heartsjoscelin (heartsjoscelin) wrote,
heartsjoscelin
heartsjoscelin

well, HERE IT IS


this is my very very first finished fic.

title: Afternoon Delight
pairing: adachi/araki/zukki, mentions of saitou/ruito
rating: pg-13, r-ish for angst and mentions of molestation so if this bothers you GO AWAY AND DON"T READ IT
(also don't bother reading it if you don't like slight AU, slight OOC ness and i play fast and loose with the timeline, so.... deal with it)
author: heartsjoscelin
summary: i won't give too much away, but basically adachi is miserable and araki and zukki attempt to find out why. and then mushiness ensues :]

Feedback is always welcome. depending on the response, there may be a sequal with some smexing.... :]

 

 

 

It was soggy outside. Zukki found he didn’t want to move, only Araki and Adachi both had to use the bathroom (at the same time, natch), and since he was draped all over them on the beat-up couch, he had to. He didn’t do so gracefully, moaning and grumbling. Adachi told him that if he didn’t shut up he would make sure his exploding bladder landed right on Zukki’s nose. Zukki shut up. Araki merely raised one gracefully arched eyebrow and stepped over Zukki’s sprawled body. Somehow, he mused, Zukki managed to take up way more space than was anatomically possible considering his build. 

 

Adachi smiled shyly at Araki and asked if he wanted to go first. Araki had to smile back; Adachi wasn’t used to this, to having two whole people around who genuinely cared for him and kept insisting on telling him so. And anyway Adachi didn’t have a selfish bone in his skinny little body, so it was up to Zukki and Araki to make sure no one walked all over him, including them. 

 

“You better go first, Adacchin-chan-” the double endearment made the younger boy turn slightly pink “-before your bladder explodes all over both of us.” Araki grinned.

 

Adachi ducked his head, still somewhat shy around the older man, and went in. Araki was (almost) tempted to go in after him try some molestation, but not quite. They were taking things slow, Adachi, Araki, and Zukki. It was new and tentative and all of them, Adachi in particular, weren’t quite sure it would work yet. Araki himself still couldn’t quite believe that he was here in this way with these two. He’d imagined, considered, fantasized even, but had never even had a hope. He hadn’t even known for sure that either swung that way-the Golden Pair, after all, was supposed to hang all over each other. Just look at Nagayama-san and Tsuchiya-san. Or, as Zukki liked to refer to him, his “Tuti-nii-sama.” Heh. Araki thought that Zukki had learned about way more than just Oishi’s tennis from his “Tuti-nii-sama,” but of course, time would tell.

 

Adachi exited the bathroom and went back to Zukki and the still-warm pile of blankets. Zukki moaned, “You’re freezing, Adacchin! Did you wash your hands in the rain or what??” but Adachi was plenty less shy around Zukki and just poked him in the side with one cold finger. Zukki knew very well that without him Adachi would never have thought to go to Araki and ask. Zukki also knew that without him there to balance Adachi’s shyness and Araki’s sensuality the two of them would eat each other alive, Araki with guilt at forcing Adachi, and Adachi with guilt for wanting yet not being ready to do what he knew Araki wanted. Zukki loved them both. It had been Adachi first, shy and gangling and determined to learn Eiji and prove that the producers had not made a mistake when they cast him. Araki came second, with subtle wit and quiet confidence combined with just the right amount of zany “aura” to convince you that while he wasn’t actually 6-foot-whatever like Souta, he could be Inui, too. You couldn’t really help but be drawn to them, Zukki mused, as he let Adachi curl up next to him and bury his cold nose in Zukki’s neck. 

