Rating/Warnings: PG for the dent in the fifth stall.
Summary: Shindou always comes back.
AN: For Go-Go day! I'm really not sure why I can't write HnG that isn't sad lately. marksykins must be using that half of the brain.
(All You Do Is) Up and Go
"And then he played in the upper right, that idiot, but then again what can you expect from somebody's who's been tutored by Ochi, who by the way must've lost a few more games this week, because I swear that dent in the door of the fifth stall is getting deeper and deeper…"
"Shindou!" Touya finally snaps, glaring at his roommate and trying unsuccessfully to toss the strands of his hair out of his face without involving his hands, since he's up to his elbows in soapy dishwater.
"Hm?" Shindou asks, reaching over and tucking Touya's hair behind his ear, which really just irritates him even more.
"Can't we talk about something else for once?" Touya demands.
"Other than Ochi?" Shindou shrugs. "Sure, all I meant was…"
"Not Ochi, Go!" Touya yanks the stopper out of the sink viciously, glaring at the way the water spirals into the drain. "Can't we have a single conversation once our lives that doesn't revolve solely around Go or Go players or the Go Institute or Go matches or where you lost seven of your Go stones?!"
"Touya…" Shindou's voice is quiet and hurt, making the kitchen suddenly seem too big and too bright, but by the time Touya turns back to him, apologies already stuck on his tongue, the kitchen is empty and the front door is slamming.
Heaving a sigh, Touya runs soapy fingers through his hair and stares down at the idiotically yellow '5' on his apron.
When Touya gets angry, he usually shuts himself in the bedroom, where Shindou can find him easily after they've both calmed down. Shindou, though, always goes out; Touya has no idea where because he's never asked. He suspects that sometimes it's to Waya's, who isn't a far walk from here, or to a salon to beat the pants off some unfortunate senior citizens, or maybe even back to his mother's, which Touya doesn't think about too much because it makes the sincerity of his apologies crack with giggles.
But Shindou always comes back, which is what Touya keeps reminding himself when even the lingering late summer sunlight starts to fade and Touya is still alone. He drifts from the kitchen, where the window overlooks the street, to the bedroom, where Shindou's phone is charging cheerfully on the bedside table, to the living room, where the echoes from the stairwell are inescapable.
Eventually he collapses onto the couch, staring at the ceiling as the beginnings of a rainstorm tap the windows like Ochi on a full-season losing streak. The lights are all still off, and lightning spikes through the room sporadically, strobing over the framed poster of Roy Mustang that Shindou insists passes for art and their match schedules taped to the wall side by side. Touya passes out that way, one foot on the floor and one arm over his head so that his fingers trail within inches of the phone.
He wakes up shivering, neck screaming in agony and a dripping-wet Shindou in nothing but a T-shirt shuddering in a heap on top of him, face buried against Touya's shirt. In the grayed out light of the Tokyo pre-dawn, Touya can make out goosebumps covering every inch of Shindou's bare arms. Shindou might be saying something, low and repetitive, but Touya can't tell through the chattering of his teeth.
"You idiot," he grumbles, throat sore so he must have been sleeping with his mouth open again, and he reaches to tug down the lopsided blanket Akari had crocheted them and wraps it and his arms tightly around Shindou's back. It'll get soaked, but since Touya and the couch already are, Touya supposes it doesn't really matter. Shindou's hair smells like smoke and the train, but it doesn't stop Touya from pressing his nose tightly against it or from pretending that some of the liquid seeping into his shirt over his heart isn't too warm to be rain, even in summer.
When his back starts to ache on top of everything else, he pushes at Shindou until Shindou slides off and he can sit up. Murmuring, "Come on," he stands and takes one of Shindou's hands and tugs him to the bathroom, leaving the blanket in a sodden heap on the floor. On his way past the wall he notices they both have morning matches that day, and swallows the sigh because Shindou will never just let him call them both off.
Touya turns on the water in the bathtub, then reaches to strip off Shindou's clothes. Shindou doesn't help, but just watches him with eyes dark-smudged and red, the imprint of one of Touya's buttons set deep in his cheek. Touya thumbs it briefly, smiling, then when the water is hot and Shindou is naked, shoves him into the tub.
"Are you going to tell me what that was about?" he asks as he's washing Shindou's back.
Shindou tenses, hugging his knees more tightly. "Are you?"
"I just meant," Touya's hand stills against Shindou's skin, slick and finally regaining some warmth, "normal people who've been friends for a decade and have lived together for over a year have conversations about more than one thing all the time. But I didn't…" Touya made a frustrated noise and flexed his fingers a little. "I didn't mean it to come out like that, but…sometimes you just…it's like all you see is my Go."
Shindou still doesn't move, and Touya finishes rinsing off his back and stands, stripping off his own clothes, which are half-dry and clammy by now. The water is cooling too, but is pleasant enough against his tortured muscles as he pushes Shindou's knees out of the way to climb carefully in, to settle in Shindou's lap and take Shindou's face between the palms of his hands.
"We aren't just Go, Hikaru," he says slowly, wondering how Shindou can possibly still be digging up enough tears to make his green eyes glassy after all this. "Nobody is."
"Shut up!" Shindou bursts out suddenly, pushing forward to cling to Touya tightly and pressing his face against Touya's neck. "Just shut up!"
Touya is so startled he freezes, then remembers a sixteen-year-old Shindou whose nail-bitten fingers would shake with the force of directing the two Gos tangled so tightly in his play, remembers the fierce joy in Shindou's eyes the few times Touya had mentioned it, and realizes that he's almost certainly just said exactly the wrong thing.
"I'm sorry," he says, squeezing Shindou more tightly, too tired to think about it anymore. "I'm sorry. Let's just get a few hours sleep before our matches, okay?"
Shindou sways unsteadily when they climb out of the tub, lets Touya towel him dry but refuses to meet his eyes, then shuffles to their bed without saying anything else, one hand pressing against the wall for support.
Touya lingers a few moments longer, picking up their clothes and hanging them over the towel bar to dry out. When he shakes out Shindou's jeans, two crushed cigarettes and a piece of paper flutter out of the back pocket, damp and creased. Touya scoops them off the floor, and stares for several long seconds at the roundtrip ticket stub to Innoshima.
He crumples it in his hand along with the cigarettes and hurls them into the trashcan, then stumbles to bed.
Shindou is curled up on his side under the blankets, eyes shut but breathing in stops and starts. Touya slides in beside him and curls around his back, wrapping arms around Shindou's waist until they are tucked tightly together.
"I get scared," Shindou says, and it takes Touya an exhausted second to realized Shindou is answering his question, "that I won't know where to find you."
"I know." Touya presses his palm over Shindou's heartbeat until its skittering slows. "That's why I just hide in here. Besides, this is where the good goban is."
"Can't you talk about anything besides Go?" Shindou teases, and it feels so good to laugh that Touya presses his forehead to the back of Shindou's neck and starts to cry.