Title: Corybantic Dance (Chapter 8)
Characters: Gekkou Hayate, Shiranui Genma
Notes: There is much drinking of tea and talking about uncomfortable things.
Disclaimer: Naruto is not our toy, although sometimes we wish it was. Almost everyone you meet here belongs to Masashi Kishimoto, we just borrow them, occasionally. Hayate’s parents, Gekkou Ken’ichirou and Gekkou Shizuka, belong to Haya Madison, and Genma’s mother, Shiranui Riza, is all Penbrydd’s fault.
Author’s Note: Penbrydd protests that dance clubs do not smell funny, except when they do, and when they do, it’s usually time to leave, because things have gone or are going horribly wrong.
Sweetbriar would like to remind the readers that this story takes place in the mid-1990s, if that wasn’t immediately apparent.
The Wryly Fantarding Q&A panel for Corybantic Dance is still located at wrylyfantarding.livejournal.com/5948. html
Warnings: Violence, expletives, eventual yaoi (KoIzu, KoIzuRai (more funny than sexy), GenHaya).
Hayate accepted the hand and let Genma pull him to his feet. He tugged at the front of his hoodie to adjust it and looked up at Genma. "How do we get inside from up here?"
"Two flights down and in through the window. It’s my room. Don’t mind the — oh, never mind. I think Rai was cleaning, again." Genma stood still for a long moment, revelling in the closeness of another body that presently required nothing of him. Finally he took his hand back and traced a finger along Hayate’s cheek as he turned and headed off toward the fire escape. Hayate instinctively flinched away, rubbing his cheek, and followed Genma to the fire escape. That had been just a little weird, Hayate thought, and the random gesture had been somewhat uncomfortable and unsettling. He didn’t let it get to him, but it had been his face. He supposed that even though they were friends now, things would still be occasionally awkward. Genma seemed to notice, however small the gesture, and glanced at Hayate.
"Sorry. Theatre quirk. We touch constantly." He shrugged as he descended the stairs. "I forgot about your face."
"It’s okay," Hayate mumbled, and stopped rubbing his face. "I’m not mad." He kept at least one hand tightly wrapped around the railing as he went down the stairs after Genma. He was mostly silent — and so was the town, surprisingly. It was more urban than most towns, about as much as it could get without actually being a city, but strangely quiet tonight.
Genma stopped at a window on the fourth floor and leaned his back against it, hands behind him. With a loud pop, the window slid up. He gestured past the curtains, holding them back on one side. "Home sweet home," he said, trying to keep the hint of sarcasm out of his voice. "Watch the drop. It’s about a foot and a half to the floor."
Hayate nodded and moved over to the window carefully. He swung his legs over the edge of sill and slid down to the floor. He nearly tripped over a dirty towel as he stepped away from the window, but managed to narrowly avoid that. "I’m okay," he called to Genma in a whisper as he backed away from the window.
Genma followed, lithely swinging through the window and twisting to close it as he connected with the floor. "You don’t have to be quiet. There’s no one here but us. Mom’s in Michigan for another…week, yet, I think. She’s trying to get a contract for some massive public mural, out there." He covered the floor in a few steps, turning on the light beside the door of the room. "So, yeah. This is where I sleep." The bed was unmade, books were piled on every flat surface, and it looked like someone had recently made an effort to straighten up — cleaning up the laundry, mostly, and sorting the books — but by now it was almost all undone. Perhaps most notably, a mostly-empty bottle of Jameson sat beside the bed. Hayate eyed the bottle with some level of recognition and discomfort but said nothing, shrugging as he shuffled after Genma.
"You don’t have any brothers or sisters, right?" Hayate asked, but it was more of an idle question than anything.
"Nope. Just poor, poor, pitiful me." Genma flashed a lopsided grin and pulled the door open, walking out to turn on the light in the living room and then the kitchen. "Nothing to trip on out here. Rest of the house isn’t like my room."
"You wouldn’t be a bad brother," Hayate said almost absently, following Genma. He blinked a few times in the light, rubbing his red-rimmed eyes. "Do you drink a lot of tea?"
