I hope that everyone had a good day on my birthday ^_^ I got so many lovely presents and birthday wishes...I don't even know what to say ;_; All of you who posted my gifts, I'll leave a comment sometime when I can think of something good enough to say. ;_; Until then, just THANK YOU SO MUCH. *glomps everyone*
Tezuka awoke to a loud click and a whirr. His first thought was that Kippei had set the radio alarm to some...unusual...station. His second thought was that Kippei was in Big Trouble.
Tachibana had a Polaroid camera in hand (hence the click and the whirr), and a picture in the other hand. Tezuka cleared his throat. Tachibana looked up from the picture. “Oh, you’re up?”
Tezuka was hardly in the mood for small talk at the moment. “What is that?” he asked, his eyes narrowing as he pointed to the photo in Tachibana’s hand.
Tachibana smiled and held up the picture. “It’s a very good photo of you, Kunimitsu.”
If by “good” Tachibana meant “evil” and/or “horrific,” Tezuka agreed with him completely. In the photo, Tezuka’s hair was spread wildly over the pillow, looking as though it had been doused in hair spray. His glasses weren’t on, giving him a strange sort of innocent look that Tezuka didn’t approve of at all. And was his mouth hanging partway open? Had he been snoring? No, perish the thought. Plus, of course, he was quite naked, although the picture didn’t show everything, thank goodness.
“Give me that picture,” Tezuka said dangerously, sitting up and swinging his legs over the edge of the bed.
“I like it, though,” Tachibana said, gazing fondly at the photo. “I don’t have many pictures of you.”
“Give it to me,” Tezuka said, his voice not quite as harsh as he’d meant it to be. Anyone else would have been dead, but somehow Tachibana had evaded that fate, again. What was this, the third time?
“All right,” Tachibana said seriously. “If it means that much to you.” He held out the photo. Tezuka took it calmly, then stood up and gave Tachibana a kiss to show that he harbored no hard feelings. “Thank you,” he murmured. Then he ripped the photo into tiny little pieces.
Tachibana smiled and then pulled Tezuka close again once it was done. One hand ran through Tezuka’s hair as they kissed deeply, and the other hand patted the pocket that contained the second picture.
And as a bonus thing, a chapter from "Shining Darkness," my Fair Folk chaptered story. The two previous chapters can be found in my user info, if anyone's interested.
Title: Shining Darkness
Fandom: Prince of Tennis
Pairing(s): Too many to mention, really. Primarily InuKai.
Summary: A college student takes on more than he can handle.
Kaidoh Kaoru was a straight-A student. He enjoyed reading, and loved his literature and English classes more than anything. He was very quiet and didn’t have many friends, preferring to hold conversations with his teachers, who cared far more about what he said than any of his peers. He was smart and sensitive and loved the kitten he had at home more than anything. He was an obedient son and kouhai, altogether a very dutiful and upstanding person.
He was also a person who was trying very hard to convince himself that he was not a stalker.
It had begun on the day that his Chemistry class had started. It wasn’t necessarily a class he’d been looking forward to, but it was a requirement if he was to go into the sciences, as his father wanted him to do. He’d already taken Biology and Calculus, two other requirements. They weren’t terrible as far as classes went, but not nearly as interesting as the classes where he could read and write stories and poetry, or even the ones where he only had to write essays. He didn’t really care how many atoms of carbon were expended during certain cycles, and he didn’t care about the solutions to complicated formulas. He knew, in the back of his mind, that he didn’t really want to go into the sciences, but that he could tolerate them if he had to.
That all changed when he sat down to listen to his very first Chemistry lecture. At first it was like any other class. The room was large, but stuffy nevertheless because of all the students. Dust danced in the faint beams of sunlight that came in the window, dust although the room was surely cleaned often. Kaidoh cast his eyes down at the desk, which had two blurred names scratched into a heart, and also a bit of graffiti done with a green marker. He was contemplating how best to remove those before the end of the semester, when the teacher began to talk.
Kaidoh looked up immediately, startled. The man at the front of the room was tall but unassuming, with short, spiked hair and a suit that Kaidoh could tell was not exactly top of the line. When Kaidoh had entered the room, the man had been sorting quietly through some papers, not making an exceptional first impression by any standards. But now, oh, suddenly Kaidoh realized that he would readily, happily, willingly sit through any number of Chemistry classes if they were like this one.
