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outside, the summer cicadas whine.  their noises flow in through the window, cracked open to let in a humid summer breeze, a protestation of the heat, but it does nothing to alleviate the denseness of the summer swelter.  it settles into the air with a grim finality, each moment a lonely definite.  

akiyama shifts his legs.  sweat slicks the skin behind his knees.

brushing his ankles, the sheets sit crumpled at the foot of the bed.  neither of them are cold, even in post-coital lethargy, fever sinking into their bones and grazing over their foreheads and scalps.  last week akiyama's air conditioning broke.  he has yet to call someone to fix it.

he watches at shiba as he sleeps.  listens.  the guy's loud even in unconsciousness:  he twitches and jolts and sometimes he mutters things like whining “no”s and groaning “yes”s and occasionally things like, “akiyama-kun,” leaving his lips all desperate and small.  like the creaking, needy noises of the cicadas outside.

akiyama twists the thick gold band around his ring finger.  he’s kind of surprised he didn’t catch on to the idea earlier.

there’s a knock on the door.  it takes a second for akiyama to register the sound, figure out where it’s coming from and what it is before he turns his head into the mattress and decides to ignore it.  shiba snores disjointedly in his ear.

a moment of pause.  the screen on the window rattles with a particularly rough gust of wind.  the knocking comes again, more urgently this time.  with a sigh that breezes weighty past his lips, akiyama continues to ignore it, letting his eyes flutter closed.

“open up, you asshole!”  oh.  “it’s sano!”  as if akiyama wouldn’t have recognized his voice from the first syllable.

akiyama still doesn’t get up.  he doesn’t particularly want to.  it’s hot out.

“i know you’re in there, dickwad!”  his fist thumps against the door with a hollow sound, something metallic rattling inside it.  “open the goddamn door!”

oblivious next to him, shiba snores.  surprising.  akiyama thought he would’ve woken up to bark, at the very least.

more pounding.  “i can see your lights on!”

akiyama sighs once again.  he’s not going to leave until akiyama answers the door, is he?

he crawls out of bed, the sheets whispering their objections under his hands and thighs as he does.  it’s been a long time since he’d gotten out of bed for anyone other than shiba.

the rest of the flat extends out before him as a hot, sweaty confine.  kitchen too small, hallways too short, not enough windows.  the carpet rasps against his bare toes.  it’s only when he has his fingers clasped around the handle that he realizes he hadn’t bothered to put on so much as a pair of shorts before answering the door.

sano pounds on the door again.  it lands about five inches from akiyama’s ear.  without an excessive amount of forethought, he figures that sano can deal with it.

he answers the door completely naked, come smeared over his stomach.

to be fair, akiyama had actually forgotten about that last detail.  but akiyama guesses from the expression on sano’s face that he hadn’t missed it.

“what?”

sano turns the color of a slightly overripe tomato.  red, but also kind of sickly.  “um -- “ is the first thing he says, his hands forming cragged claw-like shapes at the level of his neck.  he does not avert his gaze from akiyama’s dick.

it takes a solid few seconds before sano manages to muster up some emotion other than shock.  “what the hell, dude!?” he shouts.  he’s still staring at akiyama’s dick.

akiyama smirks.

“you wake me up, this is what you get,” akiyama says, dispassionately.  “what do you want?”

he isn’t in the habit of lying to himself:  he finds sano’s apparent emotional trauma associated with watching him almost get fucked up the ass hilariously funny.  dude can’t fucking get it up; how insecure do you have to be?

akiyama watches as a slow bead of sweat drips down sano’s forehead.  the semen cached in his pubic hair is starting to dry.  leaning against the doorframe, it occurs to akiyama as sano continues to stare blatantly at his dick that just about anyone could walk by the open door, steps plodding along the cheap linoleum, rims of their eyes parting over their eyeballs.  shock.  whatever.  akiyama doesn’t close the door.

“whatever!  what the hell, you disgusting fucking fag!”

sano, looking a bit like a fresh bruise in a bright red apple, turns and leaves, footfalls thudding angrily against the ground.  akiyama feels a drop of sweat trail down the back of his neck.

