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Spark in the Dark

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The gas station was quiet this time of night. Takumi leaned against the wall of the building, staring out at the empty lanes with a dim, almost dazed expression, letting the cold seep into his skin and shut his mind down. His only movements were in his chest, the slow rise and fall as he breathes, and the part of his lips as he exhales to watch his breath form clouds. He doesn't even spare Iketani a glance as he steps back out from his break, though he does hear him speak.

"Awfully cold, isn't it? It's going to snow, I think," Iketani says. He takes a place beside Takumi, clicking his tongue. "Are you doing deliveries tonight?"

"I always do deliveries," Takumi replies, finally affording Iketani a glance. "Why?"

Iketani shrugs. "Just wondering. Have you been sleeping?"

He looks back out and past the gas station. He looks at the streets that feed into Akina, then the streets that feed into the mountains. He thinks about the last time he slept.

"Yeah," he says finally. "Sure."

They fall into silence. Time ticks on, closer and closer to closing time. He's reluctant to admit that Iketani is right-- it is going to snow soon. He feels it in the frigid wind that slices through his skin and the heavy, ponderous clouds sweeping overhead, familiar from experience. He cuts another look at his friend, and finds him already staring back.

"I know you're lying, Takumi," Iketani says.

Takumi looks at the scar peeking out from beneath his hairline. He shrugs. "Not much I can do about it."

"There has to be something," Iketani returns, and it sounds like he wants to argue.

And yet, before Takumi can end the tired discussion, a distant engine can be heard. His stomach twists as he recognizes the distinctive drone-- the unique whine of a rotary engine, breathing in time to the careful ministrations of its owner. It feels like an age before the familiar yellow car appears.

"Keisuke," Takumi sighs.

"What's he doing here?" Iketani murmurs, and there's none of the former awe or admiration that used to permeate his voice. Instead, he sounds mildly curious, if a little wary.

They watch the yellow FD bypass the fueling lanes and simply park behind Iketani's S13. Takumi crosses his arms across his chest and looks away, irritation settling like a shadow over his otherwise blank features. There's little room to wonder about why the man was back in Akina.

"We're just about to close," Iketani says in lieu of a greeting. "But you can still buy something."

"I'm not here to purchase anything, don't worry," Keisuke says, waving a hand dismissively. He appraises them both with critical brown eyes, gaze lingering a second too long over Takumi. "Are you busy tonight?"

"Deliveries," Takumi says shortly. "You're going to get snowed in if you hang around too long."

Iketani slips away and out from under the vice trap that is this conversation. Takumi shoots a betrayed kind of look at him before fixing his eyes on Keisuke, irritation settling deeper into his bones.

"I can drive in the snow, Takumi," Keisuke replies dryly. "Mind if I go on deliveries with you?"

"Fine," he says. "Give me a ride home. I walked."

Just then, the overhead lights flicker out. Closing time. Takumi leaves Keisuke standing to go and change back into his day clothes, relishing in the sensation of his body working through the deep-set cold. He's numb in the best of ways, and he can't really feel his face, and the pain is cathartic when the building's warmth shocks his body.

By the time he leaves, however, snow is already falling. Keisuke's car is staring out into the flurry with twin beams, passenger side door already open. Takumi slides inside, closing it with a slam. The car's already hot. He watches the town of Akina melt away, whisked thoroughly into the snow by the FD's forward motion. He relaxes into the familiar thrum of the car; it wasn't his own, but he had driven within it enough times to feel safe.

(Of course, Keisuke was a prime driver where his friends were not.)


His father is, predictably, awake when he and Keisuke traipse in. They take time to set aside their respective wintry gear before entering the main room. Takumi stares at his father first, eyebrows furrowed together, locked into silence as he ponders what to say. His throat burns as he inhales the thick, cloying remnants of cigarette smoke. He doesn't say a word until his father gives a slight incline of his head.

He's listening.

"Keisuke's staying over. He's riding with me in the morning," Takumi says, his exhaustion plain. "That okay?"

"He's already here," Bunta says, shrugging. "Dinner's in the fridge."

"Thanks, old man," Takumi huffs, and begins to head upstairs.

Keisuke takes the moment to bow and thank Bunta, who, with closed eyes, delivers a piercing stare directly into his soul. Before he can lose his nerve, he follows after Takumi, scaling the steps by two. He ducks into the dark comfort of his room, surprised to find the other already in bed.

"You move fast," he teases, dropping onto the foot. "C'mon. You're mad at me, aren't you?"

He waits for a response with baited breath, smile slipping to an impassive line.

"Not you," Takumi murmurs, voice muffled by his pillow. "Everyone."

"Everyone?" Keisuke presses.

"No one used to be concerned with how much sleep I got, or if I ate, or whatever else until I started racing," Takumi begins, lifting his head to look at the other. "Now they hound me relentlessly-- who cares? They never did before. You and Ryosuke don't count," he adds after a moment. "You two are something else."

