Santa, dattebayo (santebayo) wrote in oh_shit_santa,
Santa, dattebayo
santebayo
oh_shit_santa

Summer Fest 2010: Fiction Submission 2/2





Title: The Difference With Keisuke
Summary: "The two of us are twins. Okay, so which one of us is gay?"
Author's Note: If you would like to learn the background of this storyline, please download and read the other stories in this series conveniently provided here. You can also download and read this series in it's entirety from here. Otherwise this piece kind of reads like original fiction... also the links in text are footnotes listed at the bottom of the entry.


** * ** * **


"Woooaah..." Later that same night Yusuke is marveling at the story thus far, granted he's only hearing about select parts, definitely none of the crap that's involved him. But Keisuke can make some things up, paint his side of the story a new color and make himself the victim and not the actual reason why his tutor had walked out mid-session this evening complaining of a serious migraine. Their mother hadn't thought anything of it, just acted worried about her tutor-for-hire and whether or not he might have a hard time making it back home all right.

"So he really stormed out eh? What did you say to him?" Yusuke leans closer to his brother on the sofa, they're currently engaged in a button-masher fighting game. Keisuke is losing because he's paying more attention to what he's saying.

"I just told him the things we talked about... you know, about getting fired if he made me feel uncomfortable or did something weird. Well he started doing it again..."

That was such a lie. If he had ever told Yusuke before about how their first couple tutoring sessions had gone in the past month, which he couldn't remember if he had, he would be so caught up in it... but this wasn't easy. He couldn't just come out and say oh well he got all mad that I was rambling on about possibly having some kind of gay tendencies towards others even though I keep insisting to him that I'm not gay - which I'm NOT okay and most definitely not for him thank you very much.

That whole sentence had so many problems with it, it wasn't even funny.

Speaking of gay... "What time is that Iwata guy coming over?"

Yusuke blushes like such a little school girl about it but still manages to execute an awesome killer combo that wins him the versus match. He sets his controller down on the coffee table and looks over at his brother. "After school."

"Ah." Yeah, Keisuke is definitely going find other places to be, he doesn't really want his mother bullying him into being nice to Iwata just for Yusuke's sake. Even if their mother's presence means there will be no fooling around of any sort, he would almost rather jump off a bridge than have to be a good boy forcibly.

"You know," Keisuke begins rather loudly, their mother cleaning up after dinner in the kitchen no more than twenty-five feet away, "you really need to stop blushing so much whenever someone mentions Iwata, it really does make you look like a hom-" and then Keisuke is getting choked out by his brother in real-time.

* * *


The train ride back home is shorter today. Keisuke catches sight of a digitized clock inside a station no more than two stops shy of his final destination. Even though the same amount of time has passed as usual, the perception has to be different. It's now Wednesday and he'll be arriving home shortly to his family plus one.

Not long after the last incident, Keisuke has learned to quickly get over the awkwardness of seeing Iwata visit his home once every few weeks. Rarely does the other boy ever spend the night, but when he does... Keisuke shakes his head as the train announces its immanent departure and begins to pull out of the station. Picking up speed rapidly means there's only about fifteen minutes left until he arrives in Saitama.

All of these conflicting emotions, a lot of pent-up frustrations... Keisuke just doesn't know anymore. Lately his tutoring sessions have been going steadily downhill and his grades have even begun to plateau. He figures it's only a matter of time until his parents go out looking for another better tutor than Takashi-sensei. Keisuke also knows he probably isn't helping the situation any by purposely aggravating the other man during whatever little time they spend together, but this is the only way he knows how to be anymore; obstinate. But if he's honest with himself, he isn't really all that sure that he's ready to give up Takashi-sensei. That man may be a creeper, maybe even a closet homo, but he's at least a familiar creeper closet-homo. Starting out all over again with someone new, someone completely unknown - if this sort of thing happens to him again, if his tutor turns out to be another Takashi-sensei, he might really lose it this time.

Because being attracted to only one individual of the same sex doesn't necessarily make you gay, does it? Maybe it's like misguided admiration disguised as some sort of wanna-be crush, kind of like the intense feelings a person can develop for popular idols or celebrities. Whatever it is, in Keisuke's mind, the fewer the better.

