The Best Laid...
2: Cheap Tricks
by Sameshima Shuzumi
1382 wc ~ PG-13 ~ various
Sap, angst, and shades of Shakespeare. This is my baby; I'll be surprised if you can guess the ending before the midpoint. Leave out your assumptions, and enjoy.

Disclaimer: The Troopers and the tiger don't belong to me, and there's a lemon in this lemonade... I promise!

Touma tore through the house, checking the bedrooms and bathrooms for signs of Shin and any potential blond victims. Ryo shook his head, hanging up both their coats. Touma had been raring to go all evening. Shuu had finally let them leave, as Mareko’s friends had proved as amiable as Ryo had earlier assured him. And then some... Ryo fingered the matchbook with the phone number on it.

"Relax, Touma!" Ryo said as Touma peered into the broom closet. "I told you we’d be back before they got back."

"Yeah, they’re still out there... Good God, you don’t think they’re doin’ it out there?"

Ryo patted Touma’s shoulder, kicking the closet door shut. "Touma. Calm. Down."

Touma looked him in the eye. "You do think they’re doin’ it, don’t you?"

Ryo groaned. "Even if it crossed their minds, knowing Shin, I don’t think so."

"But knowing Seiji... "

Ryo stopped short. Touma had a point. "Um, Touma, like I said, you’ve got two hours before we leave for the rave. Go do something useful."

"Useful..." Suddenly Touma’s eyes lit up in inspiration. "Hah! Never know what hit ‘em!" He disappeared into the kitchen, chuckling evilly.

Ryo smirked. Things had been so simple before. Not that he minded his friends’ sexual orientation, but a house full of lovesick samurai troopers could be damned annoying sometimes.

Jealous, Ryo? Well... yes. He flipped the matchbook into the air. And the rave will be the perfect opportunity to change that around.

Touma skipped out of the shower, chortling to himself. It had taken some time, but it was a job well done... Boy-chama wouldn’t know what hit him. He swung open the door, and froze in his tracks.

The first thing he noticed was a flash of purple velvet. Then the blond hair whirled and two lavender eyes seemed to pierce right through him.

There were some days when Touma hated going back to his room. Sharing space with a living, breathing god on Earth was had its advantages, but did he have to be so damned untouchable?

Touma closed the door, trying not to stare at the pale legs beneath the velvet. "I didn’t think you’d be back yet."

"I took a shortcut," Seiji said airily.

Oh really? You took a shortcut... so where’s Shin? Touma deliberately let the towel slip as he dug through his underwear drawer. The prospects for the night were looking good. Impulsively he grabbed a couple of skimpy silk things, to make Seiji choose. Then his neck started itching. He turned. Seiji was sitting back on the bed, legs crossed, watching him. Just watching him move, breathe, get hard, whatever. Touma felt like a butterfly on a pin.

"The red one," Seiji said.


"Wear the red one." The blond tilted his head. "You wanted my opinion, didn’t you?"

Touma felt his heart beat faster. To hell with the plan, just take him, here, now, or at least kiss him... Instead, he asked, "You going to dance with me?"

Seiji moistened his lips. Touma was entranced by the darting movements of his tongue. "Yes, I’ll dance with you. I might try to dance with Ryo."

Lavender eyes glittered, and suddenly Touma realized that Seiji had known, all this time, had tucked away every surreptitious glance and every lingering caress and never said a word. Part of it was his own damned obviousness, Touma knew, but why would Seiji keep something like that from him, his best friend?

Well, I haven’t been completely honest about my feelings, either. But damn it, it’s not the simplest thing to declare your love like that!

Touma let the towel drop, yanking on the red bit of fabric, watching Seiji watch him. His mind worked furiously. Of course Seiji wouldn’t say anything to him, not with Shin in the picture. Seiji wanted to play them both for all they were worth. Seiji hadn’t decided yet. Seiji could snap his fingers and Touma would be on his knees, begging like a dog.

And those are the facts of the matter. Touma thought grimly. "You’re not gonna get him, you know."

"Who, Shin?" Seiji said easily.

Touma felt a wave of jealousy. "No, Ryo. You shouldn’t pressure him like that. He doesn’t know his own mind."

"Then maybe he can be persuaded."

Touma should have leaped to Ryo’s defense. Rekka really didn’t need this right now. But he looked up from buttoning his deep red silk shirt and saw Seiji staring pensively into space. His lavender eyes had softened into light grey. Touma felt his feet melt into the floor.

Seiji was startled out of his reverie by a pair of black leather pants hitting his chest.

"Put them on." The archer stood before him, fully dressed. Seiji didn’t need to touch the armor link to read the annoyance, anger, and unadulterated lust emanating from Tenku. His Touma... so complex. Seiji smirked, slipping into the tight black leather.

A mutual friend picked them up. The rave was going to be at some abandoned country estate; they’d heard it might last a while since the organizers had spread some money around the local police. Touma was wedged in the back of the car with Seiji, but there were too many other people in the car with them. A few times he thought he might go crazy with the blond’s even breaths prickling the fine hairs on his skin. At last the huge makeshift tent appeared out of the darkness. They could already hear the music.

Seiji’s lips brushed his ear. Touma started. "You didn’t bring money, did you?" There was a note of worry in his voice.

"Not for that." No experimenting tonight, though they might need a few stiff ones later.


Touma stepped out of the car, half-listening to the planned rendezvous should the rave get busted. He knew there was a train station within walking distance. A sigh escaped him. Some moments, Seiji acted almost human. But those were the times when he was most in love with his friend.

"Hey," Ryo said, touching his shoulder. "Let’s just dance, okay?"

"Yeah." Slamming the car door, Touma followed them in.

To his relief, Shin came back to an empty house. First he went up to his room to change clothes. He found his boxers on his bed, folded neatly. The scent of flowers and his own arousal still lingered. He grabbed it and threw everything into the laundry. It was too hot, even with the air conditioner, so he went with shorts and a tank top. It wasn’t as though anyone was around to judge.

"They should be at the rave by now," he said to himself. "And Touma has probably got him halfway into bed by now. Agh! K’so! Why the hell didn’t I make a move when I had the chance?!"

From the den, Byakuen growled at the noise, then settled back to waiting for his master. Shin ran a hand through his damp hair. Then he went to do what he always did when he was frustrated: he retreated to the kitchen.

The others sometimes teased him about his ‘domain,’ but they always shut up around dinner time. With Nasti gone for the summer, if not for him they’d be subsisting on ramen. Besides, cooking always brought up pleasant memories of times with his mother and sister.

Of course, it was a lot tougher to keep track of things when feeding the five of them and the occasional visitor. So everything was labeled and dated; it wouldn’t do to have a trooper down for the count just because he’d scavenged for leftovers.

"Though there aren’t too many leftovers now that Shuu’s finally with Mareko." Shin took out some pots and a large colander. "I thought he ate a lot when he fell for her! He eats even more, now that---" Shin opened the freezer.

Slowly he took out one plastic container. And another. And another. Before long, all the contents of the freezer were on the table.

Each label had been carefully removed. He could tell the various containers had been shuffled around, as well. Without checking, he knew it would the same thing with the fridge.

Shin felt the stifled anger bubble up... and explode.

Calculated. Meticulous. Simple. "TOUMA!!!"

~Back~ ~Next~

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