Stop ordering me to not do things! You always—"

"Yes, yes, I'm a tyrant. Stop stalling," says Nezumi, with an air of finality. Shion shifts from side to side. One of his socks has a small hole developing, right at the heel. "Shion."

"I just," he tries, but his sentence abruptly falls apart when he meets Nezumi's eyes. He makes an effort to look elsewhere, to no avail. It's supremely frustrating, and Shion clenches his hands into helpless fists. "I can't, not while you're looking at me like that!"


"I can't concentrate on anything," Shion continues. He feels tears prick at the backs of his eyes and knows he's gone as red as his scar now. It's not fair at all. Biology textbooks in no way prepared him for this. "You just look at me and I—"

"Oh," concludes Nezumi. He tilts his head appraisingly. "You're horny."

"I'm a statistical anomaly," Shion confirms wildly, clutching his hair with his hands until Nezumi pulls them away impatiently. " I must have a chemical imbalance or a surplus of testosterone or maybe something psychosomatic is going on but it won't stop and I don't know how to fix it!"

Nezumi raises an eyebrow, suggestion all over his face. Shion shakes his head petulantly.

"No, I don't mean ejaculation, I mean—"

"Shion," Nezumi says, in a tone that takes Shion aback with its lack of mockery. "It's not a problem. You don't have to fix anything. We'll go home, like you wanted."

Shion just stares at him, miserably. "But—"

"We'll go home," Nezumi repeats, thumb tracing the snake on Shion's cheek. Shion shivers and grips Nezumi's other hand tightly when it finds his own. "And I'll alleviate your problem and then laugh at you. Or maybe in the reverse order."

"Nezumi," Shion whines, as Nezumi pulls him away from the wall and down the street. "I really do think I—"

"Here's another order: if you can't enjoy your sex drive, at least let me enjoy it for you," Nezumi tosses back, casually. Shion's head snaps up and he nearly falls on his face, saved only by grace of Nezumi's steady hold on his hand. "Hurry up, crazy person."

"I thought you'd make fun of me."

"I did, weren't you listening?"

But you're walking faster than I am right now, Shion realizes. His face splits into a smile.

"Ne-zu-mi," he singsongs, jogging a little to catch up with him properly. He laces their hands together snugly. Embarrassment and hormonal betrayal are long-forgotten concepts. "You're not making fun of me for a reason and I know what it is!"

"Is this the part where I'm supposed to care?"

"You know, I think the moment's passed. D'you want to go back to my mom's?"

"What?" Nezumi barks in alarm, a note of panic in his voice. Shion nearly falls over again, he's laughing so hard. "What is wrong with you?"

"Nothing that isn't wrong with you, too," Shion gasps, between bouts of laughter. He's holding his stomach with one hand because it's starting to hurt, but the other is still in Nezumi's.

"Are you done," Nezumi deadpans, once Shion's laughs are increasingly punctuated by 'ows' on account of his aching abdominal muscles. Shion straightens, wincing but happy.

"My stomach hurts," he giggles, trying an experimental squeeze of Nezumi's hand. Nezumi just looks at him. Shion squeezes a second time. Nezumi's hissed 'for fuck's sake' is altogether toothless, and there's an answering pressure soon enough. "Let's go home, Nezumi."

"Yeah, yeah. Are you capable of walking on your own or does his majesty need hand-holding?"

"I don't need it," Shion says. He rearranges the hand that's in Nezumi's, so he can press the pads of his fingertips into the soft skin between Nezumi's knuckles. "Maybe something else, though?"

"Are you propositioning me?" gasps Nezumi, mock offense playing out over his features. They're walking again, at a slow pace that might look a bit like a meandering wobble to anyone who cared to observe closely. "How very gauche of you."

"Does it still count as a proposition if I know you'll say yes," Shion counters. Nezumi glances at him sidelong. "I was aiming for foreplay, though."

"Don't care what you call it," Nezumi tells him, lowly, "So long as you're naked by the end of it."

"I kind of don't want to be wearing clothes around you ever again so that works out nicely," Shion admits. Nezumi laughs out loud, and the smile it leaves on his face is almost – almost – better than sex.