It doesn't matter anymore how he views Takashi-sensei, he's done trying to rationalize why he has this seemingly unhealthy attraction to the other man, no matter what he does to deny it. Just thinking about some of things that guy had made him feel when they were still on casual speaking terms...

His stomach starts doing flip-flops again, he really shouldn't have let it get this far. When they finally arrive at his stop, Keisuke has never been more grateful for anything in his life, he just wants to get off this train and stop feeling sick. This kind of profound thinking is clearly too much introspective psychoanalysis for a sixteen year old mind.

He steps out onto the train station's boarding platform and beelines to the nearest immediate exit. He's going to walk back home and change, maybe then he'll call up his friend Masao who lives about a fifteen minute walk down the street for an impromptu visit so he can just get away from all this. If that doesn't work out, there's always the fountain square park nearby that's open until dusk or one of those geeky manga cafes closer to the downtown area that are open all hours of the night. He's sure that no matter what he decides to do people aren't going to bother him either way.

Perfect.



But coming back to an empty house with one curious pair of abandoned shoes sitting in the entryway was not factored in. Keisuke sits down to untie the laces of his school shoes. Why are Iwata's sneakers the only thing out of place here? And where the hell are Yususke's house slippers?

As he enters the living room he spots the culprit lying spread out haphazardly all over the couch. Iwata's eyes are closed and more than half the buttons of his gakuran are undone. It appears he's sleeping.

Correction, he is sleeping, some light snoring confirms this. Keisuke stands there nearly transfixed a lot longer than he means to before his peripheral vision catches sight of a note left on the kitchen table. Having socked feet makes it easy for him to sneak around without making a lot of noise. The paper is crisp and white and contrasts sharply with the natural wood grain of the table, this note is clearly addressed to him.

A majority of the letter is written by his mother, the penmanship obviously in her own hand. She writes that she's gone off to pay a visit to their aunt in Tokyo. Her birthday is coming up this weekend and his mom had wanted to take her somewhere nice to celebrate. She also writes that she took Yusuke with her, no doubt in some attempt to coerce family intermingling with their aunt's only child Keiko. She must be twelve or so by now and even though she's their first cousin by blood relation through their father, her being both younger and a girl is still probably going to make her meeting with Yusuke awkward. Their mother really has no sense in things of this nature.

Reading further down, the post script at the foot of the note is in Yusuke's handwriting. Iwata hadn't wanted to be rude and impose on their rather abrupt family trip so he had opted to stay behind. Yusuke has written that even though he would be going along for lunch, he'd be back before their mother later in the day. There may not have been any sentence saying outright, oh hey and please try to be nice okay, but the subtext is clearly there in his brother's attempt to write in a very polite form of teineigo. Regardless of the fact that the few sentences his twin managed to jot down are more of an insult to grammar than to him, Keisuke pockets the note with some offense and takes it with him back to his room.

So basically Iwata has been dumped on him then?

He begins unbuttoning his tan blazer and hangs it on the hanger he threw on his bed earlier this morning. He needs to hurry up get and out of this uniform into some real clothes before Iwata wakes up. After blindly grabbing a plaid button-up shirt from the dresser drawer, he promptly makes a face when he realizes their mother must have mistaken this shirt in the laundry as his even though it's actually Yusuke's then he indiscriminately stuffs his arms in the sleeves without a second thought. Can't honestly expect her to know everything he sighs, sometimes their own parents still misaddress them if they aren't being talked to directly. Their father is more apt to do it though since he's home less often than their mother due to work-related business travels.

The problem with having twins...

Having traded his white shirt for the plaid one, he shucks off his pants and goes over to rifle out a pair of worn jeans from the hamper. Just about done, all he has to do now is make it to the kitchen and get the phone so he can ring up Masao.

The note is all but forgotten by now, lost on the floor amongst the rest of Keisuke's dirty laundry and he thinks nothing of it as he shuts the door to his bedroom behind him. The moment he sets foot back into the living room, Iwata chooses to open his eyes. FFFffffuuuuuuucccckk.

Has your brother's boyfriend ever gone after you? By mistake.

Iwata begins stretching on the sofa and lets out a yawn he barely manages to contain with his hand. Keisuke is stuck, frozen solidly in place because all he can think about are Takashi-sensei's uncalled for words.

Or intentionally?

