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Red Sakura

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“Juri I didn’t take off to waste my time.”

“Oh, so taking a walk with me is a waste of time?” Juri asked teasingly as he knew that Taiga wasn’t meaning it that way. “Recently you always keep your eyes on Ren and here it is obviously that all he is up to is causing more trouble. He is not stupid since he has realized that you took care of the kimono chaos he created the other day he tries to play with your patience.”

“Good for him that I am not the type of senpai to punish my kohai easily.”

Juri just shook his head on that and hooked his arm with Taiga’s as they made their way over the nearest bridge. It was quite a warm day and they were in two casual yukatas in light blue and yellow, but their house has become famous around Yoshiwara as the first male Oiran house participating in all the official events and rankings so people recognized them anyway.

“The festival is coming up in two weeks, do you think we'll be fine?” Taiga asked as they walked passed a few small shops on one of the side streets next to their district.

“I will be, but I am not sure about you and Kentaro. You two have to walk in front and do all the annoying stuff,” Juri replied with a lopsided smile.

“Well, that is also part of my worries.”

“And the other part?” Juri asked a bit more serious this time.

“I am not sure. It’s just that we barely started all this and it feels like we invaded a tradition we should have stayed away from. I don’t want the other houses to hate us or even attack us because of it.”

“And the festival would be the perfect opportunity,” Juri said in realization on which Taiga’s face darkened.

“Don’t worry, Takizawa’s house is still going with the old rules, remember? He and Kamenashi had agreed on going with different systems for now to see how things work out and to give customers the chance to go with the old system as well if they want to.”

“I know and it’s good to know that even their house seems quiet at the moment, but I feel really restless recently,” Taiga finally admitted after keeping his worries away from the others most of the time.

Juri squeezed his arm into his a bit on hearing that, knowing of course that Taiga had carried around some worries for the last weeks, but he was always too polite to talk about it, because he didn’t want others to worry.

“Do you think it’s the calm before the storm?”

“Hopefully not, but we can never be sure, right? For now I want to enjoy our calm time though.”

“Perfect, because that is why we are here,” Juri said proudly as he sped up and grabbed Taiga’s hand to pull him along.

With a questioning look Taiga followed the boy until they reached another main street where he could hear a lot of people cheering and saw people dancing on the streets.

“Eh, isn’t it way too soon for an Odori₁ festival?” Taiga asked a bit perplex on the festival like atmosphere in front of him.

“It’s a regional festival here in town. They celebrate the first sakura blossoms,” Juri explained as they squeezed along the side of the street, trying to find a good spot to have a look at the dancers.

“Oh what a surprise, we are not the only ones on their day off,” Juri said as he pointed at the other side of the street.

Taiga immediately formed a teasing smile as he saw Tegoshi, but not alone. Next to him was Massu, the owner of the shop from which their instruments were usually coming from. Over the last months Tegoshi had started visiting their house a lot, because they had to get more of the three layered kimono and that was taking a lot of time and measuring. Of course those two had met several times through that inside the house and there was not a single member of the house who hadn’t realized what was going on after their first encounter already.

Taiga kept looking around as he suddenly saw another boy with a quite fashionable Yukata. It was red and white, with a simple yet bright pattern of lines and circles. Also his look was unusual for a normal citizen. His hair seemed to be dyed in a light brown and his eye color seemed lighter than the usual one, quite close to Tegoshi’s blue eyes, but more of a dark grey. What caught his attention as well was that the boy wasn’t looking at the dancers, but directly back at him. Had he realized who they were even while they were a bit away from Yoshiwara and in simple Yukata?

Before Taiga could think about how to react another boy appeared next to him and they started talking before they vanished into the crowd, but Taiga didn’t miss the last look over his shoulder towards him with a lopsided smile.

The next moment Juri had dragged him along the street to take a look at another location of the festival and Taiga wanted to keep his attention on Juri after the boy was spending so much effort in giving Taiga a break from his kohai troubles, which would hopefully remain his only troubles for now.

***

The hot tea landed on the ground even without Taiga messing up this time. From the very first day they had started their training in different skills and arts he had known that this one just didn't suit him.