“what’s going on…?”

from the hallway, shiba asks.  his mouth is turned down into an anxious frown.  a weak gust of wind brushes akiyama’s ankles as the door at the end of the hallway outside slams shut with a heavy metal clang!  briefly, he considers simply leaving the door to his flat open.

“nothing.  go back to bed.”

shiba swallows, his lips forming a quivering line.  “i actually...have work, in a half an hour.”

akiyama frowns.  he has to focus to keep his expression neutral.  suddenly the beads of sweat on scalp, back of his neck, knees and crotch and thighs all seem cold, tacky and itchy.  he desperately wants to be clean.  “okay,” he says.  twisting the band of gold around his ring finger.  the summer is almost over.  almost.  “go.”

“i don’t mean to -- it’s just, i already signed up for the hours, and -- “

“it’s fine.”  doesn’t matter.  he’ll just sleep anyways.

shiba closes his mouth.  his eyebrows form a wavering line, like a trembling waterline.  “was that sano?”

akiyama pads over to the bathroom.  “yeah,” he says, then slams the door shut behind him.

he really should have cleaned the come off himself earlier.



----

time passes.  sano’s odd, out-of-place visit flows out of his mind like water down a stream:  things that don’t matter don’t matter.

things that do matter:  good food.

he isn’t entirely sure if he should call him and shiba eating out a ‘date’.  they sit next to each other and when shiba gets too nervous, too caught up in his own head, akiyama will nudge him under the table with his foot.  more often he’ll plant a hand on shiba’s knee, his thumb teasing the inside of shiba’s thigh.  he’ll make shiba order for the both of them, voice shaking, teeth clacking, while he skates his fingers up the inside of shiba’s thigh, pressing his thumb into the place where his leg folds into his crotch, avoiding shiba’s dick with a calculated tenacity.

the waitress will smile at shiba.  akiyama will watch sweat sneak down his neck.

akiyama won’t touch him until the food comes, pressing his palm into shiba’s dick through the fabric of his clothes.  shiba still wears underwear.  akiyama thinks it’s cute.  with one hand, akiyama will eat, calm as can be while the other teases shiba under the table, tracing the outline of his dick through his pants, pinching at the head.  shiba will come before akiyama’s even halfway through with his dish.

and when they get home, shiba will fuck him hard into the mattress, hands pulling at akiyama’s hair.  sometimes he’ll imagine it’s a punishment.  other times he’ll think of it as a reward.

important:  school.  to a degree.

summer comes to a close.  akiyama’s realized that if shiba fails school, akiyama has to deal with the consequences.  he shows up at school more often than not.  drags himself out of bed in the morning.  he’s late, usually, but he’s there.  

each morning before he heads to his own class, he’ll stop by shiba’s to wave.  shiba’s smile when he does so could light up the whole building, probably.

he gets lectured more often than not when he’s late, interestingly enough.  more so than when he just didn’t show up.  like because his teachers think that because he’s put in some effort it’s horrendous that he isn’t putting in as much as they want him to.

people are weird.

in the morning he lays in bed, swaddled in sheets and the tangles of his own hair.  the heat of the sun, radiating off the concrete, through the glass panes of the classroom’s windows, isn’t close to the same.  but there’s a door buried in the bowels of the building.  it locks automatically, but during lunch akiyama will prop it open with a rock, letting the breeze blow into the halls of the school.

the first time they discover the spot, shiba leans against the wall and sighs, wind ruffling the strands of his hair.  cut short. he looks like a well-behaved high school boy, even when he fucks akiyama so hard he starts to scream.

akiyama throws his arms around shiba’s shoulders, burying his nose into the curve of shiba’s neck.  the collar of his uniform tickles akiyama’s nose.  shiba strokes his hair.

akiyama doesn’t care about what people say.  what they think.  he’s never been in a place where he found himself able to.  (care, that is.)  but shiba does.  he cares about the teacher’s lectures and the way the gazes of akiyama’s old friends slide off of them like water off glass, sano’s the only one seeming to stick.  wide-eyed and accusing.  some kind of terrified.

