by Izumi (イズミ)
He’d been watching for weeks now, sitting on the sidelines and wasting time before he had to go home. There was no reason he could explain with words, only a pressing desire to be here as the targets were rolled out, the bows strung, and the soft smacking sound made by arrows sinking into the paper. It’s beautiful, he thought idly. Archery is beautiful.
Naoki leaned back in the grass. He could feel the blades tickling his ear and he brushed them away impatiently. The sound of the targets being hit seemed to echo through the ground; he could almost feel it. It was hypnotizing: the twang of the release, the thunk of connecting. It reminded him of a steady heartbeat. The rhythm continued in chunks of six; after that, the shooting halted and the archers stepped forward to retrieve their arrows.
Naoki rolled over onto his side when the shooting stopped, his eyes following the archer nearest him. Isao was in a different class, but the same year, and Naoki has been wandering after him to practice for a few weeks now. In the beginning, it was curiosity. The Western Archery club was small, less than half the size of the Kyudo club, and without the elegant costumes and strict, almost holy atmosphere, Naoki couldn’t see the appeal.
Isao laughed at something a boy one target over said. Naoki felt an answering smile curl his lips.
If he was perfectly honest with himself, his interest in archery had long since dissipated. It was all right to watch, he supposed, but without getting a turn himself, there really wasn’t much point. And yet, he’d kept coming. Week after week, day after day, and each time he knew that his reason for being here wasn’t the same one he’d started with.
Isao was preparing to shoot again, and Naoki straightened up.
Isao was slightly shorter than Naoki, with close-cropped hair and firm, solid shoulders. He set his feet, taking care to make sure his forward foot was perpendicular to the target. The arrow would fly where his heel pointed. He drew back the string in one fluid movement, taking only the shortest moment to aim; the longer he held it drawn back, the weaker his grip and the poorer the final shot would be. Isao released, holding his position until the arrow struck.
It was a good shot; not quite the center, but close.
For the next shot, Naoki’s eyes slid off the target and started examining Isao instead. The expression on his face was closed and intense; the world didn’t exist for him outside the target. His hands curled around the bow, steady and strong. His shoulders flexed with the draw but never once quivered under the strain. Naoki licked his lip, suddenly dry.
He heard the arrow hit, but his gaze had never left Isao. He didn’t look away for the remainder of the round.
“Nice round,” Naoki called once Isao was back in earshot. The archer looked over, smiling in recognition. He walked over and Naoki had to force himself to tear his eyes away from Isao’s legs as he moved.
“Nah, today was sloppy.” Isao shrugged, but he seemed completely unconcerned with it. Bracing the bow against his foot, Isao deftly lifted off the string; he always made it look easy, but Naoki knew from having wrestled with the recurve weeks before that it took a considerable amount of strength. Once satisfied his bow was taken care of, Isao held out a hand to Naoki to pull him up. Accepting, Naoki wondered if Isao had noticed how long it took for Naoki to let go.
“I’m gross,” Isao said, giving himself an exaggerated sniff. “I’m heading to the showers.”
Naoki nodded and thought nothing of falling into step beside Isao. They walked in a comfortable silence; Isao had nothing of importance to say, and Naoki was content to just follow, their shoulders occasionally brushing. The locker rooms weren’t far from the range and Naoki hesitated only a few beats before entering after Isao.
“You’re not going to join, are you?” Isao said, laughing as he pulled his shirt over his head. Naoki leaned against the end of the lockers, out of sight, but not out of earshot.
“I might,” he said, his tone teasing. “One day I might wake up and realize I was born to shoot.”
“You don’t have to,” Isao replied. “Just watching is allowed.”
Naoki wasn’t sure how Isao had managed to round the lockers so damn silently, but suddenly he was standing in front of Naoki, and placing his hand just to the side of Naoki’s head. He was pinned; considering it was Isao standing in front of him, Naoki wasn’t sure he minded. He could feel himself tensing, tightening, something in him being drawn back and ready to snap.
“Even if I’m watching you?” Naoki questioned softly, his hands clenching and unclenching on the metal of the lockers pressed to his back.
