FANDOM: Prince of Tennis
CHARACTERS: Atobe and Kirihara, featuring a number of familiar faces
SUMMARY: Akaya decides that they should get a puppy. (4200+ words)
NOTES: Originally submitted to top_cagnotte for lumelle. Prompt - "Atobe/Kirihara? You've got my interest. Domestic!fic would be love."
The day begins with a cup of coffee.
Too much sugar, no cream. Atobe wrinkles his nose.
Oh, and a chip on the handle of his favorite mug. The rough abnormality sings beneath the pad of his thumb. He skims it again.
Sniffing, he uncrosses his leg, slides the other one over it, and tries very hard not to hurl the offensive ceramic at his roommate.
“This is the seven hundred and twentieth time.”
At the condescending tone, Akaya blinks at him before placing his book down on their coffee table. Actually, it’s the latest issue of Weekly Shonen Jump. He nearly, very nearly, rolls his eyes.
“What?” Akaya comes to his side, peering over him, an overwhelming mass of dark hair brushing across his cheek.
He finishes the rest of his coffee then sets the cup above his beaded placemat, turning it around so that its handle is directly below Akaya’s nose. That overwhelming mass of dark hair shifts, tickles his chin and nose. He quells a sneeze.
“How did this happen?”
It takes a while before the brat remembers.
“It slipped while I was washing the dishes this morning,” he grins sheepishly, angling his head and chancing a quick kiss on Atobe’s temple, “No big deal. I mean, you could always get a new one.”
“That’s not the point,” his frown deepens.
He can smell the shampoo he’d just bought, off of those unruly bangs. Lemony with a hint of chamomile. He closes his eyes. Breathes in. His arm extends forward.
Before he can lean further into that scent and maybe steal a kiss of his own though, he feels the swish as Akaya checks the wall clock. Feels the pull as Akaya turns away. Feels the coolness of the trail Akaya leaves behind, just as he makes a grab for his coat and shuts the door behind him.
“Gotta run. I’m going to be late,” Akaya’s voice fades against the click, “See you tonight.”
He reaches up and drags his finger across the abrasion one more time before tossing the mug into the trash bin.
“This is becoming a habit.”
Sanada stares at him from across the table, sans a cap and in a business suit. He suddenly feels the need to laugh.
“How long has it been since you picked up a racket?”
“Atobe,” Yukimura chuckles back instead, “how long has it been since you picked up yours?”
He concedes the first serve (probably a fault, in any case), pulling the other man’s plate of apple pie over, taking a stab at it. He knows that Sanada is holding back his protest. While Yukimura just sits there, watching him in amusement. Watching them both in amusement.
So much for discreet counseling.
“Akaya won’t know if you don’t tell him.”
Surprisingly, Sanada offers said tidbit.
Fork still in his mouth, he looks up at the former fukubuchou, who quickly pulls the plate back. Yukimura nods his thanks, slicing a bit of the crust off and munching on it before offering some of the pie to Sanada. The latter shakes his head.
“I’m not going to coddle him,” Atobe replies, “He knows me well enough.”
“That doesn’t mean he can’t come to his own conclusions,” Yukimura volleys, picking at what’s left of the crust, “And what if he misunderstands?”
“Why do you sound so certain that he’s going to get this wrong?” Atobe frowns. A piece of honeyed apple falls away from the core.
“He’s a kid we all have to look after,” he sighs before either of them can interject, chucking his fork down, “Is that still what you want me to believe?”
“Of course not,” Sanada leans forward.
He doesn’t hear.
“I am not his captain, not his vice-captain, or his coach. I am not even his teammate.”
He pauses, nearly bites his tongue. Sanada doesn’t dare breathe.
Yukimura grins, “Are you afraid that he believes you’re the game?”
Akaya always makes it home first.
He checks the handle, hears the click. Then follows the cool air which pulls him into the apartment.
Evidently, Akaya also manages to forget to lock the front door every single time.
“We are going to get robbed someday,” he drawls, reaching down to take his shoes off. As an afterthought, he lines a pair of grimy sneakers next to them.
“You didn’t have to do that,” Akaya hums. He leans against the wall, one leg propped over the other, a glass of what appears to be iced tea in hand.
He reaches out to take it, “Actually, I did. A person could trip on these.” He gestures to the shoes, and then the mess. Mud everywhere.
“You never do.”
He chuckles. Takes a sip of the iced tea.