Whether it was supposed to be funny or cute or some combination of both he doesn't know. He didn't care then, but it has his full attention now. Iwata sits up straighter on the couch, eyes still a little groggy looking from sleep but he's almost awake.

"Yusuke?" he calls out vaguely seeking reassurance even though it seems like he's fairly sure from the look of things that this person is indeed his boyfriend.

Oh shit. He thinks I'm-! Keisuke peers down at his borrowed shirt and then up again at Iwata who is now motioning for him to come closer to the sofa.

So many times as of late has Keisuke been put in situations where he could have otherwise done something to stop whatever is happening from actually happening... but instead he's chosen to do nothing about it. This time will be no different.

He doesn't say a word and pads softly over to the couch. His gait is slow and in control, but on the inside his bones have managed to turn the consistency of jelly. What an amazing feat! He doesn't know what the hell he's doing even as he comes toe to toe with his brother's boyfriend. The back of Iwata's dark hair is mussed and sticking up in all sorts of strange directions, it probably would have been funny in some other time and place but right now all Keisuke can focus on is how close he is to the other boy.

He swallows the lump that somehow managed to form in his throat somewhere between when he started walking over to Iwata and when he's offered a place to sit next him on the couch. He takes the seat against his better judgment, still not having said a single word.

"You just get in?"

He nods. That isn't a complete lie. But damn it why isn't he saying something, anything that gives Iwata the hint to back the hell off and no he isn't who he thinks he is! He catches himself wondering for the briefest of seconds what his tutor would say if he could see him now, this whole thing might be kind of funny to him. It's playing out just like a weekday television drama where the protagonist mistakes his lover for that person's sinister identical twin and oh how a raunchy love affair ensues shortly after the first mix-up! His cheeks burn up hotly at the thought.

"You okay?" And then Iwata's hand is on his forehead trying to check for some sign of a fever. "You did seem a little out of it at school today..."

Keisuke pushes Iwata's hand away the instant his muscles are finally able to translate the garbled mess his overstimulated brain has been forwarding to them for the last minute or so. This is going places way too fast that he isn't even sure he wants to go yet! He shoots up off the sofa, ready to grab his shoes and take off out the door without another word. How could he even conceive of doing something so- so...! He really should go jump off a bridge now if only to try and save some sliver of whatever dignity he has left as a decent human being.

But Iwata won't seem to have any of it, he reaches out to grab Keisuke's forearm just before he makes it clear out of reach. This guy really believes he's Yusuke, him talking or not. Maybe he's still half-asleep. Keisuke doesn't know.

He doesn't care either! Just as he's about to turn around and say something - FINALLY SOMETHING - about how this is a huge stupid mistake and no he doesn't know why he even came over here and let Iwata even begin to think he's Yusuke in the first place but damn it, it sure as hell isn't because he's curious about gays or quiet possibly being gay or any of that stupid shit, no because he's-

And then there's a pressure not entirely foreign pressing hard against his lips. It isn't rough, just really firm and unexpected. It takes a second to register that Iwata is kissing him. Full on kissing him, like trying to pull him back over and nearly onto the couch, trying to fucking make out with him kissing him!

Keisuke's brain fries up like an beat-up old computer's motherboard and just as quickly as all the circuits fizzle out into one big useless non-functioning mass, Iwata's hand creeps up to catch at the rounded angle of his chin. It pulls him closer and oh my god is that his fucking tongue?! The nerves in Keisuke previously broken down nervous system spark back into life at lightning speed and he shivers uncontrollably from the sensation of touch, warm worn hands on his face, his neck, pulling him further down towards the couch.

"Take it your brother already came and left huh? You don't normally let me do this kinda stuff with you if he's around." Keisuke opens his eyes, when did he even shut them? He still hasn't managed to get an intelligible word out because Iwata is leaning back up to kiss him again. This time he succeeds in getting his tongue into Keisuke's mouth and though the thought of such an act had previously been one of utter sickness and disgust, having it actually happen for real... being forced into letting this happen... the whole thing isn't nearly as bad as Keisuke thought it would be.

He lets Iwata drag him down onto the couch with him. His knees are weak and there's no fighting this; the way it's making him feel all over inside. It's so good that it's terrifying, feels like everything a person could ever want from someone - maybe not from Iwata but maybe he can pretend. This kiss, his touches, the way he feels that the other isn't afraid to not be so gentle with him and oh god how he knows just where to lick and suck and Keisuke's so overwhelmed with sensation that he doesn't even hear himself make a moan.

