May. 5th, 2015 12:01 am
answer_key: (igobu)
[personal profile] answer_key

The door chimed as it opened, the sound sharp and jarring. With a scratch of his ear and a poorly-hidden yawn, the man at the counter looked up at and forced a smile on his face. "Welcome to Hakuyousha."

Carrying a large tote of items, the man walking through the door, looking overly formal in his wafuku, scowled as he set it upon the counter. "I need these items cleaned by Wednesday." He squinted, looking at the name tag of the man behind the counter. "Hikaru-san. I trust you can do this?"

Flicking a finger through his bleached bangs to nudge them back from his forehead, Hikaru shrugged, wondering again why he'd insisted on having that name rather than his family name on the tag. "Depends. Do you have anything in here that needs special attention? I'm seeing hakama and stuff, but is there any silk or maybe something that needs to be fixed?"

"No." The man stood tall suddenly. "I have an account here, as well, so we needn't bother with more conversation. Touya Akira. I'll be back on Wednesday."

It took a second for Hikaru to look up from the computer, rolling his eyes as Akira left. "Rude." It only took a moment to get the items hung and logged into the system under Akira's name, and then it was back to yawning and living in the divide between wanting to have customers so there was something to do and wanting to have no more customers so he wouldn't have to do anything.

By Wednesday, Hikaru no longer remembered the incident. That is, until Akira walked though the door, his haori himo looking like a white kitten perched on his breastbone. Hikaru squinted at him for a moment, taking only that long to remember the man's name, then dashing off to get his items, placing them on the rack beside the register where Akira would be able to grab them. He snorted, reminded of what he'd hung up, and couldn't seem to blurt out, "You know you can just wash fundoshi in the sink, right?"

Akira's brows shot up and then furrowed as he glared at Hikaru. "I don't have the time. Nor do I have the time for this conversation." He reached up to push a lock of hair back from his face, the sleeve of his haori jacket pulling back slightly and revealing a pale forearm dotted with spots and streaks of ink. Tugging it back down with a scowl, Akira looked up defiantly at Hikaru, as if daring him to do anything but what Akira had asked.

Hikaru wanted to laugh, but instead huffed out a breath as he pulled up Akira's account and gave him the total. "That bright yellow furoshiki you had in there? I can't imagine someone deciding to use that on a gift for you."

Pulling out exact change for the bill, Akira arched his shoulders in a shrug. "No mention of the one that seems to resemble a snake eye? I found that one disturbing. The yellow is merely bright. Obnoxious, perhaps, but you seem to know a bit of that."

"Ouch!" Hikaru snorted and took the money from the other man, his fingertips curling against Akira's palm to grab the coins he'd placed there. For a moment, he could swear that Akira's fingers curled toward his own. "I'd be offended if I thought there was a chance you'd apologize by bringing me a gift wrapped in the yellow one."

Akira stood still. "What would I give you as a gift?" There was a pause only just long enough to notice. "And why?"

"Uh, because I had to resew the seams of like three of your tabi? You might want to consider a pedicure, dude." Hikaru grinned. "As for what to give me, how about your number?"

"Is it not in the system?" Akira looked visibly flustered, his fingers tracing along the pleats of his hakama.

Raising an eyebrow, Hikaru laughed softly. "Is that permission to call you? Do you do messaging? You're a little old-fashioned. We're about the same age and you dress like my grandpa when he goes to funerals."

"I'm a calligrapher." Akira cleared his throat. "There are certain expectations for how I present myself."

Hikaru leaned forward onto his elbows and grinned broadly. "I'm calling your bluff. No man wears fundoshi anymore unless he has to or he kind of likes it. And do you make enough money playing in ink that you can afford to bring all of your clothing to the cleaners?"

Akira ran a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. "As I stated before, I don't have the time for this. I'll be back later in the week with more items to have cleaned. Good day." He was quick to gather his items and head out the door, giving Hikaru one last glance before his eyes widened and he hurried off.

On Friday, when Hikaru came in to work, he found a familiar looking scrap of cloth folded and twisted into an attractive shape sitting by the register with a note from the wife of the man who ran the shop that a formal-looking young gentleman had left it. Hikaru was quick to unwrap the fabric, smirking at the way the furoshiki cloth seemed to shine in the light, highlighting what had surely been meant to look so much like a snake's eye as the resemblance was so strong. What lay inside, though, was a bit of a surprise. It was a small shikishi, the hard-backed fine paper used to display so much ink as art, a pale tan color with artful but sure strokes of black across the page. Each line was perfectly formed and somehow written in a way that imbued the words with extra meaning. It was a simple haiku, talking of the way that breezes caught at flower blossoms, testing the resilience of the tree. Carefully folded beneath it, though, was the yellow furoshiki he'd admired and a poorly folded piece of paper. It was this that caught his breath. The writing was not as careful, but was just as beautiful for the hurried hand.