He had to admit to himself, though, that it wasn’t the contents of the lecture that held him rapt. As he listened further, he found that his sensei did know the subject well and taught it brilliantly. But still, that wasn’t what enthralled Kaidoh from the first. This man had one of the most wonderful voices Kaidoh had ever heard in his entire life. It was a deep rich bass, with no hint of rasping or breaking. It was musical in a way that made the whole lecture like a ballad. A glance around himself told Kaidoh that others had noticed this as well. Students who had been about to fall asleep were blinking and looking confused as they stared at their new teacher.
Kaidoh unobtrusively opened his folder and shuffled through his papers until he found his schedule. Inui-sensei, that was the man’s name, the name that belonged to that marvelous voice. He looked back up, then down again. Inui-sensei.
And so began what could only be called an obsession. Inui-sensei not only had the most lovely voice in the world, he was smart and kind. He had them take a test that would not count as part of their grade to assess their skill levels. After the next class, Kaidoh saw Inui-sensei take aside some of the students Kaidoh knew had failed the test. After that, those students chattered happily about tutoring sessions after school. Their grades went up by leaps and bounds. Kaidoh found himself jealous without meaning to be.
He took every opportunity to ask Inui-sensei a question, even if he knew the answer. To have Inui-sensei leaning over his desk with a smile was all that he wanted from life anymore. Hearing the answers given in that voice...it was amazing how interesting Chemistry had become. It was soon his favorite class, and he was scoring high on every exam.
He didn’t start to follow Inui-sensei home on purpose. It was that one night that it started, a night when Kaidoh’s parents and brother were out of town, on a vacation that Kaidoh had not taken because he told them he had schoolwork to finish. It was the truth, in a way. There was a certain chapter of the Chemistry textbook that was giving Kaidoh some trouble. He hoped...no, wanted...no...he planned to get help from Inui-sensei.
He’d intended, of course, to catch Inui-sensei as he was leaving the school. He stayed for half an hour after classes, waiting by the side of the school for his sensei to walk out the door. Then Inui-sensei had finally walked out, alone and carrying several heavy textbooks. Kaidoh fidgeted, his heart racing as he ducked back so that he wouldn’t be seen. It was the perfect time to talk to Inui-sensei, but he could not force himself to move. He peered out around the corner again. Inui-sensei was already halfway down the sidewalk.
Kaidoh didn’t know what had possessed him. He followed Inui-sensei, tiptoeing along as his adrenaline rushed. He hid behind a tree when his sensei stopped to adjust his glasses. Kaidoh told himself that he still wanted the help and was trying to gather his courage to approach the older man, but he knew somewhere inside of him that he was never going to talk to his sensei now. He followed him all the way back to an apartment on the bad, cheap side of town.
A man grinned at school uniform-clad Kaidoh, showing a mouthful of gold teeth. A woman eyed Kaidoh and pulled her two children close as she passed him. Kaidoh tried to look inconspicuous, harmless, and tough all at once, without much success. He was breathing hard by now, unhappy and scared and wishing he hadn’t done this.
When Inui-sensei went into an apartment building, Kaidoh dared to come all the way up to the front steps after the door had closed. He stared up at the brick exterior, dismayed. What was he supposed to do now? He knew he should just wait for tomorrow’s class to ask for help with the chapter. He also knew that he really, really wanted to see Inui-sensei again. So, going against all of his good sense, he sat down on the concrete steps, tense as a small, hunted animal. He scooted over when he saw a used piece of chewing gum almost under his leg.
He sat there for an hour, shaking his head and going over the notes he’d brought with him, then glancing up at the now-lighted windows of the apartments. No one came by, thank god, no gang members or...or prostitutes, or whatever sort of people frequented places like these.
When the door to the building finally clicked open behind Kaidoh, he bolted for cover like a scared rabbit. Crouching in the alleyway next to the building, he watched...someone...walk down the stairs. This...person...gave off as much of an incredible first impression as Inui-sensei’s voice, only it was this man’s looks that shocked Kaidoh speechless. He was wearing some kind of glittering costume that flared bright in the street lights and the fading sunlight. The man stopped for a moment and glanced to the side, and Kaidoh crouched even lower, panicking. He chanced a look upwards again after a second, and the man was still there, with those eyes, that feature that Kaidoh had first noticed. The eyes were perfectly shaped, and almost glowed green in the dusk.
The man shook his head, sighed, and sat down on the very steps that Kaidoh had been sitting on just moments before. It was that gesture that made Kaidoh realize who the man was. He was Inui-sensei...but Inui-sensei without his glasses and formal suit. And Inui-sensei was not only kind and intelligent and possessing of that voice...he was also beautiful.