Iwata pulls him closer and buries his face in the neckline of Yusuke's shirt, inhaling deeply before he goes back to kissing at Keisuke's neck.

"You're so cute..." he feels Iwata breathe right into his ear and the heady sentence goes straight from his brain right down to his crotch. That feeling, oh god. Iwata turns Keisuke's head and their lips meet again. Is he being kissed or is he the one doing the kissing? He can't tell the difference anymore. Something about everything they're doing right now, whether it's caused by the physiological drainage of blood from his head to another part of his body, he doesn't even... he can't focus.

"I think I like this new laid-back you. It's kinda nice when you don't resist," Iwata shifts his hips and Keisuke feels another strange sensation poking up against his stomach. It's something stiff and semi-uncomfortable, but this time he knows exactly what it is. Fuck, fuck! Iwata's hard from them making out and holy christ he probably is too!

Keisuke leaps off the couch, more like falls, but his adrenaline is pumping and there's going to be nothing stopping him this time. Iwata doesn't expect the sudden dramatic change in mood and gets a face-full of Keisuke's hand when the other scrambles with some kind of urgency off of him and right out the door. It slams shut loudly behind him and when Iwata sits up feeling horribly wronged, he can't find words to explain the confusion still present on his face when the real Yusuke walks into the house no more than five minutes later not wearing the same clothes Iwata last saw him in.

What the hell is going on?

* * *


He never should have done that. He can't believe he did that. He doesn't even feel any of the people he's pushing past on the street trying to get anywhere as far away as possible from the house. Masao's place is out of the question, he doesn't want to be interrogated about what happened because he sure as shit isn't going to be talking about it. The cafe isn't an option either because he left his wallet in the house and there's no way he can possibly go back there without seeing Iwata for a second time and what if Yusuke's already returned by now? Shit, shit! Where's the god damn park?!

He rounds a corner and stumbles right into the last person he'd ever want to see after an event like this. Ito Takashi. What the hell is he doing in Saitama on a Wednesday night?!

The other man immediately scrunches up his face in thought, quickly recognizing the face of this person who's crashed so rudely into him. Then Keisuke stands up and grabs desperately at him, tears brimming at the corners of his red eyes. Something is seriously wrong here.

"Takashi-sensei..."



He does the adult thing and doesn't ask questions as they continue to sit on the park bench watching other people walk by. The sun is finally starting to set and when the rest of the park starts to clear out at dusk, they know they'll need to find another place to go soon too.

"What're you doing in Saitama on a weekday anyway?" Keisuke asks, he stopped panicking but still hasn't calmed down enough to even begin talking about what happened earlier to put him in such a state.

"You know, I do tutor other kids besides you," Takashi-sensei says looking off to the side. Keisuke won't meet his eyes so there's no point in trying to be direct.

"Phff, liar."

"It's not a lie," Takashi-sensei turns to see Keisuke looking right at him. There's something there, something vulnerable that he's never quite seen before. It's kind of endearing but he can't do or say anything about it in public as they are now. Over the past couple weeks it's kind of been hit or miss with this kid. Some days he cooperates, albeit only after moderate threats about his grades suffering and disappointing his parents, but dealing with him most days is more like pulling teeth out of a stubborn alligator. Takashi was actually beginning to have doubts about himself and what he'd initially suspected after their first and last kiss.

His original attempt at stand-offish behavior was meant to frustrate Keisuke into progressing their relationship further himself without feeling like he'd been forced into it against his will. What better way to prove his charge wrong than by letting him be the person who was in control of how their relationship grew?

Takashi kept that part to himself. Even if Keisuke had been working awfully hard the last month and a half at pushing every button he could possibly find, and even though last week hadn't been very pleasant he was still going to try and be there for the kid. This kid, Keisuke... It was the most sensible thing to do, at least that's what he told himself.

"Hey," he breathes out, nodding over in the direction of the sun's fading light, "you wanna get out of here and maybe go get something to eat?"

Keisuke eyes him suspiciously but knows he doesn't really have a choice. It's either go with Takashi-sensei or trudge back home guilty with his tail hitched high between his legs. He'd rather die than face that kind of embarrassment. Best to stay away until even he can't remember how things had actually transpired.