 

For his part, Adachi wished Araki would come out of the bathroom so they could continue the movie. He’d been doing way too much thinking lately about just about EVERYTHING, including some things he really didn’t want to think about and wished he hadn’t seen what he’d seen so he didn’t have to, and he was tired of it. Thinking was for smart people like Kujirai. Adachi preferred video games and melon candy. Zukki usually had melon candy… or maybe Adachi still had some left in his bag…

 

“Oi, where are you going? You just got back from the bathroom!” Once Adachi warmed up, he made a nice armful, and since Araki wasn’t back from the bathroom yet (what was he doing in there? Waxing his eyebrows? Sometimes Zukki felt like he had to stick a hand down Araki’s low-rise girl pants to make sure Araki was, in fact, male) he would be alone again on the convertible couch-futon and that was just Not Acceptable. When it’s storming outside on a Sunday and you don’t have a performance until Tuesday you stay inside all day and watch movies and sleep. You don’t get up and do stuff. It’s just not allowed.

 

“Aaaraaakiii! Are you doing your nails again? I’m AAALL ALLOONEEE and I WANT COMPANY!” Zukki had quite the annoyed yell. (a/n think pissed Jan)

 

Araki ambled back into the living room with a tray. “If you’re not good you don’t get mochi, Zukki.”

 

“Oh, I’m good. I am so very good.” Zukki grinned and reached for the tray. A few minutes later Adachi reappeared brandishing a half-full bag of melon candy. Zukki asked whose it was and stole a handful when Adachi said it was his. 

“Oi! I didn’t get that for you!”

 

Zukki grinned and dumped some of the over his head and onto his chest, running a hand down to his waistband suggestively. 

 

“You want it, Adacchin? Come get it.”

 

Araki watched with interest. Zukki might be able to get Adachi to do stuff he’d be too shy to do with Araki himself, especially if he annoyed him first. But Adachi went quiet and red and shook his head. 

 

“Never mind, Zukki, you can have it,” he mumbled, and actually backed away a few steps.

 

Zukki’s brows drew together. He cleaned up the candy and reached for Adachi. “Adaaachiiiin...” Adachi ducked away. Zukki sat up and reached again. Same thing. 

 

Araki set the tray down in front of the TV and came over to the couch. He stopped in front of Adachi, just looking, a tiny wrinkle appearing between his eyebrows. Araki knew he wasn’t the smartest of the lot, had known it since he about sixteen and in high school with many other kids who got far better grades and were more athletic than he was. But for some reason people seemed to like him, to be drawn to him. Kind of like brainwashing, even though Araki wasn’t all that good with words. 

 

Trying to figure out what was wrong with someone when they were so obviously uncomfortable wasn’t something Araki normally did-there were other people who could do it so much better than him, so why bother?- but for Adachi he wanted to. Because Adachi looked miserable, scuffing the carpet with the empty toes of his too-long socks and refusing to look at either of them. Neither Zukki nor Araki could think why-Adachi’d been fine until…

 

“Adacchin, I didn’t mean it.” Zukki was speaking quietly, gently. “We won’t do anything you don’t want to do, you know that. Ne, Arayan?”

 

Araki nodded, the wrinkle growing deeper. Far from reassuring the younger boy, Adachi was instead shrinking in on himself. 

 

“Adachi,” Araki said, just as quiet as Zukki, “if you try to make yourself any smaller, you’ll disappear, you know. There’s not that much of you to begin with.” He held out his hand. Adachi darted a glance at it. “Please come sit.”

 

“Tell us what’s up, Eiji-chan. We won’t make fun. Well, we know Araki won’t, at least…”  Zukki trailed off. Normally just calling Adachi by his character made him feel better. This was something he’d learned from Tuti-nii-sama, that he and Nagayama-san would cheer each other up and calm each other down using their Golden Pair. Adachi had actually flinched when he’d said Eiji. 

 

“Is it me?” Araki asked, moving back a step so he wouldn’t crowd Adachi. Araki didn’t really know what he would say if it was, but he figured he would ask so at least Zukki could have a shot at fixing this.   He was almost guiltily relieved when Adachi shook his head no. 

 

Zukki, instead of moving back like Araki, moved forward until he was standing right in front of his doubles partner. Adachi was hiding under his bangs again, the way he always used to until rehearsals for Good Combination started. When he’d heard Zukki sing for the first time, Adachi’s head had jerked up abruptly so that Zukki could finally look him in his sweet brown eyes. “They never told me you couldn’t sing!” burst out of him like he couldn’t help it, which had made Zukki howl and mock-tackle him to the rehearsal room floor. After that Adachi’s shyness became a lot less painful and a lot more…Adachi. But now he was right back where they’d started.  