“Ore-sama would never do something so unsightly. But that doesn’t mean anyone else wouldn’t,” he leans in, stops, “Besides, I’m familiar with your habits, as irritating as they might be.”
Akaya makes a face. It doesn’t matter. He leans in as well, (“Come on, you have irritating habits of your own,”) pulls at him by the collar, slams their mouths together. He shoves right back.
Somehow, the glass ends up next to their shoes. Intact at least.
And the iced tea, a stain on his pants.
But it doesn’t matter. They don’t stay on for long.
“We should get a puppy.”
He looks up, meets that hopeful expression, and raises a perfectly fine brow.
“Because,” Akaya pushes his chair back, “it’s lonely in this apartment.”
He sets his paperwork down. Shuffles them into a folder. He’s starting to get a migraine, itches to pinch the bridge of his nose.
“And this way, we’ll never get robbed!” Akaya peers down next to him, pushes the folder away.
He hears the scrape of wood against wood. And before he knows it, the brat’s gotten up on the table, and is holding his chair back with a leg wedged between his thighs.
“Who’s going to train it?” He asks.
Akaya purses his lips, like it should be obvious.
“We will, of course.”
“But I don’t want a puppy,” he tries again, tries to slide his other leg over Akaya’s. But he’ll probably fall over, and Akaya would laugh. And well, Ore-sama would never do something so unsightly. He closes his eyes, stretches his fingers. Out. In. Out.
“You’ll see,” Akaya whispers, breath mingling with his, closes the distance between, “Let me change your mind.”
Maybe out of reflex, he manages to push back. The chair tips over, his thighs press down. Akaya grabs his shoulders, fumbles.
And they crash, they burn. There’s a slight throb in his lower back, but nothing else. Nothing else besides that dull ache. No. Akaya’s got too strong a hold.
“What the hell?!” The brat grits his teeth, lying next to him, nearly shoulder to shoulder.
He doesn’t like strangers in the apartment.
“Isn’t he the coolest?” Akaya grins, just as wide as that morning he decided to make them pancakes. (Akaya wanted chocolate chip.)
Atobe starts to smile back. Until he realizes that Akaya isn’t grinning at him.
“You’re making me jealous. Now I want one, too!” Marui reaches over to ruffle Akaya’s hair. Actually, he’s reaching over to ruffle the pup’s fur. But he might as well be ruffling Akaya’s hair. Because the brat’s eyes are so bright, he looks like he’s getting his belly scratched.
He clears his throat.
“Oh, hey!” Akaya jumps up, bounces towards him.
His eyes stay trained on the redhead’s huddled form. The pup starts to whine, pawing for its chew toy. He notes the lime green rubber bone lodged beneath the sofa.
He doesn’t like strangers in the apartment, and right now, there are two in his living room.
Akaya reaches up, turns his head and plants a kiss on his cheek. His frown deepens.
“Remember how I said I didn’t want a puppy?”
Akaya winks, “Remember how I said I’d change your mind?”
“So far,” he turns away to take his tie off, “you’re failing.”
“It’s only been like two minutes,” Akaya replies.
He’s about to correct him – it’s been five minutes and about fourteen seconds (he’s no data man), but Akaya just hasn’t noticed – when Akaya asks if Marui can stay the night.
“I hope you realize that it’s two o’clock on a Saturday morning.”
Atobe hears the yawn, but pretends he didn’t.
“Unfortunately, Oshitari is on a trip with his colleagues right now,” he replies in a tone he knows will irritate, “so you will have to keep me company tonight.”
Tezuka remains silent on the other end.
“That last part’s a joke,” he amends ruefully, “and I need your advice.”
“Didn’t you meet with Yukimura and Sanada a few days ago?”
He clucks his tongue.
“Did I tell you about that?”
Tezuka laughs, actually laughs, “You sent me a text message.”
He leans back, rests his head against the pillows. Closes his eyes. There’s a faint scent of lemony chamomile swirling through his nostrils, and he hasn’t used the new shampoo yet.
“Ah. They were checking up on their little demon.”
He hears shuffling, Tezuka probably reaching for his glasses. More shuffling. The static silence is somewhat comforting.
“They knew something was wrong.”
“Oh?” Tezuka hums.
There’s a click. He imagines Tezuka’s gone out to make himself some coffee.
“I’m sorry if I’m keeping you.”
