The Best Laid...
3: Near Miss
by Sameshima Shuzumi
1734 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!

The music was like a drug and everyone took it in as quickly as they could. Bodies shimmered in the night heat, propelled by the bass beat, quenching their thirst for touch, for darkness, for rhythm. Ryo loved it. He could take the sweltering heat for longer than most. It was a sweet blessing not to have to think and just let his body move.

And it was fun to be in demand.

He never dressed up; right now the only shiny thing he had on was his wristwatch. Usually people stopped you at raves if you had something unique, or if you were doing something new. Ryo danced the way he’d always danced and someone always came up to dance with him. Oh, sometimes he got propositioned. Most of the time he’d just grin and shake his head apologetically.

Tonight he didn’t want to say no.

A strong arm snaked around his waist. He shook his hips easily and edged closer, eyes shut. Part of him knew who it was already.


His eyes flew open. "Seiji--"

The blond moved around and placed his arms around Ryo’s neck. They were dancing in rhythm.

He’s a good dancer. For a moment Ryo wanted to keep it this way, just him and Seiji, moving in concert as they had so many times on the battlefield.

Instead Ryo pushed him away. "What about Touma?"

"What about him?"

"How can you do this to him?!" Ryo’s voice rose above the music. "Your best friend!"

"That’s between me and Touma. You and I, on the other hand..."

"There is no ‘you and I’!"

Seiji moved so fast that Ryo didn’t see him until his lips had touched his. "Can’t you at least consider the possibility? What are you so afraid of, Rekka?"

The lavender gaze pierced right through him. Ryo was speechless.

Touma chose that moment to appear. Ryo shied away from Seiji, hoping Touma wouldn’t take it the wrong way. Instead the archer smiled lasciviously at Seiji. "Stop bothering him," he said, slipping a hand up Seiji’s shirt, "And start bothering me."

As Touma pulled Seiji away, the blond shot Ryo one last look. /Think about it./

Ryo bristled. Was he really as uptight as Seiji said he was? He angled his body so that he could see Touma and Seiji. Their hips were locked together, undulating to the music as though they were one. It made him feel a little strange to see his comrades showing such open affection towards each other, though the setting didn’t surprise him. In fact, a young girl in a powder-blue wig and sparkling angel wings had just fit herself against his body. Ryo glanced at his new partner, taking in the hardly angelic halter top and form-fitting bellbottoms.

"Watcha watchin’?" She murmured into his ear.

Involuntarily he jerked his head towards his friends. Embarrassed warmth spread through his cheeks... she must think---

"Cool," she said, sliding closer. "Can I watch too?"

He barely nodded, attention riveted back towards them. Touma was trying to steal a kiss, but Seiji kept weaving away from him. Tantalizing. That was the word for it. Rocked by the music and the warm body leaning into him, he tried to picture Seiji against him, cream-colored skin alive and electric. Touma, thin but strong, the soft blue hair he’d tousled so many times brushing his face...

He opened his eyes as butterfly lips met his. He was kissing the girl in time to the music.

This is weird.

As though she’d read his mind, she pulled back. "They your friends?"

Ryo could only nod again. He was inexplicably focused on the blue glitter on her eyelids.

She gave him a searching glance. "Nothing personal... don't force it, boy." She stole one last nibble on his neck, and danced on.

Touma felt dizzy and he knew it wasn’t just the alcohol. Seiji moved so perfectly, with him, around him, the faint scent of aftershave which always lingered in their room now biting into his senses. The glitter on his skin, the sweat on his brow, his wild blond hair: all conspired to catch the strobes the way Korin Ken corralled light in the darkness. And gods, he was sexy! Touma lunged forward, trying to steal another kiss, excited rather than annoyed by the predatory smirk which kept floating out of reach.

/We would be so good, Seiji./

/No doubt. Especially since I wouldn’t mind taking you right here./ To emphasize, his hands traveled down to cup Touma’s rear. Then lower...

Touma moaned.

"I’ve wanted you before, Touma."

Dark blue eyes shot open. Did he mean it? Their lips were so close, but Seiji was still speaking.

"Can you handle this?" With that Seiji pushed his hair back, and gazed into Touma’s eyes. The archer almost stopped moving. Here was everything he desired. Here was the pure passion ready to make him its center, to take him inside and make him scream for more. And here too was the cold cruelty that would bring him to his knees in pain and humiliation and need.

No one can read him the way I can. He studied the intense gaze which held both promise and threat.

What the hell. He may never be this open again. Touma dropped to his knees. Gripping Seiji’s waist, mouth parting, in his own caressing, hungry way he begged.