Isao leaned forward and pressed his lips to Naoki’s throat. The kiss led to another just under his jaw, and a third in front of his ear, and by the fourth to the side of Naoki’s lips, Naoki’s eyes had closed and he turned his head to force the fifth peck to land where he really wanted it to. Isao didn’t need any more encouragement; instead of the chaste kisses dropped before, this one was insistent and heady. His lips responded to every touch, demanding an answering pressure and enthusiasm from Naoki. Naoki’s hands settled on Isao’s hips, his fingertips pressing against the rise of bone as Isao groaned softly into Naoki’s mouth.
Naoki let his tongue brush against Isao’s lower lip, and the silent permission was given instantly. Isao’s tongue drew him in, twining and teasing Naoki until both were dizzy and air became the most important priority. They separated just far enough for breath, and Naoki couldn’t seem to bring himself to stop kissing every part of Isao’s skin he had access to.
Groaning again, Isao caught Naoki’s wrists and pulled him towards the showers. They helped each other lose their clothing along the way (Isao’s hands lingering on bare skin, Naoki’s gaze appreciating everything revealed) and by the time they reached the showers proper, Naoki’s heart was pounding to a far faster beat than before and breathing seemed like something he had to consciously remember to do. Isao pushed him under the spray, joining him instantly and sliding his palms up Naoki’s chest.
Naoki moaned as the calluses from the bowstrings Isao used daily dragged roughly over his nipples. His hands twisted in Isao’s hair, forcing their lips to meet again and for Naoki’s sounds to be swallowed between them. Isao’s hands continued their trek across Naoki’s body, examining every inch and triggering small quivers in Naoki’s stomach. Eager to return the pleasant touch, Naoki broke the kiss and began nibbling his way down Isao’s neck, stopping at every point that pulled a gasp from Isao’s throat and giving that spot twice the attention.
Isao’s hands finished their journey by gripping Naoki’s hips and pulling them tight against each other. Naoki hissed as their erections ground against each other, and he was momentarily distracted from his work on Isao’s throat by the rich friction as they pressed tighter and tighter, tiny movements causing his breath to skip. Naoki’s hands reached under Isao’s arms, wrapping around his back so his hands could claw at the shoulders he’d spent so much time admiring with each draw of the bowstring.
Not to be outdone, Isao snaked one hand between them, gripping their cocks together in one hand and adding to the friction by thrusting into the tunnel he’d created. Naoki cried out, his head dropping to rest on Isao’s shoulder as they moved against each other. Isao’s back was flexing under Naoki’s hands with each thrust, and the calluses on his fingers were like tiny points of added torture. Naoki’s heart was pounding so loud he swore it could be heard over the spray of the shower, and every muscle in his body was pulled so tight he felt like he was vibrating, singing for release.
Isao leaned forward and bit down on the juncture between Naoki’s neck and shoulder, and as though that was his trigger, Naoki moaned and felt everything in him let go at once. His body shook, the force of his orgasm leaving him quivering and weak. Isao’s grip tightened just so, and Naoki felt him fall too, a long groan ripping out of his mouth.
Naoki let himself fall back against the wall, pulling Isao with him. They stood, bodies pressed against each other, waiting for their limbs to start working again. Naoki was suddenly aware of the water running cold, and the heaviness of his body.
Isao reached for the dial, turning the shower off, but staying put against Naoki. They didn’t speak, didn’t move, didn’t attempt to do anything except pull themselves together and wait for their heartbeats to slow.
“Think we’re clean yet?” Isao murmured at last, his lips brushing the shell of Naoki’s ear. Naoki shivered, only partly from the cold against his naked skin, and smiled.
“In a sense,” he replied sweetly, and Isao chuckled against his skin. Pushing himself off the wall, Isao held out his hand for Naoki, and led him back to the lockers. He was more than happy to helpfully assist Naoki in toweling dry, and Naoki kindly did not comment on his wandering hands or focus on areas that were most certainly dry.
“Still not going to join?” Isao asked, running his fingers through Naoki’s hair. Naoki grinned at him, cheeky and smug.