Keisuke tilts his head, as if to ask for more. He drapes himself across the bed so that they're laying next to each other, no longer separated by height nor distance.

"Dad doesn't count, either," Takumi says, quieter this time. "Anyway."

They lay beside each other, gazes turning out toward the wall. A chill has settled over the room-- no doubt from the blizzard raging outside, audible when the wind gusts hard, whistling shrilly through the township. Keisuke takes the moment to fish the blanket out from under them, tossing it clumsily across their backs. He looks at Takumi, as if to challenge him.

He grins when Takumi doesn't protest or argue, and simply rolls onto his side, putting his chin into his palm.

"I want to do deliveries tonight," Takumi says.

Keisuke's grin slips. "I know you do."

"Last time you tried to stop me."

"I won't this time. I just... want to make sure you turn the heater on, maybe the radio."

Takumi sighs, eyes shutting. Keisuke watches him and his apprehension breaks, melting into... something he still didn't understand. Takumi wasn't difficult, but the emotions he inspired were complicated, as were the impulses he incited. 

"Let's try and sleep, okay?" Keisuke murmurs.

"Sure."


It's still snowing when Takumi and Keisuke wake up next. Keisuke forces Takumi to bundle up-- a heavy coat, scarf, gloves, the whole nine-- and steals some blankets for himself. He throws a thumbs up to Bunta before climbing into the Eight-Six after Takumi, which locks them both into a very cold environment.

The car jumps to life, undeterred by the cold. Takumi flicks on the heater before Keisuke can say anything, and points at the window. He rolls it down to admit the paper cup, setting it with care into its respective holder. 

"It's hard to believe this taught you to race," Keisuke muses as they begin to drive off. "This little cup."

They drive on in silence. 


As he drives, Takumi thinks. He thinks about the first time Keisuke followed him home, a yellow bug in his rear view, unfamiliar and unwanted. That had been less than a month ago. Since then, he followed him home much more often, all for various reasons that Takumi had never heard him voice. Tonight had been the bluntest-- Keisuke wanted to keep Takumi from hurting himself.

He still didn't know what to do with such a notion. Habits and responses he had developed over the better part of five years were suddenly wrong, worrying, concerning to those around him, and he had no idea what to do. Worrying others was the last thing he wanted to do-- it was something he couldn't do. To think that he could fool everyone except two strange men from Shibukawa, well...

It was quite the blow.


"Why'd you follow me home?" Takumi snaps the instant he gets out of his car, rounding on Keisuke. "I have deliveries to do."

Keisuke raises his hands, as if to placate him, smiling despite the uncharacteristic anger. "I didn't want to go home yet! So, I'm going to bother you."

"There's nothing for you here," Takumi fires back. His body feels like it's suspended by wire, his nerves sizzling from repetitive doses of adrenaline, shot from lack of sleep. When he moves, the world moves with it, threatening to upend the ground from under his feet.

He just hopes Keisuke can't see how exhausted he is.

"What if I rode with you, then?" Keisuke asks, smile turning into a brilliant grin. "Can't hurt, can it?"


...Takumi had collapsed that morning. He grimaces at the memory, and is dragged back into the present, where the world is blurry and white and filled with the searingly bright presence of Keisuke, a new constant in his life, it seemed. He slumps deeper into his seat and eases back on the gas.

"You good?" Keisuke asks, peering over at him. 

"Yeah," he sighs. "It's hot in here."

"A little bit," Keisuke agrees, but neither of them make a move to turn down the heat. 

They arrive at the hotels in due time. The tofu is traded in due time-- but they linger, speaking lowly to the staff there, and Takumi drifts nearby as Keisuke takes the lead. It's hushed words and little sounds until a deal is made.

A deal as old as he's been making deliveries.

"They said we can use the first one on the ground floor," Keisuke informs him, taking his wrist and pulling him along. "Get some much needed rest, eh?"

"I guess so," Takumi agrees, wandering after him.

It was an odd arrangement, really. The hotel had taken pity on Takumi when he was younger-- he'd stop by, sleepy and drowsy at the wheel, and they'd offer him a place to nap before tackling the downhill. His father had had some words about it, but they eventually came to an agreement.

The room is unassuming as ever. It's a simple Western-styled room with a small bed, a TV, and a desk in the corner. Takumi rips off his winter gear before collapsing onto the bed, even going as far as to remove his shirt, sighing at the sudden freedom. He hardly notices Keisuke drop down beside him, stolen blankets still draped across broad shoulders.

Takumi looks up at him, eyes darting across his face, then his expression. Keisuke is an open book, usually, but he can't parse the emotions hiding there right now. He lifts his hand, cupping the other's chin. 

"Are you okay?" Takumi asks, and his voice is low.