"Raidou’s got no complaints about what kind of brother I am. He’s almost as close as the genuine article." Genma pulled open a cabinet, revealing most of a shelf filled with stacked boxes of tea, in various peculiar flavours. "I dunno. I drink a bit of tea. This is all mine, by the by. Mom only really likes chamomile." He waved his hand idly at the tea and took two mugs from another cabinet, filling both with water and putting one in the microwave. Hayate blinked dully at the tea selection.
"That’s a lot of tea," he commented plainly. "I drink a lot of tea. But not all different kinds like that. It just helps me get better, sometimes."
"People tend to buy me tea. Teas and exotic foods. I, of course, encourage this behaviour." Genma reached into the cabinet without looking and pulled out a yellow box. "Rai gets me a box of this every time he thinks of it. English toffee tea." He ran a thumb respectfully across the lid before extracting a bag and putting the box back. "Whatever looks good, just grab a bag." He swapped the cups and dropped the teabag into the hot one.
"Um…all right." Hayate studied the boxes of tea before he reached forward and pulled down a box of jasmine. "Is it all right if I have some of this?" he asked.
"Absolutely. Jasmine’s a common one. Easy enough to get more." Reaching around Hayate, Genma snatched a teabag from the box and waited for the microwave to finish again. "What’s your standard choice of tea?"
"Umm…it depends." Hayate shrugged. "I like green tea and I like jasmine…my dad usually gives me chamomile or lemon when I’m sick. Sometimes I have to drink some medicine tea stuff, too."
"Lemon, huh? Not a bad choice for that. I assume from your taste in tea that you’re a purist?" Genma got the cup from the microwave, dropped the bag of jasmine in it, and handed it to Hayate, who murmured a thanks. "We don’t have any milk, and I’ll avoid offending your good taste by proffering honey or sugar." He picked up his own tea and meandered toward the living room. "The couch is pretty comfortable. Better than standing, for sure."
"Okay." Hayate padded after him and wrapped his hands carefully around the mug, using the long sleeves of his sweatshirt to shield his skin from the hot surface. "I don’t put anything in my tea, usually, and I can’t put milk in it anyway. It messes up the back of my throat and stuff. Just makes it more gross."
"I’m going to second that. It’s part of why there isn’t any in the house, at the moment. Milk’s not really good on much that isn’t porridge." Genma flopped bonelessly onto the couch. "And if it’s so bad for you, what was with that milkshake, the other night? I mean, not that it’s my business or anything — just curious about how you work."
Hayate just shrugged, sitting on the end of the couch. "It’s not good for me, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have it once in a while. I like milkshakes even if they do make my throat all gross. But milk in tea just tastes gross anyway."
"And this is why I like malts better than milkshakes. They leave less of that nasty mouth-film crap behind. And they’re not nearly as nauseating on the way down. I make an exception for orange creamsicle and mint chocolate chip, though. Those are worth the trouble." Genma sipped at his tea and looked down the couch at Hayate. He was, he decided, rather lucky, tonight, and he’d do his best to avoid fucking up a good thing. The kid really was human, despite all appearances to the contrary, and that really gave him hope. One of these days, he’d ask Hayate on a date, but that would be later — after the kid got used to having him for a friend.
Hayate sipped at his tea lightly, gingerly because it was still hot. He looked almost thoughtful, not really talking, and Genma wondered for a moment if he was thinking something deep — because he knew the kid could get deep. One couldn’t get exposed to the kinds of things he had been and not be able to reach that level of conscious thought, particularly if you were an intelligent kid, and Hayate definitely was. So when Hayate turned to face him and opened his mouth, Genma was expecting something kind of serious to come out, especially given the perpetually serious expression on the kid’s face.
"Have you ever drunk a whole cup of hot tea in one go?"
"Regretfully, yes. Kept me from saying something stupid, though, so I suppose it was for the best. Everything tasted like boiled meat for a week." Genma shuddered at the thought. It wasn’t anything like the question he’d expected, but he was conversationally flexible and fairly philosophical, so the non-sequitur was easier than it might have been.
"I can do it." Hayate sipped at his tea again, still looking at Genma. "Sometimes the medicine tea I have to drink is really gross, so I just drink it all at once. So I can do it without really hurting myself or anything." There was a pause, and Hayate’s eyes flickered down to his tea briefly. "Do you want to see?" It was probably the most outgoing thing he’d ever really done in Genma’s presence.
