by Seiwa Kaiyura (性和 界由来)
“Are you gay?” asks one of the idiots crowded around the new kid, in an overconfident loud voice that always gets on Ian’s nerves. Reading’s impossible, he won’t remember the chapter later anyway, so he just puts the book away and watches the little scene unfold.
The new kid just grins and shakes his head. He certainly dresses as if he were, white canvas pants a bit tighter than any sane guy here would wear and his shirt a nearly violet bluish hue. Not to mention the earrings and a necklace with a silver pendant. It’s swaying as he laughs.
Too bad, Ian thinks, because he is damn cute. Black hair down to the nape of his neck, tips bleached a pale red, frames a face that seems to be constantly smiling. His name’s Yuki Takeda. Ian knows even though he slept through the teacher’s introductory speech. At least, he thinks, having to put up with class president duties ’cause no one else bothers has its merits sometimes.
Really too bad. Well, looking never hurt anyone and Yuki being placed directly across from Ian’s seat makes for a good view. His shirt is riding up a bit as he tells the others how he came to attend an international high school, though he was born on the other side of the world. There are a lot of foreigners here, but none came from that far away.
Ian prays the break will end soon so he has to concentrate on something else, or, better, for fall to come early. It’s no surprise everyone wears so little in this heat. And while most of the guys here aren’t that pleasant to look at, the little eye candy there is is fairly distracting. The new kid certainly falls into the latter category. And there’s PE later, too.
Ian groans. “I’m doomed…”
Ian catches himself watching Yuki in the showers. He’s glad to be half dressed already, because Yuki turns his way and gives him one of these smiles Ian has seen about twenty times today already. Ian manages to retreat from the room without being too obvious, but he is late for the next lesson and gets teased about falling asleep on the toilet. They’d shut up if they knew, but Ian doesn’t really care that much and avoids any more banter. He’s glad Yuki’s in a different history class, so he doesn’t have to look at him right now.
When they’re paired up for a class project, Yuki looks vaguely enthusiastic and Ian curses himself for being unable to choose a partner before the teacher discovered they were the only students left. Yuki spouts something in Japanese and only grins as Ian gives him the hairy eyeball.
Their subject is Dadaism. After the fifth page about symbolic-but-meaningless toilet seats, Ian is ready to throw in the towel, feeling as if his brain had been put through the wringer and he knows he looks like it too. Most of his hair is now hanging into his eyes instead of pulled back, where it belongs. Has he been tugging on it again? Yuki just snorts and shocks him by getting up and redoing Ian’s ponytail.
Somehow they manage to finish their project without Ian going crazy. They even manage to present their own Dadaistic object, constructed out of stuff they found in the trash yard behind the school. The fact that they get a good grade for it amazes Ian, but it’s not as surprising as the fact that he’s getting more and more comfortable around Yuki each day. It’s nothing tangible, like a friendship or anything like that, but occasionally they sit together at lunch. Ian doesn’t feel the need to hold back, telling Yuki he’s an idiot for getting yet another ear piercing. That makes seven.
Ian almost thinks he’s over the heat flashes and awkward moments when fate, or rather the art teacher, decides to throw him for another loop.
After ranting for half an hour about how stupid it is to schedule nude drawings for fall, not that the heating was bad but that on general principle it was inappropriate, Ian manages to convince his overenthusiastic classmates to put their clothes back on and catches himself silently mourning that Yuki hadn’t joined the rampant stripping spree.
He is pretty surprised when the art teacher, who is really too perverted for such an old woman, decides that Ian himself should sit as a model for the other students, leaving him relieved when she proclaims that the first few sessions will be focused on the male torso only.
He decides Yuki’s drawing sucks, even though he seems to have put effort in it, but there are muscles visible in the drawing Ian isn’t even sure he has, and overall the drawing is showing something that doesn’t fit with his self-perception at all.
But either other people are blind or simply don’t know him, because Yuki’s final drawing gets to hang in the school gallery, between a futuristic appropriation of a Monet and an action piece painted in red. Ian doesn’t question this choice in arrangement, he simply takes a look at it, then thuds his head against the door frame.
Yuki owns sticking plasters in weird colours, but at least it makes Ian laugh away the stray tear that snuck up on him when they took out the splinter.
They get stuck together once again, this time for a maths project, which is just as well, since Yuki is as bad at maths as Ian is at arts, maybe even worse. They compromise and create an installation in the main hall, three clothes lines crossing, laundry pegs forming the scales, in between the graphs of tetra dimensional functions.
They get praised, so Ian keeps quiet and doesn’t say anything about whether or not it’s reasonable to make two subjects that different the main ones for their class.
Yuki just grins and buys him a book about Leonardo da Vinci for Christmas. Ian pretends not to notice and stops rooting through Yuki’s things at break.