(life is weird.  akiyama takes it in stride.)

but out back behind the school, in akiyama’s apartment, all of that seems to melt away from shiba.  with a big sigh.  akiyama breathes in the timid scent of shiba’s deodorant.  his hand comes to rest on akiyama’s knee.

(when you have people around you that you really care about, that you want to stay, life becomes a lot more complicated.  akiyama takes it in stride.)

thing that’s most important:  shiba.

if akiyama occasionally spots sano’s big brown eyes, a shock of hair worn straw-like with bleach peeking out at the two of them from around the corner of the building, he doesn’t say anything.

life is complicated enough as is.

things that don’t matter don’t matter.

---

akiyama fundamentally has no problem with being watched.

eyes on him when he enters a class halfway through instruction, curious gazes as he pushes open the door to the boys’ bathroom, neighbors down the hall with hawklike, judging looks that have only increased in number since shiba started coming over.

he doesn’t mind.

sometimes he likes it.

when he friends used to peer over the dividers between urinals to comment about the size of his dick, getting ice from down the hall in only his underwear, sano at the door with akiyama’s own come on his stomach.  shiba standing silently in the hallway, watching akiyama as he rifles through the fridge, naked.

shiba scrabbling to cram his dick into akiyama, hot and sweaty and crying, four sets of shocked, awkward shoes gathered around them.

but he’s not sure how he feels about the way sano watches him.

he lurks around corners, in the reflection of bathroom mirrors, the walk he and shiba take home.  probably thinks he’s subtle, but akiyama can feel sano’s eyes glued to the back of his head.  to the ring snug on his finger.

he’s looking for something.

shiba notices, too.

big-eyed and nervous, he notices.

akiyama doesn’t want to protect him; that’s not it.  shiba is soft and anxious, but he’s more than capable of handling himself.  has all the courage, the drive, to do whatever it is he wants.  akiyama tells shiba to ignore it, when he finally gets around to asking.

he threads his arm around shiba’s waist, pressing his hand into shiba’s back pocket.  things that matter don’t matter.

wait --

---

the back door to the school swings open to reveal akiyama and shiba’s spot with a loud, obnoxious clang.  akiyama doesn’t bother to shove the rock between the door and the frame, letting it close with a thunderous metallic click.

shiba isn’t there.

akiyama pulls his phone out of his pants pocket.  he doesn’t have contacts, just knows the seven digits of shiba’s phone number by heart.

the little knobs in the concrete wall behind him dig into his back as the dialtone rings and akiyama’s heart thuds.  out of sync.

shiba picks up with sniffle.

he’s sick.

he’s sorry for not calling, he slept right through his alarm.

akiyama hums into the phone.  “you home alone?”

“y-yeah?”

“i’m coming over.”

on the other end of the line, shiba stutters.  “y-you don’t need to do that, stay in school, you should stay there -- “

“it’s not like there’s any point if you’re not here,” akiyama says, quietly.  shiba falls silent; akiyama can perfectly picture the cowed look on his face.  “i’d rather be with you.”

he says it plain, truthful, without that aching embellished honesty.  akiyama just says it like it is.  

after a long silence shiba starts, “okay.”  and then, “but you might get sick, it’s not -- “

akiyama tilts his head to the side, along the edge of the wall.  hair the texture of straw peeks out from the other side of the dumpster.

“it’s whatever,” akiyama says.  “i’ll be there in twenty.”

he hands up the phone.  the call cuts off with a little click of noise, like the popping of a pen.

“sano.”

the little bushel of straw jumps.  akiyama slouches against the wall.

slowly, sano emerges from behind the dumpster.  he looks guilty underneath all the forced anger, pushed to the forefront of his expression in the form of a scowl.  but his eyebrows are all wrong, something vulnerable sparking in his gaze.  a cold line of sweat drips down his forehead.  akiyama would feel bad for him, otherwise.  (but it doesn’t matter.)

sano crosses his arms, mouth turned downwards into a nervous pucker.  he’s seen the same expression on shiba.