"'Course," Keisuke says, and he leans into Takumi's hand, even as calloused fingers drag across his cheek. "What about you?"

"Better," he replies. Takumi runs his thumb across Keisuke's cheek, letting the pad of it follow his jawline. "You're pretty."

Keisuke says nothing, even as Takumi grips his jaw with two hands, the tentative pressure of his fingers a pleasant sensation. He tilts his head and offers an encouraging smile, which only broadens when their eyes inevitably meet.

"May I kiss you?" Keisuke murmurs into Takumi's palm, lips brushing, soft mouth against tough hands. 

They're kissing shortly after that. The angle is awkward, and Keisuke's neck and shoulders ache, but being this close to Takumi pushes him to withstand it. Surreptitiously, he eases himself across the bed until he can straddle Takumi, their kiss deepening as soon as the angle shifts. 

"You're heavy," Takumi mumbles into his mouth, voice muffled with how he tries to kiss Keisuke between each syllable.

"How romantic," Keisuke snorts, but adjusts his weight anyway. He sighs with relief as Takumi relaxes, and the hands grasping his face slide away to pull at his shirt, tugging at it insistently. Then, in a swift motion, Takumi is lifting the shirt up and off him. He wags his tongue at him.

"Are we going to fuck in the dark?" Keisuke asks bemusedly. Their faces are lingering very near to each other, and he can feel his breath mingling with Takumi's.

"Spark in the dark," Takumi says, voice lilting with humor. "Turn on the lamp. You're closer."

He rolls his eyes, but turns on the lamp anyway. Its soft, flickering light illuminates them both, and once again Keisuke finds himself breathless-- and worried, somewhere deep inside. Takumi is thin, his ribs visible, and he runs his hands across his chest without hesitation, teasingly light when he brushes over his flanks. The way Takumi's breath hitches, visible in the bob of his throat and the sharp draw of his chest, how it hitches again when Keisuke kisses him-- it's good, and better when Takumi has hands over Keisuke's chest.

But Takumi's hands wander further, crawling up to his shoulders and squeezing his biceps, and when his lips part there's a tongue prying at Keisuke's mouth, forcing its way in. The room, once chilly, is now uncomfortably warm, though that may be due to their proximity. 

"Nngh, how far do--" Keisuke begins, a little breathless, but his words are swallowed by another fierce kiss. Strong hands paw over his back, mapping over the muscle and every little bump before grabbing his hips and pulling him flush against Takumi's. A zip of heat lances up his back at what he feels defined there, clearly impatient to get out. He groans despite himself, breathless.

With some struggle, he wrests a hand free to pull at Takumi's sweatpants, trying to work his hand past them and rip them off at the same time. He dimly realizes that neither of them are very coordinated-- they're pulling, pushing at each other, reluctant to give the other an inch lest they take a mile.

Keisuke gasps as Takumi's mouth leaves abruptly, leaving him to pant at open air, frozen until he feels chapped lips around his throat. At the same time, he finds Takumi's cock and grasps it, fingers playing over the warm flesh. Teeth scrape teasingly across his neck and he stifles a moan, which only elicits a sharp bite.

"Takumi," he hisses, jerking his hand upward. He grins as Takumi bucks into his hand, but bites back down, finally drawing a low moan and a shiver from him. "Takumi!"

"Keisuke," Takumi murmurs back, voice low, almost hoarse, and he stripes his tongue from Keisuke's collarbone to his ear, attacking his jawline with more feverish kisses. "Takahashi," he tries, shuddering.

"Fujiwara," Keisuke groans, hand squeezing over the head of Takumi's dick. "Stop that, Takumi, c'mon..."

He grins, a little heatedly, at the feeling of Takumi laughing underneath him. It doesn't last very long because he bucks into Keisuke's hands and brings his face back down to kiss him, and he can no longer deny that his pants are now very uncomfortable. Again, he wonders just how far Takumi wants to go-- he certainly wouldn't mind going all the way.

"Takumi," he tries again, wincing as Takumi's teeth catch his tongue. "Let me fuck you," he says bluntly, catching his eyes. His world spins as they look at each other-- the lamplight has set Takumi's eyes alight, orange fires burning in brown-near-black depths.

God, he really was the most gorgeous man alive.

"Thought it was my turn," Takumi mumbles, and he pouts up at Keisuke, lip pushed out-- the whole nine. His grip relaxes on Keisuke's shoulders and he trails calloused fingers along his arms before gripping his wrists. "There's stuff in my jacket if you really want to..."

"I wasn't aware we were taking turns," Keisuke says, chuckling despite himself at the display. "Let's compromise."

They disentangle from each other, and Takumi whines at the loss. He looks up at the ceiling, breathless, bed shifting underneath him as Keisuke fishes for what he had brought-- condoms and lube, which he had lifted from Keisuke's own house. 