"Yeah."

"Let me call my other student first. I don't want that person's parents to fire me for not showing up without so much as a word about it." He pulls his shoulder bag up onto his lap and digs out a cell phone no bigger than the palm of his hand. It's sleek and modern looking, Keisuke tries not to sulk openly at the fact that his parents have yet to invest in one of those for either he or his brother. How uncool is it for them to decide to wait until their kids finally graduate high school before getting them one? They're the only kids in their classes who can't use phone mail. He idly fiddles his hands between his knees and listens.

"Ah, yes, hello Hitogawa-san. This is Ito Takashi... yes, yes I know I am late. My apologies, you see something very urgent came up and I wasn't able to- no, I'm all right. It was more like a personal matter. Yes. Thank you, I will try my best to reschedule for then. Yes, have a good night as well." He hangs up.

Something urgent. A personal matter.

Keisuke crosses his arms over his chest in a protective manner and tries not to let the conversation sway him. Since when was he ever an urgent personal matter? Maybe the day he and his brother were born... This isn't happening. He's not about to start feeling grateful for this.

"Well," Takashi-sensei puts his phone back in the bag and stands up. His knees crack a little, the noise a necessary distractor that Keisuke desperately tries to focus on. "Now that that's taken care of..."

A hand wanders in front of Keisuke's view.

"Shall we go?"

He doesn't meet Takashi-sensei's eyes as he's helped to stand and they don't talk at all on the way to a small cafe his tutor leads them to. Takashi-sensei doesn't loosen his grip on Keisuke's hand until they're just a few steps shy of entering through the front door.

* * *


Three days have passed. Either Iwata didn't said anything or Yusuke doesn't know how to bring it up. Keisuke still can't get over his shameful behavior. How could he ever do that to his brother? To himself? To... to fucking Iwata. That kid didn't deserve that either and it's sort of weird feeling sorry for someone else for a change. It makes him upset, even more so than he already has been about the whole god damn thing in the first place.

Dinner with Takashi-sensei was... well to say it was a godsend is kind of overdoing it, but he is still secretly thankful that it was him of all people... no one has the right to see him in such a pitiful state. Ito Takashi is as good an alibi as any for having gone missing without a trace for a few hours without so much as a word, and though his mother was only slightly less mad about the whole ordeal because he'd been with a responsible adult; all of the, "where have you been, who were you with and my God why didn't you leave a note for someone!?" aside. He bites his lip.

Today is Saturday and in another two hours his would-be hero will show up on the stoop with his bag in hand and more than likely some kind of shameless repugnant look on his face that says he was right from the start in so many volumes.

Keisuke hopes that that Wednesday isn't going to be held against him forever as some form of blackmail. This is the last thing he needs to tarnish his good name, and only at the ripe age of sixteen! He sinks further into the cushions on the couch and listens to his brother talking excitedly about their father coming home for the upcoming holidays.

When had he ever felt a disconnect such as this from everyone, everything? It's awful. He wants to bash his head into the wall. Nakamura Keisuke, deceased, cause of death serve head trauma due to self-mutilation. What a glorious plaque to go with his ever epic demise.

"Hard to imagine there's only a month left before the holiday season begins! I still need to make arrangements and finish up shopping!" Their mother has her hands clapped under her chin as if in a daze. She's always been a big one on the sights and sound of Christmas and New Years.

"Yeah," Yusuke agrees, looking over his shoulder for his twin. "Hey, Keisuke? Are you gonna go to the shrine this year?"

"Nope," comes the immediate response.

"Is it because your friends refused to go with you since you've decided to give up normalcy and become a hermit?" Their mother's a real class clown, he grinds his teeth to keep from being disrespectful.

"Y-you can come with me and Iwata-kun if you'd like..." Yusuke ventures tepidly. Maybe he really doesn't know.

"Pass!" he rolls over onto his side and buries his face into the cushy stuffing of the couch backing.

"Keisuke, honestly," he hears his mother scooch her chair heavily out from under the table. "Your brother is only trying to be nice. The least you could do is say, no thank you politely. I know I raised you better than that..."

