||[Jul. 24th, 2013|01:04 am]
Akira’s never met someone who has given the impression of touch as much as Shindou does. Maybe it’s just how aware he is of Shindou’s presence, but the room seems somehow saturated with him when they’re together, Hikaru a tangible pressure against him. He sees the casual ways Shindou passes around his touches. How he loops his arm across his friends’ shoulders, how he shoves his feet against theirs, tussles with them.
It’s odder when he notices that Shindou doesn’t actually touch people that often. He just seems like he does. As though his exuberance bridges the gap between their bodies and his.
It’s even worse when Akira realizes that Hikaru touches him the least.
And that it bothers him.
* * *
The word hangs in the air, and Akira sighs, pushes his bangs out of his face. His forehead is temporarily cooled, and Akira wishes (not for the first time) that he had a hair band or something to get his hair off his neck. “Yes?”
“Why is it so hot?” Shindou reaches for the ceiling, sprawled on his back in the middle of Akira’s room. He lets his arm fall to the side with a faint thump a moment later, the small noise quickly overtaken by the incessant chirring of cicadas outside. Realizing that the question isn’t actually rhetorical, Akira shakes his head minutely. He places a stone on the goban.
“Would you like the scientific reason or the real reason?”
Akira watches Shindou’s fingers curl lazily towards his palm. “Scientific, then real. How are there two options anyway?”
“Well,” he says slowly, ignoring the last part of that statement. “The Earth is currently tilting Japan closer to the sun, causing this annual phenomenon called “summer.” I don’t know if you’ve heard of it, but it happens without fail every year. Hence, annual.”
Shindou snorts. “And the real reason?”
“God hates you,” Akira states simply.
There’s a moment of blessed, blessed quiet before Shindou pushes himself up to stare incredulously at Akira. Barking out a short burst of laughter, he shakes his head, damp blond bangs fanning around his face. “You are, without a doubt, the bitchiest go player I have ever known-”
“-and God loves me, thank you very much. It’s only because of my charm- my charm-” he says loudly over Akira’s protests, “-that we’re even close to the Hand of God, so you can just shove it up your sanctimonious ass already. You are not God’s gift to go.” He pauses, makes a face. “Neither is Ogata-sensei. I think it’s like, a bad side-effect of being in your teaching cla-”
“Shut up and place your stones, Shindou,” Akira says heartlessly. He taps the goke, expectant.
Shindou waves, knocking Akira’s hand aside, and he wonders what it means when that simple brush of contact settles an itch he hadn’t even been aware of. He lets out a quiet, appeased hum, and if Hikaru looks at him oddly for it, he doesn’t notice.
* * *
It’s not that Akira necessarily craves his attention. Really, it isn’t.
(They are rivals; Akira has no need to crave Shindou’s attention, it’s there any time he looks for it.)
But Shindou is the only person who reaches out to him, and that is another sort of need entirely.
* * *
The breeze that comes around the corner of the Go Institute is at once refreshing and not enough, and Akira wishes, for a brief, insane instant, that he was dressed as casually as Shindou always is. His suit is hot, even with the jacket off. He pushes a hand through his hair, grimacing at the catch-pull of sweat near his scalp.
Walking inside the building is something akin to being dropped inside a freezer, comparatively. The air conditioning is clearly laboring to keep the area cool, but at least Akira feels like he can breathe again. Moving isn’t going to evaporate him on the spot. He makes his way up to the Room of Profound Darkness, nodding to those he passes.
Standing in front of the door, he draws his fingers in towards his palms, a butterfly’s brush of sensation.
“Ready for your game today?”
Akira snorts reflexively, side-eyeing Shindou hard for doubting his abilities. The other boy just laughs at him, pulls his hands out of his pockets. They are quiet together for long beats, the wheeze of the air conditioning coloring the air between them.
“Hey.” Hikaru reaches out, and his palm is a steady press against Akira’s shoulder. He thinks that maybe, just maybe, he shouldn’t be as aware of the touch as he is. Maybe it shouldn’t seem like a force of nature, a concentrated center of gravity. (But then he remembers that all things create gravity, and maybe he’s just more attuned to Hikaru’s than most.)
“I’ll be watching,” he says.
When are you ever not? Akira wonders, fond, and he takes a deep breath.
And walks into the Room of Profound Darkness, still feeling the pull of Hikaru’s skin behind him.
* * *
It’s not something Akira thinks about much. Touching Shindou, that is. He doesn’t need to know someone’s skin in order to know their mind, and while Hikaru may still be a mystery to him some days, Akira always knows where Hikaru stands with him.
(Except for that one month, but he still hasn’t gotten past the darkness in Hikaru’s eyes every May.)
(An eventuality will have to be enough.)
* * *
It’s Shindou’s turn for a game today.