“It’s alright, he’s asleep,” Tezuka says, popping the fridge open. Atobe can hear the clink of bottles hitting each other.
For a few terse seconds, he feels incredibly guilty.
After all, he’d spent the night or the better part of the morning chatting with Tezuka about tennis (or the lack thereof), about good coffee, and, well, about his little demonic problem. He’d spent the night chatting with his friend, when he could have been helping out with the new puppy.
Except, he never wanted the puppy.
And Akaya, who actually did want the puppy, spent most of the night giggling with his former teammate over some new videogames. Leaving the poor puppy to fend for itself. And by definition, leaving the poor puppy to pee all over the place.
He feels guilty. But it isn’t long before he shifts to being incredibly pissed off.
“G’morning,” Akaya yawns, snuggling into his back. He mumbles something incoherent before pressing a kiss to the base of his neck.
Atobe’s back to feeling slightly guilty.
“Did you sleep well?” He asks, placing an arm around Akaya’s waist.
Again, the brat mumbles his response. He hears something along the lines of “senpai needed a good whacking” before Akaya moves along, and asks if he wants anything special for breakfast.
“Pancakes,” he says, taking one, two strides to get ahead of Akaya and guides him backwards. Shoves him up against the wall.
“Horny much?” Akaya grumbles. But his hands are on Atobe’s shoulders and his legs are just about wrapped around his waist. And it takes another hour before they actually get to the kitchen.
He gets a text message from Yukimura while he’s at work.
You said he was a kid who needed looking after. I don’t think any of us saw him that way.
He replies: “Oh really? Do tell.”
He looks over five proposals regarding the renovated hotel in Chiba before he sees another message.
Ask Yanagi. ^_^
Of course, Yukimura is trying to rile him up. They never did like him for taking their ace away. And he’s always been suspicious, given Akaya’s senpai complex.
“Ask Yanagi,” he mutters, tapping his pen against the proposal for another indoor pool. He imagines Yukimura telling him to, imagines Sanada telling him to. In a haze, he even imagines Akaya telling him to.
He mulls over the idea for a few more minutes before deleting the message.
Akaya tends to think aloud. Especially when he’s trying his hardest to come up with something creative.
“I don’t want anything too common,” he scratches his head, the back of his neck, “like Tama, or Kuro.”
“It’ll be easier to remember though,” Atobe says, smirking.
Akaya throws him a look.
“It would be easier if you were helping me think of one.”
“I wouldn’t mind whatever name you decide on,” he replies, “Technically, it’s still your responsibility since I’m not quite convinced just yet.” He rests his chin atop the back of his hand, watches Akaya pace to and fro.
“It’s been a week! He’s definitely ours now,” Akaya rounds on him, can’t believe his ears.
He shrugs, making Akaya’s cheeks turn a bright red.
“I am not taking him back!”
He hears the bedroom door slam before pulling himself up.
Out of the corner of his eye, he sees the pup staring at him from behind the sofa, probably trying to tell him that he did something bad.
“Come here,” he calls out, doesn’t really know what possesses him to do so.
But the pup surprisingly obeys, slinking forward, keeping its eyes on his outstretched hand.
He gives it a firm pat when it comes close enough, “Good boy,” before following in Akaya’s wake.
“Have you thought of a name yet?”
Akaya stirs, tries to untangle their legs, then pulls at the blanket. The brat peers at him over it.
“I didn’t have the time to,” he replies after the pause.
Atobe chuckles, using a finger to tilt his chin up. He dips his tongue against Akaya’s lower lip. Silently begs for him to open. And Akaya does.
“Good answer,” he says, sliding down Akaya’s cheek, down his neck, nipping at the curve where neck meets shoulder, lapping at the mark he leaves behind. Akaya shudders beneath him, whispers that he’s about to cum, and just do me already.
He jokes that he’ll give Akaya what he wants if he gets rid of the pup.
“Smug bastard,” Akaya hisses, shoving at his chest. It’s half-hearted, but he’s obviously starting to get pissed.
Atobe promises he wouldn’t really do it. Not until the poor thing has a name first, at least.
Akaya shoves him again, bites his nipple for good measure.
They end up sleeping on the floor.
He knew from the very beginning that getting a puppy would be a bad idea.
“It’s only for a few days,” Akaya explains again, “It’s not like we aren’t going to see each other.”