"No thank you," he mirrors her words but sounds less enthused about it than sincerity calls for. The last thing he wants is to be anywhere with Yusuke and Iwata. Enough time is NEVER going to pass for him to forget what's gone on in the past few days. Doesn't matter if Iwata kept his mouth shut! He wants to keep everyone at a distance if only in this one instance.

"At least try to sound somewhat respectful if you're only going to mock me..." His mother gets up from the table and goes to wash her hands, she's preparing to make dinner. As Keisuke chances a peek over the edge of the couch he sees Yusuke staring at him. The look he gets says he knows something more and it makes Keisuke fall back behind the fabric of the sofa like it were a shield. He waits until his mother starts up another conversation with his brother before slinking silently back to his room unnoticed. It's decidedly a safer place even if it's not going to be keeping him safe for much longer. Only one hour and forty-five minutes left to go.



"You've been quiet for most of the evening, is something the matter?" Takashi-sensei leans in awfully close, too close to be considered accidental. It's not comforting but also not wholly intrusive. Keisuke shrugs his shoulder to try and bargain for some space.

"Not really," he half means it this time. For too long now have people been asking him the same question. He doesn't even know if he has the correct answer inside him.

"You know, lying about it won't make it any less true."

"When did you get to be so smart," Keisuke sneers and slams his textbook shut. He's done for the night, no more studying at this point is going to pay off. Might as well just throw in the towel and chalk it all up to childish bad behavior. Ambivalence, he thinks, perfectly describes this moment.

"I'm not trying to be coy," Takashi-sensei uses the same verb Keisuke once accused him of but puts a different spin on it's meaning this time. Setting down his book, the one he brought with to study from because there's a big exam coming up and even though he's a tutor it doesn't mean he doesn't need to study either, Takashi-sensei wraps an arm around Keisuke and pulls them closer together. They're seated side by side but it can still be considered an embrace of sorts. It's kind of awkward and Keisuke's stomach starts churning for so many reasons he can't even begin to describe.

His lips are tingling too but he keeps that part to himself.

"You never really are," it comes out sounding a lot less mean than he planned. When his tutor leans in to kiss him, he simply gives up his front and lets the other man do so, full on kiss him and he even shuts his eyes telling himself to not be repulsed by the idea of it even though that's his very first reaction. He wanted this right? This kind of relationship, he fantasized about it when he let Iwata feel him up on the couch that day, even let the other guy stick his tongue in his mouth and Takashi-sensei pulls away slowly to look him straight in the eyes.

"In four more weeks it'll be a new year. You'll be done with school and we won't have any more sessions left unless your parents decide to rehire me for next year."

Keisuke's face remains blank despite the admission. It almost sounds pained, despaired and horribly, awfully desperate. He clenches his hands tightly into fists but says nothing. This isn't exactly what he expected to happen tonight with regards to their last meeting a few nights before. To think they'd exchange places and instead he'd be the one feeling more like the adult.

"I don't think they will," Takashi-sensei lowers his head as he says this; he's talking about the rehiring part. Keisuke's grades haven't seen improvement in weeks but then again he was purposely sabotaging them at that point, anything to show just how defiant he could be. But now he's being asked to try for the sake of something bigger than he can possibly wrap his mind around. He's sixteen after all and even though his seventeenth birthday is only a few months away, of course it's completely unreasonable to ask such a thing of him.

But after much deliberation and the quick unexpected kiss he received before Takashi-sensei dropped him off at the door to his house... age seems a lot less consequential in the making of this decision.

This time, Keisuke is the one who reaches out and moves to kiss Takashi-sensei. This time it doesn't feel like any of the other kisses they've shared before, suddenly it's different and purposeful and with a meaning that he's not quite sure he fully understands but what has rationality done for him lately anyway? A whole lot of nothing, that's what. He keeps it very brief and when they separate he says the first thing that comes to mind.

"Come do Hatsumode with me."

For once Takashi-sensei is the one who almost looks like he's about to cry.

* * *

Tokorozawa Shimei is unbelievably crowded and just when Keisuke thinks it can't get any worse, more people are showing up the closer it gets to midnight. The air is cold and bites at his skin, this stupid down filled jacket isn't helping make him any warmer. An arm slips around him and pulls him closer, it's Takashi-sen- well, not really sensei any more since they're no longer seeing each other for lessons.