Aran didn't mind though, because he wasn't the type to come for an hour of tea as foreplay.

Making sure that they wouldn't create an even bigger mess, Taiga crawled a bit away from the small table the moment Aran had tackled him to the ground without a warning and was now busy with teasing his neck with his teeth.

“Tough day at work?” Taiga asked on which the other one bit harsher this time on which Taiga escaped a low chuckle.

Searching for the younger one's face he put his hands to his cheeks to make him look up. Dark eyes awaited him as they stared at each other before Taiga invited him to a greedy kiss.

“How about some distraction?”

The suggestion made Aran's eyes shine and with a smooth movement of his legs Taiga had Aran trapped so that he could turn them around.

There was not a single complain when Taiga slowly crawled of him, but then stopped between his legs. Taiga didn't even need to say anything and Aran's greedy look was enough of permission.

With a light touch Taiga let his hands vanish inside the boy's hakama and as expected Aran spread his legs invitingly.

It was the teasing touch around his thighs which made Aran growl impatiently. It was obvious that it was no day for teasing or a long foreplay.

With skilled fingers Taiga took care of Aran's already erected member while he also untied the hakama to get it out of the way. Just for a bit longer he wanted to have a look at how Aran's eyes got darker. There was always this point when he'd start biting his lip that was when he had to level things up and as expected this moment came sooner than usual.

“So impatient today,” Taiga whispered as he leant forward and gave him another short kiss before he crawled back and lowered himself between his legs.

Just a small teasing lick over the boy's tip was leaving Aran in a paralyzed state for a few seconds. When he took him completely in his mouth the younger one had trouble keeping himself up on his elbows and Taiga pushed on his stomach, allowing him to lie back.

His sweet moans filled the room way too soon for Taiga's liking, but he had said he'd stay the night so there was no way this was going to be their last round.

When Taiga felt Aran's hand in his hair he knew the boy was close, but he had found a weird liking in not pulling away and Aran knew that, so all he did was calling Taiga's name as his grip got tighter before he came into Taiga's mouth.

Swallowing had become easier as Taiga hadn't been fond of it at first. Still he used his chance while Aran came down from his climax to get a bit of the remaining tea.

“You seem busy with something as well,” Aran was heard as he lay on the side, facing Taiga with a brief smile.

“Now I wonder how you figured that out, because that I let the tea drop is nothing new.”

Aran escaped a chuckle on that before he shook his head. “You usually just offer distraction like this when you want some as well,” Aran said with a smirk. “And don't worry I'm more than willing to give a lot to you later.”

“Glad to hear that,” Taiga replied with a wink on which both started laughing.

“But seriously, everything alright?” Aran asked a bit more serious as he sat up and this time Taiga grabbed the sake bottle instead and poured him some knowing that it was way more of Aran's liking than the tea.

“It's a new boy which came a few days ago. He is causing a lot of trouble.”

“So you are in charge of him?”

Taiga nodded with a sigh before Aran suddenly handed him the cup he was holding.

“Sounds like you need a drink as well.”

Taiga took the cup from him without another comment, but he wasn't that fond of the taste.

“How much did he drive you crazy until now?”

“On the first day he threw our rule book into the river. On the second day he ripped the kimono apart I gave him for work. He seriously tries everything possible to make me freak.”

“But you won't as I know you,” Aran said proudly.

“And that is exactly why they chose me. They know the boy can handle any kind of punishment, so I've to find another way if there is one.”

Aran nodded with a worried look on hearing that. “It's rare for you to speak so negatively.”

“I know, I'm sorry. I guess it bothers me more than it should.”

Aran reached out for the cup to put it back on the table before he pulled Taiga closer on his kimono collar.

“Well, then let me distract you from all those unnecessary worries for tonight,” Aran whispered against his lips on which Taiga tried to trap his bottom lip with his teeth, but the boy pulled back. “Hey, is causing me pain the only distraction you want?”

Taiga couldn't hide a low chuckle on that before he put his hands to the boy's neck and crawled on his lap so that Aran had to fall back a bit.

“Trust me there dozens of other ways to distract me.”

“Then let me try all of them tonight,” Aran suggested with his eyes turning back to the greedy look Taiga loved so much.