 

“Is it me?” Zukki echoed Araki’s question, but instead of asking it from a few feet away he tipped Adachi’s chin up and forced the other boy to look him in the eye. “Did I do something to make you unhappy? I did, didn’t I.”

 

“Wasn’t you.” Adachi’s voice wasn’t more than a whisper. 

 

“But it was someone,” Zukki persisted, waving Araki closer behind Adachi’s back. Araki didn’t think his being closer would make things better, and he was right. When he felt Araki’s hand on his shoulder Adachi fought to get his chin out of Zukki’s grip and look at the floor again. 

 

“You already said it wasn’t me,” Araki reminded Adachi, steadfastly keeping his hand on the thin shoulder. He didn’t think Adachi would run, but then again he couldn’t be sure. Adachi shook his head again, but didn’t lean into Araki’s hand like he would have. 

 

Even Adachi himself didn’t quite know why he was suddenly so embarrassed and unhappy. All Adachi knew was what he’d seen, and from what he’d seen he didn’t know that he wanted to do this, any of it. He’d been content to sit and watch the movie, happy to just enjoy their company, but when Zukki poured the candy all over himself… it had brought back images he didn’t want to see again, conjured feelings he’d tried to bury until he was ready for them but couldn’t because they were right there and they wouldn’t go away until-until someone made them. Adachi realized his eyes were getting wet and wanted to sink into the floor. Time to get away. Away. Away.

 

Adachi broke and ran.

 

Zukki’s eyebrows shot up to his hairline and Araki almost fell over as Adachi barreled past them straight through the first door he saw, which, luckily, did not lead outside into the rain, but into the bathroom. Unfortunately, the bathroom door had a lock. 

 

Adachi locked it without thinking, backing away until he hit the shower faucet on the tiled wall. He bumped it with his sharp hipbone, turning it on, drenching himself in an icy blast. He might as well have been outside in the rain, he thought, but welcomed the icy numbness and shock to his head. It helped not to think.

 

Araki and Zukki heard the shower go on from outside the door where they were both crowded near the latch. They looked at each other, mystified. Araki whispered, “No steam. I don’t think that water is warm.” 

Zukki whispered back, “I don’t know what’s wrong! I didn’t think-“

 “It’s not your fault,” Araki murmured. “In fact, I’m not sure it has anything to do with us, at least not directly.” 

Zukki nodded. “He did say it wasn’t us-he wouldn’t lie.” 

“So why won’t he let us help him? What was it?” 

“Arayan, if I knew, believe me I’d share.” 

 

The two at the door heard the slight thump of a body hitting the floor. In the bathroom, Adachi had sunk to his knees, then sat down hard, direct in the spray. It felt numb and good, literally freezing his brain. Maybe he could freeze and then just shatter the images, like a baseball in liquid nitrogen. Throw it on the floor and it breaks into a million pieces. A million…tiny…pieces…    Adachi’s eyes slid closed.

 

Araki and Zukki, meanwhile, had started to call out to Adachi, hoping to coax him into coming to the door and opening it. They tried to reassure him that they wouldn’t laugh and wouldn’t judge, that they’d listen and try to make it better, whatever it was, and that nothing was going to be accomplished by hiding out in the bathroom and anyway what were they supposed to do if one of them had to go? 

 

Zukki thought that last would at least get some sort of retort out of the other boy, but both he and Araki were starting to get a little frightened when they heard absolutely nothing from inside, not even the little noises of a body moving around. Finally Araki shrugged and gently shoved Zukki’s slighter body to the side. He called, “Adacchin, I’m giving you till three and then I’m going to open this door. All by myself. Got it?” No response. Zukki and Araki looked at each other, their eyes slowly widening-there were razors and nail scissors in the bathroom, what if Adachi had been bleeding to death while they were standing outside trying to talk to him?