It's hard to forget that part of who this man has become to him though. It's weird and creepy and sorta sloppy romantic like a high school teacher-student love affair. Takashi doesn't seem to mind despite the fact that he's the senior in their relationship. He'll be graduating from his university in the coming spring if all goes as planned, they haven't really talked about what will happen if they even make it there.

This liking guys thing is still kind of strange too, but because it's so brisk out and many groups of family and friends are huddled together to keep warm they don't really look all that out of place. He colors more from embarrassment than sheer cold.

"Did you think about the things you want to wish for for next year?" Takashi has his eyesight trained over a crowd of people piled up on the stairway leading up to the shrine's main entrance. There's still some time left before the real new year begins.

"Not really," Keisuke's lying and it's obvious to both of them. Takashi doesn't say anything and pulls him closer if that's even possible. In his coat pocket, Keisuke's been toying with the omikuji he paid for a couple minutes before Takashi showed up to walk with him into the larger sea of people. It has some general crap here and there about money, luck and life... but the strangest thing it talks about is on the subject of love. The whole part of the fortune it's written in is very vague and ambiguous, as expected of a mass fortune-telling machine, however there is something very peculiar about the words of wisdom he received compared to any others he's ever had the pleasure of reading in the past. It says to remain open-minded and not to overlook instances due to bias caused by uncertainty and fear.

It could be a whole load of crap that he's buying into but if it's fate and meant to be, it sure picked a hell of a time to spring up now. And they haven't done much other than kiss occasionally and maybe once he let Takashi stick is hand down his pants but nothing came of it because it's all just too weird letting your tutor jerk you off in a house where your parents or brother could potentially be listening in on the whole god damn thing.

He doesn't really know what he wants out of their relationship if anything since he's never been the needy type looking for any sort of physical fulfillment. Just simply being and knowing that is more than enough for him right now.

"Keisuke," no honorific because at present they are equals, "did you buy an omikuji yet?" Takashi is looking down at his watch and adjusts the collar of his jacket for good measure. He's probably freezing too but being able to spend time together like this must mean more to him as well.

"Yes," Keisuke says while eying Takashi as he begins digging in his own pockets for the one he just spent a five-yen coin on. It's still pressed flat in near-mint looking condition. Must have been a good one.

"Want to see?" He flashes it in front of Keisuke and gives him a rather cheeky looking grin. This may or may not bring bad luck to the person willing to share their fortune; some kind of stupid superstition, but Takashi is willing to take that chance with him.

It must mean something more.

"Not really..." he shrugs and looks the other way as Takashi begins prattling off some of the better highlights listed on his fortune. He gets noticeably more excited as he reaches the end of the omikuji.

"It says I have a small blessing that can be expected in the near future," he takes the small scrap of paper and folds it back into the back pocket of his pants. He even pats it lightly for further vindication. "For once, it's nothing bad this year!" He beams as wisps of his breath fog up the thick plastic framed glasses he always wears. Takashi then removes his arm from around Keisuke's shoulders and reaches down to grab his hand instead. It's just about midnight now and if they want to get to the shrine's main entrance some time this century, they need to hurry up and get in line before more people mob the steps and make entry virtually impossible.

"Just because you told me yours, it doesn't mean I'm gonna read you mine," Keisuke says, not completely looking away from the other man while fingering his own fortune hesitantly with his free hand. He lets Takashi lead him up over the bridge and they seamlessly mesh into the crowd of people as everyone starts to count down loudly from ten.

"It's all right," Takashi smiles at him genuinely and grips his hand tighter.



As long as you are alive, there's still time.

** * ** * **



footnotes.
[12] teineigo is a form of keigo, the very polite form of Japanese speech using honorifics

[13] often referred to as e-meiru or e-mail, it encompasses both text messaging and e-mail, and is a system that a very wide variety of people use in modern day japan to communicate for both socially polite reasons (did you know it's considered rude to talk on the phone in the presence of others?) and also quite possibly because it is a very inexpensive way to talk because actual talk minutes are most costly

[14] otherwise known as hatsumode and is the first visit to a shrine or temple at the start of a new year

[15] tokorozawa shimei is a major shinto shrine in tokorozawa city, saitama prefecture, japan

[16] omikuji are random fortunes written on strips of paper at shinto shrines and buddhist temples in japan, they are typically received by making a small offering and randomly choosing from a box


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Tags: 2010, ride it like you stole it
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