***

Taiga could do nothing more, but apologize to their calligraphy teacher over and over again. First he had thought it was a good idea to distract Ren with lessons for now instead of trying to put him right into work, but it turned out to have been a horrible plan.

It had surprised Taiga already that Ren had actually followed him to one of the calligraphy lessons, but it was of course just to create chaos.

Instead of practicing, Ren had decided that the floor needed some coloring instead and the teacher went furious at his doing on which Taiga had jumped up and promised to clean it later.

“Please continue the lesson. We will take our lead for now.” Taiga said apologizing and moved between the other young boys towards Ren and signaled him to stand up. Of course the boy didn't move and just brought his Fude₂ down to the tatami mat once more.

Taiga rolled his eyes on the move and crouched down to take the writing utensil out of his hand. Before he could do so Ren suddenly moved his hand up and slashed the Fude through the air so that Taiga had to pull back with a hiss as some of the ink hit his eyes.

“What are you doing?” Reo was heard outraged from the front and he jumped up, forcing Ren up.

“It's all good, Reo. Thank you,” Taiga said as he used his sleeve to get the ink off his face at least a bit before he took a grip on Ren's arm so that Reo stepped back. He looked ready to hit the boy, but that was exactly what Ren wanted so Taiga wouldn't let him win this game and he made Reo sit down again even though his friend seemed ready to kick Ren out of the next best window as soon as they would be alone.

“Sorry for disturbing your class. I'll make sure to clean everything later,” Taiga apologized once more before he dragged Ren out to the corridor of the first floor where their rooms for several kinds of lessons were placed.

“Even if you don't want to learn it's fine, but please don't cause trouble for the others. They are all here to-”

In the middle of speaking Ren had already turned his back towards Taiga and walked down the corridor.

Taiga just let out a sigh on his behavior, but would let it pass like always. When he heard fast steps behind him though he turned just to see an unknown boy pass him and hurry towards Ren. When he reached the boy he yanked him back on his Yukata and forced him to walk back to Taiga. Ren was so shocked that he couldn't even struggle much before he was grabbed by the hair and forced to bow to the front.

“How dare you treat your senpai in such a disrespectful way?” The boy yelled and forced Ren to bow even lower as he started struggling. “Apologize!”

“Noeru, let him go,” another person was heard behind them and Taiga turned to face a familiar face. He had seen the boy on the festival with Juri before and now he also remembered that he had seen the other boy with him.

“But Ryosuke, his behavior is unforgivable!”

Ryosuke cracked an apologizing smile towards Taiga before he clapped him on the shoulder as if they were friends.

“Look at his senpai. It's obvious that the boy is a tough case and here he decided that the best was to let him leave. So now you are disrespectful through questioning his teaching methods,” Ryosuke explained on which Noeru let go of Ren immediately and bowed towards Taiga.

“My apologies.”

Taiga waved his hand immediately while Ren gave the boy a death glare, but just retreated instead of picking a fight, which was definitely not what Taiga had expected. But there had been something dangerous in his eyes and it was clear that he had to watch out for him even more.

“My apologies for the rough greeting,” Ryosuke said as Noeru walked back to him.

“No worries, everything is alright. By the way may I ask who you are?” Taiga asked politely.

“They are from another district in Edo and just came here. They will be part of the house from now on,” Taisuke was heard as he walked up to them as he had obviously just come from Kamenashi's room to inform him about their arrival. “Kamenashi has time for you now.”

“Thank you,” Noeru said with a light bow towards him as he waited for his senpai to move as well. They were both in the clothes from before so it was obvious that Ryosuke would join them, but maybe Noeru was an assistant like Reia and the other boys, but Taiga would have enough time to ask them later.

“Let me know if you need any help around the house, you can always ask me or one of the other boys,” Taiga offered on which Ryosuke suddenly stretched his arm out to touch his face. It had been some time that Taiga flinched on such a move, but somehow Ryosuke's touch had something provoking.

First he thought he had aimed for his scar, but when he pulled his fingers back a bit of ink was on his fingertips.

“I guess for calligraphy I need to ask someone else, but I heard you are famous for you shamisen.”