Kaidoh could hardly not follow him after that. He managed to ignore the shady people he passed on the street, and the junky old cars that roared past him. He ignored the fact that the sun was going down. He only had eyes for his sensei.
Inui-sensei entered a nightclub or a bar or something of the sort called The Caiman. Kaidoh waited for a minute or two then slipped in the door as well. The air inside the bar almost made him cough. The smell of smoke and beer and something else undefinable was so strong that he came close to gagging. He made his way over to the nearest bar seat, slouching down so, he hoped, he’d be rendered unrecognizable. Not that there were many people to recognize him, but if Inui-sensei knew Kaidoh had followed him here...
Shit! he thought, looking wide-eyed down at his uniform. Oh, shit! The outfit was so obvious as to be ridiculous. He leaned down and grabbed an old newspaper off of the floor, paying no attention to the various disgusting stains and the faded ink. He shielded himself inside the paper’s folds, opening it out as far as it could go.
“Whadda you want?” The voice was practically in Kaidoh ear, and made him jump and almost fall out of the high bar seat. He looked back into the face of a middle aged man with greasy hair and a bored expression. “You gonna order something, or I’m gonna kick you out?”
“Uh...” Kaidoh felt frantically in his pocket to make sure he had some change. “Fruit juice?”
The bartender snorted. “Sure, kid, sure.” He looked skeptically down at Kaidoh’s uniform. “You some kinda pervert? Or ya really a student?”
“A student,” Kaidoh muttered, leaning into his newspaper. Unfortunately, the paper stank and made him choke again.
“Fine. Here.” The barman handed him a dirty glass of something orange that he seemed to have conjured out of midair. Kaidoh looked at him warily, then picked it up and took a tentative sip. Then he spit out the sip. Whatever it was, it definitely had alcohol in it...either that, or something rancid.
“Tch.” The bartender snorted again and walked away.
The high squeal of electronic feedback made Kaidoh wince. He lowered his newspaper just enough so that he could see that someone...no, Inui-sensei!...was adjusting a handheld microphone on a very small, poorly lit stage.
Kaidoh drew in a breath, wondering if this could possibly mean what he thought it meant, when Inui-sensei proved him correct. The older man raised the microphone, and started to sing, something which Kaidoh had daydreamed about more than once. Inui-sensei was so sexy, up there on that stage, that it literally made Kaidoh ache. Oh, god...
After that night, Kaidoh didn’t even question himself when he followed Inui-sensei again...and again...and again. It became his nightly habit. He told his parents and his brother that he had made some friends and was studying with them. He brought a change of clothes with him to school so that he could change out of his uniform before he went to The Caiman, then back into his uniform so that his family wouldn’t smell the cigarettes that surrounded him at the seedy bar. His grades fell for a while, then went back up after Inui-sensei approached him, concerned by news of Kaidoh’s struggle in another class.
This night had been like any other, to begin with. Kaidoh watched Inui-sensei on the stage, singing his heart out to the idiots and drunken bastards who couldn’t even begin to appreciate his talents. Kaidoh hated all of them, especially when they’d laugh loudly in the middle of a song.
But then the evening changed. A man in the front of the room, who Kaidoh could have sworn was asleep, clapped when a song finished. He did what Kaidoh never dared to do. Inui-sensei’s eyes were fixed on the man, and when he began the next song, Kaidoh knew there was something different. Inui-sensei sang something Kaidoh had never heard before, something that possessed a strange resonance that whispered through Kaidoh’s veins, through his bones and his muscles and his whole body. It was like magic, which was a foolish thought.
The strange man at the front applauded again after each song. Kaidoh started to fear that Inui-sensei knew him, that they were...lovers. He hated himself more with every passing second. Why should he be upset that Inui-sensei was happy? He was glad for his sensei, he really was! But Kaidoh himself was crushed.
That was why he was partly relieved, partly feeling guilty when Inui-sensei had one drink and then left by himself. But wait, then, because the man at the front, the one who had been asleep, got gracefully to his feet the instant Inui-sensei walked out the door. Thoughts raced through Kaidoh’s head: Inui-sensei was in trouble, Inui-sensei was going to be seduced or mugged or raped or...
So Kaidoh followed again. Inui-sensei and the strange man talked outside in the chilly night air for a time, and then they walked away together. Kaidoh, crestfallen, leaned against the outer wall of the building, his eyes closed. How could this happen? It shouldn’t happen! But it was good for Inui-sensei! His conscience warred with his desires, and then struck a compromise. He would follow Inui-sensei and the stranger, just to make sure that his sensei would be all right.