Yuki is slowly getting better. Ian would have whacked him otherwise for letting hours spent over Trigonometry books at the school library go to waste. Ian still can’t draw a straight line, but at least now he knows the dates of all epochs from stone-aged cave drawings up to pointillism by heart. Yuki calls him numerically obsessed; Ian abuses the library computer to print out a picture built of mathematical symbols. It’s supposed to be an apple but Yuki insists it’s a kaki. Ian spends fifteen minutes leafing through the botanical department’s books until he finds the orange abomination normal people call a charonne fruit. Yuki decides to stick the print onto his bedroom wall, next to the baseball poster.
As soon as the first snow falls, Ian holes himself up in his room, leaving only for classes and lunch. Yuki has to bodily drag him out, managing to get him to go outside for once. Ian complains – it’s cold and wet and please could they go inside before he catches a cold? He gives Yuki a pathetic look, brown hair soaked and matted by the snow melting on it, muffled up to his nose by various scarves, nose slightly reddened by the cold. After Yuki has stopped laughing, he extricates himself from his half built snow fort, calls Ian a spoilsport and sneaks into the kitchens to make some hot cocoa. Sitting on Yuki’s carpet, talking and taking care not to burn his tongue on the hot liquid, Ian thinks it’s almost worth braving the winter weather.
Two weeks later he curses himself for being stupid enough to give in again. Feeling as if he were never to breathe freely again, he growls at his classmates back from Christmas shopping. He still isn’t sure whether he wants to give Yuki something, but it’s too late for that now anyway. Making something by himself is out of question, Yuki has confiscated all of his crappy creations anyway, claiming it’d be better of a fate for them than getting thrown away or used as stuffing for soaked shoes.
Christmas morning, Ian wakes at a gruesome hour, grumblingly staggers over to the window to shut the drapes, then falls back into bed. Half an hour later he’s still awake, so he gets up and somehow manages to get down some food. The fever seems mostly gone, too. As everyone else appears to have enough sense to sleep at five o’clock in the morning, he takes care not to wake anyone when he pads down to the library. Getting himself a random book, he claims one of the leather couches in the corner, tugs his feet up and begins browsing through it.
Yuki finds him there shortly after eight o’clock, asleep, a big pressure mark from the books corner on his cheek. Ian blinks at him sleepily, turns red to the tips of his ears, and goes back to hiding in his room. His classmates manage to lure him out for dinner.
Outside, it had started snowing like crazy, snowflakes obscuring anything more than a few steps away. The snowman Yuki has built in the morning has become nothing more than a deformed white glob indistinctly visible through whirling shades of bluish white and gray.
Ian has turned off the lights, watching the non-scenery outside.
“Busy being gloomy again?” Yuki’s smile almost lights up the room by itself. Pushing the book into Ian’s hands, he flops down on his bed, snatching one of Ian’s pillows and propping himself up on it.
Ian shrugs, leaving the window to sit down on the floor next to the bed.
“I thought you’d like that one.” Yuki adds, gesturing towards the book.
“Art and science aren’t that different, hm?” Ian turns it in his hands a few times, before setting it down. “Thanks. But why?”
“… It’s Christmas.” Yuki looks at him as if he didn’t understand the question.
“Which is an overly commercialized holiday and you look neither very Christian nor stupid to me. A beautiful holiday meant to spend with your family, right?” Ian snorts, but it doesn’t come out as sarcastic as he intended it to be. It’s more like he feels the tiny smile tugging on the corners of Yuki’s mouth than that he actually sees it.
“That’s not what I meant.” Yuki tells him. “Where I come from, it may be as commercialized as here, but it’s not a family holiday…” He maneuvers himself a bit closer to the edge of the bed, so he can look at Ian without craning his head too much.
“Hm? What else?” Ian asks, sitting up a bit straighter.
Yuki grins. “Guess.”
Ian whaps him on the head, then starts messing up Yuki’s sacred hairstyle. “Tell me already, imp!” he laughs.
“Stop thaaaaaaaaat!” Flailing, Yuki almost falls off the bed.
It doesn’t take much to help that and for once, Ian doesn’t mind being that close to him. Half sprawled beside, half on top of him, Yuki is very warm. A comforting feeling. Until Yuki snickers.
“Riiiight…” As Ian looks at him warily, the omnipresent grin seems to grow. “So what do I get for Christmas?” Yuki asks.
Ian refrains from poking him. “Nothing! Thanks to you I’ve been in my bed the whole time instead of running around for presents,” he grumbles, but doesn’t actually sound annoyed.
“Not a bad place to be if one despises the cold as much as you do, ne? But… so you had lots of time to think of something, ne?” Persistent little… something. Ian has yet to come up with a fitting description.
“Not really. So, any requests? You know how low my artistic standards lie…”
Yuki pretends to look thoughtful, chewing on his lip. “… There might be something I want, yes.”