“But you’ll be leaving early and coming back late,” he finishes, sighing, defeated. He feels the pup nudging his hand. Absently, he strokes it between the ears.
“All you have to do is feed him,” Akaya waves him off, waves them both off when the pup whines at him, “He knows where to do his business now; we just finished potty training.”
He stares down just as the pup looks up, their eyes meeting.
Akaya laughs, “See? You’re forming a connection already. Maybe you could play with him whenever you’re free.”
He wants to ask Akaya if he’s kidding. But (a) Akaya’s already out the door before he can even get a word out, and (b) the pup’s just about to lift its teeny leg. He swears he can hear it snickering.
Right. Isn’t he just the coolest?
“How do I make sure he knows who the boss is?”
Tezuka chokes. He hears some sort of pounding. (“That’s enough. I’m fine.”)
“Atobe, I think he already does,” Tezuka finally answers. There’s a rasp in his voice that wasn’t there a few seconds ago.
A beat, and then, “He does?”
“Yes,” Tezuka says heavily, “Kirihara is his master.”
He really doesn’t know if he should laugh.
“Yes, but how do I let him know that I am his master, too?”
He props his legs up on the coffee table. He knows he’s told Akaya countless times not to, but it’s a habit he just can’t shake.
“Kirihara brought him home, made him feel welcome, and he potty trained the puppy. What did you do?” Tezuka asks. There’s a tapping, probably a pen, in the background.
Like a sneeze, habits are quite contagious. He quickly pulls his legs back.
“I’ve… played with him,” he says carefully.
“Yes, I’ve patted him on the head, fed him, and I’ve hidden behind furniture, waiting for him to find me,” he lists.
The pup knows it’s being discussed. Which is why it slinks toward his hand, licks at his fingers, bites a little, and then waits to be scratched.
“It sounds like you’ve been avoiding him,” Tezuka observes.
“Rather, he’s been avoiding me,” he replies absently. He traces from the pup’s left ear to his furry little chest.
“… Atobe, are we still talking about the puppy?”
“Listen, I’m going to need a few more days.”
He shifts beneath the covers, rubs at his eyes. How long has it been already? Two weeks? Three? He chooses to remain silent, moves a little bit to the right to give Akaya more room.
“The project’s going really well,” Akaya continues, sounding pleased with himself, “I think they’re going to use my design for this ad. All that hard work’s finally going to pay off.”
He smiles, pulls on Akaya’s arm. Presses their mouths together. Mumbles something about coffee, and how Akaya should tell him all the details tomorrow morning.
He doesn’t get the chance to say he misses the brat. He’s already fallen back to sleep.
He wakes to find his cellphone on the bedside table.
He blinks. Knows that he left it on the dining table, where all his paperwork should be. Feels around for any documents he may have forgotten about. Nothing there.
Turning, he feels around for Akaya. It’s only six o’clock, he should still be here. His hand meets with a cold set of pillows. Nothing there.
Akaya isn’t in the bathroom, or in the living room. Or anywhere. And Atobe would have heard him if he had gone out. Unless Akaya didn’t want to be heard.
Frowning, he reaches for his phone. The screen lights up on a message.
You said he was a kid who needed looking after. I don’t think any of us saw him that way.
Akaya isn’t answering his calls.
He hits ‘Cancel’, waits from one to three, pauses, counts aloud. And then he tries again. He needs to recharge his phone. It flashes, flickers a bit before dying.
He hasn’t been home all day.
He checks the handle, doesn’t hear the click. He reaches for his keys. Fumbles.
Finally, he pushes the door open, feels the cool air pull him into their apartment. Sniffs. There’s something wrong, something really wrong. He takes off his shoes, doesn’t care if they’re arranged or not, doesn’t even check.
And stops short.
It is probably the first time Akaya has ever remembered to lock the front door.
Yanagi cranes his neck, stares at him from the sofa. Akaya is bent down, has his hands on the other man’s shoulders.
“You bastard,” he grits his teeth, stalks towards them.
Akaya looks like he has something to say, but Yanagi beats him to it.
“Welcome back, Atobe-san.”
He can’t stop himself from throwing the first punch. Not that he wants to, really.
Turns out, one punch is all he needs.
“You punched him?” Oshitari raises a brow, reaching up to loosen his tie.
He’s mulling over the whole situation behind the counter, sipping the tea his former teammate prepared. Yanagi’s sporting a shiner, doesn’t look all that peeved. Well, not anymore. While Akaya hands the man a bag of ice.