"That still sounds kinda gross and painful." Genma raised an eyebrow, but then turned his eyes away, laughing quietly. "…says the man who owns the studded cock-ring. Yeah, all right, you want to show me? Show me." He gazed down the length of the couch with a sharp back-edged humour in his eyes.
Hayate lifted the mug to his lips, but stopped halfway, staring at Genma. "You own a what?" he repeated, looking a little weirded out.
"A cock-ring. Studded, even. I kind of like the thing, but that’s just me. It was a gift." Genma sipped at his tea, as though that were a perfectly normal question. Hayate just blanched.
"That’s really weird," he muttered down at his tea. "I didn’t need to hear about that." He wrinkled his nose, shaking his head.
"Sorry. Just part of my life." Genma shrugged and drank more tea. The toffee flavour reminded him of home in a way that in no way implied the apartment he sat in or any other place he’d lived. Somewhere out there, there was a home for him — a place he belonged — and it was in some way related to the taste of warm toffee. "If you really didn’t want to know, you shouldn’t have asked about it. I know I said it first, but a little mental aikido would do you a world of good. Don’t like it, let it go. It’s easier. But, yeah, I’ll try to keep my more interesting proclivities out of the conversation, in the future."
Hayate just sort of shrugged, as if trying to brush away the discomfort, and raised his cup. "Do you still want to see?" he asked awkwardly, feeling a little dumb now.
"You still want to show me?" Genma grinned, playfully. He was thrilled to have an excuse to stare like a fool. He tried to commit the kid to memory as a palette of colours — it tended to help with fashion tips and birthday gifts.
Hayate looked relieved in a way and lifted the mug to his mouth, and once again it almost looked as if he were smiling. "Sure," he said, voice muffled, and he tipped his head back. He tilted the mug upwards and poured the still-steaming tea down his throat, and when he put it down, the mug was empty, his eyes were watering, and his face was flushed an unnatural pink. He coughed a few times, fanning his mouth, and wiped his eyes. "See?" he croaked.
Genma smirked and shook his head. Without a word, he flipped himself over the back of the couch and walked into the kitchen. A few thumps and cracks later, he returned, carrying an ice cube, which he held out to Hayate. It took a massive effort of will not to put the ice in his own mouth and kiss the kid cold, but he was odd like that, some days. "Well done, good sir."
Hayate coughed again, taking the ice cube gratefully with sleeve-covered hands, and uttered a thanks as he stuck half the ice cube in his mouth. He sank against the couch a little as he sucked on the ice, sighing out his nose. Genma swung himself back onto the couch, passing legs over Hayate’s head, before sliding his ass down the back of the couch to sink into the cushions. He considered completing the next quarter turn, but didn’t figure the kid would appreciate being laid on, however much Genma might really, really want to lay on him, at some point in the future. He rested his tea in his lap as his cock twitched at the thought. No sense in spooking the kid, now. Back to the subject at hand. "Your face all right?"
Hayate nodded, rubbing at his face with one hand. The flush was starting to fade away. He just kept sucking on the ice cube, making small noises of suction. He figured anything he needed to say could be said when the ice cube was gone. Genma shifted uncomfortably, trying not to hear the sounds, and trying harder not to think about other things the kid could be sucking on. It was the first time he’d actually wanted to fuck, purely for the sake of fucking, in well over a year. Sex was both a weapon and a commodity, things he’d learned well and quickly, and he rarely used it for anything else, anymore. He kind of liked this kid, though. He could have something real, here, if he was very lucky — if he didn’t fuck up too much before he got the chance. He really hoped the kid wasn’t looking at his pants as he lifted the tea to his mouth. He’d almost forgotten that it was possible to get hard from honest desire rather than force of necessity, but it was only an almost — sometimes he caught himself enviously watching the Caffeine Twins, but they only had eyes for each other.
Genma realised that he was staring. He forced a blush and looked away. "Sorry, your eyes…I just got lost. I don’t mean to do stupid shit like that — sometimes I’m just…struck."