“d-do you take it up the ass?”

it’s accusatory, aggressive.  akiyama isn’t.  “yeah.”

sano physically recoils from him, giving akiyama a wide-eyed mortified look.  afraid.  “do you -- what -- “  his adam’s apple bobs in his throat as he swallows, but his speech dies in his throat.  shoulders sagging, lips curled into a sneer, sano stares at the ground as he whispers, “fucking faggot.”  quiet.  unsure.  

akiyama lets the word hang in the air for a long moment.  he should have told shiba thirty minutes.

“sano,” he sighs, tone regulated and distant; things that don’t matter don’t matter, “get your shit together.”

he slings his bag over his shoulder, brushes past sano -- only he grabs akiyama by the elbow, turning devastated eyes on him.  “you like it?”

akiyama yanks his arm away.  “none of your damn business,” he says.

sano swallows, hands hanging limp by his sides.  “fuck you.”

his eyes are wide.  vulnerable.  the same color as hot chocolate.  he remembers sano always used to drink his cold.

tomomi.  sano’s first name is tomomi.

small.  feminine.  angry.

he takes a deep breath.  “fuck off, sano.”

---

“akiyama-kun,” shiba says, his face buried under the covers up to his nose.

“yo,” akiyama says, tossing his bag at the foot of shiba’s desk.  shiba’s cheeks are flushed, but akiyama can’t tell whether it’s just the blush he perpetually has around akiyama or the fever.  (either way, it’s cute.)  “what’s up?”

“feeling better,” shiba says.  the tips of his fingers poke out from beneath the comforter, at level with his face.  “still sick though.”

akiyama grunts, comes to sit in the space between shiba’s hip and the edge of his mattress.  heat radiates off of him and sinks deep into akiyama’s skin.

“how are you?” shiba asks.  “how was your day?”

bringing a knee up to the bed to rest his chin on, akiyama answers:  “fine.”  he can feel the texture of the sheets through the thin material of his sock.  “don’t ask me such boring questions.”

“s-sorry,” shiba stutters.  his eyes slide away, in the direction of the wall.

“‘s fine,” akiyama says, bending down to press a kiss to shiba’s forehead.

“a-ah, akiyama-kun!” shiba starts, and cringes away.  akiyama blinks.  “you’ll, ah, you’ll get sick!”

“it’s your forehead.”  leaning down into shiba’s personal space.  breath tickling his neck.  hot.  “your forehead isn’t gonna get me sick.”

“i -- well -- “  he’s beet red, squirming under the covers, eyes shimmering with tears too light to shed.  almost the same face he makes when --

akiyama glances down.  “are you hard?”

his palm is pressed into the covers on the other side of shiba’s hips, caging him between akiyama’s hand and the rest of his body.  a little tent halfway between, pressing the comforter up into a little triangle.  akiyama lifts a hand to stroke the shaft through the material.

“a-akiyama-kun!” shiba gasps.  nervous.  akiyama doesn’t get why, at this point.

“what?”  he stands long enough to tug the covers up from under himself, pushing them up over shiba’s hips.  he doesn’t have any lube on him, doesn’t think shiba does either, but he can still --

“wait, akiyama-kun!”  shiba’s fingers in his hair.  holding his head in place.  it send a jolt, hot and inexorable, down akiyama’s spine.  his fingers in shiba’s waistband.  “y-you’ll get sick….”

“sucking your dick.”  it’s a statement, made to make shiba realize how ridiculous the idea is.  but as he thinks about it he realizes he really doesn’t know.

shiba nods.  he’s pushed himself up on one hand now, and akiyama can see that his whole chest is flushed strawberry-red, bright and hot.  feverish.

akiyama sits up.  “okay,” he says, leaning back.  takes to his feet.  shiba looks worried, sitting there with his boner peeking out of his underwear, band pressing into his thighs, his balls.  “what about this?”  he sits back down at the foot of the bed, one leg extended towards shiba’s crotch.  he peels of his sock.  “like the first time?”

shiba nods.

akiyama snags the head of shiba’s dick in between his toes, careful of his nails.  his own in his hand.

shiba presses a hand over his mouth, as if to hide the blush that spreads from his cheeks down to his toes.

this, akiyama thinks.  he runs the ball of his foot against the length of shiba’s dick, pressing it into his stomach.  this matters.