Poke. Yuki doesn’t even flinch. “Well, say it, I’ll do it…within reason.” Ian adds, eyes narrowed as bit at the overly innocent look on Yuki’s face.
“Oh, don’t worry…”
And Yuki’s suddenly a lot closer, very warm and it’s a bit more than comfortable and Ian has not even the chance to blink before he’s being kissed.
Yuki must have raided the kitchens again, he faintly tastes of those orange and chocolate cookies he’s been addicted to lately. To say Ian is shocked would be an understatement. Nonetheless his hormones – which had been soundly sleeping like good little chemicals up until now – decide to take the unexpected chance and pounce.
Yuki acts very sure and hungry. If Ian were able to think, he maybe wouldn’t have been surprised at the sudden rush of heat and want that’s now shooting through him. He has been holding back a lot, but… the kiss erases every thought, slick and way too intimate for an action so simple.
He buries a hand in Yuki’s hair, pulling him closer, closer, it’s still not close enough, but before Ian can wonder if this is a good idea, Yuki chuckles and slips his hands beneath Ian’s pullover. Ian can feel the warmth of his hands, the edges of his nails though the thin fabric of his shirt, and begins to shiver.
There is some hesitation in Yuki’s movements now, but Ian somehow manages to help him to get the bothersome clothing out of the way. And when they finally touch, both of them still for a second, just feeling, breathing.
The mood is broken when Yuki nips at Ian’s collarbone, hair barely touching his skin, tickling his chest and shoulder. Ian feels the need to retaliate by running his hand down Yuki’s side, expecting the half squeak and silencing it with another kiss. Air is not necessary. He’s drunk, Ian is sure, even though he can’t quite remember what liquor he had.
They slide against each other, getting as close as possible, touching as much skin as they can possibly reach, hands greedy for the gasps they elicited.
Yuki’s almost sweet as he runs his hand along the side of Ian’s face, his own scrunched in concentration, tracing an invisible line, but then something sparks and he bends down to leave an aching mark on Ian’s jaw and Ian really can’t leave it at that, littering Yuki’s chest with wet, red spots that form a shaky line downwards.
Ian is losing track of time, but neither of them is bothering to count more seconds than fit into one kiss and kisses shouldn’t be counted anyway, as they can add as much as they want and Ian thinks he has miscounted at least four times in the last few minutes. He blames Yuki, using him as a chew toy in between is fairly distracting. Especially since he seems to be fascinated with Ian’s nipples.
New exciting discoveries are still to be made, and again, neither of them cares if the lazy stretches happen because one has found something new he likes to do or the other needs time to recover. They savour them as much as the frantic touches, the grinding, writhing and shoving that leave no space for the little details.
There’s even laughter when Ian bends down to lick along Yuki’s thigh, making him shudder and grip at him tightly, then can’t get back up again, because somehow a thick strand of his hair has caught in one of Yuki’s blasted bracelets. He resumes to torture Yuki a bit more, but then Yuki’s other hand meets a spot on his back and he nearly loses that hair. Yuki doesn’t look in the least apologetic but at least he makes up for it by once again brushing over that spot, making him shudder in pleasure. Ian proceeds to prove that he find Yuki at least as tasty as Yuki him, biting just below his hipbone, then following it inwards with his tongue.
Finally, they collapse into a boneless, sticky heap of limbs, somehow managing to rearrange themselves so neither of them has the others elbow in his ribs or the circulation of his arm cut off. Yuki makes a catlike purring sound and rests his head on Ian’s abdomen, looking at him with satisfied, sleepy eyes. “Mhm, nice. Now you’re all warm…” he murmurs.
Ian yawns. “… Thought you weren’t gay, Yuki…” Apparently his brain is returning from the mushy state it had been reduced to.
Yuki smiles, a languid, slow smile spreading over his face, eyes shining. “Well, I don’t have to be to like you, do I?”
Ian looks at him a moment longer, then closes his eyes and grumbles “Sleep!”
A lot more snow falls…
It had finally stopped snowing and there is even sunshine. Everything is too bright, light reflected off the snow’s surface. Ian rummages around for his sunglasses, claiming not to want to go blind from all the light. When he finds them, the frame is bent. Yuki heats them with a candle and manages to get them more or less straight. They’re still a bit crooked and the metal is a bit darker in some places now, but at least Ian can wear them and that’s all he cares about. Yuki tells him he looks like an alien, eyes not even visible anymore when he leaves the house.
They still manage to have more fun that Ian ever imagined was possible.
Still, after getting the third snowball stuffed down his coat, Ian announces he’s sick of winter. Yuki immediately begins to make plans for spring holidays. What about a field trip? He’s knows there are cherry trees on the premises, too, they should take look at them when they bloom, what colour they’ll be, why doesn’t Ian know, he’s been here long enough to know…
Ian just whaps him on the head, tells Yuki he’s allergic and drags him inside to get some hot tea and cookies.
Who doesn’t love cookies?