Hayate blinked at Genma dully. "What?" he asked blankly, pulling the ice cube out of his mouth. He hadn’t been paying much attention, really — in fact, he’d just sort of zoned out peacefully for a moment. He glanced at the diminished piece of ice briefly and stuck the small remainder of it into his mouth entirely.
"Oh, I just spaced out checking out your eyes. Colour and form. My mom’s a painter. I’ve got no talent, but I still have the eye for it. I get lost, sometimes." Genma sipped his tea and crossed his legs. He didn’t put the cup back down.
"Oh. That’s kind of cool, though." Hayate just shrugged, swallowing as the last of the ice melted away. "What time is it?"
"About eight. Do you want me to walk you home? I know it’s just a few blocks, but…I mean, you know, if your dad’s going to be pissed, I should take my fair share of the flak." Genma sat forward and set his tea on the table. Hayate shook his head.
"He’s not going to get that mad at me. He’s not home yet. But you can walk me home, if you want." Hayate cocked his head to the side slightly. "Um, Genma?"
"I’d love to — uh, what?" Genma glanced around, as if expecting to find a centipede climbing his leg.
"…Thanks." Hayate covered his mouth to cough, shaking his head. "We should probably go soon."
Genma looked just a bit confused and put out. "As you wish." He flowed to his feet and pulled down on the bottom hem of his shirt with one hand, holding the other out to Hayate. Hayate accepted it with a vague smile on his face — one that didn’t quite reach his mouth, contained to his eyes, but it was something.
"I’m kinda tired," he confessed, as though sharing a secret, and rubbed his forehead. "Did, um…did I miss anything today? At tech?"
"Not a whole lot. Anko threatening everyone, Kotetsu trying to get in Izumo’s pants, Izumo slapping the shit out of Kotetsu, Aoba saying dumb shit that pisses people off…strictly the usual. Anko was a little pissed that you weren’t there. I think she’s starting to like you. I’m not sure if that’s going to make things better or worse, though…" Genma smiled down at the kid as though he were about to share a secret of his own. "You know, if you’re tired, I could carry you home. You’re pretty light, and I, ah…" Genma searched for a politic way to say what he meant. ‘I like the feel of having you in my arms’ just wasn’t going to cut it in the least. "I really don’t mind. It’s kind of nice." He rubbed the back of his neck, and checked his pockets for keys.
Hayate gave Genma a substantially skeptical glance and pursed his lips slightly. "You’re weird," he said, quite honestly if not quietly, and coughed again. "It’s only a couple of blocks. I can walk there by myself."
Genma shrugged and opened the door. "As you wish. Just thought I’d offer."
"Thanks anyway, though. I think. Yeah." Hayate coughed, feeling awkward again as he shuffled out the door and down the stairs ahead of Genma.
Genma took the moment alone to adjust his pants. The denim pinched badly in a few places. With a sigh of relief, he closed the door and locked it before pattering swiftly down the stairs. He caught up to Hayate just shy of the front door. "You know, while this was a definite improvement over the last few times we’ve been out together, I think there’s more to be had, here. I don’t suppose you’ve ever gone dancing?" He held the door open, and Hayate turned his head to give Genma a blank stare.
"Um…no." Hayate stepped outside, shivering a little in reaction to the cool night. "You don’t mean like one of those club…places, do you? Where people are usually drunk and stuff?"
Genma laughed. "One of those club places, yes. Not so much with the drunk, though — all-ages clubs don’t have bars in them, and none of us are old enough to get into the places that do, yet. Well, Rai might be able to get in…" He pulled the door shut and started down the block. "I got the Twins hooked on this place that opened up a few months back — the Asylum — fairly small, freaks are mostly our kind of freaks. Sometimes they make Rai a little less than cozy, but it’s just because these are the kinds of girls who think that heavy scarring is hot. He’s a little less than okay with the idea of getting groped, but the Twins get catty with anyone who tries. Good music, good fun."
Hayate looked honestly less than convinced as he walked alongside Genma. "That kind of thing isn’t for me. I don’t like to dance, and clubs and stuff are loud and probably smell weird. My dad probably wouldn’t let me go anyway."
"Okay, I was with you right up to ‘smell weird’. And is it really that you don’t like to dance, or do you just not ever try? I grant that the Asylum is pretty loud, but it’s still possible to carry on a conversation without a whole lot of shouting. You just have to stand a little closer to the person you’re talking to." Genma shrugged. "I really like going. I love dancing — and more than that, I love dancing with the Twins. They’re fun."
