"I thought we could split one of these, if you like them." Fuji showed Kawamura the mango and smiled. "Nee-san just bought them earlier." He sat on the floor beside Kawamura, leaning against the side of his bed.
"I do like them," Kawamura told him, nodding. "That one looks good, too."
"Is that your professional opinion as a chef?" Fuji teased.
"No, not that," Kawamura said with a laugh. "We don't sell many mangoes at the restaurant."
"Still, I trust your judgement," said Fuji. He began cutting into the fruit with the knife he'd brought along with him from downstairs.
Kawamura reached over with an expression of concern, catching Fuji's knife hand. "Let me do that. Please?"
"If you'd like to." Fuji handed over both mango and knife and studied Kawamura's face with amusement. "But may I ask why?"
"I don't like thinking you'll cut your fingers." When Fuji chuckled, Kawamura smiled sheepishly. "Not that you'd cut yourself, but I don't like to think of it." He cut the mango just as skillfully as he cut the fish for his customers, almost without looking at all.
Fuji took Kawamura's wrist, the hand that held the fruit instead of the one that held the knife. Kawamura stopped. "Fujiko?"
"I never thought of it before, because you're so good at this," Fuji said thoughtfully, taking the mango in his own hand so that he could play idly with Kawamura's fingers. "I'd hate to see you cut yourself, too."
Now Kawamura laughed again. "A sushi chef cuts himself all the time, Fujiko. My father says it teaches me to be more careful the next time. You see?" He turned his hand over so that Fuji could see the faint scars on his palm. They stood out, lighter than the rest of the skin. "The one by my thumb was the worst. That was the first day I started making sushi myself."
Fuji traced the scar with his finger. Then he handed the mango back to Kawamura. "Just be careful with this, or I'll never let you cut mangoes for me again." He said it with a smile, but they both knew he meant it.
"With that threat, I'll have to be careful," said Kawamura, giving Fuji a grin. This time he watched his hands as he cut, and Fuji watched too.
"Perfect," said Fuji, when the fruit was completely sliced, neatly and evenly. He'd been collecting the slices as Kawamura made them, and now he picked one up in his other hand. "Try a bite, ne, Taka?"
Kawamura's eyes widened a little when it became apparent that Fuji meant to feed him the slice of mango. He shook his head, setting the knife on the floor beside him and taking Fuji's arm, moving it gently away. "I couldn't," he said.
"Oh? Why not?" Fuji raised an eyebrow inquisitively.
"Because I cut this for you, and so you should have the first bite." Kawamura took the piece from Fuji's hand, breaking it in half so that it was manageably bite-sized. This he held between two fingers, glancing from it to Fuji almost shyly.
Fuji accepted the bite of mango from Kawamura's hand. As he did so, he flicked his tongue out to catch the juice on Kawamura's skin. Kawamura shivered slightly. Fuji pulled back, chewing the mango and looking satisfied with himself.
"I'll be very careful from now on," said Kawamura, pulling his hand back only reluctantly. "I don't think I ever want to stop cutting mangoes for you, Fujiko." He picked up the other half of the slice.
Fuji laughed and then ran his tongue enticingly across his lower lip. "I never want you to stop, either."
Relative, by kishmet. TezuRyo, G. I felt like writing today, I've been wanting to write something like this for a long time, so I did it. It sucks quite badly.
"I have chores to do," Tezuka warns him, before Ryoma comes home with him the way he'd promised to.
"I don't care," says Ryoma. "I'll do them with you."
"Laundry, dishes, and yardwork, Echizen."
Ryoma doesn't think Tezuka is trying to deter him. The way Tezuka looks at him, it's more of a challenge than anything else. It's not as exciting as a tennis match, but Tezuka knows Ryoma well enough that he knows Ryoma won't back down. "I like laundry, dishes and yardwork," Ryoma says nonchalantly, which is a partial lie. At home, he's never done laundry, he only does dishes when his father cons him into it, and he avoids yardwork like the plague.
This is different, though.
"All right," Tezuka says, and doesn't say anything when Ryoma takes his hand and doesn't let go all the way back to Tezuka's house.
"You don't have a dishwasher?" Ryoma eyes the sink, which is full of dishes. He usually sees Tezuka's kitchen when it's perfectly clean, so he guesses that Tezuka doesn't always do the dishes.
"My family is very traditional," says Tezuka.
"I know," says Ryoma, and makes a face. "You don't have a washing machine, either?"
"Not that traditional," says Tezuka, hiding a smile.
"Okay." Ryoma picks up a fork and starts scrubbing at it with a dishcloth.
"You need some detergent on that. Hold out your hand."
Ryoma holds out the hand that's holding the cloth, and Tezuka pours some of the liquid soap onto it. "Thanks, buchou," says Ryoma. He sets to cleaning the fork again, and next to him Tezuka picks up a plate and another dishcloth and does the same.
"All of this needs to be folded?" Ryoma looks at the baskets full of clean laundry. There are three of them in all. Ryoma wonders which ones are Tezuka's clothes.
"Yes." Tezuka sits down on the edge of the bed and picks up a t-shirt. Ryoma watches him to see how Tezuka is going to fold it. He's trying to be inconspicuous about it, picking up a shirt of his own. Tezuka glances at him and says nothing, just starts folding the shirt, holding it up so that Ryoma can see. He folds the sleeves to the back first, then folds the shirt in half widthwise, then in half lengthwise. Then he puts it next to him on the bed, on the side where Ryoma isn't.
Ryoma copies him, thinking that he'll fold his school uniform like this from now on. It's not easier than the way he's always done it. It's the way that Tezuka does it, though, which makes all the difference.
"That was a lot of laundry," Ryoma comments when they're finally done with it and have put the clothes back where they belong.
"Kikumaru's family has more," says Tezuka. "So does Momoshiro's."
"I know," says Ryoma. "I didn't mind doing it. You know what, buchou?"
"I've never folded so many clothes before," says Ryoma. "I thought I would hate it."
"I didn't," says Ryoma. He moves over so that he's against Tezuka's side and he can lean his head against Tezuka's shoulder. It doesn't take Tezuka the usual second to decide it's all right to put his arm around Ryoma. He does it right away, resting his hand on Ryoma's waist, just above the hip. "What yardwork are we going to do?"
"The yard is fine," says Tezuka.
"Can we go and play a match, then?"
"Yes, we can."
"Good," says Ryoma, looking up at Tezuka and grinning.
"Oi! Ryoma!" Nanjiroh comes running out of the kitchen before Ryoma can go upstairs. He darts a furtive glance to either side, then grins at Ryoma. He's holding a bowl in one hand, a purple dish sponge in the other. "Take over the dishes for your old man, would you?" He shoves the bowl and sponge in Ryoma's direction. Probably Rinko has gone out, or maybe she's finally forced Nanjiroh into doing something useful instead of laying around all day reading about girls in bikinis.
Ryoma gives Nanjiroh a disdainful look. "I have to go practice." He turns around and heads for the door.
"You just came in from practice!" Nanjiroh says, stepping quickly in front of Ryoma. "You used that excuse yesterday! Now you can help your father, you ungrateful brat!"
"I don't do dishes," says Ryoma. He manages to slip between his father and the wall of the hallway and then lunges out the front door.
"Brat!" Nanjiroh calls after him, waving the bowl. Ryoma hopes he accidentally drops it and has to explain why he broke it. "Someday you'll have a wife who makes you do the dishes, and I hope your son is just as ungrateful as mine!"
Ryoma keeps his back to Nanjiroh and grins slightly. Someday he'll be glad to do the dishes, as long as he won't have to do them alone, and as long as they can play tennis afterward.