“Oh does my reputation precede towards other districts already?” Taiga asked a bit playful on which Ryosuke formed a lopsided smile as he stepped back.

“I'm just a good observer and have a good eye for special talents.”

The boy had a weird aura surrounding him and while it woke Taiga's interest it also made him aware of some kind of danger or maybe he should call it competition instead?

“Looking forward to working with you from now on,” Taiga said neutral before the two boys left with Taisuke.

With slow steps Taiga went down the corridor towards the bath. Ren was causing enough trouble already and it wasn't clear if those two were a good or bad match for their house, so for now Taiga could just hope that the storm wasn't approaching faster than he had hoped.

***

“What, you met Ryosuke before?” Juri asked confused as he met with Taiga in the bath later. The boy had helped with cleaning his Yukata from the ink, but of course not without having a good laugh at the story first.

“I saw him and Noeru in the streets when we were at the festival,” Taig explained as he got the last stains of ink from his face and joined Juri in the bath.

“So what do you think about them?”

“Not much yet. We just briefly talked in the corridor earlier, but Noeru seems to be quite respectful towards him and also other senpai. I fear he will end up in a fight with Ren at some point.”

“And?” Juri asked, shrugging his shoulders. “Then let him do your work. I bet he can punch some manners into the boy.”

Taiga splashed some water towards Juri on that comment. “That is exactly what Ren doesn’t need.”

“Do you really think he will be able to follow the rules in the end?”

Taiga had no direct reply to that, because as much as he hoped to be able to break through Ren’s walls he feared that things could get worse instead of better.

When Juri’s nose suddenly touched his Taiga gasped and pulled back on which Juri let out a teasing chuckle. “I know your mind is occupied a lot with this problem, but how about you occupy yourself with me for a while instead?”

The invitation made Taiga smile while Juri sat on his lap and trapped him with his back at the stone wall of the bath.

“And what kind of distraction do you have in mind?” Taiga asked against Juri’s lips as the boy hovered hungrily over him.

“The good kind,” Juri replied before he engaged their lips in a wet kiss. They both moved slow, hands secretly exploring their exposed skin underwater while their kiss turned deeper.

“I like your ideas,” the older one let out between a break for air. “How far does the good kind go?”

Juri’s eyes narrowed with a greedy expression as Taiga pulled him closer on the hips.

“If we change locations then this service might know no end,” Juri whispered invitingly before his hand found its way between Taiga’s legs and the boy bit his lip throwing his head to the back.

“I warn you, if I find the slightest bit of cum in the bath I make you both clean it for a whole month.”

A few months ago they would have both still jumped on the sudden interference, but now they didn’t even bother getting off each other on the sight of Kentaro standing in the door. Reo was right behind him a jealous expression making them both smile.

“That’s why I suggested a location change,” Juri replied as he finally got off the other one and stepped out of the bath.

“And here I was hoping for a show,” Reo said disappointed.

“Maybe next time.” Taiga said promising as he walked up to the boy and put his pointer finger under his chin. “You can join us then.” With a wink Taiga took his Yukata and left the bath with Juri while Kentaro needed to snap his fingers in front of Reo’s face to make him snap out of it.

“Wow that was a huge promise. Are you planning on keeping it?” Juri asked curious.

“If you are okay with it?”

“I told you, whenever you feel like it.”

It had been on Taiga’s mind for quite some time now, but it had been hard to talk to Juri about it. They were together for so long now and while a normal relationship would be perfectly fine like this, Taiga weirdly felt like he’d keep the others out, even though they had of course still some private times together with customers when Fuma, Fu or others called them in together, but this was different. Luckily Juri had understood his problem without freaking at him and he had left the decision to Taiga when one of the other boys would be allowed to join them.

“Well, not today at least,” Taiga said with a lopsided smile before he vanished inside their room, waving at Juri to follow him.

“As you wish,” Juri replied before he hurried to close the door and finally give Taiga the promised distraction.

***

The fan dance wasn’t just hypnotizing the customers, but also fascinated Taiga a lot. Unfortunately he had to concentrate on playing the shamisen or he would ruin Ryosuke’s performance.

