TITLE: The Good Thing About Waiting
FANDOM: Prince of Tennis
RATING: PG-13 (bordering on R because of the omake)
SUMMARY: It's the things you don't say that I hear the loudest. (1200+ words)
NOTES: With a cherry on top for argentum_luna. Merry Christmas, everyone! This was inspired by Sarah Bareiles' Many The Miles, and submitted for tenipuri_time's “Better late than never” challenge. (Planned on December 8th. Started at 10:00pm and finished at 10:40pm, December 12th. Edited on December 14th. The omake is not part of the challenge.)
Slamming the phone down in a huff, Eiji whirled around and planted himself firm against the wall. It was just one of those days. Just one of those days when things couldn't get any worse. He bit his lip, shutting his eyelids to keep the tears at bay.
“Stupid. Stupid Inui.”
I just want you to be here.
“Was that Kikumaru-san, Sadaharu?”
Leaning his chin against a seemingly relaxed palm, glasses lying atop his desk, Inui turned to regard his best friend, a sigh escaping his lips.
“He's angry with me.” The former Rikkaidai regular simply chuckled in response, to which the brunette's green eyes narrowed.
“Am I to assume that it was your fault?”
There was a pause, another sigh, and then, “Yes, I guess you could say that.”
Please, try to understand.
“You'll get to see him on New Year's, Eiji. Don't be so immature. If his work is keeping him, you should-”
“Understand, I know! That's exactly what he said!” Trying in vain to keep calm, the redhead concentrated on making tea, dunking the tea bag into Oishi's cup with a loud plop, in turn, unsettling the boiling water and making it spill over.
He promptly let out a gasp and drew his finger up to his lips.
“I think that you're still too riled up to be talking about this,” Oishi added sagely, coming up beside his best friend and guiding him towards the sink.
“Really, if it were anyone else, I know you wouldn't be this... sour.”
The other half of the Golden Pair chose not to answer.
All I want is you.
“You know what? Don't come home. Stay in Hong Kong if you want. I don't need you!”
Yanagi laughed, watching his friend go through his phone messages, “He certainly is a handful. He reminds me so much of Akaya.”
“But Kirihara wouldn't react the way he did,” Inui frowned, sipping his coffee.
“Oh, no. Actually, I think he would. It's just that this year, I've told Seiichi and Genichirou to watch over him and make sure he doesn't get any... wrong ideas.”
Inui set his cup down, wrinkling his nose. “Tell me, Renji, was it a mistake to start this business? It's making both our partners unhappy.”
“... What do you think, Sadaharu?”
It was then that a small smile grazed his lips. “No, it wasn't. We've just—I've just gone about handling this all wrong.”
I know how you feel.
Christmas carols were playing on the radio, his eggnog was sitting patiently on the table, the presents were underneath the tree... Everything was supposed to be perfect.
Snapping the novel he'd been trying to read shut, Eiji glared at the stereo player and almost threw his book right at it, had he not recalled how much the damn thing cost.
Lying back against the sofa, he brought his hand up against his eyes, shielding them from the glaring light. It hurt to look at anything, because it was all so festive and cheery and bright and beautiful, and this year he just hated it. He hated being by himself in this warm apartment where everything smelled like his roommate, every shirt, every chair, every utensil.
He was going crazy, he just knew it.
The redhead tried hard to keep himself from tearing up, failing to notice the door open and then close. His mouth parted, one word—one name halting a pair of legs in their tracks.
“Hmm? What is it?”
It happened all at once, the warm hand covering his own, grasping, reassuring, his eyes blinking open in surprise, the glint of familiar spectacles.
“What are you doing here? It's Christmas, isn't it? I thought that you loved unwrapping presents.” The brunette intoned, pulling the smaller man up to his feet and turning him around by the shoulders to face the tree.
“Ah. There's one from Oishi and another from Tezuka. Also,” he paused lifting a particularly large gift, “there's an 87% chance this one from Echizen is a crate of Ponta. How predictable.”
“Well, what are you waiting for?” He was just about to turn to the redhead, only to have Eiji press up against his back, arms clinging around his middle.
“Inui, why-how?” The data specialist tried to get him to let go, to no avail. The redhead only gripped tighter, shaking his head.
It felt like if he opened his eyes and loosened his hold, Inui would disappear. It felt like if he wasn't careful, he would wake up to find that Inui had never been there and everything would have been a delusion, created by a mind that was slowly losing control. All the words that he wanted to say, all the frustrations, the pain, the joy, the desire to believe.
“Eiji.” However, in the end, he decided that that one gentle command was all he really needed to stay grounded.
The good thing about waiting is knowing that you're coming back... for me.
They were melting in to a dance of sorts, arm against arm, chest against chest, one leg raised, the other planted still. As Eiji drew his hand up, grazing his lover's neck, he pressed his lips against Inui's cheek, slowly, gently. Their heartbeats followed the same rhythm.
Inui snaked an arm around the smaller man's waist, twisting them both around so that he had the redhead cornered against the wall, his knee carefully digging in between Eiji's thighs, the pressure causing Eiji to wince and buck. The need too great, too much to bear.
“I-Inui,” the redhead let out breathlessly, fingers bunching up in the fabric of Inui's shirt, impatiently trying to yank it off, the buttons already half undone. The brunette chuckled—a sound as rich and as smooth as hot chocolate; however, just as dark and just as sinful—before allowing his own hands to travel the expanse of Eiji's skin, feeling his taut stomach, the muscles jumping beneath his touch.
Somehow, their mouths met again, hands following elsewhere (unzipping pants, sliding through hair), Eiji's moans a crescendo to Inui's bass. One hand found another, grasping like a lifeline, pulling, pushing, hitting against the wall with a soft thud.
A loud knock found them on the floor; Inui's pants down to his knees, Eiji in just his underwear.
“Eiji! Eiji, are you there?” Cursing, cheeks red, Eiji sat back and tried to regain some semblance of control before answering. The person on the other side beat him to it though.
“It's Oishi! I just got so worried about you, not having anyone to spend Christmas with. So I've brought some people over since they were free.” As if finally recognizing Momo's excited tone arguing with Kaidoh's own exasperated one, the redhead's eyes widened before he turned to Inui. The brunette already had his glasses back on, a smile curving his lips.
“He knows you're in here. You get the door, I'll go make more eggnog.”
Oishi simply had to wonder some minutes later, as he held the door open for the rest of the Seigaku ensemble, why his former doubles partner looked just about ready to murder someone, whilst his lover appeared more amused than anything else.