Hikaru traced along below the words as he read them. You asked for my number and then did not call. I can only assume you are either not truly interested or you merely wish not to take liberties. Should it be the latter and not perhaps some other reason I've not thought to presume, please know that I do actually message frequently and would not be adverse to finding a time when I may show you another side of myself, or at least one who is not run ragged with the demands of hand-crafting hundreds of diplomas. As the sakura bloom, I find my thoughts of you seem to echo them in splendor. They occupy my thoughts in equal measure as I walk along the river to run errands that must be done by day, prompting a hurry I am unused to. My number is listed below, as well, in case my missive about its existence within your workplace's computer system should stand incorrect, as is my messaging address should you wish to contact me that way. I hope to hear from you with more fervor than I wish to examine at this moment. Touya Akira

It made his heart beat faster to have those kinds of words used in regard to him, but Hikaru made himself pause in pulling out his own phone to give it all a quick response. Instead, he grabbed for a square of paper and began to very carefully write his own name and number on it, then arranged it carefully atop the yellow fabric, snapping a picture of it and sending it off to the address Akira had provided with a typed note of "When we meet, I'll bring you a real gift. Until then, enjoy how pathetic my writing looks compared to your own. - Hikaru"

He didn't receive a response until nearly the end of his shift, but the day had been busy enough after the morning lull that he hadn't truly been able to notice until things were drawing to a close once more. The response he did get was short and to the point. Would you like to come over for tea?

Only a few more messages were exchanged, leading to Hikaru walking along the river using the same path he assumed that Akira walked, the water a floating mosaic of white and pink petals taken from the trees lining the banks, tinged with just a hint of orange from the setting sun. Akira's home was not difficult to find and it was easy, somehow, to ring the bell, despite his amusement in regard to its modernity against the somewhat traditional look of the rest of the home. It wasn't as easy to parse what his actions should be when Akira answered the door in yukata, the pale fabric chasing away the somberness of Akira that existed in Hikaru's mental image. He started different words, the noises coming out as something garbled, then shook off the error and bowed his head just enough to be polite and pulled the snake eye furoshiki from his pocket and wrapped it around his hand, offering it to Akira. "I liked the yellow one, so I'm keeping that. And I don't really have a gift for you yet, so I can only give you what you can get from me."

Akira's cheeks flushed with the pink of the first sakura that dared to change, but he did not speak until he had motioned Hikaru inside and closed the door carefully behind him. "There is much that can be taken from a person, and more still that may be freely given."

"You spend too much time looking at old words, I swear. But I guess there's not much calligraphy of emoji, huh?" Hikaru exchanged his shoes for slippers and grinned at the ink spots he found along the soles.

"There is not, at least thus far." Akira quirked his lips into a smile for just long enough for Hikaru to recognize it as such, then gestured toward another room. "I apologize for my forwardness in regard to this. However, your own behavior led me to believe that you might find that acceptable."

Hikaru pushed his own hair back, smiling all the while. "Yeah. I don't see much point in keeping quiet about what you want. Better to know sooner if you need to back off, right?" He took a seat on one of the cushions, cross-legged, leaning back and giving Akira a measured glance as he braced his hands against the floor. "And do I need to? Back off, that is."

Sitting down carefully in seiza on the cushion across from Hikaru, Akira shook his head. "I may not be so familiar with boldness as you are, but I hope my actions have proven that it is not entirely out of my nature. I am intrigued by you, though I do wish to know you better before I attempt to say what my feelings are."

"You did promise to show me more of yourself, too." Hikaru leaned forward, his elbows on his knees as he looked Akira up and down. "Does that include the fundoshi?"

Akira busied himself with the tea suddenly, placing one cup in front of Hikaru and letting his own fingers wrap carefully around the other. "I suppose it could? I would be remiss if I didn't insist upon a similar gesture from you."

"You want me naked? Just ask. I'll even let you write all over me if that's a thing you're into. I just don't want life to pass me by because I was too afraid to live it." Hikaru picked up his cup and took a sip, his nose wrinkling afterward. "That's a little bitter."

"If the tea isn't brewed well, there's not much point trying to drink it, is there?" Akira wet his lips with the liquid, nodding as he set the cup down. "Perhaps we can try the tea again later."

"Later like another day or later like tomorrow morning with breakfast?" Hikaru bit at his low lip. "I'm cool with either."

Akira stood up and reached for the knot of his obi, slowly loosening it as he smirked at Hikaru. "My futon has room for two."

And if, in the morning, Hikaru was sent out the door with some items that needed dry cleaning because certain things (and not just ink) took a bit more care to have come out in the wash, then it was seen by both of them as another guarantee of seeing each other. If they were as ephemeral as the sakura, it was still a beautiful moment. But, too, they might be as resilient as the tree.

Date: 2015-05-07 05:38 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
This AU is quite cute. I was very amused at them bonding over underwear discussions.

- Pet Me

Date: 2015-05-07 04:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
For all I like drama, it's kind of refreshing to read a story where characters get together like this, in a more mundane and almost casual way. There's just enough tension to make things interesting, as well.

I also like the mixture of romantic and the two of them just being great nerds. :)


Date: 2015-05-15 05:55 pm (UTC)
phnx: (Default)
From: [personal profile] phnx
We're about the same age and you dress like my grandpa when he goes to funerals."

That was amazing. <3

One thing I really like about Hikaru no Go is how many male characters dress in wafuku (as opposed to only female characters).


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