“Here, senpai,” he says, “And yes, he did.” Akaya throws him a look.
“Why?” He can tell Oshitari’s trying to keep himself from laughing outright. Yes, well, who knew that they were colleagues at that firm Oshitari rarely mentions? Who knew that they had both gone on the trip? And who knew that they had just gotten back and were paying a visit?
“He thought that Akaya was cheating on him,” Yanagi replies, taking the bag and pressing it against the bruise.
“And why would you be cheating on him?” Oshitari directs the question to Akaya, who simply shrugs it off.
“Akaya misunderstood something he read this morning,” he mutters, coming up to them, “which is why he shouldn’t go around snooping through other people’s phone messages.”
“Yeah?” Akaya glares, “Well, if your stupid alarm hadn’t woken me up this morning, then maybe I wouldn’t have seen anything. Who sets their alarm two hours before they’re planning to wake up anyway?”
Oh. The revised proposals. So that was why it was on the bedside table.
He shakes his head.
“That’s not the point,” he reaches for Akaya’s arm, pulls him through the living room, into the hall, and safely back into the bedroom.
The pup comes out from under the bed. It yips, bounces around their feet.
“Are you going to try and explain?” Akaya asks, daring with those eyes of his.
He sits down on the edge of the bed, wants to settle Akaya next to him, maybe massage his back a little. But Akaya isn’t done yet.
“I saw the message. And I followed you the day you went to meet buchou and fukubuchou,” Akaya sees his mouth move and shushes him with a finger to his lips, “I didn’t get it at the time but I do now.”
He waits. About thirteen seconds, maybe more than that. Decides to start slow.
“How did you know that I was meeting them that day?”
“I didn’t,” Akaya says, “I was just curious. I didn’t know where you were going. It was,” he quickly adds, “not because I thought you were cheating.”
He nods, feels an odd taste in his mouth, “Did you… stay till the end?”
Akaya turns his head, “No.”
He nearly sighs in relief. Slides his hands up Akaya’s arms, squeezes lightly, “It’s not what you think.”
Akaya tries to pull away.
He tries again, “I don’t think you’re a kid, especially not one who needs looking after,” he tips Akaya’s chin up, allows their eyes to meet, “You can be a brat sometimes, yes, but that’s not the reason why I worry about you.”
He sees the way Akaya begins to open his mouth, and presses a finger against it.
“I worry about you because I care. Because I don’t want to see you troubled. Because,” he breathes, “I want you to see me, and never stop seeing me.”
Akaya crumbles, knees hit the carpet. He tries to hold him up, but eventually goes down with him. They sit on the floor, with the pup licking their hands.
He remembers the last conversation he had with Tezuka.
What did you do?
He’d played around. Waited for Akaya to realize for himself, without dropping the necessary hints.
It sounds like you’ve been avoiding him
“I don’t like strangers in the apartment,” he says abruptly, catching Akaya’s attention, “I don’t like coffee without cream, and how you never lock the front door, and how much you distract me.”
He feels Akaya reaching for his cheek, feels Akaya pinching it hard. He winces. Akaya grins, wide.
“I don’t like how you always have to fix our shoes, and how you tell Tezuka about everything, and how you only make pancakes sometimes, and,” Akaya pinches his other cheek, “how you threw the mug I gave you in the trash.”
He narrows his eyes, “I didn’t think you’d remember.”
Which earns him a whack on the chest, “You idiot. You’re lucky I saw it when I came home. How could I not remember?”
He arches a brow, “Well, you said I could always get a new one.”
“We don’t always mean everything we say,” Akaya explains, just a bit hurt.
“You know, I wasn’t planning on chucking it out. I was going to take it back once I got home. But you had already emptied the trash.”
Akaya doesn’t believe it for a minute, swats him for being cheeky.
“I’m serious, Akaya.”
“Yeah? Well, you’re going to have to prove it,” he says matter-of-factly, “I’m keeping it for now, and you’re going to have to win it back. Chip or no chip.”
A somewhat menacing gleam catches in his eyes, “Oh really? You know how competitive I can get.”
Akaya sees the gleam and edges away.
Too late. He doesn’t let Akaya get far. Not really.
It takes three bangs on the door, the lamp breaking, repeated yips from the damn pup, and a soft rap from Oshitari for them to realize they still have company waiting outside.