Inui-sensei and the stranger were holding hands, but the stranger was pulling Kaidoh’s sensei along, so surely that didn’t mean they were romantically involved? The stranger looked more like an eager child, like Kaidoh’s younger brother, making his way to the candy store with a parent in tow.
Kaidoh made sure to keep himself well-hidden, so he missed anything that might have gone on between Inui-sensei and the stranger on the way. Oddly enough, as he crept from shadow to shadow, the path they followed seemed more and more familiar. This was...this was the way home! They crossed streets that Kaidoh knew like the back of his hand, good streets with larger houses and nice sidewalks.
Kaidoh crouched once more, his calves burning, as Inui-sensei and the stranger crossed one more street into the park that was less that half a mile away from Kaidoh’s house. Then he took off at a dead run when the two disappeared into the trees. Rich neighborhood or no, crimes happened in that park. Once a boy had been found dead there. Once a jogger had been robbed and beaten. Kaidoh would not let that happen to Inui-sensei.
But once in the dark of the trees, Kaidoh stopped and whirled around at the snap of a twig behind him. He suddenly doubted his ability to make his way through this confusing, dark maze. He started forward at a more cautious pace, careful not to catch his clothing or his backpack on the menacing tree branches.
As he went, he heard...or almost heard...the murmur of voices to one side, then to the other. His head whipped right, but there was no one there. No light, and the sound had faded entirely. Out of the corner of his eye, Kaidoh almost caught a sparkling glint of gold, and he whirled again to find that there was nothing there. Laughter on the other side, a gleam from above, and Kaidoh was deeply afraid that he was going insane. He’d been stalking his teacher. He was a psychopath and now he was hearing and seeing things and he’d be locked up for the rest of his life. The woods suddenly faded into silence, the glimmers at the edge of his vision gone, and Kaidoh felt as though he’d lost something he’d never really had.
He tripped over a vine and hit his head on a branch, and then...then his ears caught a real sound, a genuine sound made by another human being. It sounded like a moan. Kaidoh inched forward, making sure not to stumble again, and there, in a clearing, was a fallen angel. Or that was what it looked like, anyway: an angel tumbled to earth, struggling to fly on broken wings.
“Oh...” Kaidoh could only stare at the figure before him. His sensei was sprawled in the grass on his stomach. Inui-sensei’s hands clutched at the ground, digging into the earth. He was trying to push himself back up onto his hands and knees, but failed and fell back down with another feeble moan and a thud that made Kaidoh start and cower into himself, hurting with the other man’s evident pain.
Kaidoh forgot that his parents would be expecting him at home, and that he had to study for an exam the next day. He gave a sort of strangled cry, his backpack falling from his shoulder to the crook of his elbow as he skidded to his knees on the ground beside Inui-sensei. He hesitated, his hands shaking in the air as they reached toward the older man. He couldn’t...what...what was he going to do?
Inui-sensei’s hand moved again, seeking support that wasn’t there. The hand brushed against Kaidoh’s knee. The hand pulled back slowly, then the fingers moved again and touched Kaidoh’s leg once more. Inui-sensei groaned weakly, his head craning upwards so that he could see who was there. “K-Kaidoh...you’re...” The voice wasn’t Inui-sensei’s usual hypnotic one though. It was cracked and filled with effort, gravelly instead of melodious.
Kaidoh couldn’t reply just then. He sat and trembled and thought, stupidly, how glad he was that Inui-sensei had remembered his name even outside of school.
“I-I’m sorry...” Inui-sensei rasped and then groaned and coughed. Something wet splattered Kaidoh’s pants leg, but not saliva, Kaidoh realized as he gingerly touched it with his finger. It was damp, dark blood that was staining the light blue of his jeans. And, Kaidoh saw with growing horror, more blood trickled down off of Inui-sensei’s lower lip and dripped steadily down his chin into the grass.
“What did he do to you?” Kaidoh whispered, agonized. The voice and the blood could only mean that Inui-sensei’s throat had been severely injured. But how long had Kaidoh been out of sight? Two minutes? Five? Ten at the very most! How on earth could this have happened in such a short time.
“He’s going to kill me!” The words were howled in an unfamiliar, almost inhuman voice from behind Kaidoh in the trees. Kaidoh spun, taking on a defensive pose, throwing out his arms to shield Inui-sensei from whoever was back there.
A wild-eyed young man burst into the clearing. Something whipped the air behind him at a frantic pace...something...tails? Kaidoh blinked, and the mirage-like image cleared but reminded him uncomfortably of the things he’d seen back in the deep dark of the trees.
