It was like a song tugging in him to be written. Seiji was only passable on the bamboo flute, and was even worse at reading notes, but the melody was cloying and insubstantial.
"So Sayoko called me up last night and we talked till midnight, can you believe it? We never used to talk about anything and now that she's married she calls all the time. I wonder sometimes if she spends more time talking to me than Ryuusuke-san. Oh, good, the bok choy is on sale. What do you think of those peanuts? Shuu loves them."
Seiji regarded them, and offered his opinion, voice carrying under the bustle of the crowd. The market smelled of salt and spice, and the rawness which escaped packaging. Shin haggled with the vendor in a quick, firm voice. He counted out his money as the vegetables were weighed, checking items off his list. Seiji studied the pile of soybeans, feeling the stares collecting at his back. It was forming like music in his head but he couldn't sing.
"You're not getting tired, Seiji?" Shin was looking up at him, concern on his face. Seiji tried to smile. Barely. No, I am not tired, he said. They wove through the crowd and stopped in a flowershop. Shin was still talking about the pot his mother had given him, a wide bowl like a lake, perfect for an arrangement he had thought of the other night. His voice rolled through Seiji like swells on a windy day. Seiji watched his hands ghost over the petals.
"Arigatou gozaimas'!" Shin smiled at the young man with the earring who wrapped the flowers. He looked surprised when Seiji picked up all the other groceries but he didn't say anything. They sat together in a corner of the subway, Shin still chattering, quieter, telling him about his new projects for school, the kimono he was having repaired, the way the lights flickered in the tunnels.
They climbed the stairs to his apartment, side by side, Seiji talking now of ancient swords, how the best blades were folded a thousand times in the forge to make the purest metal. He looked over at Shin who was cradling the flowers. His blue green eyes were focused and careful as he picked out the key, the auburn hair soft on his cheek. Seiji smiled. They were going to have a nice time cooking together. A wonderful dinner. He would watch Shin arrange the flowers as he talked of the latest book he'd read, the latest e-mail from Touma. The warmth of it might carry him all the way out the door, to the subway station, to his bed.
The door snicked open.
Shin smelled of spice, and the sea.
He set his bags on the floor. Closed the door. Made Shin stand back up in his unlaced shoes. "Seiji?"
Put the flowers down, Shin. He stroked the lock of hair out of the way. Shin's eyes were widening, like lakes, his lips parting. Seiji smiled again. Then he kissed him. His hands roamed over the wide shoulders and slim hips, tasting relentlessly.
"S-seiji... the flowers!" Shin bent down to catch them before they landed, and instead fell over his shoes. Fortunately Seiji was able to save them. Shin looked up at him, cheeks flushing.
Their hearts were beating fast when Seiji crouched down to continue the kiss. Their hands intwined on the floor, their bodies moving in unison. Wordlessly Shin guided them to the little futon. And as Seiji revealed the smooth skin beneath the worn shirt, as their hands explored their soft places, their wet places, he thought he might have heard it. Pure crystalline notes.
But it didn't matter. "I've got you," said Seiji.
"Yes," Shin answered, and it was the most beautiful sound in the world.
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