 

As one they wedged their shoulders in the doorframe and began to hit the door. Eventually Araki shoved Zukki out of the way again and used his more powerful frame to break the lock, falling into the spreading icy puddle, spluttering. Zukki almost tripped over Araki in his rush to get to the huddled little body on the floor in the corner. 

 

“God, Araki, he’s freezing! Help me!” 

 

Araki ran to the tub and started to fill it with lukewarm water, then went back to Zukki and helped him strip poor Adachi, whose limbs flopped helplessly and did not stir, not even when Zukki stripped off his soaking pants and boxers. He was icy to the touch, pale with purple bruises under his lashes. Why hadn’t they noticed before?

 

“Because he was fine,” said Zukki fiercely. Araki hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud. “He was just fine until I stole his candy, how could I have been so stupid Arayan-“

 

“IT WASN’T YOU, Zukki, so shut up and strip so you can help me with him in the bath.” Zukki opened his mouth to protest. Araki, struggling to unbutton his own shirt and support Adachi at the same time, gave him his best imitation of Shirota’s best Tezuka Glare. “We can’t blame ourselves and we can’t fix this until we get him warm and awake, so shut up and take off your clothes. NOW.

 

Cowed by Araki’s intensity (or maybe it was the Tezuka Glare, who knew), Zukki shut up and took Adachi so Araki could take off his own pants. Araki held out his arms once he was settled, and Zukki handed Adachi over. Then he yanked off his sweatshirt and loose jeans, took off the tiny golden pear charm on a chain Adachi had shyly presented him with at the end of Bukimyu, and climbed in next to Araki, taking Adachi’s shoulders while Araki rubbed his hands and feet in the lukewarm water. Adachi’s extremities were cold to the touch, not responding to Araki’s handling, but gradually his hands and feet grew a bit less frozen. 

 

Zukki stayed quiet all through the bath, holding Adachi when Araki gave him over, rubbing Adachi’s shoulders when Araki said to, but otherwise didn’t say anything. Araki kept up a steady stream of encouraging chatter to Adachi, trying to coax him awake. At first, Adachi’s head lolled alarmingly, but after a while he sighed and shifted in Zukki’s arms, cuddling. The corners of Araki’s mouth turned up. 

 

“Talk to him, Zukki.” Araki cleared his throat; his voice was getting tired. “Please.” Zukki looked down at Adachi, whose face was starting to acquire a tinge of pink from the warmer water Araki was now letting into the tub.   Adachi looked so young. Zukki gently touched foreheads with the other boy.

 

“Adacchin…onegai…I’m sorry…”

 

Araki shook his head.

 

“He knows that already. Talk about something else.”

 

Zukki looked up. “Like what?”

 

“E--tooo… Like the time you went shoe-shopping with Endou and Yanagi. Didn’t the saleslady cry?”

 

“That wasn’t my fault! That baka Yuuyan made her bring out every sneaker in the store in his size and decided he didn’t like ANY of them! And then Yanagi joined in and started flirting with her to make her feel better only she was so tired and cranky by then she dropped a stack of shoeboxes on his head! And then Rui-rui-”

 

“Aoyagi-kun was there?”

 

“Hai, he needed formal shoes for this dinner party he was going to so Saitou-kun-”

 

“Raped.”

 

Both heads whipped down.

 

Adachi’s eyes blinked sleepily up at them.

 

They let out identical sighs of relief.

 

“What’s that, Adacchin?” Araki still wasn’t sure he’d heard right. Raped? Who? And who by? Not—

 

“Not me.” Adachi was still so pale. “Ruito. Saitou. Raped.” 

His eyes slid shut as he sighed and buried his nose in Zukki’s neck. 

 

Zukki and Araki looked at each other. 

 

“Come, let’s get you out of the tub, Adacchin.” 

 

Zukki responded to Araki’s suggestion, gently maneuvering the lanky body so that Adachi could get his feet under him. 