Fan dance was a skill not performed by their house, but when the customers had heard from Noeru that Ryosuke had practiced it before they all wanted to see it.

“You got an amazing duo here,” one of the customers congratulated the person who had picked Taiga and Ryosuke for their teahouse time. As the customers were unknown to both it had been just a coincidence for them to be called out together, but it had made Taiga kind of nervous. He didn’t want to challenge the other one so he didn’t put on any extravagant makeup and also his three layered kimono was a simple one with a bird pattern in red and white.

Ryosuke on the other hand had shown up in a detailed kimono with such beautiful emblems that he was the center of attention before he even said a word. Noeru seemed quite happy about the customers’ reaction and he could see the stare battle he had with Reia over some minutes already before Noeru left the room to get new sake.

“Thank you for your shamisen play,” Ryosuke addressed him as the attention was drawn away from them for a while.

“Not at all. Thank you for showing us such a beautiful dance. It’s really impressive.” Taiga praised him on which Ryosuke sat right in front of him.

“I can teach you if you want.”

“No,” Taiga replied way too fast and bit his lip through his impoliteness, but Ryosuke just kept smiling at him. “I mean I am not a good dancer. It would be a waste of your time.”

“This is all a waste of time.”

Both of them turned towards the boy who had just entered the room again after getting some more food for the customers, but Ren didn’t even seem to feel the slightest guilty about what he had said. For the boy it was the second time in the teahouse, but his attitude was still a big problem. Usually he should be with them, in a three layered kimono, but because he refused to even take customers, while he had been in an illegal house already, there had been no other choice but to put him to an assistant duty.

“For those who doesn’t want to learn any beautiful art it is definitely a waste,” Ryosuke replied calm on which Ren seemed to feel triggered. But Taiga gave him a warning look before he could actually do anything stupid. He was just here to learn and help out, but with Reia and Noeru there as well he luckily didn’t try to cause chaos, at least for now.

“Thank you for the offer, but I think it’s really a skill that fits you way better than me,” Taiga said towards the older one with a small bow.

“If you say so,” Ryosuke replied neutral before he joined the customers again while Taiga stared absentminded through the room for a moment.

“Are you not feeling well?” Reia was heard worried next to him, but Taiga immediately shook his head with a brief smile.

“Not at all. Don’t worry.”

Reia didn’t seem convinced at all and as Taiga’s assistant he would notice immediately.

“I will get you some water,” Reia said and headed towards the door where he almost collided with Noeru who wanted to enter the room.

Taiga remained seated, really not feeling that well over the whole day already. Noeru brought some sake towards the place Ryosuke was talking to the customers at. Like this the attention was drawn away from him for a while luckily and he closed his eyes for a moment.

A sudden scream from the corridor made him flinch and the other members in the room also looked towards the doors in shock.

Noeru was the first one to get up and Taiga and Ryosuke followed him outside in the corridor. Ren didn’t even bother to follow them.

A few rooms away an Oiran assistant was sitting on the floor. Her eyes wide open and her body still shivering from whatever she had seen in the half opened door.

“What is going on?” Reia asked as he hurried up the stairs next to the girl. When his look fell into the room he gasped and let the bottle of water he was holding fall to the ground on which it shattered into pieces. His horrified expression made Taiga hurry towards them and he pulled Reia away so that the inside of the room wasn’t visible to him anymore.

“Wait here!” He ordered, but it was clear that Reia wasn’t able to do anything else for now anyway.

When Taiga went back to the room Noeru had helped the girl away already while Ryosuke stood frozen to the spot in the doorframe.

“What is going on? What happe-”

Taiga’s question got answered the moment he stepped next to the other one. His eyes grew wide in shock and disgust about the picture in front of him. An Oiran, actually a quite famous one which whom Taiga had worked together before, had been murdered. But she hadn't’ been just stabbed. Her throat was cut open and her face was defaced to a degree that it was hard to say who she had been in the first place if her kimono wouldn’t have told them.

Taiga searched for words, wanted to make his body move as he realized the nausea taking over him through the smell of blood in the air. All he was capable of in the end was turning towards the next corner to throw up.

+++

 

Odori₁: Dance festival

Fude₂: calligraphy brush