Hayate made a slight face and shook his head. "I don’t like dancing. You can go if you want, but I won’t. My dad wouldn’t let me anyway."
"Of course I can go. I usually do," Genma teased. "Why don’t you like dancing?"
"I just don’t," Hayate said plainly. "Why does it matter?"
"I don’t suppose it does. I’m just an inordinately curious individual, in all both ways that can be taken." Genma bounced idly on one foot and then the other, three bounces per step, to keep pace with Hayate and dispose of some excess nervous energy. He was ravenously lusty and desperately sublimating it. "In other words —" He spun and landed behind the kid, hands on his shoulders, face beside his ear. "— you’re right. I’m weird. Weird and sort of nosey." Letting go, he stepped back to the side. Hayate looked like he was starting to feel uncomfortable again, with all of the touching and close contact — if only because he didn’t know what it was supposed to mean.
"Um…yeah. Kind of," he agreed, watching Genma with that unblinking gaze.
Genma just laughed. "I like you." He reflexively rolled his eyes at himself. "Fivepointsforcaptainobvious," he muttered, before returning to the rest of the thought. "You’re honest like a brick to the face. It’s appealing." He squinted at Hayate. "Hey, are you okay? You look a bit unsettled."
"I’m okay," Hayate said, and it wasn’t a total lie. He shrugged. "I don’t really see the point of being not honest. I’m no good at lying anyway."
"I’m pretty damned good at it. I just try to avoid it. I find that sins of omission are much cleaner. And I don’t lie to people who matter to me. I might tell untruths, but it’s just because I believe them. I lie when it keeps me from getting my fingers broken. I like my fingers." Genma flexed his hands and then popped his knuckles. Thinking about his hands had made him aware that they probably needed to be popped. "I wouldn’t lie to you. Make of that what you will."
Hayate made a slight face at the sound — he didn’t quite cringe, but he was halfway there. He looked down at his own hands, his wrists, and rubbed at them. "That’s good. I don’t like it when people lie to me. But I don’t think it happens very often. There’s not a lot you can do about that anyway."
"I sincerely hope that you’re right, not only for your sake, but for theirs." Genma, for quite possibly only the first time in Hayate’s sight, looked honestly dangerous for a moment, before the thin smile bled up into his eyes. "I don’t like it when people decide they can bullshit my boys. Shit, I’m offended by people lying to Aoba, and I can understand why that happens."
"I’ve known Raidou and Aoba since we were what, twelve, I think? Well, okay, Rai was probably thirteen. And I guess I just count the Twins as my own because I like them enough to haul their asses out of the fire. And I’ve actually bothered to do it a couple of times." Staring off down the block, Genma rubbed his arm. "And I may not know you well, but I know you enough to say I’d do the same for you. Already done it once, so far."
"Well…that’s what friends do, right?" It still felt strange, calling Genma his friend. Probably because it was strange — but not a bad strange. "I guess I’m lucky, then."
"Lucky, huh? I’m the lucky one. I’m still surprised you’ll even give me the time of day." Genma grinned as they crossed the last street. "I look popular. I know I look popular. Just remember, when the time comes for you to see it, that popularity and infamy are not the same thing, however similar they are in some regards."
"None of it matters anyway." Hayate stopped in front of his house, turning his eyes up onto it. It was small, squat, and not much bigger than an apartment, but it was, at least, a house.
"It may not matter in the end, but it sure as shit matters in the middle." Genma leaned forward a bit and then stopped. "It’s been a lovely evening. Do you mind if I hug you goodnight?"
Hayate turned and blinked at Genma dully. "Um. I guess it’s fine."
Without another word, Genma leaned forward and wrapped his arms around Hayate. He could have stepped forward to do it, but the imposition might have been a bit much, especially in the pants he had on. "Goodnight, kid. I’ll see you tomorrow." He tipped his invisible hat and strode off backward, watching to make sure that Hayate made it into the house without any sudden trauma. As the kid closed the door, Genma shoved his hands into his pockets and walked home, swiftly. He had a rather urgent appointment with his left hand.