 

“Come on, Adachi, we know you’re awake,” Zukki said, trying to cajole Adachi into rising, “we want you dry and warm so we can talk to you. Please?”

 

“Gomen,” Adachi’s voice was slightly above a whisper.

 

“For what?” Araki was trying to be patient, but he really wanted Adachi out of the cooling water already. He tried putting his hands under Adachi’s arms, and surprisingly, Adachi let Araki pull him to his feet.

 

Araki gave Zukki a look that meant ‘let’s just get him to the bedroom and into bed so we can sort this out.’ Zukki shrugged. If Adachi was going to let them, they would. 

 

He did. He stood passively while they dried off and let Zukki help him into his favorite pajamas, the ones with little bulbous sheep with slightly maniacal expressions he’d gotten from Kaji. Kaji gave funny birthday presents; at first they seemed almost normal, like the pajamas, but look a little closer and you discover your perfectly innocent sheep are all cross-eyed and look like something you’d rather not be seen wearing. 

 

When they were all back in pajamas or pajama-like outfits and in bed, Adachi in the middle with Zukki and Araki on either side like bookends, Araki sat up and looked down at Adachi. Adachi was lying quietly, his eyes closed, looking like he would rather not talk about anything at all. In fact, Adachi was desperately trying to fall asleep before Zukki and Araki started asking him questions.

 

Araki said, “Adachi, are you ready to tell us what’s up?” 

 

Zukki sat up too. They had another wordless conference over Adachi’s head, deciding that Araki would be the one who pushed and Zukki would be the one who comforted. Someone had to force Adachi into talking, and Adachi would probably not appreciate it from Zukki. From Zukki he expected hugs and cuddles. From Araki, though…he wasn’t sure what to expect. 

 

So Zukki pulled a sleepy but unresisting Adachi up into a loose hug, putting him on the same level as the other two. And Araki said, as gently as he could, “Adacchin, you need to talk about this, whatever it is. It’ll make you feel better. Zukki and me, we want you to feel good. Whatever bothers you, bothers us, too. This—thing we have—”

Araki indicated himself, then touched Zukki’s shoulder, then patted Adachi’s.

“—This thing means that we’re all in this together. What happens to one of us affects all of us. If me or Zukki were feeling this way, what would you do?”

 

Adachi looked at them both. They were so concerned, so protective. Adachi still couldn’t quite believe it was for real, that they wouldn’t both suddenly decide they liked each other or someone else more and leave. If he told them what had happened, would they? Would they decide he wasn’t worth protecting, wasn’t worth being concerned about? But then again, what would he do if Zukki got upset? It was easy to tell with Zukki, not so easy with Araki. Adachi thought, and realized he’d be doing just what they were: trying to help in any way he could. Would he ask them to talk about it? Probably. Adachi didn’t talk much-he preferred to listen and see what other people did before he spoke up. Speaking up wouldn’t have helped anyway. Aoyagi-kun would still have-- Adachi screwed up his face. He really didn’t want to think about it!

 

“Oi.” Zukki nudged him. “What’s with that expression, eh? It wasn’t that hard of a question. Look, I’ll answer for you.” Zukki cleared his throat and said, in a high-pitched, full-throated voice that sounded nothing like Adachi: “I would love you and hug you and try to feed you soup and make you feel better, Araki-san and Zukki!”

 

Adachi couldn’t help a tiny giggle. “I can’t make soup, Zukki.”

“So what? You’d still try to feed us soup.”

“Why soup?”

“Cos it’s hot and…nourishing? And hot. Hot’s very important.”

 

Araki sighed. “The point, Adacchin, is that we want to help you. We’re not lying and we’re not pretending. So please-”

 

He bent and looked into Adachi’s eyes. Adachi blushed and blinked. “-Please tell us what it is.”

 

Adachi squirmed a little in Zukki’s arms. Zukki loosened his hold more, but Adachi took Zukki’s arms and looped firmly around his middle. “Not alone,” he muttered to himself. “Not this time.”