Seiji gasped above him. Touma picked up the pace against the warm leather. The grip on his shoulders tightened. Abruptly he thought of Shin, all alone with his frozen food. He made a mental rude gesture as he nuzzled the growing firmness. Kiss my ass, Mouri Shin!

/Get... back up here, Touma./ Even Seiji’s sending was barely coherent.

Reluctantly Touma rose. Seiji glanced around. "Go tell Ryo we’re headed home. I’ll meet you at the station. Midnight train."

Touma bit his lip. He was aching now! "But--"

"Do it," Seiji snarled. He grabbed a fistful of Touma’s hair and jerked him back. With his other hand he drove the archer’s body against his.

Touma glared defiantly at the face just inches from his own. Then Seiji wet his lips, the movement slow and lingering. Warm wet brushed Touma’s mouth.

He couldn’t even bring himself to steal a kiss. "I’ll meet you there," breathed Touma.

"You’d better."

Shin sat at the kitchen table, brooding. Towers of empty plastic containers surrounded him. What an awful waste. He’d been forced to throw everything into the compost pile, where Byakuen or any other animals wouldn’t get to it. Only that evening’s dinner had been safe; Shin didn’t trust himself to discern the spoiled food from the edible. Of course, if certain people would just put the food away once they were done...

"We’ll have to do the groceries tomorrow. And I thought I’d have time to go to the lake," with Seiji, "but no! I’m gonna get that blue-haired baka if it’s the last thing I do."

He dumped the containers in the sink. Then he went up the stairs to Touma’s room. Seiji’s room.

Shin knocked automatically. He felt a little nervous about invading their private space. Touma’s bed was nearer the door, unmade of course. He lifted the mattress, hoping to find some good blackmail material. No luck. The sheets smelled vaguely of sweat, though not entirely unpleasant.

Briefly Shin wondered why Touma hadn’t caught Seiji before this. He had the ultimate advantage; who knew what went on behind closed doors? Then again, why don’t I have him? I’m more experienced than Touma.

He’s probably just as scared as I am.

So many people in the goddamn place and in his excitement he could barely get a read through the links. "Ryo!"

"Hi, who’s your friend?" A gorgeous girl was clinging to Ryo’s arm. Touma stopped short. He didn’t want to interrupt anything.

Instead, Ryo gestured covertly. No chance. "I’ve been looking all over for you, man! Seiji and I are taking off."

"When? How? They won’t let you borrow the car."

"The train station’s close."

"But it’ll be another half-hour before the next train."

"There’s one at midnight."

Ryo’s eyes widened. "I know. It’s six to midnight."


Ryo held up his wristwatch. Touma glanced at his own. 11:26. With a curse, he turned and forced his way through the crowd.

"He was kinda cute," shrilled the arm ornament. She snapped her gum.

"I’ve gotta go," Ryo said, taking off after Touma.

Shin turned. There was the bookcase. He eyed Touma’s most prized possessions. One bad turn deserves another... nah. There are some priceless books in here. Hey, I’ve read this one...

He took a minute to look through the collection. It was eclectic, to say the least. Touma seemed to be interested in everything. There were a few novels he wouldn’t mind borrow--- stealing.

Still racking his brain, he wandered to Seiji’s side of the room. Everything was in order. No clods of dirt under the bonsai pots. You could cut yourself on the creased sheets. The incense sticks were bound by a green ribbon. While Touma’s side had a poster of his rock-band-of-the-moment, Seiji had a framed watercolor. Shin didn’t dare open those drawers...

"Hm." He went to Touma’s bedside table, and rummaged through the drawer. A smile formed on his lips. "Aha. Got you now."

Touma flashed his rail pass and jumped the turnstyles. His legs burned from running, and they weren’t the only parts of him that ached. He skidded, nearly stumbled, and almost caught his fingers in the closing doors of the midnight train.

Seiji was sitting in the car, arms crossed. His visible eye opened and gazed straight at Touma.

/I won’t wait for you forever./

Touma screamed in frustration, banging his palms on the moving train. /Seiji!/

The blond stared at him impassively. The train picked up speed.

Ryo caught up with him as the last car cleared the station. He was relieved that Touma hadn’t armored up. "Hey, you okay?"

Touma ignored the question. "I’m gonna call a taxi."

"Why don’t you just wait for the next train?"

"It’ll be faster." Touma went over to the pay phone. He frowned at his watch. How could it be wrong? He reset it once a week, and kept it in the kitchen nook so he wouldn’t lose it... the kitchen.

The phone banged against the cradle. "SHIN!!!"

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