The roaring sound of water pulsing through the creaky pipes had to be one of the loudest things ever at three in the morning. What could be deemed worse than listening to the sound of someone running hot water from the boiler in the basement to the third floor through rusted and creaky pipes for a nocturnal shower? What’s worse would be having to be put up with the same scenario several times for the past fortnight.
Todomatsu glared upwards from his position on his single futon in his newly acquired apartment. Trying to squint through the dark at the flaking brown paint upon the ceiling and will the noise to just stop. But not even the venom of Todomatsu’s worst expressions could reach through concrete and shut off a shower. Even if the thunderous racket interrupted his beauty sleep.
An especially loud pang had Todomatsu jump. He may not have to deal with his elder brothers constantly and that gave a period of peace. Todomatsu had been on a streak of not acting on his irritation. But, oh what he wouldn’t do to remind his dear dear neighbour, that some people actually enjoyed sleeping. Such a surprise, right? Was the cheap rent and the area location truly worth this torture?
‘The minute this happens again’, the cute man vowed. ’I’m heading straight to tell whoever it is to knock it off. Consider the other people that were in the building.’
Almost like they had heard that last thought, Todomatsu’s neighbour finally shut off the water. The calm dark silence returned in all its vengeance. Todomatsu raised the blanket up, rearranged into a comfier position on his side and let himself drift off once again.
Gurgling came again from above.
Oh no. Oh hell no. Why now of all times, Todomatsu was almost asleep again. This asshole had to have used up all the hot water. So the boiler was heating up more, amongst its efforts to keep the building warm from the freezing air outside. This dear neighbour is about to see the dried up monster in all its exhausted and irritated glory.
Taking every single bit of self-control Todomatsu still held over himself (Since moving to his own apartment, not pushing against five elder brothers constantly, he had a little spare in supply) Todomatsu knocked on the door in three sharp taps rather than the impulsive urge to try kick the door down. He was not going to let some middle aged office trapped man waste all the hot water, take the nosiest shower possible at THREE in the morning and get away with it. Interrupting both Todomatsu’s beauty sleep and possibly disrupting his future morning routines had consequences.
No more of this. So this is where the bastard lived. Directly above Todomatsu’s apartment. The closest door to the staircase (or else Todomatsu may just have waited til the light of day came around. The long winding hallway without an end didn’t look worth it) Todomatsu raised an eyebrow at the quiet door. No shuffling nor vocals came from behind the wooden frame. Todomatsu rapped his knuckles on the door again.
Minutes of silence went by. How heavy a sleeper was this person, to not be irritably awaken by his insistent knocking? The young man shivered in his coat, a cold draft drifting over him. He would knock once more. If nothing came of it, Todomatsu would call back again later. When it wasn’t so dark, at a reasonable brighter time. This time, the sound seemed to vibrate through the very shadows. Todomatsu studied the brass apartment numbers for a moment then turned his flashlight app to beyond his post. From the light of Todomatsu’s phone, he could make out the start of the floors and walls, leading off. Anything that could not be reached by the phone’s flashlight, lay a mystery. Ominous and ready to pounce at him.
Ok that was enough, no more. Abort abort. Todomatsu began to stiffly prepare his descent back to the warmth and security. Securing the warm phone in his palm, Todomatsu curved the flashlight back to the stairs. Todomatsu went to begin to trudge away from the door. When a miraculous thing happened; the door opened (so maybe Todomatsu felt the need to be snarky even in his thoughts. So what, he was tired.)
Flinching at the increase of painfully bright lights from the apartment. Todomatsu lifted his hand that wasn’t clutching his phone to shield his face. Narrowing his eyes to the open door, Todomatsu took to take a peek at his neighbour standing in the doorway where the apartment’s heat all but rushed at him. There stood a man. Definitely not old or fat, and most definitely not ugly. Slim in replacement of curves, which suit his height. Drooping eyes whose hue reminded Todomatsu of the zircon gemstone a coworker had shown him and a head of fluffy auburn hair, all adorn in striped pyjama pants and a brown t-shirt . Standing taller than Todomatsu, he blinked those weary eyes and stretched out his arms above his head. As his arms were raised as did the shirt revealing a lean soft stomach.
“Can I help you?” a low rumble came from the individual.