 

Zukki and Araki waited patiently. Finally, Adachi looked up. His looked scared but resigned. Araki really wanted to banish that frightened look from his soft features. Adachi sometimes reminded him of a modest little housewife, shy, polite, and well-mannered on the outside, but on the inside sweet and caring and capable with just a touch of mischief. Adachi shouldn’t look scared, ever. 

 

“What can I do,” murmured Araki, raising a hand to gently stroke Adachi’s cheek, “to convince you we won’t hurt you?” He was a bit nervous himself that Adachi would flinch and turn away, but he didn’t. Adachi closed his eyes with a heartbreakingly hungry expression, and turned his face so that Araki could get at more of his skin. Adachi let Araki’s touch ground him, remind him that he was here, now, and not outside in the cold with Ruito-kun lying bleeding on the cold concrete-

 

Adachi shuddered, grinding his shoulders into Zukki’s. Araki’s fingers moved to his hair. For long moments no one spoke. Then finally, Adachi’s voice, so little it was almost inaudible.

 

“It was cold. It wasn’t supposed to be, it was spring. We were practicing with Hyotei that day, golden trio. Ruito-kun and me, we had detention together so he could practice tumbling with me. Saitou-san stayed too. We left together, me and Ruito. He dropped his iPod. It rolled down an alleyway.”

 

Adachi’s narrative grew quicker, more staccato, as if he was trying to spit out the words as quickly and painlessly as possible. Araki and Zukki were quiet, just listening.

 

“Someone came up behind me. Grabbed me. Shoved me into the wall. I saw someone else grab Ruito, hold him down. He called me pretty boy-“ Adachi’s voice caught, and he grabbed Zukki’s hand and squeezed. “-he started yanking at my pants-he bit my neck-“ Adachi’s breathing sped up, his eyes going glassy and dark. Instinctively, both Zukki and Araki put their arms around him, murmuring comfortingly. “-he’d almost gotten them down when Ruito yelled at him to stop. Ruito-“ Adachi gasped, shivering in their arms, “-Ruito said he was younger, prettier-take me instead, take me first, come get me-he ran his arm down his body-he-he-“ Adachi stopped and let Zukki’s shoulder cradle his head. Araki’s heart went out to Rui-rui and Adacchin. No wonder Adachi’d had such a bad reaction to Zukki and the unfortunate candy. But he knew something Adachi obviously didn’t: Ruito had been sleeping with Saitou since after their first practice. Araki had a feeling he knew what Rui-rui had been thinking: Virginal Adachi versus his experienced self? No contest. 

 

“Go on, Adacchin-chan,” Zukki said softly, running soft fingers through Adachi’s hair. “You need to get it all out. We’re here.”

 

Adachi nodded almost imperceptibly. “So-so-he did. He let me go. The other guy came and held me-he said he’d save me for last. He shoved Ruito-kun down… and he did it. He did it. Ruito’s face...it went blank, like a doll. I felt-so guilty-“ Adachi sobbed. His fault. But then-“Then-it was amazing. Saitou-san came. He hit them. He shoved him off Ruito and hit the guy in the groin. Made him throw up. The other one let me go and tried to get Saitou-san. But Saitou hit him too, again and again… They ran. And then Ruito started crying and Saitou-san grabbed him and hugged him… and I cried too.  I was so scared. I didn’t want anyone to touch me. Then Saitou-san noticed me standing there and tried to ask me what happened. But I…I was so…I couldn’t…let him touch me…” Adachi trailed off, remembering. He’d backed away, then started running. He’d run until he was somehow at Zukki’s house. He’d gone up, knocked on Zukki’s door. Zukki had taken him in, noting his freaked-out expression and disheveled clothes. He’d asked no questions and had gotten no explanations. 

 

Adachi murmured, “So I ran to you, Zukki.”

 

Zukki remembered that night. He said as much, fiercely cuddling Adachi together with Araki. “You looked so scared. I didn’t want to do anything but put you to bed and hold you until you felt better. I should have asked-“

 

“NO!” Adachi’s voice cracked. He stayed in Zukki’s arms, but surprisingly reached out for Araki, who felt a surge of protectiveness for him. So brave, little Adacchin. Araki’s long arms enfolded both Adachi and Zukki, and together they comforted their third. 