---

akiyama had forgotten one of the most important things on his list earlier:  sleep.  sleep matters.

the warm embrace of unconsciousness, blankets pulled tight around him.  sweat dripped down the back of his knee.  shiba’s breath ghosting across his cheek, toes curling against akiyama’s shin.

sleep is better with shiba.

he throws an arm across shiba’s hips -- there’s semen cached on his stomach (again), drying in the spaces between his toes.

he hopes shiba’s mom doesn’t walk in.  (he wouldn’t mind if shiba’s mom walked in.)

beside him, shiba snores.  his nose is running.  outside, cicadas whine.

---

akiyama nudges shiba out of his sickly snooze with an elbow to the hip.  “wake up.”

shiba’s eyes flutter open.  in between the moment it takes him to wake up and to focus on akiyama’s face, his lips settle into an easy smile.  like coffee on a cold winter morning.

the side of akiyama’s mouth tilts up.  “food,” he says, shoving a bowl towards shiba.  then, “eat.”

as shiba sits up, the sheets tumble off him like water down a cliff.  he rubs his eyes.  “thank you.”

akiyama hands him a pair of chopsticks.  shiba takes them with still-bleary eyes.  akiyama once again sits on the edge of the bed, reaching out a hand to ruffle shiba’s hair.  he’s cute.

shiba looks up at him from under his eyelashes, like a puppy desperate for affection.

in his pocket, akiyama’s phone buzzes.

unidentified number:

14:51  can we talk?

15:03  i fucking HATE YOU

without a word, akiyama drops it back into his pocket.  he doesn’t text.

things that don’t matter.

he strokes shiba’s knee.

---

he leaves shiba’s about eight that night.

it’s dark by then, the lanes of shiba’s residential neighborhood under the aegis of yellow-tinged streetlamps that hang every ten feet or so.  he messes with his phone as he walks -- changing the language (Farsi), playing snake (eating his own ass), typing out the first few digits of shiba’s number (851, delete, 8512, delete).  doesn’t notice the footsteps synched to his, flashes of bleach-blond hair in the dark glare off the screen of his phone.

“akiyama!”

he only stops, doesn’t turn around.  sano’s breath is loud as an industrial fan behind him.

“look at me, you fucking -- !”  his voice catches in his throat.

akiyama flips his phone closed.  he doesn’t say anything.  doesn’t know what to say.

“i want -- “  like shoving at a pair of locked doors, chain dangling in between them.  not quite inside, but able to peek at it.  “fucking -- “  

footsteps getting closer.  akiyama leaves his back bare and slouched.

“fucking look at me you piece of shit!”

sano tugs at his shoulder -- how had he even gotten here, known akiyama was here, this is shiba’s neighborhood and the edge of danger doesn’t register for him until he’s staring straight into sano’s hot cocoa eyes, fear slashing like a wound through his stomach with sano’s hand around the back of his neck and sano’s hair tickling his neck and sano’s lips pressing into his --

what?

sano stumbles backwards, heels kicking at the concrete.  “fuck,” he says, and akiyama’s bag is hitting the ground with a thud, mouth held slack.  “fuck!” again, this time with a hand pressed over his mouth.  almost like he’s going to be sick.

the sound of asphalt under his sneakers is the only thing that follows sano into the dark of the night, disappearing into the treeline.

---

“he kissed you?” shiba asks, voice crackling over the phone.  bad reception in akiyama’s house.

“yeah.”  the tv blares on in the background.

shiba makes a noise -- some kind of noise, quiet and mad and set somewhere deep in his stomach.  it sounds almost like a ‘no’.  “you’re mine.”  it’s not possessive, not dangerous.  nervous.  undertone of whine.  shiba.  “mine,” he says again.