“Help me!” the young man pleaded in a near-scream, grabbing for the front of Kaidoh’s shirt and missing by several inches. “He’s going to kill me, I know he is!”
“Who?” Kaidoh demanded, shooting a look back into the trees. “Where?”
“Not back there, you idiot!” the young man howled. He moved forward very suddenly so that Kaidoh’s eyes and his were practically touching. Kaidoh scrambled back, but couldn’t go too far for fear of hurting his sensei. The young man’s eyes blazed red for a second, then went back to a normal color. “Can you smell it on me?” he asked nervously. “Can you smell them on me?” Then he raised a fist to his own nose, sniffed, then let out another screech. “Of course you can! Oh, he’s going to kill me, Mizuki was right!”
Inui-sensei’s labored breaths reached Kaidoh’s ears even over this new chaos, and Kaidoh got to his feet suddenly with new determination. The madman (as Kaidoh had now decided that he was) was throwing an absolute fit, writhing and stomping the ground like a lunatic. He didn’t notice Kaidoh until Kaidoh grabbed hold of his arm roughly. “Listen,” Kaidoh hissed, and the other looked at him in absolute shock. “Either explain, or get the hell out of here. Inui-sensei is hurt.”
The other young man squirmed, then looked back over Kaidoh’s shoulder. “The minstrel!” he exclaimed. “No wonder then!” He looked at Kaidoh again, a new, measuring glance, and then he twisted away fluidly. Kaidoh stared at him, surprised. He hadn’t noticed the other moving, but somehow...he’d ended up a few feet away.
“If I-” the young man pointed to himself, “Help you-” he pointed to Kaidoh, “Help him,” he jerked a thumb at Inui-sensei, “will you help me?”
“I...” Kaidoh considered. The other man seemed sane enough now, but was it a good idea to let him help with something this important? “First, explain,” Kaidoh insisted.
“Oh...right,” the other said, too casually, leaning back against nothing that Kaidoh could see. “See, I have a boyfriend...uh, sort of...who’s really possessive and wants me to himself...but tonight I had a fling with two other guys...man they were good...” The young man licked his lips and Kaidoh flinched. “But my boyfriend’s really powerful, and he’ll find out somehow. I need a place to hide out. End of story.”
Kaidoh’s hands were still shaking. His pulse was racing. He was out in a deserted park with his teacher, who was terribly injured, and a raving, maniacal man who seemed to have multiple personalities. His parents were waiting and home and would get worried soon, and possibly call the police. What was he supposed to do? “Fine,” he said, his mouth suddenly dry with the stress of it all. “Help me take him back to his apartment, and...and I’ll think of something.”
“Okay,” the man agreed amiably, a dramatic change from psychotic to relatively normal. “I’m Kirihara, by the way.” He abruptly darted a glance to one side, then to the other. Stalking closer to Kaidoh, he whispered, “You see anyone named Yukimura...don’t tell him about me, all right?”
“A-all right,” Kaidoh replied, the rush of courage mostly gone out of him. He felt a quick rush of wind past his shoulder, and when he spun around, Kirihara was leaning over Inui-sensei. And the sense of resolve was back. “Stop that! Get away from him!” He slapped at Kirihara’s hand, which had been hovering over Inui-sensei.
“What?” Kirihara snapped back. “It’s not as though I’m doing anything to him. I’m going to have to touch him if you want my help!”
“Just...just be careful,” Kaidoh said, kneeling once more. He glared up at Kirihara. “If you hurt him, I’ll kill you.”
“But why...Ah-ha! Someone’s got a boyfriend!” Kirihara crowed triumphantly. “Don’t you? This minstrel, he’s your boyfriend!”
“No!” Kaidoh exclaimed, aghast. He looked down at Inui-sensei, then uncomfortably away. “He...he’s my teacher, that’s all.”
“A crush! A forbidden student-teacher relationship!” Kirihara cackled happily, doing something that Kaidoh could only classify as skipping in place. “Then, let’s go! This could become very interesting!”
Kaidoh didn’t miss the glint of mischief in Kirihara’s eyes, and he wondered what the hell he’d gotten himself into. But... Inui-sensei had seemingly lapsed into unconsciousness. He was going to need someone’s help to carry his sensei back. He couldn’t call his parents or else he’d get in trouble. They would probably draw the wrong conclusions, and he’d never see Inui-sensei again. That couldn’t happen. He wouldn’t let it.
He’d just have to help Kirihara for now, whether he liked it or not. Although he had to wonder...was he going insane himself?