 

“My fault…” Adachi muttered. “Ruito—my fault, mine-If he hadn’t, I would’ve- he didn’t have to, he could have—“

 

“NO!” It was their turn to yell. Adachi flinched, burrowing his head in Araki’s broad shoulder. “Not your fault, not your fault, Adacchin, never believe it!” Zukki said firmly, right into the flushed shell of Adachi’s ear. 

 

Adachi kept his head down, tears seeping into Araki’s short-sleeved white sleepy shirt. He stayed that way, the tears just leaking out of him, until he felt a gentle hand stroke his hair. It was Araki, judging by the angle, and that somehow made Adachi feel better. Like he understood, really got it, and he would let Adachi stay until the tears ran out. Eventually, they did, but Adachi did not want to move. He didn’t know why, but Araki’s hand on his head made him feel…safe. Zukki made him feel loved, with arms curled tight around him, but Araki…

 

“Thank you, ochibi.” Araki murmured into his hair. Adachi blushed; he hadn’t realized he’d spoken out loud. “I wish I could have protected you from that. Rui-rui too.”

 

Zukki smiled, shoving a tissue into Adachi’s hand. “I think Takumi-san had it under control, Arayan. I mean, did you notice Ruito acting any different after? Na, Adacchin?”

 

Adachi’s head remained buried in Araki’s shoulder, but he made a “mm” sound. It was true; Ruito had gone home with Saitou and had returned the next day with dark circles under his eyes, cheerful and sleepy. Adachi realized that the only one worse for wear in this adventure was himself, and that was just…ridiculous. After all, nothing had happened to him but a bad scare. And anyway, Araki and Zukki were holding him so gently, so kindly. They weren’t about to do anything to hurt him. So Adachi sighed and picked up his head.

 

“I’m sorry.”

 

Zukki and Araki looked at each other. “For what?” Zukki asked. “For being human?”

 

“No!” Adachi protested, to smiles from the other two. “For-for acting up, I guess. For getting you worried. Ne, Zukki-“ Adachi shifted to look at his doubles partner “-I’m really sorry for upsetting you before. With the candy. If you want-” he shifted closer “-I could come get it now…”

 

Araki and Zukki had another wordless conference over Adachi’s head. Then Zukki bent and kissed Adachi, softly but firmly, on the lips. Adachi sighed, slipping his arms around Zukki’s middle. Zukki broke the kiss and shifted to let Araki kiss Adachi’s nose. Adachi made a small, questioning noise. Why weren’t they going further?

 

“I think,” Araki said, “that it would probably be a better idea to save it, Adacchin. I think we should sleep, and then I’ll make us some soup. Ne?”

 

Zukki nodded behind Adachi. “I think that sounds perfect. I’ll help you make it if you want. What kind of soup do you want, Adacchin?”

 

Adachi just sat for a minute. He thought, considered, and finally said, “Demo-Demo-you really don’t want to? You’re okay with-with not-”

 

“Adacchin.” Araki smiled down at his adorably confused expression. “Of course we want to. We want you. We love you.” Zukki nodded. “But we’re willing to wait until you’re ready. Really ready,” he added when Adachi looked like he was getting ready to protest that he was ready. “Not just doing it because you think we want to or because you want to prove you’re all right. But believe me-” Araki bent and kissed Adachi soundly “-when you’re ready we’ll pounce on you so fast you’ll leave your socks behind. Ne, Zukki?” 

 

“Yeahsureyoubetchaochibi-chan,” Zukki nodded firmly, leaning over to kiss Adachi’s ear. Adachi giggled. His ears were ticklish.

 

He wiggled until Zukki’s arms loosened and he could slide down to snuggle into the pillows. “Egg-drop soup,” he said. “Araki, I want egg-drop soup, please.”

 

He felt Zukki slide down behind him and Araki curl up in front of him. “Egg-drop soup it is, ochibi.”


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