“yeah,” akiyama agrees.  he imagines how shiba’s arms would be draped around his neck (if he were here), knees clenched around akiyama’s thighs, radiating heat like his own contained sun.  he twists the band around his ring finger.  “yeah.”

silence falls over the line.  just the crackle of shiba’s breath and the murmur of the television.

“shiba?”

akiyama can hear the way he starts in his voice.  “yeah?!”

“stay over tomorrow night, okay?”

the rustle of covers from shiba’s end of the line.  “yeah,” he says.  “i will.”

the call ends with a click.  cicadas hum outside, like  last dying cry.  the summer is coming to a close.

that night, akiyama lays in bed alone.

after a few minutes, he stands up, ambles to the front room, and slides the deadbolt locked.

---


he doesn’t go to school the next day.

akiyama pulls the sheets over his head, his toes peeking out from the foot of the bed.  he turns the lights off.

shiba comes and visits him after school, crawling into bed and wrapping his arms around akiyama.  his shoulders, his hips, arms and arms and legs and legs, his breath in akiyama's ear.  "you're mine," he whispers.  teeth against akiyama's throat.  tears wetting his cheeks.

akiyama inhales.  "yeah," he says.

"akiyama-kun."  shiba pushes himself up on his elbows.  the loose material of shiba's uniform shirt is he only thing that hangs between them.  "i wanna wreck you."

it's high.  whining.  shiba's eyes are vulnerable and small.  it's not a demand, but a question.

akiyama spreads his legs.

shiba digs his teeth into akiyama's throat, moans akiyama's name into his shoulder, hands pressing into his sides.  possessive, but akiyama presses his palms into the plane of shiba's back and it's all right.  it's all right.

"you're mine," shiba mutters.  "mine."

akiyama grunts.  teeth in his collarbone.  "yeah," he says.  then, "fuck me."

"O-okay," shiba says.

bare.  simple.  shiba gets what he has to say.  akiyama gets shiba.

the covers rustle as shiba reaches out of their little pocket of warmth and into akiyama's bedside table.  for lube.  natural light, filtering in through the windows, peeks in from around shiba's arm, his shoulder.  if akiyama squints, it's almost like the light radiates out from shiba's skin.

slick fingers slide into him.  it's not much of a fight.

shiba preps him soft but fucks him hard and rough, dotting hickeys along the column of his neck, whining, "akiyama-kun, akiyama-kun," with every intake of breath, kissing his collar and chest and chin.  

without so much as a brush of fingers, akiyama comes three minutes before shiba.

he pretends it's not embarrassing.  shiba kisses him on the forehead.

---

"akiyama, i'm sorry!"

a thud on the door.  shiba stirs beside him, lips pulled into a distasteful expression even in his sleep.

pound pound pound.  the gears and bolts of the lock rattle, tinny and metallic, from within the door.  “akiyama!”  shiba’s grip tightens around his waist, nose nuzzled comfortably into the crook of akiyama’s hip.  akiyama cards his fingers through shiba’s bangs.

“i know you’re here.”

it sounds like something out of a late-night horror movie, audio crackling in the shitty speakers.  but it sends fear sputtering down his spine like no horror movie ever has, low and dangerous and angry.  something in akiyama’s gut stirs, something he hasn’t felt since his father caught him holding hands with the boy who lived across the hall.  cold like dread, hot like terror.

how does sano know he’s here?

shiba’s eyes -- sleepy, honey brown, crack open.  thud thud thud.  “i just want to talk!”

shiba’s brow furrows.  akiyama lets his hand fall back to the mattress.  “what…?”  his nose brushes against akiyama’s hip.

he wishes sano would leave.

the desire hits him like a blow to the chest.  it sets his heart thumping hot and frantic, at a pace too fast, expanding and contracting, stretching to press against the insides of his ribs like the latex of a condom about to break, a hairsbreadth away from popping a drop of sweat runs icy down his back --

shiba’s hands on his shoulders.  cheeks all red, hair sticking up at odd angles.  “are you okay?”  nervous.

akiyama lays a hand over shiba’s.  “no problem.”

it’s awkward.  stilted.  shiba smiles bright enough to outdo the sun.

bang!  sano’s fist against the door sounds heavy as a brick.  “akiyama, you dyke-ass -- sissy, come the fuck out!”

shiba swallows.  a drop of sweat runs unhindered down his forehead.  “do you, uh, want me to get it?”

another thud.  like thunder.