Akira supposes he should just be grateful that go is the one thing Shindou takes seriously, but he would love it if the other would finally learn how to tie a tie properly on his own. (Shindou, predictably, doesn’t care about that. He just taps his fan against his thigh and pretends that nothing bothers him.)
“I don’t need you fussing over me,” Shindou bitches, and Akira rolls his eyes and just keeps on adjusting Shindou’s atrocity of a tie.
In the process of finishing the knot, his fingers brush against the hollow of Hikaru’s throat. Akira welcomes the now-familiar mental white-out he has at the contact. His spine, his whole body, tingles in a rush. He feels more settled that he has in days, like Hikaru is an electrical ground, all of the pent up current rushing from Akira, leaving him empty. He closes his eyes to it, the pads of his fingers resting against Hikaru’s thrumming pulse.
When he drags his eyes open again, he finds Hikaru watching him.
“One day,” Hikaru says, and his voice is like another layer to the pull of gravity between them, “we are going to talk about this.”
Akira’s gaze doesn’t waver. Hikaru is looking at him the way he does when he’s puzzling out his next move in go, focused and intent and reading deep into him, and Akira matches it moment for moment, letting himself be read. “Someday,” he agrees, not shying away from the admission. “But not right now, Shindou. Go play your game.”
* * *
“So what is this thing you have with me touching you?”
Akira blinks at Hikaru. The other boy is studying him with dark eyes, his expression solemn and curious. He’s expecting something, but what, exactly, Akira doesn’t know. An answer to a question he had never considered himself? Certainly his reaction must be odd. But he can’t find fault in the way he relaxes into Hikaru’s touch, the way he arranges for brief, fleeting moments of contact in lieu of the longer ones he wishes he had.
Akira looks away. “It’s like gravity,” he offers.
He nods. “Something … that doesn’t need a reason to be. It just is, and it’s undefinable and absolute.” Akira studies his hands in his lap, the fragile bones of them something remarkable. “That sounds weird.”
“Everything about you is weird, it’s okay.”
Akira jerks his head up, offended, and he doesn’t expect a hand to slide along his cheek, to cup the back of his neck, and so he freezes. Hikaru is kneeling in front of him, serious and watchful. And it’s like time has slowed down. Akira feels the breath rattling in his lungs, the slow bow and flutter of his eyelashes; his very heartbeat draws close to the surface of his body, centered in that inescapable weight of Hikaru’s skin against his own. They breathe together, counts of one, two, three, pause, one, two, three.
When he moves in for a kiss, it feels inevitable.
A foregone conclusion to the series of moves lain out so far, and leaning into it is like sliding into still water.
* * *
In general relativity, gravity is not a force but a consequence.
Akira thinks that applies.
* * *
The heat is oppressive. Akira doesn’t open his eyes, just rolls over - or tries to, until he rolls into someone else. Lingering there, nose pressed against smooth skin, Akira lets out a quiet breath.
Hikaru is, of course, the one who moves, twitchy in a way he never is across the goban. Akira wants to instill in him the quiet Hikaru affords Akira, but he doesn’t know how to begin. “Okay, seriously, we need to talk about this. It’s a billion degrees outside, and you still want to cuddle? Skin to skin contact is an instant recipe for gross sweat, you know.”
Akira’s snort is muffled in Hikaru’s shoulder. (He’s mature enough to admit that he’s holding on right now less for the comfort and more to be contrary.) He feels languid and heavy. “You make everything more real,” he murmurs, and the statement is a quiet answer to an unasked question.
That is enough to bring Hikaru to a standstill, and Akira presses closer, pleased. “You know all of those jokes I made about you not being hugged enough as a kid were just jokes, right?”
Akira pushes himself up on one elbow, raising an imperious eyebrow at him.
Hikaru grins, unrepentant. “Just making sure.”
Shaking his head, Akira rolls out from under the sheets, making a face at the feeling of rapidly cooling sweat all over his body.
“Yeah, see, I told you it was gross.”
“Shut up, you brat,” Akira groans, and he shifts on his feet uncomfortably for a second before deciding that a shower is in order. It will at least help get rid of the stickiness.
He stops. Turning around, he cocks his head. Waits.
Hikaru is sitting up in his bed, sheets pooled around his waist. He looks rumpled despite his nudity, the red marks on his skin already fading in the morning light, and Akira files this image away the same way he has done with everything else he’s discovered about Hikaru. The word ‘intimate’ doesn’t describe the atmosphere; that would imply that this quiet intensity isn’t common between them, that this is new when really, it’s only a new facet that they hadn’t been aware of before. ‘Reverent’ might be better.
The silence stretches on, the two of them placidly examining each other in the summer light.
“Hikaru?” Akira eventually asks.
He only shakes his head, grins, and stands up, stretching to pop his back. “Eh, nothing, it doesn’t seem important anymore.”
Aikra smiles and supposes that it’s true.