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Yuuta had showered at the factory, but he was still drenched with sweat by the time he got back home. Between the traffic, the humidity, and the way seemingly every cicada in Kyoto had chosen to start screaming its head off this week, he felt about ready to punch something by the time he opened his door.

His mood improved when he saw Shuu had set out tea for him in the living room. More amazing still, it was still cold.

"Did you just make this?" he asked, tossing off his shirt and sitting down. "How'd you know when I'd be back?"

"I heard your bike outside," Shuu said from the kitchen. "There's more in the fridge if you're still thirsty."

It was the sort of suspiciously considerate gesture any normal person would only go out of their way do because they wanted to throw it in your face later. A few years earlier, it would have raised Yuuta's hackles, but he'd lived with Shuu long enough now to know that this was just the sort of weird shit he liked doing.

"Thanks," he said, downing the glass in a single gulp. Before he could get up to get more, Shuu was returning from the kitchen with the pitcher.

After two glasses more, the headache that had been plaguing Yuuta all afternoon felt way less splitting. He internally debated turning on the TV, then decided against it. He'd had enough noise for one day.

Shuu wandered back into the kitchen then, but soon he was back in the living room again, first with laundry to fold, then with a rag to dust the bookshelf. On the way back to the kitchen again, he bent to pick Yuuta's things up from the floor.

"Just leave them," Yuuta said.

"I'll just hang your shirt up."

"I'll do it later. Come here." It made him tired to watch Shuu running around.

Shuu obliged, sitting down beside him, and when Yuuta wrapped an arm around him he leaned readily into his side. For all that he looked like a reserved guy, Shuu was surprisingly touchy-feely; he had been ever since Yuuta was in middle school, back when Yuuta had been the one who was small enough to fit in his arms. Yuuta had squirmed out of all Shuu's hugs back then, insisting they were embarrassing, even though he'd secretly enjoyed them. But now things were the right way around, with Yuuta just tall enough that Shuu's head fit perfectly against his neck. Yuuta guessed he could be pretty touchy-feely too, when the guy he was touching was his boyfriend.

Now that he was cooled off, he was finally starting to feel relaxed. He turned to kiss Shuu's cheek. Like always, Shuu stiffened; but after a beat, he relaxed again, and Yuuta decided to forgive him.

"I was thinking," Shuu said after a few minutes, as though Yuuta hadn't kissed him at all. "How would you like to go on a trip?"

"What kind of trip?"

"To the coast, maybe. Just for a few days."

"Why? You got a manuscript due?"

"I just think it would be nice," Shuu said, which meant that yeah, he did. Yuuta didn't know how he managed to keep that editor of his, with all the time he spent not actually writing. But now that Yuuta had his own job and didn't have to worry about Shuu's perennial pre-deadline freakouts endangering their life together, the idea of a trip didn't sound half bad. Shuu was usually so determined to avoid work in these moods that he'd go along with anything Yuuta wanted to do. And it always gave Yuuta a kick to check into an inn together under the same last name and see the staff try to puzzle out their relation, to let them show them to their room and lay out their futons all the while knowing he'd be fucking Shuu there later that night.

"Yeah. I guess that'd be cool," he said. "How soon you want to go?"

"... Tomorrow?"


"I already made reservations," Shuu mumbled, like a little kid who'd been caught misbehaving. "I can cancel them."

"You don't gotta cancel them," Yuuta said. Honestly, he didn't know what that lawyer had been on all those years ago, thinking this guy could be anyone's parent. If you were to show a random snapshot of their life to anyone off the street and ask which of them had adopted the other, a hundred to one they would guess Yuuta.

Some days he found himself thinking Shuu would be better off if Yuuta really could have adopted him; if he could go back in time somehow and meet him when he was little, teach him all the shit every kid was supposed to know about the world back when Shuu might have actually retained it. Here's how to read a map, he'd say. Don't forget to lock the door when you go out. Stay away from no-good teenage punks.

He said, "You know, like. If you ever want to just never turn in another manuscript again, you can, right?"

"I swear, this one is almost finished." A pause. "Partly. It will be finished by the deadline."

"I'm serious. It's not like we need the money. You could just relax." The thing Yuuta wasn't going to admit was that he actually liked the idea of having Shuu at home full time. Shuu wouldn't have to change his routine; he could keep cooking and doing laundry and all the other stuff he was already happily doing, just without the pretense that he was also supporting them both.

"You don't need to worry about that," Shuu said.

"I'm not worried," Yuuta said, scowling. "I'm just saying -- if it would make you happy, you could just stop. You know I'll take care of you."

"I'm happy right now."

Then why don't you act like it? But Yuuta knew it would be useless trying to get Shuu to see that, much less admit it out loud. Maybe eventually Yuuta's suggestion would sink in, though. He'd bring it up again later.

In the meanwhile, he might as well savor the moment. "Yeah?" he said, leaning in to nuzzle Shuu's neck. "Good. Me too."

Shuu didn't say anything this time. Encouraged, Yuuta kissed him again, in the same spot at first and then lower down, more lingering.

When he sucked at Shuu's adam's apple, Shuu said, "I have to make dinner."

"No you don't. We can just grab something from the conbini." Yuuta reached to unbutton the collar of Shuu's shirt. Even with the heat and how tired he was, he was getting in the mood.

"You can't eat convenience store food every night. It's not -- nn, Yuuta -- it's not good for your health."

"‘S not every night. Just sometimes."

It was still gratifying to hear the way Shuu's breath sped up when they did this. If it was all up to Shuu, he'd go his whole life without ever getting laid, but he never resisted Yuuta's overtures for long and he'd never not gotten off on them. He needed someone like Yuuta who could get him out of his own head, show him how to feel good.

"We should shower," Shuu whispered, once Yuuta nearly had his whole shirt unbuttoned.

"We can shower afterwards," Yuuta mumbled into his chest. He licked his skin, feeling the way Shuu shuddered.

"That's not -- Yuuta, wait."

Shuu didn't mean it; if Yuuta pushed, he knew he'd give in like he always did. But just for a moment, it reminded him of how his mom would freeze up when his deadbeat dad was drunk and in one of his good moods, the way you could see she didn't want it but didn't want to piss him off either.

Shuu's expression went all concerned when he pulled away. Yuuta kind of hated how well he could read him. "Yuuta?"

"Sorry." He swallowed. It wasn't like he had any reason to be irritated, but he kind of was, anyway. He needed to cool off before he said something stupid. "I'm gonna take a walk."

"Wait. I'll -- just let me take a shower. We can still ..."

"It's fine. Too hot for it, anyway."

"You don't have to leave."

"I know I don't have to, I just want to, okay? I'll be right back. Fuck."

He wanted Shuu to scold him, but he just looked worried. If Yuuta really wanted to be an asshole right now, he'd grab his cigarettes on the way out, even though he suddenly wanted a smoke so bad it could kill him. He'd been trying to ease up lately, to stop Shuu nagging him.

He tugged his shirt back on and walked over to the door, steadfastly ignoring the weight of Shuu's gaze on his back. One cigarette, he decided. He'd buy a new pack, smoke it quick, then come right back once he'd mellowed out. Shuu wouldn't even need to know. And then, tomorrow, they'd go visit the coast.