“no,” akiyama says.  “no, i got it.”

the longer and longer akiyama lets him stick around, it seems, the more it is of akiyama he ends up seeing.  akiyama thinks he’s okay with that.

he crawls out of bed, takes his time finding a pair of jeans to pull on.  sano continues to shout, alternating things like, “open up, you fag!” with, “please, i’m sorry.”  shiba shoots him worried looks from where he sits on the bed, clutching the sheet around his hips.  he doesn’t put on a shirt, just goes straight for the door, turns the doorknob without even thinking about it, because he knows that if he does he’ll lose the nerve.

sano stands on the other side, shoulders hunched and face red and words bubbling out of him like lava out of an active volcano.

“i’m sorry.”

akiyama stays cool.  ice cold.  sano is shorter than him.  akiyama glares down his nose.

“i don’t know -- why -- i’m not gay.  i just -- ”  he tugs at the end of his shirt.  “i had this dream, and i -- i don’t know!”  his voice rises in pitch until his words come out more like a series of high-pitched little squeaks, losing the ends of his words, stumbling over his syllables, teeth worrying at the pink skin of his lower lip.

“a dream.”  akiyama says.  he doesn’t know whether it’s disbelieving or curious or angry.

“we -- we were like these waiters in a club, except it was a sex club and we were in...bunny...suits...”  akiyama watches as sano swallows, bringing his hands up to either side of his head.  “and then...”  his eyes go unfocused for a second.  for a second he looks kind of like an old man in an american action movie having a flashback.

“sano,” akiyama says.  “i don’t want to hear about your weird sex dreams.”  

he goes ignored.  sano looks up at him with wide, horrified eyes.  “i’m a fucking faggot.”

“yeah,” akiyama says.  “congratulations.”

he moves to shut the door, because he feels like that would be a pretty fitting end to the conversation, but sano stumbles into the way.

“that ring, that’s from shiba, right?”

the gold band shines dull on akiyama’s ring finger, from where his hand is poised to close the door.  he doesn’t answer.

sano swallows.  “will you go out with me?”

the question comes out quiet, fragile, hesitant.  from somewhere behind him, he hears a little choking noise.  shiba must be watching.

“no,” akiyama says.  bored.  he images shiba digging his nails into the drywall, biting his bottom lip, hair all cutely mussed --

instead he feels shiba’s arms wrapping around his waist, his chin against akiyama’s shoulder.  he watches as sano meets his eyes, and though he can’t see the expression on shiba’s face he hazards that his expression must be all dominant and protective with just that slightest edge of scary.  judging from sano’s expression.

“akiyama-kun is mine.”

something warm and comforting flows up in his chest.  something that makes the worn-out latex of his exhausted heart feel like new again.

shiba matters so much.

“right,” sano says, looking mortified.  then, gaze fixed on the ground, “you’re both fucking weird.”

akiyama grunts.  “sort your shit out, sano.”

“right,” sano says.

they bid him goodbye with barely a glance down the hallway.

afterwards, shiba fucks him up against the closed door.  akiyama moans louder than sano had been yelling.

sano doesn’t matter.  

he could.  hunched shoulders, the long expanse of the apartment complex walls stick in his mind for a couple days.  it remains to be seen.

what he does know is that when shiba fucks him against the door, jeans dangling off one ankle, skin of his back riding up against the wood, it’s the best thing he’s had in his life for a long time.  it’s the thing that matters the most.

stop his stalking, figure out what he wants.  sano will come around if he comes around.

akiyama, meanwhile, with the back of his head up against the door, shiba’s breath hot on his neck, and contentment tingling like lightning down his spine, will just come.