"Isn't this from my place?" Keisuke asks, waving the bottle at Takumi.

"You left it in the '86," Takumi replies, smiling at him. "Remember?"

"Liar," Keisuke huffs, rearranging himself onto the bed. "Get your pants off."

Takumi whines, but complies, rolling his sweatpants down and kicking the offending clothing aside. His boxers went with them, and he slumps down, spreading his legs apart just enough. He watches with muted excitement as Keisuke removes the rest of his own clothing, revealing toned legs-- scarred in places, tested in others.

"You're pretty," Takumi hums, stretching a hand out toward him.

Keisuke smiles at him, a softer, milder thing, and settles between his legs. Briefly, he takes the outstretched hand and kisses the palm before becoming focused on the true task at hand, leaving Takumi to watch.

He should have expected it, really. Keisuke was a show off at the best of times, with the skill, confidence, and looks to match it. It's no wonder that, now, he makes Takumi watch as he slicks up his fingers and settles back, testing the outer boundaries of their bed in order to show off his ass. He teases at his hole with the pads of his finger tips before becoming daring with his middle digit, probing inside to just the first knuckle. His movements are smoother after that; practiced and confident, his finger slides deeper inside, then retreats. A low groan escapes him.

Takumi watches, enraptured, a flush blooming across his cheeks and neck. His cock aches-- whatever lingering satisfaction Keisuke had given him has since tapered off, and he's left wanting in greater intensity. He bites down on his tongue as Keisuke adds a second finger, their groans mingling together, and he shudders with impatience.

"Keisuke," he says, voice low, creeping toward him.

The red flush across his skin deepens as Keisuke grins, wolfish and knowing, and finally removes his fingers from within himself. In a single, fluid motion, he presses Takumi back against the bed, locking his hips between his knees, rear hovering just over his cock. He relaxes as Takumi takes his hips into his hands, the baton passing between them.

With some help, Keisuke lowers himself over Takumi, the other shuddering when his dick meets his rear, the head pushing in ever so slightly. Keisuke eagerly eases the head in further, an inch at least, which was exciting in its own right.

"Pretty," Takumi murmurs, and pulls Keisuke's hips toward him. He groans at the feeling, impatience and arousal shaking him to the bone. "Keisuke..."

"I am pretty," Keisuke agrees, finally allowing himself to release the tension in his legs. He groans, Takumi now completely sheathed, and relishes in the sensation. He bends down to press a kiss to the other's forehead. "You feel real good..."

He groans again as Takumi pushes up, and he responds in kind, rocking up, then down, but their rhythm is clumsy at the start. Keisuke makes a rough, growling sound, and splays his hands across Takumi's bare chest, pushing him slightly.

Takumi sticks his tongue out at him, but relents, sinking back into the bed.

Keisuke settles back over Takumi's member and, once more, relishes in the feeling. He squeezes around it, his fingers curling, nails scraping across flushed flesh as he slides his hips up so that only the head remains, a lingering presence, but never for long.

"Fuck, hot," Takumi moans, looking up at Keisuke with unabashed want, hands still clasped around his hips. He's enraptured by the languid, smooth ease Keisuke moves, body all fine lines and toned muscle, pale skin flushed in pinks and reds by exertion. His hair is burnished bronze in the lamp light, sticking in places to his forehead. He resists the urge to thrust into him.

Then the pace increases, and his control slips, thrusting sharply as Keisuke rocks back down. Two startled moans mingle together and their left hands reach to clutch at each other, rhythms finally matching, Keisuke moaning when Takumi hits just right. 

"Close," Takumi gasps, driving the pace faster. Keisuke nods, and with their held hands, guides Takumi's fingers to his own straining member. He moans as, finally, his cock is stroked, the pace matching their thrusts. That seems to do it-- Takumi makes a low, keening sound, and only then remembers that they forgot the condom as his orgasm blitzes through him.

"Oh, hell," Keisuke moans, back arching as Takumi's hand grows jerky and uneven, just enough for him to come across the other's stomach. A jitter of electricity zips down his spine at the sight, even as his thoughts become temporarily cloudy. 

They settle against each other, spent, Keisuke's muscles trembling as he tries to support himself. With a great heave, he pulls himself free, and rolls over to lay beside Takumi, once again looping their hands.

"Messy," Takumi murmurs, turning to peer at him.

"We should probably shower," Keisuke agrees.

They yawn in unison, eyes watering, and are contented to just lay there instead. The lamp hardly bothers them as sleep threatens to overtake them, spurred forward by lack of sleep. And they do sleep-- for thirty minutes at most, ended abruptly when Keisuke falls out of bed.

They do shower after that. The room's shower is cramped with them both inside, but they manage, and wash as thoroughly as they can, interspersed with kisses and gentle compliments. Then they take back to the bed, where sleep is had, and they're no longer beholden to the passage of time.