Todomatsu only realised he had been staring, mouth agape, when the other man brought his hands down to cover his yawn. The curt tone pulled at some memory at the back of Todomatsu’s mind. But now, now the source of his troubles stood before Todomatsu in a state of sleepy attractiveness. Now that he was in front of him, Todomatsu had to stay strong. He put a hand on one hip, and straightened his posture. No one was going to continue the reign of annoying late and loud cleansing.
“Are you aware that having showers in a building this old and rickety at three am disturbs other residents?” His neighbour in the midst of rubbing his eye paused before inspecting Todomatsu properly.
“Such as you?”
“So?” Todomatsu’s face heated up, and twisted into an angry pout. The brunet opposite Todomatsu gave a small smirk.
“What do you mean ‘so’?! You are disrupting other tenants, it’s not fair on us”
“You mean it’s not fair on you? As for disruption, you do know you are technically doing the exact same thing. At this very moment in time. Late at night.” This man’s smirk had grown at Todomatsu’s outrage, then studying him from his place against the door frame. Before the cute man could argue back, this stranger started talking again.
“Todomatsu-kun, isn’t it? You work in the Sutabaa coffee place down Akatsuka Street.”
“How the hell-“
“I’ve come into that establishment nearly every second day for the past month. But nevermind that. So if you’re that irritated by my cleaning habits to hence the need to tell me personally. What do you want me to do about it?” Todomatsu frowned at him and rubbed his tired eyes, taken aback at the quick verbal assailant.
“..Shower at a different time?”
“You don’t seem sure of that request?”
“Of course I am. You shower at a different time, and I get my beauty rest,” Todomatsu huffed and tightened his coat around him. The cold night air still creeped at his back, whilst his front was cosy by the open door.
“But where do I benefit from this?”
“Huh?” Smirking, he had the nerve to smirk at Todomatsu’s confusion.
“I prefer to have my showers right before bed, especially after the long day of meetings and travelling I’ve been obligated to do the last two weeks”
Todomatsu halted himself from snapping back, and mulled over his attractive neighbour’s words. “The last two weeks? So what you’re saying is that you won’t be working this late indefinitely. Moving your shower schedule wouldn’t be that much work”
“What if I didn’t want to move it? Exchange, cute Todomatsu-kun. You need to give something to get something”
“exchange..?” Todomatsu felt himself blush at a realisation- smooth flirting, a usual order and prolonged glances before heading out to a shiny new car. “You’re that business man, at- atsuki- Atsushi-kun! Tall vanilla latte and a fancy car outside.”
“You do know me,” Atsushi chuckled, leaning forward. Leaning closer, his hands placed snug into his pyjama pockets. Todomatsu stepped back and folded his arms, glaring with a new sense of vigor.
“You do know that in keeping me up with your showering; you’ve been making my nights a living hell that last two weeks. Then you come into Sutabaa, loudly bragging all through my headache made by a certain case of sleep deprivation” Looking away from Todomatsu’s cool report; Atsushi at least the decency to look guilty at that.
“I do apologise, but I wasn’t trying to-“
“Save it. I’m going back to bed. I can’t be bothered with you right now. Not you and your fancy car and good looks. Not with you and calling me cute. Nothing is going to make it up to me.” Marching forward straight up to the shocked face of Atsushi. Almost nose to nose, Todomatsu could smell the lingering shampoo and could feel the warm breath on his face. Todomatsu poked the firm chest of his ‘opponent’.
“Take your showers and go. Next time, don’t worry. I’ll just mention it to the landlady. Because there’s nothing you can do to make up my lack of sleep now”
Feeling satisfied at making his point, Todomatsu stared him straight in the eye, smirked and turned heel. He just had to make it to the stairs, then he would have what Jyushimatsu would make out to be a ‘KING SIZED HOMERUN!’ He was going to win this argument, through the cold and his sore feet. Not even this infuriatingly cute (nonono Todomatsu was cute) good looking business man was going to take away his victory..
“Not even a date?”
Why the hell couldn’t he win? Yet as Atsushi walked up behind a suspended Todomatsu, his warm hands ghosting the shorter man’s hips. Leaning down to whisper of a possible date that Friday, and a promise of a shower time reevaluation. Todomatsu, himself was finding it hard to mind the exchange of banging pipes to whispered requests.